INTERVIEW WITH JUNKYARD
Date: April 27, 2016
JUNKYARD HAVE OFTEN BEEN LUMPED IN WITH THE WORLD OF SLEAZE METAL BUT THE GROUP’S BAND MEMBERS HAVE TIES WITH AND A LOVE FOR PUNK ROCK. WITH JUNKYARD’S FIRST VIDEO IN 24 YEARS, A KICK ASS SINGLE RELEASED MORE THAN EIGHT MONTHS AGO AND A NEW ALBUM IN THE WORKS, THERE WAS LOTS TO TALK ABOUT WITH JUNKYARD’S BAND MEMBERS, DAVID ROACH (VOCALS), TIM MOSHER (GUITAR), TODD MUSCAT (BASS) AND PATRICK MUZINGO (DRUMS)! OF NOTE, JUNKYARD GUITARIST BRIAN BAKER WAS ON TOUR WITH DAG NASTY IN EUROPE AT THE TIME OF THIS INTERVIEW.
Sleaze Roxx: Junkyard released two singles [“Faded” and “The River”] last year. Why did Junkyard decide to release singles rather than an EP or album?
David Roach: We had access to a studio and those two songs were ready to go. We have six or eight songs that are ready but our studio time was limited. We were going to Spain and wanted something new to offer our fans and let the interweb world know we were still alive and kicking.
Tim Mosher: The reasoning behind doing a single versus a full length or EP was pretty straightforward. We wanted to put out something new but didn’t feel we had enough songs ready for a full length. We also thought “Faded” was a great way to re-introduce ourselves to our fans. A real statement of intent so to speak.
Patrick Muzingo: To prick tease our audience! We are really gonna release a single a year for the next five years and depending on our health in 2020, a live version of the five singles released between 2015-2020 [laughs]! David and Tim nailed it. We had studio time down in O.C. that Brian had hooked up. Great studio! Great engineer! We maybe did two takes of each song. We had more but reality hit and we only had a few days so the two of the batch became the single. We had a few opportunities to finish it and make it a full length but time was running out and our Spain tour was coming at us fast so we had to put it out! I dig singles! I also had to reach back and take some time to recreate the band’s look and feel for the artwork. There was no reason to “clean up the logo” or anything like that. If anything, I felt like the artwork on all our records was a little too clean. The cover art to “Faded” was homage to our debut. I can’t wait to design the full length! More space to work with. No fancy photos or clean artwork. Those have always annoyed me.
Todd Muscat: We had free studio time for three days and went in and knocked those fuckers out!
Sleaze Roxx: For the first time in 24 years, Junkyard also released a video for a song. What made you decide to do a video after all these years?
David Roach: The music business has changed so much that YouTube seemed like the way to go. We had Todd who is an editor and he coerced a cameraman he works with to shoot it in Pat’s Dad’s — R.I.P. — garage. We realized it was a do it yourself world for bands like us and again we want people to know we’re still around.
Tim Mosher: YouTube is one of the main venues that people hear music now and it only made sense to do a video. Plus we could show that we were still alive and kicking after all these years. Todd did a great job directing and editing it as well.
Patrick Muzingo: One night, Todd and I were out by my parent’s house doing a podcast. We grew up in that garage! When our punk band hit the road back in 1984, we bought a ’63 Ford Falcon van for $150, drove the van to my Dad’s garage and he tricked it out so we could make it around the country! For us, that garage and house had history with many Junkyard BBQs as well. Anyhow, my Dad passed in 2005 and the garage had been cleaned up but there was a still reminder of things hanging on the walls untouched. When my Mom opened the garage door, it was perfect. Todd and I looked around and decided nothing needed to be changed. It was a dream set for the band. It also had the feel of the “Hollywood” video. It was a no brainer. We also wanted to show the world, with this video, who we are and who we have always been. No bullshit, no chicks walking around, no silly “rockwear” outfits or chain wallets going down to our ankles! Us in what we wear everyday and exactly how a rehearsal really is for us. For me, it helped to let my drum companies [DW, Zildjian and Los Cabos sticks] know that I am still alive [laughs].
