interview with peter don't care (nihilism on the prowl webzine)

interviewed by sam sinister.

So you got into punk in '77 right? How old were you and how did that come about? Peter: I was 15. I got into punk about about the time the Stranglers debut hit the street, which was around March '77.

So you got introduced through records first and then shows?

Peter: Yeah. My mates who were a few years older were going to shows, and my one mate's big sister seen the Stranglers in February or March so she told us about 'em.

What were the first bands you started seeing [at clubs]?

Peter: My first punk band was the Adverts, at the Club Lafayette in Wolverhampton. Fucking great baptism.

I'll bet.

Peter: They were great. I'll always have a soft spot for them...

So when did you really start considering yourself a "punk"?

Peter: Well in those days I never really considered myself a punk. I used to see these really outrageous punks at the gigs, you know, the really fucking incredible sites with spikey hair and dog collars.

Yeah, I know the type.

Peter: But I just had a straight pair of jeans and a bootlace round my neck, but even that was considered punk. Anyone without long hair or flares was diffferent and abnormal in those days.

For me it was at the time when punk in the U.S. was associated with skateboarding, so I just called myself a "skater punk", you know, baggy jeans and t-shirts with tennis shoes. Kinda embarrassing now in retrospect...

Peter: Well that's part of growing up. Have you seen the pictures of Sid when he was at college?


Peter: God, he's got a bubble haircut!

Haha. That's comical.

Peter: ...and crimpline flairs! With a fucking spotted scarf! I'll send you the picture.

That'll be good for a laugh.

Peter: It's fucking hilarious.

I saw a picture of Johnny [Rotten] as a school boy with his Buddy Holly glasses. They showed it on "The Filth and the Fury".

Peter: So even people like that had an embarrassing past, present, and ultimately, future. These so-called punks all had a 'non-punk' beginning. I don't care what they say.

No one is really BORN punk... it's a man-made creation for god's sake... all depends on if your experiences let you indentify with what it's all about.

Peter: Yeah, that's true I guess. I seen a kid the other day at a gig. This kid was all ripped up in leather and studs, and he changed within a year. I've always been a scruffy cunt. Even if I was a straight I'd be unkempt. Fuck it. I can't be bothered with looking like a catalogue model.

When I was a straight, I was always the kid who wore clothes from K-mart and got shunned by the popular kids. We weren't poor, but my parents didn't wanna buy me designer clothes. But I'm glad they didn't spoil me.

Peter: I noticed in America peer pressure is a big thing.

Oh yeah, it is.

Peter: Over here it's probably just as bad, but I never bothered. I still had mates, whether I was a scruff or not.

I think that's why Americans fucked up punk for the most part. When little sects of the scene started clinging to each other and shunning all the other ones.

Peter: It all came under the same umbrella...


Peter: Well, maybe they did but a lot of this is down to the early 80's and the UK anarcho bands, too.

Yeah, alot of people think Crass played a big part in it.

Peter: Crass were great in the early days, but they got too much like gods. The kids were following their every word! That's why you got all this vegan stuff now. Crass were good at showing you alternatives, and introducing us to corruption. But I think the army of black combats was just too fucking zombified.

So are you part of the group who thinks the Brits invented punk, the Americans, or just don't give a fuck?

Peter: Well, Iggy was a punk.


Peter: His whole manner and attitude was punk from the start.

Yeah, then you got the New York Dolls, who even had the sound almost down pat.

Peter: The Dolls had a great sleazy sound, but the tranny look wasn't the best. How many of us could walk the streets in high heels?

They really only did the "tranny" thing for one show. Of course, the media latched onto that one show... like they ALWAYS do.

Peter: Well they're definitely pioneers. Again, great attitude. I LOVE the Dolls and Iggy. And I like some of Alice Cooper.

Alice wasn't really even a part of it... I mean, he influenced people, but he himself never even really liked the whole punk thing.

Peter: Well Alice was another wild card. He didn't fit and I like that. But I still think the Pistols epitomised punk in the truest sense.

Yeah, they kinda made it what it is. The term [punk] came from the U.S., but what punk is now, or at least what people like me and you consider punk, was all the Pistols doing.

Peter: That's what I mean, the Pistols had the sound, the look, and the attitude, and no one had all of those before 'em or since.

