Friday, July 3, 2009
Jeff, Chris, Dale, Tony and Roger of Journeyman
Anyone remember Journeyman? Early 1990’s ex-Release meets ex-Up Front to bring you some heavy and polished very metal tinged HC with great live shows and a damn good demo. I came across this promo pic and had to post it. Have a safe holiday weekend. -Tim DCXX
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a novel on a memorable show that Ken Salerno not only saw, but photographed of Murphy’s Law at the Ritz on Labor Day in 1987. Proof again that Salerno is a God. -Gordo DCXX
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Mike and Jimmy with Judge at CBGB’s, Photo: Jeff Ladd
Although it’s taken us a year and half to finally get him on board, here he is… the man, the myth, the legend, the one everyone’s been waiting to hear from, the one and only… Mike JUDGE. Mike kicks off his DCXX debut with a memorable show entry, but we’re crossing our fingers that someday we’ll get a little more from him. For now, enjoy this great story from the memories of Mike JUDGE. -Tim DCXX
There’s so many great stories in my head from back then, it’s hard to pick one. I will tell one that sticks out. Around the time I first started hangin out, I was just this punk rock, hardcore kid. I just wanted it loud and fast. So me and my friend Paul were on St. Marks and we were heading down to this great record store called Free Being. We were going to see the Bad Brains at CB’s later that night and had a bunch of time to kill. Right next door to Free Being was a pizza shop. I don’t remember the name of it but it was a favorite for most of us cuz it was 75 cent slices. Paul and I sat down to eat and started talking music. Paul was older then me and was one of the older punks in my town that I had looked up to. He was in a band called Sand In The Face. A real good punk band. He also was the guy who lent me the Jealous Again record. That’s the record that got me hooked on the music.
While we were eating, Dave Insurgent, who was the singer of the great NYHC band Reagan Youth, came in to eat.We had never met Dave but it was a small place, so Dave sat with us and we started talking about how psyched we all were for the Bad Brains that night. Like I said, I was just a loud, fast rules kid at that time and I complained that the only thing that I didn’t like about the Brains was the reggae songs. At that point Dave gave me a lesson on how to listen to music, especially live music. He explained that heavy isn’t always the sound of the music you’re hearing but the mood of the music you’re hearing and what they’re trying to say. Kinda like the “you’re listening to the music but are you hearing it” kinda deal. Anyway, I listened to him and that night, the Bad Brains were great as usual but they were just that much better to me.
I still listen to music the way I had learned to that day. I find heaviness in the lyric or the meaning, not always the sound. Whether it be hardcore, metal, country or rock, if the band is being real, i’ll give it a listen.
Mike feeds the City Gardens crowd a solid dose of Fed Up, Photo: Ken Salerno
Monday, June 29, 2009
Choke and Jon Anastas with Slap Shot at the Rat in Boston, while Hank “SE” Peirce takes on the crowd, Photo: Bruce Rhodes
DYS / Slap Shot bassist Jon Anastas drops a killer memorable show entry on us Boston Crew style. -Tim DCXX
DOA at Cantones in Boston.
Tiny Italian place in Boston’s financial district by day, punk club by night. More “New Wave” than Hardcore. They don’t know what to do with us as it is.
The band starts late.
Big pit starts. Boston punch thrash at its most intense.
First song, “Fucked Up Ronnie.”
Someone goes airborne. I want to say it was someone from the skater crew, Jake Phelps, Larry Hitch or Paul “Punky” Roberts, as they liked the dives, where Al and Choke tended to like the ground more, but I could be wrong.
Either by accident, or on purpose, the diver catches and pulls down one of those drop ceiling tiles, the fiberglass with asbestos, and it hits the floor showering everyone with a white powder.
It’s like a lightbulb goes off in the crowd’s collective brain.
Second Song “the Enemy.”
Everyone starts diving, grabbing tiles, pulling the whole ceiling down, tile by tile. The dust is now thick in the air, you can’t really see or breathe. People are putting bandanas over their noses and mouths outlaw style, or pulling their sleeve hats down to cover their faces and protect their lungs.
The owner, Teddy Cantone and the fat bouncers go nuts, unplugging the band, throwing us out as the Boston Police arrive.