Todd Muscat: We did it there because it’s cheap and easy to do now. Without a label paying for things in the last 24 years, why would we sink our own money into doing a video?
Sleaze Roxx: When can we expect a new album from Junkyard?
Patrick Muzingo: God! Soon we hope! Sitting on these songs is really difficult. It’s looking like we will be recording this summer. We have finally got some updates from our new label and they like where things are with all the songs. Also, when it comes to the live shows, we are going to have to make some hard choices. What do we retire to make room for the new songs? We obviously can’t dump the standards like “Hollywood”, “Misery”, “Hands Off”, “Texas”, “Life Sentence”, “Back On The Streets”, etc. so maybe we should just play a little longer!
Sleaze Roxx: Yes! You definitely should! Make sure you let the Rock N Skull Festival [from October 28 to 30, 2016] know [laughs].
Tim Mosher: We hope to have a new album ready by year’s end. What that means date wise, we are not sure but suffice it to say we have a great batch of songs and can’t wait for everyone to hear them.
David Roach: There is hope and there is reality. We hope to have a full record recorded and mixed by mid-summer. Reality is it might take a little longer, but I believe the way we work, we can jump in a studio and make the best Junkyard record yet. Everything falls together, not over thinking it, no stress from the big label sweating us… Just do it yourself rock just like the way we all grew up.
Sleaze Roxx: Most Sleaze Roxx readers will know you for Junkyard but most of you have a successful punk background. From a music standpoint, how do you identify yourself if you can only pick one band that each of you did.
Todd Muscat: I would say Junkyard. For me, it’s a blend of a lot of the things musically and attitude wise that I identify with.
David Roach: I would choose my never heard of band “The Strappados”, which is a straight up garage rock band. I didn’t have a mic so I had to scream above the band to be heard! I think it taught me you have to do whatever it takes and not be a little bitch.
Tim Mosher: That’s a tough one. most people now know me from Junkyard even though I’m not an original member but if a had to pick one, I’d say Broken Glass because it was my first “real” band and we did get signed to a major label.
Patrick Muzingo: Hard one! Good question! I’ve been in LA bands since I was 15. My first release was at 15½ and by 18, I was playing in five bands and was on a dozen compilations, gigging every punk club every night of the week. By the time I hit 19, I finally settled into on band so I guess that would really be the band. Decry was around for a little while before I met Todd and he told me I have to play in their band. As soon as I played one rehearsal, I knew I had finally found the band that made the most amount of sense. Not hardcore, not rock but an amalgamation of everything I liked at the time. We did two “records.” I guess the recording that defines me would be the “Falling” record by Decry. My playing was starting to get a little more simplified and I finally understood my job as the drummer. Not to drum like these dorks that were all over MTV — yeah, even punkers watched the channel — but to play as simple as possible, beat the crap out of the kit and then lay off when needed. Similar to people like Tony Thompson, Steve Jordan, Ringo, etc. Coming from a jazz background, it was difficult not to throw little drum fills in here and there but I guess I was growing up!
It was also the first time I got to see exactly how the business of music worked… from the songwriting to recording and mixing. I learned a lot from watching the late Chaz Ramirez who produced and mixed Decry — as well as Social Distortion, Berlin, the Adolescents and even Stryper which we all had some hilarious laughs over — at the Casbah studios. Chaz taught me to listen as a drummer to the song, not just the parts but also the whole vision. I also was taught how artwork went from conception to birth and how you really needed to think ahead many years because that artwork, layout and even liner notes will follow you the rest of your life. This was all before you could lay it out in Illustrator or Photoshop.
