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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Let’s just get the basics out of the way. When/why the band started…how you knew each other, etc. Was there any concrete reason to start a band that fell out of the very regimented sound/idea of Hardcore?
The very beginning was just talk with my friend Aaron Chrietzberg. We met in North Carolina from going to shows and being into the same type of shit. He was playing guitar in The First Step at the time and was writing some different stuff on the side and we had always talked about doing something that was a little beyond our usual. We used harDCore as a starting point, I think he was real into Subject to Change at the time and I was probably thinking Verbal Assault. We got a few riffs together and improvised the rest in NYC at some rehearsal space in Queens with Steve and Fred from TFS filling out the drums and bass. Everyone was real jazzed on the way things turned out so Aaron and I started trying to scrape together a line-up. He got in contact with Gene, Ahron Reinhard, and Andy Norton who were all old friends of ours and we got going. This was all probably ’05 or ’06. I had known Gene from his days in No Justice. On their tour with The Nerve Agents, they all stayed at my parents house in NC and after that I became friends with Desperate Measures and met Andy and Ahron through them. I graduated high school in spring ’02, joined Desperate Measures on their first US tour that summer and left for boot camp two weeks after that tour ended. So I was in the military and stationed in Mississippi at the time all of the Give stuff started going down and would fly up for practice a few times a year. I finally got out of the Air Force in Sept ’08 and split for Maryland. Aaron left earlier in the year on a Buddhist retreat and Ben stepped in on Guitar and once I moved up we got started right away with Give. Andy and Ahron dropped out around this time so we ended up recruiting Ian and his friend Pat in their place. Pat hung on until about 2010 or so and then Doug joined up on bass. Other than talking with Aaron in the very beginning, I don’t really remember talking about the sound of the band with anyone else that much again, it just kind of happened. It went through a lot of member changes but the style of music was never really a topic of conversation. I think it was just known that we weren’t sticking to a specific style so anything goes and we’ll keep whats good. And no matter what we do, it’s always going to be grounded in hardcore. We can get as stupid as we want and try and twist it as far as we can and at the end of the day, its just going to sound like hardcore to me. It’s in our fucking bones, there is no escape at this point.
GIVE | PHOTO: MIGUEL DEL ANGEL
Prior to starting to play out, record, etc. did you have a certain vision of how you wanted the band to sound, be perceived, etc?
For the image, probably, I can’t remember now. It most likely wasn’t too focused, and changed a million times before anything actually happened. The music for Give I’ve never really had a big hand in, I just take what they create and paste my bark over top as best I can and try and add cool graphics and push it out into the world. I know with the first record, I wanted it to have flowers on the cover and be really colorful. I was probably working against all the dark imagery that it seemed everything had fallen into at the time and I wanted to introduce a more energetic agenda. After that I just kind of built upon that theme. It’s interesting to think what the imagery could have developed into if I had done something else with that first record. But, yeah I definitely spent a lot of time thinking about and trying to control how every aspect of the band would be perceived but quickly learned that it’s impossible. It never matches the vision in your head exactly and that’s the beauty. You nurture something and it grows into it’s own identity. Always reminds me of what Jack Brewer from Saccharine Trust said “Once the music leaves your head, it’s already compromised”.
Where did the idea for the flowerhead thing come from? And why did you choose the flower to use for the logo?
The flowerhead thing was something I have always wanted to do, and finally had the chance to with this band. As a kid there were a lot of toy lines, especially action figures that had their own mail away fan clubs in the beginning and newsletters and mail away shit was big with video game companies in that era. There weren’t any bands that I liked that did it while I’ve been around, but one look at a Samhain mail-order form and you can’t walk straight for a few days thinking about how cool that shit is. Getting and sending mail is such a great experience and doing the flowerhead thing kept me busy and just let me expand the world of Give. I remember looking at the Gilded Eternity album by Loop and it had an address to write to that said “Soundheads”. I thought that was the coolest shit so I called a song of ours “Flowerhead” and created an explanation for what I believed a Flowerhead to be like and then just started sending people stuff in the mail. It was slow at first and I knew I was going to have to do it for free and finance the whole thing, but now it’s up to almost 500 people. I don’t send as many things out now because I do everything myself and it takes forever. These days its mostly stickers, pins, newsletters, etc but I have sent out cassettes, patches, and t-shirts in the past. The free shirts were sent out when we had about 140 members and that was a huge project, but was something I wanted to do from the beginning. I wanted to do free 7″s but thats just not possible now unless I hit the lottery. If anyone wants to join, just send a letter or postcard with your address and shirt size to:
1326 Newton Street NE
Washington, DC 20017
For the “G” flower, I just wanted a strong logo. I’ve always loved that type of thing with other bands, something easily identifiable that could take the place of the band name that you can draw in math class. So to go along with the flowers on the cover of the first record, I drew up a little sketch of a flower with a G in the middle. Most Likely had the Wu-Tang and Faith logo’s in mind and our friend Luiso Ponce from Guatemala took my sketch and created the flower we have been using ever since.