Two songs. Total chaos.
The Boston crew ends up milling around outside, covered in white powder from the tiles. Everyone looks like dry wallers. Everyone is coughing up asbestos and fiberglass.
There is never another hardcore show at Cantones and they soon go out of business.
Jon Anastas and Dave Smalley with DYS at the Rat, Photo: Steve Risteen
Dan O’Mahony, Photo by: Joe Foster
More Dan O and another damn good read. -Tim DCXX
What was the deal behind the lyrics to “About Face”? What was the tension between you and Dubar/UC/Wishingwell? Was it a real falling out of friends or just observational type stuff? The story goes that some Unity lyrics on their 1988 LP also returned some jabs.
Now this is a band to band controversy I feel a bit more comfortable commenting on, as it involves people I was close to for years and whom I am certain have left it in the past just like I have. AKA I’m sure we’d be able to laugh about it in each other’s company at this point, no hurt feelings, no bruised egos, just memories of another time. That said…
About Face was an attack on what I believed to be a dramatic shift in Dubar and Longrie’s priorities. My take was part correct and well informed insider, part fascist and out of control lifestyle cop. By that I mean that when you no longer appreciate somebody’s creative direction you have the right and ability to just walk away and find your inspiration elsewhere. That would have been the appropriate response via my current perspective. At the time I felt that a lot of their exploration was hinged on deception, meaning continuing to play to the same crowd and professing the same interests and message in interviews. I find no clear cut message in their later lyricism and said as much, but let’s temper that with the fact that we all sort of bowed before the assumed genius of say… Fugazi, who frankly might as well have written most of their lyrics in Greek as they are desperately in need of translation.
It’s like this: the song (About Face) stands up as a rather angry, strict and confining assessment of a group of young guys in a creative transition I didn’t care for, but I wouldn’t write it today. It was fun mimicking Dubar during the breakdown though, I think I nailed the impression.
A real falling out? Well we were never that close again, although I’d imagine it’d be water under the bridge by now. In fact we ran into each other in SF years after that era during the Mindfunk era, and had a pretty friendly conversation. Two guys in two very different places though.
I think Blood Days and/or Same Train are about yours truly, the firsts in a string of betrayal anthems from multiple sources of varying credibility aimed at this here great satan. What goes around comes around, huh?
No For An Answer, Photo by: Kent McClard
What direction did you feel yourself heading at the turn of 1990 and after the demise of NFAA? What were your own observations of the hardcore scene at the time, and what were you up to personally as you were into your early 20s? How had this changed from say, 1987?
Musically I was looking for a challenge. I was completely overasaturated with overarching minute plus thunderous intros leading into verse/chorus hardguy anthems and wanted to explore my limited range of ability more fully. Enter Kevin Murphy from Head First. Kevin and I were already friendly and had always been able to talk pretty comfortably. I remember when he gave me a 4 track cassette of what eventually became the 411 7″ material… my new direction musically had arrived. Lyrically I think that examination of compassion and human interaction was the next logical step for me regardless of sound or line up, but certainly the change in line up and tone suited it well.
By this time I felt like crucial issues to my remaining energy in hardcore were being more and more marginalized in the sub-genre I was most affiliated with, while still being championed well by the Dischord types, the Bay Area labels, and countless others. My continued seperation from so called youth crew affiliations was the product of continued personal explorations more than anything else. Any artist/activist worth their salt can’t afford to fear evolution, otherwise their work is basically a book report on things past.
What was the idea behind 411? How do you look back on the band and the music?
411 was about freedom and courage in terms of style and statement (sounds a little pretentious) but those are the words that occur to me. I look back on it as the most dedicated band I’ve been a part of. We were road warriors, practicing until our songs were water tight, and then putting everything we had into every show, playing anywhere to anyone with no fluctuation in intensity. I don’t know how well the material has withstood the test of time, but the method and the ethic is something I’d kill to duplicate again.
Dan O, Photo by: Joe Foster
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Chain of Strength at City Gardens, Photo: Jason Jammer
I actually had a completely different post lined up for tonight, but at the last minute, decided to change it up. I figured if the inspiration was there, I had to run with it… literally.
