February 2nd, 2014 by Tim
February 1st, 2014 by Tim
REVELATION RECORDS ADS
January 8th, 2014 by Larry
CASSETTE LOVE PART 3
January 7th, 2014 by Larry
CRAIG AHEAD – THE FINAL ENTRY
July 1st, 2013 by Tim
So here we are, the final entry to this killer interview with Craig Ahead. It took awhile to get it all posted, but I think in the end, it was well worth the wait. Once again, big thanks to our friend Lenny Zimkus for orchestrating this interview for us and of course, huge thanks to Craig for delivering mind blowing story after mind blowing story. Now without further ado. -Tim DCXX
Tell us about Rest In Pieces.
What was the best and worst part of being in Youth Of Today?
What was the best and worst part of being in Agnostic Front?
What was the best and worst part of being in Rest In Pieces?
What was the best and worst part of being in Straight Ahead?
What is the best and worst part of being in Sick Of It All?
I never thought this would be my life but I took a chance and so far it’s worked out. I have no regrets.
CRAIG AHEAD PART VI
June 21st, 2013 by Tim
Do you remember the first time you saw AF play?
AF shows were always packed we would do east coast tours, head out to the west coast, and after about a year and a half we went to Europe in 1990. It’s my first time out of the country and Roger gets deported in Switzerland 3 days into the tour because he had a criminal record. We had the roadie sing and I had to teach him all of the lyrics. That was a crazy tour. Afterwards I was sick from stress for 6 months. It was like being in Vietnam and coming back totally shell shocked. It was right around the time that the wall came down in Germany and East Germany was no longer communist. So the guys who booked the tour were these two Italian anarchists. We are sitting in a restaurant eating and we go outside and they are fighting with the cops getting the living shit beat out of them. We go outside and they arrest all of us, they tell us our van is stolen. We don’t know what they are talking about so it turns out the van was stolen a few months ago and it was never taken off some list so here we are driving around in a stolen van and they put me in a cell which just a couple months ago was an East German communist jail. I’m put in a chair facing the wall, one guy puts on a pair of leather gloves and starts punching his hands and he’s laughing in my ear. The other guy is speaking Russian to me punching his hands. Roger is saying “fuck this!” I’m laughing because by that time I’m hardened and I’m saying you’re not going to do shit, you’re all talk. They put each of us in our own cell for probably five hours and they eventually let us go but they stole all of the money we had in our brief case. That tour I made no money – they robbed thousands and thousands of Deutsche Marks from us.
I had been in this band for years and was put in crazy situations. I was in the middle of knife fights - people getting stabbed right in front of me…this was nothing to me. I slept on rotten squat floors with no ceilings next to junkies shooting up next to me the whole tour. The conditions on that tour were unimaginable, it was like being a homeless person except that you were being given a tour of European junkiedom, it was fucking crazy. At one show the Italian promoters are arguing with the German promoter and they smash a yogurt container against the bar, yogurt goes all over the German guy’s girlfriend and immediately the lights go out. The place is pitch black and they knew what they were doing. I knew the drill from being with these maniacs that we were in trouble. So I get down on the floor with one hand ready to sprint in any direction and the lights come on and five feet from my face everyone in the club has bats, pipes, sticks ready to beat the life out of us and throw us in a ditch and the one guy had a gun. So I yell out “back door! Run!” We’re running away from our van and they chase us about 100 yards and finally stop. We get back to the van and laugh how we almost died. These Italian guys started trouble everywhere. Roger would put me in these situations that I would have to get out of. He would say “Look what I’m going to do to Skully,” which was what they called me.
To be continued…
THIS IS HARDCORE 2013 LATEST LINE-UP ANNOUNCEMENT
May 20th, 2013 by Ed
I’m sure the copy quoted below was prepared before the addition of The Almighty JUDGE to the bill. It looks like Joe has put together another incredible weekend of Hardcore revelry. —Ed DCXX
Lets get excited about Sick Of It All finally playing TIH!!! Returning to TIH after a few years off is our friends in Ceremony. We will also have annual fan favorites Cold World and Wisdom In Chains keeping the PAHC scene on top at TIH. H20, Bane, Ringworm and Rival Mob can’t seem to say no TIH after the last 3 years have been great sets for those bands.
