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May 15th, 2012 by Larry

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Everybody’s Scene outtakes with Gavin Van Vlack

Gavin with Absolution at the Anthrax, Photo: Joe Snow

In our ongoing posting of outtakes from Chris Daily’s upcoming book, Everybody’s Scene, we bring you some great content from Gavin that was caught on tape. Be sure to grab Everybody’s Scene for much, much more -Gordo DCXX

The Anthrax, it was a total grab bag of music…you had no idea what you were going to get. You were going to see your friends’ band, you knew what they sounded like, but you didn’t know who else was opening or closing or what last minute add ons were playing. You’d see some stuff and be like, “Wow, DRI? What? What is this?” Seeing stuff like that, JFA…stuff that just shaped me musically. DRI invented the metal scene as far as I’m concerned. There would be no Slayer if there was no DRI. There would be no me, musically speaking, if there wasn’t The Anthrax. I would not have had a platform to tinker around with music and play with ideas and do weird stuff if it wasn’t for that club.

So many things that came out of that club, and influenced not only punk rock and hardcore but rock ‘n roll in general.

We don’t have that underground anymore. The media is so massive now it’s just an expansive web that covers everything. The second a band has a million friends on MySpace or Facebook, they’re overnight pop sensations. We didn’t have that back then. It was like, “Wow, I found this really awesome little diamond of a thing, that’s so incredible. And I’m going to share it with my friends and hopefully it’s going to blow up into this really great thing.” Well, I remember seeing the Cro-Mags in ’84 at CBs and being like, “Oh my God… if the real world knew of this it would be horrible.” And the problem was, the real world found out and it became horrible. It wrecked the Cro-Mags. That band is such a part of my heart. Those guys, Agnostic Front, bands like, all that stuff…Underdog – you want a New York freedom fighter – Richie Birkenhead, there you go. If people were getting into fights at Underdog shows or Youth Of Today shows…I always tried to take the right side of the fight.

Gavin hits the Norwalk dancefloor, Photo: Jeff Coleman

I would hear “Well Gavin’s a violent person” so on and so forth. I can’t say that what I did was right, but I can’t say that I would have just honestly stood by and watched some of the shit that I saw get validated and not have something to say about it and not act on it.

I’m kind of built like a manhole cover with feet…and that was before I started fighting competitively. Which is funny. I take a good shot. I don’t really roll out, I’ve been hit a couple times by some people where they’re sure of it being a knockout shot and it just doesn’t happen. Being that young you have this invincibility. At this point I’m 41 years old, I think competitive fighting took that out of me, knowing that anyone can get hurt any time, it’s not a game anymore. It’s something I was doing at hardcore shows, getting into fights, to where, brought into a competitive aspect, I’ve been hurt in training more than I’ve been hurt in fights at hardcore shows… I mean, I’ve been hit with skateboards!

There was a good amount of fighting that went on…I had a big reputation for being a big violent thug. I’m not saying some of it may have been deserved. I tried my best to take the good side of things. My only weakness is that if I’m seeing a guy getting beat up by three other guys, I’m going to jump in on it. I’m going to even it up just a little bit. That’s what was happening a lot. This pack mentality. Oh he’s not one of us. Some kid’s wearing an Exploited shirt! These guys are wearing Warzone shirts. He’s a punk. We’re skins. That’s the stupidest shit ever. It’s so ridiculous.

Early on, it was an amazing, fun and goofy thing, and it became this juggernaut, this Frankenstein…that was the sad evolution.

The puppy stopped being cute at a point. I think I walked away from the concept of hardcore in ’86. I grew up around music. All music was good. Then it became this exclusionary thing where, “You can’t like this if you like that.” It just didn’t appeal. As a musician it’s stifling…”You’re only allowed to eat bacon…forever…that’s it.” Well, it’s like 2 o’clock in the morning. I don’t wanna eat bacon. Not to offend any vegetarians. I listen to so many genres. I don’t listen to anything that I’ve listened to before. Either I hate it, or I learn something from it musically.

The Norwalk Anthrax was a really weird time for me. I loved going to CT because I got to see all my old friends, the Sheridan brothers, etc. It was weird because the scene became something I didn’t want anything to do with. When we would play we would bring up a band we loved, like when I was in Absolution, we brought up Nausea, and the kids didn’t get it. They just didn’t get it…that’s what hurt me, when kids thought, “I have to get it.” They couldn’t just accept stuff. That to me was kind of indefinite. I played in Burn after that and we still played at the Anthrax. It’s a typical Gavin thing to drive things into the ground. Even with Burn I was trying to do something different. I was trying to get away from doing the normal hardcore.

Gavin with Absolution, Photo: Dave Rabenold

I think the end of it for me was one of the last shows we played there at The Anthrax. I had become really…we were living in Williamsburg, way before hipsters were living in Williamsburg, this was like 1989, I had become a recluse, I didn’t even really talk to the guys in the band anymore. I remember we were playing at the Anthrax and this young skater kid came up to me and said, “You’re the guitarist form Burn, right?” And I was just sitting there like, “What the hell do you want from me?” And he goes “You made me want to play guitar” He grabbed my hand, basically forced me to shake it and was like “Thanks.” At that point I realized how much of a jackass I was.

I was really really angry. That kind of killed things for me. I realized I can’t do this anymore. I quit Burn. I had gone back to living in abandoned buildings. I was living in between Avenues C and D. I actually still live in on 6th St. I mean, it’s really nice. I hooked it up. But back then, when I moved back, I stayed inside for the rest of the week, ordering food from Chinese restaurants. I was like, I can’t do this kind of music any more. It’s just killing me. I just hated everything. This kid came up to me with the biggest compliment I had ever heard in a really sorry existence, I was the reason this kid wanted to do music. And I had the nerve to feel spite for him…just to see what I was turning in to…and that was at the Anthrax, it was sad. That was the club that had made music so amazing for me, but at the end of it, it was the death of all things for me. I didn’t want anything to do with it. It had become a Frankenstein.

