Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For our fourth entry of Smalley Week here at DCXX, Boston photographer, Gail Rush, brings us a DYS photo showcase. True Till Death… -Tim DCXX
DYS at The Paradise in Boston, Photo: Gail Rush
Dave Smalley and Jon Anastas, Photo: Gail Rush
Dave Smalley with DYS, Photo: Gail Rush
DYS at The Paradise in Boston, Photo: Gail Rush
SSD and DYS…The Boston Crew, Photo: Gail Rush
DYS at The Paradise in Boston, Photo: Gail Rush
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Colin, Brian and Dave, Photo: Traci McMahon
Back in January of 2002 my wife Traci and I received a call from our friend Larry Ransom, who at the time was working over at Revelation Records. Larry was the main cog in the machine responsible for bringing the Dag Nasty “Minority Of One” LP to the surface and needed some photography done for the band. Larry knowing that Traci and I were huge Dag Nasty fans and Traci being a photographer, asked if we would be interested in driving from New Jersey down to D.C. to do a photo shoot of Dag for the new record. Although on very short notice and smack dab in the middle of a work week, of course our answer was yes and the plans were quickly set in motion.
We were to meet the entire band at Brian Bakers’ house. Directions to Brian’s house in D.C, were secured and we were on our way down I95. From our area in central New Jersey to D.C., the drive is about 3 hours. For some reason, that 3 hour drive seemed more like 15 minutes and before we knew it we were looking for a parking space in Brian’s neighborhood. Brian lived in a pretty nice area, pretty much center city, but the street was lined with classic brownstone type houses and nice cars. His house was in fact a brownstone. We walked up to his door, rang the door bell and were greeted by Mr. Baker himself. He let us in and as we walked down his hall and towards his living room, a freshly bleached hair Dave Smalley popped out of the bathroom. Dave looked at us and said, “Hey, how’s it going, my name is Dave”, then quickly realized that he actually knew both Traci and me from years back. Within minutes we were catching up and us knowing each other really helped break the awkwardness of walking into a house of someone we had never met and meeting 2 of the other Dag guys that we had never met. We sat down on Brian’s sofa and were introduced to both Roger Marbury (bass) and Colin Sears (drums). Both Roger and Colin were super cool and treated us like they had known us for as long as Dave had. Brian was on the phone coordinating a Dag interview for Thrasher Magazine, so up until now we really hadn’t had a chance to talk with him much. I remember Coca Cola memorabilia decorations all over the house as well has guitars hung on the walls. It was obvious that Brian’s love for Coca Cola had not lessened since his days in Minor Threat.
Brian Baker getting his flaming head tattoo, Photo: Traci McMahon
Once Brian was done with his interview and off the phone, the first thing he said to us was, “So you wana hear one of the new tracks?” It was clear that he and the rest of the band were genuinely excited about this new Dag Nasty record that they had just completed that day. We of course were excited as well and eagerly said yes. Off hand I don’t recall what track it was, but we were played one full track. I remember the track being pretty fast and sounding fairly similar to something that could have come off “Can I Say”. I believe what we heard was not completely mixed and definitely not mastered, so it almost had a raw sound. We dug it, but as quickly as it was played, it was over and we were packing up to leave.
The bands plan for the photo shoot was to take place at a tattoo shop in Virginia. Dave, Brian and Colin all decided they were going to get the classic “Can I Say” flaming head logo tattooed on them and Traci was going to shoot it all as it went down. When we pulled up at the shop, Brian was the first one in the chair. He was going to get the logo tattooed on his ankle. While Brain was getting tattooed and Traci was shooting it on film, I was sitting in the waiting area with Dave, Roger and Colin and all these guys could talk about was Dag Nasty. They were so fired up and excited about the band and this new record, you would think they were an active band and had never broken up. It was really cool to be sitting there with these three guys who were responsible for writing one of my top 10 favorite hardcore records of all time, “Can I Say”. What was cool as well was the fact that I had just met all of these guys, with the exception of Dave and they honestly treated me like I was a long lost roadie for the band.
Roger Marbury sketches up a Dag logo, Photo: Traci McMahon
Once Brian was finished getting tattooed, Colin was the next up. He was getting his on his ankle as well. Brian and Dave were hungry and decided to take a walk down the street to get a sandwich at Subway. Dave asked if I wanted anything or if I wanted to take a walk with them and I decided to tag along. We walked down the steps, out of the shop and straight up the street. Within minutes Brian and Dave started talking and conversation instantly went to old friends. “How’s Jon Anastas from DYS doing these days, how’s Ian doing, have you talked to Al Barile in awhile, how about Choke, what’s up with John Stabb?” At that point everything just seemed so surreal. There I was, a kid from New Jersey, in my late 20s who grew up listening die hard to both of these guys’ bands. I have the bass player from Minor Threat to my right and the singer of DYS to my left, they’re talking about Ian MacKaye and they just got finished recording a Dag Nasty record… damn it’s crazy where you end up sometimes. Eventually we got our sandwiches and headed back to the shop.
Colin was finishing up by the time we got back and Smalley was up next. Dave decided he was going to get his flaming head on the inside of his arm, surrounded by Fred Perry like laurle art. Dave sized up and placed the art on his arm and was quickly in the seat himself. As Dave is getting tattooed, I start dabbling with the idea of getting the flaming head logo tattooed on myself. What better time and what better place, but I was torn. This was clearly the band’s day and their experience and in my head it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do, for their sake. Maybe if I really was that old roadie that the guys made me feel like, but the truth of the matter was that I had never even seen Dag when they were fronted by Dave. Peter Cortner fronted the Dag I saw and were great, but a Smalley fronted Dag just wasn’t in my cards. I restrained myself, but do think back from time to time… damn, that could have been cool.
Dave Smalley and Colin Sears talk Dag while waiting to get tattooed, Photo: Traci McMahon
Once everyone was done and freshly inked, we gathered directions, shook hands and made our way out of the shop. Was a Smalley fronted Dag Nasty live show reunion in the future? That was a question that was in the air between the members and of course in our heads. Maybe in between Bad Religion tours, but there was no guarentee. In a way I felt like I already witnessed a reunion, a reunion of old friends that got together to write and play the music that they loved and still love. Thanks Dave, Brian, Colin and Roger… thanks for recording one of the greatest records ever, “Can I Say” and thanks for letting Traci and I sit in on a very cool and special time. Traci was happy to document it with the photos and I was happy to just be there. An extra thanks is also due to Larry for coordianting the whole thing from the start.“I’m loooking at pictures and I’m thinking of those times”. -Tim DCXX
The Dag Nasty “Minority Of One” promo photo that Rev used, Photo: Traci McMahon
Monday, September 15, 2008
With yesterdays DCXX entry on Dave Smalley and his “True Till Death” tattoo, we decided Dave is actually worthy of a full weeks worth of entries. Consider this week here at DCXX, “Dave Smalley Week”. We’ve got a few more entries planned out and will be working on others, so if you’re a fan of Dave’s music, this should prove to be an interesting week.
