THE YOUTH OF TODAY FIST ART
April 15th, 2014 by Tim
MALL BOUGHT YOUTH OF TODAY - "BREAK DOWN THE WALLS" SHIRT

MALL BOUGHT YOUTH OF TODAY – “BREAK DOWN THE WALLS” SHIRT

Following the theme of the Youth Of Today – “Youth Crew 88” shirt design post, I got a little info out of Porcell regarding the original Youth Of Today X’ed fist art. Anyone that’s familiar with Youth Of Today, is sure to be familiar with their classic X’ed fist logo. The art has appeared on countless shirts, stickers, pics, flyers and plenty of tattoos and here’s what Porcell had to say about it…

The original Youth Of Today X’d up fist was done by this Mahopac, New York kid named Herbie Straight Edge. Herbie originally drew the fist on the back of a gas station type jacket. Herbie became a skinhead and started drinking so he gave the jacket to Cappo. We traced the fist art off the back of the jacket and used it for Youth Of Today. -Porcell

WISHINGWELL RECORDS YOUTH OF TODAY - "BREAK DOWN THE WALLS" SHIRT

WISHINGWELL RECORDS YOUTH OF TODAY – “BREAK DOWN THE WALLS” SHIRT

YOUTH CREW 88
April 10th, 2014 by Tim
ARTHUR WITH GORILLA BISCUITS AT THE ANTHRAX, WEARING A YOUTH CREW 88 LONG SLEEVE | PHOTO: BRIAN BOOG

ARTHUR WITH GORILLA BISCUITS AT THE ANTHRAX, WEARING A YOUTH CREW 88 LONG SLEEVE | PHOTO: BRIAN BOOG

A few days ago, I was flipping though a pile of my hardcore shirts and I came across my original Youth Of Today “Youth Crew 88” shirt. I had to stop and stare at it for a few minutes just to soak in how much of a well done and classic design it is. 

Every time I see a Youth Crew 88 shirt, I can’t help but to think back to the first time that I ever saw one. It was March 19th 1989 and I was standing in line for a show at Club Pizazz in Philadelphia. It was a Soul Side, Krakdown, Insted, Vision show, (Soul Side and Krakdown never showed up.) 

Regardless, there were a ton of people there and the line to get in the show was massive (or at least it seemed so at the time.) I remember standing in that line and watching multiple people walk up wearing those Youth Crew 88 shirts and just thinking, “wow, that new YOT shirt might be the coolest one yet!” And YOT had no shortage of cool looking shirts prior to this one, but something about how clean and simple it was just made it stick out.

photo 1 

Over the past 25 years  since seeing the YOT “Youth Crew 88” shirt for the first time, it’s remained a favorite of mine. When I came across my original the other day I started wondering who might have designed it. The thought had never crossed my mind, but for whatever reason, it occurred to me that it looked like something Alex Brown might have had a hand in. Instead of letting my curiosity get the best of me, I shot a quick email to Porcell to see if I could get the lowdown. Porcell did indeed confirm, Al Brown was the man behind the classic Youth Crew 88 shirt. 

I decided to shoot Alex an email to see if he had any memories he could share and here’s what he had to say…

It was designed prior to Youth Of Today’s 1988 summer tour at the apartment that Porcell, Ray and I were sharing in Brooklyn. I don’t remember what the inspiration for the design was but I must have wanted it to look like some sort of team logo. I was really into the way the first couple of SSD records looked and I suppose that could be cited as a motive for the typeface I used; something bold and clean. I think that Ray or Porcell probably had some input but they most likely left me to do my work without to much interference.

As for the heavy Youth Crew theme with “Youth Crew 88” on the front and “Youth Crew Across America” on the back, I think we all thought it was just sort of a cool moniker to attach to our group of friends and musicians. To throw it in everyone’s face was always fun too. As for the photo that was used; again, can’t remember who’s decision it was to use that particular pic but it’s a pretty great photo and it’s easy to see why we used it.

YOUTH CREW 88 BACK ART

YOUTH CREW 88 BACK ART

LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG WAS JUST A FAD
April 1st, 2014 by Tim
YOUTH OF TODAY AT THE RAT, BOSTON, 1986 | PHOTO: BRUCE RHODES

YOUTH OF TODAY AT THE RAT, BOSTON, 1986 | PHOTO: BRUCE RHODES

In 1986, when I was first discovering punk and hardcore, I got my hands on a cassette of Youth Of Today’s -”Break Down The Walls”. As a 12 year old kid, up until that point, everything punk to me seemed to be about chaos, anarchy, violence, destroying the government, getting wasted, self destruction, looking as outlandish as you possibly could, etc., none of which appealed to me much. Sure I liked the music, but I couldn’t really gel all that much with the message and the image. When that tape of “Break Down The Walls” crossed my path, I suddenly found something that I identified with. The message was positive, rational, inspiring and simply made sense in every way. I remember looking at the cover photo and the lyric sheet photos and thinking to myself, unlike a lot of the bands that I liked at the time, “these guys don’t look like freaks”. Not that I was a jock at all in 1986/1987, quite the contrary actually, I was 100% skateboarder, but Youth Of Today’s image seemed like a legit light in the dark at that time, an image I could see in myself, they were almost the outcast’s of the outcasts. Still to this day, I look at them as the perfect hardcore band, the band that changed and defined my life and millions of others, whether they realize it or not. Say what you want about them, but you can’t deny the massive impact they’ve left on the hardcore scene and people in general.

And by the way, if you’re Straight Edge, vegetarian, like any of the bands on Revelations Records or pretty much any Straight Edge Hardcore band of the late 80′s, chances are that you’ve been affected by Youth Of Today’s influence. I honestly don’t think people understand just how massive of an impression this band left. When Youth Of Today came through the bigger cities in America, most of those scenes were never the same. Youth Of Today weren’t just another hardcore band or just another Straight Edge band, they’re impact was next level and chances are, a lot of the bands you like, would have never existed without Youth Of Today.

“And this flame will keep on burning strong” – Tim DCXX

YOUTH CREW ACROSS EUROPE
March 19th, 2014 by Larry

YOUTH OF TODAY EUROPEAN TOUR 1989 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN

YOUTH OF TODAY EUROPEAN TOUR 1989 | PHOTO: UNKNOWN


Rev 1-25
February 1st, 2014 by Tim
REVELATION RECORDS CATALOG 1-25, 1987-1992.

REVELATION RECORDS CATALOG 1-25, 1987-1992.

REVELATION RECORDS ADS
January 8th, 2014 by Larry

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YOUTH OF TODAY – DETROIT, JULY 1988
December 8th, 2013 by Tim

There’s certainly no shortage of incredible Youth Of Today videos out there, but this one has to rank up there as one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Obviously the quality isn’t perfect, but it’s made up for by the intensity of what’s happening on the stage. Everyone has their favorite era/line up of Youth Of Today and this one right here has to be mine. Cappo, Porcell, Walter and Sammy, spreading Youth Crew Across America in 1988.

MIKE JUDGE – PART X
December 3rd, 2013 by Tim
MATT AND MIKE WITH JUDGE AT CITY GARDENS | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO

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

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 AND THE CITY GARDENS CROWD | PHOTO: KEN SALERNO

YOUTH OF TODAY AT CBGB’S 10/16/1986
December 3rd, 2013 by Tim

MIKE JUDGE – PART VIII
November 11th, 2013 by Ed
JUDGE AT THE ANTHRAX | PHOTO: ERIC BLOMQUIST

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

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

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

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, SAMMY, PORCELL AND JIMMY | PHOTO: ALEX BROWN