So I decided to go for a run tonight. I’m far from a runner, as a matter of fact, tonight was really the first time I’ve ever even gone running, but I’m trying to get into the habit. So I threw on my New Balance 801’s, my Livewire TFS Champion mesh shorts, grabbed my old late 80’s Vision hip sack (I know… a hip sack, but with no pockets, the thing comes in handy!), tossed my iPod in it and hit the streets. My 6 year old son Trevor also tagged along.
We ran from my house, down the street to the high school and up to the track. We stretched for a couple of minutes, then I started scrolling through my iPod… “what should I listen to, what will pump me up and keep me motivated?” Easy answer, Chain Of Strength. I knew I had to get in a zone if there was any way I was going to actually be able to get around this track for as long as I wanted to.
Hoffman with Les Paul in air, Alex Pain brings it down , Photo: Jason Jammer
The Chain Of Strength “True Till Death” 7″ has motivated me through many lawn mowing sessions, so I knew it would get me through a run. I put on my head phones, turned up the volume and off we went. As soon as the pick scrape came in for “Just How Much”, I felt this extra lift in my step. Although Trevor had a slight head start on me, I burned right by him and proceeded to tear through the first lap with no problem. Trevor stuck with me for the first 3 laps, but as I was heading into the 4th, he took a seat. By the 5th lap into the 6th, I had to slow it down. It was starting to get dark, so I paused my iPod (after listening to the “True Till Death” 7″ twice, straight all the way through), grabbed Trevor and started to head back home.
On the walk back home I was still all jacked up on Chain, so I listened to a great sound board live set of theirs from the first time they played City Gardens. The bill was Up Front, Insight, Chain of Strength and Social Distortion. I started thinking of the photos that my friend (Mouthpiece drummer) Jason Jammer had taken during their first song, which coincidently was, “Just How Much”. Jason stood up in the balcony / band room for Chain’s first song and shot an entire roll of film during that single song. After that song he hopped into the crowd, but the results from that 2 minute photo session blew my mind. There must have been at least 10 shots where the band was airborne and when they weren’t airborne, they were stomping all over the stage or being showered with sing-alongs. Technically the photos weren’t the best / highest quality, but the energy that was captured for that single song was impressive.
Hoffman, Canales and Barretto with Chain of Strength at City Gardens, Photo: Jason Jammer
So here are a handful of those shots that were taken by Jason during “Just How Much”. Again, the photos are a bit dark, some are grainy and some aren’t particularly clear and in focus, but Chain fan or not, you can’t deny the energy that these guys brought to the stage that night.
Am I the only one left? My friends tell me I should just let it ride, I feel stronger inside… - Tim DCXX
Chain of Strength with a sing-along at City Gardens, Photo: Jason Jammer
Alex goes for it, Photo: Jason Jammer
Another Chain of Strength sing-along at City Gardens, Photo: Jason Jammer
Hoffman goes airborne, Photo: Jason Jammer
Chain energy , Photo: Jason Jammer
Chain of Strength at City Gardens, Photo: Jason Jammer
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Self portrait by Caine Rose
When asked to contribute to Double Cross by sharing one of my favorite memories from a hardcore show, I took pause in indecision. The first show I went to was about 25 years ago and there were so many untold favorite memories that I lived in those early days. Which to tell of? Besides, I really don’t listen to much hardcore music contemporarily, save “Eight Miles High” by Husker Du last night on repeat while I washed a sink full of dishes. And I’m not a nearly 40 year old man who wears band t-shirts, save the Antidote “Thou Shalt Not Kill” shirt I scored from Ray Cappo when he stayed at my house on tour in 1987, when I was working out the other night. Still, the chance to share a moment in time seemed too much to negate.
While I have many stories of the notorious youth crew cast of iconic bands such as Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Wide Awake, Side by Side, Judge, Project X, et al., I think my favorite memory is comprised of an event that few took part in and probably no one will ever read that remembers and that is both a shame and blessing, for now it gets to be retold.
