Thursday, November 13, 2008

Isaac Golub - A Chorus Of Disapproval Part II


Isaac Golub returns and this time brings the ugly stick with him, CHORUS style... -Gordo DCXX

How did CHORUS come together for those who don't know, what were the main inspirations and influences for the band?


Somewhere around summer of 1987 or 1988 Banks and I were new in our friendship, but were increasingly becoming great friends. I would travel the 15 miles or so to his work at Cerritos Park East where he worked as an afternoon activities manager. We would get Del Taco and just talk hardcore all day and all night. "Dude check out this Madball 7inch!" "Did you hear the Head First demo?" Banks was still in Visual Discrimination and it was great hanging out with him because I was a fan, so I felt really lucky. We wrote a song together for the V.D. In Vain Lp. And he asked me to draw something for the cover, it didn't get used but I was honored to say the least in even being asked.


We talked about doing a band all the time, something sounding a little like Judge but with that West Coast feel, it was mostly talk and a dream until one day we decided we WERE a band. Out of the blue, just me and him. We thought, "Fuck it, who's gonna say we're not?" We brought some ideas to the table, lyrics, band names, attitudes, etc. We did a demo under the name Boiling Point, but quickly changed it and made A Chorus of Disapproval our new home.

We were sick of complacency and stale attitudes in punk rock and hardcore, and the West Coast did not have a real in your face Straight Edge band. Sure we had Insted and No For An Answer, but nothing in that vein to me screamed, "Fuck you, fuck your ideals, and fuck your idea of society!' We recruited Regis shortly thereafter by eerily whispering to him at a Hard Stance show, "We got our eye on you Regis." He was our one and only choice for bass, he is all heart and both fists on The Chorus body.

Although there are really only 4 blatant Straight Edge songs out of all our songs, I think the point was very much taken in most circles at the time.

What was the California hardcore landscape like when CHORUS got going? What to you had changed, for the worse...and how would things change as the band progressed? Where did you see CHORUS fitting into the new landscape of HC in the 90s?

At the time Chorus got going it was almost a changing of the guard feeling for me. California hardcore was in a sort of low valley, a lot of the great clubs had closed and a lot of the great bands were gone or had gone straight pussy core. The days of seeing Youth of Today, Cro-Mags, or Uniform Choice at Fender's were over. We still had The Country Club but it was a huge venue and you would be hard pressed to have a hardcore show there that made enough money for the owner to keep letting it go on. Hartsfield and some other dudes started putting on shows at Spanky's and Toe Jam and suddenly there was new life.

When it came to hardcore in California at that time Posi-Core seemed to reign. Everybody wanted to be Insted, or 7 Seconds, or rock like the second UC record. Taking nothing from Insted, they were a great band and great guys, but I wanted something tougher, something borderline threatening along the Carry Nation lines. Times were definitely getting exciting, we played shows with Outspoken, Insted, Carry Nation, Infest, and a lot of great bands and gained tremendous momentum with our 'style.'

There was a crop of newer bands that came in our wake and it was nice to see that metal influenced hardcore feeling we brought to the table take flight. Although Banks was at Cal State Berkeley I thought we managed to stay a band relevant to the new aggressive hardcore times coming.


Isaac fronting early Chorus

What are your best memories and biggest accomplishments from playing in CHORUS? I'm sure there must be some stand out memories.

The time in that band will always stand out as the greatest time in my life, and I can probably go on for hours. What can be better than hitting the road with your best friends and causing mayhem?

The biggest emotional turning point for me was the last Insted show at Spanky's. We played right under them and it felt like an unspoken transfer of power. They were HUGE, we were getting big, and there was this thick excitement in the air for everyone involved. I think Steve Insted may have even verbally passed the torch to me or Banks but I could be mistaken. It was the greatest show ever. Sad, but great.

Our first out of state show was a great memory as well. It was in the middle of summer 1990 or '91, we packed up in two pick up trucks and headed for Arizona. Three in the cab of each truck, equipment in the back of one, and me and Sabatini in the back of the other. At one point it got to be around 112 degrees so Sabatini and I rocked it naked in the back of the pick up for most of the drive there.

