IVAN WHITE – POWERHOUSE
February 25th, 2015 by Ed
IVAN WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: NEW AGE RECORDS

IVAN WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: NEW AGE RECORDS

Huge thanks to Burst Of Rage vocalist, Jack Doubt for the contribution of this interview with Powerhouse vocalist, Ivan White. – Tim DCXX

What got you into punk or hardcore?
Um, are we on? Are we live?

We are live with Ivan White of Powerhouse, it is March 31st in Doughnut Plant of New York City
Alright! I’m here, I made it to the Big Apple.


Hollerback!
So, what got me into punk or hardcore, um, I would say that Suicidal Tendencies record with Institutionalized on it. I think I caught that video on MTV back when MTV had videos and that was probably my first punk exposure. I went out and bought the record and listening to it in secret in my bedroom and just got exposed from there. I started skateboarding and started going to shows after that and everything, I’d say, started from that record. 

Can you tell me about your first hardcore show and some early south Florida punk or hardcore?
First show is…I don’t exactly remember what show was the first show. Um, since I was a skater kid, I was real poor and I hung out in front of shows before I actually went in because I never had any money. So there was this place called Flynn’s on the beach, down on 71st Street on Miami Beach where I met some people, couldn’t tell ya who they were; they were punkers and skaters. There was a pool that I skated in the back of the hotel that this little club was in, so whenever there was a show, I would roll around and be like, “Hey, there’s a pool in the back, let’s go skate it.” So, that’s how I got exposed to it, met some punkers and some skins. Bands came through in and out of town. I don’t remember who they were. Can’t say I ever met any of them again at the Cameo or later on, not sure. But that was my first exposure of shows. Flynn’s wasn’t open that long, and then the Cameo Theater was opened. I was in high school and there was some other kids, that were punkers and went to this venue, so I started going to that venue. All started from there, man. Cameo Theater.

Fuck, that’s sick.
Two thousand kids every weekend for a show. That’s how shows used to be, cause that was the only place to go. It was a big movie theater. The seats were almost to the stage. It was maybe- seats then 20 feet, then the stage. So with each show, the rows of seats got ripped out. Kids started tearing the seats out because they were stage diving and hitting the seats. The seats kinda got torn out then they came in and took a few rows of seats out and little by little they took all the seats out on the big main floor.

POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: POWERHOUSE

POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: POWERHOUSE

[Clerk calls Ivan’s order]

That’s my order, I’ll be right back.

Ooooh, what donut is that? It’s a square one.
Peanut butter and banana cream.


Wow!
Square doughnut and a small coffee! I gotta get a photo of this square doughnut too. So let’s see, where was I….started off at the Cameo.


Can you tell me about  meeting Tim?
Tim and I met through skateboarding, we were both skaters and there was a place called Island Water Sports in North Miami Beach, and there was also a big ramp in someones backyard, a kid named, uh, two brothers Jeanie and Kevin. There was a big ramp in their yard, so I started hanging out there, Tim and I started hanging out there. 

What inspired you to start Powerhouse?
Tim played guitar and we both were young in the scene, we were like, “let’s start a band.” So we started a punker band and it was called Bad Influence. Our first show was a backyard party at a friend of ours, her name was Leck. Our first experience was a few songs in and the cops showed up. So that was our first show. We played half a set in a backyard. I’ll continue the story, we were Bad Influence, we had a batch of songs, we did a couple of Agnostic Front cover songs, then we went through a few bass players and a couple drummers, then we changed the band name to Just Cause and that was real short lived. We then got exposed to that first Revelation Record, the WarZone 7″ came out and we got rid of all those old songs and we started writing new songs in that New York Hardcore vein. Dropped the boots and punky hairstyles and dawned the sweatpants and the Nikes that are on the back of the record. We started off as the Straight Edge band but we dropped the Straight Edge logo pretty quick and just were Powerhouse. We found our groove writing those positive songs, you know; brotherhood and all that stuff. Against racism and all that. We were in a type of scene that was mixed kids from everywhere, you know, you grow up in Miami and everyone’s from everywhere else. Everyone was Jewish or Spanish, everyone came from everywhere, we all had to get along. The south Florida scene was anti racism, everyone still holds to that today, no boneheads to speak of that you really see anymore at all.

