Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX
The most memorable show I ever played…that is a tough one. Strife did so many shows over the years and they all stood out on their own for some reason or another.
Off the top of my head, 2 different shows come to mind…the first show was a huge show that we played at Middlesex College in 1992 or 1993. It was huge, and had a great lineup that included sick bands like Mouthpiece, Outspoken, 4 Walls Falling, Ressurection, Flagman, and more! I was in 11th or 12th grade at the time (16 or 17), and this was our first time we ever played on the East Coast. Every band that played was great, we knew that we had something to prove at the show. The “It’s For Life” and “Only The Strong” Comps had just came out, and the 1000 or so people that were there had high expectations for this new Straight Edge band from California.
Needless to say, from the first note we played the crowd went crazy! Highlights from that show include an asian stage diving girl with a football helmet, and our friend Scott Viscome (who we did not yet know) getting completely knocked out during “Am I The Only One.” I remember stopping in the middle of that song, so he could get some help… He woke back up in a minute or so and started yelling at us to keep playing the song! I’m sure it is on video somewhere (Cue the YouTube video Tim…)
Rick and Chad at Middlesex County College, Edison NJ
We met someone friends on the trip that have proven to last a lifetime, and that is the real reason I will never forget that show. On a side note… The night before that show was the first time that Rick Rodney ever shaved his head completely bald!
The second show that comes to mind was a show that we did with Sepultura in Checkeslovakia in 1997. This show was the epitome of a rock show…it was at a huge soccer stadium (Kiss played there the next night), and over 20,000 people were there. Sepultura was at their peak, and they received a gold record earlier that day for their album “Roots.” The whole tour was great…there was amazing catering at every show, we got to travel in a huge bus, and we got to see Sepulutra every night. We opened the show, and I just remember a sea of people going crazy the entire set! It was such a fun show, and just so crazy to see that many people moving in unison to our music. We made so many long lasting friendships on that trip as well.
Those are just two out of many unforgettable shows that we have played.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It’s time again for another Fanzine Spotlight and this time around the spotlight shines on a fanzine called Good & Plenty. Good & Plenty came out of the Chicago area, Zion Illinois to be exact and was done by a guy named Gabe Rodriguez, with some help from a few friends that seemed to come and go.
The first issue of Good & Plenty that ever ended up in my mailbox was issue 3, which was released in September of 1989. That particular issue contained interviews with: Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, Brotherhood, Bold and Judge, so you can see it packed quite a wallop with one hell of a lineup. Along with those interviews came pages upon pages of cool artwork, good photos and some of the best ads of the day. Layout wise issue 3 was fairly standard for the time, but it was the the content in whole that helped make G&P stand out.
Issue 4 of Good & Plenty was released in January of 1990 and had interviews with: Refuse, Even Score, Inner Strength, Up Front and 7 Seconds. What was starting to become very apparent with G&P was the quality of photos that popped up in issue 4. Where as issue 3 was more or less photos taken at local shows by the editor or his friends, issue 4 we started seeing great photos of some of the best bands taken all over the country by what appeared to be some serious photographers. Interviews and show reviews still had a place in issue 4, but photo page after photo page was what really dominated the zine. There were definitely some stand out photos of Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, Judge, Beyond, Bold, Bad Brains, Insted, No For An Answer, Turning Point and Release among many, many more.
Issue 5 was released in May of 1990 and had interviews with: Carry Nation, Vision, Turning Point, Billingsgate and Say No More. The first noticeable change from the earlier issues to issue 5 was the nice glossy, two color, card stock cover and back. Again, cool interviews and good photos to go along with those interviews, but the spread after spread of great random band photos stole the show. It was obvious that Gabe had a good thing going with photographers from all over the country and even into Europe. Sick Cali photos of Against The Wall, Carry Nation, Something To Say, Judge, Outspoken, Pushed Aside, End To End, Freewill, Inside Out and Insted just to name a few. So many memorable photos in general as well. GB in Europe with Civ wearing the PX longsleeve, Integrity with a young and shaved up Tony Brummel up front singing along, Judge “Where It Went” video shoot show pics from City Gardens, Project X in Clevo, Verbal Assault at the Living Room in Rhode Island… I could go on and on.
Issue 6 of Good & Plenty was released in the winter of 1990 into 1991 and had interviews with: Quicksand, Integrity, Sacred Reich and a mock Chain Of Strength interview calling them “Chain Gang”. Apparently Gabe, the editor had some sort of bad dealing with Ryan from Chain regarding an ad, so he decided to pull some sort of fake tabloid style interview. Kinda stupid if you ask me, this sort of thing didn’t seem to be necessary, but that’s neither here nor there. Back to the zine… issue 6 started showing signs of some legitimately nice and interesting layouts. The Integrity interview specifically was pretty impressive for the time. Lots of cool Integ photos, nice use of various record artwork for backgrounds and the interview its self was pretty damn riveting for the time. For me, this was one of the first Integrity interviews that really started to push their legendary reputation. Again, aside from the interviews, tons of great photos. A few particularly impressive shots of early “Screaming For Change” era Uniform Choice, that I’ve never seen before or since. Issue 6, like issue 5, had the glossy card stock, 2 color cover and ended up being the last issue of Good & Plenty that I’d ever see.
When I think of Good & Plenty, of course the stand out element was all those incredible photos, but something else that I give it credit for is bridging the gap between the late 80’s to early 90’s hardcore scene. When most of the great fanzines of the late 80’s had folded, Good & Plenty was a symbol of what was left. You had coverage of all those classic bands of the late 80’s, but you also had coverage of all the newer surging bands entering the 1990’s. On one page you might be introduced to Billingsgate or Quicksand and then the next you’re seeing mind blowing Gorilla Biscuits and Youth Of Today photos. Most definitely a classic in its own right. -Tim DCXX
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Beyond sing along at The Anthrax, the night of the “No More” filming. Notice Steve Reddy (Equal Vision Records) with the X’ed fist in the air. Photo: Boiling Point
Here’s another re-print from Impact Fanzine issue two. Gus talked about all sorts of different stuff when I interviewed him, but here’s some info about what lead up to the filming for the Youth Of Today ‘No More’ live footage at The Anthrax in June 1988. If you have ever seen that footage, you know it is awesome. Bodies flying everywhere, Steve Reddy stage diving in an SSD shirt, Tom Kennedy getting his nose smashed in by Porcell, even Vic DiCara is going off. So, that show being what it was, we figured that having a little more info about it can’t hurt.
We did this mini-tour with GB/Beyond, and it led up to the first time that GB ever headlined The Anthrax with YOT, for the YOT No More filming. But, it wasn’t really a YOT show, it was a big GB show and YOT just happened to be doing the “No More” filming too, and they only played “No More,” maybe they played one other. Walter was furious because he didn’t think that people would remember it as the first time GB headlined, but that they would remember it as the YOT video show.
