The Nitwitz

Interview by Conan Troutman

With over 27 years in Punk Show business Tony Slug is no new kid on the block; hell the man is European Rock and Roll royalty people! Friend to Happy Tom, Scott Morgan and Nicke Royale and with opinions on everything from cooking with chilli’s to why the British suck, the titan of Totalitarian Rock n Roll shares his thoughts with Gravy.

Gravy: First off who's doing what in this the 6th (?) incarnation of the Nitwitz?

TS: Hm, it's more like the 12th reincarnation. I lost count by now. We're in the annual period of slump as we speak. Laurent moved to Spain, and Paul lives in Cologne. Paul basically wants to do his own stuff I guess. But the Nitwitz will will keep going. I'm like David Attenborough. A man possessed by his enthusiasm! Or if you look at it another way, a cockroach, maybe. I've been into this for 27 years, no way I'm gonna quit. We're simply better than 98 % of the stuff out there.

Gravy: Why did Laurent leave?

TS: Laurent found both a place to live and a nice job 1500 km south of here, near the Basque region of

, which is where he wants to be, with his girlfriend. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. And a man's gotta make a living. There's no hard feelings, we're pals. Everything comes to an end you know.    

     Laurent rocks Spain - 2005


Gravy: His replacement is Mikey Offender; how come a Texan ends up playing bass in a Dutch Punk Rock n Roll band?

TS: Well, to say Mikey is a replacement may be too much of a big word at this stage. He sent me a mail saying he was back in town, looking for a band after he'd come back from tour with MDC. So I told him that I just so happened to looking for a bass player, preferably 40 yrs of age or up. And he said "sure thing". But we still have to practise, which incidentally is something I prefer to do on stage. But we're not in a hurry, but we'll be out there and rock motherfuckers cross-eyed after the summer.

Gravy: Now that Mikey is playing with you in the Nitwitz, does this mean you have shelved the 80s HC superstar band you were putting together featuring Paul Mahern (Zero Boys) on vocals?

TS: Oh, that whole thing was basically a joke. Me and Eric (from Die Kreuzen) were talking (he also lives in
Amsterdam) how he started playing again. And, man I LOVE Die Kreuzen. That's some confrontational, fucking IN YOUR FACE, unpleasant shit. Awesome. Then Mikey had nothing to do, and he moved to Amsterdam as well, so, since we all know one another from 20 years back, it seemed like a logical step. But they got all kinds of 25 year old "hardcore hardcore!" fan boys crawling up their asses all the time. Then my friend Greta, who plays bass for Moby, passed the info on to Paul of the Zero Boys, and I'm like 'what the fuck?' and Paul was ready to go. Next thing I know is all these dinky HC labels are writing me they want to release the record. WE STILL HAVE TO PRACTISE FOR THE FIRST TIME FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Pretty surreal. It would seem like a fun project, and I'd like to pursue it at some stage but we're gonna have to accommodate schedules, finances, etc.

Gravy: The new album 'Sex, Lies and Duct tape' has finally been released after muchos delays? How come it took so long to get released?

TS: Same shit as usual. No album means no tour, 4 grand studio bill and band members’ leaving means the remnants have to cough up the dough. And when labels, like GET HIP, don't pay up, or pay ANYTHING for that matter, we get to eat the proverbial shit sandwich. Maybe it's our karma to be on the receiving end of an endless barrage of hard knocks, (LAUGHS). What counts is that the record is out at last!

Gravy: I understand Happy Tom from Turbonegro helped out with the release? What's the story?

TS: Let's just say that Tom has been a crucial factor in getting this album out. He's been generous and helpful without wanting anything in return. You rarely see that.

Gravy: So you and Tom are pretty good mates then?

TS: Well, yeah. I like to think so. It's not like we hang out every week but we're in touch quite a bit, with intervals, whenever either of us is on tour. But we're levelling and talking personal stuff. I'd walk a mile on glowing coals for that guy. It's just we go back a long way. He's a big star now, but he's a pal or ‘mate’ if you will.

Gravy: Will the legendary Happy Tom/Sluggy email exchanges ever get published?

TS: Hm, doubtful. I had a few hard disk crashes over the years. It's probably not that interesting anyhow. We're just talking shit about people etc... But it's an incessant pun-fest with Tom. His sense of humour is, WICKED, as you Island Apes would say. I also like the whole Turbojugend aspect of it all. It's not gonna end up like some "Oh I created a Frankenstein" thing like with Ian Mackaye and all that straight edge stuff, people getting "hardline" or something foolish like that Turbojugend is a worldwide community about having fun and spreading darkness at the same time. It's cool and hilarious.

Gravy: Coming back to the album, there's some pretty controversial lyrics on songs such as 'Nippon Girl Desire' and 'Rohypnol Lovedoll'; does it bother you that people may not get the humour and totally misunderstand the band?

TS: If they don't get the humour maybe they should buy a an emo album and listen to some rich daddy having , drive-in theatre glasses wearing 17 year old geek from the Suburbs on Kung Fu or Victory Records or some shit , whining about unrequited love. Or else they can listen to, what have you, the ADICTS and go through some retarded OI OI OI nostalgia thing they were never part of, and which sucked ass from day one. And if people think we are REALLY slipping roofies to chicks trying to take advantage of them they're even stupider than I thought. I might as well go on record here saying we're a bunch of married or steady girlfriend having old fucks.


  You couldn’t salt this Slug!


Gravy: You ended up getting a show pulled in Germany over alleged sexism though?

