Sunday, December 30, 2007



Saturday, December 29, 2007



Sunday, December 23, 2007



Well, let's see...

The new Nick Cave ABATTOIR BLUES cd/dvd combo is pretty decent and all but really just for die hard fans. I liked the last studio album but just wasn't as blown away as everyone else seemed to be, and most of these tracks are from that last record. Not to sound like a critic, but on some of these songs, his voice sounds really..well, let's just say I am surprised he let this one get out. He probably doesn't give a shit, and why should he? He's Nick Cave! There is a live version of "Christina the Astonishing" on here, though. It sounds as bleak and depressing as ever. Maybe that is my problem. I like Nick and company when he's all bummed out and shit, and these days, he's...well, pretty happy! Good for him, not so good for me. I'll survive, though. I'd get something else if you wanted to be introduced to this man and his music.

And I bought another dvd/cd combo by the Swedish band Katatonia called LIVE CONSTERNATION. I've liked this band for years and all of their releases are good, and stay good. Unlike their buddies OPETH, I haven't seemed to have lost interest in this band and their pounding gloomy dark pseudo metal music. I am surprised that they haven't caught on more in the states. However, when I listened to and watched this band on this release, I noticed that they appear to be a whole lot more seasoned and confident onstage. They even sort of pose a bit and get into it! They could break big, they are poised to. The problem I seemed to have though, is that based on previous footage I've seen, the band seemed almost timid and kind of reserved. And I liked it better that way! Now, lead singer Jonas is all "ALL RIGHT!!!" and stuff like that. However, the playing is good and there is some good selections on here, but this is just like the Nick Cave release; you don't need this unless you are a big fan and even then it would be pushing it.

I really liked the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss combo record, Raising Sand. I will give it my vote for best "adult" record of the year, it doesn't sound ANYTHING like what you would think it would, kind of ghostly at times and very understated. All of the songs are covers picked by the two singers with some help from producer T-Bone Burnett, who based on his work on the Autolux cd, is someone anyone in a band could make a damn good record with. They cover all kinds of cool songs, from Gene Clark to Tom Waits. Hell, Tom Wait's guitarist Mark Ribot plays on here, too. There are a couple of misfires for me personally but all in all, a cool cd. You could do a whole lot worse, and probably already have.

Everything else I have heard recently is old music I have already loved for years or old music that someone else has turned me on to.




These dudes are old enough to have sired some of you. They love to talk just as much as they love to play rib-cracking hardcore, which made this interview a pleasure.

Herpes: Brian, you're in the band and you've drawn classic punk/hardcore covers. Why didn't you design the cover of the album?
Justin and Scott: We wouldn't let him.
Herpes: You wouldn't let him?
Justin: He's got one job and he can barely do that one!
Brian: I'm just the drummer. I thought it would be better..once these guys started showing me some of the ideas that they had, I never really wanted to do it. I never wanted to be part of that part of the band. What came out for the cover is so much better than me doing something because I could or because I played drums for the band. I just didn't want to be part of it.
Scott: You did our new shirt, though.
Brian: I drew a gun.
Herpes: You drew a gun? On whom?
Brian: On the t-shirt.
Scott: He drew it the wrong way and we had to reverse it. (laughter)
Brian: I was on PCP on the time, so...
Kevin: We're still trying to figure out if we should do any cross marketing. If Brian's career is going to help us a little bit or if we should hide it.
Brian: I wanna keep myself..I wanna keep that part out of it. I consciously..I mean the gun is the first thing that I drew that had anything to do with the band.
Justin: I'm sure if Brian made some plea about how he really wanted to do it, we wouldn't stop him, but I really don't think that...
Kevin: If he gets on Good Morning America, he'll draw our next cover.
Justin: It depends on how successful he becomes in the next year.
Brian: That's the solemn vow. So that is the answer to that question, I guess..
Herpes: Who designed the cover, then? It looks like, I don't know...
Scott: A Swans cover mixed with the "GI" Germs l.p.?
Herpes: I can see Swans elements, definitely.
Justin: Here's the whole process: Scott designed the logo and then we had done stickers right off. We were gonna modify that for the album cover because the stickers were the same symbol, but with a red background. Kevin was feeling iffy about the red background.
Brian: Being Jewish. (laughter)
Kevin: Not me, but..
Justin: Scott said the only way he'd change it is if we did it gold or silver. We did the gold, it worked and Brandon took it and ran with it.
Kevin: Yeah, Brandon's the one that really made it happen.
Scott: We would give Brandon the idea and he would formulate it into a picture and we'd say yes or no.
Justin: He didn't want to keep it as simple as we did, but I think once he finally saw it in final, with the raised letters, and extremely simplistic - we wanted something that when you're looking through something in a hurry, it stands out.
Kevin: Like a big stop sign.
Scott: Exactly, exactly.
Brian: It didn't have the giant mohawked skull that we were going to put on the cover initially. (laughter)
Justin: We made a compromise.
Brian: Or some kid screaming into a mic with thirty kids around him.
Herpes: What is so "wonderful and frightening" about your worlds?
Scott: Well, the Fall weren't using that album title anymore..(laughter)
Brian: That's it.
Scott: Our next record is going to be called "Daydream Nation".
Justin: Hey, you got a scoop!
Kevin: There's your scoop.
Herpes: That's got a simple cover, too.
Scott: All of the covers are simple. All of the covers are going to look the same.
Justin: We're gonna change the gold to silver.
Herpes: (laughing) So the second album is going to be worse then, because it's silver? Shit!
Justin: Then it's gonna be a brown paper bag sleeve.
Kevin: That's what bands do, right? They get worse.
Brian: We have to follow the tradition; we have to get worse and worse as time goes on.
Scott: There's no photograph that can picture what the band means except for that symbol.
Justin: Exactly.
Scott: It's easy for kids to recognize, scratch into their desks at school, or spray paint onto a wall.
Herpes: Scratch it into their arms.
Brian: If they are cutters, yeah. It's simple..
Justin: That is our target audience: cutters.
Kevin: We want to appeal to not just punks, but cutters, everybody.
Scott: Social retards, freaks, everybody.
Brian: Mentally retarded people.
Justin: Everybody's involved! Ninety year olds, grandparents..
Scott: Not them, they suck.
Kevin: Jewish people.
Brian: Okay, scratch that.
Herpes: The name of the that to piss off grammatically-minded people such as myself?
Kevin: Why does it piss you off?
Herpes: I'm an editor and I deal with grammar all day. I see "Double Negative" and grammar is the first thing I think about.
Justin: We wanted the most positive name you could possibly have.
Brian: In reverse.
Scott: Yeah, two negatives are a positive, so Double Negative is positive. It has a negative connotation, but in reality...
Kevin: It's positive.
Herpes: So it's like that "double plus good" Orwell shit?
Kevin: (laughing) yeah!
Justin: It rolls off the tongue.
Brian: The Exploited was already taken!
Scott: I think, except for Kevin, we were all at pretty negative places in our lives when we started this band, so we were going from bad to good.
Kevin: Oh, I was coming from a negative place. I was trapped in a shitty corporate job going nowhere and this band was very liberating.
Scott: I brought them together.
Kevin: It was like karma.
Scott: I called..I hadn't talked to Kevin in like ten years and I called him up and said, "hey, come check out this show" and he said, "let's play in a band" and it started that night.
Herpes: Damn!
Brian: We basically put the band together to play a house party in Raleigh. That was the inspiration.
Kevin: We didn't do that.
Scott: It was at the Thrashitorium, it was this really high energy thing and it was the whole reason I got into music to begin with. We're like c'mon let's do this. We've all been in bands before.
Brian: We've all been with each other in bands within a twenty year period because we have known each other that long.
Kevin: There was more energy in that one Thrashitorium show than in the previous ten years of fucking indie rock shows. (laughter)
Scott: It was a whole new group of kids and they were totally outside the general alternative rock scene in our town. They were doing it and were bringing in bands from all over the world to play in a living room. We were like fuck yeah, this is what it's about - everybody having fun. In Raleigh, there's never any fights. It's young kids with smiling faces.
Kevin: They are happy to be there.
Scott: It really is. It's fun, total fun.
Herpes: That's awesome you guys were like teenagers again. Just like every thirteen year old does when they first see a punk show and says, "I can do this, too." That's fucking cool! Since you guys have been around for awhile, do you think there are any unsung bands form your area in the past that need to be given respect?
Brian: A lot, but you know, every town has that.
Justin: Do you mean existing right now?
Herpes: When you guys were coming up or whatever.
Justin: Every band we were in that didn't make us millionaires.
Brian: Aside from every band that we did that no one noticed, there's no one else.
Kevin: It's not important.
Scott: Corrosion of Conformity from like 1982 to 1985 were a monster machine, hands down. Whatever they're doing now, it's not my trip, but they're cool guys.
Justin: There's a lot of cool stuff in Raleigh, but it's the same problem that most young bands have is that it's very hard to keep things together. I mean, you gotta make a mistake so the next band you are in doesn't make the same mistakes. When there's four nineteen year old kids playing together, most likely that's not going to be the last band they play in.
Scott: I feel like when I was younger playing in hardcore and punk bands, I was thinking, "I've got all of the time in the world." But now, I'm forty-three and I don't have that much time left; I'm fucking going for it as hard as I can.
Herpes: Fuck yeah!
Scott: I didn't think that I was going to be alive when I turned thirty, so I was very surprised! (laughter)
Scott: I had to re-think everything. This band has actually been a very positive experience for all of us. It's been really fun, we've made a lot of friends, we put out a record. Most of the bands we've been in had posthumous records. Or we had demos and we were lucky to play in another town or another state. Thanks to the Internet and all of that crap, things have picked up quick. It's been a rewarding experience. It has its ups and downs, but nothing really bad.
Brian: We generally learned from our past mistakes.
Justin: Exactly. We know what we can and cannot do. We try to do every single thing we can do and don't sweat it when we can't.
Scott: This band isn't just one person. If we all don't agree, we don't do it. We all have full time jobs.
Brian: Except for the drummer.
Justin: I'm constantly being told that I'm "this close" to being replaced. (laughter)
Scott: But really it was Brandon and Lauren from No Way Records. They totally helped us out.
Justn: Hank, the guy roadieing for us..we've got a lot of help from really cool people that really wanted things to happen for us, which was not the usual experience for a long time.
Scott: We're really appreciative and really thankful that these kids are into it. We love doing our shit. We love playing out, regardless of what the reaction is.
Justin: It makes it a lot easier when people go apeshit.
Brian: It kinda seemed like when the record came out, we were all really happy with how it turned out. Speaking for me, I wasn't even expecting it to come out as well as it did.
Justin: Or at all, possibly. We've all been in bands where people have said, "oh your record will be out in six months!" Six months later, you call and it's like, "this number has been disconnected." (laughter)
Brian: We've all had experiences like that. This is the first time that we've been on a record while we're in existence. It's also been pretty educational for me at least, getting back into this world after all of these years and just catching up a bit. It's been awhile.
Kevin: I'm totally humble an I feel like every show we play is special because I never thought I'd ever...I mean I knew I'd sometime come around and be in some music stuff, but I never thought I'd be in a band that was touring and stuff.
Brian: If you had told all of us two years ago that we'd be doing this band, much less doing an interview with someone that wanted to talk to us, we would have laughed at you..but here we are.
Herpes: I have a question about the lyrics to "Redshift". Do you have a fantasy about being jettisoned into outer space?
Kevin: Oh, absolutely.
All: Oh, who doesn't? Of course!
Scott: I gotta say this..Outer space is such a limited area. All of the action is happening under the sea. Nobody knows what's going on under there. In the depths, there's some really cool shit.
Kevin: There's not five hundred telescopes pointed at the bottom of the ocean.
Brian: For me, I really appreciate what Kevin writes. I had no idea what he was singing about and I didn't want to know. It was only after we recorded our record that he typed everything out. When I read along, I was pleased. Everything was phrased real weird, He puts stuff in weird spots. That was the icing on the cake, for me at least.
Scott: I couldn't imagine anyone else singing for the band. I like Kevin's voice. It's not a real macho thing. I don't wanna play in some dude band.
Justin: We're not eighteen years old, we don't have the same problems. The songs aren't going to be about the same things. It's not, "hey dad..I gotta borrow the car" it's "fuck I gotta pay a mortgage."
Kevin: Fuck, I gotta lend my kids the car! (laughter)
Brian: Different problems.
Scott: The problems can be way more intense. I dunno, they seem more intense.
Brian: They're more real.
Scott: They were real before, too.
Justin: We've got more ways to make them go away.
Kevin: Hardcore really is more relative to when you're older, but people our age don't understand. We thought when people used to be into hardcore when they were younger and all about it.
Brian: Having real responsibilities and making real adult decisions. People would have more of a reason to be into "arghh!" kind of stuff as time goes on.
Justin: That is why we are trying to appeal to the AARP crowd now. (laughter)