So there’s this girl that we had known from years back that lived in New Haven, and I said, “I know! Becky Tupper lives in New Haven!” Porcell says, “You’re right! I know where she lives! Let’s go!” So we go to her Mother’s house and all of us were just covered in dirt and all this crap, only really wearing shorts. At that time I would just do stuff to make Arthur laugh, so I was just a complete nut, just like walking around barefoot the whole weekend and doing weird stuff. So Becky sees this, and she’s just like, “Oh my God, ok, one at a time and Gus, you can’t even come on the porch, just stay there.”
Walter stage diving for Beyond, the night of the “No More” filming. Notice the striped shirt and shorts. Photo: Boiling Point
So we had to take showers and change and all this. So then we went to that show. So if you ever notice that video, Walter is wearing the weirdest outfit, he’s wearing like pajamas, plaid shorts and a striped shirt, because all of his regular clothes got ruined. I think the other guys must have borrowed other shirts or actually gotten brand new t-shirts at the show. So getting there that day was the fun part.
The show and the No More fliming was interesting. I was a kid, so I would just time my stage dives perfectly. Like when that first bass line would open up I would do these floating, sprawled out stage dives. I remember I did that a couple of times and some of the timing was perfect, so Ray came to me between a couple of the takes and was like, “Do that again! Do that again!” It was basically like, “Hurl your body from the stage!” And that was not a hard thing to ask me to do. Ok sure, why not? It was just known that I was gonna go nuts.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
BOLD at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
This particular photo has always meant a lot to me. Back when Tony and I were doing Common Sense Fanzine, Ken Salerno used to hook us up with a constant flow of great photos (as Ken still does now with DCXX). A week or so following any big show, Tony could expect a nice package in his mailbox from Ken. After the BOLD, Gorilla Biscuits, Crucial Youth show at City Gardens (July 9th 1989), just like clockwork, Tony received a pile of BOLD and GB photos in the mail. The morning Tony got those photos, he immediately got on the phone and gave me a call. He told me there were some sick photos from the show and one of the best, which was of BOLD, even had me in it. Now being a 15 year old kid, super psyched on hardcore and loving the hell out of BOLD and Gorilla Biscuits, to see yourself in the crowd in a photo for one of those bands was comparable to getting a cameo in your favorite TV show. Imagine it’s 1982 and you end up in a episode of The Dukes of Hazard… yeah, that’s kinda what it felt like, at least for me at 15. So anyway, I hop on my skateboard, cruise over to Tony’s and lay into these photos. Just as Tony said, they were amazing, mind blowing to put it bluntly. This particular photo of BOLD right off the bat knocked me on my ass. The way that Ken was able to capture the moment was, as cliche as it sounds, really special. Matt with both of his arms stretched out over the crowd, giving a larger than life sing along… just sick.
A few months later I get my monthly subscription copy of Thrasher Magazine in the mail. Paging through it I stumble upon what photo but this exact BOLD photo of Ken Salernos. Wow, my favorite magazine now has a photo of one of my favorite bands and I’m in the freakin’ photo! Again, I was psyched and that moment seeing that photo in Thrasher is one I will never forget.
All these years later, I contributed a bunch of photos to BOLD and Revelation for the release of the discography. I remember showing Matt my copy of the Salerno shot that ended up in Thrasher and he obviously was pretty psyched on the photo himself. Once I heard the photo was going to end up on the cover of the discog, again I was excited to see it come to fruition.
So there you have it, another classic photo for Feedback Friday. Obviously this photo probably won’t mean as much to a lot of others as it does to me, but with that being said, it’s still a pretty heavy and defining photograph of a great band that was truly at the top of their game when this photo was taken. As Feedback Friday goes, let the comments roll. -Tim DCXX
As a bonus to posting this photo, I thought it might be fun and somewhat interesting to highlight and identify some of the people that made up the crowd for this classic photo. Some you may know, some you may not.
1. Jeremy, singer of Stand Up
2. Me (Tim), brace faced, Chicago Bulls hat wearing, both arms in the sky praising the mighty BOLD
3. Brian Schwinn, guitarist from Intensity
4. Travis Shirk, singer of Transmission / Conviction
5. Geoff Dagastino of TDT Screenprinting, climbing the crowd
6. Dan Hornecker, guitarist from Ressurection, Mouthpiece, Hands Tied
7. Jim Hogan, local Trenton kid and friends with Mouthpiece
8. Kelly Houston, local Trenton kid and friends with Mouthpiece
9. Kevin Craig, NJ tattoo artist, responsible for 3 of my 4 tattoos
10. Jay Laughlin, guitarist of Turning Point
11. Gentleman Jim, bass player of Crucial Youth / City Gardens bouncer
12. Darren Walters, Hi Impact Record / Jade Tree Records
13. Nick Greif, bass player of Turning Point
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
You may be wondering, “Smorgasbord Cycles?” A little off-shoot of the record label and zine, Chris Daily gives us some info on the bicycle frame company he started in the mid nineties. We thought it was a cool little bit of info that probably few know about. The Schism Skateboards story is next week…
Somewhere in 1991 I stumbled onto mountain biking. A few friends got into it and as soon as I saw it and the stuff they were riding it brought back all sorts of memories from my youth riding and racing BMX. By this time I was working in design engineering and always loved designing, making, building, and fixing things. I was pretty mechanically inclined which was surprising because my Dad can’t fix a damn thing.
Smorgasbord Cycles was initially done as a fake bike shop set up with a bike part distributor so I could scam parts to feed my habit at wholesale. I’d have to say this was about 1994. I went to the level of even photographing an existing bike shop and claiming it was mine because one distributor required that and a listing in the yellow pages, which I also did for a one month period until my account was set up. I met a local guy that built his own bike frame by hand, then I read a book or two on bike set up and fit and decided I could make a frame for my self just as easy.
An authentic full suspension Smorgasbord Cycle
I designed a hard tail mountain bike, ordered some tubing, machined all the parts myself and had a welder weld it all together. I rode the bike for a few weeks and a bunch of people kept asking me to build them one…so I designed a production frame jig, had it made and started making frames in my garage after going to a few tool auctions and buying a lathe, Bridgeport mill and a welder. By that point I had a full service machine shop set up in the garage behind my house.
Why Smorgasbord Cycles as a name? At the time I was still doing Smorgasbord Records, I thought it had a nice ring to it and that way I was at least able to keep up with the packages that were coming to my apartment with the name “Smorgasbord” on them. I started out with two other guys and they did not care about a name, I don’t even think it was an option, I just set up the account in that name for the distributor, not even thinking about actually building bike frames at the time.
As for those guys, the first guy got shelled about 5 months into the venture, the second guy I ended up buying out after about 2 years working together. I tend to really be pushy once a ball gets rolling and move forward with 110% of effort. They had other ideas, so it just worked out best to go forward solo.
