Interview: Pink Lincolns (Chris Barrows, Dorsey Martin, Kevin Coss)

Pink Lincolns
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 Punk rock has always had that east coast/west coast thing going on for as long as I can remember. And where-as it's never become as polarized as the hip hop scene, there have always been lines drawn in the sand. Lines drawn by a varying array of sounds, attitudes and beliefs. Well let me tell ya something, down in "god's waiting room" (Florida) we have an east and a west coast. And frankly we've never given a shit about where anybody was from; at least in the Tampa Bay area anyway. Where in a night's time, balls to the wall hardcore acts, in your face punk bands and the occaisional metal act would share the stage without batting an eye. If the music rocked, goddamn it, we were gonna slam dance to it . Granted, these days alot of shit's changed. But one thing that's always held true is, if the Pink Lincolns were on the bill with their furious brand of punk (think Black Flag meets Screeching Weasel), hold onto your hats ladies & gentlemen, you were in for one hell of a show.

 Busting onto the scene in the late 80's, 20 some odd years later they've never looked back. Driven by the original gruesome twosome, frontman Chris Barrows' growling vocals and snide and often humorous commentary, Dorsey Martin's imaginative work on the six string, alongside (long time Lincoln) Kevin Coss' heavy basslines and greenhorn turned old hand Jeff Fox on the skins, the Pink Lincolns have always been a force to be reckoned with. Having had more than their share of influence on locals like myself and punkers nationwide, I jumped at the chance to shoot the shit with these punk rock veterans. But I must admit, in the weeks prior to the interview, I forged myself for what I expected to be a nightmare scenario of an interview, the old guard ripping apart the new guard. But nothing could've been further from the truth. Most notable was Chris' laidback demeanor and general approachability, a direct contridiction from the animal I've seen throughout the years ripping up show after show. The following is a steadfast testament to an ingregrity and credibility most bands these days pay PR people to whip up. Never succumbing to passing trends, and the glitz and glamour of big money, they've always done it on their own terms. Without further ado, I present The Pink Lincolns.

Big D: Let's start off with an obvious question, what's the story behind the name?
Chris: There's no real profound meaning to it. Alot of people have read into it, but the truth is we were just sitting around, a band without a name, and Dorsey came up with the Pink Lincolns. It had a sort of ring to it, so we just ran with it. It doesn't really mean anything.

Big D: How did you guys hook up?
He (Dorsey) was in a band called Not Much and I used to go see them alot because the guitar player was a friend of mine. They we're a cool band, an early on Tampa punk band. That's how we met and originally got started.

Big D: Round abouts when was this, you have to remember I'm 28, I started getting into punk around '92.
Chris: Well, there was a decade of punk before that and there was a decade before that too.
Dorsey: Yeah, punk in Tampa started a year before you were born.
Big D: No shit?
For real.
Chris: See now there's like all kinds of scenes these days. There's the goth scene , the skinhead thing, the punk thing, the new wave thing. Back then it was just the 20 fucking people in Tampa who didn't fit into anything else, we would always go to this bar... The Lucky Club, or My Backyard
Dorsey: My Backyard, that place was creepy.
Chris: Yeah. it was just the people who didn't fit in with anything else would hang together and it was like, there were no cliches. It was just other fucking misfits or whatever and that's all it was back then.

Big D: So how do you guys feel about the whole "emo" thing?
Chris: We don't worry about it. We don't talk about it.
Dorsey: How do we feel about emo? It's all about feelings.
Chris: We're playing the Fest in Gaineville next weekend. And it's like we're just gonna go up there and ruin their fucking weekend. It's like they're not gonna like us, we're old and we rock ya know. And we don't care, we're gonna piss on their parade
Dorsey: I want to make as many emo kids cry as possible.

