FMG: What was the Southern California punk scene like when you made the 1st NS record?
Pat: "Well, let's see... if that part of my brain is still alive. Umm, we made the record in '86 - I think it came out in '87. At that time, punk had been around for a few years, 7 or 8 at least. The So Cal punk scene actually started in LA. We used go down to the Starwood and the Vex, or the Whiskey - we had to drive into LA to see the shows at that time, they weren't really scattered all over the Southland like they are now, and I remember it being pretty violent, evil almost. Lots of uh, well it was a boys club. You'd go into the shows and it'd be packed full of guys ages 15 to 25, gettin' rid of their aggressions, you know. Jacked-up on whatever we were jacked-up on, beatin' the crud out of each other. I remember there'd be an ambulance parked outside of the gig doors on a regular basis, and rarely a night went by when somebody wasn't thrown out the door, and you know the term was "well someone else just got trashed", did you see that? We'd see a pile of bodies over by the side door just mutilating somebody - throwing 'em out the side. I was trashed a couple of times myself; once at Fender's in Long Beach and once at the Coo Coos Nest in Costa Mesa, for ungodly reasons, I'm sure...But those are other stories and I'm fortunate to still continue...So it was pretty violent. The skinheads back then were mostly "Oi boys" so they weren't really necessarily associated with white supremacy or the nazi punks, but I do remember after a few shows, walking out of the shows, there'd be people handing out communist paraphernalia, nazi newspapers - and it was pretty rediculous. But that went on alot, and thus, a few years later we had, uh - you know, mostly skins were associated with white supremacy and nazi punks. I'm talkin', these days were '79,'80,'81, was when alot of it started. And then it was like all the places seemed to shut down. The gigs were too violent, people were getting killed and stabbed, there'd be riots after the shows. The Starwood, the Vex, and everything closed down and it seemed like the scene was dyin'. And then out of nowhere, like '83 or somethin', the Olympic Auditorium started throwin' big shows. You had producers realizing there was alot of money to be made, so you had these huge shows, all over the place, which held alot more people. Instead of 50 to 200 people at a show, there were hundreds and hundreds - the pit the size of an arena. It was still violent, it was still crazy, but..um, it was alot more diversified - the crowd was. You know, you could be a long hair at this crowd and not worry about gettin' beatin'-up and having your hair cut off, or being a girl or a women and not worry about getting raped or having your clothes ripped off of you, which was not uncommon in the early days (if you had long hair or you were a female, you were definitely in jeopardy in these first early shows). So, it was loosening up a little bit with a more diversified crowd. I think more people were listening to punk - it had a better network, more local shows, lots of parties. You could see gigs in Riverside, OC, San Diego, LA. It went from being isolated in LA (in So Cal), to anywhere from San Diego up to Ventura, and so it was just gettin' huge. But you had different facets of punk breakin' out now. You had the skins, the mohawk crew, your artsies etc, and it was just gettin' large. I think that was the climate when we made this album, that was the climate. It was growing rapidly, more diversified, and there was alot more people listening to it - recognizing it as an enjoyable and pleasureable type of music.
FMG: What drove you to make the record?
Pat: To answer that question, I think it'd be better to back up a few years before making the record, which is where most of the music that's on the record came from. I was 18, it was '81, and I'd just come out of 3 hard, long years in the punk scene... alot of just complete craziness - I was completely and totally out-of-control. I was lucky to be alive and I realized that. I came before God exhausted in every sense of the word - spiritually, mentally, physically, and to make a long story short, I did a 180 degree change. I was healed of all my vices that I'd picked up, and I was rejuvenated with just an awesome amount of power from the Holy Spirit. I had the suttlety and power of a locomotive - I think I told everybody about Jesus. I lost all my friends, even my parents had concern for me. I guess I was uh, on fire you might say. So I had a real burden to go back into the punk scene, and play at shows and tell people about Jesus - to tell 'em what he did for me, to tell them to quit bashin' themselves up. You know it was a "no-future" mentality back then. People were hurt for whatever reason, they were crazy and doin' weird stuff in the punk scene. I mean, I can't even mention the stuff I've seen and done, and it's just anarchy here, all going on right underneath people's noses, without them realizing what's happening. So, I wanted to go back in and tell people, "Look, don't blow your head off, don't OD, you know, there's better things happening". And I did. I started a band called Immortal Youth. Elissa Johnson played the bass and Orlando Gonzales was on drums and we started playin' around. We did parties, juvenile halls, underground shows. I remember a show we did at a place called "The Barn" in Burbank, which really stands out in my mind. We were playing with a band called "Urban Decay" and they kicked us off stage after they realized we were a Christian band, and shut down the power. And as we were leaving, most of the people followed us out, and would not let us go. I think each band memeber had 10 or 15 people around them just curious with questions left and right. So we told them what was in our hearts, we told them what good things God had done for us, and how we were healed, and just saw something amazing happen that night... and I'll never forget that night. I mean, here we were in the middle of some neighborhood in LA, completey void of any institutionalized Christian supervision what-so-ever, but the Holy Spirit was doing radical work, incredible work, and I was just in awe to be a part of that, I'll never forget that feeling.
