Place: The Club "Dressing Room"
Present: "Krazee" Ken Highland, Miss Lyn, The Real Kids, DMZ's Paul Murphy
Ken - To begin from the beginning: the history of The Real Kids. I read in the last BGN that Billy and Alpo were in The Nervous Eaters.
Billy- We were with Jeff Wilkinson and Rob Skeene who are in The Nervous Eaters now.
Lyn- You guys were from The North Shore too? Beverly Droolers?
Billy- Yeah, that band was only together about a month or so. We were into practicin' and getting' high. We were goin' nowhere.
Alpo- The Jonathan Richman came to our practice and said "I got this guitarist for ya."
John- Then he came to my house and said "I've got a band for ya." My old band "The Kids" had just broken up in the fall of '75 and I was writing songs and Jonathan came over in January and said he had a band for me. I just wanted to play rhythm guitar and I wasn't gonna write songs, I just wanted to join a band.
Alpo- Then the three of us got along really good and Rob and Jeff left and we got Kevin, the Kids' drummer to play with us.
Billy- Alpo was the lead singer like he was in The Nervous Eaters.
John- When I joined the band, me and Billy were on guitars, Rob on bass, Jeff on drums and Alpo was the singer. Then Rob and Jeff left, they got tired of it 'cause we were living in the city and they had to come from the North Shore for practice then.
Alpo- We got together with Howie in '76.
Howard- May 3rd was the first gig we did together.
Alpo- So this band has been together for 2 years now but me and Billy go back to when we were 16, 17 'cause we grew up in the same area.
B- We used to have bands that only played in our cellars.
K- So Alpo, you played bass back then?
A- Oh yeah! I didn't just pick up the bass when this band started. I played previously.
K- What were your first instruments?
A- I had a Silvertone with a 12" speaker. Before that I had a Kalamazoo with 10" speakers. I had a bass that cost $50, the action was this high off the board! A piece of shit!!
J- I went through a wad of bullshit guitars. Harmony guitars, Japanese fuckin' teardrop Telestar guitars! I always wanted to pay a Richenbacher though, 'cause I saw Peter Townsend play one.
B- I had a Kay guitar. I took it apart 'cause I was into making it look real cool and stuff.
K- How long have you been playing?
J- I started when I was 14 or 15…about 7 or 8 years.
K- What about you Howie?
H- When I was 9 years old I started this "Tsh, tsh, tsh , tsh" in my head and I said "Hey that's what I wanna do!" I was into Jazz and stuff. I had this guy try to teach me, but I never practiced.
J-He tried to teach Howard how to play Beethoven's Fifth but he just couldn't keep the beat! Right Howie?
K- Then you developed you 'boom boom beat'?
H- Well that just developed over the past year and a half.
A-With The Mezz, right?
H- That's when I really started in rock & roll, playing-wise.
K- The Mezz was your first rock'n'roll band?!?
H- Yeah, The Mezz was really off the wall rock'n'roll. It wasn't a challenge. That's why I left.
K- You guys open your set with Link Wray's "Rawhide". Who inspired you to pick up your instruments?
A- Well, we all think The Stooges and The MC5 were good but the bands before that, same thing as everybody else. The Stones, The Beatles, we didn't hear about the 50's stuff' 'til later on. I just thought there were the Beatles and THAT was rock'n'roll. I had heard about Elvis n'stuff but never got into any of it 'til after I was playing.
J- Yeah, I never knew that what the Stones were playing was Blues, just speeded up. To me it was just The Stones.
A- I wasn't even aware of blues when I heard the Stones playing the stuff.
K- Now that you're with Red Star will you be touring or anything?
J- They're trying to set us up at small in the Northeast but we won't be hooking up with a tour or anything.
A- Hey, I heard your song "Muff Divin'" when I was at Miriam Lina's in New York. I think it's fuckin' great! I almost keeled over! She has all your 45's. Miriam's a Red Star executive now.
K- Thanks, I get good royalties off it so….how'd you guys ever get a recording contract with Sponge, a
J- Phillipe, he's a cool guy. He writes for Rock and Folk and he's their American Correspondent. He saw us in New York then came to Boston to see us. He said he and a friend were gonna try to put out a single of us in Europe and they did it!
A- They sent us the money and we went into the studio and did it our way. We produced it and Oedipus was there with us all the way.
K- A lot of people who've heard it have said it didn't really sound like The Real Kids, it was kind of
A- We were going for that but even though I like the sound it may be a little more pop-y that we wanted.
