Sunday, January 11, 2009
Chris Jones of VA at CBGB’s, Photo: Ken Salerno
Poll after poll I seem to always go with the unpopular vote. Granted, I love “Trial”, great record, no question. Not a surprise to me at all that “Trial” dominated the votes. As much as I like “Trial” and agree that it’s pretty much the classic Verbal Assault record, my vote went to “On”. There’s just something about “On” that really hits me. The songs are heavy, groove filled and definitely next level. But hey, I’m just one vote, well actually I guess 56 others agreed with me. Either way, both are great records and I’m looking forward to the Volume Two discography CD, which I assume will be released at some point this year. -Tim DCXX
Trial – 167
On – 57
Learn – 25
Tiny Giants – 18
The Masses – 7
Your Choice Live Series – 6
Exit – 5
Verbal Assault at CBGB’s, Photo: Ken Salerno
Pete Chramiec with VA at CBGB’s, Photo: Ken Salerno
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I’ve had this footage saved as a favorite of mine on YouTube and have planned to post it here on DCXX for quite awhile now. Tonight seemed like as good a time as any considering most of this weeks posts have been a bit text heavy.
Most of you are probably wondering, “Who the hell is Intensity?”, well I’ll try to fill you in. Intensity were from Princeton New Jersey, which is a town over from where I grew up. My friends and I all picked up their demo at a BOLD, Up Front show in Sayreville, New Jersey. At the time, which I believe was 1989, picking up a new demo by a band from Jersey that had a huge X on the cover seemed kinda cool. Jersey had bands like Turning Point, Release, Enuf and of course Vision, who at the time were pretty much making the most waves. To find a brand new band was exciting because you never knew if they were going to be the next big thing.
On the way home from that BOLD, Up Front show I remember us all listening to the Intensity demo. Then once we got home we listened to it again and again. Although lyrically it was pretty damn goofy (the lyrics to “Jersey Shore” are priceless), musically it wasn’t that bad, total mosh fest type of stuff, like a straight edge version of Maximum Penalty or maybe even Breakdown. Soon after we ended up meeting the guys in the band, hanging out and getting to know them. Eventually I even had a hand in getting their 7″ released on a new D.C. label done by Ken Olden, called Common Sense Records, which was an off shoot from the fanzine that myself and my friend Tony were doing at the time.
Intensity at City Gardens, check out their guitarist Jordan with the drum riser jump, right behind Chris their singer
Some how or another Intensity actually had a lot of hook ups. I know their drummer Kevin was friends with Drew from BOLD, so they would get show hook ups through them. They also got some sort of hook up with Judge and ended up playing with them quite a few times (Unisound, The Anthrax, City Gardens, etc.).
This particular video is from the Judge “Where It Went” video shoot show at City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey. It was Sunday March 11th 1990. Intensity opened, followed by Outburst and then last but not least, Judge. I’ve talked about this show countless times and I’m not going to bore you all again with how great it was, but I will say, having Intensity open was a really fun way to start the show. For me and a lot of my friends, since we knew the band, it was cool having this “down with the band” that’s playing vibe that was going on. Keep in mind, I was 16 at the time, so being “down with a band” that was playing City Gardens with Outburst and Judge seemed really cool. You can even see me (blue Nike hat) and some friends up front singing along. I’m pretty sure this was the same night Intensity threw lollipos out into the crowd when they played their song “Lollipop” of course.
That’s pretty much it for now, I really intended to keep this a “text light” post, but evidently that is easier said than done. Have a good weekend, thanks for tuning into another week of DCXX and remember, “What a mess, what a mess, I don’t want to get a needle stuck in my chest !”. -Tim DCXX
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Brian Peterson is the guy behind the forthcoming book on Nineties Hardcore, entitled Burning Fight. We wanted to catch up with him to get the scoop on this book and what we can expect. -Gordo DCXX
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into hardcore. Where and when was this? How would you compare yourself today to the kid that got into hardcore then?
Okay, well, I’m 32 years old. I’m originally from a small town called Minot, North Dakota, but then I moved to Illinois when I was in high school. Dylan, a childhood friend from Minot who was a skater and all around underground music fan, introduced me to hardcore in junior high, but at the time I was obsessed with hip-hop. I’ve always been attracted to music with a message and listening to Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy, Eric B. and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and others was a pretty eye-opening experience, especially for a kid from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, I understood the energy of hardcore, but I just wasn’t ready for the screaming at first. [laughs] But after listening to a couple mix tapes, some of the bands made an impression on me—especially after I found out what they were screaming about! My family moved to Illinois when I was about 15 and by then I’d already gotten into Nirvana and then more contemporary hardcore or punk influenced bands like Fugazi. From there I got re-introduced to the classic hardcore bands that Dylan introduced me to like Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Misfits, Minor Threat, Youth of Today and so on. It’s funny, though, as I didn’t even realize there was a thriving hardcore scene happening at the time. I guess I had thought it was all from the past, probably because most rock journalists viewed hardcore or punk as “dead,” even though that was really because they weren’t truly paying attention to the underground. A friend in Illinois made me a mix tape with some contemporary hardcore bands and soon enough I found myself at shows and not too long after playing in some hardcore bands. My life would never be the same.
As for comparing myself at present to the kid who got into hardcore, I’ve matured a lot. I was a pretty shy kid, and I didn’t feel confident in myself. But hardcore taught me to take my own ideas more seriously. Sure, there are negative sides to the hardcore scene, but I’ve always found it to be a pretty supportive and encouraging place. I’m now a high school English teacher and if someone would have told me when I was younger that I’d end up in this position now I would have thought they were crazy. [laughs] But that’s another thing about hardcore: it taught me that giving back to others – whether it was friends from the scene or strangers on the outside – was important. I could also say being a part of hardcore was like going to college before and while going to a traditional college. I learned as much about life and about myself from my time in hardcore than I did from anything else.
Brian Peterson braves the snow
Where did the idea for the book come from, and specifically a book on the 1990’s era of hardcore?
I didn’t get directly involved in hardcore until the early-nineties, so that era had a huge impact on my life. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been attracted to music with a message and almost every hardcore band I was exposed to had some sort of message, whether it was political or personal. I also found a lot of the debates and discussions I’d overhear or participate in at shows to be really interesting. While some of the debates – everything from straightedge and animal rights to political and spiritual/philosophical issues – were sometimes taken to absurd levels, I found the ideas to be relevant and important.
Fast forward several years. American Hardcore came out and I thought that book was really amazing. It had such great source material from all those classic bands and it was an entertaining read. But something troubled me. The author insinuated that hardcore died around 1986 and that idea floored me. Sure, that first wave of hardcore moved on around that time, but what about the bands that came after? Nineties hardcore changed my life, as well as the lives of many of my friends. I guess I felt like it was somewhat ignorant to say that hardcore “died,” considering that it is still thriving to this day. Along the way, I had written for some zines and magazines, but I grew tired of many places only wanting to run stories on bands with a “buzz”—essentially groups most other publications were covering already. Anyway, an idea occurred to me one day, “No one has documented nineties hardcore in the way the eighties era has been. Maybe I should give it a shot.” I started contacting some people for interviews and I found their responses to be really positive and enthusiastic. Everything just snowballed from there.
How have you approached the subject matter? Where do you draw the line, what gets in and stays out? Especially considering the musical definition of “hardcore” is considered by many to have been stretched to its limits if not completely ignored in this decade, defining a “hardcore” band in the 90s seems like it would be difficult for the purpose of a book, no?
