BREAKDOWN “RUNNING SCARED” LP AVAILABLE FROM PAINKILLER RECORDS
December 17th, 2013 by Larry
PKR-049: BREAKDOWN- Runnin’ Scared LP (split release with 540 Records)
Painkiller and 540 Records present one of the most important and, yep, best, New York Hardcore recordings on vinyl for the first time EVER, with Runnin’ Scared, the second demo in Breakdown’s Both Demos set. This is music to wear a Mr. Peanut t-shirt to, to lace up your Spot-Bilt sneakers and stagedive into a pile of Daisy Dukes and Village Voice back-issues. On this 540 and Painkiller split release you will find: The Runnin’ Scared demo, from 1988, recorded in The Loft studios in Bronxville, near the parkway, and previously unreleased versions of All I Ask and Hold Me Back — the latter basically a new Breakdown song that you can’t get anywhere else except for this thing — and their second WNYU session from 1989. The demo is as good as any hardcore record ever, and the band is as good as any band. It’s on vinyl now, finally, so buy this thing, put on a ringer tee, spill spaghetti sauce on it and start spreading the credit around.
18 tracks total. Includes a 12″x24″ poster insert with rare photos and flyers as well as new liner notes by Jeff Perlin himself. First pressing of 1,000 black vinyl.
MIKE JUDGE – PART X
December 3rd, 2013 by Tim
MATT AND MIKE WITH JUDGE AT CITY GARDENS | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
You get tired of being in the van on the road. Being broke, not having food. Seven guys in the van, with equipment, you’re never alone with some of your own space. I remember one time driving in the desert and just bugging out. I said you guys have to pull over. They pulled over and I got out and just started walking away from the van into the desert. My mind was so scrambled. I wanted it all to be over. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t even stretch out my arm without hitting somebody next to me, and I’d been in there for a month.
I remember this show we played and this kid was like, “hey you guys can come back and stay at my house and sleep, my parents aren’t home.” So I told the dudes in the band, “look we’ll stay at this kid’s house. I’m taking a bed.” We get there and the kid had a really nice house and I get to this room and it’s dark but I see the bed and I seriously just walk in and lay down, close the door and get into this bed. It was awesome because I hadn’t been in a bed at all to sleep for weeks. But as I’m in there sleeping, kids start to come to the house from the show and they start to come into the room to sleep on the floor. There’s like five kids in the room and they are all talking about the show and about Judge’s set. They are talking about what songs we played and when they were stage diving and shit. I’m thinking “how do I tell these dudes to stop talking so I can sleep, but not be a dick to them?” So finally I say, “hey guys, if you wanna talk about the show, I’ll talk about the show all day tomorrow, but for now I gotta sleep, is that cool?” The one kid was like “oh yeah, I’m sorry.” But somebody had to get up and turn a light on and when the light goes on I realize that the entire room is filled with tanks of snakes, EVERYWHERE. Everywhere, covering the room, there were snakes in all these tanks. I got the fuck out of there and slept in the van.
The craziest tour story was with Luke in Lititz, Pennsylvania when YOT and GB played out there. At the show, this kid says we can stay at his house. He was a little nerdy and telling us he had no friends and his parents were so stoked to have us over to the house to hang out with him. We were cool with it. By the time we get there it’s like 2am. The lights are on and the parents are up. They are all excited, the mom is cooking pasta for all of us, the dad is super friendly and the house is really nice. Off of the kitchen was this big living room that had this real high ceiling with rafters, and the second floor was a walk around with a balcony that looked over out onto the living room, and the bed rooms were off of it on that floor.
JUDGE IN FLORIDA | PHOTO COURTESY OF REV
So finally after we eat and everything we all lay down on the living room floor to go to sleep. I’m next to Luke and I’m like, “man isn’t it weird how nice these people are?” Luke is like, “yeah, they are almost too nice man, it’s weird.” It was a little over the top. We’re laying there, other guys have fallen asleep, some are talking, and Luke and I are staring at the rafters. There’s a ceiling fan up in the rafters. Luke says, “I get a weird feeling from that ceiling fan.” I said, “man I’ve been looking at it and I have the same feeling. It’s weird.” Luke says, “there’s something just not right about this place.” Then I feel something like fly across my face, super fast. It brushes my face, and it’s bright red. I said to myself, “what the fuck was that!?” I figure I must have dozed off and been dreaming. But then it happens again. Luke goes, “dude what the fuck was that!?” I said, “Luke did you feel something?” He says, “yeah some red thing just touched my face!” We’re both like, “what the fuck was that?” Luke was like a little dude, and he got scared. He was freaked out.
We’re still laying there and we hear this crazy super loud shriek from a girl. Luke and I both heard it and start talking about it. Everybody else down there is like, “what are you guys talking about?” They didn’t hear anything. Luke is super freaked out now and wanted to go to the van. I said, “no man stay here, let’s stick together.” So now everyone is like totally quiet, just a little whispering. Then out of nowhere the father yells from his room upstairs, ”YOU FUCKING KIDS SHUT THE FUCK UP DOWN THERE OR I WILL COME DOWN THERE AND YOU WILL ALL FUCKING PAY!!!” Luke is like, “dude we need to get the fuck out of here, seriously.” I tell him, “no just wait dude, stay here, don’t go out there.” Everyone is like, “what the fuck? Oh my God.” We didn’t know what to do. So we keep laying there and a little time goes by and Luke and I are still staring at this ceiling fan, and this thing comes down from the fan right at us. It turns at the last second and skims my face and then skims Luke’s face. Dude…we were petrified. We just laid there frozen. We didn’t say a word until morning. I don’t know if we slept or not.
That morning Cappo was gone. The mom came downstairs and starts cooking breakfast, and the dad comes down and they are both super nice and friendly. I’m like “uhh, this is weird…because that dad wanted to kill us a few hours ago and that shit was weird.” Cappo comes in. He had gone with the son somewhere in the van. Cappo comes in and is like, “ok guys, time to go, gotta get on the road.” We’re like, “nah dude we’re gonna have breakfast.” He says, “nope, gotta go, gotta get to the next stop, right now. Seriously, right now, everybody out.” It was super weird. We all grab our shit as Cappo hurries us out, we get in the van and the family comes out to say goodbye. Cappo floors it out of there, and we go ripping down the street. As soon as we get out of the community, he pulls into this parking lot and turns around. Everyone is wondering what he is doing. Cappo says, “that fucking place is haunted. You don’t know how lucky we are to have gotten the hell out of there. That dad is psychotic, he’s beating the kid. The kid told me. The kid’s older brother hung himself from those rafters. The parents are crazy. The kid is all fucked up. We are fucking lucky.” I was like sick to my stomach. I think Luke may have been crying. We got the hell out of there. Seriously man… craziest shit ever. Craziest and scariest shit I’ve ever seen. Luke knows what I am talking about. That was a fucking ghost.
