Thursday, April 23, 2009

Insted part II

Insted at CBGB's 2004, Photo: Traci McMahon

Did you guys ever encounter any of the more militant sides of straight edge?

Rich: Absolutely. That started happening towards the end of our (career). You had the "Hard Edge" straight edge stuff, which was real militant and the Vegan Reich (hard line vegan band) thing started to happen with vegetarianism.

Bands in Florida and Memphis.

We encountered it but not in a negative way.

We knew some of those guys and kind of watched them evolve into that. I remember one time we were going through Memphis and I was a little worried, (wondering) "How are these guys going to react to us?" (Our attitude) was sort of "Hey" (in a friendly tone) and they were very much like (punching hand) "We'll kill you." And I didn't take it very seriously but I didn't know how it was going to be interacting with them.

And they were sort of just fine and accepting of you guys?

Steve: Yeah, they were fine. It was old friends, so while. . . How can I word this? I like to surround myself with people with different opinions, so for me it's ok that Rich likes different movies from me, because it would be kind of dull to talk and always agree on the same things. So while I totally disagree with the Hard Line movement it was still interesting to me to talk about that. It's been too long and we have definitely grown apart but at the time, being that involved (with hardcore) you knew those kids and it was something to talk about. It was a different opinion than yours and it was interesting to debate.

Steve with Insted at the Showcase in 2004

What caused Insted to break up in 1991?

Steve: I think at the time of couple of things had happened. I think that A) the sound of hardcore was changing to be more metal/crossover like a Judge/Snapcase/Cro-Mags type of thing. That was the thing at the time, and traditional sounding hardcore was becoming extinct in a weird way. Thatm coupled with the fact that Kev was interested in getting married and was going to be moving to Colorado made it so that (maintaining the band) was becoming very difficult and he wanted to start a family. In part we also felt, "You know what? We're a punk band." We did a couple albums, a 7", we did a few tours, we'd done a bunch of shows, played with the greatest bands. We said what we had to say. We said our piece and looking back it would have been nice to do another album and we were going that way with writing, but Kevin was ready to check out early. If we were not all into it we weren't going to just slide through and put together some kind of shitty record. And I think that was kind of the conversation where if you can't be 100% committed than it was a waste of everyone's time and it was against everything that we started.

Rich: It was time.

So in a sense did you guys feel like you were kind of out of vogue in the hardcore scene?

We were getting there for sure.

Steve: We felt like we were definitely heading down that path.

Rich: 'Cause everyone was just going that way. All the bands that you see (from that time period), like early 90's hardcore. . . What does that sound like? But we were not that type of band that was going to try to go that way. We'd rather just stop and we did. So me, Steve, and Bear started like a college rock band. Rather than taking the name Insted just because we were popular (we moved on). Not knocking 7Seconds who kind of went through the whole range of stuff and then came back and did hardcore or even Agnostic Front for that fact, who wanted to cross over and then went into Oi! or whatever, and then went back to hardcore. Uniform Choice went to a different sound. They were experimenting with different stuff. We were just saying let's do it; let's just be done and do it in a Minor Threat style where this is done.

Yeah. Now I'm gonna do Embrace. I think too, like anybody else we were fans of hardcore so I think sometimes we had the fan perspective of when a band (changes drastically). And every band is entitled to change; Don't get me wrong, but you can't help but look at it from a fan's perspective. Like I'd rather listen to "The Crew," "Walk Together, Rock Together," or even "New Wind" than "Ourselves." Like, this is not what I want to listen to from 7 Seconds, and some people love that record and that's great. I'm sure that those guys (in the band) think that "Ourselves" is a better record than the aforementioned albums but we said "Let's not milk the name." Let's go do this and leave the hardcore kids alone. We don't need to pull them in.

We closed the book. Kevin went off and got married and did his thing. We remained friends, there was no falling out with the band, hating each other. We walked away from it all and me and Steve and Bear were musicians and we wanted to continue playing music and we thought, "Are we going to continue doing another punk band?" We did Insted and we were happy and content with it and we were successful in our own way. So we met up with another group of guys and we set out to play some different types of music. That doesn't mean that we checked out of the scene; we were still buying records, we were still going to shows, still believed in the same things that we talked about with Insted. We just decided it was time to do something different and that's what we did.

Kevin at CBGB, NYC 1988, Photo: Jeff Ladd

I think that's it. When we were on tour we were listening to a wide array of music. I remember listening to Violent Femmes a lot on tour. You were just getting hardcore every night and bands were always giving us stuff and every morning we'd wake each other up with Ill Repute. It was always "Oxnard." You were sleeping with your head next to the speaker, "Oxnard was going to get you."

