Blast From the Past: Necro Hippies
This originally ran in MRR #324, May 2010 which is out of print.
Necro Hippies bring angsty middle school notebook scrawlings to life, blasting the dust off your snotty hardcore records into the eyes of the Internet Age. Stinging proof that not only did punk never die, it was born again yesterday, fully formed as the straight-ahead assault they bring, forged out of the slag heap of the eighties and nineties, equal parts fuzzy sludge and Fizzy Lifting Drink. Drawing their vital alienation from the boozy nether-regions of New Orleans’ Bywater, from the slime at the bottom of the bus-tray, the stray onion ring that saves the day, they hate their jobs, but they will continue to do them for as long as rent’s due; for now, for changing your order, they hate you. Half of them have Germs tattoos. Guess who.
Interview by Nathan Tempey
MRR: Candice, where are you from?
Chris: That’s a lie.
Josh: I’m from Florida.
Chris: I am from Mandeville. (white people stronghold across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans)
MRR: Woah. (laughter)
Phil: Those are my problems… (laughter) Mandeville.
Chris: Slash Slidell
Phil: I’ve lived in New Orleans for twelve years.
MRR: Yeah, you can say from New Orleans.
Phil: New Orleans.
MRR: Nah, you’re from the North Shore.
Chris: He’s from Mandeville.
Phil: From New Orleans.
MRR: More or less. And how did you all come together as a band?
Candice: Phil was my manager.
Phil: I worked with Candice in, uh…
Candice: The application asked what magazines I read and I wrote that I like to read Maximum Rocknroll…
MRR: For what job?
Candice: For a job at Urban Outfitters. (laughter)
Josh: And Chris was my roommate at the time. He started drumming for them and told me they needed a bass player.
Chris: Phil and I had been playing for a long time before Candice came in.
Candice: And we started out with Phil on drums. And I was playing these weirdo songs.
Chris: It worked out ‘cause I’m a really bad guitar player.
Candice: No you were playing bass, I was playing guitar.
Chris: Oh, yeah. No you’re a bad guitar player, that’s what it was.
MRR: What kind of weirdo songs?
Candice: Songs that ended up being Deny It songs.
MRR: Like, no-wavey?
Candice: Actually, Chris wrote part of a song that ended up being in a Deny It song.
MRR: Did you play any shows with that line-up?
Josh: It was two thousand–
Phil: Yeah, eight. October.
Chris: We started playing with Josh in September.
MRR: How long did the Urban Outfitters job last?
Phil: (hangs head) Still there.
MRR: How long has it been?
Phil: Three years (laughter).
MRR: Any Necro Hippies clash Urban Outfitters stories, where the worlds collide?
Candice: Somebody made a Necro Hippies shirt with a marker and put it on a mannequin at the front of the store.
MRR: Did it sell?
Phil: Some guy asked about it and wanted to buy it and I took it off immediately. (laughter)
MRR: Josh where do you work?
Josh: At the Slice Pizzeria.
MRR: And how long have you been there?
Josh: Going on a year and a half now.
Candice: Lead line cook.
Josh: Yeah, dude. I’m really important.
MRR: Line cook?
Josh: Lead line cook. To you.
Chris: That’s actually how we address him.
Chris: I work at a French restaurant.
Josh: Which is super punk rock.
Chris: I wait tables and bartend.
MRR: So weekends are your moneymaking time?
MRR: Which you sometimes sacrifice for your band time?
Chris: Yes. Like tonight.
MRR: And your work is okay with that?
Chris: Yeah, they’re okay with it. As long as I get my shift covered. Or if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter.
MRR: Do you feel like that service industry connection keeps your music vital? Keeps your punk rock juices flowing, alienated and angry?
Phil: I think working at Urban Outfitters keeps my fucking punk rock juices flowing. (laughter) It’s really awesome.
MRR: You just have to hold it inside?
Phil: But I mean I’ll let them pay me. All jobs suck.
