Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mark Holcomb - Undertow

Ryan, John and Mark with Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

Undertow are one of those bands from the early 90's that I always felt that I had a certain bond with. They were very similar in age to the guys in my band (Mouthpiece), we both seemed to have come from a common background and the same era of hardcore. We liked a lot of the same bands and both our bands started around the same time, only difference being that we came from different coasts. Then sometime around the summer of 1992, Undertow made their way to New Jersey and we got a chance to play together. After playing that first show together, we hung out, got to know each other and maintained a connection for many years to come. Eventually Mouthpiece would make our way to Seattle and both bands would come together and hit the road from Seattle all the way to Southern California. There's no question we've shared some memories together and now almost 20 years later, I've still managed to loosely keep in touch with some of the Undertow guys.

A year or so ago, Ben Merlis hit me up and told me that Undertow guitarist, Mark Holcomb, was now his roommate. Ben asked if I'd be interested in an interview with Mark for DCXX and offered to handle the entire interview himself. Of course I obliged and what we're kicking off here is the start to a multi part interview. Thanks to Ben for the contribution, it's much appreciated and of course, thanks to Mark for breaking it all down for us. - Tim DCXX

A blur of Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

So you used to be a goth. Tell me about that.

7th grade I was totally normal. 7th-8th grade break my sister got me into Love & Rockets and then from there I got into The Cure and this other band Mission UK, and I totally got into goth.

What year was this?

It had to be '86 to '87, because I think I was goth for a full year.

Did you dress like Robert Smith?

I grew out my bangs, but it was more of that 80s skater thing. I never teased my hair. I remember wearing t-shirts around my waist as that like cape coming down the back. (laughs) Kids used to do that. That might have been more Hosoi than anything, you know? I think I copped more of that skate look than goth. I never wore eyeliner, although the original singer for Undertow did tease his hair and wear eyeliner.

Before Undertow?

Yeah yeah. Both me and him got into the same things and I'm trying to think if we knew Murph [Ryan Murphy, Undertow drummer] at the time. I think we were friends with Murph, but Murph was like a metal kid, a punk rock kid. Kind of that other spectrum where you're really not supposed to get along. That only lasted like a year. I always grew up with music, with my dad listening to classic rock and stuff, but the goth phase probably lasted like a year or so. Then my sister started dating the guitar player from Brotherhood and by now I started to check out Dead Kennedys and GBH and DRI, and he was like, "Oh if you like this shit, I've got some underground stuff you might like." So he started making me cassette tapes of mixes of Youth of Today, Crippled Youth, Bold, Minor Threat. I really liked Minor Threat and I really liked Crippled Youth, especially Crippled Youth. They were like my age. I was into that. So there was a goth phase for a year, and then I got into Suicidal Tendencies and more thrash and punk stuff for maybe like eight months or so, and then it quickly turned to hardcore.

You grew up where exactly?

North Seattle. An area called Lake Forest Park.

And you went to junior high with Joel from Undertow?

Yeah, and Murph. Since 7th grade I guess. Murph was fucking punk in . . . I think I can show you a picture. I think he had a mohawk in 7th grade. His 7th grade picture was him with a mohawk and a sleeveless cut-off Johnny Rotten shirt that says "I Want Be An Anarchist." (laughs) I gotta give credit to Murph that he was a fucking bad ass from the beginning.

What about going to shows? When did you start going to see bands play and what bands were they?

The first show I went to was Love & Rockets and Jane's Addiction and that was '87 or so. The big change happened when my sister started dating the guitar player from Brotherhood, Greg Anderson. Him and all his friends started taking us to see his band. I knew he was in this band before that, which was False Liberty. I knew they were playing shows, but I was so young. I was like 14, 13? So my mom didn't approve of me going to shows unless there was a chaperone or music she approved of.

Mark with Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

So you got into Brotherhood before The Accused, or were you an Accused fan first?

I was an Accused fan first. Yeah, because they were from Seattle, so they were pretty big. There was a show I was supposed to go to. Me, Joel and Murph were supposed to go see GBH and The Accused, but it was like three hours away and you had to take a ferry to go. I can't remember if Murph went or not. I think he was the one who had a ticket, but couldn't go. And there was actually a riot on the ferry one day.

Oh! Yeah, Jesse from Bad Reaction told me the story. He was on the ferry.

Yeah! After that riot my mom was like . . . my mom was very protective of me because my sister was a wild child, so I kind of caught the brunt of anything she did. She was like, "That won't happen again."

So your parents were still married at this point?

They were divorced when I was 2. I saw my dad at least once a week. He only lived like an hour and a half away.

In Olympia, right?

Yeah. And he loves music. He bought both me and my sister record players when we were like 10. So both me and my sister grew up listening to a lot of music and collecting records and all that. Throughout the entire career of Undertow and me being in Shift, he always supported me musically. He said, "This is what you want to do. Go for it."

So when did you start playing the guitar?

I was 14? It was the summer before freshman year, so I had just turned 14 and I traded the original Nintendo for the Eric Clapton red and white Squier guitar.

Oh, like a Stratocaster?

Yeah. And then I started in high school. Freshman year, I took lessons. Which is mostly classical, but basically you had an hour to practice your classical stuff and then your teacher would play Beatles songs and you'd try to follow along.

