Arthur playing with CIV, Photo: Traci McMahon
This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX
Wow, my answer is probably influenced by the fact that it was more recent, but I'd have to say the CBGB benefit in August, 2005. First, I never would have believed I'd ever share a stage with those four guys again. That we were doing something on behalf of a place where I'd spent the better part of my adolescence/young adulthood, whose closure was imminent certainly added to the emotion. It was a special confluence of events that made it so memorable.
I also look fondly on the second Warped Tour, with Rocket From the Crypt...amazing band and a great group of people.
Any of the early shows with Youth of Today (one of the best bands, ever) would also qualify, as well as the Quicksand/CIV tour in late '95.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
BOLD last 7" photo shoot, photo courtesy of Matt Warnke
Even the early Crippled Youth lyrics for the songs on the EP at first were different, just funny and fucked up. I think "Walk Tall, Walk Straight" was called "Desperate For Beer," you know? So, a lot of the Connecticut people early on that saw us knew us got bummed out when we got "brainwashed" or whatever by YOT and aligned more with the youth crew thing and with straight edge.
But from there we definitely aligned with Youth Of Today, there was just so much momentum with what they were doing, and we were able to hop in on that with them. From there it was really like the whole youth crew thing. There was a look, and a vibe, and an attitude, right down to the style of dress with hooded sweatshirts, army pants, and high tops. It was a real combination of everything. And we felt at home with that. It just all came together, the youth crew. And that was in Connecticut, it was before we really shifted towards New York and the city. We were really able to piss off enough people in Connecticut to kind of get run out of there. So once John and Ray moved to NY, we kinda followed in tow...now we had a place to really play out and get to on the weekends.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Once again, Cliff hits us up with another killer set. And yes, it's another Judge set, this time from the Alone In A Crowd show. Mike in a Montville hat with some great stage banter, an X'ed up Jimmy Yu slammin' hard on Alex Pain's bass, Porcell in a BOLD shirt throwin' the fist, a crowd climbing Jules and stage diving by the Chain Of Strength guys... priceless.
Sorry to anyone who's not a Judge fan, because god knows we've been throwing Judge at you on a regular basis. Actually, no, we're not sorry, if you don't like Judge you probably wouldn't like this page and we probably wouldn't like you. We're joking... of course. -DCXX
Monday, July 28, 2008
Judge at CBGB. Photo: Boiling Point
Jimmy Yu talks on Judge, Buddhism and life after hardcore. Part VI, the final piece from this interview coming soon. If you've missed anything, be sure to check out the previous interview entries. -DCXX
We recorded every Judge practice, because we always practiced at the same place, and they had a huge PA mixing board. This was the same place we practiced for DBD. But so many of those Judge practices run together. I don't remember what was what, but so many were like real recordings, hundreds, with good levels and sound. But we didn't see it as a precious recording, so we would copy over previous recordings, and we were so poor that we would even just take shitty actual tapes, like real band's tapes, and put scotch tape over the little squares on the top and record like that. I wish we hung onto those. They could be anywhere, in the garbage somewhere. We recorded with Luke, and with Sammy. But that's how we learned our songs, every now song, we learned it by recording it. We would be like, "What did we just play?! That was great!" And we would go back and listen to it. There was some great stuff on those tapes.
I really don't remember recording the Chung King record, it just all runs together. There were so many rehearsals and recordings and it just is buried in memories. There is one time I remember recording and I think maybe that was the Chung King recording, but I just can't remember. I kept in touch enough to know about that record coming out, even though I was out of Judge by that point. It was a big deal to do that record, even if I don't remember it, doing an LP was still a big deal. I mean DBD went on for years and we never got a real demo out of it. Judge did the EP and then the LP pretty quickly, it was still a big deal. I heard about it when it came out, but I never got a copy.
I can see the transition now between the early Judge songs and the later songs, there was some progression. But at the time, they just seemed a little bit heavier with a little metal influence, and some slower tempos. But when we wrote those songs originally, the solos weren't there. I don't think metal influences were conscious, maybe to Porcell but I don't think to me and Mike. Back then it was just like, "Hey look at this new tune I have!" It wasn't like, "I wrote this song, it is a big change, it is a metal song, that's what we should make it sound like!" But we had learned how to play, I think we all learned how to really play. Sammy became a really, really great drummer, and Porcell really knew how to play guitar. We got tight, and heavy. Mike was always very smart and musical, but the way he sang those songs, that didn't just happen. He knew how to work in his influences and various genres, that was just his ingenuity. He was and is such a talented guy.
