SHOW MEMORIES WITH KEVIN SECONDS
June 26th, 2014 by Tim
Sparks, Nevada. In 1984, I rented a space with a big roll-up door for $300 a month. I told the landlord that I needed it for screen-printing. I lied. There wasn’t even any running water but he rented the space to me any way.
I decided to call it The Crib. I don’t remember why.
In the short amount of time I had the space,I did about 10 shows and a shitload of punk rock parties. I miss being able to rent out spots like this, relatively cheaply.
At the time, this was the biggest punk rock show to happen in Reno. Definitely one of the biggest shows Positive Force ever did. It was an amazing gig. I almost went to jail that night because I booked it without a dance permit.
1983. I have very vague memories of this gig. I believe it was our first ever Santa Cruz show. Actually, scratch that. We played a party gig there the year before. Double Cross were our buddies from Grass Valley. A great, young HC band. Tales Of Terror and Verbal Abuse need no introduction.
1983. Boise, Idaho. A legendary show that almost didn’t happen. World-renowned punk rock artist Pushead – living in Boise at the time – called and asked us to come open for The Misfits and Poison Idea and we jumped at the chance to. Unfortunately, The Misfits canceled a week or so before the show. Pushead asked us if we still wanted to come play and we said yes. We brought our fellow Skeeno hardcore buddies Jackshit up with us and I’m glad we did because it was one of the funnest shows we had done, up to that point.
Fucked up part of the story. On the way back to Reno, Steve Youth’s Rickenbacker bass – which, along with a bunch of other stuff, was strapped to the roof of one of the cars we drove up in – feel off somewhere between Boise and Reno. We drove almost 200 miles back towards Boise to find it before turning back, no Rick and our tails between our legs. So sad.
1983. Reno, Nevada. Reno was fortunate to have Minor Threat come through town not once but twice in their short life. Ian and the boys were always extremely gracious and support of me, 7Secs and the Reno punk/hardcore community.
This show was a rager and featured 2 of the best hardcore bands Reno/Sparks/Lake Tahoe had to offer – Jackshit and Urban Assault.
KEVIN SECONDS PART IV – THE FINAL ENTRY
June 20th, 2014 by Tony
7 SECONDS AT THE INFAMOUS ABE’S STEAKHOUSE GIG IN PHILLY ’84 | PHOTO: MARK PINGATORE
You recorded the ‘Walk Together, Rock Together’ 12” on the ’84 tour with Ian MacKaye at Inner Ear Studios. Any memories of that recording? What motivated the writing of the title track?
The writing was going on during the tour. I was way into keeping a journal back in those days – still am but just not as consistently – and I was always jotting down thoughts and lyrical ideas. The song ‘Walk Together, Rock Together’ was loosely inspired by a really fucked up incident that happened at a show in Green Bay on the tour. Or I should say, it happened at what would have been a show in Green Bay. Some local metal heads decided that punk rockers were an easy target and came to the venue – a pizza joint – to bust heads. A small riot ensued and the show was shut down before we got a chance to play. But it struck me how insane and stupid it was that young rocker kids, who were basically fuck-ups and misfits, looked at young punk kids, who were fuck-ups and misfits, as some sort of threat or enemy. In my mind, it just didn’t add up so I used that particular incident as the basis for the song.
Our experience with Ian and Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studios was pretty incredible. Ian seemed to get what we were going for. It was funny because he was our age and yet seemed to have his shit really together, unlike us (haha). He really knew his way around the studio and he and Don had a great rapport and made it a really fun experience.
7 SECONDS IN THE FALL OF 1985 AT THE C.E. CENTER IN PHILLY| PHOTO: MARK PINGATORE
A year or so later, you started to write the material for the ‘New Wind’; kind of the ultimate ‘departure’ record. What was the motivation?
I’m not sure that we saw it as a departure. We weren’t attempting to bail on hardcore or punk rock. We just got caught up on our many influences and were pretty shell-shocked by the amount of violence we were seeing at punk rock and hardcore shows, especially in Southern California. I had written a lot of the New Wind material at home and had pondered starting a whole new side project that would be more of a melodic, mid-tempo type of thing but I played the songs for the guys and they seemed to love them and we decided to record them as 7 Seconds. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, after the success and popularity of both The Crew and Walk Together, Rock Together but we weren’t thinking about being smart at the time (haha).
I’ve said this many times but I just don’t recall us ever having some focused idea or us being so driven by a particular idea that we looked at doing different things musically as some sort of way to gain a wider audience. We just wanted to feel like we could control our own creative destiny and at the same time, we had all this activism running through our veins that we wanted to maintain.
