ARCHIVES – more older posts (29)
May 15th, 2012 by Larry

Sunday, October 18, 2009

xxx ALL AGES xxx trailer

This is the latest promo clip for the film that I am currently directing, which carries the working title is “XXX All Ages XXX” (Where Boston Hardcore Began). Unlike some of the other films that have been released regarding this particular era that center on the guys in the bands, this one focuses on the social aspect of the scene from 1981-1984. Some of the subjects that the film concentrates on are: Community, Communication, The DIY ethic of the time and of course Straight Edge.

I was in Boston and a part of that very exciting scene at the time so this is a project that I feel very close to. It’s a great responsibility to put things across the way that they really happened having been there at the time and having lived it.

My first hardcore show was was an early SS Decontrol show at the Media Workshop in 1981. Soon after I sang for Boston’s “The Mighty CO’s” and upon returning to New York City I formed “The High & The Mighty” and then later joined “Antidote”. I went on to a career doing music videos and later directed the “Urban Street-Bike Warriors” series of films.

Many interviews have been done for the film so far including Jonathan Anastas (DYS), Jake Phelps (Editor Thrasher Magazine), Christine Else McCarthy (Actress) and Michael McDonald (Author). The film is also powered by archive photos and eventually we will be shooting dramatizations for some of the scenes. If anyone out there has any appropriate photos from the era then please get in touch with us. I hope that you enjoy the clip.

Thanx for the support.

“Stay Hard”

Drew Stone

Drew Stone In front of “The wall of flyers” Emerson College dorm room Boston 1981, photo courtesy of: Drew Stone

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Al Quint – Suburban Voice Fanzine

Al up front for a Minor Threat sing along, 6/12/83, at the Channel in Boston, Photo courtesy of: Al Quint

My choice would be the first real DIY hardcore show I saw and that was Minor Threat, FU’s, SS Decontrol and The Proletariat at the Gallery East. I even remember the date–June 12, 1982. I guess you could say Gallery East is a pretty legendary venue in Boston hardcore history since it hosted some incredible shows during that time. It was Minor Threat’s first local appearance (the first of three over the following year) and they played second just in case the show got shut down, so they wouldn’t have driven up from DC for nothing. I just remember being amazed at how much energy that band had and how it fed off the audience and vice versa. Ian darting around like a maniac and, especially, watching Jeff Nelson’s lightning fast drumming. Since I didn’t really know anyone yet, it was definitely an outsider’s point of view but something that, to use a terrible cliche, changed my life.

Al in his element, Boston Hardcore style, Photo: JJ Gonson

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chain memories from Frosty

Frosty Crunch with Chain Of Strength, Photo: Unknown

As last weeks favorite Chain Of Strength 7″ poll wound down, I thought it would make for some interesting entries to see what the members themselves preferred. I also thought I’d rattle their brains to see what memories they had from each recording session.

We’re kicking this off with Chain guitarist, Paul “Frosty” Hertz, but expect to see the other members chiming in with their thoughts and memories as well. -Tim DCXX

Frosty, Curtis and Alex with Chain at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Unknown

That’s a tuff question as I feel they both have their own unique qualities and characteristics, and it sounds cliche to say “it’s like choosing which one of your kids is your favorite,” but that’s what it boils down to.

However, if I had to pick one of them, it would be True Till Death. Those were the first batch of songs that we wrote together and they set the tone of the band and made the statement of what we were going to be about not only musically, but also lyrically. I also had more to do with writing of the music on this one, particularly on a certain anthem (that became the title of the 7″!). I remember we were pretty heavily criticized for the simplicity, but you can’t deny the pure power and adrenaline.

I’m also proud of the layout and packaging. It really looks like a classic REV release. We worked hard, and put a lot of energy and thought into it, from everything to the font of the band logo to the specific dark green color of the cover (I have always considered this Chain’s color!), to the pics and also the specific colors of the vinyl – both green and clear. Jordan was really cool about giving us control of this.

Curtis and Frosty with Chain at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Boiling Point

Every time we recorded it was the same: it was on a strict budget with little money and a strict time schedule with everyone’s tracks done in one, two, or three takes at the most. It was get in and get out and maybe a little time for mixing. It was also with studio engineers who really didn’t get hardcore, so we did our own producing. The vocals were purposely mixed low as we felt they were an equal to the other instruments. So, as far as memories of the actual TTD recording goes, I can’t recall of anything that stood out drastically.

