One of the best debut albums I’ve heard in quite some time happens to be ‘Out Of My Head’ it’s jam-packed with influences ranging from the good to the greats and the passion and energy poured into every groove of the LP is evident to the listener. I tapped Matt up for an interview with RPM and he was happy to oblige. If you’re lucky enough to have the band roll into a town near you I suggest you cancel whatever it is you’re doing and get down to the Rock and Roll show. But hey check em out then support them and Dead Beat Records because we need more bands like this making music on labels like that. So lets cut the crap and get down to the chatter that mattered Ladies and Gents boys and girls Matt from Poison Boys…
When did the band form and let us know a little about where you grew up and what inspired you guys to pick up an instrument and play Rock and Roll?
I grew up right outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana, about 1 minute from the border of Illinois. Been obsessed with rock n roll since I was a kid. Me and my friend Mike Lippman had been playing in punk bands together since we were young teenagers and finally decided we wanted to start a rock n roll band. I played drums throughout those years but wanted to play guitar if it was a rnr band so started figuring out Ramones songs and went from there.
Mike and I collaborated on nearly all of the early songs, he’d write riffs or I would, and I’d write vocals and he’d help me with the lines sometimes. First ones we wrote were Been Here All Night, Out of My Head, Cut Right Out, Bad Mouth, Without You and a couple of others. Unfortunately, Mike passed away before we could complete a lot of other songs which I ended up finishing later like Headed for Disaster, Got to Tease, and Up to the Sky among others. We always wanted it to be a well rounded rock n roll group, not just one specific sound the whole record or anything. But not to stray too far outside of the rock n roll spectrum.
You’ve released a couple of singles before the album came along with the first two being on the excellent UK label no front teeth. How did that come about? How did a label out of London pick up some guys in Chicago? Is the line up stable now? your almost in Spinal Tap territory for past members already
I found out about No Front Teeth from reading a PORK magazine and either seeing an NFT ad or a record review with NFT as the label it was released on. Just emailed Marco and he was super down to help us get our first (and second) 7″ out. Really I could not find any snotty punk labels in the states at all. Even now I only know of like 2 or 3 and that’s it. And if they aren’t interested or are too busy or whatever you turn to labels elsewhere that’s all.
As for the lineup… When people don’t wanna play rock n roll anymore or move out of state what do you do? The band hasn’t been around long enough to make much of an impression with anyone lineup, hasn’t had an LP or anything out prior to now so it didn’t matter to me. Granted I don’t exactly enjoy having members flake out or whatever but it is what it is. We’ve had a pretty solid lineup for about a year and a half or so with Matt “Chainz/the Chainblaster” Chaney on drums and Steve “Stevsie/Stevie Poison” Elfinger on bass at home/guitar on the road, and touring members Nico Bones on bass and Julius Lange on guitar. It’s been pretty killer getting to know and hang with all of them.
The first single was back in 2016 then ’17 then you got White Zoo to release the last one last year. Had you already signed up to dead beat to do the album by then? How come you switched for the album?
Dead Beat came about through me asking them earlier this year if they’d be interested in releasing the LP. They were very stoked especially after hearing the record, so we just had to finish up art and final mastering for it and it was a go. The 7″s were released on the other side of the pond, we were just looking for somewhere closer to get the records released by and knew Dead Beat had put out records by some of our favorite newer rock n roll bands.
Is there a chance of a European release for the record? What about touring Europe and the UK?
We’d love for it to be released by a European label! Haven’t heard anything about that yet but time will tell I suppose. We plan to set up a European tour for hopefully next year.
As far as the album goes I was really pleased to hear plenty of influences in there and some choice covers. Obviously, I have to ask why those covers? (apart from them being great songs)
Well, I was listening to a Beatles singles comp called ‘Past Masters’ and heard a banging rocker called ‘Slow Down’. Knew it had to be a cover and found out Larry Williams was the original and sounded killer!! I figured we could pull it off and should give it a go. It delivers well live so we figured it’d be a good way to help open up the album and add more bitchin’ piano to it which we love big time. As for the Dead Boys cover… that one’s always been relatable to me and it fits with our style really well I think. It’s, of course, a tribute to them and our influences getting into punk at an early age.
