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
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
MAKE A CHANGE
July 29th, 2013 by Tim
RAY CAPPO WITH YOUTH OF TODAY AT C.B.G.B.’S, NYC, 4/5/1987 | PHOTO: BRAIN J. QUINN
CRAIG AHEAD – THE FINAL ENTRY
July 1st, 2013 by Tim
CRAIG SETARI WITH SICK OF IT ALL IN SINGAPORE, 2007 | PHOTO: MAGNUS CALEB
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.
Agnostic Front played from ’87-’89 and then Roger got incarcerated for 18 months and during that time I played with Rest In Pieces. I was working as a furniture mover and playing with the band. It was a serious band but not one that was going to go on tour – we were more a local band with shows in the area. I would say that we were very professional musician-wise and we took a lot of care and time into the music that we were creating. We had written the record which would become Under My Skin and recorded in Long Island for one day. We thought it sounded like shit and we just left without paying. Then we went to Normandy and it came out really good, except that me and Rob were telling Armand his vocals were out of key and they sound really bad. In typical Armand fashion being headstrong he didn’t listen to us. Then two years later he told me and Rob, how come you didn’t tell me it sounded like that.
How did you end up in Sick Of It All?
After the last AF show in Czechoslovakia I flew home and Armand called me to let me know Richie quit and they want me to go on tour. I couldn’t do it after that AF tour. I was going to stop doing this and go to school to be a chef. I wound up doing the tour with SOIA for 6 weeks with one day off after being in Europe for almost two months with AF. I came home, did my laundry and left. This was the tour after Just Look Around came out. We brought Ezec and Toby with us and it was so much fun, it was like being on tour with AF, but a light hearted version.
After being with those guys for that time I said fuck school I’m in the band. I knew them forever, I helped them out with writing songs or playing so it was a natural fit. So all of ’93 I played with them then we wound up signing to a major label and recorded Scratch The Surface. That was the point where my career really blew up and I felt like we were becoming a worldwide phenomenon- not just the band but hardcore as well. With hardcore I’ve been able to travel the world. I think I’ve pretty much been everywhere that there is a scene, except China, India, and Hawaii - I would really like to go those places.
I wake up and thank God with a smile for the life that I have. I am so grateful to be living the life that I live with the disposition I have to be able to appreciate and understand everything that I do. I have always understood my position and have realized how fortunate I am, and how great my karma is. I say this without being arrogant: I live a great life, all of my dreams have come true. When I think about it I get choked up to this day. I have a farm with amazing views of the mountains which is something that I always wanted. I love my job which is what I always wanted to do – and people respect me, they thank me. I just did what I wanted, I didn’t have a safety net under me and it worked out to be this great thing. How amazing is it?
I was always into boxing as a hobby, and I dedicated myself to it for a year. I went on to be a trainer and I coached guys who went on to win amateur championships and titles. I was the assistant coach under my coach making good money training these guys. This was the ultimate fulfillment of the hobby to reach this peak in something I loved to do. I keep repeating it but I appreciate everything in my life and I am so thankful. Earlier I had mentioned that Hardcore was my life and I have to say it still is. It might not be as tight knit as it was then with going to shows and then hanging out in the park. But for me it’s an adult thing and I’ll be friends with these guys the rest of my life. Back then all I cared about was getting in a van and going to a show and being with my friends - nothing else mattered. And still to this day it’s the main focus of my life. If we have to get on a plane and go to a show that is our main focus…the four of us, there is no stopping us. With Sick Of It All we realize that this is our thing and nothing at all gets in the way, 100% dedicated 100% of the time.
CRAIG, ARMAND, PETE AND LOU OF SICK OF IT ALL
What was the best and worst part of being in Youth Of Today?
The live show was the best. The worst part was the jock hazing they gave me because I was the kid from Queens without the right sneakers.
What was the best and worst part of being in Agnostic Front?
The best was the experience and the wild abandon that any situation was handled with, and the worst was the experience and the wild abandon that any situation was handled with, without a safety net, just taking a chance and seeing what happens.
What was the best and worst part of being in Rest In Pieces?
The best was it was a professional band with my friends and we all completely understood each other as musicians. We were confident that we’re trying to sound as powerful and intense musically as possible. The worst was it was a purely musical thing and we didn’t have the charisma to do what my other bands could do in a live show.
