Chris Lohman with Blackspot, 3/22/2009, Photo courtesy of: Lohman
For those of you that might be unfamiliar with Chris Lohman, he's been a mainstay in the Southern California Hardcore scene since the mid 80's. Getting his start in Blackspot, currently doing a band called Damage Season and going full force with a screen printing company that's been doing all the latest Cro-Mags merch, I thought Chris would make for a good read. As Chris would say, he's… "No one to step on, no one to take your shit, who will you have to fuck with?". -Tim DCXX
First off, tell us who you are, where you're from, what bands you've played in, etc.
My name is Chris Lohman, and I'm from Huntington Beach California. I grew up here in Huntington, and have lived here my whole life. Huntington Beach has always had strong roots in the punk scene, and for lower income and broken families, punk rock was the escape. I grew up seeing the punk culture around me, and knew kids whose brothers were listening to punk rock. In the 6th grade I asked for a Clash tape (Combat Rock) for Christmas. I got it, and I was drawn to that kind of music...it wasn't long after that that I got a guitar, and wanted to play in a punk band.
It wasn't until my Freshman year in High School that I really did start to play guitar. I can't remember which friend it was...I want to say Mike Murphy...but they told me about a band called Uniform Choice. They were a Hardcore Straight Edge band out of Orange County...I had heard of Minor Threat, but UC was from around here, and I loved it. I would sit in my room and try to play their songs, and one day, while playing guitar with my cousin, it started to come together. I was hooked for life, I knew then that I wanted to be in a Hardcore band.
Bands were kind of slim pickings for me in High School. I had some great friends that I played with, but I wanted to do a real Hardcore band. A year or so after high school, I surprisingly hooked up with some guys from high school, and started a band called Blackspot. Greg Brown, Scott Lytle, Sean Fader and I were doing a full fledged Hardcore band. Blackspot for me was a dream come true. We played our first show with Insted, Dan from No For An Answer put out our 7", we went on tour, and played with bands like Sick Of It All...it was what you were suppose to do in a Hardcore band.
As Blackspot started to run its course, I found that I had an interest in singing. So, a few friends of mine and I started a band called Collateral Damage. The band was politically charged, and had a very heavy sound to it. It actually started off as a project, but quickly moved into a full time band. Collateral Damage got to play a lot of great shows, and we were on New Age records, which at the time was a premier label. After Collateral Damage, I continued to play music...and in 2000, Dan O'Mahony and I started a band called JOHN HENRY HOLIDAY. The idea was to capture the sound from the 80s and let people know that that music is what inspired a lot of people to be who they are today.
I have never given up on Hardcore... I still play it today. I'm currently doing a band called Damage Season with Brian Manery (Mean Season), and Jae Hansel (Outspoken), and it's one of the best band I have ever done.
Who are some of your favorite Southern California bands and why?
Uniform Choice, No For An Answer, Insted, Outspoken, Unity, Mean Season, Ignite, Don't No, Social Distortion, and every band that I have been in.
Uniform Choice was the band that started it all for me...I still love and listen to the first album. It's the music that just resonated with who I am, even today.
No For An Answer was the band I got to see from their first show to their last. I got to follow them, and see their progression, and be part of it. I knew what shows they were playing and when their records were coming out. I was knee deep into the scene, and they were the front runners around here.
Insted...everyone liked Insted...you had to. The guys were cool, they had a great sound, and they were the staple of Orange County.
Outspoken, just sound good...and their live shows were awesome. I was always so impressed with the songs they wrote.
Unity was one of my favorites...I just love the sound of that 7". It reminds of skateboarding with my friends, and going to shows. We would always listen to that on the way to shows...and SNFU on the way home. Never did get to see them.
Mean Season...I always wanted to play guitar as good as Manery...still can't by the way.
Ignite brought Hardcore back to Orange County in the 90s. When I heard that record that Zoli sang on I was more than impressed. They still sound great today.
Don't No just plain scared me to death...they were an HB local band that had the scariest crowd I have ever seen, but they really know how to play their intstruments. Great band.
Social Distortion...it's a county law that you have to like Social Distortion if you live here...even if people say they don't like them, they really do.
For all the bands that I played in...I have to like all the bands that I played in or what would be the point?
Chris Lohman with Damage Season, Photo courtesy of: Lohman
What are some of your favorite memories from going to shows in Southern California?
When I first started going to shows 80s, there was Fender's Ballroom. The Olympic Auditorium was the big punk place to have shows, but they were stopping shows there, and Fender's was the new place. It was in the heart of downtown Long Beach, in a gang infested area. It was about 30 mins. away from Huntington Beach, but back then it seemed like hours. Once inside Fender's, the gang problem didn't stop. You had the Skinhead/Punk gang, The Lads, you had the Suicidals...enough said. You had SOS, the Samoans, and to top it off...Circle One. If you kept your head down you were OK, but if you got out of hand, one of them would handle you. I remember feeling scared when I first started going, but the music kept me going back. Once I got the hang of things, I really loved going to shows.
Thinking back, all the riots, and gang fights is what made that place so fun. It was like a movie, and when you were on your way home you felt like you escaped death. In a way you kind of did. There was so much brutality it didn't seem real, I'm glad kids today don't have to deal what that so much anymore, but you had to really want to be at one of those shows. The friends I had back then I still have to day...they feel like old army buddies. We went through something great. Things people today wish they were there for, band that people will never get to see again, and we got to see them. Cro-Mags, 7 Seconds, Youth Brigade, Youth Of Today, COC, SNFU, Agnostic Front, Bl'ast!, Exploited, RKL, No For An Answer, Black Flag, Descendents, TSOL, No Mercy, Beowulf, Suicidal Tendencies, X, Bad Religion, Uniform Choice, Insted, MDC, Stalag 13, IllRepute, Circle Jerks, Chain Of Strength, Scream...these are the memories I think of most often. I love playing shows...but what inspired me to play was going to those shows.
Workshed Records ad for the Blackspot EP
How did you get started with your screen printing company and what bands have you been printing for?
A long time ago, I use to print for Mike Hartsfield at New Age. I only did it for a short time, but I enjoyed it. Two years ago when the recession hit, I was a longshoreman...and the work stopped. I spent about 6 months trying to figure out what I was going to do. I was watching TV one night, and I saw one of the guys from TAPOUT doing a commercial for self-help CD...I think it was Tony Robbins. He mentioned how much TAPOUT was making and I just keep thinking about that...I never bought the CDs or anything like that, but it did get me thinking about starting my own business. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it, and I had a family to think about.
A few weeks later a friend of mine mentioned that he knew a person that was selling some screen printing equipment, and if I knew anyone who would want it. I told him I did, and I knew that's what I wanted to do, be my own boss, and work hard for myself for once instead of someone else. A couple of weeks after that I got a call from the Cro-Mags asking if I knew anyone who could do merch. Ever since then it has been great. I've done merch for tons of local bands: Colors, All Your Might and more popular bands like Ignite, and Nations On Fire. I've done some re-issues from older local bands as well...and out of state bands like Fathom Down of course the Cro-Mags. Clothing companies and skateboard companies make up a lot of my business as well. I never realized how many people I know who need shirts...It's awesome.
Criag Ahead, John Joseph and Chris Lohman, Photo courtesy of: Lohman
Let's talk Cro-Mags. How did you get hooked up doing all their west coast merch? Who does the designs? Any classic Cro-Mags shirt you'd love to re-print? How's JJ been to work with?
One day, when the Cro-Mags were coming to California to play some shows, they called me to ask if I knew anyone who did merch. I told them I did, but I had literally just started to screen shirts. I was about 2 weeks into it when they called. The designs come from either John or Mackie, they have friends that will do their artwork. Fans sometimes will send those guys some art, and they will use that as shirts too...only if the people say it's cool. I finally got them to do the black and white AOQ shirt this last tour. I loved that shirt, and so did a lot of people. I keep getting asked by everyone if they were going to have it on this tour, and I finally got to say yes.
The other one was the original AOQ shirt that they has back on the Motorhead tour...we got to do that one too for this last tour...that one's rad. Working with John Joseph has been awesome. He has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met, he truly cares about people. He's written a book called Meat Is For Pussies, which should be out in April 2010, and he wrote it to help people understand about the foods they put in their bodyies. He truly has respect for the human race. When I've gone on tour with them John always sits in the front with me, and he makes everyone in the van die of laughter...the stories he tells are crazy. He has been around for a long time. One of my favorite stories is when he went to see Fear on Saturday Night Live.
What are some of your memories from seeing the Cro-Mags during the Age Of Quarrel era and or the Best Wishes era? How does seeing the 2010 version of the Cro-Mags compare to the original versions?
Well, I haven't missed a Cro-Mags show in Southern California since 1986 when they played with Motorhead. Back in '86...seeing the Cro-Mags was the greatest thing in the world...John Joseph was going crazy, and it seemed like they played the whole album from start to finish. I wasn't too up on my music chops back then, but they seemed to play really good. When I saw them on the 1990 "Down But Not Out" Tour, Harley was the lone singer, and it didn't have the energy that they did in '86, but the sound was awesome. Everything was dialed in and perfect.
Now that I'm older, and I know my way around music, I can say that the 2010 version is the best version to see. With Mackie on drums, it sounds exactly like AOQ...and John Joseph acts like he has more energy now then he did back in the 80's (the way John Joseph eats, he just might have more energy...Vegan). With AJ from Leeway on guitar, there is just no one better to play Cro-Mags songs...and my main man Craig form Sick Of It All on bass...and we know how good he is. With all 4 of them together it has to be the best version of the Cro-Mags so far.
Favorite track off Age Of Quarrel and favorite track off Best Wishes and why?
We Gotta Know...Just the rhythm of the sticks counting at the beginning will make me go crazy. I can never get sick of that song...it has all the elements a Hardcore song needs. The best intro in the history of intros, and then the song speeds up to a perfect rhythm to mash around to. The lyrics fit exactly with the song...what else could you sing about with that song..."Struggling in the streets just trying to survive, searching for the truth is just keep us alive, gotta break these shackles gotta break these chains..."
Crush The Demoniac off of Best Wishes...that ending of the song is out of hand. When he's yelling, "Got to kill, got to fight got to crush the demoniac"...I love that. I feel that song could have been on AOQ.
Anything you want to get out there regarding the screen printing company? Contact info, etc.?
If anyone wants to get shirts printed, by someone who knows about Hardcore...I'm your man. If you have any questions at all, you can call me, text me or e-mail me. You can also contact us on Facebook, and myspace: AC Silk Screen.
A.C. Silk Screen
JJ and Lohman, Photo courtesy of: Lohman
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 7:47 PM