Thursday, June 5, 2008
[Porcell with Youth Of Today, Photo: Ken Salerno]
Porcelly wrote this a few years back on the True Till Death board. Since that site went the way of the dinosaurs not too long after this was posted, we figured it was worth a new publication. We also thought it would be cool to match up the stories with the faces, so we grabbed what photos we could to go along with each. RESPECT.
Ok, a subject that I can get into, here’s my list…
[John Watson with Agnostic front, 1982, Photo: Savage Pink]
-Eric Cassanova, first singer for the Cro Mags. This guy was the most fearless stagediver I’d ever seen in my life! He was thin and wiry, tough as nails, and pretty much ruled the pit at CB’s during the early-mid 80′s. He roadied for the Bad Brains when I saw them at Lupos in Rhode Island and he was doing full spin dives off the pole in front of the stage halfway out into the audience. The dude had style.
[Eric Cassanova and Harley, Photo: unknown]
[Carl with The Icemen in DC, Photo: Ken Salerno]
-Jimmy Yu, first bass player for Judge. Jimmy was a martial arts expert who was definitely the innovator of the whole kickboxing thing. The dude could kick so high it was sick, he actually kicked the ceiling in the dressing room of the Anthrax once.
[Jimmy trying to contain himself at the Ritz, Photo: Boiling Point]
-Cappo. Was highly influenced by Carl Mosh, but added his own cool moves, most notably the knee skank.
[Cappo with Youth Of Today, Photo: Boiling Point]
[Although not the actual guy "Womp'm", Russ's bass strap says it all, Photo: Boiling Point]
-Jason Krakdown. If he was in the pit, you were leaving with bruises. He gets points for sheer brutality.
Jay with Krakdown at CB’s, Photo: Boiling Point]
[Mike Judge, Photo: Boiling Point]
Gotta love moshing…Porcell
Last week we leaked some incredible photos taken by Gail Rush of the Boston Crew. Our minds were blown by the photos we were seeing for the first time, thus it was only logical we stalked her and fired off question after question. Hope you appreciate this like we do-
The Channel and The Paradise were great because I could get to the side of the stage and shoot out towards the crowd and not be in the line of stage divers. SSD was great…Jaime always ended up bloody for some reason. DYS was great too, lots of action and crowd response. I think some of the SSD at the Channel and the crew in the zone pictures are my favorites. They capture a time. And the tattoo pix, they are all SO young.
The epic Boston Crew photos – what was the idea behind these, when/where exactly did they take place, and what was the intention for their use? What do you see when looking at these photos?
To you, how did the Boston hardcore scene change in your eyes by 1985? Did you continue photographing bands?
What do you make of modern day hardcore bands, especially those that cite bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and SSD as influences (and not the bands that aren’t rooted in the origins of hardcore music yet still call themselves “hardcore”)?
Who would you say are your favorite hardcore bands ever? Favorite hardcore records ever? Best live hardcore show ever attended?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
[Ignite Photo: Traci McMahon]
Nelson strikes again, Ignite style. – DCXX
Joe D. Foster…what was your understanding of his doings/whereabouts from ’89 until he started up Ignite?
Foster dropped out of the scene around 1987 I would say, maybe even 1986. He was a professional body boarder at the time, as well as a pretty famous model. His endeavors outside of hardcore have always been far more interesting I think. He became sort of a mystery to us during that era. You would hear weird stories of his travels. Crazy, bizarre tales, which I just can’t repeat. He would be out of sight for a year, and then pop up at a some random show. No For An Answer actually brought him on stage to play with them during a set in 1989. At the time it was a such a huge deal too. That night everyone was like “Wow, N.F.A.A. just pulled off a major coup de tat,” which seems ludicrous to think now.
I know he spent a lot of time in Korea, and Taiwan during the early 90s. His modeling career was pretty much in full effect during those years. He had at least 3 major posters in circulation, too. Posters meaning, “Hey! Here’s a mass market poster of Foster without his shirt on for some girl to hang on her dorm room wall.” I say that from experience, too. I was actually getting together with some girl in her room down in San Diego one night. I look up, and there over her bed is fucking Joe Foster staring right at me. Talk about a mood killer.
He surfaced again around 1993. I remember we ran into each other in the water off 32nd street in Newport Beach. I hadn’t seen him in 3 years probably, so I was so stoked he was home. Anyway we started surfing a lot that summer together, and from that we dreamed up the idea of making a 1984 style hardcore band. Ignite was born. He had been playing on and off in the band Mad Parade with Brett Rasmussen, so Brett was a lock for Bass. We went through some hack drummers then were lucky enough to get Casey Jones. I added Gavin Oglesby to the mix on rhythm guitar. I guess the rest is history, at least for somebody anyway.
What do you make of Ignite today and how popular across the world they have become?
