Trevor, Tim and Taryn McMahon at the Phillies World Series parade, Photo: Traci McMahon
When Gordo and I talked about doing a "Year In Review Top 5" type of entry, originally we were both going to talk about our favorite interviews that came together here on DCXX. As Gordo finished his piece and I read through it, it left me thinking that Gordo and I probably had a lot of the same favorites. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to be able to expand upon what he said and wasn't sure if it was worth doing my own if the difference weren't that drastic. Instead I decided to take a slightly different angle and discuss my general top 5 of 2008. Some hardcore related, some not, all personally substantial to me. -Tim DCXX
1. The Philadelphia Phillies winning the 2008 World Series - Being a follower of Philadelphia sports, seeing the Phillies bring home a championship to the city of Philadelphia was huge. Getting to go to one of the World Series games, being at the sports complex when the Phillies clenched the championship and then going to the parade and post-parade celebration at Citizens Banks Park was phenomenal. Hopefully it's not a once in a lifetime experience.
2. The completion of the Mouthpiece "Can't Kill What's Inside" Discography for Revelation - Considering this project took 4 years to complete, finally finishing it and submitting everything to Revelation was both a huge relief and a very satisfying moment. Revelation Records and those early releases really set the standards and laid the groundwork for everything Mouthpiece wanted to do as a band. To release our complete collection of recordings on this label means a lot to me and I can only hope this discography accurately defines everything we were about.
3. The creation and actual following through with Double Cross - Another project that I had been contemplating for years, both in print format and digitally online. To finally get this concept off the ground in some format felt like a long time goal that had finally be achieved. Pulling Gordo aboard turned a flame into a full blown inferno. Expect much more from DCXX in 2009.
4. The First Step's final show - Following this band from the moment I received the demo in the mail, to seeing them play basement shows and halls to 15 people, to being instrumental in the release of their demo 7" and "Open Hearts and Clear Minds" 7" on Livewire Records, to watching them slowly but steadily grow into a serious force, I felt like I was there every step of the way. Most definitely my favorite hardcore band of the 2000's and some of the classiest and sincere individuals I've come in contact with. Seeing these guys play their last show was both a bum out, yet very fulfilling. It was sad to see the best straight edge hardcore band of the past 8 years end it, but it was great to know what they had accomplished and how they had left their mark. The show it's self was a perfect send-off, definitely the best all around show I'd seen them play. I know I left that show sweaty, achey and tired and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
5. The Philadelphia Eagles miraculously having the opportunity to get into the playoffs and then completely demolishing the Dallas Cowboys to make sure it happens - Being an Eagles fanatic and watching the 2008 season go through it's highs and lows, the way week 16 went down was simply mind blowing. Needing the Oakland Raiders to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Houston Texans to beat the Chicago Bears, it seemed very unlikely that the Eagles would get that help to even have the opportunity. Sometime miracles happen and week 16 brought those miracles to reality. Both the Raiders and the Texans won, which left the door open for the Eagles to beat the Cowboys and squeak into the playoffs. Then there was the actual Eagles, Cowboys game... wow. Philadelphia stepped it up and simply tore the Cowboys to shreds. 44 to 6 was the final score, but even those numbers don't show how humiliating of beating the Eagles put on the Cowboys. What a way to end the season, what a way to slip into the playoffs. What 2009 will bring is still a mystery, but like Ray said... " I have faith".
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Seeing my son start kindergarten, The Jimmy Yu interview at his parents house in the Poconos, The Albany mountain bike ride with Daily, Zusi, Reddy and Cappo, A full year of Stern on Sirius, The Double Cross shirts, The constant stream of photos from Ken Salerno...
The First Step - Something Inside from hate5six productions on Vimeo.
The First Step, Final Show, Lemoyne PA, September 6, 2008
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Gordo, Jimmy Yu of Judge and Tim
As we wind down the hours of 2008, we take a minute to reflect on our favorite interviews of 2008 here on DCXX. While our one year anniversary comes up in March, we still spent a huge chunk of 2008 busy on DCXX. Tim will follow up with his 2008 Year In Review for an entry tomorrow. Expect much more in the new year!
Gordo's Top 5 Favorite Interviews
This is almost impossible. Here are at this moment, my favorite interviews we have done so far on Double Cross. We didn't include contributors or re-printed material - but if we did we'd have to give a big honorable mention to Joe Nelson, Tony Rettman, Jon Roa, and the host of others who have been big contributors here. Top 5...
5. Dave Smalley - To the outside world, this would make no sense: Email a guy some questions about a tattoo he got 25 years ago when he was a teenager, then post his answers with some pictures of him and the tattoo. Sounds retarded, no? This was a smaller piece, but man did it make me want to move to Boston, shave my head, and go get Smalley's classic True Till Death tattoo inked on me, possibly on my forehead.
4. Marco / The Icemen - Up until this, I had never seen a very thorough interview with any of the guys from The Icemen, and not with Marco. A personal favorite, this gave practically everything you could want to know about this NYHC powerhouse and really seemed to take you back to the time and place, while pulling no punches.
3. Tony Erba - I think both Tim and I knew this would provide some serious entertainment shock value, and did it ever. We censored nothing and Erba wanted it that way. If you haven't read this, skip your coffee tomorrow morning and check this instead. It will wake you up, Clevo style.
2. Djinji Brown - When word spread that Absolution would be reuniting, I figured that was the perfect opportunity to catch up with Miami-based Mr. Brown. A three hour conversation taped and transcribed, Djinji's story of growing up in NYC, becoming immersed in hardcore, and then moving on in his own life was honestly one of the most powerful stories I've ever heard. At some point I would like to make the full audio available. I shit you not, hearing Djinji talk about his life and experiences will give you chills.
1. Jimmy Yu - If it wasn't for Jimmy Yu, Djinji's interview would be the clear winner. But sitting down at Jimmy's house, Judge playing in the background, a half dozen white Kramer guitars off to the side (with whammy bars), as Jimmy took us back to where it all started for him...it got a little surreal. I'd love to make the audio of this available at some point as well, but that would only tell half the story. Seeing the look in Jimmy's eyes when he talked about going to A7, running wild in the streets, playing in JUDGE, and how essential it was in his life really can't be described. The guy was as real and as gracious as they come. If you have never checked out this interview, please, free up an hour or so and read it all immediately.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: So many...Dave Bett, Todd Schwartz, Ajay Enuf, Straight Edge Hank Peirce, Tom Kuntz, Andy Guida, Jason Peterson...too many to list. Thanks for reading!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The Legendary Carry Nation
Zed Records, Nemesis Records, The Country Club, Carry Nation...if you know about these things, you know about Big Frank. We welcome him aboard DCXX...consider this an introduction. -Gordo DCXX
My most memorable show? To be honest almost every Carry Nation show was a cool time. From our first show opening for a sold out Bad Religion show, to me twisting my knee jumping around when we played with Judge. I think the most memorable would be our last show with Chorus, Vision, Point Blank, Killing Time (the one and only time they came out west) and of course Sick Of It All. It was definitely a great send off for the time we spent together, I only wish we could have completed a full length cd. We came within a hair's breath of being signed to Epitaph, but Dan's heart was already into his new band 411 and they chose Insted over us.
