Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Joe Foster part II

Joe Foster brings us more classic OC history. Throw on your Unity EP and dig into this one... -Gordo DCXX

How did you get into Unity? What was the band like in the beginning and what were some of the early songs you remember writing? What were some memorable early shows and what was the OC scene like at that time?

The original bass player, Joe Naverette, was in my Spanish class. Unity had a different name at the time and the only lasting member was Pat Longrie who later named the band Unity. I think it was my sophomore year in high school and I was still figuring out how to play guitar. Some of the early songs were kind of silly. The only pre-Unity song I remember being kept was called "Scared Straight" and it was about Pat's uncle Pete who died of a heart attack.

One thing a lot of people don't know is there was a band that existed between Unity and Uniform Choice called Winds of Promise. I think I am the only one who has a boom box recording of one of the practices. It was the best band I was ever in for sure…super DC'ed out. We had big Frank Harrison on bass, Pat Longrie, Pat Dubar and me. A lot of future UC and Unity LP songs were written in this band. One for example was "Wish to Dream." The premise for Screaming For Change and other songs can be heard on this tape. I think Man Against Man was also written with WOP. At the time, Gavin Ogelsby thought it was the most unique hardcore he had ever heard and that's a great compliment I'll keep forever. I'm a big fan of Gavin, his art, guitar style etc.

The scene in OC was amazing at this time. Things were still new, sounds were being defined and the whole scene was a group thing, not so much "you're punk and we're hardcore and you're edge and we're Krishna and you're vegan and we're political etc. etc. etc. Regardless of the lyrical content, whether I agreed or not, I was always attracted to the energy and sincerity that the voices had delivering the message. I don't think statements like, "if you see someone hurting a cow you should kill them," are all that positive.

We played a lot at a club in Hollywood call the Cathay de Grande…it was so fun. We got to play with Marginal Man, Stretch Marks, Die Kreuzen etc. I saw Minor Threat play there to thirty people. I met Alec, and Faith is still one of my favorite bands. We ended up playing the last show ever there with Doggy Style and the Mentors.


What can you remember about recording the Unity EP? Are you happy years later listening back to that record? What were the bigger stand out shows you remember Unity playing around that time (1986)?

I remember feeling like a second thought to the person who recorded us. I think it was at a place called Casbah Studios and the engineer was working on the Social D album and I felt he didn't really care about us. Still, being a little kid and recording for the first time was awesome.

As for the LP, Blood Days, I had a rough mix of Pat actually screaming the vocals which I preferred to the final mix where he went back and redid them all smooth.

We did shows with 7 Seconds, a lot of punk bands, Agression, ST, etc. Big shows really didn't start until Fenders, the Olympic Auditorium, and some big roller skating places type of shows. That kinda in my opinion was where the scene got divided and fell about. Gangs, territories, violence, etc. The PMA, posi youth sing along movement kinda died…


What was your relationship like with Uniform Choice? I always view you as the 5th member of sorts. Why weren't you ever in UC? What did you think of Screaming For Change?

Ha. I remember going to Dubar's one day with John the bass player and Pat Longrie to practice. When we got there, Dave Mellow, Vic and Pat Dyson were there jamming…it was kinda weird. They brought the name Uniform Choice over since it was a previous band they were in and Dubar put it on the map. Some WOP songs were used and then the rest were used on Blood Days.

The back album cover of Blood Days is pretty funny because the photo was taken at Pepperdine University where Dubar was on a baseball scholarship. Me and Johnny went surfing that morning and were about 2 hours late for the photo. Pat Longrie was so mad. You can see in the picture him standing on my foot with his cowboy boot. Always makes me laugh. I guess I feel like I was the 5th member of UC too since a lot of the stuff I wrote ended up on Screaming For Change and Wish To Dream, etc.

Mostly I'm stoked on the Screaming album cover where Gavin had removed all our hair and repainted the photograph. You can see me, (the newly painted big headed skin head) with a black sharpie in my hand. I was tagging Unity everywhere but I'm not a tagger...LOL. Just that night only.

On a side note, I met a girl 14 years ago on tour with Ignite in Austria and she got in touch with me late last year. We are now close to getting married. So crazy, my wife through Ignite. We have a funny joke too. She says she went from groupie, to stalker to girlfriend to wife. Hence, I guess our wishes came true…



Anonymous said...

where can we hear the rough mix of Blood Days??

ShayKM said...

Have you thought about posting that practice tape of WOP?

Congrats on the marriage.

Anonymous said...

Things I want soooo bad! Rough mix of Blood Days, 2nd UC LP demo with Pat's more aggressive vocals, and the Winds of Promise demo. What can we do to get these??????

Anonymous said...

killer stuff!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin M. said...

Still have the OG Ignite demo. That thing is great. Too bad Zoli ruined that band.

Anonymous said...

Lets hear it!!!!!!!!

peterwhite said...

zoli ruined that band ??? do yourself a favor: buy new ears.

ladiesfromneptune said...


Anonymous said...

Please give us the chance to listen to the
- rough mix of Blood Days
- Winds of Promise demo
- 2nd UC LP demo with Pat's more aggressive vocals

Mike said...

Zoli did ruin that band. His vocals are terrible.

Emil said...

Joe Foster, you now have no excuse but to convert the tapes to digital and share this material, NO EXCUSE I say!

Anonymous said...

well lets hear it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Justin M. said...

@ Peterwhite: Everything after In My Time sucks. Ignite are a freaking joke and have been since '96.

You are entitled to your opion, but you're still wrong.

Anonymous said...

Zoli - hungarian nazi....

Anonymous said...

Zoli is the opposite of a nazi. so many sick songs. If you don't like Zoli's singing then you're an idiot.

Magnus said...

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jrlhooked said...

Just the set the record straight, I wrote the lyrics for "Scared Straight". I started the band with Pat Longrie, Joe Foster and Joe Navarette. Pat Dubar was a great friend of ours and was actively playing for Uniform Choice. We broke up the band at the end of '84/beginning of '85.

The song was about the daily challenges we (punk rockers) had to deal with in the early 80's growing up in So Cal. Almost daily we would be harassed, chased, etc. while walking down the street.

"I'm afraid to walk the streets alone
I'm afraid of flying sticks and stones..."

I think later, after Unity broke up, when Dubar started singing for Unity some of the lyrics were changed slightly. I personally wrote the lyrics for most of the songs on the ep that was released including Positive Mental Attitude and You are One.

-Rob Lynch