During Judge, I was still into going to shows and the bands that were around. I had been around for 7 or 8 years, and it was different. I wasn't 13 years old, and it wasn't new and scary. For me, it was just, "Yeah, I'm playing bass in Judge." I was getting into Buddhism, and trying to get away from a violent past. But when we played, I loved it. It wasn't boring! I always loved the moshing, the dancing, people stage diving and going off. It was a totally different era, the bands from 1983 were either broken up or much different by the time Judge was going. But I still liked a lot of the bands that were new and around. I was excited to see a lot of bands, even in Judge, and it was the same for Mike.
I think the people that say looking back, "Yeah, I wasn't really into those bands then, I was into the earlier bands before them," I think they are coming at it from a retrospective macro view. But at the time, when they were on the ground, they weren't thinking like that. They were a part of it and into it, even if now they try to deny it. Maybe now they want to look back and categorize eras and what they liked more or less, and they want to say, "I liked the earlier bands more, I didn't like the later bands." But I saw you there, on the ground, with these bands, being into it!
People like to create their own narratives and glorify their own era, and they want to pick and choose what to reminisce about. And this applies to those people who want to talk about their roles in early NYHC, and the formation and development of it, and how it is not the same as what came later on. They make it sound like it didn't happen or it was significant. It's the same as when you talk to an old man and he is like, "OHH back when I was young it was like this and I used to this! It's not the same anymore!" It's the same thing. So take it with a grain of salt.
The boundaries between eras in hardcore, and types of bands and all that, maybe now it is really distinct, but it wasn't back then. Not to me. Was I stage diving to Bad Brains in 1983? YES! Was I stage diving to Bold or other bands in 1988? YES! To me, it was all the same thing, and it was great. Ok, I mean the early Bad Brains shows were a totally different level, but it was all a part of the same thing. Even later era Bad Brains, when there was a whole set of reggae, you waited that whole set for the one hardcore song, because that was great, we were satisfied with just that. And even the reggae songs, HR was still kinda crazy and delirious looking, falling down and stuff, he wasn't laid back.
I don't try to diss the newer bands that are still going. I think that's great, keep on going, keep it alive. As long as you approach it genuinely and don't try to play out some fantasy act from the past. Move forward.
Even before Judge I had started to get into Buddhism. In 1987, I went to the School Of Visual Arts in NYC right after high school to start my freshman year of college. I was at SVA until 1991. Doing abstract expressionism for inspiration, I thought maybe I would look to Buddhism for inspiration. All of my friends were either into Hare Krishna, or Buddhism. So I thought, Ok, Buddhism. And then I really got into it.
Jimmy at his house, displaying a Chung King. Photo: Tim DCXX
I started to back out of hardcore while I was living above the temple, and doing Zen retreats. I started to fade out, in terms of going to shows, while Judge was continuing. I was even seeing Mike less and less because I was always in the city and he was always back in New Jersey. I had even already gotten out of skateboarding. Earlier on, Howard Horowitz and I had built a half pipe while I was still in Montville. But I broke my ankle, so I couldn't really do a lot of the tricks I used to do, and I got out of skateboarding too.
Even when I was living above the temple, Mike and those guys would stop by to pick me up when driving here on the way to the studio. They didn't have the number because I wasn't allowed to give it away. Even if they got someone on the phone, nobody spoke English. So they would come to the door, and be like explaining it to these monks, trying to act it out, you know like "We are looking for Jimmy, short hair, plays guitar, lives here, crazy?" And then the monks would figure it out and go upstairs and get me.
The guys in the band could see me drifting away. I remember they wanted to go on tour, and I couldn't do that. I was in school, and in the summer I was doing volunteer work and writing for Chan magazine. So I couldn't do that. It was a gradual thing, I think we didn't practice for a while, and they started practicing without me. It wasn't a difficult break, we were still friends. But I was talking to Mike about this yesterday, and I think it was like, "Yeah, I guess it's better if Jimmy left, so we can get someone steady." I can't remember my last show with the band, maybe a show at The Anthrax?
With Buddhism, I was lead to it by all the things I was into before it. That is a retrospective view now, I mean back then, I was just bumping from one thing to the next blindly. My parents wanted me to go to college. For me, it was either music or art. As a boy, I did art all the time. In fact, I forgot to mention this, but I drew a lot of NYHC flyers. The AF guys, those guys couldn't draw. So they would give me words and dates. If you see any skinhead moshing, on an AF or DBD flyer, I did it. Me and this other kid Tim Casinda, this skater kid, we do all those flyers. Not many people could draw that stuff, moshing half skinhead half monsters and everything. So yeah, I wanted to do art.
