Interview with Bullet Treatment guitarist Chuck Dietrich | By Janelle Jones
Long-running hardcore punks, Bullet Treatment, came back March 8 with their seemingly zillionth offering, Bloodshot Chapter 1, a six song digital EP out on guitarist Chuck Dietrich’s Basement Records. Its sequel, Bloodshot Chapter 2, is expected out later this year, possibly in August, according to Dietrich. Once both EPs are released, he’ll combine them on 12” vinyl with some extra bonus tracks added on.
The impetus for putting out this record, Dietrich discloses, was that he was getting antsy. “It’s been two years since I put anything out. I was like, ‘Man, I gotta get back on it,’” Dietrich says. “I probably had 40 songs that are recorded; guitars, bass, drums, everything’s recorded except for vocals. I was sitting around, and 2013’s Ex-Breathers was the last thing I’d done, so I got an itch to go back and do some stuff over the last six months.”
Now, for those who aren’t familiar with Bullet Treatment, Dietrich is always changing up the lineup on recordings, with him being the only consistent member since the band’s formation in 1998. He says he’d recently been talking to Richie Verdugo who sang on 2005’s The Bigger, The Better, who offered to helm vocals again this time around. Altogether, the EP includes Verdugo on vocals, Dietrich on guitar, and frequent contributors Dave Hidalgo, Jr. and Vince Hidalgo on drums and bass, all of whom have played on Bullet Treatment records before, but never on the same release. Dietrich notes that releasing the two EPs this year recalls the past and bands like the Ramones and The Damned. “I always loved the idea back in the ‘70s and ‘80s when bands would put out more than one record a year,” he explains.
As for how Bullet Treatment started all those years ago, it’s kind of a funny story. “Someone wanted to do a compilation,” Dietrich remembers, and he “took the reins” in putting it together. Around that time, he and a friend got together and were barbecuing and hanging out. “We were like, ‘Hey, we should just go in and play some covers,’” he says. Dietrich played drums at the time and the two collaborators ended up recording The Misfits’ “Bullet” and the Ramones’ “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” for the aforementioned comp. The duo pondered what to call themselves and decided to go with Bullet Treatment, taking their moniker from the titles of both songs. Silly and off-the-cuff, yes, but the name ended up sticking.
“It got my wheels turning,” Dietrich says. “At the time, bands would come in and have different people. I was noticing all the bigger bands started constantly changing members. There was never the original band.” That, he reveals, is when he got the true idea for what Bullet Treatment would be. “I’d have a band where there are no original members except me,” he says. “That way, if they quit, no one cares, ‘cause they were never in the band technically to begin with!”