Sunday, June 22, 2008
N.F.A.A. probably only succeeded at the very beginning because Gavin Oglesby and Casey Jones were so loved and respected throughout our little community. Dan on the other hand…not so much.
We actually all bonded finally at the Anthrax in Norwalk, Connecticut one night. N.F.A.A played a show there with G.B. and Chain of Strength maybe? A couple of the Sloth Crew dudes, including me, were out in New York so we went to the show.
What happened was all the trains stopped running back to the city, so nobody from California, except for Chain, had a way back to N.Y.C. This was like in late November, and I remember it was snowing at the time. It really seemed like a pretty bleak situation at the time. None of us ever entertained the idea of pooling our money for a motel room of course. That would have made too much sense I suppose.
The owner of the Anthrax eventually said we could just crash inside the club, and then catch the morning train in. I remember Porcell’s last words to me as he pulled out of the parking lot with Walter Schreifles, Lukey Luke, Alex Brown, and Nicole Straight Edge were “Hey guys I see a soda can over there you can curl up next too!” What a fucker.
Anyway, the Anthrax was pretty warm inside so it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, or so we all thought. What we discovered in horror was it was only warm because of the body heat that had collected during the show. About 45 minutes into the…ummmm…”sleep over,” it became FREEEEEEEEEZINNGG inside. It was unreal. People were running laps around the inside of the club in a feeble attempt to stay warm. Everybody was curled up next to one another on the stage trying to use our collective body heat to prevent what we all thought for sure would be a major hypothermia problem. A couple dudes even broke down and cried. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but Dan said something that busted everyone up. I realized “Holy shit, Dan is actually pretty fucking funny”, which at the time was my only real criteria for making a person “OK” in my book.
So from that point on we were friends. Obviously everyone survived that night as well. The next morning we ate breakfast together, took the train back into the city, and any beef between any of us and Dan was forever squashed.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Here’s a fun little video I made with Kevin Finn about his legendary Revelation Records vinyl collection. The Rev collection that people try to duplicate but I don’t think that will ever be possible. The entire interview was two hours long and it was hard to decide what to cut out but hopefully people will dig it.
The thing I like the most that doesn’t really come across in the video is the kind of “go for it” spirit that Kevin has to complete his collection. He turned down multiple million dollar job offers on Wall Street to put himself into the center of it all at RevHQ and went on to start the Rev Board and the Trade Board. It’s like if you collected baseball cards and turned down job offers to take a shitty job at Fleer instead.
In my eyes he created a Rev record collecting craze once he published the pressing info he researched and compiled online, that still continues to this day.
Livewire Records, Back From the Dead Logo
Summer 2008 sees Livewire Records at its most active in years. While the label has undergone a complete rethinking of our approach to releasing records , including a total brand overhaul complete with a new logo and website, this fresh perspective has only made us become even more dedicated to putting out sick sounding and sick looking records and merch. In short, the visual has become just as important as the sonic. Case in point…
Cheap Tragedies, “Shepherd To Lost Sheep” 7″ & Poster
Cheap Tragedies. “Shepherd To Lost Sheep” marks the debut 7″ EP from Cleveland’s most pissed-off and crazy hardcore band in years. This blistering four song 7″ features original cover art by Brian Walsby (best known for his 7-Seconds, “Walk Together…” art) and is limited to a first press of 300 (200 on purple and 100 on scrap. Scrap is a strange color created by mixing left over pieces of unused colored vinyl.) The record, like all Back From The Dead era releases, features an 11 x 17 insert and can be purchased through Merchnow as a stand-alone piece or as a package deal which includes a 2 color t-shirt. It is worth noting that artist Brian Walsby has said the Cheap Tragedies piece is one of his favorite music-related illustrations he has ever drawn.
For the uninitiated, Cheap Tragedies’ sound is best described as hardcore punk rock done as only Cleveland veterans can do it—fast, raw, angry, melodic, and noisy, this stuff is the real deal. To learn more about Cheap Tragedies check out their band page. Also, listen to the title track from “Shepherd to Lost Sheep” by clicking here for a free mp3.
