Friday, January 31, 2014

Red Death - 2014 Demo

Though still a band in it's infancy. Red Death's personnel read like a local directory of who's who in from some of the areas best Hardcore outfits.
Featuring members Zoom, Intent, Future Binds, Abuse, Protestor and most notably, Coke Bust. The band, all of which share a house outside Washington DC, bring somewhat of a lifers element to the game.

On the bands first demo.
Red Death offer four songs of fast and brutal Hardcore that finds influences in standout acts such as
Corrosion of Conformity,
The Accused, Discharge and even The Cro-mags.
'Already in Hell', 'Disfigure', 'Unholy Agony' and 'Perpetrator' are delivered with quick, angry and downright savage results . With songs that barely make it over the one minute mark. They leave no time for breakdowns and no room for the light of heart. Whenever I feel myself drifting from my Hardcore roots. They're comes a band that pulls me back in and allows me to appreciate the past while helping me to realize the future still lies ahead.
Red Death did just that. Though the band wont be getting any scholarships to art school. (Note demo artwork.) Red Death more than make their mark on Hardcore's ever growing landscape. The demo, now available on Bandcamp is just about the cassette treatment from Flophouse Records and tapes. James Damion

Flop-House Demo Band
B9 Board  Download

The Cartwheelers - "Hot Socks! It's...The Cartwheelers"

Hailing from New Brunswick New Jersey. The Cartwheelers, a duo comprising of
Kevin McSorely
(guitar / vocals) and
Stefan Dias,
(percussion / vocals) play a saucy mix that includes garage, surf rock and a seasoning of Latin rhythms. The EP's jangly rhythms and quirky, off kilter vocals serve as endearing characteristics.

The opening track 'Birds' is an absolute joy. It's crazy latin inspired percussion and warm chorus are as addictive as any three minutes and eighteen seconds could be.
I almost immediately felt myself losing all inhibitions and going completely spastic on my make believe dance floor. The vocals took me to Nerdville where I felt I was hearing a crazy mix of  Brian Sella, (The Front Bottoms) Gordon Gano, (Violent Femmes) and Scott Thompson (Meet Pause). Pretty good company if you ask me. The Cartwheelers look to be off to a impressive start. I'm glad I had the chance to ride along for a bit.
It was certainly a blast.
James Damion

The Cartwheelers  Bandcamp

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stuyvesant - "Duel" (Swervedriver Cover)

High praise for the new video featuring Stuyvesant's cover of the Swervedriver classic "Duel." The studio recording can be found on the Dromedary Records 20th Anniversary covers compilation "From '93 'Til Infinity".  My Review 
Available on CD or download on Dromedary Records

Directed by Brian Musikoff.
Edit and assembly by Bill Hamilton, Beel Media.
Recorded and mixed by Tom Beaujour @ Nuthouse Recording, Hoboken, New Jersey.

New Video 'Euphony' from All Sensory Void

Check out the video for the song 'My Euphony' from All Sensory Void's  
'Relax Man…You're Actually Just Energy Condensed to a Slow Vibration.'. 
 A.S.V. will be releasing a new full length album in late Spring/early Summer entitled 'Everywhere You Go…There You Are'. Self described as Van Morrison meets Husker Du. Let's hope Mr. Morrison bought the band a round or three soon after. 
James Damion

Video - (Join The) Hate Wave b/w Captivity

I had feared that Video may have broken up after the release of 2011's Leather Leather Lp which was a 2011 year end top ten of mine. You can read the Lp review HERE. Anyway, I am thrilled to see that Video is still going, and going strong at that. The brand new 7" ep (Join The ) Hate Wave b/w Captivity contains all the hall marks that landed Leather Leather on my year end list.  The music moves straight ahead at a mid tempo but the guitars are angular and interesting, the vocals are simply song with a bit of a snotty detachment (in the best way) at times. The two new songs on offer here are immediately memorable and command immediate repeat listens. Man, I really dig this band, here's hoping there's a new full length coming in the near future...Dave G.

Sound cloud

Act quick band has only 30 copies left.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Atlas Shrugged - Don't Look Back In Anger

Atlas Shrugged hit the NY Hardcore scene in 1992 and remained active, though on and off, right up through the release of 2012's excellent Smile 7" ep.

For those of you who may have missed out on Atlas Shrugged  this CD discography  is a great introduction to the band who were/are an excellent hard driving hardcore band that sort of summed up perfectly where the NY Hardcore scene was heading back in the days of Burn, Absolution and Quicksand and prior to the macho tough guy stuff that later followed.

