Hailing himself the new King of Rock n Roll, Jeff Clayton rushes the stage followed by his storm troopers of hate, Antiseen. Antiseen have been around well over a decade and epitomize the term "underrated." Their show consists of an explosion of energy coupled by a barrage of furious noise. With roughly fifty (50) official releases to their credit, Antiseen have been doing it their way since day one, going through about as many labels as releases. Jeff Clayton, bloodied but not defeated, was interviewed outside of Churchill's Hideaway in Miami, Florida. Though seemingly dangerous, Jeff proved to be one of the nicest people I've interviewed yet, and showed the docility normally attributed to a child or maybe a teddy bear. He has an excellent sense of humor and is very unintimidating if given the chance. In fact, I got the impression that I could probably take him in a fight if I had wanted to, but maybe that was just my macho ego...My prediction? You will probably hear more of them soon and a stronger label will give them the push they deserve. You heard it here first.
RI: Let's start out with your line up. Who's in the most current line up?
Jeff: Jeff Clayton's still on vocals, and doing a mighty fine job I might add. Joe Young is on guitar and who knows how long his time is. Tom O'Keefe is out of here. McNeil is now on bass. Bill is doing a pretty good job, so we may keep him for a while.
RI: Is there any new material out now?
Jeff: The only thing out now is the Baloney Shrapnel CD called "Hell." It's been out on a lot of formats. It first came out as a 10". Then we released it as a CD in Europe, which contained a lot of singles and the 10", plus five extra tracks. Two of those extra tracks, "Cactus Jack" and "I Don't Like You" were released as a single. They were also on the hidden tracks on the CD. There were only 8 songs on the 10" and the CD contains 17 songs.
RI: Is this a full fledged tour or are you just playing some dates?
Jeff: It's kind of hard to describe. The tour started in Europe back in April and we don't intend to stop until late '96. We just go, play, go back home for a bit, and then go back out. All of us, except for Joe have kids, so we have to go back home for a little while. We've been out three times and each time it gets better and better. Even the bad shows are just crazy.
RI: I imagine just in Germany you must have a few dates.
Jeff: In Germany we played for three weeks.
RI: According to the discography which accompanied the Seducer/Antiseen split 7" you've put out over 50 releases.
Jeff: That was only counting the stuff with the name "Antiseen" on it. That wasn't counting other side projects we may have had. If you could count all that, the number is somewhere in the mid sixties. That's just the official stuff. There are a couple bootlegs that I know of, but there may be more. Our first album was bootlegged in France before it ever came out because it took two years. There were tapes floating around and people reported seeing vinyl copies. There's also a bootleg copy of the GG/Antiseen album on 10" vinyl floating around in Europe.
RI: Do you have any problem with bootlegs?
Jeff: No! They're not getting rich off of them. I'm not getting rich off of the official releases, so I know they're not getting rich off of the bootlegs so I don't give a damn. I just wish they'd send us copies. I won't press charges or anything. All bootleggers out there, if you have stuff out, send me one.
RI: Every recording you have is on a different label. Is there a reason for this? Do you have an "official" label?
Jeff: Every deal we've ever done has been a one shot deal. We're such untrusting son of a fuckers. We don't want to commit nothing to anybody. We just say "one record and we'll see how it goes." We've stuck with Baloney Shrapnel for a while, and we've done a few things on Tear It Up in Heidelburg, Germany. We've also started doing a few things on 1 + 2 in Japan. That's a country I really want to crack. I think if I go, I'll never come back.
RI: Have you been approached by bigger labels? It would probably make things like touring a lot easier.