We didn’t have the greatest equipment yet and some of it, if not most, might have been borrowed. However, Chris has always had his badass Yamaha kit from day one, and Ryan already had the classic ‘Chain’ Les Paul Custom. It worked for us in the end as the TTD recording sounds raw and urgent. Some may not know that we hadn’t even played a single show before this recording and it was really to be a demo to get out to people because we knew kids wouldn’t go off at shows unless they knew the material. Ray and Jordan felt it was releasable as is.

It was a really exciting time for us, we were energized, and I felt I was part of a tight unit with the gates to the newly resurged hardcore scene about to bust open. The songs were fresh, we put in a lot of work on the music and lyrics, rehearsed religiously, and we were a new hardcore band (with OG blood lines) from the West Coast out to prove ourselves. I feel we nailed it.

Chain Of Strength at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Unknown

By the time we recorded What Holds Us Apart, we already had a few road trips and tours under our belts (i.e. cover shot of the 7″), had a lot of friends new and old in the scene, yet also had a lot of controversy surrounding the band for various reasons. This recording was also done quick and to the point, but I think we had better gear and ended up with better sounds. The song writing was progressing and our DC influence was starting to show a little more.

The main thing I remember about this recording going into it was that we were really well rehearsed and solid on all of the basic tracks for the music and I was used to hearing and playing the songs stripped down with out different guitar parts going on. When we were finished with those basic tracks, I remember Chris, Ryan and I going down to the studio one night for some overdubs on a couple of parts for Ryan to bust out. They were pretty improvised right there in the studio but I’m sure Ryan had them worked out before hand. They were also a lot more melodic than I was used to (being a fan of the hard stuff and especially at that time) and when he started playing them I remember getting VERY nervous. To the point that I felt the songs would be ruined! We went back and forth for a while about these overdubs, but he held his ground. I remember I had to go wait in the van out in the parking lot because I was getting bummed.

When the session was finally done hours later, I remember walking back into Pendragon studios and sitting down. Ryan and Chris played me what they recorded, but played all the tracks with the whole band mixed in. The parts he had recorded sounded awesome!!! Sometimes it’s the small experimentations that can really bring out a song. I think we were all high fiving each other!

Also, during this session, we had friends hanging out at the studio at various times. When Curt was laying down his tracks for Through These Eyes, Randy Pushed Aside was hanging out with us and busted out his cameo in the break of the song. That was a completely spontanious idea on the spot and it made the song in my opinion. He definitely rocked it and was front and center for that song at every set we ever played at Spanky’s after that!

A Chain Of Strength sing along in Cleveland, OH, Photo: ROA

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Everybody’s Scene – Trailer and updates

Everybody’s Scene – The Story of Connecticut’s Anthrax Club from kencredible on Vimeo.

The book is at the printer! The new website is live, and pre-orders are now being taken. Here is your chance to pre-order the book at a discounted price. Plus there is also an option to get the book and a limited edition, pre-order only t-shirt package deal.

The new website includes a few page spread visuals, pre-order package deals, and a promo video trailer that, I am sure will get you psyched for the book. Jim Martin, famed Anthrax era flyer artist, designed a limited edition t-shirt for those interested in a package deal, this will only be available through this pre-order offer.

BOOK RELEASE PARTY: November 27th in New Haven CT at Café 9a ( Lost Generation and Powersurge will re-unite to blast thru sets like it was 1989 (there could be one more band as well). Free food, door prizes/give-aways (Revelation Records, Equal Vision Records, Livewire Records, Brass City Tattoo, Shopshogun Screen Printing, Smorgasbord Records, and more), books for sale, a family re-union of sorts, etc. Details are still being worked out and will be announced shortly. There will also be a smaller all ages event earlier that day in CT as well, again details need worked out. – Chris Daily

Book Notes:
– A complete history of the club
– Foreword by Moby
– Preface by Porcell
– Complete gig list from 1982 – 1990
– Over 225 never before seen photographs
– 208 pages, 7.0″ x 10.0″, perfect bound book

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mikey Fast Break part I

Mikey doing it Grid Iron style, Photo courtesy of: Mikey Garceau

Last week we introduced the photography of Mikey “Fast Break” Garceau and this week we kick off the interview with the man behind the lens. Of course Mikey wasn’t only a photographer, but a fanzine editor and eventual band front man as well. Hop in, this should be a fun ride. -Tim DCXX

Where did you grow up and how did you get involved with punk/HC?

I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. My introduction into hardcore wasn’t like most kids. Yeah, I got into hardcore from the dudes I was skateboarding with, but at the time, I was pretty much just a metal kid. So, Randy Johnson (of Pushed Aside / Drift Again) and Mike Madrid (Against The Wall) were like “dude, you should check this stuff out”. So, they gave me a copy of BL’AST! “Power of Expression” to listen to and after a few days of checking it out, I was really into the rawness of it. This was 1987, I think.