There are so many ways to approach hardcore. The nineties era is no different than any other era in that respect. I’m not trying to “define” what nineties hardcore was on the whole. I’ve always stated up front that this is just a story about some debates/ideas and some bands told from some people’s perspectives. 100 other people would probably write the book 100 different ways. There is no definitive definition of hardcore as I believe that each person has to define it for him/herself. That said, I think one of the most interesting parts of nineties hardcore was the diversity in ideas and sound. Now obviously there are lines that have to be drawn in terms of what hardcore’s sound isn’t. For instance, I don’t see an acoustic jam band fitting the hardcore mold. At the same time, I don’t think that hardcore has to necessarily have break downs or traditional sing alongs, as great as those things are. I tried to cover a variety of bands that spoke to a variety of issues and played a variety of styles of hardcore – from the traditional to the experimental. Some will disagree with some of my selections, but I think once people see the book (or even look at the full title of it) it will make sense. I agree, though, that the nineties did stretch the sound of hardcore to its limits, and like I said earlier, to me that’s one of the most interesting things about that era. I love traditional sounding hardcore, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that hardcore is just as much about community, ideas, and ethics as it as a specific sound.
Brian in Milwaukee, 2008
What have been the highs and lows of doing the book? If you knew what you were getting yourself into, would you have still started it? What have been some crowning moments or big breakthroughs?
The highs from the book? Being able to give some attention to these bands, people, zines, and debates that played such an important role in my life. I’ve felt like a lot of bands from this era have been overlooked for too long, so I hope that what I’m trying to do helps re-focus some attention in this era’s direction. It was also really cool to hear so many people’s perspective on the issues I’m trying to cover. Lots of really interesting conversations transpired. Lows? Well, I never thought it would take five years to assemble this book. I’ve spent a pretty outrageous amount of hours interviewing people (I talked to over 150 people over the course of the book) and in some ways I feel like I’ve had to put other aspects of my life on hold in order to finish it. I’ve learned more about sacrifice, time management, and multi-tasking then I probably ever wanted to know. [laughs]
Where are you right now in terms of the book, and what happens from here on out?
We’re still wrapping up final edits and layout at this point. Revelation has been extremely supportive and helpful and I’m really excited about the way everything is turning out. Plus, a lot of people from the nineties have been generous enough to donate pictures, flyers, zine covers, etc. Rose Noble, the person doing the layout, is doing a really great job, and I’m stoked to see the finished version! We don’t have a definite release date yet, but obviously the Chicago show on May 2nd and 3rd is the date we are shooting for. There is also a California show in the works. Stay tuned for an announcement about that soon at www.burningfightbook.com and www.myspace.com/90shardcore
Groundwork, Photo: Sean Capone
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Billy and Bessie, early 1986, Photo: Ray Cappo
Half Off / Haywire frontman, New Beginning Records kingpin and Think Fanzine editor, Billy Rubin returns with another entry. This time around Billy fills us in on some recent discoveries as well as some old ones. Like many of his west coast counterparts, Billy delivers the stories. Expect more from Billy in the near future. -Tim DCXX
Some people have wondered where I’ve been for 20 years…I’ve only kept in touch with one person (Doc) from back in the day. Doc called me about a month ago and told me that Radio Silence had come out. My initial reaction was “Oh No”. Then about a week later I got an email from Bill “Nego” Case. At first I wasn’t even sure the email wasn’t spam. Bill turned me on to the Double Cross web site and then I got my own copy of Radio Silence.
I honestly wasn’t prepared for the wave of memories and emotions that came next. I knew half of those people in that book and was involved in a bunch of the music (back up vocals, shows, interviews, etc.). Seeing the page of Radio Silence with THINK fanzine in it was amazing. The address of my childhood home is in that book for the world to see. There is even a comment on that page of THINK/Radio Silence about a trip to the East Coast I was about to take.
When I was 16, back in 1985 I was publishing THINK fanzine. I would go to shows with a tape recorder and interview bands. I was just some kid (and still am albeit 39 years old). Dan O’Mahoney and I (probably Casey Jones too) drove way up the 605 fwy, past the quarries, to some shit hole cowboy bar in some town like Azuza to see a band we had heard rumors of…Youth of Today…I can’t remember the details, but they were either with 7 Seconds or someone from 7 Seconds was with them…I don’t know. I interviewed YOT in the 7 Seconds van. Bessie Oakley was there too. She was instrumental in so much of the early punk scene it’s a story in itself.
Youth of Today were really good, it was the first time I saw anyone mosh (not slam). They were nice guys. We totally clicked. We became pen pals, we started networking. I also became good friends with Bessie. A little while (weeks) after that show, Ray and Bessie came down to my parent’s house (THINK fanzine headquarters) in Huntington Beach. They were just kind of touring around having fun and wanted to pay a punk rock visit. We had fun and were becoming fast friends. In fact, I have a picture of Ray and I standing on the beach (Bolsa Chica for all you So Cal people) looking out at the waves.
Underdog in Albany, Photo: Billy Rubin
I started to get involved with the formation of a new record label (New Beginning) that was going to involve Ray, Bessie, Mike Trouchon and possibly Jordan. That label was going to put out Crippled Youth, Underdog, Negazione and who knows what else. I think they needed someone on the ground in LA that could deal with our contact (Kane) at the pressing plant and I was becoming that guy. As things started to come together Bessie got accepted to art school in NYC. She was going to drive out there for the summer before school started and get settled in.
Bessie wanted someone to share the drive to NYC with and she asked me to do the drive. I didn’t have any money, so I got a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken at the corner of Warner and Bolsa Chica in HB to save up for the trip. Part of the deal was that I had to get to Reno, NV first. We reached a compromise. Dan would drive me to San Francisco and we’d all meet at the Maximum RocknRoll house. Over the years Dan and I made many trips to the MRR house (someone should ask Dan to tell those stories because they are so fucking funny I’m laughing right now).
Bessie and I drove to NYC over the course of about a week and made various stops along the way . The Dag Nasty demo had just come out (with Sean Brown). We’d listen to it non stop. It was the first we had heard of something called “emo”. Later on, it was hard to get used to hearing the same songs with Dave Smalley’s voice. We stopped in Albany where I met Dave Stein (great guy). While in Albany I saw Underdog open for Dag Nasty at a VFW hall. Incredible show! Both bands rocked my world. I also met Mike Gitter who I became friends with. Later on that same trip, I spent some time at Mike Gitter’s place in Boston and also met John Anastas of DYS and Choke from Slapshot. I was on straight edge cloud nine. When we got to NYC we went to Ray Cappo’s apartment at 8th and 15th (or is it 15th and 8th?). Within minutes of our arrival, I was hanging out with Craig (who was about to join YOT), the Crippled Youth kids (who at the time were even younger than me, and I was really young), Ray Cappo and Richie (Underdog). I spent about a month in NYC hanging out with all these soon to be punk rock celebrities. We’d go to St. Marks pizza, the Pyramid club, venture over to Avenue A, etc…I was amazed, we’d be walking down the street and run into Harley Flanagen or Raybeez from Warzone. I also met a very young Todd Youth who became the guitar player in Warzone. Looking back on it, it was crazy. I was 17…all alone in NYC. My parents didn’t want me to go, but I told them they couldn’t stop me.
We had a lot of fun. Ray turned me on to some great music. The Cro-Mags (Age of Quarrel) had just come out, and he turned me on to the Abused. He also turned me on to possibly the single best hardcore song ever…”Something Must Be Done” by Antidote. I went to Raybeez’s apartment. I was blown away. I was a rich kid from the suburbs and this guy was living in a dump of an apartment with the interior walls and ceiling painted blood red. He had pit bulls living in his apartment with him. I went to CBGB’s, Bleeker Bobs, Some Records, Ray’s Original, etc, etc, etc. We also drove up to see a few shows in CT. At one of the shows, I think it was a roller rink (maybe in Enfield) I saw the Melvins. We also saw the Adolescents in Rhode Island, the same show that is pictured in Radio Silence. After the show the battery in Bessie’s car had died and Casey from the Adolescents gave us a jump start. I think he recognized me from DI shows at Fender’s. There were so many highlights of this trip I really can’t remember all of them. I made friends with people like Gitter and Al Quint who I stayed in touch with for years after that. I came back to the West Coast feeling like hardcore was really up and coming!
