How did you get into punk hardcore? What was the deciding factor? Alex: Maybe in the 6th grade, my parents got me a copy of Metallica’s Kill Em All and than after that I kind of figured out about punk and stuff on my own, just finding out other bands and stuff. I guess in 8th grade, that was when Napster and all that stuff was really big, we were all about downloading MP3s and finding new and weird shit. That was when I found out about the Misfits and that’s kind of how it all started. So an important question..is Kill Em All the best Metallica record? Absolutely not. Ride the Lightening is the best Metallica record. One hundred and ten percent. So let’s talk about War Hungry. You guys are definitely different than any other band in hardcore right now. Where do your personal influences come from? I’ve kind of just been, and you can ask Kevin this, I’m probably just in the band to have long hair and look cool. I would like to think that we’re trying to go in a different direction because we feel like everything sounds the same nowadays. Kevin and I have a lot of similar musical interests so we’re trying to put a lot of those into our stuff. Anything from Alice in Chains to White Zombie, just weird stuff like that…stuff you don’t usually hear in hardcore today.
If you could personally pick a show to play with any band ever, dead members aside, who would it be? I don’t know if I could speak for the band. But personally I’d want to play with Metallica, but right after Master of Puppets before Cliff died. (RIP) Definitely Pantera circa Vulgar Displays of Power. Definitely the Misfits because they were the first punk band I was ever into. I would also love to play, even though I’ve seen an incarnation of them, with the Cro-Mags because they are amazing, probably one of the most important bands as far this is concerned. Although I don’t even really listen to hardcore.
What current hardcore bands do you like? I think Violation is the best hardcore band out right now. They kind of get it in the sense that they are doing something similar to what we’re trying to accomplish in that every band out there, they don’t have to sound like Age of Quarrel, you can do something different. When you talk to Gary and Chris and those dudes they’re into so much different shit, and you can tell they love Slayer and stuff like that. And it really comes through in their music and that’s important to make it an eclectic mix of different things. I love seeing that band live, I think they’re great.
What about your last tour with Let Down and Swamp Thing? What were some highlights of that tour? Well, the shows were interesting. We had a good time in the sense that War Hungry hasn’t been out with a serious line up in a long time and I think that if you talk to Kevin and Hoodrack they were really happy with that, that they actually have a real band for the first time in a long time. And we al get along really well, it meshed well. Playing with Let Down is always interesting, so that was kind of cool.
Did you think you guys got a good reaction? Some of the shows were weird. There were places that we never played before so that was different. That was also my first tour out of the east coast with the band, so it’s kind of hard for me to gauge. I thought Sound and Fury we did really great, I thought that we got a cool reaction there and so did every other band, it was kind of hard for kids to not go crazy. The shows we played afterwards were great too, we played a bunch of dates in California with Violation. Kids in California love that band and go crazy for them so it was really fun to see that.
What’s your favorite show that you’ve been to so far this year? Favorite show that I’ve been to so far this year was without a doubt Iron Maiden. That’s not really a show though that’s more of an experience.
Would you like to share a experience from the show? My friend Greg Daly, shout out to him and the World Inferno society crew, Greg drives them around and he’s a good buddy of mine and we work together at the church. He has this little invention during the summertime called Greg’s hard lemonade which is Simply Lemonade and Jameson. And when you drink a lot of those in the parking lot before the Iron Maiden show you get really, really drunk. And than you go to the Iron Maiden show and you throw up everywhere and black out. And than you go to the Iron Maiden show and get carted out by security to the health tent where you proceed to wake up from the blackout and say “Where the fuck am I??”. And than a dude asks you if you’ve been drinking and you go “Yeeaah I’ve been drinking.” And than Iron Maiden starts to play “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and you somehow stumble back to your seat and enjoy the rest of the show.