Another thing was that the friends that I had couldn’t come to Burn shows or they would get beat up. I have a lot of friends from the gay and lesbian community, from different walks…there’s a lot of violence going on there, and they can’t come to my shows. That’s what hurt…I remember when I first started going to shows…it was a lot of kids who, honestly didn’t know their place in high school, a lot of them were gay and lesbian or just didn’t fit in, and then it became this place where you had to fit in, you had to fit this mold. That was the death of it for me, because I had become so resistant to anything, to anybody. I mean, this kid who gave me the biggest compliment, inspiring him to play guitar, and all I could feel was contempt. My attitude was just, “How dare you talk to me?” I could have just taken him aside and said, “Go buy this record, this record, this record, here’s a thousand better reasons to play guitar.” I couldn’t even be that constructive.

So I stopped playing music for probably 6 months, just did a lot of drugs…and then started this band called DIE 116 which was a whole different change all together. We never got to play the Anthrax; I don’t think we would have been accepted. We were ballistic way beyond anything I ever wanted to do. That record was my favorite record I had ever done in my life. That includes the Burn stuff.

An X’ed up Gavin with some Stamford Anthrax follies, Photo: Chris Schneider

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chain recording memories from Ryan Hoffman

Ryan Hoffman and Alex Pain with Chain at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Which is your favorite Chain 7″, “True Till Death” or “What Holds Us Apart” and why?

I like them both for different reasons, but overall, “What Holds Us Apart” is my favorite.

Any stand out memories from recording the “True Till Death” 7″?

Writing the songs was a great experience but the recording process sucked! You would have to clear it with Bratton, but from the best of my knowledge it was recorded for under $500. So it wasn’t fun at all, we just rushed through our set and most of the music and vocals were first takes. That was the one really great thing about Curt, he would nail it on the first take.

More Ryan and Alex from City Gardens, Photo: Unknown

Any stand out memories from recording the “What Holds Us Apart” 7″?

It was right about the time when Dag Nasty’s “Field Day” was released and Bratton and I really like the sound quality of the record, and heard from Brian Baker it was inexpensive to record. Again we were on a very strict budget and rushed through it but this experience seemed more relaxed. I can remember the recording engineer telling us stories about Dag Nasty bringing skanky girls to their sessions which was hilarious. Also, there were stories about the studio’s claim to fame, the 80’s metal band Dokken. But what really helped make it a fun experience was bringing everyone in for backing vocals: Trevor (Foundation Records), Porcell, Steve from Turning Point, Dennis Boiling Point, Randy Pushed Aside and many others. That helped make it super fun.

Ryan with Chain Of Strength at the Country Club, Reseda CA, Photo: Dave Sine

Monday, November 2, 2009

Arthur Smilios on “Victim In Pain”

Arthur with GB at the Anthrax, Photo: Brian Boog

“Victim in Pain” is undoubtedly, one of my top five hardcore records, ever; pure hardcore, before they started doing metal. How long is it? 25 minutes? It’s a quick sonic bludgeoning; a raid on your village and it’s over before you know it happened, yet, for some reason, you’re grateful. You want it, again and again.

I would listen to that record, constantly. It was the whole package: Civ and I have discussed how we’d stare at the gatefold for an eternity, wishing we could be as cool as Roger, with his tattoos and the chain around his waist. Agnostic Front, quite simply, WAS New York Hardcore; still is.

Is there a better opening track than “Victim In Pain?” (“We Gotta Know,” from “Age of Quarrel” is the only one that compares.)

Late 80’s GB era Arthur, Photo: Jen Buck Knies

The lyric, “Remember we’re a minority and every one of us counts,” still gives me chills, to this day; or,

“Society’s rules have made me cruel,
I’m just the opposite, ain’t no fool.
The way I act, the way I dress,
Doesn’t make me strong or best.
Soon they’ll find the reasons why
I’m open-minded and not blind.”

That was downright anthemic to a 16-year old misfit, rebel-in-training. I had finally found my people: other disaffected freaks, seething with anger and youthful energy. They were blatantly anti-establishmentarian; the entire package; a perfect confluence of music, lyrics and personalities.

I know it sounds trite, but it’s true: Punk/Hardcore saved my life. “Victim in Pain” was a major part of that process.

Remember, “There’s no justice, it’s just us. Blind justice has screwed all of us.” Truer words have rarely been spoken, Roger.

For a Better World,
Arthur (Still in awe of Roger, Vinnie and the boys).

Arthur and that YOT Youth Crew 88 longsleeve at the Anthrax with GB, Photo: Brian Boog

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Poll results for favorite track off of Brotherhood’s – “No Tolernence” EP

Brotherhood… not a band that’s been talked about much here on DCXX, so what better time to start than now? Hopefully at some point we’ll track down some members for something more substantial, but we’ll kick it off here with a few random memories.

Brotherhood – Seattle Straight Edge, Photo courtesy of: Brotherhood

– For some reason I remember ordering the Brotherhood 7″ directly from Ron, their singer. I think there was some sort of hold up on shipping it, maybe something about Ron waiting on a shipment of 7″s from Skate Edge Records. I remember Ron writing me and apologizing for the hold up and then soon after receiving the actual 7″. About a week later I received another copy of the 7″, only this time from Kiersten, Ron’s then girlfriend who helped him with mail order. I guess there were a few mix ups and some how or another I ended up with 2 copies of the 7″. No Tolerance… No Complaints.

