Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween
Dead cats hanging from poles
Little dead are out in groves
I remember Halloween
Brown leafed vertigo
Where skeletal life is known
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
Candy apples and razor blades
Little dead are soon in graves
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Rick with Strife in front of a manic crowd at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Traci McMahon
I've known these guys for the better part of 18 years now, met them in late 1991, early 1992 while I was in Mouthpiece on our first California tour. I recall hearing about them before that though, Strife was coming up around the same time that Mouthpiece was and I remember feeling this instant connection with them before we even met. Us on the east coast, them on the west coast, both with the same hopes and goals, coming from similar backgrounds, similar ages, both putting records out on New Age, we definitely had a lot in common. Throughout the early 90's we played a lot of shows together, did a weekend with them on their first trip to the east coast, hung out dozens of times and for the most part, have kept in touch through it all.
Considering Strife just made their first trip back to the east coast in quite awhile, Gordo and I thought we'd catch up with Chad and Andrew and get some info on their past, present and future. Dig in, more to come. -Tim DCXX
How did Strife come together? Give us the complete back story to the early/beginning days of the band and share some of your favorite memories.
Chad: For the most part we all hung out in high school. You could find us skating in the parking lot of a grocery store by where we lived basically every day. We had a pretty good crew going back in those days. Sid and Andrew, out of all my friends, were the most involved in the punk and hardcore scenes coming up at the time and wanted to start a straight edge band and really grow that scene in our local area. They knew of a singer (Rick) from Moorpark who sang for a band called Monster Club. He was straight edge and they asked him if he’d be into joining the group. He was into it, and they were the first 3 members of the group XStand As OneX. They brought in this kid Scotty Colin on bass. He was a really cool straight edge kid also from Moorpark but he soon started doing drugs so that didn’t last very long. I think they played 1 show at Moorpark High School with Outspoken and that was it for him.
After that Sid had called me up and asked if I wanted to play bass. Not knowing a single thing about playing bass I of course agreed and borrowed a bass from our friend Mike. After a few practices of “your fingers go here and you do this with your hands” we played 1 show in our friend Jeff Moore’s garage and then another really (really) bad show in Santa Barbara. It was after the Santa Barbara show that we decided to change our name to Strife. It was that bad. Not the show, just how we played (although the show may have been too).
It’s hard to remember that far back. You have to keep in mind, I was about 15-16 when we started doing this thing. It was kind of awesome how everything came together. We would practice as much as we could at the Teen Center by our house and our friend Tony’s garage. Drive to shows in Riverside, San Diego, Long Beach every weekend. That was a pretty good ways away for us in those days. But they are some of the best memories I have. Experiencing something that positive, such a unified scene at such a young age…if you would have told me back then that we’d be doing this now, years later, recounting all of the shows and fun times we’ve had over the years, not only would I not have believed you, but I can easily say that this band and these friends have been the greatest and most consistent thing in my life.
Andrew: I started getting into punk and hardcore in 7th and 8th grade. The kids I grew up with and skated with were really into bands like The Descendents, The Freeze, C.O.C., D.R.I, Suicidal, 7 Seconds and other stuff. My next door neighbor was 10 or so years older than me and had an amazing record collection. I would borrow 5 to 10 records at a time and dub them to cassette so I could listen to them at home. He was into everything from Punk, Oi, Ska, Hardcore, etc. I was into a bunch of stuff too, but I was really into a lot of the heavier stuff like Agnostic Front, Negative Approach, Cro Mags, and bands like that.
I started High School and I was one of two kids that were into hardcore. We started mail ordering records and hitching rides down to Zed Records to buy stuff on the weekends. That’s when I really started getting into a lot of the NYHC bands like Sick Of It All, Judge, GB, Killing Time, etc. I met Sid, who had just move to Thousand Oaks from Riverside. He played in a punk band out there called S.D.I. and he was into punk and some hardcore stuff. I was friends with his next door neighbor, and we became friends pretty fast. We started going to shows together and that’s where we met Rick.
