Teenage Punk Rockers

This site explores the punk culture as it was in 1977 England. We were teenage punk rockers that wrote a fanzine and formed a garage band.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bombsite Fanzine 2008; The Automatix

The Automatix

above; The Automatix 07-77 Tour
Some maintain that the punk scene has lost some explosive creativity, rebellion, anger, and individualism. Yet, on all the continents we see the fires burning as beacons of light, ready to break out at a time when the ingredients are just right. Young disillusioned teenagers looking for an escape from the boredom, and the constraints of society, unemployment, underpayment, political tensions and social upheaval, are all providing fuel for their fires. One such band from Canada, resonates the energy, the anxiety and teenage frustration. The 77 inspired songs on their Myspace player left me looking for more. So, I tracked down the lead singer and songwriter J Rocker, from the Montreal based punk band the Automatix.

Bombsite Fanzine

Your sound is very UK77. What brings you all together to play this type of stuff? Was there an early experience that got you interested?

Well, for us in The Automatix I'm pretty sure it's about the same. Punk rock has been our way of life ever since the first time we heard bands like The Sex Pistols and the Damned , Stiff Little Fingers , The Vibrators, you know, the basics ! It was probably one of the best moments of our lives being young brats, careless and all, not giving two' shit's ! It was so exciting to have a feeling of something to look forward to in the future, that did not have to do with the 9 to 5 way of life. I'm pretty sure we all met up for a reason. Two members of the band Smart Attack (Bass) and Franky Bones (Rhythm Guitar) are actually brothers, that grew up together and went through a hell of a lot. There's Johnny Damage (Drummer) who has been drumming since the age of 10, I think he was in some sorta marching band.. They warped his mind but he mastered the art of the snare drum, and last but not least, me, J Rocker, lead singer and lead guitarist. I got my first vinyls from a cool art teacher when I was really young. He was a great electric guitarist and he thought I would like to have "Never Mind the Bollocks".
I grew up on 77' whether it be from London or New York, I don't care, but I definitely take huge influence from UK 77. Cause to me, that's what my life is about ! I wrote "Sounds of 77" for these reasons, I talk about the Vibe of 77' and the bands that inspired a lot of other bands from then, and in the chorus I say " All across London town, there's a chronic generation going round ,Safety Pins n' Razor Blades , Black Leather Jackets and Cool New Shades" I think that about sums up the question.

Above; J Rocker ready to rock Austin Texas

Bombsite Fanzine
I see that you toured alongside the Vibrators during 2007 was there a high point during the gig dates?

Yup we sure did ! In the Summer 2007 we toured on the "77 07 Tour" for about a month across Canada with The Vibrators. We were all packed in the same van, it was a great experience for us! It really taught us fast about being on the road as a band and everything. We had been together not even 3 months and wouldn't ya know it? We were in the van with the Vibs!
The best memories from that journey would probably be when we played the last show of the tour (here in Montreal ) by that time, and after all the shows we had done along side the Vibs, we had really gotten tight and gained a lot of presence. The show was sold out that night!
Another thing that happened, we almost hit a moose somewhere in Northern Ontario's Forest! It was a fright, then a few minutes after we dodged one, a drunk driver with his kids in the back seat hit a moose, and it flew threw his windshield. We stopped to see if they were ok, luckily they were, but shocked, the man was clearly drunk, so we called the police on him. He was an idiot for taking his kids on a drunken death ride !

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Have you toured with other classic punks? Or is there something lined up?

No, we have not gotten to tour with other classic punks yet, mostly because there haven't been many around Montreal. Also, Canada is a big country to tour, and the price of gas is highway robbery!
We are really stoked, as we received confirmation that we will be playing with " THE KIDS " from Belgium sometime around Halloween ! Spooky !

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When are you releasing your new material? You guys are pretty young now, how do you see your sound developing on your new material?