A year later the band broke up and I moved up north to the central coast of California. I came back a couple years later, and Joey, my brother Joey better known as Ojo, was making a compilation album of some of the new bands that were around - making it for Jimmy at Frontline. And he asked me if I wanted to do some of the old tunes that we did in Immortal Youth, and I said "sure", it sounded good to me. However, when the deadline came to do the compilation album, for whatever reasons - the other bands weren't ready, or Joey dropped the ball somewhere or somethin', I don't know, but it was for the better because he wanted to do all Immortal Youth stuff. So I said, "Wow, that's somethin'." So, that's really how the album came about. We went in the studio, and I'd say at least 50% of the stuff on this ablum is from that older band Immortal Youth. And basically, that's how it happened - we made the album, and the rest, as they say, is history.
FMG: Did you have a chance to play alot?
Pat: Yes we did. We started playing, like I said, almost immediately after the album came out and we got the positive response that we did. We played around quite a bit, in fact, that was beginning of us playing about 3 to 4 times a month for about 3 yrs. We played numerous venues ranging from (Pat laughs) dive secular bars to youth groups, you know...from Knott's Berry Farm to parties. I mean it was just all over the place, anywhere we could - we played. We played quite a bit and I enjoyed that quite alot. "We" at the time was Chris Kovacs on bass, and Tony Cena played the drums. It was just the 3 of us at first, Frank Black came in later. I tried these guys out and they were quite a bit younger than me but none-the-less very talented and willing to play that style of music. So, that happened quite easliy at the off-set, however, as you play on, problems arise within any band - it's like a small family and people can bicker. We had our trials and tribulations, one might say, but all-in-all we played alot and I have alot of good memories. I've seen alot of good things happen because of it and I was glad to be a part of it.
FMG: What do you think of the "new" punk scene?
Pat: The new punk scene, as compared to the old one I assume. Much more diverse, you know, it's huge now. At one time everybody was "cool" if they were punk, you know. So, I guess out of that mentality spawned a whole lot of listeners out there, or at least sparked their curiousity to listen to that type of music. As far as the "new" punk scene is concerned, it's hard to classify it in "one" punk scene. On one end you have your skins listening to straight-edge or hardcore/thrash stuff, and then you have softcores over here, and your little artsy punk stuff, and everything in-between. So, I think basically, it's just more diversified and it's just larger than it was before, it reaches a wider audience of people, and that's what I think of it, I guess.
FMG: Christian punk seems hot right now, what do you think?
Pat: Yes, Christian punk is hot right now evidently and I think it's fantastic. I support all those guys out there. I'm sure some of it stinks. As you know, alot of punk rock does stink. But, quite of few of the bands I've heard I've been impressed with and I really enjoy listening to. It sounds like authentic, good, lo-down American punk rock to me - better lately, than previously. So, I'm glad about it, as long as the musicians out there realize that there is accountability whether they like it or not, and to watch their step if they are in fact out there evangelizing, or just sharing what they think is their art in the punk scene. Whether you consider yourself a minister or not, you're gonna be judged as such so just remember, you're accountable for everything you say and do. But I do believe that, um, it's awesome, and I think that no matter how much the Bible belt - I use that term, but what I mean when I say that is - I'm talkin' about closed-minded people who can't open their mind enough to realize that Jesus might be actually using different types of music to reach different people. Back in the early days (I mentioned before Immortal Youth), alot of people in the punk scene in the early days didn't listen to any other type of music. It was blasphemous for them to listen to anything but punk rock, they'd be betraying their scene or whatever, so you had to give it to 'em in that way or they weren't gonna get it at all. And I think that holds true today alot. The youth, 13 to 20 and 20 to 30, they have their nitch, they have one style of music they listen to most of the time. People need to express themselves in the punk medium, as well as they do other mediums, and I think people are starting to realize now that it's here to stay. It's great, it gets you goin', it's good drivin' music - most of it, and I think the Christian punk scene being hot right now is a good thing.
