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An in-depth analysis of the history of Token Entry

An in-depth analysis of the history of Token Entry, interview with Zachary Wuerthner (Shining Life, Moshers Delight, Intent, Mob Mentality) and Gil Sayfan (Zeel, Free Spirit, Big Contest, Drug Doin’ Music etc.), it was originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 2. Pics by Ken Salerno, BJ Papas, Krissy Bedell.

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This is definitely one of my favourite interviews I have ever done, it was really fun to do it. Gil and Zizzack took this picture specifically for the fanzine.

“With Jaybird, Token Entry are gonna break through from beneath the streets and give America a kick in the pants, whether its ready or not. Mark my words.” – Sold Out fanzine.

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For me and for most of my friends Token Entry will always remain one of the best hardcore bands ever. Even though they are unfortunately less well-known than YOT, BOLD or GB, I mean Token Entry is a really underrated band. A very few kids speak about this band and nobody plays Token Entry cover songs. What is the reason for this? What is your opinion about this?

GIL: A lot of the qualities that make Token Entry a legendary hc band are probably the same reasons that contribute to them getting the shaft when it comes to being remembered as a world class band. TE occupy the weird space of NYHC that is just as good if not better than the rest but harder to nail down: They weren’t on Rev, they weren’t straight edge, they weren’t on the later reality tip of Breakdown/Raw Deal, they kind of occupy their own weird space where bands like Absolution, Rest In Pieces and NY Hoods fall. Being harder to classify maybe makes them come up in the conversation less. Bands like Mental who exposed NYHC to modern listeners turned new kids onto Underdog and Supertouch in a big way, same for Outburst, but the way I see it TE hasn’t gotten that spotlight. As far as why covers are so seldom it’s mainly because the songs are played with such intricacy that most don’t even attempt.

ZACK: It’s really very hard to place Token Entry into a certain category or throw them into a bucket with a certain group of bands since they were such incredible musicians. Bands at the forefront of late 80s NYHC such as YOT, BOLD, and GB were not fundamentally proficient at their instruments, which is what made them so endearing. Their music was for the common man, extremely easy to play, with very relatable lyrics, and they were remembered for their live performances rather than how well they played on record. I think what separated TE from this ilk is that they were actually good musicians that incorporated so many different influences into their songs – ripping solos, perfect guitar/vocal harmonization, straight up rock parts layered with melodies, etc. Essentially, their song writing is a cut above the aforementioned bands, and perhaps this is why we don’t see very many TE covers these days.

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How was your first time meeting Token Entry?  Do you have a fave release from them or do you like all their records equally?

GIL: My two introductions to the band were the Kid Dynamite cover of “Birthday” that has Ernie on it, and a copy of Jaybird that Sam BBB had picked up from Rock ‘n Roll Heaven in Orlando, FL. Having heard that song and then unlocking the key with access to the album itself complete with the visual of the cover art, it was definitely a hard hitting find. Windows, Pink Things, Entities – the groove of these songs spoke to me and was the puzzle piece to hearing bands like Mental mentioned before and drawing that line from their sound to the classic NYHC groove. My favorite release is Jaybird and has been since then so it is love at first sight for sure.

ZACK: Much like Gil, my first exposure to TE was through KD’s cover of “Birthday”, which piqued my interest enough to check out the band’s records. The first record I bought by TE was “Jaybird” because it had an eagle wearing sunglasses riding a skateboard across the album cover – basically the illest shit ever. Being knee-deep in the skateboarding game at the time, this really was just something that I had to have. With songs about skating such as the title track and the grooviness of the break parts in “Windows” I was completely sold. This record is my favorite release and was my soundtrack for walking to school every morning for about 3 months straight when I was in 10th grade.

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Before he was in Raw Deal, Anthony Comunale was the original singer of Token Entry. What you can hear on the 7 inch are four tracks (Antidote, Psycho, Death Row, Forbidden Zone), all of which were later re-recorded, with Timmy Chunks on vocals for “From Beneath The Streets”. They have a three song demo session from 1986. It was recorded in San Francisco on Token Entry’s first American tour and they re-recorded these songs too. How do you compare the “Ready Or Not… Here We Come!!” 7 inch to the “From Beneath The Streets” LP?

