Interview with Darrel Wojick of Harrington Saints punk oi band
Band Interviews

INTERVIEW: With Darrel Wojick of Harrington Saints | Hints of UK Tour & More

The Daily Tune: You just released 1000 lbs. of Oi in May, how has the response been to the new album so far in comparison to previous albums?

Darrel: Way better than the last albums because it IS way better. We haven’t gotten a full quarters statement yet. I mean we got the first sales statement but it was only a half quarter but it already looks promising and we’re getting the radio play now. We’re getting this in large part due to the people that work for the record label, they are really just killing it right now. Promoting it and we are actually getting way more airplay than we’ve ever gotten before.

The Daily Tune: So, pirates press actually has the promoters now?

Darrel: They actually have a network on the label side hooked up so when something comes out it’s being worked properly. We’ve been with them since the early days so we’re the oldest band on now that is still working.

The Daily Tune: How does that make you feel? Accomplished?

Darrel: Old, but that’s good though. Accomplished, exactly. (laughter) They can’t get rid of us!

The Daily Tune: As long as you keep producing.

Darrel: Yeah, exactly! You know they’re just like, you guys just wrote a great album. Everything has gotten better and better over the years. It’s been 14 years now and you guys are getting better. That’s kind of not the norm.

The Daily Tune: So, I’ve noticed that your style is consistent but it has just steadily progressed over the years.

Darrel: Yeah, and I think it’s come with adding a bit more diversity. There are people adding a little more influence now. In the early days I just wrote it all. I’m not the best guitar player in world. It’s just good to let the other guys do stuff now. Just like with this last record our lead guitar player wrote a huge portion now and he had never been a main writer before and I think a lot of it is that everybody has their role and nobody feels like their role is lesser than the next guy. I think that’s what has allowed the chemistry improve over time.

The Daily Tune: My favorite songs off of the new album are “State Of Emergency” and the title track, “1000 lbs of Oi!” that’s just a catchy track. With “State Of Emergency” I think the use of the piano was a great touch, I really liked it.

Darrel: There is a ton of 80’s synthesizer underneath, you don’t hear it as much as feel it and it adds a lot of warmth to it. That was the thing that I was thinking, Okay, people might freak out on this but a lot of people didn’t even pick up on it, even reviewers didn’t really pick up on. I was really surprised. 

The Daily Tune: So, towards the end you really pick up on the piano of course and then you play it again and pick up on something else and every time you play it back you find more of these details that went into the track.

Darrel: Yeah, I think the sound now and the recording of that record took forever but it was worth it because there are layers like an onion, it’s not just two dimensional. The song writing has got better and progressing and we are getting better in the studio. We found other people that we work with better in the studio and we take more time.

The Daily Tune: Having a studio that will allow you to do your thing and not try to rush you out the door like a lot of these studios makes a big difference.

Darrel: Yeah, we spend more money and we just lock it down for a weekend and just kind of go nuts.

The Daily Tune: What would you say is your favorite track on this album that has the most meaning?

Darrel: Actually, State Of Emergency and Broken Windows. We had to lobby a little for that one to make the record actually because it’s kind of about that Milo (Yiannopoulos) guy to speak at Berkeley. The students said we’re not having this, you’re not bringing this neo-Nazi dude on campus and there was a riot. It’s basically about all of the broken windows and all the media concentrates on is the property damage. That goes to show you that basically the police are there just to protect the property and the higher ups.

Yeah, the media was like, Windows were broken there and there was damage done to the school. That school charges kids thirty thousand dollars a year to go to school there. I don’t really feel that bad for them. Yeah, bricks were thrown but a fascist was sent packing home.

I think it’s worth it. I bet those kids learned way more that week then they did that whole year.  So that’s what that song is about.

The Daily Tune: What was life like growing up and what got you involved in the punk scene?

Darrel: I grew up in kind of a cow town in the central coast of California and we had one really cool record store where we would all eventually shop at. My buddy’s older brothers used to shop there and they would just buy cool looking records and bring them home. So, we would play those records and I remember very distinctly the day when I was listening to Ozzy Osborne and stuff like that too when the needle dropped on a blitz record right. Nothing was ever going to be the same after that, it was over.

I was about 13 and nothing has really changed. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but nothing has changed. I got really into a lot of the UK bands and we got to see a lot of them when they would come up from L.A., they would always try to do one show north of Santa Barbara and that was our area. I saw great bands, I saw Discharge on their early tours, I saw GBH all the time, I saw Social Distortion like every six months. So we had the great SoCal stuff and then we got to see all the cool British bands as well.

The Daily Tune: How did Harrington Saints come together?

Darrel: I had just moved back from a short stint in Seattle and I started jamming with both guitar players, I played bass on a few of our first records but, we were just jamming then and then I pretty much just said to my roommate at the time who is our lead guitar player, do you want to play music? He just said, yeah, I trust that you will write cool stuff that won’t be hokey. Then we got our rhythm guitar player and he still says to this day that he never joined anything, he was conscripted. 

It’s probably true, I was like, you’re playing guitar, I’m playing bass and you’re playing guitar. Practice at my house on Tuesday. I was like, we aren’t really going to do anything, we’re just gonna play some local shows and have fun.

So, it was a bit more rock n roll, punk rock but I was getting back into listening to Oi and our rhythm guitar player, he was listening to Oi and he was turning me on to other bands. I thought, maybe I’ll do an Oi band on the side, nobody was doing that at the time the time, nobody will like us, we won’t be able to play anywhere. They were like, well if you want to play music more like The Business and stuff like that, we’re more down with that then what we’re doing right now. So, I said, oh okay, let’s just do this then. It wasn’t and we always a couple drummers and finally got a drummer. Then in 2009 I put the bass down and we got Duece on bass and it’s all original now. 

