Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hands Tied EP pre-orders plus launch of Livewire Direct

Hands Tied - "Through The Wreckage" EP

Friday, July 30th (at roughly 6PM PST) marks the launch of pre-order's for Hands Tied's "Through The Wreckage" E.P. Originally formed in 1996 after the disbanding of MOUTHPIECE, HANDS TIED delivered classic, in-your-face straight edge hardcore that echoed the spirit and delivery of pioneers such as DYS, UNIFORM CHOICE, and YOUTH OF TODAY. With a 1996 seven inch EP released on Equal Vision Records, the band played up and down the East Coast and toured Europe before abruptly ending their run—just as the band was getting into high gear. Over a decade later, HANDS TIED has returned with a “right-where-they-left-off” two song EP of anthemic blasts that will have you stage diving and moshing in no time—proving that the flame still burns. With a discography LP in the works and a summer of shows on the east coast, it’s clear that this band is back on the map.

A collection of various Livewire vinyl that is available through Livewire Direct

Please note: All pre-order customers will receive a code enabling them to instantly download the E.P. HERE

In other Livewire news, we are very psyched to announce a brand new site: LIVEWIRE DIRECT!

Livewire Records started in 1999 and has been based (at various times) on opposite ends of the country. As the back catalog grew and storage spaces shrank, Livewire made the move to hand over all of its order fulfillment to our good friends at Merchnow and our exclusive distributor, Revelation Records .

The purpose of Livewire Direct is to showcase and make available items too low in stock and/or too limited to warrant distribution through traditional channels. If you see something you like email us and make an offer. It's that simple. In the very near future expect the addition of old shirts from The First Step, Hands Tied, Running Like Thieves, Face The Enemy and more!

Thanks for checking it all out! - Ed McKirdy/Livewire Records

Triple Threat - "Live at CBGB" EP

Set lists from the collection of Larry Ransom

Youth Of Today

This is the start of a series of set list entries from DCXX contributor/Nickle City Stomp connoisseur, Larry Ransom. Enjoy these and stay locked in for many more to come. -Tim DCXX

I was working at Revelation Records in 2004 and they sent me out to this show to work the Rev merch table and to bring the Youth Of Today guys some records to give away on stage. If you catch me on the right day, Youth Of Today is my favorite band so it was awesome to sing along. This set list is from the second night of the two shows they played in Fairless Hills, PA in the summer of 2004...right down the street from the ole Puss 'N Boots. Every song is a winner here.
Wide Awake

In the late nineties I was still a very invigorated cormin and would drive just about anywhere, every weekend to see a show. At some point in 1998 Underdog and Wide Awake were playing two shows together. A Friday night at the Tune Inn in New Haven, CT and on Saturday at Coney Island High in NYC, and I made the trek down to Jeff Terranova's house in Carmel, NY and tagged along to the two shows with him and Steve Keeley. This Wide Awake set list is from the Tune Inn show.

The songs Redemption and Myths were new songs the band had wrote and recorded during their reformation and as I remember the new tunes didn't go over too hot when they played them live, as I am sure you could imagine. I believe they dropped them from the set the next day at the NYC show. They closed the night out with a cover of Dag Nasty's Justification.
Up Front

Here's an Up Front set list I grabbed after one of the many times I saw them in '97 or '98. Not sure exactly what show this might be from. It would have to be from the Tune Inn, CB's, The Space in Worcester, MA or The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Heck, it might even be from when they came out to Cali in '05. I bet Jon or Jeff might be able to chime in and provide the proper date and show for this thing. Don't fear the distance!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Russ Iglay - Underdog

Richie and Danny bring it with Underdog at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

We've been planning to cook up an Underdog interview with Russ for quite awhile now, so when DCXX contributor/NJHC vet/skater, Derek Rinaldi offered to do one for us, we eagerly accepted. This here is part one of what is sure to be an excellent multi part interview with Russ. Dig in and get surly and be sure to Check out a 3 song takeover from Russ at ShoreAlternative's Punkyard Wednesday, July 28th @ 1pm. -Tim DCXX

The Phone Call

The year was 1985 and Richie Birkenhead, lead singer of The Numbskuls, is about to get a phone call that will change his life - at least his music life anyway. Murphy’s Law bassist Russ Iglay is on the phone and he is inquiring as to the status of Richie’s search for a bass player. Once Russ knew that position was still available and learning that the two lived only blocks apart in Manhattan, the phone call was inevitable.

After a 5 minute skate to Richie’s house, the Numbskuls had a new bassist...or did they? Richie explained to Russ that he wanted to change the dynamic of the Numbskuls from party band to a more diverse sounding mix of hard rocking tunes. Richie wants to change the dynamic of the band so much so that he doesn’t even want to keep the name. UNDERDOG is officially born.

Keep it simple, stupid.

Richie: “OK, so we agree on the type of music we want to play, now let’s plan this out. Let’s make this simple. Here’s what we’re gonna do. Instead of us bustin’ our balls year after year making new music, touring, and repeating that until we’re blue in the face and irrelevant, let’s just make one killer e.p. I mean a badass mutha fuckin e.p. that makes so much noise that a major label will want us to re-release it with some new songs...”

“...Then, we can tour for it and break up. You know, call it a career. No sophomore jinx or none of that shit. I mean, hell, our drummer will probably have to move and your kid brother will join and then will certainly want to start having kids, I’ll most likely form another band, and you got that restaurant down the shore. Let’s just do that and keep it simple.”

Russ - “Sounds good.”

Russ Iglay with Underdog at City Gardens, Womp'm style, Photo: Ken Salerno

Now, that conversation obviously never happened. Nor could anyone have foreseen that that was EXACTLY how it would happened, give or take a few details.

