If you’re seeking someone who has punk rock running through their veins then you should look no further than Morat, frontman of Vegas-based punk rockers Soldiers of Destruction, a man who lives and breathes punk rock, has spent many years as a writer for Kerrang magazine, and counts metal icon Lemmy as one of his best friends.
Having recently released their longtime coming debut album, Cause And Effect (read our recent review), we sat down with Morat to hear about some of his favourite stories and memories. Unsurprisingly, there were plenty from which to choose. Here are five.
1. Getting Banned from The 100 Club
“We played there, god knows how many times, but when we headlined there we got banned from ever playing there again. Basically, we got there for soundcheck and we were too drunk to be on stage for the main gig. By the time we got to play, we were just fucking hammered and fighting the audience and fighting on and off stage and we were just terrible. We had played twice in that state and never again. You don’t learn though. Well, I never did back then but now, I’ve learned not to do that. I like a couple of drinks before I go on but not to the extent where there was no gig.
“The other one we played that in that state, I got into a fight with a soundman because I thought we sounded like shit and he told us we did. Although we got banned from ever playing the 100 Club ever again, years later, our second drummer from way back in the day, saved the 100 Club. He was the dude that bailed it out. He ended up being Head of Converse and gave them a ton of money. Now the ban is lifted and they’d like us to come back and play again. Surprisingly.”
2. Violence, Burned Out Venues and the Isle of Wight
“There was a gig we played on the Isle of Wight, which is the only gig we’d ever done out of town. We were actually supposed to be playing up north, but we got there and the first venue didn’t advertise anything, so we sold just one ticket and that got cancelled. The second venue we got to had been burned to the ground so we just fucked off home again. I don’t even think we went to the third venue? We played on the Isle of White with GBH and the Test Tube Babies. We’re on our way down there and the band were going on about how it was going to be fucking terrible because it’s like old age pensioners and shit. I grew up there so I knew it was gonna be rough. It’s going to be violent. There’s nothing to do there so you put on a gig and the punks go, the skinheads go, the bikers go, the mods go. They all hate each other so it is going to kick off.
“Sure as shit, by the end of the night the skinheads had taken the scaffolding down at the front of the stage and were belting people about with it. At one point, I’m sitting in the dressing room with GBH and it’s got these plywood walls and the wall comes through literally when some dude comes flying backwards covered in claret and shit. So yeah, that was a fun one. I had to get back to London the next day to sign on.”
3. My Friend Lemmy and Public Speaking
“Lemmy was a friend of mine for 35 years. Early on I got sent out to Copenhagen because I’d threatened to quit the magazine. I wanted something fucking real, you know? So I suggested that I go on tour with Motorhead and try and keep up with them. What a stupid man. Basically, I didn’t. I didn’t have as much speed as he did but I interviewed him three times. I couldn’t remember doing the first one. He had so much patience though, you know, but, yeah, at one point I had left the tape running and I remember listening back to it and it was like the Blair Witch Project. I was so drunk.
“I should mention that it’s partly Lemmy’s doing that the band even got back together again because, when he died, I was asked to speak at his funeral. The thing is that, during the intervening years, I kind of developed a complete fear of public speaking. If somebody asked me to speak at a funeral, I’d say I can’t do that. They said to me that we were best friends and I’d be letting him down if I didn’t. So I get in there and look at the audience and see Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Dave Grohl, and Rob Halford so, you know, no pressure there.
Then, just before I went on, they told me it’s going out on live stream and a quarter of a million people are watching. I’d had a couple of drinks but, you know, I didn’t say anything that profound, it was just from the heart and all that sort of stuff. After you’ve done that, I said to myself that I can be in a punk band and play to a bar full of people in Las Vegas no problem.”
4. How I Accidently Ended Up Living in Compton, Los Angeles
“The funny story would be living in Compton for a year which is a complete accident because we didn’t know where we were moving to. There was basically an artists’ loft available and we needed space as I do photography and my wife builds stage props. As we’re moving in, the cops turned up and asked what we were doing. We told them we were moving in and they laughed and they asked us if we knew where we were. We told them we didn’t and they told us we were in South Central and would have about a week before we were dead. So we fuckin’ moved in.
“Funnily enough, the only problems I had were from the cops. I had a red mohawk and I was supposed to have a blue one so all the local gang members thought I was a funny as fuck white boy you know? They would do all these cockney accents. The dude in the local liquor store was always asking me to tell him about the Second World War. Like, I’m not that fuckin’ old. Every time I went out of the door I’d end up in handcuffs. The cops came to the building one day, because there was a burnt-out car on the street outside and they wanted to know if the cameras on the building work. I told them they’d have to speak to the landlord and they asked if we’d had any trouble around here and I told them only from you lot.
“It stopped after that as they realized I wasn’t buying drugs and they were just arresting the same white, English punk rocker. At one point I’m bent over a cop car and they asked me what I was doing. I pointed to a Hello Kitty sofa across the road in a shop and told them I was buying that for my wife as a Christmas present. So, I’m bent over this car, handcuffs on and one of them says, ‘why don’t you buy her some Hello Kitty lingerie as well?’… err, why don’t you take the fucking handcuffs off? I couldn’t have been more innocent if I tried.”
5. 24-Hour Partying Las Vegas Style
“The Vegas stories all kind of blur into one because Vegas is definitely a 24-hour place. Like it doesn’t really sink in until you leave the bar and it’s daylight and it’s 100 degrees outside. We’ve got this Halloween thing a couple of years back and I’m talking to this girl and her boyfriend, just fuckin’ hanging out. He said he’d come and see the band. I didn’t know he’s a cop. He’s actually not anymore. He quit because, basically, he went viral on YouTube because he made an arrest using Ju-Jitsu. He got so much shit from the police about it. You weren’t using the correct techniques, and you didn’t tase him or shoot him so he quit?
“Anyways, yeah, he came to see us a couple of times and I started to realize he was a cop until the next time he comes in uniform with his mate. I said to him, ‘you can’t fucking do that, we’re playing in a punk rock bar.’ He’d be in the middle of the pit in his uniform and you can’t really do that because you’re kind of putting everyone off. Even though he was one of the good ones, rare I know, but it’s still kind of a no-turning-up in uniform, to say the least, plus people could have thought he was a male stripper. Also, let’s face it, some of our lyrics are not entirely in favour of the police.”