JULES WITH ALONE IN A CROWD AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: BOILING POINT
AIAC only played one show, opening for Judge at the Anthrax. It was winter and I remember it being really cold out. So I had all these layers, including a sweatshirt, and under my pants I had sweat shorts. Mike gave me a red Judge Schism t-shirt, so I put that on over my sweatshirt. Before the set I was pretty nervous, and was in the “band room” off to the side of the stage getting psyched up for the show. A friend, I think it was Andy White (Enuf), came in and told me the band was on stage and everybody was waiting. I was about to go out there, when it dawned on me that I was still dressed like an Eskimo and would probably sweat to death. So I’m like “help me get my pants off!” This drew a funny look from Andy; I’m sure he was relieved to see I had the sweatshorts on. Anyway, getting the pants off was a lot damn harder than you would think. I thought I could slip them over my shoes – big mistake. All the while I’m thinking AIAC is off to a great start. Finally I get the _ _ _ _ ing pants off, but I realize I’m totally late, so I left all the rest on. I ran up to the stage wearing all these layers. After the first song or two, I was dying and had to peel off the sweatshirt – so when I did, the T-shirt was still on it. All bundled together, I threw it somewhere off to the side of the stage. After the set I discovered someone stole the Judge shirt – took it right off the sweatshirt. Great.
Despite the inauspicious beginning, the show itself was awesome. One thing about Hardcore back then: somehow kids would get a hold of unreleased recorded material and share it with everybody else. It was unbelievable how fast something could spread through the scene. In this case, somebody must’ve shared an AIAC rehearsal tape or something and it got passed on. So even though we hadn’t even recorded the e.p. yet, and never played a show, everybody seemed to know all the songs already – in Connecticut! And this was before the internet, file sharing, etc. Incredible. Anyway, the crowd was really receptive – it was great to be onstage after a year or so of sitting on the sidelines. I probably had a few more shows left in me, but it wasn’t meant to be.
This upcoming weekend, Sunday December 20, 2015, BURN makes their return to NYC at Santos. Along with Burn, comes Mindset (their final NYC show), Wisdom In Chains, King Nine, The Wilding Incident, Regulate, Activator and Impact. Should be one hell of a show, so don’t miss this one. Tickets are still available at: www.eventbrite.com
BURN AT THE ROXY, HOLLYWOOD CA | PHOTO: JULES JORDAN
Leading up to the recording of the seven inch, we rehearsed at Giant and the rehearsals consisted of Porcell playing guitar and me play drums. Then Porcell plays guitar and I sing over that. When we got to Fury’s that’s how we did it. We rehearsed maybe three or four times. Since we lived together we’d go over stuff at the apartment, too. Originally I wrote everything on a bass. Porcell polished it all up. I had all the words. When we got to Fury’s it was me and him taking turns doing each thing putting it all together. Jimmy had helped me write Fed Up, musically. All those words were written way before the music came into play. He helped me write Fed Up because I knew exactly what I wanted and it was simple. I fuckin’ loved the BOLD song “Wise Up.” I couldn’t play guitar so I couldn’t even learn Wise Up to rip it off. So I went to Jimmy and I said “Jimmy I want to rip this song off, totally. But I want it to say Fed Up instead of Wise Up.” It was that basic. So Jimmy wrote it, and I had to bring it to Porcell. And I had no idea how to show it to Porcell, so we wrote it down on paper, like notes.
Everything else I wrote, but it was written in parts and then Porcell and I put it all together as songs. The words had come over the years at different times, so many were from when I was young. I had written songs like “Drugs Can’t Help” as a little kid…but I mean, I would never say something like that in that nice of a way. That’s just stupid. So the real old lyrics never made it to Judge. I have this old trunk with all these old lyrics and photos and shit. I dug photos out from when we recorded at Fury’s and put those up online. Fury was totally psyched on those. He said that was like a landmark session at that studio.
The experience of recording that record was awesome. We did it around Christmas and I remember walking to the studio and down near Mulberry Street they were selling Christmas trees and it was just an awesome time in New York. I had no idea I was recording this record that would change my whole life and carry so much weight. The whole experience was perfect. Walking to the studio with Christmas trees on the sidewalk, and that smell of the trees and Christmas. It was just a really special thing.
So once we started recording, we had the music like 95% done and then we had to do vocals. I remember Porcell going, “dude, have you ever really sang? What’s it sound like.” I was like, “I don’t know, it’s been a long time. I’ve been screaming in my fucking car just to see…but I don’t know.” I had been singing in practices at Giant, but you’d have to see the old Giant studios…that studio was pure shit, you couldn’t hear anything. So he had no sense of what I sounded like and neither did I. But at Fury’s, I let it all out on that first song, and it was crystal clear. Before I started, I made them turn off the lights in the vocal room, and in their control room. They couldn’t see me, and I couldn’t see them. It was black. The song started and I went. When it ended, the lights came on. Porcell goes “oh my God man!!! It’s fucking awesome dude! You sound like you’re fucking possessed! Holy shit it sounds great!”
Hearing it back was a little weird. I wanted to sound like Choke. I wanted to sound like Brannon. To get into the mood to write, I would listen to Last Rights. Chunks was so fucking heavy. I wanted that. It didn’t have to be super fast or crunchy. It can be a mood. I think the best thing Judge ever did was The Storm. That was perfect in what I wanted. It’s not like “crunch heavy” with like a low chugging thing. It’s just a big open structure with ringing guitars and this fucking mood. I feel so evil inside hearing that. When I hear that drum beat, it changes my mood instantly. It’s like a switch in my head. I wish I could go on the other side and just hear it performed instead of being in it as the singer. But it’s also the song I can’t wait to sing.
So after I did the vocals, we did the back-ups. That was fun as hell. It was me, Porcell, Sammy, Luke…it was a blast.
JUDGE – “NEW YORK CREW” FIRST PRESS, SCHISM RECORDS
My girlfriend at the time, Anne, was cheating on me with this skinhead. I didn’t even care because I was creating this perfect thing, this perfect record. I remember she was with him and her and I had to talk and he was there with her and it was right when the whole recording was finished. But I didn’t even care, it didn’t even bother me. She was like “things just aren’t working out with us.” I was like “ok yep that’s fine!” I just didn’t care. I actually said, “yeah…umm, nevermind that – listen to this!” So I put the tape in the boombox to play it because I’m so excited. She’s like “what the fuck is wrong with you?” I’m like, “never mind that! Listen to this part!!!” And the skinhead goes, “man what is this?” I sai,d “this is my fucking new band, Judge.” He goes, “man this is fucking awesome!” So here’s my old lady cheating on me with this skinhead and we’re sitting around a boombox listening to it going “it’s fucking great!” So she says to me, “look, umm…I’ll get rid of him, so do you want to hang out later?” I’m like “nah look I have to take this to Brooklyn and play it for other people.” I just didn’t even care about anything other than that recording and how it had come out.
When we were done recording, I figured that was it. We’d put it out as a record, I’d wait for MRR to slam it, I’d laugh about it, and that would be it. But people freaked out about it when it came out. People responded to it. But I never planned for it to be a band. I thought it was just a record.
The idea for the hammers was mine. It was the Cockney Rejects, I loved them. I always loved that. It was hard, man. Those hammers are just hard. At the time I didn’t know the hammers would end up as any continuous theme or reference point in Judge. I just knew I wanted that logo. I had no idea those hammers were gonna live with me the rest of my fuckin’ life. It just worked out that way. I ended up having the hammers tattooed on me after that, but later on I had motorcycle club tattoos tattooed near them and around them. When I got out of the club I either had to have the tattoos covered up…or I had to have them cut off if I was found. So, I covered them. But those hammers are still there underneath it all.
I didn’t have anything to do with the cover of the record. When Alex and Porcell handed me that cover all finished I said, “damn that’s pretty awesome.” That’s me on the B Side label wearing Richie’s New Balances. All of us used to trade sneakers and share each other’s stuff. I’m sitting by Some Records in the steps that go down to the basement apartment. Those guys were standing over me taking the photo. Those gloves were gardening gloves. They weren’t construction gloves. I had gotten into the city to hang out and do those photos and it was cold. We were gonna go tag “JUDGE” all over the city. I stopped in a bodega and all they had were these fucking ladies gardening gloves. I bought them and put X’s on them. They aren’t the construction gloves that people think they are.
The back cover photo of Porcell is him up front at a Crippled Youth show, you can see Matt in the photo. Porcell was dancing during their set.
NEW YORK CREW DON FURY’S RECORDING SESSION PHOTOS
So the record came out and that was it for a while. We hadn’t gotten members or made it anything other than something Porcell and I recorded and put out. Months later, it was like a Wednesday or Thursday and there was a show at the Anthrax that somebody was playing that Fridaynight. Porcell says, “dude, let’s have Judge play Friday night.” I was like, “hmmm, alright.” He said, “I’ll get Drew, you get Jimmy Yu. We’ll do it.” It was that fast. We got it all together and met up at Don Fury’s on the way to the show for a really quick rehearsal. It was just spur of the moment. We rehearsed the seven inch songs and “We Just Might.” That was the stipulation, we had to play that. I don’t know who else played. It was weird having people sing along to my words, especially when a lot of the kids were younger. I was pushing for the reaction of people getting mad at me at that first show. I wanted that. Instead, I got all this support. It was weird. But we thought we should keep it going.
We ended up getting Luke and he played with us for a while. He had really wanted to stay in the band, but Raybies didn’t want him in another band in addition to Warzone. Ray didn’t come up to me and directly say he didn’t want it happening, but he sort of asked me about the intentions of the band with Luke. He basically said that Warzone had the same plans as Judge, and that Luke was in Warzone before Judge, and that if Judge was going to take him they would have to get a new drummer. I basically said that if Luke needs to make a decision, then we’d find a new drummer. Luke was bummed, but it was only right. I didn’t even know Sammy. Sammy was friends with Porcell. I was good friends with Jules, but I didn’t know Sammy that well. Sammy worked out. I never really thought about his age. It was tough finding bass players and drummers. We were happy to have him, and he brought Matt into the band with him because at that point Jimmy couldn’t stay in.
People took to the band and the message. They liked it so much that I started seeing that these words that I wrote were causing people to act on them. I thought maybe I fucked up, that I started bad shit. I thought maybe I was the beginning of the wrong thing. I put myself out there and had to back it up. Whereas in something like Project X, it wasn’t serious. I thought it was hoaky. I thought that they were doing a caricature of how I really felt at the time. I thought the fake names were a little goofy. Those guys weren’t hard, you know?
I wrote these songs and words and put my ass on the line and once it became a band I was by myself. Porcell is basically a pacifist. And the other guys in the band are fifteen year old kids. In every town we came into on the road, every tough guy wanted to fight me since I was the guy from New York who said what he said. Jimmy was a fighter, a hot head. But he never toured with us. He was already into the temple and on his way to becoming an interpreter for a monk. So he didn’t tour, he just played locally. After the first tour we did I realized that when it came time to back up these words, I would be by myself. That’s how Todd came in. Because when it was time to stand up and throw hands, he’d be there with me. I needed him there.
We started writing new material. Porcell was real gung ho about Judge. I never asked him if Cappo gave him any shit about it while YOT was still going. Cappo at the time told me he didn’t like the message. He thought I was un-doing what took him years to accomplish. I laughed. He knew how I felt about YOT at that point. It bothered me because he finally got the balls up to confront somebody…but of all people, that person was me. I don’t know. I love Ray. I don’t want to come off like I am talking bad about him. There’s an ego that drives his motives a lot of times and maybe back then. I don’t think he was upset that I was putting a negative message out…I think he was upset that I was putting out a message, period. I was supposed to be YOT’s boy, and now the baby has grown and he’s not cute anymore. But I want to be really clear that I do love Ray. That was a long time ago.
SAMMY, MIKE, PORCELL AND JIMMY | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN
Writing the LP songs, I was still listening to the same stuff to get pumped, musically. Lyrically, I listened to a lot of Neil Young. But I had always been doing that. I always thought he was the master of writing lyrics, the master of being brutally honest with a life that is put into lyrics as an open wound that you can just sit there and pick at. What I wrote for lyrics, that is my damage. It’s the best way for me to let it out and write it down, and what fits in a song fits in a song.
The song “Bringin’ It Down” had two of three other verses that we had to cut out because the song wasn’t long enough. It was going to be the Judge theme song. It was supposed to be the message statement: stomping out the drug abuse, stomping out the ignorance, stomping out the racism. There was a lot more to it about booze and drugs, but it got cut down.
“Take Me Away” had a bunch of different parts to it. Part of it is about how some people are into music just based on how the music sounds…it’s about people who don’t care about the message. I would meet all these people that were really getting into Hare Krishna, but they weren’t really into the message, they were just into the image. There was no spirituality, there was just a fashion. I was commenting on that. It was about how I didn’t want to learn any spiritual stuff just to get over on someone who hasn’t taken the time to learn that shit. Some of those Krishna bands were like that. I met so many people who were simply into wanting to find a mall that sold the yellow mustard and haircut and a robe. Even before Shelter started, I was meeting people who were getting into it. People were saying they were stoked on it, but they were really just stoked that it gave them a reason to hang out with Ray and get close with him. It was just a way into something. If I could read a book and learn things to say and get over on some fools because they haven’t taken the time to figure out if I’m full of shit or not…where does that get me?
There’s other parts in the song that are about some guys who were dangerous NYHC types even though they were into spirituality. They were pushing this message, but at the end of the day they are the guys that are the first ones to feed on the meek, use them, and throw them away.
I was also wondering that if there is some all-powerful something or another out there, then maybe I shouldn’t have to try so fucking hard to keep myself in check. I’ve always said that I’m one slip away from being some fucking drug addict in an alleyway. I always feel like I am going through life driving down the road with the devil riding shotgun telling me to turn here or turn there. If there is something so good out there to protect, then why am I fighting this hard to just keep myself alive? You know, like, if you’re really here, then you take the wheel for a second…fucking help me out.
There was a lot of shit going on when my dad was sick and dying over the course of two years around that time. I wasn’t good at just sitting down and writing a song about one thing. That song has bits from all over the place. But watching my dad, I thought, “why does this have to happen, and why does it have to be so slow. Why can’t you just take the life? Why do you have to take the dignity and self-respect first? And what is the reward? How can all that shit happen if there’s something so great out there?” It just doesn’t make sense to me.
By that point in Judge, Porcell was with me but I didn’t know Matt or Sammy well. They were younger and that was fine. I already came to the conclusion that I’m a little fucked up in my mindset, and that’s just the way that it is. I could be surrounded by all my good friends, but at some point in the night, I’m gonna feel alone anyways. It’s just how my mind works. But I had realized that I don’t have a problem with that…with feeling alone in a crowd, so to speak.
I knew we needed to shift gears moving forward with Judge. I talked to Porcell about it. Even after the seven inch came out and it got the reaction it did, I had started to write lyrics that explained why I wrote those original lyrics. With the new lyrics, I wanted people to see that I’m all fucked up, that they shouldn’t take my words as the truth. But the more I explained that, it was like people identified with it more. It was different from YOT where we were all supposed to be healthy, happy, free and love each other. In Judge the lyrics were ugly and showed that I didn’t have it all figured it. But man…people took to it…
MIKE, SAMMY, PORCELL AND JIMMY | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN
LUKIE LUKE WITH GB AT THE SAFARI CLUB | PHOTO: TIM OWEN
Here we go, part one of what will be a multi part interview with Warzone/Gorilla Biscuits drummer, Luke “Lukie Luke” Abbey. Big thanks to Luke for putting the time and effort into this one and we look forward to keeping this train rolling.
Also, as a reminder, don’t forget to check out Luke’s eBay Auctions, (seller ID: yebba72) which will be coming to a close tomorrow (Wednesday, February 13th). Until then, enjoy this first installment and keep checking back for the follow up. -Tim DCXX
Where were you born and where did you grow up? What were you into as a kid before getting into music?
I was born during the winter of 1972 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, and grew up in Brooklyn. My folks split up when I was about 3 years old and until my teenage years I stayed primarily with my father, living near the intersection of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Boreum Hill.
Before I became a musician, I essentially did what everyone else in the neighborhood did; hang out, however my first real interest was bicycle riding. I loved that combination of balance and speed and the independence it provided. I rode everywhere and got to know more areas of the city than most adults did who’d lived there their whole lives. It really was an adventure for me. Otherwise, I dug baseball – a result of my father’s love for the game. He grew up going to Ebbet’s Field, and so I became a diehard Dodger and Mets fan, as well as an avid Yankee hater. I even got to see 3 games of the ’78 World Series at Yankee Stadium, where unfortunately the Dodgers got whomped.
As I got older, I got into more mischievous behavior of the urban variety and became increasingly reckless. Honestly, hardcore was what dissuaded me from getting deeper into trouble. I wasn’t a bad kid necessarily, but I definitely wasn’t getting better with age.
LUKE WAITS FOR AN ELEVATOR, WINTER 1986
What was your segway into punk and hardcore? Who introduced you to underground music and where did this go down?
For a few years in the early ’80’s, lots of kids hung out at a Blimpie’s in the neighborhood. There were video games in the back and it was usually pretty packed out, even though hardly anyone ever actually bought anything. One afternoon, a couple of guys who were in high school called me over to their table. As I mentioned, I was kind of a troublemaker and I guess had a bit of a reputation as such around the school and neighborhood, and these guys were aware of it. I sat down with them and they asked me did I know what hardcore was and could I play the drums. I’d begun playing just a few months earlier and taken only a single lesson from some jazz guy who lived in Red Hook. When I showed up for my second lesson, his apartment building was actually on fire so I just turned around and went home. To this day, that’s been the extent of my musical training.
I told these guys I could play and asked them if hardcore was like the Sex Pistols. At that point I was pretty into the Stones and Tom Petty, and was just really getting into U2, The Clash, and Blondie. They told me no, not the Sex Pistols, like MDC and Minor Threat and Agnostic Front. Then – and I can still envision it today – one of them said, “and this is all you gotta do”, and began banging out a stereotypical fast beat on the tabletop and floor. He had a cool mohawk, leather bomber, and combat boots and I was just psyched. I said yea, repeated back the same beat, and these dudes just started laughing and smiling. An hour later I was back at their house looking through records and drinking gin, amaretto, and ginger ale – a cocktail dubbed “kickback juice”.
When had you started to play drums and what was the inspiration? First kit? Favorite early drummers?
Originally I wanted to play the saxophone, but another friend of mine took it up and I wanted to have my own thing. A group of us in school who hung together were going to start a band and my buddy William, who I’d been friends with forever and whose father was a drummer, was kind of leading the charge. The two of us and another friend named Ari who played bass would get together at William’s where his father’s drums were set up and just jam. We called ourselves “The Third Rail” because we were “electrified”. William was way into Hendrix and I remember our first jam in his bedroom, where I had only a snare drum, consisted of playing “Purple Haze” for probably three hours straight. William, a guitar player, and Ari were miles ahead of me and progressed at an astounding pace, and within a couple of months I was left in the dust. The two of them each went on to become incredible jazz musicians and still perform regularly.
I didn’t do much drum-wise for a year or so after that until my fateful meeting with those hardcore kids at Blimpie’s. I had a black 4-piece Pearl Export kit which my father had bought for me when I began playing. Oddly enough, it came with two rack toms and no floor tom. It’s the same kit I ended up playing for several years in GB and Warzone. After I joined Warzone, Ray gave me a silver floor tom to go with it, and I actually recorded “Don’t Forget the Struggle…” on it. I probably let everybody use that kit during shows at one time or another. I think Drew is playing on it in one of the photos on the cover of the Bold record.
LUKE WITH JUDGE AT OLIVER J’S, ALLENTOWN PA, 1988
The first drummer who I really listened to and thought about was Mitch Mitchell. As the first songs I ever really tried to play were Hendrix tunes, naturally Mitchell’s drumming was something I tried to copy. He was a jazz drummer playing blues and rock n’ roll, and the way he phrased everything and flowed was unique. He made those songs move, never got in the way, and brought in a whole other dimension of style. He could be incredibly elusive and understated, and also a total maniac. Whereas I think Hendrix could have been just as groundbreaking and influential with almost any other bassist, I feel that Mitch Mitchell was an essential part of what happened.
As far as non-hardcore drummers go, Stewart Copeland was the other big influence on me. His energy, sharpness, creativity all stuck out to me. He also seemed to really enjoy himself behind the kit, which I loved – and he hit hard. I remember recently when The Police reunited and were playing on some televised something or other, near the end of the song he broke his snare head, mind you playing open handed as well. And he kept on playing with the skin flapping around through the end of the tune with a big smile on his face. So cool.
In terms of hardcore drummers, I’ve gone through a few stages, but the first guy who really blew me away was Al Schvitz from MDC. Drumming on that first record just killed and I thought the recording was amazing. That album was just pissed off and I listened to it endlessly. I also loved the drumming on the Cause For Alarm e.p., but I don’t know who played on that record. I only had a tape of the record and the one time I went to see them I got kicked out for being underage – a trend that unfortunately followed me for several years. I remember not understanding how he could get those fast double hits on his kick and figured he must be using two feet – which he wasn’t. However, I also had no clue about double pedals, and one day borrowed another single pedal from a friend and tried to attach two of them to a single kick drum. Didn’t work. Those two drummers stuck out for me – Jeff Nelson too, whom I just thought sounded crazy and loved the way he double tapped the snare during fast beats. My guess is that came from Earl – another guy who I love but whose influence hit me much later.
As far as guys who were playing around my time, I always thought Ernie Parada was awesome. He’d do this little back-and-forth swishy thing on his hi-hat that was really great to watch. He also played one of the only two fills which I’ve ever completely stolen and incorporated – just a little riff which leads into the skank part of “Gorilla Biscuits” – which he obviously put there first. The other is a snare/bass drum fill on “Degradation” which I stole from Mackie’s playing on “Signs of the Times”. Thanks, guys. I’ve always appreciated Mackie too. For a time, I had an opportunity to work with a bassist named Zowie and he kind of schooled me about the pocket and not overplaying, a lot of which I think he’d picked up from playing with Mackie. It was a huge step in shaping my attitude towards drumming, and in recent years Mackie’s become hands-down one of my favorite musicians. Otherwise, I dug Doug E. Beans, who was a total powerhouse, and Drew from Bold who just rocked – and still does. I got to watch Into Another play in Chicago last month, and Drew just makes it look easy. But truly, there were loads of other exciting and talented players whom I watched and enjoyed throughout the years.
LUKE HANGING OUT IN FRONT OF CBGB’S, SEPTEMBER 7TH, 1986 | PHOTO: BRI HURLEY
What were any early bands you played in that we don’t know about?
The only band I ever played in prior to joining Gorilla Biscuits was one called Loud and Boisterous, originally composed of myself and the two guys who recruited me that day at Blimpie’s. Mike, who played guitar, lived in a building in Brooklyn of which the top floor was basically a clubhouse in which we practiced and partied almost daily. Our singer’s name was Al Fashisto, who had been taken in by one of our school’s math teachers in Hoboken, though he essentially lived over at Mike’s. Eventually their buddy Dave moved up from Florida to play bass, and finally our friend Eric Fink, who later started Side by Side, began playing 2nd guitar. I was dubbed Luke Warm, and so my punk career began.
I went to my first shows at CB’s with those guys – I believe it was AF and The Psychos on the first bill I went to. Maybe December ’84? Got kicked out no less than 5 times that day and made a permanent enemy out of Karen Krystal. I attempted going in on my own – not realizing I needed to be 16, then had two different guys from the scene try and pretend they were my uncles. Next we pulled some random guy off the street and convinced him to say he was actually my real guardian and apologized for my other attempts, and finally after walking in next to Al hidden under his grey, ankle-length trench coat, I got past the front door. I was inside probably 10 minutes before somebody grabbed me behind my neck and walked me back to the front, at which point Karen put her face inches from mine and told me that I would never, ever get into CB’s again. I spent countless Sundays over the next few years parked in the vestibule or on the hydrant by the door, sneaking in here and there – including sometimes for shows I actually played.
Anyway, Loud and Boisterous played a total of 3 shows, though one of those was with Straight Ahead at their first show ever at February’s in Long Island. The other guys in LAB – except for Eric – were pretty uninterested in going to shows or even playing them, while I just got deeper and deeper into it. By 1986, I’d made a lot more friends in the scene while those guys had gotten into doing heroin. By our final show in Janurary ’87, I’d already joined GB and spent the night before going on a road trip with Youth of Today to Danbury. Our singer quit a few days before the show and so Eric sang instead. I woke up that day in Brooklyn maybe an hour before I needed to be at the show which was out at the Right Track Inn. Craig Setari picked me up on Houston Street and drove us out to the club where everything was already set up and people were waiting. I walked inside and straight onto the stage, played the set, and aside from Eric never saw those other guys from the band again.
LUKE WITH WARZONE AT OLIVER J’S, ALLENTOWN PA, 1987 | PHOTO: JEN BUCK KNIES
Break down the timeline of bands you were in chronologically and how you ended up playing in each one.
Loud and Boisterous lasted from 1984 through the end of 1986. Then came Gorilla Biscuits, but I’m honestly not sure how all that originally began. Maybe through somebody around the Youth of Today circle? I actually tried out for YOT also before they got Mike. I guess that must have been some time in the end of ’86, but the band was about to go to California for a while and I was in school. But I’m not sure where the offer to try out for GB came from. I remember meeting them at the Birth of Unity show in November of ’86, and thinking the singer’s name was Sid, and that Gus Pena was actually Sid. Then they played, and I realized neither Gus nor “Sid” were a part of it. But I ended up trying out for them at Giant Studios shortly after that show and that was it.
Just about a month later, I was leaving practice with Walter and he asked if I wanted to tag along with him to Warzone practice at Tu Casa on Avenue B. Warzone had sort of broken up at the end of ’86 after Todd split to join Murphy’s Law, and I guess Ray was getting it going again with Wally on bass, Arthur playing 2nd guitar, and Brad playing lead. They’d actually had some drummer shuffling recently, with Tommy Carroll playing one show, then their old drummer Charlie from Ultra Violence coming back to play their final show at the Ritz. At the time Warzone were my absolute favorite band and I was beyond stoked to go see them practice. Whoever was playing drums for them at this point didn’t show up to practice, and after a little while Walter suggested I sit in. I told Ray I already kind of knew the songs and he was all for it. He’d sit down himself at the kit, play through a tune once with everybody, then I’d take a turn. After about two hours I’d pretty much played a whole set, and then Ray and Brad went out of the room for a few minutes while the other guys packed up. We all left the studio and headed up towards the Pyramid where Ray worked, and along the way he told me that the practice was really cool and asked me if I wanted to join the band. I don’t remember what I said, but obviously it was ‘yes’ and we stopped off at the Pyramid where he gave me his number and I left there on cloud fucking nine.
Warzone and GB took up all my time in 1987, especially Warzone in which we practiced religiously and played out a lot. Around early ’88 after Mike Ferraro had started Judge I think I just asked if I could play with them. I want to that say Drew had already played a show but since he wasn’t living in NY it was kind of difficult. Anyway, I’m not sure how that all started either, but I played in Judge for maybe 8 or 9 months, did a bunch of shows on the east coast and a trip out to Cleveland and Buffalo. I remember putting together a few songs like “Hear Me”, “Bringing it Down”, and “Hold Me Back” – and apparently “Just Like You” also because I’m credited with it on that Revelation discography, but of that I’ve got no recollection.
LUKE’S WARZONE – DON’T FORGET THE STRUGGLE, DON’T FORGET THE STREETS, TEST PRESSING
During the summer of ’88 I also roadied for Youth of Today on their US tour. Somewhere in the Northwest, Walter broke his ankle skating and had to fly home. At the time, Alex Brown and I were driving from his folks house to hook up with everyone in California, and when we met them in Chico the first thing Ray Cappo asked me was if I could play bass for the rest of the tour. I remember the 2nd show I did with them was at the Covered Wagon in San Francisco, and I’d try to jump around and go off. Every time I got more than three inches off the ground, all those California guys would cheer and make a big deal out of it. Let’s just say I wasn’t the most aerodynamic person at the time. But I played the whole way back across the country and really enjoyed playing bass.
Moondog was the next project I got into, though it was pretty short lived. The idea came up during a drive back to NY from a GB show in DC with Walter and our friend Howie. In the spring of ’89, Wally and I got together at a practice space and put together everything in just two or three sessions. Then we went over to Don’s and spent a few hours recording everything. I don’t think we’d originally intended on releasing that. After our GB tour that summer, we decided to play a show and asked Tom Capone and Howie – who played in Alone in a Crowd – to play guitars, and then got Armand to play drums. I think I just wanted to play bass again. We practiced twice as a group and played a single show at CB’s. I split NY for Utah that winter and by the time I’d returned I think the band had become Quicksand – or maybe it was still Moondog. Anyway, I saw them play one show at ABC No Rio, their 7″ came out pretty shortly thereafter, and those guys just took things to the next level. Seeing them play again back in June at the Revelation Fest was one of the best times I’ve had seeing music in quite a while. I unfortunately missed all the shows from their recent tour, but I hope they’ll do more in the future so I catch one.
As far as hardcore history goes, that was pretty much it. I practiced with Alone in a Crowd a bit and we were going to get that going, but I don’t think Jules was into doing anything else at the time. I played my final show with GB in Boston at the end of 1990, and was kicked out a few days later. It was bound to happen by that point for various reasons, but I wasn’t aware of it at the time and was pretty broken up for a while. A few days later I moved out West and immersed myself in the mountains, spent all my time skiing and riding, and essentially left music behind for the next several years.
Between 1995 and the present, I’ve done several bands to varying degrees of success all over the country. I did some projects that never saw the light of day, one with Alex from Chain of Strength, and another with Zowie from Leeway. There was a band called Alpha Jerk led by Derrick Green, whose now been singing for Sepultura for the past 15 years. I filled in on a Hatebreed tour just after moving to Texas in 1998, played with a local punk band called Dropkick for a while, and also spent several months with The Riverboat Gamblers in 2007. I worked hard on two bands also here in Austin; one called Velorum, which I loved but went nowhere, and another more recently called Ratking. And then of course, since 2005, I’ve been active again with Gorilla Biscuits, which has just been incredible.
BRAD, LUKE, RAYBEEZ AND WALTER WITH WARZONE AT THE PYRAMID
MATT HITS THE CITY GARDENS CROWD WITH JUDGE | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
If you missed the first part to this interview, check it out here: Matt Pincus of Judge – Part I Now go throw on “Bringin’ It Down” and lay into part II. Much more to come, so stay tuned.
Sammy and I were best friends in 7th grade, and spent a lot of time together then. But he started taking music more seriously, even at a young age. We used to mess around on guitar and drums in his dad’s moving and storage warehouse downtown, playing covers of punk songs. However, I think it was pretty clear to everyone that Sammy was something special and was going to have a future playing music that was beyond the rest of us. Pretty quickly, he joined a band called Noize Police which had some real shows going. That led to Side By Side and the rest was history for him.
We stayed close but, while Sammy was developing in music, I really took the punk thing to the next level. was a really fucked up kid when I was about 10 – 13 years old. I was arrested a couple of times, got kicked out of two schools, was smoking dope and in trouble with drugs, ran away from my house and finally got sent to reform school, which was a difficult place for kids with issues. That was a dark time. I got the shit kicked out of me a few times and, by the time I got out (before ninth grade) I was ready to turn my life around.
I honestly credit hardcore for straightening me out. Sammy introduced me to straight edge and that was the vine swing I needed to get things on the right track and channel my pissed off energy. I have a lot to thank him for. I started going to shows when I was about 14. You had to be 16 to get into CB’s for hardcore matinees. So, I was too young. I seem to remember that a bunch of us went to a place called Playland in Times Square and got super cheap fake IDs for a couple of bucks that said we were 16. They just said ID CARD across the top, but CBs didn’t care. Probably the least sinister use of fake IDs there could be anyway. I saw Side By Side at CBs when I must have been 14. That was a memorable show as I think it may have been my first and I stood on stage. It blew my mind.
Hardcore was like my sports in high school. I went to shows, then played shows, on weekends, during all my vacations from school, and toured in the summer. I became straight edge when I was 15, and that got me clean and gave me a sense of purpose and a community.
Shows were scary back in those days. I have an indelible memory of Jason Krakdown (from Krakdown) dominating the pit by swinging a bike lock round and round over his head, I think at a Sick Of It All matinee. I wasn’t a tough guy. That scared the shit out of me.
Another memorable show was Bad Brains at the Ritz on 11th Street. I seem to remember they were on a bill with Fishbone. I was probably 15 and it just blew my mind. I had never seen people do the things those guys were doing. Dr. Know ripping. HR doing a full flip on stage. Just nuts. A kid stage dived off the balcony onto the crowd. It’s impossible to imagine that happening these days.
MATT WITH JUDGE AT THE RIVER ROCK CAFE IN BUFFALO, NY | PHOTO: UNKNOWN
And then there was the Anthrax. That was a place of wonder for me, though I do remember breaking my arm there at a YOT show.
I still have my old first pressing hardcore records. I bought YOT Can’t Close My Eyes at Some Records. I still remember thumbing through the bins, trying to decide what to buy. I still have the Unity, Underdog, Sick Of It All, GB, and Bold 7 inches in the collection, not to mention Salad Days, along with some epic demo tapes (Beyond demo comes to mind).
It was a special time.
I’m not sure I ever felt like I fit in when I was a kid, no matter what context…and I’m not sure the NYHC scene was any different in that respect.
My life pattern and upbringing was different than the other guys in the scene, but I think a couple of things helped and made it work for me. First, I worked really hard at playing music. I knew the songs, and I showed up early for shows. I was way into it. I also respected the other guys in the band and what they had done. Mike Judge and I were way different, but he and I did some early morning shifts on tour and connected in our own way. Porcell was someone everyone looked up to and I was no exception. I think they got that I felt lucky to be where I was.
Second, I think I had earned some respect because I had taken the punk thing super far. Despite my background, I didn’t give a fuck and wasn’t trying to play it safe. I think some people knew a little bit of that and maybe went a bit easier on me because of it.
Did I feel like I was in the same struggle with all of those guys? Probably not. Attached is a pic of a bunch of the hardcore cats hanging out at my folks’ apartment. Porcell, Wally, Luke, Alex Brown, etc. were there. That was quite a night. I remember Ray Beez from Warzone (he’s in the upper right wearing a racoon skin cap) that night calling my dad Mr. Drummond. To his face. So, it was a bit weird.
But I really connected with what the scene was all about in my own way and it made sense.
TOP ROW: WALTER, ALEX, JULES, UNKNOWN, GUS, RAYBEEZ – BOTTOM ROW: MATT, DYLAN, PORCELL, LUKE AND SAMMY, WITH KICKS IN FULL DISPLAY AT MATT’S APARTMENT IN NYC | PHOTO COURTESY OF: MATT PINCUS
This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX Playing in a HC band can be a real trip, at times it can be a real mind twister. One thing I told myself when people started paying any attention to THE FIRST STEP was “alright – I am not going to let this effect me whether things are good or bad.” Well try as I might – I wasn’t always successful at that. At one point, it felt like THE FIRST STEP (TFS) could do no wrong. Everywhere we looked were enthusiastic friends looking to us to provide them with straight edge hardcore. A few years later of course things had changed. We were able to see what kind of idiots we were at times, yesterday’s “friends” were today’s “regrets,” and other people had changed and that’s just how it goes. The way that happened for us was funny though. I don’t think it was the kind of thing where anyone set out to do anyone wrong. On the contrary, I think HC is basically people growing up, learning, making mistakes, following their instincts and doing whatever makes sense at the time.
Anyways, around 2005 I really wasn’t too happy about the Hardcore scene around me. I had made a few good friends in the last few years who I was no longer close with. First on the list was our old bass player, Andy Norton. Andy was easily one of the best people I had ever been in a band with. But, as anyone who has been in band can tell you, at times you can easily forget about that kind of stuff and let the silliest things get between you. Basically – TFS had broken up a few years before and Andy and I grew distant during that period and disagreed on getting it going again.
At this time Andy was playing bass for our old friends CHAMPION. A few years before we had done a tour together, as well as played several shows. We were both somewhat new bands at the time, and I would say that our tour together was one where we grew, experienced a lot of things for the first time and generally had a blast. However, while our bands sounded quite similar, for a few years after we had managed to drift apart. CHAMPION was touring heavily, and we were doing our own thing. This wasn’t the kind of thing where there was “shit talking” or bad vibes of course – but it was more of a mutually curious “man I have NO IDEA what’s going on with those guys.”
THE FIRST STEP and CHAMPION finally played together, after about 2.5 years, in Florida. I enjoyed their set and I thought “man I miss playing with these guys.” The CHAMPION guys were as friendly as I had remembered them and it was great to catch up. But things were definitely not settled with myself and Andy. I hadn’t felt good about our falling out for quite awhile. I decided to take this show as an opportunity to confront Andy and apologize for letting things slip. For the uninitiated – Andy has A LOT of love. He is such a friendly and generous guy – but when you are on the wrong side of that – it feels cold. Anyways – after the show I told him “hey man – I really miss our friendship and I acknowledge that I did you wrong. I let you down – and I apologize.” It was a hard thing to say – but it was really how I felt. He accepted my apology – but seemed to have an equally awkward time with that interaction.
So that’s the backstory! And now onto the show! It was early summer of 05, THE FIRST STEP were doing a weekend of final shows with OUR TURN. Our San Diego show at the CHE CAFE included CHAMPION, and Aram’s new band BETRAYED. It was good to see CHAMPION so soon again. They had their first drummer back in the band which meant that it was basically like “reuniting” the bands who had toured together several years before. I still hadn’t seen Andy at the show though.
OUR TURN played, and I remember it being the best time I had seen them. They weren’t around very long and were already breaking up – so it was nice to see them play in a nice packed venue with a good stage for diving. Where TFS was a band of uniform and solidarity – OUR TURN was a band of diversity. It was clear this weekend that they were beginning to go their different directions. But at this show they were tight. Carl, their singer, really went crazy that night. It showed that he wasn’t just posturing as a HC singer doing moves, but that he was really putting all of himself into the set. I mentioned it to him later and he said he was “just aware that this show would probably be their last.” He also had this blue San Fransico Wrestling type shirt on. It looked STRONGLY like the JOHN JAY shirts that we knew from investigating BOLD photos. Good look Carl! He confessed later that the shirt was really from a “gay men’s clothing line.” Best looking guy at the show!
