SEAN ST. LEONE (THE OWEN GUNS): “I Got A Lovely Email About How PornHub Was A ‘Community Website’ And The [Music] Video Violated Its Standards. Who Knew?”

The Owen Guns – They’re Tired of Shitty People and Shitty Music

Recently I was sent a promo for The Owen Guns latest EP Violating Community Standards. I usually take a listen to anything sent my way. Hardcore Punk isn’t really my thing, but The Owen Guns really spoke to me with their in-your-face humor and relatable song lyrics. I had to find out what makes the Aussie punks tick. Front man Sean “The Bastard” St. Leone gave me all the answers.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew absolutely nothing about The Owen Guns, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Sean St. Leone: Old school Hardcore Punk – the sound’s a mix of 70’s UK Punk and early 80’s US Hardcore, with some elements of Garage Punk mixed in. The lyrics are about whatever is annoying me at any given time.

MER: You recently released your first EP Violating Community Standards through Riot Records. Although I think the song titles speak for themselves, can you talk about what inspired each song….

SSL: “Fuck Cyclists” – This one caused a lot of crying from angry cyclists. It’s born out of the frustration of being stuck behind lycra clad twats cosplaying the Tour de France on narrow country roads. I don’t care about people riding their bike to work, school or the shops. It’s those other knobs riding super expensive bikes getting in everyone’s way that shit me to tears. Get out of the fucking way!

“Rent” – This was a song I originally wrote when I was playing in The I.C.B.M.s in Canada. Edmonton where I was living went through an oilfields boom and a rental crisis. An influx of cashed up workers from out of province lead to to landlords raising rents massively. Whilst not maintaining properties because they knew tenants were desperate. At the time I was living in a shit hole apartment building with ever increasing rent. Whilst hookers turned tricks in the stairwells, meth heads hit the pipe in the halls and the place fell apart. Fun times.

“The Ballad of Cheeto Hitler” – about the orange idiot in the White House. He’s a bit of an arsehole isn’t he?

“It’s Too Late” – that’s an angry one. I found out a “friend” sexually assaulted another friend of mine. I wanted to go round and break his legs, but the victim asked me not to, so I wrote the lyrics to this instead. There is genuine anger in this one.

“No” – we’ve all got friends like this. People who are only ever around when you’ve got something they need, but when the shoes on the other foot they’ve fucked off. Everyone’s a mate when you can do something for them.

“Shitty Music for Shitty People (Ska Sucks)” – I really really hate ska…

MER: Your drummer recently broke his hand. Was this from pounding them so hard?

SSL: Ma Tu does hit em hard, but unfortunately he had an accident at work where a large drill kicked back and smashed his hand. A bit of surgery and a couple of pins later and hes on the mend. Hes a tough bugger.

MER: You have about 10 minutes worth of material on the EP. Are you going to be able to tour on that?

SSL: Yeah easy – when we are allowed to play again. We’ve got another bunch of new songs and we also regularly cover songs by Cock Sparrer, The Hard-Ons and Cosmic Psychos. Plus I’m a bit of a talker between songs (or as the rest of the band says – I don’t shut the fuck up)

MER: Your music video for “The Ballad of Cheeto Hitler” was removed for content from Facebook and PornHub. Explain…

SSL: Well, we got a friend of ours to make the video for “The Ballad of Cheeto Hitler.” I think it’s funny, but apparently it’s too much for the Facebook censors. It was pulled once, we appealed and they put it back. Then after 24k views in two or so weeks, they banned it again. I guess they objected to the scenes where Putin put his fist up Trumps bum, or maybe the part with the Russian prostitutes peeing. Or Trumps dad having a wank. Who knows?

YouTube has also pulled it a few times (at the time of writing it’s back), so we thought to be safe we would throw it up on PornHub. Well it was live there for a couple of hours. I got a lovely email about how PornHub was a “community website” and the video violated its standards. Who knew?

MER: Is that what inspired the name of the EP – Violating Community Standards?

SSL: It’s a bit of an inside joke – I’m constantly being banned by Facebook for taking the piss out of racists, homophobes and Nazi types, and we knew that some of the songs on the EP would be sure to upset people.

MER: Is this EP going to lead to a full album or are you going to stick with the single/EP route?

SSL: We’ve got another EP planned once Ma Tu heals up…six more tunes about people, places, and things that piss me off.

MER: Did you find Riot Records or did they find you?

SSL: One of the guys connected with Riot heard a couple of demos we’d done, liked em, and tipped them off. Here we are.

MER: Where did the band name come from?

SSL: The Owen Gun was a locally made sub machine gun during WWII – it was described as being crude but effective, much like us.

MER: What bands inspired your brand of Punk music?

SSL: We’ve got some pretty varied tastes between the four of us, but we all have a love for old school Punk and Hardcore.. I think you can definitely hear elements of bands that we love like Fear, Dead Kennedys, The Hard-Ons, The Damned, and Black Flag.

MER: Members of the band would be considered “veterans” of the music scene, so to speak. What bands did you play for prior to forming The Owen Guns?

SSL: I’ve done vocals for punk bands Plonker (Darwin, Australia) and the I.C.B.Ms (Edmonton, Canada previously). I currently make noise and shout for harsh noise/power electronics collective MILAT and provide vocals and Theremin for idiot punks The Botbots as well and shouting and carrying on like a fool up the front of The Owen Guns

Martin has played bass for Ragadoll, Cyanide For Christmas, Orange County, Silly Old Cunts, and a bunch of others he’s too embarrassed to remember. He also hosts a web based radio show (Yeah Radio) that plays Punk, Metal and Alternative music.

Ma Tu drummed for a bunch of bands in China before moving here including The Tribal Moons, War Whores, Hardcore Soft Porn, and Serious Music Team, as well as running an underground venue called D.T. Bar that played host to loads of touring bands from all over the world.

Luke also plays guitar for Kids of Skids and has also recently branched out into doing recording and live streams for other bands.

MER: Is there anything else you’d like to discuss that I didn’t cover?

SSL: Yeah. Come to shows when they’re back on, but in the meantime don’t be slack cunts – support local bands by buying their merch and music. And if you’re bored during Covid, start a band yourself. And quit asking your friends for free shit. NO!


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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