ARCHIVES – more older posts (2)
May 14th, 2012 by Larry

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bobby Sullivan breaks down side B of Hot Bodi-Gram

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Here’s the follow-up to Bobby Sullivan breaking down the lyrics to Soulside’s Hot Bodi-Gram. If you missed the piece on Side A:

Bobby Sullivan breaks down side A

Thanks to Bobby and John Scharbach for making this happen. -Gordo DCXX

HATE MUSIC (Johnny lyrics)

Rocks don’t sweat, neither does skin
nailed to my chair so I don’t float away
make me watch that kiss
I’m content with no problem
I never asked for a problem

Johnny (bassist) was getting his aggression out on this one. It was about his feelings with a certain relationship in his life. This was his first lyrical contribution and I wanted to do it. I could relate to feeling stuck in a situation that was painful.

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NEW FAST FUCKY

Pick up the stones that you left behind

another way I will not find

Too many mouths, too many hands grabbing my toothless head

Walk through the bones, kick through the stones

Just give me that easy introspection

It’s all so clear to me

Step over nowheresville it’s all history

Pass it over to me

This imagery came from the catacombs under Paris. After our show there, we visited the underground tunnels lined with the bones of thousands of dead bodies from the time of The Plague. You could pick up skulls and walls were made of the stacked bones.

It’s a song about reconciling the past and realizing that one day we will all be like those people, whose bones were there for us to step over. Our lives will be gone and our descendents will be left to wonder what we did for the world. With the past it’s easy to point out mistakes. In the present it’s easy to make light of it all, until the challenges of the future grab us into another reality. I was ready to stop joking around and to do some work.

KILL (Scott vocals)
(these lyrics are not written out on the layout for some reason)

I want to take you to New York

it’s going to be a big party

I want to take you to New York

it’s going to be a big jam

then she said take me west

you know I don’t believe it

then she said take me there

you know I don’t believe it

then you can take me to hell

then we can get in your car

and we can roll it into Chicago

just like it should be

it’s all a party to me

it’s all a party

yeah that’s a party to me

yeah you can take me to hell and back

as long as you do it now

I can’t speak on this song except to say that it was more or less an early Girls Against Boys song. I was glad to step out of the spotlight, but unfortunately this song made it clear Scott was moving on.

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BAD SHOW

Try to thrive but I know there’s competition

Naked attention but you love everyone

You see me, I see right through you

we love each other when were down

were never down

This is a song about conflicting with friends. Unfortunately it was both about Soulside and the DC scene itself at the end of the 80′s. After a bunch of touring, we played a show with a couple DC bands and the vibe was sour. There were all sorts of jealousies going around, which rattled me. The scene we were part of was all about sharing – shows, equipment, critique, styles, everything and anything. The bands were there for each other through thick and thin, and it was mostly thin.

Now that Soulside was getting recognition, there were some folks in our midst who held that competitive spirit, even within the band. It was a big disappointment. Popularity at that time was not so much about media hype, since punk was still underground. Bands then made a name for themselves by touring and networking, before the internet. All connections were shared, so there was no room for jealousy. It was about doing the work and popularity had a lot more to do with how long you had been around.

The back up vocals by Scott (the guitar player) display well the competition going in in the band at the time. As he sang “we’re never down,” it was my belief that he was trying to contradict my lyrics. I didn’t object, because I felt it fit the flavor of the song. We were writing these songs on that last tour and as tensions rose, we tended to work it out in the music, even in the live sets. I felt that these tensions could create some great songs, as they usually do in all the bands that have classic conflicts between the lead guitar player and the singer. Unfortunately our conflict was too great to continue making music together, but I think it made a great album.


A LOVE SUPREME

When I see the black snow it makes me sad to know
pushed aside with the misunderstood
legs covered on the hill never running again

This song was our resolve, where all tensions could relax. When we played it live, it always had a soothing effect on rowdy crowds. When we first created it, I was transported to another level. I had a vision about an old friend who had died, and he was buried in the hill we used to run on. The emotion matched the feel of the song. The reference to black snow has to do with the fact that it was winter time and all the discolored snow from the cars’ exhaust was still hanging around the city – such a contrast to how pretty it looks when it’s new. I thought this was a good metaphor for life in a lot of ways. The title was a reference to one of our favorite compositions by John Coltrane. It was a tribute.

CRAZY

This Patsy Cline cover was our drummer’s singing debut. We did it for fun, and then as crazy as it sounds, we couldn’t resist putting it on there… we were warped from touring so long.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bad Brains @ The Ritz 12/27/1986


Every once in awhile we come across a video or collection of videos that we here at DCXX consider to be must see viewing. These Bad Brains videos right here fall directly into that category. Bad Brains from The Ritz in New York City, December 27th, 1986, with the Cro-Mags as an opener. As cliche as it may sound, this is one of those time machine worthy shows. Pure Bad Brains perfection and a crowd that is absolutely eating them up, dive after dive. Soak it in, hardcore’s forefathers, arguably at their peek. -Tim DCXX


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jules – Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd DCXX Charity Auction for Japanese Relief ROUND 5

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Here is the latest round of record auctions from Jules of Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd. Every penny is going to the relief efforts in Japan. Jules has secured a matching donation which will double the value of the money raised through the auctions.

Clearly the people of Japan need our help more than ever. Please consider bidding. If not, we encourage you to give a donation in whatever amount you can to one of the many relief organizations who will need your help. If you can make a difference in one person’s life, however small, it is worth it.

Please help us to let the people of Japan know they are not in this alone.
This auction ends this Friday, May 27, at 8am EST.

Terms & Conditions:
*All items from Jules’ personal collection.

*Please read each individual record’s description for specific details and condition.

*Bidding is to be made on individual records. This is not an auction for the whole batch.
*You can bid on multiple items, but a specific bid must be placed on each item.
*Bidding must be rounded to the dollar. No cents business
*All sales are final.

*All records have a starting reserve price.
*All offers/bids must be sent to Gordo at bcjordan1@gmail.com, who is handling this for Jules.
*Offers/bids are not to be sent anywhere else, not in the comment section, not to Tim, not via Facebook, etc.
*Paypal is the only accepted method of payment.
*Do not bid if you are unable to pay at the time of auction close or if you cannot send funds via paypal.

*Bidders will be contacted ASAP privately via email from Gordo with the status of their bid and the current top bid.
*Re-bidding is allowed and encouraged.

*The bidding for these specific Round 1 items will close at 8am Eastern Standard Time on THIS FRIDAY, MAY 27.
*At that time, the top 3 bidders will be contacted privately to place a final bid.
*The final top bidder must be able to transfer funds via paypal to Gordo at bcjordan1@gmail.com within 48 hours of final close.

*All shipping & handling costs must be paid for additionally by BUYER, and this amount is not a part of the bid amount.
*All shipping & handling costs will be determined fairly between Gordo and buyer.
*Shipping & handling costs can be combined if multiple items are won by the same bidder.
*All items will be shipped via USPS to the buyer’s liking.
*All proceeds will be transferred by Gordo to Jules for the purpose of final matched charitable contribution, doubling the total amount.
*Bidder/winner identities will not be disclosed.

*EVERY CENT GOES TO CHARITY FOR JAPANESE RELIEF. NOBODY IS MAKING A DIME ON ANY OF THIS.
*Questions, offers/bids – Gordo: bcjordan1@gmail.com – auction ends Friday May 27 at 8am EST.

