Bryant with Our Gang at CBGB, NYC, 1989, Photo: Tracy S. Sham
I only saw Our Gang once...it was at the Anthrax in CT. A bunch of us from Albany went up there to support a local band called No Outlet, do you recall the show? How many shows did you guys actually play? Did you ever tour?
Lew: We played CB's with Slapshot, The Pyramid with Token Entry, Lismar Lounge with Project X and Life’s Blood. We played on NYU radio, WNYU Crucial Chaos. I’ll never forget my mother telling me I had a call, going into the kitchen to answer and having Johnny Stiff ask me if Our Gang wanted to play Crucial Chaos. We played The Right Track Inn in Long Island. That was our first show. That and several other shows at the Anthrax were with our brothers in Pressure Release and Up Front. I don’t know exactly, but we might not have played more than ten shows. I do remember playing with No Outlet, but nothing else about that particular show.
Hobi: We got to play a CB's Matinee. A lifelong goal achieved at 17.
Was there a favorite show that you guys played?
Lew: Maybe, for me, NYU. It was my first day of college. I had a night class. As soon as I got out of class my friend John Lisa picked me up and drove me into the city from Staten Island. When I walked into the studio where the bands played it was ridiculously packed. It seemed like everyone we knew was there. Our sound was terrible, as it usually was, since we were poor and had bad equipment. But everyone there was singing like crazy and it really sticks out in my mind. Our first shows also stand out, just because it was wild to see people going crazy on the floor and stagediving while we played. Seeing that was kind of like completion of a goal.
Our Gang def fell into that 1980's NYHC straightedge hardcore scene. Was the band actually SE?
Lew: We were all straight edge as people, but we didn’t want to be identified as a straight edge band. We didn’t have lyrics about straight edge. We wanted to be a hardcore band in the spirit of Agnostic Front, Victim In Pain.
Hobi: SE was really important to me. I enjoyed defining myself that way as a kid cause it was so radical and certainly positive. When it seemed cultish later and violently enforced I was turned off to that label. I remained sober until a few years ago in fact.
Bryant with an Our Gang sing along at The Anthrax, Photo: Joe Snow
Why is it that you guys never released anything on vinyl back in the day? There must have been some interest from some labels? Had you guys talked about it? Was it a goal of the band to put a record out?
Lew: We were scheduled to record a 7” for Smorgabord. Chris Daily was a close friend. I remember him telling me, “Lew, just go into the studio and record!” But Hobi and I were, maybe to our own detriment, perfectionists, and we never felt the band was tight enough to record, and then we broke up. I don’t know if we were enjoying being a band so much at that point, which would make sense, as the CBGBs scene was all but dead. The world we had belonged to no longer existed. Things were changing fast.
Hobi: This record coming out is really exciting for me.
Two words: "Some Records." Please continue...
Lew: Some Records was a great place to hang out. We would go there every day after school and Duane would let us sit around and listen to music and he didn’t care if we didn’t have money to buy anything. But everything we bought, we bought there. I remember Hobi and I traveling into the city one day when both the Sick Of It All 7” and Warzone LP came out. We saw Billy from Side By Side show Duane his original art for the Gorilla Biscuits 7”. We heard every record before it came out. I remember talking to Raybeez in there, Porcell would be sitting across the way, Tommy Carroll was behind the counter. Everyone was in and out of there. Too many things to remember really. Our demo was only for sale at Some Records. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Hobi: I feel so bad for kids now. They have nothing of their own. Can you imagine being shaped and influenced by the sterile pop pablum that passes for hardcore? I love that I was a fly on the wall in Some while all these incredibly unique things were happening. That'll never happen quite like that again.
Hobi with Our Gang at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Tracy S. Sham
Monday, May 24, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 5:58 PM