For our second entry, I found this footage of ALL with Smalley on vocals. It’s from a club called The Silver Dollar in Canada and is from 1988. As a huge fan of the Descendents, when they were breaking up, I was pretty damn bummed. Then to find out Dave Smalley was taking over vocal duties for ALL, the new version of the Descendents, I was psyched to say the least. Because of Dave’s rather short stint on vocals for ALL, I never got around to seeing them when he was fronting the band. Actually when I found this video, I believe it was the first time I’d ever even seen footage of him with the band. Hope you dig this, but if ALL is not your thing, stay tuned because there’s pretty much guaranteed DYS and Dag Nasty content coming soon. -Tim DCXX
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Dave Smalley circa DYS, Photo: Gail Rush
If I had a dollar for every hideous straight edge tattoo I’ve seen during my relatively short tenure in hardcore, I’d be able to quit my job and work on Double Cross full time. At the same time, there is also some great stuff out there, and perhaps my personal favorite is Dave Smalley’s iconic piece of straight edge shoulder ink. The inspiration for who-knows-how-many other tattoos and pieces of art, Dave’s is where it all began. Read and learn…
This is another one of those entries that really hits home for me. Dag Nasty has been a long time favorite band of mine and “Can I Say” is most definitely one of my top ten favorite records ever. From the moment I first heard “Can I Say”, there was something special about Smalley’s voice, it seemed to bleed sincerity and came off very genuine and heartfelt. Reading interviews with Dave only reinforced what I thought I was hearing in the music. Then digging deeper and discovering DYS only furthered my respect and admiration. Even on to his early involvement with ALL, I was a fan.
Fast forward some years down the line and my band Mouthpiece is opening for Dave’s then current band, Down By Law, at Trenton, New Jersey’s City Gardens. I was psyched to say the least to meet Dave and made it a point to bring a copy of the first Mouthpiece 7″, which had a drawn depiction of of Dave’s “True Till Death” X’ed fist tattoo, on our lyric sheet. I also gave Dave a copy of the Mouthpiece “What Was Said” record which had a cover of DYS’s “Open Up” as a bonus track on the CD. Upon meeting Dave, he couldn’t have been friendlier and more welcoming. He gave off a genuine sense of appreciation for what I was showing and giving him with the Mouthpiece records. We spent a good chunk of the show talking and hanging out. Then when Down By Law hit the stage, they tore through a great set and finished with two Dag Nasty songs. The club erupted and I found myself spending the majority of those two songs on top of the crowd.
After years and years of wanting my own version of Smalley’s “True Till Death” tattoo, late summer 2000 I actually got my own. With Mouthpiece, we sort of adopted a re-drawn version of the tattoo as a logo. We went on to use the fist on a number of different t shirt designs. With the combination of the Mouthpiece connection, the Smalley connection and of course the meaning behind the design, it was an image I was happy to place on my body for life. -Tim DCXX
Dave Smalley and Tim DCXX comparing tattoos, Photo: Traci McMahon
One of the D.Y.S. songs is called “Brotherhood,” and the chorus has the lyrics “brotherhood — true till death” in there. I can’t remember whether I came up with the lyric first or the tattoo line itself. But all I do know is that once it hit me, it was emblazoned into my soul. You know, the thing about that period of time, and I think like this still, is that loyalty is extremely important. I probably value loyalty to and from friends more than anything else. I expect a good friend to take a bullet for me and I’d likewise take one for them, you know? The Boston Crew was very loyal to one another – disagreements sometimes, to be sure, but it was unity once the fights with the jocks or in other cities started, or once we were out spraypainting or hanging out in Kenmore Square.
And even today, I value each one of those guys, and what that time frame meant to me as a person, and to music and hardcore especially. True Till Death. And straight edge was such a vital component of all of that – it was really the glue that helped make the crew unbreakable. And when you’re living that kind of lifestyle, where ideals really do matter, then it’s not done in half-measures – it was till death.
Tony, Choke, Dave and Steve, Photo: Gail Rush
The X on a fist originally came from early show days, when clubs would put a huge X with a thick black marker on your hands to show you were underage, you couldn’t get a drink at the bar. Of course, we didn’t want to get a drink anyway – so we started to put Xs on our hands voluntarily. From there it became the symbol of straight edge, and as part of that, esp. in D.C. and Boston, a symbol of independence from all the expectations to conform and get wasted that were so prevalent then. So it wasn’t like I invented the X for SE, it’s just that I was the first one, or one of the first, I don’t know, to do it as a tattoo. It just seemed to me that the way I wanted to put the ideals of all of that on my body for the rest of my life was to put it just like we did it everyday. I mean, sometimes I would put the X on my fists for so many days in a row, I’d get dizzy and sick from all the ink seeping into my skin, and the smell of those huge, thick markers was intense.
A girl who was part of the early Boston scene, named Julie, who was an excellent artist, drew it for me – a fist with a big X behind it. She did a great job. I think it pretty much came out the way I envisioned it.
I believe it was done at a place called Jim’s Tattoo in New Hampshire. We had to drive out of state in those days to get inked, because tattoo studios were not legal in Massachusetts. Which is odd since the Combat Zone area of Boston had intense porno clubs, but yet you couldn’t get inked.
Dave, Pat, Tony and Jonathan, Photo: Gail Rush
I think I got this the same time Choke and Jon and the other guys all got theirs done. We all went together to those places, one was Ruby’s in Rhode Island, the other was Jim’s in NH, and Jonathan and I got inked together in NYC the day we picked up the release of “Brotherhood.” We all went together because there was this unspoken, maybe even unrealized bond that existed – whether it was subconscious or not, we knew we were in a tiny minority of kids, of punk/skater/hardcore kids who were SE – not many of us back then at all. Punk rock alone was a rebellion then, and being SE was even a rebellion inside a rebellion. So we ended up doing a lot of stuff together.
My story I remember about getting the fist was that, it was my first tattoo and I was really nervous. The tattooist, Jim, clearly knew that. I wouldn’t even look at my arm when it first started. The other guys were all watching. Jim then said “Ooops…” like he’d made a huge mistake, and it was like, the color must’ve drained from my face, because everyone, including Jim, burst out laughing at my horrified expression. There was no real oops, thank God. He did a really good job.
