Monday, June 30, 2008

Jimmy Yu - Death Before Dishonor / Judge

Jimmy at his parents house in East Stroudsbrug, PA. Photo: Tim DCXX

One of the most mysterious guys to ever come through the doors of the NYHC scene may in fact be Jimmy Yu. When Tim and I were getting content together for Double Cross, Porcell told us, "Man, you gotta interview Jimmy Yu! He was there from the beginning and he just disappeared! He went from being a lower east side punk to a full on Buddhist!"

Though he was actually from New Jersey, Jimmy lived the NYHC scene every weekend from 1982 on, right alongside a guy known today as Mike Judge. He started Death Before Dishonor with his brother Steve and of course Mike, recruiting another friend to pick up the mic - Mark Ryan (maybe you have heard of him?). DBD would later disband, and Jimmy would be the first bassist in Judge until he vanished in early 1989, never resurfacing.

I was surprised to say the least when it turned out that Jimmy is currently living in the same town as where I grew up (East Stroudsburg, PA), about 10 miles from where my parents still live. Having just received his doctorate in East Asian Buddhist History from Princeton, he's hiding out there with his family until he moves to Florida next month. I got in touch with him, and he was totally down to be interviewed.

I can't say enough cool things about Jimmy – just a class act, super friendly, and you could tell that his time in hardcore meant the world to him and is a major part of who he is. When we brought some old photos his eyes lit up. The guy may have walked away from this life 20 years ago, but you can tell that he took as much of it with him as he could.

This is part one.

-Gordo DCXX

One of the reasons Mike and I got into hardcore was because growing up in Montville (New Jersey), in this upper middle class area, nobody accepted us. He was a little bit chubby, and he worked on a farm, whereas all the other kids had parents that were lawyers and doctors or whatever. And for me, I was Chinese, and we were the only Chinese family in town at that time. We moved there from Taiwan in 1980 when I was in 5th grade. One of the reasons I moved was because my brother Steve got in trouble, he was a screw-up. And my father was a high-ranking government official. So a lot of times my Dad would have to bail him out, and it didn't look good for him. So my Dad said, look, we'll send the two of you to America, you'll get a better education, etc. And so my Mom and Steve and me moved and my Dad stayed. And when we got there, kids had never seen a Chinese person. So the kids would come up to me and say "DO YOU KNOW KUNG FU!? DO YOU KNOW KUNG FU?!" And they would make fun of me. I was kind of an outcast as it was, so this didn't help at all.

Also, my family wasn't doing good, because my Dad stayed behind, and my Mom had been in business but now that wasn't going so well. So it was tough on us. And right when we got there, I would get in fights every day. After school I had to walk past this firehouse, and behind this firehouse there would be these fights every single day. All day these kids would pick on me, and then they would arrange fights for after school, they made me fight, I had no choice. In the beginning I would lose, because I had to learn how to fight these wrestlers, these jocks. I wasn't used to wrestling, we didn't do that in Taiwan. And I got my ass kicked so many times.

But after a while, I wouldn't lose anymore. But I didn't want to fight, I was so sick of it. I would just win and get it over with, as soon as the kid would lunge at me, BOOM! I would just crack them in the nuts. That way I could just go home, so I could watch my TV shows, play guitar, and get on with my life.

They would send kids after me though. This one time they sent the new kid after me, this kid Joe, and he was my friend! We walked home together each day. He was like six feet tall, this big black kid, in 6th grade! But he was like a total teddy bear, a really nice guy. They were like, "Joe, today is your turn! Jimmy said something about your mother!" They made it like "Muhammad Ali versus Bruce Lee," that was how the fight was billed. I was like, "Joe, we walk home together every day! How can you fight me? You know I didn't say that!"

But Joe had to prove himself with this peer pressure crap. And I'm like, "Come on Joe, we don't have to do this, we are friends, we can walk home." But they talked him into it, cheered him on. So he comes after me, swings at me, and I just counter with an uppercut to his nose, and I broke his nose. Blood everywhere. The next day, he came to school with these big bandages over his nose, but we still walked home together. Just so stupid. Stuff like that every day for years, I hated it.

And Mike dealt with that too. And he dealt with it before I even met him, he dealt with it just like I did. Because I met Mike when I was in 7th grade, and he was in 9th grade, because he is a year and half older than me. He is turning 41 this year, and I am turning 40 this year. But we had that connection as outcasts that had to deal with this. And my brother Steve was his best friend, so we all became best friends. We got close, and man, that was just the beginning…

Sick Of It All / The Anthrax, Norwalk CT / 7-9-1989

Again, thanks to Cliff for shooting this over to me. Half way through this video you get a some bonus Supertouch footage from the same show. If you go to Cliff's page on YouTube, please try and comment / rate these videos, it's one of the only things he requests. -DCXX

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vision - Rutgers, Scott Hall - New Brunswick, NJ - October 29th 1988 - Photos: Ken Salerno

Common Cause - Oslo, Norway / Part I

Long time friend Daniel Frankowski is hard at work again with his new band of nordic thunder, Common Cause. We caught up with him and guitarist Jon A. Gaasland. Be sure to check these guys out if you want classic hardcore played well! More to come...


You haven't taken a whole lot of time off from doing HC bands over the past 15 years. Do you get restless if you aren't doing a band? As a well-versed guitarist and dude that is into all sorts of different music, how haven't you ended up doing something completely non-HC related?

Daniel: Yeah, you could say so. It's almost something I just have to do. The only time I remember that I wasn't in a band for a period of time was when I moved from Germany to Norway. I was supposed to join Sportswear on 2nd guitar and we practiced once actually but soon after that the band broke up and that was that I guess.