Those dudes were just getting into the straight edge stuff, so that was the next stuff I was exposed to. Youth of Today, Crippled Youth, Side By Side, Warzone, Uniform Choice, No For An Answer, Against the Wall, etc. Most of the stuff was just tapes; like those NYU radio shows. So, that was it. I totally bypassed the whole early punk thing and went right into the straight edge scene and became pretty closed-minded. It wasn’t until years later, when I became sort of disenfranchised with the straight edge scene, that I branched out and started checking out other stuff.

Randy Johnson with Against The Wall at Spanky’s, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Who were your favorite bands early on, and which memorable shows stick out to you from early on?

Early on, I was really into the early Revelation bands, of course. Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, BOLD, Side by Side, Sick Of It All, etc. Locally, I really loved seeing Hard Stance, No For An Answer, Pushed Aside, Against the Wall, Chain Of Strength, and Insted during that time. Later on, I liked going to see Inside Out, Outspoken, Unbroken, whoever would be coming through.

As for memorable shows, fuck, there were so many. That West Coast Super Bowl of Hardcore show at Fender’s in 1989 sticks out as one of my favorties: Youth of Today, GB, Bold, Judge, Chain Of Strength, Supertouch, Insted, and Up Front. I got some good shots at that show.

A year before that was Youth of Today, Underdog, Soul Side, BOLD, Insted, Chain Of Strength, and I remember Hard Stance playing too.

The Fender’s crowd during Youth Of Today, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Seeing Inside Out at Spanky’s or at Che Café in San Diego. Actually, anytime they played was epic. Neither Spanky’s or Che Café had stages, so you’d just have to stand there and deal with the crowd. It was awesome.
Soul Side and Hard Stance in some garage in Chula Vista.

Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Leeway, and Sick of it All at the Country Club.

The Slap Shot, NFAA, Hard Stance, Pushed Aside show at the Roxy in Hollywood was sick too. I remember interviewing Eric and Zack for the second issue of Fast Break (which is what the photozine eventually became) outside the club and what started out as an interview with the band became this crazy hodgepodge of weird shit I recorded while standing on Sunset Boulevard. I got to ask Choke a few questions, a couple of the girls from L7 walked by and joined in; it was pretty random. I honestly thought of putting the whole interview in the issue and calling it a “show interview”. I wonder if I still have that tape somewhere.

Civ with Gorilla Biscuits at Fender’s, Photo: Mikey Garceau

When did you get into taking photos of HC bands? Was it something you felt really compelled to do, or just something that happened?

Shortly after I started skateboarding, I knew I wasn’t progressing as fast as my friends and felt that I probably wasn’t going to. So, I started taking photos of them as a way to stay involved. I mean I still skated spots, but I always loved shooting my friends. So, as with skateboarding, I realized I was probably never going to be in a band because I’m pretty talentless. When Against The Wall used to practice, I would go over there and shoot photos of them. I had a pretty decent SLR and from shooting skateboarding photos, had a pretty good shutter finger. From there, I just started taking my camera to shows and that kinda became the beginning of it.

Who were your favorite bands to photograph? What were the best venues to photograph?

I didn’t really have any favorite bands to shoot. I just liked shooting photos in an overall sense. I guess my favorite venue was Spanky’s, just because there were so many shows there.

Any bad mishaps ever occur with your camera (i.e. smashed by stage diver, stolen, etc?)

Not really. People were pretty much cool with me getting up on stage. First because I had a camera in my hands, and secondly because I’m a little guy. So, when I started going to shows at 14, I was pretty much the smallest kid there. I do remember one time being kinda crushed up front at the Country Club, and I happened to be standing next to Regis Guerin and Scott Sundahl. I tried to get up on stage a few times and when the guy who wasn’t letting me get up finally pushed me down and got kinda pissed, I remember Scott looking at the dude and going ”dude, you don’t touch Mikey. Don’t push him like that again.” Being like 4’10” and 80 lbs at the most, it was pretty awesome to have big dudes like that get your back.

Inside Out’s first show at Spanky’s, Riverside CA, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jon Biv on DBD part III

Mike, Mark and Jimmy with Death Before Dishonor at CBGB, NYC, Photo courtesy of: Mark Ryan

Jon Biv continues, this time getting into the very initial formation of Supertouch! -Gordo DCXX

I started jamming with neighborhood friends when I was 13. We would mainly just do covers of Metallica, Venom, Exodus, Iron Maiden, or at least try to. Some time around Summer 1984, a bass player I would hang and jam with told me about this band ‘Death Before Dishonor’. He had met with some of the members and I think he tried out, and mentioned that they were looking for another guitar player.

