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Interview with :TILT!

TILT consists of : 
Vocals: Cinder Block




Guitar: Jeffery Bischoff


Bass: Pete Rypins


Drums: J. Vincent Camacho

Tilt is an American  punk band from the East Bay USA.
They formed in 1992. Their debut studio album, Play Cell, was released  in 1993. Soon after they got signed to Fat Wreck Chords.
Tilt had  a reunion show in 2015 and then again in January 2017.

Discography

  • Play Cell (1993)
  • `Til It KIlls (1995)
  • Collect `Em All (1998)
  • Viewers Like You (1999) 
  • Been Where? Did Whgat?(2001)


Where are you all from?

I'm from Lincoln Nebraska (see the movie "Boys Don't Cry"), Jeffery is from Detroit Michigan. Pete and Vince are both from the Bay Area, East Bay to be more exact. There's a lot of towns in the East Bay that grew together. Vince went to Berkeley High I think. We used to call it "Commie High."

 

What year was the band started and how did you meet?

My memory of 24 years ago is a little fuzzy but overall we just found each other through the Gilman punk scene. Jeffery and I lived in a huge artist warehouse in West Oakland called Phoenix Iron Works. A lot of punks lived down there. Bands like Attitude Adjustment, Verbal Abuse, Fang, Special Forces and others lived within a mile of us. It was a crazy neighborhood. My warehouse used to illegally barricade the street and have huge parties with not much interest from the cops. We even had a giant Tesla Coil shooting lightning 50 feet in the air and the cops just drove by mildly amused. It was the wild west down there. We had Jessie Jackson fund raisers in '88 and when Gilman shut down for a while (because of being sued) we had shows there so the touring bands who had been booked didn't have to cancel shows. I remember Gwar played my house one Halloween because of this. And Gilman was in full swing, the East bay was filled with a lot of small lables, 'zines, warehouse parties. My T-shirt company Cinder Block Inc,. and my neighbor's company Punk's With Presses popped up around this time. We were all making shit happen and Tilt came out of that. One day when we were practicing our youngest roommate, Scotty, popped his head in the band room and said "You guys should come down the street and check out this rad band "Green Day." They're playing right now. Of course we were hard at work so we stayed and wrote our first song "Siberia." That song never made it onto one of our records but I've heard that Green Day may have gone places.



 

Have any of you played in any previous bands?

Pete was in Crimpshrine which was an influential band in the mid to late 80s. They had many stellar players over the years - Aaron Cometbus, Jeff Ott , Jesse Michaels & Tim Armstrong to name a few.

 

Vince played drums in a band called Basic Radio which was Matt and Tim's band before Op Ivy and Rancid. (see Basic Radio - 'sixpack in fairyland' - 1987 ) That's Tilt's future drummer Vince in back! By the way Fairyland refers to a kid's amusement park in Oakland where adults are not allowed without a kid, so drinking a six pack or smoking there is taboo.

 

Jeffery had been into punk as a vagabond street kid in Ann Arbor Michigan and in Boston MA. Jeffery's older brother was an original "White Panther" and hung out with MC5 and Iggy Pop back in the 70s. So Jeffery was exposed to a lot of really great music, the kind that was punk before punk. But Jeffery, being a man of integrity, got bored with electric guitars and disavowed all but acoustic instruments in the late 80s. He formed a few bands, the most successful being "Phoenix Iron Works" named after the warehouse where we lived. I'd hooked up with Jeffery about the same time and it wasn't long before I joined his band. Jeffery managed to get us some pretty big gigs like opening for Penelope Houston - she had formed an acoustic band after The Avengers. Phoenix Iron Works tried to find a place in the post-punk acoustic scene in San Francisco but we were not intricate musicians and didn't get much acceptance in that very musically proficient scene. We were just punks who picked up acoustic instruments, which came in handy playing on the street or when the bar manager pulled the plug. So we gained more acceptance in the punk scene. We even played the Anarchy Convention in 1989 at Gilman Street with Capital Punishment. I played the scrub board, we had a tub bass which was fashioned out of an old tin wash-tub and a day-glo orange dinosaur rib bone our mohawked bass player had made by himself. We also had mandolin, fiddle, a giant Chinese kettle drum and a dog who sat next to the piano player. We played live on KALX a couple of times, I have photos of us carrying an upright piano down a tiny stairway to the basement KALX studio.
 

