I’ve been a fan of Sloppy Seconds since I was in my early teens. A friend who was a couple of years older, took me to see them play at the Arlington Theater around ’90 or ’91 (I know I’m really dating myself here). This was my first show as a teenager and my first time being around people who were slam dancing and stage diving, and it was a fucking incredible, eye-opening experience. I’ll always remember B.A. wearing his “Baby on Board” t-shirt and former guitarist Dr. Roadkill performing most of their set while sitting on a chair as they plowed through their now classic songs from Destroyed. I walked out of there with a drumstick from Steve Sloppy and an experience that I’d never forget.
Sloppy Seconds has been and always will be one of the best things Indiana has ever shat out. With songs like “Come Back Tracy,” “Black Roses,” “Jani is a Nazi,” “The Horror of Party Beach,” and “I Don’t Want to be your Boyfriend,” Sloppy Seconds mixes Ramone’s style punk with horror and sci-fi themes and a raunchy sense of humor. With their first hometown gig in several years scheduled for August 27 at the Emerson, the man himself, vocalist B.A., was awesome enough to answer some questions via email, so steal some beer, settle in with that thing from Uranus, and give this a read.
Indy Metal Shows: First off, thank you for agreeing to this interview. We’re huge fans. Destroyed came out in 1989 and it still holds up really well. All of the songs off this album are considered by most as punk rock classics. Are you surprised by how popular it still is?
B.A.: Oh, yeah – absolutely. Who expects that? What we essentially did back in 1989 was to record all the songs that made up our live set at the time. We had been on a really hot songwriting streak – except for the few re-recorded songs, everything on Destroyed had been written over the course of about a year’s time. The saying goes that you have your entire life to write your first album, but only nine months to write the next one. But our material was still pretty fresh on that recording. We had been playing for a few years before we went in to record an album, and we’d already scrapped about 30 songs we didn’t feel were substantial enough. If we had recorded an album of the first 13 songs we wrote, forget it. We wouldn’t still be talking about that album.
IMS: “I Want’em Dead” off that album is one of my all-time favorite songs. I’ve always loved the intro. What is the recording from?
B.A.: Heh…everybody thinks that’s taken from a movie, and they always ask us which one. It’s actually just our drummer Steve’s parents bitching at him about his car on a hot summer afternoon. He could tell the argument was starting to heat up, so he pressed the record button on his tape recorder to capture it. Some of our fans memorize the dialog and recite it like the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a rare night that at least one person doesn’t come up and yell, “Just play with yer records!!”
IMS: You’ve had the same line up since 1993. What do you think has kept you guys together for so long? Are any of you involved in side projects?
B.A.: Well, Steve, Bo’Ba and I (B.A.) are childhood friends. I’ve known those guys since I was in second grade. So for us, the band just evolved out of our hanging out together. We read comics, watched horror and sci-fi flicks, Mad magazine…then moved on to rock music, National Lampoon, porn, and alcohol. We first played at a party I threw when my folks were out of town. Danny (Roadkill) was there at the party, and he already played guitar. The rest of us just tried to wing it. Ace Hardwhere joined the band in 1993 when Danny left, but that’s been the only lineup change. We were kind of surprised to develop a following – we were just having fun. But you know, why wouldn’t you want to stay in a band made up of old friends? It’s easier than auditioning strangers. On the other hand, you kind of have to work through any conflicts, because you can’t just kick out a band member who’s also your oldest friend.
Ace is a serious tech-head musician, and he plays around Nashville a lot. I think Steve’s really more interested in film projects than music outside of the band. I’ve been jamming on some punk/garage/rock’n’roll covers with a few other friends. No gigs yet, just loose and fun. And Bo’Ba’s kid is learning to play now, so that’s his musical outlet at home.
IMS: How would you rate your albums from favorite to least favorite and why?
B.A.: Me, probably: 1. Destroyed 2. Endless Bummer 3. Knock Yer Block Off! 4. More Trouble Than They’re Worth 5. The First Seven Inches…And Then Some! 6. Garbage Days Regurgitated (which is actually just an E.P.) I don’t really count the live album, since all the songs are better in the studio versions.
