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Is Altercation Punk Comedy Tour’s JT Habersaat the Lord Emperor of Austin’s DIY punk media?

2010 December 7

We've all heard the phrase "Man Up" too much this 2010 election cycle. JT says it's time for us all to "Metal Up".

“Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design…

- Lord Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi

I was a few Lone Star tall boys deep in a very smoky Red Eyed Fly when I first met the self proclaimed “Lord Emperor” of Altercation Magazine (issue #25 out now), JT Habersaat. The Misfits were blaring out of the jukebox over the loud clicks of billiard balls and the rumbling din of raucous bar room conversations. JT and his wife Donna (dubbed Altercation’s “Barbarian Queen” and all around visual and design guru) were out and about, on the magazine beat, interviewing bands and chasing stories. You only have to spend a few minutes chit-chatting (AKA: screaming back and forth) in a deafening rock bar to realize that the Habersaats are good people. As with almost anyone covering the local scene, I walked away impressed with their work ethic and dedication… but I had no idea…

It was some time later that I stumbled upon the depth of Emperor JT’s vast influence. Looking through the Austin Chronicle I noticed, listed among a few bands on a local show, something called The Altercation Punk Comedy Tour. I did a double take. This Habersaat guy does comedy too? Yeah, The Dark Lord also runs a local punk rock record label Altercation Records which features Red River District favs Say Hello to the Angels and Born to Lose. And now for the obligatory understatement: If anything can be said about JT Habersaat these days, it’s that he’s a very busy man… but aren’t all emperors?

Want a couple more random facts? Habersaat has shared the stage with Henry Rollins and appeared in Troma’s Toxic Avenger 4. Yeah, that’s right. The one with Ron Jeremy and Corey Feldman. Can I get an “eff yes”?

"Metal Up Live" - The Altercation Punk Comedy Tour's latest CD.

I caught up with the Sith Laugh-Master himself at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest which Chris Apollo calls “…Austin’s little secret music festival,” but the 2-and-a-half-day blowout has become so much more. Stand-up comedy and other various acts really make Fun Fun Fun Fest just a little different and maybe just a tad bit cooler than its contemporaries. JT and the Altercation gang of comics bring a bit of the dark side to the fun fun fun. Emperor Habersaat’s set was funny, referencing Black Flag, Pet Sematary, and Clash of the Titans. I even saw members from one of my favorite bands, The Bronx, guffawing it up in the crowd. But you don’t have to be a punk or a rocker to get the joke. JT’s humor is universal, if not dark.

I snagged a quick video interview. In the 4 minutes of fun, we jabbered about his most commonly asked question (what makes comedy “punk”), FunFunFun Fest, Henry Rollins, The Altercation Empire and more.

So, Metal Up! Because, as the Emporer says: “It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine!”

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