Monday, June 27, 2005

Heads Up

Hey guys,

Just wanted to let you know there won't be any BBHC updates this week. I'm having a surgical procedure to donate bone marrow for my little brother tomorrow, and I'll be recovering for the rest of the week. I'm told I will spend the week feeling like I got kicked in the back by a horse. Ouch.

If I feel better within a day or two, I'll post toward the end of the week, but don't hold your breath (not that you will, of course).

Ronny

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I am 100% STRAIGHT EDGE!



I knew that one day moderation would catch on!

I took the --> straight edge test <-- and despite the fact that I owned up to drinking alcohol (first question), I was still rated as being 100% STRAIGHT EDGE! Awesome!

Now I can go around singing:

"Why don't you drink fucking beer? Wassamatter are you queer?"

AND

"Fuck you, I'm EDGE!" <-- stupidest lyrics EVER, but hey, I can sing them!

I'm back, Baby!

Chuck U. Farley
The Sgt. of Straight Edge
X'ed Up and Fed The Fuck Up

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Mix Tape

I got my first taste of Hardcore music in my time at Unami Junior Highschool in 1985. I was a 9th grader with roughly 25 hours of detention to serve in the last 3 weeks of school before summer break. If I didn't complete my hours, I was told whatever hours remained would triple and follow me over to my sophomore year of High School at Central Bucks West.

I definitely wasn't a bad ass. Reasons for my detentions ranged from arriving late to school to overdue library fines, so I wasn't exactly John Bender. However, the two guys I was sitting in detention hall with for those last three weeks of 9th grade were.

Rich Smith and Mark Cosgrove were two punk dudes who lived in the same neighborhood, in a housing development just across from my house. Even though they both rode the same bus with me to school and they only lived a 10 minute walk from my house, I didn't meet either of these guys until I had to sit in an empty room with them and stare at a wall for two-hour stretches at a time.

As soon as the monitor would get bored, she would leave and we would all start talking amongst ourselves and we became quick friends. After detention, rather than wait for the late bus to come at 6:00 p.m., we would walk home from school together. Mark always had a boom box that he carried around with him. It was on those walks home that I got my first blast of Hardcore music. It was I Saw Your Mommy by Suicidal Tendancies.

Over the next year, I slowly got drawn into hardcore music. I had no driver's license. I lived 40 minutes away from the closest record store that carried punk and hardcore, and even if I could drive to a record store, I wouldn't know where to find it. I had no access to zines, so I had no sense of what it was to mail order. My hardcore lifeline came to me in the form of one second generation mix tape after another. I had no idea what bands looked like, and half the time I couldn't figure out what they were saying. The bits that I did understand, I liked. For me, it was the humor in the lyrics that drew me in. The music was an acquired taste.

A year later, my friends started getting their driver's licenses and I finally got to buy records and go to shows with them. I liked hardcore, but it was only after I got to enage my other senses that I truly started to understand how awesome it was. But if it wasn't for those mix tapes containing Suicidal Tendancies, The Dayglo Abortions, Angry Samoans, and DRI, I would have missed out on hardcore completely.

I found the following article on the NPR website. It's by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, in which he talks about his own experience with the Hardcore mix tape. I thought you guys might enjoy it, so I've posted it below. Enjoy.

Ronny

Before the iPod and the random playlist of the MP3, there was the original: the mix tape.

The advent of the cassette tape some 30 years ago made it possible for anyone with a tape deck and some tunes to be a record producer, mixing and matching songs, genres and bands. And become at-home record producers we did.

Cheap and convenient, customized mix tapes made the perfect personal gift. We made tapes for friends, lovers -- we shared the depths of our souls through the carefully chosen songs. We aggregated our favorite party songs, ballads for suffering through heartbreak and our loudest, angriest punk rock anthems.

Thurston Moore, of pioneering art-rock-noise band Sonic Youth, explores the magic of the mix tape in a new book, Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture.

