It's been about 4 years now since the idea was planted and talks had begun on putting together a complete Mouthpiece discography. Originally, the plans were to release it on Livewire Records, which is run by our long time friend Ed McKirdy and myself. As we began scanning massive amounts of photographs, gathering all the recordings and making the plans, the project seemed to grow into a larger than life endeavor. Trying to juggle our new band, Triple Threat, run Livewire and put together this Mouthpiece project became more than we could handle. Before we knew it, the project had hit a stand still and all work had stopped.
Monday, March 31, 2008
If you walk into a decent-sized hardcore show today, or take a peak through even the newest releases from young bands, you are bound to spot someone wearing a varsity jacket. While he could very well be a high school senior who is captain of the wrestling team and is wearing his alma matter's colors and letters as a badge of honor and accomplishment, that probably is not the case. More likely, he is wearing this jacket after seeing it being worn by other straight edge hardcore kids, or in records/photos (in reverse chronological order) of bands such as The First Step, Hands Tied, Floorpunch, Mouthpiece, Youth Of Today, Slapshot, and BOLD. Further, it might be totally plain. Or, it might say "STRAIGHT EDGE" on the back. Going a step further, it might have a band name on the back as well, or a city, or a state, and then the words "STRAIGHT EDGE." If you are Rob Fish in 1988, you may put a big X on the front. If you are Chris Zusi in 1990, you might wear this same jacket after trading a bagel for it. Regardless, this jacket is typically only worn by straight edge dudes. And it's an interesting piece of attire, and an undeniable little piece of straight edge "fashion," for lack of a better term. To me, it is actually kind of intriguing because it is such a major departure from punk fashion. It could be quite possibly the furthest thing from a leather motorcycle jacket or some torn up Lee jean jacket covered in patches...even quite the opposite from a flight jacket. Think about it: it is a jacket typically synonymous with community-driven team sports and mainstream youth athleticism. Maybe I am overthinking it, but it is just interesting that it makes absolutely no sense in the hardcore world, yet in the little niche of straight edge hardcore that is rooted in the mid to late 80s, it makes all the sense in the world.
So where the hell did this jacket originate in "our scene?" From a continuous, ongoing investigation, all signs seem to point towards Chris Smorgasbord Daily. If he wasn’t the first, he was definitely a close second. We went to the source. -Gordo
You must have some memory of actually getting your varsity jacket. As specifically as possible, when would this have been? Where did you get it?
I remember wanting it for a few months before I actually got it. I looked in sports stores all over Pennsylvania and Connecticut (I lived in CT but had family in PA). I ended up finding it at a screen printer in York, PA on a family visit. I asked them about lettering the back but the lead time was too long so I just bought the jacket.
Of all the jackets to help you stay warm through the Connecticut winter, why this? You could have picked a wool parka, a plastic poncho, or a very nice full length pea coat. Was it something that was on sale and just looked cool? As far as I know, you didn't play high school sports. What type of consciousness went into this?
Not really sure where the desire came from to get it. I assume I saw someone with one. I was not a sports dude at all at any point in my life, I was a skater kid in high school so there was zero chance I was going get a "Letter" jacket for some sport. Before I got the varsity jacket I wore an insulated flannel like a lumberjack would wear! I still remember my print shop high school teacher commenting that I finally bought a jacket.
