WNYU’s Crucial Chaos / Chris Wynne

Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4.
Chris Wynne runs the In Effect Hardcore website which grew out of his old fanzine called In Effect. The fanzine started in 1988 and although was not a continuous effort ran from 1988 to 1999 and had 12 issues total.

What are your memories of this classic radio program?

Chris: My memories of this show come in two waves. When I first found out about Crucial Chaos it was hosted by Spermacide. Johnny Stiff was up there too but Spermacide’s voice is what I and probably most other guys remember from that era of the show. They helped me find so many new bands as well as out of state hardcore bands and punk bands that I probably would never have heard of. The show would come on at 9pm and from 10pm till 1030pm they would almost always have a live band play before the show ended at 1030pm. I was a total fan boy and would sit there at home listening for the first hour and then have a blank cassette tape ready to record whatever band it was that would come on to play live on the air at 10pm. The second wave for me was a more in person experience as going to the WNYU studio in Manhattan at the time was something me and a bunch of my friends liked to do. This era was hosted by Rachel Rosen (who would later go on to play in Indecision) and Dave. I don’t know Dave’s last name but they all called him Kentucky Dave. I assume it was because he had a raggedy type of beard and not that he was actually from Kentucky but what do I know? Glen from Billy Club Sandwich and No Redeeming Social Value was a big part of this era as well doing the soundboard. A great dude who I am glad to say is still a big part of the scene in NY.

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Chris Wynne (left) and Grandpa Nick, Fit Of Anger (right) late 1980’s in the subway going to a show.

So when we started going to the studio at WNYU it wasn’t like we had a problem getting in. The studio was in a big building and part of a college so they had a security guard at the front door and at first you would just walk in and get in the elevator and go up to whatever floor the show was on. Once you were in that elevator you were good because you could be going to any floor of this big building. As time went on I guess they thought there were too many kids who didn’t go to this college coming in on their property so they started telling us to show ID that we went to school there. It became almost comical on how we would get in to the studio. Some people would distract the guard while some snuck in and if memory serves me right on at least a few occasions I would not wear like camouflage pants or an exposed band shirt to try and look more like a student. I don’t think there was ever a time where I didn’t get in but it was challenging at times.
There was this one time when Fit Of Anger played on the air. The live sets were always from 10pm till 1030pm and around 1020pm or later the people from the next show would come in and start setting up. At the time Fit Of Anger played there was a hip-hop show that followed Crucial Chaos and on this particular night this group called Royal Flush caught the tail end of Fit Of Anger’s set and when they were coming out of the studio it was pretty cool and also funny to see Royal Flush sweat Fit Of Anger saying “that’s the dope shit right there son” and things along those lines. I remember them saying the word DOPE a bunch of times. They only caught maybe 10 minutes of their set but they were really excited and everyone took pictures afterwards. The two bands never connected again after that though.

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Favorite Crucial Chaos sets:

Chris: Supertouch doing it live on WNYU… Saint Patricks Day… Climbing Aboard! I think this was March 17th, 1988. A lot of people loved Supertouch but to me their recordings were average at best. With this set they came out playing with such intensity. The drumming on this was incredible. You could just feel the energy during their instrumental intro coming through the speakers and to this day if that intro comes on shuffle on my i-Pod I start punching things. I do believe that on this same set that they handed off their instruments to Murphy’s Law who played for about 10 minutes before the show went off the air. They were very strict with the 1030pm end time as there was another show on right after them. For years I went without having this set and would ask a lot of people if they had it and luckily I found it a few years back.

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Brian Jordan aka Gordo (Impact fanzine, Double Cross webzine) interview originally published in I Drink Milk fanzine, issue 3.

Impact fanzine –

Gordo: “The idea for the fanzine came up in spring 2002. Pete and I went off to college in 2000, and I ducked out of hardcore for a minute while Pete got more into it than he ever had been. Around 2002 we said it would be cool/fun to put the online stuff we did into print. The more I thought about it, I felt that that there wasn’t a real definitive zine for the “97 era” of hardcore that people talk about and that the Impact Online site covered. Maybe there didn’t need to be a definitive zine, but it was a fun project and if nothing else it gave Pete and me something to do when we were home from school for that summer.

Looking back, a lot of what I wrote in the first issue makes me cringe. It’s very overdramatic and almost emotional as well as overzealous about certain things and even just about the importance of hardcore to me. But it was a weird time in my life, as I had definitely gotten away from straight edge and hardcore for a bit, and came back to realize it still meant the world to me. I guess those realizations came out a little heavy-handed when I wish they were more understated.

