A band that we have yet to talk about here on DCXX, but by no means not because of a lack of respect, Portland, Oregon's Poison Idea. Consistently delivering a furious blast of punk/hardcore and forever ticking like the Energizer bunny, these guys simply do nothing but destroy. My introduction came sometime in 1986 from the "Kings Of Punk" LP and I gotta say, at the time it was a brand of punk that up until then I knew very little about. The cover image alone of the Poison Idea carved in chest and razor in hand quickly told me that this was no easy on the ears, parent friendly Agent Orange type punk. Once I finally threw on the record, my initial thoughts were confirmed, these guys didn't fuck around. The next album of theirs that I got my hands on was 1987's "War All The Time", again another full scale onslaught trapped on vinyl. These guys took that early 80's southern California, Germs style and created something all their own and has really never been reproduced. If you've passed over Poison Idea, don't continue the disservice, track yourself down some of their material and do it asap. RIP Pig Champion... -Tim DCXX
Poison Idea at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
Jerry A of Poison Idea with some shenanigans at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
The guys over at TeeTillDeath.com asked if Gordo and I would be interested in writing a piece on what hardcore shirt stands the test of time to us, which of course we happily obliged. If you're interested in checking out what we had to say, follow the links below. Also, if you haven't been to TeeTillDeath.com, it's a great and useful site to any hardcore shirt enthusiast, so get on over there now. Thanks to the TeeTillDeath crew and expect more content from them here on DCXX. -Tim DCXX
Tim DCXX on teetilldeath.com
Gordo DCXX on teetilldeath.com
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Now I know you are all well aware of Tony Rettman's "Why Be Something That You're Not" book on the Detroit Hardcore scene of 1979-1985, but are you also aware of the blog he's got going? In the case that you missed it, do yourself a favor and get over there now. Tony's been featuring a ton of great tidbits that did not make the book and loads of heavy hitting mid west hardcore content in general. As a matter of fact, he just dropped a killer entry today on the short lived BURP! Fanzine that was done by Negative Approach frontman John Brannon and Necros drummer Todd Swalla between 1981 and 1982. So like I said, check it out and don't forget to pick up the a copy of "Why Be Something That You're Not", due out July 6th, 2010 from Revelation. Do it. -Tim DCXX
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I got a message from my cousin Bob today telling me about the new issue of So What, which is Metallica's fan club magazine. Bob told me that there was a piece in the mag with James Hetfield talking about his tattoos. What surprised the hell out of both of us was that James recently got himself a straight edge tattoo… yeah, you read the right, a straight edge tattoo. Here's a couple interesting excerpts from the interview. Thanks to Bob for scanning and sending this over to me. -Tim DCXX
SO WHAT: (Caught by a tattoo)… that's a new one, right? Sorry-
James: Straight edge? Yeah.
SO WHAT: You're not getting away with the last comment, incidentally. We'll have to go back to that. But anyways, the straight edge X.
James: Right. Well, straight edge, this was certainly a design of my own. You know, the old straight edge tattoo, it's just like a big X on your hand. No drinking, and I don't drink. It's like when you go into the clubs, they put and X on your hand…
SO WHAT: Right. It's because you haven't shown your ID.
James: And I don't need drink or drugs. That's straight edge life. Obviously I'm not straight edge - a true, hardcore straight edge has never had any of it in her or her whole life. But I'm a reborn straight edge.
SO WHAT: I always associated Minor Threat and Ian MacKaye and those guys with straight edge punk. That's what they were all about.
James: Absolutely. There's some hardcore people that are straight edge from birth. So this was my take on the straight edge X, you know? Straight razors. A straight edge, is what that was all about.
Monday, May 24, 2010
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
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Ken and Skip standing outside the Turning Point van, 1991, Photo courtesy of: TP
This was an interesting poll to me because the results were exactly in the order I voted. Let's break it down...
Turning Point won as I expected, but they really dominated more than I would have predicted. "Broken" is one hell of a song, not only for the fact that it's great, but for the fact that it was written by young suburban dudes who only a year and a half before were getting passed off as a goofy YOT clone, complete with hooded-sweatshirt-dude cartoons and generic mosh parts. Obviously I love all eras of TP and the demo is one of the best ever - so I'm not knocking it...but they had their critics and weren't initially heralded for originality...or at least weren't expected to go the route of writing songs with this much depth.
