Tag Archives: Koffin Kats

Interview: Vic Victor of the Koffin Kats

Punk / psychobilly rockers Koffin Kats currently are kicking ass overseas.  The band, who recently released an all new full length album called Our Way & The Highway on Sailor’s Grave Records, has been touring non-stop in support of the release.  With plans on touring the states in the Spring, Koffin Kats show no intentions of slowing down at all.

I reviewed Our Way & The Highway last month and was beyond impressed with what I had heard.  I am really looking forward to seeing these guys live again sometime very soon.  Their mix of punk rock and psychobilly keeps things entertaining and fun.  They are a hard working group and skip all the bells and whistles and go straight for the kill when it comes to performing live.  They are a punk rock band.  This is what they do.

I had the chance to chat with Vic Victor, the band’s vocalist / stand up bassist this week.  While in Spain, Victor was more than happy to answer a few questions about the band and their recent release:

BHP: Our Way & The Highway rules. This might by my favorite release by you guys. How happy are you and the band with how it came out?

VV: Thanks! We are rather proud of this one… I’m very happy with the way the mix came out. Damn close to how I had originally heard the songs in my head while we were writing them. If not better.

What did you do differently this time around?

We sent the raw tracks out to be mixed by Rene De La Muerte from the Canadian Psychobilly band The Brains. In the past we have always just mixed in the studio with the engineer we were recording with.

Any reason for the delay in dropping a new album?  I thought hit was supposed to drop last year.

Originally we were going to put it out in November 2011, but we realised that it wasn’t enough time to properly promote it. Besides we were in no real hurry. This being the 7th release in 8 years of the band, I think we are putting albums out at a good pace.

So how’s Tommy Koffin doing these days? Do you still talk to him at all? It really does not seem like the band had any difficulties with getting Ian to speed. Am I correct in saying that?

He’s doing fine. We all still hang out whenever we are home. We were practicing the day Ian arrived from New Mexico. Really havent taken any breaks since his joining, so he’s going through the intensive training program. haha.

After initially listening to the new album, I realized you shared your vocal duties with Ian. Whose idea was that?

We have never done that prior and i thought it would be a good change up. Plus it makes the song “Choke” flow more natural between the verse and chorus by going back and forth with the vocals.

“For The Good Times” has what sounds like an empty bottle solo, did you guys dispose of those drinks properly?

Ah studio drinks. Yes those are necessary. Its good to keep the vibe a bit loose when recording.

I can not help but compare “The Devil Asked” to a Butthole Surfers song, maybe it was from the deep mono tone intro, but still, this song strayed away from the others. Was that the idea of this track?

Actually I had no idea how i was going to sing the verse part until the day I had to record the vocals. The night before, I was sitting at the bar and it came to me to do it almost Tom Waits style.

Do you have a favorite track off of Our Way & The Highway? I dig “Locket Of Sin” and “For The Good Times” the most on the album.

“The Bottle Called” has stuck with me as one I’m more proud of. It was the first track written for the album. It was actually released on split we did with 12 Step Rebels earlier in 2011. But that song right was the model for writing a lot of the tracks on Our Way & The Highway.

You guys tour a ton. When you have downtime, what do you do to make ends meet?

There are two reasons we tour so much. One being because we feel it’s necessary to get out there and push as hard as we can promoting the band with live shows. The other being that because we are gone so much, no job would have us back for only a few weeks at a time, so we have to stay on the road to pay the bills too.

Touring overseas has got to be amazing, but how does your upright bass take those trips? Have you had any casualties with your standup or any other equipment for that matter?

We have fried a few pedals and tuners with the power difference haha. I shipped my first upright over for the first Euro tour and it lived there until a few tours ago when I sold it to a band after it was just too beat up to play anymore. Then my current upright was one left over there by The Quakes. Two days after I got it the neck broke due to it falling over. Not an easy quick fix, but I seem to have developed a talent for rough road fixes on uprights. Its still holding strong on this current tour.

So if you had your choose, what bands would you want to tour with alive or dead?

