ARCHIVES – more older posts (10)
May 14th, 2012 by Larry

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tim Pryce – Powerhouse part II

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The is the continuation of our interview with Tim Pryce, the guitarist for Miami, Florida’s late 80’s hardcore band, Powerhouse. Read on and more importantly, if you haven’t heard Powerhouse, search the demo or New Age 7″ down now! -Tim DCXX

Any memories from recording the Powerhouse demo? How do you remember it being perceived locally and nationally at the time?

The demo was made with a really cool drummer named Mario. He was into a little more metal than we were, but he was a great drummer. I think I played both the bass and the guitars on the demo. Back then we just wanted to have something to share with everyone we were writing to. Before the internet, everyone would just order demos straight from the bands – and we wanted to be a part of that, to show that we had a really cool, growing HC scene in Miami. Personally, I made so many great friends from then – a lot of them (like you, Timmie!) I still talk to a lot. Sometimes I just can’t believe it’s been over 20 years…



Any favorite or stand out shows you remember playing during that demo era of Powerhouse? Did you feel a solid momentum behind the band at this point?

Oh yeah! We had a blast playing shows and meeting touring bands! We played The Cameo Theater, and pretty much every other venue we could at the time. We got to play with Up Front, Release, SNFU, The Accused, even Quicksand! We wanted to tour really badly. In fact, Mike Hartsfield had a US tour booked for us with his band Against The Wall – but a lot of the members were too young to pull it off. We were pretty poor and didn’t even have a crappy van to go in…

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Tim Pryce (Powerhouse) and Tony Downs (The Believers) hanging with Insted and crew in 1988, Photo courtesy of: Tim Pryce



As Powerhouse was coming up, I recall hearing about other Florida bands like The Believers and Awake! What can you tell us about those bands and what other bands of that era stood out?

The Believers were a really great band from West Palm Beach. They were much more musical than we were – I mean, they could PLAY! I still talk to Dain and keep up with Tony. Those were great guys. Awake were from Tampa (I believe). We played with them a bit, but we talked a lot – they were also really good! There also was Beyond Reason (featuring the great Jason Lederman) and a few others that were really good as well. 



One thing I do recall hearing a lot about in regards to the late 80’s early 90’s Florida HC scene was the influx of nazi skinheads. Was this a serious problem at the time or was it just over magnified? What can you tell us about it?

The skinhead scene in South Florida (Miami & Ft. Lauderdale) was completely non-racist. There may have been a few of those kids in WPB, but it was a problem in other cities in Florida. Those guys would come down to our shows sometimes just to have all-out war with us. Not too fun…but we held it down. That was a big part of what we stood for with Powerhouse. It meant a lot to us (still does, of course). What sucked about that whole “rivalry” was that touring bands came through, not knowing where the audiences happened to be from, and just thought our scene was crazy violent. It was bad, but the people who lived in our scene were stand-up cool people. It was hard at times trying to convince people from out of town of that…

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Monday, October 4, 2010

John Joseph – Cro-Mags

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JJ with the Cro-Mags at Teatro Novedades, Photo: Jorge Luis

Here’s some highlights from an interview with JJ done by Fredrik from “Nettverk for dyrs frihet” when the Cro-Mags were recently in Europe. Check the full interview here:

http://www.dyrsfrihet.no/zine

-Gordo DCXX

You know, we are looking to release something next year. We always just roll with the punches. We want to release something with this line-up. My philosophy is: “I don’t talk about shit; I just do it.” When it’s getting ready to come out you will hear about it.

H.R. actually personally had a hand taking me to all the vegetarian places. He personally showed me around in New York, took me to Angelica Kitchen, Vegetarian Paradise. That really helped my life in a big way. The family that surrounded the Bad Brains in the early eighties was very special. We felt like a real family, almost sadhu-like.

H.R….was very much like a sadhu, like a sage, a very wise person, very knowledgeable, very humble. Seeing somebody act like that was inspiring to me. There was no ego. There was no: “You should do this because I tell you to do it”. H.R. was on a different trip: “You should do this because Jah wants you to do it”. That was the difference, he was a very humble man, very knowledgeable and so was the whole crew.