Anyway, what happened was they ended up taking some other guitarist. Oh well. Eventually, I met Mark Ryan when school started up that September. He was trying to get DBD back working again, and trying to keep a stable line-up. At the time, it was just him, Mike (Judge) on drums, and the original guitarist Steve Yu. They weren’t having much luck in keeping a bass player and second guitarist.

This went on until Spring 1985, when Mark asked me to try out on bass. I’m no bass player, but I was eager to try and learn. Mark gave me a DBD rehearsal tape and I set out to work on it and learn the whole thing. It must have been about 10 to 12 songs. Original versions of Am I Wrong, Conditioned, Deadlock, and Climbing Aboard. Death In The Family was on there too. Must dig this tape up someday. It’s real good.

Biv with Supertouch in Mass, Photo: Dave Sine

So I tried out with Mark, Mike, Steve, and another guitarist named Rick. I did the best I could but was sacked 2 weeks later. Mark said they found someone better. Oh well. Like I said, I’m no bass player. Never was.

Some time in the Summer of ’85, Mark calls me up. Tells me that him and Mike have booted everyone else out of the band and want to start fresh. They don’t want to do a five-piece anymore – too metal. It’s gonna be 4 piece only, and “we want you to play guitar.” (!!!) I’m dead blown away. Death Before Dishonor wants me on guitar. I was 15 years old, and this was a big deal. To me, anyway.

So the new line-up for DBD was now Mark, Mike, Carl (bass), and myself. The first rehearsals were slow, but productive. I knew all the songs, but had to show them to Carl. And it’s not because he was unskilled. Carl Serio, who played on ‘The Way It Is’ comp is an incredible musician. He was just so busy with other projects that he didn’t have time to sit down with a tape and learn 10 songs. It was also difficult to get him to commit to a set practice time. He was a busy man.

Mark Ryan with Death Before Dishonor at CBGB, Photo courtesy of: Mark Ryan

This line-up did stick together and we played our first show, As DBD, in Albany in the Summer of ’86. This was a Dave Stein show in a VFW hall, with No Outlet, DBD, Youth of Today, and 7 Seconds. A few months later we played CBGB with Youth Of Today.

This is the beginning of Supertouch. Even though we were called DBD, we just weren’t the original Death Before Dishonor. I make no claim that I was in the original DBD. What I was involved in was called DBD because Mike and Mark wanted it that way, and they definitely had plans to change the name and move on. And they did.

To understand the beginning of Supertouch, you have to know what happened with Mark, Mike and Youth Of Today…

Supertouch at Fenders, August 1989, Photo: Dave Sine

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Favorite Chain Of Strength 7″ poll results

Curtis, Alex and Frosty at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, 1990, Photo: Ken Salerno

Chain Of Strength aren’t the “heaviest” hardcore band, they don’t have traditional NY-inspired mosh parts, and the songs aren’t that complex or technically ridiculous.

They are, however, what I would consider to be one of the most powerful hardcore bands to have existed. Power…

True Till Death is a raw, practically unmixed, in your face recording that is really just a vocals-low-in-the-mix demo, and yet it captures the band in a way so few recordings actually do – it’s that perfect mix of aggression, urgency, and proficiency, a band being captured while they have a comfort with their songs, but not so much that it feels rehearsed or staged (ahem, cue comments about staged photos). Plus, it sounds like they are playing in a small room with good acoustics, and you are standing there getting your motherfucking brains blown out while you try to dodge guitars, a bass, and flying drum equipment. Oh did I mention these are probably the best Straight Edge Hardcore lyrics, set to the best Straight Edge Hardcore songs ever written? Do me a favor…..

Forget about it. (Credit due to Ed McKirdy for that one).

Chris Bratton with Chain Of Strength at Spanky’s, Riverside CA, Photo: Dave Sine

What Holds Us Apart is probably the best example of natural progression over the course of 1.5 years a no-frills hardcore band can make without becoming too daring, too ambiguous, or too “over it.” There’s more precision, more depth, more overall influence and drive, and yet never is it at the expense of POWER. It has a touch more DC, a touch more Brian Baker, and a touch more 1989-while-wearing-Stussy-tanktops-and-hanging-in-Cali…but never so much as to pull away from the hardcore Chain sound, and never is there any second guessing who these songs were written by.

I could go on for days – one of my favorite bands hands down. For me, True Till Death three times out of five. But those other two times, What Holds Us Apart is even better.

