Thursday, December 24, 2009

Everything You Might Need For Day To Day Survival

Just in case anyone out there hasn't seen this yet. Here you go. Thank me later.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'll Be Hangin' Where Eventually You'll Have To Be

Got home yesterday after what looks a hell of a lot like 3 months of straight touring. Feels weird being back home, but it ain't all that bad. It'll be cool to just chill on my own for a while and coming back to a snow covered and icy cold Belgium does have its charms.

Australia was the last tour we did in 2009 and I'm pretty sure I'll forever remember Australia as the coolest place I've ever been too. I don't know how to explain this exactly... If you've been there, then you know because most people I've met who have been there have all wanted to just stay there. Australia seemed to be the perfect mishmash of English, European and American influences, with a vibe that is all their own, plus a ton of amazing beaches, the ocean, overwhelming landscapes and cool cities. Looking across the ocean is like looking at the end of the world. I couldn't help but imagine that at the horizon the world just stopped, as if the earth was flat. We toured with an awesome band called Blkout, who we'd met only once, when their tour and ours joined up for a show in Berlin last summer. Dudes turned out be cool as hell and they are a great band to watch too. They have a record called "Total Depravity" out on Resist Records, if you dig post "Age Of Quarrell" Cro-Mags, The Icemen and let's say, True Blue then chances are you'll dig them. Other Australian highlights included cuddling with koalas, swimming rockpools, jumping off shit, picking up a pair of Alifes in the sales, having Marty, Josh and Jimmy take care of us and wandering around Melbourne in the morning, scoring breakfast and a bunch of second hand books.

The month of October seems like ancient history already, but that was when we toured the States. As usual it was a tour that had its ups and downs and as usual it was all around awesome experience. We got to play with a bunch of great bands (Bracewar, Bitter End, Ceremony, Trapped Under Ice, etc.) and we got to meet and play for about a week with Chicago's hardest, Harm's Way. For some reason I'd never seen this band live or met any of the dudes in the band, but turns out Harm's Way are some of the coolest dudes I've met in quite a while. Their LP "Reality Approaches" is cool but live they really shred hard. A lethal force if you will. When I get back into blogging more than I have been you can expect more on this band. A lot of shoe/clothes/record shopping was done on this tour, I can't seem to help it... So much good shit out there in the States. And that dollar is still so low too, it's like someone's forcing my hand.

November was spent touring throughout Europe with our friends in Iron Age. This was one of the best tours we have ever done, in terms of turnouts, being able to sell the new album and playing a lot of cool shows. Lots of fun, lots of riffing and lots of weed. Needless to say that seeing Iron Age every night was quite the trip. I got the impression that they go over some people's heads sometimes, which is a damn shame because I think they've never been this good and this tight live. They have the songs to back it all up too. I figure that right now, they are the band they have always aspired to be. "The Sleeping Eye" might just be my favourite heavy (or hardcore related) release of 2009. If you haven't yet, pick it up. The tour ended in Ghent, our first hometown show since early 2008 and it also served as the official record release. Despite me stressing out it all went real well and the show was a success. Perfect way to end a great tour.

Thinking of "The Sleeping Eye" brings me to the much feared end of the year lists. I'll take a shot at an Album Top 10 or Top 20 in the near future, I'm trying to figure it all out in my head first. I know my man Klaas is planning on doing a whole bunch of them on his blog ( so check that out. Klaas dove headfirst into blogging, bringing quality and quantity. Definitely one of my favourite blogs going right now.

Since I last posted here, that Blakroc album has come out and I've only gotten round to listening to it 4/5 times but I'm loving it. Definitely delivers. More on that and other records soon, I've been buying a lot of vinyl in the last couple of months. It feels good. Peace.

Friday, September 25, 2009

When The Lyrics Leave The Mouth They Look Like Light Beams

A few things. Like any other sane person out there I sometimes ask myself what the use of the internet actually is. I mean, it does kinda suck sometimes, right? But the ever overcrowded information superhighway has its ways to show us that we're wrong. That's how I felt when I read about Blakroc. Blakroc basically is The Black Keys collaborating with a bunch of awesome rappers. Their album is due to drop late November, but I would advise you to check out the song "Hoochie Choo" right about now.
This song features the the unlikely combo of Jim Jones and Mos Def and well, it's awesome. Rumoured further collaboration partners include the RZA, Q-Tip and more. Shit's hot.