It was the summer of 1987, all my hard work as a singer and band leader was beginning to pay off with more and more gigs manifesting. My original straight edge band, Screaming for Change! (circa 1986), had incarnated into What if!, as so many bands back then did. It contained essentially the same members and same songs, just a renovation to facilitate my quest for changing with the times. Where SFC! was a more hard-lined militant SXE approach inspired by say, DYS, What If! took the more diplomatic Dag Nasty route to drug free, positive liberation. We landed a show with none other than Brian Baker’s brainchild, Dag Nasty at some club whose name I have forgotten in Virginia Beach.
Caine with Touch X Down at The Anthrax, January 2, 1988, Photo: BP
The one all ages matinee show turned into a youth crew adventure to remember. The event was set up by a guy named Eddie, who professed to be a local promoter who had a real interest in my band and just had to get us on the ticket. He invited us to stay at his place and even offered to ease a few of our parents into the deal with persuasions over the telephone. At the time, we were all 15 to 17 years old and a few of our parents were a bit tentative about unleashing their teenaged sons to a beach trip a couple of hours away from home with no adult supervision.
Eddie coaxed them with claims that he was a doctor that did social programs with kids and that he was hosting a drug free and positive environment with a cookout, et al. for all of us. When we finally arrived the night before the show, a 40-something washed up hippie/surfer named Eddie greeted us with, “hey dudes, ya’ll got any weed?”
We had brought along a posse of Richmond kids and the 10 or 12 of us that came along wrecked Eddie’s place that night. He had a vintage collection of surf and skate stickers that ended up on some of our boards by morning. And there was no cookout!
The show was finally at hand and what a great bill it was: Dag Nasty, Swiz, several other D.C. bands and What If! At the time, Peter Cortner was singing for Dag Nasty and we had a good relationship with him since he was a very personable and humble guy, but Brian Baker was every bit as stuck up and stand offish as rumors had it. I had met him before, but it was only as a fan who just wanted to express thanks for his contribution to Minor Threat. A couple of us got really burned up when we heard that he was sighted drinking alcohol either in the tour van or at some local bar before the show. It was all the impetus we needed to exact some straight edge revenge.
Near the end of the show, during a big sing-a-long, a couple of us grabbed the mike cord and wrapped it around his ankles just as a pile on commenced. He instantly fell back and onto his ass! As the cord got yanked on by fans who wanted to sing, it pulled him across the stage. He was rendered helpless for a few brief, but precious seconds. Revenge was sweet!
It was the precursor taunting to the later heckling of Ian MacKaye on the first Fugazi tour in Richmond, where we yelled at the former straight edge god after he cried about “not being in that band anymore” and that we “should just move on”. No one was there for Fugazi. We were there to see a Minor Threat reunion. What do you expect!? All these years later, my thoughts are, the only thing worse than those who try to divorce themselves from their former glory is those who parade around the carcass of their long expired glory. Be here now.
One of Caine’s former bands, What If on a pretty damn good bill
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Mike Neider, the man behind the Dan Armstrong
Former BL’AST! ripper Mike Neider is always a welcome addition to DCXX, and here we get into some post BL’AST! history as well as what he’s up to now with his new steamroller, GUSTO. – Gordo DCXX
What was the idea behind spelling “Blast” as “BL’AST!” – where did the name come from, why the apostrophe and exclamation mark, and what did that name signify to you?
I came up with the name around the same time we started to play or maybe even a bit sooner. Just thought it was appropriate and very suiting and it sounds real good. We were very literal almost to the point of not enjoying it as much as we should of. Haha. But believe me we enjoyed it thoroughly. The exclamation point was to make it heavier then it already is and the apostrophe between the L and A was to fill in the space a bit cuz it was kinda empty looking there. Ha. I know.
Post BL’AST you played in a few different projects, some of which maybe never got real far and are still mysteries to interested fans. Can you give a full run down on each project other than BL’AST!, what you did in the band, and some full line-up details and info? Favorite band you ever played with (including BL’AST!)?
