Shipwrecked interview by Sweatpants fanzine

Shipwrecked interview originally published in Sweatpants fanzine, issue 2. (Click the picture for bigger size.)

“The new record, We Are The Sword is now finished.
Recorded and forged under four days in a snowy and cold Oslo.
To be released on PST Records in Europe and Foreign Legion Records in the US/Chicago.”

Shipwrecked – The Fires
https://soundcloud.com/shipwrecked-sounds/the-fires

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Fit Of Anger / WNYU’s Crucial Chaos

Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4. Photos by James Damion, Freddy Alva, Chris Wynne, Chris Benetos.

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My name is Todd Lung and I was the drummer for the band.
In order to give you the full radio show experience, I need to start from no place else but the beginning….. In 1988 Fit of Anger was comprised of a bunch of 16 and 17 year old kids. It was Nick on vocals, Al on guitar, Chris on bass, and me on drums. We were all living in College Point and would practice almost every day after school in my basement. Nick and I went to the same school (including Tom Daly the singer of Stand Proud). We had just put out our first demo. Our first show was a CB’s Sunday Matinee. If I remember correctly it was for Sheer Terror’s record release party. Every Thursday night I would listen to Crucial Chaos just to see if they would play our demo.

The station was great because they would play all the local hardcore and punk bands music, no matter the recording quality. 89.1 was hard for me to get on my radio, so even the best recordings at the time sounded gritty. One night the DJ had announced they were receiving a lot of requests for FOA. He followed it up by playing POW Bring Them Home. I’d like to add that Crucial Chaos was great because it got you ready for the weekend hardcore shows no matter where they were or who was playing. When I was told we were playing Crucial Chaos, besides how fucking cool that was, I thought how are we getting our shit there? It was one thing for our friends to borrow their parent’s cars on a Sunday afternoon, but to do it during the week at night? That night we waited on two friends to drive us. We loaded Gange’s Cordoba (Mike Gange who later became the executive producer for the Howard Stern Show) with my drums, guitars, and sent him on his way to the city. We waited for our other friend (who shall remain nameless) to pick us up and he never showed. My brother Andy had come home in his little Nissan Sentra. He agreed to take us to NYU. We all piled in his car which was so small that we had to roll the windows down in the back seat so Chris’ bass guitar would fit. I’ll never forget sitting in the back seat of my brother’s car, holding on to Chris’ bass with the windows rolled down, sticking out on both sides of the car. Andy dropped us off at the school on the sidewalk where all my drums and guitars met us on the sidewalk.

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Freddy Alva: Hanging out w/Fit Of Anger in College Point, Queens 1988.

 

We were met by an “Engineer” who guided the band, the equipment, and all our friends who showed up, to what I remember as this little room. It was like being an animal in a cage at the zoo. There was barely enough room for the band and the equipment, let alone all our friends who showed up. The engineers in the booth kept saying we couldn’t have all those people in there with us, but they stayed the entire set. Not sure of any flyers on the wall, as the whole process was rushed from when we arrived, set up and then went live. The quarters were so cramped that Chris kept hitting my cymbals with his bass. Our friends at least brought beer with them, which also was not allowed in the studio but we drank them anyway. Highlights of the experience now listening back are that both Nick and I married our high school sweethearts. You will hear Nick dedicating songs to Pepsi (her name is Pepita but we all called her Pepsi), as well as me yelling out “Yes Helen!” The words between Al and Nick saying “Especially Dave Moscatto (who later became Big Dave on MTV’s battle for Ozzfest, Ozzy’s kids nanny and now his tour manager)” and Nick says “Whatever!” Then Nick is asking for water for like 3 songs. “Someone get me some water!”… no one got him water. Ha, that’s how we were together all the time, if you acted like an asshole you got treated like an asshole.

