Fucked Up and Loving It
CoC Chat's with Nightstick
by: Adrian Bromley
No one ever said music had to follow any format. Did they? Well if they did then Weymouth, Massachusetts trio Nightstick didn't want to give into any kind of rules or regulations. The band - comprised of singer/bass Alex Smith, drummer Robert Williams and guitarist Cotie Cowgill - have just released their debut album for Relapse entitled _Blotter_. The sounds of the band's debut encompasses all forms of music: intense screams, death metal growls, jazz, psychedelic rock and noise/feedback/samples. The ideas and visions of the band are as warped as the material on the debut. Recently Chronicles of Chaos talked with drummer Robert Williams over the phone from his home about the album, Padoinka The Clown (the band's stage performer) and anything else that might have come up. It was a wild and extraordinary conversation to say the least.

CoC: When you went into the studio to record _Blotter_ was there any idea to develop or did the music just come out through experimentation?

Robert Williams: A bit of both. I had a firm concept of the type of sound that I wanted to explore. Very heavy and low sounding material. I wanted to bring out what was inside of me. We have many sections of complete improvisation in many of our songs. I felt that I was confined to traditional hard-core drumbeats when I was playing in my old band Siege and I wanted to expand and explore and I found a couple of degenerates from my hometown that were willing to experiment. So to answer the question I would say we had a firm concept of what we wanted to explore and record and sounds we wanted to produce and at the same time I had all these ideas I had in the can that I wanted to get on tape. Once I conceive an idea it haunts me until I am able to bring it out and put it on tape. The challenge is to bring it out as accurately as possible.

CoC: Has it been difficult to create music for you?

RW: I seem to get complete ideas just walking down the street or riding on the bus. I keep them inside of me until we are able to create the ideas I have. I guess I am gifted to have this focus of inspiration and to have people who are willing to work with me on these ideas and for these people to believe in what I am doing. The band members are an integral of my song process. Coming up with material has never been a problem for me. I have a wealth of ideas. It has been a long process to bring _Blotter_ out from inside of me. I wanted to treat every song as an individual atmosphere, so I mixed it a second time but it was a labor of love. It is sometimes a long difficult haul from the insemination of an idea to having that idea in print but worth it in the end when you have created a musical piece.

CoC: As your music is created on the ideas of what you want to do rather than doing what people say, society is mostly following or going where they are told. Society and even music trends are told where to go. But there are bands like Anal Cunt, Sonic Youth and even yourselves not listening to that confirmed outlook on music. How do you view society's take on how they want you to be and what you are trying to create?

RW: I think it really fucked how society is trying to stuff us into a mold as young people. To measure up to their expectations, the expectations of a square conservative older generation. It wasn't too long ago that they would be putting a gun in our hand in the spirit of fake patriotism that led to a slaughter of thousands of young people like us that were drafted. When you first asked that question that was the first thing that popped into my mind. The draft... and how sick it was and that it wasn't that long ago. It was in my lifetime. When someone from the older generation inflicts their expectations or their fucked up rules on a young person I think that is criminal and sick and when that same thing applies to musical expression, having to stuff yourself into a preconceived mold musically, is not what making music is all about. Regardless of what the art form is whether it be sculpting, dance or Rock n' Roll. You should let your 'freak flag' fly and let it go. Conventional expectations led record companies to produce shit like Winger and Nelson. The time has not been kind to these traditional kind of groups. It is positively criminal when a record company in music, or a square adult in life, try to impose rules on a young person or musician. That is fucked.

CoC: Speaking of the creation of experimentation of music, what is your take on drinking, drugs and hallucinogens usage when creating music? How does that work into your lifestyle or into the ideas that you create within your experimentation and music?

RW: I think a person should be free to do whatever drug they want to do. After years of playing on the scene I have seen things where someone would be drunk and trashing the hall and the next time you can't book a show. I think if you do your drugs and are not ruining the scene or hurting anyone else then should be free to do any drug you want to. I admire a lot of the writers of the Beat Generation. Some people call people like William Burroughs the 'grandfather' to the hippies. He discovered and showed us new ways of living and sexuality and experimentation of drugs and that philosophy of that 60s generation is what I had always admired and come to live by right now. For a kid to get harassed by a cop for a joint is really fucking sick and it is happening all over the United States. Humiliation always has to be a part of it with a pig (cop). They'll take your weed, dump it on the ground an tell you, 'Get out of here,' if you are lucky. If you are not you will, like most of us have done, take a ride downtown. For what? A quarter ounce of weed? It is a nonviolent crime and it is sick how harassment and humiliation is a part of how the pigs always come down on you when they are busting you.

CoC: So have you experienced any forms of harassment?

RW: Sure. When you are on the road and touring you learn that when you go by the Roy Rogers restaurant with long-haired people in the band and you see a pig State cruiser parked outside, you learn not to go in. We have had a lot of experiences. I experienced this a lot when I was a teenager for being too loud or refusing to turn down to the amps. Every young person out there reading this will know what I am talking about. It is a attitude that they are trying to stifle. It is an lifestyle that the pigs recognize and try to jump on and squash it.

CoC: I have learned through your bio that there is a clown (Padoinka) who participates in the live show of the band? What's the deal with the clown?

RW: The clown is dancer who does improvisational movement during some of the longer psychedelic instrumental songs in the set. He lends visual action and appeal to our live show. I can liken him to the guy who was in Frankie Goes To Hollywood - the guy with the mustache and leather clothes. He doesn't do anything except move and rouses the band and crowd up. He is a spiritual leader or a mascot that is a full-time member of the group. Basically he does interpretive dances to the music of our live show. About how we got Chris Joyce (Padoinka) to join the band, he had just started to dance at a show of ours one time and we liked it and asked him to join the group.

CoC: From what I have heard on _Blotter_ and how I would see it delivered live, I think the music and band would be more aggressive live? Am I right or wrong?

RW: I think the disc captures a raw live feel to what we are doing. I can't see that brutal side live that people say we have but am happy people say that about our shows. Our goal in the studio was to capture the abrasive quality and the volume and energy of our live show on this disc. I feel that this is an excellent slice of our energy live and we have conveyed that properly.

CoC: Do you think people perceive the band as being 'weird'?

RW: Hmm... well. We have all been friends for years. Admittedly we are all eccentric in our own ways, but to join the group you don't have to be crazy and beat your brain with liquor and drugs. That's not it. We add our own elements into the music we create. I think we are an exciting band to see live and I hope people take the initiative to come out and see us live. I think we are bringing out honestly inside of us. Love it or leave it, this is the way we are offstage.

(article submitted 16/3/1997)

12/9/1999 A Bromley 8 Nightstick - Death to Music
3/10/1998 A Bromley 8 Nightstick - Ultimatum
2/4/1997 A Bromley 7 Nightstick - Blotter
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