GIL: I’ve always been partial to the FBTS versions of these 4 songs – mainly because they’re played faster and Timmy sings them in a more intense way. And on a more subconscious level, probably because I was introduced to the band through Timmy’s vocals so his voice to me is where the songs really come alive. On FBTS I think the songs are played in a more serious manner without losing any of the ambiance from the first takes. That’s not to take away from Ready or Not – “Antidote” on here is great, but the other 3 come to life on LP, they jump out at you more.

ZACK: I didn’t really get into the 7″ until quite some time after I heard their LPs. Before that, TE only existed in their first 2 full-length records for me, and that was the stuff that I had grown so accustomed to. Finding out that they had a release with a different singer that predated FBTS really blew my mind through the back of my skull. I love those versions of the songs, especially “Antidote” as Gil mentions, but I think their true power is realized through Timmy’s incredible vocal performance on the re-recordings.

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Anthony Comunale or Timmy Chunks?

ZACK: Anthony Comunale’s best vocal performance lies not in TE, but rather Raw Deal. The essential TE vocalist is certainly Timmy Chunks. He has a complete sense of dominance in his vocal delivery over every song almost to the point where you could focus completely on him rather than the music and still be satisfied. On almost every song his vocals interplay with the rhythm of the guitar in perfect harmony. It always amazed me at how well you could make out every single word he sings, and I attribute that to how loud and powerful his vocals are over the music.

GIL: TE Comunale and his on-stage mosh moves where he’s actually dropping to the floor mid-skank is classic, but Timmy Chunks is Token Entry to me – his voice is just so powerful and he commands those songs perfectly, the personality that comes across in his delivery on the songs makes up a big part of how I think of the band. Timmy’s vocals have complete range that go through powerful spoken words to wildman screams. Comunale keeps it pretty level on the 7″ and like Zack says, he’d have his finest hour later on.

What are the best Token Entry songs, lyrically?

GIL: The best songs lyrically for me have to be: Entities (also one of my favorites musically), Psycho, Actions, and probably Token Entry the song. TE, like Rest In Pieces, sang about such a range of topics covering so many that are outside the standard fare of what hc bands sing about. I love songs like Think About It, Pink Things, Death Row cause they cover undiscussed topics or they just straight up tell a story. When you’re showing someone these albums, it’s hard not to be like yo this song is about Vietnam Vets! “Entities” was an early favorite and always has been because of the existential lyrics discussing people starting out the same in life, and questioning the paths people take in a way different than how a band like YOT would take on a topic like this. Token Entry the song is the band’s theme song, down to the most literal translation of their logo fitting over a mosh where the arrow and color green are explained “Like this tall skyscraper before my eyes positive construction has a limitless sky” – completely unique stuff. They didn’t have just one thing going for them, there’s a sense of humor and there’s a lot of seriousness too.

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The songs on Jaybird are awesome both musically and lyrically. But do you like the sound on this record? (It was produced by Bad Brains’ guitarist Dr. Know.)

ZACK: I love the sound on Jaybird. Everything sounds so loud, full, and in your face yet you can still pinpoint each instrument very clearly in that they aren’t drowning each other out. I would never claim to understand any of the intricacies involved in recording, but I know one thing is certain – the quality of Jaybird is a major step up from FBTS in every single way.

GIL: Yeah I think the sound is their best definitely a step up from FBTS as far as capturing the power of the band. You hear it on Windows especially, there is a dark heaviness to the sound of the guitar which is off the wall cause the riff is fast and bouncy – there’s just a lot to this recording and it’s pretty dynamic in how much is going on. I don’t attempt to be an audio engineer, I leave that to Nasty Ned, but I think the important qualities of the band are captured on here.

Those hardcore veterans who saw them on stage, say they always put on a good, energetic live show. I have heard live tapes which sound equally awesome. What do you think about their live set at WNYU and their live songs from the Free For All compilation?

ZACK: I’m a very big fan of both recordings. The songs they play on the WNYU set are some of my favorite versions of those songs because they’re played even faster and sound a bit heavier as well. The FFA comp, although only 3 songs, might be some of the best quality live TE songs I’ve ever heard. You can definitely get a feel for the energy that was flowing through CBGB’s that day during the singalong in “The Edge” – almost feels as if I’m there when I listen to it.

