February 1th, 2016, Dischord and Hellfire records will release Lexicon Mist, a new 3-song 7″ by Red Hare. This is the band’s first release since its debut full-length, Nites of Midnite, and it arrives as the group is completing work on its second album. The record contains two original songs and a cover of Lungfish’s “Sphere of Influence.”
Red Hare is Shawn Brown (Swiz, Fury, and the original-and-current singer of Dag Nasty), Jason Farrell (Swiz, Bluetip), Dave Eight (Swiz, Bluetip), and Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety, Retisonic).
We spent 1984 skating every ramp we could and going to every show we could. These two interests (hardcore/skating) were completely intertwined; a mishmash of Government Issue, bus transfers, Marginal Man, stinky pads, snickers, ditches, stealing wood, Annandale, cassette tapes, super big gulps, and/or Void at the Wilson Center. At the shows we started to recognize familiar faces from ramps, school and the neighborhood, and made new friends from all over the DC area. I feel like being skaters gave us a bit of a late pass, like “oh, how cute! here come those skaters again” as we’d stage dive in train fashion. Our high school had a healthy goofy punk scene (Colin and Roger from BMO and later Dag Nasty, Mike Fellows from GI and Rites of Spring, Natalie and Kate who would go on to form Fire Party, Joel Gwadz, Rob Hardesty, Maureen Gorman, Jen Mercurio, Katey Chase). Many of these older punks took a big-brother/sister interest and helped refine our musical tastes.
The girls were especially good scene ambassadors; I can’t stress this enough… they were very enthusiastic in our musical indoctrination. Hardcore tends to drown out interest in any other sound, but they tried to instill in us an appreciation for other/older bands (Joy Division, Birthday Party, Generation X) that inspired the newer bands we liked… and they were sweet to boot. A very friendly, positive experience overall. Our local skate shop (Bethesda Surf Shop / Sunshine House) was incredibly supportive as well, and adopted us as their team like they did Ian and Henry years before.
Ramps were rare, so word of ours spread quickly, pulling local skaters out of the woodwork. Some we recognized from the records we were listening to: Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat), Tom Clinton (Youth Brigade, Double O), Eric Lagdameo (Red C, Double O). Brian Baker showed up one day with OP Moore from Negative Approach. That was pretty mind blowing for us, even more so when OP did a miller flip on our shitty little ramp. Crossing paths with these people (in and out of shows) further wore down the star effect, and made the prospect of playing music seem more possible, logical, obvious.
JASON, SPRING 1985 AND WITH A METHOD AIR IN 1988
One day Tom Clinton brought a kid named Lawrence McDonald and his little brother Mark to our ramp. They soon became a daily fixture and very much a part of our tight-knit group. Lawrence had played in a band years before (Capitol Punishment with Colin Sears and Mike Fellows), and was starting a new band called Bells Of with himself on guitar, Alec MacKaye (Faith) on vox, Bleu Kopperl on bass, and Peter Wilborne (the 400) on drums. Having started in summer DC 1985 they were heavily inspired and influenced by Rites of Spring. Their first show was ok, in hindsight maybe Alec wasn’t 100% sure of his involvement in the band. At the end of the summer they jumped into Inner Ear and recorded rough tracks for 7 songs before Pete left for college. With their 2nd show approaching and no drummer to practice with, Lawrence asked me (a nubile guitarist with marginal ability) to get my friend Tom Doerr to fill in on drums so the band could stay tight. In exchange, I could attend their practices and maybe get better at guitar.
That first practice was a trainwreck, with Tom and I goofing around like the 15 year old kids that we were. At one point Alec had to whistle like you would at a bad dog just to shut us up. Having come from the Faith, Bells Of probably seemed pretty juvenile… Alec quit a week or so later. Rather than cancel the second show and scrap the recording, Lawrence took over vox and asked me to join as second guitar. The first show I ever played was October 25 1985, opening for Embrace and Rites of Spring. I’m told this show went much worse than their first. I wouldn’t contest that.
We got our show legs under us eventually. Lawrence finished the 7 song tape, but was already moving beyond its relatively simple approach. He just put it down and never did anything with it… I never really understood why; the songs were great, and in hindsight it is a pretty amazing collection of lost songs from Revolution Summer…very much of the era but still very unique. I love that tape. A few of the songs found their way onto cassettes that have been floating around for years, passed between a small group of admirers. One of those admirers, Artist Rich Jacobs, is now making the entire session available as a 12″ on his label The Move Sounds.