If you are a fan of the Post NY Hardcore sound of bands like Burn, Quicksand, Die 116 etc then I think you need to give this discography a listen.  The CD seems to run in reverse chronological order from newest  material to oldest which is a really good way of introducing new listeners to the band as you begin with the strongest material (In My Opinion) and work your back though the more formative years. This CD is a fun ride and an essential collection  for fans of the band, and the perfect introduction for new comers...RCS in da house...bust it!...Dave G.

More info Here

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mercy Killings - s/t 7"

Mercy Killings features members of Richmond VA's Wasted Time and Direct Control, however the bands musical approach is definitely more akin to the angry kick in the gut that was previously provided by Wasted Time. Straight out of the starting gate Mercy Killings delivers a high energy attack that's interspersed with some nice chugging riffs and tempo changes, and then  topped off with pissed the fuck off vocals to really drive the bands point home.  Overall,  this is a promising first ep and I definitely look forwarded to hearing more from Mercy Killings in the future...Dave G.

Mercy Killings - Hear
Beach Impediment - Buy 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Powerblessings - Quick Guide To Heart Attacks

Catchy ass punk/Hardcore that had me singing along halfway through the opening track on my first listen. I can't quite put my finger on bands to compare Powerblessings to but I definitely hear a 90's Indie/Emo/Punk thing going on here, but of the highest caliber.

If you're a fan of powerful, complex punk rock with a good heaping of rhythmic guitar churning  ala The Hot Snakes or even harkening back to The Wipers then I think Powerblessings is a band you need to add to your playlist.  Thanks for sending in a hard copy of the Lp  guys, the packaging is really nice. Thick cardboard cover, lyric insert and nice thick vinyl that sounds great spinning around on my this is how I like to listen to music...Dave G.


Underdog, The Brought Low and Huge Play Brooklyn's St. Vitus

Despite my shitty driving, Dan (One time Underdog guitarist.) and  I made it to Saint Vitus with plenty of time to check out the bar, the merch table and run into a dozen or so people 
I hadn't seen in decades. This was my first time at the Brooklyn bar and the first time seeing the Huge and The Brought Low. It was also my first time seeing Underdog in twenty five years.

Having purchased and reviewed the bands 7' E.P. months ago. My Review I was pretty excited to see Huge perform live. Having seen Underdog numerous times in the eighties. Bassist Russ Iglay's daunting stage presence was something to behold. This was my first chance seeing him as a front man and though I really didn't know what to expect. I knew full well there would be no lack of energy or personality. I have to say, it felt really good seeing that record jump from my turntable on to the stage. The band got the night off to a great start with Russ working the stage both energized and animated. The bands sound leans more towards rock n' roll than Hardcore but retains all the aggression and energy of the latter. 
Add to that the skate rock leanings that always showed up in Underdog sets and you've got a clear winner.

Russ and Jimmy G. (Murphy's Law) join forces.

The Brought Low followed and though I had yet to hear the band, the immediate presence of a familiar face Benjamin Howard Smith (Sweet Diesel) put my mind at ease. The last time I spied Ben was back in early 2011 when Sweet Diesel opened for Supertouch at
Santo's Party House in downtown Manhattan. Being that this was my first time experiencing the New York City trio. It's safe to say, I had no idea what to expect. What The Brought Low delivered was a powerful blend of soulful Rock whose power seemed connected to long gone bombast of acts such as Grandfunk Railroad and the MC5. It seems the only thing missing from their set was a thorough cow bell solo. Good shit if you can handle it.

As Underdog took the stage I began to brace myself. The crowd thickened as people began moving closer and closer to the stage. It had been twenty five years since I'd last seen them perform live. Yet in that quarter of a century. The bands influence on me remained strong. As one of the bands who stood above and stood out among many of the bands in the scene during that time period. The nights set was justly dedicated to the recently deceased Carl the Mosher. (Former Icemen frontman and one time Underdog vocalist.) The energy and intensity of their set seemed to flow from the band to the crowd and back to the band again, as the band worked through a set that included songs from The Vanishing Point, their self titled 7 inch and their demos. Their were plenty of highlights along the way.
From the moshing, stage dives and sing alongs. To Richie's M.C. breakdown that followed
'Not Like You' and a bunch of forty something crowd of middle aged men singing
"Mom says better get home early. I say, "Fuck that" lets get surly." Overall, a nice return on the twenty dollar invested at the door. See you in twenty five years. James Damion

S.O.A.'s First Demo 12/29/1980 Reissue due out on Discord Records this coming March

This spring, Dischord will release S.O.A.’s First Demo 12/29/80. This 7” collects the eight songs that the band recorded with Skip Groff at Inner Ear during its first studio session.

