Sid was the original singer of Bad Brains before HR, and the guy who turned them onto punk music. He wrote the legendary song called “The Regulator”, without him Bad Brains would not sound at all the way we know and love.
The band came together about 1977. The members of the Bad Brains first met each other at Central High School in the lower-income DC suburb of Capitol Heights, Maryland, where Earl and Dr. Know were in the same art and science classes. They were initially influenced by jazz-fusion and were originally called Mind Power. They had been bouncing around playing music since 1977 and doing backyard and basement parties at the house that they lived in on Bay Way in Maryland. But that all changed the day a friend of Darryl Jenifer’s paid a visit: “Sid McCray came over my house. He had safety pins and stuff all over him, and he had records – Ramones, Dead Boys, Generation X – I found to be kind of interesting. The cats couldn’t really play, but they had something to say.” Soon afterwards, Mind Power dropped the fusion and replaced it with punk, and changed their name to Bad Brains. Bad Brains immersed themselves in punk music and culture. In 1979, the Bad Brains did their first New York show at CBGB’s.
The Shining Life guys have started uploading some videos to their YouTube channel. Encouraged by this, I looked up some old In-Effect, Open Your Eyes, Not For The Weak reviews. Pictures by BJ Papas, Shining Life, Brian Boog.
Interview with Michael Scondotto. Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4.
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.
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.
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!