Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This last weekend I was in NW Indiana visiting in-laws for the Holidays and I took an hour drive into Chicago to go to Reckless Records. I always look forward to visiting Reckless Records because I always seem to find some gems and it's always worth the drive/time.

It reminds me of being a teenager and taking the trip to Cleveland or Pittsburgh (whenever we could find a ride) to go to the record store in the 90's. This used to be an epic event, one that I always looked forward to. I would take whatever $$$ I had and hope that I find something good. Usually we found some real gems, but sometimes we found little or bought some stuff that completely sucked but that was all part of the fun! If you found good records/CDs/cassettes then that hour + drive was well well worth it, if not at least you got to take a trip/hang with your friends. It seems funny, but finding CRUMBSUCKERS "Life Of Dreams" used on cassette was like hitting pay-dirt and was something that made your friends green with envy (I still have and listen to that cassette!).

I feel this experience is something that is all but missing form today's generation. With all the music available at the click of a button online why would today's generation want to waste that gas $$$ and take a trip to search for anything tangible? Gone are the days of having to trudge your way into the real world and do some digging/work to find out about new bands, or finding an old gem that you never thought you'd never find, or even better, taking a chance on something you had never heard of before and giving it a chance based upon the cover art, name of the band, or the record label it was released on. To me, that was always the most exciting and I found out about so many great bands this way. Sometimes I found greatness, other times I found garbage. But to me it was rewarding regardless because I had invested not only my money for the purchase price, but also money for gas as well as a good chunk of my time. Often I was torn between buying one release or the other because my finds would force me to choose. Would that CD still be there the next time I came back? It may be months... this may have been my only chance to find that rare record!

Another great joy at the record store was finding that gem before anyone else could and your friends would be so pissed. "You're dubbing me that on cassette!" they would say. Often, this would be your one and only chance to snag a rare record/CD/cassette. and Ebay didn't really exist yet, so finding an out of print copy of something you had been searching and searching for was really something to get excited about or in some cases, jealous!

Some of the record stores I liked most are the previously mentioned RECKLESS RECORDS in CHICAGO, CHRIS'S WARPED RECORDS in LAKEWOOD (also about a block down the street was B-WARE VIDEO the only all-Horror video store... RIP!), ULTRASOUND RECORDS in CLEVELAND, BRAVE NEW WORLD in PITTSBURGH, IDE'S in PITTSBURGH and KIND SOUND which was right here in YOUNGSTOWN and was open for about 2 years while we were still in High School, but while Kind Sound was open we all scored some great rceords! I got ONE LIFE CREW "CRIME RIDDEN SOCIETY" there and KILLING TIME "BRIGHTSIDE" LP (original) for $5! The label on it sd "NYHC FORM WHEN THAT MEANT SOMETHING". The guy knew what he had, and he wanted to make sure someone who would appreciate it got their hands on it. And someone did! I even saw shows @ Ultrasound Records. We were sad when that store closed. What a great place!

Today's HC education can be administered in the comfort of one's home over the course of an afternoon. You can find any of these releases online I am sure. But finding a real copy... at a steal of a price, that to me is much more satisfying. It's all about the hunt and knowing you invested your time and your money into something. To me that meant something. Don't be lazy. Take a trip out into the world and do some digging. Take some chances. Invest your time and your money into something and maybe it will mean something more to you. And just maybe you'll find something exciting and have a fun time with your friends!

Here are the items I got at Reckless this past weekend... all for $25 total! ICEMEN "re-issue 7"", UNDERTOW "At Both Ends", GUT INSTINCT "Discography", ENDEAVOR "Crazier Than A Shithouse rat", FARENHEIT 451 "If I Knew Then What I Know Now", and TAD "Infared Riding Hood"

Monday, December 22, 2008


Last night we did our Holiday HC show @ Mr Roboto Project in Pittsburgh. it was just a small show w/ 4 local/regional bands: UNREAL CITY, ENEMY MIND, DEATHRIGHT and our band CROWD DETERRENT. Me and Rob decided this would be a free show for all and we paid the venue out of our own pockets.

We showed up and it looked bleak. When we showed up no one was there @ the advertised start time. Perhaps it was because the show was on a Sunday? Maybe it's because it was literally 5 degrees out? Maybe everyone was busy with Christmas stuff? An hour passed and Roboto began to fill up. By the time we started to play there was probably about 100 people in there and we were relieved.

All the bands killed it and everyone had a good time. People even drank the egg nog (and custard nog!) I set out and some adventurous souls even ate the awful fruit cakes. I got very sick to my stomach before show's end... thanks to an ill advised combination of egg nog and mosh. There was a nice crowd of diverse people who got to see some of the Pittsburgh area's best bands for free. I feel this area is growing stronger and we now have a crop of bands that are just as good as anywhere else in the country. I am pleased with how it turned out and would like to thank the people who came to the show and the bands who played for free.