– Brotherhood toured with The Accused in 1989 and played a show in Philadelphia on that tour. A few days before the show I remember getting a post card flyer in the mail and up until that point I had no idea the show was even happening. I scrambled trying to figure out how I could get to the show, but ultimately never succeeded in securing a ride. Unfortunately 1989 was pre-driver license days for me and like many out of town shows, if no ride was secured, no show was attended. Total bummer. I do know that Greg, the bassist of Release, went and scored himself a royal blue Brotherhood “Fuck Racism” shirt which I saw him wear quite a bit. That shirt and those maroon suede Pumas were often Greg’s outfit of choice.

– In July of 1989 Ron Guardipee (Brotherhood singer) and his friend Brian (Pea Body) made a trip out to the east coast. Off hand I don’t recall why they were out here, but I do know that they ended up at the Bold / Gorilla Biscuits show at City Gardens here in Trenton. The weekend of that show Ron and Brian crashed at my friend Tony’s house and we all spent that weekend hanging out. I remember getting one of those SSD “Kids Will Have Their Say” Ex-Claim boots from Brian and a weird one-off screened Inside Out shirt from Ron. I also remember Ron introducing all of us Jersey kids to putting Parmesan cheese on our pizza. We’ve never looked back.

– During that weekend of hanging out with Ron and Brian, we all took a ride into Princeton. Of course we went to the Princeton Record Exchange (which everyone should do when visiting Princeton), but we also engaged in some straight edge shenanigans. Ron walked up to a couple of dudes, one which was smoking a cigarette and asked if he could bum a smoke. The dude happily pulled out his pack and handed Ron a cig, which Ron immediately snapped in half and dropped on the side walk. Ron says, “Oh damn man… sorry, can I get another?” The dude reluctantly pulls out another, which again Ron takes with his fingers, snaps in half and drops on the sidewalk. Ciggy dude was bummed and considering Ron was a bit of a menacing looking fella, nothing was said and ciggy dude walks away with his head hanging low. Ron says something about Straight Edge Revenge, we all laughed and that was that.

A Brotherhood sing along with Greg leaving his guitar behind and joining in on the fun, Photo courtesy of: Brotherhood

– Later on, the same night as the Princeton incident, we were driving around my town and pulled up on a high school party crowd that was gathering in front of someone’s house. We saw a girl that went to our high school and Ron yells, “Stop the car!” We stop, Ron rolls down the window and says, “Hey, are you the singer for Hateful Youth?” The girl looks at Ron like he’s crazy and says, “Hateful Youth… I don’t know what you’re talking about, sorry.” Ron says, “You can’t fool me, you’re the singer for Hateful Youth, you’re fucking awesome!” The girl shakes her head and walks away. We later find out that Hateful Youth was a band that Ron sung for. From there on that girl that went to our high school was always referred to as “Hateful Youth chick.”

– A couple of years after first meeting Ron, I ended up in Seattle with my band Mouthpiece. We were doing some shows with Seattle’s Undertow and of course we ended up hanging out with Ron. I remember going out to eat with Ron and a couple of the Undertow guys and Ron telling me and the Undertow guys that the torch had been passed to us and bands like Mouthpiece and Undertow were the future of straight edge hardcore. I was stoked to hear that considering I was a definite Brotherhood fan and had a lot of respect for Ron. After eating Ron drove me to the Seattle overlook where the cover shot for the Brotherhood “Words Run As Thick A Blood” photo was taken. I was stoked to say the least, unfortunately I had no camera to capture the moment.

Brotherhood – “Words Run As Thick As Blood” Seattle overlook shot

An outtake shot from the “Words Run As Thick As Blood” cover shoot

As for the 7″, classic east coast style straight edge hardcore played by a band from Seattle with a singer that sounded as close to Springa from SSD as you could get. I loved the entire 7″, but my vote for favorite track went to “The Deal”. Why… because of these lyrics:

Litter our streets, with your poison
No concern, for the deadly consequence

We are coming on strong
The deal, you’ll pay a price

Step on whatevers in your way
Push and shove, selfish heart
And you will pay

This pain, that you’ve caused
Like our attack, it’s coming back


Greg Anderson with Brotherhood way before his Southern Lord/Sunn O)) days, Photo courtesy of: Brotherhood

The Deal – 82
Til’ Death Do Us Part – 63
No Tolerance – 21
Won’t Turn Our Backs – 12
Courage – 7
Gain – 5

Here’s a video of Ron’s post-Brotherhood band, Resolution doing a cover of Brotherhood’s “Breaking The Ice”. In this video Ron’s friend Brian (as previously mentioned) is accompanying him on stage with Resolution. This was filmed by Cedar Bristol at Washington Hall, 12-2-1989 Seattle Washington.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from DCXX

“It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Outtakes from the soon to be released “Everybody’s Scene” book

Circle Storm at the Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Jeff Ladd

In case you haven’t heard, Chris Daily’s tell-all book on the Anthrax, “Everybody’s Scene” is going to be out in no time, and is something you don’t want to miss. We’ve been fortunate enough to not only get a glimpse of the book, but to get access to some of the outtake material from this monster project. We’ll be running some of this outtake material here as the release approaches. Let me stress again – you do not want to miss this book!
-Gordo DCXX

Shaun Sheridan

I was 22 in ’82. April of ’82 was when we actually started looking for a place. I just called up every realtor in the yellow pages. Just said “I’m looking for a store front, set it up as a studio/art gallery” – but studio mainly, because that’s a much broader term. Somebody wound up calling me back; they had 400 square feet, Main Street in Stamford. Went and looked at the place, steel roll down gate in the front, had this small basement, to us which doubled the space. Okay, $400 a month, we were both living at home, home from college from the summer. We were both working; it was kind of like having a club house. All we had to do was paint it, put it in shape.