GIVE SING ALONG | PHOTO: TODD POLLOCK
Your vision/aesthetic for the band seems very focused. The uniformity of record sleeves, the t-shirt designs, etc. Do you have any certain bands or artists that you draw influence from to realize your concepts?
It’s all just comic books, cartoons, magazines, record covers, action figures, video game artwork, etc. I’ve always enjoyed consistency within artwork, so once I used the flowers on the cover of the first 12″, I just tried to build and add on from there. In my mind, Give is visually just a combination of everything I like. For bands, it’s hopefully something near Youth of Today, Nirvana, and Ignition. I’ve also always been a real big fan of live photography. I want a record fucking packed with pictures of the band playing live. The ideal vision would be somewhere near Charles Peterson meets the True Till Death 7″. But specific artists, hmmm…John Pound has always been a dude I’ve enjoyed. He drew the entire first series of Garbage Pail Kids, and basically created the look and design for the rest of the series. His current artwork is real wild. Love his shit. Peter Beard is great, I really like his method. Not sure of names but whoever was responsible for a ton of the design and artwork on Japanese famicom handbills, it doesn’t get any better. Skateboarding also basically handed me my future in the early/mid 90’s and opened up a whole new world for me. I got exposed to a lot of music through skate video’s and eventually found my way here. Alien Workshop and Toy Machine were companies that I loved from the start and Ed Templeton’s art and design is a real big influence. I’m actually in the process of compiling all Toy Machine content from ’93-99 and releasing a zine for each year during that time with all ad’s interviews, pics, stickers, artwork etc. I’ve got interviews with Panama Dan and Donny Barley already and hope to one day help design a full color book compiling everything in extreme detail. If anyone has anything dealing with Toy Machine in the 90’s, please get in touch. Early Nintendo and action figure artwork is also a real big inspiration for me. For the first TMNT action figures released in 1988, the design theme for the artwork was called “Green on Brick”, and for Give I would basically call it like “Flower on We’re not in this alone”.
GENE WITH GIVE | PHOTO: ANGELA OWENS
Thus far, what are you most proud of with GIVE?
I’m really just proud that it exists. I feel like I was scheming about doing a band like this for so long, I’m just glad that it actually fucking happened. But beyond that, it’s probably the lyrics and especially the visual element, the artwork, and aesthetic. The fact that people pick up on that and single it out as one of their favorite parts of the band makes me feel great. I spend a lot of thought and energy on creating and executing things for that side of Give, and that type of stuff is a huge part of the reason I’ve always liked bands, I want it to feel like a cult, you have to join our world, we aren’t adapting, you are adapting to us.
Are there any bands currently going that GIVE would align themselves with? Why?
I would align us with any of our friends bands, but if you are asking which bands feel like a perfect fit sonically or aesthetically, I don’t really know, probably any one and no one. Who we are, what we are, what we sound like, etc. we just do it, you figure out how it fits into your life. Some bands around now that I enjoy and really like how they operate are Omegas, Fury, No Tolerance, Mindset, Intent, Fucked Up, Big Mouth, Turnstile, every new band from DC. Way too many to list, there is just too much good stuff out there to not be excited about something. My girlfriend Emily plays in a band called Big Mouth with Ian from Give and they just released a really interesting record. She also just started a new band called Post Pink that is great. Both from Baltimore and worth your ears. I’m also real excited about this new band Burst of Rage. Four young kids who worship the X marks the spot comp, so a lot for me to like there.
You will be self releasing EFC. Why not do it thru another label? Did you think that it was important to do this album/statement on your own w/o any outside help?
A few labels offered, but we just wanted to keep it to ourselves. I actually did take the record to Ian and talked to him about Dischord releasing it, but in the end he wasn’t interested. But besides Dischord, the only other option in my mind was doing it ourselves on Moonflower. Partially, we just wanted to have control but we also paid a lot for the recording and knew that no other label would be stupid enough to shell out the amount we dropped. I’m not opposed to other labels, it just has to feel right and with a record this big, I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect.
Along with self-releasing EFC, you’re doing two ‘maxi-singles’ for Rev and Lockin’ Out. What was the idea/vision of doing the 12” eps along with the EFC LP?
