YOUTH OF TODAY 04.28.16 SO36, BERLIN (FULL SET)
May 2nd, 2016 by Ed

TODD YOUTH
April 18th, 2016 by Tim
TODD YOUTH, JIMMY GESTAPO AND RAYBEEZ | PHOTO: BROOKE SMITH LUBENSKY

TODD YOUTH, JIMMY GESTAPO AND RAYBEEZ | PHOTO: BROOKE SMITH LUBENSKY

Todd Youth is a guy that we’ve been looking to add to the pages of Double Cross for quite some time now. If you’re a fan of New York Hardcore, chances are very high that you’re a fan of at least one of the bands (Agnostic Front, Warzone, Murphy’s Law) that he’s played in, if not all of them. Aside from the hardcore bands that Todd has been an integral part of, he’s also played in or had stints with bands like Danzig, Motörhead, Ace Frehley and a slew of others.

We caught up with Todd to not only breakdown his past, but his future as well. With a brand new Bloodclot album due out soon, we thought first and foremost we’d waste no time digging into the now.

First, tell us about this new band and give us all the background on how it came together and what we can expect.
 
The new band is called Bloodclot.  Almost two years ago John Joseph gave me a call on a Wednesday afternoon because current Cro-Mags guitarist AJ Novello had a death in his family and they had a show Friday in North Carolina. John asked if I would be able to pull it off. Now, I obviously knew the songs off of Age Of Quarrel having been a fan and friend since the early days. At one point around 1983/1984 we did some rehearsals with Harley on drums, Kevin on guitar, Eric Casanova singing and me on bass, so I already knew had to play some of the songs. I had to do a similar thing with Motorhead when guitarist Phil Campbell’s mother had passed away and only had two days to learn Motorhead’s set list and I pulled it off. So I sat all Thursday learning all the songs I didn’t know off AOQ, got on a plane Friday morning, landed in N.C. at 8pm and was onstage at 9:15, no soundcheck, no rehearsal, and it was a killer show! After the show me and John sat up all night, catching up, and at some point we discussed writing some songs, I live in LA and John is in NYC so I’d write something, demo it, email to john, and that’s how we started the writing process. As a far as what people could expect…it’s classic American hardcore punk, very influenced by the Bad Brains and the Cro Mags, but with our own spin on it. But like I said it’s straight up hardcore punk, no metal, that’s for sure.

TODD'S WARZONE AND MURPHY'S LAW TATTOOS

TODD’S WARZONE AND MURPHY’S LAW TATTOOS

What would you say the driving influences are for the band and what are you hoping to do in 2016?
 
Well we’ve all know each other 30+ years, I started out playing in bands in 1983, my first band I was in was playing bass for Agnostic Front when I was 12. I’m sure most Double Cross readers know John’s background, but for those who don’t he sang on the Cro Mags demo (my personal favorite) and one of the greatest hardcore records of all time, Age Of Quarrel. I met our drummer Joey Castillo in ‘84 or ‘85, he was the drummer in LA’s Wasted Youth. The singer of Wasted Youth, Danny is on the cover of the American Hardcore book, their first record, Reagan’s In, was a great record, so they played a Sunday matinee at CB’s and their van broke down and they ended up hanging out in NY for a few days and I got tight with Joey. I was in Warzone at the time.  Fast forward to ’87…I’m in Murphy’s Law on the Beastie Boys Licensed To Ill tour, we had a day off in LA so we did a show at Fenders Ballroom, and I think the bill was Murphy’s Law, Half Off, Wasted Youth and Youth Of Today. Two party bands and two straight edge bands!  Joey in my opinion is one of the top 3 hardcore drummers around. To me there’s Earl Hudson, Mackie and Joey! In ‘99 when I got asked to join Danzig, the main reason I joined was because Joey was the drummer. Joey ended up playing in Queens Of The Stone Age and most recently he had been playing in the reformed BL’AST!  Phil Caivano, our bass player is the most O.G. at of all of us.  He started out when he was 14 playing in a band called Shrapnel. They used to open for the Dead Boys, Ramones etc. and were managed by Legs McNeil, founder of Punk Magazine and author of Please Kill Me. Phil and I spent some time in Murphy’s Law together and most recently he’s been the guitar player in Monster Magnet. When we started talking about who to get on bass, we needed someone who was a cross between Darryl Jennifer from the Bad Brains, Harley, Lemmy and still have their own personality…Phil is the only player that fit the bill – and he’s one of my best friends!

