By paul

Webzines across American are raving about one band in particular at the moment – Epoxy. With a sound you won’t have heard before, this is one band that just about everybody wants to have a piece of. Labels are joining the queue to grab a piece of the band, who not only are sonically good, but lyrically have a lot to say. Their ‘Nothing Else’ record, released on small DC label Pollen Records, has generated more praise than any other ‘small’ release in recent memory and has had our American colleagues slavering all over them. Guitarist/vocalist Brett Kimberlin is as enthusiastic about his band as the critics are. In an in-depth transatlantic telephone chat, I caught up with the frontman and asked him just what is causing all the fuss. And as you are about to find out, Brett’s colourful and interesting past is just the prelude to a band that are sure to continue making waves in the US – and most probably beyond.

“People love and believe in this album. If people are not into the music or what we stand for then I don’t want them around. The producer did it for gratis and he was one of the best around. It is amazing how everyone pulled together for this record.” But the simple matter of fact is that Epoxy – who come out of Washington DC – have more to say than almost any other band out there at the minute. While they may not strictly be the most punk band around sonically, their lyrics, combined with their ideals, are as ‘punk’ as you will find. Brett Kimberlin, a political prisoner for a couple of years, has many stories to tell from his time in the slammer. Be it Courtney Love, George Bush or even the topic of drug-taking, Brett has a lot to say. So much infact that he wrote 250 songs while behind bars and ‘Nothing Else’ is just a sample of what is in the mindset of the man. He won’t talk too much about his times behind bars, stating that it was not what he did that is important but what has come out of it. “It is important that I was a political prisoner but not the facts that are behind it. My status gave me the grist to the mill to come up with a lot of the feeling and emotion within the music. I am ravidly anti-Republican here in America – I am a hardcore liberal and they just don’t like me. I helped to elect Bill Clinton and had to deal with scandal and they (the authorities) did everything they could to screw me around and they threw me in jail. They did everything they could to get me in jail, I was on parole for an old charge and they revoked my parole.”

Taken away from his music and the ability to have his speech, Brett was left to write about his pain and suffering inside, indeed having his freedom taken away was perhaps the hardest pill to swallow. It’s no surprise therefore to know that much of this album is anti the authorities and in particular US President George W. Bush. It’s a topic that Brett can talk about at length and the song ‘Killing Fields’ touches on a topic that he feels sums up the man. “It’s about George Bush killing this girl in Texas when he was Governor. She was with her boyfriend when they killed a couple. Her boyfriend did it but she was put on Death Row, even though he was the instigator. She got into religion and asked for forgiveness but Bush started laughing at her on TV and refused to pardon her. I just thought it was outrageous and I wrote the song. It’s kind of a ‘hey you fucker, how can you do this?’ song.” And through Brett’s eyes, he can see no good coming out of the current Presedential regime. “I don’t agree with hardly anything he does. We don’t have to do the things that we are doing to people and then we wonder why they get mad. I don’t agree with people who blow up places, but they need to address the cause. You cannot just kill and then not address anything. The reason is because of oppression and injustice – these are the causes that we need to route out and solve.”

‘Nothing Else’ came out as a result of Brett’s time in prison. Epoxy came together with bassist Wade Matthews and drummer Robbie White and ever since the cd has hit stores the plaudits have gone crazy. The reaction has been nothing short of amazing. Combining punk ideals and thoughts with Brett’s unique vocal drawl, comparisons to the mighty Nirvana have been made. And while Brett is quick to refute these claims, he is quick to praise both his influences and modern day loves. “I was in jail as a political prisoner – I was away from the scene and I just developed my own sound and I haven’t heard one bad thing about it. One of our reviews said it was an evolutionary sound. It’s not the nu-metal sound and it’s not the Blink 182 sound that’s way overdone, it’s just me. I didn’t try and be any particular sound, by being alone in jail I went without access to clubs and gigs and I just wrote.”

One song in particular, ‘Love Snuff‘, touches on the role Courtney Love played in the death of Kurt Cobain. He said: “It’s about the lack of compassion and attention she showed in his death. Kurt was a very authentic musician and that’s where I get my influences from him. I have a Jimminy Cricket on my shoulder and nothing frivalous gets through, as he did. He was authentic and real. The music is very cerebral and I think that’s what people will like about us. I quite like The Vines but their lyrics are kinda trite. But nobody can say that about our band. I don’t think there can be anybody like Nirvana or The Beatles – they are once in a lifetime. With Kurt there was a certain feeling, a connection that went through every one of the songs. When you listen to The Vines there is no thread going through that album. The thing that a lot of fans have said about our album is that it is a cd with no crappy songs and it flows really nice.” One thing that Brett does not want to get caught up in is the ‘fake’ splutterings of the nu-metal bands that taint the mainstream media. “These guys haven’t been through any angst,” Brett spits. “I have been tortured, abused and I have had my liberty taken away, all because of speech. When I scream or sing or yell I am being real and this is what distinguishes our band. The lyrics are really intelligent you can take them on dual levels. So many bands talk about shagging chicks in high school, but there is a lot of autobiographical stuff on there.”

As you can probably tell, Brett is more than enthusiastic about his band and his songs and listening to them it’s easy to see why. ‘Nothing Else’ is different, there aren’t too many other ways to describe it. It’s raw, primal, honest and believable. The opening bars to ‘Doing Fine’ are reminiscent of Nirvana, but it’s Brett’s unique vocal style that really stands out. Get over this unique standpoint and you have a vital record, no doubt about it. ‘X’ is a track about ecstacy from the point of view of a fellow prisoner. The slurred vocal stance matches many of the 80’s punk bands, suiting Brett down to the ground. “‘X’ is an interesting song, it’s from the users point of view. There was this guy in prison and he was bringing ecstacy into America from Amsterdam and he was caught and they gave him 10 years in jail. He was just telling me how he liked ecstacy.” The track follows straight into ‘Notches’, a song about “fucking people over.” Whether it’s a coincidence that these two songs follow each other or not, the end result is nothing short of genius.

Of course the agenda for Epoxy is to get their word out to as many people as possible. With a stckpile of 250 songs, Brett would like to release a new record every 6 to 9 months. And then there’s the constant touring that he hopes to build up. “We are playing locally here but I really want to get to where we can play gigs with a really big crowd. These little clubs are great to get tuned up, but I feel that this music needs to be played live in front of a lot of people. Authenticity defines the album and the band – I’ve never wanted to be sat in a fucking limo. I am the kind of guy that if we started touring we would have a different set every day. We would like to do a CD every 6 to 9 months. I don’t want to have to sit on a cd for 2 years, I would go crazy playing the same songs and that’s where we differ from a lot of other bands.”

Both www.pastepunk.com and www.punknews.org are self-confessed fans of Epoxy, and Brett feels that the webzines have a huge role to play in the music that bands now create. “The webzines are ahead of their time,” he added. “The print work takes three to four months and they are way behind the people and they champion bands that are behind the times. It is unbelievable the bands that are caught in this time warp. I think we have got something here and the zines can’t get enough of it.” The zines aren’t the only people who cannot get enough of Epoxy. Major labels are already sniffing around and it can only be a matter of time before the world gets to hear about Brett and company. “I really believe in this record, but it’s now about taking it step by step. But I can’t fucking wait.”

For more information on the band, check out www.epoxyband.com or to purchase ‘Nothing Else’, head on over to www.interpunk.com

Paul Savage

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