Photography By Traci McMahon And Jeff Lasich.
Interview by Jeff Lasich.
I first heard the Floorpunch demo in early 1996. Hearing it was a like a breath of fresh air. This was the first really good straight edge hardcore band I had heard since the youth crew had grown up. Obviously this was before the internet made punk and hardcore easy. That being said, I knew nothing about this band except the demo was incredible. Not coming as a surprise, Floorpunch never played Pittsburgh. I remember wanting to see them twice in Buffalo and once at the Yuletide fest, but no one would go with me. Lame. They were supposed to play in Auburn, NY sometime during the summer of 1998 (I think that was the year.) I remember pulling up to the venue to find some dude with long, greasy hair and a Nirvana shirt tell me “show’s cancelled, dude.” That was the closest I got to seeing the mighty Floorpunch during their original existence. In October, 2007, the guys played a show as a benefit for a friend. I of course made the pilgrimage out to Philly to see one of those bands who were always on my list of bands to see. The show was a blur and well worth the drive and the wait. Summer 2009 brought a couple more shows. I talked to Porter in July 2009 about doing an interview for Start Today #7. He was totally down to do it. We emailed a couple times about the interview, but nothing really came out of it. They played their final, final, final mosh in Philly on June 26, 2010 as part of the Six Feet Under Records showcase to support the double 12” discography that was recently released. After that show, I was ready to move forward with doing a new zine. I dropped Porter another email in August and a few days later, I had some answers. Without more delay, Floorpunch!
So what’s new Mark? How was your summer?
This summer has been really cool, my oldest daughter grace has gotten really into swimming and is doing awesome. So we have been hitting the beach a lot, swimming in the ocean. We have a cabana at a beach club so were there a lot swimming in the pool. My youngest, Tessa is a maniac so she’s been keeping me busy.
Originally you played a reunion a couple years ago as a benefit for Robbie. I thought the set was great and it was good to see kids going off. Were you happy with those shows? You realize covering Breakdown made them the new hot old band of the week.
Yeah the Robbie benefit shows were awesome we were all happy at how good the response was. We weren’t really expecting that. As far as breakdown is concerned every kid who likes FP should like Breakdown. That band is one of my favorites and if we helped them at all then I’m stoked. Getting Jeff to sing those two songs at TIH last year was so cool.
I was kinda shocked by the fairly low turnout for that show near Wilkes-Barre last summer. I’m hoping that it was just because the place was out in the cut and pretty hard to find, although that is not much of an excuse since I drove about 7 hours for it.
The Wilkes-Barre show was fun though it was in the middle of no where and the location got changed a few times. I wasn’t really disappointed with the turnout cause kids went off.
How was your short Euro tour? How did that came into play? Was the Philly show in June the real last Floorpunch show?
The tour in Europe was a lot of fun. Our roadie Erik set up the whole thing he was in touch with avocado who booked the tour. He was the one who was pretty much responsible for the whole reunion as a whole. He had told me that kids would be interested in seeing us cause I didn’t think anyone cared. As far as Philly being the last show, as for now it looks like it. I did have a talk with Joe Hardcore and he said never say it’s your last show cause you never really know. Its still fun but right now we have nothing planned.
Did you remain close to everyone in the band after calling it quits?
We don’t hang as much as we should but we still keep in touch. This band is all families and kids so everyone has a busy schedule. I just texted Zev this morning asking how the last few Underdog shows have been going. I talk to Bill and Chris pretty regularly.
Is there unreleased Floorpunch material that might see the light of day? What about new material? Brett alluded to something in the liner notes of the discography. What is the story about you getting nervous before you play that kids won’t mosh?
The discography has everything but the demo for the lp, which has been widely circulated for years. Painkiller may put that out in the near future. As far as what Brett said it’s true. I have total band insecurity I always feel like kids won’t be into us. It’s just a weird phobia I guess. I don’t know why I feel like that cause FP had very, very few bad Shows.
Floorpunch was pretty outspoken as far as straight edge goes. I know a couple edges have gone dull; did that impact the idea of a reunion at all?
