Category Archives: Start Today Fanzine

The Definitive – Start Today Fanzine – Collection, Part #5 Interview – 5- Mark Porter.

By Ed

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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!

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Filed under Anger Regiment, Floorpunch, Mark Porter, Smash And Grab, Start Today Fanzine, Volume 4, World War 4

The Definitive Start Today Fanzine – Collection Part #6 – George Haye – Positive Peer Pressure.

By Ed

Anhang 14

This a piece jeff did on George Haye of the iconic PPP.

React Records did some reissues of some of these but i know little about that.

 All the shirts in this piece are original and belong to @XNUHROX 

So big thanks to him for hooking me up with all the images!

A few months ago, while at lunch at work, I was reading an old issue of Schism.  I came across an ad for Positive Peer Pressure clothing company.  I have always been a fan of the shirts and I started to wonder what George Haye was up to these days.  After a little research, I was able to track George down.  He was excited to do an interview and talk about old times.  George is a great guy with an interesting, positive outlook on life.  Read on.

This is a response to the first email I sent George, asking some basic questions.

     Re your question: I’m 33, and I used to be 18. I’m sure that’s older than some people and younger than others. My thoughts: it’s never been about age, and that’s even more apparent now that we’re talking about stuff I was doing when I was 18… So, here’s my thought: everyone else who was 18 when I was 18 is 33 now, just like me. And hardcore continues, as it always has. I think I’m older than a lot of the kids now, because I’m older than them, but I’m also younger than a lot of the guys in the scene when I was 18 because they were older than 18 then. (I know this language is a bit silly, but it points out how silly our old fixation on age always was, and still is.)

Anhang 13

     Hardcore/Straight Edge question — Short answer: I love hardcore, and I love many aspects of the straight edge philosophy, but I love a lot of other things too. If asked what inspired me more the music or the message I would likely say the message, although it would not have inspired me for long without the music!
Positive Peer Pressure always was against conformity.  It always has been about doing your own thing. So, if someone listens to ONLY hardcore, that’s OK with me.  If they listen to NO hardcore, that’s OK with me. If they are somewhere in the range in between (like me, I love hardcore and listen to it, but I don’t listen to
ONLY hardcore), then that’s OK with me too.
Personally, I love hardcore. I love a lot of other things too. It takes guts to fight to stay out of groups and cliques and concrete shoes that friends can pour for you so that they can control you and prevent you from listening to music that they don’t listen to, or wearing clothes that they don’t wear.
That’s what PPP was always about. Heck, my message never was “drinking sucks”, it was “IT’S OK NOT TO DRINK!”. And, I wasn’t going around saying “fuck you if you do drugs”, I was saying on my shirt “DON’T NEED DRUGS.” It’s about personal choice, and to me that’s the positive side of hardcore. The negative side of hardcore is when you get stuck needing to look exactly a certain way and listen to exactly certain music.  Some things never change, and what I like most about straight edge and hardcore is the positive spirit and the openness to personal choices than can be different from the heroin-crowd, etc. To this day, I still do not see why the hell alcohol is such a big thing in the world. What a waste. And hard drugs — what are people thinking?
And that’s something I do not like about other aspects of straight edge and hardcore — the concrete shoes,
the “you must be exactly like this” mentality. That has nothing to do with anything except brain washing
and forfeiting your own personal freedom!! I ask – why even pretend to call ourselves rebels if we so gladly try to be like everyone else that calls themselves “straight edge”?
For example, there’s an incredible band by the name of Mano Negra that I’ve had a real kick out of. (No
longer together as a band.) Does it matter to me if any of my fellow Earth Crisis, Dag Nasty, and Bad
Brains fans have even heard of Mano Negra? No. Does it matter to me if any of them would even like Mano Negra? No. (Does it matter to me if some folks who like Bad Brains would NEVER listen to something anything like Earth Crisis because it’s way way too different for them to handle? No, that’s their choice.) Again, why even bother pretending that we are rebels if we so gladly label ourselves and don’t stepout of our “roles”?

Anhang 12

Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m 33 but I won’t be for long. I still live in California. I still have never been to Europe. Among other things, I listen to Manu Chao, ride mountain bikes, watch hockey games, and read poetry.

In a previous email, you sent a pic of you backpacking in South America. Is that something you are really into?  Do you have any good stories from that trip?

One of my favorite things to do is to go to other countries and see how life is lived there. Of course, even if you go cheap, it’s still impossible to get time off, so I’ve not traveled too much yet. So, OK, a story: I plan this awesome trip to Chile.. On the second day of the trip, I break my foot windsurfing! Cool, I guess THAT was meant to happen. SO now what? Doctor says “wear cast / no hiking”, I immediately find the oldest school mountaineering boots you can imagine, and I wear them for 90 days straight! Foot’s healed! George painfully walked all over, and saw so much of, dear Chile!

Anhang 10
I was watching Letterman last night and the guy who was pinned under a boulder and had to amputate his arm was on explaining the ordeal. You popped into mind, knowing that you are an avid fan of hiking and the like. Do you think you could have done the same in that situation?  What sort of
preparations do you make before you go out?  Could you imagine being in that position?

