Monday, August 29, 2005

Mailbag

Thanks for stickin' up for me, Ronny!

Isn't it all so silly? I mean, don't these bored, bourgeois, would-be-artists, thwarted in their dreams by lack of talent, creativity and vision have anything more substantive to write about? Was my betrayal of the punk credo more profound than The Clash, Stooges, Buzzcocks, et al licensing their songs to multi-national corporations for ad campaigns? Believe it or not, I'm old enough to remember The Clash being called sell-outs when they released Sandinista, because no one "got it" aesthetically (apart from "Police On My Back").

At the end of the day, all of the seminal punk bands were on major labels, and Alternative Press is not a not-for-profit organization that donates all proceeds to starving punk orphans in the former Soviet States. I could give a fuck what those (truly) lily-white, pretentious pseudo-journalists have to say about me. How about this, AP: You can't be cool and have an area called "The Mosh Pit" on your web site at the same time.

I distanced myself, a long time ago, from those who fancied themselves as non-conformists, yet comprised a "scene" that demanded more conformity than the mainstream (read the lyrics to "Not Like You", which I wrote in 1984).

Thanks again, Ronny.

Love,
Richie Birkenhead

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Ronny,

FYI -- The music editor at Alternative Press is named Jonah Bayer.

Hugs and kisses,

Trevor Kelley
New York, NY



Trevor,

I am indeed aware that Johan Bayer is the music editor over at AP. I'm still trying to figure out that one, too.


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Dear Ronny,

Here's an alternative to stupid straight edge tough guys and skinny weiners that act like them:

http://www.myspace.com/xhugsxnotxthugsx

Adam Kirby


Everyone needs to check out this site. There's already a comment from that exTYRANTex band that says "I would like to stab you." Ha.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Dear Alternative Press:



Dear Alternative Press:

I'm sitting here scratching my head, trying to figure out how Trevor Kelley pegged Richie Birkenhead as one of "punk's earliest turncoats" in the most recent issue of your magazine (AP #206, page 114)? First, Mr. Kelley made a reference to the "lilywhite" Birkenhead taking his band, Underdog, into a reggae direction. Considering Underdog had exactly 1.5 Jah-friendly tunes, I find that conclusion a bit exaggerated. The .5 in that equation, a song called "Mass Movement," has a reggae intro and outro, with a very good hardcore song connecting the two in the middle. To this day, it is one of the best attempts by a hardcore band to fuse two totally different music styles together. The song shreds, as about 2000 kids that showed up to see Underdog play at the 2005 Positive Numbers Festival will attest to.

And then there was the reference to Birkenhead's progressive metal band Into Another. Were Into Another a hardcore band? No. Did they appeal to A LOT of hardcore kids? Absolutely. Did Birkenhead bring a lot of his Underdog fans over to the darkside with him? Absolutely. Neither Brian Baker nor Pat Dubar (also mentioned in your article) can say the same about either of their bands (Baker's Junkyard and Dubar's Mindfunk). To this day, Baker & Dubar are still held up as the examples of all that is unholy and unhardcore. Richie Birkenhead was never lumped into that crowd, nor will he ever be.

Also, Pat Dubar was Uniform Choice's singer. And the change throwing incident (which occurred at the legendary Anthrax club in Connecticut on the Staring Into the Sun tour) was a joke played by the locals -- friends of the band according to drummer Pat Longrie.

You really need a hardcore kid working over at that magazine of yours. And no, Johan Bayer doesn't count.

I have Spoken,

Ronny Little
http://bareboneshardcore.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Road Rage Record Reviews by Dave K.

Back again for more nonsense. It seems like this week’s topic on the message boards is how Hellfest was cancelled. Oh boo fucking hoo. This thing was obviously getting too big for itself. I never understood these big fests to be honest. I don’t get the appeal of them. Sure you get to see a lot of big bands and lots of smaller bands at one place, but when you have like three stages and limited stage time, it’s not fair to the bands and the audience. If you are one of the bigger bands with a large pool of material, how the hell do you choose what songs to play to make everybody happy. As a music fan going there, after spending the tons of cash getting there and getting in, what bands do you watch? Then go “What? I did all this to get here and you only play for 20 minutes?”

My big issue has always been the “corporate sponsors”. Apparently, this is what killed this year’s fest. I’d be more impressed with the organizers if they could pull this off without all of the corporate crap. That’s never been what this music has been about. At the very least, scale this back a little. A lot of people were disappointed from this disaster and lost a lot of money they probably could've spent elsewhere. Some people never learn. On to this week’s reviews...

The Iron Boots Weight Of the World CD compiles their collection of seven-inches recorded over the past couple of years. I heard a lot of things about this band, but musically I can’t see it. First off, the recordings are very flat sounding. Iron Boots comes off as a 3rd rate Warzone wannabe, with the singer obviously sounding like Raybees. Track 7 is called “Wardogs”, though it should be “Fighting For Your Country” because it sounds exactly like it. Again, people are digging this, I just don’t find it too exciting. Collapse Records

Thorp Records is at it again with a few releases. This week we will look at Down To Nothing’s Splitting Headache. This band’s latest starts out pretty decently with well put together mid-paced to fast hardcore, nice bass sound. The problem is it kinda falls off halfway through the CD. The first three tracks would be great on a compilation. Definitely an above average release, worth a listen…the bold packaging we have come to expect from this label, interesting artwork throughout. Thorp Records

Some records just don’t get out of the gate, These Days’s self-titled CD is one of them. A heavy HC band in the vein of Integrity comes off a little generic and dull. Everything about it seems forced. A large percentage of the lyrics deal with “the scene” and way too much F-word. These guys seem to have a lot of talent behind them, they are just playing a tired style of music. Life Long Tragedy’s Destined For Anything is a disc of deep vocals and mid-paced heavy HC with a 1990’s tinge. Lyrics are of a dreamy personal nature. Sadly, we have heard this all before. A tad generic and fails to get any excitement going. Both these releases can be found at This Blessing This Curse Recordings

