1.When did your band form?
S: Late '95...
J: We started in late 1995...I don't know the exact date,but I remember it was starting to get cold, so that means September or October.
2.When will your band break up?
S: Very soon. We're changing the name, but not the lineup.
J: Yeah, the name change is happening in February. We're changing the name of the band to Chaingang.
3. What have you released so far?
S: Two 7"s and a CD comp.
J: Yeah, we did two 45's on Plague Records (which is owned by us). One's a two-song single called "See I Ate b/w Bond", and the other's an EP that came out last Halloween called "Southgate Sessions". We recorded another song for a CD compilation from Nashville that should be coming out in a few weeks...
4. Why do you play the music that you play?
S: I like listening to all kinds of music, but if I'm out there playing, that's the kind of music it's gotta be.
J: I do it because it's my way of channeling my aggression and releasing it in a way that's not gonna get me in (too much) trouble. I also like the idea of touring and seeing cities I've neverbeen in before.
5. What's the weirdest thing that has happened at a show?
S: Nothing weirder than people stripping, eyelids getting cut off, not getting paid, and having the post-show party at the hospital.
J: Somebody threw a dead bird at me and hit me right in the wristband, the one I use to wipe the sweat outta my eyes. I couldn't wipe me face with it for the rest of the show because it smelled really bad. Pretty gross, huh?
6. What's the best show you've ever played?
S: One of my favorite shows was in downtown Memphis. The kids there went AWOL and trashed this warehouse!
J: My favorite show was March 31st, 1996 in Knoxville. We'd only had Ian (our current bassist) in the band for two weeks before that show, and we had something to prove to everybody in Knoxville. It was great because the bill had us and one other band on it, and it was our first headlining gig. We knew that if people showed up that they were there to see us. And they were!
7. State your purpose as a band.
S: I like playing music and I just want people to hear our songs.
J: The Malignmen have accomplished every goal that I have set for us. I guess it's to be a band that people talk about for years down the line, and still like. You know, to make a timeless album. I think that'd be great.
8. How would you describe yourself to people who have never heard of you?
S: We've got a band that's talented, we've got a singer who sings instead of just screaming all the time.Intense and raw, brutal, rough, and bloody.
J: Punk, but not poppy. Hardcore, but not thrash. I really don't know. We're not playing slow dance shit of course, but there's a lot of bands that play faster than we do. I'd say it's more of a classic punk sound.
9. How do you describe yourself to kids in the scene who don't know you?
S: That they are my bastard children and that I'm really their father.
J: I don't know, kids won't talk to me unless they want me to get them beer or cigarettes.
10. What bands do you see as your contemporaries?
S: Locally, American Trust and the Skudz. Nationally, the Creeps...Random Conflict...
11. What is the antithesis of your band?
S: We're not poppy, we're not nazis, and we don't play relaxing performance.
J: We're not back up music for a romantic encounter. How's that? Actually, that's not true. Well, we're not prom music...unless you're gonna dump your date's body in the woods on the way home...
12. Outside of music and bands, what influences you?
S: I wanna stay alive to see the end of the world. That keeps me going.
J: Everything. A lot of day to day shit. Girl troubles
influence me to write, but I don't necessarily write about them. I might write a real angry song if somebody cut me off when I was driving. Who knows, just about anything.I'd say a lot of it comes from books, both comic and novels.
13. What is "selling out"?
S: To me, it's when other people write your songs and you're on a record label that forces you to put out records, even when you don't want to.
J: It's compromising your music for someone else's taste or to make money. A band is not a sellout in my eyes just because they sign with a major label. That's a juvenile thought. If they're doing the same thing they've been doing for years, only now they're getting national exposure through a bigger label, that's fine. A lot of people take on a big selfish attitude when it comes to punk rock, and it's not that fair for the bands. It's like, if you're out there busting your ass and driving 5 hours to play a show for 10 kids and getting paid $30, then that's ok. You're punk rock in some peoples eyes. The same people would be mad if you joined with a label and started getting more exposure, even if you were still doing the same shit, and a lot of 'em would say, "oh yeah, I saw them back before they sold out." It's stupid, it's selfish and juvenile. If a band's good, it shouldn't matter what label they're with.
14. If you could make a living off of the band, would you?
S: Most definitely.
J: I wish I could. I would spend 9 months on the road with the band if I could afford it. Right now, we're just starting to break even. It's really cool to be able to take a vacation, play a show, and have that pay for the whole trip. It would be great if I could quit my day job, but I just don't see it happening.
