Interview with Kyle Toucher and Tim Harkins from Dr. Know by Zack Attack, which took place @ the Bunkhouse Saloon on May 26th, 2012, after their set during Punk Rock Posing weekend.
Zack: So you guys were supposed to play here in Las Vegas in '09 at Punk Rock Bowling - can you tell me what happened?
Kyle: Yeah, I wasn't involved with that, didn't know jack shit about it.
Zack: Yeah it was Brandon Cruz.
Kyle: I didn't play with Dr. Know with this line-up until last year. Our first show was at the Ventura Theater, and you were there fucker!! There was a warm-up show before that but you were at the first show I played with in 25 years!!
Zack: No fucking shit!! So what kept you from doing a reunion for so long??
Kyle: My career in visual effects for the show Battlestar Galactica, so that kept me busy, and then everything just started opening up, and Tim over here and I started talking, he was on Wreckage In Flesh with us, and we decided it's time to fuckin' do it, but make it tight, heavy, sound better, more professional, the whole package. We started coming out and people started showing up.
Zack: That's bad shit.
Kyle: It is dude. It's fucking fun. Puttin' in more wha-wha and making it heavy as shit. I mean, when we were your age we were fucked up every which way, now, we play better, better gear, just all that good shit. Having way more fun than we did back then. It was all crazy shit back then, coke, booze, and bitches (kind of ahahahah) but now we don't do that shit, so we just play fucking heavy and kill it.
Zack: What are your biggest influences as a guitar player/songwriter, obviously Sabbath and shit like that?
Kyle: Huge fucking Sabbath fan, big Black Flag fan, just love that shit. Love fucking D.O.A., they're are some great Punk bands and Metal bands BUT, there are also a lot of shitty ones of each genres too. I won't name names but there are talented fuckers out there. When Punk and Metal fucks started slamming together-it was just bitchin'. At the time there was that division-"Oh you got long hair, you can't play Punk!" It's all just heavy shit you know?? We can all thank Tony Iommi for it all really.
Kyle: It all goes back to Master Of Reality and Vol 4 for me.
Zack: Like fucking Hell it does!!! THANK YOU!! ahahahha
Kyle: Vol. 4 was the one that changed my life and fucked me up real good ahahah - still never been able to get Iommi's guitars sound ahahha but fuck it haaahah that from a record stand point- and then from a live stand point the first time I saw Black Flag at the fucking Starwood, ABSOLUTELY changed my shit. I mean I've seen Pink Floyd at Anaheim Stadium and shit like that. Up until I saw Flag, THEN I was blown away. I got hit by a HAMMER, realized shit, I can do this! They're kids like me, not Gods.
Zack: That's what I've always loved about Punk Rock, I can go up and have a chat with my heroes and have a beer with 'em. Can't really do that with Metallica ahahahhahaha.
Kyle: Definitely, well at least not anymore ahhahaahhaha. Well you could but you might get beat the fuck up ahahhaha. They are very fucking wealthy, but they're great at what they do. I mean, you can go up to them at the market but if you show up at their front door, you're goin' to jail ahahaa. I mean if say you showed up at my house I'd be like "what the fuck??!!" and have a laugh. Maybe spray you with the hose hahahahahahah
Zack: How do you feel about Brandon (Cruz), and how he carried the band while you were inactive?
Kyle: Well he was in the band from '82-'83 before Plug In Jesus, did a couple recordings then split with us cause he didn't wanna do what I wanted to do with the band. He wanted Dr. Know to kinda be like a joke band, and I wanted to make it dark. I mean, I was the one writing ALL the material so he was just a mouthpiece. So he didn't wanna do what I did and he split. Years later after I had stopped playing he was like "Imma go and play Dr. Know shit." I said "well why wouldn't you?", you know?? I couldn't stop him cause it was whatevers, even though I own the name I'm not that kinda guy that would say 'No', so he ran with what I would call a "flimsy-fact-simile" even if Ismael (Hernandez) was in the band at that time. I've seen videos and shit like that, I knew what they were about.
Zack: That was never Dr. Know to me. Also for a lot of people. Even though I've never seen you guys before or whatever I've always felt along with other die-hard fans it was never the real thing without you playing. that goes for many bands with me. It shouldn't be represented as something it isn't. Kinda like Dead Kennedys going without Jello or Misfits with just Jerry Only, no Doyle and Glen. It's a sham, and shouldn't be supported in any way. I've always been very opinionated on this subject. How do you feel about this one?
