Chad Heinous played in Evil Eyes, the Constrictors and at the time of this interview in 1996 was trying to form a new band. He also did a zine called We Who Wait, in addition to working at Off the Record.
What is the state of the scene?
Chad: I guess it's in transition, because it's gone from nothing in the 80's and early 90's to at least a bit of action going on. I mean, there used to be nowhere to play, there were no shows, there were no bands really. If someone was in a band, it was kind of like, "oooh!" But now everybody's in a band. There's a lot of stuff going on. I can't say that there's a lot of worthwhile stuff going on. There's a lot of copycatting, there's a lot of cattiness, there's a lot of shit-talking and not a whole lot of creativity. It seems that, in the past couple of years, most of the stuff I've done when I've gone out and played in various projects I've been involved in, the reception is always kind of like, "Huh? What? What was that?" Somebody will come on and do another pop-punk set or come on and do some kind of pat on the back noise, "we're so creative" kind of thing and everybody loves it. It's weird.
Is there anything wrong with punk music in San Diego?
Chad: Punk music, even when it was supposedly in its heyday, I think has always been kind of overrated as far as being original or the outsider or the weirdo, especially now. The weirdoes and the outsiders aren't the ones playing punk or going to punk shows. The punk show has replaced the high school football game. I kind of like the fact it's that, because I think it's going to free a lot of people up to do a lot of things that might be a lot more creative than the average mold.
What's good about punk music in San Diego?
Chad: That's a hard one to answer. I think it's good that now there is punk music in San Diego when not so long ago, there really wasn't. The actual bands and the actual music that's kind of going on, I don't know. I don't have a whole lot of fun when I go out and see local punk bands. I guess the best thing about it is that there is actually something going on.
How do you think people act at shows? Do they seem to be having a good time?
Chad: It depends on where you go. Really, the bands don't matter as much. It seems the venues kind of set the tone. If you go to SOMA, you have to deal with a lot of the baby rattlesnake guys who are going around, trying to act like they're bad-ass. These guys that act like baby rattlesnakes, they overdo everything. They overdo their macho posturing because they're trying to prove themselves and that's a big concert hall. Smaller places like the Casbah, for instance, has to be the worst place in the world both to play and to hang out in the crowd for fun. It's kind of like, everybody stands to the side and watches everybody else to see what their reaction is before they'll give a band a reaction at a place like that. The Velvet can be a lot of fun. I hear there's a lot of fascist types going there lately. Most of the parties remind me of a jockular, "Animal House" thing. It seems there isn't a whole lot of fun going on lately, especially at those places, I've noticed.
Do you see any problems with the crowds and the people who go to see bands?
Chad: Well, you're dealing with a cross-section of society no matter where you go. You're going to have a lot of assholes just for that fact. One of the biggest problems I see is the racial mixture. You go there and it's definitely not diverse. Definitely, definitely not. No matter where you go, it's, for the most part, middle-class white males. You go to other cities and go to shows and there's all kinds of people and they're all kinds of fucking great, weird, strange people. For the most part, I just think there's a really rigid, uniform-type person that goes out to shows. It's not all that interesting.
So what can we do to make the scene better?
Chad: I think people need to really get involved in things that they're really interested in. It seems like a lot of people that might be very creative are not taking their stands on things or doing what they really want to do because there is something going on and there are certain expectations. If you don't follow these expectations, people have a tendency to be very harsh on you which happens no matter where you are. That's to be expected. People should stop worrying so much about that and really do what they want to do. I know in my experience, like I said, a lot of the stuff I've done . I've played skinhead parties down in I.B. in a dress and makeup and had to be escorted out of there really quickly and that was cool and that was fun and that really got people riled up. I remember one thing that was great was a local zine, I'm not going to drop any names, really, really gave a harsh review to a demo tape I sent them and gave us a three times longer review than they gave to anybody they liked, saying how horrible it was. I thought that was really fun. I think if more people would start trying to irritate and agitate, a lot more might be going on and be a lot more interesting.