Interview with GREG LOWERY by Mitch Cardwell
Lest anyone have any doubts, THE RIP-OFFS are the true villains of 2018’s Burger Boogaloo. Their sneering rudeness and outta-control punky provocations solidified their legendary status long ago. Like all truly fiery bands, there’s volatility that propels things --- some intangible, near-violent magic that turns anger into energy, noise into hit songs, “garage” in Punk with a capital P. You can’t really dissect a band like The Rip-Offs…You just have to give in to the whirlwind.
This special reunion performance will probably result in some emotional scars, physical bruises, potential bleeding, lotsa chaos…but not a single dull moment. When it came time to select a Rip-Offer to bug about Thee Boog, I really wanted to bother Shane White, but I was too scared…How do you even speak to a genius of his caliber? Luckily, The Rip-Offs’ dufus bass player Greg pinch-hit at the last minute. Get yer Kleenex out --- Here’s a lil’ preview of the baaaaaaad attitude they’ll bring along to this year’s Burger Boogaloo. Yer brains are gonna get slashed!
How bummed are you that you don’t get to eat @ Dave’s Coffee Shop before playing Burger Boogaloo?
GREG: No “Hello, how you doin’, how’s the family?” Just right into the dirt, huh? For those who are not record nerds, you are referring to The Rip-Offs’ Make Up Your Mind 7”, where the photo shoot was at Dave’s (R.I.P.) Diner in Oakland. Jon Von was actually brave enough to eat a shrimp salad at this rat hole and promptly got food poisoning. Concerned that Dave’s would be hurt by Jon’s delicate stomach, we put this little note on the back of our record: “Jon Von sez ‘When at Dave’s, be sure to try their famous shrimp salad.’”
It’s been about 7 years since The Rip-Offs played the Bay Area. What is the band most pissed off about since that last show?
GREG: Besides these idiotic questions? We ain’t got enough space for me to start in…Just remember this: if you are in a band and it doesn’t begin with a “R” and end in a “S”, be certain that we hate you. If you aren’t in a band and don’t own one of our fine recordings of yesteryear, we hate you too. Oh -- and Uber sucks.
What’s the status of your current “every-day” projects…I know JON & THE VONS and CONTROL FREAKS are doing party-shows for this year’s Boogaloo. What about Shane and/or Jason? I’m hearing rumors about JUST HEAD…Give us the rundown.
GREG: W.T.F. What’s with the quiz show, Sparkie? Yes, Shane has in a new band called JUST HEAD. It’s a secret even to me. Jason is always working on the next “Rip Offs”. I hope that doesn’t answer anything...
Mosswood Park is much bigger than The Kilowatt. Are you worried that the kiddies’ spit won’t reach you when you’re playing?
GREG: Yeah, I haven’t been able to sleep because that is what I am worried about. Besides, where there is a will there is a way. Did you think of these questions all by yourself or did your 4 year old help?
Do you have to stretch before you play because you’re all in your 70s now?
GREG: Wow, we got a real comedian asking questions…Please don’t quit your 7-11 slurpie machine filling gig…
What do you plan on stealing this year?
GREG: Your girlfriend, of course. And just for a cherry on top kind of thing --- Enjoy yourself at The Boogaloo, rest assured your shack is being ransacked for your prized record collection by one of The Masked Ones…Have fun at the show!
Which member of the band is most likely to be arrested immediately after leaving the stage? What would the charges be?
GREG: That’s a tough one…Asking the important questions…I bet you were top of your class in junior high journalism…Let’s see. Jon? No, too nice. Shane? Possibly, especially since he has a few current outstanding warrants. Me? I am Mr. Sunshine, so it’s not me. Jason? Yeah, look at him the wrong way, he will probably be going to jail. The charge? Punching an idiot in the face who asks stupid questions to legendary bands. I’m voting Jason.
I know your persona will not allow you to say anything positive about any of the other bands playing, so please tell me which of this year’s bands you hate the most.
GREG: That’s a tough one, especially since your band isn’t playing. Just remember my old saying: “Musicians suck!” Maybe you can do some more junior high school investigative reporting and read between the lines on that one…