Defeater is making their TIH Debut while No Redeeming Social Value is performing a 25th anniversary set with the return of Mike Dixon, original part of the vocal duo. This is not a reunion but the band hasn’t performed with Mike since ’97. NYHC legends Absolution are set to show the new generation what the Old School has to offer. This year’s fest has plenty of other planned activities that will be disclosed in early June. In the meantime – get your tickets now. —TIHC Crew
CRAIG AHEAD – PART IV
December 14th, 2012 by Tim
Straight Ahead was still playing at the time and when I saw Youth Of Today…I think I had seen them play with Agnostic Front at CB’s. I had seen Violent Children a bunch of times and I really liked them so when I heard that those guys had a new band I went to see them and thought wow these guys are great, I was moshing the whole show. As time went on I met them and they were cool. At the time Tommy was playing with them and a couple of weeks later they asked me to join. I thought this was really cool, the guys from Violent Children and they have a great band. I was 15 years old when they asked me, I was just about to turn 16.
So now I’m 16 years old, dropped out of school, and I tell my mother I’m going on tour with my band. That’s when we did an east coast run down south in the summer of 1986. Some of the shows were pretty dismal and when we would get to the Carolinas and Georgia those were bad. Places up here were great though. There were so many memorable things that happened on those tours.
One thing was Tommy was freaking out and if he reads this he’s gonna kill me. He was a big strong guy and he was freaking out and we were all scared of him. At the time he was dating Alexa who was THE hardcore girl in the scene. He’s 16, bugging out because it was his first real girlfriend and he kept saying he missed her and wanted to be with her. We were so mad at him but we can’t say anything because he’s crazy. So we bootbath his bag - we kick the shit out of it. When he comes back he opens his bag and says ‘goddamn southern heat my toothpaste and shampoo exploded over everything!’ I felt really bad because he was my friend and will be until the day I die but we were so annoyed with him.
The recording of Break Down The Walls was somewhere upstate and it was pretty fun but I was playing on this weird Gibson Explorer bass with these dead strings. I recorded my tracks and when I heard them I didn’t like it, I wanted to do it over. For whatever reason I didn’t have a bass with me. I told them give me a hundred bucks to rerecord my stuff but they said ‘no we don’t have it in the budget.’ So I took my own money had my brother drive me up there on a 3 hour drive and I rerecorded the bass tracks on the already recorded record. I still wasn’t so happy with them, and even though I was 16 years old I still wanted it to be a representation of me.
Every Youth Of Today show was like a Straight Ahead show at CB’s where it was a huge event in that everyone sang along and went crazy. If Straight Ahead went up to Albany we wouldn’t have a show like that but YOT would. Youth Of Today was really starting to come up at that time, there was so much high energy. When I played with them I was straight edge and vegetarian, which was good for me because before that I was a dirty kid from Queens who smoked pot and drank. They exposed me to those things and was a very good thing, it made me understand a whole part of my life which could be enjoyed. It was a real early learning experience that later in life would become very beneficial to me. On this day right now I don’t drink or do drugs and I’m vegetarian.
Recently at the Rev shows in June you, Richie and Drew got together and played Break Down The Walls. Did that having any sentimental meaning to you?
It was fun, that’s it. I live upstate on a farm pretty close to where Ray and John live and we always say let’s get together so I got invited to a lunch at Steve Reddy’s house with those guys and we got together to hang out. I don’t want to say we let bygones be bygones because when you’re 16 and you get into a fight with someone over something silly it doesn’t carry over into adulthood. We talked and had a great time. We still talk every once in awhile but things don’t work out. We’re all busy in our own lives.
CRAIG AHEAD – PART III
November 13th, 2012 by Tim
How did Straight Ahead get started?