I’d suggest that everyone bring a knife, plenty of water, some food, the Minor Threat Dischord compilation CD, a jacket, a compass, and anything else you can think of whenever you hit the trail. The guy who saved himself by cutting off his own arm is a hero of mine. Inspiring. I cannot imagine how painful that would be, and who knows how the heck I would stay conscious while cutting off my own arm?! That is some kind of determination!

Anhang 11

How did you get exposed to the scene?

Originally a metalhead, I had a penchant for ballistic music. Being a metalhead, I also saw a lot of drugs. I didn’t understand why you’d use them, but I respected my friends that did – or actually this quickly would change to: I worried about my friends that did.(!) Luckily living in Orange County, I got wind of the scene led at the time by Pat Dubar and Uniform Choice. The rest, as they say, is history.

What made you start making shirts?  What I mean is, was there something that happened that pushed this from an idea to becoming a reality?

Spuds Mackenzie. Need I saw more? Maybe I need to: Bud Light t-shirts with alcoholic dogs on them were being worn by every kid in my school in Huntington Beach (Marina High School). What is rebellion? Well in high school, one form of fun rebellion can be doing diametrically the exact opposite of that which is socially required. Heehee. I wrote activist articles for the school paper and I printed crazy bold “no-drugs” t-shirts and gave them to everyone I could. I had the tallest guys on the basketball team wearing my shirts and standing on benches in “the quad”. (One of them, Mark Jorgensen, ended up playing for the Arizona Wildcats NCAA champ team, I believe. Yay.) That was just the beginning…

Anhang 9

What sort of reaction did you get from the kids who weren’t into the message you were sending? (like the AC/DC vo-tech kinda kids)?
What do you mean? All of the kids at my high school were straight edge!  Seriously though, more than anything they were completely shocked that I didn’t give a damn about being socially decimated, ostracized, marginalized for making my little (big) statements that were oh-so-uncool. Heck, I’ve always been in the out crowd and sometimes I still find myself there, happily. I was oblivious and never understood how anyone could ever care about what their peers in high school thought of them. It never occurred to me that it matters. Does it!? When did we learn that? I really must have missed that day. Truth: I never cared what anyone said or thought, unless…it was positive!

Anhang 8

Did you do the printing yourself?

Heck no. I was clueless, but I found a 2 pack per day smoking lady with a big heart and a tiny hot tin warehouse t-shirt printing business who didn’t mind printing my propaganda (i.e.: SMOKING STINKS).

Do you still have the screens?

R.I.P.

The screens are long gone, do you still have the original art?  Kids would REALLY be into another run of those shirts.
The screens and art are gone/in another dimension by now. One thing I
can say is that they wouldn’t be that tough to duplicate the art and the
screens and if someone wants to make them and produce shirts, that would be
cool, just contact me at: geohaye@yahoo.com.

Anhang 7

How did you feel the first time you saw the cover of We’re Not in This Alone.  Plain as day, there it is, an It’s OK Not to Drink shirt.

OK, I admit, I can be a hero worshipper. YOT are heroes of mine. Seeing my shirt on there was a total blast. Hey, I was an activist, a communicator. THEY were the real deal making the music and rapping the rap and doing it LOUD. It was awesome! I felt like my team made it to the world series, but different.

Anhang 6-2

What was PPP Europe?

PPP Europe was a short-lived experiment. A friend of mine in Europe bought a bunch of shirts to sell over there at shows, etc. Well, what can I tell you? We were not businessmen. We lost money at every turn [somehow I had him pay me only $3 per shirt including shipping; well at least my heart was in the right place…].

Anhang 6

There were 4 designs?

Yes: (1) IT’S OK NOT TO DRINK, (2) DON’T NEED DRUGS, (3) SMOKING STINKS, (4) THE PPP AUSSIE SHIRT. For the most part the message was about personal freedom and outrageous rebellion in the face of cemented social standards which to this day remain set in stone(!). We were saying IT’S OK NOT TO DRINK, and we were *not drinking*. But note that we were not saying that it sucks to drink or you are lame if you drink or anything like that. We were happy to positively influence our friends, but we simply did not look to see what everyone else was doing. “Our challenge was in house”, and it still is.

Anhang 5

Did you have anything else planned, but never saw the light of day?

Who knows what this cat would have gotten into if it had not been for college and graduate school, literature and environmental law, casting a “disappear” spell on my free time!

Anhang 4

Did PPP have any distribution?  A friend said that every time he wrote to order a shirt, you were out of them.

I was busy and had no cash flow but kept stock most of the time. Let’s see, I remember shipping every shirt out of my parents house, by hand. I read/deciphered letters written in English with Polish accents, Brazilian accents, and even New Jersey accents. I wrote back my pen pals until my fingers bled. I was interviewed for fanzines and alternative radio stations in all the relevant world capitals: Amsterdam, Medellin, Lima, Jerusalem, Wash DC… Just a shy kid keeping busy. I kept T-shirts in stock very well for a long time, and lost only a couple thousand dollars all told, but at some point it all ended. Then, predictably, after that point, yes, when people wrote to order shirts, I was pretty much always out of them..