From there, Todd and I learned the ins and outs of touring. Mind you, this was when you had very little info except for the promoters’ phone number — not even a name, the name of the club with no address and the monetary amount to expect. I learned about percentages, bonuses, room sizes, how many are paid and the money person to look out for really quick! How we did it without the luxury of cell phones was amazing!
The best was calling CBGBs! We were on a Sunday matinee in December of ’84 with Scream pre-Dave Grohl, Agnostic Front, Dead Milkmen and Adrenaline OD. It was freezing and we were in Philadelphia and we had access to a phone. I called the number at CBs and it rang and rang… Finally after 30 plus rings, someone picked it up. I told them we were the band playing on Sunday from California and whomever was on the other end just said when you get here, just load in. Of course I asked what
time and he said I don’t fucking know! Whatever time you play, load in six hours earlier and go shop at Trash and Vaudeville and someone will come get you ya damn tourists! So, we got to New York City at 6:00 am, got a parking spot right in front of CBGBs and went walking around. We had to draw straws for who had to stay in the van. We walked around, found Trash & Vaudeville, went inside and low and behold, Angela Bowie and Ace Frehley were in there. She was great. She said we looked terrible, ordered us some food and got us a 50% discount.
We had very little money but we had enough for each guy to get something for ten bucks. I got a pair of black used creepers that were falling apart, but they were George Cox creepers — the original makers of the shoe — and had enough left over for super glue! At any rate, that band really taught me more than any college could when it came to layout, design, tour budgets, business of music and the dreaded music business. Brian, Chris, Todd and myself had done years of touring before Junkyard got its first tour. Looking back, we really could have fought the label when it came to budgets that were out of control but Geffen told us that the money for touring was a “use it or lose it” option. I think we were all so beat up and tired after years of do it yourself touring that we said fuck it. If this is the way the big leagues do it, then so will we.
Sleaze Roxx: Junkyard have announced a number of tour dates in the US over the course of the next six months. With each of you having other careers and families, how hard is it to get all five of you available to play these shows?
David Roach: It has been a challenge. [Brian] Baker is always busy with Bad Religion. Mark Diamond is busy with The Dwarves and Motochrist. We have a deep bench of guitarists! Our third is Mark Pananidis. I think what’s important is all of us have been friends for decades. We don’t try people out. It’s always in the family. I believe keeping the integrity of the band is capital.
Tim Mosher: The logistics of getting us all five together to play can be daunting and this is by far our most active year in America since the old days. Let’s just say, it’s a challenge!
Patrick Muzingo: We, unlike some of the other bands that tour, actually have full-time careers. It’s tough to get us all in the same room, let alone a weekend run of shows. People do complain that we tour Spain more than the USA. It’s a different vibe over there. It’s also Europe! For us its part vacation, part work. The other thing is that we get requests from the promoters and club owners — more than in the States. We have a stock response that does explain why we can’t hit certain places in the USA. “As much as it may seem that we are in control of where and when we play, we are at the mercy of the local promoters. Contact your local promoter/live music spot and tell them ya want us. All of our booking info is on our website. We appreciate all of the advice about where to play but it’s up to y’all to hit up all yawls’ local spot and tell them you want us.” Some have read it and got in touch with our agent and some people just gloss over it.
Todd Muscat: We’re doing weekend fly ins. Touring is impossible.
Sleaze Roxx: What else can we expect from Junkyard for the rest of 2016 and 2017?
Tim Mosher: More shows will be announced soon and recording this damn record!
Patrick Muzingo: For 2017, we really wanna get to places that we haven’t been to in a long time. It’s next to impossible to hit every place people suggest but some places, like the east coast, have been wanting us out there for a while. This year, we’re knocking out the Denver, Green Bay and Chicago area with possible trips to Texas and Minnesota. Next year, we would love to hit the east coast more than a few times, plus the Carolinas and Atlanta.
Todd Muscat: Other than a handful of shows, not sure really. It’s kind of the way we do things.
