Monday, December 1, 2008
Judge backstage at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Judge’s classic EP opener “Fed Up” takes the cake, but I think it is interesting to note that it was also the first song choice listed in the poll, and I’m sure that had something to do with some of the votes it got. Considering that “In My Way” has a less pissed off sounding title but far more pissed off lyrics, with lines like “Those drugs are gonna kill you, if I don’t get to you first,” it’s interesting that Fed Up was the clear winner and “In My Way” grabbed only a few votes. But as far as we can see it, if your choice was between these two, there are no losers.
Perhaps the ultimate straight edge anthem, “Straight Edge Revenge” took a predictable second place to Judge. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a true SE anthem and pissed enough, but the seriousness of PX has been brought into question over the years. Judge on the other hand…well that is no laughing matter.
Whether you were straight edge in the past or straight edge in the present, there is no denying the sheer brutal honesty and power of JUDGE lyrics. It can be a an uphill battle if you fall outside the social structure that involves drinking or even recreational drug use, but if you ever need some lyrics to help cement your feelings, having Mike Ferraro’s words handy is probably your best bet. “I’ll try to keep my cool…” -Gordo DCXX
Judge – “Fed Up” : 142
Project X – Straight Edge Revenge” : 99
Minor Threat – “Straight Edge” : 32
SSD – “Get It Away” : 30
Judge – “In My Way” : 28
Chorus Of Disapproval – “No Part” : 27
Youth Of Today – “We Just Might” : 23
Slap Shot – “In Your Face” : 22
Uniform Choice – “Straight And Alert” : 18
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Insted in New Jersey, 2004, giving thanks to stage diving, Photo: Traci McMahon
It’s such a short time we’re on this earth. We all tend to neglect from the moment of birth. Let’s put aside the evil and look towards the good realizing what we have, is something we should. Step back, look around, what do you see? Step back, look around, and assess your needs. There’s people less fortunate, with no place-to sleep. This life they were brought into, with nothing to eat. Don’t take for granted the things you have cause compared to some people, life’s not that bad, There’s good things out there just look around, I’m not gonna let a loss bring me down. But instead I’ll keep pushing on and be thankful for my life’s not over and done. Give thanks for what we are given. Appreciate what you have got. – INSTED
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Zack with Inside Out at Gilman St., Gus with the dive, Photo: Unknown
The man, the myth, the legend, Jordan Cooper, takes us deep inside Revelation Records for more trivia as well as some of his own personal history. -DCXX
What were your dealings, if any, with Zack when Rage Against The Machine got going? Was it weird to think that one year the Inside Out seven inch was just a popular semi-recent hardcore record and the next year the front man was front page music news? Did you expect it? Had you missed any opportunity to work with Rage on the first record? How did it work out to do the vinyl for People Of The Sun years later?
It was amazing how quickly Rage took off. At the time it seemed fast, but looking back, it was, like you say, pretty much the next year. I remember seeing them play in someone’s living room the year I moved here and from that day on people couldn’t stop talking about them. It was really weird seeing Zack doing those songs. They were so different than what he’d done before that I didn’t know what to think other than “holy shit.” I don’t think working with them was an option. Their cassette demo, which they just handed out to people, probably got into as many hands as any record we’d ever put out at the time, so they pretty much needed a bigger label than Rev right away. Zack’s always been busy, but helped out when he had the time. John Nutcher who used to work here had the idea to do a vinyl release for them and talked to their label and talked to Zack and just made it happen. Zack carries enough weight that only a couple of calls from him to the label overcame any hesitation that they had during the process.
One of the few people to have some type of contact with Mike Judge over the years has been you. Probably a topic nobody gets tired of talking about is his mystique…what have you learned about him over the years and what usually puts you in touch with him? There have to be at least some good tidbits.
It’s funny how that happens. I think a lot of that is just due to the fact that he’s busy and doesn’t have a lot of contact with people who are still involved in hardcore (the way Walter or Porcell do). I’ve never gotten to know him that well. Porcell and Mark Ryan knew him really well obviously. I just talk to him when the need arises for artwork, royalties etc. He’s always been cool, happy to talk about stuff. I think I’ve gotten to know him more now than when Judge was active, but still, that’s not all that well. I know he still writes and records music (at least the last time I talked to him). Someone ran into him last year and posted a photo to the Livewire board I think. If you want to get stories about him, might as well just interview him. He’d probably be happy to answer some questions if he has time. (ED. NOTE: If you only knew how we’ve tried…)
Mike Judge regulates the massive crowd at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
You seem to have a lot of fond memories for the early CT HC scene you grew up in, including a lot of lesser known bands that were a part of it. Have you ever thought about releasing any material by some of those bands on Revelation, and if so, why haven’t you?
I talked a little bit to Todd Knapp when he was thinking about different ways to reissue all of the 76 stuff. I loved all of the CT bands, but those guys were putting out their own records when I was still going to the New Haven Coliseum to see bands like Van Halen. There was always a pretty tight knit CT scene around the Anthrax and the early 80’s hardcore/punk bands that were the regulars there. I’ve never really felt like there was a need to get involved with releasing their music since there always seems to be a label that’s run by one of their close friends that’s there to put their records out. Revelation started out from Ray Cappo’s friends’ bands, so that was sort of a different scene. If it made sense to put out anything specific, then it probably would have happened. I wanted to put out a Violent Children record, but a couple of those guys don’t want their stuff in print. There was a CT band called Entombed (not the death metal one that came later) that I was talking about releasing with Jim Martin.
You traveled with YOT and GB to Europe in 1989 for their tours. What are some memorable experiences, as well as some dreaded ones from that time?
The YOT and GB tours from ’89 were great. The insular feeling of being in a small group was kind of weird, but also led to a lot of laughs. Ray was really going full steam into the Hare Krishna religion so it was hard to get him to talk about anything else. The memorable experiences of the YOT tour was meeting a lot of people who had a very different view of the world than I did. The only really dreadful thing that I remember was one squat that the bands played at had a bacterial infection going around that, if you had a cut on your hand and got it, would cause your hand to swell up like a football.
Cappo circa early Shelter with Graham and Carl The Mosher, Photo: Ken Salerno
Everyone loves a Sloth Crew story. You seemed to be a part of their scene when you moved Rev out to California – what type of mayhem did you get into, or avoid, with those guys when you got to California?
Wait for the movie. Hopefully Jim Brown will do it someday. I think most of those guys were out of college by the time I moved out here so the Sloth Crew and “Nyhus Guys” were all just one group of friends (and still are). I had a great time when I came out to visit and that’s one of the main reasons I moved out here. It’s funny, but I can’t think of any specific stories. I’ve heard them told so many times I just know them by the shorthand and I wasn’t even there for most of them. In a nutshell, if it could be snuck into, out of, taken or destroyed, they did it. Then there were the kids that were younger than them, but did a lot of the same kinds of things, but you can ask either Brown or either Nyhus for the Sloth/Nyhus stories, and Matt Enright about the younger kids.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Chorus axeman and California HC legend Jeff Banks IDs Billy Rubin and recalls his time in and around Half-Off. Expect more of these great artifacts in the future from Banks! -Gordo DCXX
I have more perspective as I age. From time to time I have some regrets. My association as guitarist for Half-Off is one of those things.
My punk rock mentor Tim Sawyer (Visual Discrimination singer), had a Half-Off demo. “Punk band from Long Beach,” he says. I was unimpressed and found it unlistenable. “If it ain’t Dissension, and if Matt Vargas is not writing the riffs, I’m not interested. I can’t (won’t) get with a single-coil strat copy with amp distortion.” (As a general rule, I hate single-coil guitars making any kind of appearance in Hardcore, with BGK being the only possible exception at that time).
