An Interview with Brad Logan of Leftöver Crack

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Image Credit: BJ Papas (All Photos Courtesy of Brad Logan)

Forward by Joe O’Brien

Leftöver Crack was shown to me by a friend from nursing school while we were working on a project. He wasn’t a close friend, maybe more of a good acquaintance if I’m being honest. I was kind of dreading doing the assignment with him. His personality, from a distance, did not scream, “I’m great for doing group projects with.” Like I have with many other people, I bonded with him over music. During our break, we chatted about what music we like. I found out he was a big music buff and a musician. After our break, he seemed to warm up, and we were friendly in school from then on. I kept in contact with him after school ended, talking online or through texts. A few years later, he passed away. I always think of him and how music can bring people together every time I blast “Nazi White Trash” in the car.

Leftöver Crack was also the last concert I went to before the pandemic shut live music down as we know it. It seems like everyone that loves music has their last concert stuck with them in their brain. At least, I know I have. I remember that day fondly. I met with one of my lifelong best friends, Brian, in Brooklyn. The concert was atypically scheduled in the afternoon. We had pizza and cheap beers. We stopped at my favorite, now-defunct record store, Human Head Records. We rocked out to Leftöver Crack. We even took the subway to Manhattan and saw another concert that night. All in all, it was a great day that I remember fondly. It was also the last time I was able to see Brian in person.

Why do I mention these personal anecdotes? Affixing memories to the music we love is a big part of the enjoyment for many. As such, Leftöver Crack’s music will always be special to me. However, they are special for so many more reasons. Leftöver Crack is a band that stuck to its ideals and principles. They wrote a sea of Punk anthems, such as the aforementioned “Nazi White Trash” and “Gang Control.” For a band in the Punk scene, their music was also eclectic and progressive. They incorporated keyboards and horns into their music. They could sound like a Metal band in one song and a Ska band in another. And yet, it made sense on the same album. If you dig anything I’ve just said, visit the groups’ Bandcamp here, check out the interview below, and shove some Leftöver Crack into your earholes.

Andrew:
Brad, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. This last year has been rough, right? How are you holding up during this seemingly ever raging dumpster fire?

Brad:
Hi! Thanks for asking me! I’m doing great. Living in exile, as it were, has afforded me time to work on projects I had wanted to get started for years: music, writing, and other things. I’ve been very productive.

Andrew:
Tell us about your backstory. What was your musical gateway, so to speak?

Brad:
I was raised on AM radio; then, when I was 10, I was given a guitar by my parents and some group guitar lessons to go with it. I learned a few chords and tried fumbling my way through things like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Smoke on the Water” until I found Punk, which was much more suited to my attitude and playing ability.

Andrew:
As an artist, who are some of your earliest and most important influences?

Brad:
I was always a fan of bands that took chances or played in the gaps of what was acceptable by the mainstream of whatever era or genre. Early on, I was taught the highest level you could attain as an artist was to develop your own style. Imitation and groupthink were not only boring but counter-productive. Many early Punk bands all seemed to have their own unique sound within the same scene. I liked that: Unified individuality.  

Andrew;
Let’s jump right in and talk about the Leftöver Crack book that you’ve been working on for the last year-plus. Tell us about it.

Brad:
It’s an oral history of the band that covers the formation of the band to the present day. It’s titled: The Good, The Bad, and the Leftöver Crack and will be released on Rare Bird press August 2021. John Gentile, my co-author and I, spent the last year and a half interviewing band members, friends, enemies, musicians, labels, and random conspirators. We not only covered the band but the era and climate around the band—particularly the late 90s and early 2000s. Record labels, squat living, mental health are a few other things we focused on. Oh yeah, and a ton of cool and never before seen photos too. It was a lot of work to put this together, but also a lot of fun.

Andrew:
On the subject of Leftöver Crack, let’s go all the way back and talk about the band’s origins. For those that don’t know, how did the band get started? What’s the origin story?

Brad:
The band was formed in 1999 by Scott Sturgeon after the breakup of Choking Victim. I used to work at Hellcat records, and that’s how he and I met. He had recorded some demos under the name Leftöver Crack with him playing all the instruments. He sent them to me and asked if I wanted to play guitar in a new band, he was going to start. I loved the songs and, of course, said yes. I told him I knew a drummer (AWOL) and, he had Alec as the bassist from early CV days. We played our first show in June of 1999, at Headline Records in Los Angeles.

Image Credit: Konstantn Sergeyev (All Photos Courtesy of Brad Logan)

Andrew:
How about your debut album Mediocre Generica? Looking back, what are your thoughts on that record? What do you remember about the recording and aftermath? I know there is a story regarding the title. Would you mind diving into that for us?

Brad:
I hooked up Sturgeon with my former boss at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. He had a recording studio in Midtown Manhattan and said he would record it for a reasonable price. I was only there for part of it as I was still splitting my time between LoC, F-minus, and my other jobs as road crew. I love the title. I thought it was hilarious. And I love the record too. Most of those songs were on the original demos Sturg had sent me. But yeah, Mediocre Generica wasn’t the original name, and there were many problems surrounding that record and title. It’s actually covered in-depth in the book. 