"Broken" is a perfect example of a band seriously progressing while still staying in the realm of hardcore. Things are kicked up a solid notch above what they did on the LP, there is a heavy DC meets Verbal Assault vibe, and some real super tight musicianship - each member just delivers in a way that makes the later era TP material stand out. I gave TP the vote here just because I think of them when I think of the Rebuilding comp. Their track just seems like the voice of the record and like it was specifically written for the comp and not just a throw away extra song.
The Burn track is a wall of power...raw, hard, ugly - and if you asked me tomorrow, I'd give this song my #1 slot. Obviously a pre-EP recording, there's a spontaneous and uncalculated nature to this recording that is totally absent on the EP, especially in Chaka's delivery. Drown is one of my favorite Burn tracks, and I think the EP version is just so flawless that it overshadows what appears on the Rebuilding comp. Fucking great track. "As a unit...what we could have been." You're moshing. Always dug Gavin's extra little note bender at the end of the melter on this recording...I think I'd pay a lot of money to just hear various takes of his raw guitar tracks from any Burn session.
GB crept into 3rd place ahead of No Escape. Biscuit Power is a great anthem, in fact, it's actually one of my more favorite GB songs as it's early, chaotic, goofy GB at their finest. Yet it never really fit in on this comp to me. I always imagine Chuck Miller somehow just snagged a recording of the tune and got it OK'd and thought "alright!" Thing is, I always viewed the Rebuilding comp as featuring 3 relatively new or brand new bands that were kinda the current newest crop of HC bands pushing things into unchartered territory. And then there's GB, who had already been around a few years, and the song of theirs here is a very early one. Just odd. Either way, I'd say Biscuit Power would beat a ton of other songs in head to head competition, but a monster Burn song and one of TP's best tunes provide too much competition. Again, you could ask me tomorrow and I may throw this in the front spot.
No Escape rounded things out, and while I've never disliked No Escape, they've never grown on me to the extent I thought they would have as I've grown up. On paper, No Escape has always sounded PERFECT: Editor of Boiling Point going bonkers with dudes playing heavy, brooding hardcore that has some thought behind it. But I don't know. Silenced is a solid track, probably better than 75% of all comp tracks that would come out anything in the next ten years...but it grabbed last place for me and also took the final spot in the voting.
Definitely a solid comp that marks a period in (east coast) HC pretty well.
Thanks for voting and feel free to comment with your feedback! -Gordo DCXX
Skip with Turning Point at the BBQ Iguana, DC, Photo: Dave Brown
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Harley Flanagan drops the dual fingered salute
We welcome NYHC legend Harley Flanagan to DCXX with what we hope will become an ongoing weekly installment where we pick his brain with random questions and he fires off in a way only he can. Maximum respect. -Gordo DCXX
What is your all time favorite Cro-Mags song, and why?
Well let me just say I don't think the records ever really did us justice ,I think the old demos and "Revenge" came the closest, but we were a live band, as anyone who ever saw us back in the day would tell you. Age Of Quarrel didn't come out nearly as good as we were live, none of it really did. But all time favorite, and why? I'm not sure, because they all mean something to me.
Some of my favorite ones never got recorded and or haven't been recorded yet just due to circumstances and the band falling apart, etc. Parris and I did write a few cool ones back in the old days even before Age Of Quarrel when Eric was still with us that never got recorded - they had great riffs and great lyrics, its too bad they never made it into the studio. Really great stuff.
But I feel like I still have my best songs in me - whether they ever got recorded or not we will see. But overall I can't be sure which one is my favorite. Whether it's a lyric or a riff or memory that goes along with it, they all mean something to me.
For example, Eric and me wrote the words to Life Of My Own and World Peace and those were some of the first sets of lyrics I wrote. The lyrics to Life Of My Own are still really meaningful to me, and we were just kids when we wrote that shit - like 14 or 15 years old. I mean the song is only one riff really but for whatever reason it works. Me and Parris writing the riffs to those songs...we took that shit real serious for two fuckin' kids barely into our teens.
I still enjoy playing all of them - Malfunction is real fun to play, even some of the stuff on Best Wishes like Death Camps or the song Age Of Quarrel...those are some heavy riffs. And I really liked some of the stuff on Revenge like Premeditated or Can You Feel - that one has a lot of the best elements of different styles of Cro-Mags songs in it. In a lot of ways I thought musically and performance-wise that was some of our best stuff.
Regardless of whether we get along or not now, I gotta tell you that Parris is one nasty motherfucking guitarist. I still haven't seen ANYONE on the NYHC scene that can fuck with him at all. His rhythm playing is as nasty as James Hetfield or Scott Ian, if not better. There's a few guys out there on the HC scene that are decent, and I've played with some great guys: Doug Holland who I gotta say was one of if not the best lead guitarist to come out of NY during the 80's, Gabby Abularach, Joe Affe, Sean Kilkenny, Will Dahl, Jay Vento, even AJ...and so on. But Parris, I gotta say, he is really nasty and probably the best to come out of the NY scene.
