interview with Dayglo Abortions

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Have any of you played in other bands?  Between the four members of the dayglo abortions we are in somewhere around 25 to 30 bands. Matt Fiorito (our newest member) is in I believe 18 bands including the dayglos. I am personally in 4 bands and the other two guys are in at least a few bands each.

How is it that you started playing music? For as long as I can remember, right back to early childhood, I wanted to play music. It took me a while to learn but I finally started my first band in 1976 when I was 16. We only played a couple of shows but we were playing mostly original material which was completely unheard of at the time.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?

I am ( as I previously stated) Murray Acton (the cretin) and I sing and play guitar. I am 56 years old.

The other guitar player is Matt Fiorito. I'd say that Matt is in his mid 40's somewhere

On bass we have Willy Jak who is in his mid to late 40.

And on drums we have Blind Marc and he's in his 40's as well. I'm sure that all the middle aged punk bands clutching on to the last tattered rags of their youth, say something along these lines like...”sure I've been through some lineup changes, but this current lineup is the best lineup ever..” But it's true in our case. Really. I'll take you through the history.

The dayglo abortions were started in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 1980 by myself – guitar and vocals, Jesus Bonehead  on drums, spud aka couch potato etc... on bass..  After a couple of years we added another guitar player, or as it turned out a few other guitar players in sequence of other guitar players starting with Wayne Gretsky on Feed Us A Fetus then Nev the Impailer, then Mike Jak. Then in the mid 90's  I left the band to do other music and Bonehead and Spud decided to keep going by hiring a couple of guitar players and a singer.  I am eternally grateful to those guys for putting some hard years keeping the band alive, and not getting a lot of love from the old fan base.  I believe it was 1999 when the drummer and acting manager (Bonehead) talked me into playing an anniversary show of sorts with them. The lineup would be Spud on bass, Bonehead on drums, me on guitar and vocals, plus their current singer (Gymbo), and guitar player Hung. It was a great show and it reminded me of how much fun it was playing in the dayglos so when they (Bonehead) asked me if I would consider rejoining the band to make another album and do some touring I agreed on the condition that nobody was going to be kicked out just because I had returned. I didn't think that was fair. After all the work they had done playing to smaller and not so enthusiastic crowds (the bands fans felt that it was not really the dayglo abortions without me singing and writing the songs and the two albums they did in my absence were not well received, and to be honest, I don't think the guys in  the band understood my sense of humor anywhere near as good as it turns out a lot of the bands fans did. Basically, they wanted to be rock stars  and they wanted all the meaningless crap that goes along with that. That, to me, is a ridiculous, and shallow dream, and I believe that the last thing the world  needs is more arrogant self serving rock star assholes playing watered down drivel, wrecking hotel rooms, and raping and pillaging everywhere they go. But that's just my personal take on shit) Anyway, so, I wrote the boys another album (Death Race 2000, my tribute to substance abuse). We now had two singers and traded back and forth during the set and it was good but there was conflict. Fist Spud had been enjoying dictating the “artistic direction” the band would take and if I was going to work with the band again, they had to follow my vision to the note ( will admit to being what some people would call a Band Nazi, I am quite intolerant to anything that strays from “my vision” as it were.. by the way I am only like that when it gets to the band, I would like to think that I am normally very tolerant and open minded in all the other aspects of my life). So it was not long before Spud left the group and was replaced on bass by Hung, who was a much better bass player than Spud was anyway. Unfortunately he wanted to play guitar so he was replaced by Will Jak in I think 2004. We then recorded another album (Holy Shiite, which was sort of my take on religion) Still with two singers but things were never smooth between Gymbo and myself. He was essentially a homophobic jock who wanted to be a rock star and fuck as many groupies as he could to continually prove that he was not gay. His behavior became more and more embarrassing, and it wasn't fooling anyone but himself, so before long he had a big blow out with Bonehead and that was it for him.  (In defense of Gymbo, he worked very hard for the band, and now seems to have come to terms with the fact that he just might be at least a little bit gay, and is now a much nicer person to deal with, but that is another story) So the band was back to being a three piece again. Just like it was in the beginning but with Will Jak on bass. We did a fair bit of touring around then, the fans were loving it because it was finally back the way they wanted it all along. When we played shows in the United States though we had to use another drummer because Mr. Bonehead could not get across the border due to stepped up security after 911. That is where Blind Marc came into the picture. He became the dayglos drummer for the american tours, and we were really something with him on drums. He had played in another band with Will Jak already and is an absolute machine on drums. One of the very best punk drummers anywhere. Will and Blarc (as we call him) very rapidly became the most solid bass/drums team I had ever played with to say that I was not even slightly dismayed when Bonehead decided to pack it in would be the understatement of the century. Finally the band was playing at a level that made me very proud to be part of. Since then we have added another guitar player again.  So there you have it, the current line of the dayglo abortions is, Blarc, Will, Matt and myself, and we are without out any doubt, the best lineup the band has ever had. 