We couldn’t believe that there were other kids that were into hardcore that lived so close to us. Sid and Rick decided to put a band together with a few friends. The guitar player was pretty flakey, so I would jam on his equipment with Sid when he didn’t show up. I had played a few instruments growing up and I had a guitar. I pretty much taught myself how to play guitar when we started playing together. The first song we wrote was “Dedication” and then continued from there…
Our band was called Stand As One, and our first show was at Moorpark continuation with Outspoken, Downcast (who didn’t show up), and Monster Club (Rick’s former band which became Still Life). Our second show was another show that we set up, with Chain Of Strength, Outspoken, Drift Again, and Have No Part (who became Mean Season).
We played a few more shows as Stand As One, the last being at the Red Barn in San Diego with Struggle and End Of The Line.
We changed our name to Strife soon after…
Andrew dives into the Middlesex crowd, Middlesex County College, Edison NJ, 4/17/1993
If you had to pick one recording of yours that you feel best represents Strife, which would it be?
Chad: Favorite Strife recording…there are a lot of fun stories that surround every recording we’ve done but the most fun, and weird at the same time, was probably recording for the Mandell Can Suck It 7”. If you look at the back of the record you can see why. Sid’s playing guitar and there is a naked baby holding drum sticks. Need I say more? I think the album that best represents Strife would be In This Defiance. One Truth is a good record but we were really still developing our sound for the second record. We’d also been out touring a lot, we got better as players and as a result you have those songs.
I think each record, including Angermeans, just represents a different Strife. We’re the same guys but over the years and the more you do this your style develops. There are some bands that put out the same record over and over but I don’t think that could be said about us.
Andrew: I feel In This Defiance is by far our best record. I think that is where we really found ourselves as a band, and everything came together perfectly on that recording. I feel like those songs are the perfect blend of heavy hardcore with just a touch of metal, and that those songs still stand up after all these years.
Chad with Strife at Middlesex County College, Edison NJ, 4/17/1993
What’s the biggest motivation to keep doing Strife in 2010?
Chad: Well, it isn’t money. The truth is we just really love this shit. We love getting excited to get out and play a show, do a tour, whatever. After all this time and all of the past bullshit aside it’s still fun as hell and we love each other like brothers. We’re all at a point now where we are pretty well settled into our lives and have the ability to balance out home, work and the band. It’s not that hard for any of us to really take a little time off and go do a week, weekend, whatever here or there. I’m 35 and I still love hardcore. I work for a concert promoter. Our company does a number of different shows and concerts every year. I’m at about 200 of them. I’ve seen a band or two. Nothing really gets your blood going like hardcore. Most of the shows I see on a nightly basis I could bring a pillow to. I mean to each their own. I like other forms of music as well but the fact is that nothing compares to hardcore.
Andrew: Strife has been such a big part of my life that when I’m not on stage playing these songs I really miss it. I miss the energy and the rush as well as the friendship. People have changed over the years, but I feel like we still have a positive message to share, and hopefully that inspires some kids to pick up an instrument and start a band or to make a positive change in their life. Luckily our band is at a point where we can get together and play every now and then and the kids still want to come out and hear some of the songs that they grew up on. We are definitely thankful for that.
Rick and Chad with Strife at Middlesex County College, 4/17/1993
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
By this time I'm sure the majority of you that were planning on trekking out to Washington, DC for this year's "A Time We'll Remember" fest, have heard the news about it's cancelation. In the case that you're still going to be in the area or just want to check out a killer show, Philadelphia's own, Joe HC, has pieced together a mini-bail out show to take the place of "A Time We'll Remember". Consider it a much slimmed down version consisting of the Cro-Mags, Hands Tied, Cast Aside, Agitator and Outlast. The Broad Street Ministry is a great venue in Philadelphia that holds roughly 300, so get their early or get tickets online, because you don't want to get turned away for this one. For more information go to: www.r5productions.com -Tim DCXX
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I just came across this video of Supertouch today, it's from New Brunswick, NJ, 174 Commercial Ave to be exact, the former house of the Bouncing Souls. Apparently the Bouncing Souls would throw these big backyard BBQ parties with half pipe skating and bands. This one was from October 10, 1992 and it was the only Bouncing Souls party of it's kind that I ever came out for.
