It was inevitable, in order to help get the word out and keep people updated with all that is DCXX, I created a DCXX MySpace page. I've got no plans to put a whole lot into it, just want to use it as a presence on MySpace. Ordinarily I post DCXX updates through my own personal MySpace page, now I want to gradually start posting them through this page.
If you're on MySpace, request friends with us and you'll have access to updates and whatever else we drop. Here's the link, check it out. -Tim DCXX
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F
A dominant force in modern day straight edge hardcore, The First Step has been on the map for the past seven years as our friends as well as one of our favorite current bands. Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you a very comprehensive interview with singer Stephen St. Germain that covers the history of the band and will serve as their final interview. For now, we kick things off with Stephen giving some thoughts and insight into the upcoming final show on September 6 in Harrisburg, Pa. If you never caught them live, this looks like it might be your last shot. Don't miss it.
We've been a band for seven years, and there's been ups and downs, great periods, hard periods, and now we are at a real high point in the band. Not so much as far as popularity, but in terms of band solidarity and morale, so it gives a good fertile ground to say, "hey let's end this on a high point, together." Aaron is gonna go away on a 3 year Buddhist retreat, and we never thought of doing the band without him. So the choice is pretty clear that this needs to end. In true TFS form, there was a lot of theorizing about this, and it just seemed like the right thing.
It's tough with picking a last show because there was this big fest in Belgium and they wanted us to play it, and it would have been great, just a great show to be offered. So we have gotten some crazy weird show offers now with the band breaking up. But the reason we went with Harrisburg was because we were looking at either there or Baltimore, kind of a central area for the band. Even though we are from all over and have been for a long time, we know so many people in that area that it feels kinda like home. Doing it there shows that the band has come full circle. Mindset, who is playing with us, is from Maryland and we are good friends with them now. And we still have good friends in Maryland from when we first started. It's the old and the new. Plus the venue is great, we've had a great time playing there before, the kids there run it right, it just all comes together.
But with this being a last show, the way we are looking at this is yes, Aaron is going away for three years, and when he gets back, who knows what's gonna happen. I know he'll be the same guy, but it's tough to think everyone else will be right at the same place and that we could just pick back up as a functional band. So it's kinda like saying "this is it for now." We can't say we will never play again. If it works out, yeah definitely, of course we will play. It's not like we just have to end this band, or we are over it, or it is time to move on to better things. It's just that right now it makes sense.
Sevilla, Spain 2007, Photo: Guish
We are happy with the bill and the way the show is being set up. It would have been great if other friends' bands could have played too, but all the bands on the bill make sense for us. Mindset is a good band, younger guys, good friends, great energy. Warpriest is Andy Norton's new band and he was in TFS for a long time and is a really good friend, and he kinda represents a part of our larger group of friends. Hostage Calm is from CT and have been really supportive, they let us borrow their van on numerous occasions, and are a really good band that has been there for us in a big way. Get The Most, we have played with them a lot and we are really good friends with them. Breakthrough is Izzy and John, and they have been so important, it goes without saying, I mean Izzy was our original drummer and John has always been there as one of our very biggest supporters. We have always kinda had a family affair with the band, a group of people that have always been a part of it, either now or in the beginning. We wanted them there, and it looks like that will be the case, I hope.
The whole thought of TFS being over comes for me at a time of real personal evaluation. After seven years, with this band stopping, it's like, what am I gonna do? I've been playing a lot of songs on bass and writing, and that's been awesome, because I've always had to depend on other people, and now I can create something on my own. With singing, I don't think I'm John Joseph or Cappo or Smalley, but I think I can hold my own. I have a high expectation for singers – you have to be passionate but know how to open up to a crowd, and I tried to learn how to do that as best as I could. So I'm writing stuff but I think maybe I should just sing because I'm passionate about it. But right now, I'm also really excited to just go out with friends' bands as a roadie and not have so much responsibility. I just love hardcore though, so I'm sure it won't take long for me to end up doing something else.
As far as the other guys, Fred is still in Fired Up, but I'm not sure what they are doing. He and I have talked about just getting together and playing songs, nothing in particular but just playing, so that will be cool. Aram and Greg have some different ideas for a band, so there is talk, but I think right now the goal is to finish TFS in the right way. That's the way we want to do this.
JuHa West, Stuttgart, Germany April 27 2008, Photo: Rolf F
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Civ, Dylan, Luke and Joe at CBGB
Joe Outburst delivers again with more Outburst history and memories. Get some headphones, put on WHEN THINGS GO WRONG, and start reading and/or moshing. More to come soon...
What are some memorable experiences from your early shows?
Our first show was at the Right Track Inn out in Long Island. We played with Abombanation (I think it was their second show), Krakdown and Token Entry. The demo had only been out for like a week, so we weren't anticipating too many grab-the-mic scenarios from the crowd. We just wanted to be mistake-free basically. And remember, Chris was still fairly new at the bass, so he wanted to play well.
That show, I remember we ended with "All Twisted" (Kraut), and in the middle of the song there's this super-long snare roll that Johnny does, and I was conscious because a lot of the Astoria guys were there and watching, so I didn't want to screw that up, like I'd been known to do in practice. Plus, Ernie was on the side of the stage, and I remember just being nervous for that roll. Luckily it came and went, and I pulled it off.
Our first show at CBGB was sort of wacky because Chris was called out of town on some family stuff, so Walter (GB, YOT, etc.) volunteered to fill in on bass for us, which was very cool of him. We were on the bill with American Standard, some metal-core band called Dept. of Corruption and Breakdown. But Breakdown wound up cancelling last minute, so we went on, American Standard went on, and all the hardcore kids left after that. I felt pretty bad for Dept. of Corruption - they wound up playing to like 10 people.
Our second show at CBGB was much more memorable. We played with YDL, Rest In Pieces and Warzone. That was the first time we played "The Hardway." But that was the first HUGE crowd we played to, because of the lineup. That was a fun early show. I think someone's got the off-the-board of that show online somewhere.
Did things gel for the band quickly or was it tough getting off the ground?
Luckily, we gelled relatively easy. George, Jay and I were doing a lot of covers in my garage most of that summer after senior year, so we were getting in tune on how to play together already. By late summer, George came up with two instrumentals and Brian wrote lyrics right away. They eventually became "Learn To Care" and "True."
We got the first six songs for the demo down in less than a month or so and then hit Don Fury. I remember we booked the recording for 2 hours and when we were done with 3 or 4 takes of each song, we had all this time left over so we just fooled around. We recorded about a minute of "No Reason Why" with Chris singing and I'm sure everybody has heard the untitled track (our tip of the hat to Bad Brains).
Who were your biggest supporters and favorite places to play early on?
Early on, it was our friends that were already in bands. AJ (Leeway), Anthony (Raw Deal), all the guys from Gorilla Biscuits, Jay Krakdown was always showing up at the shows, joining Anthony in goofing on Brian (in good fun of course). BJ Papas lived down the street from me & George, so we started hanging out and next thing you know she's showing up to take pictures at all the area gigs.
Obviously CBGB was our favorite place to play. I remember being psyched to be on the same stage where Stewart Copeland played (I've always been a big Police fan). The Right Track Inn was cool because it gave the kids out in Long Island a place to go check out shows without having to trek into the city. Lismar Lounge had a really underground feel to it.