Then it came to pass that Billy Rubin was the new singer. Billy worked at Zed Records in Long Beach, and I got to know him through Big Frank. Great guy. Funny. A wit almost as quick as mine. (He coughed up this ID gem in a hurry, and actually got the humor when I explained the collection to him. Another trivia bit—his now-wife Jay and I were on the Cerritos High School Math Team, Trigonometry Division, 1985-86). He’s telling Sawyer and me that Half-Off has just recorded their “new stuff” and I cringe. Then he plays the track “On Your Own” over the Zed system and I shit myself. I think I may have had an erection when I heard the opening riff on that song.
They had a fella from Princeton named Krishna from Crucial Youth playing second guitar. I never got that, but my gut told me that he was a friend of Billy’s who was just in the band to hang out. When it became clear that Krishna was not going to be able to tour in the Summer of 1987, somehow my name gets thrown into the mix.
It was great in theory, since I would get to now play that opening riff on “On Your Own.” Another plus was a lot of face time with the very dry John Bruce, who taught me the songs. Played the song once with them at an outdoor show at Heritage Park in Irvine (Side note: almost missed this show as Helmet, the Cardon brothers and I were schooling locals at some random basketball court in Irvine). Billy, Vadim, Jim Burke and John Bruce were all the greatest guys in the world, and I begin to mesh into the Half-Off fold.
“John can’t go on tour because he’s concerned that his insulin routine might get all twisted up and he doesn’t want to be 2000 miles away if shit goes south,” is my best recollection what Vadim said on the eve of tour. “Banks can play bass,” was about what everyone said. The problem was solved.
For no real reason at all this was my position: “I’m a guitar player. I play BC Rich Mockingbirds exclusively with Ernie Ball Extra Slinkys to get my harmonics on. Not sure why anyone would think that I would ever in any scenario want to play a bass.”
God bless those guys, because they are cool about it. “We know that. But between John’s health, the dates booked, the late notice, it would really be hard to find a replacement. And you know the songs already…”
I told them, “If you wanted a bass player, then you should have found a bass player.” What? Classic contrarian idiocy. Next thing I know, the tour was off.
Boy, I sure would handle that situation a lot differently if I had it to do over again.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Curtis with Chain Of Strength at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Jon Hiltz
ROA brings us another old story for around the campfire – this time recalling an unlikely Chain Of Strength turn of events. We thought it was worth posting. -Gordo DCXX
This story happened twenty years ago. This is not an endorsement of violence nor is it a present picture of what Curt is like. I saw him for the first time in 15 plus years at the Radio Silence thing in Hollywood and Curt seemed like a genuine happy parent. This is truly far removed from his growing up in 1980s Pomona when it was like the Wild, Wild West.
So this was on the ever-popular Silver Sleeve Chain of Strength tour. Chain was playing with Zero Tolerance at an indoor skate park in Buffalo. It seemed like a good atmosphere was going on. People were skating, hanging out and talking. Chubby Fresh was there and was very nice (and I was in to hardcore waaaay before him, so “don’t hate fruits”).
Well, some older teenager was drinking beer and an X’d up kid went up to him and starting laying it on thick, “Why are you drinking? That is poison, man.” The beer guy ignored him until the kid smacked the beer out of his hand. The beer kid gets justifiably mad and punches the kid. The kid falls and knocks someone else over and that makes that person angry…soon the place starts into a little-mini-old-time-black-and-white-movie-bar-fight. I am watching, having nothing to do with any of it but I get hit in the back of the head and turn around and hit a guy in the face who grabs his head and says, “fuck you, man, sorry, man, sorry” and walks away.
I turn around to see Curt walk up to two males fighting and try to separate them. They both are so engaged that neither of them notices Curt and one of them ends up hitting Curt.
Now, I am not sure if any of you saw “Pee Wee’s Great Adventure” where Morgan Fairchild is just about to help James Brolin fight the bad guys but realizes that he needs no help. She then merely crosses her arms and watches. That is exactly what I did as I was going to help him out but instantly I saw Curt headlock one person, hit him twice and then punch the second kid in the head. Curt then releases the headlock and both kids looked dazed and confused – obviously thinking that the person who had hit them so hard must be much bigger than the then ultra-skinny Curt.
Curt did not see me watching him and we made our way back to the stage area as the crowd got back to being under control. We then met up and he did not say one word about the whole incident. I never told anyone about it since I thought if it got out, every person in the world would want to fight him. I knew I did not, and that trip was pretty cool. A Don Fury session was done. GB was recording Start Today and, while on a break, told us about the day’s session that included a harmonica. I was pretty intrigued.
Curt from Chain: hard hitter. Good singer. Presently? A nice person.
Chain Of Strength in Boston, Photo: Boiling Point
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Radio Silence book cover
If you’ve been paying attention at all in the last year, you’ve heard about the book Radio Silence, and have found a copy and devoured it all as soon as you got your hands on it. Now that the book is out, we caught up with creators Nate (Nathan Nedorostek) and AP (Anthony Pappalardo) to get some behind the scenes info on the masterpiece we can be thankful for. Seriously, if you don’t own this book, get it immediately – beg, borrow, or steal…
We have heard all about the book, but give us some insights and tidbits. Highlights from talking to people, near-fights between the authors, major obstacles, biggest breakthroughs, etc? And now that the book is out and you have been in the honeymoon stage, what has been the goal post-publication?
Nate: Getting the word out to anyone and everyone. We have a great distributor, so almost anyone anywhere can go out and find the book in the local bookstore, but we still have to put in work to let people know about the book.
AP: Like hardcore itself, the book isn’t static and has a bunch of different components. The audience for Radio Silence is so broad so we’ve been trying to promote the book in as many ways as possible with appeals to different age groups. Having the photography show has been excellent because we get to interact with everyone and with it running for a full year it keeps things fresh. I was sitting in the Riviera Gallery in Brooklyn watching the show one Sunday and this dad came in with his daughter who was about five, I’m not really sure because I don’t know shit about children but I assume at five they start asking questions in full sentences and stuff, anyway this dad had his daughter on his shoulders and was going through the show, he got to the picture of the DC punks and skins and goes “Daddy used to go to all these shows!” The little girl goes, “Why aren’t you in the picture daddy?”
The dad looked over at me and winks then responds, “Daddy was right over here, next to Lyle, the camera just missed me”.
I never thought anything like this would ever happen let alone me being involved with it, but bringing generations together and having an excuse to travel and throw a party every month, not bad.
The show is running in Burlington, Vermont right now at the Sanctuary Artsite (http://www.47sanctuary.com) and at the opening this guy wearing a Def Jam Records bomber jacket rolled up and said “Hey guys, name is Drew Stone, I used to sing for Antidote, I live up here now”. Totally unexpected and pretty fucking awesome!
Anthony and Nathan of Radio Silence, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner
Tell us about the Cro-Mags Jam in California. That thing was practically a red carpet event it looked like…
AP: Our first book release parties were in Brooklyn and then a few days later we found ourselves in Hollywood in front of the oldest theater in Los Angeles getting ready to talk on a stage with people I look at as legends. People who pioneered the look, feel, sound and heart of hardcore. From top to bottom it was surreal. From the outset we wanted to make sure we didn’t limit ourselves with Radio Silence, it needed to be everywhere, in everyone’s hands who was interested in it. It needed to be the book we would have killed for as kids. When it came time for promoting the book we wanted to do things that really gave back to the audience and had some depth. The Q&A panel was something special to be a part of, we had Jesse upstairs taking portraits and everyone was running around on a sugar high from free candy and soda all before a note was played. Meanwhile we were waiting for Casey Jones to come by with “the jacket”, it had to be the first thing that greeted people as they walked through the door. The people at Nike were behind the book the second they saw it, the next hurdle was to come up with something we could do that would be fun and made sense.