The Smorgasbord Cycles Crew, Chris in the middle with the black shirt
As I was going thru the process to actually start making bikes for other people I noticed an ad in a magazine called DIRT RAG for a bike company named SPOOKY Cycles and in the ad was the Minor Threat OUT OF STEP sheep. It blew my mind and I called the number and spoke with the owner. Turns out he was a hardcore kid from up in Carmel, NY who went to the Anthrax and high school with the UP FRONT guys. He helped me with all sorts of legal and bike fabricating info during that time in the process of incorporating and start-up.
Spooky was a lot bigger then Smorgasbord, they produced thousands of bikes. The owner is still one of my best friends. Their sales manager was a R.I. hardcore skinhead, used to go to a ton of shows back in the mid 80s. English Nick (YDL) actually raced downhill on TEAM Spooky as well.
I am bad with dates and time periods, but up until mid 1999 I made about 250 frames. Bike frames for all genres of cycling: MTB, Cyclo-Cross, Road, Downhill, BMX, Single Speed. It was not a huge money maker but I also did not lose money.
A page from the Smorgasbord Cycles catalog
I was getting a little disenchanted with the tough USA hand built bike market in 1999, since the big bike companies (TREK, Cannondale, etc.) can all produce really good bikes that don’t cost much. I was small potatoes in the frame market and the one man show struggle was a tough aspect of my life at the time. It seemed more like a job than something I really enjoyed doing. In 1999 I was selling my house and losing my shop so it was a perfect time to step away and close down.
Shirt designs…I never thought about doing a mock up of the Smorgasbord SXE shirts, but when I went to visit Spooky Cycles in NY they had a shirt with the SMOR fist on it…and were selling a bunch of them! Guav from Syracuse drew the warrior flower logo for the Smorgasbord bike company.
Exhibited at the international InterBIKE industry trade show for 2 years
Sold bike frames all over the country and 3 in Europe
Expo’d at 10 national level race events
Sponsored a full race team with co-sponsors and trailer
Built test bikes for Major mass market Bike Company
Had clothing line that sold in Japan
Self-taught myself how to actually design and fabricate bike frames
Chris competing on his Smorgasbord Cycle
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The faceless image to the right was the one that appeared in BP issue 1, alongside the BOLD interview.
Going all the way back to Boiling Point issue one, in the layout of the BOLD interview was an image of a faceless dude in a stance. For some reason or another, that image always clicked with me and right off the bat I thought it was a very cool and iconic type image. I wasn’t sure if the image had anything to do with BOLD, or if the Boiling Point guys just saw it as fitting for that particular layout, but never the less, from that point forward I associated that image with BOLD.
The classic Side By Side 7″ cover.
Fast forward down the line and the Side By Side – “You’re Only Young Once” 7″ is released on Revelation Records. On the cover of that 7″ are three faceless figures, all in a stance. Again, I instantly loved that cover. So simple, so clean and so powerful. It said so much without even showing much. There was a clear urban hip hop feel to these three dudes in a stance, but still I hadn’t made any connection. Honestly, thinking back, I’m not so sure I even made any connections to the image I had seen earlier in the layout of the BOLD interview in Boiling Point issue one.
LL Cool J – “Radio”, where the stance began.
At some point in the mid 90’s I’m on the phone with my friend Ed McKirdy who at that point was working in Southern California for New Age / Conversion Records. Some how or another Ed’s brings up how Dennis Remsing (Conversion Records / Outspoken) had mentioned that the Side By Side guys on the cover of the 7″ had actually come from a photograph of LL Cool J that was on his debut release, “Radio”. How that had never come together for me earlier, I have no idea. Considering how big of a fan I was of both Side By Side and LL Cool J, especially that “Radio” record, it just shocked me that I had never noticed the blatant similarities.
Eventually I had pieced it together that Alex Brown (Schism, Side By Side, PX, GB), while going to art school in NYC, had probably came up with the idea to outline the photo of LL Cool J and tweak it into a hip hop influenced straight edge hardcore looking dude of the time. Without talking to Alex about it, I can’t be exactly sure of all the details, but I think it’s fairly obvious where the image originated from, how it was originally used and finally where it ended up.
We’ve been hoping to pull Alex Brown into the pages of Double Cross at some point, so hopefully if and when that happens, we’ll get the bottom of this. For now, check out the images I’ve compiled. -Tim DCXX
A great flyer designed by Alex Brown, with more detail added to the ordinarily faceless figures.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Better Than A Thousand at The Wetlands, NYC, Photo: Traci McMahon
If you type “Straight Edge” in on YouTube, one of the first things that pops up, and has for quite some time, is the cringe-worthy “Straight Edge Commercial.” There are basically two versions of this, each featuring iconic and not-so-iconic SE figures reciting the lyrics to Minor Threat’s classic tune as the song and other HC songs play in the background, while a pre-pubescent young edgeman gets very righteous with you. I’m sure you’ve seen it (and if not, well, it is below). It’s like the preview for an after school special smashing into a trailer for an MTV reality show…fast paced and faux-dramatic, but leaves you realizing you can’t get back the past minute of your life which you just wasted.
There are actually two versions of this classic commercial, one focuses on one young straight edge dude from New Jersey named Bob, who talks about why he is straight edge and his crew, etc. The other version features an equally young yet even more baby-faced straight edge kid standing hard in a white Wide Awake t-shirt. And that’s me.
I’ll preface this story by saying that if I knew back in 1997 when I was asked to appear in this that it would years later result in a running joke amongst my friends and probably most straight edge dudes in general, I probably would have given a UC-style “no thanks” and moved on. But at the time I had no idea, and well…it exists, it’s odd, and I figured the back-story might be interesting. It also could have ended up much worse, but I figured I’d at least talk about how it even ended up. Here goes.
In April 1997, Better Than A Thousand, WarZone, Floorpunch (one of the best times I saw them), and In My Eyes (their first tri-state show) played the Wetlands in NYC. I had just turned 15, but looked like I was barely 12. I went to the show with Ryan Dougherty (yo!), and I remember sitting in his car as we came out of the Holland Tunnel and almost instantly seeing HC kids all over. We were there pretty early and a lot of people were just hanging out on the side street, so we did the same.
Floorpunch at Chatham Church, NJ, Photo: Traci McMahon
Matt Summers and Matt Smith saw me and said “Yo Gordo there are these dudes here filming some commercial on straight edge, they need a young kid who actually knows about it, we said you’d be perfect.” At the time I guess I was seen as the “little” kid who had his head in the game more than any other little kids. Plus I was a psycho when it came to shirts and records and just straight edge hardcore in general. Anyways, I felt a bit like a poser since Porcell was standing like three feet away as this was all going down, but it sounded fun, and before I knew it there was a boom mic over my head and this little film crew was asking me about The Teen Idles.
