Bobby Ray Octane and Mickey McFaster talk about THE FOCKE-WOLVES
Mickey McFaster: Pretty damn young.
Bobby Ray Octane: Yeah, 13…14 1982-1983 was kinda the year for me.
Mickey: I’d always loved music from the time I was in grade school but wasn’t ready to run out and play music. I just knew I loved it. I got a lot more serious about into the teens. The first songs I remember are “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave and “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar .
Mickey: There is something dark and evil about that for goddamn sure.
Bobby Ray: The bands that hit me right off the bat were The Doors, Psychedelic Furs, and Motorhead.
Mickey: There’s a combo for ya.
Mickey: First band that hooked me was Pat Benatar and the second was Dio, that sounded wrong as hell, but Dio was the one that really made an impact. Then, the Ramones was the game changer. Over the years add in X, Turbonegro, and Gluecifer, those are my go tos at all times.
Mickey: I started playing music when I was 15 and I thought I was too old. I had friend who had playing since they were like 6 or 7 playing Ozzy Osbourne riffs, then I saw “Rock N Roll High School” by the Ramones and said, “I can do that! It sounds fucking rad!”
1st: What instruments do you play?
Mickey: So instruments I play (laughs), you mean attempt?! Took some piano lesson for a couple of weeks. I can still play “‘From A Wigwam” at any time. I play guitar right now and can play bass. If you can play guitar, you can play bass. My go to is my Gibson Les Paul.
Bobby Ray: I took voice lessons in college and thought I could sing.
Mickey: It had to be before that, I hooked up with you in mid ‘91 and you basically had a book of songs already written.
Bobby Ray: Right, so basically around 1989 is when I started thinking I could be in a band. I’m not a musician in any way, I can keep a primitive beat but I have a lead foot.
Mickey: If it wasn’t for that you could be a good drummer.
Bobby Ray: I was thinking when we started out I should learn to play bass or something. Mick said “I think it’s cool you come up with a lot of the tunes and you can’t play shit. Don’t mess with it.” Well, you don’t have to tell me twice because I’m lazy.
1st: Were you trained or are you self-taught?
Mickey: I took 3 months of lessons and got to a point where I knew power chords and a couple little scale things and I said, “Fuck it, I’m out. I’ll take it from here. Thanks Chief!” I’ve learned from everybody I’ve played with. Something every time I play with a new band. You learn what to do if they’re good and what not to do in a worse case scenario.
Bobby Ray: Other than taking that voice class in college, I’m self-taught. Taking that class gave me the fundamentals. How to breathe and not damage my voice. I wanted to sing in a rock band but I wanted longevity. My vocal coach told me if you’re going be in a rock band and scream you’re going to damage your voice. That turned me off from be a screamer or a punk singer.
1st: How old were you when you formed your first band?
Mickey: 20, with Ray, I had tried valiantly for years before that but could never get anything off the ground. I wrote some songs with people and tried to get things together. I came to a conclusion I should probably hit up The Reader and look for an established band.
1st: How did you meet Bobby Ray Octane?
Mickey: I had seen an ad looking for a guitar player but I was looking to play bass at the time so I never answered it. Then, saw the same ad looking for a bass player, answered it, and then I found Ray. When we first talked on the phone, we did know not this, but we already knew each from way back through a mutual friend. When we were on the phone there was something oddly familiar about it but when we met face to face at The Flamingo in Chula Vista, we instantly recognized each other. I remember walking through the door and thinking, “Holy shit, I know you!”
1st: What made you decide to start a band together?
1st: How long was Diablo 44 together before you released your first album?
Mickey: The first release was about a year after we formed in 1992.
1st: Sinderfella came out pretty quickly after the self-titled first album. Why the short time frame between albums?
Mickey: It actually didn’t. Sinderfella didn’t come out until 2001.
Bobby Ray: Right, that was the second to last.
1st: What happened to Diablo 44?
Bobby Ray: Diablo 44 had shown a lot of development and the songwriting had reach a really cool place but there was a bit of implosion of sorts. We were getting ready to go back into the studio to record and it was brought to our attention there was some infighting going on. I told Mick we can’t go into the studio with that and let’s have a band meeting. Mick was pretty pissed and called me right back and said, “You know what, I don’t even wanna record. It’s time to pull the plug on this thing. I’m done.” I thought, “You don’t have to tell me twice.” There was no animosity, no bitching and moaning, it had just played itself out. That was the end of that.