Have a happy Holiday of Hate!

Monday, December 15, 2008


As a kid in the late 80's through the early 90's I eagerly awaited Saturday nights. I would camp out in the basement and sleep on the fold out couch and watch USA SATURDAY NIGHTMARES and then USA UP ALL NIGHT which ran till 5am or so showing some really trashy T & A movies. I saw some of the best (and worst) horror movies of all time and this sparked my life long love of horror movies.

I have posted the intros and some of the promos from USA SATURDAY NIGHTMARES below. I wish TV shows like this still existed where you could see movies like BASKET CASE, DAY OF THE DEAD, THE OUTING, DEMONOID, VICE ACADEMY, BIKINI CAR WASH COMPANY and much much more. They just don't show movies like that on TV anymore!

Check out the videos posted and enjoy! If you watched these shows this should be a trip down memory lane... if you are too young then please take the time to experience Cable TV when it was at it's finest! USA Network today should hang it's head in shame. All they show is Law & order and Monk... get that shit outta here! Bring back Saturday Nightmares and quality Cable TV!!!




Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Interview conducted via e-mail with TUI vocalist Justice. Questions in bold marked ASSAULT. Answers in plain text marked JUSTICE.

Trapped Under Ice is one of the few more recent bands that excite me. They have impressed me on all 3 of their 7" releases as well as the times I was lucky enough to see them live. They are one of the most relevant bands in HC today. I am no Dan Rather, so some of these interview questions are serious and some are not so serious and just for fun. Hope you have fun reading it!

ASSAULT - Tell us what TRAPPED UNDER ICE is for those who may be living under a rock.

JUSTICE - trapped under ice is a hardcore band consisting of 4 gentleman, including myself, from baltimore; and as of a few weeks ago, one gentleman who resides in richmond. together we take influence from what, to us, are the most entertaining aspects of punk rock and hardcore music, to write and perform hardcore our own music.

ASSAULT - You have toured the US and Europe extensively. What were the major differences regarding the US and European HC scenes? What were some of the better bands you saw/played with in Europe?

as much difference as there is playing in europe, its crazy to see how similar hardcore is. however, they definitely do some things differently over there. they always feed the bands in europe. while in the US its a cool bonus, but rarely happens. i would also add that US hardcore shows can be a little more violent.. maybe? but i guess that all depends on where you go in the US.

ASSAULT - Do you feel that people in the US give proper respect to international HC bands like ones form Europe and Japan?

JUSTICE - I dont think they do. like almost at all. which sucks. europeans seem to be aware of a lot of music all over the world. definitely not the case here. people should definitely check out creepout and numb from japan. they are incredibly heavy. it seems that they have a good thing going on over there in tokyo, i cant wait to check it out. also, as far as europe goes, there is some hard shit coming from that way too - born from pain, cheap thrills, cold snap, knuckledust, ninebar, six foot ditch and way too many more to name. we just released a split 7" with a band called dirty money from london. they took us and LOJ on the road with them in europe and they're a great band. they'll be visiting much of the US with us, reign supreme, and full blown chaos in january.

ASSAULT - You recently did a bigger US tour w/ Terror and some other bands in a package. Were there differences in this t
our form the ones you have done when you would just go out alone for a weekend or week?

JUSTICE - the line up was terror, death before dishonor, the warriors, and cdc. it was definitely a lot different on many levels. bigger stages, bigger audiences, a load in time that we actually had to adhere to!! that's some new shit that we werent use to. also, 2 months is a long time on the road. our equipment that we actually did bring broke in 2 weeks, and we would have been fucked but everyone looked out for us. but even with these large differences, one thing remains the same and that was the hardcore mentality that all the bands maintained. all the bands looked out for us in every way. this was our first big thing and we learned a lot, but if we weren't on tour with real hardcore bands we'd have been stuck in the dessert with no van, no equipment, no hope of playing any shows regardless.

ASSAULT - What was the best show on that tour?

JUSTICE - Honestly i would say cleveland was in the top 3. some, not all, of the cities we played before cleveland were a little rough and i kept telling everyone that it was going to change in ohio. i was definitely right. shit was madness. to add to it we have a lot of really good friends in ohio that made the experience that much better. i couldn't pick a single best show.

ASSAULT - What was the most memorable eating establishment you ate at on tour?

JUSTICE - Mikey hoods took us to this incredible spot. i wish i could recall the name. its funny because EVERYONE in california claims to know where the best burritos are, and they're typically wrong. mikey hoods was definitely correct. his spot ruled. otherwise, i mean, not that i need to tour to go there, but chipotle. thats my favorite. we eat there like 3-4 times a week on tour.

ASSAULT - Has anyone in the band ever shit or pissed their pants on tour? If not, any close calls? Graphic detail please.

JUSTICE - best questions. shit happens. i mean its happened on tour. ill have to save the details though!!