And no matter what people say or think of me, you still can't fuck with me, my shit, or the riffs I wrote. I mean some guys can fake it and play the right notes and shit Craig and that Chinese kid or whoever else he gets. And that's not to say they are not OK bass players and I'm not trying to dog them as people, they're nice guys and everything. But let's get real...they ain't really doing it right, they ain't got my right hand or my rhythm chops or skills and they don't bend the strings the way I do or have the grip I do. And I'm not bragging or talking shit.
Harley with the Cro-Mags at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
I mean it's kind of like trying to replace Darryl in the Bad Brains or something, or Geezer with Sabbath. I mean even if they are playing the same notes it ain't gonna have the same feel, period. I know Tony had other guys but it just ain't the same...no one ever does it like the original.
I mean cats like AJ or whoever, even though he's pretty good, they can't fuck with Parris or Doug, he's not half the guitarist they were, never mind Rocky George or Gabby.
And I developed my style from years of being a drummer, and that strength comes from playing the ride cymbal and the high hats doing 16th notes and shit for years and years and watching the masters like Darryl and Lemmy for all those years back in the day. Once I learned all those songs and got down with Geezer and shit, then I started checking into guys like Stanley Clark and Jaco and crazy shit like that, and I took what I could and made it my own and that's why my playing is the way it is. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I try to incorporate it into my style. Plus, I've been playing for nearly 30 years.
I mean these hardcore kids can fake it jump around a lot and look tough or whatever, but there's only a couple guys that are really musical you know? As far as cats that I give props to, Robert who played with Suicidal and Ozzy and all that, yeah...he'll smoke me, but I will say that we have two different styles. I love his playing, he's also a great guy. Darryl, he'll smoke me, but I learned almost everything I know from him. Rainy from Discharge - he's fucking off the chain, you can't even fuck with that shit.
Brian Baker was really good back in the day when he was playing bass with Minor Threat. I mean there was some good guys here and there, and there was some really cool bass lines from back in the day like the song Problem Child from LA's Wasted Youth. There was a lot of great stuff, like Randy Rampage from D.O.A. Also Chuck Dukowski - I don't think people realize how good he was 'cause they were so crazy and sloppy live but that dude could really play. I used to sit and watch him warm up and practice back stage and he's fucking nuts. There was a few guys who were good, I can't think of 'em all right now - I mean Flea was sick, he used to be with FEAR before the Chili Peppers. But with most hardcore bands for the most part it's more about the look - they got the right tattoos, the right look and the moves...they can jump real high or whatever or they've got the tough guy look, that's enough for them. But can they actually play the shit? Like really?
For instance I mean John can get whatever Cro-Mag fan he wants on bass but it ain't gonna sound like me. It might sound sorta like the song, they may fake the left hand but they can't fake the right, and besides that he doesn't have anybody with him that wrote any of the songs. It's all kind of pitiful to me, it's real fake. I mean I'm not trying to take away who he is or what they are, but still, what they are doing is fake. And, Eric Casanova wrote most of the words to AOQ with me, and he never gets any credit.
I mean, Craig from SOIA knows it is not the real shit, whenever he runs into Sean Killkenny or other mutual friends of ours he never says yeah I'm playing with the 'Cro-Mags' or I'm filling in with the 'Cro-Mags' or jamming with the 'Cro-Mags' or anything like that, he always says yeah I'm filling in with 'John's thing,' they all know it ain't the "real' thing," and anybody who ever saw it when it was real knows it too. What can I tell you.
Harley front and center with the New York Crew, 1983, Photo: Ran D.
You've played with some great drummers over the years. Who do you say is the best, and who have you clicked with most?
Well I clicked with all of them, each one differently for different reasons, obviously Mackie set the bar high back in the day. Dave Dicenso was one of the most technically skilled drummers I've ever played with and he's a great guy. Ryan Krieger is sick. Gary G-Man Sullivan is off the fucking hook, I mean crazy! That motherfucker's nasty, I dont know too many humans who do anything with the power or intensity that that mofo drums with. I love playing with him and he's a great guy as well. Eric Arce is another one, Walter Ryan too.
I've been really lucky, but I'm a drummer so I don't settle for anything but top dog motherfuckers. Plus like I said we had Mackie and that set the bar kinda high, he's a nasty motherfucker so everyone that followed had to at least be able to pull that shit off which made them a great drummer automatically just to be able to do all that shit. Of course I mean I can't forget Pete Hines, he was another one who was one of the best drummers on the scene back then.