What would you say the driving influences are for the band and what are you hoping to do in 2016?

The driving force for me personally is I feel there’s a giant void in what’s called hardcore these days. Most of the bands I’ve been seeing or hearing are more influenced by metal, metal core or whatever you want to call it, but when I first started coming up it was HARDCORE PUNK! It had nothing to do with hip hop or metal, and no disrespect to those kind of bands or fans of that stuff, it’s just not my thing. I came up worshipping the Bad Brains, Black Flag, Cro-Mags, Void and that’s the sound we are going for. We start recording our debut album in June and it’ll be out hopefully sometime September/October, and we plan on staying out on the road as long as we can, haha. We all have things going on music wise, but this isn’t a “project”…this is our band and one of our main priorities

What music do you find yourself listening to these days and as a guitarist, what do you always come back to?

As far as newer bands, I really like Trash Talk and World Be Free. And whenever I need inspiration I always go back to the Bad Brains. They were the band that from the first 30 seconds of seeing them live, looking back now my life was never the same again. I think we all have these life defining and life changing moments but being able to pin point that moment is pretty cool.

RAYBEEZ AND TODD YOUTH, 1986 | PHOTO: BRI HURLEY

RAYBEEZ AND TODD YOUTH, 1986 | PHOTO: BRI HURLEY

BURN LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA, 03.04.2016
March 8th, 2016 by Ed

Burn (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

Burn
March 4, 2016
Underground Arts
Philadelphia, PA

CHARLIE GARRIGA INTERVIEW: PART 2
March 3rd, 2016 by Larry
CHARLIE, BILLY GILL, ???, ROB GILMORE (RIP), MARK KONOPKA, MIKE JONES, MISH G. - POST SKATE SESSION HANG OUTS | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

CHARLIE, MICHELE GARRIGA, ROB GILMORE (RIP), MARK KONOPKA, MIKE JONES – POST SKATE SESSION HANG OUTS | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

Here’s part 2 of our interview with Charlie. Take it away…

What were the first punk/HC records you heard and what can you recall about those experiences?

I remember listening to Minor Threat and just being blown away by the intensity that was communicated through the music. At the time I just wasn’t into drinking and didn’t think much of it. I just thought it was a waste of time and money. I didn’t really realize I was being straight edge. I drank a couple beers in seventh and eighth grade in friends basements that had older brothers that got the beers and smoked a couple of cigarettes to act cool but was always afraid to try drugs. So I guess that was a good thing. I experimented young and got it out of my system. Once I realized that Ian was singing about straight edge, I thought that’s pretty cool. That’s like me. When I heard Uniform Choice, I was like wow they sound like Minor Threat and they are really pushing this whole no drugs and booze message. Also, they were a new band and I could actually see them play. I got my black Uniform Choice shirt and wore it out. Then it seemed like other people were gravitating towards straight edge. I heard about Youth Of Today and finally heard Break Down The Walls and I thought “Wow, this is some positive shit!” I was totally into 7 Seconds by then and Bad Brains so I was already into positivity and unity.

No one I had heard yet had lyrics like that so I was all in. We drove to Toledo, Ohio to see Youth Of Today. The line up was Ray, Porcell, Richie, Mike Judge on drums and Walter had just joined the band. It might have been his first show. They were amazing. We went to Detroit the next night and it was even better. Civ was was of the roadies on that tour. It’s a long story but basically there were a lot of white power skins in Detroit back then. I am talking big ass scary swastika tattooed white power skins. So of course they were talking their shit and Ray got right in their faces. Pretty sure there was a scuffle that night and we hung out with the Youth Of Today guys after the melee. So now they knew us as the Cleveland crew.

WALTER, PORCELL & RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY IN TOLEDO, OHIO - SUMMER 1987 | PHOTO: CHARLIE GARRIGA

WALTER, PORCELL & RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY IN TOLEDO, OHIO – SUMMER 1987 | PHOTO: CHARLIE GARRIGA

How did Outface form? How did everyone come together?

