As most of the regular readers know I did a two part interview Rich from Insted last summer.
With Insted being one of my all time favourites id post stuff about this band forever.
So with this being the last part/interview from the Start Today Fanzine archives it couldn’t have ended better for me.
Words and some photography by Jeff Lasich.
The phone call started off with Kevin and I discussing the past NFL season, as neither of our teams made it to the Super Bowl. We talked about football for a bit and then I turned on my tape recorder. At this time we were talking about how he snuck into the Super Bowl a few years ago.
When they played the Giants at the Rose Bowl. I paid a guy at the gate $75 to let me in. I didn’t have a seat I just roamed around. It was fun being there.
Last season Super Bowl tickets had a face value of $500 each, so I probably won’t be going to the Super Bowl anytime soon.
Did you go to those shows this past weekend?
The First Step.
Oh yeah. I did. I went to the Syracuse one.
How was that?
Surprisingly low turnout. I was disappointed. I thought because it was a Saturday there’d be a decent amount of people there, but there was a super bowl of hardcore in New York City and Chicago fest, so maybe that kept some people away.
Are you going to go to the Bold shows?
I am. I’m pretty excited to see them at CB’s and they are playing Philly the week after.
That’ll be pretty good. What are people saying about that?
Well of course there is a lot of bashing, but there has always been a lot of Bold bashing. Kids are talking bad about it, but a majority of kids bitch about Speak Out. Bold is just a band that people love to hate.
They can do what they want. People are going to say negative stuff no matter what you do. The one thing I thought was strange was that it is not a reunion, but they are “back” as a band. In my brain, I’ve got Bold pictured as 13-14 year old kids playing hardcore. That is engraved in my head. They are probably in their early 30’s now.
How old are you?
I’m going to be 30 in June.
What do you do for a living?
I work at a postgraduate college. It’s totally not what I went to college for. When me moved to Philly I met this guy at the gym and we started talking about music and all that and found out her worked for Relapse. I needed a job pretty bad and they needed someone at the office. I got laid off just before Christmas in 2001. A few months passed and I started temping. One of my locations was at this college. I ended up really liking it there and they liked me so they hired me full time. Pretty much all I am doing right now is paperwork and posting on message boards. It’s not what want to be doing, but the pay is good, as are my benefits and vacation time.
Here is something I thought was different, I don’t want to get ahead of myself though. There are no fanzines anymore are there?
Not too many. There are always a good amount of zines coming from Europe, not always the best but there are some really good ones from overseas. Canada has Town of Hardcore, but Steve told me that is just about done. As far as print fanzines in the states, I have a few for review but I haven’t seen any in a few months. Hopefully when this issue comes out some kids will get stoked and put their own out.
In that issue I got when we were out east, you had that Chain of Strength…
From Maximum Rock and Roll.
Is that where that was from? I’ve never seen it.
I was flipping through an old issue of MRR and came across it. There was a small 2-4 page zine called Fuck You Fanzine and in one issue there was a Chain interview where that was mentioned. A lot of kids have probably never seen that, so I thought it would be fun to put in at the end of the Rev piece.
Did you see 7 Seconds when they came through?
What did you think?
I thought they were awesome, but too loud. There were times I couldn’t tell what the song was til the chorus and the bass sounded twangy. It was so loud it was messing with my equilibrium. My knees would get a little shaky. If I fell down for no reason, I’d have been pretty embarrassed.
Where do you see them, in Philly?
Yeah, at the church.
Is that a big place?
It’s a decent size. It is in a Unitarian Church. They have a nice stage. They used to do a lot of hardcore shows there, but now it is a lot of indie rock, hip-hop, or hipster bands with the occasional hardcore show thrown in. The Bane show a few weeks ago sold out, but the Bold show won’t.
Bold is a band that is kind of pigeon holed. You’re not going to get your punk rock, Mohawk kids going to the show.
There are a lot of newer hardcore kids who probably won’t go unless there are good supporting bands. The CB’s show has Kill Your Idols, Mental, Triple Threat and Have Heart. But if you are going to see Triple Threat, you’re probably going to see Bold also. I’m not sure what the Bold lineup will be, but I know they don’t want to headline the show. They are having trouble finding a headliner with such short notice.
I saw 7 Seconds Friday. They were very good. They played all the old stuff, one after another. It was pretty amazing. Last night was Ignite. I was so tired from the weekend I didn’t go. I was kind of bummed because a good friend of mine is on tour with those guys, but I did not know that.