GIL: These are my most consulted recordings, WNYU the Free For All tracks and WFMU rock. Hearing the FBTS played hard I always thought was the most important stuff to hear. A friend was over recently and I was bumping Free For All and he was surprised at how powerful it sounded. AJ who is also interviewed in this zine thinks I don’t like extended mosh parts, but he’s wrong – because I love the extended mosh in The Edge on Free For All. The last recording of the band I discovered was a WFMU set I got off Zack – it has one really loud lead guitar turned up all the way through it which makes it sound like Jimmy Hendrix is playing over all the songs – it’s awesome. Vinnie from Steinway Pianos could be 2014’s Neil Pollinger.

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This will be hard to answer. Would you go to a reunion show if Token Entry only played from the “Weight of the World” album? Are you actually a fan of “Weight of the World”?

ZACK: No, I don’t like that record, and seeing those songs played live doesn’t really interest me at all. Sweet Pete actually shared a funny story with me and Gil about that record not too long ago. He bought the tape the day it came out in anticipation of it sounding like their older stuff, but after a few minutes of playing it in his car’s tape deck he deemed the record “monumentally bad” and actually threw it out of the window.

GIL: I generally think Weight of the World stinks and aside from the song where they mention Taco Bell doesn’t get much interest out of me.

Ernie’s artwork has always been one of my favourites from the “Ready Or Not… Here We Come!!” cover to the cover of “Jaybird” and let me just say, the “From Beneath The Streets” cover is one of the best things I have ever seen. What do you think about his artwork? His art seems to have had a huge impact on the Free Spirit t-shirt designs.

GIL: I’m a huge fan of the Ernie artwork. The smaller illustrations in the inserts and all the shirt designs, the lettering, they knew how to make a record worth looking at and a shirt design that I imagine would move quick. When Radio Silence came out the TE hand-painted jacket was one of the biggest gems in there. The Token Entry references in FS started early on when we suggested the FBTS style as a joke – then one day Ken rolled up to an early practice with a sketch he did of all of us in there, which then became a shirt design. We referenced them again when it came time to do a Cali tour shirt. Their attention to detail and the contribution of quality artwork from a drummer definitely had an influence on our band. Ken was drawing those cartoons before some of us knew what a talented artist he was, now he’s doing 4 foot oil paintings.

ZACK: Ernie was an artistic genius. His penchant for humanoid birds and caricature-esque cartoon drawings that are found on all the good TE releases will be forever remembered as some of the best art ever put forth by a member of the American hardcore scene. It’s even more special that art production in TE was an in-house operation – everything was done by an actual member of the band. This kept all of their art very true to the nature of the band since is was done so close to home. What I can appreciate most about Ernie’s art is that it’s not perfect, which in turn makes it very relatable to the viewer. Perfection lies within imperfection, in my eyes.

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Black jaybird shirt. Yellow cartoon shirt with Ernie drawing. White logo shirt, Positive Force sleeveprint. Do you have a favorite TE t-shirt design?

ZACK: My favorite TE design is their 1988 tour shirt featuring the Jaybird skating over a gold badge with their American flag-infused logo on the front. This shirt belongs in a fucking museum.

GIL: My favorite is the arrow logo shirt with the sleeve print mainly because of its universal quality – you see it in so many old photos, there’s always one of those in the pit, and it’s lifted from real life in NYC at the time, like if you wore that shit in the city I imagine people wouldn’t even realize it’s a band they would think you got it on canal street.

Did you know that Timmy Chunks used to be an advertising face of Pepsi? He was a huge Pepsi fan with lots of Pepsi tattoos. Somehow the company got a wind of this, he appeared in a few magazines with his tattoos and one time they paid his flight from NYC to California where one of his Pepsi tattoos was done. Do you have any interesting or funny stories about TE that you wanna share with us?

ZACK: I think my Sweet Pete story above covers this one.

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Outburst photos / Joe Songco

It was originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 6 (2018).

