Thursday, August 7, 2008
Shelter’s first show at The Anthrax, Summer 1990, video: Cliff
The anti religion set (I think they had some connection to the band Born Against, but I don’t really know) came to the Anthrax armed with with flyers and pamphlets, one featuring graphics equating the Krishnas with Nazis. Seriously, it had SS symbols and swastikas next to the The Razor’s Edge tilak logo. When Inside Out was on stage, Zack de la Rocha (who wasn’t into Krishna himself) voiced his support for us, held one of the flyers up and with that intense look in his eyes, screamed “This is fucking bullshit!!!” The band went straight into “No Spiritual Surrender” and some of us who knew the song jumped on stage and piled on the mic. That wasn’t something I did very often, but hey, it was an inspiring moment.
Graham with Worlds Collide, Photo: Chris Toliver
Prior to the playing there, I didn’t know much about the Anthrax club other than that it was where Perfection of Desire had been recorded on a portable 8-track. A couple of months earlier we’d played the No Compromise material before a Judge set at the Safari Club in D.C., as a sort of impromptu performance, but besides those two songs, I’d never played a show before.The Anthrax was the kickoff for a U.S. summer tour along with Quicksand and Inside Out. It’s kind of surreal to think about it now; being a gawky, seventeen year-old nobody from the leafy suburbs of Washington and somehow ending up not only playing guitar for the main act on the hardcore tour of the summer, but also simultaneously learning about Indian spirituality from swamis and monks and visiting temples across the country. In retrospect, I have to say that those two things don’t fit together all that well. I didn’t really get the full experience of either, though what I did experience was something novel:
Graham with Shelter at City Gardens, Photo courtesy of Graham
The tour was like no other in history: an old California mass transit bus converted into a Hindu temple on wheels and manned by monks, a motor home with another swami and then two vans; one for Shelter and Inside Out and the other with Quicksand, who more or less kept apart and did their own thing. In Ray and Vic you had these larger than life personalities, real “men on a mission”, ready to convert the hardcore scene. The Inside Out guys seemed like California surfer dudes until they got on stage and just went wild. Quicksand were these serious rock musicians, grown up out of the New York hardcore scene. I remember thinking of them as a kind of gothy Jane’s Addiction. Shelter was rounded out by Sam and Porcell (who fought and played around like teenage brothers) and Yaso, a 34 year-old carpenter who lived with his wife and baby in a house on the grounds of the Potomac temple. And there I was, uncool, inexperienced and inept at using my musical equipment, playing shows or going on tour, but because Ray and I were good friends and worked well together he gave me a chance. I really owe a lot to his friendship. I also had big dreams and ideals in those days and I wasn’t scared of anything. I wanted to be part of something special. I think I had that in common with the other guys from the D.C. hardcore contingent who came along; Big Adam and Glenn. It was almost like we’d been recruited from the same small town and gone off to join the army together.
Even though it was the start of this big Revelation Records tour, none of the band’s records got released in time. Imagine starting a major tour with zero material to support it. That’s kind of how it was back then, but I have to say, a lot of kids knew the songs anyway. Not just in Connecticut, but on the whole tour. I found out later that the tape I’d lent to Ken Olden, (who only lived two blocks away from where I grew up) got copied and passed around like crazy, even though he’d promised not to give it to anyone. Ray had also leaked some copies himself, so I don’t feel that bad about it and in the end it made the shows better. It was like the file sharing of those days, but limited to a sort of inner circle of scenesters.
After the Anthrax, we thought all the shows on that tour were going to be similarly confrontational; political punk atheists vs. Hare Krishna straight edgers, but oddly enough, none of them were. I guess it was like they’d made their point and weren’t going to keep harassing us. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with atheism as I more or less grew up with it and identified with it more than I did with most religion. However, I was part of the Krishna crew and didn’t like that these people were saying that we, or our ideas, weren’t welcome. It was hardcore, everyone should be welcome, right? I mean we weren’t Nazis, despite what those absurd agitprop flyers said. Looking at the video on youtube and hearing those guys yelling “go back to the airport” after the first song totally brought me back. It was like experiencing social history, having the opportunity to witness when something new blasts on the scene and everyone’s got an opinion about it. That tour and that show were the beginning of a significant movement within hardcore, which in our little corner of the world, really meant something.
Shelter on MTV Brazil. Mike, Porcell, Graham and Ray, Photo courtesy of Graham
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Gavin Olgesby… you may know him as the guitarist for legendary Orange County California hardcore bands, No For An Answer, Carry Nation, Triggerman or The Killing Flame, but before all of that he was simply known as the artist who painted the cover for Uniform Choice’s classic album, “Screaming For Change”. We recently reached out to Gavin to see if we could conjure up some memories regarding Uniform Choice and his work on the “Screaming For Change” cover. Here’s what he had to say. -Tim DCXX
While I wasn’t best friends with him, I went to school with Pat Dyson. After being kicked out of private school for the fourth and final time (one time for being punk), I began my junior year of high school at the same public high school he went to. He was a senior and pretty hard not to notice. Aside from just being a big guy, he wore one of those rainbow afro wigs the entire first week of school. I didn’t really know what to think. It wasn’t until about a week later that I could put him into context. His band Plain Wrap played my school lunch period the second or third day of school which was kind of weird because I had seen them a couple of weeks before at the Cathay de Grande, an old underground club that would book nine or ten band bills on a regular basis. They (Plain Wrap) were sort of a fast, jokey band I didn’t love, but were punk and somewhat active at the time. I first became aware of Uniform Choice because it was the only thing written in the wall in the weight room of our high school. It was there the entire time I was at the school. Had no idea what it meant or what it was until sometime later.