Brett is one of my dear friends so I am super stoked he has kept it going for so long. I was in Ignite for maybe 6 months, so I’ve never felt really any connection to it. I would say probably half of the “Call On My Brothers” LP are my songs, but Zoli definitely executed them better then I ever could. I actually just listened to their last record recently and thought it sounded a lot like Whitesnake or Night Ranger playing hardcore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on your musical taste. I also find it interesting reading the lyrics that Ignite is one of the last bands, if not the last fighting against the tyranny of…ummm…Communism? However I digress, because those two dudes, Zoli and Brett, have persevered through many peaks and valleys. Any success they have is due to a lot of hard work, and a lot of …umm…deaf Germans…Ok, ok, NOW I digress.
You wrote the song Ash Return, which has some great lyrics. What was your inspiration for that song at that time?
That was just how I felt about what we were trying to do with Ignite. Foster and Casey had been gone from the scene for so long they didn’t even know who Gorilla Biscuits were. Gavin and I had remained in it the whole time, but Triggerman was not a hardcore band really. Also the straight edge scene in California was dominated by Outspoken, but they weren’t playing the style of music that what we wanted to. The closest thing I can think of was maybe the great Mouthpiece out of New Jersey, but even that band was not in the vein of say 7-Seconds, or Uniform Choice. “Ash Return” was just my idea of what we were all about as a unit. Old dudes, playing Old School Hardcore. To me it made a lot of sense at the time.
ON is Eric, Ben, Adam, Aaron and myself. We all played in bands before, just a few of them were Lights Out, Champion, Go it Alone, and Blue Monday. We are a band based out of Seattle and we play hardcore/punk music.
This band is pretty new, when did things kick off, and why? Any specific inspiration to do it? Any specific musical influences you think come out most in ON?
This band is pretty new, when did things kick off, and why? Any specific inspiration to do it? Any specific musical influences you think come out most in ON?
Eric, Ben, and Adam played in a band with a different singer. That wasn’t really working out. I had tried to do a band with a couple different groups of people that also didn’t turn out. They asked me to sing. I really liked the songs they had written for the previous band and I had been feeling like I had a lot more to say and a lot more to give so I immediately agreed. Aaron moved up from SF and jumped on drums and it was perfect. We’ve been jamming for, like, six months or so. We’ve just been writing tons of material. I guess after Champion broke up, things didn’t really go how I had planned. At the time I felt like I had gotten the whole thing out of my system and it was time to “grow up” and move on with my life. I got a really good job that I love and for the normal guy, my life is great.
The problem is that all I had ever wanted to do since I was a kid was to play in a punk band. That was my dream I guess. At 26 years old I had accomplished that. For the last 2 years I’ve been thinking about all of things that are wrong today. I live day by day and don’t do anything about it, beyond how I change my personal life. ON, for me, is my outlet, to say the things that I need to say, so I don’t feel like I’m sitting around and doing nothing about it. Our influences change every week and range all across the board. We have no sound we are going for and we don’t have any constraints.
It looks like you have an EP that is ready to go, so it seems like you aren’t wasting any time. Can you tell us about the record? Why did you decide to do it yourself?
Can you tell us about the lyrics? These do not seem like lyrics that were written in the studio ten minutes before it was time to do vocals simply because you needed lyrics. Am I wrong? Who would you cite as a lyrical influence as far as hardcore lyricists, or even non-hardcore lyricists?
All of the topics on this record were things that had been eating me up inside for the last couple years. These are things I didn’t get a chance to touch on in Champion. I put a lot of passion into writing those songs. That was one of the really cool things about doing the record ourselves was that there was no pressure of dead lines, so we got to really take our time and work out the kinks. It’s been a really good experience working with these guys. If you pick up the record please take the time to read the words. It’s the most important part of this band to me, and I feel it’s holding hardcore back as a whole. The lack of substance and the neglect of the kids to demand more. My influences have changed a bit since champion. Right now I really look up to Cappo and JJ.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The almighty Wide Awake at The Anthrax in Norwalk CT – From a show May 13th 1988 w/ Bold, Head On & Uppercut. This was the “We’re taking pictures for our Schism 7 inch” show” (note Joe Snow in the Up Front shirt on stage behind Rob taking the pics). This was pretty typical of Wide Awake shows in ’88, complete insanity. The mic cuts out at the end of Last Straw for a minute, but do you really care? It’s a fucking Wide Awake video! They play “Last Straw” and “Flase Pride”. -Jon Field
Pressure Release doing “Pass It On” at The Anthrax right around the time X Marks The Spot was released. From a show March 18th, 1988 with Project X, Up Front and Judge. -Jon Field
Sunday, June 1, 2008
[Icemen photos: Ken Salerno]
Harder than a bag of bricks, The Icemen seem to have gained some more buzz in the past few years by younger hardcore fans – a good thing since they are perhaps one of my favorite bands of that era in terms of NYHC/metal/rock hybrid perfection. On paper, they seemed to have had the makings for large scale success, yet ultimately didn’t seem to get the attention they perhaps deserved (well, my impressions at least).
