Friday, June 22, 2012

ANTiSEEN Founders Hold Steady On A Path Of Punk Rock Chaos

For any fan of Antiseen, you know that keeping up with them and their releases is just like watching a great wrestling match. There are fast flying moves and shifts of weight and always looking for that perfect 1, 2, 3 count to pin you to the mat with their lethal dose of Destructo Punk. Below is a great interview with Antiseen so read on and check our store for some of the great releases that we have done with the Boys From Brutalsville

ANTiSEEN founders hold steady on a path of punk rock chaos

By Steve Wildsmith (

"You know Jeff Clayton has been in the trenches a long time when fans keep better track of his band’s releases than he can.

It’s not surprising, given the output of material by ANTiSEEN since the gutter-punk outfit’s debut in 1983. The group’s do-it-yourself ethos has long meant that when Clayton and his bandmates — primarily guitarist Joe Young, with whom he founded — want to put out something, whether it’s a split EP with another band or a single, they do so.

Antiseen - Falls Count Anywhere, A collection of wrestling songs - get your copy now
“I have a hard time keeping track of it myself, because it seems like something’s coming out every two minutes or getting held up every five,” Clayton told The Daily Times this week. “We just put out a new album, ‘New Blood,’ on Switchlight Records, a label out of Sweden; it’s a compilation of all the singles we’ve done over the past three years, a few tracks which are available only on the LP. We’ve got a new release out called ‘Blood of Freaks,’ which is all of our singles compiled from 1989 to 1991 on one 12-inch. And we’ve also got a compilation of all of our wrestling songs coming out on one CD called ‘Falls Count Anywhere.’ And I don’t know how many split singles there are, but they’ll all be on sale in Knoxville.”

ANTiSEEN returns to the Longbranch Saloon on Friday night, the last place the band played when it rolled through East Tennessee six years ago, Clayton said. It was a rough show, from what he remembers — but then, ANTiSEEN shows are notoriously physical, both on the part of the musicians and the fans in the audience.

Clayton and Young started the group in North Carolina, channeling the simplicity of dirty Ramones power chords with the on-stage ferocity of Iggy Pop and The Stooges. From the outset, the band prided itself on being apart from — hence the name, deliberate in distancing the group from any particular sub-genre of rock — and the members threw themselves into creating the most brutal punk experience imaginable.

“In the beginning, we never thought we’d last a year, but about 15 years into it, I said, ‘OK, we’re probably in this for the long haul,’” Clayton said. “I never really looked at it as we might be one of the casualties. I always kind of knew we’d be there when the smoke cleared, because we didn’t get wrapped up in a lot of crap those guys did, the hard drugs and all that mess. We pretty much just stayed with the way ANTiSEEN does it.”

Antiseen and Flat Tires split 7" vinyl record - Get Your Copy Now
In the early days, the band’s masochistic bent — Clayton was one of the pioneers of self-mutilation as both a demonstration of brutality and for the shock factor, cutting his face and/or arms with broken glass or pounding himself in the face with a microphone – earned the respect of noted musician and performance artist G.G. Allin.

ANTiSEEN toured with Allin in support of the latter’s infamous “Murder Junkies” record, further cementing the band’s status in the “scum-punk” community — a collection of nihilists drawn to the chaos, rage and physical confrontation of an ANTiSEEN show as both art and release. Allin’s death in 1993, a year after ANTiSEEN embarked on its first world tour, gave the band Allin’s figurative scepter as the figureheads of that scene.

(Speaking of, Clayton earned a reputation over the years of brandishing and using on himself a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire; the instrument is included in a new “Throbblehead” bobble-style figurine of him by the company Aggronautix.)

Over the years, the ANTiSEEN formula has been relatively simple: Tour, record, release an album, repeat. Sure, some of the mayhem Clayton instigated and endured in his early years has been retired, but that’s out of necessity, he said.

“We don’t do some of the big wrestling-type moves anymore, like me getting up on a ladder and falling through a table covered in lightbulbs or thumbtacks,” he said. “I can’t do that anymore. Other than that, we just play a Ramones-type rock ‘n’ roll show: bam-bam-bam-bam, take a break, bam-bam-bam-bam. We might do a lot of ridiculous antics, but we make the show coast along on the music.

Antiseen, Sweet Blood Call, 7" vinyl record with special guest, Joe Buck Yourself - Get Yours Now
“As a person, I tolerate more things these days, but I find my patience is thinner, too. I tend to blow up and snap a lot quicker. As far as the performance goes, I feel like I’ve kept it on an even keel. Me and Joe, we’re not as explosive as we once were, and we won’t fly off the handle at the drop of a hat like we once would, but I think we’re better performers.”

Certainly they’re considered legends among the circle of fans that continue to flock to ANTiSEEN shows, both for the music and the punishment. Many young fans are so enthusiastic they remember details about the band’s early releases — specific album covers, for example — that Clayton can’t recall. It makes him chuckle, and every now and then, he’s even surprised by the admiration some fans show — like one in Germany, who had Clayton’s image tattooed across his entire back.

That sort of fan idolization might be the fuel that keeps other bands going, but for ANTiSEEN, the motivation comes from something else, according to Clayton.

“You might think this sounds like a gimmick, but it’s the truth: It’s stubbornness,” he said. “We’re not getting rich off of it; we never have, and we kind of knew we never would. But for us to call it a day, we know some people would get a certain sense of satisfaction out of that, and that sort of keeps us going.

“That, and because we love it. Not to brag too much on ourselves, but I haven’t seen anyone else come along who does it better.”