Mike Scondotto has been around the NYC scene forever and a day. He knows he might be getting in deep for sending me a copy of his bands’, Inhuman The New Nightmare CD and for that he is a brave soul. They are pretty talented but most of the music here has that 1990’s NYC hardcore sound that gets a little dull after a while. Not to say Inhuman doesn’t have it though. Where this release shines is track 3 “Killing Me”. It has this Personality Crisis/T.S.O.L. sound that is great. If the record were more like this, I would be digging it a lot more. Ditto for the secret track, a cover of “New Rose” by The Damned. It is here where this band has it all together. Worth checking out: www.inhumanlegion.com

I think Revelation Records is trying to relive the glory days by releasing Generations: A Hardcore Compilation, a CD of newer and up and coming hardcore bands from around the USA. Some of the bands are Lights Out, Blacklisted, Iron Boots & Mental. It’s a decent compilation; many of the bands here will get a lot of attention due to this label’s prominence in HC music. The track, “DC”, by Snake Eyes is the best one here. I’m just really puzzled by Rev’s packaging. Why the hell on a modern 2000’s hardcore comp, do they have a nice collage of show flyers from days’ past? Don’t they have any faith in the bands they are pushing on this CD? You mean to tell me that none of the bands had flyers made that they could have used? Very strange to say the least. All in all most will buy this due to the popularity of some of the bands. Will it become a classic Rev comp? That we will find out in a few years. Revelation Records

Havoc Records has another CD/LP out. Sweden’s Martyrdod In Extremisis a disc of deep and dark scary apocalyptic hardcore, with some melodic guitar work thrown in. Some of songs blend in to each other, so it sounds like every song is the same. Not too exciting to me but this will destroy on the dark & moody crust circuit. Can’t comment on the lyrics since they are sung and written in Swedish. I can only assume they are about clubbing seals and raping farm animals -- just KIDDING of course! Nice minimalist artwork by Martina Friis Martydod will be touring the USA sometime in 2006. Havoc Records

Every once in a while, a record will just jump out you for no apparent reason at all. Pissed Jeans’s Shallow is one such release, though you wouldn’t know it by the packaging. It’s not a hardcore record, punk maybe, but full on noise yes. It’s like they have listening to those Black Flag instrumental records, GONE and later Greg Ginn stuff, studying them to no end and making a great studio record. I say a studio record because I cannot see this being pulled off live. The guitar feedback/solo sound like they are in a timewarp. The label is taking a big chance with this because it’s going to be hard to pigeonhole this to a market that needs everything classified in a category. An interesting release to say the least. Parts Unknown Records

Zine 101: Class today is “What not to do in your "zine" or "How not to embarrass yourself by making inane comments" When Ronny sent down the goodie box of music from the Posi Numbers fest, there was this zine in it. Since I’m an ex-fanzine editor, I always look at this stuff first. Fudgebun #2 (July 2005) is a small half-size hardcore music zine from I don’t know where because there is no mailing address (mistake #1). Now I don’t like to say bad things about younger folks starting up their zines but you really have to think before you put anything to paper. There are very short interviews with the bands Comeback Kid, With Honor and with somebody who works on Hellfest (mistake #2, you can’t have an interview with an anonymous person). Good Lord, now to make a few comments. Under his short "Fuck Reunions" blurb, "I mean, Underdog playing shows is cool because they’re kind of relevant because Mental got people interested in them." Dude, you have to be fucking KIDDING me. I never was the biggest Underdog fan (I really thought they were better when Carl sang for them.) but it’s not because Mental got people interested in them. It’s because they are FUCKING HARDCORE LEGENDS!! (As a side note, if you are not into Underdog, why would you use their classic logo lettering for your zines logo) Throughout the “Post Fest Preview” section, it seems the editor is really more concerned if a band is cool to mosh to instead if they are actually good and/or have something to say. His little blurb on Vegans is juvenile to say the least. Ack! Listen, I give the guy credit for trying but this needs more thought put into it. Flesh it out, don’t be in such a rush to get your zine out. Make it so that people will remember it (for the right reasons) at least a year later. You can e-mail Ken X at fudgebunzine@gmail.com to see if you can still get this.

This week’s moldy oldie: Wow! I swear a group of old hardcore types need to get together, go down to the offices of Parts Unknown Records and carry these people on our shoulders. I’m not sure when this was put out but I think it was recently. YDI was an old hardcore band from Philadelphia who like most got known well after the fact. Their records were on everybody’s want lists. Man, this CD, Out For Blood compiles their 15 track demo (which I never heard), The Place In The Sun 7", the two tracks off the Get Off My Back comp & the Lp Black Dust (another one that I missed). YDI were a good hardcore band, not great (I never really liked the vocals) but definitely deserves this CD. The packaging, simply put, is fucking amazing. Those pictures make you wish you could have been there for the fun. "I Killed My Family" is the best track here. Gotta love it. Get it at: Parts Unknown Records

Well more next week. I e-mailed a lot of labels this week, we’ll see if any respond. Remember, even I give your music a bad or lackluster review, you’ll get at the very least links to your website and if you have mp3 samples we link to them, so people can make up their own minds. Take care.

In Crust We Trust,

Dave K.

Send all CDs/mp3s/cassettes/demos/fanzines/DVD/books, etc… (if you can try, don’t bother sending the CD cases, save some bucks on the postage…dupes on CDR are fine to, just try to send info with it) to:

David Koenig
1990 Pinehurst View Drive
Grayson, GA 30017


E-mail me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Ha Ha! I Win...



