Interview by Marianne Jacobsen
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT
I have to admit that the more days pass, the more I get to explore music. With that I also have to admit that I’ve living under an Inukshuk.
Once again leading into the singing of the the praises of the “new to me – classic to everyone else” band – Honky
After totally enjoying their most recent release “Corduroy” JD Pinkus (Honky, the Melvins, Butthole Surfers etc etc) was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat with me on his way to New Mexico via Colardo.
MGM: Its me, Marianne from MGM – we’re you aware of this call?
JDP: AWESOME! Yes I was! I’m in the middle of Durango Colorado right now. It seems that I’m cutting out just a little bit I’ll let you know if I miss something.
MGM: I always find that when there is a problem with the telephone reception it always turns into a great interview! (TRUTH)!
JDP: Is that so…
MGM: I am actually a brand new fan to Honky and Corduroy is one of my top 5 albums released in 2016 this far. So thank you so much for making it…
JDP: Thank you. I appreciate that.
MGM: No thank you man! This album was a real breath of fresh air for me. I’ve always been a big lover of what Super Boogie is now – but in the 70’s and 80’s then it was called Southern Fried Rock.
JDP: Yeah that’s right!
MGM: Ok firstly, I’m Canadian – so I expect you guys to come up here and play for us sometime ok?
JDP: I’d love that. Yeah I think all of us can get there legally.
(laughter – like I snorted)
MGM: Ok so what does JD stand for? My brother is a JD and he is a John David.
JDP: Jeff David and my son is now Jefferson Davis.
MGM: Keeping the JD in the family! Nice! K – You are about to embark on a European tour…
MGM: That’s not the end of the question! Where is your favourite place to play in Europe and what are you looking forward to this tour?
JDP: I’m looking forward to a lot of things on this tour. Finally having an album out that can be hopefully distributed and out there properly which would be a first for us.
MGM: Long overdue though. You guys are fucking amazing! Pardon my French (fuk means seal) 3579 are my favourite songs on the album. I’m telling ya – I put the music on and thought “you’ve gotta be kidding me!”
JDP: Oh wow! Right on!
MGM: You’re with Housecore Records right?
JDP: Yep Housecore and distribution through MegaForce. I’m really happy to be on a more professional team this time.
MGM: Well I think I’ts just great that this Texas music movement is happening and is brand new to this chick who lives in the middle of nowhere in Canada – really exciting.
JDP Yeah well Im just in the middle of nowhere Colorado heading to New Mexico to do a sweat.
MGM: RIGHT ON!!! What do you hope to get from your sweat?
JDP: Well I’m not quite sure what to expect out of that. I’ve never done one. I did do a couple of weeks down in Peru and I’m basically trying to get back on – you know it’s easy spending two weeks doing things one way and then you come back home and it’s hard to stay kind of focused on some of those things you really got off on during the two weeks. So it’s a chance to get back and focused.
MGM: Right on!
MGM: Have you toured in Europe before?
JDP: Yeah many times. I was in, and still technically am in a band called the Butthole Surfers and they took me up there when I was about 18 by the time I got over there.
MGM: Hey I remember the Butthole Surfers! They had that song “Who was in my room last night?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNAkbbKycCM
JDP: Yeah that was my last album I played with them on.
MGM: As you know, I’m a big fan of Corduroy and it’s the first time I have actually heard Honky. For new fans like me what would you like us to know about Honky?
JDP: Honky is not a heavy band – we’re a good time band. We don’t want fat sweaty dudes all dressed in black up at the front of the stage shaking their sweaty fists. We want the chicks to be up at the front and then the sweaty dudes BEHIND THEM. That way they guys can drink and watch the girls’ butts shake and the band can get a better view at the front.
MGM: So the brass ring of this is a bunch of females bounce along to the music with loose fitting bras?
JDP: I don’t know about bras. No need to overdress the ladies for me.
MGM: Ok so is there anything else about Honky that you want us to know besides bras are not required?
JDP: Bras are not required and women do not need to have escorts! We also like our imported drink of Jim Beam over in Europe. It always makes it more special.
MGM: Are you more a fan of creating the music or performing it live?
JDP: There’s a magic to both of it. I really enjoy creating – watching an idea of a song come together. Like “Out of Season” – I had my friends play horns on that song. Which is actually Prince’s horn section and I guess he don’t need them anymore. We got the guys from Brown Out and Brown Sabbath – also known more in Texas as Grupo Fantasma http://grupofantasma.com/. They are really good guys and Mark “Speedy” Gonzales (trombone) he wrote the horn parts to it. I sent him the music with the lyrics on it and he did an amazing job. We play that song without the horn section live and our guitar player Bobby (Lifer) Langraff has played in bands with horns and so he can kind of imitate a little bit of that to get that vibe going. So we don’t actually have to bring them on tour until we can afford them.
