Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dan O'Mahony - O.C.H.C. frontman extraordinaire

Dan O with No For An Answer at The Anthrax, Photo: Jeff Ladd

Since we set out with DCXX, one person we hoped to include here was none other than Dan O. It took some time, but here we are. Expect tons of great history with the legendary O.C. Hardcore frontman who has never been afraid to speak his mind. Very psyched to have him aboard with us! -Gordo DCXX

The most memorable early show for me had to be a Vandals show in '82 or '83 at the Nest where their singer dropped a rat in a blender and then threw it on the crowd. Either that or a Youth Brigade show in '84 at the Flashdance in Anaheim during which Shawn Stern put the mic in my hand and actually let me sing by myself for about 30 seconds or so. Mark that as my first experience on stage in front of people. In addition to those two I'll never forget the first time I saw 7 Seconds or Uniform Choice. In the case of U.C., seeing someone from my own high school absolutely blow away every other band on the bill taught me something about the accessibility of this music, and the possibility that I could someday do this myself.

The first punk record I ever owned was "Never Mind the Bollocks," and the first American records to really make a dent with me were MDC's "Millions of Dead Cops," Bad Religion's "How Could Hell Be Any Worse," and of course the first two Minor Threat EPs. It's funny, but most people wouldn't suspect that I got my start as a leather jacket and combat boots type infatuated primarily with the English stuff, but that was the case.

Strangely enough the term "straight edge" was explained to me to describe my own behavior. As in here I was a young punk rocker constantly confronted with the pressure to get loaded (especially from my punk rock girlfriend Maya and her friends), and always refusing but completely unaware of the sub-sub-subculture that was straight edge. In '83 or '84 I heard someone explain my lifestyle that way, did my research, and found new kinship in all things Minor Threat, Dischord, SSD, DYS, etc.

O.C.H.C meets N.Y.H.C., No For An Answer at the Hawker Records Free For All show, CBGB's, Photo: Ken Salerno

My earliest friends in hardcore as opposed to plain old punk rock were Billy Rubin, Casey Jones, John Bruce, Mike Murphy, and others. Again we're talking '84/'85. In late '84 I got to know Dubar and Longrie, Joe Foster, etc. More importantly, in mid to late '85 I got to know Gavin Oglesby (previously familiar to me as a legendary local artist and to my perceptions...lady killer). We both had musical ambitions, and having been introduced by mutual friend John Bruce, the three of us ended up in the original Carry Nation lineup along with a drummer friend of ours named Jordan Arthur.

As a teenager I lived with my single parent mother, a very caring but also very permissive woman, whose politics and intelligence continue to influence me even now 19 years since she passed away. My mother put herself through law school in her forties while supporting the two of us virtually by herself. She graduated law school the same month I graduated high school. She came from very humble beginnings and dealt with periods of heartbreaking financial difficulties but managed to achieve her greatest dream before passing away a bit too young at 49. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder how my life would be different had she lived.

Carry Nation came before NFAA, and I had jammed around with a few others before that, but NFAA was really an offshoot of Gavin and I's initial creative chemistry in Carry Nation. I don't remember specifically why one needed to step aside to make the other possible. Certainly when Carry Nation was ressurrected later in '89 with Steve and Frank who had jammed with us only briefly in '85, it bore very little similarity to it's original form.

NFAA was supposed to be mid paced and somewhat melodic like mid-model GI or Stalag 13, Dag Nasty even... whoops!

When Youth of Today came through opening up for 7 Seconds (in '86 I believe) everything changed. They were so aggresive, so bent on networking with everyone they met, knowing those guys made you immediately a part of something. I remember Ray getting my number from Billy and calling me at home even though we'd never met simply because we shared so many friends. We talked for an hour and worked together and sometimes in opposition to each other but always as friends for many years to follow. In those early days the group identity had not yet become quite so codified. By '87/'88 NFAA was making waves of its own and already starting to resist several facets of the youth crew movement. If you look at the lyrics to the "A Thought Crusade" record this resistance is pretty clear.

That said, I will admit to a certain amount of pride in being Revelation's first west coast release...

Dan O and Sterling Wilson with No For An Answer at CBGB's, Photo: Ken Salerno


Joe Nelson said...

Nice to see a little Dan O' on here. His mom was one of the raddest ladies ever. He was ok too. ;)


Yo Joe... did you see yourself up front in the NFAA Anthrax shot? Good stuff.

Oh yeah, whenever you get a chance to deliver us more content, you'd make us happy gents.

Billy said...

I had to pause when I thought of Dan's mom dying at 49. I am 40. Way to early.
20308...Dan knows what that is.
So do Tiger and Larry

hopeless case of a kid in denial said...

this guy is a huge influence on me and NFAA single to me is hands-down the best record on Rev

eating crow said...

some people are just born to be frontmen aren't they?
and write.
great stuff though.can't wait to read more

Anonymous said...

If O’Mahony farted and mixed it to stereo, I’d buy it.

Unknown said...

Jake, you already own that album somewhere in your KISS or Zappa collections.

Jeff J Jawk said...

"Get Back It's Waaay Early..."
Dan O'. Fuck yes.

SFader said...

Billy, 20308. I know what it is too. Only because us HC kids in HB used to freak that we lived like a mile away from Dan O.

Jake, you better watch out you're opening yourself up for a blog comment ass tooling hahahaha.

Dan, another tell it like it is not like a pussy dude.

Anonymous said...

Not likely, Fader. All the limp dick tards can't post anonymously anymore.