THANK YOU!!! - Jules, Tim & Gordo

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Alone In A Crowd – 7″ – Flux/Cargo Records first press test pressing, hand written dust sleeve only, no cover. Reserve Price: $50

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Warzone – “Lower East Side Crew” 7″ – Revelation Records 1st press. Reserve Price: $50

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Vision – “Undiscovered” 7″ – New Scene Records. Reserve Price: $20

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Red Alert – “We’ve Got The Power” LP – No Future Records. Reserve Price: $15

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Agnostic Front – “Liberty & Justice” LP - Combat Records. Reserve Price: $15

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Instead – “Bonds Of Friendship” LP – Wishingwell Records. Reserve Price: $15

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shelter @ The Rat in Boston, 6/19/1990


Pretty cool, multi angle, edited video of Shelter from The Rat in Boston on June 19th of 1990. This is from their first tour that they did with Quicksand and Inside Out and had the lineup of Porcell on guitar, Graham Land on guitar, Yasomatinandana das on bass and Sammy Siegler on drums. Great lineup, great energy, early Shelter, driven and on a mission, getting out there and trying to turn it all around. -Tim DCXX

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joe D. Foster – Unity / Ignite part IV

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Joe Foster neck deep in the Pacific, Photo courtesy of: Joe Foster

Joe D. Foster returns for part 4 of our ongoing interview with him. In case you missed the previous entries, here you go:


Part 1:

Joe Foster Part I

Part 2:
Joe Foster Part II

Part 3:
Joe Foster Part III

Dig in! -Gordo DCXX

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Joe Foster, bottom left corner, 1987 Morey Boogie Bodyboard division top 8

Outside of hardcore, you were involved with bodyboarding and modeling over the years…where did it all start with that stuff, what did you do specifically, and what about today?

LOL, yeah, bodyboarding and hardcore was what I was into growing up. I’d say I had an equal passion for both. I was doing Unity and competing as a pro bodyboarder at the same time. Longrie used to get so mad. When the waves were good and I was late to practice he would call my mom and tell her I was out of the band, LOL.

I did the bodyboarding tour until ’87 and finished 5th in the world that year. Kinda reached a personal inner satisfaction and guess was open to whatever else the world had to offer….I separated my shoulder one day getting slammed into the sand and couldn’t surf for awhile so I was just hanging out with my friends. One night we all went out to a night club and I was scouted by the owner’s wife of some modeling agency. Went in and met with them the following week and then within one month I was living in Paris. It was kinda through this I picked up photography too. I would always buy a cheap acoustic guitar and write music while I was gone.

Where did modeling take you and what was that whole world like?

As far as places went, I lived in Paris for about 2 years, Italy for a year, and then numerous stays, meaning months, in Spain, Germany, South Africa, Greece, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.I found that once the mystery of travel was gone and the whole modeling job was reduced to just what it was, I started looking for other things to keep my interest. I would watch photographers set up on my modeling jobs and try and learn what and why they were doing things. I also focused on languages. I got pretty good in Italian for awhile.

Some of the jobs I did were Giannfrance Ferre, Emporio Armani, Levi’s, Peirre Cardin, GQ magazine, 17 magazine (one time with Cameron Diaz), Details magazine, millions of catalogues and fashion shows, and also danced in Madonna’s Express Yourself video. The job itself probably caused unexpected problems for me down the line. You deal with a lot of rejection at a young age. I never thought of myself as a model, seems so self-glorified, conceited etc…it was an opportunity to see the world for free and that was what it was all about for me. Little did I know I would go back to all the same places with Ignite.

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Joe Foster, Versace ad

How did Unity officially end, and what type of connection did you have with hardcore between that time (1988/1989) and when you started Ignite (1993)? Had you gotten out of HC? What type of tabs did you keep on the scene in OC and how did it change to you?

I never got out of hardcore, just America and hardcore’s eye. I always wrote on the road and always loved the expression of the music and the freedom of expression. I would hear the music style changing when I would be back in town, and eventually missed the old sound so much that I started Ignite.

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Joe Foster, early Unity, Photo courtesy of: Joe Foster

How exactly did Ignite come to be, and what was the whole idea? Tell us about the original line-up, and how you came to write those early songs.

One day I was in my apartment in Japan and just miserable. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed asking myself when was the last time I was happy. The answer was when I was surfing and playing hardcore. I shaved my head that night and walked into the agency the next morning. They freaked out but I told them they could keep all the money. I just wanted on the next flight home.

When I got home, I called Brett and told him my idea. To bring back a certain sound of hardcore, not for any other reason except that I wanted to hear it. We practiced in my garage to a drum machine for few weeks and then went out to find members. We got Casey pretty quick which was great. The singer thing was hard. Nelson at first, then Randy who I really liked, Gavin ended up in the band for awhile too and though him, we got Zoli…I’ll never forget that. Brett called me and said we had a singer…I show up to practice and see this guy with hair down to his ass wearing cop glasses and sitting in some old VW van. He’s like, “Hi, I’m Zolton.” I was like, oh my gosh, did you just say Zolton??? So funny.

Anyway, guess the rest is history on that. To me, Zoli could have sang for Journey or any huge rock band. Such a pure beautiful voice. The songs came easy, Brett had a really melodic bass style that I grooved to real well. I loved writing with Brett.

What was the reaction like when Ignite started up? Why the line-up changes with singers early on, and what worked/didn’t work with Joe and Randy before Zoli came in? What did you want to do with the band?

Really didn’t have any plan with the band. Maybe play some local shows etc, but it was primarily to just play and hear that style of music again. No For An Answer was on tour in Europe and the owner of Lost and Found Records asked Dan how to get ahold of me. Guess he wanted to release the Unity You Are One 7″ on cd. I get this call one day from them and he also asked what I was up to with music. I told him I had this new band called Ignite. He asked me to send him a demo. Three weeks later he got back to me and said he wanted to release the first Ignite album and asked if we would like to go on tour with Slapshot for three months in the summer. Things kinda just took off from there…

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Joe hangin’ with the Les Paul, Photo courtesy of: Joe Foster

Monday, May 16, 2011

Descendents poll wrap up

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To me, the Descendents are one of those bands that I almost take for granted. I’ve been a fan of them at least since “Enjoy!” was released in 1986 (I was a tiny, wet behind the ears 12 year old), yet when asked who my favorite bands are, for whatever reason, the Descendents are just not one of the bands that instantly come to mind. Truth is though, so many of their songs can easily be considered some of my favorite songs ever… period.

Some of those tracks off “Enjoy!” are just incredible, timeless, classics, “Wendy”, “Kids”, “Hurtin’ Crue”, “Sour Grapes”, “Get The Time”, “Cheer”, I could listen to those songs over and over again and you better believe that I have.

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The Descendents at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Following “Enjoy!”, came “ALL”, which again has some of my favorite songs ever. Of course there are few not-so-hot tracks that we could probably do without, but with songs like “Coolidge”, “Clean Sheets” and my personal favorite, “Pep Talk”, they clearly make up for anything that could be considered somewhat lackluster.

The album “ALL” also holds a special place for me, just for the fact that my first show ever was seeing the Descendents on the “ALL” tour at City Gardens, in June of 1987. I remember at the time, my favorite song by them was the Beach Boys cover, “Wendy” off of “Enjoy!” I couldn’t be more stoked hearing them play that live.

