Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

A Few Words With Nick from Coke Bust

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So I’ve been emailing back and forth with Nick, COKE BUST’s singer, a lot over the past few months making sure all is a go for the upcoming show this Wednesday. I sent him a few questions to help give you guys a better idea of what to expect from the band.

They have a new LP, entitled “Lines in the Sand” which will be available on Wednesday at the show. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s some fast and furious hardcore.

On “Lines in the Sand”…

It’s just about having enemies, both inside and out of the punk circle.  There are some people who cannot be reached via compromises, and there are people who you have no desire to reconcile with.  It’s about that.  It’s not a straight edge thing, though… I think alot of people think that.

On Straight Edge Hardcore…

I love straight edge hardcore.  I’m into being straight edge, and I’m into the message.  I think it’s super important.  I feel like we’re all kind of on the same page as BLANK STARE, SICK FIX, BLACK SS, POISON PLANET, among others.  Not pushing some bogus hardline message, and not focusing in on the aesthetics of straight edge.  Those bands provide us with inspiration.

On Confrontational Straight Edge Hardcore…

We aren’t hardline, we have no “problem” with people who drink.  I think that’s silly.  I grew up in the punk scene with my skater friends who dropped acid and smoked pot.  It wasn’t for me, for sure, but we’re all tolerant of other people’s choices.  Also, we’re all in favor of legalizing drugs.  I don’t mean to say all this stuff to backpeddal or anything like that- we are very much a straight edge band.  But straight edge is something very relavent to our lives and drugs/alcohol play a huge role in the lives of a lot of people we care about.

On Being in a Straight Edge Band…

I think it says something when a band gets behind an issue.  Sure we could all be straight edge personally and just play music to play hardcore-and that’d be cool.  I don’t see things being too much different… but classifying ourselves as a straight edge band gives us more substance, more of a drive, and honestly as cheesy as it sounds… it makes us go a little harder I think.  It’s weird. If a lot of the straight edge bands that I listened to when I was younger didn’t classify themselves as edge then maybe I never would have even considered that it’s possible to live a life completely free of drugs/alcohol.  And I think that’s really important.  If we could ever play a role in keeping some young kids straight and saying, “hey there IS an alternative” then it would all be worth it in my mind.

On the Depth of the LPs Content…

Well, for one… we have more room to work with,  haha, the extra 5″ of vinyl helped out with that.  I don’t feel that hardcore has certain topics that “need to be addressed” more than others per say.  I think that as long as it is genuine and from the heart that it is important and should be spoken.  I’d rather hear some band talk about some cheesy, predictable shit like breaking up with their girlfriends than going on Wikipedia trying to find some shit to act all political about.  Personally, there are lots of things that I felt pissed off about.  It wasn’t planned out… just kinda happened.

On What You Should Expect From a Coke Bust Live Show…

Don’t expect it to last long.  Don’t expect any huge speeches.  We like to get down to the point, get into it, play fucking fast, and let it all out.  I don’t want to hype it up and try to sell our show like a rodeo though, haha.  We’re very pumped to come, though.  Heard lotsa cool things about Toronto.

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An Interview with Aaron Bedard of Bane

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So I’ve been sitting on this interview for about four or five months, but it’s finally transcribed and up for you to read. The interview took place on a whim back in October at the Bane/Comeback Kid show in Hamilton. Bane are playing tomorrow night at the Reverb (yeah, the flyer’s wrong). Tickets are $13.50 in advance and will be available at the door. Photos by Pat Moore, Canice Leung and Nathan Francoeur.

SITC: So you guys just finished… this is the Through the Noise tour you guys are on. Is this the end of the tour?
Aaron Bedard: Last show man. We part ways tonight, sadly.
SITC: And how did it go?

AB: It was incredible. Which sounds really cliché and sounds like something I would say at the end of almost any tour but this tour really was very, very special for a lot of reasons. It was a huge package. Way bigger than most bands would venture to throw together. You know, 6 bands and many of them able to headline on their own. It was a really big undertaking for Comeback Kid to try to throw this together, to make it work and they did. The thing went off without of a hitch. And it was really cool for us because most of the bands we’ve had a history with. We’ve been good friends with Comeback Kid for years so obviously, we’re always looking to get back on the road with them. Misery Signals we got to hang out with in Japan earlier this year for a two day festival we did and really liked those guys. Spent a lot of time hanging out with them in Osaka so we wanted to reconnect with them. And Outbreak… obviously we have a lot of history with. Those guys are from our neck of the woods. Great fuckin bunch of guys.

And Shai Hulud is a band that we’ve just been connected with for ten years now. In the summer of 98, on our first tour, they were out touring on their first LP and we’d played a show together in St. Louis and kinda hung out at the show and really made strong impressions on each other to the point where, throughout all of these years, we’ve always made attempts to go out and support each others bands. Zack is a huge Shai Hulud fan and I know Matt Fox is a pretty big Bane fan. I was lucky enough to do some vocals on a track they put out a few years ago so we’ve always kind of had this thread of connection between us but we’ve never been able to tour together before this. So, all of that coming into this is just exciting. You know, finally getting to reconnect with dudes that we wish we knew more and had a chance to roll with.

We’d never known the Gravemaker guys before. Earlier on in the tour they got in that van accident and it really just caused us all to wrap our arms around those guys and help them through this and in that they’ve become as good of friends with us as any band we’ve ever toured with. I would literally say I love those guys right now. They were my favourite band on the tour and just the raddest dudes to hang out with and every day has just been cool. It’s just been a bunch of friends traveling across Canada playing shows that are much much bigger than what  we would normally play to in Canada. I know Comeback Kid and Misery Signals can pull a lot of kids but Bane has never really been able to do it on our own.

So that was a very long-winded answer. That’s what you’re gonna get out of me but the tour really, honestly, has been amazing. You know, Gravemaker got into that accident, Comeback Kid got their van and trailer stolen. There were some pretty big hiccups along the way and in sort of a strange way it sort of made the tour better you know? Cause it forced us all to pull together and help each other through the hard times and focus on the real reason we’re here.

SITC: The events that build character.

AB: Thank you. Very well put. Exactly.

SITC: Okay, so, one of the things you mentioned when you were talking about Shai Hulud is that you guys… ten years ago you met those guys and they’ve since broken up, gotten back together…

AB: had Sixteen singers!

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SITC: Basically, Bane has a been around a long time. You guys did your 10 year anniversary… I guess I’m asking, what has changed about this scene. For you personally as far as your perspective goes or what’ve you seen change over the last 10 years and longer?

AB: It’s funny. I’ve been involved in hardcore since the late 80s and you just kind of see things go in cycles. They just kind of go in circles. There are dips and valleys and strong points and times where people seem to lose perspective a little bit along the way and you get caught up in a lot of bullshit whether it’s like, fashion or whether it’s band not having anything to say on stage anymore, bands not banding together to stand up for things that they know are right. And then there are times where… I feel like we’re in a very good time right now, where there are a lot of bands that are playing hardcore music because they are hardcore kids who fucking love this shit and aren’t too interested in their clothes or their image or their fucking hair and they’re getting on stage and have things to say between songs and they’re standing for something. I think some great examples are HAVE HEART, VERSE, BLACKLISTED and RIGHT IDEA. You know there are just a lot of exciting bands right now.I feel like this is a good phase. Maybe 5 years ago things weren’t quite as optimistic feeling as they are now.

It just goes in dips and valleys. What you learn over the course of ten years is just how to concentrate on the things that get you through and not let the negative overwhelm you. Cause there’s always gonna be negative, there’s always gonna be bullshit. Things you wish could change and people you wish would be a little less petty. You just don’t let that become the overwhelming ingredient to the point where it starts to just beat you down and you don’t feel good about things anymore. And then you don’t want to go to shows, you don’t want to go on tour and you don’t feel good about hardcore. Right now I feel really excited about things. I feel like there are a lot of great young bands and a lot of young kids looking up to those bands and they’re gonna start bands. I hope things stay on this crest for a while, I really do.

SITC: So let’s go back a bit further, you said you got into hardcore in the 80s. What got you into it? What was the band? What was the show? What’s your story?