CRAIG WITH SOIA IN SIGAPORE, 2007 | PHOTO: MAGNUS CALEB
What was the best and worst part of being in Straight Ahead?
The best was that it was my baby and I was writing songs in the most natural primitive way I could. Those early days in Hardcore were such a thrill for me. The worst was the instability.
What is the best and worst part of being in Sick Of It All?
The best is these guys are my friends and my brothers since I was younger. It’s my home. The experiences we’ve had, the friends I’ve made all over the world…I really can’t describe it. If you could take my memories and put it on paper it would be like War and Peace of Hardcore. It has totally cultured me about any preconceived notions I’ve had about people. It’s opened my mind, eyes, and soul in this lifetime. I have nothing bad to say about it at 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.
JEFF HANNEMAN AND HIS RECORDS
June 22nd, 2013 by Tim
JEFF HANNEMAN OF SLAYER POSES WITH A PILE OF HIS FAVORITE PUNK/HARDCORE RECORDS. PRETTY COOL THAT YOUTH OF TODAY’S – “WE’RE NOT IN THIS ALONE” MADE THE CUT | PHOTO: AUGUST 2013 GUITAR WORLD MAGAZINE
CRAIG AHEAD PART V
June 10th, 2013 by Tim
VINNIE AND CRAIG WITH AGNOSTIC FRONT AT CITY GARDENS | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
We know, we know, it’s been way too long in between entries for this Craig Ahead interview, but we’re finally getting around to it and I promise it’s one hell of an entry to come back with. There’s definitely more of this interview to come as well as more of the on going Lukie Luke interview and the Jason Farrell interview that we recently kicked off. Once again, big thanks to our friend Lenny Zimkus for doing this Craig interview for us and of course, thanks to Craig for being down to answer Lenny’s questions and deliver all these great stories! -Tim DCXX
So Straight Ahead is done and I’m out of Youth Of Today…two weeks go by and I’m just thinking I need to do something. I went to a show and I saw Jimmy G and Todd Youth. I would hang out with Todd all of the time I would sleep over Raybeez’s house and we would roam the streets of the LES. Me and Todd were hanging out all of the time in ’85-’86. Todd was a runaway so he was living on the lower east side with Ray so that was the place to stay. Raybeez was a cool guy, always really nice to me, he was a legendary hardcore figure for sure. Now it’s 1987 and I saw Jimmy downtown while I’m hanging out and he says “we need a bass player, Russ is out and we need you. The one thing is we are going to have a try out because Chuck from Ludichrist wants to play.” It’s a little wierd because there were no try outs, people would just say hey you’re in the band. So we both go and try out and we both kill it because Chuck’s a good player and I can hold my own. It went good I thought.
Agnostic Front records “Liberty and Justice for…” they kicked out their bass player and now they needed someone. Vinnie says “we’re going to get the kid” – and I’m that kid. I wanted to rerecord the bass because I felt I could have made it sound a lot better but once again Roger said there’s no money to do that. Anyway, I go home and as I’m walking up the stairs my mother says, “Vinnie Stigma is on the phone.” So I’m talking to Vinnie and he would always say “Hey kid one day you’re going to be in my band, you jump so high, you play really good.” So he tells me “I just talked to Jimmy and he’s taking the other kid and you’re with me now. I said you would be in my band one day - I told you you’re going to be in Agnostic Front so now you’re with us.”
The first time Mayhem played CB’s Vinnie was piling up singing along to the songs. Afterwards I asked him how he knew the words to the songs and he said he bought the demo. I was friends with him since the first time I played CB’s. I joined Agnostic Front and Chuck got Murphy’s Law and I would like to say that was the first time I auditioned for a band and didn’t get it. And the better man won: the legend Chuck Valle rest in peace.
CRAIG ON STAGE WITH AF, CHAOS IN THE CROWD | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
Would you say your life was different from the way those guys lived?
My life was completely different from them. I was a boy going into boot camp, and I came out a very disturbed man. They took all of the bad parts of me and cultivated them. I love them, they are my family but they were crazy. We used to do fun crazy, crazy stuff. I was a scared kid and Vinnie took me under his wing and Roger was like “this kid is a pussy.” I was a young little kid. We would go on tour with a pitbull in the van… who does that? Roger would get us into these crazy situations, real dangerous stuff just to see what would happen. He would drive into a place and do something outlandish where everyone in that place would focus on us and want to kill us. Then see if we could survive. The stuff that would happen was so insane and made no sense. Roger would create this chaotic situation just to laugh about it later and see if we could survive it.