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Bill Stevenson with the Descendents at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

At that time, the Descendents just seemed like one of the biggest bands in the world. Everyone I knew liked them and they definitely seemed to fit in perfectly with the whole skateboarding scene that I was deeply submerged in. They just had that perfect combination of melody, heaviness, humor and sappiness that no one else has ever seemed to match. In essence, in 1987, the Descendents were a perfect band in my eyes.

It wasn’t until after I had owned “Enjoy!” and “ALL” that I finally got my hands on “Milo Goes to College” and “I Don’t Want to Grow Up”, both of which were nothing but pure greatness, but “Enjoy!” and “ALL” had already been my introduction to the Descendents and had already left a huge impression on me. So as much as I love “Milo Goes to College” and “I Don’t Want to Grow Up”, I knew when voting in this poll, “Enjoy!” or “ALL” were one of the records that I was going to be voting for.

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Milo gives the Trenton crowd a hand, Photo: Ken Salerno

So what record did I vote for? Tough choice, but I went with “ALL”. I know… not quite as classic as most of the earlier material and not even as many choice tracks as “Enjoy!” might have had, but with “Coolidge”, “Clean Sheets” and “Pep Talk” alone, I just felt like I had to go with “ALL”. Obviously not the popular choice and I certainly can’t argue with any of the choices, but as the saying goes, it’s the choice I made and I’m stickin’ to it. -Tim DCXX

Descendents“Milo Goes to College”351
Descendents“Everything Sucks”114
Descendents“I Don’t Want to Grow Up”108
Descendents“ALL”70
Descedents“Enjoy!”21
Descendents - “Cool to be You” - 17

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Descendents @ Mississippi Nights, 1987


Descendents poll wrap up coming tomorrow. Until then, enjoy “Clean Sheets” shot live at Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, Missouri, 1987. -Tim DCXX

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bobby Sullivan breaks down Hot Bodi-Gram

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Bobby Sullivan returns to explain the lyrics to the Soulside Hot Bodi-Gram LP. Thanks to John Scharbach and Bobby for this one, side B to follow. -Gordo DCXX


GOD CITY

This is God City

This is love parade

This is Mr. Fuckers last rites

There are no names

There is no pain

These walls have been pissed on

the train is leaving

God City is about DC. It was a song Scott developed on the guitar over the course of the tour as an instrumental. We developed the lyrics spontaneously in the studio. We each contributed a line, even our roadie. The dark exasperated nature of the song reflects well how strange it was to grow up in DC. The federal government has all those monuments and stories as if it was the greatest nation on earth. But while we were growing up there, homelessness was at a new peak. There were always groups of people bundled up, sleeping on the steps of so many of those temple-like structures. It was easy to see something wasn’t right. The tourist town aspect with all its glitz and glitter only hid the harsh realities of the dirty city and the evil politicians running the country.

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A headless Bobby Sullivan takes flight with Soulside in Boston, Photo courtesy of: Soulside

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?

Life on the rooftops, saw the sun and the moon
Lost the core of the city, lost the concrete so pretty
bore the hope and the pity, forged the trust–pity
Saw the TV eyes in the mirror and mind reflect
truth and lies of the life outside and reflect the life
inside me
I want to see to believe, gimme a miracle
Conscience demands my truth

These were lyrics I wrote in Boston. I moved there to go to college between Soulside tours and ended up living there for 7 years. The scene was different, but I enjoyed it a lot. I was a constant street-skater and ended up getting involved with a few local bands, roadying for Slapshot a few times. Soulside had played there with the Henry Rollins band earlier so I had met a lot of people from the scene. 7 Seconds, Youth Brigade and the whole BYO Showcase played there my first day. The Descendents stayed at my apartment, as well as the Ex from Amsterdam. (Years later, my band there, 7 League Boots, played a lot with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bim Skala Bim. Their horn sections backed us up at live shows. One time a totally unknown band at the time named Pearl Jam opened for us at a show with the Lemonheads).

Being in college in Boston between Soulside tours was a mind-wrenching experience. College really seemed like a sham in a lot of ways and I was looking for ways to apply the passion and knowledge of the incredible DIY movement we were all a part of. Maybe touring had made me antsy, but sitting around reading “major authors” in class was not my cup of tea. Luckily I had Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History Of The US, as a professor and many speakers to see and meet, including Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Noam Chomsky, Chuck D. when he spoke at Harvard and more. There was a lot going on and I was soaking it all up.

So, back to the lyrics… My friends and I used to hang out on the roof of my apartment building. From the roof, we could see right into Fenway Park on game nights. But my mind would always sway from the spectacle. I would find myself trying to figure out the constellations or the path of the moon. The sun as the Soulside logo was significant because I’ve always felt the pull of Nature, opposing our immediate man-made surroundings. This song is about being drawn out of our normal reality, realizing we are part of a huge cosmos. It was a reaction to apartment life and how cave-like we can be with TV’s. College was filled with armchair intellectuals, creating so much verbal drama, with the subject of the day being driven by the media. I wanted to see something, maybe even a miracle to wake people up. Our minds have so many ways of thinking. Hope, pity, trust – our conscience is the link to a greater understanding of the issues at hand.

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Alexis with Soulside, Photo: Ken Salerno

PUNCH THE GEEK

Punch the geek, ego speaks

Boys fun needs boys gun

No need to aim I’m right here

No matter what I’m in,
No matter what I’m on

The air about your head

Sweet sun of a bitch

Boston was a pretty tough town. Even in the pit at shows, their style of slam-dancing was rough. Out on the streets, being punk and/or having dreads was not easy in the 80′s. MTV hadn’t made all the styles mainstream yet, not by a long shot. Having bleached hair meant you were a “faggot,” having dreads meant “nigger” in some places. Even in the black community dreads were something to challenge, as Afro-centricity was still soon to come with the Malcolm X ball cap craze that Spike Lee prompted with his movie on Malcolm. I can truly say that MTV changed everything, as once alternative styles became more popular, me and my friends weren’t getting jumped all the time.

This song speaks to the bullying that leads to gun violence. It’s a confidence game where guns play the ultimate role. The battle for male dominance is dangerous, especially as it plays out in our personal lives. It starts when we are kids and for some follows a frightening evolution into their adult lives. What always struck me was the mental struggle of the bullies. So insecure, striking out at others – they are pitiful men. If you look them smack-dab in the eyes, they’ll often take a step back. Although… sometimes it’s just enough to rile their anger.

We were most often confronted by fists, so our skateboards provided ample defense. Only once or twice were knives involved. One night though I was jumped by 12 guys on the subway. When things started getting trickier and guns started showing up, I was able to step out into the Soulside tour. Some of those scraps I had in Boston left a lasting impression on me.

CLIFTON WALL

Lipstick lies but looks so good and tastes so bad

Heard about the good life on the radio, come up on the best

Monuments in view, rock on high

Where does the money come from?

You take the bay and I’ll take the sky

your head in the sun

Smarter people will do dumber things

Clifton wall, no need to advertise

No slogans apply, just say now

Can’t beat the view, it’s a buy

Clifton wall is a place in DC, right next to a high school where at the time of the song’s writing, people bought and sold crack cocaine (the “rock on high”). It’s next to a couple housing projects on a big hill overlooking the monuments. It’s eery at night with the monuments lit up in the distance and hooded characters doing their trade in the foreground. Scott (guitarist) and Johnny (bassist) moved into a group house a couple blocks away, so we were in the area a lot.

