Only Crime Interview
This interview was made in Paris the 5th of Mai 2005.
Laureline has met Russ (singer) and Doni (bass player).

You're on tour with Boysetsfire, Strike Anywhere, From Autumn To Ashes on the Deconstruction Tour, do you have good relationship with those bands?

Russ: We know strike anywhere and we are on the bus with them and my other band Good Riddance had a tour with them before, we've been around with Strung Out during this year, we know Boysetsfire, we didn't know From Autumn To Ashes before this tour
Doni: We know Mad Caddies as well and Smoke Or Fire, that's all we know pretty much, everyone is been pretty cool during this tour, it's a nice friendship thing

From which band do you feel more close?
Russ : I could say Strike Anywhere, pretty much, that ain't just a relationship, they are the best guys, they are awesome

Do you have some funny stories with them?
Doni : Not yet because... (laugh)
Russ : The tour is early, so ask us at the end (laugh). Maybe we could have some fun stories !?

Only crime is a kind of all stars band, how did the idea of creat this band come to you?
Russ : I was on tour with Good Riddance and we were on tour with Bane and me and Aaron became friends and we talked to start a new band together, then I called Zach, I knew Zach when Good Riddance made a show in Dallas and so Zach said "I wanna be in the band", and we were looking for a drummer and I was talking to Bill about something about it and he asked me "do you know what are you doing about started a new band" but as we needed a drummer, he said he wanna do it ! So that was a kind of that.
Doni was the last guy to join us before recording the album!

How did you feel to play with Bill?
Russ : it's amazing, sometimes I've to remind myself like I turned around while I'm playing I forgot where I'm in a song, because I'm forget because I'm thinking in my head that I'm on stage with Bill Stevenson. I know Bill since a long time cos he produced some Good Riddance albums so earlier when we first met I was nervous and I couldn't believe that I was with him. Over the years, I've known Bill since 1998, we started to be friends, but it still pretty amazing specially to be on stage with him and in the same band !! it's a great experience !

And for you Doni?
Doni : it's something pretty much like Russ is saying, it's amazing, when I looked to other people with I played before, and now I play with this guy so it's, it's over your shoulder,you don't wanna make it screw up and make him look stupid, you can't have a bad game with... but it's a great thing. I'm glad to be in this band, with those guy, not with just Bill, I'm just glad to be with all of them and with my brother !
Russ : it's a honor to play with Bill, because he doesn't play with anybody, he's only played in 3 bands and they were just similar amazing bands so the fact that he takes the times and he approached me to do this project, it's truly a honor, to have him want to play with me.

Only Crime is closed to Good Ridance's music, do you think it's done to your voice?
Russ : I think that your question means is that do people think it's sound like Good Riddance because I'm singing in both bands and my answer is that if people hear a similarity I will hope that will be the only one, our goal is not to sound like Good Riddance, it's to sound like our own band, but I guess if it's the same singer that's the only reason that people make the comparaison. I wrote some song and some could be Good Riddance songs, maybe a little bit more melodic.

Your lyrics are different from Good Ridance ones. In Only Crime some of them deal with the environment protection. Why don't you deal with so much in Good Ridance ones?
Russ : There's one song that deal with the environment in Only Crime ! Only Crime is more experimental as Godd Riddance is more over, more direct but there is one song on the Only Crime record who deals with this subject and I looked over the world that we're leaving in, I think that I'm writing for Only Crime is a little bit clever, a little bit more direct.

Did you do some Good Ridance riffs for "To The Nine"?
Russ : I think all the stuff which are on the album are original. But the songs "for an idols" was for Good Riddance, but Good Riddance didn't want it, but I though it was pretty cool !
Doni : I think that some of us, Zach and I, though this song was good and we try to play it in a more experimental way, so "To The Nine" is totally original !

In London, you said you said that you were nostalgic of the ols punk from the 80's, so how do you feel to play with the drummer who played in the band that influenced you so much when you were young (Black Flag)?
Russ : like I said before it's awesome, it's cool because a lot of the ideals that we have in Only Crime, the music we're trying to make, to me it's a new way to make music and Bill and I have specially the same point of references musically speaking, we are always aggry of what we wanted to do ! We couldn't done it without Bill because he's not only the best drummer I ever heard, he's also a good song writer and he was also there at the time he played in Black Flag and he always wanted to see other bands played he cought a real feeling of the punk scene.
Doni : The first time I get into the punk it was in listenning to "My War" (Black Flag) this guy was playing on it so to be in a band with him who were in the band that bring me punk in first place is still unbelievable ! He is MY drummer!!! (laugh)

What do you think about this new wave of post hardcore with bands like Isis? D you think those bands have hardcore in their music?
Russ : I've never heard of Isis
Doni : Personnaly I think it's metal but the spirit, the lyrics and the attitude have Hardcore influence like Gorilla Biscuit, Warzone or Agnostic Front, those bands are hardcore for me. But these days there's lot of metal in the term "hardcore", it's not really the same like in the early 90's. That's what I think cause I'm old (laugh)

Do all the Only Crime members have a straight-edge life's style?
Russ : yes, but except for one ! but we are not a straight edge band we've just been through on tour with bands and see what drugs and alcohol do on them, with the wrong proportion can do to the relationship. It was a goal for me to make a band who were older and don't take drug and drink alcohol, not to do a straight edge band but to show that we're able to make something good without drugs. In the middle of the tour, it's not a good to find out that your guitar player is not able to play because he's drunk. I just want to try to eliminate the possibility of drugs and alcohol of taking this band down, if something take this band down, it'll not be drugs and alcohol.