I think the Ramones were the sound pioneers, personally.

Peter: Yeah, the Ramones were the first in a lot of ways but they didn't have that nasty streak in 'em.

But the Ramones made rock 'n roll that was FAST, and the songs were short, and it was simple and catchy and fun.

Peter: Yeah, the Ramones were cartoony... which is no bad thing.

I think there's basically 2 sides to punk. I think in the U.S. punk was always more of a nerd thing, or art-fag thing and over in your neck of the woods it was more a lower class movement. There's always 2 sides to every coin.

Peter: Yeah, well you had Steve Jones, who's really working class, knocking around with Malcom Maclaren who is middle class. Strange combination. But that's what was good about punk it bought all these different [people] together. Some were cunts, some were originals.

Yeah, it does bring together all the social garbage, so to speak. All the outsiders. The reason the word "punk" is associated with snottiness and leather and denim and mohawks, etc. is because the Pistols started people in that direction and they got the most attention cos no one was used to anything that real before.

Peter: They were playing music to please THEMSELVES.

That's what it's all about. You gotta be honest with yourself. Otherwise, whether the majority knows it or not, all your doing is bullshit.

Peter: It's good fun doing your own stuff, as you know, so if you do stuff other people like and it catches on, it's REALLY good fun. Sometimes when you get too big a lot of the individuals lose it.

So what would you say punk is, to you? Just the word "punk", how would you define it?

Peter: Punk is about having fun, doing what you wanna, not caring about fads or trends, and basically not falling for the con that the majority [of people] call life.

I like that. I've always said punk is "an alternative to bullshit".

Peter: I conform as well as the next man, but I still got something in me that won't take any old shit as gospel. If you can see through the shit you're okay.

Yep. I'm always questioning everything, sometimes I drive myself up the fucking wall. I think too much.

Peter: What dissapoints me is a lot of so-called "hardcore punks" don't know fuck all. They wouldn't know a scam if it bent over and gobbed in their face. And a lot of 'em are fucking hypocrites, especially the preaching fuckers.

That's what fucks me up alot, I'm always trying to keep myself from being a hypocrite and it's hard sometimes not to play all the games life has set up around you.

Peter: It's okay to play the games if you ain't preaching. They all turn into what they're supposedly against five years down the line.

That's what happened to the hippies, and basically that's what all the P.C., preachy punks are is fucking hippies. You can't preach shit to everyone cos you never know if you're gonna change your mind about something down the line.

Peter: You live and learn.

Then people think back and go, "Well wait a minute, you used to bitch at me about doin' that same shit..."

Peter: I just can't stand the cunt who says you're bad, you're uncaring, then go and do the same thing when noone's looking. It's the punks who DON'T preach and DON'T tell you what to do who are the genuine ones.

I've learned that.

Peter: They let you get on with it and that's the best way. I got respect for those.

I talk alot of shit on people for certain things, but I'm always just havin' a laugh, and I'll take anyone on a personal level at first. Even the hippies.

Peter: I gob off on my site about things, but I'd never say to some young punk, "Eat meat, don't be a veggie"...

Wait a minute, you talkin' about my little rant about veganism?

Peter: Yeah, but actually I ain't had no feedback on that one yet.

Oh well... If I get on with you, then fine, I'm not gonna hate someone for what walk of life they're on. As long as you don't tell me what I can and can't do, I got no problem with you and what you wanna do.

Peter: Yeah it's up to them if they wanna read you the riot act. I just hope they don't expect you to lie down like a wimpering dog and obey 'em.

What was your childhood like and how do you think that influenced your interest in the punk rock movement (assuming it did at all)?

Peter: My childhood was pretty much a good one I reckon. I got on well with my Mom and dad most of the time. My 3 older brothers were sound too. I had the usual fall-outs that every kid does with families, but I loved my parents. My school life however was a different ball game. I absolutely DETESTED the primary school (8-11). They had this big fucking bully of a Welsh sports teacher who continuously kicked THE SHIT outta me at every given opportunity. This geezer made my life HELL, and I've despised bullies for the rest of my life. I never said anything to my parents or noone cos I didn't realize it was victimization till later on in life. This cunt would humiliate me in front of class so much so, that one girl went home and cried her heart out to her Mom. Her Mom then told my old man and he went down the school and the big hard teacher (to a 9 year olds only) shit himself- tee hee. My dad didn't hit him, he just pointed out in his rough Irish brogue what would happen if he laid a finger on me again. The teacher came back in the classroom white as a ghost and never touched me again- ha! So yeah my old man was strict but fair which I think has give me some of my better qualities. So whatever I got off my parents as far as discipline is concerned I deserved. I reckon maybe that teacher left me the bitter 'n' twisted individual I am today!