Candice: Like Phil said, a job’s a job, and they pay you.
MRR: Are any of your songs specifically about work?
Josh: A lot of ‘em.
Phil: “Same Day” is about work. Totally about work.
Candice: “Cigarette Break” is about cigarette breaks.
Chris: “Have Fun” is about having fun. (laughter)
MRR: I noticed that it also says, “slit my wrists and run…”
Candice: …I’ll do it just for fun.”
MRR: So where does all this angst come from?
Phil: Working at Urban Outfitters.
MRR: And whose decision was it to have a really partial lyric sheet.
Phil: That was mine…
Josh: For the most part. We don’t really know much about Phil’s lyrics, to be honest.
Chris: For a long time we just thought he said, “za za za”.
Josh: Our friend Tony had a running joke when we were on tour that he could just go up and steal the mic at any time and steal the show by saying “za za za”.
MRR: So it seems like there’s a lot of child-like, angsty, “I hate my parents…”
Phil: That was my main thought when we first started this band. Like, I’m thirty years old and I still feel that way, so, that’s what all the songs are about (laughter), that it hasn’t changed, and it’s not gonna change.MRR: Like hating your parents?
Phil: Kind of, yeah.
Josh: There are certain roles that people give you when you’re growing up. And it’s weird when you get to a certain point and you realize that they’re not all you were told they were gonna be.
MRR: Like what do you mean?
Josh: I was always told that, you graduate high school, you know what life’s about, get through college, you’ll know. And then, I did all that and I got to the end, and I was like, “So?” And now I’m left with this point where I like punk rock and I don’t really want to get a real job, and I don’t necessarily want to make pizza for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to do anything that means I can’t… be in a punk rock band.
Phil: I think I’m gonna feel the same when I’m forty, and it might be a problem, I don’t know, but I don’t…
Chris: I had a real job and I fucking hated it.
Phil: The job I have now is the best job I ever had. It’s the only job that ever paid me on time, every time.
Chris: Yeah, dude you get forty percent discount at Urban Outfitters, you get all the skinny jeans you could ever need!
MRR: What was your real job?
Chris: Oh, I worked in New York at a post-production house for like a year, and it fucking blew. It was a weird situation anyway, I was living in New Jersey, and my girlfriend at the time would call up every day at five o’clock ‘cause that was when I was supposed to get off, and she’d be like, “Are you leaving?” And I’d be like, “No.” And then she’d be like, “WELL FUCK YOU!” So that blew. But also, they did commercials for Vioxx and Reebok and all this shit. They would watch the rerun of The Daily Show, all these super-liberal, like, cool kids, and it turned out they were just huge assholes about money-making and getting things done. And I fucking hated it, I couldn’t be in that world, I couldn’t do it. I hated it.
MRR: You were living in Jersey?
Chris: Yeah, I was living in Princeton, New Jersey. Which is actually really nice.
Josh: Yeah you can’t pump your own gas. It’s weird.
Chris: I like that you can’t pump your own gas.
MRR: So, speaking of lyrics. There’s that one song that it sounds like you’re saying, “FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!”
Necro Hippies: “Clock in, Clock out.”
Josh: I used to think it was, “Fuck you, fuck yeah!”
Candice: It’s actually, “Za za. Za za.”
MRR: What’s that song called?
Chris: “Same Day.”
Phil: I actually don’t know what you’re talking about
Josh: Same day, it’s just like, “ZA ZA! ZA ZA!”
MRR: But one would infer, given the tone of your voice…
Josh: No, we have other “fuck you” songs.
Chris: Do we have any “fuck you” songs?
Josh: “Love Life” is a pretty good fuck you song.
Chris: I still don’t know any of the lyrics. Except for, “clock in, clock out.”
MRR: And who is it a fuck you too? Ex-lovers?
Candice: It’s actually not about a love life.
Josh: It’s about loving life in spite of bullshit.
Chris: It’s about loving life in spite of parents.
