Thursday, 31 July 2008

The results of this week's poll (favourite BLACK FLAG vocalist), and BLACK FLAG Last Show live boot upload...

The results are in for this weeks poll for favourite BLACK FLAG vocalist, although I believe there was some confusion in Florida which might have skewed the results (people were ticking the box for Dez Cadena thinking they were voting for Henry Rollins as his name was below it). That's the only thing that could explain why Rollins received less than 50% of the vote overall. Maybe we should try again? To be honest, the results are to be expected, and it perhaps blasts any conception I had that the world is full of Rollins-era haters. Chavo would have been my 2nd choice, his energy on the live songs from the 'Decline Of Western Civilization' movie is undeniable, as are his versions of 'Revenge' and 'Depression' on Everything Went Black. I also prefer 'Jealous Again' sang by him to the original Keith Morris take on it (shoot me!).

Anyway, the results:

Keith Morris
10 (12%)
Ron Reyes (Chavo)
18 (21%)
Dez Cadena
16 (19%)
Henry Rollins
38 (46%)

Votes in total: 82

I think this got the most votes out of any poll I've started so far, which goes to show that either my blog's getting more traffic, or just that a lot of people like BLACK FLAG. They're probably the most well known/popular band I've covered on this blog so far, and incidently are probably the most deserving of all punk bands (or bands of any genre for that matter) of the praise and adoration they receive... I hate the sound like an asshole, but you either "get" BLACK FLAG or you don't. The vocalist debate is nearly as old as the band itself, and normally sparks heated debate whenever it's bought up, but to borrow a sports-personality-interviewee phrase, 'at the end of the day' we all know that each singer was great in his own way, suiting each different phase of the band (or Ginn's vision). Saying that, I'm just being diplomatic... Rollins will always be my choice of favourite frontman. Can you even imagine any of the other guys singing 'My War' and making it work? As for people arguing that he "ruined" the band, it's obvious that they would have followed the same direction regardless of who was singing... Rollins could just pull it off, I don't think anyone else could have fulfilled that role. Really, if you are diehard into punk but hate all hard rock or heavy metal, it's understandable that you wouldn't like later FLAG, since those influences are just so prominent.

To go with the poll results, here is the easy-to-get-a-hold-of soundboard bootleg of FLAG's apparent last show, at The Greystone in Detroit, 27/28th June 1986, I believe with GONE and probably the terrible PAINTED WILLIE supporting.

It obviously covers a lot of material from In My Head and Loose Nut and while it's not as good as the CLASSIC Live '84 record, I think I prefer it to Who's Got The 10 1/2. Just think, this was the last time Ginn would play the twisted FLAG riffs in a live setting. There's some serious hippie jam fest moments, reflecting the heavy amount of GRATEFUL DEAD that was consumed in this period (you don't LISTEN to the GRATEFUL DEAD, you consume them like an illegal substance). I'm sure after this show a lot of old FLAG fans were grateful the band WAS finally dead... While nothing can possibly beat Damaged, My War or the 1982 demos (the triangle of perfection, with Slip It In not far behind...THE BARS! THE LIES!...), I really do love the later "difficult" records and live sets. There's a great hypnotic quality to the songs and just straight up bizarre riffs going on, truly fucked up and demented music. Also, Rollins never lets up vocally, just listen to 1987's Lifetime by ROLLINS BAND, a kind of continuation of later-FLAG minus Ginn's extremely signature guitar work. Also, I couldn't give a shit about the production, both Loose Nut and In My Head are great, great records.

It might be cliché to say, but they really were pushing boundaries and it is understandable why so many were hostile towards them for it... Even the dynamics of the members were volatile, a similarly disconnection between each individual as between the band and audience. But it all comes down to whether you believe bands have any kind of "responsibilty" to their "fans" to stay atleast marginally consistent in sound (BAD RELIGION's argument as to why they returned to playing their old style after the enigma that is Into The Unknown), or should be free to play and be whatever the fuck they want. While it's often said they were going through the motions towards the end, I do believe breaking up was the only thing to do at that point. There was literally nowhere else to go.

Anyway, enjoy the live set (or don't, depending on your preference).

Saturday, 26 July 2008

New DESPISE YOU interview...

Here is an interview I recently did with the reformed DESPISE YOU via email. As you'd expect for a band so steeped in mythology and rumour, despite now playing live (which they never did during their original existence) they don't give much away and mostly give fairly short answers. Still, they are/were easily the best 2nd wave power violence band to come out of the mid 90s, and I'm thankful to them for getting back to me as in general they don't do many interviews. I'm excited about hearing their new recordings as you all should be too.

Q 1. First introduce yourself, and say where you are right now...

DY: Inglewood, South Los Angeles. 310. Always and forever.

Q 2. You've not done many interviews, even less in your original come? Did the band attempt to keep a mystery around them originally?

DY: Naw, we never really got hit up to do interviews, and if we did, it was in some small fanzines that no one has ever seen.

Q 3. How come you never vouched to play live in your original inception? Was EXCRUCIATING TERROR the primary band to some of the members?

DY: Yea, everyone that was in the band originally (all the "West Side Horizons" recordings) were in other bands so we didnt have a lot of time to even practice that much, let alone play live.

Q 4. On a similar topic, how come you never printed your real names on the original DESPISE YOU records? Or appeared in many photos? Did you get a kick out the fact that some people thought you were members of a notorious gang?

DY: We didnt want to be "members of....bla bla bla", so we didnt print the names. There was plenty of "non-music" related shit going on with us then, though. haha

Q 5. Who chose the whole aesthetic of DESPISE YOU for the original records (gangland photos, starving children etc, bleak imagery all round)

DY: I guess that's just the vibe we wanted from where we were at around that time. It's kinda the same thing now.

Q 6. What bands were DESPISE YOU members also involved in during your original inception?


Q 7. How have the live shows been over the last year or so? What's been the best, and worst, experience so far?

DY: All the shows have been good. Playing 6th street/L.A. was good. A lot of our "friends" were there to dance and help break up fights.

Q 8. How did it come about that Chris Dodge would play bass?

DY: We needed a bass player and since he used to play in STIKKY, we thought he'd be good. Actually, he lit a fire under us to get back together and see what happens. Thanks Chris.

Q 9. When did you first get into hardcore punk? Can you remember the first record you heard, or band you saw live?

DY: For me it was BLACK FLAG "Jealous Again". The first band I saw was a local Inglewood or Lennox band called POLICIA PUTA or something like that, in a garage.

Q 10. Another question I like to ask, what did your parents or family think about you getting into punk/hardcore & metal?

DY: I was skating all the time, the punk rock was just a part of it. My folks didn't give a fuck either way, as long as I stayed out of jail and kept the trespassing tickets to a minimum.

Q 11. What was the scene in Inglewood like in the 90s, around the time DESPISE YOU started?

DY: No punk stuff, there was a couple death metal bands. NECROSIS was a CARCASS-style grind band in like '92. Just gangs, and people with anger management "problems". Inglewood Skate Rats etc. Perfect.

Q 12. How has the area changed over the years? What keeps you in LA?

DY: Things just got more crowded and expensive. Demographics in L.A. neighborhoods seem to be changing a lot recently. All my family and shit is here. I'll be here for a while.

Q 13. What were your favourite power violence bands in the early to mid 90s? Choose a favourite: CROSSED OUT 7", NO COMMENT: Downsided or NEANDERTHAL: Fighting Music, and explain why...

DY: All those are good. The MAN IS THE BASTARD/CROSSED OUT 7" too. The NO COMMENT "Downsided" is my favorite 7" ever. Beginning to end. Everything about that record is perfect. Birth to death in like 6 or 7 minutes. Beautiful.

Q 14. How close do you see skating in terms of a relationship to hardcore? How do you think it's changed over the years? Do you all still skate?

DY: Skating and punk rock. They go hand in hand, you weren't into one and not the other. If you listened to DIO or PINK FLOYD you rode some stupid BMX bike and brushed your hair all day. Stupid. I still feel the same today about it as i did "way back then". I see a lot of hip hop in skating now. Not sure what hip hop and skating have in common though. I guess you can buy both of them at Walmart or something.

Q 15. Who is currently providing female vocals at live shows, still Cynthia from GASP? What happended to Leticia, aka Lulu, the original singer?