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I knew we made our mark in hardcore when after we played our set. They invited us in the back of the studio to cut some promo I.D’s. “We are Fit of Anger and you are listening to Crucial Chaos on 89.1 WNYU”. Easier said then done. We did about 5 of them and I think they all sucked. I never did hear any of the promos we recorded played on the radio. The next morning I got up and went to school. I’ll never forget how I felt being tired and hung over in homeroom. The kid next to me (who I didn’t get along with, was part of the jocks, aka the “in crowd”), tells me he heard me on the radio last night, and says “You guys were great last night.” “Let me know when you play a show”. I so wanted him to come to CB’s that Sunday so he could get the shit kicked out of him. It was after playing the radio station that I was recognized by the “in crowd”. As I walked through the halls, guys would stop me to talk about the band. What Crucial Chaos did was bring the music into the radios of those that normally wouldn’t listen to that style of music. NYHC had shows, tapes, 7”’s and records, but no airplay. Crucial Chaos provided that format to which I will be forever grateful. When FOA recorded demos or played live, there was no difference. It’s not like we had the money back then to record individual tracks. We would all play and sing at the same time, so how you heard us playing on a recording is how you heard us live. Even when you hear us on New Breed’s Tape Compilation, you hear Nick start the song with “Just one more take?” All we did back then was play and record the songs over and over as a group and then pick the best one.

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Tom Pimlott (The Flex) interview by Chiller Than Most fanzine / Part I.

Tom Pimlott (The Flex) interview originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4. Pics by Patrick Orozco, Call Me Killer, Michelle Olaya, Natalie Wood.

Flexual Healing Volume I.
1. Shiftless (Scum On The Run) 2. Scum On The Run (Scum On The Run) 3. Take A Stand (YOT cover) 4. Open Up (DYS cover) 5. Kickback (Breakdown cover)

CTM – This was a cassette with rough demos of songs from your “Scum On The Run” 7 inch and a few covers thrown in for fun. Looking back, how do you feel about this tape? What memories does it bring to you?

Tom Pimlott: Lots of memories here, as this was shortly after I joined the band so this was the first act of Flex 2.0. We recorded the music live with just my little Zoom H2 handheld recorder in the middle of the room, and we just messed with levels until everything sounded about even. I was still living in Merseyside at this point, and I would come up to Leeds every Sunday for practice, then we would go to Lucky’s Pizza on the way home then buzz off all the dickheads on Take Me Out back at the Flex house. Good days.

CTM –  There has been a lineup change since the band first started. So how did you join to the Flexuals?

Tom Pimlott: I actually remember where I was when I got ‘the call’, I was in a service station on the way to Barcelona with No Tolerance. I’d already been putting the word in with Liam, cause I heard the demo and I was like “fuck this is sick I need to be in this band” haha so I told Liam if anyone drops out then to give me a shout. It turns out that their guitarist Rick was being flakey. The band actually started as a favour for this guy’s birthday, as he lived in the Flex house and had asked the others in the house if they’d start a band with him for his birthday party. Liam played drums at this point. But anyway, they had a show booked in Dublin and Liam lent Rick some money to get his passport sorted, and Rick spent it on burgers and weed. So they gave Rick the boot, Liam moved himself to guitar and put me behind the kit, and it’s stayed like that ever since. It’s been really cool cause Liam has always been the only riff writer, so he could stretch out a bit and mess with stuff that he might have had a bit of trouble with on drums. That original lineup was inimitable magic though, absolute freak occurrence. So sick.

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CTM – How did you start playing drums, and who were your biggest influences growing up? Who are your favourite hardcore drummers? Who left the biggest impact on your drum style and why?

Tom Pimlott: I started playing drums just before my 18th birthday, because my friends in school who were all Pink Floyd hippie prog rock guys, had this band called Flynn’s Piece that needed a drummer, so I started learning so I could join them. I’d never played any musical instrument before though, so tackling covers of ‘Comfortably Numb’ wasn’t really within my realm then and still isn’t, so they got a proper drummer. But me and my cousin had a band that covered Hendrix, The Clash, Oasis etc, that was fun but we sucked. I listened to hardcore through school but none of my mates did, so my early drumming influences had nothing to do with hardcore really. John Bonham was my first hero, Charlie Watts, Gene Krupa, Nick Mason, Phil Rudd etc. Matt Kelly from Dropkick Murphys was a big one too early on, because I used to sit in on drums or just a snare with my uncle’s Irish folk band Reckless Elbow, loved that marching snare style.
As for hardcore drummers, Jeff Nelson from Minor Threat, Chris Foley from SS Decontrol, Dave Brown from Negative FX, John Evicci from Out Cold and Mackie from Cro-Mags are big ones. I think friends of mine have had just as much influence on me though, often way before I even knew them haha. I’m huge fans of DFJ (Mental, RJs, Step Forward, Rival Mob, Boston Strangler etc), Tim D (Shitty Limits, Murder), Connor Donegan (Red Death), Robin Zeijlon (Protester, Stand Off, Pure Disgust etc), Ryan Abbott (Green Beret, Chain Rank).

