Erik Tunison (Die Kreuzen): Once upon a Cross

KLFM opet ima ekskluzivu! Naš je vanjski suradnik Hrvoje Bubić razgovarao s Erikom Tunisonom, bubnjarem i jednim od utemeljitelja američkog hardcore punk sastava Die Kreuzen. Taj je kolektiv u bitnoj mjeri obilježio lokalnu punk scenu osamdesetih, a od 2012. iznova djeluje u reinkarniranoj postavi. Kako je dakle izgledalo zlatno doba prekooceanskog hardcorea i kakva je situacija danas?

 

KLFM opet ima ekskluzivu! Naš je vanjski suradnik Hrvoje Bubić razgovarao s Erikom Tunisonom, bubnjarem i jednim od utemeljitelja američkog hardcore punk sastava Die Kreuzen. Taj je kolektiv u bitnoj mjeri obilježio lokalnu punk scenu osamdesetih, a od 2012. iznova djeluje u reinkarniranoj postavi. Kako je dakle izgledalo zlatno doba prekooceanskog hardcorea i kakva je situacija danas?

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  • How you guys actually get together,formed as band.How is 1st ep Cows & Beer was made,1st lp on Touch and Go, and tour with Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Husker Du?

Well, I was a childhood friend of Keith and we were both heavily interested in music. We always wanted to play in a band together and when we got a little older and met some other musicians we did. Dan and Brian knew each other in their hometown of Rockford Illinois and had moved to Milwaukee to make music. They were called Stella’s. They need a drummer and Keith introduced me to them. Not too much later Stella’s needed a Bass player and Keith was the obvious and only choice.We played some local and regional shows and did some demo tapes. Bob Moore reached out to us and offered to pay for pressing of an EP if we could come up with a recording. This turned into Cows and Beer.We got to know lots of bands through playing with them when they came through town or on the road.Just because of where we were and what we were playing we were first choice to play with all these cool bands as they were on their early tours themselves. We opened for Black Flag on their first tour. Husker Du was a great gig for their first time in Milwaukee. We fell in with them quite naturally. Dead Kennedys made a policy of treating their opening bands really well both on the road ad in their own San Francisco. We were really lucky to be part of a great scene right from the beginning.

  • What bands influenced on Die Kreuzen, I notice lots of influence of 70s’ hard rock and British post-punk, and I read from one music magazine that Die Kreuzen music very close to Tarkovsky movies.What’s your opinion on Lean on it tribute album and legacy,I saw lots of diverse styles: from Napalm Death to Nirvana.

We all certainly listened to ’70 hard rock, and also a lot of art rock like Bowie, Sparks, van der Graaf Generator, Kiss, Killing Joke. When we started the band we were all listening to DOA, Germs, Circle Jerks and the like.Just knowing that other bands considered us influential enough to contribute to a tribute album is unbelievable. We all feel very honored. And the diversity of styles of bands really speaks to the different styles of music that we all loved.

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  • How is that change of style on 2nd album October File, while on Gone Away (which is my favorite among the Cows & Beer) there is really heavy and melancholic song Gone away and cover of Aerosmith’s classic Season of wither(which another example when cover is better than an original, how was work with Butch Vig, and what’s your favorite Die Kreuzen album?

Right from the beginning we wanted to make music with all different styles. Whenever we had enough songs for an album we put them together into a group to record. We weren’t really trying to change the style of an album to sound like one thing or another, it just sort of happened that when a group of songs get played together and then recorded at the same time, a style gets defined without even trying.We always had a few cover songs in our set. Some, Wire, Germs and Aerosmith as well as some others.After playing them for a while they sound like us and not so much like the original.We were really lucky to work with any number of really talented people, some of whom are famous and some not. Butch Vig deserves all his success, and working with him was great. One thing I like to remember is his ability to make good musical decisions at the end of a long session- many, many hours.Those decisions would then sound good the next day.

  • Back in 80’s, where internet, PC and smartphone were science fiction, how was it making shows, albums.

Man it was tough! Some bands like DOA nod Dead Kennedys would open their phone books to us andhelp us out. But often we would hear things that were wrong- like for a long time we were told that CBGB’s was closed. Turned out not to be true and turned out to be a great place for us to play.

Just making all those phone calls took ingenuity. We had no money and calls were expensive! In so many ways it is much easier today. With that said, it was a real community. When we did break through we met so many wonderful people who helped us out.

  • How actually end came,I read somewhere that at just when you broke up,Atlantic records has send contract, and how you get place as Killdozer’s drummer,Fuckface project which included Die Kreuzen vocalist Dan Kubinski with members of Milwaukee rock scene like Boy Dirt Car, The Crusties and others, and how the hell you get with Steve Aoki and Big John Duncan, ex Exploited axeman.