While we're on the subject of hip-hop I might as well tell you how excited I am about that new Raekwon album, the eagerly anticipated "Only Built 4 Cuban Lynx Pt. II". This album hasn't been getting a lot of love from most of my friends and that's kinda weird 'cause I love it. Or maybe not. I will not claim to be schooled up enough on hip-hop to write a full blown review here, but I'm a dude and I like what I like. So with that been said, I think Raekwon's rhymes and lyricism are still razor sharp, and with Ghostface appearing on so many tracks you could easily see why I'm diggin' this. Production by a bunch of top dudes: obviously the RZA did his thing (he is also credited as the executive producer together with Raekwon), Dr. Dre delivered 2 songs and some of the other contributors are J Dilla, The Alchemist, Pete Rock, amongst others. Most of the other Wu member appear on one or more songs... Inspecktah Deck, Method Man, GZA, Masta Killa etc. Despite the slew of producers and guest rappers "Only Built 4 Cuban Lynx Pt. II" still sounds solid and coherent... There's an eerie, dark and rough vibe that dominates this record and it fits Raekwon's flow and lyrics well. I'm into it.

In other news, Rise And Fall will be embarking on a four week US tour, starting October 2nd. We'll come bearing riffs, waffles, a new album and health care propaganda. Here's the dates, come hang...

10/02: Haverhill, MA @ Anchors Up w/ Guns Up, Bracewar
10/03: Edison, NJ @ Stelton Church w/ Guns Up, Bracewar, Creatures, Disaster
10/04: Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary w/ Guns Up, Bracewar, Title Fight, Creatures
10/05: Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/06: Richmond, VA @ Alley Katz w/ Bracewar, Trapped Under Ice, Heathens, Creatures
10/07: Raleigh, NC @ Brewery w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/08: Lexington, SC @ Round Hill Community Club w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/09: Atlanta, GA @ PS Warehouse w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/10: Birmingham, AL @ Green Cup w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/11: Little Rock, AR @ Vinos w/ Bracewar, Creatures
10/12: Dallas, TX @ 1919 Hemphill w/ Bitter End, Mammoth Grinder, Creatures
10/13: Austin, TX @ Emo's w/ Bitter End, Mammoth Grinder, Creatures
10/14: San Antonio, TX @ Ten Eleven w/ Bitter End, Mammoth Grinder, Forfeit, Backtrack, Creatures
10/15: Tucson, AZ @ Living Room w/ Creatures
10/16: San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe w/ Ceremony, Lewd Acts, Black Breath
10/17: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction w/ Ceremony, Lewd Acts, Black Breath
10/18: Salinas, CA @ Building E w/ Ceremony, Lewd Acts, Black Breath
10/19: Las Vegas, NV @ Eastside Joes w/ Creatures
10/20: Albuqeurque, NM @ Peace And Justice Center w/ Creatures
10/21: Denver, CO @ Blast O Mat w/ Creatures
10/22: Kansas City, MO @ Mission Theatre w/ Creatures
10/23: St Louis, MO @ Fubar w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/24: Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/25: Indianapolis, IN @ Murphy Building w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/26: Cincinnati, OH @ Warsaw Arena w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/27: Romeo, MI @ Static Age w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/28: Cleveland, OH @ Nows Thats Class w/ Harms Way, Creatures
10/29: Lemoyne, PA @ Championship w/ Cold World, Creatures
10/30: Somerset, NJ @ Warehouse w/ Cold World, Creatures, Gypsy
10/31: Albany, NY @ Valentines w/ Cold World, Creatures, Title Fight, Cruel Hand, Mother Of Mercy
11/01: Holyoke, MA @ Waterfront Tavern w/ Cold World, Death Before Dishonor, Creatures

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don't

Let me start this one with some shameless self promotion: There's two new Rise And Fall songs online off our upcoming record called "Our Circle Is Vicious", which will be out on October 27th. Deathwish Records. Peep the Rise And Fall myspace ( if you wanna hear them. I'm stoked on the album finally coming out and the touring that comes with it.

We played Tessenderlo (Belgium) with Cloak/Dagger on saturday, after which I rolled with the Daggers for a couple of days and had a great ol' time. They have a new record out on Jade Tree called "Lost Art" and it's a good one. Expect a review to pop up here soon. Technically I think their record will be out for real in November but they do have a limited pressing of 200 with them on this Euro tour so pick that shit up. New songs translate well in a live setting and provide some more variety as well, which is obviously good. Jason's moves have become quite spectacular. His milkshake definitely brings the boys to the yard. All kidding aside, all 3 Cloak/Dagger shows were sweet, with my favourite being Utrecht. Seeing a bunch of old friends again definitely helped too, but the vibe was good, the sound was perfect and the Daggers were merciless. Union Town also played this show and I hadn't seem them in over a year I think... They blew me off my socks. This band defintely needs more recognition. They played a couple of new songs of which the more epic, slower one called "Blinding Lights" impressed me the most. Hung out in Utrecht for a couple of hours the next day. What a lovely city... Copped a sweet jacket at this cool ass thrift store for 30 E's, I was stoked. After Utrecht, Gent was up next so I had the pleasure to show Jason, Andrew and Matt around (Colin got stuck record shopping) and they dug what they saw. We ate some of the best ice cream ever so needless to say it was a good day. Good sets by them and Vogue that night.