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


So yeah, this was adorned on t-shirts and posters for the NO WAY RECORDS festival not too long ago. I got to draw every "Brian Walsby" hardcore cliche in the book (like you know..everyone smiling and having fun, stuff like that) and I got paid for it as well, which was nice. This drawing also has me ripping off what I drew on that SCARED STRAIGHT seven inch i drew in..lets see..1985. Some 22 years ago (egads!),like those "monsters" on the cover. The end result? Everyone liked it, and a few people I know think they are in it. That is fine with me.

Monday, December 17, 2007




So many of you have been e-mailing me and pleading with me along the lines of "Hey man! Where the fuck is that goddamn drawing you did of the late John Peel hanging out with the equally late Sandy Denny of the Fairport Convention?! I keep hearing about it! It is way more famous then that damn "Nardcore" drawing you did for that album! Put up or shut up, dude!"

Okay okay it is. You can all stop now! Click on the picture to see a bigger version, okay?

Sunday, December 16, 2007





Wednesday, December 12, 2007





Monday, December 10, 2007



Friday, December 7, 2007


Interview and intro text by Wolf

I've known guitarist SCOTT WILLIAMS (AKA: EPIC WARFARE) from DOUBLE NEGATIVE for atleast 15 years. Most of that time watching him on stage at some club performing in whatever band he was in at the time. I'll never forget the time, while he was in the band DADDY, playing a show at KINGS years ago. He started insulting all the scenester types in the audience. He also made his feelings clear about people from CHAPEL HILL and a local free weekly newspaper's music dept. My friends and I just laughed our asses off, it was a beautiful moment because we agreed with him.

When I finally got onto MySpace, he was one of the first individuals to contact me. He told me about his new band DOUBLE NEGATIVE and about all of their upcoming shows. Unfortunately because of my then hectic work schedule, I missed a lot of opportunities to see them perform. Finally on a Wednesday night last Winter I saw them play at the Flint Place. And to me it was like an epiphany, since I never believed a band today could still play Hardcore Punk in the style from 1980-82 ever again. Atleast not without coming across as fake or rehashing. That night I became a believer in DOUBLE NEGATIVE. Another crazy thing happened that night, their drummer BRIAN WALSBY and I finally talked. Yeah sounds strange, but we have known about each other for years. We just never talked to one another. I've seen him play in various bands and he always heard I was a Punk Psychopath.

Now they have released their debut 10 song LP "THE WONDERRFUL AND FRIGHTENING WORLD OF DOUBLE NEGATIVE" on NO WAY Records. In SCUMFEAST 6 (old format) I called it the best Hardcore release I've heard in decades. Now other people around the country, if not the world, will get their chance to hear DOUBLE NEGATIVE too.


KC - Vocals



WALSBY - Drums

BRIAN WALSBY was nice enough to answer a few questions, even though people think I'm mean.

SCUMFEAST - I'd like to start from the beginning of the band's history. Since you're all veterans of the underground music scene, how did you all get together to form DOUBLE NEGATIVE?

We have been friends since the mid-eighties but alot had changed in our lives since then. At the end of 2005 we all went to an underground house party and saw the new wave of young punk bands. They all seemed pretty into it and it was inspiring enough for us to decide to form a band that was likeminded. We thought that we could do this and that was pretty much how it all started, which was January of 2006.

SCUMFEAST - The band's logo harkens back to the past when many Punk/Hardcore bands had a simple recognizable logo, which you would see spray-painted on bathroom walls of nightclubs across the country. BLACK FLAG's "The Bars" or the CIRCLE JERKS' "Skankman" to name a few. Who came up with the logo?

Gosh, I forgot. I wanna say that it was probably Scott. I think it was. I really like the logo. It does harken back to that era with those logos. I'm sure that was the idea behind it.

SCUMFEAST - The logo used to be red, white, and black. You replaced the red with gold, why was that?

Kevin thought it looked too nazi-ish. I suppose he was right in the end. That is all we heard when we first came out with those colors for our stickers. Almost a year goes by and right before our album comes out, Kevin decided all of this. It ended up looking alot better in gold anyways, the cover has this weird GERMS/SWANS thing for it. I still wish we could have had the big mohawked skull on it. Maybe next time.

SCUMFEAST - When and where was your debut gig and how were you first received by the audience?

We played maybe 3 months into the band's existence and it was in front of a bunch of people at Kings. We were received really well and we were surprised.

SCUMFEAST - Did you always have long range plans for this band (ie: touring, recording, etc)?