Mickey: We were just running the same thing over and over, like a hamster on a wheel. We were putting out good product but we really weren’t pushing anything. Same clubs, same bars and everyone was just content with that. No one was willing to travel and with that contentment comes friction. Push comes to shove, it was just time to call it.
Mickey: The thing I’m proudest of is after 13 years we didn’t even announce the last show. We just did it and walked away. Whoever came out got to see it and who ever didn’t, we’re just done. It was great! You don’t need to grandstand on your last show. Fuck it, it’s àpropos.
1st: How long between the time Diablo 44 ended and you two started The Focke-Wolves?
Mickey: It was when I moved back to San Diego in 2006 that we started writing again. That wasn’t The Focke-Wolves. We didn’t know what we were going to be but knew we wanted to put something together.
Bobby Ray: That became The Twilight Idols, then to Dead Engines. Mickey said, “OK what’s next? Let’s do this!” Up until that time Mick was playing bass and I looked at him and said, “I’m telling you right now I’m not going to play with you again unless you go onto guitar.” He kinda stuttered and said, “What?!”. I was sick of him coming up with these idiosyncratic riffs and with his with great picking techniques and then having to show a guitar player how to play them. It was losing a generation of sound. “Mick, you have to play guitar.” Within two weeks, he said, ”I’ll never play bass again, this is it, this is what I’m going to do.” This is how we became The Focke-Wolves in 2011.
Mickey: Twilight Idols was one of the greatest things that never was. I’m still proud as fuck of that band. It was true blue cow punk. Two guitars, pedal steel, Ray’s vocals, driving bass and drums. It went from 50’s sappy dark stuff, to every which way but loose country, to punk, and everything in between. Then, we went on to do Dead Engines , that was supposed to be The Focke-Wolves but it slid a little too far back into Americana. So, we just let that be what it was. This time we’ve set out to be the rock band we had set out to be and there is no going back.
Bobby Ray: We brought in Doug at the time and then we went to Craig’s List looking for a drummer. We listed a bunch of drummers styles we liked and found Bill. We met with him and a totally cool guy and that was it. We then approached Clay our drummer from Twilight Idols to come into play bass. After a few member changes, we added TK on guitar. We’ve just added Eli on bass over the last few months when Clay had to move for work.
Mickey: This current lineup is the happiest have been from day one. Completely stoked about! Everyone is all in, everybody working and pushing, 110% in. What else could you ask for?! Love hanging out with them all. We all get along, we give each other shit, we have a good time but at the end of the day we all got each other’s backs and help each other out when needed. The Focke- Wolves is family.
Bobby Ray: At the end of the day, we are just too old for drama. Of all the people we have gone through, and there have been dozens, the drama has been very low. We are not used to nor want any of the high-stakes drama you hear in rock band stories. What we have is a really good chemistry and we can say whatever we need to say and people can be held accountable. Treating it with a high degree of responsibility that you don’t see in rock n roll.
Mickey: It’s gotten us a lot further on later in life. Early on, you’re a part of the drama and now you just don’t wanna deal with it. Cut that bullshit out! We may never ever be able to make a living off this or maybe we will. Don’t know, don’t care. We do this because we love it, there is no other reason to do it. We will push it as far as it gets. Teaming up with people who are like-minded and that help us to toe the line. Who know where it will go?
Bobby Ray: We are supremely confident in the content we have. Our ability to come up with new great material has no bounds.
Mickey: That there is the end game. If we weren’t coming up with new music, we’d just all walk away. If you’re not current, you’re a nostalgia act. None of us want to be that. We have too much to offer yet.
Bobby Ray: Definitely a lot of creativity and kinetic energy.
1st: How long was it until “Trust No One” came out?
Mickey: About 4 years after we started The Focke-Wolves . We spent 4 years getting our house in order, getting the songs the way we wanted and personnel changes. All that takes time off the clock. We did several recordings before “Trust No One”, but they were all demos.
1st: What type of reception did the album get?
Mickey and Bobby Ray (laugh)
Mickey: You tell me! I don’t know!
