Wednesday, 21 May 2008

DJ from LAST IN LINE interview...

I emailed DJ, vocalist in the great but now defunct Boston hardcore band LAST IN LINE sometime in 2004, again for a zine I never finished. It's a pity because he gave some really great answers. Anyway, I wish more bands right now were playing this style of hardcore, a sound that's strongly influenced by the old Boston bands (NEGATIVE FX, DYS, LAST RIGHTS, FU's etc). Oh well, atleast OUT COLD are still going!

Q. Tell us a bit about what LAST IN LINE was all about? Who wrote the lyrics, why did you form?

DJ: I wrote all of the lyrics in LAST IN LINE, the other guys concetrated on the music, although we all had input on the music. I always just wrote about whatever I wanted, stuff that bothered me, or stuff that amused me (horror movies, pissing people off, especially the emo/pretentious indie rocker kids in the scene). The earth is fucked, we're not going to save it so why bother writing positive lyrics? As far as unifying the scene, fuck that! I hate 99% of the music I hear, so why the fuck would I want a part in their scene? LAST IN LINE was formed because we hated the trendy shit we saw going on around us at the time, kids aping GREEN DAY and calling it hardcore, or trying to sound like EARTH CRISIS. Fuck that. I was lucky enough to find bands like POISON IDEA, JERRY'S KIDS, SSD, SLAPSHOT etc when I was younger. Most of my friends were rocking out to POISON, WINGER, DEF LEPPARD, and WARRANT, making fun of me when I was listening to YOUTH OF TODAY or THE MISFITS at school....

Q. Talkin about lyrics, songs such as 'Crimson Screens' and 'Herbert West' are about horror movies. Whats your favourite horror flicks? Do you think there's a connection between the punk and horror genres?

DJ: Depends on what horror movie as far as the connection goes...I consider films like EVIL DEAD 1 and DAWN OF THE DEAD punk rock films, because they have a do-it- yourself spirit movies today do not posess..Those guys got their buddies to act in the movies, and basically did whatever they wanted to do, without restraint or input from any studio executives..THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, a totally punk rock movie..Its in your face, raw, and abrasive, like punk music. Our link to the horror movies is that after practice we would always watch horror movies, usually the crappiest ones we could find. Whatever had the corniest cover art we usually loved..In the UK these are known as the video nasties...those films were readily available to me in the 80's, I saw all the classics. BURIED ALIVE, ZOMBI, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX...totally disgusting and tasteless films that warped my mind back in 6th grade..Also, these low budget films influenced myself and my friends to make our own extremely cheap films, usually highly amusing only to ourselves..We took an interest early on with movies and movie making, and I introduced my movie making pals to punk...We had a punk attitude with the movie making, influenced by THE SEX PISTOLS and whatever we could get our hands on as little snot nosed kids...My personal favorite zombie films are LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE (Murders at the Manchester Morgue) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. SHAUN OF THE DEAD was great, my girlfriend was pissed, she brought me to see it on my birthday thinking it was a romantic comedy, but was really bummed out by the gore..she can't handle it, she likes crappy hollywood dreck..

Q. Give us a rundown on your releases and tell us what your favourites are?

DJ: We had a demo called WELCOME TO A-10 COUNTRY that we did in 97 with our friend Karl at Plummer's Mines in westfield, a 7" called CROSSWALK that came out on UYH records, limited to 500 copies, an lp put out by ACME ( OUT COLD's label), various comp tracks ( HUMAN STENCH 7", Mein Comp 7", SUBURBAN VOICE cd, SLAPSHOT tribute cd) etc.) and the GLOOM s/t 7". My favorite release was the lp, because it was a fun time being in the band, pretty much the original line-up. Musically I think the Gloom one was the best, our stuff was getting meaner sounding, we were gearing up to do an lp but everyone had too much going on ( school, work, other bands etc.)

