Krum Bums interview by AKD
Cut the Noose
This interview was conducted with Dave, the lead singer for KRUM BUMS when they passed through Omaha, Nebraska in May 2011.
My husband Donny helped book the show at an all ages venue called THE HOLE (which was written about in the last issue and sadly is no more…) We met in a bar across the street after the show where I got to pick his brain a little bit. This is the result….
PE: So you are currently on tour with TOXIC HOLOCAUST and HOLY GRAIL. How’s that going?
Dave: Going great. It’s an awesome package tour. It’s seven weeks and its a really good mesh of music. TOXIC is very fucking thrash-you know, kind of a core band, and HOLY GRAIL is totally fuckin’ 80’s metal. They would have been huge 15 years ago-they wouldn’t have even talked to us. We come in and we try and get people pumped up and going fucking crazy. And then HOLY GRAIL comes in , and then TOXIC HOLOCAUST smashes in. Its a tour that hasn’t been done in a while with three different styles of music, and it’s a lot of fun.
PE: Nice. Judging by tonight, you guys definitely did that-got people going.
So, talk a little bit about your new album.
Dave: This new album is called Cut the Noose . It is, I think, one of the more personal albums that we did. People have asked us about our writing style and I think the main thing is it’s just us getting older and maturing and learning to deal with things. As a kid, you talk about things you don’t really know about. You get into your 30’s and you have friends who get married, friends who die, friends who move away. You lose and gain so much that now, this is more an album of us talking about our lives. You could ask me about any song on this record and I could give you the complete explanation of what happened here, what happened there…not that we weren’t doing that before, but it was more a struggle as a young punk, you’re trying to learn… But now, I’m still trying to learn but I know a lot more than I did 11 or 12 years ago.
PE: Of course. So, the band formed when you were in your early twenties. How did you get into music?
Dave: My parents were both really into music. My dad was way into soul, you know, Mexican-Spanish music. My mom was the same, into soul and country, real country music. Not this national shit, but you know PATSY CLINE and HANK WILLIAMS My dad listened to OTIS REDDING and MILES DAVIS. Later on in life, I read those lyrics and thought that they were punk as fuck. Those motherfuckers were dealing with the real and the raw shit. I think for music, It was a natural progression for me for punk rock to come out. As a kid growing up, once I started finding out about good metal and good punk rock and it being so rebellious and almost like spitting in someone’s face. As a teenager, you need that and I just clung to it and I fell in love with punk rock, but I’m into every style of music. Its like finding what you relate with. THE POGUES, you know, one of the most hardcore bands but very melodic and Irish with the dirtiest lyrics…”sometimes I left the place, sometimes crawling, sometimes walking, and a hungry sound came across the breeze so I gave the walls a talking….” How many times have we all done that, you know?
PE: So, have you guys been able to maintain all the original members this whole time?
Dave: We wish. We formed very young. People get married, have kids. The KRUM BUMS consist of more than just the five of us. Even before we started, there were the members of the band but also a lot of people who supported us and helped us. Like I said, growing up and maturing-people get married, have kids. Me and Trey are the original members. We want to tour nonstop. If someone can’t, we’re not angry or mad about it. It’s what happens in life. So I support them and their families and they support us. So we’re just going to keep going and going….
PE: What do you have going as a side job to stay afloat?
Dave: Yes, there’s no money in punk rock. If we’re lucky we get ten dollars a day to eat. Yeah, I’m a cook-I screenprint and I cook. I have three jobs, I cook at two different restaurants and then I screenprint on the side. So its all about loving what I’m doing. I’m not making any money and I’m not worried about it. I’m also able to travel around the US, go to Europe, go to Russia this year. That’s priceless. I have friends who have a lot of money that have never done this. And I get to hang out with people that I respect, that I’ve never met before. You can go to Switzerland and meet someone and become best friends with them that day. But that’s not how normal people go. They travel, they go on vacation. I travel on tour and hang out with people that believe in what I believe in and I get to listen to so many great bands. For lack of a better term, I feel rich. I don’t have money but I have a lot of great memories.
PE: Exactly. No doubt. Is this what you see yourself doing for the next twenty years?
Dave: I hope so. I don’t see it any different. We’re in Omaha, Nebraska and its in May and I met up with one of my best friends, a girl that I used to date in middle school. You know, we were just kind of laughing about how nothing has changed. If it weren’t for my pants ripping, I would be wearing the same fucking clothes since high school, you know? I hope to keep doing this. I love it and it’s the only way that I know how to live. I can cook, but I have no skills. I gave my life to punk rock at 15-16 years old and never learned anything else. This is what I chose to do. I want to play music and that’s it. I can’t type. I don’t know how to work on a fucking house. I don’t know computers…I just know how to go on tour.
PE: And scream really loud.
Dave: AGGGGGHHHH. And somehow keep my voice.
PE: How about your family? Are they supportive of what you are doing?
