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.