JASON FARRELL PART II
June 6th, 2013 by Tim
JASON WITH SWIZ, 1988

JASON WITH SWIZ, 1988

Finally getting around to posting part II here with Jason Farrell (Swiz, Bluetip, Sweetbelly Freakdown, Retisonic, Red Hare, etc.) and it’s a good one. Much more to come from Jason, but in the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favor and pick up the Red Hare – “Nites Of Midnite” album, out now on Dischord. Total cool, total power. -Tim DCXX

What was going on in your area as a kid and how did the impact you finding your way into punk music? Can you recall your first encounter with punk and what that was like at the time? Early records, first shows, etc?
In 9th grade this skater from California moved to my school. We had an art class together and both wore Vans so we struck up a quick friendship. His name was Richard. I invited him to the (also-horrible) halfpipe we had just finished in my friend Marcus’ back yard. As if to christen our shitty little ramp, he spray painted a bunch more band names we didn’t know. But rather than leaving, he stuck around and joined our modest B-town skate crew, schooling us on skate rock and punk in general: Black Flag, JFA, Adolescents, Agent Orange, DK’s, Circle Jerks. He gave us cassette tapes and even sniffed out a killer record store (Yesterday & Today). On one Y&T outing, crew member Dave Stern happened across Out Of Step and bought it on a whim. Later, he called me up, floored; not just by the music, but by the seemingly unending stream of profanity… “This HAS to be illegal” he said. Poring over the cover art, he realized the band was from our area, and that’s when we realized our town had quite the booming music scene.

JASON GOES BACKSIDE, 1983

JASON GOES BACKSIDE, 1983

When Marcus’ grades slipped, his dad got out the splitting axe and threatened to reduce our ramp to splinters. It had to go: immediately. We cut it in half and walked it across 4 lanes of traffic, deep into a wooded lot nearby. This desperate, random choice turned out to be an amazing spot where we could pretty much do whatever we wanted…burn shit, build tree forts, camp out, smoke, have bottle wars, and skate everyday. Armed with a boombox, a ziploc freezer bag full of D-cell batteries, and a Minor Threat cassette on terminal repeat, our musical taste got honed and refined down from “Hardcore” to pretty much just harDCore.

In the spring of ’84 our Cali-friend Richard found out Black Flag was playing downtown. He was really relishing his H.C. curator status, and thought it would be the ideal first show for us. I imagine ours wasn’t the only mom-driven station wagon to pull up in front of Pierce hall and dump eight obviously green 13-to-15-year-olds out on the sidewalk, but I still felt over-dressed. Inside we started to blend a bit into the crowd, taking it all in while huffing the heady mix of rit dye, cloves, and B.O. Scanning the crowd, we recognized Ian Mackaye from his album mugshot and were genuinely surprised to see him right there amongst everyone. Whatever star separation thing that may have lingered from rock/Rush/Eddie Money started to die in that instant. Black Flag was my favorite band at the time… I had never heard of the other bands they were touring with (Meat Puppets and Nig-Heist). Local champs Government Issue opened, and the middle of this old church space immediately erupted into a fucking frenzy. Richard quickly coached us on pit etiquette and the finer points of skanking before sending us in like a rookie JV-squad.

SWIZ, 1988

SWIZ, 1988

That night it seems like we did everything en-masse; a blob of skaters entering the pit for the first time, a blob of skaters smoking cloves on the steps between bands, a blob of skaters going to the bathroom, a blob of skaters buying snickers and Cokes at the nearby 7-11. About the only time we weren’t a blob was when stagediving (…for that we were a synchronized line). I didn’t know this then, but me and my friends were among the deluge of suburban kids flooding the already swollen DC scene. To us it was chaotic and amazing; we felt like we found a special place where we truly belonged. To many of the older scene vets it was a disaster; they felt like the special place they had built was being overrun by unruly children, quickly becoming a place they no longer belonged.

I may not be remembering this correctly, (so forgive me if this never actually happened…) but I recall seeing some kid kinda spazzing around on stage, hopping in place as he tried to figure out the softest place to land his stage dive. Ian MacKaye noticed him too, and began waving to him welcomingly, as if to say “jump here, it’s perfect! we’ll catch you!” Relieved his mind had been made up for him, this kid curled his lip in his best skank-face expression and dived with confidence. That expression instantly changed to pain and confusion as he hit the floor uninterrupted. Ian had put his hands down and stepped aside, then stepped back in with a wagging finger, I guess to tell him stagediving was dumb. I made sure not to jump near him that night. I know shit was kinda bad in comparison to 1982 or whatever, but not nearly as bad as it would get when the whole skinhead thing reared up a couple years later… in hindsight it was still a pretty fucking amazing time to be in/near DC.

JASON WITH A ONE FOOT ANDRECHT, 1991

JASON WITH A ONE FOOT ANDRECHT, 1991

JASON FARRELL
May 21st, 2013 by Tim
JASON WITH SWIZ, 1988

JASON WITH SWIZ, 1988

Jason Farrell, a guy that needs little introduction. Everything he does, he does well… really well. Whether he’s writing, recording and playing music, riding a skateboard, designing a record, directing videos, creating art, or whatever, the list just goes on. Bottom line, the guy is a true talent and we’re more than stoked to have him on board for an interview.

