Interview: Link 80

23 Jul


In the early noughties, Link 80 were a brilliant example of what an almagamation of punk and ska should sound like. They were like a cool pint of beer in a bar full of warm, watered down piss. The band released three albums before deciding in 2002, to take an indefinite hiatus. It was a sad, sad day…But the band did state that they would eventually return to the brass filled, socially aware epicness. We’re counting down the days!

Anyway below is an interview we managed to get with one of the most underated bands on the scene. To hear more of the band visit their myspace.

Taken from Link 80’s Myspace.

Here’s some random facts about the band:

  • The band started in 1994, and recorded their first album, ’17 reasons’, as teenagers. The album was the first release for the infamous Asian Man Records.
  • The band went onto release ‘Killing Katie’ in 1997, and ‘The struggle continues’ in 1999.
  • After Link 80 decided to take an indefinite break, most of the members went to form another band called DESA. Their saxophone player Steve joined the RX Bandits before forming his own band, Satori.
  • On one of Link 80’s first tours of the UK they became friends with a band called Soap. They went on to record a split ep with the band and play brass on one of their most popular songs. Soap are better known as Capdown.
  • The bands original singer, Nick Traina was the son of the well known writer Danielle Steele. Sadly he passed away just after the band released ‘Killing Katie’. His mother wrote a book about his life and his strugle with bipolar disorder, called ‘His Bright Light’. All proceeds from the book went to the Nick Traina Foundation.
  • Link 80 do a really nice cover of Metallica’s ‘Harvester of Sorrow’. You can find it on that site…whats it called…’you’ something…’tube of you’.
  • During their visit to the UK in 2001, the band were forced to abandon part of their tour due to petrol shortages that Mr Blair just wouldn’t sort out. This meant lots of kids were sadly deprived of the Link 80 punk rock fun show.

Anyway, dragged from the darkest depths of the punk rock archive vaults, here’s an interview with Steve Borth from Link 80. The interview was done in 2001.

You’ve just come back off tour from Europe, did you have fun? What did you get up to?
Yes, we did just come back from Europe, and yes we all had a great time together. It was our bass player Barry’s first trip out of the states, so he got his first taste of other food besides burger’s and fries…I mean burger’s and “chips.” Well, we had some day’s off in some really cool places, we went to Paris on our first day, and then we had a day off in Venice…which was really relaxing. It was quite funny because we all decided to take a trip on a Gandala. We stuffed all 7 of us onto this poor guy’s boat, and he took us on a nice ride around Venice. It wasn’t very romantic though for some reason. Maybe it was because there was 6 stinky guy’s surrounding me.

Any strange tales from the road to tell?
Strange tales….hmmm. Oh yes, well there was one day in Italy, we played at this pretty big venue. There was a backstage with a shower. Our new bass player Barry was taking a shower, and when he was ready to get out, he couldn’t open the door to get out of the bathroom. So after about 5 minutes of trying to get him out, we decided to go and get help. We went upstairs, and found someone that spoke a bit of english, to come and see if he could open the door with a key. He came downstairs, told us there is no key, but if we wanted to put the sofa in front of the door, we could lock him in that way. We stood there confused. The man from the club thought that we wanted to pull a practical joke and lock him in…ahh the beauty of misunderstanding. Well, in the end we realized that if you pull really hard on the door, it will open. So, Barry is still alive, and residing in Ripon, California.

So tell us what the Link 80 fans are like?
Well, in England the fan’s are the most supportive at the moment, but switzerland was fun too. In Switzerland, kids come out to see you, even if they had never heard you before, if they find out it is some kind of punk, they will come and watch.

How many times have you crossed the Atlantic?
This was our third time to England and Europe, it seems to get funner everytime we come over.

What British bands have you toured with?
Well, the first time over we toured with a band called Soap, 4 young boy’s that could play their instruments quite well. We were very impressed with them. Then the second time over they were called Capdown, and we toured England with them, and recorded a 7″. And this last time we toured with a band called Five Knuckle…they are a group of really cool guy’s who play some hardcore, and a bit of ska.

How does the music scene differ in America and England?
Let’s see, at the moment in England, it seems that Ska is doing quite well. IT is the opposite in the States at the moment. If you are a ska band, people will most likely not come to your shows. There is a handful of ska band’s in the States now.

What are Link 80 up to at the moment?
Recently, our guitar player has just quit the band and we are trying to figure out how we are going to sort everything out. We are practicing as a 5 piece, with Ryan playing guitar at the moment, but it is still up in the air what we are going to do regarding a guitarist.

Do other bands affect you musically?
For me, I try to listen to many different kinds of music. I couldn’t really tell you exactly what bands affect what I play, but recently I have been listening to our friend’s band Lawrence Arms, they are coming over to England again soon, so look out. I have also bee listening to Chris Murray, he does solo ska, it is great!

What bands do you recommend?
I think that if you dont’ have Capdown already, then you should definetly get that. Let’s see, I would also recommend the Chinkees, my friend’s band, on Asian Man Records.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
I would say, Do what you enjoy doing, if you are having fun…that is the most important thing. I hope that wasn’t too cheesy, but I am a firm believer in that statement.

Finally, can you believe that you have come this far?
No, I can’t believe I have made is this far. I feel like I could conquer the world now.


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