An Interview with four members of
California Hard Rock Band
'David Roach (Lead Vocalist), Todd Muscat (Bass Guitarist),
Tim Mosher (Rhythm Guitarist) & Pat Muzingo (Drummer)'
that took place early July 2015.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: What initially turned you on to your particular role in the band and/or playing that certain instrument?
David: I always wanted to be a singer. I loved singing along to Elvis, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I would like to play guitar but I’m not coordinated. Besides, any monkey can learn guitar. It takes real skill to go up there with nothing and try to entertain! Ha!
Todd: When I was a teenager I was very into bands like Aerosmith, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, UFO etc. One night I heard The Sex Pistols and Ramones on a late night radio show. I was mesmerized by what I heard and dove head first into the punk scene in LA. Me and my little brother were going to see bands as often as possible and at the time he was taking trumpet lessons at a music store. He traded his trumpet in for a guitar and started taking lessons and I borrowed a girlfriends bass and that was that. I think the bass fits my personality because I've got blue collar sensibilities at heart and I lay the foundation so to speak.
Tim: Well I joined because at the time Brian was unavailable and since I had been around the band since nearly the beginning it seemed natural for me to step in on guitar.
Pat: I started off playing drums in my Jr. high school jazz band. I did that for a few years until it got really technical. Then when I joined the marching band, I also discovered punk rock. Since I beat the crap out of the drums (thanks to marching band), playing punk rock was fairly easy. My role in Junkyard came about the day I quit the band 'Pirates of Venus' (that band featured members of 'Tales of Terror' and 'Verbal Abuse'). I couldn’t take it any longer, the band was out of control. We made Guns n’ Roses look like wanna be daytime soap opera actors. The day I decided I couldn’t take it any longer, I had to moved back home with my parents (Pirates was from S.F. and L.A.), that night I was rehearsing with Junkyard. That was either late ’86 or early ’87.
Glenn: How were the early days for you in Junkyard and what were the highlights and why?
David: Exciting. There was no highlight. It was all a great f*ck*ng ride.
Pat: After I bailed on 'Pirates' I was so happy to be with Yard. We had played with them a bunch of times so I already knew most of the songs. The early days were rough, playing a lot! Good shows, bad shows, great shows…actually they were all great! We were young so playing a weeknight wasn’t as rough as it is these days! The best times were when we started getting noticed, mostly cause we were tight. We rehearsed a lot and the songs were really coming together. We had heard about 'labels' but it wasn’t until we started getting cals that we thought.. 'Hey, we might be able to do a record too!'. I wasn’t in the band when they had to live behind the Soundcheck bar but I heard stories!
Glenn: What do you remember most about playing 'The Cathouse' back in the day?
Todd: The silicone jugs.
Pat: What I remember most I can’t remember! I guess Riki always giving us the royal treatment. He was a fan of ours from the beginning. He came from the same skate/punk scene I came from so he knew we were the real deal, plus we are old friends going way back to the OG skateboarding days. Thats a bond you can never shake.
Tim: Cathouse was one of the many underground clubs in Hollywood in those days. The main difference is that it didn’t have bands play there and if they did have a band it was a big event . So it tended to be more of a hang for bands (meaning no A&R people around) and therefore led to it being more debauched….if that was possible?
Glenn: What was it that made 'The Cathouse' so special in your opinion?
Todd: When it first started it was great, the music was good and the people going were a lot of the same people who I had crossed paths with in the punk scene like the guys from LA Guns, G 'n' R & Little Caesar. After a while it turned into a big scene with all the sunset strip knuckleheads and their fat groupies from the valley. I stopped going.
Pat: The scene was divided up into different factions. Cathouse made all those clicks one. Everyone was cool, it was a blast! There was the Sunset Strip 'rockers' that wore some lame outfits but they would only show up once or twice before they returned back to the Rainbow.
Tim: It had a 2 to 1 girl to guy ratio as I recall. which i’m sure was the plan all along.
David: I’ll take these 2 Cathouse questions as 1. I don’t remember! Hollywood at that time was sooo f*ck*ng crazy. All the clubs we played were special in their own right. There was something happening every night of the week, all night long. Cathouse? All the rock stars and wanna be's and the women! I got good and drunk there plenty of times but I couldn’t get laid. All the girls were chasing Axl, Taime and Phil Lewis - f*ck*rs!
Glenn: How did it make you feel when you were asked to be part of the bill on 'Cathouse Live'?
