Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Here’s the continuation of Ray Cappo’s interview outtakes from Chris Daily’s upcoming book, Everybody’s Scene. If you liked the first entry, this one hits just as hard, if not harder. This pretty much goes without saying at this point, but thanks to Chris for letting us use this and definitely grab the book when it’s released. -Tim DCXX
The Anthrax became our new hangout, basically. We’d go every weekend practically. Sometimes they’d have like three shows a week and it would just get to be too much. But we pretty much went every weekend.
We all came from Danbury to Stamford, and we just sort of met everybody from there. I remember Porcell came. I met Porcell there. He was just like, “Holy crap! You guys are Violent Children! I always hear you guys on Adventure Jukebox!” We put out a single, also, which was, through Bill. Bill produced the whole thing. We recorded in his basement. He produced Moby and the Vatican Commandos, and he did Reflex From Pain and he did CIA’s stuff. He was like, “you wanna do a single?” And we were like, “Yeah!” So we recorded 8 songs and we just put it out ourselves. We didn’t even know if we’d sell any, we just sold it to the local crappy record store, the Record Express or something right on West Street or something. Same street that West Conn is on. “Can we sell our records here on consignment?” And we’d sell them! Unbelievable. Strange as hell. Sell all these records right there at that store. Rough Trade said we’d like to buy 300 records. “Yeah we’ll take ‘em on consignment.” And we sold them, and they’d send us the check! I never thought they’d send us a check. We were holding that check for six hundred dollars! We could not believe it. That was it. That was the beginning of me and my record business. Started making and selling records. We only made 500 and we sold them quick. It’s been bootlegged a few times.
As far as Shaun and Brian, I think I got kicked out by Shaun once at The Anthrax. Brian kicked me out once for doing something. I got 86’d from the Anthrax once cuz I stole a flyer. But I’m great friends with both of them. I love them both. We were like family back then. But I think at one point they kicked me out for stealing a flyer. I didn’t think it was bad though. I was like, “You can’t steal ’em? I like it. Can’t you just copy it?”
A faux gig with Cappo singing to his crazed fans in some bedroom in Newport RI. This was a stop while on tour with 7 Seconds and Youth of Today. In the photo is: Ray, Kevin Seconds, Jordan Cooper, Porcell, Eric Boofish Barclay, Galen Young, Pete Chramiec, Dave Stein, Photo: Bessie Oakley
There’s the story with them and how they didn’t want YOT to play with 7Seconds. There was a special bond with us and 7Seconds. They ruled our lives. They were our Gods. So when they came to town, they had made special arrangements. At that point there was such a tight community between Boston and Rhode Island and Albany and us in Connecticut that, When 7 Seconds was coming to town, Youth Of Today got on all the shows. Violent Children was allowed the year before to play with them in Connecticut. That was the dream come true. But then the next year, with YOT, the dream came even more and we played a whole little tour. But by the time it came to The Anthrax in Connecticut, the Sheridans wouldn’t let us play. Brian was giving us a hard time. He didn’t want us to play, I was freakin’ ready to kill him. Brian was only a few years older than us, but he appeared to be an adult. We appeared to be a bunch of dirt bags. He represented a few notches under my dad.
He’s turning 50 this year, and I’m 43. So 7 years older than me. But back then he was like 25… you know, you old piece of shit. It’s like, “You’re 25!?!?! And Vinnie Stigma, he’s 30!” That was like, the big outrage, “He’s 30 years old and he’s still into this shit!?!?” So anyway, he wouldn’t let us play the show. I was just always trying to sneak in the door. You’d never know if he was trying to rip you off or we were just being cheap. I mean, he did have to run a business. What I do remember is when we went from the small Anthrax to the big Anthrax, we went from getting paid nothing to one day, Brian from the big Anthrax was like, “here’s 500 bucks” and we were just like, “What?! You’re going to pay us 500 dollars for one show?! Oh my God!” We’d always get like, “Okay, here’s 20 bucks.” Okay, thanks. We would never argue about money. It was never an issue to get paid, no one thought, we’re doing this to get paid.
But as YOT got bigger later on, they were big shows. Youth Of Today, as we got big, we didn’t realize we were big. I remember coming back to Connecticut and Todd Knapp goes, “So what’s it like? You’re in a big band.” I was like “I am?” He was like “What do you mean man, you’re in every fanzine, and they’re all writing about you guys!” We were a little oblivious almost. My thinking was, well I guess we’ve done our time, doesn’t everyone get big? Youth Of Today just became a phenomenon and we didn’t really understand it while it was happening.
Youth Of Today at Gilman St. 1987, Photo: Wayne Vanderkuil
As YOT got bigger, I will say it was a little weird for me because all those guys in CT were like my elders in the scene. I was a young kid in the Connecticut scene. It was peculiar. I remember playing with AOD. AOD was one of the older guys’ bands. We really loved them. We were playing some show in Arizona when they had to open for YOT and I was like, “They’re the big band! Why are they opening for us!? We’re the little band!” It threw stuff around for me in my mind. But at that point it was sort of cool because I wasn’t really part of the Connecticut scene at that point, because I had moved to New York. So it was cool to have some place where you knew everybody and felt comfortable.
I will say I wish I saw all those old Anthrax shows at the newer Anthrax in Norwalk. The newer Anthrax was so exponentially better to go to a hardcore show. The whole fun of going to a hardcore show is stage diving, let’s face it. If you’re a teenage boy, it’s the most fun thing in the world. You can jump off the stage and not get hurt, and pile up. It’s good fun.
