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Article: Nerdlinger Interview.
Writer: Brinepacer
Date Posted: 28/02/00

Nice one to Kormy of Roscommon DIY punkers for this interview. He obviously put alot more time and effort in than most, and it makes for interesting (and time consuming) reading.

1. What inspired the name Nerdlinger?
To cut a long story short, it's basically just an obscure Simpsons reference since we're all simpsons freaks. It kinda suits us aswell, so we said okey-dokey, Nerdlinger it is...

2. When did you form? How did you reach this line-up?
We formed the Summer of '98. We only really got going around Christmas of that year, when we began to get everything together. The line up was from the start me (Corm) on vox/guitar, Conor does guitar/vox, Donal on bass/vox, and Eoin's our drummer. The other 3 all do vocals but Donal does the most back-ups. We didn't form the band just for the sake of forming a band, it was as friends, since we've all been best friends from about the age of 12 when we started secondary school. At the start we briefly considered getting a singer but we decided against it because we didn't want anybody else that we didn't know in the band. We've got this weird kinda collective sense of humour and most other people don't really seem to get it, so anyway, I sang (?!?) from the start, wasn't great at first but I got better all the time and I reckon things are A-OK now. We formed the band 'cos we were/are all into punk rock and there is absolutely fuck-all else to do where we live, plus we were kinda starting to get into a lot of trouble with the local constabulary and the like (our main pass time used to be making lots of home-made fireworks and bombs and shit and generally making nuisances of ourselves, but we went a bit too far a couple of times and more or less had to finish up with that...). So, punk rock saved us from a life of crime!

3. What would cause the band to break up?
Hmmm...I reckon the only thing that would cause the band to break up, at this stage, would be if one of us did something unforgiveable to another/the rest of us. Which isn't likely to happen, since we've been close friends for a long time and um, "been through a lot together", plus we just get on really well and always have a great laugh.

4. Describe your music for someone who's never heard...music?
Okay...fast & loud is the main thing!! Basically it's punk fucking rock, melodic and catchy but fast and thrashy at the same time. It's not really pop-punk, and not quite hardcore but it's kinda in-between. We all listen to a lot of different types of music, so there's a lot of variation. A lot of the newer stuff is much more varied than the stuff on the Roadkill Stew 7" which was the last time we were in recording. The best way to explain it is that we have this nucleus that's kinda fast melodic punk rock and then we work around that and experiment with a lot of other influences.

5. What inspired you to play the music you do?
Em...I suppose at the start it would have been the usual type of thing; Green Day, NOFX, Offspring, y'know... From there we grew and started listening to a lot of other music and since there's nothing to do around here just played a hell of a lot and developed until we started to discover what we were comfortable with. If you listen to the first demo it's this slow, rock shit...you can see that we were listening to punk rock and that's what we were into, but it's just this boring fucking crud...well, it's not that bad, but y'know. So we were playing that kind of thing and got really fucking bored of it, just playing gigs and standing there playing these songs, so we started writing faster more rocking shit and just rocking out more and so on. That was okay for a while, then we started getting bored of playing straight-up 1-2-3-4 melodic punk rock and added in more interesting stuff while making sure not to get too fucking arty and pretentious; the most important thing is that it must just fucking rock! We've got no illusions to trying to "create" or "craft" anything; we just wanna rock!

6. What have you released so far?
We did the "Losers Can't Be Choosers" tape the summer of 1999 when we were still called Anti-Hero (we changed the name after realising that there were a million bands called Anti-Hero and that it was a bit of an arse name). We then recorded some more stuff at the start of 2000, in Trackmix Studios in Dublin with this fucking spaz engineer who fucked everything up, that stuff never saw the light of the day. We then recorded the stuff for the Roadkill Stew 7" in June 2000, which has just come out on my label Simian Records after loads of horrible fuck-ups and delays. We're on a gazillion compilations and so on at this stage, and we've got lotsa stuff in the pipeline...