CTM – The cover of the Volume I. cassette is really simple but very expressive. Art is one of the coolest forms of expression next to creating music. You express yourselves very clearly in your music and I mean you want to clearly define who you are with your art as well. How important is the aesthetic side of the band to you? How important is the layout, imagery and packaging for The Flex?

Tom Pimlott: I’m not much of an art guy but I really love the aesthetic we have with The Flex. Classic, simple, bold, strong colour scheme, somehow it’s memorable without being wacky. We have also never used any colour other than red, black and white except maybe on some friends editions of the demo and some shirts that erroneously got printed with navy blue ink in the US. Liam is the mastermind of most of the art shit, just like the riffs. He’s a genius.

CTM – The band did a DYS cover on this tape, you chose a song from the “Brotherhood” LP. Personally, what do you prefer more, SSD “Get it Away” or DYS “Brotherhood”? Both classic records were released in 1983. I often hear criticisms or perceptions that DYS always seemed a few months behind SSD. What do you think about this?05 The band did a DYS cover on this tape, you chose a song from the “Brotherhood” LP. Personally, what do you prefer more, SSD “Get it Away” or DYS “Brotherhood”? Both classic records were released in 1983. I often hear criticisms or perceptions that DYS always seemed a few months behind SSD. What do you think about this?

Tom Pimlott: A very tough decision for me, as I think those six X-Claim! records are all solid 10/10s. I’m gonna have to go with DYS though I think. SS Decontrol are definitely the more important band, and have some great lore and aesthetic about them, but ‘Brotherhood’ is such a perfect short sharp shock of greatness that it takes the prize here. Besides, in my opinion ‘The Kids Will Have Their Say’ is SS Decontrol’s masterpiece. I don’t think DYS were following SSD too hard, musically at least. DYS have more ‘pop’ sensibility, which is a weird thing to say about them but compared to SS Decontrol’s almost tuneless brutality it’s true.

CTM – The Flex is a hard-working band that loves what they do, and it shows on stage and on records/tapes. Over the last few years you published more than ten releases. It seems to me you are still enjoying the creative process and you are still full of new ideas, you always create new music. Jon Anastas said that Boston has always had flinty, old-school work ethic. It’s in their blood and they ran with it because whatever the Boston crew did, they were all in. Professionalism and precision. What’s The Flex’s work ethic like?

Tom Pimlott: I’m not sure professionalism or precision are good ways to describe us haha. Like you said we just love playing hardcore and I think that shows when we play. As for the creative process, basically Liam will sit in his room with his guitar and a pound of weed, then when he thinks he’s got enough riffs together we start to work them out together in the basement. Liam writes all the riffs, I help him out the parts and structures together and the others pitch in whenever they need to. Our writing definitely comes in bursts, but it’s always a pretty painless process. I’d say we have a good work ethic generally, as all of us are in at least two bands and are always working on new things, but not all of that work ethic goes into The Flex haha.

Flexual Healing Volume II. – In The Doghouse

1. Excess (The Demo) 2. The Flex (Scum On The Run) 3. Virtual Reality (The Demo) 4. Kickback (Breakdown cover) 5. No Justice (The Demo) 6. Like You (Scum On The Run) 7. Scum On The Run (Scum On The Run) 8. Repressed (Scum On The Run) 9. Take A Stand (YOT cover)

CTM – One of the things that made me love hardcore when I was first introduced to it was the power and intensity of the live gigs. I love how The Flex has so much energy on this tape. The funniest moment on this tape is that between songs, we can hear two moshers talk about how tired they are at this point in the day. What are your memories of this Mongrel Fest show?