I remember thinking, if I go to school for music instead of art, I have to learn classical music, I have to learn music theory. Ahh, forget that. Art is easier, I can just draw. So I got into illustration. During that phase, Judge characterized me so much. As I got into art more, I really looked into the meaning, and the meaning of expressing yourself through art. Then I got into abstract art, which was totally impractical. This was kinda rare for a Chinese kid to not major in something practical like economics, or engineering, or medicine, or law. This lead into Buddhism, which weighed so much on meaning and expression. It helped me figure out so much about myself…why was I an outcast? Why was I different from other people? And I still am like that. If people go this way, I go the other way. I guess it is in my genes, it has passed on to my daughter.
So with abstract art, you had to draw inspiration from somewhere. People were drawing inspiration from their own western abstract art history, and I just thought, "I don't want to do that." That was just reproducing stuff and spitting it out. So I looked to ancient Chinese landscape paintings. I found in this painting, within this vacant vast empty space, there was this tiny little boat painted. That showed the interplay between emptiness and the little boat that was formed by just a few brush strokes.
That lead me into minimalism, and how just a few brush strokes could express so much. I found out that those paintings from 12th century China were influenced by Zen. So I'm thinking, "Wow, yeah, I remember that stuff, my Mom is into Zen." So I run downstairs to ask these Buddhist monks, they are right downstairs, I need to find out! So I started talking to them a lot, reading a lot, and I felt like I found something. All my life I had been headed south, and then right there, I found out, oh my God, north is the other way! And right away, I turned around and started running north, as fast as I could.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Cliff, the Anthrax's resident videographer, brings us yet another great video. This time it's Underdog from the Aaron Straw benefit show. Back to back... - DCXX
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mark "Helmet" Hayworth and Zach De La Rocha at their senior prom. Photo courtesy of Joe Nelson
But first, Zach De La Rocha got all the hardcore kids in the area the greatest job ever during the spring of 1988. Zach had found this place called measure A, which was some Orange County land development measure on the ballot that year. It had to be backed by big business because they had money to burn. We were the perfect kids to burn it for them too. I think we were all getting $8 an hour which was great money for a senior in High School, which we all were.
We would all meet at the Head Quarters at 3:00 pm. They would then divide us into groups of 4. We were like 20 kids strong too, so we'd have 5 groups. Then we were all supposed to go flyer different precincts in O.C. with their pamphlets or whatever. Instead of doing that we'd all just go to the mall, the movies, the arcade, Hard Stance practice, play baseball, or basketball, go skate somewhere, and when the water was warm we'd surf. We'd do pretty much everything and anything besides that actual job. Then at 7:00 we'd return to the HQ, and clock out.
It lasted for 4 months. The genius of it was it provided us all the opportunity to hang out 4 - 5 days a week together, and do rad stuff we'd never have done without the job. Without the job we'd have probably all been at home by ourselves doing whatever, instead we basically got paid to fuck around with each other every day after school. They got wise to us acouple times, but we were always able to con our way out of it. The good news for them was the measure passed too.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Ajay regulates the crowd during Bold's set while Jules comes back to stage from a dive. Photo: Ken Salerno
The Enuf demo...now here is a recording that does not get discussed as much as it should. Hard, energetic straight edge hardcore that sounds much more NY than it does NJ. Angry straight edge lyrics? Check. Well played mosh breaks? Check. Skating references? Check. The package is complete. Do you think that when pimple faced nerds are singing along to Lifetime they have any idea that Ari Katz was once behind the drumkit busting out the beat to "Suckah Mosh?" No, they don't.
Ajay stares down a WP skin. Photo: Ken Salerno
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Against The Wall / Spanky's / 1990
Dave is one of the great photographers to come out of that late 80's Southern California hardcore scene. Starting out with his own fanzine On Line, then on to Tidbit Fanzine, then on to numerous records, Dave's photography has really gotten around. More to come. -DCXX
Insight / Spanky's / 1990
Chain Of Strength / Spanky's / 1989
Insted / The Country Club / 1989
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Wind Of Change photo shot by a friend that happened to work in a photography studio. Courtesy of Jason XXX
Jason Peterson continues to school us on the Arizona Straight Edge scene of the late 80s, playing in Wind Of Change, and where he went from there. Let's hope Jason contributes more in the future.
