INTERVIEW: Tall tales from the crypt; RFTC’s Petey X

It’s got horns. That means it’s ska, right? No, you twit, it doesn’t. Buffed up, tattoos blazing – I dare you to call Rocket From the Crypt anything but straight, collision-style punk rock ‘n’ roll. Horns and theatrics might be part of the band’s mix, but these guys are nothing but a bunch of rowdy rockers out to have a good time.

Known for an almost apocalyptic stage show, Rocket From the Crypt has earned its name in the indie underground as one of the hottest live bands around. After 10 years on the road, this San Diego band has more than scars to show for it. Speedo (lead vocals), N.D. (guitar), Petey X (bass), Apollo Nine (saxophone), JC 2000 (trumpet) and Ruby Mars (drums) all have legions of loyal, sometimes obsessive fans watching their backs. The band’s recent release, Songs from Camp X-Ray (Vagrant Records), captures the bands intense, introspective and all together nutty version of punk rock.

On stage the guys might be crazy, but on the phone Bassist Petey X is composed and polite. He’s been in the band since the beginning and, as he says, he’s seen a lot of crazy nights in his career, but he’s also seen his share of early mornings.

Hatchet: Why are you doing interviews so early ?

Petey X: I’m an early riser. I get up around 7:30.

H: Have you always been like that?

PX: I used to be. Then there were many years when I definitely wasn’t, but in the last year or so I’ve gotten back into it.

H: That’s about when I want to go to sleep some times.

PX: That’s when I used to go to sleep. It just depends. Sleep’s overrated.

H: So anyway, to the music. Are you guys the greatest live band in the history of time, or what? That’s what I read everywhere.

PX: We’re the greatest band of all time, be it live or not. Every aspect.

H: What makes you so great?

PX: We kick ass. We’ve always put everything we have into everything we do. We take it to the limit ,I think. Whereas a lot of bands don’t have that much passion for what they do. You see some live bands, and it looks like their having the worst time of their lives.

H: How much effect has it had on you guys, being branded an amazing live band?

PX: I think that from early on we got that title. It’s a good title, but I think it overshadows the records.

H: You just moved to Vagrant Records after being on a major label? Is that because you weren’t big fans of the industry?

PX: We’re just not fans of the big machine. We’re fans of getting attention. We’re fans of people who keep their promises. We’re fans of keeping your word. You just don’t get that with major labels. It’s not that I don’t like big business. I just like big business that’s run well. I don’t think major labels are run well. It’s too cutthroat.

H: You feel like Vagrant is better in that respect?

PX: They were.

H: They were?

PX: They got big, too. It’s just like anywhere else. It’s a sad story. Vagrant, they definitely have passion for the music. They definitely care. But any place that goes from little to big without much change – it’s a lot of work. It’s hard to do.

H: So in my research I read some other interviews with you guys and it was crazy. How seriously should we take stuff that you guys have said in interviews? It seems like there’s a lot of BS floating around.

PX: You know, it’s all entertainment. Take it for what it is. People like to hear stories, and sometimes they get them.

H: Fair enough.

PX: I don’t want to hear about where somebody was born and what they do when they’re on the road. I could care less.

H: You’d rather hear that they’re like, from the circus and were abducted by aliens?

PX: Sure. You want to hear good stuff. It depends on what you want. Are you reading an interview because you really want to know exactly how this happened? Or do you just want to be entertained for 20 minutes?

H: Doing this thing for 12 years, are you tired of being out on the road? Do you still want to go out and party and hang out?

PX: It definitely has not lost its appeal. Yeah, I love to go out and drink afterward. I love to hang out. I love to do whatever. It hasn’t gotten old.

H: You guys definitely have some hardcore, dedicated fans. Are there any fans that scare you?

PX: Yeah. There are tons of fans who drive from state to state to see us. They’re on the road as long as we are, and we get to sleep.

H: Does that weird you out?

PX: I think its awesome, but I also think it’s a little crazy. People with not only one but several Rocket From the Crypt tattoos. That’s a little bit out there.

H: Ok, so just one more. I read on the Web site that while you guys were looking for a new drummer, everyone was kind of in limbo. And it was at that point that you got into Tantric sex (like Kama Sutra). Is that true?

PX: Yeah.

H: Really?

PX: Yeah, you should try it. It’s definitely an experience. It’s an art form in a way that everyone’s gonna do it differently.

H: What’s the best way to get into it?

PX: Read some books. And if you know anybody who’s done it, have an intimate conversation with them about it.

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