Was there backlash from anyone in regards to the ‘new sound’
Absolutely, there was. No one took the amount of shit from the hardcore scene as we did. People were pissed, sending us death threats. I remember several shows where kids would stand up front and were just visibly bawling their eyes out, they were so disappointed and disenchanted by us. It was really frustrating and depressing and it did get under our skin. Ultimately though, it helped us grow a thicker skin.
7 SECONDS AT THE DISCHORD HOUSE AND ON THE ROAD DURING THE 1985 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR | PHOTOS: GALEN YOUNG
KEVIN SECONDS – PART III
June 5th, 2014 by Tony
PHOTO: GARY ELAM
What was it about what you were hearing coming from the Washington D.C. area at the time that attracted you?
We were blown away by what we were hearing about the DC scene. Here we were, young pups who didn’t party or want to be like all of our other younger friends who were getting wasted and doing stupid shit with absolutely zero purpose. Now, we had met kids across the country who felt similarly. It was terribly gratifying and regulatory at the time.
I know you’ve been asked this a million times, but just for good measure, how did the ‘black eyes’ thing come about?
I was fascinated by the idea of all these cities having punk rock scenes with their own flavor and identity and I wanted like hell for Reno to be represented so I came up with silly shit that I tried getting other kids in the city to pick up on. The black eyes thing was just my own naive way of communicating how I felt that society and the mainstream and authority figures were doing everything possible to keep people with a more rebellious spirit and attitude down. We might be getting pummeled and we might have bruises, scars and black eyes but inside, nothing was ever going to change us. If anything, we were becoming more anti-societal and rebellious. Eventually, other Reno kids adopted the black eyes look and it just went from there.
You did a fanzine titled ‘Skinhead’ back then. How many issues of the mag came out?
I think I did 3 issues. I was always changing things because I’d start on one thing, get bored with it or get super excited about something else, and then start something new up.
Since we’re kind of on that subject, what was your perception of what a skinhead was in 1981?
I had read about the traditional skinhead stuff going on in England and was fascinated by it. I related to it in many ways, especially the angry, bored, working class part of it. I also had a penpal in the UK who would write me these ten page letters describing what was going on over there at the time. Shit like rioting and football hooligans and the National Front. It was stuff that wasn’t going on where I lived but the anger and frustration parts still resonated with me greatly.
My problem was, at that time anyway, I hadn’t heard of any punk/hardcore-related anti-fascist bands claiming ‘skinhead’. I knew of the original skinhead scene’s love of soul and reggae but I was mostly hearing about the far right skins who aligned themselves with the NF and it bothered me. We decided that we would show the world that there were anti-racist skinheads coming out of Ronald Reagan’s then-America and that’s when we put out the ‘Skins, Brains & Guts’ 7 inch.
And since you mentioned the ‘Skins, Brains & Guts’ 7 inch, I just want to say how much I love the recording of that record, as well as the ‘Committed for Life’ ep and the demos. It’s so raw.
Thanks. We didn’t have a recording studio in Reno that we could afford in those days. Our first two cassette releases were recorded extremely minimally. The ‘Socially Fucked Up’ tape was recorded on a boombox with one mic set up directly in front of me. The band would play everything live and we’d just experiment with how close or far I was from the mic and whether there was distortion or not. I think we recorded the 3 Chord Politics on an old two track reel to reel machine.
The ‘Skins Brains & Guts’ and ‘Committed for Life’ records were recorded at Jon Bell house. He was the drummer of a local punk band, Belvue. He had a four-track studio setup and we recorded everything in one of his spare bedrooms, bouncing tracks and what-not.
PHOTO: JOSEPH HENDERSON
Sometime after that you recorded a whole LP, ‘United We Stand’, but shelved it. What happened there?
Initially, Jello had offered to put out our album on Alternative Tentacles but I believe that they had lost their big distributor at the time and didn’t really have any money to help us record. We were poor as fuck and we only had access to Jon Bell’s four-tack studio. We went ahead and recorded something like twenty songs at Jon’s and were going to try and release the record ourselves which is right about the time Shawn Stern wrote us a letter saying that BYO Records wanted to release an album by us. They had the money, resources and distribution and because we were fans of Youth Brigade and had similar political and social views on things, it made the most sense and we went for it and put out ‘The Crew’ with them.
(Editor’s note: The ‘United We Stand’ sessions were later released in 1991 as the ‘Old School’ CD on Headhunter Records
‘The Crew’ came out in 1984 and soon after that, you did your first US tour. What are your memories of that?