ASSAULT - What do you think is the most negative aspect of the current US HC scene?

JUSTICE - kids who dont get out of the house to actually experience hardcore. kids who pretend to be jaded because they think it makes them look cool, because they saw a cool guy on a messageboard and he was hating. must be what cool kids do, right? kids who talk shit on the internet all together. shitty promoters who bail on shows, or dont pay bands. fools that try to make some money for themself for not doing shit. closed minds

ASSAULT - What do you think is the most positive aspect of the current US HC scene?

JUSTICE - having a place to go and learn new things about the world and people. kids who use the internet as a way to promote true hardcore. good promoters, who book reliable gigs and take care of bands. people who contribute. open minds.

ASSAULT - What ONE band has had the most influence on you musically?

JUSTICE - crown of thornz. i think this is kind of an obvious one. its been my favorite band in the world for a decent amount of time now. consciously or not, a band that means that much to you will have a great influence on your music

ASSAULT - Baltimore is one of my favorite places to play/attend a show. For those who do not know, please tell us about the current HC scene in Baltimore MD.

JUSTICE - we've got a good thing going in baltimore. lots of diverse bands. solid venues. young new kids coming out as well as a lot of the guys who've been into it for a while. what i think is cool about baltimore is it seems to breed hardcore kids with open minds. kids will check out and show respect to any bands that are doing there thing. you'll see a lot of the same people at a stout show that you will see when ruiner plays.

ASSAULT - If you could go back in time and score with ANY chick in history, who would it be? Explain yourself!

JUSTICE - tough question. maybe marilyn monroe? she was such a babe. typical answer i guess.

ASSAULT - What do you hope people can take away form your music whether they are listening to your music or seeing your band live

JUSTICE - hardcore lives!

ASSAULT -What is the most difficult aspect of touring in an underground HC band?

JUSTICE - being broke as fuck and coming home to the reality that you're still broke as fuck.

ASSAULT - Do the cu
rrent economic woes have an effect on your band?

JUSTICE - well obvious shit like gas prices and such. luckily gas has gone back down a bit. but definitely the economy effects each of us as individuals, and thats what we are. we're 5 individuals who, as long as we can afford to, come together to write music and play it everywhere possible.

ASSAULT - How do you feel about the current economic & political atmosphere in the US?

JUSTICE - sometimes i feel like i dont have a lot to look forward to in the future. just more obstables in between me and "normal" life. though, i could be ok with that. atleast at 22. not forever.

ASSAULT - If you had never discovered HC music, what do you think you'd be doing with your life right now?

JUSTICE - construction. id like to pretend i would have went to school, but i would have probably quit that regardless.

ASSAULT - What is your all time favorite breakfast cereal?

JUSTICE - lucky charms yo!

- What do you hope to accomplish with TUI in the future?

JUSTICE - one of our main goals when we started this band was to not limit ourselves musically, but take aspects from everything we like to branch out and spread the hardcore message. i dont mean playing pop and playing it off like were still a hardcore band; but having something for most everyone that could be attracted to hardcore music.

ASSAULT - Any last words/shout outs/etc? Say whatever you'd like

JUSTICE - shout out to reaper records, a389, dead and gone records. thanks to KM at rock vegas and mission merch for looking out since day 1. ohio has some of the best spots to play hardcore music in 2008. all my homies in richmond. computers are cool but give them keyboards a break every now and again, and give the mosh pit some special attention. and everyone keep an eye out for that new NAYSAYER shit.

Please be sure to check out TUI when they are on tour. Also be sure to pick up any/all of their releases. If you are into straight up/NYHC it will not disappoint. Baltimore HC has been pumping out some of the best bands in HC for some time... please do some digging to find any/all bands mentioned in this interview and all the others that may not have been mentioned!

Friday, October 31, 2008


I can remember being 16 and in a sea of people. Wearing my gardening gloves w/ an X on them in clothing that was ill-fitting at best. Weighing all 145 lbs (if that) just waiting. Waiting for the band to walk on stage. Waiting for them to hit that 1st note. Waiting to explode. As soon as the band hit that 1st chord, I was off along with many of my peers. We were pushing and shoving with all of our might like human bulldozers to clear out space.

Space for what?

Space to dance!

Once there was enough room to move around freely, it was time to do our hardest and most intimidating moves (or what at the time we thought was intimidating) to make sure that wall around the dance floor did not cave-in. If it did, it was time to put your back to the living wall, spread out your arms, and push backwards with all of your strength.

This is something I rarely see at shows nowadays. A decade or so ago, if you went to a Snapcase or Sick Of it All Show, these actions were the norm. Now the dancefloor is already cleared... usually all the way to the very back wall of the venue. There is no more circle to mosh in, and no more work to clear out said area. Now it is usually just a huge open space in which no one makes any contact... unless they are hitting the person standing 50 feet across the room from them backed up against a wall. Moshing has become much more violent in general which is the main reason for this.