DY: Lourdes "Lulu" Hernandez did all the vocals on the "West Side Horizons" stuff. She was in high school at the time. Not sure where she is now. She used Leticia cuz of her sister or something. Cynthia from GASP is doing the vocals for us now. We've all known her a long time, and she "brings it". Plus she's a 310 veteran. Those are always good.

Q 16. What were some of the key hardcore bands that influenced DESPISE YOU?

DY: DRI, LEEWAY, MINOR THREAT, AGNOSTIC FRONT, all the "standards" I guess.

Q 17. Who is your favourite hardcore frontman ever and why?

DY: Probably Rollins, cuz "Damaged" is my favorite punk/hardcore record.

Q 18. Obviously good metal bands were a big influence on DESPISE YOU too. Who are some of your favourite metal bands?

DY: All the L.A. shit. SLAYER, DARK ANGEL, OMEN, BLOODCUM. Then there's POSSESSED, VENOM, CELTIC FROST... all that stuff.

Q 19. What do you think are the main things that seperates heavy metal from hardcore?

DY: Maybe the metal bands try to be more musical? I don't know. Lyrical content is more "fantasy" related with the heavy metal people.

Q 20. What new records do you have in the works? I hear talks of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED and CAPITALIST CASUALTIES splits?

DY: We're doing a split LP/CD with AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED called "And On, And On......", 23 or so new songs. It's all recorded except vocals. We hope to do a split with CAPITALIST CASUALTIES also.

Q 21. How did the MAN IS THE BASTARD split LP that was never released come about? Were/are you friends with any of those guys?

DY: MAN IS THE BASTARD asked us if we'd do it and we wanted to. We recorded like 16 songs for it. They recorded their songs, but got side tracked with some stuff, and never put vocals on it. So we put our songs with all our other out of print shit, and that's the "West Side Horizons" CD.

Q 22. What do you think was the best line up for a show you attended in the early/mid 90s?

DY: Probably the Fiesta Grande shows. DIVISIA, EXCRUCIATING TERROR, CAVITY, CROM, I think it was in west L.A. It was a good show too. There were a lot in A.A. that I can't remember the specifics on now. LACK OF INTEREST and RORSCHACH out in the valley was rad.

Q 23. What do you think of new bands taking influence from, and covering DESPISE YOU (HATRED SURGE, IN DISGUST etc). Are you surprised by the interest and influence the band has had?

DY: Yea, we're always stoked to see bands covering our songs. Sometimes they do it better than we do. ha

Q 24. Did you ever get to see INFEST? Write a little about why they're so good...

DY: Yea at the Chapalita. Well they were like the first band doing that stripped down "powerviolence" type stuff!

Q 25. What's your favourite DRI record and why? Did you ever get to see them, in any form? Do you even like their later crossover records (ie THRASH ZONE)?

DY: I like "Dealing With It" the most. I've seen them a few times. Nursing Home Blues...

Q 26. Any last words?

DY: Thanks for the support.

HYPNOTICS: Indoor Fiends LP (1982) upload...

As a follow up to the 'American Youth Report' compilation LP upload a few posts below, here is a cool LP by HYPNOTICS who appeared on that record. It was on Enigma Records, and I believe it was reissued on CD by GTA but I'm not sure if that's still in print...So, here you go.

Download here.

HYPNOTICS were an early LA band that musically bridged the gap between the garage stylings of early LA punk with the emerging hardcore sound... To me it sounds like ANGRY SAMOANS or CIRCLE JERKS meets VILE, a nasty and cynical hardcore punk record with subtle use of keyboards. Sadly it's not as well known as it should be. Lots of catchy tunes and interesting guitar riffs, not to mention great vocals and lyrics that I'm assuming were generally meant to shock and offend. The chorus to 'Nazi Snotzy' goes "Heeeeeil Hitler" (which you'll find yourself guiltily humming after hearing it) and others are about sexual diseases or insomnia, which should give you an idea of what's on offer here. Not unlike Doc of THE CRUCIFUCKS, the HYPNOTICS vocalist Marky De Sade was infamous for his onstage Jerry Lewis style antics, and the band's do share a similarity in style (both high on sarcasm and bile).

Their 1983 record 'The Expendables', which Enigma refused to release, is rarer than 'Indoor Fields' (I believe it wasn't even issued with a sleeve) so good luck finding that...

Here's a photo of them from the insert to the 'American Youth Report' LP.

Friday, 25 July 2008

New interview with OUT COLD (John)...

This week I interviewed by email John Evicci, drummer, Ted Bundy lookalike and all round band spokesperson for Massachusetts's OUT COLD, who have been one of my favourite modern hardcore bands for some time. Every record is a winner, and their last LP 'Goodbye Cruel World' is no exception. They employ a no-bullshit approach to playing straight forward hardcore punk, with no frills and little in the way of popular appeal... Even though they've been active since 1989, they haven't followed any of the trends that occured throughout 19 years within hardcore and also haven't broken up, rotating members fairly often but never losing their distinctive sound (comparable perhaps to Tied Down-era NEGATIVE APPROACH meets early FU'S, or something. It's great regardless of comparisons). Currently, two members of excellent but sadly defunct LAST IN LINE are in them, as far as I know... John also runs the excellent Acme Records. Enjoy!

Q 1. Out Cold has always seemed like 'outsider hardcore', are you in any way connected to any local scene around Boston? Were you ever?

J: Yes, we've always been outsiders and never part of any scene.

Q 2. Why do you think Out Cold hasn't broken up after all these years?

J: A few different reasons. First and foremost, we still love playing and creating this type of music. Secondly, we've been lucky enough to find people to play with to replace the many lost members over the years. Thirdly, we do everything at our own pace and on our own terms, so there's no external pressures grinding us down. Lastly, we're still fucked up and angry.

Q 3. What is next for Out Cold? Have you recorded anything recently? Any plans for a new release?

J: We recorded a shitload of new tracks 3 years ago which are supposed to fill out our next two full-lengths. However, we've been too fucked up and disorganized to finish them off as of yet. In the meantime we've had some EPs and splits come out.

Q 4. When and how did you first get into hardcore punk? Was it a stagant scene in Boston at the time, mid 80s? What were the first shows you'd go to?

J: I first got into punk and hardcore in the mid-'80s. I don't know if the scene in Boston was stagnant at the time. I never went to shows. I was ensconced in my disconnected little suburban town and didn't start going to shows until I was older. My guess is the scene was active, but it was full of shit I wasn't interested in. Bad jock-core or progressive post-punk crap. The mid-to-late '80s was a bad, bad, bad time for punk/hardcore and just music in general.

Q 5. Speaking of when you first get in to punk, and hardcore, what were some of the first records that you really loved and had the biggest impact? Also, what did your parents/family think at the time?

J: Some of the first bands I got into, and who have remained some of my absolute favorites to this day, were bands like Black Flag, The Freeze, Bad Brains, Dead Boys. These bands were also big influences on where we took Out Cold. My parents were typically uninvolved/uninterested in what I was listening to, but to the extent they paid attention to it, they didn't like it. My mom has since warmed up to it a bit.

Q 6. Regarding when you got into hardcore, do you think it was the influx of heavy metal's influence, and metalheads, in hardcore in the mid to late 80s that ruined the music for you?

J: That was definitely a big factor, yes. It was also the influence of the more progressive elements that I wasn't into. People were straying from the simple, powerful, emotional, catchy foundations that made the music so great. I just thought 90% of what was going on at the time was either macho crap or pretentious pap.

Q 7. How important do you see audience participation to hardcore? Does Out Cold play as if no one else is in the room, just feeding off each others energy (ala Flag)?

J: It's really nice to get a good response from the audience. We want people to get into what we're doing, obviously, but it's not necessary. We're so used to being ignored or misunderstood that we don't need the audience's approval. We ultimately play for our own gratification and, as you say, feed off our own energy.

Q 8. I didn't manage to see Out Cold when you were in the UK last: do you plan to come over again? How did you find our dismal little country?

J: I loved touring there and seeing and hanging out with all the people, but the shows were mostly depressing as fuck. Dismal is a good word. With a few exceptions, the shows were poorly-attended and just felt like a waste of time. Based on this, it's unlikely that we'll come back, although I'm open to anything.

Q 9. How important do you think it is to be original playing hardcore, and do you think there's any room left for creativity? Do you think with the amount of 'retro' bands currently doing the rounds, it is overly contrived or afraid to experiment?