I got in touch with Marco, who has also gotten a great MySpace page together for the band, which you should definitely check out for more basic background history and even some unreleased tunes:
This is part one of my interview with him, much more to come…
The Icemen formed out of the early stages of the NYHC scene with you and Noah. What were some profound experiences you guys had growing up, hanging out and seeing bands, that ultimately led to you forming The Icemen? Who were your favorite bands (hardcore or otherwise) at that time in your life? What shows (HC or otherwise) left a lasting impression?
Noah, Mackie and I started playing together after school. We would jam in our basement studio in downtown Manhattan. In the beginning it was mostly Hendrix, The Who, Zeppelin, etc. I met the Bad Brains when they moved to NYC and they quickly became a big influence for all of us. By that time we were listening to a lot of Brains, The Damned, and Motorhead along with a fair share of metal.
The Icemen seems like a band that should have and could have taken off by 1985/1986 had the right singer been in place or John Gamble (original singer) worked out. What were the problems you ran into in this department with Gamble and ultimately in finding a replacement? Meanwhile, what was going on with Mackie being in the Cro-Mags? Did that also hinder the band really going somewhere? What are your recollections of this stint of inactivity for the band?
As far as Mackie playing in the Cro-Mags, that was a problem but not specific to them, as he would play with a multitude of bands through the years and reliability was often an issue. The Cro-Mags are old friends of ours, I met Harley when he was 10 so while it was a problem it never was acrimonious. It is clear that Mackie’s lack of commitment hindered The Icemen’s success in the long run.
Actually, at the time I had never heard Underdog’s music and did not know who Carl was. I was hanging out one night bar hopping down on Avenue A and ran into Paris of the Cro-Mags. We had a couple of beers and he knew I was still looking for a singer and mentioned Carl. He was across the street by Tompkins Square Park, Underdog’s van was parked there that night and Paris introduced us. We talked about meeting after their tour and so that was how that began. I had run out of patience trying to find what I was looking for and Carl seemed like he had a bit of a reputation and could get a crowd going, so yes I settled.
I would like to point out that through most of his tenure with us we all got along, I would say that for my part I considered him a friend. I can also understand how he would be upset when dismissed from my band. Nevertheless I cannot respect someone who uses another’s artistic creation, without permission, and passes it off as their own as he did with The Icemen, entirely my creation soup to nuts. There is a word for that- Plagiarism.
Yes, by the late ’80s it was different in that there were bigger crowds and all shows had a better turn out. Unfortunately the excitement of that time progressively degraded with each passing year in that there was a lot more petty band rivalries and infighting as well as bands trying to fit in to some kind of scene. Factors such as increased violence and the straight edge movement to name a few continued to fracture the audience into separate groups, more concerned with scene than music.
In retrospect I would say that our reluctance to relinquish song rights and cut a deal with a larger indie for a full length definitely hindered our progress and exposure and thus our popularity. Eventually we had nibbles from majors such as Elektra who stated interest “but not with that vocalist” which echoed our sentiments and only hastened the inevitable end.
I suppose that’s fair, although tell me what do you mean when you say someone is “hardcore”? If you elaborate perhaps I can better answer, if I am to assume what you mean then, really Carl was the hardcore scene guy. Mackie, well hardcore in the sense that so many of the bands that he’s played with are within that genre musically but if we are back to some kind of ethos, well last time I checked, he’s not straight edge, skinhead, vegan, scenester or whatever other many indicators I’ve seen used to define hardcore. He’s always been “hard” if that’s what you mean, although growing up in the city we pretty much all are to some degree.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I interviewed Dylan for Impact Fanzine number two. What was cool in talking with Dylan was how psyched he was in recalling his youth spent in clubs and vans, hanging out as practically an honorary member of Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, notoriously known as “Walter’s little bro.” I figured some random cool excerpts from that interview were worth posting if you didn’t catch it the first time around in print. Shout out and props to Pete Russo, Impact style.
One thing funny that I remember is that at the Norwalk Anthrax, there was this guy that worked there who would kind of sweep up; his name was Spazz. I don’t know if he was kind of retarded, I think he was friends with the guy who owned that place. I just remember everybody called him Spazz because he was slightly retarded. But he would clean up. One time, after a YOT show, we were all there after taking equipment out and nobody else was really there. Spazz was just kinda sweeping up, and Ray just kinda teasing him. And then Spazz started chasing Ray around with his broom. It was for like a few minutes. That was kinda typical of that guy. He was older, he had like curly dark hair. He looked kinda like a punk dude, sort of like The Ramones kinda style. But I think he was into like, retard stuff, that’s what he picked up. He was a nice guy, but he was just kind of out there. You should ask people about Spazz
You know what was a great, awesome fuckin’ show there was when the Cro-Mags played. They had like broken up, and then they got back together with Harley singing, one of their first shows back was at The Anthrax. That was fuckin’ awesome. We were so expcecting the Cro-Mags to suck without John Joseph, but Harley was awesome, man. It was pretty crowded, because I don’t think the Cro-Mags ever played there before. It wasn’t as crazy as CB’s with John, but definitely sick and they were so good, such a change with Harley. But Harley was so good. He was so fired up because it was like their first show back. I can’t remember him saying anything specific, but I’m sure it was good.
