DR: What was your your personal channel into Hardcore? And who are stand out favorites for you to this day?
Well I’ve been calling myself straight edge since I was 13, but to this day I have never even tried alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. What happened at 13? Well, in 7th grade, a new kid from Southern California named Mike Millet started going to my school and not only did he bring with him all the glories of skateboarding (including the coolest skater bang I have ever seen) he also brought the sickest music I had ever heard. Up to this point, I was getting my kicks listening to Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot, so when Mike handed me a beaten up old tape with Fear on one side and Suicidal Tendencies on the other, I was hooked from day one. I begged my mom to take me to the Rockaway Mall where she was generous enough to buy me the Suicidal Tendencies debut album on vinyl. That was it. Fast forward six months later, I was now a full-on skater with a million records and zero capacity to perform an ollie that got my board to lose contact with the pavement. I sucked at skating, but loved the culture (or anti-culture) and was obsessed with the music.
It was around this time that all my friends were getting way more into experimenting with booze and cigarettes (Mike actually started smoking in 5th grade, which I thought was his one personality flaw) and way less into hanging out and having fun being idiots with me (I had a small obsession with homemade fireworks and setting the street on fire with rubber cement). This was all I needed, but now my crew was skating less and getting wasted more (and I already felt like an outsider because my skateboarding was the stuff of nightmares). I was beginning to feel lost and severe pubescent angst was hitting hard. Then one day it finally happened…Minor Threat. Holy lord…I had been on a quest to find a band as fast as the Dead Kennedys could get with as tough a sound as The Exploited, and what do I discover? A band that blows all of these punk bands out of the water AND they have lyrics about not drinking and smoking?! And they look like skateboarders? Well, that was just too much to handle. I was sold.