Over The Line, “The Weight” 7″ Vinyl & Cover
Next up, a little later this summer we have the return of Over The Line with their first release in over 10 years! While the basic ideas for these songs had been floating around amongst band members for years, the raw energy and urgency of the final tracks was captured in only a few brief late night rehearsals and even quicker studio session. The band didn’t have months to rehearse, record and remix. In this long weekend session they were able to capture these four blistering songs of dynamic hardcore. The recording here is the product of four friends who knew exactly what they wanted, and it captures that energy and creativity at its peak. This record is precise, to-the-point hardcore played flawlessly.
Considering the band officially broke up in 1998, the underlying question remains, “After all this time, why even bother?” According to Lucuski, “We had these songs we loved that never materialized. They really showed the direction we wanted to take the band with the new line-up. We were happy with the demo at the time, but we knew we had songs in us that pushed in a different direction and were more than just basic hardcore songs. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad Crucial Response pressed the demo, but the image they created for the band wasn’t us. These songs are.”
The weight features original skateboard/horror inspired artwork from longtime Livewire friend and artist Jason Powell.
Triple Threat, Graffiti Shirt (art by Bruce Boyd)
Triple Threat, “Live at CBGB” 7″ & Poster
Also coming up very soon, new merchandise from Triple Threat which features original artwork from Pagan Babies Drummer/visual artist, Bruce Boyd. The new shirts will feature gigantic graffiti artwork on the front and a New Jersey Straight Edge piece on the back. Expect these as well as a ton more in the very near future!
For constant updates, please check us out at: Livewire Records. Thanks to the Double Cross boys for giving us the chance to spread the word. —xxx
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
7 Seconds / City Gardens, Trenton NJ
Ken Salerno has been a mainstay photographer in the New Jersey hardcore and punk scene for as long as I’ve been going to shows and then some. Not only has Ken been supplying us with the best photos of the best bands since my days of doing Common Sense fanzine, but he’s been keeping a steady flow of photos to Double Cross as well and we couldn’t be more psyched.
Starting today, we’re going to try and keep a running feature on various hardcore photographers. We’re kicking it off with a handful of Ken’s photos, but expect to see other photographers featured as well. Big thanks to Ken and expect to see more from him in the near future. -Tim DCXX
Sick Of It All / City Gardens, Trenton NJ
Leeway / City Gardens, Trenton NJ
Shelter / City Gardens, Trenton NJ
Bad Brains / City Gardens, Trenton NJ
One of the most ferocious hardcore bands to come out of California, BL’AST! is a band you should expect to see more of here on Double Cross. I happened to catch up with Mike Neider, guitar, and he answered the first batch of our endless questions. All BL’AST! photos: Tim McMahon DCXX Time To Think…
How do you remember getting hooked up with Wishingwell to do The Power Of Expression? There are a few stories floating around that you guys ended up a bit unhappy with the Dubar brothers…fact or fiction? Looking back, how do you feel about your debut LP and the way it got out to the underground music world?
The Dubar bros were great, they are always doing their thing. Just don’t try to sell our shirts…ha ha. Funny story.
How did the Santa Cruz hook up come about? What can you recall as the circumstances around the photo shoot of Roskopp flying over you guys for the poster? Were you guys actually playing or just jamming? I think that is an INCREDIBLE photo. What other Santa Cruz promotion were you involved in?
Skateboarding and rock started to intertwine visually in magazine adds. So Santa Cruz was going to do this poster series and Rob and Tim Piumarta thought that would be very rad to jump over BL’AST! We though, “let’s try it.” Rob was one of my old room mates/friend. So we found this pretty steep long hill that would allow Rob to get enough speed to hit a jump ramp that was right to the right of me. Rob jumped over us at least 4 or 5 times if I remember correctly. We were set up and playing and whenever Rob decided to roll he flew over.
What type of relationship have you had with Clifford over the years – good times, bad times? What is something people wouldn’t know about the singer for BL’AST! that you would?
What type of relationship have you had with Clifford over the years – good times, bad times? What is something people wouldn’t know about the singer for BL’AST! that you would?
Well…Ha. Cliff is a no bullshit dude, what you see is what you get. No games and a lot of fun.
