Interview: Useless IDWritten by David Marote
Useless ID have been representing Middle Eastern punkrock for over two decades already. Straight out of Haifa the Israeli band has always had tight connections with the Fat Wreck type punkrock so no surprises here when they recently released their new album State Is Burning. Currently on their European tour with Lagwagon to promote the new album we had a nice chat with guitar player Ishay Berger during their stop at Ruhrpott Rodeo about Useless ID and State Is Burning.
Congratulations with the new album State Is Burning. How has the response been on this European tour with Lagwagon?
First of all, it was really cool to have a new record out and then go out on the road (and with Lagwagon - even cooler!!!!) 2 weeks after the release date, I mean, this is as good as it can get for us.
The response has been very good, We had people that are on the tour with us and people that came to the shows as well praising our work on the new album and also on the set that we would play every night - that was always packed with songs from the new album.
Tour is almost over, i believe last stop is Punk Rock Holiday. Looking forward?
This tour saw Us playing 23 shows in less than a month, so it was real long and cool to do, and as always -, kind of tough and made us look forward to the last date - which is Punk Rock Holiday.
The new album was recorded at the legendary Blasting Room studios with Bill Stevenson. It's not your first time with Bill, how did it go?
Yup, this is our fourth time recording an album at The Blasting Room, and it has been the most fun we ever had making an album...
The system at The Blasting Room is crazy cool, in a way it's like doing 2 days of work in one.
Once we get enough songs done on drums we will start recording Bass while drums are still being recorded and so on...It's not unusual that we will start mixing songs while still getting some vocals and third guitars in another room, so it is very busy, very wonderful time while we're there,
It helps that we had already been recording there to the point where we know how things are going to work and the "Do's and Don't Do's" of the sessions.
State Is Burning focusses heavy on the lyrics, quite some political based songs in a way. How do you feel the record diverses from previous ones?
Our last album (Symptoms) was a different Useless ID album, it was a bit heavier and slower, and the themes Were a bit more personal and grim...
For "State Is Burning" We wanted to change the pace up and have less instrumental bits and more "Wall To Wall" singing...
Also, yes, since the political theme was quite left out of the last album We felt that for the new one We wanted to voice our opinions over those matters more and therefore have a more of a statement rather than make personal songs.
The artwork is rather bleak with the photo collage featuring tanks, bombs, quite apocalyptic. Is this to visualise the burning state in the album title?
Yes, and also, the album title came from a song on the album and in a way I guess the cover art totally describes that song.
The song 45 seconds is living up to it's name, 45 seconds of fast, angry punkrock that sort of stands out to the more melodic album. A certain influence there?
Well, Yotam and Corey have a band called "Spit", it's a fast H.C band based out of Israel and they have a killer record out called " Poison In Your Head"...
I think that while they made that album Yotam wanted to have a song that is a bit more in the "Spit" way for the new Useless ID album, too, so that's where it came from.
A right on tribute is We Don't Want The Airwaves, also the title to you EP on Fat Wreck before the album release. Are Ramones the biggest punk band ever, the alpha and the omega?
The story with "We Don't Want The Airwaves" is a bit more complicated...
When we were younger and into H.C and Punk we always missed out on The Ramones...I clearly remember liking Screeching Weasel, M.T.X and The Queers better than The Ramones and it REALLY took Me over 10 years to finally "get them"...
In writing this song we wanted to show love to all of their albums and all of their songs because they rarely ever missed...almost EVERYTHING on their catalog is great, sometimes for different reasons, but it's all gold.
So, maybe not the biggest ever, the alpha or the omega, but certainly They were HUGE, and we feel like every punk should take their time in falling in love with the legacy...
Yotam has his solo project where he tours the world, do any of the other members of Useless ID still play in other bands or projects?
Corey still had Kids Insane and Mondo Gecko (while doing SPIT with Yotam)...
Me and Guy, We don't play other than Useless ID.
Useless ID is probably one of the best known Middle Eastern punk bands, but it seems like the scene is growing. Who should we check on the world wide punkweb?
It's always important to check out the best 2 Israeli punk bands, Not On Tour and Kids Insane.
Any last words you want to share
We will be back.