Around that time we were like, “We should start a band.” We basically told our friend Mark Konopka he was going to play drums so he should go get some drums. I met Frank Cavanaugh in high school because he was one of the misfits that rode the bus with me. He looked kind of goth but was into punk and eventually hardcore bands. He did have Bauhaus on his jean jacket. Haha. He had a bass guitar so it was on. At the time Dag Nasty Can I Say was my favorite record. I basically wanted to sound like that. We got our equipment set up in my basement and we were ready to rock. We were pretty bad for a while. Our girlfriends would come over after school and watch us practice so that was cool. We were called OUTFACE. We did sound like a D.C. band. Not a good one but we were feeling that sound. The more we played the better we got. We had two singers before we asked Derrick Green to be the guy. He was totally into it and brought a different style to the songs we had. It was like a whole new band. Also, our drummer who had the least amount of experience was probably the best musician of the band.

Over time we would see Youth Of Today and Gorilla Biscuits and other New York City bands and once they knew we had a band, they would put us on shows. I would say Verbal Assault was also a huge influence on the early OUTFACE sound. Trial is one of my all time favorites. Pete Chramiec was a big influence on my guitar playing at the time. My biggest influence on guitar was Brian Baker. I saw Dag Nasty on the Wig Out tour and his sound and style blew me away. I met him through a friend in Detroit and he was really cool. He also put OUTFACE on as an opener for a Dag Nasty show in Columbus, Ohio. That was a big deal for me and the band. I wish I could have seen them with Dave Smalley but I would take what I could get. It was so cool to have a band and be able to play with your favorite bands. We didn’t make any money and we blew two engines in my Dad’s vans but it was worth it. We were playing with Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, Judge, Verbal Assault, Underdog, S.N.F.U., Murphy’s Law, Warzone and headlining shows in Cleveland, Buffalo, Syracuse, Erie and did a small headline tour in Florida around 1990.

VERY EARLY OUTFACE PRACTICE IN CHARLIE'S BASEMENT | PHOTO:  ANN WARMUTH

VERY EARLY OUTFACE PRACTICE IN CHARLIE’S BASEMENT | PHOTO: ANN WARMUTH

Cleveland was one of the first ‘militant’ straight edge scenes of the late 1980s. What did you make of that?

The straight edge movement became really big in Cleveland as well as Buffalo and Syracuse. I think the fact that all the Revelation bands like Youth Of Today, Judge and Chain Of Strength always played there when they toured had a huge impact. I guess it did become somewhat militant for a while in Cleveland. I guess Dwid from Integrity had a lot to do with that. He actually did carry a bag with baseball bats in it to beat down people. He actually lived in my house for a little while. That was when he started Die Hard which eventually led to Integrity. The band Confront was also a legendary straight edge band. They were great and very much influenced by Youth Of Today. There were times where I was caught in the middle of the scene. I was straight edge but never wore an X on my hand. I didn’t feel like I had to announce it or make it a big deal. It seemed too easy for kids to X up at a show to fit in and then a month later they weren’t into it and getting wasted.

There were times when Dwid wanted to beat up some punks or older guys at shows for drinking and no other reason. The problem was at that point I was friends with a lot of the older guys and skated with the drunk punks and they were cool guys. There was a group of guys from the west side called The GGs. They basically worshiped GG Allin. The funny thing was they were sick skaters so I used to go skate with them all. Here’s the funny thing… Once Dwid beat a few of them up, they still came to shows and hung out. He eventually became friends with them and started acting like them. Doing gross GG like stuff and getting fucked up so all the Dwid followers didn’t know what to do. Some followed and some didn’t. I remained my positive self. Haha.

OUTFACE OPENING FOR SNFU | PHOTO:  STEVE WAINSTEAD

OUTFACE OPENING FOR SNFU | PHOTO: STEVE WAINSTEAD

PART 3 with Charlie – coming soon.

Missed part 1? Click HERE to get caught up.

MIRACLE DRUG
March 1st, 2016 by Ed
MATT LAYS DOWN THE HEAVY RIFFAGE | PHOTO: ERRICK EASTERDAILY

MATT LAYS DOWN THE HEAVY RIFFAGE | PHOTO: ERRICK EASTERDAILY

Right here. Right now. Louisville, KY’s Miracle Drug prefer to live in the present, existing in the moment, channeling the experiences of the past through the energy and excitement of the future. It should come as no surprise that there is an odd familiarity in Miracle Drug’s sound. The band is made up of current and former members of notable hardcore acts Mouthpiece, Supertouch, By The Grace of God, and C.R. The band’s demo, recorded at Treehouse audio by Trip Barringer (White Reaper, Black God), is a 12 minute blast of blistering, metallic tinged hardcore that would be right at home blasting through the PA of any sweaty DIY venue in the country.