Not at all, that was thinking too far ahead for when we first started. I think we just wanted to have a good time

SCUMFEAST - Aside from your music, the other reason I like DOUBLE NEGATIVE is that you are not a cliché of the past. Did that ever come up in discussion when you started the band?

Honestly, we never discussed stuff like that at all. I think it's pretty obvious that alot of what we are about is inspired by the past, especially the 80s hardcore world. But we didn't try to recreate any of that. We didn't even know what would come out of us but since we all knew a thing or two about how to play this style of music, it seemed to work out well. Kevin and I were talking a while ago about how much better this band is then the bands we used to be in when we first started playing this stuff. We always hear from kids about SCARED STRAIGHT and SUBCULTURE since we were in those bands, but this band is alot better then those.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I used to have that SCARED STRAIGHT LP and saw SUBCULTURE back in the day. Yes, DOUBLE NEGATIVE are better.)

SCUMFEAST - We're close together in age so we remember when Hardcore emerged out of the rubble of the original Punk movement in the early 80s. And I will say that the majority of individuals of my generation agree that Hardcore went from good to bad to pathetic. But now 25 years later it seems to have cycled around to the good stuff again. Yourselves and CROSS LAWS are perfect examples of that. Would you agree with that assessment?

Somewhat, I mean I totally lost interest in hardcore in general after a certain point because it just ended up sounding the same. It was getting boring and generic. This was during the end of the 80s. There was too much music I liked that I couldn't just dismiss solely because it wasn't hardcore enough. In the 90s, I couldn't think of maybe 2 or 3 bands that I liked that were hardcore, whatever that was. These days there seems to be so many sub genres for all styles of music and most of it sounds pretty disposable to me any way you slice it. There seems to be alot more hardcore stuff coming out that tips it's hat to the 80s sound and some of them are really fun in a live setting.

But I probably wouldn't go home and listen to them. Only the bands FUCKED UP and the CARBONAS have really done that for me. And that is just how it is for me. That is just how it is for me not the other members of the band and it is certainly not meant to be a knock on anyone out there doing things.

SCUMFEAST - You've released your debut LP on NO WAY Records, who's in charge of that label?

Brandon and Lauren, two nice youngsters.

SCUMFEAST - How many copies of the LP are in the first pressing?

I think one thousand? Maybe I'm wrong. It came out on CD as well. I do know for a fact that it is going into it's third pressing on vinyl which is great.

SCUMFEAST - Will this release be vinyl only or do you plan to have it available on CD?

See above answer. The CD is enhanced with some live footage as well.

SCUMFEAST - Why did you have it playable at 45 RPM speed and not at the normal 331/3rd LP speed?

Justin taped "Rehumanization" and played it for us. It sounded like VENOM or ENTOMBED. It actually sounded pretty good.

SCUMFEAST - While looking at the liner notes on the sleeve insert, I see that you recorded it at MINIMUM WAGE STUDIOS in Richmond, Virginia. So why didn't you record it in your hometown of Raleigh, NC?

Originally we were going to self-finance a recording with COC's Mike Dean. I had recorded with him before and it just made sense to do that considering his pedigree and that he is a friend. Also he's a longtime influence from times where he was leader of that band when they were at their peak. But then Brendan and Lauren made us the offer and it was going to be paid by them so we couldn't pass it up. They all live in Richmond and that is where Lance has his studio. Working with Lance was easy and the whole thing came out far above my expectations. It came out sounding really great.

SCUMFEAST - There's quite a few bands on MySpace who are selling their songs on their sites. I know a few local area bands that are making out better financially by selling songs than full length CDs. Do you plan on trying that?

It hasn't come up to my memory. Who knows? Probably not?

SCUMFEAST - Other than SCUMFEAST Zine, have you received other favorable reviews for the LP, be it local or otherwise?

Quite a bit and almost all of them have been very supportive. Even the one review that wasn't was still pretty good. They thought the record really kicked in towards the end and it reminded them of old DIE KREUZEN and they wished it was like that all the way through. Being compared to DIE KREUZEN isn't a bad thing at all so that was cool.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: According to the "Indie Rockers Guide To Reviewing Music", under the musical term "hardcore punk" it states that "whenever reviewing hardcore punk, always namedrop bands like DIE KREUZEN or VOID so you will look cool and hip to that scene." Secondly the local pro-socialist/indie rock free weekly compared you to DIE KREUZEN. SCUMFEAST zine didn't because we know music and indie rockers are college radio losers.)

SCUMFEAST - In my review of your LP I called it the best Hardcore release I've heard in decades. In hindsight I should've said 20 years instead of decades to clarify what I meant to readers who were too young to remember. Still with that said do you consider my statement hyperbole or do you see the release to be true to my words of praise?

Thanks, well I don't know. I wouldn't consider us anything special but maybe because we actually saw all of those old bands that everybody loves form way back then. And maybe because we played this style of music way back then. Perhaps it does lend us some ability to do something that might be a little bit more something you can sink your teeth into but we never planned any of that. And we were quite glad to read such things.

SCUMFEAST - The live shot photo on the back of the lyric sheet, was that taken at the Flint Place?

Yeah, Hank took that picture and we all thought it was a good one so there you go.

SCUMFEAST - As far as the songwriting goes, does everyone contribute to the writing?

Scott usually kicks off the whole thing with a few rifts and everyone ends up throwing in their two cents. It takes alot longer to piece it together then it seems, although sometimes we've written songs in like ten minutes. Not usually though.

SCUMFEAST - Are you hitting a cowbell in the song "Redshift"?

That is the last appearance of my ice bell that I have had for twelve years. I lost it not too long ago but I got a new one.

SCUMFEAST - Just for the hell of it, I listened to the LP at 331/3rd speed with the volume turned up really high just to see if it sounded like the MELVINS. That's an obvious reference to your favorite band. Actually it sounds like the DEHUMANIZERS, which is pretty cool. It's almost like having two releases for the price of one. No I didn't play it backwards since that would be stupid but have you tried listening to it at 331/3rd speed?

See that last VENOM/ENTOMBED reference for that answer.

SCUMFEAST - Getting back to doing shows, you've regulars on the local house show circuit, is that because of a lack of viable venues to have shows billed as Punk/Hardcore locally?

I have mixed feelings about this. I love the energy and responce from the house shows but sometimes they can be a drag as well. It would be nice to get a little money but I think that is ultimately the band's fault more than anyone elses. As far as clubs go, it would be nice to do more of those but sometimes you don't get the same feeling as the house parties when those run smoothly. So you are in sort of a Catch-22 situation in regards to all of that. I feel if we can play anywhere, from a basement all the way to the Los Angeles Forum, then why the hell not? I would love to mix things up alot more. I don't think it would be a bad idea since I really want to limit what we do as a band or where we can play.

SCUMFEAST - You played a few shows at the now closed down nightclub KINGS BARCADE here in Raleigh. Do you see any other area venues that will pick up those shows?

Out of all of us, I'm the most out of the loop as far as knowing about these things. So I can't offer any opinion.

SCUMFEAST - I find it funny how the local "arts community" is crying about the closing of KINGS and the continued threat to all small businesses in downtown. And yet it was this same group of people who supported the politicians (the mayor and most of the city council who are now in power) who are directly responsible for the closing of KINGS by giving the go ahead to building a convention center that the public voted against. Are these people hypocrites?

Probably so, but you know how it is. There will always be something around the corner. These things seem to go in waves.

SCUMFEAST - Since the city has now enacted laws that give it the power to declare certain properties as public nuisances and have condemned certain properties, which made it easy for developers to buy property owners out. Are you worried that the city will go after places that are part of the local House Show Circuit next?

It already has happened, hasn't it? Really how long could those things last anyways? If I was living near one of those, I would've called the cops a long time ago. The best party is always the one that is not held at your house, so you can leave and go home. And besides, we are not talking about acoustic hoedowns where middle-aged guys with ponytails sitting around and eating carob cookies. We're talking drunks peeing on lawns where loud blasting music is being heard. Is it any surprise that people living in residential areas get these things shut down and call the cops?

SCUMFEAST - Outside of the band, what kind of work does everyone in the band do for support?

We all have boring regular jobs and some of us have hobbies and pastimes that also help bring in chump change. It would be too boring to go into really.

SCUMFEAST - Do you plan on some touring this Fall?

Yeah but we can only really go out for little jaunts but things on that horizon might change in the near future.

SCUMFEAST - Is there anything else up and coming for DOUBLE NEGATIVE that fans should be looking forward to?

A bunch of stuff, more songs, a seven inch, maybe another one in the future and hopefully a new album by the next summer.


far out, man!