The folks at XBBPX took down the straight edge suicide bomber picture from their My Space profile. The backlash must have been too much for them to handle.

I'll give them credit, though. Despite the lack of intellectual real estate over at XBBPX, at least the light did finally click on in someone's head that, "hey, this really does look bad."

Be sure to tune in for the Road Rage Record Review by Dave K tomorrow.

Thnx!
Ronny Little

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No really. Fuck New York.



I have no idea how I didn't hear about this last month. I came across this story by accident the other day when I stumbled across the East Coast Hardcore Website.

Featured above is a hand drawn SLAPSHOT logo penned by Choke himself. Apparently he drew it as a gag when SLAPSHOT was on tour in Europe. If you'll turn your attention to the "H" in SLAPSHOT, you'll notice it's a drawing of NYC's World Trade Towers, with the axis being a plane slamming into the tower on the right. Pictured above is the second plane, coming to finish the job. Below, it reads "Keep Looking at the Sky," a verse from the SLAPSHOT song Fuck New York.

BUT, that's not the end of the story. No, what really made this a doozie was the rebuke it drew from one of NYHC's toughest customers, Ezec. That is definitely a dude I wouldn't want breathing down my neck. As my good friend Kevin used to say, "you don't want to piss of a guy who has the words 'Lord Ezac' tattooed across his back."

----------

This is a direct statement from Lord Ezec, aka Danny Diablo, CEO of ILL-ROC Records:

"Above is a drawing of a Slapshot logo made by Choke in Europe... Everyone knows that there's been a conflict between some NYC bands and Choke. I've been a big fan of Slapshot's music for years but when you start making fun of a historical tragedy, that's when you've crossed the line. In addition to being a historical tragedy, it was also a personal tragedy for me and many of us, in that, we've lost so many loved ones all at once. I'm asking, as a favor to all the people who we lost in this tragedy, that any bands, promoters, venues, record labels, etc. boycott SLAPSHOT!!!!! I'm not one to come post my opinion on a messageboard or public forum, but I've been known to be a "musical career killer." SO ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH SLAPSHOT.... THINK TWICE!!!! HEY JACK, IF YOU THINK THIS A JOKE CALL DWID!!!!
- LORD EZEC D.M.S.
CEO of ILL-ROC Records"


----------

Looks like Choke couldn't have put SLAPSHOT to bed at a better time.

Ronny

Monday, August 22, 2005

My final thoughts on XBBPX, for now.

I spent the weekend corresponding with several XBBPX members via email and on their messageboard at the seventhdagger site. Trying to reason and debate with these guys was exhausting. I should have known better. Just a few thoughts before I move onto another subject:

*If these XBBPX kids didn't find straight edge, I'm certain they would be nazi skinheads. They are totally cut from the same cloth in that, I truly believe they need to hate something. Talking about violence and planning for violence seem to be things that thrill these guys. They view people who have an education as "spoiled rich kids." According to some of the things I was reading about them on a TXHC messageboard, they'll never give you a fair fight (using things like brass knuckles in a confrontation, fighting in packs or having friends run interference to set up a suckerpunch, etc). And then there's the communication style that goes something like "GO SUCK A DICK AND DIE YOU ASS RIDING FAGGOT SELL OUT!!!"

If you grew up in sort-of rural Pennsylvania in the 80's like I did, this is the kind of stuff you'd be seeing and hearing from groups like the Hammer Skins, Allentown Skins, and the AC Skins (Atlantic City). The entire time I was corresponding with these XBBPX guys, the similarities just kept occuring to me.

*While a lot of straight edge kids tend to laugh off XBBPX, eventually they're going to make all of you look really bad. When white power started to get really big after several incidents made the news, it really tore apart the skinhead scene. The moment Geraldo Rivera caught a chair with his face, from then on all of the skinheads who weren't into racism were ALWAYS lumped into that whole white power perception by those who didn't know any better, which was just about everyone in the communities where they lived. All of the non-racist skins tried to seperate themselves by, laughably, wearing different color shoe laces and forming an organization called SHARP (SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice), but stuff like that never made it to the news, so the public perception of them remained the same. XBBPX doesn't seem to care if they taint the public perception of straight edge, because if you're not drinking their hate-filled Kool Aid, you're not really straight edge, anyway.

Some day, one of these XBBPX kids is going to lose it, do something news worthy in the absolute worst way, and the next thing you know, clubs that have shows will have a "no straight edge" policy, similar to the way clubs once had "no nazi skinhead" policies. But instead of "no Doc Martins, no braces, no white laces, no bomber jackets," it will be "no x's on your hands, shirts, or watches." Seems ridiculous, I know. I don't think that would happen on the East or West Coast, because kids don't take straight edge to extremes like that in those regions, but it could easily happen in the mid-west, where all of these kids seem to be, and all of the parents seem to worship Fox News (which would run with this kind of thing for months and months).

*I'm not in the school of thought that these dudes would ever actually run around shooting people. I think the guns and the straight edge soldiers stuff is strictly an image thing to draw attention to themselves. Kinda like putting "hey, fuck you. Yeah you" on a t-shirt and then wearing it to school. What bothers me is the unstable kid who comes across something like XBBPX, takes it too literally, and ends up doing something very tragic. You laugh? Two words: Charles Manson. That is the perfect example of what can happen when you fill young impressionable minds with hate-filled ideology and imagery. Like I said before, all you need is one loose nut looking to prove his worth to the cause to make this a tragedy for everyone.

*I think a better name for XBBPX would be "The Straight Edge Taliban."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mailbag

Dude,

What's your problem? I can see why you may disagree with us, but I don't understand why you would go out of your way to talk shit. I suppose I should just have a sense of humor about it, but there are a lot of people putting in a lot of time and hard work to do what we do. It means a lot to us and we are all honest and stand up dudes. If you knew anyone who was actually involved in XBBPX, you would prolly get along with us.