Big D: You guys are somewhat of an antithesis of what's passing as punk rock today, if there were one band you could wipe off the face of the planet, who would it be?
Chris: Don't only give us just one band. So many bands suck.
Jeff: I pick Creed
Chris: They've already broken up.
Dorsey: Candlebox, Green Day.... I want Billy Joe's head on a stick.
Kevin: Pretty much anything in the last decade & a half.
Dorsey: ......Puddle of Mud, Korn, Linkin Park....*although inaudible, Dorsey rattles off a long list of shitty rock bands*
Chris: Anybody on TV, anybody on the radio, pretty much anybody and everybody.
Pink Lincolns

Big D: Unlike those guys, you don't rely on your music to pay the bills....
It gives us more freedom.
Chris: We don't have to do anything as a band. It's like we only do what we want to do. We don't have to go out and do shit because we're a band and we're getting money from somebody "Go out and do this and do that". It's like "fuck you" .We only do what we want to do as a band. That's the beauty of this, we're not making money, we're not plugged in and shit. We don't have to do the shit that other bands have to do. You know, go out and tour for 3 months a year and stuff like that. Fuck that.
Dorsey: We can sit around in our underwear and make donuts if we wanted to. (laughter)
Chris: We're on our own schedule. We don't have to put out an album every year whether it sucks or not, ya know. We just.... when we have shit we wanna do, we do it.
Big D: Out of morbid curiousity Dorsey, do you actually sit around and make donuts in your underwear?
No. But I sit around in my underwear alot.....
Chris: And eat donuts.
Dorsey: I eat donuts, and drink bourbon, drink bourbon and listen to records.

Big D: You put out Background Check and the town I live in you can't find it, except for the internet. Then you have to whip out your credit card and buy it on-line, I hate using my credit card unless I'm buying alcohol.
Dorsey: I don't think you can get that online.
Big D:
Background Check?
No alcohol.
Chris: Yeah you can.
Dorsey: They're making it harder though.

Big D: Speaking of alcohol, did you hear that Sizzurp is starting to see the light of day in middle America?
Chris: What?
Big D: Sizzurp. It's cough syrup mixed with soda and a Jolly Rancher garnish (according to CNN)..
Chris: Like Robo-trippin'.
Big D: Precisely.
Chris: I had a Nyquil problem like 10 years ago.....
Big D:
My drink of choice is Dayquil
Nyquil gives you that 5 minute fuzzy feeling before you just pass out.
Big D: See that's why I dig Dayquil, 'cept you don't pass out. You just wander around in a stupor.
Dorsey: Alright, let's keep going. Next question. *note: due to my state of inebriation he forgets the question*

Big D: After an 8 year hiatus from the studio, what possessed you to put out No Lo Sieto?
We got back together and had new stuff so we were going to do an album. Like I said, we don't time our albums or anything . When we have an album's worth of shit, we'll do it. We had an album's worth of shit so we did it, ya know.

Big D: We're you in contact with each other during that time?
Chris: I was going through weird shit back then, and I was doing another band.....
Big D: The Jackie Papers.
Chris: Right, so we weren't in touch or at least in touch regularly or whatever I don't know.
Big D: So at what point we're you like "Let's get the band back together?
Chris: Well he (Dorsey) had some songs, and I had some songs....

Big D: Yeah, I noticed when I was living in Tampa 3 or 4 years ago, that you guys would play a show, what seemed to me like every 3-4 months.
Chris: Right, we try to keep it to a just few local shows a year and we used tour a couple times a year. For the last couple years it's just been once a year. So, you know when we put the band backed together it was kind of like baby steps, it was like earning it back kinda, and it's picked up in the last couple of years.
Big D: I'd like to see it pick up a hell of alot more.
Chris: Yeah, it's wierd. It's not what it used to be but it's like I'd rather do it than not do it ya know. I don't know. Fuck ya know. We're better than these guys *gestures to the band playing inside the club down the road we decided to get a beer at and chat which turned out to be (due to the shitty band sleepingwalking through shitty covers) inconducive to the audio recording of an interview, leading us to the alley in back of said club. Beers in tow of course*. You should erase everything off that recorder and go back inside and interview these guys (laughter).
Big D: They're covering a Dave Matthews song for fuck's sake!
Chris: How do you know about Dave Matthews?
Big D: The shit town I'm living in only has one bar. It seems like that's all those uncultured yuppies ever listen to. Needless to my alcoholism is almost cured.
Dorsey: I think you oughtta know, I listen to'em.
Big D: Maybe you should relocate to Melbourne Beach!?! (laughter)