So here is another drawing I did of D. Boon.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Sandy Denny is one of my favorite singers. Her voice has been described as "very English" (she was) and "as deep as a clear blue lake". Casual rock music fans know that hers was the voice battling it out with Robert Plant on Led Zeppelin's "Battle Of Evermore" but other people (usually English in nature) hold her up as one of best loved singers...of all time! From her incredible solo records (from which this video clip focuses on, actually..three songs from her first solo record, I think sometime in 1972) to her singing on those earlier Fairport Convention records (along with the equally talented Richard Thompson), Sandy Denny is a beautiful (to me, at least) woman and a hell of a singer.


I wrote this initially for the website KILL FROM THE HEART at least four years ago. The weirdest thing that has happened to me in the last year and a half, is all of the kids that I run into that know about Scared Straight. Even weirder is how some of them really REALLY like it, and that they weren't even born when the band recorded thier seven inch in February of 1985. That is pretty weird, I must say. So here is the story, with a little afterthought afterwards...


Perhaps I might not be the best person qualified to write about the history of what could have been Simi Valley, California's first hardcore band that made waves in our area around the mid eighties. I was merely the band's drummer in a succession of drummers, and in fact I only was in the band for not even a whole year. But what a "not even a whole year" it was. Scared Straight, for all intents and purposes, was merely a fun kind of thing, a chance for some kids in our boring town to blow off steam and have fun. As a spectator, I knew of most of the original Scared Straight kids, Dennis Jagard (guitar), Steve Carnan (guitar), Morgan Freeman (bass) and Scott Radinsky (drums) as being some of the few punk rock types in my area. This was like '82 or '83. I saw a pre-Scared Straight outfit called S.O.F. (Secure Our Future, I believe is what it stood for) that had Scott and Dennis in it, and they played at a Simi Valley "battle of the bands" thing that happened in a roller rink that really blew me and my other fellow not punk yet nerdy friends away. They actually won the thing. When I actually did meet them, the above were already in the newer Scared Straight with a kid named Gary as the singer. Far from wondering if they would beat me up for looking normal and call me a poseur (it happened in high school), they were all pretty cool, and they liked the fact that I drew cartoons. I was eager to please and became a fan. Scared Straight didn't do too much at first but did play in the L.A. area a little bit, and of course played in our nearby punk mecca known as Oxnard, home of "Nardcore" i.e. Agression, Ill Repute, Stalag 13 and Dr. Know. In early '84 (I think), Gary was given the boot and Scott stepped into the vocalist slot while James Harris took over on drums. This version of the band quickly recorded a couple tracks for a Mystic Records compilation and then towards the end of the year James and Morgan either quit or were kicked out and the new members on bass and drums were Eric Swift, a hilarious uber-blond type from Newbury Park and uh... me.

Maybe it was the timing of everything, but it seemed like things started to happen a lot faster for Scared Straight after this. In the next six months we recorded a (don't laugh, please) nine song seven inch, we played out in the area several times, met and befriended a lot of cool kids, got to meet some of our heroes, were able to play up in San Francisco and Santa Cruz a couple of times and maybe even inspired some kids back in Simi Valley.

Oh yeah, then there is the band name, which came from the movie of the same name, not really from being Straight Edge at all. All though most of us were of that mindset, none of us were living our lives by what soon would be a really strange perversion of what was only a cool idea and a great song. We did know all of those types (Uniform Choice and Justice League) and we were friends with them, but we always laughed at people that took it all too seriously. And we were certainly before that stupid militant jockish mindset of "Straight Edge Hardcore" that soon spread like wildfire. Sorry, no Ray Cappo types in this band.

We went on a U.S. tour with Ill Repute in the summer of 1985 and had a blast until halfway through when all of our gear and personal belongings were ripped off in Pittsburgh, which was an amazing and shattering experience for a bunch of kids thousands of miles away from home. I quit the band so I could hang out on the east coast for the rest of the summer. The rest of the band went home and got a new drummer that Eric knew named Tim. They also got new equipment that sounded much better then what they had, the band suddenly playing and writing songs in a heavier direction somewhat sounding not unlike bands like Blast! They were a little pissed off at me for bailing but we still were friends. The band sounded good and I was a little bummed but I made my decision.

In the late winter of 1985 Scared Straight did another tour of the southwestern part of the country and since Tim couldn't go I gladly volunteered. We played good and it was worth quitting my crappy record store job (where everyone hated me anyways) at Tempo Records to do so. Afterwards, Tim re-assumed the drum throne and I would travel with them when I could to roadie and/or sing a song. I ended up moving to Raleigh in the spring of 1986.

Scared Straight kept going, recording another record for Mystic Records that came out against the band's wishes. The band started to go into hiatus mode for awhile as Dennis went up to Northern California for school and Scott ended up becoming a pro baseball player at a very early age, his wicked left handed fast ball a big calling card for oncoming fame and a profitable baseball career. Yet the band still hung in there, and after getting to know some Epitaph Records/NoFX type people, they recorded another record called Swill and then changed their name to Ten Foot Pole. The record was distributed through those Epitaph types and the band soon found themselves on the Epitaph roster. As an observer, I noticed that the band now tended to go towards the Epitaph type of thing instead of their former selves, a thing that wasn't really my thing but hey to each their own.

The band existed a part time thing due to Scott's baseball career for a few years until the rest of the band (Dennis, Steve, and a revolving door of bass players and drummers) gave Scott his walking papers. I don't think those guys are friends any more. Dennis took over as the singer. Scott started a new band called Pulley that also featured another old friend of mine, the very cool Mike Harder, a former metal head guitarist who loved the Descendents and was always floating around the Scared Straight camp somewhere. Both of these two bands came out of the Scared Straight thing and exist to this day. I have been living in Raleigh now for fifteen years; have played in a lot of bands over the years and still draw as much as I can.

To sum it all up, when I look back at the first real band that I had a chance to play in, I don't feel embarrassed by our crappy sounding output, or our MRR-copied mindset of the lyrics that Scott, our friend Rob Demko and myself cobbled together, and I don't look back and try to paint a situation of things bigger then they were. I say this because I have (believe it or not) read things that people have written about the band, and have marveled at how funny that seems to be. Scared Straight has even made it into those big Barnes and Noble sold "alternative" rock anthology books. We had a blast, a lot of fun-but we weren't really a great band, we were just there at the time. We looked up to bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag, Adolescents and of course the Nardcore bands, and we tried to emulate our heroes. There were HUNDREDS of better bands out there. But people still remember us so that is pretty great. I don't know why, really. But it is cool.

It said a lot of the time period that a band like ours could play somewhere in Lincoln Nebraska and have a couple hundred kids turning up, some driving a long way to see us, and having all of these kids know every dumb lyric off that nine song seven inch of ours. Things were way different then, maybe in a way it is the same now but still it was a special time. I think of the Scared Straight experience as one of being fun. It set the template for my musical future, the dream of being able to play in a band. I had a blast, really...


I have known Mike Dean for years and years, he was and is a cool guy. In fact, he is the only guy out of the COC machine that I still see every once in awhile. Regardless of whether you are a old fart like me that remembers how much of a kick ass band they were in the mid eighties, or if you are a current fan of the Pepper Keenan led version of the band (which has been lying low in one of their now numerous "down periods"), Mike Dean is a Raleigh North Carolina institution. Here is a interview I did with Mike for NOT YET DECIDED. It was right when they made their ill-fated choice of Simon Bob stepping in as the new singer. Read on and see Mike try to deny that he in fact DID think Exodus was a real good band. Liar.

Mike Dean interview in Not Yet Decided, issue Number 13, early 1987.

