Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Interview with Ike Joseph of Ike’s Wasted World (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with Ike Joseph of Ike’s Wasted World by Dave Wolff

Ike’s Wasted World just released a new full length on CD. How many copies of “Tres Lobos” have been pressed for first distribution? How is it being promoted since it’s been out?
It's self-released by the band. We're starting out with 100 copies, but hopefully we'll sell much more than that. We'd love to get picked up by a cool label.

Are those hundred copies for sale or are some or label submission? Are there big indie labels you’re seeking a deal with or are you seeking a deal with locals?
We plan to sell them at our shows and to give some to labels and the press. The downloads are available on Bandcamp. Soon, I’ll have the CD for sale, also on Bandcamp. We just started working with Distro Kid, so it will be available pretty much everywhere, at least in the form of downloads. I held out on Spotify as long as I could, because I feel they are ripping off musicians worldwide, but that’s how most people listen to music now, so I swallowed my pride and I don’t like doing that. Who does? Bandcamp is where the music business, if you can all it that anymore, should be. You get a good rate from them, but it seems to me more people use Spotify instead of Bandcamp. The practice of selling subscriptions should be outlawed in my opinion. Pay the musicians.

Name some of the labels to which you have submitted the new album so far. Has any interest been generated?
As usual, no label showed interest so we put it out ourselves. I’m always sending mp3s to labels and they never respond so why mention them. One label wanted us to put up $500. Screw that.

Do you often come across labels expecting cash for release and distribution? Are more or fewer labels doing so these days?
I’ve never heard of it. It took me by surprise. Fake managers have asked me for money upfront. You have to be careful. There’s a sucker born every minute.

Is there anything you’ve heard from bands who posted material on Spotify and were ripped off?
I heard an interview with David Crosby and he was advocating for a change in the laws. He said his song was played a million times and he got paid 100 bucks. Those numbers are what I remembered and they are probably wrong, but you get the point. Artists get paid peanuts for their music, while the one guy who owns Spotify makes all the money. However I decided to be on Spotify, so people can listen to us. I broke my own code, oh well. Just keep rocking.

What is the financial impact of streaming at Spotify? Is the gain in publicity or the loss of finances greater at this point?
I settled for the gain in publicity. Like I said Spotify is ripping off everyone. When one man gets all the money at the expense of artists the system is broken. So, I'd say the financial impact is infinite.

What made you decide to promote through Distro Kid and Bandcamp?
My producer Tim Lynch suggested it. It puts your music into all kinds of formats. Most of them I never heard of, but I still buy vinyl and CDs so what the fuck do I know. Anyway enough of this shit. We played in Baltimore last night and had a great night. We’re getting tighter and the crowd reaction was awesome. We’re trying to spread our music here in the east and we are having a good time doing it. We play because we love it. Obviously, we’re not in it to get rich.

How did the audience react to your Baltimore performance?
We played The Depot in Baltimore with Strange Highways and Spiral Grave. Both great bands. The crowd was into it. It was a killer triple bill. We’re from Albany and our home base is The King’s Inn. I just played The Maryland Doom Fest with my old band Lost Breed. That is an excellent event. If you run a club in New York, New England, Pennsylvania or Maryland, hit us up. We’d love to play.

How long has The King’s Inn been around, and how often does Ike’s Wasted World appear there?
The bar has been around for about 7 years but I’ve playing shows for the proprietor Mike (Humpy) Humphrey since 2003. The bar he ran prior to The King’s Inn was called Humpy’s and it was in my old neighborhood. We went to school together. He loves rock and roll and provides us and a bunch of other bands with a place to play what we want, and be treated fairly. We play there often. Several times a year.

Describe your experience at Maryland Doom Fest with Lost Breed. Would you consider playing there with Ike’s Wasted World?
Maryland Doom Fest takes place over four nights in two clubs across the street from each other. About fifty bands play. The bands are staggered so you see them all if you can handle it. The lineup was stellar. I recommend you check out their site if you’re a doom, stoner, or metal fan. It’s one of the premier events in the country. Because of that gig Ike’s Wasted World has played in Baltimore. I can’t say enough about the event.

