Henry Fiat's Open Sore

I first heard Henry Fiat's Open Sore sometime during the summer of 1999. I believe it was the "Headshots" EP, and of course I was floored. I had avoided the band's records for some reason before that, mainly because I thought the name sounded like some bad crust hardcore or something. Now I realize the name makes perfect sense, and they are more diabolical than any hardcore band could hope to be. A careening attack vehicle with feet placed all over the rock'n'roll map, I was immediately intrigued by a band that sounded to me alot like the early Damned, one of my all-time favorites. Plus, they manage to hail from Sweden, yet have absolutely nothing to do with the big-rock wankery happening over there. They seemed misanthropic, anti-social, dangerous, and quite mad. And they wore masks and suits, and their records all looked really cool as well as sounding amazing. The band has released a steady stream of sonic bloodshed, predominantly on Euro imprints like KenRock, Wrench, and their own Repo Recordings, with domestic full-lengths put out by Coldfront Records and Raw Deluxe for the hungry American fans. HFOS need to be heard, as words don't possibly do their relentless and humorous sound justice. I recently had a chance to chat to the man with the open sore himself, the one and only Sir Henry Fiat.

TB: How long have HFOS been together? How did you guys meet/form? Were you in any bands previous to HFOS?
Sir Henry: We have been together since 1997 and we have been friends for a long time. Ju Desto, Instead Of A Hug, and Frank E.Male had another band called Glue. They recorded three singles which are pretty hard to get. I got two of them.

TB: How is it living/playing in Stockholm?
Sir Henry: Stockholm sucks. I'm sick and tired of this city. I really wanna leave. But there are still a few decent places you can play at.

TB: How did you guys fit into the whole Swedish/Scandanavian rock scene that exploded not long ago? You guys seem very different from Gluecifer, Hives, etc...you seem like you may be too 'punk' for fans of big rock action (a la The Hellacopters)?
Sir Henry: Well that's true. The Swedish media just ignore us as well as all labels and festivals. If you wanna do something else you're not welcome in Scandinavia. We dont care. It has never been our mission to be a big arena rockband. We wanna play punkrock and if no one cares about that - it's fine with us.

TB: I always thought you guys took the best parts of the first three Damned LP's and made them faster and stupider. How big an influence are/were the Damned?
Sir Henry: We really like The Damned, but they are not the only band we're into. Our biggest influences are more British music from the Sixties, like the The Who, Creation and so on, and the American garage scene from the Sixties.

TB:Is the first Damned LP the best punk record ever?
Sir Henry: Hard to say. It's definitely one of the best. But The Ramones first three albums are great as well, and yeah, you can go on forever.

TB: Why is "Music for Pleasure" a good record, contrary to popular belief?
Sir Henry: You mean The Damned's second album? Well, there are two really good songs on that album. I heard a story that the other guys in The Damned thought that Brian James had killed someone and stolen his songs. After "Dont Cry Wolf" he had to write his own tunes and they suck. I have no idea if it's the true or not, but it's really strange that the first album and two of the songs on the second are so fucking great, and after that all Brian James songs stink. Weird.

TB: Did/do you listen to alot of classic Swedish punk/hardcore? Kriminella Gitarrer?
Sir Henry: No, not really. We have covered an old Missbrukarna song "Du e inte du". "Vårdad Klädsel" is a great song though.

TB: What is the HFOS live show like? I've heard you've been banned from various venues....
Sir Henry: We are only doing our shows, but the crowd sometimes get a little bit excited. So it happens that the shows are a little bit wild and crazy. And yes we have closed down bars and other places since 1997.

TB: Does violence tend to erupt?
Sir Henry: You know the answer of that question.

TB: Are you as fast and loud live as on record? How do you keep that up for a live show?
Sir Henry: It´s certainly not easier with the masks on. But the live shows are faster and louder than on record. Dont know why, but they are.

I heard some story where you guys trashed a record store? True? Why?
Sir Henry: It's not true. From what I know. We can't remember everything, but I think we're innocent. What I know is that some fans of ours did some shit to a recordstore. We had nothing to with that even if the owner of the record store is an asshole.

TB: How did the European tour go? Did you get kicked out of any countries? Do you tour Europe often?
Sir Henry: Except for London ripping us off, the tour was OK. No trouble with the police or anything for the first time. A little bit boring. Believe it or not, it was our 4th european tour.

TB: Did you do "England, That's a Place to Hate" or "Britpop Sucks" in London?
Sir Henry: We actually did. England sucks. They ripped us off, and it's a filthy dirty country. I have already started to write more songs about it, especially London. Brighton was OK. London sucks big time.

TB: What are the best places to play in Europe now that we know London is the worst?
Sir Henry: Germany and Spain are the best places that I know of. Friendly people who don't try to rip you off.