Bleu quit Bells Of so I moved over to bass while Lawrence’s little brother Mark took over on drums. I learned all that I could about songwriting from Lawrence, but eventually faded on the project, quitting in 1986. Though you wouldn’t guess it from the sound, Bells Of was a skate band through and through, with many of its future members swapping in from our original tight core of skaters. Bells Of continues to this day, still centered around Lawrence and a rotating cast of players.
JASON WITH SWIZ ON THE SWASIDE TOUR, 1988
Around that time we were skating regularly at a huge new metal vert ramp called Cedar Crest. I picked up a sponsorship from Powell Peralta in 1987 or so… It was just the B-team (or “flow” team), meaning most of what I got was seconds and/or boneite, but fuck I couldn’t believe it. When all you had to do was pick up the phone and call some dude in Santa Barbara to have a box of decks/wheels/jackets delivered to my door, you didn’t notice the little number “2” branded in everything.
As much as I loved skating, I still wanted to play guitar in a band—something that bridged my twin loves of Metallica and the Faith. In early 1987, Shawn Brown and a guy I vaguely knew (Ramsey Metcalf; a Mod who had recently transferred into my school) walked into my job at the photomat. I had already known Shawn for a couple years; we had skated together a few times and went to all the same shows. I had watched him sing in Dag Nasty (and later watched him stand front-and-center, dead-still, enraged as Dave Smalley sang his words). They were there to ask me to join their new band; something Bad Brains-esque. Sounded perfect to me, so fuck yes. Days later I dragged a borrowed amp into Ramesy’s living room where the rest of the band was setting up for the first time: Nathan Larson (NFC) on bass and Alex Daniels (Carpe Diem) on drums. We kinda knew each other from shows our previous bands played together, but within minutes of playing, we quickly recognized that this new band was something we definitely wanted to pursue. A few weeks later we called it Swiz.
Though my interest in skating didn’t die that day (I still skate), it did get pushed over to shotgun status.
JASON CATCHES SOME AIR WHILE ON THE SWASIDE TOUR, 1988
FROM RED HARE’S “NITES OF MIDNITE,” OUT MAY 21, 2013 ON DISCHORD
Dischord will be co-releasing Nites of Midnite, the debut record by Red Hare which features Shawn Brown, Jason Farrell, and Dave Eight—all formerly of Swiz and Sweetbelly Freakdown—and drummer Joe Gorelick (Garden Variety, Bluetip, Retisonic). The record will be out this spring on Dischord/Hellfire.
Red Hare 2013 Tour Dates
05-21 Brooklyn, NY- Knitting Factory +
05-22 Philadelphia, PA- Kung Fu Necktie +
05-23 Washington, DC- Black Cat +
+ w/ Coliseum
Red Hare is a new group that reunites Shawn Brown, Jason Farrell, and Dave Eight, all former members of the Washington, D.C.-based hardcore band Swiz (1987-1991). Joined by drummer Joe Gorelick (Bluetip, Retisonic), the band has completed its debut album, Nites of Midnite, which will be out May 21 on CD/LP+MP3 as a split release between Dischord and the band’s recently resurrected imprint, Hellfire Records. The music — eight songs that are over and done with in just over twenty-minutes — expands and updates the sound that Farrell, Brown, and Eight began exploring together more than twenty years ago. Preview their song “Horace” here.
SHAWN BROWN IN FRONT OF THE DAG NASTY CROWD AT THE BLACK CAT, 12/28/2012 | PHOTO: NALINEE DARMRONG[/caption]
Then Dischord went and changed all of that with the release of “Dag With Shawn.” For whatever reason, although it wasn’t that much different from the Selfless release, this new Dischord release really impressed me. Since I picked it up last year, “Dag With Shawn” has been in constant rotation. So when the announcement was made that Shawn Brown would be fronting Dag for the Salad Days show in D.C. I really looked forward to it.