Trying to nail down one favorite show of all time is a unlikely task but I will try. I have seen so much from early Ramones to Minor Threat to Bad Brains, Misfits with and without Danzig. Hard Stance also comes to mind with Zach on guitar and Earnst on vocals, they never really fulfilled their true potential, and no offense to anyone but they would have wiped the floor with Chain Of Strength or Youth Of Today had they ever realized it. I think for now the show that comes to mind was the first time the Cro-Mags opened for Motorhead. I don't even think Age Of Quarrel had come out, I knew Doug from Kraut, and I was like, "what is this band all about?" He just said, "you'll see," and they blew me away with their intense energy. Harley definitely had an effect on how I wanted to play bass, although if I ever jumped in the crowd like him I probably would have killed someone.
Also, to all the people who think Joe Nelson's pic with Metzger was in bad taste, well for one you are right, but if you know Joe then you know it was Joe making fun of that douche. Joe has been near my side in scraps with plenty of these asswipes and he still would take my side, I'm sure.
JJ with the Cro-Mags jam 2008, Photo: Change Zine
Cro-Mags at City Gardens, 1987, Photo: Ken Salerno
Friday December 26th, 2008 at the Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA, John Joseph took the stage with Mackie, AJ Leeway and Craig Ahead and blazed through a set of Cro-Mags "Age Of Quarrel" era jams. I've seen JJ with various lineups and I have to say, other than the legit Cro-Mags lineup, this one has to rate up there as one of the best. Super tight, super powerful, everyone on point, crowd going nuts, you couldn't have scripted it much better. The highlight of the night had to have been seeing them pull out "Seekers Of The Truth", a rarely played "AOQ" era track. The crowd absolutely went insane and at one point I could have sworn I counted 15 people on top of the crowd at once. Other than the fact that I had someone smash into my left ear, bald head first and running full speed across the stage for a dive, this was a nice way to end the holiday week.
Vision in Asbury Park, NJ, 12/27/2008, Photo: Traci McMahon
Vision, 1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
Saturday December 27, 2008, Asbury Park, NJ, Convention Center. This was some sort of three day holiday fest that the guys from the Bouncing Souls put together. Being that the Bouncing Souls guys are friends with the guys from Vision and Token Entry, they brought them both together to play this show.
Out of all the bands that I've seen in my 21 years of going to shows, Vision must be the band that I've seen the most. Everywhere from City Gardens to Club Pizazz to Scott Hall to CBGB's to The Pyramid Club to The Marquee to Middlesex County College to The Down Under to The Princeton Arts Council to The College Of NJ to every other school, hall and club across New Jersey and more. They've consistantly been one of my favorite bands from New Jersey and whenever they play, I make it a point to be there.
This night was no exeption and I have to say, they really put on a great show. It was good seeing them play to a sizeable crowd and get a good response. Big thanks to Pete Tabbot for getting my wife Traci and me in. The show was sold out and Pete really pulled through.
Timmy Chunks with Token Entry in Asbury Park, NJ, 12/27/2008, Photo: Traci McMahon
Timmy Chunks with Token Entry, City Gardens, 1987, Photo: Ken Salerno
Token Entry were always a great band to see live. I can recall many of their sets at City Gardens standing out in my memory as some of the best shows I've seen. Timmy Chunks always had this great energy and the band came together with a live set that always seemed to outshine any of Token Entry's recorded material (in my opinion at least). Not that I didn't like Token Entry on record, but just listen to their tracks on the Hawker Records "Free For All" live comp and compare those same tracks to the recorded versions on their records. Both are great, but the live versions just take the cake for me.
Now aside from seeing Token Entry live their first time around, I also caught their reunion show that went down at The Wetlands in NYC, sometime around 1994 or 1995. When I heard they would be doing yet another reunion at this Bouncing Souls holiday party in Asbury Park, NJ, I knew I had to be there.
They opened the set with "The Fire" off their "Jaybird" LP and I gotta say Timmy Chunks hit the stage with some major fire of his own. Right from the first line, the crowd was singing along, which sent Chunks flying off the stage, across the barrier and over to the crowd with the mic, then launched himself back over the barrier, landing on his back on a monitor and flipping on to his feet on the stage. They proceeded to tear through a full set of classics and finish it off with "The Edge", which of course came complete with a full crowd sing along.
All in all, a weekend of the Cro-Mags, Vision and Token Entry (not to mention a miraculous Eagles playoff berth) made for one hell of a memorable and fun weekend. Damn do I love hardcore (and sports).
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Insted at CBGB's, Civ with the sing along, Photo: Jeff Ladd
One of the really cool things about doing DCXX is that people have started to float us some great content that we had been searching for ourselves. One interview we were planning to do was with INSTED...and then out of the blue, we get an email from Ryan "Ditch" Donahue, who did a recent huge interview with Rich and Steve INSTED for his blog Activated! Now writing for teamgoon.com, Ryan thought we would give the interview a proper home. We couldn't agree more, much thanks to Ryan! "There's Nothing Like It..." -Gordo DCXX
Insted emerged in the mid 1980's as an Orange County hardcore band, taking cues from bands such as Uniform Choice, Minor Threat, and 7 Seconds. Their music took a PMA charged approach to hardcore, mixing melodic undertones with a speedy delivery and lyrics which reflected an idealistic conviction to living a constructive lifestyle.
The following interview was conducted on October 3, 2007 in Huntington Beach, California with Steve and Rich of Insted/The Alligators
Describe Orange County hardcore in the mid to late 1980's.
It was violent. It was exciting. It was a wide array of things actually. Those are the things that come to mind. All the bands were really good. Everybody came to. . . not necessarily Orange County to play. We had the Flash Dance but to me I was always going to Fender's Ballroom because any time that I went there was always good bands playing. Rich what other adjectives can you come up with?
Fender's was kind of the border of the L.A. and Orange County scenes so you got the L.A. and the O.C. crowd coming. It was kind of like that was what we had.
Flash Dance was so short lived.
Yeah for like a year or two it held (shows). It was a small venue. It held some local shows. Some great shows were there.
But for the most part you'd have like one or two shows at a VFW hall or at a skate rink or something like that but there wasn't a lot of places to play so you had to go up to L.A. or go somewhere else to find the shows. . . Orange County sort of living up to its conservative ways, you'd have a show and they'd be like "Never again. You can never rent this hall again." So for the most part things were pretty much going on at Fender's Ballroom or the Olympic Auditorium in L.A.
The bands. . . Let's see, about '85 the king of the hill was Uniform Choice, Doggy Style, and for Orange County the Adolescents and Social Distortion had already kinda broken up. . . went through a different phase, things like that. Those were kinda like the kings of the early 80's and yknow the Vandals.
Yeah stuff like that. Touring bands would come through all of the time.
For me and I can really only speak for myself Uniform Choice really got me to look at the faster, thrashier hardcore. I was listening to Rodney on the ROQ and I had an older friend who got me into the punk stuff like the Dead Kennedys. . . Stuff like that which I loved. But when Uniform Choice came on and they really started coming on strong. I saw that and it was almost frightening but it frightened me in a good way. So I really started to take more note on who was influencing them and started to get involved in that. Definitely I also was really into English punk at the time. . . GBH and the Varukers and stuff like that. So I was broadening my horizons for lack of a better term.
How did Insted come together at that time?
Insted primarily came together from the ashes of like this band that was almost a party band. And when I say that - it was a punk band but we did a lot of punk covers of songs that we liked. I was learning how to play around which is generally how punk bands started. They didn't know how to play their instruments very well. At the time we were all discovering Stalag 13, 7 Seconds and Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, all of those things. And so (we were saying) "Wow..." we were really into Social Distortion and the Adolescents and stuff like that. . . Even English Dogs and that sort of thing.
