Sunday, December 12, 2010
Harley Flanagan posted this new Cro-Mags / Harley’s War track on his Facebook page and said he’ll be releasing something new in 2011. Pretty solid track, thought I’d share it. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The plan was to have “Why Be Something That You’re Not” Detroit Hardcore book editor, Tony Rettman, wrap up this Negative Approach poll, but Tony’s knee deep in multiple projects right now and didn’t want to keep us waiting any longer, so I’ll take a stab at it.
As you can see, “Tied Down” took the crown, but only by a mere 14 votes. I know plenty of people that are extreme in their opinions about these two releases, but personally I think both are flawless in their own way.
The 7″ is a perfect example of raw, no frills, grab-you-by-the-throat-hardcore. Had I never heard “Tied Down”, and only heard the 7″, I’d think that there was no way Negative Approach could out do themselves. I mean, let’s face it, “Ready To Fight” might be one of the greatest hardcore songs ever written… period.
Then you hear “Tied Down” and you realize, the unthinkable has been done. Negative Approach took that same grab you by the throat sound, gave it an ever so slight polish and delivered what could very well be one of the heaviest hardcore albums of all time.
I can still remember sitting on my bedroom floor, spinning the “Tied Down” vinyl for the first time and hearing the track, “Evacuate” and wondering how a human being could even sound like that. This may sound ridiculous, but while listening to this album, I felt invincible. I felt like I could stomp holes in my concrete basement floor, break my head through walls and tell every wannabe bad ass, dusted out, metal head that I went to Jr. High with that they had no idea what “heavy” music really was. You know the metal head that thought he was totally bitchin’ with his “Bonded By Blood” Exodus shirt? Well that shit was pure panty waste in the wake of “Tied Down” or anything Negative Approach ever did.
So yeah, I’ve got nothing but love for the Negative Approach 7″, but “Tied Down” ultimately is the release that brought it all home for me. Every song demolishes, and almost 30 years later, it’s still one of the greatest hardcore albums ever made. – Tim DCXX
Negative Approach – “Tied Down” – 164
Negative Approach - 7″ - 150
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
People will say what they’re going to say about Youth Of Today and their reunions, but one thing I’m going to say is, man… I wish I was there for this one. Look at this crowd and look at that energy, people are having the time of their lives.
Thanks to Iran from Brazil for sending me the link to this video. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get at least one more dose of this in the US. Take A Stand 2010… -Tim DCXX
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
In true holiday season form, the legacy of Lodi, New Jersey is the gift that keeps on giving! As the final act of Misery Obscura, Eerie Von’s highly-acclaimed retrospective photography collective, Generation Records and Von again team up to release a series of limited-edition photographic prints.
Approved by Von himself, each image is available in a strictly limited, numbered and signed edition. From the live set and basement to the studio and fast food joints, this final series of images truly captures the legend of both the music itself and the personalities behind it.
These fine-art prints will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis so be one of the few with a piece of punk and hard rock history with these limited-edition prints.
To buy prints, please go to Generation’s online store they are available now.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Jon Field has been a fixture of the east coast hardcore scene for the past 25 years and came up in the mid 80s while seeing shows all over the northeast and playing guitar in Up Front. Tim and I had been meaning to get him on DCXX for a while, and after a night in his hometown of Richmond while shooting the shit over dinner, it really hit us that Jon not only saw tons of awesome stuff and still loves hardcore, but he actually has a great memory for it too. It’s always a bummer when you talk to someone who saw awesome bands play over the years, but they have zero recollection of anything substantial.
So, enjoy Jon’s memories and the visuals to go along with them. Much more soon, thanks Jon. -Gordo DCXX
What was the best show you ever saw at CB’s? Any stand out stories that are still vivid 25 years later?
My main memories of CB’s are related to the club itself: The broken floorboards in the pit with 100 year old nails sticking up; carrying my birth certificate so I could prove to Hilly’s wife I was 16; the bathroom with one toilet that you had to step up to, with no stall, so that people coming down the stairs could see you taking a shit; the AMAZING sound system, that to this day I can pick out in any live recording from the club; hanging out on the street while the homeless men upstairs heckled us and threw things at us; that feeling I got every time I went of good music, Sunday afternoons, excitement, camaraderie, danger and friends, that still comes back to me whenever I see a video; how the walls literally oozed sweat, cigarette smoke, graffiti and old flyers.