How did Refuse start? That was the first band you were ever in, right?


And who was in the original line up of Refuse?

I can't remember the bass player, but it was all of us from high school, and basically me and Joel had been best friends and we needed a drummer. Greg from Brotherhood said, "You want to start a band? Just find dudes who play music. It's that simple." So we talked to Murph and we were like, "We want to start a band." I said, "I can't play." Murph is like, "I can't play." But my mom let us practice in our house for a little while and then eventually we practiced at Joel's. But it was me, Joel, and Murph, and we kind of had a rotating bass player there for a little while. But we didn't know how to write. We barely knew how to play. We'd just kind of get together and jam. We'd never do covers or anything, but I would try to write music. And I think we ended up recording eight songs for the Refuse demo by the end of our freshman year.

Mark and John with Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

Your first was where, and if you remember the date, what date was that?

It was in April, I want to say like the 4th or the 8th. It was in Bremerton, which was the place where The Accused riot happened. It was with Brotherhood and First Step I think? We played four songs in this dude's basement. This guy Lenny used to have shows in his basement and like 50 kids showed up.

April 1989?

Yeah. Both me and Joel sang back up vocals for Brotherhood, and that was in '88. And that was when I was still straight edge. I can mark the date where pretty much I was like, "I'm going to be straight edge." It was right around November of '88.

You were so young. Were you doing any drugs or drinking before that?

No, but talking with Greg and seeing other family members kind of having issues. Greg just presented it as, "I'm doing this for myself, and I like to be in control. When you get fucked up you're just not in control. What if something happens to somebody or you? You're just not in control. You don't have your full functions. And I would prefer to live my life clean." It made sense to me because when you get into high school there's the rockers, the goths, the skaters, and everybody kind of hates each other. It appealed to me. I'm going to take care of my own life.

You said something about family members having issues. Specifically what was going on in your family at the time?

Just recreational use. There might have been some harder stuff mixed in. My parents are divorced, my mom's a Catholic, and uh . . . I don't know. There was some harder drugs going on. I don't know how serious it was, even to this day. I've asked and I've gotten different stories. Siblings . . . that's as far as I can go with that. (laughs) I'll tell you off the record.

Tell me about One Family. What is One Family?

It was the guys in Undertow, Dave Larson from Excursion Records, and Ron from Overkill [Records] and Brotherhood. We just wanted to get buddy tattoos because we were all like, "We'll be straight edge forever." We've been straight edge for this long and we were kind of building a scene, because Seattle was pretty small then. It was kind of a comradery thing. We took it obviously from Youth of Today. Ron used to always drive Undertow down to California on our spring break and whenever we could. So it was always like Undertow, Dave Larson, and Ron, and a few of our other friends. Eric Kinder came along for a lot of those trips. It was just like a group of dudes who were like, "Fuck everybody else. This is who we are. We'll all be friends forever." You know. You're 18, you want to get tattooed.

Demian, John and Mark with Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

So have you been friends forever?

Still friends with half the people. Ron Guardipee I'm not, but that's more business than anything else.

It was a crew in a sense that it wasn't exactly a gang? Did you graffiti on the walls?

No. It was just a group of dudes, and we were all like, "Let's get the same tattoo."

You got your first tattoo when you were how old?


What other bands were there at the time, late 80s Seattle straight edge? Obviously there's Brotherhood who becomes Resolution. There's you guys - Refuse. And then, who else? First Step?

First Step was from Bellingham. I feel like there was a straight edge band out of Spokane. It's been so long. That was it. Brotherhood broke up after they toured with The Accused and First Step broke up even before that. Around that time Refuse was it. We changed the name [to Undertow] I think when we were 16.

Did Refuse play outside of the Seattle area?

Refuse never played IN Seattle actually. We played one show in Bremerton and then we played one show in Spokane when we were 15. And then we lost our bass player and that's I guess when John [Pettibone] came in. We met Pettibone through going to all these shows, because he would be at the shows. I've talked to you about this, but the background to Seattle was underage shows were illegal in Seattle up until like '92-'93. Because they didn't want underage kids being in the same environment where people sell alcohol, and the insurance rates were too high for somebody to open up an all ages club. So you were playing like basements. We found this sketchy place in a bad neighborhood called the Party Hall, and that guy was like, "I don't give a fuck. Do whatever." We used to get robbed outside. It was pretty dicey for a 16 year old kid, but that was the first place where it didn't get shut down because it was in such a bad neighborhood. All the other places if somebody tried to rent a VFW hall or something, it would get shut down in like three weeks.

Mark and Ryan, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

At this point were there nationally touring hardcore bands coming through Seattle?

Yeah, occasionally. It was just all random, but the shows wouldn't be just hardcore. They'd be punk, and pop-punk. I remember bills where Neurosis would play with a pop-punk band, and Christ On A Crutch were still playing around in Seattle so, there was bands like Aspirin Feast and Last Gasp and there were like punk bands like The Accused, but on a smaller level playing shows, but if you were in a band and you could play, you could get a show there. So there were shows where it would be like Undertow, Christ On A Crutch, Aspirin Feast and Neurosis, and then like one time we played with Offspring before they got big. And it was great because everybody would show up and everybody got along because they knew that this isn't going to last forever. There was no friction at that time between different scenes because everybody played the same shows.

