Scott Vogel with Terror, Photo courtesy of: Terror
Scott Vogel has been fronting bands for a long time, and unless you live under a rock, you have heard at least one of them. We caught up with him to get his backstory and find out what's going on with Terror as of late. Big thanks to Scott for hooking this up - here's part 1. -Gordo DCXX
Can you remember the first time you heard about hardcore? What's your story behind it?
When I was in 7th grade my mom decided to move to Houston with my two sisters. I stayed in Buffalo and moved in with my father, his new wife and my step brother Jay. I was into Motley Crue, Ratt, and shit like that. Also Run DMC and Whodini. My brother was into a lot of stuff like the Dead Kennedys, Exploited etc. The energy and vibe of that stuff was cool but I never really clicked with the whole anarchy punk thing. I was always drawn to Social Distortion. Mommy's Little Monster is still a great fucking record. When I saw Another State Of Mind and the part with Minor Threat came on things just clicked. Not in a straight edge type of way because I've never been SE, but to just see these guys that didn't need to show off how crazy they were by the way they dressed or looked. They were freaks but on the inside and didn't need to shove it in everyone's face. They were actually striving for something positive while going against the grain. Trying to make a better place is this crazy world - not just make an ugly refuge outside of it. That made sense to me.
So I went out and picked up the Minor Threat LP and started looking into that whole world. I had seen the Dead Milkmen, Butthole Surfers, DRI, and a lot of great shit but this was different. Soon after that I went to Home Of The Hits in Buffalo and in one day bought the Chain Of Strength, SOIA, NFAA, and Side By Side EPs. I looked at those layouts, learned the songs, cut my hair shorter and never looked back.
Up to that point I played sports all day everyday. That ended. All I did was order records and get to shows with my brother any way possible. And I never stopped for a minute. Many years later here I am pretty much the same person as then.
Scott delivers to the crowd, Photo: xjanx
Who were the bands that made a big impact on you when you were first getting into hardcore? How did they compare to non-hardcore bands you loved prior?
Let me first start with the Buffalo bands. Zero Tolerance was THE band in Buffalo. I looked up to them so much. Their live show was unreal. Typing that actually gave me some chills because thinking about their shows makes me feel alive. Before Snapcase those guys were in a band called Solid State. They played often and their frontman was this kid Chris Galas. He had crazy energy and ripped up stages. Watching him and them was when I first said to myself I wanna do this. I can do this. So I did.
Some other bands that come to mind that I loved back in the late 80s are Vision, Judge, War Zone, Verbal Assault, AF, Bold...so many bands. I loved almost everything back then. The Powerhouse seven inch on New Age was played daily. Turning Point was my favorite for a while. All I did was buy MRR and ordered anything that looked like dudes with short hair jumping on stage...ha ha ha...that sounds so retarded but it's true. And I'd check the mailbox everyday after school waiting for new stuff.
SOIA was the first band to destroy my dreams when Slugfest played with them and they weren't so nice to us. Ron Brotherhood came through with Orange 9mm so I gave him a Slugfest EP cause Overkill records was cool and he said "thanks, want to have a beer with me?" I was shocked. Ok I went off on a little tangent but i love HC. This shit was real. I was a part of it. The bands were right here, not on some crazy stage with a light show. The Motley Crue shit was lame to me at this point. Hip Hop was still saying stuff and striving for a better way so that has always stuck with me.
More Terror sing alongs, Photo: xjanx
Tell us about the Buffalo scene and where exactly you grew up.
I lived with my mom, dad and two sisters way outside of Buffalo in like the woods for the first few years of my life. My dad left us and my mom put herself through school and worked shitty jobs and raised us. I have a lot of respect for her and her strength but with this came moving a lot as she had to go where she could get work. We moved a few times around the outskirts of Buffalo and as a kid this sucked. Every time I had friends or felt like I was home it was time to move again. So when she met a man and said we were moving to Texas I said no way and moved in with my dad to Amherst NY, a nice suburb like 15 minutes from the city. This is when I got closer to my brother and the stuff I desribed earlier started happening.
Buffalo had an amazing scene when I got into it. So many bands would come through. There was one promoter that did everything right - well, from my stand point at least. I didn't know any of the real inside stuff at all. There was a great club called the River Rock Cafe that did all the shows. NYC was only like 7 hours away so all those bands would come through. I was just in the right place at the right time and got to see some fucking amazing shows and bands. I really miss just going to a show and knowing a few people. I didn't know the band members or any of the scene ins and outs. I'd go love the energy and music. No one knew me or cared about me. I'd go home and wait for the next show. Just a pure true love for HC.
Terror Team Stage Dive, Photo: Face The Show
Monday, August 30, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Chris Wrenn keeping his distance at the B9HQ, Photo: Future Breed
Bridge 9 Head Honcho Chris Wrenn delivers with part 2 of his interview. Throw on some BHC and enjoy! -Gordo DCXX
Since those first few Bridge 9 releases, how would you summarize the growth and changes for the label as well as you personally? At one point did you decide you had to go all in? What would you say is the overriding goal or idea with the label?
