Interview originally published in Crucial Times fanzine, issue 2. Pic by Mary B.
Originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 2 (2014).
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.
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.
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.
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!
Straight Ahead pic by Bri Hurley
Demo tapes that will be turning 15 this year. Part II.
Review originally published in Look Beyond fanzine.
Artwork by Kenneth Fontaine
Uppercut review originally published in Open Your Eyes fanzine.
Letter from Blackout Records to Uppercut
Picture by Ken Salerno
I started working on the 1st issue of Chiller Than Most fanzine in July 2013, and did my first CTM interview ever with Unified Right shortly after. They were probably the most influential band for me in the last 5 years, these guys made a huge impact on me and their lyrics made me a better person. “Dedicated to those who hate I offer you love because I see all your pain.” Unified Right 2013-2019
This interview originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 1 (2013). Pics by Kiabad Meza, Dan Rawe, Casey Wisenbaker, David Burns, Angela Owens.
CTM – How was Unified Right born? What was the inspiration for the band, who is in it, and what are the goals? What was your motivation to start this band?
Branden: It started in April of last year when Oliver and me really got serious about starting a band but it didn’t actually happen until we got together with Corey after his band Slow Burn played their last show and we just hit it off. We wrote a 3 song demo under the name Payback in November of last year. We played a few shows and eventually decided we could write better songs. So we did and changed the name to Unified Right which we felt fit the tone of the band a lot better. We were just inspired to write unity jams in a style that we all get down with. The band is Oliver on guitar, Zulu Shane on bass, Corey on drums and me Branden on mic. We just wanna play as much as possible and write new songs when we can. Our main goal and ultimately our motivation is to just be a fresh presence in our scene.
CTM – Who came up with the name of the band and does it have a special meaning?
Oliver: I’d like to start off by acknowledging the fact that a lot of people like to joke about our name. A lot of white power references seem to get thrown around and what our name actually means could not be any farther from that. Branden and I came up with the name in a Little Ceasars parking lot. We’d previously played under the name Payback and didn’t really feel like it was a representation of who we are as people and what our band is all about. The name Unified Right is very significant to all of us. If your ideas, outlook, and image stray from the norm of the scene that you’re in, it shouldn’t dictate whether or not you’re accepted. Anybody that has a good heart and a true desire to get into this shit has the right to feel unified. The unified right.
CTM – When was your first show and how was it like?
Branden: Our first show was a disaster. We forgot alot of equipment, Oliver had to barrow a pic. We blasted through 4 songs in 2.5 minutes and no one seemed to be feeling it. Overall pretty good.
CTM – Your demo was released on tape format. Five awesome songs in 4.5 minutes. Solid ground. What are your influences?
Branden: We didn’t write songs with any sound or band in mind, we just wrote some shit that we felt was sick. Some bands that influence us in everything we do not just music would be Rest In Pieces, Straight Ahead, Madball (7″), AF, and NY Wolfpack.
CTM – Are you satisfied with the results and how have been the reactions so far?
Branden: The last few shows we’ve played have been killer. Lots of friends and good mosh.
CTM – What are your future plans?
Branden: We got a song coming out on a comp and we’re planning on crapping out another tape in the next few months and maybe a live tape. Just keep playin to the people.
CTM – What is the lyrical content of Unified Right?
Oliver: Unity, individuality, a feeling of dissatisfaction in your immediate surroundings, and being honest with yourself are all things we’ve hit on. I think some may say that the topics we like to talk about have been “played out” but I believe they are as relevant as ever. Branden writes the majority of the lyrics but we all have an input on them and we just write what feels natural. Nothing is forced.
CTM – Digital music is something you have, but a demo tape or record is something you own. Do we still need demo tapes and records in the digital age? What do you thinkabout it?
Branden: The internet is sick. I love that i can listen to basically any band i want whenever i want, but actually owning it is another level of cool.
Oliver: Demo tapes are the life’s blood of the hardcore scene.
CTM – Powerhouse was the first youth crew hardcore band in South Florida. They published a demo tape in 1989 and a seven inch on New Age Records. “Use your brain” is awesome, please cover this song!
Oliver: New Age Records #03 brah! I think Powerhouse rules. My fingers are crossed that I’ll get to see ’em this saturday but it’s looking like my work schedule is gonna fuck that up.
CTM – I saw a hardcore band in my environment where members liked different type of music. They were thinking differently about music and they were not able to progress. Do you think it’s important for a band of individuals to all have the same beliefs and ideas?
Oliver: I believe that differing ideas and beliefs are what really spices up life and I guess it can both help and hurt a band. But really it’s all about being an individual so diversity is cool. I think it’s cool for the band members do be into their own sorta shit but I’ll tell ya I don’t like hearing genre confusion. I like a unified sound.
CTM – What’s your definition of “Hard” in hardcore? What makes a band a hardcore band in your opinion?
Oliver: Ultimately… No Rules. You dictate yourself within hardcore. There’s a lot of room for self expression and if you’re aware of that opportunity then you’re hard as shit.
CTM – How do you feel about all the reunion shows that keep happening, most recently Judge?
Oliver: Sometimes reunions can be a total bust or just kinda whack but I watched the footage from the Judge set and it looked sick as hell. I personally think a band like Altercation reuniting is fuckin wild and cool. Breakdown still sounds awesome. I don’t feel too strongly either way honestly.