AB: My story is, I met a kid… I was getting into skateboarding and he lived in my neighborhood and we were just starting high school together. He was into skateboarding and he had an older brother who had punk rock records and he used to let us listen to them and they just blew our minds. You know, swear words and just this whole very, in your face, angry, middle finger in the air type attitude going on and it just really drew us to that. I guess the first band that I really connected with was BLACK FLAG. It was heavier than the SEX PISTOLS and it was heavier than the DEAD KENNEDYS and it just kind of made me know that there’s a world beyond just punk rock. There’s something a little darker, a little faster, a little heavier. But he wasn’t into those bands, my friend’s older brother, and we just had to search them out. We’d go downtown and skate and there’d be all these punk rock kids with buttons on their leather jackets and it was just such a big deal to us to read the names on the buttons and try and find those records and stuff like that. And then finally a kid turned me on to Minor Threat and that really… you know, the lyrics and the whole vibe of that band just made me feel unlike anything had ever done before. I was 15 or 16 and I just knew, alright, this is what I’d been looking for. I can’t even imagine what my life would’ve been like if I didn’t find this, right here, right now as a real impressionable 16 year old kid who’s trying to make his way through. I already knew that alcohol wasn’t really gonna cut it for me and I mean, I had been really stoned one time and I didn’t like that experience and then here’s a band telling you that not walking that path was okay. So that was huge for me. There was a small hall in the town that used to do punk rock shows and I just started going to those and that was it.

SITC: Now from there, you obviously in it for a few years before Bane started up.

AB: Many many years.

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SITC: Yeah, so, how did the band come about and what’s kept you together over the years?

AB: Okay, this is gonna be a little longwinded. I was into hardcore in the late 80s and into the early 90s. Going to a ton of shows. I was just completely into the youth crew movement right down until BURN and SUPERTOUCH broke up. And then I really lost track completely of what was going on. I started drumming in an indie rock band and just completely lost track of what was going on in hardcore except for QUICKSAND and like, INTO ANOTHER, which were bands that I would go out of my way to see and support.

SITC: And even at a point they became major label bands.

AB: Yeah. Right. Those were not bands that I would’ve considered hardcore bands. They weren’t really playing hardcore shows. I missed out on the New Age movement and the early Victory stuff. I was really out of the loop for a good three years. I was hangin out with older dudes, hanging out at bars, playing in this indie rock band that was listening like TEXAS IS THE REASON and SENSE FIELD and, you know, QUICKSAND was by far my favourite band.

SITC: What was the name of the indie rock band?

AB: It was called OVER UNDER… and we just had a demo. I don’t think you’ll find anything. We just played around Worcester… But really, I had lost track of what was going on in hardcore. I just knew that Krishna was really starting to take hold and hardline veganism… It just felt like a lot of stuff I just didn’t connect with anymore.

It went like that for about 3 years and then I was in a record store and I saw a STRIFE poster on the wall for the One Truth record. I was looking at it and there were some live shots on it that just brought me back to the era of hardcore that was closest to my heart. Kids with x’s on their hands, fingers in their air and… fuckin varsity jackets. So I bought the record. I didn’t love the record but I definitely thought it was cool to hear some JUDGE influenced hardcore and not long after that they played a show in Boston and I went to the show.

It was my first straight on hardcore show I’d been to in about 3 years and I was singing along and stage diving and kind of got that exciting feeling back you know? THREADBARE played and I think EARTH CRISIS played as well, so I picked up their records. It was just like re-opening my eyes to the scene a second time around. And I had been in a hardcore band in the 80s called BACKBONE and there had always been whispers of us maybe doing a reunion but, like I said, I was so far removed from the scene I just didn’t think that, you know… my heart wouldn’t have been in it and I didn’t want to do it. But after seeing the Strife show and having so much fun at the STRIFE show, I talked to the dudes in BACKBONE saying “Alright, let’s do the reunion”.

So this promoter in Boston put together a pretty big show that reunited a lot of the 80s hardcore bands and we did the show and it was really successful. I had a really good time and told our guitar player that I could actually see myself getting back into it, you know, doing that again. And I was kind of getting up there in age, in my mid twenties thinking, “if it’s gonna happen it’s gotta happen now.” And Aaron Dalbec, who was in CONVERGE at the time and starting this side project band, ran into Chris, the guitar player from BACKBONE at a record store in Worcester, and he gave Dalbec my number.

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Dalbec called me in the fall of 95 and asked if I wanted to do this straightedge band with him. I was like yeah, let me hear the songs, and the rest was history. BANE started. I was just suddenly thrown back into this world, not that I really rejected but I didn’t really expect to get back involved at the level that I have. But I came back into it forgiving of the shortcomings and not worrying so much about the things that drove me away. Just concentrating on the fact that this is a scene made up of young kids who are driven by passionate ideals in a search for some sort of greater truth and just… Coming back into Bane, I just said that I wasn’t gonna let a lot of the stuff that just drove a lot of kids away from hardcore break me down. I would just focus on the things that make sense. Because I had taken that three year hiatus where I was hanging around in bars and just seeing how depressing every other alternative was. Nothing else feels like this, you know? It’s advice that I give to a lot of young kids, like, “yo, if you’re starting to get burnt out, take a break. You don’t have to keep coming. Go see what else is out there and then you’ll come back and accept it for what it is.” It’s almost like you re-find the reasons you start coming here in the first place.

SITC: That’s a pretty good story. Now as another question I wanted to ask you… I Guess… going through your own revival, what was the most important record to you, personally in the 90s?

AB: I think it’d have to be “Life.Love.Regret” I think.

SITC: UNBROKEN.

AB: Yeah.

SITC: And why’s that?

AB: I dunno. It just connected with me on so many levels and just gave me a whole other side of hardcore that I had never really explored through a lot of the 80s bands. Just raw, raw passion. Stripping down your outer tough guy, you know, just the always gotta be hard, always gotta be in control and not be afraid to be a little more introspective and just a little more confused about life. They just had this honest, honest way about them as human beings that I hadn’t… Because bands like YOUTH OF TODAY and CHAIN OF STRENGTH… I love all those bands. Those bands changed my life but they all just had a sort of we can take on the world attitude. It was almost superhero like. And UNBROKEN brought in this whole sort of feeling that, sometimes you fall on your face, sometimes you wanna cry, sometimes you can’t climb the mountain you know? And that really connected with me at the time. Maybe because I was getting a little more mature or whatever, but that record and the two subsequent 7” EPs just meant so, so much to me. No band had touched me like that since BURN. So yeah, I would definitely say the UNBROKEN records were huge for me… in the second chapter of me being into hardcore.

SITC: Word.

AB: You like those records?

SITC: You know… I’ve never been huge into Life.Love.Regret. I dig it, but for me… and maybe this is more of a generational thing… I mean, I kind of got into hardcore in the late 90s so…

AB: So that had already happened…

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SITC: Like, even me, I was sort of introduced to a lot of these ideas, this sort of mentality through… I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and it was weird because it was just before the internet was really affecting music. So I got to be exposed to this whole organic post-hardcore mentality where bands were more about playing with raw aggression and some bands were experimenting with melody and other bands weren’t. You know, it was more about… you’d have what people would call now, “whiny emo” bands playing with bands that are trying to do their best DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN impression. That’s the kind of shit I grew up with. So it was kind of like going in reverse. I was getting into these politics and it was a matter of trying to find out where it was coming from… and still, it’s like an endless quest. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much while I’m trying to keep up on everything that’s happening.

AB: Holy shit, that’s a really cool way to put it. It’s so true. There’s so much coming at you that’s happening now but you don’t wanna lose track of the things that started it. I bet that’s a quandary for a lot of young kids now, with this sort of new culture where information is just a press of a button away so, you can find out about things that are going on now or things that aren’t even going on, that aren’t happening until tomorrow and still have a thirst for like, “I wanna know about OUTSPOKEN”… wow.

SITC: Maybe you’ve seen it, for example, I just picked up a copy of Radio Silence. Have you seen it yet?

AB: Yeah yeah yeah, I liked that book.