About a month ago Madball played Belgium and I went to see them with Filip (peep his Crunkswagger blog). Kind of a last minute plan, but definitely one of the better plans in recent memory. So good seeing Madball again, and especially seeing them tear it up like that. Over half the set consisted of classic "Set It Off" and "Demonstrating My Style" material. They also played a bunch of "Look My Way" and "Hold It Down" songs obviously and a couple of newer ones were thrown in for good measure. Note to self: Pick up "Infiltrate The System" some time. Their new drummer was so stoked on being in Madball he started moshing behind his kit. Can you blame him? Freddy still is one of the illest frontmen out there and it brought a smile to my face to see that many kids (weirdos and p.m.f.'s included) go off for them.

Jeffrey hooked me up with the new Raekwon record and I've been listening to that one a lot. A little bummed on missing Raekwon when he plays Belgium on October 10th but you can't have it all, right?

More soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trapped Under Ice - "Secrets Of The World"

Those of you that have checked this blog before know I'm into Trapped Under Ice. "Stay Cold" was an ill EP that definitely did real well for them. Heavy rotation on the Pod and on the turntable. However, writing an awesome EP is definitely easier than writing an awesome LP, anyone that's been in a band knows that. Plus, let us not forget the nature of many a harcore kid: we tend to romanticize the past, even if that past was only a year ago, so obviously there'll be a lot of the "the demo was better" type of rhetoric. Also, and this has bothered me forever, it seems like a lot of the time when the new "cool" band gets bigger and does better and all the "uncool" kids get into them, people seem to move to whatever's next and whatever's newer and fresher. So how do you keep those kids hooked and still get new kids into you? I guess that the only thing Trapped Under Ice could do at this point was to come up with a killer album... Not that they should care too much about all of the above, but still. So have they?

An awesome album needs a good opener. You don't want your best song there, but you want a song that'll grab the attention, a short rager to stir shit up... and that's exactly what "See God" does. Immediately hitting us with some of the best lyrics of the record: "If you see God tell him that I'm still alive, gave up on all those prayers 'cause they couldn't provide". According to the same tradition that is a tradition for good reasons, your second song should be a hit. And "Believe" definitely is a hit. It will probably sound familiar to kids with good ears, 'cause Trapped Under Ice has been playing this song live on tours for a while. It's got the catchy chorus and the ignorant finale, featuring Tad (Stout) on guest vocals, definitely a change of pace but it works well and is bound to become a staple in their live sets. The "Hairspray" sample fits in with the song's Baltimore theme nicely. What else is there on Side A? More good stuff. "TUI" might seem a little simplistic but it works as a band anthem. I dig it. The re-recorded version of "Gemini" sounds cool and the song definitely adds something different to the first side of "Secrets Of The World". The gang vocals sound so Biohazard that it hurts. What I like about "Gemini" is that it doesn't stop when you think it will. Twice. This song and "Too True" also perfectly show why I think this band is so good. They work on different levels. Surely they have based their sound and style on a lot of classic NYHC, the most obvious names that come to mind are Crown Of Thornz, Merauder, Breakdown and Biohazard. They're not unafraid to wear their influences on their sleeve (the Merauder riff in "Too True", the Crown Of Thornz vibes in "From Birth" etc.) but at the same time they manage to create a sound and a dynamic that is all their own and sounds current. So next to those of us that have developed a weird obsession with classic NYHC, they'll also appeal to that young kid at the Terror show because of the sheer energy and solid songwriting they have. There's enough ignorant parts to please the hardmen among us but then again they have a refined and intelligent approach to song and lyric writing, which is something I value greatly.