I had no idea that the artwork would end up being the inspiration for other artwork. I’m totally honored to have seen it in so many places – albums, other people’s tattoos, art on the walls, everything. It’s a powerful symbol, and it stands for good things, so I’m psyched. It means a lot to me. The joy of that whole period is that there was no talk of what the future would hold – it was about burning bright, burning the candle at both ends every day – the good and the bad, the shows, the fights, it all just happened, and not a lot of concern about the future at all, you know?
I think if anyone had said to any of us – to any of the kids in different scenes across the country — “your tattoo/band/crew/scene/whatever will still be remembered in 2008″ no one would have believed it. It was very in the moment, and very sincere and honest. And that honesty is why it is still remembered fondly, I think.
The tattoo itself has held up pretty darned well considering it’s been roughly 26 years on. Damn I’m old. But even though some of my tattoos aren’t sparkly and shiny, I guess that’s sort of a picture of where I’ve been and all the chaos, and good times too, I’ve been through. I was thinking of getting some of them touched up, and Brian Baker, actually, said “no way, just leave them like that – it’s who you are, shows where you’ve been. If some are fading, messed up and old, that just shows you’ve earned ‘em” or something to that effect – in other words, the fade tells as much as the picture. And I agree with that.
The term “True Till Death” meant the world to me then for all the ideals of loyalty – not just to the edge, but to friends and the crew. And I still think it’s a damn good ideal to have in life.
Dave with DYS in Boston, Photo: Gail Rush
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Something new here at DCXX, it’s called Feedback Friday. The plan is to toss something like this up on Fridays from time to time. The idea is to post what we would call an “epic” type photo, comment on it and then leave the door open for you, the readers to comment on it. By posting it on a Friday, we would have the entire weekend for people to check it out and post their comments. Ordinarily with the standard day to day posts, it can get kind of hard to keep up with comments, but to do it on a Friday, it gives people extras days with the same entry.
We’re kicking Feedback Friday off with this classic Bad Brains photo from the “I Against I” lyric sheet. Chances are pretty high that you’ve seen it before and that you’ve had some sort of thoughts about it. Nows your time… get to it. -Tim DCXX
Bad Brains, “I Against I” lyric sheet, Photo: Steve Hanner
So while I was mowing the lawn today and listening to the new Metallica… yeah, the new Metallica, on my iPod, I started thinking about the Bad Brains. Why the Bad Brains while listening to Metallica? I couldn’t tell you. Anyway, thinking of the Bad Brains got me thinking of “I Against I”, how awesome that record is and how epic the lyric sheet photo is. I know, “epic” is a big word and one that people tend to throw around rather loosely, but fuck it, that photo really is epic.
Where that photo is taken I’m not sure. My guess would tell me NYC somewhere. You’ve got Raybeez bare back with braces, squatting on the stage. You’ve got Russ Underdog up front, wearing a Thrasher Magazine painters cap, looking like he’s getting ready to go for the dive. Then of course you have the Bad Brains. Earl is clearly beating the hell out of his set, Dr. Know is jamming away and loving life, Darryl is intently focused on his four strings and then you have H.R…. fuck. The guy is doing a freakin’ christ dive, something I’ve absolutely never seen done in person. Stripped socks pulled nearly up to his knees and over his pants. H.R. doing the christ dive is 2nd only to H.R. doing the full flip at CB’s in the Glenn E. Friedman photo. This photo defines an era, this photo is epic and this photo IS HARDCORE. -Tim DCXX
I don’t have a whole lot to add to what Tim just wrote, other than the fact that my guess was always that this was the Jane Street Hotel and that I always assumed HR was in the beginning stage of a full on front flip when this sick shot was captured. There are certain photos you look at, and the music and power just leap out of the image, you can literally feel exactly what is going on in. This is one of those photos. I also gotta say that despite everything I might end up doing with my life, I’m pretty sure that what was happening at the very second this was taken is probably cooler than everything I will ever do. Bad Brains, forget about it… -Gordo DCXX
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Warzone, Photo: Ken Salerno
It’s been eleven years since the passing of Raybeez and I gotta say, the more years that pass, the more people I meet that really loved this guy. Personally, I only met Ray once. He was working at The Wetlands club in NYC and worked there one of the nights that my old band Mouthpiece played. I remember seeing him standing around when we played. After our set, while I was helping the rest of the band load equipment back into our van, Raybeez came up to me and asked if we needed any help loading out. At that point we only had a few pieces of equipment left to load out, so I told Ray, “Thanks, we should be good”, be he insisted. Said something along the lines of, “Trust me, I know what it’s like, take the help”. We loaded the last couple pieces and I said thanks, Ray said, “No problem, I’ve heard a lot about you guys (Mouthpiece), it was good to finally see you”. At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Wow Raybeez has actually heard of my band and knows who we are!”. It was one of those surreal moments where you’re mind just gets totally blown for a moment. Actually, I shouldn’t say a moment, because truthfully I still think back to him telling me that and it’s still hard for me to comprehend. Sorta along the lines of when Roger Miret from AF called my house in the early 90’s, looking for Mouthpiece to play a show. Total mind fuck, but that’s another story for another time. But yeah, that very brief encounter with Raybeez was pretty cool and the guy really couldn’t have been nicer. Although he’s passed, there’s no question that his memory and music will live on forever. - Tim DCXX
Warzone, Photo: Ken Salerno
Raybeez was always really cool and friendly. He got me into shows at the Ritz when he worked there and always had a shirt for me and my girlfriend when we went to see Warzone play. One time I went to see them play at the Pyramid not too long after Jay joined the band and they had some new songs. After the show they were going nuts, dogpiling on each other, yelling and just reacting to how great they felt after playing. I was the only one there (downstairs) who wasn’t in the band and after a few minutes they noticed me standing there and realized I was probably feeling a little uncomfortable. So they broke up the party and we talked for a minute and I said my goodbyes and then they just went right back to going crazy. They looked like a really close family, only a few other bands I’ve know have been like that with each other. - Jordan Cooper / Revelation Records
Raybeez’s boots on display
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Although we ran a cool two-part interview awhile back with Pressure Release guitarist Tom Kuntz, we really just feel like this band is so sparsely documented that it is impossible to have too much info on them. So, expect some fan memories of Pressure Release to be coming your way. To kick it off, Jeff Terranova from Up Front remembers the Pressure Release gang…
Unlike when I met Aware and Wide Awake, for which I can pinpoint where I was and how we met, I honestly cannot remember the first time that I met the Pressure Release guys. More than likely it was at the Anthrax in Norwalk, CT. It seemed that if you were a young SXE band in 1987 and you went to the Anthrax, then you were going to be friends by default because there really weren’t too many of you around. Fortunately for me, all of the CT SXE bands and kids were really cool to be around and there really weren’t any bad eggs in the bunch (they came later and that’s an entirely different story). Anyway, here are some of my fond Pressure Release memories.
