Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Isaac Golub - A Chorus Of Disapproval

Isaac fronting A Chorus Of Disapproval

Isaac from Chorus / Amendment 18 speaks his piece for DCXX as we pick his brain about how he ended up on the mic as one of the most vocal straight edge front men in hardcore history.
-Gordo DCXX

I remember sometime around 1990 hearing A Chorus Of Disapproval for the first time on the Nemesis Records live 7" comp, "East Meets West". The song was called "Just Can't Hate Enough" and I thought it was pretty damn hard. Funny thing is, the first handful of times I heard that track, I thought Isaac was saying, "Pussies going down, I will make you see the light" and thinking... wow, these dudes are freakin' pissed! Turned out the lyrics were "The shit that's going down, I will make you see the light", still pissed, but not AS pissed as I had thought. That was my first introduction to The Chorus.

Early 1991 I remember Rob Fish (Release, Ressurection) coming back from hanging out in Southern California and telling me all about Chorus and how great they were. He brought back the "Truth Gives Wings To Strength" LP and a Chorus "Reinstate Prohibition " hat and I was sold. Those first two songs on that LP, "No Part" and "Addiction To Disease" were incredible. So Straight Edge, so in your face, so hard and gave me an almost SSD feel. In 1990/1991, hearing a straight edge hardcore band like Chorus was rare but greatly appreciated. -Tim DCXX

What are you up to these days musically and otherwise?

Well after A.18 ran its course, I really wanted to take a break from doing the band thing. I wanted to concentrate on trying to be a good father, and be more of a "fan" of music. Sometimes it's hard to see things clearly from the inside so I took a step outside and just enjoyed new bands and played more of the observer, although I do miss writing songs and performing for sure. And of course The Chorus is playing that big fest at The Metro in Chicago with Unbroken and so on in May, so that will be a real fun time. Beyond that, I got married and now I'm just try to do the good husband thing.

Second Chorus show, Zack de la Rocha hangs out on stage, Photo: David "Igby" Sattanni

How did you get into punk and hardcore...and later on, straight edge? What were defining moments you recall with each personal evolution?

I met my long time friend Luigi in 1982 at Wilson Jr. High in Pasadena, CA. We hit it off famously. I would listen to the Rodney on The ROQ radio show and write the names of the bands I liked on my Peechee folder. Luigi saw I had written "Sex Pistols" on my folder and he asked if I was punk. I had no idea at that point but I told him I liked alot of different music. So did he, so we buddied up from that point on. His dad was a famous Spanish actor and his brother was in a real punk rock band, thus I was super impressed so we started our own "punk" band, Short Circuit.

Later on my family moved to Orange County, CA and my exposure to punk rock was blown wide open. Mohawks everywhere, the 52nd Street Punks invaded and laid claim to 52nd St. in Newport Beach. I just quietly hung out and reveled in the smell of Aquanet, leather, and clove cigarettes. It was great. I never felt like the silly haircuts, beers, drugs, or partying lifestyle was for me. But I loved the idea of the unity, and fuck you attitude to narrow-minded factory farmed socialites of the area. I started going to shows at The Cuckoo's Nest and since I lived a block away it was an easy walk. I saw many many great bands there, Fear, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, Suicidal, 7Seconds (The Crew tour), The Vandals, and so on.

But it wasn't until a little known band called Uniform Choice played there that I was really kicked in the balls musically. They were fast, ferocious, in your face pissed, and the singer was very threatening looking and was all over the place with his energy. Now I had heard Minor Threat and was familiar with the term 'Straight Edge' but it didn't hit home until I saw U.C., bought the t-shirt, the demo, and really read the lyrics. I suddenly didn't feel alone in my views regarding drugs, alcohol, and the like. I met Pat the singer and he told me about a bunch of other bands in the OC area that were of the same minds.

From there I got very involved even if from only a fan stand point. I was the first and only kid at my high school to go bic bald, X up, and scowl like the hardcore hard-ass I thought I was. Summer of 1984 was my awakening. I felt like a soldier, I felt like I was on a winning team, I felt like hardcore was my home. Still do.

A young Isaac riding the bus, decked out in a U.C shirt, 1986

What punk/HC bands and records hit you the hardest early on, and what "old" records and bands remain your favorites?

The first record I ever bought with my own money was The Decline of The Western Civilization Soundtrack. It had FEAR, X, Circle Jerks, Black Flag, and all these great punk bands. Since I used my own chore money to buy it, it will always stand as my emotional bond favorite. You have to understand at that early time I was a California Punk/Hardcore loyalist. My fight and struggles were locally based. OC, L.A., and San Diego bands concerned me first and foremost. Records from TSOL, Adolescents, The Crowd, Circle One, Final Conflict, MIA, Uniform Choice/Unity, so on and so forth.

