Absolutely love this album!!! Reminds me a lot of bands such as early YOT (Can’t Close My Eyes era) and Straight Ahead. They wrote these songs in a couple of weeks, and recorded it in a day and half at the 195 Studio. Belgian guys literally just wanted to do a project band that was remiscent of bands like Youth of Today without sounding weak or melodic youth crew. Needless to mention that the artwork is amazing, Spoiler did a great job on this cover. This Loud And Clear interview was made by Hustler fanzine, it was attached to the insert of Hustler Compilation 7 inch. I hope you will find it interesting, please click images to view full size.
Back in the day in 2017, Tony Rettman was generous to send me an unedited BOLD chapter from his book “STRAIGHT EDGE: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History” which I also shared in my fanzine in the same year. So you can check it out below. Pics by: Free Thought fanzine, Boiling Point fanzine, Think fanzin, Ken Salerno.
Ray Cappo (Violent Children, Youth of Today, Shelter): When Violent Children was active prior to Youth of Today, we always wanted a brother band to play out with.
John Porcelly (Young Republicans, Violent Children, Youth of Today, BOLD, Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Shelter, Project X): Youth of Today’s first drummer’s little sister was friends with these seventh graders that had Mohawks and played in a punk band.
Ray Cappo: Crippled Youth was basically a local punk rock band made up of thirteen-year-olds. We were really excited to hear them. They played at the Anthrax in Stamford, Connecticut, opening for the Descendents, and everybody loved them.
Mike Gitter (xXx fanzine): Crippled Youth were twelve year-olds playing straight edge hardcore. That was such a great, uncalculated marketing idea. Who wouldn’t want to see a band of prepubescent kids playing their interpretation of old school hardcore?
Dave Zukauskas (Run It! fanzine): When Crippled Youth started out they were more punk. They had a song called “Desperate for Beer,” and they did Black Flag covers. But I guess even by the time of their first show they had posi-youth type songs like “Stand Together,” and that’s what really impressed Ray and Porcell. At the time there were no other straight edge type bands from the area. I’m guessing that Youth of Today saw Crippled Youth, who were all 13 and 14 at the time, as the one band playing the Anthrax with whom they had something in common.
Steve Reddy (NY Wolfpack): The scene was so small at that point that discovering these fourteen-year-old kids from Katonah, New York, playing hardcore was crazy. And the first time I met Crippled Youth, they were real punks. They had their hair gelled up into spikes and stuff like that.
Matt Warnke (Crippled Youth, BOLD): Ray, John, Darren and Graham from Youth of Today were all at Crippled Youth’s first Anthrax show. The fact that we were all from nearby and were into 7 Seconds, Agnostic Front, and Dischord Records made them interested in us. Also, we all skated at that point. We started hanging out, and those guys lent us so many great records by SSD, DYS, Jerry’s Kids, Negative Approach, Reagan Youth, the Abused, and Antidote. We knew of the bands, but having access to the records was critical and fortunate, and definitely helped to influence our sound and sensibilities.
Ray Cappo: They lived right near Porcell and we became friends. I had a ramp in my yard and we would skate it. They were young kids and wanted music. We’d give them all the good records and say, “It took us years of buying the stupidest records. I wish someone did this for me. Here’s a stack of nothing but the greatest records!” They became our younger brothers.
Drew Thomas (BOLD, Youth of Today, Into Another): Maybe it is a bit lofty to think about, but I believe at the time Youth of Today tried to align themselves with what SSD had done as far as taking a leadership role in the scene. With that said, I think in Bold, we saw ourselves a bit more as a “younger brother band” like DYS, if there had to be analogies drawn.
Dave Zukauskas: Plus, you know, Crippled Youth needed someone to drive them around, they weren’t old enough to have their licenses yet, so it made it convenient for Youth of Today and Crippled Youth to play shows together.
Jordan Cooper (Revelation Records): Ray and Porcell probably consciously wanted Crippled Youth to be a little brother band, and they ended up becoming longtime friends. As for their “role,” Bold was probably the closest band to Youth of Today as far as mutual support and camaraderie.