NYD: Let’s hear about the new album and tour..
Mike: It’s called “Technocracy” and it will be out in a few weeks. It’s a four song EP. They are songs we have kept under our belts for awhile & now we are finally going to release them. It is going to be the last record that has anything to do with Metal Blade. It’s interesting. It will be the first record that has a singer on it besides Reed & me. Actually, it is the first record that we have done in a long time. We have a lot of new material; we are going to record an album real soon, too. And if you can tape the EP from a friend that has already gotten it that is probably the best thing to do. It has a high list price. I don’t think we are going to see any money from it anyways, so what the heck..but it does have an interesting insert.
NYD: How did you get Simon Bob as your new singer?
Mike: The Ugly Americans were breaking up. I even encouraged them to continue, I don’t know why they did it but when they did we got Bob so we could concentrate on our instruments more. Plus, I had pretty much shredded my vocal abilities to their..ragged ends.
NYD: All of your new songs sound like an almagation of Black Flag & Black Sabbath. How do you respond?
Mike: Um..I suppose.
NYD: You wear those influences fairly well.
Mike: (mad cackling laughter) DO WE?!
NYD: You sure do! I saw that recent spread Mike Gitter wrote about you in that magazine Creem Metal. How do you feel being in a magazine like that amongst other hot rockers like Ratt & Bon Jovi?
Mike: It certainly stands out from that trash, it is amusing and obnoxious.
NYD: Do you feel that when you were singing your lyrics to people in audiences everywhere that you were screaming to deaf ears..preaching to the converted?
Mike: Definitely. There has to be a new way of getting people’s attention.
NYD: Did you ever think about handing out lyric sheets or something?
Mike: It could be useful. I think it would be more interesting to hand something out that wouldn’t be political dogma, & it wouldn’t be lyrics but..that it would just be something artistic that would take people’s minds out of their normal phase. You know, something that they could pick up on.
NYD: My big complaint about punk shows these days is that you already know what is going to happen before it does. You know what the bands will sound like, you know how the audience will react..
Mike: I know exactly how the audience is going to react like. It kind of bums me out. Sometimes I wish that people would listen and calm down but then again its good to have a reaction, a spontaneous reaction. They typical stale reaction is starting to wear pretty thin, especially after all of these years.
NYD: Are you tired of people labeling you with this whole “pioneers of thrash metal” kind of stuff?
Mike: Actually, I am tired of being tired of it! I was tired of it for a long time. We kind of set ourselves up to do it, in a way.
NYD: Yeah, I remember a long time ago when we first met was when you used to worship Exodus!
Mike: Bullshit! Bullshit! False..
NYD: (interrupts) “False Metal”?
Mike: Ha! That was like our road to..being visible or audible to that audience. A lot of that stuff is pretty worthless.
NYD: How do you feel about your home base?
Mike: Raleigh, North Carolina?
NYD: Yeah..
Mike: Well…it’s a really good place now that the scene is dead!! (Laughter) There are a lot of great new bands. It will stay pretty cool as long as we don’t call it a scene. It is more creative now then it was. Since there have been more clubs now for music, for out of town bands, I have seen a lot of good music. Probably more then when we go out on tour..


Siberian was a little known band that I was also in about three years ago. A very low key band. This is another page out of the BRUSHES WITH FAME idea I have, and to prove that the band was enjoyable, I have a link to a Myspace page that one of our guitar players Tom Hailey put up awhile ago. No one has visited it, but there are some songs up, so why not listen?
Here is the link:

In the meantime, click on the drawing and read the knuckle gripping saga of Siberian.


I have been working on this new project that is intending on being both a mini comic book as well as a c.d. compilation that will hopefully feature most of the bands that I have been involved in. The tentative title is BRUSHES WITH FAME. One of the more famous bands was a project called Snake Nation. This was like in 1989 I think. It was Mike Dean and Woody Weatherman of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. We recorded this album that came out and vanished without a trace. But I tell you, I hear SO MUCH these days about SNAKE NATION, it is pretty hilarious.
Anyways, here is the cartoon story about the project. And in case any of you are wondering, here it is: Mike and Woody dislike the SNAKE NATION record and won't discuss it with you! Click on the drawing to see a readable version.


...But you'll have to click on it to see a larger version. Here is the story: When I went to high school, I was freinds with this guy named Greg Wood. We were both huge Aerosmith fans..but this is pretty much when they already had crashed and burned. Together we had a few classes and since I drew we one day created those two stupid bowling ball characters, HAPPY AND BALLY. He named them, I drew them. Don't ask me where it came from, I have no idea. We actually drew cartoons together lamenting the sad fate of Aerosmith back then (1981, 1982 I guess.) so I suppose since I have been jamming on Aerosmith lately I had to poke fun at them. Funny if you liked Aersomith. Not so funny otherwise.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


This man is a genius. When am I ever going to see this movie? Has it come out on video yet? Will it ever?!!


Hey..look at these crazy kids! The fellow behind me hugging Phil Swisher is Robert Demko. We met in 1984 and we have been freinds pretty much ever since. A year ago this self serving drumming related chat was done. So let's read more about myself, okay?

Much is known about Brian Walsby the "Artist" but less is known about Brian Walsby the "Drummer". Brian has been drumming for as long as he has been drawing( 20+ yrs) he is a talented & skillful drummer with quite a musical history. So I decided to interview Brian about his drumming legacy. Who am I? Who cares! The real question you should be asking is: Who is Brian Walsby the drummer?

( Rob Demko: RD / Brian Walsby: BW)

RD: So how long have you been drumming?
BW: I think it has been since..let me see here. Since I guess..1982 or 1983. But I was just figuring things out. My first real experience in playing drums, at least in public, was at the end of 1984 when I joined the band Scared Straight. My first show was in Oxnard, California.

RD; Why the drums & not a guitar/bass or flute?
BW: I just really liked the drums, but that is not to say that I didnt also equally enjoy guitar, or bass, or the singing. I think it was because I picked it up rather quickly. If I sucked at it then maybe things would have turned out another way. I never have really played guitar. I can bullshit on it, though.

RD: At what age did you decide, I want to play drums?
BW:I dont know if I ever said that to myself. Again, when I sat behind a kit and was able to alternate my foot with my hands I thought that I should keep doing this.

RD: Have you always felt you had a primal need to beat something with your hands?
BW: Probably years later when I realized that I was a smoldering volcano beneath my easy going façade, and that hitting things with sticks seemed to make me feel a little bit more grounded. In fact, I usually get kind of antsy if I havent played for awhile. Sometimes I havent played drums for like six months. It just happened again, I took a break but it was a good time to do so. Everytime I swear I am going to stop playing drums something always brings me back to it. It is kind of like a blessing and a curse.

RD; Who were your first influences?
BW: Pretty much everybody, really. Very early on since Kiss was the first rock band I knew of, I would say Peter Criss, but I was blameless in any of this. Yeah, he sort of stunk. Then next year after hearing more real rock music it would have been people like Bun E. Carlos, Joey Kramer, Phil Rudd and all of the other usual suspects like John Bonham and Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts. Later on when I was seeing all of the punk rock drummers that I knew about, that had a much more profound effect on me, because I was actually able to see these guys, and see them up close. So all of those early eighties guys, the drummers in those hardcore and punk bands, a lot of them Really, most of them were great drummers. Ask anyone.

RD: When did you get your first drum kit? And what kind of kit did you start on?
BW: My first kit was one of these cheapo primitive White Remo PTS pre tuned series kits, where the heads lock in to the shells! I didnt think about getting a full set of cymbals so I hit on a pipe for a little while. Whne I finally got smart I added the cymbals. And in Scared Straight I used Scott Radinskys kit and he even helped me cover them in hardcore stickers. We did this a lot for some reason.

RD: You are self taught, never had a lesson, right?
BW: Yeah, I have never had a lesson in my entire life.

RD: When did you realize "Hey, I can do this & I might be good at it?"
BW: IT was pretty much the first time I sat down behind the kit, really. But I had always hit things with sticks before all of that

RD: Is anyone else in your family artistic, musical?
BW: Not musically at all and barely artistic. My grandfather played drums and percussion. He gave me an old drum set when I was in seventh grade and then took it back before I had a chance to do anything with them. My family likes to think I got it from my Grandfather because of the drummer thing way! He took them back!!

RD: So who are some of your drumming influences/heroes, past & present?
BW: Jesus lets do a partial list that is meant to show you how cool and long reaching my drumming heroes are: Levon Helm is good. I like Away from Voi Vod. I like Dale Crover and most of the drummers Black Flag have had. early Reed Mullin was a great drummer. George Hurley is great. I like the guy Kelli from the late L.A. band Failure. His drumming on Fantastic Planet is awesome and he has the best drum sound on earth. They are like if Nirvana had talent. He is a current influence, but there are a million more. I like most drummers.

RD: How many bands/projects have you played in over the last 20 yrs? Yes, I want you to list them all, LOL!
BW: Alright, you asked for it:Positive Action, Scared Straight, The Born Agains, Delusions of Grandeur, Rob Stewarts Stupid, Wwax, the Cornholes, Willard, Snake Nation, Shiny Beast, Bedside Pig, the Patty Duke Syndrome,Refigerator Heaven, The Shames, Love Limited Orchestra, Space Slut, Polvo, Daddy, Black Taj, Siberian, Double Negative..that is at least eighteen bands and projects. The scary thing is I think that there are more then this.Most of these are bands. It is ridiculous.

