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Interview

Mato Ratos
10/07/1999



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

THE STORY…SO FAR(T)!

The band was born in the end of 1981. Started as many other's in that time: a tremendous desire to make noize and disturb families and neighbourhood. For short: pure revolt and juvenile delinquence. The first influences were mostly from British and US Punk from the end of the 70's and early 80's: Cockney Rejects, Killing Joke, Blitz, Dead Kennedys, 999, Black Flag, Adicts, Business, Anti Pasti, 4-Skins, Dickies, etc.

The first show takes place in December 82 on the E.S.B.A.L. - Escola de Belas Artes de Lisboa (Lisbon School of Arts). A real success since the band is kicked out from stage for the first time (many other's to follow), ending the show with some band fans standing on the roof pissing in the remaining audience. Some of then where arrested by Police including their nº1 fan and future vocals of the band. The following shows didn't went more peacefully, in some of them the band was even forbidden to get on stage.

The band decided, together with other Punk bands from that time - like

CRISE TOTAL

,

KÚ-DE-JUDAS

and

GRITO FINAL

(the so called 2º wave of Portuguese Punk; being the first wave made of bands like

FAISCAS, AQUI D'EL ROCK, MINAS E ARMADILHAS

and

XUTOS & PONTÁPES

) - to organise their own gigs (DIY) on a historic Lisbon Venue: A TEIA (The Web).

From

MATA-RATOS

first line-up only the guitar player - Pedro Coelho - remained along the years, but even him recently left the band to work exclusively on his other project: ANTI-CLOCKWISE. In 1984 they get a new vocalist, Miguel "Angel Face" Newton, that rapidly becomes the brand image of the band and is still to this day one of the most carismatic and polemical agitators of the Portuguese musical underground.

In 1991, after their bombastic appearance on the 6º Concurso de Música Moderna do Rock Rendez Vous (something like a Battle of The Bands) they finally release their debut album on EMI-Valentim De Carvalho:

"ROCK RADIOACTIVO".

The purpose of the band was never to release their work on a multinational label like EMI;

But they had little alternative since all independent labels around that time refused to have the band on their catalogues due to Mata-Ratos growing fame of disorderly conduct and incitement to violence. Their reputation was increased by the growing number of skins on their shows and their refusal to make statements against the bootboys. EMI knows how to smell for a good business and they weren't wrong: the album went straight to the 5th place on the Portuguese Top and sold more than 7.000 units. The rude and hard tunes - like «A minha Sogra é Um Boi» (My stepmother is an Ox) , «Eu Tenho Um Pobre» (I have a Poor) e «C.C.M. - Cona Cú e Mamas» (P.A.T. - Pussy, Ass and Tits) - become street anthems for an intire generation.

By this time Mata-Ratos had already changed their line-up for a couple of times and when the album hits the streets new changes arrived because of disagreements on what way the band should go: or to remain on the pat chosed until then - pure fun and chaos moved on alcohol - or change to a more "soft" attitude to get more "client's". Tradition won, long live the chaos. For pleasure of long time fanatics, they kick out the Bass and Drummer and moved along with a new line-up. The same reason that saw the old line-up going out the drain took also Mata-Ratos to put an end to their contract with EMI. From now on they're on their own risk and the journey hasn't been an easy one. This only made the band to become stronger and more aggressive. New line-up changes, chaotic shows, endless polemics, dubious accusations, bloody fights, agro, etc, etc….

Natural survivors, only in 1994 they have the chance to record for a new label- Drunk Records/Fast' N' Loud - that debut's by releasing the legendary

"EXPULSOS DO BAR"

quickly sold out (latter re-released by German label and also sold out). In 95 the second full length comes out - "

ESTÁS AQUI … ESTÁS ALI !"

- and the band goes to Tour in Portugal and Germany together with Brazilian band

GAROTOS PODRES

. A real success and an endless drinking party for 15 days. During the tour they also had the luck to play together with bands like

BRAINDANCE (UK)

and

OXYMORON (Germany).

The band also appear on lots of International compilations and play in 96 on the 1st Super Rock Festival in Faro, Portugal, together with

THE EXPLOITED (UK)

and

RATOS DO PORÃO (Brazil).