Things will be how they will be, though. Times have just changed and there are kids today who will never really get to experiance what I have described above. I always enjoyed that rush when the band 1st came on stage, and the battle to be able to do your dance moves. There were many shows where I recall having conversations with my peers as to whether or not we'd be able to dance, and we'd all get together in the center to clear out a space before the band got on stage. Some shows, the crowd was mostly punk/metal types, or other outsiders, esp at larger shows. At this time, there were a lot of people who were still in the dark as to what HC was and what HC dancing was. Often the push-mosh would over-take the dancefloor (the push was your enemy), or the crowd would swallow-up any space to be able to move and all your hard work was swallowed-up.

Often, fights would occur, usually with one of the outsiders or someone not very well versed in the ethics of the dancefloor with it's arms being thrown and kicks being spun or the process of keeping the floor open. As I recall, most fights at shows were with/against outsiders, and usually not between people within the scene. Sometimes some kinda beef would emerge between regulars, but not often.

To be able to dance was often an effort which took many people, some of whom you knew well, others you did not, but you always at least recognized their framiliar faces, and real always recognized real, which put you on the same team with the same goal. The mosh today is easily had. The battle for the dancefloor no longer exists... for better, or worse. But I will never forget the rush of my years as being a Human Bulldozer and the friends I made in the process. Many of whom I probably would never have met otherwise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Asian Invasion in Retrospect

It's been about 2 weeks now since our 16 friends went back home to Tokyo, Japan. If you read my previous blog, you know who and what I am talking about. From Thursday Oct 9th until the night of Monday October I spent countless hours (and well over 1000 miles) driving my old minivan (which was dragging on the ground in the back) along with many other friends who drove 16 Japanese friends from Cleveland, to Baltimore, to Pittsburgh, to Cleveland (again) back to Youngstown, and then to Cleveland (again).

Thursday Night (the 9th) we drove up to Cleveland Hopkins Airport where we picked up 11 Asians. We were excited to see our friends whom we had met before: Kunhide, Dr Feelgood, etc etc. Also just as exciting was meeting some new faces. After a short mishap with some missing luggage, we loaded up our cars (and I mean LOADED) and drove back to Youngstown. On the car ride back we talked and the language barrier (which was very difficult the 1st time) was much easier for everyone. We got home and everyone went to sleep. The next day would be a very long one...

Friday we loaded up and headed to Baltimore. It took about 6 hours and we arrived on time. The show's line-up was STOUT, TRAPPED UNDER ICE, CROWD DETERRENT, BACKHAND, CREEPOUT and NUMB. Our friends from Baltimore (Danny/Charles/Backhand) had picked up 5 more Asians at the Baltimore airport who would join our cavalcade of minorities and foreigners. The show's attendance was great. Numb set up and walked on stage. They started playing and everyone was eager to hear them... they played sloppy and shouted to the sound guy to fine-tune the sound in the monitors... after 2 sloppy songs and a lot of fine-tuning... Numb walked off stage, much to the confusion of everyone at the show. Was THAT their set??? No, it wasn't, because in Japan, hardcore shows are a much more professional ordeal than it is here in the US with bands doing a real rehearsal/sound check before the show. In American all you do is tap the mic and rip into your set. I ran back stage and told Senta "You have to go back out there! You only have like 15 minutes left for your set time!" they seemed a little confused since American shows are not run quite like Japanese shows but I got them ready to go back out and announced to everyone on the mic what had happened. Numb walked out and ripped into the intro to the Cro Mags "We Gotta Know" and then ripped through the rest of their set. This was my 1st time seeing them, as well as everyone at the show. Numb had never played in the US before, but they have been playing in Japan since 1995. They were incredibly hard and tight, people went off. it was refreshing to see people give such energy to a band they had never heard before... but I have to admit, it would be difficult not to be motivated to move for that band because they were really one of the more solid bands I have ever seen. Creepout got just as good of a response. People went off and sang along. STOUT and TRAPPPED UNDER ICE both killed it as well, the Japanese guys were very excited to get to see both of these bands in their hometown of Baltimore.

After the show we decided to drive about an hour towards Pittsburgh and find a place to crash... this didn't work out too well. Turns out that along rt 70 there were no hotels available because some wacky festivals or something were going on that weekend. So we just kept going to each exit, hoping to find some rooms. We all ended up getting separated and my van load crashed at 5am with 11 of us in 2 rooms. Rob's load of 10 people tried to cram into 1 room at a hotel across the street, but were kicked out in no less than 5 minutes. No one slept very well that night.

