You're about to enter the world of Stoner Kings, a trip of expanded unconsciousness, a world of stoner/hippie/heavy rock'n'roll revolution that'll leave you breathless. Your mind trip begins from the year 1996, when a Canadian born Starbuck set foot in the cold and gloomy Finland, ready to conquer the hearts of this small land with a mission in the form of a revolutionary band. A band with raw energy in a controlled chaos. You are about to become part of that chaos. There's an overwhelming magnetisism that is pulling you towards this energy and you have no way of escaping it. Down with the retro train we go. (Explicit reading, some of this interview might not be suitable for the considerates. Interview done 15.4.2003)
THE STARTING POINT AND CANADA
Satu - What is your musical background, does it have anything to do with your parents or relatives ?
Starbuck - I wouldn't say that it's a family thing in any way. I mean both of my parents are musical, they both play more or less the guitar, but basically it's just a thing that I picked up on my own. In my family tree or in the heritage of our family I think that there are specific people that have been involved in music, some of my uncles for example are fluent in pretty much anything they pick up. But at least my parents, I wouldn't say that directly it's that big of an influence. But my father did teach me at the time when I was younger to play my first chords, you know the e, g, a, a minors and the e minors, but that was it. So as far as rock music goes and as far as playing riffs go and everything I'm totally self-taught. I basically just picked up on my own.
Satu - At what age did you start playing the guitar and singing ?
Starbuck - I think I first started playing the guitar. I first got interested in playing the guitar when I was about thirteen or twelve years old. And at that time I was living in Ontario in Canada, I was born in Ontario. It was in Thunder Bay actually and I don't remember what I first started playing, I think it might've been Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven", a friend of mine just taught me some of the licks and I picked it up and I thought that's cool. I think I was about twelve or thirteen.
Satu - Do you miss Canada and what is the best thing over there ?
Starbuck - Canada is a helluva country. I love Canada. A few years ago The United Nations had a survey of some kind or a poll and Canada was unanimously ranked as the number one country in the world as far as social benefits and the general quality of life go and Canada is a great place. It's not like the USA, it's not overly populated. There's a lot of forests, a lot of country side to the Canadian landscape you know, that isn't cluttered up. And Canada is a great country, the people are positive, it's a very good atmosphere. So I really do miss Canada. What's the best thing about Canada ? That's really hard to say, I think the one thing that I really miss about Canada is the general attitude I guess. It's more extroverted, where as in a lot of places in Europe it's more introverted. It's a lot more positive, it's easier to "breathe the air", if you can picture it. And on top of that of course there are a lot of things I do enjoy about Canada more than a lot of things in Europe just in general. Everything there is about 30 percent bigger. The highways are about 30 percent bigger, when you go to a shopping mall your crates are 30 percent bigger and your toilets are 30 percent bigger you know...I guess that means your shit is 30 percent bigger too, you know ! But it's a big country, there's a lot of echo and a lot of space to move around in. So I think I really miss that. And I miss wrestling, I love pro wrestling !
Satu - Did you have anything going music-wise there ?
Starbuck - I actually jammed a few times with a couple of different groups or just generally guys that I ran into. We never really had a band per se, but I had a few good friends as guitarists that I used to jam with and once in a while we did a couple of originals, just jamming basically. Or sometimes we'd try out other tunes from some other bands or whatever. But in general I didn't have any band out there, so it's just something that I started when I came to Europe.
Satu - What is the rock music scene like in Canada ?