CTM – What’s something about hardcore that you hope always stays the same and what’s something about hardcore that you would change?
Oliver: Hardcore is what you make it and I wouldn’t wanna change a damn thing about the way I’ve made it. That’ll always stay the same. I guess just some of the incenseritu and trend hopping that goes on. That’s pretty dumb but at the same time pretty inevitable. Just stick to the shit that gets you pumped.
CTM – TOP 5 charismatic frontmans (2008-2013):
Oliver- Branden Stepp: Stompin, hair flowin, skankin about, obviously feels the music within his soul and has my favorite on-stage banter. A real privilege to share the stage with him.
Zizzack: Jumpin around, moshin about, really delivering to the people and always wearing crucial joints.
Crucial John: Groovin hard. I love Give more and more every time I get to see them.
Jeff Perlin: He may no longer be wearing a Murphys Law belly shirt but the boy’s still got it. I saw the 87′ demo lineup live in 2012 TWICEthat’s wild.
Josh P: He fronts the best band of the 00’s.
CTM – TOP 5 demo tapes (2008-2013):
Oliver: Gonna try to stick with more recent releases to maintain relevancy…
Free Spirit Demo: Refreshing. So ill sounding. That hot air balloon diagram is such an awesome looking cover. Truly an eye opening couple of tracks to a lot of younger kids (including myself).
Intent “No Rules” Demo: The sickest shit I’d heard in a minute. Rough, raw, and real. Still can’t stop listening.
WW4 8 Song Demo: Absolutely fucking deadly and who the fuck on earth doesn’t wanna see Mark Porter writing new jams?
Big Contest Demo: Insightful and dark. A real sense of urgency. Straight to the point tracks each one being a mosher’s delight. Their first gig is tonight excited to hear about it. Gil is a great frontman.
No Tolerance Demo ’08: Scary fuckin straight edge tracks. The shit I like to hear. This demo will the stand the test of time.
CTM – I mean the beach is definitely at the top of cool things in Florida. What are the coolest things to do in the Florida area?
Oliver: The number one beach in the US is in our hometown. Yeah the beach is pretty cool. Swim around, get tan, look at hot girls, play frisbee. Bridge jumping is pretty sick here. We got this cool spot called Short Stop that’s good to get snacks at. We just try to practice and get food, hit a show whenever there is one. Unified Right is big into swimming in all sorts of bodies of water.
CTM – Thanks for your time guys. Any last words?
Olver: Naw. Peace.
Reaction fanzine (to order: firstname.lastname@example.org) was established in 2006 by a group of hardcore fans. In the following 4 years we released 5 issues in Hungarian language for the local underground. Started with an A5 size 72 pages Xeroxed first issue that sold over 300 copies, Reaction continued with professionally printed and very thick fanzines. (#2: 150 pages, A5 size; #3: 120 pages, A5 size; #4: 32 pages, A4+ size) In 2009 after releasing a 5th issue Reaction fanzine went on a hiatus.
In 2015 a friend asked me to do an interview together. This wonderful opportunity made me think about bringing Reaction fanzine back. The interview was too long for the online media he works for, so I had their blessing to release in its entirety in a printed fanzine. The fanzine had a great welcome and within 6 month Reaction have put out two more issues. #7 turned out very thick again on 56 A4 pages. After a Hungarian release an English version followed. Winter saw the birth of a special “Farewell to Bane” issue in both Hungarian and English language with a total of 500 printed copies. At the moment we have only a few copies left.
Issue 8 and 9 came out in 2016 on 56 A4 pages and both had Hungarian and English versions. Our tenth issue was released in the summer of 2017 on 52 A4 pages, available in English and Hungarian languages. Due to family reasons we had to slow down after this successful run.
For issue 11 we’ve been collecting contents for almost two years and it came out in April 2019 in Hungarian. English version’s release date is 25.06.2019. Cover artwork was drawn by Melinda Haraszti-Kovács.
Chris Colohan – Chris did vocals for bands like Cursed, Left For Dead, Ruination and Burning Love to mention the more important ones only. Now he’s screaming in Sect. We asked him about all of them and a bunch of other things.
Demoscene – We’d like to introduce you to a new Hungarian band with this interview.
Gear – Another new band out of Budapest. Please check them out!
Hanoi – Hanoi have been around for a decade now and it was absolutely about time to talk to these Hungarian guys.
Higher Power – The singer of this English band, Jimmy Wizard, talked to us about their record called Soul Structure and Harry Potter.
Michelle Olaya – Our series of introducing photographers continues. Michelle is a big name in the game.
Night Birds – We got this previously unreleased interview, done in 2016, from xViktorx, who’s the biggest fan of New Jersey punk-hardcore.
Protein – They are our favourite among the newer Polish groups. We had a little chat about good and bad nutrition and protein input.
Ponor / Sentence – Joint interview about music, message and the Balkans with two of the most active bands of the Croatian scene.
Satelles – This Budapest based outfit was featured in issue 9 already, but in 2018 they put out an awesome full length that we hope you’ll check out.
Time To Heal – Email interview with the Swedish youth crew band about more than music.
Woodwork – We did this interview with the French, political, 90s inspired hardcore band in the summer of 2017.