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Cro-Mags at the BNB Bowl, 2010, Photo: Stress

Nobody likes people that have egos and act like rock stars. The Bad Brains were the exact opposite and they were the baddest motherfuckers ever and they were the humblest, so that should tell you something.

Me, this is my thing: I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs. [A random dude sitting next to us during the interview puts his beer down]. Hah, he put his beer down! I don’t paint X’s on my hands and I don’t preach to people…and that was my problem with all the vegan straight edge. A lot of them in the States were a bunch of assholes that thought they were better than everybody else. They talked down to people; they were up here, and you are down there. That’s all bullshit. Those dudes are all eating fucking McDonald’s and shooting heroin now! You can’t be a fucking dick like that.

You got to help people out of compassion. That’s why I wrote the book. I’ve gotten five hundred e-mails at least, saying: “Dude, the book makes so much sense. I’ve gotten off all the processed food. I gave up meat. I’m starting to work out again.” That to me means everything. Money means shit. But if I can help someone…and every person you make vegetarian/vegan saves a thousand animals. That is the greatest work ever!

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A Cro-Magnum sing along at BNB Bowl 2010, Photo: Future Breed

Whatever it takes to wake the male population up. No one has ever written a book like this that got in the face of the men from whom I was told that vegans and vegetarians look like skinny little pussies. That’s why I threw it back in their face.

Even before Best Wishes I was working on those songs with Harley and I left just before it was recorded. That’s why we still play Crush The Demoniac, because I wrote it. So like I said last night: “The Cro-Mags and what it stands for is bigger than any individual, it’s about the message of the fucking band”. And back in the day, everybody that came together made that band. If you would have taken out Mackie, Parris, Harley or me, there would have been no Cro-Mags. I mean Doug didn’t write anything, and he came in right before the record. He gets no credit. He didn’t write any of the songs. He just played guitar on the record. This guy [points at Mackie], me, Harley and Parris were responsible for the Age of Quarrel, the demo and even part of Best Wishes. So if you are going to remove anyone of those from the equation there would be no Cro-Mags.

That’s where we differ. Those dudes [referring to Harley and Parris] tries to act like they were the Cro-Mags and nobody else mattered. I don’t say that. I say everybody was an integral part of that band at that time. But the reason we are out doing it is because we kept the PMA. We kept the Positive Mental Attitude. If those dudes want to talk shit and do all this other stuff and whatever and write shit on the internet, be my fucking guest. But doing shows like this is what it’s all about. We tried to get it together with Harley, and it just created more problems then what it was worth. So fuck it.

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Cro-Mags at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Carl Gunhouse

Cro-Mags fans, it’s all about being a seeker of the truth. You got to get to the bottom and the truth of everything. That’s why we’re still out doing what we do and I chant everyday. Still to this day, people ask me “Are you still into Krishna?” What do you think? It’s like some fad, “I was into rave music and parachute pants and platforms and now I’m not”? It’s a life-long process, where we all have to purify ourselves. So read Prabhupada’s books every day and chant. You don’t need these bogus gurus; that’s what I got to say. It’s a cult. They turned it into a cult. You are not allowed to question what they do. They are untouchable. Bullshit. I want to know everything they do. And anyone who wants to know, you can know!

The members of The Beatles were great sadhus in their last life. The Beatles, the biggest fucking band ever…hey were so affected by Prabhupada, because at first they served another “guru” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but then they found out he was banging all the female disciples. Then they looked at Prabhupada and he slept on the floor, he cooked for everybody, he served everybody. Humility. They knew that Prabhupada was a real sadhu, a really special person and acknowledged that whatever his mission is we need to help.

Did you see the tribute concert they did for George Harrison? Tom Petty got up and he said in front of every major music star and celebrity in the world in this theatre and he goes: “Right now I want you to do something that would make George very happy. Are you ready?” And the audience say “Yeah”. Tom Petty continues: “Everybody say: Hare Krishna” and the whole audience said “Hare Krishna”. George was an amazing, amazing person.