Looking back, it’s shocking how dangerous and stupid going out in a van and touring the entire country for two months straight in 1984 really was. We had no money, no car insurance, nothing to fall back on. Bands rarely got gig guarantees back then so you never really knew what you were walking into and who was trustworthy or not. Cops hated you. Rednecks hated you. Kids in the ghetto neighborhoods you were playing in hated you. Even fellow punk rockers hated you. To make things even more ridiculous, we traveled the country in a friend’s 1958 VW bus with just about the shittiest gear imaginable. We were hungry every day. Lucky if we got showers. Every gig was different. We broke down several times.
But I’ll tell you this. It was one of the most incredible and thrilling times of my life. We met some of the greatest people on the planet, saw the best bands, stayed at the coolest houses and even managed to get laid every once in a while. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
KEVIN SECONDS – PART II
May 28th, 2014 by Tony
KEVIN SECONDS AT THE BLACK AND BLUE BOWL 2014 | PHOTO: JAMMI SLOANE YORK
For the second installment of our massive Kevin Seconds interview, we let the Hardcore nostalgia take a backseat as we speak to Kevin about the bands’ new LP ‘Leave a Light on’ (which was released on Rise Records this week) the tour they have lined up, the present state of Hardcore today and the infamous and short-lived 7 Seconds tribute band Society Ills fronted by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore.
‘Leave the Light On’ sounds great. The signature sound of the band totally shines through on here. You’re a band that might not shoot out a record every two or three years, but when you do get one out there, its’ exactly what people are looking for. What’s the secret to this? A special concoction you received from a witch doctor? What is it?
There’s no secret. No witch doctor. I’m pretty much always writing songs, be it for my solo stuff or for 7 Seconds and sometime last year, I had three or four songs that I really liked and really thought would be fun to make into 7 Seconds songs. I sent the guys MP3s of the demos I made and they liked them and that sort of inspired to write four more and I just kept repeating that all of last year until we had fifteen or sixteen songs that we could realistically consider for a new album.
It’s been awhile since the last full length. What was it that made you finally come together and get ‘Leave a Light On’ together?
Once Steve, Bobby and Troy really started to sink their teeth into the songs and we started rehearsing them, I knew we had something. We weren’t even sure that we wanted to make another full-length album just because these days, I have no idea whether people want to hear new 7 Seconds songs. But the rehearsals were going really well and when Craig at Rise hit us up to make a record, it all just rolled forward from there.
What was the inspiration behind the song ‘Slogan on a Shirt’?
Empty messages used to make a buck. I’ve also seen pop stars and celebrities with PMA shirts and hats and meanwhile, they’re getting arrested for DUI’s and statutory rape. I’m all for carrying around the concept of PMA and I admire anyone who works at making the world just a little nicer and better but seeing assholes wearing PMA shirts and then going out and beating on people or whatever is just a fucking joke.
KEVIN AT BLACK AND BLUE BOWL | PHOTO: JAMMI SLOAN YORK
The band is gearing up to go on a large U.S. tour to promote the album. What do you still look forward to prior to going on a huge tour like this one?
Getting out of my comfort zone. The sweat and workout each night. And of course, rocking with my boys like I have for the last 34 years. We still really enjoy playing onstage together and now that we have a new album out and haven’t really done any extensive touring in the last 8-9 years, we have a hunger amongst us again. Maybe even something to prove to other people.
This is a random one… Have you ever heard the Society Ills 7”? The one where Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Dez Cadena and Dave Markey cover the 1st 7 Seconds 7” in its entirety? Any thoughts on it?
It was silly but fun. I have no idea if they were taking the piss or just really loved our first 7 inches but I think it’s cool, anyway.
In the past few years, there’s a renewed interest in the Hardcore scene in the early 80’s; both by people who were there and kids too young to witness it. How do you feel about this?
Honestly, I don’t pay that much attention to what people are interested in these days, early hardcore or otherwise. I talk with a lot of people when I’m on the road and I read shit on the Internet but I think I’m just old enough now to not have any real direct or meaningful connection with the hardcore scene these days. Let the youngsters figure it out. If it’s good and legit and honorable, people will gravitate towards it, myself included. If not, it’s just more crappy soulless music to ignore.
PHOTO: JAMMI SLOANE YORK
Would you have ever thought 7 Seconds would still be going after all this time?
I never imagined we’d last five years let alone almost thirty-five. I suppose back when I was 21 or 22, I didn’t think that bands were supposed to stick around for long periods. That was something the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead did; not hardcore bands. I’m glad we did stick it out though.
I think we make great fast punk rock music and we still have some interesting opinions worth sharing. I don’t think the majority of kids buying into rebellious sub-culture knows or cares about who we are but there will always be people into what we do. We’ll just keep playing for us and them.