What would you say is the best show BL’AST! ever played, or at least the one you remember most fondly? Why?
Very hard question for so many different reasons. I think I will leave it at that.
The Power Of Expression – It`s In My Blood – Take The Manic Ride. Dig ‘em all! One thing we always wanted to do was re-record The Manic Ride. We always had little studio time cuz we could not afford much. So we had to get er done in a timely manner. When we were finished with the recording there were compressors that were left on during the recording. We couldn’t afford to go back and re-record it so we had to put it out with the funky sound. It did not get the justice that it had live when we played. Bummer. Maybe someday we will do that.
The 80s for hardcore was kinda magical times and those times are over just as any other decade is over. But as in any musical group, everyone wants to capture their feelings and influences and kick ass and feel good about it. So musically it will always remain the same. It’s just different times.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Here’s the second part of an ongoing interview with Slapshot roadie and 1980′s HC fixture, Rev. Hank Straight Edge Peirce. To read the first part, click here:
Who was your favorite band from Boston? Do any shows from Boston back then stand far above the rest?
Who was my favorite Boston band? Well I gotta say Jerry’s Kids, the kids had the speed of Gang Green, the power of SSD, they come close to having the song writing ability of the Straw Dogs and they were/are some of the smartest and most twisted guys out there.
The other crazy guy was of course GG Allen who everybody in Slap Shot thought was great. I know it sounds totally ridiculous but it’s true. When GG wasn’t on stage he was a very laid back guy. I remember once Choke ran into him outside of our practice space and them having a long talk about music. Choke would force us to listen to GG’s 12 Days of Christmas on the road. Slappy roadie Pat would often disappear during our sound checks and emerge out of the bathroom dressed (or undressed) as GG and jump on stage and start singing “Drink, fuck and fight!” We even have film of Pat doing this at some outdoor concert in Germany totally confusing all the Germans. Allow me to also say that all of GG’s early music is great old fashion punk.
Then for the first year lots of shows in and around town and then twice a year which guaranteed huge turn outs at the biggest clubs in town. They were fun shows even when we got hit with Choke’s hockey stick, and we all got hit with it. He would do his angry speed skater dance and throw the stick on the ground and BAM it would bounce up and hit you in the jaw.
Who else, the Freeze and Gang Green were bands that were bigger outside of town than in at least later on. The Proletariat never made it as big as was expected after Boston Not LA came out, but I thought they were great.
A couple of years later when Slappy was in Sarajevo a huge bar room brawl broke out because I refused to sell our shirts to some nazi skins. We kicked some ass, but had to high-tale it out before the cops came, didn’t want to end up in some Yugoslavian jail.
Let me say that I was not a guitar tech, I was the last person you wanted tuning your guitar. But I loved going on the road, driving all night, selling merch, dealing with a crazy crowd. I think part of it was that I have always been a junior cultural anthropologist and I have always been interested in how kids dressed and what kids were listening to in other scenes, and why. Was the Texas scene as bizarre because they were reacting to ultra-conservatism, or was it just Texas sized punk, or was it cheap Meth?
The first national tour I ever went on was with the Straw Dogs, they had just changed their name from the FUs and their record label (Enigma) thought that it was better to not tell folks of their past. It was a tour where we starved, I remember at one point we had $40 to drive from Montana to Chicago. OK, it wasn’t like the COC guys who had to sell their blood on one tour in order to get to the next city.
I also went on the road with COC and Uniform Choice and assorted smaller bands, and the last gig I worked at was for Slappy in ’91 in Philadelphia. It was at the Liberty Bell club and maybe 150 kids and I thought “I missing Nelson Mandela speaking in Boston for this?”
Thursday, June 12, 2008
[Mouthpiece from the Down Under, New Brunswick NJ, May 13th 1995, Photo: Traci McMahon]
It’s been awhile since I dropped an update on the Mouthpiece “Can’t Kill What’s Inside” complete discography that’s due to be released this October on Revelation Records, so I thought I’d take a minute to do that now.