We didn’t think we’d be able to like, do anything. We’d be down there just working on the place, sitting in the basement because it was cooler, having a beer, talking about things. “Wouldn’t it be so cool if we had a band playing down here?” And eventually that happened. Two bands played, we were having a gallery opening upstairs. Crypt Tease, a couple of girls Brian had gone to college with, played like, a Cramps style. And then the Moberly’s which were from Seattle Washington, the drummer had been in The Farts. Jim BASS? Had this band the Moberly’s who wrote these great pop rock sorts of tunes more than anything else. He lived in the apartment building that Brian was living in down in Brooklyn, they were subletting. So I got to know them, so they were like, “Hey we’ll come play your art opening.” It was like August 1982.

That was a great thing. A whole bunch of artists showed up. It was very well received. It went til like 6 in the morning. It was this really cool opening night/day thing that gave you the idea something could really happen there

The Stamford Anthrax, photo from Everybody’s Scene courtesy of: Chris Daily

Brian Sheridan

As far as bigger bands that came through…After the Dickies, probably 7 Seconds, DOA, The Asexuals, Stretch Marks…New York bands like No Control, Dr. Know, Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks, Adolescents, just about anybody that was anybody at that time. I think the only bands that we didn’t get were somebody like Red Hot Chili Peppers – they were supposed to play Norwalk on a Sunday early on and something happened where they double-booked or something so we couldn’t do them on a Sunday. I think they played up at Toad’s Place instead. Let’s see, what were some of the other bands…Detox, Clipboards, that was a band I was telling you about. Well of course, Black Flag, they shut us down.

Black Flag was supposed to be a surprise, unannounced show. Henry had gone on tour, his Spoken Word tour, and really liked what we were doing at the Gallery, so he says ok, next time we’re coming through Black Flag, we’re going to play at the club. And I was like, well, ok, it’s an unannounced show, let’s sell some tickets…it was supposed to be like a surprise show. Well, the word got out and all of a sudden people are…500 people are showing up to an underground club and Black Flag and Gone and Painted Willie I believe, they show up in their vans. We’re setting up, they go downstairs with their equipment and their PA and just go into the breaker box, huge huge clamps with the electrical for their PA. Their PA took up the whole stage for crying out loud. So as the night wore on, I think Gone played then Painted Willie played, Black Flag was supposed to go on and we got raided. The police came and said, “Listen Brian and Shaun, you’re getting too popular here” you know. They shut us down…and they kicked everybody out and said you guys gotta leave the neighborhood pretty much.


Musically, I liked everything especially in the early 80s there was never, at least among myself and my friends, there was never this idea that you had to choose one genre of music to the exclusion of anything else. Danceteria was this club in Manhattan. It was the perfect example of an eclectic club. The Bad Brains would be playing on the ground floor, Mission of Burma would be playing in the basement. There would be a Gay Disco on the second floor. New Wave video lounge on the third floor. Hip Hop on the fourth floor. And everything really benignly co-existed. The Beastie Boys are also a perfect example of that. They started out as a hardcore band then became a hip hop band, and everybody, at least my friends, were into everything. I never liked that idea of picking and choosing. Like if you’re into hardcore you can’t be into this. As much as I liked Black Flag Damaged, if it’s Sunday Morning at 8 o’clock, I want to listen to something pretty.

So yeah, when I started making my own music, I was making electronic music but also making acoustic music that just wasn’t being released. I was playing drums with some friends, we started a band called the Pork Guys. We made one seven inch in like 1991. We made 100 copies for our friends. So it wasn’t like transitioning from one type of music into another, it was, my musical tastes, and maybe this just means I’m a stunted adolescent, that my musical tastes when I was fifteen are basically the same as they are now. I liked everything back then, and for better or worse I still like everything.

Ray Cappo

Stamford was sort of like the weird little ghetto area. I think one of the coolest things that happened was one day the entire city of New Haven showed up. And New Haven had like this whole scene of themselves. They like doubled our scene in one show. Like we never knew they existed, they never knew we existed. They were all younger than me even. And they just showed up one day. It was like when Youth Of Today was, you know, all those kids we saw in that picture like Becky and Tayo and man they were all really punk rock looking, like right off the cover of the Punk And Disorderly record. They all had like, leather jackets and mohawks and girls with shaven heads and it was just, holy crap! New Haven! We were like, where are you guys from? They were like, we’re from New Haven, and there were like 30 of them. Like, This is great! There’s a whole new scene!

It was a really interesting mix also, because like, Connecticut is a notoriously super wealthy state. And you have people who look incredibly punk, incredibly from the streets. They were always rich, really rich kids, from these really rich families that were punks, and they were all cool, we were all friends and I didn’t know if any of them were rich or not. We just all met there. Just, we didn’t drink so we didn’t do much, just hung out and skateboarded around. I think drinking makes your stories much more exciting, ridiculous, and dangerous. We’re just like, “yeah we saw the band and moshed, and that was it. Went home.”

Chris Daily interviewing Ray Cappo for Everybody’s Scene, Photo: Sue Snow

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gavin Van Vlack on Agnostic Front – “Victim In Pain”

Gavin with Burn at Middlesex County College, Photo: Adam Tanner

At DCXX, we always welcome suggestions from the readers on what they’d like to see here. Yesterday I got a great suggestion from Geoff TDT to do a running piece on Agnostic Front’s classic New York Hardcore album, “Victim In Pain”. The idea is that since Bridge 9 Records will be releasing an official re-release of “Victim In Pain” next month, it would be interesting to hear what some NYHC veterans have to say about this album. The question was simple, “What does Victim In Pain mean to you?”. First at bat is Absolution/Burn/Die 116, NYHC heavy hitter guitarist, Gavin Van Vlack. -Tim DCXX

Victim In Pain was a voice out of the darkness of old New York summoning hardcore kids everywhere that they were not alone.

