Leftover Crack

By Andy

BEN – OK, if I can just get you to introduce yourselves for the tape…
STZA – I’m Stza Crack, vocals and guitar.
EZRA – My name’s Ezra, I play guitar, sing some backups…

BEN – I know you just answered this question [in the previous interview] but what happened with the switch from Hellcat to Alternative Tentacles [Jello Biafra’s label]?
STZA – Basically Hellcat wouldn’t print our art or the title of the record; they didn’t want to do it. Including them and the distributor and the printers wouldn’t do it either so we had to make a deal with when I gave them new art and a title that was totally fucking shit and boring and they let would let us out of our contract which they didn’t do for two years. Finally we got out, we got a letter saying we’re out of our contract which made it possible for us to sign to Alternative Tentacles.
EZRA – Basically what we’re trying to make people aware of is the fact that censorship happened on many different levels and Hellcat bowed to other major conglomerates in the States who wouldn’t print the record…
STZA – …or the distributor wouldn’t carry it…they were afraid they wouldn’t sell a lot of them. It comes down to the bottom line of money.
EZRA – The major chains wouldn’t carry them and so they were like fuck that, we’ll censor your record so you can put it in a major chain. We had no say in it so we asked to get out of our contract.

BEN – Do you feel a lot more at home on Alternative Tentacles, where you’ve got the usual roster of bands but also spoken word as well?
STZA – It’s funny, all these spoken word things with Arundhati Roy, Christian Prente…
BEN – Chomsky too…
STZA – …yeah, and Howard Zinn, all these guys are very influential on my politics, same with Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys. We’ve only been on the label for a month and a half but everyone there is really cool and for the first time I feel like these people are behind what we’re doing, politically and musically.
EZRA – We grew up listening to the Dead Kennedys…
STZA – Hellcat Records is addled all the time…these people, they’re not people I’d call friends, they didn’t like me and I didn’t like them, it’s really hard to do business with people like that or be on a label with them when you know they’re not supporting what you’re saying. Everyday we realise how much we were ripped off by Hellcat.

BEN – Are you a band that plays political songs or a political band, in that it’s impossible for what you write to not be political in some way?
STZA – It’s impossible for us to write a song that doesn’t touch on politics on some levels. We might make up a funny song once in a while but there will be a line in there that’s political.
EZRA – You can’t be somebody you’re not. We’d never sell out or become an acceptable, mainstream band because that’s not who we are. It would be against everything that we’re about and everything we stand for.

BEN – I saw you described on the Alternative Tentacles website as “squat ska punk”, how important is your past to you now, the Choking Victim / Morning Glory stuff?
STZA – We’re trying not to sell it as Choking Victim II or Morning Glory Plus but these things are important. Me and Ezra are still squatters and that’s not something that we push when advertising our band.
EZRA – When we were Choking Victim and we weren’t very big it wasn’t a big deal to put a squatting symbol on the record, but now we’re bigger and it’s not something that we’d use to advertise us.
STZA – It’s important to us that everyone should squat and get rid of landlords…
EZRA – …but we’re not trying to capitalise on that and get popular…
STZA – …in a way I do like to think that we could influence some people to live that lifestyle. Obviously you don’t pay rent, it’s great! Plus the fact that you’re automatically living a political lifestyle, you don’t have to go to a protest to be political.

BEN – I’m a university student, when I’m not at uni I live at home with my parents, when I’m at uni I live in a house, I pay rent to a landlord…how do you feel about playing to people like me that like the music but don’t share the lifestyle?
STZA – I think 99% of the people that listen to us either live at home with their parents of pay rent. We’re not trying to say that we’re better than anyone, but it’s virtually impossible to find a squat and keep it open for a long time. These things are very hard to do and we don’t expect people to do it because we say so.
EZRA – We’re not trying to tell anyone what to do or preach to anybody or say that we are living better.
STZA – It doesn’t matter what you take away from our songs, as long as you take away something. [Stza gets up to go to the toilet next door]
EZRA – University students, people that go to college probably consider themselves privileged, but we consider ourselves privileged to be able to live in a band and that’s not for everybody. The whole world can’t live like that – some people can, and maybe we’ll get through to those people. You don’t have to be a part of everything that’s going on; we’re all supported by somebody. We just live the way we live and give our opinions. I consider myself lucky to have lived the lifestyle that I do, to live on no money and eat out of the trash and hop free trains.
STZA [just returned] – I like eating garbage. It’s delicious. There’s a lot more variety.
EZRA – Just being alive, you have to pay every day.
STZA – It’s insane that nature has been perverted as far that you have to pay to stay alive.
EZRA – What we’re saying is that you don’t have to pay to stay alive.

