Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jon Roa - Addiction / End To End

You can't find too many dudes who were moshing to Uniform Choice in 1984 with an X on their hand and yet are still living and breathing the life today. It's like old mob guys...a lot retire or head south - very, very few continue to really stay in the mix. Jon Roa may not be moshing to UC today with an X on his hand, but you know what I'm saying. Dude has been in the trenches and has all the tales we want to hear. Tons of topics and he'll be back here soon to give you more, but we started now with a two-part piece on Addiction/End To End.

Dedicated To The Emotion. -DCXX

Give us the whole scoop on Addiction and End To End and what the difference was between the two bands you fronted?

Addiction was myself on vocals, Erik Egan on Bass, Tom Browne
(Collision) on guitar and some really good rock drummer who I met. Bryan Bos later joined and we played four shows. It was really primal. A lot like DC Youth Brigade, which is good, but I wanted it to be more like the Necros. Unfortunately, the chemistry was not there. Tom was not all that committed on any level and I wanted something more vital. We had a full set of twelve songs of which I think Tom has a high quality practice tape (ED. Note: WE NEED THIS.). I have not spoken to him since I informed him that I thought that he and I should not play in a band together. The difference was a whole new set and Shawn Connell on guitar.

Addiction was my idea. I thought of the name because it worked two
fold in that it addressed the drug taking sect as well as the overbearing new sXe faction that I saw coming into the scene. I thought that the new guard was being obsessed or "addicted" to being part of what was now the "Straight Edge Movement." I always thought that not taking drugs was, in of itself, not good enough. One had to accomplish something, be mindful of others and how the world works and/or should work. The goal of Addiction was to join up with other bands to communicate and rebel. I think that this was a common goal at the time.

Addiction had 10 songs, as I was really hard on those guys to create
and work at being in a band. My band background is filled with people who are extremely prolific workaholics with demanding personalities (Ryan Hoffman is one) and I thank each and every one of them for being that way and making me not settle for less.

The band ended when I dolled out responsibilities (pay rent for
practice place, call this person, do this, I will do that, etc.) and Tom did not do his share and decided to hang out with his girlfriend at the time. Fair enough. Who am I to tell him what should be his priorities? I called him up (should have done it in person) and told him to focus on his girlfriend and I will take care of the band. It was done.

I called Shawn as Pissed Happy Children were breaking up and asked him to join. He said yes and we played a show six weeks later (we practiced four times a week for three hours until that show).

This ties into maybe the most recognizable piece of history that exists in regard to this band: the famed ADDICTION t-shirt. Bootlegged and imitated, what is the real scoop on this t-shirt? From California photos around '89, it seems like everyone is wearing one. What are the full details on this shirt? Where did the line "Dedicated To The Emotion" come from and what did it mean to you? Would you agree with me that this is one of the coolest hardcore shirts ever known to mankind - and was that the consensus at the time?

Hey! First thanks for the compliment. I think that the artwork of a band is a big part of a band and to read that, well, it makes me think that I did something right. Second, the bootleg thing bums me out. Third, I only saw one photo with someone wearing one (Kevinsted) and I was pretty stoked as he is truly a nice person (not cool, not friendly but NICE). I try to remember every detail about every band I was in so yes I remember that 24 of these shirts were made. Twelve with "Dedicated to the Emotion" on the lower front. Five were sold for ten dollars each. The rest were given out during a Chain Of Strength "Silver Sleeve" tour. I waited to make the shirts until we played our first show. I paused because at the time, it seemed that shirts were more important than the bands so I purposely held off making anything for the band. It would seem that this would be easy but plenty of bands worked it the opposite way. I was not disappointed that people wanted to buy the shirt but then again, they had never seen us play. Dedicated to the Emotion was an Addiction song and here are the lyrics:

Dedicated to the Emotion.
As you will see, time will tell.

I have no rules, slogans to offer.

No package for you to buy or sell.

I have an anger that makes me remember
What I have to offer (and it is)

Bigger than ever and will live many lives.

What I have is:

(Chorus): A mission.

Dedicated to the Emotion.

I will be here. I'm not gone.

I have no rhyme or movement to join.

I have no easy way out.

I have to stay away from that

Which is sold/forced on me.

Song is done, now move on.

You say, "It's old to me."

Well what I have is:

A mission.

The statement meant that the emotion would always be there. That
rebellious thought keeps me honest and forbids me from shopping at Wal-Mart and other exploitive big chains as much as possible. It makes me pay a little more at the local grocer. It keeps me making decisions based on principle and not merely sense gratification. It keeps me asking myself the question, "Should I do something simply because I can or should I refrain for a more important reason?"

The shirt was extremely well received and I thought that was pretty
cool, actually. I was going to make a few more but the person who made the screen had a heart attack and died! His family sold his business and with it went the screens. I like the shirt but I sincerely think that the Botch shirt with the sailors is the coolest shirt ever made and I own two and will probably by another one just in case!

What shows were played, or how many, under the name Addiction?

Two with Chain of Strength. One with Reason to Believe. One with Infest.

Who picked the name End To End? Did you have any different ideas for End To End now that there was a name change?

Ryan Hoffman from Chain thought of the name. He looked around my room
and saw the Henry Rollins book of the same name and simply said it. I liked it. The meaning is in the liner notes of the repress on Indecision Records. I worded it pretty well and do not want to screw it up by adding or omitting anything. The name change offered us to start anew but really, we just wanted to be a band with a powerful sound and message that did not require any type of pose. The bands I was into at the time were just like us in thought: Reason to Believe, Infest and, although I never knew them, Left Insane. These bands looked like normal kids, acted like normal people but seemed to be on a musical mission. I loved that Infest were into hardcore. That was it: hardcore. They walked it, talked it bought into it and lived it. They were not good looking and into fashion but they were also not anti-fashion. They were real, nice and honest. They played OC and got booed because they did not fit the mold. Never mind that the people booing them could not tell you one damn thing about HC before they themselves got into it. Infest were old school….real old school. Matt was at the first gig I ever attended. He was into it for generations. He is a solid guy.

Um, what was the question?

The recorded material that exists for End To End is a mere three tracks. How do you describe these songs? Were they what you envisioned?

I was satisfied with that recording for many reasons. One is that we
did everything in one single take. We layered the guitar with a second track but that was done in one take as well. Once we set up, the recording took as long as the record plays which is 15 minutes max. It was exactly what we sounded like and we were tight. It was exactly how I thought we would sound keeping in mind that it was only a demo. The studio was $25 an hour so with set up, rough mix and finding "our sound" the whole thing cost $50 dollars. I would describe those songs as Necros meets Black Flag.

1 comment:

Qdude said...

Hard to the Core. Roa's real. Believe.