We were at the end of a very long tour around the entire United States. Tensions reached a breaking point, and it was pushed along by the final album not getting good reactions and the shows not being as well attended as they had been. It was a tough break but after 12 years it probably was time.It is true that Atlantic Records as well as some others did get in touch after the breakup, but it was just over.We all went on to other projects. I toured and recorded with a cool singer/ songwriter/ band called Paul K and the Weathermen. I also was asked to tour with Killdozer. In those cases they just called up and asked me.

Fuckface was an existing project in Milwaukee and adding a fourth(!) drummer seemed like a good idea to them. That was a great band! And Milwaukee is a pretty small scene. Everyone pretty knows each other and gets along.An Amsterdam musician Robert Smit- Sick Boy- knew about my old bands. It happens that Big John Duncan also lives in Amsterdam and is a friend and Robert asked us to contribute some parts to a song he was working on. Later he worked on it with his old friend Steve Aoki who also was a Die Kreuzen and Exploited fan from way back- who put vocals and his own styling on it. Then he included it on his CD, which ended up being nominated for a Grammy. I didn’t have all that much to do with it but I am still pretty proud of my part on it.

  • For the end, I notice that there was Die Kreuzen reunion, will ever be show in Split, Croatia?

I would love to play Split! Croatia was always a lot of fun to play and I regard my gig in Pula with Killdozer as one of the greatest gigs of my life. However we are pretty sure we are done with reunion gigs. I won’t say never but I don’t see it happening again.

  • Kako ste se našli,formirali,kako je napravljen 1ep,1lp za Touch&Go i vaša turneja s Black Flagom,Husker Du,Dead Kennedys?

Pa, bio sam prijatelj s Keithom još dok smo bili djeca i oboje smo bili zainteresirani za glazbu. Oduvjek  smo htjeli skupa  svirati skupa u bandu  i kad smo postali malo stariji, našli smo neke glazbenike.Dan i Brian su poznali iz istog grada Rockford Illinois i preselili su se u Milwaukee da stvaraju glazbu.Trebao im je bubnjar pa je Keith predložio mene .Tada je Stella(naziv banda) trebao basistu pa je Keith bio očiti i jedini izbor.

Svirali smo među lokalnim i regionalnim nastupima te snimili smo neke demo snimke. Bob Moore nas je pronašao i ponudio nam plaćanje za izdavanje ep kad bi imali što za snimiti.To se pretvorilo u Cows & Beer.

Poznavali smo dosta bandova tako da smo nastupali skupa s njima  kada bi došli u naš grad ili s turneje. Samo zato što smo bili tu gdje jesmo i zato što smo bili prvi izbor za sviranje s kul bandovima kao što su i sami bili na ranim turnejama. Bili smo predgrupa Black Flagu na njihovoj turneji. Husker Du je imao sjajan nastup po prvi put u Milwaukeeu. Uklopili smo se s njima sasvim prirodno. Dead Kennedys su sjajno tretirali bandove koji su bili predgrupa i s kojima su nastupali.Drago nam je što smo bili dio te velike scene od samog početka.

  • Koji su bandovi utjecali na Die Kreuzen,primjetio sam dosta utjecaja rocka 70-tih te britanskog post-punka, te kako sam čitao u jednom glazbenom časopisu, glazba Die Kreuzena je slična glazbi filmova redatelja Tarkovskog. Koje je Vaše mišljenje na tribute album Lean on it kao i ostavštini, naime primjetio sam vrlo različit spektar bandova: od Napalm Death do Nirvane.

Pa svi smo slušali hard rock 70′ kao i art rock kao što su Bowie, Sparks, Van der Graaf Generator, Kiss, Killing Joke.Tada smo počeli sa svojim bandom i svi smo počeli slušati  DOA, Germs, Circle Jerks  i svidjelo nam se. Sama činjenica da su nas drugi bandovi citirali kao utjecaj da snime tribute album mnogo nam je nevjerojatna. Osjećamo se vrlo počašćeno. Čak sama raznolikost stilova bandova govori o različitim stilovima glazbe koju smo voljeli.

  • Odakle takva promjena na drugom albumu October File,dok je na ep Gone Away (uz Cows & Beer najdraži album) vrlo žestoka i melankolična naslovna pjesma te obrada od Aerosmitha Season of Wither (koji je još jedan primjer kad je obrada bolja od orginala), vaša suradnja s legendarnim Butch Vigom i koji je po Vama najdraži Die Kreuzen album?