Two years ago

MATA-RATOS

celebrated their 15 th year of existence as a band. The un-official party took place on the Academia de Linda-A-Velha (Suburb of Lisbon) with the special guest band

RUIN BOIS (from Vigo/Galiza).

By the end of 97 the band records their last CD "SENTE O ÓDIO" (FELL THE HATE) that due to various conflicts will only see the light of day on the beginning of 99. The CD is released by new Portuguese label ALARM! RECORDS.

For the last two decades MATA-RATOS have played live with bands like

NO FX (U.S.A.)

,

SOZIEDAD ALKOHOLIKA (Euskadi)

,

TOY DOLLS (U.K.), GAROTOS PODRES (Brazil), RUIN BOIS (Galiza), MADBALL (NY), CRISE TOTAL, OXYMORON (Germany), GRITO FINAL, RETALIATOR (UK), BABES IN TOYLAND (USA), RENEGADOS DE BOLIQUEIME, EXPLOITED (UK), RATOS DE PORÃO (Brazil), BRAINDANCE (UK), SETIMA LEGIÃO, METRALHAS, ANTI-PORCOS, KU-DE-JUDAS, DR. MARTENS BEAT (Galiza), RAMP, TARA PERDIDA, and lots more.

Mata-Ratos line-up:

    • ZÉ PEDRO

      SARRUFO

      - Guitarra;
    • MIGUEL "ANGEL FACE" NEWTON

      - Voz;
    • ALEXANDRE BACALA

      - Baixo;
    • RICARDO VIAGRA

      - Bateria.

Discography.

  • «MANIFESTO DE COMBATE' 85»,

    Demo Tape, Z.A.G.R.E.B. Produções, Portugal, 1985

  • «MATA-RATOS»,

    Demo Tape, Raticida Records, Portugal, 1988

  • «ROCK RADIOACTIVO»,

    CD/LP/Tape, EMI-VC, Portugal, 1990

  • «EXPULSOS DO BAR»,

    EP, Drunk Records/Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1994

  • «EXPULSOS DO BAR»,

    EP(Grey Vinil reedition), Street Beat, Germany, 1995

  • «ESTÁS AQUI…ESTÁS ALI!»

    , CD, Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1995

  • «BEBEDEIRAS & MIUDAS TOUR 95»,

    Split EP with GAROTOS PODRES (Brazil), Walzwerk, Germany, 1995

  • «XU-PA-KI 1982-1997»,

    CD, Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1997

  • «SENTE O ÓDIO»,

    CD, Alarm! Records, Portugal, 1999

  • «CRIME»,

    EP, Cranes Blases, France, 1999

MATA-RATOS ON COMPILATIONS:

  • «ATESTADO DE POBREZA»,

    Tape, Combate, Portugal, 1986 (with 2 tracks).
  • «X-MAS HERE AND STARVATION THERE»,

    Tape, Punx, Belgium, 1987 (4 tracks).
  • «THIS BOOTS ARE MADE FOR STOMPIN»,

    Tape, Street Beat, Germany, 1993 (5 tracks)
  • «PORTUGAL'S NOT DEAD»,

    Tape, Street Beat, Germany, 1994 (4 tracks)
  • «HERE'S A BOOT...STOMP!»,

    Tape, Street Beat, Germany, 1994 (3 tracks)
  • «VOZES DA RAIVA1»,

    CD, Drunk Records/Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1994 (16 tracks)
  • «PLAY IT LOUD»,

    CD, Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1995 (1 track)
  • «Oi! UM GRITO DE UNIÃO»,

    CD, Rotten Records, Brazil, 1995 (5 tracks)
  • «VOZES DA RAIVA2»,

    CD, Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1995 (5 tracks)
  • «SONGS ABOUT DRINKING»,

    LP/CD, Too Many Records, USA, 1996 (1 track)
  • «A IDADE DO PECADO»,

    CD, Sony Music, Portugal, 1996 (1 track)
  • «Oi! WE ARE THE BOIS!»,

    CD, Bronco Bullfrog, Spain, 1996 (2 tracks)
  • «CAUGHT IN THE CYCLONE»,

    CD, Cyclone, USA, 1997 (1 track)
  • «Oi! ... RARE & EXOTICA»,

    LP, Teenage Rebel, Germany, 1997 (1 track)
  • «CAOS EM PORTUGAL»,

    CD, Fast'N'Loud, Portugal, 1997 (2 tracks)
  • «ROCK'N'ROLL DELO TERCERO MUNDO 3»,