It took me a bit of time to get to know the right people and to set up a new band. It's just something I love doing, sort of my creative outlet. Even though it can be a total headache at times, since you always have to deal with so many people that are invloved in doing a band but at the same time you also learn a lot about yourself and other people. I just love writing songs, putting them together, organizing stuff, playing shows. It's the best thing there is. I don't think Common Cause will be my last band either, at least I hope not. There are still many different things I wanna do.

I tried several times to do something non-hardcore related but it just never felt right. Besides that, I never had the time to so domething else either since I've been playing in HC bands all the time and I'd rather focus on one band and give it 100%. At one point I'm gonna do a non-HC band though. I really wanna do a good old fashioned rock band, you know, like CCR meets Skynyrd or something. I guess I'm gonna do that when I'm 50 and hopefully can grow a full beard.

Common Cause puts you back on vocals after taking up guitar duties in Damage Control. Before that you fronted Eyeball. What do you like about singing versus guitar? What do you miss when you are singing?

Daniel: I think I like both equally well, the only thing I really dislike is the process of writing lyrics. I don't think I am really that good at it. I have plenty of good ideas I think, but I have problems putting those thoughts on paper. Singing is great though, it's so much easier to get in touch with the crowd and let your emotions go without having to think about playing an instrument. But if I ever do another band iIwill be playing guitar again just to keep it fresh and interesting for myself.

How do you describe Common Cause? Influences, inspirations,motivation, goals, etc? Having done at least 5 other bands, is this just another HC band to you inspired by the same things? How do you keep it fresh?

Daniel: A straight forward hardcore band. Powerful, fast, energetic with a positive message. That was the idea when we started the band and that's what still keeps us going. I think our biggest inspiration and influence comes from bands like Youth of Today or Uniform Choice. Powerful music with a powerful message. Life in general motivates me, you just gotta turn on the news and see what happens around the world, Imean we are really living in an Age Of Quarrel. There is so much suffering and so much pain, you know. Rasicm, homophobia, poverty. Everything that is wrong right now in the world motivates me to do this band.

Common Cause is definitely not just another HC band for me. I take the band 100% serious and put all my energy in it. I keep it fresh by never doing the same band twice, even though it's always hardcore I never try to go for the same formula. I also never do two bands with the same members, well almost. Common Cause kinda came out of Soulfire and P.O. played with me in DxC but other then that I like to start a new band fresh.

Jon: Our influences remain the same, and are quite obvious – late 80s hardcore, with some earlier and later influences thrown in for good measure. Besides the musical inspirations, what inspires us the most is probably arriving at a show, after some ridiculously long drive, exhausted and not really expecting much from the show – and having kids go apeshit for you and just having a blast playing. Also just working on songs and recording them and putting them out. It's cool to hold a piece of vinyl in your hands that you played on, that has your picture on it, and knowing that it will be around long after you no longer have any kind of relevance in the hardcore-scene, maybe even after you leave this planet. I guess it's stuff like that that is what keeps me motivated.

Which can be a bit hard at times. I was talking about someone close to me about that recently, why the hell I really bother going on these hellride tours. Keep in mind this was someone coming from a hardcore background, so it wasn't a matter of "why don't you mellow out and try to get signed on a major?", she just genuinely didn't get why I bothered. And I wasn't really sure myself. I mean, you're out there driving for often a double-digit amount of hours, to get to a show that may or may not be good, that may or may not end up losing you more money in the end. You see a lot of places, but more often than not you don't have time to stop and check it out anyway. I'm also sort of a private person, and don't really enjoy living practically on top of other people, even if they're some of my best friends. And well, it's just altogether a stressful experience for me a lot of the time, and it can be hard to rationalize to yourself or others why it is you really do it.

When I get home, I always think "that's it, I'm never doing that again". But after a week or two, I get some distance, and just remember the positive things, and wish I could go back out there again the next day. Maybe it's getting a very direct response to your music, whether it's positive or not. Maybe it's the lack of responsibility and the feeling of being out on somelittle adventure with your friends. Maybe I just like torturing myself. But those few weeks out of the year when I'm on tour, always stand out as a lot more exciting and positive than the rest of my year. If that makes any sense. Which of course it doesn't.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BURN memories

BURN - City Gardens - Trenton, NJ - Photo: Ken Salerno

My first memories of Burn go back to a tape I got from a friend. The tape was some sort of rehearsal from 1990 and I definitely remember "Godhead" being one of the tracks. The sound quality wasn't so hot, but I could clearly hear that Burn was unlike anything I had heard before. Of course there was the Absolution connection with Gavin, but Burn was just a whole new beast that was packed with a whole new power and dynamic. This rehearsal tape I had went on to get a lot play to say the least, it was raw and real.

At some point, and I'm not quite sure about the date, Burn opened up for some bands at City Gardens here in Trenton, NJ. I was psyched that I was finally getting the opportunity to see them. Just by the all star line up alone, it was exciting to see what these guys were bringing because their past bands clearly left their marks as unique and talented. Think about it, you had Gavin with Absolution, Alex with Pressure Release, Alan with Beyond, and Chaka - although he was not in any previous band, he definitely got his feet wet in the scene by releasing the "New Breed" tape comp and being regarded as a kid with a lot of energy and style when he was simply going off to bands.

When they played that City Gardens show they simply blew me away. Chaka had so much energy and such a strong stage presence, but like their music, it was like nothing I had seen or heard before. So solid, heavy and groove oriented, you couldn't help but be moved. This style would be immediately copied and imitated, but few really put it together the way Burn did.

After the show I recall Chaka selling Burn shirts out of a box in the parking lot. Because City Gardens would sometimes take a percentage from bands merch that was sold, Burn decided to do it the old fashion way and just sell them in the parking lot. I bought a navy blue shirt, one of the first designs with the green and white outlined Burn logo across the front and the photo of the burning car and "Out Of Time" written on the back. I was stoked and really felt like I was getting an early look at a young band that was going to go on and become a major factor in the hardcore scene.

