Thursday, March 31, 2005

The good news, and the bad news...

Todd Jones (Carry On, Terror) and Aram Arslanian (Champion) are doing a new band that will be called Betrayed. So far they have finished six songs for an e.p. that, it's my guess, will probably be released by Bridge Nine Records. A lot of people out there seem to be inquiring about the details of the band, so I thought I'd share an email correspondence I recently had with Todd Jones, where he spilled the beans on several projects he's involved in, as well as his next full time gig, which is sure to upset more than a few in the hardcore scene.

--Ronny Little

"I'm actually doing 3 'projects' right now. I say 'projects' because they'll never be full time and barely ever practice. My new situation with Linkin Park won't allow for them to be anything more than that. Please continue to keep that on the DL for a few more days. Warner Bros. is issuing a press release on Friday.

For now, I'm playing guitar in Internal Affairs - we just recorded our LP in January/February. I wrote 3 songs on that one - but that band is all Corey. All I do is make sure I know the songs and show up to shows on time. Snake Eyes is a project that I thought of late last year. Corey told me he really wanted to play guitar in a band, and this dude BO who sang in a band out here called Donnybrook quit that band and needed a band to sing in, so it all made sense. Basically, I wrote 5 songs, recorded them on my computer, we practiced once and then recorded those 5 songs. Bill from Internal Affairs plays drums and our friend Nick Trujillo plays bass (and also recorded the demo at his home studio).

Betrayed is a project that is me and Aram from Champion. We've been good friends for some time and have always talked about doing a band together. I was listening to Dag Nasty a lot so I wanted to do a "melodic" hardcore band. I wrote those songs in a month (September 2004) and then flew to Seattle in October 2004 and we recorded 6 songs with Todd Preboski on drums (old Champion drummer) Aram on bass, and my doing guitars. Aram sings in that band. He tracked the bass - but we're having Greg Bacon play bass in the band. He played in the last line up of Carry On, he currently plays in Knife Fight and Stand And Fight.

So that's pretty much the run down. I do those projects, it's very simple and not stressful. Just write songs in my bedroom, construct them on my computer with fake drums and what not, and then record. It's very simple." -- Todd Jones

I talked with Todd on the phone the other night, and I told him he better be ready for a little bit of an outcry from the scene. I still remember how huge the backlash was when Brian Baker joined Junkyard. To his credit, Todd seems ready for whatever comes his way. --Ronny

Monday, March 28, 2005

Interview: Chain of Strength

This is a reprint of an interview I did with Chain of Strength almost 14 years ago after they broke up. It's appeared in other zines of mine (Fuck You Fanzine and Long Shot Fanzine), but it's probably never been seen by more than 200-300 readers in the entire time I've had it.

I'm crazy busy today, so my apologies for subjecting you to reruns. Take it out of my salary.

I did this interview with Curtis Canales, singer of Chain of Strength, back in the summer of 1991. It appeared in the fifth and final issue of my first endeavor into zinedom, Long Shot Fanzine. Unfortunately, only about 75 people actually saw this interview. In 1994, I dusted the interview off and put it in the seventh and final issue of the first generation of Fuck You Fanzine. Probably about 100 kids actually saw that issue, so I’m bringing this one out of the vault yet again, because I feel it should get a little more play than 175 sets of eyes can give it. This interview was done a few weeks after Chain of Strength broke up. A lot of kids today view Chain of Strength as the gold standard for all that was straight edge, but as you’ll read, they had a hard time getting respect from any of their contemporaries.

So why did Chain of Strength break up?

Alex and Chris left the band. They have a band of their own called Statue. I guess Chain of Strength was just dying to them and they wanted to do something else. That’s pretty much where their minds were (Statue). We saw it coming, and when it did we talked it over and played together one last time. Nobody has any hard feelings about it. We had two guys who filled in for them when they couldn’t play and we could have made them a part of the band, but Frosty and Ryan weren’t into it as far as having other guys play. I wanted to do it and do one last tour, but as far as Ryan was concerned, he just wanted to end it. I guess he just figured it wouldn’t be the same without Alex and Chris.