Dave: Yeah…at my age, what are they going to say? I think as a kid, they wanted something different. My father’s family came straight from Mexico. My dad fought really hard to go to college and I think he felt a little bit bummed that I didn’t take what he did and go with it, like college and school and everything. But I took what he gave me as a child. The best thing I remember is Saturday and Sunday morning- waking up, listening to music, making eggs, us all singing together, you know stupid little kid shit. I took that to heart. I think younger, maybe in my twenties, they thought this was going to stop. But now I’m 33. I think they are proud of me.
PE: So, you’ve been around a lot of places in America and abroad. Do you notice different things in different places where you go?
Dave: Oh god. There are always great people everywhere you go, but if Americans could understand…Europeans are so respectful and thankful for you coming to play for them. But here in the US, its like, we owe everybody else something. But we’re the ones in the vans, we’re the ones scraping by for gas money, and I think its something with any band right now. It’s like, come out, support the scene, buy a fucking record. And that really helps so much. I mean you wouldn’t even believe how much everybody wants something, it’s as if, I owe you a record. I owe you a record? Of course, I wish in a perfect world, everything would be free. But that’s why we’re seeing a decline of tours and everyone getting pissed off saying, “Oh why don’t you ever come back? Why are there no shows?” Because you don’t come to the shows. You don’t support the shows. You can’t just get drunk in the parking lot. You gotta come inside. Why would bands want to come back to a city where no one shows up? And it’s getting to that point. We can look at it every day on TV, all the shit that’s going on. This affects everything. I think the difference is people aren’t supporting music as they used to. There’s no way that you can tell me that 10 dollars is going to kill you. That’s a 7-dollar pack of cigarettes I see you smoking. You probably smoke 7-8 packs a week. Why don’t you save that money up and come to a show? That’s how I feel.
PE: So, would you say that there are places where there are better turnouts? Is the Southeast better than the Northwest sort of thing as far as touring goes or is it just randomly hit-or-miss?
Dave: It’s very random. We’ll play a sold-out show and then the next day there will be 25 people there. It might be economically what’s going on right now. I wish it were different. But I mean, every place is great. Everything is great and people are appreciative but I think it comes back to economics. People aren’t showing up. It’s the same thing how punk rock is. I remember seeing kids that were 18, and they loved it, they were charged up with mohaws, DISCHARGE shirts, PISSCHRIST patches, oh I’m here, I’m here…I fuckin love it. And then I think there comes a time when maybe people start talking and whispering in their ear, “Which way are you going to go? Are you going to stay with rock and roll and punk rock?” And then they change. Here’s this 22-year-old kid whose now wearing a polo tee-shirt telling me “Oh, I had to grow out of this,” and I’m saying, “Don’t fucking talk to me about growing out of this. If you are, if you don’t care about it-and I don’t care how you dress-but if you’re not still with us, then you’re against us.” So, that’s how I feel.
PE: I wanted you to elaborate more about the Europe/American thing. Would you say it’s more of an attitude thing where Americans think, “Oh, yeah, you should come to our town, this isn’t that big of a deal, and you should be playing an hour-long set and if you don’t have a place to stay well whatever, and if you don’t have food, well whatever,” and in Europe…well, I’d like for you to elaborate on that.
Dave: Yeah. I hate to say this and I don’ t mean this against American punk, but I have to justify my life every time I’m in Europe because I’m from Texas. And everyone thinks because I’m from Texas that I support George Bush and I don’t. But they they have a different understanding. When you show up at the club, well, you’re playing a squat. And it’s not a squat like here, a squat in Europe is a collective of people that have renovated an abandoned building. And there’s a bar in there, computers for everyone to use, bunk beds, and a kitchen and everybody has a responsibility. And then you show up, they help you unload, everyone has a good talk and they give you something to eat. You know, I’m not asking for a goddamn steak but shit, some crackers and a little bit of something to eat would be nice. You have some beer, you have some drinks, you have a place to stay and they make sure you are taken care of. I mean here, they give you two drink tickets…I know I sound like I’m a whimpering baby but I’ve been doing this for a long time, fuck you. Two drinks, now you’re just going to piss me off! What is two drinks going to do? It doesn’t cost that much money. And you’re lucky if you get a fucking pizza. There’s three bands on tour, they gave us three pizzas but they were like medium size. What the fuck? You get like one slice. Maybe I sound like I’m being a baby but when you’re on tour for a long time, you have no fucking money. It’s completely different here. A lot of people feel as though I owe them a T-shirt or I owe them this or that. I don’t think they understand that the bands buy the T-shirts to sell. We don’t get the T-shirts for free. And it sucks. In a perfect world, everything would be free. That’s how we get gas money is from T-shirts. We don’t get money from shows. If you’re lucky, you’ll make enough gas money.
PE: So, the message is: To Americans, take better care of the bands that come to your town.
Dave: Yeah, because it’s dying. I’ve heard a lot of bands say they can’t afford to tour in the US because it’s too expensive. People don’t come out, people don’t care and people feel like we owe them.
PE: So, here’s more of a philosophical question: If you could sum up what you think the soul of punk rock is-like if you are punk rock until you die, what does that mean to you? What is punk rock?