Simultaneously, as this interview is dropping, Jason’s latest band, Red Hare are smack dab in the middle of a tour and their album, “Nites Of Midnite” was released today. We’ve been trying to keep the readers here up to date with everything Red Hare related, so it should be no surprise that we highly recommend you snatching up a copy of “Nites Of Midnite” and check Red Hare out if they’re rolling through your town. Stay tuned for more to come. -Tim DCXX

JASON FARRELL, 1991

JASON FARRELL, 1991

Can you give everyone a discography/timeline of sorts of all the music you’ve done over the years.

Bells Of: 1985-present
http://bellsof.com/
Guitar / Bass from 1985-86
7-song lost album (soon to be released)
4 song demo 1986

Swiz: 1987-1990
www.jadetree.com/bands/artist/swiz
Guitar
“Down” (4-song 7″ self-released on Hellfire records, 11.87)
S/T   (8-song 12″ on Sammich Records, mid/late 1988)
“Hell Yes I Cheated” (12 song 12″ recorded summer ’89, released on Sammich records, late 1989/90-ish)
“With Dave” (4 song 7″ recorded summer 1990, released on Jade tree in ’92)
“Rejects” (2 song 7″ recorded during “Down” sessions 1987, released by THD records in ’92)
“No Punches Pulled” (complete discography CD released in 1992 on Jade Tree)
“With Ramsey” (6 song demo, recorded spring 1987, released as digital download thru jadetree.com)
“No Punches…” remastered (3xLP box set plus unreleased bonus 7″, to be released in 2013)

SWIZ-cover

Fury: 1988-1989
www.jadetree.com/bands/artist/fury
Guitar
“Resurrection” (6 song 7″ recorded summer ’89, released by THD in 1992, re-released on CD by Jadetree 2000)

Black Top (DC): 1991-1994
Guitar
some demos recorded

Dolemite: 1994
Guitar
short-lived side project with Sergio Vega: bass / Alan Cage: drums / Chaka Malik: vox, 4 song demo recorded

Bluetip: 1995-2001
www.dischord.com/band/bluetip
Guitar and Vocals
“Ohio” (2 song 7″ Hellfire/Dischord split 1995)
“Dischord no. 101″ (13 song album, Dischord, 1996)
“Join Us” (2 song 7″, Dischord, 1998)
“Touring Japan” (2 songs on 4-band split, Time Bomb recordings, 1998)
split 7″ with NRA (1 song, Bcore records 1998)
“Hot Fast Union (5-song ep Slowdime/Dischord split 2000)
“Polymer” (10 song album, Dischord, 2000)
“P.M.A. (Post Mortem Anthem)” (10 song collection, 2001)

MI0000243904

Sweetbelly Freakdown (Swiz reunited): 1997-?
www.jadetree.com/bands/artist/sweetbelly_freakdown
S/T album and 7″ (8 songs on Jadetree, 1998)
“Touring Japan” (2 songs on 4-band split, Time Bomb recordings, 1998)
3 songs (title / format / label / release date TBD)

Retisonic: 2002-
www.retisonic.com/
“Lean Beat” (6 song ep, Modern City (france) / Silverthree (us) / Inherited Alliance (japan))
“Return To Me” (11 song album, Silverthree, spring 2004)
“Judas Discharge” (2 song 7″ of covers, Semilla del Diablo) 
“Cooling Card” (song on Jawbox tribute comp “Until the Shaking Stops”, two Sheds Music, January 2005)
“Levittown” (6 song cdep on Ascetic Records, May 2006)
“Robots Fucking” (12 song cd/lp on Arctic Rodeo, February 2012)

Red Hare (most of Swiz reunited): now-later
“Nites of Midnite” album released May 21 2013 on Dischord / Hellfire (DIS180.5)
www.dischord.com/release/DIS180-5/nites-of-midnite

rh
 
Back to the beginning, where did you grow up and what was the music you first fell in love with?  What bands (even before punk) really spoke to you and moved you?  Anybody you still love all these years later?
I was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland (suburb just outside the city). Like everyone else in my elementary school my first love was KISS. I am still amazed by the dumb brilliance of the band (concept and music). Ace Frehley always struck me as the coolest, and was one of two main inspirations for me to pick up a guitar. When I was 9 my dad took me, my best friend, and my sister to my first concert: KISS at the Capital Center. By then I was already fading on the band, slowly replacing them with standard FM rock that became my BMX-and-stolen-cigarettes soundtrack (Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Ozzy). But it felt pretty epic, and was yet another sign of the serious level of support I could expect from my dad (who was my second main inspiration for picking up a guitar: his).

JASON WITH A FOOT PLANT, 1984

JASON WITH A FOOT PLANT, 1984

Spent the summer after 8th grade in OP shorts and surf apparel learning how to skateboard. We built a truly horrible quarter pipe behind an abandoned car dealership and decorated it with hand-painted skate logos. We felt like our new found love of a dead sport was unique; an isolated incident. But word of our our little ramp spread, and soon some rather gnarly people started showing up.
 
They skated well, but were obnoxious, aggressive, fearless. Somehow mocking and supportive simultaneously: “don’t be a pussy, drop in… you can do it!… or I’ll punch you in the fuckin’ face.” As if to piss on our shitty little ramp, they spray painted band names we’d never heard of over our Variflex and Bones renderings and left. (These intimidating Potomac skate punks turned out to be the not-so-scary Wiggy Austin, Kenny Griffin, Keith Davidson, and soon-to-be GI drummer Pete Moffett). In a pattern that would sadly repeat itself far too often, the ramp was torn down by the property owners…

JASON FARRELL TEARS UP HIS FIRST RAMP, 1983

JASON FARRELL TEARS UP HIS FIRST RAMP, 1983