The next day we drove to Pittsburgh and all met-up at Pittburgh Mills Mall and then our friend Mike's house. We got to the show @ Roboto at 7:15. The show was supposed to start @ 7:00 and was way overbooked. We had to rush to get everything set up. UNREAL CITY, AMERICAN WEREWOLVES and STEEL NATION kicked off the show and were both A+. This show's turn-out was great as well. NUMB and CREEPOUT took the stage and blew everyone away for the 2nd night in a row. Roboto was wild and violent as usual, Senta from Numb commented on it being one of the most violent shows his band had ever played. We capped the night off by hanging out at the famed Wall across form the O at Pitt University. There were about 50 or so people hanging out eating pizza, and the cops decided to park their cars right on the sidewalk in front of us to make sure we didn't cause any trouble...

That night we drove back to Youngstown. The next day we hung out and grilled, and everyone relaxed. We took the Asians to WORK WEAR DEPOT where they had a field day. Dickies, Carhart, and the like are all very expensive in Japan (they told us Dickie's pants run $50 a pair!). They all loaded up on flannel shirts, Dickie's pants, and all manner of rugged American work wear. Later we loaded up and drove to Cleveland for the last show. The turnout was far better than expected (we thought this would be the dud of the 3 shows) and once again, NUMB and CREEPOUT blew the roof off the place.

The last day we took them to a hotel in Cleveland by the airport so they could grab a shuttle there in the morning when their flight left. Some of them cried tears as they said goodbye. Our journey was over. We were all sad to see them leave.

The weekend was refreshing. We gave all the $$$ we were paid for the shows to CREEPOUT and NUMB. Our goal was to bring their music to the US, and we succeeded. Releasing their songs, as well as bringing them here to play live was our goal, and both were accomplished. it was great to see people mosh and sing for NUMB, a band they had never heard of before seeing them. This is rare today, most people do not even give their energy for bands that release easily accessible records here in the US. It was a great display of the attitude and spirit that 1st got me into HC when I was a teen. People of all races, people from the other side of the earth, people in different states... all coming together to have a good time and support some strangers they had never met before.

I was greatful to see all my friends form there again, and meet new ones like Senta, Ill-T and the rest. I am glad Kunhide, Dr Feelgood, and the others got to meet my son Bruce. I wish Japan wasn't so very far away. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


This upcoming weekend is the yearly visit from our friends from Japan CREEPOUT. We will be doing 3 shows with them (and NUMB, also from japan) in BALTIMORE, PITTSBURGH, and CLEVELAND October 10th, 11th and 12th.

More important than the shows is how we got to know the guys form Creepout and how we became great friends despite living on opposite sides of the planet. One day, me and Rob were sitting at the tattoo shop doing our usual online search for international HC bands. We are big fans of bands from Europe and Japan, as well as other places in the world. We feel there is a wealth of great HC outside of the US which gets overlooked because of pompus attitudes of US superiority, so we search for new bands that we do not get exposed to and the internet has opened the flood gates for us to do so. On the mentioned day, me and Rob found a band form Japan called CREEPOUT. Thye had logos with the Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo, and the singer's name was "JAPANESE CLEVELANDER". They had a great Clevo influenced sound (OLC/Integrity mixed w/ NYHC) and they seemed like they loved Northeast Ohio. To us, this was a sign. It was a sign that these were people we would get along with great. Also, their music ruled. We wanted to not only meet them, but we wanted to bring their music to the US.

We contacted them and Clevelander (Kunhide) told me he comes to Cleveland every year to see Cleveland Indians games, so we asked them to do a split record with us, and met him up in Cleveland the next time he came to see an Indians game. The 1st time we met, he and his friend (Ychiro) could barely speak english, and I could not speak ANY Japanese, so it was a bit awkward and difficult to communicate. We took them to see Ringworm (one of their favorite bands0 at some awful metal bar in Cleveland... the show was terrible (due to the venue and the crowd of 90% middle aged metal dudes) but they were excited to see Ringworm and meet Human Furnace (they thanked me as though I had introduced them to God). I stayed with them at their hotel that night and we talked more as the language barrier started to break down. The next day i took them to the rceord store and then to Rob's tattoo shop. We had a BBQ and played a show for them in the lobby of the tattoo shop and lots of people came and had a blast. They said it was better than any of the shows they had flown over to attend in NYC of anywhere else. We were sad to see them go home.

Soon after we released our split CD with them and me rob and some others would keep in touch w/ Kunhide, as well as many of his friends in Japan on a daily basis. We sold 500 copies of the CD which we self released on a DIY level on our own HARD ASS RECORDS, mainly in our region where we play shows (NEOH/Western PA) but we also sold them on the internet to ppl all over. Creepout came to play 2 shows that year in the fall and both shows were great, people travled from far off to come see Creepout, and before their set in Cleveland the entire crowd was chanting CREEPOUT! CREEPOUT! CREEPOUT! until they exploded into the 1st riff and the place exploded into one of the wildest sets I have ever experienced. Bodies, fists, couches being thrown... I even saw a guy running around and hitting people with an empty milk jug full of rocks! Truly one of the best shows I have been to in all the years I have been attending, playing, and setting up shows.