And so essentially out of the ashes of this band, a bunch of us guys who all went to high school together, we started Insted. Kevin had nothing to do with that. As I was saying we were doing a lot of covers and one of the songs that we did was "Donut Shop Rock" by Doggy Style and Kevin would always be at the parties we played at and he would always take the mic and do that song with us. It was a different vibe and everything would change the moment he picked up the mic. (Kevin) was charismatic and people liked him; they liked being around him and it changed our style as players as well because all of a sudden we weren't just background music to some kegger party or something with a bunch of people pretending to be punks and slamming.
So here comes Kevin and it becomes "Hey this is pretty cool. We're all into the same stuff. We should start writing our own material," and we started going more towards what we were influenced by at the moment which was Stalag 13, 7 Seconds, Uniform Choice, etc.
Ditch, Steve and Rich at the Merch.com office
So Rich how did you get involved with Insted?
Going to shows and being a part of the scene I met Kevin. I was doing some scene report stuff for zines. I was at all the shows and he (Kevin) gave me a demo. Somehow we got to talking and we got each other's phone numbers. He sort of mentioned to me that they were going through some tough times within the band, trying to get to the next level and they didn't have a bass player. I told them I played bass so he sent me their stuff and I said "I'll try out" and I just ended up joining the band.
We didn't try out anyone after Rich. We weren't looking for some hot shot bass player but what we did know about Rich was exactly what he said and that was that he was involved with the scene. He was doing scene reports and I mean he was everywhere. I would be at a show in San Francisco and there was Rich. I didn't know Rich but I knew Rich from shows.
So he came down to "try out for the band" for lack of a better term and he knew all of the songs. He put in the time and he was a guy that was involved in hardcore and that was very important to us.
And to his point where he was talking about Insted going through member changes that was because we started playing and I don't know at what point you started taking notice of us, Rich but it happened very quickly. It was just like we popped the gates and "Boom!" everyone was interested in what was going on with us. It caught us off guard and and then more importantly a couple of the guys that were in the band were still treating it like a party band. They didn't step up and they didn't want to tour, they didn't want to go out of town to play shows, and things like that. And because we were seeing all of these touring bands coming through and they were influencing us, Kevin and I, as opposed to the other guys, were more involved in the hardcore scene where they were at arms length of it. They liked punk and hardcore but they didn't mix themselves in it.
So it was almost like a weekend thing for them almost?
Right. And that's not saying anything against them. It's just that's the way that they were involved with it. They surfed and did other things, whereas for Kev and I. . . that was like our bread and butter. That was what we liked. We went to shows and we wanted to see the chaos and craziness and what new band was coming out. Kevin was a big avid record collector and I would never call myself a collector but I was definitely buying a lot of records at that time.
What sort of bands were you playing with at that time?
Well everybody. We played with such a wide variety of bands which is what is different about (hardcore) right now I think. We played with everybody.
We'd just put on a punk show. It was whoever was around, whoever was touring. It could be Bad Brains, it could be MDC, Agnostic Front, Excel, ya know, a speed metal band.
Anybody who was a band at that time we played with. It's just the way things were back then. Not to get on a soap box but now shows are really segregated. Straight edge bands play straight edge shows and on top of that there's separation in straight edge bands. It's weird where Rich and I and Kevin especially weren't particular. We just liked all kinds of punk and hardcore it was natural for us to play with those bands and furthermore I don't think it was ever discussed like "Why don't we put together a straight edge show together?"
Steve's Insted O.C. Straight Edge tattoo, Photo: Tim DCXX
At the same time that you came up there were bands like Verbal Assault, Youth Of Today, and Gorilla Biscuits. Were you in correspondence with the straight edge bands on the East Coast?
We were good friends with all of those bands who you just mentioned except maybe Verbal Assault who we were sort of more just aquaintences with. We knew Youth of Today from when they came out here. We played some San Francisco and Arizona area shows with them. They sort of in their own way took us under their wings because they were definitely a bigger band than us.
Gorilla Biscuits were affiliated with Youth of Today and so we knew them and toured with them. When I think of Gorilla Biscuits we were like doing the same things. They were the East Coast and we were the West Coast. We had the same type of vibe too. It was like Youth Of Today came before Gorilla Biscuits while we had Uniform Choice over here (before Insted).
When you put out "Bonds of Friendship" was that sort of a big deal since you were so influenced by Uniform Choice or was working with Pat Dubar sort of just like working with anyone else who was involved in Orange County hardcore?
It was definitely a big deal. It was a big deal that anybody wanted to do a record with us. And then it was a big deal because Youth of Today and Uniform Choice were both on the label and (those were) for me two of the big influential bands at the moment. And it was local and it was guys we knew and respected. Being seventeen years old and having someone tell you they wanted to put out your record is definitely a big ego boost.
Kevin and Rich hit the CB's stage, Photo: Jeff Ladd
You guys in the song "Feel their Pain" talked about vegetarianism and then later on in "One World" there were sort of some environmental undertones. Was that a shared passion within the band or was that more of just Kevin's thing?
It was shared.
Yeah absolutely it was shared.
Vegetarianism at the time that we wrote that song was a new thing for everyone for the most part and it's still something that we support to this day. We've never been ones to be super activist about anything but it's something that we believed in for sure.
Definitely and I think anybody that knows the band (knows) we were never a preachy band. I would almost call us a fringe straight edge band even. Though we were a straight edge band it wasn't really intended that way. I think it evolved into that. It was definitely a belief in our system and everybody was on board with it but it wasn't important to just jam it down people's throats. And the same thing can be said with the whole vegetarian thing. When I think of Insted I think the whole philosophy was sort of "choose for yourself." Live and let live. Let people be who they are. It's ok to be different.
And with the "One World" thing that was an issue at the time and it's still and issue today. I think both of them are probably even more relevant today than they were back then. I think there's more vegetarians in the world now, there's more people looking at the environment saying, "We'd better slow down or we're going to have nothing left to live on."
It's a whole lot easier to be a vegetarian now than it was in the 1980s.
Steve rocks the III's, camos and an X Rated at Fenders
Did you guys get much heat for taking stands like being a straight edge band and singing songs about vegetarianism?
At one point we were a relatively big band and with that people backlash just because we're on Epitaph and play to one thousand people a night. All of a sudden we've sold out or whatever.
I think that we got away pretty good. We'd always kind of known bands that were around at the time. We were friends with everybody in the scene. There were bands that were hated. There were bands that hated other bands. We kinda slid through it. We were pretty much friends with a lot of people.
We were conscious enough not to take sides in situations but to your point about controversial issues of the day like straight edge and vegetarianism there was a certain small group of people that wrote us off because we were friends with bands like Uniform Choice and Youth of Today. And then there was a small group of people who thought that we were "ultra posi," too positive or too uplifting for what was going on and that this (punk/hardcore) was not the type of music for this (attitude).
What sort of changes have you seen in terms of hardcore and straight edge since the 1980's?
I think in the 80's you had sort of punk being the umbrella and then you had the peace punks, the skaters, the skinheads, the straight edge kids and all of that stuff. And it was all just kind of like a zoo; they were all sort of different animals but they all lived together. It eventually started becoming more strict and divided. I think over the years the music has also changed stylistically, like if someone says "We're hardcore" or "We're straight edge" it might not sound anything like Insted. A hardcore band today might be what I consider a crossover metal band or a glam rock band.