Brian gettin' aggro at CBGB's
What were the first songs Outburst had that really made you feel like you were writing/doing something cool?
After the demo had been out a while, and the kids had a chance to listen & learn the songs, we could tell that Mad At The World and True were becoming big-time sing-a-longs. But when Freddy released the New Breed compilation, and people had a chance to get to know "The Hardway," the sing-a-longs and crowd response to that was something else. Personally, I got a big kick out of people singing the lyrics when Brian would offer the mic to the crowd. I mean, that's a very cool feeling. Most of the lyrics I wrote came from daydreaming in sociology or psychology class at St. John's!
How did the material develop with time, and what did you try to emphasize with the band either lyrically or musically?
If you listen to "Learn To Care," which was the first completed song we did, and then you listen to "Misunderstood," which was the last, I think the snappy punk energy evolved into clench-your-teeth-and-kick-some-ass energy. I even remember sitting around in the studio as we were re-working "Thin Ice." We liked the riffs, but we needed to change the tempo at the break part. The early "Thin Ice" was slower and the mid-break felt like this ride cymbal gallop. By the time it was recorded for the New Breed comp, we changed it to a hi-hat, straight forward head nodding mosh part. But also by then, Mike had joined the band, replacing Chris. You can hear Mike's bassline is much more advanced when he played "Thin Ice."
What contemporary bands (if any) were rubbing off on you?
There were a handful of bands that, while they were our contemporaries, we were also huge fans of. During breaks in practice we'd cover Breakdown and Rest In Pieces songs for fun. One night at Roxy Studio in Long Island City, the Gorilla Biscuits were in another room and we finished a little before they did. Walter & Arthur hung around and we decided to fool around & jam a bit. The lineup was me on drums, Jay & George on guitar, Walter on bass and Arthur singing. We did the whole Underdog 7". This was around the time Arthur was joining Underdog on guitar, so he was in full 'Dog mode. I regret to say that I've looked all over for the tape of that jam, as I just had to take it home…but I'm pretty sure that tape is lost forever.
I know George was a big fan of Rob Smegma's guitar playing. Whenever we played with Pieces or they'd see each other at a show, they always chit chatted. I think it was kind of a Gibson SG thing myself. I became cool with Mackie when he joined The Icemen and we'd gig around on the same bills. I also hung out with him a few times at BJ's house. I never wanted to come across as too much of a fanboy around him, since he was this regular "hey howya doin bro" type of guy, but he was by far my favorite drummer on the scene. Nothing flashy, just steady and super tasty. Same thing with Pokey from Leeway. He took that same approach.
I think Brian modeled himself after Anthony in the vocal department. When the Raw Deal demo came out, Anthony was already audible but he was screaming his ass off, as if he wanted to beat the crap out his worst enemy, which made the listener even more hyped. They were pretty good friends too, so I'm sure he inspired Brian. He definitely fed off of Anthony's vocal style as we evolved musically.
Rightfully so, New York City's CBGB took the most number of votes in our favorite club to see shows poll. In following the format we've set with these poll results, I thought it would be fitting to post the liner notes from my band Triple Threat's live at CBGB 7". -Tim DCXX
CBGB - NYC: 88 Votes
The Anthrax - Norwalk, CT: 45 Votes
City Gardens - Trenton, NJ: 22 Votes
Club Pizazz, Philadelphia, PA: 4 Votes
The Rat - Boston, Ma: 13 Votes
Safari Club - DC: 13 Votes
Gilman St. - Berkeley, CA: 26 Votes
Fender's Ballroom - Long Beach, CA: 10 Votes
Deep inside these decaying, eroding, graffiti covered walls lies one of the richest histories in underground music. If a band mattered, chances are they played New York City's CBGB. From The Ramones to The Dead Boys to Agnostic Front to SSD to Youth Of Today to Chain Of Strength and absolutely everything in between, they've all shared the glory of tearing up that stage. As a young kid diving into the punk / hardcore scene of the mid to late 80's, CBGB was well known as one of the scenes premier clubs. I recall reading story after story about what went down between those walls. Until I was old enough to get myself into New York City, I had to contain my excitement and bide my time by calling Opec Sid's show hotline and merely listening to the recorded voice announcing the shows to come. A couple of years later I actually made my way to show at CB's, it was 7 Seconds and I remember it like yesterday. As I made my way into the club, all I could do was soak in the atmosphere. I found myself searching the walls for remnants of the past. All those graffiti tagged band names and stickers I had seen in photographs were now right in front of my eyes. I looked at the broken, patched up dance floor and imagined all the boots and sneakers that pounded that wood into oblivion, while bands like the Bad Brains and the Cro-Mags played their hearts out. As dark, intimidating, dirty and beaten as that club was, I felt like I was at home. It's character was undeniable, it's stage and general size was perfect and it's sound system was surprisingly impeccable. Out of all the clubs I've played and been to all over the world, none of them had all the qualities of CBGB's, it was definitely a one of a kind.
First time I hit that stage with my own band was with Mouthpiece in September of 1995. That first time was so surreal. Just playing there on that stage and knowing that you were now going to be a part of that history was mind blowing. The following year Mouthpiece played there again, this time with Floorpunch and Killing Time. Not only had I gotten a second chance to play there, but on a great bill as well. In the years to come I would find myself playing there a few more times. Once while playing in Hands Tied and then twice with Triple Threat. Out of all those five times playing that club, not once did I take it for granted. Every opportunity was cherished and every memory was carved into my head. Whether the crowd consisted of 50 kids or 500, it didn't matter. Playing CB's was like being in a zone all of it's own.
This last and final show I was to play at CB's was bitter sweet. Triple Threat was approached by Matt Pike from The Kenmore Agency regarding an upcoming H20 show. Matt shot me an email that simply read, "CBGB’s one last time?". Without question, my response was, "The answer is YES". So there it was, August 19th 2006 with H20. We climbed up on that stage for the last time and gave it our all. It was bitter sweet because the show went smoothly, we played well, we had a good time and then when our set was finished, we walked off that stage like we had just said our goodbyes to an old friend. The following month I found myself at CB's for the final date of the Gorilla Biscuits reunion tour. To play CB's one last time as a band and then to go to a show at CB's, one last time as a fan, seemed like a fitting closure.
So take this live 7" as our thank you to CB's. A thank you for all the sing alongs, the stage dives, the dancing, the hang outs, the fun and most importantly, the great times and memories we will never forget. -Tim McMahon / TT
Triple Threat at CBGB, Photo: Wendy Shoenfeld
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
At this point, we hope you aren't taking Joe Nelson's priceless contributions for granted. This time around, some thoughts on O.C. legends, Unity. "Straight On View"...
I didn't know Rob Lynch, the original Unity singer. I knew his brother Pete, but never met Rob nor saw his version of Unity. From what I hear they were a pretty solid skate thrash type band with him on vocals. His death, that was a real tragedy. I think Pete found him in the garage, where he had hung himself. How devastating that must have been for Pete, too. How do you ever shake finding your brother dead? There were a couple hard suicides to deal with around that time. I suppose that happens in every scene though. It's just part of the teen age experience unfortunately.