Remember any favorite shows you played?
Lets see, we played at the Cameo once and that was with Brotherhood, SNFU and The Accused. That was our one and only Cameo appearance. We played with um…agh, it was so long ago I can’t even remember all the bands we played with. We played with Quicksand in Tampa. That was a messed up kinda show. They played before us cause they’re time frame was off so we played after them, maybe six songs but no one was there besides Quicksand. They stayed and watched us and liked us. Tim and Walter are friends to this day, they see each other regularly.

Ivans7

Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Powerhouse play a show with Up Front and Release? Isn’t that were the picture came from?
Yeah, the ones on the sleeve, whichever pictures you can see the ceiling tiles in. The picture on the back of the shirt came from that show. [Looking at Powerhouse classic shot] see the ceiling tiles and the gym lockers in the background? It was a rec center in the middle of a housing complex and this kid [pointing to kid on back of shirt], stole Publix crates for about a week. He kept going there and getting crates and crates and crates. And we made the stage out of crates and plywood. His name is Tommy Bretthauer. [points to kid with FWA shirt], Evan was the drummer for FWA, I haven’t seen him in ages. 

I always liked how he is smiling in this picture, you always see these pictures with people angry but he’s having a lot of fun.
Yeah. We got a video of this whole show too that we gotta find; Up Front, Release, Brotherhood. Tim found it and then he’s like, “I don’t know where it is now.” But it’s in his stuff so we gotta dig up that tape and we wanted to send it to Sunny Singh of hate5six so he can digitize and put it out. I’m really looking forward to seeing that video again.

You’ve seen it before?!
Oh yeah, a long time ago.


Was it crazy? One of the craziest shows?
Yeah it was a lot of fun. You got the knee high stage so everyone was stagediving and moshing. Back when no one cared if they got hurt, and no one even cared if they got hurt!


Favorite hardcore shirt?
Ah man, um…we all bought a shirt from every band that came down, especially Tim, he would scoop up two or three shirts from each band. Tapes were big too, I tossed out an enormous duffel bag of demo tapes.

Just tossed it in the trash?
Threw it away. I was tired of carrying it around. It was this duffel bag with hundreds of cassette tapes in it. I didn’t listen to it. I’m so mad I threw that away, original demos and stuff from all these bands, some of them went on to do bigger things and some never did anything except a demo. I had live recording from soundboards at the Cameo. I had so many good live recordings of bands that I just threw out man. I threw my history away. I threw a part of me away. I just didn’t know what to do, I was tired of carrying it around. There may have been 200 cassette tapes in there. Not all of it was hardcore bands, but I bought a lot of music over the time, back when it was tapes and records, you bought the record and you bought the tape or you bought the record and you taped the tape. I never threw any records away. I never threw any away, I don’t have that many. Tim’s is huge, he’s got a lot more 7″s and stuff than I do. He, years ago, had to sell all his stuff for money. He had everything, a few copies of everything. Test presses and colored vinyls.

IVAN WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: NEW AGE RECORDS

IVAN WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: NEW AGE RECORDS

Back to this, favorite hardcore shirt?
I used to wear the Brotherhood shirt which said Brotherhood on it a hundred times and Fuck Racism on it. Project X shirt, we wore that out for sure. The one with the Schism Records pocket, which is where I got the tattoo idea from. Bands came down with longsleeve shirts with the logo printed on the sleeves and we were like, YEAH! So we started making our hardcore shirts like that too. You know, you live in Florida, you’re not thinking about a longsleeve shirt very often. We had those shirts made with Mike Hartsfield of New Age Records, he made all the shirts and records in a bunch of different colors. 

[I show him my OG longsleeve]

I don’t even have one of those. I have an original blue short sleeved shirt with the gold ink and the classic picture on the back. I keep it in a ziploc bag so it stays nice. I wore the hell out of it. 

You couldn’t choose just one shirt? Or is it just too hard?
Well see, back then, Tim and I were big on Nikes. We wore Nike head to toe; the silk hat, two Nike shirts, the shirt and then the tank over it, the Nike shorts and then the Nike shoes. I wore the red stuff, he wore the blue stuff. I even had the Nike fannypacks. We couldn’t get enough Nike shit all over us. We were hardcore kids with Nike stuff all over us. The Nike shirt with the swoosh, the classic logo. Maybe you can boil that down to my favorite hardcore shirt, the classic Nike shirt with the swoosh.