In a time when we weren’t of the numbers that we have attained today with hardcore’s current popularity, it told hardcore and punk kids that they could make a change in the world that was scaring us to death…and we did. – Gavin Van Vlack

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jon Biv part IV – The beginning of Supertouch

Supertouch, Pyramid Club, NYC 1990, Photo by: Glenn Maryansky

It’s difficult for me to really explain what happened with Mark, Mike Judge and Youth Of Today mainly because I was an outsider to it all. Most people know that Ray Cappo and Mark Ryan were living in the same apartment in NYC for a brief time. To me, what looked like a pretty respectful friendship seemed to sour quickly. And of course, once YOT asked Mike to join and play drums, the friendship just ended.

We played two gigs as Supertouch, in spring 1987, with Mike drumming and Walter Schreifels on bass. We lost Carl to his other commitments, and now we were losing Mike. Make no mistake about it; Mark and I were pissed. A lot of crazy and angry words were being thrown around in the NY Hardcore scene. It never erupted into physical confrontation, but a lot of garbage-talk piled up. It was all really silly because it worked out for the better for Supertouch in the end.

On one of those gigs in ’87, we played with a band called Altercation. Mark was very impressed with their drummer. When he heard that Altercation had broken up, he went about trying to find the drummer. This is how we met Andy.

Andy had issues with the scene which were in tune with our own. His band ended because two of the members quit to join another much bigger band. He was perfect for us because he was so talented, loved all different kinds of music, and was fueled by the same anger as Mark and myself.

Supertouch, Pyramid Club, NYC 1990, Photo by: Glenn Maryansky

The first practice with Andy was amazing. We got more done in two hours than we ever got done with Mike in two years. We had also found a new bass player, Mike Bitton. We were ready to start playing shows by September of 1987.

With this new line-up, we were officially Supertouch. No more being confused with Death Before Dishonor. Our practices also changed. We would do a lot of writing and practicing what we already had, but we also did a lot of improvisation. Ok, we weren’t Funkadelic or the Bad Brains, but working out crazy spaced out jams with no boundaries really opened up so many possibilities. Hundreds of ideas started coming out of us, and a lot would eventually be used. A song like ‘What Did We Learn’ started out being inspired by a certain drum beat (taken from an Abused song). It then worked its way into a quiet groove where Mark starts singing, and ends on a high note purely influenced by the Cro-Mags.

The creativity of the band escalated. We weren’t afraid to add in quiet parts. They would make the loud and heavy parts around them so much more dynamic. Personally, I started using some chords that most guitar players wouldn’t go near. Adding in some major chords in a scene which would only tolerate minor chords and crunch was risky. But who cares? Andy and Mark loved what I was coming up with.

Joe with Supertouch at Fenders, 1989, Photo: Mikey Garceau

With Mike Judge drumming, I wrote Searching, Struggling To Communicate, and our Intro. There were three others which had been dropped. With Andy, the first songs to come out of us were What Did We Learn, How Do You Feel, On 3, Grabbing Hold, and The Day After. Much different from the first efforts, and much different from the other bands we were playing with. We would get a lot of blank stares when we played, but we were also winning over new people all the time.

By mid 1988, we had to replace Mike Bitton. Things just weren’t going well with him. We still got gigs and were able to get replacement bass players. We did two gigs with Eddie Cohen (Altercation, Leeway, Both Worlds), and two gigs with Tom Capone (Beyond, Quicksand). We couldn’t keep these guys due to their prior commitments so we put an add in the Village Voice. The first call came from Joe Graz.

Andy met up with him and gave him a cassette of a demo we had done, and the WNYU show. There were 10 songs on the tape. When Joe came to try out, it was more like a practice. He knew all the songs, and it wasn’t a try out at all. We found our man. Or he found us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mikey Fast Break part II

Tell us about your East Coast trip in ’89, how that came about, who you hung with, what shows you saw and whatever memories come to mind.

That thing was a whirlwind. I had corresponded with Jeff Terranova for a bit before they came out to California that summer in 1989. Those guys and Supertouch stayed at my (parents’) house for a night or two before the show. Up Front was either lined up to play or were able to jump on the show at Fender’s, so we went over there and just had the best time. That show just happened to be on my 16th birthday.

Anyway, Up Front was set-up to play at Gilman up in Berkeley the next day and I had my drivers’ license test the day after. So, I talked my folks into letting me make the trip to Berkeley the next day; with the precondition that I would be home for my drivers test. Somehow I was also able to get my folks to agree with letting me tag along with Up Front across the lower half of the US back to NY. So, Up Front plays the show (with Judge, BOLD, and Supertouch, I think) and then we head back down to Huntington Beach. We end up at my parents’ house with a couple hours to spare. I get myself sorted, head over to the DMV, and pass my test. My Dad hands me like $200.00 and tells everyone in the van that I am not allowed to drive under any circumstances. It was Jeff, Jon, Ari, Roger, this kid Frankie from Cleveland, and myself.

Mikey moshes it up to Inside Out at the Che Cafe, Photo: Dave Sine

We set off and somewhere along the way we met up with Release. The bands played a few shows along the way back to NY / NJ. If I’m not mistaken, that trip produced my first visit to City Gardens. It was here that I ran into the Turning Point kids outside the club. That’s where Skip and I started talking.
So, after about a week staying at Jeff’s, I flew home about a week before my sophomore year of High School.

How did Fast Break Fanzine / Photozine come to life? Take us through each issues and your memories of each?

I felt like I wanted to contribute something, so Fast Break was my way of doing it. It just kinda became something from taking photos.