By the way, the dude in the picture is not me, just some kid wearing our shirt. The mask is just cool. You can find my face as well as any other XBBPX kid on our personal profiles. We all have XBBPX right there on our profiles. No one tries to fight us over it. The alcohol industry is awful. That shit kills someone every half hour. That sucks to lose loved ones to that shit. We try to educate people and raise money for groups like MADD. You should read our mission statement instead of getting upset about a dude in a mask.

XBBPX


A far right conservative from Texas who doesn't like to hear dissenting opinions. Hmmm...where have we seen that before?

I have a problem with your message and your image on several levels. First and foremost, you make every good straight edge kid look very, very BAD. When the media wants a story on straight edge, especially in this day in age when fear equals ratings, reporters and producers tend to gravitate toward the extreme faction in any group. In the case of straight edge, that would be groups like yours, which have images of hate and violence sewn into the fabric of their message. Guns, grenades, bullets, dudes who look like suicide bombers, promises of a war, and bands that proudly proclaim that they'd "kill for straight edge." (see the band page for exTYRANTex) You are a ratings BONANZA.

Your approach is so ridiculous and self defeating. The news gets out there that in middle america, straight edge is classified as a gang, or at least violent element that needs to be closely monitored. All of the sudden, EVERY town in America is watching kids with x's on their hands in the hopes of avoiding another Columbine, rather than focusing on issues like underage drinking and illicit drug use.

So, the kids who actually behave and make the right choices are put under scrutiny, and the kids who make the stupid choices are overlooked. Or worse yet, your milantancy drives good straight edge kids disallusioned with your extremism to raise their hands and say "how do I get out of this chickenshit outfit?" I should know. In 1992, I was one of them.

Secondly, I won't challenge your data on alcohol claiming the life of someone every half hour, but you can probably point to the same kinds of numbers of fatalities associated with aggressive driving and people talking on cell phones when they're driving. What do drunk driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving fatalities all have in common? They are all the result of bad judgement. I blame the individual, not the method of destruction.

Lastly, hosting hateful bands like exTYRANTex, which spew violent rhetoric associates you with that hate-filled element. Just like an oi label can't get away from being considered a sketchy record label because it puts out racist bands, XBBPX can't get away from being considered a violent fringe element when it supports bands that profess violence.

If one loose nut walks into his school or a local bar with a XBBPX t-shirt and a couple of loaded guns and, God forbid, looks to fire the opening salvo of your "war", you will share in the blame when it's distributed. If you haven't realized that yet, you obviously haven't thought this through.

You raise money for MADD. Big deal. As far as I'm concerned, when they accept money from groups that have a hateful message like XBBPX, MADD may as well be taking money from the Klan, too. Have MADD officials seen your website? I'd be disappointed if they weren't appalled.

Ronny Little

P.S. I wrote this song years ago for kids who get sucked the lunatic sxe faction. Maybe exTYRANTex can cover it at their next show? Enjoy.


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Hand Over Your X's

You've snubbed the pressures of every teen
You're every parent's wet dream
Who needs ciggies, booze, or weed
When you can get drunk on your purity?

It's taken it's toll
You're out of control
Heads filled with hate
Are hardly on straight...

Carving X's in people's backs
You fail to see the wrong in that
Salt Lake City & Syracuse
I've got you up there with Hitler Youth
So let me salute you
SEIG HEIL!
Where's the brown shirts boys?
You'd wear them well.

You're drunk on your "purity"
You're high on your hate.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It's a Straight Edge JIHAD!



Look everybody -- a straight edge suicide bomber, courtesy of the XBBPX Brigade (XBring Back ProhibitionX)! That's right, kids! You too can carry out a martyrdom operation at the next local Theta Kappa Epsilon mixer! Hell, choose any greek initals. All of those frat dudes drink and rape women!

When you carry out your martyrdom operation, your reward will await you in Heaven: the entire Embrace Today collection and TEN straight edge virgins!

"Wait a minute...these virgins are all DUDES!"

"Nooooooo! "

You talk about the "war" that is coming. A war that you will bring on the beer drinking heathen. Guess what, Joey Coughdrop, 98-pound straight edge warrior*. If you'd post a picture of yourself without that mask, I guarantee there'd be a line of people at your door who would quickly bring that war to you. Why put it off? Embrace today I always say. Cos' horses like hay and mugs are made of clay. Is that okay? Wadda ya say?

Check out the Seventh Dagger site. Trust me, hilarity ensues.


*Thou Shalt Not Steal -- "Joey Coughdrop, 98-pound vegan warrior" was a phrase first coined by Mr. Trip Machine, Chris Weinblad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dancefloor Diaries: The Fuse is Lit Show



The day was Friday, August 17th 2001. I was at home, in bed with a high fever when the phone rang, shaking me from a deep sleep. Between the fever and the double dose of NyQil, I wasn't very coherent for the first few moments of the call as I babbled gibberish into the phone. The first thing I remember clearly was the caller saying to me "...what? Are you fucking serious? Who is this? You're not making any sense."

I sat up in bed and immediately felt the room spinning around me. "This is Ronny. Who is this?"

The caller was Jon Hennessee, and he was looking for Dave Byrd. He was calling the right number, as I lived with Byrd the first year I moved down to the Washington DC area. All I knew at that time was that Byrd was going to a show that night. I relayed that much to Hennessee.

I always liked Hennessee, so I couldn't figure out why he had suddenly called me out of the blue and was yelling into the phone at me. I didn't take it personally. I knew it was an issue that he had with Byrd, although I didn't know exactly what the issue was.

The last thing Hennessee told me before he hung up was "give Dave this message. The next time I see him, it will come to blows."

The next day I got the full story. Byrd was involved with, some say the ringleader of, an unplanned indoor pyrotechnical display at the Darkest Hour show at St. Andrews Church in College Park the night before. The result was the show got shut down and the venue was closed to hardcore shows for a while.

As I got the story, I remembered Byrd showing me a huge cache of fireworks that he and the Striking Distance boys had picked up a few weeks before when the band was on the southern swing of a tour. It wasn't hard to do the math after that. A few weeks later, Byrd immortalized the night in song, writing the lyrics to "The Fuse is Lit," which would appear on Striking Distance's second EP.

The Fuse is Lit

The time has come tonight we’ll self-destruct
The fuse is lit going to watch it all erupt
The verdict is out, changing sides so fast
Ignorance comes easy now burning bridges collapse

So safe at home
Being on your thrown,
Is all you’ve ever known
We fight the battles your words will never fight

There’s nothing you can do but waive your fuckin flag
No guts with a brain will leave you in your tracks
I’m giving back every word you said
Think you’re alive but all the catchy slogans are dead

So safe at home
Being on your thrown,
Is all you’ve ever known
We live in the trenches
Where the battles are won

(We fight the battles your words will never fight)

Out of sight, out of touch, now you’re the 'Has Been'
Using the scene as a crutch
When words turn to war you’re the first to run
(now everything’s undone)
We fight, and you quit, and your actions
Prove you never really gave a shit
So, 'These are the days'?
Well, at least, not for you.


There was a shady promoter running this venue in College Park, MD called St. Andrews Church. Let me preface by saying that this venue was originally secured by Steve No Justice and another guy who did a few awesome shows there until the shady promoter took the venue from them. How could this be done? Well, he (Mr. Shady) called up the owner and told her that all this bad stuff was going on at their shows and that he would be a better person to control the happenings at the venue (Venues are hard to come by in the DC area, so this was a major scandal). Also, let it be known that this guy had put us on a couple of local shows (not at St. Andrews) and NEVER offered to pay us. In fact, he would leave the show early to avoid us. He starts booking bigger independent bands and the popularity of the venue grows exponentially.

My major problem with the whole situation stems to the simple fact he was making a killing ($7,000-8,000) per show while the bands received much less. I happened to know the venue cost $200 to rent out, plus another $200 for sound. St. Andrews has a capacity of 800 people. He would charge $10 for a show and 800 people would show up which would equate to $8,000 with $400 to 500 in costs. He would pay the bands the minimum amount and pocket the rest, usually leaving with $6,000. He even quit his day job because he was making so much money. So for me, it all came down to fairness and the basic ‘punk rock’ ethic. He didn’t treat bands fairly, and he didn’t treat the DC area people fairly. For me hardcore, punk, or whatever should not be a means to someone’s pocket. I know it happens on a grand scale everyday, but I saw this as something I could change and something that I was an integral part of and very important to me, the DC scene.

So, some friends and I conjured up ways we could put an end to this because we (Jon Hennessee included) were all pretty fed up with what was going on. In all sincerity, we could have just walked into one of his shows, told him it was shut down, and started beating people up to seal the deal (the cops would have shown up…etc). Instead, we thought of something funnier to do, see, we had a shit load of fireworks and thought we would create an apocalyptic scene at an upcoming Darkest Hour show. About 10 of us all had fireworks and we all agreed to light them after the 4th Darkest Hour song (they were headlining band). When the fireworks started going off, most of the kids were into it, but it was the promoter who stopped the show. Some other kids decided to jump one of my friends so we defended him. Jon H. tried to fight me, and we got a lot of shit for doing this by some other ‘friends’ who in the past were critics of this promoter, but took his side. Hypocrites. Brian McTernan criticized us, but didn’t have the sense to call me to ask me what the motivations behind the action were. So basically, that’s what ‘The Fuse is Lit’ is all about. Taking action, getting shit for it, and calling out ‘holier than thou’ friends.

-- Dave Byrd

I wasn't a fan of any of the bands playing. The main reason for my going to this show was to get Zao merch for my girlfriend. at the time, she kinda liked them. they're not for me, but whatever. My friend James (singer of Shitfit and fellow school mate) came and picked me up and off we went. On our trip up to the show, he kept telling me something was going to 'go down'. Something about beef with the promoter and some local bands. About 15 minutes later we arrive and we find Carimus, Tru, Eric Mann and some other dudes (possibly Mike Stankovich and Dave Byrd). One of them had a backpack full of fire crackers. Just your standard fare along with 'jumpin' jubilees, ya know, the spinning type things that emit a rainbow of color while having what seems like an epileptic fit. At this point i was pretty giddy cause I love firework like I love cake, but also, I didn't like Darkest Hour. Musically. They're not bad, but as people, I thought they were the worst.

To backtrack here a minute; when i first moved to DC i had met James at a school function for new students. Anyway, we met, and quickly became friends. Not knowing the city, he'd come to my place and then we'd take the metro to shows in DC. About two weeks being in DC we took a metro to U st. for a Black Cat show and on the very train car as ours were the dudes from Darkest Hour. Now, they may be cool people or whatever, and I sincerely don't personally know them, but they came off as the biggest, egotistical jerks ever. They had just signed with Victory (which is a kiss of death for any band) and thought they were the hottest shit since microwaveable pizza. They just gave me a bad vibe, and since then I've had a negative reaction /opinion towards them.

