Turbo A.C.’s Front Man Kevin Cole: The JG2Land Interview
Since 1996, New York City’s Turbo A.C.’s have been peeling out gloriously in the parking lot of rock n’ roll, laying down addictive grit-sucking anthems about loose women, fast cars, and primo ’70s kitsch. Last June the band released their seventh album, Kill Everyone, a slightly more reflective, emotional effort that also retained the throttle choke of their previous work. Affable lead Turbo Kevin Cole recently granted JG2Land a few minutes to discuss his band’s sampling practices, the now-defunct L.E.S. pizza parlor he used to run, and Blag Dahlia’s penis.
JG2: Your band has sampled a lot of recognizable film dialogue over the years. Do you clear the stuff you use, or do you just say, “Fuck it?”
KEVIN COLE: We just say, “Fuck it.” Our lawyer told us we should get them all cleared, but we don’t. I think they do realize, these people that we’re sampling, that it brings attention to the original work of art being referenced, and then people go and seek it out.
JG2: So Spielberg hasn’t come after you for the Jaws thing that opens up Kill Everyone?
KC: Not yet. That was kind of a big one. I tried to mask it a little bit, cover up the [John Williams] music, so I don’t think they can’t come after us about that. We were gonna try and recreate it, but the clip is so perfect. So we just used it. We don’t care. Let ’em come after us.
JG2: Spielberg’s probably got bigger fish to fry.
KC: Yeah, probably. [laughs]
JG2: The Turbo A.C.’s have a song called “Fried Chicken.” What’s your favorite fried chicken place in New York City?
KC: Well, I’m not that much of a fried chicken…aficionado? Connoisseur? I go to Kennedy Fried Chicken, I’m not opposed to that. You know, I don’t want to get into this with you if you’re coming from a foodie perspective.
JG2: I’m no foodie, but I know people in New York get a little touchy about their chicken. Like, “Oh, I’ll only eat at Pies n’ Thighs, or I’ll only eat at Dirty Bird…”
KC: Nah. I could deep fry my shoe and it would probably taste good. [laughs] Actually, we used to deep fry slices at my pizza place.
JG2: Was that your shop’s specialty?
KC: Well, pizza in general was [our] specialty. [Deep fried slices] were just one of those things we discovered, taking a cold slice, throwing that fucker in the deep fryer…it was great. The cheese would get this crispy shell on outside, but it would still be all gooey on the inside.
JG2: Do you have any future restaurant plans?
KC: There’s talks of doing another one, another pizza place. I’ve got some guys in Hamburg who are interested in opening a New York-style pizza place over there. The German government apparently gives grants to people bringing in exotic foods. So, maybe. I’m still bummed the shop here didn’t work out. I was hoping I could have a spot to chill out after coming home from tour, you know, have a job and hang out and eat pizza. We thought we could share a liquor license with the bar next store, but we couldn’t, and that was that.
JG2: Are you related to Gary Cole?
KC: No, I don’t think so. Maybe Gary Cole-man. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I really know who Gary Cole is.
JG2: Oh, he played the boss in Office Space.
KC: Yeah, okay, I’ve seen that. That’s funny.
JG2: How many times did Dwarves singer Blag Dahlia show you his penis when he produced your band?
KC: Not too often, not too often. I definitely saw it a couple times. I was guitar tech-ing for the Dwarves for a while, though, and as you can imagine I saw a lot of penises, because [guitarist] He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named…you know. Blag’s didn’t come out that often. He was pissing in a garbage can after a show once, and I saw it. That time, I went to hold his drink or something as he was pissing, and he said, “We’re holding hands while I pee.” He seemed pretty happy about that.
– photo by Ian Lozada