Saturday, 31 May 2008
The Sick Of It All camp seemed to go for the "maybe if we shout the loudest and cut off my opponents when they talk, people will think we're right" approach (now utilised to full effect by Bill O'Reilly). By the way, I believe that the debate moderator is Rachel Susannah Rosen from Indecision/Milhouse (correct me if I'm wrong)...
Anyway, back to the article. It's interesting to read Sam Mcpheeters's description of a 1990 MDC show: "They were energetic, but vaguely depressing and stinking of some basic existential malaise, sort of like old vaudvillains trying to recapture some past glory". Imagine what he'd say about their reunion shows now, 18 years on! Nothing left of the dead horse but some badly broken up decomposing bones to flog...
I'd really like to read the earlier zine, PLAIN TRUTH ("FAVOURITE 'ZINE? Dan O'Mahony: Plain Truth. Sam McPheeters is God!") ... if any one could upload this, I'd be very grateful.
Ripcord vs Heresy?
Friday, 30 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Q. Why did Wasted Time start? Just how awesome is the LAST RIGHTS EP you took your name from?
Mark: No real agenda, just wanted to play some hardcore in a town where there wasn't much in this particular vein. LAST RIGHTS rips. I own a Hitler sleeve, thats how awesome I think they are.
Q. You own a Hitler sleeve...(!). What other gems do you own? What's your biggest want?
Mark: I have some other goodies here and there. I can't say I'm too avid of a record collector, but I will say if anyone has a Cause For Alarm ep they're looking to part with they should hit me up. YES!
Q. A friend once described you to me as "like a D-Beat version of Fucked Up". Just how far off the mark do you think this statement is?
Mark: Ugh. I was thinking more along the lines of ALPHA OMEGA era CRO MAGS meets later CHRISTIAN DEATH. I've definitely heard the FUCKED UP comparison and the "D-Beat" thing too, but never together. I'm impressed!
Q. How important do you think it is to be 'original' playing hardcore? Do you think there's no room left for creativity within the scene? Out of many of the current retro-style hardcore bands, Wasted Time is one of the freshest in sound, and not at all stagnant, like some other current bands... Is your song RITUAL a stab at how something that's supposed to be so exciting can be so dull?
Mark: I'm not sure as to how important originality is now. I wouldn't say its a carbon copy of what happened years ago at all, but rather people who have an admiration for that particular sound having their own go with it. As a result, you have some bland shit and a few mind blowing bands. RITUAL has more to do with people trying to tell me our bands and our goals are the same, we're all "punks," yadda yadda yadda. We're not the same and we're not alligned in any way. Basically just people who pose hard and, as a result, have boring music and views. Not for the weak.
Q. What is one of your favourite underrated bands (from the past) you want to spread the love for?
Mark: Brandon, Eric, Lauren, and I were jamming the REBEL TRUTH ep last night. That shit is choice. And of course, all the old Virginia greats like WHITE CROSS, GOD'S WILL, FRONT LINE, HONOR ROLE, GRAVEN IMAGE, etc.
Q. Do you think having a well rounded knowledge of classic hardcore is important in being in a hardcore band? Obviously some of the greatest abd original bands didn't have nearly 30 years of history to catch up on or be influenced by...
Mark: Very true, they had their own thing going. It is and it isn't inportant. Some motherfucker can have all the sweet records but still produce a snoozer of a hardcore band. On the other hand, I've seen and played with bands of little kids who have little historical knowledge of all that shit yet still rip. It's a double edged sword.
Q. Favourite Midwest hardcore band? Negative Approach vs Necros? Die Kreuzen vs The Fix? Explain why...
Mark: NA, more brutal and Brannon has a funnier life and bands afterwards. DIE KREUZEN wins the second round. I loved the LP and "Cows and Beer" beforehand, but after touring the midwest and driving through Wisconsin thats when I realized how much more I like them. That place is so fucking boring, which I feel might have very well had an effect on how much they ruled.
Taken by Jason from Under Pressure.
Q. What's Virginia like nowadays? Did you grow up on a healthy diet of Avail and Gwar?
Mark: Virginia is great. I've lived in Virginia for 23 years, don't know how much longer I'll be here so we will see how that goes. But yeah, I can't complain, I'd go as far as to say Richmond is my favorite place in the country. I've been listening to AVAIL for over ten years now. I don't know if it's a Virginia thing or what but I definitely have a soft spot for them.
Q. What's next for you guys, new record anytime soon? It's been awhile, what have you been doing!? Did you listen to the reformed 108 record and decide you couldn't hope to compete?
Mark: Oh man, we're writing for a "full length" or something like it that will be out on GRAVE MISTAKE RECORDS whenever it happens. We just lost our practice space but its not like we used the other one too much before anyways. A snail's pace. Krshna wills it, though.
Q. Since you're writing an LP, what are your five favourite hardcore LPs ever? Do you think it can be hard to transfer a formula that works so well on a 7" to a full length?
Mark: I'm sure it could change weekly depending on what I'm feeling, but this seems pretty consistant:
1. Poison Idea - Kings of Punk2. SSD - Get It Away3. Die Kreuzen - S/T 4. White Cross - What's Going On?5. Poison Idea - War All The Time.
I'm not sure as to how hard it may or may not be to try it LP style, but we're just gonna see what happens. We're not gonna force anything.
Q. Favourite current bands people should hear?
Mark: BRAIN HANDLE is the best band in the country right now, hands down. WASTE MANAGEMENT has my heart as well.
Q. Obama, Hilary or McBANE?
Mark: OSAMA BIN HIDIN'!
Q. Is the song LEECH directed at the types of people who subscribe to Profane Existence? Explain yourself...
Mark: They probably read that! In a nutshell, overnight college hipster activist kids who bought their ideas along with their track bikes and short shorts. Annoying, know-it-all 18 year old kids with little to no conviction in whatever they believe in (depending on what week it is) going out of their way to "educate" me since we're "all punks" or whatever. It's just boring, hopefully they graduate soon and make 6 figures and I can sell them health food.