Fast forward to the year 2010 and it’s Fourth of July weekend in Belmar, New Jersey. All the tourists and business owners are busy making last minute preparations like a gulf town prepares for a hurricane. The roads choke with traffic and you could wait up to 30 minutes to buy milk and eggs at the local food market. It’s as rhythmic as the tides, the big surge before the weekend and the recession immediately following. Year after year.

From his recessed yard, about 50 feet from the road, UNDERDOG’s Russ Iglay can hardly see or hear the madness patrolling the streets. Back here it’s shady trees, a small patch of grass and a 2 foot high mini ramp for his son, Marlo.

The weekend won’t be all quiet for Russ. His family has owned the local pizza place in town (Don’s Pizza King) for 43 years, and while weekend’s like this aren’t make it or break it, a busy holiday takes off some pressure.

The band’s history is deep and the stories are long and I thought the best way to tackle this may be to use the discography as a timeline. It’s fair to say that even though the band has been around since 1985 that after a long break and even with pop up shows that there may be some new jacks that don’t have the whole UNDERDOG story. So let’s take the time to give it to them. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. - Derek Rinaldi

Richie, Arthur, Russ and Dean with Underdog at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

Let's rewind. Who were the skaters you were looking up to in the early days?

Al Smoke, Dale Curtis, Doug Hanulak, Sponge, Mooney. Those guys were it in the 70`s when I first started...Soul skaters. Years later I was skating everyday with Steve Herring...he really pushed me alot...he was a big influence on my skating.

What was the music climate back then?

Well, since we were hanging with older guys it was a lot of Grateful Dead back then. Some of the guys started getting into punk in the late 70s and we started to follow it. Bands like Devo, X, Black Flag, Circle Jerks.

Were you getting to shows yet?

We saw Circle Jerks at the Fastlane in Asbury Park on the Group Sex tour. We got drunk in the yard and rode our bikes there...hammered. One of the first shows I remember going to in NYC was Gang Of Four with the Bad Brains opening up. Also Black Flag at The Mudd Club...Peppermint Lounge shows...

So now, you guys are getting more into the punk scene, how long before you start your first band?

I guess it was about '81 or '82. Myself, Dean, Sponge, and Pete formed a band called Child Abuse. At first, we thought that ‘Battered Kids’ was a better name but Sponge was kinda the boss and wanted to go with Child Abuse.


Do you remember where your first show was?

Our first show was at the Fastlane. It was a benefit for Mark ‘The Mutha’ Chesney who owned Mutha Records.

How long before you left?

I was in the band for about a year and quit before the EP ‘Bring It’ was released.

How did you come to meet Jimmy Gestapo and ultimately join Murphy’s Law?

I became friends with Jimmy from going to shows around the city. I was introduced to him outside Irving Plaza. The bass player for Murphy’s Law was also playing in Reagan Youth and Agnostic Front so it was only a matter of time before something had to give. When Jimmy first asked me to play bass for the band, I had told him that I didn’t play bass. He insisted that if I could play guitar in Child Abuse that I could handle bass for ML. So I agreed, and then I was in the band. The next week, Uncle Al taught me the songs and before I knew it we were playing the Rock Against Racism show with Reagan Youth in 1983.

Danny with Underdog at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

So your stint with ML gets you until about 1985. Describe the transition from ML to UNDERDOG?

I had met Richie from going to shows and his band, The Numbskuls, played with Murphy’s Law about three or four times. I really liked their sound. At the time, I really liked the Cro-Mags because they had a hard sound, but it was a different sound. It didn’t fit in with the ‘model’ NYHC sound. It wasn’t quite metal yet either. I remember watching the Numbskuls and they had all these great riffs and, I guess you’d call them, breakdowns or mosh parts now...

They had a girl filling in on bass and were looking for a permanent replacement. Once I knew I was out of Murphy’s Law, the first call I made was to Richie to ask about playing for The Numbskuls.

The odd thing was, once he told me to come over his place and get a tape to learn the songs, we realized that we were living only about a 2 minute skate away from each other.

How did the Numbskuls morph into UNDERDOG?

Well, the Numbskuls were playing songs in a party, nonchalant vein. Once I joined the band, Richie had an idea to change the name and move the band into a more serious direction....

Dean rocks the kit, the shirt and the banner with Underdog at City Gardens, Photo: Ken Salerno

Monday, July 26, 2010

Walter follows up on CIV

Walter was cool enough to follow up on the last piece we did with him on the CIV LP a few months back. If you missed it:
Walter Schreifels on CIV

Having read some of the comments, Walter wanted to shed some light, and we decided to give him the floor. ...WALLY! - Gordo DCXX

I just re-ead this interview and the comments too and I'm happy to discover "Set Your Goals" and CIV still resonate on Double Cross.

To answer some of the comments, I'll try not to sound "douchey" - but in regards to the practice version of "Can't Wait..." I only meant that we were having fun, my version was only joking around. Civ deserves the credit for realizing the potential of the song and the whole idea of the band for that matter. Along with Lou's great cameo vocal, Civ was able to preserve the fun but stopped short of leaving it there, which is why I love it.

I'm almost positive the first CIV show was at St. Andrew's in Detroit with SOIA, I was bummed to have missed it, they were always a great live band in my opinion.


I may have been thinking Morrissey meets Rollins at the time but in retrospect, Civ is as much Frank Sinatra as either of those guys.

The voice at the end of "Trust..." is Charlie recorded through the pick up of his SG. I don't remember who or what it's supposed to be but it was hilarious and a little scary so we left it in. I hear it as an old man being beaten and loving it.

I think Luke wrote "Dead Serious" by Side By Side

I also recommend checking out the second CIV album "13 Day Getaway" which was criminally over looked by their record company at the time of release. It's not as much a HC record as "Set Your Goals," but to the open minded it's a bold evolution with great song writing (by the band, not mine) that really works. I listened to it recently and it's aging very gracefully. Civ and I collaborated on "Little Men," he wrote the lyrics to my music, it still gets me misty.