We got to some kid's house and him and his friends seemed to be in awe of us. They sorta sized us up as if to be thinking "Ok… That's Banks…That's Isaac, and there's Regis…" They looked at RD our drummer and said, "What do you do?" He responded, "I'm the drummer…. Is it cool if I smoke outside?" It was hilarious to us. The kids were crushed, they recovered quickly once we let them in on the joke.

We seemed to get into shit whereever we went and we didn't care. One time the Strife roadie called me and Regis fat in New York and Banks slapped him and spit right in the guys face and told him to stand the fuck up, that dude looked at the ground and didn't move or say a word.

We went to Europe in the summer of 1994, of course none of us had ever been there and were very excited for the opportunity. It was still a semi-new concept and there were only a handful of bands that had gone there at that time. That was an amazing accomplishment for us, and for me personally because I really wanted to see the world and almost joined the Navy 3 years prior solely for that reason.

We got off the plane in Germany with an attitude of coarse, loud, pushy, and over excited. Within the first 3 hours we had told our driver and host that he needed to get a new attitude and find us a fucking shower. His name was Ma and deserves a lot of credit because he put up with our shit, drove all night most nights, got us everywhere safe and I don't remember him complaining once. One night a drunk German stepped to Banks with beer in hand and in broken English was asking, "Why this Straight Edge? What is this Straight Edge? Who you think is this Straight Edge?" Banks paused about half a tic and slapped the beer out of the dude's hand, it broke on a rock and soaked the guys shoe and sock. Banks replied, "That's my Straight Edge, do you get it now?"

With all these stories and memories, above all else the biggest accomplishment for me is the love. Friends learning and creating, making new friends along the way, getting sweaty for the core and getting bloody for the cause. Making music and inspiring, hearing music and being inspired. I never went to college but I can say I learned serious love and life lessons beyond anything any school could teach me being in this band.


Isaac, Regis and Jeff Banks on 1994 Chorus Euro tour

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, after that jeff banks quote, i'm pretty sure he might be one of the coolest people of all time. so awesome.

SFader said...

Isaac's got 1 part slightly wrong. At the last Insted show, we (Blackspot) opened. And after Brown lost his voice during the first song, the crowd sang our entire set for us with no mic. After that, Steve said "You guys are gonna be the next Insted" Of course, being HB's and lazy Sloth Crew guys, it just wasn't meant to be.

Justin Lore said...

"We recruited Regis shortly thereafter by eerily whispering to him at a Hard Stance show, "We got our eye on you Regis.""

fucking amazing.


gotta love the don't ask, don't tell drummer.

hottdogg9000 said...

Spitting people in their face, knocking beerbotlles out of some drunk-punk's hand and acting like tough guys? Love? Great band tho'.

klint said...

I've gotten into this argument so many times. The Chorus was THE most pissed off straight edge band ever. A lot of people go to Judge, but there was too much remorse and introspection there. The Chorus was straight intolerance, start to finish. The militant edge is not a joke.

SFader said...

Not dissing anyone AT ALL, (I firmly believe people should do whatever they want, more power to them) But who cares how pissed off an Edge band was or is if the guys aren't even Edge anymore? What was the whole point if they don't still believe?

Mike P. said...

X Chorus X was hate filled straight edge and I fucking love it.

Ed Good Life said...

"In one ear, out the other - why bother..." is still my fave HC one-liner to this day !

Ed good life said...

When I see that flyer for this show,
all I can think of is 'Phil Doan',
at the time a 12-year old boat refugee from Vietnam who actually slept in a closet in his parents' house - that's how tiny (and poor) he was/they were. But his zine kicked serious ass.

Igby would remember the name of his zine.

Isaac Golub said...

Poison Free was that 'zine.... Fader, I remeber that show like it was yesterday and it was true the whole crowd sang along because I was upfront leading the charge. Blackspot never got as much credit as they deserved. Looks like Steve might have played both ends to hedge his bet, hahahaha!!! Blackspot, Insted, Chorus... Great guys, great fun. I never felt like it was a competittion, I quit high school and got my GED to escape the attitude. Thanks for the memories.

alod said...

Where's the sample at the beginning of JCHE from?

XsupermandreX said...

1994 euro tour was fucking amazing. i remember the show at Rattenloch, Germany. support act never showed up and you guys played in a pool in the basement. one of the best shows ever - i will never forget!

Jack said...

