by Wendy Norton
After buying their full length album ‘Mess Of Fire’ and liking it a lot, I asked a few of my friends if they had heard any of The Hot Pockets earlier singles. I got the typical responses: “Isn’t that the one band from Holland with dudes from The Stipjes (or however the fuck you say that name of that band that was on Rip Off) and The Spaceshits or somethin’?”
Yeah that’s them. Leaves me wondering why more people haven’t caught onto this band, while other new bands that are mediocre in comparison get to enjoy the limelight. Don’t take my word for it though.
You can get their full lenght through Screaming Apple or through an American distro such as Underground Medicine. Otherwise, they have songs up on their web page available. Either way, check it out!!!!!

Wendy: When did the members of the Hot Pockets come together to record the first few 7”’s, were you all friends before that or did you just collaborate just to record?
Robert: I met Adam when I was on tour with The Dirtys as their tourmanager here in Europe. Adam was coming over to Europe to live here for half a year or so, and he called us to ask if he could tag along on tour for a while. The Dirtys and The Spaceshits had toured the States a couple of months before and Adam and The Dirtys had become friends. When he called us we were in Italy and of course he could come. So by the time we were in Hamburg, Germany, he showed up and stayed with us for the last ten days of the tour. And that was a lot of fun.

Adam & Robert hanging out with The Dirtys and The Cellophane Suckers in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

After The Dirtys had gone home Adam went to Paris and since Paris is not too far from Groningen we had agreed that he would come over to Groningen and I would round up some friends and we could try and record some songs. I already knew Martin and had been friends with Gerry for a while already so I asked them if they were interested, and they were.
Adam came over in May ’98 and we just rehearsed for two nights and then we recorded 16 songs on a 4 track in two more nights. We had initially set out to record six or seven songs, but we were having so much fun and we all learned the songs so fast that we ended up with a lot more. Most songs we just played until we thought we could play them and then recorded them instantly. And then forgot them…

Wendy: Would you ever play any of the big American rock’n’roll shows, like Garage Shock or Las Vegas Shakedown?
Robert: Yeah, why not? Although a friend of mine from Seattle told me the atmosphere wasn’t so cool anymore last year in Las Vegas. Too many people trying to be cool without knowing what the fuck it’s all about. But normally, if somebody would ask us and pay for plane tickets…

Adam at the Vera basement, February 1999 Wendy: When and where did you lay down the tracks for the newest album?
Robert: We recorded the album in February/March 1999 at the VERA club in Groningen, Netherlands. The 28th and 1st to be precise. We took all the studio equipment from a friend of us over there and set it up with him and he recorded it. It’s a long story but we couldn’t do it at his studio. It’s 16 track recordings and in that way totally different from the previous recordings. Also, like I said the first recordings were done just for fun, sort of, and it just worked out really well. For the second recordings, in August 1998, we used a 8 track, but still did it ourselves.

Wendy: How do you think the Hot Pockets singles are different than the LP?
Robert: For the album we actually set out to record anough songs for an album and paid somebody to record it properly. I think it came out well in the end, even though it took me a year to mix all the songs. But that's another long story.

Wendy: Who did the cool cover art for the album and who is the “model” on the front and back of the LP?
Robert: The album was done by Ricky, a friend of mine, and I took pictures of my ex girlfriend. Gerry had come up with the idea for the front. We’re all really happy with the result. I think it looks really good.

The Hot Pockets rocking out in Meppel, of all places...

A Pock Wendy: Who did the cover art for the singles?
Robert: The artwork for the singles was done by different people. Too much to mention. The 'Clean Dice' single though is an actual Hot Pockets box that I took home from Memphis, although I left the food at Eric Oblivians place, he was adventerous enough to actually try and eat them... Another friend of ours, Marcel, then changed bits and pieces of the original and made it into a cover for the single.

Wendy: Exactly why did you guys break up the first time around?
Robert: We never broke up. In August ’98 Adam was living in London, England, and he came over one more time and we did our first ever show here in Groningen and recorded some more songs. After that Adam went home to Canada and he came over again in February ’99, and we recorded the album and did a five shows, four countries tour. Last September, 2000, we did a nine day tour with the Columbian Neckties. So we don’t split up really, we just have a guy in the band who lives in Canada and that makes touring and recording a bit hard. Well not hard really, it just needs some organizing. Last time Adam arrived on a Tuesday night, we then rehearsed the next two nights and played our first show on Friday. We were actually sitting around in our practise room listening to our songs on tape and trying to figure out what we were playing. It was like covering our own band.

Adam and the Crazy Gerry being way cool... Wendy: Do you think you’ll plan on doing any touring (in the US?) for the release of your new album?
Robert: We’re going to tour Germany and Holland in October, but I don’t think we’ll tour the States. I’d love to but I don’t have the money. I know touring is easy in America but you also don’t make any money. So we’d need to pay for airfare and van rental and gas and hotels, which is fine if you have the money and consider it as a holiday, but in Europe all that shit is paid for. I mean we get so much money and food and drinks that we can break even, so for me the choice is easy. But if there’s anybody out there that can organize a decent tour for us…, we’re there.

Wendy: Is that the only main difference between touring in the States for you rather than playing over there? Do you think the Hot Pockets, and bands in that vain, overall, go over better there?
Robert: I think touring in Europe is better because of all the conditions like how much money you can get and the food and the drinks, and hotels and all that.
Now I must say I have never toured the States, so I can’t really tell from my own experience, but I toured with several American bands here all over Europe and I know they liked it a lot over here and what I know about touring the States I know from the stories they've told me. But I’d like to come over for sure, but I’ve got a shitty job with shitty pay, so...

They say they speak better Dutch in Belgium... That might be, but I guess English is a whole different story...

Wendy: What are some of your favorite records?
Robert: Of course the first Real Kids album, and the Pagans and Dead Boys, and fuck there’s so many. I like a lot of old rockabilly and rock’n’roll as well. And some of the old blues stuff. The Action Swingers’ ‘Decimation Boulevard’ is great, I can play that any time. Ah, forget it, too much to mention.

Wendy: How would you describe the state of rock’n’roll today?
Robert: Bad. Too many wankers, too much hard rock!

Wendy: Do you have any closing comments for the readres of REALRocknroll Fanzine?
Robert: remember: rock’n’roll is for losers! And I’m glad to be one!

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