Wind Of Change was me, Jim Wall, John Wall, Alex, and Tim on drums. Eric Astor and then Brian Brown would later replace Tim. We released our first EP "Promise Kept" on Step Forward. Wind Of Change blew up at this point, and we played every AZ show and out of town weekend shows for the next two years, Our second EP, "Rain," was released on our own label for a summer tour in 1989. I put every piece of HC energy I had into booking the first tour. We had lists and lists of kids around the country who helped set up the shows. Our first show was in Salt Lake with Insight. We played Green Bay with Verbal Assault and a bunch of east coast show with GB and Insted. We played CB's with Bl'ast!, Insted and American Standard. We played our last show of the tour in Roanoke, VA. We had some great shows and some bad shows.
WOC was always a contrast because half of the band was straight edge and the other half was not, half of us loved NYHC and the other half loved the DC sound. It was a constant struggle to find our balance and for a little while we did. WOC was made up of our strong personalities and diverse tastes. At the end of that tour I had nothing left. I remember sitting on my sister's front lawn with a box of left over t-shirts and thinking, "now what?" But I had done what I wanted to do. I got in a van with my seven best friends and played 38 shows around the country. We had one last show in LA with YOT and every band of the time, but called it quits a week before the show. Out of the ashes of Wind Of Change came some great bands: Fuse, Dodge, Hoover, Kerosene 454 and Samuel. A German label released all of the eps and demo on a lp in 1990.
What was your involvement with Step Forward zine/records?
Eric Astor was an amazing kid who started coming to shows in '87. He had so much energy and a business like passion for HC. Step Forward was his label that materialized from his zine, Silent Minority. He put out the Y.U.C livetape and the first Wind Of Change EP. I helped Eric with much of his graphic design work in the early days. We designed Drug Free Youth shirts in his parents kitchen by eye matching the screens and curing the ink in the oven. Those shirts became a staple for the AZ scene. Every band that came to town left with arms full. We also screened the door on the Insted van as they left for their first US tour.
I designed most of the flyers for the shows we put on at the time. I found I had a deep love and talent for graphic design. I would even end up re-designing, laying out and distributing the flyers for shows we had nothing to do with. I remember one night Eric and I broke into the ASU business lab with a plot to steal a photocopier, so we didn't have to pay for copies any more. We just walked into a classroom where students were working and said we had to fix the machine and rolled it down the hall. We got it out of the building but left it sitting in the middle of campus when the rental cops spotted us.
I ended up falling out with Astor over bullshit money issues, I was never comfortable making a dime off of HC.
Wind Of Change at CBGB, photo courtesy of Jason XXX
People on the west coast from the late 80s scene talk about seeing Youth of Today on their early tours and just knowing they had to do a band and try to emulate that energy. Was that the case for you and your scene?
We met Ray and Porcell when they first toured (in a station wagon) the westcoast with 7 Seconds. They played the Electric Rhino with Kevin Seconds on drums. They needed a place to crash so we snuck Youth of Today into Palmer's walk-in closet without this parents knowing. The next day we all skated in Tempe. This was pre-veggie days for YOT and I remember giving them shit for eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. They had great stories about the NYC scene. We got so amped when Ray told us about starting a record label. Meeting them gave us the energy to kick our scene in the ass.
On that note, it seems from the impression I get, that bands likeYOT, BOLD, and GB became friends with your crew. Any good stories of tour stops, travel together, shows, hanging etc. with those guys?
Youth Crew stories:
During the YOT set one of the skins kicked my 13-year-old neighbor in the head. Ray stopped playing and called the skin out then Ritchie jumped off stage and got into the leader skin's face. They went back and forth then decided to throw down behind the local McDonald's at 11. I remember being in the van with all those guys; Ritchie and Porcell were going nuts. Everyone was screaming, we were so amped up. We got to the McDonald's and waited at least an hour but the skins never showed up. It was a victory none-the-less. The skins got revenge about a week later by breaking my friend's arm with a bat.
I get the impression you traveled a lot to Cali for shows - any good stories?
I saw a lot of great shows in LA: Uniform Choice, Insted, Doggy Style,Freewill, No For an Answer, Chain, Judge...
I remember going with Kev to drop off artwork at Dubar's house. They had Wishing Well set up in the back of their parents home. I remember Pat opened this giant closet stacked full of every WW shirt. He just received a box of Break Down The Walls on blue and red wax and asked if I wanted one. I said I already had it on black so it was no big deal. Stupid.
Jason (with Insted shirt) climbing on top of the crowd for PX at GB reunion CBGB.