Sleaze Roxx: I was hoping that you could each give your thoughts on the first two Junkyard albums and how you think they stand up to this day. Let’s start with the debut self-titled album. That is one album filled with high octane sleaze type rockers. What are your thoughts on the songs from that album and how they fare to this day.
David Roach: While I think the first album was a little overproduced and sometimes I think I sound like Alvin of the Chipmunks, I stand behind most of the songs. I think most of the tracks are still relevant today. I don’t believe we dated ourselves by our look or our material.
Todd Muscat: The first album’s songs were good but production stinks in my opinion. The guitars sound like garbage!
Patrick Muzingo: A band’s first release is usually the best. We had time to hone all those songs for playing live, so we were pretty much getting instant results on new material that was written at the time. There was only a few that didn’t make the cut for the first record [“Lost In The City” and “Misery Loves Company”] just because all the songs were so strong. There wasn’t a lot of editing that happened during recording. [Tom] Werman really just tweaked about 5% of all the songs. It’s a great representation of the time. All the songs had substance. It wasn’t like all the other garbage that was out at the time. Twenty seven years later, people still recite “Hands Off” and others while we play. A lot of people tell us the lyrics changed their way of thinking. That means a lot! Production wise, it sounded like Werman’s ears may have lost it from too many late nights. Too much treble and not enough bass!
Tim Mosher: The first album is a classic first album — in the sense that it is a statement of intent. You know where the band is coming from and what it’s about from one listen. The songs still hold up and that’s the reason the band can still go out and play and have people show up to this day. It’s always about the songs.
Sleaze Roxx: Next up is ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ which saw Junkyard take a more laid back approach in terms of the songs. What are your thoughts on the songs from ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ and how do they fare to this day?
David Roach: I think by ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’, Geffen had they’re claws in us. We were young and excited about what was happening and became “yes men.” Geffen signed us because everyone was looking for the next Guns N’ Roses. We were dirty honest street rock. By the second record, they wanted to groom us and turn us into White Lion — no offence — or any other of those harmless rock bands and to our shame we bought into it. “Hey, the boss wants us to be pretty. We better get pretty!” A few of those songs “Misery Loves Company” and “Lost In The City” — were leftovers from the first record and were good to go. I never liked “All The Time In The World” and I have all the respect in the world for Steve Earle, but I never felt “Slipping Away” was a Junkyard song. Overall it was your classic sophomore slump!
Todd Muscat: I think there’s a handful of good songs from the second record. It was not as consistent as the first record.
Patrick Muzingo: I have to agree with David. We really had the chance to step up but they kind of had us brainwashed and told us all kinds of things that would happen once we get all the songs together. I like about half of the record. Baker had his chance to chime in on songs, which are the ones I guess I like? Some of the songs really sounded good during rough mixes but as they kept tweaking the knobs, it started sounding really stiff. I was really surprised at how well “All The Time In The World” sounded radio wise! Our first week sales were amazing but that was a few weeks before everyone switched to Soundscan. Geffen’s idea was to release numbers around the third week it was released. Major mistake! They messed up. If they only released the figures the first week, we would have entered to charts in the top 20. Oh well, shit happens!
Tim Mosher: I think ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ holds up really well. You can’t repeat yourself and the record showed where the band was at at that moment.
Sleaze Roxx: In hindsight, do you think that the songs on ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ were too much of a departure for Junkyard fans to absorb?
David Roach: I don’t know. I still have people asking why we never play this song or that from ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ but again, I’m very proud of parts of that record. I love playing “Misery [Loves Company]”, “Clean The Dirt” and “Lost In The City” and we always get a good response.
Tim Mosher: You hope the fans follow along with any new stuff you do but to a certain extent, you always gotta do what you feel like doing, singing and playing.