The entire re-mixing process is complete, as is the mastering. We were able to track down a live set from the soundboards of a show we played at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster PA with Turning Point and Vision. On that soundboard tape were a few songs that never saw a studio recording (“Never Enough, “Stick To It” and “Massive Outro”), so just for the sake of completeness, we thought it would be cool to include them. We also have a full live soundboard set from a show we played in NYC at CBGB’s with Killing Time in 1996. Surprisingly enough, once mastered, both live recordings sound great, obviously the CB’s set sounding the best. With all the studio recordings and the live unreleased material, we’re pretty close to maxing out the available space on a CD, so we’re trying to determine how and where to fit the CB’s live set. Hopefully when all is said and done, we’re able to squeeze it all in.
We’re wrapping up the layouts right now and I gotta say it should be a pretty incredible package once complete. We’ve managed to cram tons of photos, most never before seen. We’ve also gathered a complete list of every show Mouthpiece played from from very early 1990 through 1996. Once the typography is finalized and the last few photos are put into place, everything will be sent off to Revelation. The plan is to have everything in Revs hands before the end of June. We’ll also be designing a couple new t-shirt designs for Revelation, as well as posters, stickers, pins, etc. So expect some brand new Mouthpiece merch from Revelation later this summer. -Tim DCXX
This is the second part of a two-part interview with Pressure Release axeman Tom Kuntz. Click here to see the first part:
How did you get linked up with New Age all the way across the country? Why did you go with them? What did you think when the record finally came out? What do you hear when you listen today? Are you satisfied with it 20 years later?
What do I hear today? Well. Hmmm…it’s sort of interesting to think of being immersed in this particular scene so much. I’ve made so many different types of music since then, that it’s interesting to hear this particular moment so documented.
[Pressure Release Photo: Joe Snow]
What was the story with Ben’s vocals getting erased? Was this a major bum out? Were you really unhappy with Doug’s vocals as they appeared on the record?
No no, like I said above I think he deserved to be the one singing on the record. Maybe at the time we weren’t crazy about Doug’s vocals. I cant really remember, but if I listen to them back to back now, I much prefer Doug’s vocals. I think we just re-recorded them because Ben was the current singer and it seemed like the right thing to do. I’m very glad Doug’s vocals made it on.
What caused the band to break up? I seriously can’t remember. I think it was just sort of “time.” I think we were all a bit tired of the straight up hardcore thing and the scene, etc. I was getting into a lot of different music, that lead me away from the straight forward hardcore sound. I think once Doug left, we probably didn’t feel it was the same band anyway, and that lead to a feeling that it was over.
Where did everyone go from there? Alex quickly went into other bands like BURN, etc… I started a band with our long time friend, Jeff Leach, which was a more experimental rock sound, based on bands like KINGFACE from DC.
What about you personally…were you “done” with hardcore at that point? I think I sort of was. Not in an animosity sort of way…just in a way that wanted some breathing room from it. It was quite an incestuous scene.
What are you doing today and how have you gotten there?
I’m a film maker now. After making the fanzine GIVE THANKS in high school, I realized I loved doing design, so I went to college for that. When I graduated college, I found myself more drawn to the moving image. Now I direct mostly TV commercials and music videos. I have done videos for bands like LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, THE AVALANCHES and ELECTRIC SIX, and I direct all the crazy SKITTLES ads you see on TV! I am working on getting a film project off the ground as we speak. I realized in college that I didn’t want to make music my career because I didn’t want it to be anything but a pleasurable thing in my life. I didn’t want to have to depend on music. To this day I’m still an insane music fan with a very, very large record collection, though sadly, I sold lots of my hardcore records when I was broke in college. I still have a handful of goodies though…
Alex went MIA. I’ve heard various rumors of exactly why. I ran into him one day in NYC about 8 years ago and he was OUT OF IT. I have no idea where he is right now. He was always a very eccentric guy.
What type of connection do you have with hardcore today? Any records still hold up over time that you listen to?
I still love the EMBRACE record. Makes me cry. Such a personal, awesome record.
Very sad man. Just random and sad. He and I were still good friends when he died. We were actually in a new band together at the time with a bunch of our childhood friends. I was playing drums and he was playing records in the band. The band was called Mediteranea. We would get on stage without any prewritten songs and just start playing and see what happened. It was pretty ballsy. When he died it was just fucking jarring and sad. I still dream about him.
