Spit Like This Interview
Probably one of the most eclectic rock bands I've ever heard, Spit Like This can cover every range of your musical emotions, whether it be punk, pop, glam, hard rock and a little metal.
This being said, their fan base resembles that range...opening themselves up to varying extremes as the banker and the spiked punk.
Lord Zion, Vikki Spit, Vile Gilez, and Rob Riot have honed their act the hard way, working the club scene with reckless abandon attempting to make the name, Spit Like This,
known to as many people as possible.
Talking with lead man, Lord Zion, you get a feeling that eases into the multiple skins of his life as a showman, salesman, and entrepreneur.
Scott: Musically, from the early demos up to your current work on the upcoming "Normalityville Horror" disc, there seems to be a growth.
Do you hear it in your music and how does it come about?
Zion: Absolutely there is growth although, in many ways, this is more true to the SPiT LiKE THiS sound as it was conceived in the very early days.
Our second EP, “Anarchy For Two”, was very rhythmic. This style was established fairly quickly by me and has always been a favorite, being a wannabe drummer!
It was only after Vikki and I put the live band together that things started to change. Foolishly, we let go of the reins slightly and allowed other influences to dilute things and,
to an extent, we lost our way. We never had anyone that could play the guitar as tightly and precisely as I could, until Rob came along.
This allowed us to get back on track and make the rhythm King once more.
Scott: Could you see yourself doing anything BUT Spit Like This as a profession?
Zion: No. During frustrating times, when you are pulling your hair out wondering what the hell it is going to take to move things forward, you consider quitting.
Then you think, “OK, if I quit, what would I do?” and my first answer is always “Start a band”! I’m a rock n’ roll lifer and, as SPiT LiKE THiS is more than a band,
it would be impossible to do anything else. It would end up just being a new version of the same thing.
SLT is a band, yes, but it is a band for all the freaks, geeks, underdogs and losers of the world.
We fight for the rights of the individual to be just that. Although we don’t discriminate, it is probably not likely that the Cool Kids are gonna like us, and that is just fine,
coz we were never one of the Cool Kids ourselves and, as everyone knows, the Cool Kids are just phonies and fakes.
Scott: Is it a blessing or a curse that Spit Like This's music is so diversified that it's difficult to label it, genre-wise?
Zion: I don’t understand how a band can write an album with 10 songs on that are just variations of the same theme. It makes no sense to me.
Music is an art form and art should never be a contrivance. If you don’t write what you feel, you are fooling yourself and your audience.
It does make it hard for a label to define us, but we were never trying to be anything other than SPiT LiKE THiS so, right there, THAT is your definition.
Stop trying to put things into boxes and just enjoy it for what it is. The amazing thing is, at our shows, we have such a varied, wide audience.
Never being fashionable means that we can never be unfashionable, which suits me just fine as it means we will have longevity long after our peers have cut their hair
and gone to get proper jobs.
Scott: Can you shed a little light (and give a free plug) for your other project, Smellyourmum.com?
Zion: When Vikki and I started SPiT LiKE THiS, we realized we would need money to do stuff like buy food, pay rent and, most importantly, fund the band.
But, being basically unemployable and obnoxious, we thought we had better start a business. I have always had a million insults running through my veins
(ready to spew at those that foolish enough to try to abuse me) and always thought a lot of them would work well on T-shirts, so we started SMELLYOURMUM.COM;
our T-shirt brand and online merchandise store.
We never ever EVER expected it to get so big. To-date, we have sold over 100,000 T-shirts to tens of thousands of customers all around the world.
Every single T-shirt is designed by me and screen printed by Vikki. She has bad RSI as a result and I have square eyes through doing all the website stuff! I built that too, you see.
We are approaching 14 million hits and our site is in the top 1% of websites on the planet! Not bad, eh? And still, every penny pays for Vikki and I to eat, pay our rent,
buy dog & cat food and fund SLT.
Crazy. So, buy something safe in the knowledge that
a) you are buying a genuine rock n’ roll artifact and
b) you aren’t putting money in the pockets of a company exploiting the alternative market.
We are as DIY as they come.
Scott: How has Rob Riot, your new guitarist, been fitting in the band and how much input did he have in writing the new material?
Zion: I have known Rob for years. We were actually in a band before and we co-wrote the song “Sex, Drugs & Heavy Metal”, which was the lead track on our debut album.
I quit the band that I was in with Rob because, at the time, he was an idiot and I couldn’t take any more.
Many years later, he found our CD in an HMV, bought it (Ta for that, Rob!), found me online and rang out of the blue one day.
Literally, this was the first contact we’d had in a decade. It was fortuitous because, within 24 hours,
I had been forced to remove our old guitar player from the line-up so I decided to ask Rob if he wanted an audition.
He certainly wasn’t a definite for the job – he had to earn his place just like anyone else would.
He had long since quit the things that made him an idiot, so that wasn’t a problem and I knew he would be able to play the stuff how it should be played.
However, he completely blew his first audition. Totally, 100%, he was going home. Except he wasn’t, he was sleeping on our couch. Dammit.
So I chatted with him, told him what was wrong with his audition and gave him a second chance. And he nailed it. Completely. So that was that, he was in.
The final piece of the jigsaw and he fits so right. We are just like a little family now – alas, Vikki and I are the mum & dad to Gilez & Rob – but that’s OK, it works out nicely.
Scott: One of my favorite cover songs of all-time is your cover of "Sweet Transvestite" from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Do you enjoy the occasional cover song
and will we ever hear another from Spit Like This?
Zion: Thank you! Everyone seems to love our version of that. I must say, I do a good Frank N Furter and even Richard O’Brien approves.
We did actually do a twisted, punked up cover of “Asshole” by Denis Leary on our very first EP but, apart from that, there are no covers in the pipeline.
The thing is, they need to be organic. The Leary one was just me experimenting with some new gear that went well.
The RHPS one came about because we were always being compared to RHPS (I think my English accent comes through in the music quite a lot) so we decided,
as Rocky fans anyway, to give “Sweet Transvestite” a go.
We stuck it in the set, it went down a treat and the rest is history.
It would be really hard to do another cover version of anything new as it has to make sense. “Sweet Transvestite” made sense although, having said that, it makes less sense now,
so we’ve not played it live in a while. I would never want to cover another rock band’s songs as that seems a bit pointless. So then you are left with either pop stuff,
which seems to be done to shock, or gimmicky stuff which isn’t really SLT 2011. But never say never – who knows what the future holds?
Scott: How extensive do you plan to tour behind "Normalityville Horror"? Has anything been set up yet?
Zion: As extensive as we can. Unfortunately, touring is an expensive business. We would gig every city, every town in every country, if it were down to us!
But, to do that, for a while at least, we would need label support (where the label funds your life on the road until you are self-sufficient).
With labels all looking for the right business model, less and less labels are investing in tour support like they used to.
It’s fucked up and they are looking at the short-term, which is wrong. Thankfully, fingers crossed, we will be in the position to enjoy an element of tour support,
if the talks we are having bare fruit. So, no, nothing has been set up YET, but watch this space!
Scott: What is your dream gig (venue, opening act, etc...)?
Zion: I would love to do a whole tour with The Misfits, actually.
We opened for them a few years back and Jerry Only was such a nice bloke. They treated us really well and, musically, I think it works.
We are close enough to them for it to make sense us touring together, but not so close that it would be dull for the audience or that we would steal anyone.
Jerry, if you’re reading this, ready when you are! Dream venues are the ones that everyone dreams of: Wembley, Madison Square Gardens and so on.
Truthfully, they probably aren’t as good as you think they’re going to be. Nothing beats getting sweaty with the cunts in the front row!
Scott: Spit Like This has been together, as a band, since 2002, however (technically) Normalityville Horror will be only your 2nd full length CD.
Previously, several demos were released. Does the band still feel new and exciting to you because of that, or have you become the wily veterans?
Zion: Actually, I should correct you there, SLT was a duo for the first two EP’s.
It was only after we were offered a 5 album deal after our second EP that Vikki and I felt it was time to complete the line-up.
That deal fell through as the label didn’t like the band we put together but being in a band is what it’s all about to me so, rather than going the backing musician route,
we stuck with the band thing.
Ideally, we would have had an album out earlier.
Our first commercial release, in 2005, got in the Rock Charts and, if the people looking after us at the time had any sense, they would have stuck us in the studio,
paid to get an album recorded and got it out quick to capitalise on the buzz.
They didn’t have any sense though and refused to dig deep. So we needed a Plan B.
We decided to compile the 4 EP’s we had done onto one disc and release that – as only 2 of the previous EP’s were available at the time.
The idea being that we would earn the money from that to pay for an album, hence “Scary Tales: The Collection”. Alas, the label we were with at the time tried to promote it as our debut album so they completely fucked the whole thing up. It took us a while to recover from that and, as they also stole our royalties, we had to pay for our debut album out of our own pockets, so needed to save up the pennies. That album came out twice in the UK in 2008 and 2009 (2010 in Europe) and it was really the first thing that properly made us a commodity rather than an oddity. Of course, since then, we got a new guitar player and recorded the definitive (for now!) SLT album so it all feels new and fresh again. That’s the great thing about being in a band that constantly re-invents itself; it never gets or feels old. It just is what it is. Having said that, we have learned a LOT over the years and have matured into a really good live band so, in that respect, we are wily veterans. If we had the knowledge we have now back then, our journey would have been a lot easier.