Ok, onto business. I liked how the guys in the band posted on a couple message boards asking what everyone thought about the possibility of Insted getting together to play a few shows to celebrate the release of the discography. Why did you even what the opinion would be?
Bear and I aren’t active in the hardcore scene. I go to shows when say 7 Seconds or Agnostic Front comes to town and I catch some of the local bands, but speaking for myself I didn’t even know if people were interested. We care so much about the name and what we did, and I mean that sincerely speaking for all four of the guys, we didn’t want to do something and have a big backlash. If there wasn’t a demand for it or people didn’t care, then we could just practice by ourselves or something like that. We didn’t need to go out and play shows. We cared about what people would think. I guess the thing to say is “we don’t care what people think” but no, we did. I think the response was 90% good, 10% bad. But you are going to get a negative response no matter what you do. I truly believe that. When we booked the shows, we had a great response there too. People wanted to do more shows, but we only had room for three. We just wanted to find out if people wanted to see us or not.
There were a bunch of us who got excited when talk first started. I missed you on I think the Bonds of Friendship tour and have been kicking myself in the ass since then.
I think we played a place that was upstairs or something like that. It was a real good show. There was a pizza place in the alley behind it.
Back to the discography, how did that get in the works?
It seemed that over the past 5-10 years…all four of us are still really good friends. We talk a lot; we talk once every couple weeks. I talk to Bear and Rich daily. Our music was spread out. The Epitaph record, we were hearing it was out of print. Bonds of Friendship was out of print. We had three songs that we were in the process of putting together that were not on the cd. It seemed like, even with my kids they would be like “hey my friend wants to hear your cd” or “can we give them a cd?” We didn’t really have our music at our fingertips. As time went on, it was harder and harder to get our music. We’ve got kids who want to hear our music and their friends and we want to pass the torch on. Rich did the leg work and decided to hook up with Indecision. They were game to do the discography.
Whose idea was it to maybe play again?
Here’s what happened, to be honest with you. We did talk and said “hey let’s go over to Europe, we’ve never done that, that is something we can do.” This was about a year or two ago, after the discography was going to be put out we thought more about it and we thought we hadn’t played in 12 years together and it would be kind of crazy if we went over there and things didn’t work out. Let’s play in the states, let’s play close to home and go from there. I think it was a collective talk amongst all of us.
What were you thinking and expecting on the flight over to play the east coast shows?
I didn’t know what to expect. I just couldn’t believe that we were actually going those three shows back east, two in California. I couldn’t believe we were doing this again. I honestly thought back when we played our last show at Spanky’s in California, I think it was July 13, I thought it was the last show. I never thought we’d play again, period. That is what my mindset was.
When you played that show, did you go into it knowing it was going to be your last show?
We did. We had gotten back from our US tour. I distinctively remember we practiced and we were getting ready to rev up the engine again and play more shows. I was going to get married. Everyone was starting to go their own way. The scene was changing. It was getting more into the metalcore, tough guy sound. That wasn’t Insted. We weren’t going to change our sound, we weren’t going to start playing metal songs with leads and grow our hair out. We just weren’t going to do it. Amongst ourselves, we knew it was going to be our last show, but no one else knew. We just announced it. We talked about it, “should we do this big gala thing? No, let’s just keep it low key.” We came in with no fireworks and left with no fireworks. There was no huge announcement. The people there were shocked when we announced it. I remember the place went silent. I’ll never forget, there were people crying after the set. I remember being outside, like it was yesterday, being outside the glass doors by the entrance to Spanky’s, being to the right and there were 2 or 3 guys crying, hugging me. It was like “whoa.” I almost had to say “hey it’s ok man, everything is going to be ok.” I’ll never forget that.
Everyone I’ve talked to who were at the east coast shows think that Insted raised the bar as far as reunion shows go. Were you pleased with the shows?
First I have to tell you, you said raised the bar, we put a lot of time into practicing, into the preparation to make everything go as well as possible. I was singing before I flew out there and we did 4 days of practicing. Those guys were working their butts off practicing. I was at home singing in the basement. It drove me nuts after the 500th time to strengthen my voice and get familiar with the songs again. It was like riding a bike. You pick it up, but still you gotta practice. We wanted to leave no stones unturned and we wanted to make sure we were on the top of our game and that whoever was there, they were getting as close to Instead back in the mid to late 80’s, as close as we could. We put a lot of time into it. I think from a band standpoint, we played that first show I was uncertain. We hadn’t been up there in years. The club that we played had a pole in the middle of the stage that drove me nuts. We messed up a few times. After that, we settled in and the rest of the shows were A+.