Enough of that, on to Side B. Let me start off with a bit of criticism first: it seems like the band placed most of the longer, slightly weirder songs on Side B, which is not a bad thing per se, but I guess I would've preferred it if they were a little more spread out through the album. "Vortex" is an instrumental jam, it's hard and pretty diverse and goes into "Eye Hand", one of my favourites on this record. A brooding, dark song with a spirirtual twist to it, and a little "I and I" thrown in for good measure. Crown Of Thornz being a big influence on this band ain't no secret at all, and I guess that shines through most (as mentioned before) in "From Birth"... The double vocals, with that little bit of melody to them, Lord Ezec style, work well. Lyrically hard and brutally honest ("23 years of being told I will never be nothing, I can never have nothing"), musically haunting and intense, this song's a gem. Neglect reference in the lyrics... rare. "Titus" and "Against The Wall" are songs in that classic Trapped Under Ice style, "Against The Wall" stands out thanks to the super catchy chorus and that rippin' solo at the end. There's one more track and it's another personal favourite of mine, I just wish it was longer... "World I Hate". Great bass, great groove, this song hits home. What else is there to be said? I'm into the cover art. It looks ancient and mysterious and stands out. The sound is solid throughout the whole album, I like how the vocals don't sound too polished, too many records have vocals that have been smothered out of any emotion. Quality work by Dean Baltounis.

So the answer to my initial question is "yes". "Secrets Of The World" is a great record. That plus the constant touring and Reaper becoming one of the bigger names as far as real hardcore labels go should really propel Trapped Under Ice to higher levels, to become the kind of band that will draw kids into hardcore. I'm looking forward to that for sure.
"Coming at you like a stray bullet from gangland territory" ... Baltimore's TUI.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jim Connolly: Small Man, Big Riff

Around October last year I exchanged a bunch of emails with a bearded riffer known to the world as Jim Connolly, guitarist in Soul Control and an expert in the field of the full body headbang. I'll admit that some of these questions are a little outdated by now, as Soul Control is about to unleash "Cycles", their first proper full length album and the band has put out numerous 7" singles since we conducted this interview. They've also changed drummers. However, I do still think this will make for a good read. Jim's quite the entertainer. As you'll notice, there's no pictures to go along with this, simply because I can't quite figure out how to work this Mac. So it's back to basics for now, a blog for people that still know how to read. Please do go see Soul Control on tour and enjoy reading.

Soul Control recently played with the legendary Boston Devilcore act Overcast... How was that?

Overcast was great. Set was a little too long, about 14 songs but with a lot of breaks, but that's how their shows always were back in the day. I went to 5 of the 6 reunions they did in '05 as well. They still sound sick live, so heavy yet not downtuned at all. I accidentally headbutted someone during a full body headbang, had quite a bruise the next day. Have you picked up the CD they just out out? It's called "Reborn To Kill Again" and its just re-recordings of old songs but they sound really good.

Two fun facts about Overcast: 1) the first time Jim Connolly ever moshed was to Overcast at the release party for the split they did with Arise and 2) although they went by the moniker "Boston Devilcore" none of the members were actually from Boston, they were all from Milford, a suburb of Worcester about 40 minutes from Boston. This has become a tradition carried on by many "Boston Hardcore" bands of today. Cough have heartandshipwreck cough. Haha.

Describe how you exactly you "moshed" to Overcast in your first ever moshing experience. How hard were you?

It more than likely looked super lame. I think there was a lot of arm flailing and maybe a kick or two. Def not hard. I think the only time I moshed “hard” was at the Madball show in CT right after Freddy got out of jail. He came out in a prison jumpsuit…THAT is hard.

Growing up around Boston and going to shows there in the early 90's you must have seen a ton of cool shows. Please share with me some of your favourite shows and tell me what your favourite bands to see were at the time and why.

Favorite shows? My 2nd show ever was Madball at the historic Club Babyhead in Providence in 1994, that show changed my life. I’d say Agnostic Front, 454 Big Block and 25 ta Life at the Mid East in Boston in 96, one of the scariest shows I was ever at. Earth Crisis, Downset, Vision of Disorder and Bane at the Gym in Clinton. I’ll go on record and say I HATE Earth Crisis, they just happened to be on the show unfortunately. Any Bane show, especially at the space. Biohazard at the tiny Espresso Bar in Worcester. The last Trouble show at the Greek hall in Cambridge. I got to see Aaron Bedard's old band Backbone when they played a reunion show with Dive. That was actually the show where Dalbec ended up asking him if he was interested in singing for his new hardcore band. So many shows.

As far as bands, pretty much any listed in those shows. V.O.D. I’d go see whenever they came close. Any of the NYHC bands that would play somewhat close by, Madball, S.O.I.A., H2O, No Redeeming Social Value. If In Effect Zine wrote about them, I’d get into them and go see them. Local bands I’d always go see: Bane, Blood For Blood, Reach The Sky, Get High, Cave In, Cast Iron Hike…the list goes on and on.