Guest:

Thurston Moore, editor of Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture and founding member of art-rock band Sonic Youth

Introduction to Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture


"The first time I'd ever heard of someone making a mix tape was in 1978. Robert Christagau, the "Dean of Rock Critics," was writing in the Village Voice about his favorite Clash record, which just happened to be the one he made himself: a tape of all the non-LP b-sides by the band. The Clash made great singles, and they made great LPs, and they would usually put the singles on the LPs but not the b-side of the singles. This was a great idea to my rock critic-reading mind. And one aspect really struck me: Mr. Christgau said it was a tape he made to give to friends. He had made his own personalized Clash record and was handing it out as a memento of his rock 'n' roll devotion.

In those days, tape decks were as essential as turntables. And they were as bulky as well. But right around this time, Sony issued the Walkman. These new Walkman players were all about hanging off the shoulder with headphones and bopping around the city listening to tunes. I suppose the record industry expected the consumer to buy cassettes of the LPs, and the consumer surely did, but hey -- why not buy blank cassettes and record tracks from LPs and play those instead? Of course this is what every Walkman user did, and before long, there were warning stickers on records and cassettes, stating: HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC! It was a quaint forbear to today's industry paranoia over CD-burning and Internet downloading.

I had not the coin for a Walkman in the late '70s or early '80s, but my upstairs neighbor Dan had a really nice one -- plus he had tons of LPs. He was buying every punk rock and new wave record issued, taping them, and turning me onto tapes which I'd then play on my ragtag stereo. Around 1980-81, there was a spontaneous scene of young bands issuing singles of super fast hardcore punk, most of which subscribed to a certain formula of thrash. Bands like Minor Threat, Negative Approach, Necros, Battalion of Saints, Adolescents, Sin 34, The Meatmen, Urban Waste, Void, Crucifucks, Youth Brigade, The Mob, Gang Green, etc., etc. They were great! I was fanatical and bought them all as soon as they came out. This, of course, cost money -- but not too much. Each single was only two or three dollars. I was still just a dishwasher at a Soho restaurant -- not exactly raking in the dough -- but I needed these sides!

I also felt I needed to hear these records in a more time-fluid way, and it hit me that I could make a killer mix tape of all the best songs from these records -- and since they were all so short and they all had the same kind of sound and energy, the mix tapes would be a monolithic hardcore rush. I made what I thought was the most killer hardcore tape ever. I wrote 'H' on one side, and 'C' on the other. That night, while we were in bed, and after Kim had fallen asleep, I put the cassette on our stereo cassette player, dragged one of the little speakers over to the bed, and listened to the tape at ultra-low thrash volume. I was in a state of humming bliss. This music had every cell and fiber in my body on heavy sizzle mode. It was sweet.

Before one Sonic Youth tour in the mid-'80s, we decided to get a cassette player for the van. One idea was to install a dashboard unit, but it was rather pricey. At the time, there was a street trend in NYC of hip-hop heads blasting rap mix tapes through massive boomboxes, or "ghetto blasters." Knowing this, I immediately appointed myself the bandmember who would "take care of the tape player" for the van that summer. So I went into this Delancy Street store, and, using the band’s limited funds, bought the biggest boombox on display: a Conion, that took 16 size D batteries. The Conion -- we nicknamed it "the Conan" -- was almost like an extra body, about the size of a small kid. My solution was to place it between the two front seats and have it stand on end, where it would face the back. This actually kind of worked and placated everyone. As we drove through the Holland Tunnel and began to distance ourselves from the city, I jammed in the first of the compiled rap tapes I'd made, and the boombox sounded superb. Cheap, but superb. And funky. The music could only sound this good coming through this kind of system. Within 20 seconds of playback, dissent came drifting forward, "Can you turn it down please?" "What other tapes did you bring?," "I got some Johnny Cash…"

By the time we hit the West Coast, the Conan was covered in the rock 'n' roll stickers, from Meat Puppets to Killdozer. We would have it onstage with us when we played, and I would mic it through the PA for between-song tape action. Kids would give us cassettes all across America -- some of them hopeful demos, and some of them mix tapes, and we'd jam them all. By tour's end, there must have been hundreds of tapes strewn about the van, with plastic cases stomped and cracked.

CD technology has displaced the cassette in the mainstream, and mix CDs have become the new cultural love letter/trading-post.

This book can only represent one zillionth of the people out there who have made the coolest tapes for themselves or others. In that respect, it simply exists as a nod to the true love and ego involved in sharing music with friends and lovers. Trying to control sharing through music is like trying to control an affair of the heart -- nothing will stop it."