While I remember the first time I saw them, I don’t remember how it came about other than even at this early stage, there was a noticeable amount of UC shirts. They were amazing and sounded nothing like any other band at the time. I remember talking to Dubar the second or third time I saw them at some drunken orgy of a party in a really bad area of Santa Ana. Soon after that, I had painted UC on my leather jacket and I became somewhat friendly with the band going to practices and probably every show they played for the next couple of years. It’s unfortunate they were either unwilling or unable to tour at that point. I think their legacy would be totally different now. I don’t think there was a band in the country that could touch them around the time that record came out. Great band, small rooms, and fanatic fans.
As I recall, there were a couple of things going with my doing the cover. I was approached to do the art because they had a photo they liked for the cover, but it was too dark to be reproduced. I was also fairly well known in the area for painting leather jackets. (This was an era where there were punk bands who happened to be straight edge rather than bands who were solely straight edge. You also had about one straight edge band for every fifty punk bands. Visually, there was little or no differentiation so, leather jackets were very common amongst the punks who happened to be straight edge.) They asked me if I could do something with it and since I had primarily painted on leather, it seemed natural to do the painting on leather and I think they equated that look with Orang County. Unfortunately, the leather either didn’t photograph well or wasn’t photographed well so, the first pressing cover (with the yellow type outline) looks kind of odd. When the record’s second pressing came out, I was given the opportunity to redo it on illustration board and that’s the version that I believe is more widely available. Somewhere along the line we decided to shave everybody’s head in the picture. We looked at it as this almost idealized version of a show filled with just straight edge people as opposed to the smoke filled alcohol and vomit soaked rooms that were the norm at the time. None of us ever thought straight edge would become so dominant. As far as dealings with the band, It was mostly Dubar. Someone else did the type and the back cover was an homage to the Faith’s “Subject to Change” record. The back cover photo was also changed after the first pressing. I don’t remember from what to what.
Gavin with No For An Answer at CBGB, Photo: Ken Salerno
PS: After reading Gavin’s response, I’ll have to admit, I felt like a total poser and was blown away by all the differences from the first press cover art to the second press cover art. Considering the entire drawing was re-painted for the second press, it really is no surprise, it’s just something I had never known or noticed.
The skinhead in the upper left hand corner in the white t shirt went from wearing a plain white t shirt on the first pressing, to a white t shirt with some sort of pocket logo on the second press. The dude standing on stage wearing the UC shirt on the first press goes to wearing a shirt with an X on the front pocket area for the second press. There are other differences, but I’ll let you find them for yourself, wouldn’t want to kill all the fun. -Tim DCXX
Unit Pride at Gilman Street, Photo Courtesy of Eric Ozzene
I’m going to try and get in the habit of posting the results to these polls that we run. With this past poll I picked four California Straight Edge bands that I felt were a bit underrated. As you can see, Unit Pride came out as the winner. Personally I love all four bands, but felt the one band that really fit the “underrated” title was Pushed Aside. The other three bands all released 7″s that were well received, where as Pushed Aside only released a demo and a comp track and aren’t all that well remembered. Honestly though, you couldn’t go wrong with any of these bands. -Tim DCXX
Unit Pride: 84 Votes
Hard Stance: 75 Votes
Against The Wall: 72 Votes
Pushed Aside: 31 Votes
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Debuting in 1988 and done by original Brotherhood front man, John White and his then girlfriend Kelly Wohlrab, Open Your Eyes Fanzine comes out of Seattle Washington. Three issues were produced of this fanzine with an array of diverse bands like, Half Off, Sick Of It All, Desecration, Disorderly Conduct, McRad, Unit Pride, Four Walls Falling, Gorilla Biscuits, Verbal Assault, Prong, Breakaway, Youth Of Today, Project X, Up Front, Free Will, Blind Approach and Head First.
From the first issue, I was impressed with this fanzine. Generally clean layouts, always cool artwork, great photos by Nor Cal resident photographer, Murry Bowles amongst others, interesting interviews with great bands and even good ads. The Open Your Eyes playlists were always stellar as well. You really couldn’t ask for more.
I’ll always give credit to Open Your Eyes for it’s inspiration that it had on my own fanzines. John was also a real stand up guy, super friendly, quick to write back, always down to trade zines, piles of stickers in each package. They really covered all the bases with Open Your Eyes. Even a collection of tape comps.
If you haven’t seen any of these issues, issue three being my personal favorite, do yourself a favor and track them down. There was also an unreleased issue four that in some form or another, we hope to see the light of day. Thanks to John and Kelly for leaving behind a classic. -Tim DCXX
Monday, August 4, 2008
Jimmy with Judge at CBGB, NYC. Take note of a young Skip Turning Point X’ed up and packed up front. Photo: Boiling Point
This wraps up our gigantic interview with Jimmy Yu. Be sure to go back and check any parts you have missed.
We want to give Jimmy a big thanks for being a gracious host and letting us put this out there for everyone. And oh, Jimmy just got his doctorate from Princeton, so he is now Dr. Yu! Coolest doctor to come out of hardcore? You decide.