The crew was from Washington Square Films and they were basically two grown up punk dudes (plus camera guys) in their late 30s (I think their names were Jeff and Mark) that had known about straight edge in the eighties. They seemed very grown up and professional, yet still somewhat “hip.” They asked me a bunch of basic questions about straight edge and why I was straight edge, and explained that they were being hired by the Partnership For A Drug-Free America to do an annual campaign for the Partnership about young people saying no to drugs. Kinda like the egg in the frying pan/”this is your brain on drugs” concept, but actually effective. Since they knew about straight edge growing up, they thought this would be a cool angle. They definitely were in the loop enough for me to realize they wouldn’t do some exploitational/sensational thing, and they even seemed to have a good time just hanging out at the show.
Anyways, after a bunch of questions and talking, they seemed happy with what they got from me, and asked me if I wanted to be in the actual commerical. They told me that there would be two different commercials – one with me, and one with another kid from New Jersey named Bob (whom I didn’t know). They said that as the real young kids, we would be the focal point of our respective commercials while they mixed in live footage and other people talking, along with the lyrics to “Straight Edge.” It sounded kinda cool.
They said they were a little dissapointed because this kid Bob didn’t really have any records or fanzines or anything they could use in the commerical. Well, Summers was standing right there and said to them “this little fucker has a lot of records and zines, go to his house and film!” Looking back, Summers kinda served as my agent that day. Summers, if you are reading this: I owe you a cut of what I got. Anyways, they wanted to know if they could drive out to my house, I said yes, and they said they’d see me next week. After that, I went inside and got destroyed during Floorpunch.
The following week, Jeff and Mark showed up in a van with all sorts of equipment. My parents thought it sounded safe enough and let those guys load all their shit into the house. The plan was to kinda film me in “my element,” which was a typical obsessive compulsive hardcore kid bedroom meticulously covered in all sorts of paraphernalia. They started getting some lighting set up but pretty quickly seemed bummed on the situation. That, and they probably felt a little creepy filming a young boy in his bedroom? Whatever it was, they basically said they didn’t think they were gonna capture what they needed in the setting, and wanted to know if there was a record store we could go to to film. Locally, there wasn’t anything good, but I told them that Double Decker (the first original location) in Allentown might be cool. They told me to bring a box of straight edge records, and off we went.
We got to Double Decker, and I’m sure that Jamie, the owner, thought it was the absolute cheesiest idea in the world, but he said it was ok with him (if you know Jamie you can imagine this – if you don’t, think critical/snide HC kid turned record store owner). The original Double Decker location was cramped and dark. So we ended up shooting outside, and these outdoor shots are what appear in the commercial – mostly me walking and reading a copy of Hardware that was at Double Decker. It was getting dark, and they still realized they needed more indoor footage with records and stuff in the shots.
In My Eyes at Coney Island High, NYC, Photo: Traci McMahon
As we drove home they asked me if I could come into Hoboken the next week to a spot called Black Cat Records, which they described as a very cool atmosphere. Dan Horner (Over The Line guitarist) said he would drive me, and I’m pretty sure he thought he was gonna be in the commerical. I let him keep thinking that to confirm my ride, and told Jeff and Mark I’d see them then.
This whole time I remember not really telling any of my friends at school, because the whole thing sounded pretty fucking goofy the more I thought about it. Secretly I figured it could be awesome, but I knew there was potential for absolute weirdness. Regardless, that next Thursday, Horner was driving me to Black Cat at something like 7am with a big box of straight edge records, zines, and shirts in tow.
We were driving around trying to find the joint, and we start to drive down this street that is kinda blocked off with orange cones and caution tape and stuff. I look closer and see that a sidewalk is blocked off and there are people running around with equipment. I’m wondering what the hell is going on, and then I realize this is the film crew outside of Black Cat. They are here for me? What the hell? We park, and when we walk up there is a legitimate film crew, craft services, production assistants, make-up, the whole nine. I think they even had those movie set chairs. Whatever they were, I’m sitting there and people are walking to work while trying to catch a glimpse of my dumb ass sitting there in a Wide Awake shirt. They must have thought I was the next Corky Romano or something. It was surreal.
The record store ended up being a let down, it was mostly overpriced punk cds and cheesy licensed-type punk shirts, typical trendy city fare. It took a while to get set up, but what was cool was that I got to cover this one whole wall with my records. I remember covering up Johnny Thunders, Ramones, and Generation X cds with SSD, Minor Threat, and Youth Of Today LPs…it was like, “yeah, that stuff is cool, but not today!” I recall being embarrased as a cute girl put make-up on me, meanwhile I think Horner still expected a lead role, and they basically told him to stand in the back and read something (you can actually see him – an indecipherable figure – standing behind me in the commercial). I think he was pretty bummed.
For hours on end Jeff and Mark asked me a lot of the same questions we had been through before, except we did it over and over and over. Due to the fact that I wasn’t and still am not some grandiose and high falutin’ straight edge type, I think a lot of my answers were kinda low-key for what they wanted. It also got to the point where they started to basically tell me, “say this,” and a lot of what they wanted me to say was kinda cheesy and “canned.” Of course, it seemed like these were the parts that made it into the commercial. I’d love to see the outtakes, I’m sure at one point I say, “I’m straight edge because you know, I can’t be smokin’ and boozin’ and still truly love JUDGE.”
At one point they took us to lunch and we saw Tim Singer walking around looking really angry, that was kinda cool. Finally after asking me the same questions 600 times they got what they needed, filmed me and my records, and told me they’d call me with news. Never once did the camera even go near Horner and I think he was even annoyed they didn’t give him more gas money.
Porcell with Shelter at The Stone Pony, NJ, Photo: Traci McMahon
A couple weeks later Jeff called me and said I was welcome to come into NYC, as they would be filming Ray, Porcell, Dave Stein, Ken Olden, and a bunch of other people who are in the commercial. I forget why, but I couldn’t go. I also remember thinking that if they didn’t need me, I would feel a little silly walking in and just sitting around like some little wanna-be child actor or something. My heart also sank a little as I had no idea how what I said came out, and the idea that some of these people were supporting roles to my lead seemed really odd.
I did see Ray and Porcell a few months later though and they seemed to think the whole thing was pretty cool and said they were psyched to see the finished product, so that was reassuring. The other funny thing was that very soon after we filmed my part, I heard that the other kid Bob stopped being straight edge like a week after they filmed him. I don’t even know if he stayed in hardcore or what.
About a year went by, and all I ever heard from Jeff is that there were some approval issues from the Partnership. Long story short, it turns out that the Partnership For A Drug Free America is basically created and funded by big business including Phillip Morris, Anhesier-Busch, etc. They saw the commerical and said, “Cool, the idea of this little nerd not doing crack, PCP, ecstacy, mushrooms, marijuana…we like. But just cut out the part saying he doesn’t drink or smoke cigarettes.” Well, Jeff and Mark weren’t having that. They told the Partnership that it was no drug, no drinking, no cigs, and they wouldn’t change it. The Partnership said they would need some time to decide. I was pretty shocked it could go down like this, but it was cool to see these dudes had taken a stand.