And with straight edge there's all of these little elements attached like, "You can't go out past 6:00 at night." There's these crazy little things. I mean I don't know because I haven't kept up on the whole thing but I can definitely say that it's changed and each generation sort of applies its own things to it. I know it still exists and I think it's a great thing to a certain extent.
I can just say that it's changed. I do know that. I can't say that it's changed for the better or the worse; it's just different. When you go through and you look at hardcore bands and punk bands generally what's motivated them is whatever is going on politically and economically in the world or sort of whatever region that they are from so what motivated us back then is not the same thing that is motivating hardcore bands today. That's why hardcore from 1982 sounds a little bit different from hardcore in 1985 and a little bit different from hardcore from 1988 and so on. I just think that there's different social elements that drive the issue and I think one of the things that I notice mostly right now is that you go to a show and the musicians are a lot better and they're good at playing their instruments which is kinda weird, being like, "Wow look at you."
And they're spending five grand to make an album rather than five hundred so their records are sounding better.
Rich and I talk about this every once in a while sort of on the subject/off the subject. (In the 80's) when we'd roll into town and couldn't find the club we'd just find a punk kid and ask "Hey, where's the show tonight?" and he'd tell us where it is. Now with the entrance of Hot Topic and things like that sort of everyone looks like a punker to me and I don't know what to do. I mean if you're wearing sort of an obscure t-shirt like a BL'AST shirt or a Bad Reaction shirt (gesturing to Ditch and Mitch) chances are you're pretty committed to hardcore but outside of that if you're wearing a Dead Kennedys shirt you may not even know one song.
Part 2 coming soon with discussion about Insted's break up, their reunion, and much more.
Rich in 2004, still straight edge and showing his love for U.C.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Joe Nelson going for the Ian MacKaye
Joe Nelson is in the holiday spirit and has given us here at DCXX yet another great story like only he can. This time Joe dives into the white power skinhead scene that seemed to infiltrate the late 80's hardcore scene. Like any other Joe Nelson story, he's got a knack for pulling humor out of anything and everything. For those that remember the late 80's scourge of white power skins, you'll definitely get a kick out of this. For those that missed it, consider yourselves lucky. -Tim DCXX
It's around this time of year, where I start thinking of friends, family, holiday stuff, and of course the 1980's White Power Skinhead movement. It's probably because after interviewing Tom Metzger, the movement's pseudo rock star sometime during the fall of 2002, I ended up creating a holiday card, which went out to my closest friends. The card was a picture of Metzger and I with the greeting of "Whishing You A White Christmas". I hadn't even realized I'd misspelled the word "wishing" until years later a girlfriend pointed it out to me. "Even better" I thought. It just makes it so much more authentic.
I was first exposed to the existence of the skinheads from going to shows in Southern California during the 80s. There were many different skinhead gangs in the area; distinguished by either a certain color of suspender, or the way they laced their boots or even a combination of the two. It was very confusing, so I didn't pay too much attention to them. I had a shaved head as well, but that was only because Ian MacKaye shaved his head. There were also gangs that shaved their heads, but also made it clear that they were not a part in any way shape or form of the other people at the show with shaved heads. In fact the whole point of their gang was to make sure they were recognized as the true people with shaved heads, and that the other gang was looked on as hijackers of that haircut. Like I said, it was very confusing.
Around the moment the skinheads were showing up at gigs, the local trash talk shows on T.V. started running exposes of these groups. That's where Metzger came into focus. He and his son John made the talk show rounds, talking their talk, longing for some sort of segregation to come back into our lives, and basically making a pretty strong play to the disenfranchised losers out there to come on down, and join up. Their groups were the Tom-run White Aryan Resistance (WAR), and the John-run, but strings-pulled-by-Tom, Aryan Youth Movement (AYM). Both groups even included armbands of like a wolf, or some type of Nazi skull with an eye patch.
The infamous Joe Nelson / Tom Metzger Christmas card
As the Metzger affiliated gangs gained notoriety, their followers started to show up in greater numbers to more and more shows, or other places we'd hang. I remember at an Agnostic Front show out in San Bernardino there were at least 30 of them Sieg Heiling the band. Then down at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, a bunch of them including John Metzger himself were handing out literature. I ended up in a conversation with one if the lieutenants who actually thought I might be "down for the cause."
I asked him, humoring myself, "what's the difference between White Power and White Pride?" 'Cause I might be down for the White Pride part, since it is a lyric in a Black Flag song, but the White Power thing is a little extreme for me."
"Well you know...White Pride just means you're proud of your race...you know your heritage...where White Power means we want to keep things in power, keep the Blacks out."
"Oh yeah that makes...ummmmm...a lot of sense...sooo...well...what if I'm German and Norwegian? Which heritage am I more proud of?"
"Ummmm...well...ya know you're White...so that...or maybe...German probably."
Obviously he didn't know the answer, or he considered "White" the answer to a person's heritage. Immediately another of his friends who's rank I could not determine stepped in and handed me a sticker which simply said, "White men built this nation, White men are this nation." Apparently that was intended to clear up any confusion I may have had. Wow, what a top-notch organization these fuckers have, I thought.
A few weeks after getting my 1st sticker I ran into the Lieutenant and 30 of his friends at another show in some community center down in San Diego. As I walked by him he shot me a "what up" nod. "Fucking great" I thought, "Now, I'm on a what up basis with these jackals." Somewhere in between the 45-minute change over of bands that was commonplace in those days they approached me.
"Hey brother, I never got your name," said the lieutenant.
"Joe" I answered, immediately thinking "DAMNIT WHY DID I GIVE HIM MY REAL NAME?"
"Really?" I half chuckled.
"Yeah,why?" he shot back.
"Well...ummm...ya know?...well...cuz...it's a Jewish name?...or has Jewish origins"...I said sheepishly, realizing I was making blunder, after blunder now.
"It's not a fucking JEW NAME...where did you get that?"
"Ummm...well...ya know? The Bible?...ummm King David?...Ya know? King of the Jews? David and Goliath?"
David's eyes were glazed over. He wasn't buying any of it.
"Forget it I said...bad joke."
David eyeballed me a little. His soldiers also surrounded me in a half circle, employing some sort of military strategy I assumed. Perhaps tactics the Scotts employed against the English at The Battle Of Stirling Bridge, or maybe they were relying on the strategy Wellington used when facing Napoleon at Waterloo. It was hard for me to tell, but then again, unlike these guys I had never trained for the military in my bedroom late at night.
Then suddenly, and without any warning one of their crew handed me another sticker. This one depicted a good honest white guy who was just reading his book, minding his own business, when all of a sudden a Jew attacks him using his nose in the same manner a mosquito would to drain the blood from his back. "Attack of the Parasite King" it exclaimed.
"Thanks" I said, realizing I now had 2 stickers from the organization.
I attempted with all my might to force my hair to grow at least another inch so they'd leave me alone. It didn't work. Instead we talked for a few more minutes. David told me about the Metzger's, WAR, and AYM. He also spoke with crazy historical inaccuracy of Hitler, and the Nazis, somehow tying what they were about to what these 30 or so skinheads were about. It made absolutely no sense, but I wasn't about to make any more blunders as I had earlier by insinuating the name "David" was Hebrew. No fucking way. Instead I nodded, and occasionally said things like "cool," or "interesting" so they would be fooled into believing we were actually having a conversation.