Matt Warnke: Crippled Youth came upon resistance and resentment in the same way Ray and Porcell had. One incident in particular occurred after Crippled Youth had a one-page feature in Maximum Rocknroll right around the release of our seven-inch EP Join The Fight. Our label New Beginning Records and its founder Mike Trouchon arranged that. The piece was fairly innocuous, and I was just completely psyched, looking forward to being in the zine in which I had read about so many bands. One of the questions was something along the lines of, “How do you feel about yourselves and other straight edge bands getting flack for stating your beliefs?” Drew responded by drawing the analogy between us and other straight edge bands championing our beliefs and day-to-day habits, and those of Murphy’s Law, who sang proudly of their party-loving ways. No one questioned them for that, he pointed out. I remember reading that and having a bad feeling in the back of my mind that this would not go unnoticed. Fast forward to say six weeks later, I was at a show at the Ritz. I’m not sure who headlined, but Murphy’s Law were playing. About midway through the set, Jimmy G introduced a song, I want to say “Care Bear,” and he basically called out Crippled Youth for having the audacity to say something about his band. I just remember it felt like a spotlight shone right on me, and everyone who was near me stepped back six feet. I was thinking, “Thanks, Drew.” Mark Ryan from Death Before Dishonor and Supertouch came up to me and was like, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to those guys and straighten it out.”
Murphy’s Law’s set ended, and Mark insisted we head backstage to iron things out. I remember the looks I got from Petey Hines and Joe Bruno. I was trying to be tough, but I was like fourteen years old facing these cats. Anyway, nothing was really resolved that night despite Mark speaking on our behalf. So the next day, I had stayed over in New Jersey, and we headed into Manhattan to the CB’s matinee as per usual. I remember being in the back of Mike Ferraro’s Camaro. I don’t think we really talked about it too much, but there was a sort of underlying concern of what could happen. We had no real way to know. I remember walking down Third Avenue towards CB’s. Then I think Mark again had a word with Jimmy Gestapo, and Jimmy just came over and shook my hand, made a joke, and that was that.
John Porcelly: The whole Youth Crew thing is still relevant, because, like the new generation, we were young and considered naive and dumb for taking such a hard stance against drinking and still clinging to fast hardcore with breakdowns, instead of more “mature” music with complex songwriting and musicianship. Most of the older generation had moved on. But we loved that early mosh-tastic, super-hard hardcore. To this day I think young, energetic alternative kids find it the most powerful, moving music ever.
Caine Rose (Touch X Down, 4 Walls Falling, Fed Up!): I think Minor Threat, the Faith, SSD, DYS and a few West Coast bands already heralded the turn of the philosophy into a movement in the early to mid 80s. The late ‘80s saw a new and more powerful revival of straight edge by these amazing New York, Connecticut, and mid-Atlantic bands. It wasn’t necessarily new, but it was more dynamic and even supercharged. It was the right time and place for a music revolution. And straight edge hardcore was undoubtedly one of the most formidable champions of musical zealotry.
Chris Bratton (Chain Of Strength, Inside Out): When Nirvana broke in 1991, they’d hit the reset button powerfully stripping shit back down to the basics and in doing so, they instantly swept away and made irrelevant all the hair metal bands and all the other shit, even Michael Jackson, who was infamously bumped from the number on position on the Pop Charts by Nirvana’s Nevermind LP. When Youth of Today broke big in 1987, they’d also hit that same reset button stripping shit all the way down and also instantly swept away all that had become bloated and irrelevant in hardcore.
“STRAIGHT EDGE: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History” (Bazillion Points, 2017) by Tony Rettman is a compiled series of interviews regarding the origins and influence of the straight edge subculture/community. All the things you need to know about this release: Tony’s book is a very well done and really informative oral history, handy, quick read that is put together nicely in chapters with awesome photos and flyers. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you go and get it. Such a great book! https://sandpaperlullaby.bigcartel.com https://www.instagram.com/sandpaperlullaby
I made this interview with Tony about his book in 2017, it was originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 5. Pics by Ken Salerno, Christine Elise, JJ Gonson, Free Thought fanzine.
