Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jason Peterson - The Arizona Straight Edge / Wind Of Change Part II

Wind Of Change photo shot by a friend that happened to work in a photography studio. Courtesy of Jason XXX

Jason Peterson continues to school us on the Arizona Straight Edge scene of the late 80s, playing in Wind Of Change, and where he went from there. Let's hope Jason contributes more in the future.

-Gordo DCXX

Wind Of Change was me, Jim Wall, John Wall, Alex, and Tim on drums. Eric Astor and then Brian Brown would later replace Tim. We released our first EP "Promise Kept" on Step Forward. Wind Of Change blew up at this point, and we played every AZ show and out of town weekend shows for the next two years, Our second EP, "Rain," was released on our own label for a summer tour in 1989. I put every piece of HC energy I had into booking the first tour. We had lists and lists of kids around the country who helped set up the shows. Our first show was in Salt Lake with Insight. We played Green Bay with Verbal Assault and a bunch of east coast show with GB and Insted. We played CB's with Bl'ast!, Insted and American Standard. We played our last show of the tour in Roanoke, VA. We had some great shows and some bad shows.

WOC was always a contrast because half of the band was straight edge and the other half was not, half of us loved NYHC and the other half loved the DC sound. It was a constant struggle to find our balance and for a little while we did. WOC was made up of our strong personalities and diverse tastes. At the end of that tour I had nothing left. I remember sitting on my sister's front lawn with a box of left over t-shirts and thinking, "now what?" But I had done what I wanted to do. I got in a van with my seven best friends and played 38 shows around the country. We had one last show in LA with YOT and every band of the time, but called it quits a week before the show. Out of the ashes of Wind Of Change came some great bands: Fuse, Dodge, Hoover, Kerosene 454 and Samuel. A German label released all of the eps and demo on a lp in 1990.

What was your involvement with Step Forward zine/records?

Eric Astor was an amazing kid who started coming to shows in '87. He had so much energy and a business like passion for HC. Step Forward was his label that materialized from his zine, Silent Minority. He put out the Y.U.C livetape and the first Wind Of Change EP. I helped Eric with much of his graphic design work in the early days. We designed Drug Free Youth shirts in his parents kitchen by eye matching the screens and curing the ink in the oven. Those shirts became a staple for the AZ scene. Every band that came to town left with arms full. We also screened the door on the Insted van as they left for their first US tour.

I designed most of the flyers for the shows we put on at the time. I found I had a deep love and talent for graphic design. I would even end up re-designing, laying out and distributing the flyers for shows we had nothing to do with. I remember one night Eric and I broke into the ASU business lab with a plot to steal a photocopier, so we didn't have to pay for copies any more. We just walked into a classroom where students were working and said we had to fix the machine and rolled it down the hall. We got it out of the building but left it sitting in the middle of campus when the rental cops spotted us.

I ended up falling out with Astor over bullshit money issues, I was never comfortable making a dime off of HC.

Wind Of Change at CBGB, photo courtesy of Jason XXX

People on the west coast from the late 80s scene talk about seeing Youth of Today on their early tours and just knowing they had to do a band and try to emulate that energy. Was that the case for you and your scene?

We met Ray and Porcell when they first toured (in a station wagon) the westcoast with 7 Seconds. They played the Electric Rhino with Kevin Seconds on drums. They needed a place to crash so we snuck Youth of Today into Palmer's walk-in closet without this parents knowing. The next day we all skated in Tempe. This was pre-veggie days for YOT and I remember giving them shit for eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. They had great stories about the NYC scene. We got so amped when Ray told us about starting a record label. Meeting them gave us the energy to kick our scene in the ass.

On that note, it seems from the impression I get, that bands likeYOT, BOLD, and GB became friends with your crew. Any good stories of tour stops, travel together, shows, hanging etc. with those guys?

