For anyone with an interest in skating and hardcore, BL’AST! should be a household name. Formed in Santa Cruz in 1982, they released 3 albums throughout the 80s then faded in the early 90s as members became involved in other projects. Things got rolling again in 2001 with some west coast shows and talk of new material but nothing ever came to fruition. Fast forward to 2013……Southern Lord releases Blood!, a powerful, unheard version of It’s In My Blood, produced by Dave Grohl and BL’AST! returns. This is quickly followed by a triple LP version of their first album appropriately titled “Expression of Power” and the tour dates begins. I was lucky to talk to guitarist Mike Neider recently and he gave us some more insight to the past, present, and future of BL’AST! (Interview originally appeared in Issue 3 of Not Like You Fanzine http://www.notlikeyoufanzine.com
) NLY: I don’t even know what to say, it’s 2014 and I’m interviewing BL’AST…Welcome Back! Tell us about getting back together and how it happened. MN: I had worked with Greg at Southern Lord doing his merch and he always has been into BL’AST! He asked if there was any BL’AST! tapes lurking and we had the Blood! tape sitting in Bill’s storage. So I sent it to him and he dialed it up. Then Cliff had bumped into Nick and Nick into Joey and here we are. Unbelievable and we’re hyped about it. NLY: I think I speak for a lot of people when I say “thank you Greg!!!!” Originally, I believe, you were just going to play a couple California shows. I was considering flying out to see one but couldn’t pull it off due to work. When did you decide to come back full time? MN: Cliff and I always have been in touch, we just didn’t do BL’AST! for some years. Once Greg Anderson and Dave Grohl got involved and pretty much made it to the point of “what the fuck you guys doing? Get off your ass and start playing like you should.” Haha…. Not verbally but it felt like that. So we did and we want to and we are digging it! NLY: Sometimes it takes someone else to light the fire under your ass and get you moving. How did Joey and Nick come to be the new members? Is this permanent or are they just doing the current tours? If they are, how will their other commitments affect BL’AST! in the future? MN: Cliff works at a club and Nick played and told him what is happening with BL’AST! and he was down. Then Nick bumped into Joey at a Danzig gig and Joey was down. We all got together to deliver the goods and it was amazing! Soundzzz killa!!!!! It just made a lot of sense to each of us and it works amazing as we are all wanting to blast heads. They are both 100% and we schedule around all of our schedules so we can all play in other bands if we want. It’s an open relationship. Haha….. But if BL’AST! were to get booked up we would all deliver!!!!!
NLY: So far you have done two of the best looking reissues in recent years with Southern Lord. You knew Dave Grohl from his days in Scream but how did it come to be that he was involved with the reissue of “Blood!”? Did he have anything to do with the “Expression of Power” reissue at all? MN: No he did not as we do not have those tapes. Greg is friends with Dave as well and sent the tapes too him to see if they were worth a shit. Dave had heard what was up and wanted to be a part of it as cool as hell as he is. NLY: It’s great to see him still involved on this level even after all of his success. Dave did a killer job on Blood! Are you happy with how the 2 reissues turned out? MN: Totally!! Everyone did a top notch job and treated it with the utmost respect and it shows. When we were at 606 Studio that Dave owns, we were treated about the best we have ever been. It was amazing!
NLY: That studio looks incredible too! I’ve read that the masters for your third LP “Take the Manic Ride” are missing. Will any kind of reissue be possible or is it just wishful thinking for the Trifecta at this point? MN: Ya, big bummer on that. We wish that could happen and everyone really wanted that to happen as that record should have most of all. But unfortunately they are MIA. NLY: Maybe one day the tapes will surface. I would love to hear different versions of some of those tunes. Is there anything left in the vaults or has everything been busted out at this point? MN: There is but we are looking forward now and have an amazing record to put out that we are looking forward to. NLY: Amazing record you say?? Is it recorded? Do you have any solid release plans? Will it be on Southern Lord? MN: Yes, we are in the process of finalizing the details and hope to release it in 2015 for sure. We also have some amazing splits coming out that will be amazing and we are stoked about. (Update: No word on the splits as of yet, but Rise Records just began to take preorders on “For Those Who’ve Graced The Fire” 7″ featuring Chuck Dukowski and Dave Grohl and are set to release a full length as well in the coming months) NLY: This is going to be on a lot of people’s radar next year. I’m so ready for this one! Amazing splits? Tell me more.. MN: Unreal! The splits will be heavy !!!!! We have to wait to confirm before we let it out. NLY: Wow, there you have it, a bunch of new BL’AST in 2015!!!! Bring on the New Year! Back in the day, how did you come to work with SST? Were you happy with the relationship? What kept them from keeping the BL’AST LPs in print? (Update: SST has just reissued “It’s In My Blood” LP and “School’s Out” 7″) MN: They still do them as far as I know. In the end of the 80`s they went through some internal changes and problems occurred that they had to deal with. So we were in the back seat and it kind of dissolved into what it is now. We had been to a zillion Black Flag shows so we kinda knew them from that. Then Chuck started going to the BL’AST gigs and amazingly signed us on SST. A huge honor!!!