Were you into it or did you think these guys are crazy?
Oh no I thought they were crazy and totally insane but I loved this band and these guys are my friends. I was having so much fun but it was so scary in spots. I was walking down the street with Roger and he had a bag of weed which he tossed at the cop telling him hey I have a pound of weed in there. And the cop just said “go ahead get out of here” and gave it back to him. We played a show in Savannah Georgia and we pull up to the club and Vinnie and Roger are like, “oh no it’s Bo.” This guy is blowing stuff up with a 12 gauge pump shotgun, blowing out windows, shooting at people’s feet. A guy would come out of the bar and he would shoot at him, and the guy’s yelling at Bo, “hey you’re drunk again you just shot my foot.” Me and Roger look at each other and decide we have to do something because this guy is crazy. So we go and call the police and we have to get out of this. The cops show up, totally don’t care and tell Bo “we told you no shooting if you’re drinking… put the gun back in your car.” I couldn’t believe it, the cops didn’t tell him to unload it, just put it back.
So we go in the club and the stage is covered in chicken wire, there are two guys at the bar playing russian roulette… it’s like some fucked up southern bar. So we’re about to go on and we’re laughing saying we’re going to die, people are hitting each other with bottles, everyone is bleeding, the cops just come in and say to cut it out, they don’t care. Right as we’re about to play 20 marines come in so we tell them to make a barricade for us which they did, but everyone in the place is going fucking nuts. Bottles thrown against the chicken wire, brawling, gun shots going off. There were probably 60 people there - the 20 marines and 40 hillbillies. Afterwards we’re sitting in the van just laughing saying how crazy that was. I’m thinking these guys are crazy they don’t care, they will light a fire just to see how much it will burn and they will be in it.
CRAIG AND ROGER WITH AF AT CITY GARDENS | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
There are hundreds of stories from my time with them. I went in a boy and came out a man… a very sick man. It was a lot of fun, there is stuff that Roger would do in front of people for 20 bucks and I won’t go into detail, he would do it just to see people’s reaction. We tried to buy a blue goat in Pennsylvania one time to bring on tour with us. We would bring the goat on tour and just give it to a farm out west when it was over. We weren’t going to hurt it, but the guy would not sell it to us. He said we were satanic. Like I said we used to take pitbulls on tour.
We would get invited to parties down south on our day off. So we thought great we’ll go hang out and party. It turns out it was a KKK rally - full on robes and burning crosses. They would say “oh you’re Agnostic Front you’re nazis, come on party with us.” There were hundreds of them, we would hang out for 10 minutes eat some potato salad and be like “we got to go, we have to drive to the next town.” They’d respond, “but you said you had the whole day off.” “No no we have to go.” That would happen more than once. You would stay at somebody’s house and get shot at, I’d be like “who is this???” And they would say “oh don’t worry it’s just someone we know, he’s a Hell’s Angel.” You never knew what you were getting into. Vinnie would say Roger’s an asshole he causes trouble, and Roger would laugh, saying “Watch…I’m going to get to Vinnie today.
CRAIG AHEAD WITH AGNOSTIC FRONT AT CITY GARDENS | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO
FOUR RARE RECORDS FOR SALE
June 5th, 2013 by Tim
Need to raise some money to build a mini ramp in my back yard and fund an upcoming trip, so I’m going to be selling off a few doubles that I have. Was planning to hit eBay with these, but figured I’d post something up here on DCXX and give the readers a chance at them if they were interested. In all honesty, I’ve really got to get the highest going rate for each, otherwise I won’t make enough to build the ramp or make the trip. Under each photo is a description, plus an approximate price each record has been selling for lately. I’ve been communicating with a handful of people regarding a couple of these records, so some may be gone before this post goes up. Either way, if you’re interested, feel free to make a serious offer at: DoubleCrossXX@gmail.com. Thanks and take care. -Tim DCXX
New York City Hardcore – Together – 1st press – Orange vinyl – $500
Gorilla Biscuits – Rev: 12 – “Start Today” – 1st Press – Embossed cover – Purple vinyl – $400
Judge – Rev: 15 – “Bringin’ It Down” – 1st Press – Green vinyl – $500
Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” – Wishingwell Records – Blue vinyl – $800