Find us on Google+ Sam Sinister Official: Alex W. Kellar (Basement Boys, Mad Minds, Boss)

Alex W. Kellar (Basement Boys, Mad Minds, Boss)

Conducted via Facebook, over the course of 2½ days, while Alex was on the west coast with one of his many punk rock bands, August 4 - August 6, 2010.

How many bands are you in, anyway!?

There are 3 legitimately active bands right now: Mad Minds (bass), Boss (bass) and Basement Boys (vocals), so two hardcore bands and a punk band. I also play bass and sing in a black metal band called Dagmar which I'm 98.76% sure is broken up. I'm in the practice phase of another band playing bass, and that's all I can say about that. Oh yeah, there's also the acoustic Basement Boys side project (Basement Boi) where I play Basement Boys songs, 80s anime soundtrack songs and of course the LUMBERJAKK cover. I look like an asshole and people laugh, so I have fun.

So I guess to answer your question, I'm in somewhere between 3 and 6 bands right now. Over the last 2 years I've been in or scabbed for 8 or 9 bands.

Would you call Basement Boys a parody band? And whatever happened to Damn Handsome?

I don't think Basement Boys are a parody band per se; it's definitely funny, but then so is my life. "Tower Skins" is basically a documentation of the year 2009 in my little niche of Cleveland hardcore, just about every word of it is true (besides anyone being skinheads, but that's a whole other story). I wrote "You're A Saggy Tit" immediately after jerking off in a pool in an old folks home in Arizona at midnight, and if I may suck my own dick, it's a damn fine piece of character assassination if you knew the girl.

The Damn Handsome you saw in (I think) 2007 was really funny because it wasn't really Damn Handsome, if memory serves it was Goddamn Handsome since it was a Halloween show at my house and we were all black metal'd out. Damn Handsome was the second band I was in back in my senior year of high school. We never played a show. We were supposed to play the Mentor High talent show or rockoff or some shit, but I had to drop out of high school and move to Milwaukee a week before the show. So the show you saw was a pseudo-reunion show because we played without our original guitarist (I originally played bass and sang) and forgot half of our actual songs. Oh shit, I forgot, our friend Justin played fake bass at that show, he was dressed as Marty McFly and I got pissed and cast a spell on him and he became Teen Wolf...

So, what do you think of this assessment:

Wow, holy shit. He was definitely on to something with the bit about covers. I'm way into non-punk/hc songs being covered by punk/hc bands, but that's because I'm a dick with a terrible tendency to not take much seriously. I was trying to talk the BBoys into covering "I Feel Like A Number" by Bob Seger (listen to that shit and try to tell me that's not a working man's jam).

And if Lars wants to get his checkbook out then by all means...

So, getting back to the skinhead thing: Do you ever think maybe there are some people who are gonna take Basement Boys the wrong way, whether thinking you're making fun of Oi!, or that you are skinheads and finding out later that you're not? I mean, you guys sound like a straight-up skinhead Oi! band! What's the story with that? What is a "tower skin"? Shed some light!

The Tower Skins are a state of mind, maaaan.

But seriously, the way the Tower Skins came about was I moved into the Tower 2012 (a DIY space in Cleveland) in August of 2008. Shortly thereafter my friend and bandmate Shaun Clark moved in as well (we both moved into the basement, hence the band name). The Tower had been around for years before we moved in, and it was known for crazy shows and people, but also had a vegan/anarcho/weird... I don't wanna say "hippie" vibe, but yeah. So anyway, Shaun and I moved in and we were hardcore kids (what the current Tower line-up would probably call "faggot tuff guy homocore kids") so the rumor or joke around town was that the Tower was now full of straight edge kids and skinheads and Tower Skins had a certain ring to it and I'm a dumbass so I kinda ran with it. We've played to actual skinheads and I was offered beers so I guess so far so good.

That reminds me of that earlier question: we are sort of a parody band, but NOT of skinheads. There's a trend in hardcore right now where hardcore kids are starting pop-punk bands and getting all rich and shit, so I decided to reach for the stars and start a pop-punk band so I could make money and slam freshly 18-year old puss, but I was too tough of a dude (just barely) so my attempt at a pop-punk band was an oi-flavored punk band. But since Lars is supposed to get involved, maybe I'll get rich and slam puss after all...

As far as making fun of Oi! goes, I've been listening to Cock Sparrer, Dropkick Murphys and all types of other shit since high school, it's as much a part of me as anything else I listen to. Any time I'm writing lyrics/music for any band, I'm a goofy asshole and that shows through, for better or for worse.

(It should be noted that I answered this question over the course of 7 hours while walking around San Francisco so it's not up to my usual standards of righteous writing... plus I gotta shit and these demn bastards I'm on tour with keep on showering thus totally shit-blocking me

I was gonna ask why you were over there in the plains states/west coast area. What band are you there with?

I'm out here with Mad Minds (playing that bass, driving that van) and Homewrecker (moshin'). We've been gone since July 22nd and we'll be back in Cleveland August 14th.

How've they been receiving you so far over there?