CTM – Your last book (“NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990”) covers the glory days of the first wave of NYHC, rising from the drug-infested streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side to the suburbs and beyond. I know a lot of hardcore kids were turning into junkies. Heroin was a real big thing, it was very prevalent back then on the Lower East Side, and I heard there was a lot of mescaline going around too, psychedelic drugs were big part of the early years. Where did the idea to write a book about the other side come from? Where did the idea to write a book about straight edge come from? Tony – I wanted to put together a book on Straight Edge done in a fashion I personally would want to read. Most books that are out there are written from a personal angle or tell the story stripped of the musical aspect. I wanted to do a book that traced the whole history of it throughout Hardcore Punk and the various places it went throughout the past 35 (or so) years.
CTM – How long did you work on the book, and what was the first thing you did for the book? Tony – From January 2015 to November 2016. First thing I did was reach out to people I thought should be interviewed while also scanning through the other interviews I’ve conducted throughout the years seeing if there was anything within them I could use.
CTM – What did you find the most surprising in conducting all your interviews? That no matter what moment in time the person came from within the Hardcore scene, their story on how they became interested in Straight Edge was the same. Strung out family members or seeing kids become potheads at 13; it didn’t appeal to them and the concept of Straight Edge seemed welcoming.
CTM – The cover photo of the book was made by Ken Salerno in 1989, CIV from Gorilla Biscuits dives into a BOLD crowd (City Gardens, Trenton). Could you please tell me something about the cover of the book, why did you choose this photo? Tony – The photo was chosen by the publisher. I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t my first choice or personal choice for the cover image, but it looks pretty bad-ass in the here and now! And it tied Civ in to do the intro which is cool. He’s not a guy who grants himself out on the reg, so I’m shocked and honored he agreed to do it.
CTM – You interviewed a ton of people for the book. “STRAIGHT EDGE: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History” is written out in an oral history type of layout again, each person you interviewed for the book tells the story in their own words. It seems to me you really like this format. Tony – It’s a format that lends itself to being unobtrusive to the proceedings. You can get the story out there in its pure form without interjecting too much of yourself into it.
CTM – The early DC straight edge scene saw itself as a counter-culture movement, like the hippies were in the 60’s. Brian Baker said in an interview that people hypothesize that DC is the cradle of straight-edge, so there was this ethical sidebar that was part of everything, but DC was really just like any small town scene. It wasn’t just a straight-edge town. Tony – Yes. I think it was a matter of it simply being the town where a band wrote a song that spurred some thought in people.
CTM – Al Barile said that straight edge is one of the most important cultural influences of the last century. Straight edge kicked down the walls and opened the doors to music and choices that formed a new core of cool. SS Decontrol and Department of Youth Services took straight edge to a different place, the brand of straight edge was solidified in Boston. What do you think about Al’s statement and how do you feel about SS Decontrol’s and DYS’s legacy? Tony – I think Al is 100% correct. I was the youngest of five kids. My brother and sisters were really living that American high school lifestyle you see in films like Dazed and Confused or maybe even Fast Time At Ridgemont High. I was under the impression that drinking and getting high was just what you did when you hit high school and you had no choice in the matter. When my brother brought home SSD’s Get It Away and DYS’ Brotherhood, the way they looked (an accessable fashion that I was pretty much already wearing) combined with the lyrics honestly put this proverbial lightbulb over my head and made me think “Oh..I can do WHATEVER I want!” That epiphany not only put me on the path of being Straight Edge at that point in my life, but also blew my mind wide open on a larger scale in the aspect of how I would conduct myself for the rest of my life.
CTM – Youth of Today were a pioneering band. There were really important and influential bands up until that point, but I don’t think any band had the impact that Youth of Today did. Ray Cappo had an unusual talent to make changes in the scene. They had a mission statement: bring back straight edge, in a new way, they wanted to prove that it is not just a passing trend or whim but a legitimate alternative to a self-destructive drug culture. “The Youth Crew look became a stance against the violent, nihilistic, drunken mentality that was prevalent in the hardcore scene at the time.” How do you evaluate the work of Youth of Today? Tony – Youth of Today were very important for me personally because at the time my brother started taking me to shows (summer of ‘84) it felt like I missed something. By that point, SSD and DYS went hard rock/heavy metal and Minor Threat had broken up. Bands like Stalag 13, Justice League or Ill Repute weren’t touring the east coast. When I read an interview with Youth of Today a year later in a local NJ ‘zine called Faith, I felt a connection as they really laid it out there that they were looking to rejuvenate the Hardcore scene. They meant a lot to me and still do.
