Taming The Wild Beast Within
F- Minus, a cacophonous co-ed Punk band from California offers nothing more than bleak realism, supported by blasting drums and frantic guitars that assault the ears. The delivery of Brad Logan's vocals push the physical limits of the throat, while Erica Daking's anarchic alto proves just as menacing as her guitar. There is no attempt to craft a memorable melody, but the quartet does deliver a sincere narrative, supported by un-compromising music that moves with the speed of a kamikaze. F -Minus' grim political and social views could almost be the soundtrack to the pen of George Orwell, as each author explores the dark underworld of despotism. Beginning with their self-titled record from 1999 and up to their newest effort, Wake Up Screaming, F -Minus has relentlessly proved that taming the wild beast within is a constant struggle. Singer/guitarist Brad Logan has made it clear that his attempts to communicate aren't in vain.
Skeptics feel F-Minus happened overnight and successfully landed a deal
with Hellcat Records. Can you clarify any misjudgments? How did F-Minus
Actually, we landed the deal first then formed the band.
F-Minus' lyrical content is a mostly bleak outlook on government implemented policies and social injustices. Do you wholeheartedly believe in government abolishment? Or do you feel that in some ways a government can properly serve its citizens?
In theory it's a great idea. But it's my feeling that I'm working for them, not the other way around.
F-Minus has a firm conviction against corporations and their business practices. Do you ever feel that there's a warped symbiosis between citizens and corporations? For instance, consumers that live far from cities might be offered more choices from a corporation, thus providing some services that would otherwise not be available in their area.
We're not saying anything that hasn't been said before 1000 times better. We're just trying to drive the point further along. One day I awoke and found myself a good little shopper, with lots of hang-ups. The problem is I COULDN'T STOP! How much of what I buy do I really need? Shit maybe 10%. You see, I'M A FUCKING BRAINWASH JOB! A perfect impulse buyer. A good little American. I'm the kind of asshole Wal-Mart loves. I grew up on TV. Do you watch commercials? Just how do they sell you shit? They play on your fears, among other things. And as a kid how are you supposed to know "it's just a commercial" You don't. Someone's ad campaign has become a part of my psychic make-up. Funny right? I don't hate corporations and their business practices, I LOVE THEM!!! That's the problem, my man.
Do you find a strange irony between individuals who preach DIY ethics yet still contribute to the corporate economy? For instance, younger individuals contributing to the tobacco and alcohol industries.
What's the line in the 1905 song? "Just because I can't change everything, doesn't mean I can't change anything." Unless you've committed to living in a fucking cave, I think most people would find it really hard to disengage yourself 100% from the way you were brought up. We live in a society that demands we buy products and consume. Most of the time I find myself obeying that command. It's funny yet horrifying. What I really think we need is to stop picking on each other over trivia and concern ourselves with making some changes for the better, no matter how small. Anything is better than nothing. Know what I mean?
Besides obvious influences that compel F-Minus to play, can you offer any other, out of the ordinary influences that fans might not be aware of?
Do you mean musical? I have, and always will listen to a wide variety of music. I'm a music fan, and that means all types. Most of my lyrical heroes were not "punks" or even musical. Won't tell you who they are though...Live your own life and get your own influences, ha ha ha!
During the 80's Hardcore scene, some efforts were made to include young women in the punk community. This idea was more realized as time went on. To what extent do you feel a woman's role within the punk scene has changed?
Fuck, come on. I see sexism within the punk scene all the time. In my opinion the current punk climate is doomed to a male takeover, which is pretty weak for a supposed anti-sexist movement. It seems like it's OK to be a girl band if you're a lame-ass joke band or if you're showing some tit and kissing up to the male ego. But if you're a girl taking a serious stance, you scare the shit outta people and they don't know what to do with it. That's cool, I like that. I talk to a lot of girls at shows that tell me they're afraid to get on stage, or that they don't feel like being in a band is right for them. Further proof that girls are smarter than boys!
Though F-Minus is co-ed; no member regarding women in punk bands has
made any outright conviction. Do you believe statements on F-Minus' message board, such as "Erica is Hot!" prove counter-productive to F-Minus?
I think they prove counter productive to the author of the post. We support women bands 100%. A lot of people miss that cause we're not flag wavers. We never wanted to lower ourselves by coming off with the "hey look, chicks playing hardcore!!" thing. That was an insult to us. We were a hardcore band. Playing short, fast, and aggressive music. Oh yeah, the guitar and bass player are girls....but why in itself would that matter? We are about equality.
How has Bassist/Singer Jen Johnson's departure affected the band?
We miss her. She is a great singer/bass player and has a great sense of humor, a rare combination. Our new bass player, Joe Steinbrick is awesome in his own right, easily the most talented member of the band. He has the best record collection too.
Does F-Minus have a strict, anti-corporate, anti-mainstream view with regards to success helped achieved by the said institutions? Or is there a fine line?
I'm not against the mainstream; I just find most of it bland and un-interesting. It takes balls to go against what's popular, and the band like generally seem to be ones not taking the easy way out. At the same time the mainstream needs to exist for these bands and artists to thrive. So I guess you could say I love the corporate-maistream$$$$$$$!!!!!
F-Minus has a negative view of religion (songs like "Food Not God" and "Christianity"). Do you believe that individuals who seek solace within religion deserve to express their convictions, as long as they don't oppress others, without having naysayers express anti-god or anti-religious views? What are your personal beliefs?
I don't see a negative view of religion at all. We're just havin' fun. "Christianity" is an excerpt read from "The Anti-Christ" by Friedrich Nietzsche. It was on the floor of the studio when we were recording. I was at a loss for lyrics, and those worked great. "Food Not God" isn't about religion; it's about the view from the gutters of Market Street in San Francisco. People should be allowed to believe in anything they want. Anything. But most people would rather have you see things their way. It's only natural. Me? I believe something's out there... I'm not sure what though.
How has fatherhood altered your perceptions of life? If not out of line for me to ask, how was your childhood? Do feel your role is parallel to your father's?
My childhood was OK, as far as I remember. I love my parents and my sisters. Something must have happened somewhere cause I spent about 8 years totally strung out on heroin, speed and methadone. Who knows? I am a naturally selfish person and fatherhood demands that I give unconditionally. That's good, I need that in my life. They say your doomed to turn out like your parents, and I'm married now with a stepson, so I'm halfway there.
What's the most satisfying aspect of F-Minus? What's the most frustrating?
Most satisfying? As Eminem would say; "Losing yourself in the music!"
Feeling like I never really said things how I meant to say them is one of the most frustrating.
By Jeff Alexander