I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Chad Malone, the vocalist and guitarist with Tulsa, Oklahoma’s premier Oi! band, The Shame. You might know him from political crust bands like BROTHER INFERIOR, ASSEMBLY OF GOD or BRING DOWN THE HAMMER. This three piece band plays with conviction and has lyrics that deal with getting through life, and of course, drinking. You can’t go wrong with their first CD, The Plan, or their new 7″ single out on Profane Existence called “The World Is Ours”. It’s the first 7″ single on Profane Existence’s Limited Edition 7″ Singles Series. So pull a pint of your favorite brew, imported if possible, turn on the football, crank up the tunes from The Shame and read on!
– Interview by Rick Ecker
What or who got you into punk at first?
I came from the metal scene but was drawn to the aggression of punk and thrash early on. It seemed like I was always looking for the next, faster thing. I got into Iron Maiden at age 11 and soon found Metallica (in 1984) and it wasn’t long until I got into everything from Cryptic Slaughter to The Damned to Motorhead. And yes, very much I listen to all of those early records still today.
What bands were you in before this and do you still hang out with those people/have music from them still?
I’ve been doing bands for ages and have had a lot of luck in being able to do a lot with them. I was in Bring Down the Hammer, Assembly of God, the Leveling, Brother Inferior and I still do Larkin. Ironically enough, I knew both o
f the members of the Shame from bands I was in early on. Josh and I were in a crossover/metal band called Mad Arab in 1986, and Giss and I were in Concept of Nonsense and Unsociety back in 1989/90.
How did you guys get together?
Over the last few years, I would continually run into JT down at the bar, and we’d sit and talk about the old days and all that. Both of us, still being into old school punk rock and soccer, we started throwing out the idea of doing this kind of band. Originally was wanted some of the old N.O.T.A. dudes to play with us, but it just didn’t work out unfortunately. Then, about the same time, I heard from Kevin and we talked about just getting together for a laugh about the old times. Once we threw the band idea at him, he was all in and The Shame was born.
What kind of jobs do you guys have?
I’ve been at the same job since 1996. I work at a liquor distributor, real shocker that one…
Who does the writing of the music/lyrics?
So far, I have. Usually I throw an (almost) complete idea out and we’ll work on it, with the band as a whole, making the final decision on how much it sucks.
What kind of process is it?
With all the previous bands I’ve been in, I tend to do a lot of the writing and for me, it’s usually just something will hit me, then I’ll grab a drink, sit in a corner and see if I can hammer it out.
Is everyone into football/soccer and favorite teams?
We’ll excluding the Brother Inferior years when I toured a lot and I just didn’t want to concern myself with it, I’ve played since I was young. I still suit up for my local pub team Kilkenny’s Express. And as far as support… Arsenal, since I was a boy. But I do have a soft spot for Celtic and the team around where my mother was born, VfB Stuttgart. But it should be noted, that we, as a band, unite under the banner of the Tulsa Roughnecks. I think we all 3 grew up going to those games in the early 80’s.
Ever gone to a game before?
Certainly, like I said, I think we all grew up going to Roughneck matches, and I did have the luxury of flying to London, to Highbury to see Arsenal. It was Legend!! Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Ljungberg… genius!
What kind of lyrics do you guys mostly write about and why?
We decided early on that we just wanted to focus on what our lives were really like. Soccer, beer, work and being old… I’ve always had political bands going and working class politics have always been important to me, but the focus in the Shame was set to just be “everyday life” kinda stuff. And what really sums us up, is working all week, grabbing a couple of beers and watching the match.
How long are your tours? Do you play a lot of shows?
We’re all over 40 and JT and Giss have families at home, so trying to tour has kinda been out of the question. We have just been playing regularly in Tulsa and trying to book surrounding cities. We’re thinking, more realistically, we can do short regional tours or festivals if we can get on them. So far, we’ll see… really as a band, we’re just getting started.
Who have you played with?
