The Victims Are Back
By : chris rocks on
Victims are a genuine 1970's punk band, that graced the stages of
New York's finest
rock 'n roll establishments. They were a regular feature at Max's
Kansas City, as well as CBGB's, Club 57, Irving Plaza, and
Serving up a brand of original songs, much in the style of the late
60's garage bands and psychedelic guitar bands, the Victims rocked
with many of their contemporaries and even supported Sid Vicious,
when he played at Max's.
They split from the scene 28 years ago, and went their separate
ways, but now, they're back!
With New York City dates already played, and even more booked, they
have been going down great!
I caught up with Steve Berman, the Bass Player, and Rick Reilly,
lead singer/guitarist to find out about their past and also what the
: Nice to see you guys rocking the stage once more. How did it all
SB: Well, Rick and I happened to run into each other on the internet
in 2004 after not being in contact for about 24 years and the more
we talked, the more I realized, that just maybe we should get the
band back together again. I always thought that there was some
unfinished business that The Victims had to take care of. I guess
you could say that I pushed real hard for it to happen...in other
words I became a fucking pain in the ass! It wasn't easy at first.
Eventually Rick got Barry into the idea and we gave it a try. The
drummer on our 1978 Plan 9 EP got religion and our other drummer
Mark died, so we had a problem there. I got a guy to fill in for the
first rehearsal, but he backed out on that same day. Through some
connections, our new (and current) drummer Mike Lincoln literally
came to the rescue and completed the reunion of The Victims.
RR: I had no idea if i could even sing anymore, I hadn't performed
or even played with other musicians for over twenty years, but I was
willing to do a couple rehearsals with the understanding that if we
couldn't deliver something at least as good as what it had been at
it's best we wouldn't do it.
SB: The first couple of practices were a bit rusty, but things
quickly gelled and we played our first show back at The Continental
for an Arthur Kane Tribute show that also featured Sonny Vincent,
The Corpse grinders, and Lyn Todd among others. We played another
show three months later at CBGB's and then nothing happened again
until the spring of this year when we decided to try it again...and
we're sure glad we did!
C : Tell me a little about your days
at Max's Kansas City and CBGB...
RR: I pretty much lived at Max's in 77/78.... free happy hour
buffet, bartenders that would let us slide a lot on paying for
drinks etc, and that's pretty much where I knew I was gonna run into
friends... if they weren't at Max's, they'd be at CBGB's. I guess I
spent more time at Max's because I had gotten to know Peter Crowley
when he booked OutKids at Mother's.
it was really cool knowing that whichever of the 2 places I ended up
at on any given night I was gonna see at least one band I really
SB: Me too. I virtually lived at Max's Kansas City and CBGB's. Got
in for free at Max's because we played there regularly. Peter
Crowley thought a lot of us and it seems we did hang out more there.
Started playing the weeknights as support...paying our dues until we
started to get gigs opening for Johnny Thunders, Sylvain Sylvain,
The Troggs etc. and THEN we graduated to being the headliner on
Friday and Saturday nights. Played some cool shows at CBGB's too.
Like Rick said, you almost always see at least one band that you
would like on any given night.
C : You played support to Sid
Vicious 'upstairs at Max's', what was that like?
RR: It was a circus, but it was also really cool from the
perspective that his pickup band was like a who's who of punk bands
at the time.
We had no idea at the time that it would be a somewhat historic
show, it was just another gig to us really.
Sid didn't have the presence of Johnny Thunders or some of the other
people on the scene, he was pretty much a train wreck that already
C : 'Behind the Times' has to be, to
me anyway, one of the best power-punk records of its time. What
other recordings did you make back then, and are there any plans to
re-release any of them?
RR: Thanks, that's actually my favourite Victims song. We plan on
re-releasing the Plan 9 EP material on our next CD which will
primarily consist of new songs and new recordings of songs we had
written around the time of the Plan 9 sessions but never got around
SB: Yeah...Behind The Times is my favourite Victims song too! Great
fucking song that you and Barry wrote Rick! We actually had another
EP prior to the infamous Plan 9 record. It had 4 songs on it and was
put out in 1977...I don't think that one will come out again
though...doesn't quite have the balls that the stuff that came out
later had. Our 1979 'Real Wild Child' LP has just been released on
CD format for the first time.... Gotta get a plug in here....it's
available online at CD Baby! It looks like it will also start being
distributed by Get Hip Records.
