I interviewed Daryl by email in mid 2006, again for a zine I never printed up. I finally found it the other day, so here it is. He gives some great answers, and I might well do some follow up questions soon to regarding the 'reunion' shows coming up this summer...It's quite a long read, so make a cuppa and put on 'Colossus'.
Q. Introduce yourself; when did Citizens Arrest form, and is the name from that Negative Fx song? (incidently, did you ever do a cover of that?).
DK. Hello, My name is Daryl Kahan, vocalist for the New York Hardcore band Citizens Arrest. A band I formed in 1988 with some local musicians I met at the infamous NYHC record shop called Some Records. Eventually, I was introduced to Janis (Guitarist) and the other guys left shortly after due to them living quite far away in Long Island, NY (Hey Jay!). We met Joe Martin and Ted Leo around this time forming the first solid line-up of the band's history. We began writing and rehearsing songs which appeared on our first demo tape. Yes we did take our name from the Negative FX classic and no we never covered a single Negative FX song. Would have liked that! Maybe if we play one if we reform and play in the UK.
Q. Why did you move from drums to vocals? Why did Ted leave?
DK: I had always been the drummer in bands up until this point. Ted was moving to attend college and I just picked up the mic one day. It wasn't planned. I asked Patrick Winter (of Our Gang and my previous band True Colors) to join which he did shortly after.
Q. Your demo, to me, sounds much more like a typical NYHC band of the time, whereas your sound changed on your 7", and then even more on your LP. Were these conscious decisions to change sound? (i think its partly your vocals, compared to Ted's, that make it so different to the demo)
DK: Well we all came from the early NY scene so naturally that sound had an effect on our writing in the beginning. I had met some guys from Switzerland in 1985 who were living in my hometown at the time. They were two older hardcore punks who befriended me and gave me tons of demos and zines from Europe so I had developed an interest in the European scene from that point on. I also had a hand in writing our first 7" (riffs etc) so maybe that had something to do with it. It all came natural and was from the heart. We hadn't intended to change from typical NYHC it just happened.
Q. Tell us about the previous band, True Colors?
DK: True Colors was a band I formed after meeting several guys in a band called Our Gang. I used to hang out and rehearse at a great place on 14th street in New York City called Giant Studios. Many well-known NYHC bands used to rehearse there including Lifesblood, Sick Of It All, Side By Side, YDL, Krakdown, Breakdown, Mental Abuse, Warzone, Death Before Dishonor, NY Hoods etc. There were rooms A through Z so you could just walk in and hang out and listen to each band rehearse. Through this process I ran into a band my age called Our Gang. They had a friend named Chuck who attended these rehearsals (which were more like small shows complete with a pit and sing alongs etc..- great times!). Chuck and I became friends and decided to form our own band, True Colors. Lou Dimmick of Our Gang joined along with Pat Winter. I originally was the drummer of True Colors until our singer quit and Pat joined. We recorded two demos at Don Fury's studio and played two shows, one in Connecticut with our friends Pressure Release and another with Underdog in Albany, NY. We recorded one song called "No Way To Live" at Don Fury's which appeared on Freddy Alva's New Breed Compilation. Fred Alva later formed Wardance which later signed Citizens Arrest for our first EP and album. After a while I lost interest in True Colors and started looking for members to form a new band which became Citizens Arrest.
Q. What other bands from the New York area were CxA friends with? Which were your favourites?
DK: I was friends with Warzone, Youth of Today , Side by Side, NY Hoods / Burn, Altercation, Sarcasm, Demise, Agnostic Front, Damage, Breakdown, SFA, Go!, Rorshach etc.. I had a ton if friends in the scene. I'd have to say the bands closest to CXA would have to be Go! and Rorshach. I was the guy who brought in all the harder bands to play NY like Disrupt, Drop Dead etc.. Great bands!
Q. What is your fondest memory of playing in Citizens Arrest? What was your best/favourite show you played in Citizens Arrest?
DK: My fondest memory of playing in Citizens Arrest would have to be the early days of ABC No Rio when we had a great following and the fans were great and really into it. I remember our early rehearsals, writing songs with Janis at his parent's apartment in brooklyn.. brings back some great memories. We sat around listening to Negative FX one day and came up with our band name there. Our best show was St. Patricks Day 1990 at ABC No Rio. A surging mass of people and the roaring amps...I remember going ballistic and our friends going insane in the pit.. Janis accidentally slammed his guitar pegs into my head as he jumped up. I recall a geyser of blood shooting out of my head which the crowd seemed to enjoy. We played alot of shows but I'd have to say our best were the early ones at ABC no Rio for sure.