At that moment I realized we achieved our goal. We brought Creepout's music to the US, and more importantly, we made some wonderful friends form the other side of the earth in the process. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Who'd have thought that just checking a band out on the internet would lead to all this?

We have just released another split w/ another band from japan (Numb) and we are looking forward to bringing their music to the US as well. Please keep your ears open to music from other countries, HC does not exist soley in the US.

Check out CREEPOUT at their My Space:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who are you and where are you from?

I have lived in Youngstown, OH my entire life. Where I am from is something that I am proud of (despite it's NUMEROUS and obvious short-comings) and have always done my best to represent who I am and where I am from proudly, and I know that all of my long-time friends from here feel the same as well. I do not just see myself as a representative of my home city, but rather my entire region (Northeast OH/Western PA). I feel EVERYONE should see themselves as a representative of wherever it is they are from. Otherwise, who are you?

In Hardcore, when I was a teen I remember seeing bands which you could always tell exactly where they were from based upon their sound. "Regional Sound" was what it was. Also, a lot of the time you could tell where someone was from just by looking at them... their style of dress and mannerisms could tell you a lot. Today, this is not so much the case. A band that sounds like it is from NYC can be from California, and a band that sounds like it is from Cleveland can be from Europe or a band from NYC sounds like it's from California... in fact, there's not very many bands anymore that I really think "I know EXACTLY where this band is from!" after hearing just a few songs. Also, seeing a band in their hometown, that used to be something special. Seeing a scene's boss band play their hometown was the craziest show you could see that band play... and getting to do a show w/ them was an honor and privilage. Going to a different city used to mean having to learn/respect their customs. Evey place had it's different mosh styles ( and in lots of places some of the things you may do at home were not acceptable), it's different crews, different styles of dress, and different/unique sounding bands. There are still some places and people that are like this, but they are few and far between.

Many scenes have simply lost their identity. I have noted a major decline in the idea that you have to support the bands, promoters, and people from your home region in order to have a strong, functioning scene. People are looking elsewhere. The grass always seems greener somewhere else, and driving out of town to go to a big fest, or a city that has cooler/hipper shows/people is all too easy now that everybody "knows" everyone via My Space. A person or band can be blacklisted from their scene for being a thief or an all-around cock sucker (a decade or more ago, this was like a death sentence) but now all you have to do is get on My Space and beg for shows in other places and your band can tour all over and never even have to play in your home city or you can just go elsewhere and blend into the crowd of all the others who do the same. There are tons of bands and people who do this. I mean, don't get me wrong, stuff like this happened in the past, but the internet has made it so much easier to just by-pass your local scene. Bands no longer have to pay dues. They no longer have to work hard in their hometown and build cred and hook up touring bands w/ good shows in their hometown order to get ones in other places... My Space bulletins will take care of that. Post enough of them and someone will book your band. There are hundreds of hack bands who's demo should never make it past their city limits.

In the late 90's we worked hard to build a scene in our town of Youngstown. For a 5 year period, we had regular shows. the shows were not the biggest in the world, we would not have 500 people show up or anything, but we had enough people and bands to have a functioning scene w/ regulars who attended every show. The scene we had was independant of surrounding cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh and we had our own mosh styles, crews, sound, and ethics. Even though everything fell apart and now nothing is left of those days, we are still proud of the work we did and what we accomplished by putting our city on the hardcore map... at least for a little while. We hope that someday it will rise again, but the attitudes we find form the new generation do not have any interest in building anything here. They are only interested in touring and conquering the world... only problem is, without a homebase to stand on, that is a tough thing to accomplish. Scenes like ours used to pop up all over, and most faded away... but some remained and endured.

I miss the days of local and regional scenes. If you come form a place that has a strong local scene/sound/etc... please support it. Don't let it die. Support the bands, promoters, and people that represent your scene. Me and my friends do our best to try and build something in our area which will be unique and special. Something that if you come here for a show, it will leave a lasting impression. All the fancy shoes and My Space friends in the world cannot compare to the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from knowing that a band from your town blew-up because YOU supported them. Knowing that your scene is respected as a result of YOUR work and support. Knowing that YOU are part of something real.

Respect to the people who work hard to support their local scenes. The promoters who book grass roots shows. The bands who support touring bands. The bands who are writing songs with a distinct/unique sound which indentify them and your area. And to the people who devote their time and money on a regular basis to support the promoters and bands.

Are you proud to be who you are and where you are from?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Headaches & Rewards

Last weekend we did our big yearly show that we throw each year called SUMMER OF HATE in Cleveland. Me, Rob, and Trevor set up the show and we were concerned that due to rising gas prices and the overall current state of division in the world of "hardcore" in 2008 that the show may not go so well.