The skins eventually dispersed, and later on were the victors in an extremely fair fight which showcased all of them beating a lone, long haired Chicano kid to a pulp, while the rest of us watched meekly, cowardly. No matter how I felt, we felt, or anybody felt, what had become clearly apparent was the David "The King of The Skins", and his bald soldiers had infiltrated our world. They were now in charge of the clubs, at least the ones south of Los Angeles County. Somewhere "The Battle of The Bulge Part Deux" had occurred, and the Nazis had gained a foothold on American soil, even if that foothold was made up of only 30 or so pairs of $150 Doc Martin covered feet, leading to a single half lit brain, filled with Metzgerisms.
Seriously though, what the fuck was going on? I tried to rationalize that as a child growing up in the 70s and 80s a lot of us romanticized fighting the Nazis as our grandfathers had done. Perhaps then this was our calling? Perhaps we were at the dawn of our own little World War II? Perhaps we'd actually get our own chance to rid the world of Nazis. Except our world would be a lot smaller and contain a rented P.A., and the War itself would have absolutely no historical relevance, and be in fact totally meaningless in the scope of, well, anything. Little did I know, that chance, along with everything else I was pondering was indeed actually coming...and coming soon.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Shawn Brown with Swiz, Photo: Boiling Point
The results are in and the the heavily favored winner turns out to be Swiz. No real surprise considering Swiz is easily Shawn's longest tenured and lasting band.
Personally it was hard for me to make my decision and looking at the results, obviously a lot harder for me than it was was for most. Ultimately I went with Swiz, but I have to give some major respect and a solid nod to Jesuseater. Between Jesuseater's self titled EP and their full length,"Step Into My Deathray" (both available on Deathwish Records), there is a great collection of some of the heaviest and hardest hitting material Shawn has done. Unfortunately I don't think Jesuseater got out on the road all that much, so their notoriety wasn't all that strong. I know through out the early 2000s I was always eager to catch them live, but unfortunately it never happened. With that being said, if you haven't heard Jesuseater, it's never too late to pick up one of their cds.
As for Swiz, plain and simply put, another D.C. great. Between Jason Farrell's riffs and Shawn Brown's vocal delivery, you really had a rare and special combo that stood out from much of what was going on at the time. Like Jesuseater, I never got a chance to see Swiz. I remember when they played Club Pizzaz II in Philly, but the same night they played Philly, if I remember correctly, there was a show at City Gardens that I ended up going to. Although I never caught them live, I can remember listening to them over and over and over again throughout the early 90s. When Jade Tree released that discography, they did us all a great service.
From what I've heard and read, Shawn works as a tattoo artist in Maryland these days and has been for quite a while. Hopefully he'll pick up the mic again at some point. -Tim DCXX
Shawn with Jesuseater, Photo: Michelle C. Roberts
Dag Nasty: 120
Sweetbelly Freakdown: 5
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Murphy's Law in NYC, Photo: Ken Salerno
DCXX partner-in-crime Tony Rettman recently tracked down Jimmy Gestapo to talk with him about the legendary A7 club, and the reunion show that went down last week at the Knitting Factory. One of the legends… -Gordo DCXX
Tony Rettman: So when was the first time you went over to A7?
Jimmy Gestapo: I think I was at Max's Kansas City and people were talking about it. I headed over there with Doug (Holland) and checked the place out. It was pretty much just an illegal after hours club before it became a Hardcore Punk Rock club.
TR: So what made A7 different than the other after hours clubs operating in the city at the time?
JG: Most after hours clubs were basically just drug dens with no windows and this place was more than that. There was an eclectic mix of people and music. A7 was more of a music scene than most after hours clubs. Most after hours places don't want noise or music because it'll bring police, but on the Lower East Side back then, the police didn't give a shit because there was no money to be made down there. Most of the fancier clubs wouldn't book Hardcore bands because no one really knew what it was yet. To them, Hardcore was pretty much an unknown form of Punk that wasn't as well dressed as the previous Punks! People didn't want us, so Dave (Proprietor of A7) started to have bands. There was already a reggae scene going on at A7 at the time. Jazz bands played there too. Musicians gathered there. Dave would let anyone who played any form of music play there and that's how the club grew.
TR: What was the difference between A7 and 171A?
JG: 171 Avenue A was down the block from A7 and they also did shows and sometimes showed movies. It was pretty much a community center ran by a guy named Jerry Williams. In the basement of 171A was Ratcage records.
TR: Any particular shows you can remember as being crazy that happened at A7?
JG: I remember SS Decontrol showing up with ski masks on trying to take over the pit and the whole place was just a pile of bodies. Have you seen that footage on YouTube of Agnostic Front playing?
TR: The one where you sing a Void song and you introduce AF? Yeah, it's awesome!
JG: Yeah, that's it. There's also some footage floating around from a show called 'Monitor', it was sort of a '60 Minutes' type of thing. They came down and shot some stuff at A7 and it was pretty in-depth. I think they came down and shot an M.D.C. show. They shot a lot of footage but they only used a little bit of it. I'd love to see the raw footage if it's out there. Sometime after that stuff was shot, I started working there as a D.J. and bouncer because Doug became the bartender. I was 15 and was flipping records and flipping people out the door! Every now and then, the cops would come to the door and raid the fuckin' place. They would take all the booze and all the money and leave. It was sort of a blessing in disguise because the cops would feel sorry for me and throw me a hundred dollars. It would take me two weeks of working at A7 to make that much money! I used to actually sleep in there. I remember we (Murphy's Law) did some benefit show for the Hare Krishnas at the Tompkins Square band shell. I was woken up while I was sleeping on the couch with Mickey, Dave's afghan dog, and I just got up from the couch, walked out the door and walked onto the band shell and we started playing!
Murphy's Law in NYC, Jimmy with the dive, Photo: Ken Salerno
TR : I heard a story once that you spray painted over the door of A7 'OUT OF TOWN BANDS REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE!' Is that true?
JG: No…it wasn't actually over the door! There was an A7 sign over the door. It was written right over the side door on the left hand side. You couldn't miss it!
TR: What prompted you to do that?
JG: Back then, Hardcore wasn't such a big thing that you could start a label and make a lot of loot. If you had a 7" that you pressed 500 copies of, you were a big man. If you actually sold the 500 copies you were a REAL big man! There were always challenges going on between us and D.C. and Boston. The other thing you got to bring into it was dancing. In other parts of our neighborhood, guys were break dancing against each other and we were moshing against each other. It was all about who had the most style, opposed to today where it's picking up change and karate kicking. It was all about trying to keep dancing while still blasting into someone from D.C. or Boston and who had the hardest pit for their town's band. It was like supporting your city's hockey team or something.
TR: Here's another one…Did you guys really actually beat the shit out of Mike Ness at A7?
JG: That didn't happen at A7, that happened at the A7 Annex. That was on 2nd Ave and Houston. The funny thing about that place was before Dave took it over it was this after hours club with the bar in the freight elevator. So if it got raided, they'd just send the elevator down and the cops would come up, and it would just be people hanging out in a room!
Anyways, we were standing outside of the place and I was all fucked up, as we all were when we were kids, and all of a sudden this bottle comes blasting over and hits Stigma in the leg. We look over and there's this guy with eye makeup on standing next to a school bus, so we chased him down and beat the shit out of him. I think that's what anybody would do if their friend was hit with a bottle. I guess people in that neighborhood now would just call the police, but the police would never come down there back then. Plus…we're not rats.
Jimmy rides the City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno
TR: Most of the people I've interviewed for this piece have all said how intimidating it was to go down to the Lower East Side back then. Did you find it intimidating?