RD: How many records have you played on & with who?
BW: Scared Straight nine song seven inch (1985) and a cover of Born To Be Wild on a compilation record called Covers, both released on everyones favorite eighties label, Mystic Records.Wwax we did two singles in the bands lifetime and a double seven inch after the band broke up. This was a band I was in with Wayne Taylor and Mac Macaughn, and they were both pretty big on documenting all of this stuff so we were lucky to have that much stuff out considering the band was only together for a year. Willard had a seven-inch after we broke up, two songs on the Matt label out of Chapel Hill, I think. Shiny Beast had a single and a mini cd out on San Fansiscos Boner Records, we then had some assorted compilation tracks and finally, the Faith/Void inspired split lp with us and Regraped. No one really got to be Void on here, though. We were both sort of like a math rock Faith or something. It was released on Raleigh's short lived Blast O Platter records, a label put together by Birds Of Avalon's Paul Siler and Cheetie Kumar, back when they thought having a record label was going to be a great thing, ha ha. Oh yeah..they also put out a split single by their old band called Glamour Puss on one side, and the Patty Duke Syndrome on the other. Its pretty sought after these days because of the Ryan Adams thing. It is pretty funny. I was on the Polvo record called Shapes that was the last one. I was on the Snake Nation record too Daddy ended up having a couple of tracks off of a couple compilations.

RD: What bands/projects did you enjoy the most & with whom do you think you did your best work?
BW: Probably the tour with Polvo, which was great. The record pretty much blows, except for two songs. I dont know what happened. It just wasnt really any good..but playing with them live, hearing all of those tapes, it was a great experience. The Patty Duke Syndrome was really great, despite all of that baggage that comes with it. I still like our unreleased album, some of my best playing ever. The Shiny Beast stuff, mainly the first recording, was really good. I have liked pretty much everything I have been a part of. There are a couple things that kind of suck but that is the way it goes. Usually I will decide that something was good after it was all over. That is just the way it goes with me, for whatever reason. Daddy was a really cool band for awhile but I seemed to appreciate it so much more when it was over.

RD: Any people/bands you regret playing with or wish you could do over?
BW: I dont think there is anything I have done in music or who I played with that I have regretted. Most of it was great. Its not always fun as everyone already knows. One thing that is really too bad is that some of the best and most special things I was a part of, like Polvo and Patty Duke, there is a lot of material that could be released and the demand has certainly been there but its just not going to happen for a variety of reasons. I will live of course, but all of that has been kind of disappointing. Trying to find those special moments these days is usually in the creating stages.

RD: Any people from the past you would like to reconnect with and play?
BW: I already have a lot of the times! It is a small world here in Raleigh.

RD: How many times have you been on tour & with what bands?
BW: Lets see..not really that much, I am afraid..I hope it is the quality and not the quantity. Scared Straight did two tours in 1985. Shiny Beast did two tours. I was in Erectus Monotone for awhile and we did some really draining and horrible tour that was still fun, oddly enough. And then with Polvo, we were able to do a solid month of touring, a whole lot of shows. That was the pinnacle, really. My short-lived peak as a touring machine.

RD: If you could form your all star jam band whom would it consist of?
BW:I would play the drums. Pen Rollings of Honor Role would play guitar. Mike Dean of COC would play bass, but it would be with a fingers! Plus I would give him he mindframe he had for playing his instrument in..1984. And I would have John Brannon be the singer. I mean, I dont know if it could get better then that. Mike and Pen would write the riffs, we'd all arrange it and then John Brannon would just shriek over everything. No overt metal leanings. We'd be my favorite band. Its going to happen one day.

RD: What type of kit do you play on now? How many pieces?
BW: I just bought a five piece black Premier kit from Ethan Smiths little brother with a combination of Sabian and Zildjian cymbals. And I still have my trusty ice bell, of course. It seems pretty cool. I am not hard to please..

RD: You have always played on a real basic kit, why, any particular reasons?
BW:I was duped into thinking that you had to have a lot of drums as a kid. Then I saw most of these drummers play with these monster kits, and they never seemed to use even half of what they had. What was the point? When I was first playing, I knew right away that I couldnt afford to have a Neil Peart set and I somehow just knew that you could do whatever Neil Peart did on a four piece if you were creative enough to not get bogged down with not having ten million drums. You dont need a lot of stuff to get the job done. Even having an extra tom, one that makes it a five piece, is kind of had to get used to. It makes everything sound different.

RD: What has always amazed me is how you are able to get more beats out of a basic kit than some one with a monster kit. Your a pretty humble guy, do you even realize how good you are?
BW: No, not really. I dont sit around and think that I am great by any means. I am usually humbled by how little I know about drumming itself; the mechanics and basics of I, even down to just changing drum heads. I just have never paid a lot of attention to that. People have told me that they think that I carved out my own style. I think that is sort of true but that doesnt mean I think I am any good. I think that I am adaptable. And in some way, I always want to try to do something different ten what I have done before.

RD: Have you ever been told that you have a recognizable drumming style?
BW: Some people around here, sure. Some other people elsewhere have said nice stuff about me in that regard, I guess.

RD: You have this unique way of mixing straightforward chops with these odd off beats that momentarily hang in the air. Where does that come from?
BW: My style is probably a combination of Bill Stevenson and George Hurley. Both of them had a huge influence on me as a kid. They both had amazing chops. Like on the first Descendents record, the drumming is just insane, and he is like sixteen years old, or seventeen! That is amazing. What influenced me the most about both of them was the fact that they both supported the song but never just kept the beat. They would compose their drum parts like separate parts of the song and that are pretty much what I have always done.

RD: I have seen drummers before mouthing all these counts & beats. When your drumming do you think much about what youre doing, like counting or figuring out what to add?
BW: The less thinking that I do, the better things are. I just try and enjoy myself. I rarely ever have to count.

RD: If some lame ass band you normally wouldn't listen to like The Offspring or Kid Rock asked you to play for them on a tour would you do it?
BW: I think the two things you mentioned really do suck, but I would do something like that in a second. I mean, why the fuck not? It might be repulsive but if nothing else it would be entertaining and at least profitable. Id sell out in a heartbeat if I had the fucking chance! Who wouldnt at this point?

RD: Ha, what happened to your punk rock ethics bro? Isn't it all about the music?
BW: punk rock ethics and integrity are the consolation price of not being able to make a living off of your art. Wow, you got integrity, man! But having said that, I think you sort of have to have some degree of integrity if you want to keep playing no matter what happens or who pays attention. I mean, if it were all about money I would have quit years ago.

RD: So what are you doing now musically, what type of music are you playing. How is that going? Will you be releasing anything soon?
BW: Since the dawn of this year, I have joined forces with Justin Gray, Scott Williams and Kevin Collins, ex singer fro Subculture, Days Of.. and Erectus Monotone. Him joining was a nice surprise. Those other guys tipped us off on to all of these younger kids who have punk rock house parties, and we went to a few of them and it was cool to see more newer kids getting into all of the stuff that had meant (and still does) so much to us when we were kids. So we were inspired and we started DOUBLE NEGATIVE, which is pretty fast and punk rock in a early eighties hardcore sort of way. Its not brain surgery, but its a lot of fun. So we are just trying to have fun and excite ourselves. Were kind of pandering in the nicest way possible. It is a marathon that is for sure. I still got it, though. I can thrash! I think we are going to try and do as much stuff possible with as little effort as possible. We can do it, I think. Plus the more we go on, the weirder it gets. People seem like they think that this might be a fun thing to see or listen to, so that is nice.

RD: If you could be anyone for 72 hours who would it be?
BW: Wow, I had no idea we'd end it with this. Bill Cosby?

Monday, December 3, 2007

होनोर रोल.

(Notes: This is from an unpublished book that I have been working on over the years ( that I don't think will see the light of day)that talks about what was going on in North Carolina in the eighties, punk rock wise. But a big chunk of it is also about this old Richmond Virginia band called Honor Role. They instantly were one of my favorite bands and I still feel the same way. They were incredibly ahead of thier time and really captured something special with thier music AND thier lyrics. It is usually damned near impossible to be able to say this about most bands, either back then or now. They made some of my favotire music on earth and for that I will always be greatful. Before you read this, I must pose the question: Why on earth hasn't anyone done a Honor Role MySpace page?!! It is a total no - brainer. Please don't force me to start one! - Brian)

HONOR ROLE: 1983 through 1989, A HISTORY LESSON.

Even though Honor Role were from nearby Richmond, Virginia-a mere three hours away-they played down here in Raleigh so often that they might as well have been a North Carolina band. The classic Honor Role lineups of Pen Rollins (guitar), Bob Schick (vocals), Chip Jones (bass) & Steve Schick, later replaced by Seth Harris (drums) were a pivotal band back then as they were arguably one of the first bands to expand upon the hardcore origins that most everyone had at one point, & simply became a great band that wrote great songs.
The first rumblings of the might of Honor Role came in the form of 1985’s “Judgment Day/Anonymous Cave” single. Next year came the debut album, “The Pretty Song”, recorded by John Moreland & financed by Reed Mullin. I had always assumed that people everywhere knew what a great band Honor Role was & it was much to my surprise that I realized that aside from some good underground press, no one knew anything about them. They did go on tour and the people that saw them usually liked them but they didn’t make a lot of waves and to this day remain sort of a good little secret. Besides Raleigh, they were also enjoyed in Washington D.C., and that seemed to be it to the extent of people liking them. Honor Role was as big a part of what was going on down here as any local band, & their importance & genius cannot be underestimated. They influenced a lot of people & to this day, I still frequently play their music.