I started working for an up and coming record label in Boston in 2000 called Big Wheel Recreation. BWR's owner Rama hired me because he had seen the guerrilla marketing that I had done for my own label, and thought I might be a good person to help with marketing for his. I had no formal experience, I was an art major in college, but he gave me a shot, for which I am forever appreciative.
Working at BWR gave me the opportunity to learn a ton - Rama had far more experience than I at the time, and aside from learning some of the more formal steps to releasing a record, I was able to secure a distribution deal with Lumberjack, who was a big indie distro at the time. At the same time, I had been living with Tim and Wes as they formed American Nightmare for almost a year, and had been their roadie & merch guy, so they agreed to do their first EP on Bridge Nine (after being turned down by EVR initially). I went to their first 20 shows, and would copy their demo tapes one at a time at their merch table.
Over the next year I worked closely with Big Wheel, Doghouse & Hydra Head - and learned a lot. By summer of 2001, I had 8 releases lined up for B9 for the fall, and I couldn't handle my own release schedule while working full time. I stepped down from my position in the newly formed "Initech" office with those labels, and started renting a desk there so I could work on Bridge Nine full time. It was an exciting time because all of the people involved in that original office were extremely creative & motivated. It was easy to get excited and inspired about your own projects with people like that in the mix on a daily basis.
Over the years, I had been a fan of a few different labels, and I had been exposed to a lot of them. I started to model Bridge Nine in a way that took some of my favorite characteristics from the labels that I respected. I was a record collector, and Revelation was a big influence in that regard. I also loved their big 24"x36" posters from the late '80s, so I made sure to do that for some of my bands as well. I also appreciate the kind of music that was rooted in that early to mid '80s scene - so a lot of the bands that I've worked with over the years have shared those influences. If I was to sum up a "goal" for the label, it would be just to continue what those labels started before me, to put a spot light on the style and ethic that I had grown up with in the hardcore / punk scene, and continue to challenge myself and the label with each new band and release.
Bridge Nine has grown a lot in the past 15 years; we will have released over 150 recordings by the end of 2010. We've worked with a lot of different bands, and have gone through changes in personnel at the office, but over the entire time, we've still managed to maintain a strong connection to where we started.
Chris and his wife Elisabeth, Photo courtesy of: Chris Wrenn
Give us an idea of what your typical day is at work, and what types of things go on through the week? What are the biggest obstacles? What are the things you enjoy most?
Bridge Nine has a really talented group of people that work here now. Seth handles a ton of responsibilities that at one time were on my shoulders. Accounting, a lot of manufacturing, and coordinating wholesale orders amongst other things. Stephanie, our new label manager, helps handle a lot of domestic distribution issues, deals with a lot of the bands directly to assist them with their needs, works directly with studios when bands record, handles a lot of the press responsibilities with reviewing and interviews. Matt keeps our mail order running - he makes sure the orders go out quickly and keeps us from getting crushed every time we have a big pre-order. Matteo is our web guy - even though he's now based out of Ireland, he is our full time web guy and is responsible for continually developing our online presence and making it easy for us to get information out to kids.
With everyone's help covering those bases, I'm able to focus on a lot of creative stuff. Because of my art background, I'm the go to person for putting layouts together, designing ads, web graphics, t-shirts and other merch. I spend a lot of time looking into developing new stuff like our grommet-cornered banners, and making them a reality. Lately, I was the one to edit and design the discography companion book for Underdog, as well as deal with all of the manufacturing sides of it, all the way through to taking my van up to the printer and loading the pallet of them to bring back to the office.
Biggest obstacles? Every day is a financial grind. For the most part, Bridge Nine has continued to grow as a label every year - so we've always been playing catch up financially. I enjoy creating things - and seeing bands meet and exceed their potential. When that happens, when a local band is now touring all over the world and knowing that we were a part of making it happen, that's an incredible feeling.
Have Heart Crew, 10/17/2009, find the Wrenn, Photo courtesy of: Chris Wrenn
Obviously the music industry is all screwed up. Even on a HC level, how have things changed even over the last few years? What can you see becoming the biggest liability when doing a record label of any kind?
Labels - both major and indie - are in a difficult position these days. CD sales are declining, and digital and vinyl sales aren't picking up enough of the slack. We're caught in the middle trying to still make enough CDs to cover our distributors, but not too much that we're sitting on them, and not being fully sure of how many will come back from the stores when the dust settles. It's a delicate balance and we don't know the right formula for it yet. Vinyl sales have picked up a bit, but nothing crazy - and the margins on them are a lot smaller so it's difficult to make the money back. It's forcing us to be more creative about merchandise, which might be a good thing in the long run, but for now, it's a matter of trying to not tie up too much money in CDs or vinyl. I know how it is for us, and from what I've heard from a lot of other labels, it's definitely a struggle these days.
I ask anyone who enjoys music - continue to be as supportive as possible of the labels that you like. Order from them directly if possible - that way they get the money immediately. A lot of times, the money that a label gets from their mail order is what keeps them going through the thin times. The people making the money right now are the merch companies who aren't investing in the bands, but making bank on them. A label becomes an investor in the band - we cover their recordings, we help them with plane tickets for tours, we bail them out when they have trouble on the road. We then try to make that money back over the course of a release, and it doesn't always happen. Everyone else around the band though gets paid, with a fraction of the risk. Maybe I'm in the wrong business!