Are there plans to release “Tres Lobos” on cassette or vinyl, or will it be only released digitally?
I’d love to see it come out on vinyl, but that will require us working with a label. It costs about 13 bucks per record and most people at our shows ask for CDs, because they are half the price. I’m a collector of vinyl and my band Blind Legion put out a 45 in about 1985. The song was “Nice Guys Finish Last” and the B side was “Used to be Blind”. That was my first official release. Next for me, Lost Breed released “The Desert Fox" backed with “No Hope”. They were my first vinyl releases and I’ve never given up on the format. I’m glad to see people, at least on a niche basis, are collecting again. Other vinyl releases I play on are Lost Breed -“Wino Daze” (recorded in 1988-89) and "Speak No Evil” which came out in 2020, and Blind Legion -”The Lost Tapes”.

I’ve heard vinyl has made a comeback. How much collecting have you seen since a decade ago?
Record collecting is a niche thing now, but it is cool to see your album come out on vinyl. I think it’s becoming a little more popular and I hope more people get into it. I never got out of it. That reminds me of a Zappa tune that goes, “You gotta get out of it before you get into it, and you gotta get into it before you gotta out of it,” but now I’m just babbling.

Have you had any recent chances to visit stores dealing in rare vinyl?
I’ve been collecting my whole life. I have some rare albums. I recommend you check out the Record Riots if you’re an aspiring collector. We have them here in Albany and Saratoga, but I’m sure there is one in every city. It’s a huge convention with tons of vendors. If you’re in Albany check out The Last Vestige. If you’re in Schenectady check out The Re-Collector.

It seems more outlets upstate have vinyl for sale, not as much in Long Island and Manhattan. Do finances or buyers have more to do with this?
Vinyl is popular in the doom and stoner scene. I’m shocked it’s not popular in NYC. I remember going to record stores in the Village and having a great time. You must be missing something. There has to be a big record riot in NYC.

There used to be record outlets in New York’s lower east side but many were forced to close due to rising rent rates. Same as in Long Island but not quite as bad there.
I’m a bit surprised NYC doesn’t have a mega used record store. We had Amoeba in Hollywood, I assume it’s still there. I have not lived in Los Angeles for nineteen years. I’ll have to look it up.

What other record outlets did you know of in Los Angeles and Hollywood?
My go-to record store in the late 80’s and early 90’s was Moby Disc on Ventura Blvd. It is the record store in “This is Spinal Tap” where Paul Schafer asks Tap to “Please, kick my ass.” Of course, Tower Records was the big chain store.

How long did the recording, mixing and mastering processes of “Tres Lobos” take in the midst of the pandemic?
“Tres Lobos” was recorded at The Recording Company by Tim Lynch in Schenectady, New York. The scamdemic caused the studio to close down twice, so it slowed us down, but we kept plugging away. Ike’s Wasted World has close to forty songs in the can, so I could release three or four albums now, but we’ll see what the future holds. It will all come out on CD or vinyl eventually, but now we are pushing “Tres Lobos.”

How did the band prepare to continue work on the new album while The Recording Company was closed?
We prepared the same way we always do. Get into our shack and work on the music. We’re not much for following rules, especially ones that don’t work and are designed to stifle the little man.

What recording equipment have you collected since the beginning? Do you also have your own studio?
We have our own PA so we can play shows by ourselves, do three sets and make pretty good money. In the original scene we’ll play with two other bands, sound will be provided and we make peanuts. I have a 1980 Marshall 100 watt head. It’s one of the baddest amps ever made. I’ve owned it since 1981. I bought it and a 4x12 cabinet for 600 bucks. Pretty good investment. I also own a Les Paul, an SG, a Firebird, a twelve-string acoustic, two 4x12 cabinets, a 2x12 cabinet, a six string acoustic, an old Roland Space echo, and two Crate block heads for backup, plus some other stuff. Man, that sounds like I’m bragging, I guess I’m a lucky guy.

How did you manage to keep your 1980 Marshall 100 in good working order after so many years?
Marshalls were built to last. I change the tubes every year or two and get it biased. The damn thing screams. Knock on wood.