The next time I remember seeing Burn was at an early Middlesex County College show. I'm guessing it couldn't have been later than 1991. I remember the bill was Supertouch and Burn and a couple younger bands. Again, Burn were just incredible. I don't think the 7" was out yet, but I do remember people starting to know their lyrics and sing along a bit. They had definitely left an impression on others besides me.

From this point on I felt like I was seeing Burn every other weekend. Whether it was in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York City, anywhere Burn played - I was there. Show after show it was obvious that Burn was really picking up some serious momentum. Their shows were getting bigger, the crowds were getting bigger and they were clearly one of the major players coming out of the New York City Hardcore scene.

Along with the bigger shows and bigger crowds, I clearly remember Chaka's stage presence growing. He went from being a really good and energetic front man to one of the best and most insane. His stage dives were legendary, and in no way am I exaggerating. I'm talking about some of the sickest, highest and furthest dives I've ever seen done. I've been around numerous people who've flat out hit the floor from the impact of him landing on them. For this reason, you had to keep your head up when you were at a Burn show. You never knew when Chaka would be doing a running flip off a monitor, flying six feet in the air and crushing your face in. It was obviously pretty damn dangerous, but that's what comes along with the environment of a hardcore show.

Eventually Burn ran its course and called it quits. For a band that had nothing more than a 7" out on Revelation and a comp track released, as well as some slightly circulated rehearsal tapes and demos, it was nothing less than impressive how well known and remembered they are today as truly one of the greats. -Tim DCXX

Cliff strikes again: Judge and BOLD videos

Judge - The Anthrax - Norwalk, CT. - 1/7/1989

BOLD - The Anthrax - Norwalk, CT. - 1/7/1989

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sammy Siegler - Youth Of Today, Judge, PX, Side By Side, Civ

Sammy Photos: Boiling Point

This is part of an ongoing piece where we asked various people from bands over the years what they recall as the most memorable show they ever played (or attended, if they were never in a band), and why. What is posted here is only a sliver of what is to come, so be sure to check back. -DCXX

CIV opened for KISS at MSG...that's up there, since I was once a part of the KISS Army. There was a YOT show at an airport hanger in Milan Italy in 1989 that was great. Huge room, kids were going nuts, Ray jumped over my whole drum set, that was a good one. There were a lot of shows on that tour that stood out. On my birthday in Belgium we were playing a great show in the afternoon, a few metal heads were throwing beer at us and the place erupted into a huge brawl. That night we played another show, although instead of rad straight edge kids, this one was filled with all nazi skinheads, adults with canes and shit, very scary. Ray dedicated our song "Prejudice" to them, things almost got really out of hand. That day, March 21st, 1989, was pretty memorable.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Youth Of Today at The Anthrax 1/7/1989, video: Cliff Official Videographer of the Anthrax in Norwalk

Phenomenal footage of a phenomenal band. Thanks Cliff, it doesn't get much better. -DCXX

Marco / THE ICEMEN - Part II

All Icemen photos: Ken Salerno

Marco Abularach returns to answer more of our questions about one of NY's hardest: THE ICEMEN.

For part one of this interview:

-Gordo DCXX

What are your feelings on how the 4 songs on the R.I.P EP turned out? What can you recall about recording process for these songs, any specific memories? Which would you cite as your favorite song from this record?

Out of the four songs on the EP three had first been recorded back in the Nola sessions '84-'86 and we were considering using those early recordings as they had a really big sound from the great live room there. Those songs were The Harsh Truth, R.I.P, No Guts No Glory, and since they were recorded during the interim before Carl you could call our "singerless" period, they have rough vocal tracks by me that we would have dubbed over with Carl. But we decided we would do new recordings and thus hopefully have sound continuity with whatever other tracks we decided to use.

We began recording for the EP in 1990 at our downtown studio SD50. Initially there was debate on song choice and also as to how many we would release. In a way we allowed the recording performances help dictate, and we also finalized the agreement with Bill Wilson and his Blackout Records for a four song EP. Noah and I still agree that the sound is actually better on the good old Nola sessions but in our minds at the time the 1990 tracks were "new."

Left on tape from 1990 unfinished were "Take You Down" and "Little Witch," thus "Shadow Out Of Time" was chosen as the final track to be added to complete the four. The speed/thrash "Take You Down" was our most challenging song to perform and would have taken much work to fix it to our liking. "Little Witch" was a precursor to our later songs "You Will Be Mine" and "Back Again." It was also an indication of where we were going, at the very least vocally. The lyrics now demanded melody, and suffice to say, that never came close to occurring in these 1990 sessions no matter how we tried. Hard for me to say which song is my favorite, I suppose The Harsh Truth, although my favorite lyrics would have to be on Shadow Out Of Time.

Which songs performed live do you wish got a formal proper recording?

Actually we have recorded pretty much every song I've written. The question would be to what degree are they completed, as many are missing overdubs and/or vocals and would also need to be mixed. Another question would be how good is the performance on these recordings, as it varies greatly. To answer directly I would say Little Witch, You Will Be Mine, and later songs like Back Again and Let There Be Night. Most of these were moving in a more melodic direction, in addition I had evolved quite a bit lyrically.

What was your chemistry like playing with Mackie? I have always wondered how bassists/guitarists gel with such an incredible drummer like him. Was it just a perfect match or no?

Fantastic. Understand, he was basically the only drummer I ever really played with, until I formed Shadow years later. I learned electric guitar playing with Mackie and Noah. Perfect match for sure, even as teenagers we knew how good he was and our styles grew together through the years.