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The first issue was my first ever attempt at a true print fanzine, and that thing was put together so quickly in such a frantic rush that I didn’t have time to really formulate a process a have a goal to accomplish, and I don’t think Pete did either. It was definitely more difficult than we imagined. The original idea was to do it totally cut and paste. We went to my Dad’s office and broke out scissors, glue sticks, and used the copy machine. After an hour, we had absolute garbage. We left defeated and realized it would be made on a Mac.

But the basic idea for issue #1 was take all the decent content we had, put it in a good looking classic layout, and get it printed within one month so we could sell it at Posi Numbers 2002. I just wanted it to look good and come out on time, which it barely did. Printing that thing was a major headache. We found a local place who gave a great quote for an actual PRINT job that was super pro – semi-glossy cover, bound, etc. We were psyched. We finished it early to ensure adequate time for them to print. In a nutshell, we realized this place was full of shit, and the end result was a photocopied, stapled zine, and they didn’t even get all the copies done on time. They cut us a deal on the price, but not after I threatened to take them to the cleaners (yeah, I’m tough). This place is somehow still in business, and when I am in town and drive by I still consider throwing a rock through the fuckin’ window.

When I look at issue 1 now, I really don’t like a lot of the layout and “feel” of the zine at all, and it is no fault of Pete’s as the designer – we were just rookies working on a tight time frame and putting out a pretty big zine…there is a lot of content in that fucker. It was a reality check as far as understanding how difficult doing layouts can be. I had great zine designs in my head, and I am sure Pete did as well, but actually creating them while under the gun with time proved to be very troubling.

With the second issue, I really wanted to try to do something that had the attitude of Schism with the look of Boiling Point number three, and this time I wanted the right look (as did Pete). We also worked on a tight time frame with that issue – in fact, that thing was totally done in early August 2002 after working on it for only about a month, but some major print problems again and a standard Livewire delay meant it didn’t actually drop until about January 2003. That issue I like – there are some glitches here and there and I don’t think the layouts on everything (nor the content) is perfect, but overall I will still look at it and dig it for the most part. I think The Anthrax piece is really good, just tons of sick material in those interviews. I thought that the Running Like Thieves record package was cool, even though that band was very poorly received, I really liked them. In fact, I tell ya what…I really don’t understand why that band had almost no fans. You had the major musicians from Supertouch, Andy and Biv – just sick players and song writers. Scott the bass player was great too and knew hardcore. And then Matt – I mean, yeah his voice changed a little and he didn’t do back flips on stage, but that dude is a FRONT MAN. I don’t know, I guess they were somewhere between rock and hardcore, but it bummed me out that people didn’t dig them. I saw them play some tiny shows where they just killed it.

But anyways, when the zine came out I heard nothing but positives, so I guess it went over better than the first issue. Overall, I just wanted to give some of the classic zines a nod, throw out my two cents on some things, and document some bands that I thought were worth documenting.”

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Artwork by Smitty

“Can’t Get Away From The Past” / “New Steps Down An Old Road”

Gordo: “I liked the idea of each issue having a theme. The first one, “Can’t Get Away From The Past” was basically just about how we were doing a zine in 2002 that was basically all about stuff from 1996-1998. That time period was when I absolutely lived and breathed hardcore 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am not kidding – I was into nothing else and did nothing else during that time. I mean, I still love hardcore today and a lot of my free time revolves around it on some level, but when I was 15 years old I cared about nothing else at all.

When I graduated high school and went off to college, I kinda thought maybe hardcore was “out of my system” in a way, like I maxed out on it. It turned out I really didn’t at all, so doing Impact was kind of me saying “you know, those bands from 5 years ago, all the shows I went to, records I bought, people I met…that shit is still awesome, how did I ever second guess it or think I would get away from it?” Like I said above though, that whole vibe just came out so heavy and over the top in the way I wrote certain things, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. Blame it on late nights and a lot of caffeine mixed with youthful enthusiasm.

“New Steps Down An Old Road” – I think Pete may have come up with this…that was in reference to the piece on The Anthrax. We were basically revisiting a time in hardcore and a physical location in hardcore that had been gone since 1990 by talking to/interviewing people involved with that club or even just saw shows there. I also thought that was a cool phrase, just something little to add in there.”