Q. Any funny stories from your time in CxA that you'd like to share?
DK: Funny stories..hmm we had loads of fun and many great times to it's hard to recall any specific incident. Maybe me falling off the stage at a gig in Canada with Winter, Nausea and Born Against that was pretty funny.
Q. Is it true that CxA never had any of your own equipment?
DK: We owned guitars and drum sticks and maybe a practice amp. The studio we rehearsed at provided amps and drums so we didn't really need equipment. Thanks to all those bands who loaned us their gear. Thanks to them we got the opportunity to play numerous shows. It never was a topic of discussion since none of us owned a vehicle either. It amazes me to this day how we played so many shows without one amp or drums.
Q. What current hardcore bands, if any, do you enjoy? Do you go to any shows?
Honestly , I lost interest in hardcore and continued tape trading with death / black metal people and went back to my origins in thrash / metal. i do still listen to hardcore / punk often but have not heard many new bands. My friend Justin De Torre has several cool bands namely Mental, Righteous Jams and Mind Eraser. But he has yet to give any of his releases. I saw one of his bands play and was impressed by them. also my friends Asshole Parade keep it alive with some mean as hell hardcore. I might do a project with those guys in the future, Harley Flanagan as well possibly. We shall see. I currently play into two bands , Funebrarum (heavy old style death metal) and Abazagorath (black metal). Ive been singing in Funebrarum since 1999 and playing guitar in Abazagorath since 94 / 95. Also Taste of Fear but only sporadic recordings if anything. I might reform CXA with Justin rowand / Taste of Fear. Other original CXA members have expressed interest in reforming for a few gigs. Only time will tell.
Q. Do you still live in the New Jersey area?
DK: Yes I do due to my involvement with bands, friends and family in this area. It's a nice place to live and I'm quite close to NYC so it works out for me.
Q. What do you think of the term "power violence"?
DK: Power-Violence = Infest, Crossed Out, Neanderthal, No Comment, Forced Expression. Power-Violence kills!! Check the new Taste of Fear stuff..total powerviolence vocals.
Q. I noticed on a Taste Of Fear 7" you thank Floorpunch and Mouthpiece. What do you think of the mid-90's straight edge revival in and around New Jersey? Were you friends with many of them bands?
DK: That would be Justin Rowand who thanked those bands on our records. He was straight edge and was friends with those bands. I had already left the scene by that point and had no concept of what was going on but he did and continued Taste of Fear as a recording project over the next 10 years or so.
Q. How were Citizens Arrest received by the straight edge scene in and around NY/NJ/CT? Also, tell us about your friendship with Chain Of Strength.
DK: I was good friends with many of the "Youth Crew" during it's heydey. I remember Gorilla Bisquits coming into Don Fury's studio while we were recording the "Light in the Darkness" ep and they seemed to enjoy what we were doing. Pat Winter (our drummer) who remained die- hard Straight Edge for years. We enjoyed alot of early straight edge bands like SSD, DYS, Minor Threat, Crippled Youth, Youth of Today etc.. When CXA was taking off the whole NY youth crew thing had died down already by 1989 so there weren't many straight edgers at our shows..maybe a few but they were in the pit going apeshit. I had been writing to one of the guys in No For An Answer and Chain of Strength for a while. When they came to NY I offered them a place to stay and they hung out with us for a few days. They were also present during our live set on WNYU..great guys. Frosty, I want your clear plastic guitar!! I ran into the bassist on myspace recently..awesome dudes. XXX
Q. What are your 3 favourite Citizens Arrest songs?
DK: Death Threat, In The Distance, Utopia.
Q. What is the song you are most proud of lyrically? A lot of CxA songs are very interesting (ie Briviba, Paper Cuts), not at all cliche hardcore subject matter...
DK: Those "crew lyrics" were cheesy and had already had their time.Janis wrote Briviba and Pat wrote Paper Cuts.. We all had a hand in the lyrics later on. I am guilty of writing "stabbed in the back' lyrics in True Colors..hehe We gotta stick together, dont fuck with our crew or we are coming for you!! The song I am most proud of hmmm...Fortress was always a favourite.
