Interview: Wattie Buchan

The Exploited exploded into existence in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1979, representing the hardcore end of the second wave of British punk rock music. With songs like “Punks Not Dead”, “I Believe in Anarchy”, and “Dogs of War”, The Exploited chanted and ranted about a chaotic world through a punk rock lens. Notable recordings include their first EP, Army Life (1980), their first album, Punks Not Dead,(1981), Troops of Tomorrow (1982), and Let’s Start a War… (Said Maggie One Day) (1983) – the “Maggie” here is Margaret Thatcher, and the war is the Falklands War.

Singer Wattie Buchan has been the only constant presence in The Exploited since they formed. This interview with Wattie was for a preview article for for the concert by The Exploited at the Majestic Ventura Theater on 5/17/19. It was done by email, with answered received on 4/30/19.

Jeff Moehlis: Is it fair to say “punk’s not dead” as long as Wattie Buchan is still out there?

Wattie Buchan: Punk is about real social issues so Punk will always be here. It has nothing to do if I am still playing, although I said 40 years ago it was not dead, as most people thought it was just another fashion. But, as we proved, it’s not!

JM: What do you think the role of punk rock is in today’s world, and how is it different from the role of punk rock when The Exploited first started out as a band?

WB: Well, Punk is angry music, and nowadays a lot of what people call punk just isn’t. You have so many people trying to split it up with pop punk, etc. Then you have bands like Green Day which is fuck all to do with Punk whatsoever.

When we started everything was chaos and destruction and violence, and I was always in trouble as I was always at the front of it. Or, as I would call it, standing up for myself and not taking shit from anybody! It didn’t really help that I was always out my face!

JM: What are your reflections on the first Exploited album, Punks Not Dead?

WB: It was a very important album, even to this day, as that was the rallying call for all the punks that really believed in punk as a way of rebellion, and to stand up to the system. Back in the 80’s, when we started, there was so much poverty and anger, and that was reflected in this album, and thousands of people could relate to this album.

JM: How did your approach evolve for the next albums, Troops of Tomorrow and Let’s Start A War?

WB: Troops of Tomorrow is another classic punk album of its time. We had a proper producer for this album and it also was a massive hit.

Let’s Start A War was more back to a harder thrasher punk sound, which we recorded in a studio owned by Crass, although they had it in their friend’s name as they always preached about not wanting to make money and it was everything they were meant to be against. But they were full of shit.

JM: You performed the song “Dead Cities” on Top of the Pops. What was that experience like?

WB: Pretty strange, but we’d never ever seen punk bands on TV so we decided to do it, although some punks got upset, but fuck them. We are a punk band and we do what we want, not what other people want us to do.

The BBC had hundreds of complaints after we played which I thought was funny, but we also made a lot of kids happy with us playing Top of the Pops and their parents angry – LOL!!

JM: According to the internet, The Exploited performed in Goleta, California on Feb 12, 1983, which I believe was at the end of the band’s first North American tour. Do you remember anything about that show?

WB: Nope, I was always too out my face.

JM: What stands out to you about The Exploited’s first tour of North America?

WB: How crazy it was. Really mental times. How different it was from the UK. We made loads of new friends and also had lots of fights against Nazi skinheads at the time. We were getting paid like 10 dollars a day, and we never made any money as we were just happy having a great time and gigging in the USA, as it was a big thing for us at the time. We were all young and loving life. The total Chaos that was touring – brilliant, really. Chaos is my life!

JM: How do you respond to people who say that you’re a racist and/or a Nazi?

WB: It makes me laugh as we have over 250,000 on Facebook who know different, and the many millions more who have seen us and met us know we aren’t at all. The people who say this are idiots, clowns, keyboard warriors. Where do you want me to start? I have had more fights against Nazis than any of these cunts will ever have, IF ANY AT ALL!

Just a quick thing to explain why it’s no point trying to talk to these clowns, as it’s already been explained many times. Anyway, we’ve done a gig with Body Count and Ice T, and we got a photo done with both bands. These keyboard warriors who have no brains tried to say the picture was photoshopped and that Ice T would never do a gig with us. This is type of people who I just laugh at, really fucking clowns!

So getting back to your question what do I say to these people? FUCK OFF, come and say this shit to my face!

JM: What advice would you give to an aspiring musician?

WB: No matter what anybody says to you, like trying to put you down or say that you’re shit, just ignore them and do what you want to do. As long as you enjoy what you do, then do it. Playing in a band and getting people that like your music is the best thing you can experience. Look at The Exploited – people used to say we were just a shit punk band, but who is laughing now, eh!

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future? Any new recordings in the works?

WB: We have just started back doing gigs as we never did any for 6 months as I was waiting for a heart pacemaker, which I got 5 months ago. So depending on my health, we will see what happens, as I have had 5 heart attacks and a heart bypass 4 years ago. But, just like punk, I am still alive.

So anyway, we are coming to the USA in 2 weeks time. We have a lot of great songs- well, music written, but I need to put lyrics to the songs. Then we will see what happens as I want to do a new album before I die.



No comments for “Interview: Wattie Buchan”

Post a comment