Fast forwarding to today, what are some of your favourite bands to full body headbang to? I know Torche is one of them, please elaborate.

Torche for sure. Theres actually a funny vid on youtube of me at a Torche show at CBGB’s. Here it is: http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=hix_0WULjRw, I have no idea who that other dude is. At one point I fall down. There’s an awesome band from Providence called The Body, you have no choice but to headbang, it’s so loud you fall to your knees anyway. Also, I really love OM. One of the best sets I’ve seen was OM in a warehouse in Queens. I’ll actually be seeing Om this week when they open for Dinosaur Jr, I know this makes you jealous. Bands I haven’t seen but headbang to in spirit are Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey and of course Sleep.

I've never been to Worcester, pretty much all I know about the place is that Bane is from there, the Palladium is there and Jim Connolly is from there as well. What's Worcester like?

I think you have to be from Worcester to love Worcester. Its really big but there’s not much to do. The one thing Worcester has though is the best pizza in the world in my opinion. Not just one specific place, pretty much all pizza in Worcester is great. In the mid 90’s Worcester had two of the greatest spots for shows, The Space and the Espresso Bar. Local shows seemingly every night, touring bands always came through, it was a truly great time. After those clubs got shut down the Worcester hardcore scene kind of got shut down with it. It's starting to rise from the ashes though thanks to a new group of awesome younger kids starting bands and doing shows. I’ve been in Providence for 6 years now, but I’ll always be a Worcester kid.

You love Bane and I'm sure Bane loves you (how could they not?), since I'm quite the Baniac myself and I would love to hear your top 3 Bane releases.

This is hard because it’s one of those lists that can change from day to day depending on my mindset. Today I’ll say:

1) Free to Think, Free to Be 7”. Superhero is THE Bane song for me. Way before Can We Start Again, Superhero was the sing along. Check this video from one of the best shows I’ve been to, Back to School Jam 1999. Worcester Palladium, Upstairs, Biggest singalong I’ve ever heard. http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=1v1gr0-yM1A

2) It All Comes Down To This. Of the 3 LP’s, this is my favorite. The production is horrible and they’ll tell you the same thing. I can get past that though and these are some of my favorite songs they’ve ever done. Struck Down By Me has the best Bane mosh part. Live sets during this time were frenzied, emotional and very experimental. Sets would typical end in noisy “jams” that would mainly showcase how insane a drummer Nick was. I have a lot of shows from that time on DVD that a friend transferred from VHS for me, I’ll let you borrow them sometime. It’s a shame that only Can We and What Makes Us are pretty much the only 2 songs for this record that still get played live.

3) OK, this is one isn’t really #3 but I just want to give it some love. The Bane side of the split with Adamantium. They never really went over too well live and didn’t last very long in the set. I think kids just didn’t want anything to do with an Adamantium 7” haha. You wrote this song for me is such a good song and it led to a pretty decent shirt/hoodie design. “and you wonder why I’m so obsessed with guns…”

Prior to Soul Control you were in What Feeds The Fire, a band that at the time was well known but didn't seem to do all that much... Would you agree? Why was that? Did you guys release anything other than "Set Me Free"?

Yea I agree with that. The original lineup lasted less then a year, then the lineup I was part of lasted just about a year, so it was a pretty short lived band. They did one 2 week tour before the mass quitting of members and then our lineup did 2 tours and a lot of weekends. Set Me Free was just the demo and 4 new songs, all recorded by the og lineup. After everyone quit Sean and Mark went in and recorded a song for a Martyr Records comp 7”, Sean played guitars, drums and sang and Mark played bass. The final lineup wrote an LP but only got as far as demoing drum tracks.

What happened to What Feeds The Fire? I know you guys did that one big tour (with Hatebreed and Evergreen Terrace, right?), did the band just implode after that?