CTM – You processed the story of the youth crew fashion in the “NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990” and you will publish a chapter (“Youth crew style: more than fashion”) about this topic in your upcoming book. Varsity jackets instead of leather jackets, rolled up jeans instead of bondage pants, crewcuts instead of liberty spikes and Nikes, Adidas instead of Doc Martens, no Mohawks, Champion sweatshirts, Air Jordans, low top Vans with colored laces. The youth crew image was a powerful one, and as the new straight edge bands, most notably Youth of Today, got more popular, it seemed straight edge started becoming more externalized. Many people thought that the imagery started taking precedence over the substance. What do you think about this topic? Tony – I think when Straight Edge went beyond a philosophy or a set of “rules” and the iconography took over in the later part of the 80’s, that’s when it gained traction in a way it never did before. The building blocks for the look came from the back covers of SSD and DYS records for sure, but I think the tie-in of hip hop fashion at the time sealed up the “Youth Crew” look and made it what it’s observed as today. No matter how much people crapped on the idea of all these kids ‘looking the same’, it gave people something to hone in on and identify with in the same way someone might have looked at the back of a Discharge record and said, “That’s me”.
CTM – I really like what Gordo wrote about Mike Judge’s lyrics on Double Cross: “Whether you were straight edge in the past or straight edge in the present, there is no denying the sheer brutal honesty and power of JUDGE lyrics. It can be an uphill battle if you fall outside the social structure that involves drinking or even recreational drug use, but if you ever need some lyrics to help cement your feelings, having Mike Ferraro’s words handy is probably your best bet. “I’ll try to keep my cool…”” Mike is the master of being brutally honest with a life that is put into lyrics, what do you think about his lyrics? Tony – At the time the “New York Crew” 7 inch came out, those lyrics Mike wrote were so cathartic for a guy in high school like myself who seemed to be constantly being ridiculed from every angle for not going along with the party aspect of teenage culture, but I think the lyrics of “Bringin’ It Down” still resonate more with me in the present day. After laying down these hard as nails lyrics on the 7”, it was shocking to hear him growl, “I can still remember the last time I cried’ He was showing vulnerability after taking shots for being too reactionary and it added another dimension to his persona.
Rated X interview was originally published in Do You Know Hardcore? fanzine, issue 2.
DYKHC – Yo! Hows your edge, and are you going to wear construction gloves at your first gig?
The edge is sharper than ever, and as for the gloves, if it was good enough for Kevin Crowley then it’s good enough for Sergeant X.
DYKHC – Rated X is your solo band. Every straight edge band needs a member to be kicked out for breaking edge. What was the motivation for starting the band without other members?
I’ve actually don’t think I’ve ever been in a band where we have had a member break edge…no, wait, Ben from Payday broke edge right when we finished writing most of the LP stuff. Oh, and Cal from True Vision and Regiment. Fuck sake. I dunno what you mean about solo band though, we’ve got T-Crucial on the crunch, Ol’ Cease from across the pond shredding the leads, psycho skin Rito on bass and big bad Bombham holding it down on the drums! And of course your boy Sergeant X on the mic.
DYKHC – Project X and Judge were a reactionary thing, it was something to make people know that straight edge is still around. When No Tolerance started it was a reactionary thing too, they were putting Boston straight edge back on the map with speed and anger. How was that with your band? Did you have any sort of blueprint for how you wanted Rated X to run, based on other bands or anything like that?
Oh, totally. Straight edge is in the fucking toilet right now. It needs a good hard kick up the arse, and we’ve got the Jordans to do it. I’m genuinely scared that the biggest representation of straight edge out there right now is some weird IG account full of XVX shit and hippies that don’t even listen to hardcore. I don’t give a shit about some whopper who pretends to be Wolverine, or some christcore muppet with oreos in their ears. Straight edge is about fast music, hard mosh parts and X’d up lunatics busting head-first through walls and shit. People are always trying to attach some mad shit to straight edge. Being vegan is great. I’m a fence walking shitty vegetarian myself. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be anything to do with straight edge. Like, I love playing video games, but I’m not XGAMEREDGEX, I’m just a guy that fucking plays video games, who is also straight edge. Don’t even get me started on all that hardline, pro-life and anti-sex shit. Anyway, I digress. Rated X is absolutely reactionary. It’s a reaction to the state of straight edge hardcore, and the sound of hardcore today. There’s plenty of great bands doing great shit at the moment, but most bands are either on the heavier side or the ‘weird outsider’ tip. Or straight up crap. Which is cool, but that classic meat-and-potatoes hard & fast shit is what we love. Shout out to the young bloods out there doing the biz!