Kyle: Certain bands can pull that stuff off like D.R.I. because I mean they still have Spike (Cassidy) and Kurt (Brecht), the meat and taters of D.R.I., as apposed to Dead Kennedys, even though it's the rest of the classic line up, Klaus, Ray and Peligro, it simply is just NOT DK without Jello, period. I mean it's cool for the younger crowd to get to see that kinda stuff because they weren't around for it the first time but to people like me, and people that were there the first go around its a sham as you said. But hey they're doin' what they love and god bless 'em ahhahaha.
Zack: Dude !! You're Tim from Stalag 13 ahahaha
Tim: Yes I am !!
Kyle: When we said we were gonna play with the Wreckage lineup, we said we wanna sound like fucking Godzilla and do this the right way God dammit!! I mean we hadn't had an album out in 25 years!!
Zack: Will you sign mine ? (Hands record over to Kyle)
Kyle: Fuck yeah!! What you got here?? Ahhh, the Plug In Jesus repress. I remember signing your copy of Best Of Dr. Know in Ventura. You're kinda young to be havin' vinyl, I didn't think kids still bought music. ahahhaa
Zack: As long as bands keep puttin' out vinyl, knuckleheads like me will shell the money out for it. Not a lot of kids my age are risking money for bands they haven't heard. I think risking money, mostly your time, that and kinda keepin' things old school which, to me, is a staple in Punk Rock today as it was way back when. I mean, there was no Internet back then to just download anything and everything. You heard of bands via fanzines, word of mouth and such and you had to go down to the record shop and search for the bands that were out at that time and if they were good, you bought it. I mean, it's cool finding a 7" that stands out of the bunch and takin' a gamble with your money on a band you never heard of and gettin' home and throwing it on and rockin' out to it. It's a good feeling knowing that you went through that whole "ritual" and finding something new. I mean, I check some bands on the net sometimes before I go look for their stuff and buy it but for the most part I see something rad and pick it up. It's hit and miss. I keep what I like, share with friends, and give away or trade the duds. That's why I like buying the 7 inches 'cause they're cheap and if it's a dud, the loss isn't as bad as shelling out 10-20 bux (at the most) on a full length. To me, I like to do shit the old school way because to me it's an Art of some sort that isn't practiced by a majority of people these days, even with most of the "Punk Rockers" around that are my age. I think doing things the way they were done back in the day keeps a certain tradition alive.
Kyle: You couldn't have said it any better. It's bad ass knowing that things are still done a certain way and I think that's why certain bands are held so near and dear to the hardcore fanatics. I mean, how many people these days spend the time sifting through an endless amount of records on their day off, after working their dick off all week for a 7" with maybe 2-3 songs on it. It's the hardcore fanatics like that, that keep me and other old fucks in bands, keep trucking, buying records, going to shows and buying merch, supporting the people who break their nuts to keep this kind mentality/music that only small amounts of people out of the billions worldwide is a fuckin statement man. To lose money putting out a band maybe less than 50 people in the world will ever hear shows the dedication and passion that's kept bands and fans around for years and years. It's something special to me on a personal level to have a crazy bastard like yourself travel hundreds of miles to see us play and for us to meet you and hear how songs we wrote 20-30 years ago have made such an impact on you and that's what drives you to start a band, zine, label, is fucking great.
Tim: What's this interview for? I haven't seen a kid do this shit since the old days hahaha I am fucking getting old, Jesus ahhaahah I can't believe you're still alive after the Ventura show AHAHAHHAHHAAH
Kyle: Ill Repute just love you ahhahaha We couldn't stop laughing when you kept stealing Tony's (Ill Repute) drinks the second he would turn his head to bowl and you were yelling the lyrics for Look At Me.
Tim: Funniest shit ever was when he (Zack) went up to Ismael while he was talking to Brandon (Cruz) and asked Ismael to sign his record and said he was a gnarly bass player. Then Ismael started handing the record to get Brandon to sign it and he was like "I'll sign it too - you have a pen?" This fuckin kid snatched it from Brandon's hands and said No Thanks - You Suck, turned and walked away laughing so fuckin hard. The look on Brandon's face was fuckin priceless! So I walked up and bought this fucker a drink and asked him why he didn't let Cruz sign the shit and I swear to God he said "That guy's fuckin' wack! He sucked in Dr. Know, then went and sucked in Dead Kennedys. As a diehard fan I had to put my 2 cents in. Hopefully that should keep him from joining any other bands and making them suck." hahahahahhaahhahha I've heard lots of people say they never liked Cruz, this fuckin Vegas kid of all people says it to his face... that's a diehard fucking fan!
