LIQUOR STORE ARE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN MAN
When Sarim started playing drums for Livefastdie he was still under 21 and running around with a hilarious fake ID that said his name was Tyrone. After months of punching the clock on the drums, he was promoted to a position on guitar, where his guitary antics became the stuff of stupid cartoon legend. He would run onto the balcony and then jump off and get hurt. He would propel himself onto people's backs and play the riff from "Panama" until his bandmates were screaming at him to knock it off. He famously wanged my boyo Thomas in the head with his guitar and turned him into a gushing geyser of blood and confusion. Sarim eventually got tired of just following another band's lead and formed Liquor Store.
Although originally described by listeners as "kind of underwhelming" and "a goddamned fucking trainwreck that's what," Liquor Store quickly found their sonic niche. They'd show up to a gig with as many as seven guitarists in addition to a bassist and drummer and fill up the stage with swingin' meat and guitar feedback before launching into impossibly powerful punk epics with funny titles. Their shows have turned into the best party you can be at if you're into things like drinking and attaining states of atavistic ecstasy. People writhe around on the floor in intoxicated glee, getting bruised up and feeling deliriously joyful. The last time I saw them someone started fighting a chair.
Sarim, the main Liquor Store guy, is a really funny Iraqi guy who talks like Lenny and/or Squiggy. I wanted to pick his brains apart. Und I did.
Vice: Where'd you get the name Liquor Store from?
Sarim: I was in a bar talking to the bouncer, who was like an old NYHC dude. MDC came on the jukebox and he's like,"Oh yeah, I met Dave Dictor one time. I was in San Francisco and I saw him on the street giving out free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I went up to him to get one and he says 'Oh, I met you last night.' And I was like, 'Oh yeah?' cause I didn't remember, probably because I was black out wasted, and Dave Dictor goes 'Yeah, you punched me in the face and called me a commie faggot.' "
Then he told me,"You're in a band right?" Nice guy, his name's Paulie. He looks tough as shit but he's chill. Tore up my friend's fake one time, funny story. So Paulie, he tells me he's got all these sick ideas for band names and proceeds to start telling me the worst band names ever, like Corner Store Blacks and other fucked-up shit. All of a sudden he's like, "Liquor Store... There's never been a band called Liquor Store." and I was like "Shit, that's actually a pretty good name." And so he says "If you start the band you can have it." I haven't talked to him since then, actually.
Does he know that you actually did it?
He probably doesn't even remember that conversation. One time Mojo, the bouncer, tried flirting with me at C-Squat after I won 20 bucks from him over Rio by Duran Duran.
You're from New Jersey right?
Yeah. I live there now. When I was a kid I lived in the city. Now I'm old and successful and I live in Jersey.
What's the best part of New Jersey?
North Jersey. All of Northeast Jersey is sick as death. There's not a lot of boring bullshit like woods and trees when you're driving. There's pretty much something sick everywhere you go. There's highways everywhere so its easy to get around. There's always good food. People aren't fucking douchebags and weirdos. Most people are legit. Fuck North Bergen County, though, I dont like it up there. Fuck everything north of Paramus and Glen Rock.
Do you like Wawa?
Nope, that's South Jersey bullshit. 7-11 is our shit. At 7-11 you don't even wanna steal cause all the dudes that work in there are always the man. Most of the time.
According to Myspace and you've been in a lot of bands. What was your first band and how old were you?
What were you called?
Were you good?
Uh, I guess. We had two albums.
Any plans for a reunion show?
We actually did a reunion show one time where people thought we were gonna be the Casualties. Then it wasn't the Casualties and people weren't into it.
One time when you were playing you threw your guitar out and hit my friend Thomas in the head and he bled all over the place.
I lost that guitar that night. It was in a bag with all my clothes, my house keys, my headphones, and shit and it all got stolen. I don't know if it was karma or somethin--I wasn't trying to hurt him, I was just pissed my guitar wasn't working--but it was kinda weird. The whole thing started cuz LiveFastDie played at Mercury Lounge and I tried to do that dance CC Deville does where he runs in a little circle, but somebody had spilled a drink all over the stage so I slipped and ate shit really bad and broke the input. Thanks, dude!