Seriously though, I'm happy being part of the creative half of the equation.
Recent Bridge 9 releases
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Drew Stone on stage in 2010 with Antidote, Photo: Tod Seelie
Drew Stone brings us more on Antidote and Boston Hardcore, big thanks to Drew. -Gordo DCXX
Tell us about life after Antidote...
the band broke up in 1992 I started up my film production company Stone Films NYC started up with me producing. Paris Mayhew who played guitar in the Cro-Mags directed a bunch of music videos and we went on a pretty nice run there for a while. Onyx "Slam", Type O Negative "Black #1", Run DMC "Ohh Watcha Gonna Do", King's X "Dogman", Biohazard "Punishment", "Shades Of Grey" & "Tales From the Hardside" are a few of the videos that we did in that era.
After Paris moved on I started directing myself and did Agnostic Front "Gotta Gotta Go", Merauder "Master Killer", Shelter "In The Van Again", Madball "Pride" and "Down By Law". For a while there I was the king of hardcore videos! At the time I also started Stone Management "We Manage The Unmanageable" and worked with Merauder, Subzero & Fury of Five. They all got the Drew Stone "Package Deal" which was that I'd get you signed to a record label, direct a music video and get you a tour of Europe.
Eventually I got burnt out on dealing with bands and that's when the extreme sports thing took off for me. I directed the film "12:00" which turn keyed the sport of street-bike freestyle and then I did the six "Urban Street-Bike Warriors" films which took me around the world a few times. I put together the "Urban Street-Bike Warriors Black Sheep Squadron Tour" which was groundbreaking at the time and did some great shows. For three consecutive years we went down to Guantanamo Bay Cuba where we did a show for the troops stationed down there which will always be one of my proudest moments.
I also directed the "I Live To Ride" episode of MTV's "True Life" which exposed the sport to millions. In the past year I've been working on "xxx All Ages xxx" The Boston Hardcore Film which has been a great experience.
Where did the inspiration for the film come from?
My passion is being a documentary filmmaker with my biggest influence being the director Werner Herzog. I always wanted to make a film about the early Boston Hardcore scene which was so influential and I'm very grateful that's it's finally happening. To this day that scene has very much influenced me and many other people and I've always felt that I had the ability to do the story justice. I was interviewed for the book "American Hardcore" and enjoyed the film that Paul Rachman and Steve Blush did but really felt that it was an overview and that the early Boston scene really had a strong story to tell.
I reconnected with old friends Duane Lucia (Executive Producer) who had the Gallery East venue back in the day that was instrumental in developing the early Boston Hardcore scene, and Katie "The Kleening Lady" Goldman (producer) who was a mainstay of that early scene and we decided to make a film.
For more information on "xxx All Ages xxx" The Boston Hardcore Film please join the Facebook page at:
Drew Stone with Antidote at the Trash Bar, Photo courtesy of: Drew Stone
HC is being documented more and more with books and movies...how do you view most pieces of work, and where will your film fit in?
First and foremost I'm a music lover so I can pretty much appreciate any effort that anybody has made as far as making a film or writing a book. "xxx All Ages xxx" The Boston Hardcore Film is not about the guys in the bands. It's a 90 minute documentary focusing on the lasting impact of the cultural and social scene from 1981 to 1984. The sheer amount of hours and attention to detail on the project will hopefully show in the end result. It's been like an archeological dig tracking down photos and footage that have never been seen.
Reconnecting with people after all these years has been very interesting and some times bizarre as well. Many of the people that we interviewed I was involved with when we were teenagers and now I'm reconnecting with them in their mid to late 40s, so I missed the whole middle part of their lives. It's a pretty cool thing and it has its moments. Sometimes in life you CAN go back!!!
Tell us about the reformation of Antidote, what's been going on, and what is to come?
In December of 2008 we were asked to play the "A7 Reunion show" at the Knitting Factory here in NYC. It was 16 years since we played and we weren't really sure if anyone was even going to give a shit. Regardless to say when we got out on stage to play it was packed to the rafters with a whole new generation of kids that love the music and know all the lyrics and went fucking crazy. What started as a few "reunion" shows has become more of a long term thing since the shows have been so much fun.
We signed to the great label Bridge Nine Records who are re-releasing the old stuff as well some great merchandise. We are working on some new music under the working title "Every Dog Has His Day" and our set at the upcoming "Gallery East Reunion Show" is being recorded for a future release "Antidote Thou Shalt Kill!! Live In 2010". Hopefully we will make it over to Europe and some other far off lands in the spring as well.
Directing the "Gotta Go" video with Agnostic Front
What's the story behind the "Gallery East Reunion Show"?
After Antidote had such a great experience with the "A7" reunion show I figured that doing something like that in Boston with bands from that early scene would be a great opportunity to create an event in order to shoot some footage for the "xxx All Ages xxx" film. I spoke to some old friends like Jonathan Anastas (DYS) & John Six (FU's) and they rallied for the occasion. The bill is DYS, Jerry's Kids, FU's, Gang Green, & Antidote. We are also bridging the past and the present by having The Revilers, Soul Control and Refuse Resist on the bill as well.