Fast forward to the show; after seeing the goods I couldn't wait to see what was to happen. I don't think we saw one band play, and if memory serves well, i think Zao either cancelled or were to go on after Darkest Hour. Anyway, Darkest Hour sets up and starts playing. About one to two songs in their set, the firecracker and assorted goodies were lit and launched into the crowd. The smell of sulfur was intoxicating for me and accompanying cloud of smoke would of, I guess, been perfect for such a 'metal' band as Darkest Hour. No one in the crowd really knew what was going on.

The band stopped and I guess the promoter got on stage and started screaming into the mic. This is where things get hazy, but if i remember correctly he jumped off the stage to try and stop the melee from going any further, grabbed someone and then somebody else came up behind him (Jamie, the Promoter) and just smashed the dude with a collapsible metal chair like Hulk Hogan would have done to the Iron Sheik. It didn't take long until the dude was on the ground and bleeding.

I don't know if we saw him later that nite. We just hung around for a bit then exited the building in no hurry. Later an ambulance stopped by and I think took the dude of in a stretcher. I'm not real sure what happened to that place after that show, but i think they no longer held anymore events after that.

-- Chris Alpino

Ok, I remember that there was a dedication show that night literally across the street, and I remember that that show ended kinda early, so my friend Pat and I went over to the Darkest Hour show. I don't even know who played, I think a band I may have liked a bit was playing. Those shows were always so well attended, so Pat and I thought that we would just see who was there and say Hi to some friends and leave. Turns out, we got in for free, and I remember it being a decent sized crowd, and I remember Jon Hennesee acting very anxious, and running around to and fro.

I was standing along the side wall talking to Tru, and all of a sudden it was like fucking Apocalypse Now in there. It sounded like machine guns going off. I thought it was maybe part of Darkest Hour's show, but they looked puzzled, too. Kids started rushing for the exits, and I think I a few small fights broke out, too.

The music stopped, and Jamie the promoter yelled "EVERYONE GET THE FUCK OUT!"

Tru and I looked at each other and walked through the chaos and out the back door. I remember people looking really confused, and there was a stink of sulphur in the air. A few days later, jamie called me to ask if I knew anything about what happened. He got the same story I just told you.

-- Gus Bowman

Fireworks, and me running cause I thought it was gunshots. I remember this one girl caught something in the face, and went running out the door to the left of the stage. And I remember John Heneesee being very very very pissed about all of this. That's really all I remember, cause we b-lined out of there and back to American University.

My opinion, and coming from a guy who has never ever made one cent off of 'hardcore' shows, Jaimie Aurthurs had to be stopped in some way, and it came to this...and it worked! This may have ruined a venue in the area, but it ended an even worse monopoly.

-- Danny Third District


If you were at this show as well, and you have anything you'd like to share about the night, please be sure to post a comment below to add to the thread. Please leave your name, or at least a creative or funny psuedo name. I hate seeing the word "annonymous" in the comments section.

I'm also looking to make Dancefloor Diaries a feature on Barebones Hardcore. If you have any interesting shows in mind that you think would make a good story (aside from the obvious ones, like the "Shut Down" show at CBGB's), please get in touch.

Thanks!
Ronny

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hardcore Handles: DII (The Second Dave on the Job)



I just realized the other night that eleven years ago this month, I met Dave Sadowski for the first time. For those of you who are not familiar with the name Dave Sadowski, fans of my band Rain on the Parade knew him simply as "DII." Even though DII couldn't play many out of state shows with us, he was a huge, often unseen part of the band. He is on every record, and he was always a large part of the writing process for what would become over 50 songs that made it onto two-inch tape.

I met DII through a friend named Brendan Gallagher, who was doing a band with me at the time, tentatively named "Glue." Brendan played drums, our friend Alan played guitar, I played the other guitar, and Brendan's friend from work, "DII," was brought in to play bass. His name was DII because at the time there were two Daves at the plant where Brendan and DII worked. Since DII was the 2nd Dave on the job, it was agreed amongst his coworkers at this place that, rather than being burdened with the task of going through "Dave. Which Dave? Dave Sadowski," Dave's name would be forever abbreviated to "DII," because you know, uttering a few extra syllabels can be absolutely exhausting.

I will never forget the first time I saw DII walk down the steps into Brendan's basement. He had a mullet with a mustache and beard. He was wearing a flannel shirt with a five color Mentors shirt beneath it. He brought with him a cream colored guitar that had a purple color burst pick guard, a jet black metal head looking bass, and a mini cooler of Pabst Blue Ribbon pounders. I honestly didn't know what to make of the guy in those first few seconds, but after talking to him for all of about a minute, I realized I was going to like him.

I came to the realization that I have known Dave for eleven years now when I was at my Network Plus class the other night. The class took a break for 15 minutes, so I went out into the hallway and did what I have always done over the past eleven years whenever it's time to hit a vending machine:

Step One: feed dollar bill into the machine

Step Two: without looking at the contents of what's in the machine, hit the keys "D" and "2"

Step Three: eat whatever fate drops into the pan for me.

I've been practicing this hardcore food ritual for eleven years now. I can think of only once that I've been disappointed with my yield. It was a Mounds Almond Joy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Record Review: with Dave K.

Well, I’m back. Not that I ever left mind you, but life has been extremely busy lately. If I could only get a couple of uninterrupted hours to work on this column, it would be a better read. As I write this, I am watching/listening to the Misfits play live at CBGB’s on 8/12/05. Feels like I have skybox tickets. This whole CBGB’s thing has been the topic of conversation lately because of the situation there. I don’t know, one side of me doesn’t care and another really does. I mean, damn I spent three years at that place during the 1980’s watching great (and not so great) bands. It was a big part of my life and other’s. Christ, I can’t remember the exact time I was there last but, when I walked in, it was like déjà vu. The one thing I will never forget is the smell of the place. It was unique to itself. CBGB’s has a lot of history behind it. Things though have a beginning and an end. If it closes, we can all say we have been there and it was pretty cool. If it stays open, more bands will get a chance to play on that torn up wooden stage. I think they are charging too much for these shows. Hopefully, the money goes to what it needs to go to. We’ll see...