I started going on retreats once I really got into Buddhism and left Judge. I have a tendency to be pretty extreme. When I get into something, I completely dive into it. I had a girlfriend in college for four years, and even that didn’t hold me back in becoming a monk. Each time I would tell her that’s what I needed to do, she would cry. The first time she just started crying, and I said, “Ok, don’t cry, I won’t do it.” The second time I told her she started to cry and I thought, “Oh no, I can’t see her cry!” So I didn’t do it. The third time, I just did it, I just moved in. I found out that this was the most meaningful thing I can do. By that point I just felt like life was meaningless. I didn’t even think I would live past 20, the way I was living. I needed something useful. I felt like, “Wow, I can actually translate these texts from Chinese into English. I can do something. I can be a useful person and transcribe these things for my Zen Master.” And I dove right in.
I kept in touch with my friends when I left Judge, but not on a major level. It’s a shame. But that’s how I am when I dive into something. I didn’t keep in touch with the guys in Judge in a way where I knew what the new record was like or anything. And after I graduated in 1991, I moved right to the monastery, and I kept in touch with no one. Nobody at all. A big part of it was the travel, because every 3 months I was back and forth to Taiwan. I was just trying to understand this new thing, learning it. I didn’t look back. I went to the University of Kansas after I lived in the monastery, and then I came back to the east coast and went to Princeton. So I got in touch and looked some people up then, but not much.
All of us in the hardcore scene were kind of looking for something. Even early on when we were crazy, diving off of stages, getting in fights and fighting people, going nuts at shows, on one hand we were lost. But on the other hand we were still searching for something even though we were. So I guess these religious traditions kind of attracted some of us, especially the Hare Krishnas, they accepted us and they accepted street kids…when nobody else did. They were accepted…no matter what.
So, I found my place. My brother on the other hand, he actually ran away from home. It started out with him doing this many times. Usually he always came home, I would open the back door, and he came back. But then one time he didn’t come back, and I was starting to worry. He found some place to work, and he was staying at a girl’s house and living with her, and that’s now actually his wife believe it or not. But he never came home. He got into work, and she had a child from a previous marriage, and real quick he just became like a family man and a provider. He didn’t go to school, he just worked and built his career from there.
He wasn’t really around to see Judge and all that. I told him about it, but he was in a different place. DBD was his thing, he always loved that. That was the band that Steve really loved, at the time he was like, “Yeah, that’s my future, playing guitar, doing this band.” That was his life. Every now and then he’ll say “Let’s do it again!” I’m like, “Steve, come on. Twenty years later. There is already another hardcore band with the name. Hang it up.” But he loved it.
Jimmy and Mike at Oliver J’s in Allentown, PA, Photo: Boiling Point
Yesterday with Mike, he brought up to speed about so much. Talking about the old days, who is where now, who has died, what he is up to. He actually wanted to know who I was in touch with or what I knew, because he is really a hermit, he doesn’t really stay in touch with anyone or seek anyone out. We talked about how we were family back then, and that was really deep to hear his say that. Just seeing him was like seeing a brother, you know? It had been twenty years, it was emotional. And we made plans to stay in touch, because the context for us to hang out in, it wasn’t right. But it meant a lot.
Mike and I, we were very close. Even yesterday when I saw him, I was getting all emotional, and I said, “Mike man, I’ve very grateful to you, that you were my best friend during those days.” Mike took in what I said, but he isn’t the type of guy that would break down and share his feelings, so he didn’t know how to react. But he took in what I said. He was telling me yesterday that me and Steve, we were his family. Steve was his first best friend. He was an outcast in a preppy town, and they were best friends. And then me. The three of us just hung out all the time. It was family.
I just want to say thank you. Thank you to you guys for taking the time to do this, thank you to all the kids from so many years ago, the people we met, the people we hung out with, played with, went crazy with…and moshed with. It was family. It was a time and a place in my life I have always hung on to. I couldn’t ever forget about that. To the guys in Judge – Mike, Porcell, Sammy, even Luke and Drew, and Matt and Lars that came afterwards that I never even really knew. That band was a big part of me even if for a short time, and I am very proud of what we did.
I’ll never forget it.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
DCXX Shirt Front
DCXX Shirt back
A few weeks ago our friend Chris Daily, formally of Smorgasbord Fanzine / Records, currently of Daily Screen Printing, gave us a call and said that he had some extra room on a screen. Chris asked if we had anything we needed printed. I told Chris I’d see if I could put something together and this limited Double Cross shirt was the result.
Just to give you a little background on the design, the front was something that I put together close to 10 years ago. Back in the late 80’s when I was doing my first fanzine called Slew, then into my second fanzine, Common Sense, before the use of computers, I use to buy these rub off transfer letters for use in the layouts. Of course you’ll recognize the font from the Schism logo and the early Sick Of It All logo, but this font was something you could actually walk into an art store and buy at one time. The only time I ever used the font was on the very first Mouthpiece logo that we created, but other than that, the transfer sheet sat in my drawer for years. Sometime around 1998, when I was putting some work into the inception of Double Cross, I threw this logo together using these old transfer letters.
As for the back, if you’re familiar with the Double Cross shirt designs that were printed in 2004, you’ll recognize this as our Straight Edge design. Of course it’s a nod to the classic “The Straight Edge” jacket worn by SSD guitarist, Al Barile, when seen storming the steps of the Boston state house on the cover of “The Kids Will Have Their Say”.
So there you have it, a little mix of Schism and SSD to make these limited DCXX shirts. I say limited because we only made 12 short sleeves and 3 longsleeves. All shirts were printed on black 100% cotton Gildan brand t shirts, blue ink front, dark red ink back. If you’re interested in a short sleeve shoot me an email at: TimDCXX@gmail.com and if I have the size you need, you can fire off $12, which would include shipping if being shipped in the US or $18 if shipped outside of the US. It’s going to be a first come, first serve deal, so hit me quick. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Arthur playing with CIV, Photo: Traci McMahon
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
Wow, my answer is probably influenced by the fact that it was more recent, but I’d have to say the CBGB benefit in August, 2005. First, I never would have believed I’d ever share a stage with those four guys again. That we were doing something on behalf of a place where I’d spent the better part of my adolescence/young adulthood, whose closure was imminent certainly added to the emotion. It was a special confluence of events that made it so memorable.
