Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Interview with Jules Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd PART I

Alex and Jules at The Anthrax with Side By Side, Photo courtesy of: Jules

Here it is, his first published interview since 1989. This is going to be posted in many installments over the next few weeks, and will cover everything you'll want to hear from Jules. In case you missed it, Jules is auctioning his own records here on DCXX, with all money going towards the Japanese Relief Effort. More to come but here's the first round:

We are beyond psyched to have Jules on board and hope everyone digs this and appreciates the fact that he has really given us a lot of his time and energy. I could say many great things about him - but I think this interview will speak for itself loud and clear. Thanks Jules. -Gordo DCXX

Jules with Alone In A Crowd at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules

What was it that attracted you to the energy of the NYC hardcore scene? What was it that was happening, or better yet, not happening in your home town to cause you to seek out new surroundings and people in NYC?

In short, massive dissatisfaction with the way things were in the mid 80’s. I lived in Weehawken, NJ – which, for those of you who don’t know, is directly across the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan. Not what I would call a suburb. Growing up, my parents worked in the City, so I went to schools in NYC, first in the West Village and then in Brooklyn. So I really didn’t connect much to my “home town” to begin with – most of my friends were in the City.

The mid-eighties mainstream was a musical wasteland. A list of the top five Billboard top 100 pop songs in 1985 speaks volumes:

1. Careless Whisper, Wham!
2. Like a Virgin, Madonna
3. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham!
4. I Want to Know What Love Is, Foreigner
5. I Feel for You, Chaka Khan

Alex Brown and Jules with Side By Side, Photo courtesy of: Jules

And what were the alternatives? My parents lived next to a gas station and every weekend kids would sit there with a boombox, beers, and a bag of weed, and listen to Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Pink Floyd... every weekend... over and over and over again. Now, those bands were alright (in any event, better than _ _ _ _ ing Wham!) – but they were already classic rock. It was someone else’s music, if that makes any sense. You could not go see those bands (hell, Jim Morrison died a few months after I was born). The closest thing to a live show with them was the Pink Floyd laser show at the Planetarium (which was a favorite if you liked to drop acid, which I didn’t). Then there were the dead heads – do I even need to go there? College/new wave bands existed, I suppose. But I just wasn’t into the “look at me, I’m so artsy” crap. House music? No. Some Hip Hop was pretty good – and got better through the late 80’s, but let’s face it, I was not B-Boy material.

None of this really connected with me. Add teenage hormones, a general lack of supervision from parents who had to work nights, and a profound hatred of all things high school -- I felt isolated, and in one of the most densely populated areas of the United States. So I carried this anger. I was an angry kid.

Side By Side's first show at CBGB, NYC, Photo courtesy of: Jules

What were the punk and hardcore bands that you connected with most? Who had songs, lyrics, etc. that resonated with you the most? Do you still consider yourself a fan of these bands?

I was not an “old school” punk kid. You won’t hear me talking about me hanging out at A7 or being a part of anything that came before the mid 80’s. I wasn’t a “cool kid,” and didn’t have an older sibling or a babysitter who had a killer record collection and taught me the entire history of punk rock. I didn’t know anything.

Luke (GB, Warzone) was a classmate of mine in Brooklyn (before I got thrown out). He was the drummer in a band called Loud And Boisterous, which emulated the older style bands (MDC, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Murphy’s Law, AF, Minor Threat). The other guys in the band were a lot older than Luke and I. So I got a lot of exposure to the earlier generation hardcore music hanging with them. Eric (Side By Side, Uppercut) was a little older than Luke and I, and he hung with LAB as well. Eric and I messed around with a band very early on, but it was a disaster – I couldn’t play anything but the radio (I tried drumming and totally sucked); he could play, but he wanted to do this nihilistic punk stuff (at one time he had a 2’ Mohawk spiked with Knox gelatin). It didn’t fit, and nothing ever came of it. Anarchy was not me. Eric and I pretty much stopped hanging out together after awhile.

