Hate Machine: The Parkinsons Come Out Swinging

Parkinsons They destroy their amps. They strip naked on stage. They spit, scowl and piss on friend and foe alike. And most importantly, they have a blast doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Punk Rock's greatest hope, the Parkinsons. Their brand of nihilism, nudity and nasty guitar hooks are sure to shock and amaze those fortunate enough to catch them at this year's Fujirock, their first gig in the East. Read on, but be forewarned: this band is definitely not for the faint of heart.

A browse through their concert reviews can be a lesson in extremes. When they opened for nu-metal outfit, Sum 41, in the UK, for example, there was no black and white with the critics. It was called either the best or the worst show of the year, just depending on where you read it. For vocalist Alfonso (a.k.a. "Al Zeimer"), this couldn't be better.

"It's fucking hilarious" he says, but to be honest, I don't care if they think I'm God or Judas, as long as they react...it's a sign that the band is alive."

One look at concert footage is enough to know that the band is most certainly alive ミ kicking and screaming. Many a show has ended with the stage covered in smashed equipment, the band's wardrobe and various body fluids.

Parkinsons The Parkinsons got their start when Al moved to London from a sleepy, small-town in Portugal. Old friends, Victor and Pedro soon followed suit to become bass and lead guitar. The Scottish drummer, Chris, became part in a very different way. After a screening of old CBGB's concert footage, Chris intervened when several guys tried to gang up on Al, apparently in retribution for making a scene during footage of the Dead Boys. Regardless, the fight was averted and a drummer was found.

Now with a full band, the plan was to start gigging the London circuit. But there was one problem: no demo.

"If you don't have a demo, you can't play out here," say Al, "so everyone told us to fuck off".

Parkinsons They got their first gigs, however, through word of mouth.

"Everyone saw us out partying and having fun all the time, and finally, they said 'you can play'".

And play they did: thrashing about with their own brand of Punk and Rock n' Roll, they quickly won friends and foes along with comparisons to The Stooges, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and the most recent darlings of the British press, The Strokes.

They're not necessarily thrilled about these comparisons, especially to NME's favorite, the Strokes:

"The fucking Strokes, man", Al snorts, "The only comparison we have with them is that we both play in a band, that's it".

"Critics like to make the public feel at ease before they buy a record or see a show," says Al, "They want relate a band to the public, so they go for the easy example".

The Parkinsons want to steer clear of the present "Rock-resurgence" movement now filling the pages of music mags worldwide. Bands like The White Stripes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Strokes are "..just a bunch of pot-smoking, boring fucks.." if you ask Al. In fact, when asked what band he thinks should be wiped off the planet, he asks "Does it have to be just one?" He makes a list. Want to guess who's on it? Yeah, you guessed it, all of the above made it to Al's "Down in Flames" list, with rock critics (myself included?) not up for immediate annihilation, but rather to "die slowly on the cross."

Parkinsons Al does have a point. While the Parkinsons' parallels to the Sex Pistols and the Stooges have some relevance, the Strokes they are not. The Parkinsons dig deeper into the pathos of what rock - especially PUNK rock was all about : action and reaction. When the Parkinsons hit the stage, they are nothing but action - screeching, stripping, pushing and shoving. You can't help but react. And that's exactly what they want : a reaction. But whatever your response is to their driving rock n' roll nosedive or their berserk stage antics, "You have to see it for yourself," teases Al. "But whether you love us or hate us, you won't go home disappointed."

For more of this interview, check the fujirockers.org.

interviewed by jinki

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The official site of

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The album info :
Sound Circus Label (in JPN)

Accel Tribe
The latest album

The Parkinsons

"A Long Way To Nowhere"
(UK import / US import / 国内盤)

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The new album (out in '04)

The Parkinsons

"Reason To Resist"
(UK import)

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buttonHave Guitar... Will Travel : Melissa Ferrick (5th Jul '02)
buttonHate Machine: The Parkinsons Come Out Swinging : The Parkinsons (5th Jun '02)
buttonA Singing Angel Sings Free... : Eddi Reader (2nd Mar '02)
buttonHere come the people's music again! : OZOMATLI (24th Feb '02)

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