Right away they were speaking our language in that they wanted this to be a free event, we just needed to figure out what bands would be able to play. We went through some massive brain storming sessions and my friend Trevor suggested that the Cro-Mags play as there were doing a few shows and the newest line up was killer, we got the green light, Trevor made the call and a few hours later I got a call from John Joseph and it was a done deal.
Tim Bergevin at Nike used to roadie for Ignite and knew exactly how to run this event, everyone at Nike bent over backwards for us, the fans and the bands, and did something pretty fucking epic. The show was a backdrop for everyone to hang out and reconnect, Nathan and I had the biggest grins watching the bands take portraits, it was surreal and inspiring. I constantly look a the Chain Of Strength portrait and think, if these guys picked up some instruments they could do something really fucking interesting, there’s a cool tension in those photos. It was so cool to get new memories and images out of the events, it brought things full circle. As Ian MacKaye said when we interviewed him, “Don’t write my obituary yet! I got plenty left!”
Chain of Strength (L-R) Curt Canales, Ryan Hoffman, Chris Bratton, Frosty, and Alex Barreto, at the Radio Silence Hollywood, CA book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner
What about outtakes and left over material from the book…what can we expect to one day see?
Nate: The number one comment we get is “Oh shit! I have ________________. I should have told you…” Eeerrrrrr, oh well…
AP: We had a draft close to 500 pages at one point and that wasn’t even scratching the surface of what we had and the ideas we had, there could be 200 pages just on what we’ve collected for each scene covering a 15 year span. Hopefully we can find channels that make sense to use some of this content, many of the photos in the book have 20 companions from the same roll. Jeff Nelson gave us full access to Dischord’s art archives so you can imagine that a Dischord Art History book could be made with the commentary and images that we collected. So many of the contributors spoke to us and gave such detailed answers, it broke our hearts to get things down to a few quotes.
One thing that would blow minds would be the full Pat Dubar interview that Joe Nelson helped us obtain, we have audio and video (courtesy of Larry Ransom) which really documents something special, Pat doesn’t do interviews and we felt so lucky to get his unique perspective. Having someone of his stature trust us with such an important chunk of his life really hit us hard, the responsibility to the project grew immensely with each person we met, and Pat and Jeff Nelson were people that made it grow exponentially.
No For An Answer (L-R) Gavin Ogelsby, John Mastropolo, Casey Jones and Dan O’Mahony at the Radio Silence Hollywood, CA book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner
What is in the future for the book and you guys personally?
Nate: Hopefully the book will live a long life in the modern music / design / culture book canon.
AP: As mentioned before the photography show will be visiting different cities for a full year and we’ll be in San Diego December 5th and 6th for some release parties. Mike Down and Matt Anderson took such a special interest in the book, so much so that I got a call from Mike telling me that Amenity was back practicing and working on new songs to play at a release show that he was putting together provided we were into it. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by seeing Amenity in San Diego, Mike has this infectious energy and seeing that channeled into Amenity one more time is going to be amazing.
Right now we’re focused on making an impression with Radio Silence whereever we can and trying to enhance the experience by constantly updating the site and throwing killer parties. The photography show will be in Philadelphia at Juantia and Juan’s on January 2nd, Ian Svenonius will be performing at the event and then we’ll be in Boston at Bodega’s new gallery in February, and April at Tradition in Los Angeles. We’re doing our best to make every event memorable and have a different spin than the last. It’s important to show that hardcore isn’t just framed on a wall or ink on paper it is out there breathing in so many different ways, not just in this global scene that continues to grow but also through everyone who was touched by it. The more we can show about the culture and it’s influence the more we’ve succeeded.
Gorilla Biscuits (L-R) Alex Brown, Anthony Civarelli, Arthur Smilios, Luke Abbey, and Walter Schreifels at the Radio Silence Hollywood CA, book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner
Was this an experience you don’t wish to re-live?
Nate: The experience of making Radio Silence was a learning process. I think I speak for both of us when I say that we pushed everything we had to the limit and then some. This book was an amazing chance to explore ideas and test our abilities. That said, it would be great to do another project like this, however, next time, we’re going to make it easier on our constitution.
AP: Like anything, when you’ve finished you go “Fuck we could have done this…next time I’ll do that”. Personally with music, especially playing in hardcore bands you follow this burst of energy and like a bolt of lightning it doesn’t strike twice, you can try to be deliberate and learn from your mistakes the second time around but you find there are new obstacles and problems. We could probably go at this again and have some plan to make it more efficient but I wonder how much soul it would have, the bridge between idea and the final product was such a long process and I couldn’t imagine having the same result if we were more deliberate the second time around. We really found ourselves feeding off the energy of the situations and that’s what made the book a success to me, I think that even when we reduced someone to a single quote, those few sentences captured that person’s energy.
I wouldn’t want to change Glen E. Friedman’s lightbulb again, have to interview every Orange County All-Star with half a voice and a sore throat, I’d like to never sleep at the Days Inn Long Beach again and finally I’m comfortable never eating at Del Taco as long as there is breath in my lungs.
Who did you want in the book but couldn’t get for some reason?
Nate: Bruce Rhodes. Bruce was one of the most amazing photographers documenting hardcore music in the 1980s. We spent the last 4-5 months before the book went to press hunting for Bruce. We found someone by that name who I like to think is him, but he has never answered the phone or responded to the packages of rough drafts we have sent to him. It’s kind of funny because, through the process of trying to find Bruce, we actually stumbled across a few other photographers that we were not looking for, but were as equally amazing. So, thanks Bruce (we still want to talk to you though).
AP: The two that jump out are almost Yin and Yang, Raymond Cappo and Sam McPheeters, Sam couldn’t talk about the past and felt weird doing so even though we tried to explain that this wasn’t a memory lane book and Ray chose not to participate. It’s funny because everyone we met had some incredible Ray Cappo story, it got to the point where the line was “Did ya hear the one about Ray Cappo” and we’d go “Well did you hear THIS one,” and it was the job of the person we were interviewing to top it. Ray made such an impression on hardcore, on our book and our lives that it’s a shame not to have him be a part of it but hopefully we represented Youth of Today well and Porcell was such an incredible person to have in the book so it all balanced out.
What did you have to cut from the book that pained you most?
Nate: More of the amazing photographs we uncovered, like: the “Youth” show in Boston, Bad Brains at Viceroy Park, North Carolina, c.1982. Also, the Supertouch gatefold.
AP: Think about these names: Ian MacKaye, Dan O’Mahony, Pat Dubar. Three incredible story tellers who left us with some amazing copy, we didn’t have time to follow up and ask Ian more about Embrace and some other questions and he still gave us more than enough. Dan had some really great thoughts about hardcore’s evolution and I touched on Pat earlier, it killed us to have to edit.
From a design standpoint I would have loved to have been able to have sections on a bunch of designers, including Jason Farrell and Gavin Ogelsby, they were both so articulate and passionate but again we had a designated space to work with. Jason’s contribution to design, it was very much an extension of the fun and sophistication that Jeff Nelson really mastered but with his spin and very illustrative slant. Jeff Nelson inspired many to design and I think Jason really made people continue and fueled that urge, he’s responsible for a lot of double clicks and back ups. Swiz was a band that blew me and many of my peers away musically and visually and I can’t count how many designers I’ve met that started in hardcore and name Jason and Jeff as their influences. Fuck I hated leaving anything out.
Peace and love, thank you Double Cross!
CRO MAGS JAM – “World Peace / Show You No Mercy” from Larry Ransom on Vimeo.