JG: No because that was where my family was from. My grandmother lived right down the block on Avenue D and Fourth St. Right across from A7 was where my Grandfather and Grandmother were laid out. I was born and raised in Astoria, but my father was from the Lower East Side and my mother comes from Brooklyn. How can you be intimated when your grandmother lives two blocks away? Before A7 was A7, it was a social club for old Polish people. This was years and years ago. I used to go to 7B, which is now the Horse Shoe bar, with my Uncle Mike when I was 9.
TR: Did it take some time for NYHC to grow out of A7 and move onto the other clubs?
JG: Everyone likes to go on about CB's, but CB's didn't support the scene like Dave at A7 did. He was the first to put on the shows. CB's had already had its history at that point with the Dead Boys and Blondie and the Talking Heads and they didn't have time for us then. I think it's funny now that CB's is gone; all you hear are all these people talk about those bands. You'll never hear how Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law and Sick of it All played CB's hundreds of times. The Ramones or the Dead Boys might have played there five times or three times. People don't realize how important our scene is and how much we put into the music community of New York. It's sorta good and sorta bad. If we got a lot of attention, we would be done by now. Hardcore is worldwide now and we're still doing it and I say thanks to A7. Hilly definitely helped us out a lot by giving us the Sunday matinees. A lot of us fucked it up by fighting, myself included. But everyone talks about CB's, and it wasn't CB's that supported and founded NYHC, it was A7 and 171A.
TR: The other thing I've noticed from doing all these interviews is that everyone is like 'Oh we had The Misguided, The Undead and all that, and then Agnostic Front came around and it all changed'. Would you say some sort of torch was handed down at one point from those people to you guys and AF?
JG: I say the torch was handed down from The Stimulators and Harley. Harley is the forefather of NYHC, he was the first one. He was wearing Doc Martens before anyone knew what the fuck they were in New York. We were all still wearing MC boots and combat boots back then. Everyone can toot their own horn and all that, and that's fine. That's just pride…but I'll put it this way…Who's still doing it? You gotta give it up to Agnostic Front and Murphy's Law, because we still do it and never stopped doing it. My existence is a tribute to A7 and me carrying the torch and Vinnie carrying the torch and Roger carrying the torch and Harley still doing it, that's a tribute. I understand that some people got to go off and 'grow up' and start a family, but Roger has three kids and he's still a major part of the scene. I have no reason to go off and 'grow up' and start a family and a new life, this is my life.
Jimmy on bass at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Following my recent Mouthpiece entries in anticipation for the release of the discography next month (January 20th, 2009 on Revelation), I thought I'd take a stab at giving the back story on the "Cinder" video. Next week I'll get back on track with the album cover stories. Hope you dig. -Tim DCXX
Late December of 1995 Mouthpiece put together a week and a half long West Coast tour with Orange County, California's 1134. We had come off our first U.S. Summer tour and 1134 were just signed to New Age Records, so there was some momentum and excitement happening. We packed into Mike Hartsfield's trusty New Age tour van, played in Corona, Hollywood, Long Beach, Berkeley, Sacramento, then headed north to Seattle and then the extreme opposite south to San Diego. After all was said and done, we piled a ton mileage on that New Age van and had ourselves a great time.
On our last day in Huntington Beach, which was where Mike Hartsfield and the New Age HQ was housed, we had no show and essentially, a day off. As I remember, previous to this day, we had talked to Hartsfield and put this final day aside to talk business. When I say business, the plan was to spend the day at the New Age warehouse, talk royalties and make plans for our next record. As exciting as all of that may have sounded, Hartsfield also threw out the offer to shoot a video. Shoot a video or talk business... we opted for the video.
Chris, Sean, Jason, Tim and Matt in a limo on the way to the airport
We loaded the van with lighting, stands and a few pieces of camera equipment, picked up the hotel connection friend and headed to our destination. The hotel we were going to shoot the video at was somewhere over near Disneyland. I remember once we got there we kinda claimed a room to store our stuff in, then headed to the elevator to size up our shooting space. The hotel happened to be pretty dead that day, so we didn't really have to worry about hotel patrons getting in our way or us getting in their way. The coast appeared clear, so we set up our equipment in the elevator while Hartsfiled got all the camera equipment prepared.
Before we knew it, the action had begun. We had decided upon the song "Cinder" and played through a boom box tape player and tried to play along as well as we could. We did shoot after shoot, some with all of us in the elevator, some with only a couple of us in there and then some shots with each of us alone. I remember Hartsfield telling us to be as natural as we could and just try to act like we were on stage. It was pretty much impossible to act natural while packed into this bite sized elevator, but we did what we could. We also wanted to figure out some way or another to pull our roadie Ed McKirdy into the video, so we worked in this ridiculous plot line. Ed would pretend to be a hotel patron trying to get from one floor to another via the elevator, but couldn't get into the elevator for reasons unknown to him. All the while we would be seen playing in the elevator. Seemed funny at the time.
Me, Sean and Matt hanging at McKirdy's apartment checking out the Ressurection 7" on CD. Matt had just bleached his hair and Sean was actually bleaching his hair as this photo was taken.
Thinking back, for the most part, we always tried to keep Mouthpiece percieved as a serious band. Although we were all the biggest goofballs around, we were serious about hardcore and what we were saying, so we tried to generally keep the two sides seperate. Sometimes we let a little of the goofy side slip out and this video for "Cinder" was a prime example of that. We weren't getting paid for it, we weren't going to increase our record sales by doing it, we didn't care. Shooting a video just sounded like a fun thing to do and that's all that mattered, bottom line.
Unfortunately, with Hartsfield being the guy that filmed the video and the guy that would edit the video and the same guy that was running an active record label, the footage fell to the wayside. By the end of 1996 Mouthpiece would be broken up and the video seemed as if it would never see the light of day. Truthfully there probably wasn't much of a point to releasing the video once we broke up.
Jump ahead to 2004 and talk of putting together this Mouthpiece discography had begun. Jason and I thought it would be great to try and get all the unedited "Cinder" video footage from Hartsfieild and attempt to put the video together ourselves. We were thinking that once the video was finished, we could toss it on the cd as interactive bonus material. Turned out Hartsfiled offered to finish the video himself. It took a few months, but considering this discography has taken close to 5 years, the wait for the video was nothing.
Never forget the Ferps, never forget the tiuerps
So there you have it. Although the video has made it to YouTube and has been seen by a minimal of 30,000 plus people, it will end up appearing officially on the discography. As off time as my vocals are to the song and as goofy as the video ultimately is, it was a lot of fun to do and seeing it brings back nothing but good memories.
Follow the link below to Revelation for information regarding the Mouthpiece - "Can't Kill What's Inside" discography
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Judge at The Ritz, NYC, alternate shot from this show ended up on the Revelation re-press of the "New York Crew" 7", Photo: Ted Liscinski
Ted Liscinski is a guy who may have flown under the radar to many, but in the late 80s he was snapping some great photos of the best HC bands of the day, his shots appearing in Thrasher, on records, and in tons of fanzines. When Tim and I started DCXX, he was one of the first guys we decided we wanted to get in touch with.
In the meantime, I discovered that my boss at work had actually gone to punk and hardcore shows in NJ in the late 80s and was from Hillsborough, NJ. This was especially shocking, as he is just the type of guy you would never guess had dabbled with anything from the underground. Our hardcore discussions are sporadic and never too deep, mostly because he self-admittedly followed fringe hardcore bands loosely, and stopped going to shows by 1990. Strangely enough though, he brought up the name Ted Liscinski as a childhood friend. Small world.