R.I.P. HOTS 2000-2003.

SFader said...

Isaac- For sure great times, great shows. We all really rocked during that era. Remember when we (Blackspot, Chorus, Function) were having a discussion about why we refused to play Spanky's anymore? Regis just wouldn't get it and he got so fucking pissed that my brother (Barry-Function guitar, 1134 drums) and I almost had to fist fight him!! I think us 2 midgets would have taken him! hahaha

Isaac Golub said...

I dont remeber that particular conversation (was I even there) but I do remember a lot of back and forths with doing or not doing shows at Spanky's, and at times it was heated. But everyone relented at some point didn't they, because Spanky's turned into the Showcase and everyone either played the Showcase or went and saw a show there.

Alod- That sample was from a TV show The White Shadow.

Jake- Shut up. You dont know shit about H.O.T.S. You tapped out, fell asleep, or brought some shit ass idea to the table. You were banished from H.O.T.S by your own brother, so....

Ben Edge said...

"One time the Strife roadie called me and Regis fat in New York and Banks slapped him and spit right in the guys face and told him to stand the fuck up, that dude looked at the ground and didn't move or say a word."

The Strife roadie was Justin Dedda (aka Gordo). He's a great guy. I wouldn't mind hearing his side of the story some time.

Sabatini (aka Korri Pride) was the fill-in vocalist for Unit Pride, and also sang in a band called Dead Skin Mask. A controversial figure to say the least. He actually stole jars of change from my current roommate back in the early 90s. He roadied for Amendment Eighteen, and Hartsfield got mad at him in AZ for wearing shorts that exposed his swazi tat.

DOUBLE CROSS said...

Regarding Strife roadie Justin Dedda aka Gordo...I thought I'd share this story. Obviously I share the same nickname and grew up with it.

I became aware many moons ago that said Strife roadie also had the same nickname - however our paths didn't directly cross until 2004 when I went out to see Insted in California. Before the first show I met Andrew and Chad from Strife, who remarked about by nickname. They mentioned that their Gordo would be at the show, too. I didn't think much of it.

A few hours later I'm hanging out at the show and some dude taps me on the shoulder. I turn around and see a semi-sketch looking character with a really serious, pissed off demeanor. I'm wondering immediately what the fuck is going on. He deadpans, "Are you the dude who says he is Gordo?" I tell him, "Uhhh, yeah...why?" He inches closer..."You're not Gordo, not tonight at least. I'm Gordo." I realize I am meeting the former Strife roadie.

I'm quickly trying to figure out whether this dude has a screw loose or it is just a darkly sarcastic welcome to California, and whether or not I should include myself on the joke or prepare for some ridiculous physical altercation. I try to joke with him, but he isn't having it. More intense eye contact and him reiterating that my nickname doesn't exist in his world.

I'm still waiting for the ice to break and a smile to crack, instead I get more of a deadpan stare and some weird brohug/handshake from him as if to say, "I'm not gonna kill you, just get out of here." I'm pretty sure Andrew and Chad said he was joking, but it was still an extremely odd way that he played it.

-The other Gordo
DCXX

jack said...

Nez, look at the facts - the HOTS effectively ended in late 2003. I moved out of the house in mid 2003. Coincidence? I think not.

chad said...

I was friends with Phil Doan in the Poison Free era, i still have the 'zines... and i remember seeing that closet that was his bedroom.. haha.. crazy guy. he wasn't 12 though, he was like 20something but he had to say he was high school age and attend HS for some reason... i saw XchorusX play in his back yard in boyle heights which was the only time i ever saw the UGLY STICK make an appearance.

shortly after phil turned into a crazed militant vegan hardline dude (actually pre earth crisis) and i fell out with him. i later heard he was selling drugs to ravers but that might have been just random gossip.

one time in like 93 i saw XchorusX play with yet another seemingly random drummer (i think it was at the old world hall in HB), if i recall correctly, this dude had a huge COORS sticker across the front of his kick drum which i always thought was a little weird.

i love that Del Taco was involved in the early days of the formation of XchorusX.

"looks like someone's been down here with the ugly stick.." classic 3 Amigos quote...

jbanks said...

Boyle Heights was a rough area. I remember that show.