How did you come to straight-edge?
Russ : I used to drink a lot when I was younger I had lots of trouble and I realize that I was very close to death when I drunk and in the same times I started to listen to Straight Edge music, went to a lot of shows, that was a long time ago ! Straight Edge was a very positive mouvement, today I'm not so sure of what's going on.

Are nostalgic of the beginning?
Russ : The fact it was a positive mouvement was attractive to me I don't if I could be attracted with what's going on today with it with people who judge the other people, it's too violent today It was more positive when I began to be Straight Edge, I try to make it positive today ...
Doni : I've never been anything but I've been drunk once in my life and I thought it will be the last time. My brother and I never took drugs, the pills and every stuff like that were not us. A friend told us about Minor Threat and Gorilla Biscuit "these guys are Straight Edge if we're not, we're just weird" and we learned about the music and all the scene. Now it's more a personnal thing to me.
Russ : I hate to be judge to be straight Edge each person could be able to do what they do, without to be judge !

What do you think about Bush's politics? How did you react when he was reelected?
Russ : I wasn't happy but our country have lots of problem, we don't know that we have so many choices, there is a lot of political parties and lots of people never heard about it because we don't have a free press. In France and in other country in Europe there's still a lot of free press so when you're going to have an election you know that you've got different parties, you know everything and in America you don't. We have the choice between George Bush and another guy who is the same as him
Doni : Bush lied !
Russ : Yes, so for me being involde in a green partie in United States, we had a candidate for the election, but for the campaign he was out of everything cos of money and he was never mentioned in the media, on the press, he never get an interview on television. So as long as we don't have a free press we're going to have the same problems. In my opinion, we deserv George Bush because we have a faulty democraty and this is what we're going to get until we can train ourselves out and we claim this system of communication radio , tv, these will build the public expension we own. All of this make a faulty representation of an electioneer escape of what is really open that explain why America only shows only two candidates

If you could change something in the world what could it be?
Russ : I'd like that the world starting tomorrow with a vegan lifestyle, then no
more problems of food, no more problems of water, a medical help for every one. I think that a vegan lifestyle can bring a lot of positive things. But the problem in America is that people are lazy and they are not very conveniant and nobody cares about the future of the planet
Doni : I can only talk about my country and the problem for me it's about the guns or everything that show a violent aspect. I had the converstation with Russ, I'm for a biggest penalty for people who do bad things but I think the problems come from the gun, if they wouldn't exist there will no more violence, no more murders. I don't believe in them, I don't want guns !!
Russ : Yeah no guns !

I deals last time with the guys of Boysetsfire, about NRA and stuff like that and they said if America cancel the second amendment, people will ot react, what's your opinion about that?
Russ : I think that a lot of people in America who think that guns are really cool and an important part of being an american. I think there will be some big problems if the government try to cancel the second amendment. But the thing is that as long as our country electionner is the same way, this country will not elect somebody who doesn't love guns. The NRA has a very strong popularity in
America and for the last election, people who are conservative Christians are gonna vote for George Bush and people who are less conservative are gonna vote for John Kerry, so America is gonna to elect whenever it's a conservative or a liberal, someone who loves guns, and so we don't have to change
the way our country is going.
Doni : There is a vicious circle, people want to protect themselves but it's because there's more and more guns that there's more and more violence and murders, so it's really bad I think
Russ : Do you think there's the same violence against people as the violence against animal ?
Doni : yeah
Russ : Look, in America lots of people think hunting is like a sport, to go killing innocent animals who didn't do anything wrong, lots of people do that, and that help them "to feel good" to shoot animals, killing for sport or no matter what that it couldn't bring anything good. I think we're gonna get what we deserv
Doni : They call themselves sportmen, they use long rifle, hipe guns to kill little animal, it's pathetic, really it's pathetic, I know there's people that kill to eat, but these "sportmen" kill for fun, they get beers,then they kill animals, and then they take them like a trophy, it's disgusting, when I was a kid, I never though it was good, and I still thinking it's not.

Well somehting very different, di you know some european bands and which are your favourite?
Russ : oh my favorit european bands are very old like BGK from Holland, bands in Finland, lots of
band in the UK, Conflict, Crass, GBA, The Exploited, yes, lots of bands from the 80's I don't really know bands of today (laugh)
Doni : There's so many I love ! You've got lot of great bands over here, I like Final Point because their music catches you quicker, I like Jesu, ATC, Squeez there's so many bands around here that I love you know
Russ : I can't remember any French bands ! I've heard about the Burning Heads, but I've never listen to their music (laugh)

We would like to thanks Wiebke (Fat Records), Russ & Doni for this interview.

Interview Laureline
Translation Benny

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999