Limp’s Serge Verkhovsky On The Band’s Time At Honest Don’s
Posted on September 16, 2015
September 16, 2015 | by Nick Spacek
While Limp never reached the level of popularity of Fat Wreck Chords artists like Lagwagon or No Use For a Name, their sound—punchy pop-punk with hooks for days—developed them quite an underground following. The Californians would release three albums on Fat subsidiary Honest Don’s, along with two EPs on Fueled By Ramen and Coldfront Records.
Given Limp’s longevity with Honest Don’s, we thought they’d be the perfect act to talk to, since they were there for most of its existence. We spoke via Facebook with the band’s bass player, Serge Verkhovsky, about their time on the label.
I was curious as to how you came to the attention of the label and then, what the process of working with Honest Don’s over the course of three albums was like?
Serge Verkhovsky: At the time, there were several things going on. We were recording our own demos, and we decided that if we didn’t get signed by the time we had 15 songs, we were going to put an album out ourselves. We made it to 12 songs when Honest Don’s signed us.
In the meantime, we were playing shows, and handing the demo tapes out to whoever would take [them]. We didn’t give a shit if they ended up in the trash, we just wanted to get the songs out to people. Around that time, Phil [Ensor, vocals/guitar] started touring as second guitarist with the Dance Hall Crashers, and he was handing out demos like crazy there as well.
So, one way or another, the tapes made it to Mike, and he said, “Hey, I’m starting this new label, Honest Don’s, and you would be perfect for it”, and we said, “Hell, yes!” Working with the FAT/Honest Don’s crew was awesome. I know it’s a cliché to say they were like family, but what I can say is that as a band on Honest Don’s, we always felt welcome to anything involving FAT or Honest Don’s. Even when we would meet other FAT or Honest Don’s bands for the first time, we would feel an immediate connection with them. It was pretty awesome.
It seems like they offered you some pretty good support (I remember you guys opening for Lagwagon and No Use For A Name, and then a tour with NOFX). Was that the case, and how so?
Yeah, it was amazing, as soon as we signed, we went into the studio and recorded Pop & Disorderly, and then our first tour was with Lagwagon and NUFAN. Thanks to the Honest Don’s team, we got hooked up with Stormy Shepherd and Leave Home Booking, who was booking many of the big punk bands at that time. We were not even a blip in the music scene, so without Honest Don’s, I doubt we would have had that opportunity, but thanks to her, we got to play and tour with some incredible bands.
Was it a positive experience?
Oh yeah, it was a fantastic experience. As a kid, I always dreamed of being a touring musician. But to be honest, as a fat, mediocre bass player, growing up in the ’80s, I never thought that dream would ever come true. So when Phil and I got together, and things clicked, and we ended up on Honest Don’s, my life’s dream came to fruition. I got to record albums. I got to tour all over. I got to meet lots of great people, and see wonderful places. So, it was way beyond being just a positive experience. And Honest Don’s made a lot of that happen for us, for which I will always be grateful.
Do you know how the label differed from Fat itself?
Well, the people were basically the same, but my understanding is that Mike wanted to sign certain bands that didn’t fit the FAT sound, and started HD for that purpose. Beyond that, I really don’t know.
When did the band officially end?
I moved to Japan in 2002, and Limp was planning on moving forward, but for one reason or another, never did. So, we never “officially” ended, but we haven’t done anything since 2002.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now I’m not doing much, musically. When I was living in Japan, I played in the Ken Yokoyama band (or Ken Band). Ken was the guitarist in Hi-Standard, so it was still kinda in the FAT family, you know? That was pretty amazing. I never realized how big Hi-Standard was, until I moved to Japan. So, when Ken started his own band, and invited me to join, it was pretty crazy.
I left the band in 2009, and joined The One Thought Moment, with Dan Lukacinsky from The Suicide Machines. Limp toured with The Suicide Machines a few times, so I knew Dan pretty well, and we had a blast playing together until 2014 when I moved back to the U.S. Now, who knows what I’m gonna do?