martes, 14 de diciembre de 2010

Entrevista a Billy sobre la historia del Punk en Portugal (English Version)

ALM. Hello, to start, introduce yourself and tell us your age, what is your job and how did you get into punk music (first bands that you listened to, first concerts, etc)?

Billy. Hi, I´m forty years old, have worked for an independent music company for the last eleven years, but it closed and now I don´t have a job. I was very young when I first heard the Ramones, they played in Portugal in 1980 and some guys showed me a record, songs, t-shirts and it all started that year. But only two years later I became a real fan of punk and hung around with punks. Some time later I started to see Portuguese bands live, some of them we couldn't call ´punk ` but I paid more attention to punk gigs and everything involved with that in 1985.

ALM. Can you tell us something about your activities into the punk scene (blogs, dj, bands, fanzines, etc)? Tell us the most memorable concerts that you have seen?

B. Well, for me it all started with the blog in 2004, but I was always going to gigs, talking with the bands and shared some friendship moments, even played bass just for fun with some of them. The punk scene in 1990 was returning quite strong here, there were some fanzines trying to inform people, but not enough. In 1996 when The Exploited played for the first time in Portugal (that was one of my most memorable gigs ever, with Ratos De Porão and great Portuguese punk bands Crise Total, Mata-Ratos and Tara Perdida) they influenced many people, the underground scene was very active, promoting gigs, doing fanzines and reunions, I helped too. Later, it was very confusing again, especially getting the right information, dates of gigs, festivals and stuff like that, so I decided to start Billy News just to inform about the dates… And my friend’s can’t say that they didn’t know about it… «Now you know where to search». Other gigs I remember were with Portuguese bands in special places (like Rock Rendez-Vous in Lisbon, one of the seminal places).

ALM. I think in Portugal something similar happened to Spain and due to military dictatorship the counter culture movements (punk, new wave, etc) occurred at the same time after this period finished. What band or bands can be considered the first punk band in Portugal and what year was it?

B. Well, you´re right, we had a dictator for almost fifty years and it all ended in 1974. After that everybody was very confused here. How I see it, the punk scene started in 1979 with some UK bands playing, Eddie & The Hot Rods, later The Clash, but some people were very interested in the punk explosion in 1977, some radio presenters and journalists give some feedback of what was happening in that time. The first punk band to publish a record was Aqui D´El Rock (1979) but others were very active, Minas & Armadilhas, Faíscas and Xutos & Pontapés (they still exist now, one of the greatest portuguese bands ever). Later, punk was quite low, new wave was getting more attention and punk bands emerged again in 1985.

ALM. What areas or cities had an important punk scene in the 80’s? Do they continue to be so today?

B. We can consider the more important cities, more urban stylish, Lisboa, Porto, Coimbra but others sometimes promoted punk gigs and scene, like Faro, Aveiro, Leiria, Guarda.

ALM. Do you have evidence that there were problems between other tribes (mods, rockers, heavys, etc) in those 80 years?

B. Most problems were with the skinheads, in those times people just didn´t like each other but normally it was no problem at all, only ´ugly faces` to each other when confronted. Rockabillies, metal fans were very ´closed` tribes and did their own stuff, only in places that they used to be, separately. But those times are gone.

ALM. I suppose that in the 80 years a part of Ramones, Clash, Sex Pistols, etc, the young punks began to listen to Discharge, Exploited, Dead Kennedys, etc too. What bands would be the pioneers of Second wave punk sound or hard core in Portugal?

B. Many bands were influenced by the ´UK 82 sound`, especially Crise Total, Grito Final, Kú De Judas, Derniere Cri, C.I.A.neto. Later, Injusticed League, Renegados de Boliqueime, Raiva!!!, M.A.D. and much more. Even Mata-Ratos that are a classic punk rock band (still active, since 1982) had a hardcore moment. Some others had a small influence on this sound, but with a mix of hardcore and metal too, Corrosão Caótica, 31, Pé De Cabra. But there was more.

ALM. What would be the reference label or labels to the punk youth of the first punk times in Portugal? And what fanzines?

B. Some punk labels were created but only existed for one edition. Unfortunately, most of the fanzines were the same. We didn´t have strong punk labels as far as I know. Only later, one of the most important is Rastilho (created in 1996 and still active), they produced many catalogues, information in the paper and fanzines. Alarm! and Fast´N`Loud did it too. Infected Records is doing a great job.