Big D: So you've played with all kinds of bands throughout the years, who have been your favorite to share the bill with?
The Damned. We've played with them a couple of times. That was cool.
Dorsey: Hmmm, I haven't made up my mind.
Kevin: Tragic Seasons (laughter)
Chris: We played with that band (Tragic Seasons) in North Carolina, they were so horrible. Fuck them.
Dorsey: What about the boy in love with the bicycle seat?
Chris: That was Sockeye in Ohio and they used to play out under a different name; Boy with a Bloody Butt, Boy on a Girl's Bike, Boy on His Knees. They were very artsy or whatever. I knew a few people back then that were way into fucking hardcore, and they liked Sockeye. Then we do this show in Ohio and it was like "Oh this is Sockeye playing with a another name, this should be cool". And it was like "Oh god, this sucks!" It was horrible, it was just bad. It was like they were trying to see how bad they could be. They were trying to chase the crowd out or something. They were bad, they sucked. We've played with alot of crappy bands over the years.

Big D: Do you have one gig that stands out in your mind, a coup de gras for lack of a better word (or a series of French words)?
Chris: Camp Thunderbird was unique. It was a summer camp for retarded people, and they'd let different groups of people in (to peform). I think it lasted a couple weeks. The youngest person there was 8 and the oldest person was 80. That was the only show I got onstage and I didn't know how to approach it. It was like "Wow, this is crazy". There was all sorts of wierd shit going .. we started playing. We started playing and basically they went nuts. Either they went nuts or they just stood way back and just drooled or whatever. But the people that were up front were withdrawn problem people and they just went fucking off. Everybody wanted to yell shit into the mic, everybody was just drooling big globs of fucking spit into the mic. This sums it up, there was a picture of that show and it was a picture of the crowd and they're all standing there, all misshapen and shit. Anyway, this one guy was down on his fucking knees and he's going *makes retarded pose* and he's just got this big piss stain in his pants. That sums up the whole fuckin' night right there man. We rocked their asses.

Big D: How in the hell did you get that show, communtiy service?
Chris: Some friends of mine worked there. Their mom ran the camp. They were trying to get us to do it for a couple of years and we kept saying "yeah sure, we'll do it, yeah, yeah, yeah". Then they'd bring it up a couple months later. So the last month they were there it was like "you gotta do it now or fucking never". We were like "let's do it". It was cool, it was a unique experience. 

Big D: That's the shit legends are made of!
Chris: Yeah, you know the Cramps have there thing in Napa Valley and Gobstopper had that thing in prison and it was incredible visually. This was crazy. That show was just weird. And the guy that helped us set up the PA! We borrowed a PA, we set it up and it wouldn't work. There's four of us and we kept fucking with it, unplugging this, plugging in that and it wouldn't work. So this retarded kid who was hanging out was like "wa-ooo, wa-ooo,wa-ooo" and we couldn't understand him. We kept telling him "Dude, just stand back. We're just trying to get this thing going" and he kept saying "Wah-oo,wah-ooo,wah-ooo". We're like "please, let us handle this. There's four of us here, we can get this going" And then he broke through and there's this wire fucked up, he straightened it up and suddenly everything worked. There's four of us trying to get it going and this one retarded guy was able to when we couldn't. That was illuminating. 

Big D: Rain Man type shit.

Chris: Then this one time in Ohio, we made a pit stop and we're in a Taco Bell, we're eating, We're all hung over and shit and this bus pulls up, right? A bus full of retarded people.
Kevin: Ahh, this sounds vaguely familiar
Chris: We have Taco Bell food and we're sitting at a table and they're sitting at tables all around us. Our roadie Brian had liberty spikes and shit. So we're eating and I notice that they're all staring at us. We've got our heads down and we're eating. Then they all start laughing at us! Have you ever been laughed at by a bus full of retarded people? It's really humblling. I don't know, it was like goddamn.... we all took it. We all sat there with our heads down and were like "everybody finish your tacos, let's get the fuck out of here!"
Dorsey: Where was this at? I don't remember that.
Chris: It was in Ohio. It was after we had to stop for strings or drums stuff or something. It was in the same strip mall as the music store.
Dorsey: I still say we should've posed for a band picture by the giant chickens in Ohio.
Chris: The giant eagle in Pittsburgh?
Dorsey: The giant chicken in Ohio, when we pulled off the interstate to get some food there was a giant ceramic chicken.
Chris: We've seen giant chickens and giant eagles.

Big D: I skipped almost every highschool spanish class I had, what's No Lo Siento mean and what 's the signifigance in relation to the album?
Chris: It means I'm not sorry
Dorsey: It means my cow is on fire.
Chris: It means basically I'm not sorry. It was just a name. You have to name an album, so you have to think of something and that's what we thought of.

Big D: You guys are from the Tampa Bay area as am I and I kind of feel....
A strange kinship?
Big D: Well, yeah you could say that. That aside, what are your thoughts on the area in concerns with being in a punk band?
Chris: You gotta live somewhere and it's kind of cheap here. And it doesn't snow.
Big D: Do you feel like the area has had an influence on your sound?
Chris: No. We don't do palm tree songs.
Jeff: Ratt was a big influence on me when I was young, or was it Wasp? Which one is a Tampa band?
Chris: Ratt and Wasp, I always get those two confused.

Big D: You supported the release of No Lo Siento with an east coast tour, are there any future plans of touring?
Chris: We go out when we can, when it's feasible/possible or whatever. We'll probably go out again in the spring time. We don't put an album out and go tour. We go out when it's time. We put out shit when it's time We never coordinate stuff. It's not like we intended to support it. It just so happened we put an album out and we went on tour around the same time. Actually, the album came out halfway through the tour.
Kevin: Towards the end of the tour.
Chris: Nothing ever works out logically for us. We just kind of stumble through shit.For us to go on tour we go into debt. We sleep in vans and parking lots when we go on tour.

Big D: You realize, I'm sure, that there are assholes like me that getting to see the Pink Lincolns makes their whole year?
Chris: Well, yeah, That's why we do it. It's not like for our own fuckin'.... We're valid as a band and we do know that. We know what we're capable of doing. And that's cool when people like it. At times it's like "what the fuck are we doing this for?"you know *the entire band laughs* But when a crowd of kids goes crazy it's like "That's what we're doing it for"
Big D: This is a learning experience for me. Self doubt amongst the Pink Lincolns, who would've thought. Like you said, there's a kinship here. I never would've thought... I feel like...
Like we're all humans * laughter*
Big D: I'll bet you a dollar that this motherfucker (Chris) is gonna turn into a werewolf as soon as he hits the stage.
I just shave.
Big D: Rumor has it you're thinking about putting out a live album.
We're working on one now. That's gonna be our next thing.
Kevin: We gotta get a good show on tape.
Chris: The Pittsburgh show from the tour before the last one was great. We're gonna use that and fluff it up with some local stuff.
Big D: Any idea on a release date?
Chris: No, we've been recording shows for a long time. Hopefully as soon as possible. We're not getting any younger. I'd like to see us put out a live album.
Big D: Bill Stevenson got credits for producing No Lo Siento. How did you guys hook up with him?
Chris: I knew him in Black Flag, I've known him since then. He likes the band. He's helped us out alot, and I mean alot over the years. It's crazy, I mean I almost feel weird about how much he's helped out. Cool guy, fucking amazing guy. One of the two most impressive people I've met ever, ever.
Big D: Not to take away from the question but who's the other?
Chris: Someone else.... I don't want to denigrate that question.
Big D: Denigrate, now there's a five dollar word.
You were using some big fucking words yourself.
Big D: That's bullshit, it's only 'cause I drank a bottle of Dayquil earlier.
Three syllable words starting out.
Kevin: Sizzurp. (laughter)

Big D: Here's a question I've wanted to ask ever since I heard the song. Velvet Elvis, have you ever owned one and if so where the hell can you pick one up?
Chris: You can probably find alot of'em in Tennesee. I've never owned one. Right after I wrote that song, (Dorsey's music and my words if I remember right), and I just thought it was funny. Then there was a band from Jacksonville right after that called Velvet Elvis so I felt kind of stupid about it.
Dorsey: We have a friend that has one. It's like a second hand one that looks like Paul McCartney. We call it the velevet McCartney, it's supposed to be Elvis.

