Thee Pirates, The Blackjacks: Billy Bones
Interview composed by Jordan Eshpeter
I remember seeing Thee Pirates live a number of years ago, and at Tomfest 2. How long
exactly have Thee Pirates been around?
Our first show was in a livingroom the week before the first tomfest, so whenever that was.
It seems that there have been a few line-up changes in Thee Pirates history. How does the
current line-up compare to ones of the past?
We've changed drummers, Scabby replaced the deceased, scurvy. We've added long Jonny bones
on second guitar.
Very recently Thee Pirates recorded at JCDC in Vancouver. Are you happy with the recording,
and will it be released independently or on a label?
That recording isn't as good as the first songs we recorded at JCDC. We did three Stiff
Little Fingers covers there that sound really good, but this last stuff doesn't have the same
power in the recording. There's a few songs on it that I really like though. Some songs I'm
really proud of.
I've been told that you have some interesting views of anarchy and how that belief can co-exist
with your Christianity. How can one be a Christian and an anarchist?
That's a book. I think that saying Christian Anarchist is redundant. If I beleive in a creator,
then I believe he has ultimate authority. Any power that I ascribe to other authorities, like governments
(archys) is false. People think that Anarchy means nihilism, or bomb throwing, or chaos. In it's
strictist definition, Anarchy only means the absence of government. What we call a "democratic
government," christians generally think has been ordained by God. There is absolutely no basis for
that in the bible or in common sense. On the other hand, Anarchists generally have a small definition
of Christians. Since I don't believe that God is an illigitamate authority, or an imposed authority,
I don't see believing in his existence as disqualifying me for anarchism. I believe in every individual
living out their personal autonomy, but I don't think it's a fight I need to let consume me. I live it,
but I won't let it ruin my life, like if it comes down to going to jail or paying my taxes, I'll pay
the stupid things. that's what I think romans 13 is about(that's a section of the bible that christians
usually use to endorse governments, no matter how cruel or corrupt.)
Although it doesn't bother me, I do know that it bothers some people that your logo is the skull
and cross bones (a symbol of danger and death). Is there any significance or justification to this
being your symbol? or is it just a symbol.
We're a punk rock band. at least at one point, punk rock was dangerous. In the eighteenth century,
images of death were present in art way more than they are now. I just don't beleive in painting a
pretty picture. I think people need a little danger, at least I do. I won't try to justify it or
change it. It's a symbol of death. I don't think there's anything wrong with death. I don't want
to glorify death, and I don't think that evil is cool. I just don't connect evil with death. I think
it's worth thinking about and it gets a good reaction.
In the band there is Billy Bones, Scabby Bones, Toddy Bones, and Long Jonny Bones. However,
there is also a fellow named Danger Davey Bones. Who is Danger Davey, and why is he a "Bones?"
Danger is a good friend who was always around. He helped us put out merchandise a couple of
times. We just started calling him Danger Davey Bones. A Pirate is something you are, more than
something you put on. Our band is more a group of friends than a group of musicians (if you've
seen us play you know that) and he is a good friend.
Thee Pirates will be playing this year's Cornerstone Festival and Tomfest NW. Is this a sign
of bigger things to come for Thee Pirates?
I doubt it. we're doing a tour that "a-leg-ed-ly" will go through a lot of different provinces
and states, but pirates have always been in the dirt, and it looks like we always will be. I'm disgusted
by labels. We've considered a few and had a couple of offers, and sometimes it sounds real tempting
because it would be nice to have somebody book your tour, or put out your cd, or make your t-shirts.
We don't have any money. right now we've got this tour planned, but we have no money for a vehicle,
no money to make cd's and no money to eat, pay rent at home or nothing. What I really want is to put
stuff out ourselves, but you need money to start with. maybe we'll get some from somewhere. As far
as climbing the ladder, getting "big" or anything like that, I hope nobody's holding their breath,
stuff never seems to work for us like that, but maybe it's better that way. We're all happy. I just
like to play.
If this world was perfect and just, and if Thee Pirates could tour with any band in the world,
who would that band be? and where would you tour?
The rest of the band would have other ideas, but I'd like to tour England with the Clash (I know
they won't get back together, and It would sort of wreck them if they did, but we're talking about a
different world) or Stiff Little Fingers, or the Toy Dolls, or the New York Dolls. Actually, in the
real world, and I think this would be even better,I would like to tour with Moral Crux. We got to
play with them in Idaho, and they're my favourite band going right now, and they covered "white riot"
one of my favourite clash songs, and they got me up to sing wiht them. so for a minute, it was a perfect
I hope I wasn't too long winded. I also want to say that what's going on in Kosovo right now isn't "Nato"
the "good guys" protecting "ethnic albanians" from the serbian "bad guys". I can't say I know exactly what
is going on over there right now, but we need to start taking notice. In Kosovo, up until the bombings,
there were aproximately 2,000 dead this year. that is completely unacceptable. the number of real people
dead as a direct result of nato bombings and sanctions has skyrocketed. Nato knew this would happen before
they started bombing. Nato has no mandate to go interfering in internal conflicts of non-member states.
There are a bunch of other contries in the world where internal conflicts have resulted in deaths numbering
in the tens of thousands that we will never hear about from the main stream media.
(East timor-China-Iraq-Turkey-guatamala-El Salvador-panama.) Whatever the truth is, Nato's not on any
humanitarian mission over there, they're killing innocent people to meet there own ends. Our tax money
buys the bombs that drop over there. Keep on rockin in the free world.