For those who hath a poopy butt™
Usually I find myself bored with area bands, they tend to be self serving and that gets boring pretty fast. The need to support local talent is a piss-poor excuse to buy a record (or a shabby tape), As long as their interesting and express originality and not just jumping on the current bandwagon (then REM, now JANES ADDICTION Vs. THE CULT), I can stomach their company, One of the more palatable musicians one might stumble across on the floor of an area club would be GREGORY MCCORMICK, alias ITCHY of SHOCK THERAPY, That ever-changing infamous band of hooligans known for their unhealthy disturbances on a stage. Itchy gave birth to Shock Therapy in 1984 after he and co-hort Keith Jackson grew tired of their first band (THE GERBILS 1983) unwillingness to experiment with new sounds, They were a die-hard punk band in fear of the infamous keyboard and its possible influence on the then stale and comfortable music industry. Well then many people had nasty things to say about the electric guitar when it was still a toy. Anyway, these two guys were getting into the new gloom thing and wanted to beef it up a little. They didnt waste any time, they put together a band and wrote enough material get some shows, then heads down the TENNESSEE way and cut their first album.
It wasnt long after they were approached by fundamental records who wanted manufacture and distribute it across AMERICA and overseas. This lead to a fast growing following in GERMANY and the release of a second album, "MY UNSHAKABLE BELIEF". The album didnt attract a lot of interest in the U.S., but sold very well in Europe. This lead to their GERMAN first tour which was a eclectic success.
They returned home hungover and full of glee. They decided to play some more area shows which could be referred to as a bit less than a Disaster. This led to a less than enthusiastic attitude from club owners toward booking them. Alas, Itchy was filled with sadness and left the clublife to contemplate his career and lawless social life.
After coming to terms with an array of bad habits, he was able to clean up his act and start on the road of mending his ways. By the winter of 1988 they were rehearsing their Lp, "TOUCH ME AND DIE" with their german drummer, PHILIPP ADENACKER, whom they picked up on the last tour. The album was soon recorded and released in Europe on PLAY IT AGAIN SAM/FUNDAMENTAL RECORDS and became quickly successful in the German Indie charts. Ranking in the top 10 for weeks and it even touched on number 1. It never received a domestic release do to label difficulties, but was imported heavily by the winter of 1989. Once again they were called to Germany to do another tour which put them heavy in the German market. Doing more shows and in bigger clubs.
Now we find them once again in the studio and preparing to do an extensive tour including DENMARK, GERMANY, HOLLAND, BELGIUM, SPAIN, AUSTRIA, FRANCE and ENGLAND for a possible PEEL session. So considering the impending fame (as we did with NINE INCH NAILS before they hit the big time), we thought it just to harass them with an interview.
What prompted you to start SHOCK THERAPY ?
At the time I was in the GERBILS and we were playing a BLACK FLAG type Hardcore music and I wanted to start working more with synthesizers and the rest of the band did not. So Keith and I left and started getting a new band together and started experimenting with keyboards and writing songs where the guitar became a secondary instrument.
What bands influenced your new sound ?
At the time I was heavy into the GANG OF FOUR and GARY NUMAN. I listened to Gary Numan all the time and I ready liked what those bands were doing, Keith was a big KILLING JOKE fan and he got me interested in them to.
Where do you get a lot of your current inspiration from ? Are you very religious ?
I write songs in blocks, sort of. I will wait for a feeling to hit and then it all comes out- many times I am not really aware of what I am writing until I am finished, the words come first usually and then I move it onto the emulator As for being religious, I have always felt as though God has played a part in my career, as though he were steering - my poetry is definitely inspired from something other than everyday horseshit, whether God, ghosts, or Arthur Guiness does the inspiring I havent really put much thought into it, free association maybe even.
You mentioned you were working with a poem by BUKOWSKI, what exactly are you doing ?
I originally got the idea from reading his books and I was reading a poem (GENIUS IN THE CROWD) and it seemed to click with what I was doing musically so I called his agent about using it, So he picked up a copy of our album and liked us and gave us the go ahead to use it. We just finished recording it and it will be on the next album.
Do you try to deliver any particular type of message with your music ?
Not anything in particular, my own interpretation of what I have been writing is that I am describing reality, nothing more or less, whether that reality is on my own terms or that I am a spokesman for all humanity is up for my listeners to decide.
Do you find you are influenced much by what other bands are doing or do you keep primarily out of touch with current trends ?
Umm, I think I purposely ignore the trendiest of groups but I still enjoy listening to Ministry, I dont feel that I am being influenced by anything because I really dont ever sit down to write a song that sounds like anything else. To say Im not influenced by styles of other bands would be a lie, but then again nobody is purely original, except for maybe Iggy Pop who started the whole punk movement anyways, I only listen to about three other bands who pose no threat to my music or influence me in any great way.
Do you feel neglected by the lack of response In the U.S. market ? Do you feel its from lack of promotion or a general lack of enthusiasm ?
Everything you said has a ring of truth to it, there is not one reason I could put my finger on, perhaps if the band played in the U.S. we would sell more, but the way I have been looking at it lately is why should I play for prove-it-to-me audiences in the states when we play for highly appreciative European audiences who buy my records and applaud and slam-dance and ask me for autographs and interviews? I figure that we will get so big in Benelux, Germany, and the rest of Europe that the Americans will catch on to us just because they always blindly buy what the Europeans buy first, God bless their sheep-like tastes.
