The Reptile Dysfunction have been together almost a year, playing street punk. The name is an obvious pun on “erectile dysfunction,” and three of the four members are skinheads (the non-racist variety) decked out in bomber jackets, high-water pants and combat boots. The drummer, Matt Brehe, has adamantly resisted the entreaties of his bandmates to shave his head to fit in with them. The following is an excerpt from an interview with The Reptile Dysfunction, who are vocalist Jake Osborne, guitarist Forrest Norby, bass player Sarvas Berry and drummer Matt Brehe:
Independent: A lot of your songs are about individuals. Are these friends, people you know or just made-up personalities?
Jake: The song “Cell Phone Prostitute” was inspired by some random girl in the airport who pissed us off. She wouldn’t get off her cell phone to go through the stupid metal detector.
Forrest: She just put it on the conveyer belt, walked through and picked it back up again. It was awesome.
Sarvas: Our song “Arrogant Asshole” seems to be dedicated to whomever I hate that week.
Jake: Originally, it was about one particular person, who will always be THE arrogant asshole, but it’s flexible. We also have a song called “Gas Station Attendant,” because I work at Ole’s.
Indy: Is The Reptile Dysfunction a skinhead band?
Matt: I call it a skinhead band. I’m just the guy in back playing drums.
Jake: We have this song called “The Power of Prayer” about the spirit of ‘69 that references skinheads.
Forrest: But it’s making fun of them.
Jake: It can be applied to any subculture that takes itself way too seriously and the people are totally ridiculous about fashion, what they have to look like, listen to and whatever else.
Indy: So, would you say it’s a semi-satirical look at skinhead culture?
Jake: A lot of our songs are satirical of skinhead culture.
Indy: But being skinheads yourselves isn’t a joke, right?
Sarvas: Well, not really, but it’s stupid when you put political bullshit in it, or just take it too seriously.
Indy: How do people react to you three being skinheads?
Jake: When people hear the word skinhead, they get a shock because of what the media’s made it into.
Indy: They associate it with Nazi skinheads, you mean?
Jake: Even people who know that not all skinheads are racist still associate the SHARPs [Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice] with violence.
Forrest: We hope to soon be playing a song about when Jake and I went to Portland to see the Business and we got a lot of shit from some SHARP skins.
Jake: They knew we weren’t SHARPs, but also that we weren’t Nazis because we were hanging out with a Korean girl.
Indy: Are you pacifist skinheads then?
Jake: Not necessarily. If trouble does come our way though, we’re not going to back down.
Matt: Personally, I’m a pacifist through and through.
Indy: Does The Reptile Dysfunction have any political stances?
Jake: I think our main politics are no politics, really.
Sarvas: If you start putting politics into something, you’re pushing yourself into a genre not everybody could like or agree with. But if you leave them out, it’s just fun.
Indy: Do you all plan to make a career out of this, or is it just a hobby?
Sarvas: Speaking for myself, all of us just do it for fun.
Jake: If all the sudden we started getting huge in Germany or something–
Forrest: And we had to move to Germany–
Jake: I really wouldn’t oppose it.
Indy: What’s next then?
Sarvas: Putting out a CD ourselves is in the near future. We got a new fashion craze: New T-shirts we’re going to put out with some Reptile Dysfunction women’s underwear.
Indy: When, exactly will the CD be out?
Jake: We may possibly put out a seven-song EP this month for a demo, but we might want to record more and put out a longer CD in the spring sometime.