Cro-Mags jam at the Radio Silence Hollywood book release party, October 8th, 2008 for Cro-Mags outtakes. go to www.radiosilencebook.com
For more of Jesse Untracht-Oakner’s photos, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/juophoto/
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Joe Nelson floats us a Sloth Crew video and a little backstory on what was until now a rarely seen piece of video history… -Gordo DCXX
Potato Knish was a short 3:45 second skateboarding movie that was made in 1989 or 1990 by the Orange County Sloth Crew. At the time I think we had a bigger dream to make a “real” 30-minute to 60-minute skate video a la “Bones Brigade” or something. This dream was left unfulfilled because A) we weren’t very good skaters, and B) we were just too lazy. After all the name of our gang was SLOTH crew.
The main skaters in “Knish” are Paul Theriault, whose vision of the whole idea really was his and Jason Acuna’s. However, Greg Brown, Scott Lytle, and myself make appearances in it as well. There are also great cameos by Pig Champion and Ray Cappo at the end of it. Locations were; Huntington Beach High School, Mark Surnakey’s backyard ramp, Hidden Valley (the off road stuff), UCI, and random suburban streets in Orange County. The editing was done VCR to VCR, and the sound was accomplished by playing “Possessed to Skate” by Suicidal Tendencies on my stereo, while using the audio dub feature on a video camera. Now that’s PRO!
Looking back at it 20 years later it really is such a great microcosm for what we thought was “cool” at that time; skating, slam pits, guns, breaking stuff, and our friends. Does it ever really get much better then that?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Raw Deal at Oliver J’s in Allentown, PA., Photo: Ken Salerno
Raw Deal at Oliver J’s in Allentown, PA., Photo: Ken Salerno
Raw Deal at Oliver J’s in Allentown, PA., Photo: Ken Salerno
Monday, November 17, 2008
Geoff, Tim, Espen and Ed (where’s Dan?) with the HT merch in Euro
In January of 1998, nearly 11 years ago, I hopped on a plane with my band Hands Tied and two other bands, Ten Yard Fight and One King Down for a European tour. In all honesty, I could write a book on that whole tour. It was a great time and an experience I will never forget.
Now is not the time for that story, now is the time to discuss the following video. This was our second show on the European tour. Our first show was in Leipzig, Germany on January 2, 1998. Although the Leipzig show wasn’t particularly bad for us, the crowd was definitely more into the heavier more metal sound of One King Down. After that first show I remember looking at the rest of the band and the guys in Ten Yard Fight and saying, “Man I sure hope this entire tour is not like this!”. Again, not that it was bad, kids liked both us and Ten Yard Fight, but they REALLY like One King Down.
Ed and Espen walk the streets of Germany two strong
The second show we played was in Bochum, Germany on January 3rd 1998. I remember rolling up early to the club in our tour bus. Eventually all of us started making our way out of the bus and into the club to get a look around. After hanging out for awhile, sound checking and setting up our merch, word inside the club started circulating that a crowd was forming outside. Considering it was only our second show of the tour, we were all kind of excited to hear that a crowd was coming together nearly two hours before the doors were even supposed to open. A few of us ran over to a window and took a peek. What we saw was a sight I will never forget, it was like a virtual army of straight edge kids plucked straight out of a line at the Anthrax in Norwalk, Connecticut circa 1988. As far as the eyes could see, it was an ocean of varsity jackets, champion hooded sweatshirts, bleached tops, X Swatches, BOLD and Schism shirts… the whole deal. The Hands Tied and Ten Yard Fight guys all looked at each other and agreed, tonight was our night.
As for the actual set, for the most part it was a blur of stage dives and sing alongs. I remember the club being pretty long and what seemed to be 600 to 800 people packed in there. It was a big stage with lots of room for us to move around. The energy, excitement and intensity was thick in the air. As you will see in the video, Ed, our bass player, dives with his bass. If I remember correctly, that dive took out a few teeth from one exuberant German fan.
This particular show in Bochum, Germany remains in my memories as one of the best shows I’ve ever played. Of course there were other incredible shows that we went on to play on this 98 Euro tour and I can think back to a lot of great shows that I played with Mouthpiece, but this one here with HT was definitely one that rates high. I know the video quality isn’t so hot and I’m not so sure this video completely captures the full feeling that was in the air, but this is the first time I’ve seen a video from this show turn up on YouTube. -Tim DCXX
Hands Tied – “Rearrange” Bochum, Germany, 1/3/1998
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Drew at the kit with BOLD at City Gardens, 7/9/1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
Here’s more outtakes from an interview we did with Drew from BOLD some years back. We’re always down for a little BOLD material… -Gordo DCXX
The music today that I have heard in hardcore has changed. Some of these hardcore bands now are so technically advanced it is unbelievable. Like, there are bands that could take the BOLD EP and tear its fucking head off. It is amazing how much these skills from kids have progressed on a technical level. A lot of newer hardcore bands I have heard, they are like as tight as a band like TOOL but have such bigger ferocity, and they have these terrifying vocals that rip you apart. If I was playing it now, that’s what I’d want to achieve. Like that band the Refused, their first record, they are just on a totally different level. They have like the precision and power of a band like TOOL, that caliber, but the lyrics for hardcore are super intelligent and super fierce. I would try to get to that state if I was doing something today.
That energy from the hardcore days, you could get off on that. I liked that close-knit, tight, hardcore scene. It’s funny because every now and then people who don’t know anything about hardcore will tell me about these new bands that are crazy, and how people get on stage, and are right there with the band, and I’m thinking, “don’t you know about any of this stuff that has already happened?” It’s like, they have no idea this has been done and that there are still kids doing it in scenes that are below the surface of popular music.
“Running Like Thieves,” I wrote the lyrics to that song. At the time I was trying to get away from hardcore type lyrics. It was written about Richie’s sister, Alison Birkenhead, who was my girlfriend at the time, and stuff that happened between us. It was a relationship song, just stuff you go through when you’re young. “You’re The Friend I Don’t Need”…that song was actually written about me by Matt, believe it or not. We were having some problems with the band. High school was ending, we were having to make a lot of decisions, things weren’t as simple as they had been in the band, and I think it put a strain on a friendship between us. I’m pretty sure I pissed him off with something. Things never came to a head, but as I understand it, it’s a song that shows how things can be pretty intense and shitty between people, even though deep down you know you are friends.
TC3 with BOLD at City Gardens, 7/9/1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Isaac Golub returns and this time brings the ugly stick with him, CHORUS style… -Gordo DCXX
How did CHORUS come together for those who don’t know, what were the main inspirations and influences for the band?
Somewhere around summer of 1987 or 1988 Banks and I were new in our friendship, but were increasingly becoming great friends. I would travel the 15 miles or so to his work at Cerritos Park East where he worked as an afternoon activities manager. We would get Del Taco and just talk hardcore all day and all night. “Dude check out this Madball 7inch!” “Did you hear the Head First demo?” Banks was still in Visual Discrimination and it was great hanging out with him because I was a fan, so I felt really lucky. We wrote a song together for the V.D. In Vain Lp. And he asked me to draw something for the cover, it didn’t get used but I was honored to say the least in even being asked.
We talked about doing a band all the time, something sounding a little like Judge but with that West Coast feel, it was mostly talk and a dream until one day we decided we WERE a band. Out of the blue, just me and him. We thought, “Fuck it, who’s gonna say we’re not?” We brought some ideas to the table, lyrics, band names, attitudes, etc. We did a demo under the name Boiling Point, but quickly changed it and made A Chorus of Disapproval our new home.