On a side note, since we've come out of deep freeze and taken a look around I've seen comments on how some of the Icemen shows witnessed were sub-par. We were definitely plagued with some inconsistencies due to lack of rehearsal (largely due to Mackie's time constraints), but when looking closer most of the posts are regarding shows kids attended post '92, most notably at the Grand and a few others. Of course these were disappointing, it was not The Icemen! These were imposters and a poor attempt without the original members... accept no substitute. Amazing that those even remotely interested in the music are still unaware and/or unable to distinguish, the difference was vast.

Similarly, was Mackie always a very tight part of the trio that was you, Noah and Mackie? Sometimes I get the impression that it was definitely the three of you being very close, yet other times I getthe impression maybe it was moreso you and Noah, and Mackie was just the drummer?

Noah and I met as children, Mackie I met in high school so in a sense we all grew up together. Noah is like a brother to me, we were tight with Mack but he's a bit aloof at times so it was a little different. The three of us definitely had a bond though, where we had come from, and all we had shared musically both performing and philosophically. I could see how you might have the impression as him being "just the drummer", there were times where his unavailability and lack of commitment was trying. We certainly rehearsed the bare minimum, if at all. Usually this was just when I had new material and wanted him to learn it, so the three of us would meet in our studio.

There was something magic when the three of us played together, there were times when we might glance over at each other, just a knowing look, we were just flying. He may have always been in a sense a drum mercenary but also that he's been with us since the beginning and was a large part of who we were.
What was your take on the popular bands of the hardcore scene from '88-'91? Whether it was the Revelation bands, the In-Effect bands, or anyone else, who were bands in the hardcore scene you felt a connection with as friends, or even just enjoyed? Any bands youreally butted heads with or didn't feel deserved the credit they got?

Forgive my naïveté by I really don't know much about that, bands or other labels at the time. I was kind of like the boy in the bubble, only time I listened to hardcore was bands on the bill with us when performing. We did make friends along the way though. The Cro-Mags and us go way back, especially Harley. Leeway were friends of ours, there was a while back in the day when AJ and I would socialize occasionally which is something I rarely did with any of the bands, I had a different world. Other guys like Jimmy G (Murphy's Law), Jimmy Williams (Maximum Penalty), Sob (Merauder) Gavin (Absolution/Burn) were friends and supporters.

Your question regarding negative opinions, there were plenty of bands that were overrated, with bad attitudes and who couldn't play. In fact if you ask me a majority of bands back then couldn't play worth a lick.

How did things develop for Carl to be dismissed? Was it a band decision? Who did the dismissing? How long after this did he recruit other guys to do his version of The Icemen, and did you ever confront him about this?

This was something that evolved over time. Noah's father Gil Evans is a jazz legend and he grew up with music, I too came from a musical and artistic family, I met Mackie attending Laguardia High School of the Arts where he was a music major so we all have a foundation, roots in certain fundamental artistic beliefs. As kids, The Icemen's first couple of years was a start, but as we grew we hoped, expected... no, demanded of ourselves to aspire to higher levels. It was no longer enough for us to have a one dimensional band member, good as frontman, deficient as a singer.

My songwriting was constrained by his limitations and in hand our potential for success was as well, most importantly in our eyes but it is well worth mentioning that these sentiments were clearly echoed by the labels we in contact with as well. For a moment Carl looked into working with a vocal coach but decided against it.

We had already decided to release Carl from our band and Noah surprised me one evening with the news he had informed Carl. By surprise I mean that as difficult a task as it was, I felt responsible enough to deliver the news myself. That I didn't couldn't have helped and I'm sure increased the resentment on his part. It wasn't too long I think when he began performing my songs using my name The Icemen. His henchmen were friends of his who were occasionally our roadies and were part of his band M13.

The first time I saw our name in the paper I thought it was a mistake and went down to CBGB, it was quiet before soundcheck and he wasn't there. Confronted his mates and they dropped some nonsense about how it was their name now. Was of course furious at the time but never did get into it with Carl. Outrage aside, I was always disappointed with the lies and tarnishing of The Icemen's legacy.

It was Noah who presented the idea in 2007, to start thawing The Icemen out with the thought that not only would we set the record straight but more to the point was that The Icemen have some unfinished business to take care of.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Joe Nelson on No For An Answer and Dan O'Mahoney

No For An Answer at The Anthrax, photo: Boiling Point

Joe Nelson delivers yet again, and gives us the downlow on Dan O from way back when.


Well, Dan O' Mahoney was a blow hard mouthpiece before No For An Answer existed. He had a zine called S.I.C. Press, and came across as if he were a superior intellect compared to the rest of us. I learned to really love him later in life, we actually became great friends in the early 90s, but man he sure was tough to digest early on.

N.F.A.A. probably only succeeded at the very beginning because Gavin Oglesby and Casey Jones were so loved and respected throughout our little community. Dan on the other hand...not so much. 

For a while, the guys I ran around with, who were called the O.C. Sloth Crew, would fire extinguish anybody in H.B. wearing an N.F.A.A. shirt. That pretty much sums up how we felt about them. We would also toilet paper Dan's townhouse from time to time, and leave little notes on his garage saying something like "How about clean up time for an answer? Love the O.C. Sloth Crew," or "OHHHHH NOOOOOMAHONEY"...stupid stuff like that. Dan was a tough guy too, but I don't think he really knew what to make of us back then, or else he would have retaliated.

We actually all bonded finally at the Anthrax in Norwalk, Connecticut one night. N.F.A.A played a show there with G.B. and Chain of Strength maybe? A couple of the Sloth Crew dudes, including me, were out in New York so we went to the show.