I love the album and think it’s one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in an age and the attitude in the songs is superb – really authentic sounding. Is there a plan to tour then record some more? are you someone who writes all the time?
Thanks man I really appreciate it. We worked hard on these songs and it’s good to finally let them have their day. Really nice to hear that people like them. We’re leaving for our “Out of My Head” East Coast/Canada Tour 2019 this week and beginning recording for our 2nd LP this week as well. Plenty still on the horizon for the Poison Boys. I write all the time even if it’s just little pieces and put them together as I go. Show ’em to the guys and get opinions and we work em out from there.
How has the reception been at the live shows? How would you describe the scene over there in Chicago? is there much of an appetite for real rock and roll?
The live shows are killer and what we love the most. People seem to love it too and get down to our set so that’s cool. I think people need this type of rock n roll but just aren’t getting it much from bands these days. Not a lot of people go to rock n roll shows around here anymore unless it’s the Stones or KISS or something. A lot of bands around here either play washed out reverb’d out psychedelic shit or shoegaze or grunge or a mixture of all that. There’s like 3 bands in Chicago that don’t do that. As with many bands, the reception on the road is way greater than at home.
There seem to be pockets of superb music coming out of America right now – any chance you cats hooking u with bands like Wyldlife, Ravagers and The Sweet Things and stealing over here for a package tour? Are there any bands you hear about currently tickling your fancy so to speak?
We generally like touring alone but are open to whatever if the situation’s right. One of our first shows ever was in Indianapolis in 2014 opening for Wyldlife. Alex from Ravagers does a lot of our artwork and we have a gig with our boys the Sweet Things coming up at Coney Island Baby in Manhattan in a couple weeks, Friday 8/02. Yeah favorite bands going on right now in the states are mostly in California, like Black Mambas, the Crazy Squeeze, the Flytraps, Dr. Boogie (although they just broke up), and also bands like Terry and Louie, our boys Jonesy from Montreal, the Rubs, our buds Big Blood from out here, stuff like that. And of course the Sweet Things out in NY. There’s a good amount of rock n roll going on elsewhere and I think it’s growing thankfully.
Listening to the album I hear some obvious inspirations from the likes of Dead Boys, Thunders, then I hear classic Stones and Faces – you guys have some of the swagger that made early Guns N Roses shine (tear Me Apart) and I love the confidence of songs like ‘Up To The Sky’ but you can also mix it up like Hanoi Rocks on songs like ‘Desperado’ it opens up options for you to go in any direction what’s on in the van currently? What are you listening to?
We listen to old protopunk shit like Berlin Brats, Hollywood Brats, Razor Boys, Nervous Eaters, Rockpile, Flamin Groovies, Stooges, all that. A lot of Johnny Thunders and Dolls stuff of course, their solo stuff right after the Dolls broke up too. Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour. But also stuff like the Nuggets comps and other more obscure comps like the Bonehead Crunchers comps and shit like that. A ton of old punk bands like Menace, the Only Ones, Teenage Head, the Saints, Chelsea, Testors, Slaughter and the Dogs, Gen X… Then Mott the Hoople for 24 hours straight, Lou Reed, Kiss, T Rex, Motorhead, the Faces, Stones. All the goods all the time. Oh yeah and the RAMONES.
If there is anything you guys need to get off your chests here’s your chance. Anything you’d like to add?
Come see us on tour!!! Buy merch, support rock n roll and keep us on the road. If you play rock n roll start a band get a shitty van and a mechanic friend and go tour. Keep this shit alive and growing and spread the love not shit talk and hate. We’re too small of a scene to be separated all the time by trivial cool guy bullshit and life’s too short to waste energy tearing each other down. It ain’t like the old days, we all know that… Rock n roll is so unimportant to modern society and we’re all we have left. We’re all in this together. Be inclusive there’s no room for hate against each other.