Q. What do you think of bands with a overtly political agenda? Also, what about Christian or religious bands in hc/punk?

DJ: I have no problem with political punk, I like it. I grew up listening to CRASS and DEAD KENNEDYS, and I still love UK anarcho/peacepunk. If the band has no sense of humor I find it a bit annoying though, I'd rather see a good political punk band over an overly serious straight edge band any day. If you care more about your buddy "stabbing you in the back" or who drinks and smokes what more than you do about the world and what's going on on a larger scale, you've got to open your mind a little..I could care less about christian hc or beliefs, I don't follow it and could care less about it. If its being pushed on me I'd have a problem with it, but the same goes for any agenda...I mean how can you really get upset that your friend smoked a joint a took a drink and broke the edge when a war is going on? I guess I'm getting older and jaded...I find that I can't relate to overbearing SXE lyrics or religious lyrics and anything of that sort...I know drugs are bad, I've lost a few good friends because of drug abuse, and I don't really care for some dork wearing nikes screaming about the evils of smoking or drinking...Same thing goes for some idiot singing about god or a one-sided extremely uptight political band...

Q. How do you think hardcore punk has changed since Last In Line started? For the better or for the worse?

DJ: I think there are better bands than when I first started in bands..I grew up going to shows when metalcore was big. I always listened to faster punk in the late 80's (88-89) and when I started going to shows I was unimpressed with the crap I saw. I liked the CIRCLE JERKS, SSD, MINOR THREAT...but what I got from my scene was a bunch of meatheads crying about veganism and smoking etc. Every now and then we'd get lucky, I used to go see THE PIST all the time when they started, that was more my style. I was a big Oi! fan and saw some great shows in Boston, but our mentality was to destroy our scene and rebuild, to start a scene of our own because the punk scene was so weak. Metal had taken it over in the early 90's, so we formed our own bands to get things moving in the direction we wanted to go...The big clubs either banned us or ignored us, because our shows were too wild...We were sick of the safe boring shit and fashion show mentality. I think the current shows are smaller but the bands are better, more diverse then it was. Kids today have easier acess to the great old stuff, with the internet and cd burners..It was much harder ( but more fun) obtaining stuff a while back. I remember when I finally found my FU's lp and DYS "Brotherhood" hidden behind some crappy New Wave records in a dusty Boston record store, it was like I won the lottery!

Q. What are your favourite current hardcore punk bands? Who are the best bands you got to play with in LIL?

DJ: I really like Amdi Petersens Arme, Incontrollados, No Hope For The Kids, all the stuff coming from those guys. Great stuff..I liked the Observers lp, very catchy. ANNIHILATION TIME is my favorite hardcore band, I like hanging out with those dudes when they come to western mass and I think I've played their new lp a million times, its fucking great. I also like the INMATES and the cleveland bands, watch out for the new CIDER 7", it rules.. I played a show with a new local band, Face Off last night, they played before us, I think it was there first show. They had a little kid singing, he was intense. Great voice on the kid, he seemed genuinely pissed off, like NEGATIVE APPROACH/INFEST..My favorite shows LAST IN LINE played were with FIT FOR ABUSE, THE STRIKERS, and A POOR EXCUSE. Also our tours with THE A-TEAM, COPS AND ROBBERS, and A POOR EXCUSE are times I'll never forget, those were some of the best times....

Q: Why did Last In Line choose to break up? Are you still friends with the rest of the band?

DJ: We never really "broke up", we just got sick of too many lineup changes. We still play if we are all in the same room together, even at shows. Everyone had stuff going on ( school, careers, other bands) and certain members felt they couldn't put 100 percent into the band, so we decided to take a break..Maybe we'll play again sometime, I'd like to do another LP. I still see the guys, we're all friends. Our new bands are supportive of each other and we play shows together all the time. Mikey's band THE PROWL and my band THE IRRITATORS play together often. Actually I went drinking with Mikey (bass player) last night, we had a good time making fun of the hip-hop crowd and getting rowdy at the bar...