-- Thurston Moore

Monday, June 20, 2005

When I'm King of the Scene: No More Slam Dunk Covers!

When I am King of the Scene, the Slam Dunk cover will be OUTLAWED! If your band is going to put a sleeper-hold on the audience with a set of crappy, generic hardcore, then no way in hell should you be allowed to end the night with a Chain of Strength cover that will make the kids go apeshit. This is wrong for MANY reasons -- the first of which being if the only thing to inspire an audience during your set is someone else's material, then you have no business being on the stage in the first place.

Secondly, the photos that result from the ensuing cover song pile-up on the stage are a big fat lie. They paint a very misleading picture of how good your band actually is. The casual record shopper who has never heard of your band, but bases his decision on how "good" your band looks according to the live pictures on your disk, gets totally screwed. Based on the snap shots, the buyer is not aware that the audience was in full yawn before you whipped out "Start Today" by Gorilla Biscuits. When I see bands do this, it smacks of a ploy for cheap applause and it comes off as completely disingenuous.

I'll give bonus points to a band that covers some obscure band and either makes the song better, or generates some interest in that band that wasn't there before (like Knife Fight covering "Black Sheep" by the Nihilistics on their demo), but if all you have in your arsenal is somebody else's best material, then maybe you should just become a local bar cover band. Drunk people are great for cheap applause.

I have spoken,
Ronny Little

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Review by Dave K.

Cro-Mags "Live In The The Age of Quarell" 1986-2001 DVD



I must tell you...the first time I saw the Cro-Mags was
when they were doing those reunion shows back in the
mid-90's. I had every opportunity to check them out
when they were good in the mid 80's but was scared
shitless. I just had started going to shows in the
city and didn't know anybody at the time. There were
countless stories about how people just got there
asses kicked for even looking at somebody the wrong
way at those shows. When I was a little more
established, it was too late. John was out, Harley was
singing and the era of Best wishes/Alpha-Omega had
begun. Anyway, it's funny how, as I watch this DVD, I
know people from both "eras" who are in the videos.

The first part of this thing has the "We Gotta Know"
video, which I am sure, every punk/hc kid/metalhead
worth his salt has on tape somewhere. I'm surprised
that there is not a better quality copy of this
around. Everybody knows this is a classic music video,
punk or otherwise. It would have been great to see the
rest of the show because like I said, I was a pussy in
1986 and didn't see them then. Then we have the
footage from the infamous 1980's teen high school film
"The Beat". Thankfully, this is included on the DVD
because you'd have to fast forward through The Beat to see
it...that is even if you have this movie. This movie
is probably one of the worst movies of all time. You
can't even like it in a "So bad, It's good" way. What
is weird about that film is seeing people I knew just
walking by in the background (like Porcell in his
original YOT shirt). The footage is great (filmed at
the Ritz in NYC, where somebody broke their back
during the show, not an urban legend) and again it
would have been great to see more. Probably been
better if it was stuck into a BETTER film!

Well, just pretend that like 10-15 years doesn't exist
and then you have a full set from CBGB's in 2001. I
was at this show and have good memories from it. I
remember seeing many folks who came out of the
woodwork for this one. At this point, I must have seen
the Cro-Mags at least 10 times during the reunion phase
and loved every show. (Actually, they were the last
live band I saw before heading to Atlanta). Great set,
though sadly it's filmed poorly, one camera straight
on. It cannot be denied that John and Harley, in their
mid to late '30s put on an better and more energetic
show than most young kids. I don't know how you can
keep up that insanity for 40+ minutes. My friend who
was with me at this show was like, "I'm getting tired
just watching them!". Nice to see Brett Beach and our
Hardware Triple X shirt make a brief appearance on
camera. There is also some footage from a show at
Washington DC, but it seems like an afterthought.