Alice Cooper for sure. He’s not dead yet so maybe that can happen haha. I’d also like to do a tour with Bad Religion.

That would be insane.  Who are some of your favorite bands you have toured with in the past?

We have been very lucky to hit the road with bands we have looked up to like Nekromantix, Long Tall Texans, The Meteors, & Mad Sin.

What is the response from folk who have never heard or seen you guys live before?

They are usually not sure what the hell just happened but they are usually happy hahah. The upright bass really grabs ones attention when they are not familiar with it and what can be done with it. Gained a good amount of following outside of the psychobilly world because we play all over the place for crowds who sometimes don’t know of anything related to psychobilly but dig that we are loud and fast.

How do you describe your sound to someone who has never heard of you?

Its easy. I always say punk rock with an upright bass. The hard part comes if you get asked what kind of punk rock? Then I say… you really should just listen to one of our records.

That’s the best way to check anyone out.  So, what made you all jump onto the Sailor Grave Records roster?

They have put out some great bands albums in the past and we were looking for a label that we thought could help promote us better. For the first time, we are very happy with the way a label has worked with us.

That’s great to hear.  Seeing that 2012 has just started, what plans do the Koffin Kats have before the world ends…?

If the world does end at any point this year… we will be on tour when it happens. We are pushing to hit the 250+ show mark this year. Last year was around 230.

That is impressive!  Anything you would like to say?

Just want to thank everyone who has been spreading the word of this new record and we will continue to tour and hope to see ya out at a show.

One last thing, when are you guys coming to Cleveland?

Well see ya in the spring and in the fall.

The Koffin Kats are currently on tour and will be hitting up the states in the Spring. Visit the Koffin Kats’ website for more tour information.

Album Review: Koffin Kats – Our Way & The Highway

Last week Detroit’s rockabilly act the Koffin Kats dropped an impressive release titled Our Way & The Highway.  Recently signing to Sailor’s Grave Records, a primarily Oi! / Punk label, the band continues to make great outlaw punk rockabilly music that strays away from the doom and gloom and focuses more on fast times and taking chances.  People usually consider the Kats to be “Horror-Punk” but their 6th release is straight up, fun and addictive psychobilly  punk rock.

Having toured the globe continually for the last 8 years, this band has earned their solid fan base the old fashioned way.  If you have not seen them live before, you can expect non-stop fun through their sets.  In fact, the band prides themselves on not-stop touring and making each night a party.  Bringing this kind of attitude to the venues on a regular basis ensures nothing but good times – trust me, I have seen them live before, it was great.

“Riding High” starts off the album full-forced with a sound very similar to something off The Damned’s Grave Disorder (I adore that album btw…).   Vic Victor has a voice that easily could rest along the lines of Elvis and even Chris Isaak and is showcased immediately as heard in the opening track.  “The Way Of The Road” rubbed off as a rock track for a moment and soon morphed into  schizophrenic variations of punk rock and rockabilly.  The song really kept my attention with thanks to the ridiculous bass playing.  Very cool song to check out if you have never heard the Koffin Kats before.

“Severing Ties” was straightforward and exactly what I expected to hear from the Kats.  “For The Good Times” talking about mass consumption and good times even has some drink ware used as instruments for a solo.  This song is by far my favorite track on the album.

I could not help but compare “The Devil Asked” to a Butthole Surfers song.  It was very off key from the rest of the tracks on the album, yet fun to rock out to. “Locket Of Sin” sounded way more personal and gloomier than other tracks on this release with the story revolving around a troubled connection between a man and his woman.

I must admit that I rarely get into rockabilly / psychobilly / any-billy these days, but I really enjoyed listening to Our Way & The Highway.  In fact, after listening to this album, I am going to be digging into the Kats’ catalog as it’s been a while since I have rocked out to them.

Full of catchy solos and rampant machine-gun bass playing aligned with great singing, Our Way & The Highway is easily likable regardless if you are a huge fan of psychobilly or not.  I really think that this is the album that will act as a stepping stone for the Kats to emerge from the underground scene and really hope these guys make their way back to Cleveland soon.