Andrew:
Onto my favorite record, Fuck World Trade. This album was pretty controversial when it came out, but looking back, it’s really a pretty seminal album. Let’s dive in and talk about the inspiration and some of the themes. What do you think this album’s legacy is?

Brad:
The record covers a lot of ground musically and lyrically. Sturgeon and Ezra wrote the lyrics, but the topics were things we were all aware of and felt were of maximum importance to discuss/sing about. Still are. Not sure what the legacy is; that would be a question I should ask you.

Andrew:
We haven’t seen a new full-length record from Leftöver Crack since 2015 when you put out Constructs of the State. With all this downtime, can we hope for some new music soon?

Brad:
Yes! We’re sitting on a couple of records worth of new music that we’re trying to decide what to do with. Expect a new release soon, if not this year.

Andrew:
Leftöver Crack has a long history of clashing with the NYPD and venues. What are your thoughts on that? What do you feel you’ve been met with so much resistance? Why do some perpetually want to silence your message?

Brad:
We’ve always been pretty outspoken about our disdain for police brutality and oppression. Some directed at the NYPD specifically. So, it’s understandable they would have a problem with us, which is fine. More often than not, they end up taking it out on the venues or the kids. So, we’ve tried to scale it back in recent years for the sake of putting on a show that people can actually see and not get arrested at. Or having a venue shut down or fined because the cops had something personal against the band. Historically speaking, though, the police and Punk Rock have never been friends.

Image Credit: The Random Jess (All Photos Courtesy of Brad Logan)

Andrew:
I wanted to touch on the idea of “punk.” In your opinion, is it an ethos, an aesthetic, a lifestyle, or just simply a genre?

Brad:
Punk isn’t a style of music; it’s a way of life. It’s about freedom through embracing chaos and a realization of yourself amidst the futility of society. And it’s about not being boxed in. For me, at least.

Andrew:
Leftöver Crack is a band that has always spoken its mind and gotten its message out, regardless of reaction or consequence, which is commendable. Looking back, what is the lasting legacy of the band within the genre of Punk and beyond? What are your thoughts on what you’ve accomplished?

Brad;
I hope we’ve at least helped to push some ideas to the forefront of American consciousness. Ideas like gender, sexual, and racial equality, and an increased awareness of the corrupt forces that try to control our lives. We aren’t special though. We’re just writing about what we see.

Andrew;
Switching gears now. Touring is usually a huge part of a working musician’s proverbial machine, but as we know, COVID has disallowed it. What do you miss most about touring?

Brad:
I tour pretty much year-round in the trenches. It can be exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally. So, I’m pretty grateful for the time away right now. I miss my friends in other cities, though; I have some amazing people in my life. And I miss places where they have actual seasons. Haha. I live in California. We only have one.

(All Photos Courtesy of Brad Logan)

Andrew:
One disturbing fact I’ve learned over time is that streaming services don’t pay artists well, if at all. Meanwhile, Bandcamp seemingly goes out of its way to take care of its artist. What are your thoughts on that issue? How do we as fans do our part to help?

Brad:
Bandcamp is amazing. And I agree they take care of their artists. Spotify has its place too, but something has to change in regards to the crumbs they throw at their artists. One thing I notice is musicians have a hard time banding together. The competitive mindset is killing us, and everyone for themselves is just not gonna work. I think that’s what it would take to change things; a unified refusal to accept what’s going on. And a massive call to action backed by multiple “big artists,” not just a handful that are seemingly treated like spoiled brats. Fans have been awesome. I’ve met so many people during COVID times, and even before that, who understand the struggle and are willing to help any way they can. It blows my mind.

Andrew:
In a world dominated by big business and social media, can artists truly get ahead? How do we keep the playing field level so that everyone has a chance to succeed?

Brad:
I don’t know if there’s a way to level the playing field in that respect; maybe the thing to do is shift our ideas of what defines success.

Andrew:
Are you into records? Tapes? CDs? Digital? Where do you like to shop for music? What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Brad:
I admit I’m a slave to technology, so I do most of my listening digitally. I do own a bit of vinyl, and cassettes but I don’t listen to them much. I do all my shopping these days on Bandcamp or at gigs.

Andrew:
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ones that mean the most to you.

Brad:
Hmm… there are so many, really. The ones that come to mind now? The Germs, Discharge, Nausea, Born Against, The Stranglers, Killing Joke. Ummm, Black Sabbath, Bauhaus, Siouxsie, and the Banshees, The Doors, The Clash. Pretty typical, I suppose, but all chance takers. I do like a lot of Electronic, Drum and Bass, Pure Noise, and Metal, but most of the above names are pretty much the core of what I grew up on and, therefore permanently embedded in my psyche.

Andrew:
Last question. What advice would you have for artists just starting? How do they stay afloat in a world that seems to be so abhorrent to creatives?

Brad:
Advice? Stay away from showbiz! Strive to have your own identity. Take what’s out there and break it. Be who you are, and don’t base your worth on what others think of your music, art, writing. American society, at least, would have you believe artists are low on the ladder of life, but the opposite is true. Any great inventions or advancements in life have come from the creative types. And from people who seemingly couldn’t function in the “normal” world.

Fuck them, you rule! And above all keep it simple. 

Image Credit: Albert Licano (All Photos Courtesy of Brad Logan)

Interested in learning more about the work of Leftöver Crack? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.
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