Half Off at Fenders in Long Beach, with a young Issac from Chorus and Zack De La Rocha watching on
Monday, January 5, 2009
Mouthpiece – “What Was Said” LP cover
Probably the most questioned and most mysterious of the Mouthpiece record covers, the Mouthpiece – “What Was Said” LP cover always seems to leave everyone scratching their head. With that being said, I will attempt to explain how we ended up with this cover. -Tim DCXX
To start this off I have to go back to the original cover concept. In fact, “What Was Said” was not the first title that I had in mind. My first thought was to title the album, “What Remains”. Problem was, after we wrote the song “What Remains” and started playing it out live, Strife came out with a similar song called “What Will Remain”, which ended up being released on a Victory Records “Only The Strong” LP compilation. If I remember correctly, the Victory comp was set to be released before our LP, so I decided to sacrifice the album title “What Remains” and come up with something different so that our bands didn’t seem to be copying off of one another. Truth of the matter was that we wrote the song “What Remains” before we ever heard Strife’s “What Will Remain”, but being friends with them and realizing that their track would be getting out there before ours, we just did what we felt was right.
Original Mouthpiece LP cover concept, Photo: Tim McMahon
Only problem with switching album titles from “What Remains” to what we later decided as “What Was Said”, was that I had already figured out an album cover photo that went along with the “What Remains” title. There was a burned out building that I would pass on my way to college every morning and I would always notice this one particular wall and smashed out window that were still standing. Something about this cracked up, stained, dilapidated, concrete wall and broken window spoke to me. I guess the fact that it was the only part of the entire building that remained after the fire, it had me thinking of the lyrics to “What Remains”. One day I pulled up to the shell of this building, grabbed my camera and snapped off a handful of shots. I wasn’t much of photographer, so I don’t think I ever got the exact photo that I had envisioned, but I felt that I could work with what I had. Instead, because of the Strife song and ultimate change in album title, this original cover concept fell to the wayside and ultimately collected dust.
Once we realized that we weren’t going to title the LP “What Remains”, I started looking over other song titles that I felt seemed fitting for an album title. For some reason or another, “What Was Said” was the title that jumped out at me. Although it didn’t seem to carry that anthem-like vibe that “What Remains” did, “What Was Said” still worked. Truth of the matter is, I had gotten the idea to title the song “What Was Said” from seeing a video of the project band that Alex and Chris from Chain Of Strength were doing with Mike Down from Amenity called “What She Said”. Turned out they got the name from a Smiths song and a Doors lyrics, but at the time I hadn’t realized that. That “What She Said” video was just incredible, sound wise it was similar to Statue, but their stage presence was pure insanity. The concept of that band and that name stuck in my head and I felt like I had to incorporate a piece of it into something I was doing. The result was a song called “What Was Said” and lyrics that had absolutely nothing to do with the the band “What She Said”.
The Hellraiser comic book that the artwork was borrowed from
Now that I had determined I wanted to title the album “What Was Said”, the search was on for an album cover. At the time, in 1993, I was really into the movie Hellraiser. I was buying all kinds of Hellraiser model kits and comic books and of course watching the movies regularly. This one particular Hellraiser comic book had a section of images that appeared to be art mixed with real photography. My favorite example of one of these images was of what appeared to be a person ripping their chest open and showing their insides. Some pieces of the image were of bones, some of muscles, some of flesh and some were of the insides. I didn’t exactly think the image looked scary, but it definitely looked dark and strange. This was the image that I chose to cut out of the comic book and somehow use for the “What Was Said” album cover.
As I had mentioned earlier, at the time I was putting this record together, I was going to school for graphic design. Again, this was going back to 1993, so computers were used minimally and more of what I was being taught was being done by hand. Because of this, I had a lot of art boards lying around my room as well as tons of paint. At some point I had this vision of taking the image strip that I had lifted from the Hellraiser comic book and laying it on a background of splattered paint. I ended up grabbing one of these artboards I had lying around my room, spilling some purple and blue paint on it, smearing it around, splattering some yellow paint around and simply pushing the image strip into the paint, towards the left side. At some point I had created the Mouthpiece “What Was Said” logo with the stretched out Mouthpiece logo and splattery type writter font, enlarged it to fit across the album cover and placed that at the bottom of the piece. Bang… there was our cover.
The full artwork from the Hellraiser comic book
I remember bringing the finished art board to a Mouthpiece practice and showing the band and everyone seemed to like it. Of course I got a lot of, “What is it?”, but after my explanantion everyone was like, “Oh, ok, cool”, and that was that. Considering I was the main guy behind all of our art (stickers, logos, records, shirts, etc.), everyone just seemd to accept what I threw at them.
Over the years a lot of people have asked me what the deal was with this cover. I guess considering we were known as a pretty straight forward, standard cut, straight edge hardcore band, this album cover never seemed fitting for our image and sound. In the end I think it was just a product of what I was into at the time (Hellraiser) and going to school for graphic design. As much as I agree that this record cover seemed out of place for us, I still like it, still think it works and have no regrets.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Harley riles the Trenton crowd, Cro-Mags at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Well the results are in, and personally I’m a little surprised. For starters, we definitely missed a couple intros that easily could have been in here. Murphy’s Law, Outburst, Supertouch, and I’m sure even something I’m blanking on now. Maybe we’ll do a round two. Here’s the results for round one.
BOLD was perhaps a controversial one to put in there, but it definitely jumps out in our minds and pulled in some votes, though still taking a expected last place. Personally, I had it closer to the top…it may not be NYHC personified, but it’s heavy, moody and triumphant sounding all at once. Maybe it is safe to say it makes me want to stage dive more than it makes me want to mosh. The recorded version isn’t the greatest, but some live recordings show that it really kills.
In a shocking fourth place was Leeway’s legendary “Rise And Fall.” I honestly expected this to take second place. It’s still covered by current bands, and Leeway’s popularity seems to have not faded amongst the new breed today. Mind numbingly powerful, with perhaps one of the best guitar sounds ever recorded, A.J. Novello’s SG crunching still makes me want to smash my head into a hard, stationary object when I hear it.
Leeway madness at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
WarZone’s Intro Bust grabbed a few more votes than Leeway and took a solid third place with the first track from the classic DFTS, DFTS album. One of the faster, mid-tempo intros, the Intro Bust is as classic as it gets, yet retains a fun, almost upbeat vibe that doesn’t feel quite as overpowering as some of the others. Nonetheless, still sick, and such a fitting way to kick off a flawless album.
Sick Of It All snagged second place, a slot I was personally surprised to see them grab. Not that this isn’t a timeless intro, I just have a hard time gauging where a jam like this fits into everyone’s list these days. Apparently many still love it, and the Alleyway Crew boys grabbed 21% of the vote.
As I expected, and as I voted, the Cro-Mags ran away with first place for “We Gotta Know.” What is there to say…Mackie’s drumming is possibly best epitomized here as it is mercilessly hard and technically tricky, yet somehow understated and perfectly fitting. I’ve heard it described as an off-time jazz fusion behind-the-beat groove, but I’m a drummer and I don’t even know what the hell that means. What I do know is that the drums alone in this make me want to do some weird dance that will never be seen in public…it’s not even moshing, it’s like violent fornication. Three guitar chords…pretty much the heaviest in standard tuning, are all that is required. I’d love to know how this intro was created…it really is pretty much the best thing ever written and recorded. When I’m 90 years old I still feel like I will hear this and start punching my arthritic fist into my other arthritic palm and do this weird grimace where I bite my entire lower lip and close one eye.
NYHC Intros…maybe the best thing there is in the world. And the Cro-Mags take the cake. -Gordo DCXX
Sick Of It All at City Gardens, always a house favorite, Photo: Ken Salerno
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Trevor, Tim and Taryn McMahon at the Phillies World Series parade, Photo: Traci McMahon
When Gordo and I talked about doing a “Year In Review Top 5″ type of entry, originally we were both going to talk about our favorite interviews that came together here on DCXX. As Gordo finished his piece and I read through it, it left me thinking that Gordo and I probably had a lot of the same favorites. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to be able to expand upon what he said and wasn’t sure if it was worth doing my own if the difference weren’t that drastic. Instead I decided to take a slightly different angle and discuss my general top 5 of 2008. Some hardcore related, some not, all personally substantial to me. -Tim DCXX
1. The Philadelphia Phillies winning the 2008 World Series – Being a follower of Philadelphia sports, seeing the Phillies bring home a championship to the city of Philadelphia was huge. Getting to go to one of the World Series games, being at the sports complex when the Phillies clenched the championship and then going to the parade and post-parade celebration at Citizens Banks Park was phenomenal. Hopefully it’s not a once in a lifetime experience.