Henry Garfield formed State of Alert (S.O.A.) in October of 1980 with guitarist Michael Hampton, bassist Wendel Blow and drummer Simon Jacobsen. The band released 13 songs – three on the Flex Your Head sampler and ten on the
'No Policy' EP – and performed a total of nine shows before splitting up in July of 1981.

See more at: Dischord / News

I Am Heresy Post Video for a Track from their Upcoming Album and Debut on Century Media

I Am Heresy, featuring Boy Sets Fire's frontman Nathan Gray and his son Simon, have released their first lyric video for their song "Rahabh." The track will appear on their Century Media debut 'Thy Will 'out March 4, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cousin Sleaze - S/T 2 SONG EP

Many is the time I've overlooked a band based solely on their name. The term "What's in a name?" seems to have eluded me since childhood. Luckily, I get an hourly reminder from my chosen listening device of the goofy names attached to many of my most beloved artists.
In comes Brooklyn's Cousin Sleaze and their self titled two song EP.

In most instances, I find it hard to grasp a bands sound after a mere two song introduction. However, "Too Many Days" and "Still Screaming" were good enough to warrant further investigation. In visiting their Bandcamp page. I was led to their 2013 split with Slaves BC and their 2012 full length Sick Maniacs.

Cousin Sleaze deliver fast, relentless Hardcore with cut throat, screamed vocals and nasty riffs. On these tracks in particular, it was the pounding rhythms that had me feeling as if I'd been hit by a concussion grenade. It's Hardcore meets Metal meets strep throat.
 Impressive stuff from these Brooklyn troublemakers. Get crazy. Get Fucked.
 James Damion

Cousin Sleaze  Bandcamp

Friday, January 17, 2014

Boiling Point Fanzine - Reissues

When I started writing the first issue of Unite in 1988. I had more than my share of inspirational building blocks and blueprints to ensure that my own endeavor would't fall flat on it's face. Guillotine, Schism, Smorgasbord, Yes Zista and many more had their hand in shaping what became the first and second issue of Unite would look like and even feature.

Imagine my excitement when each of the reprinted six issues showed up on Big Carte just weeks after initiating my search to track down the same issues of Boiling Point I sold on Ebay nearly fifteen years before.

Gone are the colorful covers. Gone are the thick as cardboard pages.What twenty six bucks got me was each of Boiling Points six issues hastily xeroxed on cheap, flimsy, white copy paper. Each held together by a single staple. Though the content is exactly what we saw in those original issues,the cheap quality of the paper and the scans don't come close to accenting or giving proper respect to the great layouts and photos contained in Boiling Point.
Though it's good to look back on many of the old reviews, interviews and correspondence. It's a shame they didn't take any care whatsoever to pay tribute to just that. This seems to be a very short and limited run on Big Cartel, One that will hopefully save you some money in the end. Though it was exciting to look back at a great fanzine from my time. I probably would have been happier tracking down the original copies. These don't seem worth the price in postage.The advertisement mentioned bonus material. I didn't even get a note.
File under "Half Ass". James Damion

House of Thieves - Dead Mouse Sessions

Impressive, interesting and unique stuff coming from
New Brunswick New Jersey's House of Thieves. Great chord progressions and changes work prefectly with askew, left of center vocals, highlighting a sound that never lingers too long in any set music genre or style.

Though my tastes may predate House of Thieves
influences. I sense a mix of late 80's Dischord and early to mid 90's Post Core acts such as San Diego's Evergreen.

While many of these influences seem present.
House of Thieves seem to be cultivating something that feels uniquely their own.
Progressive without any of the pretentious attributes connected to the term.
More than worthy of a listen and a download. James Damion
House of Thieves  Bandcamp

Designer / BbigPigg - Split Cassette

Boston's Designer and BbigPigg join forces to give us this four song cassette split. Noisy and experimental jams that took a few listens to really win over this listener.
Though I enjoy the vocal samples provided on the Designer tracks and find myself drawn  towards the eccentricities  and neurotic pleasure of the song 'Easy'. I find myself more drawn to BbigPigg's offerings
'Taurus' and 'Turboteen'.
Released just this month on BUFU records.
Though I wouldn't put them in the same cereal bowl,
listening to these tracks quickly reminded me of the madness that David Yow and his band Jesus Lizard brought to the table more than twenty years ago. I could say more but I'll let the music and the cover art speak for itself.
James Damion

Bandcamp  Get it Here

The Instigation - No Way Out E.P.