When I reached my teens and was at the big Comprehensive school (11-16) I rebelled BIG style against everything the school threw at me. School in my early teens was one big session of cannings, detentions and delinquent behavior...I spent most of my school life waiting outside the headmasters to be bollocked or punished for something or other. But I loved it there even though I never gained any education apart from the basics.

Me and my fellow hooligan mates would run riot every week. It was 1977 and I was 15 years old and punk had just exploded which was seen as a fucking really bad anti authoritarian cult which naturally beckoned the more adventurous amongst us. It was then I discovered punk music and that become my big passion more so than the planning of fights with the rival schools. I nicked my first Pistols poster on a school lunchbreak and started getting into the records and gigs more and more. It was a this time me and about ten other yobs eventually got expelled from the school coz they couldn't handle us. So that was it my education for life was over all of a sudden and I had a whole 6 months to just get into punk before I could legally find a job. At that time Soccer hooliganism and Punk were my main interests. I think if punk hadn't have come along when it did I'd be in prison now like most of my older mates from that time, who are either banged up or dead!

What did you listen to before you discovered punk?

Peter: As I said earlier I never listened to fuck all music wise. Music was way down on my list of priorities. You have to remember before punk came along it was just long hair, flares and fucking Yes or on the other extreme Brother Hood of fucking Man. Those kinda bands didn't impress people like me, we wanted fun and adventure. That stuff never had any impression on me now or then. It was a million fucking light years away from where I was. Punk was real and brand new and risque. It was made for the degenerates round town, while the rest of the music scene was for romantic idiots who were easily pleased or young kids worshipping dinosaurs from afar.

What would you say is the purpose of your site?

Peter: The purpose was and still is an extension of my verbal diarrhea and persona. It has the same purpose as my zine The Suffragette had when that first came out. It's a forum for the punk I love and hate. The real reason I started a fanzine was coz my band at that time (Torcha Shed) was doing sweet FA without a permanent drummer in our ranks. And I had a lotta pent up verbal to spout out. So if the songs wasn't happening then why not broadcast my spiel in the next best thing, which is a punk zine.

Most of the zines on punk that I had read at that time were so fucking tame. They were so far up the bands arses it was unbelievable. I wanted to give a real view of the street, y'know the good, the bad and the downright fucking ugly. So that's how I started. And you know what, I liked it coz I didn't have to rely on anyone else like you do with a band. I done the whole lot off my own back, so that was a big draw being in total control of your own output for once. It run from 1996 till about 2000 with 11 issues in all and pissed off a lotta people. However my cheap copying place went bankrupt so I was fucked up the printed creek without a copier to get any more issues out. That's when I looked to the Internet for my last great chance on airing my views. So now you know.

Who are your current top 5 band picks (who are playing out right now)?

Peter: There's about ten punk bands on the planet right now who are really good in my estimate. There's gotta be more and I'm counting on finding em or hearing em sooner or later. My favourites change quite often but the current top 5 would have to be Sad Society from Scotland. I just got their latest 4-track pounding demo it's fucking great! Smooth And Greedy from Sweden are a band I discovered late last year. The're like the Pistols rolled into the Dolls. There album is constantly on my stereo.

Thug Murder are a young energetic Jap trio of street punkettes and well worth anyone's attention.

I've only heard one track by this band from LA called the Brillianty Sins and it literally blew me away...I fucking love em!

And lastly another new combo called The Dangerfield from Belfast who I caught live late last year they are absolutely brilliant live and not to be missed!

How do you think punk in general differs now from when you first got into it?

