Monday, September 13, 2010

Double Negative

Kevin Collins with Double Negative, Photo courtesy of: DN

We've been meaning to catch up with the fellas from Double Negative for some time now. One of the best group of thrashers around today, this is a band worth checking out. Here's the first part of our interview with Scott, Brian, and Justin.

Double Negative is:
Kevin Collins: Vocals
, Scott Williams: Guitar, 
Justin Gray: Bass
, Brian Walsby: Drums

-Gordo DCXX

Tell me about each member of the band, previous histories, where you are from, etc...

Scott (Epic Warfare): I'm 46. Well, I'm from Gastonia, North Carolina. Fred Durst and I went to the same high school but not at the same time. I got into punk rock and new wave around 1978 mainly because I was totally into skateboarding and hated every fucking redneck in my town. I formed a band in high school with some friends, people like Benji Shelton and Mike Dean...who moved to Raleigh to form COC.

Around 1982 I formed a band with Jeff Clayton called Fight 4 Life, we played with local punk and hardcore bands, and out of towners like DOA and such. I graduated in '83 and moved to Raleigh to be a real punk. Jeff got mad at me and formed Anti-Seen because I moved to be in Raleigh. I had been coming up to Raleigh to see No Labels, COC and all of the early NOCORE bands. I also sung back ups with No Rock Stars on the NoCore tape. I started a HC band around late '84 with some friends called Second Coming...we played a lot of shows but never released or recorded anything...we kicked out the singer and stole KC away from Subculture and started Days Of... which actually was a reaction against the HC/punk thing that by 1985 had really started to sour with goons and violence at shows.

The local label Maboro released our LP posthumously in the mid '90s. We broke up after our last show in DC with Happy Go Licky and Slush Puppies, Mac from Merge Records' band. In the late eighties I started a band with KC and Kampf (Justin) called Dixie Automotive, this was the grunge era...we played with B'last! and Pussy, go figure...we broke up...then I started another band called Garbageman with Justin and some other friends as a reaction against the whole Merge thing that was happening at the time. We were kinda like Helmet, Void, Discharge and Unsane mixed together. We imploded after a year. There is a flyer for one of our shows in the Merge book, Our the time I was in a "scene war" with Mac from Merge...hahaha, no really...shit!

Scott Williams with Double Negative, Photo courtesy of: DN

Around '98, me and Walsby and Sean Livingston (who plays in NYC's POLLUTION) formed DADDY which was probably the most hateful, depressing and darkest thinging thing I'd ever played with in my life. It was vicious...we kept it to the 4 Vs: Voivod, Venom, Void and the Voidoids. We exploded and I played in a short lived anti-music band called Volcanos. And by this time around 2002 I fucking hated music.

Brian: My name is Brian Walsby. I am not originally from the south. As a matter of fact I grew up in Southern California and was raised there but then I moved out east around spring time of 1986. I have told the story of my origins so much and have talked about moving out here so much that I am going to try and tell you something different about it all. It is going to be tough, to be honest! Here it goes:

I met Scott and Kevin the first time I visited NC, which was the summer of 1985 after the Scared Straight/Ill Repute tour fell apart due to us having everything ripped off in Pittsburgh. Since I was on the east coast for the first time, I decided to quit more or less because I just wanted to stick around out here. Kind of extreme, but I just didn’t want to go home. Reed Mullin and the rest of COC came to my rescue and I spent the rest of the summer in Raleigh. That is when I met Scott and Kevin. Kevin was the singer of Subculture, and Scott was sort of one of the local bigwigs in town, who used to have out of town bands staying at his house and wrote scene reports that MRR printed. So that is...what...twenty five years almost? That is a long time ago.

All three of us met Justin a few years later, as he was a few years younger than us and used to live in North Raleigh, which is like a million miles away for back then. So I have known Justin for almost as long.

Over the years, we have been (usually!) friends and have played in bands with each other, sometimes have lived together and in general we have a huge history with each other, all sort of sprung from what COC were doing and the scene that they helped to create.

Justin: I am from Silver Spring, Maryland originally but have lived in Raleigh, NC for the last 30 years. Prior to playing in DN I played in various other unsuccessful bands & worked shitty jobs. The usual story.