I was tight with Against The Wall, so that was a pretty easy first interview. I didn’t know about halftones or anything like that, so it was just xeroxed black and white photos laid up. The text was written up on my Brother typewriter. That machine was great because it had cartridges you could change out for different fonts.

The photozine was something I wanted to do because it was different. No interviews, hardly any text, just plain and raw. Looking back at it, I wish I produced it better. The photos are all washed out and the overall print job was shitty. The design aesthetic was heavily influenced by a couple issues of Boiling Point I had. That zine was just awesome.

Being behind the lens, how did the HC scene change over time to you?

Other than the style of clothing that kids were wearing, I didn’t really notice too many changes. With the exception of Inside Out, I don’t think it really started to change very much musically until I stopped doing the zine and got in Drift Again.

I remember sitting in Madrid’s room one day and hearing the Quicksand EP for the first time. Listening to the way Walter sang, it gave me the feeling that the style of music we were used to listening to was in for a little change. For me, that record was really revolutionary. That might sound a bit hyperbolic, but between them and Inside Out, I can’t remember any other records from that time that I heard and felt that other bands were going to mimic them.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chain recording memories from Curt Canales

Curtis with Chain Of Strength at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

A week and a half back we brought you recording memories from Chain Of Strength guitarist, Paul “Frosty” Hertz, this time around we do the same, only with Chain’s frontman, Curt Canales. Check out that answer to the third question…..WOW. -Tim DCXX

Which is your favorite Chain 7″, “True Till Death” or “What Holds Us Apart” and why?

True Till Death (TTD). That record was a new beginning for all of us. We were all coming from other bands and were excited about this new project. TTD was our solution for what was missing in West Coast Hardcore. New York was putting out these great records and we were eager to contribute to this great era of music.

Any stand out memories from recording the “True Till Death” 7″?

Nothing really stands out as much as the emotions I was feeling at the time. I was extremely nervous when recording this record. It wasn’t my first time in a recording studio, but I had this nervous energy that I hadn’t felt before. Six months of practice all came down to a couple of hours in the studio, and it was pressure at its worst. Vocals are always difficult because you’re the final piece of the puzzle, so you better get it right! I was never really satisfied with my vocals on TTD but I still love that record.

Any stand out memories from recording the “What Holds Us Apart” 7″?

My favorite memory from WHUA was the trip to the recording studio. We had NO lyrics for “Through These Eyes.” We had never rehearsed it (with vocals) so we had to do it all while we were driving. Tim and Dennis from Boiling Point Fanzine were with us and helped us write the lyrics. Once at the studio, I still had no idea how I would arrange it. I went into the booth, the drums started to go, and I just went for it! The version on the record was the first take, the first time I ever screamed those words, and we kept it.

Curt flips into the Trenton crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno

Friday, October 23, 2009

Insted – “We’ll Make The Difference” and “Young Till I Die” live from Gilman St. 2009

INSTED – “We’ll Make The Difference / Young Till I Die” from Larry Ransom on Vimeo.

A little DCXX weekend bonus material here form our friend and Buffalo Straight Edge / O.C.S.E transplant, Larry Ransom. See below for what Larry had to say about the video and be sure to check out Larry’s website at for other other great content. -Tim DCXX

Insted performing their classic show closer of “We’ll Make The Difference” and “Young Till I Die” (7 Seconds) live at Gilman St in Berkeley, California. August 29, 2009.

This is a three camera edit, filmed with two Canon HV30s and one HV20. Edited in Final Cut Pro. No color correction has been done.

Coming down the pipe is a mini documentary of Insted’s 3 shows from a couple of months back. Lots of live footage, interviews, rehearsals, bro-down footage etc. -Larry Ransom

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poll results for SSD – Get It Away vs. DYS – Brotherhood

While growing up, these two records were a giant leap for me both as a listener and as a lyricist. If memory serves, both records were released in 1983 with SSD “Get it Away” seeing a spring release and “Brotherhood” a fall debut. I think that each record is a classic and should be an emotional benchmark every band should aspire to reach.

I am sure I am not the only one who thinks that while great; DYS always seemed a few months behind SSD. This is not taking anything away from DYS but it is easier to improve upon than it is to invent. DYS has the advantage of being able to have a blueprint of what to do whereas SSD were true innovators.

“Brotherhood”, while excellent, was like a more advanced, better thought out “Kids Will Have Their Say.” And same with the eponymous LP, it sounded like an advanced, better thought out “Break It Up” with superior vocals (and an electronic drum kick to get the “sound just right” so said the band while recording it).

Al and Springa of SSD, Boston Crew style at the Media Workshop, 1981, Photo courtesy of: Drew Stone

SSD always seemed more dark and angry while DYS seemed like a real youth orientated band; angry, yes, but not violent-esque like SSD.

DYS did not even have to list the song titles on the record because the layout was so awesome (um, does this have two or twenty two songs?).

SSD has a cover with a PUSHEAD drawing with the name of his now ex wife, Anne, hidden on the cover.

DYS has a cover with a drawing by Impact Unit singer, Dickie Barrett.

The inside picture of Jon Anastas has him wearing a shirt with the hemline cut from his shirt. The New York “Youth Crew” did this with their shirts in homage. Upon being told this, Jon Anastas admitted to me that he did not do that on purpose.

But ultimately, Society System Decontrol has a dual guitar, raw produced, at-the-time over top aggressive lyrics with a large range of styles and tempo on one record. They win this arbitrary debate. – Jon Roa

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Eerie Von on Misery Obscura

Wow, Eerie Von. I mean, Double Cross is not really any big deal, and this is a short little diddy, but I didn’t think when Tim and I started doing this site we’d really have the opportunity to rap with a guy like Eerie Von. He has a book coming out called MISERY OBSCURA, and it looks INCREDIBLE. It’s a great time for punk and hardcore books – and this is no tiny addition to the list. Can’t wait for this to drop! -Gordo DCXX

Your photography has been of legendary status for decades. What was the main catalyst for the book?