The length of this disc is only a little over an hour.
The DVD package is very basic. I wish during the menu
they would have not looped "We Gotta Know", because
it's annoying after the 3rd or 4th time (the sound
levels are off and it comes blasting out when you come
out of a scene). What I don't understand is why there
isn't any other footage from shows from the 1990's.
I've been to a few where people were filming and they
could have easily been added here. What really would
have been great is a more documentary feel with
interviews, talks with fans, etc... Maybe that is a
good project for some aspriring film student to take
up (Please don't ask me to do it, maybe only as
techinical adviser!) For the Cro-Mags fan without any
"live" material, this disc will have to do. (available
through most major retailers)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Announcement: Dave Koenig to Join Barebones Hardcore

That's right folks. Dave Koenig, co-founder of Hardware Fanzine, will be contributing a weekly Record Review feature to Barebones Hardcore, as well as occasional articles about classic hardcore records, discussing the significance of these records in their day. As a former contributor to Hardware Fanzine, I've had the opportunity to work with Dave before, and I am extremely happy to be working with him again.

One of Dave's greatest strengths is his impecible judgement when it comes to hardcore music. Dave K knows hardcore, and I'm happy to welcome him aboard.

Bands and Labels: please send you records (CD or MP3 formats only, please) for review to:

David Koenig
1990 Pinehurst View Drive
Grayson, GA 30017


grandnagus69@yahoo.com

Mail Bag

Ronny,

Sadly, Judging Amy won't be back next season, so we will never see her little brat of a kid sport an Earth Crisis shirt, set free some minks, knock beers out of Mom's hand, ask her Mom to bring back PROHIBITION, or fire bomb a McDonald's. The show got canned.

Anyway, it was cool to know that the writers and producers saw our view on the show. My friend that works there wanted to share that she reads your blog, or was reading your blog.

Glen Gubernat


Gube,

As I read your email, I unleashed a blood curdling, spine tingling, weenie shrinking, every dog barking in the neighborhood-inducing "nooooooo" that shook the very foundations of my modest northern Virginia townhouse and roused my wife from a peaceful slumber. I relayed the bad news to her and, typical for a woman, she just looked at me as if I was insane.

The cancellation of Judging Amy is absolutely devestating for Barebones Hardcore. The straight edge subplot recently added to the show would have yielded endless possibilities for comedy on my site. I feel like I just lost a hundred dollar bill.

To their credit, the writers and the producers on the show managed to give straight edge a somewhat realistic portrayal in the media for once. As I watched the straight edge episode, there wasn't a single moment where I wanted to scream at the television, or reach for my foam brick. From what I could tell, the writers for the show actually did a little homework and for that, I applaud the staff.

Please relay my condolences to your unemployed friend. I got laid off when I worked at PBS, and it's never a good feeling.

Ronny
-----------

Ronny,

Ok here's a question then? What about 12" on 45? Right now i can think of 3 that work awesomely (is that even a word?)

Mind Eraser - Cave
Iron Lung - Life.Iron Lung.Death
Tear It Up - Taking You Down With Me

Each one is longer than a 7" but not long enough to wear you out like most full length records. In fact, I would think the TIU taking you down with me is perfect. The flow, the amount of time, etc...

Thoughts?

Ben


Ben,

Webster's Dictionary lists "awesomely" as an adverb for "awesome." Webster's defines awesome as 1. Inspiring awe: an awesome thunderstorm, 2. Expressing awe: stood in awesome silence before the ancient ruins, and 3. Remarkable; outstanding: a totally awesome arcade game.

While I can appreciate your enthusiasm for a band like Tear It Up, I'll reserve the term awesome for bands that have produced timeless hardcore classics. Tear It Up is a good band, in the same way that Volkswagens are good cars. I love my VW, but awesome would be an Audi A4 sitting in my parking spot.

The Misfits were awesome. Samhain was awesome. Minor Threat was awesome.

Tear It Up? Pretty good.

I guess the 12-inch EP could be an option if there was 5 minutes worth of music that the band absolutely couldn't leave off the record, but how often is that the case? Save the overflow for the next 7-inch.

Thanks for writing!
Ronny

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Interview: Porcell



This interview was originally printed in Fuck You Fanzine (issue 4, volume III) back in April 2003. Along with Ian MacKaye, Porcell has to be one of my all-time favorite interview subjects. He is an absolute gold mine when it comes to war stories, he is very generous with details, and he's just a really nice and pleasant guy to boot.

If hardcore had a Hall of Fame, Porcell would be a first-ballot inductee.


Porcell was born John Kevin Porcelly on February 3, 1967 in New Rochelle, New York.

What is the alpha omega of you punk/hc record collection?