How would you feel about a PR discography?
Why not!? But I want to design the artwork!!!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I posted a Judge video that I had found on YouTube. Quality wise, this Judge footage was some of the best I’d seen, so I made it a point to contact the poster. Turns out the guy’s name is Cliff. He started going to the Stamford Anthrax in 1985. Once The Anthrax moved to Norwalk, Cliff started hanging out in the sound board booth and says he became the official videographer. Cliff and I have been going back and forth and he’s been linking me to his latest YouTube entries. So far he’s got up an entire Judge set broken down into individual songs, Youth Of Today doing “Honesty” from 1989 and this here video of Murphy’s Law doing “America Rules.” Cliff says he’s easily got 10 hours of first generation live footage (Sick Of It All, BOLD, Shelter, Youth Of Today, Judge, Underdog, Murphy’s Law, etc.), so expect to see more up here as I’m updated. -Tim DCXX
[Pagan Babies photo: Ken Salerno]
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… not an easy question to single out one moment in time in relation to the bands I’ve been in. At this point in my life all of it means everything. Hardcore was, is and will always be part of me, the bands I was in and the shows I went to and the relationships that were forged remain vital. I’ve had such good fortune with the bands that I was a part of (Pagan Babies, BRICKHOUSE, a short stint with Starkweather and now THE HEELS). What I mean by good fortune is that we shared the stage with so many great bands. Social Distortion, The Exploited, WarZone, Underdog, Youth of Today, 7 Seconds, Marginal Man, Uniform Choice, Raw Deal and Killing Time, Supertouch, Crumbsuckers, Gorilla Biscuits, Dag Nasty, Side By Side, 76% Uncertain, Gwar, Token Entry…the list goes on.
One show that stands out was when Pagan Babies was on tour and we played a show in Reno, NV in the basement of the local Punk Rock record store. It was a small room with no stage and they packed in about 100 kids. I seriously doubt anyone knew to much about us but they were there to support their local scene and any bands that were in town. Whatever was in the water or air that day it just all came together in what can only be described as a Hardcore love fest, we killed it and they loved us. Perfect show. In addition we were introduced to a whole new breed of animal: the Reservation Indian Skinhead. You heard me.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Here is the promised second half of the interview with AHC singer Danny Slam, done by Tony Rettman. Part one is here if you missed it:
OPEN YOUR EYES!
What were some of the more memorable AHC shows and why? What were some of the more memorable shows you saw back then whether or not AHC was on the bill?
Memorable AHC shows include early April 1983 opening at the Rollerworks for Minor Threat, Suicidal Tendencies and others. This is our show that is seen on the Flipside video. Huge place, big crowd with people stage diving during our set, even though we were the first band on. Two weeks later we played in Frisco twice, the first at the Tool & Die with Secret Hate. I remember this show because I got in a fight with Bob Noxious (Fuckups) while slamming during another band.
The second show was at the On Broadway with Minor Threat, 7 Seconds and others. That trip was an incredible experience. We felt like we had “made it” playing shows away from home. Also memorable was our little mini tour with the Circle Jerks to Las Vegas, Phoenix (where I sang from the top of the wrestling cage) and Tucson (playing to a packed house!) in September 1983. I remember all gigs as being a huge rush with tons of butterflies as we got on stage and prepared to start. Then an amazing feeling of letting go and raging through our set with unabashed enthusiasm, screaming the lyrics as loudly and energetically as possible.
Memorable shows for me are too many to count. Fear at the Whiskey with a line of crazy fuckers from Venice around the front of the building; the most crazy slam pit during Suicidal at the Olympic; driving with Circle One to Frisco for Eastern Front and seeing Wasted Youth’s drummer get knocked out by a flying whiskey bottle; getting beat up by the LAPD outside a Hollywood show; my first slamming at the Whiskey for the Circle Jerks; punks doing the frog stomp during the Vandals in San Pedro; the first time I saw Minor Threat at Alpine Village; slamming on a manic dust high during the Necros (ED. NOTE: Can you imagine that shit?); stage diving and breaking my wrist during the Misfits at Mendiolis (2 weeks before the riots); the last two Bards Appollo shows with Vicious Circle in the crowd and John from Circle One stomping through the pit in his trademark plaid pants – that dude was bigger than fucking life.