Definitive hardcore releases?
Man, Black Flag, Misfits. Granted they were a little more punky, you know they wouldn’t be consider hardcore, more punk rock. I’m still a big Black Flag fan, Henry Rollins. Straight up hardcore from those early days that just killed it were Life’s Blood, Project X, Gorilla Biscuits, all of those. Revelation 1-10 were regularly rotating on the turntable. Insted too, Killing Time, Agnostic Front. Then later years, 108, love 108. Still love them to death, Rob and Vic and the boys. Quicksand too, they were killer.


Definitive non-hardcore releases?
I listened to The Smiths and Morrissey as well as The Cure. Those were big influences on me. It was just a different kind of vibe, but lyrically and musically I really liked it and I could connect with it, I would say some stuff I wrote, even music wise. I may have taken a part from a song one of those bands did and used in one of our songs in a way. Also like Sade a lot, she was cool. I was big on Sade, got all her records, got all her DVDs. She’s timeless, with vocal skills that are just killing it.

IVAN DOING THE ROLLINS  WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: POWERHOUSE

IVAN DOING THE ROLLINS WITH POWERHOUSE | PHOTO COURTESY OF: POWERHOUSE

Was there any other Powerhouse recordings besides the 7″ and the tape?
We did two songs that are off the demo for a compilation, I think we had different recordings for those. One song was Growing Strong and I forgot the other one. They weren’t new songs, just different recordings. They were different sounding, nothing too drastic. But other than that we had like 6 or 8 different songs as Powerhouse; we had a new batch of songs we were slipping into just before we split up, they were more in the vein of Sick Of It All and Killing Time. Mid tempo beats, longer songs, darker lyrics. The lyrics weren’t so posi, they were about living on the streets and the shit you see everywhere. It got darker and heavier. We never recorded them, but they are on that video, ‘X Powerhouse X at West Palm Beach’.

I like how you aren’t wearing shoes in that one.
Yeah I started the ‘no shoes and no shirt’ when Henry Rollins played like that. In an interview he said, ‘It’s not the look, I just don’t wanna do laundry’. I started thinking that’s a good idea, because I’d go to a show and play and then I’d have to swap shirts. I thought it was cool, no shoes and no shirt.


You talked about the breakup, what caused it?
Never really broke up. We just played a show and never played again. There was no breakup show. It was just difficult to get everyone together as far as commitment and stuff like that. It started to become a chore, and too much work. Some people weren’t committed enough to want to stay in. So we just quit, we moved on. We all left high school and life was just moving forward. Powerhouse came in my senior year and we were only around maybe 2 years. Maybe around 91, we played our last show, I think at the Thrash Can or something like that. It may have been the Quicksand show in Tampa. They had just got out and they just got big. I was a senior when we started the band.


Remember any stories about playing with bands that came down from New York? Youth of Today, Judge; they all came down for a show at the Cameo Theater.
They did, we didn’t play with them. We couldn’t get on the bill. I remember there was a big show the first time everyone came down and it was Thanksgiving weekend and I was out of town with the parents. No getting out of it. So I missed that big show. Then they came back, Youth Of Today and a few other bands came back. It wasn’t as many bands. We did met most of Youth Of Today, Ray, John, Sammy and Walter. We got backstage, I remember us after the show, all of us sitting on the stage, everyone was talking. Tim was the mouthpiece of the band, he did a lot of talking about the band. I was a little quieter. I met them all and it was cool.


ORIGINAL NEW AGE RECORDS POWERHOUSE 7"  AD

ORIGINAL NEW AGE RECORDS POWERHOUSE 7″ AD

The Crew, Walk Together/Rock Together or New Wind?
Three different records, three different sounds. I loved all of those records, those were my favorite 7 Seconds records. When New Wind came out, we loved it but everyone hated it. Tim and I wore it out. New Wind and Praise were our golden 7 Seconds. I wanna say The Crew because it was first and it was really influential and that is what got me listening to 7 Seconds. I remember when they came down the first couple times to the Cameo. We hung out with them immediately. We made a point of meeting them, got to eat with them at Denny’s. Walked around South Beach with them. Tim stayed in touch with them. They talk often. Music is real inspirational. Not electronic, real bands with instruments. Mollys and flashing lights, not into that.