What happened was all the trains stopped running back to the city, so nobody from California, except for Chain, had a way back to N.Y.C. This was like in late November, and I remember it was snowing at the time. It really seemed like a pretty bleak situation at the time. None of us ever entertained the idea of pooling our money for a motel room of course. That would have made too much sense I suppose.

The owner of the Anthrax eventually said we could just crash inside the club, and then catch the morning train in. I remember Porcell's last words to me as he pulled out of the parking lot with Walter Schreifles, Lukey Luke, Alex Brown, and Nicole Straight Edge were "Hey guys I see a soda can over there you can curl up next too!" What a fucker.

Anyway, the Anthrax was pretty warm inside so it wasn't the worst thing in the world, or so we all thought. What we discovered in horror was it was only warm because of the body heat that had collected during the show. About 45 minutes into the...ummmm..."sleep over," it became FREEEEEEEEEZINNGG inside. It was unreal. People were running laps around the inside of the club in a feeble attempt to stay warm. Everybody was curled up next to one another on the stage trying to use our collective body heat to prevent what we all thought for sure would be a major hypothermia problem. A couple dudes even broke down and cried. I don't remember what he said exactly, but Dan said something that busted everyone up. I realized "Holy shit, Dan is actually pretty fucking funny", which at the time was my only real criteria for making a person "OK" in my book.

So from that point on we were friends. Obviously everyone survived that night as well. The next morning we ate breakfast together, took the train back into the city, and any beef between any of us and Dan was forever squashed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wasted Days TV: Episode V, Kevin Finn's Revelation Records Collection

Here's a fun little video I made with Kevin Finn about his legendary Revelation Records vinyl collection. The Rev collection that people try to duplicate but I don't think that will ever be possible. The entire interview was two hours long and it was hard to decide what to cut out but hopefully people will dig it.

The thing I like the most that doesn't really come across in the video is the kind of "go for it" spirit that Kevin has to complete his collection. He turned down multiple million dollar job offers on Wall Street to put himself into the center of it all at RevHQ and went on to start the Rev Board and the Trade Board. It's like if you collected baseball cards and turned down job offers to take a shitty job at Fleer instead.

In my eyes he created a Rev record collecting craze once he published the pressing info he researched and compiled online, that still continues to this day.

Buffalo S.E.

Livewire Records Update: Summer 2008

Livewire Records, Back From the Dead Logo

Summer 2008 sees Livewire Records at its most active in years. While the label has undergone a complete rethinking of our approach to releasing records , including a total brand overhaul complete with a new logo and website, this fresh perspective has only made us become even more dedicated to putting out sick sounding and sick looking records and merch. In short, the visual has become just as important as the sonic. Case in point...

Cheap Tragedies, "Shepherd To Lost Sheep" 7" & Poster

Cheap Tragedies. "Shepherd To Lost Sheep" marks the debut 7" EP from Cleveland's most pissed-off and crazy hardcore band in years. This blistering four song 7" features original cover art by Brian Walsby (best known for his 7-Seconds, "Walk Together…" art) and is limited to a first press of 300 (200 on purple and 100 on scrap. Scrap is a strange color created by mixing left over pieces of unused colored vinyl.) The record, like all Back From The Dead era releases, features an 11 x 17 insert and can be purchased through Merchnow as a stand-alone piece or as a package deal which includes a 2 color t-shirt. It is worth noting that artist Brian Walsby has said the Cheap Tragedies piece is one of his favorite music-related illustrations he has ever drawn.

For the uninitiated, Cheap Tragedies' sound is best described as hardcore punk rock done as only Cleveland veterans can do it—fast, raw, angry, melodic, and noisy, this stuff is the real deal. To learn more about Cheap Tragedies check out their band page. Also, listen to the title track from "Shepherd to Lost Sheep" by clicking here for a free mp3.

Over The Line, "The Weight" 7" Vinyl & Cover

Next up, a little later this summer we have the return of Over The Line with their first release in over 10 years! While the basic ideas for these songs had been floating around amongst band members for years, the raw energy and urgency of the final tracks was captured in only a few brief late night rehearsals and even quicker studio session. The band didn’t have months to rehearse, record and remix. In this long weekend session they were able to capture these four blistering songs of dynamic hardcore. The recording here is the product of four friends who knew exactly what they wanted, and it captures that energy and creativity at its peak. This record is precise, to-the-point hardcore played flawlessly.

Considering the band officially broke up in 1998, the underlying question remains, “After all this time, why even bother?” According to Lucuski, “We had these songs we loved that never materialized. They really showed the direction we wanted to take the band with the new line-up. We were happy with the demo at the time, but we knew we had songs in us that pushed in a different direction and were more than just basic hardcore songs. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad Crucial Response pressed the demo, but the image they created for the band wasn’t us. These songs are.”

The weight features original skateboard/horror inspired artwork from longtime Livewire friend and artist Jason Powell.

Triple Threat, Graffiti Shirt (art by Bruce Boyd)

Triple Threat, "Live at CBGB" 7" & Poster

Also coming up very soon, new merchandise from Triple Threat which features original artwork from Pagan Babies Drummer/visual artist, Bruce Boyd. The new shirts will feature gigantic graffiti artwork on the front and a New Jersey Straight Edge piece on the back. Expect these as well as a ton more in the very near future!

For constant updates, please check us out at: Livewire Records. Thanks to the Double Cross boys for giving us the chance to spread the word. —xxx

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photographer Spotlight: Ken Salerno

7 Seconds / City Gardens, Trenton NJ

Ken Salerno has been a mainstay photographer in the New Jersey hardcore and punk scene for as long as I've been going to shows and then some. Not only has Ken been supplying us with the best photos of the best bands since my days of doing Common Sense fanzine, but he's been keeping a steady flow of photos to Double Cross as well and we couldn't be more psyched.

