To the best of my knowledge, 30+ year “junk rock” veterans Sloppy Seconds haven’t played a show in Arkansas since 1996. Almost 20 years later they are coming to Fayetteville to wreck your home, eat up all of your food, and steal your beer. There are a bunch of great interviews, new and old, on the internet detailing their formative history and early hijinks, so I decided to ask Sloppy Seconds front man B.A. a few stupid questions, and here is what he said…
Mr. Dear: I remember seeing you guys in 1995 or 96 at a VFW hall in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Do you remember anything about that show?
B.A.: Yeah, actually I do. We had a few booking agents setting up bigger shows for us at the time, but that was one where I’m pretty sure I just responded to a letter someone sent asking us to play. That was before the internet really took off, when most of our contact was by mail or phone. It developed similar to the way this Fayetteville date did, in that I think we were planning a string of shows in Texas, and an Arkansas gig fell neatly into our routing.
Mr. Dear: Was this your first show in Arkansas? Did you play others?
B.A.: I’m pretty sure that’s been our only other stop in Arkansas. We were booked to play in Little Rock at Vino’s once, but the agent had left us, like, four empty dates between Miami and the show at Vino’s – something stupid like that. So we didn’t see any point in spending all our money waiting five days to play one more show. We bailed.
Mr. Dear: Since you guys have been together for a fucking lifetime, when you were kids did you ever become “blood brothers”?
B.A.: I guess you could call us that. Steve Sloppy and Bo’Ba Jam are actually brothers, and I’ve been friends with them since we were about eight years old. I always assume that’s the reason we’ve kept playing together so long. We were never strangers who joined together to form a band; this is just another thing we do together as friends.
Mr. Dear: I understand that you are huge comic book nerd, what are some of your favorites new and old?
B.A.: I’d have to say my favorite Silver Age comics are The Avengers and the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Avengers were great from the beginning right up until about 1975. I never really followed much past then. I’ve got a really solid collection of the old 12-cent Adventure Comics featuring Superboy and the Legion – probably about 60 of those, and I’m trying to fill in the gaps. Of the modern stuff, I pretty much love anything Warren Ellis has been connected with – The Authority, Stormwatch, Transmetropolitan, Planetary…it’s all incredible stuff. Very cerebral, very anti-government. I’ve read both his novels, too. I really liked Jen Van Meter’s Hopeless Savages…that’s a great punk-themed comic series. And even though this will put me on Alan Moore’s Death List, I have to say I loved the film adaptation of Watchmen.
Mr. Dear: I agree, the Watchmen film is fantastic! Have you guys ever thought about doing a Sloppy Seconds comic?
B.A.: I don’t think anybody’s approached us yet, but I think it could be pretty entertaining. Our albums covers certainly lean in that direction!
Mr. Dear: If Sloppy Seconds had a starring role as the heroes or villains in a movie, what would that movie be like?
B.A.: Rent a copy of “Bad News On Tour” tonight. That’s exactly what it would be like!
Mr. Dear: There was a 10 year gap between “More Trouble than They’re Worth” and “Endless Bummer.” What were you guys up to? Why did it take so long to come back to us?
B.A.: People ask us this all the time. Obviously, we didn’t plan to go that long between releases. We did put out the Garbage Days covers disc in 2000, but that was basically an E.P. so we had all the tracks ready to put out a new disc in 2003. But then, I swear…at least half a dozen different labels failed to come through for us. It might have been more. We’d get to the point where we were discussing the budget, and they’d suddenly remember all these financial issues that made it impossible for them to put out “Endless Bummer” for at least 18 months…we were beginning to think it would never happen. But then in 2007, Dave Parasite said that he’d love us to appear on his newly-formed Kid Tested label. And that made sense – Sloppy Seconds and the Parasites both emerged at about the same time, and we always liked them. Dave will talk all night long about punk or music in general if you’re willing. He’s a great guy, and he even hit the road with us last year. So it’s good to have a more personal connection with the label. We weren’t treated badly by Nitro at all, but I think they tended to forget about us, since we weren’t skating up to their O.C. office every other day.
Mr. Dear: My wife would like to know, boxers or briefs?
B.A.: Yeah, so would mine. Let’s see…of all the hours I spend looking at other men’s asses…Steve wears boxers or boxer-briefs. Ace usually wears briefs…he does this cute thing where he pulls out the waist band in font and sprinkles baby powder on his junk. Bo’Ba…I don’t know, I always seem to see his naked ass and dick, but I assume he has underwear of some kind. I usually wear boxer-briefs – sometimes snug, often not.
Mr. Dear: I’ve always wondered if the song “Janie is a Nazi” was about someone that you knew?
B.A.: Janie? No, not really – it’s just kind of a general observation of the way some people get swept up in the skinhead thing and embrace Nazi symbols without giving it much thought. But we have a lot of skinhead fans, and we haven’t really encountered many White Power people at our gigs. It’s just an upbeat song, good for moshing around, not meant to be taken too seriously. I was trying to come up with a signature title like all those early Ramones songs – “Judy Is A Punk,” “Suzy Is A Headbanger,” “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.” “Janie Is A Nazi” had that same kind of ring to it. But I don’t think it sounds very derivative of the Ramones – it sounds more like an early X song to me.
Mr. Dear: Veronica also?
B.A: Yeah – that one I really don’t like to talk about.
Mr. Dear: What is your craziest Sloppy Seconds tour story?
B.A.: Oh, hell…I doubt if I was fully conscious for the craziest ones. We’ve had some pretty hot girl-girl action onstage at the Galaxy in Dallas. We got tear-gassed at a show in Orange County once. I tried to keep going, just to fuck with the cops – but I finally succumbed to the burning in my eyeballs. On the way from New Orleans to Houston, I crashed through a police barricade when I wasn’t paying attention to the road. We actually thought there were some helicopters hovering over us after that, but I guess we were just being paranoid – we never did get pulled over. One time in Champaign, IL, we went to a house party. At the end of the night, the chick we were staying with was running all these stop signs, and I asked her if she was all right. (It’s never a good sign if I’m the one worried about your driving.) She says, “I just can’t remember where I turn. I’m flying on heroin right now…” One time in Green Bay, we made some comment about all the fine milk maids in the audience, and afterwards some girl said, “I know you were talking about me! And I’m lactating!” Then she sprayed my face with breast milk. It was okay.
Mr. Dear: What is the worst place that you guys have played?
B.A.: Well, probably the signature bad gig was another one that an agent set up, way up in Burlington, Vermont, in the early 90’s. (I book all our dates myself now – I’ve had my fill of agents.) It was some ridiculous barn-like place, where this drunk chick at the bar was going off about her karaoke skills, and how we all would have been up shit creek if she hadn’t remembered all the words to “Hotel California.” Then during the opening band, some dumbass white trash guy in a wifebeater is headbanging in front of me, and almost knocks me unconscious with a headbutt. We told them to throw the guy out, but he’s right back in front as we’re about to play. Turned out there was only one paid admission, so we gave that guy his money back. I announced something like, “We’re Sloppy Seconds, and this is a complete waste of our time. This goes out to our booking agent, who will be fired tomorrow morning.” So we played “Conned Again,” I dropped my pants, and we walked off the stage. Never been back to Vermont.
Mr. Dear: 26 years later, are you guys still going to fuck our daughters, wreck our homes, eat up all of our food, and steal our beers?
B.A.: Sure thing! What’s your address?
Sloppy Seconds will be playing with Fayettevillains Rival Monsters, Ft. Smith’s Not on your Life, and Izzi Savage and the Cannibals at JR’s Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville, AR, June 6th.