Rik & The Pigs claim to be the laziest and most delinquent pig slobs ever born. Delinquent yes, but following a bunch of releases, including a new 7" on Feel It, and an upcoming debut LP on Total Punk, it's difficult to think of the band as being total slackers.
On their new album A Child's Gator, the Olympia, Washington band serve up more snappy and manic punk that can get as ferocious as it does goofy.
When frontman Erik 'Rik' Meyer snarls, "We make noise for all the girls and boys" on the track "Sweet Donny" you best believe him. The song comes with a savage glam rock strut but one that falls more in line with Slade’s “Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing" from Flame than anything that Marc Bolan ever did.
Meyer started out playing in basement punk bands in the St Louis area including Sweet Tooth with his brother Martin from Lumpy and the Dumpers. He began Rik and the Pigs as a solo project after a move to Portland and has since grown it into a full six-piece band.
We sent Rik some questions to find out more.
Noisey: There's an almost glam swagger to "Donny Says". Who is Donny?
Rik: Donny is my friend and has a wonderful sense of humour. He shares his cigarettes with me and is one of the sickest around town that can really play the guitar. He comes around when he wants to and I'm always happy when he does because that usually means the band gets to play again. The title of that tune is my facetious tip to the Ramones banger from End of the Century that's about their manager Danny Fields. Anyways, if you need me I'll be in my teepee watching my TV with Joey & Dee Dee.
So you still live by the credo ‘Fuck punk, stay home’? What did you do for New Years Eve?
I took my drugs and stayed home and played guitar. I tried to watch TV but it was too punishing to endure. I've been too sick in the head to party with people lately anyways. That's what going on tour is for, right? I have to get out of town and dry out for a bit then I'll be ready to crack a few cold ones.
Say what you want about Phil Spector but I’ve always thought that “Danny Says” was some of his finest recorded work. What is your opinion on End of the Century in general and Spector’s influence on the band’s sound?
What I want to say first is fuck him, he's a misogynist shithead. I don't play that game. Like he should be forgiven for his views or action towards women just because of who he is? Because that kind of thinking is what inevitably just reinforces and perpetuates what society and culture have already ingrained into all of us. I obviously love the record but I'm skeptical that it even should count as a Ramones record because, as Dee Dee reveals in his bio Spector was all whacked out and at one point was actually holding them hostage at gunpoint in his Beverly Hills mansion. So sure, give old Phil a pat on the back, he really gave em the treatment. He sure could make a tune but that probably didn't save his ass in jail you know? Serves him right.
You've released a lot of music. How is A Child's Gator different from previous records?
Well, previously the majority of the recording and instrumentation on the records was done by me. This record (and the recent Blue Jean Queen 7") features the live band playing all their own parts, recorded to analog tape at our pal Capt. Tripps Ballsington's basement studio just down the street here in Olympia, Washington. The versions of the songs on this record are the best yet because of the band who, in my humble opinion, excel far beyond my own technical skill set and most others out there. Our drummer Peter David Hietkemper-Connelly did the piano track on "Don't Tell On Me (Tattlesnake)" in one take without hardly even playing it before. He just sat down and played it, it was amazing! What I'm trying to say is, "MAN, those cats can PLAY!"
Are there any straight up love songs on the album? Is “Dear Ricki" a love song? You weren’t able to have Christine involved in the new recording like you did on Baked Transformer.
There's some mush I guess. "Dear Ricky" is everyone's favorite. It's like a letter to myself from some delusional fanboy/girl and then my own snarky rebuttal. But the ultimate feeling is bittersweet, kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It's funny you mention Christine, yeah she fulfilled her part in the original version with an almost prophetic precision in real life and believe me I haven't really done much laughing since then. "(Baby I'm) Electric" is a gusher about how exciting it is to fall in love with someone new so I suppose that's an appropriate follow up to that bitter pill I had to swallow.
It seems a lot has changed both in the band and punk rock in general since your debut in 2015. Do you still play “Leather Gloves” live?
I haven't played "Leather Gloves" live in over a year now, since back when Kurt and Mike were in the band. The new line up never learned it because we were always working on new stuff for this record. There's a few older tunes on the new album because the current bands renditions sound way better and are much different than the original recordings I did by myself. Like I said, the band can play.
You moved from St Louis to Portland in late 2011 and you have been in Olympia for a while. Why the move out west?
It was just time to go. I hated living in the Midwest by then and needed something fresh and new. People there still hold it against me, some Midwest act of pride or something I guess. I've never really been one to stay in one place for too long. A couple years go by and I get sick of the repetition, even when things change with the time you're in that place you still get bored. Oh well, what can you do? Time to go somewhere else and live somewhere new.
Was there some house burning down at some point?
Yes, I lost everything. What are you, sick? You really wanna make me talk about that? Next question please.
Both Portland and Olympia had pretty established punk scenes. Was it to easy to get involved and start things up?
Yeah, but only because I had the desire to do it and to keep doing it. I met the right people and was in a position to get things together and turn it into something more than just a solo project. I keep writing the songs and the band has always kind of just come together when it needed to. Portland kept getting lamer and more expensive by the minute so I buzzed off to Olympia and just started doing Pigs with Mike and Corey from Vexx. Times change, people come and go, but the formula has mostly stayed the same. There is a comprehensive thank you to everyone who has ever performed in the band in the insert of the new LP. To all the Piggies if you're out there and reading this I miss you dearly and can't thank you enough for your service, I couldn't have done it without you.
There’s been some great music coming out of Olympia over the last few years. Is it a pretty tight scene? Do you run into the Milk Music guys at the local cafe or bar?
Yeah, everyone knows everyone. Even deep in the woods miles away from civilization you're still looking over your shoulder waiting for someone to pop out from behind a tree and go, "Hey Ricky how's it going? I didn't expect to see you here". I do like those Milk guys, Dave Harris [bass player] sometimes serves me lunch at the pizzeria downtown when I drop in. Coxen is usually shuffling around in Crocs and some sort of Dead t-shirt laying down some deep groovy thought. His wife Abby used to be my roommate, and still does my hair from time to time. I enjoy running into that crew at the bar as somebody will inevitably fire up an ivory dumb stick and we go into the alley and get Cheech'd.
Did your brother Martin give you any insight about his Australian tour with Lumpy and the Dumpers? Is it something you would like to try and do with the Pigs?
Not really. I mean, I think they got their tickets paid for. We (Pigs) also subscribe to the "put me in a wheelchair and get me to the show" school of thought. So if some sick cunts want to waste their trust fund and front our plane tickets I'd gladly fly across the world to perform for them.
Is there any chance of a Sweet Tooth reunion?
Not now, not ever. It's better to be left in the beer soaked memories of packed sweaty basements and picked out of the dollar bins by the generations to come who are hip enough to it to even know what it was. Then maybe it would mean something.
"A Child's Gator" is available Jan 16 on Total Punk.