Brian Walsby with Double Negative, Photo courtesy of: DN

How did you guys get together and what was the big idea?

Scott (Epic Warfare): I knew these kids were having some house shows and Justin had just moved back in town from self-exile and I got him to check it out with me and we were floored by the energy, the bands and the was what I'd been needing. So, I called Brian, who had moved to a city real close to Raleigh and was going through a divorce and told him to come to the next one...and I don't know why but I called KC and asked him to go, before that I hadn't spoken to him in like maybe a decade...I just had this feeling that it might be something that he would dig.

The early house shows provided something for us all that we needed. And after the night we decided to form a band...LOL. I already had the name Double Negative...and the symbol thought up.

Brian: It was sort of this friendship that we all shared that caused us to get together. I don’t think at the time any of us thought that we would be in a band again together, let alone a band that sounded like this one, but the truth is stranger than fiction. We were all at loose ends at the time. Or at least most of us, maybe not Kevin. We hadn’t really talked to him in years, he was busy being a Dad and raising three children, a full time job by anyone’s standard. I have stayed in touch with Scott throughout the years. Me and Justin had gone through some personal things at the time and then he moved back into town and we ended up living together for a bit, which was something that we had done when we were much younger.

Anyways, to make a short story long, we became aware of the latest wave of young kids playing punk rock music in people’s houses and were more or less inspired to start a band all in the purpose of playing at this house in town that had house parties.

That was four and a half years ago. The big idea is more or less to have a good time and try and play what we think is decent music. That is it.

Justin Gray with Double Negative, Photo courtesy of: DN

In an age where every band seems to have gotten back together, it's impossible to break even by doing music, and even the underground industry is in the shitter...what's the motivation to do a band and still make it happen?

Scott (Epic Warfare): My motivation for this band is purely for fun and mayhem with some of my oldest and dearest friends. I can assure you this is not some nostalgia trip at all, ask anyone that knows us...fuck the past. I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for real for me. 

Brian: We are creepy old weirdos. Obviously there must be some kind of weird quirk that the four of us must share to want to keep doing this. It is somewhat of a release for all of us and we all get something out of being in Double Negative for sure. For one thing, it gets us out of the house. Punk rock changed our lives when we were kids, for better or for worse. These days, I look back and laugh about how alienated I thought I felt when I was a kid. I mean, I was...but in a way nothing has changed. I still am. Except now we have the passage of time and mortality staring down at us. We all have houses, are married or have serious girlfriends, some of us have children. You know, real life adult stuff that demands a lot of attention and even though there is a lot of joy and happiness, there is also a lot of real tough stuff to deal with.

In some weird way, playing in Double Negative is way more of a release than anything I was doing when I was a kid. Punk Rock: made for kids, secretly designed for adults.

As far as “making it” or whatever, all of us have been in bands for years and I think that for all of us, we are years and years past being bitter about not “making it” or whatever you want to call it. We don’t try and do the band full time, which would be impossible and silly. We just do it when we can. Maybe for that reason alone, we are still around. It is funny to think that so late in the game, this band has seemed to get more attention than anything any of us have done before this. It took us three years to get our act together to release our second record. We rarely make any money and what little we do get goes back into other band related things. So I would say that our main motivation goes back to having fun, hanging out and trying to play good music in a very overpopulated universe.

Justin: I can only speak for myself, but for me, I derive a great deal of pleasure from playing shows, meeting cool people & writing songs with the other 3 guys in this band.


Scott Williams with Double Negative, Photo courtesy of: DN


ROA. said...

God YES!!!! A great band. This outfit is one of THEEE best ever! I dig them!

Mike said...

NCHC!! These guys rule, i get to see them all the time in Raleigh.

Pedro Carvalho said...

One of the best current hardcore bands of the last 10 years, without a doubt.
Also, judging by Scott's age, I still have 14 years to try and do something this good, which is a relief!

Ben Edge said...

"Punk Rock: made for kids, secretly designed for adults."

great quote.


Great band and we're psyched to have them on board here at DCXX. I agree with Pedro, one of the best HC bands over the past 10 years for sure. -Tim DCXX

Pedro Carvalho said...

They're both one of the best "current" ones and "of the last 10 years". Sorry for typing like a moron!