But man, any of those guys, I'd play with any of them gladly, purely on a musical level for that alone.
Harley with Andy Warhol and Joe Strummer, Phone courtesy of: Harley Flanagan
What has been your favorite place outside of the U.S. to play, and why?
Well I have so many great memories of different countries so it's hard to say.I love traveling and meeting people, trying new foods and all of that so touring outside of the states is always fun. I have been digging Japan a lot as it's just such a different culture, the people are so nice. They are almost too polite. The less drama the better, that's why I like it there. To get to travel by playing music just makes it all even better. If you would have told me when I was 14 years old living in a squat that I would travel the world so many times by playing music, I would have laughed at you. These days I don't do it as much as I used to, as I have a family now, and with that in the picture, it really has to be worth it to leave them.
I always have fun when I'm out with Harley's War, the guys are all so cool it's fun and it's all a good time. It ain't really like being in a band at all because there is no schism and no drama, and in truth, with all of the Cro-Mags bullshit over the past few years, it has kinda made it a drag for me. A lot of the people I used to deal with I just don't even feel like dealing with anymore. I mean I used to have really good memories of the shit, but people are so fake now. I don't know, maybe they always were, but everyone's always involving themselves with all of this bullshit that ain't really even their business except for the few people that were involved, so fuck 'em.
That said, it's all for money anyways with all these promoters and shit selling a fake band. They can claim whatever they want, it ain't really the band, it's some really fake shit, and all the new kids, well, they dont know any better so I guess they'll take what they can get. I mean I understand, they're fans of the music, so, it's like going to see Ozzy instead of Sabbath or going to see Sabbath without Ozzy - but on a much much much smaller level. Believe me I'm not trying to compare us to Sabbath, trust me - you take what you can get. They just want to hear the songs and have a good time - they didn't see it back in the day so they take what they can get. They dont know what they're missing, they didn't see it back in the day and they never saw the real shit. So they're happy to see whatever they can and I understand.
I wish the band could have put all the bullshit and egos in the past a while ago and given the fans what they wanted. But I guess John would rather sell some fake shit, that way he can be in control of it all instead of having to be a part of something where everyone is in control and has a say. That's why he's been talking all this shit for all these years, so people will support it. He's even been writing books to try and put this weird twist on everything, to make us look bad and make him look good or whatever. I tell people all the time, don't believe everything you hear or read. He's an entertainer and he does what he has to do to sell what he's doing. And Parris, well I don't even know what to tell you, it's just too bad and kind of pitiful. I never thought grown ass men could be this way.
But hey, none of us are innocent, and it don't help with all these fake motherfuckers adding fuel to the fire.
But fuck it, and fuck 'em all anyway. I'm so busy with my family, my kids and Jiu-jitsu. My kids train now, between me and them we are at the academy 5 to 6 days a week. It's a full time family affair now, I'm having a good time and life is good. I'm having fun with them, just living life. I am in the studio at the moment and I do have some stuff coming out soon, but I'm in no rush, I'm chilling. I'm supposed to be going to Japan again this summer. But that's about it, I'm training and chilling...
Harley and his boys hanging with Renzo Gracie, 2010, Photo courtesy of: Harley
Monday, May 17, 2010
John Joseph with the Cro-Mags at Webster Hall, NYC, 5/15/2010, Photo: FutureBreed
I had a handful of friends hit me up for a recap on Saturday night's Black N Blue Bowl, so I figured I'd just as well make a little DCXX entry out of it. Out of all fairness I can't accurately go into details about each and every band because I didn't actually see all of them, but I will try and break down exactly what I did see.
I headed into the city with my wife Traci, my friend Karl and Karl's cousin Matt. The show started at 2:00, but we didn't even get on the road from Jersey until close to 4:00. Out of all honesty I'm not sure if I'd ever been to a show at the Ritz before, but knowing that Webster Hall was indeed the Ritz at one point, I was looking forward to finding myself on the set of the "We Gotta Know" video.
By the time we got into the city, parked, met up with Zusi and got into the show, Trapped Under Ice were on stage. I'd heard these guys before and have their "Stay Cold" 7", but not so sure I'd seen them before. Pretty heavy stuff, lots of mosh, good stage energy, kids were generally losing their minds and flying all over the place.
I ran into both Andy Guida and Mark Ryan (at separate times) from Supertouch and both were excited to be going on next. Mark's always had a super laid back, relaxed, calm demeanor, but when I asked him if he was psyched, his eyes lit up, he gave me a smile and said something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, definitely!"