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CTM – 01. You played your first show with Abombanation, Krakdown, Token Entry at Right Track Inn in late 1987. As far as I know it was an amazing show where Ray Parada was covered in blood from busting his nose open during Outburst set. What are your memories of the first Outburst show?

Joe Songco – The Right Track Inn was this cool little club in Merrick, Long Island. That’s our original bassist Chris Bruno in that shot. I think it may have been ABombANation’s first show too. Rayco and Matt were also from around the way in Astoria and they were regular visitors to our south side of Astoria Park from the Ditmars Boulevard side. I sure do remember Rayco busting his nose open. Personally, it was awesome that he was dancing for us and fortunately he was okay to go up and do ABombANation’s set! I remember loving their melodic sound. I believe it was Jay Krakdown who got us on that bill. They were always so sick with their live show. I remember introducing myself to their drummer John Soldo because his cousin Christina was my classmate and good friend at St. John’s Prep. Along with Leeway, Kraut & Murphy’s Law, Token Entry were one of the established neighborhood bands so it was great to be playing with them. I remember being really nervous doing the long Johnny Feedback snare roll in “All Twisted” at the end of our set because Ernie was watching from the side. I grew up watching all those great Astoria drummers and I didn’t want to botch it!

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CTM – 02. Outburst with Walter Schreifels on bass

Joe Songco – That was our first CBGB gig in December ’87. Breakdown was supposed to headline but had to cancel so we played with American Standard, Department of Corruption and Atrocity. Our bassist Chris had a family trip he was unable to get out of. Chris and Brian were friends with all the Jackson Heights guys in Gorilla Biscuits & Token Entry. Luckily, Walter offered to fill in on bass and I remember he learned the songs really quickly. Aside from GB, he’d already played for Warzone & Youth of Today so his chops were really good. I’m so glad someone snapped that picture to evidence the time Walter played in Outburst!

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CTM – 03. What’s the story of this Outburst photo? Where and when did you take this photo?

Joe Songco – This was taken on the campus of Columbia University in Manhattan. Our roadie and former high school classmate Julio (to my right in the black leather jacket) had gone to Columbia after high school and he invited us one night to come party at his school.

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CTM – 04. Basketball…

Joe Songco – This was taken in Long Island City, which is a neighborhood on one side of the Queensboro Bridge (on the other side is the famous hip hop neighborhood Queensbridge Projects, home of Nas, Mobb Deep, Roxanne Shante, Marley Marl, etc). Jay and his brother Al were big time basketball fans like me and we often got together to hit the courts. On this day, Brian and one of our other roadies Carlos joined us and we played all afternoon. What’s really cool about this shot is I’m wearing the original Run DMC & Beastie Boys “Together Forever” tour shirt. Eminem also wears this shirt in his video for “Berzerk”.

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CTM – 05. CBGB…

Joe Songco – I’m pretty sure this CBGB show was with Breakdown in ’88. That’s Eric Fink from Side By Side/Uppercut about to launch himself into the crowd off of Brian’s back. This photo was taken by the legendary BJ Papas. I remember during our cover of Kraut’s “All Twisted”, Gavin from Absolution/Burn took the mic and sang the whole second verse.

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CTM – 06. Remembering Elkin

Joe Songco – Elkin just roadied the NYC area Outburst shows. Just a few blocks away from CBGB was St. Mark’s Pizza. We’d usually go there after shows or if we had some time in between bands. “Gotta get that extra cheese slice!” he would say, every time. He loved how they would put a handful of mozzarella on top of any slice with a topping before it went into the oven. That’s all he ever needed as payment for his services. Our roadie, my homie.

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Freddy Alva interview (Abombanation / New Breed compilation / Some Records etc.)

Freddy Alva interview originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 3 (2014).

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CTM – Can you give us a lesson about the history of Abombanation? Do you have any info how did Abombanation form originally? What was their lineup? As far as I know Ernie Parada (Token Entry) played drums for them only on the demo and at one or two gigs at most. In Your Face Steve played with the band after the demo until the end and actually sang during one show after Ray Parada.
Freddy – I just asked Ray on the origins of the band & he said that the original members were himself on vocals, Matt O’Brien on guitar, Vadim on bass & Larry “Love” Kaplan on drums. He can’t remember exactly when they formed but I’m guessing it’s early 1987. He said Vadim was then replaced by Nick X& Ernie Parada replaced Larry on drums when Larry joined Breakdown in 1988.

