Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dan O'Mahony Part IV

Dan O'Mahony 2009, Photo: Kate O'Neil O'Mahony

Dan O returns... -DCXX

You mentioned Zack de la Rocha playing drums for NFAA - I had never heard about that, was he much of a drummer? Strange to think about today?

Zack's run in NFAA lasted only a couple of weeks, I don't know if it included even any shows. He was a good friend and doing us a favor during a tough time, drummers being scarce back then. Roach was one of these Kevin Murphy types who can play any spot in the band with decent results, guitar and later vocals were his strongest suits. Very strange to think about today.

You mentioned some of the strain with Bratton and some of the inland guys. There has been a long running question as to any beef between NFAA and Chain back then - surely it was juvenile stuff and nothing today, but Chain did go so far as to hint at it in interviews and even put it on their EP matrix. What was the deal? Again it's kid stuff obviously.

It really is. And while I understand the curiosity on the part of anyone fascinated with the era, I don't see anything productive in my trying to remember what caused what, who said what, or where it ended. On one of my forearms the words "That was then, this is now" are tattooed, on the other, "Not a savior, can't be a judge". I'm going to try to follow my own advice on this one.

Dan mixes it up with the Anthrax crowd, Photo: Jeff Ladd

How did Workshed get off the ground, and can you give us a little behind the scenes history lesson with the how and the why?

The how went something like this...Billy Rubin had taken over New Beginning in late '87 or early '88 I believe, and was running all of his manufacturing through a fellow named Kane Boychuck, who would aid in production and distribution for a cut of the returns. Kane was looking to his expand his operation and was hungry for labels, so Billy suggested me. Like any Gung Ho hardcore kid, I jumped at the chance to run a label.

Hard Stance was Billy's rather forceful suggestion as a first release feeling they fit in with the Dan O sphere of influence a bit better than what he was doing. I was lucky to have such a talented act available to me and am very proud of that release.

The why was even simpler...hardcore was my life.

A little known fact, the name Workshed has it's origin in a ludicrous scene from The Evil Dead II rather than anything noble or intellectual. That movie was a big VCR hit with all us OCHC types at the time.

How did you feel about the finished product of the NFAA LP? What were your hopes and expectations for that record? An LP on Hawker at the time was a pretty big deal.

I like the EP better. I enjoy the big sound of the LP but only about half of the songs, and many of the vocals make me cringe. I was going through some sort of a deep, dark, and gutteral-sounding-is-best phase with regards to my voice. I can't say I really feel that way anymore. Even the Carry Nation vocals are a bit less exaggerated and more enjoyable to me. With regards to hopes and expectations, changing labels helped us forge a seperate identity we were longing for, the full page ads were nice, but little else was expected, an album was our next natural step. Hawker was big deal intitially but plenty of people don't even remember what label that LP was on these days.

No For An Answer at The Whiskey, 1989, Photo: Dave Sine

As new talent was coming up by 1989, with guys possibly a few years younger than you, what were your general feelings as someone who was a member of the older guard and had been around for some time? (Especially as younger attitudes became possibly more righteous).

Sometimes my lack of appreciation for a band would be based on age but more often style and lack of originality. If you look at the 10 Workshed releases, no 2 bands sound alike, or even similar. That was becoming rare at the time. Predictable breakdowns, mosh beats as we were calling them on the toms, betrayal anthems up the wazoo all got pretty exausting. This is something even we were guilty of early on, but it just got so extreme.

As far as attitudes go, I'm not sure how you mean the term righteous, but the faux militancy, fondness for cult religions, and suburban mock gangsterism were all pretty embarassing and something I couldn't relate to. 9 times out of 10 you'd hear about these regional superheroes with a score to settle, meet them in person, and find that they couldn't break an egg with a hammer. That said, I'm sure the guys that preceded my generation found some of our affectations pretty silly. Every phase of this genre has produced a few real diamonds. We all tend to "dance with the one that brung us".

How exactly did NFAA wrap up? Did it just dissolve? There didn't seem to be much publicity of a final show or anything.

We did announce our final show as such, (I don't think it caused much of a ripple back east as we'd left Rev and hadn't travelled to the opposite coast much lately) and played it at the Country Club in Reseda. Zack announced us, and talked to the crowd about how it was hard to say goodbye to a band that had had so much to say. I treasured that. We had been losing steam for a few months, knew Sterling and Chris were moving on had no stomach for adding 2 more new guys. It was a pretty easy call.

When did the idea come up to do the Carry Nation record and play out? Had NFAA been put to rest at that point?

I don't remember how the idea came up, but NFAA was still going and Carry Nation was meant to be a side project. As it turned out, Carry Nation had a more dramatic, over-the-top style to it that lended itself to theatrics like intro music and lights-out set starts, banners, etc. that wouldn't really have fit NFAA and made it really fun for a while. A right time, right place thing that filled the gap between NFAA and 411 for me nicely. I look back on it fondly.

Carry Nation at The Country Club, 1990, Photo: Dave Sine


Billy said...

My two favorite quotes..."Betrayal anthems" and "faux militancy, fondness for cult religions, and suburban mock gangsterism were all pretty embarassing"

Oh the memories!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "regional superheroes" who "couldn't break an egg with a hammer", thanks to the internet, there are and will continue to be generations of 'em. Ho hum. Pass the butter.

Anonymous said...

Dan is wearing a really nice Headfirst shirt in the bottom photo. Good choice. :)

GOOD LIFE RECORDINGS - Belgium. said...

Somehow our friend Dan forgets to mention he ripped off a ton of kids,
prolly mainly from Europe who sent their hard-earned dollars to Workshed after he put ads in MRR.

He actually never sent out any of these orders and just pocketed the money. Myself and about at least 4 other friends have had this experience. (I would imagine in these pre-internet times there were hundreds of others - scandalous).

Once upon a time in 90-91 i confronted him with his bullshit at Zed Records, right in front of his friends, establishing him as a con-man at the time.

after he left, a ton of his peers came up to congratulate me on what i said.

Super-sad because i admired Dan and mainly collected NFAA live tapes for his rants in between songs. I still, to this day, love those, he was a great but imperfect spokesperson for Hardcore.

Just wanted to share this experiences with you 'Mericans...

Best Regards,
Ed Goodlife... and DAN - i KNOW you remember me... thief !

K Murphy said...

(Insert sad sigh here)

Seriously, Belgium Guy - give it a rest. You and four other people never got the Mission Impossible 7" you ordered? Let's be logical here. . . do you think Dan was pocketing your $4.50 or do you think it's more likely that your check never arrived or something was lost in the mail?

All things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the right one. And all things being equal, holding onto a grudge for nearly 20 years over a few mildly entertaining hardcore 7"s - well that's just sad. I feel bad for you, but not in the way you're fishing for.

(Insert pathetic sigh here)

Here's my suggestions: Move on. Grow up. Experience life outside of suburban hardcore.