A Q&A with Scott Sturgeon from Leftover Crack
ATTN: Punx. The legendary Leftover Crack are coming to Durban on the 8th of February. Matt Vend had a Q&A with the lead singer Scott ‘Stza’ Sturgeon so you can get to know the anarcho-Punks a bit better before catching them live at Cool Runnings.
Whether you love them, hate them or haven’t heard of them, Leftover Crack are certainly a band that has created some interest, good or bad, since their inception in 1998, following the breakup of other noteworthy bands the members were involved with, including the pivotal ‘Choking Victim’.
Since that day, they have actively gone out to cause controversy. Following a lengthy battle with Hellcat Records (subsidiary of Epitaph) over their decision to title their album ‘Shoot The Kids At School’ in the wake of the Columbine school shootings, the band subsequently changed the name of the record to ‘Mediocre Generica’ in agreement that the act could sever ties with the label. This was followed by another controversial album title on a new label (Alternative Tentacles) entitled ‘Fuck World Trade’ which would go on to be their most critically acclaimed release.
Their latest album, ‘Constructs of the State’, was released on Fat Wreck Chords at the end of 2015 featuring other prominent acts such as Daze and Days, The Bouncing Souls and Mischief Brew. The band has been working hard on promoting it since.
I caught up with the Scott ‘Stza’ Sturgeon to get the lowdown on their first trip to South Africa and was pleasantly surprised about how much he knew about South African pop culture. Maybe this is because of Die Antwoord, he even knew about old Wickus from District 9.
The band is in South Africa for 6 shows beginning of February and decided to even give Durban a go, where other internationals don’t bother. Don’t miss one of the world’s most influential bands live in your hometown because this is unlikely to happen again. We Did This Records managed to secure the dates because the band was just that keen of seeing South Africa.
DIY: Firstly, can you please just introduce us to all the band members and their ages?
SS: My name is Scott Sturgeon and I am “this many” years old (holds up fingers). My tax ID # is 007…
Do any of you guys do anything besides music?
Does masturbation count? Alec is an accountant… like Ben Affleck, he spends hours at a time rolling hard wood over his muscles & bones while listening to ambiguous “hard rock” music. Just so he can win fights & assassinate Donald Trump. I like riding bicycles when I’m not playing music….
Tell us a little about why you wanted to come and tour to South Africa and how did it all come together?
Well, for as much as I have travelled all over the world, I’ve never been south of Egypt in your part of the world. There has been intrest for us to play in South Africa for almost 15 years, so, when we were trying to figure out where to go to last year; it kind of came together, quite suddenly really.
Your band has an interesting history, give us a little more insight into how it all began and what is C-squat (for people new to Leftover Crack)? Do you guys still live there and how has it evolved into what it is today?
That is a terrible question…
But, I will try to do all of your journalistic work for you in as few words as possible… Began as Choking Victim at C squat, an abandoned building that we occupied over 20 years ago and eventually restored to the point of fulfilling all of the legal NYC fire codes. Now we own the place. It’s an anarchist fairy tale if you can gloss over the “Lord of the Flies” style atrocities.
What are the expectations for your upcoming SA tour if any?
First and foremost, we want to enjoy the heat of summer while everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is suffering an unusually brutally cold winter. Second, we heard that “Zebra tastes like shit” and we just don’t believe that to be true. Third, I personally want to visit Isandlwana & learn more about the proud history of the Zulu nation…. did you hear the new “Tribe Called Quest”? It’s pretty good…
RIP Phife Dawg.
Tell us about your all the other acts LOC are associated with? Which ones are the most active in 2017 and how do you juggle everything?
The ones that are most relevant are Choking Victim & Star Fucking Hipsters, the latter of whom I was planning on putting a tour together for until it turned out that there was a very limited window for us to have a CV reunion before one of our core members was to be unavailable for several years… so, we have done that a bit.
Is there anything, in particular, you want to experience whilst being in Africa and is this your first trip to Africa (as individuals or as a band)?
As I mentioned, I have been to Egypt when I was quite young, but this will be my first real trip to sub Saharan Africa for sure & I believe that I speak for the whole band when I say that we’ll be disappointed if we don’t see a few of those “big 7”? Animals out in nature, I don’t even know if I got that number correct. But, as I’ve mentioned, the two-toned Zebra, the Cowardly Lion, the Rhyme-nocerous, The mighty Babar, the “Hungry Hungry” Hippo, Tony the Tiger, Da Lench Mob & our closest relatives, the “Gorillas in the Mist”.