I hear you’re training to become a police officer.

Yeah. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

Will you still sing for a band once you become a cop?

No, that will be it for me. I don’t see anything in the future as far as singing for a band is concerned.

Why didn’t you get along with Gorilla Biscuits on your first tour of the East Coast?

When we were in New York, there was a lot of tension between the bands. It was apparent that everyone was trying to out-do each other. We thought that was really stupid. I was really disappointed. Everyone wasn’t as tight as I was led to believe. They were all bad-mouthing each other. It was the same with Gorilla Biscuits. They thought we were a sham and that we made a generic straight edge record because it would sell to the hardcore kids. For them to make those kind of remarks without really knowing us was really retarded.

How did Chain of Strength get tagged with the “New Kids on the Block” image?

There were always those people from the start who were going to bring us down as much as they could. I hope they didn’t think it hurt our feelings. It was the way we dressed. We weren’t wearing the militant straight edge attire. Now, we’re hearing a lot of straight edge bands on the east coast are dressing like us (preppy Gap stuff). When we first started dressing the way we did, I guess nobody was really used to it, so they started knocking us. We just dressed however we felt most comfortable with. I thought that New Kids on the Block/Chain of Strength page in Maximum Rock n’ Roll was pretty funny. I can’t believe somebody actually went to that much trouble to take a shot at us. It shows a certain level of maturity and insecurity in that person. We have all of these straight-edge police out there who knock down any band, especially well-known ones, yet they praise all of these bands that have been around for six months and then have broken up. We’ve been around for 3 ½ years, and we never broke up once. I think that says a lot about those bands who couldn’t take it.

Apparently “New Kids on the Block” wasn’t the band’s only nick name. How did you get the name “Chain of Drunks?”

In an interview, we stated that we occasionally had a drink. We made that comment and a lot of people lost their minds over it. We explained that straight edge doesn’t mean never. It’s your own set of rules. Straight edge is turning into “don’t do this, don’t do that.” Everybody is living by everyone else’s rules. When straight edge started, it was your own set of rules. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you have a beer. Straight edge kids should worry about Ray of Today before they worry about a guy who has an occasional beer. That guy is obsessed with religion. Religion is controlling his whole life. I think that’s more abusive than alcoholism.

I have to laugh at all of these overly militant straight edge kids, because their obsessed with a movement that’s based upon non-obsession.

Their obsessed with straight edge and that obsession is making them angry and violent.

Speaking of angry and violent, why did you have problems with Cleveland?

The first time we went out there, we had a great time and played a good show. We stayed at Cubby Fresh’s house. We went out there a second time and it was more of the same. Then we didn’t go out there for a while, and the next thing we know, Chubby started these rumors saying we were smoking pot in the van across the street from his house. The singer from Die Hard never even met us, but he’d bad-mouth us every time we were in Cleveland. His band had its chance to come out to California, and they chose not to. If they thought we were going to stoop to their level and threaten them with violence, they were wrong. There’s always someone from every state that we’ve been through that has either seen us sell drugs or rip people off and rape girls. There are so many different rumors about it. It’s ridiculous. If people believe this bullshit, they might as well believe we are New Kids on the Block.

Why did Nemesis Records cancel the production of the What Holds Us Apart e.p.?

One particular show we played with Carry Nation, I supposedly said something that upset Dan O’Mahoney and Big Frank Harrison. We got in a big fight right there, which pretty much ended our friendship along with our record on Nemesis. We’ve always had a problem with Dan. With him, there was always a grudge when it came to Chain of Strength.

When that fell through, why didn’t you do the record with Revelation?

Revelation is a good label to be on, but as far as our first record went, we really didn’t get what we wanted. It took longer than we thought it would. Ryan and the other guys wanted to do a record on a California label. The second record was much easier to work on because it was done out here.

