Tag Archives: Hands Tied

in-depth With Espen Follestad For Pete’s Sake.

By Ed

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https://reactrecords.bandcamp.com/album/north-atlantic

FPS Are back with a new record North Atlantic on React Records with as much energy, heart and power as ever after the untimley passing of singer and Hardcore legend Peter Amdam. Being a friend of the band and having met the guys in Oslo not long after peter’s passing I couldn’t imagine id ever be writing about a new record. But its here and its incredible, what follows is a watts app conversation me and Espen had over a couple of weeks on and off when we had time away from work,  Almost totally unedited.

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Tim McMahon – Search.

By Ed

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 New Jersey Straight Edge Hardcore Band Search has just recently started up.

With Hardcore Veteran Tim McMahon on vocals and a few other familiar faces through out.

Ex members of Floorpunch,Turning Point,Release and more, this is the first interview conducted with Tim about this new great project.

Mouthpiece Photographs By

Anna Spina & Dannielle Dombrowski.

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Nothing Can Compare – The Definitive Ed Mckirdy Interview – Part #2

By Ed

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DR: What was your your personal channel into Hardcore? And who are stand out favorites for you to this day?

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Hands Tied

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.

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Mouthpiece

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.

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Filed under Ed Mckirdy, Face The Enemy, Hands Tied, Livewire Records, Mouthpiece

Nothing Can Compare – The Definitive Ed Mckirdy Interview – Part #1

By Ed

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Ok, so here I am again writing about a very favourite topic of mine… Ed McKirdy and Tim McMahon bands.

It’s no secret that the bands these guys played in seriously do it for me.

I’ve been a real big fan of most of their work with an extra special interest in Mouthpiece and Hands Tied since the first time I head them, so really I guess this just caps it off for me with regards to writing about their bands.

After doing the big 4 part Definitive Tim McMahon interview nearly a year ago, I knew i wanted to do more, so my obvious choice with whom to get an extension on these topics was Ed.

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DR: Hi Ed, how’s things?

Hey, man. Well, things are great on a personal level, but on global scale, I can’t imagine them being much worse. It’s gotten to the point that being informed means being gravely concerned. Thank God for distractions!

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Hands Tied

DR: Lets Talk a little bit about Killing Flame, give us a little bit of History.

Well, I moved out to Southern California (for the second time after a stint in 1995 when I worked for New Age Records and played in a band called The Suppression Swing with Mike Hartsfield) in late 1999. Shortly thereafter, I started Livewire Records, my first release being an Eleven-Thirty Four 7″. Those guys had been friends of mine since moving out to Cali in 1995, and with a final show coming up they wanted to put out a single to sell at the show. I had always flirted with the idea of starting a label and with only weeks until the show, I jumped at the challenge/opportunity to help them out and get a record pressed.

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The Killing Flame

With the success of that release, and armed with the newfound awareness that I could actually pull off releasing records, I was eager to put out another. Enter Joe Nelson, vocalist for The Killing Flame. Joe contacted me, somewhat out of the blue, and asked if I’d be interested in doing a domestic release of their 7″ “The Dream Dies.” Having been a huge Unity and Ignite fan, this was a no-brainer. The band featured Joe D. Foster of both aforementioned bands and I was also into Joe Nelson’s vocals on the early Ignite stuff. LWR-2 was set in stone.

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Filed under Ed Mckirdy, Face The Enemy, Hands Tied, Livewire Records, Mothpiece, Prohibition, Straight Edge, Suppression Swing, Triple Threat

The Last Of A Dying Breed – The Definitive Tim McMahon Interview: BONUS MATERIAL!

By: Ed

Here is some of the other stuff that Tim and I discussed whilst compiling this epic interview.

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DR: Tell us a bit about Double Cross… What made you start blogging about Hardcore?

TM: Fanzines were my introduction to legitimate scene involvement, starting with my first zine, Slew back in 1987/1988. I enjoyed documenting things, interviewing bands and putting it all together into a nice little package. I did three issues of Slew, mixing skateboarding with hardcore. By 1988 I was knee deep in the massively growing Straight Edge scene, so my third issue of Slew was very heavy on that kind of content. Fanzines like Boiling Point, Schism, Open Your Eyes and Smorgasbord were really leaving a huge impression on me.

By late 1988 and into 1989 I decided to combine my efforts with my friend Tony Rettman, who did I4NI Fanzine and was also getting heavily into the Straight Edge hardcore scene, we did a fanzine called Common Sense together. We did two issues of Common Sense and I found myself communicating with hardcore kids all over the world. I was talking to bands, writing to pen pals, ordering records through mail order, getting more involved and pulled deeper and deeper into the hardcore scene.