Youth of Today or Inside Out, when they did national tours, would they come through Seattle?

Youth of Today came through in '88, played Spokane, and I think Walter broke his leg and flew home because he was skating.

He broke his leg in Spokane?

It was right around that time. So Ray played bass and I think John White from Open Your Eyes Fanzine sang, and they didn't play Seattle. (Editor's note: it was actually Steve Reddy of Wolfpack/Equal Vision Records that sang at that show for YOT)

And John White was the first Brotherhood singer?

Yeah. Bands wouldn't really come through that much. so when a band did make it through, especially later on in the second era of Undertow, when maybe we had established a little bit of a name . . . to get to Seattle from San Francisco is a 16 hour drive. There were no shows in Portland or Idaho, so you'd come up and play Seattle and then split. Most bands were like, "What's the fucking point?"

Poison Idea wasn't playing?

Oh yeah! Undertow played with Poison Idea. And we used to play with The Accused, but I think if bands wanted to come through they had to be bigger at that time or they had to be bands like Poison Idea that could get a draw and get paid a lot of money, because those drives . . . You hit Seattle, you might go play Vancouver. I think Vancouver had shit going on then too, but getting across the border was really sketchy. So if you want to come to Seattle, and maybe play Portland, but Portland was kind of slimmer than Seattle where just really weren't that many shows. You were doing these 12-13 hour drives, coming up playing two shows tops, probably not making that much money, and then having to drive through Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana, if you could find those shows. There really wasn't a cohesive scene. And the bands that did make it through were playing bars. And I was 15-16.

Ryan delivers the beat for Undertow, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

You told me a long time ago about the best show you ever saw. Do you remember what you said?

Inside Out. Yeah.

Where was that? When was that?

That would be probably '90. It was Inside Out and Forced Down. Amenity actually came up before Forced Down and I met all those dudes, and I had a fanzine at the time called Mario Brothers. (laughs). I interviewed the guys in Amenity. And then when Forced Down and Inside Out came up they played in . . . it's called Ballard, but it's basically Seattle, and Bellingham which is two hours north. They played at a real club in Ballard, and then played this kid's garage in Bellingham, and this was still . . . I was what? 16? So that's 15 years ago roughly? Still the best show I've ever seen. EVERYBODY knew the lyrics.

It was 20 years ago.

Oh man. (laughs)

Exactly 20 years ago. What was it like? What was so great about Inside Out?

Well I think for a lot of us, we got the demo real early on. It changed our perception of what hardcore could be, because Zack's vocals, he actually sings on a lot of it. Not really melodies, but it's not just screaming. His voice . . . even in Rage Against The Machine I think it's appealing. His voice is just so emotional. It's not just dead screaming. And then Vic Dicara . . . the members of the band were just amazing. It was intense and it had this emotional feel to it. It wasn't the east coast Sick Of It All-Killing Time kind of tough guy shit. It was like west coast, emotional . . . I don't know if it's maybe more laid back, but Inside Out also was a bit slower. Not much on that record is fast. So it's a different style of hardcore. Greg Anderson was living in San Diego, and he played a little bit in Amenity, but he also had a band called Statement. And all of a sudden Statement and the original Statue stuff was coming out. It was slower, the vocals were a lot better. And even Chain of Strength, it's amazing. His vocals are like . . . awesome.

You can definitely hear the Chain of Strength and the Inside Out influence in early Undertow.


So when exactly did Refuse change its name to Undertow and why? And just for the record - Refuse changed its name to Undertow while Joel was still the singer. Is that correct?


When was that?

Probably '89 or '90. I think we just decided the name Refuse was stupid. And it was definitely Joel and me and Murph and around the time that John joined the band.

The Undertow guys stop to take a rest, Photo courtesy of: Tom Holcomb

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Warzone 8/23/1987

Warzone at the Knights Of Columbus in Williamsville, NY. August 23, 1987. This is one of those great videos you can watch 50 times and every time you watch it, it's just as cool as the first. 1987 was one hell of an era for Warzone. United we stand, divided we fall, ya gotta keep the faith! -Tim DCXX

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Favorite Insted release poll wrap up

To recap our most recent poll in which we asked you what Insted record was your favorite, bassist Rich Labbate chimed in with some thoughts on "We'll Make The Difference," which squeaked by with the win. Tim and I both voted for the sophomore EP effort, and I can say it's easily my favorite Insted release while not knocking the other records by any means. Not only is Insted a great band, but they are some of the nicest, coolest dudes I have ever met, period. Take it away, Rich. O.C. Hardcore. -Gordo DCXX

Kevin bringin' the O.C. Straight Edge with Insted, Photo: Mikey Fastbreak

I joined Insted in the spring of 1988 (a few months before the ‘Bonds Of Friendship’ record was released). The demo had gotten a lot of attention locally and everyone was kind of waiting to see what would happen next. With the release of ‘Bonds’ and the line up solidified, we were ready to hit the ground running. You now had 4 guys who were totally on the same page. ALL straight edge, ALL vegetarian, and ALL really deeply rooted in Hardcore. There wasn’t a local show that went by that you couldn’t find at least one Insted member at. We ate, slept and breathed Hardcore.

