Spider had the Empress Ballroom Stage at Rebellion last year and made a mark, we had a Zoom to see how they’re getting on.
Spider is a band to reckon with.
Their no nonsense punk approach takes very few, if any prisoners.
A mainstay on the California scene and a big hit at Rebellion last year, like lots of people, both we and they have we’ve missed the experience.
So, let’s find out what’s happening in their world. We caught up with Hector and Karl from the band to have a chat.
Hector: How are you doing?
P3dro: Not too bad. It’s baking here, which is pretty unusual for the UK
Karl: I’ve been hearing it’s pretty hot out there right now
Hector: Yeah, we should have been there right now, too.
Karl: Last year at this time, it was really hot, remember? I remember all the stores – their refrigeration systems were breaking down because they couldn’t take the heat.
P3dro: Yeah, the UK can’t cope with heat.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Karl: I’m at home in Long Beach. Basically, there is not much to do besides our regular jobs, which I’m fortunate to do, but, I’m pretty much stationed at home. There’s not been a whole lot going on because we’re in lockdown.
But the band has been practising – we have a studio in San Pedro, California. We’re in the works of a 4 song EP that we’re right at the tail end of finishing up. Hopefully by next year, we’ll have that ready for release.
Hector: Yeah, this one was interesting. We got offered to do a vinyl release by Devil In The Woods Records. It’s kinda cool, because there’s 4 of us in the band and we each brought a song to the table. I don’t think we’ve done that before. So, it’ll be different. I think it will show each others’ personality, but we’re still the same folks playing all the songs.
Each song has its own personality, which is kinda cool. They’re all not going to sound the same.
P3dro: Obviously, the reason for doing this series of interviews is because it would have been Rebellion last weekend. How was the Rebellion experience for you?
Hector: It was great. It was cool. The first time we played Rebellion was two years ago, when we played the Introducing Stage. The room was full and it was a really great show.
It was a lot of work to get that gig. It’s really competitive, so when we did get the offer I was really grateful for the opportunity. I guess we did a good job, because we got invited back last year to play the big [Empress Ballroom] stage. That was awesome.
We were scheduled to come back this year, but that didn’t happen. But hopefully we can come back next year.
P3dro: What did you think of Blackpool?
Karl: [Laughs] It’s interesting, to say the least. I mean, it’s not like London, or anywhere else. It’s kind of like a party town, a festive town. Let’s put it that way.
Hector: It’s kind of like old school Vegas meets Tijuana. You can’t really break anything. You can have a great time and not worry about damage. It’s a very resilient town. It’s been there, done that.
P3dro: When you were at Rebellion, did you have any opportunity to see other bands?
Hector: Oh, yeah. Flipper was great. The Damned were great. GBH is always killer. Peter Hook and the Light.
Karl: Cock Sparrer. I was pretty much hanging out at the Empress Ballroom the whole time last year. The list was so great.
Hector: Yeah, there’s so many great bands. No matter what room you’re in you’ll see someone you like, or learn about a new band.
How many years have you been?
P3dro: I first went in 2017 and I’m completely hooked.
Hector: Yeah, I miss it.
P3dro: Where do you guys think you fit into the music scene. Where do you put yourselves?
Karl: That’s a tough question. I feel like we never fit in anywhere, but we’re there. Of, course, we’re from LA, so we fit in well with LA based bands. Our big influences were [bands like] Black Flag, Circle Jerks, The Germs.
And then we take British influences, like we really love The Damned, GBH.
Hector: I guess, sonically we fit in with the old school bands like Karl mentioned. Lyrically, I think I tap into my college days – I was a philosophy major – existentialism is a big thing that keeps popping up. Any thinking person’s music and also, I’m not really a linear story teller. I use analogies and that kind of thing to let the listener import their own meaning into what we’re talking about.
But sonically, it’s the old school bands. They’re the giants and we stand on their shoulders.
P3dro: So you definitely call yourself a punk band?
Hector: Yeah. For lack of a better word. That can mean so many things these days. Why not?
P3dro: What do you think punk means to you?
Hector: To me, it means searching for the truth, speaking truth to power. It means freedom, it means individuality. I think it means having some mercy, too. Not just being concerned with yourself. Thinking about the big picture.
But I do think there’s an element of self sufficiency. You do it yourself, you don’t wait for anybody to give it to you. You just go out and take it and work for it and earn it. You’re not really relying on any other support system other than yourself and your family and friends.