I believe BETRAYED played next. They were new – but quickly had a STRONG following. I remember being really stoked on them as they started. Mainly because they were all friends of mine prior to being a band, and it was obvious that they were going to do some good things. I was excited for Greg because he had recently gone through a rough patch with his bands. I was particularly excited to see my friend Aram sing. Aram was the first member of CHAMPION I met. He is the kind of Hardcore kid who will walk right up to you at a show and start talking and sharing with you. In our tours together he was always having deep talks, or cutting up, making big plans, and he is VERY straight edge. A lot of dudes just end up on the mike – but he was ideal for it and he had A LOT to say. I was glad to see my friend up on stage sharing himself, and not another kid who was playing around to get some attention. Lastly – I had recently made amends with my friend Todd Jones. He could be as hardheaded and stubborn as me – but it felt better to be cool with each other again. I was excited to hear what new riffs he had and how he was always taking his ideas and sound farther – particularly at this time.
Then THE FIRST STEP was up. I remember I was nervous to play after BETRAYED. We hadn’t played California in a while and I wasn’t sure if kids still had the love. I was wrong. The place was ape for TFS. Something about “the Che” is that they have these rafters that kids could swing on and then kind of dive. I remember our friend Larry Ransom heckling Greg Bacon. Something that Todd Jones initiated at this time was a “GREG BACON” chant. It would start small, but then you’d have a whole show chanting “GREG BACON.” This was awesome because Greg can be a bit shy and reserved – but he deserves love. Anyways – the part that this was all building to was yet to come. We always ended our set with our song “THE FIRST STEP.” During the “preMOSH break” Greg handed his bass to Andy, who I still hadn’t seen that night, and Andy played the rest of the song. I remember him really going off and being happy. While at the FL show it felt like we merely talked – at this show it felt like things were going to be ok afterall! After the song ended – we decided to play WOLFPACK by DYS to the appreciation of the crowd.
Seeing Andy play with us again really blew my mind. A few months before I felt that was a bridge which I had burnt and would never be able to retrace. It was also similarly nice to be around my old friends in CHAMPION and Todd Jones and feel great vibes instead of silly “uncertain” HC vibes.
There are a lot of great times to be had in HC – but you can’t really enjoy them on your own. The people around you, and what they have to offer are our opportunity to participate and connect with this music. Without your friends you can easily become just an isolated nerd. To me – this show was REALLY good in terms of recent\ HC shows (great line up), great energy from the crowd, great turn out; but what made it memorable to me was reconciling with good friends. I believe in reconciliation and it felt great to be forgiven and to connect with my friends.
I’ll never forget it…Enuf, along with Life’s Blood, Vision and Bold were playing at Rutgers’s Scott Hall in the fall of ’88. Enuf were the opening band and I was very attentively tuned into their set. At one point, Enuf’s front man, AJ, looks over to the side of the stage and puts a song out to Jules from Side By Side, who was watching on. AJ goes on to drop the bomb on Jules’s new band called Alone In A Crowd, said they were a mix between Negative Approach and Last Rights and said to watch out for them. Being a huge fan of Side By Side and considering they had recently broken up, I was ecstatic over the fact that Jules was starting something new.
Over the next few months following that Scott Hall show, I acquired a cassette tape rough mix of the soon to be released Alone In A Crowd 7″. When I first laid ears on this I was blown into oblivion. It wasn’t as good as Side By Side…in my opinion, it was better. Jules’s voice was stellar, just simply an as-good-as-it-gets type of hardcore vocals. The music was hard as nails and almost made you want to kick someone’s teeth in. I was a fan, I was hooked and I wanted more.
Soon after hearing the 7″ recording, I got my hands on yet another Alone In A Crowd recording. This one was the live set from their one and only show at the Anthrax in Norwalk Connecticut. You know the show: Judge, Hogan’s Heroes, Alone In A Crowd and Chain Of Strength… definitely a show I wouldn’t have minded attending had I been able to. But back to this live tape, it opens with Jules yelling, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see? Or am I just alone in a fucking crowd?!?!” That intro alone sent shivers down my spine. That was just the beginning. Song intro after song intro, Jules delivers non-stop, top-shelf commentary. Maybe to this day, some of the coolest stage banter I’ve ever heard in 20 plus years of hardcore. How can you beat, “If you are sick of people going back on words that they say, if you are sick of people that are straight edge one day and no edge the next, if you are sick of people lying, then sing along, this song is called Commitment!” And what about a simple quote like, “This song goes out to the Youth Crew… old and new, this song is called Teenager In A Box!” Honestly, this live tape is priceless and again, a constant source of quotes that give you chills.
Fast forward to late 1989/early 1990 and my friend Tony and I are working on the second issue of our fanzine, Common Sense. We made it a goal to try and get an interview with Jules regarding Alone In A Crowd. Thinking back, I can’t quite remember how the interview came together, but I do know that Tony eventually tracked Jules down and the interview happened. Common Sense number two was released in early 1990 to a very limited release. My dad had them copied at his work, so we pretty much got as much as he could get done. I’m not sure how many were printed, but I’m guessing it was around 100 or less. I think we sold all of them at one City Gardens show, maybe a few going out in the mail. So considering most people have never seen the second issue of Common Sense, I thought it would be cool to reprint this one particular interview. Maybe I’ll reprint more of the interviews that appeared in the future, we’ll see how it goes. Enjoy this one for now and if you have a copy of that Alone In A Crown live tape, play it while reading this interview, it can only enhance the experience. -TM DCXX
Why are Alone In A Crowd breaking up?
Well, originally the band was only supposed to be a project. This recording is going to be the final thing. Our original line up was Carl of Raw Deal on bass, Lars and Rob from Uppercut playing guitar and drums and this kid Howie playing guitar. I got this crazy idea of actually being a band, so we got the new line up and then I found out I didn’t have the time or effort to do another band. I’m real pleased with the way it came out, it’s good music and it’s a good message.
How would you describe the sound of Alone In A Crowd?
It’s been compared to as a cross between the Cro-Mags and Last Rights, but that’s up to other people to decide. There’s a lot of different stuff in there.
So It’s definitely hardcore then, right?
I like to think of it as that. I don’t know if you would think of it as that but it’s not like Side By Side. There’s not a mosh part every 15 seconds.
What is the lyrical content of Alone In A Crowd?
Well, I think the record is going to be call “Commitment”. I’m not really sure, it’s up to Brian from Flux Records, he’s printing up the covers. It’s just about sticking to your guns, which I think nobody does and it’s annoying to think that I follow people who say things that are honorable and then not live up to it. Like they’ll say, “Well, you should have a lactose free diet” or “You shouldn’t kill animals”. Here I am, doing my my best to get rid of dairy products and here they are, eating pizza and waring leather sneakers. I’m not snapping on Youth Of Today or anybody, that’s just an example. It just bugs me that here I am, I’m trying to do something right, everyone can talk real big but they can’t stick it out.
How was the one show you played with Judge, Hogan’s Heros and Chain Of Strength in November of 1988?
It was great. The crowd was incredibly receptive.
Do you think they would have been as receptive if you weren’t Jules from Side By Side?
No! (Laughter) To be terribly honest, I hate that rockstar shit. I think it was kinda people who were looking forward to see if it was really good or not.
What are your future plans as a person?
Basically I’m going to CCNY. Probably go to diving school because that’s really what I want to do. Can I ask a few Side By Side quesions?
Yeah sure, I don’t care.
Why did Side By SIde break up?
The other people got better offers. They weren’t happy with what I wanted to do with the band.
What’s the deal with “Backfire”? Some of those lyrics were questionable.
“Backfire” I co-wrote the lyrics to that song and basically what it means to me is that there are people out there who have a real hard guy act. Like these guys come in from Jersey, go down to the projects and beat up some kids, five on one and then split so they have some story to tell their friends and the people on the lower east side are like, “Wait a minute, when two hundred project kids sweep through Thompson Square Park with bats, it’s not right”. There’s a point where you have to say, “Wait, that’s bullshit”. A lot of people thought it was a violent song and it counteracted “Violence To Fade”, my attitudes changed though. I thought we could stop violence, but I guess I was proven wrong because the more I sang about it, the more it happened, it was ridiculous. Maybe I weakened, maybe I gave in, but no one really deserves to get their ass beaten.
What’s your definition of “Hard” in hardcore?
Basically, this is it. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s not how many tattoos you have, it’s not how bad you walk or how bad you talk. It’s weather you stand behind what you say. You don’t go from being a peace punk to going to a nazi, that’s soft. Being hard is standing behind your beliefs.
How can I finish this one up good? Ya know, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve accomplished all that I want. Side By Side was a damn good band and Alone In A Crowd was a damn good project. The records are good and sure, I’m proud of that stuff, but I really wish I could have gone further. To have a good band you gotta have time and I don’t have any. Plus don’t let anybody talk anything about me because I haven’t swayed from what I believe.
Does it feel strange to be so young and have accomplished so much?
What do you mean, “To be so young”, I feel ancient man! Then I look at Billy, the bass player of Side By Side and he’s 26, he’s seen it since the beginning. It’s too changing for me, I guess I’m old fashioned. I go downtown now, there’s no one I know. I see someone I know once in a blue moon. It’s not my place anymore, but I just hope they don’t fuck it up. I hope they don’t screw up what we worked for.
This is part of an on-going piece we will be running with Jordan Cooper, a man who needs no introduction. Want one? Pull out The Way It Is LP. Yeah, that was his idea, start to finish…enough said. We pick some Rev releases with accompanying questions, and allow Jordan to inform us. More to come… -DCXX
Warzone seven inch: here is where it all kicked off. Could you tell us a good Raybeez story involving this record? I am sure he had some hand in it, and I am sure it is somehow funny. Also, for the first Revelation release, what do you think of this record?
Raybeez was one of the most gracious and friendly people I ever dealt with believe it or not. When Cappo interviewed me for the “Talk About Unity” documentary (coming…soon…not too soon, but soon) he asked me to talk about Raybeez and I said something like “he was a really nice guy,” then Cappo cut me off saying something like “you can’t just say he was a nice guy! Describe him! He was a big skinhead with tattoos. Paint the picture for people.” He must have seemed like a scary guy to some people, but at that point, I considered the punks and hardcore people my friends regardless of what they looked like. Obviously he had a reputation and was a skinhead but I never saw anything that correlated with either of those stories or stereotypes personally so I accepted him as he presented himself to me…a decent guy. Really, the only funny things about Ray that I experienced are the things that everyone already knows about him. His handwriting was grafitti influenced and he always put quotation marks in all four corners.
NFAA seven inch: the first west coast Revelation release. Do you recall this being a big deal, getting a west coast band on the label? Did it mark Revelation at the time as a label that was just bigger than the NY/CT ties it previously held? Whose doing was the release?
Ray and Porcell were friends with Dan from touring and that’s how that happened. It was only a big deal in the sense that it was the first band from outside the area we were going to work with. But it wasn’t that much of a big deal, people seemed happy about it and then we started getting demos from other bands in CA too.
NYC Hardcore The Way It Is LP: to this day, if you had to pick a song off of that comp to represent that time and the record most appropriately, what would you pick? Why? Is there a song on there that still means as much to you 20 years later as it did when you heard it for the first time?
I’m better with the technical details than opinions, but this is pretty much impossible for me to answer. I had such a great time working on that record that pretty much everything on there meant something to me. The songs that Warzone and Bold and all the other bands I already knew were great. Talking to Neil from Nausea, Jason and Damon from Krakdown, Jeff from Breakdown and everyone else was really good and it felt like a record that everyone was going to like. I guess “As One” and “Together” were sort of theme songs for that comp because they definitely captured the spirit of it.
BOLD seven inch: to this day, many people can’t get over how much this band “changed” from “Speak Out” the previous year, to this release. New splatter logo left of center, power trio photo, acid wash jean jacket, backwards sound byte. Do you remember thinking “Man, I guess Matt Bold has grown up?”
It’s hard to believe that was only one year later, but there also must have been at least a year between the time Bold recorded Speak Out to when it finally came out, so maybe the actual musical transition wasn’t so abrupt. Yeah…the photo. They got more shit from their friends for that than from anyone else. I thought it was a little over the top, but it wasn’t too long before that record came out that our record layouts were done with photocopies and scotch tape so just having good production values on a record layout that I put together myself (under the band’s direction) was probably all I was worrying about. I think that was the first record that we did that Dave Bett didn’t design that went through normal (or close to normal) record sleeve printing production. Everything before that was done locally and had folded paper in plastic bag covers except for the first two thousand Sick Of It All records which were printed locally and then hand cut and glued into record jackets by me mostly and a couple of my friends.
Quicksand seven inch: in your eyes, did this band have future rock stardom written all over it with this release? What were your thoughts on the artwork then and now? Was it a real departure from hardcore to you? Could you believe that you were releasing a record that featured the lyric “excrementable?”
That’s funny that you mention that word. I used to argue with Walter about it because I didn’t want to see him using a grammatically “incorrect” word. He didn’t seem to care, but I’d basically argue that you can’t turn a noun into an adjective by adding “able” to the end if that noun has a verb form. In other words, the “correct” way to say that, would be to use “excretable.” A similar example using a different Quicksand word is “omission.” If you wanted to say something could be done without, you would say “omittable,” not “omissionable.” From what I remembered he thought it was amusing that I cared about it, but he just liked the way it was.
While there may still be some haters out there voicing their distaste for the legend that is Chain Of Strength, you are going to find nothing but love for that band on this site.
“Are those SSD sweatpants or an SSD shirt on dude’s leg?” “What are the ‘three words that come to mind’?” “Who was Roy A. Addington?” “Why is ‘NO’ your answer?”
These are all questions we have asked over the years (and of course, found answers to). Yet in the continuous quest for more information about the band that dropped ten perfect songs in three years (with another rager fully surfacing a half decade later), and taught many of us how to jump with a guitar in our hands, we have to ask more questions. This time we went directly to Curt Canales, who we will continue to post interview excerpts from in the coming days.
(PS: Breakdown is great without question…but better than CHAIN? No support here). True Till Death. -DCXX Give us the scoop on how Chain Of Strength came together-
Chain began sometime in ’88. Ryan and I knew each other from local shows as well as the previous bands we were in. Ryan asked me to join the band he was forming, “Chain Of Strength” he called it, and I happily agreed. Paul (Frosty) and Chris joined, too. The bass spot took several months to fill. Doug Bellows (Circle Storm) filled in until Alex joined. Did CHAIN hit the ground running? It always has seemed like things moved quickly?
Our first practice space was in the “cubby hole,” a local space a lot of bands used because it was cheap. We then practiced and wrote many of the songs (True Till Death) at the “Chain House” in Pomona. Chain never really struggled in the beginning. I think that created a lot of resentment towards us, especially since our first show had YOT, Underdog and Soulside… to name a few. In retrospect, I can understand some of the criticism, but you have to know where we came from, and the years we spent in the hardcore scene which helped us to establish great relationships. You guys hit the road east multiple times – what are your recollections?
Touring was obviously great. Unfortunately we had many rumors to contend with. There was the Sick of It All Feud that was supposed to blow up at our first CBGB show. When we finally met them, they were actually some of the nicest guys we ever met. I remember playing in Boston. We were playing with YOT and Slapshot, and the Goon Squad showed up and threw raw meat all over the sidewalk. I guess they were indignant with Ray’s vegetarianism? Or, maybe because they (Slapshot) were becoming irrelevant? You might laugh, but people back then and still today talk about how you guys looked, dressed, and carried yourselves, i.e. “did they find Curtis at a beach?” “New Kids On The Block,” etc. Even Moondog’s song “Pretty Boy” is apparently a direct hint at the band. Any response?
I think there were many problems with the HC scene in ”90-’91. Straight edge was changing! We were “mocked” and “ridiculed” because we adopted our California style, which annoyed the “youth crew” traditionalist. Then I started to see this Krishna movement, where kids were being indoctrinated into this religion, and all I kept hearing in my head was, “you call it religion, you’re full of shit!” And then we’d visit Cleveland, and bands were coming onstage with baseball bats! And this fascism that we were all so against was suddenly appearing within the greatest youth movement, straight edge! It was over…for me. What are your favorite shows that you remember attending and playing? Favorite record?
Attended: Agnostic Front at 12XU in Pomona. Check out the Flipside video, you’ll see this young 15 year old dancing around. Played: Cro-Mags at City Gardens. (Ed. note: We are awaiting some sort of confirmation that this show ever happened?). Record: Millions of Dead Cops. What are you up to today?
I want to first say: “I’m not a Cop.” I am an Entrepreneur, married with two boys.
Coming off the Turning Point demo entry is a classic story brought to you directly from Turning Point axeman, Jay Laughlin. We’ll continue to bring random memories from people regarding the best shows they remember playing/attending. Jay’s piece couldn’t have landed in our inbox at a better time, and while we are usually down to mix things up a little bit here with the content, DOUBLE CROSS couldn’t argue with a double dose of Turning Point this week. Great stuff if we might say so. -DCXX
So this is an easy question and it was actually two shows in one day. I really did give this some thought, and about then different shows popped into my head right off the bat: opening for Swiz in nowhereville, Pennsylvania; any show at the Anthrax in CT; opening for Quicksand at City Gardens…all were great highlights while playing in TP. But somehow, we lucked into playing with Gorilla Biscuits at a CBGB’s matinee one afternoon and then playing a show with Vision at City Gardens later in that same evening. We were all really huge GB fans so getting to play with them at CB’s was just fucking awesome, and then to top it off we got to play our first show at City Gardens, the club I attended so many times to see some of the best shows/bands for the past few years prior. We played plenty of great shows but this was easily the best day for the band. Yet it wasn’t just the actual shows, but the whole day’s experience.
It kicks off with us doing the CB’s show, and it was great. We stuck around for GB’s set and they killed it. We pack up the van with what we thought was plenty of time to get to City Gardens, at least a three hour cushion for sure. I was the guy in the band that owned the van and did most of the driving and also the guy that drove the piece of shit everyday and knew it wasn’t the most reliable vehicle on the planet. Something was always wrong with it, but I was young and very lazy with the standard up-keep that any automobile needs to stay a viable means of transportation.
So we start our trek out of NYC and on the way to the Holland Tunnel while still feeling the adrenalin high of a great show at CB’s. To add to it, we were pumped and ready to do it again for our debut at City Gardens. Just then, we hit some really crazy traffic. Not to be unexpected to anybody that has ever driven in NYC, but this was really, really bad. Just sitting in the same spot for minutes on end. It was like a fucking parking lot, man. Turns out it was the day of the Gay Pride Parade and we happened to drive right into the middle of it. It was the middle of summer too, so it was just blazingly hot out and the van didn’t have any AC. There were just hundreds of half dressed guys/girls spilling into the streets causing a total clusterfuck of a traffic jam, and guess what? The damn van starts to over heat. Shit.
I look at the temperature gauge and my heart drops, the needle is almost in the red. We had a few friends along for the ride so we have all the gear and seven guys in the van. Somebody tells me to turn on the heat as it will help keep the engine temperature down. I fire up the heat full blast and the inside of the van went from really uncomfortable to “I think I could pass out and/or die” hot. It was so bad that most of the van’s occupants stripped down to their boxers to try and stay cool/alive. So here we are running late for the City Gardens show, sitting in our underwear in the middle of the Gay Pride Parade. Unreal. Turning the heat on did help keep the van going, and once we made it to the Jersey side of the tunnel and could actually drive over 5 mph the van cooled down and we were on our way.
We get to City Gardens and are informed we are way late and would have to go on right away or not play at all. We had to use the opening bands gear to make our set time so we literally had to grab our guitars out of the van and hit the stage. We were burnt from the heat, the earlier show and extra long drive, but got up a did our thing.
Now here’s the kicker for me…City Gardens had a decent sized drum riser. I guess it was a two to three feet off the stage. I can’t remember if it was the first, second or third song of our set, but I did a patented straight edge jump with my guitar in hand and didn’t realize I was a bit to close to the drum riser, and ended up catching my feet on it on my way down. “BAM!” I went straight down with only my face to catch my fall. Fuck! I bounced right back up totally embarrassed in front of pretty big crowd and kept playing like nothing happened. Luckily I was OK and the rest of the show went off without a hitch.
The worst part (or best part for anybody but myself) is that a friend had been video taping the show, and a few days later had brought it over to Skip’s house. Once the guys caught a glimpse of me smashing my face on the stage floor they proceeded to play that 5 seconds of video over and over and over while laughing themselves to tears. An amazing day of two great shows reduced to five seconds of me looking like an idiot. Perfect.
Lastly, I know that video exists and would pay money to see it again all these years later. So if any of you old hardcore heads has it, please YouTube it or get in touch with me. To see that tape one more time would make my day.
Our resident west coast connection, Joe Nelson, toured many times as the roadie for INSTED on their tours across the U.S., and we were certain he’d have something cool to say about those times out on the road. Needless to say, he delivered again. -DCXX
Those were such great tours with Insted. All four of those guys, plus the other roadie, Chris Fenn, are just the best people the world has to offer. I would say looking back at those tours it was just the usual shenanigans bands pulled. We’d always load up on fireworks at “South of the Border” in South Carolina, so we could shoot them at cars on the interstate, which is obviously safe. Also being 18 – 19 year old boys, we were constantly trying to hook up with girls. We’d sneak into baseball games or the local water slide park on our off days. Sometimes somebody had a ramp in their area that I’d skate. We’d of course always have BBQs with everyone before the show, then after the gig go to some party at a local’s house. Just innocent fun, but “real” fun if you know what I mean?
We also all played sports. Bear, Kevin, and I were pretty decent basketball players so we’d challenge everyone to 3 on 3 games. I think we had a run of like 50 – 0 during the summer 1989 tour. Actually, a pretty funny football game happened between us and Burn. We’d always split our crew in New York. Half of us would stay with Mark Ryan, Alan Cage, and Gavin Van Vlack in their little basement apartment, and the other half would stay at the Schism house which was Ray Cappo, Alex Brown, and John Porcelly’s two foot hall of an apartment. Both apartments were in Brooklyn which wasn’t as …ummm…”hip” as it is today.
Anyway, Burn was talking ungodly amounts of shit about being such great football players, and how California kids were “soft”…and blah…blah…blah. We put together a game of like Gavin, Chaka Malik, Alan, and two other local dudes vs. Insted. The game was in some nasty Brooklyn Park, on a rock hard patch of dirt with about 3 blades of grass sticking out of it. What Burn failed to realize, however, is that football is a game of speed. I just remember the first five pass plays for us were Kevinsted precession bombs for touchdowns to either me or Bear. We also intercepted everything they threw at us. Then they tried the “well let’s give it to Gavin and just have him bull us over” play. However, we would just take out his legs so he’d get five yards…at best. They quit after 30 minutes.
Looking back at all of it though I always talk about the summer of ’89 tour being just the greatest summer for a lot of us, especially me. That summer, Insted was out for 9 weeks, from like mid June through August, so basically the whole summer. The other bands that were out on the road, or shared a show or two with us were Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Bold, Reason To Believe, Uniform Choice, Underdog, Up Front, SNFU, Verbal Assault, Vision, and a bunch more. Every show that summer was like a “Who’s Who” for straight edge hardcore of the day.
We had such a blast. I mean think about this: GB, Bold, Reason, and Insted all stayed in the same Ft. Lauderdale, Florida house for like a week straight, maybe longer. I mean there’s really nothing better then being with 25 of your friends at some random Florida beach all day long, then having a massive slumber party all night when you’re 18… is there? It really, truly was such an amazing moment in time in this spot of the world to be alive.
The first time I had heard of Turning Point was through an interview that I had read with them in the Fall of 1988. The fanzine was called Artificial Insanity and was done by this guy Emil who lived in Blackwood, New Jersey. Emil was a very cool and friendly guy who I would write to, trade zines with and also do a little tape trading. One notable tape I distinctly remember getting from Emil was a copy of the Project X 7″ and the Antidote 7″. At the age of 13, both of those records were virtually impossible to find, at least for me at that time. I owed Emil a ton of thanks for hooking me up with what would become two of my favorite 7″s ever. One recording Emil did not give me, but highly recommended I order was the Turning Point demo. Considering the fact that this guy had not steered me wrong yet, I knew I had to follow his suggestion. Not too long after this discussion with Emil, I had received a copy of Open Your Eyes issue 3 in the mail. What an incredible zine, still one of my favorites. In that third issue of Open Your Eyes was a very cool ad for the Turning Point demo. With the combination of the interview in Artificial Insanity, the recommendation of Emil and the killer ad in Open Your Eyes, I was sold and quickly packed my $4.00 into an envelope and sent it off to 8 Crider Ave.
When that Turning Point demo arrived in my mailbox, I was stoked to say the least. I remember tearing the demo out of its padded envelope and staring in awe at the simple but awesome cover art. Two faceless, X’ed up straight edge dudes chilling over the words “Turning Point,” so classic. What got even better was when I popped the cassette into my tape player and heard the song “To Lose” kick it off. Up until then it was just word of mouth, visual images and the rumors that Turning Point sounded like Youth Of Today junior, finally I could judge for myself. Right off the bat I could tell that the recording was better than the majority of demos I recalled hearing at that point. The music was hard and clean and when Skip’s vocals came in, I was blown away. Loud, in your face, pissed, yet completely clear, this was straight edge hardcore at its finest. At one point I recall thinking to myself, “Well yeah, it does sound a bit like Youth Of Today,” as did a million bands at that time, “But this easily stands above all the imitators.” I went on to listen to this demo over and over and over again. I studied and remembered the lyrics word for word. The song “Never Again” was my personal favorite. There was something about those lyrics, “You fuck with our friends at all the shows, we’re gonna take you down and all our hate will flow”… that struck a nerve. It was just so pissed and fed up, I loved it.
Still to this day, 20 years later, the Turning Point demo remains as my favorite hardcore demo ever. Not only is it my favorite hardcore demo (up there with Pushed Aside, Beyond and Raw Deal) but it’s actually my favorite Turning Point recording as well. Maybe it’s the memories I have of first getting this demo, maybe it’s the raw, honest, in your face tone they took, maybe it’s the “Dragnet” sound clip. No matter what it is, it’s fuckin’ great and still gets me as psyched today as it did 20 years ago. -TM
This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX
Journeyman was playing at Stockton State College in New Jersey. Onthe bill was Turning Point, Burn, and I believe there were two otherswho respectively opened the gig. Journeymen was to play before Burn, with Turning Point finishing the night. But first, thefellas from J-man took the stage.
The stage was in some sort of hall there on campus. We began to play, and were no more than three songs into the set when these skins from A.C. were making a bit of a ruckus. I looked out and saw one seig-heiling and decided I was going to put an end to it so I dashed out into the crowd and wound up for what I was expecting a collosal hit, when the mic I was holding hit its limit. I don’t know if someone was standing on the cable or if someone had the bright idea of tying it off well, but it snagged just above my shoulder. It pulled at my arm and forced me to let go of the mic. Well, this took all the momentum from the windup and I delivered the world’s lamest “slap” on this skin’s left cheek. For one brief second we both looked at each other in utter amazment, then I came to my senses and delivered a proper left. The crowed jummped in and what happened after is a bit a blur, but as the rumors/story goes, a few people locked the doors so the A.C. boys could not exit. Tables, chairs, fists flying. All the while, they had pulled the plug on the band, and yet Chris Cap was still pounding away on the drums. I remember the PA stack falling over and looking out at some flashing lights from campus police.
This went on for a brief moment, and when the campus cops “got their guys” and relieved us from any more nazi BS, we were told the show had only a half hour left and we had to stop. I went to the guys from Burn and told them the stage was theirs, and if they wanted to just use our equipment they could so that they could play that much longer. Chaka just smiled and slapped my back and said….”No way, this is your night, go finish your set.” We went out with a new song at the time we were calling “Power” and it didn’t last more than a minute before the PA stack stage left took a dive and the crowd was completely nuts…I had never seen so much energy from a crowd…and there wasn’t a whole lot of kids there. THAT was a fun night.
If you are like me, then the first three and a half seconds of “Shall Be Judged” make you want to punch a hole through a car windshield. Alan Cage is a man of few words, but of gigantic beats. Try to play along to the Beyond LP on drums and he will have you in tears (and yeah, he was 18). Somehow, the planets aligned and he is about to bust out with 108. Talk about too much skill on stage. I have heard Cage rap about hardcore very rarely, so I figured what better time?–Gordo
1. Where did drums enter the picture for you and how/why did you pick up the sticks?
I started banging around on my Mom’s pots and pans when I was really young. She eventually got tired of that and bought me my first drum set when I was 11 or 12. I’m not sure why I started playing, I guess I just always loved music and wanted to play and drums seemed like the most accessible instrument.
2. The early to mid 80s punk/hardcore scene offered up all sorts of wild drummers, but there weren’t tons that played hard and fast, as well technical and complex. Who were your influences both in and out of hardcore, and even in Beyond, was it a conscious effort to play well more than a few notches above the typical hardcore drummer and clearly stand out?
I think my influences as a drummer really came for the most part before I was into any hardcore music. Mostly rock and roll stuff. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin was a big one for me. Stuart Copeland from the Police. Some Reggae as well, especially Sly Dunbar who is a really influential session guy from Jamaica and played on tons andtons of records from there. In terms of trying to play really technical or well, I don’t think that ever really meant much to me. I think I just wanted to make the songs sound as good as I could.
3. Let’s talk Beyond…for young guys at the time, you were all well advanced at your instruments. What are your memories writing and playing those songs with Tom, Vic, and Kev?
My memories are mostly just practicing in my Mom’s basement. As far as I can remember, Tom did almost all of the writing and he always came in with his ideas really well formed so the songs would come together really quickly. Those guys were all really easy to work with.
4. What do you hear when you go back to listen to your drumming on the Beyond LP?
To be honest I don’t think I’ve ever really gone back and listened to it. It’s pretty much the same with all the records I’ve done. If I’m involved in the mixing I’ll listen to it tons and tons during the process but once it’s over I’ve never really gone back and listened to the stuff I’ve played on much.
5. What are your fondest memories of playing in Beyond?
Just going out and playing weekend shows on the east coast. We did a lot of that. It was the first time I got a chance to get out of NY playing music. It just felt really liberating, meeting new people and knowing there was all these different cities out there with scenes of there own that you could go play. We had a lot of fun on those trips.
6. Who were your favorite hardcore bands in general during that time period?
The Bad Brains were by far my favorite. I liked the Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front a lot as well.
7. Which drummers from the late 80s hardcore scene do you think were the best?
I think Mackie was really the big stand out for me. Dave Grohl as well when he was playing with Scream. I saw them once when he was with them and it really blew me away.
8. BURN…what can you recall about the formation of this band and the original concept for the sound, delivery, and overall vibe?
I just recall Gavin coming in like a whirlwind like he always did. That guy had so much energy. It wasn’t even so much like he would ask people to join a band, it was more like he would burst into the room talking a million miles an hour and before anyone knew what was going on they were in a band already. I think some of those bands might have been broken up before anybody even knew they were in it. Anyway, he was prolific as hell, always writing songs, and Chaka was always working hard writing lyrics. The drag of that band is that there was tons of really good music that never got released. Gavin wrote so much music that I don’t think he ever went back and used much of it.Once a band was over he would just trash the stuff and move on. Write all new songs. And then Chaka, between him and Gavin, there was a lot of energy with the two of them without a doubt.
9. BURN and surely Quicksand showcased again a progression in your skills. What were you influenced by as time went on and how did that get incorporated?
I don’t know really. I don’t think I thought about it much in those terms. All that stuff just seemed to come together pretty organically.
10. How did the hardcore change in your eyes into the 1990s?
The scene in NY had gotten really violent by that point and I had pretty much lost interest because of that. There were a bunch of really great heavy bands in NY at that time but I wouldn’t call them hardcore bands. I thought Helmet were great and Orange 9mm too, but I never thought of that stuff as part of the hardcore scene. I was busy with Quicksand, and that was a really great time in my life.
11. The re-formation of BURN again had you behind the kit. What had changed and what had not during the band’s extended hiatus?
Not much had changed really. Except for getting to play with Manny and Vic. It was a really short little thing that we did though. I mean, we had really just gotten together to record a few songs and play a few shows. There was no plan to try and keep it going as a band. It was a lot of fun playing with those guys again though.
12. 108…aside from the Vic connection, I would not have guessed you to link up with this band. Had you been a fan? What are you expecting out of this experience?
Yea, it really is the Vic connection. I wasn’t really familiar with their music. I just ran into Vic a while back and he asked me if I would be interested in doing a tour with them in South America. I said “sure.” I don’t have a ton of expectations other than I think it will be a lot of fun.
13. What hardcore shows, both played and attended, still stick out to you from 20 years later?
As far as a show I played, for some reason a Beyond show in Buffalo sticks out in my head. It was with Warzone and we were really late and almost missed it. I think the reason it sticks out is because the room was so unbearably hot. The place was just packed with people and the ceiling was dripping down humidity on everyone.As for attended, that’s easy. The two nights the Bad Brains played at the Ritz after “I Against I” came out. Mind blowing. I also remember a really good Cro-Mags show in that same time period. It was also at the Ritz with GBH and the Cro-Mags just killed it.
Our resident west coast connection, Joe Nelson, will continuallyappear here at Double Cross delivering more great stories and memoriesfrom the hardcore reality. Since most of his material will be OrangeCounty related, what better way to get acquanited with his colorfulcast of characters than by getting a thorough history on The Crew:The O.C. Sloth Crew. -DCXX
The Orange County Sloth Crew was a group of straight edge kids in HuntingtonBeach, California. It was originally made up of about 11 dudes, Eric “Silk”Silkenson, Scott Sundahl, Bob Hardigree, Casey Satterthwaite, Jason Acuna,Paul Theriault, Craig “Beeker” Doyle, Greg Brown, Jim Brown, Scott Lytle,and myself. Over the years, guys like Mike Murphy, Regis Guerin, SterlingWilson, Dave “The Dragon” Theriault, Mike Madrid, Brett Page, Jason McKee,Jim Filipan, Shawn Jensen, Chad Weaver, The Nyhus Twins, and even RandyJohnson were sort of in it. We also hung out with the Irvine guys aton. Those guys were Mark Hayworth, Rob Hayworth, Zach De La Rocha,Pat Delaney, Eric “Ernst” Petersen, Brian Chu, and Mark Lee. In asense, even they became part of the crew.
Nobody is quite sure where the name originated from. The best guess wouldbe that somebody in tenth grade life science learned that the tree sloth was thelaziest animal in the world, so as a joke we named our little club in honorof it. At the time it seemed every hardcore scene had a faction orcrew. Everyone also had really hard sounding names such as“Suicidals”, or “Los Angeles Death Squad. The Hardcore affiliatedgangs in our own backyard of Huntington Beach were called things suchas “Fuck Shit Up”(F.S.U.), or “The H.B. Skins.” Calling ourselves“The O.C. Sloth Crew” was sort of an inside joke, poking fun at the“harder” gangs.
We were Straight Edge, although we hung with surfers and skaters whodefinitely were not. Like any Straight Edge kid from any era, we alsofelt we werebetter then the rest of the normal kids in town. We had that swagger thatunless you’ve lived as a 17 year old Straight Edge, kid you don’t reallyunderstand.
We all rolled together to high school parties, football games, shows, etc.We even all worked at the same place for about four months, which was anamazing time, and a story of its own. If anybody ever had a job they couldhold down for longer then two weeks it became a free for all for allof the gang. Zach and some others worked at Campus Gas in Irvine fora while so gas was always free. A couple dudes worked at Pizzaparlors so that was free. Brian Nyhus worked the graveyard shift atthe local grocery store, so that wasfree. I worked as a stock boy at the big mall in the area which is calledSouth Coast Plaza. I had the keys to about 20 different store stock rooms.This was before any security systems existed really. Anyway, dudes would comeby if they needed to get a present for their girlfriend, or whatever.Basically when you have 20+ dudes, as well as affiliates spread outover the area in random jobs, you find out that pretty much anythingyou want is free.
Sundahl, Acuna, Courtney Dubar, and this other dude Jim Bournquist worked atthe local arcade / miniature golf course / batting cage / Go-Kart track,called The Family Fun Center. That became our clubhouse. We were there 24/7playing 720 or Track and Field for free, and eating and drinking the crappysnack shack food for free. We’d also steal tokens and then sell them to realcustomers for, say, 6 for $1. After it closed for the night we’d then take theGo-Karts and race around the city streets all night. That, or we’d hit golfballs onto the freeway for a while.
A lot of us were skaters as well. Randy Johnson was so good he could havebeen easily been a pro. He skated daily with Jason Lee, who in turn becameour ally. That meant all of us skated on free fully stacked “Grinch” decksfor quite a while. Jason Jesse was also a really good friend of our team sothere was a constant flow of Santa Cruz gear through him as well. Actuallythere were quite a few times where Jason Jesse, who was older by a year or twodrove us to shows. Talk about a tough mother fucker. You were never in fearof anybody if you had that psycho path on your side.
These were prime time high school days. We were total pirates. I mean justcomplete hooligans. Our M.O. was to roll into your party, steal your VCR,make 976 calls on your parent’s phone, spray paint O.C. Sloth Crew on thebath room mirror, piss in your dad’s underwear drawer, then blow up your kegwith low grade dynamite which we’d get from Mexico, and end it all with somefight with the football team in the street. The normal kids hated us. Wewere eventually banned from every party in H.B. If we showed up, the kidswhose house it was would immediately call the cops, who by then also knew ofus. Eventually we just moved the operation to Irvine on Friday night and ranwild down there.
We’d also “fire extinguish” people. Or, go steal bowling balls from FountainBowl, and then roll them down a hill into oncoming traffic. During Halloweenwe’d smash every pumpkin in site. We’d baseball bat mailboxes all the time.We’d shoot fireworks into all the local bars. We’d throw eggs at people.We’d shoplift from the local malls and surf shops constantly. We had a car,which was a Duster, called “Los Guys.” The car was not registered to anybodyso we would take it out at night and crash into everything in sight. Hell,we even lit the local park on fire with gasoline once. We were alsoconstantly in brawls with everyone from local jocks, to some trucker. Thelist goes on and on and on and on, too. I mean, we were ASSHOLES!
By the late 80s Punk/Hardcore shows in Southern California were alsobecoming a lot less scary to attend. A lot of the real gang members from 2 –3 years ago were now either dead, or in prison. Without the real gangs, thestraight edge kids started to flex their muscle at shows. When that happenedwe were at the head of the table. We had already been through all theviolence of the mid 80s, so we felt a sense of entitlement to now havecontrol the clubs. The only opposition was maybe the White Power Skins.After about 2 or 3 fights, where all the straight edge kids beat the fuckout of those clowns, they never came to shows again. Those clubs were nowours for better or for worse. Then when all the shows started moving to theReseda County Club, we became sort of the defatco bouncers. We got to prettymuch run the whole stage every show. Kevin Lyman, later of Warped Tour fame,was the acting the stage manager for Goldenvoice. He loved us, and gave usfree reign of that club. We started wearing hockey jerseys to shows so wecould identify each other quickly if their was a fight. In a lot of ways westarted acting like a real gang I suppose.