Taken by Daniel from Sorry State Records.
Q. Does it ever surprise you just how much Agnostic Front have spoiled their legacy?
Mark: Whatever man! That new album art is stellar! A fucking viking coming out of some thug dude's back!
Q. What's the worst show you've ever played, and why? The best?
Mark: Shit, many a shitty show has occured over the past 3 years of our being. But, I will say that Raleigh, Richmond, NYC, Philly, St. Louis, L.A., Portland, and the Bay Area are my favorite places in the country to play off the top of my head. I would think a bit harder and rack my brain but I'm still kind of drunk from last night.
Q. Rollins or pre-Rollins? There is a RIGHT answer...
Mark: Fuckin' a, neither, turn on "LIFETIME" by ROLLINS BAND. Or even "WEIGHT" man!
Q. What current hardcore bands can't you stand? Not just bad metalcore or pop-punk that calls itself hardcore
Mark: I'm kind of oblivious to a lot of things in that realm, I don't see too many shitty shows, thankfully. Whenever I do it's rarely hardcore, just the shit around here when I go to a bar or something. However, in the realm of "punk," the whole clean cut hardcore kids turning into junkies thing is boring. They start doing designer drugs and listening to "weird/crazy punk bands" and they wear the girl's pants and all that cute stuff. Oh, and the sketchy sense of humor thing is cute too. Saying "FAGGOT" a bunch really pushes the envelope, how punk! Worst trend, all of those kids should revert back to BANE or whatever they listened to before and go hang out with their Mothers or something.
Q. Thoughts on the SSD "reunion"?
Mark: I'd sneak into it and stagedive feet first.
Q. Dream 5 band line up for a show, any bands past and present, go for it. Also, what venue...
Mark: BIG BOYS-LEATHERFACE-POISON IDEA-REBEL TRUTH-WHITE CROSS. Venue: In my pants.
Q. What covers have Wasted Time ever played live?
Mark: Poison Idea's "Pure Hate" and "Cult Band," DYS's "Insurance Risk" and some others I can't recall at the moment. We do "Glue" for our friend Dane from VB because it's super dumb and easy and he will beat us all to bloody pulps if don't. FREE DANE TEBO!
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
I'll no doubt write about Poison Idea many times on this blog in the future, so I'll keep it fairly short. They're one of my all time favourite bands, and are probably one of yours too (if you have any sense). Basically, they have to be the longest running hardcore punk band to have consistently put of great records, changing and evolving their sound in the process, and never turning into total shit like so many others eventually did (Agnostic Front anyone?). Even their last record recorded before Pig Champion passed away, 'Latest Will and Testament', while not a classic, was a fine addition to their discography.
Also, I'd like to show my appreciation for 'We Must Burn', an underrated album if ever there was one. You can really hear the Dead Boys/Thunders influence, and I'm probably alone in preferring it to 'Black Blackout Vacant'... By the way, if you don't like later PI albums (Feel The Darkness onwards), you're just an idiot. Get off my blog.
Interviews with Jerry A are always excellent. This one, typed-up on Kill From The Heart, is especially great, and I recommend you read it if you haven't already...
Poison Idea also led me to discover the almighty GISM through their covers of 'Endless Blockade For The Pussyfooter' and 'Death Agonies Screams'. Note Jerry's leather jacket on the back cover of 'War All The Time', with the GISM logo painted on the back...
They were also into the great Bukowski, before all the hip students tarnished his name...
P.S. Al Quint who does Suburban Voice currently publishes it online, so support him and his great blog!
P.P.S. Interview with WASTED TIME coming soon.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Here's a cassette compilation from 1985 released on TPOS Records. It covers many obscure US hardcore bands from the New South (and a few from the Midwest), bands from a particularly conservative region who have been forgotten or overshadowed by their more popular contemporaries (it does have a few bigger names on; Born Without A Face, Subculture, Rhythm Pigs, Anti-Seen...).
Download here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=5RS0ZHD4
I really like comps like this, which capture what was going on at a certain time and place, and contains bands you probably wouldn't otherwise hear. While it's not all gold, what I find with a lot of these old US compilations is that there is an abundance of youthful enthusiasm and a willingness to experiment with strange guitar riffs and effects, which makes it all the more interesting.
Here's a band by band overview:
POWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD - One of the few notable bands from Nebraska. Fast manic hardcore with metal linfluences and slow strange parts. It's a bit like Cancerous Growth, and has fairly strong Void influences too. Sadly the singer passed away a few years after they broke up.
LANDLORDS - Good hardcore from Virginia. The 3rd song sounds different from the other 2 and has a harsher sound.
MAGGOT SANDWICH - A good mixture of KBD-style punk and fast hardcore from Florida.
DEATH PUPPY- Raw garagey hardcore from Oklahoma. Not bad.
YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE - Standard hardcore.
CRASH N BURN - Improvised-sound with minimal vocals, like Captain Beefheart being played by drunken punks (if you couldn't have guessed, it's great).
JAWS OF LIFE - Garage punk with an organ player. Interesting.
SEX MUTANTS - As you can probably tell from their name, this is raw rough snotty KBD-style from South Carolina, pretty good.
ANTISEEN - If you don't know Antiseen already, they play scummy and raw Southern punk rock, and were GG Allin's backing band for awhile: get the idea? Some early tracks here.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS- The same band that were on We Got Power #3. Good hardcore with odd effects and great vocals. Don't believe it's the same band as the one from California (?).
BORN WITHOUT A FACE - Dirgy nihilistic hardcore from Michigan.
BLEEDING NUN - Only one song, but it's great simple hardcore.
SUBCULTURE - Youthful and energetic hardcore. The singer is now in Double Negative.