First record, "Never Mind the Bollocks" by the Sex Pistols, bought it in 6th grade with my paper route money when I got tired of Kiss. Most recent, I didn't buy it but Bridge 9 sent it to me, the Terror CD, one pissed off piece of plastic.

The first time I saw Youth of Today was the band’s first show back after the break-up. I remember the occasion in vivid detail. It was at Oliver J's in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The stage was packed. Walter almost fell over me 3 different times because I wouldn't get off the side of the stage. It was with local bands Forthright and Youthful Aggression and took place I believe late winter/early spring 1988. Two of the WNITA pictures (Ray and Sammy) were taken at that show. Being that it was your first show back, do you remember any scattered details about the night?

That was Sammy's first show with YOT. He was nervous as hell the whole van ride down. He was only 13 at the time so for him it was this "big out of town show" and he was practically shaking. It was an awesome show though, there was some bad blood when we broke up that first time but that show wiped it all away. I loved Oliver J's.

A few years back, you were in a terrible van wreck while on tour with Shelter. Since that event, what is different for you about getting in the van? Has the experience made you do anything differently on a road trip?

Honestly, it took a few months before I could really relax in a car again. We fell 150 feet off of a cliff, and the rescue team said the van was so pummeled they couldn't believe anyone survived, so it was pretty traumatic. We definitely were more careful after that about making sure drivers had enough rest and tried not to do too many overnight drives. The real difference in my thinking from that accident though was the sober realization that death is certain and can happen at any time, so I use the time I have left to become detached from the temporary material body and focus on the eternal soul within.

You have spent a lot of time traveling with Ray Cappo, which means you probably know a lot about each other's breaking points. In the confines of a van, what are some of his hot buttons? What are some of your own limits?

People think living in an apartment with others is hard, but touring is like 1000 times worse! It's rough because you're in such close proximity to the same people for literally 24 hours a day for months on end. There's no sense of personal space and that can cause people who would ordinarily be good friends to be at each other's throats. Cappo's a great guy but he's also messy, loud, plays really bad music (we're talking anything from the Pippin soundtrack to Journey!), and won't stop if anyone has to go to the bathroom. I'm equally as bad, I'll play the Smiths for 8 hours straight, singing along at the top of my lungs, driving everyone crazy. I also demand quiet time whenever I want to read, beat up whoever's smaller than me in the van, and will stop and search for health food with total disregard for getting to the show on time. What can you do, no one's perfect I guess.

On the sole count of bootlegging an SSD record, I Porcell:

A. Enter a plea of Not Guilty!
B. Enter a guilty plea.
C. Would like to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights, as my answer may incriminate me.


A. I am 100% not guilty! I didn't even know about it until I was walking down St. Marks in Greenwich Village with my girlfriend and none other than Dave Smalley came running up to me and got all up in my grill about it and started screaming how Al was gonna kick my ass and I better stay out of Boston. I was so pissed, it almost came to blows, and my girlfriend was practically in tears trying to break it up. The crappy thing about it was the person who actually did it lied to me that he didn't (bootleg the record) and I spent months defending him only to find out in the end that he really did it.

A few months back, you had your Les Paul on eBay. Did you find a buyer? Were you happy with the price it fetched?

Yeah, I ended up selling it to the guitar player for The First Step, which I was psyched about because they are a new up and coming straight edge band and it was sort of like keeping it in the family in that sense. I was happy with what I got for it, although guitars can be very personal so I was a little sad to see it go. But then I remind myself that I've collected a bunch of guitars over the years so, I mean, how many Les Pauls can one person own?

You've received a lot of criticism in the past over your spiritual beliefs, which I think is unfair, as people should be able to choose whatever path suits them best. But at the same time, when you found Krishna, you weren't exactly John Q. Public. You were John Porcelly, guitar player of one of Hardcore's most influential bands ever. I guess my question here is, even though you were on the receiving end of a lot of unfair criticism, was there any point where you understood where some of that criticism was coming from and why you were a target?