Ya, Post BL’AST! was always myself (vocals/guitar), Bill Torgerson (drums) and Dave Dinsmore (bass). We started out as Black Out and there were to many bands using that name so we changed it to LAB, which was Live and Burn/Life After Bl’ast!, haha. Lab was probably the most amazing time because we had a ton of fun and the tunes were out of control in a great way, we literally played 20+ hours a week. We had a ton of songs we dug and it was an amazing time. Brant Bjork joined in briefly and we also had Jerad join briefly but in the end it was always Bill, Dave and I. At the time we started getting some label interest and we were about to sign and playing out allot w/ Fu Manchu and others. I went through some lame times that made me have to stop playing for a while. Then Dave and Bill had their share of reality with there personal lives. So it was halted in a lame way, even though at the time we were ready to roll. DAMN.
Anyway we have a bunch of recordings / demos / whatever that we will release this year I believe on vinyl. Looking forward to it.
Favorite, that’s like picking your favorite child. Haha. Doesn’t work that way, ha. No, but liked each band for different reasons.
Mike Neider with Gusto, Photo: Ricardo Carles
The early 90s gave rise to a lot of bands in California that cited BL’AST! as a direct influence. Fu Manchu obviously comes to mind. It seems that bands like Fu Manchu, Kyuss, QOTSA, etc. borrow somewhat indirectly from the BL’AST! aesthetic: skate/Cali imagery, Dan Armstrongs, big Ludwigs, etc (especially Fu Manchu). Some of it is subtle but it is there. What do you think of this? Where did BL’AST! get it’s own cues for these things? What is your relationship specifically with Scott Hill and the Fu Manchu guys over the years?
Well most of these bands that you mentioned are all friends and have been throughout the years. We all grew up with Sabbath/Flag etc…most of the same influences. Not too sure to be honest but for myself I liked doing stuff that was big and out of step w/the stream, dry and in your face as much as possible. Kinda the anti-text book, with quick attack, ha ha. Bands like Sabbath/Flag did the same thing.
I remember when Bill ordered his drums. He was a senior in high school worked his ass off and came up w/ enough dough to custom order his own set from Guitar Center/Ludwig. He ordered that huge chromo wood set that you have seen w/Bl’ast! It was radical.
Then we added our 12″, 15″, 18″, 10″ speakers w/ rack mount amps to do what we wanted to do with Bl’ast!
Mr. Scott Hill rips! The first time we met Scott I believe is at one of the first BL’AST! shows in ’84? Maybe sooner or later a bit. We have been friends ever since, and all the Fu dudes rule. We have played with Fu a lot throughout the years. Scott got hooked up with Ampeg for Dan Armstrongs a while back and has hooked me up with guitars, very cool. But I am sure we will be playing more shows together. Fu Manchu is relentless.
Tell us all about GUSTO, and what’s going on with the band now and what can we expect?
GUSTO is myself (guitar, vocals) Dave Dinsmore (bass) Alfredo Hernandez (drums) and the band is sounding very potent, it’s kinda like our roots meet our present mentalled state, ha. In great ways. We started in 2006, due to tragedies in our families we have not gotten on a roll until now.
We have shows booked and good ones coming in the future and we are recording in 7-09 so it is looking good and we are stoked.
The tunage is very badass, like I said roots twined in some different ways and not. If your familiar w/ us you will know who it is. It is what we would like to hear and there will be a wide array tunes as time flows.
Gusto: Mike, Alfredo and Dave, Photo:
Monday, June 22, 2009
Darren and the TP crew outside of CBGB’s, Photo courtesy of: TP
Hi-Impact and Jade Tree guru Darren Walters reflects on the Hi-Impact days and his memories of Turning Point- Gordo DCXX
How did the idea for Hi-Impact come together? Was TP an idea for the label from its inception, or something that popped up after the label was already formed?
After years of being in bands and playing music, I realized that I may be better suited for life behind the scenes. The idea for starting a label eventually crystallized while I was at a family event where I was talking to my Aunt about how I was thinking about starting a record label, but that I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. My aunt told me that she thought I would be great at being a business person and basically gave me a pep talk and inspired me to finally get off of my ass. She was the motivation that I needed; someone to believe in me and show me that I could do it. It meant a lot and I immediately started the label after I got home.