The three identifiers for the O.C. Sloth Crew which probably happenedas far as the national scene goes were:
1) We got into a huge brawl with our pseudo rivals the H.B. Skins at achurch fair of all things. Anyway, since those guys were considered a WhitePower gang it became a local news story which then got picked up by theAssociated Press. I think the name O.C. Sloth Crew got mentioned in thestory as a skateboard gang, who battled the evil Nazi Skinheads at thechurch fair. The White Power Skinheads were a huge media sensation at thetime, so people paid attention to that kind of bullshit.
2) We became really good friends with Youth of Today, Bold, GorillaBiscuits and the whole New York City crew. Those dudes would spend about 3weeks in California on their summer tours. We all stayed at the Hardigree’shouse, which was in Huntington Harbor and came with a rad boat whereeveryone pretty much slept. His parents were super cool, and loved havingeveryone there I think. The point is, those dudes would then go around thecounty telling all the other kids tales of their exploits with us while inCali. We even made these shirts that said “Orange County Sloth Crew” andfeatured Mr. T in a hammock. All those New York dudes wore them on tour.That brought attention to us as well I suppose.
3) I would go on tour with Insted, and meet everyone around the country.Kids were interested in The Sloth Crew tales that had been going around. Iwould spend a lot of time supporting or debunking these wild myths that werebeing passed around. I mean some of the stories I would hear were justcrazy. Tales of us wearing gas masks to shows, and then beating up anybodywho smoked, or how we beat some Nazi skin to death with a hockey stick. Thecool part was I met a lot of great kids through that experience, and theybecame friends with not only me, but The Sloth Crew too.
As guys went off to college, got married, moved out of state, etc. the gangfizzled of course. Everyone still remains pretty tight though. There’s anemail ring we’ve had now for about 4 – 5 years that’s only purpose is toconstantly make fun of each other. A lot of the guys still play on the sameclub hockey team called the “Jokers.” There’s still the Friday night pokergame for some. There’s also an annual Vegas trip. Every now and then even arandom show will pop up which we all attend together. I imagine at thispoint it will pretty much stay that way forever.
I really hate to think that we were the beginning of the gross Straight Edgegangs which came around in the late 90s. I mean, kids stabbing dudes todeath with Samurai swords in the name of Straight Edge is just completelydisgusting. Talk about total derailment of a pretty cool train. Those kidsin Utah fucking suck, and missed the whole point of what Straight Edge isall about. Unfortunately, we sort of missed it as well. I also believe insome ways we were the first chapter, of the evilness that came later on inthe scene, which is disheartening for me personally. It is what it isthough.
I’d be lying if I said those days weren’t some of the absolute besttimes in my life. The bonds made with those guys are still some of thestrongest I have to date. It’s hard to explain, but it runs deeper than justa friendship. I imagine any gang of straight edge kids who grew up together,as we did, knows what I’m taking about. I’m sure they must still feelexactly the same way about their guys, as I do about mine…the old OrangeCounty Sloth Crew.
Porcelly wrote this a few years back on the True Till Death board. Since that site went the way of the dinosaurs not too long after this was posted, we figured it was worth a new publication. We also thought it would be cool to match up the stories with the faces, so we grabbed what photos we could to go along with each. RESPECT.
Ok, a subject that I can get into, here’s my list…
-First and foremost, John Watson, first singer of Agnostic Front and Cro Mags roadie. The guy invented the circle pit for God’s sake! (or at least was the first to do it in NYC). Seriously, he was one of the first people to “mosh” instead of slam, and his style is pretty much the blueprint for what became NYHC style pitting.
[John Watson with Agnostic front, 1982, Photo: Savage Pink]
–Eric Cassanova, first singer for the Cro Mags. This guy was the most fearless stagediver I’d ever seen in my life! He was thin and wiry, tough as nails, and pretty much ruled the pit at CB’s during the early-mid 80’s. He roadied for the Bad Brains when I saw them at Lupos in Rhode Island and he was doing full spin dives off the pole in front of the stage halfway out into the audience. The dude had style.
[Eric Cassanova and Harley, Photo: unknown]
–Carl Mosh, singer for the Icemen and (briefly) Underdog. The guy took moshing to the next level, making it almost an art form. For just pure style, he was actually the best (hence the name), he just looked so damn cool when he was out there. Also pretty much invented all the stereotypical mosh moves — picking up change, Thor’s hammer, lawnmower, etc. Always imitated, never duplicated.
[Carl with The Icemen in DC, Photo: Ken Salerno]
–Jimmy Yu, first bass player for Judge. Jimmy was a martial arts expert who was definitely the innovator of the whole kickboxing thing. The dude could kick so high it was sick, he actually kicked the ceiling in the dressing room of the Anthrax once.
[Jimmy trying to contain himself at the Ritz, Photo: Boiling Point]
Honorable mention has to go to:
–Cappo. Was highly influenced by Carl Mosh, but added his own cool moves, most notably the knee skank.
[Cappo with Youth Of Today, Photo: Boiling Point]
–Womp’m, the guy that drew all those cool old NYHC flyers. Real hard looking dude who danced as hard as he looked. Once he broke his nose in the pit at a Youth Brigade show, went into the bathroom, straightened it out with his hands (I heard it crunch) and then went right back out to the dancefloor.
[Although not the actual guy “Womp’m”, Russ’s bass strap says it all, Photo: Boiling Point]
–Jason Krakdown. If he was in the pit, you were leaving with bruises. He gets points for sheer brutality.
Jay with Krakdown at CB’s, Photo: Boiling Point]
–Mike Judge. Didn’t really do much, just basically stood in the middle of the pit, looking menacing. Invented the face rake, hands on top of the head, look of anguish thing. The guy was just freakin’ hard.
Last week we leaked some incredible photos taken by Gail Rush of the Boston Crew. Our minds were blown by the photos we were seeing for the first time, thus it was only logical we stalked her and fired off question after question. Hope you appreciate this like we do-
When did you start photographing HC bands? What was your connection with “the scene” in Boston?
I started photographing bands in 1979 or so…we were going to see bands at Media Workshop ( a 5th floor walk-up on Boylston St), Gallery East (behind a hotel near South Station), Jason’s in Somerville and other small, alternative venues. Christine (my daughter) was my connection to the hardcore scene. She’d started hanging with Jaime Sciarappa. They are still best friends.
I needed a project for school, so I asked her to get the kids together for a shoot about their tattoos, why they got them and what they meant to them. Dave Smalley took it most seriously and wrote the most. The other ones, Anastas, Choke, Tony Perez, Steve Grimes and Pat Raftery were unsure about what it was I wanted. Nancy, Al Barile’s wife was there too. Not too many girls had tattoos back in the day. Jaime was there but I don’t think he had any tattoos at that time.
What were your favorite bands and clubs to photograph? Do any photos of yours stand out as your favorite? Why?
The Channel and The Paradise were great because I could get to the side of the stage and shoot out towards the crowd and not be in the line of stage divers. SSD was great…Jaime always ended up bloody for some reason. DYS was great too, lots of action and crowd response. I think some of the SSD at the Channel and the crew in the zone pictures are my favorites. They capture a time. And the tattoo pix, they are all SO young.
What was the early 80s Boston Hardcore scene like as a female photographer?
Easy, I felt protected. The bands & Christine always made sure I had a safe place to shoot from. Though I did get knocked down at the Minor Threat show…camera back opened and light leaks show on the only roll of color film I ever shot at a hardcore show. Not ruined but affected.
Who did you identify with and call your friends?
Well, Springa was at my house a lot…I used to write school excuse notes, and Doctor’s notes for him…he was hanging with Christine then. They were more Christine’s friends than mine, though I’m friends with a lot of them now…age differences aren’t so important. I was “Christine’s mother,” not a friend then.
The epic Boston Crew photos – what was the idea behind these, when/where exactly did they take place, and what was the intention for their use? What do you see when looking at these photos?
Christine brought the whole crew out to our house in Roslindale…about 14 boys, her, Nancy and I left in their van. We stopped in Roslindale Sq. and took the van shots, then drove to the combat zone for the rest. Boys do love the combat zone. It was freezing, we went club to club taking pictures. Went over to Tufts and photographed in front of the huge Xs…straight edge, ya know. There really wasn’t an intended use for them…just for me…they didn’t have copies of them until a year or so ago when Christine had them all scanned and she gave them to the guys for Christmas.
When I look at these photos now I just remember how young they were and how seriously they took themselves…all their “rules”…and how glad I was that Christine was hanging with them…straight edge worked for me as a parent. I liked them, and I trusted Christine’s judgment of them. Other people would ask me why I “let” my daughter hang out with these scary looking kids…most thought them racist and dangerous, but I knew they were far better than the ‘cuda, Nike and LaCoste wearing locals from Roslindale who WERE racist and who spent their nights drinking in the school yard, smoking dope and harrassing the girls.
To you, how did the Boston hardcore scene change in your eyes by 1985? Did you continue photographing bands?
In 1985 the straight edge hardcore scene was over. Metal was in…not interested. Christine was in LA (ED. NOTE: Christine would go on to play on 90210 amongst other shows and movies, more on this below), so the connection was gone. I’m still photographing bands, though not live shows for the most part. We have a recording studio in Cambridge, MA called New Alliance Audio (http://www.newallianceaudio.com/) where a lot of bands you’d know have recorded, and a record label, Curve of The Earth. I do head shots and promo/album art.
What do you make of modern day hardcore bands, especially those that cite bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and SSD as influences (and not the bands that aren’t rooted in the origins of hardcore music yet still call themselves “hardcore”)?
I don’t care…people who know the roots see the differences.
Who would you say are your favorite hardcore bands ever? Favorite hardcore records ever? Best live hardcore show ever attended?
I liked a lot of the local bands, SSD, DYS, FU’s, Jerry’s Kids, The Freeze, and other bands like Bad Brains, Black Flag, Dead Kennedy’s, PIL…My husband produced a DYS record, so it’s a favorite. Hard to say what was my favorite show ever…SSD at Gallery East…might have been their first show..or very early, Dead Kennedy’s show was packed and about 100 degrees, Bad Brains & Anti Pasti at Streets, a club that held about 100 people, Minor Threat and SSD at Gallery East…I’ve been to too many and too long ago to be accurate here.
Quote from the Boston Globe Oct. 8, 2006: Christine Elise McCarthy, the Boston native whose resume as an actress includes stints on “ER” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” was an early fixture in Boston hardcore, which she remembers as “gi normously male.” “It was a whole new eruption from the existing scene,” she explains by phone from LA. “But people who were in the broader punk-rock scene didn’t go to hardcore shows because it was too abrasive, and I must say those boys could be a little unwelcoming to people they didn’t know. In the pit it could be pretty unfriendly. A 27-year-old guy would be considered an old man in that crowd and he’d get completely assaulted. But I got along famously with them — to me they were just good suburban kids.”
Joe D. Foster…what was your understanding of his doings/whereabouts from ’89 until he started up Ignite? Foster dropped out of the scene around 1987 I would say, maybe even 1986. He was a professional body boarder at the time, as well as a pretty famous model. His endeavors outside of hardcore have always been far more interesting I think. He became sort of a mystery to us during that era. You would hear weird stories of his travels. Crazy, bizarre tales, which I just can’t repeat. He would be out of sight for a year, and then pop up at a some random show. No For An Answer actually brought him on stage to play with them during a set in 1989. At the time it was a such a huge deal too. That night everyone was like “Wow, N.F.A.A. just pulled off a major coup de tat,” which seems ludicrous to think now.
I know he spent a lot of time in Korea, and Taiwan during the early 90s. His modeling career was pretty much in full effect during those years. He had at least 3 major posters in circulation, too. Posters meaning, “Hey! Here’s a mass market poster of Foster without his shirt on for some girl to hang on her dorm room wall.” I say that from experience, too. I was actually getting together with some girl in her room down in San Diego one night. I look up, and there over her bed is fucking Joe Foster staring right at me. Talk about a mood killer.
He surfaced again around 1993. I remember we ran into each other in the water off 32nd street in Newport Beach. I hadn’t seen him in 3 years probably, so I was so stoked he was home. Anyway we started surfing a lot that summer together, and from that we dreamed up the idea of making a 1984 style hardcore band. Ignite was born. He had been playing on and off in the band Mad Parade with Brett Rasmussen, so Brett was a lock for Bass. We went through some hack drummers then were lucky enough to get Casey Jones. I added Gavin Oglesby to the mix on rhythm guitar. I guess the rest is history, at least for somebody anyway.
What do you make of Ignite today and how popular across the world they have become?
Brett is one of my dear friends so I am super stoked he has kept it going for so long. I was in Ignite for maybe 6 months, so I’ve never felt really any connection to it. I would say probably half of the “Call On My Brothers” LP are my songs, but Zoli definitely executed them better then I ever could. I actually just listened to their last record recently and thought it sounded a lot like Whitesnake or Night Ranger playing hardcore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on your musical taste. I also find it interesting reading the lyrics that Ignite is one of the last bands, if not the last fighting against the tyranny of…ummm…Communism? However I digress, because those two dudes, Zoli and Brett, have persevered through many peaks and valleys. Any success they have is due to a lot of hard work, and a lot of …umm…deaf Germans…Ok, ok, NOW I digress.
You wrote the song Ash Return, which has some great lyrics. What was your inspiration for that song at that time? That was just how I felt about what we were trying to do with Ignite. Foster and Casey had been gone from the scene for so long they didn’t even know who Gorilla Biscuits were. Gavin and I had remained in it the whole time, but Triggerman was not a hardcore band really. Also the straight edge scene in California was dominated by Outspoken, but they weren’t playing the style of music that what we wanted to. The closest thing I can think of was maybe the great Mouthpiece out of New Jersey, but even that band was not in the vein of say 7-Seconds, or Uniform Choice. “Ash Return” was just my idea of what we were all about as a unit. Old dudes, playing Old School Hardcore. To me it made a lot of sense at the time.
This new Seattle band caught our attention, so we thought we’d do their first interview, firing off a few questions to singer Jim Hesketh. Check them out on MySpace.com/ONHC
Who is ON? Where are you guys from and how might we know you?
ON is Eric, Ben, Adam, Aaron and myself. We all played in bands before, just a few of them were Lights Out, Champion, Go it Alone, and Blue Monday. We are a band based out of Seattle and we play hardcore/punk music.
This band is pretty new, when did things kick off, and why? Any specific inspiration to do it? Any specific musical influences you think come out most in ON?
Eric, Ben, and Adam played in a band with a different singer. That wasn’t really working out. I had tried to do a band with a couple different groups of people that also didn’t turn out. They asked me to sing. I really liked the songs they had written for the previous band and I had been feeling like I had a lot more to say and a lot more to give so I immediately agreed. Aaron moved up from SF and jumped on drums and it was perfect. We’ve been jamming for, like, six months or so. We’ve just been writing tons of material. I guess after Champion broke up, things didn’t really go how I had planned. At the time I felt like I had gotten the whole thing out of my system and it was time to “grow up” and move on with my life. I got a really good job that I love and for the normal guy, my life is great.
The problem is that all I had ever wanted to do since I was a kid was to play in a punk band. That was my dream I guess. At 26 years old I had accomplished that. For the last 2 years I’ve been thinking about all of things that are wrong today. I live day by day and don’t do anything about it, beyond how I change my personal life. ON, for me, is my outlet, to say the things that I need to say, so I don’t feel like I’m sitting around and doing nothing about it. Our influences change every week and range all across the board. We have no sound we are going for and we don’t have any constraints.
It looks like you have an EP that is ready to go, so it seems like you aren’t wasting any time. Can you tell us about the record? Why did you decide to do it yourself?
I think the first reason why we decided to do this record ourselves, was because we thought it would be fun. We had never done it before. Also with the internet, you don’t really need record stores, distribution, advertisements and whatever else a record label is trying to do, unless you are trying to tour and sell lots of records. This was our first record and we weren’t trying to shove it down anyone’s throat. We wanted the people who wanted it, to have it. This record is the first 4 songs we wrote together.
Can you tell us about the lyrics? These do not seem like lyrics that were written in the studio ten minutes before it was time to do vocals simply because you needed lyrics. Am I wrong? Who would you cite as a lyrical influence as far as hardcore lyricists, or even non-hardcore lyricists?
All of the topics on this record were things that had been eating me up inside for the last couple years. These are things I didn’t get a chance to touch on in Champion. I put a lot of passion into writing those songs. That was one of the really cool things about doing the record ourselves was that there was no pressure of dead lines, so we got to really take our time and work out the kinks. It’s been a really good experience working with these guys. If you pick up the record please take the time to read the words. It’s the most important part of this band to me, and I feel it’s holding hardcore back as a whole. The lack of substance and the neglect of the kids to demand more. My influences have changed a bit since champion. Right now I really look up to Cappo and JJ.
What is going on in Seattle right now, and how is this different from it was, say, 5 years ago? Will ON be hitting the road non-stop as Champion had seemed to do all the time?
Seattle has been pretty quiet. There is a scene but it has died down a lot. There isn’t as much effort as there was 5 years ago to get things going. Kids are too concerned on being exclusive and super cool, too concerned with tearing other kids down. We have some tour plans in the works; we will be heading down to California in June/July. As far as going full time? It’s not in the cards this year but we will see what happens when we record the LP.
Doing a hardcore band in 2008 can be easier said than done. Lots of critics and lots of obstacles, especially as you get older. What is gonna make it worth it to you, and what would you like young kids getting into hardcore to get out of checking out your band?
I think kids are starting bands for the wrong reasons. There is the fame aspect that has completely overshadowed the reality of being in a hardcore band. I hate being the old guy saying “kids these days” but I just don’t feel anything real coming out of their mouths. Our planet is dying, our country is at war, people are starving, and you still don’t have anything to fucking say? Give me a fucking break. Doing this band is natural. Everything so far just flows and works out or it doesn’t. I just want the people to get what I’m trying to say. Read the lyrics and if you don’t get it, ask me. In person or online, I don’t fucking care.
Jon Field from Up Front has been going through his video collection and digitizing some of his finer jems. Jon’s been cool enough to give us here at DCXX a heads up as soon as something new has been added to his YouTube account. Last week he added the Pressure Release video and tonight he added the Wide Awake. Both are great examples of both bands in their heyday. The crowd response for each band is particularly impressive. Below each video are Jon’s comments as he left them on YouTube. Great stuff, hope you dig these as much as we did… Thanks Jon! -Tim DCXX
The almighty Wide Awake at The Anthrax in Norwalk CT – From a show May 13th 1988 w/ Bold, Head On & Uppercut. This was the “We’re taking pictures for our Schism 7 inch” show” (note Joe Snow in the Up Front shirt on stage behind Rob taking the pics). This was pretty typical of Wide Awake shows in ’88, complete insanity. The mic cuts out at the end of Last Straw for a minute, but do you really care? It’s a fucking Wide Awake video! They play “Last Straw” and “Flase Pride”. -Jon Field
Pressure Release doing “Pass It On” at The Anthrax right around the time X Marks The Spot was released. From a show March 18th, 1988 with Project X, Up Front and Judge. –Jon Field
Harder than a bag of bricks, The Icemen seem to have gained some more buzz in the past few years by younger hardcore fans – a good thing since they are perhaps one of my favorite bands of that era in terms of NYHC/metal/rock hybrid perfection. On paper, they seemed to have had the makings for large scale success, yet ultimately didn’t seem to get the attention they perhaps deserved (well, my impressions at least).
I got in touch with Marco, who has also gotten a great MySpace page together for the band, which you should definitely check out for more basic background history and even some unreleased tunes:
This is part one of my interview with him, much more to come…
The Icemen formed out of the early stages of the NYHC scene with you and Noah. What were some profound experiences you guys had growing up, hanging out and seeing bands, that ultimately led to you forming The Icemen? Who were your favorite bands (hardcore or otherwise) at that time in your life? What shows (HC or otherwise) left a lasting impression?
Noah, Mackie and I started playing together after school. We would jam in our basement studio in downtown Manhattan. In the beginning it was mostly Hendrix, The Who, Zeppelin, etc. I met the Bad Brains when they moved to NYC and they quickly became a big influence for all of us. By that time we were listening to a lot of Brains, The Damned, and Motorhead along with a fair share of metal.
As far as being formed out of the early stages of hardcore, that was initially a by-product of the shows we booked, at the time it seemed the only performance opportunity we could find were the CBGB matinees. We were listening to hard music but not hardcore (other than the Bad Brains) and really were simply interested in rocking out. Overall the bands that inspired us were classic rock, then metal and a few select punk bands. Again in those days our favorite bands were the Bad Brains, The Damned, Motorhead and without question those three provided some of the best shows we experienced.
The Icemen seems like a band that should have and could have taken off by 1985/1986 had the right singer been in place or John Gamble (original singer) worked out. What were the problems you ran into in this department with Gamble and ultimately in finding a replacement? Meanwhile, what was going on with Mackie being in the Cro-Mags? Did that also hinder the band really going somewhere? What are your recollections of this stint of inactivity for the band?
As blessed as I’ve been with musicians, I have been equally cursed in a sense with singers. John Gamble was a childhood friend of ours and in the beginning that was enough to have him shout along and thus enable us to perform live. It was all too acceptable in the early days to have a “frontman,” good with a crowd but little to no vocal ability. I have always had a nightmare of a time finding a singer who could compliment our musical aspirations. Really the only time I ever did was Paul Snook with “Shadow,” my second band much later and even with him there were continuous problems with dependability and commitment.
As far as Mackie playing in the Cro-Mags, that was a problem but not specific to them, as he would play with a multitude of bands through the years and reliability was often an issue. The Cro-Mags are old friends of ours, I met Harley when he was 10 so while it was a problem it never was acrimonious. It is clear that Mackie’s lack of commitment hindered The Icemen’s success in the long run.
You and Carl…it’s pretty clear now that you guys aren’t hanging out and eating dinner together these days. But at the time in ’87, how did you go about getting linked up with him? Was he a friend you knew from the scene as Carl The Mosher, or just some dude you had heard of with Underdog? I’ve read recently that you say you felt like you”settled,” but at the time weren’t you happy with him? Personally, I think he had a real cool voice and great stage presence, but then again I wasn’t in the band.
Actually, at the time I had never heard Underdog’s music and did not know who Carl was. I was hanging out one night bar hopping down on Avenue A and ran into Paris of the Cro-Mags. We had a couple of beers and he knew I was still looking for a singer and mentioned Carl. He was across the street by Tompkins Square Park, Underdog’s van was parked there that night and Paris introduced us. We talked about meeting after their tour and so that was how that began. I had run out of patience trying to find what I was looking for and Carl seemed like he had a bit of a reputation and could get a crowd going, so yes I settled.
What I mean by that is he was as so many “vocalists” were back then, a frontman, not a singer in the true sense. Energetic, good with a crowd but that was about it. I agree with you on the stage presence but inevitably vocally he was limiting us musically. He did enable us to have what little success we achieved but in the end that was not enough.
I would like to point out that through most of his tenure with us we all got along, I would say that for my part I considered him a friend. I can also understand how he would be upset when dismissed from my band. Nevertheless I cannot respect someone who uses another’s artistic creation, without permission, and passes it off as their own as he did with The Icemen, entirely my creation soup to nuts. There is a word for that- Plagiarism.
When Carl did start with the band, it seems like you guys hit the ground running – yet I imagine in your eyes, playing out in the NYC scene was a bit different from how it had been in 1984/1985. What had changed? What were new difficulties you faced? Do you feel that not having an immediate vinyl release or even an official demo then slowed you down?
Yes, by the late ’80s it was different in that there were bigger crowds and all shows had a better turn out. Unfortunately the excitement of that time progressively degraded with each passing year in that there was a lot more petty band rivalries and infighting as well as bands trying to fit in to some kind of scene. Factors such as increased violence and the straight edge movement to name a few continued to fracture the audience into separate groups, more concerned with scene than music.
As for The Icemen during the years in between singers up until 1987, we had improved and over that time we had been rehearsing, the material I had been writing had been recorded in the posh studio Noah was working at as an engineer. We recorded many early Icemen songs such as The Iceman and It’ll Be Your Grave as well as songs that we would record again for the E.P. in 1990 such as The Harsh Truth, R.I.P., No Guts No Glory. Just Noah, Mackie and I, with vocal tracks by me.
In retrospect I would say that our reluctance to relinquish song rights and cut a deal with a larger indie for a full length definitely hindered our progress and exposure and thus our popularity. Eventually we had nibbles from majors such as Elektra who stated interest “but not with that vocalist” which echoed our sentiments and only hastened the inevitable end.
Not to stir up any bad blood, but I once read Carl as saying that he and Mackie were the hardcore guys in The Icemen. Do you agree? By 1988, did you feel like you had grown past the hardcore scene? With Carl now in the band, where were you looking to go with things?
I suppose that’s fair, although tell me what do you mean when you say someone is “hardcore”? If you elaborate perhaps I can better answer, if I am to assume what you mean then, really Carl was the hardcore scene guy. Mackie, well hardcore in the sense that so many of the bands that he’s played with are within that genre musically but if we are back to some kind of ethos, well last time I checked, he’s not straight edge, skinhead, vegan, scenester or whatever other many indicators I’ve seen used to define hardcore. He’s always been “hard” if that’s what you mean, although growing up in the city we pretty much all are to some degree.
As for Noah and I, we never played music to conform or fit in, we played out of love for music itself and aspired to rock out in the most traditional sense. What we wanted to do with Carl in the band was no different than before or after, we wanted to take it over the top, rock hard, reach as many people as possible and share the music.
[Youth Of Today – “We’re Not In This Alone” promo shoot, Dylan on bike]
I interviewed Dylan for Impact Fanzine number two. What was cool in talking with Dylan was how psyched he was in recalling his youth spent in clubs and vans, hanging out as practically an honorary member of Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, notoriously known as “Walter’s little bro.” I figured some random cool excerpts from that interview were worth posting if you didn’t catch it the first time around in print. Shout out and props to Pete Russo, Impact style.
One thing funny that I remember is that at the Norwalk Anthrax, there was this guy that worked there who would kind of sweep up; his name was Spazz. I don’t know if he was kind of retarded, I think he was friends with the guy who owned that place. I just remember everybody called him Spazz because he was slightly retarded. But he would clean up. One time, after a YOT show, we were all there after taking equipment out and nobody else was really there. Spazz was just kinda sweeping up, and Ray just kinda teasing him. And then Spazz started chasing Ray around with his broom. It was for like a few minutes. That was kinda typical of that guy. He was older, he had like curly dark hair. He looked kinda like a punk dude, sort of like The Ramones kinda style. But I think he was into like, retard stuff, that’s what he picked up. He was a nice guy, but he was just kind of out there. You should ask people about Spazz
You know what was a great, awesome fuckin’ show there was when the Cro-Mags played. They had like broken up, and then they got back together with Harley singing, one of their first shows back was at The Anthrax. That was fuckin’ awesome. We were so expcecting the Cro-Mags to suck without John Joseph, but Harley was awesome, man. It was pretty crowded, because I don’t think the Cro-Mags ever played there before. It wasn’t as crazy as CB’s with John, but definitely sick and they were so good, such a change with Harley. But Harley was so good. He was so fired up because it was like their first show back. I can’t remember him saying anything specific, but I’m sure it was good.
Also, there was the wall in the back of the club that everybody wrote on. Right next to the stage was this wall that they white walled, and it was the same day that we went up there with the Project X single and Schism Fanzine. That day we all pretty much covered that wall in writing. That was just a fun moment there. Since we were the first ones there, everything we wrote related to youth crew stuff and made fun of everything else. So next time we were up there, other people had written. I think the AF guys had been there, they wrote stuff. But it was just this overwhelming, powerful wall of straight edge stuff.
The PX record release show…I remember that show because of that wall and selling those records. I remember being in the back room and me and Porcell writing stuff on the labels right there. If you have one of those today with something written on it, it probably got written that day. We wrote them right there. That was a great show. The reason I wouldn’t put Project X in with The Anthrax was because of this show they played in the city at The Lismar Lounge. They played, and it was like in a basement on First Avenue and Third Street, it’s around the corner from this Hell’s Angels clubhouse, I think they had something to do with it. It was downstairs, and it was just packed. They covered a DYS song, “More Than Fashion,” and it was just sick. But I don’t remember PX playing that much.
Another good story was when Judge played there and they had Jimmy Yu as their bass player. He did like martial arts and stuff, and they had this back room for the bands, and he was doing kicks and stuff. But there was this metal heater or something hanging off the ceiling, and he did this huge kick and just jumped up and whacked it. I mean it was so high. It didn’t fall or anything, but it was like, “Holy shit!” He was so acrobatic, it was nuts. He was like this mystery guy, he didn’t really hang out. I could never really figure out where he lived, I just knew he stayed in this Buddhist temple in Chinatown. He was like shrouded in mystery (laughter).
Oh, I got another good story. I remember Insted coming out and playing, and having a fight with fireworks in the parking lot after playing. Those guys had like roman candles and bottle rockets, so it was all these dudes from California and us shooting fireworks at each other from van to van. We were in the YOT van, and then there was the Insted van, and fireworks are just all over the place going out at each other. That was fun. Nobody got hurt. I was friends with those guys from being out in California. I had been there for part of a YOT tour out in California, it must have been in ’87. So I knew them when they came out here.
I remember Bold’s last show there and being really into it. That was really big. I remember being like, “Ok, these guys aren’t playing anymore, this is it.” That was their last show, and I was always a big Bold fan and good friends with Matt. I always remember that show and being really into it and thinking how good they were.
I think my favorite band though, at The Anthrax, was Side By Side. They just tore up The Anthrax. Jules was so good, and especially in the environment. I think he felt empowered in Connecticut and could be like, “Ok, I;m from New York, and I am just runnin’ this place.” I think he felt strong there. He was always kinda like that; yelling, and telling people to dance, and you had to. I remember one show where he just comes out with this white Champion hoodie on the first song even though it was super hot. Just screaming and going nuts. Yeah man, Jules.
Every YOT show was awesome and crazy. To me, YOT shows at CB’s were more intense.They really commanded things at CB’s, whereas Side By Side really commanded things at The Anthrax. I mean, the YOT Anthrax shows were awesome, but the ones they did at CB’s were different.
Judge was great too at The Anthrax, same with Gorilla Biscuits, it was just weekend after weekend, everybody I knew was involved. Those shows would be like, Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, it was like, “Ok, you know it’s gonna be fun!” It was no let down.
That first Shelter show in Norwalk, I think I was at that. It was weird, because me and Porcell would talk about kidnapping Ray and getting him deprogrammed. When we were doing that Ray and Porcell record we would talk about that. Porcell would be like, “Man, we gotta get Ray to sing on this, and we gotta get him deprogrammed!” I think Porcell wanted to call Ray’s Mom and be like, “Hey, we gotta get Ray outta this thing.” It was weird when Porcell just kinda signed up, I was just like, “What?!” It kind of freaked me out, just because I had so many conversations with Porcell about how bad it was and how it robs you of your personality and freedom. But with Ray, he’s calmed down from all that a bit and he’s more back to his normal self.
Porcell’s Todd Youth story went over well, so we thought we’d drop this great shot of a young Todd Youth hanging with Harley Flanagan. Although the photo has floated around over the years, big thanks to Ben Alvie for hooking us up with a good copy. Hopefully we can get more Todd Youth content in the future. -DCXX
How did it come about for Foundation Records to release the End To End EP? Obviously I know that Dan/Ryan were your friends, but I am also sure you must have had other label interest, no? We heard things regarding other labels but no one came forward. We were only together for six months or so. This was in the age of snail mail only so getting in touch with someone was a commitment and we all know that a lot HC kids are pretty bad with that type of thing NOW, let alone in those medieval times. By the time anyone thought about actually contacting us, we were done as a band.
I liked Draw Blank as an option but in the end Ryan wanted to start a label and that settled it. I was loyal to the area and to those people. I wanted to get something going and for a while we did. I know a lot of people did not get their records from Foundation and I am sorry about I had nothing to do with that process. I did not know. I still talk to Dan and he is super nice. Who designed the End To End shirts? Seemingly pretty rare, do you remember how many were printed, when/where they were sold, and if there were multiple designs or colors?
The interesting thing about that shirt is that Chris Ortiz, esteemed photographer for both Thrasher and Transworld Skateboard magazines took that photo. I designed the shirt (I think my lack of artistic talent showed). Red and a royal blue were the colors. I remember twelve of each color and besides one each for the band members, they were sold and they were ten dollars each. We sold out our first show and then struggled with other problems so that we never made any more. I think what helped make it popular is the video for the Mouthpiece song “Cinder.” A few years earlier you sang for Justice League. Did singing in Addiction/End To End seem like a world apart from your experience in Justice League as far as the California scene and you as a person? Or did you just feel like you were a couple years older and singing in a hardcore band?
Good question. I adapted pretty quickly but the only real difference I could see about California was a big one. In the End To End time, people and bands were generally ultra-competitive and spiteful (the exception of Insted); whereas in the Justice League time people and bands generally helped each other. Vic Bondi tells a story about Articles of Faith being given 500 hundred dollars by Dead Kennedys upon being told that their amp was dropped out of a second story window and smashed. You tell me, would a band do that nowadays? Also, Justice League tours were pretty awesome as not too many bands toured in those days. If a band went out on the road it was a sign that they had it together. There were lots of great bands of the early 80s that never toured. As a result when we toured we would have big shows – one night with 7 Seconds, the next night with Stalag 13 and the next night with Corrosion of Conformity. By the time End to End was out playing, everyone toured, there were multiple venues and as a result bands got less respect from everyone including themselves.
That said, some of the best bands came out of that era and made the older bands look timid: Infest, Downcast, Chain, Gorilla Biscuits…those bands alone made bands like Dag Nasty or Adolescents seem weak and dated. Does one Addiction/End To End show stick out to you amongst all others? If so, why?
End To End at The Country Club with Chain of Strength. Ryan and Frosty came up to us and in a 100% good-natured competition from one friend to another said something like, “You think you good and tight? We will see, we’ll see.” After the show, Frosty said we were super tight and definitely got the Best Band Of the Night Award. Addiction shows were interesting only because a lot of people asked for a free shirt! Another was in a garage in Los Cerritos because it was outdoors in the day. I thought it was always exciting to play outdoors and have done so in almost every band in which I sang. In the day made it pretty cool as it was the first and last time I ever did that. Had End To End continued with a stable and capable line-up, what do you think the vibe of the band and the sound of the material would have been into 1990? Were you still wanting to sing in a fast and heavy hardcore band? I am not sure what the future would have held but I eventually put a band together called Five Elapsed (terrible name even if temporary) with Chris Bratton and Ted from Justice League. When that went nowhere (a few practices during a super hot summer) I hung it up for a while and eventually graduated from the University of Southern California.
I went on to sing in the almighty EYELID but that is another story (as is when a certain singer from OC backed down when Ryan Hoffman challenged him to a fight). I think I will save that one for you guys later…
Double Cross chief contributor Tony Rettman caught up with Negative Approach axeman Rob McCullough not too long back and picked his brain on the legendary powerhouse of a band we all remain unconditionally indebted to. Big thanks to Tony, and expect to see more from him here soon, as he will continue to talk to the people we want to hear from. -DCXX
Tony Rettman — Give a brief description of how and where you grew up and how you think the environment you grew up in factored in on you getting into Punk.
Rob McCullough — I was actually born in England, and moved to the U.S in 1975 when I was 13. My aunt lived in Detroit, and my mom was sick so we moved here so she could be closer to her sister. I think being from England was one of the main things in discovering and associating with punk. I felt very alienated from most of the kids in high school and my friends back in England would tell me about these bands they were into.
When I went back to visit England with my dad and brother in August 1977, we visited my best friend. He had a Sex Pistols 7″ with “No Fun” I think on the “B” side. When I heard the raw sound and Johnny Rotten swearing on a record, I was hooked!
TR — What were some of the first Punk records you bought?
RM — The first bands I got into were pretty standard and quite tame really. Back then if the local records store didn’t carry it, you weren’t going to be exposed to it. ‘Night Flight’ on the USA network used to show some Punk/New Wave videos and they were so different than what everyone else was listening to that even some of the New Wave bands sounded pretty raw. The first kind of bands I got into were Devo, Sex Pistols, Clash, 999, Blondie, Gary Newman, the Dickies and Sham 69.
TR — Describe what the Midwest music scene was like at the time before Negative Approach started playing out.
RM — I didn’t know too much about any Midwest scene until about a month before I joined NA. I was into hanging out at the Endless Summer skate park in Roseville, Michigan and listening to a bunch of California bands that we read about in skate magazines. I had a Punk Rock cover band that played various backyard parties. We sucked and changed our name every time we played, but we had a great time. We would play two or three songs, some jocks would show up and then there would be the very stereotypical jock/punk showdown and the party would break up.
I discovered the Detroit scene at the end of the summer of ’81. Black Flag came to town and played at Bookies in Detroit. I couldn’t make it to the show, but the next day everyone told me about this group of kids from Maumee who had a band (the Necros) who were very cool and had invited us to another hardcore show. The first show I went to was in Canada at the Coronation Tavern in Windsor. The bands were Necros, Minor Threat, and another one I can’t remember. I was struck by so many things that night. The music was so raw that it just grabbed you. Also, someone heckled Minor Threat and the DC kids that drove up just dropped this guy with such a show of force…it was awesome! Then after the show we met Brian Baker and I bought Teen Idols, SOA, and Minor Threat singles. I couldn’t believe that guys like me could put out records, and were really cool to talk with.
TR — Did most of Negative Approach skate?
RM — Everyone in NA except John basically lived at the Endless Summer skate park. We read about Alva in the mags, and a lot of those guys came to Endless Summer on tours. Alva, Steve Olsen, Lance Mountain and a few more came through. I think I had been skating about a year before magazines like Thrasher started writing about the punk stuff going on in L.A. I took an interest as soon as I read about it. I think the skate and hardcore scenes were outside the norm at the time, so I could relate to both. Back then both were so looked down on that you stuck up for anyone in either scene. I didn’t meet any skaters through the music, and I guess once I started playing I really hung out at the park less and less. I had a bad motorcycle crash when I was 15 and my left leg was pretty destroyed so I was never good at skating, I just enjoyed it and felt a great bond with all the misfits who hung out at the park.
TR — How did you get to know Tesco Vee?
RM — The first time I met Tesco was at the one of the first Meatmen shows at the Coronation Tavern in Canada. It was pretty amazing. I was a couple of years older than most of the people at the skate park so I could get into clubs to see bands that not all of them could. I was actually there that night with the 1st NA lineup (John, Pete, Zuheir, and me). After the show the Necros introduced us to Tesco and based on them telling him that our band was really cool he interviewed us for his Touch & Go fanzine right then and there!
TR — How did you become aware of the slam dancing/stage diving ritual of Hardcore?