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It’s not about materialism. You can have all the money in the world and guess what? You can’t stop death from coming. When it’s your time no amount of money is gonna stop death.

That’s why at forty-eight years old… Motherfuckers say: “How long are you going to keep doing this?” What do you mean? When I don’t feel it in my heart anymore. But I hope to be playing until it’s time to leave the world because I believe what I’m saying on stage. The lyrics are based on Prabhupadas teachings and what I’ve been through in my life. So how can I ever turn away from that and be like: “I don’t believe in this anymore”? Then kill me. That’s what I say, because then my life is over.

The Bad Brains and all these bands that I was listening to were trying to make me aware and conscious. That’s what needs to come back into the music. Not: “I can dance like this and have tattoos and do this and do that”. Because those are the people who are not going to stay with it. So when you ask: “How long are you going to keep doing this?” Why should I stop? I didn’t get into it to make money. If that was the case I would have left a long time ago. It’s not about money. It’s about: “I feel it in my heart”. You can’t fake what we do. That’s real shit; I’m not bragging. If I go on stage and I don’t feel it in my heart, then it’s over.

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JJ brings it with the Cro-Mags at Super Rock, Photo: Sebastian Delacruz

Hopefully we will get this new album going. One thing is for sure, we would rather not do it than to do something half-assed. So we don’t talk; we will just do it and put it out. Then we will be back man.

You should ask Craig “Ahead” a few questions now. The man is a fucking legend, but humble like I said.

Craig “Ahead”: Playing with Sick Of It All is the first priority; it’s my band. But I love the Cro-Mags, they are my friends. They ask me to play, which is an honor, so I do play. So whenever I have the time and when Sick Of It All is not touring I play with the Cro-Mags, whenever possible. Because I enjoy it very much: great music with a great and important message. The traveling with Cro-Mags is very fun but also includes good conversations. We talk about many things that make me feel very much like a grown man. It’s man talk of good topics between men. It’s not nonsense talk about bullshit.

John Joseph: May I ask a question? How long have you been a vegetarian Craig?

Craig “Ahead”: Between two and three years. I’ve not had a drink in eight.

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Craig, JJ and Mackie with the Cro-Mags, Photo: Susanhek.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Youth Of Today European Tour 2010 videos


You probably thought you were going to get through a weeks worth of DCXX and not get any Youth of Today Euro tour 2010 talk… sorry, you were wrong. Gordo dug these two videos up and sent them over to me.

The first video is from Prague and consists of the Sammy on drums, Ken on bass line up. Personally I think they sound great in Prague, it’s obvious the night in and night out playing has tightened them back up into a well oiled hardcore machine. The second video is from Italy and has the switched up lineup with Ken Olden taking over drum duties and Graham Land on bass. Apparently Sammy had something come up and had to fly back to NYC early, so an improvised lineup was put in place to finish the tour. If only we could get these guys to play one more show in the states. -Tim DCXX

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Flyers and memories from Dave Brown

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(Fall Brawl 1989 flyer)

Of the many versions of this flyer – I don’t think any of them ended up being 100% accurate. Rest In Pieces & Underdog did not play – but everyone else did. One of the other variations had Judge listed, who also didn’t play. Token Entry headlining was cut a bit short due to some police problems outside – if I remember correctly. This was the 1st hardcore fest I ever went to & still one of my favorites after all these years.

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(Killing Time/Vision flyer)

Another great WUST Radio Hall event… with a newly renamed Killing Time headlining the stacked bill, I was finally really getting comfortable taking pictures at shows because of this big show. Ken Salerno was on the other side of the stage that night taking pictures too.

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(Killing Time at Safari flyer)

This show was actually recorded in it’s entirety to be released as a LP featuring all 4 bands… until In-Effect stepped in & squashed Killing Time’s involvement, and from what I heard after that the release was scrapped. I had so much fun during Killing Time that I didn’t bother taking any pictures of them (and still regret it).