I then called up my friend Victor, we became partners, and we started Hi-Impact. We wanted a hard-hitting name and there was this marker sitting in his room that had that wording on it and we loved it. Especially the way “Hi” was spelled. The name struck both of us as really “core” and so that sealed the deal and Hi-Impact was off and running. All we needed was a band!
Once we told our friends that we had started a label, our friend Scott (who was doing Terminal Productions, a tape label that did a bunch of compilations-including one with Pointless) passed us the demo he had gotten because he had worked with Jay previously. In fact, the demo might have even been tacked on to the end of a Pointless demo that Scott had. The important thing is that I recall hearing it for the first time and flipping out. I knew right then and there that this had to be the first record that Victor & I released. We may have even have called the guys up that night-we were that excited about it.
Turning Point at OJ’s with Darren on stage in the background, Photo courtesy of: TP
What specifically was exciting about the TP demo? Did it just seem like another young SE band or something special you knew you had to put out?
The energy, the youthful enthusiasm and Skip’s voice-it had an edge to it that when combined with the music really made the difference between what Turning Point were doing and many of the other bands of the era. That boy could sing! I am biased, but that band was something special. They were clearly talented and not some 2nd generation carbon copy youth crew band that could be easily dismissed. I think their impact speaks to that, as well as the songs that they would write later on in their careers.
In 1988, almost everything I listened to in hardcore sounded alike to some degree, so originality was not something that I heard all of the time, but I knew it when I heard it. Turning Point was not only the real deal-something I think they struggled to prove to other NJ/NY bands-but they were intent on making a real go of being original and almost swimming against the tide of the times. As a band the consistently made strides to move forward and certainly argued about doing so internally as they struggled with their growing pains. They also never tried to be something they were not, which to me, was really important and something which fans picked up on. They were five kids from the NJ burbs and despite all of the noise, they never sang about mean streets or hard knocks (and in fact, we joked about the hard shit that we did love all of the time) but instead addressed the shit we did deal with at that time such as white power knuckleheads at shows, the struggles of growing older or relationships as a young adult.
Darren and Ken, Photo courtesy of: TP
What was your relationship like with each guy from TP? What was the band dynamic as you saw it?
Overall, Turning Point were a fun loving, entertaining and determined bunch of kids. They never let the scene bullshit drag them down and they soldiered forward to really create outstanding music in a generic era of hardcore.
Jay (All Business / Ultimate musician – I remember watching him play the drums and thinking ‘why the hell does this kid play the guitar?’) and Skip (Sarcastic comedian): These two lived down the street from each other and I spent a lot of time at Skip’s house, which was the center of the universe. Things centered around meeting there and typically crashing there as well. There was a lot of sleeping over, watching movies, eating calzones, drinking soda, talking shit and general good times had around their hood.
Steve (Band buddy): I spent a lot of time with Steve. We used to go to a lot of shows together without the other band members and hung out often. This became a problem when the band asked him to leave and I think had some bearing on the band eventually leaving Hi-Impact. I never took sides, but I definitely remained friends with Steve when he was out of the band and from that point on had less and less interaction with the rest of the band.
Nick (The kid with sardonic wit): At the time Nick was in the background more, but as time moved on, Nick moved out of his shell and become more funny and outgoing. Nick struck me as the kid who was along for the ride, but who eventually became a stronger voice within the band. One of the few members I am still in touch with these days. In fact, I have been emailing him the last few minutes.
Ken (The working man): Ken had a job, made a real living and his house was the practice space. He, as the drummer, was the solid one of the band. A good guy that you leaned on when you really needed something done. I recall going over there and spending many hours watching the band develop their new songs and direction. I saw many songs take shape, be played at a show once or twice, and then eventually get dropped.
It was a really interesting place to be, and a great time.
What were your ideas for the 7″? What can you recall about hearing the 7″ recording for the first time, as compared to the demo?
To release the most amazing record ever! The record was done at a studio near where I was born and around the corner from my grandmother’s house, so Victor and I attended the sessions and participated (Victor thinks we should have gotten production credits) in the recording process. I recall how while the recording was happening how flabbergasted we both were at how amazing it sounded. It synthesized what we were both thinking about how amazing the band could sound if they were recorded under better than average circumstances. In other words, in a real studio where their nuances could be heard clearly and then not compressed or distorted once transferred onto the vinyl. To this day I am proud of the way that the record turned out sonically. Especially for the timeframe of the late 80s when so many awful sounding hardcore 7″s were being released.