FMG: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Pat: Okay... other than last weeks lottery numbers...um, I wish I knew that the Lord wasn't gonna be here by now (Pat laughs). I've been hearing since I was 14 years old that Jesus was going to come back tomorrow, and I think sometimes I lived my life accordingly, and um, as I look back I would've made some decisions differently. You know, like staying in school or persuing certain career options that I didn't. So, what do I know now that I wish I knew then? Geese! I couldn't fit all that in this interview, I'm sure. You know, I've learned that people are people whether they're Christians, or pegans, or heathen, or whatever they call themselves. People are people, and I've been hurt by both Christians and non-Christians alike. So, I've learned to trust "man" less and to trust God more. I've learned that we're all individuals, and God made us that way. We're talkin' about billions of people on this earth and there's not any two alike, and that wasn't an accident. God made us that way, so in my opinion, He obviously enjoys individuality in all of us. I think the pressure of the movement to strive to be the perfect Christian, shouldn't be understood as to us all....to become the same person. I think our uniqueness is good and I think people can believe differently and worship differently. I'm an absolutist - I absolutely believe that Jesus was the Son of God, is God, and that there's one way to heaven, but I believe within those perameters, we have room for growth, that we have room for differing interpretations. I think people should spend less time telling other people how to believe, and more time figuring out what they believe and why. And other than that, there's just too many things I know now that I didn't know then, but those I think would be the most important or the ones that come to mind right now.
FMG: Are you active with music now?
Pat: Absolutely. I have to be active with music. It's God's gift to me and it has helped me to keep my sanity, and to express myself in a way that is unique. Whenever I write music, you know, I write selfishly - it's for me. I never sit down and write a song thinking it's goin' on an album or other people are gonna hear this. For the most part I write because it's comforting to me to spill out what I think on paper and put it to a tune. And I think that's a gift, so whether I'm making albums or not, or in the lime-light at any given time or not, I'll always be involved in music. There's a 3rd album coming out, kind-of a solo album, and Lord willing it will be out the 1st qtr of '96. So in just a few months here, you should be hearing of a 3rd album. It's called "Sweet Nothings from Pat Nobody" and I'm recording at SIR Studios just west of beautiful Eugene, OR. So look for that 3rd album coming out and Nobody Special's 2nd CD, "Call It Whatever You Want" will be re-released shortly as well.
FMG: What defines punk?
Pat: What defines punk!? Hmm... I think if you asked 10 or 20 different people that question, you'd get 10 or 20 different answers. Assuming you mean music and not the way of life; Punk to me has always been a more diversified term than most people I've talked with. I've always been suprised at how narrowly the word "punk" described music for some people. To me, it's always meant the real hardcores, and softcores, and anyone from ya know... Black Flag to the Minutemen, and all in-between. LA punk was always alot more thrashier and faster than OC punk, it was a little more melodic, a little slower - but all good and all punk. Nowadays it seems we've developed a few more terms to describe the harder edged stuff that we once may have called or grouped into the definition of punk. You know, you got your grundge, and your hippie-metal, and your speedcore, speedmetal, whatever. I think alot of it at one time, 10 or 15 yrs ago, might've all been classified under "punk". But, I think everyone's definition of punk is different - it's an attitude, it's not only a sound, and it comes through in the music. It can be as slow as Lou Reed, or as mainstream as the Sex Pistols, or as fast as Minor Threat or the Crucified, but it's all an attitude. Alot of it to me is punk, and again, you ask that question to anybody, you're gonna get a different answer, so... there's mine.
FMG: Talk about specific songs and what they mean to you?
Pat: Well, I'll go through the list here,
Sliding Backwards: I think is pretty self explanatory.
That Feeling: That was written in pain (Pat chuckles) about basically, that gut-wrenching hurtful feeling you get in yourself that you know is self-destructive and you just want it to go away.
I Was: Self explanatory
Come Around: Pretty self explanatory.
Dissertation: I think that's pretty self explanatory as well.