Todd: I had mixed feelings. I was excited because we are releasing new material and I think it's a great way for people to see us who never got a chance to back in the day and also a chance for new people to find out what were about. At the same time I was a little hesitant because I thought the bill would have a ton of bands on it that we would laugh about back in the day. I think they struck a nice balance between real 'Cathouse' type bands and the fluffier, hairy, crap.
Pat: Great! Riki called us and thanked us for helping make the show legitimate. We aren’t the type of band that goes well with Dokken or Poison or any of 'those' bands. Never had anything in common but we always seem to win everyone over. We just go out there and bust skulls!
Tim: Sounded like fun. where do we sign?!
David: Great. Riki has always been good to us and playing with all these band from back in the day will be a blast for fans and bands alike.
Glenn: Are there particular songs you are looking forward to playing in the set and if so why those?
Tim: Really looking forward playing the new single "Faded." It will be the first time it will be played in front of an audience.
Pat: The hits 'Hollywood', 'Blooze', 'Simple Man' etc.
Todd: I'm looking forward to playing 'Faded' too.
David: For the Cathouse show we have limited time. Playing 'Blooze' and 'Faded' live for the 1st time should be fun.
Glenn: Apologies if you’ve been asked this a million times but why did you originally call the band, Junkyard and who came up with the name?
Pat: So many versions of this have been printed. Originally Chris was gonna name the band 'Crack'. . well, that really wasn’t a great game being associated with a drug that was rampant. It simply came down to 'The Birthday Party’s' (Nick Caves 1st band) 3rd album, 'Junkyard'.
David: It was ambiguous and we grew into it nicely.
David: There has never been any conscious decision. Any elements of the sound are purely a reflection of the music we loved as kids. Yes, that means Skynrd and ZZ Top. It also means AC/DC, Sex Pistols, Motorhead, The Clash and Hank 'F*ck*n' Williams.
Todd: There was never a 'decision'. It's what came out.
Pat: Yeah, we really didn’t think about it? I think our Pre-Punk influences came out. Those were stuck in our DNA.
Tim: I think we all had a love for Southern Rock thing from Skynyrd to ZZ Top and even straight country. It was always in the mix of influences that were thrown into the pot- along with AC/DC, punk, etc...
Glenn: How would you say you have changed as a people since the heyday of Junkyard?
David: Thats an interview unto itself! I was a boy - now I’m a Man.
Todd: I can't speak for anyone else but after raising a son by myself and working my ass off the last 23 years I've learned you can't always get what you want, you get what you need. That and I go to sleep at 10 or 11. I've turned into my dad.
Pat: Ya live ya learn. Was there stupid things we did 'back in the day'? ..Of course. With age come wisdom, especially with music. You grow as you get older. Some bands sound like sh*t as they got older, we got better!
Tim: We are healthier I would say and hopefully a bit wiser.
Glenn: What are your thoughts now to making a living in music as opposed to back in the day? What would you say has changed with regard to this?
David: Back in the day I was sure I would make enough money to be comfortable for the rest of my life. Now I’m just happy to play again. Ironically, I feel like we have a better chance of making a living now than we did then!
Todd: There was a second back in 1991, when I was thinking it would be nice to have a car that ran decent and get a place where I could have some dogs running around the yard. Now all I want to do is get a chance to make a great record and go out and meet new people and see new places. Anything more than that would be gravy on the side.
Tim: Well there is no big record company fairy godmother who in theory could throw money at you and solve your problems. It’s more DIY which is cool as well. We all come from that ethic anyway. I do think it would be hard to start now. We are lucky we have a fan base that we can build on but I wouldn’t know where to begin if we didn’t our fans.
Glenn: I have an original copy of ‘Sixes, Sevens & Nines’ with the David Geffen Press Letter included. What do you remember about the recording and promotion of that particular album not to mention playing songs live when it was released?
Pat: The recording process was a bit different for this one, at least for me. Drum tracks were recorded up north near San Fransisco. I did feel pressure but I think I had some insecurities at the time? Looking back it was such a silly waste of money. 2 weeks for drums? Really??! Going back to the other question about how I’ve changed, I would have to say I am way more confident playing these days. Maybe because there's no A&R guy and Producer tripping me out saying, "Don’t worry, it's only $3000.00 a day for the drum tracks".