Also, there was the wall in the back of the club that everybody wrote on. Right next to the stage was this wall that they white walled, and it was the same day that we went up there with the Project X single and Schism Fanzine. That day we all pretty much covered that wall in writing. That was just a fun moment there. Since we were the first ones there, everything we wrote related to youth crew stuff and made fun of everything else. So next time we were up there, other people had written. I think the AF guys had been there, they wrote stuff. But it was just this overwhelming, powerful wall of straight edge stuff.
The PX record release show…I remember that show because of that wall and selling those records. I remember being in the back room and me and Porcell writing stuff on the labels right there. If you have one of those today with something written on it, it probably got written that day. We wrote them right there. That was a great show. The reason I wouldn’t put Project X in with The Anthrax was because of this show they played in the city at The Lismar Lounge. They played, and it was like in a basement on First Avenue and Third Street, it’s around the corner from this Hell’s Angels clubhouse, I think they had something to do with it. It was downstairs, and it was just packed. They covered a DYS song, “More Than Fashion,” and it was just sick. But I don’t remember PX playing that much.
Another good story was when Judge played there and they had Jimmy Yu as their bass player. He did like martial arts and stuff, and they had this back room for the bands, and he was doing kicks and stuff. But there was this metal heater or something hanging off the ceiling, and he did this huge kick and just jumped up and whacked it. I mean it was so high. It didn’t fall or anything, but it was like, “Holy shit!” He was so acrobatic, it was nuts. He was like this mystery guy, he didn’t really hang out. I could never really figure out where he lived, I just knew he stayed in this Buddhist temple in Chinatown. He was like shrouded in mystery (laughter).
Oh, I got another good story. I remember Insted coming out and playing, and having a fight with fireworks in the parking lot after playing. Those guys had like roman candles and bottle rockets, so it was all these dudes from California and us shooting fireworks at each other from van to van. We were in the YOT van, and then there was the Insted van, and fireworks are just all over the place going out at each other. That was fun. Nobody got hurt. I was friends with those guys from being out in California. I had been there for part of a YOT tour out in California, it must have been in ’87. So I knew them when they came out here.
I remember Bold’s last show there and being really into it. That was really big. I remember being like, “Ok, these guys aren’t playing anymore, this is it.” That was their last show, and I was always a big Bold fan and good friends with Matt. I always remember that show and being really into it and thinking how good they were.
I think my favorite band though, at The Anthrax, was Side By Side. They just tore up The Anthrax. Jules was so good, and especially in the environment. I think he felt empowered in Connecticut and could be like, “Ok, I;m from New York, and I am just runnin’ this place.” I think he felt strong there. He was always kinda like that; yelling, and telling people to dance, and you had to. I remember one show where he just comes out with this white
Champion hoodie on the first song even though it was super hot. Just screaming and going nuts. Yeah man, Jules.
Every YOT show was awesome and crazy. To me, YOT shows at CB’s were more intense.They really commanded things at CB’s, whereas Side By Side really commanded things at The Anthrax. I mean, the YOT Anthrax shows were awesome, but the ones they did at CB’s were different.
Judge was great too at The Anthrax, same with Gorilla Biscuits, it was just weekend after weekend, everybody I knew was involved. Those shows would be like, Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, it was like, “Ok, you know it’s gonna be fun!” It was no let down.
That first Shelter show in Norwalk, I think I was at that. It was weird, because me and Porcell would talk about kidnapping Ray and getting him deprogrammed. When we were doing that Ray and Porcell record we would talk about that. Porcell would be like, “Man, we gotta get Ray to sing on this, and we gotta get him deprogrammed!” I think Porcell wanted to call Ray’s Mom and be like, “Hey, we gotta get Ray outta this thing.” It was weird when Porcell just kinda signed up, I was just like, “What?!” It kind of freaked me out, just because I had so many conversations with Porcell about how bad it was and how it robs you of your personality and freedom. But with Ray, he’s calmed down from all that a bit and he’s more back to his normal self.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Porcell’s Todd Youth story went over well, so we thought we’d drop this great shot of a young Todd Youth hanging with Harley Flanagan. Although the photo has floated around over the years, big thanks to Ben Alvie for hooking us up with a good copy. Hopefully we can get more Todd Youth content in the future. -DCXX
This picks up where the first part of our interview with Jon Roa left off. To read the first part click here:
Thanks again to Roa – enjoy!
We heard things regarding other labels but no one came forward. We were only together for six months or so. This was in the age of snail mail only so getting in touch with someone was a commitment and we all know that a lot HC kids are pretty bad with that type of thing NOW, let alone in those medieval times. By the time anyone thought about actually contacting us, we were done as a band.