MRR: Have people been confused by you as a band?
Phil: The first write-up we ever had they said we were straight edge.
Candice: Vegan straight edge.
Josh: Because once we got billed on a Matt Russell flyer as being vegan straight edge, and they took that for truth.
Candice: They never came to see us.
MRR: I’ve heard a lot of people say that you hearken back to a different time in punk rock. What are your influences, do you go out of your way to sound like you’re from a different time?
Chris: I think we’re all really different in terms of influences.
Candice: We all love Black Flag. And we listen to a lot of Sebadoh.
Josh: And the Misfits. Black Flag and the Misfits I feel like are the two main bands that we connect on.
Chris: Maybe that’s why it is. We have like a bare bones connection about punk rock and it’s mostly old stuff. We have really all over the place taste within that…
Phil: I think Candice and I have the most similar taste.
Candice: Yeah, when we first met we nerded out for like, days.
Phil: Totally. And Chris and I have known each other for a long time, and we like a lot of the same stuff.
Chris: I like noisier stuff. My favorite band is Sonic Youth.
Josh: I grew up in Florida. So the first DIY bands that I came across were No Idea bands, I just grew up with No Idea pop punk shit, pretty much. I have an appreciation for older stuff, but that’s what struck me at the time.
Candice: We also all really like Nirvana. We’re gonna start a Nirvana cover band, but we’re only gonna cover songs that Nirvana covers.
Chris: And I actually look like Kurt Cobain, I’m told.
Candice: And your doppelganger lives in Asheville. The drummer for Bad Ways.
MRR: Have you met him?
Chris: Yeah, we played a show with them.
MRR: So how did Brice (Raw Sugar Records, WWOZ DJ) first approach you about an LP?
Josh: After the Fucked Up show.
Phil: I talked to him after a show and he asked me if I was ready, if I thought the band was ready, and I said, “Sure, why not?”
Chris: One of his friends, Don, from Impractical Cockpit was in town and he had all of his recording equipment with him. He was like, “Wanna do it now?” And we were like, “Sure.”
Phil: Brice was really enthusiastic and that made me really happy.
Candice: He’s been really enthusiastic…
Chris: He’s actually, I think every band has rough patches even–
Candice: He’s been doing this for ten years and he’s not going to stop. He’s a good example of growing older and staying punk forevs.
Chris: Just like anything we’ve gone through rough spots. There was probably more than one, but there was a point where we were at each other’s throats and he was like, “Don’t break up! Don’t break up! Don’t you break up!”
Candice: Apparently all the bands that he “signs” break up after they put out their first record. Like New Bloods. Well, two records.
MRR: And was that recorded at a show?
Candice: It was recorded at Nowe Miasto (warehouse space in Mid-City New Orleans). Live.
MRR: But not at a show?
Josh: No. We recorded it all playing together live, but not at a show.
MRR: ‘Cause I noticed the vocals are very, discernible. As compared to other times.
Chris: I’ve listened to it a couple times, and it might have just been because I was stoned, but I still can’t hear what the fuck he says.
Candice: People have said that the vocals are more discernible on the LP or that maybe they’re not as raw as they were on the tape. But the tape was recorded on a boombox at a practice, maybe even before we played a show–
Chris: A boombox that we borrowed from Tirefire without permission.
Josh: That someone found in a dumpster.
Chris: And then Phil got in trouble for it.
Candice: Personally I love the LP, but I think there were certain things we couldn’t capture in that afternoon. We didn’t really know what we were looking for, we were new as a band.
Josh: I think it’s a good recording of where we were at that point.
Candice: Yeah, it was recording of that time, and now we’re recording ourselves next month.
MRR: You’ve been on one tour?
Josh: Officially two tours.
Chris: We’ve been on one and a half tours.
Josh: Or one and three quarters.
Candice: We toured in Florida, and we went on a Southern tour.
Chris: Florida was a blast.