SITC:
It’s one of those things where I tore through it. I just tore through it. Some of the stories I’d head, some of them were completely new to me. But to everybody in that book, it was just their personal experience. And, when you look at it that way, in this culture, where everything is so organic and everything is so personal… there’s just so much to it. There’s so much that you will never know. Like, you get a record and there’s so much… like the effort that went into the photos and the layout… you can never know.

AB: That book is a true valentine to those dudes era of hardcore. I think that book really really nailed it. I loved looking through that book.

SITC: But yeah, this is an interview for you, not me.

AB: Nah man, I love this. I love when interviews breakdown into conversations like this. It’s my favourite.

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SITC: But yeah, another thing I wanted to ask, was, up on stage today, before you guys did “My Therapy”, you said… and maybe, I guess, your answer might be Unbroken again. But you said, “this song is about that record that you can always depend on.” What is it?

AB:
I have a lot, man…. I mean, if you’re gonna put me on the spot. If I had to pick one, maybe it’d be Meat is Murder by THE SMITHS. That’s one thing I know that I can turn to at the lowest, lowest points. There’s a Joni Mitchell record called “Blue” that’s always been there for me. There’s a lot. I mean, I have a very, very personal relationship with music where there are certain records that get me through the hardest times and the longest drives and the days where I just feel so completely alone and misunderstood by everybody around me. One thing about being in Bane for as long as I have, is it’s the only steady relationship I’ve ever been involved in. You know, I’ve never been able to make a relationship with a girl work for more than a little while. And you know, I’m getting up there in age now and I start to just feel that I’ve never made that connection with somebody else that a lot of my peers have. So I have a lot of times when I need music to help me out. So I’ve got a lot of those records. Not to get all emo or stuff, but I do get pretty emotional in life. I’m really drawn to sad songs. I’m really drawn to listening to the same song over and over again 40 times just to make me feel less fucking alone and fucked up. But yeah, Meat is Murder is huge, huge for me.

SITC: I guess, related to your love to music, I’ve heard recently that you’ve gotten out and you’ve started doing some drum and bass DJing.

AB: Yeah! How’d you hear that?!

SITC: The internet. The internet. It’s the age of information man.

AB: It’s all out there. It’s true.

SITC: So what’s that about? How’d that start?

AB: This story might be longer than any of the others! Nah, I won’t tell you the whole story, I’ll just tell you the abridged version. Well, in 2000, I fell in love with Drum and Bass music. That’s a whole other story but there’s something about this one area of techno that has really connected with me on a different level than hardcore because it’s just music. It’s just rhythm. There’s no message to it. There’s no art of pretension and it’s just this music that’s built around this very infectious rhythm and fucking with the different ways you can make a room dance based on this rhythm. It’s very dark, it’s very heavy, it’s very fast. And I love it. I’ve loved it for years.

Maybe a year after discovering it, I bought turntables and started DJing just in my bedroom. You know, spending a lot of money on records and really having to teach myself… at this time, I didn’t have any friends in the drum and bass community at all. I was a hardcore kid, Bane was touring heavily. This was a very personal, quiet love affair that was going on. It kind of made me happy to find this music that I just couldn’t deny how much I loved. It didn’t have anything to do with any outside influence. It didn’t have to do with my friends. Everyone thought I was crazy. You can’t imagine how many glowstick jokes I had to fuckin go through. But I didn’t care, I loved this music and it made sense to me and I just DJed in my bedroom for years.

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So many years, went by where that it was almost becoming… ha… It was almost becoming too late for me to really DJ. I was just so afraid to do it in front of people. There were so many invariables that exist with playing live shows cause you’re dealing with equipment, and you’re dealing with needles and monitors and like… I was just petrified to do it. I had opportunities to do it and I would just skirt them. Suddenly, you realize, “wow, I’ve been DJing for seven years now and I’ve never spun in front of anybody except three friends and a dog.” But then this year I moved back to Boston and I had this really nice kind of office area where I could set up my turntables and I started getting really back into DJing after a couple years of not really doing it all that much because I was moving around a lot. Kind of getting back into it and going to clubs to hang out with my friends in Boston. And then, the dude who books Bane in Boston also books a couple 18+ dance party nights that take place during the week and he got wind of the fact that I was a DJ. He just cornered me one night and was like, “you’re spinning this party in two weeks. You can’t say no. You’re on the flyer. You’re doing it.” It was really the kick in the ass I needed to be like, “alright, I’ll do it.”

SITC: And how was it?

AB: It was one of the coolest experiences of my life, the first night. It was just awesome. The place went crazy. They liked the music. I felt comfortable. I didn’t make too many mistakes. It was totally addictive and at the end of the night the dude who booked me asked if I could come back in two weeks. That was the night before leaving for this tour so I’ve only got to do it twice. It felt like kids were really excited that I was back.

So yeah, I got it out of the way. I finally DJed in front of… and it’s a pretty big crowd. I’m pretty lucky that he let me into this night. It’s a very popular night in Boston. It sells out… like 600 kids.  It was rammed. So I really lucked out. I can’t wait to do it again. I’m jonesin’. The whole confidence thing is behind me. I feel like I could do it in front of anybody in any type of a setting. I think in 2009 I’m gonna be doing a lot of that when Bane’s not on the road. Maybe even when Bane is on the road. In Europe, there’s a lot of nights where we’ll play a show and then afterwards the club turns into an after party and those kids in Europe are way more open minded to dance music and stuff like that. I think I’m gonna tell the booking agent over there to get me some DJ gigs for after the shows. So we’ll see.

SITC: So, I guess… unfortunately, I’m gonna have to cut this short.

AB: Cut this short? Are you crazy? This is amazing! We’ve been talking for an hour.

SITC: Yeah but my ride is probably pissed at me at this point. So, I guess, one more thing is what’s… well you said Bane’s gonna do Europe but… What’s up with Bane? Where’s it headed? 10 years deep, what’s the future looking like?

AB: 12 years deep baby! 12 years!

SITC: Yeah, I guess that anniversary show was even a few years ago.

AB: Dude, we recorded the demo in December of 1995. That’s when we recorded the demo tape. Alright here’s what the future looks like right now. Tomorrow, we go to Detroit and start a full U.S. tour with H2O and CRUEL HAND. So we’re on the road for another month. We haven’t done a full U.S. tour in 2 years so we’re pretty excited to back out there, hitting the states. Then that ends, we have about a week and then we go to Costa Rica for the first time ever and play a festival over two days. Then it’s gonna be winter. We’re gonna be home through the winter.

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We don’t really like to tour in the winter and then we’re gonna start writing songs. We’re gonna see how many songs we come up with over the course of a month of two, which isn’t a very big amount of time in Bane time. The Note took us, like, a year. We demoed it a couple times. This, we’re not gonna afford ourselves that luxury this time around. We’re gonna write songs more like a young band would and see. If we come up with four songs then, you know what? We’re gonna put out a 7” ep in the spring and I think that’s fine. I’m kind of excited about the prospect of having to write four awesome songs as opposed to trying to write a whole LPs worth of material. But, that said, if we got home in December and just started banging them out and feel like we’re hitting our stride and we can write a record, I don’t want to rule that out. Putting out another LP with EVR or whatever. But something is gonna come out in the spring from Bane.

Hopefully this will be the start of our last charge, ya know? This is obviously gonna be our last release…and just do the circuit. I want to go back to Australia, I want to go back to Japan, I wanna go back to South America, I wanna do more tours up here. This tour, for us, through Canada, was incredibly successful. We had no i-fucking-dea. So it feels like there’s still more to do. I still have more to say. I’m still having a blast. So, the future is bright. To be honest, the future is more bright now then if you asked me this question last year, or the year before that or the year before that.

SITC: I think I did ask you this question a few years ago.

AB: And was my answer a little more bleak? A little less optimistic?

SITC: I think, it was just one of those, “I don’t know.” I think I asked if you were going to write another record, cause it was just after the Note came out… cause the Note’s four years old now…

AB: Three years.

SITC: Three years? It was around when the Note came out and Swan Song definitely has that farewell feel. You know, last track, very epic, the message itself. And I asked, I think, “Is that it? Are you guys gonna do another tour, another record?” And the response was, “I don’t know.”

AB: You know for a long time, I honestly didn’t know and it was really discouraging. And I’ve gone through some… we’ve all gone… the band has just gone through some real low points with us not being able to all get on the same page as far as what we’re expecting from this band and how much we’re willing to give to it. And earlier this year we just sort of, clicked again and reconnected on the fact that we really want to do this and if we’re gonna do it we’ve gotta do it on some sort of a consistent level. This year’s been great. It’s been the best year we’ve had since 2005.

Now the focus really is on writing. We’ve had more discussions on this tour about new songs and getting together when we get home than… we haven’t had these talks in a long, long time. So I feel really really good. I feel really excited about the future. And… It feels… It feels like we’re still relevant. It feels like kids still care, which is unbelievable to me. It’s unbelievable that this many years in that we get to be a band where kids still give a fuck. I never wanted to be in one of those bands that overstayed their welcome and didn’t know when it was time to hang it up. And I hope I’m not sitting here saying that to you as one of those bands. That scares the hell out of me. But this tour felt great.

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SITC: I think that’s the thing about hardcore though is that, because it’s such a youth movement, especially with your band, at least in my impression. Like I said, I’m watching and kids aren’t going nuts to the songs I used to go crazy for but there’s these new songs that kids just seem to explode to. I think as long as somebody’s doing that to your music it’s still relevant.

AB: Yeah, it’s crazy that the Note did for us what it’s done. Cause I feel it’s a little bit of a disappointing record overall. Not that I don’t think the songs are strong, but the recording of it and some of my vocal performances are less than stellar. But to have it give us this re-burst of life as far as younger kids being super psyched on it. Like, Swan Song is a big deal. That song goes off every single night. To be able to have that, I’m really really thankful. But we’re not done yet baby! We’ve got more songs to write. We’re gonna make at least another EP. Minimum.

SITC: Okay so I’ve got a few more things… I’m gonna put you on the spot cause these have got to be short answers and I know you’re gonna feel on the spot but I’ve gotta do it.

AB:
Alright.

SITC: One album, best album of 2008?

AB:
In Rainbows came out in 07 I think. Alright, the BLACKLISTED record.

SITC: Okay, best current active hardcore band?

AB:
CEREMONY. I mean I could’ve went either way. I could’ve said CEREMONY was my favourite record and BLACKLISTED was the best band. Those are the two bands that are closest to my heart right now. I mean they really have me feeling optimistic about things. And it doesn’t hurt that I know them as people and just believe in them.

SITC: And… they may not be your favourite band right now, but the band you have the biggest hopes for in the future?

AB:
A band from Boston called FREE SPIRIT.

SITC:
Alright… I dig that demo.

AB:
You’ve heard the FREE SPIRIT demo? (tape runs out)

Matt Jackson of Coptic Times

A few weeks back, our buddy Rick Smith, aka BDS, aka the Toxic Mosher (only once a year) did an interview with Matt Jackson, vocalist of COPTIC TIMES and former bassist of IRON AGE. COPTIC TIMES recently put out a 7″ on Youngblood Records and will hopefully be making a trip up to Toronto sometime in the near future.

BDS: Who are you and how did coptic times come to be?

MATT: My name is Matt Jackson.  Coptic Times started as a side project while I was playing bass in Iron Age, we put out a demo in the spring of 2006 and played a few gigs around Austin.  In the past year I’ve been able to focus most of my attention to the band and since we have been able to play a few more places and finally release a record since then. Nick, Zach and I have been friends for awhile and played in a few bands together. We were looking to do something different than we had done in the past and the music itself came naturally.
BDS: Did you guys just get together and play locally when you were in town just for fun?
MATT: That is definitely how things started. I wrote the demo songs in a week or so, we practiced a few times then started playing some shows around January / February of 2006.  All of which were in Austin. we played 423 Tillery a few times and Sound on Sound records.  After that we recorded our demo around March at this kid’s trailer in the Hill Country, literally in the middle of nowhere. We then released the demo tape under the Next Level Records title, a small label that Jason Tarpey had put together to release a few tape demos, inlcuding the Iron Age demo and Livin’ Demo.

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BDS: What happened with you leaving Iron Age? Are you guys till on good terms?

MATT: There were a few deciding factors involved in the split, I decided to go back to school and take on a full time class schedule, so my schedule was no longer going to coincide with their tour plans and they seemed to be going in a different direction than I was at the time.  We had all been friends before Iron Age had begun and we are still good friends. Those dudes are awesome musicians and great song writers and I wish them nothing but the best.  The new songs that I have caught live sound heavy as hell.
BDS:
You were touring with those guys pretty much non-stop since the demo came out. It must have been a hard desision to make to leave.
MATT:
Iron Age saw some member changes over the years, I was there at the first ever practice and stuck with it for over 3 years, but like all things in life, at some point it comes to an end.  I loved being in the band, traveling and meeting the people that we toured with and stayed with, I have never and will never regret a moment of it, however since then I have become more focused on my education and finishing my undergrad studies.  Man that sounds ridiculous!
BDS: What are you taking in school?
MATT:
I am about to graduate with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology. The next step is to beg my way into grad school and get my masters, then on to my phd. I spent a lot of time messing around my first few years of school and managed to get by with the minimum gpa. I took off two years to tour and now that I am back in school it is much easier to focus, so now my time is spent trying to bump my grade point average. Sounds like a blast huh!

BDS: I’ve only known you as a bass player of a IA. What made you want to put the bass down and pick up a mic?

MATT: I’ve always played guitar and I didn’t start playing bass until about 6 years ago, obviously its not too difficult to be a mediocre bass player if you know the basics of guitar, but man being a front man isn’t as cool as I imagined it to be, and I learned that pretty quickly haha. I’d much rather hide behind an instrument, but once you work out the awkward kinks and tune out the blank stares it becomes a pretty good time.  The best part of fronting a band is being able to feed off the energy of the crowd, there is no other feeling like it!

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BDS: What topics are you trying to get across that you obviously could not in your older bands because you were the bass player?

MATT: Oh man, writing lyrics is the hardest part! I like to take a pretty simple approach to my writing. I enjoy repetitive lyrics, catchy choruses… basically a pop song.  What better way to brainwash people than to repeat the same lines over and over!  Most of the lyrical content is based around things that I am currently reading at the time.  I’ve always been fascinated with religion and the songs on our new 7″ were inspired by such literature, mostly involving the Christian belief of the coming of the end.
BDS: I’m guessing that’s where the cover imagery and the title “Temptation” came from then?
MATT:
Yes sir. The cover art was based on this brochure I picked up from some evangelist that was based on man’s temptations, we sent that to Andrei and he did an awesome job of designing his take on the original image. That dude is an insane artist, and probably the easiest person to work with. Between Sean and I, we had him draw up several versions, I was mainly concerned with the size of the devils traps.
BDS: The artwork rules. Has Andrei done any other artwork for records or shirts?
MATT:
I think that dude is a hot commodity these days, I know he did the artwork for the last Municipal Waste record, as well as Violation and a few others, everything of his that I have seen is awesome!  He did the cover art to the Lights Out LP on Youngblood and that is where Sean first started working with him.
BDS: I’ve always liked the cover of “Overload” and have never really looked into the artwork. Its such a odd cover but it works so well.
MATT: Yeah definitely, I wanted something simple, black and white, and Andrei took it to a whole other level. I’m a big fan of Pettibon’s style and I wanted it to be simple without being a blatant tribute.
BDS: Yeah. i was actually going to say I can hear a lot of later era black flag influence in the music and the lyrics.
MATT: Yeah we have been hearing the Black Flag comparisons since our first show, I’m a huge fan and they are a major influence on the writing style so it never bothers me to hear that statement, if anything it is a huge compliment.  I’m sure the rest of the dudes are sick of it. To me the record came out with a definite vibe of west coast influences. Bl’ast, Agression, Black Flag, Adolescents, TSOL, throw in some Poison Idea (one of the most influential of all time) and we are set.
BDS:
I guess you cant really go wrong when putting those bands sounds together.
MATT:
That’s what I’m saying, even with the influences I still feel the end result is a sound all our own. All of us listen to a wide array of music, so other influences tend to pop up every now and then. I’m hoping more James Brown shines through on our LP but I don’t think we’ll be able to pull that off.

