LA punk band The Generators released their 10th – you read it right, tenth – album, Life Gives-Life Takes today, and we got the chance to chat with vocalist Doug Kane about the band’s journey over the years, what keeps them motivated, and the changing music scene.
For Life Gives-Life Takes was there a certain direction that you guys decided that you wanted to go, or was it something that just happened naturally?
I think the record turned out how we were hoping it would, or maybe even better. Its a good thing not to force music. It has to hopefully come in a natural way. If you start forcing the songs or keep trying to go back and make changes most of the time you will find that the song was weak to begin with. We set out to make a quick paced, catchy record. We wanted to get back to the theory of less is more, and that is what we kind of did here with Life Gives-Life Takes. We had fun making it from start to finish, and we are all really happy with it’s outcome.
Was there a message or were there any feelings you wanted to evoke with this record?
Event though we are a punk band, we did not go into making the record with any kind of agenda. I know we just wanted to push ourselves creatively without going overboard. For the most part I wanted to try and keep the music short and sweet, but not limit the song if a good idea came up during the writing process. We have released a lot of music over the years so I wanted to make sure we did not become too redundant as a band, and I feel we pulled that off. That is not an easy thing to do, but I figured we had still some room to grow, and i think we have. I pushed to make some of the songs a bit faster and aggressive, and maybe a little more punk than Rock N Roll. For the most part I think the songs kind of wrote themselves.
What was the biggest challenge, if any, that you faced while writing Life Gives-Life Takes?
Once again, getting back to how do you make another album without becoming a parody of yourself? How to keep things interesting after so many years becomes a challenge. We wanted to make a good record, and we care about our fans so we wanted to give them a good record to listen to. Because we cared, we challenged ourselves, but we had a good time hanging out and being creative. One thing about The Generators is that we would rather be noticed for our songs then an image. At the end of the day its all about the music. We were not doing anything ground breaking, we just set out to write some upbeat catchy punk, and Rock N Roll tunes.
Putting out ten albums is not something that most bands can say that they’ve done, either. What has the journey been like so far? What keeps you guys so motivated?
It has not been always easy. Being in a band that has consisted of 5 members over a course of nearly two decades is not an easy thing. Its a marriage of 5 people with different ideas, different agendas, and different personalities. There have been so many good times and lots of tough times too. I personally just hang in there and do the best that I can, and just try to have a good time. I learned a long time ago that being in a punk band means you just have to have longevity. You just have to hang around and pay your dues. I have been fortunate to have had some great experiences. I have met a lot of really great people and forged some great bonds along the way. Just like anything else, I feel if you remain persistent you will see the fruits of your labor.
And on that note, the music scene has obviously gone through a lot of changes since you first formed the band. Is it hard to keep up with those changes, or is it something you don’t really worry about?
Yeah I do not get to caught up with what the scene is doing anymore. I have been involved with the punk scene since its early days here in Los Angeles. I have seen things go one way, and then turn completely around and go another way. I just try to do what I do, and what feels right to me. I think The Generators have always just set its own course, and where it wound up, it wound up. I do not wanna get caught up in the who is cool scene and who is not. All that matters to me is that I feel positive about what I am doing musically.
Is there anything that, with your music or not, you’d like to be able to change within the scene? Any difference that you’d really like to make?
I don’t think of our band as a political band, or that we are out here trying to slam a message down any one’s eardrums. I have always been strong in my opinions that the music scene and especially the punk scene has no place for any intolerance, or any discrimination. I have spoken out about that from time to time over the last 30 years, and I still am adamant about that.
If someone who had never heard of The Generators found themselves at one of your shows, what is something that you’d really want them to take away from it or your music?
I would only hope that they would leave saying they saw a great energetic band with some cool, catchy songs. I feel The Generators are an extension of how things used to be with Rock N Roll, or Punk Rock. If you watch videos of the old punk shows I am sure you can see the raw energy that was being displayed. Not too many bands in my opinion can capture that anymore. Its important for me to try and bring the audience on that kind of journey. I feel there are still vocalists that can do that but in my opinion it’s getting fewer and further between. Guys like Keith Morris, or Jello Biafra are great examples of that raw energy. Those guys still are able to display that to an audience. That is an art form as far as I am concerned. How those gentleman perform has been inspired me to do the same.
Can we expect to see you guys doing any national touring with this album? Do you have any plans that you’re allowed to share with us?
Well we will be out for a week or two through out California with our friends The Angelic Upstarts, and Peter and The Test Tube Babies. That small tour will bring us out to Las Vegas to appear on the main stage at the Punk Rock Bowling Festival. In July we leave for a 4 week tour across Europe to promote the new album there. We are planning a possible Mid West tour for later in the year as well.
Be sure to grab a copy of Life Gives-Life Takes today and check out their single “Castaways” below!