I’ve wanted to put out a book for 20 years. The time was just right, it all fell into place.

Eerie Von with Danzig at City Gardens, 1988, Photo: Ken Salerno

Tell us about the book – as its release is still news in most circles. What was your vision and how much creative control did you have? What did you want to convey?

I wanted to tell some stories, show the fans the pictures, and basically have something I could look at all in one package, so I didn’t have to dig out the old scrap books, and stuff. I had some creative control. Not as much as I would have liked, but then again, you never do when you deal in the Real World.

What was off limits for putting in the book? Are there some photos you didn’t want to share? Was it tough to decide what to put in and what to leave out?

I had no copromising shots, no porn, no scandalous stuff. I just put in the pictures I liked best, and ones I knew the guys would also enjoy seeing. I wanted the Fiends to really dig it too.

Eerie and Glenn at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

Of the various bands and eras you were a part of, what was the most fun to capture in the book? Was there anything you didn’t feel like getting into or sharing?

It’s all a big blur really. I wish I had shot Type O Negative, but I didn’t bring the camera for some reason, on that tour. The two months with White Zombie, the month with Soundgarden, a month with Marilyn Manson, opening for Slayer, touring with Metallica…where do I begin?

What are some of your personal favorite photos that you have taken over the years? For instance – do you have a “favorite” Misfits shot(s)?

I have too many to mention here, but a bunch from the Misfits “Cave” shoot, a couple of great live shots of Glenn and Jerry, some good stuff of Glenn and Chuck on tour. I love the shot of Manson, and all his scars, with my ex-wife. They’re all good.

Vintage Danzig era Eerie Von, Photo: JSClarke

Will there be any type of events to accompany the book release? What’s next for you?

I think I’ll do some sort of Promotional Tour, signings maybe, performances, Q&A maybe, some TV. I’ll do whatever I can to promote it. After that I plan to go out and tour in support of my new CD “Kinda Country.”

Eerie Von with Danzig at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Larry Ransom on Judge at the River Rock Cafe, Buffalo NY

July 11, 1990
The River Rock Cafe Buffalo, NY

I believe it’s been said on this site before that you can never have enough Judge, so here is your next dose. I guess in a way the above clip could be considered the video companion to

Records We Love: JUDGE The Storm EP

Which was Gordo’s “There Will Be Quiet…” 7″ write up (worth a revisit for sure) back in March. I thought it would be cool to break out my 5th generation VHS tape and put “Forget This Time” and “The Storm II” online together as a tribute to their final release. I also can’t think of another video of these songs online anywhere or on any of the dozen or so Judge videos I have. But I’m probably wrong about that.

For a couple of years it seemed like Judge played in Buffalo every other month. This particular Judge show ended up being the last time they trekked upstate to Buffalo to play that tiny hole-in-the-wall bar, The River Rock Cafe, on the corner of Niagara and Hertel, before their demise. At some point during their set Mike announces, “Alright, we’ve got a three song single coming out on Revelation and this is off of it… it’s called Forget This Time.”

Me: “Holy shit! A new Judge song? A new seven inch?”

And then they dropped “Forget This Time” on Buffalo for the first and last time until that posthumously released 7″ showed up in our mail boxes or until we forked over $3.00 at Home Of The Hits. Also, a fun thing to listen for in this vid and I swear it’s there… If you turn up the volume real loud and put head phones on you can hear someone yell, “They changed it!!” right at the beginning of the newly added mellow part on “The Storm II”, where he discovers for the first time, they have indeed changed it.

A truly “WTF is going on here!?” noteworthy tidbit from the video… Mike drinking with a straw out of, what looks to be, some kind of squeezable sports thermos. I wonder what this man’s stage beverage of choice is? I bet he’s sipping Coke-a-Cola and purchased that refillable beverage across the street at Wilson Farms right before their set.

Also on display here, in all their crowd riding glory, are future members of Snapcase and Earth Crisis.

I could continue nerding out and dissecting all things in this video such as Pincus’ Gita Nagari Adopt-A-Cow t-shirt (that garment deserves an entire posting of it’s own) but I think I’ll just end it here for now.

Hope you enjoy these rare clips.
As always…


Larry pushes copies of Bringin’ It Down via the ice cream truck

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chris Daily on “Everybody’s Scene”

Moby being interviewed in his NYC house for “Everybody’s Scene”, Photo: Sue Snow

Chris “Smorgasbord” Daily is the man behind “Everybody’s Scene” – the upcoming book that serves as the tell-all about The Anthrax, CT’s legendary HC/punk club. We went direct to the mastermind to find out what sparked this idea for him and what we can expect with the book. I’ve seen most of it, and let me tell you, you DO NOT want to miss out on it. -Gordo DCXX

First, for those not informed, please tell us about yourself and your involvement in HC over the years.

I first got introduce to punk and hardcore by a friend in Red Lion, Pennsylvania named Stewart Ebersole. He was a few years older than me and used to make me cassette tapes in 1984. I ended up moving to Connecticut in early 1985 and I found a flyer for a show at a punk club in the basement of an art gallery named “The Anthrax.” I started going to every show from that day on. Sometime later that year I started a skateboard zine called Skate Confusion and eventually I switched over to an all music format and renamed it Smorgasbord. In 1988 the zine morphed into a record label of the same name.

Ray Cappo being interviewed by Chris Daily and filmed by Scott Frosch, Photo: Sue Snow

When did you first become inspired to undertake a project like this? Why is it that a club in CT still impacts you almost 20 years after the doors to it closed?