Anhang 3

You were invited to a United Nations meeting in Australia in 1989. Tell me about that!

The United Nations asked me to speak as a youth leader at the Seventh World Congress for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency held at Brisbane City Hall, Australia, September, 1988. Kings and Queens, Heads of State, and delegates from over 60 nations attended.. from places across Europe, Central America, Africa, and Asia, where I still dream of hopefully visiting some day. I of course made the official T-shirts. You see, Downtown Brisbane was never as colorful as on those days. Dignified dignitaries in traditional garb.. with turbans, African headdresses, and berets.. all wearing my PPP T-shirts!

Anhang 2

How did they find out about you? What was your initial reaction when you found out they wanted to send you to Australia?

It is still a mystery how they found out about me! Well, when I got the invitation letter, my first reaction was more like “Shit! They caught me!” — kind of like I had been busted for being such a trouble-maker (That’s where my mind was in relation to the world at that time of my life.)  Then, I slowly realized that this was an incredibly cool opportunity, and I was going down under!

Alas, I was a rebel. I noticed that many of the delegates were in fact somehow actually believing that they were morally superior to anyone who drank, or smoked. For them, there was a “right way” of living. They were doctors, lawyers, leaders, clerics. I was a pimply kid with crazy hair just counting the seconds until I could get away to listen to Hirax, Bad Brains, or Insted.

So instead of playing the part of a prophet and moralizing for a couple of hours, one day I ditched speaking on the panel and rather I wandered the back streets of Brisbane like a lost dog. I happened to become thirsty and then I happened upon the most insanely large Foster’s Lager you’ve ever seen! I nursed it back to my hotel room and I began literally counting sheep being driven into small blockades on TV (the national sport). I somehow convinced myself to taste the blasted Lager (my 7-Up drinking awareness did allow me to know how to open the can), and I did. My Dad came in silently slightly later and smiled. Yes, you see, this particular act was yet another act of rebellion (rebellion against the closed minds of some of the U.N. leaders), but it sure as hell didn’t taste good.

When you drank that lager, what were you thinking and what were your emotions like?
As far as that Aussie beer I tackled, I bought it because I had never wanted a beer before and therefore had never had a beer before, but I wanted one now. You see, there were lots of moralistic people at this U.N. Congress, and I was rebelling against them, if you can imagine that. They thought it was “wrong” to drink, and that people who drink are “bad”. All I was doing was saying “IT’S OK NOT TO DRINK!” — free choice –I just wanted to crack a little opening in the world for kids to crawl through who wanted to make a positive independent choice, for a change. Oh, and I was a sophomore in college — that’s about normal for a first beer, don’t you think? Anyway, it tasted incredibly horrible — just the astonishing fact of how horrible it was…was amusement enough to make me feel better about my foolish purchase.

Anhang 1

Everyone has a good idea of how shows/the scene was on the east coast in the late 80’s (CB’s, The Anthrax), what was going on in California?

Late 1980’s on the California coast. Huntington Beach. Colorful time. Lots of lazy sunshine, spinning records, and surprisingly very little spilled beer. Fender’s was the place that everyone wanted to play – I can still vividly remember the first time I saw Uniform Choice play there. First, after school, the band and everyone else hung out with Big Frank and Billy Rubin (Half Off) at Zed Records in Long Beach, then we all headed down the road a mile or two to go off at Fender’s. But mainly, everyone “played wherever they could plug it in” which would often be some random spot such as the Bakersfield Civic Armpit Auditorium. No problem.

There were lots of cool shows from San Diego to San Francisco. And yes, we were fanatics.. Kevin Seconds said it best in “I Can Remember”: “I remember the H.B. kids so well, they’d bus to San Francisco…we’d dance along and sing the song until we were black and blue.”

Bl’ast! from Santa Cruz would thankfully come around from time to time and leave us deaf. Anaheim produced some of the most energetic bands including Insted and ska-sters No Doubt (ever heard of them?). Up the freeway from Anaheim, we’d catch Scott Radinski playing baseball for the L.A. Dodgers, then catch him singing for Scared Straight!

More fun “local” bands included Free Will (with Mike Hartsfield) from Lake Tahoe and Wind of Change from AZ. Oxnard’s Fred Hammer appears to have led the prodigious zine scene with his great “It’s Alive”. It all comes back to 7Seconds, however. Kevin and the boys truly tied together the music and the message in a way few bands ever have. Their awareness of their place and their time, their fearless pursuit of groove and originality in their music, and their indefatigable positive spirit have made them untouchable, timeless… – I know I will still be singing “Young ‘til I Die” when I’m a grandpa!

Anhang 2-2

Do you still check out newer hardcore bands?  Do you go to shows still?
I do go to shows still, but overall I am pretty clueless on what’s happening in the scene. Let’s just say I can’t wait for this issue of your zine to come out — maybe there will be some clues, so I can find out what’s
up!

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Filed under Positive Peer Pressure, PPP, Start Today Fanzine, Straight Edge

The Definitive – Start Today Fanzine – Collection, Part #4 Interview – 4 – Anthony Civarelli – Gorilla Biscuits.

