10 Questions with Jeff Pinkus of Honky

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by Ryan Meehan

(bio via Earsplit PR)

When you think of Texas, what comes to mind? Big Skies? Big Trucks? Hot women with big…uh…hair? As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. And that what ain’t bigger is more bizarre. After all, in a state that refers to itself as a Republic…things can get pretty skewed. Enter Honky. Honky proudly carries the torch held by the likes of Bloodrock, Pantera, ZZ Top and the red-headed stranger himself, Mr. Willie Nelson. This Austin Superboogie trio was founded in 1996 by long time Butthole Surfer, part time MELVINS bassist JD Pinkus, Bobby Ed Landgraf (DOWN, Skrew, …) on guitar, and rounded out by Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch) on them skins. Honky dishes out an appetite pleasin’… Superboogie servin’ that’ll keep ya’ comin’ back for more. Austin’s favorite sons have released some of the best stripped down, butt shakin’, rock ever cut to Wax, Tape, or C.D., and have toured with the likes of Nashville Pussy, the Reverend Horton Heat, Fu Manchu, Melvins, Peter Pan Speedrock, Down, and David Allan Coe. Honky’s newest release, Corduroy, is another feast of down and dirty rock, rollin’ across the finish line May 27th on Philip Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Thick enough to eat with a fork but you’ll wanna keep a spoon handy so ya don’t miss out on that gravy… Drum duties are handled by a more then qualified group of drummers, Trinidad Leal (Dixie Witch), Michael ‘Night Train’ Brueggen (Blackula, Syrup, Supagroup), Dale Crover (Melvins), and even Original Honky drummer, Lance Farley, makin’ the grooves proper… Guest appearances by Mark ‘Speedy’ Gonzales and the Fantasma Horns, as well as, our favorite Honkette, Rae Comeau, add to the tastees thrown y’alls’ way. “Corduroy” should be yet another badass trip to the farm and let me tell ya, we are fuckin’ fired up to have Jeff Pinkus from Honky as our guest today in 10 Questions.

RM:  Honky is based out of Austin, but based on the musicians you hang out with you obviously have deep connections to NOLA and its surrounding areas…How much time would you say that you get to spend in New Orleans every calendar year; and which live venues seem to be the best fit to host the show you guys put on?

JP:  NOLA’s very near and dear to both our cold hearts. I’ll be there 2 times this month with one of my other projects Pure Luck, alone. Honky plays there about every 6 weeks or so. I was there quite a bit doin’ sound on movie sets for years as well. Only place I’ve sweated in the shower…Bobby started workin’ with DOWN about 7 years ago, so obviously he’s down there quite a bit as well. Not enuff fine things can be said about the people, music, food, history, and tradition that New Orleans is.

RM:  It seems as if now more than ever, people are really becoming more aware of new music that was heavily influenced by outlaw country, blues, and Southern rock in general…Have you noticed a significant increase in the volume of bands that incorporate those styles into heavier music over the past decade? If someone likes them some Honky, who are three other artists you can recommend who are also killing it right now that fans need to be aware of?

JP:  Well, I grew up in Georgia, so them kinds of music have always been in my life. I suppose some folks are gittin sick of bein’ spoon fed crap by one supplier, and are reaching back to a purer type of music where folks git together to write songs or strip down to the essentials of song writing, like outlaw country and bad ass song writers like Prine, Kristofferson, Newberry, Shaver, Young, Coe, and of course, Willie, Waylon, Haggard…I believe our friends in Whiskey Dick (2 man heavy metal honky tonk), Scott Biram (1 man band), Chili Cold Blood, and many more got shit goin’ on round these parts. I listen to more country then metal myself. I was around more weird shit then metal growin’ up. Lots of Southern Rock before that. Bobby’s always been a Metal Head. That’s why we sound like we do I guess.

RM:  You’ve been rockin’ that Flyin’ V bass for some time now, and that thing definitely has more than a few thousand miles on it for sure…Does that bass have a name; and why have you remained so loyal to that instrument throughout the many chapters in your life on the road with this band?

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JP:  Ha, I do love my V’s. It’s kinda tuff to play another style of bass once you’ve made the jump. They come with a built in stand. I got a new aluminum one from EGC while playin’ with the Melvins and ordered another one I’m waitin’ for. I got 4 now, plus some other styles I’ve collected along the way. I don’t name my basses just my truck and past vans….

RM:  What’s the most significant difference between the way Honky went about recording “Corduroy” as opposed to the way “421” was put together in the studio? As producer, what did you set out to do differently with this record as opposed to all your previous LPs?

JP:  Corduroy is more of a collection of different sides of us with different players on drums. We tried to use the best tool, I mean drummer for each job, I mean song. We was the last band to record at Willie’s ol’ studio, for 421. That was a cohesive album rock kinda record where side A & B had a certain flow. I tried to make a flow outta the new collections of songs and I think it works just fine. Got lucky with that I think…

RM:  “I Don’t Care” is a bit of a departure from the band’s traditional stylings, yet still retains that down-home flavor for which Honky is so well known…Was that track recorded more to display an extra element of range to your songwriting, or just because that’s what you guys were feeling at the time? Do you have any plans to incorporate that into your live set on the upcoming UK dates this summer?