7. What's the story with the 7"s?! You've been promising them for ages!!
Heh, well the Roadkill Stew EP will DEFINITELY be out by the time this is printed, should be next week 'cos at last all the artwork, mastering, transport, currency, etc. bullshit has been sorted and they're due to arrive in Dublin Airport next week, we'll then have to avoid paying 300 import tax on them (the Man always wants his share!), which if we don't manage to avoid will be an awful kick in the teeth since that'll be most of the money I've been saving up for the next release on the label (which won't be by Nerdlinger). There were just an awful lot of fuck-ups; it's great to do things DIY and you save yourself a lot of hassle in many ways, but there are so many little things you don't think of (legal shit with pressing plants, artwork formats, mastering, bank transfers, customs people & import tax, etc.), so it can be very wearing and a huge headache at times (but ultimately hugely satisfying). I wouldn't encourage anyone to do it unless they believe 100% in what they're releasing.

8. How does the song writing process work in the band? Is it one person or a democracy? Do you fight much over how a song turns out?
Em, it used to be that I did most of it and then things were changed around a bit in the songs in practice. Now it usually happens that either a) I'll bring a song I've been working on to practice and it'll be mauled and fucked with by everyone until it's changed quite a lot, or b) we'll start with a riff or idea one of us has come up with and first try and get some sort of song structure, then vocal melodies, and then I'll work on the lyrics at home. With both ways the songs tend to change a lot for a few months after we write 'em until we've brought them as far as we can and we're happy with them. It's definitely a democracy, although usually more of a plutocracy (i.e. -everyone's views/ideas are considered) and we often try things many different ways until we settle on one in particular. Yeh, there's often big fights and lots of shouting and evil looks until things are resolved...

9. What inspires your lyrics? Do you consider your lyrics to be as or more important than the music?
Everyday life is inspiration. The lyrics for the old stuff were really shit, but everyone writes shit lyrics when they're 16, y'know, half-assed political bullshit about "how much the government sucks man" and all that kind of angsty teen-age punk rock rhetoric, and songs about girls and just whatever was going through my head at the time, but we started moving away from that as time went by. I write all the lyrics really; some of them are just stupid funny shit like Roadkill Stew, School, Robot Wars, etc., but more recently the lyrics are about the alienation I feel from society as whole and the incredible stupidity of humans. Songs about how 95% of the general populace seem happy to go through their whole lives working shit jobs so that they can just go out and drink at the weekend; how most people have no idea that the branded individuality they willingly consume controls their life while they fool themselves into thinking it's the other way 'round. I've been writing more meaningful stuff recently... I'm reluctant to write what people would generally call "political" lyrics since it's hard to do it properly and without coming off as a fucking idiot, but the more I read and the older I get the better I'm able to articulate my ideas. So yeh, I consider lyrics to be important. In the past they've always been secondary to the music but not so much any more.

10. What was the best show/tour you've played? Who's your favourite touring partners? If you could get on any tour, what would it be?
Em, the best show was probably the Fuck Witness Festival in Cork last Summer...that was fucking great fun...we had to play it as a 3-piece aswell 'cos Conor's such an unreliable bastard, he decided the morning of the gig that he wasn't going 'cos he'd been out the night before and spent all his money on drink. He was supposed to be travelling to Cork separate from the rest of us (I'd gone down the day before with guys from No Matrix and some other friends, and Eoin & Donal were both working in Athlone and leaving that morning), but he just didn't go and there were none of the rest of us there to drag him along. So we phoned him and told him he was kicked out of the band, just for fun, but we phoned him back later and told him we were only having a laugh but we were still really pissed at him. So anyway, before we were on we'd been drinking away and we drank fucking loads more than we thought we had and were really drunk, and Donal broke his bass so he had to use Derenzy from Penfold's bass which is this shitty half-sized thing, so he kept fucking up, and I was trying to sing and play both guitar parts so I kept fucking up, and since we were all really pissed Eoin kept fucking up aswell, but there were loads of kids getting really into it and getting up and singing along and stuff, it was just really good fun. Best tour (out of the two extensive Irish tours with Servo & Capdown!) was defo with Capdown, it was just excellent. They're an amazing band and really sound people, plus for once we actually didn't lose money. Conor'd been kicked out of school just before it so we did it as a 3-piece (is a pattern starting to emerge?!), so it was very sloppy and messy but still just great fun. If we could get on any tour...I dunno. Hmmm...maybe with someone like Grade? Or maybe Saves The Day....Bouncing Souls...Grey Area...Misfits...any tour with a relatively popular band would be cool, just so that we'd be able to play to loadsa people who wouldn't have seen us before and that.

