Miracle Drug are a new Hardcore band out of Louisville, Kentucky.
When Matt sent me the demo I knew it was my shit instantly.
This Band has old school values with members of Mouthpiece, Supertouch, By The
Grace Of God and C.R.
Miracle Drug are a new Hardcore band out of Louisville, Kentucky.
When Matt sent me the demo I knew it was my shit instantly.
This Band has old school values with members of Mouthpiece, Supertouch, By The
Grace Of God and C.R.
And All Photographs by Mike.
Mike took a bunch of photos at Natefest which was a very cool event over two days for a very good cause.
Heres some pictures of Mouthpiece,Floorpunch and Killing Time!
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.
In this third and final part, Tim talks about his two other bands; Face The Enemy and Triple Threat. We also touched on skateboarding, Straight Edge and other topics.
DR: When I think of long term edge men, I think of you instantly. What’s it all about for you, and how do you think the Straight Edge is these days?
TM:- Honestly, for me, Straight Edge is about common sense and self-preserveration. I have zero interest in deliberately destroying my health and taking years off of my life, it simply doesn’t appeal to me. Smoking, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, all those things ultimately do is bring forth deterioration and ultimately destruction of life. Some people need a crutch to enjoy themselves, a cigarette to ease the nerves, a beer to take the edge off and help with their social skills, a puff of weed to relax, but I’ve just never needed or wanted any of that. Maybe because I found things like skateboarding and hardcore at such a young age, I used them as my release and I’ve never looked back.
But again, all of that I just look at as common sense. Straight Edge is really more than just not drinking, doing drugs and smoking to me. For me personally, Straight Edge is about being a part of the hardcore scene, going to shows, supporting bands, it’s just another aspect of my lifestyle that makes up the whole picture. I still enjoy buying records, pulling out the lyric sheets, studying the photos, taking in the lyrics. All of that takes me back to when I first got into Straight Edge, started looking deeper into the music, digging out the message and looking at it as more than just entertainment.
For me it all just stuck, It was never a trend or phase, I found something, it was timeless, it was real and it greatly impacted my life and like I said before, I never looked back.
Generally speaking, Straight Edge is today as it was 34 years ago when Minor Threat coined the term / wrote the song. Some people may have twisted and distorted the meaning and tried to model it into their own diluted impression, but at the end of the day, to me, it’s still the same simple concept. I pretty much just ignore what others are doing, because it has no effect on me.
Quite honestly, I think way too people spend too much time worrying about what others are doing and how others are representing Straight Edge and they let it affect their own feelings. There are always so many excuses, people have told me that they had to get out of Straight Edge because they thought it got too violent or had too many rules or didn’t like the bands anymore or thought the kids were jerks. Who cares what others are doing? I did’t get into Straight Edge for anyone but myself, so why should I let someone else influence me to not be Straight Edge? My thought has always been, if you don’t like how other people are representing something that you care about, you should then want to make damn sure you’re representing it the RIGHT way. At the end of the day, drugs, drinking and smoking are just as bad as they were when you swore them off and that’s the only thing that should matter.
I’d probably have more respect for people that got out of Straight Edge if they were honest and admitted, it was a trend for them and they just didn’t care anymore. I’d rather hear somebody tell me that they’re not Straight Edge anymore because they realized that they like the taste of beer too much than to hear them say, “Oh, it just got too violent for me and I can’t relate to these kids anymore”.
DR: You’re still an active skateboarder… when did you start skateboarding and who were your biggest influences back then?
TM: – I discovered skateboarding sometime in late 1984 / early 1985 and it was really a combination of three things that got me into it. First off, I was heavily into BMX and freestyling bikes for a few years. I would buy BMX Plus Magazine, but it wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Freestylin’ Magazine that I started seeing photos of skateboarders. Around this same time, my older cousin from Phoenix, Arizona had come out on a family trip and was all decked out in Vans and Jams shorts and talking to me about how he had a skateboard and how cool it was. Also shortly after the conversations with my cousin, I started seeing this older kid in my neighborhood that had a Nash Executioner and would ride it up and down the hill in front of my house, he would also talk to me about how cool and fun it was. So all of these things combined, had me asking my parents for a skateboard for Christmas that year. Of course I asked for a Nash Executioner because at the time, it was coolest, readily available skateboard out there.
So I indeed got the Nash Executioner that I had asked for and from there on out, things moved quickly. I skated constantly, learning how to do tick tacks, bomb drops / acid drops, bonelesses, all the starter tricks of the time. I loved skating, nothing was more fun to me than running out my front door and getting those wheels on cement. Growing up I was always sort of a quite, shy kid, so the idea of team sports and interaction with strangers didn’t appeal to me all that much. With a skateboard, I could hit the street, have a blast, challenge myself and get some sort of exercise, without joining a team and hanging out with a bunch of kids that I had nothing else in common with. In a sense, discovering skateboarding certainly didn’t help me open up, but I suppose there’s always a trade off.
Within a few months of having that Nash Executioner, I started buying Thrasher and Transworld Skateboard Magazine and started really learning about the scene of skateboarding. I started learning about all the different skateboard companies and professional skateboarders and I soon realized that my Toys R Us bought Nash Executioner wasn’t as cool as I thought it was. By my birthday, which came in May, I was asking my parents for a Vision Mark Gonzales and that’s about when I was exposed to a entirely new world. My skateboard shifted from being a “toy” to my identity. The whole process probably took about 6 months, but in retrospect, it felt like it was an overnight change.