We just did a great show with the Queers, we played with Against Empire and recently we did a great gig with the Downtown Struts. But mainly we just gig with our local friends like Spank, Streetlight Fight and Triple Fang.
How often do you get together to practice/write new songs?
We practice pretty regularly, once a week or so. We seem to come up with new tunes every few weeks. It really just depends ft something new comes to me or not.
What’s your favorite song to play? Least favorite song to play?
Meh, all our songs are awesome, but there might be some that are slightly more awesome than others!
Any bonehead violence/attitudes from so called fans?
Tulsa has a bad history with racist skinheads and such, and that was always a major turn off for me when it came to the Oi! music scene. I’ve always liked the music but hated what it was associated with around here. We don’t really see ourselves as a “political” band, however, we are all very anti racist and I think that is prevalent at our gigs. So far, we’ve had no trouble at all.
Favorite beer/least favorite beer?
I’ve been a Guinness drinker for ages, but Boddingtons and Tetleys have been my choices lately. At rehearsal we’ve been doing a lot of cider, Strongbow being my choice there. But you’ll struggle to find a beer that gets passed up by the boys at a gig. We certainly love a Pabst every now and again, and if the bar says the band gets Natty Light, then so be it! Tonight, it’s Natty Light!
How long did the recording of the cd take? Any stories about the making of it?
This is our second time in the studio and we’re pretty straight forward about it. We even held off on the beer until we got to the backup vocals. The 7″ was done over just one day, so there really wasn’t time to mess around. I’ve done my last 8 recordings at Valcour and Hank and I have a good partnership so, it went real smooth. Sorry to say, no drunken chaos ensued. Until I got home and saw Arsenals recent form….
Any stories about the songs?
“The World is Ours” is just about daily struggle with work and trying to get by. About getting to the weekend, to just let out your frustrations with living paycheck to paycheck. Similarly, “For Football and the Pints” is about the things we do to make existence tolerable sometimes. For me, I could watch Michael Thomas score that goal in 1989 over and over and it always brings a grin. So, yeah, football, a couple of beers and some good music have gotten me through some rough times. “Nothing Gained”, I wrote after American Airlines laid off a bunch of workers. They were just cast aside like so many businesses do, and I just thought about what it would mean if that were me or any of my friends and “Kings of the Midwestern Plains”, I wrote it to finally dismiss the ugly past of racism in the Tulsa scene.
How has Zodiac Killer Records been for you?
Ron (SRP/ZKR) has been great; he stepped up and offered to put out ~ The Plan ~ when no one had ever heard us before. The disc has only been out a short while, but he has done everything he said he would and is working hard to help promote the disc. So, cheers to Ron! We owe him a couple of drinks for sure.
How did you get involved in doing the Profane Existence singles club?
I have a long history with Profane. When I was in Brother Inferior in the 90’s they helped us with gigs and distributing our records. They also put out our split 7″ with Whorehouse of Representatives. Since then, PE has always been supportive in all of the bands I’ve done and beyond that, I am glad to call them friends. Even in the Bring Down the Hammer days we came up and played the PE fest and ended up disco dancing to the Bee Gee’s with Chris (ATU) and Dan (PE). So, yeah…I am completely honored to have the Shame’s first 7″ on Profane. I can’t think of any other label I’d rather have it on.
How did you pick the songs for that release?
Honestly… they were the newest tunes we had, and we were thinking of doing a 7″ already with them, then Dan got in touch, so we went straight into the studio to record them. It was all a case of really good timing really.
Any more new releases coming out in the future?
We’ve been asked to be on the next Street Punk Comp by Pirates Press, but other than that, nothing yet… just writing and doing gigs when we can.
What is available now and where can we get it?
We have a selection of shirts and other merch you can get directly from us at either our Facebook page www.facebook.com/oitheshame or just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the CD, people should contact our label, Skinhead Retirement Plan Records and Ron will take care of you. Or if you have itunes, you can find it on there for download.
Where do you see the band going in the future?
Probably just down the bar for a couple of drinks… beyond that, who knows?