By this time I was pretty familiar with the older hardcore stuff – I found myself drawn mostly to the NYHC grassroots – NYC Mayhem (who Eric liked and introduced to me), Agnostic Front, I even saw Reagan Youth once (they were actually pretty good live). When I was pretty young (14 or so) there was a whole slew of bands that were "established" and you didn't necessarily have to be part of the scene to know them or know when they were playing. I remember seeing Samhain, MDC, Butthole Surfers... but these were generally out of town bands, playing bigger venues, like the (new) Ritz. It was expensive, and there was a lot of separation between the band and the audience. And none of those bands were saying anything meaningful – to me at least. MDC were hyper political and went on and on about some oppressed tribe out in the southwest I never heard of. I was 14 years old – I couldn’t vote, what was I going to do? Write my congressman? So I ended up feeling pretty disconnected from this too.

Unlike me, Luke was in tune with the newer scene, which was about to break. He was dissatisfied with LAB’s “old school” style and he wasn’t at all into the drugs (some of the old LAB crowd were heavy into drugs—a few of them ended up in really bad shape). He kept playing newer stuff for them, saying “we should be playing stuff like this!” The stuff he was playing: War Zone, Straight Ahead, etc. Straight Edge had been established by the DC and Boston Scene – but this was the first time I ever heard “positivity” being used in the same breath as hardcore. This was something new. So I would say Luke is probably the person who first exposed me to the music that truly resonated with me. Straight Ahead was a natural fit for me because of Mayhem.

Someone goes for a dive at The Anthrax during Side By Side, Photo courtesy of: Jules

War Zone. The demo with the lineup of Raybeez, Todd youth, Batmite (he looked exactly like the cartoon character), and Charlie Ultraviolence, the one with all the vocal reverb, was the best thing I ever heard. War Zone doesn’t get much respect these days, it seems – I guess this is due to their later incarnations which were pretty bad. But back then, they were the _ _ _ _. They were going to be the next big NYHC band following AF and the Cro-Mags. However, Ray couldn’t keep the lineup together and they broke up right when I really started hanging out at CB’s and on the lower east side on a regular basis.

Something that needs to be understood: around this time, the NYHC scene had been notoriously exclusive, and most “old timers” were dicks to the new kids. There were exceptions, of course. Roger and Vinny from Agnostic Front, for example – they were always cool to me anyway, but generally it was pretty intimidating if you weren’t in the “in crowd.” Not Raybeez – the song “_ _ _ _ Your Attitude” says it all. He encouraged the new jacks, like me, both personally and through the music. And make no mistake, Raybeez was instrumental in bridging the gap between the old NYHC crew and the Youth Crew, the skinheads and the straight edge.

With War Zone defunct (at least for the time being), I turned to the other bands that were part of this next generation hardcore...


A Side By Side sing-a-long at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules


HUMP said...

cant wait for the next installment!

Anonymous said...



fuckenles said...

He hit the nail on the head with his Warzone observation.. That 'Street Kids' demo was what NYHC was all about around '86/'87.. lyrics, crappy sound, attitude, everything. They shoulda blew up with Jay and Paul in the band after recording DFTS... but then the 90's happened. Weird shit.
Altercation/Side by Side/Warzone @ CB's, still one of my favorite shows to this day..
Great post. looking forward to the rest..

Anonymous said...

Holy _ _ _ _!That interview was _ _ _ _ _ _ _ awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

that last pic is great. classic anthrax crowd shot... with the exception of the kid in the lower right hand corner, who looks completely horrified!!!

Horizons Inc. said...

This is truely what I had been waiting for to happen on this site...
Side by Side were the very best of their peers, and Alone in a Crowd had this remarkable one-off show. I still can paraphrase all of Jules' words between songs.
There is alot of energy and somewhat simplistic positivity in all recordings I know. Does anyone remember the classic Crucial Chaos? That is like so much fun - without being funny
Excited about the whole interview...
' is only the beginning'

Anonymous said...


Ben Edge said...

Knox gelatin makes you look like you have gigantic dandruff flakes in your hair. I tried it only once.

Jim Pitts said...

I think my nipples got hard reading this! LOL

ShayKM said...

'around this time, the NYHC scene had been notoriously exclusive, and most “old timers” were dicks to the new kids.'

This point holds true for most places in the US at that time.