Thanks Double Cross! -Walter


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Corrosion Of Conformity - "Animosity" era returns in 2010

I've been hearing rumbles here and there about the COC - "Animosity" lineup coming back and playing some shows and recently stumbled upon their website and Facebook page that gives a little more information on all of this. I don't know about you, but seeing these guys play the "Animosity" material again sure as hell gets me stoked. Also the idea of hearing new material in the "Animosity" vein could certainly be pretty damn cool. Check out these pages and if COC is playing near you, don't miss it. -Tim DCXX

Corrosion Of Conformity

Corrosion Of Conformity on Facebook


Friday, July 23, 2010

Sound and Fury 2010

Unfortunately we here at DCXX couldn't make it out to this year's Sound and Fury fest, but if you're in the area, check it out and let us know how it all goes down. -Tim DCXX


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Underdog poll wrap up

I had a minority vote in this one, and I'm actually surprised that the LP got as many votes as it did. Everyone seems to consider the 7" a classic - and it is - no question. From iconic cover artwork to solid production to athemic lyrics and of course the great and catchy tunes, it's top drawer stuff all the way that always leaves me wanting more. I actually would have guessed that the classic EP would have pulled 75% of the vote.

That said, the 7" doesn't have three things that the LP does: "A Lot To Learn," "Back To Back," and "The Vanishing Point" 3 favorite Underdog songs that always point me right towards the dance floor. Throw in tunes like "Over The Edge," "Mass Movement," and "Underdog" as well, and you have one hell of a great record - quality and quantity in abundance. I've been able to see past the weirdo reverby, thin, treble-soaked recording (I'm not even sure how to describe it), and although I didn't see the band in the eighties, I caught the 1998 and present versions of Underdog, which means that I know these songs kill live.
Some people diss Chuck Treece's guitar style and the leads, or the rasta-infused tracks and Richie's vocals, but it all works if you ask me. The Vanishing Point is a band at the top of their game, blending all sorts of coolness together into a genre-bender without going overboard. While the recording simply didn't get executed in the way it deserved, it's still the winner for me.

If your collection is missing either of these, go check out - it's "never too late"… -Gordo DCXX

Underdog 7" - 54%
The Vanishing Point - 45%

Arthur, Richie and Russ with Underdog, Photo courtesy of: Underdog

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eddie Sutton - Leeway/TRUTHandRIGHTS round IV

Tell us about how Leeway evolved after the release of Born To Expire. How did the band change or grow over the next few records, and what do you think of each album? How had the NYHC scene changed over the course of the band, and where did Leeway continue to fit within that world? Stand out memories during the rest of Leeway?

After Born To Expire was recorded in November of '87, we all know a ton of bands went up there to capture the same strength in sound, but the full-length wasn't released until January of '89. I guess a lot of people who don't know the full history just see the timeline of Leeway and assume we just came out then in '89. By the time that record came out the songs were then 4 to 5 years old.

We had a great run of luck, and that summer we toured the states with the original BAD BRAINS which was, for me an education and life experience to say the least. My first full tour. So many great shows. Doc, Darryl, and Earl put an arm around all of us and brought me on their tour bus for the whole 12 weeks we were out on the road. I'll never forget what they did for me personally let alone the band. I learned so much from them, and they took so much time out to offer us whatever we needed. No band at that time ever did a full tour with them, and it's remained that way.

We toured Europe with them as well, and I saw the complete transition they too went through these past 20+ years doing what they do best. I'm privileged, and grateful for the experience. That whole summer has so many beautiful and wild memories to me I couldn't just pick one at this time.

Now, Desperate Measures was pretty much written by the time Born To Expire came out. We went a bit overboard I guess when it came to some of the songs being incredibly long. Who can dance 5-7 minutes to a song? Hahaha...even though we had that on DM, there were some great songs that helped maintain our strength and credibility.

The scene as a whole started to change. I think people assumed there was a scene after 1990 (that's arguable), but this was a transition period where a lot of bands started to go their own way within the scene. I noticed so many different styles coming out, but the sound still had restrictions, in my opinion.

I always believed HC was a lifestyle of true heart, aggression, passion, and it's the music that brings us all together. I always felt the music needed to evolve as well, and this is why Leeway always tried to expand and do new things musically with each release. I always wrote my stuff for myself first and it was never formulated to target an audience. The fact that it was appreciated is wonderful, but I needed to be true to myself if I was going to offer this to anyone.

I'm not sure at this point if we actually were fitting in anywhere with the direction we went towards after Desperate Measures, but we did our thing, and you can't say we didn't. That's for shit sure. If it didn't satisfy a hardcore purist I guess it is because they weren't willing to open their minds to the fact that hardcore isn't just a sound. It's so much more than that. We still did hard songs, but we also tried to write true compositions and didn't run with the general formula. We didn't get it completely right with Adult Crash, but Open Mouth Kiss proved to me personally that we went the distance as a group. Each release proved that more and more.

When I listen to the music today I am proud. Very proud. It took years for Open Mouth Kiss to be fully appreciated, but it is now, and the fact that all 4 full-lengths brought something new to the game shows where we were at that given moment, good or bad, and it shows growth and progression.

Eddie goes face to face with the City Gardens crowd, Photo: Ken Salerno

A lot of people don't know how or why Leeway came to an end, and what you were up to afterwards. Can you give us a recap? In that time, what were you interested in musically, and were you trying to put anything together?

The first time I broke the band up was in the early part of the millenium. Half ass business assumptions and getting to a show in Philly late where the show got cancelled before we got there was what made me stop then. Same old shit. The others didn't seem to care and skipped off and away to eat. I was travelling into New York from Pittsburgh on weekends after settling down out there, and I just realized it was the same old shit while I watched the Olympic torch go by as it was carried on to Utah for the winter games. It was the holiday season. When they came back I told them I was done.

