Monday, July 7, 2008

Jon Roa recalls Ryan Hoffman vs. Billy Rubin

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Justice League at Fenders, Photo courtesy of: Jon Roa

Jon Roa could probably write a book of old California hardcore stories, and we are trying our best to make sure that doesn't happen, because we want them all to be posted here. More to come...


-DCXX

Justice League was coming to that point where they were finished spreading their hardcore message. It was time. The band came in at an unique period in HC as the old guard was dying, breaking up, going to jail, etc. and for a lot of people, Minor Threat’s last stand meant a certain closure. Indicative of the period was that the bands with which we wanted to play (and did), bands like Stalag 13, C.F.A., BGK, DRI, Scream, Necros, 7 Seconds…. well, besides the last band, never really made the splash into the next generation. Sure they were liked but they could never tour like the next entering sect.

So, Ryan approached me with the idea of singing at the last show at Fenders with 7 Seconds headlining. He explained that he wanted me singing to have it all come full circle. The set list would be our songs mixed in with covers of songs on records that were out of print and could not be heard unless a tape was available (we played Boiling Point by SSD and not one person sang along). It would bridge the gap between the old and new.

Good. Great. We show up to the show and Ryan is told that Half Off do not want to open for us. Ryan politely goes up to Billy and asks why. Billy immediately starts shouting that we have not played in LA in a year and a half. No one knows who we are. They are more popular, etc. Ryan is trying to have a polite conversation but Billy keeps interrupting him until finally Ryan talks loudly over him saying (paraphrasing here), "Billy, you used to come around and ask us what bands to listen to (true). You act like you are our friend but then you pull this bullshit. This is some rock star move. You have never even toured or put in the work we have (true). Show some respect."

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Justice League at Fenders, Photo courtesy of: Jon Roa

Billy, who is not a short person, moves closer and starts pointing at Ryan and starts talking even louder. Ryan then loses it and says, “I ought to kick your ass right now.” Billy says, “It’s over, Ryan. You’re done.” Ryan then screams, “Billy, right now!” and pushes Billy’s left shoulder. Billy turns around to walk away and Ryan shoves the back of his right shoulder. Billy keeps on walking.

We go on first and I apologize to the crowd that has been waiting because “some crybaby in the next band does not have their priorities straight.” We play. It goes well. A picture of Ryan and I eventually is used on the Justice League Discography. We come off stage and Billy confronts me, saying in an innocent manner “Roa, what was that all about?” I say, “Fuck You, Billy” and we get into what amounted to a staring contest. Billy walks away, waving his hand dismissively.

Ahhhm, the missteps of youth. I do not know what this all means today. I say it is all just wind through a tunnel. What I do know is that Ryan Hoffman is never afraid to say exactly what is on his mind, and I love him for that and many other reasons.

10 comments:

Matt said...

we need a counter interview with billy to get all the dirt laundry out in the air. this is interesting. good job DC!

philly roll said...

Good thing it was just a staring contest...Hoffman would of got his ass kicked! Ha! Ha!

Artie said...

Ryan always got upset but always forgave...heck, for years right after this he ended up working with Billy for Billy's dad at the blood lab.

...and good luck finding Billy...that would be a fun read...make sure to ask him about his relationship with Cappo. :)

Icky said...

what a great story! I did a long interview with roa in la verne a few months back i should post it soon.

Ben Edge said...

I hung out with Ryan a bunch of times in 2001, before he moved out of LA. A really nice guy who NEVER returned phone calls.

Karis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karis said...

Hi, this is Jeff from Half Off, StraightArm, etc. Anyway, I must say this crap happened after I and H.O. parted ways. Ryan is an awesome guy. Chain and Justice League both blew Half Off away big time. (Even though I wrote most of their music)

roa. said...

This story was intended to do nothing other than make us all chuckle. I have no feelings, good or bad, toward Billy and wish him, as with most people, a great life.

H20.GO said...

That's so cool. Ryan Hoffman is manly. Dont let those top siders fool ya - thats east coast bravado.

Joe Henderson said...

I was a straight edge kid back in the day and had the opportunity to work on both Ink Disease and Flipside. Justice League rarely played in Los Angeles and in my humble opinion never made much of an impact on the straight edge scene. On the other hand, Half Off were a much more popular band. Billy Rubin even made the cover of Flipside. Why Half Off would ever open up for Justice League is beyond me.