David: That album played out like so many sophomore efforts. By then the label was homogenizing us, taking away everything that made us unique and we went right along. A few of those songs were great but a lot of it was weak attempts at writing 'the single or the hit' so most didn’t get much stage time.
Todd: I didn't pay attention to a lot of the promotion stuff back then but I do remember a great record release party where members of the L.A. Kings hockey team were there. As far as playing the songs live, it's always great to do new stuff and see the fans reactions.
Glenn: What were both the hardest and easiest parts of reforming the band in 2000 and why?
David: Getting us all in a room together is tricky. After that its like riding a bike.
Tim: Hard part for me was trying to get even close to Brian’s parts.. Thankfully now he can handle them again! Easiest part was the band itself. We’ve known each other for so long that we fell right in.
Todd: There were no hard parts. It just came together easy.
Pat: Lifting our own gear!
Glenn: Tell us about the new single, 'Faded/The River' and what influenced the songs?
David: I was riding the bus to work because my truck engine blew up, hence the opening line of 'Faded'. After that it became a reflection of growing up raising hell. 'The River' I wrote years ago about myself and scores of other young people who come to LA, following the river, their dreams, from their small towns to the big city only to be swallowed up by the enormity and the reality of that dream.
Tim: Brian had the main riff ('Faded') that he sent me as a memo on his i-Phone, along with a bunch of other ideas. The riff just stood out - simple and direct and catchy (no small feat). Once Brian and I were able to get into the same room we built from that opening riff and the chorus just kind off happened I guess. Meanwhile, David did his thing lyric-wise and it all jelled very quickly.
Glenn: What was it about ‘Union Music Group’ that proved to be the company to sign to as opposed to any others that are around?
Pat: Going back a little further we did have a nice kick in the ass from Damon Marzano. He really liked the band, helped us get "6’s, 7’s and 9’s" back on iTunes and suggested we should write some new stuff and would help us get it out to the masses. He almost got us there but at the last minute things kinda fell apart. After that we kinda just went about our way, which in Junkyard fashion means somethings about to land in our laps! Haha!
Tim: To be honest we really didn’t look around at other labels. In keeping with the way we tend to do things, Bruce Witkin who owns the label and I go way back (and he had worked as an Engineer with Junkyard on the 'Tried and Trued' EP). So it was as simple as a phone call asking if he/Unison would be interested and that was it.
Glenn: Will there be a brand new Junkyard studio album soon? And if so, What songs can you tell us about? Is there a title in mind and when will be released?
Tim: The plan is for a longer format Junkyard record be ready for 2016. Whether it’s an E.P. or L.P. is still being discussed but suffice it to say there are more new songs that will hopefully see the light of day soon.
David: No title, the songs are great, the songs vary influence wise, ala Junkyard but it all sounds like Junkyard, get it?
Glenn: What are your thoughts to digital format (I-tunes etc) vs real format (Vinyl & CD) and where do you personally stand on that?
Todd: I've always liked vinyl cause you can hold it and look at it. It just sucks when it's time to move.
David: I like barbecue and pizza and fried chicken.
Tim: This has been a learning curve for the band now that we are back in the game a bit. I sort of feel however people want to get their music is all good. We just want to be able to get it them and hope they dig it.
Glenn: How did the forthcoming tour in October come to be with Dan Baird & The Homemade Sin and what are you most looking forward about it and why?
David: I reckon Dan and us kind of approach R&E with same attitude which is 'F*ck It!' What else we gonna do? I think Spanish fans see thru b*llsh*t - that's 'ca-ca de toro'. ‘Yard and Dan play from the heart. I always look forward to playing for people who get that.
Pat: Our Promoter had wanted us back for a while after the 2003 Serie Z festival show and the 2008 and 2009 tours but we didn’t have anything to promote. When we finally got things sorted out with the label, things fell together. We were lucky that Dan was over there at the same time and get to play 4 shows with him.
Glenn: In what ways would you say the European rock fans are different to the ones in the U.S.A. and can you put your finger on why that is?
Todd: I think European fans are great. A lot better at sussing out the b*llsh*t and sniffing out bands that are faking it. They let go a lot more at shows. In the States, we have very loyal fans but a lot of rock fans in the states buy into image and hype. Not a lot of people thinking for themselves. It seems our fans are a lot like us! The black sheep.
Tim: They tend to go a bit deeper into the band members catalogs and other work but we also have American fans like that as well. That being said, Yard fans whether U.S. or European are great. Know more about us then I do!