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(Killing Time/Sheer Terror flyer)

This show is special for a few reasons… the main one being that my wife was at this show too – though we didn’t actually meet until many years later. It was also my 1st time seeing Sheer Terror live & they blew away every expectation I had. I have a soundboard tape of this show that will eventually see the light on youthcrimes.blogspot.com too.

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(Mouthpiece flyer)

I think this was my 1st time seeing Mouthpiece, with the main memory I have is of their bass player jumping & accidentally cracking me in the forehead with the headstock. I was a sweaty bloody mess. I have held onto this flyer because it has a young Ken Olden on it in his Domino’s Pizza uniform at work… and is still hilarious!

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(Shelter flyer)

Me & my friends were outside smoking some crazy weed during Desiderata, and also missed most of Worlds Collide too. I was asked to help keep kids off the stage during Shelter, and accepted, even though I was high as a kite. As Shelter started, things got really blurry in my brain… and I remember looking up at Ray as he stood next to me singing… and in my stoned state I thought to myself “Ray totally knows I’m high & is SO disappointed in me right now”. Ray neither noticed, nor cared either way… though I am guessing he thought I was the laziest bouncer with my half-assed effort keeping kids off of the stage that night. It’s funny to tell this story now, since it is the only thing I remember about the show. This show memory is a reminder why I love being SE now too.

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(Supertouch flyer)

This was probably the worst place I have seen a hardcore show, since it was a tiny bar that was smaller than an average living room. They had plywood stacked on the actual bar area so the bands could stand on it, leaving the audience a tiny area to watch them play. Release opened the show with Supertouch headlining. I have no idea if any other shows happened here, since I never went there again.

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(Uppercut/Outburst show flyer)

I can’t remember if Strength In Numbers played or not… Outburst & Gut Instinct were solid as usual. Uppercut covering AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was an added bonus. I don’t recall this being a packed Safari Show… but it was still a fun one!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Powerhouse

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I first started talking to Tim Pryce of Powerhouse back in 1989. The Powerhouse demo had just been released and I was doing Common Sense fanzine. Tim had sent me a demo to review and right off the bat it became a favorite of mine. Over that year, I must have listened to that demo hundreds of times, then when the 7″ was released on New Age, that went into regular rotation. I also had a great live tape that I’m pretty sure came from Tim as well. For whatever reason, listening to Powerhouse on my Walkman while I delivered news papers on my paper route, became part of my routine. I loved that band and it was always cool catching up with Tim, but like so many great bands from that era, they broke up and completely dropped off the map.

Many years later, sometime around 1999 or 2000, I found myself in contact with Tim again. We picked up where we left off and have tried to keep in touch ever since. A few weeks ago, Powerhouse vocalist, Ivan White contacted me and sent me a DVD of a live Powerhouse set, which got me thinking that it was time to bring these guys on board for some DCXX content.

So here we go, part one of what should be a multiple part entry with Florida’s Powerhouse. Thanks to Tim for answering our questions. -Tim DCXX

First off, how and when did hardcore/punk find its way onto your map?


It was mostly through skateboarding when I was about 13-14 in 1985. I was about a year or so younger than a lot of my friends, and they were going to shows a lot on Miami Beach at this huge old movie theater called The Cameo Theater. The place was pretty big and every band used to play there. The punk scene was rather big back then – there were 1000+ people at every show there, and there were shows twice or more every single week.



Who were your favorite bands when you first discovered it?

Of course, the obvious – Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, Black Flag, AF, Cro-Mags, The Misfits, The Meatmen, Descendants, Government Issue….

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Ivan fronting Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse



Early show memories? What bands do you recall and who left a lasting impression?

Wow… there are lots… when we saw 7 Seconds (Ivan & I) just as New Wind was coming out – it was incredible. We wanted to meet Kev so badly. We got lucky & got to walk South Beach with him and talk for like an hour before they played. It changed our lives… Bad Brains on the I Against I tour was something else… It was the very first (and only if I recall) show that they actually ran a TV commercial for! Seeing bands like AF touring with GBH was crazy… There were so many awesome shows… Seeing Fugazi for the 1st time was really magical for me…



The Florida hardcore scene isn’t exactly the most well-documented, what can you tell us about the scene in those early days? Who were the popular bands? What were the happening venues? What were the positives and negatives?