It was a long day and some people lost their attention spans throughout, but when it came time to do the backups, everyone was there ready to scream into the mic. When Doug was recording his main vocals at one point he got out of breath and took an inhaler out of his hoodie pocket and took a few shots…up until that point I had no idea that the guy had asthma. All I thought was “how the hell does someone with asthma jump around and sing like that in a band?”… I was honestly impressed. The only shame was that Pressure Release did not like how their session turned out so they recorded the songs somewhere else.
X Marks The Spot reels
The show was great and we all went back to Dave Stein’s for the night. Dave’s place was the best and I have tons of funny stories like when his pitbull humped Matt Bold doggy style and left a little creamy treat on his sleeping bag… or when Biv from Supertouch was sitting on the arm of the sofa right near the front door and someone rang the doorbell, causing the dog to jump over the couch, knocking him off onto the floor. I was always in complete awe looking at Dave’s record collection… it was small, but he had every record that you wished to have!
But back to Pressure Release, some of the PR guys decided to sleep in truck, I have no idea why, but I slept at Dave’s and we met up in the morning and drove back home. This time Steve rode in the station wagon while suffering the agony of bad sunburn.
I remember going into Doug’s room and going through his cassette tapes while some of the other guys were down the hall trying to flirt with his younger sister. I went to the car to find a cassette that I could tape over and I remember copying a Pressure Release Don Fury practice and the Cause For Alarm 7″. Up until this point I only had a real crappy 12th generation recording of the 7″ and Doug had like a 1st or 2nd generation copy… I was in heaven! I don’t remember how long we stayed or what else we did, but I distinctly recall sitting on Doug’s bed and talking about hardcore with him and Alex.
I have toyed around with the idea of putting together a Pressure Release Discography on Smorgasbord Records. I have emailed Tom (Kuntz, guitar) a few times about it, but I have yet to call him to discuss the details and the reality of such a thing. I do know that all of the master tapes are gone, except for maybe the New Age 7″ because Mike Hartsfield may still have the DAT(s) packed away somewhere. I have a copy of everything, including the January 24th, 1988 recording that never saw the light of day… which one of the songs has slightly different lyrics than the version that was on the X Marks The Spot comp.
Wide Awake, Aware and Pressure Release were all such a huge part of my youth and I am damn proud to have released the Wide Awake Discography and I am still working on the Aware Discography, so a Pressure Release Discography just may have to be done!
Jeff airs it out with Up Front
Monday, September 8, 2008
A couple weeks back, NFAA axeman Gavin Oglesby talked about doing the classic cover artwork for the legendary Screaming For Change album. We went back and asked him some NFAA questions. Get comfortable for this one, there will be much more coming your way soon on all things NFAA.
My best friend in high school was a guy named John Bruce. Together, we’d venture into the worst areas of Los Angeles, the valley, Orange County, and sometimes even San Diego to see just about any punk band that was able to talk their way onto a nine band bill. Sometimes there were girlfriends or peripheral people who drove, but John was always there. If we were lucky, we’d have a short drive into Santa Ana, but for the most part, we lived in too nice an area to see punk close up. On these drives and the fast food fiestas that followed the shows, John would often talk about bands and the other punks at his school. A disproportionate amount of guys named Pat (Dubar and Longrie), John Mastropaulo, Dave Therieot, and one in particular, that had the most aggressively Irish name I had ever heard, Dan O’Mahony. Danny? Mahony? Anything else and O’Mahony, sure, but Dan O’Mahony? It was kind of obnoxious. He also sounded like the most punk guy at his school. I remember hearing a story of Dan throwing the school principal out of his office. It seems like he would have been expelled for that, but I don’t remember, it was before we knew each other.
Anyway, John always thought it strange we had never met. He also used to say, upon meeting we would either kill each other or take over the world. Inevitably, we found ourselves in the same car going to see some show. I was driving and he sat in the middle of my back seat with John and maybe Casey Jones. Again, I don’t remember. As you can imagine, Dan in such a small space dominates it. He was intimidating, but funny and engaging at the same time. I remember comparing his personality to heavy grit sand paper. He was pretty much my exact opposite in how he carried himself. Some years later, a mutual friend commented that by combining the two of us, you might actually be able to make a normal person. It might still be true.
It was the summer Dag Nasty’s “Can I Say” was finally released. Dan had also been in a real band at that time while John and I had only pretended. Eventually John and I bought instruments and pretended a little bit more convincingly. He was always suggesting Dan should be our singer, but I was reluctant. I had only been around Dan once at the time and while I liked him, it was exhausting. Eventually I relented and we practiced in John’s garage with some guy from my high school (playing drums) who had absolutely no idea why we were into what we were into. Dan had bought what we considered the legendary PA and tall speaker cabinets Pat Dubar had used in early Uniform Choice, and we were off. Unfortunately, the PA cut in and out while we practiced but you could still hear Dan. That still impresses me.
Since the fire in my amplifier didn’t burn down the garage, our first practice was a success. We opened the garage door and found the neighborhood kids had egged the garage while we played. We were obviously onto something. Within about two or three weeks Dan and I decided John wasn’t right for what we were doing and started practicing without him. I might not have been John’s best friend. This line up was referred to as the original “Carry Nation” even though the only constants were Dan and I. During that time we played with Big Frank Harrison, Dave Mello, Steve Insted, and a variety of infinitely more talented musicians than us. I like to think we weren’t interested in playing with them, but in reality if just about any one of those guys stayed, we would have been better off. No For an Answer was born soon after this.
Having already burned some bridges, we were happy to have Jeff and Vadim from Half-Off offer(?) to play with us. Half-Off was a real band and those guys had played together for some time by then. Jeff taught me how to play fast which was good because Vadim could play really fast. Vadim left relatively soon after our first few songs and was replaced by Casey. Casey was another mutual friend of Dan and I before we knew each other. I don’t remember if he played drums before joining, but he was a good friend, fun to be around and we were happy to have him (sorry again, John). We had committed to the name and began writing songs. Dan being Dan meant we would be playing shows and soon. Playing shows wasn’t even on my radar. I had probably been playing less than six months and I was suddenly in a band band. I’m not the type of guy who wanted to play shows. Practices were always fun with Dan and Casey.
Jeff was a bit of a character we didn’t quite understand. Maybe it was just a Long Beach thing being different than Orange County, maybe it was us. Jeff was very enthusiastic and responsible for a lot, if not most of our early development. Jeff, being a better guitar player than me, always wanted to play guitar too and get another bass player. I’m hoping this was to thicken our sound and not because I was that bad, but who knows? I’m hoping the former. For whatever reason, we were resistant and Jeff eventually quit. Curiously, when Jeff was replaced by John Mastropaulo, (another one of John Bruce’s friends from high school), Jeff had sold all of his bass equipment, bought a Les Paul and Marshall half stack and was still willing to come back. Dan and I thought that was kind of funny. “No” was our answer.
