Thursday, November 20, 2008

Breaking the silence with AP and Nathan on Radio Silence

Radio Silence book cover

If you've been paying attention at all in the last year, you've heard about the book Radio Silence, and have found a copy and devoured it all as soon as you got your hands on it. Now that the book is out, we caught up with creators Nate (Nathan Nedorostek) and AP (Anthony Pappalardo) to get some behind the scenes info on the masterpiece we can be thankful for. Seriously, if you don't own this book, get it immediately - beg, borrow, or steal...
-Gordo DCXX

We have heard all about the book, but give us some insights and tidbits. Highlights from talking to people, near-fights between the authors, major obstacles, biggest breakthroughs, etc? And now that the book is out and you have been in the honeymoon stage, what has been the goal post-publication?

Nate: Getting the word out to anyone and everyone. We have a great distributor, so almost anyone anywhere can go out and find the book in the local bookstore, but we still have to put in work to let people know about the book.

AP: Like hardcore itself, the book isn't static and has a bunch of different components. The audience for Radio Silence is so broad so we've been trying to promote the book in as many ways as possible with appeals to different age groups. Having the photography show has been excellent because we get to interact with everyone and with it running for a full year it keeps things fresh. I was sitting in the Riviera Gallery in Brooklyn watching the show one Sunday and this dad came in with his daughter who was about five, I'm not really sure because I don't know shit about children but I assume at five they start asking questions in full sentences and stuff, anyway this dad had his daughter on his shoulders and was going through the show, he got to the picture of the DC punks and skins and goes "Daddy used to go to all these shows!" The little girl goes, "Why aren't you in the picture daddy?"

The dad looked over at me and winks then responds, "Daddy was right over here, next to Lyle, the camera just missed me".

I never thought anything like this would ever happen let alone me being involved with it, but bringing generations together and having an excuse to travel and throw a party every month, not bad.

The show is running in Burlington, Vermont right now at the Sanctuary Artsite ( and at the opening this guy wearing a Def Jam Records bomber jacket rolled up and said "Hey guys, name is Drew Stone, I used to sing for Antidote, I live up here now". Totally unexpected and pretty fucking awesome!

Anthony and Nathan of Radio Silence, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

Tell us about the Cro-Mags Jam in California. That thing was practically a red carpet event it looked like...

AP: Our first book release parties were in Brooklyn and then a few days later we found ourselves in Hollywood in front of the oldest theater in Los Angeles getting ready to talk on a stage with people I look at as legends. People who pioneered the look, feel, sound and heart of hardcore. From top to bottom it was surreal. From the outset we wanted to make sure we didn't limit ourselves with Radio Silence, it needed to be everywhere, in everyone's hands who was interested in it. It needed to be the book we would have killed for as kids. When it came time for promoting the book we wanted to do things that really gave back to the audience and had some depth. The Q&A panel was something special to be a part of, we had Jesse upstairs taking portraits and everyone was running around on a sugar high from free candy and soda all before a note was played. Meanwhile we were waiting for Casey Jones to come by with "the jacket", it had to be the first thing that greeted people as they walked through the door. The people at Nike were behind the book the second they saw it, the next hurdle was to come up with something we could do that would be fun and made sense.

Right away they were speaking our language in that they wanted this to be a free event, we just needed to figure out what bands would be able to play. We went through some massive brain storming sessions and my friend Trevor suggested that the Cro-Mags play as there were doing a few shows and the newest line up was killer, we got the green light, Trevor made the call and a few hours later I got a call from John Joseph and it was a done deal.

Tim Bergevin at Nike used to roadie for Ignite and knew exactly how to run this event, everyone at Nike bent over backwards for us, the fans and the bands, and did something pretty fucking epic. The show was a backdrop for everyone to hang out and reconnect, Nathan and I had the biggest grins watching the bands take portraits, it was surreal and inspiring. I constantly look a the Chain Of Strength portrait and think, if these guys picked up some instruments they could do something really fucking interesting, there's a cool tension in those photos. It was so cool to get new memories and images out of the events, it brought things full circle. As Ian MacKaye said when we interviewed him, "Don't write my obituary yet! I got plenty left!"

Chain of Strength (L-R) Curt Canales, Ryan Hoffman, Chris Bratton, Frosty, and Alex Barreto, at the Radio Silence Hollywood, CA book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

What about outtakes and left over material from the book...what can we expect to one day see?

Nate: The number one comment we get is "Oh shit! I have ________________. I should have told you..." Eeerrrrrr, oh well...

AP: We had a draft close to 500 pages at one point and that wasn't even scratching the surface of what we had and the ideas we had, there could be 200 pages just on what we've collected for each scene covering a 15 year span. Hopefully we can find channels that make sense to use some of this content, many of the photos in the book have 20 companions from the same roll. Jeff Nelson gave us full access to Dischord's art archives so you can imagine that a Dischord Art History book could be made with the commentary and images that we collected. So many of the contributors spoke to us and gave such detailed answers, it broke our hearts to get things down to a few quotes.