With Zev and Kingshott not being edge it’s been a little weird, but I wrote all of the lyrics and I’m still edge so I guess that adds a little more validity to it. No one has really given us any shit. But if they did I would understand.
Do you think Floorpunch had a long term effect on traditional hardcore? I know there were other bands like IME, ROTP, and TYF that were all playing that style, but I think Floorpunch had the biggest and most lasting influence.
I like to think that we did, we were just trying to play the kind of music we liked. I realize we weren’t doing anything groundbreaking but if kids like it then that’s all we wanted.
What was your first exposure to punk/hardcore?
I had an aunt who was into punk and through her I got into it. She gave me a Sex Pistols single and a Buzzcocks record. Then I bought Suicidal’s first record and I was hooked, this was like 1986.
Why even bother with being in a band and involved in hardcore at your age?
At this point in my life it’s just about getting away for a bit and to travel with good friends. I still go to shows and feel ancient but it’s all good. I can’t just throw it away it’s been the one constant in my life since I was 14. Will I go in two years, I dunno but right now it’s still fun. I will always be edge though.
Let’s talk about the infamous Tension Building interview. At the time, people made a huge deal of it. This was pre-internet days. If something like that happened now do you think it would be a bigger deal because of messageboards, or do you think there wouldn’t be too much made of it because as a whole it seems kids care a little less.
That’s a tough question. I think if it was made now kids still wouldn’t be too happy about it. If we could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I still see bands getting shit cause they say something ignorant even if it’s not meant to be hurtful but just tongue and cheek. Chris has no problems with gay people it was just a figure of speech.
Are you surprised kids latched on to Let It Ride as much as they did? Also, 50 on red has hardly ever been right for me.
I’m always psyched to see kids go off for Let It Ride. Gambling was a big part of my life then I was hitting AC like two or three times a week. I was doing well and having a blast so I wrote a song about it. I’ve seen fifty on red work for Rifkin but more times than not, kids tell me they lose doing it.
Your 7” has a crucial layout and all the colors look good. Musically, it is one of the top hardcore 7”s of all time. There is a high demand for the copy on gold. Some people have called it the Chung King of the 90’s, as far as it being so collectible and desired. Did you really toss 12 into the ocean as rumored (so there would be 88 copies)?
I have four of the 7″ on gold and truth be told there was 90 pressed and I have the two unnumbered ones. I’ve been offered good money for that record and I’m shocked kids will pay so much. It is a rare record, and a lot of the people who have them will never get rid of them.
The Cherry Tree buffets of the FPC live in hardcore folklore. The best story I’ve heard was “I’m full.” “Ok let’s go.” “I said I was full, not done.”
There was some big eating back then it’s kind of ironic that I’ve gotten fatter since FP broke up being that we ate so much then. I had said “I’m full not done eating” in high school and used it a few times at Cherry Street amongst other places. Then there was the ice cream eating contest while doing an interview for In Effect Fanzine where Zusi got crushed by Geoff TDT.
What about the post Floorpunch bands…Smash and Grab, Volume 4, and Anger Regiment?
They were just side projects which could never get steady members. I really like some of those songs.
You work on Wall Street? Is the economy really as bad as they say? Or is it just a matter of giving and taking and the ship will right itself? What made you follow that career path? Also, were you still in college when Floorpunch was an active band?
I think the markets will rally to new highs soon enough. If you have money in a retirement plan don’t be nervous and stop investing use this time to buy more at a cheaper price to get a better average. I was twenty when I got my job on the floor and worked my way up from runner to broker. FP started when I was 23, so I was already working on the floor. I dropped out of college to take this job in 1994.
Is it hard to juggle your work and family, while trying to prepare for and play the shows?
My wife is chill and let’s me get away so it hasn’t been a problem to get away for the shows. I’ve given her every penny I’ve made from these last shows so she can’t complain.
Anything else you’d like to talk about?
Sorry it took so long the first time. I enjoyed it this time. And I did it all via text on my phone. I’m shocked I typed this much.