Interview: Stan Mueller from The Punk Rock Chronicles

Interview: Stan Mueller from The Punk Rock Chronicles

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LOS ANGELES, April 7, 2014 — Ill Repute is a punk band from Oxnard, Calif. The band originally started playing in 1981 and created their own scene called Nardcore. The first volume of The Punk Rock Chronicles traces Ill Repute’s journey from childhood. Stan Mueller, producer/mastermind of the project, took some time to discuss the process of creating and releasing the first in their book documentary series.

Kevin Wells: Where did the idea come from to make an Ill Repute book and documentary?

Stan Mueller: My wife and I started a ghost writing business about seven years ago called, Universal Writer. We write books for people, manuscripts for people. We’ve worked with athletes and charities, which is cool. We like learning about all these different types of people, but growing up in the punk scene, for me, I always wanted to do a project on my own terms.

A few years ago, I reached out to Tony Cortez just to write a book on the Nardcore scene. Initially, it was just gonna be one big book and it was gonna include all of the bands, like Dr. Know, Stalag 13, Ill Repute, R.K.L., all those bands and just have one big book. I always wanted to do a documentary, but I just didn’t have the right team.

About a year ago, I got a referral from a friend of mine for the documentary portion of the project. Jeff Feurerhaken of Firehook Entertainment and Matt Switzer of Canadian Bacon Films gave me their numbers. I called them up and explained the project and told them it was straight DIY and we’re trying to figure this out. They dug it and we met. They happened to live about three miles from my house. We talked about it and agreed. I called Tony back and said we wanted to do a book and documentary on [Ill Repute].

Three weeks later, we were in Ventura shooting the documentary. All these people started coming out of the wood work from the scene. It was pretty cool. We filmed most of it in one weekend. People started rolling out. We got some of the bands that were influential that played with Ill Repute back in the day. That’s kind of how it all went down. The idea was there, but once the players came to be and I was able to find the right people, it literally took weeks and we just did it. We were actually able to complete the documentary in time to premier it at Nardfest last year, which was really cool for us. We were able to film it and get it ready in six months.

KW: What kind of response did you get from the band and the fans?

SM: We got a lot of positive feedback. I mean, people are mailing us video content from all over the country for the documentary. The label, Mystic, let us use the music for the documentary. Dr. Strange Records graciously said, “Use whatever you need, it’s no big deal.” We put up a Facebook and we get a lot of positive feedback from that. It’s been cool going to shows and talking to people, people sending in pictures.

KW: What type of things can fans look forward to seeing in the book?

SM: The book’s not huge, it’s about 100 pages, but there’s probably 150 to 200 pictures. It’s a biography of the band’s history from their births, where they grew up, their childhoods. It’s amazing how in tune these guys were with each other. They’ve all known each other since they were kids. It’s interesting to hear where they came from. I didn’t know anything about this band. I just knew I liked their music. As a fan, it was really cool to learn where these guys came from and learn their stories, their high points and low points. I think if you were a fan of the music or a fan of punk, you’d like it.

KW: You started a fundraiser campaign to fund the project. How did that go?

SM: We’re using this crowd funding site called, Good Clean Fund. It’s actually our friend. They build platforms for crowd funding sites for people. This one is interesting. It’s not like Kickstarter where you have to raise all the money first. Since we have a finished product, we’re pretty much done, it’s pretty much a pre-sale. We just need money to print the book. All the money you raise from it, you get. Every time someone orders it, the money goes to your account. It’s kind of a new site. What’s cool about it is they won’t charge you a percentage to use it.

KW: When will the book and DVD be released?

SM: It’s a 60-day campaign that will end on April 30. Right when that ends, everything goes to print. We have shirts. We have skateboard decks for sale. I’m giving myself 60 days to print everything and after that, I will start mailing them out. July 1 is when I am telling people we will have product in hand that’s going to be mailed out to everybody.

KW: After the presale is over, where can people purchase them?

SM: We’re doing a release party and it’s actually going to be at the next Nardfest. It’s really cool for us because that is where it started for us. We were able to premier at the first Nardfest and now we get to sell them a year later at the same venue. Ill Repute is actually headlining the show, which makes it even cooler. We also have a website where people can order at

KW: What is on tap for the next Punk Rock Chronicles?

SM: That’s the question. We’re talking to some bands. We haven’t decided on who we are going to work with yet, but we’re actually interviewing bands about it.

KW: Is there anything else that you would like people to know?

SM: Jeff Feurerhaken has been a huge ally. He’s the guy that produced, edited and directed the documentary. Not only that, he’s been doing all the graphic design work for us. He helps out with marketing. I just want to make sure he is recognized. He’s side by side with me all the time. We talk every day. It’s one of those working relationships where we are just in tune with each other.

The publishing label is True Underground Network. That’s my wife and I. It’s our publishing label we will be pressing the stuff under. The book series is the Punk Rock Chronicles. Matt Switzer of Canadian Bacon Films helped out with the filming. Our book editor was Karen Hatton.

My wife, Jennifer Jo Mueller, is the author of the book. I’m like the producer. I coordinated everything and got the bands, got all the content. I get all the content and give it to the experts to either edit it on the film side or my wife to write it. That’s kind of how our ghost writing business works. I do all the interviewing. I deal with all the clients and the business side. I hand the interviews over to my wife and she writes the books.

It’s fun for me because I get to relive some of my youth and do cool projects that maybe nobody else would do. This stuff is near and dear to my heart, so I am stoked to be able put something out like this. It’s all DIY, we had no money to do this. It’s all out of our own pocket. We’re just seeing if we can put something out there and then do another one of more bands we grew up loving.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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