NLY: A huge honor indeed but BL’AST held its own during a time of some strong and varied bands on the label as well. After that experience, what’s it like being on Southern Lord compared to SST? MN: Different times of course. But oddly, in a sense, real close. We are friends with both and always raged when we see each other. NLY: Very cool that things are still so strong after all this time. Tell us about some of your new songs and what they’re about or what topics they hit on.
MN: Cliff writes the Lyrics. But we are not looking to change our band. We are continuing what we do. Chicks still fucking with our heads and still surfing and skating to destroy….. It’s always time hahaha Just kidding! NLY: Kidding nothing, it’s always time to skate and destroy here (can’t surf, I live in the freakin desert!). On that note, who still surfs and skates? Favorite spots? MN: Cliff surfs mostly, and I skate, as the rest do more of the cruising. Favorite spots are where there is water and concrete and wood structures. Ha….. It’s all good.. make the best out of what you see. NLY: Yeah I miss that old school mentality. So many kids today are spoiled with public parks they forget that anything can be skated if you put your mind to it (Insert jaded old guy comment here!!) You guys recently toured Europe, how did that go? MN: Super great, man! We finally made it there and everyone was very down and supportive and fun! NLY: As they should be. They did wait 30 years for you to make it there. I can’t imagine how stoked they were!! Your recent East Coast tour was cancelled due to health problems, what happened? Can our EC friends expect to see you back soon?
MN: For sure, we are looking forward to it. We always had great shows out there and it’s been too long. We regret missing those and are bummed but we will be back swinging. NLY: I imagine it is never fun having to cancel shows especially when it comes down to someone’s health. How long will this current US tour be going on for? Where will you be going? Any highlights so far? MN: I believe it is about 18 gigs or so. Playing with Joey, Nick and Cliff! Highlights?? Pfffff Haha endless! It’s a constant show that never ends. Great times!
NLY: You’ve played with a bunch of bands since getting back together. Any of them stand out?
MN: One of our favorite bands we will be doing a split with. NLY: Damn it Mike that’s such a tease!!! I hadn’t seen you guys since you played at The Anthrax in CT in 1989. I was stoked to see you again. How has the crowd been at your shows? Is it older fans coming back, new kids just discovering you or a good mix? MN: A good mix really, we appreciate both. Man, sometimes when you’re in the groove of your schedule it’s difficult to break away and see the bands you dig but it happens and folks are rad for doing so. NLY: Yeah life does get in the way of living sometimes. At the same time, you have to get out and do the things you want so they don’t pass you by. We get so few shows here that anything worth seeing I’m going to, or I may never get the chance here again. What was your relationship with Santa Cruz skateboards back in the day? MN: I began working for them when I was 17 or 18. I continued working there for 18 years then went to S.F. and worked for all them dudes. Skateboarding is a huge part of my life.
NLY: I bet you have some great stories from being involved so far back. But that is another interview entirely!!! Speaking of skateboards, you guys did a “Take the Manic Ride” deck for Big Mess Skateboards a while back. Was that a one off thing or can we expect another deck from you guys in the future? MN: You will see many more BL’AST decks as it is in the works now. NLY: Hell yeah! Who is going to be doing them? MN: We will let you know as we are kinda working out details. NLY: Ok I will keep my eyes open in the meantime!!! Thanks for taking the time to do the interview. Any final comments? MN: Thanks for asking….. Thanks again to Mike for taking the time to do the interview. Get ready for new BL’AST in 2015!!!!!!!!!