Joe & The Shitboys’ name was popping up here, there and everywhere, and I was intrigued.
When Iggy Pop (BBC 6 Music) played four of their tracks on the same night, I knew research had to be done and questions had to be asked. Thankfully Joe very kindly obliged…
Welcome, Joe & The Shitboys. You are a band of self-proclaimed “bisexual vegans” from the Faroe Islands (population 51,000). Could you tell us a little about how you got together as a band?
Ziggy Shit was working with a demolition crew at an old school. As he was in the process of destroying shit near the arts & crafts section, he found a painting that had an unmatched aura of teen angst. The painting spelt “The Reson for Hardcore Vibes” (not reason), and below the text, there was a bat, a gun, brass knuckles, and something that’s either a butterfly knife or hedge scissors. He knew right then and there that this had to be the cover of a godawful one-off punk 7”, so he snatched it.
He and the other Shitboys had been playing together since they were teenagers, so he figured right away that they’d be the backing band. Then he hired me, Joe, to be the vocalist, and we all met for a 2-hour session, where we talked about what the sound should be, then we wrote, practised and recorded two songs. Things didn’t go as planned because it kicked way too much ass, so we decided to make it an actual band and be (just a little bit) more serious with what sort of messages we wanted to convey. This was back in January 2018, and the school has since been turned into apartments. Ziggy Shit lives there now and has “The Reson for Hardcore Vibes” framed on his wall.
What is the gig scene like in the Faroe Islands?
It’s very cool but way too small. Shows comprise of all genres, so on any given show you can expect a punk band, rap group, and a happy-go-lucky pop outfit, or something along those lines. There just aren’t that many shows happening, but what can you expect in a country of 51,000 people? I think there are relatively many shows happening, but there aren’t that many shows. But it’s cool that we’re all friends here and we support each other.
I have to ask about your own musical influences – who are Joe & The Shitboys into past and present?
We’re all unironically into St. Anger, and we love Lars Ulrich. Sammy Shit and I are super into Limp Bizkit, but he’s usually listening to Grimes, Aries, Kanye West or other pop artists. I love noisy lo-fi shit, harsh electronics and math riffs, but I’m more inspired by pro wrestling than music. Ziggy Shit is (still) into Sex Bob-Omb and White Stripes and that sort of garage rock. Johnny Shit likes stuff like Mastodon, Fleetwood Mac, Kurt Vile, Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan etc. But we’re all definitely inspired by 200, the only other Faroese punk band that we’ve ever heard of.
Iggy is obviously a massive fan, playing FOUR of your tracks on his show in May, and then another one the following week! How did that feel? Were you aware he was a fan?
I felt like I was dreaming. We weren’t aware at all, but our managers told us the day before that he was gonna play us on his show, and then we found out that we were the theme of his show. Hearing Iggy laugh his ass off at a line that I wrote is definitely the highlight of my career. He praised all of us, but he especially loved Johnny Shit’s playing and spent a minute talking about how good he was, which is beautiful because Johnny is the biggest Iggy fan I know. We were all starstruck, but Johnny got the most of it.
You have tour dates in the UK in September. Do I have to be scared to come to a Joe & The Shitboys gig? Just how much do you roast the audience?
No, you don’t have to be scared unless you’re, like, an actual sex offender or nazi, then you’ll be really sad. I talk about a lot of different ways of being shitty, and everyone in the audience is at least guilty of some of it. But when everyone is getting called out, it turns into a bonding experience, you know? Like, you’re all shitty, but you’re still together and having a great time looking at a sexy chubby bisexual vegan in shorts yelling at people.
I love the fact that your EP “The Reson for Hardcore Vibes” has ten tracks on it but fits on a 7” vinyl! Are you working on more new music?
We’re actually releasing new music this year, but I’m smart enough not to mention a specific date just yet, considering all that COVID stuff (it’s this virus. You can Google it).
And finally, Joe & The Shitboys have surely produced the best “Wonderwall” cover. Any reaction from the Gallaghers Brothers?
Nah, those soyboys are too ashamed they got cucked by us alpha dogs.
Any other covers you fancy doing?
We have done a few live covers. “Fuck Everybody” by Mike Angelo & The Idols and “Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine often make their way into our setlists, but my favourite was when we covered “Believe” by Cher at last year’s pride event.
Thanks for having me!