I liked Draw Blank as an option but in the end Ryan wanted to start a label and that settled it. I was loyal to the area and to those people. I wanted to get something going and for a while we did. I know a lot of people did not get their records from Foundation and I am sorry about I had nothing to do with that process. I did not know. I still talk to Dan and he is super nice.
Who designed the End To End shirts? Seemingly pretty rare, do you remember how many were printed, when/where they were sold, and if there were multiple designs or colors?
The interesting thing about that shirt is that Chris Ortiz, esteemed photographer for both Thrasher and Transworld Skateboard magazines took that photo. I designed the shirt (I think my lack of artistic talent showed). Red and a royal blue were the colors. I remember twelve of each color and besides one each for the band members, they were sold and they were ten dollars each. We sold out our first show and then struggled with other problems so that we never made any more. I think what helped make it popular is the video for the Mouthpiece song “Cinder.”
A few years earlier you sang for Justice League. Did singing in Addiction/End To End seem like a world apart from your experience in Justice League as far as the California scene and you as a person? Or did you just feel like you were a couple years older and singing in a hardcore band?
Good question. I adapted pretty quickly but the only real difference I could see about California was a big one. In the End To End time, people and bands were generally ultra-competitive and spiteful (the exception of Insted); whereas in the Justice League time people and bands generally helped each other. Vic Bondi tells a story about Articles of Faith being given 500 hundred dollars by Dead Kennedys upon being told that their amp was dropped out of a second story
window and smashed. You tell me, would a band do that nowadays?
Also, Justice League tours were pretty awesome as not too many bands toured in those days. If a band went out on the road it was a sign that they had it together. There were lots of great bands of the early 80s that never toured. As a result when we toured we would have big shows – one night with 7 Seconds, the next night with Stalag 13 and the next night with Corrosion of Conformity. By the time End to End was out playing, everyone toured, there were multiple venues and as a result bands got less respect from everyone including themselves.
That said, some of the best bands came out of that era and made the older bands look timid: Infest, Downcast, Chain, Gorilla Biscuits…those bands alone made bands like Dag Nasty or Adolescents seem weak and dated.
Does one Addiction/End To End show stick out to you amongst all others? If so, why?
End To End at The Country Club with Chain of Strength. Ryan and Frosty came up to us and in a 100% good-natured competition from one friend to another said something like, “You think you good and tight? We will see, we’ll see.” After the show, Frosty said we were super tight and definitely got the Best Band Of the Night Award. Addiction shows were interesting only because a lot of people asked for a free shirt!
Another was in a garage in Los Cerritos because it was outdoors in the day. I thought it was always exciting to play outdoors and have done so in almost every band in which I sang. In the day made it pretty cool as it was the first and last time I ever did that.
Had End To End continued with a stable and capable line-up, what do you think the vibe of the band and the sound of the material would have been into 1990? Were you still wanting to sing in a fast and heavy hardcore band?
I am not sure what the future would have held but I eventually put a band together called Five Elapsed (terrible name even if temporary) with Chris Bratton and Ted from Justice League. When that went nowhere (a few practices during a super hot summer) I hung it up for a while and eventually graduated from the University of Southern California.
I went on to sing in the almighty EYELID but that is another story (as is when a certain singer from OC backed down when Ryan Hoffman challenged him to a fight). I think I will save that one for you guys later…
Double Cross chief contributor Tony Rettman caught up with Negative Approach axeman Rob McCullough not too long back and picked his brain on the legendary powerhouse of a band we all remain unconditionally indebted to. Big thanks to Tony, and expect to see more from him here soon, as he will continue to talk to the people we want to hear from.
Tony Rettman — Give a brief description of how and where you grew up and how you think the environment you grew up in factored in on you getting into Punk.
Rob McCullough — I was actually born in England, and moved to the U.S in 1975 when I was 13. My aunt lived in Detroit, and my mom was sick so we moved here so she could be closer to her sister. I think being from England was one of the main things in discovering and associating with punk. I felt very alienated from most of the kids in high school and my friends back in England would tell me about these bands they were into.
When I went back to visit England with my dad and brother in August 1977, we visited my best friend. He had a Sex Pistols 7″ with “No Fun” I think on the “B” side. When I heard the raw sound and Johnny Rotten swearing on a record, I was hooked!
TR — What were some of the first Punk records you bought?
RM — The first bands I got into were pretty standard and quite tame really. Back then if the local records store didn’t carry it, you weren’t going to be exposed to it. ‘Night Flight’ on the USA network used to show some Punk/New Wave videos and they were so different than what everyone else was listening to that even some of the New Wave bands sounded pretty raw. The first kind of bands I got into were Devo, Sex Pistols, Clash, 999, Blondie, Gary Newman, the Dickies and Sham 69.
TR — Describe what the Midwest music scene was like at the time before Negative Approach started playing out.