The Daily Tune: How often are you guys traveling now?

Darrel: We don’t travel too often because some of us have kids now and we Americans don’t get a lot of vacation time. Our European counterparts are appalled by how little time off we get. We try to do weekenders like this as we can. We only do a few local shows a year and there and we try to do more weekenders like these. We go to Canada a lot because we have a lot of support up there and a good following. We have people out there that will help us out, setup shows, pick us up from the airport and lend us gear, so we do Canada a lot.

We actually haven’t gone on an actual tour since 2017. We haven’t announced it yet, but we’re going to the UK in May and we will be playing some festivals out there. We’ve never been a huge touring band but we’ve also never stopped, a lot of bands just stop for a while. Honestly, we play Canada and Europe more than we play in America.

The Daily Tune: What is the most embarrassing moment that you have had while performing? I have interview a few bands that have admitted to shitting themselves on stage, anything like that.

Darrel: (Laughter) No! Nothing like that! You know, it’s a real thing call “the tour shits” and it has a lot to do with the booze and the poor diet and the constant movement, even when you’re in the van, your constantly moving. So, there is a thing called the tour shits but there is also a thing called Imodium and if it wasn’t for Imodium then I’m sure that we would shit ourselves too. (laughter)

I honestly don’t know of anything too embarrassing that has happened, I don’t get embarrassed to easily. There have maybe been a few times when I have forgotten entire verses before and I just look at the guitar player and just say, I don’t know man, I’m lost. Apparently, I fell off the stage in Edinburgh, Scotland but there are also accounts that say I was pulled off stage. I don’t feel so bad about that but my back still hurts and that was about 6 years ago.

Hopefully nothing happens like that here but I have had a few chipped teeth and all that from being the lead singer. More war wounds than anything, nothing embarrassing just physical pain.

The Daily Tune: What’s your favorite venue to play?

Darrel: Overall, that’s hard to say. The show we played in Edinburgh for the Rebellion fest We have played it twice now and it is always fantastic. as always. We played it this band. We played it twice. The rebellion fest is always fantastic. I think opening for Cock Sparrer in San Francisco in 2009 was our first huge show where we were like, Holy shit, this is happening! Opening for Rancid at the Warfield, which is like our equivalent of Madison Square Garden in San Francisco. That was another holy shit moment.

There’s this smaller venue called Wild At Heart in Berlin that we’ve played on every tour. It’s just a small club and it’s very well-known, it’s just like their version of CBGB’s.  The people who run it are fucking great and they treat you great and it’s always fun. So, there’s those little gems you know, all over the place. There’s a place called the Palomino in Calgary Alberta, it’s a smokehouse as well and they feed you after so it’s like some of the best band food ever.

The Daily Tune: Have you been able to catch many football matches while you were in Europe?

Darrel: I actually did get to catch a St. Pauli game one year while we were on tour and it was absolutely fantastic. It was a regular season game, second division and they were playing a rival team and it was so load. The stadium holds like twenty-three thousand people and it was one of the best if not, the best sporting event that I have ever been to.

The Daily Tune: What can we expect to see from Harrington Saints in the future?

Darrel: We don’t really know. We’re kind of taking it year by year right now. Thousand pounds of Oi is the only thing for a while.

The Daily Tune: Maybe a live album while you’re on tour?

Darrel: We actually we recorded at Wild At Heart in Berlin I just mentioned. We recorded in 2017 I want to say, a live record and it is kinda sorta in the works. It’s kind of been on the back burner for a long time. So, I mean maybe that might roll in well with the upcoming UK tour.

The Daily Tune: At the point of where you guys are at, it’s feels natural that we should see a live album coming soon. I’m sure that a lot of people would be excited to see that come out soon.

The Daily Tune: What advice do you have for any young musicians that are looking to follow in your footsteps?

Darrel: Get a job. We were just talking about this the other day, there’s the saying that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Well if there’s something you really want to do, say that you want to be in a band, go join a band and goo up play and then play some more. And then after a thousand times you’re going to find that you don’t work after that.

The Daily Tune: Was there a tipping point for you guys or a great moment that made you feel like you had been successful?

Darrel: I think the first couple of road tours and when you go back, you’re like oh, Okay. Like early on it was the first time you flew to a show, you think, this is crazy! We used to get in the van a lot but I just don’t like getting in the van anymore. So, the first show you fly the show and then like the third time you fly to a show you know. Then the third time going on tour and then the second or third time on tour in Europe.

We had to go somewhere and there’s people who you don’t know if they speak your language, it’s not their first language if they do but they know the lyrics to your songs! We got to this underground Pub in the Czech Republic and most kids know the words of the song and we’re just like, yeah! Everywhere we go in the world it will be like at least 30 punks and skins that know us and will come to see us. That is a crazy, fun and exciting thing to wrap your head around. It may only be 30 people but that’s 30 people you don’t even know. You just stepped off a plane in a place you have never been and you probably don’t even speak the language and they know who you are when you walk in the door. That’s how I measure success.

The Daily Tune: That’s incredible. That’s got to be the best feeling.

Darrel: Yeah, after the gig I said, you guys really knew the words. They’re like yeah, yeah.

The Daily Tune: Seriously, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us.

Darrel: Thank you man. It was my pleasure.

Check out all the latest from Harrington Saints and Pirates Press Records here!