The big tour was with Hatebreed, Poison The Well and Bane. It was a month long and it went surprisingly well. After that we did a bunch of weekends with Champion amongst others. That summer we did Posi Numbers, 4:20 Fest and Hellfest which all went very very well. We were rising quickly and we were ready to write a record. Then the implosion started. Hatebreed was now on a major and touring non stop and we figured Jamey would be too busy to put out the record. Deathwish was a new label and wanted to put out the record. There was a meeting with us, Jamey and Jake on Hatebreed’s tourbus which ended with Jamey agreeing that we should join DW rather than end up “on Victory or Trustkill or something.” Leaving Stillborn as a label also meant we lost Jamey as our booking agent. The shows got HORRIBLE. The fighting began. We were doing all these shows and weekends and losing a ton of money. Rich and Myself started quitting on a weekly basis. We got offered a west coast tour with the Cro-Mags but a week before it started there were still no venues so we cancelled off it. Then I quit my marketing job for the “How’s Your Edge Tour” with Impact (became Stand & Fight), The First Step and appearances by Count Me Out and other edge bands. It was supposed to be like 10 days long, most shows got cancelled, I think we played 3 shows. Lost more money. So we decided to stop doing shows for a bit and finish the record, which we did. We wrote an 11 song album I think. We went to demo it with Larry from The Dedication and we recorded all the drums but when we tried to overdub guitars we realized the songs were all way too fast so we had to scrap the night work and reschedule. The next week we played a horrible CT show and Rich had enough and quit for real. We all talked til 3 am, once again convinced him to stay by agreeing to a 2 month hiatus and we’d all talk again after xmas. During that hiatus Sean started playing drums in a new band which ended up becoming Verse after he switched from drums to vocals. I called him after xmas to see if we were going to continue WFTF as planned and he said no, he wanted to Verse and that was it. We did a last show about a year later after all the fighting had stopped at a benefit for Steve Neale. People will tell you it was crazy, but I think it sucked. So does Sean. Bad way to end the band, ah well.

Did your time in What Feeds The Fire influence the way you wanted to handle Soul Control? It seems like Soul Control got to be a well known and respected band in a short amount of time, with your demo being incredibly well received and "Involution" following shortly after... How did all that come together?

Not really, because SC wasn’t supposed to be a “real” band. We were just friends messing around in my basement for fun. After we wrote Dive we got kind of stoked and decided to do a demo and MAYBE play a couple shows. We ended up playing Dive during a Verse set, we had no other songs written yet and Earth Tones had only been playing bass for I’d say 2 hours. Then we wrote some more songs and did the demo and like you said it was well received, which was totally unexpected. Literally a day after we put the songs on myspace we were getting calls from labels. I think we agreed to sign to Rivalry about 5-6 days after we had made physical demos. Once we signed we knew we were going to be doing a lot more than we planned so we just threw caution to the wind and rode the wave. There wasn’t much planning or handling that needed to be done. We got offered the Have Heart tour, said yes. Verse tour? Sure. Hey want to come to Europe with Blacklisted and Shipwreck? Yea, lets do it. It was a crazy first year to say the least.

It still blows my mind that Anthony (original Soul Control drummer) was in Temperance for a while. Did you ever see Temperance with him on drums? How long have you actually known Anthony and Earth Tones? How did you meet?

No, I never saw him play with Temperance. I can’t stand Temperance but I think you had to be from Rhode Island or Europe to have liked them haha. I met Triple-OG Anthony at our first practice for WFTF. So I’ve known him for about 7 years now. After WFTF and before Soul Control we still played music together and remained real close, mainly because of poker. Earth Tones and I met about 3 years ago, it’s really weird that we hadn’t met before that because he has been close with some of my friends, like Triple-O, since like 1994. I’ve known his brother Adam for 6-7 years but I somehow (thankfully?) avoided knowing Earth Tones. We met when he came to film a show my band before Soul Control was playing and we hung out a bit that night. Then randomly he started showing up at my place and now we’re in a band together. Basically he’s in my life out of necessity. I’m half joking.

When Matt decided to quit the band, breaking up must've occured to you, or did that thought not occur to you at all? What made you decide to carry on and take the risk?

Breaking up was the first thought we all had and I think we did actually break up for a few days. Matt really wanted us to keep going, he loved and still loves Soul Control, it’s the band he had always wanted to do but he just couldn’t do it anymore. So me, Tones and Triple-O went out for pancakes and had a long discussion and decided to keep going. Then after 2 weeks we couldn’t think of a new guy so we almost broke up again and then had another meeting on a bench next to a river and decided to keep looking. At this point only a handful of people knew Matt had quit even though he had quit almost a month prior. I finally told Sean Murphy and instantly he was like “Yo, you should get my boy Rory.” I met him, gave him a CD and he texted me a few days later and said he was down to give it a go. We set up a jam, he did “On Survival” once and that was it, he was in. He actually put words to a new song that first time we ever played together, instant chemistry. We dropped the song though haha. We scrapped pretty much a whole LP worth of music.

Concerning that new song "Flux" you guys have been playing for a while now... That riff is so fucking hard, I imagine you locking yourself in your basement with only the Burn "New Morality" recordings and your guitar for a week, growing a huge beard and resurfacing again while full body headbanging to the sound of that song playing in your head. Is that how it went?