Can’t Close My Eyes, Break Down The Walls or We’re Not In This Alone?
I gotta go with the 7″, because that was the first thing, first exposure. Big part of the influence. Certainly influenced us. We were punkers in our boots, jeans and our flannels and then suddenly we heard THIS. We threw all the boots and flannels away and we wore the Nikes and the sweats. Thats when we started bouncing around on stage and trying to jump and touch our toes, or jump and do the splits. Those bands changed the whole mosh pit too. They changed it from the circle pit to the push’n’shove to the cherry picker/floorpunch, the elbow throws and the crowd killing. The pit got tougher. We did that first, in south Florida, we were the one Straight Edge, New York hardcore style band with that definitive sound. The fast drums and the mosh parts. The sing alongs, short and sweet. Tim, I would say, was the best hardcore guitarist in the scene. He just had that riff city. He could come up with a dozen songs in a second. Straight fuzz on the pedal, crunch too. Catchy song after catchy riff. We were like a pair of shoes when it came to writing songs, he would do the music and we would both do the lyrics. We’d both do musical changes. I did a lot of instruction with the drummer on little fills because I was big into the beat of the song. I had to have the flow and the cadence of the song. I did a lot of orchestrating of the drummers, Tim basically would tell the bass player. Him and I orchestrated the band the whole time.Powerhouse was Tim was I. We were a five piece for a short time. We had a couple bass players and drummers. 

Do you have a personal favorite from the Powerhouse 7″?
I spent years and I mean years hating the 7″. I hated the recording, I hated the way it sounded. Everything was played too fast. But every musician is gonna say the same thing, and then some people are gonna the opposite. It boils down to different peoples taste. That Judge – Chung King Can Suck It came out and he trashed it. I had the recording of it, I loved it. I loved the way it sounded and how it was gritty and raw. I loved how it sounded like a recording of a live recording with one mic in the studio. He hated it so I guess, musician-wise its personal preference. Favorite track off the 7″, I would have to say Still Friends because it was Tim and I’s song. He wrote it about me, about us and how we were friends through the ups and down, thicks and thins. The song I hated most on the record was You’re Not True. I hated that song. I didn’t want to ever record it again. It was on the demo. You’re Not True was not a Straight Edge song, it was written about a friend, who was a good friend, who had to constantly lie or embellish all of his stories. Simply to impress me. In our minds we always thought, “you don’t have to bullshit us man, we’re friends. We know that’s not true.” People always thought it was a Straight Edge song, it wasn’t.


I didn’t even think you guys were a Straight Edge band, just a hard posi band.
We started with the Straight Edge label but angry straight edgers popped up. The Boston beatdown thing, “I’m gonna beat you up because you’re drinking.” We thought that was the lamest, dumbest thing. People are gonna do what people are gonna do, you can’t bash someone because they’re eating meat or wearing leather shoes. These are not reasons to beat someone up. We just decided to not categorize ourselves and stopped wearing X’s on our hands. So we stopped claiming Straight Edge. It came and went and we were just a positive hardcore band. The Straight Edge got real limiting and too militant. It got too hardcore about beliefs and all that. It got too extreme. 


Thank you for your time, people I encourage you to listen to the Powerhouse 7″, New Age Records #3, if you haven’t heard it. Thank you Ivan.

NEW AGE RECORDS POWERHOUSE VINYL AND TEST PRESSING

NEW AGE RECORDS POWERHOUSE VINYL AND TEST PRESSING

NYHC 1980 – 1990 THE RAW INTERVIEWS – RAY CAPPO PART III
February 10th, 2015 by Tony
RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY | PHOTO: KELLY ULRICH

RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY | PHOTO: KELLY ULRICH

Jordan Cooper and I admired Raybeez as an ambassador of the old school of NYHC. I don’t think those early Warzone gigs were necessarily that great; it was just that Raybeez was such a great character. He was from the old scene where they did tons of drugs, but then when he went Straight Edge and it created this nice bridge. He was always a very positive, upbeat, welcoming person. Although he was hard, you never felt unwelcomed by the guy.

