Sacramento Punk Legends The Secretions Are Set to Release New Record
The year was 1991. The grunge movement, in all its flannel glory, had fully engulfed the country thanks to bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam; the Governator was just the Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Will Smith was just the Fresh Prince in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; and two young punk rockers attending Sacramento State, Mickie Rat and Danny Secretion, would meet and form a band. “I would have to walk through the University Union and I would get my coffee and go to class and I would always see this guy wearing all black no matter how hot it was,” Danny recalls of Mickie Rat during a recent conversation outside Benny’s Bar and Grill. “Long-sleeve black shirt, black pants and motorcycle boots with these big metal plates on the front and he had kind of a Mohawk devil-lock. It was pretty awesome.”
Mickie was aware of his intimidating appearance and even admits that he was known as the “scary punk guy” around campus. The two would see each other often, but never really spoke until their paths crossed one afternoon under dreary circumstances. “We actually started talking at a funeral,” says Mickie, who at this point had already started a band. “Our original guitarist was the program director for the student-run radio and he passed away. I had seen [Danny] in the studio; we had shows near each other. We didn’t even really start talking until then,” says Mickie.
One thing led to another, Danny was invited to jam and The Secretions were born. “We still have cassette tapes of those practices and how we started every song with, ‘One, two, three, four!'” Danny says.”
The two recall that in those first days of practice, ending the songs in sync was not as easy as starting them. “Usually we would start out the song together but the ending would always end up disintegrating,” remembers Danny. “The guitar would stop, then the bass, then the drummer would just keep playing.”
Fast-forward 18 years and the two are still making punk rock music together. “We don’t know how to do anything else,” says Danny. “I think the thing that’s really helped attribute to us not throwing in the towel is coming to grips with the fact that we’re not going to be huge and famous.”
Money and fame aside, The Secretions are a very successful band. They’ve toured the country many times and released a handful of records, but more importantly, they’re great friends who love playing music together. “My goal was to always be in a band with friends,” says Mickie. “That’s pretty much what it’s always been about for me. I’ve been lucky enough to do that. I mean, some people are like, ‘Oh I’ll hire a bunch of guys to play my music.’ That’s never worked for me.”
What has worked for The Secretions for nearly two decades now is booking smart tours: Gigging every other month as opposed to every weekend to avoid over-saturating the market; recording and releasing high energy, addictive punk rock records; and connecting with their dedicated fans, appropriately dubbed Secretins, more deeply than most groups these days. The band—which currently consists of Mickie Rat (bass, vocals), Danny Secretion (drums, vocals) and Paul Filthy (guitar, vocals)—truly has withstood the test of time. With a new record, entitled GREASYHOTMEATCHEEZY, due out in July, a slew of tour dates including two appearances at the Insubordination Fest in Baltimore, Md. in late June, two Sacramento release shows (July 3 at the Blue Lamp and July 20 at the Boardwalk) and a two-week West Coast run with The Bugs, they are not showing any signs of slowing.
Where did the name GREASYHOTMEATCHEEZY come from?
Mickie Rat: Paul’s girlfriend.
Danny Secretion: We were driving to Fresno to play a show; it was like a Friday night so we had all just gotten off work, went home, cleaned up, drove around and picked up everyone. We pulled over to get some gas and something to eat and I just asked, “What do you guys feel like eating?” And she just blurted out, “Greasy, hot, meat, cheesy!” It was just one of those things. On the inside of our van there is just Sharpie tags all over and written up there is “GREASYHOTMEATCHEEZY” and we just circled it and were like, “That’s a great album.”
MR: It’s a running joke, somebody will say something disgusting and you’ll be like, “Oh that’s what our next album is going to be called.” She also kind of did that to goof on me because I’m a vegetarian and I’m allergic to dairy so she was like, “Hm, what are all the things you can’t eat?”
DS: Yeah, Mickie can’t eat too many things that are meaty or cheesy.
MR: But I like hot things and greasy things.
What else can you tell me about the record? How does it compare to past releases musically and lyrically?
DS: Musically I think it’s on par with everything else that we’ve done, it’s nothing too complicated.
MR: I think a lot of people are shocked because I’m more singing than yelling. There’s some different songs. Usually if I write a pop-y song that sounds kind of smoother and I sing kind of pretty on it, I’ll save it and not put it on the album. I’m getting to the age where you just stop giving a shit. A lot of those songs I didn’t want on the album, but then I was like, “Eh, what the fuck do I got to lose? Let’s just put them out there.” The opening track is like three-and-a-half minutes long, which is like the longest song I’ve ever written.
Yeah, that’s like three normal Secretions songs!
MR: Usually I write stuff that’s a minute-15, that’s like my average song length. I kind of wanted to write this rockin’ Joan Jett and the Blackhearts kind of song.
DS: It’s a fun song. That was the big risk that we took was putting a song that was so different from the others at the beginning.
MR: Yeah I really didn’t want to put it first either but eventually they convinced me.
DS: We were just like, “No, this one has to start it.” It’s one of those things where it’s going to make people listen to it. The next song is just classic punk all the way through.
MR: There’s some different kind of stuff on this one.