The reunion in 2006 was more of the same, but we had a great 8 month run. Again it was the same shit where individuals who were sheltered by living with parents their whole lives thought they were above me, and it was obvious we were losing respect for one another. I'm used to being the bad guy in Leeway as if it's all my fault we didn't reach our potential, but decision makers sat on the fence all the time and couldn't pull a trigger when it came to decisions and we lost just as many opportunities that way as well.

In September of '06, our bass player thought it was more important to have his father put a down payment on his condo in the Carolinas after his wife filed for divorce - this happened when we had the opportunity to play the last 5 nights at CBGB's with the original BAD BRAINS and make history. OK, so his wife kicked him out and asked him to leave, but I realized then it was the same old shit and I called it a day for the band for good. Whatever.

I learned about more betrayals over the years. I'm glad I'm in the position to now be with true, honorable men who actually do have my back now with TRUTHandRIGHTS.

Regardless of my demons, we all had a part and role in the demise of this band over the years. I was the one who actually lived and died by Leeway 24/7/365 regardless of what I was going through. I was out in front. For most, when you hear the name Leeway it's my face that pops into mind, like it or is what it is. There are many more wonderful and great times over the bad.

AJ did what he could to try and keep me out of the press over the last 15 years because I was never politically correct. This ain't arena's hardcore. It's what you expect from a bunch of kids with a limited future who got to travel the world through this music and lifestyle. It kept some of us alive and gave us a chance to be something. It's a priceless gift I would never take for is what it is, though. Let's keep it real here.

As I said, we lost respect for each other in the a bad marriage, especially me and AJ, over the others. Me and AJ were able to write some incredible songs. We have fans who are much younger than most songs. That shows an impression you cannot deny. We did some great things together, but all things come to an end. I personally will never forget the good times, but we move on in this thing of ours as we do in life.

I'm just a grateful man in all honesty to have even done it, and I now get to do what I always wanted again with another group of players and good men. Let's face it, I'm just lucky to be on the this planet with all the shit I've gone through... just like many others in this music. Life is a challenge for most of us. It's a blessing without a doubt to just be able to do what I do. I am grateful so don't get me wrong here. I'm just being brutally honest. We all have our faults...we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror...we're all just human.

Leeway at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

How did the Leeway reunion shows come together, and how did that lead towards you putting together TRUTHandRIGHTS? What have you wanted to accomplish with TRUTHandRIGHTS and what can we expect in the coming months? What would you want someone who hasn't heard it to know about the band and sound?

At the time I broke up Leeway for good I was already talking to the members of AGENTS OF MAN about working together, but it didn't start to actually happen until a year later and after I recovered from a broken neck. It took a long time to get my skills back...this is how TRUTHandRIGHTS began to form. We've been at it 3 years. Once DIMI started playing drums for us we really became a group.

We had our live debut in Philly on May 23rd, and then we flew out to Tacoma, Washington to play Rain Fest over the past Memorial Day weekend. We didn't even have a proper release out. That's an achievement in itself. I personally enjoy this new start and paying dues all over. I don't believe in sitting on your ass on your past success like these reunion acts who can't write new shit. I think their outta gas, personally.

We now have a release date for our single EP before we release our full-length in the late fall. It's coming out on SIX FEET UNDER Records this Friday the 13th of August. That's the first night of THIS IS HARDCORE in Philly. We're playing on the last day, Sunday afternoon, and it's our big move for the summer as we now start to play out more. The EP is a limited edition vinyl/single which will be hand-numbered sequentially with surgical marker. It will of course also be available on iTunes as well. I never had the opportunity to put out a 7-inch so it's something new to me. There is a print run of 2010 copies. Two different versions of green vinyl. One more rare than the other for the record collectors.

It's obviously going to be compared to both Leeway and Agents of Man. Other than the Merauder demo, I've only done the one band - plus I have my own style that stands out, so the armchair fantasy players will have their say. Whatever. I think it's a whole new approach for me and for the rest of the musicians collectively. There is no way I'm writing now the way I did before. I'm older, wiser, and can honestly say I'm completely inspired playing with men and not boys who live with their parents. That's the diference here. No stuck up attitudes or self-righteous egos.

Something I always wanted to do...I'm finally getting a chance now after all these years. That's an incredible feeling...a beautiful thing.

One more round? Well, in the words of Judge Mills Lane...let's get it on...

Eddie mugs it up in Philly, Photo: Keith Franco

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jonathan Anastas - DYS part II

The official Modern Method and Taang! promo/press shot for the release of "DYS" (album #2), Photo: Elisa Katz

Returning for part II of our interview with him, Jonathan Anastas delivers the answers to our questions about early Boston and DYS. Plenty more to come, just in time for the return of DYS in Boston on August 29. -Gordo DCXX

Everyone views SSD as the DYS big brother band. What was the relationship like? Did SSD pave the way for DYS in any way, or do you feel like you both did it together?

Early on, Andy, Dave Smalley and I spent a lot of time with SSD and the rest of the core Boston Crew. We roadied all the major SSD shows and came along on many of the road trips to see Black Flag or the Bad Brains. Mixed it up in New York, hung out in DC.

I felt like the three of us were going to “SSD University” in terms of how to handle yourself on the road, at a show. Professionalism, precision, on time, right equipment, full crew. Sound check, stay close, watch each other’s backs, no partying.

And we were not the only band to do so. The Lasts Rights dynamic was pretty much the same. Choke, Pat and Ritchie were along for the same lessons.

To this day, I don’t think any band was heavier and more influential than SSD during the “Get it Away” era.

On top of the shows, SSD taught us how to “manage the business” - merchandise, recording, finding pressing plants, distributors, promote shows, rent halls.

We tried to bring all of that to DYS. Over time, we became more focused, the songs heavier. Dave’s more DC vibe giving way to a harder look and sound.

Again, from SSD and Black Flag, we copped a pretty serious work ethic. This wasn’t going to be the Sex Pistols where Sid just flailed away, pretending to play bass. We practiced at least 3 times a week as a band. If we started off as a bit of a joke, we were determined not to end up one.