(singing) "Naaaaaardcooore!"

Yeah exactly and it was always cued up. It would be like "Oh we gotta do it to him. He's sleeping."

How did you decide to do the reunion thing in 2004?

Rich: It was kind of one of those things where we were departed from the hardcore scene for a while and the records had gone out of print. Every once in a while we would cross paths with people who would ask about it. And then one of our friends came to us and said "Well, why not? Is anyone interested?" We kind of took a look at that and then we got in touch with Dave Mandel from Indecision Records and he said he would help us out with the project.

There were some specific things that we asked for. We wanted pictures from Kent McClard (HeartattaCk Fanzine editor) included.

It was sort of all of these things and we had a contract with Epitaph. We had to find out if they would give the record (to Indecision) and if we could collect all of these old records and put it out without any legal problems.

Steve: The main goal was that we needed to put out something high quality. If we were going to do it then we wanted to do it right. (We didn't want) to end up with the Grilled Cheese (Records) version that has just the 7" and the first album on it.

Rich: Kevin comes home every year for the holidays so it was easy to talk to everyone about it and we were all into the idea.

Rich and Steve at the Radio Silence book release party 2008

I'd always taped our rehearsals and we were working on some new material that never saw the light when we broke up. When we did break up we didn't have enough for an album and we had a contract with Epitaph who only did full lengths. So we had this stuff that we could add to the discography to give it some more value and show you the beginning of the band all the way to the end. Then when it was finally coming out the talks of reunions came up (to support the discography) and we were really skeptical of the word "reunion."

From the get go when we broke up we said "no reunions."

Yeah "Let's shake hands, it's done." I guess you should say never say never. Fifteen years later we were presented with this idea and it wasn't like "This guy is down on his luck and needs a quick buck" or "I've got an ego so let's get up on stage and do it." We kind of thought there was a reason with the discography and had to celebrate it.

And we had to get together to complete the songs (for the discography). And Rich and I, when we discussed doing another band together, we had never captured the chemistry that we had with Insted.

Yeah after Crash Course broke up, we'd think about it and it was like there always something interesting about Insted where we'd never argue, we always got along, it was always fun.

It wasn't the best musicians but somehow the group always worked together.

We got together and we recorded these songs that Rich had archived and it was "OK let's relearn these songs" and record them and if they turn out then we'll put them on the discography. When we got together it was like we had never quit playing together, and well Rich and I never really had, but we had quit playing songs like this together. Barret came in with the guitar and we rehearsed real quick and got him up and running and and it was like "OK, sounds like where we left off."

Dave Mandel and Paul and some other friends of ours were really pushing us to do this. When they heard the two songs they were like "You should just do it. You guys have a good legacy and you broke up on good terms. Everybody likes you guys." The more people that came around prodding, we were like "We just need to do this to give people a kick in the ass."

The scene needs something like this.

So we said "OK let's rehearse a couple of times and we'll see how it goes." If we're going to do it we we're going to do it right. We were not gonna come out half- cocked, unrehearsed. From ideas come ideas and it became, "we're really going to do this; We're gonna do small venues and low door prices." Then I think there was something in there like, "If CBGB's will do a reunion show with us then we'll do it."

There was talk about being out here in California and there wasn't really a scene. Ya know, where did all of the kids end up these days? And it was nowhere.

We'd pop into shows and there wouldn't be many people and we'd be like "What happened? There was a thousand people at shows when we were running around. What happened?"

Rich: We got in touch with people who were talking on the Livewire (Records) board and it felt like there was a demand. When we booked a few shows on the East Coast the promoters in L.A. said, "Wait a minute you guys are an O.C. band and you're not going to do any shows in California? Are you kidding me?" Then all of a sudden we started getting calls from Europe and decided to do that. It all worked out and and we had a cool celebration of the discography. And then back at CBGB's we decided to record our set so we could have a cool (piece of) memorabilia and that's how the "Live at CBGB's" (record) came about.

Kevinsted at CB's, Photo: Jeff Ladd


Isaac Golub said...

Steve you're still a stand up dude.

All the best.


tony said...

great band,wonderful dudes,paying us out of their pockets half the tour,no shitty attitudes or agendas,pure simplistic Les Paul-thru-Marshalls uplifting straight edge hardcore. Loved this band. A perfect representation of the utopian sunny Southern Californian hardcore scene I'd dreamt of and read about for years. Thanks for the memories,Insted.