Hotrods, Highways and Hair Cuts
An Interview with Speedball
by: Adrian Bromley
Inspired by the loud, hard-hitting music of metallic greats like Motorhead and Black Sabbath, Detroit's Speedball have always wanted to play this kind of music. With their Energy Records debut album, _Do Unto Others, Then Split_, the band has done just that by incorporating all the fundamental characteristics of punk, hardcore, metal and rock n' roll in one neat little package. It makes for a really exciting record to just crank up. Speaking with Speedball prior to their opening slot showcase on the current Motorhead tour, singer/guitarist Chuck Burns, drummer Mike Alonso and bassist Jeff King (the band is rounded out by guitarist Bill Kozy) took a short break to chat with Chronicles of Chaos before their soundcheck.

CoC: Do you find that it is very difficult for bands in this day and age to go out and tour and be successful at the same time?

JK: The greatest thing about this tour is that our first national tour is the easiest thing we are going to do. If we were to do this by ourselves, we'd be lucky to be getting 100 people a night. By doing this tour, even if we are on first when people are walking in, we're playing to 300 people a night. And that is great for us.

CB: It is a great opportunity for us to be playing with Motorhead because people obviously know who they are. The response has been good and we have been doing really well.

CoC: How would you label Speedball's sound and musical style?

JK: It is kind of hard to describe as we have a lot of influences. I would say that we are a high energy rock n' roll band.

CB: Yeah, a high energy rock n' roll band with really heavy punk and metal sounds as well as the hardcore sounds.

CoC: For a band like you with all those influences, it can make it hard for you to be categorized. How do you get past that response due to the different genre influences?

JK: Sometimes it is a bit of a hindrance because people don't know how to peg us. We don't care because we love our music and what we are doing.

CB: We are just a rock band. We can play with Green Day or Motorhead. And we have played with various bands: Down, Korn, Pennywise, Silverchair. We have played in front of a variety of different audiences and we did very well.

CoC: How is it being on a smaller label like Energy Records? How has it helped or hindered you?

CB: It has helped because it allowed us to make the album we wanted to do. As for the creativity factor, it was killer. But it has hindered us because being on a smaller label, they really don't have the money to ram us down people's throats.

JK: I'd rather be on an indie label because we wanted to make the record that we wanted to make, and we did that. I don't like the fact that guys with suits behind desks get to make the calls on songs or albums or videos.

CoC: And the future? Are you striving for another release soon?

CB: We feel we have more touring to do. We kind of stumbled when the record first came out a bit because we had bad management and didn't get shows booked as well as we should have. Now we have good management and the ball is rolling for us.

MA: It seems like the album has been out a long time for us because we have been waiting for things to happen but I still think we have a lot of time left with this record.

CB: A lot of records were out before bands broke out. Shit! I had Guns N' Roses' _Appetite For Destruction_ a year before you started hearing it on the radio.

CoC: What do you think about the bands that put out debut records and the next thing you know they are selling a million copies?

CB: That is because they are a product of a record company who stuffed them down everyone's throats. I don't want to play that game and be the 'Flavor of the Week.'

CB: The first album on a major label is more of a gamble. For one band that puts out a record and goes platinum, there are thirty bands on majors where their albums go downhill soon after their release.

CoC: Is being on a major tour something you guys are proud of?

CB: It is great to be on tour and even a bigger honor to be on tour with Motorhead. They have been such a big influence on all of us. I remember my life changed after seeing Motorhead in 1981 and now in 1996 I am on tour with them. Things couldn't be any better right now.

(article submitted 9/2/1996)

11/18/1996 A Morrow Danzig / Speedball Danzig Does Detroit
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