Peter: Nowadays it's more rehearsed. When a punk band forms today they have so many influences past and present on records, in books, and in mags to get the inspiration from. Which is good if you take the right aspects but not so good if it's just carbon copied. I quite liked the idea of something happening not because they seen it in a film or listened to an album but because it was just meant to happen. The pioneers in punk never had that influence to look back on coz all they seen was crap they hated, so they in turn created a new form of music for themselves, which became punk! That's definitely the biggest difference in my view.

The best thing about today's scene is communication...that's a big bonus. We all now have access to even the most remote punk band out there. But also punk today is more fragmented. In the old days the Stranglers, Devo, the Pistols, Blondie, Ramones, Iggy Pop and even Plastic Bertandt all came under the punk umbrella which I thought was good. Diversity is strength!

What're your views on "hardcore"?

Peter: This a hard one to answer, pardon the pun. Although I first heard the term back in January 1977 in the New Musical Express describing this new phenomena of 'hardcore' punk, I didn't really pay much notice. Hardcore to me finally registered around 1980 when it was presumably founded in the early 80's South Califonian US scene with bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks or on the east coast the Undead, Heart Attack etc. That's what I understood as hardcore. But all those bands were fucking great I loved all those bands.

In England we were told about these bands in music papers or found em on ROIR compilations. I presumed this was the new explosion of US Hardcore punk. To me it was just a new tag for a new breed of punk, a bit like how the UK's second wave in the early 80s was a new more brutal progression on what the '77 explosion was.

But Hardcore today??? Now that is the question. It's a big scene with different meanings these days. I get mixed up and don't really understand the Hardcore in punk today. A lot of the bands have fuck all in common with me so I'm oblivious to em. Hardcore today could mean anything from the Casualties to Fugazi and anything in between. Some of its good but most of its really fucking crud and sounds exactly the same.

What's your marital status? Any kids? If yes, do you think that that makes it harder to stay true to your "punk roots"?

Peter: No, I ain't married and never have been. I do have a 16 year old daughter who lives with her Mom. Me and her Mom split up when she was young. But I have always kept regular contact with her. She's never said "hey dad you look a mess, why can't you be like all the other dads?". She likes having a dad who's a punk. In fact it's the opposite coz I got a lecture when I cropped my spikes off recently- ha!

My kid loves the Sex Pistols and rings me up if there's something on TV about em. She's grown up with punk from day 1, so she knows the score but she don't buy the records or follow the bands like her old man! Having a straight family or kids don't make it any harder to stay true to your punk roots, your either in it for life or you move on. I don't class being a punk as staying true coz this ain't a sacrifice were experiencing here (although sometimes it can be) it's fun!

I just think some of the so-called 'hardline' punks who 'stay true to their punk roots' oughtta own up a bit more and drop the act that we can see through so clearly. I've met straight characters in life who ain't ever been to a gig or even heard a punk band but they are punk through and through a lot more so than the cunts who look great for the gigs in their hairsprayed crowning glories then go home and put their Reeboks back on. I think it's either in your character or it ain't. Some old punks still look good but most look stupid bloated and embarrassing idiots. They usually stagger about in Chaos UK or Exploited T-shirts and when you talk to em you realize they are a total washout, and I'd hate to stay true to that!!! Others go totally straight after a few years rebellion and they rejoin the straight society they were always part of. While the lucky few who still look good without turning it into a joke know the score and can adapt.

I don't consider myself any of the above yet, but I'll always be a punk in nature, it's in me from an early age so I wont change now coz I'm an inbred. I'd feel uncomfortable without a punk record on my stereo or a punk gig on the calendar. Old punks have a nasty habit of looking and sounding fucking horrible don't you think? But if you use your head you won't look an embarrassing mess in life, just maybe in print- ha!

Favorite American punk band(s) from the 70's?

Peter: Too many to mention, but Id say The Avengers coz Penelope Houston was sexy, intelligent and had a great voice. And The Ramones coz they turned me into a Teenage Lobotomy.

Favorite UK punk band(s) from the 70's?

Peter: Again way too many to list here on one page but the Sex Pistols take the biscuit for me because seeing and hearing em really did change my life!

Any advice for all the kids now just getting into punk?

Peter: For Christ sake don't do it!!!... Or if you really have to experiment don't believe all the bullshit your peers tell you. Suss things out for yourself. If you like it, great. If you don't, it ain't the end of the world. Remember, there ain't no rules. Just try and be original and have fun!