Around this time I was going from 6th grade and into 7th, which was Junior High. Junior High was also a whole new world for me, it was nothing at all like elementary school. You had all these different factions of kids that didn’t really exist in elementary school. There were metal heads, burn outs, jocks, preppies, punks, kids into rap, rich kids, poor kids, skateboarders, it goes on and on. Because I was just getting into skateboarding, I instantly identified with the skateboarding clique. I kept digging deeper, got a subscription to Thrasher, read it from cover to cover, started renting skateboard videos, it all completely consumed me.
I’d say my biggest early skateboarding influences were the Vision guys, Mark Gonzales and Gator and then of course the Powell Peralta guys, Tommy Guerrero and Steve Caballero. Between the Skatevisions video and the Powell Peratla “Future Primitive” video, I completely absorbed everything I saw and all of that shaped who I would become.
DR: I had a huge break from skateboarding with travelling and working abroad, but this past year I’ve taken it back up- although I did have a nasty accident (non skate related) meaning I have lost the use of a finger now, as well as having a bum knee, so I kind of had the fear for a while… but I’ve pushed through it (excuse the pun). Do you ever sketch out at the thought of stuff as you’re also an older dude?
TM: – I’ve never been a particularly ballsy skateboarder, but at one point in my early days of skateboarding, I was riding down a super steep hill in my neighborhood, turned on to a street at the bottom of the hill, hit a patch of stones and gravel and went flying. I cracked my head open, went unconscious and got dragged to the sidewalk by a neighbor guy. I ended up getting a bunch of stitches in my head. Ever since that day, I’ve been a bit more cautious about my speed. Problem is, with skateboarding, speed is required when it comes to pulling off a majority of tricks, so that’s held me back to an extent. I’ve worked around it though and have mainly stuck to the tricks I’ve always been comfortable doing. I’m into grinds, rail slides, boneslesses, ollies to an extent, the simple stuff. Most of the time, I’m content just carving up my ramp or a ditch. Still, I do fall and it obviously hurts much worse than it did when I was 14, but like I said, I try to stick to what I’m comfortable with and for the most part, that’s worked for me.
DR: Who do you like in skateboarding these days?
TM: Skate parks in every town, that’s easily the best thing about skateboarding today. When I was skating in the 80’s and through out the 90’s, I had never stepped foot on a skate park, they simply didn’t exist anywhere around here back then. You had to seek out and create spots to skate back then. Today I can jump in my car and decide which of the 3 or 4 local skateparks I want to hit up. I also built a 3ft high, 24 ft wide mini ramp in my backyard, so I can hit that up anytime I want to as well.
DR: You follow sports right? Who are your teams and how are they doing this season?
TM: I do follow sports. Got into basketball a bit in the late 80’s, but heavily in the mid 90’s. My interest elevated when Michael Jordan came out of retirement in 1995 and I’ve been tuned in ever since. My girlfriend Traci (now wife) and I got season tickets for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, which was Allen Iverson’s rookie year. We kept those season ticket for 10 years and within those years, I took interest in the rest of the Philadelphia sports teams. Once to you pick a city and team you want to root for, I think it’s natural that you just continue rooting for all the other sports teams in that city. So yeah, I’m a diehard Philadelphia sports fan, the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers are the teams I follow.
Right now the Sixers are doing terrible, I think they’re at 24 straight losses, but quite honestly, I fine with it. They’ve been stuck in NBA mediocracy for years and really the only way they are going to get better and be a possible contender is if they score a big name player in the draft. With this losing streak they’ve been on this year, there’s a good possibility of them getting the first or second pick in the 2014 NBA draft and that could change everything. We’ll see though, nothing is set in stone.
The Eagles had a surprisingly good 2013 season and I’m expecting them to build on that next season. The Eagles are easily the Philadelphia team wight he most upside and the one I’m most excited about. Not sure what to expect from the Phillies this upcoming season, my sights aren’t set too high though. As for the Flyers, they’re playing right now and they’ve been a team of ups and downs. They just came off a nice win streak and if they continue winning, they could get themselves into the play offs and once there, anything can happen.
DR: Back to music… How did Face The Enemy come about?
TM: In 2001 I wasn’t active with any bands, Mouthpiece had broken up and although we did a string of reunions in 2000, there weren’t any plans to do anything further at that time. Hands Tied was also broken up at that point and strictly in the rear view mirror. I had moved out of an apartment and back into my parent’s house briefly and really had nothing going.
One day I got a call from my friend Daniel from Sweden, Daniel had been a roadie for a ton of bands and had stints of playing in bands like Shelter and Better Than A Thousand. Daniel spent a lot of time in the United States and at one point he was in Washington D.C. working on a new band with Porcell and recording at Ken Olden from Battery / Better Than A Thousand’s studio. Better Than A Thousand had broken up, Ray Cappo had left the band, but before the band had broken up, they recorded a full album’s worth of songs for a third LP. The recording sat around for awhile, Ray had only recorded vocals for one of the tracks and it came up amongst Daniel and Ken that somehow or another, that unreleased Better Than A Thousand album should get a proper release. My name had come up as a vocalist, so Daniel and Ken gave me a call to see what I thought. I had known Ken since the late 80’s, so we had been friends for a long time. Our bands had been playing together for years, so we were both well aware of each other’s musical history. Ken pitched the idea of me singing on these songs that they had recorded, but it not being released as a Better Than A Thousand album, but a new band. I asked Ken to send me a cd of the songs and that I’d check it out. Within a few days I had the cd in my hands and was sitting in front of my stereo giving it a listen. Right off the bat, I liked what I heard. The guy Alex that was playing drums on the recording is an excellent drummer and his drums stood out instantly. By the time the cd was done playing, I knew I had to get involved.