RM — I had read about it in skate mags and it honestly intimidated me at first. Going to my first show I was nervous about what the hell was going to happen. Once you got involved though it was a very cool scene. It wasn’t like what was portrayed in ‘The Decline’ at all. The Detroit scene was very tight. If you fell people picked you up. Nobody was just punching wildly, it was well choreographed and there was room for anyone who wasn’t an idiot. We were nearly all straight edge, so if some drunk who you didn’t know just stormed in swinging, he would get taken down so hard and fast it was frightening. Todd and Corey from the Necros were scary as hell in the early days and I felt like we sort of followed their lead a lot of the time at first as far as what was and wasn’t good slam dance etiquette. I know that sounds stupid now, but the Necros really were the model that most of us were looking up to in the summer/fall of ’81.
TR –When and how did you guys get to know the kids in the D.C. scene?
RM — We met them briefly at the Minor Threat / Necros gig at the Coronation, but we really got to know them when we hung out in D.C during the ‘Process of Elimination’ tour in the summer of ’82. They were the only other scene we met where people had fun hanging out. Guys like Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson were way too serious or intense to hang out and have a good time with, but Brian Baker was a riot and he introduced us to a lot of cool people, some that I still talk with to this day.
Not new, not rare, but still awesome and worth another watch.
Thanks to Hank Peirce, we here at Double Cross got our hands on a pile of priceless shots of SSD, DYS and the original Boston Crew. All photos were taken by Gail Rush between 1980 and 1981. Check back soon for more on the interview with Hank Peirce, plus more Boston Crew content and photos. -DCXX
The crew, Smalley, Jaime, Al Barile, Chris Foley, Jonathan, Springa, Pat…
On May 8th we posted an excerpt from an interview that Gordo did with Shaun Sheridan of the Anthrax club. Along with the interview I dropped in a pic from the original Stamford, CT Anthrax that I had come across. Porcell saw the article and photo and sent me a great story to go along with it. Big thanks to Porcell for this contribution and we hope to see many more from him in the future. -Tim DCXX
That live shot was the Freeze at the Stamford Anthrax, somewhere around 1984. Cappo is the guy at the bottom of the pile up, lying flat on his back on the right hand side. I’m on the left, wearing a white shirt with a huge smile on my face, right underneath the guitar player. The kid directly next to me, with the shaved head and the circles drawn all over his shirt, was a really cool kid I met that night for the first time. He said his name was Heap and he was only 14 years old. Everyone took note of him because even though he was really young, he moshed like a maniac for every band. In the beginning days of the Anthrax, not too many new kids came, so when someone showed up out of the blue you were psyched and naturally you’d introduce yourself. So I befriended Heap and showed him around, pointed out what sketchy streets to avoid (there were plenty), and brought him to the deli down the street to get a drink. On the way he told me that he had just run away from home because life with his mom was too hellish to even explain, and that he had pretty much been living wherever he could for a couple of weeks, even to the point of sleeping on park benches all night with a stick by his side in case someone fucked with him. I remember thinking that this kid is so friggin’ little and already has a pretty rough life. I said “Damn, bro, that’s harsh, what are you gonna do now?” He said his plan was to hop a train to New York City and hide in the bathroom so he wouldn’t have to pay. I was like “Do you know anybody? Do you have anywhere to go when you get there?” He said he didn’t but he would just walk to the Lower East Side and try to meet some punks to stay with.
I remember thinking that here was a kid who in a normal world would be at home watching cartoons and studying his multiplication tables, and yet somehow at 14 years old, this brave little bastard was about to go alone to the ghetto of New York City – with no money, no friends and not much of an alternative. I was a little scared for him and sincerely shook his hand and said “Hey I hope everything works out for you, good luck bro.” He kind of laughed and said “Yeah, I’m probably gonna need it.” Then we went back to the Anthrax and we both moshed for the Freeze like our lives depended on it.
A year or two later, I was walking down 3rd Ave. on my way to a matinee at CBGB’s when I saw Raybeez with a bunch of skinheads on the corner. He said “Yo Porcell, meet the newest member of Warzone!” and put his hand on this kid’s shoulder. I said “Heap, holy crap man, remember me from the Anthrax? Damn, you made it to New York alive!” He smiled and said, “Yeah, and I don’t go by Heap anymore, you can call me Todd Youth.” -Porcell
[Pressure Release, Tom and Doug, photo courtesy of Joe Snow]
I think I speak for Tim as well when I say that Pressure Release is a band we both really love that started somewhere cool and ended up somewhere weird and mysterious, but simultaneously even cooler. Not to slag the early material, but the seven inch is so dark and bizarre (considering the time and previous material) that I have a hard time even thinking it was the same band with straight forward youth anthems a year prior. Nonetheless, that is our favorite material. I have never done angel dust, but I would imagine that if I ever did, at some point the Pressure Release seven inch would appear and start playing very, very loudly. Guitarist Tom Kuntz popped up on the Livewire message board about six months back during a great and lengthy thread about the band. I made a mental note to track him down, and finally just caught up with him. This is part one of a large overall piece we will be doing on Pressure Release over how ever long it takes to publish all possible information about them. Wanna contribute? Get in touch. -Gordo DCXX I know Gordo pretty much spoke for the both of us already, but I still wanted to chime in. He definitely hit the nail on the head when he said the later Pressure Release material struck a unique chord with me. As much as I love the early material, X Marks The Spot, etc, the New Breed comp and 7″ are my favorite. Especially with the 7″, the sound is so dark and dissonant, I always felt some sort of BL’AST! vibe and connected with it. Definitely my favorite 7″ ever released on New Age and along with Turning Point, one of the main reasons I wanted my band, Mouthpiece, on New Age. A couple random memories I have regarding Pressure Release was talking to Tom on the phone sometime in 1989. I remember I was working on Common Sense fanzine at the time and wanted to reach out to Tom and coordinate an interview. We talked for a bit, but for some reason or another, the interview never came together. I guess I’m finally getting that interview. The other memory was when Alex Napeck was playing bass in Burn and the entire band had hung out at my girlfriend’s parents house. Chaka and Gavin were doing all the talking, while Alan and Alex were the quite ones. Alex especially hardly said a word and really kept to himself. I remember all I could think of was, “This dude played bass in Pressure Release!” At one point Alex was hanging out in the kitchen, by himself, so I came in and said, “What’s up?” He responded with a “Hey,” and that was the beginning and end of our conversation. I wanted so badly to dig the guy’s brain for Pressure Release talk and YOT “We’re Not In This Alone” promo photo talk, but it just wasn’t happening. The dude was on a completely different plane and I unfortunately was not going to have any luck cracking him. Who knows, maybe I’ll get another chance someday. -Tim DCXX How did you get into hardcore and when would this have been? When would straight edge tie into this? It was around 1986 I believe. Me and my friends were doing lots of skateboarding and the music sort of went with the territory. At first we were into the really mainstream skate stuff like Black Flag and JFA and then we started going to local hardcore shows and realized we really liked the local things going on. Straight Edge at the time just seemed really interesting and we related to the people in that scene, I don’t really know what the defining moment was when we all said “let’s be straight edge!” I can’t really remember. But I know that after a few years of that, we started to feel the opposite way about it, we were more focused about the music, and not on the fact that we were a “straight edge band.” We didn’t want fans based on what we stood for, we wanted people who appreciated the sounds we were making and to not lump us in with other bands. Pressure Release started out as a very “youth” oriented band associated with the CT straight edge scene. Who would you cite as your biggest influences and closest comrades? What bands personally inspired you to pick up a guitar and write songs? Hmm…it really depends on what stage of that entire time. My ideas and influences were changing rapidly during that time. Our closest friends were a combination of the CT bands like Up Front and Wide Awake, etc., but because our bassist and drummer lived in NYC, we also had a connection to the NYC bands like Gorillla Biscuits, etc. When we made our demo, we were very much listening these sorts of bands. By the time of recording our seven inch, we were listening to much different stuff. Articles Of Faith, Life’s Blood, Metallica, Human Rights, the Cro-Mags demo, BL’AST!, Void, etc. BL’AST! and Void were definitely big influences. We really wanted to make a cross genre record, we really wanted to make something unique. We were gravitating heavily to the dark side of things. We wanted to make an introspective, serious, dark record with strange influences. In the studio we were playing with weird African percussion instruments and synthesizers, and layered guitar solos, but I will come back to this. Can you give a full run down of the Pressure Release line-up from beginning to end. Specifically what caused Doug to be replaced by Ben, and how did you feel about that change?
Original line up: Tom Kuntz: guitar Alex Napeck: bass Sam Haffy (or happy?): guitar Thai Park: drums Doug Byrnes: vocals At some point early on, we asked Sam to leave the band. I think basically because he wasn’t that serious about it or something and couldn’t really play his instrument. I can barely remember. For a while it was the four of us. At some point we had a guy named Jay from upstate Connecticut join the band, but that was quite short-lived as well. I think that was kind of right at the end. I can seriously barely remember. Later in the game, after we recorded the 7″ with Doug, he was losing alot of enthusiasm for the band and was doing a lot of snowboarding. He would disappear up to Vermont for long stints, so we asked Ben Smith to join the band to replace Doug. Ben went in and re-recorded the vocals on the 7″, and then in a crazy pressing mix up, Doug’s original vocals ended up getting pressed. In the long run, I think it is pretty awesome, because it was him who deserved to have his voice onthe record after being in the band for so long.
What are your memories of recording the Pressure Release demos? The original P.R. demo was recorded at a place called “The Music Box”on the Lower East Side. I was like 15 years old and it was totally freezing and we were walking around with our guitar cases past all these shanty towns and feeling like we were going to get jumped at any second. All I remember about the recording of that demo was how damn fast it was done, and that we put way too much reverb on the vocals.
The second demo we did was at Don Fury. I think we did a song called”I Try” or something like that? I can’t even remember!!! But we were much more proud of these songs. They had the sound we originally wanted. Very gritty hardcore. That was a fun day. Don Fury at that time was like hardcore central. That was where you went if you wanted to record. The Anthrax seemed to have been your homebase. What are your favorite memories of having played there? What about other bands you saw there…20 years later, what jumps out? I can honestly say I saw hundreds of shows there. Everything from the Circle Jerks to the Cro-Mags to YOT to Fugazi (before Guy even sang in the band) to Mind Over Four, etc. The list literally goes on forever. If a band toured, it came through that place, and we were there both nights on most every single weekend. It was truly an amazing time.
After the X Marks tracks, the band began to progress a bit by the time the New Breed tracks were recorded, which you already hit on.What was exactly going on in the band as you got further into 1988 and towards 1989? Well, sort of covered this before, but essentially Alex and I were the ones writing the songs, and we had just gotten really into different music. We were listening to less traditional stuff. I think we really just wanted to make a record that caught people off guard. I think right around that time Absolution was on the scene and we loved how dark their sound was. We really wanted to create complex arrangements, not your typical hardcore songs. We also loved the “And Justice For All” record by Metallica, we loved how it felt like this one long song, like an opera. We wanted to try to achieve that.
For the seven inch, we went to Staten Island to this really tricked out studio that Alex found that gave us a really good price. We played him the Cro-Mags DEMO (not the record) and said “we want it to have this sound.” It was this really compressed sound we loved. At first the studio engineer/owner guy was sort of confused by our style of music, but I remember him being really impressed how buttoned up we were. Alex and I had everything really thought out. By the end, the engineer guy was quite into it.
Similarly, you obviously progressed as a guitar player…was this natural, or were you really trying to differentiate yourself from standard power chord playing? Yeah…I just remember sitting in my bedroom with a double tape deck recording ideas for guitar solos, experimenting with layers and harmonies etc. We just thought it would be awesome to have lots of guitar solos, both the “ripping” type as well as the more melodic type. I was a pretty good guitar player so we figured we put it to use. We thought it could be interesting. Lyrically, Alex was writing all the lyrics. I dont think I wrote a word. He was writing seriously dark stuff. About isolation, and introspection, and about girls. He was discovering sort of the dark side of girls and sex etc. At the time, it was really quite different than what people would write about in hardcore. [MUCH MORE PRESSURE RELEASE, TO BE CONTINUED]
Shelter’s first show at The Anthrax, Summer 1990, video: Cliff
Over the years while playing in Mouthpiece and Hands Tied, one of my bands always seemed to be playing shows with one of Graham’s bands. Whether it was Mouthpiece playing with Shelter or Worlds Collide or Hands Tied playing with Better Than A Thousand, I felt like I was running into Graham on a monthly basis, if not more. Finally in the summer of 2001 Graham and I ended up playing in a band called Face The Enemy together. Although the band was rather short lived, I’ve managed to keep some sort of contact with Graham over the years. When Cliff sent me the link to this Shelter video and I started watching it, I instantly thought of contacting Graham and trying to conjure up some memories. Like a champ, Graham pulled through and the outcome was this great inside look at a very monumental first show for a band that went on to make a lot of waves for a long time. Big thanks to Graham. -Tim DCXX
Some shows are just shows. Others are events. The first time Shelter played definitely belongs to the latter category. It was like the initial battle of an ideological war within hardcore; a struggle between those who hated religion and wanted it kept out of the scene, and a new breed of straight edge evangelical Hare Krishnas, led by Ray Cappo. It may sound a little silly or hard to believe now, but it really did feel like that! Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll had put out their infamous “Inside Ray Cappo and the Krishnas” issue the previous winter featuring Tim Yohannan’s confrontational interview with Ray, plus a host of other articles digging up as much dirt and hearsay about the Krishna movement as possible. It was a real piece of yellow journalism on their part. Of course on our side we had Kalki’s The Razor’s Edge and Vic DiCara’s Enquirer, two examples of philosophical, heavy-handed religious propaganda in their own right.
The anti religion set (I think they had some connection to the band Born Against, but I don’t really know) came to the Anthrax armed with with flyers and pamphlets, one featuring graphics equating the Krishnas with Nazis. Seriously, it had SS symbols and swastikas next to the The Razor’s Edge tilak logo. When Inside Out was on stage, Zack de la Rocha (who wasn’t into Krishna himself) voiced his support for us, held one of the flyers up and with that intense look in his eyes, screamed “This is fucking bullshit!!!” The band went straight into “No Spiritual Surrender” and some of us who knew the song jumped on stage and piled on the mic. That wasn’t something I did very often, but hey, it was an inspiring moment.
Graham with Worlds Collide, Photo: Chris Toliver
One thing I remember is this fake Hare Krishna guy playing a tambourine and wearing one of those bald wigs with a hole cut in the back, big enough for a pony tail to stick out. He was just joking around, but I’m a little ashamed to say I felt a tinge of satisfaction upon seeing Gus Straightedge stage dive onto the guy’s head, putting the kibosh on his fun and games. There was a lot of excitement and tension in the air that night, even a sense of persecution, but overall it was a positive experience and I don’t think that anything particularly nasty happened. Another funny thing was that one of the bands, I think Bad Trip, had a gymnastic trampoline on stage so kids could do these mega stage dives. That’s the kind of thing you only see at a hardcore show.
Prior to the playing there, I didn’t know much about the Anthrax club other than that it was where Perfection of Desire had been recorded on a portable 8-track. A couple of months earlier we’d played the No Compromise material before a Judge set at the Safari Club in D.C., as a sort of impromptu performance, but besides those two songs, I’d never played a show before.The Anthrax was the kickoff for a U.S. summer tour along with Quicksand and Inside Out. It’s kind of surreal to think about it now; being a gawky, seventeen year-old nobody from the leafy suburbs of Washington and somehow ending up not only playing guitar for the main act on the hardcore tour of the summer, but also simultaneously learning about Indian spirituality from swamis and monks and visiting temples across the country. In retrospect, I have to say that those two things don’t fit together all that well. I didn’t really get the full experience of either, though what I did experience was something novel:
Graham with Shelter at City Gardens, Photo courtesy of Graham
The tour was like no other in history: an old California mass transit bus converted into a Hindu temple on wheels and manned by monks, a motor home with another swami and then two vans; one for Shelter and Inside Out and the other with Quicksand, who more or less kept apart and did their own thing. In Ray and Vic you had these larger than life personalities, real “men on a mission”, ready to convert the hardcore scene. The Inside Out guys seemed like California surfer dudes until they got on stage and just went wild. Quicksand were these serious rock musicians, grown up out of the New York hardcore scene. I remember thinking of them as a kind of gothy Jane’s Addiction. Shelter was rounded out by Sam and Porcell (who fought and played around like teenage brothers) and Yaso, a 34 year-old carpenter who lived with his wife and baby in a house on the grounds of the Potomac temple. And there I was, uncool, inexperienced and inept at using my musical equipment, playing shows or going on tour, but because Ray and I were good friends and worked well together he gave me a chance. I really owe a lot to his friendship. I also had big dreams and ideals in those days and I wasn’t scared of anything. I wanted to be part of something special. I think I had that in common with the other guys from the D.C. hardcore contingent who came along; Big Adam and Glenn. It was almost like we’d been recruited from the same small town and gone off to join the army together.
Even though it was the start of this big Revelation Records tour, none of the band’s records got released in time. Imagine starting a major tour with zero material to support it. That’s kind of how it was back then, but I have to say, a lot of kids knew the songs anyway. Not just in Connecticut, but on the whole tour. I found out later that the tape I’d lent to Ken Olden, (who only lived two blocks away from where I grew up) got copied and passed around like crazy, even though he’d promised not to give it to anyone. Ray had also leaked some copies himself, so I don’t feel that bad about it and in the end it made the shows better. It was like the file sharing of those days, but limited to a sort of inner circle of scenesters.
After the Anthrax, we thought all the shows on that tour were going to be similarly confrontational; political punk atheists vs. Hare Krishna straight edgers, but oddly enough, none of them were. I guess it was like they’d made their point and weren’t going to keep harassing us. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with atheism as I more or less grew up with it and identified with it more than I did with most religion. However, I was part of the Krishna crew and didn’t like that these people were saying that we, or our ideas, weren’t welcome. It was hardcore, everyone should be welcome, right? I mean we weren’t Nazis, despite what those absurd agitprop flyers said. Looking at the video on youtube and hearing those guys yelling “go back to the airport” after the first song totally brought me back. It was like experiencing social history, having the opportunity to witness when something new blasts on the scene and everyone’s got an opinion about it. That tour and that show were the beginning of a significant movement within hardcore, which in our little corner of the world, really meant something.
Shelter on MTV Brazil. Mike, Porcell, Graham and Ray, Photo courtesy of Graham
Gavin Olgesby… you may know him as the guitarist for legendary Orange County California hardcore bands, No For An Answer, Carry Nation, Triggerman or The Killing Flame, but before all of that he was simply known as the artist who painted the cover for Uniform Choice’s classic album, “Screaming For Change”. We recently reached out to Gavin to see if we could conjure up some memories regarding Uniform Choice and his work on the “Screaming For Change” cover. Here’s what he had to say. -Tim DCXX
While I wasn’t best friends with him, I went to school with Pat Dyson. After being kicked out of private school for the fourth and final time (one time for being punk), I began my junior year of high school at the same public high school he went to. He was a senior and pretty hard not to notice. Aside from just being a big guy, he wore one of those rainbow afro wigs the entire first week of school. I didn’t really know what to think. It wasn’t until about a week later that I could put him into context. His band Plain Wrap played my school lunch period the second or third day of school which was kind of weird because I had seen them a couple of weeks before at the Cathay de Grande, an old underground club that would book nine or ten band bills on a regular basis. They (Plain Wrap) were sort of a fast, jokey band I didn’t love, but were punk and somewhat active at the time. I first became aware of Uniform Choice because it was the only thing written in the wall in the weight room of our high school. It was there the entire time I was at the school. Had no idea what it meant or what it was until sometime later. While I remember the first time I saw them, I don’t remember how it came about other than even at this early stage, there was a noticeable amount of UC shirts. They were amazing and sounded nothing like any other band at the time. I remember talking to Dubar the second or third time I saw them at some drunken orgy of a party in a really bad area of Santa Ana. Soon after that, I had painted UC on my leather jacket and I became somewhat friendly with the band going to practices and probably every show they played for the next couple of years. It’s unfortunate they were either unwilling or unable to tour at that point. I think their legacy would be totally different now. I don’t think there was a band in the country that could touch them around the time that record came out. Great band, small rooms, and fanatic fans. As I recall, there were a couple of things going with my doing the cover. I was approached to do the art because they had a photo they liked for the cover, but it was too dark to be reproduced. I was also fairly well known in the area for painting leather jackets. (This was an era where there were punk bands who happened to be straight edge rather than bands who were solely straight edge. You also had about one straight edge band for every fifty punk bands. Visually, there was little or no differentiation so, leather jackets were very common amongst the punks who happened to be straight edge.) They asked me if I could do something with it and since I had primarily painted on leather, it seemed natural to do the painting on leather and I think they equated that look with Orang County. Unfortunately, the leather either didn’t photograph well or wasn’t photographed well so, the first pressing cover (with the yellow type outline) looks kind of odd. When the record’s second pressing came out, I was given the opportunity to redo it on illustration board and that’s the version that I believe is more widely available. Somewhere along the line we decided to shave everybody’s head in the picture. We looked at it as this almost idealized version of a show filled with just straight edge people as opposed to the smoke filled alcohol and vomit soaked rooms that were the norm at the time. None of us ever thought straight edge would become so dominant. As far as dealings with the band, It was mostly Dubar. Someone else did the type and the back cover was an homage to the Faith’s “Subject to Change” record. The back cover photo was also changed after the first pressing. I don’t remember from what to what.
Gavin with No For An Answer at CBGB, Photo: Ken Salerno
PS: After reading Gavin’s response, I’ll have to admit, I felt like a total poser and was blown away by all the differences from the first press cover art to the second press cover art. Considering the entire drawing was re-painted for the second press, it really is no surprise, it’s just something I had never known or noticed.
The skinhead in the upper left hand corner in the white t shirt went from wearing a plain white t shirt on the first pressing, to a white t shirt with some sort of pocket logo on the second press. The dude standing on stage wearing the UC shirt on the first press goes to wearing a shirt with an X on the front pocket area for the second press. There are other differences, but I’ll let you find them for yourself, wouldn’t want to kill all the fun.-Tim DCXX
Unit Pride at Gilman Street, Photo Courtesy of Eric Ozzene
I’m going to try and get in the habit of posting the results to these polls that we run. With this past poll I picked four California Straight Edge bands that I felt were a bit underrated. As you can see, Unit Pride came out as the winner. Personally I love all four bands, but felt the one band that really fit the “underrated” title was Pushed Aside. The other three bands all released 7″s that were well received, where as Pushed Aside only released a demo and a comp track and aren’t all that well remembered. Honestly though, you couldn’t go wrong with any of these bands. -Tim DCXX
Unit Pride: 84 Votes Hard Stance: 75 Votes Against The Wall: 72 Votes Pushed Aside: 31 Votes
Debuting in 1988 and done by original Brotherhood front man, John White and his then girlfriend Kelly Wohlrab, Open Your Eyes Fanzine comes out of Seattle Washington. Three issues were produced of this fanzine with an array of diverse bands like, Half Off, Sick Of It All, Desecration, Disorderly Conduct, McRad, Unit Pride, Four Walls Falling, Gorilla Biscuits, Verbal Assault, Prong, Breakaway, Youth Of Today, Project X, Up Front, Free Will, Blind Approach and Head First.
From the first issue, I was impressed with this fanzine. Generally clean layouts, always cool artwork, great photos by Nor Cal resident photographer, Murry Bowles amongst others, interesting interviews with great bands and even good ads. The Open Your Eyes playlists were always stellar as well. You really couldn’t ask for more.
I’ll always give credit to Open Your Eyes for it’s inspiration that it had on my own fanzines. John was also a real stand up guy, super friendly, quick to write back, always down to trade zines, piles of stickers in each package. They really covered all the bases with Open Your Eyes. Even a collection of tape comps.
If you haven’t seen any of these issues, issue three being my personal favorite, do yourself a favor and track them down. There was also an unreleased issue four that in some form or another, we hope to see the light of day. Thanks to John and Kelly for leaving behind a classic. -Tim DCXX
Jimmy with Judge at CBGB, NYC. Take note of a young Skip Turning Point X’ed up and packed up front. Photo: Boiling Point
This wraps up our gigantic interview with Jimmy Yu. Be sure to go back and check any parts you have missed. We want to give Jimmy a big thanks for being a gracious host and letting us put this out there for everyone. And oh, Jimmy just got his doctorate from Princeton, so he is now Dr. Yu! Coolest doctor to come out of hardcore? You decide. -DCXX I started going on retreats once I really got into Buddhism and left Judge. I have a tendency to be pretty extreme. When I get into something, I completely dive into it. I had a girlfriend in college for four years, and even that didn’t hold me back in becoming a monk. Each time I would tell her that’s what I needed to do, she would cry. The first time she just started crying, and I said, “Ok, don’t cry, I won’t do it.” The second time I told her she started to cry and I thought, “Oh no, I can’t see her cry!” So I didn’t do it. The third time, I just did it, I just moved in. I found out that this was the most meaningful thing I can do. By that point I just felt like life was meaningless. I didn’t even think I would live past 20, the way I was living. I needed something useful. I felt like, “Wow, I can actually translate these texts from Chinese into English. I can do something. I can be a useful person and transcribe these things for my Zen Master.” And I dove right in. I kept in touch with my friends when I left Judge, but not on a major level. It’s a shame. But that’s how I am when I dive into something. I didn’t keep in touch with the guys in Judge in a way where I knew what the new record was like or anything. And after I graduated in 1991, I moved right to the monastery, and I kept in touch with no one. Nobody at all. A big part of it was the travel, because every 3 months I was back and forth to Taiwan. I was just trying to understand this new thing, learning it. I didn’t look back. I went to the University of Kansas after I lived in the monastery, and then I came back to the east coast and went to Princeton. So I got in touch and looked some people up then, but not much. All of us in the hardcore scene were kind of looking for something. Even early on when we were crazy, diving off of stages, getting in fights and fighting people, going nuts at shows, on one hand we were lost. But on the other hand we were still searching for something even though we were. So I guess these religious traditions kind of attracted some of us, especially the Hare Krishnas, they accepted us and they accepted street kids…when nobody else did. They were accepted…no matter what. So, I found my place. My brother on the other hand, he actually ran away from home. It started out with him doing this many times. Usually he always came home, I would open the back door, and he came back. But then one time he didn’t come back, and I was starting to worry. He found some place to work, and he was staying at a girl’s house and living with her, and that’s now actually his wife believe it or not. But he never came home. He got into work, and she had a child from a previous marriage, and real quick he just became like a family man and a provider. He didn’t go to school, he just worked and built his career from there. He wasn’t really around to see Judge and all that. I told him about it, but he was in a different place. DBD was his thing, he always loved that. That was the band that Steve really loved, at the time he was like, “Yeah, that’s my future, playing guitar, doing this band.” That was his life. Every now and then he’ll say “Let’s do it again!” I’m like, “Steve, come on. Twenty years later. There is already another hardcore band with the name. Hang it up.” But he loved it.
Jimmy and Mike at Oliver J’s in Allentown, PA, Photo: Boiling Point
Yesterday with Mike, he brought up to speed about so much. Talking about the old days, who is where now, who has died, what he is up to. He actually wanted to know who I was in touch with or what I knew, because he is really a hermit, he doesn’t really stay in touch with anyone or seek anyone out. We talked about how we were family back then, and that was really deep to hear his say that. Just seeing him was like seeing a brother, you know? It had been twenty years, it was emotional. And we made plans to stay in touch, because the context for us to hang out in, it wasn’t right. But it meant a lot. Mike and I, we were very close. Even yesterday when I saw him, I was getting all emotional, and I said, “Mike man, I’ve very grateful to you, that you were my best friend during those days.” Mike took in what I said, but he isn’t the type of guy that would break down and share his feelings, so he didn’t know how to react. But he took in what I said. He was telling me yesterday that me and Steve, we were his family. Steve was his first best friend. He was an outcast in a preppy town, and they were best friends. And then me. The three of us just hung out all the time. It was family. I just want to say thank you. Thank you to you guys for taking the time to do this, thank you to all the kids from so many years ago, the people we met, the people we hung out with, played with, went crazy with…and moshed with. It was family. It was a time and a place in my life I have always hung on to. I couldn’t ever forget about that. To the guys in Judge – Mike, Porcell, Sammy, even Luke and Drew, and Matt and Lars that came afterwards that I never even really knew. That band was a big part of me even if for a short time, and I am very proud of what we did. I’ll never forget it.
A few weeks ago our friend Chris Daily, formally of Smorgasbord Fanzine / Records, currently of Daily Screen Printing, gave us a call and said that he had some extra room on a screen. Chris asked if we had anything we needed printed. I told Chris I’d see if I could put something together and this limited Double Cross shirt was the result.
Just to give you a little background on the design, the front was something that I put together close to 10 years ago. Back in the late 80’s when I was doing my first fanzine called Slew, then into my second fanzine, Common Sense, before the use of computers, I use to buy these rub off transfer letters for use in the layouts. Of course you’ll recognize the font from the Schism logo and the early Sick Of It All logo, but this font was something you could actually walk into an art store and buy at one time. The only time I ever used the font was on the very first Mouthpiece logo that we created, but other than that, the transfer sheet sat in my drawer for years. Sometime around 1998, when I was putting some work into the inception of Double Cross, I threw this logo together using these old transfer letters.
As for the back, if you’re familiar with the Double Cross shirt designs that were printed in 2004, you’ll recognize this as our Straight Edge design. Of course it’s a nod to the classic “The Straight Edge” jacket worn by SSD guitarist, Al Barile, when seen storming the steps of the Boston state house on the cover of “The Kids Will Have Their Say”.
So there you have it, a little mix of Schism and SSD to make these limited DCXX shirts. I say limited because we only made 12 short sleeves and 3 longsleeves. All shirts were printed on black 100% cotton Gildan brand t shirts, blue ink front, dark red ink back. If you’re interested in a short sleeve shoot me an email at: TimDCXX@gmail.com and if I have the size you need, you can fire off $12, which would include shipping if being shipped in the US or $18 if shipped outside of the US. It’s going to be a first come, first serve deal, so hit me quick. -Tim DCXX
This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX
Wow, my answer is probably influenced by the fact that it was more recent, but I’d have to say the CBGB benefit in August, 2005. First, I never would have believed I’d ever share a stage with those four guys again. That we were doing something on behalf of a place where I’d spent the better part of my adolescence/young adulthood, whose closure was imminent certainly added to the emotion. It was a special confluence of events that made it so memorable.
I also look fondly on the second Warped Tour, with Rocket From the Crypt…amazing band and a great group of people.
Any of the early shows with Youth of Today (one of the best bands, ever) would also qualify, as well as the Quicksand/CIV tour in late ’95.
BOLD last 7″ photo shoot, photo courtesy of Matt Warnke
We interviewed Drew BOLD a few years back and got some great material out of him. Here is a quick snippet from that interview, expect much more from time to time in the future. -DCXX
The hardcore thing early on wasn’t really a part of it for us in Crippled Youth. It was more just being crazy and punk. It wasn’t the youth crew thing that would come later, we weren’t in that mode yet. The aesthetic was more just about just having fun and writing crazy shit and being punked out and not caring and playing fast. We had fucked up hair and clothes, and I still have fucked up hair. But we were, for lack of a better term, bold about it as young kids in junior high. People didn’t like that.
Even the early Crippled Youth lyrics for the songs on the EP at first were different, just funny and fucked up. I think “Walk Tall, Walk Straight” was called “Desperate For Beer,” you know? So, a lot of the Connecticut people early on that saw us knew us got bummed out when we got “brainwashed” or whatever by YOT and aligned more with the youth crew thing and with straight edge.
But from there we definitely aligned with Youth Of Today, there was just so much momentum with what they were doing, and we were able to hop in on that with them. From there it was really like the whole youth crew thing. There was a look, and a vibe, and an attitude, right down to the style of dress with hooded sweatshirts, army pants, and high tops. It was a real combination of everything. And we felt at home with that. It just all came together, the youth crew. And that was in Connecticut, it was before we really shifted towards New York and the city. We were really able to piss off enough people in Connecticut to kind of get run out of there. So once John and Ray moved to NY, we kinda followed in tow…now we had a place to really play out and get to on the weekends.
Once again, Cliff hits us up with another killer set. And yes, it’s another Judge set, this time from the Alone In A Crowd show. Mike in a Montville hat with some great stage banter, an X’ed up Jimmy Yu slammin’ hard on Alex Pain’s bass, Porcell in a BOLD shirt throwin’ the fist, a crowd climbing Jules and stage diving by the Chain Of Strength guys… priceless.
Sorry to anyone who’s not a Judge fan, because god knows we’ve been throwing Judge at you on a regular basis. Actually, no, we’re not sorry, if you don’t like Judge you probably wouldn’t like this page and we probably wouldn’t like you. We’re joking… of course. -DCXX
Jimmy Yu talks on Judge, Buddhism and life after hardcore. Part VI, the final piece from this interview coming soon. If you’ve missed anything, be sure to check out the previous interview entries. -DCXX
We recorded every Judge practice, because we always practiced at the same place, and they had a huge PA mixing board. This was the same place we practiced for DBD. But so many of those Judge practices run together. I don’t remember what was what, but so many were like real recordings, hundreds, with good levels and sound. But we didn’t see it as a precious recording, so we would copy over previous recordings, and we were so poor that we would even just take shitty actual tapes, like real band’s tapes, and put scotch tape over the little squares on the top and record like that. I wish we hung onto those. They could be anywhere, in the garbage somewhere. We recorded with Luke, and with Sammy. But that’s how we learned our songs, every now song, we learned it by recording it. We would be like, “What did we just play?! That was great!” And we would go back and listen to it. There was some great stuff on those tapes. I really don’t remember recording the Chung King record, it just all runs together. There were so many rehearsals and recordings and it just is buried in memories. There is one time I remember recording and I think maybe that was the Chung King recording, but I just can’t remember. I kept in touch enough to know about that record coming out, even though I was out of Judge by that point. It was a big deal to do that record, even if I don’t remember it, doing an LP was still a big deal. I mean DBD went on for years and we never got a real demo out of it. Judge did the EP and then the LP pretty quickly, it was still a big deal. I heard about it when it came out, but I never got a copy. I can see the transition now between the early Judge songs and the later songs, there was some progression. But at the time, they just seemed a little bit heavier with a little metal influence, and some slower tempos. But when we wrote those songs originally, the solos weren’t there. I don’t think metal influences were conscious, maybe to Porcell but I don’t think to me and Mike. Back then it was just like, “Hey look at this new tune I have!” It wasn’t like, “I wrote this song, it is a big change, it is a metal song, that’s what we should make it sound like!” But we had learned how to play, I think we all learned how to really play. Sammy became a really, really great drummer, and Porcell really knew how to play guitar. We got tight, and heavy. Mike was always very smart and musical, but the way he sang those songs, that didn’t just happen. He knew how to work in his influences and various genres, that was just his ingenuity. He was and is such a talented guy. During Judge, I was still into going to shows and the bands that were around. I had been around for 7 or 8 years, and it was different. I wasn’t 13 years old, and it wasn’t new and scary. For me, it was just, “Yeah, I’m playing bass in Judge.” I was getting into Buddhism, and trying to get away from a violent past. But when we played, I loved it. It wasn’t boring! I always loved the moshing, the dancing, people stage diving and going off. It was a totally different era, the bands from 1983 were either broken up or much different by the time Judge was going. But I still liked a lot of the bands that were new and around. I was excited to see a lot of bands, even in Judge, and it was the same for Mike. I think the people that say looking back, “Yeah, I wasn’t really into those bands then, I was into the earlier bands before them,” I think they are coming at it from a retrospective macro view. But at the time, when they were on the ground, they weren’t thinking like that. They were a part of it and into it, even if now they try to deny it. Maybe now they want to look back and categorize eras and what they liked more or less, and they want to say, “I liked the earlier bands more, I didn’t like the later bands.” But I saw you there, on the ground, with these bands, being into it! People like to create their own narratives and glorify their own era, and they want to pick and choose what to reminisce about. And this applies to those people who want to talk about their roles in early NYHC, and the formation and development of it, and how it is not the same as what came later on. They make it sound like it didn’t happen or it was significant. It’s the same as when you talk to an old man and he is like, “OHH back when I was young it was like this and I used to this! It’s not the same anymore!” It’s the same thing. So take it with a grain of salt. The boundaries between eras in hardcore, and types of bands and all that, maybe now it is really distinct, but it wasn’t back then. Not to me. Was I stage diving to Bad Brains in 1983? YES! Was I stage diving to Bold or other bands in 1988? YES! To me, it was all the same thing, and it was great. Ok, I mean the early Bad Brains shows were a totally different level, but it was all a part of the same thing. Even later era Bad Brains, when there was a whole set of reggae, you waited that whole set for the one hardcore song, because that was great, we were satisfied with just that. And even the reggae songs, HR was still kinda crazy and delirious looking, falling down and stuff, he wasn’t laid back.
I don’t try to diss the newer bands that are still going. I think that’s great, keep on going, keep it alive. As long as you approach it genuinely and don’t try to play out some fantasy act from the past. Move forward. Even before Judge I had started to get into Buddhism. In 1987, I went to the School Of Visual Arts in NYC right after high school to start my freshman year of college. I was at SVA until 1991. Doing abstract expressionism for inspiration, I thought maybe I would look to Buddhism for inspiration. All of my friends were either into Hare Krishna, or Buddhism. So I thought, Ok, Buddhism. And then I really got into it.
Jimmy at his house, displaying a Chung King. Photo: Tim DCXX
I started to back out of hardcore while I was living above the temple, and doing Zen retreats. I started to fade out, in terms of going to shows, while Judge was continuing. I was even seeing Mike less and less because I was always in the city and he was always back in New Jersey. I had even already gotten out of skateboarding. Earlier on, Howard Horowitz and I had built a half pipe while I was still in Montville. But I broke my ankle, so I couldn’t really do a lot of the tricks I used to do, and I got out of skateboarding too. Even when I was living above the temple, Mike and those guys would stop by to pick me up when driving here on the way to the studio. They didn’t have the number because I wasn’t allowed to give it away. Even if they got someone on the phone, nobody spoke English. So they would come to the door, and be like explaining it to these monks, trying to act it out, you know like “We are looking for Jimmy, short hair, plays guitar, lives here, crazy?” And then the monks would figure it out and go upstairs and get me.
