Articles - Interviews - "Spooky, Kooky, and Fun - The Groovie Ghoulies"

In April the Groovie Ghoulies will release their 6th album, "Travels With My Amps." Fans of the band will be pleased to hear that with this new album the Ghoulies don't disappoint. They serve up 14 more fun, catchy, irresistible songs destined to become Ghoulie classics. The Ghoulies will be coming to a town near you this summer. Go and say "Hi" to Roach, Kepi, B-Face and Amy and give them a great big hug. This interview was conducted with Kepi by e-mail on March 2nd, 2000.

BG - Hi, thanks for taking the time to do this. The new album sounds great, when does it officially come out?
Kepi - The new album, "Travels with my Amp", comes out April 18th.
BG - When you write songs for a new album do you come up with the lyrics or music first?
Kepi - It's always different, sometimes music, a line, a tune, or a title.
BG - How long did it take to record the new album?
Kepi - We actually recorded for about five 12 hour days. Then we had a day where someone else was using the studio before we went home so we sat upstairs and watched like 18 episodes of Amy's twin peaks box set in a row. After we left, Mass (Giorgini, producer) spent about two days mixing and mastering.
BG - You have done the last couple of albums at Sonic Iguana. What does Mass Giorgini bring out in the Ghoulies that other producers don't?
Kepi - Mass gets a good guitar sound, he loves roach's guitar sound. We've done the last three albums with him and it's just gotten better. He has a good ear and works you hard without being a jerk, which is nice.
BG - The album opens with the instrumental, "Boot Hill Express." It seems to be a tradition to open a Ghoulies album with one, why?
Kepi - Actually, this is album number six and only the second one to open with an instrumental. It just seems like a good thing to bring you into a record, like previews before movies. It gives you a second to clear your head and get ready for some action and/or entertainment.
BG - The two shortest songs on the album, "Freebird" and "Hard Days Night", have the same titles as two other more famous songs. Pretty funny if you ask me, was this intentional?
Kepi - Actually, the second song is "hard night's DAY". I know it's a bit of a confusing tongue/brain twister, it just felt right. Those were ones I wrote for Fat Wreck's "short music" comp that Roach and I still liked. I think everybody (in the band at least) likes them now.
BG - Every band at one point in their career has had someone in the audience yell, "play Freebird". Now you can, was that part of the joke?
Kepi - Yeah, that's part of it. So before they even know what hit 'em their request has been played, but I think it's a good song anyway.
BG - Every album you do at least one cover song. What song do you Ghoulie-ize on "Travels With My Amps"?
Kepi - This time there's only one cover song, Jonathon Richman's "dancin late at night".
BG - Doing a Jonathan Richman song seems like an obvious choice for you guys and gals. I see a lot of similarities lyrically between you and Jonathan. You both sing about creatures from out of this world and other off beat subjects. Would you consider him an influence on your songwriting?
Kepi - Jonathon Richman rules! I think we probably share influences like country and chuck berry, plus you know he's a big velvet underground fan. I think we both probably share an interest in curious subject matters. Each record of his I get I appreciate him more! Really clever and a GREAT live performer.
BG - Who else excites you as a songwriter and why?
Kepi - Chuck Berry, Neil Young, people who are clever or lay out their souls like Daniel Johnston, Bob Dylan, or Iggy Pop. Sometimes a good pop record has grabbed me like Matthew Sweet or Teenage Fanclub or the Pooh Sticks.
BG - If I were invited to a party at the Ghoulies house, what could I expect to hear for music?
Kepi - If it was a bbq, probably some surf/garage like the Tiki Men, the Sick Rose, the Witch Doctors, or the Morlocks, probably some old Stones or Ramones or a 'Back from the Grave' comp. If it was a dinner party probably Nat King Cole, Vince Guaraldi, Getz/Gilberto. If it was a Halloween party, 'horror hop' and 'monster bop' on Buffalo Bop Records, and 'Dracula's greatest hits'.
BG - When you go out on tour, what do you do to pass the time on the long drives between cities?
Kepi - Listen to tunes and Art Bell's 'coast to coast'. We stop at tourist attractions if there is time.
BG - Tell us about the new drummer Amy. Is Roach excited to have another girl back in the band?
Kepi - Roach says "yes!". Amy has been a hard worker so far and we are all digging having her on board!
BG - You have been on Lookout! Records for a long time. You must be one of their top selling bands. What do they do for the band in terms of support?
Kepi - Lookout! gets the records into stores, makes posters and sends them to the stores and to the clubs we play at on tour before we get to town. They do a good job. They also set up interviews sometimes and send stuff to the press to let them know we are out there on the road.
BG - Describe your other band mates in 3 words?
Kepi - "Roach", "Amy", "B-Face".
BG - If the Ghoulies could play with any 3 other bands past or present, what would be the dream line-up?
Kepi - That's too hard. A nice little party would be Cramps, Iggy, Ramones, or a Motorhead/Joan Jett/Monks birthday party for B-Face, Cinderella/Paul Stanley for Amy, and the Stones/Green Day for Roach. Bring Elvis and Muddy Waters back to life, Chocolate Watchband, Thirteenth Floor Elevators... this question is impossible.
BG - All companies have a mission statement like, "The customer is always right" and "To serve and protect." What is the Ghoulies mission statement?
Kepi - "I've done my best, now you do the rest!" (it's actually Iggy's from 'take care of me').
BG - If someone had never seen the Ghoulies live, how would you describe your live show to them?
Kepi - Eric, I want YOU to answer that one.
BG - O.K. I will. Seeing the Ghoulies is an experience no one should miss if they are a fan of music. The stage is where their personalities shine. Roach is a guitar goddess the perfect foil for your crazy stage antics. The between song stage banter is alone worth the price of admission. What other band will take your requests all night and give you candy? Plus you have the greatest man to ever strap on a bass guitar, B-Face (he made me say that). Ghoulies live = F-U-N.
BG - Let's play a word association game I thought would be fun. I will list two people or bands and you pick which one you prefer and a brief description why? a. David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar

Kepi - a. David Lee Roth, because Amy has a poster of him and B-Face is oldschool VH.
BG - b. Boston (the band) vs. Kansas (the band)
Kepi - b. that's like deciding gas chamber or lethal injection.
BG - c. Elton John vs. Billy Joel
Kepi - c. Elton John. Roach likes Benny and the Jets, and in high school I actually had an argument with my brother's roommate about Ramones vs. Billy Joel, so don't even get me started.
BG - d. Billy Joe vs. Ben Weasel
Kepi - d. Billy Joe, I don't know Ben Weasel.
BG - e. Prince vs. Queen
Kepi - e. Queen rocks! (B-Face will NOT agree).
BG - f. Rolling Stones vs. Beatles
Kepi - f. Listen to a Ghoulie record.
BG - g. Monkees vs. Partridge Family
Kepi - g. Too close to call.
BG - h. Neil Diamond vs. Barry Manilow
Kepi - h. Absolutely the wrong question to ask if you don't want to piss me off!!!! Neil Diamond is Brando/Dean in polyester! The true loner rebel solitary man with no home, who wrenched his guts dry till there was nothing there but his first hit! Man, the American dream incarnate. That other guy...
BG - i. Chuck Berry vs. Jerry Lee Lewis
Kepi - i. Chuck Berry! Poet, prophet, pioneer.
BG - j. Led Zeppelin vs. Yardbirds
Kepi - j. Led Zeppelin.
BG - k. Skinny Elvis vs. Fat Elvis
Kepi - k. All Elvis's have their contributions.
BG - l. Runaways vs. Donnas
Kepi - l. The Donnas kick ass! Why not go see them in New York with Joan Jett and get the best of both worlds?
BG - m. Sweet vs. Slade
Kepi - m. Almost as close as monkee/partridge, but hit for hit, I'm gonna have to go for the Sweet.
BG - n. Madonna vs. Cher
Kepi - n. I'm not qualified to say. Roach says Madonna, 'I think'...
BG - o. Deep Purple vs. Black Sabbath
Kepi - o. Was Ozzy in Deep Purple? I didn't think so.
BG - p. Backstreet Boys vs. New Kids on the Block
Kepi - p. Same shit, different day.
BG - q. N.Y. Dolls vs. Heartbreakers (Johnny Thunders, not Tom Petty)
Kepi - q. This one is the opposite of Kansas/Boston, give me either one, anytime.
BG - r. Men at Work vs. Men Without Hats
Kepi - r. Men Without Hats. "Pop Goes the World" excuses the "safety dance". There is no excuse for "Overkill" by Men At Work.
BG - s. Tiffany vs. Brittany Spears
Kepi - s. Tiffany, cause if you read the response real fast it looks like "STIFFANY" (huh huh huh in butthead voice).
BG - t. J. Geils vs. Bob Segar
Kepi - t. I assume you mean Bob "Seger", who's music is as forgettable as the spelling of his name. A blaspheme at the altar of Chuck Berry. This one goes to the J. Geils band, who at one time were an amazing, high energy, first class rock and rhythm act to rival anyone on the road... ever!
BG - u. Sex Pistols vs. Clash
Kepi - u. "u." is for unfair question. The Clash left us a remarkable recorded legacy and the Pistols imploded! Unfair.
BG - v. U2 vs. REM
Kepi - v. "v." is for volatile. I really liked U2 when they came out, and lost interest as they became overrated. On the other hand I thought REM were overrated when they first came out, and I've grown to appreciate them more as they've matured. Isn't this a funny world?
BG - Please list your 3 favorite, comic books, cartoon characters and superheroes?
Kepi - This kind of stuff is hard. I recently found a comic book for that old claymation film "Mad Monster Party", that was pretty cool. I like Batman and Spiderman, but they have so many spin-offs you can't follow them all. I love the Maxx by Sam Kieth and have every issue and we've even been so lucky as to have him draw the cover of 'Running With Bigfoot" for us, truly a dream come true. Favorite cartoons include the Simpsons, Futurama, King of the Hill... too much stuff!
BG - When does the tour start and where will it take you?
Kepi - We are going to Texas with The Mr.T Experience and then on to New Orleans and more March 10-25, then record release shows around home in April/early May, then U.S. tour in May, then...
BG - Any final things you would like to add?
Kepi - Thanks for taking the time to ask interesting, fun questions. Thanks to everybody for coming to shows and getting our records and stuff. We appreciate it!!! See you out there! - The Ghoulies
Interview and pictures by Eric Law of Lawless Records.

© 2003