About another year went by, and out of the blue Jeff calls me to let me know that ultimately the Partnership said to edit it or they wouldn’t show it. Mark and Jeff said “fuck you” and kept the tapes. He said this was a major move because the Partnership was going to air the shit out of this commerical as its campaign centerpiece, and there was even talk of a Superbowl slot (I found this hard to believe and still do, but that’s what he said). Nonetheless, he said they jerked him and Mark around and ultimately he and Mark were happy with what they created and would not change it. He said he would send me a finished copy of all versions.
A couple weeks later I got the video in the mail, and made sure nobody was around when I watched it. I had no idea what I was about to see. Over two years had passed, and I definitely didn’t look like I did when I was 15. My initial feeling watching it is pretty much what it is now: semi-embarrasing but kinda funny and somewhat well executed. The fact that they zoom straight into my retina in the first two seconds is a tad unsettling, but at least they don’t totally butcher me.
I thought Bob’s version was kinda goofy, but I’m not sure mine was/is any better. Slowly the video got out, my friends had fucking heart attacks from laughter, friends that didn’t know anything about straight edge had even bigger heart attacks. It was and still is a good laugh if nothing else. A few years back when I was in law school, friends showed friends who showed friends and it was a pretty good on-going giggle.
Most people today wouldn’t even recognize that it is me, and I typically don’t point it out. But if you were wondering who the hell is telling you about pure living at an extreme close up angle…well now you know. – Gordo DCXX
Ajay ENUF brings us more memories about one of New Jersey’s hardest. Face the music…
The best show that we played by far was Scott Hall at Rutgers University in 1988. We played with Life’s Blood, Vision and Bold. The place was just insane. I honestly have to say though, because I was out in the crowd for all of the other bands, that the crowd was bananas when we went on. We ripped it and you could just feel the energy. I was so amped and we just were out for blood that night. We killed everybody! Arrrggghhhh! Don’t get mad anybody, it’s the truth!
The music we were making was evolving, the songs and the band started to come into their own. Our live shows were a whirlwind of energy, we were unstoppable. We tried to make that come out in our recordings. People always say that they loved our band. I’m glad we were able to touch people. The music started to get harder, especially Andy’s guitar riffs, I started to get “my own voice,” not some facsimile of another band’s lead singer. We started touring, having more productive practices, we could have been the original “killswitch!” Hahaha!
It’s too bad things went the way they did, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. We had a great time while it lasted and I wouldn’t trade that time period for anything.
Ajay being restrained by Charles from Rorschach, Photo: Ken Salerno
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Youth Of Today at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Boiling Point
I wouldn’t be surprised if a Youth Of Today photo made it into “Feedback Friday” more often. These guys just had a knack for being caught on film at the right time and this photo here is no exception.
You’ve got Porcell in mid air sportin’ the Air Revs, Cappo coming down from a jump and Wally kickin’ it out with funky Chucks. All of this is taking place on the stage of City Gardens, complete with the CITY GARDENS and TRENTON stencils on the wall. Oh yeah and that guy in the background leaning on the amp would be Drew BOLD. You’ve also got that one pumped, proud and psyched straight edge dude up front with the white hooded sweatshirt on and X’ed fist in the air. The rest of the crowd gawks in disbelief.
I’ve seen countless incredible photos from this particular show and there’s no question in my mind, Youth Of Today were at the top of their game at this point. Of course many will argue what era of Youth Of Today was the best, but to me it’s always been this early 1988, post breakup, pre “We’re Not In This Alone” era. Of course, there really is no bad Youth Of Today era, at least not in my opinion.
Just for the hell of it, because I had the video posted on YouTube, I thought I’d post it on here as well. It’s Youth Of Today from the same City Gardens show that the photo was taken at. If you haven’t seen this video, do yourself and favor and don’t waste any more time. Priceless. -Tim DCXX
City Gardens punk card with this particular YOT / BOLD show listed
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
How was Right Idea born? What was the catalyst and inspiration for the band, who is in it, and what are the goals? I get the impression you are a group of dudes with some of the same interests and you seem to be on the same page with what you want to do, no? What bands are your biggest influences and why?
I’ve pretty much wanted to be in a band since I got into hardcore, but finding edge kids in Cleveland with the same likes as me and who could also play instruments was pretty much impossible. I basically gave up and shelved the idea about eight years ago. Then last summer at some show that was definitely lacking energy, like many of the shows I seemed to find myself at around that time, I joked to John Millin about doing it and he began pushing me to see it through. We decided we wanted to start a band that would bring back the positive side of the music, the message and the pride we had for the edge. One that was more focused on capturing the energy during a certain time period than taking months to write songs.
The demo songs seemed to just all of a sudden click and everyone was on board with what we wanted to do. The final finishing touch came when my long-time friend, Mir Ali, gave us the name ‘Right Idea’ which was such a perfect fit for us. I mean, those are two of the best words I can think of to put before Straight Edge!
As far as who’s in the band…I handle the mic and after writing the lyrics I go to John who has the ability to make songs sound just like I envisioned they would for the most part. John plays guitar, he used to play in Committed and sung for a couple of bands. He’s also currently playing guitar for Erba’s newest band Cheap Tragedies. Funny trivia fact about Millin is that he was once a member of The First Step and in Running Like Thieves before Matt left. Nate Hough-Snee is on drums and lives in Seattle due to school, which is why the four of us are rarely in the same room. He played drums in John’s old band Names for Graves so he was the logical choice for us. Nate keeps us up to speed on the new good Northwest edge bands that seem to be popping up. Lastly, we got my man Chuck Falk on bass. This cat never picked up an instrument before we asked him to play, but his ability to learn songs in short periods of time is insane. When Chuck’s not playing bass he can be seen in fashion shows as a model, pretty funny.
We really went for good friends with similar likes instead of trying to force something to work. When we were writing the demo I wanted to pull a lot from the Turning Point demo, Straight Ahead and Side By Side. John’s song writing is influenced also by the old skinhead hardcore bands of NYHC and early SOIA. Of course, I have always had a love for Youth Of Today and BOLD. Those two influenced the songs heavily also, esp. on our new title track ‘Our World’ which will be on the record coming out this summer by Aram at React! Records. Off subject but, Speak Out era is better than LB era, if you ever heard the original intro to Now or Never which became the song Speak Out you would know this is fact.
Cleveland has a rich history of straight edge hardcore drama, beef, and general urban legend. How might Right Idea add to the history that is already there? What are your personal favorite Cleveland bands and pieces of folklore?
I think the biggest problem in Cleveland has always been the jealousy. It’s like everyone gets behind any band that is just starting out but as soon as the band starts getting some out of town recognition the kids start looking for dumb negative reasons why they’re getting known instead of just admitting their songs are pretty damn cool. I don’t know how we will add to the mix other than just continuing where Committed and GrudgeMatch left off…by that I mean bringing back the smiles to the faces in the front of the crowd. My personal favorite Cleveland band is GrudgeMatch to be honest. I am sure it’s the least known by others but they were a combination of UC and Unit Pride and some of the best people to hang with.
