The Friday 5: Five Punk Rock Questions with The Hanson Brothers


Since 1979, John Wright has been deeply entrenched in the punk rock community as a member of seminal noise punk band the-hanson-brothers-1-smallNoMeansNo, as well as The Hanson Brothers. After a recent interview to discuss the resurrection of the latter band, we took the time to ask Wright five very punk rock questions.

Here’s how that went down:

Aside from the Ramones, who is the best punk band of all-time?

“Probably the bands that had as much influence on me as the Ramones, and that would be Black Flag and D.O.A. They were all highly-influential when I was a kid.”

What’s your favourite punk rock album?

“I don’t know if it’s my favourite, but the first one to pop into my mind was Can’t Stand the Rezillos. I just love that album. Nevermind the Bollocks is probably the consummate punk rock album, but that Rezillos album from beginning to end has everything!”

What is the least punk rock thing a band can do?

“Laundry. It is one of those things that became a logistical nightmare at times on the road…especially in Europe. Back in the ‘80s, no one had a dryer. D.O.A. has this story where they once had to do their laundry. They hadn’t done it in two to three weeks and everything was dirty and stinky. They were in Italy, and they finally took their laundry to a Laundromat. When they came back, they were charged $250. It wasn’t like they were trying to rip them off – it was pay by piece…like $5 per sock. If you know Joe Shithead, you could only imagine [how that went],” laughs.

What does a punk rock song have to have to really get you interested?

“You need your bar chords to be your melody, or you need your riff to be a real hook. It’s just like country and western music – country and western is pretty similar to punk rock, as you have to have that hook in your chorus. The words, can be serious, or clever, or really heartfelt and honest. I think the latter is probably the most important thing about writing a great punk song.”

As a genre, or format, do you still believe that punk rock is moving in a direction that’s still fresh and exciting to you?

“It’s no longer really fresh. I think there is still a lot of great punk rock being played…you still see young bands all of the time with the energy…that’s fantastic. So as far as young bands getting together, playing music, and getting all of that testosterone out is still great.

“But when you look at it, there’s nothing new about it. From my perspective – and I’ve been listening to this music for 35 years now and I’ve heard it all – no one is doing anything punk rock wise, or guitar wise, differently than what’s already been done. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a fresh thing. Even punk rock had been done before – [it referred back] to what came before it. [It used] the combination of that high-energy sound and simplicity that came out of the 1950s and ‘60s. But it was that attitude about music and the music industry that set it apart.

“Now, everything has changed. You have the Internet…it’s utterly not the same world anymore. There are certain realities about music that I’m not necessarily in-tune with, because I still think about what I do, the way I’ve always thought about what I do.

“Probably the most punk rock attitude out there – in terms of independent and off the grid music – is all of the dubstep and electronic music. That’s really where some of the most different stuff is going on. But, I’m not completely enamored with it, because I still like aggressive, guitar-based live music.”

-Adam Grant

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