Interview: The Turbo A.C.’s on pizza in Puerto Rico, fame in Germany, and playing with punk rock idols


With every band that comes up and obtains some sort of success, there’s always an interesting back story. Maybe the big chapter is before the band gets their big break and then throughout their tenure there are a bunch of interesting anecdotes that pave an enigmatic road. Sometimes it has to do with places that are near polar opposites of each other. For The Turbo A.C.’s, there’s a story that stretches from the rugged, grimy streets of New York City to the gorgeous, sun-drenched beaches of Puerto Rico.

Kevin Cole and his band have a punk rock sound that electrifies like a well-oiled engine in the hood of a hot rod, loud and reckless enough to get the nerves tingling. Thursday night they’ll be rocking The Parlor Bar & Kitchen down in Newport in Rhode Island with We Own Land, Zip-Tie Handcuffs, and Atlantic Thrills. The following day they’ll head out on tour with alcohol-fueled hockey punks Two Man Advantage throughout the Northeast and the Midwest. With all that going on, we had a chat with Cole about what he’s been doing since he headed south to Puerto Rico, being popular in Germany, playing with The Stiff Little Fingers this past July and when the follow-up to 2011’s essential Kill Everyone is coming out.

Rob Duguay: So how long have you been living in Puerto Rico and what have you been doing to pass the time down there?

Kevin Cole: I’ve been living down there for a little more than a year. I moved down there to open a restaurant and bar, a little pizzeria on the beach. So that’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been doing pretty well, it’s called Revolution Pizza Shop and we’re specializing in New York hardcore pizza. When we opened up we had a couple bands come down from New York. Some friends of ours in Murphy’s Law and The Slackers played the grand opening party. It’s the slow season now in Puerto Rico and so I’m getting out of there and doing this tour with the band.

Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, do you like it better in Puerto Rico then you did while living in New York City?

Well I love it here, I like where I’m at, I like what I’m doing. Coming from New York is definitely a change of vibe, after more than 25 years of living there I was ready for something like running my own business in a place like Puerto Rico. I’ve always wanted to do something like this anyway, aside from music I’m a chef. When we’re on tour, after the show we’ll have an after party and I’ll cook for everybody. That’s kind of what I’ve always done, it’s just another part of the things I do.

Along with the upcoming tour you have happening, The Turbo A.C.’s have toured in Europe quite a few times.

We do really well in Europe and we’re gonna get back over there too. I took some time off from writing and recording to get things going at the pizzeria and get things off the ground. I also got plans to start a recording studio to do more work with The Turbo A.C.’s and also produce other bands so there’s a place where we can basically hang out in paradise and work on some recordings. It’s another plan I’m working on.

Now crowd wise, when it comes to playing in America versus playing in Europe are there any big differences with the people who come out to shows?

We have a pretty huge following in Germany, we have few cities with some really strong Turbo A.C.’s fans out there. While touring, it can be pretty hard to tell whether you’re in Europe or in the States. We’re all cut from the same cloth, the people who are into the music are a certain breed. That’s something that I’ve always enjoyed in this life, the people who come out to our shows don’t give up on us and they’re die hard fans. I’m fortunate that I get to see this happen.

It’s cool that you guys have a big fan base in Germany of all places.

We did a couple of Germany exclusive releases so there’s something a little special for those fans with the record coming out over there first with bonus tracks and all that stuff.

This past July The Turbo A.C.’s got to be part of a hell of a show opening for the Stiff Little Fingers at Irving Plaza in New York City. How crazy was it for you to be sharing the stage with such a legendary punk band?

Maybe I’m a little desensitized because I’ve been fortunate enough to share the stage with a lot of awesome bands and go on tour with bands like The Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, do a couple huge shows with Social Distortion and go on Warped Tour with Rancid. Stiff Little Fingers were one of my favorite bands growing up as a kid, they produced really good music and write really good songs. I’ve always believed that punk doesn’t have to be so one sided, it could actually just be well-rounded good music too. I’ve always been a fan so it was an honor.

It must have been such a thrill. The Turbo A.C.’s haven’t put out a new album in four years since Kill Everyone was released in 2011. Does the band have anything new in the works?

There’s a lot of work that’s already been done for a new album that I’ve kind of had to shelf for this business endeavor to take off. Now that I’ve been getting a little more time I’ve been getting back into putting the songs together to get this album going. Basically we have a bunch of songs already worked out, the album is going to be called Radiation and we’ve put up a few teasers on YouTube. I think they might still be up there and that’s still the plan, I haven’t abandoned that and we’re still looking to put that album out. We’ll just have to get everybody together, we’ve all gotten a little older and we’re having babies and doing all of these other things but we haven’t given up on this band.

THE TURBO A.C.’s + WE OWN LAND + ATLANTIC THRILLS + ZIP-TIE HANDCUFFS :: Thursday, September 24 at The Parlor Bar & Kitchen, 200 Broadway in Newport, RI :: 9 p.m., 21-plus, $10 :: Facebook event page