So when we heard Warzone was going to break up, Jordan and I thought ‘This band is breaking up and they’ve done so many demos, why don’t we put out some of their demos on a record?’ We thought that they were never going to reform so we thought ‘This band is going to go undocumented. We have to document this’. We almost laughed to ourselves and thought ‘Yeah that would be friggin’ cool!’ Then I said ‘You know what would be really cool? If we put posters inside the singles’. Think about it, Warzone was a band filled with characters. Todd Youth was a crazy character. Tito was another colorful character. We thought we should put a different poster for each band member in the record. We might have done that for a few limited copies of the record.

At first, we just wanted to document Warzone. Then it was becoming something like ‘Wait a minute, we need to document this band and this band and this band’. There was a whole new wave of bands that no one had ever heard of. We never thought the bands we were putting out were going to be popular outside of New York. Maybe some friends of ours in L.A would get it, but that was as far as we thought it would go. Then it became this sick phenomenon that spread internationally.

YOUTH OF TODAY AND CREW, HANGING OUT IN FRONT OF CBGB'S, 1987 | PHOTO: PERPETRATOR FANZINE

YOUTH OF TODAY AND CREW, HANGING OUT IN FRONT OF CBGB’S, 1987 | PHOTO: PERPETRATOR FANZINE

We always felt almost like historians that were documenting the scene. We wanted to document something that would be over in the wink of an eye. That’s what records are to me. As an adult, to look back on those records and remember what I was thinking when I made it and where I was living and who I was hanging out with; it’s like a yearbook.

Revelation just fueled the fire for me and Porcell since we were the original psycho record collectors. We would post our want lists and offer the limited versions of the records on Revelation. We would trade an orange vinyl limited to 200 pressing of the Warzone record for an SSD The Kids Will Have Their Say. We would trade records that we just pressed for SSD records. We were making our own money here!

Nowadays, you have whole marketing and branding teams that are supposed to come up with the ideas. But when you think about it, we were figuring the concept of branding before we knew what it even was. I remember being in a club in East Germany and seeing all these kids with all the Revelation shirts on and they looked like they could have been from New York City circa 1986, but it was 1995. That’s when I realized, ‘Oh my god! We created a whole fashion and culture’. We never thought it was going to become that. We did it because it was a cool time with cool music and people. It wasn’t that sophisticated. It was very grassroots and homegrown.

RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY ON THE "WE'RE NOT IN THIS ALONE" TOUR, 1988 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY ON THE “WE’RE NOT IN THIS ALONE” TOUR, 1988 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

Duane at Some Records was another guy who understood that all this stuff was temporary and you had to preserve the legacy. Some Records was the most unassuming, underground store with this one nerdy guy behind the counter. There was maybe two boxes of singles on the counter with a very thin selection because Duane was an epicurean of Hardcore. I would come into the store and ask him if he had the Side by Side seven inch we put out and he would say ‘Yeah, I got them from Jordan’. Then I would say ‘You know, we did a different color pressing for it as well’ and he say ‘Oh yeah, I got them all!’ and then pull out twenty of each color. I would think he was crazy but he would say ‘Ray, don’t you understand these things are going to be gone soon and no one else will have them?’

But that attitude was eventually Duane’s downfall. Duane was such a fan of the music that he couldn’t have a business brain in his head. I mean, he had a record store with no sign in front! His girlfriend Gina was more of the business person. She would say to me ‘Ray, you have to talk to him. He’s going to go out of business! Every time a band comes down here to sell a demo tape, he buys ten of them!’ He was too much of a puritan for the store to last, but I appreciated his gesture.

YOUTH OF TODAY AT THE ANTHRAX, NORWALK CT, WALTER'S FIRST SHOW ON BASS | PHOTO: BOILING POINT

YOUTH OF TODAY AT THE ANTHRAX, NORWALK CT, WALTER’S FIRST SHOW ON BASS | PHOTO: BOILING POINT

YOUTH OF TODAY – 1994 REUNION AT CITY GARDENS, TRENTON NJ – FROM THE VAULT OF SAMMY SIEGLER
February 4th, 2015 by Tim

November 6th, 1994. The bill was set to be Sick Of It All, Shelter and Snapcase at City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey. This was a pretty stacked bill for the time. All three bands were regularly headlining their own shows all over the country and any of them could have headlined this particular show at City Gardens.