The guys in the band could see me drifting away. I remember they wanted to go on tour, and I couldn’t do that. I was in school, and in the summer I was doing volunteer work and writing for Chan magazine. So I couldn’t do that. It was a gradual thing, I think we didn’t practice for a while, and they started practicing without me. It wasn’t a difficult break, we were still friends. But I was talking to Mike about this yesterday, and I think it was like, “Yeah, I guess it’s better if Jimmy left, so we can get someone steady.” I can’t remember my last show with the band, maybe a show at The Anthrax? With Buddhism, I was lead to it by all the things I was into before it. That is a retrospective view now, I mean back then, I was just bumping from one thing to the next blindly. My parents wanted me to go to college. For me, it was either music or art. As a boy, I did art all the time. In fact, I forgot to mention this, but I drew a lot of NYHC flyers. The AF guys, those guys couldn’t draw. So they would give me words and dates. If you see any skinhead moshing, on an AF or DBD flyer, I did it. Me and this other kid Tim Casinda, this skater kid, we do all those flyers. Not many people could draw that stuff, moshing half skinhead half monsters and everything. So yeah, I wanted to do art. I remember thinking, if I go to school for music instead of art, I have to learn classical music, I have to learn music theory. Ahh, forget that. Art is easier, I can just draw. So I got into illustration. During that phase, Judge characterized me so much. As I got into art more, I really looked into the meaning, and the meaning of expressing yourself through art. Then I got into abstract art, which was totally impractical. This was kinda rare for a Chinese kid to not major in something practical like economics, or engineering, or medicine, or law. This lead into Buddhism, which weighed so much on meaning and expression. It helped me figure out so much about myself…why was I an outcast? Why was I different from other people? And I still am like that. If people go this way, I go the other way. I guess it is in my genes, it has passed on to my daughter. So with abstract art, you had to draw inspiration from somewhere. People were drawing inspiration from their own western abstract art history, and I just thought, “I don’t want to do that.” That was just reproducing stuff and spitting it out. So I looked to ancient Chinese landscape paintings. I found in this painting, within this vacant vast empty space, there was this tiny little boat painted. That showed the interplay between emptiness and the little boat that was formed by just a few brush strokes. That lead me into minimalism, and how just a few brush strokes could express so much. I found out that those paintings from 12th century China were influenced by Zen. So I’m thinking, “Wow, yeah, I remember that stuff, my Mom is into Zen.” So I run downstairs to ask these Buddhist monks, they are right downstairs, I need to find out! So I started talking to them a lot, reading a lot, and I felt like I found something. All my life I had been headed south, and then right there, I found out, oh my God, north is the other way! And right away, I turned around and started running north, as fast as I could.
Mark “Helmet” Hayworth and Zach De La Rocha at their senior prom. Photo courtesy of Joe Nelson
Orange County Sloth Crew ringleader Joe Nelson, with more tales from the west coast…
I’m going to talk about Hard Stance a little too…. Here’s one story I thought of. There’s some pretty funny Hard Stance party stories too that I’ll throw at you.
But first, Zach De La Rocha got all the hardcore kids in the area the greatest job ever during the spring of 1988. Zach had found this place called measure A, which was some Orange County land development measure on the ballot that year. It had to be backed by big business because they had money to burn. We were the perfect kids to burn it for them too. I think we were all getting $8 an hour which was great money for a senior in High School, which we all were.
We would all meet at the Head Quarters at 3:00 pm. They would then divide us into groups of 4. We were like 20 kids strong too, so we’d have 5 groups. Then we were all supposed to go flyer different precincts in O.C. with their pamphlets or whatever. Instead of doing that we’d all just go to the mall, the movies, the arcade, Hard Stance practice, play baseball, or basketball, go skate somewhere, and when the water was warm we’d surf. We’d do pretty much everything and anything besides that actual job. Then at 7:00 we’d return to the HQ, and clock out.
It lasted for 4 months. The genius of it was it provided us all the opportunity to hang out 4 – 5 days a week together, and do rad stuff we’d never have done without the job. Without the job we’d have probably all been at home by ourselves doing whatever, instead we basically got paid to fuck around with each other every day after school. They got wise to us acouple times, but we were always able to con our way out of it. The good news for them was the measure passed too.
Ajay regulates the crowd during Bold’s set while Jules comes back to stage from a dive. Photo: Ken Salerno
The Enuf demo…now here is a recording that does not get discussed as much as it should. Hard, energetic straight edge hardcore that sounds much more NY than it does NJ. Angry straight edge lyrics? Check. Well played mosh breaks? Check. Skating references? Check. The package is complete. Do you think that when pimple faced nerds are singing along to Lifetime they have any idea that Ari Katz was once behind the drumkit busting out the beat to “Suckah Mosh?” No, they don’t.
I wasn’t there to witness just how unfortunately short-lived this great band was, but when they split, it surely was the premature end to a career for a great singer and frontman. Luckily we were able to track Ajay down and get as much info as possible out of him. Expect multiple segments for us to get through this great interview. Thanks to Dan Cav. “Kick it Fern”…
Usually when Gordo takes the time to write his own introduction to an interview, I tend to leave it at that. When it comes to Enuf, I felt the need to chime in.
I remember seeing these guys for the first and only time at Rutgers’ Scott Hall . It was the monumental BOLD / Vision / Life’s Blood show, October 29th 1988. Coming to this show I had never heard of Enuf and had only known them to be the opening band for this particular show. When I got into the show and saw Enuf take the stage, I climbed up on top of a class room seat, situated myself with my camera and prepared to snap off a few photos. Instead, from the first note on, I stood there with my jaw hitting the floor. Enuf took me by surprise and clearly blew the doors off Scott Hall. To put it lightly, I was impressed.
One thing I will never forget about Enuf’s set that night, aside from how incredible they were, was Ajay’s introduction of a certain friend. Jules from Side By Side was hanging out on stage and for the first time, Ajay introduced Jules and announced how Jules was starting a new band called Alone In A Crowd. Ajay’s description of Alone In A Crowd was, “Negative Approach mixed with Last Rights.” Fuck.
Enuf went on to become one of my personal favorite New Jersey Hardcore bands ever. With the combination of that Scott Hall live set and the demo, they secured a spot right up there with Vision, Turning Point and Release. At one point there was even talk that I was going to get a hand in releasing an Enuf 7″ on Common Sense Records, which was going to be an offshoot of Common Sense Fanzine that Tony Rettman and I did. Unfortunately Enuf broke up before any 7″ was ever recorded.
To say that I was psyched to track down Ajay and get this interview would be an understatement.
When did you get into hardcore and how did you find your way into it? What about straight edge? Where had you grown up, and what typeof things in your youth pushed you into the direction of skating, hardcore, and straight edge? Most influential bands or records?
I got into hardcore music kind of as a fluke really. I had been working since the age of 15 because my Dad told me that if I wanted anything that I would have to work and buy it for myself to learn the value of money. Later on I worked at a skate/surf shop (I forget the name) in Woodbridge mall. I used to work there with Rodney who owned Shut Skates and Zoo York.
Anyway, I remember I bought a Walkman called the Mura Hi Stepper. I remember it like it was yesterday, the sound was amazing and I remember flipping the radio stations. I remember that I used to listen to a station called WHBI, who had on the world famous Supreme Team show and WKTU, WBLS and KISS FM, all of them playing rap with DJ’s like Red Alert, Mr. Magic, Clark Kent…it was so dope.
One day I started flipping in the 80s on the FM dial and I heard this crazy music. It was the B-52’s, then the Dead Kennedys. I remember that I listened to that station after that all the time. It was WRSU, Rutgers’ radio station. I used to also listen to WKCR, Columbia University’s station, when they had their punk show on. That was around 1984-1985.
I had come from Trinidad when I was younger and had never fit in. I didn’t have a girlfriend, I wasn’t liked because people said I talked funny and I didn’t really have friends. I didn’t drink or do drugs because I had a super strict upbringing, so I just never got into that. I started skating soon after I got the job working at the skate shop. When I was skating in 1986 it was cool, just a bunch of guys that just wanted to skate and have fun. Never any pressure to drink or anything like that. I never did it. That’s when and where I started to get my friend base and also just where I started to feel like I was coming into my own.
I was living in Edison, NJ at the time. I remember that when I moved close to Middlesex County College, I had this young kid that I used to skate with named Noah Carvallho, rest in peace. He and I used to hang hard. His parents were hippies and he used to come by the house and we used to skate. I was like 17 or 18 and he was like 10. Coolest kid, he died of cancer. We used to listen to Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Anthrax, Corrosion Of Conformity, 7 Seconds, Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, Fishbone, etc.
The bands that really kicked it over the edge for me though were probably Suicidal Tendencies and the Dead Kennedys, Fishbone and the Bad Brains. “Pay To Cum” in some crazy movie – Repo Man, was such a dope movie, and Jello Biafra’s voice to me was so ill. How could you not dig the music during this time?
Ajay stares down a WP skin. Photo: Ken Salerno
The New Jersey scene began to explode by 1987-1988 with young hardcore bands, and I am sure you were in the middle of it. What were some memorable shows from that time period, who were your favoritebands, and how do you remember that era (specifically NJ)?
The most memorable show that I had seen during the late 80s had to have been the Youth Of Today show at Middlesex County College in 1987. I was going to school there at the time and I remember my man Rich Taglieri told me to come check the show. Yo, it was so ill. I forget who else played, but here was this group of guys that had the same ideals that I had, I was like “what is this?”
Back in that time there were only a few bands from Jersey doing anything. I remember Ped, September Violence, Thanatos, Shades Apart and Vision doing shows in Scott Hall and I also remember them playing I think at Middlesex County College. I remember seeing those bands and thinking that I wanted to do a band too. Especially also because Vision was also a Straight Edge band, I was like “I want to do this.”
One of the coolest shows that I was at was one that Dave from Vision threw in the basement of his house. His parents were totally cool and I remember that he had a whole crew of hot girls that used to be band groupies that guys used to drool over, so funny. One of my favorite shows during that time had to have been Fishbone at City Gardens, too. I was an official Fishbone freak, I tried to go to all their local shows in the tri-state area. Here was an all black band of “misfits,” which is what I likened myself to at that time, and they were crushing it. They played a big part in me wanting to do the band for sure.
I remember that era as just being the time that we were living in, we didn’t think that we were in what is known by many as the best years of hardcore. For us, we didn’t think anything else except that we had to get money to get to the next show, it was all about the “now.” Looking back at it now, that time was truly amazing. [TO BE CONTINUED]
Dave is one of the great photographers to come out of that late 80’s Southern California hardcore scene. Starting out with his own fanzine On Line, then on to Tidbit Fanzine, then on to numerous records, Dave’s photography has really gotten around. More to come. -DCXX
Wind Of Change photo shot by a friend that happened to work in a photography studio. Courtesy of Jason XXX
Jason Peterson continues to school us on the Arizona Straight Edge scene of the late 80s, playing in Wind Of Change, and where he went from there. Let’s hope Jason contributes more in the future.
Wind Of Change was me, Jim Wall, John Wall, Alex, and Tim on drums. Eric Astor and then Brian Brown would later replace Tim. We released our first EP “Promise Kept” on Step Forward. Wind Of Change blew up at this point, and we played every AZ show and out of town weekend shows for the next two years, Our second EP, “Rain,” was released on our own label for a summer tour in 1989. I put every piece of HC energy I had into booking the first tour. We had lists and lists of kids around the country who helped set up the shows. Our first show was in Salt Lake with Insight. We played Green Bay with Verbal Assault and a bunch of east coast show with GB and Insted. We played CB’s with Bl’ast!, Insted and American Standard. We played our last show of the tour in Roanoke, VA. We had some great shows and some bad shows.
WOC was always a contrast because half of the band was straight edge and the other half was not, half of us loved NYHC and the other half loved the DC sound. It was a constant struggle to find our balance and for a little while we did. WOC was made up of our strong personalities and diverse tastes. At the end of that tour I had nothing left. I remember sitting on my sister’s front lawn with a box of left over t-shirts and thinking, “now what?” But I had done what I wanted to do. I got in a van with my seven best friends and played 38 shows around the country. We had one last show in LA with YOT and every band of the time, but called it quits a week before the show. Out of the ashes of Wind Of Change came some great bands: Fuse, Dodge, Hoover, Kerosene 454 and Samuel. A German label released all of the eps and demo on a lp in 1990.
What was your involvement with Step Forward zine/records?
Eric Astor was an amazing kid who started coming to shows in ’87. He had so much energy and a business like passion for HC. Step Forward was his label that materialized from his zine, Silent Minority. He put out the Y.U.C livetape and the first Wind Of Change EP. I helped Eric with much of his graphic design work in the early days. We designed Drug Free Youth shirts in his parents kitchen by eye matching the screens and curing the ink in the oven. Those shirts became a staple for the AZ scene. Every band that came to town left with arms full. We also screened the door on the Insted van as they left for their first US tour.
I designed most of the flyers for the shows we put on at the time. I found I had a deep love and talent for graphic design. I would even end up re-designing, laying out and distributing the flyers for shows we had nothing to do with. I remember one night Eric and I broke into the ASU business lab with a plot to steal a photocopier, so we didn’t have to pay for copies any more. We just walked into a classroom where students were working and said we had to fix the machine and rolled it down the hall. We got it out of the building but left it sitting in the middle of campus when the rental cops spotted us.
I ended up falling out with Astor over bullshit money issues, I was never comfortable making a dime off of HC.
Wind Of Change at CBGB, photo courtesy of Jason XXX
People on the west coast from the late 80s scene talk about seeing Youth of Today on their early tours and just knowing they had to do a band and try to emulate that energy. Was that the case for you and your scene?
We met Ray and Porcell when they first toured (in a station wagon) the westcoast with 7 Seconds. They played the Electric Rhino with Kevin Seconds on drums. They needed a place to crash so we snuck Youth of Today into Palmer’s walk-in closet without this parents knowing. The next day we all skated in Tempe. This was pre-veggie days for YOT and I remember giving them shit for eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. They had great stories about the NYC scene. We got so amped when Ray told us about starting a record label. Meeting them gave us the energy to kick our scene in the ass.
On that note, it seems from the impression I get, that bands likeYOT, BOLD, and GB became friends with your crew. Any good stories of tour stops, travel together, shows, hanging etc. with those guys?
Youth Crew stories:
Youth Under Control played with YOT in ’87 at a dance club called Prisms. At the time AZ had a major skinhead problem. Most of the shows at Prisms ended in fights with the skins. Many times the bouncers tried to protect us from the waiting skins and escort us to our cars. It got so bad the Victor bros (promoters who ran Placebo records) didn’t let skins into shows anymore.
During the YOT set one of the skins kicked my 13-year-old neighbor in the head. Ray stopped playing and called the skin out then Ritchie jumped off stage and got into the leader skin’s face. They went back and forth then decided to throw down behind the local McDonald’s at 11. I remember being in the van with all those guys; Ritchie and Porcell were going nuts. Everyone was screaming, we were so amped up. We got to the McDonald’s and waited at least an hour but the skins never showed up. It was a victory none-the-less. The skins got revenge about a week later by breaking my friend’s arm with a bat. #2
YOT came back in the summer of ’88 and hung out in AZ for a few days prior to their show. I remember coming home from school to find everyone jumping off the roof of my house into the pool. I traded Sammy an ugly ass Stussy shirt for a blue LS Project X shirt. On the way to their show, Ray told us a story about their equipment being stolen and how Caroline Records paid to replace it. He proceeded to lead the whole van into singing “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.
We found out Pepperdine was coming to Tempe to play ASU in baseball. So we gathered up all the local SxE kids to go see Dubar pitch. We all X’d up like we were going to see some HC show. Dubar pitched a few innings and we were all screaming out Uniform Choice songs and some friendly straight edge heckling. It was a blast, but I think we may have embarrassed him a bit in front of his team. We tried to get a signed ball but he just laughed at us.
I get the impression you traveled a lot to Cali for shows – any good stories?
I saw a lot of great shows in LA: Uniform Choice, Insted, Doggy Style,Freewill, No For an Answer, Chain, Judge…
One of my first trips to LA was to stay with KevInsted. I got to record backup vocals for Bonds Of Friendship. To this day, Kev is the most genuine person I have ever met in HC. He introduced me to the John and Walt from Back To Back. We shared the same ideals and the same sense of humor about the scene. We became brother bands. We spent that summer traveling back and forth playing shows and each other’s garages. We got into so much trouble.
I remember going with Kev to drop off artwork at Dubar’s house. They had Wishing Well set up in the back of their parents home. I remember Pat opened this giant closet stacked full of every WW shirt. He just received a box of Break Down The Walls on blue and red wax and asked if I wanted one. I said I already had it on black so it was no big deal. Stupid.
Jason (with Insted shirt) climbing on top of the crowd for PX at GB reunion CBGB.
When did you leave Arizona? When in your eyes did that scene change? You are literally one of very few people from that scene to pretty much stay into hardcore, stay straight edge, come out to shows, and still stage dive and really be into it. How does that happen?
By the summer of ’89 the AZ HC/SXE scene was in full bloom. I remember that was the year I stopped recognizing all the SXE kids. Most of all my friends had already left straight edge behind, only Palmer and I remained. There was a new, more serious breed of SXE now.
I left AZ in 1990 to attend art school in Atlanta. I turned all of my positive/DIY HC drive into school and finished a two-year advertising program in one year. I was one of the most recruited graduates in the school’s history. I worked in Chicago for a year. I moved to NYC in ’92. I started my own advertising agency in ’96 and sold it 5 years later to a large holding company. I made more money that year than most people make in a lifetime. I am now married to the most amazing girl in the world. I have two beautiful kids. I still follow Hardcore religiously. And I’m still Straight Edge…
But I would trade it all for one more summer in ’88.
Jimmy Yu continues, this time we get into Judge. More still to come.
With Judge, the way I remember it is a little different. Maybe I’m wrong, I will have to ask Porcell about this. But I remember writing Judge songs with Mike before Judge. Mike had the ideas, and he would play them on drums. As I remember it, Youth Of Today was together. So Mike and I needed a drummer, and we needed a bassist, because I didn’t want to play bass, I refused to play bass. The idea was for me to play guitar, but we couldn’t find a bassist. We could, however, find Porcell, and he plays guitar! So I was like, “fuck, I’m down to playing bass again!” That’s why those early songs had bass leads, because I played guitar! But those were edited out. Either Porcell or Jordan told me that. But I didn’t even own a bass, I didn’t even have a bass amp. I think Mike had a bass, or when we played out I borrowed one from another band. And that sucked because if I did that I couldn’t really thrash out, because it’s somebody else’s bass and I have to give it back to them. But the transition to Judge was a pretty natural thing from DBD, because we practiced at the same club, which was on the edge of the east village and Chinatown, this basement place. Porcell would remember the name. So it was practicing at the same place, just with a new band. And it wasn’t like, “Oh my God we have this new band!” It was just like, “Ok, Judge, cool.”
I think I was living in New York when the Judge seven inch was recorded. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t play on that. Mike and I wrote some of those songs. My memory is that Youth Of Today was happening and that was their main thing. I can’t remember if this is while Mike was still in Youth Of Today or not. But the focus at the time was on Youth Of Today, not Judge. Judge was just a side project in its inception stages. So we had to circulate our players, especially with drummers you know? One time it was Luke, and then another time it was Drew. There were only a handful of people that played instruments. Mike also wrote a lot, if not all of the music – at least that I remember. I don’t know exactly what music Porcell listened to at that time. Mike and I though, we listened to the same music. So we had the same intuition as to what to write and what should happen within a song. So when playing live and practicing, we really both connected with that.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd
Mike even early on was listening to a lot of Neil Young, and absorbing those lyrics. I think that influence came out later. Mike’s lyrics in Judge, I think they are deeper than a lot of lyrics. I mean, I don’t want to compare bands and in any way make it seem like I am putting other bands down. But to me personally, I know why he wrote a lot of those lyrics, and what incidents happened that lead to those lyrics. So, it was very meaningful to us. When the seven inch came out, and everyone got to see the lyrics, Mike’s lyrics, that was the Mike that I knew. We were always angry. We grew up getting picked on, getting in fights. We saw a lot of shit. Our introduction to the New York hardcore scene was seeing Harley carrying around an eight ball in a sock, those were the surroundings, you know? We saw him use that. That can really do some serious damage…like, hospital damage. So we had that bottled up. Porcell…he was a peaceful guy. Straight edge, vegetarian. He was a different kind of straight edge in how he grew up. So naturally, I think Mike wrote the lyrics like he did. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t an act. So those lyrics, to me, it wasn’t a shocker. He was writing songs about our lives. About the fights we got in, the friends that betrayed us, friends that died. There was a redhead skinhead kid, a great mosher, he was our friend, part of the New York Crew, even though he was from Connecticut. But he ran away from home, and came to New York. But someone pushed him off the train, and he died. Just so sad, some other gang did it. Our hearts went out to him. You know, as skinheads, we weren’t accepted by anyone. Anyone. Not by metalheads, regular gangs, other punks, Harley-Davidson gangs, nobody. And as far as other areas, other cities, we had friction. In New York, we had an edge to us. And we kept that up when it was kids from DC or kids from Boston that were around. The lyrics to “New York Crew,” people don’t totally understand. We were from New Jersey but not that far outside of NYC, and we were in NYC every weekend and maybe one other day during the week. But people like Harley and everyone else, they were the ones that really lived there and hung out together all the time, nonstop. I mean, we were definitely there, but not like them. I mean, some of those guys, they were living in tiny apartments, like 6 skinheads in one apartment. We would come in and be there for an entire weekend straight, but it wasn’t living the same way they were. But we still felt a part of it. I will also say this, in response to what Harley said in the American Hardcore book, Harley hung out a lot with Eric. I’m sure he hung out with AF, but I’m not sure how much. He was kinda outside the immediate New York Crew. I think if you were to talk to Vinnie or Roger, they might give a better perspective of how much we were around. Because they were always around. So on one hand, I see what Harley was saying, because we weren’t there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. But at the same time, Harley himself was kind of a loner and even kind of outside of the New York skinheads. I mean, he hung out and was a real part of it, no question, but he had his own stuff going on too, so he wasn’t always right there. In the beginning of us going to shows, we weren’t really tight with AF. But by the time DBD got going, they really took care of us. So we were much tighter with AF than any other band, they were the band we tagged along with. Harley was more just into moshing with Eric. Maybe my timeline is off, but I don’t remember the Cro-Mags happening a lot at that time, and with DBD we didn’t tag along with them like we did with AF. As far as the terms “Wolfpack” and “United Blood,” those weren’t like actual crews and it wasn’t how we identified ourselves, at least I don’t think so. Those were just names that Mike gave us looking back when he wrote the Judge lyrics. I don’t remember it being verbalized at the time, like, “Hey, we are the Wolfpack!” But we felt it in our hearts, and those descriptions when applied later by Mike made sense. Because at the time, in those threshold moments, like when Boston came down, and it escalated into becoming physical, in New York it didn’t matter if you were a regular skin, a nazi skin, or what…you just kicked their fucking asses. That’s it. You were New York. And in those moments, it was very clear that you stuck together, everyone. We are New York, and you…you are not. You want to try to rule the floor and try to crack people’s heads? Dude, you’re in the wrong place, man. We just jumped them. In those moments, we were united. Those are my memories. It is a lot like how things were with me and my brother Steve – we would fight all the time amongst ourselves. But if someone messed with him or messed with me, we were right there for each other, because above all else, we were brothers. Maybe we fought with each other, but when it was someone else, it was a different story. And when Mike wrote “New York Crew,” he’s not talking about a straight edge crew. There was not a definitive crew, it was just everyone that hung out and stuck together in the moments when we were threatened. I think that song and the image and story in that song is about the moments when everyone in the New York scene, everyone, was united. Not just like the five of us and our little crew. It’s about the moments when all of us felt that – when our backs were to the wall, when we had to fight, when we lost a brother.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd I’ll tell you this, all the skinheads were scared as hell to go to Tompkins Square back then. When we got out of A7, we didn’t even walk through that shit. We took the long way. Forget about going through there for the shortcut. Today it is so preppy and safe, but back then, there was some real shit happening in there at night, and we were kids. Knives, guns, drugs, people shooting up…in the dark. We didn’t go in there. But it was a part of our reality, that danger. In “New York Crew” Mike mentions that, because that was a fragment of our past culture. I don’t think when he references that he means we were hanging out in it and fighting. I think he meant we were hanging out on the edge of it, outside A7, aware of the danger in the Park. I mean, we never went beyond Avenue B. I think the song “New York Crew” ended up having a life of its own. I think it played on people’s ideas and images in a way we didn’t expect it to. So, people took it how they wanted to take it. And then you had kids from a totally different time and place singing it – young kids from Connecticut singing it, or kids all over the country. And that was weird, but it was fun. It showed that years later, kids were identifying with us and enjoyed our music. With DBD, we didn’t have that many people singing along to our lyrics, and Mark was wild. But Judge, Mike had a different presence, and Mike just hunched over the crowd, this immovable force, this presence. And around him you had all these kids singing along. We saw that people enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it. Never would Mike and I say, “Man, look at these kids, they weren’t there, why are they singing along?” No. We appreciated it, it meant something…it meant the world to us.
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of : Jason XXX
Jason Peterson played guitar in Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change, bands best known for putting the Arizona straight edge scene on the map in the late eighties. He also was the one behind the classic Step Forward artwork, perhaps his first creative graphic endeavor that would end up leading to some very, very major work in the advertising world.
Perhaps one of the most financially successful people to come out of the hardcore scene, it’s worth noting that twenty years later, Jason is still straight edge and even gets to wear a Schism shirt to work while designing a new worldwide Coke print campaign. We asked him for some memories and he delivered, this is part one.
When did a straight edge scene in Arizona develop and how?
I am originally from the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. When I was eight years old my parents split up. My mother went to work and left my older brothers and sisters raise me. My oldest stepbrother was into punk rock since the late 70s. He saw the Sex Pistols play back in the day. When I was 12 he started feeding me Black Flag, Minor Threat, GBH, etc. He used to shove socks in my mouth for listening to Adam and the Ants.
My first shows in ’83 and ’84 were Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Kennedys, Husker Du, Necros, and lots of local Clevo stuff. I was hooked. I studied every band, every fanzine and I would try to see every show. I started writing reviews for MRR and Alterative Press (a local Clevo zine at the time), as well as designing layouts for zines of friends. I started drinking and smoking pot at 13. I thought it was the punk rock thing to do. I was hanging out with a much older crowd. I used to get drunk before junior high school.
I remember sitting on the floor in my room studying the covers of Kids Will Have Their Say/SSD and Brotherhood/DYS while listening to The Crew/7 Seconds, which had just been released. I was reading the lyric sheet over and over. It felt like something bigger than just the music. They weren’t being ironic like the Dead Kennedys when they sang “kill the poor.” The positive message hit me hard. At that point I knew I would go nowhere if I continued down the path I was going. My small group of friends and I all went straight edge, a few of them would eventually go on to form Confront.
In the summer of ’85 my stepfather was transferred to work in Phoenix. This was a new beginning for me. Straight Edge made so much sense to me, I have never considered another way to live my life. One of the first people I met in Arizona was this skater kid with dyed jet-black hair named James Palmer. We met at an outdoor JFA/Necros show. The show started at noon in the 110-degree Arizona summer. Palmer came from a very similar broken home. His parents ran a local bar so he saw first hand how fucked up booze could be. We were the only two kids at that show with X’s on our hands so we naturally clicked.
The older west side guys like JFA, Mighty Sphincter and Junior Achievement established the Arizona HC scene. It was an awesome mix of dusty skaters, cow punks and Goth kids in creepers. They were always drugged out and sunburned. They were the furthest things from straight edge. “Beach Blanket Bong-Out” was not just a song; it was a way of life. Those shows were so much fun. Looking back, I think the diversity is the reason I was always open to everyone in the HC scene. It wasn’t until a few years later that the proper Arizona straight edge scene developed.
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of: Jason XXX
Run us through the evolution of your bands – Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change. Releases, various shows, etc.
Palmer and I started Youth Under Control in ’85. We went through a load of different line ups in the beginning. We wanted a straight edge band in the vein of DYS/SSD. I think we printed shirts before we even had our first practice. Our description of a “tour” was pushing our amps in shopping carts and playing in our parents’ garages. We struggled to find like-minded straight edge kids to be in the band. We tried to convince local skater kids to become straight edge but it never worked. I was always the SXE salesman but quickly learned that if you don’t deeply believe you will not last.
We finally got it together in the spring of ’86. The line up was Jim Wall, Palmer, Eric Astor and myself. We recorded a demo and opened up every show that would have us. We played with Justice League, 7 Seconds, Bl’ast!, Youth Of Today and every local band in the Phoenix area. I remember we somehow got booked on a show in Toronto with Youth of Today and 7 Seconds, we plotted every plan in the world to get there, but in the end couldn’t pull it off.
Astor and Palmer left in ’87 to play in Last Option. Al-X Dunham and Brian Fuller filled their spots. That summer, we played our only out of state show in LA with Insted, Underdog and Ill Repute. Youth Under Control ended up playing around 45 shows with the last show in a flower shop in downtown Tempe.
The almighty Judge in front of a massive City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
When I created this poll, I had no idea the results were going to be this lopsided… honestly. I had this strong feeling that everyone was killing to see a Jules interview and I knew people wanted to see an interview with Mike, but I didn’t know it was so much more than all of these other guys. I’m genuinely surprised.
I have to apologize though, apparently me creating this poll led a lot of people to believe that we here at DCXX had access to all of these frontmen and would get who ever won the poll, up here on DCXX. Truth of the matter is that we’ve made attempts at a few of them and so far, none have bitten. The intent of this post was more of a way to get some of these guys in the know about how interested people really are into hearing from them. I do know that at least two of these guys have read or do read DCXX from time to time, so I was hoping they’d be impressed by the results and insist on breaking their silence. We’ll see though, hopefully at least one of them will surface.
I will say, I know people really loved the interviews we did with guys like Jimmy Yu and Djinji from Absolution, but you have to realize that both of those guys are pretty unique personalities. Jimmy for example had never been interviewed. Obviously the guy had a lot to say and we happened to catch him at the right time. In the big picture, guys like Jimmy and Djinji are probably a bit rare. With that being said, that doesn’t mean that we’ve given up on definitive, deep, multi entry interviews like those guys brought. As a matter of fact, I just got finished setting one up that I’m pretty sure should make a lot of people happy. I know it will at least make us happy. Stay tuned. -Tim DCXX
Mike Ferraro – Judge: 239 Pat Dubar – Uniform Choice: 116 Jules Masse – Side By Side: 102 Tommy Carrol – Straight Ahead: 94
Mike gives a sing along to the City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
Rest In Pieces at CBGB’s, check out Lou Of It All, Photo: Ken Salerno
In light of some recent comments, I felt motivated to post this “out of the ordinary” weekend entry. Over the past few days it seems like some of the readers felt it was necessary to go out of their way to insult me and or make negative comments about some of the recent entries. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not thin skinned, I’ve been through shit like this a million times and I can surely handle criticism. As a matter of fact, I’m all for constructive criticism and I know it comes with the territory, so because of that fact, I wanted to make a few things clear.
First off, it’s no secret that for the most part, things here at DCXX have been going a little slow lately. Yeah, I’ve been trying my best to keep up with the five day a week updates, but truth of the matter is that it hasn’t been easy. For one thing, Gordo has been tied up with some things outside of DCXX, so there has been zero input from him in at least a month. That all should be changing soon, so that’s a good thing. What I will say though, is with Gordo’s absence, aside from a couple guys like Billy Rubin, Big Frank and RJ Vail, I’ve had to create a lot of the recent content from scratch. Throw work, family and every day responsibilities into the mix and it’s honestly a miracle that I’ve even been able to keep it going.
Second, we’ve got about eight interviews out that we’re waiting on to come back. Most of these interviews have been out for the past two months, so we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll be coming back soon. As soon as some of these interviews find their way back into our inbox, you can be assured that they will quickly find their way onto DCXX. I’ve also got to get back on the transcribing of the RJ Vail (YOT roadie) interview and get some photos from him for that. Trust me though, things are in the works, so be patient.
CB’s crowd, Comunale with a flannel shirt and finger point, Photo: Ken Salerno
Third, I thought I was clear about the Mouthpiece content, but I suppose if you missed the first post or didn’t care to read the first post, you’d be out of the loop. Basically, I’m generally not one to push my own bands in people faces. I certainly don’t expect everyone to love Mouthpiece and I don’t try to make Mouthpiece out to be more than we were. At best, we were probably a third generation straight edge hardcore band that wanted to sound like Chain Of Strength. I make no bones about it. We weren’t great musicians, we didn’t write groundbreaking music, I didn’t write profound, mind blowing lyrics and I certainly didn’t have Mike Judge quality chords. What we were, was a band of five kids that loved hardcore as fans first and foremost, were sincere about what we said and did what we did because we thoroughly lived it and enjoyed it. We never set out to be some touring machine to conquer the world and line our pockets from the scene. As cliche’ as it sounds, Mouthpiece existed out of our love for the bands that inspired us and the experiences that pushed us. Somehow or another, some people actually ended up liking us. For those that liked Mouthpiece, I hope the entries were interesting. For those that could care less about Mouthpiece, again, I hope you could at least appreciate the stories to some extent.
Like I said, I thought I made it clear that there was a purpose behind all the Mouthpiece entries. We had the discography coming out on Revelation, it was a project that we put a great deal of time and effort into and considering the fact that anywhere between 650 to 1,500 people are reading this blog daily, I thought I’d help promote the discography in a fun and interesting way on my blog. I never tried to come off as a bragger or a gloater and quite honestly, at first, felt a little uncomfortable putting content of my own band out there. I clearly stated from the first cover story entry that I was going to tell the story of each cover over the span of a couple of months, building up to the release of the discography. The first three entries went well, I received a lot of positive feedback, so I went forward with a little more confidence for a couple more entries. That’s pretty much that and for the most part, winds down those entires.
Now moving forward, at this point if you’ve been following this site for a little while, you should generally know what to expect when you come here. If you don’t like what you see, are not into the style of bands that we cover and do not like the people that are delivering it, please, by all means, do yourself a favor and don’t come here. We’re not making any money off of this, nor are we trying to. We do not need your subscription fee, so we could care less if you visit the page. We simply do this because we enjoy it. It’s like doing a fanzine, but with instant gratification. We get to talk to people, hear stories and document things that interest us personally. Apparently a good amount of people enjoy a lot of the same things we do, so we’ve acquired a pretty impressive following. So for the people that enjoy this and appreciate what we do, thank you and definitely stay tuned because there is plenty more to come.
Trust me, I know the negative comments are greatly out numbered by the positive. I’ve got a boat load of incredibly cool emails that I still need to respond to and I will try to respond to everyone as soon as I can. But, like anyone that’s put themselves out there can attest, it’s hard to let the negative comments just roll off your back. Especially with something like this where you put so much time and effort into it and expect nothing in return. To have anonymous people slag your efforts that you are giving away to them, it’s hard to not say “what the fuck?”. But whatever, I’ll keep pushing forward like I’ve always done. Thanks for reading this, thanks for the constructive criticism, thanks for the support and enjoy the rest of your weekend. See ya back here on Monday. -Tim DCXX
Porcell goes for a dive at CB’s during Breakdown, Photo: Ken Salerno
Last month at some point I had done an entry where I talked about finding a pile of random flyers, photos, stickers and fanzines in a closet of mine. Well tonight I decided to take another grab into that pile. This time around I pulled out this classic Suicidal Tendencies flyer. Not only is it a great Suicidal flyer for a show with one of Texas’s best, the Big Boys, but it also uses some sick Pushead art. I’ve also had a few old Suicidal photos from Ken Salerno, so I thought I’d post all of this together for a little homage to the mighty Suicidal.
On a side note, how great is the first self titled Suicidal Tendencies album? Stay tuned for more jems plucked from the closet for future entries. -Tim DCXX
Suicidal Tendencies at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Mike Muir of Suicidal at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Five years ago when the idea first came together to do the Mouthpiece discography, a major decision that needed to be made, was what to do for the cover. For me, being one of the main graphic designers on everything we’d ever done with Mouthpiece, this decision laid pretty heavily in my hands. Designing the cover is a crucial part of the process, how the cover looks, usually reflects upon the rest of the layout. For a project like this being a complete discography and the end all be all for Mouthpiece, the design of the packaging was extremely important.
For starters I naturally wanted something that meant something to us. Sifting through old photos would have been easy, but with Mouthpiece, we rarely went the easy and predictable route. My thoughts started focusing on the West Trenton Train Station, which was a local train station in Ewing, New Jersey, the town that Chris, Jason and myself from Mouthpiece all grew up in. The significance of this particular train station goes all the way back to the late 80’s for us. Some of us in the band, as well as some of our friends, would hop on the train in West Trenton and ride it into Philadelphia to go skating, record and sneaker shopping and even occasionally for shows. Before we had our license, this train station really helped connect us to a place that at the time, seemed to be a center point for a lot of the great things that were happening.
Original cover concept from tunnel, Photo: Pete Russo
One of the other reasons that I decided upon the West Trenton Train Station as the setting for the cover of our discography, was the history that it actually had with the band through past photographs. For the Mouthpiece “Face Tomorrow” 7″, we did a few different photo shoots at this train station. Particularly the promo photos that were used in connection with the “Face Tomorrow” 7″ and of course the classic photo of us walking up the steps, wearing the varsity jackets, plus the small photo of us inset on the back cover. All of these photos, as well as more that would end up being used in the layouts for the discography, were all taken at the same local train station.
Now when it came to what the photo would actually be of that would end up on the discography cover, that had to be determined. My first idea was to have someone leaning against the wall of the tunnel that runs under the tracks and connects the north bound side to the south bound side. All the old photos that we had taken originally had numerous people in them, the idea that I had this time was to be one person, so we would have to do a new shoot. I knew how I wanted the person positioned and what I wanted them wearing, but I didn’t know who I should or could get for the shot. I had two friends, Pete Russo and Chris Alpino that were out to take a stab at the photography, so I just decided that the easiest and most logical choice was for myself to be the person in the shot. As for what I would wear for the shoot, I didn’t want it to look too over the top and forced. Sure, I still wear a lot of my old hardcore shirts on a regular basis, but like I said, I didn’t want this to at all look unnatural and forced. I simply threw on a black Champion hooded sweatshirt, a pair of camo shorts and a pair of Nike running sneakers. Ironically, the Nike running sneakers were the same kind that I’m wearing on the back of our first New Age Records shirt, “My Conscience Knows The Truth”. The original shirt photo can also be found in the layout of the booklet, last strip of photos, last photo.
The train is approching, Photo: Pete Russo
The train has stopped, Photo: Pete Russo
So we did a handful of shots in the tunnel as planned, then moved around to other locations at the station for a back up plan. I sat down on a riser beside the tracks and Pete thought the shot looked kinda cool. By this point in the day, the sun was starting to go down, so the sky had a pretty interesting look to it. We also had a train roaring in for a drop off, so of course Pete set up a shot including that. Our last stop was under a bridge along side the station. We shot a few photos off there and wrapped up the night. Next step was to sit down and go through all the photos and see what we ended up with, my fingers were crossed.
