Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reading Between the Lines by Brian Murphy

This is the first installment of Reading Between the Lines. The plan is to make this a weekly or biweekly post where the focus is a discussion with artists and a slab of their wax. The discussion will be centered on the piece of wax, literally. We'll be talking about those tiny scratchings stuck in between your favorite music and a brilliantly colored paper label. You've seen the marks; a sentence fragment, a short phrase. And if you are like me, you've said to yourself, "what the hell does that mean?" Then you flip over the b-side and make the same remark again, except this time, the puzzlement is doubled. Expect this column to dispel your worry and maybe even clear up a rumor or two.

Now, you can expect very little commentary from me -- feel free to breathe a sigh of relief now. However, to start it off, I'll give you a brief rundown of my hardcore history. And when I say brief, I mean brief. Unlike some of the columnists, I haven't been around for 20+ years. Hell, I've barely been around for 10+ years. It all started back in the early 90s. My older brother and I got into the core. But we lived in Maine, so times were tough. I moved to Worcester, Mass for college in 1997, met some awesome dudes and really started to understand what hardcore was all about. There's a huge difference between listening to the Minor Threat discography in your bedroom in Maine and watching Ten Yard Fight whip 600 kids into a frenzy at the First and Second Church. Later, I joined up with a couple of dudes (shout outs to Casali and Jim C.) and formed the website I was never in a band. I never published a paper zine. I didn't have a distro. I never made patches. Hell, I wasn't even a good stage diver. Fortunately and unfortunately, I'm still not a good stage diver. That's it. That's all you need to hear about me. Now let's get to those etchings.

For the inaugural run, I decided to first run the question by Todd Jones. You'll recall Todd Jones. He's played in every mid 90s, early 2k band that was seriously worth jocking. Carry On, Terror. Now he's in Snake Eyes, Betrayed, Internal Affairs, ... I'm sure there are more too. He's always got a project lurking behind one corner or another. We began with his newest release, Betrayed - Addiction on Bridge 9 records.

Side A - "Sean O Leary has BETRAIDS"

Side B says "the T n A Sessions."

On the surface, pretty unintelligible. BETRAIDS?!?! T n A?!?! Did they have strippers hooking up lap dances in between tracks or what? Who's spreading venereal diseases? Todd clears it up quickly.

Todd - Sean O Leary posted on my myspace comments saying "I've got BetrAIDS" and I thought it was the funniest shit ever.

Todd - "The T n A sessions" just means the "Todd and Aram sessions". Cuz that's basically what it is.

Ok, simple enough. Next, we dove into Carry On's release on Teamwork Records, Roll With the Punches EP. This one was a little more personal to the band.

Side A "Don't blame me..."

Side B "I live in a metal scene"

A metal scene? In Southern California during the late 90s? The EP labels and Todd clear up the rest.

Todd - The a side label says "fuck," where the b side label says "California" cuz California didn't give a shit about us. All our support came from the East Coast, it seemed. California was all metal with Throwdown/Adamantium. Hardcore shows were like 50 people deep.

Todd had such good things to say, I decided to run the question by Chris Corry, as well. Everyone knows Chris Corry. You hated him in the late 90s Rev. days. You loved him in the 2000s LWR days. Plus, like Todd, he can also wield the axe. His resume is pretty decent; Stop And Think, Righteous Jams, Mind Eraser, Soul Swallower, ... Here's what he had to say in regards to the latest release he played on, the Soul Swallower S/T EP, which was released on Bob Shedd's new label, Collapse Records.

Side A "Straight"

Side B "Edge"

CC - Self explanatory. We tried to be pretty blatant about it because we dont really fit the sxe hc mold.

Makes sense to me. A talented group of edgemen with a very non "youth crew" sound who don't want you to be confused. That's very considerate of them.

Next, we talked about the Mind Eraser "Cave" LP on Painkiller Records. This matrix is a bit more obscure with more lore.

Side A: They'll tell you black is really white

Side B: The moon is just the sun at night

CC - Those are two lines from the climax of the Black Sabbath song Heaven and Hell which is from their first record with Ronnie James Dio. Around the time that we were writing the music and recording it Justin and I got really obsessed with that era of the band and that record in particular. We had this show up in montreal, and we drove up with Think I Care and RNR. When Eric Yu was in the band, Justin and I kept making him play this cassette of it over and over. At around 2 AM, somone was like "Eric you doin okay up there?" to see if he was like falling asleep, and he just goes "no, I can't take this music anymore". He thought it was like some cruel joke, but really I think that's the best power metal record ever. Iommi does Priest. I think the vibe of the song is kind of similar to our album too, so we wanted to include something from it in the matrix. Side note: Justin and I met Ronnie James 2 Octobers ago at the Palladium. One of the best shows I've ever been to, and I'm not being some asshole who's like into it ironically.

Now that's a good story.

So there you have it. Stories told. Mysteries explained. Confused senses cleared up. I hope you enjoyed. Now, if you have a piece of wax with matrix wording that you could never understand, hit me up. Maybe I can track down that answer for you. Peace.

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