Now the early material was compared to Stalag 13 and 7 Seconds. With me coming into the mix, I brought a wider range of influences other than Southern California Hardcore. I had been a record collector and preferred more rowdy sounding bands like Anitdote, Negative Approach, and Minor Threat - so that’s what you start hearing on ‘We’ll Make The Difference.' Plus the whole Youth Crew era was at its height and we were representing the west coast.

A young Rich Labbate and some Age Of Quarrel, Photo courtesy of: Rich

I remember recording that record a couple months after coming home from a tour and we were pumped up about getting something new out so we could get back out there. I think the energy came across on that recording. It was harder sounding and more focused. I would have to say looking back that it is my personal favorite recording. Even though some of my favorite Insted songs are on ‘Bonds Of Friendship’ and Insted was most popular during the ‘What We Believe’ era, with ‘We’ll Make The Difference’ we were just firing on all cylinders. - Rich Insted

From across the land to the zines and the bands
There's a network of people who show what they feel
Take a look, you will find this movement is one of a kind
There's nothing like it - it's here today
There's nothing like it - make it stay
I see it at all the shows
The togetherness flows
Music from the heart is what sets us apart
Move aside, give them clearance
The kids will make the difference
There's nothing like it - it's here today
There's nothing like it - make it stay
Get involved
Nothing like it

Insted - "We'll Make The Difference" 7" - 83
Insted - "Bonds Of Friendship" LP - 79
Insted - "What We Believe" LP - 59

Kevin and Rich with Insted and an adrenalized crowd, Photo: Mikey Fastbreak

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jules Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd 2011 Interview part VII

Jules with some stage banter at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules

Finally a new installment in our ongoing interview. If you missed the previous entry:
Jules Interview Part VI
The charity auction for Japanese Relief has ended and it was a great success. We personally extend a major sincere thank you to Jules as he selflessly decided to sell all of his hardcore vinyl and donate every cent to an enormous cause. All the guy wanted to do was something good, and Tim and I were happy to be involved. We again would like to thank everyone who bid. Here's a note from Jules:

Now that the charity auction is over, I just wanted to thank Tim, Gordo and all of the people who bid on my old vinyl for helping to make a difference. Through a matching donation, the Double Cross auction raised $11,564 for disaster relief in Japan. The matching donation comes from a $3.5 million fundraising effort for the American Red Cross and Save The Children, organizations that provide emergency aid to those in need all over the world – including those victims of the recent tornadoes, fires, and floods in the United States. When you give to these organizations, even if earmarked for a specific relief effort, it frees resources that can then be used to help others elsewhere. Natural disasters don’t discriminate, and neither do these organizations. I strongly encourage you to consider giving to the Red Cross and Save The Children – in any amount for any disaster relief effort. No matter where the funds are spent, it’s to everyone’s benefit.

Now, Jules continues his interview, picking up on the formation of Alone In A Crowd.. -Gordo DCXX

Carl, Jules and Lars with Alone In A Crowd at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules

I don’t know that I ever really intended to have another band after Side By Side. As I said before, I was getting pretty disillusioned with the scene. I was still hanging out and going to shows, but it wasn’t the same environment in which I started. With all the schism, the last thing I wanted to do was start another band.

I think the thing that spurred me to start Alone In A Crowd (AIAC) was the night Mike Ferraro came to my house and he had the Judge New York Crew recording on a cassette. Nobody had heard it yet. In fact, Mike, who tended to be, believe it or not, a very quiet person, hadn’t really told anybody that he and Porcell were doing the project. When I heard this for the first time in my parents’ basement I was completely blown away. Mike and I were sitting listening to my stereo and he was looking at me with that “well, what do you think?” look. I couldn’t even speak. I knew Mike had tapped into something really special with Judge.

Now Mike, like Billy from Side By Side, had been active in the scene for a long time. Death Before Dishonor (later Supertouch) was an extremely well respected band, and even though I wasn’t that into some of Supertouch’s stuff, I couldn’t stop myself from going off whenever they played the old DBD songs. Mike’s “street cred” in the scene was never questioned. He was never looked at like a new jack for being part of the straight edge scene in NY. So Mike had a very different perspective than a lot of people in ’88/'89 – I think that was very evident in his music. Judge was not going to be a “youth crew” band, it was something else altogether.

So Mike had this awesome recording... and it was just him and Porcell. He was able to create something without a band. And the content! New York Crew and I’ve Lost, for example, were songs that resonated with me. He was just as disillusioned as me, but he gave it a voice and created something with it. And it dawned on me that I still had some things to say. So I got it in my head that I would get some guys together to record a record, maybe play a few shows, and leave a thumb-print.

Rob, Lars, Jules, Carl and Howie at Lars' house in Yonkers, Photo courtesy of: Lars

Starting the project, I intentionally went beyond the usual suspects. I do not have enough fingers or toes to count how many bands Porcell, Walter, Sammy, and Luke played for over the years. I recall some shows where it seemed like Walter or Luke would play for just about every band on the bill. This time, I wanted to try something different. For example, I reached out to folks outside of NYC. I started talking to guys like Mark Pingatore from the Pagan Babies – he was in Philly – to see if he’d want to lay down some tracks. Mark expressed interest, but I don’t recall why he ended up not being involved.