DYKHC – How would you describe the evolution of the band musically from the first demo to this new LP? Rated X reminds me a lot of The Abused in certain ways, and I feel that you wanted to add in some rocked out things (like the beginning of “Watch Out”) into your new songs.
There’s not much in the way of evolution at all to be honest. If anything, it’s devolution. Half the songs on the LP were actually written years before the demo and has been demo’d a million times over the last five years. There’s a few riffs that were used by this band I played guitar for called Standpoint a few years ago. We only ever did a demo and played a few shows, and I’d been holding onto those songs for too long to let ‘em go to waste, so they got the RX treatment. The recording that became the RX demo was only supposed to be an ideas session for some other project, but I liked the recording so much we just went with it. The Abused is definitely our number one influence, I like to think that one is pretty obvious. Negative Approach, early Agnostic Front, Straight Ahead, early YOT and Uniform Choice are in there somewhere too. Also, hard rock is in our blood, so I’m glad it’s shining through!
DYKHC – Some say they don’t want to write songs about edge, because it’s been done a million times. What’s your opinion?
Straight edge is fucking boss and is more relevant than ever. Three chords and mosh parts has been done a million times too. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
DYKHC – Could you let us know what the following songs are about and the source from which your lyrical inspiration is derived? “No”, “Rather Walk Alone”, “You’re Next”.
Ok, let’s see….‘No’ is a not-too-subtle nod to No For An Answer. I don’t know too many people who rate NFAA, which I find odd, cause that 7” is hard! It’s a straight forward straight edge ballad about not giving in to peer pressure. If don’t wanna drink or do drugs, just don’t. If your mates ignore you cause you’re not getting hammered with them, then they aren’t really your mates.
‘Rather Walk Alone’ is actually about Everton Football Club. The first song by a straight edge band about Association Football? Answers on a postcard please. Being from the blue half of Merseyside, we are constantly in the shadow of Liverpool FC. Their motto is “you’ll never walk alone”, so you can figure that one out for yourself haha. It can also be frustrating as fuck supporting such an inconsistent team, but no matter how many times in my life I’ve tried to ignore football, Everton always brings me back. This is our year anyway, I can feel it!
‘You’re Next’ is about a British phenomenon called Gammon. I’m sure every country has their own version, but our Gammon are outraged, conservative, middle-aged, straight white males, who read all the bullshit newspapers and get so pissed off at everything that their faces are constantly pink. They think refugees are stealing their jobs and living in palaces for free, are terrified of the LGBTQ+ gang, hate vegetarians, support All Lives Matter, hate the EU, and generally think that they are the most persecuted people on earth because they “can’t say anything anymore”. They can get fucked. I name drop Piers Morgan cause he’s their poster boy. You might have fooled a few people during lockdown mate, but you won’t fool the Sarge.
DYKHC – One topic Rated X (and Violent Reaction) has never written about that needs to be addressed?
I don’t know actually. Part of me thinks that there is probably a lot I could and should talk about more openly in lyrics, especially considering the eye-opening events of this year. But another part of me thinks that our straight edge and left wing stance is pretty clear, so I’ll let the 45 second songs do the talking. We’re just a band and I’m just a dumb white guy. I’d rather leave that space for those who need it.
DYKHC – If you could have any singer from the early 80s do guest vocals on the LP who would it be (and why)?
This is a difficult one. To quote DFJ, “everyone from the 80s is terrible”. Being such an overt straight edge band, it’d have to be Ian. No one can even pose like Minor Threat isn’t the GOAT. Who else is even still straight edge?? Smalley might be, but he’s some conservative gimp now. Yo if Kevin Crowley is still drug free (middle aged) youth, then him. Sickest vox!
DYKHC – Make You Break, Firing Line, Here Today are exclusive songs to the promo tape, these songs are not on the album. Why?