I have to be honest and say that I was really inspired by the other HxC books that came out recently: Adult Crash, Power Of Expression and Radio Silence. I met with AP and Nate of Radio Silence and saw the stuff they collected and I left there psyched. I heard over the years that someone was doing a book about The Anthrax but the details were slim. I looked into it and found out the project stalled for a variety of reasons, so I asked if they cared if I tried to give it a shot. I made a few calls and tracked down the owners’ phone numbers and called them. For some reason they were cool and excited about the possibility of it, so I drove to CT and we met for breakfast. After that things started to fall into shape really fast and the next thing I knew I was scanning thousands of photos and conducting a ton of interviews.

Why The Anthrax? It’s interesting because before I started doing the interviews I kind of just figured it was only me that held the fact that I had The Anthrax in my youth as an amazing thing. But it was echoed again and again by people. That club gave us all a place to go, it encouraged us to participate any way we saw fit, and it brought in bands from all over the world to play music for us. It’s a bizarre thing but people on the outside world of punk and hardcore from those years can’t seem to grasp that something like that really shaped my life. It forced me to look at the world in a different manner than just going along with the normal aspects of typical youth. Because I saw it all the time at the club, I knew that if I thought something was not right, I could speak up and do something about it. If I did not like a band, I could freely start my own AND get to play on a stage. Or if I did not like someone’s form of propaganda, next week I can bring my own flyer and give it to anyone that would take it.

What did you do to get the book project off the ground, and what did you hope to accomplish?

As my wife will attest to, once I get something in my head, it’s usually full steam ahead. I just started contacting people and seeing if they had photos and wanted to talk. Some people said no, but a bunch of people said yes. Jon Field of Up Front made a quick website and the reaction was amazing so that kept fanning the fire. Things really just fell into place. I was amazed what people kept over the years.

I ended up finding all my personal pictures that I must have traded away over the years in England and also in the collection of my friend Joe Whiskeyman. I just wanted to tell the story, start to finish with an amazing visual to go along with it. I had no idea how it was going to get out there for the world to see, but through the connections within the HxC scene I was able to get a lot of advice and opinions. It’s an amazing network, especially as we all grow older. I have to say, the social networking sites, Facebook and Myspace, were amazing…amazing to find people.

Gavin Van Vlack making himself comfortable at Moby’s pad, Photo: Sue Snow

As you got into doing this work involved with this book, what were your biggest obstacles? Was there anything you had to scale back as the work progressed?

The biggest obstacle was just finding the time to do all of it. I had to travel to CT from PA to conduct interviews, so every time I went I wanted to schedule as many interviews as I could. Same for when I was going to NYC to meet with people, the scheduling was always a pain but it worked out. I did not really have to scale anything back but I had to put dead lines on things like getting interviews in and photos scanned because I had a specific time line that I wanted to get the book out within. I really relied on word of mouth to generate the need for things. I spent a lot of time tracking down people.

Who were people you came in contact with that you thought you might never hear from? Who were people you reconnected with that you hadn’t spoken to in years? And who were some people you couldn’t get in touch with but had hoped to?

There were so many people that I came in contact with that I had not seen since the late ‘80s, people that I really never thought I’d talk to again. Not for reasons of falling outs or anything, just because I had no real reason to talk with them. I would have loved to sit and talk with Mike Judge, just because it would have been cool to get his perspective and I wish I had the Porcell interview on video and not the phone. But there was not really anyone that shunned the project. There were people that I would have liked to get yet they did not see the need, but was fine with me. Everyone was great.

What was one single experience that was really a highlight in working on all of this?

A cool thing was walking into a room to interview someone or a group of people and instantly having a feeling of a bond. People still looked the same, people still sounded the same, that was great. We would reminisce about shows and things while the recorder was running. It was great to spend hours talking about that club. Seems crazy but it’s true.

Chris Daily and Malcom from the Connecticut record store, Trash, Photo: Sue Snow

Did you find it difficult to not take a Steven Blush-type approach and not constantly interject your own memories into the book? I found it interesting that you really let others tell the story about a place you knew as well as anyone.

I never read American Hardcore so I did not have any inclination of what that book’s focus/approach was. The early drafts had a few direct memories of my own but the story flowed much better from a historical perspective of just telling the facts and sharing people’s experiences. I have to tell you, for some reason I really loved that place, I was there ALL the time. But hearing the stories and the experiences of others about things there was really great. A lot of them were totally different than mine, yet we all shared the same idea that The Anthrax was a friggin’ great place to have.

What are your own personal best memories from The Anthrax? Best shows, best friends, best stories?

I literally went to hundreds of shows there, so stand out shows are tough to conjure up. I was really into the NYHC and exploding SXE scenes so anytime a gig was on the schedule for those it was a guaranteed great night. I made a lot of friends at that club, friends I still have today, and I looked forward to going week after week. Looking back, I probably took it for granted and never thought about those days ending. Awesome memories that I hope the book will capture and can be used to share with my daughter. I hope she finds her own Anthrax.

Give us some final wrap up details on the book and what else is in store.

Book release parties in New Haven CT on November 27th. One that is all ages at Channel 1 ( and one with bands at a club/bar that is 21+ ( Book is 208 pages, over 225 unseen photos, tells the entire history of the club, and features a complete gig list. The online promo trailer response has been unbelievable. It was not my idea to film the interviews, but man…it was a great idea. Sadly there were so many more hours taped of interviews not shown in that trailer. Right now there is no plan of a documentary but who knows down the road. If anyone is interested, let’s talk!

Anthrax owner, Shaun Sheridan with Daily and Frosch, Photo: Sue Snow

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