Starbuck - The music scene in general is totally different in North America compared to Europe. For example HIM, right now they're trying to break HIM to the US market. And with this love metal angle they're trying to get HIM to break open the market...it's just that in America people look at music in a totally different way. Even techno or dance music or whatever is different than what it is in Europe. The metal scene is totally different there than it is here. What we consider to be real heavy metal or real metal music here in Europe will probably never become all that popular again in the USA, because of the shift in the industry. The big industry monsters, you know like the BMG's, the Warner Music's, the RCA's and what not, these big monsters are the ones that score up all of the Linkin Parks and these Limp Bizkits and they put them on the market and they put millions and billions of dollars into advertising them and that's why bands like Nevermore or Strapping Young Lad or even American or European bands like In Flames, they're gonna be a cult audience thing over there. Iron Maiden can still go to the US and they can still play, not concert halls but arenas, and they can still sell them out. But if Iron Maiden was a new band that just came now, they would not be able to break the market, because the market is not responsive to new music that is Iron Maiden's kind of music. So that's where it's different. Where as in Europe here you've got more like real true-grit metal. People really buy into this, like traditional power metal, heavy metal. You've got all the different kinds of metal here which are incredibly popular. Bands like In Flames can headline festivals here, whereas in the US you're not gonna have them headlining even let's say Ozzfest. They'll be playing the second stage at Ozzfest if they play. And you're going to have bands like Limp Bizkit play in the main stage. Now what does that tell you ? That's the difference.
Satu - Are there any local bands that have made an impact on you ?
- I guess the club scene is the place to go to if you really want to play
the more traditional style, like heavy music. Like we play stoner rock.
Or even bands like Nevermore, they're gonna play the smaller clubs on
a club circuit. But I wouldn't say that there are any local bands that
have made any impact on me, no. It's the bigger bands from the eighties
and the seventies that really made an impact on me. Bands like Black Sabbath
of course, Deep Purple or a band from Australia called Buffalo. Even the
entire eighties heavy metal movement with Ozzy and Mötley Crüe, Judas
Priest, bands like that. Even Twisted Sister you know. That's what I grew
up with. That's what really made an impact on me.
KINGS, "BRIMSTONE BLUES" AND THE SECOND COMING
STONER KINGS, "BRIMSTONE BLUES" AND THE SECOND COMING
Satu - Did you have a clear idea before you started the band what the concept, the sound and the basic idea behind it should be ?
Starbuck - I had a vision for pretty much the general framework, but not of the entire painted picture. I had a good idea of the framework what I was aiming for. It´s like I had like a rough sketch of what I was gonna do or what I wanted to do. The thing is that I'd been writing songs ever since I moved to Finland in 1996, because I live out in the bush, out in the middle of nowhere actually. And where I live doesn't matter, let that remain a mystery. I live in Timbucktoo...and basically out in the bush you've got all the time in the world if you're not working. Well, you're either gonna drink, but I don't drink so I figure out other things to do with my time. And what I do is I write music. So when I moved to Finland I got a guitar and started to write music and ever since then there's a general feel and a general style to the way that I write songs, which has been there all along, regardless of whether it's like a hard rock song or a metal song. But there's a certain intuitive way that I write music, because I'm not a taught musician, I'm self-taught and that's the difference.
Satu - The first album doesn't really capture the amazing power and energy you bring out in your live show. Are you pleased with how the album was done and your work with it ?
Starbuck - We're pleased with the album as far as the songwriting quality goes. I think the songs are damn good on that album. You're right in the sense that if we would've had more money to put in the production side, quite possibly we could've had like Metallica "Black" album production which would've cost like hundreds of thousands of euros, which we just don't have. But a budget or money always has to do with how your finished product is going to sound. So yeah, in a way if I could do it again I hope or I'd wish we would have more money to do it. We could do the same album over again, but just put more money into the production. And make it sound like King Kong and Godzilla fighting in the middle of Tokyo in surround-sound hyper-digital stereo.
Satu - Do you have a favourite song from the album and why this one ?
Starbuck - I would say one of my favourites is the first song that I wrote, it's the ninth song on the album, called "Journey's End". And it's a very moving song for me. It's very spiritual song in a way. It talks about transition or a very allegorical transition of a person between life and death. And basically it captures the real spirit. Almost like a mournful, but very ironic spirit of actually someone passing from life to death. For me it's an inredibly powerful song and I think it has a great feeling to it and a great spirit, I think it really has the makings of a classic tune. So for me I think it's "Journey's End" off the album.
Satu - Can you imagine your band being as energetic live in the future as you are now, after hundreds of shows behind you ?