Have you had other previous members over the years? I think I just answered this one.

Did you make music even when you were young? I got my first guitar when I was eight I think. It was a cheap acoustic and really hard to play but I did manage to figure out how to play the intro to “down on the corner” by CCR on it and me and two friends rocked out all summer long in the garage  playing it until all of our parents were sick of hearing the same 5 or 6 notes over and over.

Where are you from? I am from Canada. It is a vast, predominately uninhabited place north of the United States bigger than China, but not as big as Russia. I live on Vancouver Island just off the west coast. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Victoria is a small city with a population around ¼ million people.. It is surrounded by beaches and forests, and there is very little crime. (except for crimes related to drugs...there is probably more drugs here than anywhere on earth and there is some social chaos because of it)

What year did the band form? 1980

What's your style of genre?

The dayglos get classified as a “punk band” but I don't think that is very accurate. We do have some punk songs and

I guess we have a “punk attitude” whatever that is, but we have always played a mixture of punk and metal. Barney the singer of Napalm Death told me that we were one of the first bands he heard that was playing metal songs with punk lyrics. And Napalm Death does a cover of one of our songs. That was a huge compliment.

What inspires you? Seeing a good band  play live is one of my biggest inspirations. Sometimes I can't even sit through their set because I have to go home and play. I get most of my lyrical ideas from events happening in the world. I can't stand war, and oppression. Or corrupt systems that take advantage of vulnerable people. But at the same time I write quite a few silly songs too. I have found that if you can get people laughing, they let down their guard and it's easier to get them to go along with something they might not have accepted otherwise. I think that's why you see a lot of very political stand up comics.

How often and where do you reherse? Well two of the bands I'm in are new and they both practice regularly (at least twice a week, sometimes more) The dayglo abortions have been playing together for so long we can almost read each others minds. The dayglos only practice before we record because I have to show the guys the new material.

How have you developed since you started with the music? Music is everything to me. It is the thing I am most interested in so I study it. I practice guitar and drums and other instruments every day. Since our first record My playing is much better. SO is my songwriting.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band? When I was younger I worked in electronic engineering. I designed custom analog to digital interfaces for a bunch of scientists in a Materials Testing lab. They would take samples of different material (carbon fiber, Kevlar, etc) and they would find out how much stress it would take. I built the gadgets that measured the stress. It was a good job but it was not what I wanted to be doing. Unfortunately it was too good of a job to quit so I worked their for 18 years until they shut the lab down and I was set free. Now I do music full time. I don't have very much money, but I'm way happier doing what I feel I was born to do.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? We use booking agencies. Typically you would get one for each country, then have someone (like a manager) to keep everything coordinated.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We are on a label called Unrest Records. They are originally from Canada but now they are based out of Brussels

What made you decide to make this music? As I said, I wanted to play music since I was very young. When I was 16 my friends and I had started to get in trouble with the law. We were experimenting with drugs, stealing cars, breaking into pharmacies to steal drugs. All kinds of bad things which could ruin a persons life if you got caught. I did get charged with a couple of minor offenses as a juvenile, and Spud got charged with breaking into a pharmacy and was sentenced to 1 year in an adult jail because he was 17. When he got out we all unanimously decided to start a band and start playing music instead of committing crimes. We still kept experimenting with drugs but again, that is another story.

What are your songs about? The early songs are mostly about the angst of youth. I have throughout my life, used my songs to help me understand the complicated and scary parts of life. I use satire and sarcasm to ridicule the things I don't agree with. I am trying to be a bit more positive in my music but it's difficult sometimes. Especially when I am bombarded by american media all the time. For the past year or more now it has been non-stop Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Absolute insanity but good material for punk songs.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Ihave written just about all of the music and lyrics to our songs, except for the occasional riff that I steal from Black Sabbath.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Generally I start with the lyrics. When I get some lyrics flying around in my head there is always a melody attached to it. It's not always the melody that ends up being used for the song but it's a good place to start.

Do you compose in a certain inviroment? I get a lot of my ideas when I'm riding my bike. I do a lot of riding, it's my main transportation, and it has a nice rhythm to it. The rhythm of it seems to encourage musical ideas.

Have you done any covers live? Oh sure, not many but a few over the years.

What language do you sing in? English

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? We have played lots of shows to very small crowds. Several times to less than 10 people. (that is when you really have to rock the shit out of the place because when you do it blows those 10 peoples minds and they tell everyone they know about it) about one month ago we played a set at the Montabello Rockfest in Quebec Canada and there was some between 50,000 to 60,000 people in watching when we played. That was the biggest crowd I have ever played to. (here's a link to some footage from that show https://youtu.be/OLVeAUEqGLc)

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Iam happy to say that we get people that range in age from over 50 and too young to get into a bar. We play all ages shows from time to time but they are rare.  It is very common for young people in their teens or early twenties to tell me that they learned about my band from their parents.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We try our best to mix up the set from night to night but there are quite a few songs that the fans absolutely insist on hearing so that makes it difficult. We about 25 songs in a set and there is at least 10 or 15 that have to be there so that doesn't leave us much room to slip in songs from the new album. What we do from time to time is play one of the old albums from the first song to the last. That's pretty fun.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? We probably play in Vancouver more than any other place even though it's not our home town. (we play in Victoria less than once a year where we might play Vancouver 3 or 4 times but it's a much bigger city than victoria.