When you got it, did you have the letters put on right away? What was the idea behind this? Had you already done the Smorgasbord shirt design and simply adapted that to the jacket, or vice versa?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Slowly but surely I've been converting the majority of my old VHS hardcore video collection over to DVDs. I'm going to try and make it a goal to upload new videos to this site once a week, maybe every two weeks, we'll see how it goes. Some videos you may have seen before, but I'm sure there will be others that you haven't. I've got a ton of videos and the transfer to DVD is very time consuming, but I think the ultimate result will be a great collection of classic videos that I will be able to share.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Released in the Fall / Winter 1987 collection, the Swatch X Rated hit the scene. Bought my first one off a kid I went to school with in the 9th grade and paid $20.00 for it. I was psyched to say the least. After gazing through countless straight edge records and fanzines of the day, I almost felt incomplete without one. Once I had it, I treasured it and treated it like gold. Twenty years later and the X Rated is still ticking, still worn on a regular basis and still the coolest watch I've ever owned. -TM
Monday, March 24, 2008
Originally I had met Eric Ozenne, former frontman for Unit Pride, back in 1995 when he was starting his follow up band to Unit Pride, Redemption 87. Over the years I've kept in contact with Eric and run into him on many occasions. Just about every time we get together or talk, our conversations always go back to Unit Pride. One afternoon in Philly, before a Nerve Agents set (Eric's band after R87), Eric suggested that I should really get in touch with Tim Monroe (former guitarist of Unit Pride) and that Tim would also love to get into some heavy Unit Pride conversation. After some contact exchanges, I was soon in talks with Tim and Eric was right, Tim was way down to talk and share his memories. Tim and I ran into each other a couple times over the past five years, once at a show in Pennsylvania and once at a show in Chicago. You could tell that like Eric, Tim was cut from the same cloth. Both very sincere and very down to earth and for a couple of guys that started going to hardcore shows in 1984, I admire the fact that both have maintained a legitimate connection to the hardcore scene of today. Here's the result of some questions that I threw at Tim, hope you enjoy. -TM
What was your main focus and inspiration for starting Unit Pride in 1986?
My personal inspiration for starting a band came from all the music and bands I was listening to at the time and the "get up and do it mentality." Bands like the Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Sex Pistols, 7 Seconds, Dead
Kennedys, and local bands like Rabid Lassie.
Describe to us where you saw yourself and what importance Unit Pride had on the Bay Area hardcore scene at this point.
This is a difficult question to answer mostly because I moved out of the Bay Area in '91 and have been gone ever since. I think the biggest impact on the Bay Area hardcore scene though was not one band but the venue everyone played at, Gilman Street. That place gave so many punk/hardcore/ and underground bands a chance to play. Without Gilman, Unit Pride and alot of other bands probably wouldn't have had many chances to play out. That place has been a pilar in the hardcore community since it opened.
I know from talking with Eric, what kind of impact Youth Of Today had on him and how it reflected on his part in Unit Pride. Explain to us the impact Youth Of Today had on you.
I first heard about Youth of Today from a friend and I checked the 7 inch out and I was definitely into that record. It wasn't until the first time I saw them that what they were doing really hit home. I saw them at the Farm in
San Francisco, I think it was '86, the Break Down The Walls line up but with Mike Judge playing drums. They broke into "Expectations" and I was blown away. These guys were up on stage standing up against all the apathy and
violence that plagued the scene at the time. Being 16 or 17 at the time and impressionable, that show had a huge impact on me. I could relate to everything that they were saying and what they were all about. That show
really inspired me and Youth of Today changed the face of hardcore.
When you envision playing a live show, what makes a show picture perfect and fulfills your expectations?
This goes back to the first time I saw Youth of Today again. Their set was insane from the first note of the first song right through "Youth Crew." It was a complete and utter free for all. I had never seen anything like it. So I guess trying to live up to that standard would be the benchmark of the picture perfect show.
Tell me about the best show you ever saw, who played, where it was and what made this show stand out?
I have to break this one down into three parts....
2.) Any and every Rabid Lassie show ever.
3.) The Youth of Today show at the Farm.
Lets talk about BOLD. I know you have a particular fondness for this band. What is it about BOLD that hit home for you?
My admiration for Bold actually stems from Crippled Youth. When they started they were so young, I was amazed at how great that 7 inch was.
Any interesting stories about BOLD that you would like to share?
Yeah, the first time Bold came to California they did some shows in the Bay area and the Unit Pride kids put them up. To get ready for their shows they practiced in my garage. That definitely ruled (Alex Brown played guitar because Zulu couldn't make it out). They were all cool to hang out with and good people.
What was it about the style of dress that these New York City hardcore bands had that attracted you and in turn reflected in your own style?
Rather than limiting to just the NYC style of dress but rather all punk and hardcore style appeals to me just because it's sort of a "do your own thing" attitude associated with it.
How is it that Unit Pride ended up on Stepforward records? Wasn't there some talk about releasing an EP on Revelation? Do you think anything might have been different had you released the EP on Rev?
Honestly I can't confirm if Revelation actually approached us about putting the EP out or not. If they had it would have been through Ozenne. I know we already committed to StepForward, so we were going to honor our
commitment regardless. Rev is a great label and if they put the Unit Pride 7 inch out I would have been incredibly honored by it. But I'm happy the way the record turned out nonetheless.
