Dec 26, 2012

"I finally realized that I didn't need to be a vegetarian to get pussy" A Smashin Transistors Classic Interview with Pink Reason


(Editors note: This past summer I decided to let the place that hosted the Smashin Transistors website lapse. Didn't feel like paying for it as cash has been tight and it was sorta becoming a secondary place to this one that I was updating. The site was also the place where everything that was on it was hosted and stored there. I did not have any of it backed up on my computer. I scrambled to save as much as I can into my current computer to some day repost the interviews. I have slowly been doing that here.

Kevin De Broux is the brains behind Pink Reason. The band was active for a bit then laid low for awhile. In the past little while though have been showing activity again and have released a couple records. Kevin is an interesting guy in many ways so I figured it was high time to get this conversation I had with him back up on the internet.

-Dale)


Have you ever taken a bullet?

Kevin De Broux: I've never been shot at, but I have had a few guns pulled on me before. It's hard to say how close I came to having someone use one on me though. The closest call was probably after coming home in the middle of the night when I was living on a dope farm. I walked in to find a crazed tweaker on the couch I slept on holding a forty and a pistol. He jumped up and stuck the gun in my face and started yelling at me. I took his forty from his other hand and slammed it, because that's what tough guys do in the movies. He slapped me on the shoulder and told me I was alright kicked open our back door, and shot off some rounds into the air.
After that he rolled up a huge spliff and started telling me a story about cornering Jon Spencer, pushing him around and calling him "Elvis." I'd never met this guy before. I ended up moving out of the place a couple days later, even though it was the best living situation I ever had. A couple weeks later I heard that guy OD'd and died in Minneapolis. He was lying face down in a friends lap for a couple of hours before anyone realized he wasn't nodding. That's probably the closest I ever came. A friend of mine who occasionally plays bass for Pink Reason was shot in the shoulder a while back though at a basement show in Milwaukee. The doctors left the bullet in him because he didn't have insurance.

Guns. Do ya think if the entire country was armed a lot of gansta shit would fall by the wayside or would half the country die in firefights within a year?

KD: I've witnessed the negative effects of gun control first hand. When I lived in Russia guns were illegal so only criminals had guns. What was alot scarier than that was what people resorted to when they weren't able to acquire a gun. When my friend Brock was shot recently, he told me not to believe anyone who tries to play off getting shot like it's no big deal. I was there when he was released from the hospital a couple hours after it happened. The guy was in serious pain. The only thing I can imagine hurting worse than getting shot with a small hot metal bullet, is getting shot with a big, burning flare. When I lived in Russia that is what we carried for protection. The big guys would carry the flare guns, and us little guys got to carry these hand held flares with hard plastic handles. You'd pull off the top and it'd light up like a dagger of fire and then you'd burn out whoever was fucking with you's eyes. I've seen the damage a flare gun does. Nobody wants shit to come to that.
I have no need to carry a gun on me anymore, but I still own a couple. My friend Shaun, who has played with Pink Reason off and on since the get go has a pretty nice arsenal of weapons. He's got an SKS and an AK-47 along with a few pistols and rifles. My friend Czad who is another sometime collaborator of mine has got a few machine guns as well, along with an assortment of pistols and rifles. Come to think of it, alot of my friends and bandmates have pretty large arsenals of automatic weapons and pistols. That said, I don't think guns are toys and none of us ever use them irresponsibly. In fact, playing with guns is the kind of thing that'll cause a severe beatdown around my group of friends. We take that shit pretty seriously.

Didn't you have a deaf guy in the one of the earlier Pink Reason concotions?

KD: Yeah, Dax was the singer of the first incarnation of Pink Reason that ever played live. I saw him about a month and a half ago and he was doing the same shit he's always done. Deaf people can be pretty scary. They're kind of like junkies, once you know one they just come out of the woodwork. They exist on a completely different plane from the rest of society. They have their own culture and standards. I'm sure he's down at the bar right now getting wasted and sexually harassing women and getting violent with anyone calls him out on it.
That guy once cut off part of a dude's lip and tongue with a scissors for grabbing his ass. He got away with it too cause he's deaf. I learned sign language while we were cellmates once. He was in on some pretty serious charges, federal bail jumping and domestic violence and destruction of property. He got out before I did and I was picked up for driving without a license. He had been bugging us for years to let him sing for us before we finally let him. He just happened to ask me once when I was on acid and it seemed like the most brilliant idea ever. At the time we were all convinced that we were going to get rich off of the idea. Unfortunately, when we did play out people just stood there with their mouths on the floor.

