Punk rock is not dead. I say that a lot recently because I know it’s true and there are still bands out there releasing honest, wholesome punk rock albums for the sake of just doing it. They are not looking for money or fame, just a good time doing something they love.
Here is where I now introduce a punk rock band that I like right? Well you are half right.
I am going to introduce a punk rocker that I like who has played in some pretty solid bands over the years including Black President, The Chelsea Smiles, and even played in the Dee Dee Ramone Band. Recently he formed Thousand Watt Stare with a couple of musicians from Unwritten Law, a band I have been a fan of since I first saw them open for Bad Religion in ’96.
Recently I had the chance to talk it up with Christian Martucci about his new band as well as some of his amazing past. If anyone has lived a punk rock dream, it’s Martucci.
BHP: Your new band, Thousand Watt Stare, has an EP dropping next month. What can you tell me about this new project you’ve created?
CM – We just love to play music and have a good time with it… I’m very happy to play with these guys. No ego’s, no pressure… It’s a breath of fresh air.
Why the change-up in sound from previous bands you have been in?
In Dee Dee’s band it was Ramones songs, Black President was all Charlie, and The Chelsea Smiles were more of a straight rock n’ roll band… I’ve had the Thousand Watt Stare stuff in my head for years now. It was just never anything that would work with the other bands. I’m glad they’re finally seeing the light of day.
So how did you hook up with Unwritten Law’s Pat Kim and Dylan Howard?
PK played with Black President early on when Hetson was still in the band. We had a great time hanging out back then and always kept in touch. When Black President ended and it was time to start something new, I called Pat and we started jamming. He brought Dylan on board and two weeks later, we started recording.
Why did Black President disband anyways?
I think Black President had to break up… When you consider some of the guys schedules, it doesn’t really allow them to go full steam a head with a side project. The thing with that band is that it wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a cover band to blow off steam. That was actually my favorite part of doing it… Looking back I’m actually really surprised we even made the record. It wasn’t meant to have a long shelf life. I think of it more as a psycho that everyone cheated on their bands with for a few years.
As you already mentioned, you;ve worked with some heavy hitters in the punk rock world including Bad Religion’s Greg Hetson and Dee Dee Ramone. How did those opportunities come about?
Your guess is as good as mine… I wasn’t having good luck where I was, so I saved up $600, packed a suitcase, one guitar and just moved from Philly to LA in ’99. I only knew one person out here and was sleeping on his couch. He introduced me to Stefan Adika. Stefan was playing bass for Dee Dee at the time and asked if I’d like to come down and play. I ran home, went over like 30 something songs and showed up at the rehearsal room that night… Dee Dee had NO idea I was coming down and was a little freaked out… He looked at me and said “So, what are you gonna try to play guitar or something?” I didn’t know what to say.
He was one of my biggest hero’s. I just smiled like a nervous idiot, plugged in and we played “Rockaway Beach”. We got done, he looked at me and was like “OK you better sing the next song now… ‘Chinese Rocks’… 1-2-3-4!” “Alright I think we better go to ‘South America’ now…” The whole time I was standing there I couldn’t believe I was playing with Dee Dee Ramone. That feeling lasted the entire 3 years I was able to do it. Everything about him was for real.
The thing with Greg happened from when Black President was still a cover band called Shithead. We had Marc Diamond from The Dwarves playing with us and… I can’t remember what happened. I think The Dwarves had to go on tour, so Charlie told us Greg Hetson wanted to do it. I actually thought he was kidding at first. Next thing you know, he’s at rehearsal playing Dead Kennedy’s songs with us. I really like Greg a lot… Awesome guy and as down to earth as they come…
You started touring recently around California . Any chance of a nationwide tour any time soon?
No definite plans yet but we really hope so…
Your previous bands toured a lot over the years. Who were some of your favorite bands to tour with?
Bouncing Souls, TSOL, New York Dolls, Social D, Backyard Babies… There are so many but those are the ones that stick out the most for me. They are all very good people.
For the punk rock lovers out there, can you tell them why they should check out Thousand Watt Stare?
The punk rock I like is the kind where there aren’t any rules. In the 70’s punk didn’t have a defined sound yet, that’s why I think it was a great as it was. Television, Dead Boys, Ramones, The Clash, etc. None of those bands sound like they should be in the same genre. I think you should check out Thousand Watt Stare because we don’t worry about those things either… It’s just honest rock n’ roll.