Interviews SpaceFags2(provided)

Published on April 25th, 2015 | by Ballard Lesemann


The Punch List with the Space Fags’ Johnny Puke

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, singer Johnny Puke of local punk five-piece the Space Fags gives it a shot.

1. What is your favorite local hang and why? 

“The Tin Roof is my usual hangout — despite the fact that I work there — because I live in West Ashley, love the crowd there, and truly believe it is our city’s best venue in terms of unique and diverse acts and overall vibe. But you can spot me in North Charleston at the Sparrow or the Mill, and when I’m downtown, it’s Local 616. Good people at all those places.”

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…

“Everything hurts the next day. Or longer.”

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3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?

“Back in the fall, I caught a band at the Tin Roof from Canada called Single Mothers. I’d not heard of them prior to catching their live set, which left my jaw on the floor. A band with the noise and power of something like Black Flag fronted by a flailing frontman spewing William Burroughs-influenced lyrics in a narrative wail like the guy from the Hold Steady getting electrocuted. I still haven’t got over it.”

4. Define your musical style in exactly 10 words.

“Lighting your records on fire, then extinguishing them with shit.”

5. What’s your theme song, and why?

“‘Lost Highway’ by Hank Williams. I’m from West Virginia, so all of Hank Williams music has always spoken to me, but this song describes my journey in a beautiful way. He was a genius, hands-down.”

6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?

“Right now it’s a pair of CO2-charged confetti cannons, my favorite part of a Space Fags show.”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?

“The Descendants’ I Don’t Want To Grow Up. Admittedly, it’s not even one of their best albums, but this is the album they were touring on when I first got to see them live, and it’s the one album in my collection I have replaced a half a dozen times from overplay. [Drummer] Bill Stevenson’s predilection for pop is really beginning to emerge on this album on songs like “Silly Girl” and “Good Good Things,” and I just love this record so much. Now I gotta go listen to it when this is over just from thinking about it.”

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Johnny Puke of the Space Fags (provided)

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?

“I suppose I have met a bunch of genuinely famous people and never really felt all that star-struck, but the two times I can think of immediately do not involve people who are really all that famous. My favorite singer/songwriter is a guy named Mark Eitzel, and I’ve probably met him a dozen times and still get nervous and giddy in his presence because I’m so overwhelmed by his genius.

I listen to a podcast about Las Vegas called “Five Hundy By Midnight” every week. It’s hosted by a couple from Minnesota. I love it. Last year, I ran into them out in Las Vegas at a casino and was so thrilled, I had to go outside and collect myself a little bit. I was kinda drunk though.”

9. What’s your poison?

“I guess that would be heroin, Ballard. Thanks for asking. Jeeez!”

10. In 10 years, I will be…

“Older than anyone ever thought I would be.”

Johnny Puke is well known in the Charleston scene as a dedicated musician, lead singer, barman, and show promoter. Over the last 10 years or so, he’s hosted a variety of rowdy, punk-fueled birthday parties at various Charleston venues with long lists of special local and touring punk and indie bands.

Old-school punks and clubgoers remember Puke as the lead singer with quick-witted punk band Cletus. Lately, he’s been screaming and singing and carryin’ on on stage with a newly-established five-piece called the Space Fags. The band’s current lineup features Puke on lead vocals, L’eggs Akimbo on drums, Howie Feltersnatch on bass, and the double-guitar team of Turd Ferguson and Randy Johnson.

Claiming to be inspired and guided by the “worldwide brotherhood of punk and love,” the Space Fags have been making a rumbling ruckus in Charleston for nearly a year and a half. With a loud, distorted, aggressive approach to melodic and occasionally dissonant punk rock, their style boasts a surprisingly healthy mix of celebratory, smart-assy, and buzzed-up attitudes.

Over the last year, the Space Fags have shared the Tin Roof stage on bills with such punk veterans as the Queers, 7 Seconds, and the Dwarves. This weekend, they’ll headline their own show on Sun. April 26 with support from Dumb Doctors and the Hybrid Mutants.

Check out and for more.



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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