Big D: Coming onto the scene in the late 80's, your sound is more rooted in the punk of the early 80's.....
Chris: Before punk we used to listen to rock, and then punk started. We have older roots than most bands do I guess, probably. I was listening to alot of fucking music before Black Flag.
Dorsey: I used to lisen to Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes too.
Big D: Isn't Yes the dude with the wicked piano skills?
Rick Wakeman.
Dorsey: Wick Rakeman!

Big D: *to Jeff the new drummer* What's up with you man? You're awful quiet. Sorry about that comment earlier.
Jeff: What about Zeppllin?
Big D: Yeah, fuck Led Zepplin.
You know my parents pushed it on me when I was young, along with the Beatles. My mom really liked Elvis too. Then I got into Zepplin and Hendrix. It wasn't until I was older that I got into punk rock bands. I was going to see these guys when I was in junior high and high school. So it's really cool to get the opportunity to be a part of the band.

Big D: How did that come about anyway? You're a hell of alot younger than these guys.
I knew Chris' nephew and he brought up that they had a tour booked. They just released No Lo Siento and....
Chris: He stepped in right at the last minute and went at it really seriously and got it down really good.
Jeff: Like two weeks to learn 30 songs
Chris: And he's good man, he's on it. He's our drummer.
Big D: How about you Kevin?
I probably came onto the scene with the mid 80's hardcore type stuff. Before that it was like the usual suspects, DRI, Misfits stuff like that. Before that growing up, typical rock bands like Van Halen or whatever.
Chris: I used to like Bowie and the Stones and the Stooges and shit. Old Stones.
Dorsey: I like those bands too. I was a Bowie and Stooges fan.

Big D: Was Happy Boy's outro, (you know it's a little out of character for you guys) was it a result of, in the immortal words of Cheech & Chong "Some of that shit that set them arabs off, you know, that shit that'll put a hump on a camel's back?"
Chris: I don't understand that.
Big D: Some killer herb, smoke, weed, ganja....
Chris: Oh! no.
Dorsey: No.
Chris: We have this thing that we basically do, the Lincolns thing. But we don't want to do that 1000 percent of the time. We'll do little diversions here and there. Like between that being extended and on I Believe it was like "Let's let it all hang out, who cares". We'll break our own thing, our own stereotype if we feel like it.
Big D: Geisha, also off No Lo Siento for example?
Yeah, I think it's a well rounded album. I don't like listening to the same song 13 times in a row. It's like a roller coater ride or something.
Dorsey: Happy Boy was my personal tribute to the original Alice Cooper band, The first three Alice Cooper albums are quite different from the rest of his work.
Chris: They're very not musical. There not not musical, but you really have to pay attention.
Dorsey: They're different. They were different from anything else at the time when they came out.
Chris: I think all the young kids should've been around back then, just to see what it was like. Back then music was weird. There was a vast wasteland of music and when you heard something that was so cool it was like "wow! fuck!". There was no internet back then. There was no MTV back then. Nobody was telling you what to listen to. You had to find shit to listen to. That was before everything was made available to you. When I first heard Roxy Music, being 16 in Kansas it was like"fuck this is another world", it was another thing! That was so cool back then. Back then music was different than it is now, especially how music is made available to people.

Big D: You guys have always stayed out of politics, nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry has jumped on that political band wagon. With the release of No lo Siento you haven't, even with the timing you refrained from becoming overly political.
Chris: Politics suck. It has nothing to do with music.
Dorsey: We do music, not politics. If we did politics we'd join a party or something. We'd create the Pink Lincoln party.
Chis: We keep the crackpot shit out of it you know. People go to punk shows to get away from shit like that. Politics suck.
Dorsey: Bars should be a refuge from shit like that.

Big D: But say the Pink Lincolns found themselves in the Oval office tomorrow....
I did not have sex with that pig!
Big D: ...What would be your first course of action?
Dorsey: I'd take off my pants and sit in my underwear!
Kevin: And eat donuts!
Big D: Fuck eating'em. He'd be making'em!
Dorsey: I'd make some donuts on the carpet!
Chris: I'm sure I'd make a very eloquent speech and I'd go out to the rose garden and trim the rose bushes......
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