I loved doing a fanzine, communicating with bands, being creative, laying out pages, but I was also reaching for the idea of doing my own band. I wanted to take the next step and go from just being a fan, to getting up on the stage myself. By late 1989 and into 1990, doing a band became a reality and took over my creative focus.  My time became completely consumed with doing a band and my fanzine editing days seemed to be in the past.

After 6 years of doing Mouthpiece and right around the time I was starting Hands Tied, I had this idea to do a fanzine again. Tony and I did two issues of Common Sense and had plans for a third, which I had collected a ton of photos for, but since I had started Control/Mouthpiece, issue 3 of Common Sense fell to the wayside. After all those years, I still had a pretty impressive collection of photos and my thought was to do a new fanzine, but to interview a few guys from the late 80’s scene, so that I’d be able to match the old photos I had with new content. I sat down with Porcell after a Shelter show in 1996 and did a pretty substantial interview with him, but that’s as far as I got. I had planned to call this new fanzine Double Cross, so I had a name and I had one interview and a bunch of photos, but I guess Hands Tied picked up and Double Cross fanzine ended up getting shelved.

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Mouthpiece 1996 New Jersey

A few years later, sometime around 1999/2000, after Hands Tied had broken up and in between me doing anything new band wise, I started thinking about doing Double Cross again in fanzine format. This time I got in touch with my old friend Tim Monroe who had played guitar in the band Unit Pride. I had interviewed Tim in 1988 for issue 3 of Slew, but hadn’t talked to him since then. In the meantime, I had met Eric Ozenne who sang for Unit Pride, Redemption 87 and the Nerve Agents. Eric had put me back in touch with Tim and I thought it was fitting to interview Tim because the name Double Cross, ultimately came from a project band that he had planned to do in 1989. After the demise of Unit Pride, Tim was going to do a new band with two singers, Korri Sabatini, who sang for Unit Pride on their US tour and Joey Vela who sang for Breakaway. It was supposed to be this ultimate Straight Edge band and with two singers, the name Double Cross certainly seemed fitting. At the time that band was coming together, I had a pen pal named Garrett Chow who was an artist and friends with all those guys. Garrett had drawn a Double Cross logo and sent it to me, but asked that I send it back because he has sent me the original drawing. I don’t remember exactly what it looked like, but apparently it left a lasting impression on me, because I thought the logo was cool enough looking, that I was still keeping it in my mind all those years later. Needless to say, the band Double Cross never really came together, so I thought I’d swipe it for my fanzine. I thought interviewing Tim Monroe again, all these years later, would be fitting. I also reached out to Matt Warnke of BOLD and ended up doing a massive 5 hour interview with him at his house.

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Fanzines

So at this point in 1999/2000, I had the old interview I did with Porcell in 1996, a new interview with Tim from Unit Pride and this massive interview with Matt BOLD. I started transcribing the interview with Matt and it was really tough for me to stay on it. I’d listen to the tapes, transcribe 2 questions and answers and stop, but that would take me hours. This huge interview seemed like such a daunting task, that it became overwhelming and ultimately I ended up shelving the entire Double Cross Fanzine project for the second time.

Then in 2004 I had put some thought into launching Double Cross again, but this time as a website. I had gotten some help from my friend Ed McKirdy to get the basics of the site set up. I had a domain name and a main page set up. I had also created 3 t shirt designs that I was going to sell through the site. Coincidently, as this Double Cross website was coming together and the merch was being created, I was asked by Ray Cappo if Mouthpiece would reunite to play with Youth of Today for two shows in Pennsylvania. Mouthpiece agreed to do the 2 shows and the Double Cross merch ended up getting printed right in time for the shows. I sold a lot of the merch at those two shows and a bunch through mail order, but for whatever reason, the actual Double Cross site was never finished. It was becoming a routine, anytime Double Cross would get resurrected, it would get pushed aside at some point. Right as those two Mouthpiece shows with Youth Of Today were getting planned, I was also planning to start my new band, Triple Threat, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with why Double Cross fell out of focus once again.

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Mouthpiece Rev 25 NYC

Four years later in 2008, I’m hanging out with my friend Chris Alpino and he’s telling me about this blog that he had started. Chris was super into black metal, as well as punk and hardcore and he created this blog that revolved around all of that. Chris kept telling me how easy a blog was to set up and maintain and he kind of sparked the idea in me, of launching Double Cross again, but this time as a blog. I didn’t have any lofty ideas or plans this time around, I thought I’d just create the blog, throw up a few of those interviews that had been lying around for years now, post a few cool photos and be done with it. I figured at this point, I just wanted to get the content out there and doing it in blog format seemed like the quickest and easiest way to do so.

