Monday, April 11, 2011

Jules - Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd 2011 Interview Part III

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Jules with Side By Side at the CBGB's Shutdown show, Photo: Jennifer Buck Knies


In case you missed parts 1 and 2:
Jules - Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd Part I
Jules - Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd Part II
More records from his collection up for auction very soon right here on DCXX, and MUCH more of this interview to come as well. Alex!!! -Gordo DCXX

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Sammy with Side By Side at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Bri Hurley

Then there was the “Shut Down” show...I think a lot has been said about this event, probably too much. Here's some more.

First of all, nobody that I knew went into the show with some defiant mission against CBGB’s, least of all me. I never really liked the owners of CB’s, but that was more of a personal thing. This was a big show – because by October 1987, both GB and Side By Side had pretty much come into their own - not quite headliners, but getting close. So the bill with YOT headlining was pretty impressive – and I was psyched.

The Pagan Babies, from Philly, opened. They start their set, and these two huge (and I am not exaggerating, these were big dudes) latino skinheads set up right in front of the band, on the edge of the stage. And though they looked like skinheads, they were not from the scene. I certainly had never seen them before, and back then I pretty much knew everybody. Even crouched, these guys completely obscured the performers. The band couldn’t move around or anything because the stage was so small. Worse, anytime a kid in the pit would try to plant a foot for a stage dive, these guys would push him down. Now, New York is a hard venue if you are from out of town, so I felt pretty bad for the Pagan Babies. Not only did they have to win the crowd over, but the few kids that wanted to go off were totally gimped by these “bouncers.” In short, I think their set was disappointing, all things considered.

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Alex with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Chris Daily

We were watching this from behind the band, and grumbling about it. I turned to somebody next to me and asked “are they going to do this during our sets too?” Somewhere along the line, a plan was hatched to bum rush these guys. Not to take them out, but to overwhelm them and stage dive past them. I don’t remember who played next, Side By Side or GB, but on the first note, the first drumbeat, a bunch of us ran up and dove into the crowd, Jason Krakdown and Gus Straight Edge taking point. The bouncers didn’t know what hit them. The whole time they were focused on the kids in the pit, they weren’t expecting the guys behind them to do anything. Well, seeing this, the kids in the pit started getting more aggressive. It kind of looked like whack-a-mole: kids would constantly pop up to get on stage and the bouncers would push their heads down. Meanwhile, Jason and Gus continued their rampage. They would actually plant their feet on the bouncer’s backs, step up and flip over their heads into the crowd. And then they’d come back and do it again. The bouncers were completely frustrated.

Jason and Gus were no joke. One of them, and I think it was Jason (if I am wrong, Gus forgive me, it’s been 24 years), was flipping over the bouncer on stage right, and the bouncer stood up and grabbed Jason’s legs. So, the bouncer was holding him upside down at the edge of the stage, and he was just sort of hanging there. Jason wraps his arms around the bouncer’s legs and they start wrestling, Jason upside down the whole time. The bouncer eventually lost his footing and fell sideways. If you’ve never been to CB’s, there was a narrow walkway past that side of the stage (it was how you got to the bathroom – but I don’t know anybody who used THAT bathroom). At the matinees, that side stage area was where the girls hung out, because they could get close enough to see the bands without getting stomped on. So here comes this giant skinhead, still wrestling Jason, crashing down on top of all these girls – who were not about to catch these guys. They scream and get out of the way, so there’s really nothing breaking the fall. Crash! I remember thinking “Jason must be dead.”

With the bouncer gone, the kids started pouring onto that side of the stage – but they didn’t dive back into the pit, they started piling on top of the bouncer and Jason. The bodies kept piling up and piling up – now I was sure Jason was dead. Girls are screaming while getting shoved out of the way by this massive pile on. Eventually, kids started extracting themselves one by one. Finally, Jason pops up on stage like nothing happened, and stage dives into the crowd. The bouncer was the last to get up – he had been on the bottom the whole time! He was totally dazed. After this the kids were relentless, and by the end of the third set, the bouncers just gave up; when YOT played, it was like they weren’t even there.

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Jules and the CBGB's Shutdown show crowd, Photo: Jennifer Buck Knies

Now, what I did not know was that CBGB’s had recently been sued because some kid at another show had broken something stage diving. I broke my nose at a Pyramid show – in fact Djinji elbowed me, unintentionally. It remains broken to this day. Some kid at the Anthrax broke his leg at a Side By Side show. It happens. To my knowledge, this was the only lawsuit (or threatened lawsuit) against a venue for a kid getting hurt moshing. Anyway, knowing what I know now about premises liability and duties owed to business invitees – I can certainly see Hilly’s perspective. I don’t know that his solution – putting giant dudes that nobody knew in front of the bands on stage – was the best idea, but he was just acting to protect his interests.