Once I got home and uploaded all the photos, the original concept shots that we did in the tunnel weren’t working. I couldn’t find one that grabbed me. I think part of the reason that they didn’t work was because in many of those shots, my face was slightly visable and I definitely didn’t want that. I didn’t want an easily identifiable person on the cover of this record, it just seemed kind of goofy. One shot that did stand out to me was when I sat down on the riser by the tracks. There were a few of those shots that I thought came out pretty cool, but the one with the train rolling up was particularly interesting. Pete had set the shutter speed very slow, so as long as I stayed still, everything around me would be slightly blurred, but I would be in clear focus. Somehow or another we definitely got lucky and everything came together for this shot. For me, this shot was a no-brainer, it worked and in my mind, it was settled.
When it came time to put the cover together and bring the logo in with the album title, everything sort of just fell into place. Chris Alpino was actually the first to reccomend using the metallic gold for the logo. I picked the photo, which Pete Russo had shot and brought in the top of another photo to flip and put on top. Chris Daly from Ressurection, 108 and Texas Is The Reason did all the handwriting, he was also the same one to do all the handwriting on the first Mouthpiece 7″. Then last but not least, Ed McKirdy and I put it all together as a finished cover. In the end, five people had a hand in what was to become this cover, so thanks to all of them. Hopefully now when you see this cover and all of the previous Mouthpiece covers, you’ll realize there was meaning behind each and every one. -Tim DCXX
New Years Eve, December 31st of 1991, I was in San Diego California with my band Mouthpiece. We were playing a show at the Che’ Cafe with Get It Away, Unbroken, Mean Season, Ressurection, A Chorus Of Disapproval and Outspoken. This was the last show of our first west coast tour. Although the show it’s self was a damn good one, I unfortunately have a lot of bad memories that revolved around this show. Inner-band arguments, people butting heads, disagreements, awkwardness, uncomfortableness, you name it and it went down at this show. In the middle of all that, there was one bright spot.
My then girl friend and now wife, Traci, was friends with Mike Down from Amenity / Forced Down. She had met him and the rest of Amenity on their east coast tour and went to a handful of their shows. Traci and Mike kept in touch and when we were in San Diego, Traci gave Mike a call and arranged for her and I to meet up with him and hang out. Mike ended up swinging by the Che’ Cafe and picking Traci and I up. He took us over to his apartment to hang out for a little bit. I remember seeing all kinds of Downside stuff lying all over the house. Forced Down records and covers that had yet to be put together, posters, stickers, shirts, etc. Mike loaded Traci and I up with all kinds of goods. I remember Mike going into his room and pulling out a few old hardcore shirts, one being an original Wishing Well Uniform Choice “Use Your Head” shirt. Only problem with the U.C. shirt is that the D had worn off “Use Your Head” and it now said, “Use Your Hea”. Mike asked if I wanted it and I happily took it, “Use Your Hea” and all.
Just before we got ready to leave, Mike said, “Hey, I’ve got a video you guys need to see… it’s of a project band that I was doing with Chris and Alex from Chain and Josh from Forced Down”. Mike got really excited when he was telling us about it and quickly dug it out and dropped it into his VCR. Within momments the video started and we all stood there in that room staring at the TV. Now I was already a big fan of Statue, Chain Of Strength, Amenity and Forced Down, so I thought I had an idea of what I should expect… turned out I was only partly right. What we were hearing in this video did sort of sound like Statue, with Alex on vocals that was sort of inevitable, but there was something very unique about this. As we’re watching it, Mike is telling us that the project was called What She Said and was all improved. It all seemed a bit foreign to me, but I was definitely digging it and soaking it all it. Then came the end of the video. Now I’ve seen plenty of bands “go off”, some doing it naturally, some looking rather forced, but while I’m watching the end of this video un-fold, I’m thinking to myself that I’d never seen anything exactly like this. Alex with this “What She Said” mantra, Mike just going off on his guitar, Josh beating the life out of his bass and then Bratton… dude looked possesd. Smashing those cymbal stands together, kicking over his kit, running out into the crowd with cymbal stands in hand as if they were weapons, these images burnt into my mind. I remember getting ready to leave and having Mike drive us back to the Che’ and telling him that I absolutely had to have a copy of that video. Unfortuantely it was getting late and we had to get back, but Mike promised to make me a copy and send it at some point.
Mike followed through with that promise and eventually this video that I kept telling everyone about was more than just some storied tale. A handful of my friends got to check it out, but before I knew, the video disapeared. Whether it was lent to someone or lost in the shuffle of a move, some how or another the video was never to be seen again… until the boys of Radio Silence (Anthony and Nate) dug it up, digitized it and posted it up on the Radio Silence page. I asked Anthony if it was ok for me to re-post here on Double Cross. I figured since I had my own story involving the video, I could include it and share it with whomever wanted to check it out here. Big thanks to Anthony for giving me the thumbs up and definitely swing over to the Radio Silence page to see their story and Chris Bratton’s story on What She Said. -Tim DCXX http://www.radiosilencebook.com/2009/01/what-she-said-body-on-fire/
So the cat is out of the bag, New Jersey Hardcore legends, Vision have a great show lined up for Saturday April 4th, 2009. In celebration of 20 years since it’s release, Vision plan to play a show in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the Court Tavern, with the full original “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP lineup of Dave Franklin, Matt Riga, Pete Tabbot and original bassist, Chris McGill. Frontman, Dave Franklin tells us that they’ll be playing the “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP from start to finish. I for one know I won’t be missing this. More info and other bands will be announced. -Tim DCXX
Billy from the back cover of “The Truth” LP on New Beginning Records
Billy Rubin has really proven to be a very valuable contributor to DCXX. His writing has a way of pulling you into the story and making you look forward to every sentence to come. This entry is no different and as always, we thank Billy for his time, effort and passion. Read on… -Tim DCXX
When I was publishing THINK back in the 80’s I had the opportunity to interview two of the best up and coming bands in the So Cal scene (Half Off and Insted) . Both bands seemed to come out of nowhere just as Uniform Choice, Doggy Style, Final Conflict and Dissension were really taking off. Half Off kicked their original singer out right as they were recording a track for a compilation that Wishingwell was going to put out. Out of nowhere, the guys from Half Off called me and asked me to join the band. I think they chose me because I had interviewed them for THINK. I really didn’t know their songs that well and had no experience singing, but I was thrilled with the chance to have a creative outlet. I ended up recording vocal tracks for “Who Writes Your Rules?” at Radio Tokyo sometime in 1986. That was my first day in Half Off. I’m not sure what became of that track, it might have been given to Pat Dubar. The compilation never came out.
Half Off at Gilman St., Billy sports the half mohawk, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin From that point on I was in Half Off. The very first show Half Off played with me singing was at the Farm in San Francisco. We used to practice a couple days a week in Vadim’s parents garage. There were many fun times in that garage. There are pics of UC playing in that same garage floating around where you can see Vadim’s little sister’s toys in the background of the pics. We used to hang out in front of Vadim’s parent’s house waiting for him to get home from school so we could start to practice. He’d ride home from school on this crappy little red BMX bike with cross bars. Band practice was always my favorite part of being in a band. The guys in Half Off were a lot of fun and we became more than best friends. We were family. Vadim and I had the same last name which was just coincidence. We recorded the second Half Off demo at a little recording studio in Belmont Shore a few blocks behind the restaurant with the fake snow on the roof. Katon from Hirax and Ron Martinez from Final Conflict were there singing back-ups and helping out. I really sucked and disliked singing lyrics that Tim (the previous singer) had written. It just didn’t feel sincere. Musically the band was limited. Vadim and Jim had literally picked up crappy equipment and taught themselves to play out of a sheer love for hardcore music. I just liked to sing because I thought that what I had to say mattered. Vadim and Jim had much deeper musical taste than me. They were very into speed metal and heavier stuff. BLAST was their favorite band at the time and the song “Not Afraid” was one of Jim’s first attempts at writing a song. Jim and Vadim really drove the musical direction. The original bassist (Jeff Boetto) wasn’t down with what they were writing and Jim and Vadim were totally annoyed with him. When Jim played me the guitar riffs for “On Your Own”, “Rain On The Parade” and “The Truth” I was convinced we had to get rid of our bass player. We kicked Jeff out of the band and I don’t think we were very nice about it. I owe an apology to Jeff Boetto. I found John Bruce as a replacement (on bass) through Gavin Oglesby (Gavin and John were best friends in high school). John was a part of the scene, he was always around and he had the best Gavin-painted leather jacket I had ever seen. It was a picture of CFA. John wasn’t a very good bass player at the time, in fact he had just started to play, but he quickly became the back bone of the band (and became an excellent bass player). The biggest problem Half Off had in the beginning is that Jim and Vadim were broke and couldn’t afford good equipment. After John joined the band, we had a band meeting and got really serious…Jim got a job at Taco Bell on Atlantic Blvd in Long Beach (which was especially funny because he hated Mexican food) and Vadim got a job at KFC. With new equipment and a new bass player Half Off really started to take shape. Our Lp “The Truth” had two different recording sessions on it. The songs “The Truth”, “On Your Own”, “Rain on the Parade” and “Blood Turns To Water” were the direction Half Off was going. The other material was recorded on equipment that we borrowed from VIRULENCE (Fu Manchu). We always had trouble in the studio and were never happy with the production, but we didn’t know what else to do. We couldn’t afford a good studio and this was back when punk rock music would freak out most studio engineers. They had never heard it. Those early songs were incredible attempts at writing a type of hardcore that we just weren’t talented enough to execute. The result was a record (The Truth) that didn’t sound good.
John Bruce on bass for Half Off, Photo courtesy of Billy Rubin For the next 2 years Half Off played shows up and down the California coast (and Arizona). We opened for bands ranging from EXCEL to Youth of Today. At every show we always closed with the DYS cover “No Pain No Gain”. There were nothing but good times. The scene was exploding. It seemed like at least once a month we’d be sharing the stage with Uniform Choice, Insted, No For An Answer or Final Conflict. Big Frank had hired me at Zed records and that got me an inside track to getting shows. Frank used to book shows out of Zed, and whenever he needed an opening band, I’d be sitting on that counter by the front door with the flyers on it smiling at him. Frank essentially ran the entire scene out of Zed records and that put me at ground zero. We got on a lot of shows because of Frank. When I moved out of my parent’s house in 1987 I moved into an apartment with Krishna Jain (aka Maynard Krebs) from Crucial Youth. He had moved to Long Beach (from New Jersey) to work for Douglas Aircraft as an engineer. Krishna was about the nicest guy any of us had met and we couldn’t help but invite him to join the band. I’m not sure how many shows we played with Krishna, but he was definitely in the band. Having Krishna in Half Off probably fueled the fire of rumors about Grudge and all the other anti straight edge crap. The truth is that we liked to piss people off. We just had fun with it and everyone was so serious. The more serious people got, the more silly we became. Half Off never had an issue with straight edge. I was straight edge (and I suppose I still am). We had an issue with people that were turning straight edge into a fashion statement or a club/gang. It was disturbing to see something so important being turned into a commodity. That commodity was being used as a wedge to exclude people from the punk/hardcore scene rather than embrace the diversity fostered by the DIY attitude that had made punk rock a force to be reckoned with. It seemed to me that the straight ege thing to do was embrace the people with drug/alcohol problems (not attack them). The other thing that became prevalent in the scene was the “tough guy” image that went along with being “hard”. I still don’t know what that means outside of a description of a penis. At any rate, Krishna playing second guitar gave us an opportunity to have a heavier sound and all of us were finally learning to play our instruments. Half Off began to work on material for a new record. I think we had at least 5 songs written. The new material was really heavy in a Black Flag “My War” meets Final Conflict “Self Righteous Pigs” vein with maybe a dash of Articles of Faith “Give Thanks” thrown in for good measure. We recorded some stuff that I never put vocals to. One of the songs we recorded was the Misfits “All Hell Breaks Loose”. We also recorded Black Flag’s “Six Pack” and WIRE’s “12xU”. I think Fred Hammer might have used this material on the 7″ he put out.
Back cover image from the “Shoot Gun” EP By the time we recorded our last record, “Shoot Guns” we had really morphed into a different band than the one that played “Make Every Minute Count.” For one thing, we had gone through puberty. For another we weren’t shy about who we were in the scene. The title “Shoot Guns” which was short for Shoot Guns Eat Pussy was named after a Henry Rollins poem where Henry talks about shooting guns and eating miles of pussy. We thought that was so funny we had to write a song about it. I’m pretty sure it was a serious topic for Henry. That is what made it funny. There were so many “tough guys” walking around, writing tough lyrics doing “hard” things to prove how “hard” they were and “Shoot Guns Eat Pussy” seemed like the perfect name for a song Jim had written(the music). None of us were ever going to be tough guys. Shoot Guns Eat Pussy was just a working title until we got into the studio and I wrote the lyrics 5 minutes before I had to lay down the vocals. My sense of humor was at about the 13 year old level of maturity (and still is). Jeff Banks and Isaac were there with us and we added some embellishments on the back up vocal track to put it over the edge. The studio engineer came up with the effect to add to my vocals when I said the part about satan. We really had fun knowing that people weren’t going to know what to think of a record that had a classic Bad Brains song and “Shoot guns eat pussy” on it. Gavin drew the incredible artwork for the cover and I found the back cover drawing of NYC blowing up in some comic book. We were just screwing around. There wasn’t some big fued. I know some of you will want to know how many copies we put out on which color vinyl. Its hard to keep track of because over the years, whenever I needed money, I’d just repress Crippled Youth, Underdog and Shoot Guns and sell them for the big bucks. Just Kidding! At some point, Half Off was big enough to tour. We started booking a tour across the US and I bought Unfiorm Choice’s Ford 350 Econoline Van. The tour was actually booked and was going to include a show at CBGB’s. We needed a second guitar player (Krishna couldn’t tour) and we asked Jeff Banks to join the band for the tour. Jeff did an accurate job of describing what went down in his blog entry on Double Cross when he momentarily joined Half Off. The inside scoop on all of this was that Jim had become increasingly difficult to deal with. He had a temper that was really out of control. When we tried to incorporate Jeff Banks into the band, Jim was very sensitive to Jeff being “too metal.” The rest of us were afraid of Jim’s temper tantrums and walked on eggshells around him. Being in Half Off had become very difficult and it just wasn’t as much fun as it used to be when we were tooling around in Vadim’s garage. When John Bruce decided he couldn’t do the tour because of his diabetes it was a blessing in disguise. Half Off broke up. I think we blamed John Bruce at first, but the truth is that Half Off was stale. Originaly Half Off was 4 kids that couldn’t even drive playing crappy instruments covering DRI songs and trying to play as fast as they could. We needed something more. Shortly after that HAYWIRE began. One of my biggest regrets is that Jim Burke wasn’t invited to join Haywire. Jim killed himself a little while later. To this day I wish I could have seen it coming. No one is prepared to find their friend dead or go to an open casket viewing of their best friend. Jim was a great song writer, had great taste and an incredible sense of humor. I can still see him playing that black guitar with the SSD sticker on it. Jim, I still miss you! RIP
Half Off with Dan O’Mahoney watching on in deep thought, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin
Youth Of Today at Gilman St. on the “Break Down The Walls” tour 1987
I distinctly remember driving through Flemington New Jersey in 1990, a town that is a mere 15-20 minute drive from my own home town and being told by my friend Jay “The Regulator” about a dude named RJ Vail who roadied for Youth Of Today on the “Break Down The Walls” ’87 tour and lived in that very town. I remember being pretty surprised that a guy that roadied for Youth Of Today lived so close and I had no idea. As the years passed, I met more people that knew RJ and every conversation always came back to him touring with Youth Of Today.
Now jumping ahead to 2008, I get a message from RJ regarding Double Cross. Some how or another he ended up on the site and wanted to shoot me a message praising what we were doing. Of course since I recognized his name, I asked if he was interested in sharing some stories and memories from the “Break Down The Walls” tour. RJ happily agreed and from that point on it was just a matter of us catching up and making it happen.
This past weekend, RJ and I finally got a chance to meet up. His son was in my town for a hockey game, so after the game we all met up at a diner for breakfast. After breakfast we made our way back to my house, where at that point his son Jake teamed up with my son Trevor for a little Wii and a light saber duel and RJ and I sat down with the tape recorder rolling. The following is part one of what transpired, more to come. -Tim DCXX
RJ Vail with the mohawk and shades, along with Navy Jim, Mark Struble and crew 1986
I grew up in Butler, New Jersey which was a stone’s throw from Montville and a quick train ride into New York City. Like everyone, skateboarding played a big roll in introducing me to a lot of great people and of course punk and hardcore. In my town I was hanging with guys like Steve Vivino (the guy standing on stage at the Anthrax in the Underdog shirt on the cover of “The Way It Is”), Navy Jim Nargiso (Beyond, PX, etc. roadie) and a guy named Mark Struble. We were skating and hopping trains into NYC for shows at CB’s sometime around ’84 and ’85. Then by 1986, through skating, I met Mike Ferraro (Judge) and Jimmy Yu (Judge). We all quickly became good friends and started hanging out regularly.
In 1987 when Youth Of Today was planning for their “Break Down The Walls” tour, Mike was playing drums and had asked me if I wanted to go on the tour as a roadie. Somehow or another Mike and the rest of the band had the impression that I was handy with cars. They said they needed someone who would be able to help with the tour van if they ran into problems and I told them, sure, I could help out with that. Honestly though, I didn’t know shit about cars and was telling those guys anything that they wanted to hear so that they’d bring me along for the tour. Little did I know that I was actually going to be needed for that sort of thing, but we’ll get to that.
So the line up for Youth Of Today at that time was Ray, Porcell, Walter, Richie and Mike. Civ also joined the tour as a roadie. I’m pretty sure the tour was kicked off in New York City or Connecticut. I know we made our way down to D.C. for the Rock Against Reagan show that was happening right there at the National Mall by the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The bands were playing on the back of a flat bed tractor trailer and there was a ton of people there. I remember the Bad Brains playing and of course Youth Of Today. Me being a guy that’s always leaned to the right, I stood on stage during Youth Of Today wearing a mesh hat with USA across the front and I was flipping off all the hippies. We were there to play, I don’t think any of us really cared about “Rocking Against Reagan”. It was a gig, it was with the Bad Brains and there were people there to see us, so that’s all that mattered.
Mark Struble and RJ punked out, back in the day
After the Rock Against Reagan gig we stayed at the Dischord house, not sure who arranged that. I know when we got there someone told us to watch out for the naked guy. Ian wasn’t there and I don’t remember anyone from Dischord actually being there, but rest assured, we did run into the naked guy. Every once in awhile you’d catch this buck naked dude walking in and out of a room, walking around a corner and even sitting in a lawn chair on the front porch, buck fucking naked. Dude didn’t say a word, just hung out naked all day long. I remember going down to the basement and seeing the drums set up for practice, it was like nothing was ever changed since Minor Threat. A memorable stay for sure.
Eventually we made our way down to Florida. As luck would have it, the drive shaft on the van broke. Everyone said, “RJ, get to work man, you do know this shit right?” Hah, the truth came out, I didn’t know a damn thing about fixing cars or vans. We ended up at a garage in Miami where they told us they would need about $300 to fix it, problem was, we had no money. Someone had the idea to offer our services to the garage in exchange for them fixing the van. The mechanic told us that they had a junkyard and asked if any of us had any particular skills that we might be able to help around the junkyard with. I did have some experience removing windshields, so they sent us off to the junkyard and agreed to fix the van if we removed some windshields. Somehow or another Ray never made it to the junkyard, not sure where he ended up, but the rest of us found ourselves working away in that hot junkyard. At some point Walter sits down in a nest of fire ants. His legs get covered by these ants and they bite the shit out of him. Walter was freaking out like crazy.
RJ Vail and Goob, Clifton Speed Center 1986
Eventually we get out of the junkyard and meet up with Ray. Now at this time, Ray was really into vegetarianism, organic food and natural healing, so Walter asked Ray if he had any remedies for bug bites. These fire ants had bitten Walter’s legs really bad and they were all red. Walter was clearly very uncomfortable and desperately looking for relief. Ray told him that he had a remedy and the next thing you know he’s covering Walter’s legs in peanut butter, mayonnaise, banana peels and whatever else he could find. There Walter sat, legs completely covered in this disgusting concoction of food and Ray asked, “You feeling any better?”… Walter paused for a minute, “No, acuually, I’m not feeling any better at all!!!” At that point Ray cracked up laughing, turned out that Ray knew nothing about any remedy and this concoction that he had mixed up and covered Walter’s legs in was all a big joke. Man did we ever get a laugh off of that. That became a running joke for the rest of the tour.
Triple Threat at the Pyramid Club, NYC, Photo: Jamie Heim
This is probably only going to be entertaining to the readers that listen to the Howard Stern show, but I felt like I absolutely had to post this. In the case that you are not familiar with Kenneth Keith Kallenbach, he was one of Howard’s Wack Packers. Dude was hilarious, lived in the Philadelphia area. He died April 24th of 2008 in a Deleware County jail. The whole death has been a huge controversy which I’m not going to get into. Our friend John Meat, who did a fanzine called Meat Sheet, who’s also a huge Stern fan, was in contact with Kenneth Keith fairly regularly. At some point John tried connecting Kenneth Keith with my band Triple Threat. I’m not sure if it was a joke attempt to have us play together or what the story really was, but our drummer Jason just dug these messages up and forwarded them to me. Somehow or another Kenneth Keith was under the impression that Triple Threat wanted to actually cover his songs and have him sing, where he got that idea, I couldn’t tell you. I ultimately said, this belongs on DCXX! – Tim DCXX
Hey there, It’s Kenneth Keith Kallenbach. John Meat said you guys might want to learn some of songs and do some shows around Philly here. So let me know. My website is http://www.KennethKeith.com so check that out. And let me know if you do want to. We could practice a few times first. Kenneth Keith Kallenbach
hey it’s me kenneth keith kallenbach kennethkeith.com
i got your message on my comments section and yes i’d love to do some gigs with you guys maybe you can learn a couple of my very easy punk rock songs, like i got beers and kitty come back and doggy doggy ruff and alligator and we can do some gigs together
let me know
kenneth keith kallenbach http://www.kennethkeith.com
Cappo climbs out of the crowd at the Rat in Boston
It’s funny, no matter how many people criticize and talk shit on Youth Of Today or Ray Cappo, they always seem to win easily in every poll we ever include them in here on DCXX. I guess the greatness of a record like “Break Down The Walls” is simply undeniable. I mean, think about it… how can you go wrong kicking an album off with a hardcore song as perfect as “Make A Change”? And “Stabbed In The Back”…I still get goose bumps when I hear it. Not that we didn’t have tough competition listed, Uniform Choice “Screaming For Change” took second, BL’AST “Power Of Expression” took third, Insted “Bonds Of Friendship” took fourth and Unity “You Are One” took fifth, because absolutely every single one of these releases stand on their own with greatness. But, Youth Of Today is Youth Of Today, they are a one of a kind and they have left a mark on the hardcore scene like few bands can. Ok, enough talking about it, I’ve gotten myself too psyched up, now I gotta go listen to it. “Break Em’ Down!”– Tim DCXX
Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” : 204 Uniform Choice – “Screaming For Change” : 157 BL’AST! – “Power Of Expression” : 55 Insted – “Bonds Of Friendsship” : 36 Unity – “You Are One” : 32
Yesterday I pulled up to my house after coming home from work, to find two boxes sitting on my porch. I had been patiently awaiting the arrival of the actual CD’s for the Mouthpiece – “Can’t Kill What’s Inside” discography and it looked like they had finally arrived. I got my kids out of the car, hopped up to the porch, grabbed the two boxes and pushed my way into the house.
I grabbed a nail and sliced through the tape as quickly as I could. The first box I opened was an un-glued, un-folded, sample LP jacket and an LP lyric sheet. I looked over both quickly and moved on to the second box, which was the CD’s. Again I slashed the tape with a nail and the first thing I saw when the box opened was a row of shiny CD case spines. I pulled one out, gazed at the cover, flipped it over, gazed at the back cover, popped it open, checked out the CD, pulled the CD off and looked at the photo underneath, then I carefully pulled out the booklet. Page by page I went through it as if I had never seen it before in my life. I was reading lyrics, checking out the show listings, staring at the photos, soaking it all in. Keep in mind, this is a project that I have been working on for four years. Finally seeing the actual finished product in my hands felt a little surreal. Sure I spent this past year working back and forth with co-designer and former band roadie Ed McKirdy on the layouts and of course we had printed our own mock ups as things progressed, but there’s nothing like seeing the actual finished product. All that work, all that time, all that effort, all those late nights sitting in front of my computer, all those drives to the studios, this was the result.
Today I came home to two more boxes from Revelation. A box of LP test pressings and another box with various merch. The first Revelation Mouthpiece shirt design, some stickers and a couple different pins. Again, this was all stuff that Ed and I sat up many late nights, doing screen shares and designing until our eyes went bloodshot. Seeing the shirts in front of me, the stickers, the pins, all for the first time… yeah, it was all worth it.
I think it’s finally starting to set in, this project is finished and Mouthpiece now has it’s final resting place on Revelation Records. Who would have thought? I know we never did. I remember ordering the Gorilla Biscuits 7″, the Side By Side 7″ and the Chain Of Strength 7″ all from Rev when they came out, I remember ordering a Side By Side and Gorilla Biscuits shirts from them in 1988. Getting those Revelation packages in the mail with that cool Revelation stamp was always something I couldn’t wait to see in my mail box. I continued ordering from Revelation so many times over the years, even as recent as the Judge discog on vinyl. Still, the excitement of seeing that package never seems to dull. Now this time around, finding my own bands record in that package… as it was said, “mission accomplished, good job men”.-Tim DCXX
Listened to both 7″s over and over and over again yesterday, so I guess I’m in a bit of a Chain mood. I also like to share. Chain Of Strength at the Safari Club in Washington, D.C., March of 1990. What more needs to be said? -Tim DCXX
Last night I was digging through some boxes in my basement closets and came across a ton of old zines, photos, demos and flyers. Some stuff I knew I had, but some of the stuff I thought was long gone. One particular find was this Unit Pride 1989 Tour flyer. On the opposite side of this flyer was a letter from a guy named Garrett Chow, who happened to be the artist who designed the Unit Pride flyer. I always thought this was a cool design and and the tag line, “Cities Buried Underground Because We Went Off!”, made it that much cooler. Finding this one was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Now if I could only find the Unit Pride your shirt with this same design!
Coming across this flyer and all of the other stuff I found gave me the idea of posting some of these random finds. Old ads, Schism postcards, rare flyers and zines, photos, etc., all will eventually find their way to a post here on DCXX. Hopefully you will enjoy this stuff as much as I enjoyed finding it. -Tim DCXX
Following in the footsteps of my previous entries where I broke down the covers of each Mouthpiece record, we finally find ourselves at the Mouthpiece – “Face Tomorrow” 7″ cover. Coincidentally this entry coincides with the actual release date of the Mouthpiece – “Can’t Kill What’s Inside” discography, which is officially released today January 20th 2009 on Revelation Records. Originally I had planned on ending this collection of Mouthpiece record cover entries here with this one, but thought I might as well include the “Can’t Kill What’s Inside” discography cover in this collection as well. I’ll probably wrap that cover up next week or the following. For now, here’s the story behind the “Face Tomorrow” cover. -Tim DCXX
Released late summer 1995 on New Age Records, the “Face Tomorrow” 7″ was the last record that we released as an active band. At this point in the hardcore scene, I can clearly recall just how much metal had infiltrated hardcore music. Not that metal hadn’t left it’s mark on the scene much earlier on, but at this point specifically, every straight edge band popping up was playing slow, grinding, stomp metal disguised as hardcore. Personally, I felt like this was our time to stand out from the crowd. Not that I had any particular problems with any certain bands playing that metal style of hardcore, but I certainly knew that Mouthpiece never had and never would bring metal into our sound. We were always partial to the traditional straight edge hardcore style and at this time, it was clear that we were of the minority. Because of this, we sort of went out of our way to make “Face Tomorrow” look like a more traditional looking, early Revelation style hardcore record. Although our past record covers definitely had more of an abstract, artistic style, that was not the direction we were to ultimately go with this release. But I can’t say that was always the plan 100 percent.
Before we had decided the direction we wanted to go with the “Face Tomorrow” 7″ cover, we had dabbled with the idea of having a local artist design the cover. The artists name was Dave and he was friends with our bass player Sean McGrath. Dave did a lot of wood cut etching type of work along the lines of what you would find on the cover of some of those early 90’s San Diego hardcore bands records like Amenity and Forced Down. I kinda liked that style and liked those bands, so I felt some sort of connection with that design.
What I had in mind graphically was something involving a person that was completely surrounded by garbage and destruction, almost like he was the last person left alive after a nuclear explosion. The concept came from the lyrics to the song “Cinder”, which appeared on the “Face Tomorrow” 7″. Lyrically “Cinder” dealt with the theme of how people destroy and waste everything and how at some point it was going to catch up with us.
When Sean told Dave about this concept, Dave immediately said that he thought he had the perfect piece that fit that idea. So before we knew it, Sean and I were off to Philadelphia where this guy Dave was currently living. I remember his apartment was right on Broad Street. We parked in front of his place, walked up the steps, rung the door bell and Dave came to the door. Dave was a skateboarder, very quite, artsy type of guy. He took us into his kitchen where he had various pieces of his art scattered on his kitchen table. Nothing really jumped out at me, not that anything was bad, it was definitely well done, I just didn’t see anything that exactly fit what I had in mind. Then Dave grabbed the one piece that he thought was what we wanted. It was a dude standing on top of a pile of trash… buck naked, wang hanging, the whole deal. Sean and I were clearly a bit uncomfortable, but since this guy was a friend of Sean’s, I sort of stepped back and let Sean do what he felt was right. Just to be nice, Sean bought the nude garbage man for $25 and that was the last we ever spoke of that artwork and that concept.
Photo that we gave Jeff from Game Face to paint “Screaming For Change” style, Photo: Traci McMahon
Since we weren’t interested in a piece of artwork with a dudes wiener hanging out, we were on to our next idea. Somehow or another it came up that this guy Jeff who sang for the band Game Face was an artist. Game Face were on the record label Network Sound, which was a sort of a combo label between Mike from New Age and Dennis from Conversion, so we had that connection with him. This was all going down during the time that our friend Ed McKirdy was living in Southern California and working at New Age. Ed was the guy that coordinated this idea of having Jeff Game Face attempt to do our cover.
The idea was to take this photo that we had of the band walking up these steps at the West Trenton train station. In the photo I was wearing my Straight Edge varsity jacket and Jason was wearing his Mouthpiece Straight Edge jacket, this is the photo that ended up on the lyric sheet of the final release of the 7″, only in high contrast. The plan was to have Jeff paint the photo in the style of the Uniform Choice – “Screaming For Change” LP cover. Jeff took a couple tries at this concept and Ed sent me the samples. For some reason or another, although they looked pretty cool, none of Jeff’s samples looked exactly how I had envisioned it. Possibly I was expecting too much because of the classic “Screaming For Change” cover that I was comparing it to, but either way we decided to ditch that concept.
What I will say that’s pretty interesting, is that many years later I heard a rumor that Jeff Game Face dated Gwen Stefani from No Doubt. Word on the street is that the very popular No Doubt song, “Spiderwebs” was written by Gwen about Jeff. Of course every time I hear that song, I think of that dude drawing the cover for our 7″ and us rejecting it. If someone talks to Jeff or Gwen and is able to confirm or deny this rumor, please feel free to leave a comment.
Mouthpiece in Chatham, NJ, same show “Face Tomorrow” 7″ cover photo was taken, Photo: Traci McMahon
Finally after these failed attempts at a cover, I decided that what I really wanted was a live photo. Again, given the hardcore climate of the time, a live action photo on the cover was a contrast to what you would have normally seen. We had recently played this incredible show in Chatham, New Jersey with Snapcase, Ignite (first east coast show) and Texas Is The Reason (first show) and Traci (then girl friend, now wife) had taken some great photos from our set. There were about 3 or 4 photos taken during the same song, of this huge pile on / sing along that ended up on the stage. The photos really seemed to capture the insanity perfectly. So we picked the one that seemed right.
We sent the photo to Hartsfield, with the rest of the mocked up 7″ layouts. Pretty much just told Mike what we wanted and how we wanted it and left the rest in his hands. Looking back at the final release, I definitely wish we had spent more time figuring out exactly how we wanted the typography to look on the cover. I never ended up feeling totally satisfied with how the text was laid out. Really the only person I could blame was myself, so it was never anything I complained about. Mike simply interpreted what we had explained and the result was fine, but not perfect.
Unfortunately, although I still love the photo and think it could have worked better with a few minor tweaks, this 7″ cover is my least favorite of all our records. Like I said, it was my fault for leaving too much up for interpretation… photo full bleed, logo up here, title here… that’s about all I said. The rest of the layout I remember being more particular about and doing actual mock ups for, but the cover I took for granted. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think many other people felt the way that I did about this cover and I don’t think it detracted from the overall record. Thankfully I got one more swing at a final Mouthpiece cover when we did the discography, but I’ll get into that for the next entry.
Wide Awake at The Anthrax, Chris Daily with the sing along, Photo: Brian Boog Double Cross friend and occasional contributor, Chris Daily, is in the very early stages of putting together a book based on the history of the famed Connecticut club, The Anthrax. Chris made the announcement yesterday through message board posts and an email blast, but I thought it would be a good idea to post his message up here as well. Check out Chris’s message, the site and keep an eye out here on DCXX for further posts regarding this project. -Tim DCXX
Some of you may remember me and some of you will have no clue. My name is Chris Daily, and I used to do a few zines (Skate Confusion and Smorgasbord) back in the 80’s, as well as a record label. The first release was a comp 7″ recorded with Jeff R in the Anthrax on 01/24/1988.
The Anthrax Club was a place that we all spent a lot of time at. A club that brought live music into our lives at a crucial point in our adolescence. The bands that played there, the photos we all have seen, the flyers and the genius booking schedules…amazing.
For years I have thought about doing a book that would document the history and the excitement we all felt. 2009 brings that desire to a head. In talking with the owners, Shaun and Brian Sheridan, we agreed; a book is a great idea. They are on board and pulling things out of storage. You have no idea how excited I am.
Without wasting any more of your time, I’d like to direct you to a web page announcing the project. I have spoken to a few of the old regulars but I want to document every one’s experience. Please take a look at the page, I am searching for anything you may have or remember that will make the story of the Anthrax Club more complete. Anthrax Club Book
7 Seconds at City Gardens, Summer 1987, Photo: Ken Salerno
Nothing too heavy here, just a happy and fun photo dedication to one of the greats… 7 Seconds. As always, big thanks to Ken for contributing these shots. Use your head, be aware, give a fuck! -Tim DCXX
Bobby Adams, Guitar, Photo: Ken Salerno
Steve Youth, Bass, Photo: Ken Salerno
Troy Mowat, Drums, Photo: Ken Salerno
Kevin Seconds, Vocals, Photo: Ken Salerno
IN YOUR FACE
You wanna be the way I am But you could never understand You shave your fuckin’ head Then you turn your back On your best friends
It’s not just in my head It’s in my heart And you’re not gonna Tear this one apart The way you look it fits How come your attitude is shit? You say you do it your own way But now I have the price to pay
If I can give a fuck You better start, so… Use your head be aware Give a fuck! The same routine. fuck up again You have no real regrets But this is not just something I can easily forget
I can’t believe you’ve come this far Yet still so unaware No cause no brains no fire inside When will you learn to care
Kevin Seconds, a BL’AST! shirt, a happy City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
Joe Nelson contiunes with part II of the Orange County White Power saga.
I really didn’t think this needed clarifying, but in light of some comments to Part I, let me be very clear: Double Cross and Joe Nelson are not down with any racist movement or ideology, we think it sucks. In publishing these tales, we are letting Joe take us to a time and place in hardcore where this shit creeped up. The below images are examples of the stuff that was circulating by WP types in the hardcore scene. I can’t believe I have to actually clarify this, but: WE DO NOT SUPPORT THESE VIEWS.
Thanks and enjoy… -Gordo DCXX
You Tube footage of the Geraldo brawl
Things were quiet on the Western Front for a while. The Nazi skins were not seen anywhere really except on the occasional Donahue or Morton Downey Jr. show. They also gained international notoriety with the infamous “Geraldo Brawl”, where John Metzger and a couple buddies ended up in an all out fight with security and other Geraldo guests. During the fight Geraldo had his nose busted by a flying chair. They were now at the peak of their fame, the absolute pinnacle.
I started to think that maybe with all this new found national media attention they weren’t as interested in the occasional Aggression or Battalion of Saints show. All the better, I rationalized. I had my 2 stickers, which was 2 more then I had ever hoped for anyway. A lot of us started to grow our hair out as well. The last thing we wanted, especially with the Nazis infiltrating the suburban airwaves, was to be mistaken for one of them at the mall or something.
Around my town of Huntington Beach, a couple of pretenders to the Aryan throne did arise. There were gangs with names like SFU, which is perhaps the most original gang name ever, since every city has at least 3 under the same name, and the Huntington Beach Skins. They weren’t as organized though as the Metzger gangs. To me they seemed like amateur hour. I mean for Christ’s Sake, they didn’t even have any stickers to hand out. How the hell can you run a racist group without stickers?
Then the “Battle of St. Simon Jude Fair” happened. In fairness to the WAR and AYM skins, the H.B. Skins were very minor league, especially for a White Pride/Power type outfit. After all, their leader was a Hispanic kid, and one of the number ones was a Jewish dude, who had a swastika tattoo, and was nicknamed “Cornball”. With people like that running the gang it was obvious they would self implode before ever being a real threat to us.
Skinheads on the prowl, Photo: Ken Salerno
However, on a fall night there they were en masse at the annual St. Simon Jude Fair. The kids I ran with were called the O.C. Sloth Crew, and we were considered a gang by some as well. So the fact that we were there at the church fair too meant that there were now 2 local gangs in the same motherfucking place, at the same motherfucking time. It was only a matter of a word or look being thrown before there was an all out brawl happening in the parking lot.
It wasn’t even much of a fight, but being boring ass Orange County, where it took place, the local paper reported on it. My friends and I also now had an enemy, but not the one we really coveted, not the real Nazi Skins. It did mean however that we would get to spar with these fucks for a while. It meant we were now able to get some real combat training under our belt. After all, we knew the other skinhead gangs were practicing daily on the lone gay kid, or maybe even if they had a good day, hit the mother lode per se, the occasional single suburban black kid. At least we wouldn’t be completely rusty if we ever came across the menace again.
I also started to hear from agents around the country that there were similar problems happening with bush league skinhead gangs. While I was traveling I ended up encountering one of them in Allentown, PA at a Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, No For An Answer, Beyond show. I also heard a tale of Pat Dubar of Uniform Choice fighting off all the Dallas Nazis armed with nothing more then a Gatorade bottle. The menace was indeed national, and infesting the hardcore community everywhere.