J: I don't think originality is supremely important. I love a lot of very derivative music and think it's worthwhile as long as it's not a blatant rip-off. Out Cold is very derivative in a lot of ways. That being said, I am starting to grow a bit weary of the current crop of hardcore bands that stick to a such a strict early-'80s style. It's so strange to now be in a position to say that considering that when we started out it was the exact opposite and we often railed about it. Now the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that it's gotten a bit tired. It definitely does feel contrived now and that's a shame. However, I'm not really complaining because this is the type of music that I prefer, so I guess what we have is an embarrassment of riches, but there definitely is a lot of room left for creativity and individuality.

Q 10. Regarding the surge of retro style hardcore bands, is there any particular that DO really impress you? You've played NO WAY FEST (a few times?), was that good fun?

J: I must admit, I have not kept up at all with the flood of these new old school bands. Seems everytime I turn around there's another band. We only played No Way Fest once (this year's) and that was like the mecca of that whole scene and it was really mindblowing to see all that concentrated into such a focused event. I've never seen anything like it before. It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even given the high caliber of acts at that show I wouldn't've thought I could tolerate sitting back-to-back through whatever it was, like 12 hardcore bands, but despite being a bit tired and ear-fatigued, I really did enjoy it all. Like I said, I'm not really up on a lot of these new bands, but some I really like are bands like Direct Control, Career Suicide, not to mention foreign bands like The Heartburns, Auktion, Cola Freaks, etc.

Q 11. What is one of your favourite underrated bands, from the past, you want to spread the love for?

J: I don't know of any underrated bands from way back when. Seems every little obscure thing from the past has been plucked from the shadows and held aloft by the punk/HC intelligentsia. Christ On A Crutch aren't from too far in the past, but that's a band I really like that I don't hear a lot of love for. Also, I think that first Joykiller album blows away anything by TSOL, but doesn't have that early-'80s cult of personality status so it's easily dismissed by people.

Q 12. What was the worst show Out Cold has ever played and why?

J: Pretty much any show before 1998. There was no interest in or really understanding of what we were doing. We'd play depressing local shitholes to a sprinkling of people who didn't have any appreciation for us whatsoever. Generally speaking, that is.

Q 13. How did ACME start, and what is the favourite release you've put out?

J: It started because I love records and always wanted to do a label. It took me a good ten years and thousands upons thousands of lost dollars to come to the conclusion that I have no business running one, but I gave it the old college try, and that counts for something. Favorite release? That's like asking which one is your favorite child. I'm not saying it's my favorite, but the most criminally-underrated release I've put out is Hero Dishonest's "When The Shit Hits The Man".

Q 14. You recently played some shows in the US with the Horror from the UK, and you obviously did a split with Voorhees. What older UK hardcore bands are you into too?

J: Peruvian Vacation-era Stupids, Icons Of Filth, GBH (if you consider them hardcore), Varukers. I don't know, most of the old UK stuff I like I would consider punk and not hardcore.

Q 15. Did you like the American Hardcore movie?

J: I thought it was OK, but could've been handled much better. It didn't live up to its potential in my opinion.

Q 16. What do you think were the main problems with it? I personally didn't like the music-video way it was put together too much, with constant flashing of images and 5-second long interview snippets all the way through...never seemed to get to the bare bones of the matter.

J: I only watched it once so my criticism of it should be taken as more of kneejerk reaction rather than a thoughtful analysis, but I thought it came off kinda lazy and amateurish. My lasting impression of it was that they tried to leave it unpolished and raw or whatever, but to me it just came off looking like they didn't put a lot of time and/or care into it, like they just threw it together and put it out there. I just think it could've been delivered in a way to give it a lot more impact. For a documentary about such a incendiary type of music, it was a bit boring to me.

Q 17. What do you think of reunion shows of old bands? I'm guessing since you're from Boston you've perhaps gotten to see Gang Green or The Freeze in recent years? Have you heard about Springa's SSD "reunion" coming up?

J: I think it's cool, in general. It's sometimes cool to see some of your old favorites even if it's not the same as it was in the old days. I was very glad Jerry's Kids reformed because I never got to see them during their original run. The Freeze are always a welcome act to have around, although I haven't seen them since Bill Close left the band. I saw Gang Green a time or two in the not-too-distant past. They were OK. I have heard about Springa's SSD reunion and the contention over it with Al. I really don't care about that band, though. Much to many peoples' surprise I think SSD is quite possibly the most overrated band in the history of hardcore.

Q 18. Who else do you think is close to being as overrated as SSD? (Edit: I don't agree with this opinion by the way, haha - Rob.)

J: No one really spring(a)s to mind. They're in a league of their own as far as I'm concerned. (That wasn't a dig on Springa...I just couldn't resist the pun)

Q 19. What do you all do outside of the band to pay the rent?

J: I'm a mechanical draftsman, Mark works at a university, Deuce is a registered nurse in an emergency room, and Mikey works with disabled people.

Q 20. There are definite similarities between Out Cold and Career Suicide, in vibe and song writing (as in the songs are well written catchy tunes as well as being grounded in good classic hardcore). Are you into them at all?

J: Yeah, they're good. I need to get more of their records, though. Only have one at the moment. I meant to pick more up when we played with them in Virginia last month, but forgot to.

Q 21. Has the regular change of members, especially guitarists, affected the way the riffs have been written? Have you ever had anyone join who wrote riffs that sounded completely wrong for the band? Saying that, I understand Mark writes all of the music, so have any members felt artistically restricted perhaps? Is he the Mussolini of the band, and the rest the ethnically oppressed gypsies?

J: The change of members has not affected the way music is written since, as you mentioned, Mark has pretty much written all the songs since Fred left in 1997. On our recent recordings for the upcoming albums, both Deuce and Mikey contributed songs, though, which is pretty much the first time we'll release anything written by non-original members. We've never necessarily stifled the other members, it's just that everyone knows how particular we are when it comes to our material and most people are just content to play and are not really pushing to contribute. We've always been open to it, though, with the caveat that it has to be filtered through Mark & I first. These songs that Deuce and Mikey wrote, though, are awesome. I'm looking forward to hearing them finished off.

Q 22. Do you like classic Japanese hardcore? What are your favourite bands?

J: How can one not like Japanese hardcore? Some favorites include No Side, Real Shit, Stupid Babies Go Mad, Assfort, Death Side, Systematic Deth, Gauze, and a little band that I released (that naturally no one's heard) called Spend4.

Q 23. Regarding GAUZE, have you heard the new album yet? It's definitely a solid record...

J: No I haven't, but I've heard tell. That's a band I'd really like to get to see live someday.

Q 24. You've toured Europe a fair few times, how have you found it different to the US, generally and in terms of punk? You must be one of the only US hardcore bands to have toured Russia!...

J: I think you get treated a little better in Europe than you do in the US. The US has gotten a LOT better in the past ten years or so, but there's still room for improvement. We've never done a proper tour of the US, though, so maybe I don't know exactly what I'm talking about. Apart from MDC, I'm not sure I know of another US hardcore band to play Russia.

Q 25. Where do you think there's room for improvement in the US in terms of touring? Also what European cities did you really enjoy to play AND to visit over the years?

J: Again, not an expert by any means on touring in the US, but I get the impression that you get better turnouts in Europe, people buy more of your merch. Plus you play better quality venues, get paid a bit more, get treated a bit better in terms of getting fed regularly and well, things like that. Some of my favorite places to play were Amsterdam, Newport (Wales), Copenhagen, Belgrade, and to visit, Reykjavík (I'm a raging Icelandophile in case you didn't know).

Q 26. What would your dream 5 band line up for a show be, any bands past and present. Also, what venue...

J: Not THE dream, but A dream show would be Black Flag, The Freeze, The New Bomb Turks, The Ramones, and Zeke upstairs at the Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Q 27. What's one band that Out Cold are really glad to have played with?

J: Only one? OK, No Side.

Q 28. Slightly offtopic, but are you a GG Allin fan? I really like some, mainly the earlier singles/EPs (up to the mid 80s anyway)... In a more general sense, what do you think of the argument when people say you shouldn't listen to a band/artist because of their politics, attitudes or actions on (or off) stage? (like what's often said about GG)...

