Jordan Cooper and I admired Raybeez as an ambassador of the old school of NYHC. I don’t think those early Warzone gigs were necessarily that great; it was just that Raybeez was such a great character. He was from the old scene where they did tons of drugs, but then when he went Straight Edge and it created this nice bridge. He was always a very positive, upbeat, welcoming person. Although he was hard, you never felt unwelcomed by the guy.
So when we heard Warzone was going to break up, Jordan and I thought ‘This band is breaking up and they’ve done so many demos, why don’t we put out some of their demos on a record?’ We thought that they were never going to reform so we thought ‘This band is going to go undocumented. We have to document this’. We almost laughed to ourselves and thought ‘Yeah that would be friggin’ cool!’ Then I said ‘You know what would be really cool? If we put posters inside the singles’. Think about it, Warzone was a band filled with characters. Todd Youth was a crazy character. Tito was another colorful character. We thought we should put a different poster for each band member in the record. We might have done that for a few limited copies of the record.
At first, we just wanted to document Warzone. Then it was becoming something like ‘Wait a minute, we need to document this band and this band and this band’. There was a whole new wave of bands that no one had ever heard of. We never thought the bands we were putting out were going to be popular outside of New York. Maybe some friends of ours in L.A would get it, but that was as far as we thought it would go. Then it became this sick phenomenon that spread internationally.
We always felt almost like historians that were documenting the scene. We wanted to document something that would be over in the wink of an eye. That’s what records are to me. As an adult, to look back on those records and remember what I was thinking when I made it and where I was living and who I was hanging out with; it’s like a yearbook.
Revelation just fueled the fire for me and Porcell since we were the original psycho record collectors. We would post our want lists and offer the limited versions of the records on Revelation. We would trade an orange vinyl limited to 200 pressing of the Warzone record for an SSD The Kids Will Have Their Say. We would trade records that we just pressed for SSD records. We were making our own money here!
Nowadays, you have whole marketing and branding teams that are supposed to come up with the ideas. But when you think about it, we were figuring the concept of branding before we knew what it even was. I remember being in a club in East Germany and seeing all these kids with all the Revelation shirts on and they looked like they could have been from New York City circa 1986, but it was 1995. That’s when I realized, ‘Oh my god! We created a whole fashion and culture’. We never thought it was going to become that. We did it because it was a cool time with cool music and people. It wasn’t that sophisticated. It was very grassroots and homegrown.
Duane at Some Records was another guy who understood that all this stuff was temporary and you had to preserve the legacy. Some Records was the most unassuming, underground store with this one nerdy guy behind the counter. There was maybe two boxes of singles on the counter with a very thin selection because Duane was an epicurean of Hardcore. I would come into the store and ask him if he had the Side by Side seven inch we put out and he would say ‘Yeah, I got them from Jordan’. Then I would say ‘You know, we did a different color pressing for it as well’ and he say ‘Oh yeah, I got them all!’ and then pull out twenty of each color. I would think he was crazy but he would say ‘Ray, don’t you understand these things are going to be gone soon and no one else will have them?’
But that attitude was eventually Duane’s downfall. Duane was such a fan of the music that he couldn’t have a business brain in his head. I mean, he had a record store with no sign in front! His girlfriend Gina was more of the business person. She would say to me ‘Ray, you have to talk to him. He’s going to go out of business! Every time a band comes down here to sell a demo tape, he buys ten of them!’ He was too much of a puritan for the store to last, but I appreciated his gesture.