RHYTHM PIGS - Pretty good upbeat hardcore, not too different from Capitol Punishment.
NOISE FOR THE NEEDY - Annoying mid-paced crap.
LIKE A HORSE - What a band name. They also appear on We Got Power #3. High energy manic hardcore with good vocals and breakdowns, great riffs and guitar sound. One of the highlights of the comp. I have no other info about them (does anyone else?).
BEEF PEOPLE - Good straight forward hardcore from Georgia (I think). Strong and rough vocals. The 3rd song is a fairly shit joke song though.
MNP - Another high energy effort, youthful hardcore (they broke up after graduating!) from Virginia, with plenty of stop-starts and interesting riffs.
MOE - One very raw, primitive dirgy track, about Reagan pushing the button. Good.
INC. YOU BAIT - Terrible name, and HILARIOUS vocals on the 1st track. Like the Cookie Monster but singing underwater. The 2nd song is better; strange punk with female vocals.
ASSAULT - Gruff basic hardcore, singer reminds me of Springa a little bit. Good!
If you know anything about this comp or any of the bands on it, leave a comment!
Photo: Power Of The Spoken Word
Edit: Here is an advert for the comp from Maximum Rock'N'Roll #29; looks like there was a North counterpart, which I'll have to try and hear...
Monday, 26 May 2008
Sunday, 25 May 2008
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
Friday, 23 May 2008
Thursday, 22 May 2008
I'm not gonna get too heavily into the Chung King vs Bringin It Down debate, but GENERALLY I lean towards the former, since it was the first Judge recording I heard. An old friend made me a tape that had the Lost And Found bootleg of the Chung King sessions on, and it was a defining album for me when I was first getting into hardcore. On the same tape was the Together comp, a NY Hoods demo, Slapshot: Back On The Map AND... the first 25 Ta Life 7".
Right now, I probably listen to this live set and the radio set more than either album. It's rare that a live recording can sound this good! I usually don't like live hardcore records, and generally think they're fairly pointless. You can't really appreciate how good the show was, and they usually just sound like bad versions of the records but with the vocals flittering in and out as the frontman tries to catch his breath or drops the mic. There are exceptions though, and this is one of them. It's filled with rage and energy. Mike paces himself, and his voice sounds as strong, if not stronger, than on the studio versions.
Some random thoughts: I don't think Judge were the kind of 'militant' band they're sometimes portrayed as. There is a strong outsider element to Mike's vocals and lyrics, and they can't be easily pigeonholed alongside their more positive contemporaries. He never felt truly at home in the scene that he was so central to at the time, and which seemed so inclusive and positive (from the inside), and had more in common with hard rock bands and country singers than he did with clean-cut positive hardcore kids. Just trace the progression in subject matter in the lyrics, from the group-minded rally crys of New York Crew to the jaded outlook in Where It Went. I guess a similar progression can be seen in Choke's lyrics (from "me and my brothers, we're one and the same" in Last Rights, to "how did things get by me, now I'm too old to start" in Slapshot)...
I couldn't find the flier for this show, so here's one with a similar line up. Perhaps the mis-spelling of Biscuits was a sign of the fruitier direction they were heading in...
On a completely unrelated note, pick up the D.O.N.D.O.N. LP reissue on Schizophrenic Records. a Japanese hardcore near-classic. I'll wait out for an original copy...one day.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Edit: Versions of these tracks were later released by Blaine Cook on the Fartz record 'You, We See You Crawling' 12" in 1990, although they were written/recorded just as the band had changed their name to Ten Minute Warning...
I always think The Fartz are a really underrated band, and it might be partially down to their name. It's a name perhaps more suited to a snotty-punk band than the raw and wild hardcore band they actually were. Maybe it puts some people off, I don't know. Either way, their first 7" (and the LP that followed) is such a classic and a milestone in hardcore, especially considering the time it was released (1981). It has has a similar vibe and level of spit, bile and anger as early Poison Idea. 'Because This World Fucking Stinks' - Come on, what a title!
While this isn't quite as good as that early Fartz material, it's definitely worth listening to. Note the slightly sped up version of the Solger song 'Dead Soldier'. Also, there is a version of the Discharge-esque 'Buried Alive'; Blaine Cook would later record a version of the same song with The Accüsed.
Interesting sidenote: Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses, as mentioned before, was in 10MW and The Fartz. This perhaps explains 10MW's reformation and popularity in the 90's, with a record released on Sub Pop! By then, they were playing grungier post-punk stuff, sounding a bit like Laughing Hyenas but nowhere near as good. Incidently, if anyone has the unreleased LP they recorded for Alternative Tentacles from '84, I'd like to hear it.
I haven't seen this on any other blogs, so figured I'd share this great 7" from the classic Seattle hardcore band. No, I don't have my own copy, unfortunately. The price just keeps climbing too.
This is a great record, although very very raw. The production values are akin to the Neos, Nunfuckers or Zero Defex, but worse. In other words, it sounds great - a guitar sound that tears right through you, and vicious vocals not that dissimilar to Urban Waste. It doesn't have that "trying to sound lo-fi" sound that lots of modern retro hardcore bands go for, it's real; recorded live, sent off to be mastered on a shitty cassette tape, little care put into playing it right. Very punk. In a way it's good that they split up so shortly after recording this EP so they couldn't piss all over their legacy by releasing bad hard-rock records in the mid-80's like so many others...
And the songs are fucking great. Just listen to AMAN and try to argue. Musically, it owes a fair amount to The Germs, but also has a more straight forward hardcore edge to it. Plus it's from 1980, and is usually cited as the first hardcore record to come out of Seattle. Members went on to play in The Fartz, another great band... and I read that the Guns And Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist has SOLGER written on his bass. Cool?
There is a lot of great info on Solger over at Dementlieu, so check it out.