Lars was I guess the first “recruit.” I felt bad that he had joined Side By Side, learning all the songs, playing only one show, and then having the band fold up on him before the record was released. Lars was committed to Uppercut, but he had some material that wasn’t really “Uppercut-like” and he thought it’d be cool to do a side project. He in turn recruited Rob, Uppercut’s drummer. Lars was from Yonkers, and friends with Carl (Raw Deal – I don’t think they had changed their name yet). So we bounced the idea off him, and he picked up the bass.

And then there was Howie. I have absolutely no recollection of where I first met him. He was from Allentown, PA, tall red-head kid... really good natured, and really funny. We used to call him “Howierd” and “Howodd.” Anyway, I always liked two guitars, so I asked him to jam with us and we had AIAC.

Looking back, one of the benefits of doing AIAC as a “project” rather than a “band,” is that the other guys were not really that emotionally invested. They had their “real” bands – except for Howie, I guess – and they were doing this for fun more than anything else. Consequently, I cannot remember a single argument over the direction of AIAC. The guys were really laid back. We would practice at Lars’ house, and then go outside and have snowball fights if we got bored or frustrated. We weren’t on the clock like a rehearsal studio. The project was finite – there were only 5 songs in the repertoire. There was never pressure to come up with new material... it was very different than the Side By Side experience.

Howie with Alone In A Crowd at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules

Because the guys were so laid back, generally, they basically said, “tell us what you want us to do.” I couldn’t play an instrument, but I knew how I wanted the songs to sound - -and these guys were totally helpful in finding that sound. So I’d talk to Lars and try to describe what I was going for and he’d play something and we’d get it to where it sounded good. Make no mistake, three of the songs were Lars’ – and he definitely gets the credit. That’s how Is Anybody There, Who You Know, and Commitment were written. And, unlike Side By Side, I wasn’t singing anyone else’s lyrics; lyrical content was all mine.

AIAC only played one show, opening for Judge at the Anthrax. It was winter and I remember it being really cold out. So I had all these layers, including a sweatshirt, and under my pants I had sweat shorts. Mike gave me a red Judge Schism t-shirt, so I put that on over my sweatshirt. Before the set I was pretty nervous, and was in the “band room” off to the side of the stage getting psyched up for the show. A friend, I think it was Andy White (Enuf), came in and told me the band was on stage and everybody was waiting. I was about to go out there, when it dawned on me that I was still dressed like an Eskimo and would probably sweat to death. So I’m like “help me get my pants off!” This drew a funny look from Andy; I’m sure he was relieved to see I had the sweatshorts on. Anyway, getting the pants off was a lot damn harder than you would think. I thought I could slip them over my shoes – big mistake. All the while I’m thinking AIAC is off to a great start. Finally I get the _ _ _ _ ing pants off, but I realize I’m totally late, so I left all the rest on. I ran up to the stage wearing all these layers. After the first song or two, I was dying and had to peel off the sweatshirt – so when I did, the T-shirt was still on it. All bundled together, I threw it somewhere off to the side of the stage. After the set I discovered someone stole the Judge shirt – took it right off the sweatshirt. Great.

Despite the inauspicious beginning, the show itself was awesome. One thing about Hardcore back then: somehow kids would get a hold of unreleased recorded material and share it with everybody else. It was unbelievable how fast something could spread through the scene. In this case, somebody must’ve shared an AIAC rehearsal tape or something and it got passed on. So even though we hadn’t even recorded the e.p. yet, and never played a show, everybody seemed to know all the songs already – in Connecticut! And this was before the internet, file sharing, etc. Incredible. Anyway, the crowd was really receptive – it was great to be onstage after a year or so of sitting on the sidelines. I probably had a few more shows left in me, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Sometime later we recorded the e.p. and Teenager In A Box at Don Fury’s...

(To be continued...)

Carl and Lars with Alone In A Crowd at The Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Jules

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday morning DCXX re-runs

A collection of early Revelation Dave Bett classics, Photo: Tim DCXX

Considering we've been plugging away at Double Cross for three plus years now at this point, there's bound to be some old material that people just haven't seen. For that reason, once in awhile, as we see fit, we'll post a link to an old entry that we feel could use another look.

This one here is an interview we did with the early Revelation Records graphic designer, Dave Bett. He's the guy responsible for some of the coolest looking hardcore records ever made. Follow the link and read up. -Tim DCXX

Dave Bett interview

Thursday, June 23, 2011

DYS announcement from Bridge 9 Records


Limited Edition Colored Vinyl LP & Digital Tracks to Feature Songs from Their Triumphant Return to Boston, Headlining Once in a Lifetime Reunion Bill

Check out video teaser below...

Boston, MA June 23, 2011

Today, reformed Boston Hardcore band DYS announced August 9th as the release date for their live release More than Fashion: Live from the Gallery East Reunion on Bridge Nine Records. Featuring tracks recorded at the Wonderland Ballroom in Revere, Massachusetts, More than Fashion highlights songs from the band's two prior studio recordings in a celebration of Boston's hardcore history and the band's place in it.


