See evil, hear evil, speak evil.

5 MINUTES WITH: WHITFIELD CRANE OF UGLY KID JOE

If you’ve been living under the shade of your own fringe waiting for the abysmal weather to clear up, you may not have realised that our favourite Gods Of Rock Ugly Kid Joe are already over halfway through an epic reunion tour of Europe. Not only that, but I Am The Wolf was there to witness 4 of the shows.

After no deliberation at all we decided to open and abuse the imaginary future-child’s-university-fund and make our way from a rainy Oslo, to a rainy London, to a rainy Amsterdam, to a rainy Cologne, to a blisteringly hot and sunny Vienna. European cities are indeed far from cheap, but when Ugly Kid Joe are in town it’s akin to Monopoly money.

On the day of UKJ’s show at Amsterdam’s renowned Melkweg we ‘chanced’ upon their tour bus outside the venue, and by pure coincidence found ourselves in the brief company of members Whit Crane, Cordell Crockett and Klaus Eichstadt. While Mountain Klaus busied himself with the tourbus garbage bags, and Cordell smoked a cigarette, we had a 5-minute chat with the demon eyed singer extraordinaire!

The whole thing was caught on video, but my heart was in my mouth, my lips blubbering together uncontrollably, and the questions stumbling from my mouth were ill-prepared and appeared from within the ether of my meeting-alltime-hero-addled bonce. Alas, here instead is an edited transcript of the highlights, from the man, the legend, the best damn singer in rock ‘n roll – Sir Whitfield Crane:

I’ve been waiting 15 years to meet and see Ugly Kid Joe. It’s great to be here! How’s the tour going Whit?
Whitfield Crane: “What’s up! Well, this’ll be our fourth show. We just played Download a couple of days ago, and Sweden Rock before that, where I jammed with Motorhead…”

Yeah I saw that!
Whit: “You saw that?? That exists too!? Youtube? Alright! That was cool, Killed By Death, huge flames. I was standing between Lemmy Kilmister and Phil Campbell with Mikkey Dee behind me, so for a brief moment I was IN Motorhead and singing Killed By Death with flames the size of this bus!
Download was insane. We weren’t sure what to expect, you know. Would people come see us? It was insane. We had no idea. It’s been a while, it’s been 15 years!”

You’re now playing Everything About You, which you personally disliked for many years. How does it feel to be doing it again?
Whit: “It’s… I mean, damn dude, people like the song, it’s been 15 years… we’re even playing Cats In The Cradle, and we never play that song! So it’s good you know. It’s 15 years later, and we’ve all gone through our life travails, and it feels good to play that song. It’s funny as well, because there it is… [mouths the opening riff] and the crowd goes crazy.”

When The Wolf met Whit Crane. Historical.

And the new material of course… I fucking love it.
Whit: “Best ever! Did you hear it? What’s your favourite two songs?”

The one you don’t play on this tour – No One Survives – and I’m Alright. Very catchy hook!
Whit: “Totally AC/DC, totally inspired by Bon!”

Yeah you’re famous for a good Bon impersonation… and Ozzy… and Halford…
Whit: “All the masters!”

Friends perhaps with a certain Glenn Tipton too. Have you seen him recently?
Whit: “Tipton I saw just before they played American Idol in LA, but that was it. But he’s great, he’s doing great and excited to be out touring. As he should be. Haven’t seen Halford in a while, but we want to. Would be cool to see him out here ‘cos then he could sing Goddamn Devil with us! And for the people who don’t know, Rob Halford sang on our America’s Least Wanted record on the song Goddamn Devil – which was… awesome!”

And of course you’ve also hung out with the prince of darkness himself Ozzy Osbourne. In fact Jack Osbourne mentions you a lot in interviews and has some great memories…
Whit: “Well I hung out with Jack when he was 8 years old. I mean 20 years ago, to this moment in time, I was on tour with Ozzy and Motorhead!”

You made a big impression on him!
Whit: “He’s my family, they’re my family, I love them.”

Well before we let you get back on the bus, what’s happening with Ugly Kid Joe right now, what does the future hold?
Whit: “Right now. Today is the future.”

What are you thinking in terms of more music?
Whit: “I’m thinking today, I’m thinking we’re gonna play this show [Amsterdam] and we’re gonna slay it.”

I see you’re also playing with Alice Cooper at Wembley. Is Shannon coming out for this?
Whit: “Is he? You never know… But this band right now, we’ve got Sonny Mayo who used to play in Snot. He’s a bad ass mother fucker. We got Yael, she’s a female drummer, and she’s bad ass. She went to the SLU. Shannon Larkin Univeristy.
Shannon is in Godsmack right now, so that said… who could fill his shoes? Who could dare?

Other than that, I’m here in this moment with you and we’re doing this and we’re very grateful for this.”

Thanks for doing this!
Whit: “You’re welcome. Then we’re going to Latin America in August, then back to the UK for the Alice Cooper dates. I feel like there’s good wind in the sail.”

I’d say keep going, and keep making more music!
Whit: “Well we got 6 new songs, its called Stairway To Hell. No label. No manager, no nothing. Just us.”

"... just grab them with two hands, like this."

Lastly, who’s buying your socks, you need clean white socks…
Whit: “That should be here today… how did you know that? It’s on the rider!”

And sandwiches. And Snapple.
Whit: “No. Snapples are out now, I’m on the water. It’s down to socks, but black socks are good too.”

I would’ve bought you guys some but I didn’t know we’d meet…
Whit: [awkward pause] “Rad. Thank you. Nice tattoo by the way!” [points at my Goddamn Devil tattoo]

Interview: Gary Sutherland © 2012.