One thing I remember about this show was just how great Supertouch were that night. As you can see from the video, it was a tight, intimate, garage setting with kids just looking to have a good time. Supertouch were so on point and so heavy and "Anything It Takes" is a perfect example of that. It was a little strange seeing this Supertouch line up that didn't have Andy or Joe, but although not originals, these guys definitely held their own. I'm pretty sure this was the last time I saw them, until the recent reunions over the past handful of years. Hopefully the rumors come to fruition and we get some more Supertouch shows in 2011. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Quicksand at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Jenn Kulawas
Wow! So Quicksand it is...coincidentally, I had a dream last night that we did a reunion show. In the dream we forgot to advertise the show or practice for it and when we hit the stage I realized I wasn't wearing pants either, just tighty whities and what's worse, directly after the set Tom and I got in a fist fight, just like in the old days!
It's nice to know that people still like Quicksand, I really love a lot of the stuff we did together although in this case I believe the deck was a little stacked. I can't help feeling bad for those Walter & The Motorcycle guys, I mean who cast that second vote? Chris Daly? Nelson? Bless your heart whoever it was and thanks to Double Cross for carrying the torch for HC on the interwebs. -Walter
Walter and Sergio with Quicksand at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Jenn Kulawas
Walter with Quicksand at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Jenn Kulawas
Walter fronting Quicksand while someone goes for a dive at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Jenn Kulawas
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In case you hadn't heard, Chris over at More Than A Witness, who's brought us a ton of great live tapes, is releasing the Young Republicans demo as a 7". Here's a note from Chris on the release; "Three tracks on this Young Republicans 7" EP would later be reworked and rerecorded for the debut Youth of Today "Can't Close My Eyes" 7” on Positive Force; “Respect For Authority (None)” became “Stabbed In The Back”, “Backyard Bomb” became “Expectations”, and “High School Rednecks” became Project X's “Straightedge Revenge” note for note on their sole EP on Schism."
Enough of a reason to order one? Yeah, I'd say so. Check out More Than A Witness and get your order in while they're still available. -Tim DCXX
More Than A Witness
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Walter and Tom with Quicksand at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno
As expected, Quicksand ran away with the votes as the vast majority of voters' favorite band fronted by the beloved Walter Schreifels.
Forget for a minute that Walter essentially orchestrated GB on his own and basically wrote everything in the band, that he was a key player and writer in YOT from 1987 on, brainstormed CIV and wrote all that stuff too, and is a versatile bassist and guitarist - the guy has been fronting and singing in bands now for 20 years. Pretty crazy. Obviously some of these projects gained very little attention in the poll results, but if nothing else, it's clear that Walter has a dense catalog of music and lyrics he's been belting out as a frontman for a real long time.
Personally, my vote went to Moondog, but it's no knock on Quicksand. Love Quicksand, the first EP still gives me chills when the Omission bassline rumbles through the speakers - the whole thing is weird and creepy and confusing and awesome and really is in my mind at least, the epitome of that 1990 "which direction now?" Revelation scene. Walter would prove he had a real talent, great lyrics, a unique delivery and his own style in a time where Quicksand spawned a lot of imitators and really paved their own way.
Walter with Quicksand in San Francisco, 1995, Photo: Brian Lillie
But I've always loved Moondog because you can just hear the raw goods in his delivery and style. He's essentially finding his way but his voice just sounds so cool, and some of those Moondog tracks really smoke. Sure it would evolve into Quicksand, but Moondog was a hardcore band dabbling in weird rock stuff, whereas I view Quicksand as a weird rock band that was still dabbling with hardcore stuff.
Rival Schools trailed behind in third place, but I think that had they remained a band longer the first time around, those numbers would be different. They really seemed to be gaining a lot of momentum when they hit the skids - so it's gonna be cool to see what kind of ground they gain now that they are back together. Maybe they aren't a hardcore band, but they've written some great tunes and seeing The Youth and ND in a band together...well shit, that's half of Project X as far as I'm concerned.
Sergio with Quicksand at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno
Oh, and a thing about Wally hardcore: don't let all the rock music fool ya. Walter still knows a thing or two about a thing or two. I'd bet the guy could lay down a classic sounding hardcore EP entirely on his own that would shred if he wanted to.
