Bullet Treatment: The Interview

Our continuing journey to let all of you know that it’s ok to listen to loud music too, takes us to Bullet Treatment.  BT are the world’s only punk supergroup, with an ever changing cast of characters surrounding their founder Chuck Dietrich.  Their latest single Designated Vol. 1, includes members of Rise Against, Anti-Flag and Swingin Utters among others.

Matt from The Bronx has been a frequent contributor on their albums, which exhibit all the rage and energy of the best west coast punk bands of the 80’s.  Chuck also runs Basement Records where he runs one of the few labels that keeps the punk aesthetic alive.

Chuck was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk about BT, the state of punk and the his label.

TDOA: Bullet Treatment has had dozens of people play on record. How did this come to be and how do you pull together a tour?

Chuck – Well first thing is we’ve never really done a extensive tour, we’ve played a few shows here and there and some in consecutive nights but nothing I would consider your traditional tour. As far as getting people together, I just had this idea a few years back that I wanted to do a project/band but didn’t want to deal with all the typical B.S. and politics that go into a band. The best way to do it was for everyone to know coming in that we’re all here to have fun and play music that we enjoy but I’m calling the shots. It’s one of those situations where if everyone knows what they’re getting into then they can all the do their own thing and not worry about anything and have a blast. I also knew what style I wanted to write and record and a lot of bands in this genre tend to sound similar so changing people around on every release would add a freshness to it no matter how generic something may seem. Everything I do is on purpose being
It confuses the hell out of people as to who’s on which record or playing one note 5 different ways in one song. haha

TDOA: We’ve tried to mix interviews with old school people like Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks and newer bands like yourselves and The Bronx. The biggest difference is that newer, genuinely punk bands like yourselves are surrounded by self proclaimed “pop punk” bands like Blink-182. Does it frustrate you to see these farcical bands plastered all over MTV and making millions while real punks like yourselves still struggle to find a larger audience?

Chuck – No, none of that shit bothers me, they do what they do. I don’t worry about what someone else does or says. I always stick to my guns and do what I think is right. There are many other things that are more rewarding then just a royalty check (as nice as that is). I’ve been way more stoked when I get an email from someone in the UK or Australia or Canada, Mexico, etc. etc. saying that Bullet Treatment is the shit that gets them through the day. I just got done framing a letter a kid sent me from Georgia a few years back, he took the time to right a two page thank you letter to me about the band and the music, that is as important as any check or certificate I’ve ever received. Impacting someone else’s life is a million times more rewarding then a piece of paper with some numbers on it.

TDOA: At what point do you think punk became more of a fashion statement rather than a musical or political statement?

Chuck – I think punk has always had a fashion statement from the very beginning that was part of being punk, which of course got totally out of hand, people started thinking you had to be “that way” to be punk which is total bullshit. Once you start telling people what “they’re supposed to do” it’s totally contradictory to the idea of punk. If you think about it, go to a show and look around, you’ll see 100 kids with yellow hair and some dude with a hat and glasses that looks like Milo. That dude is way more punk then the other 100 because he has his own identity not what he thinks he should be.

TDOA: Can you tell us about the new BT release “Designated Vol. 1? It’s a brilliant concept! Where did the idea to try this come from? Any plans for a new album?

Chuck – It’s about thinking outside the box, why not just try it?  I have tons of other ideas that people would probably shit if they heard. But it just popped in my head about 3 of 4 years ago. It took awhile to come to fruition but eventually the stars aligned. The one thing I kept beating myself in the head with was trying to write a song that could be universal enough to have a variety of singers, which of course wasn’t working out because I was over-thinking it. I scrapped all the ideas musically I had came up with, sat down and wrote this song in about 15 minutes (typical BT style of writing). I’m actually already working on vol. 2, and should be starting vol. 3 very soon. Each record will still have the same music but different singers and will all be 7”/downloads only. I do plan on writing another full length very soon too, just not sure about the line-up.

TDOA: Tell us how your label’s doing? What bands have you released lately that you’re excited about.

Chuck – Well I started Basement Records about 8 years ago and  I’m really excited about all the bands I release. The next record coming up is a release by THE SCARRED, they’re a great band out of Long Beach, really stoked on that. After that should be the Bullet Treatment “Designated vol 2”. The last few releases by VULTURES UNITED, THE INSURGENCE & KILLING CALIFORNIA were all really great. We’re going to start the new KILLING CALIFORNIA record pretty soon as well, Matt from The BRONX is going to be producing it, of course you probably know the tie between him and I through Bullet Treatment. All great bands everyone should check out.

TDOA: You’ve referenced the importance of 80’s hardcore bands on you. Is there a band that you never got a chance to see, that you regret?

Chuck – The only band I wish I could have seen was Minor Threat. I’ve seen pretty much all of my other favorites like the Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, Suicidal Tendencies, Angry Samoans, and my all time fav. the Ramones. I got to see them about 30 times, after you saw the Ramones nobody else really mattered. Haha.  They were truly life changing.

TDOA: With the ties to so many great bands, have you ever considered putting together your own package tour and showing folks that punk really isn’t dead?

Chuck- That idea has been thrown around a couple of times, I’ve had promoters & booking agents ask to book Bullet Treatment with the Bronx but I don’t think that would be fair to Matt. Thomas from Strike Anywhere mentioned about trying to maybe do something, there’s just so many logistics that would have to go into it I don’t know that it would ever be possible. It would be a hell of a lot of fun, but who knows. I think if we could put together a RISE AGAINST, BRONX, STRIKE ANYWHERE, BULLET TREATMENT tour people might go. Maybe?

For more information about Bullet Treatment and Basement Records, follow the bouncing ball here:



~ by toddc2001 on April 18, 2009.

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