What is the “Dan O’Mahoney Kiss Ass Crew?”

I’ve never believed in idolizing anyone in hardcore. I thought that was a joke. We’d get a lot of flack for dressing the way we did and the things we did on stage, and we’d have people telling us we should be more like Dan O’Mahoney. I just got sick of it after a while. There were all of these people preaching for the guy. I always thought he was a hypocrite. I was tired of all of the worshipping kids. We’re all on the same level. I never looked at my self as someone above anybody. If somebody came up to talk to me, I’d talk with them. Their (NFAA, Carry Nation) rock star image is pretty much what brought on that statement. Dan spends a lot of time making himself out to be this big hero. I don’t think anybody should preach the way he does to kids, and make them out to be these bad kids, and he’ll turn them into the person he is. I think that’s ridiculous.

The matrix on the first side of True ‘til Death says “hey, can we play more than two songs…?” and the second side says “No is your Answer.” Is there a story?

The first time we played CBGB’s, we played with No for an Answer. We were supposed to play that night, but the promoter forgot to put us on the bill. He said the only way we’d be able to play is if NFAA trimmed their set. So we asked them if we could play more than two songs, and Dan O’Mahoney had a cow and started crying. That’s what it basically meant.

What’s Frosty’s real name, and why is his nick-name Frosty?

His real name is Paul. When he was little, he was chubby and all of the kids called him “Frosty the Snowman.” The nick name just kind of stuck.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The first shots are fired...

"Hey there, you've reached Ronny Little's cell phone. Please leave a message. BEEEEEP!"
"BOLD rules! ...click"

Okay, you assholes have had access to my phone number for 31 hours now, and the only thing you can muster up is "Bold rules! ...click?!"

No kids, BOLD drools.

Believe it or not, I really did like these guys at one point -- when they were Crippled Youth. But then Matt's balls dropped, and brought his voice down several octaves with them. The band got better equipment and a taste for heavier music, and tried to put out "Break Down The Walls II," which was a bad move. They traded in their own sound and attitude, which was quirky, obnoxious and fun, to become a Youth of Today clone band, and I'll always find that disappointing.

Yes, I know. Porcell had his finger prints all over that band (in a "good touch" way only, I'm certain), but I think it's an experiment that blew up in his face.

Or maybe I'm just an asshole. It's entirely possible.

By the way, another BOLD reunion date has been added. It will be in Washington DC on April 22nd. The other bands on the bill are (tentatively) the usual cast of characters: The First Step and Triple Threat.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

703-505-4149

There it was, just sitting there, like a gift from The Almighty himself. I stared blankly at my computer screen wondering how I could be blessed with such luck.

From : bayer.johan@altpress.com
Reply-To : bayer.johan@altpress.com
Sent : Thursday, March 24, 2005 12:04 AM
To : bareboneshc@hotmail.com
Subject : automated response

Hey, I'll be out of the office March 21st and 22nd. If this is
an emergency try my cell, 216-555-12XU. Thanks, Jonah



There was immediately a whisper in my ear. "Looks like Mister 'thanks for once again reinforcing hardcore's sexist stereotypes' wants to be your new cell phone bitch, Sarge!" The source of the voice was a little devil dude sitting on my left shoulder. He looked exactly like Choke, only with horns coming out of his forehead. Apparently, he was one of my four readers.

"Call him right now! No wait, call him collect! ...say it's Ray Cappo! Cappo!! Aaaaaa-hahaha!"

He had a point. By a stroke of pure luck, I suddenly found myself with a tactical advantage. The comedic possibilities were endless. I could blog week after week on nothing more than the transcipts of the crank calls I was suddenly dreaming up for Mr. Hardcore Special. There was blood in the water. I had to take a bite, right?

There was suddenly another whisper, this time to my right. "What happened to the guy they used to call 'Ron Positive' in highschool? Hmmmmmmmm? Remember him? Remember little Ronny Positive?"