ALM. I thing that in Portugal is also happening a little the revival phenomenon, old bands from 80’s that are back back to activity again, What is your opinion about it? Do you think it is positive for the present scene?

B. Yes, the best example here is Crise Total. Formed in 1983, ended in 1988, they returned in 1996 for one year and returned again last year (both returns only had two original members). Peste & Sida was a different issue, they changed a lot of their line-up which caused bad moments and ended about eight years later. They returned only once (with two members too) and are a great band nowdays. I think that if everyone in the band had the same spirit, the same passion for those earlier moments, it would be ok! Young bands when they play together, will usually ask them about issues they’ve experienced and talk a lot, so can be positive in both ways. But time can´t turn back, if they want to have fun, it´s fine. The main problem is when there is one founder member trying to use the name or do a different sound (they should start another band, for sure).

ALM. What can you tell us about a band like Xutos e Pontapés, I think this band in the beginning were bound to the punk scene and now they are a well-known rock band in Portugal?

B. Yes, as I said they were one of the first punk bands in Portugal, started in 1979. They are a good band, I used to call them ´the portuguese Rolling Stones` but I really didn´t pay much attention to their last albums. After some time, they put the punk sound away, made only rock ´n´roll songs, but in the last album they created some lyrics that in some context we call ‘the punk spirit’. In 1982 to 1986 they influenced a lot of punk bands with their characteristic sound and helped a lot of small punk bands, doing ´tours` together.

ALM. Did heroin affect a lot the first Young generation of punks in Portugal like what happened in Spain and in general all over the world? What were “the most notable deaths” (well-known, like Sid Vicious in Uk or Eskorbuto in Spain, etc) in the Portugal punk and what were they due to (drugs, Aids, crash car, etc)?

B. Here it was exactly the same, especially in the middle of the eighties. Heroin killed a lot of punks and people that stayed together (in bands or not), were less and less. The movement was slow and almost non existant for a while. Bands ended for that reason. Car accidents killed some members too, like Carlos Aguilar, drummer from Kú De Judas. Others had heart attacks but are still alive.

ALM. Is there a big anarcho punk scene in Portugal? Who were the first bands to vindicate themselves as anarchists? Is there a squatt movement in Portugal or some other sort of anarcho punk activism?

B. Not big, but a fervent one. Some groups have weekly reunions and debates, and send mails with a lot of topics. Almost an undercover movement, but when something is happening on the streets, they are there. The main problem is that there are a lot of different groups and they should stand together to be stronger... In my opinion. Some bands call themselves anarchists but don’t ´make a flag` of it. Years ago some squats were very strong, doing cultural and social stuff, with debates, reunions and gigs that captivate a lot of people, but the Police closed most of them when they started to get noticed. Nowdays we can see anarcho activism on flyers distributed by hand. If someone wants more information they must go to meetings.

ALM. Who were the first Oi bands in Portugal? Today, is the skinhead scene big there? Is there trouble between the different skins and punks or are they united?

B. Here we have different skins all with different ideas. Not really united the punks, but people get to known each other (by personality, not style) and sometimes have a great relationship organizing gigs together. Sometimes we hear about fights but it’s not usual. The first Oi bands is difficult to say, Albert Fish is a punk band (1995) one of the first to appeal to the union between punks and skins. Nowdays there are some bands that are keeping that feeling strong and active, like C4, Facção Oposta and Mancha Negra.

Differences between punks is not really a ´true problem` or the cause of aggression problems, but one of the things that I used to condemn is that they don’t stick together. The portuguese punk movement is filled with people that always speak badly about each other and stuff like that and I think the punk spirit is the opposite. For example, if you don´t really like a band, just don´t pay attention... and do not give a bad opinion all the time, like a parrot.

ALM. Are there or have there been many girls fronting punk bands in Portugal? Could you tell us some band names?

B. Sometimes we hear about it, but they soon disappear. The last that I know of is Un-Predictable, they gave some good gigs (I saw about 4 or 5), made some studio sessions, but now they have stopped. Normally we just see one or two girls in a band, sometimes in vocals (like Les Baton Rouge, Traumatics, Asfixia) but not totally female.

