The Joykiller band together.

The Joykiller: The Real Shit


Come here, I want to tell you a secret. No, closer… I want to whisper it in your ear. Yea, that’s it… Now, listen and listen close. On April 18th of this year, The Joykiller released their debut on Epitaph records. If you’ve got it, good for you. You know how strong the line up is and how good the CD is. If you don’t I want you to pass GO, do not collect 100 dollars and go directly to your favorite CD shop and BUY IT!!! 

Check out this line up, The Joykiller is Jack Grisham on vocals, (T.S.O.L. and Tender Fury), Chris Laberborg on Drums, (Vandals, Adolescents, Cadillac Tramps and Greg Ginn), Billy Persons on Bass (The Gun Club, The Weirdos), Ronnie King on Piano, Fuzz box (claims he did nothing until he met Jack!), and Mark Phillips on Guitar, (Down By Law and That’s It). 

For all you old timers out there, Jack Grisham from the original T.S.O.L. is at it again, this time stronger than ever. Not only 9 it sound good, it feels great! And for all you young skafe-rats, The Joykiller is a band not to be missed. The Joykiller is going to be in SLC on July 17th with Pennywise and DFL. Jack Grisham and the kind people at Epitaph allowed me to ask Jack a few questions. It was comfortable and very humorous. It was really strange for me though, because T.S.O.L. is a band I spent the most part of the early 80’s listening to. And then, here I was joking around with the mad man behind the lyrics of “Code Blue,” “Dance With Me,” and my personal favorite, “I’m Tired of Life,” some fourteen years later. 

JACK: I used to love Salt Lake City man.

SLUG: Really?

JACK: Yeah, we used to play there. When I was in T.S.O.L. I played there all the time. 

SLUG: I was going to ask you about that. 

JACK: I think we went through there at least 3 or 4 times. There wasn’t really anywhere to play. One time I think we played in one of the Massacre Guys’ basement of their house… that was the show. It was a blast. That’s where the famous fire extinguisher incident took place, in SLC.

SLUG: What happened there? 

JACK: Well, it was when Frank Agnew was playing in T.S.O.L., and we were playing in this auditorium. It was like a high school auditorium kind of thing. There was one door to get in, and then a big building, and then a stage, and then a door to get out behind the stage. That was it— two fucking doors in the whole place. The place was packed, and it was our last show, so I grabbed the fire extinguisher to douse everybody. It turned out it was some nasty chemical shit. It wasn’t CO2 or anything, it was like this yellow sawdusty shit. So I squirted it and got Frank Agnew in the face, and he passed out on the spot, during the set. He just fell down. And then the fire extinguisher flooded the place so bad, you couldn’t even breathe. The show was over. That was the last show. Bloody noses and shit, really bad. That was it, we didn’t get paid and we had to split right away. 

SLUG: Tell me something, there’s something that has always confused me. On T.S.O.L.’s first EP, it credits Jack Gregors: mouth and other organs. Your pseudo name? 

JACK: Yes, on every one of them. 

SLUG: And Alex Morgan on Dance With Me

JACK: Me again. 

SLUG: You again. What the hell is going on there?

JACK: Yeah and then Jack LaDellga on the one after that and that was the street I lived on. LaDellga. It was a joke. And the joke was, see the whole deal when that T.S.O.L. thing, and it’s the way I still feel now. It’s like playing music is the same as picking up garbage. You know what I’m saying .These people think that because you play in a band you’re happy and these people their heads get all fucked up. You know what I mean. They start getting into this rock power trip. 

SLUG: Oh definitely, yeah. I talk about this all the time but yeah go on. 

JACK: Yeah and it’s no different. The joke is that some of these people are playing like punk rock but their heads still think like journey. You know and they got that you know that whole crap. 

SLUG: And they’re thinking to themselves if we could only make it to the arena show. 

JACK: Right and then they act like that like music is a happening thing. So the joke was, is that we didn’t care. We were like totally anti-hero. So we’ll just be different people on each record.

 SLUG: On every album?

JACK: Yeah, fuck em! And it’s funny cause people would write reviews how the new singer wrecked the band. I’m glad they got this guy cause the other guy was an asshole.

SLUG: And it’s the same singer. Too funny.

JACK: I think this might be one of the first times I’ve used my real name. Anyway so that’s the reason. That’s why, just that whole anti-hero rock star trip. 

SLUG: And I think if you want to term it punk rock or alternative, whatever the hell you want call it, that’s always been the main push behind it. Just do it yourself.

JACK: If people still think about it, cause there’s companies that are big that are still cool. It’s the attitude. Do you know what I mean? It’s like those guys at Epitaph. They’ve been so cool to me you wouldn’t fucking believe it man. They sent us to Texas to do a show and I told them, We can’t afford it, we don’t take money from anybody. We do what we do. So anyway I told them that I would go work in the warehouse to pay for the trip. Brett (from Epitaph) called me up and said look man you guys gave me this record. You gave me a gift. I work for you. So shut up and let us help you out and don’t worry about it. You don’t got to pay us back, Fuck it. And it’s up to us not to take advantage of that. We take care of ourselves and they help us when we need help. 

SLUG: How many shows has the Joykiller played? 

JACK: 11, maybe 12. Not that many. 

SLUG: How’s it feel to you? 

JACK: Feels good. Actually its funny I’ve had people come up to me and say that it just freaked them out. It’s just like saying, fuck I felt like I was 15 again man. I’ve had that a lot. One of the guys in Fluff came up to me and said that’s what T.S.O.L. should have sounded like. It felt good. 

SLUG: It comes from the same source so it’s very close.

 JACK: And the way the band is it just feels like it. 

SLUG: I was going to bring this up later, but since we’re kind of touching on the subject, I think one of the strongest songs on the album is “Show Me The System.” That could very easily have been a T.S.O.L. song. 

JACK: Yeah, well and also it’s kind of like well sort of like part two of “I’m Tired.” 

SLUG: Yeah well my favorite song on the whole album. 

JACK: Well that’s part 2. That’s the deal. Like if you listen to the end of I’m Tired where it says because of the process, because of the system. You know that deal. So this is like part two, actually where nothing’s changed since then. 

SLUG: Are you going to play old T.S.O.L. stuff when you go out? 

JACK: You know we have played some. We’ve done “I’m Tired,” “Code Blue” and “Dance With Me.”

Well there you have it. On July 17, The Joykiller will destroy your sense of perception and your hearing along with Pennywise and DFL at the Fowl Friends Building for some summertime tribal release and a whole lotta fun, I’ll see you at the show. —Royce

Read more from Issue 79 here.