By Ed

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To commemorate the 25th year anniversary of Start Today, Rev have released some limited edition vinyl along with a cassette and a shirt.

Here at DxR HQ I thought it would be fitting to dig once again into the Start Today Zine archives and pull out this brilliant interview with CIV, as a nod to GB and one of the best Hardcore records ever made, along with another great piece of Jeff Lasich’s work.

With some extra media thanks to the internet.

Interview and Photography by – Jeff Lasich

Flyers Courtesy of Hardcoreshowflyers.com

My love for the Gorilla Biscuits is no secret.  When I heard about the show they were going to play as part of the “save CBGB” summer of shows in 2005, I could not wait for the show.  By the time GB took the stage on that hot August night, CB’s was packed to the walls and you could feel the excitement and anticipation in the air.  After a wait that seemed would never end, the original line-up was back on the stage.  The familiar trumpets started what was one of the best live sets I have ever seen.  No one walked away disappointed or with a bad word to say.  I wanted to talk to Civ about maybe doing an interview but things were still crazy after the set, so I figured if I was really going to do it, I’d figure out a way.  As luck would have it, he stopped in Red Bamboo later that night and I talked to him about my idea.  We finally got our schedules together, and I called him the day after the 2006 summer tour was announced.  I had planned on having this issue done for the tour but like most things in hardcore, it just didn’t happen on time.  Most of you saw them in the US and they are about to embark on a European tour as I am typing this intro.  I was beyond psyched to do this interview and I truly hope you enjoy it!

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Every few months for years there were rumors that GB were going to play a show.  Finally last summer, the rumors proved to be true with that benefit for CBGB.  What finally made it happen and were there any other times where it almost did happen?

There were a couple of times we were approached about it.  The reason we did it was because of what it was for CBs, you know.  If it were any other club, I doubt we would have done it.  I was just talking about this with a friend.  It was more of a selfish thing to; trying to support CBs and hopefully keeping the doors open for another 30-40 years so people could go there are “get it.”  It was also to play CBs one more time, just in case they did close it.  That is basically the only reason I wanted to play.  That is a kind of club you never get sick of playing, you never get you fill of, you just want to keep playing there.  It’s the whole vibe.  When you walk in, the way it smells, the way it’s lit, the way it sounds, the memories you have in it.  We wanted to get back on the stage one more time just in case.

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I heard that Walter said you guys were going to practice your asses off and be tighter than ever before because it would never happen again.

Everybody says certain things, but we wanted to practice because we never practiced prior.  We used to go on tour, road trips and stuff, but we weren’t the most polished band.  Kids used to say stuff like “I wish I could have seen you guys live.”  We’re like “we weren’t very good live.”  We had fun.  If you watched us you had fun, but it didn’t really sound as good.  We’ve also become better performers and musicians over the years too.  When we were playing, we weren’t very seasoned.  After years and years of playing in bands and doing stuff, you get a little more comfortable on stage, you become a better musician, a little more disciplined to try and do better and no just fucking do it because you have to play a show.  The never doing it again thing, that is pretty much what we assumed because we hadn’t done it before and we were just doing it for CBs.  We hadn’t seen or hung out with each other in years and years.  Alex is in Iowa, Luke is in Texas, and Walter is super busy doing his own projects.  We thought that would be it.  We had a really good time hanging out for a couple of weeks, it just felt nice.  We practiced, we played.  It was cool hanging out with each other again.  That kind of opened the door for us to play in the future again.  It opened up the dialogue that wasn’t there before.

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Did you think it would be as crazy as it was?

I kinda did.  I don’t really pay too much attention or go online; I don’t really give a shit what people are saying.  Everybody I know was kike “it’s going to be this” or “it’s going to be that.”  Maybe idea was it’s going to be what it is going to be.  If people want to come see it, it’s going to be cool.  I never listen to rumors or hearsay.  We used to play shows at CBs and they were always good.  We thought it would be a cool show to play.

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When I got home from the show, the CBs webcam video was online and I downloaded it.  The crowd was so loud, completely drowning you out at times.  And the webcam does not even come close to capturing what it was like being there.

I saw you before the show taking names of people that travelled really far to get to the show, to be sure that they would get it.  Kids flew in from all over the world without tickets, hoping to get in.  The stood in line for 12 hours, it was really hot out, there was occasional rain.  I thought that was a very classy move. 

I only did that because the people at CBs said there was beef between them and the people that people who own the building.  The powers that be were saying they were going to shut down the show if they went beyond their capacity.  They were being super cautious.  They only had the club about half full.  I think their legal cap is around 600 or something.  They couldn’t fit much more than that in there.  Black Train Jack and the other opening bands were saying the place was half full.  I was getting pissed off.  We haven’t played in 13 years to come back and play to a half full club.  Kids waited outside for 24 hours in the rain and 95 degree heat.  Kids were getting their cars broken into.  We didn’t come here to have a shitty show because you are afraid it is going to get shut down.  If it is going to get shut down then it’s going to get shut down so let everybody in.  It wasn’t that bad.  I’m friends with the people who were doing it, and they were just protecting their ass.  I went outside because they gave us a hundred person guest list for the show and we had only about 50 people on it, so we knew we could get some kids in.  It wasn’t just kids from the US, there were kids from South America, Japan, Europe.  I just wanted to make sure kids didn’t get shut out.  I just waited outside until everyone was in.  They kept calling my cell phone, asking what I was doing.  I said once everyone was in the club, I’ll come in and play.  They said “where are you?”  I said “don’t worry about it.”  I don’t know about classy, just fair.  In the end, everybody got in.  I felt bad for Black Train Jack, I wish everyone was in for them.

