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Phil Gammage
"Adventures in Bluesland"
Phil Gammage: Adventures in Bluesland

Phil Gammage
"Kneel to the Rising Sun"
20th Anniversary Edition

originally released on New Rose (France)
Phil Gammage: Kneel to the Rising Sun

The Scarlet Dukes
"Rogue Escapade" Jump blues/swing
The Scarlet Dukes: Rogue Escapades
The Scarlet Dukes - Rogue Escapades

Certain General
"November's Heat" 1985's classic NYC post-punk LP November's Heat

Phil Gammage
"Tracks of Sound"
Edgy downtown jazz Phil Gammage - Tracks of Sound


By Icepick Phil

Editor's note: Born from the ashes of the punk cover group The Mutilators the DefeX spent the last half of 1978 working up original punk material. By the time Boulder's DefeX hit the Colorado punk circuit in early '79 the band was the loundest, tightest, fastest, and some would argue BEST punk band in the Rocky Mountain State. Their music was aggressive and extremely well rehearsed.

DefeX LP coverDefeX in the year 2000: The new live LP on Rave Up Records (Italy)
The year 2000 brings us the first DefeX LP. This is a very important event as this LP is the first Colorado punk record recorded live, the first LP-length record (all the other records released in the late 70's were 45s), and the first release of a Colorado punk band on a European label.

DefeX lead singer Chris Murdock recently spent some time with us to discuss the new record and share with us some stories about the band.

1. Chris tell us about the new DefeX LP. Where and when was it recorded? How did you hook up with Rave Up records? Are there any more DefeX records in the pipeline?
I picked 11 songs from various recordings for this album including "Blink 2wice" about a paralyzed friend who can only communicate with his eyelids and "Nuthin 2 Say" with one of Steve's phenomenal bass riffs. All but one are from live gigs and the other was recorded by my brother Keith in our rehearsal garage. Jim Walton recorded us at the Rainbow gig in '79. I forget who recorded the others at Malfunction Junction, Blue Note and Talagi's.

It was Behjan Mirhadi who put me and Pierpaolo De Iulis in touch with each other. We've been communicating regularly for about 6 months. Behjan and I have been communicating for almost 2 years.

Pier and I have talked about an additional EP or LP but we have no firm plans yet. I have the original art work of the 'alternate' cover for Psycho Surfer that I would like to publish. Dalton Rasmussen tells me he might compile some recordings of Colorado bands so we might have a track on that album.

2. What other records have the DefeX released? Are they available?
The only other record we made was the MGL/PS 7" that we released in '79. I guess there aren't many copies available anymore. Each of us got about 20 from the original lot. I gave away all but 2 to friends. In addition to the copies we gave to friends we sold 30 or 40 through a New York record store and a couple of Colorado stores. When we broke up the guy who backed the recording took the remainder and split. He wasn't very happy so I suspect they're in a Midwest landfill by now.

3. What bands influenced the DefeX sound? Wasn't your guitarist Scott heavily into the Sex Pistols at the time? What bands did you listen to at the time? Where did you rehearse, etc.?
Starting in '76 I grabbed everything I could get my hands on: Ramones, Vibrators, The Damned, Modern Lovers, Buzzcocks, Dead Boys, Generation X, The Jam, Television, The Clash, Eddie and the Hotrods...

chris murdock of the DefeX
When Chris speaks you must listen...
I gave a telephone interview to a lady from New York some time in '78. She asked me to describe our 'sound' and I told her that we kind of a Generation X sound. She corrected me and said that she'd been told that we had more of a Ramones sound. Who am I to argue?

Yes, of all the influences Scott related best to the Sex Pistols. We were both crazy about the Bullocks album just like everyone. When the Pistols toured the US we drove down to San Antonio to see them at Randy's Rodeo. What an incredible show that was.

4. Tell us about your band The Mutilators?
They were me and Scott and Myles (Myles Syken who would later play in The Corvairs - ed.) and Ricky. We did mostly Pistols and Ramones covers to start with. Most audiences hadn't ever heard the originals and those who had heard them became immediate friends. After one or two months we came up with the name The DefeX and dropped all the punk covers. When Steve joined we started doing a lot of his originals. Steve wrote all but a few of the DefeX songs.

5. Where other than Colorado did the DefeX perform? Any memorable shows?
CBGBs was a blast, of course. That was late '79. We played at the Fast Lane in New Jersey too. It wasn't memorable but someone took some good photos.

DefeX postr6. When the band left for New York in '79 what was the state of the Colorado punk scene? What were the top bands and where did the bands play? Were there any radio shows playing local punk bands music? Wasn't your brother Keith in another punk/new wave band? Why did so many Colorado punk bands leave Colorado?
I think the number of Boulder/Denver bands peaked sometime in '79. Rick Stot had a weekly radio show on KGNU and there were dedicated magazines like Not New Wave News and La Dolce Vida. Our favorite bands were The Guys, The Violators, The Corvairs, Jonny III, The Prophylactics, The Front, and of course, my brother's band, The Transistors.

Why did the punk bands leave Colorado? I think by the 80's punk just went out of fashion in Colorado. And New Wave bands were more appreciated by the club owners. A punk band had 3 choices: 1) soften their sound, 2) move to one of the hard core cities, or 3) quit.

7. How did the Police gig go down?
I forget how we actually landed the gig. It was our biggest audience and probably our best all around performance. We had practiced a ton and the audience was really into it so it went great. I met the Police but they were real stuffy. They wouldn't even share their cold cuts.

8. What were your favorite Colorado bands on the scene at that time (late 70s early 80s)?
Our two favorite bands were The Violators and The Guys. There were a lot of other good bands that we watched but we always made a point of going to Violators and Guys gigs because they were the most fun.

9. When the band returned from NY what split you up? Had the scene changed? Were you treated as returning heroes or nobody cared?
Well, here's the story on the break up: When we were in New York, Alan Millman (from the N.Y. band Man Kazam-ed.) and I had some heart to heart discussions about our repertoire. He convinced me that that punk rock was dead and that we would need to develop more of a pop sound to make it in New York. I decided to go back to Colorado, get my computer job back, and re-think the whole music thing. I expected we'd pick up where we left off but Ricky didn't want to leave New York. We went back without him and played one gig with a different drummer. It was all wrong. I just didn't like it. There's only one other drummer I've heard that would fit as well as Ricky and he was with the Buzzcocks. So I told Steve and Scott I was going to take a sabbatical. They wanted to keep playing so they formed Static and The Farmers. We haven't played together since that.

10. And of course the inevitable question...when is the reunion gig?
Ask Ricky.