After we played about 4 cholos came up to us and said, "What's the name of your band?" Regis says, "A Chorus of Disapproval." The smallest cholo says, "Yeah? Well, we Disapprove."

We thanked them for coming to watch anyways and then we got the FUCK out of EasLos with our tails between our legs.

Jack said...

Evan, myself and a couple of our friends went to that Boyle Heights show. When we walked up to the house where it was and didn't see a single other white person there, we left skid marks heading the fuck back to the OC.

Anonymous said...

...cause people who aren't white are scary. What an asshole.

Jack said...

I was 20 years old at the time and Evan and the other two guys were in their teens. Cut me some slack, will ya?

chad said...

hey, at the time of that boyle heights show i was only a 17 or 18 year old white boy myself.. it was cool enough though. of course after the show was over we jammed ASAP but no problems otherwise.

Anonymous said...

One night a drunk German stepped to Banks with beer in hand and in broken English was asking, "Why this Straight Edge? What is this Straight Edge? Who you think is this Straight Edge?" Banks paused about half a tic and slapped the beer out of the dude's hand, it broke on a rock and soaked the guys shoe and sock. Banks replied, "That's my Straight Edge, do you get it now?"

So does that mean that all these Chourus guys get beers slapped out of their hands when they are drunk at a bar. Talk about a bunch of sell outs.

"yeah that's my Straight Edge"

I guess the "harder" they are the farther they fall?

PATHETIC!

Ben Edge said...

ALL these Chorus guys? To my knowledge, Regis and Banks are still sxe.

Jack said...

It's a shame that almost none of you got to see Isaac's BEST performance - doing a poetry slam style reading of Wham's "Careless Whisper" in the karaoke bar of Kona Lanes in Costa Mesa during the summer of '93.

Anonymous said...

Whoever jack is would you please please please please please please please stop posting. you are an idiot.

Isaac Golub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isaac Golub said...

The term you were looking for was "How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!" its in the King James Bible, 2nd Book of Samuel, Chapter 1, Verse 25. Not, the "harder" they are the farther they fall? That's some amatuer hour made up shit. Dont try to wax poetic with me son. And I dont drink beer, I drink Moet out of your mom's ass after she has been blown open from taking The Ugly Stick.... Sideways. Can you see the name that posted this kiddo? Cant see yours. Eat a dick Jr.

Jack said...

Yeah!

Isaac Golub said...

One thing that shit talker and I have in common is we both want Jack to shut up. ASAI!!!! Tap out.

Jack said...

.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I think is strange about all the Double Cross pieces on old edge dudes is that they never include questions about how they are no longer edge. These guys preached straight edge for years..it was the main focal point of many of their bands, and yet there is nothing mentioned about their change of heart or whatever. I find that weird and evasive.

SFader said...

Damn. Another anonymous vag. Sort of like I said in my post above. For me I think everyone should do what the F they want, edge or not. I guess it's the subject matter of the post. The questions aren't "Are you still edge, why or why not", they're more like: "You guys did some cool shit in the past, please tell us about it". If you look at the poll going right now, there's only like 3 of those guys that still believe in those lyrics now. So if the DBL X guys ever ask the question, we'll see who answers.

Sarah Palin said...

Why haven't you called? :(

Anonymous said...

"The one thing I think is strange about all the Double Cross pieces on old edge dudes is that they never include questions about how they are no longer edge. These guys preached straight edge for years..it was the main focal point of many of their bands, and yet there is nothing mentioned about their change of heart or whatever. I find that weird and evasive."

WAAAAAH WAAAAH WAHHHH. I'm straightedge and some guy I've never met isn't anymore. People change. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the fact that these same douches will fall off the straight edge wagon even sooner than their heroes did.

Anonymous said...

Life is to short to worry about who is edge and who is not. Seriously, is that your biggest worry? "Who knows, who cares, why bother!!!" Music is music. People have their own reasons for pain or moments of question. Do they still care is the question? Do they still support hardcore and this family? Do they still give interviews? Do they still give without asking anything in return? Do they still want to play shows from time to time because THEY love music and their friends, and care about your memories? If they do then I still support them.

david said...

I don't think anon. was attacking anyone for not being straight edge. He/She was just wondering why all of these interviews/pieces dance around the subject, when straight edge was a huge focal point of these bands existence. I think it's a fair question and one I have thought myself.