Destroyed and Endless Bummer are great bookends of our earlier and later material. I love the songwriting craft we showed on Knock Yer Bock Off! But some of that material is kind of tough to perform live. More Trouble has a fair number of strong tracks, and then a few that don’t hold up very well. Those are the real albums, in my opinion; the rest are just covers and collections.
IMS: Sloppy Seconds has been touring pretty steadily recently. What have been some of your favorite spots? What have the crowds been like?
B.A.: Overseas, our favorite countries were usually Germany and the U.K. We had a few great shows with the Dickies in Switzerland, but the Germans, Brits and Scots were the best audiences. Stateside, we always do really well in Texas; we usually have seven or eight Texas shows. Philly and Pittsburgh are always great. Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland, Green Bay, Atlanta, Buffalo. We had a phenomenal show in Brooklyn a while back – a guy named Ray Chung flew in from Hong Kong to see it, and there was another guy who’d come up from Nogales, Mexico to that show. We’re breaking into a few new markets this time – Nashville, Raleigh, and Jacksonville, and we’re going back to Tampa Bay for the first time in five or six years. Should be great. You never know where a good show will materialize. We’ve had really great shows in Asheville, North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma in recent years. And actually, this will be our first show in Indy since 2013. That seems weird, but the last two tours we’ve kicked off with dates in Louisville and St. Louis. So yeah – we last played Indianapolis in November of 2013. I think they’ll be ready.
IMS: Some of your songs you’ve been playing live for over 25 years. Do you get tired of playing them? What’s a song from way back that you still enjoy performing?
B.A.: Oh, jeez – yes. “So Fucked Up,” “Janie Is a Nazi,” “Mighty Heroes,” “I Don’t Wanna Be a Homosexual”…it’s really hard to get excited about trotting out those fucking songs every night. But then when you see the reaction of the people in the crowd for their favorites, you want to pump all the life into the songs you can. So it’s not hard to overcome. Of the older songs, I’d say I still enjoy singing “Come Back Traci,” “Someone Else’s Pills,” and “Human Waste” the most – although “Human Waste” is not easy to sing live. The full-band version hits right at the top of my register, and I blow out my throat really easily doing that.
IMS: Endless Bummer was your last album and it came out in 2008. It kept your trademark sound, but showcased a slightly more mature Sloppy Seconds. Any plans to record a new one?
B.A.: We were really pleased at how Endless Bummer turned out and the reception that it got. And I thought the recording had a depth of sound we’d probably never managed before. I know Kid Tested Records is eager for us to release another album, and we have plenty of fragmentary songs we could complete and work up. It’s just harder now that Ace and Bo’Ba are living pretty far away from here. Not as easy to work on songs or book time in a studio – but yeah, we’re hoping we can put out another album sooner than later.
IMS: Being from Indianapolis, what do you think of the music scene here? Are there any local acts that you follow?
B.A.: Some. We don’t “make the scene” like we used to back in the late 80’s and 90s. I saw the Gitmos, and they had their act down pretty tight. Steve saw a good performance by the Brothers Gross recently. The Ricky Rat Pack is always great, of course. I have a deep appreciation for punk and proto-punk history throughout Indiana and the Midwest, so it’s been great to see the reunions and re-releases of the Gizmos, Dow Jones and the Industrials, and all the things Craig Bell’s been involved in. Oh, and the Zero Boys, too. They’re having a big resurgence in recent years.
IMS: You’ve been going for a long time. Is it still “D.I.Y Till We Die?” Do you think you’ll ever stop? What’s next for Sloppy Seconds?
B.A.: Sometimes I can’t believe we’ve been going this long; I never thought we’d still be playing thirty years later. But why not? If people still want to come see us, we may as well keep playing. There are still plenty of people who love our songs who have never gotten a chance to see us live. Good for us, good for them.
Sloppy Second’s next show in Indiana will be Saturday, August 27th at the Emerson Theater.
Show starts at 7 p.m./All ages!
Buy tickets here!