Scott: Your debut, "We Won't Hurt You (But We Won't Go Away)" was released as a standard disc, as well as an ultimate edition. Any plans on doing the same with "Normalityville Horror"?
Zion: That wasn’t deliberate. There was never a plan to do that but, after the first release, we were in a position to leave the label we were on.
It wasn’t a good fit so made perfect sense to do this. But this meant we wanted to offer something different for a) anyone that might buy the re-release and b) the European market.
By the time of the second release we had done an awesome video and recorded “Sweet Transvestite” so thought it would be great if we could add that to the disc,
along with some fancier packaging. Hence the “Ultimate Edition”. With “Normalityville Horror”, my dream would be the standard CD, a vinyl and a comic. I will be pushing for all 3.
Scott: There's no question (to people that know you) that you're very computer savvy as far as connecting with your fans. Has talking with your fans persuaded you in anyway on what works
/ doesn't work as Spit Like This material?
Zion: Connecting with fans is less about being computer savvy and more about representing yourself honestly.
When we started, I had taken great note of how Kevin Smith (movie director) had built a huge online presence by simply being himself. A novelty, eh?
Magazines and other forms of traditional media tended to skew how people perceived artists (musicians, movie makers, authors etc) but,
for the first time in history, thanks to the internet, the ARTISTS controlled how they were perceived.
So, when we hit the internet, there was a very conscious decision to just be ourselves. Some people would hate us, some people would love us. But at least we were being honest and true.
The people that don’t like us aren’t our audience, so that is fine. We are all different and you can never appeal to everyone.
If we have connected with people, it is because we are similar and they recognize that in us. We aren’t bullshit rockstars that pretend to be doing drugs 24/7 to appear cool to the kids
– that just attracts the idiots who will move on to the next cool bullshit rockstar – we are just a bunch of people, just like our fans, doing a cool job.
Nothing more, nothing less. To answer the other part of your question, No, it has no influence on the material.
If we ever tried to write songs that we THINK people will like, we might as well be Bon Jovi.
Hopefully, people like our music because the message speaks to them, or they think the sounds are cool, or the bassist is hot.
Music is an art form and the artist dictates that art form, not it’s audience.
Scott: Outside of Spit Like This and Smellyourmum.com, what do you do when you finally get some free time?
Zion: Free time? I’ve heard of that. Tell me more about this “Free Time”… Um, it’s not something we get a lot of. Poor Vikki.
Before I met her, I spent years in bands, dicking around, playing pool when I should have been writing, larking about.
Then I realized it was time to get serious or go home. Met Vikki, started a band with her and got serious.
Girl hasn’t had a spare moment since. At least I had my years of larking about! Doing SLT and SYM is like having two Very Cool full-time jobs.
Very time consuming, which is awesome, as it means we are doing something right. On the rare occasion we do have spare time, it is usually used to visit our families.
Family is very important – more so now – so I love spending time with them.
Any other time is spent getting tattoos at the moment!
Scott: Speaking of...You've got to tell me about the new tattoo. How did it come about? How long it took? Was it as painful as it looks?
Zion: I got my left arm sleeved in 2004/2005 before we got stupidly busy. Since then, I’d not really had the time to get the right one done, so I looked all lop-sided!
Thankfully, our tattooist has been very flexible for us so both Vikki and I have been able to get ink this year.
We blast off down to the studio every few weeks for a few hours at a time. I am having my right sleeve done; Vikki is having an awesome chest piece.
Vikki is very precise with her tattoos, knowing exactly what she wants where. I am more haphazard. My eclectic collection reflects how my brain seems to work –
a zillion ideas happening all at once. I had stuff on there already, so we are having to work around and incorporate that.
The general theme though is the last 12 months or so, as it has been an incredible 12 months for us.
Musically, we played some great festivals (including Wacken) and recorded a phenomenal album and there were many great things that happened on a personal level.
So the new additions are Vikki as the “Dead Girl Walking” (from our debut album) carrying my severed head.
Around us are members of my family (nephew, brother, sister-in-law, mum, dad, cat, dog) all as Zombies.
The new band logo is also on there, along with a dragon breathing fire into my armpit. There are still many, many hours to go and, yes, it has been BLOODY painful!
The dragon’s tail goes onto my hand, which was a whole new level of pain, and the band logo going into my armpit also hurt like hell.
But, no pain, no gain!
Last Updated (Monday, 01 August 2011 13:05)
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