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BDS: Speaking of a LP, what’s in the future for the band?

MATT:
We are currently writing for our LP on Youngblood. So far its been a slow process but we have a few songs done and the direction isn’t straying far from the sound on our 7″. We are shooting for a summer ’09 release, but we will be going into the studio sometime this winter to demo some tracks and vibe it out from there.

BDS: Let’s talk about Youngblood for a bit. Tell me a bit about your relationship with Sean and working with Youngblood records.  How did the offer come about of him releasing the CT stuff?

MATT: So far I have been able to work with Sean and Youngblood through Iron Age and Coptic Times and it has been the easiest label transactions that I have ever been a part of.  Sean is very meticulous with every detail of his releases and he was the first person I contacted after we recorded the Coptic Times Demo. Apparently Sean was into the demo, but like most, he wasn’t sure of what direction we were going to be heading in, or whether or not we were going to continue to just be a side project or form into a full time band. We did a live radio set here in Austin for KVRX and I sent that recording to Sean, including some new material and he was sold.
I can’t thank that dude enough for taking the time to invest in our record and take care of every last detail, also I’d like to give a quick shout out to Sean since he is probably sitting in a hospital room right now awaiting the arrival of twins.

BDS: Do you think Coptic Times will become a full time band and tour and such once the LP drops?

MATT: We definitely want to do some touring, especially after the lp is released. At this point we all have full time jobs and or school which makes it difficult for any extensive touring.  We’ve still managed to make it to the East coast to play the Youngblood Showcase in PA (our record release) and the final Set To Explode show in DC. We are also heading to Florida in December and playing This is for You Fest, so that should definitely be a blast.
BDS:
Are there any plans to come up to Toronto?
MATT:
To be honest I want to hit Canada, Europe and Japan before we do any touring in the states! I really want to tour Japan. I’ve heard nothing but great things. Canada is awesome. Toronto was easily my favorite stop on Iron Age tours.
BDS: Why is that?
MATT: Toronto has some great bands right now, Career Suicide and Fucked Up are two of my favorite bands around!  Not to mention last time I was there we played with Rammer and that band shreds. Also, The Endless Blockade is the shit. You guys have got something rad going there.Next time I’m in Toronto I’m going to hit up Sneaky Dee’s and get some nachos as a cheat meal. Big plans!

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BDS: I’ve heard you’re a weight lifter now. Tell me more about that.

MATT: Ha, I currently work as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym in Austin, so I have gotten real into lifting and body building training. I’ve been into sports since i was a kid, and was an all state powerlifter in high school but in the past year I’ve hit it pretty hard and started seeing some positive results. I’ve got this idea of weight lifting being the ultimate form of self destruction it sounds ridiculous but when you think about it, in what other aspect of life can you literally inflict pain upon yourself in order to reach a positive outcome.

BDS: Being straight edge and into weight training do you get a lot of people offering you steroids? What do you think about the use of steroids in that world?

MATT: Well man, it’s an odd thing. All through high school, many of the dudes that I played football with were using steroids, and now training to do body building there is actually two different categories:  those who are natural lifters and those who use pro hormones.  I’ve never been offered steroids but they are easily attainable, especially living this close to Mexico. In the end it’s a short cut for those who lack the will power and motivation to work hard.  I also feel people are completely desensitized to things like HGH due to all the media exposure it has received as of late. Solid nutrition is where its at, that’s what makes all the difference

BDS: What are the best tunes to work out to?

MATT: I like to mix it up, something new everyday, the staples are definitely:
– Obituary – Cause of Death, great workout record, good solid pace
– Entombed – Left Hand Path , provides a good solid pump
I’ll usually pick up the pace with some Thrash Metal when doing cardio, maybe some:
– Testament – The New Order
Black Metal sets a good running pace as well. Like i said, i have a six day workout split so i have to keep mixing it up to keep it fresh. Apparently i tend to favor heavier records for my work outs. Speaking of Entombed have you heard Nicke Anderrson’s band The Solution?
BDS: I never got that into the metal scene. I did dabble a bit though.
MATT: Man, that shit rules, straight motown jams, that dude is a ridiculous musician. It took me a while to warm up to it I like most of the extreme stuff death metal, black metal, some grind etc. That’s one of the reasons i like to do a couple of bands at once, so I am able to write music that isn’t centered around one genre.

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BDS: What else have you been working on?

MATT: Currently I am just doing Coptic Times and Streetcleaner. Streetcleaner has more of a heavy feel with some blasts. 3 of the members from Coptic Times are in Streetcleaner as well.

BDS: What has been going on in Austin these days other then huge music festivals?

MATT: Same old stuff man, a lot of hippies keeping it weird some pretty good shows.

BDS: Are there any new bands we should keep an ear open for?

MATT: Sacred Shock is a newer band from here, Alex who plays rhythm now in Iron Age does vocals and they are rad, they did a couple of tours this summer and their new 7″ is awesome. Not too many bands have been popping up recently, almost everyone in the area is in at least 2 bands so musicians around here stay busy. Reed (former drummer of Iron Age) has a band in San Antonio called FEED, and they are rad total Alice in Chains style riffage.

BDS: I think thats about to sum up the interview… any last words?

MATT: Shout outs to Party Man Panda, Human Mess, Sean Youngblood and his new kids on the block, Motorhead, Pig Champion RIP, James Brown live at the Apollo, and thanks for the interview dude!

Chris Colohan, Chapter One.

To give a bit of back story on the following, I had seen Chris around for a while now and despite never getting to see THE SWARM, I had the opportunity of seeing CURSED a number of times over the 7 years that they were a band. I was also witness to 2004’s LEFT FOR DEAD reunion.  Due to some recent circumstances, he and I started crossing paths in increased frequency a couple months ago and we got to talking. Initially, I had asked him about doing an interview for the website. However, after thinking about it, I realized there were two problems attached to doing so. One, the interview would have to be done in parts. Chris has been involved in the Southern Ontario punk music community for years and there’s no way we could cover that much ground in one sitting. And two, Chris has been a party to things that I’ve never even heard about. I decided the best way to go about this was to send Chris some really generic questions and give him the freedom to cover whatever he wanted. If you’ve listened to any of his numerous bands, you know the man is a wordsmith.

So without further ado, here’s chapter one (in what will be a somewhat recurring column).

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A long time ago (1989-91) in a galaxy far, far away (Hamilton Mountain – Fennel & Upper Sherman to be exact). I had to move high schools because the situation was fucked up and really violent at mine. In a Catholic high school on Hamilton Mountain, you had to “be” something or be part of a pack or you were fucked. I didn’t know what I was, or why there was a need to “be” anything. I somehow always gravitated towards the antisocial and troublemakers. I got drunk a lot with the few good friends I did have. A lot. Like, kicked out of History class in first period drunk.

I learned drums and fucked around with some friends, including one super destructo punk guy named Tim Scime who would write songs about Nancy Reagan’s one tit (“Nancy’s On Welfare”), and getting beat up by Preps (“Blood From My Head”). Now THERE’S a practice tape I wish I still had.

I had no older brothers or friends that were into punk or hardcore. I really just had to find out what I liked myself, by trying it. There were a few really good record stores in Hamilton, it was the tail end of records being in regular print as a standard format. One of them was called ZAP. I literally picked up the first bunch of things I saw that looked and sounded good to me, which were:

The Exploited (Live at the White House)
Crass (Penis Envy)
Black Flag (My War)
The Crucifucks (Wisconsin)
Minor Threat (Out of Step)
Dead Kennedys (Fresh Fruit)
& the 4Skins (A few 4Skins More).

If I could see now all the records that I DIDN’T buy, sitting on that wall for $5, I’d probably piss myself. They probably had 8 Nunfuckers 7″es and 15 copies of Tied Down in a box on the floor.