I contacted Ken, told him I was into the project and we discussed how we would move forward. I agreed to write lyrics to a few of the tracks and then take a trip down to D.C. to do some recording. Once I recorded and we could sit down and see how everything was coming together, we’d then decide how we wanted to proceed. I think after that first batch of songs that I recorded the vocals for, we were all really excited about the prospects of the band. Things started to pick up, recording sessions were being scheduled fairly regularly and before I knew it, I was making multiple trips down to D.C., recording, hanging out and making plans. Eventually I had recorded vocals for every song on the album and then shortly after that, more songs were recorded for an EP. Ken was playing guitar, Graham Land was playing guitar, Alex Garcia-Rivera was playing drums and I got Ed McKirdy from Hands Tied to play bass. We had a complete band, we had recordings, we called the band Face The Enemy and we started planning live shows.
Our first show was the 2002 Positive Numbers Festival in Wilkes Barre, PA. We played another show the following weekend in PA as well, but didn’t play again until later that year when we did a tour with Stand And Fight (then called Impact), which was Wrench from Ten Yard Fight’s new band at the time. The tour we did with Stand And Fight went well and we had a great time, but we had a hard time keeping the momentum going with Face The Enemy because the members were so spread out. Our guitarist Graham was originally from the D.C. area, but living in Sweden, so any shows or band activity that Face The Enemy was going to get involved with, required Graham to fly back for.
I wasn’t use to doing a band with members so spread out, you had me in New Jersey, Ed in New York, Ken in Washington D.C., Alex in Boston and Graham in Sweden. Logistcally, doing the band with guys so spread out, made no sense, but originally with careful planning, we thought we might be able to make it work. In the end though, we lost our momentum and couldn’t keep it together. I tried and pushed for things to happen for about a year or more, but nothing panned out. We did those handful of shows and the one short tour, released one LP, “These Two Words” and one EP, “Through It All” and that was all that Face The Enemy every really amounted to.
DR: Can you also give me a little Triple Threat history?
TM – Triple Threat really came together out of the frustration of Face The Enemy’s failures. I saw so much potential in Face The Enemy, yet it was ultimately out of reach. I figured that if I couldn’t get things together with Face The Enemy, I’d just start all over again and create something new.
Ed and I went back an forth about doing a new band, it was very similar to the beginning stages of Hands Tied. We talked about what we wanted to do, how we wanted it to sound, but there was still that problem of filling out the line up. Ed decided he wanted to take a swing at playing guitar, so we at least had that. Where would we get a drummer though? What about a bass player? Sure, there are plenty of people out there that play bass and drums, but we needed the “right” people. People that saw eye to eye with Ed and I and essentially shared the same vision.
Months went by and nothing was happening, putting together this new band was proving to be as difficult as always. Then out of no where I get this call from Rich, the bassist from Insted. Rich told me that Insted had a discography coming out on Indecision Records and that they were going to get back together to do a bunch of shows to help promote the discography. Insted was going to play in Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York City and Rich asked me if my band would be down to play with them in New Jersey. I told Rich that I’d love to, but at the time, didn’t really have a “current” band. We talked back and forth, I told him that I would try to figure something out. I wasn’t sure if I was going to try and put something together with Mouthpiece, Hands Tied, Face The Enemy or just make a solid attempt at the new band. Rich was cool with whatever I was able to do, ultimately Insted just wanted to share the stage with one of my bands, because Mouthpiece had played with Insted a couple of times on their last US tour and Rich knew that I was still involved in the hardcore scene, still straight edge, etc.
Ed and I talked and decided this was the push we needed to get this new band started. Instead of attempting to temporarily bring back one of the previous bands, we saw this as a great opportunity to get things started right. We had a deadline to get this new band off the ground, because a date was set for Insted’s show in New Jersey. Coincidently, this guy Tim Kriependorf from Germany that I had met while on tour in Europe with Hands Tied, had just moved to Philadelphia and Tim played bass. I had been in touch with Tim prior to him moving out here, so I hit him up about playing in this new band with Ed and I. I also contacted former Mouthpiece drummer, Jason Jammer and asked if he’d be interested in playing again. Jason hadn’t done anything band wise since Mouthpiece had broken up in 1996, with the exception of the reunions and I didn’t know if he’d be into it, but it turned out he was.
At the time, in 2004 when we started Triple Threat, I was listening to a lot of early 80’s southern California punk and hardcore. Lots of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Germs, Adolescents, etc., I was also listening to a lot of BL’AST!, as I always have. I pitched the idea that we go for a BL’AST! type sound, something heavy, generally slower, rocking, a Black Flag type vibe, but still Straight Edge hardcore. The other 3 guys were on board with my idea and we also pulled in a second guitarist, Aaron from The First Step.
We practiced heavily for about two months, wrote five songs and indeed kept on schedule to premier Triple Threat at the Insted show in New Jersey. I believe the following week we recorded our first EP, “A New Chapter” for Livewire Records.