RM — I didn’t know too much about any Midwest scene until about a month before I joined NA. I was into hanging out at the Endless Summer skate park in Roseville, Michigan and listening to a bunch of California bands that we read about in skate magazines. I had a Punk Rock cover band that played various backyard parties. We sucked and changed our name every time we played, but we had a great time. We would play two or three songs, some jocks would show up and then there would be the very stereotypical jock/punk showdown and the party would break up.
I discovered the Detroit scene at the end of the summer of ’81. Black Flag came to town and played at Bookies in Detroit. I couldn’t make it to the show, but the next day everyone told me about this group of kids from Maumee who had a band (the Necros) who were very cool and had invited us to another hardcore show. The first show I went to was in Canada at the Coronation Tavern in Windsor. The bands were Necros, Minor Threat, and another one I can’t remember. I was struck by so many things that night. The music was so raw that it just grabbed you. Also, someone heckled Minor Threat and the DC kids that drove up just dropped this guy with such a show of force…it was awesome! Then after the show we met Brian Baker and I bought Teen Idols, SOA, and Minor Threat singles. I couldn’t believe that guys like me could put out records, and were really cool to talk with.
TR — Did most of Negative Approach skate?
RM — Everyone in NA except John basically lived at the Endless Summer skate park. We read about Alva in the mags, and a lot of those guys came to Endless Summer on tours. Alva, Steve Olsen, Lance Mountain and a few more came through. I think I had been skating about a year before magazines like Thrasher started writing about the punk stuff going on in L.A. I took an interest as soon as I read about it. I think the skate and hardcore scenes were outside the norm at the time, so I could relate to both. Back then both were so looked down on that you stuck up for anyone in either scene. I didn’t meet any skaters through the music, and I guess once I started playing I really hung out at the park less and less. I had a bad motorcycle crash when I was 15 and my left leg was pretty destroyed so I was never good at skating, I just enjoyed it and felt a great bond with all the misfits who hung out at the park.
TR — How did you get to know Tesco Vee?
RM — The first time I met Tesco was at the one of the first Meatmen shows at the Coronation Tavern in Canada. It was pretty amazing. I was a couple of years older than most of the people at the skate park so I could get into clubs to see bands that not all of them could. I was actually there that night with the 1st NA lineup (John, Pete, Zuheir, and me). After the show the Necros introduced us to Tesco and based on them telling him that our band was really cool he interviewed us for his Touch & Go fanzine right then and there!
TR — How did you become aware of the slam dancing/stage diving ritual of Hardcore?
RM — I had read about it in skate mags and it honestly intimidated me at first. Going to my first show I was nervous about what the hell was going to happen. Once you got involved though it was a very cool scene. It wasn’t like what was portrayed in ‘The Decline’ at all. The Detroit scene was very tight. If you fell people picked you up. Nobody was just punching wildly, it was well choreographed and there was room for anyone who wasn’t an idiot. We were nearly all straight edge, so if some drunk who you didn’t know just stormed in swinging, he would get taken down so hard and fast it was frightening. Todd and Corey from the Necros were scary as hell in the early days and I felt like we sort of followed their lead a lot of the time at first as far as what was and wasn’t good slam dance etiquette. I know that sounds stupid now, but the Necros really were the model that most of us were looking up to in the summer/fall of ’81.
TR –When and how did you guys get to know the kids in the D.C. scene?
RM — We met them briefly at the Minor Threat / Necros gig at the Coronation, but we really got to know them when we hung out in D.C during the ‘Process of Elimination’ tour in the summer of ’82. They were the only other scene we met where people had fun hanging out. Guys like Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson were way too serious or intense to hang out and have a good time with, but Brian Baker was a riot and he introduced us to a lot of cool people, some that I still talk with to this day.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thanks to Hank Peirce, we here at Double Cross got our hands on a pile of priceless shots of SSD, DYS and the original Boston Crew. All photos were taken by Gail Rush between 1980 and 1981. Check back soon for more on the interview with Hank Peirce, plus more Boston Crew content and photos. -DCXX
The crew, Smalley, Jaime, Al Barile, Chris Foley, Jonathan, Springa, Pat…
Friday, May 23, 2008
On May 8th we posted an excerpt from an interview that Gordo did with Shaun Sheridan of the Anthrax club. Along with the interview I dropped in a pic from the original Stamford, CT Anthrax that I had come across. Porcell saw the article and photo and sent me a great story to go along with it. Big thanks to Porcell for this contribution and we hope to see many more from him in the future. -Tim DCXX
That live shot was the Freeze at the Stamford Anthrax, somewhere around 1984. Cappo is the guy at the bottom of the pile up, lying flat on his back on the right hand side. I’m on the left, wearing a white shirt with a huge smile on my face, right underneath the guitar player. The kid directly next to me, with the shaved head and the circles drawn all over his shirt, was a really cool kid I met that night for the first time. He said his name was Heap and he was only 14 years old. Everyone took note of him because even though he was really young, he moshed like a maniac for every band. In the beginning days of the Anthrax, not too many new kids came, so when someone showed up out of the blue you were psyched and naturally you’d introduce yourself. So I befriended Heap and showed him around, pointed out what sketchy streets to avoid (there were plenty), and brought him to the deli down the street to get a drink. On the way he told me that he had just run away from home because life with his mom was too hellish to even explain, and that he had pretty much been living wherever he could for a couple of weeks, even to the point of sleeping on park benches all night with a stick by his side in case someone fucked with him. I remember thinking that this kid is so friggin’ little and already has a pretty rough life. I said “Damn, bro, that’s harsh, what are you gonna do now?” He said his plan was to hop a train to New York City and hide in the bathroom so he wouldn’t have to pay. I was like “Do you know anybody? Do you have anywhere to go when you get there?” He said he didn’t but he would just walk to the Lower East Side and try to meet some punks to stay with.
