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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Acid Fascists in conversation with El Diablo

The Garage punk scene has had a solid presence in Scotland for many years now, and there's rarely a month goes by without some band playing in a small club somewhere that keys into the sixties and tries to strip the paint from the walls with their take on the primal sound of rock and roll.
The Acid Fascists are one of those bands.
Wilfully sticking a couple of fingers up at passing trends and staying true to the spirit of what they do it's all raw power.

ElD - The garage rock scene never seems to fade away, but it never seems to raise its profile above the underground either. Is that something you would agree with?
AF (Andy) - I think the nature of garage rock ever since its inception was to be an underground movement. I'm sure lots of the original bands wanted to make it and a few have - Iggy Pop's doing all right - but it's basic rock 'n' roll and by the time it started that was already being passed over for more complex rock.
But every now and again it raises its ugly head above the swamp and you get a White Stripes.

What is the appeal for yourself?
I just love dirty basic rock 'n' roll. Not exclusively but everything comes back to that.
I hear so many rock bands that seem to have forgotten what its all about. It's all very well to show off your musical talents now and again but nothing's better than a primal backbeat. It gets into your head and body like no other music.

So who are the bands influences (There you go, wax lyrically about The Fugs)
Everything from Folk and Delta Blues to Punk and even bits of Heavy Metal.
Most of our sound comes from what influenced the punks in the first place.
Whenever I like a band I immediately want to know what bands influenced them and then in turn, what influenced that band and so on. And that usually ends up back at folk or blues or both.
Probably the most dirext influences have been bands like The Fugs, The Stooges and The Deviants.
Most people will have heard of The Stooges but shamefully not many know The Fugs or The Deviants.
The Fugs formed in '65 and brought out their first album the same year - an album that I implore everyone to seek out (get the CD as it's got extra tracks). They were far more radical than any bands at that time with songs about drugs (I Couldn't Get High - which we cover), sticking it to the man (CIA man - which we've stolen lyrics from) and fucking in the street (We're The Fugs covers all of these themes!). This was two years before The Velvet Underground released anything.
The Deviants were Mick Farren's band and are a bit of a cross betwen The Fugs and The MC5. They didn't last long before Mick Farren was kicked out and they changed their name to The Pink Fairies (another great proto-punk band)

That whole scene with The Deviants seems to be partially forgotten by the music scene. There was lots of free gigs, the DIY ethos that galvanized the punk scene was rooted in it and bands like Hawkwind who went on to greater success sprung from it. Why do you think that so many people are unaware of our own past?
I wish I knew the answer to that. Obviously Hawkwind is the one band from that moment in British rock that most people will have heard of as they managed to get into the charts. History favours the winners and bands like The Deviants, Pink Fairies and The Edgar Broughton Band who were playing the same gigs faded away without much fanfare. A guy called Rich Deakin recently brought out a book called Keep It Together which charts the rise and many falls of The Deviant and Pink Fairies and I keep hoping that BBC4 might wake up and put on a season about that scene.

Well I'll have to keep an eye out for that. There's a similar problem with the whole pub rock scene that we are in danger of losing links with. I thought that the Dr Feelgood movie would have sparked some interest in bands like the Hammersmith Gorillas but it seems to have been limited to raising the profile of Dr Feelgood and not much else.
How did you actually get into garage music though? It's not something that people cut there teeth on. For myself it was working backwards from the Cramps.
I first started playing in bands when I was about 14 (many moons ago) and the first bands were supposed to be straight up punk bands but a few people said that we sounded more like garage punk bands from the 60s.
I was heavily into The Ramones and The Stooges (the first album is still my favourite) and a few years later a friend of mine made me some tapes with The Standells, The Sonics and other garage bands and it was then that I began to understand where the Cramps, Ramones, Stooges etc... were really coming from.
And I realised why every band I'd ever started sounded like that - I always used cheap guitars and I always played basic, dirty rock 'n' roll. It was an epiphany to find out what genre I was!

At that point did you start to them emulate the bands that you were listening to rather than simply unconsciously fitting in?
We try not to emulate any bands really but some of it sinks in. Even when we do covers we try and change them enough to make them our own. I think I've only consciously ripped off one riff and that was from Billy Childish but he probably got it from somewhere else too. Even the sound we have isn't much different from the bands I was in when I was younger. I still use the same overdrive pedals as I did when I was 16.
I never think of us as a retro band - not that there's anything wrong with that. We're not musicians so we can only play up to our limitations. Maybe if I ever bother to learn how to play better, we'll sound like Joe Satriani. I hope not.

So how long has the Acid Fascists been playing now? I've seen gigs advertised all over the place for a while, but up until last week I have never been in the same place at the same time as you?
We've been together for 4 years now. The first two years we didn't gig much but we rehearsed pretty relentlessly. The last two years we've been building up the gigs and we'll hopefully be pushing that even harder from now on.

I see you have Tommy Duffin filling in on drums until you find a more permanent member. How do you know Tommy and how is the search going for a drummer?
Tommy has filled in for us a few times - once on bass! He recorded us at his 16 Ohm studio in Glasgow and we used those recordings for our recent CD; Groovy Slices, Acid Twists.
Our drummer is with us until the end of March and then we need someone new to come on board. No luck yet but we've got a contingency plan so we're not going to rush into taking on just anyone. Drumming for us is a tough job. A usual 30 minute set consists of about 13 songs all played hard and fast with a lot of stops and starts. It's not for the faint hearted or weak armed.

And how would one go about picking up a copy of your CD?
We usually have a few copies with us at gigs but it's also on sale at Elvis Shakespeare Music & Books on Leith Walk in Edinburgh or from the Motor Sounds Records site here...

So finally, and to wrap this up what are the bands future plans for this year?
Well once we've got a new drummer in place we want to gig furiously. Hopefully we'll get down into England, Wales and maybe over to Ireland. We also have some plans to get over to Europe but that may have to wait until next year. And we'll be doing some more recording and try to release something else before the end of the year.

For bookings and further info please contact


  1. And there are some free downloads here(all in rar files)...
    Acid Fascists ...are UNCLEAN:

    Live at Elvis Shakespeare:

    All The Raw Meat: