Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Credit Given Where Credit's Due" by Dan O'Mahony 

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Dan O speaks, Photo: Jeff Terranova

I'd gone roughly ten years without factoring this music or this underground into my thinking. By that I mean that Hardcore had lost a lot of its relevance for me (truthfully it could never again occupy the space it did in my teens, not for me, not for most). My feeling was that at its essence this movement was largely counterproductive, a study in preaching to the choir. It seemed to me that the high mindedness of this music's social agenda was largely a charade, a stance primarily adopted in spaces hidden from view and rarely expressed in the real world. Did I have a point? Sure. Did that point validate ignoring all the beauty in this space? No, not really.


For those of you familiar with my past, you might find it ironic that saying “no” has never really been my strong suit. I have an exaggerated distaste for disappointing people. So it was that when the request came down via Joe Nelson to participate in a panel discussion that he was arranging to help out the Radio Silence boys and their L.A. release party at the Niketown Theatre in Hollywood, I agreed. Not to give the impression that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming, it's just that I had no intention of promoting my presence, hyping the thing, or expecting much to come of it. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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Dan at the mic, Photo: Jeff Terranova

Surreal is an understatement. My old bandmate's leather jacket was displayed in the lobby. Displayed in a glass museum case accompanied by a security guard that is. People I habitually refer to as kids passed by with their male pattern baldness and 40 inch waistlines. A studio setting photo session was conducted on what would be the balcony level, complete with professional lighting, a neutral backdrop, etc. Nothing about this was spelling out HARDCORE to me, not the corporate naming rights on the building, not the drummer's foul weather gear as an art exhibit, certainly not the Annie Leibowitz flashback going on upstairs. Then the panel was assembled. None of us had a particularly concrete understanding of who we'd be sitting with.


It's not a group you could have or would have gotten together 20 years ago. Along with the creators of the Radio Silence book were amongst others Jason Farrell of Swiz, John Roa of Justice League, John Joseph of the Cro-Mags, Gavin Oglesby of No For An Answer, and myself (yeah, NFAA had the numerical advantage!). It wasn't until they sat us all down facing a full house of music fans waiting patiently to hear Mr. Joseph scream “We Gotta Know” that I started to feel something.


The questions asked by both Nelson and the audience were intelligent, topical, and occasionally amusing. The sarcasm I'd feared was completely absent. Most importantly to me it was the first time in more than a decade that I'd addressed a large group and left feeling that they had some idea what the fuck I was talking about. Sure, there were people on that stage and in that crowd I'd rather not share a cab with, but we had context in common. There was none of what a close friend of mine describes as “trying to explain hardcore to a 'civilian.'" My rambling about social responsibility and trying to find an appropriate venue for my sociopolitical values system wasn't greeted by mouth breathing and blank stares. Nothing that any of us had to say was greeted in that fashion and it sent a chill up my neck and over my temples when it occured to me how rare that is in everyday life.


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Jordan Cooper, Dan O, Popeye and Evan Jacobs at the first spoken word, Photo: Larry Ransom

On that stage, in that setting, my answer to the ever present “reunion question” spontaneously and unexpectedly ended with a “never say never." Less than six months later my first recorded band and four other Orange County Bands spent one Sunday evening raising our voices to benefit an ailing stranger's fight against cancer. You can't whip that up that easily with a squad of bands 20 years defunct in too many other “scenes."


Later that year I was given a shot to voice my take on days gone by on Double Cross. Given a shot to the tune of 7 installments! The worthiness of my rants occupying that much space can be debated (given the snark that permeates most message boards, I'm sure it was), but what cannot be debated or denied is that experience's impact on me. It's not as if an online interview parted the heavens, a light shown down, and a mission was reborn. I had in fact become more politically focused and motivated (but also more stifled and more frustrated) in the 11 years since I'd roamed this setting.


Still, credit must be given where credit is due. In offering a nod to the efforts of yesteryear, Tim and Gordo made obvious to me the silence that defined today. The Double Cross interview allowed me a long form source of reflection that the panel discussion did not. With each new emailed batch of questions, I found myself more and more enamored with the notion of placing the past in perspective while putting a mandate to myself “make something of the here and now."

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Dan interviewing a former elections analyst for the Latin America office of the National Endowment for Democracy, Photo: Ryan Langley

It's not that we of the hardcore scene were preselected to save the world, it's not that we have a right to expect to command any greater attention than anyone we pass on the street. It's that we have first hand experience with being heard, we have intimate knowledge of the fact that truth can be heard and that silence lies.