The bill is actually exactly the same as a show we all played in 1982 at the Gallery East, the only difference being I'm now singing for Antidote instead of the C.O's. At $15.00 the tickets are affordable and we are going to be screening clips and excerpts from the film in between bands. A bus was chartered by Dave Stein out of New York City and he's coming up with a whole contingent. People are traveling from all around the world for this event and it's really going to be something special.
For more information on "The Dave Stein Boston Or Bust Roadtrip" please check out:
Any last words?
Thank you very much for the support. I've been blessed and I'm very grateful to have had such a great run and it ain't over yet!! "Fun" is a great reason to be playing music again! "Are you ready to bust it Antidote style?????" We sure as hell are!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Youth Of Today - "We're Not In This Alone" Caroline Records
I remember the first time I actually saw Youth Of Today's "We're Not In This Alone", I was with my parents at the Princeton Forestal Village, which was an up-scale shopping mall a couple of towns away from where I grew up. I had popped on into the mall's record store with my dad as he looked for jazz albums and I went straight over to the Y section to see if they had gotten "We're Not In This Alone" yet. I think it had only been released a week or two prior, but I hadn't gotten to a record store until then. As I thumbed through the Y's, the anticipation was killing me, was it going to be here? Was I going to have to wait another week or two until I could get to another record store? Being 14 and without a driver's license really makes things tough and puts all transportation requirements on the parents. Not that my parents weren't fairly flexible with driving me here and there, but there's no way they were going to drive me all over the place to find a hardcore record, it just wasn't going to happen.
So as I rumbled through the record bin, I finally came across it, Youth Of Today - "We're Not In This Alone" in all its red, blue, and white Caroline greatness. My eyes popped out of my head and I dug it out of the bin as if I had just found a buried gem stone. "Who were all these dudes on the cover," I kept saying to myself? Then I flipped it over and stared at those 4 photos until my eyes burnt holes through the cover and started melting the vinyl inside. Damn, could they have picked 4 better photos than those? My favorite pic of course being the one of Cappo airborn, back to the crowd, in a white BOLD shirt and what appeared to be an inside out pair of sweat pants and low top Nikes. I blazed through the thirteen song titles, threw the album under my arm and prepared to head right off to the cash register with every bit of allowance money that I had. This sucker would certainly be mine.
Alternate shot of the Youth Crew from the "We're Not In This Alone" photo shoot
Once I got home, sliced open the shrink wrap and pulled the lyric sheet out, I was again in awe over the high contrast, full size shot of Cappo pulling off the gnarly knee kisser. There was no question that this thing would be hanging on my wall by night's end. First though, I had to drop the record on the turntable and read along to every single lyric. Dun dun… "We're back!"…"Made their threats, ruin your name, thought I was broken but the spirit remains… and this flame will keep on burning strong and I will continue to sing this song." Holy shit, if there was ever a statement being made about YOT's short break up and what lead up to it, this track right here was one hell of a comeback statement. That first track, "Flame Still Burns," not only had shredding, heart felt lyrics that made you want to grab the naysayers by the throat and throw them through a brick wall, but it also had music with enough balls to back it all up. Still to this day, one of my favorite YOT songs and HC songs in general.
As the rest of the album spun, I kept soaking it all in, song by song, lyric by lyric. I did notice a pretty severe lack of drums in the mix, but at the time I just chalked it up to being hardcore and hardcore was not all about pristine recordings. This recording was raw, raw like that open wound on your knees from flying off your skateboard and slamming your knees into the pavement. It had bite and it burned, but in the end you still had a killer time and you'd still do it all over again. Would I liked to have heard a better quality recording sound? Sure I would, no question, but it just wasn't that big of an issue in my mind.
Cappo photo from the back cover of the Caroline Records pressing of "We're Not In This Alone"
I guess by the following year a second version of "We're Not In This Alone" had been released, a remixed version. By this time I had grown accustomed to the sound of the original mix, but since there was a new mix available, I bought it when it was released, this time from the Princeton Record Exchange. This one I took home and ran through as well and definitely heard a major difference, but didn't throw my original mix record in the trash. There were no noticeable differences on the packaging itself, with the exception of the "Remix" sticker that was stuck on the shrink wrap. The songs did sound cleaner though, the drums were louder in the mix and overall, this remixed version was a pretty nice improvement over the original. For the most part, from there on out when I was going to listen to "We're Not In This Alone," the remixed version was the version I'd listen to.
Come 1997, Revelation had gathered the Caroline recordings and put together a reissue of "We're Not In This Alone," this time remixing the entire album once again. Layouts were completely new and the recording itself almost sounded completely new. Some back ups were added, some were chopped, some previously unheard vocal lines were thrown in, all was remixed and delivered yet in my opinion the best sounding record of all the presses. Although I loved and appreciated the original mix and the second mix, this new 1997 remix was just cleaner, brighter and more powerful than the original mixes and I couldn't deny it.