I also look fondly on the second Warped Tour, with Rocket From the Crypt…amazing band and a great group of people.
Any of the early shows with Youth of Today (one of the best bands, ever) would also qualify, as well as the Quicksand/CIV tour in late ’95.
BOLD last 7″ photo shoot, photo courtesy of Matt Warnke
I jacked this from YouTube, but for those that might be curious about what’s going on with Rival Schools, here’s the word from Wally. -DCXX
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Once again, Cliff hits us up with another killer set. And yes, it’s another Judge set, this time from the Alone In A Crowd show. Mike in a Montville hat with some great stage banter,an X’ed up Jimmy Yu slammin’ hard on Alex Pain’s bass, Porcell in a BOLD shirt throwin’ the fist, a crowd climbing Jules and stage diving by the Chain Of Strength guys… priceless.
Sorry to anyone who’s not a Judge fan, because god knows we’ve been throwing Judge at you on a regular basis. Actually, no, we’re not sorry, if you don’t like Judge you probably wouldn’t like this page and we probably wouldn’t like you. We’re joking… of course. -DCXX
Monday, July 28, 2008
Judge at CBGB. Photo: Boiling Point
Jimmy Yu talks on Judge, Buddhism and life after hardcore. Part VI, the final piece from this interview coming soon. If you’ve missed anything, be sure to check out the previous interview entries. -DCXX
We recorded every Judge practice, because we always practiced at the same place, and they had a huge PA mixing board. This was the same place we practiced for DBD. But so many of those Judge practices run together. I don’t remember what was what, but so many were like real recordings, hundreds, with good levels and sound. But we didn’t see it as a precious recording, so we would copy over previous recordings, and we were so poor that we would even just take shitty actual tapes, like real band’s tapes, and put scotch tape over the little squares on the top and record like that. I wish we hung onto those. They could be anywhere, in the garbage somewhere. We recorded with Luke, and with Sammy. But that’s how we learned our songs, every now song, we learned it by recording it. We would be like, “What did we just play?! That was great!” And we would go back and listen to it. There was some great stuff on those tapes.
I really don’t remember recording the Chung King record, it just all runs together. There were so many rehearsals and recordings and it just is buried in memories. There is one time I remember recording and I think maybe that was the Chung King recording, but I just can’t remember. I kept in touch enough to know about that record coming out, even though I was out of Judge by that point. It was a big deal to do that record, even if I don’t remember it, doing an LP was still a big deal. I mean DBD went on for years and we never got a real demo out of it. Judge did the EP and then the LP pretty quickly, it was still a big deal. I heard about it when it came out, but I never got a copy.
I can see the transition now between the early Judge songs and the later songs, there was some progression. But at the time, they just seemed a little bit heavier with a little metal influence, and some slower tempos. But when we wrote those songs originally, the solos weren’t there. I don’t think metal influences were conscious, maybe to Porcell but I don’t think to me and Mike. Back then it was just like, “Hey look at this new tune I have!” It wasn’t like, “I wrote this song, it is a big change, it is a metal song, that’s what we should make it sound like!” But we had learned how to play, I think we all learned how to really play. Sammy became a really, really great drummer, and Porcell really knew how to play guitar. We got tight, and heavy. Mike was always very smart and musical, but the way he sang those songs, that didn’t just happen. He knew how to work in his influences and various genres, that was just his ingenuity. He was and is such a talented guy.
During Judge, I was still into going to shows and the bands that were around. I had been around for 7 or 8 years, and it was different. I wasn’t 13 years old, and it wasn’t new and scary. For me, it was just, “Yeah, I’m playing bass in Judge.” I was getting into Buddhism, and trying to get away from a violent past. But when we played, I loved it. It wasn’t boring! I always loved the moshing, the dancing, people stage diving and going off. It was a totally different era, the bands from 1983 were either broken up or much different by the time Judge was going. But I still liked a lot of the bands that were new and around. I was excited to see a lot of bands, even in Judge, and it was the same for Mike.
I think the people that say looking back, “Yeah, I wasn’t really into those bands then, I was into the earlier bands before them,” I think they are coming at it from a retrospective macro view. But at the time, when they were on the ground, they weren’t thinking like that. They were a part of it and into it, even if now they try to deny it. Maybe now they want to look back and categorize eras and what they liked more or less, and they want to say, “I liked the earlier bands more, I didn’t like the later bands.” But I saw you there, on the ground, with these bands, being into it!
People like to create their own narratives and glorify their own era, and they want to pick and choose what to reminisce about. And this applies to those people who want to talk about their roles in early NYHC, and the formation and development of it, and how it is not the same as what came later on. They make it sound like it didn’t happen or it was significant. It’s the same as when you talk to an old man and he is like, “OHH back when I was young it was like this and I used to this! It’s not the same anymore!” It’s the same thing. So take it with a grain of salt.
