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Roger Merit & The Disasters

You have Agnostic Front on your hands and other members were in various bands - so what bought you together and form Roger Merist & The Disasters?

RM: Basically I had written a lot of songs that Agnostic Front did not want to play. I was constantly writing, that was 3 year, 4 years ago.... oh, it was 99 when I first started hanging round with the guys. We had some songs so I thought I better start doing my own thing. We wanted there to be a band, we wanted to put out a release. We liked the way the album came out, so we thought lets tour and have fun.

And who's idea was it to keep your name as part of the band title?

That was the labels. We had a name that nobody liked anyway, we were called Kiss Kiss Kill Kill. I loved the name it is my favourite song on the album. Then we were told to change the name. And do you know what was kinda corny about that, it was just after everybody and somebody used their name in the band name. I was like I didn't just want to be another one on the band wagon. We played in another band and they had a song called Kiss Kiss Kill Kill and my favourite pop record when I was a kid growing up was also called Kiss Kiss Kill Kill so it fitted. But in the end we went with the record label.

Was it a conscious decision to go with a more street punk sound then hardcore with this band?

No it was not like a conscious decision. Like I said we were writing those songs, and it just seemed to fit. It pretty much because I have always had the influences, punk rock made me who I am today. The Clash for example, they are emotionally britpop - British Punk. Basically it is a a collauge of influences which are a personal thing.

Do you get most enjoyment from performing live or recording in the studio?

Performing in the studio is fun but it's a lot of work, going over and over and over each track. When we made this record we had a real good time. We did up north from New York. Not all of us had played in the band before, so we got chance to hang out for a while. We had fun.

You have just toured round Europe, how has the tour gone so far?

This tour has been really good so far. It's been great. We have been to the UK before. Coming back to the UK again and to the main continent is good as we have been here like twice and if anything this time it is better. And hopefully the third time it will be even better.


Do you find the audience varies much from country to country?

Yeah, how the how the audience reacts. Paris has always been really hot for us. It's awesome. Every time we have been to Paris it has always been great. And there are other countries, like some parts of Italy is really good.

Do you all have other jobs as well as being in the band?

Jobs. Yeah kinda. It's hard though with the touring we toured for eight months last year, and then I toured with Agnostic Front for a couple of months so that took up much of the year.

What is the most common misconception about the band?

That we make a lot of money. That we are fucking loaded.

And can you give me some unknown facts about the band?

Johnny never toured the record.

Stephanie from Dropkick Murphys was originally the female vocals on my record. But the Dropkick Murphys heard the recording and loved her and took her on. My wife originally did it but she was in Greece, so Stephanie took over.

What is the punk / hardcore scene like in your area?

It's real good. In the punk scene you have the Rel-X, the Krays, the Casualties and loads of bands starting out. In the hardcore scene there is On The Rise. I think things have changed for the better since I got into it all. Originally the scene was no more then around 50 people in it kinda like the UK scene was with the 100 Club. But it was tight, like a close-nit family. Then it got big for a while and it became more suburban for us. Which is how it was in California as everyone was more spread out.

There are a lot of people who have been into it for years, who are always around. And then a lot of young people in America. I made a commitment to myself, to my life I love this scene, I really love it. I wouldn't change my life for nothing.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004.

Roger Merit & The Disasters are going to record an album. We are recording with Agnostic Front, we are finishing that when I go home. It is more like the older stuff. Really aggressive, really good.

I found a way to separate both bands which is good. That record is going to be out in September.

I am on tour from now until July 4th. Then I will be on tour with Agnostic Front from October onwards.

Any final comments?

Visit our website. Come up to us and say hello, you will find one of us by the merch stall. Cmon and have a good time. Pick up a cd. Enjoy yourself.

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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.