Zack: Fuckin' Hell, when I heard about this show, I fuckin made it a mission to be here. A lot of my friends wanted to fuckin' go to that show. There were a lot of Punk bands that crossed over to Thrash, most of them just didn't fucking hit but you guys, Wasted Youth, and D.R.I. did and fuckin ripped. My buddies never heard Wreckage and when I showed 'em they were fuckin' asking me to burn CD's for 'em ahhhahahah FUCKING CITY WHEELS!!!!!
Kyle: It's crazy fucks like you that make the shows a blast. Jumpin' off stage and slamming like a madman, and just havin fun. I thought you were out for the count when you jumped on the guy with the camera and he kicked you dead in the face...
Tim: That was brutal man. You did a number on his camera for sure but the face kick was uncalled for.
Zack: Hey shit happens. He apologized right before we started the Interview. He was supposed to film the Adolescents right now but he said I cracked his lens ahhaahahaha That's cool you guys came out with Adolescents, they fuckin rip. Tony Foresta and Land Phil from Municipal Waste were here too. They caught me and I said Holy shit! What are you guys doin' here? They were stoked and told me they were huge fans of you guys and wanted to catch your set before they played an hour later down the street.
Kyle: Tim, Mike (Purdy - Bassist) and I are fans of Municipal Waste. ahahhhhaa I think what they're doing for the Thrash scene is fantastic. It seems with the last few years there's been a sort of Thrash revival (if you will) and the kids are just eating it up. Like I said before, the way things are goin for us there's many more shows to come. If people keep showin' up, we have no reason for stopping. 25 years to not be playing is a long time and coming back and seein' the kids showing up and having fun is mind boggling. The crowd looks the same as 20+ years ago. Like anything in Life, what you get out is what you put in.
Zack: Will we be seeing a new album with the current line up? I mean, Brandon put one or 2 albums (feeble attempts) out, hardcore fans of the REAL Dr. Know wanna hear some new stuff. I'd imagine with 25 years of being out of the game you must have been working on material.
Kyle: Well I will say this - I haven't just been sittin' on my ass ahhahahah So I've been working on some stuff. I mean, it's what we do, we're all constantly working on new stuff. You know when you put out an album you gotta make a record that you wanna hear, you know what I'm saying??
Zack: Man, when I first heard City Wheels I was just blown away. It blows me away how many people I know never even knew bout that record. They all know Best Of and Plug In Jesus, but only a few know This Island Earth and Wreckage In Flesh. Those albums, I think, best define Dr. Know as a Metal band. You guys always stood apart from the rest of the "Thrash/Crossover" bands because everybody turned to fast double bass drums as opposed to you guys just got heavier and darker, not so much of the speed. I mean, some of my favorite tracks from you guys gotta be 3F2, Pandora's Box, the D.O.A. cover is fuckin gnarly. I have a live boot of you guys in Pittsburgh in '84 when you guys played as a 3 piece and another bitchin' track is Black Mirror off that boot.
Kyle: Shit man I forgot about that one, Jesus, you really dug deep to get that boot I bet hahahaahaha
Zack: I thought Freddy from False Confession playing with Dr. Know was just phenomenal. Your guys playing really fuckin' compliment each other. The trade offs between you guys on Life Returns are just flawless. What led to his departure from Dr. Know?
Kyle: I agree he was very talented and he grew up on the Metal shit like me so we had a bunch of the same influences and that led to our similar styles in playing. His departure from Dr. Know was his choice because he wanted to do the False Confession and I said shit, do what you gotta. And when they released the F.C. stuff it was just out of this world. The songs were dark, and really crushing. You throw some speed to that mix and you get some serious fucking shit going. They are a phenomenal band who are still as of recently back in the fold of playing again. And they sound better than ever and we look forward to playing many gigs with them. The kids were really eating them up when they came back, and if you're an F.C. fan you should know why because as a live band they are a force to be reckoned with.
Zack: Back to talking about This Island Earth and Wreckage In Flesh, as a vinyl collector are there any represses of these two seminal albums available? I would hope there are because of the represses of Plug In Jesus and the Best Of along with many other Mystic releases I see floating around.
Kyle: No there are not. Mystic repressed the early stuff because that's all Mystic shit. Everything in the latter part of our career was on Metal Blade. We, along with many other Mystic bands weren't happy with the way Doug Moody was running Mystic and totally rippin' off every band on that damn label. None of the bands receive any money whatsoever from the sales on the reissued stuff. Everybody really got fucked in the ass by Mystic, but that's life.