P3dro: That’s interesting because, to sum it up in a few words, it’s more about attitude than sound.
Hector: Yeah, definitely. I think so, too. Because there are so many bands that could be called “Cult Punk” or “Protopunk”, like The Stooges – I’m a huge fan, but they came before punk, [yet] they had the same attitude. They just did it their way.
Karl: Punk can be expressed in art, music, poetry, attitude. It’s all mixed in with the punk scene, I think. Since I was a young kid, going back to 1979/80 it was the rebellious thing against what the mainstream Government, the mainstream rock and roll – it was just completely different. That’s what got me into what punk rock was all about.
When the Sex Pistols and The Clash came out, and of course, The Ramones and all those other bands. That was the first thing I wanted to do – I was like – yeah, I’m into that.
I’d been hooked since I was like 11 / 12 years old.
P3dro: Do you think you’re rebels?
Karl: Yeah, I think I am against mainstream things. I tend to fight against things people say are right. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right, you know. That’s instilled in the way I live. People know I’m a fire starter sometimes.
I raise havoc. If you see me on stage, I throw things around. Just out of angst. I just destroy things. It’s just the way I am. I try to calm it down a bit, but I’m still kinda wild.
Hector: Sometimes when I’m driving down the street and they’re doing road construction and you see the sign that says ROAD CLOSED, I always think, Oh, that doesn’t apply to me, for some reason. That’s my first instinct. I don’t know why. It’s just something ingrained in us from when we were kids. That turned us on to punk. It’s definitely rebellion and that’s part of the DNA.
P3dro: Tell us what a typical Spider gig sounds and looks like.
Hector: Our best shows are in a small, intimate venue.
We do love playing big shows, we’ve done our fair share of festivals. But I think the intimate shows are the most fun for me, when the audience is in your face, full of energy and you kind of feed on that. There’s this controlled chaos happening and you’re just playing your ass off.
Karl: I don’t know if you’d call it controlled.
We’re notorious for destroying microphones and having the sound man wanting to pull the plug on us.
Hector: I learned my lesson and now I bring all my own microphones and cords, so when I fuck them up, they’re mine.
Karl: A good show stopper is when you kick a hole in the floor monitor.
Hector: You know, we’re never gonna get another show, Karl?
P3dro: There is that kind of tension between playing on the Empress Ballroom stage at Rebellion and then having that kind of intimacy you get from a gig in the basement of a bar.
Hector: Yeah, those are fun, but we love the big shows too, because they allow us to get in front of people who wouldn’t necessarily be at our show and learn about us. And, then maybe they’ll go to the next smaller show.
The big shows are cool, but I love the small shows – they’re a little bit more fun.
P3dro: How have the last 4 months been? Have you been creative?
Karl: We’ve been working on music. And then, finally when we were able to get into our rehearsal studio and practice, we’ve come up with the 4 new songs for the EP. It was the end of July when we had our first rehearsal.
Hector: That was nice just to get back together and be in the same room with everybody. That was the longest we’ve gone without practising or seeing each other since the band re-formed in 2016.
P3dro: I know you said you were down to do Rebellion this year – did you have any other gigs lined up?
Hector: Yeah, we had a cool trip to Costa Rica planned, with Pennywise and Sick of it All and we were going to do some Long Beach Records parties. Then we were also going to go to Europe, we had Punk Rock Holiday lined up. We had some other gigs lined up with bands like The Adolescents in London and Leeds. We had a few cool shows lined up along with the festival shows.
We’ll be back next year, hopefully.
P3dro: Can you recommend us a band or an album that you think we should be listening to right now?
Karl: Gosh – I don’t know. The Circle Jerks were getting ready to play Rebellion this year. I’m a big fan of them. Now that they’re back, but this pandemic kicked in and it’s put a whole damper on everything and now we have to wait another year, but I think once the world sees The Circle Jerks again, it’s gonna be great.
That’s my 2 cents from the past. Currently, one of my favourite bands is from Hermosa Beach, called One Square Mile. I really love those guys. They’re really strong musicians. Keep an eye out.
P3dro: Anything else you want to declare?
Karl: Hopefully we can get out to Europe again and play the UK. Cross your fingers. We just hope for the best – that’s all we can do.
Hector: Be patient with everybody. Be respectful. And we’ll be able to get through this thing, put our best feet forwards.