Mikey doing it Grid Iron style, Photo courtesy of: Mikey Garceau
Last week we introduced the photography of Mikey "Fast Break" Garceau and this week we kick off the interview with the man behind the lens. Of course Mikey wasn't only a photographer, but a fanzine editor and eventual band front man as well. Hop in, this should be a fun ride. -Tim DCXX
Where did you grow up and how did you get involved with punk/HC?
I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. My introduction into hardcore wasn’t like most kids. Yeah, I got into hardcore from the dudes I was skateboarding with, but at the time, I was pretty much just a metal kid. So, Randy Johnson (of Pushed Aside / Drift Again) and Mike Madrid (Against The Wall) were like “dude, you should check this stuff out”. So, they gave me a copy of BL'AST! “Power of Expression” to listen to and after a few days of checking it out, I was really into the rawness of it. This was 1987, I think.
Those dudes were just getting into the straight edge stuff, so that was the next stuff I was exposed to. Youth of Today, Crippled Youth, Side By Side, Warzone, Uniform Choice, No For An Answer, Against the Wall, etc. Most of the stuff was just tapes; like those NYU radio shows. So, that was it. I totally bypassed the whole early punk thing and went right into the straight edge scene and became pretty closed-minded. It wasn’t until years later, when I became sort of disenfranchised with the straight edge scene, that I branched out and started checking out other stuff.
Randy Johnson with Against The Wall at Spanky's, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Who were your favorite bands early on, and which memorable shows stick out to you from early on?
Early on, I was really into the early Revelation bands, of course. Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, BOLD, Side by Side, Sick Of It All, etc. Locally, I really loved seeing Hard Stance, No For An Answer, Pushed Aside, Against the Wall, Chain Of Strength, and Insted during that time. Later on, I liked going to see Inside Out, Outspoken, Unbroken, whoever would be coming through.
As for memorable shows, fuck, there were so many. That West Coast Super Bowl of Hardcore show at Fender’s in 1989 sticks out as one of my favorties: Youth of Today, GB, Bold, Judge, Chain Of Strength, Supertouch, Insted, and Up Front. I got some good shots at that show.
A year before that was Youth of Today, Underdog, Soul Side, BOLD, Insted, Chain Of Strength, and I remember Hard Stance playing too.
The Fender's crowd during Youth Of Today, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Seeing Inside Out at Spanky’s or at Che Café in San Diego. Actually, anytime they played was epic. Neither Spanky’s or Che Café had stages, so you’d just have to stand there and deal with the crowd. It was awesome.
Soul Side and Hard Stance in some garage in Chula Vista.
Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Leeway, and Sick of it All at the Country Club.
The Slap Shot, NFAA, Hard Stance, Pushed Aside show at the Roxy in Hollywood was sick too. I remember interviewing Eric and Zack for the second issue of Fast Break (which is what the photozine eventually became) outside the club and what started out as an interview with the band became this crazy hodgepodge of weird shit I recorded while standing on Sunset Boulevard. I got to ask Choke a few questions, a couple of the girls from L7 walked by and joined in; it was pretty random. I honestly thought of putting the whole interview in the issue and calling it a “show interview”. I wonder if I still have that tape somewhere.
Civ with Gorilla Biscuits at Fender's, Photo: Mikey Garceau
When did you get into taking photos of HC bands? Was it something you felt really compelled to do, or just something that happened?
Shortly after I started skateboarding, I knew I wasn’t progressing as fast as my friends and felt that I probably wasn’t going to. So, I started taking photos of them as a way to stay involved. I mean I still skated spots, but I always loved shooting my friends. So, as with skateboarding, I realized I was probably never going to be in a band because I’m pretty talentless. When Against The Wall used to practice, I would go over there and shoot photos of them. I had a pretty decent SLR and from shooting skateboarding photos, had a pretty good shutter finger. From there, I just started taking my camera to shows and that kinda became the beginning of it.
Who were your favorite bands to photograph? What were the best venues to photograph?
I didn’t really have any favorite bands to shoot. I just liked shooting photos in an overall sense. I guess my favorite venue was Spanky’s, just because there were so many shows there.
Any bad mishaps ever occur with your camera (i.e. smashed by stage diver, stolen, etc?)
Not really. People were pretty much cool with me getting up on stage. First because I had a camera in my hands, and secondly because I’m a little guy. So, when I started going to shows at 14, I was pretty much the smallest kid there. I do remember one time being kinda crushed up front at the Country Club, and I happened to be standing next to Regis Guerin and Scott Sundahl. I tried to get up on stage a few times and when the guy who wasn’t letting me get up finally pushed me down and got kinda pissed, I remember Scott looking at the dude and going ”dude, you don’t touch Mikey. Don’t push him like that again.” Being like 4’10” and 80 lbs at the most, it was pretty awesome to have big dudes like that get your back.
Inside Out's first show at Spanky's, Riverside CA, Photo: Mikey Garceau
Monday, October 12, 2009
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 7:36 PM