Jaguarz North End Jammin’

Originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 2 (2014).

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Owen Black: I’ve been asked to write something about the band and the era during which our North End Jammin’ rehearsal tape was recorded. This was a great time for Jaguarz. Our lineup had solidified with the addition of one of my favorite people, Rich Perusi, on drums. Jeff Pickett was our guitarist (from jump) and Steve St. Germain a/k/a Steb, singer of the Straight Edge powerhouse The First Step, was our bass player. By my count that is three lead singers in the band; Rich sang for The Dedication and Sex Positions before and after his career with Stop And Think — a choice draft pick for sure. We had a new practice space in Boston’s North End. Three members of the band were pursuing scholarship at the prestigious Boston University. We were playing out as often as possible. We were eating and living well.

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As far as being the most underrated Lockin’ Out band, I don’t know what to say. We adhered to an old school ethic. We didn’t have a website because Straight Ahead didn’t have a website. We bonded often over endless plates of chow in the Warren Towers cafeteria. We maintained a solid crew of moshers who supported us at shows. I’d shout them all out but they know who they are. It was the golden era of Lockin’ Out, and I have endless gratitude for everything that entails.

2004 was only our second year of existence, and we played our last show in 2005. Were we writing for a 12″ EP titled “What’s That Noise?”? Maybe. Did we have a bunch of new songs? Yes. My favorite ones were called “Bad Things,” “Better Days,” and “An Hour of Wolves.” The Wolves joint was going to make “Survival” sound like Crippled Youth jamming on Playskool instruments. A 12-minute dirge was planned for side B. Some of these songs used to exist on my hard drive in various stages of completion, but they’ve sadly been lost. A few years ago Steve hit me up and suggested we record them, but we never did. Oh well.

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This rehearsal, I believe, was in preparation for a jaunt down south to Virginia and back during our spring break and boy, how I wish it could have lasted forever. We had a new intro in our playbook, affectionately called “TNT” due to its explosive mosh demands, and partially due to its similarity to a certain AC/DC tune. AC/DC is a rock ‘n roll band, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but maybe look into their catalogue or peek behind the music. They’ve written a few riffs over the years, and suffered a tragic loss of their first lead singer, Bon Scott. We were also practicing a segment of a song by another rock band that exists outside of the hardcore realm, Smashing Pumpkins. They are from Chicago, the city where I was born, and also lost a band member, Jimmy Chamberlain, years ago. RIP to these influential musicians. But I don’t mean to get all heavy on you right now. “Cherub Rock” is a real vibey song and we jammed that intro straight into our hit “Survival” during our set on this tape. We never played a cover for more than a few shows, though, so I’m really glad this was captured because unless you were in that Brick, New Jersey D.A.V. hall on our spring break tour, the full effect of this jam would be attainable only at the end of, nay, beyond, a pipe dream tunnel that few of you would ever emerge healthily from. I’m not even sure I have. Let me just add that Get Real covered “Blind” by KoRn at this show so cheers to the ’90s.

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Close Call and Confusion / Live on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos

Interview with Michael Scondotto. Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4.

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CTM – What are your memories of this classic radio program?
Michael Scondotto – It was an extremely important component of the NYHC scene during its time. I had first learned about Crucial Chaos from the kids who got me into Hardcore in early 1988. The very first one I listened to was the Supertouch/Murphy’s Law set on St. Patricks Day in March of 1988. It was like being at a show, only all you could do was listen! It sounded like a big party when the live portion would kick in. It also gave bands from all over great exposure.

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Close Call / Confusion WNYU sessions:
Michael Scondotto – The Close Call one was in the spring of 1989, I was the bass player for both Close Call and Confusion. I remember it was really nice weather, so it may have been May. The radio show ran 90 minutes, but the bands got to play during the last 30 minutes. I remember that we practiced a lot in preparation for the set so we would be really tight, which we were for a band of 15 to 17 year old kids. It was a badge of honor for us, we were young and didn’t know a lot of people outside of our own Brooklyn crew, which I think worked against us a bit. We brought down a bunch of friends to watch and cheer for us. Close Call had one demo out at this point, and we were working on demo #2. I remember that Spermicide was cool to us, as was Johnny Stiff. With Confusion, we played in February of 1992, it was freezing out, that I do recall well. We had a ton of our friends with us and they were pretty loud and crazy. Spermicide was gone by this point and Johnny ran the show. He is a good guy, funny and one of a kind. Although the NYHC landscape changed from 89 to 92 considerably, the vibe at Crucial Chaos was still the same – a fun night of live Hardcore for the radio. Biggest difference between say a live club show and one for the radio is that for me personally, I played better and tighter for Crucial Chaos! You knew it would make the rounds back then.


Getting to play on Crucial Chaos back then was a kind of milestone for a Hardcore band.
It meant that there were people who wanted to check out your music, that you had some good word of mouth about your band. Close Call broke up before we really got to play a bunch of shows, we did about 4 plus the WNYU set! But Confusion went on to do more and play some great shows and record a 7″ that many seem to enjoy. I’m grateful and humbled that people care about those times. I stopped playing bass by 1995 and became a vocalist. I currently sing in two different Hardcore bands, Inhuman and The Last Stand.

CTM – What are your favorite Crucial Chaos sets?
Michael Scondotto – I think the Murphy’s Law/Supertouch one was amazing. The one from Uppercut as really cool too. Dmize have a great one out there as well. I also think that the Close Call and Confusion ones are killer, people need to seek those out.

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Straight Ahead memories

Straight Ahead memories by Dave Koenig and Lew Dimmick
(originally published in Look Beyond fanzine, issue 2)

The uncut interview conducted with Tommy Carroll (NYC Mayhem, Straight Ahead, YOT, Irate) for Rettman’s 2nd book “NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990” is now up at: www.sandpaperlullaby.wordpress.com. Check it out!

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Straight Ahead pic by Bri Hurley

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