When did you leave Arizona? When in your eyes did that scene change? You are literally one of very few people from that scene to pretty much stay into hardcore, stay straight edge, come out to shows, and still stage dive and really be into it. How does that happen?
By the summer of '89 the AZ HC/SXE scene was in full bloom. I remember that was the year I stopped recognizing all the SXE kids. Most of all my friends had already left straight edge behind, only Palmer and I remained. There was a new, more serious breed of SXE now.
I left AZ in 1990 to attend art school in Atlanta. I turned all of my positive/DIY HC drive into school and finished a two-year advertising program in one year. I was one of the most recruited graduates in the school's history. I worked in Chicago for a year. I moved to NYC in '92. I started my own advertising agency in '96 and sold it 5 years later to a large holding company. I made more money that year than most people make in a lifetime. I am now married to the most amazing girl in the world. I have two beautiful kids. I still follow Hardcore religiously. And I'm still Straight Edge...
But I would trade it all for one more summer in '88.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Jimmy Yu continues, this time we get into Judge. More still to come.
But the transition to Judge was a pretty natural thing from DBD, because we practiced at the same club, which was on the edge of the east village and Chinatown, this basement place. Porcell would remember the name. So it was practicing at the same place, just with a new band. And it wasn't like, "Oh my God we have this new band!" It was just like, "Ok, Judge, cool."
I think I was living in New York when the Judge seven inch was recorded. Honestly, I don't know why I didn't play on that. Mike and I wrote some of those songs. My memory is that Youth Of Today was happening and that was their main thing. I can't remember if this is while Mike was still in Youth Of Today or not. But the focus at the time was on Youth Of Today, not Judge. Judge was just a side project in its inception stages. So we had to circulate our players, especially with drummers you know? One time it was Luke, and then another time it was Drew. There were only a handful of people that played instruments.
Mike also wrote a lot, if not all of the music - at least that I remember. I don't know exactly what music Porcell listened to at that time. Mike and I though, we listened to the same music. So we had the same intuition as to what to write and what should happen within a song. So when playing live and practicing, we really both connected with that.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd
Mike even early on was listening to a lot of Neil Young, and absorbing those lyrics. I think that influence came out later. Mike's lyrics in Judge, I think they are deeper than a lot of lyrics. I mean, I don't want to compare bands and in any way make it seem like I am putting other bands down. But to me personally, I know why he wrote a lot of those lyrics, and what incidents happened that lead to those lyrics. So, it was very meaningful to us.
When the seven inch came out, and everyone got to see the lyrics, Mike's lyrics, that was the Mike that I knew. We were always angry. We grew up getting picked on, getting in fights. We saw a lot of shit. Our introduction to the New York hardcore scene was seeing Harley carrying around an eight ball in a sock, those were the surroundings, you know? We saw him use that. That can really do some serious damage…like, hospital damage. So we had that bottled up. Porcell…he was a peaceful guy. Straight edge, vegetarian. He was a different kind of straight edge in how he grew up. So naturally, I think Mike wrote the lyrics like he did. It wasn't forced. It wasn't an act.
So those lyrics, to me, it wasn't a shocker. He was writing songs about our lives. About the fights we got in, the friends that betrayed us, friends that died. There was a redhead skinhead kid, a great mosher, he was our friend, part of the New York Crew, even though he was from Connecticut. But he ran away from home, and came to New York. But someone pushed him off the train, and he died. Just so sad, some other gang did it. Our hearts went out to him.
You know, as skinheads, we weren't accepted by anyone. Anyone. Not by metalheads, regular gangs, other punks, Harley-Davidson gangs, nobody. And as far as other areas, other cities, we had friction. In New York, we had an edge to us. And we kept that up when it was kids from DC or kids from Boston that were around.
The lyrics to "New York Crew," people don't totally understand. We were from New Jersey but not that far outside of NYC, and we were in NYC every weekend and maybe one other day during the week. But people like Harley and everyone else, they were the ones that really lived there and hung out together all the time, nonstop. I mean, we were definitely there, but not like them. I mean, some of those guys, they were living in tiny apartments, like 6 skinheads in one apartment. We would come in and be there for an entire weekend straight, but it wasn't living the same way they were. But we still felt a part of it.
I will also say this, in response to what Harley said in the American Hardcore book, Harley hung out a lot with Eric. I'm sure he hung out with AF, but I'm not sure how much. He was kinda outside the immediate New York Crew. I think if you were to talk to Vinnie or Roger, they might give a better perspective of how much we were around. Because they were always around. So on one hand, I see what Harley was saying, because we weren't there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. But at the same time, Harley himself was kind of a loner and even kind of outside of the New York skinheads. I mean, he hung out and was a real part of it, no question, but he had his own stuff going on too, so he wasn't always right there.
