Tuesday, April 16, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with singer A.G. and bassist Rob Kabula (Agnostic Front/Cause for Alarm) of Dead Blow Hammer about the band’s history and upcoming appearance at the Jeff Stubbz Memorial Sunday Matinee at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. 

Jeff Stubbz Memorial Sunday Matinee

Dead Blow Hammer

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Sunday, April 14, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with New Jersey Oi! veteran Jersey Pete (Broken Heroes/Vibram 94) about his life in music.

Broken Heroes

Jeff Stubbz Memorial Sunday Matinee

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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran singer Scott Wilkins (Verbal Abuse/Electric Frankenstein/Condemned to Death/Hollywood Hate/Infamous Stiffs) about his history in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York underground music scenes.

Infamous Stiffs


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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran NJ Punk/Hardcore musician Paul Richard (Adrenalin O.D./The Kowalskis/SUX/East Paterson Boys Choir) about his long history in music and his current band, fear gods.

fear gods.

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Interview with MIKE PETERS of THE ALARM

Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with the legendary Mike Peters of The Alarm about the band’s upcoming U.S. tour and its decision to celebrate the glory years of MTV on its new album, Music Television.

The Alarm

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Friday, April 5, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with Steve Kilbey of The Church about the band's longevity and its exceptional new album, Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars.

The Church

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

The History of THE PIPELINE (Newark, NJ) with EMILIO: Part 1

In this first installment of a multi-part series celebrating the legendary '80s/'90s New Jersey music venue The Pipeline, author/journalist/musician Joel Gausten talks with owner Emilio Mourao about the club's first five years (1985-1990). 

The Pipeline


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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran guitarist Jason Shapiro (Redd Kross/Verbal Abuse/Celebrity Skin/Vitamin) about his four-plus decades in music.

Redd Kross

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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with Martin Bowes of Attrition about his new album, The Black Maria, plus his work with Pigface, his early connection to Crass Records, and much more.


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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran musician Pete “Joyless” Jones (Public Image Ltd/Cowboys International/Brian Brain/Department S/Solo) about his history in music and his thoughts on John Lydon and the late Keith Levene.

Pete "Joyless" Jones

Free PDF of Pete's book

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Sunday, March 31, 2024


(NOTE: AUDIO ONLY) Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with legendary musician Rikk Agnew (Christian Death/ Symbolism/ The Adolescents/ D.I./ Gitane DeMone Quartet/ Solo) about his band Symbolism and the recent 42nd anniversary of Christian Death's classic first album, Only Theatre of Pain.

Rikk Agnew


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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran musician Eric McWhorter (Modiviccan/Project .44 / W.O.R.M/ Pigface/ Salamander Red/Now I'm Nothing/PriMary/Boltpile) about his history in the Chicago music scene. The video includes a special guest appearance by Roger Ebner (Pigface/BILE/Solo). 


Maynott Recording Studio

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran NJ Punk/Hardcore musician Jack Steeples (Adrenalin O.D./Mental Decay/The Kowalskis/Deathrage/SUX/The Fartheads/The Newd/Steel Wool/East Paterson Boys Choir/Damaged Goods/The Sophisticatos) about his long history in music and his current band, fear gods.

fear gods. 

Adrenalin O.D. 

139 Records

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Monday, March 18, 2024

No Time to 'Let Go:' KMFDM's Lucia Cifarelli on Longevity, Resilience, and Bill Rieflin

Lucia Cifarelli of KMFDM (Photo by Bobby Talamine)

It’s often difficult for a band to last 40 months, but KMFDM is still in the game after 40 years. Currently comprised of founder/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko, vocalist Lucia Cifarelli, guitarist Andee Blacksugar, drummer Andy Selway, and guest MC Ocelot, the group recently released its 23rd (and best-in-years) album, Let Go, and hit the road in the U.S. to celebrate its fourth decade of activity. Despite the typical rigors of touring, Cifarelli was kind enough to find time to fill me on the state of KMFDM circa now.  

Congratulations on the new album! I think it’s one of the strongest ones the band has ever released—not an easy feat for a group that’s been around for four decades. From your perspective, what has been the key to keeping KMFDM’s sound fresh and innovative after so many years?

I speak for all of us in the band when I say we have a deep love and respect for what we do. As soon as Sascha wakes up, he grabs a coffee and heads into the studio, and I head into my workspace. Being innovative isn’t something we’re necessarily thinking about going into the writing process, but as the songs develop and the production evolves, they take on a life of their own.

KMFDM’s lineup has been consistent for a few years now. What makes this incarnation of the band work so well?