Patrick Muzingo: There were some, only a few I think, that really were different sounding. Right after that was released, we had a great tour of Great Britain with The Almighty, then we hit the road opening for that southern band [laughs]. We never did proper US touring for it. You would think with the single doing so well, they would throw us out on the road for a few weeks or a month? That would have helped a bit? Hell, who knows… Like Baker always says, “There was some Sixes, some Sevens and a few Nines on that record.”
Sleaze Roxx: Junkyard are one of the only bands that I know that really don’t seem bitter about the whole grunge scene pretty much wiping out hair metal in the ’90s. Looking back now, is there anything that you guys would have done differently leading up to the band disbanding.
David Roach: We had Chris of the Big Boys — the original punk funk band who kicked open the doors for bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. We had Brian from Minor Threat who are punk rock icons. Pat and Todd played with Decry who are SoCal punk legends. We had more in common with the grunge bands than the hair bands! We were trying to show what we really were with the demos for the third record that never happened. Bitter? A little. I think they threw the baby out with the bath water. But grunge needed to happen to turn things sideways, just like rap needed NWA. Shit was getting stagnant.
Tim Mosher: All of us came up during the American hardcore punk period so the musical element of grunge and its outsider nature was nothing new to any of us. I, for one, was shocked that anything even close to punk rock could get that big in America. But music is always cyclical — musical movements come and they go. There’s lots of reasons for that so there is no use being bitter about it.
Patrick Muzingo: Those guys nailed it. We are all punks. “Hair metal” flat out sucked around ’92. Labels would sign anyone, just grasping at straws before Nirvana broke. Metal was dying a slow death before grunge broke. We saw it and during the elusive “third Geffen release”, it showed we were going back to our punk roots but they didn’t hear “the hit”, so they let us go. We weren’t about to all get jobs and support the band when we couldn’t even support ourselves! We were also friends with Soundgarden and Jeff and Stone from Mother Love Bone. We were stoked that they got their due!
Todd Muscat: Why would we be bitter? We weren’t a part of that scene anyway. Sure we got lumped in with that garbage because that’s what journalists do, but I’m really glad grunge blew up hair metal. That crap was garbage. Bad pop music with distorted guitars, crap lyrics being performed by cunts. Ninety nine percent of it was dogshit.
Sleaze Roxx: Each of you eventually got “real jobs” after the group disbanded. What have each of you ended up doing over the last 25 years career wise?
David Roach: I’ve been a cook, a carpenter and a warehouse man — a simple man. I had a great band with members of Dogs D’Amor called Borracho. We were great and we went nowhere! Mostly because I drank too much.
Tim Mosher: I became a composer for TV. So still music but behind the scenes.
Patrick Muzingo: Going into the mid ’90s, I became a bartender at the place we used to play all the time! I did that for a while, then Tim and I got picked up by MCA Records in Suckerpunch, which lasted a year or so. Then, I got into web design and programming and have been doing that for 15 years now.
Todd Muscat: I’m a video editor for film and TV.
Sleaze Roxx: Were you frustrated with how the “third album” ended up being handled with bootleg copies of the album running around for years until ‘XXX’ and ‘The Joker’ were remastered and re-released back in 2008?
David Roach: I was disappointed because Chris did that on his own without telling us and ended up not delivering the product our fans had paid for, making us all look bad. We have since made amends. Beyond that, I would say he released everything and several of those songs were either still in the works or should not have been released at all. Overall, I’m glad most of it is out for the hardcore fans.
Tim Mosher: I’m glad that the fans got to hear the music. I just wish the band could have had more input in what songs actually were included. But there ya go!
Patrick Muzingo: The first time I heard it in years was in 2004. It was cool to hear it again — brought back some great memories — but some of the songs should have never been released. Yeah, it’s cool for the hardcore fans but I would love to eventually get it off iTunes, etc. Then it would really be a collector’s item!
Sleaze Roxx: One of the latest trends in the last few years in the US is to have festival gigs or cruises such as the Monsters of Rock gig. Junkyard has been part of some of those including Cathouse last year and Rock N Skull later this year. Do you see that trend continuing?