One thing that would blow minds would be the full Pat Dubar interview that Joe Nelson helped us obtain, we have audio and video (courtesy of Larry Ransom) which really documents something special, Pat doesn't do interviews and we felt so lucky to get his unique perspective. Having someone of his stature trust us with such an important chunk of his life really hit us hard, the responsibility to the project grew immensely with each person we met, and Pat and Jeff Nelson were people that made it grow exponentially.

No For An Answer (L-R) Gavin Ogelsby, John Mastropolo, Casey Jones and Dan O'Mahony at the Radio Silence Hollywood, CA book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

What is in the future for the book and you guys personally?

Nate: Hopefully the book will live a long life in the modern music / design / culture book canon.

AP: As mentioned before the photography show will be visiting different cities for a full year and we'll be in San Diego December 5th and 6th for some release parties. Mike Down and Matt Anderson took such a special interest in the book, so much so that I got a call from Mike telling me that Amenity was back practicing and working on new songs to play at a release show that he was putting together provided we were into it. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than by seeing Amenity in San Diego, Mike has this infectious energy and seeing that channeled into Amenity one more time is going to be amazing.

Right now we're focused on making an impression with Radio Silence whereever we can and trying to enhance the experience by constantly updating the site and throwing killer parties. The photography show will be in Philadelphia at Juantia and Juan's on January 2nd, Ian Svenonius will be performing at the event and then we'll be in Boston at Bodega's new gallery in February, and April at Tradition in Los Angeles. We're doing our best to make every event memorable and have a different spin than the last. It's important to show that hardcore isn't just framed on a wall or ink on paper it is out there breathing in so many different ways, not just in this global scene that continues to grow but also through everyone who was touched by it. The more we can show about the culture and it's influence the more we've succeeded.

Gorilla Biscuits (L-R) Alex Brown, Anthony Civarelli, Arthur Smilios, Luke Abbey, and Walter Schreifels at the Radio Silence Hollywood CA, book release party, Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner

Was this an experience you don't wish to re-live?

Nate: The experience of making Radio Silence was a learning process. I think I speak for both of us when I say that we pushed everything we had to the limit and then some. This book was an amazing chance to explore ideas and test our abilities. That said, it would be great to do another project like this, however, next time, we're going to make it easier on our constitution.

AP: Like anything, when you've finished you go "Fuck we could have done time I'll do that". Personally with music, especially playing in hardcore bands you follow this burst of energy and like a bolt of lightning it doesn't strike twice, you can try to be deliberate and learn from your mistakes the second time around but you find there are new obstacles and problems. We could probably go at this again and have some plan to make it more efficient but I wonder how much soul it would have, the bridge between idea and the final product was such a long process and I couldn't imagine having the same result if we were more deliberate the second time around. We really found ourselves feeding off the energy of the situations and that's what made the book a success to me, I think that even when we reduced someone to a single quote, those few sentences captured that person's energy.

I wouldn't want to change Glen E. Friedman's lightbulb again, have to interview every Orange County All-Star with half a voice and a sore throat, I'd like to never sleep at the Days Inn Long Beach again and finally I'm comfortable never eating at Del Taco as long as there is breath in my lungs.

Who did you want in the book but couldn't get for some reason?

Nate: Bruce Rhodes. Bruce was one of the most amazing photographers documenting hardcore music in the 1980s. We spent the last 4-5 months before the book went to press hunting for Bruce. We found someone by that name who I like to think is him, but he has never answered the phone or responded to the packages of rough drafts we have sent to him. It's kind of funny because, through the process of trying to find Bruce, we actually stumbled across a few other photographers that we were not looking for, but were as equally amazing. So, thanks Bruce (we still want to talk to you though).

AP: The two that jump out are almost Yin and Yang, Raymond Cappo and Sam McPheeters, Sam couldn't talk about the past and felt weird doing so even though we tried to explain that this wasn't a memory lane book and Ray chose not to participate. It's funny because everyone we met had some incredible Ray Cappo story, it got to the point where the line was "Did ya hear the one about Ray Cappo" and we'd go "Well did you hear THIS one," and it was the job of the person we were interviewing to top it. Ray made such an impression on hardcore, on our book and our lives that it's a shame not to have him be a part of it but hopefully we represented Youth of Today well and Porcell was such an incredible person to have in the book so it all balanced out.

What did you have to cut from the book that pained you most?

Nate: More of the amazing photographs we uncovered, like: the "Youth" show in Boston, Bad Brains at Viceroy Park, North Carolina, c.1982. Also, the Supertouch gatefold.

AP: Think about these names: Ian MacKaye, Dan O'Mahony, Pat Dubar. Three incredible story tellers who left us with some amazing copy, we didn't have time to follow up and ask Ian more about Embrace and some other questions and he still gave us more than enough. Dan had some really great thoughts about hardcore's evolution and I touched on Pat earlier, it killed us to have to edit.