Personally, I also really thought Jaime Sciarappa brought it and I learned a ton from him too: chops, stage presence, taste. And he was about the best, straight-up, guy on the planet. You could count on Jaime for anything. A funny aside, after seeing Motley Crue together, Jaime and I both custom ordered Hamer Blitz basses, just like Nikki’s, even as far as the Kahler tremolos, his Hamer in black, mine in pearl white.

Later, by the time of “Break It Up” and “DYS,” I feel like the dynamic changed from sitting at the feet of SSD, to being more like equals. There were things they were better at and things we were better at. A sound they moved toward (more AC/DC and Aerosmith-inspired boogie-based rock) and a sound we moved toward (really influenced by the early Metallica and Iron Maiden records). By our last show together at the original Rock Hotel (Now the Jane Ballroom), I felt like we were just two really solid rock bands whose personal and musical chemistry gelled well. And there was nothing like pooling equipment and playing out of like six Marshall stacks.

Jonathan Anastas and Dave Smalley with DYS at The Rat, Photo: Steve Risteen

How did you view SSD as a fan? Kids or Get It Away?

Then, and now, hardcore to me is about Black Flag, the Bad Brains and SSD. It takes more guts to blaze the trail than follow it. And all three bands were willing to be contrarian and true to their own beliefs in the face of both mainstream society and the hardcore scene. It takes guts to play “Police Beat” with 10 Boston cops at your show (or play a Reggae set to hardcore fans). And it takes guts to play “Break It Up” to an audience that wants to hear “Glue.”

Kids serves as an amazing totem of time and place, but Get It Away – to me - holds up better to regular listening today.
What about XClaim! as a family? Did it feel that way?

The Boston Crew was a family. X-Claim! was a logo.

XClaim! was – by design – a brand, a trademark of quality, like a hardcore Good Housekeeping seal. It never felt like a family as it wasn’t supposed to. There was no “XClaim! House” like the Dischord House. Al and Chris Foley didn’t “work at the label” like Ian and Jeff. If you wanted to put out an XClaim! Record you simply asked Al. And, maybe, he’d give you some vendor phone numbers for covers or pressing. But, aside from getting the logo, and permission to use it, you did it yourself. And I mean that in the best way.

The goal of XClaim! was to become a “reason to buy”- not unlike the way one might have bought any Blue Note album or (using today’s examples) see any Pixar movie. We bought anything with the Dischord logo on it, or the SST logo on it. Al wanted X-Claim! To be Boston’s version of that.

DYS on the cover of xXx Fanzine issue 9

Recording “Brotherhood":

“Brotherhood” was recorded at the legendary Radio Beat studio, with Lou Giordano engineering and mixing. Production done by Lou, assisted by Mike Bastarache, a local lawyer (if I’m remembering right), record collector and friend of the Newbury Comics founders who loved punk and hardcore. This was the team that had done “Kids Will Have Their Say.” It’s fairly common knowledge that Lou went on to an amazing career producing and doing sound with bands like Husker Du.

In fact, Lou was scheduled to record with the guys in Husker Du after one of our vocal sessions and – as they were already in the studio – were recruited to sing originally un-credited back-up vocals on “Wolfpack” and other tracks. I remember the band peppering us with Boston questions like “Is it true that people will pin us down and shave our heads” (they had long hair) and “Do people really walk around at shows slapping beers out of people’s hands” (they were – certainly – not Straight Edge).” Even pre-Internet, Boston’s reputation as a militant Straight Edge town had made it across America.

Stealing liberally from one of Brian Baker’s moments in “American Hardcore,” the production during the “Brotherhood” sessions was minimal and pre-production totally absent. The focus was really on getting through the performances and takes without error. We recorded the basic tracks live as a four piece band. There was no talk of “can you hang back behind the beat and find the pocket on the verse” or “what if we tried the chorus 10 Beats Per Minute slower” or “should we double the chorus and play the second in double time.” We just didn’t have the vocabulary yet or – even – the sense of songwriting. It’s been really interesting to play those songs again, ask those questions and experiment with the results.

We had minimal recording experience, no budget and no real vision beyond getting the songs onto tape. I remember we had a really hard time getting Andy’s guitar sound the way we wanted it. We couldn’t get the tone we heard in our heads – or even in the room - on tape and just had to compensate for that by just making them louder in the mix. This may have contributed to the other issue we had later - the level of Dave’s vocals post-Mastering. Something shifted between final mixes and the test pressing and we lost some vocal volume and presence. Almost to the point of wanting to go back and re-master. We had no money left, so it was “get it out now” or – maybe – not get it out for a long time. A shame of budget and in-experience. Dave should be a bigger sonic presence on the record. As far a we know, the Masters are long gone and we’ll never have the chance to do that.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hands Tied August 2010 shows

Aside from playing this year's "This Is Hardcore" fest in Philadelphia on August 15th, Hands Tied has lined up a full weekend of shows with Mindset, Get The Most and ON. I was stoked to see the flyers for all three shows and thought I'd post them up here on DCXX for anyone that might be interested in checking out any of these shows. We'll also have the brand new two song Hands Tied "Through The Wreckage" EP for "This Is Hardcore" as well as the other three shows to follow. -Tim DCXX

HANDS TIED on Facebook

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Why Be Something That You're Not invades Cleveland

This Friday, July 16th, there will be an invasion (INVASION!) of Cleveland! I, Tony Rettman, author of 'Why Be Something That You're Not - Detroit Hardcore '79 - '85' and the Dutch Hercules himself, Tesco Vee will descend upon the town and bombard it with primo aggro Midwest vibrations. First off, we will be doing a book signing at Visible Voice Books at 7 pm. PLEASE come out and get a book signed, say 'Hi' and shoot the shnyder with TV and I.