Unity was Pat Longrie's band though, top to bottom. I will say this about Longrie: he was completely obsessed with hardcore from about 1982 - 1986. He knew everything about it. He was at every show, knew every band, had every record. He lived and breathed hardcore. There's that great Ed Colver photo of him stage diving, with his tongue out while he's flipping off the crowd. He's dressed to the nines with the uniform of the day. Flannel, jeans with some band written on them (in his case it's J.F.A.) and boots with bandanas tied around them. That was Longrie to the T. He was like a preacher of positive straight edge hardcore to anyone who would listen, and to some who wouldn't. As Dan O'Mahoney said at one time to me, "Longrie was like John the Baptist for the scene." He really was too.
Were they a real band or a project? I think Unity was considered a real band, at least to me and my friends they were. Uniform Choice was way bigger, but Unity was also no project band. When Rob died I think Pat Dubar joined as more of a favor to Longrie. He probably also felt more philosophically aligned with Longrie, and Joe Foster, then he did with Pat Dyson, Vic Maynez, and Dave Mello of Uniform Choice. Those 3 dudes were not straight edge in any way shape or form, while, Dubar, Longrie, and Foster were breathing it in daily.
I don't really consider that EP a "powerhouse," but it's definitely a decent record. They did play a handful of shows with Dubar, mainly at the Cathe De Grande. Dubar was attending Pepperdine at the time on his baseball scholarship, so there was no way for him to maintain two bands. In the end U.C. won out, and rightfully so.
Between the EP and the LP, the band didn't exist. What happened was that "Blood Days" line up was jamming under the name "Winds Of Promise" or W.O.P. as us smart asses liked to call it. It was like a project band or something. They had weird practices with strobe lights, and flying hair. They were definitely all on a different trip at the time with that band.
Pat Longrie, Photo: Ed Colver
All those "Blood Days" songs, along with "A Wish To Dream" and "Man Against Man," with different vocals, were W.O.P. songs. I think they figured it would be easier to just release it as Unity in the end, instead of under "Winds Of Promise." I'm sure looking back it would have been smarter to just call it"Winds Of Promise," and leave it as a stand alone project.
Re-recording the 7" vocals wasn't a smart idea either. I do understand the argument of trying to keep everything sounding somewhat cohesive during a record, but I just wouldn't have done that. However, Pat Dubar also wrote "Use Your Head" and "Screaming For Change," which trumps pretty much 90% of anything any of us ever have done musically, so in the end what's there really to argue?
They didn't play any shows alongside the release of Blood Days. They were supposed to play, but it fell through. There's a flyer for it too. I think it was U.C., Youth of Today, Unity, Insted, and Half Off. I remember that show was the first all straight edge line-up from top to bottom I'd ever seen. I thought that was really cool at the time, too. Looking back at it though it was the beginning of the end for what made that era so great. The diversity of the shows, and the crowd is what made that time special, not seeing 5 straight edge bands in a row. Once it started being all straight edge bands on the same bill the scene lost its charm. At least for me anyway.
As far as Dubar's style with the hair, cowboy boots, and jean jacket, nobody questioned it. At least not to his face, that's for fucking sure. That change had been coming for some time though. I'm sure it was a shock to see those pictures back East, but not to us. We saw it coming gradually the whole time. It took a couple years for both of them to grow their hair out. Keep in mind though, Henry Rollins had long hair. Kevin Seconds had long hair, even Ian MacKaye grew his hair out at the time. It wasn't that crazy of a move really.
I suppose coupled with the musical change it may have seemed sort of drastic to people. However, he and Longrie were so moved by The Cult's "Love" LP that there was no way they weren't going to try and incorporate some of that band's music and fashion into their own trip. That record is fucking great too, The Cult "Love" that is, so I get it...well, sort of. They just really didn't have the musical chops to pull off what they were going for.
Did they do some cheeeeeeesy things in 1988 or whenever that record dropped, well, yes they did, but I'm not going to burn them for being who they were at that time. Christ, they were in their early 20s, still trying to find themselves and their identity as men. The problem both of them had is they did it inside the petri dish of the hardcore scene.
In 1988 I was neck deep into hardcore/punk, but I also loved The Smiths, The Cure, Jane's Addiction, and Depeche Mode. In fact, two of the greatest shows I saw in the 80s were The Smiths at Irvine Meadows, and Depeche Mode at the Rose Bowl. We also were all checking out this weird little art band in L.A. called Jane's Addiction, who we loved as much as anything else that was happening in hardcore at the time.
Around the same time Dubar was in his "Sunset Blvd" phase, all I was listening to was Social Distortion's "Prison Bound," NWA, Eazy E, Public Enemy, The Smiths, and random hardcore. So everybody's musical horizons were expanding...fuck, look at mine, they were all over the map. Therefore, none of that stuff, minus maybe the perfectly placed Ansel Adams poster in the "Blood Days" photo, ever bothered me too much. Pat was always still Pat.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Holy shit, what a gem Larry Ransom unearths for us here! Get comfortable for this one, you'll see Raybeez moshing in great gear, Lukie Luke going off, Civ singing along, Richie running into the crowd, and YOT's energy at maybe their best. If I had to summarize hardcore in six seconds of video to someone, I would show them 22:30-22:36. Big thanks to Larry "The Buffalo Straight Edge" for this one, enjoy-
YOUTH OF TODAY - Live In Buffalo from Larry Ransom on Vimeo.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Andy with Supertouch, Photo: Eric Fennell
Andy Guida is probably my vote for one of the most underrated drummers to have played hardcore. First leaving his mark by playing in Altercation, it is Supertouch that most people probably think of when his name pops up. Yet even after Supertouch, Andy has stayed behind the kit for a slew of rock and hardcore bands, continuing to be a total beast of power and style. And make no mistake, this guy still loves hardcore. I thought it would be cool to catch up with him, and luckily, it turns out that he has some great, crystal clear memories to share. There will be a few parts to this one, and I assure you it just gets better and better.
How did you find your way into hardcore? What are your earliest memories of hearing hardcore records or going to shows, and where/when was this? What were your favorite bands early on?
My intro to hardcore/punk/new wave started with my best friend Bryan's older sister. It was around 1979 or '80 when she turned us on to the first B52s album, Gang of Four's Entertainment record and DEVO's Are We Not Men. I
remember knowing that there was something different about the sound, but at 9 or 10 years old I didn't know what that meant, I just loved the sound. I started buying records when I was 6 years old but that was all rock, like Kiss and ELO, so it was definitely a different sound from Gang or Four or the B52s. Today those bands sound tame compared to what's come since. Not to say that I stopped liking straight up rock, but I really liked the newer sound of these other bands. Also, growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 1979 / 1980, all I heard coming out of cars was stuff like Zeppelin and Sugarhill Gang so it made Gang of Four and B52s records sound even more different.
In 1984 my best friend Bryan and I were 13 or 14. Bryan's family had a college student who was a friend of the family living with them while he was in school. He turned us on to hardcore. This kid Walt turned us on to Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies, DRI, The Minutemen, The Butthole Surfers, and a lot of other bands. We bugged out when we heard all this new music. I still didn't turn away from the older rock stuff but these new bands were the shit.
Of course the absolute turning point was when we found Bad Brains Roir cassette. I still clearly remember the moment I first heard it. I was 14 and it had such a huge impact on me. IT FUCKING CHANGED MY LIFE!!! Bad Brains, Led Zeppelin, John Coltrane, Black Sabbath, Miles Davis, and Scream are all on the same level to me.