Talk about your east coast tour with Unit Pride. Looking back, what were the highs and lows of that tour?
Looking back, the Aaron Straw Benefit show we played at the Anthrax was incredible and definitely a highlight. We actually stayed out on the East Coast longer than we intended just to play the show and it was worth it.
Just meeting tons of cool people and traveling the east coast ruled. It would have been nice to have done that more than once. We toured with Up Front and those guys are great people and we had a blast with them.
To me Unit Pride, had you stayed together, could have been and should have been a much bigger and more important band. What brought about the break up of Unit Pride and in your eyes, what do you think lied in the future of Unit Pride had you stayed together?
Honestly, I like the fact that Unit Pride didn't overstay our welcome and weren't overexposed.
Even though Unit Pride has been broken up for some 19 years, ideally how would you like to be remembered and what are you most proud of when you think back?
Just the fact that Unit Pride is remembered at all is satisfying to me. When I first moved to Chicago, I met a couple of kids in my dorm that owned the Unit Pride 7 inch and I was amazed. Just being part of that great late 80's
scene is an honor. It seemed like every weekend there was an amazing show.
Top 5 hardcore 12"s and 7"s of all time?
This probably changes on a daily basis but today.......
Top five hardcore 12 inchs: (in no particular order)
Youth of Today -Break Down the Walls
Circle Jerks - Group Sex
Black Flag - Damaged
Misfits -Walk Among Us
Gorilla Biscuits -Start Today
Top five 7 inchs:
Antidote - Thou Shall Not Kill
Minor Threat -Filler
Youth of Today -Can't Close My Eyes
Crippled Youth -Join the Fight
Final words of inspiration or suggestion to a kid just getting into hardcore in 2008?
A suggestion I would make to a kid just getting into hardcore is just go out and do it. Get involved. That's the beauty of punk/hardcore to me, you get out of it what you put into it. So start a band, do a 'zine, go to shows, or put on shows and give new bands a chance. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity for a shameless plug , I'm doing a new band - "Wound Up" so if you get a chance check it out. We're currently recording a record on "ManicRide Records" (formerly Dead Alive) which should be out late summer or fall.Thanks!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
At some point over the next decade, Tim went from being the singer of a couple of my favorite bands to one of my best friends, and the topic of Double Cross Fanzine would continuosly come up. Many breads were broken discussing interviews, stories, photos, layouts, etc., and I definitely wanted on board. Somehow the blog medium was discussed, and even though I think both of us had some hesitancy about the whole "blog" concept (I personally still dislike the term), we ultimately realized that this was gonna work best for what we want to do. And really, this is Tim's pet creation - I am just down to be along for the ride. The idea: various topics and tidbits connected to straight edge hardcore that at least we think are worthy of some binary archiving and discussion.
It's 2008, and I'm not regularly going to shows, too apprehensive and complacent about doing a print zine, and not really doing a full fledged band. But sitting down to eat tremendous amounts of food with Tim, Ed and company and talking for five to six hours about the finer points of hardcore is probably my favorite thing to do. Maybe that's not your thing. But if it is, and you haven't made it out with us to Stuff Your Face, Scavo's, or The Robin, then grab a (diet) soda and get comfortable. I'd like to think that this site basically serves as a sample of "minutes" that could be taken from an outing at any of the fine restaurants we close down in the tri-state area on a random weekend night. -Gordo XXX
Filmed in April of 1990 at Trenton New Jersey's City Gardens, this is the Judge "Where It Went" video. This was definitely one of the highlight shows of my show going experiences. Like usual, I remember showing up to the show early and hanging around outside the club. Echoing through the empty venue was Judge playing "Where It Went", over and over again. Before the doors opened, the film crew were capturing some of the up close angles of the band members without the interruption of the crowd. Some friends and I would crack open the side doors to sneak a quick peek of the action. By the time the show started and most importantly, Judge hit the stage, the entire club was in a frenzy. Everyone knew the cameras were on and everyone wanted to get themselves on film, so the "No Stagediving" rule usually kept in mind at a City Gardens show, was quickly thrown out the window. I recall Judge either opening with "Where It Went", or at least playing it very early in their set. The crowd went insane, but I think a lot of people held back because they didn't want to risk getting thrown out and missing the remainder of Judge's set. By the end of the set, Mike announced to the crowd that they were going to play "Where It Went" one more time, only this time Mike urged the crowd not to hold back. This time was nothing less than pure insanity, bodies were hurling everywhere. I was determined to get a piece of the action, so I made my way on to and quickly off the stage and on top of the crowd. Before anyone knew it, the song was over, the set was complete and a very memorable night had come to an end. When all was said and done, I did manage to get myself in the video Unfortunately my appearance wasn't for a stage a dive, but for a sing along. For a Judge video, I'll take what I can get. -TM
The year was 1986 and skateboarding was my life. With skateboarding came complete and total submergence into anything and everything that was associated with it. Thrasher magazine was my bible. Through reading Thrasher, I discovered skate rock, punk rock and hardcore. Not too long into this discovery I meet a local kid who ends up giving me a formal introduction to the real world of punk and hardcore.