J- It was the first time we've ever been inside a recording studio.
A- Yeah, we went in there, drunk, at eleven o'clock in the morning and we "We're gonna make a record!"
K- What about the Live At The Rat thing? That was just someone recording you live?
J- I wanna go on the record as saying that thing sucked!!
A- It was good for us in some ways though.
K- On your album, "All Kindsa Girls" is much faster and about a minute shorter, it's a whole different session, right?
J- Yeah this album is supposed to represent how we sound live. How the people have heard us in Boston. There's a lot we coulda done better but for producing it ourselves I think it's really good.
K- Looking at the credits I see John, you write all the songs, so you must have some interesting stories. Like who's "Do The Boob" about?
J- The Real Kids want to let the world know that this song is about Robert Allen Colby, editor-in-chief, journalist extraordinaire, of Frenzy Magazine.
A- By the way we LIKE Robert Allen Colby.
J- Yes, he's our friend and he even comes to see us sometimes. He told us he might even write about us in his magazine. Bob works at an insurance company during the day and Bob's one of the original punk rockers.
L- What about your songs being so bitter, John? You used to be so mad at the world.
A- He still is!
J- There's certain things that make people bitter. You get over it.
K- The songs on The Sponge 45 are mellow love songs.
L- But "Who Needs You", that's so viscous!
J- I write all kindsa songs. Hate is just as real an emotion as love is. A lot of people like to say they don't feel that but I think everyone must have those feelings inside. Some chick pisses you off so much that you just wanna kill her! People say it's not cool to feel that way but the fact is they all feel that way but just try to hide it. It doesn't mean anything. I don't' feel that way anymore but everyone gets violently angry at someone sometimes. I never DID beat the shit outta that girl even though it says it in the song.
H- It's just normal, you know?
J- I'm not really a bitter person. I mean I hate everyone but I'm not bitter.
A- Oh, he's fulla shit, man!! Let me tell ya, he's fulla shit!! He goes around tellin' everyone he hates everybody!
J- No, I like people too but at one time or another I've managed to hate everyone. I used to hate Alpo!
A- He still does!
K- Who is "Who Needs You" about anyway?
J- Oh, it's about a girlfriend I had but she doesn't even deserve to have her name in this magazine. It's great song material! "All Kindsa Girls" is about the same incident but it's after you get over it. You wake up one morning and just say "Hey, I'm not even pissed anymore. I'm gonna go out with other girls now."
A- I think that good songs are written 'cause of real feelings.
K- "Better Be Good" is a celebration of rock'n'roll, right?
J- Yeah, it's about Boston rock and roll and a summer thing. Get outside and fuck around! It was written at a time before anything was really happening in the city. Not many bands were playing and there weren't any places to play, not even The Rat at the time. So everyone was complaining about it but no one was doing anything about it. Everything was boring and they just sat at home and wore out their Stones records.
K- Then The Real Kids came along!
J -Well, we just played whenever we could and didn't give up. We stayed together and just kept rockin' and now look what's happening! It's all comin' on so much stronger. Now you can actually go to a club, see a rock and roll band and dance and get shit-faced. Things were pretty bleak when I wrote that song.
K- There's a mention of The Remains in there. What's that about?
J- Well as far as Barry and The Remains in there, it's our tribute but it's no big deal. I remember them and they do give me a Boston feel.
L- Why did you add the word "Real" to your name?
B- There's a lot of bands out there with the word "Kids".
J- We used to be just "The Kids" but a band called The Heavy Metal Kids came out with an album titles "The Kids" and we weren't in any kind of prestigious position. We were another fuckin' band so we tried to think of another name but The Kids fit us best so finally I said "Why not the REAL kids?"
The reggae band that was sharing the bill with The Real Kids were through with their set and all started filing into the room so we decided to end the interview now…..
K- Just one last question: Why is the album dedicated "To Draino" ?
John Felice grabs the tape recorder and speaks with his mouth right on top of the condenser mike….
J- It's not Draino, the stuff you put down drains!! It's a friend of ours and it was his nickname and he had a tragic death this summer so we dedicated the album to him. In fact they misspelled it on the cover.
A- It's not the liquid drain cleaner!!
J- There have been all these reviews saying we dedicated it to the real thing when that's not it at all!! This guy wrote an article and said like, The Ramones sniff glue. Look what these guys do! "You think The Ramones are hard core! These guys shoot up Draino!"
A- Naw, we don't' so any of that kinda shit!
J- No we sure don't!!