Monday, December 7, 2009

Jay Krakdown part III

Krakdown mayhem at CBGB, Photo: Boiling Point

This is the third and final entry from our interview with Jay Krakdown. Thanks to Jay for giving us his time and answering our questions. Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as we did. -Tim DCXX

Favorite Krakdown shows and memories?

I don’t even know where to start with this question…wow favorite shows we played, let’s see. Again, not to sound cheesy but I just loved playing shows with my friends…especially SOIA, Killing Time, Absolution, NY Hoods, Rest in Pieces, Maximum Penalty, Nausea, Trip 6, SFA, Token Entry and on and on. I loved playing CBs, Anthrax, Right Track Inn, Pyramid, Squat or Rot, etc. I guess my fondest memories are of the shows we played with SOIA and the Alleyway. Those guys are like brothers to me and I will never forget those days...trashing the club in Bethlehem, PA when we beat the crap out of the local white power crew; New Rochelle…yet another fight and more arrests; all the CBs shows; let’s not forget Albany in the blizzard and Big Charlie (RIP my brother) taking up half the van. Those were crazy days back then and I will never forget all the good and bad that happened to me.

I have played shows in backyards, squats, dance clubs, garages, open fields, you name it we played it. I guess the one show I will never forget was at the Batcave out on LI. It was this little Goth club that decided to do hardcore shows. I think it was the Psychotic Sons that opened for us. Anyway, the club DJ (punk kid...can’t remember his name but he was a cool kid) tells me their mic only has a three foot chord and unless I had a mic chord I would have to stand next to the DJ booth where it plugged in. Shit no chord…the Psychotic Sons tell me they have a mic and chord so no problem. They did not get the reception from the audience they were looking for so they got all pissed off and told me they were leaving so I was SOL. In the meantime Damon can’t find his bass amp. Turns out they packed it with their equipment. Damon catches them in their van, goes off and slaps one them around before taking back his amp. Oh well I played with the three foot mic chord. It kept coming unplugged, the sound system sucked, what a mess. Ahh the memories!!

Favorite Krakdown recording and why?

This question was a little easier since we didn’t record much! It would have to be the '87 demo we recorded at Don Fury. It just had the raw energy of the band. I think that demo really represented what and who we were at the time. I guess the demo was just us live so it had our heart and soul in it. Look, I realize I am not the most gifted vocal artist of my day so all I had was my live performance and that demo captured that sound and energy. When we did more studio type stuff I always felt I sounded boring or contrived. The energy didn’t sound completely real or honest to me. I am probably being overly critical but it was just how it sounded to me.

Damon really stood out in the studio but I never felt I did. As for Richie, I think he benefited from the spontaneity of live recordings rather than trying too hard in a studio. All that being said, I also liked the songs we cut for a split LP with the NY Hoods…shame that LP was never cut.

Any regrets or things you would have done differently with Krakdown in retrospect?

I really don’t have any regrets…I used to but now I am grateful for those days and love the memories. I guess I would have liked for us to have been more serious and went on the road more than we did. I saw bands going all over the country and even Europe, while we played good ole CBs and the other areas around NY. Hell, the farthest we got was DC. But that was all we could do at the time so we did what we could. I would have liked for us to have done some recordings, wrote more songs, but again we did what we could.

For me the band was an outlet. It got my anger out and released many of the demons I had from my troubled and violent youth. That is why I loved playing live. Every show we played was therapy for me and every show helped heal old wounds. I used to regret a lot of how the band ended and especially when Damon left. I never really gave Jaybird a fair chance as Damon’s replacement. If you are reading this Jay, I am sorry for my actions. The reality is Damon was and still is my best friend and brother so Jay was walking into a no-win situation with me and at that time I was still angry and resentful towards the band so it was destined to fail once Damon left. See that, more therapy!

Anyway, could we have done things differently? Sure but I played in a NYHC band…I played at CBGBs…I made demos and records…I met some of the best and worst of humanity…I made lifetime friends…I was part of something, a very special scene that just doesn’t exist anymore and will probably never exist again in any genre of music. So why should I have regrets?

The classic Jay Krakdown stage mosh, Photo: Boiling Point

What are you up to these days and what do you take from your experiences with the hardcore scene?

At the ripe age of thirty I decided to pursue a childhood dream. I actually went to college (not bad for a HS dropout) at Colorado State University. I am now a Colorado Wildlife Officer (game warden) and spend my days patrolling the mountains on horseback, ATV, truck, snowmobiles, and just hiking. Can you believe I am in law enforcement!? Well I protect those that have no voice so poachers beware of this ex-NYHC kid. Obviously, I am not your normal Colorado game warden and the other officers are really intrigued by my past.

As I said earlier, The NYHC scene had a profound effect on my life and really made me the man I am today. I found a place with all the other freaks and misfits. I truly believe that scene saved me from myself. All those experiences, both good and bad, have given me the gut determination that I now possess. Deep down inside I will always consider myself a NYHC kid no matter what. The scene allowed me to be who I was and believe what I believe. Before that I was a lost soul lashing out at the world. Again I know that sounds typical but it is the truth.

I gained a lot of strength from those days and learned to live my life as I see fit and on my terms. That is exactly what I do. Shit…it also helps big time in law enforcement…I can see through someone’s bullshit a lot easier than most. Also, all those experiences help me to deal with all the characters I deal with on this job. My past has given me a sense of justice and fairness that I use daily on my job.

Anyway, thank you for asking me to do an interview I am glad to know there are people still out there enjoying what I did so long ago (shit almost 20 years since I played a show). Peace and respect to all my old friends and to all the people I have known because of the NYHC scene, especially to those no longer with us…peace…we’ll see each other again.

Jay on the job in Colordao 2009, Photo courtesy of: Jay


actionxjackson said...

I dig this. Very good read, and very inspirational since i myself plan on getting involved with wildlife preservation through fish and game hopefully.

Anonymous said...

God... Bethlehem! Every time we left Philly to go out to the sticks, it was like battling the 4th Reich. Airport Music Hall, Pottstown, Unisound, not that I really held my own too much.. I remember hiding under a car once for a rather long time on a very cold night.

Anonymous said...

Jay sounds like a very solid dude. Glad to hear as Krakdown is one of my faves. Gonna go listen to the "Pipeline" session now. Whoahh.

Smitty said...

Very cool series of interviews and really awesome to see what he's up to now. In an era when everyone was playing increasingly metallic revenge core, Krakdown reminded us that hardcore was hardcore punk. I still remember the raw fury of their live show (not to mention Gavin grabbing the mic and looking like his eyes were going to pop out his head when they did "Nothing" by Negative Approach hahaha). Only recently heard those tracks from the lost split album and think it's a real pity they never came out as they're as strong if not stronger than anything else from back then but you know, no one had a road map back then.

Songco said...

Jay - I just showed this to George and he agreed with me about your present job - that's awesome and we're jealous! LOL!

Seriously though, it was great reading all three installments and you & Krakdown were one of the many friends & good guys we came up with during a time we'll always remember. It's great to have heard your side of things and also great knowing you're doing well!

Jojo "Outburst"

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