I'M NOT THE PRESIDENT, I'M NOT JESUS CHRIST
I WON'T PRETEND TO DO EVERYTHING RIGHT
WHEN I FUCK UP, IT'S BECAUSE I'M ME
I'M JUST LIKE YOU - A HUMAN BEING
HIT ME UPSIDE THE HEAD
TELLING ME I'M WRONG
WHEN THEY'RE THE FUCKING ASSHOLES
DROPPING THE BOMBS
I'VE GOT NOTHING AGAINST THE JAPANESE
NUKE GENOCIDE AIN'T FOR ME
I HATE ATOMIC MUSHROOMING
WHERE'S THE NEXT HIROSHIMA OR NAGASAKI
MOSCOW OR WASHINGTON DC
I'M NOT THE PRESIDENT, I'M NOT JESUS CHRIST
I WON'T PRETEND TO DO EVERYTHING RIGHT
WHEN I FUCK UP, IT'S BECAUSE I'M ME
I'M JUST LIKE YOU - A HUMAN BEING
I WON'T SAY THAT I'M KING OF THE JEWS
I WON'T SAY THAT I WANNA LEAD YOU
YOU WON'T HAVE TO LOOK UP TO ME
I'M NOT A PSEUDO-MARTYR CRUCIFIXION
CAN'T YOU SEE, I'M JUST ME, A MAN
A PERSON THAT CAN BLEED
I'M NOTHING SPECIAL OR NEW
I'M ONLY HUMAN - I'M JUST LIKE YOU
I'M ONLY HUMAN - I'M JUST LIKE YOU
I'M ONLY HUMAN - I'M JUST LIKE YOU
I'M ONLY HUMAN - I'M JUST LIKE YOU
I'M ONLY HUMAN - I'M JUST LIKE YOU...
Q. Tell us a bit about what LAST IN LINE was all about? Who wrote the lyrics, why did you form?
DJ: I wrote all of the lyrics in LAST IN LINE, the other guys concetrated on the music, although we all had input on the music. I always just wrote about whatever I wanted, stuff that bothered me, or stuff that amused me (horror movies, pissing people off, especially the emo/pretentious indie rocker kids in the scene). The earth is fucked, we're not going to save it so why bother writing positive lyrics? As far as unifying the scene, fuck that! I hate 99% of the music I hear, so why the fuck would I want a part in their scene? LAST IN LINE was formed because we hated the trendy shit we saw going on around us at the time, kids aping GREEN DAY and calling it hardcore, or trying to sound like EARTH CRISIS. Fuck that. I was lucky enough to find bands like POISON IDEA, JERRY'S KIDS, SSD, SLAPSHOT etc when I was younger. Most of my friends were rocking out to POISON, WINGER, DEF LEPPARD, and WARRANT, making fun of me when I was listening to YOUTH OF TODAY or THE MISFITS at school....
Q. Talkin about lyrics, songs such as 'Crimson Screens' and 'Herbert West' are about horror movies. Whats your favourite horror flicks? Do you think there's a connection between the punk and horror genres?
DJ: Depends on what horror movie as far as the connection goes...I consider films like EVIL DEAD 1 and DAWN OF THE DEAD punk rock films, because they have a do-it- yourself spirit movies today do not posess..Those guys got their buddies to act in the movies, and basically did whatever they wanted to do, without restraint or input from any studio executives..THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, a totally punk rock movie..Its in your face, raw, and abrasive, like punk music. Our link to the horror movies is that after practice we would always watch horror movies, usually the crappiest ones we could find. Whatever had the corniest cover art we usually loved..In the UK these are known as the video nasties...those films were readily available to me in the 80's, I saw all the classics. BURIED ALIVE, ZOMBI, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX...totally disgusting and tasteless films that warped my mind back in 6th grade..Also, these low budget films influenced myself and my friends to make our own extremely cheap films, usually highly amusing only to ourselves..We took an interest early on with movies and movie making, and I introduced my movie making pals to punk...We had a punk attitude with the movie making, influenced by THE SEX PISTOLS and whatever we could get our hands on as little snot nosed kids...My personal favorite zombie films are LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE (Murders at the Manchester Morgue) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. SHAUN OF THE DEAD was great, my girlfriend was pissed, she brought me to see it on my birthday thinking it was a romantic comedy, but was really bummed out by the gore..she can't handle it, she likes crappy hollywood dreck..
Q. Give us a rundown on your releases and tell us what your favourites are?
DJ: We had a demo called WELCOME TO A-10 COUNTRY that we did in 97 with our friend Karl at Plummer's Mines in westfield, a 7" called CROSSWALK that came out on UYH records, limited to 500 copies, an lp put out by ACME ( OUT COLD's label), various comp tracks ( HUMAN STENCH 7", Mein Comp 7", SUBURBAN VOICE cd, SLAPSHOT tribute cd) etc.) and the GLOOM s/t 7". My favorite release was the lp, because it was a fun time being in the band, pretty much the original line-up. Musically I think the Gloom one was the best, our stuff was getting meaner sounding, we were gearing up to do an lp but everyone had too much going on ( school, work, other bands etc.)
Q. What do you think of bands with a overtly political agenda? Also, what about Christian or religious bands in hc/punk?
DJ: I have no problem with political punk, I like it. I grew up listening to CRASS and DEAD KENNEDYS, and I still love UK anarcho/peacepunk. If the band has no sense of humor I find it a bit annoying though, I'd rather see a good political punk band over an overly serious straight edge band any day. If you care more about your buddy "stabbing you in the back" or who drinks and smokes what more than you do about the world and what's going on on a larger scale, you've got to open your mind a little..I could care less about christian hc or beliefs, I don't follow it and could care less about it. If its being pushed on me I'd have a problem with it, but the same goes for any agenda...I mean how can you really get upset that your friend smoked a joint a took a drink and broke the edge when a war is going on? I guess I'm getting older and jaded...I find that I can't relate to overbearing SXE lyrics or religious lyrics and anything of that sort...I know drugs are bad, I've lost a few good friends because of drug abuse, and I don't really care for some dork wearing nikes screaming about the evils of smoking or drinking...Same thing goes for some idiot singing about god or a one-sided extremely uptight political band...
