American Hardcore/Grindcore/Hip Hop legend Dan Lactose very kindly agreed to an interview about the late Stinkweed Kuklinski, legendary West Bay figurehead of such bands and projects as Plutocracy, No Le$$, Shed Dwellaz, Kompund and many more, and how he came to curate the Stinkweed Bandcamp page.
How did you and Stinkweed meet?
I knew about Stinkweed long before I met him. I had seen his tags all over Redwood City and had been listening to Plutocracy since the “Progress” demo because I went to school with Kalmex. I think the first time I ever met him Kalmex had me drive over to his house with a my mom’s 35mm camera so I could take some pictures of a throw up he had done the night before on the side of the freeway. I don’t know if he would have even remembered that though, I think it took you meeting him a couple times before he really recognized you as being down with him. Through Kalmex I met all the other Pluto dudes and started hanging out at some practices and recording sessions which eventually led to me and Max skating together a bit and eventually forming what would end up becoming Spazz. This coincided with Max deciding to leave Plutocracy and I was bummed that they were calling it quits just as they were writing their best stuff and also, I was worried people would think I had a part in that all happening. Of course, if this didn’t happen, there would have not been NO LE$$ who were one of the most innovative bands to emerge from our small scene. Fast forward to 1995, I’m hanging out at the Chestnut Spot with a bunch of fools and Stinkweed comes up to me and asks if I’d be down to be the DJ for a new rap group he was starting. I told him sure but I didn’t have any equipment to makes beats. He said not to worry and about a week later we had a 4 track and a Roland MS-1 which, alongside a Boss DR-550, is what I used until I bought a MPC 2000 in 1997. An interesting side note is that I had actually met Tizoe before Kalmex and Stinkweed. We met in my 7th grade science class. I had a bunch of pictures from Gorezone and Fangoria taped to my book cover and we started talking about horror movies. Redwood City gets really fucking small if you are a true weirdo.
Who were inspirations to you and Stinko coming up through Hip Hop, Metal and Punk?
I can’t really definitively speak for Stinkweed on what actually inspired him but I will say that some of his favorite groups, to my knowledge, were: Pink Floyd, Above The Law, Exodus, Vio-Lence, Funkadelic, Zapp, Youth of Today, Black Flag, Hugh-E MC, Terrorizer, Mac Dre, etc. I think we both really connected musically because we both were into hip hop before we discovered punk and metal and we could see the parallels between them very early on. I remember one of the last times I ever hung out with him he told me that music was better when punks, metal heads and hip hoppers all hated each other. I’ll never forget that. As for me, Soulsonic Force was the group that hooked me on hip hop and Black Flag was the band that made me want to pick up a guitar. Once 7th grade me bought a copy of Napalm Death’s “From Enslavement To Obliteration” on cassette, the course was charted. I still distinctly remember sitting in the computer lab at school and playing Napalm Death on my Walkman for a girl that liked me. The look of absolute disgust that she gave me told me I was definitely on to something.
How did the Stinkweed Bandcamp page come about?
Stinkweed’s parents invited a bunch of us over to their house to celebrate his first posthumous birthday. I got there a little early and gave his mom and step dad copies of the Short Fast & Loud and Maximumrocknroll magazines that contained the tributes I curated for him. While talking to his mom she remarked that she could find tons of his grindcore music online, but barely any of his rap recordings. On the bike ride home I came up with the idea to create the Bandcamp page. The first thing I put up was actually something that Stinkweed, Tizoe and myself put together after Stinkweed finished his final stint in jail. We had been starting to reconnect after a huge fall out that stemmed from a disagreement I had with a certain person I will not name who managed to convince a large group of my friends to turn their backs on me. Anyways, I had a near death experience in 2007 and I think it kind of reset the situation and we all slowly started coming back together. When Stinkweed originally came to me his main goal was to dig out all the 4 track tapes that had Zodiak Iller (RIP) rapping on them so that we could digitize them. We had a great afternoon drinking, smoking, ripping the old tapes and reliving memories, good and bad. We were amazed that the transfer sounded so much better than we had remembered the recordings and wanted to save it for something special instead of just throwing it on the net or a bunch of cdr dubs. When Stinkweed died, I felt I just had to share it with everyone.
Do you have a record you and Stinko collaborated on that you feel most proud of?