Q. Tell us about Taste Of Fear. When did it form, and how was it different to CxA?
DK: Taste of Fear was born out of the ashes of CXA. I had become friendly with bands like Doom, Disfear, Extreme Noise Terror around 1988 so that was where my head was at. I wanted to play faster, harder ,brutal music. Pat winter of CXA joined Taste of Fear around this time. I wanted to form a death metal band actually but I could not meet other people into it so we formed TOF which was a crust hardcore grind band in the beginning. The band recorded one demo and a split 7 ep with our friend's Disrupt . We then split up due to obligations with college, jobs etc.. I reformed the band several year later with a young talented guitarist named Justin Rowand. Over a period of several months we wrote 8 songs and then recorded them at Don Fury's as a two piece band with myself on drums and vocals and Justin on guitars and bass. This recording was released as our first album plus our the band's first ep as a bonus on Lost and Found records. We added a second guitarist and recorded a few 7"s later. The style constantly evolved in TOF yet the music was always fast with elements of hardcore present. We had a full line up briefly including Pat Winter on drums, two guitarists and a bassist with whom we played several cool shows with but disbanded shortly after due to the distance between where the members lived. Justin and I kept the band alive here and there recording on the spot demos eventually reforming in 2004 to record two new tracks as well as a CXA cover of "Fortress". These tracks appear on our Taste of Fear Discography CD released on Throne Records. Write to Justin@email@example.com for more info on obtaining this release. I believe it's sold out but Justin might have some copies left.
Q. What do you think when you see modern hardcore bands making references to your bands? (Say Goodbye getting their name from CxA, Mind Eraser doing a cover of Taste Of Fear etc)...
DK: Say Goodbye..hmm never heard them. That's great! I am friendly with Justin of Mind Eraser as he is actually a member of Taste of Fear. He played drums our our three newest TOF tracks as well as session drums on my death metal band's (Funebrarum) first 7" ep "Dormant Hallucination. Regards to Say Goodbye and Justin De Torre. He seems to do be doing well with his bands.
Q. Did any of your bands come to the UK, or Europe?
DK:The only one of my bands ever to come to the UK was Abazagorath in 2004. We played in London to a cool crowd of maniacs. I've been on tour to Europe twice, once singing for Assuck in 1993 and this Abazagorath tour in 2994. I plan to come back with either Citizens Arrest or Funebrarum..possibly both on separate tours.
Q. What is the rarest hardcore punk record you own?
DK: Germs - first album, Disorder - ep, DYS brotherhood, Fear of God - As Statues Fell lp, Bombanfall -ep. I've sold alot of my collection over the years. I had an Infest Slave LP with blue vinyl one side and green vinyl the other...direct from Off The Disk when they came to visit me.
Q. How, in your eyes, has punk changed since you first got into it?
DK: Here comes the rantings of a jaded old man. Tell that old bastard to get back into his wheelchair!!!
Today it seems that it's all about what shirt you've got on or what patch you've sewn onto your trendy new jacket, shorts or backpack. The image is there but the spirit seems to be gone, maybe that's due to an outsiders view. I'm sure there were older guys around when I was getting into it who were convinced the scene was dead. I haven't kept up with the scene and really havent heard many new bands so it's hard for me to say. Punk has definatley changed for me...number one, Reagan isnt president and Thatcher is long gone. It's not the 1980s or 1990s and the street vibe of angry youth and the raw aggression of the music has been replaced by a kid online buying a trendy punk patch which he proudly wears on his intentionally dirtied pants, ripe and ready for a drunken weekend begging for change in Greenwich Village, NYC. He can tell his mates in the hardcore punk chatroom how many punkpoints he just scored...it makes you sick. I saw a poser crust kid wearing a Wretched (Italy) patch talking all kinds of racist garbage..it just didn't compute. I felt like a robot gone haywire and I wanted to beat his head in and rip his patch off. I think kids today have no frame of reference. They discover bands online, download the band's demo, buy a shirt and now they are punk. It's like watching a remake of a classic film but with really bad actors and zero substance. Everything has it's time but punk still rules for me. Maybe I'll check out a show soon.
When I got into punk in the early 80's you had to write to bands, search through tape trading or reading zines, going to shows, buying records etc... The feeling of the scene was hard as hell, dirty and mean with dangerous fuckers lurking around, loud bands and slamdancing maniacs....emo kids would have been killed. It all too easy for kids today to find some cool new subculture online to be into but im sure there are plenty of great people truely into the music who keep it alive. It's actually great the music is still around and people care enough to keep it going. Much respect to the new school and new bands.
"put that geezer back in his wheelchair before he name drops again"....
Q. Where do you lie on the political spectrum? Was there many neo nazis, or much conflict between factions, at shows in the 80's around NY?