I ended up doing exactly as I had planned, I created the Double Cross blog, posted the Tim Monroe from Unit Pride interview, posted a few photos, a video, etc. I figured I’d eventually get the Porcell interview and Matt BOLD interview up at some point. I also had an interview with Dwid from Integrity that I had done originally for Common Sense 3 and I posted that. All while I’m doing this, I’m showing my friend Gordo and he’s getting super psyched on everything. Gordo offered to do Double Cross with me and to get some new interviews going. Although I had no plans to make Double Cross some sort of constantly updated site, with Gordo assistance, it became exactly that. Gordo was so fired up and focused and I absolutely have to credit him for helping me take Double Cross to the next level. There’s no question, without Gordo’s help, Double Cross would have never grown into what it did. We came up with schedules and content plans, we were both reaching out to tons of people every day. I was updating the site with significant content every single night and we stuck to that pace for almost 3 or 4 years.

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Tim & Gordo

All the while I’m doing Double Cross at this hectic, consuming pace, I’m working a full time job and raising three young children with my wife. Gordo on the other hand was working, but didn’t have a family yet, but that was coming. At some point after Gordo got married and he and his wife were having their first child, I was getting very burnt out on Double Cross. The nightly posts had started to feel like more of a job and responsibility, than a fun project. Gordo was unable to keep up with the pace once his daughter was born, which left a lot on me. Our last significant entry was a massive interview with Jules Masse from Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd, but I wasn’t ready to pack it in yet.

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Bus Stop Banks Trenton NJ

After a couple months, my friend Larry Ransom asked me if I’d be interested in starting a new blog/website with him. I told Larry I was into it and we kept going back and forth about ideas. I then pitched the idea to Larry that we do this new site as Double Cross, create a completely new site, archive all of the existing material, but create a new format. Instead of posting massive interviews and constant substantial content, we just start posting little things daily. We’d still do interviews and larger entries from time to time, but instead of creating a schedule and putting that kind of pressure on ourselves, we’d just let that sort of content come naturally. As these concepts were coming together and I was telling Gordo what my plans were, he agreed that this new pace seemed like something that he’d realistically be able to handle, so Gordo was back on board. I also got my friend Ed McKirdy on board. Ed had a lot of back end website building knowledge from doing his record label, Livewire Records and handling the Livewire website. Ed and I have also worked on a lot of design projects together, so I knew he was someone I’d want to get involved in the design of this new Double Cross site. Ed, like Larry and Gordo and myself, also has a similar love for 80’s hardcore and the general style of content that Double Cross is known for, so Ed would be an ideal guy to get posting as well. So at the end of the day, Double Cross now consists of Larry Ransom, Brian “Gordo” Jordan, Ed McKirdy and myself. Adding two more guys into the mix was massive and helped direct the site into the direction we wanted to go and where we still are today.

DR: You did a huge interview with Mike Judge- 10 parts was it? How was that?

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Ed, Mike.Tim,Gordo

TM: The Mike Judge interview was something Gordo and I had been trying to get for years. I was off and on in touch with Mike and had been trying to convince him to do an interview, but at the time, I guess Mike felt like he had said everything he ever needed to say. He was always super cool every time we were in touch, but politely declined to do an interview. I was able to get little snippets of content out of him once in awhile, but never an actual interview like we wanted.

Over the last handful of years, Mike did do one interview for Rumpshaker Fanzine, the interview had been done years ago, but hadn’t gone to print. I remember seeing Mike and talking to him at the Black N Blue Bowl in NYC that Gorilla Biscuits played. Mike told me that he loved Double Cross and read it daily and he told me that I should talk to Eric that did Rumpshaker and have Eric send me the interview that he did with Mike, just so I could read it and tell Mike what I thought of it. I did end up talking to Eric and he was actually in the process of getting the new Rumpshaker printed, so the Mike Judge interview was finally going to see the light of day. Eric ended up sending me a copy of the zine when it was done and Mike and I went back and forth about the interview.

After a handful of months, Mike agreed to do a live interview with the Black N Blue radio guys. Considering it’s a radio show and they’re only allotted so much time, Mike knew that he still had more to say. Mike and I were still in touch and at the end of one of our conversations, he told me that he wishes that he had taken me up on the offer to interview him for Double Cross. I told Mike, it’s never too late and that we’d be down to interview him whenever and wherever he wanted, in which he replied, “let’s do it”.

