If there’s one constant in my life, it’s that the Koffin Kats will play New Jersey twice a year, like clockwork. That said, they usually make some noise when they are coming to down. Not this time. Last week, I got a strange notification that the trio would be playing a one-off gig at a car show in South Jersey. Hambone and I were already going to the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market to shoot some artist interviews, so we figured why not drive another half hour to interview the best psychobilly band in the business today. We sat down with Vic Victor for a few minutes to discuss his favorite TV shows, the return of Tommy Koffin to the Koffin Kats and maturity.
So, are there any comic book movies that you like?
Vic Victor: I think the last comic book movie I watched was part of the third attempt at making a good Punisher.
Punisher Warzone was solid.
Vic Victor: No, it was stupid.
Hambone: The portrayal of Punisher on Daredevil is really good.
Vic Victor: I just don’t watch comic book movies.
That’s because you are a Millennial. Millennials don’t watch TV or read comic books or do anything.
Vic Victor: I love watching TV. Mad Men was an awesome show. I watch Broad City. That’s a funny show. I’m watching that new Stephen King show on Hulu. It reminds me of when I was a kid and every six months or so it seemed like there was a new Stephen King mini series. Like Tommyknockers or the Shining remake. I always liked that.
Speaking of Tommyknockers. You have Tommy Koffin back in the band. What’s that been like?
Vic Victor: It’s wonderful. When Tommy left he was in a certain place in his life and there were attitudes in the band — it was the right time. He had stuff he had to take care of and Eric and I wanted to keep pressing on with touring. The whole thing about this band has been “Who are we to keep you from leading your life.” It’s a lot of hard work being on the road nine months out of the year touring.
Tommy has been my best friend for a long time, even when he wasn’t in the band. I wanted him to go do his own thing. We had other guys come in and fill the spot but I always told him that whenever he was ready to come back, he just had to let us know. Recently he said he was interested in coming back to the band and I said, “Cool, so you’re coming back.”
I didn’t even give him a choice. I told him that I would let (previous guitarist) John know that he was coming back. Tommy said that he still had to think about it and I told him that there was nothing to thing about. There are people waiting for him to come back.
Did he have to sign a contract before he rejoined like when Vince rejoined Motley Crue?
Vic Victor: We don’t do contracts or anything like that. If you don’t want to play in the band, you don’t have to play in the band.
I heard that you reached out to Slash…
Vic Victor: If Slash wants to play in the band, Tommy would be gone in a second.
We actually did an episode of Mai Tai T.V. last week where we talked about great replacement singers. Such as Brian Johnson and Dio.
Vic Victor: Those guys have such a distinct voice. Well, I don’t know about Brian Johnson. In that case, I think they were just looking for someone that sound like AC/DC. But when you bring in a Dio or a Bruce Dickinson it’s such a distinct difference. It’s a refreshing of the band.
So who are you going to be replaced by?
Vic Victor: Maybe a chick. You really have to reach outside of the box. There are a ton of short guys with deep voices out there.
Hambone: I’m going to say something that I’ve never told another bass player before. You have a perfect tone.
Vic Victor: That’s why I make my own pickups. Finally, after all this time, I am absolutely happy with my tone. I say that now, but next week I will be like, “fuck nothing sounds right.” It’s an ongoing journey. All it takes is for me to be on tour and get a succession of rooms that just don’t sound good and I’ll think it’s my amp and change all my settings. Then I’ll get in good rooms and everything will sound bad. It’s back and forth and back and forth.
Hambone: In fairness, we were in an outdoors tent today and your tone was fantastic.
Vic Victor: There was an era — and I hate to say it — where drinking and getting fucked up before the show was more important than looking at what the tone knobs said. Around the time that Tommy was leaving was a turning point where we realized that there are poor people paying money to see is. It’s not a joke any more. We really should focus on sounding good. We try to at least.
I remember when you played Asbury Park and you tried to play every song in your catalog and the set went for three hours. That’s probably back when you didn’t care about tone.
Vic Victor: Let me tell you something about the Asbury Lanes. I love the Asbury Lanes and the bartenders there, but they are way too friendly with how they pour the shots. Jägerbomb, Jägerbomb, Jägerbomb. If you want to see us play for four hours, that’s how you get us to play for four hours. We might play songs over and not know where we are at, but that’s how you do it.