Well, it’s true that there isn’t a lot of documentation of the scene down there, but it was really big. It wasn’t “splintered” up the way it became in the mid-90s on. There were punks, skins, skater/surfer kids, guys, girls – everyone from South Miami all the way north to West Palm Beach went to every show. It was pretty violent back then too – most of the Florida scenes in the other main cities had white power skinhead gangs & stuff like that. It was never that way in Miami.

There were a lot of HUGE battles in those days. You had to kind of “earn your stripes” back then… First, there was a place called Flynn’s on Miami Beach – then The Cameo was the big place for quite a few years. After we started playing a lot of shows (and setting them up), we had a bunch of smaller venues – The Junkyard, The Thrash Can, Washington Square and a bunch of others… The positives were that we had crazy times and formed truly deep friendships… The negatives, of course, were that it was dangerous at times and people got hurt, and sometimes searching for venues to have national acts come to play was rough.



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Tim, Ivan and the rest of Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse

What are some your memories from the late 80’s straight edge bands coming through Florida? Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, etc. What bands stood out and how did some of these bands leave an impression on you?

It’s funny, my earliest memories were of 7 Seconds and Government Issue. Actually, one of the first of the “spirit of ’88” bands to come down was Insted. That was really great – those guys are awesome. When we first saw YOT, Break Down The Walls was still on Wishingwell Records – but they were one of the most energetic bands ever. I think Ritchie was playing guitar for them then, and Mike was playing drums. They all had shaved heads, & of course, tore the place apart. We were blown away be them. In ’89, at the Cameo, YOT, Bold, Reason To Believe, GB, Insted & Uniform Choice played all together in one night. That was incredible! At the time, I had been writing to some of those guys – and it was really great to see all of them at once.



Give us your band history? How and when did Powerhouse come together and what sort of goals did you guys lay out in the beginning?

Ivan and I started playing in ’86/’87. We went through a few name changes, like most bands – but we just wanted to bring as much energy as we could to our shows. There were only a very few other bands playing HC there at the time – but we all stuck together and made a great time of it. We played as a 4 piece and a 5 at times – but Ivan and I were the constants. We always had fun and everyone who played in the band with us had a ball.

More Powerhouse to come…

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Andrew Powell on Drums with Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse

Monday, September 27, 2010

Favorite Armand / Craig combo band poll wrap up

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Sick Of It All at The Anthrax, Photo: Cara Longo

I gotta admit, I’m pretty damn surprised with the results of this latest poll. From the looks of it early on, it appeared that Straight Ahead was going to take home the trophy. I mean hell… everyone loves Straight Ahead, they are a serious fan favorite and well deserved, but somehow or another, it didn’t happen. I guess as great as that Straight Ahead album is, Sick Of It All are still the NYC heavyweights, as they should be.

As often as I’ve blasted that Straight Ahead album, I’ve probably blasted Sick Of It All 150 times more, and that’s no knock on Straight Ahead in the least. With Sick Of It All though, you’ve got a killer demo, a destructive 7″ and a demolishing LP in “Blood, Sweat and No Tears”. I practically grew up on those first three Sick Of It All releases. Got the demo in 7th grade from my math teacher (Mr. Koller, a cousin of Pete and Lou), ordered the 7″ directly from Revelation when it was released, did my first City Gardens stage dive during Sick Of It All’s set with Exodus, worshiped the “Injustice System” video when it popped up on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, danced, jumped on heads and sang along to Sick Of It All so many times between 1989 and now. For those reasons alone, I had no choice but to vote for Sick Of It All. Too many memories and too many personal attachments to vote otherwise.

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Classic Tommy Carroll with Straight Ahead

As for Rest In Pieces, I’ve honestly never been much of a fan. I can put on “My Rage” once in awhile and get a good laugh off some of those lyrics (insert the lyrics to “Balls N All” here), maybe feel the urge to hit the dance floor, but generally speaking, Rest In Pieces just doesn’t carry the same weight as Straight Ahead or Sick Of It All.