Ron Positive. Man, talk about a blast from the past. All the kids I hung out with in highschool used to call me Ron Positive, because if it was music with a good message, I was totally into it. Youth of Today. Embrace. 7 Sec--.

"Shut up, Seconds!" spat evil Choke. "This one is mine!" He waved what looked like a mini sawed-off hockey stick menacingly in the direction of the other voice. I turned to my right shoulder to have a look. Yep. A miniature version of Kevin Seconds, dressed in white robes, halo, eyeblack, the whole nine yards.

I had trouble sleeping as the fight for my immortal hardcore soul raged on through the night. Choke was very convincing, and may have succeeded in turning me to the darkside were it not for Finnegan, our cat, who had gotten to him before he could close the deal. No, in the end, my decision not to carpet bomb Johan Bayer by wireless communications wasn't decided by the cases presented by either side of my hardcore conscience. It came from a round of email correspondence with Mr. Alternative Press himself, Aaron Burgess.

I can hold my ground with anyone in an argument, but I've got to admit that when I saw an email from burgess@altpress.com sitting in my in-box, I suddenly had a lump in my throat. It felt like I was being summonsed to the Principal's office for picking a fight on the school yard. The fraction of a second that it took to navigate from the in-box to the email felt like an eternity.
To my surprise, our exchange was rather pleasant. I explained to him why I didn't like the Hardcore Special, and told him that A.P. might have a little more credibilty with the hardcore scene if the magazine would give it a couple of pages every month, instead of a couple of Hardcore Extravaganzas every 7 years. He, in turn, apologized to me for a few spit balls fired across my bow by members of his staff, which was pretty neighborly when you consider that I was the one that brought a nuke with me in the first place.

In the end, we found some common ground and agreed to end hostilities. The alert was reduced to DefCon 3, and I cleaned the shit out of my pants.

I 've decided that since I agreed not to wage wireless warfare on Johan, I'd go for the next best thing. I'll let all of you wage wireless warfare on me. Crank call me any time you like at 703.505.4149. When you get my voicemail prompt, go for it. If it's creative or funny, I'll print a transcript of your call on Barebones Hardcore. Awul impersonations of hardcore celebrities are highly recommended.

This is probably a bad idea, but there's only four of you reading this thing. How bad can it get?

Friday, March 25, 2005

BOLD Reunion? Yawn...

I know a lot of people are excited about the upcoming BOLD reunions in NYC (April 17, CBGB's) and Philadelphia (April 23, The Church), but I'll always remember the "Speak Out" LP as the first record on Revelation that I was ever disappointed with. When I interviewed Pat Longrie from Uniform Choice recently, I told him Wishingwell dodged a bullet by not putting that record out.

I think the best thing about this BOLD reunion is that Tom Capone is interested in his hardcore roots again. Why is that a good thing? This is what he had to say in a recent email exchange I had with him:

"Vic wants to do Beyond, which I'm into, but the members are scattered. But you never know, I think Vic might try."

A Beyond reunion? Now that's a show (if it happens) that I absolutely will not miss. But this BOLD stuff, I mean, Matt Warnke has been playing BOLD covers for years now with two different bands, and there was a sort-of reunion at the 1999 Youth of Today show in Connecticut. Is having original members on the instruments really going to make it that much different? I suppose the addition of Capone gives fans a full dose of "Looking Back" material to look forward to.

Ofcourse, if I was a BOLD fan (and I'm really not), I'd be way more excited about the other thing Tom said in his email:

"We (BOLD) also have plans to do a new album."



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

When Posers Attack!



From the desk of Johan Bayer, editor of that Alternative Press "Bringing It Back: A.P.'s Hardcore Special" feature:


Hey Ronnie,

If Anal Cunt wrote a song about you it would be called:

"You Used To Sing For Rain On The Parade"

Thanks for your input and for once again reinforcing hardcore's sexist stereotypes--I'm sure that all four people who read your blog are very proud! JB
HA! Well, I suppose I deserved that Johan. To set the record straight, the only song floating around out there written about yours truly would be Mouthpiece's "What Remains," but I will gladly lend my name to the Anal Cunt discography if it will help you and your staff find closure for the new asshole I just tore all of you.