Tom Pimlott: That Mongrel gig was amazing day. That was the first moment where we realised that we (as a larger group) had actually started to build something in the UK. Great turnout, moshing for every band, first sets from Arms Race and Guidance, and early good reactions for some other bands that are way more prominent now. My favourite part of the tape is that during that bass intro you can hear Jon from Repentance shout “fuckin’ hell!!” haha.

CTM –  What is the intro and outro on this tape? What is the sample at the beginning and outro on this tape?

Tom Pimlott: I’m not actually sure to be honest, but I’m willing to be it’s an Andy Jones find from some 70s or 80s UK documentary!

CTM – Breakdown. I’m currently working on an interview with the WNYU’s host DJ Spermicide. I really like their Crucial Chaos ’88 set, this is the radioset where they played their song called “We’ll Be Back”. This unreleased song is definitely the fastest of the early Breakdown tunes. What is your favourite Breakdown WNYU live set and why?

Tom Pimlott: Spermicide is sick! Make sure you ask her if she went on that date with Raybeez! As for Breakdown I actually really like the 1992 one with the Youth Of Today diss at the start. Also opening with ‘Breakdown’ is a sick move, one of my favourite and hardest Breakdown songs. I also love that they fuck up the last song so bad that they have to start it again and it never got edited out haha.

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CTM – Youth of Today. Personally, which version of “Take A Stand” do you like more? A shorter (Connecticut Fun compilation 1985) or a longer (Break Down the Walls 1986) version?

Tom Pimlott: Ah it’s gotta be the BDTW version, those comp songs are a little bit too loose for me, and I like me some loose chaotic hardcore haha. Plus the intro is fucking sick. The real question is which mix of BDTW do you prefer…personally it’s probably the OG Wishgwell mix, but I think the Rev ’97 comes very close. I don’t like the Rev ’88 mix that much, too much reverb on the drums and that guitar cut on ‘Thinking Straight’ sounds terrible.

CTM – It was early 1989 when Youth Of Today came to tour Europe. I know that there was some trouble on this tour: ongoing conflicts with Lethal Aggression, metalheads threw beer on stage while Youth Of Today were playing in Belgium, Zürich show was unreal where a dog was running around… They played some awesome cover songs on that tour (Minor Threat, Better Than You, Glue, Pushed Too Far, Malfunction etc.). What do you know about the British shows (London, Liverpool, Wigan…)? Do you know cool and interesting stories about these UK gigs?

Tom Pimlott: I have been told some stories by older guys but I can’t think of any off the top of my head. But I do know that pictures from those shows are in the back of the Schism book. In fact a lot of those pictures are from the UK, including the Slapshot ones where you can see future Vans skateboard pro and ex bandmate of mine Howard Cooke at age 11 right before he sang ‘No Time Left’ for them. Also in the same picture is my mate Clifford, of ‘bartender in the movie Haggard with the Jackass guys’ fame haha.

Flexual Healing Volume III. – T.H.E. F.L.E.X.

1. R.A.M.O.N.E.S A.K.A. T.H.E. F.L.E.X. (Motörhead cover) 2. The Herd (Wild Stabs In The Dark) 3. We Don’t Need You (Wild Stabs In The Dark) 4. Ain’t No Feeble Bastard (Discharge cover) 5. Waste My Time (Wild Stabs In The Dark)

CTM – Oi! and UK82 type bands seems to have a strong musical influence on the band, but this was probably the first release where we could really hear that influence. Do you agree with my opinion?

Tom Pimlott: To be honest it was never really our intention, I think it just shines through because of Liam’s writing style and the fact most of us love that stuff. This is probably my second favourite Flexual Healing, we were so excited about people hearing ‘The Herd’ on tape, we are really proud of that tune. I also remember re-writing the Motörhead lyrics on the bus at 6am on the way to work when I worked at a model train warehouse. A cool time.

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CTM – If The Flex could play a bill with British bands from the 70s, which bands would be on the bill and WHY? The Stranglers? Angelic Upstarts? The Lurkers?