If you don’t like Chain Of Strength, it’s gonna cause problems. That simple. -Gordo DCXX

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

There’s not a whole lot left for me to say that Gordo hasn’t said already. Anybody that knows me, knows just how much I bow to the alter of the almighty Chain. The True Till Death 7″ is… yeah, I can say this with confidence, my favorite hardcore 7″ ever… point blank. Flawless from start to finish, musically, lyrically and aesthetically, perfection. Are the vocals a little low? Yeah, a tad, but it’s nothing that even bothers me a little bit.

As for the What Holds Us Apart 7″, it is total greatness and an unquestionable favorite, but will always take the back seat to the True Till Death 7″ for me.

Like Gordo, I as well could go on for days about how mind blowing, life altering and phenomenal both of these records are, but we’ll save something up for future entries. And yes, expect many, many more Chain entries. -Tim DCXX

Chain Of Strength with that desperate tone, Photo: Dave Sine

Chain Of Strength – True Till Death185
Chain Of Strength – What Holds Us Apart136

Alex Pain with Chain at Spanky’s, Photo: Dave Sine

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

An intro to the photography of Mikey “Fast Break” Garceau

A very early Outspoken show at Spanky’s Cafe, Riverside CA, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Before there was a band called Fastbreak, there was a fanzine out of Huntington Beach, California called Fast Break and it was done by a guy named Mikey Garceau. Like a lot of zinesters at the time, Mikey shot most of his own photos that would end up in the zines. Eventually Mikey released an all photo issues called Fast Break Photozine.

Mikey recently got in touch with me and told me that he had discovered piles of his old negatives and asked if I would be interested in using any for DCXX, of course I said yes. From there I decided to shoot some questions Mikey’s way and next week we’ll start dropping segments of that interview. For now, here’s a sample of what’s to come. -Tim DCXX

Pushed Aside at Spanky’s, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Roger Lambert with some major air during Up Front at Gilman St, Photo: Mikey Garceau

The first Inside Out show at Spanky’s Cafe, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Zack De La Rocha with Hard Stance, Photo: Mikey Garceau

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jon Biviano Part II

Biv with Supertouch at the Majestic Theater, East Hampton MA, Summer 1992, Photo: David Sine

More Biv, and plenty more to come… -Gordo DCXX

After discovering AC/DC at the age of 10, my taste in music just seemed to get heavier and heavier. I had a handful of friends in my town who were always in tune with what was new in Rock and this new thing called Metal. So, there was Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, etc…

In 1982, one of my friends found this great radio show coming out of Montclair State College, in New Jersey. It was on Saturday nights and was hosted by a student named Gene Khoury. This guy would play all brand new Metal from Europe and the US. Now I was hearing bands like Venom, Raven, Accept, Mercyful Fate, and Metallica on a weekly basis. In fact, Gene Khoury was playing Metallica demos long before WSOU (Seton Hall) came along.

So I was pretty much a metalhead from 1980 until 1984, when I met Mark Ryan. He was two years older than me and a senior in my high school when I was a sophomore. I had heard some punk bands along the way, but never really started listening until I was hanging out with Mark. He made me a bunch of tapes, which I still have today. The first one had Corrosion of Conformity, Crucifix, and a sound board of the Cro-Mags at CBGB. This tape was awesome and it redirected my taste in music.

Mark Ryan and Biv gettin’ down, Photo: Eric Fennell

I still liked a lot of the new underground metal coming out, like Slayer and Exodus, but these hardcore bands Mark was introducing me to were just as powerful, fast, and heavy. Minor Threat, SSD, DYS, Agnostic Front, COC…just too many to mention, but I loved all of it and still do.

The first show I saw at CBGB was COC, Articles Of Faith, and LeeWay in January 1985. I then saw the Cro-Mags, Violent Children, The Unwanted and No Remorse at CB’s in February of 1985. What was great about this club was that these were Sunday matinees which were usually finished by 7 or 8pm. I could get home in good time without Big Daddy giving me a hard time. Haha!

Jon Biv up close and personal, Photo: Eric Fennell

Monday, October 5, 2009

Walter Schreifels

Walter and Alex Brown with a cold hard chill session, Photo: Wataru Umeda

The cool thing with a guy like Walter is that his resume is so strong and diverse that there’s really endless questions you could throw his way. GB, YOT, Warzone, Supertouch (he played bass for a show!), Project X, Moondog, Quicksand, CIV, Rival Schools…to quote Bas Rutten, “I’ve been around.” So here’s 5 randoms with Walter, hopefully the start to a regular feature here. -Gordo DCXX

First, what are you up to most recently and what’s in the near future?

