EXTRA! EXTRA! The Renfields Get Animated!
There was so much good quotage left over from our in-person interview with The Renfields that we thought we’d post it here! From first impressions, to winning fans, to recording and re-animating The Fiend, this special two-part mini-series, if nothing else, reminds you to go see Team Transylvania tonight at The Sound Factory with Miniature Giant and Calendars and Kerosene.
Now, The Renfields, on --
*The band’s undead origins…
Vincent Renfield: “I was in, just, a regular pop-punk band, and I always wanted to be in a gimmick band. I’ll call them a gimmick band, but when I was real young I heard KISS, and I remember sitting there with the LP that my brother gave me, and my mind changed from ‘What kind of music do I want to play?’ to ‘What will we wear?’ (band laughter) ‘What is our image?’ ‘What is our shtick?’
“I’d always wanted to do that.
“So I asked every person that I knew, and no one wanted to do it.
“So I started buying instruments; bass, a drum set.
“And then I would say, ‘You don’t know how to play, but if you want to be in a horror punk band with me, you can be Dr. Von Renfield, or Chester; whatever character you want to be, you can use the equipment, and we’ll learn how to play together.”
*Wearing costumes, winning fans…
Dick Ramsses-Renfield: “With this band, the appeal that catches everybody’s eyes is the costumes, and they’re like ‘This is stupid. What are these 30-year old guys doing dressed up like a bunch of idiots?’
“And then we play, and everyone-- well, I don’t want to say everyone,” (band hard laughter)-- “I guess not everybody’s a fan. But most people, yeah, when we start playing, it clicks in their heads; they get it.”
Vincent Renfield: “They want to hate us, because of the way that we look. They think that we’re going to try to get up there and be like, Danzig Jr. or something, and be tough guys. And so they’re instantly like, ‘Yeah, [expletive] these guys.’
“And then, we start making fun of ourselves, and horror punk in general.
“[Dick Ramsses] said it the other day, and it’s true: we’re not a horror punk band, we’re a parody of a horror punk band. We’re fans of what we do, but at the same time a lot of horror punk bands are dudes, just normal guys, trying to look scary.
“Our shtick is that we’re monsters that don’t know we’re scary.”
Dick Ramsses: “For me, personally, when we play a show, I don’t care if they like us as a band. I just hope they have a good time. They don’t have to like our music to have a good time watching us.”
Dr. Von Renfield IV: “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to us after a show and been like ‘You know, I normally hate your kind of music, I’m a fan of--’ what’s the band with the teddy bears?-- The Grateful Dead! ‘Yeah I’m a giant deadhead, but I had a great time tonight.’”
*Vincent, on having Lucio back as hype wolf and to run samples…
“Lucio’s an important part. We needed him. He’s the dude that is obsessed with horror movies like I am. When he came on I was happy because, like, we all like horror movies and watch them, but I’m obsessed and he’s obsessed with them. So, maybe it’s not even a band thing, but we can talk about collecting VHS tapes and imported German stuff. (band laughter)
“I missed that.”
*on recording “GO!,” the new album, versus past efforts…
Vincent: “The reason we recorded in mono was, that was all we had. And I knew my guitar skills were limited at the time; I didn’t know how to sing and play the guitar at the same time. So, I was just trying to do what The Mummies did, what the Ramones did. And instead of making apologies for what I don’t have to offer, I would champion what I do have to offer.
“In my head though, when I wrote “Burning Revenge,” you can go back and listen to it and see what I was able to do with it. In my mind, it wasn’t a mono song, it was just, that’s what we had. Now, the version on [“GO!”] the way it is, and every song on the album, is the way it should be. When we recorded the CD and I sat down to listen to it, sure there were one or two things we wanted to go back and change, but I was like, happy with everything.
“So, every other album that was done in mono, it was like, ‘Well, that’s the best we could do,’ and some people dug it and some people didn’t dig it.’”
The Fiend: “I like how [Vincent] was talking about how he showed what he could offer. And what was cool was, how he proudly said, and the reason I was a fan was the things he said in the liner notes, like ‘Recorded in blood-curdling mono,’ and was proud of that.
I thought that was just humorous and kinda cool. Something else he said in another liner note; ‘If it sounds like it was recorded in a casket, it probably was,’” (band laughter)
Vincent: “And I still wanna celebrate that, but I don’t wanna hold back [Renfields] members who are capable of doing awesome things. I’m trying to get a custom made guitar that has just four strings, and instead of dots, just has the number of the frets, (hard band laughter) with just one pickup and one knob, because I want people to be like ‘What the [expletive] is that caveman [expletive]?’ (laughter)
“That’s what I’m interested in doing, because that’s what it was built on.”
Dick Ramsses: “We didn’t want to have an album put out and us not be happy with it. For so long-- and any band could say this-- they don’t want to just hand somebody something and say ‘Here’s our CD, BUT,’ and then go into some long explanation about what’s not good about it, or why they’re not happy with it.”
Vincent: “That’s been The Renfields, like, for years. (laughter)
“This record, because we’re not going to let it happen, there isn’t going to be one thing we’re not satisfied with. Not one thing will be anything less than what we want. The artwork, whatever length we had to go to, money-wise, we did it. We’re going to do that with the packaging, and a special little tour edition that’s already working.
“And luckily, with the recording, any little thing that we wanted to do, we can go back. We’ve talked about it; a lot of bands put out a CD that’s thrown together…”
The Fiend: “In a week.”
Vincent: “Yeah. We’ve done that enough. We recorded “Stalk and Slash [Splatterama] Part 2 in 13 hours. This has been almost 13 months.”
*on how recording “Porkchop,” re-animated the recording process…
The Fiend: “It just made sense.” (to work w/Eamon Hardiman)
Dick Ramsses: “That’s what started the whole recording process, too. We went in and were just going to do the ‘Porkchop’ theme and two other songs, just to have. And then we got in there and it was like ‘[expletive] it, let’s do an album.’”
The Fiend: “We didn’t have the money, but we just made it happen. We were like ‘If we don’t do it, we’re never going to.’”
Dick Ramsses: (laughs) “YEAH!”
Vincent: “When [Dr. Von Renfield] and I drove down to show him the song, and all we had was the rough guitar mix, so we sang it to him, like, played it on the stereo and sang it to him, and he teared up.”
Dr. Von Renfield IV: “That’s the only time I’ve ever seen Eamon show emotion.” (hard band laughter)
*Dick Ramsses, on keeping The Renfields going…
“I’m not going anywhere. I don’t know about the rest of the guys. I think I was telling [Vincent] and I told [Fiend] the other day; I’m gonna go with this for as long as I can. This has been a lot of fun.”
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