Wednesday, January 31, 2007

About Black Sabeth, Lcyries, Reglion And Lolopolosea

Here's a scan of an amazing Integrity interview I found back on my computer. I don't know what fanzine it's taken from and I don't know who scanned it, so no credit for you guys! Enjoy this piece of history and if you want to listen to the Die Hard demo while reading, you can download the demo below.

Here's the Off The Bat demo for you all to enjoy:

Off The Bat
Drilling Into Untouched Stone

Thanks to the Something I Learned Today Blog I came across an amazing site that hosts a lot of live sets by the ever great Dinosaur Jr. as well as other J Mascis bands. There's really a bunch of cool audio and video stuff to download. Just listen to Mountain Man from the Dinosaur (Jr.) debut and you think there's no greater song in the world (this is by far not true, but it's the feeling you get when listening to the song). Anyway, this is the site you all should download stuff from:
And here is another cool website about Dinosaur Jr.:
And the official Dinosaur Jr. website is only another click away:

Distort Cleveland!

Fuck, it’s been over a year since I last posted about one of the greatest hardcore scenes in the world, the Clevo Hardcore scene. I promised then to post some more stuff and what not, but I didn’t… Well, I’ve put you all on hold for over a year, so I better deliver with this post, but I doubt that I will. After the “Testing British Accents” post I got quite some e-mails from guys involved in the Cleveland hardcore scene with more info, facts and gossip. One of the guys that e-mailed me was Chris Pellow, (ex-)member of The Darvocets, Apartment 213, Ringworm, etc., and he had a little problem with something I wrote about another old band of his, Windpipe. I had said that they sounded like “Infest meets Siege”, or at least that I was told so. Chris didn’t like this too much and this is what he had to say about the Windpipe sound in the mail:

“One thing I would like to abb about Windpipe is that we do not sound like Infest or Siege. That is coming straight from the source! We never once said “we should sound like this band or that band,…” It is what it is. Too bad we never went into a proper studio to record, our guitarist Kurdt never wanted to. We did however play fast. The four of us loved Deep Wound, Siege, Lärm, Infest and Ripcord as a whole. I think you’ll have to read the liner notes when said ep is available. Actually Matt Domino from Infest gave us the a-ok to call ourselves a “powerviolence” band when in fact it was only supposed to be an inside-joke kinda thing between bands from SoCal and NoCal. Just some trivia for you! And this was back in 1992, when everyone sounded like Nirvana (or wanted to), we wanted to sound like all the old Mystic Records bands. Short and sweet!”

The Windpipe EP has been out for a while now. I am not really sure if it’s on Non-Commercial Records or some other label. I still have to get it from Way Back Ron, who hopefully still has this for me. I haven’t heard the EP yet, so If someone has this as MP3s or something, get in touch with me.

Another old Cleveland dude that got in touch with me was Sean Saley. He used to play bass and sing for The Guns in 1983, 1984 and for about 10 seconds in 1985 and was in Government Issue as well at some time. He’s currently living outside of Washington DC and is still into good old hardcore. He let me know that a few weeks before my Cleveland Hardcore post The Guns actually played a reunion show with other old Clevo bands such as Zero Defex, Agitated and The Offbeats. The original drummer Dave passed away years ago, so at this show Sean played drum and Scott Eakin sang both his and Sean’s songs and played guitar. Scott’s girlfriend played bass at the show. The same line-up as the reunion show recorded a bunch of songs the day before the show, most of them were re-recorded songs from the ’84 session, a bunch of original songs that never got fully fleshed out and a bunch of songs from the line-up with Bob Ries. This was supposed to be on a new CD, but I don’t really know what happened with those tracks in the last 12 months. After all this information I got in just one e-mail I had still some more basic questions about The Guns and Sean was kind enough to answer them. So I’ll just share ‘em with you as well:

When you recorded the songs in '84 that never got released, what where they intended for? A full length? What label? Why didn't it happen?

We recorded most of our live set at a studio in Cleveland called The Sound Factory and the idea was that we were going to put it out on a local label called Trans-Dada that was run by the guy who produced the demo. That guy, Scott Lasch, was pretty broke after he paid for the studio session and the record got shelved until he could put it out or we got someone else to.

I don't remember anything about Toxic Shock, but I can tell you that during the summer of '84, we opened for 45 Grave, and Paul Cutler, the guitarist, was amused with us and took our demo back to LA to let someone at their label, Enigma, hear it. We ended up talking to someone at Enigma, but it never went anywhere. We were pretty young and naive.

What's up with your tracks on that Bowel CD?