I think the Low Budget/No Budget compilation was the best thing we ever did together. It was the culmination of 15 years of making music together, going from 4 track to 16 track to 2″ 24 track to Pro Tools. I had lost my job after being hit by a car while riding my bike to work and Stinkweed was, well, he didn’t work all that much so he pretty much took the bus to my house everyday. Luke Sick was working part time in the town I lived in so he would roll over after work and we’d usually already be in the midst of working on something or watching a movie. It started to become the spot to meet and be creative and the project just came together naturally out of that. It was great to see Luke and Stinko build off each other. A lot of people don’t know that Stinko had an engineering background and he was involved in way more than just his vocal or guitar performances. We both worked at the same recording studio for a bit and he attended a bit of a recording school program as well. He was also an expert arranger, obviously born with a gift. You could play him a riff or two and he would instantly come up with a grip of ideas how to use it or would pull a cassette out of his pocket and say, “I got a sick sample for that, bro!” Every move he made was in some way working towards creating new art in one form or another. He never fucking stopped!
What response/feedback have you received from the Bandcamp page?
Old RWC heads have told me they are stoked to have access to songs they maybe only had on some fucked up cassette they lost 15 years ago. Aside from that, not much, although all the responses I’ve received so far have been positive. Bandcamp is cool, but it’s rare that someone will sit down and write some critical text about it since it isn’t a real, physical release. That’s why your website is so great, Jordan! So many fucking blogs just repost the links and original write up/press release with no additional commentary. The focus is not on quality posts, but the quantity of posts.
Any new projects on the horizon for you, or any upcoming re-releases/uploads of out of print Stinkweed material?
I actually have quite a few beat related things in the works. My first ever fully instrumental release is at the plant now. It’s a 7″ called “Revenge of the Crate Goblins” that will be coming out in a limited edition of 100 copies on Megakut Records. We’ve had to reject the first 2 sets of test pressings so hopefully the 3rd set works and we can get the damn thing pressed! I did all the beats for a project with Foul Mouth Jerk and Gus Cutty from Gurp City South called Scoff Law. I believe they are wrapping up mixing that. You can hear one of the tracks here: http://gurpcitysouth.bandcamp.com/track/hot-sauce-ft-philo
I’m working on mixing down a 7″ by a young, up and coming MC named Lightbulb from the Sunset District of SF. 4 songs and I did all the production. That will also be released by Megakut. I just got hired by a group called Chainsaw Squid to make the intro and outro to their 7″. I have 3 beats on a new project called Mutual Daps which is a kinda LB/NB project spearheaded by Luke Sick, TC Bonelocs and White Mic of Bored Stiff. I just finished a remix for my homie Z-Man that will be on a forthcoming remix album that Gurp City is putting together. Got some other things in the works that are a bit to early to really speak on.
As far as the Stinkweed Bandcamp page, I’ve been slowly upping the tracks for the Shedwellaz “Back 2 Tha Shed” mixtape which was the first release with Stinkweed’s resurrected Shedwellaz with TC Bonelocs handling the majority of production. After that I’d like to do the Shed Dwellaz “Deadly Episodes” EP and the 2nd Kompound album, “Modern Crucifixion.” I’d also like to add that I took this project on by myself and have just been uploading recordings that I either was involved with or lossless audio of. I *think* Stinkweed would be into it, but like my homie Franko said, he was a crazy motherfucker who had been known to flip out on people misrepresenting his music. For that reason, I’ve kept it all free and leave the disclaimer that if anyone involved in the recordings wants me to take them down, I will. So far everyone has been really stoked and it’s saved me the time of burning cdrs for all the people who inundated me with requests after he died.
What are you currently listening to?
Da Buze Bruvas, Bangaar, Sepsism, Beatnuts, Villains, Pagan Altar, William Onyeabor, Yabby You, Om, Step Brothers, Original Concept, Paul Chain, Sir Lord Baltimore, Syl Johnson, Leviathan, Master’s Hammer, Funereal Presence, etc.
Anything You would like to add?
I guess I’d like to add that the relationship Stinkweed and I had definitely had it’s ups and downs, but I’m extremely grateful that we were so close during the last few years of his life. We played in Torture Unit together, recorded the Low Budget/No Budget album, played a bunch of shows and communicated with each other almost daily. He was a huge inspiration to me and it was an honor and a privilege that he chose to work so closely with me for all those years. I loved him like a brother and miss him dearly. There will never be another Stinkweed.
Thanks again to Dan for this interview and his support for GonzoK. You can check out the DJ Eons One Soundcloud here.