So...Walter, whatdya say? - Gordo DCXX
Quicksand - 309
Moondog - 73
Rival Schools - 35
World's Fastest Car - 7
Walking Concert - 7
Walter and the Motorcycles - 2
Tom and Wally with Quicksand, Photo courtesy of: Quicksand
Monday, October 18, 2010
Dan, Ivan and Tim with Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse
Here's part three of our interview with Powerhouse guitarist, Tim Pryce. Big thanks to Tim for answering our questions and being one of the good guys all these years. Also, thanks to Ivan for sending me the Powerhouse DVD, which spawned the whole idea to make this interview happen. Check out Tim's new blog, http://timpryce.blogspot.com/ Still friends… Tim DCXX
How did things come together with Powerhouse and New Age Records?
I was writing to everyone I could all the time, making great friends. I think it was Jeff Terranova from Up Front who first got me in touch with Mike from New Age. We used to talk on the phone (back when long distance calls cost TONS of $) all the time. Jeff from CT, Mike in CA and me in Miami. We all hit it off so well, Mike liked the demo a lot, and he was very cool about wanting to do the EP. We were super happy about it.
What memories do you have from the 7" recording session?
I remember that it went pretty smoothly, we recorded on tape then (this was just before Pro Tools and stuff), so there was quite a process to go through, but we had a lot of fun - and a BIG back up vocal session!!
Ivan brings it down with Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse
Favorite tracks off the 7" and why?
For me, A First Time and Still Friends stick out because they were the songs that had the most personal meaning to Ivan and me. I mean… Ivan is still my closest friend… I wrote Still Friends about him - and he sang it loud right back. A First Time was really about uniting everyone together and controlling the strife that we did have in our scene. It meant a lot to us that it seemed to bring a lot of people together.
Once the 7" was released, what kind of changes did you see within the band and outside of the band as well? Did Powerhouse's popularity peak after the release of the 7"?
Well, we did write & play about 6 more newer songs after the EP came out that we never got to record. Ivan and I were growing into a lot of post-HC stuff, listening to a lot of Quicksand, Rollins Band, Fugazi, Jawbox… even stuff like The Melvins & Helmet. I believe our very last show was with Quicksand in 1990 in Tampa. We wanted to progress a bit – but it was hard to find like-minds at the time – it was frustrating.
When and what brought forth the break up of Powerhouse? If there was anything you could change about how things went or turned out, what would you do differently?
Actually, there was no big blow-out or anything. We all remained close, but were going in different directions. Ivan and I were trying to put something together for a while after that, but then he moved back to Arizona for a bit, so that was put on hold. It’s kinda strange that we never really did a “farewell” show, or a reunion, for that matter, but we did stay involved in the scene and the music that was happening at the time.
Back cover of Powerhouse 7"
What kind of interest do you get from kids these days regarding Powerhouse? What are your thoughts on the band's legacy? How do you look back on those days with the band and the band in general?
I still can’t believe that anyone really remembers the band as well as so many people do – it makes me (and Ivan too) very happy. When I was playing and doing a little touring with Where Fear And Weapons Meet, I was surprised by how many people I met who knew about us… Lately, we’ve been talking & getting back in touch with a lot of great people we used to know. There’s a really cool HC band down in Miami that plays A First Time in every set! We just saw them play in Gainesville and it was really great. They are called Hardware Youth – great people who really have a blast playing cool HC stuff. They do it really well.
We (Ivan and I) look back on those days with a lot of great feelings. I think we did something really cool and fun, made tons of great friends all over the place, and it feels really good to be remembered in a positive way.
What are you up to these days and what kind of connection do you have to the other members of Powerhouse?
Well, Ivan and I are of course still very, very close. We both have teenage kids and we live about an hour or so away from each other in northern FL, but we’re still friends with everyone we played with. Dan (who went on to play in Cavity) & Scott Baldwin – great people… as well as a lot of people who were just a big part of what we did at the time. Sadly, we lost Andy and miss him very much… that is a horrible thing for us to think about. He was a great man, and a great musician as well.
Well, Ivan and I have been working on something that might be really fun with a couple of other great musicians… hopefully before year’s end… stay in touch if you’re interested! You’ll probably hear about it here first!!!