We just wanted to have some exclusive trax on the tape, and we had enough songs to spare so why not? It makes getting the tape a bit more worth it in my eyes. Maybe they will pop up again on another record one day.
DYKHC – The promo cassette has six covers (Ripcord, NFAA, Posion Idea, The Fix, SOA, Crucifix), why did you choose these bands? Poison Idea is definitely about as far away from straight edge as you can get haha!
We chose those bands because those bands fucking rock. Yeah I’m a straight edge guy with a fade, an X-Swatch and Air Jordans, but that doesn’t mean we sit around just listening to YOT all day every day. The Ripcord intro sounds like it could be on an ‘87 NYHC demo. That NFAA song is their best and hardest tune, the slow riff makes me wanna skank it up. Poison Idea is one of my all time favourites, and I think Pick Your King might even bang harder than the Minor Threat 7”, come at me. The riff in that song is so similar to AF, YOT, MT riffs etc and has a sick mosh part. Also, it’s about self abuse so kinda fits the edge vibe when we do it! The Fix, incredible song and incredible band. Makes me wanna headbutt the wall. SOA is in my top 5 7”s of all time I reckon, tough as shit, also early DC proto-edge. And as for Crucifix, that LP is infuckingcredible and that’s my favourite song on it. You can hear so much on that record that later influenced Agnostic Front and Youth Of Today etc.
DYKHC – Is hardcore music cyclical?
I think so yeah. It’s like a cycle of reactionary scenes. I’m hoping we get another explosion of bread & butter hardcore in response to all the metalcore, nu-metal and alt rock stuff that seems to have a grip on hardcore these days. It makes me feel so old that kids regard early 2000s style as retro now. People are rocking bowling shirts and backing Slipknot, what’s next? Yo-yo tricks? Rollerblading??
DYKHC – Most edge thing you have ever done?
Spent a New Year’s Eve on my own watching the first season of The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, eating pizza and drinking Vanilla Coke. On a side note, since switching to sugar free drinks, Pepsi Max is now king. Face up to it.
DYKHC – Comment on these please! – “If I put an X on my hand we would have twice as many people at our shows just because we are straight edge.”
I don’t know who said this, but what I wanna know what dimension they’re living in, and how I can get there.
DYKHC – “90% of straight edge and youth crew hardcore is terrible boy scout, pledge of allegiance, popcorn selling, safe sounding “hardcore” that revolves around merch.”
I’m pretty sure a friend of mine from DC said this in my zine haha. I’m not sure of the accuracy of the stats, but she could well be right on the ‘terrible’ front. If you listen to the first two YOT records (let’s be honest, we don’t need the other two), that shit is hard! A lot of more modern youth crew takes its cues from softer stuff like GB, Chain and In My Eyes. When the youth crew sound is done well, there is no denying it’s sick as fuck. Please see Step Forward or Loud And Clear for examples. I’d say straight edge was overpopulated by low quality chugging self righteous XVX type shit more than anything though. Half of them turn out to be pedos too. Anyway, merch rocks. Just try and convince me that the Uniform Choice four-siders aren’t the greatest shirt design of all time.
DYKHC – In theory, Brexit will be a reality soon. And if that wasn’t enough, the boot of pandemic crisis is standing on our necks. Any profound political or social viewpoints you wish to share? What will Brexit mean for the hardcore (underground) music? How will pandemic change our music culture? I can only hope that underground music, in all its cultural variety and outward-looking ambition, can survive whatever comes next.
As far as Brexit goes, although we had a song about it on the demo, I think my good pal Port Daddy explained it the best; “Brexit is like being annoyed you can’t get your dick out in public. Not because you want to get your dick out, but because you’d like to have the choice to be able to get your dick out. So your solution is locking yourself in a room by yourself, because even though you don’t want to get your dick out, at least you always have the choice to”. Maybe it’s because I’m from a traditionally left wing part of the country, but I just struggle to get my head around these things sometimes. I think there is also a huge generational and cultural divide too. I feel so distant from my ‘fellow Brits’ who want to leave the EU, don’t believe in Covid, think Britain isn’t racist, and say things like “all lives matter” and “why can’t we have straight pride”. Merseyside needs to secede from the UK. In an ideal world, Ireland would take us in as the 33rd county. Ireland has its own problems, sure, but they never invaded or conquered another country. Solid craic.