We were sick of complacency and stale attitudes in punk rock and hardcore, and the West Coast did not have a real in your face Straight Edge band. Sure we had Insted and No For An Answer, but nothing in that vein to me screamed, “Fuck you, fuck your ideals, and fuck your idea of society!’ We recruited Regis shortly thereafter by eerily whispering to him at a Hard Stance show, “We got our eye on you Regis.” He was our one and only choice for bass, he is all heart and both fists on The Chorus body.
Although there are really only 4 blatant Straight Edge songs out of all our songs, I think the point was very much taken in most circles at the time.
What was the California hardcore landscape like when CHORUS got going? What to you had changed, for the worse…and how would things change as the band progressed? Where did you see CHORUS fitting into the new landscape of HC in the 90s?
At the time Chorus got going it was almost a changing of the guard feeling for me. California hardcore was in a sort of low valley, a lot of the great clubs had closed and a lot of the great bands were gone or had gone straight pussy core. The days of seeing Youth of Today, Cro-Mags, or Uniform Choice at Fender’s were over. We still had The Country Club but it was a huge venue and you would be hard pressed to have a hardcore show there that made enough money for the owner to keep letting it go on. Hartsfield and some other dudes started putting on shows at Spanky’s and Toe Jam and suddenly there was new life.
When it came to hardcore in California at that time Posi-Core seemed to reign. Everybody wanted to be Insted, or 7 Seconds, or rock like the second UC record. Taking nothing from Insted, they were a great band and great guys, but I wanted something tougher, something borderline threatening along the Carry Nation lines. Times were definitely getting exciting, we played shows with Outspoken, Insted, Carry Nation, Infest, and a lot of great bands and gained tremendous momentum with our ‘style.’
There was a crop of newer bands that came in our wake and it was nice to see that metal influenced hardcore feeling we brought to the table take flight. Although Banks was at Cal State Berkeley I thought we managed to stay a band relevant to the new aggressive hardcore times coming.
Isaac fronting early Chorus
What are your best memories and biggest accomplishments from playing in CHORUS? I’m sure there must be some stand out memories.
The time in that band will always stand out as the greatest time in my life, and I can probably go on for hours. What can be better than hitting the road with your best friends and causing mayhem?
The biggest emotional turning point for me was the last Insted show at Spanky’s. We played right under them and it felt like an unspoken transfer of power. They were HUGE, we were getting big, and there was this thick excitement in the air for everyone involved. I think Steve Insted may have even verbally passed the torch to me or Banks but I could be mistaken. It was the greatest show ever. Sad, but great.
Our first out of state show was a great memory as well. It was in the middle of summer 1990 or ’91, we packed up in two pick up trucks and headed for Arizona. Three in the cab of each truck, equipment in the back of one, and me and Sabatini in the back of the other. At one point it got to be around 112 degrees so Sabatini and I rocked it naked in the back of the pick up for most of the drive there.
We got to some kid’s house and him and his friends seemed to be in awe of us. They sorta sized us up as if to be thinking “Ok… That’s Banks…That’s Isaac, and there’s Regis…” They looked at RD our drummer and said, “What do you do?” He responded, “I’m the drummer…. Is it cool if I smoke outside?” It was hilarious to us. The kids were crushed, they recovered quickly once we let them in on the joke.
We seemed to get into shit whereever we went and we didn’t care. One time the Strife roadie called me and Regis fat in New York and Banks slapped him and spit right in the guys face and told him to stand the fuck up, that dude looked at the ground and didn’t move or say a word.
We went to Europe in the summer of 1994, of course none of us had ever been there and were very excited for the opportunity. It was still a semi-new concept and there were only a handful of bands that had gone there at that time. That was an amazing accomplishment for us, and for me personally because I really wanted to see the world and almost joined the Navy 3 years prior solely for that reason.
We got off the plane in Germany with an attitude of coarse, loud, pushy, and over excited. Within the first 3 hours we had told our driver and host that he needed to get a new attitude and find us a fucking shower. His name was Ma and deserves a lot of credit because he put up with our shit, drove all night most nights, got us everywhere safe and I don’t remember him complaining once. One night a drunk German stepped to Banks with beer in hand and in broken English was asking, “Why this Straight Edge? What is this Straight Edge? Who you think is this Straight Edge?” Banks paused about half a tic and slapped the beer out of the dude’s hand, it broke on a rock and soaked the guys shoe and sock. Banks replied, “That’s my Straight Edge, do you get it now?”
With all these stories and memories, above all else the biggest accomplishment for me is the love. Friends learning and creating, making new friends along the way, getting sweaty for the core and getting bloody for the cause. Making music and inspiring, hearing music and being inspired. I never went to college but I can say I learned serious love and life lessons beyond anything any school could teach me being in this band.
Isaac, Regis and Jeff Banks on 1994 Chorus Euro tour
This was one hell of a poll, definitely our closest rated one we’ve done so far. In my opinion, all these books are great and there was easily another 3 or 4 that I could have and probably should have included on this list. Truth of the matter is that it was probably midnight when I put the poll together and whatever first came to my mind and I saw on my bookshelf is what I listed.
I have to say though, the book that I voted for happened to be the same book that took the lead and came out the winner. The Rollins “Get In The Van” book is seriously a must own and read for anyone that has a band, wants to do a band or just loves hardcore. This book is mind blowing and really raises the bar in terms of the dedication that is put into doing a band. I know I felt like a total poser after reading it and reflecting on what I’ve done with any of the bands I’ve done. – Tim DCXX
Get In The Van – 62
Bridge 9 Schism Book – 56
Radio Silence – 44
All Ages – 43
Banned In DC – 37
American Hardcore – 31
The Rollins, The Flag
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The Bad Brains 2008
Resident west coast DCXX connection, Joe Nelson, gets back with us to fill us in on a recent weekend romp with HC’s greatest of all time. -Gordo DCXX
Over the weekend of November 8th and 9th I ventured out to Austin, TX to catch the “Fun Fun Fun Festival,” a great 2-day even which happens every October in the self-proclaimed “Music Capital of The World”. This years line up included Rival Schools (who I was working for), All, Kool Keith, Black Heart Procession, Integrity, DOA, The Dead Milkmen, Kevin Seconds, the unbelievably GREAT festival stealing “Cro Mags Jam”, and of course the legendary Punk / Rastafarians, the Bad Brains. The greatest band whoever lived, allegedly.
When I first saw the Bad Brains back in 1985 they destroyed. This was even, according to some, 3 – 4 years after their prime, too. The singer bounced around the stage like a wild rabid animal. The band blistered through blistering songs, stopping on a dime, only to whip into another typhoon of a song. There were back flips, and prophetic statements. It was more then just hardcore. It was music. It was religious. It was illuminating. I was converted. Three years later I would even ditch my senior prom to see the band play again. Anytime they’ve played I have tried to catch them.
As the years have passed though, the band has become more and more sketchy, mostly due to their prophetic leader Human Rights, or H.R.. He’s become so unpredictable that there have been shows where he hasn’t even bothered to sing, AT ALL. They played the House of Blues in Los Angeles, CA recently, and it was, well, in a word… “interesting”. Therefore I’m prepared for whatever comes my way tonight. It’s the main reason why a lot of us are here. I rationalize with some of the doubters that if we had the chance to watch Miles Davis play, no matter what, even during his coked out 80s freak out era, wouldn’t we have gone just to say we saw him? The same goes for Bad Brains. Well, at least for me, and the guys I’m with it is the same. That’s why we’re here in Austin on a Sunday night, plus no matter what happens, I’m pretty sure it will be, well, “interesting”
Before the Bad Brains even take the stage, H.R. emerges and stands before the crowd, like a black Moses. He’s yelling unintelligible stuff out at the audience. People are going crazy, completely nuts! “Oh how they have no idea what’s in store” I think to myself. “This could be ugly”. If my prediction is correct it will be no fault of the bands; Dr.Know, Earl, Hudson and Darryl Jennifer bring it every night. They have for 30 fucking years, too. They are true greats. Living legends. They are our scenes Coltrane and Miles. Cosmic musicians who should be in the annals of music history for the rest of time.
