I got the chance to interview Rich Labbate (Rich Insted) from Insted. One of my favorite bands of all time.
I remember the first time I heard Bounds Of Friendship I was blown away, the sound was perfect in my opinion. I got my hands on What We Believe very soon after and have probably had both those records on steady repeat ever since. Insted are one of those feel good bands for me, I still get pumped every time I hear them. A few times now they have been the go to band if I’m on my way to a job interview or some other stressful situations.
DR: Hi Rich how are you? What are you up to at the moment?
RL: I’m doing great thanks. I’m living in Arizona with my wife, dog and tortoise. (both pets were rescued)
DR: Your in the same boat as me too right, expecting your first child very soon? Are you excited about fatherhood?
RL: Yes. I’m going to be a father for the 1st time in August. Very exciting for this new chapter in my life.
DR: Ok so can you us give the insted story? Where did you start,how,year and OG line up.
RL: Ok. I joined Insted in 1988. Insted had formed in the summer of 1986 and within a few months they recorded a demo which quickly became popular around the local scene. It also grabbed the attention of Wishingwell records to which they signed in 1987 and started recording what would become ‘Bonds of friendship’. I had met Kevin and Steve from going to shows and one day kevin came up to me, gave me an insted shirt and said they were looking for a bass player and asked if i would try out. ‘Bonds of friendship’ was taking along to time to come out and by that time the Mclaughlin brothers were out of the band and they were down to a 4 piece. I quickly learned the songs and met them at their practice studio. Everything just clicked right away. Within a few weeks Insted was back in action and we were passing out flyers for our next show. It all happened pretty fast. By the end of summer ‘bonds of friendship’ was being released and we were booking our first tour.
DR: where did you guys play out a lot in the early days?
RL: Back in those days it wasn’t uncommon to play a backyard party or a warehouse or a random show in the park. There wasn’t a lot of options and the clubs would quickly come and go. The biggest and most stable venue at the time was Fender’s ballroom in Long Beach. Insted played there quite a few times before it’s closing. The Reseda county club popped up and had a good 3 or 4 year run. There was also Spanky’s cafe out in Riverside. Most places didn’t last but more than a handful of shows before closing or being shut down.
DR: I ask this a lot but it’s a favourite of mine…where did you draw a lot of influence from musically?
RL: In the beginning Insted got compared to 7 seconds and Stalag 13 quite a bit. When i joined the band i think i brought more of that Minor threat/ Negative approach style in. Also at the time, Youth of today and Uniform choice were the 2 biggest straight edge bands so i would say they had a big influence on us as well.
DR: who were some of the regular bands you played with?
RL: In the early days and throughout? We did some great shows with both Youth of Today and Uniform Choice. We also toured with Gorilla Biscuits, Vision, Up front, Insight, Face value, Reason to Believe and Wind of Change. We’re still friends with a lot of those guys to this day. Locally we played with Hard Stance, No for an answer, Infest, Half off, Visual discrimination, etc. As we got more popular we always made a point to help out the smaller bands and when we travelled we really enjoyed playing with the local support. When we did the reunion shows we ask TFS to do the shows with us.
DR: what were you and some of the other guys into apart from Hardcore and music in general while insted was around?
RL: The other guys all had steady jobs and were pretty heavy into sports. I was kinda the entrepreneur of the group. I was not into sports, I was more into photography. I had random jobs in between tours. I would be working at night clubs or somewhere dreaming of starting my own company, etc. but I think for the most part Hardcore took up a good portion of our time.
DR: Did You tour outside of the US with Insted?
RL: We were lucky enough to make it to Europe in 2005. We had done a few reunion shows on the east coast in 2004 in celebration of our newly released discography. When those were done we had gotten a few offers to play the west coast as well as Europe so we did. We had tried to go to Europe back in 1990 but the Gulf war broke out and we were advised not to travel over seas during this time.
DR: what were some of your most memorable shows?
RL: so many…. I think my first show was a classic. It was with Youth of Today, Soulside, Underdog, Bold, Hard stance and i’m pretty sure Chain of strength opened. It was in Pomona 1988, Right down the street from where i would buy all my records as a kid. Also playing the Palladium with Bad Religion after signing to Epitaph records was awesome. There was 3 circle pits going at the same time. Tons of energy. We played a benefit show for Roger Miret at the Anthrax in 1989. I remember it was a bunch of east coast bands trying to intimidate us. We just rolled up and did our thing. I thought to myself “ i’m actually friends with this guy”. it’s not just another hardcore show to play on. There’s a reason we’re here. and by the way “where’s the unity”?
DR: What labels put out Insted Records?
RL: ‘Bonds of friendship’ was put out by Wishingwell records, ‘We’ll make the difference’ was put out by Nemisis records, ‘What we believe’ was put out by Epitaph records. The discography was released by Indecision records.
DR: Who are some of your Personal favourite Hardcore bands past and present?
RL: This will have to be a 4 part answer as i usually break it up into records vs. live shows. For example my favorite hardcore 7” is Antidote- ‘thou shalt not kill’ but i never saw the band live so…. Past bands (live) would include: Uniform Choice,Youth of today, Agnostic front, 7 seconds, Doggy style, Gorilla biscuits, Infest, Fugazi, Bad brains. Current bands (live) : Cro-mags, OFF!, Rise against, Bad religion. Past bands (records): Minor Threat-discography, Bad religion- how could hell be any worse, Agnostic front- victim in pain, Circle jerks-group sex, M.I.A-murder in a foreign place, Dag nasty- can i say, plus many more. Current bands (records): Coke bust- degradation, The First step- open hearts and clear minds, Paint it black- paradise, Outbreak-failure, Rise against- appeal to reason, OFF!- first e.p.
DR: what do the other Insted guys get up to these days?
RL: Steve and I have similar tastes. Not too sure about the other guys.
DR: what was Insteds main ethos?
RL: we were really about creating a positive environment for the hardcore scene. we were passionate about being drug free and vegetarian. Speaking for myself i can say i’m still passionate about being drug free, vegan/vegetarian and i still love hardcore.