Q. How do you think hardcore punk has changed since Last In Line started? For the better or for the worse?
DJ: I think there are better bands than when I first started in bands..I grew up going to shows when metalcore was big. I always listened to faster punk in the late 80's (88-89) and when I started going to shows I was unimpressed with the crap I saw. I liked the CIRCLE JERKS, SSD, MINOR THREAT...but what I got from my scene was a bunch of meatheads crying about veganism and smoking etc. Every now and then we'd get lucky, I used to go see THE PIST all the time when they started, that was more my style. I was a big Oi! fan and saw some great shows in Boston, but our mentality was to destroy our scene and rebuild, to start a scene of our own because the punk scene was so weak. Metal had taken it over in the early 90's, so we formed our own bands to get things moving in the direction we wanted to go...The big clubs either banned us or ignored us, because our shows were too wild...We were sick of the safe boring shit and fashion show mentality. I think the current shows are smaller but the bands are better, more diverse then it was. Kids today have easier acess to the great old stuff, with the internet and cd burners..It was much harder ( but more fun) obtaining stuff a while back. I remember when I finally found my FU's lp and DYS "Brotherhood" hidden behind some crappy New Wave records in a dusty Boston record store, it was like I won the lottery!
Q. What are your favourite current hardcore punk bands? Who are the best bands you got to play with in LIL?
DJ: I really like Amdi Petersens Arme, Incontrollados, No Hope For The Kids, all the stuff coming from those guys. Great stuff..I liked the Observers lp, very catchy. ANNIHILATION TIME is my favorite hardcore band, I like hanging out with those dudes when they come to western mass and I think I've played their new lp a million times, its fucking great. I also like the INMATES and the cleveland bands, watch out for the new CIDER 7", it rules.. I played a show with a new local band, Face Off last night, they played before us, I think it was there first show. They had a little kid singing, he was intense. Great voice on the kid, he seemed genuinely pissed off, like NEGATIVE APPROACH/INFEST..My favorite shows LAST IN LINE played were with FIT FOR ABUSE, THE STRIKERS, and A POOR EXCUSE. Also our tours with THE A-TEAM, COPS AND ROBBERS, and A POOR EXCUSE are times I'll never forget, those were some of the best times....
Q: Why did Last In Line choose to break up? Are you still friends with the rest of the band?
DJ: We never really "broke up", we just got sick of too many lineup changes. We still play if we are all in the same room together, even at shows. Everyone had stuff going on ( school, careers, other bands) and certain members felt they couldn't put 100 percent into the band, so we decided to take a break..Maybe we'll play again sometime, I'd like to do another LP. I still see the guys, we're all friends. Our new bands are supportive of each other and we play shows together all the time. Mikey's band THE PROWL and my band THE IRRITATORS play together often. Actually I went drinking with Mikey (bass player) last night, we had a good time making fun of the hip-hop crowd and getting rowdy at the bar...
Q. What do you guys think of reunion shows of old bands? Did any of you catch Sheer Terror recently, or Poison Idea?Incidently, how amazing are Poison Idea?
DJ: As long as the band isn't cashing in, I have no problems with reunion shows. I went and saw DI and TSOL in California in the summer, two classic bands..They were fucking great and had 10 times the energy of some of the younger bands. I also saw EASY ACTION a while back, John Brannon from NEGATIVE APPROACH's band. They did four NEGATIVE APPROACH covers and were fucking intense! It was cool talking to him after the show about NEGATIVE APPROACH and some of the old midwest bands, bands that were a huge influence on LAST IN LINE. I unfortunately missed the POISON IDEA shows, but there is a dvd of CBGB's floating around with footage of the show. LAST IN LINE's crazy roadie WYLD T can be seen stagediving and going crazy the whole time..I fuckin love POISON IDEA, that first 7" is killer..I missed SHEER TERROR reunions but saw them when they were together, always enjoyed them...
Q. How did you get into hardcore punk? What was the first bands you got into?
DJ: Here's my generic answer, THE RAMONES. My favorite band of all time. Heard the tunes, then saw them on TV. The CLASH, I saw them on TV and loved them, my uncle played me their records at an early age.. From there the SEX PISTOLS blew my mind, and then it was THE MISFITS. Once I got into the MISFITS I grabbed anything I could, reading the thanks list on records and seeking out the bands, no matter how obscure they were. Cooch ( CLOSE CALL, RIGHTEOUS JAMS), a good buddy of mine since childhood was my partner in crime. We'd stop at nothing to obtain an obscure record, going as far as hounding old Wmass punks for their records...
Q. What do you think of Japanese hardcore bands like Gism/Gauze etc? Give us some of your favourites.
DJ: I love all that stuff. LAST IN LINE were big fans of GAUZE. I love GISM, insanely weird..really bums most people out when you drive around town blasting GISM DETESTATION on full volume..SYSTEMATIC DEATH was an influence on LAST IN LINE, we all loved them. We got the chance to meet one of the guys from SYSTEMATIC DEATH when Mikey's band played with FORWARD in Boston. Cool guy, he had a mullet and moustache, and leather pants. True punk rocker. The DSB show in Rhode Island was one of the best shows ever, totally crazy..My personal favorite japanese lp would be THE STALIN "stop jap" lp.
Q. Did you get any shit for covering GG ALLIN on your LP?
DJ: Nah, and we wouldn't care if we did. I'm a bigg GG and the Jabbers fan. I don't really care so much for his other stuff, but his early records are great punk rock. We never really worried about rubbing people the wrong way in LAST IN LINE.
Q. What do you think of record collecting? What are your 3 favourite records you own, and what was the first punk record you bought?
