Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Everybody's Scene outtakes with Ray Cappo

Ray Cappo spreading Youth Crew across America with Youth Of Today at The Anthrax, Photo: Eric Blomquist

I would consider Tim and myself to be probably two of the absolute biggest YOT fans on the face of the earth. I think I speak for Tim when I say that YOT is the best band ever, Ray Cappo is the best frontman ever, and songs like Thinking Straight, Together, and We Just Might are the best hardcore songs ever written. All of that said, I don't think we've really had an overwhelming amount of Cappo content on DCXX considering our obsession.

Luckily for us, Chris Daily has hooked us up with all the outtake material from his interview with Ray that was done for the Everybody's Scene book (which I again urge everyone to ORDER NOW).

Here's part one, expect plenty more very soon. -Gordo DCXX

Before I ever went to The Anthrax, I first went to a benefit for The Anthrax. The benefit was at Pogo’s.

To go back before that...as far as my my own story about the Connecticut scene, well, originally, I didn't know a Connecticut scene even existed. I just thought a New York scene existed because I had discovered New York hardcore before Connecticut hardcore. So I always would go to shows at CBGBs and then Daryl Orht, who we know and love, had Adventure Jukebox, which was a late night radio station in my hometown. So I remember Dave Rinelli saying "Hey there's a late night radio station that plays punk music."

It was always me and Fudd and Dave and all the guys from Violent Children who used to scan the radio stations late at night, cuz that’s the only way to listen to hardcore...you'd listen to obscure stations. And we were I think 15 or 16, so when you're a kid you never have a car; I never left Danbury pretty much. I'd be picking up some distant signal from a college radio station in Bridgeport or New Haven at eleven o’clock or midnight. Hearing some bands I had never heard. We'd get some NYU station and we'd be listening to hardcore shows.

We started learning about hardcore just from hearing on the radio and then we found that WXCI was playing it. The guy from WXCI, you could tell he was trying to get into hardcore but he was playing a strange mixture of Black Flag meets Spandau Ballet. We were like "Okay we need to save this guy."

Ray on the Stamford Anthrax dance floor, Photo: Jamie Keever

Back then we were going through this phase, and the guy from WXCI was too, where we wanted to be punk, but...what do you get into, Duran Duran? Black Flag? Where do you go from here? That’s where punk split from that 80s dance rock stuff to hardcore and stuff like that. At least that's how I remember it. So we came down to WXCI with our punk and disorderly records. It's 11 o'clock at night, and we are at the West Conn campus throwing rocks at the window to try to get his attention to let us in the doors. We were like "Hey! We hear your show all the time! We brought a bunch of records for you to play!" We brought a bunch of hardcore records and he'd play them. We'd become his friends.

He was a lot older than us, in retrospect he was 19, and we were like, 15. We were like "This old guy runs this show..." After a while we were always calling up, making requests, "Play Jerry's Kids! Play Urban Waste!" and we just became friends with Daryl... Adventure Jukebox was great in the mix of Men Without Hats and the Circle Jerks and Urban Waste.

So then, we decided to start a band. We were already in a band...let me clarify this by saying, none of us could play any instruments at all. We had no talent at any of the instruments. We went to see The Young And The Useless at CBGBs, we were so inspired about playing thrash music. Because they were all little kids on stage, they were the guys from the Beastie Boys. We were just like, we can do this. Let’s just start a band...this was winter of '81, early 1982. So seeing The Young And The Useless play, like, this is what we want to do.

Ray with Youth Of Today at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Chris Schneider

So it became..."what do you guys want to play?" There was no punks in Danbury at all. I went back years later and there's Youth Of Today and all these other bands, and Danbury became the mecca of hardcore. It was unbelievable because when we were there, there was nobody at all. And it was desolate. It was just me and Rinelli, Chris Getz, and Fudd and Daryl. We just dreamed of putting on a show in Danbury. We actually wrote to the Dead Kennedys to play and hoping that they would play in Chris's Garage, but they never replied.

So, ok, no scene in Danbury, we just figured we'd go to these shows in New York. There must not be anyone in Connecticut except us. Daryl had said "Hey if you ever make a tape of your band, we'll play it!" We were like, "WHAT? You’ll play our tape on the radio!? Let's make a tape!" Our chords were like, one finger chords. I just got random pieces of a drum set and we didn't know how to play any of our instruments, and there was no one to show us. We just made up these crazy songs. We made a demo tape that we recorded with a boom box in my garage. We brought it in for Daryl, "We've got our demo tape, and will you play it?" He said "Yeah, I’ll play it." We were all waiting up all night listening. Daryl was so cool, He would say "Coming up next, Violent Children, Danbury Connecticut's own Violent Children. Danbury Connecticut's very own hardcore band. If you want hardcore, here's Violent Children. It's Danbury Connecticut's own..." He announced us so much. We were like "Oh my god I can't believe it!" You gotta understand we had no talent at all. The demo was a piece of crap. It was recorded like crap.

