*NOTE: Due to a mis-count, Simon Marshall’s issue wold have been Thunder Issue 15, not 13 as it is written. Sorry about that!
This interview, when it happened, could not have had me any more nervous.
Chris Walter, who is known as a writer of Punk Rock fiction and nonfiction, is someone I really respect.
As always in my mind though, I jumped to worst case scenario. (I call it my case of the ‘What Ifs?’)
What if I stumbled over my words so bad, I couldn’t get a sentence out; let alone an interview?
What if I had a really bad panic attack and had to leave? (It’s happened before.)
Or; an extreme What If: What If Chris Walter was really snooty?
As usual, my worry blows thing way out of proportion. Chris was fantastic to interview, and it was great to meet a fellow writer.
*Note: I did this interview in two part. Asking some questions during the Q&A, and later on one on one.
KW: I was wondering; I was told that you started out by writing a zine. What was your zine like? What was it about?
CW: In 1982, I was trying to hack it together on a borrowed typewriter and you know, my friend asked me ‘What are yo doing?’ And I told him, ‘I’m going to write a fan zine.’ And he said ‘What are you going to call it?’ and I said I’m going to call it ‘Pages Of Rage.’ So he said, ‘Oh, o.k.’ I thought for sure he was going to tell I was an idiot and that it was never going to work, because that’s what he generally used to tell me. But he didn’t discourage me for it, so we actually got it together. You know, we misspelled, mistyped, and we took it down to the library and collated the thing. I was surprised when we actually sold it all for a dollar a copy. You couldn’t do that nowadays, because alot of stuff is paid for by the advertising. The first few issues were really crappy photocopy jobs, but an overachiever friend of mine, he had it printed in a place in town that used offset printing, and we started doing runs of a thousand, distributing them all over North America. And I was surprised at the success we were getting. But then we realized it was alot like real work. And that was kind of a problem. So we stopped doing it. (Laughs in room.)
KW: How do you pick the bands you write about?
CW: I thought I’d pick bands maybe I knew personally. And bands I listen to. And SNFU, Personality Crisis, and DayGlo Abortions certainly fit those catrgories. I also wanted to cover Canadian bands first, but I’m not going to limit mysef to them. Personally, I’m running out of bands that fit the criteria, so my next book might be about a British or American band. But I wanted to cover the Canadian stuff that was important to me first.
During One On One:
KW: How do you get started when you start a story or subject? Do you start on paper, on a computer?….
CW: On a computer. I used to write stuff by hand before I had a computer, but that’s the hard way to do it. You know, I revise and edit so much, it’s carpal tunnel material.
KW: How do you pick a subject for a book that you’re working on?
CW: I try to go with what’s currently happening in the scene, and who’s active and put out a new album. I just listen around and see who’s doing what. You do stories around them, not some band that broke up 10 years ago. You know what I mean right? Isn’t that what you do?
KW: What made you want to write about SNFU?
CW: They’ve been around for 30 years, influenced people all over the world, hell I’ve known two of the members for 30 years so it made perfect sense to do it.
KW: What makes you want to write about Punk in Canada?
CW: I’ll write about Punk anywhere, but Canada is where I live. My next book might not be about a Canadian Punk band, but I wrote aboutte bands that were important to me first.
KW: I know you just completed a project, but I have to ask. Do you anything for a next book in mind?
CW: I have a few ideas. A few bands I’m considering. But I won’t say who they are until it’s finalized.
KW: You write fiction and nonfiction. Is there one genre you perfer?
CW: They’re both so different. Like fiction is great because you can explore your creativity. But I also like writing nonficition. It’s rewarding to do music biographies because you learn so much about the bands you like. It’s a learning process.
KW:Did you think that when you started writing it would ever come to this point?
CW: No. I had no idea. I was writing because I had nothing better to do. But I knew I had to do something because I felt like I was wasting my life.
(After that we exchanged good-byes, as Chris had to go.)
You can get Chris’s books here in Hamilton,Ontario, Canada at Crash Landing Punk and Music store or at Hammer City Records.
Or to get an idea of his books, hit up punkbooks.com
SOME BANDS TO WATCH:
Frankie and Jimmy.
Even though they are a duo, this pair kicks some major musical a*s. (They make as much noise as a band.)
They’re unique, as they aim to blend Punk and Classic Blues with guitar, a harmonica, and a voice that won’t be forgotten soon.
They have a free download. Their rendition of ‘Maggie Campbell Blues’ available on Bandcamp.com.
A band I have yet to see, (and I look forward to when I do), Dismantle sounds like Hamilton. I know you probably ask how, but just go with me on this. They’re Punk, they’re gritty, they’re great. And their 2 free downloads are available at:
They’re from the U.K, but Spanner have been making waves in my scene. Quite a few people talk up this Ska-Punk band, and for good reason. Their music covers everything border patrols to the government and other important issues, all set to awesome music. They have a 13 track album up free at: rebeltimerecords.bandcamp.com
SOME UPCOMING SHOWS/ EVENTS:
As it’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, the Lyric Theatre will be hosting it’s monthly Youth Poetry Slam and Open Mic. Not to mention it’s workshop with the featured poet. (This month it’s Lisa Slater.) Things kick off at 6pm for the workshop, 7pm for the poetry. Admission is $2 for 18 and under, $5 for 19 and over.
Janice Lee and The Free Rads play the Artword Artbar on January 18th with Lorimer Longhaul, Jon The Bassit and more. The event is Pay What You Can, and gets started at 8pm. I don’t know if it’s All-Ages or not.
Panzerfaust, Unbowed, Erimha, and Necrodios play the Doors Pub January 18th. It’s $12 at the door, $8 for advance tickets. (Advance tickets can be purchased at Dr. Disc or at Hammer City Records.) This event is 19+, and starts at 8pm.
In response to recent crimes that have taken place in the city, this months Slamfest (we’re at number 19. Awesome!) will have an anti-violence theme. I’m always a big advocate for Slamfest, but I especially encourage attending this one. Slamfest starts at 3pm, admission is $6, and this show is All-Ages.
This issue I would like to thank:
Chris Walter, for agreeing to be interviewed
Suzanne Kirkwood and Chris Crash for helping to get me this interview
My Mom and Dad
Anyone who reads this zine
The City Of Hamilton