To be continued…
Hi-Impact 7″ era Turning Point lineup up, Photo courtesy of: TP
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I’m going to keep my comments to a minimum here regarding the poll results and instead, hand it right over to Keith Burkhardt, frontman for Cause For Alarm. Keith delivers a great story that we felt fit right in line with this last poll. Big thanks and much appreciation to Keith for sharing this. -Tim DCXX
Antidote – Thou Shalt Not Kill - 213
Agnostic Front – United Blood – 117
Abused – Loud and Clear – 49
Urban Waste – EP – 37
Cause For Alarm – EP – 29
Keith Burkhardt – Cause For Alarm
Tim has been kind enough to ask me what one of my most memorable hardcore/punk shows was. I thought about this for a while, of course the usual suspects floated into my mind’s view . But just as quickly I had another thought as this question pushed me back in time, to a place I don’t visit much.
My mind’s eye brought me back to a 17 year old or so Keith, standing in a small, dark club called A7. Outside it was cold; grey…just another LES winter. Avenue A empty, except for the Park Inn and the bright florescent lights of Ray’s just a few doors south.
Victor was manning the door, Doug (Kraut) was tending bar and the usual crew was milling around; Raybeez, John Watson, Robbie Crypt Crasher, Michelle, Stigma, Harley, Kevin, Manue, Lucy, Blue, Lazar, Jimmy, Rob, Alex, Linda, shopping bag girls, Poss, Glenn, Joe nails, Richie, Adam (Beasty Boys), Charlie, Kenny, Johnny Waste, Angelica, Laura and various other misfits, punks, drug addicts, drunks, hangers on, rich kids that found the “real” scene and assorted other freaks. Sorry, I know this list is incomplete, but you get the picture.
This was our little world, we ruled it. No cops or other authority types came into the hood back then, we policed ourselves. We all had some sort of story, some reason for being there. It was a mixed bag of rich, poor, abused, disenchanted or neglected…but if you were there, you had your reasons and for the most part you weren’t judged. It was very special; a sort of weird Burtonesque film set, magical comes to mind. Perfection of life it was not, but in its raw state it was very “real” and an almost parallel universe. It forced you to face who you were or else it chewed you up, you could become lost in a sort of hell, like in “What Dreams May Come”. It could turn you into a zombie, like being lost in a Bardo wandering aimlessly.
OK… to “The Show”. The Headlickers comes to mind for some strange reason? I have not thought about this band since 1982. I remember seeing them at A7, it was probably about 4am when they went on and we were all there ready for some fun. It was just all friends for the most part, the atmosphere was charged with good energy, everyone dancing, some off to the side rocking their heads. The band was fast and fun and at one point throwing out cherry cigars into the crowd (all 30 of us!). John and I were sporting our mad dance floor moves LOL, (Watson was the most stylish dancer hands down) LOL. We were all there, in that little shithole of a club at 4am acting like a bunch of jack asses! Reagan was in office, the recession was dragging, NYC was a different animal. But our tribe was holding court on this little point in the universe at avenue A and east 7th street and I would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Dan O’Mahony 2009, Photo: Kate O’Neil O’Mahony
Dan O returns… -DCXX
You mentioned Zack de la Rocha playing drums for NFAA – I had never heard about that, was he much of a drummer? Strange to think about today?
Zack’s run in NFAA lasted only a couple of weeks, I don’t know if it included even any shows. He was a good friend and doing us a favor during a tough time, drummers being scarce back then. Roach was one of these Kevin Murphy types who can play any spot in the band with decent results, guitar and later vocals were his strongest suits. Very strange to think about today.
You mentioned some of the strain with Bratton and some of the inland guys. There has been a long running question as to any beef between NFAA and Chain back then – surely it was juvenile stuff and nothing today, but Chain did go so far as to hint at it in interviews and even put it on their EP matrix. What was the deal? Again it’s kid stuff obviously.
