Interview UGLY KID JOE
Whitfield Crane (vocals) & Klaus Eichstadt (guitar) – Saturday 17 June 2017
« We were just kids there, with heavy metal posters on the wall. And all of a sudden, we’re on the poster! » – Whitfield Crane
How the hell are you guys?
Whitfield: We’re good !
You enjoyed your set?
Whitfield: Yeah, perfect!
Was it up to your expectations?
Klaus: Far beyond my expectations, actually. I have friends from different bands who played this and they always say it’s like a diamond of a festival. So I was thinking: « I have to play that fucking show! ». We’re friends with some people who work here and they facilitated us coming here and today we’re fortunate to get a nice time slot.
Whitfield: Hellfest is one of the best ones, easy. We’ve been lucky to play some amazing festivals but I think that Hellfest is right up there. The crowd, the venue, the facilities, the crew, the equipment and these huge screens… I didn’t know they were there. It’s pretty amazing! It’s a great one.
You’ve been quite busy today, Whitfield. I noticed you even showed up during Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons’ set. You’ve got a real connexion with Motörhead, don’t you? Was it important for you to share a moment on stage with Phil?
Whitfield: Yes! And there’s quite a lot of the Motörhead crew backstage! So there was quite a lot of wonderful people there. We share that common theme of the Motörhead family. It was good to see Phil – I love Phil. He’s a funny man and a talented guy. He’s there, his sons are there, kicking ass. It’s an honour to play with him. It was cool.
It’s like you’re part of the Motörhead family. When did the whole story start?
Whitfield: Our first tour was Motörhead, Ugly Kid Joe and Ozzy Osbourne. We toured all summer. And those guys loved us and we loved them. All the old English bands, like Judas Priest, Ozzy, Motörhead, all those bands saw us for what we were – our spirits, anyway. And they looked after us. We were just kids there, with heavy metal posters on the wall. And all of a sudden, we’re on the poster! We were just fans! I’m pretty sure the Motörhead family saw that and appreciated that and wanted to guide it a little bit… As I’ve been told!
During the press conference a couple of mins ago, you said: « Motörhead rules! Black Sabbath rules !». But there bands are not active anymore. Is there a band out there with a potential to become the new Motörhead, the new Black Sabbath?
Whitfield: No! Do you?
Klaus: I don’t know…
Whitfield: I don’t know the answer, no…
Klaus: There’s nothing I can think of.
Whitfield: No. Nothing.
There’s no hope, then?
Whitfield: I think… First of all: I don’t know anything but I’d say that that style of music and those sounds are the things that touched me. And I think everything’s circular. I feel it is. History is. So you’d hope that some band would step the fuck up and take over. I think that the last band that was really taking over – it was in 1987. Guns N’Roses’ Appetite For Destruction. What else besides that? That was the last band. That was dangerous. What has been since?
Festivals are becoming more and more popular and there are plenty of them popping-up. Some people argue that festivals are killing touring as fans tend to keep their cash for festivals only. And some bands focus on festivals and don’t do proper tours because of that. What’s your point of view regarding that issue?
Whitfield: That’s a fair statement. Or you just tour in November because there’s no festivals in November! I don’t think that’s false and I don’t think it’s necessarily true. It’s just an opinion. It’s probably a duality to that. If you are in a band and you get to tour at any level – festivals or club shows – you wanna pack a club, you wanna pack a festival, you want both.
Let’s discuss VIP Meet & Greet packages. These packages are common practice in the US but European people don’t always see that with a positive eye. Are they a necessary evil thing?
Whitfield: It’s necessary evil if you want to go and make enough money to get a bus, pay for your crew, get a hotel room on a day off, yeah. Here’s the thing – it’s just factual: no one buys music anymore, no one’s gonna buy it, you’ll never sell any music again, that’s not gonna happen, never. Not on that specific brand of music. Apart from Disney music or American country music, only a couple of bands can still sell some records. Other than that, if you’re out here, trying to make it work, it’s necessarily evil. I wouldn’t agree with it in 1992 but I certainly understand it right now. And it’s an opportunity for the fans to meet the bands, you know. It’s not bad.
Klaus: I would have done it as a kid too! But we didn’t even have that opportunity: watch your favourite band and actually meet them. That’s pretty rad, I mean!
What are Ugly Kid Joe’s plans in the weeks to come?
Klaus: Not quite sure. Live, we’ve recorded some stuffs, actually. Is there enough footage…
Whitfield: To make a DVD.
Klaus: DVD? That’s what you said, right?
Whitfield: I said it.
Klaus: DVD. Digital Versatile Disc. Remember that? (laughter) We have quite a lot of live recordings and live video recordings. So we have a means to put something cute together.
You were young adults when Ugly Kid Joe’s first album was released. Being older now, are you still 100% at ease with its contents, the lyrics, etc.?
Klaus: Sure! It’s silly sometimes but it’s rad. It was us doing what we did and sometimes you like the young you. We were doing it for the right reasons: writing songs for fun and having fun with it. Sometimes, obviously, you’re like « Oh my god ! ». Like « Goddamn Devil » for example. We were kids who were in heavy metal and we were having fun doing little things like that and people still seem to like it today, you know? Fans do it anyway and we do too. It’s part of life!
To finish this, please, finish that sentence for me: « I’ve never told that story before and I probably shouldn’t but… »
Klaus: Oh, my god…
Whitfield: Klaus and I met…
Klaus: At Widow’s Peak…
Whitfield: Under the blood red sun…
Klaus: And a double full moon…
Whitfield: Klaus had a Gibson…
Klaus: SG… And the deal was signed…
Whitfield: And the deal was signed as the full moon looked. Beware!
Klaus: Be careful!
Interview : Wombat.
Many thanks to Olivier Garnier & Roger Wessier (Replica).