Revelation Records 1997 re-press of "We're Not In This Alone"
To this day, whenever I'm going to toss on "We're Not In This Alone" (which 22 years later is still in regular rotation), the 1997 reissue is my mix of choice. Not that I'd have any opposition to listening to one of the earlier versions, but this latest version is just the one that I tend to fall back on. If I had my choice, I'd probably like to get the exact original vocal tracks dropped into the 1997 reissue remix, but until that happens (and who knows if it ever will), I'm ok with what I've got and always have the option to blast the original mixes if need be. -Tim DCXX
Caroline mix 1 - 89
Revelation re-mix - 84
Caroline mix 2 - 47
Ray with Youth Of Today at Gilman Street, Photo: Trent Nelson
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Gordo and myself, here at DCXX will be hitting the road this weekend with our band, Hands Tied. We've got the privilege of joining three of hardcore's finest, Mindset, Get The Most and ON for three consecutive shows in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. If you're around and can swing by any of these shows, stop by and say what's up. -Tim DCXX
Hands Tied at This Is Hardcore, Philadelphia, PA, 8/15/2010, Photo: Todd Pollock
Gorilla Biscuits at CBGB, NYC, 2005, Larry to the left in the red shirt and holding the video camera, Photo: Jeff Start Today
I had front row seats for one of the reunion shows everyone thought would never happen. I was one of the few people allowed on stage during Gorilla Biscuits' reunion show at CBGB in 2005 and grabbed this after their set. Big thanks to the GB guys for always being super cool to me.
This is an Outspoken set list I nabbed after one of the few reunion shows they played in California over the last few years. Pretty sure I nabbed this after their set at the Sink With Cali Fest but it could be from the New Age Fest in '05. I should have kept track of this stuff. Reinforced...I'm diving off any stage.
This is a very early Snapcase set list from February 23, 1991. I think this might be the second show they played with the name Snapcase. A couple of months before that they were still called Solid State. This set list shows a mix of Solid State as well as "new" Snapcase songs. This is from the last show at The Skyroom in West Seneca (Buffalo), NY. They played with Zero Tolerance and Cannibal Corpse.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"Clean the shit out of your brain"… you gotta love the Cro-Mags. I'm a sucker for anything Cro-Mags related, so when I stumbled upon this vintage video interview with Harley and Bloodclot hanging out backstage on the 1986 GBH/Cro-Mags tour, I was more than psyched. Whether you're interested in spirituality (which is what Harley and JJ are talking about in this interview) or not, this is classic Mags material that's well worth documenting and well worth watching. Turn down your TV, turn up the volume on your computer and get schooled on Kali Yuga. -Tim DCXX
Monday, August 16, 2010
Drew Stone singing for The Mighty CO's May 29th 1982 Gallery East Boston, Photo: Debbie Damage
Drew Stone is the man who's holding the mic for Antidote, behind the camera of the All Ages Boston Hardcore Documentary, and behind the scenes for the massive Boston show taking place August 29. We've been meaning to catch up with him to get his full story and his long history in the hardcore scene. Lots of awesome stuff here, big thanks to Drew! -Gordo DCXX
Where did you grow up and how did you get involved with punk and HC?
I grew up in New York City in the 1970's as part of the "Blank Generation." Too late for the 60's thing, too early to be a part of the MTV generation (Thank God) and I fucking hated disco. In August of 1981 I went up to Emerson Collage in Boston to study acting. Soon after my arrival I was introduced to a guy in the Emerson cafeteria who had his head shaved. At the time the only people that had their heads shaved were marines and psychopaths. He told me that his name was "Choke" and he was into this "Hardcore" thing. "Hardcore? What do you mean Hardcore? Like The B52's, Joan Jett or Blondie?" I didn't have a fucking clue what he was getting at so after trying to explain it to me for a while we decided the best way for me to understand the whole thing was to just go and experience it for myself.
So a few days later we trooped to downtown Boston and into an old factory building to a place called the Media Workshop for a Sunday matinee show. As fate would have it, it was one of SS Decontrol's first shows and it turned out to be a pivotal point in my life. There were about 30 people there and everyone in attendance was my age or younger. There were no drugs or alcohol around which was very strange to me coming from a very different environment back in New York City. I felt very connected to what was going on in the room and jumped right into the melee.
After the band finished playing, the guitar player Al "Lethal" Barile came up and introduced himself to me and in turn he introduced the other guys in the band. He was very interested in knowing who I was and where I came from. It was a VERY small scene back then so when someone new showed up they were met with much enthusiasm. Regardless to say, after that I was swept up in the blooming early Boston hardcore scene which to say the least was an extremely exciting time.
One of the most powerful bands I have ever seen SS Decontrol at the Media Workshop 1981, Photo: Drew Stone
What were your first musical attempts, and how did that lead into The Mighty C.O's in Boston? Tell us about The Mighty C.O's, and the time line of that band?
I always loved music but before I got involved in the hardcore scene it always seemed so inaccessible. In Boston back in the early 80's there was no internet or cell phones so the place that we would all hang out at was the original location of Newbury Comics on Newbury Street. That was the hub of our universe back then. You would just hang out all day and wait for people to show up. I saw a flyer in Newbury Comics that said some guys that were into hardcore were looking for a bass player so I gave them a call. I went and played with them but I really wasn't much of a bass player so at some point I ended up being the singer. We named the band "The C.O's" (Conscientious Objectors) which later graduated to "The Mighty C.O's" after a comment from Al Barile.