But it was incredible. We couldn't believe it. And to make matters worse, there are all these other friends of mine that had bands in high school. Just all cover bands. Playing all Rush songs, incredible musicians. Flawless players, working really hard to be in the variety show. And we come along and all of a sudden are getting played on the radio. They couldn't believe it. "You guys can't even play your instruments! How are you getting played on the radio? We’ve been trying to get played on the radio for years!" And we're just like "I don’t know. We met this DJ and we did this tape..."

As soon as they played us on the radio, we get this call from Darryl. He says, "These guys from this club in Stamford want you to play." We’re like "What? We’re gonna play a gig in Stamford Connecticut?" And then there's this guy from New York who got us this gig at A7 who wanted us to play. We couldn't believe it. Brian Sheridan called me from The Anthrax and I guess they all listened to the Adventure Jukebox. "Yeah, yeah we've got a big benefit for this club I own called the Anthrax," it used to be some club, some art gallery, but it got shut down. Whoa!

Cappo with Violent Children at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Jamie Keever

So Brian says how they didn't have any money, would we like to play a benefit show? And I was like, who’s playing? He's like "Agnostic Front, Cause For Alarm, The Abused, Shock, Hose (which was Rick Rubin's band), Vatican Commandos, CIA." He sent us this flyer and it was so awe inspiring. If you're in a band and the first time you see your name appear on a flyer, it's like "Oh my god I can't believe we got a gig!" We were like “We would love to play!"

So we are set to play. Before the show we played, we went to another show at Pogo's, it was Urban Waste, Reagan Youth, The Abused...something like that. I met Brian Sheridan and Shaun Sheridan and Johnny Stiff. I'm like, "Yeah this is where we're going to play. You guys have a whole scene here!" Truthfully, it was like, the whole New York scene showed up for that show and of course there was a whole lot of fights. But the whole time, I'm like, "This is so cool there's like a whole scene here. So Great. We're gonna play here soon! Wow!"

So we came back and played. I remember we played second. They didn't even make us open the show. Hours Of Torture played. They all went to Chote which is this very prestigious private school. But they were all really cool. And they could actually play their instruments. So they played first and Violent Children played second. And you know, for a band that couldn't play our instruments, we got on stage...50, 70, 100 people in there...it was like, ahhhh this is great! It was like, "This is the best thing in the world!" We had never experienced anything like it. We had never played, we had just screwed around. It was incredible.

After us, I think the Vatican Commandos came on and all of a sudden the police busted in and they raided the club and everyone was like "It's a raid!" I’m like "A RAID!?!?!? This is something right out of a MOVIE!" Everyone is saying, "Hide under the stage! Quick!" So all of the young kids were hiding under the stage because it was an over 18, 21 and over bar. We spent, I think, Agnostic Front's set, and a few other sets under that stage. The most exciting night of my life was spent under a stage.

Youth Of Today at the Norwalk Anthrax, Photo: Eric Blomquist


You'reX'd said...

And this right here ladies and gentlemen is why the score will always be-

Ray Cappo: 1
You: 0

Please tell me there is MORE!!!

Anonymous said...

im no ray cappo fan...but that's a guy who can tell a story. even if most of it is a story. very very entertaining read no question.

Anonymous said...

Just found this site about a month ago and have enjoyed trawling through the old yarns. Thanks.

JB - Australia

Damaged said...

Looks like Ray ripped the dudes shirt in the second picture. Hard to believe that this much hardcore history went down right next to Ridgefield. Also, I remember Fudd from Trash AS - cool guy, but I didn't know he had history like that.

Anonymous said...

I heard much of this story from Ray over 20 years ago, so it's definitely true. He really did see a lot. I'm glad he talked about it again, we need more history like this for sure.

-Dave K.

Anonymous said...

The CONFRONT shirt in the last pic is harder than any shirt in your collection.

the mosher said...

ray really does know how to tell a tale.

Anonymous said...

THE YOUNG AND THE USELESS!! the most crucial band in cappo's life!!. i was at that show and it was at the end of 1982, uk subs with the young and the useless. david scilken r.i.p., fuckin' hell i was 18.

old youth said...

"Hard to believe that this much hardcore history went down right next to Ridgefield."

but that's the nature of hardcore. it doesn't seem "historical" until decades after husker du stays in your guest room.

Anonymous said...

Ray is telling a very true story. I was there.


Anonymous said...

it´s hard to find a "normalo" person on the last pic. great story by the way!

Tom Brose said...

"The CONFRONT shirt in the last pic is harder than any shirt in your collection."

I used to own that, it was a one of a kind handmade by Dwid. Damn I wish I still had it.

andre said...

More Cappo DCXX!

Chris Schneider said...

I have a tape of Daryl Orht's Adventure Jukebox interview with the Violent Children and it is hilarious.

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