Tim Pryce and Ivan White of Powerhouse, 2010, Photo courtesy of: Tim Pryce
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
OFF! at the 6th Street Warehouse, Photo: Sean Peterson
I've been catching word here and there about Keith Morris's (Black Flag / Circle Jerks) latest band, OFF!, but hadn't actually heard a note until today, and I gotta say, I'm pretty damn impressed. Classic, early Black Flag style, Southern California hardcore, played hard, loud and dirty.
Keith's joined by Bassist, Steve McDonald (Redd Kross), drummer, Mario Rubalcaba (411, Clikatat Ikatowi, Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes) and guitarist, Dimitri Coats. It looks like OFF! will be releasing their first EP, tomorrow, October 12th, which will include a limited edition Raymond Pettibon poster. Cool stuff, so lay into the videos and check the links for more details. -Tim DCXX
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Supertouch at The Safari Club, Washington DC, Photo courtesy of: John White
Coming off of last night's Supertouch poll wrap up, Tom Farkas dropped us a line with a cool thing he had written about Supertouch, and specifically their WNYU recording. Pretty cool stuff, and a fitting time for it as well, as this legendary recording is apparently coming out sometime soon on vinyl. Thanks Tom. "Climbin' Aboard!!!" -Gordo DCXX
In the late 1980's New York hardcore scene very few bands commanded more respect than Supertouch. Mark Ryan, Supertouch's singer, was an old school legend and had been the singer for Death Before Dishonor in the last great era of NYHC. This gave them a pedigree right out of the gate. Supertouch's rhythm section was as tight as they come - they weren't some kids trying to keep it together, they were a rock solid machine. Jon Bivano's guitar playing was powerful, creative and reminiscent of classic rock greats, and yet, still as aggressive as any other CBGB matinee regulars.
If there was ONE problem with Supertouch, it was that they didn't have any recordings. Serious devotees of the scene knew all of their songs from going to countless shows but, aside from the occasional blown out crowd recording, no one had access to their music. Most NYHC bands progressed from demo tape, to a compilation track, to a seven inch, and maybe, if they were top notch, a full length. Supertouch could have gone straight to the full-length and pleased the whole scene.
Joe and Mark with Supertouch, Photo: Eric Fennell
When the first Revelation Records compilation 'Together' came out, Supertouch had the track 'Searching For The Light' on the B-side and it was an instant classic. The recording was weak, but the track shined right through. Hopes were high, if Supertouch had gone into a recording studio, maybe we would be hearing some more from them soon. But all we had was that one track, and a head full of memories of all of their other great songs.
So when the second Revelation Records compilation, 'The Way It Is', hit the shelves, there was a chance that we might get some more Supertouch material to devour. And we did, sort of. It was yet another version of 'Searching For The Light'. True fans needed more than this to satisfy them.
That satisfaction came in the form of radio waves. Supertouch played a live set on WNYU. Every NYHC kid had this tape. This was as close as we would get to a full length Supertouch record for quite some time. That live radio set got played countless times, traded, dubbed, lost and found. It was the definitive recording of those songs, at that time.
When Supertouch finally did release a full length LP, 'The Earth Is Flat', it had all different, newer songs on it, leaving that WNYU tape as the time capsule for a bygone era. All of us who saw Supertouch live back when they were doing those earlier songs will always hold onto that radio recording near and dear. The audio may be rough and live and the vocals may waiver, but it's Supertouch LIVE, which is how we remember them. Maybe that's for the best after all.
Joe with Supertouch, Photo: Eric Fennell
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Supertouch at the Marquee, NYC, Gorilla Biscuits Last Show, 1992, Photo: Adam Tanner
Supertouch are one of those bands that I've always had a lot of great memories of seeing at their live shows. Going all the way back to the first time I saw them, which was either late '89 or early '90 at Rutgers University, to their first show at Middlesex County College in 1990 with Burn and Gridlock. Those pre-"The Earth Is Flat" days, when all they had out was "Searching For The Light" and the "What Did We Learn" 7" were great. The shows were smaller, but the crowd response was always strong and you would have 50 die-hards singing along to every word. Of course the set would always finish with "Searching" and pile-ons seemed to happen on cue. Good times for sure.