The first show we played was in an Emerson College lounge with The Freeze, Government Issue and Double O from DC. We played Gallery East a few times after that with DYS, Jerry's Kids, the FU's and Gang Green and we were just starting to make some headway when I was excused from the band. It was always a strange relationship because I was always a bit of an outsider coming from New York City being the frontman who knew everyone in the scene, and playing with a bunch of kids from rural New Hampshire. The Mighty C.O's never really got their legs underneath them, were never recorded and only did about 5 shows that I can recall. They thought they could do better without me and as we all know they went on to achieve greatness and are now a household name.
Why did you return to NYC and how did that lead into The High And The Mighty as well as Antidote? How did you get to know those guys and end up on vocals?
After The Mighty C.O's ended and I had lost interest in school I had to earn a living so I came back to NYC to find work in the film business. Upon my arrival I immediately set out to put a new hardcore band together with a bunch of my friends from the Bronx. I wrote all the songs myself, showed them to the guys and we started playing shows. Some of those songs we still do to this day when Antidote plays out including "Road Warrior", "Don't Look Back" and "If The Time Is Right, We're Ready To Fight". The first "The High & The Mighty" show we played was a C.B.G.B.'s "HR Benefit" with Cause For Alarm, Murphy's Law & Major Conflict. After that we played the A7 quite a bit and went up to Boston a few times. We recorded and passed around The High & The Mighty "Crunch On" demo which was re-released a few years ago as part of the Antidote / The High & The Mighty "A7 and Beyond" CD.
In early 1984 we got a show down in D.C. at the Wilson Center with Antidote and we all drove down together in my van. On the way back home after the show Antidote's drummer Bliss and the singer Louie really got into it. By the time we got back to NYC he was out of the band and they were looking for a singer. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" had just come out and I loved the band so I really knew the material well. I was tight with Nunzio at the time so I got a shot at being the new singer and it worked out.
Antidote obviously put out one of the all time greatest NYHC records - can you remember how you first heard about the record and the band? Did you see them live with Louie? What was it like?
I met Nunzio while hanging out at the A7 in 1983. I had seen Antidote play a few times by that point and they were fucking great live. I remember once I came down from Boston with SS Decontrol when they played the Bad Brains retirement shows in December of 1982 and Antidote was on the bill. They were one of my favorite bands at the time. Bliss was a great drummer and Nunzio's guitar playing was a cut above the rest. They fucking crushed it live.
Drew Stone Boston Mass. age 18, Photo courtesy of: Drew Stone
Little is documented about the existence of Antidote through the late eighties. What exactly was going on, where did you play, and what was the response? Tell us about the "Return 2 Burn" release.
Antidote called it a day as a "hardcore" band in 1986 but in 1988 Nunzio and I started playing together again. He had a whole bunch of new songs that he wanted to sing and he needed a bass player so I stepped in. At first the new band was called "Third Rail" but starting from scratch was tough. Nunzio is a very talented guy. He writes great stuff, can sing, but he just wasn't a great front man. At some point we got some record company interest and it was decided that I would move back to vocals and we would change the name back to Antidote.
At the time a lot of hardcore bands were changing direction and it seemed like a good idea because of the name recognition. The new Antidote was really a "Rock" band with our biggest influence at the time being Guns 'N Roses. For a while we were were firmly entrenched in the NYC rock scene and were practically the house band at the Rock and Roll Church at the Limelight. We got signed and recorded the "Return 2 Burn" record and played some great shows with bands like Circus Of Power and Hell's Kitchen.
"Return 2 Burn" had a pretty slick production sound for the day. When we went to check out the recording studio Pantera was in there recording "Cowboys From Hell" and we liked what we heard. "Something Must Be Done" and "Road Warrior" were on the record in reworked versions and we ended up doing a music video for the song "Return 2 Burn." For a while there it was a lot of fun but in the early 90's things started to change when grunge came in and things just kind of ran their course. In 1991 we folded Antidote for the second time and that's when I started my film production company "Stone Films NYC" and that's when things really took off.
Antidote 1984, Nunzio, Drew Stone, Bryan, Bliss, Photo courtesy of: Drew Stone
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Chris at the B9HQ, Photo: Future Breed
Chris Wrenn has built Bridge 9 Records into a hardcore powerhouse that has withstood a changing music landscape and proven that they have their shit together in a major way. We had wanted to catch up with Chris for a while now and pick his brain. More to come... -Gordo DCXX
How did you get into punk and hardcore? When and where was this? Who were your favorite bands from the beginning?
Like a lot of kids in the late '80s, I got into hardcore and punk through metal. The first cassette that I owned - the first time that I had my own music that I could listen to whenever I wanted to - was Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls." In 2010 you can listen to any band that you want at any time, if you have a computer, but back then, you didn't have the means. Not the punk-est story in the world, but when I was in 5th grade ('87), I was given a gift certificate to "Uncle Jim's Record Stop" in my town. I used it to get the Crue cassette, which had just come out, and it was my first step into heavy music.