So in the end, Sick Of It All came out where they should have and all is right with the world because of it. Now go do some serious G.I. Joe head stomping. -Tim DCXX

Sick Of It All256
Straight Ahead - 215
Rest In Pieces - 36

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Armand Majidi with Rest In Pieces at CBGB, Photo: Ken Salerno

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tidbits from the past

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Project X table sign from The Superbowl of Hardcore at the Ritz.

It was on “our table,” I guess that night some or all of the bands had a table, like a reserve type thing. God knows we didn’t get paid, or a soundcheck or anything. I remember Chris Williamson basically saying we had to play immediately or we couldn’t play, hence the drums were totally fucked up, we had no time to set up. Click click click, we started…Alex tried to jump off the drum riser, skidded across and fell on his ass, it was a train wreck but fun. - Sammy Siegler

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Project X at The Ritz, Photo: BJ Papas

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Original Chain Of Strength hand written lyrics

These were used in early rehearsals and studio sessions. Curt left them in my bass case and I’ve had them in a folder in a box in the closet next to all other random lyrics for Statue, Inside Out, etc. - Alex Barreto

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Chain Of Strength, True Till Death 7″ photo shoot, Photo courtesy of: Rev Vault

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Youth Of Today – Europe 2010

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Ray with YOT in Europe, 2010, Photo: S.R.C Photography

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Porcell with YOT in Europe, 2010, Photo: S.R.C Photography

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Ray with YOT in Europe, 2010, Photo: S.R.C Photography

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Ray with YOT in Europe, 2010, Photo: S.R.C Photography

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Ray with YOT in Europe, 2010, Photo: S.R.C Photography

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cro-Mags “Age Of Quarrel” studio details

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Over the years I have seen some photos of the Cro-Mags in the studio recording the Age Of Quarrel LP. Whenever I look at these photos, I say to myself, “I NEED to get full detailed documentation on exactly how that record was recorded.” Not only is it one of my all time absolute favorites, but the production is far and away one of the greatest ever.


Out of the blue, our boy Carlos Izurieta went out of his way and sent us this AWESOME write up from Steve Remote, who was the engineer of the Age Of Quarrel recording. Turns out Steve posted a full detailed recap on a message board a few years back. Somehow I had never seen this circulate – if it did, I missed it. Man does it deliver.

Thanks again Carlos. All hail Cro-Mags, all hail Steve Remote! -Gordo DCXX

I recall some of the “Age of Quarrel” project. I recorded, engineered and mixed (Parris considers me the Ghost Producer) the Cro-Mags’ first at Lou Holtzman’s Eastside Sound. For years, kids (Cro-Mags fans) would call Lou’s studio asking him technical questions about the sessions. They thought the recording was done on the Neve console Lou years after that session… Believe it or not I recorded “Age of Quarrel” on a Soundcraft console!

When we first got to the studio, the drum kit was in an isolation booth. I immediately wanted to take the drums out of the iso booth and place them in the middle of the studio. Then, I had the remaining musicians (Harley, Doug & Parris) surround Mackie on drums in the main studio area. We ran their cords into the iso booths where we placed their bass and guitar amps. We used the air lock area between the control room for John’s scratch vocals. Originally, Lou tried to convince me to keep the drums in the booth and such but; we ended up doing it my way…

That “Age of Quarrel” record is now a classic and an important record for many people. That record raised the (sound) bar for that genre of music. Many bands base their sound on that 1986 record and we did it on a Soundcraft! I don’t think the masses will ever get it completely – It’s about the Ear and not the Gear! Placement of the band and microphones was the key to the sound of this recording.

Other stories about the “Age of Quarrel” record…

We did a series live shows in the early 90s for MTV called, “Hangin’ w/ MTV.” During one of the dates, we had Skid Row performing with Rob Halford. Well, during the sound check, Sebastian Bach came into the truck and listened to a portion of the sound check we recorded for their approval. Sebastian kneeled down to me and said something like, “I’m looking for the same sound they got on the Cro-Mags’ first record.” I replied, “Age of Quarrel?” He said, “Yeah.” I answered back, “I recorded & mixed that record.” He stood up, looked at me and said, “Great, that’s all I needed to know.” Or something to that effect and walked out of the truck.