Jeff briefly reemerged in a band called “Straight Arm” with John and Walt Coyle that, I thought was pretty good. I think this was probably the origin of Outspoken, though I’m not sure. Jeff pretty much disappeared after that. We tried to lure John by citing Government Issue and Stalag 13 as influences to our “mid-tempo hardcore” sound. We didn’t realize we were that fast. John’s reaction was “okay then…” John’s era was my favorite era for the band. He used to make fun of the songs as we were writing them. He just didn’t care and I don’t think he even liked the band. When we went in the studio to record our demo, we soon realized he was playing different songs. Again, I don’t think he cared or thought the songs were worth learning and, for whatever reason, I respected that. He never faked it. John did his time with us and later joined Uniform Choice. I think Uniform Choice is what we all would have liked to be our sound, but it was as good as we could be at the time. The only consolation for me was, he joined the later, sort of discredited UC.
The demo I referred to earlier was initially designed to get us shows. I just wanted proof that I was in a band, but for the band, it was to get us shows. Somehow that demo became our first 7″…
Sunday, September 7, 2008
WASTED DAYS TV – “Kevin’s Collection: Outtake” from Larry Ransom on Vimeo.
Here is an outtake from Wasted Days TV episode #5 (http://vimeo.com/1260824)… too good to let this footage just go to waste. Once again, here is Kevin Finn kicking down some knowledge and pressing info. This time it’s on the Chain Of Strength “What Holds Us Apart” 7″. Record nerds rejoice! -Larry Ransom
Thursday, September 4, 2008
A very young Sammy Siegler doing the “Billy Idol”
When you think of which singular person has been the most involved with great straight edge hardcore records and bands, The Youth is obviously at the very top of the list. Side By Side, Youth Of Today, Judge, Project X, Gorilla Biscuits…simply seeing one of those bands is a story in and of itself, but to have toured all over the country and Europe with them BEFORE you were even 18? Forget about it.
Sammy has done a ton of interviews over the years, and it’s tough to overturn many new stones with him, but hopefully this on-going interview will shed some new light on one of the ultimate beatmasters from hardcore – and music in general for that matter. Here’s the first part.
What are you up to as of late? Sounds like Rival School is back in full swing, was this a welcomed thing for you? What do you like most about playing in Rival Schools? What’s the chemistry like in the band right now?
As of real late? Currently sitting on the couch. In the world of Rock? Mainly Rival Schools and Head Autamatica, been working on the new Head Autamatica record and doing a few shows, it’s been fun, should be a cool record. I’ve been producing a bit and doing some funny jingles here and there to generate some funds. But yea, school is back in session, we’ve been discussing it for a bit, I guess everyone needed some time to do other things over the past few years, and the timing was just right to start ripping again. We were in Europe for about a month in June, the shows were fun and mainly we just laughed a lot, a lot of inside jokes and what not. I think we sounded good too, which obviously is very important, we played some new songs, good times indeed.
I was playing in a band called Nightmare Of You for the past three years, that was a lot of fun, but those guys are a bit younger than me and sometimes had different expectations and desires, it’s nice hanging with the RS guys again because I think we’re all on the same page in regards to what we want from this, how much we can give, etc. When we started the band, I was in Glassjaw and ultimately left to do RS, again because we were long time friends, similar ages, pulled from similar references, etc. It’s important when you basically end up living with someone for a few years.
We’re writing a new album, that’s the focus right now, playing a few shows, playing a festival in Austin, and a tour in Australia in February. I think towards the end of our last touring cycle before the “hiatus”, and towards the end of CIV as well, we were all burnt, too many interviews about the same shit, too much time together, and no real room to evolve musically, so I think maybe the goal now is to really try and have fun, make good music, focus on the important things, and try and play in Iceland, ha!
Sammy, Cache, Wally and Ian of Rival Schools
Let’s jump back to the beginning…you come from a long line of drummers. When do you remember realizing this is what you wanted to do with your life? Were drums an instant love affair, or was it something that grew more as you grew up? Would you have ever guessed at 8 years old that you would still be doing this almost 30 years later?
I think drums at first for me were an instant way to bond with my Dad and Grandpa, they could teach me, I loved the challenge, it was a deeper level of communication. After I was hooked at about 8 years old it was on, my friend Chip and I were big into KISS so we would have little concerts where we of course were KISS. I met Matt Pincus who I later played in Judge with when I was 11, he had a mohawk and was totally punk, he and I would try and cover Clash tunes, it all really progressed naturally.
My first band was Noize Police, me and two older dudes who would get me stoned (Toby and Alex who later played in the Skadanks), we covered Power by AF. I met Lukie Luke around that time, shortly after I met the dudes in Gorilla Biscuits and started playing with them, then Side by Side, and it was on. Back then it was easy, do you want to play a show? YES! Go on tour? YES! Make records? YES! I think where it got tricky was later, as some of my friends started going to college, and getting “real” jobs, but I was really lucky, I kept getting new challenges and opportunities which kept it fun.
Things have to keep evolving and changing, if they didn’t I probably would have gotten into something else. I had a chance to play drums for Patti Smith, that was fun, I played with Limp Biscuit, recorded their last record, that was really trippy, CIV opened for KISS at MSG, that was certainly a high point, all those things definitely keep it interesting.
As you began to gravitate towards punk and hardcore, which drummers from those spectrums inspired you most? Who early on blew your mind and became someone you wanted to emulate on a stylistic level? Which punk and hardcore drummers do you still thing are the cream of the crop?
Luke and myself always had a healthy competitive thing going on, Drew from Bold as well, I think every time either of us saw each other we would pick something up. It’s interesting how certain records from that era are somewhat unlistenable and others are still great. I think “Don’t Forget The Struggle”, the Warzone record that Luke played on, still sounds great, supposedly that whole record was recorded live in one day, thats amazing.
When we would go out west it was always nice to see Chris Bratton play, he was solid. YOT opened for 7 Seconds in ’87, Troy Mowat was a monster, he had a cowbell and a timbale, that was interesting. Macky was always in a different league, he had a lot of style, Stewart Copeland is one of my favorite drummers, I love the way he mixes rock, reggae, and jazz and still plays with a lot of power, Macky has that thing as well.
