U.K hardcore punks the Varukers have been getting angry now for more than a 1/4 of a century. Vive Le Punk spoke to singer Rat in the middle of their 2009 world tour.
(c) Roger Grauwmeijer
30 years of the Varukers! Are you surprised the band is still out there and, still so popular?
WELL THE VARUKERS HAVE BEEN GOING FOR 30 YEARS, ALTHOUGH WE DID STOP AND HAVE A BREAK AROUND 87 FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS SO LIKE THE QUEEN (HAS TWO OR THREE BIRTHDAYS) WE ARE GOING OUT ON OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR THIS YEAR ,THEN IN A COUPLE OF YEARS DO IT ALL AGAIN ON ANOTHER 30TH BASH AROUND THE WORLD ,GREAT AINT IT ,SURPRISED BUT ALSO PLEASED THAT WE ARE STILL DOING IT THIS LONG STILL THATS BECAUSE WE STILL HAVING FUN (SOMETIMES) AND THE VARUKERS HAVE ALWAYS HAD A SMALL BUT DEDICATED HARDCORE OF SUPORTERS,AND LONG MAY IT CONTINUE,WE HAVE TO WORK AT IT CONSTANTLY GOING OUT THERE AND TOURING MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE DONT FORGET THE NAME ,THATS WHAT IT TAKES FOR A BAND TO REMAIN POPULAR ,A LOT OF BANDS GOT COMPLACENT AND FELL BY THE WAYSIDE , NOT FOR
US ONWARD AND UPWARD
You have always been a ‘bleak’ sounding band-is Britain better or worse than when you started?
IT CERTAINLY IS’NT THAT MUCH BETTER ,THE WORLD FINANCIAL CRISIS ,MADE BY THOSE POWERS THAT BE THE HIGH RANKING FINANCIAL INSTITUTES THEY MESS UP AND AFTER YEARS OF HEARING FROM A SUCSESSION OF GOVERMENTS THAT THE POT IS EMPTY ,NO MONEY TO INVEST ,SERVICES HAVE TO BE CUT ,SUDDENLY FROM OUT OF THIN AIR THEY FIND THE MONEY TO SAVE THE BANKS AND STOPPING THEM FROM THE DOMINO EFFECT ,(ONE BY ONE THEY COLLAPSE) ITS MINE AND YOUR MONEY THEY USE BUT HEY FALL BEHIND ON YOUR MORTGAGE REPAYMENTS AND THE BANKS YOU HELPED TO FINANCE WILL STILL SEND THE REPO MAN KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR, PEOPLE ARE STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH THE RISING COSTS OF (GAS ,ELECTRIC ,COUNCIL TAX BILLS) AND THE EVER INCREASING RISE IN COST OF FOOD BILLS WHICH EVERY WEEK SEEMS TO BE WORSE THAN THE ONE BEFORE (BUT HEY COMING TO
ONE OF OUR GIGS WILL CHEER YOU UP)
The Varukers have pretty much always stuck to one style-ever been tempted to break away from it as a few other 80s punk acts did?
I WOULDNT SAY WE ARE STUCK IN ANY STYLE APART FROM THE VARUKERS ONE ,WHICH IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE ISN’T IT ,ITS THE BEST THAT WE PLAY IN AND FEELS NATURAL TO US .AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD SEEM TO ENYJOY IT SO I THINK WE WILL STICK WITH IT IF IT AIN’T BROKE DONT FIX IT, SO IN AWNSER TO THE SECOND PART OF THE QUESTION IS NO
(c) Roger Grauwmeijer
What were the bands that got you in to this in the first place?
OBVIOUSLY THE SEX PISTOLS BEING A YOUNG AND IMPRESSIONABLE LAD WATCHING THEM ON TOP OF THE POPS AND READING ABOUT THEM IN THE DAILY PAPERS ,I WANTED TO BE LIKE THAT SO STARTED CHECKING OUT FURTHER PUNK BANDS LIKE THE DAMNED ,999, UK SUBS AND WAS HOOKED,I WOULD SIT THERE ,WITH MY MOTHER WATCHING THROUGH THE CRAP MUSIC LIKE KC AND SUNSHINE BAND THAT WAS ON TOP OF THE POPS JUST FOR THE 3 MINUTES WHEN ANY PUNK BAND AROUND THAT TIME PLAYED THERE LATEST RECORD (OR MIMED TO IT) I WOULD BE JUMPING AROUND FRONT ROOM ALL OVER THE FURNITURE , UNTIL I GET A BOLLOCKING OFF MY MOTHER
How was the New Zealand and Australian tour? Any funny stories?