Jeff: So far, every label that has approached us that could have taken us up to another step, we outlived them. They went bankrupt or ripped off friends of ours' bands or wanted us to make changes that I wasn't willing to make. I'll tell you a story. My brother, who was playing with us before Bill, played with us for three years. This kid learned to play drums listening to Antiseen records. He was this big (makes hand gesture to show the size of a child) when we put out our first record. When we would get back from tour, he'd be there and the guys would be yelling, "Get out of here kid!" He joined us when he was 22. He played with us for two years till a friend of his got a major label deal. They had a drummer who was 38 years old. Their name was Shiner. The label said the drummer didn't look right. This guy was a welder and owned his own equipment. He knew they were getting on the label, so he sold all his shit off. So these guys go to him, "Well, good news and bad news. Good news is we're signed, bad news is you're out." So he's out on his ass just because he's older than they are. So they go up and ask my brother. He sees dollar signs. My wife, our old bass player and his wife knew about it days before I did. I knew everybody was acting a little funny. So one night I'm sitting out on the porch, here he comes walking through the street up to my house. In my house, you don't come before calling. If you do, it must be pretty important. He tells me that these guys had asked him to play with them. I ask him what he's going to do, and he says he's going to play with them. He says it's a once in a lifetime deal. I told him, "OK, but when that falls through and your expectations aren't met, don't come crawling back. You can't get back in." He left us high and dry like that - with no warning. He just left. The record company goon then came and said they had to change their name from Shiner to something more sellable. So now they're called Lustre with an "R - E". Then the record company hired them a producer. This producer flies down to record. They think the label's paying for everything. Who do you think is going to get hit with that plane ticket bill when the royalty check comes in? Goddamn, I didn't get to live to be this old being a fucking idiot. So he's under the stupid impression that the label's paying for it. So they fly this guy down, and he completely rearranges things for them - to his liking and the label's. I'm thinking, "How could you do this?" I figured if he had learned one thing from me, he'd learn to not compromise what principles he had just for money. I'm not saying that signing to a label is selling out. It's not. Man, you need money to live! That's why we fucking get out here and bust our butt. I wish I could just give the merchandise away so everybody could have our shit, but it costs money to make. I'm not saying that we'll never sign to a label, but it'll have to be on our terms and with our conditions. After being together for twelve years you think one night I'm going to go, "Let me let this guy in a tie tell me how to do it." Not hardly! We did our ten year anniversary two years ago, and everybody asked me how long I was going to keep doing it. I honestly foresee a 20 year anniversary down the road. That's my goal. I think if nothing has happened until that point, depending on what physical and mental shape I'm in at that point, that'll probably be it. Doing all that just for dollar signs has never taken me at all. We've talked to those people. If they can't take it the way it is, they're not getting it.
RI: So what answer do you give to people who ask you why you're doing it?
Jeff: Because I love it. I love playing. I love playing the kind of music we do. They say punk has made a resurgence. I admit I haven't kept up with music, but the last band that played punk that I can honestly say moved me was the Ramones. And that's why we started playing - because of the Ramones - and later on Motorhead. Plus our love for horror movies and professional wrestling adds to the mix of stuff that we enjoy doing.
RI: What's your involvement with professional wrestling? Is that something you go out and see? Do you participate?
Jeff: I travel to watch wrestling. I go to Philadelphia to watch UCW. I always find a way to get there. I've done it myself. I was a manager this past winter, but not like these regular managers who just sits outside the ring and bitch. I got inside the ring and got thrown over the top rope. I had the crowds just hate my guts. I had this kid in a wheelchair hit me with his chair. I had the crowd thinking I was going to slap the kid. I really wasn't, but I has the crowd standing and going, "Go ahead, we're going to kill you."
RI: I guess the big question on everybody's mind is, is any of that stuff for real?
Jeff: It's all for real!
RI: In one of your 7"ers there's a picture of you with Vanessa Del Rio. Was that taken at a titty bar or something?
Jeff: She was doing an autograph signing at an adult book store in town. I'm trying to see all my all time favorite porn wenches. I missed Nina Hartley and Hiapatia Lee, but I think if Cristy Canyon ever comes, my wife will leave me.
RI: I haven't seen her around in a while.
Jeff: She's doing a couple of those "Where The Boys Aren't" movies. She's hooked up with Amber Lynn and some other not-as-attractive-as Cristy Canyon bitches.
RI: Taking a look at the "Psycho Killer" 7" makes me think you guys may have a fascination with serial killers.
Jeff: Let me clear that up. I'm not one of these serial killer worshippers. I'm fascinated by them - especially Ed Gein, for some reason. I don't think Manson can be considered a serial killer. I think Manson is a true victim of the system. As far as killers like Bundy or Gacy or Lucas, yeah, I'm fascinated by it, I read about it. I'm one of those who likes to look for all the gory details, I'll admit. But when they get executed, it doesn't bother me a bit. Human trash, man. Get rid of it. On my wife's side, she had someone real close to her murdered. Now they're just sitting in a prison with AC, getting cable TV, and other things. The day they pay will be a happy time in our house. Any time there's an execution I think they should be public. Some of these young people who like to go out and fuck with people just because they think they have the right should see what will happen to them. I think people are starting to get more aware of those things. Where I come from, a lot of people that look like victims are people you don't want to fuck with because they're carrying a 44 and know how to use it. I make my wife carry a gun. We're all gun toters. We can't take them when we travel, but we have a shotgun.
RI: But do you actually think that the death penalty has ever deterred anybody or stopped crime at all? It doesn't seem that any of that has gone down.
Jeff: It works in Asia. You steal, you get your hand cut off.
