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torsdag 2 december 2010

Interview with Scott Davis.

Being a longtime fan of Broken Heroes i have been worried the last year of members leaving one after another. But now they seem to have found some sort of stabillity adding one of the founding members of Armed Suspects Scott Davis to their ranks and getting ready to release their first propper release since 2005. I got in contact with Scott to sort some things out.

¤Hello Scott. First of all thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Could you please introduce yourself to the readers.

I play bass and write a majority of the lyrics for Armed Suspects. I am also the new frontman for Broken Heroes. My friends call me Scotty Violence.

¤I know you where one of the original members of Armed suspects but did you play in any other band before hooking up with Jay and the other guys?

Jay and I were in another band together when I first got out of the Marine Corps back in '02. I played guitar, and he played drums. We had an all skinhead line-up with a female singer and a female bass player.
People said we sounded like a mixture of Minor Threat, Black Flag and X, but we weren't very good.
I quit after a few months to go work for my friend Jim as the cook in his Irish pub; the song "O'Farrell's" was written about that bar. The idea to start Armed Suspects was actually conceived at O'Farrell's one night in December of '03 when Jay told me he wanted to sing for a band, and the bar was our regular post-practice hang-out.

¤How did you get in contact with Broken heroes and what happened to their other singer?

I have been a fan of Broken Heroes for a long time, ever since I heard "Skinhead Rock'n'Roll" on the Backstreets of American Oi! comp back in '96 or '97. When Armed Suspects first started out, we played a lot of gigs with Broken Heroes, and I booked them when I was working as a promoter; we became good friends and have stayed in touch over the years.
A record label was supposed to release a four-way split with Armed Suspects, Broken Heroes and two other bands. The label dropped out, and Pete and I got in touch via a mutual friend; we decided to put out the split ourselves, and now Oi! the Boat Records has agreed to help us release it.
Anyhow, Pete let me know that there were line-up issues, and I expressed interest in trying out. I've wanted to front a band for a while, and I thought Broken Heroes was a good fit. I went to practice, the guys liked what they heard, and we been plotting world domination ever since.

¤Many people has left Broken heroes the last couple of years. Now with you and Andy from Niblick henbane joining the band can we finally see a dedicated line-up?

As far as line-up changes, I really can't speak for other people and why things didn't work out for them. I like all those guys and wish them nothing but the best.
I do believe that Broken Heroes has a really strong line-up now, and that we'll be together as long as possible. We have a really good chemistry, and everyone is enthusiastic about being in this band; we even wrote a song together already. I'm really looking forward to our first gig.

¤The upcomming release on Oi! the boat will be a split LP with both your bands. Tell me more about that.

The upcoming split is called For the Punks & Skins, and it will be released as a 12" record next year, hopefully by early Spring, on Oi! the Boat records. The split features 8 new Armed Suspects songs and 10 Broken Heroes songs -- some old, some new, but an all new recording. The interesting thing about the Broken Heroes' side of the split is that it's the last recording with Fintzy on vocals, and I think it's the best quality recording that Broken Heroes have had to date. We had the split mastered by Mike Kalajian from 30/30 Club Studios, and the sound quality is pretty amazing.
I think fans of Broken Heroes will really appreciate that since their previous efforts never really captured their amazing live energy. Other than the first two 7 inches, Broken Heroes haven't had a really great sounding release, and I think this record changes that. I'm really looking forward to seeing it get pressed, because I was a Broken Heroes fan long before I joined the band.

¤Armed suspects has gone through a lot of changes musically since it first got started (thinking mostly about the latest release with Ol' Cheeky Bastards) what sound will you be bringing for this release?

As far as Armed Suspects' sound, this record is similar to the stuff we did on Time Will Tell. This Old Lonely Road, the acoustic split with Ol' Cheeky Bastards, was written, rehearsed and recorded in the span of a month, just to prove to ourselves that we could do it, and it was written with an outlaw country style (i.e. Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, etc.) in mind. The eight songs on this new split range from faster hardcore-influenced stuff to more melodic Oi!/streetpunk stuff. The major change on this split is that Jay wrote a lot of lyrics; he penned "...And On The Speakers," "My Life," and "Broken & Bruised." I generally write the majority of the lyrics for Armed Suspects, but I've always been a big fan of the stuff Jay has written, like "Be A Man" and "Through Hard Times" from Next Stop New Scene, and "For The Kids," "F.I.S.T," and "Working Class Thugs" from Time Will Tell. The stuff Jay wrote for this split is really interesting, and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it, especially "Broken & Bruised," which is one of my favorite Armed Suspects songs. DJ also contributed lyrics for the song "Leather Tramp," which I think is a really interesting departure from other stuff we've done. It all falls under the banner of punk rock, but I think we're always trying to push ourselves to try new things and explore different approaches to what we're doing. The addition of Kurt on drums has definitely helped to broaden our sound a bit; he's been with us for a while now, and I think he's the most well-rounded drummer we've had and he contributes a lot to the song-writing process.
I think the main thing about the Armed Suspects sound is that we've always worn our hearts and our influences on our sleeves, and we've never really been afraid to experiment and do things outside of what would typically be considered Oi! or streetpunk. The only people that write rules for our sound is us, and if we feel like writing a country record, or thrash-metal like "The Noose," or power-metal like "Viking Quest," which is on the new split, we're going to do it, and we're going to do it to the best of our abilities. Hopefully our fans will appreciate it, but we only make music because we love doing it; we're four really good friends who love hanging out together and banging out some songs to break up the monotony of daily life. I think being such good friends is part of the reason we've stuck it out the last 7 years in spite of setbacks and line-up changes. If we were in it for money and accolades, we'd be playing Top 40 radio-friendly shit that appeals to the lowest common denominator, and we probably would have broken up years ago.

