Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Floorpunch - New Jersey memories

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Floorpunch at The Gate, Stroudsburg, PA, 8/24/1997, Photo: Traci McMahon

A few months back Dave Walling over at Six Feet Under Records contacted me about needing photos for the Floorpunch discography double LP he was going to be releasing. Dave also asked if I could write down some of my thoughts and memories on Floorpunch and he was hoping to include them in the liner notes of LP. It took me some time to dig up the photos, get them scanned and sent over to Dave and I even mocked up a couple different pieces, but unfortunately I never ended up getting him any of my written memories.


This past weekend I dropped by Vintage Vinyl to pre-order a copy of Danzig's new album "Deth Red Sabaoth", which he'll be doing an instore for next Saturday. Once I secured the Danzig album, I started sifting through their vinyl to see if anything interesting popped up. Low and behold I stumbled upon the Floorpunch discography double LP. This was the first time I'd seen it, so I picked it up and decided that I had to buy it. Once I got out to my car I pulled out the Floorpunch record, tore off the plastic and started to dig in. There was a lot to read, a nice handful of contributors who shared their memories and some cool photos dropped in the background of all the written content. The first piece I read was Brett Beach's, who's got the gatefold all his own. Reading through Brett's piece really took me back, because just like him, but from a slightly different angle, I watched that band from the very beginning to the end. Being in the middle of everything, I sometimes took for granted what was going on, but in retrospect, it really was a special time.

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Bill with Floorpunch at their first show at the Bordentown VFW, Photo: Traci McMahon

My first Floorpunch memory was from June 24th, 1995. Snapcase were headlining a show at the church in Chatham, NJ. My band Mouthpiece was also playing as well as Ignite who got put on the show at the last minute. I remember Texas Is The Reason were the opener and this was their first show. There were a handful of us that were super psyched to see Ignite, this was their first east coast trip. I remember Ignite going on and a lot of us just went nuts. For the people that weren't all that familiar with them, by the time they were tearing through covers of Uniform Choice's "Screaming For Change" and No For An Answer's "Man Against Man", everyone got a healthy introduction. I specifically remember at one point during Ignite's set, Porter and I think Zusi standing on the perimeter of the pit. They were both standing there watching kids mosh/floorpunch and said, "we're gunna do a band and we're gunna call it Floorpunch." At the time I kinda laughed, I mean I was stoked to see and hear these guys do a band, but calling it Floorpunch just made me laugh. I would have laughed if they said they were going to call it Windmill or The Lawnmower, but I associated Floorpunch with The Floorpunch Mosh Crew as noted noted on the Release "The Pain Inside" 7", which Zusi had played on, so I guess it made sense. But yeah, from what I remember, that was the birth of the Floorpunch conceptually at least.

Another memory I have is hearing the Floorpunch demo for the first time. For whatever reason, Porter and I were driving in my car from the North Brunswick/Edison area down to the Trenton/Ewing area, which was where I was from. I don't remember exactly what was going on that day, but I do remember Porter pulling out a master tape of the demo and asking if I wanted to hear it. Of course I wanted to hear it, but in the back of my mind I had no idea what to really expect. Was it going to be something cheesy, watered down and forced, or was it going to kick my ass? Well guess what? From the intro alone I knew I was in for a serious ass kicking. Once "Changes" kicked in, the second song, I was SOLD. This shit was killer and no filler. Pure, fast, raging, straight edge hardcore played to perfection.

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Kingshot with Floorpunch in Buffalo, NY, Photo: Traci McMahon

At the time there might have been a few bands going for that style, but NOBODY was hitting it as hard and doing it as well as Floorpunch. Before I could recuperate from Intro/Changes, they were slamming me in the face with "Clear" and again I was blown the fuck away. We're talking serious straight edge in your face lyrics, like open your mouth and watch FP jam it right down your fucking throat. Whether or not it was a bit tongue in cheek or not, I didn't care and it didn't matter. These guys were straight edge, they loved hardcore, they wanted to have fun and I was down. The last thing I remember about hearing the demo that first time with Porter, was listening closely to the "Gonna Get Yours" lyrics. The last few lines, "All I want to do is put you in your place, You'll get what you deserve, you fucking disgrace". I remember asking Porter if he says, "All I want to do is PUNCH you in your face…", in which he responded by saying, "No, but that's pretty good and I might have to drop that in there now and again."

