STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
June 11th, 2014 by Ed
MINOR THREAT | PHOTO: BILL DANIEL

MINOR THREAT | PHOTO: BILL DANIEL

KEVIN SECONDS – PART III
June 5th, 2014 by Tony
PHOTO: GARY ELAM

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.

PHOTO: UNKNOWN

PHOTO: UNKNOWN

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

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.

1984-Flyer

KEVIN SECONDS – PART I
May 21st, 2014 by Tony
7 SECONDS IN 1981. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: KEVIN SECONDS, TOOD YOUTH AND BIX BIGLER | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

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
–Tony

HESHER KEVIN PUNKING OUT IN 1980 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

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: UNKNOWN

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: UNKNOWN

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

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: UNKNOWN

7 SECONDS 1981 | PHOTO: GARY ELAM

PUNK THE CAPITAL
May 9th, 2014 by Larry

Salad Days: The DC Punk Revolution has yet to see the light of day and now another Washington D.C. hardcore punk documentary is in the works. Punk The Capital has just launched a Kickstarter page to help finance the rest of the production of the film. Check out the video above and be sure to click on over to their Kickstarter page to see all of the cool rewards they are offering for your donations.

When punk swept into Washington D.C. in the late 1970s, an explosive scene emerged with uncompromising attitudes and powerful new sounds. The ideas and music which grew out of that time continue to have a profound impact, resonating around the world. More than 10 years in the making, filmmakers Paul Bishow and James Schneider are completing a long-awaited documentary about that seminal moment: Punk the Capital, Straight from Washington D.C.

Punk the Capital takes us to the heart of why D.C. Punk has such staying power. For those who are already aware of this inspiring and influential story, Punk the Capital provides a fresh perspective and in-depth portrait of how D.C. Punk began, full of newly discovered footage and personal accounts, directed by two of D.C.’s veteran filmmakers. For those who do not know much about Washington D.C. culture or why D.C. Punk matters, this film will be a must-see.

Focusing on the period between 1976 and 1985, this documentary explores how D.C. Punk gained momentum and an affirmative, creative and constructive community emerged. At the core of the film is an artist’s co-op called Madams Organ. It was a space of possibility, like punk itself, where the foundations of a remarkable scene took form. The Organ was a place where generations and musical genres mixed and it became the launching pad for the D.C. harDCore movement.

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STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
February 23rd, 2014 by Tim
BRIAN BAKER AND IAN MACKAYE WITH MINOR THREAT | PHOTO UNKNOWN

BRIAN BAKER AND IAN MACKAYE WITH MINOR THREAT | PHOTO UNKNOWN

CASSETTE DOCUMENTARY
July 30th, 2013 by Larry

MacKaye, Rollins and others wax poetic on the cassette tape…

Cassette is a feature-length documentary about the history and continued use of the audiotape. Coming in early 2014. Directed by Zack Taylor, created by Zack Taylor and Seth Smoot.

Feeling nostalgic for other analog formats? Check out the trailer for Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector!

IAN MACKAYE AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
July 2nd, 2013 by Larry

Get settled in for this one. Back in May 2013, Ian Mackaye spoke at the Library Of Congress on the subject of digital archiving and other topics. Grab some popcorn, your favorite beverage and enjoy this full 90 minute video.

FULL FACE BACKSLIDE
May 28th, 2013 by Tim

ian and henry PS

This photo by Al Flipside was shot the first time Minor Threat came to Los Angeles in 1982. It originally ran in Flipside no. 47 (1987). The original image was shot outdoors in pitch black night with just a flash. Merrill Ward of SWA is also in this photo.  Note the cigarette in his hand in the lower left hand corner of the photo which merited Ian’s “full face backslide.” – Joe Henderson

IAN MACKAYE ON SKATEBOARDING
May 8th, 2013 by Larry
IAN MACKAYE | PHOTO: SUSIE J. HORGAN

IAN MACKAYE | PHOTO: SUSIE J. HORGAN

Skateboarding is not a hobby. And it is not a sport. Skateboarding is a way of learning how to redefine the world around you. For most people, when they saw a swimming pool, they thought, ‘Let’s take a swim.’ But I thought, ‘Let’s ride it.’ When they saw the curb or a street, they would think about driving on it. I would think about the texture. I slowly developed the ability to look at the world through totally different means.” – Ian MacKaye

OUT OF STEP – CERTIFICATE OF PATIENCE
April 26th, 2013 by Tim
CERTIFICATE OF PATIENCE TO JASON TRAEGER FROM MINOR THREAT

CERTIFICATE OF PATIENCE TO JASON TRAEGER FROM MINOR THREAT

Sometimes a quick, google search will produce gems, today was exactly one of those days. While checking out random Minor Threat images online, I came across this here certificate of patience, which brought me to Jason Traeger’s Tumblr page and the full story on this certificate. I had never seen or heard about this until today and thought it was pretty damn cool. Check out the full article here: jasonotraeger.tumblr.com. -Tim DCXX