Being that the bands personnel span three continents.
(Members currently reside in Japan, China, England and Canada) It's hard to fathom the idea they ever found themselves playing shows, let alone finding the collective time to hit the studio to record 'No Way Out'.
Judging from these four songs, one can only be happy they had the chance.

The Instigation play excellent Hardcore Punk with a smattering of Garage and Street Punk thrown in for good measure. On their second Ep, they don't stray far from their roots as "Loud, Fast, Rules" dominates. 'No Way Out''s'
four tracks. The aggression and raw power on display here remind this listener of
Rollins era Black Flag.

The surprise bonus to come out of this was their cover of Reagan Youth's 'Degenerated'. Unlike the band that's currently flogging that dead horse,
they do a really excellent job of speeding things up a bit while being respectful to the songs origin. The Instigation more than warrant further investigation. Go check them out. James Damion

The Instigation  Get it Here


Morality Crisis - Boats

Though I found the vocals to be completely unbearable, I fully understand a lot of people find bands with singers whose sound resembles that of someone having a losing battle with bronchitis or maybe full blown lung cancer appealing. The belligerent and menacing musicality and it's interesting time changes and chord progressions made it partly enjoyable to listen to all the way through. Where 2006 'Pharos' Imperos' had me looking a little deeper into what Morality Crisis had to offer, the 7 tracks presented on 'Boats' had me frantically swimming back to shore
If you're into Hardcore Crust or Death Metal or maybe want to play in the dirty, sludgy waters near Lake Mastadon... this might be for you. Me personally, not so much. 
James Damion

Morality Crisis  Bandcamp

Friday, January 10, 2014

Looking Back; An Interview with New Jersey Hardcore Legends Underdog

Underdog got their start like so many Hardcore bands at the time. Through a conversation between two friends outside CBGB’s. Richie (Youth of Today guitarist) and Russ 
(an original member of Murphy’s Law) were the glue. They named the band True Blue before ultimately changing it to Underdog. In 1985 they released their self titled 7 inch on 
New Beginning records. The four song EP became an instant classic and sent a strong message that mediocrity would no longer be the norm in the genre.. Their full length 
“The Vanishing Point” still stands as one of the great musical  achievements of it’s time. Mixing Hardcore with accents of Reggae and Dub. Lyrics ranging from the personal “Vanishing Point” to the sociopolitical “No Matter What”. They were one of those incredible bands that in a sense stood out and transcended the genre. I interviewed the band outside of CBGB’s after what would be Arthur Smilios’ (Gorilla Biscuits, Token Entry etc.)
 last performance with the band. Looking back I realize I did a pretty shitty interview that day. Take into consideration I was high as a kite when I did this. Not the smartest thing to be when you’re about to interview one of your favorite bands. The interview would appear in the first issue of Unite. James Damion

James: Why is Arthur leaving the band?

Arthur: (shrugs) Why is Arthur leaving the band?

Russ: Like the guy on the oatmeal commercial says, “It’s the right thing to do.”.

Arthur: The truth is I don’t know.

James: Can you tell me about the recent tour you went out on?

Richie: We did a tour with
Agent Orange and Scream across the country to California. We played in Tijuana with Soulside. Some of our best shows were in Green Bay, Chicago, Kansas City.

Russ: Detroit was good. Seven people showed up. (Insert sarcasm)

Richie: We just started in the Mid West. Went to the West Coast and played a few shows on the way back. It was kind of an abbreviated tour.

James: Do the scenes out there differ much from here in New York?

Russ: More Pickets.

Dean: Less Pitbulls

Richie: More people saying, “Y’all are good.”

James: How many songs do you have in your set now?

Richie: Thirteen or Fourteen.

James: Are you playing any covers?

Russ: We haven’t played in a while but it usually varies. We’re going to come up with some new ones. We used to do a Negative Approach cover. Today we did Pressure Drop by the Clash.

James: I heard you had a record deal and a new album on the way.
What's happening?

Richie: The record label was supposed to be bought out by another record company and it didn’t happen so they folded. We’re talking to a lot of labels. Our future plans are to just record the album. It’s going to be called “Over the Edge.”

James: How did the show go for you today considering the bouncers were controlling the stage and not allowing people to stage dive?

Richie: I’ll tell you something. Even after all that happened today, Dennis (infamous CBGB’s bouncer) came up to me and said that we’re his favorite band. He thinks we’re great and he wants a copy of our live off the board tape. He’s not as bad as everyone thinks he is. The bouncers were a little bit better then they have been in the past. No one got punched or anything.

James: From your experience touring, how would you compare the issues with violence at shows with that of New York City?

Russ: I’d say that other towns have a bigger problem with violence at shows than we have here.