TS: Wouldn't be the first time. They didn't even want to discuss it. Like we're gonna rape any of those burlapsack wearing fleabag bitches out there. Riiiight. Man, these people take themselves way too so seriously.  Besides the fact that I've played about 500 shows in a band that pretty much wore anti-sexism on their SLEEVE when they were still sucking on their upper class mommy's blue veined milkbags, the culprit, who happens to be Moroccan, the cover model chick, totally dug it, and there’ proof of that on our website. The photographer is a famous artist in France. He makes SHITLOADS of money, but he did this for FREE because he likes our band. Either way, the record label people made the cover, not us. So if these sacrosanct double headed squatter dildos don't want us to drive 6 or 8 hours and play their scummy squat to a bunch of drunks for 60 bucks. Big deal. We'll just drive 6 hours and play the scummy squat next door for 30 bucks or something.

Gravy: Happy Tom co-wrote a couple of the songs on the album too right?

TS: We used two or three lines he contributed. But he's been given full credit. I just mailed him and said "dude, I'm staring at a writer's block the size of the Cheops pyramid in front of me here. We're recording in two days; help a brother out, yo. This is the title; this is what it's about, boom boom."
Within 10 minutes he responded with some FUNNY ASS lines we ended using a few of.

Gravy: Why do you think Turbonegro seem to be able to get away with writing such dubious lyrics but you get a lot of flak for it?

TS: We don't really get that much flak, it's just that everywhere (except for
Spain) we're being greeted with, you know, screaming indifference. The Nitwitz smoke, no we CASTRATE about 90 percent of the competition, but over here you are as big as the pres you are getting, which makes us nothing. It's all a media coverage thing.

Gravy: Apart from the band you have also launched Rocket Dog records; how has that been going?

TS: With the exception of the Hellacopters/Nitwitz split, it's been pretty dismal. I lose about 600 Euros per release. Then again it's a real eye opener. I can't even begin to tell you HOW RESOURCEFUL distributors are in finding ways to weasel you out of 200 or 300 bucks. There's ALWAYS a catch, (LAUGHS).

Gravy: I understand there's the possibility of a live B.G.K. album being released on Rocket Dog Records in the near future; can you share any details?

TS: I have to be diplomatic here. No comment.

Gravy: B.G.K. were a hugely influential HC band; have you ever had any thoughts of getting that project back together?

TS: That's simply not going to happen. Forget about it.

B.G.K - 1985

Gravy: Will you being any more Hydromatics records with Scott Morgan and Nicke Royale?

TS: We got some live stuff in the can and will be scraping the barrel, yes.

Gravy: The Nitwitz have just finished a month long European jaunt, high points and low points?

TS: High points: being in
Spain; Low points: losing money

Gravy: You seem particularly fond of the Basque region?

TS: The Basques are great. This may be hard to explain to someone who has not been there or isn't aware of Spanish culture. But for some TRULY bizarre reason I earned INFINITE creds for playing the squat houses there ca. 1984. Every block has 3 bars where you'll hear punk rock. the place is incredible.

Gravy: Conversely you seem to have a real loathing of the
UK; why is that?

TS: I don't care where anyone is from but, with some exceptions such as yourself, I found British people having this BLATANT, in your face, obnoxious nationalistic attitude 24/7. Especially when it comes to music, the Island Apes have a REALLY lame patriotic stance. "We invented it". Riiight. (LAUGHS) I remember playing with CHRON GEN ca. 1982, Good Lord! What a bunch of pathetic, pompous limpdicks those guys were. Hilarious.

Gravy: So it's got nothing to do with our poor dental hygiene then?

TS: Nah that would be too predictable.


                           Getting Jiggy with the Slugmeister

Gravy: When I spoke to you recently about the new album you mentioned that you had tried to incorporate a 'Bo D
idley' type bravado on the lyrics; what other influences help to create the Nitwitz sound?

TS: Well, I was going through a Bo Diddley phase, and he's made NUMEROUS albums with, like, 17 songs on them, and THIRTEEN of those songs are all about how great he is. One album has "Bo Diddley 500 PERCENT MORE MAN!" written in big letters on the cover. Hilarious! So I figured we should also make an album that's basically full of self praise, be it tongue in cheek. LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT BENITO GASOLINI WOULD BAIL DURING THE RECORDING SESSIONS. So now we're singing songs about how great these guys are that already left the band... So our effort was a bit half - assed in retrospect.

Gravy: Do you feel that the resurgence of quality rock n roll that started back in the late 90s has peaked and is now on the downside?

TS: there will always be good, confrontational rocknroll, but that whole Hella/Glue/Sucker 666 flames and hotrods BS is SO played out I can't stand it anymore.

Gravy: Are there any acts which you are particularly fond of at the moment?

TS: I listen to the YES-MEN, the VOODOO DOLLS, LAZY COWGIRLS, COLUMBIAN NECKTIES, a band called GRAFTON - they really kick ass - , TURBONEGRO, and all kinds of 50's black rock n roll.

Gravy: So what's next for the Nitwitz?

TS: We'll see. Same shit I'm afraid Busting ass, changing members and smoking fools at the odd, scarcely attended show. then tour
Spain to tank up!

Gravy: Parting comments or cheap shots?

TS: Y'all can blow a Nitwit for Rock n roll.

Gravy: How can people get in touch?

TS : Either come down our local watering hole, De Diepte, or simply join Turbojugend !

Thanks Tony.