Starbuck - I would say as long as I'm healthy and the guys and the band are healthy and as long as we have energy, you know, and we're in shape and we don't become fat bastards and lose our limbs and our mobility I think that we can still put out a helluva show. Because I think when people come to see a live show they want to see a visual show, they don't want to just see guys standing on stage just holding their instruments and playing. I think that is very boring. You sit through that for an hour and a half, guys just standing on stage and it's just terribly boring. So for me rock'n'roll has to be bigger than life. It has to be energetic, it has to be dynamic. And it has to be almost like a movie. It's gotta be a rollercoaster ride. That's something that we aim for, we take pride in the fact that we do put on a helluva live show and I feel sorry for every person out there who's never been to one of our shows and I'd say you'd better smarten up and show up next time we're in town!
Satu - How important is it for you to have some kind of a message in the lyrics ?
Starbuck - I think for me personally it's very important in the sense that I do hold myself to be a person who tends to put a lot of deep thought into various areas in life. Basically into all my life. I don't take things lightly. You only live once and because you only live once you try to make the most of what you do with your life. And at least that's what I do, I don't want any regrets on my death bed. That's why I do process things very deeply and very seriously. And I think that carries over into my lyrics too in the sense that the style that I write is very allegorical. I paint a lot of pictures, I make the reader or the listener process in their own head what I'm actually thinking or what I'm saying. So it's not chewed down in bite sized pieces for you. You actually have to find the meaning for yourself. But there is a message behind every song. And a lot of those songs carry a lot of irony. And a lot of messages just pertaining to general ideas of life and death in the sense, like that a lot of people for example don't take very seriously the concept that maybe after you die, what will happen to you? And a lot of people think that maybe there's nothing out there. And some other people think there's a heaven and hell. I'm basically just asking and saying to you "hey, what if you're wrong ?". In the end, what if all that you believed in, what if you were wrong and I was right ? What would you say on that day ? I think a lot of the things I write are very provocative, they provoke the listener. It almost irritates the listener in some way to think a little deeper than they would want to think. And it's funny you know, in stoner rock or stoner music you have to get wasted with drugs a lot of times just to get into the groove or whatever you wanna do. You don't need to take drugs to get into our groove, because if you wanna find some deep waters then just dive in. Using drugs ain't gonna help you find the meaning in our songs. It's your own trip. You're gonna have to trip out just totally clear headed into that.
Satu - How does the band work on the songs ? Do you give much freedom to the other guys ?
Starbuck - With the first album I pretty much dictated quite a bit. As far as let's say the general song structures. Even now I'm the guy who does write the songs in the band, but we do arrange the songs with the band, they're done with the band. But on the first album it was more of my call, we pretty much did it from start to finish my way. Whereas with the stuff that we're working on now for the following album it's going to be more of a team effort. I will still write the songs, but we'll arrange them in a much larger fashion, there's a lot more of the band involved in the actual arrangement process.
Satu - Where can you see your music going in the future with the second album ?
Starbuck - That depends on what the label is, who the label is that puts it out. Because marketing in the rock music business has everything to do with your success. You can have the best music in the world and if you don't have the proper marketing behind you, no one will know. You might fall flat on your face, you might totally flunk out, because in general people didn't know about you. Think about Zakk Wylde, what if he never was the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne ? What if he was playing all these years in a small band called Steel Dragon ? What if Zakk Wylde was playing in Steel Dragon somewhere in Illinois on the club circuit and all these years he could've been the same killer guitarist ? But you know, just because he didn't have the big machine behind him, he didn't have the music industry machine and the label behind him that would've promoted his music, no one would know. So that depends. Our next album very much depends on who and what the next label is that puts us out. Because it's not so much a question of our music, it's a question of the effort that's put into the promotion of the album.
Satu - How far have you progressed with the next album ?
Starbuck - We've written then entire setlist for the next album. We demoed eighteen songs in January-February this year and we did them live in one day in the studio, just a live demo recording. And basically we have an idea that twelve of those songs will make it on the album. So we have everything ready to go and and everything's ready to rock'n'roll. The only thing that we're waiting for right now is another deal to pick up Stoner Kings for the next album.