DJ: The first punk record was RAMONES "RAMONES"..Still probably my favorite. Top 3? I really like my STALIN lp, UNDERTONES 1st record ( classic), MC5 records, can't really narrow it down to three...I like collecting records, I just don't like having to pay for them. Its tougher to go into a record store these days and find good stuff because of all of the internet nerds like Cooch hoarding all the good stuff..
Q. Tell us about the song "Pinno Raffredda" on the LP?
DJ: That song is sung in English. Basically a rant against the watering down of punk rock, how it has become safe..Joe (guitar player) is Italian, and the title is JOE COOL in italian. Joe hated the title, he probably thought I was making fun of him ( he's a sensitive guy), so he changed it to italian. Pretty retarded.
Q. Give us your favourite hardcore band (if you can pick one) and also your favourite old Boston-area hardcore band?
DJ: My favorite HC band is probably POISON IDEA, I like just about everything they put out. They rule. They are ugly, loud, and great musicians..awesome band. My favorite old Boston band would probably be Jerry's Kid's, fucking great lp. I love THE FREEZE, but they were from Cape Cod...The DYS Brotherhood lp is one of my favorites too, sick vocals on that one..
Q. Who is your favourite frontman ever, and what bands influenced LIL the most?
DJ: Joey Ramone is my hero, favorite frontman ever, followed by John Lydon..I loved Joey's weirdness and Johnny's sarcastc asshole behavior, basically a big FUCK YOU to the crowd. Definitely an influence on me..LAST IN LINE all loved THE RAMONES, STOOGES, BLACK FLAG, DEAD BOYS, POISON IDEA, SLAPSHOT, and NEGATIVE APPROACH. We also were influenced by local greats like WISHFUL THINKING, SIEGE, DEEP WOUND, and BLOODBATH.
Q. What are the Last In Line members upto now? What do you do to pay the rent?
DJ: Mikey is the frontman for THE PROWL, who play goth punk, inspired by 45 Grave, gloomy punk stuff. I sing for THE IRRITATORS, who are influenced by 77 punk and early hardcore. Punkier sounding then LAST IN LINE, not as fast..I'm playing with members of my previous band, THE DREDNOCKS and members of western mass bands THE STRIKERS and DRAGNET. Mikey and Deuce are also in OUT COLD who are awesome. We all jobs, nothing interesting. Nobody is rich, we never made a dime off the band, we just did it for fun. We balanced fulltime school/work/girlfriends while doing the band...touring was our way of getting out and having a good time, a vacation from all the bullshit work and school put on us...
Q. What was the best show you played with LIL? Give us some stories.
DJ: The best show we played was when our drummer was leaving the band for school, Kakos's last show and our lp record release. It was STRIKERS, DOWN BUT NOT OUT ( I think the A-team may have played in their place, not sure) A POOR EXCUSE, and FIT FOR ABUSE. The show was at a bigger metal club,( one that ignored real HC) and all hell broke loose. The bouncers gave up..Bottles flying, tables breaking, fireworks...Kids dressed up as zombies and mental patients, it was out of control. A great time, and all the bands we played with were all friends of LAST IN LINE. We played a few Halloween shows that were always totally out of control, one show ended in a riot where the kids sieged the club, throwing crap ( street signs, pumpkins, bicycles) at the club staff after they pulled the plug on LAST IN LINE and sent goons in the crowd to punch kids...
Q. Where was the furthest you travelled with LIL and what were the shows like further afield?
DJ: We toured California with THE A-TEAM. We met up with our buddies Higgums and Wally Yetman who helped us out, hung with our friends ANNIHILATION TIME in LA, and had a blast. The best show we played was at Mission Records in SF, rowdy crowd..Kids attacked me with shaving cream and gliiter, beer flying everywhere. Messy fun! We also played outside at a subway station, on the street..The cops shut it down but it was a blast, tons of people watching and wondering what the hell was going on...
Q. What pisses you off more than anything?
DJ: Work. Money. I hate working to obtain money. I really hate wasting my life away so assholes can make money off me. I need to rob a bank. It drives me crazy that I have to give my time up to something I really don't want to do for 12 hours a day so I can pay my bills and eat...
Q. Last show you went to see, who played, what was it like?
DJ: Last night THE IRRITATORS played with KILL YOUR IDOLS. It was a good time, a small local show on a snowy night. Good to see a younger crowd, the bands sounded great too. I recently saw THE SPITS in New Orleans on Halloween, they ruled. Very fun, I was pogoing all night. New Orleans has some great KILLED BY DEATH style bands...
Q. Any chance of some LIL shows, coming over to Europe maybe, or even another release?
DJ: There's always a chance..I'd like to get another lp out, we had plenty of unrecorded songs finished..We still play shows, although very rarely. Its tough to get everyone together for practice these days. I'd love to come over to Europe, if we got back to playing again regularly I'm pretty sure that would be our plan, we've played most of the US and I'd love to check out the rest of the world and their scenes.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Q. Tell us about the Midwestern hardcore punk scene of the 80's...
Vic: It was small, and very tight. It was not acclaimed the way the East Coast or West Coast scene was. The “eastern wing” was dominated by Touch and Go and Ohio/Michigan bands like Necros, Toxic Reasons and Negative Approach. The “western wing” was dominated by Minneapolis bands, especially Husker Du. The Huskers, Toxic Reasons, AoF and the Zero Boys were probably the most important bands in creating a scene. We helped the other bands out with bookings, tours and recordings. There were no computers or cell phones, so it involved a lot of telephone calls and mails. It was a slow and expensive process putting a scene together. But fun.