Q. What do you guys think of reunion shows of old bands? Did any of you catch Sheer Terror recently, or Poison Idea?Incidently, how amazing are Poison Idea?

DJ: As long as the band isn't cashing in, I have no problems with reunion shows. I went and saw DI and TSOL in California in the summer, two classic bands..They were fucking great and had 10 times the energy of some of the younger bands. I also saw EASY ACTION a while back, John Brannon from NEGATIVE APPROACH's band. They did four NEGATIVE APPROACH covers and were fucking intense! It was cool talking to him after the show about NEGATIVE APPROACH and some of the old midwest bands, bands that were a huge influence on LAST IN LINE. I unfortunately missed the POISON IDEA shows, but there is a dvd of CBGB's floating around with footage of the show. LAST IN LINE's crazy roadie WYLD T can be seen stagediving and going crazy the whole time..I fuckin love POISON IDEA, that first 7" is killer..I missed SHEER TERROR reunions but saw them when they were together, always enjoyed them...

Q. How did you get into hardcore punk? What was the first bands you got into?

DJ: Here's my generic answer, THE RAMONES. My favorite band of all time. Heard the tunes, then saw them on TV. The CLASH, I saw them on TV and loved them, my uncle played me their records at an early age.. From there the SEX PISTOLS blew my mind, and then it was THE MISFITS. Once I got into the MISFITS I grabbed anything I could, reading the thanks list on records and seeking out the bands, no matter how obscure they were. Cooch ( CLOSE CALL, RIGHTEOUS JAMS), a good buddy of mine since childhood was my partner in crime. We'd stop at nothing to obtain an obscure record, going as far as hounding old Wmass punks for their records...

Q. What do you think of Japanese hardcore bands like Gism/Gauze etc? Give us some of your favourites.

DJ: I love all that stuff. LAST IN LINE were big fans of GAUZE. I love GISM, insanely weird..really bums most people out when you drive around town blasting GISM DETESTATION on full volume..SYSTEMATIC DEATH was an influence on LAST IN LINE, we all loved them. We got the chance to meet one of the guys from SYSTEMATIC DEATH when Mikey's band played with FORWARD in Boston. Cool guy, he had a mullet and moustache, and leather pants. True punk rocker. The DSB show in Rhode Island was one of the best shows ever, totally crazy..My personal favorite japanese lp would be THE STALIN "stop jap" lp.

Q. Did you get any shit for covering GG ALLIN on your LP?

DJ: Nah, and we wouldn't care if we did. I'm a bigg GG and the Jabbers fan. I don't really care so much for his other stuff, but his early records are great punk rock. We never really worried about rubbing people the wrong way in LAST IN LINE.

Q. What do you think of record collecting? What are your 3 favourite records you own, and what was the first punk record you bought?

DJ: The first punk record was RAMONES "RAMONES"..Still probably my favorite. Top 3? I really like my STALIN lp, UNDERTONES 1st record ( classic), MC5 records, can't really narrow it down to three...I like collecting records, I just don't like having to pay for them. Its tougher to go into a record store these days and find good stuff because of all of the internet nerds like Cooch hoarding all the good stuff..

Q. Tell us about the song "Pinno Raffredda" on the LP?

DJ: That song is sung in English. Basically a rant against the watering down of punk rock, how it has become safe..Joe (guitar player) is Italian, and the title is JOE COOL in italian. Joe hated the title, he probably thought I was making fun of him ( he's a sensitive guy), so he changed it to italian. Pretty retarded.

Q. Give us your favourite hardcore band (if you can pick one) and also your favourite old Boston-area hardcore band?

DJ: My favorite HC band is probably POISON IDEA, I like just about everything they put out. They rule. They are ugly, loud, and great musicians..awesome band. My favorite old Boston band would probably be Jerry's Kid's, fucking great lp. I love THE FREEZE, but they were from Cape Cod...The DYS Brotherhood lp is one of my favorites too, sick vocals on that one..

