I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, I’m really in to Give.
They have a new record coming out soon on Rev, so the timing is pretty good for this interview I guess.
I sent a few words over to Crucial John about this and that.
Photography by Angela Owens.Josh Sisk And James Willett.
DR: Hey John, hows things? Do you want to give us a little history on Give? When and why you started, where and who’s in the band.
CJ:Hey man, doing great. Give started in loose form in 2005 I think, I can’t remember exactly. But it went through a lot of different line ups until we finally settled in and began playing out and recording in Nov of 2008. Right now the line-up is: Myself – Vocals, Doug – Bass, Gene – Drums, Ben – Guitar, Ian – Guitar and we have a lot of friends that help us out. Our friend Austin Stemper plays bass and Guitar for us when needed, and Dan Horres and Ashley Sykes lend Bass duties when they can.
DR: What was the main motivation with starting Give?
CJ: For me, I had just always wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be in a full time band where everyone was excited and motivated to write songs, play shows, release records, all that typical shit. At the time that everything connected for me, Give was the type of band I wanted to start and it came together slowly over the course of about 4 years. The line up changed a lot and we officially started at the very end of 2008.
DR: Who came up with the name Give? Is it taken from anything in particular? Its really crucial sounding i think.
CJ: I came up with it while I was in Iraq actually. I was listening to that band GONE a lot while I was over there and I really liked how their name looked on their record covers. Especially the first album “Let’s get real real gone for a change”, I just thought the name looked cool as shit, and I loved the “G” in particular. I wanted something similar so I started thinking about short words that started with the letter G that I could use for a band name. GIVE seemed to be the best choice.
DR: You are releasing a new record on Rev right? How did that come about? I guess it must be awesome to do stuff with Rev?
CJ: I don’t think there is any story there really, and if there is, I can’t remember it, but they just asked us if we would be interested. After we released the first 12″ EP on our own label and then started doing the 7″ singles with all our friends labels, the next thing I wanted to do were 12″ singles after our first LP. I asked Rev if they were down for that and we came to agree on a 5 song 12″ EP that will include a track from the LP. So far everything has been great with them and I’m really excited to release this record. I can’t wait for the world to see the artwork for this thing. My friend from Japan, Kinya Masuo, did this crazy amazing clay collage piece. We are going to drop a song and a peek at that art real soon. And for me, obviously being associated in any way with Revelation is cool since their early catalog changed the way I thought about music.
DR: How did you guys approach the writing for this record? Anything you knew you wanted to do from the start?
CJ: I didn’t write any of the music but I don’t think there was any real direction we were trying to take things in. That isn’t something we talk about much, we just show up with riffs or songs and keep what everyone likes and trash what sucks. This LP has some brand new stuff and some songs we had for awhile. The song “Sonic Bloom” has been around for a few years and if you have seen us live, you have heard it. We are finally giving it a home on this LP. I had a few lyrical ideas I knew I knew I wanted on this LP, mainly the songs “Heart first opened”, “Fuck me Blind”, and “Paint my Life”.
DR: Who would you say are the 4 main influences of Give?
CJ: Well everyone in the band would have completely different answers but for me its probably something like Youth of Today, Nirvana, Ignition, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I also asked Ian and he said “Dennis Rodman, Vic Dicara, Groucho Marx, and Guy Piccotto”
DR: Do you remember your first show and who you played with? Any good memories from early shows?
CJ: The first show was in November of 2008 opening for Rival Schools at the Ottobar in Baltimore. We were able to get on the show and I remember it really got us motivated to practice almost everyday for a month and write songs in preparation. That was cool. Our second show was in Pennsylvania with Mindset at their “Realpower” record release. The next 4 or 5 shows were all played in Central America. Lion of Judah had a tour booked there so we tagged along and that was an interesting way to kind of break the band in. We met a lot of good people there and our friend Luiso from Guatemala drew our flower logo and has done numerous artwork and design for bands in DC.
DR: What has been a fun tour or individual show for you guys recently?
CJ: We played a show in Brooklyn recently with BOLD, Intent, and Clear that was super fun. It was the last date of a short tour we did with Fell to Low and I wasn’t sure how well the show would do, but it turned into a great time. The only thing I want in life is to see BOLD play to a packed house of people acting like maniacs and their set here was probably the closest I will get to that. Most all of my closest friends were here and people were fucking siked to see BOLD. They played every song from the Looking Back 12″, every song from Speak Out except “Now or Never”, “Accept the Blame”, and “Still Strong” and did “Can’t you see”. Close to perfect set. But yeah, every tour we have done has been great really and we have been fortunate to have bands take good care of us. We did a tour recently with Bane and Code Orange Kids that was fun, touring with No Tolerance in Europe was the fucking best, and the midwest tour with Night Birds and Tenement was awesome.
DR : You Have Records out on Painkiller and Triple B, who else have you worked with?
CJ:S/T 12″ EP – MOONFLOWER RECORDS
HEAVEN IS WAITING 7″ – REACT RECORDS
BOOTS OF FAITH 7″ – DERANGED RECORDS
FLOWERHEAD 7″ – YOUNGBLOOD RECORDS
PETAL PUSHING 7″ – PAINKILLER RECORDS
I AM LOVE 7″ – TRIPLE B RECORDS
A-SIDES CASSETTE – WILLOW TREE RECORDS
SINGLES GOING CONFETTI 12″ – DERANGED RECORDS/ASSAULT RECORDS
GIVE/FREE SPIRIT/CLEAR/DISENGAGE Live at Asefus CASSETTE – CRUSH RECORDS
VOODOO LEATHER CASSETTE/ZINE – HEARTWORM PRESS
I AM LIVE 7″ – PHOTOBOOTH RECORDS
DR: What style of Hardcore do you really like personally?
CJ:Straight Edge Hardcore for sure and especially obscure 3rd and 4th tier stuff from the late 80’s in particular. Youth of Today and Bold are top dogs obviously but bands like Unit Pride, Insight, Powerhouse, Breakaway, etc are my shit. And you keep going into the Walk Proud and Positive Approach region, I can’t get enough. It’s fun to find demo only bands and overlooked local 7″s from that era. I just like the style and look that genre of hardcore was giving at that time. Looking at the insert to the True till Death changed everything for me for example, the way I thought, dressed, acted, etc. I’ve been listening to a shitload of Sportswear recently, fucking love that LP. The Follow Through 12″ means a lot to me. Other than that, harDCore is another style of hardcore that just absoluelty has my heart. Pretty much every band from DC from between 1980 – 1990 means a lot to me.
12: Give has members from a few other bands, am i right? Who are those bands?
CJ: At the moment I think it’s something like this…
Gene – Zoom
Doug – Rival Mob, No Tolerance, World War 4, Innumerable Forms
Ian – No Tolerance, Big Mouth
Myself – Mob Mentality
I’m probably forgetting some.
DR: Who is great in Hardcore at the moment?
CJ:Three bands that excite me are Omegas, No Tolerance, and Turnstile. Tons of great shit happening right now, earth is fucking sick.
DR:Thanks for your time- any last words?
CJ: We have the ELECTRIC FLOWER CIRCUS LP coming out soon and not far behind that are the 12″ EPs on Lockin Out and Revelation. We are hitting Europe again in November and have plans to do the midwest and Cali very soon. I also do a Fanzine/Label with my friend Zack from Intent called Moshers Delight and we have a new issue coming soon with content from all of your favorite bands and are constantly releasing tapes and shit. Keep updated at www.moshersdelight.bigcartel.com.