After those few 1989-1990 Supertouch shows that I caught, the band went on a hiatus and nothing was heard from them for quite awhile. Eventually studio tapes started leaking out from "The Earth Is Flat." I remember hearing it for the first time and being pretty damn confused. Not that the "What Did We Learn" 7" was traditional hardcore, but it was in the ballpark. On the other hand, this "Earth Is Flat" material was like nothing I had heard before. It's hard to put into words exactly what I was thinking at the time because it's been so long, but like I said, I was confused to say the least. As confused as I was, I did not give up on it and kept that tape in rotation that entire summer. Within a couple of weeks I bought "The Earth Is Flat" hook, line and sinker and never looked back. It might have taken me two weeks to "get it", but I did and it's forever stuck with me.
Supertouch at the Safari Club, Washington DC, Photo courtesy of: John White
Once "The Earth Is Flat" was actually released by Revelation, the band got back together and started playing again. The first show back that I remember was at the Marquee in NYC, it was the last Gorilla Biscuits show in 1992 if I remember correctly. I'm pretty sure "The Earth Is Flat" had been out for about a year or so and at that point it had really sunk in for everyone, it did for me at least. I was so psyched to see Supertouch on a big stage, with a huge crowd and all this great material behind them. I can assure you, they shredded the Marquee that night. I was a little burnt on GB at that point and to me, Supertouch stole the show. They were tight and on the money and delivered to a manic crowd that had waited patiently for a year or two to see them hit the stage again. I remember doing a ton of stage dives that night and trying my damnedest to avoid getting clobbered by the menacing NYC dance floor. Somehow I made it out alive and had the time of my life doing it. When all was said and done, that Supertouch set would be one of my favorite show memories ever.
Over the next couple of years I saw Supertouch quite a few more times. Two that stick out would be another Middlesex show, and the last show I remember seeing them at was a garage show in New Brunswick at the Bouncing Souls house. No matter if it was 50 people or 900, Supertouch always brought it. Luckily, over the past few years Supertouch have played a few surprise shows and I've managed to get myself to two of them. Sounds like Europe will now get their chance to "Get Down" and that's a good thing.
Supertouch at Middlesex County College, Photo: Pete Reilly
As for the poll, I could have gone either way. I really love both the 7" and LP equally and to be completely honest, I'm not even sure which I actually voted for. Both represent different eras of the band to me, but both bring about positives from each side. Obviously "The Earth Is Flat" went home with the win and I can understand that, it is a full LP's worth of material, but in the end, there are no losers here. -Tim DCXX
Supertouch - "The Earth Is Flat" LP - 148
Supertouch - "What Did We Learn" 7" - 85
Supertouch at the Marquee, NYC, yours truly with some stage dive action, 1992, Photo: Traci McMahon
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The is the continuation of our interview with Tim Pryce, the guitarist for Miami, Florida's late 80's hardcore band, Powerhouse. Read on and more importantly, if you haven't heard Powerhouse, search the demo or New Age 7" down now! -Tim DCXX
Any memories from recording the Powerhouse demo? How do you remember it being perceived locally and nationally at the time?
The demo was made with a really cool drummer named Mario. He was into a little more metal than we were, but he was a great drummer. I think I played both the bass and the guitars on the demo. Back then we just wanted to have something to share with everyone we were writing to. Before the internet, everyone would just order demos straight from the bands - and we wanted to be a part of that, to show that we had a really cool, growing HC scene in Miami. Personally, I made so many great friends from then – a lot of them (like you, Timmie!) I still talk to a lot. Sometimes I just can’t believe it’s been over 20 years…
Any favorite or stand out shows you remember playing during that demo era of Powerhouse? Did you feel a solid momentum behind the band at this point?
Oh yeah! We had a blast playing shows and meeting touring bands! We played The Cameo Theater, and pretty much every other venue we could at the time. We got to play with Up Front, Release, SNFU, The Accused, even Quicksand! We wanted to tour really badly. In fact, Mike Hartsfield had a US tour booked for us with his band Against The Wall – but a lot of the members were too young to pull it off. We were pretty poor and didn’t even have a crappy van to go in…
Tim Pryce (Powerhouse) and Tony Downs (The Believers) hanging with Insted and crew in 1988, Photo courtesy of: Tim Pryce
As Powerhouse was coming up, I recall hearing about other Florida bands like The Believers and Awake! What can you tell us about those bands and what other bands of that era stood out?