Nope, the problem lies squarely inside H.R. who today is some sort of riddle that nobody, not even H.R, himself seems to be able to solve. Rumors have swirled for years that H.R. suffers from schizophrenia. If that is true then whoever is in charge these days is really off the grid. I know all this, as do most of my crew in the audience. Most of these Texas punkers however have NO IDEA.
The Blue Ghost and Joe Nelson
H.R. leaves the stage, and soon the band emerges. The swell of anticipation rises, as the band checks levels, adjusts their monitors and what not. After about 5 minutes of waiting H.R. returns in all his glory. My man of course is now dressed up like some sort of blue ghost. He has wrapped himself up in a blue sheet, or shroud, or blanket, or something blue. Surprise Mother Fuckers!
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming tonight, for Human Rights and The Good Brains. We are going to play some songs for you tonight…some classics, some new songs…yesssssss…mmmmmmm,” he says
And with that the band launches into its set of hits… “Attitude”, “Right Brigade”, “F.V.K.”, “Banned in D.C.”, and on and on and on. The band is so tight. Darryl’s bass is right in the pocket, moving around the rhythm seamlessly. Earl has slowed down some, but for a dude in his 50s he still gets after it more ferociously then most any drummer ½ his age. Doc is bringing it, he always does, keeping the crunch at times, while blazing wildly on others. It’s brutal. Then there’s my man. The Blue Ghost is doing his lazy singing, ventriloquist act, sometimes singing the words, and sometimes just saying whatever comes to mind. It’s fascinating to watch.
In between songs H.R. says bizarro things such as “This one is for the teachers. It’s fall now, school is in session…but soon it’s sprrinnnnnngggg time…”or something like that. It’s completely MAD. The punk rock cowboys in front of me are getting restless. “What the fuck is this shit?” I hear somebody say…”This SUCKS” cries another. Yes, the fans are pissed. This is the band that The Beastie Boys, The Chili Peppers, Fugazi, and pretty much every other musician from the 80s sites as THE BAND OF ALL BANDS!?!?!?!? For the love of GOD say it ain’t so.
Then it dawns on me. Perhaps H.R. is doing some sort of Andy Kaufman act, which is actually a total commitment to the complete destruction of the Bad Brains. Perhaps he’s lucent, and “this” is his new art. Destroy Babylon. Destroy what every one else has put up on such a high pedestal. It would after all be the Rasta way to give all praise to “Jah,” so maybe in my man’s mind, the only way he can truly give ALL praise to Jah is to suck out any remaining love for the Bad Brains in the process. OR he could just be as mad as a hatter. Either way no matter how people are feeling about what their eyes and ears signal to them, they can’t turn away. H.R. still is in command.
One of my favorite moments comes when H.R. unwraps himself from his blue tapestry, and for a song or two walks around without it. He sings an amazing version of “I and I” totally committed to the song, and his voice as clear as ever. It only fuels my conspiracy theory of what H.R. is really all about in 2008…FUCKING WITH US! After a few songs though he decides to wrap himself back up. My friend says to me “Well there he goes…back inside for the night.” For the rest of set he wanders around, mumbling crazy shit, and singing songs like if he were just letting water run out of his mouth and down his chin.
Bad Brains set list from Fun Fest
Towards the end of the set The Blue Ghost invites everyone to come see them play at the Hollywood, Palladium…in LOS ANGELES. They do “Pay To Cum”, and then encore with “I Against I.” Mercifully it is now over. Somebody yells into the mic “Let’s hear it for the Bad Brains!” Nobody really cheers, but H.R. is unfazed by that or pretty much anything that’s happening, and he takes the mic back and says “no no brother…Human Rights and the Good Brains,” and that ends the show.
We all retire to some nearby bar called the Mohawk to discuss what we have just witnessed. Opinions are split, Some of us think that H.R. is just fucking with us, and that being the great showman, the artistic genius that he is, the new act is to be so wild and unpredictable that people will keep on coming back. It’s the “car crash syndrome theory”, and it carries weight. Some of us believe that the beloved Brains are now reduced to playing out this sad divine comedy. We talk about how the band should seriously think about not playing with H.R anymore, even though that has never worked for them in the past. Is it right to bring a mentally sick individual on stage every night? Is he even sick?
That’s the real paradox of the Brains though, isn’t it? In the beginning H.R. was the end all be all spiritual leader of not only the band, but also the whole scene. The great presence. The greatest front man in the history of such things. The true rock and roll messiah. At their peak they were unstoppable, and H.R. was their unflappable leader. Through the years though H.R. as moved in and out of sanity. Either contrived or genuine, he’s become an uninsurable liability. Several times the other 3 have carried on without him, who can blame them? However they always come to find that no matter what, the public wants H.R. Without him they are just not the Bad Brains. Great musicians, worthy of our attention whenever they grace us with any endeavor, yes, but as the Bad Brains, no. It’s been their magical curse since the bands inception, I think. H.R. lead them to greatness years ago but the trade off is now they are forced to live out the rest of their living legacy with H.R. In a way it’s like Robert Johnson’s “deal with the devil” at the crossroads. Darryl, Doc, and Earl’s deal is not with the Devil, but instead with The Blue Ghost. It is what it is.
On our way back to the hotel, we are STILL talking about what we saw. Trying to figure out how the fuck band meetings work. What is the process? How do Darryl and Doc feel about H.R.? Does H.R. have a handler? He must right? How does he even get to the show on time? What’s flying with him like? He must get pulled for “random” security checks every single time, right? We’re pretty loud as we enter the hotel parking lot. As we do I look up, and there on the 4th floor balcony staring down on us are the Bad Brains passing a spliff between each other… “Oh SHIT” I whisper. “Did they hear us?” We all fall silent, and then somebody in our crew says “Yeah Bad Brains!” and like a bunch of complete weirdos we all break out into applause. The Brains just stare down at us smoking their weed, being legends.
Come morning we enter the hotel lobby to check out. H.R. is still on my mind. As I stand in line I feel a great presence. Somebody is staring at us. I turn and look over my shoulder, and their sitting on the lobby sofa is The Blue Ghost, H.R. himself. He’s staring right at us. “FUCK”!!! We mumble to ourselves about it for a few. “Is he still looking at us? You look…No, fuck that, you look.” A minute goes by and I turn… “YEP, he’s still staring at us.” Eyes locked in. “SHIT!” Then he rises and walks towards us…”Oh great” I think… “what’s he going to say to us? We are in such trouble.” As he approaches we are all forced to meet his gaze head on. All I can manage to say is “Hey.” He just smiles back at me, all knowing, all controlling, and then he says to all of us, but nobody in particular, “Well…thanks for coming brothas…hope you enjoyed the show?” And with that he exits the hotel, into a waiting shuttle van outside, and just like Keyser Söze, “poof”, he’s gone! As for the “show”? Well, it still will go on, but only The Blue Ghost really knows how it will end.
Bad Brains “Pay To Cum” @ Fun Fun Fun Festival, Austin, TX, November 9th, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Mouthpiece “Can’t Kill What’s Inside: The Complete Discography” cover
Finally after years of on and off work and planning, we’ve actually got a tentative release date of 1/20/2009 for the Mouthpiece discography. Officially tagged as Revelation Records number 147 and titled “Can’t Kill What’s Inside: The Complete Discography”. This is one release that’s been a long time coming.