But the first record to really stand me upright and prepare me for my future was Screaming For Change by Uniform Choice. The demo was great and Banks would argue it is heads and tails better than the LP, but that record threw me in head first. Upon hearing the full length and seeing them somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 times, and buying the first LP out of the box at the record store Pat Dubar worked at? Fuck, I get all fired up thinking about it now!!! It was and still is my favorite hardcore record.

The next records to come very close to doing that to me is a close tie between Visual Discrimination 'Step Back And Listen' and No For An Answer 'You Laugh EP'. These records never get old.

What did you do musically before Chorus?

I started my first band in 1982 called Short Circuit, we thought we were punk but we started playing backyard parties and lowered ourselves to doing mostly covers to gain popularity. It was one of my fondest memories but short lived. Then I tried out as singer for a band called Just Because (I think that was the name), it was Joe Foster from Unity on guitar so I was walking into that situation with a hard-on. Joe never called back and I never knew why until 2 or 3 years later when I told the story to Dan O'Mahoney. He said, "Oh that was YOU?" He then went on to tell me that Joe didn't call me back because my name spelled backwards was Caasi (Casey). Referring to Casey Jones from NFAA who sang in that older band prior to me trying out. Joe thought it was a bad omen to pull me in based on that. What a tool!!!

Then I did a band called Idenity with Rob Hayworth who later was later 'stolen' away by NFAA and even later formed Farside. We played no shows and we were not very good...well, Rob was.

An early Chorus promo photo


Head2Wall said...

"This is not - for my health - it comes from anger"

Anonymous said...

I loved the whole Italian 7" insert with the boxing lists,being a boxing fan myself, I saw our thoughts were right in line with each other too.
Aside from that they always seemed to me like the type of band to slap the beer from your hand then give you a quick shiv with the broken glass just to hammer home the point a little bit more.
The "ugly stick" hahaha . Priceless.

"I disapprove feel the anger in my chorus"

Larry said...

That promo photo is the fuckin greatest.

Ben Edge said...

I played bass with Amendment Eighteen sort of towards the end. Isaac seemed to make enemies wherever we went, but it was because people didn't get his sense of humor for the most part. Once he blew his voice out in Italy, and he literally sounded like Mickey Mouse when he talked. Our roadie thought he was going to have to sing at the next show, and dreaded memorizing the complicated lyrics. Isaac got his voice back in time though. Dude snored as loud as a normal person yells. Every night.

Anonymous said...

That promo-photo is hilarious! Is he sad about the spilled beer on the ground?

"Dude, don´t cry, I´ll buy you a new six-pack."

xroldx said...

I remember interviewing Isaac when A18 first went on tour in Europe, they didn't had a real van but toured in a camper.

I also asked him some questions about being a dad and straight edge and how you introduce the lifestyle to your children, the things he said back in 2000 are really helpfull to me now cause now I'm a straight edge dad as well.

Anonymous said...

XChorusX to A18 to lying about being straight edge for years after he was hitting the bottle. What a joke! What songs can XChorusX play that he can sing? Hopefully someone beats him with the ugly stick even if he can't get any uglier.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I always found this band to be way more interesting than most of the other west coast sXe crap that was around at the time. DCXX is right, those first two songs on "Truth Gives Wings..." were the best. So pissed, so straight edge, and so west coast.

Anonymous said...

Normally I just sit back and laugh at bullshit comments but this douche bag that left one a few comments above knows dick about hardcore and the dedication it takes. I am a close friend of Isaac's, and this dude is the raddest guy ever. He IS hardcore, he IS dedication, and he IS sacrifice. He is a humble guy when it comes to his accomplishments and he is his own hardest critic when he fails. Were you you out supporting your hometown scene in 1982? Eat a bag of dick, you pussy! Isaac, we love you. Keep keepin' on.

Anonymous said...

Look at Isaac posting as an old friend of Isaac's to let us know how rad and dedicated Isaac is! Cute. Did he lie to you about breaking edge for years or was his keeping it a secret a sign of his dedication?

Anonymous said...

i would so love to have a drink with Mr Chorus!

Isaac Golub said...

May 1st or 2nd. The Metro, Chicago. Be there.... Oh and bring your mom, she took The Ugly Stick all the way to the logo like a champ before. Why not in front of a paying crowd this time? P.S. Thanks Double Cross for the interview.

Anonymous said...

Was that promo photo take right after Measure 8 passed in California?

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