MIKE AND THE CITY GARDENS CROWD | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
MIKE JUDGE – PART VIII
November 11th, 2013 by Ed
JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: ERIC BLOMQUIST
Leading up to the recording of the seven inch, we rehearsed at Giant and the rehearsals consisted of Porcell playing guitar and me play drums. Then Porcell plays guitar and I sing over that. When we got to Fury’s that’s how we did it. We rehearsed maybe three or four times. Since we lived together we’d go over stuff at the apartment, too. Originally I wrote everything on a bass. Porcell polished it all up. I had all the words. When we got to Fury’s it was me and him taking turns doing each thing putting it all together. Jimmy had helped me write Fed Up, musically. All those words were written way before the music came into play. He helped me write Fed Up because I knew exactly what I wanted and it was simple. I fuckin’ loved the BOLD song “Wise Up.” I couldn’t play guitar so I couldn’t even learn Wise Up to rip it off. So I went to Jimmy and I said “Jimmy I want to rip this song off, totally. But I want it to say Fed Up instead of Wise Up.” It was that basic. So Jimmy wrote it, and I had to bring it to Porcell. And I had no idea how to show it to Porcell, so we wrote it down on paper, like notes.
Everything else I wrote, but it was written in parts and then Porcell and I put it all together as songs. The words had come over the years at different times, so many were from when I was young. I had written songs like “Drugs Can’t Help” as a little kid…but I mean, I would never say something like that in that nice of a way. That’s just stupid. So the real old lyrics never made it to Judge. I have this old trunk with all these old lyrics and photos and shit. I dug photos out from when we recorded at Fury’s and put those up online. Fury was totally psyched on those. He said that was like a landmark session at that studio.
The experience of recording that record was awesome. We did it around Christmas and I remember walking to the studio and down near Mulberry Street they were selling Christmas trees and it was just an awesome time in New York. I had no idea I was recording this record that would change my whole life and carry so much weight. The whole experience was perfect. Walking to the studio with Christmas trees on the sidewalk, and that smell of the trees and Christmas. It was just a really special thing.
So once we started recording, we had the music like 95% done and then we had to do vocals. I remember Porcell going, “dude, have you ever really sang? What’s it sound like.” I was like, “I don’t know, it’s been a long time. I’ve been screaming in my fucking car just to see…but I don’t know.” I had been singing in practices at Giant, but you’d have to see the old Giant studios…that studio was pure shit, you couldn’t hear anything. So he had no sense of what I sounded like and neither did I. But at Fury’s, I let it all out on that first song, and it was crystal clear. Before I started, I made them turn off the lights in the vocal room, and in their control room. They couldn’t see me, and I couldn’t see them. It was black. The song started and I went. When it ended, the lights came on. Porcell goes “oh my God man!!! It’s fucking awesome dude! You sound like you’re fucking possessed! Holy shit it sounds great!”
Hearing it back was a little weird. I wanted to sound like Choke. I wanted to sound like Brannon. To get into the mood to write, I would listen to Last Rights. Chunks was so fucking heavy. I wanted that. It didn’t have to be super fast or crunchy. It can be a mood. I think the best thing Judge ever did was The Storm. That was perfect in what I wanted. It’s not like “crunch heavy” with like a low chugging thing. It’s just a big open structure with ringing guitars and this fucking mood. I feel so evil inside hearing that. When I hear that drum beat, it changes my mood instantly. It’s like a switch in my head. I wish I could go on the other side and just hear it performed instead of being in it as the singer. But it’s also the song I can’t wait to sing.
So after I did the vocals, we did the back-ups. That was fun as hell. It was me, Porcell, Sammy, Luke…it was a blast.
JUDGE – “NEW YORK CREW” FIRST PRESS, SCHISM RECORDS
My girlfriend at the time, Anne, was cheating on me with this skinhead. I didn’t even care because I was creating this perfect thing, this perfect record. I remember she was with him and her and I had to talk and he was there with her and it was right when the whole recording was finished. But I didn’t even care, it didn’t even bother me. She was like “things just aren’t working out with us.” I was like “ok yep that’s fine!” I just didn’t care. I actually said, “yeah…umm, nevermind that – listen to this!” So I put the tape in the boombox to play it because I’m so excited. She’s like “what the fuck is wrong with you?” I’m like, ”never mind that! Listen to this part!!!” And the skinhead goes, “man what is this?” I sai,d “this is my fucking new band, Judge.” He goes, “man this is fucking awesome!” So here’s my old lady cheating on me with this skinhead and we’re sitting around a boombox listening to it going “it’s fucking great!” So she says to me, “look, umm…I’ll get rid of him, so do you want to hang out later?” I’m like “nah look I have to take this to Brooklyn and play it for other people.” I just didn’t even care about anything other than that recording and how it had come out.
When we were done recording, I figured that was it. We’d put it out as a record, I’d wait for MRR to slam it, I’d laugh about it, and that would be it. But people freaked out about it when it came out. People responded to it. But I never planned for it to be a band. I thought it was just a record.
The idea for the hammers was mine. It was the Cockney Rejects, I loved them. I always loved that. It was hard, man. Those hammers are just hard. At the time I didn’t know the hammers would end up as any continuous theme or reference point in Judge. I just knew I wanted that logo. I had no idea those hammers were gonna live with me the rest of my fuckin’ life. It just worked out that way. I ended up having the hammers tattooed on me after that, but later on I had motorcycle club tattoos tattooed near them and around them. When I got out of the club I either had to have the tattoos covered up…or I had to have them cut off if I was found. So, I covered them. But those hammers are still there underneath it all.
I didn’t have anything to do with the cover of the record. When Alex and Porcell handed me that cover all finished I said, “damn that’s pretty awesome.” That’s me on the B Side label wearing Richie’s New Balances. All of us used to trade sneakers and share each other’s stuff. I’m sitting by Some Records in the steps that go down to the basement apartment. Those guys were standing over me taking the photo. Those gloves were gardening gloves. They weren’t construction gloves. I had gotten into the city to hang out and do those photos and it was cold. We were gonna go tag “JUDGE” all over the city. I stopped in a bodega and all they had were these fucking ladies gardening gloves. I bought them and put X’s on them. They aren’t the construction gloves that people think they are.
The back cover photo of Porcell is him up front at a Crippled Youth show, you can see Matt in the photo. Porcell was dancing during their set.
NEW YORK CREW DON FURY’S RECORDING SESSION PHOTOS
So the record came out and that was it for a while. We hadn’t gotten members or made it anything other than something Porcell and I recorded and put out. Months later, it was like a Wednesday or Thursday and there was a show at the Anthrax that somebody was playing that Fridaynight. Porcell says, “dude, let’s have Judge play Friday night.” I was like, “hmmm, alright.” He said, “I’ll get Drew, you get Jimmy Yu. We’ll do it.” It was that fast. We got it all together and met up at Don Fury’s on the way to the show for a really quick rehearsal. It was just spur of the moment. We rehearsed the seven inch songs and “We Just Might.” That was the stipulation, we had to play that. I don’t know who else played. It was weird having people sing along to my words, especially when a lot of the kids were younger. I was pushing for the reaction of people getting mad at me at that first show. I wanted that. Instead, I got all this support. It was weird. But we thought we should keep it going.