As Trapped Under Ice finished their set, I made my way up to the front of the stage to grab a perfect spot and line myself up front and center for Supertouch. I ran into a few old friends up there, which made it kind of cool and helped me settle into a comfortable little space.
A balcony shot of Supertouch at Webster Hall, NYC, 5/15/2010, Photo: Iris Abada
Supertouch took the stage and wasted zero time, they tore right into "Searchin' For The Light" and whoever was there and up front for this spectacle surely got slammed with a classic. Mark controlled the mic spending most of the time selfishly spitting all the words into it himself, but occasionally tossing it into the crowd giving us moments to shout along. Following "Searchin'" was another crowd favorite, "Climbin' Aboard". At this point I'm picturing a collage of memories from Supertouch sets of old and how the crowd would unravel for this song, so I got a little extra fire in my stomach hearing this one..."Fight to be accepted, fight not to be X'ed!"...so good.
I was in my own world and really had no concept of what was happening around me or in back of me. There could have been 3 people behind me or there could have been 300 and I wouldn't have known the difference. It was simply all about Supertouch at that moment. Other songs played were "What If", "Better" and "Shame", all of which were equally awesome. At the end of "Shame", Mark threw the mic 50 feet up into the air, walked off stage and let the mic slam to the ground. Biv came up, grabbed the mic and used it to generate some added guitar noise and feedback, more awesomeness.
Mark Ryan with Supertouch at Webster Hall, NYC, 5/15/2010, Photo: Jordan Pontell
My only complaint is that after 5 songs it was over and I was left wanting more. In a way I guess wanting more is not a bad thing. Rumors were floating around that we can expect another chance to Get Down in September.
Following Supertouch, everyone I rolled up to the show with and I decided to head upstairs and check out the merch room. There were whispers about Supertouch shirts, so we thought we'd get a first hand look at what was available. Moving around this place was tough because every staircase, path, and room was packed with wall to wall people. Once we finally got up there though, Supertouch merch was nowhere to be found.
Andy Guida with Supertouch at Webster, NYC, 5/15/2010, Photo: Jordan Pontell
What we did see was a wall of Cro-Mags merch and John Joseph's newly released book, "Meat Is For Pussies". My wife bought the book, I looked over the shirts, then we ran into more old friends. Pete Tabbot from Vision was hanging out and we all ended up rapping with him for awhile. Toby Morse from H20 walked in and popped right into our conversation. Before we knew it we were hearing about Toby going on the road with Insted and Vison in '88 as well as stories of his recent trips to high schools, teaching kids about straight edge and staying off drugs…pretty cool stuff. While this was all going down, Skarhead and Yuppicide sets took place and I failed to catch a minute of either. By the time Toby left the room, H20 was about to play and they would end up being the next band I'd catch since Supertouch.
H20 are one of those bands that have been around for a long, long time and in my opinion, have gotten better and better over the years and have definitely grown on me. Toby is just one of those ultra charismatic front men that the crowd eats up. He's an upbeat, positive, well spoken guy with good things to say and I can do nothing but respect that. Like usual, the crowd packed it up and the energy level rose to an all new height for the night. I watched this set go down from the safety of balcony.
Madball were up next and in the aftermath of our interview with Matt Henderson, I've taken a bit of a new interest in them. We all made our way back downstairs to the dance floor area, partly in preparation for the Cro-Mags set to come and partly to soak in more of the Madball set. When the lights came on and the giant Madball logo popped up behind the drum stand, the crowd erupted into pure madness. Freddy and the rest of the band took the stage and all you saw were fists in the air, kids bouncing off the walls and a dance floor that turned into a warzone. Madball blasted through a set of classics as well as some of their newer jams and the intensity level stayed high through out. I've always been a huge fan of their first EP, "Ball Of Destruction", but I think I've finally started digging on some their other material as well. All in all an impressive set and I'll be keeping an eye out for their new album due out later this year.
Freddy Madball, Photo: Ronan Thenadey
Finally it was Cro-Magnum time. As I made my way up to the stage front, I ran into DCXX contributor, Winnpeg, Canada's, Agent A. Agent A and I teamed up and took our place up front and you could just feel the electricity flowing throughout the crowd that was anticipating the return of the Cro-Mags to the very same stage that they had filmed the "We Gotta Know" video on 24 years earlier. It had been about a year or more since I had seen this latest JJ fronted incarnation of the Mags and I had been kicking myself for missing them the last 3 chances that I had, so I had been looking forward to this set for awhile now.