David: Europeans seem to have a greater knowledge of music history and have a deeper long term connection to the bands they love, Americans are so ADD. Ready for the next thing, seen it, next, next, next....although,as Junkyard marches on we still maintained a small but very loyal following that seems to be getting bigger.
Glenn: Talking of touring, what cool tour stories can you talk about that you haven’t disclosed before in other interviews? Anything at all – feel free, no matter how quirk or wacky it is.. LOL
Pat: There’s so many! The only way to get any story straight is to get us in the same room together so we can all remind ourselves what year, when , where, why! Haha.
Glenn: When can we expect the band to come and play some shows over in the UK since it’s been a long, long time?
Pat: As soon as we sore out this whole Visa thingy. We aren’t young punks that can just sneak into countries anymore.
Todd: We'd like to get back but we need a Promoter to get in touch with us. We can't just show up and say "Hi! Can we play some songs". At the moment we do all our booking, publicity, promotion, merch etc.
Tim: Would love to come over. Hopefully 2016.
Glenn: What songs mean the most to you from the Junkyard catalog and why?
Todd: For me, it's 'Hands Off' and 'Simple Man' because those two really hit home with our fans and 'Blooze' because it has that iconic Junkyard feel and attitude.
Tim: I really like 'Simple Man". Great lyric - to the point.
David: Pretty much everything comes from personal experience, so most of them mean something on a personal level. For me, 'Blooze', 'Hands Off', 'Lost in the City', 'Clean the Dirt' are among my faves. There were also some songs from the old demos and EP I will always love that wont be heard by most.
Pat: For some reason I gravitate to the 'Tried and True' EP? A re-recording of an old track called 'Holdin On'. I have to say I really like it a lot, mostly cause it was Tims 1st time in the studio with Junkyard. (Tim and I had been in another band together on MCA and our recording relationship was really tight already) and he really knows the bands sound. I also have to say the new songs too because, not to be biased, but they are really good!
Glenn: Here’s a humourous question for you - What has been the most interesting Junk Yard you have been to and what did you find in there that you just had to have?
Todd: I've only been to a junkyard one time with my Dad to get some parts for his car. I remember feeling sorry for the guard dog, he didn't look like he was having a good time.
David: My house is the Junkyard. Anything I had to have is sitting in my yard or nailed to the wall.
Tim: We all used to have the most rundown rusted out cars in the world back in the day. They were always breaking down…usually at the worst time and place. So you would have to go to a place called 'Pick A Part' and buy whatever part your sh*t box car needed and then beg one of your gear head friends to fix it for you.
Pat: 'Pick A Part!' Haha! I forgot about that place! Tim’s right, our cars were garbage back in the day! My 'record deal' car was a 1961 Chevy that I got for $1200.00. It was a steal only because it had rained on the 'For Sale' sign! The original price was 1800 but when you have 12 hundred dollar bills who’s gonna turn that down! As time went on the paint started to chip away to find rust on it. We cut it away and then I decided to hit a few people and that was the end of that car. Now the damn things worth 50k!
Glenn: What else would you like to discuss that I haven’t covered yet?
Tim: I would like to say how great the response from fans and just people in general has been to the band getting back out there again. All the support so far has been great.
David: Your Mom? Haha!
Glenn: What are you most proud of as a band and also as individuals and for what reasons?
David: As a band I’m proud we tried to make music good enough that it stands up today and isn’t to hindered by our appearance cause we weren’t much to look at anyway. Ultimately, what would make me proud is praise from the artists I respect, I doubt myself constantly. Joe Ely is a legend in Texas, The Clash asked him to tour, he came up to me and said 'Hands Off' was the best song he had heard in years - that to me was success.
Todd: For me, I'm proud that we made people happy with our music and feel that we always treated our fans with respect.
Pat: When we get together its actually fun. On the road we are always together. Yeah, sometimes we need our space but for the most part you will always find us all together. Also, we are doing this on our terms. We don’t have anyone telling us if we don’t do a certain show it's gonna hurt our careers.
Tim: I guess that we are all alive and well and the fact that we get a chance to do this at all is an achievement .
A big thankyou to the band's Management for setting this Interview up for us and of course to the guys themselves for giving some really excellent responses to the questions I threw at them.
Check out their Official website: Junkyardblooze.com
New single "Faded" available July 10, 2015
All photographs featured in this interview have been supplied and used by kind permission of Junkyard and their Management.