So with that, we finally got through to Ted, he hooked us up with some photos, and hopefully there will be more to come. For now, here's Ted's take on his time around the HC scene. Another great who was behind the lens... -Gordo DCXX
The CB's crowd at a Sunday matinee, Photo: Ted Liscinski
I suppose my first real exposure into the world of hardcore would have been with my first show I ever saw. The Dead Kennedy's last tour ever was for the album "Frankenchrist," and at the time I was OBSESSED with them. A bunch of friends and I piled into a van and headed to City Gardens in Trenton on a Sunday night in October to see our first "punk" show. My friend's dad, Ken Salerno, was there taking pictures. Looked like a good idea to me, and made for a good excuse to meet the bands. So, after a few more shows, I bought my first camera for $50 from a friend. I would bring that camera to every show I could. Soon, I was getting rides with Ken and we'd shoot together. On school days, I would learn to develop my film and make prints in the art studio at Rutgers Prep, where I went to school. If the results were ok, I'd simply send the prints off to the bands or the labels they were on. Sometimes the film would get ruined during processing. I was learning and made some heartbreaking mistakes in the beginning, but I kept on it. It was fun.
A driver's license provided the freedom to go all over to see some great shows. I started venturing into NYC for a few CBGB hardcore matinees. By this time I was into all sorts of hardcore, from NYHC style tough guy bands (Cro Mags, AF) to DC crybaby hardcore bands (Dag Nasty, Embrace), pop punk (Descendents) and anything really different or weird. I can remember a City Gardens show with Uniform Choice, 7 Seconds and Token Entry being especially exciting. In addition to all the punk I was into, I was listening to all the new rock bands coming up that were interesting (Jane's Addiction, RHCP, GnR). This was about '88-'89.
Arthur with Gorilla Biscuits at The Ritz, NYC, Photo: Ted Liscinski
At about this time, most of the bands in the area started aping the NYHC style. Soon, teenage boys from upstate, Connecticut and NJ were trying to be the Cro-Mags. There was a lot more fighting. Everyone was wearing baggy jeans. The bands were all similar in style. Sadly, there were less and less girls at shows. Hardcore became a homogenous, gym locker sausage hang. And the music was getting worse.
All of these thoughts stayed with me after seeing a CBGB matinee with Soul Side, Icemen, and Krakdown. I walked down Bowery after the show, disappointed with the crowd's reaction to Soul Side (silence) compared to that of the other bands. Once again it was a room full of sweaty, shirtless dudes beating the shit out of each other. It had very little to do with music, art, or progressive thought. It was, however, kind of stangely homoerotic, in an unconcious way...all those dudes...
I started edging away from the scene after that. There were some great bands that came a little later (Bouncing Souls, Deadguy) but as I got older I was discovering the millions of other styles of music in the world, and whatever residual teen angst and anguish was fading fast...I was getting laid.
That's my story.
Vision at Scott Hall, Rutgers University, NJ, Photo: Ted Liscinski
Monday, December 15, 2008
A young Dan O'Mahoney and Billy Rubin, Photo courtesy of: Billy Rubin
Tim got an email from Billy Rubin recently, and in their exchange, Billy wrote what is below. I think you can say that this is a little bit of an introduction to what will be some ongoing material with Half Off / Haywire's notorious singer... -Gordo DCXX
Regarding the "feud" between us and Youth of Today, or more specifically, me and Ray, I can speak for the Half Off guys when I say that we never really cared. It was always amusing to us that people were so worked up over something they knew nothing about. There was probably more of a hustle bustle over Half Off being critical of the SE movement. At the time (in that scene) being critical of SE was like a US citizen being critical of our foreign policy in Iraq (2 years ago). I was chastised for not being "hard". Or in my analogy it was like being unpatriotic.
Drugs & Booze The Sure Way To Lose
The Jeff Banks/Dave Mellow story you posted is great. I have my own Dave Mellow story...
I grew up in a kind of upper class area called Huntington Harbor. I was isolated from punk rock. There was a shopping center about 2-3 miles from my house with a bar in it. Every now and then a punk band would somehow pull off playing there. I would keep tabs on the place and skateboard over there (I was too young to drive) to stand outside and try and listen through the walls to hear live punk music. This would have been 1983 or '84, which made me about 14. At any rate, I was over there one time all by myself, a little rug rat, probably wearing a Husker Du t-shirt or something, with my ear pressed to the wall.
This older guy (in his 20s) came over to me and was really nice but a little buzzed. He told me he was in a band. He was almost too nice. It sorta scared me. He drove a beat up blue van and had long hair. He came off like a serial killer or a child molester. He gave me a demo tape from his band. I had no idea what the name of his band was and there was no label on the tape. I didn't even know what "demo" meant. Well of course, the guy was Dave Mellow and the band was UC.
A few months later, I started high school at Marina High. I met Dan O'Mahoney...now that is a story in itself. Dan and I became best friends. Dan always wore this weird "UC" shirt. I mean he wore it every fucking day. With the same pair of jeans that had "die kreuzen" stenciled on them. One day Dan drove over to my house (with someone named Paul Theriault) to pick me up (I still wasn't old enough to drive). We were driving around in his car (a metallic green Nova) and he had the same demo tape playing!
Thats when I figured out that Dan's UC shirt was the same band as the child molester guy's. Then I figured out that UC stood for Uniform Choice. Shortly after that, Dan and I began stalking Pat Dubar. Dan knew Dubar from Mater Dei high school. Dan had been kicked out of Mater Dei which is why he was at my high school. Later I came to know Dave Mellow as one of the nicest, most authentic guys ever. His brother was my age and I knew him from high school as we lived nearby each other.
I also worked with Dave and Big Frank doing the concerts way before Frank befriended Jeff Banks. The other guy that was around back then was a photographer named "O". He later was in a band called Olive Lawn...I could type your eyes out telling you those stories.
Dan and Billy, Photo: courtesy of Billy Rubin
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Dag Nasty at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
I've been talking with Peter Cortner, Dag Nasty's 3rd frontman and one of the geniuses behind Dag's "Wig Out at Denko's" album. As much as I love the Dave Smalley "Can I Say" era of Dag, I almost equally love the "Wig Out" era with Peter. I was able to catch Dag Nasty on their "Field Day" tour at City Gardens, which I believe was in May of 1988. Without question, Dag's set that night was and always has been a highlight of my show going years. My only regret from that night was not buying a "Field Day" tour shirt and those Dag Tags they were selling. I've probably searched high and low for those Dag Tags over the past 20 years and have never come across one person that still has them.
Although I have never come across those Dag Tags, I did find Peter and thought it would be cool to get to the bottom of a few Dag related mysteries. The first thing I asked Peter about was the story behind the song, "The Crucial Three". I know I've always wondered who "The Crucial Three" were, so it's pretty cool to get the story straight from the horse's mouth. Expect more content from Peter Cortner in future DCXX entries. Thanks again to Peter for sharing this with us. -Tim DCXX
The Crucial Three is about an intensely fucked-up relationship I had in high school between me, my best friend and my girlfriend (at the time). The two of them and I are the "three," and the song is about how trying to forget about them meant forgetting a lot about myself. The "I don't wanna lose" line is about loss of identity, respect, friends and memory, as well as simply feeling like a loser. I wish the song was about something cooler; if you thought it was about Ian, Rollins and Jesus Christ then forget I said anything!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
At this point if you've been reading DCXX, you've no doubt come across a Joe Nelson contribution. The guy simply knows how to tell a great story. This time around is no exception, as Joe fills us all in on the history of Orange County, California's Doggy Style and their frontman, Brad X. So gather the family, light up the fire place, grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate, get comfortable with your lap top and lay into another classic Nelson told tale. -Tim DCXX
Brad X and Doggy Style could only have come to be during the mid 1980s and in a place such as Orange County, California. In many ways they ARE the quessiential O.C. band for that period in time; incorporating skate thrash, comedy, funk, sex, and straight edge into one unit. Their shows were never the typical gig like the ones with 4 young dudes banging on their instruments while 1000+ other young dudes ran around in a big circle...they were events.