BEN – You’ve got a political side along with a catchy, melodic musical side, what’s that mix like?
STZA – I think that if you like catchy upbeat ska songs and you sing about bullshit like love or whatever you’re selling everybody short, it’s the only justification we have for playing like this. We make the lyrics really dark and really political and that justifies happy fun-time ska! The fucking wicked, kill-yourself, kill the world, in your grave, die another day, fucking…
EZRA – We both grew up on, among other things like pop music and The Beatles – it sounds good, makes you feel good, but we sing about negative fucking shit!
STZA – We’re definitely not optimists.
BEN – I gathered that much…
STZA – That’s the thing about politics, a lot of people feel the need to propose an alternative and I think that’s wishful thinking in a way. It’s nice to say but in reality this world is going to shit and there’s not much we can do about it. We’re trying to spread non-hope to the masses [laughs].
EZRA – I’m surprised that it hasn’t been touched on before and I’m not saying that we’re pioneers, but I’m surprised that people haven’t mixed poppy music with negative messages before.

[Brad Logan from F-Minus/LOC walks in]

STZA – Hey Logan…this is Brad Logan from F-Minus and Leftover Crack, you should talk to him too!
BRAD – I’ll talk…sure.
STZA – I pissed all over myself. A little bit.
BEN – That’s punk rock.
STZA – I masturbated this morning and there was a bit of come stuck in my urethra so when I pissed it went in two directions and now it’s all over my pants. Print that, buddy!
BEN – That’s the headline… “’I masturbated this morning’, by Leftover Crack”.
STZA – Yeah, go for it.

BEN – With the popularisation of the underground mentality, Michael Moore making big movies seen by millions…
STZA – That’s great, I’m glad he’s doing it. I found the movie pretty fucking boring. I already knew about everything, but one of the few times I paid to see a movie I felt like some of that money is going to go to that dude, and he deserves it for opening people’s eyes.
EZRA – Personally I don’t like Michael Moore myself…
STZA – He’s such a fucking asshole! He’s such a fucking wanking fucking…what’s the word…
EZRA – He’s a middle class white dude…
STZA – …panders to liberals and it’s disgusting. But he has a lot of really good points and he educates people, and that’s important in our country right now.
EZRA – I think I hate liberals as much as I hate Republicans, you know? We’re against all political agendas.
STZA – I’m a fucking nihilist.
EZRA – We don’t agree with anyone’s agenda, we don’t agree with leftists necessarily.
STZA – It’s the circle of politics, it all comes around to mean the same thing in the end.
BRAD – Like Bush is gone, what’s going to change? Are the States going to get better?
EZRA – What we’re trying to say is think for yourself.
STZA – I thought we were saying that you don’t have to pay rent…I don’t like calling myself a nihilist…I’m not an anarchist, that shit doesn’t work either. I’m a pessimist.
EZRA – A lot of people think we’re anarchists and that’s the closest thing that we resemble but that isn’t what we are.

BEN – If you don’t believe in anything, what’s the point in saying that you don’t believe in anything?
STZA – You have to do something to make yourself want to live the next day. Otherwise it’d just be panhandling every day, getting wasted…I’d probably be dead by now. We’re pretending we have a purpose.
EZRA – We’re just fooling ourselves, and everyone else.

Leftover Crack‘s 2nd album “Fuck World Trade” will be out in the UK on 30th August on HouseHold Name Records. Again, thanks to Kafren HHN for sorting this out.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]