What about your first hardcore show? What I remember about my younger years was seeing Blacklisted in its original form and being completely blown away by the kind of thing that they were doing at the time. And they were compared to, at that point in time, American Nightmare and all that shit and I was just like “Yeah, its not really like that at all”. Especially now, knowing those dudes pretty well, and hanging out with them and playing shows with them and seeing what they’ve turned into, its kind of amazing.
One of the things that I think are similar with Blacklisted and War Hungry is that you guys both don’t take all of your interests from just one genre. How do you feel about that? Yeah I think that’s really important because if you do that, shit just starts to sound the same all the time. I mean, you can’t play the same breakdowns all the time. You gotta go somewhere else. I think that Blacklisted is one of those bands, they have a solid line up now and they know what they want to do and they’re doing it really well and its obviously showing because they’re playing huge shows and going overseas and doing huge stuff.
So what five records would you like to be buried with? Metallica, it wouldn’t even matter. As long as one of those records were in my grave I’d be fine. I’m really into death metal so I would have to have a couple of those records in there with me. I would definitely have to have Death-Scream Bloody Gore and Sleep’s Holy Mountain, not that its death metal. That’s one of my favorite records ever, I listen to it all the time as much as I can. I would definitely have to have Misfits-Static Age cause I love that early raw sound, that stuff is great.
What do you foresee in the future for War Hungry? And what about the current lineup? Right now its me Mook, Hoodrack, and Alex (Russin) has been playing with us a lot and Ian which is cool. I think he’s in the band now, from what I’ve heard. It’s a good line up, I like it a lot. I think we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, play some shows here and there just to see our friends, hang out, and play with some cool bands. We got some shows coming up at the end of October with Trash Talk, Bracewar, and Alpha and Omega so those should be a lot of fun. As far as that’s concerned just look out in 2009 because we’re having a new record come out. Actually it’s our first LP and I think that should be a pretty exciting time for us. We’re looking forward to getting that done, finally.
Any final shoutouts? Shout out to De, my new roommate Nick Woj, all those other WB dudes that I don’t get to see very often. And also shout out to Paint it Black. I hope they get home from Europe safe. Also, if you see me at the Church say what’s up, we’ll talk for a minute.
I got into major label punk bands like Green Day and Nirvana through seeing their videos on MTV when my family first got cable in the summer of '94. The speed and volume of the music hooked me pretty much instantaneously. I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to that feeling. From there, I went through the time-honored tradition of buying all the bands in their "Thank You" lists and anyone who sounded like they had a "punk" name, which led me to Bikini Kill, Fugazi, Rancid, Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedys, Germs, Black Flag, etc. However, what really got me into the underground music scene was seeing Fugazi play my desolate little hometown of Clinton, MA. I honestly could not believe that Fugazi (who I pictured, being that I was 12, to be these rock gods) would play my garbage-dump of a town and that the older kids who hung-out at the skate shop down the street from my apartment had a band that was opening for them.
What inspires you lyrically and musically?
You could say our lyrics are political in some sense, which to me really just means that I'm inspired by the myriad of disgusting systems that human beings have designed to hurt and exploit each other. I've never really been a fan of most political bands per se because I hate simplification and lack of personal connection in punk lyrics. I find it hard to relate to some kid from suburban New York screaming about such-and-such terrible event that happened in a South African township before he or she was ever born. So, keeping that in mind, I try to infuse the personal in the political, which is best done I find by writing about your own fears, hatreds, disappointments, opinions, in the context of the world at large.
I'm also a book nerd so aside from my life and my opinions, you could say my lyrics are inspired in some sense by the writings of Guy Debord, John Berryman, Georges Bataille, T.S. Eliot, Albert Camus, Bukowski, Artaud, Derrick Jensen and bunch of other people.
Musically, we take equal influence from the Massachusetts hardcore bands that we loved growing up (Panic, The Suicide File, Orchid, American Nightmare, etc.) and the raw attitude of the early punk bands such as The Stooges, Joy Division, The Germs, Black Flag, etc.
What do you think about the current state of hardcore? Any bands you think people should check out.