DK: There was zero tolerance for those nazi fuckers in NY back then but when I starting seeing black skinheads wearing swastikas and asian kids wearing white power patches I knew things had gone beyond retarded. I stopped being a skinhead around 1989 and had been one since 83 or so...I dont follow politics as much as I should. I can't stand Bush or my countries' foreign policy so I guess I am in the middle of the road with more left leanings when it comes to workers rights, education, Iraq etc.. but I am not as politically active as I should be. CXA was a hardcore band, period. We had political lyrics but they were a reflection of our individual beliefs more than as a whole band. The other guys in CXA were slightly more conservative than Joe and I, plus I was raised in more of a left thinking environment so maybe that had something to do with it. The political attitude of ABC No Rio was also definately leftist (if not anarchist), so some of these ideas rubbed off on me.
Q. Why Did CXA split up?
DK: Basically, I wanted to play faster along with Pat and the other two were exploring more rock/experimental areas of music which is cool but I didn't want CXA to end up sounding like that. I remember in the begining played these guys some early Napalm Death and they hated it.. I knew then I wouldn't be jamming with them forever. Plus I was drinking like a maniac then which didn't help our live shows much.
Q. How do you feel about being referred to (along with Born Against, Rorschach etc) as the "alternative" NYHC scene? Do you like any of the more 'popular' NYHC bands? (Relevation Records etc)
DK: Alternative NYHC haha..well you might not know this but the reason why ABC No Rio started (the venue were CXA and the aforementioned bands played regularly) and this "Hardcore underground" began was due to the fact the almost all of New York City had basically closed it's doors to Hardcore shows completely around 89/90. Things had become increasingly violent at shows due to gangs from the spanish sections of brooklyn coming in an stabbing people, moshing with hammers, fucking people up and killing a few etc.. its was fucking crazy. They had entered the scene and basically ruined it with this gang shit mentality. I was friendly with one of the top DMS guys before DMS was formed and was part of this skinhead crew years before but I would say that shit eventually ruined NYHC. As for the alternative...all of those bigger bands were trying to get on bigger labels, sounding commercial etc.. The scene in NY was dying. There remained those "tough-guy" bands who slowly were able to play shows again after things died down literally. Those who were really into the punk side went underground and ended up in the lower east side with bands like CXA , NAUSEA, SFA, GO! at Abc No Rio. There was a large punk community there and that helped create a place for bands to play (which exists to this day.) I was friends with the youth crew, Raybeez /warzone etc.. years before and grew up in the old NYHC scene. I saw hundreds of great shows at CBGBS and the other clubs in NYC before the gangs came in and fucked the whole thing up. So an alternative to helping destroy NYHC - yes we were the "alternative", haha.
Q, Did the notorious Lost And Found ask any member of the band about releasing that discography CD in the 90s?
DK: Yes Patrick Winter and myself. It was an official release even though there aren't any details about the band at all. Most of L&F releases or re-issues (dare I say bootlegs) had zero to no liner notes. Our dealings with L&F were 100% legit which is surprising to most people.
Q. What current bands are you involved with?
DK: Funebrarum (vocals), Abazagorath (Guitar) Shroud (Solo project), Citizens Arrest , Fear Parade (Asshole Parade / Taste Of Fear project).
Q. Are you still in contact with any of Citizens Arrest? Are any still involved in music?
DK: I am in contact with all of them to some degree. They all have families and children and are doing really well. I am the only member of CXA still involved in music as far as I know.
Q. How did you first get into hardcore punk? Can you remember your first show?
DK: I saw the Dead Boys in 85, Mental Abuse in 83...Mental Abuse was my first show.. Still love them to this day. I was lucky enough to live in a town filled with metalheads, punks and skinheads who made tapes for me, brought me to shows etc... There also was a cool store in my town called Two Tone which is still the oldest punk rock store in America, http://www.twotone.ts/ He sells all kinds of shirts, posters, music etc....great place. I built his site a few years ago and help him with it from time to time. Its because of this store that I went down the path I did. The owner is still 100% into it an is nearing 60 yrs. total die-hard and much respect to Iggy / Two Tone. Support this store you fucking posers!!
Q. What are your favourite hardcore punk records, definitive list?
DK: SSD - Kids will have thier say lp, Germs - What we do is Secret / GI lps, Urban Waste ep,Disorder ep, ENT / Chaos UK split, Napalm Death peel sessions lp, Negative FX lp, Bombanfall- ep, Pandemonium lp, Blitz - Voice of a Generation, Discharge 1st lp, Mental Abuse -streets of filth lp, DYS - Brotherhood,The Fix ep , Jerry's Kids - Is this my world - Siege - demo! and tons more..
Thanks for a trip down memory lane. Hopefully we will see you all on tour in England. Go to www.myspace.com/citizensarrestnyhc for info on shirts, merchandise and upcoming complete discography CXA CD. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org