|Total Chaos is one of the first (if not the first), to start
the reemergence of "street style" punk in the early
90's. Signed to Epitaph
records in 93', they released, "Pledge of Defiance" in
94', "Patriotic Shock" in 95' and "Anthems from the
Alleyway" in 96'. They sold over 200,000 titles
throughout their 5 year stay on the label. They left the
label in 99 and in 2000 they released 2 limited
addition demo recorded CDs. Their older recordings
were entitled "The Early Years" and newer recordings
"In God We Kill. In 2001 they self released "Punk
Invasion", kicking off a hell of a year with hardcore
touring from Japan to Europe and back to the states
playing at the Vans
"Warped" tour. After 4 years, they have a new
album, "Freedom Kills", on SOS Records- which is
clearly their most political album to date. Very
reminiscent of their hard style (Patriotic Shock), but
laced with solid battle cries. I have lots of questions,
so let's see what is going on with the band.
This interview is done with the vocalist Rob Chaos.
|How do you feel about having all of your original members (except for Joe Bastard) playing along side of you again?
It is good, because we went through so many line-up changes after Gearbox left in 95'. It feels good to have him
back, we are more united.
You guys have been around along time- most bands don't last 5 years, how did you manage 16?
Truthfully, a lot of bands take things to seriously. They get overly business like with the music. It causes conflict and
the band self destructs. Total Chaos is more like a group of friends. We treat the band like a big party, but we still
don't forget what we stand for.
What is going on with this new album?
It is a super political album. We were inspired by the sickness of the current administration. We feel frustrated and
angry- our music represents that.
You've toured with so many UK bands this past 2 years, how did you land all of these tours?
Over the last 15 years we have made a lot of friends, with many different bands. Some of the UK bands hadn't
toured the US in many years and asked me to help them out. For example "The Exploited", Wattie vowed never to
tour the US again, because of rip off promoters and bad booking agents. After a continued correspondence of
almost 8 years, Wattie finally agreed to a US tour, as long as I kept a close eye on all his US tour business and that
we toured with them. That kind of got the ball rolling. The first tour was a success, Wattie was happy. Other bands
heard about that and they wanted the same
trust-worthy business relationship with someone in the states. So I worked with Conflict, Broken Bones and Blitz. Plus
it was a dream come true being able to not only play with the bands I grew up listening to, but to bring them to the
I see that many of these same bands are now signed to SOS Records. Did you have something to do with that and
what is your affiliation with the label?
In 2001 I had a previous label, which I released "Punk Invasion" on. In 2002 "Funeral Dress" agreed to put out a
record on the label, but I didn't have the funds. But I did have an old friendship with a powerful promoter, named
"Ezzat Soliman". He liked the idea and that was the beginning of SOS Records, it has been a perfect collaboration.
With his help, I could sign and support bands that I believe in.
Since you guys tour so much, what were some of the problems you have encountered on rode?
That is a hard question, because we have had many. I guess I will start from the beginning- lets call it "The Years of
In 91' we did a mini tour with "Resist and Exist" in California. We had 4 shows; the first was in a warehouse in Orange
County. The cops shut the show down before we could even play. Joe Bastard (bass player) started asking kids if
they knew a place we could play at. They said they had a friend that lived down the street and we might be able to
play there. He wasn't home, but there was a closed gas station next door and they had an outlet in the back. So we
plugged in and played for about a 100 kids, from the show. The cops came after 3 songs and planned on arresting
us. But the owner of the station showed up and dropped all charges.
A couple of days later we played 2 gigs in Berkeley. One at Gilman St. with Resist and Exist and the other at Punks
for Presses, which was Rancids first show and they opened up for us. After the gig was over we were hanging out
with Tim and some of the guys from Filth. Joe B. was throwing beer bottles across the street, cops came and
arrested him, ending that tour.