I say that because less than a month before you came out here to play those shows, Youth of Today did those two shows in Philly. It was kind of lackluster. It seemed like 4 guys just playing the songs but not connecting. It was cool, I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t enjoy myself. When I left I thought that was a pretty good time. After seeing you play, seeing all 4 of you on stage, completely into what you were doing and having fun, it seemed more sincere.
Here is what we did. Prior to us talking about doing this, I was at the time 36; I said, “Hey if we can go out there and have some fun, get together why not? Why not catch lightning in a ball? If you get a chance to do it, go for it.” Bear, Rich, and Steve practiced 4 times. We said practice and let’s see if the vibe’s there. If the vibe is not there, let’s not do it. This wasn’t something we said yes and then let’s go get ready. We wanted to make sure everyone was like “yes, the feeling is still there, let’s do it!” That is what got everybody fired up. I remember Rich calling me at 1 o’clock in the morning and he said “we’re in, we’re doing it.” The flame was there; they were ready to go. If he would have called me and said “Kevin, you know what? We’re just not into it.” I wouldn’t have been into it. It wasn’t on an individual basis, all 4 of us had to be psyched and fired up to do it.
It’s weird, Sunday morning I was flipping through the channels and watched VH1’s Bands Reunited with Berlin on it. I’m not even close to a Berlin fan, but it was cool to watch. And they were similar to the story you just told about how everyone had to be into it and the vibe had to be there for them to play out.
I think I did see that. They didn’t just practice once; they practiced 3 or 4 times. I called Bear one Saturday morning and said, “look Bear, we’ve been talking about this, go practice a few times. If you don’t feel it, I don’t want you to do it. I don’t want to do it. He said they practiced once and thought it was awesome but still wanted to practice a couple more times just to make sure. A couple more times, they were all psyched and we said “ok, we’ll do the show.”
How were the California shows compared to the east coast shows?
I think they were a little different and there were more people who were close friends who aren’t into the hardcore scene who were there. Tim McMahon asked me that, how were those shows, how do they compare? Each show was different. Providence, it was that unsure thing. We had to get up on the bike again. The New Jersey show, it was just awesome. It was hotter than hell and people were going nuts. There was a small stage. It was awesome; I loved it. It was 150 degrees. Then CB’s that is a story in itself. Historic CBGB’s, New York City. Everybody and their mom’s there. The California shows, we were playing for a guy who put on a lot of Insted shows. One night there were 500 hundred people, one night there were 600 people back to back. People went absolutely bananas at the shows. Everyone was different. I think that was good.
What was the California scene like when Insted was starting?
When we were starting out, there weren’t a whole lot of places to play. There were very few places to play. For bands of our size at the time, the shows were pretty small. We played a lot of back yards and small halls. The scene itself was great. A lot of people, a lot of friends, people knew each other. There were these groups of people who were at every show. Of course you had the big shows. I remember in high school going to the Olympic Auditorium going to see GBH, 7 Seconds, Ill Repute and there would be 3000-4000 people there. I was talking to Rich the other day, the BYO put on a show, Youth Brigade, Social D and some of the bands that were on their label and there were like 4000-5000 people at the Palladium. It was crazy, huge shows. I felt back then the scene was great. In high school, I’d go see bands like Uniform Choice at the Flashdance.
And popular did you guys end up becoming on the west coast?
I think we were very popular. We headlined the Country Club. I think we had a big following. But I can’t say how “big” we were. People came to our shows.
I ask that because sometimes it seems as if California and the west coast is a different country to us. I have a hard time keeping up with bands out there and everything. It the northeastern US, I guess we are spoiled with a good number of bands and shows.
A part of it is geography. In LA, your next big city is San Diego and then your big city is San Francisco, which is 6-8 hours north. When you are on the east coast, you’ve got a lot of these big cities within a couple hours.
I know. I can get to NYC in less than 2 hours, DC around the same amount of time.
There you go. In California, you are in LA or Orange County and maybe you’ll journey to Sand Diego to see a show, but that is pretty much it.
When Insted was starting, what did you have in mind for the band to accomplish? Were things you wanted to do or you wanted people to take from it?
I’d say just a positive message. We were so into the scene, I can’t stress this enough. Whether it was going to shows, buying the records, reading fanzines, all four of us were involved with the scene. It was just a positive message we wanted to convey to the scene and to people buying our music.
I read in a zine that you were living on the east coast for a few months.
When we did our first tour we had a month off and what we would do was play on the weekends. Actually it was 2 months. We parked our van at Roger from Agnostic Front’s house on Staten Island and half of us would stay with Roger and the other half would stay with Porcell and I believe Tom Capone in Brooklyn. We just flip-flopped back and forth hanging out. On the weekends, we’d load up the van and go play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday somewhere.
