Monday, May 25, 2009

Bill Wilson of Blackout Records on the "Where The Wild Things Are" compilation LP

Bill Wilson at CBGB's 20 years ago

Blackout! Records head honcho Bill Wilson answers our questions while the current poll is still pending. Put on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and start moshing. -Gordo DCXX

How did the idea come together to do the "Where The Wild Things Are" comp and how did you pick the bands? Were there any bands that were supposed to be on the comp or that you wanted to be on it that never panned out?

Part of what was so appealing about hardcore to me is that it wasn't just fans separated from bands in an ivory tower. Most people contributed to the greater scene in some way. I didn't play guitar, bass or drums, and was a little too introverted to want to be a front man/singer/screamer. I was an aspiring graphic designer at the time, so I started out illustrating and doing layouts for my friends (Breakdown "brick" logo, Raw Deal "Dealer" t-shirt, and later on the Sheer Terror "Bulldog" logo.)

I liked the music from the SXE bands but despised most of the fanboy sheep. A charismatic leader leading a cult of cheerleaders reeks like high school. The whole Warzone aesthetic of "no obsessions" made more sense to me. I guess I felt more at home with the "other side" of hardcore, more in line with the NY Thrash ROIR cassette or Big City Records "One Big Crowd". The Cro Mags, AF, and Sheer Terror were my favorite bands: raw, angry bastard sons of metal and punk. The next wave of those kinds of bands didn't seem to have a voice, so I wanted to start a label.

The comp was the product of myself and Jim Gibson, a friend from Yonkers and music guru who worked at the local record store. I had the design skills and along with friends in Breakdown and Raw Deal, we both had some money saved from our part time jobs. I bought a book called "How To Make and Sell Your Own Record" at SeeHear and was off to the races.

The bands were really all friends from my days hanging out at CB's and my longtime friendship with the members of Breakdown/Raw Deal. Anthony from Raw Deal knew Outburst, Paul Bearer went to middle school with me in Yonkers, etc. Mike Sentkewitz from Raw Deal knew Norman Bates guys and I wanted them on to have diversity. My only real regret is that Underdog didn't make it on, we originally advertised them on fliers but we never got the track before we went to press.

Sick Of It All / Raw Deal DC road trip, Drago, Bill Wilson, Pete Koller and Carl Porcaro

Any stand out memories or stories regarding the compiling of the comp?

The comp came together pretty easily with people saying yes to be on it, but bands (especially hardcore bands) do tend to procrastinate. So getting the layout pages and masters took a bit longer than we'd planned. I don't really recall any standout drama - most of what I recall is me using press type to set the back cover and the work it took to learn how to do it.

What can you tell us about the classic Raw Deal shot that ended up on the cover of the record? Did you know automatically that would be the cover when you first saw it? Was there any alternate cover shots you were considering?

Wes Harvey was a friend from the scene and an illustrator from Baltimore who was in NYC for school. He did amazing crosshatched historical artwork. He did a great picture of a brawl in an alleyway that we were considering for the cover. Ultimately that became an innersleve.

Drago from Raw Deal was going out with this great photographer, Theresa Kelliher. She took some pics at an Irving Plaza show and I think that became the cover almost instantly when I saw it. Like so many others involved in the comp, she was a part of the "extended family."

Carl Porcaro (Raw Deal) and Bill Wilson on the D train from Fordham Rd. to CBGB's, 1986

A lot of people tend to refer to Revelation's "The Way It Is" comp and Blackout's "Where The Wild Things Are" comp as two of the best NYHC comps to ever come out. How do you feel about that and what compilations are some of your favorites?

It's good to know that other people feel about the record the same way I did when I was making it. I always hoped that it would fit into the great pantheon of comps, from Flex Your Head, This Is Boston Not LA, through the aforementioned ROIR NY Thrash and One Big Crowd collections. I think the Rev and Blackout! comps pretty much are a complete snapshot of that wave of hardcore.

Favorite band / track off the comp?

It's like asking a father to pick a favorite child! As far as impact- I know that Outburst "The Hardway", with that crazy mosh part and Bob Vandermark's trademark "swoosh" at the start created a very memorable beginning.

A ton of people ask me why the comp isn't available as a download or CD (a recent pressing of the LP version is available from Jim at Noiseville.) If it did come out on CD I'd want to make it a true collector's item, and I simply don't have the time to put the same effort in that I did when I was 19. I've been corresponding with Jordan from Rev about a few ideas on things but nothing concrete has solidified yet. The digital version may come out on iTunes over the summer, but I would also like to wait until they come out with more interactive digital packaging.

A "Where The Wild Things Are" favorite, Outburst at CBGB's


Goodlifebe said...

You should ask him about the mystery bonus tracks by Carl Porcaro's surfpunk bank on the cassette version. Those were some of the best songs for me on there !

Ed & Goodlife.

kaprookie said...

I loved that song...we used to warm up to the hidden surfpunk track during soundcheck sometimes!

Thanks again to Bill for making the comp possible and to DCXX for bringing the 20th anniversary party to everyone!

Joe (Outburst)

BW said...

The hidden track on the comp after the Breakdown track was The Arch-Rivals. It consisted of Breakdown/ Raw Deal roadie Dave the Rave, Carl from Raw Deal and Al Nafz on drums. They never played a show and I think that was the only song ever written. Truly a one shot deal.

Stormy said...

Definitely one of the best documents of that period in NYHC, alongside the New Breed tape. My favorite track was always Dissed and Dissmissed. I'll always think that comp was the best Breakdown ever sounded.

Would love for a re-release of this one day with bonus tracks (like the Underdog track that didn't make it).

William Patrick Wend said...

If/when you do a digital release, can you please make sure it gets to place like EMusic and Amazon who do not use restrictive DRM (or charge you more to not have it-people who fall for that are straight up suckers) and boundaries to how you can move it to devices/computers/etc.

ERIC SXE said...

I'm sure this is common knowledge, but there are vinyl rips online of this compilation.

Not that I wouldn't want a nice clean CD version with graphics and all.

It's excellent stuff! I wish I hadn't sold my vinyl years ago when times were tight.

SFader said...

I mail ordered this from Blackout. It came, along with a cool hand written letter from Bill that I still have with the record. Being 15 or whatever I thought that was awesome. This record is so kick-ass (I sort of forgot) I always loved the darker bands of hardcore. Dude, 20 years!!! Holy crap we're old.