“Lipstick lies, but looks so good” was a graffiti piece I passed daily when I lived in Roxbury, in Boston. I attached it to the beginning, as I thought if fit the sentiment of the rest of the song. Back to DC – the drug trade is so easy to demonize, but the causes have to be looked at. The reality is that most poor people living in the US face discrimination in the workplace, in the hiring practices and moving up the ladder, once they get hired. Most are completely shut out of the potential for economic stability, while images of “the good life” are displayed all around them.

People have to do something to pay the bills. I’m not condoning the choice to deal crack, but with deteriorating economic conditions in that neighborhood, the biggest growth industry for any entrepreneur was all too obvious. It’s really horrible that crack-cocaine garnered higher sentencing than regular cocaine. The prison system is now full of these petty criminals, while the ones making real money off of the drug trade are allowed to remain below the radar of the media, so outside of public scrutiny.

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Bobby delivers with Soulside, Photo: Shawn Scallen

NEW SLOW FUCKY

Dignity in the steps of the down

Over the hill fly over the town

Meet me in the safety zone

What does my time do for you?

Social social let’s be social

Don’t want to spoil the day

We can cut the grass at your place

I’m in the mood for one too many ideas

The title had nothing to do with the subject matter of the song. This song and “New Fast Fucky” were written in tandem and named before they had lyrics. One was slow and the other fast. They were named after an inside joke we had after being approached on the street in Amsterdam to see a “good” show that was “real fucky fucky” according to the gentleman offering the invitation.

The lyrics show my reaction to a realization of being in a somewhat exalted position as a traveling musician, college student and a middle class kid in general. I recognized much more dignity in the walk of the downtrodden people of our society. The upper classes all over the world have “safety zones” to reside in, not affected by or even seeing the struggles of most of the world. I was at the cusp of adulthood here, wondering where I would fit in, finding new people and new ways of thinking.

I found my social time in activist circles mostly, in a search for the best way to approach the issues I was concerned with. As someone who grew up somewhat between the races, taken for both black and white by different people, I was possessed with race politics, especially surrounding the legacies of colonialism and its continuing tendencies in the western world. Grass is hopefully an obvious enough reference as I moved away from alcohol completely, enjoying other ways to expand my mind. I found my reasonings with others in this state of mind to be a lot more fruitful then the belligerent parties I was avoiding. Rasta elders were coming into my life, helping me overstand certain world phenomena and how a spiritual/historical approach to life could quell my restless mind.

PEMBROKE

It’s the time for the break life baby 

soon come happy good life itchy

itchyooo

Let’s talk of honesty but crooked Peter’s bugging me

Can’t wait to live my life

Can’t wait to get the pictures back

Don’t disappear

This was a song about feeling trapped in a situation you’re not comfortable with, but still need to see through. The tour was getting long and I was more increasingly left out of the band’s late night hangouts. I was happy to go find fun in what ever town we were in, but after a while it was wearing on me. I was ready to move on, to be free from this “itchy good life.”

Crooked Peter was a character in a book I read as a child. He was the one always stirring up strife. He was symbolized by one individual in particular in my life at the time. I was ready for the tour to be over and to figure out where I was going to make my mark. Getting “the pictures back,” referred to being done with the tour and the strife…

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Bobby in the shadows with Soulside, Photo courtesy of: Soulside

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Generation Records limited OFF! 7″

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Dimitri Coats and Keith Morris with OFF!, Photo: Keith Marlowe

Limited Edition 7″ single, released during Record Store Day 2011. Sold out everywhere, but still some in stock on this collectible piece of vinyl at Generation Records.

This single features four stand out tracks recorded during the band’s Generation Records in-store performance. Mixed by the OFF! member, Steven McDonald.

Generation Records

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Bobby Sullivan talks Soulside

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Bobby and Alexis with Soulside at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Crucial John Scharbach, singer of DC’s Give, got in touch with Bobby Sullivan of Soulside to get the backstory on the lyrics behind each song off of Soulside’s Hot Bodi-Gram. Bobby delivered a great write-up, and John sent it our way. Very cool insights on one of harDCcore’s most important bands. This is a multi-part entry, with the explanations to the lyrics coming in part 2. Stay tuned.

Thanks John and Bobby! -Gordo DCXX

At the beginning of the Soulside tour in 1989, it was apparent it would be our last. With 2 months in the US and 4 months in Europe, we played over 100 shows. And in a sense, the recording of Hot Bodi-Gram, just outside of Amsterdam, was the last show of the tour. Many of the songs were composed along the way at sound checks and experimental portions of our live shows. All the energy from the tour went into the recording. It was a great way to express all the things we had seen and felt along the way.

The European leg of our tour took us to the East Block where we were the 1st US band to play in East Berlin and 3 cities in Poland. It was 6 months before the Berlin Wall fell. We went as far north as Oslo in Norway and as far south as Thessaloniki in Greece. We played in Croatia and our shows in Bosnia and Kosovo were canceled because of the rising tensions in the region. This was one year before the horrible war there and the breakup of Yugoslavia. We drove right through Kosovo and had a hard time driving around Albania to get to Greece. The checkpoints were intense.

In Rome we played in a squat that was a former army fort on the outskirts of town. When the police tried to take it back, which happened from time to time, the punks simply locked the gates and dropped the bridge over the moat. We played a show with 5 bands for the equivalent of $5 and Soundgarden played the same night in a club for the equivalent of $20. Needless to say, we had the crowd at the fort. In northern Spain we stayed with anarchists in the Basque Country, where they had a longstanding independence movement. In Oslo we participated in an anti-fascist rally on May Day. People filled the streets with signs promoting their various agendas. The fascists wore white jumps suits and the communists wore red. The squat we played at was bombed by the fascist party a week after we were there.

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Soulside’s Scott McCloud at Maxwells, Photo: Ken Salerno

Even with all our adventures, tensions were rising in the group, especially about the direction of our message. I was experiencing a lot of resistance to specifically mentioning the political and social issues I was involved in at the time. Unfortunately we were growing in different directions and I was in a separate camp all by myself. I always felt that the lyrics should represent the whole band – they were getting sick of doing interviews about Mumia and veganism, so I acquiesced, making my references more vague. I could see the potential of value in this approach. Sometimes a message can get out better when you’re not putting it right in somebody’s face.

After we got back from the tour we had a couple weeks off and then our last two shows. The 9:30 Club and then Ft. Reno 2 days later. The 9:30 Club show was the last one with a nice controlled sound system. The very last show at Ft. Reno was outdoors and it was always hard to get a good sound there. At the 9:30 Club I can’t remember who played with us (maybe somebody’s comment could straighten me out), but it was a charged set. We played as hard as we could.

The very last show at Ft. Reno was with Fugazi. It was nice to do it there since it was in a park most of us had grown up near. It was a fitting end to the kids we were when we started. It was also probably one of the largest gatherings of people Ft. Reno had ever seen at the time. This was a city funded free concert, which was part of a weekly series of shows throughout the summers in NW DC, in our neighborhood. Members of Fugazi were also tied to this area. The high school most of us went to is across the street. It was a fitting end.