2. The completion of the Mouthpiece “Can’t Kill What’s Inside” Discography for Revelation – Considering this project took 4 years to complete, finally finishing it and submitting everything to Revelation was both a huge relief and a very satisfying moment. Revelation Records and those early releases really set the standards and laid the groundwork for everything Mouthpiece wanted to do as a band. To release our complete collection of recordings on this label means a lot to me and I can only hope this discography accurately defines everything we were about.
3. The creation and actual following through with Double Cross – Another project that I had been contemplating for years, both in print format and digitally online. To finally get this concept off the ground in some format felt like a long time goal that had finally be achieved. Pulling Gordo aboard turned a flame into a full blown inferno. Expect much more from DCXX in 2009.
4. The First Step’s final show – Following this band from the moment I received the demo in the mail, to seeing them play basement shows and halls to 15 people, to being instrumental in the release of their demo 7″ and “Open Hearts and Clear Minds” 7″ on Livewire Records, to watching them slowly but steadily grow into a serious force, I felt like I was there every step of the way. Most definitely my favorite hardcore band of the 2000’s and some of the classiest and sincere individuals I’ve come in contact with. Seeing these guys play their last show was both a bum out, yet very fulfilling. It was sad to see the best straight edge hardcore band of the past 8 years end it, but it was great to know what they had accomplished and how they had left their mark. The show it’s self was a perfect send-off, definitely the best all around show I’d seen them play. I know I left that show sweaty, achey and tired and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
5. The Philadelphia Eagles miraculously having the opportunity to get into the playoffs and then completely demolishing the Dallas Cowboys to make sure it happens – Being an Eagles fanatic and watching the 2008 season go through it’s highs and lows, the way week 16 went down was simply mind blowing. Needing the Oakland Raiders to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans to beat the Chicago Bears, it seemed very unlikely that the Eagles would get that help to even have the opportunity. Sometime miracles happen and week 16 brought those miracles to reality. Both the Raiders and the Texans won, which left the door open for the Eagles to beat the Cowboys and squeak into the playoffs. Then there was the actual Eagles, Cowboys game… wow. Philadelphia stepped it up and simply tore the Cowboys to shreds. 44 to 6 was the final score, but even those numbers don’t show how humiliating of beating the Eagles put on the Cowboys. What a way to end the season, what a way to slip into the playoffs. What 2009 will bring is still a mystery, but like Ray said… ” I have faith”.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Seeing my son start kindergarten, The Jimmy Yu interview at his parents house in the Poconos, The Albany mountain bike ride with Daily, Zusi, Reddy and Cappo, A full year of Stern on Sirius, The Double Cross shirts, The constant stream of photos from Ken Salerno…
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Gordo, Jimmy Yu of Judge and Tim
As we wind down the hours of 2008, we take a minute to reflect on our favorite interviews of 2008 here on DCXX. While our one year anniversary comes up in March, we still spent a huge chunk of 2008 busy on DCXX. Tim will follow up with his 2008 Year In Review for an entry tomorrow. Expect much more in the new year!
Gordo’s Top 5 Favorite Interviews
This is almost impossible. Here are at this moment, my favorite interviews we have done so far on Double Cross. We didn’t include contributors or re-printed material – but if we did we’d have to give a big honorable mention to Joe Nelson, Tony Rettman, Jon Roa, and the host of others who have been big contributors here. Top 5…
5. Dave Smalley – To the outside world, this would make no sense: Email a guy some questions about a tattoo he got 25 years ago when he was a teenager, then post his answers with some pictures of him and the tattoo. Sounds retarded, no? This was a smaller piece, but man did it make me want to move to Boston, shave my head, and go get Smalley’s classic True Till Death tattoo inked on me, possibly on my forehead.
4. Marco / The Icemen – Up until this, I had never seen a very thorough interview with any of the guys from The Icemen, and not with Marco. A personal favorite, this gave practically everything you could want to know about this NYHC powerhouse and really seemed to take you back to the time and place, while pulling no punches.
3. Tony Erba – I think both Tim and I knew this would provide some serious entertainment shock value, and did it ever. We censored nothing and Erba wanted it that way. If you haven’t read this, skip your coffee tomorrow morning and check this instead. It will wake you up, Clevo style.
2. Djinji Brown – When word spread that Absolution would be reuniting, I figured that was the perfect opportunity to catch up with Miami-based Mr. Brown. A three hour conversation taped and transcribed, Djinji’s story of growing up in NYC, becoming immersed in hardcore, and then moving on in his own life was honestly one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard. At some point I would like to make the full audio available. I shit you not, hearing Djinji talk about his life and experiences will give you chills.
1. Jimmy Yu – If it wasn’t for Jimmy Yu, Djinji’s interview would be the clear winner. But sitting down at Jimmy’s house, Judge playing in the background, a half dozen white Kramer guitars off to the side (with whammy bars), as Jimmy took us back to where it all started for him…it got a little surreal. I’d love to make the audio of this available at some point as well, but that would only tell half the story. Seeing the look in Jimmy’s eyes when he talked about going to A7, running wild in the streets, playing in JUDGE, and how essential it was in his life really can’t be described. The guy was as real and as gracious as they come. If you have never checked out this interview, please, free up an hour or so and read it all immediately.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: So many…Dave Bett, Todd Schwartz, Ajay Enuf, Straight Edge Hank Peirce, Tom Kuntz, Andy Guida, Jason Peterson…too many to list. Thanks for reading!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The Legendary Carry Nation
Zed Records, Nemesis Records, The Country Club, Carry Nation…if you know about these things, you know about Big Frank. We welcome him aboard DCXX…consider this an introduction. -Gordo DCXX
My most memorable show? To be honest almost every Carry Nation show was a cool time. From our first show opening for a sold out Bad Religion show, to me twisting my knee jumping around when we played with Judge. I think the most memorable would be our last show with Chorus, Vision, Point Blank, Killing Time (the one and only time they came out west) and of course Sick Of It All. It was definitely a great send off for the time we spent together, I only wish we could have completed a full length cd. We came within a hair’s breath of being signed to Epitaph, but Dan’s heart was already into his new band 411 and they chose Insted over us.
Trying to nail down one favorite show of all time is a unlikely task but I will try. I have seen so much from early Ramones to Minor Threat to Bad Brains, Misfits with and without Danzig. Hard Stance also comes to mind with Zach on guitar and Earnst on vocals, they never really fulfilled their true potential, and no offense to anyone but they would have wiped the floor with Chain Of Strength or Youth Of Today had they ever realized it. I think for now the show that comes to mind was the first time the Cro-Mags opened for Motorhead. I don’t even think Age Of Quarrel had come out, I knew Doug from Kraut, and I was like, “what is this band all about?” He just said, “you’ll see,” and they blew me away with their intense energy. Harley definitely had an effect on how I wanted to play bass, although if I ever jumped in the crowd like him I probably would have killed someone.
Also, to all the people who think Joe Nelson’s pic with Metzger was in bad taste, well for one you are right, but if you know Joe then you know it was Joe making fun of that douche. Joe has been near my side in scraps with plenty of these asswipes and he still would take my side, I’m sure.