Triple Threat stayed active for four solid years, playing as much as we could, recorded an LP titled, “Into The Darkness” for Bridge 9 Records, did a west coast trip with BOLD, released a live EP from the last show we played at CBGB’s on Livewire.
Eventually the band split up in 2008 when our bassist Tim moved to North Carolina. We had planned to try and keep things going, but the distance between us proved to be too much of a burden.
DR: Did you start a band with Brian Jordan or did i imagine that?
TM: As I had mentioned earlier in the interview, there was the 2011 version of Hands Tied that Brian “Gordo” Jordan got involved with. Gordo played drums in the beginning and then at the end switched to second guitar. Gordo has been in my tight circle of friends for about 14 years or so at this point, so we’ve talked endlessly about starting new bands, but the 2011 version of Hands Tied is the only one that’s actually accomplished anything.
I’ve wanted to interview Tim for some years now. It nearly happened in 2005 but then I guess we must have both got too busy with other things.
So I made a conscious effort to get in contact with him again and do it. Here is part 1 of what has turned out to be one of the most comprehensive Mouthpiece interviews ever published.
DR:Lets get into it… give us a bit of MP history. When did you start up and where? Who was in the original line up?
Tim with MP in 1995
TM: Essentially, Mouthpiece started out of a couple failed attempts to start a band in 1989. Jason Jammer was a kid I grew up with, went to school with, skated with, went to shows with, etc. We both did zines and were both diving head first into the hardcore scene, trying to get involved as much as we could. Pretty much the pinnacle of hardcore scene involvement was doing a band, so we made strides toward that. Jason played drums and we went to school with a guy named Dave that played guitar and was into hardcore a little bit (he had a Youth Brigade “Sound and Fury” record at least). I wasn’t very proficient at any instrument, so I was a proposed singer. Jason had also knew a dude named Jeff from his elementary school that he still kept in touch with, that played bass. I don’t think Jeff was into hardcore, but he knew the basics of playing bass. Jason brought Dave the guitarist together with Jeff the bass player and I believe those three jammed once without me. I’m pretty sure the jam session was just Jason explaining to Dave and Jeff what a song should sound like and then them trying their best to put it all together. The following weekend, I came to what was then considered a band practice, with lyrics in hand and a band name in mind. Jason and I were both Straight Edge and heavily into the whole Reveleation bands, so our plan was to do a Straight Edge band. I don’t believe Dave or Jeff were Straight Edge, but at the time they were just guys that could help us get things started, because we really didn’t know anyone else. We called the band Hard Line, which had nothing to do with Hard Line Records, which came together after us naming the band. We just wanted to take a Judge like stance on Straight Edge and deliver a hard, in your face type of message. We practiced one song called “Give It Up”, I spent most of the practice jumping around and stomping all over Jason’s basement floor. I had no idea how to actually sing, I screamed and yelled until I blew my voice out, which probably took all of three takes on the song. After that practice, the combination of us four never got together again.
Control at Practice
A few months later, Jason tried again to get a band started. I’m not sure what happened with Dave and Jeff, but Jason then recruited this local Straight Edge skater, Chris Schuster, to play bass. Chris had a huge half pipe in his back yard that was literally bigger than his house, so he was sort of a local legend type of guy. Chris was also a couple years older than us, so the combination of him having the huge half pipe, being a vert skater, actually being Straight Edge and having seen a lot of shows and bands like Youth Of Today, us younger guys sort of looked up to him. Somehow or another, Jason convinced Chris to join this band and they then recruited this kid Pete Reilly that lived a few towns over, was a little younger than us, skated, did a zine and was Straight Edge, to play guitar. As this was coming together, I assumed I was going to continue my roll as the frontman, but I think the bar was starting to get raised and after Jason, Chris and Pete started sitting down and listening to the Hard Line practice tape and hearing how terrible of a singer I was, they decided to get our friend Scott Palumcci to sing. Jason, Scott and myself were all tight friends, so the idea of Scott singing instead of me, bummed me out a lot, but because we were all such good friends, I supported whatever decision they had made. I figured if I couldn’t sing for the band, I could at least be friends with them and join in on the fun in that way minimally. They called the band Razor Sharp, it was a complete Straight Edge line up like we had wanted in the past. They wrote a couple songs, practiced a few times, but there was one problem, Scott was having a hard time singing loud enough in practice. Scott would write lyrics, be all amped up for the band, come to practice and sing very quietly and completely hold back all of his excitement that he would show prior to practice. When asked why Scott was being so reserved in practice and singing so quietly, Scott would just tell them that he was figuring things out, deciding how he really wanted to sing the song and more or less, singing to himself so that the other three would not hear his mistakes. This went on for a couple of practices and after awhile, Chris, Pete and Jason just came to conclusion that Scott couldn’t cut it as a singer, well maybe he could, but he wasn’t giving them enough at the practices to confirm anything or boost their confidence. Eventually Razor Sharp fizzled out and that was the end of that.