I remember thinking that here was a kid who in a normal world would be at home watching cartoons and studying his multiplication tables, and yet somehow at 14 years old, this brave little bastard was about to go alone to the ghetto of New York City – with no money, no friends and not much of an alternative. I was a little scared for him and sincerely shook his hand and said “Hey I hope everything works out for you, good luck bro.” He kind of laughed and said “Yeah, I’m probably gonna need it.” Then we went back to the Anthrax and we both moshed for the Freeze like our lives depended on it.
A year or two later, I was walking down 3rd Ave. on my way to a matinee at CBGB’s when I saw Raybeez with a bunch of skinheads on the corner. He said “Yo Porcell, meet the newest member of Warzone!” and put his hand on this kid’s shoulder. I said “Heap, holy crap man, remember me from the Anthrax? Damn, you made it to New York alive!” He smiled and said, “Yeah, and I don’t go by Heap anymore, you can call me Todd Youth.” -Porcell
Thursday, May 22, 2008
[Pressure Release, Tom and Doug, photo courtesy of Joe Snow]
I think I speak for Tim as well when I say that Pressure Release is a band we both really love that started somewhere cool and ended up somewhere weird and mysterious, but simultaneously even cooler. Not to slag the early material, but the seven inch is so dark and bizarre (considering the time and previous material) that I have a hard time even thinking it was the same band with straight forward youth anthems a year prior. Nonetheless, that is our favorite material. I have never done angel dust, but I would imagine that if I ever did, at some point the Pressure Release seven inch would appear and start playing very, very loudly.
Guitarist Tom Kuntz popped up on the Livewire message board about six months back during a great and lengthy thread about the band. I made a mental note to track him down, and finally just caught up with him. This is part one of a large overall piece we will be doing on Pressure Release over how ever long it takes to publish all possible information about them. Wanna contribute? Get in touch.
I know Gordo pretty much spoke for the both of us already, but I still wanted to chime in. He definitely hit the nail on the head when he said the later Pressure Release material struck a unique chord with me. As much as I love the early material, X Marks The Spot, etc, the New Breed comp and 7″ are my favorite. Especially with the 7″, the sound is so dark and dissonant, I always felt some sort of BL’AST! vibe and connected with it. Definitely my favorite 7″ ever released on New Age and along with Turning Point, one of the main reasons I wanted my band, Mouthpiece, on New Age.
A couple random memories I have regarding Pressure Release was talking to Tom on the phone sometime in 1989. I remember I was working on Common Sense fanzine at the time and wanted to reach out to Tom and coordinate an interview. We talked for a bit, but for some reason or another, the interview never came together. I guess I’m finally getting that interview.
The other memory was when Alex Napeck was playing bass in Burn and the entire band had hung out at my girlfriend’s parents house. Chaka and Gavin were doing all the talking, while Alan and Alex were the quite ones. Alex especially hardly said a word and really kept to himself. I remember all I could think of was, “This dude played bass in Pressure Release!” At one point Alex was hanging out in the kitchen, by himself, so I came in and said, “What’s up?” He responded with a “Hey,” and that was the beginning and end of our conversation. I wanted so badly to dig the guy’s brain for Pressure Release talk and YOT “We’re Not In This Alone” promo photo talk, but it just wasn’t happening. The dude was on a completely different plane and I unfortunately was not going to have any luck cracking him. Who knows, maybe I’ll get another chance someday.
How did you get into hardcore and when would this have been? When would straight edge tie into this?
It was around 1986 I believe. Me and my friends were doing lots of skateboarding and the music sort of went with the territory. At first we were into the really mainstream skate stuff like Black Flag and JFA and then we started going to local hardcore shows and realized we really liked the local things going on.
Straight Edge at the time just seemed really interesting and we related to the people in that scene, I don’t really know what the defining moment was when we all said “let’s be straight edge!” I can’t really remember. But I know that after a few years of that, we started to feel the opposite way about it, we were more focused about the music, and not on the fact that we were a “straight edge band.” We didn’t want fans based on what we stood for, we wanted people who appreciated the sounds we were making and to not lump us in with other bands.
