Why is it Lady Luck
When I interviewed Roger Miret from AGNOSTIC FRONT over a few years ago, he enthusiastically told me about his second band LADY LUCK, in which his wife Denise sings. At that time I already knew LADY LUCK from the split CD with FULLY, I liked them, and so I offered Roger to send me a song from the new recordings for the Ox CD. That happened then, "Lucky day" liked me, as did many of the Ox readers - and Lucky Seven Records, which meant that the first LADY LUCK album, "Life In Between", was released last autumn, followed from a tour. It was a matter of honor that I sat down with Roger, Denise and Kana.
As long as Roger is not there: What is it like to be in a band with Roger, who is the one who talks the most at AGNOSTIC FRONT?
Denise: At LADY LUCK he is a completely different person.
Kana: He's a different person in every way when he's not with AF.
Denise: "Everyone has different sides and I think it is good for them to play with LADY LUCK, where they are musically creative in a completely different way. He always says that AF is more of a physical experience, while LADY LUCK is more satisfying in a creative way , yes, has more of a spiritual aspect, just two sides of the same coin.
An important difference should be that AF also have a different economic meaning for him and, unlike LADY LUCK, therefore always enjoy top priority.
Denise: Yes, of course, AF is his job, but LADY LUCK existed before the AF reunion. And believe me, that was a tough time ... AF are a tough job that takes up a lot of his time, but when Roger is at home he also devotes a lot of time and energy to LADY LUCK.
Kana: Because Roger is on the road a lot, many things take a little longer, but it is important to us that LADY LUCK are a "real" band and not a "side project". Sometimes people say that, but what the heck - and anyway we're addressing a different audience anyway. Apart from that, there is nothing we can do about it.
How did you get together at the time?
Denise: It started when Roger got into a band, a project with a guitarist I've known for a long time. The thing went under the name AURA, was a little heavier than LADY LUCK and over pretty quickly. The drummer - Glen - then continued to make music with me and Roger, and that was the basis of LADY LUCK. Later, the woman who then released our "A New Beginning" split CD with FULLY placed an ad for a guitarist and Kana got in touch.
Denise, did you make music before LADY LUCK?
Denise: Yes, I made music with a guitarist friend of mine for years. She had played for PMS, among others, and I was previously with PUPPET SHOW, a party band that was never better known.
Kana: I used to play in a band at home in Vermont, a cerebral thing à la TORTOISE, without a singer.
When Roger first told me about LADY LUCK, he mentioned a few sentences later that JETS TO BRAZIL and PROMISE RING were among his musical favorites - and that made sense when I heard the song "Lucky day" which ended the Ox CD was included. How do you cope with being placed in an emo context?
Kana: Man, I try to stay as far away from "emo" as possible, that's a stigma. But that's a general problem, because how do you want to describe music with a single keyword? This is only possible if it is extremely clichéd and already a caricature of its style. A word like "emo" cannot describe us. Anyway, each of the four of us has a completely different taste in music. I really enjoy listening to Nick Drake and Belle & Sebastian right now.
Denise: For me it is broad and ranges from POLICE to trance things to jazz. But even though we like very different things, we also have a lot of common preferences, and that's what keeps the band together.
Kana: Bands like THE CLASH or THE JAM are among our common favorites.
What is it like to be in a band with three members of the same family? Roger and Denise are married, Walter, the drummer, is Denise's brother.
Denise: Sometimes it is not easy, but on the other hand, despite all the stress that there is sometimes, you know that you appreciate each other. It just has advantages and disadvantages. You just have to try to approach the matter professionally.
Roger: Sometimes it's difficult, but all in all it works.
Denise: Roger and I have definitely learned to control each other and to clarify what needs to be clarified between us outside the door.
Kana: I'm perfect anyway, so there are never any problems with me.
Why did it take you so long to release your album? It's been three years since the split album?
Kana: There were various line-up changes, and then of course there was the "AF factor" that kept delaying things. In addition, I study and that is also a full-time affair. But since Walter has been a permanent member, things have been going smoothly and Roger and I are also really focused on the songwriting.
Roger: The real problem is that I'm on tour all the time. But after this tour we will do more new songs for LADY LUCK. Usually we only have one month for LADY LUCK, then I'll be on the road with AF again for three months.
Has the album been released so far only in Europe or also in the USA?
Roger: No, so far it's only available in Europe, and with this album in hand we now want to look for a label in the USA. We would do it ourselves, but there is the question of money again.
Didn't you ask Epitaph where you are under contract with AF?
Roger: Of course I had the thought too, but then decided not to even try and to keep the two bands separate from each other. In addition, Epitaph is more of a punk label, and sometimes I'm not so sure what's going on in their heads. So I think DieHard / Lucky 7 is the right label for us.