It is such rich irony that a guy who works for a magazine filled from cover to cover with pictures of nothing but MALE musicians would call me a sexist. Why don't you page through that March issue of Alternative Press and tell me how many women are pictured that aren't models, actresses, or random girls being asked if tattos are still fashionable? If I'm taking A.P.'s word for it, it looks like the only music worth checking out is the kind made by retarded young white males.

I'll take my four well-informed readers over your magazine's legion of posers any day.

Pose Hard, brah.

Ronny Little

18 Visions vs. Shoppekeeper Willie




Ach! Looks like the lads in 18 Visions felt the wrath of Shoppekeeper Willie while on tour in Europe. It's not really news, just kind of funny. Below you'll find a first hand account of the event by one of the band members that I lifted from the band's tour journal on the Trustkill Records website.

I have no real thoughts on this story other than this: You choose how you dress. You don't choose your race.

I also found it kind of ironic that a dude who has probably worn a plaid skirt at sometime in his life was giving other dudes shit for wearing women's denim and mascara.

--Ronny Little

"Okay, so we start walking around in Glasgow, Scotland to go shopping and stuff. We find an internet cafe, which is a recognizable chain of internet cafes all over europe. We walk in and I say 'hi can we use the internet, we need 5 computers.' The guy says no. I look around and see several computers available and point to them to show the guy that they're not being used. He says 'no, you cannot use them and you have to go.' I ask why and he says 'there is no reason for it, you must go.'

I'm thinking this guy has got to be kidding with me or something so start to proceed to sit at a computer, and he tries to stop me and says 'please you must leave you cannot use the computer, sorry.'

I say 'why because the way we look?'

He says, 'there is no reason. I want you to leave now.'

I reply back, getting pissed, 'I want YOU to leave' and I go to the coffee shop portion of the place and ask the people behind the counter what the hells going on and explain the story. A girl leads me back to where the security guy is and he's talking to james and random customer stands up and says 'he's just doing his job' and then sits back down.

James politely asks the guy to come outside with him and the guy says why?
James says to fight and then makes a fist motion like popeye and gets pissed and spit in the guys face. Weird part is the guy doesnt even flinch or wipe it off or anything he just takes and it says 'you must go.'

We walk out of the shop feeling robbed and discriminated baffled by the whole event and thinking that if this was at home it would never happen and if it did the guy would get straight rolled. Also there is no way anyone would have ever stuck up for him knowing that we were getting thrown out of the builiding purely based on how we look.

This is the first time we have ever been discriminated against. It was a weird feeling. I really felt like Rosa Parks getting told to move to the back of the bus. I felt stripped of my rights as a human being and was so shocked that it even happened. I'm thinking I'm an upper middle class person with no criminal history and a univeristy degree. Didn't I earn the right to exist freely wherever and to do whatever?

Dave Chapelle talked about events that occur that are so racist that it doesnt even make you made...it just makes you step back and say, 'man, that is racist.' Seriously, exact same situation. So if that wasnt bad enough we walk down the street and some guy says why are you guys wearing mascara. And then we walk further down the street and another guy says 'rock n roll weirdos.' WHATS WITH THIS PLACE? I mean, we look kinda weird i guess, but people are making it out to be like we're fucking hobos or street rats or something.

The days not even over yet. I'm sure weird shit will happen at the show as well. Wish us luck we don't get deported or cained or something."

--Ken

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Dear Tiger Bea--, whoops, Alternative Press:

Thank you so much for including Hardcore's ummm... best and brightest in the pages of the Boy Band Bonanza that calls itself "Alternative" Press these days. Your feature, "Bringing It Back: A.P.'s Hardcore Special" read more like a paid advertisement for labels such as Victory, Trustkill, Equal Vision, and Bridge Nine Records than as an authoritative piece on today's Hardcore scene.

