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After the fast paced, ass kickin’ psychobilly show I venture back stage with ringing ears for an interview with the Nekromantix. Voices and hands shout from a small room off to the side, and I’m waved in behind the main backstage area at the Troubadour. I enter a cloud of smoke—the space sits next to the bathroom, not quite a room, not quite a dressing area—a place to provide shielding from the myriad of conversations abound in the after-show arena. It helps alright—like a cocktail umbrella in a monsoon…
The three members of the Nekromantix, Kristian Sandorff, Kim Nekroman, and Peter Sandorff, sit facing me, smoking, and exchanging a few words in Danish. Kristian and I are wearing the same “Distillers” T-shirt, Kim is dressed in black, and Peter has on a red tee with a giant white health-cross smack in the middle as if he were a paramedic. I immediately notice their strong Danish accents and fear misunderstandings in the minutes to come. As if sensing my fear and/or my ringing ears, they speak fast and often all at once. In other words, it was a punk rock interview.
Kristian: Nice shirt.
RZ: Ah, yes, I didn’t want to take off my sweatshirt when I saw you on stage wearing this one. I thought it would be lame.
Kristian [joking]: “You think it’s a lame shirt?”
RZ: No no, I thought it would be lame for me to have the same shirt as you. Like I was copying you or something.
Kim: They all do.
[Laughter and a hiss from who knows where.]
RZ: So, I heard the crowd cheer when you brought out the coffin bass. Who are they bigger fans of, you or the coffin bass?
Kristian: Definitely the coffin.
Peter: Definitely the coffin.
Kim: I mean, the power is in the coffin. That’s who were in the band with.
Peter: I’m in the band with the coffin. He [Kim] just comes along with it.
RZ: So this is your last show in the US?
Kim: No, actually we did a show a month ago?
Peter: Two months.
Kim: Ya, two months ago with Tiger Army and the Distillers.
RZ: Well, what are you doing after this?
Kim: Going home. We’re mainly here for the Wrecking Ball festival in Santa Ana.
RZ: Is a relief to go back?
Kim: Ya. I mean, it’s always nice to have some time off.
Peter: It’ll be a real relief to go back because I want to watch the World Cup Soccer. And it’s totally impossible in this country.
[Laughter at his frustration]
Peter: We don’t have reception of the Mexican channels in our hotel so that’s pretty bad. The coverage over here is crap.
Voice Piping in from the side: And this is the glamorous rock and roll lifestyle?
Peter: Sorry, but it is.
Kim: But [American’s make] a damn good cheeseburger.
RZ: Return of the Loving Dead is your first album on Hellcat. There’s a song on there called “I’m a Hellcat” and another called “Haunted Cathouse.” Two songs about cats on the Hellcat record? Is that a coincidence?
Kim: Yeah because—Actually it’s not because the whole overall argument is that it’s been about cats from the very start, so it’s quite obvious.
Peter: Yeah, like back in the 50’s…cats.
Kristian: And Stray Cats.
[I laugh, thinking they’re joking.]
Peter: That’s it huh, ‘You called me obvious. Ok Kim, then you’re gold.’
RZ: Just curious. I didn’t see any songs about cats on your other albums.
Peter: Well, we actually wrote some but they never it made it to the albums.
Kim: And the “Hellcat” song we both liked it. So we knew the record label would like it.
RZ: You recorded Return in three weeks?
RZ: Is there an advantage to recording more quickly? Is it more “punk” to do the album in less time?
Kim: Yeah, definitely.
Peter: Yeah, it gets more energy and the kind of closeness into the music. I mean, if you keep on correcting things, it just gets too perfect.
RZ: Is three weeks fast?
Peter: It’s okay. Well depends on how you spend the three weeks. We spent a lot of the time drinking beers and drugs. Actual recording time, I’d say, was a bit shorter.
RZ: You’ve toured all over the U.S. Is there one audience or city that sticks out in your minds?
Peter: Oklahoma was nice.
Kim: Oklahoma yeah.
Kristian: Oklahoma was cool, yeah. There were those old guys drove all the way from Texas.
Peter: Yeah, it was a big crowd coming out—like a good glob of an American welcome. Sometimes, the clubs that aren’t professional, like the local ones, sometimes they’ll be… not professional. You know, this club in Oklahoma, it was very friendly and they were glad to hear us. It was a good thing.
Kim: Well to me, on the last tour it was Pomona: The Glass House. That was fun.