Satu - Do you have a title ready for it yet ?
Starbuck - Yeah we do have a couple of titles ready, but I don't want to give away too much. Tonight (night of a gig at On The Rocks in Helsinki) we're introducing two new songs to the set. They'll be the songs on the next album and their titles are "Angel Weed" and "Stem The Tide", which is a really fast, punchy and very aggressive song. It's almost like a BMX rally running over your body for like four minutes. "Angel Weed" is almost like doomishly heavy, it's probably the heaviest song we've ever done and it's just a killer cut, it's just super heavy and has a lot of dynamic to it. So there's a couple of songs, I don't want to give away too much. But needless to say there's just tons of new stuff coming your way. So like I said, once the next album that comes out from Stoner Kings, you'll see the end result.
Satu - Apart from Stoner Kings you have another band project going on. Can you tell the readers about it, anything to wait for in the future ?
Starbuck - It's still being kept under taps before it's really launched for the public. I don't know if I really should divulge the name at this point, because it hasn't been made public yet. So I really don't want to let on to that. But I'll just say that there's a very talented guitarist from the 1980's rock scene in Finland who's involved and it's gonna be music that will kick your ass so incredibly bad that it will leave you blistered and bruised from head to toe and your kids are gonna be born bruised after you listen to this band.
ROLE MODELS AND THE FANS
Satu - What dreams, if any, do you have considering music-wise ?
Starbuck - There are handful of bands that I would love to play with before these bands retire, quit or cease to exist. For example Chicago's Trouble. That band is one of the biggest influences for me of all time, I love Trouble, I'd love to play with them live. Mötley Crüe's another one. I guess in 2004 they're doing their farewell tour, that's what I've heard. Their movie on their book "The Dirt" is coming out next year, so they're going to do a tour to coincide with that. So I hope that we'd get a chance to play with Mötley Crüe with the original line-up. Then Black Sabbath of course and Zakk Wylde. I think as far as being real barbarian, a real man, I look up to Zakk as a role model, so I'd love to share the stage with him. And then maybe Spiritual Beggars. And one more on top of that I'd say Motörhead, "we are Motörhead" (says with a low, dark voice).
Satu - So you like Lemmy ?
Starbuck - How can you not like Lemmy ? Lemmy is just a character, he's kinda like a Godfather, like a grandfather to all of us, the heavy rock guys. So in that sense yeah, I would love to get a chance to step on stage with Lemmy.
Satu - Can you still see yourself in the music business ten years from now or do you live for the moment ?
Starbuck - You can never pre-determine what happens in life. I certainly have a long-term goal for making music, I'd love to do this as far as making it a very real career. And doing this for like twenty to thirty years. As long as people are out there buying your music and as long as you can make credible music, make good music and good songs. And maintain your credibility, so there's no reason why you can't do it. So I'd love to do music for a long, long time. But by the same token, because you only have today, you're not guaranteed tomorrow, in that sense I live for this day and I can't tell you where I'll be one year from now. But I hope I'll be doing this.
Satu - How much have you gotten feedback from the fans ?
Starbuck - We've gotten quite a bit of feedback from fans all around the world. Through our website for example, every once in a while we have fans sending us e-mails and messages. From Australia, the United States, Germany and whatever. And a lot of the feedback has been great. Then we get some feedback from people that I wouldn't call as fans, but people who are really pissed off at us, because they act like "who the hell do you think you are calling yourselves the Stoner Kings". All I can say to those people is there's a very thin line between love and hate, so we're the ones that you love to hate and sooner or later you're gonna love us anyway, so shut up !
Satu - Where do you have most of your fans and can you categorize them at all ?