But as a 16 year-old (I think I was still a sophomore in high school) what I perceived was that our stage had been hijacked. In my mind at the time, when we were on stage it was ours...it was the kids' stage. And hardcore without the freedom to go off, and interact with the crowd was like a cold cup of coffee – not worth a damn. So, during Side By Side’s set I said some pretty thankless things about CB’s. That really got under Hilly’s skin.

Anyway, after the show – he pulled all the bands aside, singling me out particularly, and told us it was “our fault” that he was going to stop the Sunday matinees. Let’s face it, I may have ranted (which I had the habit of doing on stage), but there was unified defiance that day. The "rebellion" started before I said anything. And while it was easy to single out something I might have said, Hilly was going to stop the matinees anyway – if those bouncers couldn’t stop us, nobody could, and he knew it.

And nobody was particularly apologetic while Hilly was scolding us. In fact, at that moment there was a sense of accomplishment, if anything – we had taken back our stage, and it was one of the best shows ever. Hell, “Shut Down!” became like a battle cry for a while. Project X named a song after it. Now, hindsight being 20/20, it is hard to keep a live music scene going without a venue. And once that realization started to set in, a lot of people, other bands especially, got pretty pissed off. I remember Underdog had gotten back together and I think those guys had an upcoming show that was cancelled. I think a lot of people may have blamed YOT, I think many may have blamed me. It was bigger than me though.

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Jules with Side By Side at CBGB, NYC, Photo: Bri Hurley


Later, some of the bands went to Hilly to work things out, the matinees started up again – without stagediving. My understanding is the scene was more “self policing,” the bands actually told kids not to stage dive. This is how Hilly should’ve handled it in the first place. If Hilly had come to Ray, Civ and I and explained the situation – we probably would’ve worked with him. And eventually the whole thing blew over, and things pretty much went back to normal. I remember going back to CB’s sometime later and seeing Judge and stagediving to “Hear Me.” So all the concern that the bands would have nowhere to play was a little alarmist.

But if the only venues we ended up playing were in VFW halls in Lititz, Pennsylvania, then so be it. I think this is what may have been very different about me; it was more important to have one great show at the risk of getting banned, than to have a mediocre show in order to be able to play again. Maybe it depends on your definition of a “great show.” For me, it wasn’t a great show if it wasn’t total pandemonium, both onstage and off. If it was going to be limited, it wasn’t worth it. Realistically, though, that type of attitude is too inflexible. It's not sustainable.

Here’s the thing: I did not care if my band was a success, or if we ever played CB’s again. Side By Side was not my vocational dream, it was not my business plan. All I cared about was the moment. You're Only Young Once was Eric's song, but in his earlier drafts, the lyrical content carried a message a lot more like Young 'Til I Die (7 Seconds - later covered by War Zone), than what it ended up being. I tweaked the message a bit. For instance, in one line, "eternally kids, sticking together" I added a question mark, which completely changed the whole thing. For me hardcore was about seizing the now. Minor Threat warned that we were all heading inevitably to that "adult crash." Side By Side said "before you get there live by your own rules." It was never about making it last.

The irony, however, is not lost on me that I am doing this interview a quarter of a century later...

TO BE CONTINUED


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Jules, Lars and Eric with Side By Side at The Anthrax, Norwalk CT, Photo: Chris Daily

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another cool installment!

Really looking forward to his thoughts on the one show I got to see SBS at, the Jan 1989 Roger Miret benefit!

MCS

Brandon said...

Such a cool story! Can't wait for the next chapter!

sajid said...

Such great stuff. Thank you DCXX and Jules!

kaprookie said...

What a great account of that day. I was there and it was just as crazy as Jules described. What a great memory.

Anonymous said...

This story is timeless. And endless. On and on and on and on and on and on.............

Jose said...

"At the matinees, that side stage area was where the girls hung out, because they could get close enough to see the bands without getting stomped on. "

dun dun dun....

Anonymous said...

best interview you guys have done yet. hope you guys asked him about the edge.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Thanks DCXX.

Anonymous said...

not only has this interview been great, but the photos are even better.