The Believers were a really great band from West Palm Beach. They were much more musical than we were – I mean, they could PLAY! I still talk to Dain and keep up with Tony. Those were great guys. Awake were from Tampa (I believe). We played with them a bit, but we talked a lot – they were also really good! There also was Beyond Reason (featuring the great Jason Lederman) and a few others that were really good as well.
One thing I do recall hearing a lot about in regards to the late 80's early 90's Florida HC scene was the influx of nazi skinheads. Was this a serious problem at the time or was it just over magnified? What can you tell us about it?
The skinhead scene in South Florida (Miami & Ft. Lauderdale) was completely non-racist. There may have been a few of those kids in WPB, but it was a problem in other cities in Florida. Those guys would come down to our shows sometimes just to have all-out war with us. Not too fun…but we held it down. That was a big part of what we stood for with Powerhouse. It meant a lot to us (still does, of course). What sucked about that whole “rivalry” was that touring bands came through, not knowing where the audiences happened to be from, and just thought our scene was crazy violent. It was bad, but the people who lived in our scene were stand-up cool people. It was hard at times trying to convince people from out of town of that…
Monday, October 4, 2010
JJ with the Cro-Mags at Teatro Novedades, Photo: Jorge Luis
Here's some highlights from an interview with JJ done by Fredrik from "Nettverk for dyrs frihet" when the Cro-Mags were recently in Europe. Check the full interview here:
You know, we are looking to release something next year. We always just roll with the punches. We want to release something with this line-up. My philosophy is: "I don't talk about shit; I just do it." When it's getting ready to come out you will hear about it.
H.R. actually personally had a hand taking me to all the vegetarian places. He personally showed me around in New York, took me to Angelica Kitchen, Vegetarian Paradise. That really helped my life in a big way. The family that surrounded the Bad Brains in the early eighties was very special. We felt like a real family, almost sadhu-like.
H.R....was very much like a sadhu, like a sage, a very wise person, very knowledgeable, very humble. Seeing somebody act like that was inspiring to me. There was no ego. There was no: "You should do this because I tell you to do it". H.R. was on a different trip: "You should do this because Jah wants you to do it". That was the difference, he was a very humble man, very knowledgeable and so was the whole crew.
Cro-Mags at the BNB Bowl, 2010, Photo: Stress
Nobody likes people that have egos and act like rock stars. The Bad Brains were the exact opposite and they were the baddest motherfuckers ever and they were the humblest, so that should tell you something.
Me, this is my thing: I don't drink, I don't take drugs. [A random dude sitting next to us during the interview puts his beer down]. Hah, he put his beer down! I don't paint X's on my hands and I don't preach to people...and that was my problem with all the vegan straight edge. A lot of them in the States were a bunch of assholes that thought they were better than everybody else. They talked down to people; they were up here, and you are down there. That's all bullshit. Those dudes are all eating fucking McDonald's and shooting heroin now! You can't be a fucking dick like that.
You got to help people out of compassion. That's why I wrote the book. I've gotten five hundred e-mails at least, saying: "Dude, the book makes so much sense. I've gotten off all the processed food. I gave up meat. I'm starting to work out again." That to me means everything. Money means shit. But if I can help someone…and every person you make vegetarian/vegan saves a thousand animals. That is the greatest work ever!
A Cro-Magnum sing along at BNB Bowl 2010, Photo: Future Breed
Whatever it takes to wake the male population up. No one has ever written a book like this that got in the face of the men from whom I was told that vegans and vegetarians look like skinny little pussies. That's why I threw it back in their face.
Even before Best Wishes I was working on those songs with Harley and I left just before it was recorded. That's why we still play Crush The Demoniac, because I wrote it. So like I said last night: "The Cro-Mags and what it stands for is bigger than any individual, it's about the message of the fucking band". And back in the day, everybody that came together made that band. If you would have taken out Mackie, Parris, Harley or me, there would have been no Cro-Mags. I mean Doug didn't write anything, and he came in right before the record. He gets no credit. He didn't write any of the songs. He just played guitar on the record. This guy [points at Mackie], me, Harley and Parris were responsible for the Age of Quarrel, the demo and even part of Best Wishes. So if you are going to remove anyone of those from the equation there would be no Cro-Mags.