MGM: Yeah I love to boogie and this album just goes all over the place – Grand Funk and Wild Cherry…I love it!
JDP: YOU GOT IT!!!! You know when you were talking about a name for our type of music – we don’t want to be classified. There are a lot of shitty labels for fake genres of music. They wanted to put Honky in with the Stoner Rock back in the day and I was very adamant about not being in Stoner Rock – because yes we smoke weed and yes we play rock – however, there’s a little bit more to us. So we figured it would be best to just start calling ourselves “Super Boogie”. As soon as another band calls themselves “Super Boogie” we will know we have created a genre!
MGM: What is the musical recipe that you use to make Super Boogie music?
JDP: it’s gotta be most of the time the bass and guitar not playing the exact same thing. It’s gotta be usually anything but a 4/4 drumb beat. And it’s got to have a BOOTY SHAKE AUTHORITY to it. We don’t like to put any limits on ourselves and we might do a 4/4 song you can’t dance to with the guitar and bass doing the exact same thing.
MGM: I’ll figure out a way to dance to it. I always do! K so his is Honky’s 9th album…where have you been all my life?
JDP: Well we’ve been doing other stuff as well. You know, we started this – I got this going in 1996 and so everybody else has other things going on as well with things to pay the bills to let us do the things that let us do this band. So, you know, we just wanted to do something that we could do and nobody would be telling us what they want to hear from us. We started off simple by design and started expanding the sound – once we kinda created a sound.
I was in many bands before where the first song sounded totally different than the second song and third song and fourth song – and it confuses people. So it was nice to be able to come up with kind of a design to where we could gradually expand our sound while still keeping it true. So that’s what Honky started out doing and it wasn’t about getting a bunch of promotion for it. We just kind of did it more grassroots. And nowadays with a name like Honky and people taking down stars and bars – there’s a lot more sensitive people out there.
MGM: Hahaha Here I was thinking Honky was like as in “Honky Tonk”! (can anyone tell I’m Canadian?)
JDP: Yeah, which is half of what it is. But Honky is a term that was rendered by black folk in the Marigny in New Orleans to describe white people because they would come into the Marigny to pick up their maids or prostitutes and they wouldn’t get out of the car – they would just Honk. So they started calling them Honkys.
MGM: MIND BLOWN!!! Holy shit the Jeffersons’ just took on a whole new fucking meaning! Wow I learned something new today! Thank you Mr. Pinkus!
JDP: Yeah, you’re welcome.
MGM: It’s so much fun finding these bands that I have never heard of before up here in Canada.
JDP: Yeah in Canada you guys have a mandatory playlist with Rush and stuff and in Texas it’s the mandatory – theres a radio station here called KLBJ but I call it KSRV because it’s All Stevie Ray All Stevie Day!
MGM: So is everything bigger and better in Texas?
JDP: It used to be – but now I’m grumpy and old.
MGM: Aren’t we all?
JDP: Yeah actually one of my friends just had a hip transplant and I asked him if he was trying to become a hipster now?
MGM: Well he’s in good company because Paul Stanley has one and so does Eddie Van Halen!
JDP: We only jump around like that at practice!
MGM: Now, Why a power trio? What’s the background in the choice of making it a power trio.
JDP: Well there are many reasons 1. Have you ever tried to be in a band with more than 3 people? It’s hard enough having a band with three people. I have a band with more people, more country sounding a band called Pure Luck http://www.pureluckband.com/ our album is coming out soon. We started out with two drummers and four guitar players and a bass player and sometimes we would have guest musicians like fiddle or pedal steel and it sounds great – but trying to get the logistics to work out can suck. But the grooves you can get. I’ve got a guitar player that can get – basically I play rhythm guitar and bass and I’ve got a guitar player who can play off what I play and I got a drummer that can pick and choose from either one of us and together. So the trio is a little bit more of an intimate connection and a little bit more of the grooves come out in a different way.
MGM: So how did you guys meet? I mean the band has been around for 20 years.
JDP: Bobby is the new guy even though he has been in the band for over 16 years!
MGM: That’s what I call Bobby in Down – NEW GUY – hahahahah – new person is the most important!!
JDP: Yeah we did a little jamming with him and recording with him because our original guitar player wanted to cover “Beautiful Girls” by Van Halen. Bobby was there so we could get the tones. Afterwards our guitar player kinda decided he could not be on the road anymore – he was on the first record (Honky)- he suggested we get Bobby. So I said “Hey Bobby. How do you feel about playing in Honky?” And he has already done a couple of shows with us so I said “You gonna do this full time? And Bobby asked, “What will be different?” I said, “Nothin but you get to do this all the time!” and he said, “Yeah sure!”. And then his girlfriend left him.