We Are Confident: That song, as you realize is co-written by St. Paul, and is basically sayint that, uh, Christian musicians out there seem to get the raw end of the deal. We're not gonna get the big shows, we're not gonna get the big distribution, we're not gonna get big money because, for the most part, unfortunately, you are Christian. And you're gonna be persecuted, you're gonna be held down for your faith. But, we will win in the end. We're gonna be hurt by people out there, and made fun of, and ridiculed, but stay strong - stay confident. You should know what you're doing and you should be prepared for these kinds of reactions - it should only make you stronger. Like Jesus said, you should be rejoicing when those things happen to you, and our compensation, for the most part, will not come while we're here, so you shouldn't be lookin' for it here, except to just be blessed that you're a part of God's kingdom and what's happening therein.
People Who: Uh ya know, the song's about hypocrisy. You can't judge a book by its cover, if I may be cliche-ish. People that wear ties and carry Bibles aren't necessarily the ones you want to trust, and people that are lookin' motley and smellin' motley aren't necessarily the ones you want to distrust. The song's basically just about hypocrisy in the Church today, and there's alot of it.
Killin' Time: That song's about enduring to the end despite circumstances around you. The world can get pretty hectic and pretty crazy at times and we just have try to keep our focus and stay strong, and hang in there, and realize that there are going to be difficult times, there are going to be good times, but you can't experience the good times unless you make it through the difficult ones.
FMG: Why did you write "Burnt" and who is it about?
It's about relationships that young people strive for... not only young people, but older people as well. We're all looking for that perfect spouse or that perfect mate and it usually doesn't happen the way we want it to, unless you're completely blessed by God, ya know, which is good, but rare, in that sense. Most people are having or have had trouble in their relationship, especially if they're young and living at home. They're infactuated, they're caught up in their lover - their boyfriend or girlfriend - and if they break-up, it's devistating. Their school grades go down, they want to blow their heads off.... You know, dual suicides. I just heard a couple weeks ago about a young couple in LA. Their parents wouldn't let them see each other anymore so they went out and drowned themselves together. Um.., there's more to life than that, there's alot more to life than that. Even though these are painful and trying times, we have to keep our heads. You need to realize that times won't always be that difficult, and if you're a young Christian person today, you should know that you should be putting the Lord #1 in your life, and if you're not, you're settin' yourself up for a painful fall. And I think it's obvious the song Burnt is about Jesus.
I Wonder: Pretty self-explainatory - a guy goin' through spiritual warfare, obviously wondering about deeper things than daily life. He's contemplating the existance of Jesus, he's seen some changes in his friends, and it's basically trying to depict that very intense warfare right before somebody makes the decision one way or the other.
Get Off The Air: Joey wrote that one and I think it's pretty self-explainatory about hyprocrisy among some evangelist preachers.
Ain't That Hard: In a way sums up the whole thrust of Immortal Youth and Nobody Special - of what we were trying to say. Day in, day out, you can go giggin' and you can party hard - one hangover's better or worse than the next hangover, and gigs & weeks roll into one another and the years go by..., But there's more happenin'. It's time to wake up and realize that we're eternal beings, and we're here temporarily, and there's more to life than what's right in front of you or what your peers are doing - it's time to get wise.
Deeper Things: Is just about that as well. People go through their lives thinking there isn't any repercussions to their actions, but there is. Whether it's destroying our environment...and I don't consider myself a great activist or environmentalist, but at the same time, there's lots of people out there just blatently destroying, killing, and just ruining our world. I think if they knew there were repercussios for this, that someday they will stand before God, that they'd think twice about that.
FMG: Do you have any advice for anybody out there?
Pat: I know that everybody's full of advice, and everybody thinks their way is right. I don't think that's very nice, so I'll try to stay away from giving too much advise. However, I will quote a wise man who once said, " A wise man takes advice - takes instruction", and St. Paul says to be "slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen". So, if I had any advice at all, I'd say, give less of it, and take more of it, and concentrate on your listening skills. I think if we all became better listeners, there wouldn't be as much confusion as there is, there'd be more communication going on.
FMG: Anything else?
Pat: I'd just like to encourage people out there to be themselves, not to try to be anybody they're not. God made you to be you. You should realize that you are special the way you are, and believe me, growth will come one way or the other if you're God's kid. I'd like to thank Frontline Music Group for re-releasing this album on CD - it should be great on CD quality, and I look forward to getting a copy of it myself. Thanks for the time everybody, take care, and hang in there.