Did the same lineup work on “Tres Lobos” as on older releases, or did new members record with you?
Ike’s Wasted World has a great lineup now. My longtime bassist is Chris Adamson and the drummer is Sean Teeter. This band feels like a gang. We’re all on the same page and there is no BS in this group. Past members have had trouble with booze or impossible family situations, but we’re good to go now.

Name some of the songs appearing on “Tres Lobos” and describe what inspired them.
Our live show is super strong. Wino (The Obsessed, St. Vitus) appears as a guest and plays lead guitar on one song called “Get Quarantined”, so there’s an added bonus if you need one. He tears it up. There is a song on the record called “The Heart of Everything That Is”. It’s based on the book by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury, top historians, and it’s about Red Cloud and the Sioux Nation. I’m really proud of that song. I sent it to Clavin and he wrote me a nice letter back. That was a special treat.

How much of a process was it to choose from your forty completed songs?
We used all the songs Sean Teeter played drums on. I recorded many songs before I met Sean and they will come out on CD or vinyl someday. They are all for sale in digital form on Bandcamp.

Assuming “Get Quarantined” was written during the Covid pandemic, how does it reflect your attitude toward it since it began two years ago?
Funny you should ask. New York State issued a mask mandate today. I’m so sick of rules that don’t work. Our new governor is worse than the old one. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The song is a middle finger to the government and their BS rules.

Why do you think there is so much division when it comes to the pandemic and the mandates around it?
I’m not sure, but from the beginning I felt like we were being played by people with evil intent. Illuminati maybe? Communists? Who knows? I’m surprised everyone doesn’t feel the same way as me. One thing is for sure, even Stevie Wonder can see that this is about politics and power.

How did you hook up Wino’s guest appearance on “Get Quarantined”? Are you a longtime admirer of his bands?
Wino and I go back to 1988. We met in Los Angeles. He helped my band Lost Breed when we needed a singer. We did a few gigs in Hollywood and recorded some demos. Later the demos were released as the “Lost Breed -Wino Daze” album. He also appears on the new Lost Breed album called “Speak No Evil.” They don’t call him “The Godfather of Doom” for nothing. He’s a friend of mine but I’m still a huge Wino fan. I have a good collection of his music. I recommend you go out and buy of much of it as you can. It’s all great.

Which of Wino’s bands are most often in your play list of late?
His new solo acoustic album is phenomenal. A real career high. It’s called “Forever Gone”. Also, St. Vitus - “Mournful Cries” from 1988 and dare I say Lost Breed- “Speak No Evil.”

How does “The Heart of Everything That Is” represent Red Cloud and the Sioux Nation?
It’s such a big part of American history. I got the idea by reading the book of the same name. The song is about Red Cloud’s epic victorious battle. Crazy Horse is mentioned in the song, as he was a major player. Someday they will finish Crazy Horse’s monument in the hills of Dakota. He will be honored as the legend he is. The song is written form the point of view of a scared US trooper and also from Red Cloud’s and the Native Americans’ view.

How much information about the Sioux Nation did you get from reading?
I learned a bit about the Sioux from the book, but I’m no expert. They were vicious warriors. A force to be reckoned with. Red Cloud’s life story is incredible. He controlled about one fifth of what is now the USA. That is a huge territory. Red Cloud is arguably the most photographed Native American of the 19th century. An absolute American legend.

Can you tell the readers how the storyline of “The Heart of Everything That Is” progresses and turns out in the end?
Red Cloud assembles an army composed of several tribes. These united forces are 3000 strong. Every US trooper is killed in battle. No prisoners are taken. A huge victory for Red Cloud.

Is “The Heart of Everything That Is” the first time you’ve written about historical figures, or have other songs been written about other names in history?
Good question. It’s not something I do often. Lost Breed had a song called “The Desert Fox” about Field Marshall Rommel, but I didn’t write the lyrics. Blind Legion had a song about Charles Manson called “Fires in Your Cities.” I wrote most of those lyrics. Off the top of my head that’s all I remember and I’ve written many songs.

