Not so long ago the Swingin' Utters were a pretty small band playing their own blend of '77 punk/Pogues influenced music. Nowadays, they're a pretty big band who are still doing exactly the same thing, oh, but with better production! Monk Dave hooked up with 'em at TJ's, Newport on 16/10/97 and was the only Monk present. Here then is the Belgian beer soaked result. . .
Monk- Ok, usual bullshit then. . . Who's in the band at the moment and how long have you been together?
Darius- Johnny is the singer, Greg's the drummer, Darius is the guitar player, Max also plays guitar, and we're kinda in limbo as far as bassists go because our original bass player just quit really recently. We're playing with this guy named Marco and we've only practiced with him once, pretty much, and we've just come over to Europe and it seems to be working out pretty well so far. As far as a permanent bass player, we're no really sure, but for now Marco is our bass player.
Monk- So how come Kev left then?
Darius- He got sick of touring, got sick of not having any place to live and not having any money. Just stuff like that. Now he's a school teacher, so he's happy.
Monk- Um, a bit of a history question, how come you made the move from New Red Archives to Fat?
Darius- Better distribution. . . There's actually people working at Fat! I mean, New Red Archives, you know. . . you can't find that record anywhere, I mean it's one guy running the whole thing so. . . He's a cool guy and everything and he's doing the best he can. It was cool though because he actually said that he realizes his label is a stepping stone. There's only so much you can do when you're that small.
Monk- I've read about your various pizza delivery jobs and stuff like that, but now that you're on Fat and touring with all these big bands do you still have to have all these little jobs to get by?
Darius- Yep. Me and Johnny work kind of odd-job construction/painting houses kind of things, and uh, I also deliver pizzas.
Monk- Is that on a cool little moped thing or in a crappy car?
Darius- Nope, in a car. A dented old, fucked up car. It's really glamorous!
Monk- So how's San Francisco holding out at the moment, like on a music scene level?
Darius- Well, I think it's just like anywhere really. There's not so many all ages clubs as there used to be. that's the main problem 'cos the kids can't come down to the shows unless we play The Trocadero or somewhere like that. Y'know these clubs are not even eighteen and over, it's like twenty one and above, so a lot of kids can't go to the shows.
Monk- Well I think they just want to lower the age in the States anyway, cos twenty one is just ridiculous.
Darius- It is, it's totally ridiculous. They never will lower it though, just because they're so uptight. They don't trust people enough.
Monk- And what about on a social level, like is there much tension; possibility of riots or anything like that?
Darius- No, it's pretty laid-back. As far as big cities go, it's nmot that big. You've kind of got all the big city elements, but it's generally pretty laid-back I think.
Greg- But on the last Friday of every month these bicyclists go cruising through town, and shitloads of them shop up, and I guess they have some run-ins, like with the cars and the traffic and stuff, because the traffic's pretty bad, but I suppose that's as close as it comes to altercations in San Francisco. The only thing that's in anyway newsworthy, I suppose. . .
Monk- But that's a pretty positive thing anyway. . .
Darius- It is, but a lot of idiots show up too who aren't from San Francisco and just do it to get in everyone's face, which is kind of lame. but you know, San Francisco is so small that you've got a really good neighborhood, then a block down, just one block, you can fuckin' see it, and it's like the worst neighborhood. Just because it's so small as a city, but generally it's not all that hectic.
Monk- So have you lived there all your life?
Greg- No. The thing is, San Francisco's like New York, where you hardly ever meet anyone that's a native. Just like any major city where everyone comes from somewhere else.
Darius- Johnny and Greg were raised in Santa Cruz, which is just like this little beach town.
Greg- I just moved back there after a couple of years.
Darius- Yeah, and I'm from Los Angeles and Max is from Washington DC.