Other bands I grew up on or can always listen to are Committed, unreleased Confront, early Value, old Integ, Thin Ice live (Raw Deal meets Outburst with a huge frontman), the Ringworm demo and first lp, Lifegame demo, the Crime Ridden lp, Set Straight live, and the one song wonders Force of Habit and Meanstreak. I think the old zine wars are some of the funniest/coolest reads. Bloodbook has some classic Cleveland one liners and the Judge/Integ beef spread throughout different zines rules. Where else can you hear about Mike Judge calling Mean Steve a ‘cream puff’ who’s ‘got a world full of shit coming to him when Judge comes to Cleveland’. Nothing physical ever happened between those two by the way. It seems the crazier the story you hear about something happening in Cleveland in the late 80s/early 90s, the more likely it is to be true. You can’t help but be intrigued by these stories that involve such scenarios as flare guns to the eye, ears under pillows, rocks with magical powers allowing you to say anything you want without fear of getting in trouble, beatings involving a crowbar to the head, etc.
What’s a Right Idea show like? How do you think you have fared so far as a front man? What do you think of current hardcore frontmen? Do you purposely want to bring anything different to the table?
Fast and intense! We just played a show this past Friday and we blew thru 11 songs in what felt like 10 minutes. Any set over 20 minutes is too long, I have a short attention span for bands most of the time. All I used to do was watch videos and listen to live shows of bands like YOT, Straight Ahead, Altercation and Side By Side, getting so amped up listening to their energy. I can’t really speak much on current frontmen, but I know going into this band I wanted to pull a lot from the singers of most of the bands that would be featured in Double Cross.
Sometimes I go into a show with a pretty serious tone and others are a little more laid back but I usually do have stuff I want to say when I get up there. Problem is, once we start playing I get so caught up in the energy of the songs and the kids reactions in front of me that I kind of just lose myself in the moment and forget anything I had planned. I feel the show is a success for us if kids are singing along and diving nonstop throughout our set. With that being said, I feel very lucky with the success we have had so far for playing out so little.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Outburst at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
Joe Songco delivers more NYHC history with the third installment in our Outburst piece. I think Joe is just getting warmed up, so expect much more…
How how did Mike join the band and replace Chris on bass?
In order to tell the story on how Mike joined the band, I have to tell the story on how Chris left the band. We played an out of town show in Albany with Killing Time where Anthony rented a van for both bands. After the show, we had arrangements to squeeze into a motel while Raw Deal was going to stay at someone’s house not too far away. The motel wound up kicking us out within 15 minutes of us being in the room…I guess 5 in a room wasn’t their policy.
Before we could collect ourselves to think of a contingency plan, we looked around and noticed that Chris ended up taking off in the Killing Time van. Anthony didn’t know we were in the middle of being kicked out of the room. Chris just went to him and said he was going to crash with them instead of us, so Anthony, assuming this was cool with the rest of us, took off for the night. The rest of us wound up spending the entire night and next morning in the parking lot.
We were pretty pissed at Chris for just flatleaving us, so we agreed that night…he was out. When Killing Time pulled up to the motel the next morning, George just took the lead and chewed him out for lack of loyalty and kicked him out. Killing Time were stunned bystanders…and man, that ride back to the city was just completely uncomfortable. I remember on the way up to Albany, we were all horsing around in the back of the van, George and Chris just cracking jokes & making Carl & Drago laugh…and here it was the next day, heading back in the back of that same van and it was as quiet as a funeral home wake.
Joe beats the drums and sports a Debbie Gibson shirt at CB’s
Anyway, we wound up playing the next week at the Anthrax with Killing Time again, as a four piece with Jay on bass and the punches and the thickness of the guitar just wasn’t the same. We put the word out that we were looking for a bass player on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos radio show. Turns out Mike Welles just happened to be home that night listening to Spermicide make the announcement and he responded. We rehearsed a handful of songs at his place one night, then we tore up his kitchen and he was pretty much in the band after that.
We considered Mike Dijan, who lived in Astoria with me & George, since he had often been a roadie for us and he played the songs in soundcheck sometimes. He was this close to being the choice…but we went w/ Mike Welles. In the end, either Mike would’ve been an upgrade musically on the bass. Chris was solid, but he didn’t add anything to the songs’ structures. One of the first things Mike did when he joined the band was add some tasty licks to the Hardway and Thin Ice, which ended up being on Freddy’s New Breed Compilation. In comic book speak, New Breed was the first appearance of Mike.
What memorable out of town shows do you remember Outburst playing?
Personally, I’ll never forget that Albany show I just spoke about, simply because it led to Mike joining the band. Also, the kids in Albany loved their NYHC. We played a show in Storrs, CT at the UConn campus with Bold and Breakdown which was pretty sick because of the cross section of straight edge kids and, for lack of a better term, un-straightedge kids at that show. I also picked up a great looking black Bold t-shirt at that show which lasted me a long time. One of my favorite out-of-town shows ever was the Fall Brawl at the WUST Radio Hall. That was a great line up of DC and NY bands and the crowd was just bonkers the whole show. One of my favorite things to watch whenever we played DC shows was the crowd doing the sing-a-longs to Banned in DC at the end of our sets. Those DC kids could definitely bust it up.
Outburst at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
Who were some memorable people from the NYHC scene?
Duane from Some Records was really cool. He gave so many bands the chance to get their stuff out there and be heard, plus you could get t-shirts, zines, flyers, etc. You can’t say enough about the impact of Duane & Some Records on the scene back then.
Gus Pena was a very cool cat. He was always at our shows singing along and dancing. Heck, he was at a lot of shows, period. I mostly remember him hanging with the Gorilla Biscuits. I also hung out with Dylan (Schriefels) a lot. In the summer of ’88, Dylan and I worked at the same pharmacy in the Village. Man, what a cushy job that was. We’d sit around and talk to our cashier about hardcore and rap music. Sammy & Luke would always stop by and hang out for hours. We’d draw up mock designs for logos & stickers. Dylan came up w/ an idea for an Outburst sticker w/ a picture of Michael Jordan dunking with the words “Outburst: Jamming The Hardway”.
Freddy Alva and Bill Wilson were also awesome. Always at the shows, always up front. They were also hugely responsible for a lot of bands getting their stuff out there…and they did it from scratch…total DIY.
BJ Papas was one of my personal faves. She lived 2 blocks away, so I hung out at her place a lot. And as a result of her being the unofficial photographer for any and all things NYHC, there were always a lot of traffic over at her place. I remember when she moved out of Astoria, I was bummed like an 8 year old kid watching his friend drive away in a packed up car.