Miracle Drug’s demo is coming out on Vinyl this year on Trip Machine Labs (All Out War, Atlas Shrugged.) Check it out below:

MIRACLE DRUG TAKES A SEAT | PHOTO:  ROXY PHILLIPS

MIRACLE DRUG TAKES A SEAT | PHOTO: ROXY PHILLIPS

MIRACLE DRUG’S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK

CHARLIE GARRIGA INTERVIEW: PART 1
February 11th, 2016 by Larry
CHARLIE WITH JUDGE AT IEPERFEST IN IEPER, BELGIUM | PHOTO: AGA HAIRESIS

CHARLIE WITH JUDGE AT IEPERFEST IN IEPER, BELGIUM | PHOTO: AGA HAIRESIS

I’ve been working on this interview with Charlie for awhile now and I am happy to finally be able to present part one to you. Lots more to come! – Larry

Where exactly did you grow up and what music led you towards punk and hardcore? What early records had an impact on you and when did you first hear them?

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. My father was from East Cleveland and my mother came over as a nanny from England in the 1960s. My mom had a great record collection. All the Beatles records, Rolling Stones and other cool 60s and 70s records. My dad also had a pretty bad ass eight track tape collection. Some of my earliest memories were putting records on the record player. I remember going to visit my family in England when I was pretty young, maybe 10 years old and my cousin was a Mod. I remember her talking about how much she wanted a Vespa. I thought she was so cool. She turned me onto The Clash, The Jam and Public Image to name a few. She gave me a 7″ that had This Is Not A Love Song on one side and Public Image on the other side. I wish I still had that. I remember when we went to Piccadilly Circus and saw the punks hanging out and I thought they were cool. They yelled at you if you tried to take their picture. You had to give them a few pounds and pents and they still told you to piss off. It was great.

Right around that time MTV started and my sister and I got into Adam And The Ants and the other bands that we thought looked punk. So pretty much through the 1980s I was into new wave and The Clash. I was also into Hip Hop from its early stages. I had Kurtis Blow “The Breaks” on a 45 and got really into RUN DMC and LL Cool J. Of course I used to break dance with friends in my neighborhood but I was also into Van Halen. We had the first album on eight track and I listened to it all the time. I was really into everything.

Once I got into high school in 1985 I really was leaning towards alternative and punk music. I was into BMX racing and eventually got way more into skateboarding. I think that opened me up to what would eventually be hardcore music. I remember skating with the older guys and hearing Black Flag, Minor Threat, Circle Jerks and Suicidal Tendencies… I think that’s when I started considering myself punk. I went to an all boys catholic high school that was about a 45 minute bus ride there and back every day. I became friends with a kid named George Milton and he really got me more into punk music. He had a lot of vinyl. I remember listening to the Germs and seeing that first Suicidal album. I thought it was so crazy and cool. He was also friends with these older dudes that had a band called Civilian Terrorists. I heard their demo tape and they were awesome. I couldn’t believe George was friends with them. I am pretty sure they were one of the first shows I went to. I cant remember if was at The Cleveland Underground or a place called JBs in Kent Ohio. Either way I was really young and pretty scared when I saw the people hanging out and slam dancing but I couldn’t wait to do it again. I met the guys in Civilian Terrorists and saw them open for Suicidal Tendencies at the Variety Theater. I had my home made Suicidal white button down like the ones I saw on the sleeve of the album. It was mind blowing to see them play those songs and it sounded just like the record. That’s one of my earliest show memories.

I also saw Agnostic Front and Negative Approach play a Knights Of Columbus Hall in ’85-’86. There was bunch of skinheads and really punk people. There was probably 40 people there but it seemed so crazy and Agnostic Front was just scary to a 80 pound skate rat like myself. Haha. That was terrifying but once again I was drawn to it. After that I would pretty much go to every show I could. I would have to get a ride and pitch in for gas but where there was a will there was a way. Going to JBs in Kent was always a risk because it was far and the shows weren’t all ages so sometimes they were strict and you wouldn’t get in so we would just skate outside and listen to the bands.