On that same ride and first listening session of the demo, I also remember Porter asking me what I thought of the name Floorpunch. At the time he seemed like he was kinda torn. I told him that I thought it sounded like too much of a joke band and I recommended that they should probably think about changing it if they wanted to be taken seriously. Wow, guess I was wrong and it didn't take me long to get used to the name. In a way it was almost inline with the whole Gorilla Biscuits thing. It was kinda started as a joke, was recommended by Porcell to change it to something more serious (Courage To Care), but in the end kept as it was and completely accepted. Not that I ever suggested any alternate names, but at the time I would have been happy to. Again, Floorpunch obviously made the right choice in that department.

Towards the end of Mouthpiece when we were winding down and playing our last handful of shows, Floorpunch were really just getting started. The demo was out, locally kids were eating it up and there was a definite buzz going up and down the east coast. Pretty much every show Mouthpiece was getting asked to play, I was telling the promoters that we'd play as long as they'd book Floorpunch on the bill as well. I remember our last two shows at Middlesex County College and the Princeton Arts Council were being put on by some semi-vegan warrior type kids. Both kids doing these last two shows weren't exactly keen on having Floorpunch play. Floorpunch had a bit of a reputation for heckling and or just not standing for some of the bullshit that was going on at that time, so these kids just weren't fans and it seemed some lines were being drawn. I pushed hard against some animosity to get Floorpunch on both shows and both kids cracked and let them play.

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Porter with FP, Nickle City Stomp style, Buffalo NY, Photo: Traci McMahon

Of course everyone already knows about the chaos that ensued during the Earth Crisis set at Middlesex, not that the Floorpunch guys started any of that, but I'm sure the kid doing the show had FP on his mind when everything was going down. As for the Princeton Arts Council show, it was a strange coincidence that the mic went out during their set and the kid doing the show was pretty much no where to be found when everyone was looking for an alternate mic. I actually took it upon myself to drive to our drummer's house and grab a mic from our practice space to use at the show so that Floorpunch could finish their set. Miraculously after Floorpunch's set, the promoter showed up.

One Floorpunch show in particular that I remember well was in 1996 at the church in Chatham, NJ. I don't remember everyone that played other than Earth Crisis and I think Ten Yard Fight, but the place was packed. By this time Mouthpiece was done and I was freshly into starting up Hands Tied and I remember trying to find a way for us to play a few songs at this show, but the scheduling was too tight and we couldn't make it happen. Either way, I was pumped up to see Floorpunch at a big venue like this, with a big stage and a wall to wall packed crowd. Kids from all up and down the east coast were there as well as what seemed like every hardcore kid from New Jersey. I remember this intense feeling of being extremely psyched on what had become of the New Jersey scene. New Jersey bands were getting well recognized, kids were flocking here to see shows, we were all good friends that hung out regularly, it was just a really good time.

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Bill and Porter with FP at The Wetlands, NYC, Photo: Traci McMahon

When Floorpunch went on, a giant wave of kids packed the front of the stage and from the first note of the intro, dancing and diving became a constant. I remember standing on the stage, soaking it all in and looking into the crowd and thinking to myself that this was what hardcore was all about. Friends and I were diving like crazy and never hitting the floor. The crowd was packed so thick that you could dive, roll around, climb back to the stage and dive back in again. At one point I remember coming down from a dive and making my way into the crowd and right up front of the stage. It was at this point that thought to myself, "Nothing Can Compare." This whole scenario was the making of a perfect hardcore show and it inspired me so much that I ended up writing a Hands Tied song called "Nothing Can Compare" which was basically about the feeling I had during that particular Floorpunch set. Thinking back even now, so many years later, that is still one of my favorite hardcore show memories.

I could honestly go on forever, but I'd have to turn this into a multiple entry piece and I'm not so sure that's necessary. What I will say is that Floorpunch came together at a perfect time and there really seemed to be a changing of the guard that was well needed. They played a full on no bullshit style of straight edge hardcore and they played it well. Aside from the music and aside form the shows, I have so many memories of hanging out and just having a good time with those guys. For a couple summers there it seemed like 30 of us were meeting up at the Point Pleasant boardwalk and hanging out deep into the night every weekend. Basketball games, lots of food consuming, sneaker talk (with Porter at least), arguments about who was better between Chain Of Strength and Breakdown (I always did and always will say Chain) and laughs, lots and lots of laughs. Thanks FP. -Tim DCXX


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Porter, Zev and Zusi with FP at The Gate, Stroudsburg, PA, 8/24/1997, Photo: Traci McMahon

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

i hit Vintage on saturday. saw the FP 2xLP there but passed on it. got a first pressing of Merauder's 'Master Killer' LP instead :)

my favorite FP show was definitely the 'final mosh' at CB's. thinking about the intro with everyone diving and swinging from the pipes still gives me chills. despite all their re-unions, that was the last time i've seen them and i'll probably keep it that way.

-c

Greg said...

Awesome post. I think that's me on the cover of the 2xLP...never got the definitive word from Sausage though.

Great band. Glad I got to see them during the original 90's run, as well as a couple reunion shows.

farside said...

Ironically, I think I was at almost every show mentioned/photographed in this post except the Buffalo show. I have some great pictures of Ignite from that first NJ show. Zoli covered in blood. That was really inspiring.

My band played that first Floorpunch show. We had been trying to bring back a traditional HC sound for a few years already at that point, but Floorpunch just executed it in a way we never could have. I used to think people didn't like us because of the style we were playing; After that show I realized it was probably just because we weren't very good. haha.

Anonymous said...

love the 2xLP!! The layouts are sort of a bum out though. Hard to see the pictures and why put the same Brett write-up 2X ? More cool photos of them playing would have made this discog complete. FP were an awesome band, just wish they made a cool layout to look at for those of us that never saw them.

Anonymous said...

yo bro. nothing can compare in 2010!

N.C.S. said...

That Chips show was great.

Brett Hardware said...

That Chatham show was the only time they covered "Stabbed in the Back". More trivia.

Brett said...

Hornacker(sp?) sang it though right?

danscheme said...

Fun read! The line up at that last PAC show being a bit odd (I think alpino was bummed that he wasn't booking it as he had a cool line up in mind). For what it's worth though, if memory serves, the guy who was supposed to do the sound was killed in a motorcycle accident the day before, so the sound left a lot to be desired. While I hated a good portion of the bands that promoter guy liked (I think his name was Matt), he was a good enough dude and I doubt he'd have sabotaged the show; he likely took off cause he was tore up about the accident.

-cja said...

@danscheme
@Tim

yes, the kid who booked the PAC show was Matt and was a vegan hard-line kid. i think after that FP show in Princeton, he became some washed-up emo wuss (he would go on to book Split Lip/Chamberlain). i remember him being in tears at that FP show haha.

Dave Serge, is the dude you're thinking about Dan. he was killed in a motorcycle accident but i don't remember if it was around the time of that show.

i remember there being mic issues at that FP show. if it's the same show that F451 also played, then it was due to the PA amp getting fried. the PA amp belonged to my friend Matt (not the dude who booked the show) and he was none too pleased about it falling to shit.

@Brett... what YoT song did FP play that PAC show i put on with them? i know it was off of BDTW and i remember clocking some Philly kid (oops!) during the song.

Tom said...

I truly never understood the attraction to this band. To me, it was just over-recycled late-'80s NYHC. I hope the singer doesn't Duncan Barlow me now.

eric said...

Duncan Barlow had it coming

Anonymous said...

What a bunch really ugly dudes!

Brett Hardware said...

Chris, t'was "Thinking Straight".

Smitty said...

Never got to see 'em but had the first 7" and thought they were pretty right on in a lot of their views about hardcore and I'm not even straight edge. They also always seemed to have a sense of humor about themselves without being a joke band.

However, Breakdown is better Chain Of Strength. ;)

What was the story behind beating up that Louisville guy again? Was it because all his band's sucked? LOL.

Tom said...

According to the Punk Planet interview, it was because Floorpunch's singer was being a misogynistic, homophobic dick from the stage at some show and Barlow called him out on it, saying that By the Grace of God would never play on the same bill with them again. Barlow also likened them to Nazis, which was stupid on his part, but not enough to be sucker punched, in my opinion.

I have no dog in this fight as I was not not there nor was/am I a fan of either band, but I tend to side with Barlow on this old-ass issue. I run against the aping of people at shows in attempt to validate your position/toughness anywhere in the scene. If you can't sit down and talk it out like a reasonable human being, maybe you need to take your ass back to the football locker room and prove your "mettle" against the other goons who all carry the same opinions and points of view. Yeah for homogeneity!

Anonymous said...

Tom,
So by your logic shouldn’t Duncan have "sat down" and discussed it with the jockish singer instead of running his mouth? I was also at the show and Duncan wasn’t sucker punched. Calling someone a Nazi is a hanging offense in my book, but what do I know……..

Anonymous said...

next poll on dxc:

will people still be talking about fp vs. barlow in 2020?

William Patrick Wend said...

FP also covered Stabbed In The Back w/ Pete on vocals at Fieldsboro.