As usual they took the stage and instantly started shredding through their set, classic "Age Of Quarrel" tracks one after another. The one song I had been looking forward to and heard had been added to the current set list, "Crush The Demoniac" was a definite stand out for me. Such a killer song, could listen to it on repeat for days. Crowd wise, as many people as were there, it still looked pretty damn dangerous to try diving. That stage is chest high and one wrong move or person dashing out of the way could easily leave you with a broken back. I remember hearing rumors about some one dying or becoming paralyzed at one of those old Ritz Cro-Mags shows, so that thought stuck in my mind and held me back from giving it a go.
Either way, I enjoyed the hell out of the set, the Mags sounded great, the band had energy and the crowd fed off of it all. At the end of the set, the band stepped off the stage, but quickly reappeared for one last encore, "Don't Tread On Me" being that designated jam. The crowd went nuts one last time and I saw nothing but a sea of arms in the air connected to bodies that seemed to shout every word. We had all been Cro-Magnatized.
JJ with the Cro-Mags at Webster Hall, NYC, 5/15/2010, Photo: Jesse Jones
After the show a few of us hit up the vegetarian pizza shop Viva Pizza and that place was mobbed with hardcore kids. JJ and Craig Ahead stopped in for some late night eats as well. I saw a few copies of "Meat Is For Pussies" getting passed around and signed by JJ as well as a few photos being snapped off.
All in all a great finish to a fun night of New York Hardcore. -Tim DCXX
The Webster Hall marquee, 5/15/2010, Photo: Jordan Pontell
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Sergio with Amenity, Photo courtesy of: Amenity
Sergio Hernandez - Amenity
Crucifix - Dehumanization - straight from the start, Sothira's powerful & poetic intro leading into the classic guitar riff for the main album track blew my mind away as a 14 year old! Not to mention the fold out poster record cover, true DIY punk style. It's your choice! Peace! Or annilhilation!
Andy Guida - Altercation / Supertouch / Running Like Thieves
I was just thinking about what record it would be for me, I was thinking that I would choose Offenders, We Must Rebel. Strange. A lot of my friends missed that record. We Must Rebel has great playing and singing on it. Those guys could play. That record hit me hard. It still does. Good alienated, pissed off lyrics, catchy songs and they were fast and tight. I used to practice drums to that record. Fun. Although I think I had The Butthole Surfers, Psychic Powerless Another Man's Sack on the other side of that cassette. I listen to that record more consistently over the years. Are the Buttholes allowed to be on the list? Does the rule book allow for that?
Lew's guitar, Photo courtesy of: Lewis Dimmick
Lewis Dimmick - Our Gang
I could easily go with the Minor Threat LP (two 7"s) or Bad Brains ROIR Cassette, but I've decided to go with a NY record: Agnostic Front's Victim In Pain.
This record, following its release, set the template for just about all the hardcore in and out of NY in the '80s, both musically (fast part / mosh, fast part / mosh) and lyrically (unity among members of the scene, who were outcasts from society).
It was a worthy template to follow, until the late '80s when the template shifted, from fast hardcore to heavy moshcore with lyrics about busting heads, and all the energy of hardcore became horribly misplaced.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
If you haven't already heard, Supertouch has been added to this years Black N Blue Bowl (aka The Superbowl of Hardcore) and it's being held at Webster Hall (aka formally The Ritz) this Saturday, May 15th. I don't know about you, but the idea of seeing the Cro-Mags and Supertouch, as well as all the other bands at The Ritz in 2010 sounds kinda cool to me. See ya there and see ya back here on DCXX Sunday when we get back on track. -Tim DCXX
Monday, May 10, 2010
With the release of their 12", "Uprising", due out any day now on Jack Roy Records, I had been talking to Lew from Our Gang to get them on board for some content on DCXX. We decided to do an interview, I sent them some questions and within a couple of hours I had gotten a message back from Lew saying that they had just done an interview that was posted on their own website and it had already answered a lot of the same questions we had asked. Lew asked if we'd be cool with re-posting the same interview that appears on their site and we agreed. So here it is, part one of an interview with Lew and Hobi of Our Gang. -Tim DCXX
How did Our Gang Originally form? Were you guys friends from high school? Meet one another at HC shows? How did it happen? What year was this?
Lew: Hobi and I formed the band together. We had been friends since junior high school and grew up listening to punk and metal together. Our first band was called Blood Sausage, a mock metal band. This was before we actually knew how to tune our guitars. We probably started writing the songs that we would later use in Our Gang in 1986 or so.