The reason that Hardcore music has experienced a massive resurgence over the past 10 years is because labels like Victory Records nearly killed traditional hardcore in the early 1990's. Back then, bands such as Earth Crisis and Snapcase -- metal bands packaged and marketed as Hardcore bands -- were painted as the new face of Hardcore music. Fortunately, a few Hardcore purists saw it more as vandalism and took the musical direction of the scene into their own hands.

By 1995, a handful of bands rejected the status quo of the new scene and started repairing the damage done by Victory -- record by record, show by show. While bands like Ignite, Mouthpiece, Floorpunch, Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, 97a and Rain On The Parade would never be able to move the amount of "units" that any of the bands in your feature could move, they were undeniably the reason that Hardcore did not vanish into the metal abyss perpetuated by the likes of Tony Brumell. They were also the reason your magazine now has a Hardcore revival to write about, which by the way, has been going on for 10 years now. Get with the times.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by how bad your Hardcore special turned out. Not when you charge a handful of outsiders and rookie newbs with writing it. To mix bonified Hardcore bands such as Triple Threat, Righteous Jams, Mental, Paint It Black, Outbreak and Champion in with the likes of overtly metal-influenced bands like Bane, Converge and Terror (who have gone down hill since Todd Jones departed the band on his own terms) shows the true colors of your writing staff, which is decidedly green.

And don't even get me started on Laura Wiebe Taylor. At first, I thought she might have fallen into this assignment as a guesture of gratitude by Johan Bayer after she held his coat while he was off moshing. Instead, it just turned out to be bad judgement. Afterall, why would you select someone with a background in metal to write for your Hardcore special? A google search had her name turn up at Unrestrained Magazine, which is apparently Canada's "Authority on the Metal Underground."

"So what" you say? Well, if your writing staff was more in touch with our scene, they would never compare New Jersey's Triple Threat (a band that meticulously crafts it's complex sound after legendary California acts BL'AST! and Black Flag) to the likes of lunch pail mosh bands like Madball, Terror, and Bane. Such a reckless comparison in a national forum is enough to drive a straight-edge band to drink. Why is there a need for the "Rocks Like:" comparisons anyway? Is this Alternative Press or is it Amazon.com?

If you want your magazine to ever have a shred of credibility with the Hardcore scene, you'll have to do better than a couple of half-assed Hardcore "specials" written by a bunch of posers who bend over and let Victory and Trustkill Records ram it home. Until you get it right, I'll continue to wipe my hemorrhoids with your Boy Band rag.

I Have Spoken,

Ronny Little
bareboneshc@hotmail.com
http://bareboneshardcore.blogspot.com

Record Review

Outbreak "You Make Us Sick" CD -- Bridge 9 Records

Wow. From the first note to the last note, Outbreak's "You Make Us Sick" rips through a fifteen song orgy of pure unadulterated filthy McNasty hatred. Songs like "Spit in Your Face," "No One Cares," and "You Make Us Sick" are not meant to burn bridges -- they're meant to blow them up. Musically, this is about as tight as you can get. Fifteen songs in fifteen minutes of glorious thrash, sung by what sounds like a rabid muppet. Put it all together, and you've got yourself an audio dirty bomb. Highly recommended, but handle with care. (Lyrics and downloads can be found at www.outbreakhc.com)

Lions of Judah S/T Demo CD
Halfway decent demo. Totally lame name. From the ashes of Desperate Measures, a new band rises. L.O.J. doesn't sound much like Desperate Measures, but that was probably by design. This demo sounds comparible to the Burn 7", only without the all of the flashy production values (which is a good thing in my opinion). Three of the four tracks on here violate the Two Minute Rule by building in gratuitous mosh parts toward the end of each song. I'm not really into that kind of thing, but I'm sure a bunch of sweaty dudes on the dance floor will go apeshit. (For info: lojwdc@yahoo.com)