J: Hmmm...did you know I released a CD of his on my label? I hope you don't think I'd release something I wasn't a fan of. I definitely like some of his stuff more than other stuff. Some of the later records I'm not that into. I really don't care about politics when it comes to music. I listen to music because I like the sounds and the emotional affect it has on me. If it has good lyrics or a cool message, all the better, but that's not necessary at all. GG's an extreme case, of course. I view him more as an artist as opposed to an agent of spreading nihilism. To me he was an expression of some of the darkest sides of the human condition, which is to some extent the essense of punk rock in my opinion. I find this segment of positive, ultra-politically correct punk rock a bit perplexing. Imposing politcally-correct guidelines on punk is really misguided in my opinion.

Q 29. What irks you most when you go to a hardcore show? (be honest now!)

J: 99% of the time I'm at a hardcore show I have my distro with me. By far the most irksome thing is lugging all that shit around, setting it up, and manning it all night.

Q 30. It may be an odd question, but as a drummer what other drummers in hardcore have you always really digged or admired? I personally think Brian Betzger from Jerry's Kids was one of the most raging drummers...

J: A couple that jump immediately to mind are Earl Hudson & Slayer Hippy.

Q 31. In a similar vein to the above question, what are your 3 favourite frontmen/women ever (in terms of punk or hardcore)?

J: Given my above answers, the first two are going to sound unimaginative, but it's the truth... HR, Jerry A., and Iggy Pop.

Q 32. Ok then, what is your favourite Poison Idea LP, and why? Did you ever get to share a bill with them, when Pig Champion was still alive and raging?

J: Hard to choose but probably Kings Of Punk. Just great fucking songwriting and vibe throughout. Never shared the bill with them, unfortunately. I was lucky enough to get to see them once, though. Definitely a case where a reformed band was a godsend.

There you have it! I strongly recommend buying OUT COLD's last full-length, 'Goodbye Cruel World', some distros still have it: here, here, here, here or here.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

HEART ATTACK interview from Flipside #42...

Here is an interview with NY's early hardcore band HEART ATTACK from Flipside #42, 1984. It was done between the excellent 'Keep Your Distance' 12" (which has the aptly titled song 'English Cunts' on), which was recently posted over on Good Bad Music, and the not-amazing 'Subliminal Seduction' 12" (which sort of sounds like early 7 SECONDS with sloppy drumming, but not as good as that description would suggest. Still pretty cool though).

HEART ATTACK arguably put out the first NYHC 7" ('God Is Dead'), but remain a fairly underappreciated band if you ask me. In this interview they definitely come across as fairly "progressive", not unlike mid period TOXIC REASONS, speaking about having no barriers between countries, "pledging allegiance to love", the treatment of Native Americans... ideas more akin with 60s hippie counterculture than punk nihilism. Like many bands of the time they display a sort of delusional belief that playing in a punk band could really change the world (which is understandable when taken in context, if you consider early hardcore as a kind of "movement"... then new and exciting, now just another Myspace genre). While perhaps naive, bands like HEART ATTACK had admirable good intentions, and these sorts of ideas definitely add to the whole early hardcore vibe, whether it was a frustrated desire to improve the world, or destroy it... It's also interesting that they were so outspokenly critical of the church, something heard less and less from bands from around this area, atleast from the mid-80s onwards.

Another thing to note is the cool Dischord Records ad on the 2nd page of the interview. I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love SCREAM: 'Still Screaming'!

Monday, 21 July 2008

AMERICAN YOUTH REPORT compilation LP (1982) upload, and results of this week's poll (favourite Midwest hardcore band)...

Here is the CLASSIC 1982 LP compilation 'American Youth Report', originally on BOMP Records.

Download here.

This was actually one of the first hardcore punk compilations I ever bought, finding it in a second-hand record shop (sadly no more) in my home city and being intrigued by the cover and the inclusion of some bands I already knew (BAD RELIGION, TSOL, MINUTEMEN etc). In my humble opinion, this record is up there amongst the great hardcore compilations. Like most good comps it exists as a sort of time-capsule, archiving what was happening at a specific time in a specific place, in this case the early emerging LA scene (the important bands that followed the original trailblazers like FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS, X etc). Each song sounds similar, in that you can tell all the bands are from California, and it therefore encapsulates the style of the region (in the same way that 'This Is Boston Not LA' captured Boston's sound, and 'Flex Your Head' captured the DC sound). It manages to bring together 16 songs from 16 bands, some classic acts and some often overlooked. The weaker tracks are still great, I seriously don't think there's a bad band on it! (feel free to argue this point with me.)

The photo on the back, of a fucked up kid with a spray painted shirt and work boots (see below), and the photo on the front of a punk with "lobotomy" tattood on his head with a dotted line underneath his mohawk, really "spoke" to me at the time as a young angry punk. I knew I had to buy it... Even the photos on the insert really added to the whole experience: RF7 hanging out in a graveyard, BAD RELIGION goofing around, FLESHEATERS and HYPNOTICS looking like they just came off the set of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (incidently FLESHEATERS actually appeared on this film's soundtrack)... This comp really helped open my eyes to the origins of 'American Hardcore', where not all of the bands wore the same uniform as each other, or sounded like any of the 90s hardcore bands I had been exposed to. There were real differences between the bands, they had their own styles going on (some to more of an extent than others). The suble use of an organ on the RHINO 39 song, and the simple use of piano on 'Tell Me Why' by M.I.A. are testament to the influence of 60s garage and other styels on these bands. It's odd to think that, at the time this was originally released, all the bands were creating a fresh exciting sound, new and vital. Even though 26 years have passed, thankfully records like this do manage to capture that original enthusiasm of hardcore, in sound, that can't be matched...

A real gem on this record is the LEGAL WEAPON song 'Pow Pow', an often overlooked female-fronted band from LA. While they borrow a lot from bands like THE AVENGERS or THE BAGS (sidenote: has anyone else noticed how much REM's 'Losing My Religion' rips off the chorus of 'Prowlers In The Night' by THE BAGS. Listen to it now, you'll see what I mean), and didn't form til later on and thus probably didn't quite fit in with the emerging hardcore bands who would thrash faster and shout louder, I still really like this band's early records. Another gem is the HYPNOTICS song, a band I know very little about other than that their singer was called Marky De Sade and he was supposed to be a wild and entertaining frontman. They did a lot of creepy sick songs, and sounded not unlike THE LEWD or ANGRY SAMOANS: check out their 1982 LP 'Indoor Fiends'. I also want to mention the funny lyrics of the RF7 song, which I didn't realise were a joke when I first heard them: "You can worship satan, any asshole can. But even he can't save you, when the judgement day's at hand. Remember, Jesus loves you, so don't be fooled by Bad Religion". Plus, it's got an obligatory 80s hardcore tune about ol' Ronnie Reagan by SHATTERED FAITH.

Anyway, here's the full tracklisting. This comp was the first time I heard classics like 'I'm Not A Loser', 'Only Gonna Die' and 'Working Men Are Pissed'...Fucking classic.

2. BAD RELIGION "Only Gonna Die"
3. CHANNEL 3 "Catholic Boy"
4. ADOLESCENTS "Losing Battle"
5. LOST CAUSE "Born Dead"
7. FLESHEATERS "Pony Dress"
8. RHINO 39 "J. Alfred"
9. HYPNOTICS "Weird People"
10. DESCENDENTS "I'm Not A Loser"
11. M.I.A. "Tell Me Why"
12. T.S.O.L. "Sounds Of Laughter"
13. SHATTERED FAITH "Reagan Country"
14. MINUTEMEN "Working Men Are Pissed"
15. RF7 "Jesus Loves You"
16. RED KROSS "Notes & Chords Mean Nothing To Me"

And here are the results of this week's poll, for favourite early 80s Midwest hardcore band. I didn't include NEGATIVE APPROACH to make things more interesting as I figured they would get the most votes and automatically win. The joint winners are HÜSKER DÜ and DIE KREUZEN, worthy choices. I voted for DIE KREUZEN, and would have voted for ARTICLES OF FAITH as second choice (they did in fact come 2nd). I AM surprised by the very few votes for NECROS though; as if anyone prefers CLITBOYS to them! Insanity.