I’m getting ready for a solo tour of Japan that starts next week. The day I get back I’m playing the Brooklyn Vegan show for CMJ with my band. Both my solo album and the Rival Schools album are finished and ready for release early next year. I’m also a Dad, which keeps me busy.

Wally with the resurrected Gorilla Biscuits, Photo: Wataru Umeda

A few years back the Moondog material got a re-issue of sorts. I recall reading some press where you detailed some recording memories for that project. What was the chemistry like with you, Tom, Luke, Howie, etc? Would there ever be a chance of some type of one-off Moondog show or is that to never resurface?

I finally caved on releasing the Moondog tape. I was never happy with it because of the vocals and too much time had passed to fix it. Anthology made it very easy for me to just get it out there as is, so I did that. I would like to have a vinyl or cd release with nice packaging but it’s on the back burner for the moment. If I could get that together I would be into playing those songs around the time of the release. The recording was done with just Luke and I and we work great together. Tom, Howie and Armand played live and it was just fun really, very light.

Youth Of Today was one of, if not the first straight edge hardcore band to tour Europe. You would return in different bands many times afterwards. What were some shellshocking positives and negatives you recall from that first YOT tour in 1989?

The tour in Europe was absolutely great. There was adversity for sure, I think we were totally ripped off financially by the label and by the organizers of the tour for example. We didn’t eat or sleep well. There were violent confrontations with punks on the left and skinheads on the right. We were often misunderstood. Lethal Aggression, the police raiding our squat in Copenhagen, Ray trying to convert us to Hare Krishna…none of that was bad. We played amazing everynight, I thought we were the best HC band going. When we broke up at the end of it I was sad but I thought it was also kind of poetic.

Civ, Alex and Walter on tour with GB, Photo: Wataru Umeda

Quicksand played a ton of shows for the better part of a decade. Is there one particular stretch of time where it really seemed more special than at other times?

I had the most fun when the Rev 7″ came out, before I started playing guitar in the band. I don’t think those were the best songs but I felt we were very focused and unique and I liked just running around screaming my head off without having to worry about my guitar being in tune. I started to play guitar to fill out our sound live but I’ve always had a soft spot for my lead singing days.

Start Today is regarded by thousands of fans as one of the greatest hardcore records of all time. If you were able to go back in time, would there be anything you would change to the whole record?

I’m totally happy with Start Today, I wouldn’t change a thing…more harmonica.

Old style GB with Mark “Helmet” Hayworth, Photo: Snagola

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love Seat issue 1

Love Seat issue 1 cover

Last week a regular poster on the Livewire Board named Mickey Nolan posted saying that he was selling his copy of Love Seat #1. Perhaps the only person I’m aware of who actually even owns a copy of Alex Brown’s pre-Schism, Iowa-based fanzine from 1986, Mickey is selling a piece of HC collector’s gold, and we had to bring it to the attention of the DCXX readership. After it is sold, we’ll be running some scans of the zine for all to view. In the meantime, check the auction:

eBay Link

And for our own purposes of excessive factual detail and general completeness, here’s the full backstory from Mickey:

A few years ago my friend and mentor Greg Thompson came to stay with me in Chicago for a show. Greg sang for Iowa/Illinois area bands Butt Lynt and Crosscheck and has been dedicated to hardcore and punk since the mid-80s.

Around the time that Greg came to visit, Bridge 9 Records had released the Schism Fanzine anthology. Greg told me he had a present for me and was clearly excited when he handed me a folded over 8×11 sized fanzine with a red cover. It took a second for me to realize the significance of this zine. Loveseat #1 was scrawled across the red cardstock cover. Loveseat…Loveseat…I wracked my brain and then it dawned on me. This was the zine that turned into Schism.

I was moved, and grateful, to receive such a gift. I read it once, put it in a bag and stored it. Over the years I thought about scanning it, but not having a scanner I never got around to it.

Earlier this year I decided to sell my record collection. With a couple of non-critical health issues going on, I knew the extra income would help. I’ve since sold the majority of my records and have gotten down to a few remaining items. When it came time to think about selling my copy of Loveseat #1 I gave Greg a call and asked his permission. He was supportive.

Love seat issue 1 back cover

Here’s Greg on how he acquired his copy of Loveseat #1:

I do not remember the date exactly, it was only the second DIY show ever held in the Quad Cities. It was late ’85 or early ’86. The show was at the Col Ballroom. The only bands I remember being on the bill were Welfare Skate and A Child’s Trust In God. Both bands were from Des Moines, IA and played super fast hardcore. I had read MRR for a couple years, but had never gotten a zine done by a kid. I bought it because I enjoyed reading MRR. It ended up being the first of hundreds of zines I have read over the years.

