Rick with Strife in front of a manic crowd at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Traci McMahon
I've known these guys for the better part of 18 years now, met them in late 1991, early 1992 while I was in Mouthpiece on our first California tour. I recall hearing about them before that though, Strife was coming up around the same time that Mouthpiece was and I remember feeling this instant connection with them before we even met. Us on the east coast, them on the west coast, both with the same hopes and goals, coming from similar backgrounds, similar ages, both putting records out on New Age, we definitely had a lot in common. Throughout the early 90's we played a lot of shows together, did a weekend with them on their first trip to the east coast, hung out dozens of times and for the most part, have kept in touch through it all.
Considering Strife just made their first trip back to the east coast in quite awhile, Gordo and I thought we'd catch up with Chad and Andrew and get some info on their past, present and future. Dig in, more to come. -Tim DCXX
How did Strife come together? Give us the complete back story to the early/beginning days of the band and share some of your favorite memories.
Chad: For the most part we all hung out in high school. You could find us skating in the parking lot of a grocery store by where we lived basically every day. We had a pretty good crew going back in those days. Sid and Andrew, out of all my friends, were the most involved in the punk and hardcore scenes coming up at the time and wanted to start a straight edge band and really grow that scene in our local area. They knew of a singer (Rick) from Moorpark who sang for a band called Monster Club. He was straight edge and they asked him if he’d be into joining the group. He was into it, and they were the first 3 members of the group XStand As OneX. They brought in this kid Scotty Colin on bass. He was a really cool straight edge kid also from Moorpark but he soon started doing drugs so that didn’t last very long. I think they played 1 show at Moorpark High School with Outspoken and that was it for him.
After that Sid had called me up and asked if I wanted to play bass. Not knowing a single thing about playing bass I of course agreed and borrowed a bass from our friend Mike. After a few practices of “your fingers go here and you do this with your hands” we played 1 show in our friend Jeff Moore’s garage and then another really (really) bad show in Santa Barbara. It was after the Santa Barbara show that we decided to change our name to Strife. It was that bad. Not the show, just how we played (although the show may have been too).
It’s hard to remember that far back. You have to keep in mind, I was about 15-16 when we started doing this thing. It was kind of awesome how everything came together. We would practice as much as we could at the Teen Center by our house and our friend Tony’s garage. Drive to shows in Riverside, San Diego, Long Beach every weekend. That was a pretty good ways away for us in those days. But they are some of the best memories I have. Experiencing something that positive, such a unified scene at such a young age…if you would have told me back then that we’d be doing this now, years later, recounting all of the shows and fun times we’ve had over the years, not only would I not have believed you, but I can easily say that this band and these friends have been the greatest and most consistent thing in my life.
Andrew: I started getting into punk and hardcore in 7th and 8th grade. The kids I grew up with and skated with were really into bands like The Descendents, The Freeze, C.O.C., D.R.I, Suicidal, 7 Seconds and other stuff. My next door neighbor was 10 or so years older than me and had an amazing record collection. I would borrow 5 to 10 records at a time and dub them to cassette so I could listen to them at home. He was into everything from Punk, Oi, Ska, Hardcore, etc. I was into a bunch of stuff too, but I was really into a lot of the heavier stuff like Agnostic Front, Negative Approach, Cro Mags, and bands like that.
I started High School and I was one of two kids that were into hardcore. We started mail ordering records and hitching rides down to Zed Records to buy stuff on the weekends. That’s when I really started getting into a lot of the NYHC bands like Sick Of It All, Judge, GB, Killing Time, etc. I met Sid, who had just move to Thousand Oaks from Riverside. He played in a punk band out there called S.D.I. and he was into punk and some hardcore stuff. I was friends with his next door neighbor, and we became friends pretty fast. We started going to shows together and that’s where we met Rick.
We couldn’t believe that there were other kids that were into hardcore that lived so close to us. Sid and Rick decided to put a band together with a few friends. The guitar player was pretty flakey, so I would jam on his equipment with Sid when he didn’t show up. I had played a few instruments growing up and I had a guitar. I pretty much taught myself how to play guitar when we started playing together. The first song we wrote was “Dedication” and then continued from there…
Our band was called Stand As One, and our first show was at Moorpark continuation with Outspoken, Downcast (who didn’t show up), and Monster Club (Rick’s former band which became Still Life). Our second show was another show that we set up, with Chain Of Strength, Outspoken, Drift Again, and Have No Part (who became Mean Season).
We played a few more shows as Stand As One, the last being at the Red Barn in San Diego with Struggle and End Of The Line.
We changed our name to Strife soon after…
Andrew dives into the Middlesex crowd, Middlesex County College, Edison NJ, 4/17/1993
If you had to pick one recording of yours that you feel best represents Strife, which would it be?
Chad: Favorite Strife recording…there are a lot of fun stories that surround every recording we’ve done but the most fun, and weird at the same time, was probably recording for the Mandell Can Suck It 7”. If you look at the back of the record you can see why. Sid’s playing guitar and there is a naked baby holding drum sticks. Need I say more? I think the album that best represents Strife would be In This Defiance. One Truth is a good record but we were really still developing our sound for the second record. We’d also been out touring a lot, we got better as players and as a result you have those songs.
I think each record, including Angermeans, just represents a different Strife. We’re the same guys but over the years and the more you do this your style develops. There are some bands that put out the same record over and over but I don’t think that could be said about us.
Andrew: I feel In This Defiance is by far our best record. I think that is where we really found ourselves as a band, and everything came together perfectly on that recording. I feel like those songs are the perfect blend of heavy hardcore with just a touch of metal, and that those songs still stand up after all these years.
Chad with Strife at Middlesex County College, Edison NJ, 4/17/1993
What’s the biggest motivation to keep doing Strife in 2010?
Chad: Well, it isn’t money. The truth is we just really love this shit. We love getting excited to get out and play a show, do a tour, whatever. After all this time and all of the past bullshit aside it’s still fun as hell and we love each other like brothers. We’re all at a point now where we are pretty well settled into our lives and have the ability to balance out home, work and the band. It’s not that hard for any of us to really take a little time off and go do a week, weekend, whatever here or there. I’m 35 and I still love hardcore. I work for a concert promoter. Our company does a number of different shows and concerts every year. I’m at about 200 of them. I’ve seen a band or two. Nothing really gets your blood going like hardcore. Most of the shows I see on a nightly basis I could bring a pillow to. I mean to each their own. I like other forms of music as well but the fact is that nothing compares to hardcore.
Andrew: Strife has been such a big part of my life that when I’m not on stage playing these songs I really miss it. I miss the energy and the rush as well as the friendship. People have changed over the years, but I feel like we still have a positive message to share, and hopefully that inspires some kids to pick up an instrument and start a band or to make a positive change in their life. Luckily our band is at a point where we can get together and play every now and then and the kids still want to come out and hear some of the songs that they grew up on. We are definitely thankful for that.
Rick and Chad with Strife at Middlesex County College, 4/17/1993
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 10:37 PM