We ended up getting Luke and he played with us for a while. He had really wanted to stay in the band, but Raybies didn’t want him in another band in addition to Warzone. Ray didn’t come up to me and directly say he didn’t want it happening, but he sort of asked me about the intentions of the band with Luke. He basically said that Warzone had the same plans as Judge, and that Luke was in Warzone before Judge, and that if Judge was going to take him they would have to get a new drummer. I basically said that if Luke needs to make a decision, then we’d find a new drummer. Luke was bummed, but it was only right. I didn’t even know Sammy. Sammy was friends with Porcell. I was good friends with Jules, but I didn’t know Sammy that well. Sammy worked out. I never really thought about his age. It was tough finding bass players and drummers. We were happy to have him, and he brought Matt into the band with him because at that point Jimmy couldn’t stay in.
People took to the band and the message. They liked it so much that I started seeing that these words that I wrote were causing people to act on them. I thought maybe I fucked up, that I started bad shit. I thought maybe I was the beginning of the wrong thing. I put myself out there and had to back it up. Whereas in something like Project X, it wasn’t serious. I thought it was hoaky. I thought that they were doing a caricature of how I really felt at the time. I thought the fake names were a little goofy. Those guys weren’t hard, you know?
I wrote these songs and words and put my ass on the line and once it became a band I was by myself. Porcell is basically a pacifist. And the other guys in the band are fifteen year old kids. In every town we came into on the road, every tough guy wanted to fight me since I was the guy from New York who said what he said. Jimmy was a fighter, a hot head. But he never toured with us. He was already into the temple and on his way to becoming an interpreter for a monk. So he didn’t tour, he just played locally. After the first tour we did I realized that when it came time to back up these words, I would be by myself. That’s how Todd came in. Because when it was time to stand up and throw hands, he’d be there with me. I needed him there.
We started writing new material. Porcell was real gung ho about Judge. I never asked him if Cappo gave him any shit about it while YOT was still going. Cappo at the time told me he didn’t like the message. He thought I was un-doing what took him years to accomplish. I laughed. He knew how I felt about YOT at that point. It bothered me because he finally got the balls up to confront somebody…but of all people, that person was me. I don’t know. I love Ray. I don’t want to come off like I am talking bad about him. There’s an ego that drives his motives a lot of times and maybe back then. I don’t think he was upset that I was putting a negative message out…I think he was upset that I was putting out a message, period. I was supposed to be YOT’s boy, and now the baby has grown and he’s not cute anymore. But I want to be really clear that I do love Ray. That was a long time ago.
SAMMY, MIKE, PORCELL AND JIMMY | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN
Writing the LP songs, I was still listening to the same stuff to get pumped, musically. Lyrically, I listened to a lot of Neil Young. But I had always been doing that. I always thought he was the master of writing lyrics, the master of being brutally honest with a life that is put into lyrics as an open wound that you can just sit there and pick at. What I wrote for lyrics, that is my damage. It’s the best way for me to let it out and write it down, and what fits in a song fits in a song.
The song “Bringin’ It Down” had two of three other verses that we had to cut out because the song wasn’t long enough. It was going to be the Judge theme song. It was supposed to be the message statement: stomping out the drug abuse, stomping out the ignorance, stomping out the racism. There was a lot more to it about booze and drugs, but it got cut down.
“Take Me Away” had a bunch of different parts to it. Part of it is about how some people are into music just based on how the music sounds…it’s about people who don’t care about the message. I would meet all these people that were really getting into Hare Krishna, but they weren’t really into the message, they were just into the image. There was no spirituality, there was just a fashion. I was commenting on that. It was about how I didn’t want to learn any spiritual stuff just to get over on someone who hasn’t taken the time to learn that shit. Some of those Krishna bands were like that. I met so many people who were simply into wanting to find a mall that sold the yellow mustard and haircut and a robe. Even before Shelter started, I was meeting people who were getting into it. People were saying they were stoked on it, but they were really just stoked that it gave them a reason to hang out with Ray and get close with him. It was just a way into something. If I could read a book and learn things to say and get over on some fools because they haven’t taken the time to figure out if I’m full of shit or not…where does that get me?
There’s other parts in the song that are about some guys who were dangerous NYHC types even though they were into spirituality. They were pushing this message, but at the end of the day they are the guys that are the first ones to feed on the meek, use them, and throw them away.
I was also wondering that if there is some all-powerful something or another out there, then maybe I shouldn’t have to try so fucking hard to keep myself in check. I’ve always said that I’m one slip away from being some fucking drug addict in an alleyway. I always feel like I am going through life driving down the road with the devil riding shotgun telling me to turn here or turn there. If there is something so good out there to protect, then why am I fighting this hard to just keep myself alive? You know, like, if you’re really here, then you take the wheel for a second…fucking help me out.
There was a lot of shit going on when my dad was sick and dying over the course of two years around that time. I wasn’t good at just sitting down and writing a song about one thing. That song has bits from all over the place. But watching my dad, I thought, “why does this have to happen, and why does it have to be so slow. Why can’t you just take the life? Why do you have to take the dignity and self-respect first? And what is the reward? How can all that shit happen if there’s something so great out there?” It just doesn’t make sense to me.
By that point in Judge, Porcell was with me but I didn’t know Matt or Sammy well. They were younger and that was fine. I already came to the conclusion that I’m a little fucked up in my mindset, and that’s just the way that it is. I could be surrounded by all my good friends, but at some point in the night, I’m gonna feel alone anyways. It’s just how my mind works. But I had realized that I don’t have a problem with that…with feeling alone in a crowd, so to speak.
I knew we needed to shift gears moving forward with Judge. I talked to Porcell about it. Even after the seven inch came out and it got the reaction it did, I had started to write lyrics that explained why I wrote those original lyrics. With the new lyrics, I wanted people to see that I’m all fucked up, that they shouldn’t take my words as the truth. But the more I explained that, it was like people identified with it more. It was different from YOT where we were all supposed to be healthy, happy, free and love each other. In Judge the lyrics were ugly and showed that I didn’t have it all figured it. But man…people took to it…
MIKE, SAMMY, PORCELL AND JIMMY | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN
MIKE JUDGE – PART VII
November 3rd, 2013 by Ed
JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: ERIC BLOMQUIST
I was pissed on the people coming down on YOT and Ray for the positive message of the band. But I was also wanting to lash out at YOT for not knowing when that positivity isn’t going to work to get through to people. Those guys in Detroit…nothing was going to get through to them. In my mind only one thing would get through to them. Those guys in Detroit thought they got over on us. So what good is a positive message when people are just laughing in your face about it?
Eventually we were in Florida on a YOT tour and the van broke down and we stayed at these girls’ apartment for a week and the van was parked in a junk yard. We would each take turns sleeping in the van guarding the equipment and during the day we would work in the junkyard to pay for parts to fix the van. So on my night to sleep in the van I was there I came up with the idea and name of Judge. I came up with lyrics and this and that, and Porcell came down to keep me company. He asked what I was doing and I said “when I get back to NYC I’m quitting YOT and this is what I am doing.” He was like “why, guy? Guy you can’t do that!” I said “I can’t keep doing this and letting people walk all over us.” I explained more and then finally he said “man that sounds really cool. So…do you need a guitar player?”