After that, I'd go down to the the local pharmacy to look at heavy metal magazines like RIP and Metal Maniacs to see interviews with Motley Crue, and that just exposed me to a ton of metal bands. By 7th grade ('89) I was heavily into the Roadrunner Records catalog, buying anything that the label put out- Obituary, Sepultura, King Diamond and Deicide...I was also getting exposed to a lot of NYHC bands, because in the late '80s, the Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All were getting full page photos and write ups in those magazines on a regular basis.
I got into some of the more traditional hardcore/punk bands through the more mainstream ones - Metallica introduced me to The Misfits through their "Garage Days Re-Revisited" cassette, members of Slayer used to wear Dead Kennedy's t-shirts...bands like Nuclear Assault used to thank tons of hardcore bands in their albums - and back then that was how you were introduced to stuff. If you liked a band, you wanted to check out who they toured with, were friends with, or influenced by.
Skateboarding also defined me at the same time, so I was introduced to bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag through my friends who skated, and through bands covered in skateboarding magazines. I was exposed to music through a variety of influences back then - and you had to be active and involved to be exposed to music, you couldn't just learn about every band in your bedroom overnight. In '92 I purposely stopped listening to metal and would only listen to hardcore and punk bands, because I felt like I could relate more to the more personal, community style experience that I was having at hardcore shows, versus the big stadium style events that you had with metal bands.
Chris hits the Connecticut crowd during an Underdog set at the Tunn Inn, Photo courtesy of: Chris Wrenn
Before you did Bridge 9, were you attracted to the idea of a record label and having that type of involvement? What about playing in bands?
I started my first venture when I was nine. I made flyers advertising lawn mowing and raking leaves, and put them in all of my neighbor’s mailboxes. I was an entrepreneur before I knew what it was. I've always been proactive in that regard - so by the time I decided to put out my first record, I was comfortable with the process of taking that risk and working to make sure each step was followed through.
I never played in a band - and all of my friends were in bands, so putting out that first record allowed me to stay involved and contribute to the local scene. I wasn't looking to start a record label when I put out my first 7" - in fact I didn't include a catalog number on it, because I didn't think there would be more than one release. It was just an opportunity to try something new. I was going to school in Vermont at the time - a couple of states away from my hometown scene, and I wanted to stay connected. Two of my college friends, Mark & Ned, told me that I should put out a 7". Mark had grown up friends with Scott Beibin's younger brother so he put me in touch with Scott, who did Bloodlink Records. Scott allowed me to ask him a bunch of questions (I called him from my dorm room pay phone, likely using a dialer that he had made and given to Mark), and it helped me get started in the right direction.
I also had some help from my friend Jesse Standhard, who had just started his own label around the same time and had put out a 7" or two just prior to my first. We'd open up fanzines, look for distributors' ads and call them to try and get them to take copies of our records on consignment. Bridge Nine started during the fall of 1995, and the first record came out during the summer of 1996.
Roger, Chris and Vinny, Photo courtesy of: Chris Wrenn
Was Bridge 9 initially supposed to turn into a full-scale label, or did you just see yourself releasing maybe a few records done by friends? How did things progress, and what was your motivation for continuing?
Starting a full-scale label like what Bridge Nine is today was definitely not in the original plan. I just wanted to put out a 7 inch with my friends' band. I needed to raise money to put out that first EP, so I made stickers, canvas patches & t-shirts to sell and help promote it. Back then, it was pretty common for random kids to put out a few 7" records and then call it quits. It took a year to recoup from B9's first record, and by that time, the band had broken up, so I decided to take their last 3 songs and put them on another 7" and release it posthumously.
I was traveling to shows every weekend, and a lot of times I'd end up in Boston, so at one particular show, a band from that area, Proclamation, gave me their demo. It took another year before I could afford to do a 3rd record, but I called them up and offered to do their EP. Then another Boston band followed, The Trust - and in 1998 I released their EP as well - the same year that I was graduating from college. Being that the two active bands were from Boston, I decided to move there.
By this point I knew that I wanted to continue releasing records, but didn't have much of a plan, other than to try and make the money back from the last record, and put it into the next one. I was starting to get letters from kids from all over the world. Japan, Europe, Asia. I felt like I was becoming part of something a lot bigger than my dorm room or my first apartment on Boston's Mission Hill filled with other hardcore kids. That motivated me to keep going...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Zev and Richie with Underdog at The Stone Pony, Photo: Ken Salerno
Derek Rinaldi's piece on Underdog and interview with Russ continues in this second part... -Gordo DCXX
So you were out of Murphy’s Law how long before forming UNDERDOG?
About a week.
And now the fist UNDERDOG lineup includes...
Richie, Myself, Greg Pierce and Danny Derella.
Dean with Underdog at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
When does Dean come into the picture?
Well, Greg only played in UNDERDOG a few months and then after recording the seven inch, he moved to Florida...I think to attend college. We were trying out a bunch of drummers. Ernie from Token Entry played a show or two. Dean was already playing in Good Humor and it just made sense to steal him. He actually played in both bands until we started touring and from then on, it was just UNDERDOG.
After a while there was some shifting in the guitar personnel...
Well, we added Arthur as a second guitarist and the sound was really amazing. Eventually, Danny left the band and we toured with Arthur. Arthur was a bit more serious than the rest of us. On tour there was a lot of horsing around - like fun tour stuff which Arthur really wasn’t into. So once we got back from that tour, Arthur was gone.