Lastly, I want to admit that I used to have a pretty good crush on Barbara Ann, aka “Bubs”, Anthony from Killing Time’s kid sister. We used to drive around Jackson Heights and Astoria in my VW Rabbitt listening to heavy metal tapes. I lent her my Motley Crue “Shout At The Devil” and AC/DC “Back In Black” records so she could make metal mixes. I never saw those records again! And I’m pretty sure only she and I would know this…maybe her friend Sonya too…but I actually wrote & recorded a rap song for her. I used the instrumental to Eric B. & Rakim’s “Move The Crowd”. If anyone out there reading this ever runs into Bubs, just mention this and I’m sure she’ll laugh hysterically…and fondly I hope. But yeah, Barbara Ann was a sweetheart. I saw her on the subway years ago, we chatted for a few stops…told her I loved her and everyone else in the “Can’t Wait One Minute More” video…she was still as cool as I’d remembered.
Outburst dance floor at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Monday, September 22, 2008
No For An Answer at CBGB, the Hawker Records “Free For All” show, Photo: Ken Salerno
Gavin Oglesby continues to enlighten and entertain with some NFAA history. When will it end? Soon? NOOOOOO!!!!!
I would have liked to have rerecorded the demo, which became the seven inch, but it probably would have sounded about the same today. It’s hard for me to listen to because it’s never as good as I’m hoping it will be. To me, it’s pretty much me learning to play guitar and not quite pulling it off. I love that about some other bands though – I think it adds charm. Even though I had little to do with the look of the record, I like the way it looks. I don’t know if Dan just wanted to do the cover over me or what, but he presented it to me as “I thought I should take care of this since your mother’s dying” type of thing. Aesthetically, I think it works and was consistent with the band at the time.
I remember the cover being Dan’s idea. I recall being somewhat indifferent when Dan told me his face would be on the back cover and inside but I’d be on the front. As I write this, I’m thinking I really like that picture and the fact that it’s me. It was taken at practice and aside from the X on my hand, is just as it appears. I’m not sure if it was before or after the picture was taken, but there’s a bracelet I still wear from that era that was my mother’s key ring. She was a teacher and always seemed to have way too many keys for not being a custodian. It reminds me of her and I guess is my version of a tattoo.
The guitar was actually my second. I bought it from the same guy who sold me the amp that caught fire (another friend of John Bruce) – he might have been in Kiss hence the theatrical nature of the amp. It was a pretty mediocre guitar in good shape when I bought it, but wood grain which seems kind of rock and roll to me at the time. The stickers “punked” it up a bit. I would ideally have played a Les Paul, but aside from being out of my price range, a Les Paul seemed like way too much of a commitment for me. I doubted I’d be doing it very long. I have no real significant memories of it.
I do, however, remember practicing at Casey’s ex-girlfriends house long after they had broken up. I don’t know how we managed that, but it was a real nice house in the hills of Tustin. I’m tempted to say her parents didn’t know, but I remember them bringing us candy and soft drinks. You can’t say Casey isn’t likable! Somehow we practiced there after Casey left the band too. I really don’t know how we managed that.
Anyway, the parents were late getting home one day, so we were waiting in the driveway in front of the house. It was a long driveway so, nobody was likely to drive past so we got our stuff out of the cars and just waited. Soon after the parents had gotten home and let us in, John still hadn’t arrived. When his massive late 70’s car did finally pull up, he ran over Rob, (our second guitar player’s) brand new guitar. We added Rob to fill in for me while my mother died. He really thickened our sound, and he wasn’t Jeff. I didn’t mind his guitar getting crushed because he was a lot younger than me and a better player. He might have been more mature too.
No For Answer at CBGB, Dan O gets assisted out of the crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
When Dan and I decided to return No For an Answer to a four piece, we tried to cushion it by getting him into Hard Stance. We also told him we were going to break up the band, keep the name, all of the songs, and keep playing with John and whatever drummer we had at the time. Rob was too nice a guy to call us on this. I think he’d rather have been in Hard Stance anyway and they became great with him playing with them. He went on to start Farside, and did State of the Nation too.
Whenever it came to band business, Dan was always the guy. As you may have heard, he’s a good talker. He’s also got a pretty dominating personality so, when he suggests something, if it’s not that important to you, it’s just a hell of a lot easier to go along with him rather than to fight him. With this in mind, whenever we’d play in Northern California, he’d always want to drive overnight and sleep the next day before the show. It was usually me, Dan, Mike Murphy, Anthony, sometimes John, and some of the equipment in his mother’s Chevy Celebrity wagon that “slept five comfortably with equipment” as Anthony would often say. Dan is or was claustrophobic also so, no matter how cold it was outside had the window open and, I don’t think ever used the heater. This usually meant at least four really tired, freezing cranky guys driving though the night to sleep and then play the next day. I don’t know how our drummer’s and other equipment ever got anywhere because they never seemed to be with us.
The first time up to Gilman Street, we were going to stay at the Maximum Rock N Roll house. I’d guess we arrived about 6:00 AM – way too early to knock on someone’s door, particularly someone who’s letting you stay with them. After some discussion, we decided to sleep in the Chevy Celebrity that “slept five comfortably with equipment” with a window rolled down. I don’t remember sleeping much, but I do remember my eyes burning, nausea, and rage I felt when somebody at Maximum mentioned they didn’t go to bed until about 7:30 AM while we watched each others breath outside in that stupid car with the window open. Every band trip was like this – tired, hungry, annoyed and a window open. I don’t think any of us ever slept during the day like we always said we would.
On our third or fourth trip up there, after having played and all of us at about hour 36 or so being awake, we had to take some guy home to get us a check or something. He seemed really excited to be in our presence and felt real bad about forgetting whatever it was he forgot to get us So, Dan and I were to drive this guy home. Dan drove and I sat in the front seat while this guy sat in the back seat leaning forward and grinning the whole time. He pretty much just listened to us talk or bicker or whatever stage we were at that night only occasionally interrupting to give direction on the “twenty minute” drive. An hour or so in Dan and I kept falling asleep and swerving into other lanes while this guy sat between us and grinned. It seemed like a good time to stress the importance of not letting the two guys in the front seat fall asleep, so we both started yelling at him. He had been elevated to legendary status with us. He seemed wide awake and to be having a great time – all the way home with the window open.
No For An Answer at CBGB, boots fly as Dan gives a sing along, Photo: Ken Salerno
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Possibly the most coveted shirt of straight edge hardcore, the Schism Project X longsleeve. Just a couple of weeks ago, GB’s Lukey Luke had his up for auction on eBay and it ended up getting pulled early. Who won it, remains a mystery to most, but one thing that is known is that the winner holds in his hands one hell of a rare shirt. We here at DCXX decided to pull a couple of excerpts out of Impact Fanzine’s article on The Anthrax, that happend to shed a little bit of light on this notorious shirt. -DCXX
Gus Pena: There were only 10 of those Project X shirts, the longsleeves. There were 12 but one got botched, so there were only 11 good ones. I actually took them all home and washed them when they were done, that was my job. That was the worst printing job I had ever seen on a t-shirt. I remember when the cover for The Way It Is came out and Jordan telling me, Gus, you’re gonna be real happy with the cover. I was like, “Wow, that’s cool!” Walter was like, “Dude, you did such a good job. Your arm is straight, it says NYC Straight Edge on there perfectly.”