The thing I find interesting about bands like AHC or Justice League or Stalag 13 is the fact you were (in my opinion) influenced bythe D.C. or Midwest scenes more so than the scene going on around you. Am I correct in this assumption? If so, was it a conscious reaction to maybe start a scene more based around the ideals represented by the D.C. bands other than the L.A. scene which may or may not had nothing going on but kids hanging out getting wasted?
As I said above, we were definitely influenced by bands from all over the country, but also by local bands. It was a mix. The foremost thing we cared about was playing HC music. Our lyrics were a mix of fuck you LA punk attitude and an idealistic positive outlook. So our immediate environment had its influence, and part of that was definitely going to shows and getting drunk and then going crazy when the music hit your gut. But as we listened to more and more bands from all over, and reading their lyrics, we started caring more about putting out a positive message about going to the shows and supporting your favorite bands, not being rock stars (like the bigger LA bands were becoming), and staying out of trouble.
What were the out of town shows AHC played like?
Exciting times. For the most part the kids in each town would be into what we were doing. The main thing I cared about was if people slammed during our set. For the most part, they did.
Were you friendly and/or did you know the people that would eventually form Uniform Choice? I get the feeling they probably started up a year or so after you guys broke up. Am I correct? Anyways, were you aware of their ‘borrowing’ of your t-shirt design and using song titles similar to AHC ones? How do you feel about that?
I have no problem with influencing UC. I think they opened for one of our last shows. I certainly was aware of them towards the end of our time.
Here’s how I was made aware of AHC: My brother started taking me to HC shows in the summer of ’84. It seemed every band that came from the west coast and/or just got back from there via touring had AHC stickers on their gear. I remember one being plastered on Die Kruezen’s boom box. It was also around that time the Mystic ‘Copulation’ comp came out with ‘Cops are Criminals’ on it. Then I saw photos of the Stretchmarks wearing your shirts…then of course Jeff Nelson on the back of the ‘Salad Days’ 7″ etc. My intial reaction was ‘Damn! These guys really seem to know how to get the word around about their band!’ Were you guys always giving out shirts/stickers to touring bands? How did Jeff Nelson get that shirt?
Yeah, I think Drew deserves credit. He made the stickers and t-shirts and we gave them out to people at shows, but mostly just to the kids that came to our shows. We played shows with Die Kruezen (who I loved) and Stretch Marks and Minor Threat, so they got stickers directly from us, and my guess would be that Drew gave shirts to other bands, too. I know we sold a few through the mail for something like $4, so maybe that’s how Youth of Today got one.
Were you aware of the influence AHC had on some of the late 80s Straight Edge bands like Youth of Today?
Only from seeing one of our shirts on the cover of one of the YOT albums!
How did you get the nickname ‘Danny Slam’?
As I said before, I would get to gigs early and pretty much slam during every set of every band. If I liked a band, I slammed. I think Darin Price was the friend who came up with the name. Guess it stuck b/c everyone kept calling me that.
Why did AHC break-up? What was your last show?
Our last gig was the end of October with Necros, Decry and the Corruptors at a hall in Sun Valley that I put shows on sometimes.
Please breakdown the recording sessions AHC did. Where and when they were recorded, how many songs there were (and which ones), and were they intentionally recorded for those Mystic comps or for other reasons? Did you record with Doug Moody? Any good stories from the session?
We recorded at two separate studios. To be honest I don’t remember why we were recording, only that it felt like we had really made it for real. Each time we recorded a handful of songs, maybe 3 or 4 at each place. Once was at somebody’s professional home studio and the other was at Mystic with Doug Moody. I remember it was weird to sing the songs by myself while listening to the rest of the band. Very weird. Took some getting used to. It’s a real bummer, b/c I’m sure there are more studio recordings than just the 3 songs we have on MySpace: “Open Your Eyes” was put on a We Got Power compilation, while “Cops are Criminals” and “Born Prejudice” were put on Mystic comps. I have no fucking idea what the other songs were, or where those recordings are. I remember going back to get our shit from Mystic after Drew’s brother, who was a lawyer, told us that the contract we signed was lame. But that went nowhere.