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When it was all said and done, were you happy with how you played?  You sounded super tight.

Those guys all said they sounded tight and they played well.  You can’t get that kind of vibe when you are the singer, because you are getting manhandled.  I told myself not to get psyched, just play really well, but I can’t help myself.  We were going to try and release some live tracks from it, but I definitely dropped the ball because I put the microphone out too much.  It sounds like a tight band with a bunch of monkeys screaming or something.  We don’t have good audio from it.  But I had fun, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

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Some Records was originally going to release the 1st 7” but obviously that never happened.  Why did that fall through?

The 7” was on Rev because Rev had everything together.  I think Some came after that.  Some Records used to put out demo tapes and sold demo tapes for us.

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I thought I read that in the news section of Boiling Point or something that Some was going to do a 7”.

You know what, it might have been but I don’t remember.  It’s not something that stuck in my memory.  Dwayne and Some Records are responsible for a huge portion of people getting their music out.  He would get in trouble from the IRS because he wouldn’t charge tax.  He wouldn’t charge us to sell our demo tapes.  You’d go in there once a week and Dwayne would hand you $20 and say “yo, I sold X amount of demo tapes.”  He was all about that lifestyle.  He promoted everything: record sales, demos, t-shirts.  He’s one of those unsung heroes.  Most people don’t know who the fuck Dwayne is, or what he did.

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What impact did the “shutdown” show have on the band?

It had an affect for a while, but there were always other clubs to play.  CB’s was just THE place you wanted to play, and the place for Sunday matinees.  If you have water running down a hill and you stop it with one rock, it’s gonna go around and go another direction.  And that’s what the hardcore scene did.  We went to the Pyramid Club, or ABC No Rio., other venues.  We weren’t going to stop playing and sit home and cry because a club got shut down.  I think it was more of a fantasy protest.  That place is what it is, you don’t own it.  If they want to stop hardcore shows, they can stop hardcore shows.  They survived it.

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Start Today was one of those crossover records that it seemed everyone had, whether they were straight edge or not, a hardcore kid or a punk kid.  Did you ever think it would become such a big record?

I don’t know, people have told me for our generation; it would be like how we felt about Out Of Step.  When you do it, you’re not thinking about it, you are just doing it.  It takes years to come out right.  I’m flattered and psyched that people liked it and it meant something.  That’s what is important to us.  We didn’t walk around thinking “we’re so great because we did this record.”  When we were doing the record, we were just doing the record.  I think in music, people and writers after their first record, they get distracted and try to redo something.  I think that’s why things suck after the first or second record, because you’re trying to do something purposeful.  When you’re writing to just put out music; that is when it’s cool and original.  You can’t guess what people are going to like, you have to write for yourself.

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Do you prefer the 7” or the lp?

I’m always a fan of when things are on the next level; I think the lp is my favourite.  The other stuff is fun, and a much more juvenile record.  I can picture being young and where I was at that time.  I can listen to Start Today and feel psyched about it.

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I don’t know if a band can use a line like “don’t be retarded” again without there being a ton of backlash.

There wasn’t a lot of thought about that stuff, it just came out.

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It seemed that near the end of the band, some people didn’t have their full heart into the band anymore but there were still playing GB shows.  Do you think that may have tainted the GB legacy?

I don’t think so.  I think we were one of the bands that broke up pretty early on, when other people were trying to beat dead horses, you know?  I still wanted to play and wanted to do another record.  But Walter, he knew how he felt and he kinda saw the writing on the wall as far as where he wanted to take his career and what kind of song writing he wanted to do.  It involved new people and a new style.  Out of respect for him, I didn’t play any more.  We sat down and talked about it and I didn’t want to do the Gorilla Biscuits without him.  He didn’t want me to do it without him either.  We just decided to drop it.  It’s hard when you are enjoying the band you’re in, and you enjoy the music you play to stop.  I don’t think anything was tarnished because I don’t think we hung on that long.

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I’ve seen criticism over the years about later day Gorilla Biscuits, or pictures.  You know, the way things were starting to change in the early 90’s anyway.  Sometime it seems easier to single you guys out.

As people who changed during the band?

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Yeah.  Instead of people quitting then changing and just fading away.

I think things happened a little bit faster then.  Our first US tour was in ’89 and we broke up in ’92.  That’s not that long of a run for a band.  If you think about saying “oh you guys have changed” or something like that, in the whole history of the band it’s a pretty short time to do you first tour and then actually break up.  There are bands that have been playing for twenty years.  I think change is good.  You can come back to stuff, but if you don’t try something you want to do, then you’re selling yourself short.  We had line-up changes due to people leaving or wanting to do other things.  We had an incarnation with Porcell when we played Europe.  We had tours booked and we had to play them.  A lot of times you can rely on your friends to fill in, and not get some new guy in the band.