DYS Founding member Dave Smalley went on to sing for Dag Nasty, All and Down by Law, among others, while co-founder Jonathan Anastas helped launch second-generation Boston hardcore band Slapshot. "I never thought we'd have the opportunity to share a stage with so many friends and brothers again, playing DYS songs for a room packed full of fans, old and new," said Smalley. "DYS, Boston and the Gallery East all started my music career and will always hold a really special place in my heart. Over the years, fans have always asked to hear DYS live again. I'm glad we could capture this once in a lifetime show and share it with people."

DYS is considered an early prototype for the Straight Edge "Youth Crew" bands of the 90's as well as pioneers of the early melding of Hardcore and Metal into Crossover. By including songs from both eras in their history, More than Fashion: Live from the Gallery East Reunion showcases the band's evolution and passion for all forms of heavy music. According to Anastas, "We did more than just dust off the old songs. We really tried to re-work both parts of our sound together into one powerful assault. One heavy nod to the past and to the present, to our values and to our fans. It was such a great experience, we decided to keep it going."

More than Fashion: Live from the Gallery East will be available in stores and online on August 9th with special pre-order packages to be announced soon at

Additionally, DYS will be playing The Rumble in Chicago on June 25th, Sound and Fury in Santa Barbara, CA on July 22nd and the legendary Gilman Street Project in Berkley CA on July 23rd in support of this special release.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Riot On The Dance Floor - City Gardens Documentary

Six minute teaser trailer coming in July 2011 to

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mike Hartsfield - Freewill / Against The Wall / Outspoken / A18 / New Age Records

Mike on bass with Freewill on their first trip to Gilman St., Berkeley, CA, 1988

New Age Records guru and California HC staple Mike Hartsfield has finally made his way to the pages of DCXX, and here's part 1 of our interview with him. Thanks Mike. -Gordo DCXX

What was the first punk/hardcore record you remember hearing? What type of an impact did it have on you? Were you instantly into it?

The love was instant. I came from the metal scene and in the mid 80's I was hit with an overload of DC stuff (Minor Threat/Dag Nasty) and SoCal punk/hardcore, mostly nardcore (Stalag 13/RKL/Agression). I just remember how genuine it all seemed. The impact was lifelong. I had friends that were constantly making mix tapes for each other. Plus we had KXLU radio and Zed Records. Theere was the community feeling that helped us seek and find new bands/venues/record labels/etc.

Mike again on bass with Freewill, this time their 2nd trip to Gilman St. to open for Uniform Choice, Insted and The Dwarves in 1988

Where exactly were you growing up at the time, and what type of scene was there for punk and hardcore? Bands/venues/zines/clubs?

I grew up in a suburb of LA. About 40 minutes north. I wasn't close to anything and any ideas to get to shows, record stores, etc. required bumming rides or getting creative with methods of travel. Venues I went to consisted of Fenders Ballroom in Long Beach, the Olympic Auditorium plus miscellaneous halls. I met some great people at the Skate Palace in Oxnard, Dan Dittmer and Fred Hammer. I saw Uniform Choice a lot. Bl'ast!, Dag Nasty, Verbal Assault, 7 Seconds... the first zines I came in contact with were Maximum Rock and Roll and Flipside.

When did you start messing around with music and what was your first real band?

I started trying to play bass at 10. My brother had one my parents got him out of the Sears catalog. I stuck with the bass because it was easiest. I took some guitar lessons but was disinterested in learning "Mary Had A Little Lamb" when the majority of my record collection consisted of Kiss, Judas Priest and AC/DC.

When I met guys like Gary & Justin Balsz, Matt Crane and Paul Cranston, that's when I figured out how to start playing the music I wanted. Paul was the best guitarist I'd ever known. He had kicked around doing a band before I met him called A.O.R. (Absence of Reality). When we finally started putting riffs together the band had become Absent Reality (A.R.). It was Nardcore influenced skate rock. The lyrics were all improv'd and never the same. It was really, really fun.

Mike's first show on guitar with Against The Wall at The Country Club, Reseda, CA 1989

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jules - Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd DCXX Charity Auction for Japanese Relief CLEAN UP ROUND

Ok, we lied, the last round of records we posted wasn't exactly the "Final Round", turns out we had a few more. What we have here is the stragglers, the orphans, in other words, the records that didn't sell the first time around. So our thought was that we'd auction this entire lot off as one piece. Although not so rare, there's definitely some great records in this lot, so make an offer, add this chunk of records to your collection and know you're doing a good thing by ultimately donating the money to a great cause (The Japanese Relief Fund).

We're setting the reserve price for this lot at $100.00, not a lot considering you'll be getting 9 LP's and 2 7"s. The rules will be the same as the past auctions, so please refer to a past auction for any details you're uncertain about. All offers go to Gordo at:

We'll wrap this auction up by this coming Friday, June 24th at 8:00 AM, unless we get a fair offer earlier and decide to end it early. So don't be shy, if you want these records, make an offer and don't wait on it.

As for Jules, we've still got more of his interview coming, so please hang in there. We're also expecting to hear from him regarding his final word and thoughts on how this whole auction finished. We're extremely happy and honored to have been a part of raising money for the people of Japan, who are obviously in desperate need for any and all help possible.