On the records is it pretty much just you playing everything so how do the touring line ups come about?

KD: They just kind of happen. The lineup we had for the tour with Psychedelic Horseshit came about because I knew of a few people who were both homeless and unemployed, so I asked them to come out on tour with us. We left for that tour without a drummer and managed to pick up this kid Alex in Cincinatti. We'd never met before, but he's since become a close friend.
Friends of mine from Lafayette came out to the show and just happened to bring him along with. I was asking people in the audience if any of them played drums and he said he did. We basically forced him to come out on the road with us for four weeks the next morning. He was recently unemployed, so he was down for it. Sometimes people offer up their services for the band, which is a pretty new development. Other times I just assemble bands out of members of other bands I'm touring with. It's usually just a matter of assembling a small cast of characters a few days before leaving for tour and then practicing like crazy.

Siltbreeze resurrected itself for Pink Reason and Times New Viking? Is this true or just hype?

KD: Probably just hype. It's true that Tom brought back Siltbreeze for TNV. I was just lucky to have released my first 7" at the right time and sent it to the right person. It was pretty much just a happy accident for me.

I played a friend of mine some Pink Reason stuff and his response was "Junkie psych...Not acid psych." What do ya think he meant?

KD" I think anyone can figure out what he meant, although I gotta disagree. It's not junkie psych, it's more robitussin blues. I can't think of a single song I ever wrote or recorded while I was on dope. I spent most of my time high nodding out or fuckin' my girlfriend at the time in the ass. Junkie girls love to take it in the ass, this is something I know. To be honest, I found the whole dope thing kinda boring after a fairly brief period, but not before ostracizing myself from all of my friends. Back then I'd walk into a show and someone would lead me outside alone and ask me if I was "alright" like I had a disease or something.
Even after I stopped doing the shit completely and had an actual serious problem with meth, I still couldn't get people to stop asking me about dope. It's so taboo, which is why I was interested in the first place I imagine. A year after I had completely stopped fuckin' with heroin and I was a full blown meth addict I had people bugging me about my heroin addiction and I'd try to explain to them that I thought dope was boring, and was past that, and these were people that knew I was up for days at a time shooting crystal, and they still focused all of their attention on the dope. The whole thing is silly to me. Junkies are silly to me. I've been sick before, not as bad as some people, but I never let it get that bad, cause I never saw the point. Junkies act like they've never had a cold before. Drink some fuckin' alcohol and get over it. The behavior of serious potheads and junkies doesn't seem all that much different to me. Dope is just pot for people who wanna be hardcore. Both can be fun in moderation and get real boring when it becomes a lifestyle.

What's the most unusal thing you ever made a (drug smoking) pipe out of? It ain't gonna be some gay hippie thing like an apple I hope.

KD: I've smoked alot of meth out of lightbulbs in the past. That's probably the strangest thing. I have smoked out of an apple before, but it was those hippies in Goodnight Loving who fashioned that. The strangest thing ever though was probably the crackpipe that my cousin (another touring member of Pink Reason) made out of a trumpet I gave him. I wasn't too happy about that either. While the trumpet wasn't in great shape, it still worked and if I would have known he was going to make a crack pipe out of it, I would have kept the thing myself. Still smoked crack with him out of it though.

So you smoked out of an apple with those Goodnight Loving hippies. They're good people but what's your take on hippies in general?

KD: I've always been interested in the darker side of that cultural phenomena. Death trippin'. Manson. The Weather Underground. The Stooges. That kinda thing.

Who in the state of Wisconsin have you done drugs with that you would never want to do drugs with again?