Starting today, we're going to try and keep a running feature on various hardcore photographers. We're kicking it off with a handful of Ken's photos, but expect to see other photographers featured as well. Big thanks to Ken and expect to see more from him in the near future. -

Sick Of It All / City Gardens, Trenton NJ

Leeway / City Gardens, Trenton NJ

Shelter / City Gardens, Trenton NJ

Bad Brains / City Gardens, Trenton NJ

Mike Neider - BL'AST!

One of the most ferocious hardcore bands to come out of California, BL'AST! is a band you should expect to see more of here on Double Cross. I happened to catch up with Mike Neider, guitar, and he answered the first batch of our endless questions. All BL'AST! photos: Tim McMahon DCXX

Time To Think...

-Gordo DCXX

How do you remember getting hooked up with Wishingwell to do The Power Of Expression? There are a few stories floating around that you guys ended up a bit unhappy with the Dubar brothers...fact or fiction? Looking back, how do you feel about your debut LP and the way it got out to the underground music world?

Well it's a bit vague but I hung out the other night with Cliff and Seve and I brought that up. It was just bros playing shows together. That's how we met I believe. We were already hooked up with Green World and Pat was starting his own label, Wishingwell, and wanted Bl'ast! to be a part of it, and we were down.

The Dubar bros were great, they are always doing their thing. Just don't try to sell our shirts...ha ha. Funny story.

I wouldn't change a thing. It was a bit wild but ending up on SST records was a great deal for me. We took BLAST! very literal and always wore our hearts on our sleeves. BL'AST! is at the twenty five year mark. Wild.

How did the Santa Cruz hook up come about? What can you recall as the circumstances around the photo shoot of Roskopp flying over you guys for the poster? Were you guys actually playing or just jamming? I think that is an INCREDIBLE photo. What other Santa Cruz promotion were you involved in?

I started working for Santa Cruz skateboards in '82 or '83 and ended up working there for 18 or 19 years. When I first began there, all of us blastards lived right next store. It was convenient and the owner, Novak, was down for BL'AST! and let me have the time to play music etc...

Skateboarding and rock started to intertwine visually in magazine adds. So Santa Cruz was going to do this poster series and Rob and Tim Piumarta thought that would be very rad to jump over BL'AST! We though, "let's try it." Rob was one of my old room mates/friend. So we found this pretty steep long hill that would allow Rob to get enough speed to hit a jump ramp that was right to the right of me. Rob jumped over us at least 4 or 5 times if I remember correctly. We were set up and playing and whenever Rob decided to roll he flew over.

In the 80s we did some RIP magazine stuff with santa cruz where they took photos of me skating etc. Then with my old band, Lab, we put out a cd with Richard Kirby's model. They were always down.


What type of relationship have you had with Clifford over the years - good times, bad times? What is something people wouldn't know about the singer for BL'AST! that you would?

Clifford's great, he lives down the street from me and he stops by my shop Rrise and hangs out often. We hang at his pad and krank tunes and such or go see shows. We talk about jammin often, just when and how. When we were teens w/ BL'AST! we cared so much about our band. Like I said earlier, that almost made it hard to keep it alive. We just wanted to destroy for ourselves and take wrong turns and loved it.

Well...Ha. Cliff is a no bullshit dude, what you see is what you get. No games and a lot of fun.

What would you say is the best show BL'AST! ever played, or at least the one you remember most fondly? Why?

Very hard question for so many different reasons. I think I will leave it at that.

What three BL'AST! songs would you cite as your favorites, and why? And songs you really don't care for anymore?

The Power Of Expression - It`s In My Blood - Take The Manic Ride. Dig 'em all! One thing we always wanted to do was re-record The Manic Ride. We always had little studio time cuz we could not afford much. So we had to get er done in a timely manner. When we were finished with the recording there were compressors that were left on during the recording. We couldn't afford to go back and re-record it so we had to put it out with the funky sound. It did not get the justice that it had live when we played. Bummer. Maybe someday we will do that.


Does "hardcore" as it exists today have any resemblence to the "hardcore" you knew in the early and mid 1980s? In what ways yes, in what ways no?

The 80s for hardcore was kinda magical times and those times are over just as any other decade is over. But as in any musical group, everyone wants to capture their feelings and influences and kick ass and feel good about it. So musically it will always remain the same. It's just different times.

More from Mike soon, for now, check out his new band Gusto:

And also check out for band merch.

Jordan Cooper - Rev Q&A Round III

Jordan Cooper continues to enlighten us on various Revelation blunders, oddities, and other useless knowledge we can't get enough of.


Straight Ahead being featured in ads for The Way It Is, yet not appearing on the comp. What a teaser. What gave?

I don't remember at all. Ray and Tommy were pretty close so maybe it was going to happen at one point, but the band didn't record in time. That might be a question better posed to Tommy or Craig. Maybe Duane or Ray would remember.

Similarly, Raw Deal being put on the back of The Way It Is t-shirts, and yet they were not featured on the comp. Any background on this one? Did Revelation even have anything to do with this shirt? I'm pretty sure it was designed and printed by the Boiling Point guys.

I think those were made by Tim Singer, but yeah, we had nothing to do with them. Then again, we did have that mistake where we put a picture of some of those guys and maybe the Breakdown guys on the GB page on the Together insert.

The Burn did this go to final press with the back cover listing the lead off track as "Shall Be Jugded"? Any story behind this?

There's no story with that at all. Everyone missed it, including me. It wasn't until at least the late Summer of 1992 that Alan Cage called me up laughing and pointed it out to me. From there on, it was our favorite typo until the "Farrside" postcard came out in 1995 or so.