James: How has the band changed since the seven inch?

Richie: It’s gotten better.

James: I heard Ernie Parada (Token Entry) was playing with the band for a stretch. How did that go?

Richie: He just filled in for a couple of shows. He did a great job.

James: What ever happened to your old drummer?

Russ: He moved to Florida. He’s in a band called the Doldrums.

James: What bands and styles have had the most influence on Underdog and your sound?

Richie: It’s really hard to answer that question. We’re into so many different types of music.
There’s really no handful of bands we can mention.

James: What situations influence what you write and sing about?

Richie: I try not to get too specifically political. I write songs about whatever is disturbing me. Whatever is moving me or inspiring me. Each song is completely unique.
They’re not written to any specific format.

(At this time Uncle Al from Murphy’s Law sticks his head in to say hello. A strange sound creeps up from Russ’s belly to his throat and makes the van smell of sausage and beer.)

James: What’s next for Underdog.

Richie: I don’t know. Let me look into my crystal ball.

James: There have been a lot of rumors circulating that your breaking up.

Russ: No, we’re just going to record our album.

Foreward; Underdog still play the occasional show. Richie has reformed Into Another.
While Russ fronts the band huge. They both have a show at Brooklyn's St. Vitus.
The bands anthology 'Matchless' and their self titled 7 inch are available at Bridge 9 .
Go scoop it up. James Damion

Underdog - Live at Asbury Park, 1998. (Full Set)

Underdog - The Vanishing Point (Full Album)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Looking Back; Talking Trash with Richard Oliver

(Originally posted to Unite Webzine in February of 2011. Just months before the birth of United By Rocket Science.)

For those of you in need an introduction. 
Rich is an ABC No Rio O.G.  He was there to witness the birth of many of the bands you never saw back then but worship today. He sang for 
The Manacled and Antiem and his fanzines 
Right Trash and Marching for Trash were must reads as is his blog 
The Trashman’s Disposable Reader.

When I contacted Rich about meeting up to do this interview, it wasn’t to promote a book, a new band or any specific creative endeavor of his. (Though there seem to be many) It was out of pure necessity on my part. Though I had met him more than twenty years ago, seen him at countless shows and even had brief conversations with the man. I really didn't know him at all. And to be brutally honest,
I always felt a bit uneasy around him. 

Years later, as I began to see him more at random reuinion shows and get togethers. 
I knew I wanted to change that. So early one night we met up on McDougal street to share some Spring Rolls and Báhn Mi to wipe the slate clean and start anew. For the first time in more than twenty years I got to experience his warmth, openness and sense of humor.
He was soft spoken and honest. Before I had finished half of that tasty Vietnamese sandwich. I felt myself welcoming a new friend into my life. t I had made a new friend. 
(A BFF for all you texters). James Damion

James: As we sat down to eat you asked me “Why didn’t we ever become friends back in the day?”  It’s funny you brought that up immediately. I actually wanted to address that topic in my first question. My first memories of you go back to 1989. I was selling copies of Unite outside CBGB’s  when I saw this goliath walk by with a yellow covered fanzine called
Right Trash. I almost immediately got this red light vibe from you. Not that of a bully.
It was more in the sense there was this dark aura about you, Like this menacing ogre.
I didn’t feel as if you were welcoming me into your circle.

Rich: That’s the exact image I was trying to give off back then. I was a very sad and lonely young man. A reason why I might have wound up on the lower east side during the late 80’s. You’re dead on with your description. I definitely did give off a menacing vibe. I think that I was a prototypical misfit. I’m sorry that I gave you that impression though.

James: No sorry needed. Back then there were people who welcomed you and there were people who did not. I’m just describing the vibe I got from you. We were also selling our zines on the same block of concrete. Maybe you were just marking your territory.
You used the words “Sad and Lonely”. Why did you feel that way?

Rich: (Laughing) Well, i don’t know if you noticed but I was morbidly obese at the time. I was about a hundred pounds overweight. I’ll put it this way. Having to walk down the hallways of any High School USA was not something I looked forward to. One of the reasons I sought out the sub culture we both found ourselves in. I’d agree I wasn’t giving off a peaceful vibe but it wasn’t my intention. Just the way things turned out. The way things happened to me.
The experiences I had made me that stand offish type of person who wasn’t able to trust. That’s what I was like back then. (Laughs) Now, as you can see. I’m quite well adjusted.

James: It’s funny but that first impression of you is one of the key reasons why I wanted to talk to you. Even recently when I’ve seen you at shows. I felt a sense of coldness about you. We run in the same circles and in a way this was my chance to get to know you better. To feel more comfortable with you. Both inside and outside that circle.