After that, head over to that swingin' joint, NOW THAT'S CLASS for the first official dual release party for both books. It's gonna be a boss time, I assure you. The bill includes the revamped TESCO VEES HATE POLICE as well as those L.A yucksters WHITE FLAG (First midwest show EVER!) And let's not forget Livewire recording artists HELLMOUTH delivering their souped up Satanic scree. Throw in sets by locals McSHITZ and ANTISEPTIC and you're talking fun time central, Jackson! Show starts at 9 PM. Feel free to buy me a Victory Hop Devil. I won't mind, I assure you.

Obviously, I will have books for sale (feel free to ask me to sign one) but we'll have some other awesome stuff there as well. Firstly, we will have the 'WBSTYN FUN PACK' which includes a complete set of all three re-printed issues of Burp! Fanzine (An early 80's Midwest 'zine done by John Brannon and Todd Swalla under assumed names) and a Davo Schiech (dude who took all the photos on the NA 7") print in a polybag. These fun packs are limited to 100 copies and will cost ten bones.

We might also have t-shirts if we pull it off in time. They will have a classic Midwest flyer on the front and the WBSTYN logo on the sleeve ala Wishingwell. Those will be ten bucks as well.

Alright, hope to see some Clevo people there. I'm really looking forward to it! -Tony Rettman




Tesco Vee armed and ready

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vatican Commandos

Vatican Commandos were
a key band in the 80's Connecticut Hardcore scene, and are reuniting to play the Everybody's Scene Book Party show in NYC on July 17th. Also worth mentioning is the fact that one of the fellas from the VC was a guy you may have heard of: Moby. We got to pick the brains of Jim Spad (bass) and Chuck Wheat (vocals) about some CTHC history. -Gordo DCXX

How did you guys meet each other in the CT scene, and how did VC come together?

Jim: We all went to the same high-school. Moby and I went to the same elementary school and lived pretty close together, so we met first. Our original drummer Chip Moody was also in neighborhood. He named the band and help write a lot of early lyrics. We met Chuck later in High School and after that Chuck and I hooked up with Mike Pollock on guitar and Dave Hower on drums. In the real early days, with Moby, before Hit Squad for God I was the singer and we used to do Sex Pistols and Clash covers.

Chuck: We all went to the same Darien High School. Moby and I went to the same grade school and Junior High school. Jim, Moby, John Farnsworth, and Chip Moody started a band during High School. I remember them playing at the battle of the bands against a bunch of crummy cover bands...they were great. Jim did most of the singing at first. I was friend with them and when they decided they wanted to add a singer I tried out and the rest is history. John Farnsworth and Lindsey were in the band when I joined and as I recall Moby was not...then Lindsey and John were out...and Moby was back.

This is when we recorded the Hit Squad stuff...then Moby was out...and we found Mike Pollock to replace Moby. Chip around that time left to play with CIA and then 76%, and we found Dave Hower to play drums. This was probably the longest and most stable lineup. For a while Bill Knapp took over on drums (ask him but I think he has played for most CT bands at some point in their history), but eventually things like school and work made keeping it all going too difficult. As far as the scene The VC's pretty much grew up with the CT hardcore scene.

Vatican Commandos at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Jamie Keever

What local punk bands were you aware of when you started playing? Was VC meant to fit into any specific punk scene? How would you describe the VC ethos and sound?

Jim: There were no local bands at first, it was just us. We were really too young to get out of town when we first started playing. I remember buying Never Mind The Bollocks in an import bin at the local phonograph shop in Darien. Moby and I were probably 12 or 13 at the time. That record really did it for us. As we got a bit older, we ventured out and discovered other local bands, CIA, Lost Generation, Reflect From Pain - there was a whole scene out there.

I don't know how to describe our sound. We were influenced by lots of different bands and each recording session has a different sound. When we released Hit Squad For God we had just heard This iI Boston Not LA and Flex Your Head, but most of the songs on the record itself pre-date the release. We listened to a lot of different bands, I really liked LA bands like Bad Religion, Adolescents, Circle Jerks, but we were hungry for new music anywhere we could find it. We were pretty diverse in our tastes.

Chuck: Local bands that we knew and hung out with included CIA, Reflex From Pain, Seizure, Contraband, No Milk On Tuesday, Youth Of name a few.

How did you meet Brian and Shaun Sheridan and come to know about the Anthrax?

Jim: I think Brian saw us at Pogo's in Bridgeport and said, "Hey we have this art gallery with a basement, would you like to play?" We were one of the first hardcore bands to play there. I remember we were blown away that such a place existed just one town over from us. Brian and Shaun were totally cool. I can't imagine what those years would have been like without the Anthrax.

Chuck: I can't remember who first told me about the Anthrax, but as a group the band was pretty much involved from the begining. We even practiced there for a while during the week. Brian and Shaun were great! They would both pretty much give you the shirt of their backs if needed.

Moby hangs out in front of the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Paul Yates

Can you give a run down of your releases and recordings?

Jim: Our Facebook page has a pretty complete list.

Unfortunately, we have had more recording session that went unreleased then released. We are going to do a bit of recording the day before the show. That material will probably be added to our unreleased collection. Ha!

What live shows did you play that stand out now?

Jim: We played in Orlando, Florida with Battalion of Saints back in 1984. The show was supposed to be in a bar, but it go cancelled so we played in an abandoned house with a generator outside. I remember it was hot as hell in this house, pouring rain outside, and totally packed inside. Everyone was slam dancing and there wasn't enough room, so some enterprising folks tore a wall down during our set! After the show, rednecks in pick ups drove by and beer bottles were thrown in both directions. It was totally hardcore. Lots of other interesting shows, but that one I'll never forget.

