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BANGS
interview by Chip Midnight

Self-described as a cross between "The Go-Gos and Black Sabbath," the Washington state punk trio known as the Bangs have recently released their second long (?) player, clocking in at 30 minutes, for Kill Rock Stars Records. It just so happens that bassist/singer Maggie is a publicist for the label, so to set this interview up, we had to go through an independent publicist who is handling the record. What a tangled web we weave.

Anyway, The Bangs had just wrapped up a week's worth of tour dates with Sleater-Kinney and were enjoying a day off in New York City when Chip Midnight caught up to Maggie on her cell phone. At first, it appeared as though the interview wouldn't take place due to the poor phone reception. But Maggie called the Swizzle-Stick offices a few minutes later to explain that the reason the phone had cut out was because she was just getting on to the subway. As Maggie and her bandmates (Sarah and Kyle) searched the streets of the Big Apple for a bite to eat, she was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting.

Is this a joke? I saw on your tour schedule that you started your tour in South Dakota at a club called Mullets.

No, it's not a joke actually. It's a real place. I was terrified that it was going to be some fucked-up bar, but it was actually just an all-ages place with a cool sign.

Are you a mullet fan?

Quite honestly, I'm not. Sarah might be more of a mullet fan than I am.

You just finished up shows on one of the biggest tours of the spring, second only to the *N¹Sync tour, with Sleater-Kinney.

It¹s a machine! It was incredible. It¹s so much fun to play in front of that many people.

I¹m assuming they were all-ages shows. Would you consider your fan base to be all ages?

Our fan base is sort of the same as Sleater-Kinney¹s. I don¹t think a lot of our female peers are that into us. But younger girls and boys our age are. Younger boys are too.

How would you finish this sentence? Touring is a good excuse to . . .

Eat a lot of food. That¹s where my mind is right now.

Have you traveled the United States before?

Yeah, this is really our third big tour. I want to move on to the next step ú Europe, Japan, Australia, those places would all be nice.

You¹ve never played in Europe before. How about Canada?

We¹ve never actually played in Canada.

Have you found a club, as you¹ve toured, that has a particularly good jukebox?

Yeah, Maxwell¹s in Hoboken has a great jukebox as does the Black Cat in D.C.

What makes up a good jukebox?

A combination of good new stuff and great old stuff from the ¨70s.

Is there a song that you always play if you find it in the jukebox?

I¹m pretty fond of playing "Rocks Off" by the Rolling Stones. Kyle says "Me too."

Do you hit Karaoke bars while on tour too?

We have once before, on our last tour. I¹ve only karaoked twice ú "Beast of Burden" and "Our Lips Are Sealed."

It sounds like you¹re a Rolling Stones fan.

Not as much as it sounds like. But, yeah, I am ú older stuff. I admittedly listened to the last record a couple of times but I didn¹t buy it.

Do you hope to be playing music when you are that old?

I don¹t know honestly. Probably not.

So what are your hopes after your rock and roll career is over?

I have quite a few different one, but the latest one is that I¹d like to run a nice, sane nursing home. I¹m really fond of my grandparents and I¹m watching them go through an uncomfortable, horrible situation. It makes me realize how disgusting that industry is and how upsetting it is.

On that topic, how old is your oldest fan?

My grandma likes our record. She likes it more than Bikini Kill. In every major city there are always a couple of older men with gray hair.

What is your whole Internet experience? Are you on the Internet a lot?

I have to be because of my job. I¹m the publicist at Kill Rock Stars. And that¹s why I¹m not working our record. I can¹t talk about myself. Most of the time I¹m on the Internet off and on all day.

Being a publicist, is it tough to give your record to someone else to publicize?

Yeah, because I¹m kind of a control freak. I tried to do the first record and I don¹t think I did a very good job on it at all.

Are you a record collector?

Not as much as I¹d like to be. I don¹t spend a lot of money on it, but I wish I had more records. I like how big the artwork is and how it sounds.

Do you have a favorite album cover?

I was trying to think about that the other day. I couldn¹t really come up with any that really stuck out.

I saw on your website that you try to throw in some covers. What covers do you do?

The Cheap Trick cover on the CD is the first one that we really succeeded in. We have lots of ideas but they never get past the idea stage. Oh wait, at our first show we did a cover of "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones. We kind of dropped it after that.

I also saw mention of ¨80s glam metal on your website.

I was very into that. It¹s definitely part of my past. I¹ll admit to all those things. I was really a big Poison fan. I liked Cinderella and Poison a lot. I liked Great White a lot too. I used to take guitar lessons and I would learn all their songs.

What was the turning point for you musically?

Honestly? Probably Nirvana and Bikini Kill and all those bands were happening at that time.

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