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CTM – Are there any particular shows that stuck in your memory?
Freddy – I only saw A-Bomb-A-Nation once at CBGB’s& was lucky to sit in for a practice at Monkey Hill studios in Queens. The CBGB’s show was memorable because a lot of HC kids from Queens showed up to support a band from our neighborhood. I knew Vadim through Chris Wynne from In Effect fanzine & it was really cool seeing a lot of friends on the audience. The band was awesome, I’ve seen a couple of cool pics from that show, seem to remember someone filming it, hope that video pops up someday.

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CTM – The Abombanation demo, to me, sounds much more like a typical NYHC band of the time. We can hear standard fast parts and dance parts, but also a surprisingly distinct sense of melody. What do you think of the band’s sound? How did that differ from previous bands and attempts?
Freddy – I agree that their sound was very different from other NYHC bands at the time. Besides the other, band members, musical skills. I will credit singer Ray Parada for their atypical sound. Ray was an original class of 1982 HC scenester: he’d gone to the 1st shows at the legendary A7 & had also played drums for the early NYHC band Major Conflict as well as in the unrecorded Rat Patrol w/Adam Mucci from Agnostic Front & Sacrilege NY. Major Conflict had a period where they played a more melodic Stiff Little Fingers influenced sound & I think that Ray carried on that sense of melody to A-Bomb-A-Nation. Being around since the 1st wave of HC allowed him to draw from older influences of melodic HC bands like the Posh Boy Southern California sound or 7 Seconds as opposed to a kid that just got into HC in ’87 & all they knew was stuff like Youth Of Today or Breakdown.

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CTM – Their lyrics were not really typical hardcore lyrics. I really like their meaningful lyrics, what do you think about them?
Freddy – I think the lyrics are really intelligent & well thought out. I will attribute that to Ray being older than us. When I first met him, I’d just finished High School & He was already out of college & working in the “real world”. I think that his life experience was a vital part of the lyrics, rising above more simplistic topics like you ‘stabbed me in the back’ or other like-minded fare of the day.

CTM – I heard that there is an unreleased Abombanation album that they recorded but never released. Have you ever heard these songs? Would you mind writing about this unreleased LP?
Freddy – I’ve never heard the unreleased lp& Ray said that he only heard about a couple of minutes of, he wasn’t too interested because it was after he quit the band. I would love to see the demos & maybe this lp to be released some day.

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CTM – Outburst played their first show with Abombanation at Right Track Inn in late 1987. As far as I know it was an amazing show where Ray Parada was covered in blood from busting his nose open during Outburst set. Were you on this show?
Freddy – Unfortunately I was not at this show, actually only made it out to the Right Track Inn only one time. I asked Ray about the blood on stage & he replied that was from catching an elbow to the nose during the opening band, seems he couldn’t get the bleeding under control when they went on. I’m sure it was quite a sight!

CTM – What is your opinion of the band name Abombanation? I saw a few flyers where it was mispelled. Which band name do you like the most off of New Breed? Mine is Beyond. I read that they chose the name because it represents the way they feel about drugs and any other barriers that weaken your life. To be beyond something is to overcome it, or to surpass it. Awesome band name!
Freddy – Yeah, that was an easy name for people to misspell! I love it though, really conveys a lot. I have to say ‘Life’s Blood’ is my favorite band name on the comp. It is such a strong name that, to me, really illustrates what Hardcore is & to an extension; anything you feel passionate about that inspires the very core of your being & affects your life for the long run. A close second is ‘Raw Deal’. That really captures a situation that happens to the best of us & the band’s music is a release from the emotions that go along with said predicament. I was so bummed when they were forced to change their name to Killing Time due to legal reasons. I still never call them by the KT name!