CHARLIE AND FRIEND, MARK KONOPKA, DOUBLES IN A BACKYARD POOL IN OHIO | PHOTO: ANN WARMUTH

CHARLIE AND FRIEND AND OUTFACE DRUMMER, MARK KONOPKA; DOUBLES IN A BACKYARD POOL IN OHIO | PHOTO: ANN WARMUTH

When did you start playing guitar and what were your early influences?

I don’t remember really asking for a guitar. My dad had an old acoustic and we had a piano in my house but one year my parents got this cheap ass guitar and a cable that plugged into our stereo. The cool thing was I could play the eight track tapes on the stereo and play the guitar along with them. It sounded like shit but it was fun. I had a friend down the street that would tune the guitar and taught me a basic bar chord. I would sit in my basement and try to play along with Van Halen. That wasn’t good but I would play along to the first Cars album and that started to sound good because it was basic rock n roll. My buddy George had a guitar and an amp that sounded great because he had a distortion pedal so he would figure out some songs and show me how to play them. To this day I can’t read music. I never learned. I have always played by ear. I never took a proper guitar lesson. Early on I figured I wanted to play what I wanted to play and didn’t want to waste time learning Stairway To Heaven. Subliminal by Suicidal Tendencies was one of the first songs I remember being excited about playing. I could also could rip Just What I Needed by The Cars. Haha.

CHARLIE AT AN EARLY OUTFACE PRACTICE | PHOTO: ????

CHARLIE AT AN EARLY OUTFACE PRACTICE | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

What was the hardcore punk scene like where you lived and what were some of your early encounters?

One day my buddy George got a hold of the Cro-Mags demo from Jim, the singer of Civilian Terrorists. He was like you have to come over and listen to this band. So I did. Annnnd. Wow. Mind was blown. He said they were going to open for G.B.H. at Peabodys Down Under. I can’t even tell you how many amazing shows I saw at Peabody’s. Honestly too many to name. Also I loved G.B.H. so I was psyched for the show. Let’s just say I felt bad for G.B.H. having to follow the hardcore onslaught that the Cro-Mags brought that night. Anyone that was there will tell you the same. They were on fire. So they became one of my favorite bands right then and there.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO – COMING SOON

Be sure to see Charlie playing with the almighty JUDGE this month…

February 18 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ Waiting Room
February 19 – Philadelphia, PA. @ Voltage Lounge
February 20 – Boston, MA. @ Hardcore Stadium

NEW BREED TAPE COMPILATION 2016 OFFICIAL DOCUMENTARY TRAILER
January 23rd, 2016 by Tim

BELLS OF..
November 24th, 2015 by Tim

PHOTO_1_Bells_of pic_2

1985 was a transitional period for the Washington DC music scene. Founding members of the hardcore movement pulled away from it’s original trajectory in search of a new musical direction. Rites of Spring, Embrace, and Gray Matter are all well-known and well-documented examples of this time and shift that came to be known as Revolution Summer.

But theirs were not the only voices.

In the early months of ’85, 17-year-old guitarist Lawrence McDonald set out to form a new band. His ex-bandmates from his previous hardcore band Capital Punishment were doing the same–Mike Fellows with Rites of Spring and Colin Sears with Dag Nasty. Lawrence found vocalist Alec MacKaye (Faith), drummer Pete Wilborn (The 400), and bassist Bleu Kopperl and Bells of was born. Inspired by the budding movement of the time, the band moved quickly. By summer they began their first recording at Inner Ear Studio with Don Zientara, and on August 11, 1985, Bells Of played their first show at Bethesda Community Center. Unfortunately, Alec departed soon after, leaving the recording without vocals and the band without a vocalist. 

Not wanting to lose momentum and having written all the lyrics anyway, Lawrence returned to Inner Ear to sing his songs for the first time. He pulled fellow skater and nubile guitarist Jason Farrell (later of Swiz) into the band to help in a live setting while Lawrence transitioned to lead vocals and guitar. On October 25, 1985, Bells of played their second show, with Rites of Spring and Embrace. It was Lawrence’s 18th birthday, and the real birthday for Bells Of–a musical entity that has continued uninterrupted to this day.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, this first Bells of recording was never released. After mixing the songs, Don Zientara set the tape box on a shelf at Inner Ear where it was forgotten as Lawrence set about writing more. By the following spring, Lawrence had shed all the songs, shed the members, and started over anew–a cycle he would repeat multiple times over the years. A few of the songs made their way across the country on cassette dubs passed between DC purists and pockets of fans with little or no backstory to the songs’ origin. Rich Jacobs was one of those fans. He enlisted the help of Jason Farrell (Swiz, Fury, Bluetip, Retisonic, Red Hare) to track down Lawrence and the lost collection of songs to give them the release they both felt it deserved. The tape box was still sitting on Don’s shelf 30 years later.