11. You have a reputation as a very energetic live band. What do you think of At The Drive In's no dancing policy?
Do we? Heehee, glad to hear it. I dunno, I reckon any band can do what they want but they do seem to be a bit fucking anal about it. It's kinda funny you asked that actually, when they played in Dublin last time Cedric was doing the whole thing about people not being allowed to dance and so on, and Donal shouted "Shut up, you fucking knob!" at him, and everyone just went completely quiet and turned around and started staring at him...hahah!! I think it's cool when kids want to dance, when everyone's just kind of standing there or sitting on the floor and so on it's really shit, and the more energetic the kids are, the more energy the band put out, and vice versa. Our best shows are when we're really getting into it and fucking rocking out and everyone else is too. On the other hand, some people go too far... I hate to see people throwing their elbows around or abusing their size to knock others around, there's definitely a happy medium where everyone can dance and have fun, but some people do ruin it by just being too fucking macho and violent. I don't mean everyone should just kind of fucking dance like teeny-bopper fucking Top Of The Pops shit, it's a fucking punk rock show, people are gonna jump around and crash into ya and stage dive and stuff, and if you don't wanna do that it's okay, but that's sort of what you should expect. I think that people can definitely rock out and have fun and go mental, but still do it conscientiously at the same time. I mean, last Saturday we played here in Roscommon with Sir Killalot, a melodic HC band from Dublin and Circle Again from Belfast, who are a sXe HC band, and there were loads of girls as well as guys, and people of all shapes and sizes dancing and rocking out, even a circle pit, and everybody had a great time, nobody got hurt, the minute anyone fell over they were picked up again, and that's the way it should be. There's definitely a medium that can satisfy everyone.

12. What do you fight over the most? What was the worst band fight?
Stupid shit like who's gonna make the tea...who's the biggest A-Team fan...who has to buy all the fucking ganje (me & Eoin)...just stupid shit, y'know? Nothing really too serious. Oh, well there's one thing, basically how Conor's kinda fucked up and let us down once or twice which we give him shit for, and aswell 'cos myself and Eoin & Donal are always rockin' out and so on but Conor just kinda stands there and, well, just doesn't rock! You gotta release the rock, man!!

13. You have a reputation as a DIY band. If you could sign to a big label (Fat/Epitaph or even a major), would you?
Em...it would depend on the label and the terms. As for a major label, that's straight out the window, no fucking way, but for some of the bigger punk rock labels we wouldn't dismiss it immediately, y'know? But then again, how fucking likely is that? In Ireland especially, it's very hard to do things unless you do them DIY, at the start anyway, which is part of the reason I've started Simian Records; to put out stuff by Irish bands that would otherwise go unheard, because there are loads of incredible bands around that never get anything out. The Waltons for instance, they were incredible. They split up in 1998 and their 7" only just came out now, on Benjamin Records in Dublin. While they were around I think all they had out was a track on Mero Rejected's first 7", and on the Toney Feeney "Respect Is Not A Word" compilation, which is a disgrace for the band they were. If they lived anywhere but Ireland they woulda had a hell of a lot more out. So that shouldn't happen, but then it's very hard to get the money together to put records out. We probably can't afford to release another 7" or an LP or CD or whatever for quite a while, so we're gonna record some of the new stuff this Summer and look for a label to release it for us, either one of the small Irish ones or maybe one in the UK. What we'd like to do is put stuff out on lots of different labels...if things go well with one label in particular, then naturally we'd want to continue with them. I don't really know...we'll take it as it comes.