So it was on, Gordo, Ed and myself got together a load of questions and met Mike in his hometown of Montville, New Jersey. We interviewed him for at least 5 hours and only got about half way through all the questions we wanted to ask. We started from Mike’s childhood and got to the “Bringin’ It Down” era of Judge, but that’s as far as we got during that first sitting. We all agreed that we’d come back for the second half of the interview, which we have yet to do. What’s good though is that since that first interview session, Judge has reunited and gone on to play a lot of shows, so when we finally get around to meeting back up and wrapping up the interview, we’re sure to have a lot more to talk about.

So by all means, if you’ve read the first 10 or so parts of our Mike Judge interview, be sure to tune back in when we get the rest of it done and posted.

DR: As all these reunion shows have been going on, who have you enjoyed seeing again the most?

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Mouthpiece Rev 25 NYC

TM: I’ve seen so many at this point that it’s actually kind of hard to remember. I can at least say that some of my favorites have been specific sets by Youth Of Today, Judge, BOLD, Gorilla Biscuits, Chain Of Strength and DYS. I’ve seen all of these bands play numerous reunion shows over the past couple of years, but there have definitely been specific shows that each band played that were special. All four of the Chain Of Strength reunion sets that I’ve seen have been first-rate, those guys took it all to the next level and played like they never missed a beat. The first DYS show at the Gallery East reunion in 2010 was pretty special, they sounded great that night and the crowd went absolutely insane. There was a particularly fun Youth Of Today set in Washington D.C. at the U Street Music hall in 2011, which Mouthpiece also played, that was great. So yeah, there’s been a lot, but that’s just a few that I can think of off hand.

DR: Do you have any music projects right now?

TM: I had been working on a new project with Mouthpiece guitarist, Chris Schuster and bassist, Ed McKirdy and Gordo did practice with us once on drums, but ultimately decided that he didn’t feel comfortable enough on the drums. Chris has been writing new music for about a year now and we keep talking about doing something with it, but so far we haven’t figured out a drummer. Drummers seems to be rare in this area, especially ones that are Straight Edge and want to play the style of hardcore that we do. We’d probably do more with Mouthpiece if our drummer Jason had the time, but with his work schedule and family, his free time is pretty slim. Hopefully I’ll get this project with Chris and Ed off the ground at some point. The songs Chris has written so far have been great, a nice mix of D.C. Hardcore mixed with bits of early 80’s skate rock type stuff. We’ll see what happens.

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Singing with No For An Answer Rev 25 Cali

I’ve also talked to my friend Andrew who lives in Baltimore and plays guitar, about doing something. Andrew has written a few songs and has been talking to me about singing, but he doesn’t have a complete band together either. There have been plenty of conversations and I’ve heard a couple tapes with riffs, but that’s about it. A drummer seems to be an issue with that project as well. Musically I know Andrew wants to go for something in a late 80’s Southern California hardcore sound. I’d certainly be down to give it a try if all the pieces fell into place. Again, we’ll just have to see what happens.

DR: What bands are you into at this time?

-TM: In terms of current hardcore bands, I really dig Clear, which is Pat from Have Heart’s latest band, they’re probably one of my favorite newer bands. I also like World War 4, Rival Mob, Stick Together and Mindset. Totally different style, but I like Nails as well. I haven’t heard a lot of Title Fight, but I do like what I’ve heard. I like what I’ve heard from Give as well. I’m always keeping an ear out for new bands, but it’s hard for me to keep up on all the new releases.

As much as I try to keep up with the current bands and get into new music, I’m still constantly listening to all the bands I’ve been listening to over the past 28 years. Stuff like Youth Of Today, Chain Of Strength, Judge, BOLD, Uniform Choice, Dag Nasty, Cro-Mags and the Bad Brains are always in rotation. I also listen to The Smiths and Morrissey’s solo material regularly and sometimes that’s all I’ll listen to for weeks at a time.

DR: Your a fellow collector, what are your main collecting focuses?

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Powell Shirts

TM: I go on and off with what I collect. Over the years I’ve collected everything from horror movie toys and memorabilia to Star Wars toys, GI Joes, masks, sneakers, hardcore shirts and records, to name a few. Over the past handful of years though, I’ve mainly just focused on collecting specific Revelation Records releases and variants. When you’re younger and don’t have a lot of responsibilities, bills and a family, you can pretty much collect as much as you can afford. As I’ve gotten older and my family has grown, there’s only so much I can afford to spend my money on. A lot of times, when it comes to collecting the Revelation stuff, I try to trade as much as I can. I’ve ended up with a lot of doubles and triples of some releases, so it’s made for nice trading pieces. I’ve also sold a couple of records that I’ve had doubles of and spent the money I made on specific records that I’ve wanted.