Starbuck - It's hard to categorize our fans. A lot of the strong feedback that we get is from North America and I think our sound is really tailored towards North American style. My personal songwriting style has a lot to do with the seventies and the eighties, the heavy rock movement, which was very much dominated by an American or British mindset, which was very closely tied to American mindset at the time. I think the North American audience has a great deal to do with our public reaction as far as the responses go. And Brazil, we've gotten tons and tons of great responses from there and I'd love to go and play there. On top of that I'd say Germany, Spain and possibly France are the other countries we've gotten the strongest feedback from. But I can't categorize our fans, in the end there are only two kinds of people in relation of Stoner Kings. There are people who will either love us or people who are gonna hate us, because we're a band that is not gonna leave you undecided, we're a band that is very much gonna draw a line for you. And just because of the nature of our name alone, people are gonna love us or hate us,'cos they're either gonna think that we're a bunch of assholes calling themselves the Stoner Kings or then they're gonna think that these guys got a lot of balls to actually go out there and call themselves that. And that's where we've gotten lots of comments, some people say "dammit, I really love what you guys are doing, you've got a lot of balls to call yourselves that" and "your live show is just awesome" and stuff like that and they tip their hat to that. And some people say our "music has incredible energy to it, man I just love the drive and the kickass energy that you have". And there are people who say we're just a p*ssy glam rock band or they just shoot us down for our name. So you either love us or hate us.
Satu - Have you noticed any fans trying to copy you in any way ?
Starbuck - I think some people get a kick out of it. When we were playing in Germany some of the girls would get pretty pissed off in the audience at some of my remarks, but then at the same time the next song kicked in and we started playing, they were back dancing and back in the groove again. Look at a guy like Zakk Wylde, when he opens his mouth he's gonna have a lot of comments, or like Ted Nugent, they're gonna really piss a lot of people off. Just because they stand behind what they say, they're not afraid to stand up and be a real man. I think some fans really get a kick out of that and some fans want to be that. When they see somebody who's really powerful as a person, they want to be as powerful too. I don't think that anybody wants to be weak. I don't think that anybody wants to be in the middle of the road, part of the grey mass of humanity. I think that people want to stand out, so there are people who look up to you, even myself, as some kind of an idol. I'm not saying there's tons of them out there, probably not, but there are some, which is cool. Thank God for them. And I hope that my example actually does mean something to somebody out there just because of the fact that I think there's a lot of negative shit out in the world. And in this day and age I think that some people need someone to look up to like a hero, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. People are really dying for a hero, they are. So if I can be a hero to somebody that's cool, 'cos I'd rather be a hero than a fucking loser.
Satu - It's like the law of life, the strong survive.
Starbuck - Yeah, exactly. And the stronger you are as a person, the better quality of life you're gonna have, because you'll have moral fortitude, you'll have more spine to hold you up. I think that's always a positive thing,
Satu - You're a retro kind of guy, how does it show from you ?
Starbuck - I think in attitudes. It's in the way that you dress, I guess it's in the way that you wear your hair, I don't know. But really, it's in the attitudes. When it comes to male and female roles today it's very ambisexual, the line is becoming very greyish, it's becoming very hazy, whereas in what's really masculine anymore and really feminine anymore. I hold that to be a very negative thing. And to me being a retro kind of guy is being somebody who knows who wears the pants. You know, women wear dresses and men wear pants. That's kind of like picturesque, I'm not saying that girls shouldn't wear pants. Men want respect from a woman, whereas a woman wants the man to love them. It's a question of a man without respect, if a man feels that a woman doesn't respect him he's not gonna be held responsible for what he does in life. He's gonna be very loose in his moral standards and whatever else. That's just one example. I think that society was more healthy back in let's say the seventies. We didn't have this amount of divorces and this amount of socially fucked up people. And today you have a lot of really fucked up people and I don't think that's a very cool thing. So that's where I hold myself to be a retro kind of guy and I have a lot of views that piss a lot of people off and the feminists hate me. The girls don't hate me, the feminists do. Some guys get pissed off, 'cos they think that I'm trying to be a macho son of a bitch, but it's just a case of knowing "fuck it all, I'm a man and if somebody has a problem with me being a man then they can go be a p*ssy or whatever they want to do with their life. It´s a question of attitude. I still believe that the man is the head of the house. I come from a day and age when a man still took his bride, not visa versa. I don´t buy into this modern bullshit that´s messed up our society and confused the male/female roles out there. Look at the stories and legends of old with damsels in distress clinging to the frames of their heroes. We need to start living in the past, we need to get back to what brought us to the dance.