That's where we differ. Those dudes [referring to Harley and Parris] tries to act like they were the Cro-Mags and nobody else mattered. I don't say that. I say everybody was an integral part of that band at that time. But the reason we are out doing it is because we kept the PMA. We kept the Positive Mental Attitude. If those dudes want to talk shit and do all this other stuff and whatever and write shit on the internet, be my fucking guest. But doing shows like this is what it's all about. We tried to get it together with Harley, and it just created more problems then what it was worth. So fuck it.
Cro-Mags at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Carl Gunhouse
Cro-Mags fans, it's all about being a seeker of the truth. You got to get to the bottom and the truth of everything. That's why we're still out doing what we do and I chant everyday. Still to this day, people ask me "Are you still into Krishna?" What do you think? It's like some fad, "I was into rave music and parachute pants and platforms and now I'm not"? It's a life-long process, where we all have to purify ourselves. So read Prabhupada's books every day and chant. You don't need these bogus gurus; that's what I got to say. It's a cult. They turned it into a cult. You are not allowed to question what they do. They are untouchable. Bullshit. I want to know everything they do. And anyone who wants to know, you can know!
The members of The Beatles were great sadhus in their last life. The Beatles, the biggest fucking band ever...hey were so affected by Prabhupada, because at first they served another "guru" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but then they found out he was banging all the female disciples. Then they looked at Prabhupada and he slept on the floor, he cooked for everybody, he served everybody. Humility. They knew that Prabhupada was a real sadhu, a really special person and acknowledged that whatever his mission is we need to help.
Did you see the tribute concert they did for George Harrison? Tom Petty got up and he said in front of every major music star and celebrity in the world in this theatre and he goes: "Right now I want you to do something that would make George very happy. Are you ready?" And the audience say "Yeah". Tom Petty continues: "Everybody say: Hare Krishna" and the whole audience said "Hare Krishna". George was an amazing, amazing person.
It's not about materialism. You can have all the money in the world and guess what? You can't stop death from coming. When it's your time no amount of money is gonna stop death.
That's why at forty-eight years old… Motherfuckers say: "How long are you going to keep doing this?" What do you mean? When I don't feel it in my heart anymore. But I hope to be playing until it's time to leave the world because I believe what I'm saying on stage. The lyrics are based on Prabhupadas teachings and what I've been through in my life. So how can I ever turn away from that and be like: "I don't believe in this anymore"? Then kill me. That's what I say, because then my life is over.
The Bad Brains and all these bands that I was listening to were trying to make me aware and conscious. That's what needs to come back into the music. Not: "I can dance like this and have tattoos and do this and do that". Because those are the people who are not going to stay with it. So when you ask: "How long are you going to keep doing this?" Why should I stop? I didn't get into it to make money. If that was the case I would have left a long time ago. It's not about money. It's about: "I feel it in my heart". You can't fake what we do. That’s real shit; I'm not bragging. If I go on stage and I don't feel it in my heart, then it's over.
JJ brings it with the Cro-Mags at Super Rock, Photo: Sebastian Delacruz
Hopefully we will get this new album going. One thing is for sure, we would rather not do it than to do something half-assed. So we don't talk; we will just do it and put it out. Then we will be back man.
You should ask Craig "Ahead" a few questions now. The man is a fucking legend, but humble like I said.
Craig "Ahead": Playing with Sick Of It All is the first priority; it's my band. But I love the Cro-Mags, they are my friends. They ask me to play, which is an honor, so I do play. So whenever I have the time and when Sick Of It All is not touring I play with the Cro-Mags, whenever possible. Because I enjoy it very much: great music with a great and important message. The traveling with Cro-Mags is very fun but also includes good conversations. We talk about many things that make me feel very much like a grown man. It's man talk of good topics between men. It's not nonsense talk about bullshit.
John Joseph: May I ask a question? How long have you been a vegetarian Craig?
Craig "Ahead": Between two and three years. I've not had a drink in eight.
Craig, JJ and Mackie with the Cro-Mags, Photo: Susanhek.com