Articles of Faith
10 (14%)
The Clitboys
2 (2%)
The Crucifucks
8 (11%)
Die Kreuzen
11 (15%)
The Effigies
0 (0%)
The Fix
5 (7%)
Hüsker Dü
11 (15%)
The Meatmen
3 (4%)
Mecht Mensch
2 (2%)
The Necros
2 (2%)
2 (2%)
Spike In Vain
0 (0%)
1 (1%)
Tar Babies
3 (4%)
Toxic Reasons
2 (2%)
Zero Boys
7 (10%)

Votes in total: 69

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Interview with HF from RINGWORM (2005/2006)...

I've been gone for a week, but now I'm back... I went on holiday to North Wales, whereupon I walked up a lot of mountains, chased some wild mountain goats and stumbled into a river. A great time was had. I'm glad to see in my absence the 'favourite Midwest hardcore band' poll got a fair few votes. I'll post up the results soon (you can see on the right who won).

To get things going again, here is an old-ish interview I did with Human Furnace, from Clevo legends RINGWORM, done in late 2005 or maybe early 2006 for a zine I never printed... It was carried out via email and isn't the best interview ever, but I thought I'd share it anyway. I wasn't that keen on their last few records, although I did really like 'Birth is Pain'... CLEARLY nothing will ever beat 'The Promise' (one of the best LPs from the 90s), or the equally perfect demo.

EDIT: As requested in the comments section, here is the 'Voice Of Thousands' compilation on Conversion Records, I got it from Coregasm blog but the link was expired so I uploaded it again. Or, you can just download the FORCE OF HABIT song from it here. FORCE OF HABIT was HF and 3 Gun's band prior to RINGWORM.

Q) 1. You're all older (wiser?) than when Ringworm first started. Do you think you've calmed down at all over the years?

HF: ABSOLUTELY NOT. If anything, we're crazier than ever, for all sorts of reasons. Well first of all you have to be crazy as fuck to be in a band for this long, when you aren't rich and still drive all over the fuckin globe in a smelly van.

Q) 2. Compare the day you released 'the Promise' to the day you released 'Justice...'. What has changed in the band, and in hardcore generally (in your eyes), over the years?

HF: "Hardcore" is a different animal nowadays. There are still bands and kids that still "get it" but there are way to many kids and bands that have no idea what things are all about. It's not about getting laid and Myspace bullshit. Its not about yer haircut, and whats "in" or "cool". It's not about making money (but that is nice). Hardcore used to be about having and open mind and not caring what you wore. It was never about make-up and girls pants. It's so commercialized now that everybody thinks they can get famous and "big" easily by just copying whatever the cool thing is. There is hardly any musical integrity anymore and it's a shame. Hardcore for me is the way you deliver, the honesty, the rawness, your conviction in what you are doing. Not your willingness to be influeneced by stupid trends.

Q) 3. Why are all the bands from Cleveland so 'dysfunctional'? What is it about Cleveland?

HF: Well i dont think ALL bands from cleveland are dysfunctional. At a certain point we were, but we were young and didnt really care. We just wanted to have fun. Plus "real life shit" comes for everybody and sometimes you have to put priorites first. We are a little older know and have a great deal of focus now. Cleveland can be a tough place to live. Besides, some of the best bands EVER have been dysfunctional.

Q) 4. Are you proud of your influence on hardcore (the "Holy Terror" style has been gaining in popularity recently etc)?

HF: I guess so. We just do what we do, always have, always will. we are proud of that.

Q) 5. Ringworm seemed to go quiet after the first album. Did you ever actually split up any time in the 90s?

HF: Yeah, we actually disbanded from 1994 up until 1998.

Q) 6. What other bands have members of Ringworm been involved with in the past, and at present?

HF: Wow, well thats a long answer. Here goes... myself- I do a band called GLUTTONS, I play guitar and sing, it's a mixture of Misfits and Motorhead, punk rockish type thing. I also do HOLYGHOST, which is a band that i started in '97 while Ringworm was defunct. That band also included former members of Ringworm, Aaron Ramirez and Chris Dora. That band is together once again with a diferent sound and it consists of myself and current Ringworm guitarist Aaron Dallison. Aaron Dallison also is well known for his other band KEELHAUL, in which he plays bass guitar. It's a nice extention for me to be able to do different things, expand some horizons. Matt Sorg has also resurrected an old band of his called DECREPIT, awesome old school death metal.. Mike Lare also does a band called KRUSH EFFECT and THE COAST, as does our drummer Danny Zink. Other original member, Frank "3 gun" Novinec is well known for his tenure in TERROR and is now a permanent member of HATEBREED.

Q) 7. How differently do you see hardcore today compared to, say, the mid 90's? Are you glad to see the back of chug-metal? What current hardcore bands do you like?

HF: Well im not sure what you mean by "the back of" chuga-chuga stuff etc. Im actually just tired of anything thats watered down and generic, or shit that sounds exactly like everything you've heard before, which is a lot. I like good metal and shit that has drive to it and has some personality to it. As for current bands I'm into, that's hard to say... I suppose I'm still into alot of the same shit that I always liked, alot of old classic thrash, and rock, and alot of avantgard music. I do like a new band called UNHOLY from syracuse, the new ACCUSED, DEMERICOUS (GREAT FRIENDS, GREAT BAND).

Q) 8. Being contemporaries with Clevo bands like CONFRONT and FACE VALUE, were you ever tempted to play in a youth crew-influenced hardcore band?

HF: Youth-crew? not my style. Im not very positive and i dont care about unity.

Q) 9. Why are you called Human Furnace? Is there a story behind it (like the origins of 'Dwid')?

HF: There is but i never talk about it.

Q) 10. Do you ever see/speak to Dwid? In retrospect, what do you think about his infamous 'persona'?

HF: I speak to him occasionally, and see hiim when we travel through Belgium. Dwid is an extremely creative person who helped shape the way things are today. I've known him and been friends for many years, at times he can a bit eccentric, but most influencial and ground breaking people are. Never afraid to take chances.

Q) 11. What were you favourite bands from Clevo in the late 80's/early 90's? Any funny stories from 'back in the day'?

HF: There was quite a few great bands from cleveland back "in the day". FALSE HOPE, HYPER AS HELL, of course INTEGRITY, DIE HARD, CONFRONT. More currently BOULDER. I remember the day before the grand opening of the ROCK-N-ROLL HALL OF FAME in Cleveland, BOULDER took a generater down to the front steps and in the middle of the daytime set up and played the song "Cleveland Rocks" (for those of you who are familar with you classic rock) over and over again, for no-one but the construction workers and a few police officers, who enjoyed the set for quite awhile before telling them to pack it up, therefore making them the first official band to play at the hall of fame. I can go on about a shit load of stories, I have a million of them, but I won't. haha

Q) 12. Tell us about your troubles with Incision records with the first album.

HF: Well, we felt ripped off about getting our share of the pressings and having the album not get the proper promotion. Some things never change.

Q) 13. Whats the funniest thing to ever happen on tour?

HF: There's an awesome story about a "chick" we like to call "47 yyeeaarrssss". If anybody wants to know about that ask our bass player. hahahahahahahaha

Q) 14. Straight edge, what are your thoughts? Was there ever any antagonism between straight edge and non-straight edge kids in Cleveland?

HF: I dont have a problem with straight people whatsoever. I dont care what people wanna do. I'm too old to care about what anybody else wants to do, I have enough problems of my own. Problems? Perhaps in the early days. It was usually an issue with the straight edgers, the real hardliners, but that was brief and mostly had to do with individuals not "scene" shit. I never had any difficulties getting along with anybody that is straight edge. I am not.

Q) 15. Tell us a bit about the choice to use the quote "there is no god" on The Promise....There is a fascination with religion/satanism/christianity in your lyrics and imagery. Where does it all stem from?

HF: I find it an extremely interesting subject matter. It's called almost every world war in recorded history, for starters. I write about all aspects that effect my life, I just have a tendency to put a dark twist in things. If I was happy about something I wouldn't sing about it, that's not what this band is about for me.

Q) 16. What are your 3 favourite hardcore punk records? What are your 3 favourite heavy metal records?

HF: Punk records - hmmmm. MISFITS - Earth AD, DEAD BOYS - Night Of The Living Deadboys, CIRCLE JERKS - Group Sec, plus a shit load of others, I hate doing these kinds of lists... Metal records -MERCYFUL FATE - Don't Break The Oath, VENOM - Black Metal, TROUBLE - Trouble, plus tons of others...

