Loving the cemetary with The Quintessentials
First of all, introduce yourself to our readers?
- I'm Les Hernandez and I formed The Quintessentials back in 1998 as a continuence of two of my older bands, Crawling Chaos and The Catalogs. Some might remember The Catalogs from our 7" on Mutant Pop, recorded in late 1997, which included a re-recording of the song 'Another Girl', which we originally released on our 'Viva Los Muertos' demo and later covered by The Queers on their alums 'Don't Back Down', 'Live in West Hollywood' and a couple others. W'ere originally from Hawaii, but I reformed the band here in Portland, Oregon, last year when I moved. The Quintessentials currently consists of myself on lead guitar and vocals, Hernan Tumbaga on Drums, and Todd Niebling on bass.
How would you describe The Quintessentials to someone who doesn´t know you?
- I'd say we're basically a Horror Punk band with a few twists.
We're influenced by Punk Rock bands like the Misfits, Ramones, Screeching Weasel,
Sloppy Seconds, The Queers, Connie Dungs, Vindictives, et cetera,
as well as Black Metal bands like Venom, Bathory, Emperor, Dark Funeral and the like. Basically, if Satan fucked Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days,
this would be their offspring.
Is there place for politics in your music?
- Absolutely not! Our lyrics come from my own point of view,
which is neither Republican nor Democrat;
Liberal nor Green nor Anarchist nor Fascist. There's a little bit of each in my personal outlook and it shows in my lyrics, but not in an overtly political sense. It's a fun, yet extremely Meritocratic point of view. As Anton LaVey once wrote, "Responsibility to the Responsible".
Our lyrics, if it can be described as anywhere near political, would be more philisophical, in the sense that it agrees with going along with Natural Law, Individuality and Personal Aesthetics/Liberty rather than accepting what you're told to believe, read or watch on television. Other than that, we're all about good, bloody horror and fun!
For as long as there has been rock n roll, politicians,
relegious groups etc. have been accusing for musicians for
influencing kids with bad things,what do you think about this?
Is the musician resposible when some
fans shoots people at school etc?
- Most kids, being the products of their parents' behaviors and viewpoints, are already influenced at home by "bad things". America is a society based on fear and scapegoating. Everyone places the blame for themselves and their children on someone else and no one accepts responsibility for their own actions. Kids who are prone to bad behavior or violence will do so regardless of what is said to have "put them over the edge", whether it be music, movies, books, or what have you. Other countries don't have this problem even when they have the same entertainment mediums. America contains the largest population of Fundamentalist Christianity in the world, and Fundamentalist Christianity, or hardcore Fundamentalist religion in general, is nothing more than a system of creating fear to control others, which in turn creates a paranoid society in which the only way people are conditioned to react is by either complience, violence or self-destruction. Modern America is a prime example of this. What does the nightly news show you? Do The Quintessentials try to influence young minds? Fuck yes we do! We try to get kids to THINK while at the same time enjoying themselves. We try to show them life is fun and fantasy need not be neglected--that there IS magic left for humanity and they can be who they are without feeling chastised or looked down on for it. We tell kids, "You're different? Be proud and make the most of it! Enjoy life at the despite those who might hate you! Spit back in their faces by becoming better than them!"
Is there a message in your lyrics, that your trying to get across to the listeners?
- Yes and no. Besides what I've already said, my personal leanings towards Satanism always come through
and I guess I do try to dispel misinformation about it through my lyrics. Being a proud long time member of the Church of Satan
(founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966), I feel it's my personal duty to make clear what others have so horribly misfigured through their portrayals in film, TV and shlock.
Let´s go to your childhood, I somewhere read that you had conflicts with different gangs
in your youth, can you tell us more about this?
- Wow--you did your homework! Yes, I grew up in the ghetto in Honolulu. Most folks outside of Hawaii don't even know they exist, but they do. Meth was huge in my town back in the very early 1980s, as were Crips, Bloods, and all that stuff. I remember walking home one night and following a trail of blood to my front door, where a kid was just taken away dead, shot in some gang-related bullshit. Hell, a kid was shot in the head in my high school parking lot by a very calm shooter who walked away in a very non-rushed fashion once, and on another occasion the school football team put a metal fork and butter-knife in a couple of guys who left in stretchers.
The gangs in Hawaii back then were mostly Samoan and Filipino, the latter being the smaller and known more for gun activity; the former for more brutal beatings by the very fact that they were so BIG! The Samoas were either Crips or Bloods and the Filipinos had their own gangs. Onething they all had in common is that they all hated Rock'n'Rollers, though the Filipinos had a penchant for Butt-Rock. Neither side contained a modicum of brains. I hated them all. I still do.
Little about live shows, after Dimebag was shot, there was a kind of hysteria going
on with artists all around the world, have you ever been afraid while being on stage?
- I've never really been afraid of being on stage. I'll certainly keep an eye out for an accidental mic stand knocking me in the teeth, but I don't think some kid will try and make me a martyr by putting a bullet in me. At a punk show, he'd be beat to non-recognition at the very attempt-- or I'd break my guitar over the fucker's nose if I see it coming. It's a pretty tight-knit scene, though you never really know.
Back to music in general, what kind of music do you listen at home?
- I listen to Punk Rock, Horror Punk, Oldies (Doo-Wop, '60s girl pop, etc.), old Metal, Black Metal, Swing, good old Jazz, Classical-- even Christmas tunes (though not the Jesus crap). Hell, I love the soundtracks from Grease and Xanadu!
The Quintessentials have been around for almost 10 years, that´s alot
when you think about how long bands usually stay together, what is your secret?
- Fascism! Haha! Really, I've played with so many different musicians in this band that it boils down to me staying true to myself and what I want out of it. This thing called The Quintessentials almost exists outside, as if I'm just the medium it comes through, so I just flow with it. I can't live without it though, because it comes from whatever makes me, me. On the back of everything we release is a symbol I call the Bloodfire Sigil.
I created it before I started The Quintessentials, for my old magazine, 'Bloodfire!'. It is a black dragon/demon with a Black Flame over its head in a trapezoid, surrounded by two circles. Within those circles reads "Strength, Will, Power, Passion". These are what drives any living thing forward, lest it die if inertia. Basically, it is vitality or a lust for life, as represented by the Black Flame of Satan. It also helps that people seem to enjoy the music--some almost as much as I do!
What have The Quintessentials been up to lately? When can we expect new release?
- Well, we just recorded a new track called 'The Black Pope', for the upcoming compilation "The Black House: a Tribute to Anton S. LaVey", put together by French Church of Satan member, Chris Menta (RazorDog), and featuring other CoS members, including many in our Clergy (as well as current High Priest, Magus Peter H. Gilmore).
We'll be releasing our new 7", titled 'Sarah Alice is DEAD!', later this year. This will feature 6 songs in all. We'll also be releasing our fourth full-length album later this year and be appearing on the World Horror Network's 'The Horror of it All, Volume 3" compilation CD/DVD set, then touring.
This is the final call, your chance to promote and
tell your greetings to fiends worldwide!
- Those interested can find us at www.thequintessentials.com (our official site),
horror-punks.com, myspace.com/thequints, interpunk.com,
hwnexp.com (Hawaiian Express Records), cosemporium.com and a few other sites. A few of these sites have mp3s you won't find on each-others' sites.
Let us know if you'd like to book us or want us on a compilation-- or just write if you want to say hello. We're pretty friendly guys. And to our very loyal fans: THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
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