Josh: We toured with Crackboxx when they were going through Florida. We got to play 305 Fest, which was a fuckin’ blast.
Phil: (suddenly much drunker). Were you saying the vocals were more like, (laughter) on the LP, like, they were less yelly sounding?
Phil:Yeah, I was sick! I couldn’t really sing that well at all. I was sick as fuck, and my voice was a lot more nasally and, there’s—it is different.
Chris: So back to the touring…
Josh: Tony the Lawyer let us tour in his Impala on the Florida tour.
MRR: Any highlights or lowlights of tour?
Candice: I was always cleaning up after everybody. And I got really frustrated.
Josh: Candice was definitely tour mom.
Candice: I hate tour mom.
Josh: I know.
Chris: I was always making more of a mess than anybody.
Candice: That was a low point.
Phil: I didn’t see the point of coming home.
Candice: We played with so many good bands.
Josh: So… when we were in Chattanooga half the band had to sleep in dog shit which was officially, pretty much not cool.
MRR: Why dog shit?
Candice: We stayed at a nasty place. Of a really great person.
Josh: He was super nice! He was super nice!
Phil: I was all fucked up on the couch and I heard Candice talkin to him in the other room and he was goin’, “Yeah, you can just sleep in here but I gotta move the cat shit and the dog shit out of the way,” and I was just fucked up on the couch like, “Ha! That’s funny!” And then Candice went to bed, everybody has gone to bed, I was like, “I should go to bed too,” I was fucked up, and I laid down and I was like, “Woah! I’m really laying in fucking dog and cat shit!” (laughter) It was disgusting.
Chris: (laughing) And that girl kept trying to steal your blankets. You had the worst night dude.
MRR: Okay, last question, what’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?
Candice: All different kinds of people come to shows, and even though a lot of shows are at bars, anybody gets in, so it’s almost like a default all ages city.
Josh: I like it a bunch because there’s a standing infrastructure. When I was living in Tallahasee everybody was trying to build it from the ground up and it was awesome, but no one really had the motivation or the grass roots to do something entirely themselves. So it was awesome when I moved here and there is already a really put together infoshop, there is already a bike collective, there are already people that want to put out records, and have done it before and know how to do it. That was really exciting.
Chris: My favorite thing about New Orleans is, it kind of took a while to grow on me, and I’ve lived here for my whole life, but, it’s a playground, it’s like adult Disneyworld kinda. You can do whatever you want, like I break into abandoned buildings and do stupid shit. You can do anything here. There’s no rules, there’s no reason to have to get a real job, there’s nothing holding you in place. You can do anything you want. It’s total freedom.
Candice: Except you get arrested all the time.
Chris: Oh, you get arrested all the time. And there’s a lot of crime, and the cops are just as bad as the criminals.
Candice: The cops are way worse than the criminals.
Chris: The cops are way worse than the criminals and… it’s really corrupt and…
Josh: You might get shot.
Chris: And you might get shot.
MRR: Good answer. Phil.
Phil: When I go other places it makes me appreciate New Orleans more because, the culture, you know. There’s a lot of history here, there’s not a lot of history other places, comparatively. So there’s that. And it’s just easy to live here. It’s fairly cheap, considering it’s a city.
Candice: The Big Easy.
Phil: The vibe is different. You can walk down the street and not feel like everyone is rushing to get somewhere or trying to get an interview somewhere, like in other cities. Other cities I’ve lived in, I’ve felt that way and here it’s more laid-back and people just do what they want.
MRR: All right. Any shout-outs or things that people should look for in the future?
Candice: Shout out to Ralph in Atlanta.
Josh: Ralph in Atlanta. The Necro Cat Fisher Hippies tour coming up in May. Tallahasee.
Chris: Fisher Cat. Played a sick show tonight.
Candice: (giggling) Nervous Juvenile.
Phil: Nervous Juvenile.
Chris: True Trust.
Josh: Ah, I don’t have a side project.