The Lazy American Workers were a huge influence on the Toledo punk rock scene. Their music is a blend of fast, snotty pop punk rock-n-roll.
In the height of their success, they had a huge following and shows they played were always packed.
I attended many LAW shows over the years and some of the most memorable were at Frankies. From ending every show with an Iron Maiden cover to Mike jumping up on the bar to belt out his vocals, LAW was always entertaining to see.
I don’t remember the very first time I saw them, but their sound, stage presence and delivery were so unique and intriguing I really wanted to spread the word on what an amazing punk band I had discovered. I was in the early stages of launching a punk rock magazine and decided they would be the first band I would interview.
I met up with the band at the 19th Hole on Sylvania Avenue on a cold January night in 1999. Band members at the time included Mike (vocals), Stezo J (Jukebox) Washington (bass), Kevin or KT on drums and Todd or T on guitar (Kevin and Todd were currently in the band Porn Flakes).
Are you guys all from around here?
Mike – I’m from Columbus. These guys are from the general (Toledo, OH) area. I met Kevin in Columbus. We played in a band called 2 Minutes Hate. I started coming up to visit Kevin to record some of those old 2 Minute Hate songs and then one thing led to another and me and Stezo moved in together and became life partners..
Todd: Actually, I got tricked into this whole thing..
What was 2 Minute Hate like?
Mike: Really, really, really, really fast. Absolutely just really, really fast, just balls out. I can’t sing or play guitar that fast. I played guitar and sang in that band. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t even talk about it anymore. It’s so fast I can’t even think about what it was like.
How long have you guys been together?
KT: Mike moved here from Columbus about a year and a month ago. We’ve only actually practiced about a month of the time. Been together for 3 years.
What other bands have you been in?
Porn Flakes, False Face Society (FFS).
Mike: They (FFS) were a very heavy mental band, not like Motley Crue (we did play with Vince Neil) kinda like Black Sabbath/Motor Head but the mood was very serious.
Is this a Porn Flakes side project?
No, it’s two bands. This is a completely different thing. It started off as just a side project, recording those old songs and we started going and said “let’s do a show.” (T) I don’t consider it a side project either. It’s so much fun, absolutely nothing to worry about.
Who came up with the name?
Mike: It’s a controversy. Kevin doesn’t remember doing it. He walked into 2 Minutes Hate practice one day with his cymbals under his arm, one tattoo and he goes “You know what would make for a good band name?” “Lazy American Workers.”
What are your influences?
Mike: Ramones, Screeching Weasel, Sloppy Seconds, Ramones, Minor Thread, Ramones, Black Flag, Ramones. Pretty much the Ramones. “These guys (referring to his band mates) are old metal heads. T: Yeah, the controversy is, Mike brings everything to practice, and we decipher it.
Who writes all the music?
Mike: I do everything. KT: He’s the lazy American Worker. Mike: Yeah, I et an idea in my head and these guys can play it better than me. They get it, we have really good chemistry.
Did you guys plan on this being a punk band?
Mike: Yeah, I wrote all the stuff. Some are from 2 Minute Hate. T: We do a song that I wrote, it’s called “The Trooper.” (referring to the closing Iron Maiden cover LAW was known for playing each show).
Any other covers?
Mike: A punk band doing another punk band is stupid, because, what are you going to do, play it punk? You’ve gotta take songs, good songs that rock as they are and make them your own somehow. Make them punk songs.
Has LAW recorded yet?
We have 17 songs ready to go. Chris at Audio Matrix is doing it. We did it live to lay down the drum tracks then laid down the background vocals and all that. We wanted to do it good first so when someone signs us, we won’t have to record again. We didn’t want to sound like we were recorded under a bucket. We’re in the mixing stage right now. You listen to it over and over and you pick things out and redo, fix them. We’ll probably put an EP out first just to buy us some time, pass out at shows. You got to have the money to do this stuff. We wait until we have a show, get money, do a little more and so on. It’s a painful process. We’re thinking this will be out October of 2008 (laugh). It should be out in a couple of months.
Any idea for the album cover?
Nah, we’ll keep it a surprise. KT: Actually, we know a guy who does a lot of drugs and him and his wife are trying for a baby. We keep saying that they’ll produce our album cover.
What are some bands you guys have played with?
DRI, Wesley Willis, Mr. T Experience, Marky Ramone, Sloppy Seconds, Goldfinger. Let me go on record that when we played with DRI, Kurt Brecht shit couldn’t stink any less. He was a real dick. He thought he was Elvis. The rest of the band was cool.
What was Wesley Willis like?
The show we played was actually his last show. After it was over, the band left him in Toledo. He was walking the streets the next morning. He just went nuts on stage and starting fighting; yelling “the demons in my head!” We almost kicked their ass after the bass player tossed down Stezos bass. T: Yeah, I walked in and saw Wesley sitting on the floor and said “Hey man, how’s it going.” He said “Fuck you, why you gotta treat me like a criminal?” I was going to kick his ass.
What are your goals as a band?
To have fun. Like Gene Simmons says, I don’t care what you say or how your into the music and the self fulfillment thing, the only reason anybody plays in a rock-n-roll band is to get laid.
Seriously, the goal would be to get on a label and get paid to tour the country in a little van. Playing punk rock every night.
What would you all do about your other commitments if LAW signed to a label and went on tour?
KT: We’d do both. I mean, we’re doing it now. Porn Flakes goes on tour the 18th of February to do a 10 day trip, then some more after that.