What do you think it is about the band that still resonates with people? Both the people who have followed you the whole time as well as kids who weren’t even born in 1981?
Do people born after ’81 like us? I don’t know. There’s melody and catchy choruses and a nice mixture of tough and thoughtful. What’s not to like? How can that not resonate?
KEVIN SECONDS – PART I
May 21st, 2014 by Tony
7 SECONDS IN 1981. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: KEVIN SECONDS, STEVE YOUTH AND BIX BIGLER | PHOTO: GARY ELAM
I have been sitting here staring at the screen of this laptop for the better portion of an afternoon trying to come up with an introduction to this interview with Kevin Seconds.
Why is that? I don’t know. It could be writer’s block. It could be my constant lack of concentration. Or it could be I am just a lousy writer.
Or it could be I know deep down there in my gut, an introduction to an interview with him on a site like this is almost pointless.
Their impact on Hardcore is something so massive you’d expect it to be known almost telepathically; especially among the like who read DCXX. So let’s skip the grand introduction and get down to what we really want to do: Read about the past, present and future of one of the pioneering bands of this music we all love so much.
7-Seconds… Take One
HESHER KEVIN PUNKING OUT IN 1980 | PHOTO: CARI L MARVELLI
How and when did 7 Seconds come together in Nevada?
Kevin: Steve Youth is my younger brother so our mom brought us together…hahaha. But no, my family moved from Sacramento to Reno in 1977. At the time, I was 16 and Steve was ten or eleven and we were both just crazed hard rock kids into bands like Judas Priest and Van Halen who fell in love with bands like the Pistols, the Ramones and the Clash.
Once we heard those bands, we knew immediately that we wanted to do what they were doing. And Reno was pretty much a perfect place for rebellion to flourish because, as a kid, there was nothing for you to do unless you were a jock or a stoner and you had parties and did shit like cruise the main drag every Friday and Saturday night. None of that appealed to us and we were looking for something more. Punk was that something.
As far as 7 Seconds goes, the seeds were actually planted in the early part of 1979 when Steve and I got turned on to bands like the Dils and D.O.A. Those bands had a harder, faster, more intense edge to them than the British and New York wave of bands and we related to it even more so. We immediately knew that we wanted to play fast and we decided to start a band called X-Banned but we couldn’t find a drummer in Reno who could play that fast. That is, not until this guy I worked with at a Montgomery Ward, a kid named Bob Seeds, told me he was a drummer and wanted to join a band. We’d sit up all night playing records for him and he liked the bands we liked and before long, we started practicing at a friend’s basement. We never really played gigs but we got to the point that we started to sound pretty good. Everything was moving along until Bob joined the Navy and by the end of ’79, he was gone. Not long after, Steve and I were in a record store in Sparks and we noticed this long-haired guy in a big parka covered in punk rock band buttons and we were so excited that there was yet another punk fan in our town, we went up and started talking to him and we hit it off instantly. His name was Tommy Borghino and he invited us to come listen to records at this friend of his’ house and we were blown away because between Tom and his friend, they had the biggest punk rock and new wave record collection we had ever seen. Eventually, Tom decided to buy a drum kit and start drumming and by January, he was our new drummer. At the time, I didn’t want to sing, I wanted to be the guitar player so Tom’s younger brother Jimmy tried out with us and we liked his style and spirit. We played our first show at a biker/redneck/Top 40 bar on March 2, 1980 and within a year, I was singing and playing guitar for the band.
AN EARLY 7 SECONDS GIG IN NEVADA | PHOTO: CARI L MARVELLI
Can you remember when you started to hear word of this ‘Hardcore’ thing starting to bubble?
There was a cover article on Black Flag and the L.A./Huntington Beach scene in a Bay Area music magazine called Damage and they made mention of ‘Hardcore’ in their description of some of the bands from that area. D.O.A. were the first band we ever heard refer to their style of punk as ‘Hardcore’ and we worshiped them so I think we just decided that, if it was good for them, it was good for us. I immediately loved the term because, at the time, I thought that perfectly defined the sound and feel of some of the bands around North America we were starting to hear about. I had started finding ‘zines in places like Rough Trade and Rather Ripped Records in the Bay Area and they were covering a lot of what was happening in Southern California and beyond. Obviously, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys were getting the bulk of the coverage and those bands sounded dangerous and appealed to us greatly. The great thing, even though it was sort of frustrating back then, was that there weren’t a lot of photos or in-depth interviews of a lot of these bands so it was hard getting information on them. That definitely added to the mystique of what was going on everywhere else but in our city.
