Monday, March 24, 2008


Originally I had met Eric Ozenne, former frontman for Unit Pride, back in 1995 when he was starting his follow up band to Unit Pride, Redemption 87. Over the years I've kept in contact with Eric and run into him on many occasions. Just about every time we get together or talk, our conversations always go back to Unit Pride. One afternoon in Philly, before a Nerve Agents set (Eric's band after R87), Eric suggested that I should really get in touch with Tim Monroe (former guitarist of Unit Pride) and that Tim would also love to get into some heavy Unit Pride conversation. After some contact exchanges, I was soon in talks with Tim and Eric was right, Tim was way down to talk and share his memories. Tim and I ran into each other a couple times over the past five years, once at a show in Pennsylvania and once at a show in Chicago.  You could tell that like Eric, Tim was cut from the same cloth.  Both very sincere and very down to earth and for a couple of guys that started going to hardcore shows in 1984, I admire the fact that both have maintained a legitimate connection to the hardcore scene of today.  Here's the result of some questions that I threw at Tim, hope you enjoy.  -TM

What was your main focus and inspiration for starting Unit Pride in 1986?

My personal inspiration for starting a band came from all the music and bands I was listening to at the time and the "get up and do it mentality." Bands like the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Sex Pistols, 7 Seconds, Dead
Kennedys, and local bands like Rabid Lassie. 

Describe to us where you saw yourself and what importance Unit Pride had on the Bay Area hardcore scene at this point. 

This is a difficult question to answer mostly because I moved out of the Bay Area in '91 and have been gone ever since. I think the biggest impact on the Bay Area hardcore scene though was not one band but the venue everyone played at, Gilman Street. That place gave so many punk/hardcore/ and underground bands a chance to play. Without Gilman, Unit Pride and alot of other bands probably wouldn't have had many chances to play out. That place has been a pilar in the hardcore community since it opened.

I know from talking with Eric, what kind of impact Youth Of Today had on him and how it reflected on his part in Unit Pride. Explain to us the impact Youth Of Today had on you.

I first heard about Youth of Today from a friend and I checked the 7 inch out and I was definitely into that record. It wasn't until the first time I saw them that what they were doing really hit home. I saw them at the Farm in
San Francisco, I think it was '86, the Break Down The Walls line up but with Mike Judge playing drums. They broke into "Expectations" and I was blown away. These guys were up on stage standing up against all the apathy and
violence that plagued the scene at the time. Being 16 or 17 at the time and impressionable, that show had a huge impact on me. I could relate to everything that they were saying and what they were all about. That show
really inspired me and Youth of Today changed the face of hardcore.

When you envision playing a live show, what makes a show picture perfect and fulfills your expectations?

This goes back to the first time I saw Youth of Today again. Their set was insane from the first note of the first song right through "Youth Crew." It was a complete and utter free for all. I had never seen anything like it. So I guess trying to live up to that standard would be the benchmark of the picture perfect show.

Tell me about the best show you ever saw, who played, where it was and what made this show stand out?

I have to break this one down into three parts....
1.) For sentimental reasons I list my first show, the Toy Dolls at the Stone in Santa Clara in '84. Everyone spitting on the band, I was hooked after that show.
2.) Any and every Rabid Lassie show ever.
3.) The Youth of Today show at the Farm.

Lets talk about BOLD. I know you have a particular fondness for this band.  What is it about BOLD that hit home for you?

My admiration for Bold actually stems from Crippled Youth. When they started they were so young, I was amazed at how great that 7 inch was.

Any interesting stories about BOLD that you would like to share?

Yeah, the first time Bold came to California they did some shows in the Bay area and the Unit Pride kids put them up. To get ready for their shows they practiced in my garage. That definitely ruled (Alex Brown played guitar because Zulu couldn't make it out). They were all cool to hang out with and good people.

What was it about the style of dress that these New York City hardcore bands had that attracted you and in turn reflected in your own style?

Rather than limiting to just the NYC style of dress but rather all punk and hardcore style appeals to me just because it's sort of a "do your own thing" attitude associated with it.

How is it that Unit Pride ended up on Stepforward records? Wasn't there some talk about releasing an EP on Revelation? Do you think anything might have been different had you released the EP on Rev?

Honestly I can't confirm if Revelation actually approached us about putting the EP out or not. If they had it would have been through Ozenne. I know we already committed to StepForward, so we were going to honor our
commitment regardless. Rev is a great label and if they put the Unit Pride 7 inch out I would have been incredibly honored by it. But I'm happy the way the record turned out nonetheless.

Talk about your east coast tour with Unit Pride. Looking back, what were the highs and lows of that tour?

Looking back, the Aaron Straw Benefit show we played at the Anthrax was incredible and definitely a highlight. We actually stayed out on the East Coast longer than we intended just to play the show and it was worth it.
Just meeting tons of cool people and traveling the east coast ruled. It would have been nice to have done that more than once. We toured with Up Front and those guys are great people and we had a blast with them.

To me Unit Pride, had you stayed together, could have been and should have been a much bigger and more important band. What brought about the break up of Unit Pride and in your eyes, what do you think lied in the future of Unit Pride had you stayed together?

Honestly, I like the fact that Unit Pride didn't overstay our welcome and weren't overexposed.

Even though Unit Pride has been broken up for some 19 years, ideally how would you like to be remembered and what are you most proud of when you think back?

Just the fact that Unit Pride is remembered at all is satisfying to me. When I first moved to Chicago, I met a couple of kids in my dorm that owned the Unit Pride 7 inch and I was amazed. Just being part of that great late 80's
scene is an honor. It seemed like every weekend there was an amazing show.

Top 5 hardcore 12"s and 7"s of all time?

This probably changes on a daily basis but today.......

Top five hardcore 12 inchs: (in no particular order)

Youth of Today -Break Down the Walls
Circle Jerks - Group Sex
Black Flag - Damaged
Misfits -Walk Among Us
Gorilla Biscuits -Start Today

Top five 7 inchs:

Antidote - Thou Shall Not Kill
Minor Threat -Filler
Negative Approach
Youth of Today -Can't Close My Eyes
Crippled Youth -Join the Fight

Final words of inspiration or suggestion to a kid just getting into hardcore in 2008?

A suggestion I would make to a kid just getting into hardcore is just go out and do it. Get involved. That's the beauty of punk/hardcore to me, you get out of it what you put into it. So start a band, do a 'zine, go to shows, or put on shows and give new bands a chance. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity for a shameless plug , I'm doing a new band - "Wound Up" so if you get a chance check it out. We're currently recording a record on "ManicRide Records" (formerly Dead Alive) which should be out late summer or fall.Thanks!


William Patrick Wend said...

Cool interview. I interviewed Eric in, I think, 2000 for what would been the forth issue of Parade Brigade Fanzine. We never did that issue, so it remains unreleased. I am hoping to sit down this summer and transcribe it. If I remember it well we discussed Unit Pride a lot and Eric's recent cameo as an extra on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

The Tortured Soul Who Hides His Face said...

I saw Unit Pride with Up Front and Wind of Change at the Anthrax during the summer of 89. It was one of my first shows after buying my first car thus enabling me to go. It seems that Unit Pride and Up Front each played two shows that summer a the Anthrax - the one I attended and the Aaron Straw benefit. It seems rather obvious that there were two shows but can anyone confirm this?

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