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CTM – Crucial Chaos on WNYU every Thursday night. An awesome radio show a lot of you in NYC grew up listening to. As I imagine it in the late ’80s you would sit in your room and use your boombox to record all the NYHC bands appearing on Crucial Chaos, live sets and interviews. I really love listening to live sets and radio sets. What do you think, was it any different playing a show and playing a live set on the radio? How should we imagine a WNYU or WMFU set?
Freddy – Listening to Crucial Chaos every Thursday night was such a looked forward to experience. DJ Spermicide had such a cool husky voice. A lot of kids definitely had a crush on her just based on her voice & radio personality. Her sidekick on air was Johnny Stiff, an old school Punk Rock dude who’d been around since the beginning & booked some legendary shows. He was famous for being cranky to people calling in to the show. That’s the thing, it was an epicenter of info for the scene. I would tape the whole show to catch up on new releases, get turned on to old classics, listen for show announcements, ticket giveaways, band interviews; not to mention the live sets that we all anxiously waited for & hit the “record” button.

CTM – “Everybody mosh it up Break everything in your house!” What are your favourite radio sets and why?
Freddy – My favorite NYU sets are by bands who I think it’s their best recorded stuff. For example, I’m not a huge Judge fan but I think their NYU is awesome, best thing I’ve heard by them. Same goes for Side By Side, their studio stuff is ok, but the live set is smoking. Others favorites that come to my mind is being @the studio when Fit Of Anger played & all our friends were there, that was really cool. The interviews are classic too, like YDL & Warzone, there are some choice quotes in there.

CTM – I read about an awesome place on 14th street in NYC called Giant Studios. Many well-known NYHC bands used to rehearse there including Krakdown, Warzone, Side By Side, Breakdown, Death Before Dishonor etc. There were rooms A through Z so you could just walk in and hang out and listen to each band rehearse. What are your memories of Giant Studios?
Freddy – Giant studios was a who’s who of NYHC bands rehearsing there at any given time. It was a great place to catch band members if you wanted to interview them. I remember doing a couple of interviews for my New Breed fanzine there. I actually rehearsed with a band called Last Cause there in late 1988 & right next to us Underdog was rehearsing & we saw Sick Of it All coming in as we walked out. I remember going to see my friends in Our Gang rehearse & it would become a live show with like 15-20 kids packed in the rehearsal room doing “stage dives”, moshing& generally goofing around. Great times all around.

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CTM – 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. Do you have any funny stories about the New Breed comp.?
Freddy – That’s funny Steve never knew they were on the comp. I think he drifted out of the scene, like a lot if us did, by the 90’s. I dealt mostly with Robert Sefcik, the Uppercut drummer, as far as getting the Uppercut tracks & artwork for the comp. I see Steve all the time now, I do Acupuncture on him & go see his awesome band Kings Destroy that also features Robert on drums.

CTM – Could you talk about the concept of making the cover for New Breed? The picture looks like the Minor Threat EP but taken from the side.
Freddy – 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.

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CTM – Some Records was an awesome meetig place for hardcore kids, bands, zine editors and people that would help launch that second wave of NYHC in ’86. Would you mind sharing some memories about Some Records?
Freddy – Some Records was the catalyst for me getting really involved in the scene, otherwise I would have just been another passive spectator rather than an active participant. I saw a flyer on a lamppost in 1986 that said “American HC” & gave the store’s location. I immediately went down there & bought my first fanzines & demos. This inspired me to do my own fanzine called FTW. The first interview I ever did for my zine was with Ray Cappo right outside the store. I met Chaka through hanging out there. The inspiration for doing the New Breed comp comes from picking up the legendary Guillotine benefit comp tape there & wanting to do something along the same lines.
Some of my favorite memories:
– Duane unwrapping a brand new copy of the Straight Ahead 12″ & playing it nonstop like 10 times in a row.
– Waiting anxiously for the delivery guy to bring YOT’slp& being the 1st one to buy a blue vinyl copy.
– Having a listening party in the store to AF’s “Liberty & Justice” lp w/Nick YDL, John Life’s Blood, Tommy Carroll, Side By Side guys & Alleyway crew dudes.
There are too many good memories of that place. It really was the epicenter & communication hub of the scene, amazing in itself because the place was only about 300 Sq feet & located down inside a dusty basement but in my memory it is NYHC’s grand palace.