We all have a similar work ethic and dedication to the art form and share great chemistry. Liking the people you work with and having respect for what they bring to the table cannot be underestimated. We all bring a unique talent to the band that just works.

Ocelot has contributed to three KMFDM albums in a row now. How did he become part of the picture, and what makes him such a great participant?

Ocelot started out selling merch for us. Along the way, he mentioned that he was an artist as well, so I asked to hear his music. I liked it a lot and asked Sascha to listen. Then an opportunity came up where we needed an opener, and he filled the slot. Later, Sascha asked if he wanted to collaborate on a track.

I love the “Airhead” video—especially since I’m old enough to recall the images featured in it! Crazy Eddie AND Days of Our Lives in a KMFDM video? Oh, hell yeah! The video brings back so many fond memories for me. How were the images for it selected?

The video was made by one of our crew family, Pedro Rodgriguez. He was inspired by the song and presented it to us shortly before the tour. We all loved it and decided to release “Airhead” as a single along with it. He chose all the images himself.

Certain elements of the song’s lyrics make me suspect that they’re autobiographical. How close to the mark am I?

You are correct! The song is loosely based on my life. When Sascha initially played the track for me, I had no idea what to do with it. I spent a lot of time working through the melody before I conceptualized the lyrics. Once I had the melody and title for the chorus, everything else fell into place. I started thinking about my journey in the music business and life and decided to have fun with it.

You’ve been on nearly 20 tours with KMFDM since joining the band in 2002. Touring can be an amazing experience, but it can also be very hard work. What are some ways you’re able to maintain your energy level—and your physical and mental health—while traveling so often?

No matter how enthusiastic I am about touring, it’s hard work–both physically and mentally–so I train at the gym regularly three to five times a week to stay aerobically conditioned at all times. I also spend a lot of time outside with my dog, which helps me stay balanced mentally. Traveling on a tour bus with 12 people can quickly feel claustrophobic, so preparation on every level beforehand is integral for me energetically.

KMFDM’s show in New York City in 2002 during the Sturm & Drang Tour is still among the greatest gigs I’ve ever seen. Bill Rieflin played bass on that tour, and he was a frequent contributor to KMFDM who’s sadly no longer with us. What do you miss most about him—both as a person and as a collaborator?

Bill was a force of nature, both musically and personally. What I miss most about him is the loss of my friend. When Sascha and I lived in Seattle, we spent a lot of time with him and his wife, Frankie, who is also no longer with us. We cooked dinners together … spent weekends at Hood Canal. Touring together was a bonus because he was a fierce musician and had beautiful energy. It’s still difficult to accept their passings. I miss them very much.

The Industrial genre has no shortage of great acts, but KMFDM has maintained its place as one of the most popular groups in the scene for decades. Why do you feel your music still resonates with people so deeply?

I understand that KMFDM will always be tagged as Industrial, but that’s not how I view us or how we approach writing and production. Our tastes in music are wide and varied, and I believe that’s precisely why it resonates with so many different people. There are elements of every genre within the body of each album that bring together people from all walks of life.

When I interviewed Sascha in 2018 shortly before KMFDM’s 35th anniversary, I asked him to share his thoughts on the key to the group’s survival. This was his reply:

I think the longevity comes mainly from never having been a ‘band’ in the traditional sense. Bands tend to shrivel up over time over personal differences and things like that. KMFDM was always fresh in the sense that an ever-changing group of people set out to create something. Every album was approached almost like a one-off - let’s get together, do this, and then everybody returns to whatever else they’re doing. And of course, this is what we’re good at. We suck at all else.

What would you add to this statement?

That statement doesn’t feel relevant at this point, considering how long the current lineup has been making records together. The thing to remember is KMFDM starts and ends with Sascha. Although each member past and present has left an indelible mark, KMFDM is Sascha’s brainchild at the end of the day. 

*Portions of the above interview were edited for clarity.

KMFDM Tour Dates

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with KAV (Blitz Vega/Happy Mondays/Solo) about the upcoming release of the Blitz Vega album Northern Gentleman, which will serve as the final full-length release to feature his late friend and bandmate, Andy Rourke of The Smiths. Joel and Kav also discuss how the album reunited Andy with his former Smiths bandmate Johnny Marr.

Blitz Vega:



KAV: https://www.instagram.com/kavblaggers https://www.twitter.com/KAVblaggers

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Saturday, March 16, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with Courtney Taylor-Taylor of The Dandy Warhols about the band’s fantastic new album, Rockmaker, which features guest appearances by Debbie Harry, Slash, and Frank Blank.

The Dandy Warhols

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Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with musician and public speaker Gaelynn Lea (Solo/Pigface/The Murder of Crows) about her career in music and her work as a disability rights advocate. Topics include accessibility in touring, her work with former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, and the impact of disability on sexuality and mental health.

Gaelynn Lea

“Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun" Video

Sexuality and Disability: Forging Identity in a World that Leaves You Out | Gaelynn Lea | TEDxYale

Why I Choose Enrichment over Progress | Gaelynn Lea | TEDxGullLake

Recording Artists and Professional Musicians with Disabilities

The Murder of Crows

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Thursday, March 14, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran musician/producer/artist manager/writer Bruce Duff (The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs/ADZ/45 Grave/Twisted Roots/Jesters of Destiny) about his storied career in music, including his work with Triple X Records, Kitten Robot Records, Thor, and Rozz Williams.

Bruce Duff

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Monday, March 11, 2024


Author/drummer Joel Gausten talks with veteran drummer and professional chef Becky Wreck (Lunachicks/Teknofear/La Muerte/Witch Rose) about her experiences in both industries (including her appearances on the Howard Stern Stern) and her current band, Witch Rose. Witch Rose

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with singer/producer Meg Lee Chin (Pigface/Teknofear/Crunch/Solo) about her career in music, recording Faith No More in the early ’80s, fronting the first Western band to perform in Ukraine, working with an early incarnation of Garbage, and her lengthy stint in Pigface.

Meg Lee Chin

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 6, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with veteran drummer Mark McKay (Slapshot/Stars & Stripes/The Long Wait) about his long history in the Boston Hardcore scene. 

Punk Rock Saves Lives

The Long Wait

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Author/journalist Joel Gausten talks with the legendary Willie “Loco” Alexander (Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band/The Velvet Underground/The Lost/The Grass Menagerie/The Bagatelle/Solo) about his long and storied life in music. 

Willie “Loco” Alexander

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Lost BURZUM Interview

Four years ago today, I received a cryptic e-mail out of the blue from a sender with “burzum” in their address. Naturally, my interest was piqued immediately, as Burzum was the musical project by one of the most notorious figures in music history: Varg Vikernes.


If you’re unfamiliar with ol’ Mr. V., he’s … um … an interesting fellow worth looking up. (The book Lords of Chaos and the subsequent film of the same name are good—if heavily sensationalized—places to start.)


The e-mail included a link to download Burzum’s then-latest (and apparently final) album, Thulêan Mysteries, which the e-mail explained was conceived by Vikernes as a companion piece to his roleplaying game, MYFAROG (Mythic Fantasy Role-Playing Game). The communique also included a lengthy, pre-written Q&A, preceded by an explanation that “my manager convinced me I should do an interview to promote the album.”


Did this e-mail—the only one I’ve ever received from this sender—really come from the man himself? Only Varg and Satan know for sure, but my reply requesting to schedule a proper one-on-one interview went unanswered.


Spooky shit, yo.


Unfortunately, the e-mail had turned up at the worst possible time for me to do anything with it. I was in the process of moving out of my house, and news reports kept warning of a mysterious virus that was spreading around the world. With everything else going on, this whole Burzum business got pushed to the back burner and subsequently forgotten … until I recently came across the original message while cleaning up my inbox.  


Here’s the vast majority of the interview I had received 48 months ago, presented below with minimal edits (but with the omission of a few statements that were … well … more than a bit beyond the pale). And for the record, Thulêan Mysteries is quite good.