Anonymous said...

i just feel like that dude is sitting next to me

Stark-Arts said...

i know there is going to be that same backlash as last time -

the fact is that at cb's the area to the left on way to the bathroom and most of the time it was filled with women and people that didn't want to be in the pit but still be close to the band...

one way or the other - great interview.

Yehuda said...

Really enjoy this interview.

Lately, there have been a few times when I was almost embarrassed to be associated with "hardcore", e.g. when you meet someone, you tell them you like hardcore, and this person replies, oh, you mean like Hatebreed?
So it's nice to read an interview by someone who has actually something to tell and doesn't come across as an idiot.

Navy Jim said...

Great stuff,great to hear Jules's words,He was always a cool guy and I have great memories of hanging out with him...I see people saying there will be backlash about what he is saying,but keep in mind this was the 1980's and that's how it was..he's only speaking the truth

Anonymous said...

Paging Mike Judge, paging Mike Judge...

Anonymous said...

Mike isn't fed up anymore.

pandemonium said...

cool story. but not the best. how about the crash between the boston and new york crews back in '82. every hardcore punk band from the 80's has good stories to tell. riot riot!!!!.

Anonymous said...

hey pandemonium, can you link me to your blog where you have published better stories?

Chad said...

Nothing to slag jules on re: describing the area where the girls hung out. Describing things as they were is not the same as using misogynistic language in the present. Now, the fact that this situation existed and still exists is unfortunate. I understand going off, feeling and being moved by the music, but moshing was/is fucking stupid; ditto stage diving. Fuck all you privileged self-important fucks forcing to the back and sides those who don't want to be pushed/shoved/jostled/jumped on, just so you have can flex your muscles. Dumb tradition. Go to the gym instead.

One of the great things about Fugazi shows was that they wouldn't tolerate this bullshit. They understood that most people came to see the band, and the the minority were ruining the experience. And they'd cut that crap immediately.

The more recent trend of staking out your space (or not) and wildly swinging punches and pulling pseudo-ninja moves also needs to go.

Apologies for this side bar, but since it was brought up...

Anonymous said...

I think the similarities with the NYHC scene and bands like Fugazi are too numerous to name!

Leon Oats said...

Chad - Funny you mention how it sucks to have people moshing and stage diving at hardcore shows. What weirdos right? I can't stand that shit either. I also don't like how it's so loud and fast. It's like, turn the volume down you fucking weirdos! Reminds me of when I was in high school and tired out for the football team. These jerks had the nerve to bump into me, knock me over and some times tackle me when I had the ball! I thought to myself, you guys are a bunch of animals. I was just trying to enjoy myself with a game of football and some muscle head had to flex his filthy muscles on me. I ended up joining the leather club, it was still sorta "full contact" at times, but this time around it hurt so good. So screw those rude jocks and harsh hardcore dancers. I'd rather sit indian style in a vfw hall and watch Fugazi too.

GG64 said...

I saw Fugazi live once and I have to admit that was one boring show

SALLY said...

CHAD: YOU ARE ON THE WRONG BLOG, BUD. SERIOUSLY, GO KNIT A FUCKING SWEATER OR SOMETHING!!!

LEON OATS: YOU ARE MY HERO...A COMEDIC GENIUS.

JULES: YOU ARE AWESOME, THEN AND NOW.

TIM & GORDO: PLEASE POST PART IV ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Chad ... you are one pussified enigma.

Not Chad said...

Chad, how are your fingers? I know that the keyboard can sometimes be VERY nasty. Is your monitor screen too bright on your eyes? Do you have a nice little pillowy pad on your seat? I want to make sure...because sometimes going on the computer to outwardly explain that you are a PUSSY can be a little rough.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Chad. Fuck all that idiotic stagediving shit. You want to do that--indeed, go play football. At least Chad can write with precision and honesty and intellect, which is more than I can say for the idiots using all caps and sexist bullshit language.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Hipsters have ruined the hardcore scene too....Go to a Coldplay show if you just want to sit a watch

Richard Simmons said...

I'm with Chad too!
Love ya big guy! Seeya at spin class!

Floyd said...

Chad, email me that daiquiri recipe you were tweeting about!!!

flowerpoetry@gmail.com

Kisses!
Floyd

Anonymous said...

I just watched straight aheads cb's show from 88. What a bunch of idiotic football players - I literally mean everyone, everywhere. Football ruined hc.

Anonymous said...

WAY too sensitive.

It's a fact that the area to the left of the CB's stage often had a large percentage of girls compared to other areas of the club.

Anonymous said...