The Ray and Porcell EP. This record has taken a buttload of criticism over the years. Dylan once told me it was a project to get Cappo to come and hang out like they used to. Did you dig the songs? Did it seem like a stretch, between the drum machine and even the title of the record? (ED. Note: We dig this record).

That's funny, I don't remember hearing that. I know Dylan was hanging out with Porcell a lot at that point and I think they even talked about working together on that project/band. It started out as a tape that Porcell made on his four track and I really thought it was cool and encouraged him to do more with it. He thought it was cheesy or something and didn't want to, but eventually came around, got Ray involved and did the record. At the time it did seem like a stretch. The Bold 7" (as you mentioned earlier) was one, Slipknot was another, Quicksand was another, Shelter another. Things were changing and I thought that if Porcell was getting into electronic music, that was news and should be documented. Plus, I thought it was good. The name I didn't really like, but Porcell couldn't come up with one that he liked. He originally called his first tape that he made "Track Four"but he didn't want to use that for the record for some reason.

The Old Smoke record. What is your recollection of how this record came to fruition? Did it seem like a stretch to you? Had you spoken to Mike since Judge? When was the last time you listened to it and what do you think. (ED. Note: We dig this record too, Mike Judge or not, no lie).

Yeah, this was the next big stretch after Ray and Porcell, definitely. The way this came about was that Mike was doing these acoustic songs and sending them to Porcell. Porcell lived out here and worked at Rev when I first moved Rev from CT to CA and he said that Rev should put it out. I talked to Mike every few months or maybe once a year and still do from time to time. Mike actually re-recorded the entire album for the second pressing, but we never ended up doing another pressing. We may end up putting that second version out digitally. I was actually never a fan of the bands that influenced that record, but with Mike doing music in that vein, I started to appreciate it. He got me listening to some old stuff that I never would have otherwise.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rev. Hank Straight Edge Peirce - Part II

Here's the second part of an ongoing interview with Slapshot roadie and 1980's HC fixture, Rev. Hank Straight Edge Peirce. To read the first part, click here:

Straight Edge in your face!

-Gordo DCXX

Who was your favorite band from Boston? Do any shows from Boston back then stand far above the rest?

Who was my favorite Boston band? Well I gotta say Jerry's Kids, the kids had the speed of Gang Green, the power of SSD, they come close to having the song writing ability of the Straw Dogs and they were/are some of the smartest and most twisted guys out there.

OK they aren't Kilslug who really are the most twisted of Boston bands. As I write that I start to think of folks like 2 Million BC who were this metal band, the way Thor is a metal band. They only ever put out a tape but had a minor hit with "Stampede" about running cows through Boston and killing everyone. They were sort of a joke band and yet you would see them around town in fuzzy Ugg boots and spandex doing their laundry.

The other crazy guy was of course GG Allen who everybody in Slap Shot thought was great. I know it sounds totally ridiculous but it's true. When GG wasn't on stage he was a very laid back guy. I remember once Choke ran into him outside of our practice space and them having a long talk about music. Choke would force us to listen to GG's 12 Days of Christmas on the road. Slappy roadie Pat would often disappear during our sound checks and emerge out of the bathroom dressed (or undressed) as GG and jump on stage and start singing "Drink, fuck and fight!" We even have film of Pat doing this at some outdoor concert in Germany totally confusing all the Germans. Allow me to also say that all of GG's early music is great old fashion punk.

OK back to Jerry's Kids. Man I think those guys were the best band and always put on a great show from day one. The famous show at the Paradise where Springa got up on stage and said "we started hardcore in this town and now we are going to end it" was supposedly their last show. That was in '87, but of course it wasn't their last, and they still even play out now. They are one of those bands that when I hear them play I go a little mental, like when the Bad Brains play their fast stuff, something clicks in your head.

Other great bands...I'll make a list. Siege, man those guys were mighty, I remember seeing them play at The Underground near city hall and the drummer played so fast and so hard that the seat and the drumset all just fell apart and he's laying there kicking and flailing at anything trying to keep the beat.

The FUs / Straw Dogs, one of the few bands that I can listen to at any time, great lyrics, song writing and Sox's vocals can't be beat. Like so many songs from back in the day, you listen to what they were singing about 20 years ago and you realize how prophetic they were, songs like "Young Fast Iranians and Warlords," it's amazing to hear what they were singing about then.

Slappy; what can I say about the boys, so much of my formative years were spent with these guys. Of all the groups that I toured with these guys were the most fun, we were and are still friends. The shows in Boston were always an event. I think Steve, Choke, Mike Gitter (XXX Fanzine) and Curtis (Taang) were very calculating in how to market the band. There was lots of press before they even played their first show in Providence opening for the Circle Jerks.
Then for the first year lots of shows in and around town and then twice a year which guaranteed huge turn outs at the biggest clubs in town. They were fun shows even when we got hit with Choke's hockey stick, and we all got hit with it. He would do his angry speed skater dance and throw the stick on the ground and BAM it would bounce up and hit you in the jaw.

Who else, the Freeze and Gang Green were bands that were bigger outside of town than in at least later on. The Proletariat never made it as big as was expected after Boston Not LA came out, but I thought they were great.
Other bands that I loved: Void and Negative Approach, COC both as a band and as guys, Reed Mullin is still one of my best friends. Iggy Pop, the Dictators, Jonathan Richman, Billy Bragg and the Damned. A couple of years ago I was backstage at the Warp Tour with Steve Risteen (Slap Shot) watching the Damned play and I looked around and there was Brian Baker (Minor Threat/ Bad Religion), Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks/ Bad Religion), Colin Sears and Roger Marbury (Dag Nasty) and other folks whom I can't remember and I was amazed at the realization that we have the greatest of American punk there and we were all doing more than just paying homage to the Damned but really enjoying the show.