So Gordon wound up quiting NYC Mayhem because we were headed into a more hardcore sound and now Tommy was just singing because before that he was singing and playing drums at the same time which he didn’t want to do anymore. He wanted to be a frontman. So I’m talking to Armand outside of a show and I tell him I want to do a new band, we don’t have a name, and Tommy is going to sing. He said that he would play drums. Even though he was a guitar player he would try it. So then we got Rob Escheveria who played in a band with me called Smegma between Axe Attack and Mayhem. I told Tommy and Armand to let Rob into the band since he was a cool guy and could play well. So that is how Straight Ahead started. We played upstate, CB’s, all over the area and people were into us. Once Armand started playing with us then Pete and Lou told him to join the band that they were doing which was SOIA but that wasn’t until 1986.
Did you consider yourselves a Straight Edge band?
Yeah Tommy was really into being straight edge. Whatever he was into he did it full on and he was extremely straight edge. At the time I wasn’t into being straight edge, at the time I drank beer and didn’t think Straight Ahead was the right name for us. But Tommy was really gung ho on it and we wound up using it.
Myself Rob and Tommy recorded with Tommy on drums since Armand didn’t have a feel for the songs yet. Tommy sang the songs with us standing over him doing the backups. It took us 3 hours and cost $75. It wasn’t mixed at all and those are the songs that came out on the End The Warzone comp. We recorded 12 songs but only 9 made it onto the record.
A year or more later we recorded the Breakaway ep at Chung King studios with the late great Chuck Valle who did it for free in the wee hours of the morning on the DL. We wound up putting it out on Some Records which was this guy Duane’s label. He had this tiny DIY record shop downtown and he was the first guy who would get all of the west coast band demos and anything out of New York and the rest of the world. He was a good friend of ours and he liked our band. He was someone we trusted and that’s why we went with him, plus he showed interest in what we were doing.
Chuck was a great guy. He was the Straight Ahead guy who helped us with everything. If we had a show he would ask if I needed an amp, I would tell him I would figure it out and he would say “I’ll bring mine for you.” He had said, “You guys are going to record and I’m going to do the recording.” He completely looked out for us. If not for him so many things never would have happened for us, that record definitely would not have come out. He was a straight up, stand up guy and the tragedy of him being murdered was the most horrific thing that happened in hardcore along with Big Charlie dying in a car crash.
Big Charlie was a friend of my brother’s from high school, who would come over for lunch with Danny sometimes. He was a 6’8 300 pound rock solid muscle brother who played on the football team but was into punk rock. The first time I went to CB’s he was there. So when I saw him I called his name and he picked me up on his shoulders and I danced the whole show. That was the coolest thing to me to have the biggest, scariest looking guy tell everyone, “Yo this kid right here…he’s my friend.” That is pretty much how I got accepted by everyone so quickly. He may have been a scary guy but he was really a big teddy bear.
What happened with Straight Ahead?
I wound up touring with Youth Of Today and Tommy was playing drums with them at the time. He quit the band and he was difficult to be with at that time. There was a lot of back and forth with him, he couldn’t commit to Straight Ahead so Rob and Armand and myself just thought it was too much. With Tommy, one day he was saying “Oh I love it I want to do it,” then tomorrow he’d say “This sucks and I’m going to start an argument with you.” We were young kids so there were disagreements between us but nothing serious. So one day something wasn’t working out and Tommy said he didn’t want to do it anymore. Myself, Rob,and Armand pretty much agreed we were done with this. I had quit Youth Of Today to dedicate my time to Straight Ahead, and two months later we broke up…
CRAIG AHEAD PART II
October 25th, 2012 by Tim
Are there any shows that stick out in your mind?
There are thousands of shows where wild things happened and ones that were just glorious. In the early 80s when I started playing, all the shows seemed like a big event. Maybe that is just my perspective but I remember crowds in ’86 when hardcore grew and I had been playing for a couple of years and the pile ups were just insane. The entire crowd would sing along and participate, it was just amazing. I loved it. Every single show that was happening, I was there. It was all I cared about, my entire life was going to see bands play and to play shows. I was part of the New York Hardcore family, that’s what it was then and that’s what it is now. Whether it was a show at CB’s, a VFW, a show upstate that Dave Stein was putting on, it did not matter.