The first hardcore show I went to was PMS, Cro Mags, and Bad Brains at the Jane Street Hotel on the west side of Manhattan. They called it the Rock Hotel when they had shows there. I still have the original Village Voice ad for the show. The date was July 20, 1985, it was a week before my 15th birthday. Talk about a life changing moment. The club was hot as hell. The pit was huge. The place was packed. I wasn't brave enough to go in the pit, but I loved the whole experience.
The next show I saw was a hardcore matinee at CBGB. That was Ultraviolence, Ludichrist, Crumbsuckers and Cro Mags. That was during the same summer as my first show. It was intense, Crumbsuckers and Cro Mags were amazing. When the lights went out and Beethoven's 9th Symphony (which everyone knew from A Clockwork Orange) came on I knew there was about to be something intense. Then Cro Mags came on and holy shit was it intense! That day I was brave enough to go in the pit and I loved it. What is so funny to me is that I didn't have the hardcore handbook approved moves down yet so half the time I was standing at the edge of the stage playing air drums and watching Mackie. I must have looked goofy but I loved every minute of it.
My favorite bands were Cro Mags, Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, COC, Suicidal Tendencies, Flipper, Dr. Know, Minute Men, Butthole Surfers and DRI. There were more but the list would be too long. It's unfortunate how closed minded hardcore got to be by around 1986. The definition got very narrow and rigid. Now no one would consider the Butthole Surfers, Flipper or the Minute Men to be hardcore. Early on they were. Of course they all moved away from one type of sound which I'm sure was a rebellion against the narrow definition.
Flyer of Andy's first show
When did you first get behind a drum kit and why? Who did you play/jam with before Altercation? Influential drummers early on?
First off, drums suck, I gave them up and now I play triangle. So much easier to transport and set up. I first got behind a drum set when I was 11 years old. I actually played guitar first, in fact I still play guitar a lot, but I was more drawn to the drums. I actually destroyed some of my mom's plastic food containers by using them like drums before I ever got a drum set. I would set them up on my bed in a mock drum set configuration and play along to whatever came on the radio. When I was 11 a friend of mine got a drum set. He lived in a house and we lived in an apartment so there was no way I was getting drums. I thought his drums looked so cool. It was almost just felt in my bones that I could play drums. The first time I sat down and played I was able to play a basic rock beat. I'm not saying that I was particularly good, but it did come naturally to me. I finally got a drum set when I was 14. Once I got a set I played every chance I got. I played for hours every day. Ahh...being 14 with nothing to do was great.
The first formal band I played in was a hardcore band called Still Born. I played guitar in that band. I played on their first demo which was called Dying for Progress. That was in 1985. I jammed with all sorts of kids from my neighborhood on drums.
The first drummers that influenced me were John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, Bill Ward from Black Sabbath, Stewart Copeland from The Police, Mitch Mitchell from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Clive Burr from Iron Maiden, Billy Cobham when he was in Mahavishnu Orchestra and Bill Bruford on the King Crimson stuff from the early to mid 80's. When I got into hardcore I was influenced by Mackie and Earl Hudson, George Hurly of The Minutemen. There was also a noisy art rock band from New York called Live Skull. Their drummer was James Lo, he played amazing tribal grooves. I also grew up hearing a lot of funk and disco so I have always liked beats with a groove.
How did you get into Altercation? A short lived band that is still loved/appreciated by many, what memories do you recall playing out and recording? How did you know those guys, and what do you think of the demo songs today?
I went to high school with Myles, who played rhythm guitar in Altercation. He and I were trying to start a band. We had some songs and we practiced in my parents' basement. He knew Eddie, who played bass in the band, from the hardcore scene. Eddie knew Jay (vocals) and Paul (lead guitar) and the three of them were trying to put a band together. We were all kids from Brooklyn so we got together at a studio that was called Gridrock, in Brooklyn.
I still remember sitting in McDonald's after one of our rehearsals trying to come up with a name. I was looking through the newspaper and I came across the word "altercation." It seemed a sufficiently angry word which fit our collective mindset. We were a study in varying degrees of teenage anger and frustration. Some of us started or got into a lot of fights and did a lot of drugs. Altercation rehearsals were a cloud of pot smoke. Amazing we remembered our songs because we smoked a shit load of pot. How were we so stoned and still so angry? Amazing.
I remember some things about our first show pretty clearly. It was a double record release for Warzone's Lower East Side Crew 7" and Youth of Today's Break Down The Walls LP. I still have the Warzone 7" I bought that day. Of course it was a CBGB hardcore matinee. Side by Side was also on the bill. I remember taking the subway to the show with my friend Jack Johnson (no, not the pop star). Jack drew the cover of the Altercation demo. I only brought cymbals to the show and I carried them in a postal mail bag. I was 17 and I had such shitty equipment. I don't remember who let me use their drums. CB's was packed. I think we went on first and there were already a lot of people there. We had a bunch of friends there and they all were going off when we played.
We only played 4 shows, 2 at CB's and 2 at the Pyramid. It was great, both clubs had matinees for a while, Pyramid on Saturday and CBGB on Sunday. At one of the Pyramid shows Paul's guitar head cooked itself onstage. It literally had smoke coming out of it. He and Myles traded songs for the rest of the set. We also played "As One" with Raybeez at the end of one of the Pyramid sets. I have always assumed that was when the seed for Jay and Paul joining Warzone was planted. At one of those Pyramid shows Raybeez wanted to take some photos with all the kids at the show in Tompkins Square Park so there were maybe 40 or 50 kids crossing Avenue A to the park, blocking traffic and the cops showed up and told us to go back into the club.
I remember bits and pieces of recording the demo at Don Fury's but nothing worth nothing. Vague memories of listening back to each take and sitting in the tiny shit ass drum booth he had. We tried to record a second demo at some studio in Brooklyn but I think Eddie didn't show up and I don't know what happened to the tapes. I should call Jay and see if he has a copy.
I transfered the Demo to CD and cleaned it up in Pro Tools so I can listen to it without destroying my tape. I only have one copy of the demo and it has some damage. I think the songs are great, the lyrics are pretty stupid but we were kids. Actually Paul's girlfriend at the time wrote the lyrics. I think we played really well for a bunch of kids. I still listen to it for enjoyment once in a while. We were so short lived but we got to leave a mark. We were lucky. I still meet new people who tell me that they really like that demo. There was a time when I was embarrassed by the band but I am grateful now that I was a part of it.
Andy with Supertouch, Photo: Eric Fennell
Friday, August 22, 2008
Limited, Double Cross - "The Straight Edge" shirt
I had a lot of people put in requests for shirts and specific sizes, which I went ahead and ordered for them, then they turned around and never sent payment. The majority of people that requested shirts did indeed pay and to them, thank you very much, you're orders have been shipped this week. To those that haven't paid, this is your last chance to get your order in. Again, this is a first come first serve type situation. I only have a few shirts left in each size. If you want one, shoot me an email and let me know what size you want and I'll confirm that I have it. All shirts are black, 100% cotton, Gildan brand. Shirt prices, including shipping are: $12.00 within the US and $18 everywhere else. Email me at: TimDCXX@gmail.com
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Revelation Records tidbits never get old. More from Jordan Cooper...
I think we did a "fun fact" a few years ago about that. There were tons of people from bands and people who run other labels that worked at Rev. The first people that actually worked at Rev - besides friends who just helped out when they could - were John from Seizure, Rich from Contraband/Onion and F from Slipknot.
Greg Brown (from Blackspot) was another character of course. There were lots of guys who had (or ended up having) labels who worked here: Porcell (Schism, Fight Fire with Fire), Steve Reddy (Equal Vision), Dennis Remsing (Conversion), Mike Hartsfield (New Age), Dave Mandel (Indecision) and a lot of others. I'm sure there are times where hanging out got in the way of work, but overall, it's seemed to be ok.
When we first moved into this warehouse we had so much extra room that someone brought in a ping pong table, we had a few pinball machines and video games. Then as we filled up the space with people and stuff all that had to go unfortunately. We did spend some time goofing off in the early days, but we were here for 15 hours a day usually so it never seemed to really be a problem.
I moved a lot more when I lived in CT than I do here so there were a few different "offices" out there. The best one was a one room office in an engineering company where they had a basement and an attic that they let me use. Right before I moved out here I had a two bedroom apartment: I lived in one bedroom, the living room was the warehouse and the other bedroom was the office.
Regarding the move, I was thinking about getting out of New Haven for a while and Porcell invited me to travel with him and some friends to Huntington Beach in early '91. I had a great time and I decided to move here, which I did in July of that year. The label was pretty much all I did at that point so the plan was to move out here and do the same. Yes, there is a lot I miss about NY and CT still, so I try to make the most of my time when I'm there visiting.
Sloth Crew / NYC Guys, Park City, Utah, Snowboarding Trip
Front Row L-R: (NHL Hat) Greg Brown, (Mickey Hat) Scott Sundahl
Back Row L-R: Jordan Cooper, Eric Sundahl, Chad Weaver, Scott Lytle, Jay Anarchy, Porcell, Jim Filipan, Skinhead Max Wilker, Unknown NYC Dude.
Do you have a personal favorite record label? Whether it is from a business or just an artistic standpoint, which one label (hardcore or otherwise) jumps out to you as your favorite?
Musically I really liked all the early hardcore labels like SST, X claim, Touch and Go, Dischord, Ratcage, Positive Force and probably a lot that I'm forgetting. Aesthetically I liked a lot of different records, but no one label really stands out to me. Business-wise I really thought that Sub Pop was great in the late 80s and early 90s. They had a lot of great artwork, the text in their catalogs was usually funny or at least didn't take things too seriously and the singles club was a great idea. Then as far as doing a great job at promoting bands and really pushing things, obviously Equal Vision, Victory, Trustkill, Eulogy and a lot of other labels have been able to show how big things can be.
What is your favorite part of the job? When to you is the "pay
off" for your work? What would you cite as your proudest achievements with the label? Do your parents who people who knew you from growing up seem surprised that you have made a living out of something that was started to put out a record by a skinhead band?
To this day it's still really cool when a record finally comes in. Working with the bands and labels and people here is probably the payoff at this point. I don't pay too much attention to new music so that's probably the biggest deal now. The records we've put out that people really like is really the main achievement along with providing a place for people to work that's hopefully somewhat rewarding or at least fun.
I'm sure some of my family is sort of baffled about what I do. If you don't know anything about hardcore, you'd never have any idea what Revelation is so to them it probably looks like I'm doing something pointless that somehow keeps me alive. To them, Farside, Gorilla Biscuits, Sense Field, Into Another, Youth Of Today etc. are just bands that no one has ever heard of. I never tried to explain to them what made me care so much about hardcore in the early 80s so at this point they just get little bits of it here and there when we talk about it (which isn't much or often).
The funny thing is that in the beginning it was just that I wanted to put out a record by one band and I didn't think that it would go beyond that. Warzone was much much more active after the 7" came out and then when Don't Forget the Struggle came out, they really took off, so I didn't expect that. Also, If I had known that Ray would end up really putting his personality into Revelation and lending all the weight that Youth Of Today and their friends had to the label, I probably would have expected at least some of the success that we had, but I had no idea that would happen in the beginning.
I do play guitar, sort of. I tried to join Violent Children but that didn't work out. In college my roommate and I did a band just for the school's talent show. We did "Nothing" by Negative Approach and maybe a Ramones song. We sucked and got booed. It was pretty funny.
I pretty much do a lot of the office maintenance, especially the computer stuff. I deal with the contracts, the web sites, some of the regular business stuff like taxes, the landlord etc. I stopped going to Taco Bell and Del Taco every day a long time ago so I think my lunches are usually pretty healthy. Most people are usually out of here by 6, but I come in later so I'm usually out by 7.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Outburst at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
We have been itching to bring you some Outburst material for quite some time now. Finally, Miles To Joe himself delivers with the first little chunk of what should be a pretty big interview in a bunch of segments. Here's a teaser to start moshing to...
All the original members of Outburst went to St. John's Prep in Astoria, Queens. George and I grew up on the same street and we discovered hardcore through our classmate and friend AJ (Novello, later from Leeway), who also lived on our street. George and I became good friends with Jay in our junior year. Jay was a skater & graffiti artist (writer) who also liked the hardcore that was out. By the start of senior year, the three of us became friendly with Chris & Brian. They hung out together a lot on their own and when we found out they were into hardcore, we started talking a lot about the NY scene.
By the end of senior year, we were talking about starting a band. George and Jay had been playing guitar and I had already been playing drums, but Chris was a beginner on the bass and Brian had never been a vocalist before. Like I said, AJ was our pal, so we saw Leeway taking flight before our eyes. Chris and Brian were friendly with Anthony (Token Entry, Raw Deal) and the guys in Gorilla Biscuits (Chris was from Jackson Heights). I guess we were all inspired by our friends, so we started jamming cover tunes in my garage.
I started out as a piano player, taking classical lessons in grade school. I used to compete in recitals, won medals, the whole thing. But I couldn't hack it at the next level - my skills at reading sheet music were always spotty. And when I got tired of figuring out Jump & Mr. Crowley and Billy Joel songs, I asked my folks for a loan so I could pick up a drum kit. We had two drummers on our block: Saso (original drummer for Leeway) and Fodey, who was more of a technical Neil Peart-style metal drummer. We used to sit in on the basement Leeway practices and I would watch Saso combine speed and tasty fills, so I learned a lot from him...
Outburst at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
What type of musical background was there growing up in Queens for you guys?
Hanging out on 14th street was like hanging out on "metal street". Everyone was into the usual suspects like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Dio, Scorpions, etc. AJ and Tony (Show of Force) were the ones who introduced us to the underground thrash stuff because they used to go record shopping and bring it back, put it on cassette and play it on the radio at Astoria Park. So, if AJ came home with Kill 'Em All, we'd all hear it that night on someone's stoop. If Tony came home with A Fistful of Metal, same thing. Back at school, Jay would share the Nuclear Assault demo, or Feel The Fire by Overkill. I was always a big Slayer fan, especially when Reign in Blood dropped.
On the hardcore side, we all loved the locals: Crumbsuckers, Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, Ludichrist, Agnostic Front. We'd all bum off of AJ's huge punk/hardcore record collection to dub the out of town stuff like Suicidal Tendencies, Zero Boys, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, 7 Seconds, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, DRI, etc.
Chris, Jay and I were big hip hop fans too. Run DMC, LL, Eric B. & Rakim, Beastie Boys…NYC had two great scenes growing at the same time.
What bands/records were your biggest inspirations and how did they get incorporated into the Outburst sound?
Our high school classmate Carlos introduced us to American Paranoia by Attitude Adjustment and by the time we started the jams in my garage, we would cover a bunch of songs off of that record. Structurally, Attitude Adjustment would put mosh parts at the beginning and end of their songs instead of the middle, which we thought was cool & different…much like The Hardway and No Choice. George and Jay were big fans of Animosity by Corrosion of Conformity. Of course we all loved Age of Quarrel by the Cro Mags. The whole shouting-instead-of-singing vocals of Bloodclot definitely influenced Brian. George wrote a good part of the riffs, and he loved Black Sabbath riffs to death, but I wouldn't say that the sound was influenced all that much by Sabbath.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
While scouring through YouTube this past weekend I came across this interesting New York news piece on Skinheads. Not only is it interesting because it's on Skinheads, but the fact that it has quality news shot footage of No For An Answer playing at CB's makes it a must see in my book. Other highlights include an interview with S.H.A.R.P. skin Marcus who sports his awesome Shotsie done Straight Edge tattoo and some quick footage of Trenton's own, City Gardens.
Seeing this video really brings me back to some of the things that I definitely do not miss about 1988 and the late 80's hardcore scene in general. White power Nazi skins ran rampant throughout the scene back then. For a 14 year old relatively sheltered, suburban kid like myself, seeing these huge, flight jacket, doc marten, braces wearing, tattooed, shaved up Nazi's, was pretty damn intimidating. I remember many 87-88 era City Gardens shows where I feared for my life. Never was I actually ever fucked with, but I do recall one specific show where I was standing around out front before the show started. I was wearing a Princeton hooded sweatshirt, some tight rolled jeans, a pair of Adidas high tops and had a flat top. In other words, I looked like every other straight edge kid in 1988. A group of about 5 Nazi skins came up to me and started talking shit, making fun of me and calling me something along the lines of a generic, posi core clone. I stood there shaking in my Adidas, trying to mind my own business and praying for these lunatics to keep on moving. Thankfully they got their laughs and did in fact move on, but damn... that was a scary few minutes I assure you.
So, check out the video, enjoy the quick clips of No For Answer and be thankful the Nazi skinhead craze died down within the hardcore scene. - Tim DCXX
Monday, August 18, 2008
When Tim came up with the Most Underrated California Straight Edge band poll, our choice was pretty clear. While each band mentioned certainly could always use some more acclaim, Pushed Aside was our easy answer. With only a demo release and a relatively short lifespan, this OC powerhouse made up for what it lacked in longevity and catalog quantity with a limited arsenal of raging tunes that made southern California appear less cheery (read: More New York-like) than some of the band's west coast contemporaries.
I could keep rambling about how great I think this band is, but I don't think I could do it as well as DCXX brother-in-arms, Tony Rettman, already has done for us. A fan from the get go, Tony sums up our thoughts on Pushed Aside and gives his own history of the band as well as anyone could. "World Of My Own" indeed...
Pushed Aside at The Whiskey, 1989, Photo: Dave Sine
After seeing the results of the most underrated California Straight Edge band poll on here a few weeks ago, I have to say I’m more than a little disappointed that So Cal’s Pushed Aside didn’t squeak by somewhere higher in the race. Although I agree with Tim that all the bands involved in the poll were great, I always felt Pushed Aside really had something truly unique about them.
I forget how or why Tim and I got hold of their demo tape, but it was somewhere in the spring of 1989. I remember the graphics on the demo sticking out to me as being very subtle. Just the obligatory Edge lookin’ dude striking something of a homey stance with all the facts and credits typed out with three X’s underneath the info. It was quite a contrast from the typical graffiti clad demos that were making their way around the scene at that time. The live photos on the lyric sheet reminded me of the ones from the recently released Chain of Strength seven inch. I remember wondering if they were shot at the same place. The band certainly had the look down pat; Bold shirts, cut-off sweats, high-tops, etc. but once the tape hit the deck and the sound emanated out of the speakers, it was very apparent this wasn’t your typical SoCal edge band.
Pushed Aside at The Whiskey, 1989, Photo: Dave Sine
Although all the Straight Edge bands coming out California at that time were pretty good, they all seemed very stuck in playing in a paddle thrash manner that (I guess) was some sort of hybrid of Youth of Today and the earlier California Edge bands. Pushed Aside sounded like they had laid an early ear to some east coast bands of the time such as Raw Deal or Beyond and I believe them to be the first California band to have a distinctive Cro-Mags influence. But it wasn’t like they were just simply biting the east coast style; they put their own spin on the proceedings to make it something that simply stuck out of the pack. Another thing that struck me was the lyrics. It was pretty common at the time to hear nothing but songs about friends, being straight edge, being friends and straight edge, etc. Vocalist Randy Johnson’s lyrics of personal turmoil and observations of fucked personalities certainly stuck out from the ‘You’re not true!’ variety of wordage to be found in the late eighties Edge scene. The track ‘World of my Own’ was the one that really sealed the deal for me. The song was just a furious assault on the senses complete with lyrics that I could actually relate to. It became a personal favorite and anthem for a short time.
I recall Tim and I doing a phone interview with Randy sometime in the summer of the same year. I remember him coming off as a pretty articulate guy with a very dry sense of humor that I appreciated. I became something of a phone pest to Randy over the next few months and learned from him there was a seven inch imminent on the recently established Nemesis label as well as a track on an upcoming seven inch compilation on a new label out of Chicago, confusingly named Which Way Records.
Pushed Aside at The Whiskey, 1989, Photo: Dave Sine
Sometime after I stopped annoying Randy on the telephone, I learned Pushed Aside had broken up and I remember being very bummed I would never get to check them out in a live setting. The seven inch never got recorded and the track they submitted to the ‘Generation of Hope’ compilation on Which Way was marred by a horrid recording. I just thought it was a lousy way for a great band with such a short lifespan to be remembered. A few years later, I met Randy out in California and he came off as a real wisenheimer that had some sorta way with the ladies. Through all my musical ‘changes’ and ‘phases’, I always kept a cassette copy of the Pushed Aside demo that I copied from Tim. I’d pop it in every once in awhile and marvel at how such a great band could be lost into the annals of Hardcore history.
Fast forward a few years later, and that old boy Davey Mandel at Indecision Records did the noble service of doing the demo up in a vinyl format for all the world to hear. Although I think the packaging is sorta lacking (Sorry, but that’s just what I feel) it’s great that the actual sound is out there for the non-nerdo Hardcore public to check out THEE MOST (Did I stutter?) underrated California Straight Edge band of all time. There…I said it.
Pushed Aside at The Country Club, 1989
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Insight at The Speedway Cafe, SLC Utah, 1990, Photo: Trent Nelson
What SLC shows stick out?
Our first show...it was so bad but so much fun because all of our friends were there supporting us. Other shows would have to be all the Painted Word and Speedway shows. The shows we played with Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Better Way, Cro Mags, Fugazi, and Brotherhood just to name a few.
How did that scene develop?
