I N T E R V I E W
The Joint Chiefs
by Ian Duggan
Photos by Ngamihi Pawa
The Joint Chiefs will be playing at the upcoming Future City Festival. I had a brief chat with members Heidi and Ben about their catchy track ‘Run Down’, their past, future and their involvement in the festival.
HUP: In my opinion, your track ‘Run Down’ was one of the highlights of the Hamilton Underground Press compilation ‘Life Beneath a Gravel Streak’. It’s one of those ear-worms that just stays in your head for hours, in a good way! For those who haven’t yet explored the rest of your work, what should people expect to hear from you at the Future City Festival?
Heidi: Thank you! Expect more of the same - a singalongable racket.
HUP: ‘Run Down’ also appears on your EP ‘...In Session’, along with songs titled ‘Zomboids’ and ‘Karate Kid Pose’. What is the inspiration for your songs?
Ben: Things that tickle us just right. Sometimes you have an idea and it turns out to be a good idea for a song so we make it into one.
Heidi: Run Down was a true story ‘til someone we know got run over by someone we don't know, and Karate Kid Pose started as a really convoluted in-joke.
HUP: What are your aspirations for The Joint Chiefs?
Ben: My highest aspiration would be getting to do this all the time.
Heidi: And to be a part of something like the Festival Express - a tour by train of the country with a bunch of other bands.
HUP: You changed your name from The Joint Chiefs to ‘Damn & Blast’ in July 2015, and then back to The Joint Chiefs in March 2016. What was the story behind that?
Heidi: Apparently we were really hard to find on Facebook as The Joint Chiefs, so we changed our name. Then we realised we didn't actually care about Facebook so we changed it back.
Ben: Our name just suits us so well and Facebook should never be the basis for any decision making. People kept asking which one of us was ‘Damn’ and which was ‘Blast’ too. Neither of us was either.
HUP: Ben, you are now Wellington based. In the mid-1990s, however, you were in Hamilton band ‘Pugnaut’, which included Kane Davey of the former Hamilton, and now also-Wellington-based band ‘Disjecta Membra’. Do you keep in touch with Kane, or what Disjecta Membra are doing?
Ben: I've still got some Pugnaut cassettes ($19.95 send stamped s.a.e). Me and Kane have known each other for decades and we still catch up. He's an excellent chap.
HUP: Ben, I understand you are also drumming for Elider at the festival? How did that come about?
Ben: Scott Newth was doing the recording and he asked me to play on it. So I came up and we spent a weekend recording drums. It was heaps of fun and turned out really good. Hope I remember how they all go....
HUP: Are there any other bands you are looking forward to seeing at the festival?
Ben: Rumpus Room!
Heidi: And Two Cartoons.