14. How do you define selling out?
This is one of the things we've had big arguments about before... I reckon it's when you compromise your core beliefs and try to be something you're not. NOFX for instance; I don't think they've sold out -they've been playing punk rock for a very long fucking time, and people came to them, not the other way around. They toured everywhere playing to the proverbial 2-people-and-a-dog, like, before everyone and their ma were wearing NOFX t-shirts they played everywhere, they played in the Fox & Pheasant in Dublin and fuckin' no-one was there (not even me!). They didn't change their sound to become more commercial, people just realised how good they were. Green Day; I dunno, their new album isn't punk rock, but Nimrod was probably the punkest album they ever made. The same with them though, they played to 40 people in the Attic in Dublin touring 'round Europe after they released their first album on Lookout. The Offspring totally changed their sound, I reckon they're just a joke at this stage. It's just a really difficult question and topic. I think Epitaph aren't a punk label any more. They used to be an excellent label, and now they're signing bands like fucking Tricky, Tom Waits, etc, plus the quality of their bands is steadily dropping. Fat Wreck Chords, the other "big" label, they're still signing the same type of bands they've always had on their label, and they've still got good meaningful, interesting bands like Good Riddance, Propagandhi, etc. Something that's a bit weird is the way Victory Records have gone recently; they used to be a total NYHC, tough-guy, basketball jersey moshcore label, and now they're suddenly signing bands like the Burning Heads, re-releasing stuff by the Cockney Rejects, etc. They're signing some excellent bands like Grade, Boy Sets Fire, Snapcase, Grey Area, etc. at the same time, but they're not Victory Records type bands, y'know? I think it's clear to anyone that they've sold out. They compromised their original vision and I reckon they're not in it for the right reasons anymore. It's really hard to say, and (as with the rest of these questions, as you've probably noticed!) I could probably go on all day about it...

15. Was it hard to get into the Irish punk scene? How did you discover it, a lot of people don't even know there is one...
Em, yes, it is quite hard to get into the underground punk scene here... I'm not quite sure how we discovered it... Buying fanzines like Nosebleed... Going to gigs in Slattery's we saw posters for... Thumped.com... Especially living in Roscommon it wasn't easy to get into it. Just buying/reading fanzines and going to punk rock & hardcore shows and so on, you just get more and more into it. I do my own fanzine so that helped to really get into things. If people wanna get into it or find out more, I'd recommend they check out http://culchikore.8m.com or http://www.thumped.com or if they've no access to the internet at all, if they get in touch with us and send a blank tape, I'd be happy to them a comp of Irish punk & HC bands and send 'em some zines and so on...don't be shy, we won't bite!

16. What is the nicest and meanest thing said about your band?
Um...well just basically various people who's opinions we really respect and can trust not to talk bollocks to us have recently told us that they reckon that we're a really good band, what makes it more believable is that a few of 'em have said how they reckoned we were pretty shit at the start (very true) but think it's really cool how we've developed. We were really stoked when we heard those kind of things off certain people... Em, getting to play with certain bands, being interviewed for certain zines...that kinda thing. The meanest things have always come from people where we live. Most people in Roscommon are inbred biggoted rascist sexist homophobic simple-minded fucking cretins, and they've often been pretty discouraging. Drunken idiots just giving us a lot of shit, y'know, but we don't take much notice. It's had the effect that we never had any delusions about how good we were, we've never considered ourselves to be this great fucking rock band who everyone should love, 'cos you meet some bands who have these unbelievable egos, even pathetic cover bands from around here, and it's just really funny that they've got these followings of hangers-on and arselickers who think they're amazing because they form a band and play a set of fucking Nirvana and Pearl Jam songs or something. Oh yeh, when we played in Cork with the PC Fascists, Capdown, The Steam Pig, and Cold War at Halloween last year, Conor Nelligan (who plays in the PC Fascists and used to be in Section 8) was putting the gig on, and he was talking on the mic at the start after the PC Fascists had played and he said something like "Nerdlinger are up now and sorry to all the other bands, but I just have to say that they're my absolute favourite Irish band" or something to that effect, which was just really nice, we were dumbstruck, so that's probably the nicest thing anyone's ever said about us. Conor's a good friend of ours.