I showed up to the show at 5:30 (late) and the show was to start at 6. There was already a line of people standing outside and a good number of others scattered down the street... our worries of a show w/ low turn out were put to ease. at this point I was running around with a clip board trying to find and organize the bands and tell them exactly when and where they were playing. I then went into the club and the people working there told me the schedule of times/bands differed from the one they were given previously... and tried to tell me that mine was incorrect. After some time and talking to 10 different people, it was straightened out. At this point, it was 6:15 and the doors had not been opened and we were already off the time schedule which we made for the show. Furthermore, the venue told me they would not let anyone in the show without being patted-down and searched for weapons. As people were finally allowed to start to trickle in (and I do mean trickle) the 1st bands had to be started at the same time to allow all 13 bands ample time to play and stick to our posted time schedule. Also, coordinating equipment for the bands to use, trying to get the guest lists sorted out (the venue didn't want to allow 7 PEOPLE for the entire show!) and whatever else was going wrong. At this point, I remembered why I stopped doing shows 5 years ago.

Eventually, everything was back on track and any/all troubles of the early goings ons were forgotten. All the bands showed up and played at the scheduled times and everything ran smoothly. We got over 300 people to come to a show which was booked, promoted, and run by us... for us. There were no fights, but there were quite a few broken noses and jaws (including mine). All the bands were either the best of the best bands from our region and bands that we felt best represent the best in HC from the US. At the end of thre night we were paid exactly the amount of $$$ by the club that we had promised the bands and we paid every dime (plus some extra out of our pockets) to the bands. Myself, Rob, or Trevor made no profit (as promised). In a socialist/ideal world of hardcore, all shows would go this way, but usually someone makes a profit off a show (whenever there is one to be made, of course), or someone gets in a fight, or some bands cancel... but that's just reality. I am just thankful that all of our work provided a great time/show for everyone who attended and all the bands that played. To me, that was enough justification for all of the headaches and hard work we put into it and was a far greater reward than any profit we could have made off the show if we'd have charged double the price for admission. Also, seeing old faces come out that we have not seen in years was great and also reward enough.

Every band played a great set. WISDOM IN CHAINS ended the night with an hour+ set which included the majority of their material from all of their albums and blew the roof off the place. It was great to see so much energy after such a long, hot, and physically demanding show. We had been worried that the crowd might not have any energy left by the end to give to bands like KNOW THE SCORE, STOUT, and WISDOM IN CHAINS, but all the bands had awsome sets and it was great at the end of the night to talk to the bands and hear them ask us "when can you bring us back???". All the other bands (NO END IN SIGHT, BACKHAND, A DEATH & A PROMISE, TASTE THE STEEL, RIGHT IDEA, COFFIN BROTHERS) all gave it their all as did the crowd. it was great to see so much positive energy and pretty much no negative energy come out of the show.

We look forward to doing the show again next year. Please support your local bands and promoters who are doing shows by us, for us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Everyone has memories of "the best of times". Talking to old friends, we all seem to agree that the memories of one time and one place in particular stand out above all others. That place was HOOLIGAN INK. I ran into a guy just the other night, and he sd "It's a wonder no one ever died at that fuckin place!"... no statement could be more true regarding Hooligan's!

Hooligan's is a tattoo shop on the South Side of Youngstown, OH... aka "The Armpit of America", and sometimes "Murder Capital of America" (some years). Hooligan's was no ordinary tattoo shop. There were regularly hardcore and punk shows in the basement staring in 1999. The basement was dark, creepy, and covered with graffiti. You walked in to the shows from the back alley (which regularly had stolen/chopped cars, gutted and sitting on blocks) and down a creaky hallway (watch your step... you might fall through one of the holes) and as you approached the stairs to go down, you saw in front of you the infamous "THIS WAY TO HELL" sign on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Once you got down there, you saw walls covered w/ graffiti and blood (the "Blood Wall" was a wall where you would rub the blood your wounds, usually head wounds), and often you'd see a giant rat (or rats) scurry away. Sometimes the floor was covered in water (or even sewage) because the pipes leaked or got broken during a show. The poles that supported the ceiling were wrapped in barbed wire. Displayed proudly on the wall were crude weapons like baseball bats w/ nails through them and axe handles wrapped in barbed wire... and they looked like they had been used! All this was what you saw before the show even started!

Hooligan's shows were "anything goes" and were generally wild. Since it was in a bad part of town, only die-hards came to the shows... outcasts and ugly types were the norm, the rest of the sheep steered clear. There was NEVER a fight at ANY Hooligan's show... and for good reason. One look at the people at the show and the neighborhood.... you knew that no one was coming to save your ass if shit got out of hand. The staple of Hooligan's shows was CROWD DETERRENT who played nearly every show, and PITBOSS 2000. We tried to bring in the best of the best of bands we could get to play such a dump at the time, here's a few of the bands that came through and played Hooligan's: PITBOSS 2000, KILL YOUR IDOLS, INDECISION, BLANKS 77, 25 TA LIFE/COMIN CORRECT, RUN DEVIL RUN, REACH THE SKY, ONE LIFE CREW, PROBLEM SOLVER REVOLVER, MUSHMOUTH, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, DONNYBROOK, and many many more. The shows often featured skinheads running around w/ ski masks, and people wielding machetes. Straight Edgers and drunks moshed side by side, mowhawked punks and varsity jacket wearing hardcore folk smashed one another on the dancefloor. Age, style, race... none of that mattered. If you were into underground/angry music, you loved the shows at Hooligan's.