Honor Role was one of the most important bands to me because they sort of got me out of my “hardcore” mentality and showed that you could have great songs, great music and great lyrics and yet display all of the intensity of the best hardcore type of band. I saw them for the first time in 1985 in Richmond on a road trip up there with Ricky Hicks and Scott Williams. Honor Role opened up for Chicago’s Articles Of Faith. There weren’t a whole lot of people there. AOF were great (singer Vic Bondi grabbed Scott Williams and screamed into his face at point blank range his lyrics while Scott stood there frozen to the spot-I’ll always remember that!) but Honor Role impressed me. Playing very little off of their first seven inch that I knew, they played pretty much the bulk of what would make up their first album. And when I moved to Raleigh less then a year later and saw them again I couldn’t help but notice that I somehow remembered all of those songs but without having heard them since that first Richmond show. That definitely was impressive.

BOB SCHICK (Honor Role): We would all talk about & listen to records we liked, regardless of style. We were all big fans of hardcore. But as it became more formulaic, it got less interesting. Same with the punk stuff before hardcore. Some of it stands the test of time, some of it doesn't. Some of the records are like perfect snapshots of what life was like at that particular time. Others sum up a feeling perfectly. Others mean something to people for any number of reasons, personal experience, nostalgia, the same things that I attach to different records or bands. None of the band listened to hardcore exclusively, so as far as the band's development, it was always coming from different directions.

The band started out as sort of a standard hardcore type band as a trio with Pen doing the singing duties. Their 1983 debut seven inch, “It Bled Like A Stuck Pig” was an entertaining listen, standard hc with quirky Meat Puppets type guitar playing here and there. The band soon added Bob to the band as the vocalist, and by early 1985 (after going through numerous bass players) settled into its stride, what with the “Judgment Day” seven inch being released. From there all of the songs that the band played at the time resonated with a maturity and confidence never before heard. Almost all of those songs ended up on the “Pretty Song” album.

Steve Schick and Chip Jones made a formidable rhythm section. Pen Rollins, to this day, is one of the best guitar players that I have ever seen. Ask anybody who knows anything about him and they will probably agree. But what really put Honor Role into the stratosphere for me was Bob Schick and his lyrics. Bob’s delivery and presence struck me as being very British, commanding without any of the running around or fake intensity of so many others. And as a lyric writer I feel that to this day there was no one out there at the time that did what he could do any better. Just listen to the songs AND read the lyrics to these songs. It is a rare example of both facets completely complimenting each other in the best way possible. Bob Schick’s stories ran the spectrum. There were stories involving unsettling dreams (“Shuffle”), looking into the future to see just how much one can and will change (the poignant “Purgatory”), loneliness and depression (the chilling “My Place”), and perhaps the strongest of all, a story involving a recently widowed lady who hires a friend to listen to her talk about her problems (“Listening to Sally”). Its more or less the combination of the bands songwriting prowess, the chemistry between the band members, the incredible guitar playing of Pen, and the amazing delivery and lyrics of Bob that made and still make Honor Role the band they were. And for some reason, the songs and lyrics never seemed to date the way a lot of music from this era did. In fact, I’d say that Honor Role produced the most timeless music of the era.

BOB SCHICK (Honor Role): I have always been into lyrics, they are the most important thing to me. So I've always listened to those very closely. I don't know who influenced me. I was a huge fan of the Fall, but I don't think lyrically the way I wrote was similar. I liked the Birthday Party, but the stuff I wrote was nothing like them. I guess there may have been some similarity to Joy Division, but it doesn't make me feel good to say that & I certainly hope it wasn't as bleak or gothic as they were. I never tried to copy anyone. I was as least as influenced by the books I was reading at the time as anyone else's records. I tried to write about people & not problems, not slogans, not politics. I like it better that way. I don't want to change the way anyone thinks as much as I may want to show what it's like to be someone else. What it's like to be completely outside of the way people our age, with our background, our strata live. That the things that we think are important, vital, don't translate at all to someone who's not had our experience. And that lot of things makes the world go around. Often, I would watch other people when I was out. Then I would imagine what their thoughts were, what they were doing & what they wanted to do. Little things that they may not even have been conscious of, & may not have meant anything to them at all would seem important to me. I don't know why, I would just imagine. I hope the songs & the words have held up well. Since they are not too specific, they will hopefully not become dated.

HONOR ROLE INTERVIEW printed in MRR issue number 41, October 1986.

Honor Role have two seven inches out, and a debut album, “The Pretty Song” produced by Reed Mullin, out this September. You can see them on tour this fall. Greta of Unseen Force did this interview. Everybody was there except for Chip, who was out on a date.

MRR: How do you feel the upcoming tour will go?
Steve: Probably lousy, miserable.
Bob: I don’t think it will be that way at all. I think it will probably be a lot of fun.
Pen: From a popularity aspect, I think it will really help us, but it’s not going to be a tour de force or anything, playing to packed houses.
MRR: So what do you think of the new album and single?
Steve: Whoever arranged the songs on the album was like some sort of retard.
MRR: Well, who did it? Not you?
Bob: Pen did it. (Laughter)
Pen: Me & John (engineer) did it and Chip was there and Chip told us how he wanted it…we didn’t listen. I think it’s a good arrangement.
MRR: You didn’t put the hit single on the first groove?
Pen: No, the hit single is on the second side or something, there’s not really ANY hit single material on there.
Bob: I think it is a good representation of what we sound like all the way across the record.
Steve: Offer us free beer and a place to stay when we come to your town.
Pen: (still thinking of something else) Meat Puppets.
MRR: How would you like to die?
Steve: I’d probably have a really wonderful day where I ate a lot of good food, went somewhere & played to a lot of people who loved us..
Pen: Opening for the Stickmen!
Steve: Opening for the Stickmen, and then I went home and had a real satisfying experience at home and then during the night someone came in and shot me while I was asleep.
Bob: If I had to die it’d be like if Pen was “tapemaster” and we were someplace like Billings, Wyoming at 7-11 and I just bought a big bottle of sleeping pills and stood by the water fountain and drank them all down and went back and laid in the van and just died quietly.
Steve: While Pen was “tapemaster”.
MRR: “Tapemaster”?!
Pen: I claimed the title of “tapemaster” on the trip..
Bob: He decides what goes into the deck!
MRR: But the driver should have that privilege!
Bob: We changed the rules since then but when Pen was “tapemaster” I thought about that.
Pen: How I’d like to die, I’d like to be thrown out of my house on the street, and like being really hungry and then going rob a bank and steal a double decker bus and drive off a cliff. (Laughter)

Another thing that was great about the band was their refusal to follow the party line involved in punk rock sounding music. Sorry kids, there wasn’t a unity or anti Reagan song in sight amongst the Honor Role tunes. Again, for the time it was a very unique thing for kids as young as Honor Role to have chosen the path that they did.

BOB SCHICK (Honor Role): I always thought that sloganeering was sort of embarrassing, like that 'if the kids are united' stuff was just moronic. To me, it was always about being different, I enjoyed the gang experience of being in a band, but that was biggest gang I ever wanted to be part of. I guess I'm just too particular to want to be lumped in with a bigger group than that. I'm happy to be friends with people, but usually I'd rather stand on my own. And that's not because I'm especially brave or strong, I just prefer to be on my own.

CHRIS SCHNIEDER: Honor Role was an incredible band. In my first few days down here, I went down to the Brewery, and ran into Reed Mullin, who was sitting in the C.O.C. van. I had met those guys a few different times up in New York, and hung out with them. After I had moved down here, I had passed Mike Dean on the street but was a little too nervous to talk to him. He told me later that he had recognized me but he couldn’t tell from where. Anyways, Reed was listening to this music in the van, and it sounded really cool, so I said, “Who is this?” and he said, “this is the best band in the south: Honor Role.” He was getting ready to help put out their record. They were incredible, as everyone around here knows. They were good on record but they were really good live even though every time they had finished playing they would say how it was the worst show that they had ever played. One time I had taken some LSD and went to see Honor Role, and it was very moving. I felt like I was almost getting ready to cry. As soon as they were done, I ran out of the club, and ran all the way from the Fallout Shelter up to Park Avenue where I lived at the time. At the time I was a big runner. And when I got up there I looked up at the trees and they were sort of doing some weird things. They really had an effect on me, especially that night!

SEAN LIVINGSTONE: Honor Role was a phenomenon. I don’t know how do discuss this. Would I begin with “Rictus” and go backwards or start with “Jank” and leave it at that?

