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Fanzine Interview - January 1997

ADAM WEST is Jake Starr (vocals), James Marlowe (guitar), Steve (bass), and Tom Barrick (drums)

1. Since I know you guys like the misfits, what do you guys think of the misfits reforming?

Jake: I think it's pretty cool cuz at least more people are hearing the music now. At first I was pretty sceptical cuz Danzig wasn't gonna sing, but I gotta say, when I saw them, it felt like I was 15 again. We might be opening for them the next time they're in DC.

James: It's very good for the kids who are into the punk thing. The Misfits style of punk is totally fun for everyone, not just jock karate experts.

Tom: It's great because they asked us to open for them when they're in DC.

2. Have you seen them live yet (new misfits)?

Jake: Yeah. I actually saw the DC show when Michale got arrested and Jerry sang the remainder of the set. They were kinda metallized, but it was good to hear the songs live.

James: No.

Steve: No.

3. How old is everyone in the band?

Jake: 30.

James: Well, I know Jake's been hangin' around forever, so he must be old as dirt. The drummer's like 50.

Steve: 26.

Tom: 50.

4. Tell me the history of ADAM WEST?

James: This weird guy used to come see I.F.U., a band I used to be in. He'd show up and I'd think, "What a weirdo . . . must not have a life!" Then he asked me to be in his band. Oh well.

Steve: I joined, I fired guitarist, James joined, everybody happy.

Jake: ADAM WEST started with me and my high school friend, Bill Crandall. Bill and I were into mod in high school and he had some great local mod bands (Mach Five, Modest Proposal, The Mondays!). Anyway, we finally joined forces officially in late '91 and hooked up with a friend of Bill's, Ray Wiley. Ray was playing with a bassist and a drummer, Tom Barrick. The five of us started playing together after one rehearsal. when the bass player didn't work out, we got Andy Rapoport, who was in DC's King Face. They were, in my opinion, the best DC band outside of Minor Threat. Andy had recently returned from a year in England in the summer of '92 and was ready to play. We were a mix of the early Stones, early Who, the Jam, and the Kinks. After playing everywhere and recording enough for full-length album, we got rid of Ray in February '94 cuz he wasn't really fitting in image-wise and playing style. We never had any money, so we never released an LP. I've got 14 killer pop/punk songs written by Bill and me ready to go that no one's ever heard! Some of those got released on our first few 7" singles.

Anyway, after recording the Misfits "Cough/Cool" as a joke, we released it as a fan-club single limited to 100 copies. Then we got the "Dance Session" 7" EP released in Australia through a friend of mine. So here it is: 1994, and we're playing up in NYC and everything seems to be falling into place. We played up in NYC at CBGB's on Nov. 8, 1994, and afterwards Bill decides he's moving to Prague, Czech Republic, and doesn't wanna be a musician anymore. Andy decides he's gonna move up to NYC and become and actor! So I'm majorly pissed cuz I feel we're really gonna break soon with some label interest. Tom and I spoke and decided to carry on the band, but in a new direction. I wanted something harder a la the MC5, which Bill wasn't willing to do.

So I put an ad in the paper and found Johnny Epiphone and Steve. We started writing songs immediately and played our first gig a couple of months later, like early March '95. This line-up was cool for awhile, until we started to have problems with Johnny: his attitude and his playing. He goes to Australia for a month and I decide to add a second guitarist. We knew James Marlowe, but didn't think he'd be interested. His band, Death Camp Skinny, was straight-ahead punk, and I wasn't sure if he'd dig our more Rock-n-Roll feel. We jammed with him and he was incredible! Johnny gets back from Australia and wants to have a "band meeting." He was upset with all kinds of things, so he just quit and James has been our guitar player since February '96. Since James has been in the band, we've really found our niche music-wise. We released "Beauty" as a split 7" EP with Death Camp Skinny, now called Bubblegum Christ, even though Johnny Epiphone played on it. Our CD, "Mondo Royale," will have 14 brand new songs on it and will kick your ass!

5. Why the name ADAM WEST?

James: It's Jake's deal. I don't know.

Steve: Ask Jake.

Jake: When I first started ADAM WEST, we wanted a mod/garage band circa 1965 Kinks, dig? So we were going through all the cartoons and shows we grew up watching like Marine Boy and Ultraman and shit to try to think of a good name that reflected that era. Anyway, when I was 8 years old, I met Adam West at a car show where the Batmobile was on tour. He signed a picture to me: "To Jake, from one crime fighter to another." This picture was (and still is) hanging on my living room wall. Bill, the guitar player at that time, looked up, and said "Adam West," and the rest is history. Even though Bill isn't in the band anymore and our sound has changed, I decided to keep the name because people know it and it's a great fucking name!