From a design standpoint I would have loved to have been able to have sections on a bunch of designers, including Jason Farrell and Gavin Ogelsby, they were both so articulate and passionate but again we had a designated space to work with. Jason's contribution to design, it was very much an extension of the fun and sophistication that Jeff Nelson really mastered but with his spin and very illustrative slant. Jeff Nelson inspired many to design and I think Jason really made people continue and fueled that urge, he's responsible for a lot of double clicks and back ups. Swiz was a band that blew me and many of my peers away musically and visually and I can't count how many designers I've met that started in hardcore and name Jason and Jeff as their influences. Fuck I hated leaving anything out.

Peace and love, thank you Double Cross!

CRO MAGS JAM - "World Peace / Show You No Mercy" from Larry Ransom on Vimeo.

Cro-Mags jam at the Radio Silence Hollywood book release party, October 8th, 2008 for Cro-Mags outtakes. go to

For more of Jesse Untracht-Oakner's photos, go to:


Anonymous said...

This is fucking sick! I've been sleepin'. I'm getting this shit asap!
Peace. Shawn Zappo

xroldx said...

I bought this book at Reflections Record and wanted to read it immediately. So after bringing the kids to bed that night I sat down on the couch, started and couldn't stop till I read it from front to end.

Excellent book.

Ed Goodlife said...

Excellent job indeed on the book !

Can't wait for the DVD ;-)

for now, anyone outside of the U.S. better get this book from us NOW :

benjamin said...

This is an awesome book. Tim and Gordo - I couldn't find contact info for either of you so I hope you read these comments. How about a feature on Bri Hurley and "Making a Scene"?


ambrose said...

I have to get this book today.

Pierre said...

Excellent article as usual...the book is very good too. Why Ray didn't want to participate ? He represents exactly what is hardcore for me...

If you're also interested with what came after hardcore, go there:

Ben Edge said...

Voted best hardcore book on the Livewire poll (by me)!

Anonymous said...

this is not your father's cro-mags...

do. not. want.

but, the book's kinda cool. could've done w/o the gus parts.


Joe said...

I've saw the Cro Mags in 1986 or whenever on that Motorhead tour, saw them on the Best Wishes tour, and also in like 1992 maybe with the Exploited..

I've now seen teh Cro Mags (jam) 3 times as wellm and this version is as good if not better then any of the older lineups. John is in top form, and Mackie is just a beast. I also think AJ and Craig make it a pretty strong 4-some.

If you get a chance to see them do yourself a favor and go. You will not be dissapointed. However if you go and are let down then by all means feel free to post as Anonymous on here and call me names.

Andrew Jacobs said...

My Amazon review of Radio Silence.

The ultimate yearbook of the 1978-1993 hardcore eras

I should confess right off the bat that the main thing that made me decide to shell out $20 to purchase this book sight unseen was the sheer number of contributors to it from my beloved Orange County, California hardcore scene. Over the years, I've read quite a few books on hardcore but none of them did a very good job of covering the O.C. hardcore scene to my satisfaction. When I stumbled upon the Radio Silence website via an email from a friend, I was elated to FINALLY see a book about hardcore on the market that employed so many O.C. scenesters, many of whom are just as relevant to me and my life now as they were back in my early 20s (I'm 38 now). Needless to say, after giving it a day's worth of thought (hey, $20 ain't chump change after 8 years of George W. Bush), I made the order on Amazon.

Best $20 I ever spent.

As someone who got heavily into punk and hardcore music in the mid '80s and was actively involved in the early '90s O.C. hardcore scene, Radio Silence is nothing less than the ultimate yearbook of that bygone era. Jam packed with over 500 mostly previously unseen color and black & white photographs of all things hardcore (literally ALL things hardcore, folks) from 1978-1993 and anecdotes from over 100 participants of every hardcore scene that existed during that period of time, the book serves as both an extremely satisfying trip down memory lane for the people who were there and a very thorough sort of introductory time capsule for current hardcore fans who are interested in finding out more about the deep history of this genre of music. Add to that the fact that the pages of this coffee table book (again, I mean that literally) were printed on thick and sturdy paper stock and you've got yourself a timeless document that you will no doubt refer to many, many times throughout your life.

Anonymous said...

one of the authors looks like jesus. can´t decide which one though ;-)

on topic. excellent book!

Anonymous said...

great book, a must buy

someone help me out here.... i have not seen every incarnation of the cro mags over the past 10 years, but judging from this video alone, how can anyone say this is not amazing? i saw them in 87 (motorhead), 88 (harley singing), 91(jj) and 94 (jj) and what is going on in this video is every bit as powerful as 87, at least on a musical level, and even better than any later version. they sound like a fucking tank running over people at 100 mph - a fucking wrecking ball of sound. mackie is insane. how do you replace doug, paris and harley? i dont know, but craig and aj seem like a great and possibly improved subsitution. i hope i can see this line up to confirm what this video shows: that the cro mags in this form, in 2008, are still the greatest band on the planet.

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