Was there a reason you ended up just staying here for a couple months?
Just for the experience and because the guy who was booking our tour, Johnny Stiff, there was a 2month period in the winter that he just couldn’t get quality shows during the week. We just didn’t want to come to the east coast for a week and then go, so we said “we’ve got time, let’s hang out for a couple months.”
The Anthrax was a pretty important club to kids over here. As an “outsider” what did you think of it? Did it seem cliquish?
I thought the Anthrax was a great club. They may have been a little more supportive to the local bands versus the bands on tour. I thought it was interesting that people would leave at a certain time because when we played it was a younger crowd. Coming from the west coast, you didn’t think about that. If you went on at 10 o’clock, there is a chance that there could only be half the people there.
That is something I never even thought about.
I remember when we played the first time there. We played with Bold and a couple other bands. I remember a good portion of the crowd left. I asked what happened to the people? They said “the time Kevin.” A lot of these kids are 14, 15, even 13 years old and they have to get a ride home. I thought it was a great club. You’d walk in, you could see a list of what shows were coming up, no hassles you could go outside and come inside. I thought it was great.
Let me get a couple nerd things out of the way. The candy cane shirts, what is the story with those?
The Sloth Crew wanted to make an Insted Christmas shirt and we said go ahead. They made I think 2-dozen. I wish there was a better story, but that is pretty much it. We played in the beginning of December and one of the Sloth Crew guys; either Joe Nelson or Greg Brown said, “can we make a couple dozen shirts? We’ll give you a couple each” and we were like “yeah, no problem just don’t make it too stupid.”
Let’s talk about the Bonds of Friendship pressing. The colors were black, red, and white. I’ve heard 200 on white and 500 on red.
You’re right on the white. The red, I’ll be honest I don’t know.
Do you think there are less than 500?
I would say yes. I don’t think I have red; I’ve got plenty of white.
Do you know how many tests there were?
There should be about 10.
I heard some story about the press on white that you were having issues with Wishing Well and you were about to go on tour and didn’t have any records. You went in and stole a bunch of records or something dramatic like that.
I wish it were like that. What happened was we were having problems with Wishing Well. We knew this company; I think it was Rainbo, who manufactured the records. We went in and said we’d pay for them out of our money. We want 200 on white vinyl. They came with the corners clipped and no labels. That was it. I like your story better.
What did you do after Insted broke up?
The formed a band called Lidsville. I got married and ended up moving to Colorado.
How’d you end up in Colorado?
I was getting married and having my first child and I just wanted to get out of Orange County and LA. I’ve always liked mountains. I’ve always like Denver. I had an aunt who lived out here and we decided to give it a try. I’ve been here 11 years now. I thought it was cool that the guys that formed Lidsville, it was great to see that they formed a band but didn’t try to ride the coattails of Insted. Or like “come see us, it’s 3 ex-members of Insted.” Most bands I don’t think do that. They did it the right way. It was great to see a band to that. They completely did their own thing.
That is cool. It is too easy to use the ex-member thing.
Yeah. To get an extra 20 people there.
After the Euro tour is said and done, have you given any thought to occasionally playing shows here and there or when you get back from Europe, is that it? I know you can never say never.
I’ve learned never to say never because I never thought we’d do the east coast shows. I never thought we’d do the California shows. I never thought we’d go to Europe. Talking to the promoter in Europe, he said “will these be that last Insted shows?” We said yes, they’re always the last shows, but on the poster he was going to put “final Insted tour” and we said no, we didn’t want to bait people and be like “come see us, it’s the final time.” We’re not an active band; we can’t fool people. For me to say we would play again or we wouldn’t, I don’t know. I never thought we’d do what we did. That we would be lucky enough to play the east coast, play the west, and then go to Europe. I say lucky enough, it is because people go to the shows. We are thankful for that. If nobody went, we’d be like nobody cares, that’s fine. We’ll go do our own thing. With the response we got, that was very eye opening for us.
It seemed that everyone who was there was really into it. No fights, no drama, no nonsense.
I’ll never forget, at the CB’s show the head of security chased Rich and I down just to tell us that over the past X amount of years, I don’t want to say anything bad about other shows, he has said how he had not witnessed a show like that where there were no fights, no attitudes, people weren’t jerks. The show was awesome. The bands were awesome. He was thanking us. It’s not us, it’s the people that were there. This is the head guy of security at CB’s; he’s seen everything.