Here is Jason Farrell’s recollection of Bethesda/DC skating and the genesis of Bells Of (pulled from the Bells Of 00/85 accompanying booklet). 

BETHESDA SKATE CREW | PHOTO: JOHN GARRISH

BETHESDA SKATE CREW | PHOTO: JOHN GARRISH

Me and my friends started skating in the summer of ‘83. BMX culture wasn’t doing it for us anymore— we wanted something a little more unique (and cheaper) to do. A weekend of lawn mowing could buy you a lightly used Kryptonics, Variflex, or Powell from any number of Bethesda’s older brothers who were caught up in (and bailed out of) the first wave of skating (77-81 or so). I was able to pick up a board off a neighborhood kid looking for a little gas money to feed his Camaro. In hindsight, the “F&R Team” graphics were prophetic, but they meant nothing to me at the time… I just knew it was a huge boat of a board that was way more legit than the skinny warptail knock-off I’d owned up until that point. 

We built a short-lived kinky quarter pipe, and were surprised how quickly word spread to these older dudes (Annandale Ramp locals) with bad mouths, cars, and a style of music we had never heard: Hardcore. Skating and Hardcore were inextricably linked at the time so we dropped everything else to absorb all we could: DK, Black Flag, Circle jerks, Agent Orange, GBH. We quickly discovered that nearby DC had its own crop of bands, most notably the recently-deceased Minor Threat and Faith. We dived into the thriving scene, going to every show we could, which usually involved Government Issue and/or Marginal Man with Void, Dove, Malefice, or Nike Chix peppered in. These big/fun/hectic, and sometimes violent shows brought us in contact with more skaters from the surrounding areas.

By early 1984 we had built a halfpipe in a pocket of woods off Connecticut ave and Jones bridge in Bethesda. Word spread fast through the small loose network of skaters in the DC area, transmitted out from the Bethesda Surf Shop. Suddenly we’re seeing people from our favorite bands showing up at our shitty ramp: Ian MacKaye and Brian Baker (Minor Threat), OP Moore (Negative Approach), Eric Lagdameo (Double-O) and Bert Queiroz (Youth Brigade, Double-O, etc, etc, etc,). When surf shop employee Tom Clinton (Youth Brigade, Double-O) showed up one day, he had his neighbor Lawrence McDonald and little brother Mark McDonald in tow. Lawrence “the rat” had been a young ripper in the early days DC skating, and rode for the Bethesda Surf Shop’s “F&R Team”.

The Bethesda Surf Shop—also known as the Sunshine House or Finnegan & Roberts (F&R) was historically significant for the DC skate/hardcore scene. Half of this distinction was by default (it was the only shop for many, many miles) and the other half due to Blair Rhodes, the incredibly supportive shop manager. Henry Garfield (pre-Rollins), Ian MacKaye, his brother Alec, and others had all rode for the F&R team a few years prior, and would still pop into the shop for Vans now and then. The shop sat on Cordell Ave. in the heart of our hometown—at the top of my street to boot—so the shop was a daily pit stop for us in 83/84. Eventually Blair christened our crew of 13- to 15-year-old skaters the next incarnation of the F&R team.

Lawrence on skating in 1980: “I remember sitting on the porch of the shop watching Ian do six or seven 360’s in a row—he was more freestyle. Henry was really good back then, he was more of a transition skater. My first recollections of transition were Tom Clinton’s quarter pipe, Crofton and Alexandria parks. Arlington ramp as well—typically taking the metro bus meeting John Falls (Skewbald) midway. Wednesday nights we would meet at Bethesda Surf shop. PC (Paul Zurkowski, Air Force Lt. Col. and Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor recipient) would drive his VW bus with everyone in it out to Crofton. F&R team night. Jon Hargadon, John Sablaski, Tom Clinton, Mike Maxwell, Tim Cunningham…just a conglomeration of skaters from the area—not necessarily riding for the surf shop per se, everyone mostly looking for a ride out there. Kenny (Marginal Man) was out there the day I broke my arm in the capsule.”