The hardcore community retaliated of course, in the BEST way it knew how too…by writing a series of anti-racism songs, and printing shirts that said things like “Fuck Racism”. Wow, that will really show em’! I’m sure when the Germans were bombing London on a daily basis, Churchill thought, “My God, if only I can find a great mosh part for this song I’ll have the bastards right where I want them.” I knew better. I knew that the only thing the Nazis would ever understand was direct violent retaliation. After all, in a war, which this indeed was, you can’t sing your way to victory.
D-Day came. It didn’t happen on the Normandy Coast though. No, this D-Day occurred at the County Club in Reseda, CA. It was actually the last place I thought I’d ever see The King Of The Skins, and his cronies at. They seemed to be a primary San Bernardino or San Diego County based army. Reseda was Northern Los Angeles, and it was our turf…well, at least the clubs were. At first nobody really cared that they were even there. A couple of kids from another skinhead type group who called themselves S.H.A.R.P., (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) were making a huge fuss about the Nazi presence in the parking lot. They were almost more annoying to me then the Aryans. At least with the WAR/AYM people you knew where they stood, no matter how twisted and perverted their beliefs were. The S.H.A.R.P.’s only stood for a haircut. They were ludicrous human beings really. I remember the argument outside we had with the S.H.A.R.P. leader.
“We have to do something about it,” he cried. “They can’t be here, we need to team up and stand up to them!”
In my General Patton moment I retorted with “Fuck Off, maybe we should just team up with them and kick you and your communist nerd friends’ asses instead.”
The S.H.A.R.P. leader babbled on for a while about their tradition, and something about how the “Skinhead” look came from Jamaican Moonstompers in the late 60s…I eventually turned to him and said “Jesus Christ are you still talking to me about this?” Inside I knew though that the little moonstomper was right. Today was the day, and they would probably have to help us rid the punk world of the scum once and for all.
Once inside the club I approached my “friend” David and his gang. I figured I’d determine how many there were, and at the least get another sticker for my collection from them. At first he didn’t even recognize me, since my hair was now grown out. He introduced me to his girlfriend, who called herself “Eva Braun” if you can believe it. She actually had a couple of cuter girls with her, which was about as shocking a thing you could find at a show in those days. Nazis at shows Sieg Heiling the bands all night was commonplace, but one cute girl? No fucking way. That just didn’t happen.
Sarcastically I asked if they had any new stickers, and to my surprise, Eva Braun handed me one that had what I imagine was the Aryan idea of a dream girl, a full figured blonde holding an M16. It had a message as well stating something like “My man is a real racist..Is yours a wimp?” Some gibberish like that.
“Rad…thanks” I said.
I returned back to base, and reported on the numbers of the enemy. Twenty maybe? Weapons? None I could see. We talked for a while about the best strategy to attack them, and concluded we didn’t really have one, and that it was weird to just attack somebody first without being attacked. “Fuck, we suck” I said, “We’ve waited for this day, and now that it’s here…we don’t even really care. Oh well.”
Then out of the blue and from the Country Club stage came Big Boss, a rock of a man, who I’d watch fight everybody throughout the years, and never come close to losing. He was a legend, and one of our greatest allies in the scene. Behind Big Boss stood the Chorus of Disapproval guys, including our very own “Street” Regis Guerin. Big Boss was shouting at the Nazis, who in between my undercover mission and failed strategy summit had started sieg heiling. There wasn’t even a band playing yet either. They were just Sieg Heiling the empty stage. Obviously they’d gone completely mad, and Big Boss was not going to have it. Not tonight. It was ON!
Frank and crew charged the Nazi skins from the front swinging at all of them wildly, and we immediately attacked their left flank from our position, and when we met in the middle it was a full on war. Guys picked up chairs and started bashing the Aryan Warriors with them. Big Boss was dropping 2 – 3 of them at a time, while the tougher dudes from our platoon like Scott Sundahl, Brett Page, and Greg Brown were head butting them and doing wild WWF type maneuvers off the tables into them. Together we pushed them into the streets of Reseda, and the battle continued out there.
Somewhere in the melee the S.H.A.R.P, skins joined up increasing our number to an overwhelming majority. The Nazis were falling in heaps left and right. They were getting brutalized. They were done. I watched David flee in terror, nose bloodied, into an alley. If he had a slingshot to hurl at us it never materialized. It would be the last I ever saw of him. Some of his followers held their ground a while longer, but eventually succumbed to the constant assault of fists and feet. As they all retreated, somebody from our side screamed, “You thought Hitler was cool? That’s what you get.”
It was over. We had won. The Nazis were never seen at a show I attended ever again. Eventually after a series of betrayals, the entire Metzger organization collapsed, ending with a crushing defeat inside a Portland, OR civil courtroom in a wrongful death suit. As for me? WelI I ended up going home after the show with one of Eva Braun’s friends who had stayed behind. I guess I felt that a true warrior gets to take the losing armies one cute woman with him. I mean that’s what Genghis Kahn would have done, right?
I remember back at this girl’s house hung a full on Nazi flag, a collection of 45’s from the English Nazi Rock band Skrewdriver, and on her bedside table an 8 X 10 of a smiling Tom Metzger, displayed proudly like one would a boyfriend. As I lay there in her bed staring at this creepy picture, trying not to think of the “father” issues she obviously had, and reflecting on the war which had just been waged, I said to myself, “one day I need to talk to this fucker, this Tom Metzger, and get some answers as to what happened here, during this time in our lives”. In the year 2002 I would finally get that chance, and although no real answers came from our discussion, I did get a funny fake Christmas card out of it.
It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these Fanzine Spotlights, so why not kick it off again with one of the best fanzines ever… Boiling Point. Done by Dennis Cheng, Tim Singer and Tom Rockafeller and generally based out of New Jersey, Boiling Point was THE hardcore fanzine of the late 80’s.
From it’s first issue with Bold, Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits and American Standard, these guys blew the doors off the art of fanzine making. Layout and design that was second to none, excellent photography and all telling, indepth, well done interviews with the best bands of the day. There’s no question that Boiling Point set the mark high and although many tried to replicate the formula (myself included with Common Sense), very few could ever come close.
Some how or another I ended up with a copy of the first issue early 1988. Right from the minute I saw the cover I knew I was in for something special. A clean reversed white on black Boiling Point logo across the top of the cover with a hand drawn classic looking straight edge guy, complete with the backwards hat and Champion hooded sweatshirt, a city skyline / brick background and clean, bold band logos. Then as you start paging through you find great features like the Boiling Point playlists, “Boiling Over” which was B.P.’s faves, “Quittin’ Time” which were bands B.P. thought should hang it up and “Up And Coming”, which were bands the B.P. crew thought you should check out… and you better believe I did. Then on to the interviews, starting with Bold, just a great interview, awesome photos, cool flyers, nice layout, which is pretty much the same story for each interview. By the time you’re finished reading issue one, you really find yourself enthralled with the bands and that late 80’s New York City Hardcore.
Me You Youth Crew, a spread out of the YOT interview in issue two
As if after reading issue one you didn’t think the Boiling Point crew could out do themselves, they went ahead and did just that with issue two. Picked my copy up directly from Tom Rock at the Bold, Rutgers Scott Hall show. Ever so slightly streamlined, issue two picks you up and drowns you in what I believe might be their best issue ever. More great, powerful, bold, layouts, more flawless photography and some of the most memorable interviews you’ll ever read with classic bands like Youth Of Today, Wide Awake and Half Off. If you happen to be as big a YOT fan as myself, this interview simply can’t be missed. It goes down right after YOT bounced back from their break up and it’s just one of the best you’ll read. Total “Flame Still Burns” vibe in interview format. Here’s a great quote from Ray: “For everyone that hates you, there’s always more that love you, I think you try to do something good in a hardcore scene that’s generally full of drugs, dorks and people that are into chaos and stuff like that. If you try to say something decent and humane you’re gonna get cut down. I’ve already accepted it as my job to be criticized”. So fuckin’ good, the kind of stuff that really gets my blood pumping. And how can leave out this classic quote from Porcell: “Me and Ray saw DK’s and beat fuckin’ Jello Biafra up. I ripped a cigarette out of Klaus Flouride’s mouth and stepped on it. We were obnoxious kids. Ray had a “straight edge in your face” banner on the back of his jacket”. They Ray says, “On the back of my jacket I had a picture of this straight edge guy punching the cigarette out of the mouth of this guy with a mohawk. It said, “Violent Children: Straight Edge In Your Face”. Wow, so good.
The back covers of Boiling Point, take notice to the cut and paste film strip layout
I could honestly go on and on about every single issue (with the exception of issue five which takes a bit of an over all dip). But I’ll just mention a few highlights. Issue two and a half, with Choke of Slapshot and Dave Smalley of DYS / Dag Nasty, again great interviews and then once again, layout wise, even more strides from the earlier issues. To this day, my jaw still drops looking at that back cover with the slanted film strip and incredible photos promoting the interviews for the next issue. Then issue three, which many might argue to be the best issue ( I know this is Gordo’s favorite), with the Chain Of Strength, Beyond, Sick Of It All, Raw Deal and Fugazi interviews. More mind blowing layouts, more sick photos, more impressive interviews, always stepping it up a notch. Issue four, although slightly lighter in content, has two heavy interviews with Judge and Inside Out. The Judge interview in particular has a typically great B.P. style layout. Although as I had mentioned, issue five, the last and final issue of Boiling Point, takes a stumble in overall quality, it’s still well worth checking out. It’s just that interviews with the Treepeople, Soundgarden and Hammerbox, I could do without. But I will say, the Amentiy interview is pretty good and there are some great photos included in there.
So there it is, Boiling Point, if you’ve never seen it, by all means, track it down. If you have some of these issues, you already know the deal. Hardcore fanzine greatness personified. -Tim DCXX
In case you hadn’t heard, a new hardcore photo book called Adult Crash recently popped up out of the DC area. We caught up with Dave Brown, the photographer and editor of the book and thought it might make for an interesting entry here at DCXX if we tossed some questions his way. Here’s part one of this interview, hope you enjoy it as much as we did. -Tim DCXX Tell us about Adult Crash. When did the idea come together to do this book, what was the idea you most wanted to get across and out of all the photos that you have taken over the years, how did you narrow down what went in the book?
The initial/original Adult Crash idea that started it all took place in January of 2002. Linas Garsys & Tru Pray put together an art/hardcore event at a place called Hi-Fidelity Records in Northern Virginia. Hi-Fidelity was a small record store run by some younger locals that also held some hardcore/punk shows in the back room of the store. The art show did really well, with a variety of local people showing their work, including Jason Powell & others. Linas made some 2-piece prints for the show, and also sold a bunch of his original artwork there. After the success of that show, Linas got the idea to do an artbook of his own, similar to the Hyperstoic books that Pushead has done over the years.
In 2005, just prior to the final PosiFest, Tru suggested I put out a photobook. He had seen a lot of my photos over the years, and was especially a fan of the ones I had taken at the legendary Safari Club in DC. I was apprehensive, since I have never thought I was that good of a photographer… rather just a guy that happened to bring a camera to shows for the fun of documenting what I was seeing. I was also at a loss for what to call my book if I were to do one, since you really need a proper title for a book like this. I spoke with Linas about my ideas, as did Tru, and we were ready to roll.
The initial plan was to have a book of Linas’ killer art from over the years along with my hardcore photos, since we had been going to a lot of the same shows from our earliest days. It just made sense that we could pull it off. I had a couple of ideas of things I wanted in the book, photo-wise, since I had so many unpublished pictures to work with. I also had the idea to include a 7″ of current bands in the book doing covers by older bands in the book. The first band I contacted was Kill Your Idols. I have released a few different releases by them on my label, so they eagerly said they would do it. They chose “The Edge” by Token Entry. To spice it up, they came up with the idea to have Timmy Chunks sing the chorus over the phone like how the Bad Brains “Sacred Love” vocals were recorded over the phone due to HR’s incarceration at the time. It was all lined up, but by the time KYI recorded the song Tim Chunks was nowhere to be found, and ended up not appearing on the song after all. Down To Nothing picked up the idea, and had Taylor from 4 Walls Falling sing on their cover of the 4 Walls song “The Price Of Silence”. The Slumlords got Sab from Gut Instinct to sing on their cover of “Right Wing Hype” too. Damnation AD were going to do a Worlds Collide cover song, since Ken used to be in WC. The song was recorded, but never mixed by the time the record needed to be sent off. My friends in Cloak/Dagger happened to be recording very soon, and quickly pulled off an amazing cover of WarZone’s “Escape From Your Society”, complete with the funny spoken intro too! This was sent off to the plant in September 2008, over 3 years after the initial book idea was started.
Over the 3 years I worked on the book, I uncovered many photos I had totally forgotten about. I also found a chunk of negatives that had been ruined by the bad way I had been storing them over the years. On one hand, I was happy to be remembering all these great shows I had seen while going through piles of my old negatives. But on the other hand, I was really wishing that I had known back then I would be doing a book later – because I would have taken much better care of my negatives. I didn’t have many old prints from the negatives that were ruined, and salvaged what I could from the mess. Luckily the damage was not worse, but it still burned me up to know I lost quite a few cool shows of photos. One of the main things I wanted was to have a lot of Safari Club pictures in the book, since that club is too undocumented for being the important venue that it truly was. Luckily, most of my Safari-era photos survived and were able to be scanned for inclusion.
Insight at the Safari Club, Photo: Dave Brown
By the beginning of 2008, Linas’ interest in my version of the book was thinning, and at that point I just had to continue on it alone. The guy has always been a workaholic with a ton of things on his plate at any given time, and for as much as I wish it could have been worked out – the book didn’t match his vision and he chose to not contribute to it.
During the time I was working on the book, I was also contacting people in some of the bands, as well as people from notable record stores & zines, and even an old show promoter. I wanted to have them all write something about why they are still hear after all of these years. The title of the book (and art show) is from the song Minor Threat by Minor Threat. The lyrics to that song have always meant a lot, and they went well with the question I asked these folks. Out of 35 requests I sent out through various outlets (MySpace, email, and even a couple of snail mail requests), I ended up getting almost every one I hoped for. All of these people were willing to share an old story or reflect for a moment JUST for my book, and it meant a lot to me as each one arrived. Some took months to write theirs, while some were fast as lightning. The fastest by far was Walter from GB. He got my MySpace message about the book and within 5 minutes had responded with the anecdote that is featured in the book. His written piece was just as interesting as the others and even kind of funny, too.
I simply wanted to make a book that looked like a hardcore book that I would pick up if I saw it somewhere…something jam-packed with photos and stories from the people that were there. I think I succeeded. Having Dave Walling from Six Feet Under Records come along at the perfect time to co-fund the costs with me was something I could not have planned better if I had tried. He just let me do my thing how I wanted, and helped make it a reality.
Rich from Sick Of It All at the Safari Club, Photo: Dave Brown
The cover is a great photo of 4 Walls Falling, to me it captures a specific time and place for hardcore. The Fall Brawl, Taylor in a Smorgasbord shirt, Skip Turning Point on top of the crowd singing along, Rob Release, Annie and Tim Axtion Packed on stage, etc. Tell us anything and everything about this photo that comes to mind and why you chose it for the cover of Adult Crash.
I think you really nailed it with your description. It was the most out of control show I had been to at that point. It was my first time at WUST Hall, even though many insane shows had already taken place there without me in attendance. I was used to the old/small 9:30 Club, the high-staged hallway that was the BBQ Iguana, and the aforementioned Safari Club. But WUST Hall was this big hall with a balcony, with a crowd full of maniacs from all sorts of different backgrounds. You had such a big mix: burly skinheads, clean-cut edge people, mohawked punks, drunk metalheads, and many others. It was a lot for my brain to take in all at once, and I am glad I brought my camera. I was lucky enough to be seeing lots of my favorite bands all on one bill for (I think) $12. There had been numerous variations of flyers for this show, with a variety of different bands listed. Some that were listed (but that didn’t play) were Judge, Rest In Pieces, and Underdog. But Token Entry, Release, Outburst, 4 Walls, Gut Instinct, Turning Point, and others DID play, and I caught much of that evening on black & white film.
I chose it for the front cover since it brings back a whirlwind of memories from that Fall Brawl event each time I stare at it. It speaks for itself, and is a great example of what else the reader will see within the pages of the book. I have always liked that photo, and showcasing it on the cover made perfect sense. Taylor was stoked when I told him he was on the cover too – so that was an added bonus.
Alex Pain from Chain at the BBQ Iguana, Photo: Dave Brown
There are a lot of photos in the book that were taken at what I believe to be one of the best clubs ever, the Safari Club in Washington D.C.. Tell us about the Safari Club, some of the best shows you went to there, any particularly interesting memories and or stories.
The Safari Club was located near Chinatown in Washington DC, near the corner of 5th & K Street. At the time it was not a very pretty area at all. It was a seedy drug/violence riddled neighborhood, like many others in the Nations Capital. The Safari Club was not originally known for hardcore music either. It was a place better recognized by the local underground Go-Go music scene. In the 80’s, Go-Go music was totally unknown outside of DC. It was a staple of the black community as much as Ben’s Chili Bowl still is today. It was as much of a party-like atmosphere as the A7 Club on the Lower East Side in NYC was for hardcore in the 80’s. It was not a scene you could just jump into, as the shows were usually held late at night in bad areas like 5th & K Street’s Safari Club. Before cd’s became the norm, the only way you could find a Go-Go release was by finding it on cassette at a local liquor store or flea market in DC. DC’s hardcore and Go-Go scenes have overlapped many times over the years. As far back as Trouble Funk playing with Minor Threat.
The Safari Club started hosting hardcore shows thanks to people like John Galbrath (aka John Cornerstone), as well as the girls that did No Scene Zine: Shawna Kenney & her friend Pam. The Safari Club was run by a older guy named Halliel, though I probably botched the spelling of his name. He knew nothing about hardcore/punk, but saw a chance to fill his club on otherwise empty weekend afternoons for matinee shows there. He was known for being shady, and rarely being honest with the money that came in from those attending. There were always problems with him even showing up on-time to get the club ready. But it was a place for us to go, and since most of us never knew the headaches behind doing shows there – we just kept showing up to see our favorite bands that were being mostly ignored by the more established clubs in the area. The 9:30 Club had been steadily distancing itself from hardcore since its heyday, partly due to the violence, as well as alcohol sales not being very strong at the hardcore shows. You gotta pay the bills, right? So bands like Raw Deal, Judge, Bold, Gorilla Biscuits, Absolution, and others were playing the Safari stage to rabid audiences eager to go nuts on a Saturday afternoon.
A funny story I remember about the first Safari show… Swiz played with Gorilla Biscuits. During the show, Halliel was freaking out because there were all these crazy white teenagers going wild & he didn’t know what to make of it? Supposedly, Shawn Brown from Swiz went to him and calmed him down quickly. Supposedly he was put at ease with Shawn not being one of these crazy white kids explaining it was all just part of the type of music being played. How accurate is that story? Who knows?! But the Safari hosted some of the best bands at the time in that grimey club where the toilet was either broken or cracked off the wall every show.
Here’s another humorous Safari story I was actually a first-hand witness to: there was a crackhouse directly across the street from the entrance to the club. Like a REAL one, with shady dudes hanging out outside at all hours of the day, rain or shine. One day, me and a couple of my friends were standing in line to get into the Safari. We see this chubby hispanic guy walking into the crackhouse, and we all looked at each other at the same time. We went to the same high school together, and it was the security guard from our school going in the crackhouse! When he came out, we just stood there with our jaws hitting the sidewalk…then we burst out in laughter, which was pretty confusing to the other showgoers waiting to get in, but we didn’t care.
That was the late-80’s in DC for you. Nowadays, the block is about to be leveled for a mini-mall, and a Starbucks will soon reside on the plot of land that once was the Safari. Over the years since the Safari closed, there have been attempts to reopen it. It made a brief comeback as ‘The Chamber Of Sound’, but closed again soon after. The Verizon Center sits in the gentrified neighborhood in Chinatown now too, as well as tons of hip bars on blocks that used to be pretty scary 20 years ago. The old 9:30 Club moved from 930 F Street into the renovated WUST Hall. It is much more of a professional rock club now, and the real 9:30 Club was torn down over a decade ago. There are no pictures in my book from the ‘new’ 9:30 Club out of respect to the ‘real’ 9:30 Club for that reason. Also, the ‘new’ one has lots of rules about either no cameras most of the time or the 3-song photo rule which is just lame in itself. I miss that stinky spot on F Street. It had a history that could never be carried to a new place – even if the name is the same.
To be continued…
Matt Pinkus from Judge filling in on bass for Gorilla Biscuits at the Safari Club, Photo: Dave Brown
Floorpunch – “Keep It Clear” Philadelphia Reunion, 10-28-2007
We’ve been meaning to post these poll results for awhile now, but there’s been a whirlwind of activity here on my end and it’s been tough to keep up and get everything done. I will say, stay locked in to DCXX in the coming weeks, we’ve got a lot of great entries in the works. My California weekend / No For An Answer show wrap up, Revelation Records archive photos and comments, the continuation of the Jay Laughlin / Turning Point, Lars Weiss and Chris McGill interviews, just to name a few.
Oh yeah and by the way, this past Sunday, March 22nd 2009, DCXX hit the one year mark. With 320 entries under our belt, I would have liked to made a more significant entry out of the anniversary, but like I said, we’ve just been too busy and this train keeps rolling. So enjoy the Floorpunch video (although my vote went along with the majority vote, this video seems to prove otherwise with the climbing on heads comment) and we’ll see you back here on Monday. -Tim DCXX
Still into it and keeping up, but not climbing on heads every weekend like I used to. – 228
I don’t know, it seems kinda beat. I’ll hit a show or check something out, but it’s not like it used to be. – 137
Dude, hardcore is better today than ever. Ceremony, Have Heart, Mind Eraser… shit is the bomb. – 60
Hardcore died YEARS ago man. Does it honestly still exist? – 34
There have been times over the years where I am absolutely convinced that JUDGE is the greatest band to have ever walked the earth. They are the perfect combination of everything I love in hard music and specifically, hardcore. And on every level, I “get it.” Because of this personal infatuation, I don’t really think of JUDGE in the same way I think of many other great hardcore bands. In some respects, JUDGE really is almost like a unit I use to compare other music to. This isn’t really an original notion of mine, in fact, Brett Beach’s signature on the Livewire message board used to say something to the effect of “compared to JUDGE it’s shit.” I don’t know the premise of that statement, I’m sure it somehow involves football and a lot of fried food and some other type of injoking discussion amongst his crew of friends, but the bottom line is that there is a lot of good music, that honestly, compared to JUDGE, is really just shit. If a record doesn’t make me at least stop paying attention to the opening bass line of “Where It Went,” then it’s never gonna do much for me.
An argument could be made by naysayers that a lot of the late 80s SE Revelation scene type of bands were watered down, little kid, copy cat versions of YOT, who in their own right were self-admittedly really doing their best act of homage to the early greats – DYS, Negative Approach, and Antidote. I also think that for “hardcore,” a lot of the SE variety of bands (most of whom I do in fact absolutely love) popping up by 1988 could fall into the critic’s stereotype of soft, safe, suburban boys going through the adolescent motions of the times. And therein lies the absolute power of JUDGE. JUDGE cannot be categorized as such. Let’s break it down (cue BL’AST! riff):
Mike Judge, if it isn’t already apparent to you, is probably one of the “harder” dudes to have ever been involved in the straight edge scene (maybe that isn’t saying a ton, but what I’m getting at is: the guy wasn’t a pussy). Sure there is a lot of legend and folklore, but whether it is truth or fiction, he will forever be the ultimate in “hard” to every straight edge kid. Let’s be honest, the SE scene has never been known for physically intimidating city types. In that sense, Mike Judge represents the anger any SE nerd can feel, but he makes it a legitimate and intimidating thing in his lyrics, his vocals, physical presence and his folklore-fueled mystique. When all of us have been picked on for being straight edge and a little different, we can always go listen to “Fed Up” and say to ourselves, “yeah, they wouldn’t fuck with me if Mike was there, yeah, that’s right.” Hardcore loves “characters,” and within the SE scene, Mike Judge is in many ways like our protector. He was a dude that was involved with the early 80s NYC scene (though I’m sure someone will even debate that one), and wasn’t just a fly by night dork that got loud on a microphone. He was…legitimate.
Lars and Matt with Judge at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
The early period of JUDGE (1988/EP era) seems so cool – the Skiz 2 semi-secret project record, full on SE fury, hooded reverse weave Champions, chains around waists, messenger bags, and big X’s on hands. Then the band transitioned by 1989 to a full blown Rev outfit and morphed into what is seen and heard on Bringin’ It Down: a much bigger, fuller metallic sound with more dynamic song structure, and Mike even moving past the blunt anger of the EP and sheding his skin to expose more than just rage (as well as trading in JUDGE shirts and a shaved head for facial hair and abundant flannel). Regardless, I can’t ever pick which era I like more – both are untouchable.
But then there is that final EP, a post-humous goodbye that goes out on a dark, brooding, heavy note – literally the record ends and “the storm” is over. But it’s never really referred to as a high note or a favorite release. Now I’m not sure I can say it’s my favorite JUDGE release, but to me, it’s right there with everything else. I love it. It’s only two songs (one completely new) but it just seems fitting and leaves me wanting more. It doesn’t move in any strange direction, it just continues in a natural progression of power. While I hate to dabble again with another ’89-’91 era Revelation release for this column, I simply can’t resist with this EP.
“Forget This Time” is a long (like awesomely long) mid-tempo powerdriver of a song that simply sounds like it was recorded to serve as the music in the opening credits of a movie that starts out with a dude who was recently released from prison opening the small garage door of his Hell’s Kitchen apartment around 11:30 at night, kick starting his rigid ’74 shovelhead, and blasting the fuck down a small alley and into the NYC night, usually riding with only his right hand on the bars (using his left to jockey shift), exploding out of the city through tunnels and bridges into northern NJ via route 80. The music plays as we watch him ride, he sees signs and landmarks that remind him of growing up in and around NYC and northern NJ, and interspersed with him riding are flashback clips of his youth, lost love, and some really violent brawls. I’m not sure where he is riding too, I haven’t gotten that far with the script, but the first 3 minutes of it are fantastic. I think eventually he just meets up with an old friend in Lodi and they go to a Moose Lodge and play darts as Neil Young’s Harvest LP plays on the jukebox.
I would have loved to have heard a full LPs worth of songs in this style. I’m not really sure what they were going for with this tune, it’s kinda like Master Of Puppets on 33rpm mixed with a sanitized version of Motorhead…or something. I don’t know. But the recording KILLS. Shit is so heavy – Sammy is absolutely flawless, his drums boom like canons, his double bass usage is selective and appropriate, it might be the best drum sound I’ve heard from Fury, and it really is just Sammy at his peak in JUDGE. Lars and Porcelly trade crunches and the guitar work never gets controversial in the way you may expect from a big-but-potentially-turning-metallic SE band in 1990. Porcell pulls out a great bender/melter towards the end that fits perfect.
Judge at the Anthrax with Ryan Hoffman on 2nd guitar, Photo: The Storm EP
Mike’s lyrics obviously tie in with the movie script above. I won’t go into the story I have been told by inside sources regarding the inspiration for the lyrics, but I’ve always loved what he wrote and the open-endedness of creating my own interpretation anyways. The mix of imagery involving midnight, mental confusion, dawn, solitude, and alienation creates an overall vibe of straight up darkness that is heavier than anything JUDGE presented up until then. Basically, it sounds like a dude that is in a really bad place. On the upside, it made for a fucking hell of a song. It’s worth noting that I was just talking to Sammy about this record for this piece and he reiterated his love for “Forget This Time,” something I’ve also heard Porcell say. That may not sound like anything special, but considering how many dudes will clown on their own stuff from years prior, I think this is cool.
The B side is “The Storm II”. Some call this a cop out and a basic re-do of “The Storm” from Bringin’ It Down, but I think this is an improved version and such an appropriate song here as the closer. I always thought the little perhaps-Black-Flag-inspired “II” nod was cool as well. It starts out with exactly what you think it should start with: the sound Harleys. I always wondered if this was a clip they got from somewhere else (by “they” I mean Mike), but a couple years ago I heard it was in fact Mike and Todd outside Fury’s ripping up and down the street on their own bikes, and this was confirmed by Lars in our recent interview with him. The Storm was JUDGE’s anti-racism anthem, initially on Bringin’ It Down with samples from the ’88 flick “Colors,” and it kicks off with a classic intro drum beat basically stolen from Impact Unit’s “Night Stalker” that has now been used countless times by young coreman drummers around the world during soundchecks and cover song fake-outs. It’s heavy as hell and would be a great soundtrack to curbing someone if you ever had to do it.
“The Storm” was originally conceived as just an intro (see various JUDGE live sets and the WNYU set circa early late ’88), so to see it come fully alive as “The Storm II” is pretty cool. The updated version really shows the band being even tighter and more explosive, the pace of the song is like a tank just rolling over an entire opposing army. There also is a calm chilled out part with a creepy Pincus finger played bass line towards the end with Mike now grumbling “the streets are all the same, but the faces are new…the names have all changed, but the problem it still grew”. Heavy stuff. This again is more proof that whether or not Mike was at the end of his rope, this record sure makes it sound like he was a guy that had lost pretty much all hope in the world. The song fades out, and you are unsure if you will ever leave your bedroom again.
Mike gives the City Gardens crowd some mic action, Photo: Ken Salerno
That’s the EP. Of course, the cassette and cd included the bonus track of “When The Levee Breaks.” I don’t even feel the need to point out who made this song famous in rock, although it’s worth noting that even Led Zeppelin (oops, I told you) was doing a cover of an old blues song when they played it. I’ve heard people diss this song selection and JUDGE’s attempt at it. I will say this: I love Led Zeppelin, John Bonham is my favorite drummer of all time, and Led Zeppelin IV is one of the best rock albums with the best recordings ever. For the JUDGE guys to even attempt to dabble with it was a very ballsy move. All things considered, it isn’t bad. Taking it for what it is, it’s kinda cool. Sammy actually pulls off Bonham convincingly, it’s more the guitars that give a weird pre-Nu Metal vibe to things. And Mike’s vocals…well, hey, at least he was into it.
I always got the impression these dudes probably started jamming this for fun and realized Todd (roadie) could play the harmonica parts so they thought they’d record it. Although it never dawned on me right away early on, the song lyrically fits in with the entire record and JUDGE imagery. It’s about a levee breaking from a storm (Bonham’s unbelievably classic beat on the Zeppelin version was supposed to represent the pounding storm) – get it? Not sure that’s why they wanted to cover it, but it’s an interesting connection. If this is the worst thing JUDGE has ever done, it really isn’t that bad at all. Hell, I still listen to it and dig it.
Finally, the entire package of the EP is minimalistic JUDGE – nice and neat. The big bold JUDGE logo, lightening cover, “after the storm” calm back cover, and the live pic on the pull out lyric sheet – a photo of JUDGE strangely enough from one of their few shows with Ryan Hoffman on guitar – is all good. I always thought that even though Mike looks fucking bad as hell in this shot, it was a strange one to choose. For starters, it’s not a great Anthrax crowd shot – the crowd almost looks a tad thin and some dude is doing an MTV inspired flop dive off the stage. Considering how many insane photos there are in existence of the band, I wonder why they chose this one. It is interesting though, because Mike looks like an absolute punisher in this picture. He literally looks like an offseason bodybuilder bouncing in Long Island, as compared to just a basic large man as evidenced in, well, every other JUDGE photo in existence. Flip it over to the lyric side, and the heat lightening photo with Mike tells the tale of a band who spent a lot of time on the road in that last stretch, and ultimately got worn down by the elements. It also makes perhaps the most compelling argument for why dog tags, a fanny pack, tapered jeans, and Chukka Boots is a flawless and deadly combination of sexually-charged men’s attire. But overall, for some reason, this photo is just so cool and “deep” in an understated way, and it gives just the perfect touch of finality. It’s tough to predict how things would have worked for JUDGE had they stayed together somehow for another year. It’s such a “what could have been” type of question. If this record is any indicator, I think everyone would have been in for one hell of a second LP had it come to fruition.
Before I wrap this up, I feel that I must tell a story that has always been a personal favorite. Ed McKirdy went to college in Boston in 1991 and was pals with Chris Patterson, who would later play in Ten Yard Fight. The tale goes that at some point, this record came up in conversation, and Chris said through a thick Boston accent, “yah dood I like Judge dood but thaat record sahcks dude.” Without hesitation, Ed asked him what he just said, and Chris repeated the same. Enraged, Ed threw him up against a wall and got in his face, shocked that someone could say such a thing. They smoothed things over, but that right there is probably one of 732168 reasons Ed is more like a brother than a friend and why I would easily take a bullet for him.
Taking this final dose for all it’s worth, I think this is a band that truly went out on their own terms, at the very top of their game. RESPECT. -Gordo DCXX
McGill with Vision at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Ken Salerno Here’s the continuation of our interview with former Vision bassist, Chris McGill. -Tim DCXX
When did you start playing bass? When did you meet up with the rest of the Vision guys and how did you end up in the band?
My desire to play bass stems from my favorite bass player, John Entwistle of the Who. He was Phenomenal! For the longest time I wanted to play but never had the opportunity.
It was about 1 year prior to joining Vision and I was singing in my band Sinn Fein but wanted to play bass instead. I was coming to grips with the fact that I sucked at singing. I sang in 2 other bands, but it never seemed to get better. It’s a shame because I enjoyed fronting the band. One day, back in September 1987, I ran into Dave Franklin in the streets of Somerville (sounds scary, huh?) and we started chatting about our bands. He told me the other 3 guys in Vision left. I told him that Sinn Fein was idle. He asked me if I wanted to play bass. He already spoke with Pete Tabbot and Derek Rinaldi and they were on board. I didn’t know either one of them at the time but that didn’t bother me. So we agreed I would be over to give it a try.
So we started practicing and it all seemed to work until December rolled around, and Derek had to bail because of skateboarding commitments. I think we even played a show/practice in the basement of Dave’s house before he left the band. He went Pro on us. So someone, probably Dave, found Matt Riga. I sort of knew Matt from school. I think I played soccer with his cousin. Dave, Matt, and I all went to the same High School, but at different times. We had 3 weeks to practice with him to play Scott Hall and City Gardens. We practiced hard and pulled it together. We played them and we thought they were both great shows, and the rest is history. We worked hard for the years I played with them. We played as much as possible, and we wrote as much as we could. I was there from 1987-1993. We recorded the “Undiscovered” 7”, “In the Blink of an Eye”, and “Just Short of Living”.
McGill with Vision at Scott Hall, Rutgers, Photo: Ted Liscinski
Favorite Vision memories, best shows?
It was the night before a tour and we were at Dave’s house packing the Van and getting everything ready. We were on the front porch and we noticed fire come out of Pete’s classic Monte Carlo. We called the fire department and they came and destroyed the car with sledgehammers and crowbars. They were trying to get in the trunk. Poor Pete was trying to hand them the keys so they could just pop the trunk. They wouldn’t listen to him. That memory stays with me, thanks Pete!
We played a great show in Miami and it was one of my favorites. We had never been there, or even close to there before. It was in 1993 and we were on tour with Dandelion. The crowd was insane and I remember calls for songs off the first 7” that was out before our “Undiscovered” 7”. Well we played a couple of those tunes with the understanding that we had not played them since 1988…they didn’t seem to care! They ate it up.
Buffalo, NY was one of my favorite cities to play. It was always fun and we usually had a good crowd there. I can’t remember the name of the club or the guy that ran those shows. We were inside the club and the show had started. We were headlining so we had time on our hands. We noticed a few guys with long hair, mustaches, and flannel shirts that were a bit older. Confused the hell out of us. Finally we went over to talk to them to find out which band they were there to see. They were there to see Vision. Apparently there was an article in the newspaper about the surviving drummer from Lynard Skynard and his new band Vision. And the article listed our show. We gave them the bad news and they were good sports about it. They even stuck around to see us play. Pete played them the riff to Sweet Home Alabama.
Do I need to mention the Vision, Sheer Terror, and Murphy’s Law show in Allentown, PA? If you have not heard about this show, look it up. Reference the Sheer Terror DVD.
East Meets West – Vision / Killing Time / Sick of it All / Carry Nation / Point Blank / Chorus of Disapproval. This show was awesome and probably my favorite. That was our first trip west. We had a lot of fun together. Vision, SOIA and Killing Time all flew out together and pretty much stayed together at the Cockatoo Inn 1 block from Compton, complete with barred windows and barbed wire. That was a great show, a great concept around the show and eventually, the 7”. It was really more than a show. Like I said, the show itself was awesome and probably my favorite. Afterwards we had a big after party with the bands and photo shoots. It was all good and didn’t last long enough. Trivia: what members from the NYC bands were afraid to fly?
Vision at Scott Hall, Rutgers, In The Blink Of An Eye cover shot show, Photo: Ken Salerno Any memories regarding any of the recording sessions (the first two 7″s, “In The Blink Of An Eye”, …etc?)
The first 7” was with the old members from Neurotic Impulse. Undiscovered was the first 7” with what was to be the line-up. It was fairly new to all of us, so it was a learning experience. I think the Undiscovered recording came out very good for time and budget. We did learn enough the first time around to know what we wanted when we went back to record “In the Blink of an Eye”. It was a great experience and the one thing we wanted to do is was to capture the live effect: only do in the recording studio what you could do on stage, and nothing will be lost live. It worked well for us.. By the late 80’s, who were some of your favorite hardcore bands both locally in NJ and elsewhere? Verbal Assault was one of my favorite bands because I thought the “Trial” album was great. To this day, it has to be one of my top 5 albums. SNFU was one of my favorite bands because of the talent, the dedication, and pure energy they presented. The touring was non-stop and the shows were NEVER a disappointment. We spent a little time on the road with them and they were the nicest guys you could meet. (I would like to say hello to Mr. Pig. I miss you brother) There were a bunch of great bands in that time period, too many to mention. But I do remember there were so many that almost every show had a few bands where any one of them could have headlined. Times were good.
McGill aka Ivo hitting the dance floor at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Turning Point drummer Ken Flavell’s first band, Failsafe. Photo courtesy of: Nick Grief I remember way back in 1988 when I was working on my first fanzine, Slew (yeah I know, goofy freakin’ name!) and had just gotten the Turning Point demo. Right off the bat I knew I wanted to interview them. Somehow or another I tracked down Jay’s phone number and gave him a call to see if he was interested. To my surprise, Jay was down, so I quickly set up a tape recorded with a phone from the other room lying on top of it and ran back into my room to use my phone and do the actual interview. Keep in mind I was was 14 years old and had no experience with doing interviews so I sorta just nervously winged it. I’d have to go back and look at a copy of the zine, but I’m pretty sure the interview was full of the standard interview questions of the day, “Are you straight edge?”, “If you were lost on a desert island what 5 records would you want with you?”, “Do you skate?”… you know the deal. Anyway, when I finished the interview and hung up the phone, I ran over to the other room to check the tape recorded. To my major dissapointment, the tape had never been taken off of hold. I had just done this half hour interview with the guitarist of Turning Point and the tape was left on hold the entire time! What an idiot I felt like. I ended up writing everything down from memory and printing the interview that way, but damn did I feel stupid.