I’m not sure how old it is, but good music never ages, so check out DeadStop’s Done With You Lp/CD. These Europeans seem to listen to early 1980’s hardcore in their sleep because this release has that sound big time. The singer’s vocals similar to Negative Approach and for the most part the band plays sloppy hardcore like, dare I say, The Abused. Fast paced, sung in English and a great cover to boot. Check this and other releases out at Complete Control Records

It’s Radio Riot! Well, you already know how much I love internet radio, so here is another one for you. If you haven’t already, go to www.live365.com and sign up. Then check out “Old Time Hardcore.” It’s a great newer station set up playing mostly punk and hardcore from 1980-1988. What absolutely slays me is how much east Coast material this guy plays. Sick of it All, Minor Threat, Reagan Youth, Misfits and even the Six and Violence?!? Might sound like such a big deal but this is being broadcast out of Fairbanks, Alaska. He updates this often and I have listen for over two hours straight and didn’t get a repeat, so you’ll at least get that much music to jam on. asfokas@yahoo.com is the email, send requests.

Another old friend from my past, Nate Wilson of Gloom Records sent me some of his latest releases. Straight To Hell has a compilation of their material from 2002-2004 out. Don’t judge this book by the cover (which is awful) because it’s a CD of crank it out hardcore. Everything about this one is fantastic across the board. This has the We Will Bury You Lp, their 7”, a comp track and their tracks from a split 7”. If they broke up, I definitely missed out. John Brown’s Army’s Who Fucked The Culture Up? does something most bands don’t try -- crossing grind with posi-core. Twenty three tracks of fast paced posi-core hardcore with some very grindy vocals. Some of this comes off very well, though there is some filler too. Have to like the next one -- Cut The Shit just explodes off their CD, Harmed and Dangerous. Screamed vocals, hyper fast speedy hardcore keeps you moving. You know, when you get a lot of releases at once from a label, there is bound to be one clunker. Damn Nate, you know I’m not into this metal shit! Toxicholocaust’s Evil Never Dies sounds exactly like their namesake implies. I almost ran off through the median on I-85, since I couldn’t control the headbanging I was possessed to do. But really, Nate has a full selection of great titles over at www.gloomrecords.com

Bad records I never reviewed before: When I think of all the good bands out there that never had a record out, it gets me crazy. I won’t go into examples here because it’ll fill the entire page. I recently listened to a CD that I haven’t heard in 15 years and flashbacks hit me on how bad it was. Bad Religion’s Against The Grain from 1990, is god awful. This was released at the time when "punk" just started to become mainstream with crap like The Offspring. Wow! From the monotone vocals throughout to the tinny shitty guitars, I almost fell asleep at the wheel while listening. I guess I missed the boat because they were media darlings and people ate this up. Punk Rock.

People who really know me know I’m living the thug life, so when discs like this cross my path, I ready to bust it & do some windmills. Madball’s Legacy has arrived. I still never understood the musical path this band took. With their first 7”, they started out with one of the best hardcore records ever made. Then they went for the heavy chugga-chugga thing with each release afterward. It has a great production, heavy as hell, but gets dull after the 3rd song or so. The songs are much shorter this time out, so that is a plus. If you like this band, you’ll love it. Everybody else will just pass. Ferret Records


Last but not least, Sean from Youngblood Records just re-issued some Carry On material in a package called It’s All Our Blood. It’s great to hear since I missed these guys when they were around. I have to say that Floorpunch really influenced a lot of bands and Carry On is one of them. This one is all about fast ’88 youth crew style hardcore and done well, I can see why they had a big following. Played this one many times and really liked it. That rap thing is embarrassing though. You really should get this one at Youngblood Records.

Sorry this one is kinda of short. Next week (and yes it will be next week) I’ll be reviewing a slew of material Ronny grabbed for me at that Posi Numbers fest and other stuff that has been on the backburner. Stay tuned, because the first release on my CD label will be out I hope by Sept 1st...The Hardware Fanzine compilation CD, and it’s about time.

In Crust We Trust,

Dave K.

Send all CDs/mp3s/cassettes/demos/fanzines/DVD/books,etc...(if you can try, don’t bother sending the CD cases, save some bucks on the postage…dupes on CDR are fine to, just try to send info with it) to:

David Koenig
1990 Pinehurst View Drive
Grayson, GA 30017

E-mail me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com

Monday, August 08, 2005

Positively Positive Numbers

I know, I know. Where the fuck have you been? I think it's been at least a couple of weeks since I last posted. Sorry about that. I'm blaming my blog truancy on adult crash. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

I've had a week to chew on my Positive Numbers Festival 2005 experience. I was there Saturday, and a few hours on Sunday. Some thoughts:


* I had a pretty good time at the show, despite the fact that I absolutely hate all day events. Fests are pretty much the norm these days, I suppose. Hell, most weekend shows in any scene are practically fests anymore. I mean, your average show usually has 6 or 7 bands smashed onto the flyer. Call me crazy, but I loved paying $10 to go to a 3 band show at City Gardens way back when. The show was usually a really good local band supporting two really good touring bands. You showed up at 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and were out the door by 10:00 p.m. Loved it. Nobody does that anymore. Eight bones gets you all the bands you can stand. Hardcore has been infected with Wal-Mart Disease. Kids expect to get a lot of shit for a little money. But I digress.