Great piece. Very nice illustration of that time. People tend to forget that feeling of being the newest or youngest kid in the 'scene'. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

As I recall it, Jules, the 'disastrous' band you had with Eric was called FFC- 'Fight For Civilization.' The song went,

"We're at war with the fucking nation/
We're gonna fight for civilization!"

Mike P. said...

So stoked on this and can't wait for the coming installments. Thanks Double Cross & Jules.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

part 2 NOW. PLEASE!

Anonymous said...


Who of the mid/late-80s recluse guys HASN'T been interviewed for Double Cross? Getting Jules on here is no small feat. I'm sure people bug him for interviews, but Gordo and Tim, clearly you've got the touch. Fixated on the rest of this interview.

Next: Mike Judge. It needs to happen. Here.

Anonymous said...

two more interview requests: tommy carroll (you promised!) and duane rossignol! keep up the great work!

Justin M. said...

This is awesome, if you get Mike Judge and Pat Dubar my life will be complete. Great job DCXX!!!

Steven said...

What a great interview so far... a lot more substance than I was expecting. My hat goes off to you, Jules. Thank you for giving us your time!

Cheesegrater said...

Worth it for the pics alone.

real n.y. hardcore said...

"side by side" is my favourite youth crew band, the "you're only young once" ep is fantastic. raybeez was god, still is. (the chaka khan song is not so bad, though).

hottdogg9000 said...

Love the site and everything about it. You guys seriously need to compile all interviews into a book! This is by far the most comprehensive study/oral history source on the subject. This last installment blew me away. Pat Dubar next.

Ă€ngel.T said...

DCXX you've made my day, Jules thank you for sharing! I really can't wait for the 2nd part!!!!

Anonymous said...

So rad! Enough with the installments, post the entire interview already. Such a great frontman, can't wait to read the rest.

"Look Back at what you've done, don't lose touch with where it all began. Move along with your life, but always look back till' the day you die."

Thank you Jules and DXC.

Jammy Rock said...

One of my favorite _ _ _ _ _ _ _ HC frontmen of all time.

But why the _ _ _ _ is he doing that _ _ _ _? I think we're all big boys, my kids aren't reading.

Yehuda said...

Truly fascinating read. Look forward to the rest.

Thanks to anyone involved in preparing this interview

Anonymous said...

Kids fighting for our dreams
Equal black and white, all extremes
Leaving behind those adult schemes
Living by our own rules
That's our scene
You're only young once
So do it right
You're only young once
So do it right
You're only young once
So do it right
Wasted years you can't get back
Half your life
Spent on the wrong track
Hey, you can't make it last forever
Eternally, kids sticking together

andy said...

thanks tim and gordo. it was really "refreshing" to read this well-written account by one of my all-time favourite vocalists. i only got into hardcore in '91 and soon discovered "side by side" and "alone in a crowd" and both made a lasting impression on me. some jock in high school once challenged me to a fight and i actually went there with "when tigers fight" playing on my walkman, haha. looking forward to the rest of the interview. thank jules!
p.s.: i second the "demands" for a mike ferraro and pat dubar interview.



Really great to see all these positive comments, glad to hear that you guys are all as psyched on this as we are.

This has been one of those goal interviews that Gordo and I set out to do when we launched DCXX, so we really appreciate what Jules has brought to the table.

Trust me, this part 1 is seriously only the tip of the iceberg, so much more coming. Just spent a couple hours this morning scanning Alone In A Crowd negatives that Jules sent me, so expect some cool, never-before-seen shots from that show.

Thanks again for all the positive comments and stay tuned! -Tim DCXX

Gold Frog Digital said...

Great job, guys. Will be looking forward to more installments.

Anonymous said...


skully78 said...


Any chance Jules would be interested in doing a limited series of prints from these negatives as an additional fundraiser for Japan?

I'm not much of a record collector but I'd buy one of these prints in a heartbeat if you were to make them available.

sajid said...

Wow...there's been some amazing stuff on here before but I'm seriously on the edge of my seat waiting for more. Keep it up guys!

Horizons Inc. said...

Thanks for the inspiration:

Mr. Lee said...

Hey Jules... It's been too long! If you're reading this, I hope all is going well.