That series of 4 one song 7" records is a nifty idea. What are the benefits of doing things this way as opposed to let's say a new 4 song 7" or 12"? The first one is due out soon, what can you tell me about the song on that one?

Well, we’re not on Rivalry anymore so we were like OK, let's do something that we wanna do, cuz we can literally do anything. I had been talking to Rory about doing a series of 1 song singles for a while and then when we were on tour with Lie And Wait (awesome band, by the way) their drummer Josh Huskin came up with the idea to make all the covers form one bigger picture. So blame him haha. The benefits are just that it makes US happy, its what we wanted to do so we did it. We picked the labels, they’ve been awesome and are doing a great job, everyone’s stoked. We’ll put out another normal 7” before the winter tour.
“Playing Coward” is the first one to come out, it can be ordered now. Its selling faster than expected which is surprising, we didn’t think people would buy into the idea and that they’d sell more on tour, but I guess not. As of right now, it’s my favorite song we have. I like quiet guitar intros that escalate in volume, so I did one of those. Its got a cool bounce/groove part that I dig too. I like all the new songs, now I guess I gotta hope that others like them to?

Will all those songs be vinyl exclusives or will some of them appear on the new album next year?

Vinyl exclusives. Whatever we do from now on will have new stuff only. We’ll continue with our formula of not releasing any 2 records that sound the same.

Soul Control is one of the few newer bands that seems do well with young kids and old heads alike, it is especially interesting to see how you guys get asked to play Snapcase, Unbroken, Overcast, Disembodied etc. reunion shows... Why do you think that is, besides your old age?

Well, the Snapcase/Anti-Matter Show was all because of Rob Fish. 108 has been real cool to us from the beginning and Rob really went to bat for us to get us on that show. Norm decided to add 1 more band to the lineup and Rob told him to check us out. He liked it a lot and called me and asked us to play. After the 2 shows Norm said a lot of cool things about us like how even though we’re a modern band we capture the spirit and vibe of “that” time, stuff like that. It’s all in the blog on the Anti-Matter myspace. Old heads, and I mean that as a positive term, seem to dig us for that reason, at least that’s what we hear the most, that we manage to capture that time/sound/vibe and they like it. Same thing with the Burning Fight release show in April, we were asked for those reasons. We might not have been a band in the mid 90’s but that’s the time when we all were most active in the scene and I guess it still shines through when we play. We’re not faking it, this is what comes out of us, it’s real and I think people can tell.

If the 16 year old Jim C. would meet the 30 year old Jim C. do you think they'd become friends?

Yea probably, we’d both be into Madball and that’s a good way to start a friendship.

You have a pretty awesome stage thing going, I dig the bouncing while spinning around move... What are some of your favourite guitarists to watch live?

I’m not really into super active guitarists actually but I do love watching dudes shred. Like Cedric. Dude shreds. When those bends hit in the breakdown of Forked Tongues and he kind of leans back with the bend…that is sweet. Juan Montoya and Steve Brooks from Torche. They know exactly how heavy they are and they are stoked about it. Obviously J. Mascis. Saw him last night, stood about 4 feet from his amps, needless to say I couldn’t hear very well this morning.

Soul Control has a huge full U.S. tour planned for next year, among other tours, a new album etc. How hard is it to keep living that kind of band lifestyle while you are at an age where most have long giving up on hardcore? What keeps you inspired to do you what you do?

Basically, I don’t want to grow up just yet. So I’ll tour and work lame retail jobs in between just to avoid getting a real job. I have a marketing degree that I’ve been wasting since 2000, I could go get a decent job if I wanted to, but it’s not time for that. All I can really focus on is music right now, I gotta get it out of my system before I settle down. Luckily I have cheap rent and very VERY understanding girlfriend.

You were supposed to tour Europe again last August but that got cancelled, when do you expect to be back over? What are some of your fondest memories of that first European tour you did with Blacklisted and Shipwreck?

We plan on coming back to Europe next summer with a certain Belgian Devilcore Act called Rise And Fall, maybe you’ve heard of them. See what I did there? Now it has to happen, once it’s on the internet it’s real.

Fond memories include: sitting in that club on the 18 hour ferry to Finland watching Dubs kick game to 16 year old Russian girls, walking around in Prague which was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, Dance party after the show in Warsaw, pulling up to the Lintfabriek and seeing that massive crowd outside, being woken up at 4am by George who needed to tell the room that a certain member of one of the bands on the tour that wasn’t Blacklisted or Soul Control was upstairs making out with a dude. I really wish I didn’t let the money situation bring me down so much, I got pretty depressed at times but looking back, that was a great tour.