Sammy had played drums on Shelter’s first tour four years earlier and was returning to play for them again. Tim Brooks from BOLD was playing bass in Shelter at this point, as well. This Shelter lineup alone made things pretty interesting but what was getting even more interesting were the rumors that started floating around. Word on the street was that Walter was going to join Shelter on stage that night and a Youth Of Today reunion was going to happen.

On the day of the show, I remember pulling up in front of City Gardens and both Ray and Porcell walking over to my car and sticking their heads inside my open windows. They were all smiles. Although I hadn’t talked to either of them since the rumor started circulating, they knew that I knew and they looked to be just as excited about it as I was.

Shelter played a stellar set to a raging crowd but as their set was winding down, I was preparing for what was about to be bestowed upon us. I took a spot on the left side of the stage. I knew that no matter what, when that first song started, I wanted a clear path off that stage and into that crowd. Out of nowhere, Walter takes the stage and Tim Brooks steps aside. Half the crowd that was in the know was waiting with bated breath, while the other half stood around looking confused.

Then it happened, “We’re back!” From there on out, it was a blur of chaos with bodies flying everywhere and voices shouting every lyric. I ran off the stage like I was attacked by a swarm of bees, smashed into people, dove into the crowd, then I recall more and more bodies falling on top of me. Eventually I pulled myself out of the melee, climbed back on stage and quickly dove off again. The songs flew by and I tried to soak it all in, but before I knew it, it was over. I remember coming out of that set feeling exhausted, beaten up, with little voice left but knowing I had just witnessed something very special.

It took 21 years, but thanks to Sammy Siegler, we here at DCXX present to you, not only the video from this monumental moment in time, but the memories surrounding it from all four members. Huge thanks to Sammy for digging out this gem and digitizing it for us and also to Ray, Walter, Porcell and Sammy again, for contributing and making this all happen. -Tim DCXX

RAY, WALTER AND PORCELL WITH YOUTH OF TODAY, 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

RAY, WALTER AND PORCELL WITH YOUTH OF TODAY, 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

Ray:
“Playing with Walter, Sammy and Porcell was simply a magical line up. I can’t describe it but it was definitely a case where our value together was worth so much more than ourselves separately. There was such a buzz that night and when we were going to get on stage you could energetically feel it. I remember all these kids were coming up to me all night before we played…but when we actually got on the stage I remember specifically thinking, “wow this is special. This is going to be incredible.” As far as bands go, the members are like ingredients of a recipe. There are some recipes where if you put the right things together something wonderful happens. That was exactly the case with that Youth Of Today line up.”

WALTER WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

WALTER WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

Walter:
“It’s interesting to me now how long the five years between Youth Of Today’s last show in 1989 and this show felt at the time. It felt like a lifetime. We had all gone on to do very different musical projects and had grown a lot as people in the interim, as had much of our audience. But as soon as Sam clicked off “Flame Still Burns” we all knew what to do. It was completely back on. We had lived and breathed these songs and the ideals they represented for years:  straight edge, vegetarianism, racial equality, sexual equality and “to create a more conscious, caring society.” As uncontroversial as those messages may seem today, we were attacked for promoting them at every turn, even by many of those who agreed with us. In truth these people never bothered us because we had better mosh parts than they did and that’s what counted. We only played a handful of songs here but I remember it well. City Gardens had an amazing atmosphere and the scene there had been a second home for us. Very fond memories.”