Chuck: We played some great shows. Ones that stand out for me are the show at Pogo's where I fell through the ceiling over the exit in the middle of singing It's So Scary for YOU, and then crash! - Through the ceiling I went. I finished the song hanging from a 2x4 clutching the mic. Pretty sure I didn't miss a word. We played another great show in Florida in an abandon house that someone had been squatting in. Also, when a club cancelled one of our shows during that same tour we played for a bunch of people outside a storage unit.

Vatican Commandos, Stamford style, Photo:
Louann Kruger

Why did Moby leave the band?

Jim: I've told some people I kicked him out of the band and that really shows what an excellent judge of talent I am!! But joking aside--I recall it being a mutual thing. We both had very strong ideas about music (and other things) and we just moved in different directions.

Chuck: You could say Moby and Jim had some creative differences at the time. Moby also had another band at the time AWOL that was a bit more "New Wave" that he was more into.

Tell us about the lost "Crusading" LP, and also about the unreleased "Love Cannon" LP.

Jim: Well, we have about two albums worth of unreleased material. Not bad for a band that only has EPs and compilations released! We also have two sessions of material that was recorded before Hit Squad For God. One additional session with Moby and another with John Farnsworth and Lindsey Anderson on guitar. John and Lindsey are going to join us for a few songs during the show in New York, that should be fun.

The Crusading LP is tough. We had no interest in releasing it ourselves. It was too much work and at that point me Chuck were already in college and starting to get interested in other things. So, we heard from this guy Dickie Yuck who had a decent fanzine and had interest in releasing it. We sent him the original tape. Pretty dumb thing to do.

Crusading had really excellent artwork from Vince Rancid who drew the first record cover. It was pretty distinctive musically--all the songs were varied and we had two guitars at that time. Matt Craig, who sadly, died quite a few years back, played rhythm guitar.

I think the only song that was ever released from that session, was "Last Wish" which wound up on Flipside #4 complication. We heard that Dickie moved to Alaska, then we didn't hear anything, and then, well life goes on and Chuck, Mike and myself really left music behind to pursue other things. Dickie Yuck if you're out there--please send the tapes back--no questions asked.

Chuck: Any copies of these songs that I have are in pretty crappy condition. I had a cassette tape of some of them in a walkman that got stolen so I think that's pretty much it, they are lost. Some of those songs were pretty good but we only played them a bit at some later live shows.

Chip with the Vatican Commandos at the Stamford Anthrax, Photo: Louann Kruger

Now that you are almost 30 years removed from that punk scene, what type of interest have you retained in punk rock or any aggressive music?

Jim: I still love to listen to hardcore and early punk. I listen to a lot of other types of music too-but that was true when were in the band, too.

Chuck: I have a pretty varied music taste...My current pandora mix of stations includes classic rock, Ramones, Agent Orange, adult contemporary, Blues Traveller, Dave Matthews, Dick Dale, Black Sabbath, Damned, X, Foo Fighters, Gang of Four, Texas Blues...and a few more...

Did your experiences with VC shape who you became as adults? How so?

Jim: Absolutely. I own a technology company and we develop hardware and software, it's all project-based. Putting out a record or organizing a tour, it is similar, the band taught me how to organize projects and get things done. I'd like to write book some day called, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in a Punk Rock Band" (ha).

Chuck: Probably, and who knows.

How do you feel about modern punk rock? Is it weird to see the way it is now essentially in the mainstream?

Jim: I think over time acceptance is natural and in retrospect was bound to happen. It is still a bit weird to think there are "punk rock stars" Still, I enjoy listening to mainstream punk bands like The Hives and Green Day.

Chuck: I guess we were ahead of our time...

Any expectations for the July 17th show? How will it feel to play these songs live again?

Jim: I'm really looking forward to it. I lost track of a lot of friends, really looking forward to connecting with everyone. I moved to the West Coast after the band and never really came back. Also, I literally put down the bass for 25 years--so to play again, even practice has been a pleasure. I'm glad too that my son Andrea and daughter Caterina are going to be able to see the show. They'll get to see a side of their Dad that they won't easily forget.

Chuck: We had a great time playing at our first practices and will get together again to work out the bugs before the show. I think it will be fun...I recommend ear's going to be loud!


Black Flag

A finely tuned wrecking machine known as Black Flag, Photo: Glen E. Friedman

Everybody's Scene NYC show July 17th

Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. NYC

Friday, July 9, 2010

Misfits - "Walk Among Us" poll results wrap up

I'm actually pretty damn impressed, this Misfits poll really brought in the votes. I've always looked at "Walk Among Us" as THE Misfits album and from the look of things, so do a lot of our readers.

As far as what song won this, it's nice to see that I'm not alone in my love for "Skulls". Not that you can really find many songs that don't shred on this album, but for me, "Skulls" has always stood out and remained one of my favorite Misfits songs ever.

Thinking back to when I first discovered punk and hardcore, the Misfits we're easily one of the first band names I was always hearing. Granted, Glenn had moved on to Samhain by the time I was getting my feet wet in the scene, but the Misfits were still the band that everyone was talking about.

Misfits with John Brannon of Negative Approach up front and singing along, Photo courtesy of: 7th House

Before hearing a single note, my introduction was through the imagery of the Misfits. All the skulls, gore and violence led me to believe that the Misfits most likely had a chaotic, insanely fast, destructive sound similar to a band like Septic Death. Boy was I ever wrong.

I still remember the first time I heard the Misfits, a friend and I were skating and doing bonelesses off the trunk and bumper of an old car. I seem to remember my friend playing a mix tape through his boom box as we thrashed it up. Everything I was hearing back then was pretty much new to me, but when the Misfits came on, it was the song "Skulls" and my mind couldn't calculate what I was hearing. A melodic, well sung, well written song that so pleasantly spoke of hacking the heads off little girls and hanging them on a wall. What the fuck planet did this come from? I was used to hearing some pretty fucked up shocking lyrics, but sung like this and to music like this? I was confused to say the least.