Q. How did you get into hardcore in the first place? What was the first band you ever saw live?
Vic: I was born too late to participate in all the action of the 1960s. But when I was growing up, there was a lot of ‘60s hangover—mostly the sense of being part of a scene, and being in a movement of historical significance. I wanted that—so did a lot of other people in the early hardcore days. That’s part of the unwritten history of hardcore. Even though it was ostensibly anti-hippie, a lot of hippies and hippy culture pervaded the early scene, especially from some of the political activists like Tim Yohannon, who wanted to see the leftist politics of the 1960s revive. They weren’t hippies, exactly (most of them did not use drugs), but they helped create a scene and set up shows and mentor us. They understood, as I did, that punk and hardcore was new and different, and something special for people my age (about 10 years younger than the hippies). But they saw that it had that sense of inclusion and movement. It organized itself around music, as had the scene in the 1960s. It was just much more aggressive music. I’m not sure who the first hardcore band I saw was, but I saw the Bad Brains in DC in 1981, and that show influenced me profoundly. I went back to Chicago and told the band we had to play fast. It made us find our own style.
Q. What bands influenced Articles Of Faith, musically and personally, and what were your favorite contemporary hardcore bands?
Vic: AoF had a lot of very diverse influences—all of us were very different in our music tastes. I learned to play guitar listening to some specific records that have influenced me to this day: Give ‘Em Enough Rope by the Clash, the Ramones Road to Ruin, the Jam This is the Modern World, Easter by Patti Smith, Squeezing out Sparks by Graham Parker and Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen. I probably know every single riff, lead and guitar line on these records—I played them until I knew how to play music. It set my basic musical vocabulary in place. The other guys in AoF liked a lot of other styles of music. Dave, the bass player, liked Heavy Metal and rock bands like AC/DC and Thin Lizzy; Joe, the other guitar player, liked Jazz and experimental music; Bill, the drummer, was an early fan of rap and hip hop—we used to listen to Grandmaster Flash on AoF tours. It was the diversity of our tastes that gave AoF a distinctive sound. We tended to like other hardcore bands that had a diversity of styles in their music, too, such as the Big Boys, the Bad Brains, and, of course, Husker Du. None of us really liked the super-macho hardcore bands like Negative Approach, SoA or SSD. We weren’t up for playing to male-only crowds.
Q. Who is the nicest guy have ever met from being involved in hardcore? Was Ian Mackaye an asshole?
Bob Mould. Ian was definitely an asshole in the old days. But I’ve never met someone who evolved and grew more than him. Beginning with Fugazi, there was an amazing shift in his personality. He’s a terrific person.
Q. Tell us about the hostility between yourselves and the Effigies?
Vic: It had more to do with jealousy than politics. I was a big Effigies fan at the beginning, and to this day think Haunted Town is a great album. When I was first trying to fit into the Chicago scene, I thought they might help me, but it was just the opposite: they had contempt for me, as they did for almost everyone in the scene. They never saw themselves as part of a community, or a movement: they just wanted to be rock stars, and let everyone know it. We wanted to be rock stars, too, but we wanted to change the music industry, and more broadly, the culture of the country. And we not only were supportive of the scene, we actively built it up. Unlike the Effigies, AoF couldn’t get gigs in overage clubs, so we started putting on shows ourselves, and we let just about anyone play shows. By 1983, these shows were huge, and AoF was the hot band in the city. Honestly, we were a better band than they were—live, especially, they couldn’t touch us, and they knew it. That really grated the Effigies, who by that point were on the serious decline. You can hear it in their music: after Haunted Town, almost all their records sound alike, and are not very inventive. AoF, by contrast, kept pushing ourselves. AoF was a lot more musically adventurous. But the Effigies got caught up in commoditizing themselves (so they’d “hit it big”). AoF lived the music we made, and so it was a lot more dynamic.
Q. What do you think about the hardcore bands in the 80's who rejected the "MRR politics" and went out of their way to be controversial and/or right wing?
Vic: The Effigies did it; Tesco did it; Albini did it, although I’ll give Albini credit for keeping the music business at arm’s length, especially after he got famous (he’s still an insufferable shit of a human being). I don’t think too many bands—left or right--had a deep, knowledgeable understanding of politics. Things were much more visceral and reactive. There were bands that were pretty comfortable with the way things were, like the Effigies, and bands that weren’t, like AoF. There were bands that were in it for themselves, and those that tried—as much as egomaniac performers can try—to look outside themselves. I think the way Kedzy and I grew up after our musical heyday tells you more about the difference between our politics and our bands as our records did: Kedzy ended up a prosecutor for the State of Illinois, and I ended up teaching and building educational software. Prosecutors necessarily defend the status quo; teachers necessarily evolve it. So the difference is there, but I’m not sure how extreme it might be: I’d probably look to Kezdy to prosecute a crime if I were a victim of one, and no doubt his kids have used software I designed.
Q. Did you have any particular close relationships with any other Midwestern bands? Was there a sense of closeknit community, in a fairly large region?
Vic: We had very close relationships with several bands: the Huskers, Soul Asylum, Die Kreuzen, Zero Boys and Toxic Reasons, in particular. We also had close relations to some bands outside the Midwest, like the Big Boys from Texas, and Stretch Marks and Personality Crisis from Canada.
Q. Articles Of Faith consistently deviated from the sound of other hardcore bands. What do you think separated you from the rest?
Vic: The diversity of musical styles that each member of AoF had.
Q: How do you feel about the DIY ethic that was to be found in hardcore? Do you still hold onto those values when it comes to music?
Vic: Absolutely. I’ve been a software entrepreneur for the last three years, and still feel strongly about doing it yourself. The latest musical outing I’ve made, Report Suspicious Activity, is again DIY: We paid for everything ourselves, and owe no one.
Q. How do you feel about commercial popular music nowadays? I heard that you wanted to kill Britney Spears...
Vic: I don’t need to kill her. No doubt she will eat herself to death. I don’t listen to commercial music at all. I rely on new music from three sources: the Internet, where I stumble across all sorts of styles, epitomic.com, which streams a lot of music I like, and WMFU here in New York, which plays just about any style of music there is, but for the most part by unknown or single hit bands. Commercial music has always been shit, and for the now part is good only on television commercials, the only place where it crosses my threshold.