Tom Pimlott: This is just my pick, I know the others would choose different shit haha.
The Undertones – I don’t wanna step into any political minefields here but I love them so much I’m gonna go with the technicality that they’re from a British ruled land. Probably my favourite 70s punk band outside of The Ramones. ‘Get Over You’ is one of the most perfect songs ever written.
Jook – not a super well known one, but I’ve no idea why. This band had the fuckin’ HITS. Just listen to ‘Watch Your Step’. Tough as nails street rock and roll straight from the pub.
Cock Sparrer – let’s not mess about, ‘Shock Troops’ is their greatest work, but the 70s stuff was incredible too. ‘Chip On Your Shoulder’ is a barnstormer. Hard to believe they’ve been a band longer than AC/DC.
The Jam – but I’d only want em to play material from ‘In The City’, absolutely amazing record. Not sure what happened after that.
Slaughter And The Dogs – because they were the toughest sounding band of the 70s. PUT A BOTTLE IN YOUR FACE!

Drug Dogs Zine: The Visual Guide

Last few copies discounted in the web store! http://drugdogszine.bigcartel.com/

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“Coffee table” fanzine full-to-bursting with exclusive drawings and the mutilated remnants of my metal, wrestling and hardcore magazine collection. Think of it like Dylan J. Chadwick’s visual vocabulary, a paper sampling of his cranial casserole, all monsters and geetars and big scary hairy heshers and the like. You want in. I know you do.

 

43 W 8th (New Breed Tape Compilation) / A hardcore-fanatic’s guide – Part VI.

Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 5. (Click the picture for bigger size.)

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The New Breed compilation came about as an extension of Freddy Alva’s fanzine, also called New Breed. His friend, Chaka Malik (Burn), agreed to collaborate on getting a bunch of the newer bands on the scene circa 1987-1989 and put them on a tape compilation. The compilation was released on Urban Style Records in 1989, a name that perfectly reflected the music and the environment in which it existed, because the bands of “the New Breed era” were more creative and expanded out of that earlier NYC formula. Freddy and Chaka asked all their friends that were in bands to give them songs to include. Work on it started in the summer of 1988 and it came out during the spring of 1989.

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Original photo

They did everything from dubbing the tapes, one by one, putting together and stapling the accompanying booklet. Chaka Malik did the layout for the Absolution and Collapse pages in the booklet, and the rest of the bands contributed their own layouts. Created in a cut-and-paste style and heavily influenced by graffiti art. (Freddy Alva’s debut book “Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore” is out now! The book is an adventure back to a time when subcultures and underground movements blended seamlessly and went largely unnoticed by the mainstream world.) The finished package was put inside a clear comic book bag and sold for 5 bucks. The New Breed compilation was limited to a pressing of 700 copies.

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#43 W 8th St

 

The tape is chock full of classic NYHC, featuring influential hardcore groups such as Breakdown, Raw Deal, Fit of Anger, Beyond, Abombanation, Pressure Release, Our Gang etc. Absolution was their first choice for inclusion. Chaka and Freddy paid for the recording of the legendary song called “Never Ending Game” at Don Fury’s studio. Outburst also released “The Hardway” on this cassette, personally this song is one of my all time favorites. For New Breed comp, they did a Don Fury version of “The Hardway” with AJ from Leeway doing the mixing, getting a crisper sound than they got on the demo (also recorded at Don Fury). It eventually became a crowd sing-a-long favorite at Outburst gigs, so they wanted to put it on “Where The Wild Things Are” compilation also. Freddy selected the CBGB live version of “Controlled” to be the third Outburst song on the compilation. That’s with Brian Donohue’s genius stage banter asking the crowd of CBGB to dance because he really likes this song. Biblical! I heard a funny story about the singer of Uppercut, Steve Uppercut had no idea they were on this compilation until 2006 when he saw it somewhere on the internet.

In the third issue of Chiller Than Most I asked Freddy Alva about the cover: “The picture of Chaka sitting on the steps on 8th St near the old Venus Records location is meant to be a homage to Minor Threat’s Lp cover. I took a side view of him, the better to show off the Crucifix patch Chaka had on his right shoulder as well as the Air Jordan sneakers he was sporting. That was basically the only idea we had, took a camera one day after shopping for records & went for it. It’s cool that a lot of people dig it, there’s also a tag on the door above by “Shoe”, that’s Rich from All For One & one of my best friends, so that was great that it turned out that way too. I always considered it as our urban tribute to an iconic HC image.”