I had moved schools a lot and didn’t really know many people, but I was definitely on the bad side of the jocks, who had decided I was a punk, and the Skinheads (as in the bad kind), who had decided I was a punching bag. Jocks and white power Ginos would toss a quarter to decide which ones would chase my ass home through a field that day. It was the year they put a police station in my school because of a hallway assault with a meat cleaver. Brebeuf Represent! I changed to a public school (Hillpark). I hung out with the Freaks. And by that I mean, that was the actual name for the demographic. Punks and goths (10 years before Hot Topic, when kids loved Bauhaus, wore CAPES and got beat up), skateboarders (which in Hamilton in 1991 could actually get you beat up), stoners and random outsiders. It was a mixed bag.

One of my friends dated a guy named Zac, who is to this day one of my best friends. Zac was a vegan, straightedge hardcore kid and I was a punk that did pretty much all the shit those kids hated, but I was working towards getting away from it, I had alcoholism in my family and I was definitely looking for some such extreme to find its way to me. A lot of those guys were snobs about their scene, which was a real turnoff. Zac was like a brother to me from the start, we skated together and he was a solid guy, he would be my first roommate when I left home. His family situation was messed up and he more or less had to raise his two brothers himself, so he was probably my first GOOD impression of a SXE guy that had real life reasons for it. To this day, he’s one of my best friends, we live 5 minutes away from each other, and he’s still SXE. And then there was Christian, who was just always over the top – getting in shit, getting expelled, getting in fights, making white power dudes sit in icy puddles and eat their shoelaces, laying out grown men who were smacking their wives downtown – being a Robin Hood shit disturber. And Jon Kruithof, who’s still around and active, who was the first person to show me a lot of far left, political punk records. One Blood tapes and some other Toronto stuff from the time. We would jam punk songs (or Bela Lugosi’s Dead) in his basement. And I’d met Chris Logan, who lent me a pile of MRRs and 7″es, from Shelter to Citizen’s Arrest. And Curtis, Phil Fader, Jeff. The unifying thing that ran across all those scenes was skateboarding.

The first “show” I ever saw was actually kind of a Battle Of the Bands with a bunch of local high school bands. There was a bar on Upper James on the West Mountain in Hamilton called Willy Woggs. It was the Misunderstood, this kind of Mod band, and a really early Chokehold. It seems now like some epic battle because I was so young, but it was probably 20 guys, max, just tearing each other apart. It was crossover-era mosh. Violent. No ninja moves that you could possibly practice in your room, just lashing out in all directions. Like jumping into a wood chipper. I got thrown over a table and into a wall. I got my own blood all over my Clockwork Orange shirt. I decided I wanted to sing about 2 seconds after that.

Vogel Speaks…

This interview was conducted between myself and Terror frontman Scott Vogel on a patio bar on Queen Street in Toronto on August 29th, 2008 and the next day in Montreal, backstage at Foufounes Electriques. A man in no great need of an introduction, prior to Terror Scott sang in such monumental Buffalo hardcore bands as Slugfest, Despair and Buried Alive. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Scott tours full time with Terror, who have recently released The Damned, The Shamed on Century Media Records. We caught up with Scott on the Toronto and Montreal stops of Terror’s full North American tour with Death Before Dishonor and Trapped Under Ice.  Photos that say Zac Wolf by Zac Wolf, photos that say Canice Leung by her, all others by John McKaig.

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Hoibak: Alright, Toronto, Ontario. I’m here with Scott Vogel.

Vogel: Wait, this is just for a blog right?

Hoibak: Yeah, I’m gonna type it all up. Alright, I’m here with Scott Vogel, front man of Terror. Former member of Slugfest, Buried Alive, Despair and Cinderblock.

Vogel: …and Fadeaway and Against All Hope.

Hoibak: Scott Vogel, state your full name, date of birth, including the year, and your favourite hockey team. Go.

Vogel: Scott Christian Vogel. 4/5/73. Buffalo Sabres.

Hoibak: Alright Scott, often over looked in the list of bands you’ve been part of is Cinderblock. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Cinderblock, who was in it, what the story was behind it, what you did in the band.

Vogel: I would like to say that I can see that there’s going to be a lot of weird old questions in this interview, so, first of all my memory is horrible so some of this might not be correct… but I believe the band was started by the drummer of Slugfest at the time. I wasn’t in the original band, it was members of No Joke, Slugfest and Discontent. It was two singers and it kind of sounded like a heavier version of Quicksand. The one singer Tom from Discontent, I don’t know if he quit or got kicked out or what happened, but then it was Tim and me singing. I think the band played a total of 6 shows. And yeah, we recorded a demo and that was that. We broke up.

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Hoibak: Alright let’s talk a little bit about Buried Alive. Buried Alive ended rather abruptly. You were basically in the middle of tour and it was like “hey, next show’s our last show.” What was the story with the breakup? A lot of people have no idea what was going on there. The band broke up and all of a sudden you were living in Arizona. Did you quit? What was the deal there?

Vogel: Truth be told, I’d say about 6 months before I quit I was considering quitting. The band was changing musically and the rest of band basically told me to not talk about hardcore on stage anymore. We had a vote of three votes against me to my one to kick Scott Sprigg out of the band. He was the only person that was still into hardcore, so then I knew that things were going to be bad. I had considered quitting before that tour but we had asked Death Threat to do that tour with us and they had cancelled a European tour to do the tour so I did not want to fuck them over. I knew on that tour that that was going to be the last tour for us. I also, two years or maybe a year before that had met my girlfriend. She was living in Chicago, I was living in Buffalo and we had decided that when the band broke up we were going to move to California. So at the end of the tour I told the band that the Buffalo show was going to be the last show and I quit the band and moved with my girlfriend. We actually stayed with my friend Mark in Arizona who has a house there and saved up some money and then moved to Los Angeles. Originally it was going to be San Diego, than this whole Terror thing came up.

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Hoibak: The Last Rites recording came out after you guys broke up. I remember hearing stories that it was actually a pre-recording for a record. Is that true?

Vogel: That was actually the combination of two different demo sessions that were never supposed to be released. There were actually 4 songs recorded at Watchmen studios that I actually thought were pretty good. That was when the band was still at a good point. The other 4 were at a really bad point where I didn’t care, I knew they would never come out, so I didn’t really put any effort into the lyrics or the vocals. Victory had the demos, because that was our label at the time. Obviously you can tell by the layout and everything about it that they just took the shit and put it out just to make some money off of it. And I’m sure that it sold so many copies that they just got rich off of it… that was sarcasm.

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Hoibak: For quite a few years you were vegan. You were pretty outspoken about it on stage. Despair and Buried Alive both had songs about it. Death of Your Perfect World was dedicated to vegans and vegetarians. Obviously now, you’re not vegan. Why’d you decide to stop?

Vogel: I guess, I just stopped caring to be perfectly blunt with you. I used to be involved in stuff and I just stopped caring. I guess that no one in Terror, well that’s not true I guess Carl was, but the majority were not vegan and we were touring more than ever before. It was getting harder and I just stopped caring and that was that.

Hoibak: Buried Alive also used to talk about religion quite a bit, same with Despair. Obviously the story is infamous of when you played with Shelter and made fun of Krishna on stage. When you used to play with Disciple you always made a point to express your negative feelings on Christianity. You seem to have toned it down a bit with Terror. Has your opinion on religion changed?

Vogel: Not really, I mean, I guess I probably wouldn’t get up there and badmouth religion. I guess if something is helping somebody out than good but it can also hinder people as well. Whatever helps people get by in this fucked up world I’m all for.

Hoibak: When Terror first formed, the big rumour going around was that you were going to leave Phoenix and move to California to start a band with John LaCroix and Todd Jones. It was going to be this super band made up for members of Carry On, Buried Alive and Ten Yard Fight. What exactly happened with that? Why did John not end up being part of the equation when it all came together?

Vogel: Well, I kind of knew him, I didn’t know Todd or Nick at all. Actually, Larry Ransom, you know him?

Hoibak: Larry Envy?

Vogel: Yes. He had given me a cassette with Carry On on one side and No Warning on the other and it had kinda got me psyched to maybe do a band. Than John called me up and was like “have you ever heard of this band Carry On? The drummer and guitarist want to start a band with me, do you want to sing?” I said I was interested, I’d check it out. I drove out there twice to check it out and he didn’t show up either time so that was kind of the end of him. He was definitely responsible for getting the band together, but he didn’t show up.

