Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dan O'Mahony Part VI

Dan O with No For An Answer at CBGB's, Photo: Jeff Ladd

Dan O delivers the 6th installment of his ongoing killer piece with us. - Gordo DCXX

What can you tell us about the influence Apocalypse Now and Pink Floyd's The Wall have had on you? (Billy Rubin wanted us to ask Dan this):

Didn't see that one coming, but film is huge with me, and in the 80s those two along with the Godfather were in regular rotation. Rather than run on and on let's just say Apocalypse Now just seems like an intensely dark expose on seeing and moving beyond institutional formalities and bullshit regardless of the consequences. The Wall is kind of the same thing along with providing a rather glamorous look at the allure in going fascist. Did I just say that?

Can you elaborate on how Youth of Today ended up spending months at your house? What memories do you have from this? (Billy again).

Put simply, they asked. That said, the whole affair was supposed to last the couple of weeks they imagined it would take to finalize the Break Down The Walls deal, and get it mastered. Hardcore being what it was, every step of the way took 5 to 10 times longer than it should've, and they basically became Pamela O'Mahony's 5 new sons. They were good friends, lousy houseguests. They left the front door open with the house completely empty at least 5 different times. I'd get home, my dog would be missing, the TV and stereo would be on, food would be sitting out all over my room...good stuff.

As you've probably heard I had a pretty serious temper back then, my best response to that shit had to be the time I took all of the Taco Bell they'd left strung all over my room out of its wrappers and put it in Porcell's guitar case under his Les Paul and then buckled it shut. Trust me...he wasn't gonna do anything about it.

I'm hoping you realize the tone of this is an amused one, not some tough guy nonsense. This was a great time in life and one of those things that couldn't have occurred in any other era. You'd get stuff going on in my garage and back yard like full on gloved boxing matches between any combination of say me, Mike Judge, Pat Longrie, whoever...and no I don't remember who beat who! As the months wore on annoyances would grow and guys would drift off one by one, either to stay with one of the Sloth Crew guys or to return to New York until eventually I think it was just Ray, Ritchie, or Porcell who was left, I'm not sure which.

Three Legged Race alternate shot, Photo courtesy of: Dan O

What can you tell us about tackling Billy Rubin at a show and then watching him go into a seizure? (Billy of course wanted this asked).

Ah... you can count on Billy to keep this a heady socio-political discourse can't ya? Just kidding, this was another classic. In the 80s a lot of the best shows took place in Long Beach at a club called Fender's Ballroom, a tense and violent hotbed for legitimate gang activity...the natural sight for a couple of goofy shaven headed OC kids to get all World Wrestling!

I don't remember what show it was, and why we were acting the fool like this before the opening band, but yes, I tackled Billy and then stood over him, jumped up and bomb dropped on top of him. When I rolled off Billy had this kind of rhythmic convulsion going, it looked hilarious and was in keeping with his sense of humour...but he wouldn't stop. Ambulance, paramedics, short term memory loss, a ride to the hospital, Billy giving my address to the EMT he was so spun around! You know, standard OCHC, Dan and Billy stuff.

What can you tell us about Hardcore Grafix? Was that a friend that simply ran a printing company?

It was exactly that, kind of a garage/back yard operation that happened at the right time and place.

Voicebox era Chuck Treece and Dan O'Mahoney, Photo courtesy of: Dan O

What about Voicebox?

Chuck Treece and I met during his stint in Underdog (Richie being one of my favorite east coast connections) and got to know each other during his prolonged stay with Josh Stanton and his family in '89. Chuck's musical ability was undeniable, he regularly recorded songs for skate videos and such entirely by himself. He also possessed that rarity amongst our generation, a working relationship w/the Bad Brains. The chance to work with him was tempting to say the least.

Musical direction was entirely up to him, I was in a learning position on all fronts but lyrical content and layout, which I reserved for myself. The Silence Lies e.p. is an admittedly strange record and I alternate between loving it and cringing when I hear it. We wrote maybe 5 songs, recorded 2, and promoted the record by drafting Steve Insted and Sterling Wilson to play our one and only show opening up for H.R. at the Country Club in Reseda. Chuck and his involvemnt with professional skateboarding is actually how I met Mario Rubalcaba later of 411.

Tell us also about God Forgot.

This e.p. was a one off with Kevin Murphy recording all of the music, and me handling the vocals and production. Kevin hates the way it turned out, I think it's a brave record. The entire record deals with the aftermath of child sexual abuse, its effect on later relationships, etc. The stark, heavy, taxing sound seems perfect to me given the subject matter.

I hear tales of Kevin's confusion regarding its release, I don't remember anything covert or even cryptic at any point, but we were living 450 miles apart in a pre-cellphone era, so I guess communication could have been lacking compared to our work together in 411. I may have been a bit lazy in terms of keeping him updated on its day to day progress, regrettable indeed. That said, Kevin is a remarkable talent, very fun to play and travel with, and I'd work with him again in a second.

What was the full story behind the 1994 NFAA European Tour, as well as any ties with Lost & Found?

Five years after the break up of No For An Answer, European booking agents M.A.D. floated the idea to Gavin and me of doing a European tour. It took some debate as the potential to be misunderstood was great. By the mid 90s this was a band led by adults living on their own, with deceased parents etc., financial risk was very real, jobs would be put on hold, rent would be at risk and so forth. That being acknowledged, the notion that people thought we were trying to get rich was a laughable but real concern as bands traveling abroad tend to be paid and treated better than they are at home.

From our standpoint Gavin and I considered it a chance to explore whether or not we were interested in playing together again. We got that out of our system, had an amazing time, met people who would remain a part of our lives for years to come, developed a greater respect and understanding of Europe than we could have imagined, came home with barely enough to pay the bills, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Lost and Found Records? We planned releasing a 7" of new material with them and in fact accepted a meager recording advance from them at roughly the same time we determined they were responsible for thousands of NFAA bootlegs. Who would return that check to somebody ripping you off for thousands? I would and will swindle someone who robs me six ways from Sunday and smile while doing it. They continued to release shoddy unlicensed material of our work and have never managed to show up in my presence during any of my multiple trips to Europe.

Another Three Legged Race alternate shot, Photo courtesy of: Dan O


Jake Jacobs said...

May it never end.

ty bluesmith said...

holy fuck.

dan o.


- john u.v.

ERIC SXE said...

I'm looking forward to hearing about the 411 days. I really liked that band.

Billy said...

I've been out of town and wasn't able to comment sooner, but I wanted to say thanks to my old friend Dan for the great memories. Nothing but positive! Those were absolutely the formative years of my life and Dan was my best friend! Even if he did tackle me and cause a seizure!