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Chris Williamson, Doug, Parris, Harley and Mackie in the studio at the console during the “Age Of Quarrel” session, Photo: Remoteness

After the live show, we were all standing in the green room watching (and listening) to the video we just recorded. While the video was playing, Bach started swinging his arms, spinning around in place, almost clocking me in the head, since there wasn’t a lot of room where we surrounded the TV monitor. When the song was over, he then swung his long arms around and hugged me while he landed a kiss on my cheek. Man, he was really happy. I forget what he was saying at the time, but was truly happy with the performance and stuff. I couldn’t believe he just did that.

Around the same time period, I happened to visit a friend’s brand new digital recording studio in Astoria, Queens. When I walked into the lobby/lounge area I noticed the “Age of Quarrel” CD sitting on a shelf. I figured my buddy knew who the recording engineer was so I asked him what he thought of the recording. He just started freaking out saying stuff like it’s the best drum sound he ever heard for that style of music.

He went on to say how he has ripped off the drum sounds and has used the samples in every record he worked on at the time. He continued to say, “They made it easy to sample the drums ‘cause the drums start off clean on some of the songs, et cetera, etc., on and on… I realized he really didn’t know who recorded the tracks. I asked him quite laid-back if he knew who recorded the record. He brashly said, “I don’t know, who cares!” I smoothly replied, “Well, maybe you should know because you might meet that person one of these days and I don’t think you would want to word your story in the same way you just did.” He grabbed the CD and read the liner notes. Needless to say, his face turned red, he got very apologetic, and he kept saying he was so sorry. I replied, “How many times have you used those sounds? – I want a dollar for every time you used them! And, that’s every hit in every tune!” He thought I was serious. I told him that it was all good and that I really enjoyed his story. I was truly flattered by it all…

So, I got to thank Lou Holtzman for designing a great sounding room. Eastside Sound had the magic. I’m sure his new studio will equal or exceed the old place!

And, most importantly – I got to thank the Cro-Mags for doing such a great job on that recording.

Check out Parris Mayhew’s official Cro-Mags website > Http://Cro-Mags.com

The original record was on vinyl. It sounded awesome. I EQ’d and compressed the mixes to maximize the effect on vinyl. The CD is a bit brighter than the original. In many cases kids would buy one vinyl record and make buckets of audiocassettes for their friends to listen to. The sound was big and phat on those cassettes.

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Harley, studio shot, Photo: Remoteness

On January 10th 1986, I met with Chris Williamson and the Cro-Mags at Rocket Rehearsal at around 7:00PM to do some pre-production and work out the details of our recording session.

Not including the setup day, the entire record was done in just under 100 hours spread over 14 days during January and February 1986.

On January 11th, we loaded into Eastside Sound around 10:00PM to setup and such. The following day, January 12th we were booked from 2:00PM until 2:00AM to cut the basic tracks. We finished the basic tracks on January 14th between 12 midnight and 4:00AM. All the basic tracks were recorded in about 16 hours.

Everyone had visual contact during the recording of the basic tracks. The only person that wasn’t in the main tracking room was John; he was standing in between the studio/control room air lock. He was able to see everyone because the studio door had a window. I don’t remember the size of the main room but, I believe it was something like 22’ X 30’ or so… I looked for notes on this project but, only found the dates and times of the sessions. I’m sorry I don’t have more information about the space. I wish I also had copies of the track and takes sheets. They’re with the masters and I don’t have access to them.

I haven’t changed my mic’ing technique for decades so, if I would have to guess, there’s a good chance I had Beyer M160s on the overheads, Beyer M88 in the kick, Sennheiser MD409s on the toms, Shure SM57 on the snare and guitar cabinets. Don’t hold me to this because any one of those mics could have been changed out for something else. So, please take it with a grain of salt. No click track was used… Do you really need one with Mackie on the drums?

