Suck it

The Secretions commemorate 20 years with a weekend festival

The Secretions’ Danny Secretion, Mickie Rat and Paul Filthy now, doing the leather-jackets-meets-brick-wall hardcore thing.

The Secretions’ Danny Secretion, Mickie Rat and Paul Filthy now, doing the leather-jackets-meets-brick-wall hardcore thing.

photo by trish moseley

Suckfest, the Secretions 20-year anniversary, goes down this Memorial Day weekend. All shows are at the Fire Escape Bar and Grill, 7431 Madison Avenue in Citrus Heights.
On Friday, from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Secretions alumni will perform, with appearances by former members Julie Bruce, Morgan Giles, Tom Working and Kevin Stockton—along with Gundown, the Left Hand, the Infamous Swanks, Bastards of Young and the Mr. T Experience; 21 and over; $10.
Saturday, from 1 to 11 p.m., the Secretions will play “20 Years in 60 Minutes,” an hour of songs from the band’s two decades, along with performances by Get Shot, the Enlows, Okami, Years of Aggression, Brian Hanover, Killdevil, Pets, the Custom Kicks, the Atom Age, the Giddy-Ups, the Snot-Cocks, the Dumb Fox, 9:00 News and Hit Reset; all ages; $10.
And finally, Sunday, from 5 to 11 p.m.: “Secreti-oke,” a set featuring guest vocalists hand-picked by the band from their fave local groups, plus the Croissants, the Scowndrolls, Mad Judy, the Carbonites, the Pillowfights, the Hybrid Creeps, Unko Atama, Ashtray; all ages; $10.

Even after two decades, Danny Secretion, Mickie Rat and Paul Filthy aren’t one of those legendary bands that play only once a year in a secret location and don’t do anything else. They still write songs and put out albums, tour—and Danny says they still have a damn good time. SN&R chatted with the Secretions lead singer and guitarist this week via email in advance of the bands’ four-day “Suckfest” blowout this weekend at Fire Escape Bar and Grill in Citrus Heights.

Vans, Airwalks or Chucks?

Airwalks from Payless that look like Vans or Chucks with Dr. Scholl’s arch supports. Hey ho let’s go for middle-aged feet!

Over the years, what is your all-time favorite after-a-gig meal?

The “Garbage Plate” in Rochester, N.Y. It’s basically three hamburger patties on top french fries, beans, and macaroni salad. Then you smother the whole thing with chili, mustard, cheese, and onions. I didn’t poop for a week.

Funniest show ever? Most challenging show ever? Most rewarding? Most memorable? The one you’d like to forget?

Funniest show: Playing an acoustic set at Shady Lady. I don’t think people knew what to expect and were taken aback when they heard our songs done acoustic country-style.

Most challenging show: Anytime we’re on the road and the show suddenly has eight ska bands added to it.

Most rewarding: Anytime we have a homecoming show at the end of a tour.

Most memorable: We won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome to say we opened for Papa Roach and My Chemical Romance at Arco Arena … or crazy bands arena … or whatever they call it now.

The one you’d like to forget: I’d like to forget the one I had food poisoning for and puked five times. Mickie would like to forget the one where he dislocated his knee. Paul would like to forget the one where he almost pooped his pants.

For those not in the know, what’s the genesis of the band: How’d you meet? What was your first show?

Mickie and I met back in 1990 while we were both students at Sac State and involved in the college-radio station. We used to practice in our bandmate’s living room while his parents were away. Our first show was for our friend’s birthday party and people told us we didn’t suck as bad as they thought we would. We had a list of possible band names and “the Secretions” was the name that we thought was the most obnoxious, so we went with that. We were always fans of the classics like the Ramones, the Misfits, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Germs. Some of the most memorable venues that we played in the early days were The Guild Theater, The Cattle Club and The Loft.

You joked with me earlier that you think “it pisses people off that we still have fun being dorks after all these years.” Is that true and, if so, why? Or, for that matter, how do you keep having fun when I hear so often that being in a band can really be such a pain in the ass?

We never take ourselves too seriously. A long time ago, we accepted the fact that we weren’t going to be the next big thing. We decided to play music for ourselves and for the people who came out to see us. I think it’s hard for some people to understand why we still have as much fun doing that today as we did back in 1991 when we started. The struggles of being in a band pale in comparison to playing live, and writing music that you enjoy listening to.

How has the punk scene evolved over the years? Is it “dead” in Sacto (no, right)?

I think it’s definitely evolved over the years in that there are more bands out there playing in a variety of venues, and putting on and promoting their own shows. More bands are hitting the road, whether it’s for a few days or numerous weeks. I get very offended when people throw around the term “the scene is dead.” The punk scene has never died. People just need to step out of their comfort zone to see it thriving all over Northern California.

What’s the best thing about being a band in Sacto? What would you like to see change?

There is a very sacred punk rock history to this city that goes back years and years before we even started. I would love to see this city get the respect it deserves for the amazing punk-rock bands that were around in the early ’80s and the great bands that are actively playing today.

Molly Church, Danny and Mickie in 1995.

photo courtesy of the secretions

Who makes you laugh, who inspired your humor?

A healthy balance of Joey Ramone and Moe Howard.

Is being in a band for two decades the proverbial “it’s like a marriage”?

Any band can stay together for 20 years. The real accomplishment lies in the fact that we still have fun doing what we’re doing. We’re not rich and famous and we’re not one of those bands that just plays once a year at an undisclosed location. We still practice twice a week, write, record, book local shows, and tour.

Secretions transcend the so-called “Midtown vs. burbs” gap—if that even exists in your mind.

I’m glad you noticed because it’s something we’ve made a conscious effort to do. We’ve played amazing shows in Midtown, and have played amazing shows a whole 15 minutes away from “the grid.” It’s pointless to draw boundaries based on ZIP codes. Why my waste my energy on a band, promoter, or venue that gives in to that junior high territorial crap?

What is your fave song to perform live?

“3 Chords & A @#$% You,” because I get a kick out of seeing people singing along with the biggest smile on their face, and giving us the finger.

Do you listen to music now that you never thought you’d listen to 20 years ago?

I’ve always been open minded when it comes to music. I guess the thing I never thought I would listen to so religiously is NPR.

If you could open for any band in the history of music—except the Beatles, Clash, Rolling Stones, Ramones, or Sex Pistols—who would you choose?

The Horny Mormons, the Lizards, and the Roach-Wendy era Groovie Ghoulies. Those were the bands that inspired us during our early days. They meant everything to us.

What advice would you tell a band just starting out in 2011?

Disregard trends and play music that you like to listen to. Play music because you love it, not because you want to be rich and famous. Never take your fans for granted! Appreciate them when they’re there. Hold no animosity if they leave. Make them feel welcome if they come back.

Most of all, stop sending me messages on Facebook asking if you can hop onto that show we’ve booked and been promoting for the past two months!