Over the past 9 months, Ed McKirdy and I have been spending countless hours and late, late nights designing and fine tuning the layouts. There was also a considerable amount of time spent trekking off to Gradwell House Studios in South Jersey to re-mix, re-master and clean up the original recordings. The plan was to design a record and cd that drew influences and inspiration from the early Revelation releases, was jam packed with great photos and would ultimately and accurately represent and define what Mouthpiece was all about.
As we draw closer to the release date of the discography, I’ll be dedicating a few more entries to Mouthpiece. Hopefully I’ll be able to shed a little light on somethings you might not have known or at least will find interesting. Big thanks to Ed McKirdy for all his help and of course Jordan Cooper for pushing this project through. -Tim DCXX
Mouthpiece at The Bank, 1993, NYC, Photo: Glenn Maryansky
Monday, November 10, 2008
After seeing Ian do a Q&A this past Saturday in New Jersey, I thought it was only fitting to post the following videos. We also managed to video tape the Q&A, so look for segments from that to be posted here on DCXX within the next couple of weeks.
As for these videos, it’s Minor Threat as a five piece from Flipside video 2, shot at Rollerworks in 1983. I’ve seen other versions of some of the songs from this show that might be better quality, but I figured I’d go with the full set as opposed to a few songs. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this and I honestly forgot how incredible it is. Out Of Step… -Tim DCXX
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Ryan Hoffman and Alex Pain with Chain at Gilman St.
Jon Roa brings us an old story here that we thought was worth sharing. Stories like this are we we all love hardcore. -Gordo DCXX
1985: Justice League was on tour in Reno, Nevada. The now-incredibly huge NOFX were, at that time, a struggling band that was more of an also-ran about whom not many people thought (this is not a slight but rather a chuckle considering their future). We were both set to play with 7 Seconds in what would be their first hometown show there in seven months. It was a big show. NOFX were opening the show and we all met up in the parking lot in the late AM. To put in bluntly-NOFX were really hungry. They toured and got paid next-to-zilch as they were not a draw.
Being friends for some time, Fat Mike knew that I only needed three more Dickies singles to complete that area of my record collection. Mike approached me about buying some those elusive last three singles for the mere cost of twenty dollars…a bargain even back then. I gave him twenty-five dollars and he took down my address, thanked me and promised to send the records to me “as soon as he got back home in California.” I already had his phone number. Not only did I never hear from him again but also he rebuffed my many efforts to contact him. Eventually, I forgot about it because I figured that Justice League made a lot of money compared to them and I was helping out a good person.
Fast forward to late summer 1986. I had already amicably left Justice League (for many reasons but mainly because the direction of the 12″ was not at all what I thought it was going to be). Ryan/Justice League were on tour in, I think Seattle (?) and they met up with, guess who…NOFX. At the NOFX merch table, Fat Mike is selling items from his kick ass personal record collection and, now at 30 dollars each, are those damn Dickies seven inches! Well, a bunch of people would later to tell me that Ryan went up to the table, looked at all the goods and calmly picked up the three Dickies records and matter-of-factly told Fat Mike, “These are for ROA, I’ll make sure he gets them.” Evidently, Fat Mike was speechless and so off guard that he did not try to play it off by saying something like, “Oh yeah, thanks.” Mike just looked at Ryan, mouth agape, realizing that he had dutifully paid the piper!
It was none of Ryan’s business, really. He made it his business because we had known each other since the fifth grade. Upon his return I got the records but more importantly, I got perspective on how truly kick ass Ryan is. I love that guy.
Post script: Fat Mike is totally cool to me. I am on the “eternal guest list” for NOFX and when I was doing radio interviews/promotion for a book that I wrote in 1995, Fat Mike called the radio station and gave me a congrats phone call. He is a good guy in my book as those records are now in a good place: my house!
Early YOT / Justice League era with Hoffman and Cappo looking on as someone jokingly prepares to scissor in half a cig
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Vision at Rutgers Scott Hall, New Brunswick NJ, 10/29/1988, Photo: Ken Salerno
I’ve posted about this show time and time again, easily one of the best shows I have ever seen. In my opinion, Vision were in their prime and at the top of their game at this point. The “Undiscovered” 7″ had recently been released and let me tell you, what a great slab of vinyl. To this day, that “Undiscovered” 7″ remains my favorite Vision release and one of my favorite hardcore 7″s ever. The crowd at this show on this cold October night in 1988 seemed to share the same sentiments as myself. I remember people singing along to what seemed like every word and the energy was at an all time high.
Following the “Undiscovered” 7″ was the “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP on Nemisis Records. Most definitely a more than worthy follow up to a flawless 7″. Ken Salerno, who was a friend of the band and shot them countless times captured what was to be the cover shot for the “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP. Going with what I would assume to be the “artsy” route, Vision decided to slice up the photo with big, thick black bars. Although for the time it was different and definitely interesting, it did leave a lot of people yearning to see the original photo in its entirety. With the exception of the 1989 Vision tour shirts, I’m pretty sure this is the first place you can really see what was going on in this classic photo… pure New Jersey Hardcore at its finest.
Hopefully at some point we here at DCXX can push this site into some sort of printed format. When that does happen, we can assure you we’ll have this photo printed large and in all its glory. For now hopefully you can at least appreciate it a little more seeing it here, as small as it might be. Of course a huge thank you goes out to Ken Salerno once again for supplying us with the best HC photography anyone could ask for. -Tim DCXX
PS: If anyone happens to have an original Vision 1989 tour shirt and wouldn’t mind parting ways with it, get in touch, I’ve been without one for far too long.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Isaac fronting A Chorus Of Disapproval
Isaac from Chorus / Amendment 18 speaks his piece for DCXX as we pick his brain about how he ended up on the mic as one of the most vocal straight edge front men in hardcore history. -Gordo DCXX
I remember sometime around 1990 hearing A Chorus Of Disapproval for the first time on the Nemesis Records live 7″ comp, “East Meets West”. The song was called “Just Can’t Hate Enough” and I thought it was pretty damn hard. Funny thing is, the first handful of times I heard that track, I thought Isaac was saying, “Pussies going down, I will make you see the light” and thinking… wow, these dudes are freakin’ pissed! Turned out the lyrics were “The shit that’s going down, I will make you see the light”, still pissed, but not AS pissed as I had thought. That was my first introduction to The Chorus.
Early 1991 I remember Rob Fish (Release, Ressurection) coming back from hanging out in Southern California and telling me all about Chorus and how great they were. He brought back the “Truth Gives Wings To Strength” LP and a Chorus “Reinstate Prohibition ” hat and I was sold. Those first two songs on that LP, “No Part” and “Addiction To Disease” were incredible. So Straight Edge, so in your face, so hard and gave me an almost SSD feel. In 1990/1991, hearing a straight edge hardcore band like Chorus was rare but greatly appreciated. -Tim DCXX
What are you up to these days musically and otherwise?
Well after A.18 ran its course, I really wanted to take a break from doing the band thing. I wanted to concentrate on trying to be a good father, and be more of a “fan” of music. Sometimes it’s hard to see things clearly from the inside so I took a step outside and just enjoyed new bands and played more of the observer, although I do miss writing songs and performing for sure. And of course The Chorus is playing that big fest at The Metro in Chicago with Unbroken and so on in May, so that will be a real fun time. Beyond that, I got married and now I’m just try to do the good husband thing.
Second Chorus show, Zack de la Rocha hangs out on stage, Photo: David “Igby” Sattanni
How did you get into punk and hardcore…and later on, straight edge? What were defining moments you recall with each personal evolution?