Luke and I would always crack up at sound checks at the Anthrax in CT because Bill the soundman would always come up and be like, “hey what are these? Mind if I try them?” He would sit down on our kits and shred, I think he played on that first Shelter record, he was awesome. There were certain dudes as well, that I didn’t know, but I looked up to them and tried to pick things up from them, the drummer on the first Leeway record was sick, as well the drummer on the Underdog EP, and holy shit, almost forgot, the drummer on the Beyond demo was bizerk, Alan was also a great drummer.
Anyway, there were some not so great drummers as well, but let’s focus on the positives.
Sammy with Side By Side at Club Pizazz, Philadelphia
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Porcell rocking the “No More” shirt while playing with Judge at the Unisound in Reading, PA, Photo: Jeremy Dean
Now that the frenzy has subsided over Lukey Luke’s eBay auctions, I thought I’d try and shed a little light on one of his items that he had up for bid. The all over “crazy shirt” with various shirt prints (GB, Beyond, etc.) screened all over the shirt, had an image of three cows and “Go Vegetarian” on it. Over the past two days I’ve gotten a few emails with people questioning me as to what that image was. I figured since I had one of the original shirts, I might as well explain what I know about it and show some clearer photos of what the shirt actually looks like.
“No More” shirt front
Back in 1989, my friend and DCXX contributer, Tony Rettman was given the “No More” shirt by either Jon Hiltz or one of the Boiling Point guys, off hand I don’t recall. Either way, the shirt was originally printed by the Boiling Point guys and Tony ended up giving it to me. The front image of the cows was from some pretty standard P.E.T.A. pamphlets at the time. The back art of Youth Of Today and the lyrics to “No More” was simply lifted from the layouts of Boiling Point issue two. I don’t believe this was a shirt that was actually sold at any point, but I can’t confirm that. My guess is that it was just something the BP guys designed and printed for themselves and their friends.
“No More” shirt back
At some point, I’m pretty sure some kids from Maryland got their hands on the back screens and created their own fronts that said, Youth Of Today. I recall being at a Journeyman, Burn, Turning Point show in NJ where someone was selling the Youth Of Today version. I never picked up the re-printed Youth Of Today version, mostly because I thought the fronts looked weak. I also figured since I had the real deal original, I was good with that. -Tim DCXX
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Altercation shirt from Andy’s collection
The last Altercation show was a Pyramid Matinee with Death Before Dishonor. They weren’t officially called Supertouch yet. Mark was planning the name change but it wasn’t definite. My godfather Larry drove me and my drums to the show and we didn’t stay for the DBD set. So I never actually saw DBD. Mark and Biv saw the Altercation set and were impressed with my drumming. Shortly after that Jay and Paul left Altercation to join Warzone so the band broke up.
Mark found out from Jay that Altercation was over and got my phone number. He called me and asked if I was interested. I was hesitant because they were straight edge and I was heavily into drugs. I never have been into movements. Funny enough, I also didn’t like the name Supertouch. I didn’t want people to think we were just biting off Bad Brains. Mark assured me that the band wasn’t a straight edge band so I went to practice with them.
Biv and I hit it off right away musically and as friends. That first rehearsal we got four songs down. I even had one on guitar that I showed him. It just clicked and we were off. It definitely felt like a way different band than Altercation. We wanted to be more rock where Altercation was more metal. We were more open minded musically and as people. I don’t think that the early Supertouch songs except for Searching For The Light were that different from any other hardcore bands. I definitely tried to be creative and not play everything in a typical style. Sometimes the obvious is the best thing for a song, sometimes you have to mix it up.
I was listening to a little jazz and all kinds of underground music. I was listening to Miles Davis “Big Fun” which is one of his electric funky records. The drummers on that were Billy Cobham, Jack Dejonnette and Al Foster. I loved the first couple of Sonic Youth records. Also, a band called Swans which Ted Parsons of Prong played in before Prong. They also had another drummer, Roli Mossiman. They were dark and noisy with very slow grinding grooves and lots of tom tom beats. The drummers in the Butthole Surfers were very tribal and creative. I got really into Parliament/ Funkadelic. Dennis Chambers was the P Funk all stars drummer at that point. I would practice to their records. Sly and the Family Stone was an influence. I would play along to Van Halen records, Alex Van Halen is a great drummer. I also loved Fugazi, their drummer sounded to me like he also was influenced by Stewart Copeland. Pokey from Leeway was always a drummer I loved listening to. Of course Dave Grohl as well.
Mark turned me on to Scream when I joined Supertouch. I already loved them but when Dave Grohl joined the band they got even better. We both were influenced heavily by Bonham so our styles were similar. He was and still is a monster drummer. He was so much fun to watch up close in those days. We did three shows with them one weekend and that is still a highlight of my musical career.
Joe, Biv, Andy and Mark, Photo:
What are your best memories of the early days of Supertouch, playing out, hanging out, and recording? What was the dynamic of the band early on? Any good stories with those guys?
I remember the first Supertouch show I played. It was in October of 1987 at the Anthrax. I was seventeen. I think Bold was the headliner. We started our intro (of course everyone had to have a hardcore handbook approved intro back then) and I was wondering how the set would go. Would people like us? The room was packed and people went crazy for us. It was a great time. I had never been to a show outside of NYC and I didn’t know what to expect. People were really into us. I remember the walls were sweating because it was so hot in the club.
At one of the early Anthrax shows we did, our first bass player called the sound man a dick during the soundcheck. I have the soundboard tape from that show and the sound man sabotaged our sound. In the middle of a song there’s suddenly a huge amount of delay on my snare drum for one hit as if we were a dub band. Then tons of reverb on the drums, guitar turning up and then dropping, eqs sweeping back and forth throughout, just a mess.
I used to go to Biv’s mom’s house in Belleville and stay overnight some weekends. All his friends would come over and we would drink and I would smoke pot and hang out all night. Then we would get up the next day and go to a CBGB matinee or go to rehearsal. It’s funny that we were lumped in with straight edge bands, we sure weren’t in that mindset. Those were fun weekends.
There was one demo we did at Sty in the Sky, which was Josh Silver’s studio before he was in Type O Negative. It was with our first bass player and we never did anything with it. I haven’t listened to it in years but I don’t think it was very good. There was a weak reggae jam we tried but it was boring. I still have the master tape but it’s at an odd speed and no one has a machine that will run it. I think I have it on cassette, I should check.
We didn’t like our first bass player’s playing so after about a year we kicked him out and found Joe through a Village Voice musicians wanted ad. We gave Joe an 8 song tape and told him to learn some of them for an audition. He came out to my mom’s house to try out. He knew all 8 songs and played them great. Mark wasn’t there but Biv and I were so excited. When Joe drove away from the house at the end, Biv and I were literally jumping up and down because he was amazing and finally we could have the band we wanted to. Biv and I were so much on the same plane as far as what we wanted to play and now we had a guy who got what we wanted to do and could play the shit out of his bass.