The current state of hardcore is better than it has been in a while in my opinion. There was a time about 4 years ago when I really lost interest in what most bands in hardcore (at least in Massachusetts) were doing, which was basically trying to ape either Guns Up, Have Heart, or Death Before Dishonor. In the past two years though, I've been really into Pissed Jeans, Ceremony, Cursed (RIP), Das Oath, Some Girls (RIP), Paint It Black, Tragedy, Fucked Up, Trash Talk, and Sex/Vid.
Also good bands and good friends: Bad Habit, I Rise, Seasick, Frogball, Brick, Debaser, Youthviolence and Pitfall.
How do you feel about the upcoming election?
That it is kind of like arguing about who's going to play captain on a sinking ship. Or at least that's how I feel in my darker moments. I live in Massachusetts so my vote matters even less than usual because Obama will win this state regardless. If I lived in a swing state, I would consider voting Democratic but I feel like the “lesser of two evils” philosophy is a real debasement of the concept of democracy. Which is not to say that I think Obama is some evil corporate stooge, I think the fact that he is even the nominee is progress in some sense. It’s just unfortunate that to have any political influence within the system, all politicians are forced to align themselves with the interests of the ruling class. However, if McCain does gets elected after eight years of Bush than the American people deserve the shitstorm in store for them.
Top 3 records? Hardcore/not Hardcore
I'm making this question my own way.
1. American Nightmare - Background Music 2. Converge - Jane Doe 3. Minor Threat - Discography
1. The Stooges - Funhouse 2. Germs - GI 3. Joy Division - Substance
1. Nirvana - In Utero 2. Radiohead - OK Computer 3. Neutral Milk Hotel - In An Aeroplane Over The Sea
If you could see any band with any line up who would it be?
GG Allen fronting Panic at the Disco.
You guys recently did a tour, any good stories? what was your favorite show?
Too many good stories. Highlights include Andrew shoplifting every meal for two and a half weeks, partying in the James River in downtown Richmond on a Tuesday afternoon, MIA "Paper Planes", waking up in the woods of East Long Island without knowing how I got there, hitching rides up the East Coast with no equipment to our remaining shows after our van broke down, and getting physically kicked out of our own show at Rocks, the worst bar in Richmond.
The best shows were at America! in New Brunswick, NJ w/ Seasick, the Corpse Fortress in Silver Spring, MD w/ Bad Habit, and at the Charm City Art Space w/ Ceremony.
Any last words?
Hardcore without punk isn't music, it's a genre of porn.
And punk isn't a genre of music, it’s a thought process.
from metallica "kill em all". i heard that and I was like holy shit, fast music is awesome thats pretty much what made me want to hear more fast and extreme type shit
What do you think about the current state of the hardcore scene? any current bands you think people should check out.
I still think that boston has the best bands and the best scene...there are some cool bands from our area like waste management, scapegoat, Iron Age, Hatred Surge, rampage, blank stare, anxiety, and more I cant think of...sucsk that band force fed broke up, they were cool.and Sex Vid is awesome but we all know that.
Where do you get lyric inspiration?
i dont get much inspiration from the political climate or issues pertaining to the world..most of the stuff I write about is what is going on in my own head.
Top 3 records
victim in pain, age of quarrel and black sabbath vol. 4 but I dunno that kind of shit changes daily thast just what Im feeling at the time
Whats your favorite show you've played? with any band
wwhoa i never thought about that hold on. there was this one mind eraser show we played near ventura cali a couple of years ago...it was an outside show and it wasnt like "the craziest show ever" but there was something in the air that night which made me feel like i was on another planet ask the other guys in the band and they would agree. it was still a cool show but for some reason thats the best gig ive ever played
How good is neanderthal? if that is where you got mind eraser from
I was psyched when I heard eric wood wasnt into us
How good is the Grateful Dead?