Before I know it, I'm finding myself at my first show. It was June 27th of 1987 with the Descendents, Rollins, M.I.A and a band called Cancerous Growth. The club was a local one in Trenton, NJ called City Gardens and I was all of 13 years old. Along with this early introduction period, fanzines were a big part of what was going on. Within the year I found myself putting together my first fanzine, comprised of a mix of skating and hardcore, properly named "Slew." Over the next year and a half I did three issues of Slew, interviewing bands like B'LAST!, McRad, Pagan Babies, Aware!, Unit Pride, Bold and Turning Point. By late 1988, I decided to combine my efforts with a friend and put together a bigger and better fanzine that would truly capture what was going on around us.
We decided upon the name Common Sense and drew a lot of inspiration from other great fanzines of the time. Fanzines like Boiling Point, Schism, Smorgasbord and Open Your Eyes were the blueprint to what we wanted to do with Common Sense. Over two issues we interviewed bands like Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Chain Of Strength, Alone In A Crowd, No For An Answer, Sick Of It All, Insted, Vision, Turning Point, Release, Enuf and Up Front. Doing Common Sense was an incredible experience and it vastly took my involvement in hardcore to a whole new level. By 1989 I was so involved and so inspired by so many great bands, that I knew I had to take my involvement to the next level...I had to start my own band.
1990 gave birth to Mouthpiece and I found myself as the man behind the mic. Six years later brought forth the end of Mouthpiece, but also the beginning of a new band. This band would be known as Hands Tied. Along with Hands Tied, I started getting the urge to jump back into the fanzine scene once again. Over the years I had managed to collect a massive pile of band photos and found myself in touch with bands all over the world. I decided upon the name Double Cross, which came from talking to an old pen pal from San Francisco, CA area in the late 80s. This guy had told me about a band called Double Cross, which was to be the new Unit Pride, since Unit Pride was breaking up. I don't remember all the details, but it was supposed to be a total straight edge band. Unfortunately I don't believe anything ever came of the band, but the name always stuck in my head. This guy that I use to write was an artist and had drawn and designed the last Unit Pride shirt for their east coast tour, he also designed a logo for this never-to-be band, Double Cross. I recall the logo looking incredible and that was another reason that the name never left my head.
From 1996 through 1997 I began piecing things together for the first issue of Double Cross fanzine. I did one massive interview with Porcell after a Shelter show in Asbury Park, NJ. Unfortunately, doing the band Hands Tied and trying to put together the fanzine proved to be too large of a task for me to juggle successfully. The result was Double Cross would lie dormant over the next three years.
By late 1999 into early 2000 I started picking the pieces back up and trying to assemble Double Cross once again. I did two more interviews: Tim Monroe from Unit Pride and a absurdly long five hour interview with Matt Warnke of Bold. Because that interview with Matt was so long, transcribing it became too overwhelming of a task. Sure I could have cut it down and edited it into something more manageable, but there was truly no content I wanted to leave out. Again, the result was a fanzine that would lie dormant for another four years.
In 2004 Double Cross was again resurrected, but this time as a means to create, design and release three different t-shirt designs. The plan was to do the shirts and kick off Double Cross as an online web zine. The shirts were done and sold, but once again, the unfortunate reality was that the web zine never came to fruition despite tons of concept ideas.
So here we are over ten years since the inception of Double Cross and it is finally seeing the light of day as a web zine / blog. Ideally, with the help of Gordo, I'd like to keep this updated regularly with new photos, interviews and writings. We'll do our best to get the word out as things are updated, but please check back often. Thanks and take care. -TM