David Roach: I certainly hope so. It fits our schedule and it’s always fun, especially when you get to headline over The Bulletboys [laughs]. I’m kidding but yes, it gives us the opportunity to expose Junkyard to people who never got to see us back in the day. We are older but the live energy hasn’t lost a beat.
Tim Mosher: There seems to be more festivals all the time. I think it’s great. There are casual fans of the band who might just remember “Hollywood” or something but never saw the band back in the day who now get a chance to see us as well as a bunch of other bands.
Patrick Muzingo: Last year at the Cathouse live was a blast! We are doing a few more this year [Rock N Skull and Hair Nation] so those should be fun. It does get the music out to people that would normally be too scared to come see us at a dingy club. We just played our first show not headlining with L.A. Guns at the Rainbow’s 44th anniversary parking lot party. We had a blast but we forgot the politics of playing with a “headliner.” It’s so high school. Times haven’t changes with certain requests. I guess I could understand if it was a bigger band but c’mon! Grow up! Act your age! Oh well, it is their actual jobs so I guess I cant really bag on it too much. People have asked us why we don’t do M3 or the Cruise. It’s simple. No one has asked us! The cruise seems fun but that would be tough for all of us take off time to do two shows on the boat. Most of the festival shows need a little more diversity. Looks the same every year. Glad to see that DAD & Mike Monroe did it.
Todd Muscat: I haven’t put much thought into that. I’m sure it will keep going if it makes money for someone.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the Junkyard audience these days? Do you find that it is mostly your fans from back in the day that have grown up with Junkyard?
David Roach: For the most part, yes. It’s older people who we made an impact on back in the day. On the bright side, they have kids who think we kick ass.
Tim Mosher: Our fans are loyal! They travel big distances to see us sometimes and are always really supportive of everything we do. There are more younger and newer fans coming as well which is great.
Patrick Muzingo: Its pretty mind-blowing when you get a guy coming up to you saying he flew in from New Zealand to see the band. We have seen some new faces lately and our older fans are bringing their kids and that’s just a trip! We also don’t hide out backstage. It’s boring back there. We are always floating about the crowd. We are just like everyone else at the shows — just normal working class stiffs. Come up and chat with us about anything!
Sleaze Roxx: Last question! For each of you, what are your top three favorite all-time albums and why?
David Roach: I hate this question because there ain’t three. Hank Williams’ ‘Greatest Hits’, Otis Redding’s ‘Greatest Hits’, Elvis’ 55-56, [The Beatles’] ‘The White Album’, ‘Led Zeppelin 4’, [AC/DC’s] ‘Highway To Hell’, [Judas Priest’s] ‘Sad Wings Of Destiny’, Cage The Elephant, Jake Bugg….and Fear! Why? Cause it’s all real!
Tim Mosher: ‘Exile On Main Street by [The Rolling] Stones because it does it all. If you want to know what rock n’ roll music sounds like, this album has everything you need to know. ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ by the Sex Pistols because I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without punk rock. Plus it’s a perfect record! A game changer on every level. ‘The White Album’ by The Beatles. I could have picked any number of Beatles records but this is a good one for sure. A master class in songwriting. If you want to learn about the craft of songwriting, this is a good place to start. [Bob] Dylan too of course! Plus it’s The Beatles!
Todd Muscat: Today, it’s ‘Exile [On Main Street] by The [Rolling] Stones. ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ by the [Sex] Pistols. And the Ramones’ first. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll give you three different ones.
Patrick Muzingo: Select Sex — a cool hardcore band from L.A., Street Walkin Cheetahs…. hard to say all-time? I guess The Who, The Jam and The Damned? Can’t say which specific records ’cause that would mean I would have to think [laughs]!
Thank you to Junkyard for doing the interview and especially to Patrick Muzingo for going the extra mile!