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By Sharla Cartner

Kamikaze Test Pilots

UK-based band Kamikaze Test Pilots tell us about their homeland, Zimbabwe;
how Jimbo (ex-Loki) came to be a Kamikaze Test Pilot,
and music plans for the 2009!


Kamikaze Test Pilots

Punk Globe: In what year did you leave Zimbabwe?

Beans: Martin (bassist) was the first to leave in 2000, but Wes (Drummer) and myself left in 2001.

Punk Globe: How bad was it there before you left?

Beans: It was about a year on from when the land invasions started.
I think about 35 farmers had been shot and killed, one of them was a mate's dad. Things like petrol were becoming scarce and queues
were starting up. Government-sponsored press and newspapers
were becoming increasingly hostile towards the then newly formed opposition and any supporters; police roadblocks were increasingly commonplace, even in the suburbs of Harare. We tried to keep a stiff upper lip for a time, people would have 'barbies' in the back of pickup trucks whilst they were waiting to get fuel to keep their spirits up. But it gets real old real fast, and after a while, I got fed up with the same old racist language in the papers and on TV; and having to queue for fuel, and having my salary eroded just so the government could print more money to pay for things they couldn't justify, like brand new Mercs; and a second Jeep Cherokee for parliamentarians, so they could visit their constituencies in the rural areas, who had nothing. There's corruption everywhere, but I was sickened by the way it was flaunted. We were getting our noses rubbed in it so to speak.

Punk Globe: How difficult was the decision to make to leave your homeland?

Beans: I remember making my decision when a beer jumped to $100.00 a bottle. Drinking's becoming unaffordable, time to leave!
The decision itself wasn't too hard. Salaries were becoming worthless, and I had never been to the UK, this fabled place where your money was actually worth something and everything worked! It was kinda exciting.

Punk Globe: How has that experience in your lives influenced your music?

Beans: It's the motherlode lyric-wise for anything angry. Rant at the government, that's what they're there for! And they make it so easy.

Kamikaze Test Pilots

Punk Globe: I love "Kumusha," tell me what is this song is about?

Beans: It's a call to everyone to stop fighting amongst themselves and take a look around at what is happening and do something about it. Stand up and be counted.

Punk Globe: Obviously Zimbabwe is still important to you, as anyone can hear the African tribal music influence in your music. Do you someday want to move back there to live?

Beans: Someday. When the bitterness goes away and things settle down, although I admit I may be waiting for a long time!

Punk Globe: How did Jimbo (ex-Loki) come about joining Kamikaze Test Pilots?

Beans: We had played with Loki on a number of occasions on the local Reading circuit, and I had always been impressed by Jim's guitar skills, as well as his dreads and boisterous manner. Anyway we got chatting one night after a gig, and he was drunk and telling me how much he liked the band. Fast forward a few months and we were in between guitarists, and he offered to help us out until we found a replacement, and then decided he wanted to be a permanent member. Loki split up after a few months of sharing him and now he's a full on member.

Punk Globe: What kind of musical influence has Jimbo (ex-Loki) bought to the band?

Beans: He is pretty useful as a guitarist, he outstrips me anyway, which is good enough for me. He also sings live, which adds a lot to the performance. He's come up with some brilliant ideas and I have found it quite easy to write stuff with him. We get along and we're mates. That's what counts.

Punk Globe: Ok, the name -- Kamikaze Test Pilots -- how did this come to be?

Beans: Quite a while ago, we had a standalone vocalist when Wes and I first formed the band. We were trading e-mails and I came up with it. It was originally dismissed as too long, but I put my foot down and it stayed!

Punk Globe: What was your lifestyle like in Zimbabwe?

Beans: Growing up there was awesome! My dad worked on mines as an electrician and we moved every five years or so. My folks decided it was probably best we went to boarding school, so from the ages of five to eighteen, Wes and I were institutionalized, so to speak. Wake up to a bell, eat to a bell, learn to a bell, play to a bell, sleep to a bell! But during the holidays we were pretty much free to roam around hunting, fishing, bike riding. A lot of freedom!

Kamikaze Test Pilots

Punk Globe: What are your feelings on the situation in Zimbabwe?

Beans: I keep tabs on Zim every day and just hope for the end to this madness sooner rather than later. I can't fathom what everyday life is like. No money, and if you have money, you have to spend it as soon as possible, or it will become worthless.
I hear now that a lot of shops and traders aren't accepting the local currency and certain sectors are striking so that they can
be paid in foreign currency. It's crazy. A very different place to what I left.

Punk Globe: What is the one thing you miss the most about Zimbabwe?

Beans: The sunshine!

Punk Globe: Tell us what are the musical plans for Kamikaze Test Pilots this year?

Beans: We're currently recording our next EP, which may turn into a full length album, but we'll see about that. And to keep playing until our arms drop off! The more people that hear us, the better!

Punk Globe: Any tour plans?

Beans: We're always on tour!

Punk Globe: What can we expect from a live performance?

Beans: We are pretty energetic, constantly smiling and having fun on stage, with Wes a blur behind us. I can say that we are arguably the loudest band in Reading, thanks to him!

Punk Globe: What band past or present would you like to tour with?

Beans: In terms of sheer antics, I would have to say Motley Crue. I wouldn't be able to keep up with them but they would be funny to watch!

Kamikaze Test Pilots

Punk Globe: Ok, your watching a cricket game who are you cheering for England or Zimbabwe?

Wes: One day or test? If it's a test, it'll have to be England. On
a one dayer, it'll have to be Zimbabwe. I remember seeing a chicken farmer get four or five wickets against England!!

England! You don't crap where you eat!

Punk Globe: What inspires you?

Beans: Beer, chips and dip.

Punk Globe: You have a one minute with the world leaders of today what would you say to them?

Beans: Get back to work!

Just ignore the old man in the corner.. First question?

Punk Globe: "Into the Sun" is a brilliant EP, tell us what to expect off your next release?

Beans: It's going to be a little more edgy in places, both lyrically and musically, with a bit more balls. The collection of songs are going to be just as good, possibly better than the previous lot and have had some really great responses live.

Punk Globe: OK, convince Punk Globe readers to buy your music?

Beans: Buy "Into The Sun" now or the cat gets it!

Its 3 quid....

Punk Globe: Thank you ever so much, and I hope you decide going with a full length LP this year!

Beans: No, thank you!

Kamikaze Test Pilots

Sharla Cartner

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