MP summer tour 1995
Not too long after the dissolution of Razor Sharp, Jason and Chris decided that they wanted to continue on in some form, but came back to me and asked if I wanted to take another stab at being the frontman. I was of course ecstatic about getting a second chance and at this point, the music that Jason and Chris were making together was actually pretty cohesive and coming together much better than anything in the past. I think Jason was becoming a better drummer because Chris was actually a legit bass player that pushed him and knew how to write and play hardcore. There was this noticeable maturation of musicianship that at the time, blew me away, because I was so use to us just being young kids that had no idea what we were really doing. After I agreed to do the band with Chris and Jason, they had this idea to try and snatch up this guitarist named Pat Baker, who was practicing with another group of local kids, but seemed to be going no where with them. Like Chris, Pat was a legit musician, a great guitar player who’s skills went way beyond the hardcore that we wanted to play, but we were hoping he’d take interest in playing with us regardless. Pat was into metal, punk and hardcore, but not really super into the hardcore scene, which to us meant, going to shows, buying records, zines, etc. He was also on the fence about about being Straight Edge. He didn’t really drink, smoke or do drugs, but because he wasn’t really all that into the scene, he didn’t identify himself as being Straight Edge. I remember Jason and I driving with Chris and picking Pat up from somewhere and us three really grilling Pat, asking him if he’d be down to commit to being Straight Edge, if he’d be down to make a real push at doing this band seriously, playing shows, recording, etc., and Pat was into it. I think we knew we had something that could be special here with us four and we really saw the potential, so we wanted to lock things up.
MP at City Gardens
By late 1989, early 1990, Me, Jason, Chris and Pat were practicing regularly. We decided to call the band Control and made it official by creating a logo (which I had just cut the word CONTROL off of an old SS DECONTROL flyer) and making stickers, which we would take with us everywhere we went and stick to everything in our path. The stickers had CONTROL with NEW JERSEY STRAIGHT EDGE underneath of it and this artwork of a Straight Edge looking guy with a hat on, Nikes and an X’ed fist. Somehow or another, making the stickers and getting them out there, really made the band feel real and relevant, we weren’t just some dudes practicing in a basement, we had an identity and we were physically getting our name out there.
MP @ Roxy, Hollywood 1991
Within a few months, after all the song writing, practicing and sticker making, we planned for our first show, this was the next step we had to take to make this band real. Pat had pitched the idea of doing a show in his mother’s basement, he had thrown parties there in the past and thought we might be able to pull off bringing in a decent crowd. Pat’s older brother was a musician guy that had a lot of friends and would probably be interested in coming out, Me Chris and Jason all went to school with each other and had a bunch of friends we could bring out, Pat went to a different high school than us, so he had his group of friends he could bring out. We also asked our friend Tony (who I had grown up with and did Common Sense fanzine with) if he had any other bands he knew of that he thought might be interested in playing with us. Tony suggested and contacted Rorschach who were also from New Jersey and were still a fairly new band. Rorschach agreed to play, so we now had what felt like a legitimate show coming together. I don’t recall whether or not we made actual flyers for this basement show, because in reality, it was just a big party being thrown in our guitarist’s mother’s basement, but I do know that we spent a couple of weeks telling everyone we knew about it. In the end, I know Rorschach couldn’t pull it off and cancelled a day or two before, so that left all the pressure on us. All things considered though, we brought out a decent crowd, I’m going to guess that there were 50-80 people that showed up. We played and a handful of our friends stood up front and sang along, which was awesome. What was also very cool was in the months prior, we had taped a few practices and our practice tapes started getting passed around locally a bit. So while we’re playing and our friends are up front supporting us, I heard a few people that I didn’t know, yelling out lyrics, which was both a monumental and mind blowing moment for me.
MP Brooklyn 2011
Eventually Control got our first real show out in Reading, PA at Club Unisound. We had a friend named Jason Bush that lived out in York, PA and went to the Unisound regularly. Jason talked to Jake, the owner of the Unisound and told him that he had these friends out in New Jersey that had a band called Control and he asked Jake if he could put us on any bills that needed a band. Jake agreed and contacted us and said he needed an opening band for an upcoming show he was doing for Insight from Salt Lake City, Utah. We all knew Insight from when they toured with Chain Of Strength and were big fans, so the opportunity to open for them was pretty incredible. We instantly agreed and were put on the bill. Unfortunately when the day of the show came and we got to the club, Insight had cancelled and it was us and 3 or 4 other virtually unheard of bands left on the bill. I remember one of the bands being a band from Baltimore, MD called Just Cause, who at least had a demo out. Either way, because there was no real headlining band, Jake put all the band names on pieces of paper, threw them in a hat and picked each one out deciding how the order of the show was going to go. We ended up being the headliner. It was really that simple, our name was picked out of the hat last and we seemed to get the headlining spot and respect just like that. I say respect, because when it was our turn to play, everyone stuck around and watched, most packed up front and a few kids were even stage diving. Things were obviously progressing for us.
Again, a month or so went by and although we were starting to gain a little steam with Control, we ultimately felt like the name Control was a bit too generic. We were a Straight Edge band and generally had a traditional late 80’s Straight Edge hardcore sound, but we felt like a name change was in order. Our friend Tony (who I had mentioned earlier in regards to me doing Common Sense Fanzine with), was about to start work on a new fanzine and was thinking about calling it Mouthpiece. He looked at the name Mouthpiece as him using his fanzine as a Mouthpiece / spokesperson for a group, to represent and speak for the Straight Edge hardcore scene. We really liked that name and asked Tony if he would mind if we just use that name to replace the name Control. Tony agreed and that was it.
I think we found relevance in the name Mouthpiece because as we were doing all these bands and working to make all of this happen, the Straight Edge hardcore scene of the late 80’s was quickly falling apart and changing. The majority of the bands we loved were breaking up, people were dropping out of Straight Edge. While our intentions were to be apart of that scene and to play with those bands, by the time we were really pulling everything together with our band, we found ourselves to be virtually alone and looked at ourselves as a Mouthpiece for a scene that we felt was changing and falling apart.
