Where did you all grow up?
California, I made my living as a LA session player, then went to UC Berkeley. The #1 defining principle of The UC Berkeley Haas School is “Question The Status Quo.” I’ve certainly applied that principle in our new Refusers album Disobey. The music and songs are meant to inspire resistance against musical conformity and societal brainwashing. My partner in crime Steve Newton the bass player has a music degree from University of Miami. Steve taught me how to play slap bass (he’s a master), then I recruited him for the Refusers. He’s a wild man on stage. Our keyboard player Eric Robert went to Brigham Young and the University of Cambridge, then gave up the intellectual life to be a pro keyboardist sponsored by Nord.
How did the group form?
The Refusers have roots in the Seattle indie rock scene. We’re more radical than the average band, the songs and music are edgy and topical. That’s what unites and motivates the band members. We try to play our asses off with songs that have meaning. Our sound is blazing guitars, innovative drum grooves and heavy on the musicianship.
What is a song writing session like for you guys?
We take headline issues and make controversial songs about issues like modern society being like George Orwell’s 1984, Big Pharma opioid massacres, homelessness, income inequality, fake news, etc. A song starts with a concept, an issue and a riff. We refine it over time. The focus is really on the lyrics. The songs tell a story, usually one that is being swept under the rug by mainstream media control freaks.
Where do you record?
A state-of-the-art home studio with the usual digital protools stuff and a set of old tube preamps, amps, mics and outboard gear. We really strive for a natural, analog sound in contrast to the slick, over-produced, hard-tuned style that is currently in fashion.
Your defiant style is amazing, what current subjects piss you all off?
The US financial system went right back to the crazy speculative bubble excesses that caused the 2008 housing crash. The central bank, US Treasury, etc. actually made it an official policy to create a deliberate stock market bubble (worse than 2000 or 2007) that rewards the uber-wealthy who own a lot of stocks. The Federal Reserve calls it the ‘Porfolio Balance Channel.’ All their policies are designed to massage public opinion so no one questions the status quo. Meanwhile after a nine year economic expansion the homeless situation in Seattle is the worst ever. Just wait until the next inevitable stock market crash and recession. People are being moved around like pawns on a chessboard by their corporate, political and Wall Street masters. The system is a mess. It’s held together with bailing wire and chewing gum. We’re trying to ring a bell and wake people up.
Do you perform live a lot?
We opened for the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips, etc. at the BottleRock Festival in Napa. We’ve played the usual Seattle venues: The Crocodile, Seattle Center, Central Saloon in Pioneer Square, etc.
What is your fan base like? Are your shows crazy?
We go through a rigorous fan screening process in which many prospects are eliminated and only the most qualified fans are selected. Refusers fan applicants are then put through a demanding training program that produces well-rounded individuals who are cookie cutter brainwashed zombies: NOT! It takes a certain awareness and attraction to radical rock protest music to be a Refusers fan. We’re looking forward to touring to promote our new Disobey album. It’s great to see bands like the Prophets of Rage get sold-out concerts with their edgy songs and message. We’re in the same groove, fighting the system.
Where would you all love to play live at?
A free concert protest rally against injustice, with 1 million people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m going to run for US President and when I win the election we’ll have free Refusers concerts on the While House lawn. A chicken in every pot, free housing, free medical care, cut everyone’s taxes to zero and a universal basic income for everyone. Oh wait ... I’m not an oligarch, don’t belong to either political party and don’t have fat cat corporate contributors. Never mind, guess we’ll just have to keep writing, recording and releasing edgy rock music that fights the corrupt system!