We sat there all night talking about this band that didn’t even really exist yet. We developed the whole plan for Judge. Before I was Mike Judge I was Mike James. I had stopped using my last name for a long time. People also called me Mike DBD. Calling the band Judge was about the band being an authority figure. Everything that you’re not supposed to be in this music…I wanted to show that and force it on people. That authority voice, that cop attitude, that hard stance. I wanted that. Something like SSD…something you saw in big block letters that was right there in your face…something that would look good as a tattoo. That’s what I had in mind. Once I said the name of the band was Judge, Porcell called me Mike Judge.
We said that at the first show we’ll do “We Just Might” because Cappo refused to sing it anymore. Porcell was on board with all of this. I already had a couple songs in mind when I told Porcell. I had things in my head from that YOT tour. Passing time on that tour, I was thinking about just shutting people up. Personally, I wanted to let those types of people know that all of that preaching that bands like YOT were doing, well I will do it too, and I will also go out of my way to shove it down your throat. And I won’t back down if you call me out on it. MRR had made YOT out to be like borderline nazis and militant, which is so ridiculous because you couldn’t be more of a pacifist than Ray. I wanted to say to MRR “you think that is bad? Oh…just wait. Just wait until you see what I have in mind.” I wanted to be as confrontational and over the top as I could.
When we got back to NY and before I quit, Cappo booked a rehearsal at Fury’s and wanted to show everyone new songs for a new YOT record because he was going to write it. It wasn’t a collaboration. It was Cappo wanting to show us what he had written. It was his deal and it was his band. I know that YOT is Porcell’s legacy too, but being in the band at that time, it was Ray’s band. There weren’t decisions made that Ray didn’t agree with.
MIKE WITH JUDGE AT SPANKY’S IN RIVERSIDE, CA | PHOTO: CHAD TIMMRECK
I had made it up in my mind that night that I would tell Cappo I was done. I remember Cappo had a bass and I forget if Walter had quit or if Walter had just been filling in for Craig, but at that point there was no bass player. Cappo started showing us this song called “Blind Patriot,” and once it was time for us to hop on our instruments, nobody really moved. I said “look Ray, I’m done.” He said “wait…just like that? I said, “Yeah, just like that. Sorry.” That was it. I got up and left. I remember I got out onto the street and started walking towards the Bowery. They must have stopped the practice right there because a few minutes later Cappo walked right past me. Porcell and Richie caught up and started walking with me home and it didn’t even come up. We knew YOT was done.
Richie was a lot like I was in the context of YOT. I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t split. I think he wanted out. He had this whole rap thing he was going to do. He wasn’t singing for Underdog but I don’t know what he was up to doing. He and Porcell were tight. In NY they always went to the gym together and were super close. In California they always wanted to go lay out in the sun together. But Richie and I had some old NY ties in common and we had gotten close with time. We shared gripes. I really liked Richie.
I liked them all and still do. I just couldn’t be in a band with Ray. We didn’t agree on everything. As a front man, he’s second to none. He’s awesome. The guy is great. He’s got charisma, he’s a wild man, and he has an awesome voice. It was great to have the best seat in the house playing drums watching him. I remember one time I was playing and using this drum rack set up and playing a college bar type deal with nobody there except college kids who were all drunk and didn’t know who we were. Cappo was trying to really get his message across and make an impact and they weren’t having it. Out of nowhere, Cappo does this crazy full on jump/dive onto the drum set and broke the rack. Going back to even the first time I saw YOT play, he was awesome. A natural.
I didn’t feel old amongst my peers in YOT or Judge. I wish I was older. I wish I could have seen the Dead Boys at CB’s. I see video of that and it almost brings tears to my eyes. I was just one year too young. I just missed it. That’s how Cappo and Porcell were about A7, they just missed it and they wanted the stories. So being a little older, it sort of got me a little respect, people wanted to hear about it. I think those guys got me to play in YOT to make them a more legitimate NY band, and I think they wanted Richie for the same reasons. They wanted that old NY thing, they wanted us in that, they wanted to share in that. Those dudes loved to talk about old NY and the early eighties scene, and when they got Richie and me – guys that actually played the A7 – it was something they wanted and I think that’s fine.
By the time I was in YOT, Ray really was a pacifist and the band had sort of calmed a bit. After I was out of the band, I didn’t really know what was going on with them. People always ask me about this and that with YOT after I left the band, like why I’m not in the No More video, for example. I didn’t even know about it. People say to me, “everyone is in that video.” Well I didn’t know anything about it. I have never heard We’re Not In The Alone, other than one song…(Keep It Up). I have been told it was written about me, I don’t know. I take it all with a grain of salt. I’m not sour about anything. I owe Cappo a lot and owe YOT a lot. It is still special to me.
MIKE JUDGE AND MATT BOLD | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN
When I was in YOT, the bands in the city had been getting tighter as friends. YOT and GB and Warzone…it was a fun time to be a part of what was happening in New York and we definitely had a clique. When I joined YOT, those guys convinced me to live in Brooklyn at the Schism house. It was Cappo, Porcell, Alex Brown, and me. Probably the coolest thing about that was that two of the sickest record collections were at my disposal: Ray and Porcell’s. They had it all, tons of rare shit, Dangerhouse records, stuff I had never seen, all at my disposal.
Cappo wasn’t really around a lot while I was living there because he had a girlfriend in Manhattan. Alex was around but he went to school a lot. It was mostly me and Porcell. Me and Porcell have always gotten along. But I couldn’t handle the city. Street lights that never go off, the constant noise, it was too much and I was used to visiting there but not living there. Where I was from, when it got dark outside, it got dark and it got quiet. I need to be able to go into the woods…whether it’s in my Jeep or just walking. I need to go into deep woods and just chill out. I need to do that every day. I still do it. It’s the country boy in me. I love the city, but I missed that too much.
Once Porcell and I got Judge together and had the idea to record the first songs, I was oblivious to anything happening in New York or on Revelation or anything around me. I was just consumed and on fire with Judge. I went through notebook after notebook of lyrics and logos. I didn’t notice anything else going on around me, in the scene, anywhere. I saw this thing come together in my head and then in reality and once it was off and running I was just possessed.
Later on in Judge, Porcell and I would do the night drives on tour and on the road, and we’d talk all fuckin’ night. We’d talk about life, and about a lot of music and the stuff each of us was into. We liked different shit. Like, I need to listen to Neil Young every so often or I’ll actually go crazy. We’d listen to Neil Young and talk about the song writing and structures. And Porcell has this thing for Morrissey and I don’t get that. We have our differences…but it’s hard to explain. I love the guy. If you put all our characteristics and personality traits out on the table, you’d say “there’s no way these two should hang together.” But we do, and it’s always been that way. I’m like the bad side of Porcell, I think I bring that out in him. Just like when I told him we had to play We Just Might. He was all stoked and he was like “guy you think?!?!” Like he was into it, but it was a little risky to him. You could tell he wouldn’t go to Cappo about it himself in YOT. But I could bring that to him and he’d get psyched, it was like it was justified. Porcell has a dark side and I’m the working part of that dark side. Judge has that aura of things being bad. I bring that to Porcell. I let him live dangerously…
MATT AND MIKE WITH JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: CHUCK MILLER
NEW RELEASES FROM RADIO RAHEEM
October 31st, 2013 by Larry
RADIO-003: THE ABUSED – Loud and Clear LP
In 1983, a foursome of self-released seven inch ep’s came out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan that heralded a new breed of hardcore punk for New York. Agnostic Front’s ‘United Blood’, Antidote’s ‘Thou Shall Not Kill’, Cause For Alarm’s self-titled release and The Abused’s ‘Loud and Clear’ all defined the sound and aesthetic of New York Hardcore for years to come with their sonic brutality and fervent lyrics. Since then, all of these records have been re-issued barring the latterly mentioned ‘Loud and Clear’. That is, until now.