JJ with the Cro-Mags jam 2008, Photo: Change Zine
Cro-Mags at City Gardens, 1987, Photo: Ken Salerno
Friday December 26th, 2008 at the Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA, John Joseph took the stage with Mackie, AJ Leeway and Craig Ahead and blazed through a set of Cro-Mags “Age Of Quarrel” era jams. I’ve seen JJ with various lineups and I have to say, other than the legit Cro-Mags lineup, this one has to rate up there as one of the best. Super tight, super powerful, everyone on point, crowd going nuts, you couldn’t have scripted it much better. The highlight of the night had to have been seeing them pull out “Seekers Of The Truth”, a rarely played “AOQ” era track. The crowd absolutely went insane and at one point I could have sworn I counted 15 people on top of the crowd at once. Other than the fact that I had someone smash into my left ear, bald head first and running full speed across the stage for a dive, this was a nice way to end the holiday week.
Vision in Asbury Park, NJ, 12/27/2008, Photo: Traci McMahon
Vision, 1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
Saturday December 27, 2008, Asbury Park, NJ, Convention Center. This was some sort of three day holiday fest that the guys from the Bouncing Souls put together. Being that the Bouncing Souls guys are friends with the guys from Vision and Token Entry, they brought them both together to play this show.
Out of all the bands that I’ve seen in my 21 years of going to shows, Vision must be the band that I’ve seen the most. Everywhere from City Gardens to Club Pizazz to Scott Hall to CBGB’s to The Pyramid Club to The Marquee to Middlesex County College to The Down Under to The Princeton Arts Council to The College Of NJ to every other school, hall and club across New Jersey and more. They’ve consistantly been one of my favorite bands from New Jersey and whenever they play, I make it a point to be there.
This night was no exeption and I have to say, they really put on a great show. It was good seeing them play to a sizeable crowd and get a good response. Big thanks to Pete Tabbot for getting my wife Traci and me in. The show was sold out and Pete really pulled through.
Timmy Chunks with Token Entry in Asbury Park, NJ, 12/27/2008, Photo: Traci McMahon
Timmy Chunks with Token Entry, City Gardens, 1987, Photo: Ken Salerno
Token Entry were always a great band to see live. I can recall many of their sets at City Gardens standing out in my memory as some of the best shows I’ve seen. Timmy Chunks always had this great energy and the band came together with a live set that always seemed to outshine any of Token Entry’s recorded material (in my opinion at least). Not that I didn’t like Token Entry on record, but just listen to their tracks on the Hawker Records “Free For All” live comp and compare those same tracks to the recorded versions on their records. Both are great, but the live versions just take the cake for me.
Now aside from seeing Token Entry live their first time around, I also caught their reunion show that went down at The Wetlands in NYC, sometime around 1994 or 1995. When I heard they would be doing yet another reunion at this Bouncing Souls holiday party in Asbury Park, NJ, I knew I had to be there.
They opened the set with “The Fire” off their “Jaybird” LP and I gotta say Timmy Chunks hit the stage with some major fire of his own. Right from the first line, the crowd was singing along, which sent Chunks flying off the stage, across the barrier and over to the crowd with the mic, then launched himself back over the barrier, landing on his back on a monitor and flipping on to his feet on the stage. They proceeded to tear through a full set of classics and finish it off with “The Edge”, which of course came complete with a full crowd sing along.
All in all, a weekend of the Cro-Mags, Vision and Token Entry (not to mention a miraculous Eagles playoff berth) made for one hell of a memorable and fun weekend. Damn do I love hardcore (and sports).
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Insted at CBGB’s, Civ with the sing along, Photo: Jeff Ladd
One of the really cool things about doing DCXX is that people have started to float us some great content that we had been searching for ourselves. One interview we were planning to do was with INSTED…and then out of the blue, we get an email from Ryan “Ditch” Donahue, who did a recent huge interview with Rich and Steve INSTED for his blog Activated! Now writing for teamgoon.com, Ryan thought we would give the interview a proper home. We couldn’t agree more, much thanks to Ryan! “There’s Nothing Like It…” -Gordo DCXX
Insted emerged in the mid 1980’s as an Orange County hardcore band, taking cues from bands such as Uniform Choice, Minor Threat, and 7 Seconds. Their music took a PMA charged approach to hardcore, mixing melodic undertones with a speedy delivery and lyrics which reflected an idealistic conviction to living a constructive lifestyle.
The following interview was conducted on October 3, 2007 in Huntington Beach, California with Steve and Rich of Insted/The Alligators
Describe Orange County hardcore in the mid to late 1980’s.
It was violent. It was exciting. It was a wide array of things actually. Those are the things that come to mind. All the bands were really good. Everybody came to. . . not necessarily Orange County to play. We had the Flash Dance but to me I was always going to Fender’s Ballroom because any time that I went there was always good bands playing. Rich what other adjectives can you come up with?
Fender’s was kind of the border of the L.A. and Orange County scenes so you got the L.A. and the O.C. crowd coming. It was kind of like that was what we had.
Flash Dance was so short lived.
Yeah for like a year or two it held (shows). It was a small venue. It held some local shows. Some great shows were there.
But for the most part you’d have like one or two shows at a VFW hall or at a skate rink or something like that but there wasn’t a lot of places to play so you had to go up to L.A. or go somewhere else to find the shows. . . Orange County sort of living up to its conservative ways, you’d have a show and they’d be like “Never again. Yospanu can never rent this hall again.” So for the most part things were pretty much going on at Fender’s Ballroom or the Olympic Auditorium in L.A.
The bands. . . Let’s see, about ’85 the king of the hill was Uniform Choice, Doggy Style, and for Orange County the Adolescents and Social Distortion had already kinda broken up. . . went through a different phase, things like that. Those were kinda like the kings of the early 80’s and yknow the Vandals.
Yeah stuff like that. Touring bands would come through all of the time.
For me and I can really only speak for myself Uniform Choice really got me to look at the faster, thrashier hardcore. I was listening to Rodney on the ROQ and I had an older friend who got me into the punk stuff like the Dead Kennedys. . . Stuff like that which I loved. But when Uniform Choice came on and they really started coming on strong. I saw that and it was almost frightening but it frightened me in a good way. So I really started to take more note on who was influencing them and started to get involved in that. Definitely I also was really into English punk at the time. . . GBH and the Varukers and stuff like that. So I was broadening my horizons for lack of a better term.
How did Insted come together at that time?
Insted primarily came together from the ashes of like this band that was almost a party band. And when I say that – it was a punk band but we did a lot of punk covers of songs that we liked. I was learning how to play around which is generally how punk bands started. They didn’t know how to play their instruments very well. At the time we were all discovering Stalag 13, 7 Seconds and Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, all of those things. And so (we were saying) “Wow…” we were really into Social Distortion and the Adolescents and stuff like that. . . Even English Dogs and that sort of thing.
And so essentially out of the ashes of this band, a bunch of us guys who all went to high school together, we started Insted. Kevin had nothing to do with that. As I was saying we were doing a lot of covers and one of the songs that we did was “Donut Shop Rock” by Doggy Style and Kevin would always be at the parties we played at and he would always take the mic and do that song with us. It was a different vibe and everything would change the moment he picked up the mic. (Kevin) was charismatic and people liked him; they liked being around him and it changed our style as players as well because all of a sudden we weren’t just background music to some kegger party or something with a bunch of people pretending to be punks and slamming.
So here comes Kevin and it becomes “Hey this is pretty cool. We’re all into the same stuff. We should start writing our own material,” and we started going more towards what we were influenced by at the moment which was Stalag 13, 7 Seconds, Uniform Choice, etc.
Ditch, Steve and Rich at the Merch.com office
So Rich how did you get involved with Insted?
Going to shows and being a part of the scene I met Kevin. I was doing some scene report stuff for zines. I was at all the shows and he (Kevin) gave me a demo. Somehow we got to talking and we got each other’s phone numbers. He sort of mentioned to me that they were going through some tough times within the band, trying to get to the next level and they didn’t have a bass player. I told them I played bass so he sent me their stuff and I said “I’ll try out” and I just ended up joining the band.
We didn’t try out anyone after Rich. We weren’t looking for some hot shot bass player but what we did know about Rich was exactly what he said and that was that he was involved with the scene. He was doing scene reports and I mean he was everywhere. I would be at a show in San Francisco and there was Rich. I didn’t know Rich but I knew Rich from shows.
