I arrived at the current home of Amen at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 10th. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as this is my first time interviewing a real band, let alone one of my favorite bands of all time. I was immediately greeted when I walked in the door by Amen members Scott Sorry, Luke Johnson, and Casey Chaos…..all amazing people, way cooler than I had ever wished. Matt unfortunately could not make the interview due to a previous engagement, but beggars can’t be choosers, and I was more than happy with what I got. I sat next to Casey, with Luke, Scott, and Casey’s awesome dog Darby all nearby. Thus, began my 1 hour + interview with Amen…
So you guys recently returned from touring with the Brides Of Destruction… how was that?
Casey- It was great, much better than expected, they were great people and we had a great time.
Luke- We were worried that the people at the shows would mainly be interested in only the kind of music BOD was playing and dislike us, but this was not true at all.
So you guys were well received by the audiences?
Casey- Yeah. They seemed to dig our stuff for the most part.
So what have you guys been listening to lately?
Scott- Dead Kennedys
Which DK album?
Scott- Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death
Casey- The 2nd set of unreleased recordings from Void.
I just picked up the Faith/Void split album, I really like it.
Casey- Yeah it’s my favorite album.
Luke- I’ve been listening to The Cure and some other similar music, a wide variety.
You guys gonna be doing a headlining tour of the US for your new album, Death Before Musick, anytime this year?
Casey- We’re trying to get something like that going, but nothing’s certain yet. We’re playing Summer Sonic in Japan this summer.
Really? Sounds great.
So what are your favorite songs off the new album?
Casey- “Abolishment Of Luxury” probably, it changes all the time.
Luke- “We Got The Bait” because it’s a really great and up tempo song. It’s easy to get into. I like “Oblivion Stereo” a lot too.
Scott- Probably “Liberation For….” and “Westwood Fallout” …..pretty much all the songs Luke can’t play (laughs)
(I notice a picture of Henry Rollins circa ‘83/’84 on Casey’s wall)
Casey- That person standing right below Henry is me when I was, like, 15.….there were 25 people at the show that night and it was my first show ever, it was amazing. For me Black Flag was amazing, Black Flag changed my life. For me it was like what it is for other people to have seen, say, someone like KISS live.
What was it like working with Henry on the Rise Above benefit record?
Casey- It was amazing, I got a call from Henry and he said “Is this Casey?” and I Said “Yes”, Henry- “Casey Chaos from the band Amen?”, Casey-“Yes”, Henry- “This is Henry Rollins and I was wondering if you’d like to do a benefit for the West Memphis Three by singing the Black Flag song “Depression” on an album I’m making.”, Casey- “Uh…(stunned) yeah!” So I asked him if I could do it within the hour and Henry said “GREAT!” and a couple hours and 3 takes later it was done. It was really amazing, Henry is a great guy. Me and him hung out once afterwards and talked extensively about The Adverts, since we are both huge fans.
What’s your favorite Black Flag album?
Casey- Hmmmm… actually my favorite Black Flag stuff would have to be the 1982 demos, although they were never officially released, I bought a great bootlegged copy.
Yeah, me too, those recordings are amazing.
Casey- Yeah, I like pretty much all of Black Flag’s music, they never really released anything that wasn’t good. As they got more experimental it wasn’t quite as good as the early stuff….but I still like all of it a lot.
So what do you guys do in between touring, on downtime like this?
Casey- Listen to music, do interviews….the other guys party a lot, I usually stay here and listen to my records though. That’s my life, listening to music and playing music (laughs).
Yeah, me too, not much else to do out here (laughs).
So you guys made a record for Virgin a while back that never saw the light of day… ..will we ever get to hear any of that stuff?
Casey- Probably not, it’s in the past and I’d pretty much like to focus on the future. There were also a lot of songs we recorded for Death Before Musick that weren’t released, those may show up on the Free Music Campaign on our site soon. I recorded different sessions with different people. I did one session with Don Bolles from the Germs on drums (“Abolishment Of Luxury”, “We Got The Bait”), there is a whole album’s worth of material like that which I think you’d really dig.
There was an Amen DVD recently released? Did you guys have anything to do with that or was it more of a third party creation.
Scott- We didn’t even know… we came back from tour and were like “We have a DVD out?”
Casey- They approached me a while back and asked me if I wanted to make a DVD and I said I did, then all of a sudden it’s available on Amazon.com. We had no input at all on the DVD.
Have you guys seen the DVD yet?
Luke- Oh yeah, we have it, just haven’t really got a chance to sit down and watch it yet. (Luke grabs the DVD from a shelf full of rare punk rock and black metal DVDs).
I liked it, the show was great. But the video editors really messed around with the effects too much….sometimes it was disorientating.
Casey- Yeah I know what you mean, I saw a bit of it and I agree about the effects being over done.
Well, it was great getting to hang out and talk with you guys.
Casey- Yeah thanks for coming, great to meet you too.