Ah so many fun shows like making fun of Fugazi in their first show in Boston after Ian did his "I'm the king of punk and I will make rules." I started heckling them saying "let mono-brow sing more!" Guy then starts to give it back but not to me but to someone else who in fact has as pronounced a mono-brow as Guy, they almost came to blows.

Then there was the time that GWAR opened for Slap Shot in DC. A friend says "yea I hear that they're sort of theatrical." I was just glad that we were playing with a band of adults as we so often got pared with a bunch of 13 year olds. Well I'm in the hall selling T-shirts when Mark Mckay comes running up and says "YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THESE GUYS!" His eyes as big as saucers. I said "I'm selling t-shirts," and Mark says something like "fuck the shirts come right now!" It was amazing and I am not sure how Slappy went on after that, but the folks from Boston who were there soon got GWAR a gig up here at this tiny club. Through word of mouth we packed that club with everybody we knew, it was just great to see the faces of these folks as Beefcake came out through the smoke. I'm still friends with those guys and send them Christmas cards.

It is hard to sit here and think of the stories from so many tours and shows. There were so many bad shows when no one showed up, times we had to choose gas over food. The storms that we had to drive through, the riots in and fights that occurred because of or in spite of whatever band. I remember watching some Circle One guys fight some Suicidal guys at Fenders in LA and Jordan (Slap Shot) turning to me and saying, "why is there no sense of danger in the air at all, isn't that strange?"

A couple of years later when Slappy was in Sarajevo a huge bar room brawl broke out because I refused to sell our shirts to some nazi skins. We kicked some ass, but had to high-tale it out before the cops came, didn't want to end up in some Yugoslavian jail.

Not a lot of girls, nope straight edge bands did not attract chicks.


What was your role as a Slapshot roadie? When was the last time you served as such? That band undoubtedly stirred up a lot of emotion in the late 80s. Why do you think this is so, and how much involved you? What was your take on some of the brief beefs that developed?

Let me say that I was not a guitar tech, I was the last person you wanted tuning your guitar. But I loved going on the road, driving all night, selling merch, dealing with a crazy crowd. I think part of it was that I have always been a junior cultural anthropologist and I have always been interested in how kids dressed and what kids were listening to in other scenes, and why. Was the Texas scene as bizarre because they were reacting to ultra-conservatism, or was it just Texas sized punk, or was it cheap Meth?

The first national tour I ever went on was with the Straw Dogs, they had just changed their name from the FUs and their record label (Enigma) thought that it was better to not tell folks of their past. It was a tour where we starved, I remember at one point we had $40 to drive from Montana to Chicago. OK, it wasn't like the COC guys who had to sell their blood on one tour in order to get to the next city.

There were so many times that you would show up at some club and the kids would look at them and wonder why they were doing all these FUs covers.

We played some place down south and no one showed up and while the band was all bummed out at the bar, Kevin Hall the other roadie and I grab some brooms and while the jukebox played some Van Halen tune we start to do some air guitar. Well I can be pretty clumsy and I trip over some wires on the stage and slam into the wall. The whole wall, 16 by 8 feet, pops out and the next thing I know I'm laying in the back yard of this club and Kevin is almost pissing himself laughing. We later found out that the wall was built to come out, but I thought I would be washing lots of dishes.

That tour with them was pretty bad, I remember in Roanoke, VA the promoter didn't have the money to pay us so he gave the Straw Dogs the difference in acid, I spent the next two days babysitting those guys. That is when I started only working with SE bands after that.

I also went on the road with COC and Uniform Choice and assorted smaller bands, and the last gig I worked at was for Slappy in '91 in Philadelphia. It was at the Liberty Bell club and maybe 150 kids and I thought "I missing Nelson Mandela speaking in Boston for this?"

Later in Slap Shot, well Choke and Mark kicked Steve out of the band because he wasn't the guitar player that they thought Slappy needed. They forgot that we were just a shitty little punk rock band, I stopped doing all work with them and everybody else and went back to school, and eventually to theological school.

Ahh, but it is all water under the bridge, not that I've seen them play since Philly, but we all get together now and have our yearly Slap Shot family BBQ.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mouthpiece discography update

[Mouthpiece from the Down Under, New Brunswick NJ, May 13th 1995, Photo: Traci McMahon]

It's been awhile since I dropped an update on the Mouthpiece "Can't Kill What's Inside" complete discography that's due to be released this October on Revelation Records, so I thought I'd take a minute to do that now.

The entire re-mixing process is complete, as is the mastering. We were able to track down a live set from the soundboards of a show we played at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster PA with Turning Point and Vision. On that soundboard tape were a few songs that never saw a studio recording ("Never Enough, "Stick To It" and "Massive Outro"), so just for the sake of completeness, we thought it would be cool to include them. We also have a full live soundboard set from a show we played in NYC at CBGB's with Killing Time in 1996. Surprisingly enough, once mastered, both live recordings sound great, obviously the CB's set sounding the best. With all the studio recordings and the live unreleased material, we're pretty close to maxing out the available space on a CD, so we're trying to determine how and where to fit the CB's live set. Hopefully when all is said and done, we're able to squeeze it all in.

We're wrapping up the layouts right now and I gotta say it should be a pretty incredible package once complete. We've managed to cram tons of photos, most never before seen. We've also gathered a complete list of every show Mouthpiece played from from very early 1990 through 1996. Once the typography is finalized and the last few photos are put into place, everything will be sent off to Revelation. The plan is to have everything in Revs hands before the end of June. We'll also be designing a couple new t-shirt designs for Revelation, as well as posters, stickers, pins, etc. So expect some brand new Mouthpiece merch from Revelation later this summer. -Tim DCXX