I used to think that Pissed Jeans could do no wrong, a perfect encapsulation of hardcore aesthetics and brutal neo-noise-punk. That was short-lived as they became somewhat Sub Pop-soft for the sake of art and the festival circuit. Plus, supposedly, they bitched to play early at their only Columbus show. I don’t blame them, as everyone appreciates a little conceptual hand-job every now and then, but I had high hopes they’d continue to work their way backwards, eviscerating those DIY tropes to unintelligible shreds, volume that leveled buildings, cathartic anti-music. No such luck, though I wish them nothing but the best.
For the future, however, the Parts Unknown torch has been passed to Brooklyn’s DrunkDriver. Though what they do might not be for everyone, there’s no denying their primal mission of obliteration through sound. The craggy chunks that comprise their songs harkens back to the first graduating class of bottom-feeders like Drunk with Guns and Rusted Shut, bands that give scabs and then prefer to rip them right back off instead of letting them heal. The trio’s first album, Born Pregnant, is soon to be released on Parts Unknown and a healthy/unhealthy tour is to follow (making a stop in the Agit-base of Columbus, Novemeber 3). In the meantime, I got the rare opportunity to pick their brains via internet love letters.
Is there a laundry list of bands we should take notice of before first listening to Drunk Driver?
Michael Berdan: I like Burzum, shitty techno records and Chris Bell.
Jeremy Villalobos: Harry Pussy, Drunks with Guns and Agnostic Front live at CGBG’s because it’s funny.
Kristy Greene: Elmore James, Led Zeppelin and Sounds of Construction Workers.
I think you’re a nice mix of Jesus Lizard, Wolf Eyes, Clockcleaner and a better version of Pissed Jeans. What do you think?
MB: I wouldn’t say we’re a better version of anything. I can see why people make that connection to those bands, but that’s not where I’m coming from.
JV: I’d say thank you for taking us seriously.
KG: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! That rules!
Do you have any thoughts on the revival of “pigfuck?”
KG: I just had to Google search “pigfuck.”
Fill in the blanks: So it’s 199_, you’re in tenth grade, drinking/doing (choose one or more) cheap beer/bad acid/dirt weed, and ____ is on the boom box.
MB: Depends on what point of 10th grade. At the beginning, I was consuming all of those things plus whatever I could find in my mother’s medicine cabinet and listening to Age of Quarrel. By the end, one of my best friend’s brothers got hooked on heroin and sold me his entire record collection. I didn’t do drink or drugs or eat meat and I was listening to the Lacking Mindsets comp plus every awful Old Glory or Bloodlink band I could get my hands on. Ten years later and I’m still listening to Age of Quarrel.
JV: I was terrified of drinking and drugs and was probably listening to Southern California shit like Gravity and Three One G stuff. It was what was around.
KG: It’s 1995, I’m drinking Gatorade, and Tori Amos is probably on the boom box. I was probably listening to this while playing soccer and drawing pictures of fairies. Ah, that was the life.
Your subject matter, lyrically speaking, is pretty brutal (sample lyric: “You taste like cancer”). Where does that abject inspiration come from?
MB: I’ve taken a lot of drugs and I’ve been hurt by some pretty awful people and I’ve hurt some pretty great people. I guess most of it comes from guilt.
How did you get hooked up with Parts Unknown?
MB: Been friends with Fat Rich for years. We made a bullshit MySpace, and he called our bluff.
KG: We sleep our way to the top! Thanks, Berdan!
Do you ever find it hard to make yourselves heard among the more indie-rock environment of Brooklyn?
MB: No, it hasn’t been a problem.
JV: I have to be reminded that stuff exists.
KG: We’re so loud that it’s never hard to make ourselves heard.
If you could live somewhere else, where in the world would people be more accepting of DrunkDriver’s confrontational noise?
MB: I wouldn’t want to live anywhere other than where I do now.
JV: I could live anywhere as long as we’re playing.
KG: I think Berdan, Jeremy and I should all move to a little house in the suburbs of Nashville and just live as one big happy family. Adopt a couple of kids who look nothing like us... go to church together. I think people would really love and accept us.
Can you explain the formula in making your debut album, Born Pregnant?
MB: We got drunk in our practice space and wrote some songs. We then got drunk and recorded.
JV: Uh, try to break both drum heads, turn up everything. Fuck the tape.