¤ I understand your mentality and appretiate your honesty to the stuff you do. With all those musical branches you must have a broad musical influence in the band. Could you name a couple of bands/albums that has influenced you the most.

As a band, our influences are all over the place and it would be hard to nail down a definitive list. However, I think Rancid's "And Out Come the Wolves," Cock Sparrer's "Shock Troops" and The Clash's "London Calling" are integral influences to our sound, but that's just a starting point. There's the obvious hardcore, punk and Oi! bands like The Anti-Heros, Menace, The Bruisers, The Pink Lincolns, Black Flag, Social Distortion, Dead Kennedys and The Oppressed, thrash metal like Nuclear Assault and Slayer, power metal like Riot and Iron Maiden, jazz great Django Reinhardt, alt-country stuff like Lucero and Austin Lucas, the Conan the Barbarian & Rocky soundtracks, Motown, Stax and old soul records, reggae, ska and rocksteady, glam stuff like Slade, The Jook & The Sweet, mod revival stuff like The Jam, Secret Affair & The Aces, straight up rock bands like Rose Tattoo, and a bunch of weird stuff like The Pixies, The Smiths and shit you wouldn't think we listen to at all. All of that stuff informs our sound, and we draw on a wide variety of influences. We all really love music, and I think we filter the best of what we hear and use it to help shape what we do.

Personally, when it comes to playing bass, I'd say I'm most influenced by James Jamerson, the legendary bass player for the Funk Brothers, aka the Motown house band on all those early hits; the dude doesn't get much credit outside of fellow bass players, but he reinvented the art of bass playing and put it in the forefront. Also, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden and Bruce Foxton from the Jam inspire me a lot. I am nowhere near as talented as those guys, but they make me want to be a more creative bass player and a better musician.

As for singing and wanting to front an Oi! band, I'd say Oi! & punk bands like Anti-Heros, Stormwatch, Combat 84, Murderer's Row, The Oppressed, The Bruisers,The 4-Skins, Forced Reality, Sham 69, The Templars, Oxblood, Those Unknown and Beltones, even Broken Heroes prior to me joining the band, and lesser known American Oi! bands like American Noise & the Anti-Socials had an impact on that. I used to go to American Noise practice when they were starting out, and I would screw around and fill in on vocals until Mike showed up; Andre always told me I should sing for a band, and I guess that stuck with me. While I love Armed Suspects and the stuff we do, singing for Broken Heroes means sticking more to my skinhead & Oi! roots and paying homage to those bands that went before while continuing to carry the banner, so to speak.

¤ Now on to the most important question of them all. What do you know about the great holy land of greatnes also known as Sweden?

My knowledge of Sweden is fairly limited. I loved the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show and the Swedish Bikini Team beer commercials when I was younger, but I've never been to Sweden and I haven't met too many Swedes in my travels. I hear it's a beautiful country though, and I would love to visit, maybe even play a gig there someday.

However, despite my ignorance, I am a huge fan of the Swedish movie LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Låt den rätte komma in); I think it's the best vampire movie ever made, and the American remake doesn't do it any justice whatsoever. I really need to read the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

One of my favorite action movie stars is Dolph Lundgren. Alexander Skarsgard is another great Swedish actor that I like, especially in his portrayal of Sgt. Brad "Iceman" Colbert on the HBO miniseries Generation Kill, and no red-blooded heterosexual man can deny how fucking sexy Malin Akerman was in The Watchmen. Sweden has surely produced some of the world's most beautiful women like Victoria Silvstedt. Mini Anden, Elin Grindemyr and Marina Hedman. I'm sure not every Swedish skirt is a hot piece of ass, but damn, Sweden sure has contributed some nice eye candy to the world.

As far as music, I dig Perkele, The Bones, Bombshell Rocks, The Cliches, The Bristles and a lot of stuff on those Brewed in Sweden comps like Agent Bulldogg, Dim's Rebellion and The Headhunters; I noticed that Swedes generally have a great melodic sensibility that you don't find in a lot of Oi!/streetpunk bands (B: Yeah we tend to focus much on the guitars and no one can deny the impact early Skrewdriver and Templars has given the modern Swedish sound). I also have to admit that I own some Yngwie Malmsteem records. The Sounds are one of the best live bands I've ever seen, and I'd love to put it to Maja Ivarsson in the back of a SAAB or on an IKEA couch while downing some Svedka or Akvavit.

¤Any last words?

Thanks for your interest in Armed Suspects and Broken Heroes. Both bands are working on new material and will be recording again in the near future. I'm excited to be a part of both bands, and hopefully one day we'll get over to Europe and play a couple gigs in Sweden. Keep an eye out for the split on Oi! the Boat records.

Also, an interesting side note: my uncle Phil was briefly married to the famous Swedish pop singer/actress Bibi Johns for a brief period back in the '50s. My understanding is that she was quite a hot piece of ass back then. So there is a connection between our peoples after all. Hahaha!

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