Inspecter 7 on Skinheads, Weed, Escapes and Illusion: "We're Never Gonna Change"
Inspecter 7 have been playing ska out of New Jersey since 1992.
Later, they broke up and transformed into Hub City Stompers. But now they're back. They have a new album called Escapes and Illusions. And they are barreling down I-95 in a 15-passenger van headed for Miami.
We caught up with the band's singers while they were driving deep into Southern territory. Here's what Giuseppe Mancini and Travis (AKA Rev Sinister) had to say.
Crossfade: Watsup, dude? You on the road right now?
Yeah, somewhere in South Cackalacka. Ima park somewhere right now and have a little quiet.
So, the new album Escapes and Illusions. A little less punk, a little more old school?
Travis: This particular one is a little more like The Infamous, but more fine-tuned and tighter. It's along the musical level of The Infamous, but seasoned after all these years.
Giuseppe: Basically, we're back from bogey land with our boots and suits on, putting the boot back in the nation, just like we did before.
Travis: Past, present, and future all rolled into one, man. The stars have aligned
What's your history with Miami?
Travis: We've played South Florida on almost every Inspecter 7 tour. But I believe the last time that Inspecter 7 was in Miami proper was in 2000 at the Chili Pepper in Coconut Grove, downstairs, with Mustard Plug, Bouncing Souls, and Youth Brigade.
How's it feel to be back?
Travis: It feels good. We've always loved the road. That hasn't changed at all.
I seen some shit on the Internet, some guy trying to call you guys white power or something?
Travis: That's just some disgruntled guy we known a long time in New York. We're not the only band he's tried to victimize. He always fails to sabotage us, though. He's just a disgruntled little goofball who hides in his basement. Nobody takes him serious.
Why do you think skinhead still has that racist association in 2013?
Travis: That's always gonna have a negative connotation for most people cause their education is through the media and that's always been the story. You're gonna be scared by what you hear, even if it's all a bunch of bullshit.
So then what is skinhead actually?
Travis: It's our way of life. We never seen it as a movement or anything with one political thing. It's just a way to live. If it's for you, it's for you. And a lot of times, people from the outside are not comfortable seeing people live in a way that's not their ideal. Tough shit for them. We're never gonna change.
So, for people who might have never heard otherwise, is it a racist thing?
Travis: Obviously it's not. The fact that the first music associated with skinheads is reggae, is black music, goes against the stereotype.
Obvious to you. But like you said, a lot of people still don't get it.
Travis: You get sick of apologizing, and sick of explaining. Either they get to know you. Or it's their job to educate themselves, go on the Internet, read a goddamn book, whatever. The information is all there. And 20 years down the pike, it's so silly talkin' about it. Like, the sky is blue, I breathe air. The original skinhead subculture and the true skinhead is not racist.
What you think about Snoop Lion? About Snoop Dogg going reggae?
Travis: Snoop -- that's what he wants to do. God bless him. That's his choice. I'd like to think and hope that he'd embrace more pure forms and not bastardize the music. I have no problem as long as it's not watered down. It brings more attention to the music.
What about dancehall?
Travis: I've always liked Cutty Ranks and Supercat. That's just my personal preference. It's just another link to reggae. And you can shake your ass to it.
What about weed?
Travis: I don't partake myself, but I think it's pure lunacy and idiocy that it's not legal. I don't even smoke cigarettes, but them and alcohol are legal? It's a confounding quandary.
Giuseppe: I'm very pro-marijuana myself. I smoke it all day long. I have no problem. I want people who need it to be medicated. A lot of sick people could benefit from marijuana.
What are the songs about on the new album, Escapes and Illusions?
Travis: There is no central theme. It's literally all over the place, from talkin' about working-class issues to the weather to failed friendships, betrayal, and trust.
What about the album title?
Giuseppe: It's just kind of an expression of the ordeal that the album took to take place. It took over three years to make, with a lot of stop and go. It was mostly funded by me, out of my own pocket to the point where it was ready to be pressed. It was a tedious job to get completed. And what a relief it is to finally be able to release for the world to hear.
What's Little Dickman records?
Travis: Little Dickman is an indie label out of Asbury Park, New Jersey, and they're very excited. They just took a chance we have a great relationship and look forward to keep working with them.
What about the opening bands in Miami?
Travis: Die Trying is our boy Los. He's a fan of Hub City Stompers. We played Mondo Fest and he had us down there a couple times. So when he got the word that we're touring again, he jumped on it and took advantage.
Any shout outs?
Shout out to all of Miami and South Florida. We comin' to bring the party. All our friends, all the skinheads, all the old people who remember the last show. All the punks, all the new kids, all are welcome. So roll out deep.
Inspecter 7. With Immoral Discipline, Die Trying, Askultura, DJ Rudeboi Shuffle, DJ Special Fried Rice, and others. Saturday, March 23. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $13 at the door. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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