THE TOUR OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND WAS GOOD FUN (THANKS TO TIM AND EVERY ONE ELSE THAT HELPED OUT)ITS A BLOODY LONG WAY TO GO THOUGH ,WE LEFT HEATHROW ON THE SUNDAY NIGHT 31ST MAY AND THINK WITH THE TRAVELLING AND TIME DIFFERENCE WE ARRIVED ON TUESDAY JUNE 2ND (SO TO US IT IS LIKE 2 DAYS TRAVELLING) WE HAD TO PLAY ON THE WENSDAY IN BRISBANE THEN STRAIGHT AFTER THE SHOW HAD TO DRIVE 11 HOURS TO GET TO THE SYDNEY SHOW ,SO IT WAS A CASE OF GRABBING ANY REST THAT YOU COULD WHEN YOU COULD (AS YOUR READ FROM THE ROAD TRIP REPORT) WE HADTOURED AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND BEFORE 11 YEARS AGO AND IT WAS GREAT TO HEAR THAT SOME OF THE GUYS AT THE SHOWS LAST TIME WE WAS THERE WERE TO YOUNG TO GET INTO THE VENUES (MOST OF THE SHOWS ARE IN PUBS) AND WAS OUTSIDE JUST GETTING DRUNK AND FEELING PART OF THE NIGHT , NOW THEY ARE OLDER CAN GET IN AND REALLY FEEL PART OF THE GIG , AND OUTSIDE ARE A NEW LOT OF YOUNGSTERS GETTING DRUNK AND HEY MAYBE WE WILL MEET THOSE NEXT TIME (SOONER THAN 11 YEARS TIME WE HOPE)
And where does the Varukers bus head next?
WE HAVE A BUSY YEAR AHEAD OF US ,WE HAVE JUST RELEASED A NEW 8 TRACK(SUPOSE COULD SAY MINI ALBUM) CALLED KILLING MYSELF TO LIVE ON A NEW UK PUNK LABEL VILE RECORDS (CHECK IT OUT) AND WE GO ON TOUR IN SUPORT OF THAT 3 SHOWS IN FRANCE (PLAYING WITH OUR GOOD FRIENDS FROM BRAZIL RATOS DE PORAO),THEN WE HAVE SOME UK DATES IN AUG WITH DOOMSDAY HOUR FROM THE USA (CHECK GIG PAGE) IN OCT WE TOUR THE USA WITH DOOMSDAY HOUR AND IN NOV WE HAVE FIVE SHOWS IN ITALY, ALREADY WE ARE BOOKING SHOWS FOR NEXT YEAR ,HOPEFULLY BRAZIL.JAPAN ,RUSSIA AND OF COURSE MAINLAND EUROPE ,MIGHT HAVE TO EXTEND THE TOUR TO THIRTY AND A HALF ANIVERSARY TOUR , CONTACT THE BAND KEEP UP WITH THIER ANTICS AT WWW.MY SPACE OFFICIAL VARUKERS.COM
ON THE ROAD IN NEW ZEALAND-KIWI KAOS WITH THE VARUKERS, WORDS & PHOTOS BY ROGER GRAUWMEIJER (C)
Christchurch reaped around 100 punters and was wild as in the pit. Got about a three hour catnap in my mate’s car before we hit the road for Welly. Rat & Ricardo headed straight for cabins on the ferry but the rest of us had a great chance to get to know each other better on the journey. We all headed round to Tom Proctor’s for a fab feed Kathy laid on before heading down for soundcheck. Good crowd of around 80 with the pit goin’ pretty hard with lots of young crusties. Back to Tom & Kathy’s for some wind-down beers, much-needed showers and some kip. Good thing Kathy got Rat & I bunking down in the same room as we both snore big time but can sleep through the apocalypse! LOL. Biff took a turn driving on the road to New Plymouth as the front seats were more comfortable and he didn’t want a strained shoulder from the previous night ceasing up on him. Rat & Ricardo slept a deal of the way as usual. Tim arranges flight changes for Biff so he can go home a couple of days earlier. Weird pack of punters at Basement bar in NP – must be the bogan capital of the world. The only action in the pit was the guys from the support acts while all the others stood around like bobbleheads. Managed to have a good catch-up with Joe Lord over several beers upstairs before the gig. Tim & I crash at Craig & Skate’s for the night after dropping the guys off at the backpackers. Leisurely drive to Auckland getting in around 5pm. Dropped the guys off at the backpackers and headed out to collect some more T-shirts (were almost sold out by Welly so Tim ordered more) and a quick stop at Tim’s so he could have a quick catch-up with wife and child and print of Biff’s new e-tickets. Good crowd of around 100 again at Thirsty Dog and catch-ups galore before the show. Pud came over from Brisbane for the show, Die! Die! Die! frontman Andrew Wilson snuck up behind me to my surprise, Sean for Action Man Records finally gets his Punkfest DVD, the list goes on. I make a quick trip down to see Gareth at the Transmission Room to find out what time DiAnno’s on stage – 10.45 – should be doable, and was with a quick sprint down K’Rd&Queen, catch 2 DiAnno songs, and sprint back without missing an act. Boys played a good long set for their last show and the pit was going wild again! They kept the bar open well after the show so we could all relax a bit. Took a couple of band/crew shots as mementos (1 attached) before heading off for some kip. My accommodation had fallen through in Auckland but Sean was more than happy to crash at Dave’s (our roadie/driver) so I could catch the airport bus early in the morning (along with Biff). Burnt off a couple of DVDs of all the shots from the tour for the guys before turning in.