Youth Of Today at The Living Room, January 1989, Photo: Brian Boog
This reminds me of how I learned about stage diving. It goes back to the first time I went to a hardcore show – that Young And The Useless show. We went with Fudd, who was our authority. We respected anything he said – even though he was a total story teller. Let me go off on an aside here about Fudd for a minute:
He was a year older than us and he loved to lie, he was a pathological liar. I think he wanted us to be his friends so he could lie to us. He would tell us these fascinating stories that we were too dumb to call him on. His famous one, that we’ll all recollect, is that he walked to Bridgeport from Danbury to see Laurie Anderson. He would look in the Village Voice, see that Joe Jackson was playing Peppermint Lounge, “Oh, I walked to New York to see Joe Jackson, it was really good.” Oh you can WALK to NEW YORK? We were too dumb to understand that you can’t walk to Bridgeport. So we were like, “Really? Wow. Fudd’s been everywhere!”
The thing is, we were so desperate to have any punk friends, we accepted anyone. That’s how we met Jordan from Revelation. He was the new kid in school and he had a Dead Kennedys “DK” written on his book. And I thought, “Oooh, a convert.” I can preach to him the ways of hardcore. All you needed was just a little bit of interest. All you needed to do was doodle a little anarchy “A” and we were like, “Let’s get this guy!” We were always looking for converts to get someone from that regular scene into our scene to bring to our shows.
Tim Schellin, Ray, Bessie Oakley and Angie Whitworth Pace goofin’ around at the Grange Hall, Photo courtesy of: Bessie Oakley
So anyways, Fudd would tell us he would go to all these shows. We accepted him as the punk elder out of us five: Me, Warren, Dave Rinelli, Chris Getz. So, according to Fudd, there was no such thing as slam dancing. It didn’t exist. It was something that happened in the 70s. It was pogoing, and slamming, and then it ended. It was like, “Oh. That sucks. Can we slam?” He was like, “You can slam but it isn’t real anymore.” All of a sudden me and Fudd and this other girl, Shelly, a friend from high school, we all went to CBGBs. We were sitting at a table, we may even have been ordering a drink or something. So we are sitting at CBs, some rock band played, and all of a sudden Young And The Useless played and everyone starts slamming. And I just stood up and said “They’re slamming! Fudd! They’re slamming!” I could not believe it! I wanna slam too!”
I just started running, I had this long army trench coat, and a long mohawk. Of course there is a method to New York City slamming; you just don’t run in. But I’m like this dorky kid from Danbury who didn’t know the rules. I just ran in there and started slamming into everybody as much as I could. I remember perfectly, this guy grabs me and who is it? John Watson. He grabbed me by the neck and cocked his fist and was ready to punch my lights out and I just put up my hands, I said “I’m sorry, I’m new to this! I don’t know what to do!” He just like, threw me down.
Then I also noticed that everyone was stage diving. It was the first time I ever saw stage diving. I saw these guys stage diving, they would say something into the microphone; I didn’t realize they were singing along. I just thought they would say something random into the microphone. I was like, “alright, you’ve gotta pick something clever to say, because before this show stops I have to jump off that stage.” So I’m slamming, slamming, slamming. And then the UK Subs were like, “Okay this is our last song,” and I was like, “I’ve gotta do it.” So I jumped on the stage, I grabbed the microphone and said “Fuck Ronald Reagan” and I jumped off the stage. I didn’t realize I was supposed to say the lyrics of the song. I just said something I thought was very poignant and would make me look cool. it probably had the opposite affect. That was it. From then on, we slammed…actually, we moshed. We copied the New York Style of moshing.
We were really into dancing as part of the culture. 100% stolen from New York. But I will say..and I traveled a lot back then…New York had a style of dancing that no one else had around the country. I mean, just from traveling around the country back then, it was actually an art form. I can’t describe it. So we mimicked it as best as we could.
Youth Of Today at The Living Room, January 1989, Photo: Brian Boog
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Outburst drummer Joe Songco brings us a history lesson that takes us to the streets of NYC in 1986 and drops a ton of knowledge on how a lot of what is going on today in music can be traced back to that era. NYHC. -Gordo DCXX
Most, if not all, great music genres evolve in self-contained fashion. Musicians forming attitudes and ideologies to go along with their songs while loyal fans spread the message and the music, eventually transforming into a full-blown scene. The British Invasion in England. The Motown Explosion in Detroit. Punk again in England. Disco in New York. New Wave once again in England. Grunge in Seattle. To follow the trend and timeline, it was generally “one city, one scene.” But in the early to mid 80’s, New York City had three great up-and-coming music scenes running alongside each other at the same time. It was an unforgettable time to be a fan of underground music and if you were lucky enough to have been there to tune in to the streets, you will always remember what a magical time it was.
Hip hop, thrash and hardcore. Three musically distinct genres growing and functioning independently at first, destined to be intertwined by the end of the decade, thanks in large part to the unique swagger and undeniable attitude of New Yorkers themselves.
Each scene had their sources to communicate to the masses: When it came to radio, hardcore had shows like WNYU’s Hellhole and Crucial Chaos; hip hop had shows put on by DJ’s like Red Alert, Mr. Magic and Chuck Chillout; and thrash could be heard on Seton Hall’s radio station WSOU 89.5 and every Friday night on WNEW’s Metal Shop. Fans of each scene had places to go see their favorite acts all around the city. You went to A7, CBGB or Max’s Kansas City if you wanted to dive and slam. You went to Latin Quarter or Union Square if you wanted to do the wop. You went to L’ Amour’s in Brooklyn if you wanted to headbang.
These were the scenes going in the greater New York area circa 1984 and the going was good. MC’s rocked the mic, hardcore kids danced in the pit and headbangers, well, banged their heads. And each scene had their early pioneers getting out there and inspiring many others to listen, join the movement and perhaps try their hand at playing this music that had now captivated them. Kurtis Blow, Fearless Four, Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, Urban Waste, Kraut, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Anthrax, Overkill, Manowar, Nuclear Assault – just to name a few…all playing to their respective crowds while existing peacefully in the confines of the bubble that was their scene.