SAMMY, WALTER, PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

SAMMY, WALTER, PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

Sammy:
“Youth Of Today was basically the most important band I’ve ever played in. Ray Cappo is one of the best frontmen of all time. Porcell was like my big brother. Walter is a super talent. I have a lot of great history with those guys. I’ve been lucky to play in some cool bands but Youth Of Today was always an important one. City Gardens was always a big deal, I was young and the place always felt huge. That brief Youth Of Today reunion set was magical. Kids went berserk – it could have been ’88 for all I knew. I had been pretty spent after playing a full Shelter set, once I heard “WE’RE BACK!” the adrenaline kicked in and I was all good…”

PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

Porcell:
“I remember when Craig left Youth of Today in 1987, those were some big shoes to fill. Craig went nuts on stage and even more than the physicality of it, he was genuinely moved by the music and the message. We needed somebody like that. I was in charge of getting the actual band together so the first person I thought of was Walter. He was the clean cut kid from Queens singing his heart out to every song when we played. Like his life depended on it. That was our guy. I risked having to fight Raybeez to grab Walter out of Warzone. It all worked out in the end because Walter was way more Youth Crew than Lower East Side anyway. And he was the piece of the puzzle we needed.

Then the band broke up briefly, and Mike Judge didn’t come back on drums. I mean, seriously, who can replace The Judge? He wasn’t the greatest drummer but he made up for it in presence. I was considering getting Sammy but I just assumed that since he was so young he wouldn’t cut it musically. One Sunday afternoon I went early to CBGB’s for a Side By Side show and at soundcheck, even though Sammy didn’t know – that was his tryout for Youth Of Today. And seriously, Sammy just killed it. Somehow or another in just a few short months that little kid turned into a powerhouse. Youth Of Today with a 14 year old drummer – it was almost too perfect.

It’s always being debated, but personally I think the Walter/Sammy lineup was Youth Of Today’s strongest. And when we stood on that City Gardens stage again, with those four pieces of the puzzle in place, it just happened. That’s the beauty of music: when key personalities get together and things blend and synergy happens. There was definitely some magic in the air that night.”

WALTER AND PORCELL WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

SAMMY, WALTER AND PORCELL WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

WALTER, PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

WALTER, PORCELL AND RAY WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

WALTER WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

WALTER WITH YOUTH OF TODAY 11/6/94 | PHOTO: TRACI MCMAHON

TICKETS ON SALE TODAY FOR NATEFEST
January 26th, 2015 by Tim
CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO BUY TICKETS

CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

NYHC 1980 – 1990 – THE RAW INTERVIEWS – RAY CAPPO – PART I
January 20th, 2015 by Tony
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RAY CAPPO AND CRAIG AHEAD WITH YOUTH OF TODAY AT CBGB’S, NYC, 1986 | PHOTO: KATHLEEN TOBIN

First off, I would personally like to thank everyone who snagged a copy of ‘NYHC 1980 – 1990′. I am truly humbled by the response the book received. The demand for the book was so out of control in fact that the first printing dried up rather quickly and left some out in the cold in regards of getting a copy. But don’t fear! The second printing of ‘NYHC 1980 – 1990′ will be hitting the book store shelves in the next few weeks with added photos and much more.

To celebrate both the reaction to the first printing and the upcoming second printing, I decided to go back into the vaults and pull out another interview conducted for the book and throw it up here on DCXX. This time around, we have a lengthy interview with all around NYHC icon, Ray Cappo.

This interview will be split into several installments due to its length, but in this first part, Ray speaks about his introduction into the Hardcore scene and the formation and initial shows of his first band, Violent Children.

Enjoy — Tony

RAY CAPPO GOES FOR A DIVE AT THE ANTHRAX DURING BOLD, 1987 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

RAY CAPPO GOES FOR A DIVE AT THE ANTHRAX DURING BOLD, 1987 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

Truthfully, I didn’t even know anything was going on in Connecticut even though Connecticut had a very striving scene. I lived in Danbury which was an hour and fifteen minutes from New York City on the Metro North train. My parents were sort of New Yorkers and my brothers and sisters were all older and they lived in the city. I used to go to New York City on weekends and my parents were cool with it because they figured I’d stay with my brothers or sisters and everything would be cool. Little did they know! I would just say ‘I’m going to see some music this weekend’. I’d keep it pretty vague. They had no idea I was hanging out on the Lower East Side all weekend. My first real introduction was I liked alternative music. I wasn’t quite sure of what Hardcore was at that point. Then I stumbled into CBGB’s when the UK Subs were playing one night. The Young and The Useless were playing, which was guys from the Beastie Boys. Once I saw the Young and The Useless, I thought ‘These are kids that are my age. I can do this’.