RI: That's a totally different society and mentality. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
Jeff: I'll admit, America is too far gone at this point. Besides...I don't want to get too political, because I don't like talking about politics...but I think the judicial system in general is a fucking joke. It doesn't get any justice served. I think the only way justice will be served is if the people start taking that right themselves. If I catch some fucker in my house and he wasn't invited and I blow his head off, I'll get my gun and plant it in his fucking hand and say he started shooting. I mean, there have been times in my life where I have been pretty destitute, but never to the point where I wanted to hurt somebody else and take what they have or get what they have just because I want it. I've never been that bad off. It just irritates the piss out of me to see some fucking walking piece of human shit walking down the road and you just got out of your job and you paid a lot of money for this truck (my '95 4 Runner paid for courtesy of Epitaph advertising!) and maybe you left the window down. He knows how to hot-wire the sonofabitch. If he jumps in and gets it, you're shit out of luck. They'll catch him, he'll discover Jesus, they'll slap his hands and send him on his way. He'll cry about how hard he had it. Fuck him!! They should put you in a room with him and give you a baseball bat and say, "See you in five minutes." (laughter)
RI: Other than your cover artwork which I noticed was done by you, have you done art for other people?
Jeff: I've done stuff for Cocknoose, Hellstomper, Jesus Crust. I did one of GG Allin's most popular artworks: the one of him on his knees getting ready to eat the turd. I've done a lot of T-shirt art for bands. I did a single for Life Dance from Cleveland.
RI: Is this something informal? Have you always been into art?
Jeff: I've always been into art. I'm kind of rust at it nowadays. I don't get as much practice as I'd like to. I'm getting ready to do a whole line of stuff for S&M Graphics near Tampa, Florida. I did some stuff for Alcoholics Unanimous and Rancid Vat.
RI: You did a split 7" with them, didn't you?
Jeff: We did a split single, and I actually did a single as the singer of Alcoholics Unanimous. They don't have a "normal" singer that stays with them. I think I'm going to be doing the next record with them whenever they decide to do that. I've done a lot of stuff and I can't remember it all.
RI: How about the stuff you did with the Murder Junkies? Was that just a one time thing?
Jeff: That was the first time they played without GG. The first time we ever did it was the October after he died. They did a benefit to get him a headstone up in New York. I went up and did a set with them. It went so smooth that Merle asked me to do the tour with them and record with them. We toured for a month and it went really well. I really got to understand GG a lot more doing that tour. I understand why he would use the remark, "I hate my audience." The GG worshippers are some of the biggest dim-whit pieces of shit you ever met. If you didn't do it just like GG did it, they had a problem with it.
RI: There were probably huge expectations every show you played. Don't you think, however, that GG brought on all of that onto himself by appearing on Geraldo, and shit?
Jeff: The expectations were huge, and he did bring this onto himself. I don't know what happened to him. If you ever saw GG in the old days and watched him as what he ended up as the shows went from him a lot less hard on himself to being hard on the audience. If he had gone one more year, I really do believe he would have killed somebody. He stayed with us countless times. He was there in the hospital the day my daughter was born. I have a picture of him holding her when she's less than hours old. He was a friend. I never looked as him as the messiah of the underground...I look at myself that way, but...(laughter). What a lot of people don't understand is that when I did that tour, I was in no way trying to take GG's place. You can't do that, and I don't want to be GG Allin. I have enough problems being myself. I don't need to take on someone else's persona. That tour was done just to show America that The Murder Junkies was the best band he ever had and that they had good enough music to continue. We did the tour, and about 90% of it went really well. When I got back, they were wanting to do stuff with me immediately, but that would have meant flying back and forth to New York, and neither one of us could afford that. So I told them that I really had too much going on with Antiseen and that they were going to have to find someone else. They got a fellow that used to sing with The Pagans, but he couldn't handle the pressure. He faded away after a few shows. Then they got Mike Denied, who used to sing for a NY band called The Denied. They just did a tour. It was supposed to be a full US tour, but they got half way through it and turned around and went home because they got a little discouraged. I personally think they're going to have to reevaluate things and get it back together. I hope they don't call it quits.
RI: It would be a pretty good idea to change the name.
Jeff: Yeah, probably.
RI: Have you gotten a lot of shit for doing the Skrewdriver (white power band) cover?
Jeff: Not really. One idiot in Germany, on our last show of the tour, looks me right in the eye and says, "Antiseen soks!" (sic) Right as I walk off the stage I just got in his face and yelled, "Whew!" (imitating The Nature Boy, Ric Flair) and kept walking. Then he's talking to Joe and telling him that we're racist assholes. Joe asks him what we did to make him say that. He says, "You do song of Skrewdriver." Joe says, "Look, Clayton likes them. From what I understand, this is off their first album. It's a song about hating work. I hate work, and you gotta admit this is a damn good song." The guy goes, "You are racist assholes!"
RI: You have to understand that the German people are a little obsessed because of their past.