The west coast can be a tough nut to crack when you don't have any kind of hype or any of that shit but we've been meeting some cool people who said they'd hook up a better show next time and all that, which is what touring with an unknown band is all about, eating shit the first time and maybe doing a bit better the next time. We had some shows fall through in Cali, but that just meant DAYS OFF IN CALI which is possibly better than having a show, though it's been cold as FUCK in San Diego and LA, and then we've been hanging out in San Francisco today. The city rules but it's cold as fuck all the time so I had to buy a sweater for $5 at Goodwill because my dumb ass didn't pack a hoodie or pants or a blanket or anything. We played Reno yesterday and that was cool, kids are circle-pitting machines. We all went to Hollywood two nights ago and I took my shirt off and flipped off Vince MacMahon's star and saw some hookers hanging out at a pay phone. We got added last minute to a backyard going away party for a kid going to the army. Some oi bands and a ska band played and here's the best part: almost everyone was Mexican. It was like a 100 person show in the midwest where you can count all the non-white people on one hand, only in REVERSE, so it was fucking awesome. An army of Mexican skins, punks and hardcore kids... chicas skanking hard as fuck, the cops came and didn't do shit, it was fucking great.

But yeah, if we're not playing then we're swimming or doing something interesting so it's all good. We're about to head up to the northwest so that will be cool because I haven't been there in 4 years.

Oh yeah, we went to Darby Crash's grave and I put a cigarette out on it, since that seemed equivalent to leaving flowers.

So besides the obvious, what kind of music influences you?

I go through a lot of shit but I know this for sure, a lot of my friends would tell you that I listen to things with the express purpose of bothering them, but I don't listen to anything I don't like. It can run from Stout to Sonic Youth to Neil Young to Daft Punk and all types of 80s and 90s anime soundtracks. Lately I've been getting into wimpy stuff like Crimpshine and Jawbreaker and metal shit like Grim Reaper and then my terrible raised-in-the-90s self has been jamming Alice In Chains and Nine Inch Nails. I generally like music with pep and some sort of balls. And if it's from Cleveland then all the better.

Who are some of your favorite Cleveland bands?

It should be noted that Cleveland/Northeast Ohio is one of the greatest places for music EVER in the history of eternity so this is going to take 8 years and several thousand braincells: Electric Eels, Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Devo, The Guns... I just recently heard a band called Children's Crusade which was a dark sort of post-punk side project of dudes from Starvation Army which ruled... then Integrity, OLC, Ringworm, Face Value, GSMF, Committed, Final Plan, and all that. Some of the first local shows I ever went to were for this metal band Cryptkicker who I still jam from time to time, haters be damned. There was a band in like 2003 or so called Radar Secret Service which was sounded like Black Sabbath all got hit in the head with hammers and started a Joy Division type band but with a weird singer, no one remembers them but they were great, I lost their CD a while back and I want it the fuck back. Midnight is the shit and if you haven't heard them then you're a retarded-ass retard, rectify that shit. Chaotic Alliance was great, I saw them a fuckload and had a ton of fun at their shows. Names For Graves was a big band for me because it introduced me to modern hardcore and put a lot of ideas in my head (unfortunately none of those ideas involved being straight edge).

As far as current or newer bands go, I'll just be an asshole and bust a weak scene report:

Masakari just released a heavy fucking record.

Right Idea, Clevo youth crew.

Our Fight is BBoys minus me plus this dude Big Body and it's some heavy hardcore.

Flyin' Trichecos is always great, even if every song is about coke (oh wait, ESPECIALLY because every song is about coke).

The Worst are one of my favorite bands to watch right now, great energy, great songs.

Uno Lady is an amazing one-person band that sounds like either outer space gospel or prison black metal and always rules.

Search Bloc will never die.

Six6Sick are a fun skate punk band.

Bad Noids are great fuzzy weirdo punk.

Space Dokkers bring the incredibly weird-yet-moshable jams.

Exseteras play melodic hardcore that doesn't make me want to puke. Some of them are in a band called Ghost Breeder which has a combined weight of 300lbs but sounds like 5 dudes that just did 15 years inside the pen.

Homewrecker is retardedly hard and incredibly good.

I listen to Light Years at least once a day and get emotional.

Wind Of Death and Horrific Dick are 2 new bands that need to hurry up and record so that I can circle pit in the privacy of my own home.

Inmates are one of the most ignored bands ever outside the city of Cleveland to the point of ridiculousness, when I'm on tour and people talk to me about Cleveland hardcore, they either talk about Integrity/OLC/Ringworm(occasionally In Cold Blood) or 9 Shocks/GSMF, NO ONE KNOWS FUCKING INMATES! GET ON THAT SHIT, DUMMIES! THEY'RE PLAYING WITH CRO-MAGS IN OCTOBER IN CLEVELAND! GO!!!!!

I'm probably forgetting bands, but it's 1:30 in the morning and I have to be up in 5 hours.

That's always fun. So, we're gonna wrap this up for now, but give me some info on what's in store for you and your bands in the coming months, and thank me from the bottom of your heart for the interview...

Thanks for the opportunity to yack and distract myself from the demon in my asshole that needs exorcising. You can piss in a bottle in the van, but you can't shit in a box, people get bummed...

Basement Boys are going to play with Blanks 77 at Now That's Class in August, then we don't really have anything planned. We might take a wee break so that life can happen to me and I can write some new songs. I wanna record an acoustic EP and then repress the demo tape and throw the acoustic shit on as "bonus" shit.

Mad Minds are gonna finish out this tour and play the Gomorrah aka The Church on August 14th with Ceremony, Homewrecker, Toonsquad and Damages. Then we'll probaby slack for a while and then write and record some new shit.

Boss is on hiatus until September when the singer (who is also in BBoys and Mad Minds) will be getting back from Europe where he's been scabbing for a shit-poop band called Unrestrained (all's forgiven if he brings me some Vanilla Muffins merch).

I have a noise project called Homophobic Cake that might poop out a tape some time soon... but fuck that.

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