Satu - You're actually a graphic artist ?
Starbuck - By trade yeah, that's the schooling that I had when I went to school back in the early nineties in the college and what not. I was trained for graphic arts, that's what I've done for a while on the side.
Satu - How much have you worked in that area ?
Starbuck - I've done work for a lot of bigger businesses, for example PowerBar Europe, which is the sponsor for the Olympic Games, and several different businesses around Finland, big businesses. I've done work for companies in Sweden and also in North America too. It's not something that I do as a main job, because it doesn't bring in that much money, but I have the talent to do it.
Satu - So you're a really artistic person. Do you draw a lot ?
Starbuck - If I'm inspired I do. Art always requires inspiration, it's the same thing with music. You just cannot pick up the guitar and automatically write a song. You have to be inspired to write a song. You have to have the ingredients and there has to be a certain passion behind it, whether it's melancholic or love or whatever. But there has to be a certain drive behind it. But once in a while when I get the kick and the drive and an idea and inspiration I pick up the pencil and paper and start working.
Satu - Have you done anything to the Stoner Kings' website ?
Starbuck - We've changed the layout of the website a couple of times, but a while ago there was this picture of a girl in the bikini that I drew, kind of like a retro chick and she was in the top banner of the website for a while. But that's just something that was done in the past. I think maybe in the future there'll be some stuff I'll be doing for the website as far as drawing some stuff. But it's not a priority.
WRESTLING AND HEALTH
Satu - Where did you get the energy for wrestling, what drove you ?
Starbuck - Ever since I was a kid, maybe four or five years old, I remember seeing a couple of big wrestlers in the ring on tv. And right away as a kid that hit me. I knew it was for me. It's like a kid that gets excited about Playstation for the first time nowadays, for me it was pro wrestling. Somebody gets Grand Theft Auto as a videogame or whatever and for me it was pro wrestling. It's just something that I really connected with. I always as a kid liked big heroic monsters like Conan The Barbarian, the Incredible Hulk or Godzilla. And for me pro wrestling has a lot to do with the same kind of appeal, it's bigger than life, it's got big muscles and big punches, kicks and body slams. There's something really primitive and caveman-like about that and like you said I'm a retro kind of guy, so maybe I'm just a dumb caveman underneath this skin, who knows.
Satu - What about the ideas to all those moves in the ring, where do you get them ?
Starbuck - The basic moves and general manouvers, holds, locks and throws, they're taught. Sometimes you innovate your own, you combine a couple of different throws or you just make your own kind of throw, move or submissive hold. But generally we're taught. When we are trained to become wrestlers we are taught how to do these holds and transitions and these chains and everything.
Satu - Have you ever been to anything like tae kwon do or judo or the likes ?
Starbuck - I took Go Ju Ryu-karate (a traditional Okinawian style of Karate). My sensei was the 1994 World Karate Champion, his name is Darren McGuire. He was a fourth degree black belt at the time. I took karate for a while and the only reason I took it was to add some kicks to my wrestling style and that was my only motivation. But outside of that I haven't taken anything else, but just wrestling.
Satu - Since wrestling is such a "brutal" sport, how do you perform in real life, do you have any aggressions and how do you deal with them ?
Starbuck - I think everybody has aggressions. I usually vent my frustration or anger by punching the wall or going to the gym or something, taking it out on the punching bag. I don't think that picking fights with people is the right thing to do, it's not the smart thing to do. And besides you get in trouble with the police if you do that. Also music for me is a way to venting my frustration. Writing a song and having the lyrics deal with the subject of being pissed off or the subject of anger. There's a lot of different ways that you can showcase your emotions like through music. For me there's a couple of different ways.
Satu - Can you pinpoint one highlight of your career ?
Starbuck - That´s a tough one, but I´d probably have to say the last match I had in Canada in Quebec. I was in damn fine form that night and the crowd was apeshit crazy for me, with the french girls screaming like I was Elvis or something.