C : You played with Cheetah Chrome
from the Dead Boys following the split of the Victims. What was that
all about and did you do any gigs?
SB: At that time The Victims had been rehearsing at a downstairs
loft across the street from CBGB's. I believe Cheetah rehearsed
there too. When I was no longer a Victim, Cheetah asked me if I
wanted to play with him. Me, him, and a drummer I can't remember,
rehearsed the first Dead Boys LP for a month or two and then Cheetah
changed his mind and went in another direction. We never played a
gig...I wish I had at least taped those rehearsals on a cassette
C : What was the audience reaction
like to your re-union gig?
SB: It was pretty fucking awesome considering we hadn't been around
for a few decades or so! There were new people who left there
Victims fans (which blew us away!) and there were also older fans
who came back out to see us.
RR: I was surprised at how positive the reaction from kids who had
never seen (or I assume heard of us) was. I figured they would be
like..."who the fuck are these old guys and what are they doing
C : You played CBGB back in the
70's. How did the scene compare back then to today? You played there
right before it closed, right?
RR: There doesn't seem to really be a scene now, bands are far more
transient and the sense of community doesn't seem to really exist
anymore. Back in the old days, there was healthy competition, but
all the bands hung out with each other, got fucked up together, and
were basically friends.
SB: When we played CBGB's in January of 2005, the only reason it was
as cool as when we played there in 77-78 was that the people on the
bill WERE from back then! The bill included The Tuff Darts,
Ruby & The Rednecks, and Wild Bill Thompson from The
M.C. was Jayne County and the rock 'n' roll principal himself, Peter
Crowley, was in the audience! Rick's right, it was a real community
back in the 70's. Bands supported each other more. Everyone was
always going to one of the clubs to see each other's band play. That
was why when we played a show at Max's you had people like The
Heartbreakers, The Ramones, David Jo, Lenny Kaye in the audience and
we'd be there at their shows. It was just a very cool scene we had
C : You have some more live shows
RR: Yes, we're enjoying performing together as a band and seeing old
friends and new people who appear to enjoy what we do so we are in
the process of lining up shows in Philly, Boston, Montreal, Detroit,
and wherever else we feel there is audience that will respond to us.
SB: Confirmed dates right now are November 30th at Otto's Shrunken
Head in NYC and December 14th at The Tritone in Philadelphia.
There's others in the works as we speak...Like Rick says...we'll
play anywhere that we feel is worth it. This is in the VERY early
stages of thought or planning, but we'd like to get over to Europe
to play sometime in the not too distant future.
C : Where can the readers find out
more about the Victims, and when can they come see for themselves?
RR: They can go to our myspace page at
Dates, news, info about future releases are all kept as up to date
as best we can manage. We love hearing from fans, old friends, and
anyone who wants to do stuff for us.
And like Steve said earlier, the 'Real Wild Child' album has been
reissued on CD and is available at CDBaby, and is also being
distributed by GetHip.
SB: They can also check out my own site at
I do a lot
of promotion and networking from there and there are pictures and
updates about us too. I love to hear from anyone who's into The
C : Are you still in touch with the
guys/bands from the original scene?
RR: We recently played with The
Waldo's, and it was great seeing Walter again, and he's still the
great performer he always was. The Hudson Dusters are a really good
time and all guys we know from Max's days. Bobby Steele from the
Undead is a friend and we're talking about doing some shows with
him. Steve is much more the social networking type than I am so I'll
let him field this one.
SB: You're right Rick...I am quite the fucking social butterfly!
Seriously, My Space has been amazing for doing that kind of stuff.
I've had lots of musicians from the past (or survivors of the 70's
as I like to call them!) get in touch with me and vice versa. I
really enjoy running into someone on the internet, for instance
Bobby Steele, who ended up coming to our last show at Otto's in
July. As has been mentioned by me earlier, we've now played several
shows with people who were there in the late 70's. Not everyone from
back in the day has OD'd...we're living proof!
C : Glad to hear it guys, come over
to Europe and play the Rebellion Festival next year, and before I go,
best of luck with the shows etc...If any of our readers are in NYC
at the end of November, check these guys out for yourselves at
Otto's Shrunken Head...It's true, The Victims are Back!