In the beginning of us going to shows, we weren't really tight with AF. But by the time DBD got going, they really took care of us. So we were much tighter with AF than any other band, they were the band we tagged along with. Harley was more just into moshing with Eric. Maybe my timeline is off, but I don't remember the Cro-Mags happening a lot at that time, and with DBD we didn't tag along with them like we did with AF.
As far as the terms "Wolfpack" and "United Blood," those weren't like actual crews and it wasn't how we identified ourselves, at least I don't think so. Those were just names that Mike gave us looking back when he wrote the Judge lyrics. I don't remember it being verbalized at the time, like, "Hey, we are the Wolfpack!" But we felt it in our hearts, and those descriptions when applied later by Mike made sense. Because at the time, in those threshold moments, like when Boston came down, and it escalated into becoming physical, in New York it didn't matter if you were a regular skin, a nazi skin, or what…you just kicked their fucking asses. That's it. You were New York. And in those moments, it was very clear that you stuck together, everyone. We are New York, and you…you are not. You want to try to rule the floor and try to crack people's heads? Dude, you're in the wrong place, man. We just jumped them. In those moments, we were united.
Those are my memories. It is a lot like how things were with me and my brother Steve – we would fight all the time amongst ourselves. But if someone messed with him or messed with me, we were right there for each other, because above all else, we were brothers. Maybe we fought with each other, but when it was someone else, it was a different story. And when Mike wrote "New York Crew," he's not talking about a straight edge crew. There was not a definitive crew, it was just everyone that hung out and stuck together in the moments when we were threatened. I think that song and the image and story in that song is about the moments when everyone in the New York scene, everyone, was united. Not just like the five of us and our little crew. It's about the moments when all of us felt that – when our backs were to the wall, when we had to fight, when we lost a brother.
Judge Photo: Jeff Ladd
I'll tell you this, all the skinheads were scared as hell to go to Tompkins Square back then. When we got out of A7, we didn't even walk through that shit. We took the long way. Forget about going through there for the shortcut. Today it is so preppy and safe, but back then, there was some real shit happening in there at night, and we were kids. Knives, guns, drugs, people shooting up…in the dark. We didn't go in there. But it was a part of our reality, that danger. In "New York Crew" Mike mentions that, because that was a fragment of our past culture. I don't think when he references that he means we were hanging out in it and fighting. I think he meant we were hanging out on the edge of it, outside A7, aware of the danger in the Park. I mean, we never went beyond Avenue B.
I think the song "New York Crew" ended up having a life of its own. I think it played on people's ideas and images in a way we didn't expect it to. So, people took it how they wanted to take it. And then you had kids from a totally different time and place singing it – young kids from Connecticut singing it, or kids all over the country. And that was weird, but it was fun. It showed that years later, kids were identifying with us and enjoyed our music. With DBD, we didn't have that many people singing along to our lyrics, and Mark was wild. But Judge, Mike had a different presence, and Mike just hunched over the crowd, this immovable force, this presence. And around him you had all these kids singing along. We saw that people enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it. Never would Mike and I say, "Man, look at these kids, they weren't there, why are they singing along?" No. We appreciated it, it meant something…it meant the world to us.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I decided to take a break from all the interviews and text heavy content to give you this. Great band, incredible quality video, very few views. I couldn't resist. Runnin', Runnin'... -Tim DCXX
Monday, July 14, 2008
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of : Jason XXX
Jason Peterson played guitar in Youth Under Control and Wind Of Change, bands best known for putting the Arizona straight edge scene on the map in the late eighties. He also was the one behind the classic Step Forward artwork, perhaps his first creative graphic endeavor that would end up leading to some very, very major work in the advertising world.
Youth Under Control, Photo courtesy of: Jason XXX
Palmer and I started Youth Under Control in '85. We went through a load of different line ups in the beginning. We wanted a straight edge band in the vein of DYS/SSD. I think we printed shirts before we even had our first practice. Our description of a "tour" was pushing our amps in shopping carts and playing in our parents' garages. We struggled to find like-minded straight edge kids to be in the band. We tried to convince local skater kids to become straight edge but it never worked. I was always the SXE salesman but quickly learned that if you don't deeply believe you will not last.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Warzone Photo: Tsetseflynyhc
Sometime during the fall of 2003 I hooked up with Cappo and spent a few days in NYC helping him film and interview for a NYHC documentary that he was planning on doing. Among the many people that we met up and interviewed, was Duane from Some Records. Duane came to Ray's mothers house for the interview and brought along with him a large box that was stacked to the top with old NYHC demos and flyers. A large portion of the flyers were doubles that Duane had, so he left them for Ray. Ray in turn gave them to me.