Revelation and Lockin’ Out had told us they wanted to work with us, so we found a way to do it. We had a lot of songs to work with at the time so we thought doing a record with each could be a fun idea. Doing 12″s had been my plan from the beginning but it’s hard to get a label to take a chance on a new band with a 12″, it was just easier doing the 7″s at first. After all the singles we released, I feel like the 12″ single is the next step and it just gives us more chances to create cool artwork. The plan was for the 12″s to serve as singles to the actual LP. I’m really excited about the artwork for the Rev record. We had a guy, Kinya, write in from Japan and he sent a picture of some clay art that he made with a guy holding a flower and it looked really fucking cool. I got in touch with him right away and asked if he would be interested in doing a record cover. He was game and completed the layout and its one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. He made this huge Rev star logo with flowers behind the star where the yellow would be and Jordan asked Kinya to ship over the full clay piece so they could hang it in the offices, so cool. We made huge posters of the complete clay artwork and everyone should have it hanging on their wall. The Lockin’ Out EP should be out soon, maybe summer but probably not. I just have to finish the artwork, the music is completely done. I just felt like we needed to give people a break after releasing an LP and an EP, let them digest that before we shove something else on the plate. But yeah, we love the way Greg and Lockin’ Out has always operated and obviously being on the same record label with BOLD is a huge plus, so we made it work with both labels.
GIVE | PHOTO: TODD POLLOCK
Lyrically, you definitely write from a more abstract angle than most bands associated with HC? Again, any influence on that method of writing? Are there any songs coming up on EFC, the maxi-singles or just in the general GIVE repertoire that you’d like to highlight and talk about the meaning of?
I don’t really know specific things that influence me, I just know what works for me. lyrics have always been a huge deal to me and I think a lot of film dialogue influences me, but I like when a song title alone draws you in and I really like when the music and lyrics work together to create a complete thought. Like in the A.R. Kane song “Haunted” the simple line “you feel so far away” is repeated a few times and it works so well with the music, it elevates a common phrase to a place that just knocks you out. I’m not really sure how to do that, I just write lyrics and hope for the best. One of the best examples is that song “Talk to me” by Porcelain Raft, extremely basic words but when they are combined with that music, that song is so beyond. There is probably a lot of trance influence seeping in Give lyrics, Pet Shop Boys and New Order are also a big deal for me. I really like Greg Dulli and think he is one of the most consistent lyricists. But for the LP, there is a song called “Paint my life” on the LP, I had the song title bouncing around in my head for awhile and was slowly chipping away at a lyrical theme. It eventually locked into place and now kind of seems like a song I have been meaning to write since the beginning. It’s me trying to describe how a major theme running through lyrics within hardcore is thinking for yourself, forming your own identity, knowing what you believe, sticking to your ideals, never changing what you stand for, etc. and how that never really felt like me. I don’t have a fucking clue what I’m doing or what I’m thinking and I’ve always pretty much felt like that. My opinions and ideas are constantly changing. I’m being pushed and pulled through the world at every moment by people, places, things, etc. It seems so basic, I don’t know. There is another song “Welcome to Dust” that is about my friend Chad’s father. He died a few years ago and I had Chad tell me the whole story and constructed the lyrics from everything he told me. I really like how that one turned out. I recorded the whole conversation and we intended to use a clip of it somewhere in the song, but the iphone it was recorded on was stolen a few weeks before recording. “Voodoo leather” is another song that is going to be on the LP. It’s from an earlier recording we did for a Heartworm cassette, but we shortened and changed it a bit. I’m really glad it’s making a comeback because it contains some of the favorite lyrics I’ve written. It’s about violence. “Sonic Bloom” is a song that we have been playing for about 3 or 4 years and we finally found a place for it on this LP. It’s about always pushing forward with new idea’s, sounds, scenes, etc.
GIVE | PHOTO: TODD POLLOCK
Talk about the origins of Moshers’ Delight. Please tell us how and when it came to be, who is involved, etc. Is it a collective? How big of a role does it play within the band? Is there a certain role/aesthetic the label has?