So he came down to “try out for the band” for lack of a better term and he knew all of the songs. He put in the time and he was a guy that was involved in hardcore and that was very important to us.
And to his point where he was talking about Insted going through member changes that was because we started playing and I don’t know at what point you started taking notice of us, Rich but it happened very quickly. It was just like we popped the gates and “Boom!” everyone was interested in what was going on with us. It caught us off guard and and then more importantly a couple of the guys that were in the band were still treating it like a party band. They didn’t step up and they didn’t want to tour, they didn’t want to go out of town to play shows, and things like that. And because we were seeing all of these touring bands coming through and they were influencing us, Kevin and I, as opposed to the other guys, were more involved in the hardcore scene where they were at arms length of it. They liked punk and hardcore but they didn’t mix themselves in it.
So it was almost like a weekend thing for them almost?
Right. And that’s not saying anything against them. It’s just that’s the way that they were involved with it. They surfed and did other things, whereas for Kev and I. . . that was like our bread and butter. That was what we liked. We went to shows and we wanted to see the chaos and craziness and what new band was coming out. Kevin was a big avid record collector and I would never call myself a collector but I was definitely buying a lot of records at that time.
What sort of bands were you playing with at that time?
Well everybody. We played with such a wide variety of bands which is what is different about (hardcore) right now I think. We played with everybody.
We’d just put on a punk show. It was whoever was around, whoever was touring. It could be Bad Brains, it could be MDC, Agnostic Front, Excel, ya know, a speed metal band.
Anybody who was a band at that time we played with. It’s just the way things were back then. Not to get on a soap box but now shows are really segregated. Straight edge bands play straight edge shows and on top of that there’s separation in straight edge bands. It’s weird where Rich and I and Kevin especially weren’t particular. We just liked all kinds of punk and hardcore it was natural for us to play with those bands and furthermore I don’t think it was ever discussed like “Why don’t we put together a straight edge show together?”
Steve’s Insted O.C. Straight Edge tattoo, Photo: Tim DCXX
At the same time that you came up there were bands like Verbal Assault, Youth Of Today, and Gorilla Biscuits. Were you in correspondence with the straight edge bands on the East Coast?
We were good friends with all of those bands who you just mentioned except maybe Verbal Assault who we were sort of more just aquaintences with. We knew Youth of Today from when they came out here. We played some San Francisco and Arizona area shows with them. They sort of in their own way took us under their wings because they were definitely a bigger band than us.
Gorilla Biscuits were affiliated with Youth of Today and so we knew them and toured with them. When I think of Gorilla Biscuits we were like doing the same things. They were the East Coast and we were the West Coast. We had the same type of vibe too. It was like Youth Of Today came before Gorilla Biscuits while we had Uniform Choice over here (before Insted).
When you put out “Bonds of Friendship” was that sort of a big deal since you were so influenced by Uniform Choice or was working with Pat Dubar sort of just like working with anyone else who was involved in Orange County hardcore?
It was definitely a big deal. It was a big deal that anybody wanted to do a record with us. And then it was a big deal because Youth of Today and Uniform Choice were both on the label and (those were) for me two of the big influential bands at the moment. And it was local and it was guys we knew and respected. Being seventeen years old and having someone tell you they wanted to put out your record is definitely a big ego boost.
Kevin and Rich hit the CB’s stage, Photo: Jeff Ladd
You guys in the song “Feel their Pain” talked about vegetarianism and then later on in “One World” there were sort of some environmental undertones. Was that a shared passion within the band or was that more of just Kevin’s thing?
It was shared.
Yeah absolutely it was shared.
Vegetarianism at the time that we wrote that song was a new thing for everyone for the most part and it’s still something that we support to this day. We’ve never been ones to be super activist about anything but it’s something that we believed in for sure.
Definitely and I think anybody that knows the band (knows) we were never a preachy band. I would almost call us a fringe straight edge band even. Though we were a straight edge band it wasn’t really intended that way. I think it evolved into that. It was definitely a belief in our system and everybody was on board with it but it wasn’t important to just jam it down people’s throats. And the same thing can be said with the whole vegetarian thing. When I think of Insted I think the whole philosophy was sort of “choose for yourself.” Live and let live. Let people be who they are. It’s ok to be different.
And with the “One World” thing that was an issue at the time and it’s still and issue today. I think both of them are probably even more relevant today than they were back then. I think there’s more vegetarians in the world now, there’s more people looking at the environment saying, “We’d better slow down or we’re going to have nothing left to live on.”
It’s a whole lot easier to be a vegetarian now than it was in the 1980s.
Steve rocks the III’s, camos and an X Rated at Fenders
Did you guys get much heat for taking stands like being a straight edge band and singing songs about vegetarianism?
At one point we were a relatively big band and with that people backlash just because we’re on Epitaph and play to one thousand people a night. All of a sudden we’ve sold out or whatever.
I think that we got away pretty good. We’d always kind of known bands that were around at the time. We were friends with everybody in the scene. There were bands that were hated. There were bands that hated other bands. We kinda slid through it. We were pretty much friends with a lot of people.
We were conscious enough not to take sides in situations but to your point about controversial issues of the day like straight edge and vegetarianism there was a certain small group of people that wrote us off because we were friends with bands like Uniform Choice and Youth of Today. And then there was a small group of people who thought that we were “ultra posi,” too positive or too uplifting for what was going on and that this (punk/hardcore) was not the type of music for this (attitude).
What sort of changes have you seen in terms of hardcore and straight edge since the 1980’s?
I think in the 80’s you had sort of punk being the umbrella and then you had the peace punks, the skaters, the skinheads, the straight edge kids and all of that stuff. And it was all just kind of like a zoo; they were all sort of different animals but they all lived together. It eventually started becoming more strict and divided. I think over the years the music has also changed stylistically, like if someone says “We’re hardcore” or “We’re straight edge” it might not sound anything like Insted. A hardcore band today might be what I consider a crossover metal band or a glam rock band.
And with straight edge there’s all of these little elements attached like, “You can’t go out past 6:00 at night.” There’s these crazy little things. I mean I don’t know because I haven’t kept up on the whole thing but I can definitely say that it’s changed and each generation sort of applies its own things to it. I know it still exists and I think it’s a great thing to a certain extent.
I can just say that it’s changed. I do know that. I can’t say that it’s changed for the better or the worse; it’s just different. When you go through and you look at hardcore bands and punk bands generally what’s motivated them is whatever is going on politically and economically in the world or sort of whatever region that they are from so what motivated us back then is not the same thing that is motivating hardcore bands today. That’s why hardcore from 1982 sounds a little bit different from hardcore in 1985 and a little bit different from hardcore from 1988 and so on. I just think that there’s different social elements that drive the issue and I think one of the things that I notice mostly right now is that you go to a show and the musicians are a lot better and they’re good at playing their instruments which is kinda weird, being like, “Wow look at you.”
And they’re spending five grand to make an album rather than five hundred so their records are sounding better.
Rich and I talk about this every once in a while sort of on the subject/off the subject. (In the 80’s) when we’d roll into town and couldn’t find the club we’d just find a punk kid and ask “Hey, where’s the show tonight?” and he’d tell us where it is. Now with the entrance of Hot Topic and things like that sort of everyone looks like a punker to me and I don’t know what to do. I mean if you’re wearing sort of an obscure t-shirt like a BL’AST shirt or a Bad Reaction shirt (gesturing to Ditch and Mitch) chances are you’re pretty committed to hardcore but outside of that if you’re wearing a Dead Kennedys shirt you may not even know one song.
Part 2 coming soon with discussion about Insted’s break up, their reunion, and much more.