I plan to spend at least an extra month post tour searching for Sugarman… but that’s only if I can track down Wikus from “District 9” so I can buy one of his excellent soda can artworks…
I noticed in your latest album one of your songs has a reference to old South African colonial/frontier history, what was the reason and inspiration behind this? I’m sure writing that line must have had some kind of inspiration to wanting to come tour here?
I was at an anarchist book fair in Oakland, California about 5 years ago and I was kind of appalled at how unappealing the t-shirts were that people had for sale. I decided that a good anarchist shirt design would be “don’t shoot till you see the whites of their skin” with a military indigenous pictured. Then I spent a couple of years researching “successful” militant indigenous movements/events- let me tell you that there are very few historical recordings of such events. I canvassed the Internet and my intelligent anarchist comrades only to come up with Crazy Horse at Little Bighorn & Shaka Zulu at Isandlwana. Granted, I limited myself to the brief period of time since firearms were invented, but, I still feel like I’m missing some important events…
So it took you a long time to release the new album, ‘Constructs of the State’, tell us a bit about the album, why did it take so long and how is it different to the last release?
Well, first of all, “Don’t shoot” was the first song written musically for the new album and then it took me about 4 years to finalise the lyrics as I mentioned above. But, other than the fact that I refused to work under any kind of deadline for that album, going as far as not having any intention of releasing it if it wasn’t as good as the other LoC records. Otherwise, I think it stands up against “Fuck World Trade” and “Mediocre Generica”.
So you’re going to be playing a show in Durban, what have you heard about the city (besides for Durban Poison) and what can audiences expect from the live show?
I’ve only heard about the British enslavement of East Indians & their forced labour in & around Durban, resulting in the largest East Indian population in the world outside of India, but please, tell me more about this “Durban Poison”.
How would you describe your sound to people who haven’t heard your band before as I’m sure you’re going to make some new fans touring SA?
That’s sweet of you to say. I call us anarcho-punk, but, danceable with an eclectic variety of different musical styles mixed in, most notably: ska, crust & thrash metal. But also, it’s mostly melodic in the way that most “pop” music is. If we had never heard the Beatles, this band would probably sound a lot more like Poison Idea or Wolf Brigade…
Maybe this is a boring question but I’d love to know as people on the ground in America what you think the future holds after Trump became president? As our perception here in South Africa is only from what we are fed from mainstream media.
There are no boring questions… only boring… no, you’re correct; this is a tedious exercise in ineffective speculation….
I will give you the exciting answer:
Trump will come out as “goat fucker” leaving his mail-order bride in tears quite publicly. As “first goat”, Baphomet will focus on the re-education of bridge trolls and goat nutrition: “Tin cans are not a vegetable!”
Meanwhile, after being publicly “outed” as a human “turd burglar”, Trump will publicly assassinate himself during a televised and quite messy, shit-stained national address… This coming March of 2017…
What would be your reaction be to the comment, ‘surely all cops aren’t bad’?
Oddly worded question…
I will reiterate my policy:
As long as police are trained to back each other up without question, then they are all complicit in each other’s crimes. So, a “good cop” is defined by the word “cop”, not by the word “good”. Being “good” is just a really odd hobby for a police officer to have and it’s institutionally impossible for a “good cop” to let their temperament or personality affect their “job”, which is the subjugation of poor people and the protection of rich people and their property.
Leftover Crack has a very progressive message, which not all will agree on, are all your lyrics meant to be taken seriously or are some tongue in cheek? Many would agree that punk is supposed to be challenging and offensive, how do you find the balance of being serious, comical, political and emotional? It seems this might be something hard to juggle with so many things these days being misconstrued or taken too literally or becoming offensive easily. Do you guys still have a backlash to what you say similar to that of the ‘Shoot the Kids at School’/’Mediocre Generica’ record label debacle? Or have things changed since that time?
Yes, yes, no, no…yes?!?!
It’s quite difficult to accommodate people on a mass scale, so, I write lyrics that please me and my taste is very specific. I try to be as offensive as possible while simultaneously staying outspoken as anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homo/trans-phobic & anti-fascist.
I write a little bit better with some parameters…
If there is anything you’d like to add or say to your diehard fans in South Africa?
Aweh! Sawubona! Greetings! We’ll see y’all next month! We’re quite excited to journey to the other side of the globe to play some songs for you all. Cheers!
Leftover Crack from C-squat in New York City, in the United States of America live in Durban, South Africa:
Supported by: Sibling Rivalry, Existing Consciousness, The Sisters, All these wasted Nuts, Life Below, DJ Fuego Heat and Jol Stransky (DJ).
Afterparty is at The Winston Pub with DJ Rawkid, free entry to The Winston only with an arm band from the Leftover Crack main event.
Check out the event for more details:
Tickets are limited and selling fast so get yours today before they sell out: