Thursday, June 04, 2009

Interview with Punky Peru of Witch

Witch were very much a part of the LA metal scene back in the mid-late 1980's and fortunately they are back again. This time Betsy Bitch is currently handling vocals and they have done several shows in recent months. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing drummer Punky Peru to find out more.

MM-Hello. What are you currently up to?
PP-We are putting the finishing touches on a new demo. It will be the first recording we have done in 20 years with all new material. And the first with Betsy singing.

MM-Betsy has been in the band for a few months and played several shows with you. Is this a permanent situation or is it still possible that Peter may rejoin the group?
PP-I always say...never say never but, yes Betsy is a permanent singer for Witch.

MM-How did the recent shows go? What were some of the highlights?
PP-We just recently played a show at the Black Castle in Los Angeles and the Cat Club in Hollywood. The Black Castle reminded me of the old days. It was an "all age" venue so there were hundreds of screaming teenagers there. Just the kind of crowd we know and love.

MM-Any good stories from these recent shows?
PP-No, not really. I mean no one got hurt or thrown in jail. The shows went very smooth and we had all night parties just like we did back in the day.

MM-What kind of people have come to your recent shows? Is it a lot of old diehards who were fans in the 80’s or a combination of younger and older fans?
PP-Not so much of the old diehards. Mostly people that had missed us back in the 80's and were curious with a mixture of new younger fans. Maybe their parents use to go see us. Who knows.....

MM-What does your current set list look like?
PP-The entire Hex is On EP, The Cherokee demos, 1:45 and Suffering in Silence. Suffering is the only song in the set that is not on the new Damnation CD.


MM-What has been the most difficult thing about getting back into playing as a group?
PP-Scheduling! With me in Hawaii, Ronny in Idaho and Jim and Betsy in Southern California it takes a lot to coordinate things.

MM-Are you using any of the old stage props that you used to? Or is it just the band and your instruments so far?
PP-We are using some of the old stage props. We have the flaming drum sticks on the intro, police lights, fire curtains and lots and lots of fog.

MM-Last year the “Damnation” collection was released. How did that come about and what has been the response to it?
PP-It came about by all the interest from the Witch website put together by Mark Piotrowski.

MM-Are there any more Witch recordings sitting around that might see the light of day?
PP-Just the new ones we are working on now. Keep your eyes open for possibly a DVD with lots of old live footage and interviews.

MM-Have you written any new material since reforming?
PP-Jim and I were working on a new project called "Punching the Clown". We put the project on hold for the Witch reunion. We recently decided to take the demos and have Betsy sing on them. You might hear some of them at future Witch shows.
If so then how does it compare with your other songs? They sound like WASP meets Kiss.

MM-There are a number of hard rock/metal festivals playing in the U.S. in the upcoming months. Has anyone approached you about playing any of those events? Would you be interested in shows like that?
PP-Yes, that is the reason we got back together. We had an offer to play the "Bang your Head" and "Keep it Real" festivals in Europe this year but then they fell through. We also had an opportunity to play the "Rock gone Wild" festival in Iowa this year but had to back out due to scheduling problems with Ronny.


MM-What do you think about the hard rock/metal scene today? How does it compare with music from say twenty years ago?
PP-I'm not sure. I have been out of it for so long. It appears that there is a big underground of the heavy death metal scene and a come back of the old 80's rock groups.

MM-What kind of your music are you currently listening to?
PP-I like everything now. From reggae to the Foo Fighters to old Van Halen shit.

MM-If you could only listen to three albums over the next month then what would you choose?
PP-That's a hard one to answer. Sweet "Desolation Boulevard", Foo Fighters "Skin & Bones" and Janes Addiction "Kettle Whistles".


MM-What goals do you have for the band this time around?
PP-To play festivals and have a good fucking time.

MM-Is there anything else that you would like to say about your band or your music?
PP-Check out the website

-Punky Peru

I also interviewed Jim Warmon of Witch last year in case you missed it.

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