I have to say that a printed zine is one of my favorite aspects of the punk/hardcore community. I would read them all the time to find out about new bands and to see what kids did in different citites. Long before the internet, zines were the way kids learned about bands, scenes, tape trading, etc. Now any shit band can get a MySpace page and put up just as shitty songs. The printed zine is now pretty much a thing of the past, and it sucks!!! It is for sure a medium that I wish would make a comeback!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The winding down of the Rev files

You know the photo, you know where it’s from and what it’s been used on, here’s the original, Photo: Tim DCXX

Time for one last dip into the Rev files. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to squeeze one more entry out of what I have left, but it’s really starting to dry up at this point. Either way, this has been a fun string of entries and the response has been positive, so I’m stoked this is something we’ve been able to deliver. Again, big thanks to Jordan and Igby for letting me sift through all this stuff over at the Rev HQ. Without any further ado, I bring you more from the star. -Tim DCXX

GB, JUDGE and BOLD original promo photos, Photo: Tim DCXX

Original photo of Cappo from the last Fender’s YOT show. Photo used for Shelter record, posters and shirts, original photo taken by local NJ HC/Photo guy, Ethan Glading, Photo: Tim DCXX

I’m pretty sure this is the Shelter mock up for the old original CD packaging of the late 80’s / early 90’s, Photo: Tim DCXX

A random Chain from City Gardens photo I found in the Chain Of Strength folder that must have been sent in to Rev from another local NJ HC/Photo guy, Kevin Anglim, Photo: Tim DCXX

I posted this hand drawn Violent Children logo before, but this pic has two random VC photos that I thought were pretty damn cool. Cappo on drums in the upper left and Porcell on guitar lower right, Photo: Tim DCXX

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crushing The Demoniac – Analyzing Side B of Cro-Mags “Best Wishes”

Harley fronting the Cro-Mags, Photo: Ed Esposito

Ok, back here to dissect side B. If you missed my piece on side A, check it out here:
Cro-Mags Best Wishes Side A

Side B of this 8 song LP opens as strong as it possibly could, with the hellraising fireball, “Crush The Demoniac.” Perhaps one of the best if not the very best song on here, it’s common knowledge that this song was written right around the time of Age Of Quarrel and was often the band’s set closer during their ’86/’87 tours. Harley has revealed that while his lyrics to this are significantly different from whatever John Joseph’s lyrics were (Harley says he has no idea what John was singing live), musically it was recorded pretty much true to its original form.

Best Wishes era Cro-Mags, Photo: Ed Esposito

The song opens and immediately puts you up against the ropes – I’ve always loved how it kicks off (although I will say that I wish they opened the song on the record in the exact same way they did often live in ’86/’87 with a slightly different notes/accenting after the first few crashes – the best example of this is on that Live At Wellington’s recording). The main riff of the verse is said to have been written by Doug Holland, and was the first riff he contributed to the band (which I found pretty surprising, although I guess AOQ was already written by the time he joined up). You’ll also note the similarity to Maiden’s “Aces High” in this riff. Great stuff.

At 2:02 Holland (and I’m guessing it is him since he played it live) takes off with one of the best solos on the album, his shredding getting fiercer as the energy builds. The video of him playing this at the Ritz is one of the best things ever captured on film and audio – it just sounds demented – John even talked about this in his book I believe. If I ever won the powerball and had limitless time and money to devote to anything I wanted, I would pay someone to give me the ability to play this part and I would just walk around all day playing it in people’s faces.

A shredding Parris Mayhew with the Cro-Mags, Photo: Ed Esposito

At 2:25 the solo ends and it goes back to just rhythm shredding and fast picking, like an eighteen wheeler blasting down the high way at 100mph with no brakes, and it’s filled with fireworks. There’s more great riffage at 2:50 for a few seconds, and then BOOOM! – yep, you’re moshing. They could have just ended the song and it would have been more than adequate, but no. Instead they drop a siiiiick mid-tempo mosh part that further explodes at 3:36 for the perfect set closer/outro feel. Because of that, it almost seems like this is the song that should end the album…it just goes out on such a peak.

Nonetheless, there’s still three more songs, as “Fugitive” kicks things off next. While I had never heard of the Mags playing this song in ’86/’87 with John in the band, Harley has said it was written during that time period by Parris with some of Harley’s own riff ideas. It definitely is more melodic and “soulful” (did I just call a Cro-Mags song soulful?) than most of the other songs on here, although the choruses aggro out quite a bit.

