Anyone who is interested in the history of English hardcore punk should know BROKEN BONES. The band was founded in 1983 by guitarist Tony 'Bones' Roberts, who also pioneered hardcore punk with DISCHARGE. Bones' influence can be seen in works of countless bands regardless of whether it is punk or thrash metal, and his status as the 'Tony Iommi of punk' is well recognised worldwide. Therefore, it was clear that BROKEN BONES attracted attention with their debut 7" 'Decapitated' in 1983. I was 16 years old at the time and very soon I became a fan of Bones' new band. His unmistakably skull-crushing riffs were the basis of their gripping sound and the band's debut album 'Dem Bones', released in 1984, is a true classic nowadays.
Meanwhile 26 years have passed and my interest in BROKEN BONES has not become any fewer. As a result, I was very pleased when I found a package from England in my mailbox a few months ago, because it contained the new BROKEN BONES album 'Fuck You And All You Stand For'. To put it simply: this is probably the best record in the band's career. The songs are packed with energy, aggressiveness and passion. It's riff-laden and strong hardcore punk at it's best. Being barely able to contain my enthusiasm, I decided that an interview at Cosmic Lava is a must. Fortunately, Dave (drums) and Bones had enough time to answer my questions. Not surprisingly, this interview contains also a couple of questions about DISCHARGE, although the main focus is of course on the new album. Read on and enjoy our in-depth interview.
In honesty: I did not expect such a strong new album from BROKEN BONES. I find it difficult to say that it's your best one, because I really dig the stuff you've released between 1983 and 1986, but 'Fuck You And All You Stand For' is definitely one of your best records in your career. What were reactions to it and what do you think about?
Dave: It's all been good so far; the reactions from the music press has been positive. Much the same as yourself though, there is much lament about the 1980s and asking a band to re-capture the consciousness of punk in the 1980s some 30 years later is a tall order. We are over the moon with this album; everything flowed from start to finish and if we tried to tinker with it to make it any better, I think we'd end up taking more away than we added. Bones has always cited 'Trader In Death' as the pinnacle of Broken Bones recordings but even he's prepared to shift his position. It sets a high standard for future recordings, but we're up to the challenge!
How much time did you spent at Prism Studio in Stoke-on-Trent? The reason why I asked this question is because the new album provides a direct, straight-in-your-face sound.
Dave: Well, credit where credit is due. Shaun (Lowe) has recorded our last 3 albums as well as the odd single here and there and his new kit captures the "in your face" energy as you put it we put into it perfectly. We also have a secret weapon in the form of "The Meatman" who is a life long fan and ruthless. If he doesn't like it then it's back to record it again. All in all we spent 6 days in the studio - Typically 10 - 12 hours per day. Most of the album had been worked out before we started recording and the finishing touches were added on the day. Bones is a punk rock engine and Shaun is an ace mechanic! Together Broken Bones + Prism Studios is a great end product.
'Fuck You And All You Stand For' is like a reckoning with the superficiality of a life determined by capitalism, religious fanatism and social injustice. I can only agree with that wholeheartedly, and it is clear that something is going terribly wrong in society. What do you think are the reasons for the increased susceptibility to religious and political extremists in current times?
Dave: That's a pretty big question! I think history has shown us that people are selfish and greedy. Any sense of altruism is retained for family and close friends but "love for our fellow man" is really just a slogan. Whether it's religious or political divide; people seem to find a way to NOT get on rather than the opposite. The sad legacy of the human race will be that "they became very good at killing each other."
Do you think any changes, short of total rebuilding from the ground up, will be able to reverse the course of global enslavement and destruction we are currently on?
Dave: We're truly afraid that NOTHING is going to be able to reverse the shit WE are all in. Similar to the last question; it's not in OUR nature. People have a "live for today" attitude and "Fuck whats going to happen in 50-100 years time because I won't be here." That's fucked up. That's exactly what we're saying "Fuck You & All You Stand For" to. A politician is only trying to get re-elected so he can continue in their comfortable life-style and we really don't see any difference from the Clerics. Religion gives them a pretty comfy life too. The trouble is that these selfish interests have, via osmosis of society, worked their way down to every day lives and nobody gives a shit about anyone or anything outside of their own personal orbit. Just turn on the news and see if anything shocks or surprises you any more.