Thanks again to everyone that's bid and let's finish this off strong. -Tim DCXX

Records in this final lot will sell as a collection only, no individual records to be bid on separately. What you will get is; Youth Of Today - "Break Down The Walls" on Revelation, Agnostic Front - "Victim In Pain" on Combat Core Records, Bad Brains - "Rock For Light", Wasted Youth - "Reagan's In" ICI Productions, Insted - "Bonds Of Friendship" Wishingwell Records, The Faith/Void split, Dischord Records, HR - "Human Rights", Agnostic Front - "Liberty and Justice" Relativity/Combat Core Records, Slap Shot - "Back On The Map" Taang! Records, Vision - "Undiscovered" 7", New Scene Records, Quicksand - 7", Revelation Records. Reserve Price: $100.00

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Judge @The Anthrax

I've seen a lot of good people turn bad and I've seen a lot of good people get stepped on, but not anymore… we're Judge and this time, we're fed the fuck up. - Mike Judge

There's no use going through life building barriers in front of yourself and that's all drugs and alcohol turn out to be, barriers that get in your way, they get in mine. - Mike Judge

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WHERE ARE THEY NOW - Howie Abrams/Co-Founder of In-Effect Records/Occasional Irregularity Fanzine

25 years and still plugging away in the music business. What's amazing to me is constantly realizing just how much my participation in the Hardcore scene has taught lessons. I am thankful for all of it, but most of all these days, I'm thankful for my beautiful wife and daughter who keep my head on straight and moving forward. BROOKLYN!

The artwork of Gavin Oglesby on Silence Lies

I know we've posted about about Dan O'Mahony's site, Silence Lies in the past, but I came across it again yesterday and hadn't seen this cool piece on the artwork of Gavin Oglesby before. Definitely worth a look if you hadn't yet seen it. Keep up the good work Dan O! -Tim DCXX

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Workshed Records Poll Wrap Up

Hard Stance (not Hardstance) was the easy winner for me in the Workshed poll.

I've always had a soft spot for this band, I think mostly because they are a perfect combo of a lot of things that I love about California Hardcore circa 1988. For whatever reason, I figure that in the world of Hard Stance, it was always summer time, and a typical day for these guys would be skating, driving around and throwing things at pedestrians, going to band practice, practicing stage dives into some girl's pool, stealing food, going to a show, and then smashing mailboxes on the way home or something. Maybe it's just the Sloth Crew ties, but that's what I envision. It can't go without mentioning that this obviously featured Zack De La Rocha before he was a zapatista. Oh, this was also Alex Pain's debut, going wild on the drums nonetheless at age 14, and the Hayworth brothers on guitar and bass.

Musically, I've always appreciated the thrashier break-neck paddle-beat element that feels much more 1987 than it does 1989 - you know, a little less formulaic, a little more circle-pitish, etc. I don't know if you can call it "hard," but Eric Ernst's vocals aren't soft, and the music doesn't make me want to hug anybody. The bass line to "Face Reality" is still one of my all time favorites, and when I hear the twinge of feedback that kicks off "Horizons", I have to smash something. The lyrics are good, the recording is raw but's just a solid record, 8 songs that rip by before you know it.

Mark and Eric with Hard Stance at The Country Club, Photo: Mikey Fastbreak

They weren't a big touring band, but almost everyone in the group went on to bigger things. This was the first record to kick off Dan O's Workshed discography, and even though there's some stuff in there that doesn't do a whole lot for me, I'd have to say that Carry Nation wasn't too far behind on that list, and the Workshed vibe is pretty cool.

When I think of SoCal Hardcore that would be blasting out of somebody's car in the summer of 1988, Hard Stance is one of the first bands I think of, and it's mostly because of this record.


-Gordo DCXX

Hard Stance - Face Reality 7" - 113
411 - This Isn't Me LP - 92
Carry Nation - Face The Nation 7" - 70
Headfirst - Back In Control 7" - 37
Triggerman - Dead Like Me LP - 8
Blackspot - Check Out The Helmet 7" - 6
Mission Impossible - 7" - 3
Shocking Truth - Acquaintance 7" - 1
Headfirst - The Enemy LP - 1
Voicebox - Silence Lies 7" - 0

Rob Hayworth with Hard Stance, Photo: Mikey Fastbreak

Monday, June 13, 2011

Youth Of Today - "Make A Change / Flame Still Burns" @ The Glasshouse, Pomona CA, 6/5/2011

Jules - Side by Side / Alone In A Crowd DCXX Charity Auction for Japanese Relief FINAL ROUND

Here is the last round of record auctions from Jules of Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd. Every penny is going to the relief efforts in Japan. Jules has secured a matching donation which will double the value of the money raised through the auctions.

Clearly the people of Japan need our help more than ever.

Please consider bidding. If not, we encourage you to give a donation in whatever amount you can to one of the many relief organizations who will need your help. If you can make a difference in one person's life, however small, it is worth it.

Please help us to let the people of Japan know they are not in this alone.
This auction ends this Friday, June 17, at 8am EST.

Terms & Conditions:

*All items from Jules' personal collection.

*Please read each individual record's description for specific details and condition.

*Bidding is to be made on individual records. This is not an auction for the whole batch.

*You can bid on multiple items, but a specific bid must be placed on each item.

*Bidding must be rounded to the dollar. No cents business

*All sales are final.

*All records have a starting reserve price.

*All offers/bids must be sent to Gordo at, who is handling this for Jules.