As time went on, we would record one song for a comp that never ended up getting released, so in turn we sent that song around to a few labels to see if we could drum up any interest. New Age Records out of California was a strong up and coming label that had released records by bands like Pressure Release, Powerhouse, Turning Point and Outspoken, all of which were bands that I liked. Mike Hartsfield at New Age was working on a 7” compilation with bands like Drift Again, Turning Point, Outspoken, Counter Punch and Undertow and offered us a spot on the comp. We jumped at the chance and would go on to release two 7”s and one full length LP on New Age. We were also lucky enough to jump on a slew of great bills and play with a lot of the best bands of the era, all of which combination would help sculpt us into what we were.
DR:What was the basic MP message/ethos?
TM: Well like I said, in the very beginning of starting the band, our main message and theme was to continue in the footsteps of all the Straight Edge hardcore heavy hitters that came before us. We wanted to put the Straight Edge message out there, without it being too corny or over the top. We really had to tread lightly, not to get mixed in as just another young, cheesy bunch of Straight Edge kids that would be here today and gone tomorrow. I think because of how we wanted ourselves to be represented, we ended up coming off a bit darker than the average Straight Edge band of the time. We didn’t exactly give off an overly positive, upbeat vibe or feel.
MP pomona 2011
Lyrically I dabbled with topics like the bleakness that resulted in drug and alcohol abuse, but I also touched on a lot of very personal subject matter. I wrote a lot about the personal experiences and situations I had been through, trials and tribulations with friends and relationships. What also became a very strong and overlying theme with Mouthpiece was how we sort of felt like we were the last of a dying breed, we were pushing on and trudging through while most of the others had moved on. We were what remained of the late 80’s Straight Edge hardcore boom and we were going to continue representing that, whether it was still popular or not. Through all the criticism and judgment, we knew who we were and we weren’t going to change for anything or anyone.
DR: Which bands were you finding influence from in those days?
TM: Well first off, I think our biggest influence musically was always Chain Of Strength. I know we all really loved the sheer power that Chain Of Strength delivered. Out of all those late 80’s Straight Edge hardcore bands, they were one of the big ones that we actually got to hang around with a couple times and I think their vibe really rubbed off on us. Their immense appreciation for early 80’s Boston hardcore like SSD and DYS and for DC hardcore like Minor Threat and Dag Nasty, always seemed so cool to us. They obviously loved a lot of the current bands of the late 80’s, like the Revelation bands, but musically they seemed to draw more of an influence form those early 80’s Boston/DC bands. That’s not to say that we didn’t draw influence from a lot of the late 80’s Revelation bands, because we certainly did. There’s absolutely no question in my mind that we would have never existed without bands like Youth Of Today, Judge, BOLD and Gorilla Biscuits. We also drew a lot of our influences from the late 80’s Southern California bands, like Against The Wall, Hard Stance, Inside Out and No For An Answer.
Aside from the late 80’s bands, I remember having a lot of respect and appreciation for a band like Outspoken who like us had grown up in the late 80’s Straight Edge hardcore scene and continued pushing that same theme well after many of their contemporaries had moved on. I also remember personally being very influenced by what Rob Fish from Release was doing in the very early 90’s. Rob had fronted one of New Jersey’s greatest Straight Edge hardcore bands, Release and after Release had broken up and many of Rob’s friends and peers had dropped out of hardcore and Straight Edge, Rob kept pushing it even harder. I really respected Rob’s spirit, he never let up and remained fired up and focused, even when it was clearly not cool to do so anymore. Eventually Rob started Ressurection and concentrated his attention on that, which in turn became his new release (no pun intended).
DR: Where did you tour with MP? Anywhere you wish you could have played?
TM: Mouthpiece was never really a big touring type band. For better or worse, we never really had any focus on selling ourselves, promoting ourselves or becoming a “big” band. The bottom line for us was that we just wanted to play good shows. Playing a small show in Kansas or the mid west in general while doing a full U.S. tour was never something that particularly appealed to us at the time. We were more about traveling up and down the east coast, hitting places like Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, WashingtonDC, Virgina, etc. We then took that same idea to the west coast and started making trips out there, hitting places like Seattle, then Northern California and then all the way down to Southern California. We knew the cities that had big scenes and where the bands we wanted to play with played, so those are the places we concentrated on playing for the most part. There were exceptions though, we did play the first More Than Music festival in Dayton, Ohio and that was one of the greatest shows we ever played.
We also did eventually do a fairly substantial, three week, U.S. tour during the summer of 1995, which in a way was in support of our last 7”, “Face Tomorrow” for New Age Records. On that tour we started in Connecticut and worked our way down through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, WashingtonDC, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, then back up to Kentucky, Chicago and into upstate New York. That was really the only “real” tour Mouthpiece ever did. I think at that point, we realized that every other band around us had made touring a normal, everyday type thing to do, so we might as well give it a try as well. But again, still tried to focus on hitting very specific cities, where we knew there were vibrant scenes and we had good chances of playing good shows.
Whether or not all of that was a good move on our part or the smartest thing to do with a band, is sort of irrelevant at this point. We did what we did and handled our band the way we wanted to or could at the time and we dealt with the consequeces, which meant our popularity probably took a t hit when compared to other bands like us that made touring a regular occurrence.