I'm not sure I know. There was always a straight edge scene with a lot of the skaters I knew back in high school and all the punk shows. I wasn't always straight edge. It wasn't until Insight got going that I was straight edge. I was and still am more into Animal Rights! In fact Jamie never really was straight edge. We should have made it more about the music sometimes than some of the content that came with it. I mean I was blessed to have played with very talented musicians for our age. I loved that we developed into a band that incorporated metal, punk and hardcore. Which was all my favorite influences. I'd like to think we had a hand in starting the straight edge movement in SLC but really I think we were just a hardcore band and that scene was something kids could get into and have a great time. There never really seemed to have fights or any negative energy and that's what made it what it was.
Insight at Reptile Records, SLC Utah, 1989, Photo: Trent Nelson
Thoughts on the straight edge gang reputation SLC has now?
I moved away from Salt Lake after Insight broke up. I moved back for a year and was getting shit from some of them. I've only heard things but never really saw it. It's quite stupid and very funny really. I'm not really sure why they're so hateful especially in Salt Lake...oh wait a minute, it's Salt Lake. They're bored and trying to be tough. Drop them in Cleveland and see what happens.
Did you see anything like that coming?
No but again I moved away. It definitely defeats the purpose of that movement, doesn't it?
Dealing with Tony Victory - a lot of people seem to have a story. You are easily the best release on the label. Any good stories?
Well I never would have expected that label to go where it has gone. I'd be more supportive if we didn't get screwed by him! I tried years ago to do something about it but in typical Tony fashion he just gave me his Bullshit! I'm sure if we wanted to get a lawyer we might have something but I don't have the money or the power that the label has. He knows he's a weasel but he's rich I'm not so you may not agree with him but he did manage to keep an underground hardcore label and turn it into a major label.
Insight at Reptile Records, SLC Utah, 1989, Photo: Trent Nelson
Is it funny to you to see what that label is today?
I don't even know who's on that label. The bands I have heard have just sucked! Not my thing.
How, why, and when exactly did Insight split?
Well things started falling apart when Doug told us he wasn't able to leave on what became one of our last tours. So we had to get a replacement. We got Rob from Farside / Hard Stance but he couldn't do the whole tour. So when we got to the east coast Chuck Treece joined. That was strange. Though he was a very nice guy it was just a little to rock star for us. We also got equipment stolen in Connecticut. So morale was down and we decided to go home early. When we got back things were different. Some of us were starting other bands and really just growing apart. We went to California with Gentry (Iceburn) on guitar and Jeremy played bass if I remember right. After that we played a few more shows and called it quits. I don't remember exactly the date but it sucked. We were writing such cool dark heavy songs. I wish we could have or even still have released those songs!
Can we get a run down on where everyone went off to?
I did The Gimmicks in Seattle, we released 3 records on Estrus and toured. I then moved to LA and played with The Masons and toured Europe. Then I started Sweet Evil, we broke up, and now I'm just writing 2 different things. Jeremy went on to do Jets to Brazil and now Cub Country. Doug lives in New York now and has a band called The Dirty Pearls. Chubba and Jamie have played with Iceburn and have done their reunion shows. Not sure if they have done anything else. I'm sure they have done other bands I just don't have the names of the bands.
Insight at Reptile Records, SLC Utah, 1989, Photo: Trent Nelson
Where is everyone today?
I'm in Los Angeles, Jeremy, Jamie and Chubba are in Salt Lake and Doug is in New York.
What do you hear when you listen to Insight today?
Turning Point, Wust Hall DC, 1989, Photo: Ethan Gladding
Well the verdict is in and it's really no surprise that Turning Point's "It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn" took the gold. I was torn between the Turning Point LP and the Pressure Release 7", but decided to go with the Turning Point LP in the end. Taking nothing away from the Powerhouse 7" or the Outspoken 7", because I honestly love both, but given Turning Point's New Jersey roots, I had no other choice. -Tim DCXX
Pressure Release - "Prison Of My Own" : 27 Votes
Powerhouse - 7" : 33 Votes
Turning Point - "It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn" : 165 Votes
Outspoken - "Survival" : 70 Votes
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Straight Ahead's Tommy Carroll at CBGB with Big Charlie keeping a watchful eye, Photo: tsetseflynyhc
Straight Ahead, you know them, you love them and you can never get enough of them. I decided to do this little Straight Ahead tribute entry here. I've got a pile of flyers, ads, xeroxed photos and random tidbits of Straight Ahead material that I aquired from Duane Rossignol of Some Records, back when I was helping Ray Cappo with his New York Hardcore documentary. This is just a just a few of those flyers and a photo that I randomly found, so expect more Straight Ahead material to pop up in the future. "Cause we care, we'll do the best we can." -Tim DCXX
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Just wanted to give a little update on those limited Double Cross shirts that we had printed. When the post went up on August 3rd, in my hands I had less than 12 shirts I could sell. Within 15 minutes of posting, I had nearly gotten enough orders to clear out the original stock. That Monday, while I was at work and the post was up, close to 50 order requests came in. At that point I decided to confirm with all who requested, order enough shirts to cover the requests, then cut off any further ordering. What was suppose to be limited to 12 shirts has now been extended to 57, plus 3 longsleeves.
As of Tuesday August 12th, all the final t shirts have been printed courtesy of Chris Daily over at Daily Screen Printing. Gordo picked them up from Chris Wednesday night and will give them to me when we meet up to go to the Absolution show on Friday the 15th. Over the weekend I will fill and pack up all the orders and get them shipped out during the week. Again, thanks to everyone who ordered and we hope you're happy with the shirts.
By the way, a brand new DCXX shirt design has been in the works for the past couple of months. This design will not be limited and should be readily available once we get them done. We'll of course keep you updated when we're close to making those available. -Tim DCXX
Absolution, Churchill's Pub, Miami FL, 5/30/08, Photo: Zac Wolf
I caught up with Djinji on Tuesday night to get a little pre-show game plan from him, and I thought I'd share it here. We had already talked a little bit about the Miami show after it went down and I knew he was psyched about it. He's pretty humble and hush-hush about New York but it sounds like it is all systems go and he's pumped. See everyone there.
The Miami gig was great, just a lot of fun, so much fun and so real. A lot of kids didn't even know why we even there in the first place, which was perfect because it gave us the ability to win some heads and hearts over. It was a great way to get ready for New York. To be back on the mic singing those songs, I can't articulate it. It was like riding a bike, being back up on stage. Physically it was demanding, but it's supposed to be. In the middle of it, it just felt right. It didn't feel like old times, we weren't concerned with doing it like we did in the past. We just wanted to enjoy it in the now.
We all have this bond of physical discipline, Doug and Gavin train people for a living, I work out to really take my body to the highest level I can. So we had to bring it and we have to do that in New York. I'm also still used to performing in front of people, so it's not like I'm getting on a stage and doing it live for the first time in 20 years. It was just like wearing a different pair of clothes. But my heart was into it man.
We are rehearsing this week (Wednesday) for the first time as a full band for the NY show. Doug, our drummer, and I have been down here. Gavin and Sergio are up there. Me and Doug have been doing our thing, Sergio and Gavin been doing their thing. We're gonna bring it all together. It's been really fun since the Miami gig, just stripping the songs down, reworking them, kinda relearning them. I'm really excited. Doug and I have had a great time getting the songs down and reconnecting with the lyrical content of the songs. Unknowingly, we left a body of work we have been able to come back to as adults that we don't have to be ashamed of. And we get to bring it up to date because we are grown men now with more behind us. I can approach the lyrics with more concern for performing them properly.