We split on good terms. I moved to Boston and started 7 League Boots and the rest of the guys moved to NYC and started Girls Against Boys. I was glad to move on, as the punk scene was going mainstream and I wasn’t going to work for a multinational corporation. The DIY ethic was good for me. In Boston I broadened my musical and spiritual horizons, only to move back to DC a few years later to join Rain Like The Sound Of Trains and then Sevens, with my brother…

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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Johnny Temple on bass for Soulside at The Court Tavern, Photo: Ken Salerno

OFF! live @ Gilman Street, Berkeley Ca. 4/22/2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WHERE ARE THEY NOW – Ajay James / Enuf

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Ajay with Enuf at Rutgers, Scott Hall, Photo: Ken Salerno

Ajay James, former lead singer of NJHC band Enuf, fan and follower of NYHC scene. I went on to a successful career as a male model, (hahah, no really though), while at the same time being a full time Muay Thai teacher and fighter, and doorman at many popular NY clubs.

In 2000, I got my US citizenship, joined the military in 2001, and have been working in the special operations community since.

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Ajay 2011, Photo courtesy of: Ajay James

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Orange County Hardcore Scenester screening

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On May 12 at The Yost Theater in Santa Ana, CA, the documentary ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER is going to have a ONE NIGHT only screening for FREE. The movie starts at 7pm sharp. There will be a 10-15 minute musical performance beforehand, OCHS will play, and there may also be a Q&A afterwards. There will even be a special shirt made up for this event.

ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER looks at the OC Hardcore/punk scene in a very personal way from 1990-1997. You can watch the first 7 minutes here:

ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER

The Facebook page is:

ORANGE COUNTY HARDCORE SCENESTER on Facebook

I sincerely hope that anybody who wants to see the movie, and can get to the theater on that night, will show up. Having taken part in the Hardcore Reunion show back in 2009, I am hoping that this event captures some of that spirit.

Best,
Evan Jacobs

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jules – Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd 2011 Interview – Part V

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Jules, Lars and Eric with Side by Side at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Boiling Point

Here’s part V of our ongoing interview with Jules. This picks up where the last part left off, as Jules was explaining what caused Side By Side to break up, what was happening at that time in the NYHC scene, and how that tied into the formation of Alone In A Crowd. In case you missed part 4 (or the previous parts), go here:

Jules Side By Side 2011
And in case you’ve been under a rock, here’s the latest batch of records Jules is auctioning off here, with ALL money being donated to the Japanese relief effort:
Jules Auction
Take it away Jules… -Gordo DCXX

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Just after Side By Side’s breakup, this whole nazi skinhead revival thing was happening. There were always a few right wing skinhead types hanging around the NY scene, but prior to maybe mid-’88 they were a superminority. White power was a thing that Skrewdriver sang about in England, and any interest in them in NYHC, as far as I can remember, was purely musical. Even the closest thing to a New York Oi! type skin band at the time, YDL, was not so extreme. Listen to AF and War Zone — United And Strong and As One were the anthems for the NYHC skins.

Then on the weekends down at Tompkins Square Park, I can remember packs of skinheads showing up — nobody local knew who they were. And each coming weekend there seemed to be more and more of them. They were “weekend warriors” from Jersey, Pennsylvania, upstate NY…who the hell knew. And they would just come and camp out on the corner, drinking beer until they got bored enough to find some unfortunate soul who just happened to be alone in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the thing is, these guys weren’t even going to shows, they’d just come into the city, loiter at NYHC scene hangouts, and cause trouble — presumably so they would have some “war story” to tell back home.

This caused major problems in the scene. For example, one weekend, they jumped a kid from the alphabet city projects and then split for the suburbs. Well, not long after, a bunch of project kids, with weapons, started sweeping through Tompkins Square attacking anybody who looked even remotely like a skinhead. So a lot of folks that had nothing to do with this got hurt, including some of the toughest guys who used to hang out pretty regularly at the park. There was a crew of old school Krishna consciousness types who you absolutely did not mess with. I remember one of them, I think it was Mike Boyer, got cracked in the knee with a bat. My memory is pretty dim on this, it could’ve even been John Joseph — because he used to hang out outside the Alcatraz all the time. Anyway, they went looking for the skinheads who started all this. A bit of a witch hunt followed. But since the instigators were from out of town, I don’t know if anyone ever figured out who they were. It would not surprise me if some other innocent got their skull cracked by mistake in the retribution.

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Jules and Lars with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Photo: Boiling Point

Then all of a sudden in late 1988, there was a media blitz about Nazi skinheads. All of the talk shows and news magazines started showing all these freaking skins on TV that none of us knew. They were palling around with Tom and John Metzger, who were KKK and Aryan nation types — from California, I think. These shows made it appear like the third reich was reborn and there were hundreds of thousands of skinheads ready to start a race war. The media loved it. And the white power political organizations loved it because it gave them national media exposure. Geraldo Rivera had a show that ended in a brawl — he got his nose broken by a chair. Some people think it was staged (I don’t know). The video is on YouTube, judge for yourself. A week later, competitor talk show host Morton Downey Jr. had white power skinheads on his show. Sometime after that Morton Downey Jr. was on the front page of the rags, with his head shorn and a swastika drawn on his face, claiming that he was attacked by skinheads in San Francisco. San Francisco. In the airport bathroom. Needless to say, almost everybody believed the attack on Morton Downey Jr. was staged, and his show was canceled soon after.

All the sensationalism and exaggeration was nonetheless a great recruiting tool, apparently. Almost overnight, the white power skinhead population exploded. Every weekend, more and more of these out of town, white power skins started showing up at shows. I don’t know what they were thinking — because they were not welcome. Things got violent.

Tommy Carroll got into a fist fight with this big fat skin at a matinee. Tommy was a boxer, though he hadn’t started fighting competitively at this time. This skinhead was like two heads taller than Tommy and about three times his weight. A circle formed around the two in front of CB’s — his buddies were clearly smart enough to know not to gang up on Tommy, ’cause everybody watching would’ve jumped in to beat their asses. Tommy cracked the guy in the jaw with a right — and he looked at Tommy shocked like he had never taken a hit like that in his life. Big as he was, nobody probably ever tried. Tommy went low while the guy tried to grapple and started hitting him in the gut. This went on for a while. And, inexplicably, the skinhead just walked away. Tommy let him go. He said to me afterwards the skinhead was just “too fat to fight.” I never saw him again. But there seemed to be a never ending supply.

Billy (Side By Side) also had similar problems. Billy’s girlfriend at the time was Japanese. She had a skinhead girl haircut (bangs only) and wore Docs. She got attacked at CB’s by some white power dicks, and Billy had to step in. This kind of _ _ _ _ started happening with increasing regularity.

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And not only was the NYHC scene defending itself physically from the encroaching white power skinhead “movement,” we had to deal with the public misperception that we were somehow a part of that movement. I had spent years of my life having dicks say _ _ _ _ to me on the street, throw things at me, etc., because of the way I looked or dressed. But now I had to deal with being called a racist and a nazi to boot. I needed this like a hole in the head. I think a lot of people started phasing out of the scene at this time — it was just too much of a hassle to even go to shows.

Marcus Pacheco fought back, though. To his credit — he didn’t take it lying down. He formed SHARP and used the media’s love affair with the skinheads to call attention to the non-racist hardcore, Oi! and ska scene. I think he and his organization did an admirable job of attempting to educate the general public. I have heard that SHARP later devolved into gang violence, and if true, that is unfortunate. It was a positive thing when it started.

For me, though, I think I was already heading toward the exit. Because in addition to the rise of this white power lunacy, the scene, as I had come to know it, had been pulling itself apart in other ways…

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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Side By Side at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Bri Hurley

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jules – Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd DCXX Charity Auction for Japanese Relief ROUND 4

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Here is the latest round of record auctions from Jules of Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd. Every penny is going to the relief efforts in Japan. Jules has secured a matching donation which will double the value of the money raised through the auctions.