Q) 17. Is any member of the band into collecting vinyl at all?

HF: Ah not so much anymore, maybe if there's something I really need to have.

Q) 18. Do you like any Japanese hardcore bands, like Gism or Gauze etc? Have you ever played in Japan?

HF: Yeah I like and respect alot of those bands, we haven't been there YET but it's definetely on our TO DO list.

Q) 19. It's obvious that horror movies have been a big influence on Ringworm. Name some of your favourites.


Q) 20. Remake of Hills Have Eyes. Yay or Nay? Horror remakes in general?

HF: Haven't seen it yet, I never make re-makes a priority to see, the originals are almost always better. The movie industry is completely out of ideas so all they do is make remakes of everything. Hopefully this trend will end soon. I enjoyed the remake of Dawn Of The Dead, I must say.

Q) 21. Who are some of your favourite authors?


Q) 22. Are you looking forward to coming to the UK soon? Do you like any hardcore punk bands from the UK, old or new?

HF: We are excited as hell to get back to the UK. Can't wait to destroy every town we play in! Uk bands!? Are you serious? Fuck, MOTORHEAD, SABBATH, VENOM... about a zillion others. Thanks a million for the interview, can't wait to rage with everyone. Stay sick bastards!!!

Friday, 11 July 2008

The results of this weeks poll (favourite classic Slap A Ham record...)

Here are the results of this week's poll, for favourite classic Slap A Ham record from the following list.

It was always going to be between the 4 heavyhitters: NEANDERTHAL, CROSSED OUT, NO COMMENT and the CROSSED OUT/MAN IS THE BASTARD split. I would be naturally inclined to vote for INFEST if any of their proper records were released on Slap A Ham, but since the P.H.C. split is only a live recording it doesn't make my cut for favourite... I can't say I'm surprised that NO COMMENT won, since it is a perfect record, but I personally went for NEANDERTHAL above all. That record destroys worlds. Ofcourse there are other good records on Slap A Ham, including the EYEHATEGOD/13 split and NOOTHGRUSH to name just two, but I wanted to keep things strictly hardcore (even though sludge IS hardcore in my eyes) and strictly "Slap A Ham-classic" (LACK OF INTEREST is the only later record included just for the sake of it.)

Infest/P.H.C. split flexi 2 (3%)
Neanderthal: Fighting Music 7" 15 (25%)
V/A: Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh! The Record 7" 3 (5%)
Charred Remains/Pink Turds In Space Split 7" 0 (0%)
Crossed Out: S/T 7" 9 (15%)
No Comment: Downsided 7" 19 (32%)
Crossed Out/Man Is The Bastard Split 7" 7 (11%)
Supression/Despise You Split 7" 2 (3%)
Lack Of Interest: Trapped Inside LP 1 (1%)
A 2nd rate fastcore record that isn't listed above because it's not as good... 1 (1%)

Votes in total: 59

I'm away for a week on holiday, so no posts for a little while. I've got some cool posts in store for when I return, so get excited. In the meantime, I recommend you buy and listen to the new GAUZE LP on Prank. Oldtimers showing everyone how it's done.

LOS VATICANOS: Nerone 666 LP upload...

Time for an underatted gem! Here is a great LP from LOS VATICANOS, an excellent and unique band from Rome, Italy. It came out on Thought Crime Records in 2001, and is still fairly easy to get ahold of. I highly recommend buying it if you like what you hear...

Download here. (apologies for the not-amazing MP3 quality)

I'm fairly new to this band, but when I heard this album I was speechless, and surprised that I'd never heard anyone talk about them before. I don't think it's premature to say this is one of the best post 2000 hardcore LPs to come out of Europe; they have (or had, I have no idea if they're still going) a really fresh style. They sound kinda like a weird mix of RORSCHACH, CHEETAH CHROME MOTHERFUCKERS and LOS CRUDOS, or something along those lines... It also reminds me a little of the great and underrated COLD SWEAT but predates them by a few years. They have a truly unique and gloomy sound, with crazy basslines and peculiar guitar riffs that complement the deranged vocals. As I stated before in a post about NEGAZIONE, the Italian language suits hardcore so well in my opinion...

Generally they keep things fast, and aren't afraid to mix in metallic influences, but I wouldn't say they were a metalcore band. I can also hear elements of the original power violence bands, with some MITB-style bass licks here and there... There's plenty of tempo changes, in the tradition of good Italian hardcore, and the energy levels are high. Also, their lyrics (which are nearly all in Italian) seem to be vehement diatribes against religion and the Catholic church. If it wasn't for the bad singing on the last song, it would be a near perfect release. Oh well, you can't win them all. Great record nonetheless, and recommended if you like things a little experimental. YES.

I have no idea if they are still active, so please leave a comment if you know more about them...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Short NECROS interview from We Got Power #5, and BLACK FLAG photos...

Here's a short funny interview with NECROS, from the classic We Got Power zine from California (issue #5).

I recently debated with a friend which song was better, 'Police Brutality' by NECROS or 'Police Brutality' by URBAN WASTE...I went for URBAN WASTE all the way, but I'm sure there's people out there who'd disagree (or who'd go for 'Police Brutality' by VICIOUS CIRCLE from the P.E.A.C.E. comp, just to be difficult bastards).

Nonetheless, NECROS rule. A cool thing about them was that they managed to have a real impact on the Midwest scene, encouraging other local bands to start up (including NEGATIVE APPROACH). Also they were incorporating Rock influences (Nugent, MC5 etc) into a solid 80s hardcore formula that would be copied so many times after. The singer Barry Hennsler even says in American Hardcore they wanted to sound like Ted Nugent, but ten times faster. Still, I don't think NECROS really get talked about much. The highlight from their short existence, for me, is the 'Conquest For Death' LP. Come on, what a good fucking record. Is it as good as 'Tied Down'? Probably not...But still, the way 'Search For Fame' kicks in gets me everytime, and the final song 'Friend To All' has been a staple on mix tapes for a while. Also the front cover art always reminds me of the classic movie DON'T LOOK NOW, but I have no idea where the photo's from. I'm guessing it was a staged photoshoot, since there's a shot on the back-cover of the band in the same field. (Sidenote: Ofcourse, like all good films from the last 50 or so years, Hollywood are remaking DON'T LOOK NOW for 2009. Expect total shit.)

From the same issue of We Got Power, here's a classic BLACK FLAG photo by the one and only Glen E. Friedman...

In the same zine, there's also a re-print of this infamous BLACK FLAG sticker from the ones they had printed up when ADAM AND THE ANTS played across the street from a FLAG show (Keith Morris period)...

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

MOB RULES (current UK band) MP3 links...

Here are links to 2 MP3s by the great band MOB RULES from Leeds, UK (probably the most exciting band in this country right now), taken from their upcoming 7" tentatively entitled 'The Donor', which is going to come out later this year...


If you're from the UK, you have probably heard of these guys and may have seen them kill everyone live. Grounded in a solid knowledge of good hardcore, MOB RULES play music akin to the original Californian power violence bands, CITIZENS ARREST, and the early Earache Records catalogue (i.e. hints of TERRORIZER)... Saying that, they've got their own sound going on, and are undeniably heavy live too. I've heard the rest of this record and trust me, it's amazing. These 2 songs provide a good teaser. Plus, they're named after the great Dio-era SABBATH record. "IF YOU LISTEN TO FOOLS..."

I'll be uploading an interview with this destructive 4-piece soon. They don't have a Myspace but do have a blog here. Also look out for a split 7" coming out with Ireland's CROWD CONTROL soon.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

DIE KREUZEN interview + live videos...

Links to these Youtube videos were posted over on the daghouse messageboard, and I thought I'd post them here as a follow-up post to the 'America's Dairyland' Midwest compilation tape I uploaded below.

First is a bizarre TV interview from 1983 with DIE KREUZEN, where they in fact mention some bands on the 'America's Dairyland' tape (SACRED ORDER, GFO etc), talk about why they called their 7" 'Cows And Beer', and what it's like being a hardcore band in the Midwest when everyone thinks the coasts are the only places things are happening... The show is called 'Who Am I', I have no idea if this was on a regional show or public access or what, but I've seen a few other videos before that are from the same show. If anyone knows more about it, please leave a comment. The interviewer seems far removed from punk, asking the token questions: is it violent, what do your parents think etc.