JP:  I wrote that one on my banjo and didn’t know if it would be a Honky song or a Pure Luck song. I recorded it when Bobby was out with Down. I recruited our original drummer Lance Farley and recorded banjo and drums. Then I thru down Bass and Vocals. When Bobby got back to Austin I asked him to throw some slide on it, because we usually put a slide song on every album. We’ve been asked to play it a few times so I believe we’ll check out doin’ it live. If not y’all will have to wait for my next solo banjo tour.

RM:  Speaking of live performances, you’ve released “Outta Season” as the first single from the new album…How are you gonna go about replicating all of those dope horn patterns on stage? Will you be touring with a “utility” instrumentalist this time around, or for the most part will it just be the three of you?

JP:  We can’t take Prince’s horn section on the road. I know Prince don’t need em anymore but they have amazing things goin’ on, such as, Brownout and Brown Sabbath. I recommend checkin’ them out for sure. We love playin’ that song live. Bobby used to play in Band with horns so he fills in some of the melodies they play on the disc. We will definitely be playin’ it.

RM:  There’s also a killer cover of the Pat Travers Band’s classic “Snortin’ Whiskey” which appears in the seven spot on the record…How long have you guys been jamming that one live or in practice; and were there any other covers you thought about putting to tape that were awesome versions of great songs, but whatever reason or another they didn’t quite fit in this sequence?

JP:  We’ve been playin’ that song so long, some folk think we wrote it. Dale Crover loved playin’ that with us so we thought he’d be the perfect one to record it with us. I don’t like doin a cover unless we can make it ours. Some songs are best left to the original version.

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RM:  Are you typically just an old-school straight whiskey guy, or are there any Southern specialty drinks you’re a huge fan of that we might not be familiar with up here north of the Mason-Dixon line? What’s the most bizarre drink you’ve ever ingested in all of your years touring the country with some of the hardest partying performers in the music industry?

JP:  I prefer mixed drinks, Bourbon on the Rocks…I drink Jim Beam on the road cause it’s always available here in the States. In Europe and UK/Wales it’s sometimes hard to find cause most folks there seem to think Jack Daniels is the players choice (the Lemmy factor), but I drank Coke a Cola as a kid. Jack and Coke just covers up the flavor. I’m like my mama, I like to taste the alcohol. As far as a new drink try droppin’ a shot of Tequila into a Tecate, then chug. We call that the Burro Bombs.

RM:  Your boss – Phil Anselmo – took a lot of shit in the media earlier this year for a gesture he made at a gig in January…At any point were you concerned that blowback would have a drastic effect on the label itself, which may have in turn had an effect on the release of your record and how certain metal fans may respond to anything that had his name on it? On a professional level, how would you best describe the working relationship the band has with him; and what’s the best part about having somebody with that much experience in the business at the helm of distributing your music?

JP:  First off, I ain’t got a ‘Boss’.  Except that that’s my dog’s name and he does like to tell me what to do. I know Phil enuff to know where his heart is and he’s got a good heart. Sometimes a drunken backstage joke about 4 big bottles of shitty white wine and havin’ to play a show don’t go over so well… He’s the first to admit he F’d up… He’s payin’ the price and he’ll be back out rollin’ soon enuff. I can’t really waste my energies on what folks think about me or anyone else. Guess whatever happens, happens…We’re just a band doin’ our thang.

RM:  What is the most accurate way to summarize your level of the involvement with The Melvins heading into a summer where you just put out your own record out and will be doing a ton of live shows?

JP:  I’m very proud to be in the current harem of Melvins Bassists. Dale’s in my current harem of Honky Drummers… They’re all fine folk and Buzz does biznitch the way I like. They’re true friends and excellent musicians that have many sides to ‘em. I’m glad I’m one of their sides. Honky is gonna hit it as hard as we can this year.

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RM:  If you had to predict the future of where the music industry is headed from this exact point in time, what would you say is the most likely positive change that could potentially occur in the business over the next twenty to thirty years? Conversely, what are some of the landmines that musicians and/or labels could end up stepping into during that same time period that could do permanent damage to the medium as a whole?

JP:  Ain’t got enuff time to answer all of that… but I think we’re headin’ into unchartered waters. I think it’s a toilet bowl, actually… It’ll be more DIY and less labels in the future. Housecore is a label like labels used to be. If the owner of the label had the same taste as you in music you’ll pay notice and sometimes buy without listening, like Am-Rep, Ipecac, old Touch and Go, et cetera…Publishing and selling T-shirts to drunk peoples is what I recommend for success.

RM:  What’s up next for you guys in the remainder of 2016? Other than the LP, is there anything big in the works that we should know about?

JP:  We will be poundin’ the pavement. Summer in Europaland, early Fall in the States, then November back y’alls’ way. Hope to see some butt shakin’ and whiskey drinkin’ when we come to visit. Blue Skies and Sunshine…

Official Website:   http://www.honky.net/

Honky on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TeamHonky

Honky on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/TeamHonky

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

Meehan

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One thought on “10 Questions with Jeff Pinkus of Honky

  1. Pingback: 10 Questions with Jimmy Bower of Superjoint | First Order Historians

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