|ISSUE 11.1||Spring 2001|
From the top: Jim, Matt, Eric and Sam
At this point, it's safe to call the New Bomb Turks a Columbus institution.
The band's name, as many know, comes from Robert "Fingernail Chop" Wuhl's character in The Hollywood Nights, a film that also marked the film debuts of Tony "Drop What Yr Doing" Danza and Michelle "Bolan's Crash" Pfeiffer.
From Destroy, Oh Boy to Scared Straight, punk fans know what they're getting: fast, loud, punk/garage music with yelping vocals and plenty of energy.
Cringe caught up with Turks singer Eric Davidson and bassist Matt Reber (drummer Sam Brown and guitarist Jim Weber were absent) during a crossroads in the band's career: their contract just ran out with Epitaph, their good friend Jerry Wick just died, drummer Sam Brown was about to have a baby and they have passed the point where most punk bands break up.
"Most bands that do the genre we're in only do one or two records," Davidson said. "One of the things I wanted to prove is that you don't have to have a guy die of an overdose, you don't have to break up after one record, you don't have to become a parody like some of these old punk bands that stick around forever."
Reber offered up a simple reason the band has lasted more than one or two records, "we don't take ourselves too seriously."
"We just stayed friends and stayed away from those major problems that bands usually break up over," Davidson said. "I'm proud that we've shown that we can stay together and put out high-energy albums seven records down the road."
The Turks are aware that punk bands that last as long as they have often have trouble maintaining their early energy.
"We try to incorporate different influences that we are all into like soul music or the Rolling Stones," Davidson said. "We're not afraid to throw a ballad on, throw a wrench in it. But punk is what we do and there's a place for that in the world."
"We never stop coming up with new material," Reber said. "It's good to keep your material constantly evolving."
Davidson added, "We just try to make the record we know we can make and have fun making it."
The New Bomb Turks feel that they have trouble fitting into the Columbus scene.
"We're never really fit into it," Reber said. "We've always felt like outcasts."
But, Reber adds, "we're the established guys now."
"I don't think of this town as a punk/underground rock town at all," Davidson said. "The scene is so fucked up right now, there really isn't a scene."
Reber and Davidson did point to bands such as Them Wranch, Bob City, Grafton and Teeth of the Hydra as newer bands that they like.
"The all ages scene is Columbus is really cool now," Reber said.
The Turks could point to the death of Jerry Wick as the death of the Columbus scene.
"It's effected the band in a considerable way," Reber said. "He was the guy that I couldn't wait to hear his reaction to our record because I knew it would be honest."
"He was always honest about stuff. That's what people don't like," Davidson said. "You meet so few real characters in your life."
Davidson said, "He didn't turn into what happened to many other songwriters. He was still doing stuff. It's just so tragic how it happened, so pointless."
"It's kind of a reason to keep going," Reber said.
So, what's next for the Turks?
Glazed Records is reissuing a Spanish 7", then releasing a 10" with two originals and two covers. The CD of the 10" will be include video concert footage. "It's our first multimedia event," Reber said.
"It looks like we're going to go to Europe in September for a few shows. A package thing with Nashville Pussy and Andy G. and the Roller Kings," Davidson said.
The next full-length Turks record should come out in February or March 2002.
"We're off Epitaph now, it was a three record deal and we did our three records," Davidson said. "They probably would have resigned us, but what's the point? You should go with a label that you know likes you."
Reber added, "they have different priorities. We have a couple of ideas for labels in the States, but we're not set on anything yet." (Ed: Epitaph Europe will continue releasing Turks records.)
"Annia and Sam are having the baby soon and Jim's back in school," Davidson said. "We're just trying to fit into everyone's schedule.
And now that the Turks have passed the longevity threshold, just how long will they continue?
Davidson said, "Look at Scrawl. Marcy Mays said Columbus bands, if they end up staying here, why not go on forever?"
- Chad Painter/Cringe (July 2001)