That's the '84 demo. The "unreleased" stuff I was just talking about. To be honest, I don't remember exactly how that came about. I think one or more of the guys in Bowel were friends/band mates of Dave Araca, The Guns drummer. After Dave died, whichever guy it was (Dwid, maybe?) somehow wound up with the master tapes and put it out as that split LP with Bowel (more like hidden tracks). Anyway, I didn't even know about it until a year or two after it happened. I got a copy. That's all I care about.
We did record at least one or two songs that aren't on the Bowel CD though. One was a cover of Symptom Of The Universe by Black Sabbath.

I once saw a record sleeve of a The Guns record on display at some guy’s house. It was just the sleeve and no vinyl whatsoever. What's the story behind the printed sleeve of that record? The front looked like that insert in the Bowel CD, with a soldier type of drawing.

That drawing was done by a guy from Akron who was a friend of ours. His name was Vince Rancid. He also did cover art for bands like Raw Power, MDC, Vatican Commandos, and other local Akron/Cleveland bands like Zero Defex (ODFX). The full drawing (a guy with his brains bursting out of his head flanked by two of those skeletal soldiers) would have been the cover of the album if we had ended up releasing it.

Will the unreleased record (plus comp tracks) ever get a proper release?

Supposedly, a California label called Grand Theft Audio has been planning to put it out forever. I honestly don't know what the fuck is going on with it. For all I know, it might end up coming out as part of whatever happens with the recordings we made in December '05. We'll see…

Now, if that all doesn’t make you want to check out The Guns. Try to find their stuff because it’s some of the best ‘80s Midwest stuff you’ll hear. I would like to put up the record for everyone to download, but since Grand Theft Audio probably has the rights I will not do it.

Though here's some cool Clevo Hardcore stuff to download, be fast because these Send Spaces have a limited live span:

Cider Practice Tape

Zero Defex P.E.A.C.E. Comp track

H-100s Distort Cleveland EP

If anyone can hook me up with stuff by The Offbeats, Zero Defex, The New Hope compilation, and other Clevo stuff, get in touch with me.

Some other stuff to check out:

Cleveland Punk History

The Inmates Live

The Darvocets Live

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Yo, we're Altercation from Brooklyn New York!"

I just scanned three Altercation hand-written promo "flyers" that are said to have been put up in Some Records, NYC in 1987. I got these from Carlo Brega a few years ago, thanks dude. Someday you'll find these scans back in The Ghent Decontrol NYHC issue along with more rare Altercation stuff. I'll let you know when you will be able to get that.
And if you want to listen to some Altercation right now, you can download their demo overhere

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back with a bang!

It’s been more than half a year since I have updated this blog, and before that it had been months as well. I think most of my entries are pretty interesting and it would be a shame if most of this stuff got buried somewhere in the dark alleys of blogdom. So I decided to kick this up a notch again, put together some stuff I have in my inbox for more than a year now and make it an interesting read for most to you diehard fans of my exquisite writings, though some stuff might be out of date as hell already. After that I’ll start working on some new articles and interviews. To set the pace for 2007, here’s an interview I’ve done with Dave Byrd in May 2006 as a promo for the European Set To Explode tour. Since there’s another European tour coming featuring DJ Dave Byrd, DJ Stereo Faith and DJ Justice in February you could say this is a promo for that tour.

Set To Explode is a fairly new band. When did you guys first start rehearsing, or even think about getting this band together. What’s the line-up and are the members still all the same guys as the first rehearsal?

I was actually thinking about doing a band when Striking Distance was still around. Initially I wanted to have Steve Clark & John Mutchler and then any drummer we could possibly bribe into joining us. John and I started jamming around February of 2005 and we spent a couple of months putting the 6 songs together that would come out on the Grave Mistake 7”. John played guitar, I played drums and in the beginning we had visions of only us two recording the 7”. But since I suck at drumming, we ran into a drunken punker one night that played with the The Goons. It would be easier to show him the songs than have me record them. Worn Thin was breaking-up so we were able to get Tad. So a few months after John and I were jamming, enter Tad (bass) and Tom (drums) into the picture.

Set To Explode describes themselves as being influenced by Minor Threat, Antidote (NYC) and Cock Sparrer. Are you afraid people might think you are influenced by the Dutch Antidote? What other bands besides those three would you say are influences to Set To Explode?
Tad wrote down those 3 bands on our MySpace page and I don't know why he put the NYC thing in there. I thought there was a band in the midwest who had the name, but whatever. I would say we all love the Bad Brains, Negative Approach, Dead Kennedys and various smaller DC bands.
You guys didn’t put out a demo and went on directly recording a 7” for Grave Mistake Records. Why did you skip the first step of being a band? Do you think you’ve paid your dues in previous bands or are you just being pretentious?
I didn't know there were certain 'steps' in doing a band we just wanted to get a 7" out. Hell, I know bands that go straight for an LP. Definitely not pretentious and you can never pay enough dues. I think Alex of Grave Mistake knew we wouldn't record and put out anything that sucked.