KD: I've had a few people end up in the hospital as a result of their doing drugs with me. I once paid a neighbor close to a hundred dollars to take a chick to the hospital after she OD'd on meth and started having a seizure. I had been up for days. I tried to flush my drugs but my friends made me hide them in the alley instead, which was probably a good idea since there was a whole lot of it and I hadn't exactly paid for it yet. Nobody would take her to the hospital and I knew I would end up in jail if I did. It was a pretty disgusting scene. It was one of the moments when you realize that everything has gone completely wrong. I didn't even really know the girl. She was my girlfriend at the time's best friend and she had just gotten off of methadone. She told me she'd done alot of meth before, so I cut her a bump, but I've got this problem of having a pretty insane tollerance to most things, and I always end up giving people too much of shit on accident.
I also hospitalized a coworker when I was much younger by giving him eight and a half hits of black geltab his first time trying acid. He listened to bad punk music, so I was trying to "fix" him. I turned on a strobe light and threw on some Throbbing Gristle and when that started to freak him out, I put on some Coltrane to mellow him out. He spent a while after that in an institution. The kid's friends were not very happy with me about that and tried asking me why I thought it was alright to give someone that much acid on their first time. I had to explain to them that I was on about eighteen of them myself and that the kid kept on bugging me for more. I ended up convincing the cops that I was sober as they were strapping him down to a stretcher. He kept on asking "have you ever questioned your own existence?" That was the only thing he could say for a couple hours before the cops came. He asked them that too. I got them to uncuff me and let me go. I convinced them on that much acid that I was sober. I was on probation at the time for possesion of LSD though, so I ended up doing a little time for that one later when I explained it all to my PO.

Who in Wisconsin haven't you done drugs that you would like to?

KD: The writer Uncle Fester was a neighbor mine in Green Bay. He literally wrote the book on clandestine methamphetamine manufacture. He also wrote the book that Japanese death cult used to manufacture the sarin gas they used to gas that subway station. Some magazine once called him "The Most Dangerous Man in America." I haven't done meth in a couple of years now. I have no urge to revisit that part of my life again, but I'm sure it would have been pretty interesting to have stayed up for a few days with him talking chemistry.

So what drugs will you never do again?

KD: This one is easy. DOC for sure. It's a phenethylamine. It's a chemical cousin of STP which made big news in the late 60's when scores of users ended up in the hospital. It's effects are like a mix between a psychedelic and methamphetamine. I made a near fatal mistake when measuring out the dosage the first time I experimented with the drug and ended up in a very bad place. I was blinded by hallucinations. Eyes closed or open did not matter all I could see was intense geometrical patterns. Then I started to have a seizure and I began vomiting and pissing myself uncontrollably. Finally I was forced to dial 911 as I was alone. When I got to the hospital my blood pressure was at a critical level. I begged the doctors to give me sedatives but they had never heard of this chemical before and were not sure how to deal with it. I tried calmly explaining to them that if they didn't give me sedatives soon that I would have a heart attack. They ended up agreeing with me and that's about the last thing I remember before falling into an intense dream state where I imagined all kinds of horrible things. When I awoke I had an IV in each arm and a catheter in my cock. I ended up eventually convincing the doctors that I felt sober so they would release me. I was still tripping. I tripped for well over twenty four hours. It was an eye opening experience and nothing I ever wished to repeat.
However, when Pink Reason was in Orlando with Psychedelic Horseshit, one of Rich, the drummer's friends scored us some stuff that was supposed to be acid. I had just told them the night before in Atlanta about my experience with DOC. Anyway, what we took ended up to be DOC and I could tell right away when I tasted it on my tongue. Luckily we all took fairly small dosage, but it was enough to keep all of us from sleeping. I was pretty scared because of my last experience with it. Matt from PH was the only one who liked the experience. We ended up having to drive about ten hours to Mobile without any sleep between the seven of us while all still coming down from this fucked up trip. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but it was an experience nonetheless and made for a good story.

Does Casey of Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones ever call you at really weird hours?

KD: He's done it a few times, but he hasn't done it for a while. I flipped the tables and called him up in the middle of the night one time all wasted just to say "hi" and talk some shit, but it happened to be an evening he had the boy and although he didn't sound upset, he also didn't seem very excited about the call. He hasn't called me late since.

Tell me a little bit about your grindcore past in Hell On Earth..or were Hell On earth not grindcore?