The boundaries between eras in hardcore, and types of bands and all that, maybe now it is really distinct, but it wasn’t back then. Not to me. Was I stage diving to Bad Brains in 1983? YES! Was I stage diving to Bold or other bands in 1988? YES! To me, it was all the same thing, and it was great. Ok, I mean the early Bad Brains shows were a totally different level, but it was all a part of the same thing. Even later era Bad Brains, when there was a whole set of reggae, you waited that whole set for the one hardcore song, because that was great, we were satisfied with just that. And even the reggae songs, HR was still kinda crazy and delirious looking, falling down and stuff, he wasn’t laid back.
I don’t try to diss the newer bands that are still going. I think that’s great, keep on going, keep it alive. As long as you approach it genuinely and don’t try to play out some fantasy act from the past. Move forward.
Even before Judge I had started to get into Buddhism. In 1987, I went to the School Of Visual Arts in NYC right after high school to start my freshman year of college. I was at SVA until 1991. Doing abstract expressionism for inspiration, I thought maybe I would look to Buddhism for inspiration. All of my friends were either into Hare Krishna, or Buddhism. So I thought, Ok, Buddhism. And then I really got into it.
Jimmy at his house, displaying a Chung King. Photo: Tim DCXX
I started to back out of hardcore while I was living above the temple, and doing Zen retreats. I started to fade out, in terms of going to shows, while Judge was continuing. I was even seeing Mike less and less because I was always in the city and he was always back in New Jersey. I had even already gotten out of skateboarding. Earlier on, Howard Horowitz and I had built a half pipe while I was still in Montville. But I broke my ankle, so I couldn’t really do a lot of the tricks I used to do, and I got out of skateboarding too.
Even when I was living above the temple, Mike and those guys would stop by to pick me up when driving here on the way to the studio. They didn’t have the number because I wasn’t allowed to give it away. Even if they got someone on the phone, nobody spoke English. So they would come to the door, and be like explaining it to these monks, trying to act it out, you know like “We are looking for Jimmy, short hair, plays guitar, lives here, crazy?” And then the monks would figure it out and go upstairs and get me.
The guys in the band could see me drifting away. I remember they wanted to go on tour, and I couldn’t do that. I was in school, and in the summer I was doing volunteer work and writing for Chan magazine. So I couldn’t do that. It was a gradual thing, I think we didn’t practice for a while, and they started practicing without me. It wasn’t a difficult break, we were still friends. But I was talking to Mike about this yesterday, and I think it was like, “Yeah, I guess it’s better if Jimmy left, so we can get someone steady.” I can’t remember my last show with the band, maybe a show at The Anthrax?
With Buddhism, I was lead to it by all the things I was into before it. That is a retrospective view now, I mean back then, I was just bumping from one thing to the next blindly. My parents wanted me to go to college. For me, it was either music or art. As a boy, I did art all the time. In fact, I forgot to mention this, but I drew a lot of NYHC flyers. The AF guys, those guys couldn’t draw. So they would give me words and dates. If you see any skinhead moshing, on an AF or DBD flyer, I did it. Me and this other kid Tim Casinda, this skater kid, we do all those flyers. Not many people could draw that stuff, moshing half skinhead half monsters and everything. So yeah, I wanted to do art.
I remember thinking, if I go to school for music instead of art, I have to learn classical music, I have to learn music theory. Ahh, forget that. Art is easier, I can just draw. So I got into illustration. During that phase, Judge characterized me so much. As I got into art more, I really looked into the meaning, and the meaning of expressing yourself through art. Then I got into abstract art, which was totally impractical. This was kinda rare for a Chinese kid to not major in something practical like economics, or engineering, or medicine, or law. This lead into Buddhism, which weighed so much on meaning and expression. It helped me figure out so much about myself…why was I an outcast? Why was I different from other people? And I still am like that. If people go this way, I go the other way. I guess it is in my genes, it has passed on to my daughter.
So with abstract art, you had to draw inspiration from somewhere. People were drawing inspiration from their own western abstract art history, and I just thought, “I don’t want to do that.” That was just reproducing stuff and spitting it out. So I looked to ancient Chinese landscape paintings. I found in this painting, within this vacant vast empty space, there was this tiny little boat painted. That showed the interplay between emptiness and the little boat that was formed by just a few brush strokes.
That lead me into minimalism, and how just a few brush strokes could express so much. I found out that those paintings from 12th century China were influenced by Zen. So I’m thinking, “Wow, yeah, I remember that stuff, my Mom is into Zen.” So I run downstairs to ask these Buddhist monks, they are right downstairs, I need to find out! So I started talking to them a lot, reading a lot, and I felt like I found something. All my life I had been headed south, and then right there, I found out, oh my God, north is the other way! And right away, I turned around and started running north, as fast as I could.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Cliff, the Anthrax’s resident videographer, brings us yet another great video. This time it’s Underdog from the Aaron Straw benefit show. Back to back… - DCXX
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mark “Helmet” Hayworth and Zach De La Rocha at their senior prom. Photo courtesy of Joe Nelson
But first, Zach De La Rocha got all the hardcore kids in the area the greatest job ever during the spring of 1988. Zach had found this place called measure A, which was some Orange County land development measure on the ballot that year. It had to be backed by big business because they had money to burn. We were the perfect kids to burn it for them too. I think we were all getting $8 an hour which was great money for a senior in High School, which we all were.
We would all meet at the Head Quarters at 3:00 pm. They would then divide us into groups of 4. We were like 20 kids strong too, so we’d have 5 groups. Then we were all supposed to go flyer different precincts in O.C. with their pamphlets or whatever. Instead of doing that we’d all just go to the mall, the movies, the arcade, Hard Stance practice, play baseball, or basketball, go skate somewhere, and when the water was warm we’d surf. We’d do pretty much everything and anything besides that actual job. Then at 7:00 we’d return to the HQ, and clock out.