I met my long time friend Luigi in 1982 at Wilson Jr. High in Pasadena, CA. We hit it off famously. I would listen to the Rodney on The ROQ radio show and write the names of the bands I liked on my Peechee folder. Luigi saw I had written “Sex Pistols” on my folder and he asked if I was punk. I had no idea at that point but I told him I liked alot of different music. So did he, so we buddied up from that point on. His dad was a famous Spanish actor and his brother was in a real punk rock band, thus I was super impressed so we started our own “punk” band, Short Circuit.
Later on my family moved to Orange County, CA and my exposure to punk rock was blown wide open. Mohawks everywhere, the 52nd Street Punks invaded and laid claim to 52nd St. in Newport Beach. I just quietly hung out and reveled in the smell of Aquanet, leather, and clove cigarettes. It was great. I never felt like the silly haircuts, beers, drugs, or partying lifestyle was for me. But I loved the idea of the unity, and fuck you attitude to narrow-minded factory farmed socialites of the area. I started going to shows at The Cuckoo’s Nest and since I lived a block away it was an easy walk. I saw many many great bands there, Fear, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Suicidal, 7Seconds (The Crew tour), The Vandals, and so on.
But it wasn’t until a little known band called Uniform Choice played there that I was really kicked in the balls musically. They were fast, ferocious, in your face pissed, and the singer was very threatening looking and was all over the place with his energy. Now I had heard Minor Threat and was familiar with the term ‘Straight Edge’ but it didn’t hit home until I saw U.C., bought the t-shirt, the demo, and really read the lyrics. I suddenly didn’t feel alone in my views regarding drugs, alcohol, and the like. I met Pat the singer and he told me about a bunch of other bands in the OC area that were of the same minds.
From there I got very involved even if from only a fan stand point. I was the first and only kid at my high school to go bic bald, X up, and scowl like the hardcore hard-ass I thought I was. Summer of 1984 was my awakening. I felt like a soldier, I felt like I was on a winning team, I felt like hardcore was my home. Still do.
A young Isaac riding the bus, decked out in a U.C shirt, 1986
What punk/HC bands and records hit you the hardest early on, and what “old” records and bands remain your favorites?
The first record I ever bought with my own money was The Decline of The Western Civilization Soundtrack. It had FEAR, X, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and all these great punk bands. Since I used my own chore money to buy it, it will always stand as my emotional bond favorite. You have to understand at that early time I was a California Punk/Hardcore loyalist. My fight and struggles were locally based. OC, L.A., and San Diego bands concerned me first and foremost. Records from TSOL, Adolescents, The Crowd, Circle One, Final Conflict, MIA, Uniform Choice/Unity, so on and so forth.
But the first record to really stand me upright and prepare me for my future was Screaming For Change by Uniform Choice. The demo was great and Banks would argue it is heads and tails better than the LP, but that record threw me in head first. Upon hearing the full length and seeing them somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 times, and buying the first LP out of the box at the record store Pat Dubar worked at? Fuck, I get all fired up thinking about it now!!! It was and still is my favorite hardcore record.
The next records to come very close to doing that to me is a close tie between Visual Discrimination ‘Step Back And Listen’ and No For An Answer ‘You Laugh EP’. These records never get old.
What did you do musically before Chorus?
I started my first band in 1982 called Short Circuit, we thought we were punk but we started playing backyard parties and lowered ourselves to doing mostly covers to gain popularity. It was one of my fondest memories but short lived. Then I tried out as singer for a band called Just Because (I think that was the name), it was Joe Foster from Unity on guitar so I was walking into that situation with a hard-on. Joe never called back and I never knew why until 2 or 3 years later when I told the story to Dan O’Mahoney. He said, “Oh that was YOU?” He then went on to tell me that Joe didn’t call me back because my name spelled backwards was Caasi (Casey). Referring to Casey Jones from NFAA who sang in that older band prior to me trying out. Joe thought it was a bad omen to pull me in based on that. What a tool!!!
Then I did a band called Idenity with Rob Hayworth who later was later ‘stolen’ away by NFAA and even later formed Farside. We played no shows and we were not very good…well, Rob was.
An early Chorus promo photo
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Coming off the biggest DCXX entry ever, Erba re-loads and fires again, this time with some Face Value memories.
– Gordo DCXX
What type of chaos did Face Value cause over the years? Most memorable shows and why?
Well we tried to turn every show into a party in the pit, we were a feel-good, let’s stagedive and trash the hall type band. My problems were usually with the soundman. I started to bring my own mikes to shows after scumbag club owners would charge us $100 for a ‘broken mike’ when there was a dent in the spit screen. We’d have a well thought-out set list designed to have the crowd frothing like manic idiots by the time we played the set-closer which was always “Coming Of Age” and then I’d just kind of signal for the crowd to take over and they’d rush the stage and there’d be 100 assholes onstage, knockin over amps, diving off PAs,swinging from the lighting tresses, etc. We broke the stage in half at the Empire, destroyed the drywall countless times at the Babylon, etc.
Most memorable shows? So many. We’d play alot of smaller towns that the ‘cool’ bands would pass up, and do sellout houses the second time we’d come thru, like Conway, AR; Tri-Cities, WA; Rapid City, SD etc. Syracuse was a great town for us. But the best shows were Clevo after we didn’t play for 6 months because we weren’t getting over, everyone was kissing Integrity’s ass and we weren’t drawing so we played on the road exclusively for at least 6 months then we booked the Babylon and oversold the fuck out of it and had a SICK reaction, I have a tape of it, we played close to an hour and the crowd heat was so intense, new kids from the West Side full of aggro and mischief, my brother had his crew out in full force, kids were AMPED.
Erba dips back into the crowd for some classic FV mayhem
I also focused on booking the band like an old pro wrestling territory…instead of focusing on just drawing in Cleveland, we’d develop a circuit which consisted of Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Detroit, Columbus, etc. Easy drives, great kids, great houses, good bands to play with. Ben Frazier and Mike Ski had Erie drawing like crazy. McKaig, DJ and Guav did a great job in Syracuse, Manny ran a tight ship in Pittsburgh, Ian had Columbus humming and we could play those towns 4-6 times a year and draw great each show.
Other memorable shows…first two times we played in Louisville were great. It was us, Integ and Endpoint, 1600 paid in a Lazer Tag arena, kids going berserk, girls actually talking to me, Endpoint were over more with their hometown audience than perhaps any other band I’ve ever seen before or since, I mean it was fucking COOKING down there. Great band and great friends…Duncan just did some liner notes for the FV reissue. Second time was a slight fall-off in attendance, ONLY about 1200 paid, but that place was out of fucking control. Some rich-kid Hardline band called Limit actually FLEW in to that gig on a private plane owned by the kid’s Dad.
Another classic show was in Rockford IL; we rolled up to the gig at a roller rink, there were hundreds of kids in the parking lot, we were stoked. It’s getting time to open the doors and the lady running the roller rink decides at the last second that she dosen’t want to be ‘hardcore show promoter’ and cancels the gig. The kids start getting pissed, so this girl calls her Mom who’s some sort of city councilwoman and she shows up with a bullhorn and starts grandstanding about “these kids need a place to go! You’re keeping these kids out on the streets!!” Coincidentally, as she’s standing on a car yelling into her bullhorn, right on cue, a couple of TV camera crews show up to catch this champion of HC kid’s rights having her say. At that moment, some dude screeches into the parking lot in a beat-up pickup and yells “Hey man, I own the Cherry Lounge down the street, you can have the show there, and it’s FREE!! And $2 well drinks! Yee–haw!” The whole crowd lets out a whoop, and 200 kids book it down to this club, and us, Silence, and the Voodoo Glowskulls proceed to have a wild-ass gig that night.
Flyer for a great Middlesex County College show that unfortunately Face Value never ended up playing, flyer by: Tim DCXX
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