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Hoibak: You guys have done quite a lot of touring in places people don’t ordinarily visit. What are some of the most interesting places you’ve been and what are the most interesting or weirdest things you’ve seen on tour in places like South America, Southeast Asia, or Russia?

Vogel: Russia was cool. Korea was really cool. I think in Venezuela we were told we were the first hardcore band ever to go there. Going all over South America was kind of cool. In Mexico City there was a kid with a car full of Terror shirts outside, selling our shirts bootlegged which is kind of funny. Nick just went up and grabbed as many as he could and said “we’re taking these.” That was kind of funny.

Hoibak: Terror has definitely had quite the rotating line up over the years. You’ve had a particularly high number of bass players especially. Let’s play a little name association game. I say the name, you say why they’re not in Terror anymore and what they’re doing now.

Vogel: Alright, let me first say that in a band that plays as much as we do I don’t think that we’ve had that many members. I mean, look at any other band. It’s impossible for 5 people to stay focussed and live in a van together… I get that question all the time, so people see it like that. But look at any band that’s put out 4 records and has toured the world 5 times.

Hoibak: Alright… Matt Smith

Vogel: Didn’t work, he wanted to wear Smiths shirts on stage, we weren’t into that. What is he doing now? I have no idea… not talking to me.

Hoibak: Rich Thurston

Vogel: Him and Todd didn’t get along. That was more of a Todd thing. It was kind of like him and Todd… one of them had to go and it was more Todd’s band than his. What’s he doing now? I heard he was a cage fighter or some shit like that.

Hoibak: Todd Jones

Vogel: He quit. Couldn’t handle touring I guess. He’s quite a character. I don’t think being around a couple hundred people a night and living in a van and staying in people’s houses was his cup of tea. He’s my friend, I talk to him once in a while. He’s doing shows, bands.

Hoibak: Carl Schwartz

Vogel: Carl Schwartz? What a great guy! He’s doing First Blood. I can’t believe he lasted in Terror for as long as he did. He’s weird and crazy but I think in a different way than everybody else in Terror is weird and crazy and I just think he got sick of being around all of the partying and stupidity and he’s doing First Blood.

Hoibak: How weird would you say Carl is? 500 or 2000?

Vogel: He’s fucking up there. He’s chart topping.

Hoibak: Mike Couls

Vogel: He was never actually in the band. He did one tour with the band on the basis that, you want to be in the band, we want you in the band, let’s see how it fits. Him and Doug were crazy and I straight up told him, dude, I’m trying to get my life together, not take it to the next level.

Hoibak: Jonathon Buske

Vogel: His head or heart wants to be in a band and tour, but the other doesn’t. I think when it comes down to it… the stress… his heart does, but his head tells him that it’s not the best thing for him. The second time he was in the band we were just butting heads and it just wasn’t working out. It’s not worth losing a friend over to be in a band with somebody.

Hoibak: Last, but definitely not least, Frankie Three-Guns

Vogel: He got an opportunity to be in Hatebreed and he took it.

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Hoibak: Roger that. Alright, from growing up in Buffalo, being part of the Buffalo hardcore scene, you’ve had a pretty intimate relationship with the Southern Ontario hardcore scene. Slugfest obviously played some of the classic shows at the House for Zac. Despair went on tour with Chokehold. Terror went on tour with No Warning. What’s your experience been over the years, how have you seen it evolve over the past two decades of going to shows here/playing shows here?

Vogel: I don’t fucking know. I like a lot of bands here, No Warning is the best hardcore band since Hatebreed. Nic and Fred are amazing. Yes, I used to drive to Hamilton probably twice a month. Great shows.

Hoibak: Top 5 Canadian Hardcore bands of all time. Go.

Vogel: No Warning, Comeback Kid, Final Word, A Death For Every Sin, Chokehold.

Hoibak: Occasionally, Terror shows have broken out in violence. Your set as Positive Numbers Fest a few years ago kind of speaks for itself as to what occasionally happens at Terror shows. What is your personal opinion on the escalation of violence in hardcore over the past decade and what stance has Terror taken on this?

Vogel: Well, myself I’m a very positive person. I think every Terror set is pretty positive. The band name maybe doesn’t come off so positive but lyrically and the things I say definitely are. I think that there was a rough patch in hardcore a few years ago. There was a lot of fights at shows. I think that Terror draws a wide range of people, from the most posi of posi to people that aren’t afraid to murder people… and when you put all those people in one room sometimes things happen. I definitely was bummed out at that show. We paid so much money to fly from Europe to get to that show because we wanted to play it and the last thing we wanted was to have people get beat the fuck up at that show. We wanted to have a great time. I have been happy on this tour, there’s been almost no fights. I think in the last two years there’s been very few fights at Terror shows and I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Terror getting into a fight at a show. What have we done? We had some talks with some people and said to some of our friends that they were ruining our band. We are trying to make a living off of this, we are trying to spread hardcore and we would appreciate it if you didn’t fight at our shows and that was that.

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Hoibak: A few years ago, I believe September 2003 at the Bo De Doyen Vegetarian Restaurant downtown Toronto. I had asked you who your favourite hardcore band was and your answer was Madball. When I asked why you chose Madball, you said because Madball has put out a number of excellent records and have consistently put out good records over the years. Most hardcore bands put out a couple of good records, one or two, and then usually either breakup, wash up, or attempt to sell out. How does it feel knowing that Terror has put out three very good full lengths, a very good 10” and two pretty good 7”s.

Vogel: Well thank you for the kind words Erik. And thank you for somehow twisting things and comparing us to Madball. Like I said with Buried Alive, when the shit got fake I quit. If Terror was getting fake I would quit. Our new record I think is our best record. And I know a lot of people really like the first record, and I’m like that with a lot of stuff. If someone said the new record wasn’t their favourite I would understand that. I think through the line up changes and all the shit we’ve been through… of course we grew a little bit, the new record has some different elements… if Nick would have written some of this shit for Lowest of the Low and showed it to me I would have said ‘are you fucking crazy?’ but now it just feels right, and if it didn’t feel right we wouldn’t have done it. I think our consistency is one of the things that keeps us going. Anything you do, whether it’s tour with 18 Visions, or go on Sounds of the Underground or sign to Trustkill, it’s going to have some positive and negative effects… but we’re not doing this band to be an elitist hardcore band, like ‘I’m Mr Hardcore and I’m better then everyone’. Every step we take, I think about when I first found this stuff. If I’d never found this stuff I don’t know who I’d be. I think there’s a lot of people out there using the word hardcore right now and they don’t even know what it means. If we can somehow get in their face and show them what it really is, that helps this little underground world that we live in.

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Hoibak: After Buried Alive broke up, you and your girlfriend moved down to Arizona where you spent about a year. After spending so much time touring and being involved in hardcore, what was it like for you psychologically to not be in a band.

Vogel: It was amazing. I didn’t plan on doing another band and it was great. I had never in my life worked a 9 to 5 job and I never have since. I was in Arizona I think for 9 months and I had a normal job. I was actually working for Sears telemarketing. I was making so much money and I ended up winning a cruise, a Caribbean cruise. It was awesome. But, one thing I noticed was, as soon as I was not in a band, and I couldn’t help people out, my phone stopped ringing. When people didn’t need anything from me, people didn’t really bother calling to see what was going on with me. So that was another wake up call, that you gotta see who your true friends are.

Hoibak: There’s quite a few good restaurants in Buffalo. There’s a big debate between people from out of town when they go to Buffalo. Having lived in Buffalo for so many years, how would you answer this question… What is the best restaurant? I’m going to give you three choices: Great Wall, Mighty Taco, and Pizza Plant.

Vogel: I’m going to go with Great Wall. I have never tasted tofu that tasted like that. I like all three of them though, and when I was vegan Pizza Plant was my favourite place to go in the world.

Hoibak: What is the sketchiest thing that has ever happened to you, you have ever seen, or you’ve ever done on tour?