Among this large collection of flyers was this great 11x17 poster / ad for Revelation's first release, the Warzone -"Lower East Side Crew" 7". Not only cool because it's the Warzone 7" and Revelation's first release, but interesting to read the "Coming Soon" releases. New York City Straight Edge Compilation 7" with: Youth Of Today, Warzone, Bold and Straight Ahead. Plus an Insted 7" and a Bold 7" on the way. Definitely could have been interesting. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Here is the third installment of our interview with Jimmy Yu.
But people in New York, Vinnie for instance, I remember him being like "what the hell is that on your hand?" Because prior to that, Mike and I definitely were not straight edge, we were pretty crazy, and we hung out with those guys. Drug and drink wise, you name it, we probably did it. Vinnie and everyone else had been there with us doing it. With the exception of shooting up, we did everything, it was fair game. But shooting up, we at least had enough common sense to not do that. Because we knew that doing that you would just get addicted, and you're fucked, you're done.
Still though, Agnostic Front was really a big influence on us and on us deciding to do DBD. They were always playing. At CB's, there would be an 8 band matinee, and they would always be one of them. Because you know, each song was like two seconds long! Vinnie was not like a master guitarist, but he was a good rhythm guitarist, he was hard and he played it like that, you know? We always went to see them. So once we had the idea to do a band, we had our spot. We knew where we would be going, who we would try to tag along with. We had found our scene.
So, Mike bought a drum set. He just picked it up and started playing, Mike was very talented. And I had always played guitar, even before punk, I bought my first guitar. I would play AC/DC and pretend I was Angus Young. Eddie Van Halen? Nah, too hard to emulate, I can't play that. But AC/DC, yeah. So it was natural, "let's start a band!" But my brother also played guitar and he wanted to be the guitar player, and of course he is just as tight with Mike, it's the three of us always going to shows. And he was older than Mike, he was driving before Mike. But he said he was playing guitar, case closed. So then it was like, "ok, you play guitar, and I will play bass." My brother used to beat me up all the time, so whatever he says, I'm just like, "Ok, fine, I guess I'm playing bass."
So the three of us started going up to Mike's house, either his room or his garage, and started figuring out songs. And Mike is a very smart guy. Maybe people don't give him enough credit. I don't mean like a scheming type of smart. I mean he was a very thoughtful person, kinda quiet. His brother also beat him up all the time, I guess we had that connection as well – even though Steve was cool and Mike's friend too. But Mike's older brother was a lot older, much older, and definitely not into punk. He was like a redneck cowboy, he rode a horse and shit. And he hated the whole punk thing and would come down on Mike about it. So Mike had that coming at him at home, as well as at school. Later on he would pour out his own feelings in his lyrics in his own way, and it was very smart. It just came out in such a great, heavy way. But yeah, we just started playing, DBD was on it's way. We didn't have a name yet, but I'll get to that.
I don't know how we met him exactly, but we met Mark Ryan from shows long before DBD. He was in New Jersey too, and we got to know him real well. He was into hip-hop even back then, even when we were skinheads. I think he liked the energy of it. We were all just kids that were looking for something. He would joke around and act like he was a hip-hop dude, he would talk like them, like the whole, "Yo B what up yo?" He was totally white, but he would talk like he was black you know? But he was a mosher too! It was like how the Beastie Boys were. We were friends with, and they turned the same way. They had a total hardcore edge at first, then they disappeared for like a year or two, and then out of nowhere they are opening up for Madonna at Madison Square Garden! Like, that was just crazy. We were like, "what the fuck was that!? How did they go from CB's to Madison Square Garden?" I don't know what their connection was, but they did it.
And talking about Mark, this reminds me, there was a real gray area between straight edge kids, hardcore kids, punks, Hare Krishnas, and hip hop kids in NYC. It could all blur together, and it did. Especially hip-hop, it really came from the streets, and it had that element of violence. So, these boundaries were really blurred. It wasn't like, "Ok, you are a rapper, and you are a straight edge kid, and you are a hardcore kid," it wasn't so strict and defined. So, Mark, he listened to that stuff, and he liked the violence and the reality of it. We can't project back our current situation to what was happening then. Back then, it was like, "Hey, are you a little crazy? Cool, then you are one of us!"