17. Do you think the emergence of punk in the mainstream (a la Blink 182) has effected punk at a grassroots level?
Not at all, and if so, only in a good way. Every few years you get this thing where loud bands become cool again and everyone jumps on the bandwagon, but it always blows over and it'll have no effect whatsoever on the underground. I think it's at the start of one of those periods again right now, bands like Slipknot, Korn, Blink 182, whatever. I had a listen to the Blink 182 album that the recent popular singles are off, and it actually turned out to be a pretty cool album. It's nothing new, but they write catchy punk rock songs and what I felt to be quite heartening was that a lot of the songs on that album were fast, pretty rocking kinda stuff, and if the kids listening to them can get into that then there's hope for them yet! There'll always be a certain percentage who'll look further and get into the underground stuff, y'know? Especially for kids in the same position we were maybe 5 or 6 years ago, like, without Green Day around the time of Dookie or the Offspring with Smash I probably wouldn't have heard punk rock. I was listening to stuff like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Metallica or whatever, and then hearing bands like Green Day & the Offpring, I didn't even know they were punk bands, I just thought they fucking rocked. Then I got stuff like a couple of the Epitaph & Fat Wreck compilations off an older kid I saw wearing a NOFX hoodie in school (I was a little metalhead at the time and had heard about them in Kerrang or something) and it just went from there, y'know? There's so much elitism in this scene, it really really gets to me. Not everyone has an older brother or whatever to lead them into underground punk rock by the hand from the start, yet we tend to sneer at every kid in a Rancid or Green Day t-shirt. For a scene that's supposed to be so open-minded, I see very little evidence of it on a practical basis. There's a lot of snobbery about the afternoon all-ages shows that are on in Temple Bar Music Centre which began towards the end of last year, and I think it's totally the wrong attitude. So many of these kids are dying to get into the scene, and if they're just ignored and put down for going to these shows, how are they going to get into the really underground stuff? Although a number of them will have forgotten all about it 2 years down the line, there's a certain percentage of them who just need a guiding hand. I don't wanna go too far into this and take either side, but some of the bands who consider themselves to be too punk for these gigs should just get past the punk rock rhetoric and check these shows out, a vast percentage of those kids just need some help to find their way. I was at one of them just after Christmas and sold about 60 fanzines, which is really good, there's just loads of really enthusiastic kids who need someone to take 'em by the hand (heheh) and show them the really good stuff.

18. Do you see MP3 as a help or hindrance? How important do you see the web as a tool for band promotion?
Em, a help definitely. I've heard loadsa bands and gotten in touch with loads of really great people as a result of the 'net, and it's helped us a lot anyway. It can obviously be a hindrance at the same time, people obviously abuse it to do fucking market research and so on on people who don't even realise they're being monitored. But in general, I think it's a really good thing.

19. What does the future hold for Nerdlinger?
World domination! Lifetime contracts with EMI Records! Sponsorship from Nike, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola! Naked pictures of all your parents! David Hasslehoff sponsored stadium tours! Nah, I dunno... We're just gonna keep having as much fun as possible, and avoid growing up at all costs! We should have a split 7" out soon with No Matrix, this great band from Athlone who're kinda like a mix of Gameface & No Means No. As I said, we're looking for someone to release another 7", possibly a CD/LP for us. We'll be playing anywhere and everywhere, possibly doing a tour round Ireland with The Dangerfields from Belfast in July. You can get in touch with us by writing to me -Cormy, 14 Antogher Road, Roscommon, Ireland or whizine@hotmail.com. We're online at www.thumped.com/nerdlinger, you can hear some of our stuff on the website. Write if you wanna get a copy of my fanzine, With Harmful Intent, or any Nerdlinger stuff, and anyone is welcome to take me up on that offer of a tape of Irish punk rock bands. A few people who haven't heard much punk rock before might even read this too, if so, send a tape & I'll make ya a comp of great bands from all over the world. Oh, and sorry for writing so goddam much -I've got a lot to say!!