For me it's not another band, it's not any more reunions. I've always been more verbally than vocally talented, and for that reason I'm writing again, I'm doing spoken word, I'm hosting live issue-driven forums on college campuses, I'm launching a website (silencelies.com) focused solely on art, interviews, and creative writing with a positive social agenda. I'm doing something with my values that couldn't have happened without my history in this music and my connection to these people who love it so much. Credit must be given where credit's due.


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26 comments:

Anonymous said...

god shut up dan o you self-serving fag. all of those paragraphs of bullshit for a half-assed plug for your new website. cue a bunch of euro dorks claiming they got a lot out of that.

Anonymous said...

dude loves to talk about himself.

XXX Kid Hard XXX said...

Dude loved banging both of your wives too (and probably at the same time) obviously.

Anonymous said...

Jake Jacobs why do you post as XXX KId Hard XXX. Everyone knows it's you.

XXX Kid Hard XXX said...

Who the fuck is Jake Jacobs?

Nick said...

Man, you people suck.

Thanks Dan - I know how you feel (well, I was never in a big band or anything) but Double Cross has helped make me feel passionate about the music again at the very least.

Gordo DCXX said...

Maybe we should have introduced this piece so as to clarify:

What is in that post is straight up what Dan sent to Tim and me in a simple email, unprovoked. Read in that context, it's not a plug, it's a very sincere thank you to the two of us, and him telling us where he has taken his motivation...and we felt it deserved a verbatim post. I can tell you we found it very cool that a dude who had impacted us with his music was now thanking us.

We thought this was worthy to post as it highlights Dan as a person as well as what he wants to contribute (yet again) to our little world.

Thanks a lot Dan...haters rot in hell.

Isaac Golub said...

"Isaac, you have rank beef breath!"-Dan O'Mahony 1988

Nuff said.

ML said...

i can really relate to the quote about trying to explain hardcore to "civilians".

One of the former Mrs. Anonymouses said...

3 or 4 of us at a time, Kid.

Jason Bush said...

Dan has always been a little self centered, but who isn't? Anyway it was great to read something like this from somebody I have always looked up to. It was nice to hear him being grateful for the support of the kids (well most of us aren't kids anymore). Now I just wish they would put A Thought Crusade on iTunes.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, the fucking ego never stops. Yapping a way behind your huge banner of yourself. Your glory days, if they ever were...are done. What/When was that 89-90. Move on already. Please make this stop. No more.

Billy said...

This anonymous dude just isn't that important.

Jose said...

Dan seems to be an intelligent guy with a cynical attitude and narcissistic tendencies.
His comment about 'mouth breathers' as though he occupies some lofty perch where only the select few can attain his level of discourse is hilarious.
Like there aren't zillions of other leftist dingbats basically mirroring huffington post talking points!


"I've always been more verbally than vocally talented"
translation "I will never shut the fuck up. noooooooooooooooooooo"

I think it's awesome you guys give him a voice, and a voice to many other hardcore types. Obviously he needs the outlet.
By the way, this is my real name, anonymity is silly.

We are all adults here!

Anonymous said...

i dont know dan personally, i dont even dig all of his bands nor have i heard all, and i dont think i even agree with his politics. hell, i may not even like the guy.

but, i dont see what the big deal here is? am i missing something?

he did an interivew on this site (which was a great read), it created some type of catalyst to start writing/talking more, and he's doing that. he thanked the double cross guys and they posted it.

what is the big deal? it's not even all that exciting. and people are saying these things?

Anonymous said...

Hey Jose, What The Fuck Have You Done!?!

ZACH said...

do like regular people buy this dudes books?

The former Mrs. Jose said...

The Sears Tower ain't got NOTHIN' on Dan.

The former former Mrs. Jose said...

The former Mrs. Jose is an ignorant slut. Dan has a needle dick.

Turd Ferguson said...

Hey Anonymous scorned men and Jose - Dan wasn't the only dude that your exes cheated on you with and you damn well know it, so do your pouting elsewhere please.

Vic D said...

wow, dan... i can't believe i actually ENJOYED reading this

Anonymous said...

anyone have a video of Brian Howell knockin Dan out on Euro NFAA tour? i heard it was over a missing cheeseburger

Brian Howell said...

Y'all need to get over it! Dan is speaking about what he believes in...and there is nothing wrong with that. I have respect for a man like him; he has stated his faults on numerous occasions; however, he is, was, and always will be a great friend to me. he has a voice and he uses it. His writing is his art, you don't have to like it; that's your opinion. And for the record, the fight was not over a cheesburger... Keep on doing what you do Dan...

Anonymous said...

I don't know who this person is.

Anonymous said...

interesting read, great site. thanks so much for all the hard work you guys put into it.

Anonymous said...

hey dan, being honest and using your brain makes you suck in hc 2010. but thanks for sharing.