As for shows, a lot are a blur, but a good amount really stand out to me. I’ll go with the first three that pop into my head…
The first was when I saw Straight Ahead at the Band Together show in July of ’86. My friend Mike and I got in, Steve and Jeff Up Front did not. Normally we would have just left and hung out with them, but it was Straight Ahead! I was blown away. I still remember standing off to the right side of the stage with my walkman so I could record the show. My friends and I wore that tape out. At one point Craig says that people say they (Straight Ahead) are young and just going through a phase, but that they mean everything they’re saying, and the girl next to me says “Awww, he’s so CUTE.” That always makes me laugh when I listen to that recording. Then a fight broke out at the end of their set outside and the whole place cleared out. This was also the show where Rest in Pieces played and Armand wore a Skrewdriver shirt and short 70s gyn shorts. Warzone, Ludichrist and Ed Gein’s Car were a few other bands that played that day. With all those great bands, I was amazed that there only were about 75 people in the club at any given time.
Another one that stand out is GI in 1986. They played for close to 3 hours, to about 25 people. My friends and I loved it, the rest of the crowd looked like they were about to fall asleep. They played almost every song they had.
In February of ’87 Dag Nasty, Verbal Assault, Bold and Death Before Dishonor played. I remember the rumor being that Dag Nasty had changed and weren’t going to play any fast songs. They opened up with a slightly different/slower version of Under Your Infuence. But when they went straight from that into Can I Say the place erupted. At the end of their set, Peter starts doing the chorus and talking part from What Now. The crowd starts doing it with him and he stops them, telling them Dave Smalley’s story is totally different. He ends it with “We both walked right by and you didn’t say a word. But I looked you right in the eye and said…12XU!” As they broke into the song the place erupted again. This was back before they recorded this song, and before they played it on a fairly regular basis. I have the soundboard of this show and put it in circulation on the web about 10 years ago. The 12XU part still gives me chills, like it did that Sunday afternoon in 1987.
All of the bands that day were amazing. The flyer from that show is still one of my all-time favorites, and I managed to grab the giant Bold set list that was written on the back of two duct-taped-together flyers from that show, two more reasons this show stands out to me. Then, following the CBs matinee, we went to The Ritz to see Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers…long day.
Bold setlist is from the back of the Dag Nasty/Bold/DBD/Verbal Assault flyer
Tell us about some of the other venues of the NYHC scene in the mid and late 80s – Pyramid, Ritz, L’amour, Irving Plaza, etc. What are memorable bands you remember playing, and what can you recall about these non-CB’s NYC venues?
Unfortunately, I never made it to the Pyramid Club. Shows there were always Saturday matinees, and I had to work at Sears all day every Saturday. The Pyramid only did about 6 months of shows in the late 80s, and it sounds ridiculous now, but bands like Youth Of Today, Side By Side, GB, etc. played all the time. I figured no big deal, I’d see them at The Anthrax or CB’s. After the fact I wished I had gone to at least a few shows there.
The Ritz was great because it really helped introduce my friends and I to hardcore. We started going to shows at the 11th Street location as metalheads in ’85, and ended as SE kids in ’88 or so when it moved to the old Studio 54. I saw some great shows at the original Ritz (now Webster Hall), and a handful at the new location in the late 80s and early 90s. I think the best thing about the Rock Hotel at The Ritz shows from ’85 to ’87 was the variety. Where else could you see the Cro Mags open for SOD or Dark Angel, the Bad Brains open for Slayer, MDC open for Celtic Frost or Youth Of Today open for Discharge?
The first Ritz was an old art deco concert hall, and typical of the mid 80s, there was an odd mixture of punks, metalheads, skinheads, and a lot of mohawks and leather jackets. They rarely had bouncers for the Rock Hotel shows, and if they did it was people like Raybeez, so stagediving off the 5 foot tall stage was prevalent. I remember one guy breaking his neck at a Cro Mags show, and frequently seeing pools of blood on the floor in the bathroom. The best was that they still had an old guy in the men’s bathroom selling aftershave/cologne and providing hot towels at the first shows I went to there. Like it was the 1950s and we were at a Frank Sinatra concert or something.