KD: Grindcore? There were definately elements of it in there. I was a huge fan of the stuff at the time. I was listening to alot of Suppression, Napalm Death, AxCx, Discordance Axis and the like, among other things. Others in the band not so much, although, I guess we all listened to whatever else anyone else was listening to as we spent a whole lot of time together. It was a mashup of alot of different influences. Our drummer was turning me on to shit like Zero Boys. He was also obsessed with Mob 47. Our singer loved shit like Manowar and classical music. One of our guitarists listened almost exclusively to Dylan. Our other guitarist added what he called "noise guitar." I think we all kind of just came together with the idea of making something intense. We all wanted to play fast. We were convinced we were the fastest band in the state at the time. I don't know if that was true or not.
Those were good times though. Looking back, not much has changed for me. I was transient back then, as I am now. One of the biggest differences was that back then I survived off of retail theft and dealing acid in addition to the label/distro and screen printing stuff my girl at the time and I would do. These days I'm too worried about prison to sell shit and I haven't shoplifted in years.

A couple of the Hell On Earth guys are in Razorfist, right? What's your take on them?

KD: I believe that opinion on them is pretty unanimous among those who have witnessed them live. It's fun stuff, period. Those guys may be my boys, but I don't think I'm biased here. I can be pretty critical, even with those who I love and respect. If you wanna thrash, those are the dudes you talk to.

Timmy Triplett, the guy who put out the Razorfist CD as well as the Hell On Earth vinyl EP seems like an interesting character. Any idea on what makes him tick?

KD: Tim and I go way back. He is one of the original members of Pink Reason. Him and I used to spend alot of time together back in the day. Around the age of seventeen or so, back when I was in Hell On Earth, him and I started hanging out a whole lot. He just called me up one day and we talked for a long time about music and trippin' on dramamine and for years after that we hung out all the time, smoking shitloads of weed, droppin' lots of acid. He turned me on to Royal Trux. Played me Singles, Live and Unreleased. I had never heard the band before, but we had dropped some acid and he threw it on. It was a pretty life-changing experience for me.
As far as what makes him tick, that's pretty easy, it's the constant search for the "perfect riff." I guess now he just spends most of his time working and running Trigger On The Duten Doo, but I know if nothing else he's still searching the record crates of his mind for that long forgotten stoner jam that contains the heaviest groove in the universe.

Since you lived in the Green Bay area for a bit and hung out with the Mystery Girls from time to time. Have you ever thought they didn't make a good deal with the devil...or they kept missing their appointment with them?

KD: The problem is they kept on trying to find the devil in Canada, and everyone knows the only thing they have up there is beautiful women and good weed. It'd be nice to hear something more from those guys in the future. They were one of the best live bands I've ever seen. I'd have chosen their show over any reunited Stooges or Blue Cheer show anyday. Jordan once accused me of causing the "worst show of [their] careers" after getting a PA taken away from a show we played togeather years ago. He said that we made them sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd. I've always wanted to cover Free Bird and after that I asked Jordan if he'd play lead guitar on a recording of it. He didn't seem amused.

You're not living in Green Bay these days, right? How do you like Columbus? How does it compare to some of the other places you lived in?

KD: Columbus is good. It's not that different from other places I've been in the midwest. The big difference there from Wisconsin is that it's easier for me to make money playing music. My most loyal fans in the world are all in or from Wisconsin, but they're scattered around and their numbers aren't that large. Columbus kinda accepted me in as a local and showed me a good time so I figured it'd be a good place to settle for a while. I needed a change of scenery anyway. Wisconsin was starting to get kind of depressing for me. Most of my closest friends were either moving out of the country, on their way to prison, or else, at the worst "growing up" and moving on, which essentially means spending most of their time with their women and only getting out to goto the bars.
Although I do live in Columbus, so far I've spent as much time hanging out in Lafayette, IN as I have there. I've never really been big about the "home" thing and to say that I live anywhere can be misleading. I've been in a semi-permanent state of transience for the last fifteen years. Moved out of my parents for the first time at twelve years old when I was living in Russia and it's been a trail of couches, closets, vehicles and basements ever since.

How did you end up in Russia anyway?