Rich in 2004, still straight edge and showing his love for U.C.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Joe Nelson going for the Ian MacKaye
Joe Nelson is in the holiday spirit and has given us here at DCXX yet another great story like only he can. This time Joe dives into the white power skinhead scene that seemed to infiltrate the late 80’s hardcore scene. Like any other Joe Nelson story, he’s got a knack for pulling humor out of anything and everything. For those that remember the late 80’s scourge of white power skins, you’ll definitely get a kick out of this. For those that missed it, consider yourselves lucky. -Tim DCXX
It’s around this time of year, where I start thinking of friends, family, holiday stuff, and of course the 1980’s White Power Skinhead movement. It’s probably because after interviewing Tom Metzger, the movement’s pseudo rock star sometime during the fall of 2002, I ended up creating a holiday card, which went out to my closest friends. The card was a picture of Metzger and I with the greeting of “Whishing You A White Christmas”. I hadn’t even realized I’d misspelled the word “wishing” until years later a girlfriend pointed it out to me. “Even better” I thought. It just makes it so much more authentic.
I was first exposed to the existence of the skinheads from going to shows in Southern California during the 80s. There were many different skinhead gangs in the area; distinguished by either a certain color of suspender, or the way they laced their boots or even a combination of the two. It was very confusing, so I didn’t pay too much attention to them. I had a shaved head as well, but that was only because Ian MacKaye shaved his head. There were also gangs that shaved their heads, but also made it clear that they were not a part in any way shape or form of the other people at the show with shaved heads. In fact the whole point of their gang was to make sure they were recognized as the true people with shaved heads, and that the other gang was looked on as hijackers of that haircut. Like I said, it was very confusing.
Around the moment the skinheads were showing up at gigs, the local trash talk shows on T.V. started running exposes of these groups. That’s where Metzger came into focus. He and his son John made the talk show rounds, talking their talk, longing for some sort of segregation to come back into our lives, and basically making a pretty strong play to the disenfranchised losers out there to come on down, and join up. Their groups were the Tom-run White Aryan Resistance (WAR), and the John-run, but strings-pulled-by-Tom, Aryan Youth Movement (AYM). Both groups even included armbands of like a wolf, or some type of Nazi skull with an eye patch.
The infamous Joe Nelson / Tom Metzger Christmas card
As the Metzger affiliated gangs gained notoriety, their followers started to show up in greater numbers to more and more shows, or other places we’d hang. I remember at an Agnostic Front show out in San Bernardino there were at least 30 of them Sieg Heiling the band. Then down at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, a bunch of them including John Metzger himself were handing out literature. I ended up in a conversation with one if the lieutenants who actually thought I might be “down for the cause.”
I asked him, humoring myself, “what’s the difference between White Power and White Pride?” ‘Cause I might be down for the White Pride part, since it is a lyric in a Black Flag song, but the White Power thing is a little extreme for me.”
“Well you know…White Pride just means you’re proud of your race…you know your heritage…where White Power means we want to keep things in power, keep the Blacks out.”
“Oh yeah that makes…ummmmm…a lot of sense…sooo…well…what if I’m German and Norwegian? Which heritage am I more proud of?”
“Ummmm…well…ya know you’re White…so that…or maybe…German probably.”
Obviously he didn’t know the answer, or he considered “White” the answer to a person’s heritage. Immediately another of his friends who’s rank I could not determine stepped in and handed me a sticker which simply said, “White men built this nation, White men are this nation.” Apparently that was intended to clear up any confusion I may have had. Wow, what a top-notch organization these fuckers have, I thought.
A few weeks after getting my 1st sticker I ran into the Lieutenant and 30 of his friends at another show in some community center down in San Diego. As I walked by him he shot me a “what up” nod. “Fucking great” I thought, “Now, I’m on a what up basis with these jackals.” Somewhere in between the 45-minute change over of bands that was commonplace in those days they approached me.
“Hey brother, I never got your name,” said the lieutenant.
“Joe” I answered, immediately thinking “DAMNIT WHY DID I GIVE HIM MY REAL NAME?”
“Really?” I half chuckled.
“Yeah,why?” he shot back.
“Well…ummm…ya know?…well…cuz…it’s a Jewish name?…or has Jewish origins”…I said sheepishly, realizing I was making blunder, after blunder now.
“It’s not a fucking JEW NAME…where did you get that?”
“Ummm…well…ya know? The Bible?…ummm King David?…Ya know? King of the Jews? David and Goliath?”
David’s eyes were glazed over. He wasn’t buying any of it.
“Forget it I said…bad joke.”
David eyeballed me a little. His soldiers also surrounded me in a half circle, employing some sort of military strategy I assumed. Perhaps tactics the Scotts employed against the English at The Battle Of Stirling Bridge, or maybe they were relying on the strategy Wellington used when facing Napoleon at Waterloo. It was hard for me to tell, but then again, unlike these guys I had never trained for the military in my bedroom late at night.
Then suddenly, and without any warning one of their crew handed me another sticker. This one depicted a good honest white guy who was just reading his book, minding his own business, when all of a sudden a Jew attacks him using his nose in the same manner a mosquito would to drain the blood from his back. “Attack of the Parasite King” it exclaimed.
“Thanks” I said, realizing I now had 2 stickers from the organization.
I attempted with all my might to force my hair to grow at least another inch so they’d leave me alone. It didn’t work. Instead we talked for a few more minutes. David told me about the Metzger’s, WAR, and AYM. He also spoke with crazy historical inaccuracy of Hitler, and the Nazis, somehow tying what they were about to what these 30 or so skinheads were about. It made absolutely no sense, but I wasn’t about to make any more blunders as I had earlier by insinuating the name “David” was Hebrew. No fucking way. Instead I nodded, and occasionally said things like “cool,” or “interesting” so they would be fooled into believing we were actually having a conversation.
The skins eventually dispersed, and later on were the victors in an extremely fair fight which showcased all of them beating a lone, long haired Chicano kid to a pulp, while the rest of us watched meekly, cowardly. No matter how I felt, we felt, or anybody felt, what had become clearly apparent was the David “The King of The Skins”, and his bald soldiers had infiltrated our world. They were now in charge of the clubs, at least the ones south of Los Angeles County. Somewhere “The Battle of The Bulge Part Deux” had occurred, and the Nazis had gained a foothold on American soil, even if that foothold was made up of only 30 or so pairs of $150 Doc Martin covered feet, leading to a single half lit brain, filled with Metzgerisms.
Seriously though, what the fuck was going on? I tried to rationalize that as a child growing up in the 70s and 80s a lot of us romanticized fighting the Nazis as our grandfathers had done. Perhaps then this was our calling? Perhaps we were at the dawn of our own little World War II? Perhaps we’d actually get our own chance to rid the world of Nazis. Except our world would be a lot smaller and contain a rented P.A., and the War itself would have absolutely no historical relevance, and be in fact totally meaningless in the scope of, well, anything. Little did I know, that chance, along with everything else I was pondering was indeed actually coming…and coming soon.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Shawn Brown with Swiz, Photo: Boiling Point
The results are in and the the heavily favored winner turns out to be Swiz. No real surprise considering Swiz is easily Shawn’s longest tenured and lasting band.
Personally it was hard for me to make my decision and looking at the results, obviously a lot harder for me than it was was for most. Ultimately I went with Swiz, but I have to give some major respect and a solid nod to Jesuseater. Between Jesuseater’s self titled EP and their full length,”Step Into My Deathray” (both available on Deathwish Records), there is a great collection of some of the heaviest and hardest hitting material Shawn has done. Unfortunately I don’t think Jesuseater got out on the road all that much, so their notoriety wasn’t all that strong. I know through out the early 2000s I was always eager to catch them live, but unfortunately it never happened. With that being said, if you haven’t heard Jesuseater, it’s never too late to pick up one of their cds.
As for Swiz, plain and simply put, another D.C. great. Between Jason Farrell’s riffs and Shawn Brown’s vocal delivery, you really had a rare and special combo that stood out from much of what was going on at the time. Like Jesuseater, I never got a chance to see Swiz. I remember when they played Club Pizzaz II in Philly, but the same night they played Philly, if I remember correctly, there was a show at City Gardens that I ended up going to. Although I never caught them live, I can remember listening to them over and over and over again throughout the early 90s. When Jade Tree released that discography, they did us all a great service.