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Was there an “official” last show?

We played the Marquee in ’92, that was our last show.  We were playing and knew we were going to break up after that so we just played.  If you’re not going to come to the show, then I don’t want you to come because you think it’s going to be the last time.  If you’re gonna fucking pose and not show up, well then you missed it.

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What did you do in the months after GB broke up?

I always worked at health food stores and stuff so I worked and chilled.  I had already started to learn to tattoo, so that was it; working and tattooing.

How did you start tattooing?  Did you always have an interest in art?

I always drew a little bit.  Never had anything formal, I just liked to draw when I was a kid.  Working in health food stores ran its course, and tattooing presented itself.  I just ran with it.

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1995 CIV started.  

Walter and I did that 7” with those 2 songs on it.  We pretty much got signed to Atlantic just off that, we had never even played a show.  We had to throw a record together kinda quick.  There wasn’t much time.

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Why did you even bother with doing another band?  Was it still something you really wanted to do?

I really had no intentions of…Shit, I never had intentions of playing in Gorilla Biscuits.  I had no intentions of being a singer at all.  Anything that happens in my life is completely accidental.  Charlie from Outface and Walter approached me saying “we got these songs; we want you to sing and do a 7”.”  I was like “no fucking way.”  They said “come on, it’ll be cool.”  Walter can pretty much talk me into anything.  I said I’d do the 2 songs, we could record them.  We felt like hardcore was moving too much into hip-hop and metal, no one was really playing hardcore anymore.  That’s how we saw it.  We figured we’d put out a 7” that was what we thought hardcore was.  We could get stuff done quickly because we have been doing it for a long time, and we know Jordan.  That is basically how it was.  We called him up and said “hey we want to do a 7”.”  He said ok.  He didn’t say “well I don’t know” or “I want to hear it.”  He just said “ok, what do you need?”  It was like asking your friend for a ride somewhere.

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CIV ended up being a little bit.  You were on Atlantic, had some airplay, Can’t Wait ended up getting played at sporting events.  Kids were quick to call you a sell out because of the “commercial” success of CIV, and it’s funny because most of those kids are gone now.

Yeah, that’s always the case.  If you let that shit bother you, you’re stupid.  They’re at the show.  They paid their money to get into the show and they are waving “fuck MTV” things.  Now what are they doing?  I respect my peers and people who have done something for music and for hardcore; the people who have given their lives to it; guys who are still playing in bands after 20 years.  I could give a fuck about a fucking kid who’s never even played in a band.  If makes him feel good to call you a sell out.  My answer to that was always “I’m playing music in a fucking band for a living, what the fuck did I sell out?”  When you’re straight edge or hardcore or punk until you get to college and then you fucking act like a douche and get corporate and wasted because now it’s time to grow up, that’s fucking selling out.

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What about that Nissan commercial with Can’t Wait in it?  I was watching football and during commercials, I hear a CIV song.  My wife and I looked at each other like “what?!?” but not in a bad way, more of an ironic way like “can you believe that” or “how crazy is that?”

That’s what I mean.  When people think of that in a bad way, it cracks me up.  We didn’t steal your song; that is our song.  We wrote it and if we want to sell it to anybody in the world, it’s up to us.  Especially now when every fucking band that stems from punk, hardcore, or metal goes on MTV and are selling millions of records.  I think the idea is so jaded and cliché that somebody sell out hardcore.  I have friends in bands that are still playing in weekends.  They’ve been playing for years and hold down jobs.  What about their family?  You gotta take care of yourself at some point.

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That is a problem in hardcore.  A majority of the scene consists of younger kids, but you reach that point where you have to factor in the real world.  

The things kids are yelling about, if they do math and realize we don’t live with our fucking parents, and our moms don’t take us to the mall to buy Vans and a punk belt.  We’re grown ass men.  I’ve lived on my own, paying my bills since I was 18.  I paid for my college at 18, working.  That’s just reality.  No one is taking care of us, no one ever has.  That is why we do what we do.  If kids don’t respect the work ethic and longevity that someone who has 20 years in have, then on behalf of everyone who is 20 years in, go fuck yourself.  That’s just me.  If someone is going to pay you for what you do, like you’re gonna say no?  That’s so full of shit.  I won’t even get into that argument, it’s so childish.

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OK, back to current events.  It’s no longer a secret since Walter posted it yesterday, but GB will be touring this summer.  How was that decision made?

All original members.  There is no real over thinking.  Why wouldn’t we ask the original guys to do it if they’re down?  Those guys said they were down.  If they didn’t want to do it, we’d go another route.  Everyone wants to do it, so we’re going to make it cool and make it fun.

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You’re going to do 5 weeks in the US and then Europe?

The only thing we are committed to right now is 5 weeks in the US and a few shows in Canada.

You know kids are going starting quoting the lyrics to New Direction, about the money being green and all that.  