Rich: Awww. If I was to text you right now I’d text you a '< and a 3'. Because a '< and a 3' is a <3. Because I really appreciate that. It’s hard. I accepted, a long time ago that both you and I did not have the conventional high school experience. What we were involved with, (NYHC) for all intents and purposes was high school. You were my high school friend. Freddy Alva was my high school friend. Joe Martin from Citizens Arrest was my high school friend. I actually did go to high school with Joe but we didn’t spend a lot of time in the school itself. The people I went to actual high school with are not significant. They don’t know the things we know. They don’t know the things we did.

James: There’s that common thread that we all shared where we didn’t fit in with the kids in our schools or we weren’t getting what we needed from our families. Hardcore was a place where we fit. Even later, when people were looking forward to their High School and
College reunions. Personally, I didn’t feel any connection with those people.
But when hearing about a GO or Bad Trip reunion I’m all giddy with anticipation.
Okay, so back to you. Considering all these insecurities and issues you managed to front two short lived but very memorable bands in The Manacled and Antiem.
How did you overcome those feelings to do what you did? “Where would we be today if not for Freddy Alva? He’s like the spiritual warrior of this whole thing. He’s just such a great guy.”

Rich: It’s weird but I’ve always had this tremendous ego but incredibly low self esteem. When those two forces are going against each other it can be turned into really interesting art. Some of the greatest stuff I ever did was back then. It was just amazingly creative stuff. Imagine trying to do that again and having all these different forces coming into play now. Jobs, wives, girlfriends, rent, mortgages and more. Back in the day we were able to create this amazing stuff in a small increment of time. I just think I always had this enormous desire to be noticed. Matching that massive ago with the low self esteem and coupling it with ........ I’ve always felt I’ve been possessed with that artistic temperament where I have something to say and I’ll do anything to say it. Sometimes I wish i didn’t have it because it’s been the bane of my existence. I think my life would be so much easier if I didn’t have this desire to create. If you could just have a job, go home to watch American Idol and be happy.

James: Were you able to purge a lot of that anger and insecurity through the music?

Rich: It’s funny you ask that. I was just thinking about it as you were asking. The Manacled break up was the most foolish decision I had ever made in my life. Honestly and wholeheartedly I wish the Manacled had a slightly more substantial discography.
If we could have played maybe ten more shows because I’d be cashing in right now like nobody’s business. I just have to be honest. I think this renaissance of reunions is very crass to a lot of people but I think it’s wonderful. I really do. It’s been one of the best experiences for me over the last couple of years to see those people again.
For me personally, it all started with the Absolution  reunion in April of 2008. That night I was so absolutely happy to see all those people again. Then with the various networking websites, I was able to reconnect with so many people. It’s just incredible to see pictures of
Jason O’Toole’s (Life’s Blood) daughter and to see what you’re doing everyday. It’s just an amazing world we live in. Made better through Facebook.

James: I always had mixed feelings about the reunion circuit. There were shows that blew my mind while others resembled a Viagra infomercial.  But what it comes down to is the friendship and reconnecting with people we had lost touch with and otherwise would have no occasion to reconnect. I got to reconnect with Freddy Alva through this. Someone I met when I was seven years old, That alone makes it all worth while.

Rich: To speak about one person in particular that you just mentioned. Where would we be today if not for Freddy Alva? He’s like the spiritual warrior of this whole thing. He’s just such a great guy. I liked him a lot back in the day but since I’ve become reacquainted with him I’m just constantly reminded of what a great guy he is. There’s no pretense to Freddy.
He’s just a truly genuine guy.

James: Why would you consider The Manacled more important than Antiem?

Rich: The Manacled was really just one very fat guy and one very tall guy just picking it up and starting a band. Chalie Adamec picked up a bass guitar the same time Joe Martin did. Joe learned to play very well. Charlie not so much. It was just a beautiful thing where two kids from North Eastern Queens could start a band and be playing shows within a few weeks. We borrowed a guitarist. Borrowed a drummer and just did it. Good, bad, indifferent. It was absolutely insane to see this incredibly large man  screaming for fifteen minutes.
I’m blessed and have You Tube videos to relive those moments. Were we any better or worse than a lot of those bands from that era?  Not really. We just had much more shock value. I just wish I wasn’t such an arrogant asshole back then. If we would have just kept the band going for just a little while longer I think it really could have been a wonderful thing.

James; How did you wind up destroying the band?