Mosher’s Delight started a little bit ago, maybe 2012. It was basically just born out of friends talking about hardcore. At the beginning it was Me, Zack Wuerthner, Chad Troncale and Austin Stemper from DC, Mike Fairley, Matt LaForge and the Demolition guys from Canada, Gil Sayfan and Kenny Fontaine from Boston, Mir Ali from Texas, and Ned Russin from PA. I brought up the idea to do a fanzine and just make it a one pager with demo reviews backed with an interview that we could bang out quickly and give away for free. Everyone was down. Not a huge project so we could keep it easy and I really missed doing layouts in the fanzine format. Mike the Mosher from Toronto did all the reviews in the first one so we called it Mosher’s Delight. I got Chris X to do some artwork and he came through beautifully like he always does and that was it. In the beginning there were more people directly involved but now it has thinned to just myself and Zack doing most of it. Picking bands, mailing shit, deciding on shirts, etc .We still get a lot of help from our friends with reviews, writing, support, etc though so thinking of it as a collective wouldn’t be wrong. After a few issues of the zine Zack came to me with the idea of expanding into a record label in addition to the zine, so we pushed ahead with that. And just like anything, it’s ballooned into what it is now. It doesn’t really have anything to do with Give, I’m just involved in both. My main concern is the look and design of everything, I want everything to look as cool as possible. Obviously zines like Boiling Point, Open Your Eyes, Schism, Hardware, Dear Jesus, Sold Out, Town of Hardcore etc provide a lot of the inspiration and Zack and I love a lot of the smaller labels that operated with impeccable style like Schism, Axtion Packed, Step Forward, Hi-Impact, so that’s the goal really. Take all the amazing shit that came before and add our spin to it while supporting current hardcore and releasing our friends music. For upcoming musical releases we got the Burst of Rage demo coming very soon . The biggest thing coming up is Issue #10. It would have been out sooner but I stumbled into a BOLD article that is just too good to not include. I got like 20 pictures from Revelation from the ’89 summer tour BOLD did and Matt Warnke hooked me up with like 50 more never before seen pics from the same tour that are mostly shots of everything that happens between shows. So I’m interviewing each member about the tour and gathering memories from people who were at the shows and it’s turning into a great piece. Look for that soon, we are real excited about it. After all this and all the new Give releases I’m also helping John White on an Open Your Eyes fanzine anthology.
CRUCIAL JOHN WITH GIVE | PHOTO: ANGELA OWENS
Last words, where to get the record, what else, etc
Our LP “Electric Flower Circus” is available now. We are sold out of the fist press, but distros and record stores hopefully should have copies. You can buy it digitally from us at www.givemusical.bandcamp.com and you can just download it for free from a bunch of places. We are headed to Europe again this summer and Adagio 830 from Germany did a press of the LP with a whole different layout and you can order those too, I think they are still available, maybe a second press. Amendment Records is also doing a small South American press of the LP with a new layout and everything, should be available soon. The “Sonic Bloom” 12″ on Revelation is out and we have copies on black vinyl plus a poster that you need to own. I also started an instagram account with Tim from Double Cross and Zack from Moshers Delight that is dedicated to posting images of Youth of Today and it’s the first step towards a book about the band we are doing with Ray, Porcell, and Jordan. Check it out at @youthcrew88. We are collecting photos, stories, etc now so if you have anything, get in touch.
In this episode of On The Grind, join Delaware-born musician and skateboarder Chuck Treece, who came up in the ’80s riding for Powell Peralta, Airwalk, and more. Now based in Philadelphia, Treece is liminal in the sense that he operates in two worlds: one of a professional skateboarder and the other of a professional musician.
Legendary photographer and artist Glen E. Friedman celebrates the release of a career-spanning compendium of work at his first ever Brooklyn event. Featuring a conversation with Ian Svenonius, special edition vegan burgers made on the premises by Brooks Headley of Del Posto, and a raffle for a special signed Dogtown deck donated by Jim Muir.
The definitive monograph of Glen E. Friedman—the iconic skate, punk, and hip-hop photographer, often called the most important photographer of his generation, known for masterfully capturing and promoting rebellion in the cultures which he helped shape and define with his art.
My Rules is the best of his first two highly sought-after books, here bigger and better than ever—featuring never-before seen photographs of Black Flag, Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Beastie Boys, Dead Kennedys, and Ice-T, as well as classic skateboarding originators Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Lance Mountain, “Ollie” Gelfand, and Tony Hawk, just to name a few.
My Rules also features personal reflections from some of Friedman’s most well-known subjects, giving its readers an unprecedented window into the most significant radical youth countercultures of the last 40 years.
Santa Cruz Skateboards catches up with street veteran and 80’s legend, Tom Knox, in his home town of Visalia Ca. Tom talks about turning pro for Santa Cruz and skates the spots he shredded in his classic video part from Speed Freaks.
FROM FLIPSIDE FANZINE, ISSUE NUMBER 38, PUBLISHED IN 1983
This was a 1983 video/photo shoot of the guys from Minor Threat skating at a Los Angeles elementary school. Glen E. Friedman was also in attendance snapping photos of Rodney Mullen. If you saw an earlier version of one of the Flipside Video Fanzines, video from this skate session were interspersed with live footage of the band from a gig at the Rollerworks.
Flipside Video Fanzines where a bit of a moving target. Once a 3/4 inch recording master tape was made, it would eventually get “eaten” while dubbing VHS tapes. We would then have to re-edit the entire master tape from scratch from the original VHS tapes. As such, editing points on Flipside Video Fanzines would vary over time. Later editions of the Video Fanzines reduced or eliminated the shots from the skate session. –Joseph Henderson (Flipside)