Radio Raheem proudly presents the first fully authorized re-issue of the ‘Loud and Clear’ ep. Pressed in the LP format, this 21-track collection is rounded out by the band’s 1982 demo and never before heard live material. Also included is a 24-page, full color booklet containing photos, lyrics and the band’s infamous show flyers drawn by their vocalist Kevin Crowley, as well as a sticker sheet of original Abused sticker designs. Finally, the most arcane and collectible piece of the early 80’s NYHC puzzle is available for both the tight pursed nerd and curious onlooker alike.
Read the rest of this entry » «NEW RELEASES FROM RADIO RAHEEM»
MIKE JUDGE – PART VI
October 29th, 2013 by Tim
JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX WITH RYAN HOFFMAN OF CHAIN ON 2ND GUITAR | PHOTO: CHUCK MILLER
It’s been awhile and we do apologize, but we’re finally back with part six of our interview with Mike Judge. There’s plenty more to come, so hang in there and enjoy this installment. -Tim DCXX
Seeing YOT was a total re-charge for me. It was like hearing a real hardcore band again. I had lost that. Seeing them was like allowing me to go back and erase the mistakes I had made with the musical direction we had gone in DBD. It helped me reconnect with Mark Ryan. He started Supertouch again and I just started playing with them, but I definitely wasn’t good enough to do what they were doing, especially with Biv in the mix. He was a great guitar player with great ideas and I couldn’t back him at all. I wasn’t talented enough to play what he was playing. I learned to play drums originally in DBD to simply keep a band alive. That interview with Biv on Double Cross where he talked about me was rough. He was saying how my drumming was holding the band back and how once they got Andy things were so much better and on and on. It bummed me out because I was never trying to do anything more than keep the band going. A lot of it had to do with me joining YOT. That pissed them off. Because as soon as I joined YOT we went on tour.
When I was out on tour, we were on our way home and my girlfriend at the time was like “when you get home be careful because Mark Ryan says he has guys that are gonna beat you up for the way you left.” I was like, “uh whatever, ok.” Some of the names mentioned of who was gonna beat me up were people I knew. So the last show YOT was playing on that tour was in Buffalo with Warzone. Some of the guys mentioned were part of the Warzone crew. So when I got there I was expecting something. I wasn’t worried though because Richie was with me in YOT and that guy is a wrecking crew. So I wasn’t scared. But nothing happened and nothing was even hinted at. So now we come home and at the Sunday matinee I’m thinking if it’s going to happen it will be there. So I’m walking up to the show and there’s a car parked right there out in front and the window rolls down and someone calls me over. I forget the guy’s name but it’s a Krishna guy that ran with Harley and Bloodclot. He sticks his head out and says Mike come here. He was one of the guys that had also been mentioned so I’m like “oh shit here we go.” I sort of hesitate. He’s like “come here.” I’m like “dude I’m not sticking my head in that window.” He’s like “why? I just want to talk.” I say “that’s fine but I’m just not sticking my head in that window.” So he got out and is like “you don’t really think I’m gonna do something to you for Mark Ryan, do you?” He’s like “I would never do anything like that, man.” Me and Mark never really talked at all after that. We were old friends, there were plenty of people playing in other bands, Supertouch had nothing planned. I didn’t leave them stranded or in a bad spot. But it rubbed him the wrong way. There may have been a little thing with him and Cappo that fueled it, but I didn’t do anything wrong. Everyone was in multiple bands…Arthur, Walter, a lot of guys. It just sucked when I read that Biv interview because it made it sound like I held that band back. It seemed unnecessary. Those guys never talked to me and I didn’t talk to them. I saw Mark when I was on BNB radio and it was fine.
Pretty quickly once I was in YOT, I felt like I didn’t belong with those guys. The differences were becoming very obvious to me. I didn’t grow up like Cappo or Porcell. But I needed a band like that because it brought back a music I loved and they were doing it. When they needed a drummer, they moved to New York. I had seen them in Philly and dug it and it reignited something and so I started Supertouch again and got me into it and hanging out in the city. So once they moved down we crossed paths a lot. I think it was the Cro-Mags at the Ritz and I was walking by the pizzeria on St. Marks and Cappo comes running out. He’s like “Mike, we need a drummer for YOT. What do you think, do you wanna try out?” I was like “I mean…I guess, I’ll try out.” He says “that’s awesome” and tells me when and where. At the show, I see Porcell and he says “man I heard you are trying out I am so psyched, I really wanna be in a band with you!”
MIKE ON DRUMS WITH YOUTH OF TODAY | PHOTO UNKNOWN
So I come home and I set up my drums at my girlfriend’s house. I got the Break Down The Walls record playing in my headphones and I can’t even come close to Drew on that. I realize there’s no way I’m getting in that band. I tell Mark Ryan to tell those guys there’s no sense in me even trying out, I can’t play at that speed. Cappo tells Mark I have to just come and try out anyways, begging Mark to get me there. So I go to Giant Studios on 14th street, total shithole. It’s Richie, Cappo and Porcell, and Richie is on guitar and I am playing with him. I can’t even keep up, I’m not even close. I realize it’s over and it’s not for me. I’m already in my mind headed home. So they all go outside to talk and I’m ready to go home because I know it’s over, I’m just sitting there. They come back and are like “you got the gig, we’re going to Canada!” I’m like, “what?” It didn’t even make sense why they would want me. The next night we rehearse again and I try to play faster and it’s not great but it’s better. I’m just so stoked. Here’s this band that got me back into it and I’m in the band going on tour.
So we go to Canada but right away the differences start popping up. I was different than them. My fuse was short. It’s not the right way, but I settle things with my hands. If I try to talk I stumble over my words and hit you anyways. Richie was the same way. He was a well-spoken guy but he had a violent streak. I didn’t know him prior to that. I didn’t know him from the early NY scene, we didn’t cross paths. I didn’t know Craig but I had seen him once when NYC Mayhem opened for the Cro-Mags. I really didn’t know these guys, and I didn’t like talking to people, and covered up the shyness with a violent act or two. Richie was very smart and well-spoken but could turn on the violence in an instant. Nasty guy. Craig…I love Craig and he has a heart of gold and is an innocent guy who can be easily taken advantage of and I saw that happen within the band. Being stuck in a van with guys…if you aren’t meshing, things can go horribly wrong. I don’t know if Cappo got off on humiliating Craig but it drove me nuts. I would catch myself laughing and then it made me hate myself and hate the guy who told the joke.