15. Where do you practice?
J: We practice in my mom's basement on Southgate road. That's where we recorded "Southgate Sessions". We've been there for almost two years, and it's pretty comfortable down there. I've got a workshop set up where we screened our shirts and patches and shit, but it's all cluttered with equipment crap and set lists now. If I move out of my apartment that I live in now I'll move the stuff out of my mom's, but until then it's the only place
we've got. She's very supportive of the band though, so
it works out ok...
16. If you could play on a four band bill, with any bands that have ever existed, who would you play with and in what order?
S: From first to last: Mule, Anti-Seen, Scratch Acid, the Malignmen.
J: Big Black, the Malignmen, the Misfits(80's era!), the Exploited (first to last). I don't really like playing first or last, and I think a lot of people would stick around after Big Black to see the Exploited and Misfits and, in turn, would have to see us.
17. What goals do you have for the band?
S: Distribute our music everywhere so people can learn to ejaculate out of their ears, as I do.
J: Put out an LP, tour the United States, do an interview with you...hey, there's one down!
18. What makes for a good show?
S: An energetic audience!
J: Definitely the audience! I like to play for a lot of people, and I like to see a big pit the entire show.
19. If you were to cover a song, what would it be?
S: "Hot Sodi in the Sun"
J: We've done a few covers, but I've always wanted to do "Disco Man" by the Damned.
20. What's the best show you've ever seen?
S: Iron Maiden and Dio when I was 8 years old in Denver, Colorado.
J: Hmm...probably Shellac in Atlanta, GA. The show was in a strip joint, and I was too young to get in at the time so Steve Albini gave me a box of records to carry in to get past the doorman. The place was packed to the rafters, and I spent the majority of the night pressed up against this really good looking chick. We stayed in the Hotel above the strip club, and I later
found out it was a whorehouse and that GG Allin had written a song about it. Strange, huh?
"There's an unmistakable electricity in the air on this late afternoon at the Mercury Theatre, a palpable sense of anticipation among the 200 or soshabbily dressed teenage punks, who have trekked out to Market Square from points north and west, that possibly anything can happen – and probably will. . .After all, this evenings all-ages show marks the triumphant return of Tennessee's most notorious and volatile punk rockers-- the Malignmen."
--Mike Gibson, Metro Pulse, June 26, 1997
If you've been to a punk show in Tennessee, you've undoubtedly heard of the Malignmen. A quickly growing legend in the Southeastern punk-rock circuit, this hard-core quartet seems to have been into the scene much longer than two short years. After meeting each other through a mutual friend, Gram Slam(drums) and Jaw (guitar)began rehearsing together as a recreational activity. When boredom drove them to consider
something more serious, they recruited bassist Tim Kaufman and singer Steck.
The agreement of among band members was to take it as far as possible, while remaining as DIY as possible. All four shared duties of booking shows, writing songs, and promoting the band, and soon this "basement group" was out of the cellar and playing shows around town.
the band booked studio time, and in the late winter of '95 they descended upon Underground Studios to lay down tracks for the first single, See I Ate b/w Bond.
The band played frequent shows during this time, most taking place in Tennessee and surrounding states. The band's reputation proceeded them; this proved to be a double-edged sword. Though more people attended the shows, the clubs became increasingly leery of the band, which by this time had fallen prey to mudslinging and loose talk at the hands of rival groups. Money was tight, and the band would not be able to release it's debut single as planned. To make matters worse, Kaufman decided to leave the group to pursue other interests.
Things looked bleak for the Malignmen, but a glimmer of hope was on the horizon. Recruited by Gram Slam, a new bassist was found in Ian Lawrence. Having experience from previous bands, Ian's style was heavily
set in the old-school sounds of 70's punk. It brought a much-needed sense of speed and urgency to the group, a final piece of the power-chord puzzle. Eventually the clubs wised up and began booking the Malignmen again. They were not sorry.
See I Ate b/w Bond was released in October 1996 on the band's own Plague Records label, was well received by the punk-starved kids, and garnered rave reviews in some national punk publications. The single's release coincided with the bands full tour, which met vehicular disaster in the Carolina mountains when the van burned to a cinder. Returning to Tennessee bruised but not beaten, the Malignmen set out to distribute the single themselves, worldwide.
Now it's 1998 and the Malignmen have just released and E.P., Southgate Sessions, on Plague Records, playing "packed houses" along with the likes of the Murder Junkies from NYC and Antiseen. Future works include a live E.P., to be followed by a full-length album that was
recorded in May. The band also plans to do a major tour in the summer, reaching both the East and West coasts.
When the Malignmen play live, expect to see a band that gives 100 percent on stage and commands as much from the audience as well. The band puts on a completely energetic performance, and no one who comes into contact with the Malignmen will ever forget about it!
P.O. Box 10911
Knoxville, TN 37939