What was your first gig like?

With my first, second, and third bands, our first gig was essentially an all out riot. The main reason for this is it was back in the 70's and early 80's and punk rock was not popular to say the least. We were consider freaks and it was  common for a bunch of rugby players, or hockey players, or just plain assholes to come to our shows and pick fights

What was your latest gig? Mylast gig was the one I gave you the link to up above.

Have you had to cancel a gig? Yes, we have missed quite a few shows in the United States because we kept getting kicked out of the country for not having work visas. These days we have to get the work visas or they wont let us in. Apparently Donald Trump doesn't like illegal aliens coming into his country and working.

Where have you played live this year? All of our show so far this year have been in Canada but in October (if we get the work visas in time) we have 20 shows down the west coast of the States, then we fly to Europe for 20 more, then back to the States for another 20 after that.

Where do you plan to gig the comming year? everywhere

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? we started making merch pretty well right when we started. It was obvious that it would generate money and promote the band. The dayglos have a range of merch usually (some of it is seasonal like hoodies) but we have t-shirts in several designs, patches, we have had ball hats and touques, beer covers, bottle openers, lighters. All kinds of stuff, even the occasional book, then there is the records and cd's also.

Where can people buy your merchandise? Right now you could get merch from Unrest Records at www.unrestrecords.com .

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I look at it as a very powerful way that bands that don't have the support of a major label and their distribution network can establish themselves internationally. I'm happy that our music is available on the pirates bay and similar sites because it means that the music is available around the world for free. That makes it easy for people who haven't heard the bands music to check us out without forking over some money. I find that when they like it they will buy a hard copy off of us at a show because it has lyrics and other interesting stuff, and people tend to want to support the things that they like, and when they know that the money is actually going to the band, they can be quite generous.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Well it's been kicking the shit out of them hasn't it, and they deserve it. They have been gouging the consumers and ripping off the bands for way too long.

What do you think of my work? You have certainly made yourself quite visible on the internet, and you seem to be enjoying yourself in the process. I like the fact that you appear to cover a variety of styles. I think when people get to focused on one particular style and exclude all the rest they are missing out on all kinds of cool stuff and doing their followers a disservice. But that seems to be a big problem in the world these days...people would rather have all their information pre-filtered by their social group rather than go and get it first hand themselves. It leaves them open to deception by the people they select as their leaders.

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I think it is crucial these days for musicians to communicate with their fans in as direct a fashion as is possible. They days of super-human rock stars running around smashing the windows of five star hotels is over and done. At least in my world anyway. I am just a normal person, in fact I am probably more flawed than most when it gets down to it. I experience the same things as everyone else and I put it to music so other people can share my experience. When punk rock started it was the fanzines that the bands used to communicate with their potential audience. Now thanks to the multimedia nature of the internet people like you can use a variety of technologies to present information to an international audience. Of course the artists have to be respectful to their fans and the world in general because if they are not they can offend a much larger audience very rapidly and as has happened several times in the past few years, they end up getting crucified on social media with their careers in ruins. Fortunately respectful behavior comes naturally to me because my parents raised my sister and I to have respect for everything and everyone regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. We are all people with basically the same goals, and the same rights.

Do you have any role models or idols? My two main influences ( I guess they were my heroes of a sort) growing up were first, John Lennon. The music he wrote blew my mind and still does. It was from him that I learned how influential musicians could be. When he said that the Beetles were bigger than God, what he really meant was that they had more influence on what people thought than God. The other thing I learned from him was, if you want to get peoples attention, stick something disturbing and profane and controversial in your song. When he said “woman is the nigger of the world” people were loosing it. Accusing him of being racist and  sexist and the likes, but at the same time it provoked dialog.  My second big influence was Frank Zappa. It was from him that I learned about the use of  sarcasm and satire as tools to critique the world.

Why do you think that they exist? I don't really understand what you mean by this. Why do they exist. Isn't that the big question that all the philosophers and mystics have tried to answer. Why are we here. Is the a purpose to life, or is it all just a cosmic coincidence?

Whatare your plans for the future?  I'm thinking that I will continue to get older and older until one day my heart finally explodes on stage somewhere.

Do you have something to add? Yes my hands are sore from typing. This just might be the most grueling and rigorous interview I have ever done. You got me at a good time when I'm not busy and it's good mental exercise to do these things, you end up doing some soul searching where you can make sure you're still doing what you think you're doing. If you don't mind I may reproduce some of your questions with the answers in a “canned interview” that I can send to people with less inspiring questions (some of them are really dull) I will of course give you credit for it.

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