As far as regrets or places that I wish we played, yeah I definitely wish we did a full European tour in our heyday. We had so many opportunities to make a European tour happen and for whatever reason, things always fell through. We had a tour booked where we were suppose to be the opening band for Slapshot in 1993 I believe and as all the final plans were being made, our guitarist Chris determined that he couldn’t get the time off from work to make it happen. That was the first real big opportunity that we had to bail on, but there were others that came in the following years. Ultimately these missed opportunites helped lead to the break up of the band.
DR: would have thought that it would have been inevitable that MP would get on Rev, but how did that come about? Who else released MP records?
TM: Well first off, other than appearing on a few compilation records, all of our original recorded output was released on New Age Records. We had our first four song 7”, then the “What Was Said” LP, then the “Face Tomorrow” 7”, all released on New Age. We were essentially considered a New Age band for most of our existence.
Mouthpiece broke up in 1996, then reunited to play a handful of shows in 2000. We again reunited in 2004 to play two shows with Youth Of Today. Around 2004 while we were preparing for the two shows with Youth Of Today, we started dabbling with the idea of releasing a discography on our bass player’s label, Livewire Records. At the time, New Age was no longer active and all of our records had gone out of press, so we liked the idea of gathering all of our recorded music and putting it together as one release. We started compiling our original recordings, photos, etc. for the Livewire discography release, but eventually things came to a halt and the idea seemed to die.
Then sometime around 2006 a good friend of mine, Larry Ransom who was originally from Buffalo, NY, but had moved to Huntington Beach, CA, was now working for Revelation Records. Revelation had distributed New Age releases and Mouthpiece was obviously one of those releases, so the crew at Rev was well aware of us. Larry had heard a conversation between a couple of Revelation employees about how our records were no longer in press and how Mouthpiece might make for a cool band that Revelation release a discography for. Larry happened to be out on the east coast, for a festival and was representing Revelation with a table of Rev releases at the festival and he and I got to talking. Larry knew that we had planned to release a Mouthpiece discography on Livewire, but mentioned to me that he thought Revelation might be interested as well. After a few conversations with Jordan Cooper over a Rev and things were confirmed, quite honestly, I was blown away.
In my mind, there was really no other label out there that would have been more fitting to release a Mouthpiece discography, than Revelation. I had been such a huge fan of Revelation since day one. For a period of time there, release after release had been life altering. Warzone, NYCHC – Together comp, Sick Of It All, Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side, No For An Answer, NYCHC – The Way It Is comp, Youth Of Today, BOLD, Chain Of Strength… the list goes on. Not only did these bands and these release sculpt Mouthpiece, but these bands and these releases helped sculpt and shape an entire scene that I wanted to be apart of. Revelation laid the blueprint for just about everything that was cool in my eyes. When I found out we had an opportunity to be apart of that lineage and fall into that history, there was nothing more I wanted for Mouthpiece. After all those years, Mouthpiece putting together a complete package of all of our releases for Revelation was the ultimate crowning moment
DR: When you guys started playing shows who was a regular on the bill?
TM: We played a lot of shows with bands like Ressurection, Lifetime, Vision, Edgewise, No Escape, Flagman, Bad Trip, Shelter, Burn, Turning Point to name a handful. Obviously there a ton more and probably some that I should be remembering that aren’t coming to mind, but for the most part, that first year or two of playing, a lot of those bands were on the bill.
DR: When did MP play there last show? And who was in the final MP line up?
TM: August 17, 1996 was our official last show. It was at the Princeton Arts Council, in PrincetonNJ with Ignite, Floorpunch and a couple of other bands. I remember we had been planing to break up and did a string of last shows and one day while I saw walking around the local mall, this kid Matt approached me and asked if he could do the real last show. We talked quite a bit, I remember thinking that he seemed like a nice kid and at the time, he gave me free range to chose the other bands to fill out the bill. I liked the idea that I could put together the bill, plus I liked the venue. It was super close to where we all lived, it all just made sense. After we confirmed and started working towards pulling some bands together, the kid Matt doing the show started telling me that he wanted to put his friend’s band on the bill and he wanted to put this and that band on the bill and next thing I know, I’m starting feel a little frustrated with how everything was really coming together. It’s not that I necessarily had a problem with any of these bands that the kid wanted to book, I just didn’t know them and had other ideas of who I wanted to play. Luckily Ignite was going to be in town and we were able to lock them up on the bill. I definitely wanted to get Floorpunch on the bill as well, but that became an issue. Apparently Floorpunch weren’t liked by some of this kid’s friend’s bands, which quite frankly, didn’t matter to me. There was this whole vegan warrior, mosh metal scene going on and I guess some of this kid’s friend’s bands were down with that scene and Floorpuch were not liked in that scene. I’m not sure that we were all that liked in that scene either, but since we were the headlong band, it was kind of looked over. So anyway, there was some head butting going on and it pretty much came down to me telling the kid doing the show that if Floorpunch weren’t playing, we weren’t going to play. Since flyers were made and time was running out, Floorpunch were allowed to play, but the drama didn’t end there. When the show actually happened, it was obvious that Floorpunch were getting the cold shoulder from everyone involved with doing the show. By the time Floorpunch went on, the mic mysteriously broke and apparently no one putting on the show had an extra mic, so I took it upon myself to drive 20 minutes back to our practice spot and grab the mic I used at practice. Now we had a mic, but it was really a practice mic and not meant for a live show, so the cord was really short. Floorpunch finished their set and somehow or another I believe a real mic showed up and was made available for Ignite and us. The show went off with out a hitch from there on out, but the mood was already set. Aside from it being super hot and humid, our set went over well. Unfortunately because of all the issues and drama leading up to our set, it never quite felt like a proper last show.