As far as bands that stand out? In addition to the ones I mentioned above, Descendents, Raven, Flipper, Slayer, Motorhead, Firehose, Wendy O Williams, SNFU, DRI, Circle Jerks, Project X, Dag Nasty, Raw Deal, GBH and many more. I remember Warzone coming out with a fog machine, and they used so much dry ice that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face in the pit. I first heard Rise And Fall from Leeway at The Ritz. The bass beginning fooled me and when the guitars kick in quick in the beginning I literally jumped off my feet it surprised me so much. Doggy Style came out in grass skirts and dayglo green body paint and got most of the dance floor (hundreds of people) to do the doggy style hop.
For the earliest shows I was still in metalhead mode, and would stay crushed up against the stage for the whole show. My chest/ribs would hurt for days afterwards. I remember being incredibly psyched to see the Descendents for the first time in 1986. They always put a screen down in between bands (which could last a LONG time) and showed weird videos a la Night Flight on USA. They also would show videos of bands from earlier in the night, and I’ve always wondered what happened to all that great footage. The promoter Chris Williamson may have had a sketchy reputation, but he put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Irving Plaza, Lismar Lounge and L’amour were other places in NYC that I saw shows at back then. A very large PA speaker fell on some guy at a Meatmen/Die Kreuzen show at Irving Plaza. This was War of the Superbikes era Meatmen, they put on a great show.
WNYU pic is Roger Up Front, Ian Keeler (RIP) and Grant Unit Pride, with various Unit Pride and Up Front guys in the background. I’m on the far right behind Grant. This was taken outside of the WNYU building the night Unit Pride and Up Front played on Crucial Chaos, Photo courtesy of: Jon Field
WNYU’s Crucial Chaos, while not a traditional “venue,” was someplace a lot of hardcore bands played in the late 80s/early90s, and I was lucky enough to play there three times with Up Front. The main DJ area was pretty typical looking for a college radio station, and a large window separated that from the small room where the bands played. While it was a little cramped in the room, the main issue was how hard it was to hear the songs over the wall of noise. Still, it was incredibly exciting to play on the radio. I remember leaving a cassette tape in my bedroom stereo and teaching my Mom how to start the recording when we played.
Even though L’amour in Brooklyn wasn’t a typical NYHC venue, my friends and I were introduced to hardcore there through bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Crumbsuckers, DRI and Corrosion of Conformity in 1985, along with great metal bands like Slayer, SOD, Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Overkill and more. And even though they weren’t in NYC, we went to/played some good shows at places like The Pipeline in Newark, NJ, and the Rite Track Inn on Long Island and Streets in New Rochelle, NY.
What is a memorable Up Front show from The Anthrax? Why did The Anthrax always prove to be great for Up Front?
As individuals we went to hundreds of shows there, so most importantly we had tons of friends at The Anthrax. I’m sure a lot of kids in hardcore are lucky to have a hometown club to go to or play at, but of all the clubs I’ve gone to, The Anthrax was the most unique in that respect (except maybe for Gilman St). There’s a few reasons for that: Brian and Shaun being so supportive of the hardcore scene, especially the local scene, and the fact that for the most part, it was an all punk and hardcore club. So shows for us were like a big party. Lots of pile-ups and sing alongs, lots of inside jokes, just a great time.
As for most memorable…..that’s a tough one. I can narrow it down to a few. Our show with Youth Of Today and Warzone in the Fall of ’87 was our first really big show. We had only been a band for less than a year, and it was packed when we played. Plus, I brought a few of my non-hardcore friends, and I’ll never forget their reactions. I’m still good friends with one of them, and to this day we joke about it.
A fight broke out during our set, and the two people fighting fell to the ground at the feet of my friends. I could see the fear on their faces from on stage, I’ll never forget it. You have to remember, this was back in the days of Duran Duran and Madonna. So anything with a distorted guitar that wasn’t Bon Jovi or Def Leppard was completely out there. One of my friends talked in amazement for months that people had their noses pierced, he couldn’t believe it.
The Aaron Straw benefit is another that sticks out. We were at the end of a tour with Unit Pride, and about to go out again for another month long tour. Sadly, I think the violence at that show may have been the beginning of the end for The Anthrax, but even with that, it was an amazing show. Great bands, great cause, and I got to see Wide Awake for the first time in a while. I remember being inside while all the bands were loading in, and Jeff Up Front and I wondered if anyone was in the parking lot. As we rounded the corner and approached the front doors we couldn’t believe the line we saw. I never saw that many people waiting to get into a show at The Anthrax before or after that day.