Dave: That’s a great question. It’s not how you look or how you dress at all. Looking back, I would wonder, “Why am I into this?” My grandfather, a country motherfucker from El Paso, Texas was a punk rocker. He didn’t deal with shit, he took care of people.,..a really caring motherfucker, but he didn’t deal with shit. Punk rock has so many dynamics and I think about it differently. I’m never going to tell you something like, its about Oi and a mohawk and two fingers and piss off…no. Punk rock is something that I take dearly into my heart. It’s about being original, it’s about family, it’s sticking together and figuring it out and fighting against the things that you don’t believe in whatever way that it is. Like I said, you know, you have Ian Curtis from JOY DIVISION, you have OTIS REDDING, JOHNNY CASH, you know….I mean who could say JOHNNY CASH wasn’t a fuckin’ punk mother fucker? And I think it’s about trying as hard as you can to stay young in your heart. As you grow older, you start seeing that people don’t care about that person who doesn’t have food any more, you know? You hear so many people say things like, “My Social Security…kick the Mexicans out, they’re taking our jobs.” No, they’re not. They’re working their asses off for a job you won’t take and they’re sending that money back over to take care of their family. That, to me, is punk rock, you know? You look at the revolt in England and in the US, with people being poor and how are we going to get by being poor? We gotta stick together. That’s what I think punk rock is.
PE: Good answer. Do you have a favorite song on the new album and if you do, what is it about? Tell us a little background about it.
Dave: This album, like I said, was really personal. I don’t think a lot of people are going to give a shit about how I feel. Even the title track, “Cut the Noose” was about cutting off ties of being a kid and feeling that I owe people something all the time. I don’t owe anyone anything anymore. Like going to work and I’m five minutes late and someone is yelling at me. You know what I mean? The chorus is just saying, “Bite the hand that gives you nothing than the days you livin life…I don’t need your shit.” I think that’s why we used that as the title.. Time clocks make time bombs that go off. Don’t give me that goddamn time clock. I’m sorry that I’m here at 8.03, not at 8. Fuck you, you piece of shit. I don’t know, I’m happy, I’m proud of it. “Starving Wolves” is another one that I love. That’s about growing up and maturing and talking about fighting the industry and having a hard time with record labels and touring and somebody always telling us we can’t do it. And I’m like, “Dude, you know what, don’t tell me I can’t do it. Like a starving wolf, you will eat through whatever you have to get to and I will fucking bite you.” And that’s it, that’s the last thing you’ll see is your blood on my teeth…..
PE: Politically, what is the most important issue to you today? What is the thing closest to your heart that you care the most about?
Dave: Right now to be honest, I’m getting to this weird age where it’s about me figuring out a way to stay with all my friends. How do we grow together and not turn into the people that we don’t care about? I’m from Austin and there’s a lot of small political things like charging people to park in Austin. We’re such a band city but bands can’t afford to pay for all this fucking shit. More than anything that I’m looking into is this border problem, and putting a wall between us and Mexico. These are people who are coming from nothing at all, the only thing they’re doing here is supporting their family. But you have these stupid fucking, I want to say white people but it’s not white people, it’s conservative people. The Mexican conservative, the black conservative, the white conservative. They feel as though Mexicans are taking something from them. They’re not. They’re trying to create a life for their family. It’s disgusting and it breaks my fucking heart everyday that I hear about it and I hear people talking about it and they don’t understand that maybe I am Mexican and I hear you say that and I’m so grossed out. It’s disgusting that they’d rather fight about this then try to find a solution-“Oh, we’re going to put a wall up.” Doesn’t that remind us of something that happened in Germany? We always point the finger at everyone else. But now, the finger is pointed at us for being such selfish pieces of shit. So that’s something I care deeply about.
PE: Do you have family in Mexico?
Dave: I’m sure I do, but everybody I think moved over here. We have a huge Mexican fan base. We try to ship tapes out and get out there and everything. On our last album, we wrote a song called “La Plaga” which means “The Plague.” What we’re trying to say is that we want to be the plague that infects you, that makes you think about how fucking stupid this fucking wall is. Let’s be the plague and even if we have to be the bad guys, let’s be the bad guys that show these stupid fucking idiots how dumb they are. I mean, you’re going to build a 400- mile wall? It doesn’t make sense. I understand the drug problem and all that. No one in their right mind agrees with that. But to treat people like animals is ridiculous. We can do all kinds of help all over the world, but instead of us getting a group together and figuring out what’s wrong, we’ll put up a wall. Eh, don’t want to think about it, don’t want to think about it. Spend millions of dollars to put up a big wall.
PE: No doubt. Very arrogant. Any last words, any shout outs?
Dave: Yeah, I want to shout out to everybody who comes out to the shows with TOXIC HOLOCAUST and HOLY GRAIL. The main thing is just go out and support your local scene. We all know you work tomorrow morning. We all work tomorrow morning. But go to the show. If you can’t finish the whole thing, then support the show and leave. It helps more than you would imagine. Send your friends. Post it–I know we’re all tired of Facebook, but Facebook it!!! That’s the only way we can keep this going, is for people to show up. That’s the only way.
all photos taken from Krum Bums facebook page.