Q: What do you think of hardcore nowadays? Is there any current bands you like or respect?
Vic: I don’t listen to much hardcore. Most “hardcore” bands specialize in that “light singer/heavy singer” crap, which I don’t find interesting. But I’m open.
Q. Tell us about about the politics behind Articles of Faith: a thrashing protest band?
Vic: The idea was that we would destroy the conventions of music just as we would destroy the conventions of the State. Unfortunately both proved a lot more resilient than we thought.
Q. Did you ever consider turning into a bad heavy metal band in the mid 80's like many of your contemporaries?...Changing your name to Iron Warriors or something...
Vic: Well, that’s how the music biz incorporated the discontinuity that hardcore represented. We would never have done that—we would (and did) break up first. But no one in the band ever seriously considered it. Too “boy.”
Q. How much have your opinions changed over the years? For example, your views on Anarchy expressed in some early interviews...
Vic: I was never a serious Anarchist. I met serious Anarchists in Europe, and am not sure that American culture can provide for a serious anarchist—our culture is too individualistic for that. I think a lot of young, anti-authoritarian Americans talk about Anarchism, but don’t viscerally understand it the way the more communalist Europeans do. Ask Crass or the Ex about Anarchism. Black Flag or AoF really didn’t understand it, no matter how many times we might have invoked it. Look, I’ve made my accommodations with the way things are. I’m a middle class, middle-aged father trying to do my best to change things in my own small way. I’ve got my issues with the way things are, but recognize how difficult it is to change them. In the past year I did my best: I released the Report Suspicious Activity record, and spent 14 months deploying laptop learning programs in the worst schools in New York City. I know the laptop program touched and changed the lives of some of the students we served. Hopefully the RSA record did, too.
Q. Hardcore punk has become more apolitical over the years. What do you attribute this to, and how do you feel about it?
Vic: I think that the minute you drop politics from punk it becomes heavy metal, and you become mere entertainers. A lot of hardcore bands know this, and don’t care, because they think they are going to make a lot of money. But they won’t. More importantly: twenty years from now, no one is going to be interested in what you done, or who you are.
Q. Do you think that it's "viable" (for want or a better word) for a DIY hardcore punk band to promote Christianity, or religion in general?
Vic: I think it is contrary to everything hardcore is about. I’m not against religion. But keep it to yourself.
Q. How did the hardcore scenes vary, from city to city, in the 80's? Was there any cities you particularly liked to play?
Vic: The big scenes were in LA, SF, Boston and DC. But Philly, Calgary and Toronto were great places for AoF to play.
Q. would you ever consider doing a reunion with Articles Of Faith?
Vic: We did it in ’91. At this point we are probably too old to play that style of music. And there would be no point in playing with anyone else, although we occasionally toy with the idea of RSA playing an AoF song.
Q. What are your views on "straight edge"?
Vic: I was straight edge for about six months. Ian still is. God bless him for that. For everyone else, let’s have a beer.
Q. What do you think about the kind of cult status of certain figures in hardcore, the kind of hero worship perhaps (Rollins, Mackaye)?
Vic: I don’t see anyone actively soliciting hero worship. Henry and Ian have just done the best that they can. They can’t be held responsible if other people project upon them things they can’t sustain.
Q. What is the single worst experience you remember from playing in AOF? Did you ever have problems with violence at shows in Chicago?
Vic: No, not in Chicago. We had a bad run-in with skinheads in Detroit. The worst with AoF was when Dave and I got into a fistfight onstage in Tucson. Thankfully the cops raided the show during the fistfight, and it was cancelled.
Q. Tell us about your time spent teaching at the University of Massachusetts. What do you do to pay the bills now?
Vic: I taught history for eight years, living a pretty threadbare existence. I liked teaching at UM—Boston best, because the students there had a fantastic work ethic and tried hard. My favorite course was probably the Vietnam War class I taught for two years at University of New Hampshire. In 1995, Microsoft offered me a job developing educational software. I took it. In 2003 I left the company for several educational software startups, which have failed, so I am returning to work at MSFT this month.
Q. A common theme in AOF lyrics is War. How do you feel about what happened in Iraq recently? Do you think there is general apathy from people towards it?
Vic: No, I think most people despise the war. But Bushco does not care. My feelings on wars then and now are pretty self-evident in my music. The entire Report Suspicious Activity record is pretty clear about it.
Q. Generic question, what are your three favourite novels?
Vic: I don’t read a lot of fiction—I tend towards nonfiction. I’m currently reading The Power Broker about the New York developer Robert Moses, and just finished two non-fiction books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Earth: An Intimate History. My favorite novels are probably: A. USA by John Dos Passos, B. 1984 by George Orwell, and C. The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.
Q. Did you ever experience any hostility towards you or your band due to your politics?
Vic: Yes, but fuck ‘em.
Here's an Articles Of Faith video of 'Wait'.
To kick things off, here are various Citizen's Arrest photos that Daryl K sent me a few years ago to go in a zine that unfortunately I never got around to printing. I'm trying to hunt down the interview I did with him for it too; more info when I find it (edit: see a few posts above!).
What makes bands like Citizen's Arrest special is that they manage to make most other hardcore bands sound completely redundant. They make you say "why aren't more bands like THIS", whilst you suppress the urge to kill. Ofcourse the fact that there isn't more bands like them is precisely the point. They were one-of-a-kind and far from generic, despite being firmly rooted in classic hardcore (SIEGE probably being the most obvious influence). I'd go as far to say that 'A Light in The Darkness' is easily one of the 5 best hardcore 7"s of the 1990s (along with Infest: Mankind, Neanderthal: Fighting Music, No Comment: Downsided, Crossed Out: S/T, and the Rorschach/Neanderthal split...YES! However I feel bad for leaving out H-100's...argh!)