Interview with Celia C. Pérez, author of The First Rule of Punk

Phil Collins - August 16, 2017

The First Rule of Punk

Chicago librarian Celia C. Pérez releases her first book, The First Rule of Punk, August 22 on Viking Books for Young Readers. The story follows middle school student Malú as she struggles to find herself in a new school. From afar, her father advises her to abide by the first rule of punk: be yourself. Malú finds joy in punk music, zines and skateboarding. Zine pages are included in the book as part of the story. Being a Chicago librarian with a dedicated space to talk about punk, I wanted to ask the author a few questions and chat about the punk librarian life. We talked through email about getting published, punk as part of one's identity, zine collecting, and more.

Women & Children First Bookstore in Andersonville hosts the book launch party for The First Rule of Punk on August 24 at 7:30 p.m. More information on that here.

Phil Collins: First off I want to say congratulations on the book. When did you start writing it and about how long did it take to get to the final product?

Celia C. Pérez:Thank you! I started writing a version of this character's story around 2012. At that time the protagonist, Malú, was a little bit younger than she is in the final book. I scrapped that and decided to rewrite her a little bit older. But it wasn't until late summer 2014 that I settled on the character as a twelve-year-old and wrote what became The First Rule of Punk. I signed with my literary agent in the summer of 2015, and the book sold to Viking last summer. In between summer 2014 and May 2017 there was a lot of revision and editing happening. So, in all, it took about three years from when I began writing this specific story to its publication date of August 2017.

PC: Were you working at your current library throughout the writing process? Was it hard to find time to write while having a day job?

CCP: Yes, I work full time as a librarian. I'm fortunate that I work at an institution where librarians are faculty. We have the same nine-month schedule as other faculty which leaves me with summers off, as well as student breaks like spring break and winter break. A lot of work got done during those breaks. It was still tough to write and work full time, especially once my manuscript was acquired and I was working with deadlines. A lot of work was done in the evenings after my son had gone to bed, especially zine work because unlike a manuscript that I can carry around and work on whenever I have a free moment, zine making for me requires space to spread out and a bunch of supplies all over the place.

Read more here

Interview with Jahshie P of MoonRunners Music Festival

Phil Collins - April 17, 2017

                 MoonRunners Music Festival 5

MoonRunners Music Festival brings together country, roots and punk for the fifth year running, May 5-6 at Reggies. This year's lineup includes country and roots mainstays Shooter Jennings, Scott H. Biram, Pearls Mahone, Jesse Dayton, The Hooten Hallers and punk bands Escape From the Zoo, Evil Empire, Still Alive, Won't Stay Dead and more. I talked with Jahshie P, founder of the festival, recently on Skype. He also plays in the local punk bands Last False Hope and The Decayed, both of which play this year's fest. We talked about the origins of the fest, MoonRunner's fifth year and how roots/country fans respond to punk and hardcore.

Phil Collins: Congrats on year five of MoonRunners Music Fest.

Jahshie P: Thank you.

PC: Yeah, absolutely. How, can you just take us through how this whole thing got started and have you been at Reggies all five years?

JP: Yeah, it’s been at Reggies all five years. It actually started, me and my friend Shooter Jennings had a website called It was a news website, reviews, show reviews, just random posts, stuff like that. That ended up going under, it got hacked by somebody, something went wrong and the site crashed. I started a music festival right around that same year so I decided to take the name from the website and move it along to the festival so there’s still the MoonRunners name going on.

Read more here

Don't Panic Records Interview with John Olivier of Ghost Bath

Danny Brawlins - March 8, 2017

Ghost Bath

After releasing their critically acclaimed second album, Moonlover, Ghost Bath has been nothing but busy. In 2016 alone, the band signed with Nuclear Blast, started touring, and recorded a new album. 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for the band as well. Just last week they released “Thrones,” the first single from their upcoming album, Starmourner, which the band will be touring on in the coming months. I managed to track down guitarist, John Olivier, for a brief email interview ahead of their DeKalb show at the House Café this Friday because 1) we love the House Café and 2) Moonlover came in third place on Don’t Panic Records & Distro’s list of top ten Black Metal albums of 2015.

How has touring been? What do you like most about it, what do you like least? Any towns stand out as your favorites so far?

This tour has been incredible so far. We all just really enjoy being on the road, away from the normal "comforts" of life at home. Some of the drives on this run have been pretty long, but all in all this tour has been nothing but good things. It’s hard to pick a favorite city, every place is so different, but I think my favorite venue so far was in Madison, WI.

Have you developed any tour rituals over the past few months? I for one like to find a good dive bar and record store in every city I visit.

We all typically do our own thing, but me personally, I like to drink some whiskey and smoke weed before we play. Not a copious amount by any means, just enough to clear my mind.

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Interview with Christina Michelle of Gouge Away

Phil Collins - February 6, 2017

Gouge Away

Florida hardcore punk band Gouge Away was the surprise winner of Change the Rotation's 2016 best albums of the year bracket. , Dies is their debut album and admittedly, we don't know a whole lot about them aside from the fact that we all held that record in high esteem last year. If at the beginning of 2016 you looked at what albums on the horizon would probably do pretty well on our end of the year bracket, surely you would think of the Falcon, Against Me! and PEARS. Well, Gouge Away took down all those bands on their way to the championship. Now that the dust has settled, we thought it would be a good idea to see if we could find out a little bit more about this band and their future plans. Lead vocalist Christina Michelle talked with me via email to fill us in on what is happening in the world of Gouge Away. If you haven't heard , Dies yet, stream it at the end of the interview. You can also read Steve O's original review of the album here.

Phil Collins: I remember when we first announced the 32 records on our best albums of the year bracket a month or two ago, you commented that you didn't really understand what that meant. Now you've won the whole thing. Do you get it?

Christina Michelle: Yes it makes more sense now.

PC: Did you get hooked on any albums in 2016?

CM: Yea! 2016 was the year for music. There were a lot of awesome releases but the ones that stuck for me are Lemonade by Beyonce, Stage Four by Touché Amoré, Peach by Culture Abuse, and I'm lucky that A Seat at the Table by Solange snuck in there last minute.

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Interview with Joe Vickers of audio/rocketry

Steve O - November 1, 2016

Edmonton’s audio/rocketry are releasing their first record in five years this week, and are following it up with a tour across Canada, with a stop down here in the States too. To celebrate the occasion, I talked to frontman Joe Vickers about the new record, the Midwest, music, travel, hockey, and dinosaurs. And more hockey. You know, normal stuff for any conversation I have.

Joe Vickers

Steve O: Hey, Joe. How’s it going in Edmonton?

Joe Vickers: Hey, it’s overcast and foggy. I farm with my dad; in the spring and summer we’re grain farmers. I grew up on this farm, and for the last 10 years I’ve been farming, that’s my main source of income. And this year, we’re still harvesting, which is wild. We’ve never been this late in the season ever before, but we had snow like two weeks ago and that set us back. I’m kinda stressed with the tour that’s happening next week and I don’t even know if we’re going to be done.

SO: Yeah, especially with you being that far north, this is really late into the fall.

JV: Yeah, normally we’re always combining end of August, September for sure, so when it stretched into October, that was kind of bizarre, but now it’s the 28th.

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Interview with Jack Terricloth of The World/Inferno Friendship Society

Phil Collins - July 10, 2016

This Packed Funeral

Cabaret punks The World/Inferno Friendship Society embarked on a coast-to-coast tour last week. The band last released This Packed Funeral, which made the final four in Change the Rotation’s best of the year bracket in 2014. World/Inferno play Chop Shop in Wicker Park on Tuesday with Culture Shock and locals Voice of Addiction. More information on that show here. Lead singer Jack Terricloth sat down with us over Skype before World/Inferno’s show in Philadelphia on Friday. Jeff Young, violin player for World/Inferno, transcribed this interview. Jack talked with myself and Danny of Don’t Panic Records & Distro about life in the van, what’s coming up for the band and some Chicago memories.

Jack: Hey, how are you, my name is Jack Terricloth from that World/Inferno band.

Phil: Hey, doing pretty good, I’m Phil from Change the Rotation.

Danny: I’m Danny.

Jack: Danny, Phil, nice to meet you, what’s the good word?

Phil: Oh, doing pretty good, thanks for joining us, it’s a pleasure to interview you for the blog here, and we’re excited to have you coming to Chicago in a couple days.

Jack: Always love to be in Chicago. As you know, or maybe you don’t know, our baritone player is from Chicago, or lives in Chicago anyway. He was in that Deal’s Gone Bad band. Who were very good. I always thought it was a bad idea to have the word “bad” in your band name, but they did pretty well.

Phil: Well, here in Chicago we’re familiar with deals going bad, so it’s all right. So today’s day three of your tour, how’s it going?

Jack: Day three and no one’s punched each other yet. It’s all been a good time, I haven’t lost my voice yet, no, everyone’s fine, I would still like more sleep - you know, the first week of any tour, you’re still partying, and your body hasn’t realized that you should stop doing that, so as I just said to our friends in Culture Shock, by Seattle, we’re going to be great. The whole tour will be great, that’s just for me personally, I WILL be great in Seattle, but yes, everything’s cool.

Phil: Great. So Culture Shock, I’ve just become familiar with them myself, but we actually caught Subhumans a few weeks ago at the Double Door, fantastic show, have you guys toured with the Subhumans crew at all before this?

Jack: We certainly have, and I just have to mention that one of the members of Culture Shock is sitting across the room, so, anything I say about them will be sugarcoated- [whispering] terrible, god they can barely, they tuned - [all laughing] …Uh yeah, we’ve toured with Subhumans, god, for the last twelve years, an awful lot, and we toured with Citizen Fish once as well, so yes, old friends, old punk rockers, if they haven’t gotten along by now, they never will, but luckily, we have. Good guys.

Read more here

Change the Rotation chats with Fed Up Fest

Phil Collins - July 21, 2015

I had the chance to chat with Fed Up Fest tonight on Twitter. This is Fed Up Fest's second year featuring queer and transgender talent through music and workshops. The fest will be held in Bridgeport at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Friday and Saturday, and at Benton House on Sunday. Check out the full line-up on their Facebook event page. Read the full chat for more information about the festival and what it stands for in the punk scene.

Green Dot Sessions featuring Stephen DeFalco

Dave Anians - November 15, 2014

Hoo boy! So it’s been awhile since one of these has happened. Green Dot Sessions has also been around for over a year. This is #7, and it’s with a real cool dude.

Stephen DeFalco is the singer of Chicago punk rock band Turbo Vamps and the main brain behind Friskie Morris and Friends, the awesome band/podcast. With the podcast, he interviews Chicago punk bands and labels/distros. It’s always a lot of fun to listen to and the bands are always badass.

I had been aware of and seen Turbo Vamps for quite a while, but I only met Stephen recently. We both have similar histories of the whole suburban white kid finding punk rock at a young age thing, but there are some cool differences as well. I had a lot of fun picking his brain and you’ll have a lot of fun reading about it.

Turbo Vamps:
Friskie Morris:
Friskie Morris Sessions (podcast):

Dave Anians 11/3, 12:10pm

hey dude! we'll get started now if that's cool. if you need to ask any questions or interrupt at any point, that's fine. ill edit it out. other than that, this is super laid back. take as much time as you need for answers, there's no deadline or anything

that being said, please fill in the banks:

Hey! My name is __________________________ and I _________________.

Stephen DeFalco 11/3, 12:50pm

Hey! My name is Stephen DeFalco (Friskie Morris) and I am D, all of the above.

Dave 11/3, 1:20pm

Rad! what's your favorite thing about music?

Stephen 11/3, 1:42pm

Aw man the answer is kind of two fold for me. The therapeutic effects it can have and the ability to bring people together. With the therapeutic effects I mean if you look at most Friskie Morris/Turbovamps songs there are no ex-girlfriends being written about or love songs...they are all personal stuff that's got a darker side to that I wouldn't really open up and talk to someone about so I use music. There is something about screaming all the shit at the top of my lungs that is exhilarating. It's that music as therapy idea that has kept me sane these last 10 years lol. The second being the ability to bring people together directly puts me at a soccer match; I played since I was 4 all through school and a little in college. Even simple musical chants just brings chills up and down my spine. I'll never forget walking into the Fulham Futbol stadium in England and just feeling the ground shake because everyone was singing together the same tune and it just took my breath away. Only music can bring people together like that.

Read more here

Green Dot Session with Billy Mack

Dave Anians - May 24, 2014

Billy Mack travels around the country and plays songs for all kinds of people in all kinds of places. He sings about his life with a small six string ukulele that allows him to travel on megabus for most of his touring. He plays fun/weird/driving/excellent songs about excellent things. Somehow I’ve known him for less than a year and have already played with him like 4 or 5 times. That’s pretty cool. He’s cool. We talked about interesting stuff because he’s an interesting person. So come read about it! Please…

His newest album is out now! It’s really good:


Here’s a vid of him playing a song with a bunch of Folk-O-Rama friends in DeKalb:

Read the full interview here

Green Dot Session with Travis Zohfeld

Dave Anians - May 9, 2014

Gina, from Constantine (Travis and Ian) are two super cool dudes who play fun/catchy/inspiring folk punk. Even though we’ve only known each other for over a year or so now, they’re quickly becoming one of the bands I’ve played the most shows with. We have a lot of similar ideals when it comes to music and we’re now part of a quickly forming group of Chicago area folk-punk bands (a scene, if you will, oh my).

They have a new album in the works and (as I’m writing this (5/4/14)) tomorrow we’re playing with one of our favorite bands Ghost Mice. Things are really cool.

I talked to Travis about the usual stuff and it was fun and now please read it, thanks!

Read the full interview here

Green Dot Session with Henry Brawlins

Dave Anians - February 17, 2014

Hey, here’s a new edition of Green Dot Sessions! It’s been a bit, but this is a good one.

Henry Brawlins (Kevin Sawa) is a songwriter/poet/drummer/singer/photographer. He writes and plays for The Stockyards and Sleeping is my 9 to 5. He’s got a lot of passion and a lot of things to say. His work is very real and really good.

We talked about art and music and punk and drumming and you can just read it.

The Stockyards:

Sleeping is My 9 to 5:

Read the full interview here

Green Dot Session with Chris Dertz

Dave Anians - December 8, 2013

Chris Dertz is up next! Chris’s current music project is called Bedroom Sons and it is an awesome mixture of acoustic/rock/indie/punk/whatever/it’scool. He hails from west Illinois but currently lives in Chicago playing shows and hangin out. I’ve known Chris since the open mic era of my college experience and have done a split with him and even played bass for a few Bedroom Sons shows.

He’s a cool dude, so I asked him some of the same questions as the previous Green Dots and some new questions and all that so check it out.

B Sons has a new album out as well, and it’s really good, and you can find it here.

Read the interview here.

Green Dot Session with Paul Aluculesei

Dave Anians - November 13, 2013

Our next Green Dot Sessions is with Paul Aluculesei, a Chicago area guitarist and studio manager and freelance engineer at IV Lab Studios. I’ve known Paul since high school and he has always been a solid dude and an excellent musician. In the past three or so years, he has recorded, mixed, and mastered a solid chunk of my music. It has been a very fulfilling experience as I learned how to not sound like total crap and he learned how to make sure I didn’t, culminating to our last big project at IV Lab, my concept album WAITT (woo self plug!):

He’s a guitarist in two bands currently: Fathoms and more recently, Warforged.

Check out a badass video of Fathoms that I show people when I drink too much here (my favorite part starts around 2:40).

As a metal/progressive guitarist and a professional audio man, Paul has a lot of experience in things that I have very limited knowledge and understanding of, so this was fun! Hopefully you’ll think so tooooo. Read the interview here.

Green Dot Sessions

Dave Anians - October 7, 2013

Welcome to the new Green Dot Sessions! These are interviews done over facebook messaging, which allows both parties to take time to formulate responses and chat in a less formal way. I’m super new to the whole interviewing business, but I think this will be a fun way to get to know musicians from all around and the way they write and feel about their role in the music world.

Also, I’m probably not gonna stay in the background of these interviews. Many of the people I’ll be talking with are good friends, so including my own stories and relationships with these people will make it easier for me and hopefully give a fuller picture of what I’m trying to show from these interviews.

So yeah! Thanks!

Check out our first Green Dot Session, featuring Jake Joyce of Seasonal Men's Wear:

Green Dot Session with Jake Joyce