But somewhere along the way, funny things began to happen: Run DMC used Eddie Martinez to play a blistering rock riff and solo in their classic track “Rock Box.” The Beastie Boys traded their instruments for microphones, signed with Def Jam and released “Rock Hard” and “She’s On It.” Anthrax released “Spreading The Disease,” with the video for “Madhouse” showing hospitalized patients showing off their best slam dancing moves in a mental ward. Spreading The Disease also featured an inner record sleeve collage containing numerous hardcore images. If you looked closely, you saw skinheads, moshing, diving, Dan Spitz skateboarding, a Circle Jerks t-shirt, the Corrosion of Conformity logo and the biggest pre-cursors to New York crossover movement to that point, Scott Ian wearing an S.O.D. t-shirt and an image of Billy Milano himself. And finally in December of 1985, S.O.D. – which stood for Stormtroopers Of Death – released “Speak English Or Die.”
S.O.D. had fans in both the metal and the hardcore scenes buzzing. “It’s played by 1/2 of Anthrax so it’s probably metal, right?” “But the singer is a huge hardcore skinhead, so it’s gotta be hardcore, right?” “But it’s on Megaforce and the guitar sound is undeniably metal!” “Yeah, but the speed, power and aggression is completely hardcore!” It was like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial slogan: “Two great tastes taste great together.” And whatever you may have thought about Speak English Or Die back then, depending on whichever scene you were loyal to, there was no denying that S.O.D. had kicked down a door that had previously separated hardcore and metal. And it wouldn’t be long before hip hop would be joining in on the crossover front, setting the stage for unchartered waters in New York City.
“Walk in the door, get on the floor, hard rock, hard hitting hip hop hardcore.” – Run DMC “Run’s House”
In 1986, amid a slew of destined-to-be-classic NYHC records released by Cro-Mags, Murphy’s Law and Crumbsuckers, Ludichrist not only issued their own classic with “Immaculate Deception” but they tipped their caps to the hip hop scene in their song “Green Eggs and Ham” by breaking into a full rendition of Run DMC’s “Rock Box” and busting their own funky rhymes. Also released in 1986 was Agnostic Front’s “Cause For Alarm”, which was a definite turn towards a more metal direction. With the addition of Alex on guitar and Louie on drums, the record was chock full of double bass and guitar solos.
The Los Angeles-based speed thrashers Slayer released Reign In Blood, also in 1986, but what turned heads was that the band had signed to Def Jam, joining a stable of artists such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. When the Beasties released “Licensed To Ill”, Slayer’s Kerry King performed the guitar solos on “Fight For Your Right” and “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” When Slayer came to New York City in December of ’86, touring in support of Reign In Blood, they selected Agnostic Front to open for them at The Ritz. If you were in attendance that night, you heard “Hiding Inside” and “Victim In Pain” then “Angel of Death” and “Chemical Warfare” on the same night from bands who shared the same stage.
“Well they say rap and metal can never mix, but all of them can suck our…sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area.” – Anthrax “I’m The Man”
As 1987 rolled around, Anthrax set out to kick down another door. Following the release of “Among The Living”, Anthrax released “I’m The Man” – an EP, featuring the title track – which could only be described as a rap-metal comedy skit. The EP’s cover showed the band posing against a wall with the Anthrax logo written in graffiti while decked out in Adidas shelltops, sweat suits and baseball caps. It was a clear salute to their affinity for the now very popular hip hop movement coming out of their hometown. “I’m The Man” contained samples of Run DMC, The Fat Boys and The Beastie Boys.
By the end of 1987, Public Enemy had recorded their now-classic track “Bring The Noise” for the Def Jam soundtrack to the film Less Than Zero. Contained in the back-and-forth lyrics shared between Chuck D and Flavor Flav was this return head nod back to Anthrax: “Beat is for Eric B., LL as well, hell. Wax is for Anthrax, still I can rock bells.” It became the leadoff track from their early 1988 Def Jam release “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back”, which also contained the song “She Watch Channel Zero?!” – a song built completely around a sample from Slayer’s “Angel Of Death.”
“And then just maybe you’ll realize that it didn’t have to be…only as directed.” – Ludichrist – “Only As Directed”
By 1988 through into 1989, the three underground scenes weren’t so underground anymore. In fact, you could’ve easily gone into Tower Records in the Village to find your favorite records by artists in all 3 genres. New York Hardcore was feeling the influence on both sides of the coin. Agnostic Front released “Liberty and Justice For…” and Cro-Mags released “Best Wishes.” Both records, with songs like “Anthem” and “Death Camps,” exhibited the blazing raw power of hardcore while adding certain elements of hard-as-nails thrash metal with rousing success. Taking it even one step further was Leeway, who managed to fuse the hardcore and metal while picking the right spots to add elements like grooves, rhythm and hip-hop style verses. Look no further than “Catholic High School” and “Kingpin” for prime examples of Leeway’s ability to merge all three styles together seamlessly.
New growth of unparalleled proportions would follow, since it seemed like it was acceptable to experiment in new sounds. And shining examples of New York City’s musical shades of gray would only benefit the fans of their beloved forms of music. Here are just a few:
Underdog’s Richie transforming into MC Richie B., spitting verses like a pro during live performances at the break of “Say It To My Face.” If you were fortunate enough to see his straight hip hop delivery, you were nodding your head like a b-boy, as we all were.
The emergence of the metal (and some hip hop) influence in a newer breed of NYHC bands that incorporated more “jug-jug” riffs and heavier groove influenced mid-tempo breaks while the front men would choose to express lyrics with more rhythmic throat shouting (more MC than singer) over the traditional aggressive melodic singing. Some examples would include Sick Of It All, Killing Time, Breakdown, Outburst, Rest In Pieces, Judge, and Maximum Penalty.