It's human nature that people tend to fear what they don't understand. If you walk into a dark room, you'll feel anxiety because you don't know if there's anything in there that can hurt you or not, but as soon as you turn on the light and see that everything is fine, the anxiety goes. That's how I think it was with Shelter at first. People had no idea what the Krishna beliefs were, and unfairly labeled it a cult, boycotted shows, wrote inane crap about what they "thought" we were about in zines, etc. Over the years though people became much more accepting of it, to the point where practically every kid in the scene had neck beads on and "Krsnacore" became the rising wave. Basically I think kids took the time to read the lyrics and found them to be thoughtful and a lot of people actually agreed with the anti-materialistic message. Either way, I didn't really care, I was a punk rocker from very early on so I've never been one to care about the status quo, plus I actually liked debating people for hours on end, I should've been a lawyer.

Does anybody ever say to you, "I thought you were taller?" The first time I saw Y.O.T., before your set, I couldn't pick you and Ray out of the crowd because I was looking for, what my mind had perceived to be, the GIANTS that were on the cover of Break Down the Walls. You guys always looked like 6'5 linebackers in your pictures.

The first time we went to Maximum Rock and Roll house, Tim Yohannon opened the door and said "You guys are Ray and Porcell? I thought you were.... taller!" He then proceeded to physically pick each of us up and walk us around MRR house telling everybody "Can you believe it, this is Ray and Porcell, aren't they small, look I can pick them up!" It was funny. Photographs lie I guess.

Tell me a little about the time Tim Yohannon "busted" you stealing records from him?

That actually wasn't me, it was Craig Ahead. Ray had it worked out with Tim that he took a crappy single, broke it, and stuffed it in Craig's bag. Then Tim went through the house all day saying "Has anybody seen the Frenna Fenna single, it is one of the rarest records in my collection and I can't find it!" Then we left Craig's bag half opened with the broken record showing and Tim picked it up and screamed "What the eff is this Craig?! STEALING IS NOT POSITIVE!" Craig broke into a cold sweat and in his Queens accent kept saying over and over "Yo Tim, I sweah I didn't dew it!" We used to play practical jokes on each other all the time. One time Kevin Seconds got so sick of our pranks that he brought us to a house after a show and told us his good friends lived there so we shouldn't do anything to disrespect them or he was gonna be really mad. Then they made us a cake, which they had secretly put tuna fish in, and said "here, we made a cake especially for you guys!" And even though it tasted freakin terrible we ate it so we wouldn't hurt their feelings, while Kevin was in the kitchen laughing his ass off the whole time (side note: this was the first tour in Jan '86 before we were vegetarians).

Does it surprise you that the fashions Y.O.T. made popular in the late 80's are still popular in 2003?

Yeah! But thank god because I'm still wearing the same clothes from back then so it saved me a lot of time and money!

Shelter was huge in South America. What are the differences between the existence of a popular underground band in North America, and a top 40 band in South America?

That was the weirdest thing that ever happened to me in my life. We didn't even know it, but 3 weeks before Shelter toured Brazil, the "Here We Go" video hit big on Brazilian MTV and was actually the #1 video on the top 20 countdown for a month straight. When we first got off the plane, the promoter picked us up and had these 5 diesel dudes with him. They had suits, sunglasses and earphones in one ear. We thought they were Brazilian secret service but he told us they were our bodyguards. We thought he was freakin crazy until they drove us to a mall for an in-store appearance and there were 2000 kids outside waiting for autographs. Seriously we were so mobbed just trying to get into the mall that we actually needed those bodyguards! It was like the Beatles or something, to this day it still seems surreal to me. We then spent 3 weeks playing huge auditoriums to thousands of screaming fans, getting interviewed by MTV, listening to "Here We Go" on national radio every 10 minutes and had girls camping out in the hotel room lobbies. Then when we got off that tour we went on tour with No Doubt in the states! That's why we wrote "Beyond Planet Earth," we got big heads and were convinced we were gonna take over the world with Krishnacore/ska/techno. Boy did we get smashed on that one.

Of all of the messages Y.O.T. passed along to the Hardcore scene with its songs, which of those messages/songs have you most taken to heart in your own everyday life?

All those songs I live to this day, so it's really hard to say. One thing that I'm really proud of is that we introduced drug free living and vegetarianism to a lot of people, which are two things that are very close to my heart, and I'm glad that I could've been a part of that.

It seems like the entire Porcell catalog is being re-released. Can you give me a run-down of everything that's in the pipeline at the moment?