DR: And your also a fellow sneaker head… tell me a bit about your all time favs and also what you like to skate and just wear day to day? Do you collect a certain model?

TM: Like everything I’ve collected over the years, I go through phases on how much I collect sneaker wise. In recent years, I really haven’t collected much, with the exception of the string of Air Jordan 1’s that have been re-released. I ended up finding a hardcore guy that works for Nike and collects records, so I’ve managed to work record trades for Air Jordans from him, which has been great.

As far as my normal day to day wears, I still tend to wear Vans a lot. You really can’t beat a pair of classic black Era Vans. There’s other Nikes that come in and out of the regular rotation as well. Skate wise, I tend to stick with Vans, the Old Skools, the Sk8 Hi’s, the Half Cab’s, I wear any and all of those when skating.

There have been various late 80’s era Nikes that I have bought, but what I’ve collected/bought most regularly have the Jordans. My favorites being the Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 4. I don’t buy every color and I don’t buy them every time they’re re-issued, but those 3 Jordans are the ones that I usually keep an eye out for.

DR: Bit of a pop quiz now lets do a few of your top fives…

Top five Straight Edge Hardcore bands of all time?

TM: Youth Of Today, Chain Of Strength, BOLD, Judge, Uniform Choice

Top five records in your collection?

– Judge – “Chung King Can Suck It” Revelation Records test pressing and Judge – “Chung King Can Suck It” Revelation Records regular pressing, Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” Wishingwell Records test pressing, Chain Of Strength – “True Till Death” Revelation Records 7” test pressing, SSD – “Get It Away” X-Claim Records test pressing.

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Record Collection

Top five shirts in your collection?

– Chain Of Strength – “True Till Death” Navy Blue shirt with grey ink and white puff ink, Judge – “New York Crew” Schism Records long sleeve, Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” 1987 Tour shirt (mint condition), Cro-Mags – “Age Of Quarrel” 1986 shirt and a 4 way split between my two Turning Point – Hi Impact Records shirts and my two Release – Axtion Packed Records shirts.

DR: Top five Punk bands?

TM – Agent Orange

– Descendents

– Misfits

– Sex Pistols

– T.S.O.L.

DR: Top five favorite skaters?

– Mark Gonzales

– Steve Caballero

– Tommy Guerrero

– Natas Kaupas

(also in the running, Mike Vallely and Tom Knox)

DR:Thanks for the interview dude anything else you want to say?

TM:  Thanks to you Ed for giving me the opportunity to talk about all of this, it’s been fun, reflective and even therapeutic at times. I’ve done a lot of interviews, but I think you caught me at the perfect time, because I think this has been a good one.

Also, to anyone reading this, thank you for taking the time to read this interview and having any bit of interest in what I’ve had to say. Thanks also to all those that have consistently and loyally supported my efforts within the hardcore scene, whether it be my fanzines, my bands or Double Cross, it’s all very appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks also to my family (Traci, Trevor, Taryn and Travis) and the rest of my family and friends, if you’re reading this, you know who you are.

Be sure to stay locked in to all that is Double Cross at: www.doublecrossxx.com

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The Last Of A Dying Breed – The Definitive Tim Mcmahon Interview. Part Three: Face The Enemy – Triple Threat.

By: Ed

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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?

 skating_19881988

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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

FaceTheEnemyFace The Enemy

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.

TripleThreat_CBGB_NYCTriple Threat CBGB NYC

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.

TripleThreat_PyramidClub_NYCTriple Threat Pyramid Club NYC

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.

TripleThreat_BrooklynTriple Threat Brooklyn

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.

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The Last Of A Dying Breed – The Definitive Tim McMahon Interview. Part Two: Hands Tied.

By: Ed

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Hands Tied were another one of those bands i clung on to as soon as i heard them towards the end of the 90’s.

So in this Part Tim  focuses on his second band, Hands Tied. 

DR: So when did Hands Tied start up? And who was in HT?