MGM: Her loss!
JDP: Yeah well the idea is that a woman loves that you are in a band, your self-employed, you travel and you get to go to all these cool places and make your own schedule and then six month later they hate you because you are in a band, you get to travel, your self-employed. It’s pretty much a sad cycle for musicians.
MGM: Yeah you really have to be independent and have a life not totally surrounding the person who is performing. You have to have your own life.
JDP: Yeah well lucky for Bobby he is getting married for the first time at the tender age of 51.
MGM: That’s amazing! Never too late as Jimmy Bower says!
JDP: I think everyone should get married once. I did it when I was young so I could get it out of the way. I like my girlfriend now. She’s married so it takes all the pressure off.
MGM: HA! She’s married to you though right? Yeah well at least her husband has no problem with the boyfriend!
MGM: One of my favourite songs on the album is Mopey Dick – who’s idea was that? It really reminded me of “Happy Trails” on Van Halen’s “Diver Down” record.
JDP: Yeah it keeps getting compared to that and you know I honestly never even thought about that until after someone said that to me. Really, I always wanted to do an acapella version of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” and our joke was – how do you “drummer talk” like FatDickInTheButt… Big Fat Dickinthebutt… Fat Cock Fat Cock-DickInTheButt
Fat Cock- Dickinthebutt , etc…. – because no one knows how to talk to drummers.
MGM: Yeah drummers are a breed of their own.
JDP: Oh yeah definitely. They don’t have to plug anything in. They just have to have a van and a PA and they are hired!
MGM: If they have their own backline they are totally fucking in right?
MGM: What is your favourite song on Corduroy that you like to perform live? For me I am totally looking forward to hearing “Ain’t Got The Time” live. LOVE THAT SONG!
JDP: Thanks! I like doing that one a lot live and as I said I really like playing “Out of Season” live. Even though we ain’t got the horns I still like the sound of it.
MGM: Well I love this album and I can’t get enough of it.
JDP: Well thank you. We put a lot of time and took our time with it. Made sure the right people did the right things on it. This album is more of a collection of music of all the people we have been playing with. We just got lucky with the way it flows – it works out. The last album we did (421) we recorded the whole thing at Willie Nelson’s studio and we had certain days we wanted to get it done by and we got it all done and mixed it – and the same person mixed Corduroy. We were really looking for the right tools to do the right job.
MGM: Where in the world have you not performed that you would like to perform?
JDP: That’s a good question. I think South America so then I can be calling Texans “Yankees”
MGM: Texas is likes it’s own country in America isn’t it?
JDP: Yea, it definitely is. They keep talking about succeeding – but then as soon as something bad happens they call FEMA so I don’t know. It’s a tossup.
MGM: Yeah you kinda have to just be happy and not pay too much mind to politics.
JDP: Yeah definitely.
MGM: Any upcoming plans for a North American tour?
JDP: Yeah, we are trying. The next U.S. one is gonna be kind of in our region we hit all the time anyways. We are gonna start off with, its actually gonna be Honky headlining and Whiskey Dick playing in the middle – which is a great two man band from Texas and then my band Pure Luck is gonna be the opening band. I play guitar and banjo in Pure Luck. So we hope that once the record is out there for a while we will get some offers. We would actually love to play for some bigger crowds just to get the word out there and try and make a livin from selling tshirts or whatever.
MGM: Yeah, that’s kinda my motto “don’t be a dick – go to a show and buy a shirt if you can.” That’s the best way to support bands these days.
JDP: Yeah that’s it. People ask me how to get by in the music business today and I say, “Well, the only thing I can tell you for sure is just to sell CDs and tshirts to drunk people at your shows.” Other than that – it’s a toss up.
MGM: Yeah I buy shirts and pay for my own tickets.
JDP: Yeah, you’re a rarity. We have always been DIY – not necessarily by choice but because we didn’t have any scene to fit in with. You know, we can play with a metal band we can play with a country band and we aren’t afraid to play any kind of music whatsoever. So it’s kinda put us in a weird place. It’s not like there is another band that we can play with
MGM: I think that’s a good thing.
Thanks to Mr. Pinkus for a half hour of his life and I hope the Honky European tour is a success.
Honky will be performing at Ride for Dime in Dallas, Texas on August 20, 2016 along with Corrosion of Conformity (the greatest band in the world), Prong, Kyng and Whiskeydick.
Also of note is that Mr. Darryl “Dimebag” Abbott would have been 50 human years on August 20th – so over the month of August MGM will be sharing fan and friend stories about Dimebag in his honour.