Glenn Danzig... just about as cool as it gets, Photo courtesy of: 7th House

The beauty and attraction to the Misfits back then was that they were so catchy and sounded like something you could play in front of your parents, but once you paid attention to the lyrics and saw the imagery, forget about it, mom was throwing that tape right out the damn window. Luckily for me, I made sure to keep the truth about the Misfits well hidden and my listening went over without a hitch (unlike my listening to Septic Death!).

Close to 25 years later, I'm still listening to the Misfits and every time "Skulls" comes on, the stereo gets jacked a little bit higher. Love him or hate him, yet another reason why Glenn Danzig is a freaking' genius. And the blood drains down like devil's rain, we'll bathe tonight. -Tim DCXX

The Misfits clearly in a league of their own, Photo courtesy of: 7th House

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hands Tied - 1996 / 2010

Tim with Hands Tied in Connecticut, 2002, Photo: Traci McMahon

Tim and I have been hesitant from day one about using Double Cross to serve as a vehicle to promote any of our own music-related projects. That said, DCXX is a blog about hardcore, Hands Tied is now back on the scene as a current hardcore band, and I'd also like to think that the readers of this site are fans or potential fans of the band. So, DCXX seems like the place for HT. Plus, I feel like I can still talk about Hands Tied from a fan perspective, because long before I was in the band, I was a fan.

Allow me to give a little background...

In the mid-1990s when Mouthpiece was going full throttle, I was a big fan, had all their records, and thought they were THE band playing straight edge hardcore at the time. But I was also too young to make it to any of their shows with the exception of one (Spanky's in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, 1995). By the time I was able to convince my parents to let me leave town with older friends for shows, Mouthpiece had called it a day and I realized I had just missed out on really being a part of a great band's existence.

Almost immediately however, I learned that Tim and Sean from Mouthpiece were doing a new full-on straight edge hardcore band along with Mouthpiece roadie Ed McKirdy and NJ skater Pat Guidotti. I knew right then and there that I already dug this band and would be at as many of their shows as possible. Alongside Floorpunch and a new crop of bands popping up playing traditional styled hardcore, Hands Tied had a strong buzz going and were at the forefront of the whole "hardcore revival" people were talking about.

Ed McKirdy on the Les Paul, Photo: Traci McMahon

I would end up seeing Hands Tied eight times between 1996 and the beginning of 1998, with almost every line-up version during their short lifespan, and they never disappointed. Although they only had an EP out on Equal Vision and weren't a full-blown touring act, I viewed them as an established, legit band that had no weaknesses.

Keep in mind, at that time, fast styled hardcore bands were popping up quickly, and many couldn't pull it off. The enthusiasm of some bands may have been there, but the songwriting, performance, delivery, and execution were way off. Hands Tied knew how to do it right. This wasn't intricate prog-rock, but it was well-written, high energy, 1988 styled hardcore that sounded like a perfect blend of east coast and west coast straight edge pioneers.

Hands Tied played the tri-state area and momentum was building with a re-vamped line-up, but after returning from a European tour in '97/'98, the band fell apart. This was a real bummer to me, because the songs they had been writing with Dan Hornecker on guitar and Geoff 'TDT' Sayreville on drums were fucking great - harder and with an early NYHC intensity, but still undoubtedly in-your-face, aggressive SEHC. They never recorded them, and to me, the band never even had a proper send off. While many people loved Mouthpiece and viewed that as Tim's prominent band, I felt as though Hands Tied were equally as great, if not better. Plus, they were only around for a year and a half, and were just getting into high gear when they called it quits.

Gordo brings the percussion, Photo: Brian Froustet

Over the last ten years, Hands Tied played a few reunion shows with different line-ups, and I was glad to see that the songs held up, and people still were totally into them.

In the meantime, Tim, Ed, and I had also grown to be very close friends, and I was starting to fiddle around with a drumset. After a few years of playing, I was able to carry a beat, and we started goofing around and jamming together. Hands Tied was never even on the radar, but we were having a blast playing hardcore riffs and cover songs, and it gave us a reason to hang out, eat a lot of food, talk incessantly about hardcore, and basically act like idiots...which seems to have become more difficult to accomplish for all of us as we've gotten a little older (even though I'm still the baby).

Anyways, we wrote two songs, titled "These Hands" and "Empty Words," and decided to record them. We all thought the stuff was really good...we just didn't know what to call this band project, and weren't sure what it was shaping into. In the back of my mind, it sounded a lot like what Hands Tied had been writing towards the end of the band...and the spirit felt like Hands Tied. Keep in mind, we would also jam out some Hands Tied songs when we would practice, and they felt totally natural and sounded great. Just then, Tim said, "you know...this sure feels like Hands Tied to me..."

We decided to then record three Hands Tied songs that were written in 1996/1997 but never recorded by the band: "What's Right," "Shifting Days," and "Gagged And Bound." Nobody had to talk me into this, because I thought these songs really shredded and deserved a proper recording. The recordings came out awesome.

Mike Clarke getting in some practice time, Photo: Chris Bavaria

We sorted out some logistics, got Mike Clarke from Mindset in on second guitar alongside of Ed, and Tim "THE KREEP" Kriependorf from Triple Threat in on bass, and decided that doing Hands Tied as a current, active, relevant band was pretty much a no brainer. It wasn't some forced "rebirth" or "reunion" or anything silly - it just felt right.

While we clearly aren't reinventing any musical wheel here, we are doing something that feels timeless, as well as natural and overdue for us. For me personally, it's a little surreal to now be playing drums in a band I used to go bonkers to when I was 14 years old, and I'm psyched. It's a cool coming of age for me.

With a new EP right around the corner, some summer shows booked on the east coast, and a discography due right after that, things are already moving, and it's pretty exciting.

Whether you are talking 1982, 1988, 1997, 2010, or any other time...I think this band is what Straight Edge Hardcore is all about. -Gordo DCXX

HANDS TIED on Facebook

The Kreep drops the bass, Photo: Nicole Kibert