Kristian: Chicago was good.
Kristian: Seattle is cool.
Kim: Seattle was a great show.
Kristian: New York was not too bad either.
Kim: New York was great.
RZ: What’s the difference between an LA crowd and a Copenhagen crowd?
Kim: Well, the size. The size of the crowd.
RZ: Crowds in Copenhagen a lot larger?
Kim: Smaller. Way smaller.
Peter: In Copenhagen it’s like something we do once a year, and our friends show up, and we get enough to fill a club with our friends and their friends and people who we’ve known in the last 13 years.
RZ: So how much influence would you say the Cramps had on your band?
RZ: What about on psychobilly?
Peter: A lot of psychobilly is like the Cramps.
Kim: Yes, and they were there in the start, so.. but the Cramps is not psychobilly. It started out then, and the lyrics are similar so…
Peter: I would say style wise.
Kim: I would say they are part of the roots.
RZ: What would Elvis think of psychobilly or the Nekromantix.
Kim: He would love it. He and the Wolfman would just do records. I mean, that’s what the Nekromantix are all about, Elvis meets the Wolfman. Oh yeah, he would dig it.
Peter: We dig him. I love Elvis.
RZ: That’s cool. Well, Kim, you’re writing the Psychobilly Bible?
Kim: Um hmm.
RZ: What’s that about?
Kim: It’s all about psychobilly.
RZ: I mean, is it the dogma, the culture, the history of the bands…
Kim: Well it’s about the whole genre, it’s about the whole culture, local stories, how it started up here and how it started up there.
Kristian: It’s the gospel of the genre.
[Peter gets up to leave the room]
Peter: Keep going. I’ll be back.
RZ: Okay. Well, psychobilly and your band in particular talks about killing and murder, even if in an ironic way. Do you ever fear someone could misinterpret the message?
Kim: I guess that’s what happens.. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty obvious it’s all about having fun. I mean, if you go see a horror flick, you know it’s just for fun.
RZ: What are your thoughts Kristian, you’re a preacher…
Kristian: Yeah, preacher and theologian. Well it’s for the fun of it. People who misinterpret it and go do stupid stuff, probably have done it anyway. Is just that, well, they’re pretty stupid.
Kristian: So I don’t think it’s an excuse to blame people for writing lyrics like that. It’s worse what’s in the news basically.
[Guy in a kilt enters, saying a lot of things with a think accent that I can’t place. He gets a free shirt and eventually leaves, swearing he didn’t come for the shirt.]
RZ: Ah. So tell me, which beer is the best, German, Danish, or American?
Kim: I would say Danish beer.
RZ: Over German?
Peter: South German, Krusckov Weis is the greatest beer.
Kim: To me, the best beer in my whole life is Danish. It says German I don’t know what the fuck to do with it.
Kristian: I like a pint of Guiness every now and then.
[Whispering from the side eventually leads to Geoff from Tiger Army entering the room and saying his goodbyes to the band. He exits, giving me the respectful nod to proceed, and I do.]
RZ [Writing]: So.. Danish beer
Peter: And German.
RZ: And German. Where is American beer on that list?
Peter: They’re pretty low.
Kristian: I got some home brew in that place where Kim sprained his ankle. This guy in the bar was like, [Corny American Accent] “Now taste this.” Then he came out with this big brown bottle of homebrewed beer. It was very good.
RZ [to Kim]: You’re in the Horror Pops with your wife, Patricia Day. Who’s the better bassist, you or Patricia?
Kristian: The wife.
Peter: Yeah, the wife.
Peter: Don’t ever ask the artists themselves, they’re the worst critics.
Kim [smiling]: Listen to them.
RZ: No comment from Kim?
Kim [laughing]: No. No.
RZ: Alright, just one more question: Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend is the name of your previous studio album, Return of the Loving Dead is your most recent work, and I like the clever word play that you’re using…
Peter: Thank you.
RZ: What will your next album be, will it be something like Sugar in the Coffin or Nekro Lunch?
Peter: Well, we’ll try to come up with something a little more original than that?
Kim: Some of the titles and stuff came up in van, being on tour and discussing blah blah blah, and if something’s cool we’d be joking around with words. So some of the stuff just came up with itself.
RZ: Well, regardless of the name of the next album, I look forward to hearing it. Great show tonight and thanks again for the interview.
Kim: No problem.
Eric Myers is a staff writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.