 TM:  So like I said previously, the idea of Hands Tied was originally spawned on the 1995 Mouthpiece summer tour. I remember one specific show on the tour, we were playing out in Pennsylvania somewhere, Me, Matt and our roadie Ed went out and sat on a curb and Matt started playing this total Uniform Choice “Screaming For Change” style riff on his unplugged guitar, coincidently, that riff turned into the Hands Tied song, “What Lies Ahead”. We talked about how when this tour was over, us three should start a new band and we should try to convince Ryan Murphy from Undertow to play drums for us. The idea and conversation seemed to build over the tour, but once the tour was over and Matt ended up moving to Kentucky, the idea of Hands Tied started to fade away. In 1996, Mouthpiece did that one last west coast tour with Matt playing with us, then once Matt moved, Mouthpiece continued playing into the summer and eventually called it quits by August.

first_HT_show_1996_princeton_NJFirst HT Show 1996 Princeton NJ

I remember Ed and I continuously talking about trying to make Hands Tied a reality, but with Matt out of the picture, we desperately needed a guitarist. We had talked to Ryan Murphy a couple times about him playing drums with us, but nothing ever materialized with that. It was all starting to look pretty bleak, then out of no where I get this call from Mouthpiece bass player, Sean McGrath. Sean told me that he had been jamming with this local skater, Patrick Guidotti, who played drums. Sean was playing guitar and he and Pat were writing some heavily Dag Nasty inspired songs. Sean wanted to play me a practice tape and see if I was interested in singing for the project, so we met up and listened to the tape in my car, sitting in a Princeton mall parking lot. Quite honestly, I didn’t really have high expectations because Sean’s involvement in Mouthpiece was fairly minimal when it came to writing music. Sean basically came into Mouthpiece practices, worked out the bass lines to whatever new songs we were writing, but didn’t really contribute much more than that. That wasn’t a knock on Sean, that was just the roll he sort of played in Mouthpiece. I don’t think I ever even heard him play a guitar while in Mouthpiece, it was always the bass. So when I heard this practice of him and Pat playing these songs together, I was blown away. The songs were really well written and well played, Pat was one hell of a drummer and Sean turned out to be an impressive guitarist and song writer. Like I said, the music was heavily Dag Nasty inspired and very melodic, which I liked, but it wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned playing at the time. That said, I was still super impressed with what Sean and Pat were able to put together and I definitely saw a lot of potential. I told Sean that I really liked the tape and told him about how Ed and I had been trying to put this new band together. Sean and Pat needed a singer and a bass player and that’s exactly what Ed and I were. I asked Sean if he was interested in doing something with more of a New York Hardcore type sound, a heavy Youth Of Today sound and feel to be more specific. Sean was into it and told me that he thought Pat would be into it as well. The plans started flowing, we both kept getting each other more and more psyched about the idea of this new band. I told Sean about the name Hands Tied, we talked about recording a demo, playing shows, all the possibilities. Once I left the meeting with Sean, I got home and called Ed and filled him in on what had just gone down, Ed was psyched. Finally after months and months of talk and planning, this band idea was about to become a reality.

Ed_record_release_show_NJ_1997ED record Release show NJ 1997

Now, there were a couple technicalities we needed to figure out. Ed and I of course wanted to do a full on Straight Edge band, Sean was Straight Edge and Pat didn’t drink, smoke or do drugs, but didn’t really call himself Straight Edge. You’d regularly see Pat skating in YOT – Youth Crew 88 shirts, Smorgasbord shirts and various other hardcore shirts and he was into hardcore, but he was first and foremost, a skateboarder. Pat went to the occasional show, actually saw Youth Of Today in 1988, as well as plenty of other great bands, but he wasn’t really into the scene like the rest of us were. His focus was always on skateboarding and I guess because he wasn’t apart of the hardcore scene, he didn’t feel natural calling himself Straight Edge. I think we all respected how Pat felt, but ultimately felt like if we were going to do this band together, we had to be unified and all in agreement on the Straight Edge issue. We basically told Pat, “Look, if you don’t want to X up because you don’t feel comfortable with it, that’s fine, but the bottom line is, you don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, you like Youth Of Today and you’re now playing drums in a Straight Edge band… you’re essentially Straight Edge”. Next thing I know, I’m at work designing a Hands Tied logo and sticker that said HANDS TIED with NEW JERSEY STRAIGHT EDGE underneath it and we never looked back.

