Chris Cougar has probably played drums for every punk band in San Diego. Currently, he's in Machinegun, after founding Jon Cougar Concentration Camp and stints in the Queers, the Dwarves, Dahmer's Diner and other bands.
What is the state of the scene?
Chris: Pretty much everyone's out for themselves, as far as bands. They don't really care who's getting screwed over. Everyone thinks they're not getting screwed over so they'll just play anywhere for anything as far as money.
Is there anything wrong with punk music in San Diego?
Chris: There's no unity in San Diego, pretty much. Like I said, everyone's out for themselves and that's fine to an extent, but that's why there's clubs like SOMA and Soul Kitchen and everyone's willing to play there.
What's good about punk music in San Diego?
Chris: A few of the bands are good, like Carter Peace Mission, but then again, they're one of the bands that'll play anywhere, any time. They think they're being done favors when asked to play places like SOMA and stuff like that. Good band though. There's a few good bands, like musically, in San Diego.
How do you think people act at shows? Do they seem to be having a good time?
Chris: Not really. It's totally different locally at shows, because I think kids actually think they're the ones being watched so they don't move unless people do it before them. It doesn't mean they're not having fun, it just means that they're embarrassed to do anything. That's why, even if they love you, they're probably pretty much just going to stand there.
Do you see any problems with crowds and the people who go to see bands?
Chris: No, tame as can be, but I don't go to places like SOMA, so I really don't know what it's like. But as far as Soul Kitchen, it's pretty tame.
What can we do to make the scene better?
Chris: Stop playing clubs like that and build up some unity between bands where you're doing something that you can be proud of. Band together and have places like SOMA shut down, or not even shut down, but changed. That whole dollar a head for whoever says your name, have that stupid thing changed because that's ridiculous. Clubs are charging five bucks for a show and keeping four of it and a dollar of it goes to whoever. Even a compromise would be cool, but it's high time that little system was changed, because I've never even heard of that outside of San Diego.