We’ve been talking about getting John Coyle on board for an interview for quite awhile and with Outspoken playing this weekend’s Jon Bunch Memorial show, the timing worked out perfectly. So let’s get it started. – Tim DCXX
What was your first contact with punk/HC?
My first contact came from my neighbor. She was about 8 years older than me. She started off as the typical Southern California blonde beach girl and then she slowly started getting into punk. I always thought she was the coolest. She invited me over one day and played the Sex Pistols. That was it – I was hooked. I think I was about 13. Had she been listening to Simon and Garfunkel I probably would have been into that because she was awesome. She later took me to LA and I was in one of her friend’s commercials for some hair studio.
What hardcore records made an immediate impression early on for you?
The day I heard Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’ my life changed. Back in school I used to get into a lot of fights, the older kids used to give me trouble for being different. I used to carry all of my school books in my backpack to every class so as soon as school got out I could get home before any trouble started. One day my teacher held me back and when I started on my way home a group of kids followed me. I ducked into a Taco Bell and this one kid that went to my school that was always quiet was sitting in the back of the restaurant listening to Damaged on a ghetto blaster. The other kids showed up and were yelling shit through the windows until the Taco Bell manager called the cops. I begged to borrow the Black Flag tape and I rode my skateboard home listening to what would become my life’s bible on a yellow Sony Walkman.
Black Flag’s Damaged changed my DNA. I ended up going to school the next day and got into a fight with them and I never ran again. I remember to this day the kid walked up and pushed me and the feedback and intro to Rise Above started playing in my head and I went off. That record and that moment was a major turning point in my life. Music clearly became something that was a comfort and gave me confidence. It always told me “you’re not fucked up, you’re ok.” That was the big draw to going to Fenders. It was the one place you just felt accepted and ok no matter how crazy the place was. Years later I remember walking to high school listening to Scream’s Walking By Myself on constant repeat on the same Walkman.
What was the first live show (punk/HC) you saw and what type of an impact did it have on you?
My brother took me to see Social Distortion and Siouxsie and the Banshees at the Palladium, if I recall correctly. I was little and all of the older punks thought I was awesome so I loved it. I had a shaved head at the time and everyone would walk by me and rub my head. Odd that I remember that. It was the first time I felt comfortable like I was where I belonged, and I loved that it seemed dangerous.
My first real Hardcore show was Seven Seconds and Youth Brigade at Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach. That place was heavy. My first three or so shows I think I stood in the back and didn’t look at anyone. After a while I moved up towards the stage and being the little guy I would get picked up and put on someone’s shoulders and run around the pit. Being little had its advantages as no one really f’d with you. Looking back those were the best hardcore days. I was really into Black Flag, Wasted Youth, Raw Power (from Italy), RKL, Aggression, RKL, SNFU etc. Fenders had a huge impact. We went every weekend regardless of who was playing. We were at a Poison Idea show once and I turned around and my brother was about to get into it with some gang guys, I ran over to help and the dudes from Poison Idea ran from behind this little “backstage” area and dragged us back there. They were telling us how gnarly Fenders was and they were freaking out. I looked at my brother and we were both shocked because to us the dudes in Poison Idea were heavy. They told us their scene was nothing like this. We enjoyed some of the show from “backstage” then returned to general population.
Where exactly did you grow up and who were your early friends in the HC scene?
I grew up in Huntington Beach, I started going to shows with my brother, then we started a band called Back to Back with Regis from Chorus. We were hanging out with Half Off, Insted, Hard Stance, Freewill, Walk Proud, Justice League. It was a great scene then and all of the bands hung out and supported each other.
A few funny stories… the first time I saw Insted was at a backyard party, in Anaheim. I think their demo had just come out. Man I loved that demo. When Insted recorded their first record I remember being realIy bummed about not being asked to sing back-ups. Kevin sees me at a show and all he said was wait until you hear our record… Dano hooked you guys up. When I heard it and Dan yells “Back to Back” on Proud Youth I lost my shit.
Hard Stance was playing a benefit concert in Irvine and I was an idiot and snuck in and Zack was screaming at me for being an entitled Orange County F-head that snuck into a benefit. He was totally right. Hard Stance was amazing. I used to go over to Dubar’s house to buy Wishingwell stuff all the time. I think 90 percent of my wardrobe at the time came from Wishingwell. Shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, you name it. My wall was wallpapered in Uniform Choice posters. One day I cruise over and they are having a party, the house is full of people and Pat’s sitting in a chair leaning against the wall in nothing but black running shorts ala Rollins. It was classic.
Dubar was the heaviest and coolest of anyone from OC back then. At one show someone threw a burrito at him and hit him in the face. Dubar yells into the mic ”who threw that?!” and then just dove into the crowd swinging at a group of guys in that general direction. He always looked after everyone.
Although the moment I met Dennis Remsing all bets were off, him and I were thick as thieves. I loved the guy and still do…