It boiled over with being in Detroit one night. This band playing that night didn’t like YOT and was throwing deer meat and guts and shit on stage as we played. I forget the band. They were corny. I wasn’t vegetarian, but it was the disrespect that really fucking pissed me off. I wanted to send them all home in a box. I was ready to stop playing and handle it. Richie was too. We got done and we’re off in the corner and I’m telling Cappo “let’s go fucking save face.” He was saying something but it was like Charlie Brown teacher talk to my ears. Unless it was “let’s go kill them,” I didn’t hear it. Richie and I are ready to go confront these guys ourselves. So finally Cappo says “ok look, we’ll all go together.” I’m like fuck yeah, this is on. So we march up to these fucking cats and I am just waiting for the signal, following Cappo. We get up to them and just when it is about to happen, Cappo recites 7 Seconds lyrics to the guy, and marches off. I’m like “what? That’s it?” These guys were laughing at us right in our faces. I was dumbfounded. I realized: I don’t feel this way. I don’t want to forgive. I’ll forgive, but not right yet. I’ll forgive…but for now I am going to fuck some people up.
There were smaller things, too. At some other show this guy comes up to the table and is giving Cappo a hard time about the cost of the record. And then he gets belligerent and says “fine I don’t want this shitty record anyway.” I’m standing there with Cappo, and I basically go to push Cappo out of the way to clock this fucking guy and Cappo steps in and right there in front of everybody gives me this scolding. I was like “WHAT?” He was always telling me I can’t do that, I can’t pop off like that. I just wanted out, I hated that feeling of being castrated. I didn’t go out of my way to look for fights, but I didn’t feel like everything was settled with Kevin Seconds lyrics. It doesn’t always work. Some people need a fucking beating.
MIKE AND PORCELL HANGING OUT IN A CROWD, WHILE ON THE YOT TOUR | PHOTO UNKNOWN
MIKE JUDGE – PART V
September 17th, 2013 by Tim
MIKE AND JIMMY WITH JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: ERIC BLOMQUIST
As far as records I loved, first and foremost was SSD – Get It Away. As far as a bands as a whole, it was 7 Seconds. Their records were great, I loved Kevin. When I tried out for YOT I remember they told me I was the new drummer and we’re going to Canada in two days. I was like, “what?!” It was crazy. I’d never really been out of NJ or much further than a car ride away. But here I am, now in YOT, and they said, “we’re playing in Canada with 7 Seconds, so get ready.” I couldn’t believe I was going on tour. I was blown away, it was everything I wanted. So to go play with Kevin Seconds in this band I loved? Crazy. So we get to the first club and it’s my birthday and I still haven’t even seen Kevin and we’re in the back of the club. The show had started and some band is playing and the door opens and Cappo walks in with Kevin Seconds and they are holding a cupcake with a candle in it singing happy birthday to me. I remember watching this and in my mind and I was like, “wow, Kevin Seconds is singing happy birthday to me.” I was so floored and trying to contain myself, I just wanted to tell somebody. Kevin was awesome.
See…I knew I was not a nice guy. But in my mind, I had it worked out that I knew why I wasn’t nice and I always told myself I was justified in why I was not a tolerant guy. A lot of the bands I liked fed into and fueled that side of me. But 7 Seconds made me wish I could be that positive, and be like him. I wish I could feel the way he feels…and mean it. Because he really does care and he really means what he says. I was like, “I wonder what it feels like to give that much of a fuck.” Because I spent three quarters of my life not giving a fuck…because nobody gave a fuck about me. What is it like to feel like that and have those thoughts? Because when I would write a song I never wrote a few lines at a time and put it away and come back to it later. When I wrote a song it was like I had a terrible headache and once I started writing the idea down it comes out of me like I’m being sick…and then the song is done. It’s not a good feeling. But when I’m done with the song, I love it. It would be weird if that feeling was a good feeling, you know, like…what if I had a really nice message, and I feel really good about it, and I’ll write it down, and then, when everyone listens to it, they’ll feel really good too??? It is such a nice, pleasant idea. I never had that because I was just a ball full of hate all the time. That whole first Judge record is one big ball of hate. I wrote most of it in a junk yard in Florida being miserable. I didn’t even like the people I was with at that time. I felt castrated and miserable. I couldn’t wait to come home and just hatch this thing I had in my mind. I couldn’t wait to fucking cut that loose. I was so angry.
Negative Approach and John Brannon fed into that dark feeling I had. I loved them from the moment we got the Process Of Elimination record. Because even though that song was so short, that picture of Brannon told me what I needed to know. I loved the Necros. Before Cro-Mags, there was Mode Of Ignorance. They were a fucking great band and one of my favorite NY bands. Those bands were angry. But bands in that 7 Seconds attitude, nobody else came close to 7 Seconds. And yet the same things that made me love 7 Seconds and Kevin sort of rubbed me the wrong way with Cappo. Because they were a lot alike with similar personalities, but it bothered me being in YOT with him at the time.
JOHN BRANNON AND THE MIGHTY NEGATIVE APPROACH AT THE FREEZER, 1982 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN
Any New York band, I loved. I was just in love with NYHC. There were lines being drawn early on. Boston said their bands were the best…heavier…harder. If there was ever a mixture of the bands, I was for NY. I loved Reagan Youth. I loved Kraut. As good as Adjustment To Society sounded, they sounded better live. They were professionals. The Abused were intense. Antidote were intense. At first in NY it was real cliquey. That NY Crew was tough to crack, especially being from NJ. John Watson, Vinnie, Jimmy Kontra…those guys were friendly, but being from NJ, not everyone welcomed you. Vinnie would always lend a hand or let you crash at his spot. But initially, there were guys that were standoffish. There was some fashion criticisms going on. “Who are the NJ guys wearing sneakers? Why do they have their jeans rolled up?”
It wasn’t until I met guys from Queens coming in that I had a connection. Those guys were friendlier and we got along really well and I think it had something to do with them being sort of a suburb and both of us being sort of on the outside. This guy Ken Wagner from Queens was one of the original Queens guys down with Major Conflict and Urban Waste and Reagan Youth. That initial Astoria Crew were cool, that original Gilligan’s Revenge crew. We hung out, talked on the phone, met at gigs, supported their bands. Reagan Youth had their own crew from Rego Park. It was like after banging heads in clubs for a while, we became a united crew and a part of the actual NY Crew. John Watson saw that. He saw our support and we got accepted into that real NY Crew. New Jersey people got mad at us. Sand In The Face got mad and would cross out the “Y” and make a “J.” Not so much Adrenalin OD, but the people around them would call us posers because they thought we were trying to keep where we were from hidden. I told everyone I was form NJ. Cause For Alarm were from NJ when they first started. It seemed like we were really trying to be a part of the NY scene and when we stopped catching hell in NY for being for NJ, we started catching hell from NJ people for us being so into NY. The WFMU crowd was rough on us, and we got no gigs in NJ at the small places. City Gardens doesn’t count, but places like the Pipeline told us, “look…you wanna be from NY? Then go play NY.”
