The Queers are an American punk band that formed in the early ’80s. Their current lineup includes Joe Queer (vocals/guitar), Cheeto (vocals/bass), and Hoglog (drums). With 12 full length studio albums, and 9 live albums over the last 36 years, they are no flash in the pan.
The Queers have been impacting the scene for more than three decades and this year they are finally able to make the Rebellion Music Festival! Without hesitation, Joe took a moment to talk to us about The Queers’ road to Rebellion, what’s currently playing in the van and being your own worst critic.
Meet Joe Queer!
The Queers originally formed in 1981, and even though this isn’t the original lineup everyone has a complex and rich musical history. Each of you has witnessed the scene as it transformed throughout the past few decades. Why do you think festivals like Rebellion are important to the punk scene?
It brings a ton of punk rockers together. A lot of times the punk scene is treated as a sort of ‘retarded cousin’ in the bigger scheme of all things music. It’s where a ton of musicians started and it lets the world know it’s still a viable scene. Over the years people try to say the punk scene is dying, but it’s still full of life. We’ve been a band for almost 30 years and it pays the bills for us, so I love stuff like Rebellion.
Have you played the Rebellion festival before this year? If so, when?
Nope! We have been asked to play before, but logistically it never worked out. We did do the Euro festival circuit for a few years, but only played a handful of them in the UK and haven’t been back in about 5 years. So this is quite exciting!
The Queers are definitely one of the more well-known punk bands. Do you have any tips for success for some of the newer or lesser-known bands that want to apply for a festival like Rebellion?
Number one: have fun. Don’t try to do it for a career. If you have fun and someone can write halfway decent songs than plug along and see what happens… but you have to be your own worst critic. Don’t kid yourself believing you have good songs just because some drunk jocks cheer for you in a bar.
Beat Off and Move Back Home weren’t too hot but sold quite well… but we knew they sucked and we were capable of way, way more. In spite of fans buying them and liking them, we knew they weren’t up to snuff. We then did Don’t Back Down and that was a killer album and we knew it. It also did great for us but you can’t kid yourself. I don’t need to read a review of an album or a song to know if it’s good or not. I don’t care if the reviews are bad if an album is great. That’s happened a few times with us, too.
I learned all this from Joey Ramone who asked me to work on songs for his solo album before it came out. He knew a couple of songs were great but the other stuff wasn’t in the same league. “What A Wonderful World” is great. “Mr Punchy” and a few others, not so much. Yeah, people will argue they love” Mr Punchy”, but Joey knew he was capable of way more and he told me as much. If Joey Ramone can be honest with himself, I can too.
A lot of musicians think that because their band is doing well that everything they touch is great. I’ve seen it time and time again. These assholes write some halfway decent tune and they act like they have the cure for AIDS. It’s repulsive. So yeah, have fun and be honest with yourselves. Who knows what will happen playing in a band
Rebellion is a four-day extravaganza. What time slot do you have and what stage are you playing on?
We’re playing Thursday [at 10 pm], which is a fairly good slot, I hope.
Honestly, I don’t get too excited about these festivals because the sound usually sucks onstage. They are a huge clusterfuck of people running around stoned and not doing a good job. We’ve had nightmare scenarios in Europe at festivals with bad sound and just crap sound guys to work with but I’m confident Rebellion will be an exception to that. I hear Rebellion is top notch so I’m hoping for the best.
Will you be attending all four days of the festival or will you just be there for the day of your set?
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend all four days. We are doing a tour so we’ll be there that day and bail right after we get offstage and head to the airport I believe. Hopefully, we’ll catch a few bands though.
What bands are you currently listening to right now?
I listen to older bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy, and Munki… which I’m playing to death again. The ELO album Time (with ’21st Century Man’, ‘Is This The Way Life’s Meant To Be’ and ‘Prologue/Twilight’.
I produce and record bands in my own studio in Atlanta [Georgia, USA] and I love listening to JAMC and ELO among others for the production ideas. Most of the stuff I listen to by those bands was done on tape, so it’s amazing to realize they didn’t have protocols and a computer to do all this great production. Plus, it gives me ideas for songs.
The Ramones, Black Flag, Flipper, The Muffs, Dickies, Screeching Weasel… I always have blasting and in rotation in my van.
What band(s) playing at Rebellion this year are you most looking forward to seeing?
Damn. Honestly, I don’t know who all is playing! I didn’t check it out because we aren’t able to stick around but we’ll see as many as we can while we’re there. I’d love to see the Buzzcocks, but I believe we’ll be long gone by the time they hit the stage.
If you could pick one performer/band as your ultimate dream performance to see at Rebellion, who would it be?
Me, Ben Weasel, CJ Ramone, and Richie Ramone talked about starting a band. Everyone is so damn busy we just can’t do it. But that would be my dream band to see. Yes, I would be playing… but I know we would blow everyone out of the water!!
What is one must-have item that you wouldn’t survive Rebellion without?
A van driver so I can make a quick getaway if I need to.
There is always a lot of drinking to be had at these events… do you know of a miracle hangover cure for festival-goers?
I searched and searched for years for a hangover cure and finally figured out the best one. Don’t drink in the first place. I sobered up years ago. Not many old time punk rockers still drinking like I used to.
Seriously, if I was drinking I’d snort a line of heroin and cocaine mixed (aka speedballs). That cures the worst hangover in a jiffy!! Has some odd side effects so proceed with caution… but no denying it works like a charm.
What are you currently working on or currently promoting?
We will finally be recording a new album later on this year. I can’t reveal the name but yeah that’s the next exciting project we have going on.
Any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
We shall meet when the fields are white with daisies. If not sooner.
Be sure to check out The Queers’ on Facebook by clicking HERE.