Vogel: I don’t know man, I see shit every fucking day, it’s all stupid, I just want to move to the woods and throw my phone out, never see anybody ever again. Sketchy is not good, I’m 35 and I play in a hardcore band.

Hoibak: Trustkill Records re-released Lowest of the Low while Bridge 9 was still selling the thing. What was the story behind that?

Vogel: I don’t really know the logistics of it all. We were touring like crazy. I think that Bridge 9 is doing a great job now from what I can tell but at the time we were going everywhere and people were telling us that the record was out of press and stores weren’t getting it. We were out there doing everything we could to be a full time band and the label was just not providing us with the support we needed. When we signed to Trustkill we didn’t have a contract with Bridge 9 so we re-released it on a label that had proper distribution and would keep it in press. At the time it was the biggest selling record on Bridge 9 and they let it go out of press for a long time. Things like that can not happen, so we did what we had to do to make sure it was available.

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Hoibak: Best bands you’ve ever toured with.

Vogel: Madball, Hatebreed and Hot Water Music.

Hoibak: Scott Vogel I understand you have a story about the greatest baseball team that ever existed, the Montreal Expos.

Vogel: Expos… my sister… Kristen Vogel, now a lawyer in the city of Buffalo… 4 years older than me… in love with Gary Carter, catcher of the Expos… IN LOVE with him. So, she would always wear an Expos hat. I’m her younger brother, I am a pest. One day I steal her Expos hat off her head, run in the house, lock the door. And I put the sink on, I’m putting it under the water fakely. She PUNCHES through the window, opens the door, tackles me and starts choking me. I was like “I’m just joking!” That’s the story. Fuck your interview, leave me alone, that’s all I’m saying, that’s it, no more questions, just leave me alone.

Hoibak: Alright, last words.

Vogel: Madball, Warzone. Out of my face.

“What The Fuck Is Bridge 9?”

By Gordon Ball

Last week Scotty Wade asked me if I could write up a little thing about growing up in Southern Ontario and photographing bands in the 90s. Fuck, it was such a long time ago, so I am going to try my best here. I think the best way to go about this is to interview myself.

Me: Hey, hows it going brother, good to meet you. Been a fan of your work for a long long time.

Gordon Ball Photos: Thanks brother, fuckin ah!

Me: I am going to skip all the how old are you, where you from, whats your fav colour shit, and move onto the real shit, the stuff everyone wants to know. cool?

Gordon Ball Photos: Ya Man shoot away.

Me: How many girls have to slept with?

Gordon Ball Photos: 54

Me: What bands did you play in, if any?

Gordon Ball Photos: Shit, uh:

Evil Cheese 1995
Enter The Dragon 1995
Confine 96-99
78 Days for 24 hours
Poison the Well for 24 hours
The Fullblast 00-02
The Separation Suicide 02-04

Me: Ok, never heard of any of those bands. Here’s a better question, what was is like growing up in the 90s in the middle of the 905 / southern ontario scene?

Gordon Ball Photos: It was fucking awesome. I think there’s a lot of credit to be given to the bands like Chokehold, Grade, New Day Rising & Shotmaker. I don’t think a lot of the American bands would have given a shit about coming into Canada if we didn’t have those bands. And since Buffalo was only an hour away or so, Despair would be up playing all the time, or we would drive down there, see a show and get some Mighty Taco. But ya, the 905 scene was a goldmine. Who would have known that a little suburb outside of Toronto would have such an amazing scene. It was hard getting records and shit, HMV and all that shit DIDN’T carry anything. So we would either order shit from Very Distro, drive to Home of the Hits in Buffalo, or order shit from Victory (but usually they wouldn’t send you anything and they would say the money order was probably stolen by a black or Mexican person in the area, then we would check the money order and Tony would have cashed the money order months ago). But ya, the 905 scene wasnt like Syracuse or NYC, or Cali where there were certain scenes. We were all influenced by Rev, Victory, Initial, Ebullition, New Age, Three One G, everything. So we would have mosh bands, crust, emo, San Diego screamo, youth crew, all over the place…. and they all would play the same show for like 5$ or something. Shows would be like 5 – 7 bands, who would all sound totally different, but we all had the same interests: the 905 hardcore scene.

Me: So where did it all start: “the photo life of Gordon Ball” ?

Gordon Ball Photos: Hmm, good question. It was like the big bang or some shit. I grew up knowing about cameras because my dad was a photographer for CP, he had always been really influential about music and art and stuff. But the hardcore shit, well that’s a pretty rad story. I have skateboarded for as long as i can remember, I have thrasher and transworld skate mags from the mid 80s. so I kinda knew about all that shit but never really cared. I was a metal head forever, then in the summer of grade 8 / 9, my buddy’s cousin lent me and my buddy rob this tape of NOFX and SLUGFEST. Then in grade 9 we had a “coffee house” at school one night, and our friends older brothers were in this band called Sun Still Burns (who featured Matt Jones from Grade). And after watching Sun Still Burns play I was fuckin hooked.

Me: Ya man Sun Still Burns was fucking amazing.

Gordon Ball Photos: No shit.

Me: So how did the photography and hardcore fuse?

Gordon Ball Photos: Like I said, I knew about taking pics and shit, so I started shooting the bands, thats pretty much it.

Me: Who was the best band to shoot?

Gordon Ball Photos: Grade during the 96 / 97 era. There was something about them that was so magical. It was always an experience watching their live set. Hmm, who else. Spread The Disease was great to shoot. Left for Dead was awesome to shoot. Converge was really good to shoot then, cuz they would play for like 30 people and lose their fuckin minds. Actually, all the shows back then were so small, it was nuts. If there was more then 100 people you would be so weirded out.

Me: Whats you favourite sound?

Gordon Ball Photos: Woah thats deep. Let me give it a try- Shot glasses hitting a table. Keiths opening riff off of exile on main street. Opening the door to my place and hearing my dog bark. Skateboards on the street.

Me: Why did you lose interest in shooting bands?

Gordon Ball Photos: Nah, I still do now and again. I kinda grew outta the hardcore scene around 99. I still kinda played in bands after that but i never really listened to the music anymore. My tastes were changing and shooting bands move onto other things like fashion and lifestyle, etc.

Me: Not staying young till you die?

Gordon Ball Photos: Haha, good point. Shit got weird in hardcore after Bush got into office. I think the scene really shifted from the far left to the right. I look at bands like Underoath, actually any fucking cross licking band who plays a hardcore show, and I just bummed that all the shit we were signing about in the 90s didn’t mean shit. No one says anything about this, and its a huge bummer. Its like its cool to be hardcore and be into god, and really its an oxymoron to me. Call me narrow minded or whatever, but get outta here ya know? One of the main reasons why i got into hardcore was becasue of the politics behind it.

Me: So you are blaming losing interest in the scene because of christian hardcore?

Gordon Ball Photos: Ya, pretty much. I don’t want to be associated with it anymore. Its not the same as it was.

Me: But didn’t shooting bands help you get you where you are today? Like, since the punk and hardcore shit got mainstream, didn’t all the culture get dragged along with it?

Gordon Ball Photos: Ya that’s true. I cant argue that. The underground gets a lot of cred for being underground, and when the fat cats get their hands on it, they really take a hold of it. I went from shooting bands in basements to photographing shit for Nike. I am a bar code.

Me: You a corporate sheep?

Gordon Ball Photos: Baaaaaa.

Me: ok ok, back to photography. Is that all you have ever done?

Gordon Ball Photos: Ya pretty much. As long as I can remember.

Me: Anything you want to add to this?

Gordon Ball Photos: Ya actually I do. Hardcore is about friendship. All the bands I grew up shooting were good friends, and I pretty much still talk to everyone. Bands come thru Montreal and they still look me up for a place to crash or just for a plain old hang out. I met some of my best friends from traveling and playing shows, touring, and shooting bands. I am lucky that I found out about the core.

Check out more of Gordon Ball’s Photography at his website www.gordonballphotos.com

ARAM SPEAKS…

This interview with Aram Arslanian of Champion/Betrayed/React Records is no longer available on the internet.  If you want a copy feel free to interview ej_hoibak at laurentian dot ca