* I definitely feel old at shows nowadays. At a fest like Positive Numbers where there are so many younger kids, it only compounds that feeling. I figure since I'm now old enough to father your average hardcore whippersnapper, I might as well start sounding like a dad. Have a seat junior, we need to have a talk. Son, it's about all of these stupid tattoos and piercings you're getting. Serious. You're going to need to get a job some day, and despite the glamour that comes with being a circus freak, I have to warn you that the benefits and vacation package are LOUSY. And those huge holes in your ears. You know, some day you're going to have to explain them to potential employers, in-laws, and dental professionals. Even your kids will think you're an idiot. You'll say "I was young and stupid," and they'll probably say "yep." I could see if you were on the Live Fast/Die Young track, but you won't even drink a beer for petesake. So I'm begging you, before you get another tattoo on your neck or knuckles, or if you have another urge to rip a huge hole open anywhere on your head, PLEASE use that drug free noggin of yours and fucking THINK.

* I have always felt that Hardcore is the best music scene out there. It's one of the few forms of music that isn't really considered "entertainment," which makes it feel urgent and important. It's a scene where there isn't a barrier between the band and the crowd, in that, if you want access to the people who write the music and the message, you can usually get it. It's off the radar, giving it the feeling that hardcore music, well the good stuff anyway, is this little secret that only you and your friends know about.

So, in what area does hardcore lag behind other forms of music? In a word: WOMEN!

When I walked into Positive Numbers on Saturday, I walked into the world's biggest sausage party. There was a 20-1 guy to girl ratio. It's the first time that the huge gender disparity in the hardcore scene actually occured to me. Thousands of dudes. Dozens of girls. How does that happen? And to the girls who were there, who actually are into hardcore, I've got to ask: why aren't you pulling your weight? All of those bands in Wilkes-Barre, and not a single one of them with a female member. Are you really happy just being hardcore chattle? Don't you have ANYTHING to say or contribute? You are a member of this community. Stand up and be counted!

And before anyone gets their panties in a knot about my comments, I'd just like to state that I have been on record in the past (Fuck You Fanzine, issue 4, volume III) as saying that what hardcore music needs more than anything else these days is a major dose of female perspective in the lyrical department, because the guys on the mic in this scene keep recycling the same tired old cliches and themes. What this scene needs is a female version of 7 Seconds. That would shake things up a bit.

* Best band Saturday: without a doubt, it was Underdog. I haven't seen them play that well since 1989. Richie Birkenhead has been, and will always be one of the best singers in hardcore. His voice. His delivery. His lyrics. All of these have always stood out far above the pack, and even after being out of the game for years, the dude still has it. I saw them a couple of times during their abbreviated reunion tour in 1998, and at that point, the band just seemed to mail it in each night. Saturday night however, Underdog washed away those sins. They were just awesome.

* I have come to the conclusion that X-watches, old Air Jordans, and original 1980's band shirts are the hardcore equivalent of "bling." Rappers where gold jewelery and get caps on their teeth. Hardcore kids wear hard to find/expensive 20 year old clothing. They're both the same thing when you think about it. Sure you wear them because you like them. But you also wear them because other people don't have them. Seems like a status thing to me. Just my observation.

* Speaking of fashion, I'm definitely in rural Pennsylvania when I pull into a gas station and see three different people sporting a rat tail hairdoo. When children are involved, it's just abusive.

* I wasn't there for the big throw down that shut the show down on Sunday evening, so I can't really speak to what went on. What I will say is this -- despite the fact that most people think clubs and bouncers suck, they were definitely a good thing for the hardcore scene in the 80's, before the trend went toward booking shows in VFW halls and church basements. Sure, you couldn't dive at a lot of clubs, and occasionally you'd get put in a head lock and tossed into an alley by an overzealous bouncer (usually for stage diving), but for the most part unless you were going to completely disregard the house rules, there wasn't really much of a reason to worry about the bouncers. Follow the rules (no diving, no fighting) and everyone was going to get along just fine.

Because we no longer go to shows at clubs with a security staff, there is no longer anyone employed to deal with thugs when they occasionally show up at a show. You may disagree and be saying to yourself "thugs...bouncers...no difference," but at least with most bouncers, like I said before -- if you follow the house rules, you should be free to watch the bands without the threat of a hospital visit. With thugs, instead of the rules being "no diving, no fighting," they now switch to "don't look at me, don't dance near me, did you look at my girlfriend, my boy has a problem with your hair." Bouncers are like prison guards. Thugs are like inmates. The current hardcore show model says the inmates have the run of the place. A lack of stage diving is a small price to pay for having the comfort of knowing if someone is going to throw a punch or be a total douchebag, they are going to be repaid in spades by a bunch of bouncers who will beat the shit out of them. As a scene in general, we're basically chicken shit. When thugs show up, they generally have their way with us at any show, because in all fairness, who wants to be the next recipient of a beatdown. I mean really, how often do you see 4 guys jump on some poor bastard, and then another 4 dudes jump in to save him. Um...never?

If a bouncer deals on you for no good reason, at least you can file a lawsuit. I'm telling you, bouncers are alright by me.

* I saw the perfect examples of hardcore jock vs. hardcore spazz when, during BOLD's set, Matt Warnke picked up a football thrown onto the stage, and heaved a perfect spiral for what must have been a 50 yard bomb. It was a completed pass, as the reciever -- Livewire Message Board diva Amy Elizabeth Edge -- caught the ball... with her face. Oops.

* My weekend crew consisted of Dave Byrd, Alfred Ortiz, Steve McPherson and myself. We had two rooms between us. Ortiz, McPherson and I were jammed into one room. Byrd shared the other room with women all weekend. I definitely thought of that empty bed in Byrd's room as I snuggled up to Ralfred. [Shaking my fist] Curse you Dave Byrd!

That's all I can think of. Stay tuned for more updates.

Ronny Little
bareboneshc@hotmail.com
AIM: BarebonesHC