KRS-1 introduced Sick Of It All at the start of “Blood, Sweat and No Tears.” Many NYHC fans were also fans of New York Hip Hop and for the Blastmaster to deliver his patented “fresh for 89…you sucker!” before Sick Of It All began “It’s Clobbering Time,” well that was just a tremendous show of the unity between the two scenes.
Public Enemy and Anthrax got together to record a new version of “Bring The Noise,” complete with a video which showed a mosh pit, stage diving, Scott Ian rhyming on the mic and Joey Belladonna behind the 1’s and 2’s.
The Beastie Boys sampled Bad Brains’ “The Big Takeover” on the first single from their 1992 record “Check Your Head.” The Beasties would re-visit their old hardcore instruments on “Sabotage” from their 1994 record “Ill Communication.”
The advent of new hybrid acts who further blurred the lines, such as Helmet, Biohazard and Prong while certain NYHC bands evolved into new acts with a new sound and direction, such as Gorilla Biscuits and Underdog spawning Quicksand and Into Another, respectively.
Queens’ based Def Jam hip hop group Onyx released their debut effort, “Bacdafucup”, which featured slam dancing, mosh pits and crowd surfing in their videos for “Throw Ya Gunz” and “Slam.” (Cypress Hill also incorporated the mosh pit and stage diving in their video for “Insane In The Brain”).
Yo, was that the beginning to a Stetsasonic jam? Nope. That was “Eyes Of Tomorrow” by the Cro-Mags. Welcome back, LL Cool John!
Collaborations by acts like Biohazard and Onyx on “Judgment Night” from the film of the same name’s soundtrack and a re-recording of “Slam.” Sick Of It All later got into the studio with hip-hop act (and fellow Queens residents) Mobb Deep to collaborate on a new version of Mobb’s 1995 classic “Survival Of The Fittest.”
Anthrax covered classic D.R.I hardcore songs “Snap” and “I’d Rather Be Sleeping” on their record “Volume 8: The Threat Is Real”.
And if New York set the dominoes up to fall everywhere else, fall they did. Here are some examples of what was going on outside of the Big Apple:
In Texas, D.R.I. followed up their 1985 hardcore classic “Dealing With It” with a record aptly named “Crossover” in 1987. The album cover featured the band’s well known “moshing guy” logo cast in (what else?) a shiny metal alloy. There was no turning back for D.R.I. as they followed “Crossover” with straight up thrash records in “Four Of A Kind” and “ThrashZone.”
In North Carolina, Corrosion of Conformity followed up their 1985 hardcore classic “Animosity” with their step-in-the-metal-direction 1987 EP “Technocracy” on Metal Blade Records – just a sign of things to come as the C.O.C. hardcore fans used to know and love released the blistering metal classic “Blind” in 1991.
Orange County, California and Revelation artist Inside Out morphed into Rage Against The Machine, taking the hip-hop/hardcore crossover to triple platinum heights with their self titled debut record in 1991.
In Los Angeles, Suicidal Tendencies, followed their self-titled 1984 hardcore classic by embracing the crossover with records like “Join The Army,” “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow…?” and “Lights…Camera…Revolution!” Intentional tip-of-the-hat to NYHC or not, Suicidal’s “War Inside My Head” contained massive elements of Cro-Mags’ “Don’t Tread On Me” and Warzone’s “We’re The Crew.” Oh, and former ST bassist Rob Trujillo now plays for Metallica.
Also in L.A., going in the other direction, Slayer released “Undisputed Attitude” – a full length record of covers for some of their favorite hardcore cover tunes from bands like Minor Threat, D.R.I. and Verbal Abuse.
“I give thanks for inspiration. It guides my mind along the way” – Beastie Boys “Pass The Mic”
It’s probably a safe bet to say that the kids today don’t give a lot of thought to the lineage, the DNA, the why, when and how it all took place. But if you were there back in the day, you know how it all went down. Twenty five years ago, who would’ve thought that there would be an artist like Kid Rock – a Harley Davidson-riding white MC rapping over a Metallica song? Twenty five years ago, who would’ve been ready for Limp Bizkit – a white MC rocking a backwards Yankee cap doing his best b-boy, dropping rhymes with a band playing hardcore and metal riffs? System Of A Down, P.O.D. and Korn should be proud to hail from California and Slipknot can call Iowa home. Limp Bizkit & Kid Rock? Florida & Michigan, respectively…and so on and so forth.
But we all know that a large part of their musical heritage is owed to a time in a place where lines were crossed, minds were opened, risks were taken and new styles gave birth to even newer styles. New York. And that’s not a boast…well, maybe it is…but that’s also a fact. Represent.
Monday, November 16, 2009
How did The Abused come together? What was the song writing process and what were practices like?
Raf and Dave approached me at A7. They had a three piece with Raf on guitar/vocals, Dave on bass/vocals and Charlie (ex-Reagan Youth) on drums (he was eventually replaced by Brian). They were looking for a front man. So, I joined the band. Rehearsing and song writing was very serious business to us. The majority of our rehearsals were closed door sessions, no one other than band members allowed. We checked our egos at the door. This allowed us to develop a collaborative method to our songwriting. Typically, Raf or Dave would come up with some chord progressions, Bryan would stick a beat to it, I would bring my notebook with lyrics then we would collectively work on the arrangement.
I think the energy that our songs had was due in part to the stake that each one of us took in every song. We truly were a group. That’s why, when we played the A7 reunion it had to be all four of us (Dave flew in from New Mexico to do the show). I don’t think the energy would have been the same if we had done otherwise.
Memories from recording the “Loud and Clear” 7″?
It was a long time ago, but I’ll try. For the recording, we borrowed a Marshall stack from a friend (Francis) who lived out on Long Island. On the drive back it started to snow and turned into a blizzard. We almost got stranded. When we did the vocal track, we made a “box” out of sound proof panels in the middle of the floor. I climbed in and they “sealed it shut”. I don’t think it made a qualitative difference, but it sure made us feel cool.