I see where Chad is coming from. Tonight I went to a bar and people had the audacity to get drunk and act like jackasses. The nerve!

Chad said...

You guys are seriously missing the point. The majority of people don't go to shows to mosh and stage dive, they go to see bands, and they don't really enjoy being shoved, trampled, or worse. So, the few who are moshing, stage diving, etc. really do ruin the experience. Clearly, you don't care. I just don't understand: if you are NOT going to WATCH the band, why don't you jump off of shit and run in circles AWAY from the stage? Actually, I lie; I DO understand. Stage diving is primarily about being seen. Dudes are always bragging about how many times they dove at whatever show. Not too long ago, though, the only people moshing at SXE shows were the clueless punks/hessians that wandered in to the loud/fast show.

There is a distinct subset of SXE, which is strongly represented on this blog (well, in its comments) that is oddly and utterly selfish. It begins with the decision not to abuse your body with drugs, which is great, but extends to everything else. Me me me. I don't get it, because while bands are singing about unity, anti-oppression, and respect, you guys are sitting around calling each other bitches, pussies, and faggots, and not caring about anyone's experience except your own.

Anyway, I'm glad you are merely a vocal minority and not the real face of SXE. Some would argue that you aren't really straight edge at all; you are just aging jocks who like hardcore.

Anonymous said...

Chad--- this is really getting funny. Please tell us more about yourself, the bands you are into, and what you think a hardcore show should be like. I'm really genuinely interested.

Anonymous said...

Haha.
This guy is a fucking dork.
What an absolute load of pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

puke said...

for the love of god please tell me this chad douche is alone here!

Anonymous said...

@chad

"i'll tell you stage dives make me feel more alive than coded messages in slowed down songs."

fiftytrt said...

Chad,Keep your "holier than thou" comments to yourself....."live your life and i'll live mine"

Chad said...

Sorry, dudes. I had a pretty severe mishap this week while "gerbiling". Little guy got wedged in there pretty good and it brought back claustrophobic memories from the Dashboard Confessional mosh pit at Bamboozle fest from way back in the day.

But thankfully Herbie, my spelunking rodent is free now, albeit coated in shit and some other kind of goo, but I feel like my old skankin' self again. Just to prove it I'm gonna bitch slap my own pussy while circle pitting to Red Medicine. I'll post photos soon.

Anyway, forgive me for being the quintessential fuckwad that I am. Gotta go fellate my rodent back to life now. Mosh on brothers. Mosh the fuck on!

Gerbil Jiggler said...

Ok...that was hilarious.

Coolest guy here said...

Hardcore is dead. That's why this blog mainly deals with bands from 'back then'.. cause all the new shit is garbage and sucks balls. Hardcore is a bunch of jocks, fake-ass gangstas and douchebags now. Everyone can go fuck themselves.
The only so called re-union that even matters nowadays is Sheer Terror. FTW.

stephen said...

since someone asked, no, chad is not alone on this one. in real life, off of this blog, his objections are pretty common and i'm surprised that y'all are so shocked to hear them.

Anonymous said...

"off this blog"... ?

so you say, outside the hc "scene" nobody is into hc dancing - hence kids should stop it?

good point, fool.

bee said...

lmao at these comments. never change dcxx!

Anonymous said...

Hardcore just isn't hardcore anymore. Why is everyone so fucking p.c nowadays? Shut the fuck up and go check out an acoustic set by Hootie & the blowfish.

Chad said...

An example of why stage diving and moshing are a bad idea:

http://xstuckinthepastx.blogspot.com/2011/04/mike-bird-buffalo-kid-who-needs-your.html

With best wishes to Mike Bird.

Anonymous said...

'With best wishes to Mike Bird'

Yeah right you patronizing fuck head!

The guy doesn't want you're pity or moralizing.. They just need your help. Are you fucking retarded?

'The community aspect of hardcore is something that transcends the boundaries of cities, crews, cliques, scenes, and sub-genres.
We are ALL hardcore kids; we're all cut from the same cloth.
We ALL go to shows, we ALL stage dive, and we've ALL had our share of mishaps.

It could have been any one of us in Mike Bird's shoes.
He just happened to draw the short straw that night and get knocked down.
But as we all know, when someone gets knocked down in hardcore, we PICK THEM BACK UP.'

Anonymous said...

Smoke one! or two..... and shut the fuck up

Anonymous said...

F.T.W. & ya mama- to these lames on here

Respect to Jules~! a N.Y.H.C. Legend