Harley Mags, Photo: Ed Esposito

I love Harley’s bass work on this…as I think I mentioned before, he has such an evil bass sound on this, I feel like he has a stack of cabs the size of The Green Monster, all cranked on 11 and he is playing in an airport hangar. It sounds huge, overdriven, and live, but I’m no bass player so I’m sure my tech talk could be way off. I wish Pincus got this same sound from Normandy on Bringin’ It Down, but that’s a different story.

Anyways, around 2:55 Harley’s playing really takes off as he throws in a lot of cool little runs and fills that really beef the song up and show that he was/is a legit player (something I don’t think is mentioned enough). The rest of the song has a good sense of urgency, like it is really gonna take off…but then it just kinda dies out and ends with a big drum roll/rock crescendo ending. It’s a good song, but has always felt like it had untapped potential.

Doug Holland and Parris, Photo: Ed Esposito

“Then And Now” kicks off a great Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Kram- ummm…I mean, the songs kicks off with some busy bass work into straight metal riffing. Harley has said the bass intro was his version of “The Exorcist” done in a harder metal style…but I still always hear “Seinfeld bass” when it comes on. I like the idea, but the whole way the song takes off is my least favorite opening to any song here, it’s a little too daring a little too metal for me. How the song starts though is actually a total pump fake, because shit busts open at :53 with some great ring out chords and strong energy straight into the chorus. I love the mosh teaser at 1:24 where they let up and slow it down for a moment, and just when you start to do the face-rake, it’s back to thrashing. I always wish they extended that and rocked it out, but I guess the brevity of it is what makes it fast and cool.

Harley again kills it with sick bass lines (of course nobody here is a slouch when it comes to ability). It should again be noted that while seeing Mackie off of this record is a bummer, Pete Hines is unstoppable. Lots of tricky time signatures and changes, simply put there’s nothing novice about his skills on da traps. While the song generally is solid and has some rager moments, it still gets a little ADD, jams out towards the end, ditches the vocals and solos, and then just wraps up. Like “Fugitive,” I feel like the potential for this song is in fact a bit untapped.

Harley rocks the Raiders, Photo: Ed Esposito

Last but not least: “Age Of Quarrel.” I’m not sure the whole intro is as much an intro as it is a notice of your upcoming beheading. It’s not the first mosh part I think of when I think of the Cro-Mags, but it’s still a hell of a mosh part – military drum roll, death knell bass strumming, funeral procession guitar work…heavy. It builds up perfectly into the verse where Harley starts singing. The stop/start tempo around the 1:58 mark lasts just long enough before building up again, and then it’s basically back and forth riffing until finally at 3:37 they are just like “ok, everyone…kill each other, NOW.”

Fittingly so, things close out on a very dark note. After all, the song is called “Age Of Quarrel” and I think we all know the underlying message here. If this record came out after Goodfellas (1990), an appropriate soundclip right after the music ends would have been the voice of Vinnie when Tommy gets whacked that says, “And that’s that.”

Parris with the Mags and a great Best Wishes shirt, Photo: Ed Esposito

In general, it’s also worth noting again how blatantly Krishna-fueled this whole record is, from the cover artwork to the lyrics…I mean, it’s super heavy and nothing about it is subtle. The cover art (Lord Nrsimhadeva killing the Demon Hiranyakasipu) is so brutal and fitting…I’ve never really dabbled with the KC stuff too extensively but that image makes me want to shave up and chant 16 rounds immediately.

Also, considering the Bloodclot departure and the metal alliances, one would expect these would just be songs on standard metal topics – NOT vegetarianism, reincarnation, extreme spiritual devotion, and escaping the material world. A band like Shelter may have brought prasadam and beads to every young HC kid in the country in the early 90s, but the Cro-Mags basically wrote a thrashing metal record with direct, no compromise, in-your-face lyrical inspiration from the Gita. Pretty wild.

More Harley, More Raiders, Photo: Ed Esposito

Musically, there are parts here that drag a bit, some aspects that could have used some more thought and production, and some general metal influence that maybe didn’t gel perfectly, but the overall end result to me is in fact a pretty relentless metal record with a LES hardcore backbone covered in tattoos. “Death Camps” and “Crush The Demoniac” on their own are better than 97.8% of all recorded music ever, so it’s kinda tough to be too critical when I really stop and think about it.

Then again I also like Near Death Experience and Alpha Omega to varying degrees as well, so maybe I’m not the proper authority.

Either way…they came, they saw, they conquered. The Cro-Mags.

Best Wishes,
Gordo DCXX

Harley with some pre set prep Cro-Mags style, Photo: Ed Esposito

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