Many other things happened throughout years, riots here and riots there. Joe B. getting arrested in Hart Park in OC
in 92' for in sighting a riot and in 93- the riot in Mexico City. In Mexico City the venue was too small and all the kids
couldn't get in, so they tore that part of the city up. In 94' on our first tour for Epitaph, Joe was arrested twice- first,
assault and battery on a police officer and second, assault with a deadly weapon (a beer bottle) on a liquor store
owner. Then 2 days later Gearbox (drummer) got arrested for possession of Mary Jane, all mind you in a 5 week
Next tour with the "Mighty Mighty Bosstones" in 94', we burned a US flag on the stage in Prove, Utah. Some of the
club staff were so mad, they called the cops- which in turn escorted us out of their state and threaten us never to
In 95' with the release of "Patriotic Shock", which has a lot of anti racist lyrics, was deemed a threat to the Aryan
nation. We had hate mail coming into Epitaph and the tour was crazy. There were Nazis at our shows protesting all
through the south and some parts of the east coast. Joe B. got jumped at one show and 2 ribs got broken, but they
didn't hurt him. Shortly after that tour, we went to Europe. During the tour in Germany we heard about the Chaos
Days. Which is a big punk rock gathering in the city of Hanover (usually thousands of kids) there were no bands
scheduled to play, because of previous riots. But there was a folk festival happening called the Harvest Festival at a
large park. It was an out door free event, that happened to have a stage. The punk kids from the Chaos days saw
us there. We were on tour, but we had the day off, so our driver took us to check out this festival. Shawn (guitar
player) is German, so the kids asked us to play the festival and we said how can we do that? Just because there is a
stage, doesn't mean we can play. So a bunch of them made their way back stage and demanded the promoter to let
us play. He said "no they aren't on the schedule and there is no time". So they threatened to riot and he finally
agreed. The promoter gave us 20 minutes and right before our last song, Shawn says in German "this song is called
Riot City- so let's riot"! All hell broke loose, by the middle of the song- the police had shown up and the crowd
exploded into the biggest punk rock riot, I had ever seen. It lasted 3 days and it was all over the news, that "Total
Chaos" a punk band from America in sighted it- I still don't know if we did?
Many other problems have happened throughout the years, but nothing as big as that, until the Montreal, Canada
riot in 2003 with "Exploited' and "Total Chaos". Canadian immigration were being asses and wouldn't let us through
the boarder. The promoter even called them, when they found out we were stuck there. He told them the kids were
getting restless and they told him to tell the kids that we were not coming. Again all hell broke loose; they turned
over 50 cars and destroyed 7 city blocks- causing a million dollars worth of damage. Maybe next time the fucks will
give the kids what they want.
|How do you deal with the negative side of the music scene: rumors, judgment, and negativity?
I started seeing and hearing negative rumors and judgments towards the end of our stay on Epitaph. From us
supposedly being "sellouts", to driving in limos or yes my favorite, "we have hairstylist". Weird and ridiculous, but the
worst aspect is how kids don't think for themselves (punk kids). It is like having someone tell you, "you've stolen
something", and you know you didn't. It can piss you off, if you let it.
For example, I got an email on myspace from a New York punk girl. She told me that I was dropped off in front of some
fancy hotel (in a limo), was rude to her and acted like a rock star. Let me tell you where I was actually on that
supposed date, I got a ride from Mike Blanks (from Blanks 77) to the "Holidays in the Sun" in Jersey. He got in a fight
with his ex girl and left without telling me and I was stranded in Jersey, with no money and no place to stay. Some cool
punk kids let me crash on their hotel room floor. But the girl that wrote the email, (regardless of me telling her it
couldn't have been me, because of what I just explained) refused to believe me and kept stating the same shit. Fuck it,
she probably is a nut. But unfortunately it wasn't the first time I heard weird shit from kids. Basically, always ask the
band- if you write me, I'll write back. I'm far from a rock star.
You've been in the punk rock scene for 22 years. How has it changed compared to today?
In the 80s it was not safe at all to look punk; to dress punk or call yourself punk- everyone hated punks. Kids complain
to me today about their trials- cops following them, getting hassled, and maybe called a freak.
But in my time it was everybody- red necks, jocks, gang bangers and police. We had to travel in packs, just to walk
down the street. The times I wasn't with friends, I got beat down. Gang bangers would jump me, cops would threaten to
beat us and jocks, always started shit- times were hard. Don't get me wrong, I know the youth have also suffered. I was
hurt and pissed off when I found out about Bryan Deneke, a punk murdered for being a punk. But that type of violence
was common back in the 80's. You would go to a show and there would be "suicidals", "skins", and different types of
punk gangs. There were at least 20 to 30 fights at every show. Compared today, you go to a gig with 5,000 kids and
there is not one fight. The scene has mellowed out. Sometimes, as crazy as it sounds- I don't think the scene
mellowing out is a good thing. The scene isn't as strong as it use to be, we've become over run by back stabbers and
shit talkers. There feels to be less unity.
You have been quoted as to saying "it is all about the kids". What do you think would help the kids become more
My suggestion would be not to hate on one another. If you love the music, the scene and you are hanging out at the
same shows, respect one another for that common bond.
If you hear or see someone talking shit, say something, let them know that's not cool. Because the lack of respect only
weakens, not strengthens the scene.
Lastly, what do you except for Total Chaos in 2006?
Put together some great package tours for the US; tour Europe, Japan, South America and work on a new record.
Do you have any final words for the kids?
Divided we are paralyzed- United we are strong. Punks Unite!!!!
Also check out our new Union of the punx group: http://groups.myspace.com/theunionUVP
www.totalchaospunx.com www.myspace.com/totalchaos www.myspace.com/totalchaos2