How old were you guys when you formed?
Lew: 15 or 16.
Bryant skanking across the CB's stage with Our Gang, 1989, Photo: Tracy S. Sham
What was your goal as a band when you first got together?
Lew: To be in tune, put out a demo we could sell at Some Records. Play CBGB's. Become part of the NYHC scene.
Who was in the band and what did they play? Were there many line up changes?
Lew: We recorded 4 demos at Don Fury’s. Nothing from the first demo (late '87) appears on the record, as that demo was mostly out of tune. Hobi and I switched back and forth between bass and guitar on that recording. Bryant sang and Pat played drums.
Our second tape (June '88) was the re-recorded “Uprising” demo. Javier joined on bass for that demo so that both Hobi and I could play guitar.
We went to Don Fury’s a third time (October '88) to record a new song, “No Motive.” That song and “Penguin Romp,” a NYC Mayhem cover, appear on the LP from that tape.
Hobi: It should be noted that we went to Don's that time solely to record for Freddy's New Breed Comp. Oddly, we chose not to submit it cause we thought it wasn't good enough. In retrospect it's one of the best things we ever did.
Lew: The last 3 songs on the record, our more melodic songs, are from the fourth Don Fury tape. I took over on bass for this tape, as it was not really Javier’s style. We ended as a four piece band.
Hobi: That session at Don's was intended to be a demo for us to scrutinize before recording our record. We had gotten much more serious as a band - diligently rehearsing and thinking about the songs. It was really exciting to see what Bryant was doing lyrically and vocally while we were growing simultaneously as songwriters.
Lew with Our Gang at CBGB, NYC, 1989, Photo: Tracy S. Sham
I always loved the name Our Gang...because of growing up on the Rascals, and because it just sounded kinda mean & tough. Who came up with the name, and what did it mean to you guys?
Lew: Hobi came up with the name. That guy is a genius at names. He can say more about the name, but to me it represents our earliest days hanging out in the scene. It was just about our group of friends hanging out together and having fun. That’s what hardcore was for us, great music and great friends. The name was not meant to suggest violence in any way. The hardcore scene had not yet been corrupted by violence.
Hobi: I loved the Rascals as well and that of course was the inspiration. I loved it as a hardcore band name however because it did suggest that this scene was our exclusive club. Anyone can join but ya better not bring all that bullshit in with you. Back then Hardcore music was pure noise to normal people and people still thought we were weirdos and I LOVED that.
What were your main musical influences back then?
Lew: Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Underdog, Token Entry, Warzone, NYC Mayhem, Straight Ahead. There’s a lot more obviously.
Hobi: Cro-Mags, YOT, Ramones, Sabbath and Metallica deserve honorable mention.
Our Gang at The Anthrax, Photo: Joe Snow
What do you think it was that drew you into punk/hardcore back in the 80's?
Lew: In the early 80's Hobi and I discovered a lot of different records in his apartment. His father was a record collector. And a hardcore one! Not meaning that he collected hardcore music, but he just collected records, specifically colored vinyl and picture discs. We found tons of interesting things to listen to on what sounded to me like the best sound system in the world. We discovered the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Crucifix. The RAT MUSIC FOR RAT PEOPLE comp was big.
In 1985 I ordered the NYC Mayhem demo from Mutilator fanzine, done by Tom Capone. We lived on that tape. When we met Duane we traded it to him, along with a copy of the interview from Mutilator, for the Straight Ahead demo and a soundboard of SA’s first CB's show. We started going to CBs early in 1986. Straight Ahead’s first show was our first show. Hobi went to an art high school in the city, and lots of people that went to that school became our hardcore gang. Some of those guys discovered Some Records and that is how we discovered Underdog, Token Entry, Youth Of Today, Crippled Youth. Coming across all those EPs for the first time was pretty mindblowing.
Hardcore was a perfect fit for us. We were never normal kids who wanted normal things, like going to keggers on the weekend. We had an attitude and viewpoint toward life that was similar to the attitude we found in hardcore music. We were attracted to the idea of people doing their own thing, away from the mainstream. We also loved really fast music, with distorted guitars. Hobi and I were pretty strict when we were young. If you weren’t playing fast, you weren’t hardcore.
Hobi: I'd like to talk about the HS of Art and Design for a second. Both Pat (drums) and Bryant (vox) went there with me. Bryant practically introduced me to my wife Caroll there whose sister had once dated Stigma for chrissake! Chuck True Colors, the spiritual leader of Our Gang and greatest hype man in HC went there as well as my great friend Rich All For One. It was such a unique experience going to school in Manhattan everyday back then. It really defined my hardcore experience.