Denise: They really looked after us and have done a good job for us so far, I'm really satisfied.
Roger: I also found that times have changed, especially in the USA. We used to help each other out, so it wouldn't have been a problem to find a label straight away. It's harder today, and I'm not the type to beg and munch on someone. But that seems to be the trick for many labels to get into business.
How do you come to terms with the fact that LADY LUCK are often perceived as "the second band of Roger from AGNOSTIC FRONT"?
Kana: Oh, what should we do? Most of the people who see us like that are probably AF fans, and they'll either like us or not. If they like us, then fine, if not, it doesn't matter. There is nothing we can do about it. Sometimes it helps to make people aware of us in the first place, but on the other hand I'm sure that our fans aren't necessarily AF fans too. If it were up to me, we wouldn't mention AF at all.
Roger: He is of course right, but on the other hand I also have my musical past, which of course I cannot and will not hide. And the way it is, the media always uses a band's past as the starting point for their reporting. I really only bother when LADY LUCK concerts are announced with "feat. Roger Miret of AGNOSTIC FRONT" while not a word is said about LADY LUCK's music. And to be honest, it sometimes makes me nervous to be on stage with LADY LUCK and not know what people expect from me, because I'm very different, play bass and tend to stay in the background.
Denise: Funnily enough, I was given a whole new past in Germany: a few people think I'm the ex-singer from NAUSEA. May I clarify that again?!? I've never, never, never, never in NAUSEA, I'm not Amy !!! I hope no one is overly disappointed right now.
Roger, how does it feel to be in LADY LUCK compared to AGNOSTIC FRONT? Musically the difference is considerable, but also in your behavior on stage and with regard to the audience - the macho factor is quite high at AF, and women in the front rows probably don't have much fun during the LADY LUCK album As I found out, women especially like them.
Kana: May I briefly say that I have no problem with that at all? I'm more into women than sweaty skinheads.
Roger: So clearly, the difference is big. AF are more of a physical matter for me, while LADY LUCK are musically in the foreground and are much more emotional and melodic. I have to say, however, that AF's audience has changed lately. There are now a lot more women coming than before, and that has a positive effect.
Denise: I can confirm that, because I know how things went at AF concerts in 1984 and 1985.
Roger: She was the only girl then.
Denise: Come on! We always went to shows with a whole group of girls. But it was tough as a girl in this crowd of smelly, sweaty guys ...
Kana: ... and today Roger is the smellyest, sweatiest guy at an AF concert, haha.
Denise: Hehe, exactly. No, the audience on a New York AF show has changed a lot, people are much hippier today.
Roger: But I have to say something about the supposed macho thing: that was never our thing, we never had anything to do with this macho gangster shit, we were always for Unity and wanted everyone to feel comfortable at our concerts. But we come from New York, of course, so everything is a bit tougher - difficult to explain. In any case, women were always welcome with us, and AGNOSTIC FRONT are definitely not a macho band. And LADY LUCK are not a "femmy band" just because Denise sings and we play more melodic music, that's just as stupid cliché.
Could one say that LADY LUCK gives you the framework to musically do what is not possible at AF - also because of the expectations of others?
Roger: Yes exactly. I don't have to meet any expectations, I can do what I want, and it's fun. LADY LUCK reminds me of how punk and hardcore used to be: everything came unexpectedly, nobody knew what to expect, and every band sounded different on every show. Today there just seem to be clichés and all bands sound the same.
Kana: I think that is the case with any movement sooner or later. Suddenly there are rules and expectations, but we have nothing to do with them. We do our own thing and don't bother with the rest.
Roger: What unites us as a band is that we are all ex-punk rockers.
Uh, Roger, are you an ex-punk rocker?
Roger: I AM A SKIN !!! And with LADY LUCK I play New Wave Oi! Music.
Finally, can you explain to me what "Lady Luck" is all about? You can see the motif of this smiling, well-built lady and the words "Lady Luck" everywhere: on bombers from the Second World War, tattoos on upper arms, as stickers on cars ...
Denise: It's not easy to find a band name these days, because most of those who are good are already taken. So we came up with LADY LUCK, but as far as we know they're a country band, which isn't a problem because we released a record before them. And in the USA that is enough to secure the right to a name.
Kana: But if we have to change the name, we already have a new one: KANA & THE LADY LUCK TONES.
Speaking of which: do you all have Lady Luck tattoos?
Denise: Roger and I have the same motive, yes.
Thank you for the interview.
Denise: Thank you for putting the song on the Ox CD back then. Without that we wouldn't be here now, because that's how we got our label.
- LADY LUCK
© by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 42 March / April / May 2001 and Joachim Hiller
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