Satu - Who is your idol from the wrestlers ?
Starbuck - I´d have to say my biggest idol would be Ric Flair. There are a lot of great names that I look up to like Ted DiBiase, Dynamite Kid, Dick Murdoch, Mitsuhara Misawa, Dan Kroffat, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Terry Funk, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, etc. But I think Flair was one of the best complete packages around in his heyday.
Satu - You still keep yourself fit, are you planning to get back to wrestling someday ?
Starbuck - There is talk right now of a pro wrestling promotion opening up in Finland and if it takes off I look forward to being involved. I´ve been asked to go to Oslo, Norway to wrestle a match on May 25 this spring. I try to keep sharp in the gym and from time to time I train against a couple of different guys.
Satu - Would you like to reveal some of your workout in the gym here to those Starbuck-wannabees ?
Starbuck - Hell, Starbuck wannabees? That´s a credit! I usually train one body part per workout, like chest on a Monday per se, with back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, Thursday off, arms on Friday and legs on Saturday. I usually do abdominals most every workout. I really don´t follow a set training regime. Sometimes I only train two times a week. It really depends. It´s like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, you should shock your muscles, never do the same routine two times in a row, and use mainly free weights for everything. Free weights build the muscles up the best, you end up having to use all of your supporting muscles to balance out the weight. I usually try to finish up with heavy sets, not right to the maximum but at least to about 85-90% of the max. Diet is crucially important to your overall development, as is proper rest and sleep. Forget about partying and drinking, if you want to be in shape and strong you will have to make sacrifices. It all boils down to what you truly want out of life. You make your bed and then you lay in it.
Satu - You're also very strict about your diet which is a very important part in getting the best results and getting fit. What do the other guys in the band think about it and how hard is it to maintain such a lifestyle ?
Starbuck - It´s actually fairly difficult to maintain a healthy diet on the road and on trips away from home, as you won´t always have the luxury of making balanced, quality meals nor will you have the money or even the possibility to stop at restaurants that serve that kind of food at a reasonable price. On the road I usually go to the grocery stores in different cities and buy stuff like fruits, veggies, tuna, chicken, salads, soy milk, etc. It´s kind of comical to the outsider and even to the guys in the band, but I usually carry around some of my own food, because when I have the feeling of hunger I´m going to eat and I have a hell of a fast metabolism. If you don´t eat properly or on a regular basis (between every 3-5 hours) your muscles will go into a catabolic state, and start suffering. I try to keep my blood sugar levels steady and stay away from hunger peaks. It´s very unhealthy to be in a state of dire hunger and then plow food into your mouth once a day. Look at the starving people in Ethiopia, they´ve got big guts hanging off of skin skeletons, because everytime they sporadically get food they take in all that they can and their stomach lining balloons out. It´s an adverse effect. It requires a lot of determination and grit to look after yourself, and as long as I have anything to say about it I will not compromise on that fact.
Satu - Since we're in Finland, the land of alcoholists, I have to ask you what do you do for fun and do you go out much ?
Starbuck - Let me start off by saying that if drinking is your only outlet for having fun then you are in serious trouble. I can think of numerous ways to have fun and do something productive and positive without the advent of alcohol. I don´t go to bars, unless a friend asks me to meet up with them for some reason or unless I´m playing there. Being sober among an assembly of drunkards is not a good time. For anyone who's been a designated driver I think they could attest to that. It´s boring as all hell to be in a bar if you don´t drink or if you don´t have some good friends present, or unless you go see a good band. For kicks I do shit like write songs, draw some art, hit the gym, see some friends and check out some good movies and have fun with my woman. Maybe I´ll grab a boat and hit the lake for something different, do some fishing or something. I used to go hunting deer on occasion back in Canada, since I follow the Ted Nugent style of thought when it comes to carnivorous issues. You don´t need alcohol to do or enjoy any of that stuff. People have built this bubble around alcohol and they don´t seem to see outside of it.
Satu - Would you like to advise the finnish youth about their drinking habits and what else to do for fun, since this is a growing problem ?