From what I’ve heard and read, Shawn works as a tattoo artist in Maryland these days and has been for quite a while. Hopefully he’ll pick up the mic again at some point. -Tim DCXX
Shawn with Jesuseater, Photo: Michelle C. Roberts
Dag Nasty: 120
Sweetbelly Freakdown: 5
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Outburst drummer, Miles To Joe, sent us this little Outburst slide show he tossed together. Ordinarily we don’t do entries over the weekend, but figured we’d put this up while it was still hot out the oven. Enjoy. -DCXX
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Murphy’s Law in NYC, Photo: Ken Salerno
DCXX partner-in-crime Tony Rettman recently tracked down Jimmy Gestapo to talk with him about the legendary A7 club, and the reunion show that went down last week at the Knitting Factory. One of the legends… -Gordo DCXX
Tony Rettman: So when was the first time you went over to A7?
Jimmy Gestapo: I think I was at Max’s Kansas City and people were talking about it. I headed over there with Doug (Holland) and checked the place out. It was pretty much just an illegal after hours club before it became a Hardcore Punk Rock club.
TR: So what made A7 different than the other after hours clubs operating in the city at the time?
JG: Most after hours clubs were basically just drug dens with no windows and this place was more than that. There was an eclectic mix of people and music. A7 was more of a music scene than most after hours clubs. Most after hours places don’t want noise or music because it’ll bring police, but on the Lower East Side back then, the police didn’t give a shit because there was no money to be made down there. Most of the fancier clubs wouldn’t book Hardcore bands because no one really knew what it was yet. To them, Hardcore was pretty much an unknown form of Punk that wasn’t as well dressed as the previous Punks! People didn’t want us, so Dave (Proprietor of A7) started to have bands. There was already a reggae scene going on at A7 at the time. Jazz bands played there too. Musicians gathered there. Dave would let anyone who played any form of music play there and that’s how the club grew.
TR: What was the difference between A7 and 171A?
JG: 171 Avenue A was down the block from A7 and they also did shows and sometimes showed movies. It was pretty much a community center ran by a guy named Jerry Williams. In the basement of 171A was Ratcage records.
TR: Any particular shows you can remember as being crazy that happened at A7?
JG: I remember SS Decontrol showing up with ski masks on trying to take over the pit and the whole place was just a pile of bodies. Have you seen that footage on YouTube of Agnostic Front playing?
TR: The one where you sing a Void song and you introduce AF? Yeah, it’s awesome!
JG: Yeah, that’s it. There’s also some footage floating around from a show called ‘Monitor’, it was sort of a ’60 Minutes’ type of thing. They came down and shot some stuff at A7 and it was pretty in-depth. I think they came down and shot an M.D.C. show. They shot a lot of footage but they only used a little bit of it. I’d love to see the raw footage if it’s out there. Sometime after that stuff was shot, I started working there as a D.J. and bouncer because Doug became the bartender. I was 15 and was flipping records and flipping people out the door! Every now and then, the cops would come to the door and raid the fuckin’ place. They would take all the booze and all the money and leave. It was sort of a blessing in disguise because the cops would feel sorry for me and throw me a hundred dollars. It would take me two weeks of working at A7 to make that much money! I used to actually sleep in there. I remember we (Murphy’s Law) did some benefit show for the Hare Krishnas at the Tompkins Square band shell. I was woken up while I was sleeping on the couch with Mickey, Dave’s afghan dog, and I just got up from the couch, walked out the door and walked onto the band shell and we started playing!
Murphy’s Law in NYC, Jimmy with the dive, Photo: Ken Salerno
TR : I heard a story once that you spray painted over the door of A7 ‘OUT OF TOWN BANDS REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE!’ Is that true?
JG: No…it wasn’t actually over the door! There was an A7 sign over the door. It was written right over the side door on the left hand side. You couldn’t miss it!
TR: What prompted you to do that?
JG: Back then, Hardcore wasn’t such a big thing that you could start a label and make a lot of loot. If you had a 7″ that you pressed 500 copies of, you were a big man. If you actually sold the 500 copies you were a REAL big man! There were always challenges going on between us and D.C. and Boston. The other thing you got to bring into it was dancing. In other parts of our neighborhood, guys were break dancing against each other and we were moshing against each other. It was all about who had the most style, opposed to today where it’s picking up change and karate kicking. It was all about trying to keep dancing while still blasting into someone from D.C. or Boston and who had the hardest pit for their town’s band. It was like supporting your city’s hockey team or something.
TR: Here’s another one…Did you guys really actually beat the shit out of Mike Ness at A7?
JG: That didn’t happen at A7, that happened at the A7 Annex. That was on 2nd Ave and Houston. The funny thing about that place was before Dave took it over it was this after hours club with the bar in the freight elevator. So if it got raided, they’d just send the elevator down and the cops would come up, and it would just be people hanging out in a room!
Anyways, we were standing outside of the place and I was all fucked up, as we all were when we were kids, and all of a sudden this bottle comes blasting over and hits Stigma in the leg. We look over and there’s this guy with eye makeup on standing next to a school bus, so we chased him down and beat the shit out of him. I think that’s what anybody would do if their friend was hit with a bottle. I guess people in that neighborhood now would just call the police, but the police would never come down there back then. Plus…we’re not rats.
Jimmy rides the City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
TR: Most of the people I’ve interviewed for this piece have all said how intimidating it was to go down to the Lower East Side back then. Did you find it intimidating?
JG: No because that was where my family was from. My grandmother lived right down the block on Avenue D and Fourth St. Right across from A7 was where my Grandfather and Grandmother were laid out. I was born and raised in Astoria, but my father was from the Lower East Side and my mother comes from Brooklyn. How can you be intimated when your grandmother lives two blocks away? Before A7 was A7, it was a social club for old Polish people. This was years and years ago. I used to go to 7B, which is now the Horse Shoe bar, with my Uncle Mike when I was 9.
TR: Did it take some time for NYHC to grow out of A7 and move onto the other clubs?
JG: Everyone likes to go on about CB’s, but CB’s didn’t support the scene like Dave at A7 did. He was the first to put on the shows. CB’s had already had its history at that point with the Dead Boys and Blondie and the Talking Heads and they didn’t have time for us then. I think it’s funny now that CB’s is gone; all you hear are all these people talk about those bands. You’ll never hear how Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law and Sick of it All played CB’s hundreds of times. The Ramones or the Dead Boys might have played there five times or three times. People don’t realize how important our scene is and how much we put into the music community of New York. It’s sorta good and sorta bad. If we got a lot of attention, we would be done by now. Hardcore is worldwide now and we’re still doing it and I say thanks to A7. Hilly definitely helped us out a lot by giving us the Sunday matinees. A lot of us fucked it up by fighting, myself included. But everyone talks about CB’s, and it wasn’t CB’s that supported and founded NYHC, it was A7 and 171A.
TR: The other thing I’ve noticed from doing all these interviews is that everyone is like ‘Oh we had The Misguided, The Undead and all that, and then Agnostic Front came around and it all changed’. Would you say some sort of torch was handed down at one point from those people to you guys and AF?
JG: I say the torch was handed down from The Stimulators and Harley. Harley is the forefather of NYHC, he was the first one. He was wearing Doc Martens before anyone knew what the fuck they were in New York. We were all still wearing MC boots and combat boots back then. Everyone can toot their own horn and all that, and that’s fine. That’s just pride…but I’ll put it this way…Who’s still doing it? You gotta give it up to Agnostic Front and Murphy’s Law, because we still do it and never stopped doing it. My existence is a tribute to A7 and me carrying the torch and Vinnie carrying the torch and Roger carrying the torch and Harley still doing it, that’s a tribute. I understand that some people got to go off and ‘grow up’ and start a family, but Roger has three kids and he’s still a major part of the scene. I have no reason to go off and ‘grow up’ and start a family and a new life, this is my life.
Jimmy on bass at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
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