When I first started seeing Liquor Store I wasn't sure if anyone besides you knew the songs.
I was probably the worst part. Everyone else knew what they're doing and I was in there fucking it all up. That said, no, they didn't know the songs.
What do your parents think of your bands?
I played a single I was on for my father one time and he said, "Why does it sound like shit?" He comes out to the shows with his friends sometimes. He tells me he can't understand the words and I don't know how to sing. My cousin's an opera singer. He likes it though.
Why so many guitars? Five guitars. Seven guitars.
With two guitars when you fuck up everybody notices. Now that we've gotten more serious and learned everything good, though, we'll probably only use like three. It's easier to be musically dazzling that way.
I like your band. What's the song "Commando" about?
One of the best movies of all time, Commando. Arnold kills people and defies all laws of logic and gravity for two hours with no repercussions. He jumps out of a plane, lands on the ground in a roll, gets up, and sets his watch. Later on he beats up a million cops. Rae Dawn Chong blows up a cop van with a rocket launcher and he jumps out of it totally fine and lands in her convertible. Rae Dawn Chong and Daewon Song should get together and have a kid named Red Dawn Bong. That movie's fuckin' sick as well.
What's "Free Pizza" about?
How sick it is to get free pizza.
What's "Manchild in Paradise"?
Thats about a book that I had but didn't feel like reading, so I read the back and wrote a song about it. Kinda like when you had to do a book report in 1997 so you just rented the movie and copied what it said on the back of the box. Jimmy Buffet meets Claude Brown and they really hit it off!
What's Pumpin' With Red Rock about?
Our drummer Bill used to lift lots of weights. We knew a kid named Red Rock in high school, and I think one time Bill called me and I asked him what he was doin' and he said "Pumpin' with Red Rock." Red Rock was really into sports but his brother FJ was punk. Punks and jocks were tight in our school, it was sick. One kid used to always yell "New Misfits rule!!" to fuck with us. Big shout outs to Mike "Bobby Blunt" Valicenti.
What's "Oilin' Up My Boy"?
One time I had a wisdom tooth pulled and they gave me all these vicodins and I sat on the couch and watched this tv show about a serial killer in Russia who was trying to kill enough people to fill up every square on a chess board. Then I watched every Rocky movie in order. It was like one long movie. One long movie that gets kinda crappy in the last hour. The song though, it's half about that Russian dude crackin' people in the head with hammers and burying 'em in a park and half about that scene in Rocky 3 before Rocky fights Apollo and Apollo's standin' in the locker room lookin' all tough and gettin' pumped, but the whole time his buddy's just rubbin' oil all over him.
What's "Jerkin' It" about?
Straight up jerkin' it, bro! It was originially a rap song. Sooooo-liiiiiid.
What's Banned From the Block about?
This whole band was originally going to be a Crass cover band where every song was remade to be about block-selling and smoking weed. Me and Bones were sitting in this kids' basement bored and made up a bunch of song titles. We had another one called "White Punks On CHIPS" about that CHiPs episode with the fake punks. We had one called "Stations of the Block," but I forgot what that one was like. "Banned from the Block" basically is about trying to have fun, but it's hard cause people don't want you to.
You got all these songs. Are you ever gonna make an album?
We're working on one right now but we are bad at doing things so it's taking a long time. Also I fucked up the machine we were recording it on for a while and had to fix it. I think by July it will be out. It will have many songs and will be better than Jock Jams Five but nowhere near as good as Jock Jams Two.
How would you like to die?
I don't want to die, but the worst way to die is probably with no arms and no legs and you're lying out in the desert and vultures come and peck out your eyes. Getting stabbed in the dick, that'd suck. Getting stabbed in the asshole, that'd suck. Like a sword up your ass? Getting shot in the dick with a machine gun? Having somebody stick a Roman Candle up your ass, lit, with it pointing inwards. One time I blew my hand off with firecrackers,
Did you have to get a cast to hold your hand together while it healed?
No, I went to the doctor and they gave me a cream. All the skin melted off though. It looked like a zombie hand. I was shooting fireworks inside my house. Don't shoot fireworks indoors.
"Liquor Store - Trash Sandwich"
"Proud to Be an American Man"
INTERVIEW BY NICHOLAS GAZIN