Starbuck - I´d say get a life and use your imagination ! Do you want to be out of shape and fat, with a vice that´s way fucking out of control and drags you to hell like a dog on a leash, or do you want to feel empowered and in control? Don´t be a brainless, gutless sheep. Have the balls and character to call your own shots. And if some dipshit doesn´t dig the fact that you´ve got the spine to swim against the tide then you don´t need them. That´s a fact. Have some Finnish SISU, dammit! Show some balls.
THIS AND THAT
Satu - What is the best song ever made (from any band) ?
Starbuck - Very tough call. There are way too many great ones out there. Zeppelin´s "Stairway To Heaven" is a beautiful song, with tons of musical scenery. Ozzy´s "Crazy Train" is most definitely up there and it still sends shivers up my spine when I hear it. Something about Sabbath´s "Into The Void", "Heaven And Hell" and "Changes" really do it for me. Maiden´s "Run To The Hills" and pretty much the whole "Piece Of Mind" album, Bride´s "Fire And Brimstone", Dio´s "Holy Diver", Trouble´s "All Is Forgiven", Priest´s "Freewheel Burning", Carcass´s "Keep On Rotting In The Free World", Mötley Crüe´s "Live Wire", G´N´R´s "Welcome To The Jungle", Motörhead´s "Devils", Pantera´s "Fucking Hostile" and "Cemetary Gates", Slayer´s "Angel Of Death", Arch Enemy´s "The Immortal", even The Byrds "Turn, Turn, Turn" gets top marks. It´s really a question of genres and top tunes within those frames.
Satu - What is the best show from a band you've seen ?
Starbuck - Gluecifer was fantastic, as was Dio in 1999. Napalm Death was great. Ozzy was great. Motörhead in 1995 was awesome. But maybe Gluecifer really stands out in my mind the most.
Satu - If you could change the world somehow, what would it be ?
Starbuck - If I could play God I would open people´s minds to understand the limitations of this life (hey, we only use 4-11% of our brains, depending on the method of measurement!) and the vast impact of what we deem as the commencing eternity to follow. In other words I´d remove the lies from their minds and present them with universal truth. But since people are not robots they would still probably fuck everything up and continue down the spiral shithole to hell, because it´s damn hard to swallow one´s pride and conform to the truth. People don´t want the truth, they want to hear only specific things, kiss ass things, ear candy. It´s like a woman asking her husband "honey, have I gained weight?" and what the hell is the husband supposed to answer? He knows that there is no right answer to that question, because in asking that the woman already knows the answer and if the man tells the truth he´s in the doghouse. That´s fucking heavy stuff, and that´s why I don´t think I could change this world even if I was given the opportunity. Look at Jesus Christ, he´s the closest example of someone who tried and to some extent succeeded in changing the course of humanity and what did he get in return? He not only gets crucified, his legacy gets twisted in the name of religion and he becomes something people spit out when they get pissed off. He gets misunderstood and misinterpreted by religion and by the masses who´ve had his efforts filtered to them through a web of religious bullshit and it becomes a seemingly lost cause. If that´s what the Son of God got for his contribution, what the hell could I accomplish? People don´t want to change, my friend. It´s like Megadeth´s Dave Mustaine sang on "Elysian Fields", "the world don´t wanna be saved". To quote Metallica, sad but true. And to anyone who feels like I´m preaching at them, I offer a nice, big middle finger salute. Deal with it.
Satu - What is the question you've never been asked in an interview that you would like to answer ?
Starbuck - No, I am not the bastard son of Robert Plant. I am the son of Conan The Barbarian. And no, I have never been married to Pamela Anderson.
Satu - Anything you'd like to say to the readers of RockUnited, after all you're the first band in the stoner genre that is featured here ?
Starbuck - It´s a pleasure to be the first stoned experience for your literary bong. Now go smoke some Stoner Kings "Brimstone Blues" and trip out to an adrenaline rush.
More about the band from www.stonerkings.net
Interview by Satu Reunanen,
Band photographs by Kari Helenius,
by Hannu Eskelinen