Gus singing along to GB at The Anthrax in the PX longsleeve, Photo: Boiling Point
Porcell: I would have to say the Project X seven inch was my favorite thing we did on Schism. It came with the fanzine and everything, just an awesome package. We made those longsleeve PX shirts. We made those in our apartment, me and Al Brown, there’s like fifteen, but we didn’t sell them, we just gave them to all the cool people in the scene, and we all wore them at that first show that we sold the PX records at. So it was just like this army of kids that came walking in, wearing these longsleeve PX shirts on. Everybody was like, “WHOA!” People were begging us to buy them, but it was like, “Sorry, you can’t buy them. You just have to be a cool guy in the scene to have one!” I wish I still had mine. I had that shirt when YOT played in Europe. This one kid was like, so cool to us, he let us stay at his house for days, we had no money, he had his Mom feed us three meals a day, and at the end I just gave him that shirt.
GB at The Anthrax, Porcell in left corner, Gus in right corner and Civ on stage, all wearing the PX longsleeve, Photo: Boiling Point
Insted sing along, Photo: Dave Sine
What’s your favorite show pastime?
Singing along – 124
Stage diving – 88
Moshing – 37
Watching safely from a distance – 27
Hanging out outside the club – 9
Shooting photos – 6
Ressurection, Photo: Dave Sine What era did you get into hardcore?
1990’s – 165
1980’s – 147
2000’s – 100
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Classic photo of Dave Smalley with DYS
I’ve known Taylor Steele for a long time as his band 4 Walls Falling played quite a few shows with my band Mouthpiece. Every time we’d see each other we’d always hang out and have great conversations. Being a serious hardcore vet, Taylor would tell stories of seeing everybody from Minor Threat to Youth Of Today from their first tour.
One particular band I remember Taylor telling me he saw was DYS, and I gotta tell you, every time I saw Taylor, I would think to myself… “Shit, this guy saw MINOR THREAT AND DYS!” For Taylor to have seen those bands back in the early 80’s and still be doing a hardcore band in the 90’s – and on top of that, still be straight edge – I was impressed.
We’ve been planning on getting Taylor up here on DCXX for a while, so what better time to kick it off than with his DYS story? Expect more from Taylor Steele in the near future. -Tim DCXX
The year was 1983. The month was December. The day was…the 27th I think, I’ve never been good with that type of shit. Straight Edge Hardcore gods DYS were coming to town and I was giddy with excitement. You have to understand, I had gone to my first show in April of that year, had only been straight edge for a little over a year, had only ever seen one other SXE band (Minor Threat) and was still riding off of a hardcore high from the last show in Richmond (Crucifix). Another thing you have to understand is that SXE hardcore was in its initial stages, there were not many of us around…like any where on the entire planet, much less Richmond Va. There were only 2-5 of us at best here. I could also count the number of SXE bands that existed on the planet on my two hands. It was all fresh and new. The baby was still cute, really cute.
So, there it is, I was going to see Bigfoot, Jesus, Machu Pichu, whatever you want to call it and it was only 15 minutes from where I lived. I get to the show, 100 to 150 people…maybe. The club was called Rockitz, it was small, so it was easy to fill up. There were many great shows there over the years…MDC, Iron Cross, Discharge, BL’AST!, COC, Crucifix etc., but fuck all that for now, because on that night it was going to be DYS.
Fast forward through the opening acts and DYS hits the stage, never before had I seen a hardcore band with a wall of FULL stacks, but thats what served as the background and wall of death for DYS. They explode into their set, LOUD, URGENT, ANGRY, POWERFUL, you know, all that good shit. I was like a cross between a bull in a china shop and a kid in a candy store. The energy, power and message of DYS was off the hook and this teenage hardcore SXE punk rock kid was eating up every bit of it. It was truly incredible. I don’t remember the specifics, it was a blinding haze of adreniline for me. Years later, a friend would say, “remember the airplane pilot coming thru Jon’s amp?” Man, I sort of remember that but its all fuzzy now. The only other thing I remember was talking to Dave for a couple of minutes, cool as hell dude, which meant even that much more to a young new school SXE kid like myself. That would be the last time I would talk to him for about 20 years, when I would give him directions to a club he was playing at.
Anyway, great guy, great band, a band that still makes this old fucker feel young again when ever I hear that first note on Brotherhood…and all the way through the whole damn thing.
Dag Nasty circa Smalley, as good as it gets.
Long time Smalley enthusiast, California Hardcore O.G., and DCXX contributor, ROA, provides us with a couple Smalley snippets from years gone by. Thanks ROA! – Gordo DCXX
This is not the best story but it means a lot to me, as DYS were one of the best and I hope it exemplifies how much they meant to members of the Chain Crew.
Bratton, Ryan and myself went to go see ALL with Smalley on vocals. It was great. I not necessarily a huge ALL fan but Dave on vocals was a treat. I mean, we grew up studying the cover of Brotherhood (and if any of you know how meticulous Bratton is, well, you know we STUDIED that record). I often remark that DYS were so great, they did not even have to list the song titles on the back of Brotherhood. Upon release one usually forewent the risk of it being only two crappy songs and bought it for the back pictures alone.
Smalley with Down By Law at the Continental, NYC
So we watch ALL play. And, at least for me, this was the first time seeing Dave other than sporadic photographs. I was pretty much in awe. In earnest, we keep shouting for ALL to play “Wolfpack.” After the show, we informally interview Dave with these fanboy questions, which he answered. Here’s how the stupidest ones went:
Us: Can you show us the Boston punch style dance?
Dave: Um, no.
Us: Can we see the X tattoo?
Bratton: How could you make that second record?
Dave: I liked it, it was good rock.
Fast forward to the last show of Chain of Strength (I still love that it was in Hollywood). Dave and Down By Law were, from the initial booking of the show, hesitant about opening for Chain for a lot of reasons, but mainly due to Dave’s pride. Ryan and Bratton never said one word about it. They were more interested in playing hard and, in a healthy way, blowing the other bands off the stage with pure energy. The also had respect for the old guard.
Well, Chain plays and Down by Law goes on after them to….well, maybe 15 people? It was a disaster. They seemed so deflated as the atmosphere was all for Chain. The energy left with Chain’s audience. Everyone gathered around the band and congratulated them for they spectacular existence. Some people were making fun of Down By Law’s dubious decision not to “volunteer to play first”, “ego trip”, blah, blah, blah…saying how it kind of sucked that Chain’s last show was opening for a not-so-great band.
Bratton, wet with sweat, just shrugged and said, “Hey, he’s Dave Smalley from DYS.”
Dave puts down the guitar for Down By Law to feed the crowd
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