Hobi takes flight with the Flying V at CBGB, NYC, 1989, Photo: Tracy S. Sham
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I guess everyone has that one thing that they are into a little more than anything else, and for me it is Wishingwell merch. At this point I have over 50 different items with no duplicates. I think part of the attraction to Wishingwell is the staggering number of designs that were produced. The Dubars were not afraid to mix things up, that's for sure.
We are going to be starting a running feature on TeeTillDeath.com called "What Hardcore shirt has stood the test of time for you?". This feature was completely inspired by the similar ongoing one here at Double Cross (What HC/Punk album has stood the test of time for you?). Tim asked me to share with you my top 5 Wishingwell Records shirts in order to kick things off right. - Chris Casali (TeeTillDeath.com)
#1 - Wishingwell Records Test Print shirt
I first heard about this shirt from my friend Ritter (LOJ, Trash King Records) who had seen John Coyle, the singer of Outspoken wearing it during their reunion set in 2003. When pictures finally emerged from that show, I knew that I had to track it down. All my favorite Wishingwell prints on one shirt? Yes please! After several emails with John from Outspoken, it was clear that my search was going to be more difficult than originally thought. It seems that a European Outspoken mega-fan had flown in to see them play at this reunion show. After the set he was talking to John and had commented on how much he liked the shirt. Apparently John took it off his back and gave it to the dude as an appreciation for coming all the way out to see them. Great.
That turned into a hunt for a mysterious European dude with no name or country. I was finally able to track down this guy after a few months, and after several YEARS of emails, we were able to work out a ridiculous trade for it. Let's just say that I traded many amazing records to bring this baby home. I am not sure if I am recalling this story correctly as the email has long since been deleted, but I recall Jae telling me a little story about this shirt. Apparently he had gotten this shirt from Pat Dubar and had cherished it for many years. One time he wore it to a show, and Courtney Dubar got in his face and demanded to know where he got the shirt as he figured he must have stolen it. Apparently they only made a couple for friends. Pat Dubar swooped in to set the story straight before the discussion went any further. This is the cornerstone of my collection, and is the same shirt featured in the Radio Silence book.
#2 - black BL'AST! Wishingwell 4 sided
OK so I'm sure many of you out there would like a Bl'ast! shirt (or tattoo, what up Dan Cav!). I have a few variations of the red 4 sided shirts, including one that belonged to Matt Bold, and one that belonged to Kev INSTED. As if my sickness wasn't bad enough, someone had told me long ago that they had seen a black 4 sided Bl'ast! shirt. Never having seen one in person myself, I added it to my want list where it sat lonely for many years. As with most things people collect, if you wait around long enough you will find what you are looking for. I was doing my usual cruise through Ebay land and BOOM this shirt was listed. Sure it is beat up, cut up and faded gray, but there in front of my eyes was a real black Bl'ast! 4 sided. I'm sure it's because of the condition, but I was able to grab this for pretty cheap money. If anyone reading this has one of these, or any other variation of a Bl'ast! Wishingwell shirt, you know where to find me.
#3 - Insted Bonds Of Friendship 3 sided longsleeve
This Insted shirt popped up out of nowhere on ebay as well many years ago. I had never seen one of these before, and I knew I needed to add this to my collection. The seller was based out of NYC, and he told me he picked this up when he saw them on tour in 1988. As with most old shirts, the original owners have amazing memories associated with them, and it often takes years to part with that. This seller had kept this shirt even after selling off all his other shirts and records. I was able to work out a deal with him, and proudly added this to my collection. I traded this away a few years later, only to have it again in my possession. I have not seen another one of these pop up for sale yet.
#4 - Wishingwell Records 4 sided shirt
Sometimes people list things on Ebay without properly checking the spelling of the items listed. This particular shirt was listed as a "Wishignwell" shirt. I watched and waited for 7 long days before I placed my bid at the last second to scoop this up. I was surprised that there was another bidder on this shirt, especially with the misspelling. Only after winning did I figure out that the other bidder was Brian Murphy who had just started Howsyouredge.com with Jim Connelly and me. He has never forgiven me for outbidding him on this, but many years later, we are still working together - even though I can't bring it up.
#5 - Uniform Choice 4 sided red and blue
I have a whole slew of Uniform Choice "straight and Alert" shirts, all with different colors and prints. This one stands out as one of my favorites because of the blue writing on the front. I feel like I need to strap on a pair of 3D glasses before I look at it. Sure this thing is beat to all hell, but it has found a home here with its brothers.