KD:My parents moved there during Perestroika. They wanted to take part in something important. My mom as always a fiend for Russian literature, and my father has always been pretty nomadic. He ran away from a Boyscout jamboree in Scotland when he was fifteen and spent a summer hitchhiking around Europe. Later in life he was fairly successful for a time as a businessman and spent a whole lot of time overseas when I was real young in places like Japan, Korea and China. When he finally made it to Russia, he fell in love and eventually my parents decided to ditch the relatively comfortable life we had here in the states, sell everything they owned and move the family overseas. I think they sometimes question whether it was the right decision, because it dramatically altered the course of our lives.
My family never really recovered completely from the move. They never reachieved the financial position they were in before we left the country. Things have never really been th same for us since. Personally, I think it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It changed me as a person. Before Russia I was a very weak person. I was pretty effeminate in my youth and was constantly harassed and physically abused. Life in Russia changed me. By the time I got back at the age of thirteen I had already moved out of my parents, been in street fights, experienced a drug overdose, had a gun to my head, and played a live show with a punk band so I developed a confidence that set me apart from my peers.

How close is Siberia to the way it's portrayed in film and books?

KD: I don't know that I've ever really seen any American movies about Siberia, but it was a pretty anarchic place. Most of my friends from that time are now dead. It was very much like the wild west. At twelve I could head down to the kiosk and pick up a bottle of vodka, and I did frequently. I hung out with hooligans in the courtyards watching them shoot dope. They tried to get me to try it, but luckily I was too scared. Wasn't too scared to try the tranquilizers though and ended up OD'ing on roofies and vodka. I was out for at least a couple of days. I don't know how much danger I was in because the people I was hanging out with just kinda threw me in a room and left me there to die. I just remember waking up, walking out of the flat and when I finally found someone I knew they were really worried cause I'd been gone for a few days. At that time, in that country, life was cheap. That's about all I can really say about it.

Vegans...Should they just shut the fuck up? I mean, it's cool and all and more power to 'em but...live without cheese and meat?

KD: Not a whole lot of people know this, but I myself was a vegetarian for six years. I ended up breaking out of it thanks to help of bratwurst, which is my favorite food in the world. During that time though I did visit Monroe Wisconsin's legendary Cheese Days festival. I was fifteen years old and full of angst and I did not eat a single bite of cheese the whole time I was there, something which I have ever since regretted. Anyway, after six years of not eating meat I finally realized that I didn't need to be a vegetarian to get pussy. Good thing too.

Ever listen to Too Short?

KD: Not since I was about thirteen years old. I used to huff alot of spraypaint back then and hang out with these indians and one of them was really into Too Short. I never cared much for it, I wasn't too big into hip-hop at the time. I mostly listened to 80's hardcore and grindcore back then. I love hip-hop now, but I'm still not too familiar with his stuff. He coined the word "biyatch" though, didn't he?

Yes. Too Short will go down in history books for the word "beyotch" (or however you spell it). What would you like Pink Reason to be noted for?

KD: I don't know exactly what I want "Pink Reason" to be remembered for. I mean, Pink Reason is essentially the creative expression of my life and experiences. I think that I would like to someday be remembered as an explorer and a journalist. I would like to be remembered for searching out extraordinary experiences and sharing the stories and wisdom that those experience gave me.
There's alot more than that, but I feel like this question has me writing my own eulogy. I don't think I have much to worry about in this department. I've always left a strong impression on people, my whole life. Since I was very young people have always reacted strongly to me in one direction or the other. That's something that's always been a source of pride for myself.

What your favorite kind of woman?

KD: I've been with alot of different kinds of women and I like 'em all. My friend Bill used to always say "all women are beautiful in their own way" and it's a nice romantic notion if not always true.
Anyway, what I look for in a woman depends on what I am looking for out of them. Redheads seem good for fuckin'. Black girls are good for the stories. The girls I date are often short, and kinda nerdy with short dark hair. I'm a pretty outgoing, aggressive guy so I like to date girls that are a bit more reserved and submissive sexually. I never limit myself to one kind of woman though.

Ya ever noticed that the out going "crazy/sexy" girls that ya think would be total savages in the sack usually end being the dead fish but the quiet nerdier types seem to be the ones that know how to tear it up?

KD: My father always used to say "I ever tell you about the worst sex I ever had? It was great!" The main problem I've found with girls who are overtly "sexy" is that they tend to be actresses in the sack. Nothing is more annoying that someone acting over the top when yer busy trying to bust a nut. One thing I really like about nerdy girls is despite their sweet and innocent outward appearance, they often have the dirtiest minds, which leads to the dirtiest sex. They are also often alot less jaded and more trusting which can make things alot more fun.

What do you think intergalactic poon is like?

KD: Out of this world, man!

Find out more on Pink Reason here

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