It lasted for 4 months. The genius of it was it provided us all the opportunity to hang out 4 – 5 days a week together, and do rad stuff we’d never have done without the job. Without the job we’d have probably all been at home by ourselves doing whatever, instead we basically got paid to fuck around with each other every day after school. They got wise to us acouple times, but we were always able to con our way out of it. The good news for them was the measure passed too.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Ajay regulates the crowd during Bold’s set while Jules comes back to stage from a dive. Photo: Ken Salerno
The Enuf demo…now here is a recording that does not get discussed as much as it should. Hard, energetic straight edge hardcore that sounds much more NY than it does NJ. Angry straight edge lyrics? Check. Well played mosh breaks? Check. Skating references? Check. The package is complete. Do you think that when pimple faced nerds are singing along to Lifetime they have any idea that Ari Katz was once behind the drumkit busting out the beat to “Suckah Mosh?” No, they don’t.
Ajay stares down a WP skin. Photo: Ken Salerno
I remember that era as just being the time that we were living in, we didn’t think that we were in what is known by many as the best years of hardcore. For us, we didn’t think anything else except that we had to get money to get to the next show, it was all about the “now.” Looking back at it now, that time was truly amazing.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Against The Wall / Spanky’s / 1990
Dave is one of the great photographers to come out of that late 80’s Southern California hardcore scene. Starting out with his own fanzine On Line, then on to Tidbit Fanzine, then on to numerous records, Dave’s photography has really gotten around. More to come. -DCXX
Insight / Spanky’s / 1990
Chain Of Strength / Spanky’s / 1989
Insted / The Country Club / 1989
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Wind Of Change photo shot by a friend that happened to work in a photography studio. Courtesy of Jason XXX
Jason Peterson continues to school us on the Arizona Straight Edge scene of the late 80s, playing in Wind Of Change, and where he went from there. Let’s hope Jason contributes more in the future.
Wind Of Change was me, Jim Wall, John Wall, Alex, and Tim on drums. Eric Astor and then Brian Brown would later replace Tim. We released our first EP “Promise Kept” on Step Forward. Wind Of Change blew up at this point, and we played every AZ show and out of town weekend shows for the next two years, Our second EP, “Rain,” was released on our own label for a summer tour in 1989. I put every piece of HC energy I had into booking the first tour. We had lists and lists of kids around the country who helped set up the shows. Our first show was in Salt Lake with Insight. We played Green Bay with Verbal Assault and a bunch of east coast show with GB and Insted. We played CB’s with Bl’ast!, Insted and American Standard. We played our last show of the tour in Roanoke, VA. We had some great shows and some bad shows.
WOC was always a contrast because half of the band was straight edge and the other half was not, half of us loved NYHC and the other half loved the DC sound. It was a constant struggle to find our balance and for a little while we did. WOC was made up of our strong personalities and diverse tastes. At the end of that tour I had nothing left. I remember sitting on my sister’s front lawn with a box of left over t-shirts and thinking, “now what?” But I had done what I wanted to do. I got in a van with my seven best friends and played 38 shows around the country. We had one last show in LA with YOT and every band of the time, but called it quits a week before the show. Out of the ashes of Wind Of Change came some great bands: Fuse, Dodge, Hoover, Kerosene 454 and Samuel. A German label released all of the eps and demo on a lp in 1990.
What was your involvement with Step Forward zine/records?
Eric Astor was an amazing kid who started coming to shows in ’87. He had so much energy and a business like passion for HC. Step Forward was his label that materialized from his zine, Silent Minority. He put out the Y.U.C livetape and the first Wind Of Change EP. I helped Eric with much of his graphic design work in the early days. We designed Drug Free Youth shirts in his parents kitchen by eye matching the screens and curing the ink in the oven. Those shirts became a staple for the AZ scene. Every band that came to town left with arms full. We also screened the door on the Insted van as they left for their first US tour.
I designed most of the flyers for the shows we put on at the time. I found I had a deep love and talent for graphic design. I would even end up re-designing, laying out and distributing the flyers for shows we had nothing to do with. I remember one night Eric and I broke into the ASU business lab with a plot to steal a photocopier, so we didn’t have to pay for copies any more. We just walked into a classroom where students were working and said we had to fix the machine and rolled it down the hall. We got it out of the building but left it sitting in the middle of campus when the rental cops spotted us.
I ended up falling out with Astor over bullshit money issues, I was never comfortable making a dime off of HC.
Wind Of Change at CBGB, photo courtesy of Jason XXX
People on the west coast from the late 80s scene talk about seeing Youth of Today on their early tours and just knowing they had to do a band and try to emulate that energy. Was that the case for you and your scene?
We met Ray and Porcell when they first toured (in a station wagon) the westcoast with 7 Seconds. They played the Electric Rhino with Kevin Seconds on drums. They needed a place to crash so we snuck Youth of Today into Palmer’s walk-in closet without this parents knowing. The next day we all skated in Tempe. This was pre-veggie days for YOT and I remember giving them shit for eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. They had great stories about the NYC scene. We got so amped when Ray told us about starting a record label. Meeting them gave us the energy to kick our scene in the ass.
On that note, it seems from the impression I get, that bands likeYOT, BOLD, and GB became friends with your crew. Any good stories of tour stops, travel together, shows, hanging etc. with those guys?