Bobby Ray: It was not the production we were looking to do. My father’s illness it kind of dragged out the process. Don’t get me wrong it has great songs and some decent sounds but to me it’s another demo. I told the band next time we go in we are going to be produced come hell or high water. Trust No One was not received badly, everyone that has heard it says it sounds sonically good and is cool but we know some of the songs are woefully under delivered.
1st: How did your music get used for The Kobal Report soundtrack?
Bobby Ray: It was fluke with a student of mine. She found out I was in a band and was planning to come check out us out. That was the night of the big Los Angeles Lucifer storm so she didn’t make it out. She emailed me a week later and apologized for not making it out. She and her boyfriend had gone online to check out our stuff. Her boyfriend, Javier Alfonso Bartolozzi, the director, was in film school and loved it. He asked if could use The Focke-Wolves for the soundtrack but the caveat was we had to get to them asap as the film was going off to Cannes Film Festival. The band thought it was awesome and they ended up using “Trash Queen” and “Bouncin’ Off The Rubber.” The engineer really beefed up the sound and we feel they were a good fit and did the film justice.
Bobby Ray: It’s a little early to tell. It’s been winning high awards and praise all over the world including France, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. Just being on it is cool.
1st: How did the band start working with Cameron Webb?
Bobby Ray: My fianceé is good friends with his wife and introduced us. He had worked with Social Distortion and Motorhead. I looked him up and said, “Fuck yeah!” Cam is great! It went well, and we learned a lot. We are looking forward to working with him again on the next recording. Now that we have heard the first recording, we are all set to go back in. We are all really united on working on Mickey’s and Tyler’s sound, to really make the most of it.
1st: Blasto Maxxxo just had its release party how did that go?
Bobby Ray: Good times!
Mickey: It was a great show. Five Star was a cool bar in Los Angeles. We also had a second release party in San Diego. We love the Black Cat Bar, they always take care of us.
Bobby Ray: It’s all fun and all good. We have a great album here and good support from people who believe in what we are doing. We are looking forward to bigger and better!
Mickey: It means we don’t have to book out own shit anymore! It’s like working with Cameron Webb, you’re entrusting your stuff to someone else. You’re trusting them to get you the right gigs and get you into the right places. We have faith in them and they have faith in us. Being on the same roster with The Exploited and Mondo Generator , It’s nothing but a great thing, it’s awesome!
Mickey: As a musician you feel a sense of accomplishment because you get pissed on so much. You are not guaranteed shit and it gets irritating. When someone comes along and says we book bands on European and World tours, we are a professional booking agency, and we believe in what you’re doing, I’ll take it.
1st: The band has been primarily touring California and Arizona, Rockhopper is based in Finland, does this mean a European tour is on the horizon?
Mickey: Count on it.
Mickey: It shows grit. We are stupid enough to be road whores to anywhere in the Southwest region of California. Let’s take it international. Let’s go! What’s a couple more thousand miles?! Have guitars, drums, vocals, will travel. Put us on a stage, dig it or don’t in any language, just give us a chance.
1st: For people looking to buy Blasto Maxxxo, where can they find it?
Mickey: i-Tunes, Amazon, or hit us up at www.thefockewolves.com
1st: For people who want to hear the band live, where are you playing in the near future?
Mickey: Join the mailing list and follow us for show dates at:
You Tube: youtube.com/channel
1st: Any parting words?
Bobby Ray: The Focke-Wolves are on the horizon and we got the goods. Punk Rock N Roll seems to be all but dead and I’m telling you it’s not.
Mickey: There’s a rumble underground and we’re a part of it. Get in while you can or it’s just gonna blow up from under ya. Thank you to Rik and First Comics News, cheers!https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/bobby-ray-octane-and-mickey-mcfaster-talk-about-the-focke-wolves/https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/The-Focre-Wolves-logo-600x257.pnghttps://www.firstcomicsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/The-Focre-Wolves-logo-150x64.pngInterviewsTalking About...Blasto Maxxxo,Bobby Ray Octane,Dead Engines,Diablo 44,Dick Smiley,FOCKE WOLVES,Mickey McFaster,Rockhopper,THE FOCKE-WOLVES,The Kobal Report,The Twilight Idols