If they don’t want us to play, they don’t have to come see us play.  And money issues, Gorilla Biscuits have never played the United States with the record out.  We played the Start Today tour, but the record wasn’t out until the last 3 shows.  We played on the 7” in ’89 because we couldn’t get the record out on time.  Really we’re just playing to kids who have never seen us play with the record out.  Most kids never saw us with the full record out.  Europeans did, but not Americans.

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As far as making money, I’m sure you’ll make a little cash but I’d bet you would make a ton more sitting at Lotus for 5 weeks.

I make a good living.  For me, this is not about making a fucking boat load of money.  But I’m not doing this for free; I’ve got mouths to feed.  Kids love to talk shit, who cares?  Not me.

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Not that it matters in the big picture, but when you hit the stage at CB’s X’d up, I have to admit it put a pretty big smile on my face.  You know there have been rumors about your edge and all that.

Like I just said, kids talk shit; they love to talk about things they don’t know about.  When you are in a band, you get people fucking talking about you who have never met you in your life.  So what the fuck are you going to talk about?  All these kids that are saying this or that, or quoting our lyrics (which is really ridiculous, like “oh man you got us with that one!”) but you don’t know me so what the fuck are you going to talk about.  I can’t talk shit about someone I don’t know.  Are you going to turn hardcore into a fucking Hollywood tabloid, like Lindsay Lohan or something?  What the fuck, I don’t know her.  I’m not gonna talk shit, I think she’s hot.  I don’t care what she does, I don’t know her.  In reality, you don’t know us and until I personally disappoint you when we meet, keep your mouth shut.  If you have a knee jerk reaction to someone playing music and it’s a negative thing, then you’re just a jerk.  Not a knee jerk, a jerk reaction.  “Those fuckers are gonna play music?  We should stone them!  It’s my scene, I’m old school.  I’ve been down since 2002.

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Eventually this zine is going to run its course.  Right now it is real hard for me to finish.  I’ve called you 3 or 4 times just trying to get things together because I’m busy and you’re busy.  

I think it’s amazing that people still do zines, when everything is so computer friendly.  To put a piece of paper together seems like a crazy idea these days.  Some friends of mine just put on the Superbowl of Hardcore in New York.  They are doing it while working, doing 100% of it by themselves and taking months and months to do it because they love hardcore.  They’re paying for bands, security, rental fees on giant clubs.  They’re not making shit.  They’re doing it because they love hardcore.  They are trying to promote hardcore.  Same thing with kids who do fanzines.  That’s the thing that makes hardcore different than anything else.  You’re doing it yourself.  And that is why it’s still cool.  And that is why I’ll do a phone interview with you; because you are putting out a fucking fanzine.  I think that is still important.

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It’s so much easier to talk about shit on the internet.

It’s so stupid too.  Just call the person so you can have a dialogue.  I hate email because it’s all one sided.  That is why kids get away with everything.  Now they’re talking shit online because there is no retribution to what they say.  There is no one on one argument.  It’s real easy to get tough and be opinionated because you are anonymous.  You’re just being a fucking pussy.  If you have something to say, let people know who you are.  Say it and defend it if you feel so strongly about it.

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Any final thoughts?

We’ll try to get some dates out when we have them confirmed.  Hopefully the tour will be cool and the kids will check it out and have a good time.

gb

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Filed under Hardcore, Revelation Records, Start Today, Start Today Fanzine, Straight Edge

The Definitive – Start Today Fanzine – collection, Part #1

By Ed

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I have been a fan of Start Today Fanzine since picking up issue 3 in 2003 at a Hardcore alldayer in Nottingham.

I’m pretty sure someone had brought the pile of them back from the States after Posi Fest in 2003.

Ever since that I have owned every issue that’s gone to print, bought directly from Jeff Lasich, and all the other PDF issues.

I have had some contact with Jeff on and off since 2005 and have always admired him for ST.

It’s probably my favourite Hardcore Zine ever published as it was really current with all those bands I loved in the early 00’s, like The  First Step, Carry On, Champion, Count Me Out,  Face The Enemy… just to name a tiny handful.

So now given the chance to publish a definitive history of this great collection of Hardcore literature, I’m literally so syked and very thankful to Jeff for wanting to do this.

In the coming posts there will pictures, exerts and even full interviews from early issues of ST.

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Righteous Jams.

Blacklisted.

Face The Enemy.

Start Today Bio.

Words and all photography By Jeff Lasich.

The first time I thought about doing a zine was around 1988.  I didn’t know much about zines, with the exception of MRR and the Zine Thing column that was in Thrasher.  I didn’t make it too far, pretty much writing down a couple thoughts about skateboarding, straight edge, and school.  I guess those were pretty typical topics.  At the same time, I was making flyers for local shows and stickers for the local bands.

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The First Step.

No Warning.