HT_Philly2_1997HT Philly 1997

We practiced a lot with Hands Tied, pretty much every weekend, sometimes during the week as well and the practices seemed to go on for hours. It was much more practicing than I was use to with Mouthpiece. Like I mentioned earlier, Sean and Patrick had written a few Dag Nasty style songs, but when Ed and I got involved, we started sculpting the sound into something more in tune with Youth Of Today. We ended up taking that “What Lies Ahead” riff that Matt had written while jamming on the Mouthpiece 95 summer tour and turning it into a complete song. We also wrote the song, “Signed Off”. After those two songs were complete with lyrics, we decided to go to a local studio and record a demo. We had about 3 of those Dag Nasty type melodic songs that Sean and Pat had originally written, then the 2 new songs that we all wrote together. I never wrote lyrics to the melodic songs, even though I thought they were good songs, I knew they weren’t the direction we were ultimately going to take this band in, so I didn’t want to waste time writing lyrics for them and putting a whole lot of effort into them. Sean, Pat and Ed thought it would still be a good idea to to record those songs, so we hit the studio and recorded all 5 songs. I put vocals to “Signed Off” and “What Lies Ahead”, but the engineer at the studio was pretty clueless on how to record someone singing/yelling for a hardcore song and never really adjusted the mic properly, which in turn resulted in a blasted out mic sound with my vocals. I remember going for take after take on the same two songs and the guy just had problem after problem on how he should set the mic up. After so many takes, my voice was starting the get blown out and what I recall us ending up with was blown out vocals on a improperly set up microphone.

HT_tim_sean_1997Tim and Sean HT 1997

Although we called the recording a demo, it was never meant to be an official demo that we were going to sell or go public with. We took “Signed Off” and “What Lies Ahead”, made a demo cover and dubbed a handful of cassettes to send out to labels. I typed up letters and sent demos to Equal Vision Records, Ambassador Records, Revelation Records, New Age Records and Victory Records. Within days I heard back from Ryan Hoffman and Steve Hertz at Ambassador. They were way into Hands Tied and very interested in doing something with us. We all loved Chain Of Strength, so the idea of doing something with Ambassador seemed like a good fit. I also heard back from Steve Reddy at Equal Vision pretty quickly as well. Both labels were still fairly young, Ambassador being younger than Equal Vision, but neither were all that big of labels at the time. I think initially because Ambassador had hit us up first, we were thinking of going with them. They had Ryan with the Chain Of Strength connection, plus they had exclusive distribution with Revelation, both of which seemed ideal. The only problem I recall with Ambassador is that they didn’t have much money at all to work with. We weren’t looking for a big budget recording or anything like that, but Ambassador’s budget felt like it might be hard to make work. We went back and forth with both labels, even talking about the possibilities of releasing a different 7” for each label, but in the end, working with Steve and Equal Vision just made the most sense. I had known Steve for awhile and I knew he was a great guy, I also knew that he put a lot into the bands on his label, he was very dedicated. It’s not like the Ambassador guys weren’t good guys and weren’t as dedicated, but their label just wasn’t around long enough to give us an accurate feel. I also loved the idea that Equal Vision was based on the east coast. With Ambassador based in California, I knew how it complicated things because of the experiences I had dealt with New Age when I was doing Mouthpiece. So we went with Equal Vision and ultimately I think it was the best decision. Steve and Equal Vision treated us great, we recorded where we wanted to record and didn’t have to worry about the budget, we were able to jump in a car and drive to New York and meet with Steve, layout our record, etc.

HT_cbgb_NYC_1997HT CBGB NYC 1997

As for the line ups of Hands Tied, we ended up going through a couple of them. Originally it was me (Tim McMahon) – vocals, Ed McKirdy – Bass, Sean McGrath – Guitar and Patrick Guidotti – Drums. We recorded the Equal Vision 7” with that line up and probably played a year’s worth of shows with that line up. Ideally it would have been great if we could have kept this original line up together, but Sean and I started getting into petty arguments and butting heads over things that I look back on now, as being pretty silly. I think we both had a couple of minimal difference in regards to how we wanted to do things with the band and at the time, neither of us were willing to budge and everything seemed magnified. I remember one specific incident where a guy had called me to book us on a show in NYC. Every date the guy had given me conflicted with my work schedule, so I turned him down. A few weeks later, the same guy ended up contacting Sean and asking him if we could play one of the dates that I had already said no to, but this time around, Sean said yes. When Sean called me to tell me that he confirmed us on the bill, I told him that I had already shot that offer down due to my work schedule. Sean told me that we could not turn down shows and told me that if I couldn’t play, maybe they’d think about asking our friend Steve Lucuski to sing for that show. This proposed idea, whether it was serious or not, infuriated and insulted me and our conversation ended abruptly. Again, in retrospect, we both let the incident get out of hand and take on a life of it’s own, we probably should have crushed it within a couple of days, but we didn’t and both of our egos got the best of us. I ended up telling Sean that he had to leave the band, he played two more shows with us and that was it. I didn’t intend on having Patrick leave, but Sean was really Pat’s main connection, so when Sean was out, Pat decided he was out as well. Looking back, it was all handled so poorly on both sides, but it was what it was and that’s the way the original line up came to an end. Unfortunately, Sean and I didn’t talk for a few years after everything that went down. It wasn’t until about 2003, when Sean was diagnosed with cancer that we both pushed our differences aside and left the past in the past. I realized that life was way too short to hold a grudge and Sean needed friends and I wanted to be there for him. Sean and I got to hang out a handful of times over the year and it wasn’t like we even needed to iron out our differences, because there really weren’t any. We picked up right where we left off before all of the band drama from years prior. Sean passed away during the summer of 2004.