Did you feel that you fit in at school?
No, not at all. I was a weird kid. And I think any kid feels this way when they are growing up going through a transitional phase in their life plus I was coming from a dysfunctional family unit. My mother was a very stable person, but I had an alcoholic father who I saw beat my mother. I didn’t feel that kids could relate to me, they didn’t know what I was going through. The other kids had a mother, father, a dog and I could not relate. My friends that knew me were cool but outside my circle the others would stay away from me. I didn’t have a pristine family unit growing up, although my mother is a great woman she was married to a man who was abusive and I saw horrible things as a kid. I went to hardcore shows and met people who had gone through the same thing as me and I felt accepted. I came into the scene as a skinny little kid and everyone there loved me. All these scary looking people they took me in and treated me with the utmost respect, I was judged on how I carried myself and who I was, not by my image.
Do you think the scene was less judgmental at that time?
Absolutely, now it’s broken up into all of these different factions. You would go see every band that was playing. You would have a band like Void playing with the Vandals. Two complete opposites but it was all part of the scene.The scene was a general thing. It was more of how you carried yourself not by how you looked or how you sounded.
Did you feel that you wanted to be part of group or you were just into the music and found the scene?I think i just found the scene, i wasn’t looking to be part of a group, I didn’t even grasp the concept that I could be part of a scene. I wasn’t someone who really jumped on bandwagons in life although I touched upon that in my life as a kid growing up and developing and learning. I wasn’t really looking for anything I just wanted to play music and the music I liked. That took me away to a different place. That made me excited to be there. So when I went there the people were genuinely accepting and totally cool. They weren’t coming to me at some stupid angle they learned from watching television or the media so it felt like a real place with people being themselves so I was really drawn to it. I never thought “oh I want to fit in, I want to be part of this group.” Maybe it was because I was a kid growing up so obviously that was in there, but I wasn’t ever excessively trying to fit in. It was a comfortable place for me.
What was the first band you were in?
The first band that I was in was just some neighborhood guys and we played heavy metal and punk covers. We were called Axe Attack. The rest of the SOIA guys lived a block away and they would come over. I had seen them before but that is where I really started talking to them. This was around 1982. We played our first show at a battle of the bands in a church in January or February of 1983. It was my first show which was strange but fun, we had a two song demo.There were three bands and we came in second. I think we played a GBH, Exploited and a Motorhead song. The band that came in first had fathers who rented the PA, so it was fixed. It was myself, some other guys and Victor from Reagan Youth. We asked Armand to play but he said it would be too hypocritical for him to play his first show in a church. I was young and really into Reagan Youth, so I was psyched, and to play with Victor was a big deal to me. Lou, Pete, and Armand were at that show with us, we rode in a station wagon and Armand ran around the backstage with hangers on his head. Ultimately this show set the tone for the rest of my career.
That band didn’t really do anything else, the guy who led the band was a little emotionally off so I would just jam with people like Pokey and Armand but nothing serious. I wouldn’t play CB’s until a year later which was with NYC Mayhem. That was myself, Tommy Carrol, and Gordon Ansers who later played in AF and Leeway. They were a death metal band when I went to see them rehearse. After the rehearsal Tommy pulled me aside and said “I hate this death metal shit but I joined because I want to play drums.” He told me to join the band and we’ll change the music and make it a hardcore band with metal in it. I was into it and Gordon was cool with it also so they got rid of the bass player and I joined. This was from ’84-’85. Mayhem played a bunch of shows, and we had some notoriety to us as a crossover band. People would complain that we had turned into a hardcore band from a metal band but that was the direction I wanted it to go in. I thought metal was cheesy and I wanted to play more punk rock. I really liked AF, Mental Abuse, DRI…those bands had a fast crazy style. I would see the Cro-Mags every time they would play…Murphy’s Law, any NY bands. That what I was into.