Jeff: Well...so what if Ian Stuart and his band had these hard, radical, right wing beliefs. That cannot cover up the fact that that first album, and a few others that followed were great albums. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, no matter how screwed up one person may think it is. I personally find white rap very offensive. Not just for me, but for black people. I used to be not fond of seeing white people with dread locks. Because that's very important to the black people that wear their hair like that. Now it's fashion and everyone has them. Going back to the Skrewdriver thing. I like Skrewdriver and we have a big skinhead following. I know there are differences. I know there are SHARPS and Nazis and this and that. I don't get involved with that. The way I see it is if they paid their five dollars and come in and they don't fuck with you because you paid five dollars, then they're welcome. All of them are welcome.
RI: But do they come in and not fuck with people? Tom told us about a show you had the previous night in Orlando in which a lot of Nazis showed up...
Jeff: A lot of them are pretty well behaved, believe it or not. I think Tom exaggerated that. They were rowdy, but not to the point of wanting to fight. They were drunk. There was one little guy who kept jumping on stage and hugging me and singing along. At around the 5th or 6th time, I just grabbed him under the crotch and lifted him over my head and threw him off. Full body slam! The other guys who saw I was getting irritated just dragged him out. To me, from the stage, there didn't seem to be a problem. They were obnoxious and rowdy but I have NO objection to people being obnoxious and rowdy. Whenever we play in Charlotte or Texas, we get a big redneck following. THEY are rowdy - even more than skinheads. I've never encountered problems with skinheads. I know they do cause problems, but everybody causes problems. I'm not saying I condone what they believe in or I don't, I'm just saying we play clubs and everybody's invited. I know some people get offended by the Confederate flag imagery, but that's just tough. We're proud of being from The South.
RI: Don't you think, though, that by playing a song by Skrewdriver, a band that promotes violence and hatred, that you...
Jeff: We also play a song by Curtis Mayfield called "If There's Hell Below, We're All Going To Go," and he's about as black as you can get. So I guess we're giving equal time. I can't dictate what people think. We just present it and whatever they take and digest is up to them. If they want to come up to me and ask me personally, I'll be glad to tell them. But I'm not going to spend one minute on the stage preaching to anybody because when you pay to see us, you're paying to have a good time, not to get told how your lifestyle is wrong, because it's not. It's your lifestyle and you can do what you want, and you let me do what I want.
RI: As a band, would you say collectively...Antiseen or Cocknoose...Who would you say smells worse?
Jeff: That's a rough one. Between me and Link Levay...we can smell a damn truck up. (laughter)
RI: Can you explain the Confederacy of Scum.
Jeff: It's basically as close to a fraternity as we'll ever get. (laughter) It's our lump of bands and friends who fell we have a common goal and interest. We just stick together. It's us, Cocknoose, Rancid Vat, Buzzcrusher from Austin, Texas, Seducer from Charlotte, Kill the Scene magazine and Merle. It's a close kit group. We get together once a year and do a Confederacy of Scum super show where either three or more of us play together, it's been in Charlotte for two years, and we're going to do it in Philly this year.
RI: Have you gotten in touch with your feminine side after twelve years of playing?
Jeff: Well, if you count the time I stuck my own finger in my butthole...(laughter)
RI: Miami hasn't been very supportive of our zine. Has Charlotte been supportive of Antiseen?
Jeff: It goes in cycles. We're at the point where everybody is going to hate our guts. When they realize that no one else does anything, that they're all a bunch of lazy crybabies that never get anything done, then we'll be back in public favor. Charlotte, the home of "talk about it, but don't do it."
RI: Understanding that Raleigh and Charlotte aren't neighbors, how does it feel hearing COC on the radio?
Jeff: COC have gone at it two or three years longer than we have, and like any group that sticks to what they do, they deserve whatever recognition they get. I don't know much about COC musically, but I know that every record they put out seems to be a different form musically. But if that's what they want to do, then that's what they have to do. I'm not jealous or bitter, I'm happy for them.
RI: Fashionably, beards look real cool, but do they present a problem like in eating spaghetti? Do they impede you in any way physically?
Jeff: Not just spaghetti, man, everything (with a sly, insinuating grin). That's like my wife's second job: take care of the baby and pick my beard.
RI: For those of you with kids and wives, how do you tour and fit it into your schedule?
Jeff: Man, it don't fit. You just do it and hope for the best. Me, Barry and Trip have daughters. We can't travel with them because they're too little. When they get old enough, we've talked about bringing them with us and making them work. Mine wants me to take her over the ocean on the plane and come with us to jam. I asked her what she'd do and she said play the piano. I told her maybe when she gets older. She's four.
RI: Thanks a lot for the interview. Is there an address where people can send hate male (sic) to? Anything else you'd like to add?
Jeff: There's not going to be a two year wait before we come back. We'll be hitting the towns we've played once, maybe even twice a year. Prepare to get sick of us. You can write to PO Box 9128, Charlotte, NC 28299. We'll send you a catalog and keep your address on file. We'll send you a newsletter whenever we feel like it or have the money.
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