Horror punks get turbocharged


By Connor Rice


Let’s get down to horror business.


During this weekend’s Middlewest festivities, Chicago’s Turbovamps! will open for the Celtic punk band Flatfoot 56 on Friday at the House Café, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, in downtown DeKalb.


Turbovamps!, a horror punk band that has opened for genre icons like the Misfits and the Adicts, is on one of many return visits to DeKalb. In between preparations for Middlewest Fest, guitarist Andrew Smith was able to give some time to the Northern Star to chat briefly about the course of the group.

Northern Star: You guys have played out in DeKalb before. What do you think of the city?

Andrew Smith: I actually prefer playing out in DeKalb right now more than our local home. Not more than downtown Chicago, but DeKalb is definitely my second favorite place to play. The crowds are always a good time out there.

NS: So, what would you say makes Turbovamps! a horror punk band?

AS: Ahh, this is a whole long discussion. When we first started out as a band, we were very influenced by the Misfits, and that’s where we kind of decided to go with the “horror punk” idea of everything. But honestly, after a few songs into it, we started growing as songwriters. I wouldn’t necessarily say growing as musicians; that hasn’t happened yet. But we kind of started growing as songwriters and we kind of wanted to get rid of the whole horror punk theme, but we haven’t wanted to change the name, especially now. We played with the Misfits last year, so our name is starting to get around, so we don’t want to change it all of a sudden. I definitely wouldn’t consider us a horror punk band anymore.

NS: You mentioned the show with the Misfits. You guys have opened a lot of big shows; you’ve played with a lot of big-name bands. What’s your favorite one been?

AS: Honestly? I’m going to say Flatfoot 56. We started playing with them … three years ago, now? I want to say that was the first time we opened up for them, and that was like, our first big show. We played in a church gym, but there was like, 350 kids there. It was just awesome. Since then, they’ve just kind of taken us under their wing and helped us. Many of the times we’ve played out in DeKalb has been with them. New Year’s Day 2011 we played the Beat Kitchen in downtown [Chicago] with them, and every time we play with them it’s such an awesome experience. They are the nicest guys in the world. I’d say Flatfoot is my favorite band we’ve played with.

NS: That’s awesome. I didn’t realize you guys had a “thing” going on with the bands.

AS: Yeah, my dad was a youth minister, and actually got them to play at our old church, and since then we’ve just kept in touch. They’re really good guys.

NS: I’ve just got one last question: how are you expecting Middlewest Fest to go?

AS: I’m not sure. I wasn’t able to attend last year. I was really disappointed ‘cause there were awesome bands last year…but I’m going to guess that it’s going to go really well. John [Ugolini of Kickstand Productions] does a great job promoting all the shows. He got a list of killer bands this year. I’m really excited for it. I’m excited for our show, but I’m excited to enjoy the rest of the festival as well.