TB: Do you think you'll ever make it to the US?
Sir Henry: Have no idea. If you give us some tickets and we'll go tomorrow.

TB: What other good bands are in Stockholm these days?
Sir Henry: None that I know of. Most of the bands from Stockholm try to sound like Hellacopters.

TB: Are you allied with the Savage brothers and their bands at all?
Sir Henry:Yes, we know them pretty well. Our guitar player plays with Martin sometimes. And our drummer had a band called Tokyo Knives with Martin as well.

TB: Any other good European bands you like and we should know about?
Sir Henry: Yes. Dean Dirg, a really good band from Germany and actually The Ulcers from England are pretty good.

TB: How did that Mitch guy from Raw Deluxe con you into letting him put out your LP?
Sir Henry: It's very easy. He asked us.

TB: What happened to Ju Desto?
Sir Henry: The truth is actually what we have written on our homepage. He quit to start a hip-hop career.

How did Instead of A Hug get his name?
Sir Henry: I don't know. The guy is stupid, that's for sure. No one knows what the fuck he's thinking of.

TB: Do you guys play a lot festivals in Europe? How does the festival crowd go for HFOS?
Sir Henry: We're actually not playing any festvals at all. I think we have played at three festival all together. All of them were here in Sweden, and it has been the same story at all of them. 50% really love it and rest of the crowd doesn't understand a shit. It's pretty funny when you look at all those confused people.

TB: What music are you guys currently listening to?
Sir Henry: We listen to all kinds of music, exept music with any touch of metal.

TB: If you could pick a band (or two) to tour the States with, who would it be?
Sir Henry: Yeah, it would be pretty easy. Baseball Furies or Spits. I guess there are many more, but I'm not up to date.

TB: Which is worse: France or England?
Sir Henry: England for sure. I have no idea about the the rest of the UK, but London - GO HOME.

TB: Does HFOS have an agenda/mission? World domination? Political influence?
Sir Henry: Yes! We wanna rule the world, so no fucking hippie like George W. Bush is in charge. He's trying to radicalize the world for gods sake. Otherwise, I think Noam Chomsky has got some good ideas.

TB:Do you guys have anything to do with the Fiat Cong site, or are they just rabid fans?
Sir Henry:No. We have nothing to do with that site. I have met the guy who's doing the site a couple of times. That's all.

TB: Are they thinking of starting up Fiat Cong chapters like Turbonegro did with the Turbojugend?
Sir Henry:No. We're not big fans of Turbonegro. I like some tunes but the last album is really awful. If we're doing an album that crappy, please let me know.

TB: Ever get hassled by the cops?
Sir Henry: What do you think? Lots of times. The worst was when we recorded our first video. Three cops stood with there guns pointed at us. That was pretty crazy. One of the cops really wanted to shoot us.

TB: Who is the guy on the cover of the "Gnarly"EP?
Sir Henry: A young, fine, and attractive guy.

TB: About your record art: The imitations of classic punk records (The Plugz rip off for the RNR Blitzkreig single, the look-alike of the back of the Damned LP on the Alan Smithee record, etc..) are great. Do you guys think of this stuff or the label guys?
Sir Henry: We're doing all record covers, except for "Idiotia Hyperactiva." It's not even me on the picture.

TB: Why the masks? Are you guys ugly?
Sir Henry: No, we're really handsome. We just dont want to look like all the other boybands around - like Backstreet Boys.

TB: Do you have a worst or favorite HFOS show/moment?
Sir Henry: Worst: it must be the three shows in London. Favorite: hard to say but the show recently in Bremen, Germany was fucking great. Three great bands and the crowd was amazing. We really liked it. But there's a lot of favorite shows.

TB: What upcoming recordings and records do you have in the works?
Sir Henry: We're actually doing new songs right now, and we're gonna record them in September. So in the beginnining of next year there will be a new full length album out.

TB: What's this Lord Henry and the Bastards project/band I've heard about?
Sir Henry: I have done a solo single with some guys from the southern part of Sweden. We're thinking of doing a full length album as well.

TB: Anf finally, why do they call you Sir?
Sir Henry: Just because I'm a little bit better of a person than everyone else.


Thanks to Sir Henry for being so gracious. You should definitley check out every single record the band has released, and look out for the new stuff as well. For starters the Coldfront CD's collect their first LP and most of their singles. And you should definitley get the vinyl version "The Parallel Universe of..." on Thee Raw Deluxe. With some luck, maybe we'll get to see them in the US someday...

Interview by Rich Kroneiss
Pics swiped from FiatCong
HFOS Official Site: http://drink.to/hfos/
HFOS Unofficial site: www.fiatcong.com