Absolution, Churchill's Pub, Miami FL, 5/30/08, Photo: Zac Wolf
With us rehearsing just drums and vocals, it's locked up like some hip hop shit. All I'm saying is that rhythmically we have been practicing just very tightly. It's demanding, we are eating right, drinking a lot of water, just taking it seriously, it's like a work out, that's how we approach it. I bring a gallon of water for each of us to practice, we have some fruit and light food, and then we approach it like a sparring session or like training. We don't fuck around and waste time. Doug has a lot of discipline and is dedicated to this. So we have both approached it very seriously, and we respect the demands of it. You have to.
It's like James Brown just having to and needing to be tight with his funky drummer, he has to be comfortable with him, that's his man. So I'm proud of having this rhythmic attack, and being able to develop it. I have been making beats for so long, so to have Doug on this, who knows it, it's like having the right band member with me. To know Doug is on board, it's a great feeling, he knows what it's all about. I don't have to worry about Sergio and Gavin, I know they will bring it. To get back on the stage with Sergio, I don't even have words for that. Everybody's excited.
At the same time, I don't want people to expect anything in New York. It's a world of pre-information. I'm not gonna say publicly what the set list is or what is gonna do down. That's for a few people to know. It's not a big deal, we aren't like rock stars with pyrotechnics or anything, but we want the set list to be more than just a set list. We want it to be a story that unfolds without knowing what's gonna happen. When I look at the lyrics together, it's like a story book, it takes you on a journey. I want to tell it, I don't want people to know what's coming. I'd say the lyrics mean more to me now than they did then. Because they are relevant today, it's more than just nostalgia.
It will be cool to see the family, to see the Sick Of It All guys and everyone, it will bring back those old feelings. It will be great to see what my peers are doing. The stars seem to be aligned and everyone seems to be excited, that's all I can say. Of course there are some butterflies, but that's natural. It will be good old fashioned sweat. And we are doing it from our hearts.
Absolution, Churchill's Pub, Miami FL, 5/30/08, Photo: Zac Wolf
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Youth Of Today at Gilman Street, Berkeley CA, Photo: Ian Harper
I haven't done much editorial style writing for DCXX, opting instead to leave it to those who were there and in the true mix of the things we cover. That said, I thought it would be cool and (maybe?) interesting to occasionally speak my piece on some favorite records of mine, and Tim would do the same. No real rhyme or reason to this little segment we decided to do, just talking about hardcore records we love and why. Most of these are probably no brainers...not trying to pick out weird obscure stuff you haven't heard of. Curious to get some feedback, and I hope people chime in with their opinions. Enjoy.
An easy pick for this topic is the record that started it all for me: Youth Of Today's swansong and posthumous final three song EP. I'd love to say Jordan gave me this right when it came out while I was hanging out at Revelation, because you know, I was an old roadie with the band. The reality of the situation, however, is that in 1993 at age 11 I was an annoying fat kid on a BMX bike who just started becoming aware of hardcore and straight edge and didn't know a damn thing about it aside from the fact that I loved it even before I knew what it was. For the rest of my adolscence, hardcore would quickly replace all other avenues of interest, especially sports, which had been the center of my universe since I was walking (fat but athletic...interesting combo).
Anyways, without a good record store in town or a real grasp on how all this hardcore business worked, just being able to simply obtain a physical recording of a real hardcore band as I was getting my foot in the door seemed like a daunting process on its own. Or, maybe I was just retarded. Finally I snagged a cassette version of the final YOT offering from a local HC kid turned wigger/stoner/dealer. He was my buddy Jay's older brother, and he sold drugs (mostly dimebags) out of his room. I literally walked into his room moments after he hooked up one of his boys with some fresh herb, and I gave him $5. He let me take my pick and told me to get the fuck out. While I didn't leave with any weed, that YOT tape got me high as shit. It confirmed everything that up until that point I was only vaguely aware of: straight edge hardcore was a hell of a drug.
Now the reason I pick this record to talk about is mostly because I have seen it take some heat in the past year or so from some who consider it inferior/soft/rock etc. in comparison to the band's earlier material. I'm not knocking anyone's opinion. And there is no question YOT were at their "hardest" or "roughest" in '86/'87. Shit, you put Richie Birkenhead in a band while wearing plaid pants and throw Tommy Carroll a pair of drum sticks at one point, and yeah, you are going to have a band that is a walking fist fight. And I love that era YOT. I love later YOT too. I'll even take grainy videos on YouTube of YOT in 2004 playing in Spain on some big stage with Cappo wearing weird board shorts. But I really love this last record, too.
Youth Of Today at Gilman Street, Berkeley CA, Photo: Trent Nelson
For starters, the recording, to me, is heavy, clear, and pure. Considering some of the stuff Fury kinda butchered at the time, I think this is a great sounding recording. I'm not an audio analyst, but I can tell you this sounds like a pure Les Paul through a Marshall, Sammy's drums (although I think he over does the double bass in parts) sound absolutely huge (and are what they should have sounded like on Bringin' It Down) and he's an animal on these songs, and Cappo's vocals sound raw and wild, but maybe that's just because the story is that his vocals on this were the best of three total sessions, some of which included him literally jumping off the walls of the vocal room. I don't know, to me, explaining why this recording sounds good is like explaining why ice cream tastes good...it just does, you know?
Cappo's vocals are obviously tainted, if you will, by the KC vibe at this point, but the little dude still roars and goes bezerk at times while obviously incorporating a little melody. And what is he singing over? Hardcore songs! I don't hear any rock riffs, solos, finger tapping, acoustic parts, rapping, scratching, bongos, or even a single harmonica solo. The breakdown/build-up in Disengage makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up because it's HEAVY and it is POWERFUL. Cappo's words almost make me want to quit my job, burn down my house, throw my sneakers in the trash, and possibly hit the road for Gita-Nagari with a bead bag in hand (meanwhile in reality, I'm drowning in maya and am pretty much happily stuck there). While I think it's a cheesy word, this record has "urgency," both lyrically and musically.
I won't belabor the songs...to me, they are great hardcore songs that push the YOT envelope while still seeming truly YOT. Will I pick earlier material over this? Probably. But this is no poor fall-back or cheap substitute. Maybe it is different if you were there at the time and watched the progression. To me it is all good and this is a five star record.
Oh, I also stared at the photos in this thing for months after I got it. I wondered about Sammy's sweatshirt (still a little bit of a mystery), who Embrace was and why they had cool shirts (I would soon learn), and why Ray was wearing sweatpants and dress shoes (a look nobody, nobody can pull off). The photo of the YOT summer '88 tour van, covered in grafitti, gave me hours of studying to do. At the time I was wondering "who is Chubby Fresh and why is the Posse Positive? Is that a mowhawk? Jimmy'z?" Getting answers to those questions was more important than anything I was learning in school.
I think it's cool that the photos on this were relatively candid and low key, even the thanks list is just short and sweet. Slap on the cover photo - a sick Cali shot of Porcell in a Judge Skiz shirt, Ray owning the stage, and Walter on some weird bass - with the Unit Pride boys in the front row, and you have the package for one of my favorite records of all time, and something that was mind blowing when I first heard it. Fifteen years later as I type this, it still makes me wanna go do a hand-stand dive onto my bed...regardless of the fact that my girlfriend is laying in it fast asleep.
Youth Of Today at Gilman Street, Berkeley CA, Photo: Trent Nelson