Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BURN memories

BURN - City Gardens - Trenton, NJ - Photo: Ken Salerno

My first memories of Burn go back to a tape I got from a friend. The tape was some sort of rehearsal from 1990 and I definitely remember "Godhead" being one of the tracks. The sound quality wasn't so hot, but I could clearly hear that Burn was unlike anything I had heard before. Of course there was the Absolution connection with Gavin, but Burn was just a whole new beast that was packed with a whole new power and dynamic. This rehearsal tape I had went on to get a lot play to say the least, it was raw and real.

At some point, and I'm not quite sure about the date, Burn opened up for some bands at City Gardens here in Trenton, NJ. I was psyched that I was finally getting the opportunity to see them. Just by the all star line up alone, it was exciting to see what these guys were bringing because their past bands clearly left their marks as unique and talented. Think about it, you had Gavin with Absolution, Alex with Pressure Release, Alan with Beyond, and Chaka - although he was not in any previous band, he definitely got his feet wet in the scene by releasing the "New Breed" tape comp and being regarded as a kid with a lot of energy and style when he was simply going off to bands.

When they played that City Gardens show they simply blew me away. Chaka had so much energy and such a strong stage presence, but like their music, it was like nothing I had seen or heard before. So solid, heavy and groove oriented, you couldn't help but be moved. This style would be immediately copied and imitated, but few really put it together the way Burn did.

After the show I recall Chaka selling Burn shirts out of a box in the parking lot. Because City Gardens would sometimes take a percentage from bands merch that was sold, Burn decided to do it the old fashion way and just sell them in the parking lot. I bought a navy blue shirt, one of the first designs with the green and white outlined Burn logo across the front and the photo of the burning car and "Out Of Time" written on the back. I was stoked and really felt like I was getting an early look at a young band that was going to go on and become a major factor in the hardcore scene.

The next time I remember seeing Burn was at an early Middlesex County College show. I'm guessing it couldn't have been later than 1991. I remember the bill was Supertouch and Burn and a couple younger bands. Again, Burn were just incredible. I don't think the 7" was out yet, but I do remember people starting to know their lyrics and sing along a bit. They had definitely left an impression on others besides me.

From this point on I felt like I was seeing Burn every other weekend. Whether it was in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York City, anywhere Burn played - I was there. Show after show it was obvious that Burn was really picking up some serious momentum. Their shows were getting bigger, the crowds were getting bigger and they were clearly one of the major players coming out of the New York City Hardcore scene.

Along with the bigger shows and bigger crowds, I clearly remember Chaka's stage presence growing. He went from being a really good and energetic front man to one of the best and most insane. His stage dives were legendary, and in no way am I exaggerating. I'm talking about some of the sickest, highest and furthest dives I've ever seen done. I've been around numerous people who've flat out hit the floor from the impact of him landing on them. For this reason, you had to keep your head up when you were at a Burn show. You never knew when Chaka would be doing a running flip off a monitor, flying six feet in the air and crushing your face in. It was obviously pretty damn dangerous, but that's what comes along with the environment of a hardcore show.

Eventually Burn ran its course and called it quits. For a band that had nothing more than a 7" out on Revelation and a comp track released, as well as some slightly circulated rehearsal tapes and demos, it was nothing less than impressive how well known and remembered they are today as truly one of the greats. -Tim DCXX


Kebun said...

The first time I saw BURN was at Bunratty's in Boston in 1991. They opened for Shelter and, I believe, Kingpin. Chaka had mic problems the entire set, so just did stage dive after stage dive.

A cool side note to the show was that on our way to the club, my friends & I ran into Choke, Hank Pierce and Steve Risteen at a convenience store down the street. They gave us shit for going to see Shelter....

Lenny Zimkus said...

the first time i saw burn was at ABC no rio. sound was shit so couldn't really judge. After that show it seemed like whenever they played i was there. CB's,Middlesex, city gardens ( that show chaka did a split jump off the riser and over the mic stand. Even drove 2 hours for to Unisound for and waited till 11:00 for them to show up and not play.

adam said...

the way you talked about Burn was the way alot of us felt then.. like we were watching some magic that was happening and couldn't believe it was that good... I think Mel Gooch, Sean Cronan and I drove to about 60 Burn shows all over the northeast.

I had first heard of Burn from Ted Nelson as he was somehow still in touch with Alex Napak after Pressure Release. We found out they were playing one of their first shows (if not their first) at the Right Track Inn in Long Island and a bunch of us drove our asses down there for that.

They were amazing from the first note and a friend had taped the set on his tiny boombox. We listened to that shitty audio tape daily for months until a rehearsal tape was acquired and I don't think I missed a Burn show within 4 hours driving distance of CT for a few years.

steve h said...

wow, thank you for the memories. here we go, first burn show at city gardens, opening for icemen cometh and a couple others. i had heard the demo, and although muddy as fuck, i knew it ruled. i was really hyped on seeing them and we rolled in right when they got on stage. and it was heavy. and dark. hard. the walls were sweating and they just shook the shit outta gardens. they played shall be judged and busted into that heavy ass part and man....that place exploded. i remember holding on for dear life to my friend matt as they just killed it. the rest of the show was a blur bc i was so hyped on seeing burn. after the show i was out in the lot and saw some kid selling shirts. there was a line. and it was funny bc by the time i got one all he had left were mediums and that fuckin thing was so small that i couldn't even wear it, (although i did until it disintegrated). screen stars original. shortly thereafter, they released the 7 inch on pink vinyl which i ordered through vinyl ink and still have to this day. fuckin awesome, what an upbringing! huff

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