Interview with Greg Johnson

(February 2004)

 

About The Worst

 

Ø                   When did it all start with The Worst?

 

We started about 1989 if I remember correct. Grant and I started the band with me playing organ and him on guitar and Jim Bescott of The Young Canadian/K-Tels who played drums and sung. Then I moved to singing and playing with my organ and we picked up a guitar player and a new drummer. I got kicked of organ for I couldnt play anyways, and it wasnt any better when I was trying to sing as well.

 

Ø                   Who were the members back then and who were till your break up?

 

Went threw too many to name them all. The key ones are Grant Shankaruk who I started the band with and Rieuwert Buitenga who I ended the band with. Brian Olinek who I started the Fiends with also played bass on our last unfinished album. Hope to finish it one day. When we played with the Cynics, Carl Newman from Zumpano/New Pornographers played guitar for us.

Ø                   Were you involved in any other bands by then?

 

No I didnt. We put out a version of Jack the Ripper as the Graverobbers.

Ø                   What was The Worsts main inspiration?

 

The Kinks, Shadows of the Knight, Seeds, Wailers and the Painted Ship.

Bill Hay from the Painted Ship (Little White Lies Chesterfield kings covered) produced our first single Creepy Thing.

 

Ø                   Did you have any inspiration from the 80s garage punk scene?

 

The Cynics, Gravedigger V, the Gruesomes and Grants record collection.

 

Ø                   You are from Canada but every records release came out from Europe. How come that happened?

 

We first put some songs out on Fanzine Compilation tapes. They got over to Europe and Screaming Apple liked what they herd and contacted us. The singles where better distributed I guess there also.

 

Ø                   Did you play live outside Canada?

 

We played with the Undertakers in Tumwater Washington. We were pretty offal. I didnt have a band at the time. It was a bunch of friends who helped me out. We shouldnt have drunk so much and we should have practiced more

 

Ø                   Were there enough people in Canada to attend your shows and buy your records?

 

Yeah, there was a scene going on I think. The Smugglers were just starting around the same time. Nardwar (Evaporators/Goblins) was promoting a lot of Garage shows. He gave us our first show with the Mighty Squirrels and the Mono Men. We also played in town with the Fastbacks, Marshmallow Overcoats, Mummies, Headcoats, and the Cynics.

 

Ø                   Suddenly after three great vinyl releases and while waiting for the second LP to come, The Worst finished their creepy career. What exactly happened?

 

The band wasnt going where I wanted to and Brian and I started The Fiends. Our last record wasnt really in the the Worst vain. Rieuwert and I should have changed the name. We were in a different direction in music styles. I liked FUZZZ and monsters and he liked more pop 60s. I like that also but it doesnt really match with the 45s. Like The Creeps first record and then to there WEA release. The Fiends let me have Fuzz, Organ, and Monsters

 

Ø                   Do you know what the other members of the band do today?

 

Grant is playing in a surf band next week at a place half a block away. Rieuwert and I are planning on finishing our last efforts. He also re-mixed the last LP and created a CD out of it with some bonus tracks. Just need to finish the cover.

 

About The Fiends

 

Ø                   When did it all start with The Fiends? Who were the members back then?

 

ON APRIL 1ST 1993 The Fiends story really began in the small fishing village of Vancouver, situated on the South West Coast of British Columbia Canada. The Fiends first consisted with Greg Johnson (The Worst) on vocals, Brian Olinek (The Enigmas) on Bass, Dan Small on Guitar, James T Massacre (JP5) on Drums and Johnny 13 Fingers (Color Me Psycho) on organ. This short lasting line up produced there first EP "Zombie A-GO-GO" on Primitive Records weeks later and the line-up curse has haunted them ever since

Ø                   Were you involved in any other bands by then?

 

The Worst

 

Ø                   The Fiends were creepier than The Worst, involving more in the graves and zombies stuff. Where did you get that inspiration?

 

I was born on Devil Night (Oct 30th), I grew up with the orange and black Halloween birthday parties. I grew up with it I guess. The Worst first single had Creepy Thing and Tunes from the Tomb was all horror songs. The Fiends just continued the idea.

 

Ø                   Your vocals in both, The Worst and The Fiends, were too snotty. Were there any singers that you liked more from the garage genre or any particular you got your inspiration in singing?

 

Gravedigger V, Gruesomes, Chocolate Watch Band, and a lot of those bands from the Pebbles records. Mick Jagger also if I think about it.

 

Ø                   Did you organize any special events at your shows?

 

We use to have a Fiends Fang Club. We gave cards out and got peoples mailing address. Then we would send them invites to our shows via mail. If you showed your card at the door you would get a horror toy (Vampire teeth, skull, X-Ray specs and so on). Neko Case was a founding member.

 

Ø                   When you were playing with The Worst you covered The Seeds Shes Wrong and with The Fiends again The Seeds song Pictures and Designs. Is there any particular preference of yours to The Seeds?

 

There one of my favorite bands. I saw the Seeds (Fast Planet) a couple of months after we started. I met our guitar player there Greg Watson, he played on all of our recording except the first single on Primitive records. I Met Sky and all that, it was great.

 

Ø                   Did you like any other garage punk bands back then?

 

Cynics and Gravedigger V, and the Gorgons. Others also.

 

Ø                   Have you regretted for something you did or didnt do with The Fiends?

 

Too many to list.

 

Ø                   Are you still active with The Fiends?

 

We have some unfinished recordings that I hop to finish, same with the Worst. Jason who played drums on our last record who also is the singer for the band the Spitfires are working with Brian to record something. May come threw or maybe not We will see.

 

Ø                   Is there any thought of doing something similar to The Fiends or The Worst?

 

Working with Dan (guitar) from our first LP on Music Maniac and Primitive. The replacement for Brian, my friend Pete. We will see how it goes.

 

Ø                   Thanks Greg!

 

(The early Worst)

 

 

The Fiends Home Page: http://www3.telus.net/thefiends/

 

The Worst Discography | The Fiends Discography | The Stoneage Cavemen

 

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