For Mike and me it was a little difficult, because in Jersey, that boundary was pretty fuckin' clear. You were either a jock, or an outcast, or a rapper…well actually, no, because there was only like one black kid in Montville. And I'm going to his wedding next month! But in NYC, around the street kids, that boundary was just really gray. And that was the thing with Mark – so for him to go that route, it was cool and natural. I'm not even sure if he moved to the city, but if he did, then those boundaries were gone, for sure. And back then, if you were white and listened to rap, that was fuckin' rare.
Similarly, it was just like us listening to Metallica before the Kill 'Em All record came out. We saw their show, and they were throwing out their demo of the record before it came out. Somehow Mike got a copy of it, and he played it for us in his car in our high school parking lot. So he says, "Jimmy, listen to this shit." We were blown away, like, "what the hell is that?!" And he says, that's called "double bass drum." To us it was like hardcore just gone crazy. We had never thought about something like that in hardcore. It was like hardcore kids playing this music, except they had long hair and were more talented. That was great! And we just absorbed that too. And I think some of that came out later in Judge. I mean you can't really see that many traces of it, but it was in Mike's head, and mine too.
But like I was saying with the boundaries not being so clear, back then that's just how it was, and I think maybe that's how it was even for the guys in Metallica in California, I don't know what was in their heads. Maybe they were into punk? Where did they get the idea to play so fast? Misfits? So you know they were drawing inspiration for their art from all sorts of places.
But anyways, DBD, we would drive to Nutley, pick Mark up, and go back to Mike's and rehearse, or go straight into the city and practice at a studio. Mike always paid. His family was upper middle class, their farm was a big animal farm, and they did well. They sold horses, everything. So Mike actually had money. He took care of all of us. If we needed help or needed something, he's the man. He worked hard for the family on the farm. But Mike always did it all when it came to paying for things with DBD, we tried to chip in some but it was mostly Mike.
Mike and I wrote the music for DBD, and Steve came up with some too. Then we would present the music to Mark. Mark would send us lyrics, Mike would look at it, and then we would come up with the music. Or sometimes we had the music, and we would see how Mark would want to sing to it. It was pretty free flowing. Mike even contributed to writing some of the lyrics in DBD, but it was mostly Mark. But that shows you, Mike was already starting.
We didn't have a band name right away. And the other thing is that back then, Mike was just Mike, he wasn't "Mike Judge." But Stigma way back used to always come up with names for us. All sorts of crazy shit. Before we even had a name for DBD, we had songs and would play, but we didn't have a name, and Stigma would try to come up with names for us. One time he was like, "Yo, you guys all have shaved heads. So how about calling your band 'Chemotherapy'?" We were like, "Umm, NO!" Or he would say, "you guys are from Jersey, so how about the Jersey Moshers?" Again, we were like, "NO."
Actually just yesterday, Mike and I were talking about this. I remember driving Mike's car in Montville, getting gas at this gas station in Pine Brook. A biker pulled up and was getting gas. As he is doing that, we were sitting in the car, and we are trying to figure out names. One of us looked over at the biker, and we saw he had a tattoo that said "Death Before Dishonor." Right then, one of us said, "that's it, Death Before Dishonor, that's the band name." That's how I remember that.
We played out a decent amount, but I don't know why we never had a legitimate recording. We had a full set of songs, but there was never a formal demo. We taped everything, every rehearsal was a supposed "demo." But we were really poor, so the money we did spend went towards studio time in the city. I think we may have thought that eventually the "demo" would become a record. Back then though, to make a record was not that easy, it was a big deal to even do a 45. It would cost a lot of money, and you would have to find a guy to product it and mix it. It was a little beyond us. When DBD was around, Agnostic Front, who was a big band, they only had an EP, and that was a big deal. Later on they came out with their LP, and that was a very, very big deal. By the time Judge came around, bands could put out their own records and everything, but a few years earlier in DBD, it was a different time.
We saw every hardcore band that played in New York City, or at least we tried to. And DBD played with a lot of bands. We played with Youth Of Today and we were big fans, so we knew Youth Of Today before Mike ever played drums for them. Cappo had a presence. Maybe not like HR, but he could certainly hold a crowd. We were definitely into them. So we all started hanging out. They lived far from us, but anytime they came to the city, we hung out. At some point they got Mike to play drums. DBD kinda fell apart. Mark formed Supertouch, we weren't involved in that.
Mike and I, we did a new band. And of course, that band was Judge…
TO BE CONTINUED