The Abused, CBGB’s NYC 1982, Photo courtesy of: Kevin Crowley
What was a typical Abused gig like? Paint the picture for the younger crowd that never experienced it.
We always tried to put on an audience friendly show. By audience friendly I mean we liked to include the audience in the show as much as possible and encouraged a lot of back & forth banter. When most of your songs don’t run longer than a minute, you need to have a certain amount of “set filler”. Specific things like the “Blow Your Brains Out” sing along became a tradition at our shows. And of course, there was the rage. But, that’s what a hardcore show is about. Isn’t it?
Favorite memories from playing with The Abused?
The older you get, and the farther removed you become from a period of time, the more generalized your memories become. What I remember most from that time in my life is the camaraderie we had. Playing in the Abused was only part of the equation. The early scene was pretty tight. So for me it was really a combined experience of the band and the scene. As testosterone laden some of our lyrics may sound, it’s the way we viewed things back then. Unity, loyalty, friendship and trust were our by-laws. These were all things that seemed to be lacking in mainstream society. It was the feeling of being part of something, of belonging to an underground society. Oh, I forgot to mention, it was a lot of fun.
Anything you’d change or would have done differently if you had the option?
I’m happy with the choices we made. Although…It would have been a great experience to do some serious touring. It also would have been nice to record the rest of our songs.
What are you up to today?
I’m pretty settled. I’m married and have kids. I currently work in finance (although I’m not 100% certain what I want to be when I grow up). Band wise, we are trying to put together an LP of remasterd songs and some live songs from a CB’s gig that have never been released before. Like most people I know, I’m trying to find that balance between work and play.
Abused construction gloves, Photo: Ben Alvie
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I just came across this GB video today and thought it was well worth sharing with anyone who hasn’t seen it already. It was shot by a guy named Todd Spoth at last weekend’s Fun Fun Fun fest in Austin, Texas, November 8th, 2009. Twenty years later and the lyrics to this song still get my psyched. Rebirth of hardcore pride 2009… -Tim DCXX
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Krakdown at CBGB’s, Photo: Boiling Point
Tracking down the ones that no one has heard from in decades was a definite goal for us when we started Double Cross. Although there are still plenty out there that we’re in pursuit of, slowly but surely we’re making progress. Occasionally we’ll have a gem like this that pops out of the wood work and that we can’t help but hit up. Right here is a character that has almost taken on a legendary type status when it comes to New York Hardcore, ladies and gentleman… Jay Krakdown.
This is part one of a multiple entry interview with the Krakdown frontman that seems to get better and better as the questions go on. “We need change”… -Tim DCXX
Where exactly did you grow up?
I grew up in Glen Cove, NY in Nassau County on Long Island. GC is sort of a wild place with everything from the wealthy to dirt poor and projects. The area had a number of gangs based on ethnicity and it’s an area where people used to love to drink and fight. I grew up in a poor blue collar area close to the projects so I spent a lot of time hanging out with different races. My neighborhood though wasn’t quite as tolerant, and some of my friends had issues with the Archie Bunker types of the neighborhood.
What was your introduction to punk/HC/metal/underground music and what’s the backstory to this?
My first introduction to punk was in 1979. My mother is from England and I was fortunate enough to be able to go there a couple of times in my life. While there in 1979 I had a fight in a park in the town of Cambridge with a punk rocker. Well we hung out for the rest of my stay and he turned me onto the music. I even bought the 45 (that would be a one song 7” for all you youngsters out there) of the Ruts, Babylon is Burning. Anyway when I came back to the states I sort of forgot about punk and hardcore, with the exception of listening to NYU at times. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started getting back into it, and in late ’84 I made the complete transition from metal to hardcore and the NYC scene.
Who did you get into punk/HC with?
The bass player of Krakdown, Damon Tillman, is the one who really brought me full force into the scene. Damon and I grew up together but before HS kind of went our separate ways. I hung with him here and there through a couple of mutual friends (Danton, Marcello, and Mario, who were all in the scene at the time). So through him and those guys they kept me in tune with Hardcore and turned me on to AF, Cro Mags, CFA, Reagan Youth, Urban Waste, The Mob, etc. I went to shows here and there back then but didn’t start going to shows regularly until 1985 so I guess I caught the tail end of the Golden years.
What are some stand out memories of going to early shows?
Stand out memories…hmm this is a hard one. I guess since you asked about early shows well let’s see…CFA and Reagan Youth at Central Park…that was some show. Moshing on the concrete, Alexa with a bloody lip, and I can’t remember who was in the cast but holy shit what a show! The Suicidal show at CB’s when the Cro Mags trashed their van…that was a crazy show. 7Seconds at CBs…what can you say…pretty much any AF or Cro Mags show at CBs is filled with fond and crazy memories…or the Murphy’s Law shows before the smoke machine, when actual bongs were smoked on stage.
Most of my memories aren’t so much of particular shows but of the people I met and hung out with. I will never forget those days.
I guess my favorite shows were really all the bands I saw that were my close friends…Sick Of It All, Absolution, Raw Deal/Killing Time, GB, NY Hoods, Nausea, Token Entry, and on and on. I know I left some of you out but you all know who you are. I met some of my closest friends down there. I know it sounds stereotypical but that was the only place I really fit in. High School…fuck that! I had few friends and didn’t get along with many people. The people I hung out with weren’t friends but drinking and drugging buddies. That’s why in 1985 I quit it all (alcohol, drugs, and even HS). Now I just have the occasional beer.
So all I did in HS was drink, fight and get arrested. But when I started hanging out on the scene I met people just like me and that is where I met my TRUE friends…so my stand out memories are really of all my brothers and sisters from the NYHC scene. I know that sounds cheesy but the NYHC scene had a profound effect on my life and truly shaped me into the man I am today. I am especially grateful for the closeness I had with some of those that are no longer with us but live now in my memories and I keep their spirit close to my heart!