Rich: I was either in Joe Martin's basement or his kitchen at his parents home in Bayside, Queens.
I was just this arrogant, pompous fool who had all these petty jealousies that some sixteen, seventeen, eighteen year old would harbor. I had the incredibly delusional idea came into my mind that I should just break off with Charlie and just start another band with  Melissa York. I wanted to break away from Hardcore. I was very much into the whole Chicago “Amphetamine Reptile” sound. I was drifting away from Hardcore and was just thinking in terms of an insane man. For lack of a better term I “broke up” with Charlie. Charlie being the laid back hippie that he was just shrugged, picked up his guitar and started
Animal Crackers with
Janis  Chakars. They went on to be quite successful while Melissa and I sort of languished in Nowheresville. Never to be heard from again. (Laughs) Actually Melissa went on to a very successful music career which included Born Against, Sugar Shack, Vitapup, The Butchies and others.

James: What do you think set your experiences apart from your days at CBGB’s to those at ABC No Rio? Up until a few minutes ago I thought we had gotten into Hardcore at the same time. I had no idea you came around so late.

Rich: Because ABC No Rio was mine. There was this stamp of ownership on it. We came, we saw, we conquered, we started it. I was there at the first show. I saw GO! practice in Mike Brombergs Father’s basement amidst his Dad’s dentistry moles. Aaron Kaufman was sitting there as was Charlie Ademac. All of us listening to De La Soul’s first album
“Three Feet High and Rising.” It was an amazing time. On a side note. To be able to admit to another person that I came in so late is something that was very hard for me to admit. Back then it was so important that you had been around for a long time. Back when I got into it in 88’/89’ I would never, ever admit I had just gotten into the scene. “Ah, no! I’ve been around since 86’/87’.”

James: Oh my God. I thought I was the only one who felt that way. I remember how guarded I was. How proud I was when I got that four year patch of honor.
Why do you think that was such a major insecurity for so many people?

Rich: Because your validity was based upon how “True” you were. Your validity was based on how long you’d been there. If you were there since 81’ you were a Buddha. Lying about when you got into Hardcore was like lying about having a girlfriend.

James: The thing that sticks in my mind most was the records. "Cause for Alarm",
"United Blood", "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Even though those records predated us by a few years.
They were the unattainable “Holy Grail”. Those records felt like ancient history.

Rich: Antidote - “Thou shalt not kill”

James: Like I said before,
My first memories of Rich Trash are from your fanzine Right Trash.
There was a certain dry wit and irony about it. How did writing help you escape from those insecurities and pain you were feeling?

Rich: That sense of humor just developed. It was how I coped until better things came along.
It was just the thing that helped me to survive and deal with the world. I became the funny man.
Sarcasm is my most eloquent language.

James: What was behind the name? It sounds so self deprecating.

Rich: The name was suggested by someone else. I originally had a co-editor who didn’t do anything at all really. He was the one that suggested the name. He said that “This music we listen to is pretty trashy. We’ll just listen to the Right Trash.” Right Trash lasted two issues.
Then came “Marching for Trash” which is a Crucifucks song. The name was perfect.
 It picked up just where I left off. It seemed like the perfect name fro a new scene and attitude.

James: You’re also a comic book nerd. What did you collect? D.C. or marvel?

Rich: Marvel, exclusively.

James: I’ve had this conversation before. I always thought the D.C. superheroes were weak.
Even as a kid they seemed to wilt when compared to those of Marvel comics.
What character in particular did you most identify with?

Rich: I loved the Hulk. He was a monster and I felt I was a monster. he just wanted to be left alone. I feel that character is deep down inside of me. He’s the guy.

James: Looking back I think that may have been the reason I never reached out to try and be your friend. There was that wall. What do you think made you become that person?

Rich: I have untold amounts of mental illness and substance abuse in my family. It’s something that’s deep in my DNA.

James: You went through some very dark times with Alcoholism yourself. What was it that sent you over the edge?

Rich: Once again, it’s that overwhelming propensity for arrogance. You have to remember. I was straightedge during my Hardcore days. When I made that decision to reject all the people I was hanging out with. I just wanted to have a new experience. Part of that was I wanted to experience all those things I was denying myself of. So it wasn’t like it got me. I went out and found it. I sought it. I wanted to experience the things I hadn’t done. “What’s this all about?”

James: What brought you out of it?

Rich: Thirty Years old and not able to make my way in this thing called life.
Desperately wanting to figure it out.

James: How did spirituality help you out of it?