Here is the interview, in 2 parts.

And here are a few songs from their live TV set that followed the interview:

Monday, 7 July 2008

AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND compilation tape (1983) upload...

I'd wanted to hear this compilation for a long time, so a friend was kind enough to send me a rip of it some time ago (it's also floating around on Soulseek). So here it is, a good tape on Last Rites (the same label that put out the great Midwest tape comp CODE BLUE) that provides an overview of the Wisconsin scene in 1983. For any one who has read my previous posts on similar tapes, I'm a big fan of regional compilations from the early 80s. They capture a moment in time, archiving what was happening in a particular city/state or scene and also giving now-forgotten bands a place in hardcore-history. This isn't the best comp overall, but it's definitely worth a listen. While there's big hitters on here you probably know (DIE KREUZEN, MECHT MENSCH, CLITBOYS, TAR BABIES, perhaps SUBURBAN MUTILATION), the rest is comprised of lesser-known or in some cases completely unknown bands, many who recorded or released little else...


Most bands have that Midwestern rough hardcore sound; rather than go for the melodic Californian hardcore style or engage in idealistic peace-punk politics, Midwest bands and especially ones from industrial hubs like Milwaukee (where DIE KREUZEN were from) seemed to generally keep things basic, angry and grounded in reality. There were apparently also no large active scenes in the state, like there was in LA or Boston: the bands featured on this comp played shows with extremely low attendance that never reached the level of activity going on in other Midwestern cities like CHICAGO... They were, in a way, the forgotten or often-overlooked bands of the US hardcore landscape. Most bands on this tape have the gruff-vocalled Midwest sound (MALIGNANCE, CRUSTIES, SUBURBAN MUTILATION, GFO, DISTAIN etc) and the recording quality is generally bad (half would be tagged "unlistenable" by some people, I guess). Overall though it's a good comp that sums up what was happening in Wisconsin at the time; for the most part low on innovation but with a fair amount of primitive power and energy... It's such a shame that these kinds-of tapes are so corrosive, and won't last as long as records. I suppose MP3-rips of them are important in keeping the music alive and in existence.

An interesting sidenote: the TAR BABIES tracks are sometimes labelled as being by BLOODY MATTRESSES, the pre-TAR BABIES band (members also split off to be in IMMINENT ATTACK who also appear on this tape). I have no idea if these songs were recorded before or after the name change. Also, there were various versions of this tape with slightly different track listings, this is just one of a few variations...

I'll be posting more old tape compilations in the future...

Maximum Rock'N'Roll review: "Although the sound quality varies, this is one of those must- have regional compilations. There are plenty of keen tracks here from the likes of Die KREUZEN, SACRED ORDER, the TAR BABIES, NR, MECHT MENSCH, the CLITBOYS, S .U .M ., the CRUSTIES, and many more . (TY) ($5 to P . Shanahan--3270A N. Holto'n--Milwaukee, WI 53212)".


1. DIE KREUZEN "Think For Me"
2. DIE KREUZEN "Enemies"
3. G.F.O. "Not Fair"
4. G.F.O. "Police Raid"
5. G.F.O. "Begin to End"
6. G.F.O. "Girl Problems"
8. SUBURBAN MUTILATION "Plastic Chicken"
11. MALIGNANCE "Interagation"
12. MALIGNANCE "Frozen Popsicle"
13. MALIGNANCE "It's Too Bad"
14. CRUSTIES "Stankin Muckworm"
15. CRUSTIES "Dairyland Youth"
16. CRUSTIES "Who Cares So What"
17. CRUSTIES "Farmer Vick"
18. NO "Anti-Christ"
19. NO "Joker's Wild"
20. DIE KREUZEN "Rumors"
21. MECHT MENSCH "Killer Klowns"
22. MECHT MENSCH "What's Right"
23. MECHT MENSCH "Free Animals"
24. TAR BABIES "Boredom's A Fact Of Life"
25. TAR BABIES "Red White And Blue"
26. SACRED ORDER "Cowboy Intro"
27. SACRED ORDER "You Bastard"
28. SACRED ORDER "Erik Estrada"
29. DISDAIN "Killer Kops"
30. DISDAIN "School"
31. DISDAIN "Apartments"
32. IMMINENT ATTACK "We Are Not Alone"
34. IMMINENT ATTACK "Bad Habits"
35. N.F.O.D. "Shock"
36. N.F.O.D. "Stand Your Ground"
37. N.F.O.D. "Intelectual"
38. CLITBOYS "We Don't Play Their Game"
39. CLITBOYS "Slogan Boys"
40. CLITBOYS "I Hate The K.K.K."
41. BACK STAB "No Rules"
42. JUVENILE THRASH "Seek and Destroy"
43. NO "American School System"

Friday, 4 July 2008


Here are some great videos posted on Youtube by user gnrpdenver (a guy called AJ from Denver), who has been purging his VHS tape collection to rip videos of these great bands. The following CITIZENS ARREST footage is the only video I have seen of them, and it's a shame that they apparently split up shortly after this show, which Daryl describes as "a perfect example of our worst gig ever" over on Bid Hardcore. It looks like literally no-one is watching them. Still great though, and your mind will explode at 9 minutes 40 seconds in!

CITIZENS ARREST at Knitting Factory 1990.

Here's other good videos uploaded by the same user...

RORSCHACH live in Toronto, 1991. Part 1.

RORSCHACH live in Toronto, 1991. Part 2.


BAD BRAINS live in Philly 1982


Take a look at the guy's other videos too, loads more good stuff...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Interview with Ryan from UNRUH...

I did this interview via email a few days ago with Ryan Butler, guitarist of classic 90s hardcore band UNRUH. Such an underrated band in my opinion, who put to record some of the best raw metal-infused hardcore from the period (1995-2000), having more in common with bands like RORSCHACH and good early death metal than EARTH CRISIS or their copycats... Thanks to Ryan for the interview, and replying quicker than anyone else I've ever interviewed...

Q. When exactly did Unruh form, and what was the scene like around Arizona when you started?What bands were played regularly and who was good?

Ryan: We formed in spring of 1995, my senior year. I was jamming with a friends band called Uruk Hai which I jumped into right when they were about to record and break up. I really enjoyed playing with their drummer Bill who ended up going on to do Unruh and Structure of Lies with me. And the other guitarist Nick was down to play bass in a new band with us. We just knew we wanted to be pretty much speed metal mixed with hardcore at the time. (Man, I haven't used the term speed metal in years! haha). There wasn't many bands here at the time. Not sure who was around heavy music wise when we started but some bands that were around in our early days that were good were Pay Neuter, Atomkinder, Tho Ko Losi and some others I can't think of.

Q. What 3 hardcore bands would you cite as being your main influences in UNRUH, and why? I am guessing that RORSCHACH was one important band that influenced you?

Ryan: Haha, Rorschach is my favorite band of all time with Iron Maiden a close second. If I were to name 3 in the early days it would be Rorschach, Voice of Reason, and Citizens Arrest. We stole Voice Of Reason's crazy 16th beat high-hat beats and used that a ton. I was really into the band Ire when we were writing the last LP. Always loved Assuck and a lot of crust punk too..

Q. What about a few metal or sludge bands that influenced you too? Early Earache Records catalogue?

Ryan: We were way into Slayer and lots and lots of death metal bands like Incantation, Suffocation, Autopsy, Carcass etc. I was probably more into those bands than anyone else. I did the bulk of the writing over the years, though. So, that influence definitely crept in. Nick the original bass player wrote a bunch of riffs on the first LP, 7", and split with Enewetak, but he was a huge death/black metal fan too.

Q. What guitarists influenced your style of playing the most during your time in UNRUH?

Ryan: There was really no definitive guitarist that I was into for our stuff. I was always into the Steer/Ammott combo. Hanneman and King obviously. I don't know. I've always been into a lot of Indie rock and classic rock and shit too. I drew influences from all over and still do.

Q. What do you think mainly seperates heavy metal from hardcore? I was just pondering this when thinking about whether UNRUH was really a 'metalcore' band (when compared with the shit that gets labelled that today)...