Youth Crew stories:
During the YOT set one of the skins kicked my 13-year-old neighbor in the head. Ray stopped playing and called the skin out then Ritchie jumped off stage and got into the leader skin’s face. They went back and forth then decided to throw down behind the local McDonald’s at 11. I remember being in the van with all those guys; Ritchie and Porcell were going nuts. Everyone was screaming, we were so amped up. We got to the McDonald’s and waited at least an hour but the skins never showed up. It was a victory none-the-less. The skins got revenge about a week later by breaking my friend’s arm with a bat.
I get the impression you traveled a lot to Cali for shows – any good stories?
I saw a lot of great shows in LA: Uniform Choice, Insted, Doggy Style,Freewill, No For an Answer, Chain, Judge…
I remember going with Kev to drop off artwork at Dubar’s house. They had Wishing Well set up in the back of their parents home. I remember Pat opened this giant closet stacked full of every WW shirt. He just received a box of Break Down The Walls on blue and red wax and asked if I wanted one. I said I already had it on black so it was no big deal. Stupid.
Jason (with Insted shirt) climbing on top of the crowd for PX at GB reunion CBGB.
When did you leave Arizona? When in your eyes did that scene change? You are literally one of very few people from that scene to pretty much stay into hardcore, stay straight edge, come out to shows, and still stage dive and really be into it. How does that happen?
By the summer of ’89 the AZ HC/SXE scene was in full bloom. I remember that was the year I stopped recognizing all the SXE kids. Most of all my friends had already left straight edge behind, only Palmer and I remained. There was a new, more serious breed of SXE now.
I left AZ in 1990 to attend art school in Atlanta. I turned all of my positive/DIY HC drive into school and finished a two-year advertising program in one year. I was one of the most recruited graduates in the school’s history. I worked in Chicago for a year. I moved to NYC in ’92. I started my own advertising agency in ’96 and sold it 5 years later to a large holding company. I made more money that year than most people make in a lifetime. I am now married to the most amazing girl in the world. I have two beautiful kids. I still follow Hardcore religiously. And I’m still Straight Edge…
But I would trade it all for one more summer in ’88.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Jimmy Yu continues, this time we get into Judge. More still to come.
But the transition to Judge was a pretty natural thing from DBD, because we practiced at the same club, which was on the edge of the east village and Chinatown, this basement place. Porcell would remember the name. So it was practicing at the same place, just with a new band. And it wasn’t like, “Oh my God we have this new band!” It was just like, “Ok, Judge, cool.” I think I was living in New York when the Judge seven inch was recorded. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t play on that. Mike and I wrote some of those songs. My memory is that Youth Of Today was happening and that was their main thing. I can’t remember if this is while Mike was still in Youth Of Today or not. But the focus at the time was on Youth Of Today, not Judge. Judge was just a side project in its inception stages. So we had to circulate our players, especially with drummers you know? One time it was Luke, and then another time it was Drew. There were only a handful of people that played instruments.
Mike also wrote a lot, if not all of the music – at least that I remember. I don’t know exactly what music Porcell listened to at that time. Mike and I though, we listened to the same music. So we had the same intuition as to what to write and what should happen within a song. So when playing live and practicing, we really both connected with that.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd
Mike even early on was listening to a lot of Neil Young, and absorbing those lyrics. I think that influence came out later. Mike’s lyrics in Judge, I think they are deeper than a lot of lyrics. I mean, I don’t want to compare bands and in any way make it seem like I am putting other bands down. But to me personally, I know why he wrote a lot of those lyrics, and what incidents happened that lead to those lyrics. So, it was very meaningful to us.
When the seven inch came out, and everyone got to see the lyrics, Mike’s lyrics, that was the Mike that I knew. We were always angry. We grew up getting picked on, getting in fights. We saw a lot of shit. Our introduction to the New York hardcore scene was seeing Harley carrying around an eight ball in a sock, those were the surroundings, you know? We saw him use that. That can really do some serious damage…like, hospital damage. So we had that bottled up. Porcell…he was a peaceful guy. Straight edge, vegetarian. He was a different kind of straight edge in how he grew up. So naturally, I think Mike wrote the lyrics like he did. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t an act.
So those lyrics, to me, it wasn’t a shocker. He was writing songs about our lives. About the fights we got in, the friends that betrayed us, friends that died. There was a redhead skinhead kid, a great mosher, he was our friend, part of the New York Crew, even though he was from Connecticut. But he ran away from home, and came to New York. But someone pushed him off the train, and he died. Just so sad, some other gang did it. Our hearts went out to him.
You know, as skinheads, we weren’t accepted by anyone. Anyone. Not by metalheads, regular gangs, other punks, Harley-Davidson gangs, nobody. And as far as other areas, other cities, we had friction. In New York, we had an edge to us. And we kept that up when it was kids from DC or kids from Boston that were around.
The lyrics to “New York Crew,” people don’t totally understand. We were from New Jersey but not that far outside of NYC, and we were in NYC every weekend and maybe one other day during the week. But people like Harley and everyone else, they were the ones that really lived there and hung out together all the time, nonstop. I mean, we were definitely there, but not like them. I mean, some of those guys, they were living in tiny apartments, like 6 skinheads in one apartment. We would come in and be there for an entire weekend straight, but it wasn’t living the same way they were. But we still felt a part of it.
I will also say this, in response to what Harley said in the American Hardcore book, Harley hung out a lot with Eric. I’m sure he hung out with AF, but I’m not sure how much. He was kinda outside the immediate New York Crew. I think if you were to talk to Vinnie or Roger, they might give a better perspective of how much we were around. Because they were always around. So on one hand, I see what Harley was saying, because we weren’t there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. But at the same time, Harley himself was kind of a loner and even kind of outside of the New York skinheads. I mean, he hung out and was a real part of it, no question, but he had his own stuff going on too, so he wasn’t always right there.