With the album coming to fruition in this fashion, was there a particular strategy you employed in terms of the track order? Was anything excluded from the release, and, if so, why?
Everything I had not released on a CD before was included, with the exception of the tracks I had from some old rehearsal tape. The latter was not included because it was just too different and ... just a rehearsal.
What I did was to put all the tracks on a track list and then play it on repeat. After some listens, I had a good idea how to organize it. Voila.
Was there ever a point where you had the album in mind and then recorded tracks specifically for the release?
No. Never. All these tracks are old recordings, or at least rather old. Like a year or so minimum, and not older than five years tops.
How do you tend to work when you’re composing? Is it a case of finding time here and there around looking after the children and doing other work, or do you set aside long periods of time exclusively to write?
I guess a bit here and there is the most correct. And really, I tend not to work with music at all ... I just ‘accidentally’ made this one the last few years.
What is your recording process currently in terms of instruments and recording equipment? Were these tracks all recorded at your home or did you enter an external studio?
Currently, I have no recording process at all. I haven’t touched an instrument in a long time, other than to move it out of the way in order to get to what is stored behind it on the shelf or in the barn. It’s all just collecting dust.
The electronic music on this album is recorded on my wife’s 10-year-old Mini-Mac, using GarageBand, and I used a microphone that I got from Amazon for the vocals. The lyre playing was recorded in our VW van, in the driver’s seat, using a camera that I normally used to record YouTube videos on. It had a decent microphone, and it turned out quite well. I think. The ‘drumming’ bit in one of them, ‘The Great Sleep,’ is just me tapping my foot on the floor of the car. Yeah, a ‘Trve Kvlt BM drum kit’ for you right there ...
So if I understand you correctly, you haven’t played or made music for about a year? Is it a case of simply being too busy or not feeling inspired to do so?
With the risk of sounding a bit direct here, I would say I simply have no interest in playing music. I guess my distaste for it has grown sufficiently for me to not even want to be inspired anymore. There are so many better and more useful things to do in life.
You previously stated, “Since my true passion has never been music, but actually tabletop role-playing games, I figured I should make this an album intended for that use - as background music for my own MYFAROG (Mythic Fantasy Role-playing Game).”
Could you therefore tell us about MYFAROG, in terms of concept and mechanics, particularly for readers who may only have a passing familiarity with roleplaying games?
It’s a fantasy RPG based around our own pre-Christian heritage, in the semi-fictional land of Thule, where you can either just have fun playing a fantasy role-playing game or actually learn something about our old traditions, gods, symbols, values, and purpose. That’s your choice. The mechanics are designed to make sense and to cover any thinkable and unthinkable situation the player characters might end up in. You cast three six-sided dice, add modifiers (like your character’s relevant skill proficiency) and check this up against a target number. Then you achieve a certain degree of success or failure, depending on the result, ranging from fumbles and critical failures, failures and semi-successes to successes and critical successes. That would be the basics.
Since MYFAROG seems to be created with a lot of educational/historical considerations, did you ever think about making the game purely historical, i.e., based in the real world, without the elves, trolls and other otherworldly beings? What made you decide to go the route you did?
To me, an RPG should be educative, but it must also be fun, and a fantastical world is more fun than reality. On the other hand, history as we know it, is also pure fantasy ... the lies we agreed on, so to speak. But real lies are no fun.
To what degree did the concepts behind the game actively influence the music and lyrics themselves?
Let’s settle on a ‘high’ degree, because I worked on the game at the same time as I made the music.
How did you go about naming the tracks, particularly the many instrumentals?
By listening to them on repeat, whilst thinking about Thule. [smiles]
Especially for those who haven’t heard the new release, how would you compare the new tracks to those on Sôl austan, Mâni vestan and The Ways Of Yore, compositionally speaking?
It’s closer to the latter I would say, but ... I don’t know. If they have an interest in it, can’t they just listen to it for free on YouTube or something and make up their own opinion? I don’t really think about such things. I just make music, or made music, and had no particular direction in mind. I just let the music take me where it wanted to go. The rest, how or why, is water under the bridge.
After many years, you returned to the timeless works of Theodor Kittelsenfor this album’s cover art ­– was this in order to match the cover art with that used for the MYFAROG game? And if so, what made you choose to use Kittelsen for this?
The cover art was chosen first for the game, because it fits very well with the concept and atmosphere of Thule. It shows a Nix lurking in the water, a creature you can find in Thule. Then I decided to release the music I had as an album, and as a soundtrack for MYFAROG, so I saw no reason not to use the same image for the album. It’s very ... Burzumic, and reminiscent of the older albums.”
Aside from your family, what is taking up most of your time these days if not music? Perhaps the RPG related works?
Reading, working in the garden, maintaining buildings, maintaining cars, writing more Paganism Explained books, and yes, also occasionally RPG work.

Out of interest, when you listen to music these days, what do you tend to choose?
Electronic music, mostly. Dub techno. And my own music. Sometimes, I listen to old music that I liked when I was younger. Bee Gees. ABBA. Iron Maiden. The first few Kreator albums. Future Sounds of London. Jean-Michel Jarre. Software. Music I have memories attached to.
What do you see as the future for Burzum? More ‘accidental’ albums such as this? Could you envisage making another metal or electronic album created ‘as a whole,’ in a more traditional manner?
Burzum is dead to me, and it was before this album, too. Like I said, I just ‘accidentally’ made another album. So I have no future visions for music by me. I have better things to do. Plant trees. Sow seeds in a soil that modern agriculture has turned into almost a desert. Help restore the forest that once covered our continent from East to West, North to South. Our natural habitat.

EMAIL JOEL at gaustenbooks@gmail.com