I ,Cinder ,  had been in a couple punk bands before Phoenix Iron Works including a band I'd formed in Nebraska called "The Spam Grenades". That band could be described as "punk-metal" but there were definitely shades of pop punk in the mix. I really didn't gel as a vocalist till I joined Tilt. Phoenix Iron Works was a great band to work on singing harmonies with other singers but originally I started out in theatre. I had acted and directed in College and I even wrote a punk opera in 1985 called "Hubris." The guitar player of The Spam Grenades helped me write the songs in one sitting - the punk way! The musical was performed at the University of Nebraska shortly after I moved to California but I have a video tape of the performance. I borrowed the ancient Greek myth of Agamemnon and set it in modern day LA amongst warring punk "gangs". It was really very silly but it was fun to see our songs performed in a real stage setting. I can see why successful musicians sometimes get the itch to foray into the musical theatre genre. Anyway that's just a little taste of my musical gestation. I could really write a book. Makes me think I should dig up those "Hubris" songs and cover them, never tried that before. I think I stole lyrics directly from Aeschylus' play.

 

How would you describe your music ?

Well, to describe Tilt's music you'd have to consider the times in which Tilt came to be.  If you took what I just said about Tilt's member's former bands and tossed it into a big salad then added a whollop of Gilman Street vinaigrette that would be Tilt's music. In 1992 we all had a hangover from metal and hardcore so it was kind of a natural progression for pop punk to appear. The Gilman scene had a lot of bands who were either on Lookout! Records or were putting out their own 7" records. There was a huge ground-swell of fans who supported Op Ivy and later Green Day but there were also many other hugely influential bands who had grown out of hardcore to a more immediately accessible sound with catchy hooks like Samiam, The Queers, The Vandals and Mr. T Experience. I think people were just growing tired of the monotone nature of hardcore punk and wanted to have fun. Also, Clinton had been elected and the horrible Regan years were subsiding so people had more hope. Berkeley and Oakland has always been a hotbed of forward thinking people. As I mentioned before a lot of DIY ventures were popping up. More and more women were taking ownership of punk rock. I personally didn't like the sexist attitudes of metal and hardcore but I liked the power of the music. I also love singing and melodic styles of music allow a boarder use of one's vocal range. I have always tried to use my training in acting and directing to guide my vocal style for each song. I don't know if that's always come across but I've tried. It's always really hard describe your own style but I hope that gives you a little bit of an idea. Overall I'd say it's powerful, driving, basic punk-rock / rock & roll, without the wanking guitar solos but with catchy bass hooks, ballsy tom-driven percussion with Latin undertones, dark yet humorous lyrics with a political bent sung by a female vocalist who strives to the shatter glass of the driers in the Cincinnati, Ohio laundromat where the band is playing (Sudsy Malone's.) 
 



 

What inspires you to do music?

To me, writing is the biggest part of the craft. Anyone can get on the mic and do a stream of consciousness, and sometimes you can get lucky writing songs that way. But I feel that it's a sacred opportunity to be able to sing my own words so I'd better be saying something good. Something well thought out yet dealing with things about which I am passionate.

 

Which topics are important for you to use when writing lyrics?

Life in general. The bigger mysteries as well as the every day challenges. I have to write about my own experience. It's a challenge just dealing with the human condition in general let alone being a woman in a society that disregards women then at a certain age completely throws them away. Even the "enlightened" youth culture apes these moronic societal norms. If I didn't write about that I'd be an asshole. Then there are the larger issues of our species not being able to evolve away form war - nationalism, religion, greed. We, as a species, are still in our emotional infancy. I wish I could come back in 3,000 and see if we managed to figure ANYTHING out.



What advice would you give to other bands and artists out trying to get noticed?

I would just work very hard at your craft. Develop your ideas because a sound or a look or youthful energy & sexiness will only lure people in on the surface. People wont stick around if you have no substance of ideas or if you aren't trying to play music in a new and interesting way which also supports your ideas.

 

Do you have any plans for going in the studio and make a record?

I would love to make another record with Tilt. We've written a couple of new songs.
I think most of us are busy with other projects and life in general.
 

Did/do you ever expirience difficulties getting booked due to musical genre or on the stereotypes of how punk is portraited in the media?

I don't know about that. I never paid attention. I had to just keep concentrating on writing and singing. I was lucky enough to have been able to leave the headache of booking and positioning to more strategically talented people. Jeffery acted as our manager for some years and I believe that a lot of our success was because of his entrepreneurial talent.

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Any words for your fans out there?

Just to say thank you, thank you, thank you! Tilt fans are the best most brilliant amazing people ever. We couldn't have done any of it without the support of people who were courageous enough to like a band like Tilt. I've really appreciated all the kind words from our fans all over the world.



Thanks to Cinder for the answers! 

You can find their music here:
 http://www.facebook.com/cinderblock4real

And Cinder`s new band The Pathogens , here:http://www.facebook.com/thepathogens

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