Gavin with Absolution at the Anthrax, Photo: Joe Snow
In our ongoing posting of outtakes from Chris Daily's upcoming book, Everybody's Scene, we bring you some great content from Gavin that was caught on tape. Be sure to grab Everybody's Scene for much, much more -Gordo DCXX
The Anthrax, it was a total grab bag of music...you had no idea what you were going to get. You were going to see your friends' band, you knew what they sounded like, but you didn't know who else was opening or closing or what last minute add ons were playing. You'd see some stuff and be like, "Wow, DRI? What? What is this?" Seeing stuff like that, JFA...stuff that just shaped me musically. DRI invented the metal scene as far as I’m concerned. There would be no Slayer if there was no DRI. There would be no me, musically speaking, if there wasn't The Anthrax. I would not have had a platform to tinker around with music and play with ideas and do weird stuff if it wasn't for that club.
So many things that came out of that club, and influenced not only punk rock and hardcore but rock 'n roll in general.
We don't have that underground anymore. The media is so massive now it's just an expansive web that covers everything. The second a band has a million friends on MySpace or Facebook, they're overnight pop sensations. We didn't have that back then. It was like, "Wow, I found this really awesome little diamond of a thing, that's so incredible. And I’m going to share it with my friends and hopefully it's going to blow up into this really great thing." Well, I remember seeing the Cro-Mags in '84 at CBs and being like, "Oh my God... if the real world knew of this it would be horrible." And the problem was, the real world found out and it became horrible. It wrecked the Cro-Mags. That band is such a part of my heart. Those guys, Agnostic Front, bands like, all that stuff...Underdog - you want a New York freedom fighter - Richie Birkenhead, there you go. If people were getting into fights at Underdog shows or Youth Of Today shows...I always tried to take the right side of the fight.
Gavin hits the Norwalk dancefloor, Photo: Jeff Coleman
I would hear "Well Gavin's a violent person" so on and so forth. I can't say that what I did was right, but I can't say that I would have just honestly stood by and watched some of the shit that I saw get validated and not have something to say about it and not act on it.
I’m kind of built like a manhole cover with feet...and that was before I started fighting competitively. Which is funny. I take a good shot. I don't really roll out, I’ve been hit a couple times by some people where they're sure of it being a knockout shot and it just doesn’t happen. Being that young you have this invincibility. At this point I’m 41 years old, I think competitive fighting took that out of me, knowing that anyone can get hurt any time, it’s not a game anymore. It's something I was doing at hardcore shows, getting into fights, to where, brought into a competitive aspect, I’ve been hurt in training more than I’ve been hurt in fights at hardcore shows... I mean, I’ve been hit with skateboards!
There was a good amount of fighting that went on...I had a big reputation for being a big violent thug. I’m not saying some of it may have been deserved. I tried my best to take the good side of things. My only weakness is that if I'm seeing a guy getting beat up by three other guys, I’m going to jump in on it. I’m going to even it up just a little bit. That’s what was happening a lot. This pack mentality. Oh he's not one of us. Some kid's wearing an Exploited shirt! These guys are wearing Warzone shirts. He’s a punk. We’re skins. That’s the stupidest shit ever. It’s so ridiculous.
Early on, it was an amazing, fun and goofy thing, and it became this juggernaut, this Frankenstein...that was the sad evolution.
The puppy stopped being cute at a point. I think I walked away from the concept of hardcore in '86. I grew up around music. All music was good. Then it became this exclusionary thing where, "You can't like this if you like that." It just didn't appeal. As a musician it's stifling..."You’re only allowed to eat bacon...forever...that's it." Well, it's like 2 o’clock in the morning. I don't wanna eat bacon. Not to offend any vegetarians. I listen to so many genres. I don't listen to anything that I’ve listened to before. Either I hate it, or I learn something from it musically.
The Norwalk Anthrax was a really weird time for me. I loved going to CT because I got to see all my old friends, the Sheridan brothers, etc. It was weird because the scene became something I didn't want anything to do with. When we would play we would bring up a band we loved, like when I was in Absolution, we brought up Nausea, and the kids didn't get it. They just didn't get it...that’s what hurt me, when kids thought, “I have to get it.” They couldn't just accept stuff. That to me was kind of indefinite. I played in Burn after that and we still played at the Anthrax. It’s a typical Gavin thing to drive things into the ground. Even with Burn I was trying to do something different. I was trying to get away from doing the normal hardcore.
Gavin with Absolution, Photo: Dave Rabenold
I think the end of it for me was one of the last shows we played there at The Anthrax. I had become really...we were living in Williamsburg, way before hipsters were living in Williamsburg, this was like 1989, I had become a recluse, I didn't even really talk to the guys in the band anymore. I remember we were playing at the Anthrax and this young skater kid came up to me and said, "You're the guitarist form Burn, right?" And I was just sitting there like, "What the hell do you want from me?" And he goes "You made me want to play guitar" He grabbed my hand, basically forced me to shake it and was like "Thanks." At that point I realized how much of a jackass I was.
I was really really angry. That kind of killed things for me. I realized I can't do this anymore. I quit Burn. I had gone back to living in abandoned buildings. I was living in between Avenues C and D. I actually still live in on 6th St. I mean, it's really nice. I hooked it up. But back then, when I moved back, I stayed inside for the rest of the week, ordering food from Chinese restaurants. I was like, I can't do this kind of music any more. It’s just killing me. I just hated everything. This kid came up to me with the biggest compliment I had ever heard in a really sorry existence, I was the reason this kid wanted to do music. And I had the nerve to feel spite for him...just to see what I was turning in to...and that was at the Anthrax, it was sad. That was the club that had made music so amazing for me, but at the end of it, it was the death of all things for me. I didn't want anything to do with it. It had become a Frankenstein.
Another thing was that the friends that I had couldn't come to Burn shows or they would get beat up. I have a lot of friends from the gay and lesbian community, from different walks...there's a lot of violence going on there, and they can't come to my shows. That's what hurt...I remember when I first started going to shows...it was a lot of kids who, honestly didn't know their place in high school, a lot of them were gay and lesbian or just didn't fit in, and then it became this place where you had to fit in, you had to fit this mold. That was the death of it for me, because I had become so resistant to anything, to anybody. I mean, this kid who gave me the biggest compliment, inspiring him to play guitar, and all I could feel was contempt. My attitude was just, “How dare you talk to me?” I could have just taken him aside and said, "Go buy this record, this record, this record, here's a thousand better reasons to play guitar." I couldn't even be that constructive.
So I stopped playing music for probably 6 months, just did a lot of drugs...and then started this band called DIE 116 which was a whole different change all together. We never got to play the Anthrax; I don't think we would have been accepted. We were ballistic way beyond anything I ever wanted to do. That record was my favorite record I had ever done in my life. That includes the Burn stuff.
An X'ed up Gavin with some Stamford Anthrax follies, Photo: Chris Schneider
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 7:53 PM