TO BE CONTINUED…
Raw Deal’s first show at CBGB’s, Jay Krakdown with the stage antics, November 1987, Photo courtesy of: Anthony Comunale
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Chain Of Strength at Fenders, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Do you have any specific photos that you took which you really love?
The Chain of Strength photo from Fender’s with Ryan on his knees and Alex in the air is one. The shot of Judge from Gilman with Randy doing the double hang looses that I used for the cover of the photozine is another.
What band records were you most psyched to see your photos end up on?
I wish I could tell you. Honestly, I can only remember the cover shot from the “Words To Live By” compilation and some photos from the Outspoken discography. I don’t have any records anymore, so I can’t go back and look. Did any of my photos ever make it on a Revelation record?
Randy and Mikey with Drift Again at a hall in the valley, Photo: Dave Sine
You were sort of the New Age in-house photographer – any good New Age Stories?
Most of my memories from that time were just of shows and people that I had met. The first summer that Lifetime came out to California was awesome. I want to say it was 1991 and half the band stayed at my house and the other half up in the valley with the Strife kids. I just wasn’t into hardcore at the time and their bass player Justin Janisch wasn’t either. I had a Ride poster up on my wall and he and I sat around and talked about shoegaze bands in between shows. To this day, I still consider him my best friend and his family my second family.
Getting to meet the Turning Point kids was pretty epic too. Skip and I became pretty tight after that.
What role has photography played for you even after the early 90s?
It’s a love / hate relationship I have. Sometimes I get into shooting stuff and sometimes I don’t pick up a camera for months. Actually, I don’t know where my SLRs are. I guess they’re somewhere in one of my closets.
Mike Hartsfield and Mikey with Drift Again, Photo: Dave Sine
How did Solitude start and what memories do you have form that particular band?
I was able to talk Mike Hartsfield and Dennis Remsing into doing a project band with me singing. Those guys were busy with Outspoken at the time and I wanted to do something that was a little less straight edge and a little darker.
I think we practiced a couple times before going into the studio to record that demo. I had never heard my voice before, so I remember being really surprised at what I sounded like on tape.
We didn’t really have a line-up until we got on a bill to play a show at Loyola Marymount University. There was this one guy, Jason Craze, from Texas that Mike and I had met from somewhere. He played second guitar and my friend from skateboarding, Micah Panzich, played bass.
After that, Micah and Jason left or something, I can’t really remember. We then got Randy to play guitar and Mike moved over to bass. That’s when we changed the name and became Drift Again.
Drift Again at Pitzer College, Riverside CA, Photo: Dave Sine
Same with Drift Again (memories, etc.), did Solitude simply morph into Drift Again and what were the differences?
Drift Again was a slight line-up change and a change of name. I remember someone telling me that there was some metal band from Europe that had the name Solitude, so I told the other guys and we decided to change it.
Randy brought along a certain creativity that I loved. He had this knack for picking up on little stuff on things he had heard that he could apply to hardcore. I’m probably wrong, but I think Dennis appreciated it too. It gave him a chance to play something a little different.
When we decided to record, I was so hell bent on not being a straight edge band that Mike and Dennis decided to create a new label; Network Sound. It was going to be the label for things that they wanted to put out that really didn’t fit on either New Age or Conversion. I think it was only the Drift Again single and the Stone Telling LP that were ever put out on it. I could be wrong though.
As for memories, the show with Rage Against The Machine at Claremont College is pretty fucking hard to beat. They hadn’t been signed yet, but that show was by far the biggest crowd we had ever played in front of.
What are you up to today?
I moved up to San Francisco in 1997. After brief stints in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, I moved back up North to Oakland in 2001, which is where I’m living now. I work for an elevator company as a Project Manager.
I’m still in contact with Dennis and Randy on a fairly regular basis. Most of my hardcore updates come from my friend Walter Yetman. I’ll occasionally get an email from him with a link to something I might find interesting. That’s how I got to the post on Double Cross about Turning Point.
Mikey with Vic Dicara’s guitar after an Inside Out set at the Che Cafe, Photo: Dave Sine
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Ray Cappo spreading Youth Crew across America with Youth Of Today at The Anthrax, Photo: Eric Blomquist
I would consider Tim and myself to be probably two of the absolute biggest YOT fans on the face of the earth. I think I speak for Tim when I say that YOT is the best band ever, Ray Cappo is the best frontman ever, and songs like Thinking Straight, Together, and We Just Might are the best hardcore songs ever written. All of that said, I don’t think we’ve really had an overwhelming amount of Cappo content on DCXX considering our obsession.
Luckily for us, Chris Daily has hooked us up with all the outtake material from his interview with Ray that was done for the Everybody’s Scene book (which I again urge everyone to ORDER NOW).
Here’s part one, expect plenty more very soon. -Gordo DCXX
Before I ever went to The Anthrax, I first went to a benefit for The Anthrax. The benefit was at Pogo’s.
To go back before that…as far as my my own story about the Connecticut scene, well, originally, I didn’t know a Connecticut scene even existed. I just thought a New York scene existed because I had discovered New York hardcore before Connecticut hardcore. So I always would go to shows at CBGBs and then Daryl Orht, who we know and love, had Adventure Jukebox, which was a late night radio station in my hometown. So I remember Dave Rinelli saying “Hey there’s a late night radio station that plays punk music.”
It was always me and Fudd and Dave and all the guys from Violent Children who used to scan the radio stations late at night, cuz that’s the only way to listen to hardcore…you’d listen to obscure stations. And we were I think 15 or 16, so when you’re a kid you never have a car; I never left Danbury pretty much. I’d be picking up some distant signal from a college radio station in Bridgeport or New Haven at eleven o’clock or midnight. Hearing some bands I had never heard. We’d get some NYU station and we’d be listening to hardcore shows.