There were a lot of great bands back then. Stetz was a great band. I just listened to that demo again. It’s so fuckin’ good and ahead of it’s time. There were a lot of great NJ bands. AOD were really fuckin’ good. I remember running into them on a Judge tour, in like Phoenix or something. We had already played all the way out to the west coast and were on our way back and when I walked into the club AOD was on the bill. I was like, “man that’s cool, I really like them and haven’t seen them in a shitload of years.” So I had all these battle scars from the gigs we had played on that tour so far, and when we met up with those dudes to soundcheck the guy from the club asked if we wanted to soundcheck and we were like, “Nah,” – because we had been through the mill and playing so much. AOD looks at us and can tell we’ve been on the road into all sorts of shit, and they were like, “uhhh, what the hell happened to you guys?” And we were like, “well…shit…Judge tour.” They realized we had been dealing with some tough crowds and all sorts of people showing up to instigate shit. They said, “will it be bad here tonight?” We were like, “umm, yeah…probably.” The club guy right then was like, “yeah, so and so local gang have been calling. They are only gonna come here to fuck with you if you are here.”
ADRENALIN O.D. | PHOTO: UNKNOWN
As far as moshers back then in the early eighties and who could dance…number one was Watson. Man I don’t know dude, there should be a way to film that so people could learn how to do it. He looked fucking cool. There was also Diego, who played in AF when Watson was signing. That dude was like a hard, hard dancer. Eric Casanova, he danced really good. Carl Mosh was really good. All I did was stand in the middle and wait for shit to hit me. I just let the music hit me. If it was a great band like the Abused, then man…forget it. Early on there were some hold-outs still doing this pogo deal, they were quickly washed away. It was all way too violent. That circle thing happened for a while, and then John Watson was one of the first guys to not go in a circle. He’d do this thing like right in his own space. Especially if it was like the Bad Brains, it just matched the music and looked cool. It was total style. At the time, I thought it was violent. I had my nose broken by Jimmy Gestapo.
Whatever is going on now on the dancefloor and in the pit, I don’t understand it. It looks rough. I don’t understand how people aren’t being taken out on stretchers. It’s not like it was. There was a big chunk of time I missed in NYHC when I was gone after Judge. I don’t know what’s going on now but it looks like karate out there. I don’t know what happened in that time when I was gone. I’ve been told about something called “beat down” as a genre of music or dancing. I don’t know what that is. I know what a “beat down” is…but whatever this is, I don’t know. That type of violence was what ruined Judge the first time.
In the beginning in NY, there was a fight at every show. By the time I got into YOT, the fighting was crazier and crazier. From like ’82 on, certain people were getting older and bigger and stronger, and the fighting was getting worse. There were incidents that made me be like, “woah…fuck. I wish I didn’t see that.” I’m not saying names. There were things I saw that I’m not going to talk about. New York was a scary place. In the beginning it wasn’t fights amongst each other, it was fights in the neighborhoods where the shows were. DBD played this place called the Sin Club on Avenue C and I was standing there and these two girls were lined up at the bathroom. This one girl Polly who was at all the shows was waiting for the bathroom and this Puerto Rican girl who wasn’t a part of the NY scene at all started this fake thing where she said Polly was banging on the bathroom door. Out of nowhere, she stabs Polly right in the stomach. It was absurd, nothing had been going on. So she stabs her and takes off. The ambulance shows up and takes Polly away. All of us are out front and these neighborhood people start coming around us and one guy starts saying, “yo who stabbed my sister?” He had no relation to Polly and was just using that line to start trouble. All of a sudden he pulls out a gun. I was with Harley and we run into the club, diving over tables and taking cover as this guy is actually opening fire on us. We got the fuck out of there. At first in these neighborhoods, the only white people were punk rockers. Nobody went on the other side of the park past Avenue C. Eventually gentrification pushed things down. Later, Avenue A had nice parts with people eating dinner on sidewalks where I used to see broken heads. So we started fighting each other as cliques popped up. Even with us, it got to a point where if YOT was playing you knew who was coming in and who was staying outside. We were guilty of it too because if it was a band we didn’t want to hear, we stayed outside. We spent years preaching to the choir.
There were some bad fights. I was in some dust ups. Dead Kennedys played Staten Island and we had never been there. We wanted to go to the show with everyone from the scene. So instead of going straight from NJ, we go to NY first and take the ferry over. We could tell shit wasn’t right because once we get there and start walking to the club people were coming out of bars and yelling shit at us. By the time we get to the club the whole town was out for us. The gig turned into a riot, and we have to run down the street to get back to the ferry and the bars empty with people trying to kill us. They were out for us because we weren’t wanted there. There was all sorts of shit there.
There’s still grudges from back then. Pool balls in socks on the dance floor…I’ve seen that. There was Boston shit. At Great Gildersleeve’s, Rosemary’s Baby played and there were a lot of Boston people there. Alex from Cause For Alarm’s girlfriend Kim was on Alex’s shoulders. She had a shaved head. Supposedly this Boston dude didn’t know it was a girl and he grabbed her and pulled her right down to the floor on her back. People went crazy and wanted to kill each other. It wasn’t SSD guys. I don’t think they were in any bands. They all had floppy fishing hats on, acting crazy.
“Boston Came Around One Night” – that wasn’t a specific action, which is what Choke and those guys thought. I was summarizing things in that line. There was a rivalry. It went back and forth. Although I wasn’t there, I was told of Jimmy Gestapo fighting Dicky Barrett. But I was a fan of all those bands. When Choke was so mad at me for whatever he thought I said in Judge, it bummed me out. Last Rights was like my favorite band. I wanted to sing like him, I thought he was great. His vocals on that record were everything I wanted to do. When I wrote the New York Crew record I had all these words in me. All I did was sit in Porcell’s apartment in Brooklyn with the Last Rights record, SSD, and Negative Approach…listening over and over, psyching myself up to piss people off, just by mixing those three bands to come up with what those three guys would sound like if they had one voice. That’s what was in my mind. So it really bummed me out when Choke wanted to throw down with me because he thought I called him out. That song was supposed to just be a retrospective on everything. When I first wrote it the words were different and there were other specific instances included. Porcell said, “look…you can’t say this shit. You can’t say this, some of this stuff is detailing crimes. You can’t cop to this stuff.” Why? Because people got hurt. There were summertime nights in the early eighties of NY, and a lot of fun things happened. But man…things could be heavy. So Porcell talked me out of it. Looking back he was totally right. At the time I didn’t think anybody would hear it. I figured I’d record this and the only people that would have it would be Porcell, Al Brown, and me. The way it caught on took my by surprise. Then it dawned on me: “Now I have to go up and sing?”