Rich: I know it’s very prickly and controversial with a lot of people. Coming from a person who was so opposed to this stuff. There was no bigger proponent to the Anti-Krishna thing when that was in vogue. Sam McPhetters put it perfectly in his “Dear Jesus” Anthology.
The cover of the second issue Marching For Trash depicting the Savior of two billion people doing horrible, self gratifying things to himself. So I’m obviously coming from the opposite side of the spectrum. But when your desperate enough to do anything to get better, you will be willing to take a look at those belief systems that have not served you very well.
I desperately needed to acquire some belief systems that would work. So far, for eight years,  this has worked and I’m very happy in what I believe. It’s allowed me to have an amazing life.

James: It’s so hard for me to grasp or understand. Considering I’ve never felt God in my life. Can you tell me how this manifested itself?

Rich: I was in the hospital because I needed to be separated from the chemicals that I was addicted to. On the third day in what was for all intents and purposes was a mental hospital. I went outside in an enclosed, fenced in treatment area. It was my third day at about
6:00 AM. I’m in this area when I heard Bob Marley’s “three little birds.” I had heard that song countless times before. But when I heard that song that morning. I just knew that everything was going to be okay. I walk around this planet now. The same one I used to hate.
The place where I hated everyone. I know, since having him in my life. Everything is going to be okay. When I wanted him to come into my life. He did. Let’s just say for the sake of argument. Let’s just say that the day I die through some unseen way or reason that it didn’t really have anything to do with him or it or any power. Be it sun, moon, light....whatever. What if I find out that it really was just the power of positive thinking? You know what? That’s good enough for me.

James: With all that you’ve been through and what you’ve overcome.
Do you find it easier to love others now that you’ve started to love yourself?

Rich: My life is unbelievable. I’m a high school drop out who became a high school teacher? How is that possible? All I had to do was stop fighting the world. Was it really that easy?
I remember one of my early experiences in sobriety. I had been in the hospital for a couple of days, following the rules. After thirty years I was following the rules. After two days they came to me and said “You’re following the rules.: “You can have an extra privilege."
“You get a cigarette break.” It was like a fucking acid moment. I was like,
“You mean to tell me, all I had to do these thirty years was follow the rules and I could get free stuff?” I swear to God. It was revolutionary to me. That’s how I lived my life for thirty years. Just going against the grain. Where did it get me?

James: It’s good to see you’re on a positive path. I, myself, could learn a lot from your experience.
So forward to the present. You’re heading into the studio with Todd Lung
(former Fit of Anger drummer) to record new music. What are you doing?
Your almost forty years old? Is this sponsored by Viagra or what?

Rich: You know I had to do it. Like I told you before. That drive I have. After that Absolution show in 2008 I had just graduated college. I had gone back in 2005 for my degree in English. After that show I wanted to do something so bad. I put an ad on Craig's List. A“Old School Hardcore guy looking for...”I went through the proverbial cattle call. One guy happened to be  from Ultraviolence. But eventually, they got back together. The project became like the barstool with two legs. It just couldn’t stand up.Then I was working with another guy a year and a half ago. It was just the two of us  and we were able to make a few demos.
I just wanted to get something done. (joking)It’s just so hard because of these damn jobs getting in the way. So I sent Todd an email just before New Years. I started this whole Facebook rumor mill to create a buzz... We had our first practice a few weeks ago and we hope to see it through. We’ll see what happens. No expectations.

James:  (Joking/Gossip) Basically what you’re saying is there will be a 7 inch on Wardance records this Spring?

Rich: The good thing about this is it’s not Fit of Anger 2011. It’s not The Manacled 2011.
It’s something new and different.

The Trashman's Disposable Reader

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

25 Years Later. N.Y.H.C. Classics from 1989

1989 was a banner year for me. One year removed from High School. I was back in my hometown of Jackson Heights and had published a whopping thousand copies the second issue of Unite, I was in either the studio or a practice space somewhere in Queens or Manhattan and shared what was my first apartment with a couple of Gorilla Biscuits and the drummer for Beyond. My first car was on it's last leg but still kicking. I was going to shows two, three times a week at places like CBGB's, The Anthrax, The Sundance,
The Right Track Inn and The Pyramid to name just a few. Above all, it was a banner year for two music genres I found myself deeply immersed in, Hip Hop and Hardcore. As I begin to collect my very own, opinionated and albeit flawed list of favorites from 1989. I'll present you with my list of favorite LP's to come out of the bursting NYHC scene twenty five long years ago. Feel free to comment with yours. James Damion                                                             
Blackout Records - Where The Wild Things Are

Killing Time - Brightside

Leeway - Born to Expire

Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today

Sick of it All - Blood, Sweat and No Tears

Youth of Today - We're Not in this Alone

Judge - Bringin' it Down

Token Entry - Jaybird

Underdog - The Vanishing Point