The first show Joe played out of town with us was in Philly. It was at Club Pizazz which was a dance club in Philly. It was Martin Luther King Day and there were a bunch of nazi skinheads at the show. During our set Mark dedicated our set to MLK and said “white power is for white cowards.” Then he threatened to kick some skinhead’s ass. Mark trying to be a tough guy…easy to do from the stage. None of us were tough guys. Mark backed down as soon as he realized there were 20 or 30 of these meatheads. A wise choice since we only had one friend with us and we were in a new town. Joe must have been wondering how he ended up in this mess. Here he had just joined the band and now we’re going to get destroyed by these skinheads. It turned out that there were all these hardcore kids there as well and they had our backs.
What has always amused me about that day is that Eric Fennell was with us that day. It was before he started the documentary. We had locked the keys in the rental van, the only one with NY plates in the parking lot. So at one point Eric is out there with a coat hanger breaking into our van. Now mind you, Eric is black, he has always had an afro and wears a headband. You could say he looks like Hendrix in jeans. If these skinheads were really looking for trouble why didn’t they bother the black guy breaking into the van with NY plates? We were the only NY band on the bill that day so it had to be our van. I went outside to help him get in the van and there were skinheads mulling about but they didn’t bother us.
It’s funny because through my electrical business I recently befriended a painter/ plasterer who is originally from Philly. His name is Bryant Peters and he was a straight edge kid back then. He was at that show and he and his friends largely saved our asses. He remembers kicking some skinhead ass with his friends that day. We have turned out to be good friends. Strange how things work out.
Mark at CB’s, Photo:
Monday, September 1, 2008
Big thanks to Jon Field for this little jem that was plucked out of his personal collection and digitized. Dag Nasty, Peter Cortner era, 1987, live in Albany, NY playing “I’ve Heard”.
As much as I love “Can I Say” and the original Smalley era of Dag Nasty, I’ve got no problems with a little “Wig Out” Cortner era. Truth of the matter is, Dag Nasty were one of my favorite bands right from the start. I did hear “Can I Say” first, but at the time, only had it on vinyl. When “Wig Out” was released, I bought in on cassette and rocked it in my walkman nonstop. I probably listened to that “Wig Out” cassette 350 times the year that was released. Eventually that same year I taped “Can I Say” and that ended up getting equal play.
Sunday July 17th, 1988, two of my favorite bands were playing City Gardens together, Agent Orange and Dag Nasty. I was so psyched leading up to this show, I can’t even put it into words. At this point, Dag Nasty were in their “Field Day” era, but live were still pretty damn good. I spent most of Dag Nasty’s set standing on the top of the stairs that ran along the right side of the stage. I remember their bass player at the time, Doug Carrion, going nuts. I’ll also never forget the Molly Ringwald sticker on his bass. Peter Cortner’s stage presence also left a lasting impression. Sure I would have loved to seen Dag Nasty during their Smalley era, but seeing Dag Nasty at all is still something I’m glad I got to do. -Tim DCXX
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It was inevitable, in order to help get the word out and keep people updated with all that is DCXX, I created a DCXX MySpace page. I’ve got no plans to put a whole lot into it, just want to use it as a presence on MySpace. Ordinarily I post DCXX updates through my own personal MySpace page, now I want to gradually start posting them through this page.
If you’re on MySpace, request friends with us and you’ll have access to updates and whatever else we drop. Here’s the link, check it out. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, August 28, 2008
JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F
A dominant force in modern day straight edge hardcore, The First Step has been on the map for the past seven years as our friends as well as one of our favorite current bands. Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you a very comprehensive interview with singer Stephen St. Germain that covers the history of the band and will serve as their final interview. For now, we kick things off with Stephen giving some thoughts and insight into the upcoming final show on September 6 in Harrisburg, Pa. If you never caught them live, this looks like it might be your last shot. Don’t miss it.
We’ve been a band for seven years, and there’s been ups and downs, great periods, hard periods, and now we are at a real high point in the band. Not so much as far as popularity, but in terms of band solidarity and morale, so it gives a good fertile ground to say, “hey let’s end this on a high point, together.” Aaron is gonna go away on a 3 year Buddhist retreat, and we never thought of doing the band without him. So the choice is pretty clear that this needs to end. In true TFS form, there was a lot of theorizing about this, and it just seemed like the right thing.
It’s tough with picking a last show because there was this big fest in Belgium and they wanted us to play it, and it would have been great, just a great show to be offered. So we have gotten some crazy weird show offers now with the band breaking up. But the reason we went with Harrisburg was because we were looking at either there or Baltimore, kind of a central area for the band. Even though we are from all over and have been for a long time, we know so many people in that area that it feels kinda like home. Doing it there shows that the band has come full circle. Mindset, who is playing with us, is from Maryland and we are good friends with them now. And we still have good friends in Maryland from when we first started. It’s the old and the new. Plus the venue is great, we’ve had a great time playing there before, the kids there run it right, it just all comes together.
But with this being a last show, the way we are looking at this is yes, Aaron is going away for three years, and when he gets back, who knows what’s gonna happen. I know he’ll be the same guy, but it’s tough to think everyone else will be right at the same place and that we could just pick back up as a functional band. So it’s kinda like saying “this is it for now.” We can’t say we will never play again. If it works out, yeah definitely, of course we will play. It’s not like we just have to end this band, or we are over it, or it is time to move on to better things. It’s just that right now it makes sense.
Sevilla, Spain 2007, Photo: Guish
We are happy with the bill and the way the show is being set up. It would have been great if other friends’ bands could have played too, but all the bands on the bill make sense for us. Mindset is a good band, younger guys, good friends, great energy. Warpriest is Andy Norton’s new band and he was in TFS for a long time and is a really good friend, and he kinda represents a part of our larger group of friends. Hostage Calm is from CT and have been really supportive, they let us borrow their van on numerous occasions, and are a really good band that has been there for us in a big way. Get The Most, we have played with them a lot and we are really good friends with them. Breakthrough is Izzy and John, and they have been so important, it goes without saying, I mean Izzy was our original drummer and John has always been there as one of our very biggest supporters. We have always kinda had a family affair with the band, a group of people that have always been a part of it, either now or in the beginning. We wanted them there, and it looks like that will be the case, I hope. The whole thought of TFS being over comes for me at a time of real personal evaluation. After seven years, with this band stopping, it’s like, what am I gonna do? I’ve been playing a lot of songs on bass and writing, and that’s been awesome, because I’ve always had to depend on other people, and now I can create something on my own. With singing, I don’t think I’m John Joseph or Cappo or Smalley, but I think I can hold my own. I have a high expectation for singers – you have to be passionate but know how to open up to a crowd, and I tried to learn how to do that as best as I could. So I’m writing stuff but I think maybe I should just sing because I’m passionate about it. But right now, I’m also really excited to just go out with friends’ bands as a roadie and not have so much responsibility. I just love hardcore though, so I’m sure it won’t take long for me to end up doing something else. As far as the other guys, Fred is still in Fired Up, but I’m not sure what they are doing. He and I have talked about just getting together and playing songs, nothing in particular but just playing, so that will be cool. Aram and Greg have some different ideas for a band, so there is talk, but I think right now the goal is to finish TFS in the right way. That’s the way we want to do this.
JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Civ, Dylan, Luke and Joe at CBGB
Joe Outburst delivers again with more Outburst history and memories. Get some headphones, put on WHEN THINGS GO WRONG, and start reading and/or moshing. More to come soon…
What are some memorable experiences from your early shows?
Our first show was at the Right Track Inn out in Long Island. We played with Abombanation (I think it was their second show), Krakdown and Token Entry. The demo had only been out for like a week, so we weren’t anticipating too many grab-the-mic scenarios from the crowd. We just wanted to be mistake-free basically. And remember, Chris was still fairly new at the bass, so he wanted to play well.
That show, I remember we ended with “All Twisted” (Kraut), and in the middle of the song there’s this super-long snare roll that Johnny does, and I was conscious because a lot of the Astoria guys were there and watching, so I didn’t want to screw that up, like I’d been known to do in practice. Plus, Ernie was on the side of the stage, and I remember just being nervous for that roll. Luckily it came and went, and I pulled it off.
Our first show at CBGB was sort of wacky because Chris was called out of town on some family stuff, so Walter (GB, YOT, etc.) volunteered to fill in on bass for us, which was very cool of him. We were on the bill with American Standard, some metal-core band called Dept. of Corruption and Breakdown. But Breakdown wound up cancelling last minute, so we went on, American Standard went on, and all the hardcore kids left after that. I felt pretty bad for Dept. of Corruption – they wound up playing to like 10 people.
Our second show at CBGB was much more memorable. We played with YDL, Rest In Pieces and Warzone. That was the first time we played “The Hardway.” But that was the first HUGE crowd we played to, because of the lineup. That was a fun early show. I think someone’s got the off-the-board of that show online somewhere.
Did things gel for the band quickly or was it tough getting off the ground?
Luckily, we gelled relatively easy. George, Jay and I were doing a lot of covers in my garage most of that summer after senior year, so we were getting in tune on how to play together already. By late summer, George came up with two instrumentals and Brian wrote lyrics right away. They eventually became “Learn To Care” and “True.”
We got the first six songs for the demo down in less than a month or so and then hit Don Fury. I remember we booked the recording for 2 hours and when we were done with 3 or 4 takes of each song, we had all this time left over so we just fooled around. We recorded about a minute of “No Reason Why” with Chris singing and I’m sure everybody has heard the untitled track (our tip of the hat to Bad Brains).
Who were your biggest supporters and favorite places to play early on?
Early on, it was our friends that were already in bands. AJ (Leeway), Anthony (Raw Deal), all the guys from Gorilla Biscuits, Jay Krakdown was always showing up at the shows, joining Anthony in goofing on Brian (in good fun of course). BJ Papas lived down the street from me & George, so we started hanging out and next thing you know she’s showing up to take pictures at all the area gigs.
Obviously CBGB was our favorite place to play. I remember being psyched to be on the same stage where Stewart Copeland played (I’ve always been a big Police fan). The Right Track Inn was cool because it gave the kids out in Long Island a place to go check out shows without having to trek into the city. Lismar Lounge had a really underground feel to it.
Brian gettin’ aggro at CBGB’s
What were the first songs Outburst had that really made you feel like you were writing/doing something cool?
After the demo had been out a while, and the kids had a chance to listen & learn the songs, we could tell that Mad At The World and True were becoming big-time sing-a-longs. But when Freddy released the New Breed compilation, and people had a chance to get to know “The Hardway,” the sing-a-longs and crowd response to that was something else. Personally, I got a big kick out of people singing the lyrics when Brian would offer the mic to the crowd. I mean, that’s a very cool feeling. Most of the lyrics I wrote came from daydreaming in sociology or psychology class at St. John’s!
How did the material develop with time, and what did you try to emphasize with the band either lyrically or musically?
If you listen to “Learn To Care,” which was the first completed song we did, and then you listen to “Misunderstood,” which was the last, I think the snappy punk energy evolved into clench-your-teeth-and-kick-some-ass energy. I even remember sitting around in the studio as we were re-working “Thin Ice.” We liked the riffs, but we needed to change the tempo at the break part. The early “Thin Ice” was slower and the mid-break felt like this ride cymbal gallop. By the time it was recorded for the New Breed comp, we changed it to a hi-hat, straight forward head nodding mosh part. But also by then, Mike had joined the band, replacing Chris. You can hear Mike’s bassline is much more advanced when he played “Thin Ice.”
What contemporary bands (if any) were rubbing off on you?
There were a handful of bands that, while they were our contemporaries, we were also huge fans of. During breaks in practice we’d cover Breakdown and Rest In Pieces songs for fun. One night at Roxy Studio in Long Island City, the Gorilla Biscuits were in another room and we finished a little before they did. Walter & Arthur hung around and we decided to fool around & jam a bit. The lineup was me on drums, Jay & George on guitar, Walter on bass and Arthur singing. We did the whole Underdog 7″. This was around the time Arthur was joining Underdog on guitar, so he was in full ‘Dog mode. I regret to say that I’ve looked all over for the tape of that jam, as I just had to take it home…but I’m pretty sure that tape is lost forever.
I know George was a big fan of Rob Smegma’s guitar playing. Whenever we played with Pieces or they’d see each other at a show, they always chit chatted. I think it was kind of a Gibson SG thing myself. I became cool with Mackie when he joined The Icemen and we’d gig around on the same bills. I also hung out with him a few times at BJ’s house. I never wanted to come across as too much of a fanboy around him, since he was this regular “hey howya doin bro” type of guy, but he was by far my favorite drummer on the scene. Nothing flashy, just steady and super tasty. Same thing with Pokey from Leeway. He took that same approach.
I think Brian modeled himself after Anthony in the vocal department. When the Raw Deal demo came out, Anthony was already audible but he was screaming his ass off, as if he wanted to beat the crap out his worst enemy, which made the listener even more hyped. They were pretty good friends too, so I’m sure he inspired Brian. He definitely fed off of Anthony’s vocal style as we evolved musically.
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