Q. Who is your favourite frontman ever, and what bands influenced LIL the most?

DJ: Joey Ramone is my hero, favorite frontman ever, followed by John Lydon..I loved Joey's weirdness and Johnny's sarcastc asshole behavior, basically a big FUCK YOU to the crowd. Definitely an influence on me..LAST IN LINE all loved THE RAMONES, STOOGES, BLACK FLAG, DEAD BOYS, POISON IDEA, SLAPSHOT, and NEGATIVE APPROACH. We also were influenced by local greats like WISHFUL THINKING, SIEGE, DEEP WOUND, and BLOODBATH.

Q. What are the Last In Line members upto now? What do you do to pay the rent?

DJ: Mikey is the frontman for THE PROWL, who play goth punk, inspired by 45 Grave, gloomy punk stuff. I sing for THE IRRITATORS, who are influenced by 77 punk and early hardcore. Punkier sounding then LAST IN LINE, not as fast..I'm playing with members of my previous band, THE DREDNOCKS and members of western mass bands THE STRIKERS and DRAGNET. Mikey and Deuce are also in OUT COLD who are awesome. We all jobs, nothing interesting. Nobody is rich, we never made a dime off the band, we just did it for fun. We balanced fulltime school/work/girlfriends while doing the band...touring was our way of getting out and having a good time, a vacation from all the bullshit work and school put on us...

Q. What was the best show you played with LIL? Give us some stories.

DJ: The best show we played was when our drummer was leaving the band for school, Kakos's last show and our lp record release. It was STRIKERS, DOWN BUT NOT OUT ( I think the A-team may have played in their place, not sure) A POOR EXCUSE, and FIT FOR ABUSE. The show was at a bigger metal club,( one that ignored real HC) and all hell broke loose. The bouncers gave up..Bottles flying, tables breaking, fireworks...Kids dressed up as zombies and mental patients, it was out of control. A great time, and all the bands we played with were all friends of LAST IN LINE. We played a few Halloween shows that were always totally out of control, one show ended in a riot where the kids sieged the club, throwing crap ( street signs, pumpkins, bicycles) at the club staff after they pulled the plug on LAST IN LINE and sent goons in the crowd to punch kids...

Q. Where was the furthest you travelled with LIL and what were the shows like further afield?

DJ: We toured California with THE A-TEAM. We met up with our buddies Higgums and Wally Yetman who helped us out, hung with our friends ANNIHILATION TIME in LA, and had a blast. The best show we played was at Mission Records in SF, rowdy crowd..Kids attacked me with shaving cream and gliiter, beer flying everywhere. Messy fun! We also played outside at a subway station, on the street..The cops shut it down but it was a blast, tons of people watching and wondering what the hell was going on...

Q. What pisses you off more than anything?

DJ: Work. Money. I hate working to obtain money. I really hate wasting my life away so assholes can make money off me. I need to rob a bank. It drives me crazy that I have to give my time up to something I really don't want to do for 12 hours a day so I can pay my bills and eat...

Q. Last show you went to see, who played, what was it like?

DJ: Last night THE IRRITATORS played with KILL YOUR IDOLS. It was a good time, a small local show on a snowy night. Good to see a younger crowd, the bands sounded great too. I recently saw THE SPITS in New Orleans on Halloween, they ruled. Very fun, I was pogoing all night. New Orleans has some great KILLED BY DEATH style bands...

Q. Any chance of some LIL shows, coming over to Europe maybe, or even another release?

DJ: There's always a chance..I'd like to get another lp out, we had plenty of unrecorded songs finished..We still play shows, although very rarely. Its tough to get everyone together for practice these days. I'd love to come over to Europe, if we got back to playing again regularly I'm pretty sure that would be our plan, we've played most of the US and I'd love to check out the rest of the world and their scenes.


Bucky said...

Good interview. Make me miss you.x

xviktorx said...

Cool interview. I like LIL so much. I have a 'zine and i done an interview with Dj. If you are interest in, just hit me up on myspace.

JesseArg! said...