I tried to get into the dead but its just not really my thing musically...but i think its cool that they were down to tour and play music my old sociology teacher knew some groupie that fucked jerry garcia one time and right after they were done he rolled her off the bed and some bodyguard dude made her leave his hotel room hahaha...so much for a night with jerry
Someone said to ask you about a fight with Saves the Day?
oh its not really a fight but when they started out me and a few friends thought it would be funny to heckle them since we thought they were super corny so we would jump and dance like teeny girls and tell them to "fuck off" and "die" and stuff. and we'd be doing this while standing like 10 feet away and I'll tell you what man, the joke was on us becuase they pretend we werent even there and girls would just swoon and then they got semi-famous and I live at my parents house....but im still glad i wasnt in saves the day
sorry i had to piss
What bands influence Mind Eraser? lets see of course crossed out, no comment, the obvious choices...citizens arrest, repulsion, celtic frost, terrorizer, napalm death, siege discharge, ent.black sabbath. eyehategod. oh by the way hatred surge rules. im not trying to be cute, I really do think you can hear all of these bands when you listen to us...at least Id like to think so but maybe i just have delusions of granduer
Any last words/Shout outs
Jude, new mind eraser, rival mob, dead black, mens interest, and some other shit I cant think of all coming out soon get in the pit.
Check Mind Eraser out at GlacialReign.blogspot.com or myspace.com/MindEraserhc
How did you get into punk/hardcore music? First Show? Best Show? I got into punk in early middle school when I heard "Salvation" by Rancid. Then toward the end of middle school I was watching Headbanger's Ball and saw the video for "Step Down." I thought it was the coolest thing. Right around that time too, Set Your Goals came out too. I had also seen the video for "TV Party" and ran out and bought Damaged used at a local record store. So basically MTV got me into hardcore. My first concert was Helmet and Primus. The first hardcore band I saw was H2O. They opened up for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I've gotten to see so many great shows, but recently the best show I've seen is Killing Time, Have Heart and Verse at the Church. Is it different now then when you first got into it? There are a lot more shows. When I was younger it seemed like shows only came around during the summer or during school breaks. Now bands are touring all year round, so somebody is always playing. And there aren't hardcore shows at the Troc anymore. I'd much rather see Sick Of It All or H20 at the Church. What Inspires you lyrically? Just basic day to day life. A lot of Dying To Live is about coming to terms with adulthood. Working 70 hours a week and paying bills sucks. But at the same time it's the life I chose. The Crumbler lyrics were basically about the crazy shit that went through my head during the course of my day. Aneurysm Rats' lyrics are a lot more personal. What do you think about the current state of the hardcore scene? Any current bands you think people should know about? I don't think there is anything wrong with hardcore right now. There are shows going on constantly that I wish I could go to more often. I haven't seen a fight in a long time. As far as bands, I think there is a great mix of sounds out there. All the current bands I know about, everyone else probably knows about. The new Lighten Up record is amazing which should be out soon. Trappend Under Ice's "Stay Cold" is incredible. I still listen to "Heavier Than Heaven, Lonier Than God" daily. Not only is the new Have Heart amazing, but in my opinion the best live band out there. Top 3 Records Ever? Hardcore/Non Hardcore Hardcore Lifetime- Jersey's Best Dancers(this week anyway, sometimes it's Hello Bastards) Cro-Mags- Age Of Quarrel Black Flag- Damaged Non Hardcore Rancid- And Out Come The Wolves Belle and Sebastian- If You're Feeling Sinister The Blacktop Cadence- Chemistry For Changing Times
What are your thoughts on the upcoming election? I have no thoughts about the upcoming election. Lately, it seems like a dog and pony show. I am a democrat, so that's how I'll vote.
If you could see any band any line up past or present who would it be? Christ and Ink and Dagger doing a Halloween show at the Stalag would be incredible.
Any last words? Thanks a lot for the interview, Matt. Check the Rats out on myspace.com/aneurysmrats. Our record, Dying To Live, will be out November 11th on Flight Plan Records. Pick it up, download it illegally, whatever, just give it a listen.