Another one would be when we played with Project X, Judge and Pressure Release in 1988. I broke a string and ended up with Porcell’s Les Paul. The crowd was insane, and I was scared to death someone was going to run into me and damage his guitar. Then we played Deliverance after only 1 or 2 practices and butchered it. Towards the end of our set Jeff bashed Steve in the head with his bass guitar tuning pegs, and friends rushed Steve out the back door to the hospital to get stitches without telling us. After 5 minutes of confusion while we looked for Steve, Chris Daily attempted to sing Foolhearted, then we ended the set. So not the best show, but definitely memorable.
Crowd outside The Anthrax for the Aaron Straw benefit, Photo courtesy of: Jon Field
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Mill Hill Basement
300 South Broad St.
STOKED ON BEING PUMPED
333 Brodhead Ave.
Monday, November 22, 2010
So with the holiday’s rapidly approaching it’s time to remember those that may be in need. Join us if you can for this weekend of great hardcore and amazing hang out times. No politics, no drama, no negativity, just fun for a cause. All proceeds will go to benefit Sub for Santa. Sub for Santa provides gifts for children between 18 months and 14 years of age in Utah County. This temporary assistance program fosters self-sufficiency as applicants discuss different ways to manage their time, money and talents. Last year, Sub for Santa provided nearly 2,000 families and more than 5,400 children with much-needed assistance while helping to maintain their self-sufficiency.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10
Aftermath of a Trainwreck
XBuilt on LiesX
@ The Underground
7720 S. Oak St. (480 West)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11
549 W. 200 S. 7PM
$10 in advance $15 at the door
For more info check out: www.grudgecityactivities.com
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
In our most recent poll, which may have been our most nerd-friendly yet (considering it discussed 3 longsleeve t-shirts done by a small record label with 4 releases in 1988), JUDGE took the win as the majority’s favorite Schism longsleeve.
Let me say there is nothing wrong with that answer and that I expected it to win. My second favorite longsleeve shirt of all time is either the red or navy Judge Schism longsleeve (I can never decide which I like more). I think both colors belong in the Guggenheim. Porcell and Alex Brown should receive monthly checks from the government for their creations, as this longsleeve design has simply made America a better place for the past 22 years. I’d like to one day stage a photoshoot with a voluptuous supermodel who is wearing nothing but an original JUDGE longsleeve (feel free to email any submissions). I think you understand my enthusiasm.
The only shirt to supercede such a ridiculous level of excitement is the PROJECT X Schism longsleeve. I’ve detailed my reasons in a long-winded diatribe on the TeeTillDeath site a few months back if you’d care to understand my reasoning.
So yeah, I gotta go with PROJECT X.
Schism knew how to do it. From the fanzine to the record layouts to the shirts…sheer perfection. -Gordo DCXX
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
While our quest for content can sometimes result in sparse patches or somewhat redundant topics, every now and then we get an email out of nowhere from someone offering us the hardcore equivalent of pure gold that I know will get people psyched. This time around, that someone is long-time punk fan Andy Nystrom. Big thanks to Andy for hooking us up. Enjoy. -Gordo DCXX
It all began with, “Hey, you, with the Minor Threat sticker on your flannel.”
I turned around to find a sweaty Battalion of Saints guitarist Chris Smith looking me in the eyes as he packed away his gear after a raucous set at Bob’s Place in Los Angeles, June 11, 1982. “We’re playing with them July 9 in San Diego,” Smith added. I tucked that date away in my mind — I simply had to go. But how? At age 15, I didn’t drive — and if I arranged the trip with someone who did — I would have to come up with one brilliant, convincing story to get my parents on board with my quest to see my two favorite bands.
Eventually, my friend Mike Paul became the driver man — with his bitchin’ Camaro — and I informed my parents that I would be sleeping over at his house in Torrance that Friday evening. I did, but we also managed to make it to San Diego, locate the gig space and see Minor Threat, the BATS and Husker Du (!), before trucking it back to Paul’s home and getting some well-deserved punk-rock rest.
