TURBO A.C.s – interview by liz ortega
New York inhabitants, the Turbo A.C.’s are hard, fast, and sexy–everything you’ve ever wanted from a rock n roll band. They rev up their engines, floor it, and make you suck their exhaust pipe! Kevin Cole (vocals/guitars), Michael Dolan (bass), and Kevin Prunty (drums) set a rock n roll inferno that cannot be contained on their latest, Fuel for Life off Nitro Records. Catchy lyrics, pulsating bass lines, surf tinged guitar solos, and exhilarating drum beats–this band is maximum punk rock n roll! Lead man, Kevin Cole was kind enough to take some time out to answer a few question for us–read on.
Liz Ortega: What keeps your spirits high? What is it that pushes you to succeed in your musical endeavors?
Kevin Cole: The music and the fans are what it’s all about. It’s what we do… I think there’s a lot of people out there who feel the same way as we do about music and share our attitude. We meet more and more everyday. So many people grew up listening to punk and never lost that edge, nobody that was truly into punk could ever be just satisfied with what’s just dished out and acceptable. We all want more out of life, and fuck you if you don’t like it…that’s kind our message, and a lot young kids are into it too. So, bringing all these people something they can identify with and enjoy is really what pushes us further and further. Not to mention we love what we do.
LO: How long has the band been around? Are you all originally from New York?
KC: We really got started around the end of 1996. There were some incarnations of the Turbo A.C.’s kickin’ around before, but this band has been rolling almost 6 years now.
Mike (bassist) is from the Bronx and Kevin Prunty (drums) was born and raised here in NYC. I’m originally from Chicago, and lived around in a lot of places. Now I consider NYC home. I’ve been living here about 12 years.
You’ve been described as a “surf rock” band. Do you agree with the “Surf Rock” categorization? You do have a Ventures feel…but with balls.
KC: That all depends on what you consider “surf rock”… if you’re talkin’ about Link Wray, Dick Dale, and band like the Ventures… yeah, if your talkin’ Beach Boys…no. To break it down, it’s punk, it’s rock, with some cool surf guitar…and yeah, definitely it’s gotta have balls! We’re not fuckin’ around, we like to rock hard!!!
Who is the main song writer? Where do you get the ideas to your songs?
KC: Mike and I write the lyrical content and we all get in on putting the music together. As far as where we get our ideas… it’s our secret! Never teach the way of the Turbo Fist.
You say you’re “an international rock and roll machine.” What is the greatest country you’ve ever played in? How do the crowds compare to the crowds here in the states?
KC: We’ve said that once in an interview and it just kind of stuck. We said it because for one, we don’t want to try to brag just because we’re from NYC. The fan’s we have are all over the word and it’s kind of like a world wide action club (that’s the A.C. reference). there’s a whole new side of punk that we’re a part of that’s a little more broad minded, there’s a growing number of people that recognize the early influences that shaped punk rock, are recognizing that punk is rock n roll and music and doesn’t have suck. We have a huge following in Germany, where we got a great start from the start with our first album, which wasn’t even really distributed here in the US. Also we have a lot of singles that were released only in Europe where people are really into vinyl. So of course out shows are much bigger over there.
Turbo A.C.’s played Warped Tour 1999 in Germany. How was that experience?
KC: The Turbo A.C.’s and “Ice Muthahfuckin T Bitch” on the same stage in front of about 10,000 people… It was… something.
Fuel For Life was produced by Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret–what was it like working with him?
KC: Roger Miret is great and i can’t say enough good things about him. Having grown up listening to A.F. hen learning that Roger was a fan of ours and wanted to produce our record was awesome. Roger mainly focused on helping us capture the energy usually lost on albums, and I think he did a great job. I couldn’t think of a better choice for a producer for “Fuel for Life”. Roger is definitely a part of the broad minded side of punk I was talking about.
There’s a song that I listen to continuously off Fuel For Life called “Want It Now”–I find the song relates to my life in many ways. This song describes me so well, it’s quite amusing. Is there a particular song off this album or previous releases that you feel describes your particular persona?
KC: AH HA! You’re one of us! Consider yourself an Action Club Member, i think a lot of people can relate to those words, it’s great when people actually get it. I think almost all the songs are about our attitude and message. The biggest misconception about our band is that our all songs are about cars and chicks, be bop a lula or some dumb shit. A lot of people don’t get that a lot of what we’re saying is cryptic symbolism, maybe using cars as a metaphor. Don’t get wrong ain’t nothing wrong with cars, chicks, and a little rama lama ding dong, but it’s not really what we’re talkin’ about.
What’s up with all these half naked women on the covers? What about your female fan base? We want to see half naked men, too!
KC: Half naked women + big trucks + rock n roll = fuel for life… right? I know, I know we come under some criticism for our album covers, but that’s on purpose. People need to lighten up a little–it’s supposed to be a little tongue in cheek and beautifully cheesy. Oh yeah, you have to come the shows to see the half naked guys.
How is Nitro treating you? What feelings did you have when you first learned Nitro Records was interested in signing the Turbo A.C.’s?
KC: Nitro, is great, I couldn’t think of a better place for us. I think the label is really part of what I was talking about, people into punk but of a real quality.
How many records do you currently have out?
KC: We have three full-length albums out, “Damnation Overdrive” (Blackout Records 1997) “Winner Take All” (Cacophone Records 1998) and “Fuel for Life” (Nitro Records 2001).
Potential on the West Coast?
KC: I love it out there! I think that there are lot’s of our people on the West coast. People who are into music and know what they’re talking about. I’ve met a lot of people on the West coast who appreciate our music, and “get it”.
For those unfortunate souls that have not experienced the Turbo A.C.’s, what can they expect to get from you guys?
KC: No bull shit–we don’t record what we don’t play live. And we give 110% at every show. We play just as hard to 20 people as we do to 2000.
Thank you so much for answering these questions. Looking forward to seeing you guys real soon! For further info on the band…
KC: We love hearing from Action Club Members! E-mail us through www.turboacs.com. And anyone who has been wondering about the “Fuel For Life ” vinyl, it’s out now on Bitzcore, as an awesome gatefold and the home of Cock Sparrer, and Turbonegro to name a couple. Check it out at www.bitzcore.com.
We’ll see ya on the West coast this October!!