We started learning about hardcore just from hearing on the radio and then we found that WXCI was playing it. The guy from WXCI, you could tell he was trying to get into hardcore but he was playing a strange mixture of Black Flag meets Spandau Ballet. We were like “Okay we need to save this guy.”
Ray on the Stamford Anthrax dance floor, Photo: Jamie Keever
Back then we were going through this phase, and the guy from WXCI was too, where we wanted to be punk, but…what do you get into, Duran Duran? Black Flag? Where do you go from here? That’s where punk split from that 80s dance rock stuff to hardcore and stuff like that. At least that’s how I remember it. So we came down to WXCI with our punk and disorderly records. It’s 11 o’clock at night, and we are at the West Conn campus throwing rocks at the window to try to get his attention to let us in the doors. We were like “Hey! We hear your show all the time! We brought a bunch of records for you to play!” We brought a bunch of hardcore records and he’d play them. We’d become his friends.
He was a lot older than us, in retrospect he was 19, and we were like, 15. We were like “This old guy runs this show…” After a while we were always calling up, making requests, “Play Jerry’s Kids! Play Urban Waste!” and we just became friends with Daryl… Adventure Jukebox was great in the mix of Men Without Hats and the Circle Jerks and Urban Waste.
So then, we decided to start a band. We were already in a band…let me clarify this by saying, none of us could play any instruments at all. We had no talent at any of the instruments. We went to see The Young And The Useless at CBGBs, we were so inspired about playing thrash music. Because they were all little kids on stage, they were the guys from the Beastie Boys. We were just like, we can do this. Let’s just start a band…this was winter of ’81, early 1982. So seeing The Young And The Useless play, like, this is what we want to do.
Ray with Youth Of Today at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Chris Schneider
So it became…”what do you guys want to play?” There was no punks in Danbury at all. I went back years later and there’s Youth Of Today and all these other bands, and Danbury became the mecca of hardcore. It was unbelievable because when we were there, there was nobody at all. And it was desolate. It was just me and Rinelli, Chris Getz, and Fudd and Daryl. We just dreamed of putting on a show in Danbury. We actually wrote to the Dead Kennedys to play and hoping that they would play in Chris’s Garage, but they never replied.
So, ok, no scene in Danbury, we just figured we’d go to these shows in New York. There must not be anyone in Connecticut except us. Daryl had said “Hey if you ever make a tape of your band, we’ll play it!” We were like, “WHAT? You’ll play our tape on the radio!? Let’s make a tape!” Our chords were like, one finger chords. I just got random pieces of a drum set and we didn’t know how to play any of our instruments, and there was no one to show us. We just made up these crazy songs. We made a demo tape that we recorded with a boom box in my garage. We brought it in for Daryl, “We’ve got our demo tape, and will you play it?” He said “Yeah, I’ll play it.” We were all waiting up all night listening. Daryl was so cool, He would say “Coming up next, Violent Children, Danbury Connecticut’s own Violent Children. Danbury Connecticut’s very own hardcore band. If you want hardcore, here’s Violent Children. It’s Danbury Connecticut’s own…” He announced us so much. We were like “Oh my god I can’t believe it!” You gotta understand we had no talent at all. The demo was a piece of crap. It was recorded like crap.
But it was incredible. We couldn’t believe it. And to make matters worse, there are all these other friends of mine that had bands in high school. Just all cover bands. Playing all Rush songs, incredible musicians. Flawless players, working really hard to be in the variety show. And we come along and all of a sudden are getting played on the radio. They couldn’t believe it. “You guys can’t even play your instruments! How are you getting played on the radio? We’ve been trying to get played on the radio for years!” And we’re just like “I don’t know. We met this DJ and we did this tape…”
As soon as they played us on the radio, we get this call from Darryl. He says, “These guys from this club in Stamford want you to play.” We’re like “What? We’re gonna play a gig in Stamford Connecticut?” And then there’s this guy from New York who got us this gig at A7 who wanted us to play. We couldn’t believe it. Brian Sheridan called me from The Anthrax and I guess they all listened to the Adventure Jukebox. “Yeah, yeah we’ve got a big benefit for this club I own called the Anthrax,” it used to be some club, some art gallery, but it got shut down. Whoa!
Cappo with Violent Children at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Jamie Keever
So Brian says how they didn’t have any money, would we like to play a benefit show? And I was like, who’s playing? He’s like “Agnostic Front, Cause For Alarm, The Abused, Shock, Hose (which was Rick Rubin’s band), Vatican Commandos, CIA.” He sent us this flyer and it was so awe inspiring. If you’re in a band and the first time you see your name appear on a flyer, it’s like “Oh my god I can’t believe we got a gig!” We were like “We would love to play!”
So we are set to play. Before the show we played, we went to another show at Pogo’s, it was Urban Waste, Reagan Youth, The Abused…something like that. I met Brian Sheridan and Shaun Sheridan and Johnny Stiff. I’m like, “Yeah this is where we’re going to play. You guys have a whole scene here!” Truthfully, it was like, the whole New York scene showed up for that show and of course there was a whole lot of fights. But the whole time, I’m like, “This is so cool there’s like a whole scene here. So Great. We’re gonna play here soon! Wow!”
So we came back and played. I remember we played second. They didn’t even make us open the show. Hours Of Torture played. They all went to Chote which is this very prestigious private school. But they were all really cool. And they could actually play their instruments. So they played first and Violent Children played second. And you know, for a band that couldn’t play our instruments, we got on stage…50, 70, 100 people in there…it was like, ahhhh this is great! It was like, “This is the best thing in the world!” We had never experienced anything like it. We had never played, we had just screwed around. It was incredible.