We pulled it off — and that began a memorable trifecta of Minor Threat gigs, which also included a near riot at HJ’s in San Fernando Valley and a wild, sing-along, dog-pile-on-top-of-Ian Mackaye show at Dancing Waters in San Pedro.
“What’s your names? Merril (Ward) said we’ve got to put you on the guest list,” Mackaye asked us while pointing at Ward, whom I knew from hanging around SST Records’ office, which was a quick skateboard ride away from my Redondo Beach home. Not bad, we thought, but it would get even better. A while later, as we were sitting in front of the club, a gregarious man stumbled by and sang a Beatles song a cappela in a raspy yet melodic tone. We later recognized him as Grant Hart behind the Huskers’ drum kit.
In short (as I noted in my Flipside #34 review back then), openers Men of Clay’s keyboard/guitar punk fusion was enjoyable, the Huskers ripped through their ultracore set and blew us away, the BATS turned up the punk/metal to headbanging volume — and Minor Threat, well, the crowd ate up every second of their in-your-face, hardcore bursts of energy.
After Minor Threat’s set, Mackaye was spent and, with head down, trudged out of the club and into the night.
One gig down, two to go.
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY: July 10
I’ve got my brother and dad to thank for this one, no doubt.
With DOA’s “Hardcore ’81″ blasting on the cassette player, my brother Eddie drove our Gremlin up the freeway toward HJ’s. However, the car suffered a flat tire about a half hour into our journey, and we were stuck on the side of the road — majorly bummed, of course. After calling my dad, he soon arrived in family vehicle No. 2, a VW bus, that saved the day. Thankfully, dad was into the switch-off, and as he waited for Gremlin help, we took off in the bus toward the valley.
After arriving at HJ’s, a country bar complete with sawdust on the floor, we were confused as to whether they were going all-ages on that night or 21 & over. I do remember seeing Susannah Hoffs of the then Bangs there and some guy with a homemade “Miner Threat” shirt (yes, Miner, ha ha).
While everything was being sorted out, Eddie and I had a lengthy conversation with Lyle Preslar and Brian Baker of Minor Threat about school, punk scenes and various other topics. Nice guys. And that’s when the first bottle was thrown by a punk at the HJ’s building. Apparently, the club owners were canceling the show and some folks were downright pissed off. In mid-chat with the Minor Threat boys, Mackaye came over and spoke of an alternate venue — nearby Stone Fox Studios — and they bolted for their van to get the hell out of there before the cops arrived.
We followed in our bus and tore through the night and wound up at Stone Fox, a spot secured by the Youth Brigade guys. With about 20 folks on hand, both bands played, with Minor Threat blasting through their set at breakneck pace, never tiring and giving us lucky ones a show for the ages.
Next morning, word was out about another Minor Threat gig at Dancing Waters in San Pedro. Camaro Mike was back for this one, and Manhattan Beach punk characters with names like Chriso, Hank, Fletcher (Pennywise) and Dougie (Dag Nasty, Descendents) also made appearances.
Upon arrival, I noticed the Minor Threat van, and Baker emerged from it, gave me a nod and a smirk and headed into the club.
Black Flag played a short set that night, and Henry Rollins was in full force during Minor Threat’s set, as well, piling onto the stage with the rest of us to share vocal duties with Mackaye, who was more than willing to hand off the mic. It was another killer show, and probably the best of the three in a row (and certainly more intimate than the massive July 3 gig at The Barn at Alpine Village, where you could barely see the band on the stage because of the constant stream of divers and slammers. Mackaye’s bald head popped up every once in a while, so you knew he was there).
Bumps, bruises and hoarse voices aside for all involved, the ride home after Dancing Waters was bliss, knowing that we were witness to something special that night. Thanks to the Manhattan crew, they brought a cassette tape and had the sound guy record the gig, which I still have a copy of today and still play often. It still sounds as loud, clear, angry and vital as it did then.
I drove by the area where Dancing Waters stood recently with my wife and parents, and I remember smiling as I looked over at the spot, still hearing those songs echo in my mind.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Past Present is a collection of current bands covering classic tracks from the Revelation Records catalog including songs by GORILLA BISCUITS, WARZONE, YOUTH OF TODAY, CHAIN OF STRENGTH and more. Twenty-three songs covering more than 20 years of hardcore played by a diverse group of bands including SICK OF IT ALL, BOLD, WALTER SCHREIFELS, TERROR, DEATH BY STEREO, SET YOUR GOALS, DOWN TO NOTHING and more, all together on one record.