I still talk to Scott who is a horror screen writer in Hollywood, Pat who still digs skating, and Raffi who runs a jewelry business and actually made the rings that my wife and I wear. I’ve tried in vain to get ahold of Drew, John and Aaron.
It was fun going down memory lane with this interview.
A man who needs no introduction, I was psyched to catch up with Luke recently and pick his brain. Expect more from Lukey Luke soon. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR!
How did you get linked up with Warzone? What are your best/clearest memories of hanging out with Raybeez and co., and what would you say is your favorite Warzone song if you had to pick one? Some people slagged Open Your Eyes and still do. Personally, I love it, even if EK had replaced you. What are your thoughts on it today?
The YOT We’re Not In The Alone promo photos…can you recall any memories from when those were taken? A lot of people feel like those photos capture the band and “the crew” to a T – would you agree?
Oi vey. I remember somebody hurling a chunk of cement at us from a window on our way down to bandshell on Grand Street. It was pretty early in the morning too I recall. I don’t think those pictures capture anything accurate about how things really were though. If anything, I think they probably just presented an image which people eventually used as some kind of “youth crew template.”
What type of tabs did you keep on hardcore when you left GB? What exactly did you go off and do? Had HC changed to you at that point in time?
The GB reunions seemed to be an overwhelming success. What dynamic had changed the most in going out on the road for weeks at a time with Walter, Civ, Arthur, and Alex?
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Friday June 9th, 1989 Exodus are headlining Trenton, New Jersey’s City Gardens. The opening bands were Faith Or Fear and the one that I came to see, Sick Of It All. Now first off, Friday night shows at City Gardens were kind of odd. The majority of the hardcore shows that I would go to see there were on Sunday nights. I guess because this particular show was being billed as a metal show, they did it on a Friday night. Going into this show I was a huge Sick of It All fan.
I actually have to go all the way back to the 7th grade to get this started, that would have been somewhere around 1986. I had a math teacher named Kevin Koller, or Mr. Koller as I knew him. I’d come into class with my denim jacket on, covered in punk and hardcore pins. Agent Orange, Descendents, JFA, 7 Seconds, pins like that. I was a die hard skater, so that was the soundtrack to my skating back then. One day, Mr. Koller say’s to me, “I see those pins you have on your jacket, you’re into punk ha?” I look at him with a surprised and bewildered look and reply, “Yeah I am, why do you ask?” I guess one thing I should point out is that Mr. Koller was a pretty straight laced, clean cut, normal looking red headed teacher guy. Looking at him, you would never think the guy even knew what punk was. Mr. Koller than goes on to tell me, “My cousins Pete and Lou are in a hardcore band, I should get a demo for you”. My response was, “What’s the name of the band, where are they from?” Mr. Koller says, “The band is called Sick Of It All, they’re from Queens, NY”.
At the time I had never heard them, but kind of recalled reading about them in Thrasher’s Puszone at some point. Mr. Koller said he was going into Queens this upcoming weekend and would get me a demo. The following week, as promised, Mr. Koller brings me in an original Sick Of It All demo. I remember looking at it intently during lunch and after lunch during recess. I couldn’t wait to get home and give this thing a listen. There was something about checking out a band in their demo period that seemed very cool and interesting back then. You really felt like you were getting a jump start on something that could end up being special. When I got home I popped the tape into my boom box and jammed with the volume way up. This stuff was much heavier, angrier and faster than the majority of punk I was listening to at the time. I dug it though, no question, I was an instant fan.
As the next couple of years came and went, Sick Of It All virtually became a house hold name. From their 7″ that went on to be released on Revelation, to their tracks on Revelation’s, “The Way It Is” compilation, I continued to be a fan. As their popularity grew, my interest in New York Hardcore was also growing, as was my interest in all that was Revelation Records. Getting an early tip on such a great band was pretty cool and because of the teacher / cousin connection, it left them with even more of an allure.