Youth Crew stories:


Youth Under Control played with YOT in '87 at a dance club called Prisms. At the time AZ had a major skinhead problem. Most of the shows at Prisms ended in fights with the skins. Many times the bouncers tried to protect us from the waiting skins and escort us to our cars. It got so bad the Victor bros (promoters who ran Placebo records) didn't let skins into shows anymore.

During the YOT set one of the skins kicked my 13-year-old neighbor in the head. Ray stopped playing and called the skin out then Ritchie jumped off stage and got into the leader skin's face. They went back and forth then decided to throw down behind the local McDonald's at 11. I remember being in the van with all those guys; Ritchie and Porcell were going nuts. Everyone was screaming, we were so amped up. We got to the McDonald's and waited at least an hour but the skins never showed up. It was a victory none-the-less. The skins got revenge about a week later by breaking my friend's arm with a bat.


YOT came back in the summer of '88 and hung out in AZ for a few days prior to their show. I remember coming home from school to find everyone jumping off the roof of my house into the pool. I traded Sammy an ugly ass Stussy shirt for a blue LS Project X shirt. On the way to their show, Ray told us a story about their equipment being stolen and how Caroline Records paid to replace it. He proceeded to lead the whole van into singing "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond.


We found out Pepperdine was coming to Tempe to play ASU in baseball. So we gathered up all the local SxE kids to go see Dubar pitch. We all X'd up like we were going to see some HC show. Dubar pitched a few innings and we were all screaming out Uniform Choice songs and some friendly straight edge heckling. It was a blast, but I think we may have embarrassed him a bit in front of his team. We tried to get a signed ball but he just laughed at us.

I get the impression you traveled a lot to Cali for shows - any good stories?

I saw a lot of great shows in LA: Uniform Choice, Insted, Doggy Style,Freewill, No For an Answer, Chain, Judge...

One of my first trips to LA was to stay with KevInsted. I got to record backup vocals for Bonds Of Friendship. To this day, Kev is the most genuine person I have ever met in HC. He introduced me to the John and Walt from Back To Back. We shared the same ideals and the same sense of humor about the scene. We became brother bands. We spent that summer traveling back and forth playing shows and each other's garages. We got into so much trouble.

I remember going with Kev to drop off artwork at Dubar's house. They had Wishing Well set up in the back of their parents home. I remember Pat opened this giant closet stacked full of every WW shirt. He just received a box of Break Down The Walls on blue and red wax and asked if I wanted one. I said I already had it on black so it was no big deal. Stupid.

Jason (with Insted shirt) climbing on top of the crowd for PX at GB reunion CBGB.

When did you leave Arizona? When in your eyes did that scene change? You are literally one of very few people from that scene to pretty much stay into hardcore, stay straight edge, come out to shows, and still stage dive and really be into it. How does that happen?

By the summer of '89 the AZ HC/SXE scene was in full bloom. I remember that was the year I stopped recognizing all the SXE kids. Most of all my friends had already left straight edge behind, only Palmer and I remained. There was a new, more serious breed of SXE now.

I left AZ in 1990 to attend art school in Atlanta. I turned all of my positive/DIY HC drive into school and finished a two-year advertising program in one year. I was one of the most recruited graduates in the school's history. I worked in Chicago for a year. I moved to NYC in '92. I started my own advertising agency in '96 and sold it 5 years later to a large holding company. I made more money that year than most people make in a lifetime. I am now married to the most amazing girl in the world. I have two beautiful kids. I still follow Hardcore religiously. And I'm still Straight Edge...

But I would trade it all for one more summer in '88.


JD said...

That color photo is amazing. It captures the "look" of that time so well.

Anonymous said...

That's awesome. I love reading these stories. Especially now since I moved down to Arizona. I'm probably the oldest SXE guy in the state! Still interested in forming a new band though. It seems to me that the scene is happening in the Yuma area but can't seem to find any sxe bands in the Phoenix area unfortunately. If anyone knows any, let me know so I can support!!