Chuck, Russ and Richie with Underdog at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Enter Chuck Treece?
Yeah, I met Chuck through Tom Groholski and I had known about Chuck’s musical resume and he skated so it was a good fit.
And this is 1989?
Russ with Underdog at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
That’s same year you guys were featured on Thrasher Magazine’s Skate Rock Volume 7. The bands on that release were hand picked by Pushead right?
Yeah, I was talking to him a couple of times a week for a while leading up to that. I was bummed because this was the first in the Skate Rock series that came out exclusively on cassette and not on vinyl as well, which was a bummer.
So Vanishing Point is released and the band heads on tour with yourself, Richie, Dean and Chuck?
Yeah, that was the line up for that tour. Once we came home from that tour, that was pretty much the end of UNDERDOG. We dropped Chuck off at Penn Station, he headed for Philly and the rest of us went our separate ways.
And that was it until 1998?
There was nothing happening with the band at all until we re-released the songs for Go-Kart Records in 1998 and our friend Tim Borer booked us on the Alive And Well bill that took place at Convention Hall in Asbury Park.
Underdog sing along at City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
Then the tour?
Yes, then he booked our tour to support that release. This was the first time UNDERDOG toured without Dean, who was busy making babies. So we went on tour with Jay from American Standard on drums and Matt Dolan on guitar.
So now, you’ve got a head full of steam and the band is back together. Everyone is into the songs again. What happens next?
The way it was...or I was going, it wasn’t going to last. I was partying way too much and making that a priority over everything else. The fact that things have been going so well with UNDERDOG lately is directly contributed to me being sober.
Richie and Russ with Underdog in 2010 at The Stone Pony, Photo: Ken Salerno
Then you go from 1998 until 2005 before playing again?
We were asked to reform and play the first of a series of benefit shows for CBGB. We were on the bill with Killing Time and were back to the original lineup of myself, Richie, Matt and Dean. A year later we played with Bad Brains and The Stimulators for one of the closing shows for the club.
From this point on you guys are raising families, working, and just playing shows ala carte?
Right, I mean we took a trip to Japan for the Magma Festival in 2007, I think. Then the Burning Fight Festival in Chicago in 2008, but for the most part just local shows and one-offs.
Richie and Russ at City Gardens, 1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
Now it’s 2010 and you’ve got a new relationship with Bridge Nine Records, how did that come about?
This whole Bridge Nine thing came up when we got asked to play the Burning Fight festival in Chicago. Jim Grimes, the organizer, had contacted us about playing even though we weren’t really making music in the nineties.
Our friend Scooter, who was on tour with us, had introduced me to the owner of Bridge Nine, Chris Wrenn. At the time we were working with Revelation Records to release an UNDERDOG discography. Chris was bummed at not having a chance to do the discography but gave me his card and told me to call him if they could do something with the band in the future.
A couple months went by and things were still moving very slow with Revelation (that was both of our faults) and it had been about two years since the idea was first brought up. So one day, I just emailed Chris at Bridge Nine and asked him to give me a call...he called me hours later and the rest is history.
What did you like most about Bridge Nine?
Once I got home from that trip in Chicago, I started looking a their website. They had a small group of bands that they pushed really hard and they seemed to have a lot of momentum. Chris called back about two hours later after I first e-mailed him and we worked it all out. They were real strict with their deadlines and they pushed me to get my submissions in on time. It was very motivating.
Twenty-five years later the UNDERDOG story continues. Some of the founding members still skate, still surf, still get together on occasion for a show or two. The number of UNDERDOG offspring has hit nine. At this rate if they continue playing, they’ll have a full staff of press and marketing people right at home.
After all, it’s the families that have proven to be each member's priority and the reason that making, recording and touring for new music is almost impossible - and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dean with Underdog in 1989, Photo: Ken Salerno
So...any chance of a future UNDERDOG release with new songs? “Those songs, those early songs are what has defined UNDERDOG” says Iglay. “It’s what every person that comes to see us wants to hear. Why change that? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s that simple.”
That, my dear friends, is the story of UNDERDOG, plain and simple.
Happy 25th Anniversary, punks. -Derek Rinaldi
Russ with Underdog at The Stone Pony, 2010, Photo: Ken Salerno
Monday, August 2, 2010
“It was really important that this reunion show be fun and powerful,” said Anastas. “We didn’t want to do a DYS show with only one original member, or use hired guns with no connection to the band’s musical roots. Jack and Bobby have history with the core band, with punk, with rock, and with the sound we want to achieve.” Added Dave Smalley, “A great band is hopefully about more than chops, which these guys have in spades. It’s about shared experience, a shared sonic vision and it’s – above all - about chemistry. Who could you spend days with on a bus, in a studio, at practice, backstage? Jonathan, Ross and I are really glad to be playing together again for that reason. And Bobby and Jack are both guys we easily could have done it with the first time around.”
At this time, the Gallery East Reunion show and performance filming for the documentary movie “XXX All Ages XXX” are the only activities DYS currently has planned. In closing, Dave added, “Gallery East, Duane and Drew Stone are stand-up veterans of a very special time. Helping their movie and their event were very important goals for us. Right now, that’s 100% of our focus as a band.”