Jump ahead a year later and I was teaming up with my friend Tony to do and new fanzine called Common Sense. By this time Turning Point were quickly becoming a household name in the hardcore scene. Us coming from New Jersey and Turning Point coming from New Jersey, combined with our love for the Turning Point demo, we knew we wanted to get an interview with them for our first issue. I remember doing the interview over the phone at Tony’s parents house. By this time Tony had some suction cup recorder thingy that you could hook up to the phone and get a decent recorded phone conversation, so there was no more lying the phone on top of a tape recorder and crossing your fingers that the volume would be loud enough. We also double checked the recorder and made sure it was actually recording this time. I think most of the band were there on the other line for the interview. I remember them and us getting into some conversation about the movie, The Naked Gun. Those guys loved that movie, as did Tony and I, so we got a real kick out of that. I also remember them talking about their favorite records and YOT’s “Break Down The Walls”, Cro-Mags “Age Of Quarrel” and DYS “Brotherhood” getting mentioned. That was definitely a fun and memorable interview to do.
Now twenty years later, here we are interviewing Jay one last time. Obviosuly a lot has happened in these twenty years. Turning Point has come and gone, people have changed, some of the members aren’t even with us anymore, but one thing is still certain, that demo is just as great today as it was twenty years ago. Aside from that Turning Point went on to release a slew of incredible recordings and eventually, one of the best hardcore discographys to date on Jade Tree Records. Like Gordo and I have done with Jimmy Yu from Judge and Djinji from Absolution, we really intended to do a very thorough and all encompassing interview with Jay on Turning Point. Last Saturday, March 14th, Gordo and I met Jay at his practice space in Philadephia. We sat down and dove in deep. What you’ll read here is part one of what will definitely be a multiple entry interview. We’re also working on getting input from other members and friends of the band to make this an even more comprehensive entry. So if you’re reading this and you were hanging around Turning Point in their hey day, get in touch, we want you to be apart of this. Thanks and I hope the readers enjoy this as much as I know we enjoyed doing it. Also big thanks to Jay for sacrificing a Saturday afternoon to answer our questions, no doubt we appreciated it. -Tim DCXX
Jay Laughlin drumming with Pointless at a South Jersey ramp jam, Photo courtesy of: Nick Grief
When I was about 13 or 14, my older brother Chris got a drumset and was into Kiss, and I also got really into KISS around the time of the Dynasty tour. I started playing his drum set a lot more. I was also getting more into metal, since dudes his age were into Slayer. I ended up starting to play with this metal band called Strychnine, and those guys were older than me. Then this kid ended up moving in next door to us, and he showed me a lot of punk, like Dead Kennedys, DOA, etc. That was my start, which would have been around 1985 – I was in 7th grade. I was skating too, so that tied into it. But that kid turned me and Skippy onto it.
Skip and I were best friends, we had been best friends since kindergarten. We both grew up in Moorestown, New Jersey. On the first day of kindergarten I was wearing a KISS shirt. I didn’t even know what KISS was at the time, I thought they were monsters, it just seemed cool because my older brother was into it. And Skip walked up to me and said, “do you like KISS?” And I said, you know, something like, “fuck yeah man!” Actually, I think it would have been more like “jee golly yes I do!” And after that we were best friends.
Skip on bass for Pointless at the ramp jam, Photo courtesy of: Nick Grief
My first hardcore show was 7 Seconds at City Gardens on the Walk Together tour, Verbal Assault also played, and me and Skippy went with some other people. Back then you had to be 16 to get in, and neither of us were. So we had to lie about our ages, and we were nervous. We were standing there memorizing what date to say so we could get in. I went first and told them the date and I got in. Then it was Skip’s turn, but he got nervous and told them his real date, so they didn’t let him in. So we’re like what the fuck, what are we gonna do? But this girl we were with knew a bouncer, so we got in, and even then it took a lot of convincing.
When we got in we stood next to the soundboard and the place was packed, we were so scared. Everyone seemed gigantic, there were crazy people, skinheads, mowhawks and everything, it was intense. We were just frozen standing there. We had to go to the bathroom really bad and we didn’t even wanna move. It was like, “man I gotta go. You still gotta go? Maybe we should go. I don’t know, we better not go. You gotta go?” We were so afraid. Finally we just went. Everyone was cool, but we didnt know it. I think halfway through 7 Seconds’ set we were like “fuck, we’re going up front.” And we did.
Even though Strychnine was my first band and I played with them, I was also dabbling with guitar a lot, during breaks at practice and stuff. Then Skip and I started talking about doing something, since we were both getting into punk and hardcore more and more. So I said “let’s start a band!” I taught him how to play bass and then I taught this dude Ed to play guitar, and figured I would play drums. At first we would just goof around and play the intro to “We Gotta Know” or whatever. But we kept playing and this would end up being the band Pointless. The guy I took drum lessons from had a set up in his house to record, so we would go there to do stuff.
Ken on drums for Failsafe with Jay in the background, Photo courtesy of: Nick Grief
We were young, but we were playing out. Our first real show was at Club Pizazz in Philly sometime in 1987 with Government Issue. It sounds like it should have been a cool show, except the same night at City Gardens was DRI and GBH, so there weren’t many people at Pizazz. But it was still cool, even if it wasn’t so packed. Overall though, Pointless didn’t play too much, I guess kinda due to a mix of things.
We did two Pointless demos. The first one is with Skip singing, the second is with Lee singing. Skip could play bass and sing, but not at the same time. We never played with him singing though, his first time singing in a band on stage was Turning Point.
By 1987 we were totally into hardcore, like full on. We met the guys from Failsafe by them playing with Pointless. We just got friendly through playing, so we knew their drummer Ken, who lived in Tabernacle. From dabbling with guitar more and more, I decided that’s what I wanted to play. So me and Skip talked to Ken about doing something. And we also had met Nick through a friend of a friend, he lived in Vincentown and played bass. We all had the same ideas and focus, and we were all on the same page. We decided to get together and do a band – which was Turning Point.
Jay, Skip and Lee with Pointless, Photo courtesy of: Nick Grief
Hey DCXX readers, I wanted to take a minute and plug the website I’ve just set up for the New Breed tape, a compilation of 20 NYHC bands that I did with my good friend Chaka Malik, 20 years ago. This is a place where you can download the tape and booklet at no charge. There will also be a “Where are they now” Updates page, a flyer/photo/stickers gallery and recollections plus later on maybe Video and Live/Demo links. It’s all still a work in progress so I appreciate any ideas or suggestions for the site. If any band members are reading this, please get in touch so that we can update your info. If any one has any problems downloading it, let us know and please sign the guestbook! Thanks for reading and the support,
Chris McGill with Vision at CBGB, Photo: Ken Salerno If there’s any band that is synonymous with New Jersey Hardcore, it’s Vision. On Saturday April 4th at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Vision will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of their classic, “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP. To go along with the celebration, original bassist and NJHC veteran, Chris McGill will be handling bass duties. We caught up with McGill to talk a little history. This is part one of a multiple entry interview that is sure to please the Jersey die hards. -Tim DCXX
How and when did you discover punk / hardcore? What are some of your earliest show memories?
I was born in Long Island, NY in 1965, but grew up in NJ. Most of the music I listened to growing up was from my parents. My father was a musician and was mostly into jazz, and rhythm and blues. He played the saxophone, but unfortunately stopped playing when he had us kids. I had 5 brothers and it was pretty busy around the house so I guess mom turned the screws on him. I still have his circa 1935 SG Conn “Naked Lady” Sax and it’s a classic. He loved music and did not mind playing albums by musicians like Stan Getz, Roland Alphonso, Tommy McCook, Chuck Mangione, and countless others. I enjoyed the sound of jazz and ska. At the time I did not realize that when all of my musical transformations would be complete, it is the early ska sound that remains my favorite to this day. Listening to this music eventually got me listening to bands like Madness, English Beat and The Specials, which crossed over to listening to bands like The Clash, The Stranglers, Generation X, and the Angelic Upstarts. I am not sure where it all came from, but it just happened that way. I had friends who introduced me to some bands, and other bands I heard on college radio. It was in 1980 when I went to see my first punk show. I managed to squeeze a ride out of my neighbor to see the Clash at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. It was a phenomenal show and I remember it like yesterday. That show was huge for me, but at the time it seemed like no big deal. It did however change everything as far as what music should be about. At the end of 1980 my father died and I started to go through a change in attitude. I was pissed off and bitter, and was lashing out. In 1981 I started listening to bands like Black Flag, The Minutemen, Circle Jerks and The Dead Kennedys, the usual suspects. I remember blasting “Holiday in Cambodia” in my basement and thinking “this is dark, just like my mood”. I craved the energy and the anger of these bands and I wanted more. So eventually I was listening to all the California bands and then the NY bands followed.
In was 1983 when I started going to shows on a regular basis. We were taking the train into the city on a regular basis to different venues like the Ritz and CBGB’s, or going to shows in New Brunswick at a place called Patrix. I remember seeing Kraut and Bedlam there. North Jersey had a place called the Showplace.
One of my favorite shows was in DC on New Year’s Eve to see Reagan Youth, Black Market Baby, Scream, and a few others at a movie theater. It was a rather strange venue. Probably 1984. It was packed and the insanity of everyone slam dancing on top of theater seats was a sight to behold. All the bands were great and it was a long weekend of walking around the city, meeting other punks and mixing it up with some college pukes. I remember someone was killed outside the show. He was walking across the street and a car ran him over. The same thing happened to a friend of mine at CBGB’s a few years later.
McGill mixing it up on the City Gardens dance floor, Photo: Ken Salerno
Who were some of your favorite punk / HC bands early on and why?
If I had to throw one out there, it would be the Stiff Little Fingers. I think they have influenced me the most, from the music to imagery. In Sinn Fein we had a song called Nobody’s Heroes and of course there is the album cover design for “In the Blink of an Eye”. Even my new band Slowburn has the flammable materials flame in the “O” of the logo. Their Inflammable Materials album was all about Northern Ireland and the troubles. I could relate. My family was tied into the troubles and the Fingers meant everything to me at the time. I remember watching a show on television called Night Flight. Night Flight was a variety show on the USA Network. An eclectic mix of short films, cartoons, B movies, stand-up comedy, documentaries, music videos and more. It was on late at night and they showed videos of bands. One night when I was watching, a video comes on by SLF. That was the first time I ever heard them and I nearly shit myself. They played Alternative Ulster and I was blown away. I never looked back.
A note of disappointment: I contacted Jake Burns a few years back about taking his Roaring Boys tune and transposing it for bagpipes. I was going to incorporate it into a competition set our pipe band does. I asked him about the chord arrangement and he was a prick about it, but I don’t think I expected anything less. Despite Jake, I managed to do it, but I would not put it in our set. Tell us about the early City Gardens days, The Family (who and what it was) and where the nickname “Ivo” came from?
City Gardens was our answer to CBGB’s as far as a place to call home. We loved CB’s, but this was more convenient, it was New Jersey, and the bands that came through were becoming the same and just as frequent. I wish I had kept track of all the bands I have seen, and most of them would have been at City Gardens. It was also a bigger venue and there was a parking lot to hang out in. I can’t remember the year they started shows there, but it was either 1984 or 1985. We forged friendships in the parking lot at our tailgate parties, and that was the beginning of The Family. There were no colors, no letters, no patches, no hand signs, and no initiations. There was a trust that was tested and proven at any given show, or anytime a friend was in need.
When I joined Vision that was the end of the Family for me. Some of the guys were pissed that I joined a straight edge band and were critical. To me, it did not matter because I was on the wrong track. I needespan style=”font-family: arial; font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;”br /d to straighten my shit out or I would end up on the wrong side of the mud, just like a few of them did. It is actually why I wrote “In the Blink of an Eye”. It’s never too late to change and it’s not difficult if you want to.
Where did Ivo come from? Funny, I had that name prior to the chaos and controversy. Everyone needed a nickname, and it always provided a great escape. The name comes from Saint Ivo of Kermartin, the patron Saint of Abandon children, among other things. I learned about Saint Ivo through my religious upbringing, and always liked the name and his cause. You have to love a guy who resisted the unjust taxation of the king. In those days, it seemed like everyone had a nickname. So I don’t know if it was just a form of rebelling against your parents, or because musicians in your favorite bands had them, or if you just didn’t like your given name. For me, I wanted to be a musician and it made sense at the time. Later I would be given the nickname “Pit-bull Attack”. It’s odd, but Lou Koller gave it to me. I wonder why? Hmmmm. Maybe Lou could answer that.
To be continued…
Old style Vision in their practice space, Photo: Ken Salerno
When Billy Rubin first contacted me and offered to contribute to DCXX, one piece I was particularly looking forward to was the back story on Haywire. From the first time I dropped the needle to Haywire’s “Private Hell” LP, I was sold. Seriously great band and way underrated. If you haven’t heard them before or haven’t listened to them in a while, do yourself a favor and get your hands on the “Private Hell” LP, damn solid record all the way through. As for Haywire’s second LP, “Abominations”, I’ve only seen one in my life and that was at least 15 years ago. If anyone has the entire album and would like to share, get in touch. Now’s the time I turn it over to Billy. Enjoy. -Tim DCXX
By the time Half Off broke up, the Southern California hardcore scene had matured. New bands seemed to be coming out of nowhere. Many of these new bands were started by people who had been in the audience at shows we had played. I wasn’t doing anything at the time and really doubted I’d ever be in a band again. I had gone from wanting to be in a band because I thought that what I said mattered to being absolutely convinced that anything I said was boring and stale. I did not have the enthusiasm that the up and comers had. As in many scenes, the talent pool is very incestuous and bands share many members. Vadim had become a talented and reliable drummer who was in demand for upstart bands in need of a drummer. My memory is flawed in regard to the timing, but over the years Vadim played drums in several bands including Hard Stance, Inside Out, 411 and also jammed with John Bruce and Rick Greeno in what turned out to be Haywire. It was through Vadim that I ended up in Haywire.
Vadim with Haywire, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin
I was curious what these guys were up to. John had always spoken highly of Rick (they worked together) and I knew that he was a talented musician. After several months I was invited to check them out at practice. They could probably tell I was jonesing to scream again and I was invited to be the singer. The way I remember it is that we were just going to practice and nothing was going to come of it. I was totally impressed with what these guys were doing. John and Vadim had risen a few levels in talent by playing with Rick. The first song I heard them play was the music to what turned out to be “So Good.” As I sat there listening to those first (Haywire) songs I felt my adrenaline building up. It was a blank canvas and I was genuinely inspired. Rick Greeno was not a resident of the hardcore scene. He had been around for many years and played with many bands but he didn’t run in our circles. Rick was more than just a great guitar player. He was the kind of musician that could reproduce anything I could hum. At band practice we’d play a game that was kind of like name that tune or maybe a better way to describe it is “play that tune.” I’d throw out the name of a band to see if Rick knew it and if he did, he’d play one of their songs. It went like this…Black Flag? OK! Iggy Pop? Sure. Led Zeppelin? Why not?! The Pixies? Absolutely! How about Black Sabbath? Yeah! You get the picture. It was the perfect band.
As I began to integrate into Haywire (which still didn’t have a name) I was absolutely determined not to get wrapped up in the hardcore scene. I made it a point not to write lyrics about trivial rivalries or microscopic issues. I had a lot of respect for what they were doing and didn’t want to taint it. The guys in the band really didn’t seem to pay too much attention to what I was singing, we were just having fun. One thing led to another and in almost no time we had a set and had booked our first show. That first show turned out to be a gig opening for the OFFSPRING at a little bar (in Whittier, I think). There were maybe 50 people there – tops.
Haywire at the Country Club, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin
I’m not quite sure how it happened so fast, but we ended up in the studio recording the “Private Hell” Lp. The first song I put a vocal track to was “So Good.” These guys had never read the lyrics I wrote and couldn’t really hear me through the crappy PA at the practice pad. When I came out of the little vocal box/room after making those crazy screams in the chorus of “So Good” they were looking at me like I was some kind of freak. I had just screamed out a song about a serial killer killing cops. Like I said before, this was the perfect band. I had not realized just how wrapped up in the straight edge/hardcore scene I was until I started doing something different.
Over the next year Haywire played countless shows with bands ranging from Verbal Assault to the Cro-Mags. One of the coolest shows we played was at Bogart’s in Long Beach. Vadim and I were under 21 and this was a 21 and older show so it was kind of a big deal. The other thing that made this show a big deal is that Nirvana was on the bill. At the time I really didn’t know much about Nirvana. They had a single out on Sub Pop and there was an incredible buzz about them. Nirvana was a rare band. I always thought that to get into a band’s live set I’d have to know their music in advance. Nirvana shattered that belief. I remember they opened their set with “Love Buzz” and the whole club exploded! Good stuff! I had no idea that just a couple years later they would become such a big deal.
Haywire show with Nirvana, flyer courtesy of: Billy Rubin That show at Bogart’s is where we recorded the “Painless Steel” single that Big Frank put out on Nemesis. It was recorded on Mike “the dude” Z’s (the owner of Zed) digital audio tape recorder. A little known fact is that we actually took that tape into the studio and Rick played a second guitar track over the recording to even it out. That is how good Rick was. Things came together for Haywire really fast. Through a connection in Germany we were invited to tour Europe with a band called NoNoYesNo. Haywire broke up on tour in Hamburg, Germany. The tour was doomed before it started and while on tour we learned a lot about ourselves. I learned that as much as I loved band practice I hated the people that came to shows. At our last show (opening for NOFX in Hamburg) I was walking to the tour van when a couple of kids with X’s on their hands found me to ask for an autograph. I have nothing against kids with X’s, but I was done.
By the time we went on the European tour we had another Lp worth of material so we made a deal with We Bite records to release the “Private Hell” Lp and a new album called “Abominations” in Europe. Abominations was never released in the US. Years earlier I had been at Pushead’s house in San Francisco and remembered a piece of art he had collaborated on with an artist named Squeal. I called Pushead and asked for the art and he agreed. The art was originally going to be used for the label on the actual vinyl of a 12″ record so there was a circular pattern on it, but we didn’t care (it’s killer art). The Abominations and Private Hell albums were both released on CD in Germany.
Billy with Haywire in Frankfurt, Germany, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin We also released a split 7″ with NoNoYesNo thru Trust fanzine (out of Germany). Our track on the split single was a really great cover of Black Sabbath’s “Symptom of the Universe”. We also released material with a band called Left Insane that was included with an issue of Suburban Voice fanzine. Later on Suburban Voice put out a 15th anniversary Cd that had Haywire material on it too. I suspect all of those releases are very rare.
In a short period of time Haywire released more and played as much or more than Half Off ever had. Since I began posting on DCXX I have reunited with all the members of Haywire and I’m glad to tell you that they are all doing well. John and Rick are still making music. Vadim sold his drums to Casey Jones and became a scholar. I moved to the desert and became an investment banker who lives vicariously through Double Cross.
Haywire at the Anti Club with Verbal Assault, flyer courtesy of: Billy Rubin
Lars with Uppercut at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno Here’s the continuation of our interview with Lars Weiss. Kick back, turn up “Forget This Time” and lay into this one. We’ll most likely finish this up with part three sometime next week. Again, thanks to Lars for his time and thanks to Ken and Dave for their photogs . -Tim DCXX
Uppercut got going for real after Side by Side broke up. I think we only played like 3 or 4 shows, did the demo, and played on WNYU before Eric from Side by Side joined the band. Uppercut really played a lot – close to 100 shows without ever touring. We never got further west than Buffalo, further north than Boston, or further south than DC but we played quite a bit. When I think back on it I think I was away almost every weekend for my last year of high school. Which then seemed totally normal, but when I think about it now it seems kinda crazy. And if I wasn’t playing shows, I was going to shows. But that was the way everybody was. Raw Deal/Killing Time was like our big brother band. Anthony got us our first show at CB’s and they took us wherever they went. That was so cool because they were guys I had grown up with. Later on, we became friends with the Slapshot guys. Everyone including us thought that was weird at first, but they turned out to be really nice guys and we ended up playing with them a bunch. At first we were a little worried because of all the stories, and we weren’t exactly straight edge, but we really got along. They were one of our favorite bands. I was also a little in awe of those guys because Choke had been in Negative FX and Jamie was in SSD. I just got an email from Mark McKay the other day. We also played out with Wrecking Crew from Boston a lot. Those guys were excellent. Boston was an excellent place for us to play and hang out. We always had great shows and always ended up at some crazy house party with the Wrecking Crew guys afterward. There is a very interesting story floating around about someone on mushrooms trying to park the Raw Deal van, but I won’t elaborate further… We played with Outburst a lot as well because we knew them through Raw Deal and they were on Blackout. We did the Uppercut 12″ for Blackout when Bill was getting the “Where the Wild Things Are” LP together. There’s some things production wise that I would have liked to have done better, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I got to know my way around the studio. I’ve been listening to the record recently and I really like the guitar stuff that Eric is doing. At the time we did it I thought it was a bit over the top, but now I think his guitar stuff makes the record really interesting. Uppercut has been the hardcore band that has continued for me, as we got back together to play some shows with Killing Time in 2005 and have been averaging a 2-3 shows a year. We pick our spots…
Uppercut at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
To me Hardcore to me is timeless, I didn’t realize it then. I think everyone goes through a stage where you feel like maybe what did you was corny. But now I think hardcore was incredibly real. I listened to the Screaming For Change LP today and I haven’t listened to Soundgarden in a very long time…you know? (Side note: I’m totally in agreement with Gordo on “Staring into the Sun.” After reading his review I gave it a second chance. I wish I could get my hands on the multitracks and remix it. There are some great songs under all that reverb and the drum sound is totally fixable with pro-tools). Hardcore was and is real music with real energy. Maybe people from my age grew up and a lot of them at one point thought it was corny, but I don’t think so. It was real.
JUDGE…that happened from doing Uppercut for a while. I had become friends with Sam from Side By Side. And then he went off to do YOT, and then Judge full time. They had recorded the LP and Sam mentioned a they were looking for a second guitar player. They played with Ryan Hoffman some, and then got me in. I knew Porcell from being around and I knew Matt Pincus because my brother Erik was friends with him. I didn’t really know Mike before the band. But I was psyched as hell to play with them.
There was the misconception regarding my straight edge status because of Uppercut’s song “Am I Clear?” But I was straight edge in Judge. I loved all the youth crew stuff. I don’t think I was ever exactly straight edge before, but with those guys, I was. It wasn’t weird, it was just like with playing with guys I knew, and I respected what they were saying. So it didn’t take much convincing, it was friends playing music. And I’m still friends with Sam – we play basketball every Tuesday.
The “Where It Went” video, I remember Eric Seefranz really hustled to do it. He shot it on 16mm film, which was really tough to do it, for nothing. The video came out so good, it was the spring before the Bringin’ It Down tour. With the money we made from that show we bought a van for the tour. That van ended up being Quicksand’s van later. For that video shoot, we played the song a bunch of times before anyone was there, and then we played it at the beginning of the set and the end of the set. Eric did all of the editing. I don’t know what happened to the other footage. Judge was more of Mike and Porcell’s band, so maybe they would know. I saw the video when it came out, but that was it.
Lars hears it from the crowd, post Judge “Where It Went” video shoot, City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Judge was a powerful unit and everyone could play. Sammy was great in Side By Side and he was amazing by the time he was in Judge. And Porcell really was playing much more complicated stuff on “Bringin’ it Down” when compared to “Break Down the Walls.” He even had some full on solos.
I remember recording The Storm seven inch. I think we had gone on tour and came back but I’m not sure. Those are Mike and Todd’s (roadie) Harleys at the beginning of the record outside on Spring Street in front of Don Fury’s.
Towards the end of the Bringin’ It Down tour it seemed like those guys were leaning towards something else, getting tired of it. I just kinda felt that we weren’t gonna keep doing it, and they were older than me. I was 19 and they were like 23, so they were in a different place. If it was up to me I would have kept doing it. But those guys were a little older. Mike was a cool, nice guy. But he was also intense and you knew if you got on his bad side he would be scary. I didn’t really know him before the band, but I definitely got to know him in the band. But he was definitely an awesome guy. We both really like Neil Young and listened to a ton of him on tour.
That tour was excellent. Sammy booked it, which was pretty funny having a kid from Manhattan who had never driven a car book a tour that required calculating driving times. But he did (for the most part) an amazing job. We had a solid run from New York all the way out to Minneapolis. All the shows were awesome. We played in the club where they did Purple Rain, we played in Omaha, then we went out to California. We hung out out there a lot with the Sloth Crew guys. That was my second trip out there with Judge.
Lars with Judge at Spanky’s in Riverside CA, Photo: Dave Sine
The first time was when we did the West Coast Weekend right after “Bringing it Down” came out. That was such a combination of awesome shows – a two car garage on a cul-de-sac in Chula Vista with kids stage-diving off of the washer/dryer and the pit set up in the driveway. The next night was a huge show at the Country Club. Then we played Gillman Street. Such an awesome mix. On the summer tour we played Spanky’s in Riverside. Also, when I was out there on the summer tour we got to see Killing Time and Sick of It All at the Country Club which was the only time Killing Time played LA. It’s the show that they did the live seven inch for. (Weird little side note: Killing Time and SOIA were put up at this random motel in Inglewood called the Cockatoo Inn. If you ever watch “Jackie Brown,” the Quentin Tarrantino movie, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) hangs out there too).
But the tour, we had some insane drives through the south – 36 hours straight I think from LA (missed our Texas shows due to van issues) to Louisville, KY. After that show, we ended up staying at some kid’s house, might have been the promoter. Anyway, this can be hit or miss type of thing. Sometimes, you have to be quiet because Mom and Dad are asleep, and other times there are other issues. Anyway, I’ve slept on many a floor playing in hardcore bands but this was one of the most memorable. So we get to the guy’s house and I think Sam and I ended up in the same room together. Anyway, it was dark when we went in there so we just passed out on the floor. I wake up the next morning and the room we were in was like the snake/porn room. There were like 10 fish tanks floor to ceiling with snakes in them and then one of the largest collections of porn magazines in Southeastern United States. Dude had porn like I have records (and I have 5000-6000 LPs in my house). I just remember getting up, being like, “this is strange…” and waiting around in a “Steak N’ Shake” parking lot until we left. That was the other thing, being vegetarian (I still ate a little chicken on this tour but everyone else was a vegetarian), it was always hard find a spot to eat. This was in 1990, before you could find tofu and soy milk in every supermarket. So Porcell had this “Guide to Eating Vegetarian in the USA” book that was like a health food Zagat’s that was supposed to get us to California and back. One of the best spots that we ended up at because of this book was an all vegetarian Soul Food restarant run by the Nation of Islam in a not-so-nice part of Detroit. Totally excellent BBQ Seitan ribs. Tampa I think was the last show. We saw some really bad fights, I mean, really bad. I’ve been in New York my whole life, and I saw the illest fight ever outside some bar in Ybor City in Tampa and that wasn’t even related to our show! At our Tampa show there was only a mini race riot…lots of skinheads and all around bad vibes. Oh, one more thing, that photo of Mike in “The Storm” seven inch with the lightning and the tanks was from a truck stop in the middle of Iowa on that last tour. Great memories.
Lars breaking down the machine with Uppercut at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Chuck Treece in the studio Chuck Treece gives us some history and info from the streets of Philly to NYC and back again. Let’s hope for more from him soon… -Gordo DCXX How old were you when you got into punk hardcore, and who were the early bands you loved?
When I turned on the focus to punk I was at age 15/16. Mark Manuti was responsible for turning me on to the Sex Pistols. A good friend of mine way backm, Tod Werny, showed me how to play a bar chord. God Save The Queen was the song and the progression he showed me, so in a sense punk was handed to me though people who really loved the movement of aggressive music and thought. Rock, loud guitars and energy have always been in music. But punk relates to the age of decision making. You know, like ‘what will you do with your time while your thinking about music and a lifestyle’? Tell us about the early through late 80’s Philadelphia hardcore / punk scene. Stand out bands, venues, record stores, fanzines, etc.
Early Philly bands: AUSTIC BEHAVIOR, MCRAD, BUNNY DRUMS, MR. META, RUIN, TRAINED ATTACKED DOGS, SHEMALES, Y DI, LITTLE GENTLEMEN, THE STICKMEN, SEEDS OF TERROR, DEAD MILKMEN and the list goes on and on. Philly has always and will always embraced music, so whatever the flow of ideals that are going through young peoples minds in music will be there. Philly is always on the creative side of any scene, check it out. Through every music change Philly has always shown its true colors. Was there ever a feeling of competition between the early Philadelphia scene and the NYC scene? Considering both are two prominent cities within a couple hours of each other, I always had the feeling that there was this underlying competition.
As far as McRad, we went to NYC and showed what we were about when I was 19 in 1983. A bunch of NYC bands were there and we never claimed where we were from and all. We had a blast playing music, however, competition in the face of being creative suffers through being creative. I feel music regardless of what city I’m in. If one city has a great vibe, other cities will feed off that and make their own creative decions. Competition is like religion. It gives you an exact feeling…judging for intent to judge. What are your fondest McRad memories? Did you ever think you’d still be playing in 2008?
My fondest memory of McRad is being able to be myself through my dreams in music and skateboarding. I have a family through music and skating. I have my hometown through the same. It’s my life in small words.
Chuck with Underdog at City Gardens, 1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
How exactly did things fall in place for you to join up with Underdog? What stands out from your time in the band? What songs do you remember writing? Any stand out shows you recall playing?
UNDERDOG is and was my favorite time coming into a new band with a great following. Working with Richie, Russ and Dean was always a blast. I was going through so much at that time. I wanted my career to be in music and was finding out the ways to survive and keep myself happy. My family has always been supportive. Songs I wrote or have an influence on were the reggae songs. I played the guitar solos on The Vanishing Point, Richie played all the other guitar tracks. We went in and recorded the basic tracks in two days. Great time, great shows, I moved on because of my life in Philly. Mostly we leave situations because of the lifestyles we choose.
My time with Underdog will always be amazing. The same for my time with BAD BRAINS and any other band I worked with.
MCRAD is the cause of me being involved with music. It’s my place where I work out all concepts of thought in music and skating.
THANX FER YER TIME-
NEVER ENDING DOMINANT FORCE/MCRAD/TREECE/FDR/ALTER ST/POCKET PISTOLS/CIRCA 1/VANS
Mike with the Montville hat delivering the fury, Judge at Fenders 8/4/89, Photo: Dave Sine Installment number two of Dave Sine’s photographic documentation of the final Youth Of Today show. More great photos from one of the most impressive bills of that era. -Tim DCXX
Wally with GB and the wacky neck tattoo at Fenders, 8/4/89, Photo: Dave Sine
TC3 with BOLD at Fenders, 8/4/89, Photo: Dave Sine
Jeff Up Front searching for truth through the spirit of youth, Fenders, 8/4/89, Photo: Dave Sine
Ray Cappo from the farm to the stage for the finale, Youth Of Today, Fenders, 8/4/89, Photo: Dave Sine
Getting an email from people that were in the bands that we cover here is always cool, so when I got a message from Lars Weiss praising the site, I was definitely stoked. Considering Lars played in some of the greats… Uppercut, Side By Side, Alone In A Crowd and Judge, we decided to hit him up for an interview.
This is part one of a multiple entry interview that Gordo and I did over the phone last Thursday with Lars. Big thanks to Lars for giving us a couple hours of his Thursday night. Part two should be up later this week. Down For The Count… – Tim DCXX
I grew up in Yonkers, north of the Bronx. When I was a really little kid just getting into music I was really into The Who. I also remember hearing early punk/ new wave on WPIX, an old radio station in New York that played stuff like Elvis Costello, The Ramones, Blondie, etc. – a lot of the early new wave stuff. I totally remember hearing “God Save The Queen” probably on WLIR and just loving it, knowing this was awesome. I also really liked The Clash. I remember being too young to go to see The Clash open for The Who at Shea Stadium on their 1982 “farewell” tour. My mom wasn’t down with letting an 11 year old go to that. I also remember listening to WLIR, which was an awesome new wave station. They played The Cure, Depeche Mode, a lot of stuff. I really liked early REM, the drummer from my first band had an older brother in a band from Yonkers called Woofing Cookies that did a 7″ that was produced by Peter Buck. So I got into REM from hearing about them from Al (my drummer’s) older brother. This must have been like 1984ish… I also really liked Husker Du and The Replacements a lot. “New Day Rising” is still one of my favorite records.
What also helped back then there was a great indie record store about 10 blocks from my mom’s house called Mad Platters. There was a guy named Tony Pradlik who worked there who was into a lot of hardcore and punk. He turned me on to a lot of stuff. That was such a good store, I mean, before my time I had heard that they had Black Flag do an in-store. That’s where I bought a copy of the Bad Brains RIOR cassette and “Victim in Pain.” So from hanging out at that store I got into a lot of stuff and eventually started working there when I was 16.
Lars with Judge, Photo: Ken Salerno
You guys asked me if I was this metal guy who got into hardcore (Editor’s Note: That was always both of our impressions – DCXX). But, I wasn’t really from metal. I mean, I could dig it and there was some stuff I was into. Like, my Mom had a great record collection she had everything from Marvin Gaye to Black Sabbath “Paranoid.” So I heard that record when I was young, and I loved it and still do. But mostly, I got into metal more through hardcore – not the other way around.
Yes, Yonkers had/has a big metal contingent. I played little league with Will Rahmer from Mortician. And even going back to Mad Platters, they had a great Metal section, like 8 rows of records, compared to 3 rows for HC and punk. They had Motorhead and lot of “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” stuff…plus all the early Venom, Celtic Frost, etc. And I ended up working there. Jim Gibson who started Noiseville Records (he did “Where the Wild Things” with Bill and the NY Inside Out 7″) also worked there. He got me into Motorhead. He and his brothers were huge Motorhead fans. He also turned me on to Metallica, Celtic Frost and Slayer. But I got into that stuff because I thought it was like hardcore.
But most of my exposure to hardcore early on was from the kids in my neighborhood. Carl from Breakdown/Raw Deal and Bill Wilson who started Blackout lived a few blocks from my mom’s house. I still have this tape that Bill made for me of all his Misfits seven inches. But it was through those guys that I got I really got into Hardcore. AF was my first show…Summer of 1986, it was AF, WarZone, and Underdog at CB’s. That was, I believe, Underdog’s first show after changing their name from True Blue. After that I started going to CB’s almost every weekend with Carl, Bill, and Don who was the original guitar player for Breakdown. I was 15. It’s been all downhill since then.
Before I was in a HC band I was in a punk/Replacements/Husker Du type of band. It was with this dude Al Nafz, who I mentioned before, and he was friends with Carl. Carl played with us for a bit, Al left, and then that morphed into first Uppercut line-up. That line-up was me, Carl, Pat, Rob, and Sammy Crespo who would later become a big hip-hop radio promo guy for Def Jam and now Atlantic Records. I always thought it was funny hearing the ex-singer from Uppercut being shouted out on Hot 97 by Funkmaster Flex. Carl knew all those guys from going to Fordham University. So that original non-hardcore type band kinda lead to Uppercut. Later on Sammy would leave and we got Steve Murphy, who was also went to Fordham.
Lars with Uppercut I was already doing Uppercut before being in Side By Side. I met Jules at a show and he mentioned that Billy was leaving the band and asked me to try out that’s how I started playing with them. Before I was in Side By Side, it had been Jules, Sammy, Billy (Bitter), Eric (Fink), and Gavin. Then Gavin left and Alex came in to replace him. Then Billy left and I came in. They had already recorded the Revelation 7″. I only played one show with them at The Anthrax on bass. I played with a broken hand, because I had broken it at an AF show. In the photos you can see I’m wearing a cast. I played bass with like one finger. After Side By Side broke up, Eric (Fink) came and joined Uppercut.
But when Side By Side broke up, Jules said he wanted to do another band. We got together with Rob from Uppercut and Carl from Raw Deal, and Jules’s friend Howie. That was Alone In A Crowd. We wanted to be a real band. But we just ended up doing the one show at The Anthrax and recording the single at Don Fury’s. We wrote the songs and recorded immediately, we didn’t waste much time, the momentum was there. But strangely, we just didn’t do anything after that. It wasn’t intentional to do only one show. The intention was to be a band. Those guys had other bands, but Jules wanted to do a band, it wasn’t meant to be a one-shot deal.
We even had a color – remember how everything Chain Of Strength did was like green, Jules wanted everything to be maroon. I remember we had a cassette of rough mixes from Don Fury’s before we played that one show. So before the 7″ came out, the tape had gotten passed around and when we played out people were really into it, knew the words and were singing along. Jules wrote all the lyrics, I wrote most of the riffs. Overall, I think Jules, Carl, and I wrote everything. Carl wrote the bass intro to When Tigers Fight (Editor’s Note: AKA The hardest bass intro ever written).
We practiced a bunch in my Mom’s basement. And then we were ready. After that one show I don’t think we even practiced again, it was weird. I don’t know what happened! I thought it was great. After that show, it wasn’t like “we aren’t gonna do this again,” at most maybe we needed someone to play bass for Carl since he was busy with Raw Deal.
I think Jules was at a transitional point. Maybe he felt like he did everything he wanted to. By the fall of 1988 he was onto something else. But I thought it would continue. I wish it had.
Jules was a really cool, smart, intense guy. We were like 18 but he seemed a little older and really smart. I mean off stage, he was more serious and intense than the kids I grew up with, he could be goofy, but he was definitely on a mission. Just an intense personality. He has more of a perspective on stuff today than you might think. He was really psyched on the re-release of AIAC. He really seems psyched that people still are into this stuff. He called me out of the blue about 6 months back. Now he is an attorney practicing maritime law in Florida.
Lars with Uppercut at CBGB, NYC
After AIAC, Side By Side did play one more time at a benefit show for Roger Miret at CB’s with Raw Deal and Straight Ahead. I was in college at the time, and the line up was me and Eric on guitar and Billy on bass, with Sammy on drums and obviously Jules singing. Alex didn’t play for some reason. Strangely, that was after the one and only Alone In A Crowd show.
As far as the AIAC re-release, I’ve been running my own label, Home Style Cooking, since 2000, so I decided I wanted to do it and do it right. Other people wanted to reissue it, but I thought I should do it. My friend Brian Simmons originally put it out on Flux. He also did Constant Change Records and promoted shows in Providence and in Newport. So when AIAC wanted to put out the 7″ we wanted to do it as our own thing, not on Schism or Rev, but do it with someone outside of the New York scene. I think that lead to the record kinda getting lost in the shuffle over time (and being much rarer!). But I’m really happy with how the re-release came out. I think it is a great record and it means a lot to me to know people still dig it. More to come…