As for the line up, it was me (Tim McMahon) on vocals, Jason Jammer on drums, Chris Schuster on guitar and Sean McGrath on bass. Our other guitarist Matt Wieder, had left the band earlier during the year ad moved to Louisville, Kentucky, so he wasn’t available to play those final string of shows.
DR: When did MP break up? Was it a joint decision? Did you feel like it was time and you had done enough with that band?
TM: It was really a combination of multiple things. First off, the last west coast tour we did in 1996, our guitarist Chris left the tour after the first show. Chris always seemed to have a hard time on the road, I think because he was a little older than us and had more responsibilities back at home, his mind was always on them. The year before, on the 1995 summer tour, Chris told us ahead of time that he couldn’t do that tour, so we had one of our old guitarists, Pete Reilly, fill in. Bottom line was, it was tough to rely on Chris when it came to touring or extensive road trips.
After the 1995 summer tour, our other guitarist, Matt Wieder decided he was going to move to Kentucky. Matt had been living in NYC for a few years and just sort of had enough of the city living. An opportunity popped up where Matt had a very affordable place to live in Kentucky and he was also offered to play in the band Guilt. Matt didn’t necessarily want to leave Mouthpiece, but there was just too much pulling him towards Kentucky, so he made the move. Once Matt left, the idea of replacing him just wasn’t something we wanted to do. We had gone through a number of guitarists in our 6 years of existence and we grew tired of it. For us to go on as a four piece was a possibility, but considering how tough it was to get Chris on the road, we just decided it was probably best to end the band.
The other matter at hand was that while on that 1995 summer tour, our roadie Ed McKirdy and I had talked a lot about starting a new band together. The plan was to have Matt Wieder on guitar, Ed on bass, me on vocals and we were hoping to talk Ryan Murphy from Undertow into playing drums for us. We wanted to do a harder, more New York Hardcore influenced band, something more in line with Youth Of Today. Something totally Straight Edge.
Unfortunately with Matt moving to Kentucky, he was not able to start this new band with us, but the seed had already been planted and as things were falling apart with Mouthpiece, the idea of starting something new was very appealing and helped push along the break up of Mouthpiece. So we played our last show August 17th, 1996.
DR: As for the MP reunion shows, did you get really syked about those and was it good singing MP songs again?
TM: The first set of Mouthpiece reunions happened in 2000. Mouthpiece had been broken up for 4 years and in that time period I had started Hands Tied. Hands Tied broke up in 1998, so through out 1999, I was bandless. For the first time in 9 years, I wasn’t doing a band and I was of course really missing it.
I got a call from Anthony Pappalardo about how In My Eyes were breaking up and planning one big last show in Boston. Anthony asked me if there was any chance of getting Mouthpiece back to play and help send them off. The plan was to do this big “Edge Day” show with all these Straight Edge bands, Ten Yard Fight, who had broken up, were going to play. Porcell was going to come and sing “Straight Edge Revenge” with In My Eyes, it was going to be huge and they wanted us to be apart of it. I was into it and like I said, I missed playing, so I didn’t hesitate to contact the other Mouthpiece guys and see if they would be down to make it happen. Luckily everyone was into it, so we made it happen. We also decided that since we’re going to be practicing and playing this In My Eyes show in Boston, we might as well make a weekend out of it and play a string of shows. We ended up talking to our friend Robby that booked a lot of shows and had him book a full weekend for us. We ended up getting more interest than we had anticipated and got more than a weekend’s worth of show offers, so we pieced together two separate weekends worth of shows.
There’s no question that I had a blast doing those shows. I missed singing those songs and having fun with my friends and everything about Mouthpiece still meant the world to me. We were all still Straight Edge, we all still loved hardcore, so it was all totally relevant. We weren’t faking anything and nothing was done half heartedly. My only regret about those shows was that I wish we had more time to practice for them, because in retrospect, we probably could have sounded better had we had more time to practice. Either way, it was still a great time and I’m glad we did it.
In 2004 we were asked to play 2 shows with Youth Of Today in Pennsylvania, so we made that happen. When one of the most influential Straight Edge hardcore bands of all time asks you to join them for a couple shows, you don’t say no.
Then again during the summer of 2011, Youth Of Today asked us to join them for a weekend’s worth of shows in California. We also played one show in WashingtonD.C. together before we left for California. Once we got to California, we played two shows in Pomona (southern Cali) and one show in Oakland (northern Cali). That entire weekend was a blast. The other thing about these shows, was that this was the first time that our old guitarist Matt Wieder joined us again. We practiced a lot for these shows and we all felt that we probably sounded better than we ever have, even compared to our first go around. These shows were also the first shows that we played after our discography release on Revelation, so there was a little more hype for these shows. We played two more shows with Youth Of Today in October of 2011, inNew York City.
A year later in October of 2012, we were asked to be apart of the Revelation Records 25 year anniversary show at IrvingPlaza in NYC. We of course agreed to play and once again, had an incredible time. Being a part of that entire celebration was a complete honor.