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CTM – I know that you are working on a documentary about New Breed and the bands on it. Any updates?
Freddy – The latest on the New Breed documentary is that we finally got a new video editor, gone through two already. This time it’s Sean Murphy, he sang for Collapse on the comp, so he definitely “gets it”. We just have to figure out a good time for all of us to sit down & get this wrapped up. Not so easy these days with families, jobs & other necessities of daily life. It will get done, there’s no timetable, just taking it one day at a time. Thanks for the interest, you will definitely hear more about it as it comes out. It was great reminiscing about these old days that still mean a lot to me. I hope I was able to shed some light on the A-Bomb-A-Nation story, thanks again!

Show review: Supertouch, Token Entry, Murphy’s Law, Bad Brains at the Ritz

The New York Times:
“Bad Brains, a reggae and hardcore rock group, is to appear tonight at the Ritz, 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues (254-2800). Tickets are $13.50; the show is at 12:30.”

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Murphy’s Law at the Ritz, NYC 5.27.1988. Photo by BJ Papas.

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Show review by Yes Zista fanzine (issue one)

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Show review by In Effect fanzine (issue one)

The Pyramid Club / A hardcore-fanatic’s guide – Part V.

It was originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 5.

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In the late 80s New York was still dangerous and not yet gentrified. East of Avenue A was still a wasteland. The Pyramid Club was (and still is) a nightclub in the East Village, located at 101 Avenue A in Manhattan. The institution named for a pyramid motif in the building’s original tiling, opened in 1979. What made this club unique was that the inclusivity across all cultural lines, mixing disco and hardcore/punk, pop culture and high art, straight and gay. The Pyramid Club shows were organized by many members of the NYC hardcore scene. It was the first time in NYC during this era that the bands actually made up the bills. The shows ran on a semi regular basis from 1987-1989.

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Alex Brown, Sammy Siegler, Chris Burr, and Dylan Schreifels in front of the Pyramid Club

You can check out a video about what the place was like between 1983 and 1988 on youtube: “Drag Queens, Skinheads, Artists and Some Girls: the Pyramid Club of the 1980s.” In this video Raybeez and Jimmy Gestapo attempted to describe what made the Pyramid special (5:51)!

– Pyramid matinees were some of the best hardcore shows, Absolution, Warzone, Side By Side, Youth of Today, Underdog, Collapse, Sick Of It All, Token Entry, Hogan’s Heroes, Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Krakdown, Life’s Blood, Killing Time, American Standard, Project X, Under Pressure, Uppercut, Our Gang had a couple of very memorable gigs there.
– Security included Jimmy Gestapo, Raybeez and Richie Birkenhead, while doorman Bernard Crawford kept out the yuppies and junkies.

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Raybeez and Jimmy Gestapo

– The Pyramid Club is the place where Ray Cappo and Raybeez were booking shows together, most of these shows were Saturday matinees. The first matinee gig was a benefit show for Some Records. “Starting April 11th at the Pyramid Club, 101 Avenue A we’re gonna have hardcore matinees between 2:00 and 5:30 every other Saturday, starting April 11 so you gotta check it out! The first show is with Sick Of It All and Token Entry and you know, we’re headlining, word up! Check out the Village Voice!” – Warzone interview on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos radio show.

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– The Pyramid Club is the place where Sean Penn and Madonna got into a heated public argument in 1986. A fight erupted into violence as an obviously inebriated Penn shoved his wife up against a wall, then carried their shouting match out into the street.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers played their first New York City concerts.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Into Another performed their first show.

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– The Pyramid Club is the place where Warzone cameout with a fog machine, and they used so much dry ice that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face in the pit. Warzone was playing and the smoke machine went off while Ray Cappo was on stage about to do a stage dive, it burned his leg.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Warzone played a show with a go-go dancer on stage, which was very likely an influence from the “Licensed To Ill” era Beastie Boys.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where Djinji Brown (Absolution) broke Jules Masse’s (Side By Side, Alone In A Crowd) nose during a show.
– The Pyramid Club is the place where the really underrated Altercation played a gig with Death Before Dishonor on May 23, 1987. Shortly after that Jay and Paul left Altercation to join Warzone so the band broke up.