HT_wetlands_NYC_1996 HT Wetlands NYC 1996

After the split up of the original line up of Hands Tied, Ed and I recruited three new members. First we got our friend Espen Follestad from Norway to play guitar, then our long time friend Geoff D’Agostino to play drums and then we added Matt Smith from Rain On The Parade on second guitar. We strategically put this specific second line up together because we felt like these other three guys were just as fired up about hardcore as we were. We felt like we were assembling  an army of die hards and that this band would now be unbreakable and a force to reckon with. We were all Straight Edge, we all loved hardcore and I think we thought that was all we needed… but it wasn’t. We practiced a lot with this new line up, but apparently not enough, because when it came to playing live, the sound was lacking a bit. We kept pushing forward, kept practicing, but were dealt a major blow when Espen’s visa ran out and he had to move back to Norway to try and sort things out. When Espen left, Geoff brought in another long time friend, ex-Ressurection / Mouthpiece guitarist, Dan Hornecker. Dan was a great addition to Hands Tied and things seemed to be looking up, but there was a noticeable issue between Dan and Matt. We were also in the process of putting together a full European tour, where Espen would again join us, but with Dan, Espen and Matt all playing guitar, someone had to go and Matt was the one that took the hit.

HT_philly_1997HT Philly 1997

Hands Tied went on to do that European tour with Ten Yard Fight and One King Down, over the winter of 1997 into 1998. We played with the line up of Me (Tim McMahon) – Vocals, Ed McKirdy – Bass, Geoff D’Agostino – Drums, Dan Hornecker – Guitar and Espen Follestad – Guitar. The tour went just about as good as it could, we played a ton of shows over a three week span. Some of the greatest shows I ever played, were played on that tour and it seemed like we had finally fully recovered from the split up of the original line and we had now caught our stride. Unfortunately, the feeling of content was short lived. Once we came back from that European tour, we played a show in Philadelphia, that didn’t go to well and then the band started falling apart. Dan Hornecker quit the band and Espen was still stuck in Norway, unable to come back to America for an extended amount of time. We spent a handful of months trying to find a replacement guitarist, but nothing seemed to pan out, so Hands Tied fizzled to an end in 1998.

HT_This_Is_HC_Fest_2010HT This Is Hardcore Fest 2010

Ed and I did resurrect Hands Tied in 2010 with our friend Brian “Gordo” Jordan on drums and Mike Clarke from Mindset on guitar. We played a bunch of shows, recorded and released a 7” with two new songs on Livewire Records, but even that line up couldn’t stay together for much more than a year. It’s still a possibility that we bring Hands Tied back again, but there’s no plans right now. With all the Mouthpiece activity that came about in 2011, Hands Tied activity seemed to take the back seat.

  DR: How long were HT around for?

 TM: Our first go around was from 1996 to 1998. We did play a few random shows post 1998 with varying line ups and then there was the 2010 to 2011 line up.

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The Last Of A Dying Breed- The Definitive Tim McMahon Interview. Part One: Mouthpiece.

By: Ed

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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?

mouthpiece_chatham_nj_1995

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

 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.

mouthpiece_95_summer_tour

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.

mouthpiece_city_gardens

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.

mouthpiece_roxy_hollywood_1991

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.

mouthpiece_brooklyn_2011

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.

HardLine_PracticeHardline’s one and only Practice 

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.

mouthpiece_seattleMP Seattle

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.

mouthpiece_josh_grabells_basement_1994MP Josh Grabells Basement 1994

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.

mouthpiece_rev25MP Rev 25

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.

mouthpiece_pomona_2011

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).

mouthpiece_seattle_1994 MP Seattle 1994

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.

 mouthpiece_1990

MP 1990

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.

mouthpiece_nj_1995MP NJ 1995 

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

mouthpiece_brooklyn_2_2011MP Brooklyn 2011 

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.

mouthpiece_Rev25NYCMP Rev 25 NYC

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.

mouthpiece_this_is_hardcoreMP This Is Hardcore Fest 

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?

mouthpiece_2012MP 2012 

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.

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