    CD, HP Records, Brazil, 1997 (1 track)
  • «SCENE KILLER!»,

    CD, Outsider, USA, 1998 (1 track)
  • «TO THE EAST AND TO THE WEST - PORTUGAL Vs. CZCHEC REPUBLIC»,

    7"EP, Bastard Rec./Fast'N'Loud, Czchec Republic/Portugal, 1998 (1 track)
  • «WALZWERK - THE FIRST 10 YEARS»

    , CD, Walzwerk, Germany/Ireland, 1999 (1 track)

NEXT RELEASES:

  • split 7"EP with JIM RICHMANS DIZZY-DIZZY (USA), RETALIATOR (UK), SCAVANGER and ULTIMA THULE

    , Dizzy-Dizzy, USA, 1999 (with 1 track)

What are the main themes in the lyrics?

Social problems, street living, friends, enemies, drinking, political incorrect issues, live & death, streetpunk attitude, silly behaviours, fake underground people, disgusting and annoying subjects, etc.

Do you do any covers in your live set, if so what?

"Eye Of the Tiger" (I don't remember the name of the fucking geezers who play this song only know it's from the ugly movie called Rocky) under the title "Olho Do Cu" (Eye Of the Ass); also another assassination on Bob Marleys tune "No Woman No Cry" under the title of "Fui Ao Cu ao teu Pai" (Getting upon your father's Ass); and finally we play "Exploited Barmy Army" as "Mata-Ratos Barmy Army". Eventually play Portuguese National Anthem just to annoy the hippies & hippy punks.

If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

For me it would be Condemned 84 no doubt about it. For Bacala with would be Agnostic Front (but he as seen them at least 5 times now). For Sarrufo it would have been old time Sex Pistols and for Viagra he's an R.D.P. (Ratos Do Porao from Brazil) addict.

What is the Punk/Oi scene like in your area?

The scene was good from back the early 80's till early 90's with lots off bands, show's and even some zines. Then with the tentacle influence of P.C. on Punk thing's changed a lot and the scene became divided. Since then HC took the place left open by Punk and become the major underground force (after Metal) and is now very strong around here. Punk is now rising again with new bands like INCRIMINADOS and ROLLS ROCKERS fuelling up the scene togheter with old acts like Mata-Ratos and RENEGADOS DE BOLIQUEIME.

Do you prefer watching, or playing gigs? Why?

Obviously prefer to play. Why? Because if there's people wanting to see your band you have to give them your best and if there's people who hate you you've got to annoy them the best you can. So is always great to play no matter what. Also there's not much bands around worth to see.

What is the favourite song (and what band is it by) of each member of the band?

For me is "The boots go marching In" from C-84, for Sarrufo it would be any Sex Pistols tune or one from is HC band TRINTA-E-UM (31), for Bacala maybe "One Voice" or Crucified" from AGNOSTIC FRONT, for Vieira it would be "Beber, Fumar, Descansar" (Drink, Smoke and Rest) by R.D.P.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 99.

Nothing concrete as for gigs. Since I organise some shows with outside bands I intend to put Mata-Ratos playing as support act for most of them. Eventually we are invited to play around Portugal. I'm now trying to put something up for D.R.I. over here but there's many people trying to bring them over so I don't know how's it going to end. Next will be The Business on November and with some luck also my all time favourites will come over by the end of 99 or beginning of 2000. Hope also to bring Retaliator back for a couple of shows. As for releases: we hope to start working on our new album during this summer. The other scheduled releases are: a split 7" on a US label together with RETALIATOR, SCAVENGER, ULTIMA THULE and JIM RICHMAN'S DIZZY_DIZZY (to be out around end of August/September) also will have a tune in a Oi! CD compilation to be released by US label Go Team! Records (to be out around September).

Any final comments?

Best regards to you Rebecca and all the true Punks and Skins from the UK. Just forget the 5"O clock tea and riot for your right of free beer 24 hours day non stop. Fuck European community.

Contact: APARTADO 14342, 1064 LISBOA CODEX, PORTUGAL
E-mail: Mdsousa@tmn.pt


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