MIKE JUDGE – PART IV
September 10th, 2013 by Ed
MIKE AND PORCELL WITH JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: ERIC BLOMQUIST
I would have done anything to be in a band. If I had to learn to play drums, fine. So playing drums in DBD was no problem. I wanted to do it that bad, just be in a band. If I had to play a triangle, I would have played a fuckin’ triangle. I wanted to feel like I belonged in something. I loved that feeling of something or someone is depending on me and I was coming through. No matter what it took, I’d do it. I wasn’t good at drums but I could keep a beat. I wasn’t uncoordinated. I couldn’t do anything cool but I could play a steady beat…slow/fast/slow/fast. That was all I needed for DBD. That lasted a long time. It wasn’t until the band started doing crazy shit that I couldn’t totally pull it off. I remember the last show before we broke up the first time was at CB’s when everyone was going metal. We did an Iron Maiden cover, I think it was Run To The Hills and there were all these crazy fills and I couldn’t do it and after the set I said “I quit” because I felt like we embarrassed ourselves. At the time, Agnostic was doing it too, they had metal songs. But hardcore felt like it was dying this ugly death. After that, I stopped going to shows completely and was totally heartbroken. I thought punk and hardcore died in NY at that time, the style changed so much. That AF record didn’t sound hardcore anymore, it was just changing and everyone was doing it. I remember JFA had come out here and we played a show with them and their drummer told us they were doing this metal band at home. It was like, man, all this stuff that saved my life is dying. I thought that what DBD did at CB’s at that last show was a part of it and I was mad at myself for not seeing what we were doing, until it was too late. So I went home and hid out and didn’t go see anybody. I dropped out totally.
Mark Ryan called me one night and he’s like, “dude I need to go see this band play and I need a ride.” I’m like, “dude I’m not going to any show.” And he’s like, “please man you’ll love this band.” I said, “where?” He tells me Philly and I tell him there’s no way I’m going all the way out there. He’s begging me, like, “dude these guys are incredible, they are a hardcore band playing hardcore the way it is supposed to be played, the way we started playing it and they are gonna spark it all back up inside you. They are called Youth Of Today.” So I say ok fine, whatever man. I had never heard of Youth Of Today but he’s telling me on the way they are from CT, they are really cool guys, they play old time hardcore and they are trying to move to NY and if they do they will bring hardcore back, and there’s this other band of younger dudes named Crippled Youth.
So we get there and I meet Cappo and he was dressed the way we were dressed at the end – hooded sweatshirt, Nike Airs, rolled up jeans. That’s how we dressed before we stopped playing and before shit changed. The first thing I saw was that and I’m thinking “wow that’s weird…he’s a Connecticut dude dressing like how we had been dressing in New York a few years ago.” It was weird. We had picked up on that look from Boston. I actually have a cool little story about this, it’s like my little story. When I was a freshman in high school and still wasn’t down with everybody or with the punk rockers in school, Pete Karlen, who played bass in Sand In The Face, was my closest friend. We were tight. He was like the first guy besides Howard I was close with. This guy was my age, were were influenced by these older punk rock guys but we were at the same stage in our lives. We would listen to records and go over to each other’s house. This one time his mom had to go to Boston for work and he said, “do you wanna go with me? We can go record shopping.” So I decide to go. We get up there and his Mom drops us off at Newbury Comics. In New York record stores looked the same, like Bleeker Bob’s with flyers everywhere and shit. This place though was clean and very well organized and nice. I remember walking in and there was this huge step ladder and this kid sitting on it with a shaved head, Hobie shirt, jeans rolled up, and Adidas high tops. We go to the punk section and this kid goes, “that record just came out and has some good Boston bands on it.” It was the Unsafe At Any Speed record. And he says, “check that record out too, it’s been out a while but it has good Boston bands on it.” That was the “This Is Boston” record. And he points out another record and says “that’s my band’s record.” It was DYS Brotherhood. It was Jon Anastas sitting there. I didn’t know that at the time, he was just a kid. So I buy that record too and we are sitting in the car just studying it. I would always just study the shit out of records and look at everything. So I’m looking at the back of this and I was just like, “wow that guy that sold us the record is THAT guy.”
JUDGE AT THE PIPE DRAGON, BUFFALO NY, SPRING 1988 | PHOTO: GEOFF NICHOLSON
Right when I got home I went to the mall and bought those Adidas high-tops. Everyone had Nike Airs because Al SSD had them on but I had the Adidas because I was just tripped out that the guy that sold us the record was in DYS. We started wearing hoodies because there was a point where the guys from the metal band Anthrax would come to matinees every weekend and go on the dance floor. They would just act stupid. They had no class. It just drove me fucking nuts. It was bothering me. So I came up with this thing. I called it “Dance Floor Justice.” When these guys would go out and do this stupid shit and throw punches because they thought that’s what we were doing…I would go and I would hurt them. I’d be wearing the hoodie and fuckin’ pull it over my hood and tie it down so they couldn’t tell who hit them. So we all started wearing them. At first we bought these cheap blue hoodies at Port Authority for like $10 that said “USA” and were these totally stupid tourist things. We wrote “Dance Floor Justice” on the back and fuckin’ pulled the hoods over tight and we went out on the dance floor and stopped that shit. That was the dance floor justice.
So when I’m talking to Cappo that first time meeting him, I was like look at this guy… it’s so weird because he dressed like us. It came full circle. Youth Of Today was everything Mark said it would be. It was like hardcore the way I fell in love with it. Cappo and Porcell told me they were moving to the city. Porcell said, “I remember you. You used to come up to the old Anthrax with the Abused.” I couldn’t remember that specifically but the Abused were like my favorite band so whenever they played, I’d go see them. It was just this weird thing with those guys because they said they remembered me and then when they did come to NY our relationship just got tighter and tighter. It was weird because I didn’t think anything would bring me back and make me love hardcore the way I did. But they did. I still love Can’t Close My Eyes and Break Down The Walls.
I had known about straight edge pretty early because I had the Minor Threat records and I heard stories about the Xs on the hands. As far as Minor Threat…man, I’ve even had people yell at me about this, but I never liked Minor Threat. It’s not that I hate them, I think some songs are great. I think “In My Eyes” is a great song. But a lot of their songs bore the shit out of me. When I saw Minor Threat, I thought MacKaye was a dick the way he talked to people. I never dug it back then. It wasn’t until I sat down and cracked the Get It Away record that straight edge totally hit me. That SSD record was monstrous. That fucking sound with the guitars…it was incredible. I really loved The Kids Will Have Their Say. But it was a nice polished tight record. Get It Away was big and crazy and just heavy…it gave me shivers. That record was the shit. All the times I saw SSD, the “kill the man with a beer in his hand” show at Irving, the AF road trip…SSD was just so mighty. They made everybody else on the bill sound like a little punk rock band playing in a bedroom. SSD were this wall of fucking sound with a crazy singer with a wild voice. Those guys made me feel like saying “I’m Straight Edge.” I still wasn’t putting X’s on my hands, but I would tell people that I was straight edge. If someone said let’s have a beer I’d say, “no, I’m straight edge.”
But it really wasn’t until Johnny Stiff told Cappo that NYC will never go for straight edge that I started really wearing an X at any time. I did it just to say “well it looks like there’s straight edge in New York now, doesn’t it?”
JIMMY, SAMMY, PORCELL AND MIKE WALK THE STREETS OF NYC | PHOTO: UNKNOWN