After us, I think the Vatican Commandos came on and all of a sudden the police busted in and they raided the club and everyone was like “It’s a raid!” I’m like “A RAID!?!?!? This is something right out of a MOVIE!” Everyone is saying, “Hide under the stage! Quick!” So all of the young kids were hiding under the stage because it was an over 18, 21 and over bar. We spent, I think, Agnostic Front’s set, and a few other sets under that stage. The most exciting night of my life was spent under a stage.
Youth Of Today at the Norwalk Anthrax, Photo: Eric Blomquist
Monday, November 9, 2009
Steve Yu with Death Before Dishonor at CBGB’s, Photo courtesy of: Mark Ryan
I am very happy to hear my Hardcore Brothers – Agnostic Front, are re-releasing “Victim In Pain” next month. When people talk about NYHC in conversation or on the web, automatically Agnostic Front is a topic. They put their stamp on Hardcore back in the late 1970’s. I remember the first time meeting with Vinnie at CBGB’s – he would always say hello to all the kids, it did not matter the way you looked, or the color of your skin.
Eventually we (Death Before Dishonor) become friends and started opening for AF. I will always remember Vinnie and Roger being great people and helping all the Hardcore kids in the past and now. It’s my honor to say: “CONGRATULATIONS TO MY BROTHERS AGNOSTIC FRONT ON THE NEW RECORD AND HARDCORE FOR LIFE.”
Ken Wagner, Roger Miret and Steve Yu at the benefit for Jimmy Gestapo’s legal fund, Photo: Laura Zeitlin
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The Abused, a NYHC original, and one of the very best early 80s EPs. Appropriate coverage has been on the DCXX checklist since day one, finally we catch up with singer Kevin Crowley. We need a drug free youth… -Gordo DCXX
Where did you grow up?
New York City for the most part, but I “did time” in Lansford, PA; Streamwood, IL; Woodbridge, CT & Netanya, Israel.
What was your early music exposure?
I have a sister who is eight years older than me and very musically inclined (hi Radha). When she was in her teens she played drums in an all girl rock band. They used to rehearse in her bedroom (it was the coolest thing in the world to a six year old). There was always music blaring in our house. So while my friends were humming the theme songs to Speed Racer & Ultra Man, I was being weaned on the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple & Led Zeppelin.
Youngblood, Kerry Kraker and Kevin Crowley, Photo courtesy of: Kevin Crowley
How did you get into punk and early HC?
I moved back to the city just as I was about to enter tenth grade (fall of 1980?). I got accepted to Music & Art HS which at the time was up in Harlem near City College. I remember standing outside of the school on the first day, seeing a group of kids who were punk rockers and being in awe of them. They looked and dressed so different from everyone else. They were an obvious minority, yet they were oblivious to all the kids around them who were staring or making comments. I instantly identified with them. I ended up becoming very good friends with a kid named Kerry Kraker, who turned me on to a lot of really great music. We started hanging out on Avenue A and eventually progressed from “punks” to “Hardcore Punks”.
What were some stand out early NYHC shows you attended?
The first shows I went to were at A7 and were probably the most influential. Bands like Kraut, Heart Attack & The Mob always put on great shows there. Seeing the Bad Brains play at Irving Plaza and seeing the Dead Kennedys play in Staten Island also stand out in my memory. I don’t think I went to a show that didn’t stand out in one way or another. It was a really great time to be into the scene.
Who were your favorite punk/HC bands of the time?
For such a simple question, I’m having a hard time coming up with an answer. So many bands were so good. Most bands’ records don’t do justice to the live shows they put on. But, if I have to name names…the Bad Brains would probably top the list followed by (in no order of importance): Minor Threat, Kraut, The Mob, Heart Attack, SSD, Urban Waste, Cause For Alarm, Antidote, Reagan Youth…etc (this list is pre Murphy’s Law / Agnostic Front / Cro Mags). I also listened to a lot of Discharge & GBH, although I never got to see them play live.
When did you start doing artwork and stuff for bands/venues?
The first flyer I drew was a “coming soon” flyer for The Abused (we wanted to build some hype once I started singing with them). So I guess you could say we had the flyer before the gig. In retrospect, it would have been pretty funny if we never played a show after I made that flyer. I pretty much stuck to flyers for our own shows. The pointillism technique that I used was really labor intensive and the flyers took a long time to complete.
How did you get to know the other guys in The Abused? What did you do before the band musically?
I met the other guys at A-7, Raf & Dave basically came up & introduced themselves to me. I really didn’t get to know them until we started playing together. We ended up becoming great friends. Pre-Abused I wasn’t doing anything musically except for pretending to play guitar. I wasn’t very good. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I stuck to vocals.
To be continued…
Thursday, November 5, 2009
A monster stage dive during Outspoken, 3-1-1991 at Moorpark High School, Photo: Mikey Garceau
It’s been a fairly text heavy week here at DCXX, so we thought we’d hit you with a handful of selected photos from the lens of Mikey Fast Break. There’s still at least one more entry coming from our interview with Mikey, so hang tight for that. In the meantime we take you back to the late 80’s/early 90’s Southern California hardcore scene… Animal Style. -Tim DCXX
Rob and Mark Haworth with Hard Stance at the Whiskey, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Mark Haworth Zack De La Rocha and Eric Ernst with Hard Stance at the Whiskey, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Mike Hartsfield with Freewill, Photo: Mikey Garceau
A Freewill sing along with Dan O, Joe Nelson and crew, Photo: Mikey Garceau
An off the drum riser jump by Pushed Aside guitarist, Jeff Carlyle, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Another Jeff Carlyle, Pushed Aside jump at the Whiskey, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Outspoken’s first show in Jim Lavern’s garage, Photo: Mikey Garceau
John Coyle with Outspoken, Moorpark high school gym, 3-1-1991, Photo: Mikey Garceau
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