Do you plan to do a tour to support the new upcoming album ?
I talked to the president of Play It Again, Sam, he wants to put us on tour in the U.S.A. and Canada, they have already booked us in Europe for May through July, He called me at the recording studio to make sure everything was happening without recourse.
Philipp, how did you first get involved with Shock Therapy ?
I met him at a sex club, He was selling butt.
You, shut up. Well, I was working in THE ROSE CLUB in Cologne, and they were playing there, and my boss came to me and said they lost their drummer and do I know anyone to play with them. I said yes, I know how to play some of their music, I can do it. You see, I sometimes practiced my drums to the record and, I liked them and, here I am.
We were on our first German tour, and we discovered our drummer (***** ********) was a homosexual, and he, when he learned that we knew, he felt very uncomfortable. So he hopped on a plane home. Which left us without a drummer in the middle of a tour. We didnt care about the gay thing, but leaving put us on the spot.
Is it difficult holding a band together when your drummer fives in a different country (Germany) ?
Yes, and no. It is difficult because it seems in the past year Ive been trying to solidify members and having Herr Adenacker in Germany is preventing that from happening, but, as Tex once told me, the only person who I really care about in the band and the world is myself, no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. I think he is correct in the band aspect, at least, other people I know think the latter as well, Philipp is a good drummer and he is working well right now with the group, his longevity as a member of the band is as good as anybodys I guess.
What, the hell ?
Do you have any plans for a solo project in the near future ?
The way I see it is that every album so far has been a solo project anyways, so whether I changed the albums names to Shock Therapy, Itchys Shock Therapy, or just Itchy wouldnt make a shit bit o difference, if people dont know that Im the whole band by now then -they are either blind or stupid.
So generally you work with a group of studio musicians, an ever changing line-up, does the changing input help your sound to grow an develop ?
It has, as is evident in the earlier albums especially, for now I dont think that I give a flying fuck what anybody wants to input, this makes things real crystal clear and much easier when it comes to recording, etc., lately I have been giving band members a tape of what I want done and there we have it.
So are there any musicians you actually respect or would want to work with ?
Ive always respected the musicians in Gang Of Four, I would like to play with Andy Gill (the guitarist from same) someday, and I try to keep up with Martin Atkins drumming (now in Ministry and Killing Joke), besides that most other bands and/or musicians are all the same to me substandard drivel, unworthy of my attention.
What do you feel sets you and your music apart from the rest of the music industry ?
We are not a trend-minded group, we dont follow any of the cliche death-gothic-acid house-hardcore-metal-boring techno stick-another-dildo-up-my-ass music, that in itself makes us different from 99.9 percent of all the other bands in the world, hell, you ask any devoted Shock Therapy fan what kind of music we are and they couldnt give you on straight forward reply, we are everything and nothing, original, assaulting, insulting, but never trendy.
Do you feel that may have some bearing on your U.S. status or the taste of the American people ? Maybe they see your music as alien or even unsafe.
Maybe their afraid of original music.
Philipp, have you worked with any bands in Germany ?
Oh yea, I had a couple bands, last, two or three years, The ever first band was called THE EXPERIENCE, and we covered HENDRIX tunes.
What kind of music do you listen to ?
My favorite music to listen to is Industrial synthesizer stuff, right now at the moment. I dont like these guitar crossover bands anymore, at all. Everybody is doing that kind-of-HeavyMetal thing right now, its like a fashion. Thats why I like the weird stuff. CLICK CLICK is a very good band, I like them a lot, I like THROBBING GRISTLE a lot, but I dont like that PSYCHICK T.V. stuff anymore. Some of the old stuff I like, but the ACID HOUSE stuff I dont like at all.
I cant understand the appeal to Acid House. Its like mindless drivel, music that lacks any intellectual qualities, It requires no thought and why people would want to not think is stupid.
In the past youve been known to indulge in a wide range of controlled substances in an uncontrolled manner, any comment ?
Ive gone through a living nightmare with drugs and drinking but I have cleaned and purged myself of the devils that lead me down that path. I have been clean for nine months, and will remain so, I believed at one time in my life that by dousing myself with as much acid, coke, barbiturates, liquor, etc. as possible in order to create- until I realized that any asshole can be a drug addict, I have a free-standing creative talent that does not need drugs, and which is actually inhibited by alien substances, I am fucked up enough without having garbage floating around my bloodstream fucking it up even more. I have written the new album completely drug free and it is much better than anything Ive ever done, It is harder, faster, more intelligent.
What is on the horizon for Shock Therapy then ?
Im in the middle of recording the fourth album, it will be called CANCER, with the advance from the album Im buying a recording facility soas I can do my albums at home and at my leisure, on the next tour there will be C.D, available that I will record in my new studio by myself and be available on a limited basis... Im not really sure what Play It Again Sam has in mind for the band, they are confident that CANCER is going to sell well, so as long as the money keeps coming in I will continue to expand the catalogue and maybe I can buy a house next year.
So now we bid farewell to Greg and his merry band of delinquents, warning all our readers to beware the release of their upcoming album CANCER, you may just like it.