DYKHC – I know you love punishing yourself with impossible and pointless decision-making lists too. I really like your “bleh” yelling in the end of the song called “NSEDFY”! “The “bleeeh”, the hardcore battle cry, the pre-mosh call out, the yell of excitement. What do you do if you don’t know the lyrics? Get up on stage anyway, grab the mic and just yell Bleh! BLEEEH!” (Something about the Bleh! article by Boothaeven’s zine) What are your top3 favorite “bleeeh” on hardcore records/tapes and why?
As much as I do love punishing list-making, I’m afraid there is only one true BLEHHH, and that is the one spat by 14 year old Frederick!
DYKHC – Read somewhere in a review that my interview questions are always awful. So thanks for your time and your answers! One last thing, I just showed The Flex drum-cam video to my mom. She said she will re-evaluate everything about music, you are better than Ringo Starr and John Bonham. Peace!
Your questions are always the best mate, but mum must be crazy! I mean, my dog Dougal is better than Ringo, fuck Ringo. But no one beats Bonham!!! X up, mask up, and listen to Cactus. Sinabit.
Freddy Alva: I was 16 when I did this zine, worked on it in ‘86 & came out in ‘87. It’s full of grammatical errors, amateurish layout & questionable opinions; gotta start somewhere! Co-edited with Howard ‘The Punk’ Charcofsky in Jackson Heights, Queens. Cover drawn by ROTE 1 X-MEN.
“DYKHC: The graffiti and hardcore connection, these two distinct subcultures criss-crossed and fed off one another during the 1980s. You have always loved the visual side of tapes, records, fanzines like lyric sheets, inserts, fanzine covers. Please tell me something about the cover of FTW fanzine! Was it the first appearance of graffiti letters on the cover of a NYHC fanzine? Freddy: The cover of my first zine (FTW) was done by someone I met my first day of High School, a Graffiti writer by the name of ROTE, when I started going to shows I met a lot of kids like me that came from a hip-hop background and a big part of that was Graffiti. My friend ROTE saw me as a full on b-boy freshman year and transition to hanging out with the skins/metalheads by the following school year. While he never got into the scene, his skills were off the chart and I wanted to bring that vibe and as far as I can tell it’s the first instance of Graf letters on a NYHC fanzine.
DYKHC: The first interview you ever did was with Ray Cappo outside of the legendary Some Records in 1986 for your pre-New Breed fanzine called FTW. Hardcore is a very aggressive and combative style, and Ray brought a lot of intelligence to the genre with his extremely philosophical lyrics. He had an unusual talent to make changes in the scene. How was your first time meeting Youth Of Today, and why did you find it necessary to do an interview with YOT? Freddy: YOT were amazing live in ‘86, don’t think any of their records ever captured that and whether you were straight edge or not (I wasn’t) they were undeniably influential at a crucial point during the second wave of NYHC that had kicked off by then. Ray was an extremely charismatic frontman that lived and breathed Hardcore and that a ripple effect on everyone that he came in contact with so I had to including him in the zine. I’d never done a live interview with anyone before but I decided to go for it; Ray was extreme cool about it, suggesting we do it outside Some Records minutes after I asked him if he’d ever be into answering some questions. One of the strongest memories I have is of various local scenesters passing by and commenting, in particular Jules from Side By Side, decked out in full boots & braces gear. I shouldn’t have worried because I picked the best person interview, as soon as I turned the tape recorder on, Ray was off & running; the same relentless energy he exhibited on stage was present in person. Belated thanks to him for making my initial foray into zinedom a smooth one!”
You can read the full interview with Freddy Alva in the issue 3 of Do You Know Hardcore fanzine. Do You Know Hardcore? is a one-sheet fanzine. Free physical copies will be available via Quality Control Records (UK), Shining Life (USA), Gratitude fanzine (USA), Control Records (Belgium), Little Future distro (Germany), Gutter Groove (Denmark), Ugly And Proud (Bulgaria), World’s Appreciated Kitsch (Greece). If you need this fanzine I can send it to you in PDF format, just drop me an email at meheszattila(at)yahoo(dot)com.
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.
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!
It was originally published in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 6 (2018).
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!
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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.