Ryan: At the time we just called it hardcore. But it was very much metal/grind looking back. At the end of our days the term metalcore started coming around a lot and we usually got lumped in with that. We even had a reviewer compare us to Mine once and say that we had that "emo" sound. There is definitely a huge separation between the metal scene and hardcore scene and we generally played to the hardcore scene, but did play some metal shows every once in awhile. There's so many more separations in hardcore and metal these days though. Most people nowadays when you say metalcore think of kids in sideways hats and grills. We were far from that. We grew up in the ebullition PC era of things but had a way more punk scumbag attitude. So, it was very much more different than the metal scene cause we had politics and DIY and all that other stuff. Plus punks/hardcore kids were way more made up of roughnecks than metal dudes ever have been or will be.

Q. Why did UNRUH decide to break up?

Ryan: We did a European tour in 99 that was rough to say the least. It was also one of the best times of my life. Tensions were a little high when we got back and things for me just felt like I was done with it. So, we stopped and Bill and I started Structure of Lies.

Q. What did you think to Europe when you toured? I'm from the UK myself but didn't get a chance to see you; what did you think of it? Did you have any crazy run-ins while over here?

Ryan: I love Europe. Ive been to Holland since and really enjoyed it. I don't think I'd ever want to live there. I love the wide open Desert here and no real cold weather. The UK is awesome. We did most of our shows with Phobia there and they were amazing. They treat you much like they do in the states though and gas prices were out of control even then. So, we were totally used to getting paid well, fed at every show as well as breakfast, cheap gas etc. Then we were shocked when we got to the UK. haha. I'd really love to visit London not on a tour. I've always kind of loved British culture. So, being there was really cool. Wish we could have spent more time there. We didn't really have anything too crazy in the UK. More in the mainland. Being with Phobia is always crazy though. Those guys are nuts.

Q. ENEWETAK (who you did a split with) seem, to me, like UNRUH's brother-band, in sound and attitude. Along with GEHENNA etc, you all seemed to play an original style of metal influenced hardcore that was fresh and new, all with bleak lyrics that seperated you from other hardcore bands singing about the same issues... What are your thoughts on this?

Ryan: We definitely were super tight with all those RPT bands. We did a split with Enewetak, a US tour with Fall Silent, and played so many shows with Gehenna I couldn't even count them. That was probably my second most favorite period of hardcore (the first being the early 90's when Born Against, Rorschach, Crossed Out etc. were around). We had so many good times playing with and watching those bands. We probably went to California to play with them every other month and one of those bands was in Phoenix every month or so. It was awesome. We never really knew where to classify ourselves, as well as those bands.

Q. When did you first discover hardcore? Can you remember the first hardcore record you heard, and first band you saw?

Ryan: I'm not sure. I'd heard a few bands by the late 80's and was super into metal since the early 80's. I remember buying Bad Brains "Quickness" shortly after it came out cause I was super into Mountain Bike racing and John Tomac talked about how he loved Bad Brains in an interview I read. But that record was super metal. I just thought it was kind of weird metal. I think a little later, maybe 89 or so a friend gave me a cassette of the early Minor Threat stuff and a cassette of Cro Mags "Age of Quarrel" and I was floored. That started opening the door to other things for me. I got way more into punk and hardcore at that point.

Q. What was the worst thing about hardcore in 1995 when Unruh started, in your opinion? What bands did you really dislike and why?

Ryan: Good question. I don't know. I was always into everything that was hardcore and metal. There was always bands I didn't get into, but I mean I was into the whole Revelation/Victory thing, crust punk, hardcore, old school hardcore, all kinds of punk etc. So, I don't know. Probably about 1996, clap dancing made it into Arizona and I fucking hated that shit.

Q. Were any of the band straight edge? What was the deal with straight edge in the mid 90s in and around Arizona ('gang' violence?)

Ryan: I am, but have never really claimed it or anything. In the mid 90's all the SXE kids here were Christian and really centered around this band called Overcome. So, there wasn't really violence or gangs here until the early 2000's.

Q. What's the funniest story you can tell about your time in UNRUH?

Ryan: Dude, I have so many. It'd be hard to pick just one. Most of them centered around the last bass player of the band, Mike Bjella. Probably the night he stabbed himself in the head multiple times with a fork in Switzerland. It's a long story, but that alone should make you laugh.

Q. What was the best show you played and why? What bands did you always like to play with, and what bands are you glad to have been able to play with? What was your worst show?

Ryan: Man, you ask some challenging questions. Best show? I don't know man. We played one in Phoenix with Gehenna, Enewetak, Fall Silent, and Tho Ko Losi. It doesn't get much better than that. I don't know, we played rad shows and toured with rad bands the likes of Assuck, Phobia, Man VS. Humanity, Stack, Creation Is Crucifixion, Reversal of Man, Dillinger Escape Plan opened for us before anyone knew who they were, State Of Fear, Seein Red, Stalingrad, Machine Head, Catharsis, Congress etc. etc. Worst show? I don't know. I had tons of bad nights on tours, but locally, probably my birthday where I spent the day in traffic school for 8 hours and then played with Disembodied, Converge, Overcast, and Ten Yard Fight and we almost got in a fight with Ten Yard Fight. What a birthday. Blah.

Q. How important do you think having some kind of message, whether it be political or social (or whatever), is to being in a hardcore punk band? What do you think of the strongly political/activist hardcore scene of the early-to-mid 1990s looking back?

Ryan: I thought it was fucking great and it opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. I still think it's awesome when bands do it, but it's not like it used to be. I was never in a band with an overly political message though, I was more into the dark side of shit as were most of my vocalists. I was never too into writing lyrics. Wellington was the only band I ever wrote all the lyrics for and I wrote like three Structure of Lies songs, but I usually leave that to the more poetic people around me.

Q. You also played in WELLINGTON right? What other bands have you done time in? What bands are currently in, and what are the other guys upto?

Ryan: I played in a pop punk band called Richard Cranium when I was 15/16. I played in Lyburnum with the singer of Unruh. We actually had a song on Ebullition's Amnesia comp. Super Moss Icon esque type of band that originally sounded like Rorschach. Wellington, Unruh, Uruk Hai, Structure of Lies, Mercitron, North Side Kings, and now Landmine Marathon is my current band. The original bass player, Nick isn't playing right now. The second bass player, Jason, is in a band from Texas called Healers. The third bass player, Mike is in an amazing band from here called Black Hell and does a noise project called Gog. The singer, Mike, isn't playing right now. And the drummer, Bill, is in a rock band called Antique Scream. Most of them have moved on and have kids etc. and don't do the full time band thing. I'm still as into it as ever and Landmine Marathon is extremely active.

Ryan playing in Landmine Marathon.

Q. Who do you prefer, CROSSED OUT or NO COMMENT?

Definitely Crossed Out. No Comment ruled, but was really just DRI on speed. Crossed Out was the most insane, angry thing I'd ever and still have ever heard. I've never heard anyone match their intensity and brutality. Funny, cause our drummer and I just went to see this band called Ceremony who was doing the Crossed Out/Infest thing (though I'm not sure they're even aware of it) and all these SXE kids were huge into them and going insane and I'm sure they had no idea that the sound is 20 years old.

Q. What are your 5 favourite hardcore records EVER, and what's so good about them?

Ryan: Fuck man, here you go again. I hope a lot of people read this, cause this is straining my brain quite a bit! Rorschach "Protestant" is definitely number one, can Black Flag's first four years of EP's be one album? I'm saying yes. Ok, that's 2. Minor Threat's first EP. That's 3. Um, Citizen's Arrest "Collossus". That's 4. Shit. I don't know. Let's say, Fall Silent's "No Strength To Suffer". That's just the icing on the cake, but all of those records are amazing.

Q. What's the worst thing you've ever seen happen at a hardcore show?

Ryan: Man, all kinds of shit. I've seen some people get pretty messed up. Saw a dude get stabbed right in front of me at a Neurosis show in Phoenix. Huge brawls. All kinds of stuff. It's pretty safe here these days though.

Q. If you could bring together 5 bands to play a show, who would you choose?

Ryan: Current bands? Hmm, let's say Graf Orlock, Bolt Thrower, Carcass (they're doing a reunion!), Saviours, I don't know, um, Despise You. There we go.

Q. A metal question to end on...What's your favourite Black Sabbath record, and why? Are you a fan of Dio-era?

Probably Paranoid. I don't know. I have this rad box set called "Black Sabbath: The Ozzy Years" and I just rock that. So, I don't listen to any particular album generally. Mob Rules is the shit though. Some of their doomiest stuff was with Dio!