The best show/pinnacle of Hooligan's was the "Final" Pitboss 2000 show. This show featured PITBOSS 2000, CROWD DETERRENT, PROBLEM SOLVER REVOLVER, and NO RETREAT. The basement was filled to capacity (see the pic below)
It was difficult to tell where the crowd ended and the band began. At the end of the show, MEAN STEVE form One Life Crew came out and preformed 3 songs from CRIME RIDDEN SOCIETY. He had not been seen at any show for years, and this was pre-OLC reunion. Steve came out, sd very little, and the place erupted. Those 3 songs were one of the most fun times I have ever had in my entire life. I still watch the video of those songs and get chills. (pic below from OLC set)

(Pic below: 25 ta Life) The shows went on for about 4 or 5 years, then they died off. there was a "final" show featuring CROWD DETERRENT, DONNYBROOK, INTERNAL AFFAIRS and LOSING STREAK. The show was disappointingly uneventful until the final band, Crowd Deterrent played... then the place erupted into a frenzy of punks, skins, straight edges, and any kind of person you could think of moshing, stomping, kicking, swinging weapons, throwing fireworks... just what everyone had expected form the get-go. It was a fitting finale... although there was one more event at Hooligan's, the Crowd Deterrent "Down To Throwdown video was shot there.

I could probably write for hours about all the things that happened there. All the people who came and went and even passed away. The daily antics and characters that worked at and hung out at Hooligan's could fill a novel, but I just wanted to focus on the shows. It was a place where there were literally no rules. You could do whatever you wanted. It was truly a wild place which was not for everyone... many were too scared to even attend a show there, even if a band they liked was playing. I can recall bands that I booked to play there, and I would tell them to watch when they got into town, and to not turn off the main roads if they got lost... they would tell me "yea yea yea... we're from Brooklyn! We can handle it", and then when the same band pulled up to Hooligan's, they looked at me in astonishment and sd "What the fuck kinda place is this??? Is our van gonna be safe here? It looks like someone drove a tank through this city!" and I replied " I dunno... you're from Brooklyn... you tell me".

Hooligan's will forever stand out in my mind truly as the best times of my life. Where else could you see someone getting their head stitched up in the back alley with a needle and thread against a backdrop of a burned out/stolen car? Where else was there a mile-long spool of barbed wire sitting out for you to literally do as you pleased with it? Where else would you go to a show and see a refrigerator thrown at the crowd? Where else could you mosh in raw sewage? Nowhere, there's where. (pic below: original "Hooligan Crew")

The shop is still in operation today as a tattoo shop, the shows have stopped and the place is cleaned up from the days of wild debauchery. If you go there, and ask nice, they might just let you go to the basement and see where all the action went down.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer of Hate 2008

Me and some of my friends set up a show which we do yearly called SUMMER OF HATE.

The show is an attempt to build strength in our regional scene, but having 1/2 bands from the region and 1/2 bands form out of the area (which are some of the best HC has to offer).

I offer no shameless promotion here. Since the show is NOT FOR PROFIT, how could I? The people who put it on will make no profit, and all $$$'s made will go towards paying the bands. And if we do not make enough we will pay the bands what we promised them out of our own pockets.

We made sure the show cost no more than $6. We did this for a few reasons, 1st because gas is so damn high. 2nd because we wanted to show kids that you CAN do a show for $6. I see shows that have 5 bands, 4 of which crappy locals, and the promoters try and charge $15! This show stands as a testament to all that there are still people who care about the scene and no making a profit, and hopefully it will inspire more kids to selflessly book shows in our region.

Also, we realize that if gas prices continue to escalate, the days of big shows like this will be long gone. So we hope that this show will really be a great time because we do not know if we will be doing this show next year, and even if we do. we do not know if we will be able to bring in out of state bands like STOUT, WISDOM IN CHAINS, and KNOW THE SCORE.

The show's line up is: WISDOM IN CHAINS, CROWD DETERRENT, STOUT, KNOW THE SCORE, UNREAL CITY, RIGHT IDEA, TASTE THE STEEL, POUND FOR POUND, TRICERATOPS, DEATHRIGHT, BACKHAND, NO END IN SIGHT. Show starts @ 6:00pm, it is ALL AGES. There will be 2 stages and a schedule of set times posted. You can get more info at hyttp://

Come out and have a great time with us!