6. What bands have you played with?

James: All of the bands are local and really good and trying to find a good place to jam. They all kick ass!

Steve: Elvis.

Tom: blah, blah, blah.

Jake: Over the years, ADAM WEST has played with D-Generation, the Muffs, Slickee Boys, Marginal Man, Glenmont Popes, Listless, Polyplush Cats, Velocity Girl, and 200 other bands you've never heard of!

7. What's the D.C. scene like as of now?

Jake: DC is a tough town to get recognized. If you're not on the Dischord/Simple Machines/Teen Beat tip, then it's hard to get "the kids" to come see you. We don't play that shit, dig? So many of those bands have signed major label contracts cuz the fill clubs in DC and then nobody buys their records around the country cuz for the most part, they suck. Also, since D.C. Space closed in late '91, there hasn't been a truly successful bar for smaller local bands to play in. That's why we like to play up in NYC where you feel like people might appreciate a DC band coming up there to play for you.

James: I don't know because I don't go to bars much anymore, but the people I know who do are very cool for the most part.

Steve: Sucks.

Tom: Sad.

8. What would you guys compare you sound to?

Tom: Some band that sounds like us.

James: Sometimes it's too loud, but I can't help that. Tell the sound guy.

Steve: Steaming dog shit.

Jake: That's always a tough question, but I'd have to say that we're a Rock-n-Roll band, pure and simple. No postpunk/indie/grunge labels or shit like that. Since we all write the songs, all of our influences come into it, but we kinda stick in a Stooges meets the Misfits meets Black Sabbath groove. Have a listen and see for yourself!

9. Where does the band see themselves at the end of 1997?

Tom: Drunk.

Steve: I can't think 20 years ahead.

James: I'd say, "We'll burn that bridge when we get to it!"

Jake: Well, it'd be nice to be touring some more. "Mondo Royale" will be out and I am hoping to have another fan club 7" out by then, along with a CD EP with some new stuff, some live tunes from a CBGBs gig we did, and maybe some remixes of "Mondo Royale" tracks by a friend of mine.

10. What is the rough estimate of people that show up to an ADAM WEST show??

James: Whatever number of people are in the other bands or too drunk not to be gettin' the hell out when we go on.

Tom: Masses of unguided souls.

Jake: It depends on the club, what nite of the week it is, and whom we're playing with. Anywhere from 40 - 200 I'd say.

11. Fandango records, is that your own label?

Jake: Yeah. It's nice to do the DIY thing, so I started my own label and released my band's stuff. Besides ADAM WEST, I'm releasing a 7" EP called "4 Hits From Mars," which is a Misfits tribute 7" with four songs from four different bands around the USA. I saw the line-up of the upcoming Caroline Records Misfits tribute, "Violent World," and I thought it sucked. So I put out the word and got four unsigned bands to do Misfits covers for my EP. It should be out next month (February '97).

James: Never heard of it.


12. Who's in the band as of right now?

Jake: I sing, James Marlowe plays the gee-tar, Steve drinks and plays bass, and Tom Barrick hits the skins.

James: The guy who sings, a drummer, bass player, and me.

Steve: Me, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and John Bonham.

Tom: What?

13. What's been your favorite show you've played and why?

Jake: We played a special Halloween show at the Asylum, now a defunct club in DC, that went off really well. We opened with the Misfits' "Halloween/She" from our last fan club 7", played for one-and-a-half hours, then closed with the Stooges' "Search & Destroy." Lots of people and me on the floor at the end of the set. Now that's a good show.

James: I liked the Asylum because when we played there, there was no pressure and everyone was having a good time.

Steve: I don't really remember any shows.

Tom: What?

14. Have any of you guys been in other bands?

Jake: Oh yeah. My whole adult life.

James: I was in some punk bands.

Steve: Yes, many.

Tom: Yes.

15. What else do you do instead of being in a band?

Jake: I'm a graphic designer for the Library of Congress.

James: Hurt people for fun and profit.

Steve: Get drunk, build choppers, fuck.

Tom: Be in other bands.

16. What's your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?

Jake: Scream at the top of my lungs in rehearsal so I can't sing for the Saturday nite gig.

James: Hopefully, there's a good hockey games on. Then maybe watch "Twin Peaks" on tape, go for a walk in my neigborhood, then read whatever book I'm I'm reading and fall asleep.

Steve: Get drunk and try to ride my motorcycle, fuck.

Tom: Play music, drink.

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