Ravno od početka htjeli smo raditi glazbu s različitim stilovima.Kadgod bi imali dovoljno pjesama za album stavili bi za snimanje. Nismo uopće namjeravali promjeniti stil već je to došlo samo od sebe,kada bih svirali te u isto vrijeme snimili, stil je bio sam po sebi definiran.

Uvijek smo neke obrade dakako na setu.Kao što je  Wire, Germs and Aerosmith kao i neke druge. Nakon što bih svirali neko vrijeme zvučali su poput nas i ne toliko koliko kao orginal. Bili smo sretni što smo radili s mnogo talentiranim ljudima, bili oni slavni ili ne. Butch Vig  zaslužuje sav uspjeh i raditi s njim je bilo sjajno. Jedna stvar koju se volim sjećati je ta da radi dobre glazbene odluke pri kraju dugog perioda – mnogo sati. Te odluke bi zvučale izvrsno naredni dan.

  • Da se vratimo malo u 80′, kada su internet, PC,smartphone su bili znanstvena fantastika, kako je bilo snimati albume,raditi nastupe.

Stari, bilo je opako!!! Bandovi kao DOA, Dead Kennedys bi otvorili telefonske imenike da nam pomognu. Ali često bi čuli pogrešne stvari vrlo dugo tipa da je CBGB zatvoren.Ispostavilo se da nije istina i ispostavilo se da je to bilo najbolje mjesto za svirku.

Sami telefonski pozivi su bili čista genijalnost!! Bili smo bez love i pozivi su vrlo skupi!! Mnogo je više lakše danas.Kao što sam već rekao, bila je to prava zajednica. Kada smo se stvarno probili upoznali smo dosta sjajnih ljudi koji su nam pomogli.

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  • Kako ste se raspali, čitao sam negdje da netom što je bilo gotovo, Atlantic Records Vam je ponudio ugovor, kako ste došli kao bubnjar Killdozera, Fuckface projekt  među kojima su bili vokal Die Kreuzena Dan Kubinski s ostalim članovima  Milwaukee rock scene kao što su Boy Dirt Car,The Crusties i ostali, kako ste dovraga završli skupa s dj Stevom Aokiem, Big Johnom Dunconom, gitaristom The Exploiteda?

Bili smo pri kraju vrlo duge turneje kroz cijele SAD-e. Tenzije su došle do vrhunca, sve je to došlo od toga da zadnji album, Cement nije dobio dobre reakcije,nastupi nisu bili dobro posječivani kao prije.Bio je gadan prekid ali nakon 12 godina vjerojatno je bilo vrijeme.Istina je da je Atlantic Records se javio nekim članovima poslije raspada, no bila je to gotova priča.

Svi smo bili u drugim projektima.Imao sam turneju i snimanje s kul pjevačem/tekstopiscem/bandom  Paul K and the Weathermen. Također sam bio pozvan da odradim turneju s Killdozerom. U to vrijeme bi samo nazvali i pitali.

Fuckface je bio postojeći projekt u  Milwaukeeu i samo dodavanje 4.bubnjara(!) se činilo kao dobra ideja po njima.To je bio stvarno sjajan band!!! I Milwaukee je sam po sebi je imao malo scenu pa je svak svakog znao te smo se slagali.

Glazbenik iz Amsterdama, Robert Smit-Sickboy, znao je o mojim bandovima. Desilo se to da Big John Duncan također živi u Amsterdamu i da je njegov prijatelj te nas je Robert pozvao da sudjelujemo u nekim djelovim pjesme na kojoj je radio.Kasnije je surađivao s Stevom Aokijem- koji je također bio Die Kreuzen i Exploited fan još odavno-koji je samo ubacio vokal i svoj stil. To je stavio na cd (Wonderland) koji je za nefaliti bio nominiran za Grammy.Ja sam nisam imao previše s tim ali ponosan sam na to što sam sudjelovao.

  • Za kraj, vidio sam Die Kreuzen reunion, hoće li ikako biti u Splitu,Hrvatska?

Voljeli bi doći svirati u Splitu!!Hrvatska mi se čini sjajna za nastupe i to pogotovo nastup u Puli s Killdozerom koji mi je osobno jedan od najboljih u cijelom životu.Bilo kako bilo sigurni smo da s reunionom smo gotovi.Nemogu reći da neće biti nastupa, ali za sada neće biti.

 

Razgovarao: Hrvoje Bubić
Prijelom i obrada teksta: Vjeran Stojanac

12/04/2016

autor: Vjeran Stojanac

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