Past Present at RevelationRecords.com:
Buy on iTunes:
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
About two weeks ago, Vision guitarist Pete Tabbot shot me an email asking if I’d be interested in doing guest vocals on a Vision song at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, NJ, in honor of Vision frontman Dave Franklin’s birthday. Pete said he was working on also getting Ensign frontman Tim Shaw, The Fire Still Burns frontman Alf Bartone and Sick Of It All’s Lou Koller to step in and do some songs with them as well. My initial reaction was that I was honored to be asked, but I was in the middle of figuring out when and where my band Hands Tied would be playing that same weekend. I didn’t want to commit to being at the Vision show and singing a song if I had to be somewhere else with Hands Tied. As luck would have it, Hands Tied ended up getting booked with the Cro-Mags in Philadelphia on Friday, November 5th, which left my schedule wide open for Saturday the 6th and very able to hit up the Vision show. I confirmed with Pete, picked which song I wanted to do, scheduled a practice with them during the week…it was on.
Now for those that don’t already know, Vision are the true essence on New Jersey Hardcore. They’ve been around for over twenty years and have released a slew of great albums and EP’s, my favorites always being the “Undiscovered” 7″ and the “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP. I’ve got so many great memories of Vision shows, wether it be the first time I saw them at City Gardens in 1988 when they opened for The Exploited and the Pagan Babies, or seeing them at Scott Hall opening for BOLD (the “In The Blink Of An Eye” cover shot show) or seeing them at Club Pizzaz in Philadelphia when they were touring with Insted or the other hundred plus times I’ve seen them, sang along and jumped on heads for them. Always great, always a good time, always the most stand up, exceptional dudes who represented New Jersey Hardcore as well as anyone could. To put it lightly, Vision have held a spot in my heart for a long, long time and like I said, I was honored at the chance to give back to to the band and sing one of my favorite tracks.
Matt Riga, Pete Tabbot, Lou Koller, Tim McMahon and Alf Bartone at Vision practice, 11/2/2010, Photo: Nate Gluck
So Tuesday November 6th, Vision practice was booked in Kenilworth, NJ. I assured Vision guitarist Pete Tabbot that I’d make it out to practice so that I could run through the song that I picked. Alf and Lou were also planning to make it out to the same practice so that they could run through their prospective songs as well. I chose “The Only One”, a definite favorite of mine off the “Undiscovered” 7″ and “In The Blink Of An Eye” LP. Alf chose to do Dag Nasty’s “Can I Say” and the Vision guys agreed. Lou Koller by default was given three classic Sick Of It All songs, “Pushed Too Far”, “My Life” and “Friends Like You”, plus Vision’s “Absence Of Hope”. Tim Shaw wasn’t able to make it to the scheduled practice, but chose Vision’s “Again and Again”.
Practice went well and Lou, Alf and myself all went through our songs numerous times. It was particularly cool watching Lou tear through those SOIA classics. I had a hard time staying seated and not diving off a sofa or climbing over Lou’s shoulder for a sing along. I mean really, who wants to sit still when they hear “Pushed Too Far”? By the end of practice, I was super pumped and ready to hit the stage on Saturday.
Pete Tabbot with Vision at The Court Tavern, New Brunswick, NJ, 11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
Come Saturday my stomach was a pile of twisting nerves. I had just come off a Hands Tied show where we played with one of hardcore’s greatest bands EVER… the Cro-Mags, yet the idea of doing this one song with Vision had me super excited and nervous all at once. The other interesting aspect of this show was that Vision’s frontman Dave Franklin had no idea of the special plans that had been set in place to honor him on his birthday. So, in hopes that we could all pull this off and deliver it as a surprise to Dave meant a lot.
Once I walked into the show, one of the first things I got a chance to see was the sheet cake that Pete had made for Dave, complete with an old photo of a young X Swatched Dave Franklin. Pete had the cake hidden in a back room and assured me that Dave still knew nothing about the surprises that were going to unfold on this night. As Maximum Penalty were rocking the stage, I stood in the back of the room, waiting and biding my time until Vision. As much as I enjoyed MP’s set, I kept myself reserved and ready.