ALM. I guess that the Brazilian punk scene is also a reference for you because you share the language. Which bands are your favorite from the Brazilian punk scene (of all time)?

B.The Brazilian scene is huge! Incredible! And a big reference for us. Lots and lots of bands formed every year, it’s impossible to remember all the good ones, but Ratos De Porão, Olho Seco, Garotos Podres, Cabelo Duro, Periferia SA, Fogo Cruzado, Vírus 27 e Cólera are my favourites, ever. More recently, Agrotóxico, Ação Direta, Luta Armada e DFC. Talking about girl bands, there are many too, I like Kaos Klitoriano, Bulimia and Menstruação Anárquica (still exist, now only with one girl).

ALM. Do you know the Spanish scene? What bands do you like? Do you know Siniestro Total from Galicia and their Trabalhadores do Comércio cover (“Chamen a policia”)? Do you know somethink about the punk scene from Galicia, where their language is so similar to Portuguese?

B. You may find it incredible, but I only know very well the big references (shame on me). Sometimes I hear some good bands that I might contact via ´Myspace` pages or that I see live here. Soziedad Alkoholika, Kortatu, La Polla Records, Eskorbuto are my favourites. No, I didn´t know Siniestro Total, I´ve checked some songs, are quite alright. One thing I know is that people in Galicia always pay attention to the portuguese scene and receive very well portuguese bands. I´m probably going to be there in February 2011 doing a DJ session with two bands live, Gazua e Asfixia, the right day is to be confirmed. Yes, the similar language helps a lot.

ALM. What current bands from the Portugusese scene do you recommend to us and what websites, festivals, pubs or record shops we must visit if we are going to your city?

B. Active bands, for sure, Gazua, Peste & Sida, Mata-Ratos, PunkSinatra, Dalai Lume, Albert Fish, Barafunda Total, Decreto 77, Acromaníacos, Simbiose, Motornoise, Raiva!!!, Ventas De Exterko (played in Badajoz 2 days ago), Revolta, Sicksin, Mão Morta and Tara Perdida (for this one, I recommend the old stuff).

Some tribute bands that I know give a great show live is Kamones (Ramones songs) and Re-Censurados (covers from a extinct portuguese band called Censurados, I know that you have one with the same name, too).


Festivals: Infected Records, Outsider, Brenh´Arder, Festival Em Cima Do Joelho

Pubs/gig rooms: Musicbox, Revolver, Casa De Lafões, Berlin, Academia de Linda-a-Velha, Cine-Teatro Corroios (all that I´ve been and like it, in Lisbon and around)

Record Shop: for sure Carbono (is very similar with London shops with a lot of rarities), there are others quite alright but not like this one.

ALM. Top ten Portuguese disc (80’s bands) and Top ten rest of the world (of all time):

B. Not especially in this particular order...

- Peste & Sida “Veneno”
- Xutos & Pontapés “78-82”
- Aqui D´El Rock “Há Que Violentar O Sistema”
- V/A “Ao Vivo No Rock Rendez-Vous”
- Mão Morta “Mão Morta”
- Mata-Ratos “Rock Radiactivo”
- Censurados “Censurados”
- Crise Total “Bem Viva No RRV”
- Kú De Judas “Ao Vivo”
- Corrosão Caótica “Corrosão Caótica”

- The Exploited “Punk´s Not Dead”
- Sex Pistols “Never Mind The Bollocks...”
- The Clash “The Clash”
- GBH “City Baby Attacked By Rats”
- One Way System “Best Of”
- Oxymoron “Best Before 2000”
- Misfits “Walk Among Us”
- Ramones “It´s Alive”
- Ratos De Porão “Ao Vivo”
- Ministry “Psalm 69”

ALM. Thanks for all, It’s time to tell us anything that has been left out and say goodbye...

B. Just keep listening to the music, there is a lot of good bands to be discovered. Check the songs of an extinct portuguese band formed in London, called The Parkinsons, were very good! And also, check one of the more active bands in Portugal called Gazua that released 3 albums in 3 consecutive years (in the undergroud I think is the only one, here).

Thanks for reading this and for the interest in Portuguese music and stuff. Have fun, if possible with good music.

- Contacts:


No hay comentarios: