Johnny Stalin
This town needs another cover band about as desperately as we need another Starbucks, but the premise of the Speedles is pretty appealing. Lead singer Johnny Stalin and his mates bash out punk versions of Beatles tunes, covering everything from "Love Me Do" to White Album classics and rarities like "I've Just Seen a Face." I haven't heard or seen them yet, but as long as a vague sense of melody is intact, it could be quite charming. The Speedles play the Fremont UNconventional Centre on Fri July 26.

Did you really come over from England, or is it all a ruse? "Yeah, from Blackpool, England. One of the guys is from Italy, actually--our Ringo. We used to be the house band at the Blue Monster in Piccadilly Circus."

So where did the idea for the Speedles arise from? I understand you're interested in smashing together the sound and aesthetics of the Sex Pistols and the Beatles... "That's basically what it is. Lenny, our lead guitar player, was in a band [in England] that broke into a Beatles cover one night and the crowd just really dug it. So they started playing more songs, and I hooked up with them. I'm just kind of an obnoxious fucker. They're really fantastic musicians--I'm pretty much just the entertainment value in the band. It's basically Johnny Rotten sings 'When I'm 64,' but a lot faster. We all love the Beatles, though; it's done in a respectful way."

So you sing both John and Paul songs--which is your preference? "I'm definitely a Paul person. I'm a romantic."

Oh....Well, I'm a John person, so now we have to fight! "As far as solo careers go, I can't stand McCartney's stuff--or Wings, for that matter. But in terms of the Beatles... I think Paul has a better sense of irony in his writing--and more of a sense of humor. And that's how I approach everything."

That's a reasonable defense, I suppose. So what's the best Beatles song to fuck to? "I'm gonna have to say 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.'"

That's funny, I have that associated in my head with that show about the little retarded kid... "You like to fuck little retarded kids?!"

No! Christ. That was used as the theme song for this TV show called Life Goes On, which was ABOUT a little retarded kid. "I hope you don't associate me with that at all! I might have fucked a couple of retarded women, but I'm not really sure. No, really--I think 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' has a really good rhythm to it, and there's a couple of really fast parts in the middle where you can concentrate."

Interview by Hannah Levin

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