Bridge 9 is re-releasing the Project X 7" on CD with a CD Rom movie, plus it's also going to come with a book about Schism. That sounds very cool, I can't wait to see what Chris Wrenn puts together. He's been working on it for months now and it should be out by the fall. Revelation is doing a double CD Judge discography, one CD will have all the released tracks and the other will have Chung King, the never released demo with Lukey Luke on drums and CD Rom extras. There's also going to be a Judge DVD coming out some time this year, and the band I sing for, Never Surrender, has a CD ep coming out on June 10th on my new label Fight Fire with Fire Records. That will also be CD Rom enhanced with live clips and interviews. Check out www.fightfirehq.com. I also am doing a straight edge website, www.truetilldeath.com, it's up and running and I will be adding to it and updating it a lot over the next few months.

What guitar player made you want to first pick up a guitar?

I'd have to give credit to Johnny Ramone. I took guitar lessons for 3 months when I was in 7th grade, and I brought the first Ramones record to my teacher and said I wanted to learn Blitzkrieg Bop. He played the record, thumbed his nose and said "Are you kidding me? This song is so crude and simple I can teach it to you in 5 minutes." After that, I was so psyched that I quit taking lessons. I figured I had learned to play the Ramones, what else is there to know?


What was the scariest moment ever for you as an audience member at a CBGB's matinee?

One of the first times I ever went to CB's was to see Agnostic Front (before United Blood was out), Death Before Dishonor (Mark Supertouch and Mike Judge's first band), Balls (Don Fury's band) and Skinhead Youth (Alex Cause For Alarm's skinhead band with Raybeez on vocals). I took the train in from my nice upper middle class whitebread neighborhood and let me tell you, that was the sketchiest, scariest crowd I had seen in my life at that point. I was practically the only kid in the pit with hair! Skinhead Youth came out and played racist songs like "Black Plague" and had a song about fag bashing, which they dedicated to Harley (who wasn't even in the Cro Mags at that point but was somehow still the star of the scene). I was like "I'm not in the suburbs anymore man!" While DBD was playing, I was moshing and I felt something hitting me repeatedly in the back of the head. At first I thought it was random elbows until I turned around and saw Jimmy Gestapo in construction gloves staring me down, I guess he didn't like my skater cut. Then AF took the stage, and for some odd reason Matt Dillon (of "There's Something About Mary" fame) was in the crowd, he was all punked out like a poser with a trenchcoat, boots and a bandana around his head. AF dedicated a song to "that f'ing faggot Matt Dillon who better get his ass back uptown if he knows what's good for him!" Needless to say, he left. AF were so incredible, people were losing their minds singing along, it was all these sketchy inner city kids who lived on the streets and you could tell this was all they had, it was intense. Then to top it off, as I was exiting, a guy named Tony Ultraviolence beat up a skinhead named Steve Hate with a wine bottle, splitting his head open. High school seemed really boring on Monday morning.

Are there any Porcell band "misfires?" By that, I mean bands that you were supposed to do with other people, but they never got out of the practice space?

When I lived in California in 1990, working at Revelation, I was going to start a band with Zack de La Rocha. We actually got together a few times, just me and him, and started writing songs. He told me he wanted to call the band "Rage Against the Machine" and I said "no dude, that name is just too long." We never got it together because he started his other "rap" project of the same name. At first I was very skeptical until I saw Rage's first show, they played a house party in Orange County and were nothing less than incredible.

I've read interviews in the past where you said your Dad was really disappointed that you didn't finish college. Has he ever gotten a sense of how important Y.O.T. was (and still is) to so many people, or does he have the attitude that "John's wasting his life doing his little bands..."

The one and only time my dad ever bothered to see me play was when we played a huge auditorium with No Doubt. He came backstage and said "John, I'm so proud of you, you finally made it." And it really hurt my feelings because I felt like I had always "made it," maybe not monetarily or fame wise, but every band I had done I felt was important and had made an impact in ways that many "big" bands never will. What can I do, I guess I can't hate the guy for it, he was raised to judge success on an economic basis. That's always been our problem, we just had different ideas about what's important in life.

Do the math: 4 guys + 1 van = farting. The worst ass in the Youth of Today van goes to:

Al Brown, our roadie, for sure. Second only to Lukey Luke if he was there too.