In the beginning of us going to shows, we weren’t really tight with AF. But by the time DBD got going, they really took care of us. So we were much tighter with AF than any other band, they were the band we tagged along with. Harley was more just into moshing with Eric. Maybe my timeline is off, but I don’t remember the Cro-Mags happening a lot at that time, and with DBD we didn’t tag along with them like we did with AF.
As far as the terms “Wolfpack” and “United Blood,” those weren’t like actual crews and it wasn’t how we identified ourselves, at least I don’t think so. Those were just names that Mike gave us looking back when he wrote the Judge lyrics. I don’t remember it being verbalized at the time, like, “Hey, we are the Wolfpack!” But we felt it in our hearts, and those descriptions when applied later by Mike made sense. Because at the time, in those threshold moments, like when Boston came down, and it escalated into becoming physical, in New York it didn’t matter if you were a regular skin, a nazi skin, or what…you just kicked their fucking asses. That’s it. You were New York. And in those moments, it was very clear that you stuck together, everyone. We are New York, and you…you are not. You want to try to rule the floor and try to crack people’s heads? Dude, you’re in the wrong place, man. We just jumped them. In those moments, we were united.
Those are my memories. It is a lot like how things were with me and my brother Steve – we would fight all the time amongst ourselves. But if someone messed with him or messed with me, we were right there for each other, because above all else, we were brothers. Maybe we fought with each other, but when it was someone else, it was a different story. And when Mike wrote “New York Crew,” he’s not talking about a straight edge crew. There was not a definitive crew, it was just everyone that hung out and stuck together in the moments when we were threatened. I think that song and the image and story in that song is about the moments when everyone in the New York scene, everyone, was united. Not just like the five of us and our little crew. It’s about the moments when all of us felt that – when our backs were to the wall, when we had to fight, when we lost a brother.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd
I’ll tell you this, all the skinheads were scared as hell to go to Tompkins Square back then. When we got out of A7, we didn’t even walk through that shit. We took the long way. Forget about going through there for the shortcut. Today it is so preppy and safe, but back then, there was some real shit happening in there at night, and we were kids. Knives, guns, drugs, people shooting up…in the dark. We didn’t go in there. But it was a part of our reality, that danger. In “New York Crew” Mike mentions that, because that was a fragment of our past culture. I don’t think when he references that he means we were hanging out in it and fighting. I think he meant we were hanging out on the edge of it, outside A7, aware of the danger in the Park. I mean, we never went beyond Avenue B.
I think the song “New York Crew” ended up having a life of its own. I think it played on people’s ideas and images in a way we didn’t expect it to. So, people took it how they wanted to take it. And then you had kids from a totally different time and place singing it – young kids from Connecticut singing it, or kids all over the country. And that was weird, but it was fun. It showed that years later, kids were identifying with us and enjoyed our music. With DBD, we didn’t have that many people singing along to our lyrics, and Mark was wild. But Judge, Mike had a different presence, and Mike just hunched over the crowd, this immovable force, this presence. And around him you had all these kids singing along. We saw that people enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it. Never would Mike and I say, “Man, look at these kids, they weren’t there, why are they singing along?” No. We appreciated it, it meant something…it meant the world to us.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I decided to take a break from all the interviews and text heavy content to give you this. Great band, incredible quality video, very few views. I couldn’t resist. Runnin’, Runnin’… -Tim DCXX
Monday, July 14, 2008
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of : Jason XXX
Jason Peterson played guitar in Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change, bands best known for putting the Arizona straight edge scene on the map in the late eighties. He also was the one behind the classic Step Forward artwork, perhaps his first creative graphic endeavor that would end up leading to some very, very major work in the advertising world.
Perhaps one of the most financially successful people to come out of the hardcore scene, it’s worth noting that twenty years later, Jason is still straight edge and even gets to wear a Schism shirt to work while designing a new worldwide Coke print campaign. We asked him for some memories and he delivered, this is part one.
When did a straight edge scene in Arizona develop and how?
I am originally from the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. When I was eight years old my parents split up. My mother went to work and left my older brothers and sisters raise me. My oldest stepbrother was into punk rock since the late 70s. He saw the Sex Pistols play back in the day. When I was 12 he started feeding me Black Flag, Minor Threat, GBH, etc. He used to shove socks in my mouth for listening to Adam and the Ants.
I remember sitting on the floor in my room studying the covers of Kids Will Have Their Say/SSD and Brotherhood/DYS while listening to The Crew/7 Seconds, which had just been released. I was reading the lyric sheet over and over. It felt like something bigger than just the music. They weren’t being ironic like the Dead Kennedys when they sang “kill the poor.” The positive message hit me hard. At that point I knew I would go nowhere if I continued down the path I was going. My small group of friends and I all went straight edge, a few of them would eventually go on to form Confront.
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of: Jason XXX
Run us through the evolution of your bands – Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change. Releases, various shows, etc.
Palmer and I started Youth Under Control in ’85. We went through a load of different line ups in the beginning. We wanted a straight edge band in the vein of DYS/SSD. I think we printed shirts before we even had our first practice. Our description of a “tour” was pushing our amps in shopping carts and playing in our parents’ garages. We struggled to find like-minded straight edge kids to be in the band. We tried to convince local skater kids to become straight edge but it never worked. I was always the SXE salesman but quickly learned that if you don’t deeply believe you will not last.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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