Is the ex-members thing something you want to play out as a band, or would you rather see kids checking out your band not thinking about your old bands?
It’s a double-edged sword. On one side, I'd like for people to check out, evaluate, and like or dislike the band based on its own merits and not be compared to every band we've been in before, but, it's not reality. On the other side, it helps get the word out and might get some people to give us a listen that normally would not. Then, the people can decide whether the band has its own identity and not just “Oh yeah, that band with so and so in it…. They’re ok”. I want people who see Set To Explode as a totally new effort. After Striking Distance broke up, I didn't want to do a band for a while, but I knew I would be back in some form. It was just a matter of time when everything just felt right and I had some things I wanted to yell about. This band is serious to me and don’t want it to lurk in the shadows of previous bands.
How have the reactions to your EP been so far?
People seem to like it. Some people say it doesn't have enough 'mosh' parts, some people say it's not enough songs, some people say it's more punk than anything we've ever done in any other band. That's good.... More punk is better given our world nowadays.
When I hear the beginning of Never Give In I hear the same riffing as Minor Threat, the song, World Diseased's little vocal prelude could be sampled from Guilty Of Being White and Feel The Rage has an overall Minor Threat feel that I can't immediately pin down. Now, you guys are from Washington DC and have some sense of pride about it. Are these obvious Minor Threat references part of paying tribute to the old DC scene, or did they just come out naturally while writing songs only to be noticed afterwards? Are there any other, less obvious, DC references in your sound?
The songs came out naturally. It was only after we started letting our friends listen to them that they made references to Minor Threat and Antidote. Hell, Never Give In and World Diseased, I’ve had those riffs in my head before the band was even an idea and I’m not really a person for ‘paying tribute’ or being nostalgic. I mean, we love old DC hardcore punk, so I’m sure there’s tons of influence, but we don’t intentionally set out to sound or write songs a certain way. That’s just how it comes out.
Is it true, as Lino Dead Stop has been claiming ever since he first heard your band's name, that you took the band name from the Dead Stop sentence "Soon my revenge will begin, because I'm about to explode!"?
Haha… Sorry Lino. How we got the name: my friend Kevin (from Majority Rule) and I were talking about bands at some bar and he was telling me about his new band and they had a song called Set To Explode and he wanted to name the band after the song. As soon as he said the name, I knew it was exactly what I wanted the name of my next band to be. I told him: “If you don’t use it for whatever reason, it’s mine!”. They didn’t end up using it because they felt it did not represent their band or whatever so I thanked him. Now we have to pay him royalties in Snickers bars.
Do you think of yourself as an explosive person?
I’ve been known to be a little on the wild side, a little crazy, but I think I have a good balance of normalcy. I think hardcore punk gives me enough of an outlet and therapy to avoid being in jail. As you live in Washington DC you happen to come across people from the old days quiet frequently. Who's the last person you saw walking on the street that played in a band that was featured on Flex Your Head? Tell me something more about that guy with the crazy stories who hangs out at your local bar?
Dante Fernando from Iron Cross and Grey Matter runs this bar/club in DC called the Black Cat and he’s always there walking around and saw him there Saturday night. On any night, you might be able to see John Stabb, Alec MacKaye, Brian Baker, David Grohl etc… It depends on what band is playing I guess. The guy at the bar I think you’re referring to is Bill MacKenzie who was at the SNL Fear show, mentioned on numerous early Dischord records, and is pictured on the back of the Teen Idles 7”. He doesn’t really talk too much about that stuff, but if you ask him, he’ll give you the scoop on certain shows and just give you an idea of how sketchy some of the shows used to be. It’s kinda cool since I hear him and his brother were the sketchy dudes at shows back then.
What are some of the holes you still need to fill in your record collection?
Minor Threat 7” Gary Cousins sleeve,Bad Brains Pay to Cum 7” with sleeve, Straight Ahead test press, Youth Brigade 7”. If anyone reading this has one of these, get in touch!
What's up next for Set To Explode? Anything plans to record soon?
Well, we’re coming to play the last Dead Stop show May 20th and doing a few shows afterwards and then we’ll probably go out to the California in July for a few days. Recording: Sometime this summer we’ll record the 7” for Youngblood Records. We just started writing new songs so we’ll see what happens.

To wrap this up, have a promo talk in favor of the Zero Boys, in order to get every hardcore kid into Vicious Circle!
Zero Boys is probably the most underrated punk bands of all time. If they had been from DC, LA, New York or Boston, they would have been as revered as the Dead Kennedys, Flag, Minor Threat and SSD. I’m stoked they’re playing shows again. Perfect blend of speed, melody, and fuck, the bass playing and fills is the icing on the cake. Civilization’s Dying may be one of the best punk songs ever…right next to Sonic Reducer and Nervous Breakdown.