How did you get into punk/hardcore music? First Show? Best Show?
The year was 1992...I met a kid who sat in front of me in a high school calculus class who saw me reading a snowboarding magazine. We got to talking and became friends and I started skateboarding with him and his friends who were all into hardcore of the time (Snapcase, Earth Crisis, Sick Of It All, Mouthpiece, 108, Shelter, etc.). I started going to shows with them and got hooked on the energy and the passion and the fact that the bands were made up of the same people that made up the audience. There was no rockstar bullshit about any of it. I've been hooked ever since. My first punk show was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones in '92 or '93 at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ. The best show I've ever seen would be nearly impossible to decide on...Snapcase, Earth Crisis, 108, Shift, Bloodlet, and Soulstice at Wetlands in NYC in '93 or '94 would definitely be up there.
Is it different now then when you first got into it?
Of course it is, but that's natural. When I was first getting into this stuff the internet didn't exist like it does now so you really had to work to find out about what was going on. There weren't as many stores that carry punk/hc stuff so you either got your records from a distro at a show or from a mailorder catalog that could take 3 - 4 weeks before you got your order. You learned about what was going on through print zines instead of message boards. You booked tours by making phone calls to numbers you got from other bands. It was a lot of work but I also feel like it was a bit more rewarding because of the effort involved. Today you have access to every legendary and every shitty band imaginable at the touch of your fingers if you have internet access. It was also more common to find bands that understood that to be a punk/hardcore band means to have some substance behind your band and be about more than just rocking out and getting kids to mosh or whatever.
What Inspires you lyrically?
Everything in the world that affects me: my friends, my family, the people that make the laws I'm supposed to live by, my workplace, the city I live in, the people I come in contact with. Ignorant assholes that feel some need to make others feel inferior because they are different from them. Selfish people that have no compassion for anyone or anything around them. Hypocrites. People that refuse to make the world a decent place to live in for all people. The usual stuff.
What do you think about the current state of the hardcore scene? Any current bands you think people should know about?
I wish hardcore/punk kids gave a shit about the world around them and cared more about making it a better place rather than collecting every version of every record and every t-shirt. I wish the ones from the US realized the happy bubble we've been living in as the world's greatest superpower is getting ready to burst any day now. I wish kids would get over the whole kickboxing/tough guy thing and just have fun at shows in a more original and interesting manner. I love too many current bands...the Ergs, Dead Mechanical, Jay Reatard, Fucked Up, Government Warning, Idle Hands (Germany), Vogue, Ruiner, Sick Fix, Deep Sleep, Vivian Girls, Sleepwall, Double Dagger, Off With Their Heads, and Dear Landlord would be just a few I would recommend.
Top 3 Records Ever? Hardcore/Non Hardcore
Hmmm...this changes pretty often for me but right now I'd have to say Avail - 4AM Friday, the Ergs - Dorkrockcorkrod, and Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today.
Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, and Get In the Van by Henry Rollins.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming election?
I think it's pretty incredible that we could see the first non-white president. I honestly did not think that would happen in my lifetime. I think that our nation's politics are too wrapped up in big business and corporate agendas to see any real change happen in the way of nationalized health care, improvements to our education system, reducing our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels, or getting our occupying forces out of Iraq any time soon. I pretty much lost all faith in the citizen's of this country when Bush was reelected in 2004 so I don't really have high hopes for change anymore. I just get by as best as I can and try to let people know why the way things are going are only going to sink us into a greater recession and try my best to ride it out and hope people wake up and get angry and fight for real change.
If you could see any band any line up past or present who would it be?
The Beatles or Minor Threat.
If you werent in a band what would you be doing with your life?
I probably would have finished college and be working in the film/video industry in some capacity. Or I'd be a teacher. Both are still goals I have for when band stuff is all done with.
Any Last Words?
Educate yourself via avenues other than American media. Get angry. Stay active. Be heard. Thanks.