Dave’s birthday cake, Photo: Ken Salerno
Once Vision hit the stage, I moved up front and anxiously awaited for my opportunity. The band jammed through eight tracks with Dave, then Pete stepped to the mic and asked Dave to exit stage left. Dave looked a bit confused, but listened to Pete and before I knew it, I was being asked to take my place on stage. I picked up the mic, spoke my piece and bam… into “The Only One” we were. I felt good, I felt comfortable and most of all, I was psyched to be sharing the stage with one of New Jersey’s finest. The crowd reacted positively, the band did their thing and I tried my best to nail it all down. As quickly as it started, I was done and Tim Shaw was being brought up. I stepped to the side of the stage, full cotton mouth in effect, and watched as Tim Shaw and Alf went on to do their part.
To finish off the whole Dave Franklin B-Day surprise, Lou Koller took the stage and hammered it home as Lou has done for 25 years now. Finally I got my chance to sing along to these SOIA classics, as did Dave and it was clear that this whole thing came together perfectly. Dave had the biggest smile on his face, the band clearly enjoyed themselves and the crowd ate it all up.
Tim DCXX, doing “The Only One” with Vision at The Court Tavern, 11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
Dave came back for two more songs, Vision’s version of the Stiff Little Fingers song, “Suspect Device” and the Vision set closer, “Falling Apart”. When it was all said and done and the last bit of sound echoed, the crowd thinned out, hand shakes commenced, hugs and smiles abroad and the night came to an end. Surely a night to remember and hopefully Dave enjoyed it as much as I know I did. -Tim DCXX
If you’re not too careful, hardcore shows that take place in the modern era from bands who, let’s say, are getting up there in age, can end up being nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of dudes to assemble in a predetermined location and scream, punch their fists in the air, and sweat to the oldies. It really runs the risk of looking more like a bro-bang than anything musically relevant.
Thankfully, the overly cerebral guys in Vision take great care into avoiding such pitfalls for their now semi annual get-togethers at New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Court Tavern.
Lou Koller with Vision at The Court Tavern, 11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
A couple years ago, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a collection of special guests that included Bryan Kienlan and Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls), Alf Bartone (Ex Number Five, The Fire Still Burns, Damn This Desert Air) and Ari Katz (Lifetime). Then it was the 20th anniversary of the release of ‘In the Blink of an Eye,’ where they played the album in its entirety.
Alf Bartone delivers “Can I Say” with Vision at The Court Tavern, 11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
Knowing that you can only run that 20th anniversary flag up the pole so much before it gets weathered and torn, this year’s party celebrated the birthday of lead singer Dave Franklin. Guitarist Pete Tabbot secretly assembled a list of heavy hitters that would relieve Dave of his singing duties about midway through the set.
Former Mouthpiece frontman and DCXX co-editor Tim McMahon was first to hit the stage and provided the vocals for ‘The Only One.’ Ensign’s Tim Shaw followed with ‘Again & Again’ and Damn This Dessert Air’s Alf Bartone made his second guest appearance of the night covering Dag Nasty’s ‘Can I Say.’
Tim Shaw sings Vision’s, “Again and Again” at The Court Tavern,11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
What followed next was an epic mini-set featuring Sick Of It All’s Lou Koller. Vision and Lou ripped through renditions of SOIA’s ‘Pushed Too Far,’ ‘My Life,’ and ‘Friends Like You’ before wrapping up with Vision’s ‘Absence Of Hope.’ The final guest spot of the night featured Dave’s brother Brian, and the two siblings powered through SLF’ s ‘Suspect Device.’
Long time friend of the band and legendary City Gardens and Thrasher photo documentarian Ken Salerno was also celebrating his birthday and was front and center to capture the images for this story.
Vision’s Matt Riga pounds with Precision at The Court Tavern, 11/6/2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
No matter how many years pass, there are a few things that are standard issue with Vision shows at the Court: First, the guy that takes the money at the door will be a cranky fucking curmudgeon; secondly, you’re bound to see a ton of old friends; and finally, Vision sets ALWAYS end with the all-hands-on-deck, full house sing along of ‘Falling Apart.’ On this evening, ceiling tiles showered to the floor and the PA stack nearly toppled as Vision closed. Hopefully these things will never change…even the cranky fuck at the door. Happy Birthday, punks!!! - Derek Rinaldi
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