EXCERPT FROM BANNED IN DC

EXCERPT FROM BANNED IN DC

Lawrence had also been active in the earlier days of the DC hardcore scene. At age 13 he started a hardcore band called Capital Punishment with Colin Sears and Mike Fellows (later in Dag Nasty and Rites of Spring respectively). Being obsessed with skating and hardcore, I’d badger Lawrence for his first-hand knowledge on the recently-passed heydays of both. He’d patiently answer the endless barrage of questions on all the broken-up bands and bulldozed parks I’d just missed. Lawrence and Mark were quickly absorbed into our core crew of skaters. 

Right around this time, Lawrence started Bells Of with his close friend Bleu Kopperl on bass, singer Alec MacKaye (Faith), and drummer Ken “Bidge” Kavanaugh.

By spring of ’85 our ramp was gone, so we frequented the next-closest one: Rayburn, built by recent BMX-to-skate converts Terrence Stuckey, Jeff Tremaine, and Adam Spiegel (Spike Jonze). We started skipping the big hardcore shows downtown, opting for smaller shows by Rites of Spring and Embrace at local community centers. At the same time, we were skating more and more ramps in our area and beyond: Wiggy’s, Phil Banfield’s, Ethiopia Ramp, Goshen, Hell Ramp, Ocean City. As our skating community was expanding, culminating with Cedar Crest (1986-1991), the dominating influence of DC hardcore softened considerably within our ranks. 

ALEC MACKAYE, BELLS OF.., 08.11.85, BETHESDA COMMUNITY CENTER | PHOTO: BERT QUEIROZ

ALEC MACKAYE, BELLS OF.., 08.11.85, BETHESDA COMMUNITY CENTER | PHOTO: BERT QUEIROZ

LAWRENCE MCDONALD, BELLS OF.., 08.11.85, BETHESDA COMMUNITY CENTER | PHOTO: BERT QUEIROZ

LAWRENCE MCDONALD, BELLS OF.., 08.11.85, BETHESDA COMMUNITY CENTER | PHOTO: BERT QUEIROZ

Pete Wilborn joined Bells Of in the late spring, replacing Bidge. By summer, Bells of went to Inner Ear Studio with Don Zeintara to track instruments for the recording that was meant to be their first album. They played their first show on August 11th, 1985 at the Bethesda Community Center with Mission Impossible (featuring a young Dave Grohl). It was inspirational to see Lawrence, one of our friends whom we skated with daily, get up and do something—create something. After the show, Pete left for college and Alec left for a long motorcycle trip up to Newfoundland with Dante (Gray Matter).

When Alec returned, Lawrence booked a second show for October with Rites of Spring and Embrace at the Chevy Chase Community Center. Practice was difficult with Pete away at college. Lawrence knew I was friends with a drummer named Tom Doerr. In the weeks leading up to the show, Lawrence asked me to see if Tom could sit in so that Lawrence, Alec, and bassist Bleu Kopperl could practice. In exchange for my matchmaking, Lawrence would let me sit in, too, as second guitar. I was just learning to play, and would have jumped at the chance to play with anyone, let alone Lawrence and the singer of my favorite band. 

The practice was a bit of a train wreck. Neither Bleu nor I were up to snuff, and Tom didn’t know any of the songs. Lawrence was patient, working his way around the room of kinder-players desperately in need of help. Between warbled songs, Tom and I goofed around like the kids we were while Lawrence and Alec made futile attempts to fine tune the mess. At one point, a frustrated Alec had to whistle loudly to shut us up, like one might to naughty puppies. I found out later that Alec’s involvement was always tenuous… perhaps this was the final straw.

A week or so later, as we rode in the car on our way to the ramp, Lawrence played me one of the songs from the recording Bells Of had been working on. “Down” sounded amazing to me. After commenting on how much I liked Alec’s vocals, Lawrence told me that wasn’t Alec…. it was him. He then told me Alec had quit, Lawrence had to sing now, and I had to be second guitar. He took me out to Angela instruments— I knew nothing about guitars, so I picked out a pretty single-coil Epiphone that I could afford. Looking for reassurance, I asked shop owner Steve Angela if it was a good guitar—he said “Sure…if you’re a girl!” I bought it (it was very pretty).