I was a 14 year old grommet who wanted to do something, but didn’t really know how to do anything.  I thought playing guitar would be cool.  I took guitar lessons for two weeks, but then I broke my elbow skating a curb, while imagining I was Ray Barbee in Public Domain.  That ended my musical career.  I spent the next few years skating as much as I could and going to shows if I knew about them.  Living an hour outside of Pittsburgh, I didn’t always know what was going on, and often found out about shows weeks after they happened.  By 1996, I was going to Erie for shows.  They had a great hardcore scene there, plus it is located equally between Buffalo and Cleveland, and Pittsburgh was only a few hours away.  I bought so much music at those shows, along with a ton of zines.  Around that time, I got inspired to give zine making a try thanks to zines like Surprise Attack, Anti-Social Brat, Trustkill, and Quarantine.  I did a crappy half page zine, that looking back at now, totally embarrasses me.  But at the time I was happy I was able to do something.

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Judge.

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Final Plan.

The second issue was also half size, and was slightly better.  I probably would have been done after the first one, but I was doing college radio at the time and had set up an interview with Jerry Only and figured I’d use it.  This was right around the time American Psycho came out, before he make a joke of “The Misfits.”  By the time I did issue #3, I moved up to full size.  I would scam copies from where my stepdad worked and it would take me weeks to put them all together.  The content was pretty basic, band interviews, reviews, some stuff about Star Wars, animal rights, and of course straight edge.

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Desperate Measures.

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American Nightmare.

The zine wasn’t too photo heavy because at the time I was more concerned with dancing and singing along to the bands.  I had a basic point and shoot camera and would hardly take pictures.  I wanted the zine to be a vessel to exchange thoughts and ideas.  I have always been really shy and am not very good with small talk and often think I am forgettable, so I tend to keep to myself unless I really know someone.  To me the zine was a good outlet for me.  Oddly enough, for as much as I love skateboarding, there has never been a whole lot of skate talk in my zines.  In 1997, I started splitting my time between Pittsburgh and Geneva, NY.  Geneva is located between Rochester and Syracuse.  Gym Class Heroes are also from Geneva.  On a side note, their original bass player was a kid named Ryan who sang for a emo/screamo band called Cast Aside (not the one from Virginia.)  I went to a ton of Syracuse shows.

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One Up,

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Mouthpiece.

Even though they aren’t crucial, and the argument can be made they aren’t “hardcore” bands, it was great seeing bands like Poison the Well, Eighteen Visions, Everytime I Die, and Throwdown play at coffee houses and recreation centers.  Adapting to my environment, I would end up interviewing the bands for the zine.  While I liked those bands, and still do, I always had a soft spot in my heart for more traditional hardcore.

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Breakthrough.

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Panic.

  I did my last issue of Death Before Dishonor in 2000 and I was done with zines.  In February, 2001, I moved to Philly.  The scene there was completely different from what I had experienced in Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  There were so many shows, bands, record stores, venues, great places to eat, and lots to skate.  My first show there was American Nightmare, Count Me Out, Strike Anywhere, Go Time, and The Final Plan. One day while record shopping, I came across Cut the Tension Fanzine.  When I looked at the contact info, I realized the guy who did the zine, Donny Mutt, lived pretty close to me.  I really didn’t know anyone there at the time, so, like a weirdo, I sent Donny an email and we were soon friends.  His zine kinda got me thinking about doing another zine.  But I wanted it to be something new to me…

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Youth Of Today.

The First Step.

Justice.

I got the Burn 7” sometime in 1990 and instantly fell in love with it.  Not surprisingly, I never had a chance to see them.  Well that is until July 1, 2001.  The night before the show, I was driving into Philly to pick up dinner, completely excited to see Burn the next day.  I had an apartment in Upper Darby, and was driving back thinking about doing a zine.  I wanted it to be fun.  I didn’t want it to be too serious, which I was seeing a lot of in both the scene and in the mirror.  I was listening to Gorilla Biscuits- Start Today at the time.  That record had always been symbolic to me and was in constant rotation all throughout high school.  In 9th grade, I ever tried to get my haircut like Civ’s on the back of the lp.  That was the moment I decided I was going to do a new zine.  I was going to call it Start Today to capture that moment.  (I also thought it would be a good name to do a Suicidal Tendencies logo rip off, but that never actually happened.)  I got home and quickly came up with a few questions to do a Burn interview.

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The Hope Conspiracy.

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Judge.

The next day at the Rotunda, I nervously asked Chaka if he would do an interview with me for the first issue.  He agreed without hesitation and the zine had officially started.  At the time, I really didn’t know what direction I was going to go with it.  There were a lot of free zines out, with interviews written more like articles.  I attempted to do that with the Striking Distance interview, and to this day I hate myself for writing it that way.  Although it was only 16 pages, I hate that issue so much.  But it had to start somewhere.

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H20.

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Count Me Out.

Once it was finished, I sent it down to Small Publisher’s Co-Op in Florida.  They had connections to local printing presses and would mass print zines for extremely reasonable prices.  A lot of people used them during that time period.  I printed issues 1-5 there, until they went out of business.  I’m still bummed they are gone.  Donny and I printed a bunch of Start Today and Cut the Tension shirts in my basement.  The DIY approach we took lead to printing most of the One Up shirts as well as the start of Bottled Up Records.  All of those things go hand in hand and are a great representation of that time of my life.  I time I will always cherish.  A time to remember.

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In My Eyes.

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Running Like Thieves. 

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