In case you needed any reminder of the ongoing severity of the catastrophe in Japan, or needed any incentive in bidding, please check out this article:
Japan quake victims face health issues

Clearly the people of Japan need our help more than ever. Please consider bidding. If not, we encourage you to give a donation in whatever amount you can to one of the many relief organizations who will need your help. If you can make a difference in one person’s life, however small, it is worth it.

Please help us to let the people of Japan know they are not in this alone.
This auction ends this Friday, May 6, at 8am EST.

Terms & Conditions:
*All items from Jules’ personal collection.

*Please read each individual record’s description for specific details and condition.

*Bidding is to be made on individual records. This is not an auction for the whole batch.
*You can bid on multiple items, but a specific bid must be placed on each item.
*Bidding must be rounded to the dollar. No cents business
*All sales are final.

*All records have a starting reserve price.
*All offers/bids must be sent to Gordo at bcjordan1@gmail.com, who is handling this for Jules.
*Offers/bids are not to be sent anywhere else, not in the comment section, not to Tim, not via Facebook, etc.
*Paypal is the only accepted method of payment.
*Do not bid if you are unable to pay at the time of auction close or if you cannot send funds via paypal.

*Bidders will be contacted ASAP privately via email from Gordo with the status of their bid and the current top bid.
*Re-bidding is allowed and encouraged.

*The bidding for these specific Round 1 items will close at 8am Eastern Standard Time on THIS FRIDAY, MAY 6.
*At that time, the top 3 bidders will be contacted privately to place a final bid.
*The final top bidder must be able to transfer funds via paypal to Gordo at bcjordan1@gmail.com within 48 hours of final close.

*All shipping & handling costs must be paid for additionally by BUYER, and this amount is not a part of the bid amount.
*All shipping & handling costs will be determined fairly between Gordo and buyer.
*Shipping & handling costs can be combined if multiple items are won by the same bidder.
*All items will be shipped via USPS to the buyer’s liking.
*All proceeds will be transferred by Gordo to Jules for the purpose of final matched charitable contribution, doubling the total amount.
*Bidder/winner identities will not be disclosed.

*EVERY CENT GOES TO CHARITY FOR JAPANESE RELIEF. NOBODY IS MAKING A DIME ON ANY OF THIS.
*Questions, offers/bids – Gordo: bcjordan1@gmail.com – auction ends Friday May 6 at 8am EST.

THANK YOU!!! - Jules, Tim & Gordo

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Youth Of Today – “Can’t Close My Eyes” 7″ – 1st pressing, black and white labels, slight tear in lyric sheet. Reserve price: $40

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Unity – “You Are One” 7″ - Black vinyl, no lyric sheet. Reserve price: $30

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Pagan Babies – “Immaculate Conception” 7″ – Gold vinyl. Reserve price: $20

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Side By Side – “You’re Only Young Once” 7″ – Black and white labels, newsprint style lyric sheet. Reserve price: $25

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Bad Brains – “Rock For Light” LP - Promo copy with cut in front cover, no lyric sheet. Reserve price: $20

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joe D. Foster – Unity / Ignite part III

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Joe with early Dubar fronted Unity, Photo courtesy of: Joe D. Foster

Here’s part 3 of our ongoing interview with OC Hardcore’s classic axeman. If you missed the first two parts:

Part 1: Joe Foster Part I
Part 2: Joe Foster Part II
Big thanks to Joe, much more to come. -Gordo DCXX

How did Unity come back into the picture with the Blood Days LP? My impression is that UC took the front seat for a while in 86-87, and then the Blood Days record came out. Was the idea to make Unity a real band with new songs again? What was your relationship like with Dubar and Longrie at that time? Any recording memories?

The idea was to keep it a real band. I remember Longrie was always kinda bummed Dubar moved on in UC without him. Kinda hard to kick Dyson out of the band though. I ended up jamming with Dyson like 5 years ago…we met somewhere after not seeing each other for ages and figured we would just go jam. Only me and him…I remember after every song, he would lay on the floor and catch his breath…so awesome. I wonder sometimes what happened to him.

Anyway, ya, I guess I was kinda confussed why we did Unity again, but something tells me it was just for Pat to get another release out on Wishingwell…Dubar to me was always hard to read. Pretty sure he always had his best interests in mind but that’s all good. I remember when we were practicing for Blood Days, my ex-girlfriend would come over and I could tell Pat really liked her. Anyway, he wrote a song about her on the Staring Into The Sun album, called I think something like,”She’s Locked Into My Mind”…so funny. My mom always called Longrie “little hot head.” We were practicing in my parents’ living room one day and my mom tells us she made us lunch and we should go wash our hands. So Longrie of course goes into the bathroom and jams his hands into the toilet and flushes it…pretty classic.

I actually don’t really remember recording too much except it was in Culver City at a place called Casbah.

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A young Joe D. Foster kicks out the jams, Photo courtesy of: Joe D. Foster

Speaking of UC, they obviously shifted musical gears by the time the Staring Into The Sun record came out. As a big fan and friend, how did you view this? Did you like the sound/image change or was it weird to see?

I really hated it…I thought a few songs were OK, but the girly vocals haunt me. Scream man…thats what we were into back then- controlled, thoughtful, positive aggression and intensity. So yeah, sorry but not a big fan.

I remember pre-Mind Funk he was telling us he was going to be the next Jim Morrison. Also there was some story from Dubar about eating black tree bark in Tibet and watching his soul float out of his body and sore in the sky looking down on himself while the seaguls all around him committed suicide. He also looked like an American Indian too at this time and had a pet wolf in his backyard…guess my point is I saw it coming and couldn’t stop it…

No For An Answer was playing Man Against Man around the same time. How did they end up using this song, and did you write any of their other songs? Did you ever play with them?

Dan really liked that song. It was originally a WOP song called a Better Man. Dubar wrote it about Dan. They, Dan more than Pat, always had this weird “king of OC Hardcore” thing going on. Anyway, Dan wanted it for NFAA and asked me if I wanted to be in the band…I said ya and we ended up using it and Dan named it, “Man Against Man”. I did play one show with them too. The photo of me used on the Blood Days LP is from the NFAA show. I think it was with 7 Seconds. Pretty cool and I’m happy I got to be in the band for a small time. I really like Dan and run into him often these days. He’s really into reading and writing…

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Ian, Joe and Alec MacKaye, Photo courtesy of: Joe D. Foster

During this time period, (86-89), what else were you into both personally and musically? Having been involved with hardcore at that point for the whole decade, how did it feel like it was changing to you?

About this time, shows started merging Punk and Hardcore together on these mega bills at big auditoriums. Big bands from England would come over and then bands like, ST, Decry, Ill Repute etc. would merge with 7 Seconds, MIA, etc…weird mix. I remember starting to see fights and divisions. I think it was a bad idea to do this and totally destroyed our positive scene. Gangs, violence, people who had no idea about the music and just thought it was cool to go slam dance, meat head mentality…it was the death of our first movement for sure. I was always a professional body “boogie” boarder and loved the ocean so I never stopped doing that. I also got into modeling for a while between Blood Days and the beginning of Ignite…

What did you think of the “second wave” of hardcore bands playing through the late 80s, and specifically, the Revelation straight edge bands? Did it resonate with you? How did you identify with the SE scene? Did you ever call yourself SE?