How did the Hardcore scene in Reno start to develop? Who were some of the first bands to start around 7 Seconds?
I’d say the scene element began sometime early in 1979 at, of all places, local weekly showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. We didn’t know it then but many of us going to those showings and meeting those who went every week like we did, were building up a pretty cool social thing that you couldn’t really find anywhere else in Reno. 7 Seconds started playing parties around town and by the summer of 1980, there was a really fun little underground scene that grew from those parties. Other bands sprouted up during that time, bands like the Thrusting Squirters and The Wrecks, an all-girl band who were sort of our sister band.
EARLY ALL FEMALE RENO PUNK BAND, THE WRECKS | PHOTO: GAR ELAM
I love The Wrecks. Your sister was in this band, right?
The Wrecks were so much fun. We loved them, especially Bessie the bassist and Jone the guitarist. Steve and I used to see them perform at RHPS and they were at our first gig and supported us enthusiastically. They also did what was arguably, Reno’s first punk rock ‘zine, Paranoia. My sister wasn’t in the Wrecks but she did love and play punk rock and had a couple bands of her own, like Condemned and Anti. She also put out a great early Reno punk/hardcore scene ‘zine called Media Massacre.
7 SECONDS WITH BUDDY TONY TOXIC ON VOCALS | PHOTO: UNKNOWN
When did you guys start pulling road trips to California?
Our first road trip was probably when D.O.A. invited us to come play with them at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco in 1980. After that, we started making short trips to Sacramento, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Chico. We had some incredible and memorable experiences and were fortunate enough to get to see and play with bands like The Lewd, No Alternative, the Red Rockers, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, etc. etc.
Do you remember how the correspondence with Ian MacKaye started?
Henry Rollins was the first DC hardcore kid to make contact. He wrote us saying that he got a copy of one of our early demo tapes from Biafra and wanted to trade a copy for his band S.O.A.’s new 7 inch. Soon after, we heard from Ian and it was similar. We started writing letters back and forth, trading tapes and records and filling each other in on what was going on in our respective cities. I still have and adore those letters.
7 SECONDS 1981 | PHOTO: GARY ELAM
BLACK N’ BLUE BOWL 2014
March 12th, 2014 by Larry
The annual Black N’ Blue Bowl 2014 will be taking place Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th at The Well in Brooklyn, NY. Having outgrown the confines of its previous venues year after year, we will be holding this years Bowl at an indoor/outdoor venue in the heart of Brooklyn, New York – where this event was first resurrected in 2005. Information is as follows;
Black N Blue Productions presents
BLACK N’ BLUE BOWL 2014
Sat, May 17th, 2014
Agnostic Front (only appearance “Cause For Alarm” line-up)
All Out War
Brick By Brick
Friend Or Foe
Sun, May 18th, 2014
Agnostic Front (only appearance “Cause For Alarm” line-up)
Against The Grain
Caught In A Trap
272 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
$36 ADV, $42 DOS, $65 2-Day Pass
Doors @ 1:00 PM (both days)
All Ages Hardcore
THIRSTY AND MISERABLE
February 22nd, 2014 by Tim
HENRY ROLLINS, CHUCK DUKOWSKI, DEZ CADENA AND GREG GINN WITH BLACK FLAG IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 1981 | PHOTO UNKNOWN
1981. Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. Black Flag invited 7 Seconds to play with them. The night I met Henry in person. He even “X’ed” Steve Youth and I up before the gig.
Can you spot me? - Kevin Seconds
7 SECONDS REISSUES
July 30th, 2013 by Larry
Missed out on these back in the day? Ebay prices a little to salty for you? If so, LifeLine Records has you covered.
On September 10th LifeLine Records will be releasing the first three 7 Seconds EP’s: ‘Skins, Brains & Guts,’ ‘Committed For Life’ and ‘Blasts From the Past’. Each record will be released in its original 7″ format.
All three of these 7″s have been out of print for many years and has been bootleggged over the years as well. Now the records are being properly re-issued.
Each release will pay tribute to the original first pressing, using the original art and include the original insert that later pressings had lost. As a bonus, each record will include a retrospective of each release written by Kevin Seconds. There will be limited color vinyl available for pre-orders starting August 15th!
7 SECONDS – “MY AIM IS YOU”
July 18th, 2013 by Larry
7 Seconds have released their first new song in over 8 years. “My Aim Is You” is an ode to the past and a toast to the future as it perfectly blends their diverse sound. Available now on YouTube, “My Aim Is You” will also be released as a 7″ and digital EP on October 1st, 2013. The 2 song EP can be pre-ordered right HERE.
Be sure to catch 7 Seconds at This Is Hardcore in August.