Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Thin Ice With Outburst - Part II

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...

-Gordo DCXX

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.


Anonymous said...

Great to see such great old memories on here. I talk to Joe pretty frequently (if you count Facebook wall posts) and reading that brings back some great memories. You have another new subscriber!

Anonymous said...

The two Outburst songs on the "Where the Wild Things Are" comp are GREAT. What recording session was that and is there more available from THAT session?

Freddy Alva said...

Joe is a BeatsMaster!, the minute we heard the drum intro to the Hardway, we knew we had to put them on the first side of the New Breed comp. Astoria style!

Anonymous said...

The Outburst 7" has always been a favorite of mine.

Anonymous said...

Outburst is easily one of the most underrated of the late 80s NYHC crop. Great mosh parts, great lyrics, great live show...Joe is really delivering on this, can't wait to read the next parts!

William Patrick Wend said...

I think someone's got the off-the-board of that show online somewhere.

Yep I ripped it a few years ago. I can send it to you if you need it...

Anonymous said...