*Offers/bids are not to be sent anywhere else, not in the comment section, not to Tim, not via Facebook, etc.

*Paypal is the only accepted method of payment.

*Do not bid if you are unable to pay at the time of auction close or if you cannot send funds via paypal.

*Bidders will be contacted ASAP privately via email from Gordo with the status of their bid and the current top bid.

*Re-bidding is allowed and encouraged.

*The bidding for these specific items will close at 8am Eastern Standard Time on THIS FRIDAY, June 17.

*The final top bidder must be able to transfer funds via paypal to Gordo at within 48 hours of final close.

*All shipping & handling costs must be paid for additionally by BUYER, and this amount is not a part of the bid amount.

*All shipping & handling costs will be determined fairly between Gordo and buyer.

*Shipping & handling costs can be combined if multiple items are won by the same bidder.

*All items will be shipped via USPS to the buyer's liking.

*All proceeds will be transferred by Gordo to Jules for the purpose of final matched charitable contribution, doubling the total amount.

*Bidder/winner identities will not be disclosed.


*Questions, offers/bids - Gordo: - auction ends Friday June 17, at 8am EST.

THANK YOU!!! - Jules, Tim & Gordo


Straight Ahead - 12" - iRisk Records, first pressing, lyric sheet included. Reserve Price: $50

Gorilla Biscuits - 7" - Revelation Records #4 first pressing, lyric sheet included. Reserve Price: $40

Slap Shot - Back On The Map - 12" - Taang Records # 12. Reserve Price: $10

Youth Of Today - Break Down The Walls - LP - Revelation Records # 8, lyric sheet included. Corners on cover are a bit creased up. Reserve Price: $20

Youth Of Today - Break Down The Walls - LP - Wishing Well Records #4, packaging in good condition, but vinyl is warped. Have not tried playing it. Reserve Price: $10

Oppressed - Oi! Oi! Music! - LP - Oppressed Records #1. Reserve Price: $10

Sick Of It All - 7" - Revelation Records # 3, test. Reserve Price: $50

Side By Side - You're Only Young Once - 7" - Revelation Records # 5, test. Reserve Price: $50

Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain - LP - Combat Core Records, lyric sheet/dust sleeve included, cover shows wear and ring from 12". Reserve Price: $10

Alone In A Crowd - 7" - Flux Records first pressing, 2 of these available, both in perfect condition and never played. Reserve Price: $40 EACH

Alone In A Crowd - 7" - Flux Records second pressing, in great condition and does not appear to have been played. Reserve Price: $20

Friday, June 10, 2011

Larry Ransom's Youth Of Today / Mouthpiece West Coast weekend photographic break down

Porcell breaks em' down with YOT at The Glasshouse in Pomona CA, 6/5/2011, Photo: Larry Ransom

I really had full intentions of giving a complete wrap up of this past weekend's Youth Of Today / Mouthpiece West Coast trip, but our friend Larry Ransom seemed to nail it pretty well himself. Larry's got a real knack for photographing and documenting everything and this weekend's activities proved to be no exception.

Big thanks to Larry for all his help and support and another huge thank you to the Youth Of Today guys for bringing us along for four killer shows. - Tim DCXX

Now follow the link for the full run down, like only Larry could do...

Chris, Ed and Matt bring the strings Mouthpiece style at The Glasshouse, Pomona CA, 6/5/2011, Photo: Larry Ransom

Fraud @ The Glasshouse, Pomona CA, 6/6/2011

Just got back from the Youth Of Today / Mouthpiece West Coast trip and although I don't have enough time to post a complete wrap up of the trip tonight, I wanted to at least post this video. It's Fraud from their first show at The Glasshouse in Pomona, CA on 6/6/2011.

I shot this video of their last song in their set on my iPhone and thought it came out cool enough to use here on DCXX. In case you haven't heard, Fraud is a brand new band consisting of Alex Barreto (Chain Of Strength, Statue) on vocals, Paul "Frosty" Hertz (Chain Of Strength, Man Will Surrender) on guitar, Andy Alvarez (Pushed Aside, Against The Wall) on guitar, Shaun Ross (Excel) on bass and Derrick Hostetter (Rough Breaks) on drums.

Considering the fact that I hadn't even heard of the band until a week before the shows, I really had no idea what to expect. Once I started asking around a little bit and hearing little bits and pieces of who was in the band and what they sounded like, I can honestly say that I gotta pretty damn excited to check them out. Of course once I finally got to see them, there was absolutely no let down and I was completely impressed to say the least. Always great to come across a brand new band that blows you away like these guys did for me.

So keep your eyes and ears open for future shows and recordings and see if you can't party with this one. -Tim DCXX

Fraud at The Glasshouse, Pomona CA, 6/6/2011, Photo: Dan Rawe

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mouthpiece doing "True Till Death" with Curtis from Chain Of Strength

I'm out in Cali with Mouthpiece doing a handful of shows with Youth Of Today, but wanted to post this video from last night's show in Pomona, CA at the Glasshouse. With a little coordination I was able to get Chain front man, Curtis Canales out to the show to do guest vocals on our cover of Chain's "True Till Death". Here's what went down, thanks to Larry Ransom for shooting the video and getting it into my hands and thanks to Curtis for making it happen. -Tim DCXX