Actually I kinda missed it. I was off in Europe and Japan. When I got back, everything had changed, the sound, the style etc. That’s why I started Ignite. Because I wanted to hear that old school type of hardcore again. In high school I didn’t drink, smoke etc. It was influenced for sure by Minor Threat, but we never labeled ourselves. I might have X’d up once or twice my whole life…

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Joe D. Foster, early Unity, Photo: Joe D. Foster

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jules – Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd 2011 Interview – PART IV

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Jules with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Photo: Chris Daily

In case you missed the previous installments to this, here you go:

Part 1: Jules Part I
Part 2: Jules Part II
Part 3: Jules Part III
Be sure to scroll down to yesterday’s post where you can see the latest batch of records Jules is auctioning off here on DCXX – every cent is going to the relief efforts in Japan. Please consider bidding.


Much more of this interview to come, dig in for now… -Gordo DCXX

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Jules in front of the NYC skins at CBGB, Photo: Bri Hurley

What was the reasoning behind doing Alone In A Crowd after Side By Side broke up? What had caused Side By Side to break up, and what was going on within the band?

This is probably the toughest question. Which makes it probably the best question. I don’t know if “reasoning” is the right word. To be honest, I cannot even remember how I got AIAC started. There were a lot of factors that led to forming that band:

1) Side By Side’s internal strife and eventual break-up;
2) The sudden emergence of white power skinhead groups and the media’s love affair with them;
3) Rising intolerance amongst the different groups within the hardcore scene.

Probably the best place to start is Side By Side’s demise. Side By Side was composed of some very strong personalities. That was at once its greatest strength and greatest weakness:

Billy was the oldest. He had grown up in the old D.C. straight edge scene with the Dischord bands. As a result, he had more perspective than any of us. He had already gone through everything I was going through. In fact, I’m surprised he had the patience to put up with a kid like me. Billy was jovial, happy-go-lucky and didn’t have anything to prove to anybody. As a side note, “Big Billy Bitter” was a nickname he never liked. He had a joke about a character he created (he was, and still is, a great comic book artist) called “Mr. Bitter.” So, joking around, I introduced him on stage once as Billy “Bitter” and it stuck. He was never happy about that. Anyway, being more mature, he had already worked out his teen angst. He hated “Dead Serious,” which in hindsight, the lyrics are rather tedious. We kept “Good Clean Fun” on the set list to give a voice to Billy’s temperament (he wrote the music) — I liked it, but I don’t think it was that popular with the rest of the band. It certainly contrasted some of the other things SBS was singing about.

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Eric and Billy with Side By Side at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Bri Hurley

Eric was a great guitar player. The majority of Side By Side’s music and lyrics belong to him. He went totally nuts on stage and was always consistent – I can’t remember him messing up… ever. Probably the greatest source of friction had to do with getting him to tone down his playing. All the divebombs and whammy bar _ _ _ _! He and I used to get into it about that. I thought all the solo stuff was too flashy, too rockstar. We compromised, “My Life To Live” was his big solo (which I think worked with that song) and the divebombs were limited. We were all pretty headstrong, Eric was no exception. I dimly recall Billy putting Eric headfirst in a trashcan (only his kicking feet were visible) as a result of some altercation at Giant rehearsal studios. It’s too bad SBS stopped when it did – I think Eric was musically knocking it out of the park right at the time SBS called it quits. His song, to which I penned lyrics and we titled “Guilty,” was great work. I think Uppercut ended up using that music when Eric played with them.

Sammy was really young. Hell, I was really young – he was two or three years younger than me! Being so young, I think he was the least argumentative in the band. But he had his preferences, to be sure. One of the things I was insistent on, to the point of being a dick, was to avoid the typical “mosh” beat that YOT and Bold (Crippled Youth) had made their trademark. So many bands were doing that… YOT were great, but I didn’t want us to sound like another YOT. I was pretty tough on Sammy, probably unfairly so – he was improving all the time. His beats got more refined (he ended up playing double bass after SBS). Despite his age, Sammy wrote the lyrics to “Look Back,” which seems oddly relevant while writing this.

And then there was Alex. Alex was responsible for some of the most iconic (that word is too pretentious — but I can’t think of another one right now) things people associate with Side By Side. He wrote the music to “Backfire,”“Living A Lie” and “The Time Is Now” (the latter evolved out of his jamming with Luke, later Eric added the harmonics at the beginning). The lyrics to “Backfire” and “Living A Lie” were probably 95% Alex’s, if not more. “Living A Lie,” for example, was an expression of his anger with some very well known and outspoken “exemplars” of straight edge, who at the time were apparently not practicing what they so vehemently preached. He designed the three silhouettes on the cover of the E.P. They were actually based on photos of LL Cool J. If you were ever wondering why the feet were so big, it was an effect of perspective – the photos upon which the silhouettes were based were taken at an angle. Though not as old as Billy, he was the only other legal adult in the band. Alex worked very hard on SBS initially, but after awhile I think he became disappointed with the direction (or lack of direction) of the band. I suspect he had some impatience with me – he knew a lot more about hardcore, and I was pretty na├»ve about a lot of stuff.

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Sammy delivers the beat with Side By Side at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Bri Hurley

All of us had different vision of the direction Side By Side should take. I had a tendency to act like SBS was “my” band and tell the guys how I wanted things, which didn’t help. And remember, I couldn’t play an instrument, so I’d be telling guys who could play what to sound like, and that doesn’t usually go over well. My opinions were not always wrong, and a lot of the Side By Side sound did come from my input – but at the end of the day, the music was not really mine. And to be honest, I did not contribute much to band management, I was only concerned with content – I didn’t book the shows, I didn’t manage what little money we had, and Jordan Cooper approached us to put out the 7”. Sammy and Alex worked the hardest on that stuff. Just being in a band was enough for me. I didn’t have a “plan,” and I think that was problematic from their perspective. Sammy, despite being so young, was really organized. I remember he used to freak out when things would get out of place in his room, so we used to move things around to mess with him. Anyway, Sammy and Alex may have carried some underlying resentment, and I think it was for the most part justified. I may have started SBS but it was their sweat equity that got us anywhere.

Sammy and Alex also identified more with the whole straight edge, youth crew image than the rest of SBS. In one of the versions of the E.P. cover that Alex did, the middle guy had a small X on his hand. I had a couple of problems with that, not the least of which is that it just didn’t look that good from a graphics perspective. The other reason is that I didn’t want SBS to be marketed solely under the straight edge “brand” that was becoming so popular. I liked to think we had a broader message.

That last part deserves a little explanation. I’m certain that anyone reading this has heard more people expound on straight edge than they ever wanted to — so I apologize in advance. Keep in mind, though, I am 25 years out of touch, and have virtually no knowledge about what “straight edge” means to people these days. Not too long ago I watched some national geographic show on cable about straight edge gangs in Reno. Gangs – like the crips and bloods. I don’t know how accurate that documentary was, but the impression I got is that straight edge today bears little or no connection to what straight edge meant to me 25 years ago. So I can only speak about my perception of straight edge as it was back then.

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Jules in your face with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Chris Daily

In the mid 80’s drugs and alcohol were looked at in the teen culture as being necessities like food, water, and oxygen. Thanks to the baby boomers, Rock n’ Roll was inescapably joined with “sex and drugs” such that music was not allowed to exist by itself. Shows were just excuses to get drunk or high. Straight edge, for me, was a rejection of this. I remember tremendous amounts of peer pressure as a young teen – to be normal you had to smoke and drink. The last thing I wanted to be was “normal” like the kids at the gas station every weekend.