From the comedic stylings of their charismatic leader, Brad Xavier aka Brad X, to the random costumes, to the 500+ donuts hurled into the crowd during their semi-local hit “Donut Shop Rock”, to their “Green Period”, to the Doggy Hop, to the Go Go dancers, to the Mohawk helmets, to the “X” on the hand, you never knew what to expect. Some 10 years later, bands like Green Day and Blink 182 used the comedic punk thing along with some Descendents styled riffs to sell tens of millions of records. In 1985 Doggy Style used the same gimmick to sell tens of thousands...well, allegedly.
Their first release was 1984’s “Work As One” 7 inch which was pressed on the infamous Doug Moody’s Mystic Records. I remember picking it up and thinking, “what the fuck is this”? “Is it Straight Edge”? “Are they a Skate Band”? “What’s with this weird Congo line dance called the “Doggy Hop”? A couple months later I got to witness them for the first time, and left that show even more confused as to the true nature of their identity. At that show Brad X sported a day glo outfit, including the standard painter cap with flipped up bill, and hopped around stage singing to a combination of thrash and funk. At the time only the Red Hot Chili Peppers were known around L.A. for playing that type of music. Nobody considered the Peppers a punk band so watching Doggy Style kick out that same stuff in front of a the punk crowd, and get a great response in return was unique.
Watching them that night was like if Ian MacKaye, Weird Al Yankovick, and Flea decided to form a band under the management of P.T. Barnum. Then when “Donut Shop Rock” came on, the D.S. cronies threw garbage bag after garbage bag of donuts onto the “hard” L.A. crowd, effectively turning the pit into a glazed ice rink. The show deteriorated into a 10-minute food fight between the punks and skins, the L.A.D.S. and Suicidals. I was sold!
The next record to come from the quartet was the “Side By Side” record, released by the all mighty Flipside. Now there is no disputing Flipside was a classic zine, probably the best ever for that time period, but it was also no secret that the people who ran it were the self proclaimed “scene cool patrol”. They were also quite dismissive, almost to the point of mockery towards the new straight edge kids that had started to pepper the L.A. scene. Aligning themselves with somebody as overtly straight edge as Brad X only added another weird variable into the Doggy Style equation. Never the less, “Side By Side” was released in 1985, and is still a pretty fair record. The songs are style-wise and topically all over the proverbial map, especially when it comes to stuff like “Do It Doggy Style”, “Nympho”, and “Ladies of Neptune”. I would challenge anybody though to find melodic straight edge songs for that era better than “Be Strong”, “Straight”, “Enough”, and “Still Hope”. It’s classic O.C. musicianship; from the Rikk Agnew octave chords, to the forbidden beat, to the Kevin Seconds-esque melodies. Those songs are exactly what O.C. punk/hardcore was all about in the mid 80s.
The band also was able to release a pretty professional video for the song “Donut Shop Rock”. MTV even played it a few times during their program “Basement Tapes” which at the time was a major coo for any band, let alone a local punk band. The band also became the first O.C. straight edge type band to tour the United States, another seemingly impossible feat. Of course it was also around this time that Brad X decided to paint everybody in the band from head to toe the color green. I guess it was his punk rock answer to Picasso's “Blue Period". NOW...it was finally going to start getting weird. The shows started to feature Go Go dancers, as well as some sax wielding, bongo playing black dude painted up like The Great Kamala.
The best part of “the expanded” roster was Brad used it to get all the straight edge kids into his shows. He’d spot me and my crew in that pre-pre sale 2000 person line and come pull us out. “Ok you’re the kazoo player, you’re on triangle, you play the French horn, and you are our resident break dance team.” Their fake band roster alone was like 18 people deep per show. Next to Pat Dubar of Uniform Choice, Brad was the king of sneaking edge kids into shows.
Sometime in 1987 another Bizzaro World move happened and the band split into 2 warring factions. The guitar player Ed Caudill, and bass player Ray Jimmenez formed the band Doggy Style II, while Brad X, and his musical soul mate drummer Lou Gaez created...ummmmm...Doggy Rock. DS2 actually released a fairly decent record more known for its Led Zeppelin II cover parody. Doggy Rock, which was filled out by Dag Nasty’s Brian Baker and Doug Carrion, took a swing for the fences with the release of “The Last Laugh” only to realize that The Beastie Boys had rounded those bases a year ago. The record was at most, remembered for having...well...Brian Baker on guitar...and for containing a free condom. Both bands fizzled pretty quickly with DS2 lasting long enough to squeeze out another record so forgettable I can't even remember its name.
Both Doggy Styles were officially dead and buried by the end of the 80s. Brad X, however, survived and thrived. He went on to become L.A.’s most successful club promoter forming something coined The Artist Groove Network. His most famous club was the Roxbury, and yes, it’s THAT Roxbury. At one time or another Brad made sure to employee most of the straight edge kids from back in he day. It was as if he was sneaking us into shows again, but shows of a whole different nature. He gave us weird jobs like handing out VIP cards to the hottest girls we could find, or by making sure Alyssa Millanos party was completely taken care of for the evening. “Just be her personal valet for the night and I’ll give you an extra $100” was the order. Ok Brad…ummm do I say “yes” or "thank you?”
We all worked either there, The Boogie Lounge, or his SICK 6 story club called Orbit which was located in the then crack infested downtown L.A. area. A club where one could always find Janet Jackson and sometimes even Madonna dancing it up on one of the 4 dance floors with 5000 other people. It sure was a surreal moment in my 23-year-old life to work the VIP list for a Brad club, which of course always featured the entire cast of 90210 in it. He was absolutely the “guy” to know for L.A. at the time. It would take an entire book to recap those days, and one that only he could write to do it any sort of justice.
To cliff note it just a little, when the movie “Swingers” came out - which was the autobiographical look at then unknown actor Vince Vaughn’s life, Brad's comments to me more or less were “That movie was boring...those dudes are soooooo weak...they shouldn’t have made a movie about Vince and his friends, they should have made one about me and mine.” He was 10,000% right!
Another thing Brad became known for was the talk show circuit cult hero Johnny Bravo. From Jerry Springer, to Rikki Lake, to Montell Williams. Equipped with his fake mustache, dark sunglasses, and surrounded by a harem of slutty girls, Brad went on more then 10 day time talk shows pretending to be the lead advocate of something he called “Anarchy Sex”. He and Lou also still played music throughout the years mainly in the very average punk band “Humble Gods”. Created mainly to take advantage of the major label punk rock buying frenzy in the 90s, Brad was able to secure the band a reported mid six figure advance just by being, well, Brad.
Then at the end of that decade in another stroke of marketing savvy, the still straight edge Brad (Daddy) X formed a white, suburban, tribal tattoo sporting, backward baseball hat wearing, monster truck driving, rap, rock, stoner group named The Kottonmouth Kings. Google them! The rest now I guess is just history, well a history of course as being scripted by Brad X.