Usually, growing up in a suburban American high school environment, if you’re in a band, you’re in a cover band; at least back when I was growing up. Kids were playing the best of AC/DC, the best of Rush, the best of Journey. I always thought that was so lame. So when I saw these bands that weren’t technically good, but playing from their heart in some random nightclub, I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

I was with a girlfriend at the time and she goes ‘Ray, you could do this! You should start a band!’ So when I got back to my typical American high school, I grabbed three of my friends who were the only three guys into alternative music and said ‘Let’s start a band’. That’s when we started the band Violent Children.

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RAY WITH THE STAGE MOSH DURING AGNOSTIC FRONT AT CBGB’S, NYC | PHOTO COURTESY OF: ALEXA POLI-SCHEIGERT

From then on, CBGB’s became my escape from my world. It was a great place. You could see incredible bands for three dollars. It was almost like walking into a comic book with super heroes and villains and characters that were bigger than life. That’s what the New York scene was like. The characters on the scene were bigger and more colorful than the black and white people in your high school. There was no Raybeez or Vinnie Stigma or Harley Flanagan in your high school. These guys were bigger than life. When you would go back to your high school on a Monday morning and try to explain the bands you saw or how you saw one guy hit another guy over the head with a beer bottle, people would ask ‘Where do you go where you see people hitting each other over the head with beer bottles?’ At that point in life, the only place you should be seeing something like that is in a movie.

In 1982, there were barely any records. The only bands from New York that had records out were the False Prophets, Kraut and The Misguided. The only places you could hear this stuff were on these late night college radio shows. In my hometown, was the Danbury State College radio station and there was a radio show where it would be a mix between Duran Duran or INXS or Men Without Hats or Oingo Boingo with stuff like Dead Kennedys or Flipper or Youth Brigade or Minor Threat. So we thought ‘Let’s make a demo tape and get it played on this radio station!’ We made this really shitty demo tape and then we went to this radio station at midnight and threw pebbles against the window and the guy opened the window and we were like ‘Hey! We’re in a Hardcore band!’ The guy was so psyched that Danbury, Connecticut had a Hardcore band. We asked him to play our demo and he actually played our demo. He was saying ‘We have Danbury Connecticut’s only Hardcore band Violent Children in the studio!’ It was so cool.

That night, we got two phone calls. One was the guy who owned the club The Anthrax, which wasn’t quite a club yet. He said they were doing a benefit to open the Anthrax and he wanted us to play. He explained how The Anthrax would be an art gallery and a band hangout place. We got our first gig from that radio show. Check out the lineup: Violent Children, CIA, Agnostic Front, Cause for Alarm, Hose, Reflex from Pain and Lost Generation. It was a big massive line-up. We couldn’t believe we were going to be playing with all our favorite bands. When you’re in high school and your favorite band is Aerosmith, you’re never going to play with them. But here we were, listening to these bands and we’re playing our first gig with them.The second phone call was from Johnny Stiff calling in from New York. He booked shows at A7 and CBGB’s and offered us a show. So, from being on one radio show, we went from being a local band to getting out of state gigs.

At the Anthrax benefit, we were the second band on the bill and after the set, the police busted in and raided the place because we were all underage. All the underage people were hiding under the stage for the rest of the night. For a sixteen year old kid, it was probably the most exciting thing to happen. For your band to be playing with all your favorite bands at a big show and now it gets raided by the cops and you got to get home without your parents finding out. You had to get home without your father knowing you borrowed his car. It was a whole new, exciting thing.

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Gorilla Biscuits Start Today is one of the most influential records in hardcore. Hailing from New York City, Gorilla Biscuits carved a niche within the New York Hardcore Scene. Blending the aggression and energy of bands like Agnostic Front with a sense of melody likened to Dag Nasty, Gorilla Biscuits still stands as a unique reference point for many hardcore bands that have come after them. This is an essential part of any record collection. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of Start Today in 1989, the record has been re-pressed and packaged on black and glow-in-the-dark vinyl in embossed jackets with printing on the inside of the jacket sleeve.

Order now:
Black Vinyl
Glow-In-The-Dark-Vinyl
Purple Shell Cassette
Jungle T-Shirt

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