It really is. And while I understand the curiosity on the part of anyone fascinated with the era, I don’t see anything productive in my trying to remember what caused what, who said what, or where it ended. On one of my forearms the words “That was then, this is now” are tattooed, on the other, “Not a savior, can’t be a judge”. I’m going to try to follow my own advice on this one.
Dan mixes it up with the Anthrax crowd, Photo: Jeff Ladd
How did Workshed get off the ground, and can you give us a little behind the scenes history lesson with the how and the why?
The how went something like this…Billy Rubin had taken over New Beginning in late ’87 or early ’88 I believe, and was running all of his manufacturing through a fellow named Kane Boychuck, who would aid in production and distribution for a cut of the returns. Kane was looking to his expand his operation and was hungry for labels, so Billy suggested me. Like any Gung Ho hardcore kid, I jumped at the chance to run a label.
Hard Stance was Billy’s rather forceful suggestion as a first release feeling they fit in with the Dan O sphere of influence a bit better than what he was doing. I was lucky to have such a talented act available to me and am very proud of that release.
The why was even simpler…hardcore was my life.
A little known fact, the name Workshed has it’s origin in a ludicrous scene from The Evil Dead II rather than anything noble or intellectual. That movie was a big VCR hit with all us OCHC types at the time.
How did you feel about the finished product of the NFAA LP? What were your hopes and expectations for that record? An LP on Hawker at the time was a pretty big deal.
I like the EP better. I enjoy the big sound of the LP but only about half of the songs, and many of the vocals make me cringe. I was going through some sort of a deep, dark, and gutteral-sounding-is-best phase with regards to my voice. I can’t say I really feel that way anymore. Even the Carry Nation vocals are a bit less exaggerated and more enjoyable to me. With regards to hopes and expectations, changing labels helped us forge a seperate identity we were longing for, the full page ads were nice, but little else was expected, an album was our next natural step. Hawker was big deal intitially but plenty of people don’t even remember what label that LP was on these days.
No For An Answer at The Whiskey, 1989, Photo: Dave Sine
As new talent was coming up by 1989, with guys possibly a few years younger than you, what were your general feelings as someone who was a member of the older guard and had been around for some time? (Especially as younger attitudes became possibly more righteous).
Sometimes my lack of appreciation for a band would be based on age but more often style and lack of originality. If you look at the 10 Workshed releases, no 2 bands sound alike, or even similar. That was becoming rare at the time. Predictable breakdowns, mosh beats as we were calling them on the toms, betrayal anthems up the wazoo all got pretty exausting. This is something even we were guilty of early on, but it just got so extreme.
As far as attitudes go, I’m not sure how you mean the term righteous, but the faux militancy, fondness for cult religions, and suburban mock gangsterism were all pretty embarassing and something I couldn’t relate to. 9 times out of 10 you’d hear about these regional superheroes with a score to settle, meet them in person, and find that they couldn’t break an egg with a hammer. That said, I’m sure the guys that preceded my generation found some of our affectations pretty silly. Every phase of this genre has produced a few real diamonds. We all tend to “dance with the one that brung us”.
How exactly did NFAA wrap up? Did it just dissolve? There didn’t seem to be much publicity of a final show or anything.
We did announce our final show as such, (I don’t think it caused much of a ripple back east as we’d left Rev and hadn’t travelled to the opposite coast much lately) and played it at the Country Club in Reseda. Zack announced us, and talked to the crowd about how it was hard to say goodbye to a band that had had so much to say. I treasured that. We had been losing steam for a few months, knew Sterling and Chris were moving on had no stomach for adding 2 more new guys. It was a pretty easy call.
When did the idea come up to do the Carry Nation record and play out? Had NFAA been put to rest at that point?
I don’t remember how the idea came up, but NFAA was still going and Carry Nation was meant to be a side project. As it turned out, Carry Nation had a more dramatic, over-the-top style to it that lended itself to theatrics like intro music and lights-out set starts, banners, etc. that wouldn’t really have fit NFAA and made it really fun for a while. A right time, right place thing that filled the gap between NFAA and 411 for me nicely. I look back on it fondly.
Carry Nation at The Country Club, 1990, Photo: Dave Sine
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