Monday, June 13, 2005

An Open Letter to Mike Shea of Alternative Press



The following email has been sent to Mike Shea, President and Founder of Alternative Press in response to a letter he addressed to readers in the recent issue of AP (issue #204, July 2005, page 74). In the letter, Mr. Shea talks about the importance of reader feedback and how it helps to keep AP in check by preventing it from becoming a “Goliath” in the mold of Rolling Stone and SPIN where “advertisers and bean counters determine the content of the magazine.” Since Mr. Shea is looking for feedback, I’ve decided to give him some. If you love or hate the magazine, I encourage you to do the same.

Dear Mr. Shea:

I just finished reading the July issue of Alternative Press. Congratulations on 20 years. I am writing to you after reading your impassioned plea (issue #204, July 2005, page 74) for readers to provide you with feedback about the magazine with the purpose of keeping AP in check, as well as the staff’s open invitation for readers to “use” Alternative Press as a vehicle to launch their own music and ideas. While I recognize this is noble gesture on the part of your magazine, you’ll have to excuse my skepticism.

Three months ago, Alternative Press published a feature entitled “Bringing it Back: AP’s Hardcore Special” (issue 2001, April 2005), which caught the attention of the entire hardcore scene, but not for the reasons Alternative Press might have hoped. Although I’m not able to provide any empirical data, I can tell you with certainty that after reading the Hardcore Special, the collective thought throughout the entire hardcore scene was somewhere along the lines of “duh.”

After reading the Hardcore Special, I decided something needed to be said. Since your reader’s forum (entitled Incoming) invited “Love Letters, Hate Mail & Sound Advice” from the unwashed masses, I decided to brew my own little dirty bomb and send it to Alternative Press via email. The sticker graphic at the top of the Incoming section says “100% Manure-Free Magazine,” but when I opened this month’s issue to finally see what feedback readers had to offer about the Hardcore Special, I was over-powered by the stench of chicken shit.

Are you honestly telling me that even though an ENTIRE scene threw its hands up in disgust after reading the Hardcore Special, absolutely NONE of your readers wrote into Alternative Press to offer a little hate mail or sound advice to be printed side by side with the two gushing letters you got from readers Josh Fekete and Michelle Rakshys?

When invited to contribute a dissenting opinion, this reader makes the assumption that you might actually print it. Sure, my email was way over the top, so I can understand why it wasn’t printed (even though it could’ve easily been edited to be more friendly for your advertisers), but I couldn’t have been the only person to be screaming about how bad the Hardcore Special was. If I was the only person to offer negative feedback, then you can interpret my initial email as being co-signed by a significant faction within the hardcore scene, as my inbox was jammed with high-fives and “atta-boys” from a lot of kids around the scene, including members of bands that were interviewed for your feature.

Like I said, I appreciate that AP is offering to become more of a people’s mag in the mold of a punk rock institution like Maximum Rock n’ Roll. But the difference between AP and MRR is that when Maximum Rock n’ Roll asks for a dissenting opinion, they’ll actually print it.

I find it ironic that Alternative Press thinks of itself as a "David," rather than a "Goliath." Even though my opinion wasn’t represented in your magazine, I did manage to find some heated responses for Scott Heisel and Johan Bayer, along with a more diplomatic response from Aaron Burgess in my inbox. As we exchanged vollies of email, I often thought to myself “even though I can’t slay Goliath with my sling and stone, how cool is it that I pissed him off enough to throw rocks back at me?”

Man, if you’re David, then what the fuck am I?

I have spoken.

Ronny Little
President/Founder
Barebones Hardcore
http://bareboneshardcore.blogspot.com

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Incase you missed it last time around, this is the letter I sent to Alternative Press after reading their "Bringing it Back: AP's Hardcore Special" on March 20, 2005. Despite the fact that it was my first-ever blog entry, I drew over 5,000 hits in 3 days with minimal promotion of my site. -Ronny

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

Friday, June 03, 2005

Vacation

I just wanted everyone to know that I won't be updating the site until after Tuesday, June 14th, when I return from my honeymoon. Be sure to check back, as I have a few new wrinkles I'll be adding to the site.

See you soon!

Ronny Little