Naturally I fell in with the straight edge crowd because of the overall shared outlook. And initially I did get caught up in the excitement of the youth crew thing – X’s on the hands, etc. After a while, though, there is only so much you can say about straight edge. It’s a pretty simple concept, really. Once you made the choice, what was there to really discuss? So for me, straight edge was more internal than external. I treated it as a lifestyle choice, not a mission. As a result I had a lot of friends in the scene outside of the straight edge circles.

The youth crew image was a powerful one, and as the new straight edge bands, most notably YOT, got more popular, it seemed straight edge started becoming more externalized. The imagery started taking precedence over the substance. I remember there was this idea of so-called positive peer pressure – in other words pressuring kids to be straight edge. This totally didn’t work for me. In my mind, if you became straight edge by giving in to peer pressure, that was the same as doing drugs or drinking beer because of peer pressure. If you didn’t come to straight edge because of your own choice, then I think you missed the point. For example, I remember some kids whining to me, “I try to be straight edge, but it’s hard.” What?!? If you don’t want to be straight, don’t be. It’s not like AA — I’m not your _ _ _ _ ing sponsor. I started seeing an increasing number of kids who were all too eager to put on the youth crew garb and talk the talk, but were struggling with what those symbols represented. I did not want Side By Side to contribute to this trend.

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A Side By Side sing a long at CBGB with a yet to join Alex Brown in the crowd, Photo: Bri Hurley

Then Alex started Schism (the name was truly apropos) and recorded the Project X record with Sammy very soon after the shutdown show, while Side By Side was on a brief hiatus. Project X sort of spelled doom for Side By Side. Looking back on it, I think Project X is what Alex and Sammy wanted Side By Side to be. So they found their expression through another medium. When that ended up being more successful than they expected, I think there was very little keeping them in Side By Side. And eventually, of course, Sammy and Alex would play in YOT and GB respectively, which made perfect sense. It’s what they wanted to do all along.

Right before the last Side By Side show at the Anthrax, I remember being in the van with YOT and I think GB. Everyone was getting psyched up for the show and a big marker was getting passed around and everyone was putting X’s on their hands. Well, I don’t really remember if it was everyone – it seemed that way though. When the marker came to me I declined. You’d think I shot someone’s dog or said something about someone’s momma. So the _ _ _ _ talking started. Now we used to rip on each other a lot. YOT were really, really good at busting balls (Porcell had this “maybe not there, dick” retort that was a staple). This felt different. I could’ve misinterpreted it, but to me at 16, it seemed as if I had been given an ultimatum of the “you’re either you’re with us or against us” variety. I mean these guys knew me, why did I have to prove anything to them, or to anybody for that matter. This was exactly the kind of thing I was in hardcore to get away from. If they wanted to get psyched up with X’s, then so be it. They didn’t need me for that. It seems silly talking about it now, but at 16, this really, really pissed me off.

So, during SBS’s set between songs, I said something to the crowd about what happened. When I said “I don’t need X’s on my hands to prove I’m straight edge,” Alex and I think Sammy and maybe Porcell (the members of Project X — coincidence?) started saying _ _ _ _ like “pussy” and “straight edge in your face.” Maybe they were kidding – or, maybe not there, dick. I didn’t know. I didn’t care at that point. Anyway, I finally said “no matter how you cut it IT’S MY _ _ _ _ ING LIFE TO LIVE!” and the band took the cue perfectly and we went right into the song. Totally unrehearsed. Totally us being all pissed off at each other. And you know what? It was one of the best shows we ever did. But Side By Side was done very soon after. I think we had a show scheduled in Pennsylvania with Underdog. I can’t remember who called who, or if we broke up in person — I only remember that we bagged the show and called it quits.

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Jules, Lars and Eric with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Photo: Chris Daily

That last Anthrax show was the only show Lars played with SBS. He replaced Billy after he left. Well, let me correct that. Billy didn’t “leave”- he was voted out. Losing Billy was really the beginning of Side By Side’s end. The reason for the vote was he was not the best bass player. We had just finished recording the 7” and some of the guys were not happy with his track. So it was put to a vote. I didn’t vote ‘cause I didn’t think it was legit. And somehow, it fell on me to tell him. I never felt right about that whole deal. Sometime later I was talking to Mike Judge about it, and he said “so what if he can’t play? That’s no reason to kick somebody out.” I think he was right. Side By Side wasn’t built on technical ability – we were one of the loosest bands out there. But we did go all out on stage. Heck, we even got 86’d from several rehearsal studios because we went off when we practiced. Billy was a founding member of SBS – he shouldn’t have been kicked out. I should have had the courage to end the band right there, but the EP had just been recorded and I couldn’t bring myself to say “if he goes, I go” – that was a moment of weakness on my part.

I am not going to use the tired cliche about the flame that “burns twice as bright but half as long.” Side By Side was not a flame, it was a bomb. We detonated — boom — and if you blinked you missed the explosion. Very few people got to see us — we were only together for a year and broke up before the EP came out. So what most people know of Side By Side through the various recordings is merely a remnant – the shrapnel left over after the explosion. I don’t think any of the recordings ever really did Side By Side justice. Our music was never that great — but that was only a small part of the experience. Being on stage and interacting with the crowd was everything. For example, at an Anthrax show — during one song everybody got unplugged in the chaos except for drums and vocals — it didn’t matter. I think in that same show, the mic cord pulled out and there were no vocals — it didn’t matter. You just can’t capture it on a record — the live show was what it was all about.

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Jules with Side By Side at CBGB, Photo: Bri Hurley

Now before anybody jumps to any conclusions, my recollections of Side By Side’s break-up are not an attack on anybody. I don’t hold a grudge and this is not me “airing dirty laundry” or “picking sour grapes.” It was only sitting down to write for Double Cross that I have even thought about any of this. I’ve tried to give an honest account to the best of my recollection — which is admittedly not great. So much of what I’ve said should be taken with a grain of salt. One thing must be understood, the break-up was nobody’s fault. Side By Side was going to break up no matter what. If I had had better people skills, it wouldn’t have been as bad a break up — but it would have happened anyway. The members’ interests were just too divergent.

Infighting aside, Side By Side was a group effort, and would never have happened without each member’s unique input. And I am very grateful that we ended clean. Any one of the ex-Side By Side members could have attempted to capitalize on the record release and started the band up again with a new lineup. That would have been ruinous. Thankfully Side By Side didn’t go the way of so many other bands: ever-revolving lineups that eventually bore little or no resemblance to the original. Since the breakup, there have never been unkind words exchanged between any of us that that I can recall. Alex and Sammy have had great success with their post Side By Side endeavors. I am nothing if not very happy for them. In fact, Sammy used to invite me to CIV shows years later. As far as Porcell, same thing — he may have busted my balls at times, but he was always genuinely supportive. He just showed up at Don Fury’s when we were recording the AIAC record. I don’t even know how he knew we were there — anyway, I invited him to sing backing vocals. When AIAC played the first show, Porcell was right there singing along.

I was, and still am, very proud to have been a part of Side By Side and work with such intense, talented guys. Not many 16 year olds back then were so lucky to have been part of such a cool thing. I am grateful to them for the experience.

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Jules with Side By Side at CBGB, while someone goes for the stage skank, Photo: Bri Hurley

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