Photo by Manuel Dominguez, Jr.
Clockcleaner play music in the great Scratch Acid tradition of not giving a fuck about the listener. It’s a feedback-heavy, midtempo march from start to finish, with little to no regard shown for conventional-song-structure silliness like having a chorus. Other things that Clockcleaner and lead singer John Sharkey seem to have little to no regard for include people with cerebral palsy, other band’s merch, and ever playing in clubs again. We talked to him about all of that and the inherent contradiction of being an awesome band from Philadelphia.
Vice: You just got back from tour this morning, right? Any lowlights?
John Sharkey: Half the members on tour—including myself—getting food poisoning in Memphis and then vomiting and pissing out of our asses for eight hours afterward. Also shitty: some hotels not having weight rooms, Japanese punk bands, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Louisville seems to suffer from some of the exact same problems that plague Philly, namely, bike culture and a desperate grasping for some kind of “local scene” that expired about a decade ago.
Yeah, we didn’t even get to see the rape-accusing bike scene. All we got were the fat wives of the local openers. We played like champs though. That night is memorable for one reason: I took out the lighting truss while not paying attention and sliced my arm up real good. I was covered in blood. I also wiped my ass on the sound guy. We win.
How’d the sound guy like that move?
He reacted the same way they all do: “Do you guys think you’re getting paid after that?” We got paid.
So is the majority of hearsay about Clockcleaner actually true then? Beating up retards, banned for life from venues, etc.?
Some true, some rumors. The one thing that has stuck with us is the Bad Wizard story. We played this unmentionable shithole in Philly with them a while back and during the set I dislocated my shoulder. So after the show I go into the “green room” to get my coat and these cuntwhiffs are sitting there doing blow. Up to this point I’d had zero contact with them. I walk in only to be asked how much we made that night. I say, “I don’t know, a hundred,” then that fat Mr. Kotter-looking twerp singer replies with, “Oh yeah? We made six, HAHAHA.” Since my arm couldn’t take aim I decided to let my bladder do the work. By work I mean covering the merch table with a full pouch of the night’s urine. That started the bannings in Philly.
Not like you’re missing much. Is there anything redeeming about Philadelphia these days, musicwise?
Well, I can’t pull a good band out of my magic hat, but I can tell you some bands to avoid. Man Man suck horsedick. Ten years ago they would have been a ska band. Fake names only work if you can actually win a fight. Dr. Dog is another one. I went to a record store and they were doing an in-store. There were literally parents with infants there. Most bands from Philly have names like Chunky Briefcase and only play the Khyber and live with their ex-girlfriends four years after the fact. That’s Philly... Privileged and mediocre.
Clockcleaner’s new album, Babylon Rules_, comes out this fall on Load Records. Their previous CD,_ Nevermind_, is out now on Reptilian Records._