SARA BELL: Honor Role was amazing.  I did love them, so I'm kind of speechless about them.  It's inconceivable that their audience wasn't massive.  It was the best live show you could imagine and incredible songs and Pen's guitar playing which went like from land out into space in a really short period of time.  I have a really strong memory of meeting Pen the first time, I was with Wayne and Ethan and we were coming back from a trip to New York and we stopped in Richmond to see Honor Role play.  He picked up everybody one by one and swung them around, including me, whom he had never met.  He was just so exuberant and funny and bursting with energy and it all came through him and his guitar in an onslaught of perfect performing.

RICHARD BUTNER: I liked Honor Role, although I had a few personal hurdles to overcome. Initially I thought Bob Schick, with his sneering voice, red hair, and creepers, was the worst kind of Johnny Rotten wannabe.  And their graphic designer, Dobey, was always one of those skanking-way-too-violently guys. But, once I realized that they were friends of my close friends, I put personal peeves aside and just liked them.  One of the best shows I've ever seen was when they re-united to play a Wayne for Mayor benefit in
1993.  Obviously Pen was the linchpin of the outfit.

JON WURSTER: I know I'm absolutely in the minority on this, but in all honesty I was not a big fan.  I remember not being blown away by that stuff when I first heard it.  I've got the records and they just do not really affect me in the way they do others. I dunno, you can't help what does and doesn't connect with you. Maybe you had to be there when they were happening.  I did see them in '94 when they got back together and they were really good. I do want to say that I had the extreme pleasure of touring with Honor Role guitarist Pen Rollings for the first year I was in Superchunk. Pen was our helper/merch guy.  I got to sit in with him one night in Pensacola, Florida on a drum/acoustic guitar version of Loudness' "Rock and Roll Crazy Nights." He was/is such a great personality, an incredible person and an outstanding guitarist.  I think my favorite of his bands was the all-instrumental Breadwinner.

Sometime in 1987, Steve Schick quit the band and was replaced by the young Seth Harris, who was previously in a hc band and then played in another band called Dent, who seemed to be quite influenced by Honor Role. The weird thing is that both Steve and Seth switched places. Steve was a great drummer. Seth was also a great drummer. The band changed a little bit in the drumming department, but not too much. The newer songs that would eventually show up on the Rictus album were more riff orientated, a bit more repetitious but no less great. A few of these great numbers, like “Prove It” and the “Two String Song” fell between the cracks.

BOB SCHICK (Honor Role): Seth joined Honor Role because Steve just couldn't enjoy the band. He didn't especially enjoy the music. He left and Seth was good, so we asked him & he was excited. He had been in a band that had played with us down in Raleigh & was mistakenly under the impression that people liked us. Steve ended up replacing Seth in the band he had left to play with us. We were just about to sign with Homestead Records & I don't think Steve wanted to do that. Though I really don't know anymore, Steve being my brother, I don't know his real rationale.

Taken from Los Angeles’ “Ink Disease” magazine, early 1987.

Ink Disease: Any interesting stories about the lyrics, or how they came about?
Bob Schick: I write all of them except for one on the album that Pen wrote and one that I wrote with two other people, but they are just pieces of fiction that come out of my head. They’re not supposed to mirror a life. It’s just a piece of fiction that comes out. A mind set. It’s not like reading a newspaper or something like that, and I don’t take things from something as obvious as that. They are human experiences that I think of in my head, and that’s where they come from. “Purgatory” is the one that people ask about, and “Purgatory” was the single. “Purgatory” is like thinking about all of the things you believe in when you are younger. You hold these ideals so strongly, and then some people reflect on them and other people don’t, and you wonder what is going to happen, five-ten years down the road when you become more established or take these ideals to their limits.
Ink Disease: So, do you see some of that in yourself?
Bob: Sure. Yeah.
Chip Jones: I think everybody does. It’s just a matter of changing of goals and shifting ideals.
Ink Disease: Do you think they still fit with the old ideals or have you given them up?
Bob: No, I don’t think I’ve given them up. It’s just a question of taking what is really important and separating the superficial stuff from it. It’s to maintain the same thought and idea. You want to become an intelligent person and to experience the scope of human emotions and human experiences, and still try to give a meaning to them. To still try and make things inside yourself and the few people around you better if you can. Obviously you can’t go out and change the world or write politics that are going to influence national policy or international policy, but you can try and change yourself, and that’s the best that you can do. That’s the most you can hope for ever.
Ink Disease: Is the band pretty permanent?
Bob: Well, it comes and goes. It’s mostly pretty serious. Last time we didn’t get along so well, but it seems like it will probably carry on.
Chip: It seems like we have come too far to give it up, because we are right on the edge of being able to do something real.
Bob: Yeah. It’s like we have been doing this for ourselves and our few friends for a long time, and now we are finally getting to the verge where other people will be able to hear us and like us and enjoy us. We won’t get stuck playing shows for people who don’t like us. We’ll be able to start dictating terms on who we can play with and where people can come and see us. And get in the magazines so that people can know who we are and what we are about. This is exactly the point where we should keep doing it. To give up now would be a great loss.
Chip: Here comes Pen, our guitar player.
Pen Rollings: (he enters the van) How are you all doing?
Chip: Who do you want to meet, Pen?
Pen: the Stickmen.
Bob and Chip: We already said that.
Pen: Should I give Biafra a record?
Bob: Sure. Why not?
Ink Disease: Do you have any guitar heroes?
Pen: I like the guy from the Stickmen. I liked D. Boon a whole lot. Woody from C.O.C. is incredible. This guy named Gary from a band called Stillborn Christians is a really incredible guitar player, from North Carolina.

Honor Role shows in the area were always frequent, and most of the people that I knew always went and saw them play wherever they showed up. Overall, they were years ahead of a lot of bands. In fact, I can see the influence of Honor Role showing up mysteriously in a lot of different bands over the years, from Fugazi to Drive Like Jehu & way beyond. Even if some other bands haven’t ever heard of Honor Role & know nothing about them, I can still detect some sort of influence. They were amazing.

BOB SCHICK (Honor Role): Honor Role played in Raleigh often.  It was close, it was more fun than playing in Richmond. I know Pen spent a lot of time down there. There were a lot of people from Raleigh that came up to shows in Richmond too. I think everyone saw each other often, & as everybody was friendly, people got to be friends. I always preferred playing in Raleigh & Washington D.C. to playing in Richmond. As to why people liked the band, I really couldn't answer that, everyone has there own reasons.
No, we weren't revered in any way in Richmond.

After Honor Role broke up, the various members went to different bands. Pen and Seth were involved in Butterglove, a great mostly instrumental ensemble that played blistering music that sounded like they stuff like the Melvins & Voi Vod. A great fucking band, easily my favorite east coast band when they were around. Pen was also in Breadwinner, a brutal all instrumental technical bombast. Bob formed Coral, who had some material released on Merge records. Seth joined Kepone. Honor Role reformed for a few shows in the mid nineties as a favor for their friend from Raleigh, Wayne Taylor, who was running for Mayor at that point of time. They reformed to play Wayne’s benefit at the Rialto theatre with Steve Schick (now a father of three) handling the drumming chores. People really enjoyed seeing them again. Just about all of their material has been re-released on Merge. Everyone should get it, as it is probably some of the finest music to have ever come out of this era. They were amazingly ahead of their time.

(This was all written five years ago or so. I don't know what most of these people are up to. I have been in and out of touch with Bob over the years. Bob is still a very nice man and is married with children, so I don't think you'll be hearing anything from him right now. Which is too bad. Pen is still one of my favorite people of all time and really needs to claim his rightful place and pick up that fucking guitar and just do it. He blew me off last time I was in Richmond, promising a visit to a local Richmond graveyard and failing to materialize but hey that is okay. Over the years since Honor Role broke up, it is still weird for me to see any of these guys without the other three, so deep is the memory of Honor Role and thier performances in my mind. This is especially true of the times I saw Bob sing in various bands. It was just WRONG seeing him up there without Pen at his side. Yes, I am a retard. An Honor Role reunion would be great. Thier music sounded old and wise no matter how young they were at the time. What the fuck? Can I play drums?)

थे मोवे: "ब्लैक तिगेर वूमन" वात्च नो!!!!

Wowie Zowie! Those are some cool threads, brother! Nice sunglasses, too! The Move were a most excellent band from England from the late sixties/early seventies that were actually pretty huge at one time and boasted the songwriting talents of guitarist Roy Wood and the excellent vocals of the late Carl Wayne. Both of these fellows are sorely underrated. The song "Wild Tiger Woman" sure seems silly, but it is totally catchy and pretty rockin'! Even the stupid lyrics ("tie her to the bed..she's waiting to be fed.") are just the cherry on the sundae if you ask me. Any record or cd by the Move is worth the purchase, kids. Check it out!