10.25.85, CHEVY CHASE COMMUNITY CENTER, TOP: BLEU KOPPERL, BOTTOM: JASON FARRELL | PHOTO: MARK MCDONALD

10.25.85, CHEVY CHASE COMMUNITY CENTER, TOP: BLEU KOPPERL, BOTTOM: JASON FARRELL | PHOTO: MARK MCDONALD

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The show was rough, but I still admire Lawrence for committing 100%, singing and playing his songs for the first time (despite much reliable back-up from me). That kind of commitment drove and continues to drive Lawrence and Bells Of. 

Lawrence went back to Inner Ear to finish up the recording and brought me along. Watching him overdub a guitar lead for “Down” and spin some green plastic tube over his head for “Like in Movies” are random but indelible memories for me. The rest of it is fuzzy—He and Don likely ran a quick mix that day or soon after, and I believe that is the version presented here. In the span of weeks I had found myself in a band, playing a show, and in the studio—all for the first time. I had no control or say over any of this… I always felt I was just filling Lawrence’s temporary need brought about by a certain set of inconvenient circumstances. I had nothing to do with these songs beyond being asked to play them live and getting the privilege of watching a bit of their creation. But I love them. And I always felt others would, too… even without them being infused with the memory of so many firsts as they are with me.

BELLS OF... SKATING

BELLS OF… SKATING

Though you might not recognize it in the songs or lyrics, Bells Of was a skate band through and through. As the band continued to change, Lawrence repeatedly pulled from our core skate crew to repopulate his band—me, his brother Mark, John Garrish, Tom Allnut, and Fernando Carr were all part of that original 1983/84 Bethesda skate crew. None of us had any prior band experience, or much skill really—but Lawrence’s need to practice, write, and create was urgent and eclipsing. He would play with anyone who was immediately around, regardless of their skill level, and teach them what they needed to know so he could work out another song. Though we didn’t play in Bells Of at the same time, each of us could say that our first show, our first recording, our first attempt at songwriting were all a collateral result of Lawrence’s need to move Bells of forward. Though partially rooted in self-interest, his patient teaching set many of us on our individual paths to the bands that followed (Swiz, Monorchid, Ignition, Bluetip, the Warmers, etc..). 

Over the years our skating got more intense, and Lawrence’s guitar playing exploded. There were better skaters, and maybe a few better guitarist, but Lawrence reached a level of ability in both disciplines that no one in DC and few elsewhere could touch. His rapidly-maturing, self-taught theories of music veered his songs and lyrics further away from traditional DC confines. While other bands rose and fell in popularity, rushing to release every musical thought that crossed their minds, Lawrence showed some crazy patience and resolve—waiting five years till his songs and his ability matched his constantly-evolving vision. By the time Bells Of finally released its stunning debut 11:11 in 1990, there was no trace of geographical influence, and little similarlity to this first recording… which is undoubtedly how Lawrence wanted it. 

As of this writing, Bells Of have released five albums through Teen-Beat records, making them the sole entity from Revolution Summer that has continued unabated—a weird distinction considering the sonic and conceptual twists and turns Bells Of have made away from that time and that sound 30 years ago. But Bells Of has always been nothing if not the autobiography of Lawrence—changing as he changed—so it is appropriate that the current sound bears little resemblance to the original sound. Maybe he was a bit embarrased by the simplicity of this first chapter, or maybe random circumstances and constantly-evolving members caused him to shelve this first recording… but I’ve always been in awe of the optimism and exuberance of these songs, recorded when Lawrence was just 17. 

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Bells of “00/85”

Long-lost tape from Washington D.C.’s Revolution Summer, seven songs on 12″ clear vinyl out now on Move Sounds.

Available through Teen Beat, Dischord Direct, and Revelation.
Digital distribution through Teen Beat.

Teen Beat Records

Dischord Records

Revelation Records

Bells Of… Official Site

THE NEW YORK HARDCORE CHRONICLES 1979-2015
November 24th, 2015 by Tim

Drew Stone delivers a couple new interview snippets from his upcoming documentary, The New York Hardcore Chronicles 1979-2015.

SOULSIDE – BOOT AND SADDLE, PHILADELPHIA, PA – 11/10/2015
November 12th, 2015 by Tim

Soulside (Full Set) from hate5six on Vimeo.

Once again, thanks to Sunny from Hate5six for this lighting fast posting of Soulside’s set from Tuesday night in Philly. Any other night and I would have been there, but sometimes life gets in the way and this time around, I just couldn’t swing it. Regardless, Sunny pulls through and we at least have this video to enjoy.