We are trying to raise the funds to get into the studio ASAP, the material should be released sometime around fall! That would be our debut album really, seeing as our "77 in 07" album was a demo. I am really pumped, this will be the first full length album from us! The sound of the new material doesn't really develop, but the riffs and the lyrics will. For the sound we are gunna keep it old, and keep it vintage. We are planning to put close to 15 songs on this first Automatix LP. So, it will be something to look forward to! I'm confident that this album will be the one that puts us on the map and in the books!

above; The Automatics slamming jail guitars

Bombsite Fanzine
Are there any US dates in your forecast? Have the increased border restrictions become more difficult for artists and musicians visiting from overseas?

For US Dates, we could possibly get to Texas in 2009 for the Airwalk Unsigned Band Competition, but the brothers in the band (Attack and Bones) well they have violent criminal history, and are not allowed to cross the border, so until they get a pardon we cannot make it. But that is a problem for a lot of bands, even the big ones!
In Montreal a few years back, The Exploited were not allowed into Canada from the USA. The show was canceled at the last minute. It turned into a riot with over a million dollars of damage around the city.
So yeah, the border is a problem both ways you look at it ! If it weren't for Bush pushing the bar higher and making the laws tougher, we could probably ask some Indian's to borrow a canoe and cross the river to N.Y. hahah !

Bombsite Fanzine
As you mentioned, the Vibrator tour must have been fabulous experience for your young band. Are there offers on the table from record companies, or artist and promotion managers? Or are you DIY all the way?

The tour with the Vibrators was great for us, it gave us some experience and we learn't a lot about professionalism. I even learned some cool guitar tricks from Knox (the front man of the Vibrators).. As for us getting any kind of offers from record companies and promotion managers, we haven't gotten any of that, nor did we go for it. But I don't expect that to happen until we put out our first full length album. The demo we made " 77 in 07" was our way of celebrating 30 years of punk mayhem and we did it all DIY , To answer your question " are the Automatix 100% DIY ?" Fucking right we are !

Above; Franky Bones, Smart Attack, J Rocker, Johnny Damage

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Do you see raw classic punk as a growth market, where the kids are again inspired? Or has manufactured music finally killed off youth inspiration?

I think 77 made a come back around 2007 when it celebrated it's 30 years , luckily we caught that whole thing before it even happened and I was on it ! I knew it was gunna be a good year for Punk! But, to answer your question, it's really hard to say.. I don't think it was like it used to be and I don't think it will ever be like it used to be.
It was PUNK fever in the late 70's. Today, kids would just rather do other stuff. Either that or they dress "punk" and they don't know anything about where punk came from or the history of punk. I don't think people pay enough respect to the classics.. It's always a new breed of punks every year and often they only know about bands that came way later on, or they are confused and think bands like Limp Bizkit are Punk. Today is the age of MTV and shit like that, it's sad really.
But we play our music for the people who know and love real punk , not for the new. We have an older following , not so much the young people.

Bombsite Fanzine
The social networking areas on the web are changing the scene, do you see a future of how things in the music industry develop?

I suppose with the tools and technology we have today, it could possibly help some bands and labels connect. Also, it can be very beneficial for a band to be on the internet, but not for everybody. The music industry is going to hell.. It's an on-going battle, you have labels trying to make money from the sale of music, and bands trying to get some money off labels so they can tour, eat, sleep and shit. But the problem is, people today download most music for free and also the sale of "hard-copy" albums is going down down down. There are still some people who love vinyls and cd's like us, but in this day & age everybody has I-pods and stuff, so it would be a lie if they say that they pay for every song they have on those things.
With the rising price of gas it's getting harder to tour. When your on the road trying to sell your album and everybody has already downloaded it off Soulseek or something, nobody wants to pay for the real deal , and that is gunna kill many independent artist and punk bands. But not us!

Keep in touch man ! If we come your way, i'll be mailing you !
cheers again !
j

Automatix Links

http://www.myspace.com/automatix
http://www.punkmaniarecords.com/




3 comments:

  1. Very interesting Martin - cool band, I wish them well !

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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Margaret

    http://guitarlearntoplay.net

    ReplyDelete
  3. Message to Alana;
    Thanks for your positive feedback. If you like the work here you may be interested to read my eZine here
    www.myebook.com/bombsite1977/
    Thanks
    Mart

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