Pressure Release started out as a very “youth” oriented band associated with the CT straight edge scene. Who would you cite as your biggest influences and closest comrades? What bands personally inspired you to pick up a guitar and write songs?
Hmm…it really depends on what stage of that entire time. My ideas and influences were changing rapidly during that time. Our closest friends were a combination of the CT bands like Up Front and Wide Awake, etc., but because our bassist and drummer lived in NYC, we also had a connection to the NYC bands like Gorillla Biscuits, etc. When we made our demo, we were very much listening these sorts of bands.
By the time of recording our seven inch, we were listening to much different stuff. Articles Of Faith, Life’s Blood, Metallica, Human Rights, the Cro-Mags demo, BL’AST!, Void, etc. BL’AST! and Void were definitely big influences. We really wanted to make a cross genre record, we really wanted to make something unique. We were gravitating heavily to the dark side of things. We wanted to make an introspective, serious, dark record with strange influences. In the studio we were playing with weird African percussion instruments and synthesizers, and layered guitar solos, but I will come back to this.
Can you give a full run down of the Pressure Release line-up from beginning to end. Specifically what caused Doug to be replaced by Ben, and how did you feel about that change?
Original line up:
Tom Kuntz: guitar
Alex Napeck: bass
Sam Haffy (or happy?): guitar
Thai Park: drums
Doug Byrnes: vocals
At some point early on, we asked Sam to leave the band. I think basically because he wasn’t that serious about it or something and couldn’t really play his instrument. I can barely remember. For a while it was the four of us. At some point we had a guy named Jay from upstate Connecticut join the band, but that was quite short-lived as well. I think that was kind of right at the end. I can seriously barely remember.
Later in the game, after we recorded the 7″ with Doug, he was losing alot of enthusiasm for the band and was doing a lot of snowboarding. He would disappear up to Vermont for long stints, so we asked Ben Smith to join the band to replace Doug. Ben went in and re-recorded the vocals on the 7″, and then in a crazy pressing mix up, Doug’s original vocals ended up getting pressed. In the long run, I think it is pretty awesome, because it was him who deserved to have his voice onthe record after being in the band for so long.
What are your memories of recording the Pressure Release demos?
The original P.R. demo was recorded at a place called “The Music Box”on the Lower East Side. I was like 15 years old and it was totally freezing and we were walking around with our guitar cases past all these shanty towns and feeling like we were going to get jumped at any second. All I remember about the recording of that demo was how damn fast it was done, and that we put way too much reverb on the vocals.
The second demo we did was at Don Fury. I think we did a song called”I Try” or something like that? I can’t even remember!!! But we were much more proud of these songs. They had the sound we originally wanted. Very gritty hardcore. That was a fun day. Don Fury at that time was like hardcore central. That was where you went if you wanted to record.
The Anthrax seemed to have been your homebase. What are your favorite memories of having played there? What about other bands you saw there…20 years later, what jumps out?
I can honestly say I saw hundreds of shows there. Everything from the Circle Jerks to the Cro-Mags to YOT to Fugazi (before Guy even sang in the band) to Mind Over Four, etc. The list literally goes on forever. If a band toured, it came through that place, and we were there both nights on most every single weekend. It was truly an amazing time.
After the X Marks tracks, the band began to progress a bit by the time the New Breed tracks were recorded, which you already hit on.What was exactly going on in the band as you got further into 1988 and towards 1989?
Well, sort of covered this before, but essentially Alex and I were the ones writing the songs, and we had just gotten really into different music. We were listening to less traditional stuff. I think we really just wanted to make a record that caught people off guard. I think right around that time Absolution was on the scene and we loved how dark their sound was. We really wanted to create complex arrangements, not your typical hardcore songs. We also loved the “And Justice For All” record by Metallica, we loved how it felt like this one long song, like an opera. We wanted to try to achieve that.
For the seven inch, we went to Staten Island to this really tricked out studio that Alex found that gave us a really good price. We played him the Cro-Mags DEMO (not the record) and said “we want it to have this sound.” It was this really compressed sound we loved.
At first the studio engineer/owner guy was sort of confused by our style of music, but I remember him being really impressed how buttoned up we were. Alex and I had everything really thought out. By the end, the engineer guy was quite into it.
Similarly, you obviously progressed as a guitar player…was this natural, or were you really trying to differentiate yourself from standard power chord playing?
Yeah…I just remember sitting in my bedroom with a double tape deck recording ideas for guitar solos, experimenting with layers and harmonies etc. We just thought it would be awesome to have lots of guitar solos, both the “ripping” type as well as the more melodic type. I was a pretty good guitar player so we figured we put it to use. We thought it could be interesting.
Lyrically, Alex was writing all the lyrics. I dont think I wrote a word. He was writing seriously dark stuff. About isolation, and introspection, and about girls. He was discovering sort of the dark side of girls and sex etc. At the time, it was really quite different than what people would write about in hardcore.
[MUCH MORE PRESSURE RELEASE, TO BE CONTINUED]
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