Overdubs, mixing and such were done in an additional twelve sessions on January 18th (8.5 hours), January 19th (10 hours), January 20th (4 hours), February 2nd (3.5 hours), February 5th (6 hours), February 7th (7 hours), February 9th (8 hours), February 12th (10 hours), February 14th (7.5 hours), February 16th (10.5 hours), February 18th (5 hours) and February 21st (2.5 hours). It’s impossible for me to figure out how many days were used for O/Ds and how many days we took to mix but, it’s safe to say the few days listed were used for mixing.

It’s hard to say how many takes each song took without looking at the take sheets but, I can say we were all very much focused. Once all the tracks were cut we setup the vocals in the main room. I believe we used a U87 or U67 for vocals but, I cannot recall for sure. There wasn’t any editing. We recorded to 24 track analog 2” @ 30IPS. I believe it was an MCI/Sony machine.

I’ve been working with Parrish Mayhew on various videos. We’ve done Rob Thomas in NYC, Brad Paisley in Nashville and Switch Foot in LA. He’s a Stedicam operator as of late.

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Harley and Chris Williamson in the studio during the “Age Of Quarrel” session, Photo: Remoteness

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shelter poll wrap up

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Shelter at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Big surprise with these results, at least as far as I’m concerned. I had no idea that there was such an appreciation for Shelter’s “In Defense of Reality” 7″. Not that I don’t like that 7″, but in my opinion it was the 3rd best early Shelter recording. As usual, I apparently was in the minority.

For me, the number one early Shelter record has to be the first LP, “Perfection of Desire”. How can you deny a track like, “Turn It Around”? I hear that song and all I can think about is stage diving. Of course hearing that LP brings me right back to the early days of Shelter and the band being based out of the Philly temple and playing locally on the regular. All those great early shows at City Gardens in Trenton, Revival Club in Philly and the Unisound in Reading, PA. Not to mention, some of those those tracks off “Perfection of Desire” almost sounding like they could have been later era Youth Of Today, “Enough” for example… awesome stuff. To me, every song on “Perfection of Desire” is great and captures a very raw, honest, socially conscience lick of righteousness, that really didn’t matter if you were interested in the religious aspect or not. It was new and original without being so strange and hard to digest like many of the other bands at that time. Most definitely a record that has stood the test of time for me.

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My second choice was the “No Compromise” 7″, but quite honestly, it just as easily could have been my first. From the moment I heard those two tracks, “Freewill” and “Saranagati”, I was sold. Great, catchy, powerful song writing with intense, emotional, sincere lyrics to complete the package. As a matter of fact, “Freewill” might be my favorite Shelter track ever. Again, hearing this 7″ reminds me of that early 1990 time period and I’ve got nothing but good memories about Shelter at this time. I can picture the massive “Saranagati” sing-along, pile-ons at just about each and every show back then. Good times for sure.

In the end, the most votes went to the “In Defense of Reality” 7″, all 104 of them. Like I said earlier, it’s not like I don’t like these tracks, it’s just never been my favorite of the early Shelter material. I will say though, “The News” is a pretty damn good track and by far my favorite off this 7″. I always thought Vic’s riffage in “The News” was great and I can understand with that song alone why people really dig this 7″.

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Oh and “Attaining The Supreme”… definitely my least favorite. I remember talking to Ray before this album was released and him telling me that the new album was going to have a heavy R.E.M. sound. I like a little early R.E.M. here and there, but I really wasn’t interested in hearing that kind of sound mixed into my Shelter. The production on this album has always left me feeling a bit empty as well. The only bright spots on the album for me were the tracks, “Better Way” and the re-done version of “Shelter”. That being said, it doesn’t kill me to give this album a spin now and again. -Tim DCXX

Shelter - “In Defense of Reality” 7″ – 104
Shelter - “Perfection of Desire” LP – 87
Shelter - “Attaining The Supreme” LP – 56
Shelter - “No Compromise” 7″ – 42


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Ray falls into the arms of the City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno

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