Zack: I consider Mystic to be one of the best labels of all time with the roster it had. It's a shame that all the bands that made Mystic such a powerhouse label that it once was were totally taken advantage of. From what I've read on the net and asked members from other bands like Ill Repute and Agression, was that Doug Moody signed all these powerhouse bands and recorded them at no charge for the rights to all recorded material. I mean, you guys were my age and thought yeah, just put us out there and take whatever, not thinking 20 years down the road you'd still be around and playing, not really knowing the influence and the demand for those recordings are still in high demand, which explains all the represses and such. I also think for you guys not making a dime on your old catalog is a fucked up thing. but I also look at even though you guys got fucked over, there's such a high demand for classic bands to still be playing and have a young growing fan base. I mean, if there were no represses or shit like that, the Mystic bands wouldn't be as popular on a world wide basis if the label just came to a screeching halt. I mean, had This Island Earth and Wreckage In Flesh had been Mystic releases, those albums would be in circulation along with the early material also .
Kyle: You're definitely right about us classic bands still being popular and gaining younger newer fans over the world because of re-released material, which is something that plays in a bands role to be still relevant with the current hardcore Punk that's coming out today. It's really fucking great seein' the youngsters that rep what bands made an impact on them, which is also a factor in keeping bands relevant. I just wish things went differently then, how it went down with all these bands of kids being taken advantage of and pretty much exploited to keep the constant cash flow into the pockets of Doug (Moody). For bands that grew up broke as shit, to have such a huge impact on the youth around the world, to not be making a fucking penny, is just a shitty situation. Some of us are still broke you know? ahhhaha Yeah, we weren't about making tons of cash, but to not get a piece of what the sales from albums were is just terrible. I mean, a lot of bands got ripped off back then because nobody thought of the impact that these bands made over time. Now in recent years there's been a huge resurgence in 80's Hardcore Punk because of movies being made about the good ol' days, and these big festivals being held all around the U.S. and classic bands playing these shows, there's a demand for bands to reform and do shows. A lot of bands stayed active throughout the late 80's and 90's, such as D.R.I., Dayglo Abortions, D.O.A., and so forth, have pretty much played their asses off to still be relevant, even in these new shitty music trends. Releasing an album here and there and touring, and just constantly being active has made the demand for these inactive bands to come back. I'm happy with festivals, such as the Punk Rock Bowling one held by BYO every year here in Vegas. If we can't make a dime off our old catalog, we can at least make SOME money playing these huge shows and what not. And with the Internet, it's very easy to contact these bands and talk them into reforming and playing in whatever city people want them to play.
Zack: That's why I try and do as much as I can and bug these bands to play here. They've paid their dues and I think these bands should be making money after the many hardships of being ripped off and to staying true by not playing shit to appeal to the mainstream masses, but to the few select crowd of the people who take what these bands do very seriously and believe in the message of true underground music. If more people got off their asses and stopped bitchin' about not having shows and contacting bands and booking shows themselves, I believe a rise in the true hardcore fans that believe in the ethics that this genre of music, have a chance to get more bands heard all over and more people becoming involved in helping anyway they can, this kind of music will gain popularity and good bands will be poppin' up at the same rate as shitty bands and have the same opportunity to actually make a living playing non-corporate bullshit. The music has always had a strong 'work hard and make change' kind of message, and that change starts with the individual and from there it slowly but SURELY grows.
Kyle: That's absolutely right Zack, and it's good that you and others share the same ideals and ethics in coming together to be stronger, because it can happen. Don't wait for change, get up and make it god dammit!!!!!!!
Zack: Well that's about it. I'd like to thank you so much for missing the Adolescents set to talk to me and hopefully this will inspire people to do something. It certainly has done wonders for me to hear positive words of encouragement from a band that has certainly inspired me to be doing what I love. Playing, writing, not just music but to come up with new ideas and revamped old ideas to create a positive growth in fans and participants in taking a stand and doing something that could possibly change the underground music scene, but also the world. Please keep doing what you're doing and keeping this shit alive and kicking.
Kyle: Zack, thank you for supporting not just us, but the music scene in general, and hopefully what you're doing will inspire the youth to do the same and take a stand against what is wrong in the world and fight for the positive change that is the key to unlocking the endless possibilities of prosperity. Whether it be the growth of righteousness between you and I or be the coming together of the many different cultures that inhabit this giant world we live in.