Oct 31, 2011
The week before last, Atlanta-cum-Augusta, GA band, Turf War, released their first LP, “Years of Living Dangerously” on Old Flame Records.
During my time attending college in Augusta, I was lucky enough to get to know the guys in the band. I went to many of their shows, I crawled into and out of bars with lead singer, John Robinson, and I even got chased around a small rooftop by a golf-club wielding Robinson whom I am relatively certain would have clubbed me had he caught me. So naturally, like most other Augusta rock-and roll show-goers, I anxiously awaited the release of some recorded material from these bawdy rockers.
When I received my copy of “Years of Living Dangerously” in the mail, I waited a few days to give it a listen. This was one of those albums to which I wanted to dedicate my full attention.
There are tons of nuanced intricacies present in the recording that transport me back to late, loud, drunken evenings at the Soul Bar watching great bands play great music at deafening levels to frenzied fans hungry for something to do. Ian St. Pé did a remarkable job capturing these details on the album. I was a bit concerned that actual studio production might lift some of the dirt out of Turf War’s sound, and it did, but only enough to show you that these guys actually know how to perform really well. I was certainly relieved that Pé didn’t inadvertently turn Years of Living Dangerously into a Black Lips record either. The recording seems to be a relatively honest, get-out-of-the-way reproduction of what Turf War sounds like live, and that is dirty, honest, rock and roll.
One of the things that struck me most about the record was Robinson’s seemingly torn stance on his roll as a balls-out, self-destructive rock and roller. At times, he seems to still glorify this side of what I assume to be himself, but there is an underlying sense of a need to put distance between himself and that lifestyle. Whichever path Robinson and Turf War end up taking, their songwriting road seems to be pathed with gold, and each time I hear them, they are better than the time before.
Years of Living Dangerously is an amazing and vitally important rock and roll album. It is one of the best rock records I have heard all year, and you should definitely give this band a listen. They will quickly become a part of the group of bands you love.
Tremble Tremble – Coming from a somewhat smaller town that often gets overlooked musically, what kept you inspired to keep writing songs? Did you ever have any ‘what’s the point of continuing’ moments where you felt like no one was listening?
Turf War – yeah. i felt like quitting music before we started turf war. i even went to school to be an electrician. but then i finished and was all like. “fuck that” music is where my heart is. I’m compelled to make music. I really can’t help it
TT – Many of your lyrics seem to address directly or allude to a divorce from a life of all out debauch. Is this autobiographical?
TW – sort of. years of living dangerously is kind of our concept album minus a concept. but its a story. its just not linear and its not about anything other than being a mess and trying not to be such a mess. also there is a song about our friend Joe swindell that passed away.
TT– You have personally introduced me to a lot of wonderful music which I still listen to consistently. Have there been people like that for you along the way?
TW– yes indeed. my brother got me into the majority of the music i listened to when i was younger, so i got to be ahead of people that still thought korn was the cheezbiz. also i had some older dudes i met in athens and atlanta that turned me on to music i didnt know about. im also in love with music so i spent the majority of my teens and early adulthood trying to find new music.
TT – Who were some of your favorite groups back in Augusta?
TW – theyre all good. but from what i can remember i love me some nuklear blast suntan, shaun piazza, eat lightning and the cubists. i know im forgetting some people but this question is weird. ha.
TT – You guys have a very fun live show, but it still seems intimate and inclusive. Do you feel like moving into larger venues will detract from that vibe?
TW – i think in the beginning playing big shows will be weird but we will get a hang of it just like everything else. booze helps. and people having a good time makes me feel special. we still play small venues mainly.
TT – I used to be pretty scared of running into you in the bars. You would typically just punch me and then laugh, but you didn’t really know me. Honestly, it kind of hurt, and it was a little weird. Why did you do that?
TW – what does this have to do with anything. ya joik
TT – If you could curate any 3-band-bill right now with Turf War as the supporting act, what would be the lineup?
TW – blood sausage, pistol pussy, the cult, five guys hamburgers and turf war. is that to many
TT – If you could write a song with Springstein, but it had to be performed by Bieber, would you do it?
TW – if i got to meet both them dudes i wouldnt mind writing a song. i dont think they would wanna perform songs about drinking though. beiber too young. pyt
TT – How did you guys get hooked up with Ian from the Black Lips?
TW – we met him at athfest two years ago and he was on mushrooms. we partied with him. he told us to move to atlanta bc atlanta was like disneyland.”your dreams will come true”. i already lived here though. then we played with black lips and thats kinda how we got hooked up with him. he’s a good dude. helped us out alot. worked alot of free hours to produce our record.
TT – What’s next for Turf War?
TW – bowling. might go shotgun a beer. gay marriage. i dunno. hopefully this beiber thing works out.