photo by joshsisk.com
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.