Now back to that Friday night in June of 1989, this would be my first chance at checking out Sick Of It All live. I had seen a fair amount of good bands before this, bands that I had really loved. For some reason or another, a lot of those bands, although incredible live, rarely seemed to exude the energy that all the photos had documented. Coming up you see so many photos of bands jumping around, diving into the crowd and appearing to look like madmen on stage, but in person it just doesn’t come off as extreme as those photos.
Sick Of It All on the other hand, they had an energy and stage presence that was virtually unmatched at that point. From the minute they stepped on that City Gardens stage, they just went insane. Pete jumped around all over the place. Off the drum riser, off the monitors, wherever he could launch from. Lou, just the same, but often using the crowd as his landing area as well as the stage. Lou was also big into the whole stage mosh at that time. Rich, the long haired bass player from that era, although not much of a jumper, still had a powerful presence while on stage and plucking away at that bass. The songs were played to perfection live. Solid, tight and heavy in a way that the recordings up until then, never seemed to properly capture. I can’t recall for certain, but I’m pretty sure the LP, “Blood, Sweat And No Tears” had not been released yet. The material that I remember hearing them play that night was demo and 7″ songs, but they very well could have played some LP tracks as well.
The combination of the build up to seeing Sick Of It All and the incredible set had me extremely adrenalized and fired up. At one point, which I believe was during “Breeders Of Hate”, I put my hands on someone’s shoulders in front of me and pulled my self up for a sing along. To my surprise, whoever was in back of me took it upon themselves to fully launch me up on top of the crowd. Now another point I have to make, at that time, City Gardens had a strict “No Stage Diving” policy. The second you got yourself up on top of the crowd, be prepared to be dragged off, roughed up and tossed right out the side door by one of the gorilla looking bouncers that lurked in any given corner.
At that time, I was 15 and probably weighed about 130 pounds and was about as hard as bowl of Jello. The thought of one of these gorillas getting their hands on me and roughing me up had me scared shitless. Once I was up there on top of that crowd though, I had no options. I did what only seemed fitting to do. I climbed to the stage, took a quick run across it and launched myself off a monitor and deep into the crowd. This was my first official and actual stage dive at City Gardens.
As soon as I hit that crowd, I immediately saw no less than 3 bouncers catch me in their view and head towards me. I knew I was in for it, but there was absolutely nothing I could do. Then out of no where and at the last second, I see this one dude who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. He looked at me, reached up his hand and pulled me down through the crowd. He screamed in my ear to stay down beneath the crowd until he pulled me back up. His plan was to keep me hidden under the crowd so that the bouncers couldn’t find me. Once they gave up, as long as they hadn’t kept a mental note of what I looked like, I would most likely be in the clear.
Thing is, as I was down there, beneath that crowd, it felt like 200 degrees. Between the extreme heat and my nerves, I could hardly breath. I thought I was going to pass out. After what was probably less than 30 seconds, but what felt like 15 minutes, the tall dude that pulled me down off the crowd, grabbed my hand again, told me I was in the clear and pulled me back up. I said “thanks man”, looked around and started to catch my breath. Right smack dab in front of me was a total metal head. All I could see was this long, kinky, dry, frizzed out hair running down the back of this dudes leather jacket. For a second everything went into slow motion and I felt vomit hurling up from my gut and quickly making it’s way out of my mouth. Before I could turn or even think about it, I threw up all over the back of this metal heads black leather jacket. A load of orange vomit flowed into his hair and down his leather. As quickly as the vomit came up, I got the fuck out of there and made my way as far away from that metal head as possible. Although he probably didn’t feel it happen, it wasn’t going to take long before someone pointed out to him and I wasn’t about to stick around for an apology.
A couple of years later I actually became good friends with the random tall guy that pulled me down off the crowd that night. The dudes name was Jay Kilroy and went on to be known as The Regulator. Thanks again Jay. As for the metal head who’s black leather jacket I covered in orange puke, sorry buddy, hope it came off. And to Sick Of It All, that was the first of what seems like hundreds of incredible sets by them. Never a let down live. Although I haven’t seen them in quite a few years, when I get that chance again, I’ll try to get myself up there on top of that crowd. My nerves have calmed down quite a bit since those days, I’ll keep the vomit for a bucket. -Tim DCXX
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