DS: It’s just a fun album. We’ve got the songs pretty much telling off certain people. That’s always been what we do, just kind of poking fun at people.
MR: It’s what we do best: pissed off punk rock.
You’re doing a listening party at Capitol Dawg. Whose idea was that?
DS: That was Mickie’s idea.
MR: It’s one of my favorite places to eat. I always hang out and talk to the owner. My girlfriend and I actually went there for the first couple of weeks and nagged the hell out of him to get garlic fries because he didn’t have them yet.
So I have you to thank for my stinky breath after I eat those, eh?
DS: The reason why he didn’t have them was really cool. He didn’t want to do garlic fries, because Jack’s next door had garlic fries and he didn’t want to disrespect them.
MR: But Jack’s has terrible fries, the only reason they are good is if they put garlic on them. A fry must stand alone, by itself, before you put anything on it. I am a total fry aficionado. If a fry doesn’t taste good with nothing on it then I don’t want to eat it.
You guys have a widely renown connection with your fans, a listening party seems like a good way to keep that strong. Have you done anything like this before?
DS: We did it last year at the Javalounge. I think prior to that it had been much more informal, maybe just inviting friends over to our house to get drunk and play our new CD. For Faster Than the Speed of Drunk we did something a little more formal, we had an actual listening party where we told everyone to come on over to the Javalounge and we played the CD. This year we thought about doing it again and Mickie had the idea of doing it at Capitol Dawg.
MR: We’re going to have a special hot dog recipe for the evening; it’s going to be the “Greasy, hot, meat, cheesy.” I somehow convinced the owner to do the 88-cent Pabst long necks for that night. He usually only does that on Mondays, but he’s agreed to extend it to a Thursday.
DS: Oh, that could be bad news for us!
What is this Insubordination Fest all about? Are you pumped to be a part of it?
DS: It’s a big festival, I think this is the third one; it’s basically Lookout Records mid-’90s: bands like the Mr. T Experience, The Queers and The Parasites. They just have this huge festival with all these pop-punk bands back East.
MR: It’s put on by Insubordination Records.
DS: This year the surviving members of The Dead Milkmen are going to reunite and play. Lots of other huge bands will be there. We play on the Friday night just as the Secretions. Then on Saturday we’re backing Wimpy Rutherford, who is the original singer for the Queers, so we’re going to be doing like all the old Queers songs.
That seems like kind of a big deal for you guys!
MR: It’s a huge deal.
DS: It was one of those things where I was talking to Wimpy about the possibility of him playing and us backing him up. I let the guys know, and Mickie didn’t want to get his hopes up.
MR: I was like, “I’m not going to hold my breath.”
DS: Then when we finally got the OK when Wimpy was given a slot and he said, “I want you to be my backing band, learn the songs,” then I let the guys know.
You guys recently did a video shoot for the song “Back in the Day Punk.” Will it include footage from your recent Club Retro show?
DS: Yes, we worked with our friend Rob Young, aka Rob Fatal. He’s a local DJ here in town. He’s an awesome filmmaker, and he’s absolutely punk rock. He’s very fast about how he films things; he’ll have you do everything about five times until he gets what he thinks is just right and then moves on to the next thing. We filmed the first part during the day at our friend Tom from the No-Goodniks’ house and that was a good time. Then we played at Club Retro later on that night and we played the song three or four times. And he just filmed the kids and filmed us. If you want to get people to really go crazy during your set, put a camera right in their faces. Everyone wanted to be on camera for that. We had a trampoline on-stage for people to jump out into the crowd.
MR: It was for stage diving assistance. In full disclosure, we stole the idea from Sloppy Seconds. It looked like fun.
DS: The first kid to do it was this kid named Tony Silva; he’s from Woodland, Calif. Mickie wrote a song about this kid because he’s from Woodland but he takes the bus, because he doesn’t have his drivers license yet, to Sacramento to go see punk shows. So all these kids complain about, “There’s nothing to do, this scene sucks.” And you got this kid taking the bus to pay a cover to go see a punk rock show.
What’s the song called that you wrote about him?
MR: It’s called “Tony Silva Rides the Bus.” It’s on our new record. He’s a really nice guy, but he’s kind of a klutz and always ends up hurting himself, you know the bad luck stuff always happens to him.
DS: Well, he was the first one to use the trampoline. I motioned to him with my head as I was playing the drums like, “Tony, go!” So he runs offstage full force, just jumps on the trampoline, soars into the air and the crowd parts like the Red Sea. He had gotten so far out he didn’t have the time to level out so he could land feet first, so he pretty much did a big elbow drop on the ground. It was captured on video by Rob and we’ll see if it makes it in the video or not.
MR: After our set he comes up to us and was like, “Yeah it kind of hurt, but I got right back up because I didn’t want anyone to think I was a pussy!”
DS: If anyone deserves a song, it’s Tony. I don’t know if we’re going to be bringing the trampoline to the Boardwalk though, because that’s a pretty tall stage.
Preview The Secretions new record, GREASYHOTMEETCHEEZY, at Capitol Dawg on July 2. Catch them live at the Blue Lamp on July 3 and at the Boardwalk on July 20. For more information visit myspace.com/secretions or secretinlifeline.blogspot.com