Charles Manson has been the subject of many songs through the years. Why do you think people are fascinated with his story and those of the likes of Richard Ramirez, Aileen Wuornos and Jeffrey Dahmer?
Manson was perhaps the most bizarre news story in US history. When the TV movie Helter Skelter came out we were mesmerized. How could these nice kids commit such atrocities? Dare I say it was Manson’s charisma? Our parents feared cults and I taught my daughter to despise cults and that is all because of Manson. The late 60’s hippy scene was a perfect storm for Manson. It could never happen quite the same way again. Plus, throw in the glamour of Hollywood, The Beach Boys, Neil Young, etc. It’s fascinating. I loved “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” That movie nailed it and what an ending. Ramirez was just a dirtbag from L.A. I think his look, which was satanic, and his love of metal makes him popular. I guess there will always be crazy groupie chicks who want to dance with the devil. Dahmer is just gross. No groupies for Jeff. I think Wuornos was a woman in a man’s game. That’s her appeal, if you will.

Do some people gravitate toward serial killers because they like being scared or because they’re seeking to educate themselves in a way about people who kill others without remorse?
Some become pop culture icons. Manson, Ramirez and Bundy for sure. Humans have an interest in the macabre. Serial killers are fascinating. It is cool to study abnormal psychology.

What true crime related subjects would you like to write about for future releases?
Anything involving the Mafia or bikers. The song I’m currently working on is called “Grass Grows Thick Over Battlefields”. I think Winston Churchill gets credit for the quote, but something tells me it’s just an old saying. It deals vaguely with war and mankind’s ability to move on from it quickly.

Is “Grass Grows Thick Over Battlefields” based on any war in particular or just war in general? What did you mean by mankind moving away from warfare quickly? Did you mean people are apt to forget or was there something else you meant?
War in general. The whole quote is "Grass grows thick over battlefields, over the scaffold never. “I take that to mean, we’ll get over war, but if we start executing people, we won’t get over that. I think we bounce back from war fairly quickly. We have to really, but maybe that’s not a good thing, because then we are apt to go to war again. I was born in 1965. My generation did not have a war. We were too young for Vietnam and told old for the Middle East. That is probably the first time in history that has happened. After Vietnam I figured America was done with war. After 9/11 we wanted revenge. That turned out to be a bad thing, because wound up in a war that lasted twenty years.

What serial killers besides the ones we discussed would you consider writing a song about in the future? How soon do you expect to start recording the next Ike’s Wasted World full length?
We had a serial killer here in Upstate New York in the 70’s and he terrorized us. People were scared to leave the house. His name was Robert Garrow. Maybe I’ll write a tune about him. We’re recording live in the studio with Don Fury on January 6. After that we’ll go back to the Recording Company and start working there.

When was Robert Garrow caught and what sentence did he receive for the crimes he committed? Do you think people will feel safer or more comfortable listening to a song about him knowing his spree is over?
He was caught in the 70’s and I believe he got a life sentence. He escaped from prison. There is a movie about him. It was made here in upstate New York. Check it out. It’s called Garrow.

How much of the next album will you be working on with Don Fury? Has Ike’s Wasted World worked with him for your previous releases? What made you decide to start working with him?
He actually worked with a bunch of bands I’m friends with. He’s giving free recording sessions to keep busy around the holidays. The session is two hours long. Our goal is to pump out two songs live in the studio. Maybe that will be a single. It’s our first time working with him.

How long do you expect to continue working on your next release at Recording Company? Will you also be mixing and mastering there?
Early next year will go into the Recording Company and record about four songs. That will be the start of the next album, but I soon as we finish a song it goes on all the music media platforms. Yes, we also mix and master there.

How would you like your work to be remembered many years after 2021/22? What sort of an impact, if any, would you like to have on other musicians, especially fledgling musicians?
Well, I hope people around the world continue to dig our music for years to come. It’s my life’s work. We never sold out to trends and we were playing Doom and Stoner Rock before it was called that. I hope kids are inspired by our music. Maybe they learn how to play an instrument or just rock out to it.
Thanks for doing this interview. It has been a pleasure. Keep up the good work and let’s do this again in the future.

-Dave Wolff

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