Southern California and Boston may get all of the press, but authentic punk rock pops up in some of the most unlikely places… like Athens, Ohio.
The five-year-old Ohio trio Amish Electric Chair play street punk rock the way it was intended: gritty, loud and powerful with little pretention.
The band has just released their latest five-song EP Straight No Chaser and were kind enough to answer some questions. The band is scheduled to play Pittsburgh on March 26. I’ll update once other PA dates are announced.
How did the band first get together?
Scotty and Neil are both brothers “the Tuuri’s”. Scotty played percussion in school and Neil started playing guitar. This was about 2002.
Do you guys all share similar influences?
No and yes. We all listen to bands like The Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, Hot Water Music, The Unseen, Fugazi. But John Sava (Bassist) came from the back ground of playing lead guitar for a melodic death/thrash band for about five years. He listens to a lot of punk but also listens to a lot of metal such as Battlemaster, Municipal Waste, and Immortal.
What can you tell me about the songs on this new EP?
Well the songs on this EP strive to get different things across, social, political, truth, and life experiences.
So listening to the song “Jellico, TN” it’s obviosu something happened there. What’s the story?
To make what could be turned into a novel short. Winter tour 2008 we are coming on the last stretch of our tour heading back home to play the last couple shows. We were driving through some mountains in Tennessee and as we are coming up the mountain in Jellico our van transmission blew. Some guy named “Cracker” came to us and said he had a garage and a wrecker he could put our van on so it seemed legit. He picked up the van gave us a contact to reach him at and said to call him in a day. We called and called and called, no answer. We started to get a little suspicious and walked around the town to the gas stations to ask about this guy and no one would tell us anything. We walked back to our hotel and the cops stopped us (a gas station attendant called them on us for being suspicious) and they ask for out IDs. John asked why they are stopping us and they replied “because we can” so we knew sh*t was going to suck. They wouldn’t help us get our van back we told them the situation and that was it. We called triple A and got a hold of a tow truck in the area and he knew the guy and said he would help us out, he knew where they hang out was. The tow guy told us what was up, his garage got shut down for drug trafficking and he runs this ring where he gets people’s cars off the side of the road tells them he can fix them gets them to the point where they can run again and charges them a ton of money only to later have their cars die on them again. So we found the guy in Kentucky not Tennessee anymore, we confronted him and he wouldn’t give us the van back, so we left. We came back in the middle of the night with the same tow guy but with a wrecker and we stole our van back from him put it on the wrecker and got the f*ck out of Jellico, Tennessee. The guy was apparently going to part out parts of our van to make money for drugs.
You guys pretty much do everything yourselves. Do you think labels are still necessary in this day and age?
Yes we pretty much do everything ourselves. We do our art, record in the studio Neil owns/operates, and use our own money to fund our tours, etc. The problem is that to a point labels are necessary if you want to get on bigger shows and package tours they can usually get you thrown in the hat for that depending on how big your label is.
How much time do you guys spend on the road? Is it tough to find time to tour?
We spend about 5-7 months a year on the road. We book it all ourselves, go out play punk rock, have a lot of fun and do what we love to do promoting the band. It’s not tough to find time to tour. We tour whenever we want and we usually plan far enough ahead and know when we are going to tour. Our day jobs are pretty cool and lenient and our bosses let us leave for any amount of time and come back and work again and then leave again, so no it’s not tough at all.
What’s the hardest thing about being a small indie punk band?
The hardest thing I would say is just constantly going on tour and going to new places and sometimes playing for two-to-seven people or sometimes playing for 200. We don’t have that big label name backing us or the support of that. We do not ask for guarantees. We rely on selling our merch to get to the next stop. We pay our dues and play for small crowds a lot of the time and have no problem doing it because we love to play punk music and enjoy each other in the band.
Anything else you want to add?
We are stoked that we have been getting some good reviews from the big punk rock media outlets on our new EP that came out on Geykido Comet records. www.gcrecords.com.