Ride - "Nowhere". Briefly explain why this is your favourite record ever.

I’ve been thinking about this question for days and I can’t come up with anything brief so I’ll just sum it up in one sentence: It is a perfect record.

Brief side story, I saw Mark Gardner do a solo show in Boston in 2005 and it was a tiny crowd due to Dinosaur Jr playing down the street. Mark bummed a cigarette off my girlfriend and we talked for a few minutes. Then he dedicated Dreams Burn Down (my fav Ride song) to me, which was probably the coolest thing happened in my life thus far.

Thanks Jim!
No problem. See you on that tour, I’ll help you get into OM.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mind Over Matter, Soul Before Flesh

That's the motto, still. Not that it is an easy one to live by, but all you can do is try, right? Right. So it's past midnight, I'm typing and I'm kind of excited because I haven't actually blogged since October. I guess the bug bit me again or something. Actually, after October last year I didn't have any internet access for a couple of months. After those couple of months, I just shunned the net for another couple of months and it felt good. It was kind of an experiment. I felt like a caveman, but in a good way. But as Full Court Press once told us, "good things never last", so I found my way back to the internet machine sometime in March or so. Felt like updating the blog once in a while but nothing happened, I guess I was just focusing on other things, such as the writing and recording process of the new Rise And Fall record. We recorded back in March and the damn thing should be out in October. I'm pretty stoked on that. We also just got back from a 4 week tour throughout Europe with our dawgs in Have Heart and Shipwreck. I have to admit, I have missed touring. I've been living a somewhat more regular life over the last few years and while that's not the worst thing in the world, touring is definitely a lot cooler. Rise And Fall hadn't done any extensive touring since the summer of '09 so we were all pretty amped to get out there and play hard every night. It was fun. Plus we could hang with and see the Hearts and the Wrecks every day, it don't get much better than that. Anyway. On tour I had a bunch of people ask me what was going on with the blog and that definitely helped me get back into it. It's cool to hear some people out there really dig it. See, I won't lie, I'm pretty far from being Lars Ulrich but every ego loves to be flattered now and then. So here I am, back at it. Mind Over Matter '09.

This is going to be pretty damn random so please bear with me. Two of my favourite bands out there both have new albums out, both of them leaked prior to their release date, but what are you gonna do? You can't rage against the internet machine.

Iron Age "The Sleeping Eye". If you asked me for two words to describe this one, I'd say "EPIC RIFFING". Not everyone is going to dig this, because not everyone can stomach 7 minute songs and an overdose of riffs, but I sure can. Granted, it's a bit much too listen to in one take, but fuck it... This album is ridiculously good. It sounds crisp and clear and heavy as fuck. Huge sound. Think Clash Of The Titans Tour, 20000 maniacs headbanging. I was too slow to get the double vinyl released by the band themselves, but I'll pick up the Tee Pee version as soon as it crosses my path.

Another killer is the new Trapped Under Ice album called "Secrets Of The World". No surprise here as their demo, "Stay Cold" EP and live shows already showed what greatness this band is capable of. I've heard it a bunch of times now on other's people's Ipods, I got close to destroying the roof of our van when I started a one man moshpit up in the loft. I can't wait to get the real thing. Reaper Records is going strong, no doubt.

Soul Control's new album called "Cycles" should be out soon too, I haven't heard that one yet but I'm definitely curious to hear what kind of wizardry Jim C. and co. have come up with. Speaking of Jim C., I have an awesome interview with him somewhere in my mailbox, I will try to get that thing online soon, 'cause Soul Control's European tour starts in a few days from now.

What's your favourite Bane album? Chances are it's "Give Blood". Defibitely a good answer. It's probably my favourite one too. But how about "The Note"? Definitely an underappreciated record. I was way into that one. I have a feeling i'm going to dig the new EP as well 'cause that new song they put online last week rules. Peep it at and keep an eye out for that record to drop on Hurry Up Records in Europe (Matteo, cojone) and Triple B in the States.

Doomriders have a new album coming too. "Darkness Come Alive". I've heard it and it does shred. Hard. A little darker, more serious (less of a spur of the moment thing I guess) than "Black Thunder". Check the Deathwish site for a 3 song media player.

Guess who else put out a new album? That's right, Dinosaur Jr. It fucking rules. Album of the year*? Possibly. There's a bunch of walking trees on the cover. Those trees don't give a fuck. Because they're cool.

I gotta get some sleep. More soon.


* In the non-hardcore category.