As everyone knows, tickets sold fast for the Dag Nasty night of Salad Days. The minute I heard about them being available (which was minutes after they went up) I kept coming up short in my efforts to score two tickets. Luckily, my friend Jeremy Dean landed two tickets and offered the second one to me. At the very least, I was able to secure myself a trip to the show. As much as I would have loved to catch both nights and all the bands, a full weekend in D.C. just wasn’t in the cards. Instead it was going to be a whirlwind trip back and forth in a day to Washington D.C. for a healthy dose of Dag.
I ended up riding down with Jeremy and two other friends; DCXX’s Ed McKirdy and NJ local, Karl Sadowski. We got down to D.C. about two hours before the Black Cat opened their doors so we grabbed a meal at Whole Foods before heading over to the show. Once we made it over to The Black Cat we stumbled upon a massive line piled up in front of the venue. Word was spreading that Dag Nasty was slated to play second as opposed to headlining as everyone previously expected. Kingface were the opener, Dag second and the headliner was now Black Market Baby.
BRIAN BAKER WITH DAG NASTY AT THE BLACK CAT, 12/28/2012 | PHOTO: JIM SAAH
Once we made our way inside, it wasn’t long before Kingface took the stage. I tried to watch them as much as I could but it was tough to really soak them in considering I kept running into a lot of old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Kingface did sound great though and I was pretty stoked that I was finally getting the opportunity to see them.
Dag Nasty was up next and I quickly made my way to the front of the crowd and as close to the stage as I could. The last time I saw Dag Nasty was July 17th, 1988 on the “Field Day” tour with Peter Cortner fronting them at City Gardens so it had been a long, long wait for my second chance at seeing one of my favorite bands. I knew I definitely wasn’t going to sit this one out or watch them from a distance, I had to be up front and in the mix.
Colin, Roger and Brian took the stage first and prepped their instruments then started into the instrumental, “Mango” which served as a nice little warm up tune that got everyone packing up front and ready for the Shawn Brown experience. Shawn took the stage and the band blasted into “Can I Say”. The crowd naturally packed tighter and erupted into flying fists and sing alongs.
As you would expect from a collection of veteran musicians like Dag Nasty, the band sounded great. As the set continued, it became pretty obvious that the guys in Dag Nasty were really enjoying themselves. Brian clearly looked to be in the Dag zone and every note seemed to be played just as it was recorded, all those years ago. Shawn Brown also sounded incredible and delivered those “Can I Say” lyrics with conviction and heart, while still sprinkling humor in between songs.
COLIN SEARS WITH DAG NASTY AT THE BLACK CAT, 12/28/2012 | PHOTO: JIM SAAH
The set was packed with all the “Can I Say/Dag With Shawn” hits. Every song was pretty much a highlight considering all of those songs are pretty much flawless. As the set went on and I sang along to every song, I realized just how special it was to be able to see one of my all time favorite bands again and how those songs and lyrics still move me as much today as they did 27 years ago. As an encore, Dag popped back up on stage with the Flex Your Head comp. classic by Red C, “Pressure’s On” then one more Dag song and it was over.
As Black Market Baby set up, I stood there reflecting upon what Dag Nasty had just wrapped up. I’m sure the crowd could have been a little more intense but I think the Black Cat’s no stage diving policy kept the crowd slightly toned down. Regardless, I was grateful the band was able to pull it all together and that I could be there and be a part of it. Considering I’ve now got Cortner and Brown Dag sets under my belt, all I need is a Smalley-fronted Dag set and I’ll have all the bases covered.
Next up, Black Market Baby got underway and they were surely not a disappointment. One of D.C.’s early punk outfits, Black Market Baby tore through their set and held their own. Unfortunately, because my friends and I had a three-plus-hour drive ahead of us and it was already well past past midnight, we rolled out a little early (and we still didn’t get home before 5:00 am.)
Thanks to all those associated with the Salad Days shows and of course the bands for bringing it back together. Also, a personal big thanks to Jeremy Dean for the ticket and ride hookup, both were much appreciated. I wish I could have stuck around for show two with Scream, D.C.’s Youth Brigade and Government Issue, but I’ll take what I can get and I can assure you, what I got was memorable to say the least. -Tim DCXX
ROGER MARBURY, SHAWN BROWN, COLIN SEARS AND BRIAN BAKER WITH DAG NASTY AT THE BLACK CAT, 12/28/2012 | PHOTO: TIM DCXX