.Seminal Punk/Jazz Group Victims Family Hosts Record Release this Friday

Due to the conflicting schedules of band members, Victims Family—Ralph Spight (vocals / guitar), Tim Solyan (drums), and Larry Boothroyd (bass)—it has become increasingly harder for its members to plan live shows.

With Spight playing all over with The Freak Accident, Solyan constantly touring abroad as a professional roadie (at present he is out with Liam Gallagher of Oasis fame), and Boothroyd teaching bass students while working furiously on his next Specimen Box project, Sonoma County fans will need to be patient while the chips fall into place.

In the interim, the band managed to record a new split EP with Portland’s own Nasalrod. The end result is a gorgeous 10-song offering featuring 5 songs from each band. Released by boutique record label Nadine Records on March 22, the ridiculously cool, limited edition gold swirl pressing has since sold out.

However, there are some equally beautiful other colored variants still available which will be sold in person by founding members Boothroyd and Spight at a listening party this Friday. 

We caught up with Larry Boothroyd to get the 411 and on all things VF-related.

Bohemian: Victims Family or Victim’s Family? This has always confused me.

Larry Boothroyd: We usually don’t use the apostrophe, even though it is grammatically correct, but it happens. Especially in the days of handmade Xeroxed flyers. We were happy just having both words spelled correctly. Sometimes people use The Victim’s Family as well, which we normally don’t, but we did take our name from a B. Kliban drawing with that name.

Bohemian: Word has it you have new material after a long drought. Do tell.  

Larry Boothroyd: We did a split LP with Nasalrod (PNW punk band). Five songs each. We had a thread going with both bands sharing the subject matter of each of our tracks, and discovered some common topics. We recorded with Phil Becker (Pins Of Light/ex-Triclops! drummer) at El Studio and Spit Stix recorded their side, so the record sounds amazing. We also have a super cool painting by Brian Nothing we picked out for the cover. 

Bohemian: You released a wonderful collection of songs on your own called ‘Specimen Box.’ Do you already have more songs ready for the next collection? 

Larry Boothroyd: Yes, a third one is in the works. A quick history: The first one was an 80-minute instrumental soundscape, built from really short pieces that were segued together. 114 people played on that one and it took 10 years to make. Right when the pandemic struck, Valley King Records offered to put it out. The process of having people from all over the world sending files perfectly prepared me for the lockdown, so a second one came together quickly. This time though, I wanted to have singers and more traditional song structures. I asked Brian Polk, the drummer for Joy Subtraction, to send me a drum track as if he was playing along to a song, which he did. That became the first song, as well as the method used for the whole album. Building songs from the drums up. No loops, no quantizing, no editing. The third one is using that same basic idea, but I’m hoping to shake things up a bit stylistically and instrumentation-wise. I can’t really reveal who’s involved yet, other than to mention that I’m reaching out to a lot of Sonoma County musicians. Some I’ve known since before we even learned our instruments, and others that I’ve encountered recently. I ran into some dude in downtown Santa Rosa who was surrounded by various horns and banjos and whatnot. He told me his first gig was opening for Freddy Fender at the El Rancho Tropicana in ’78. I grabbed his business card and hope to get him inlvolved.

Bohemian: Will VF ever entertain the idea of doing a full US tour again? 

Larry Boothroyd: Hmm. Seems unlikely, but you never know. We did a West Coast thing with Gibby (Haynes, frontman of Butthole Surfers) and the kids from Paul Green Rock Academy. There was talk of an East Coast version, but scheduling is a bitch. Plus my cat would never go for it.

Bohemian: What was your favorite VF touring moment? Least?

Larry Boothroyd: Oh man, so many great memories. Overall, I’m just grateful that we were able to go so many places and really connect with people all over. We experienced a full range of treatment, from starving and crashing on filthy floors to staying at boutique hotels, playing sold out shows to playing to empty rooms, in no particular order. The ‘White Bread Blues’ tours were pretty epic. I found an old itinerary recently. We did a full 6-8 weeks in Europe, came back for a US tour that started with a bunch of shows with Nomeansno, a few with Alien Boys, and a couple with Plaid Retina. When we got to the East Coast, we flew back to Europe to play a couple festivals and some shows with Snuff, flew back to the East Coast and headed south for some shows with Coffin Break in Florida, and then through the Southwest and back home!

Our worst tour was definitely the US tour in ’87. Quick recap: Got as far as Fresno before having to replace the engine in the van, canceled some Arizona shows to get that done, and got everything ripped off in Oklahoma (including our booking information). The booker responsible for the whole East Coast dropped the ball, leaving us to scramble to find shows. We got kicked out of Canada for a year and lost some shows with Nomeansno and Ralph (Victims Family singer) and I gave blood in Lansing, MI just to make $8 each. And when we finally decided to give up and go home after 3 months on the road, the van died in Nevada, so our roadie and I had to take a bus home, leaving Ralph and Devon (original Victims Family drummer) behind. I left out a bunch of stuff, but even a crappy tour like that had its moments. We played with Bomb, Scratch Acid, Corrosion of Conformity, Honor Role, Adrenaline OD, and 76% Uncertain to name a few. Plus, we saw Butthole Surfers and followed them back to their hotel, only to be rebuffed, met GWAR, borrowed a PA from Doc Dart, and visited Graceland.

Bohemian: Can we expect new Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine music anytime soon?

Larry Boothroyd: There are some songs that didn’t make it onto the ‘Tea Party Revenge Porn’ release, so hopefully we’ll get to do something with those.

Bohemian: What new (er) bands that are turning you?

Larry Boothroyd: Tim and I went to see Otoboke Beaver (from Japan), who were absolutely mind-blowing. Two other bands that I’ve recently gotten into are Igorrr and Polyphia. Holy cow, that is some next level stuff going on there! I like how every generation seems to have a higher jumping off point, and more references under their belt. Genres are melting together.

Bohemian: What are your favorite VF songs to play live?

Larry Boothroyd: I’m not sure I could pick 3. We have over 100 songs, which is one reason, but it’s not so much about which song is being played for me. My favorite moments are when the sound is just right, the audience is returning the energy, and it feels almost like I’m hovering over the stage, watching it happen without any thought or effort.

Check out the new Victims Family / Nasalrod split EP, “In The Modern Meatspace,” at their free-to-the-public listening party at 7 pm, Friday, March 29 at The Next Record Store located at 1899 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. Drinks and snacks will be provided. All ages are welcome. 


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