Yes! Finally, after what turned out to be a gigantic task of moving the PROFANE EXISTENCE distro from Minneapolis to Denver, transferring tons of data, and rebuilding the web store, we are finally set to open back up. To access the new store follow one of the many links from profaneexistence.com or access it directly at http://profaneexistence.storenvy.com
The first official PROFANE EXISTENCE title of 2015 is out and ready for order! We are proud to bring you the RIFLE DIET – “NO SOLACE”LP
Rifle Diet’s No Solace is a 12in 45 that combines the Classic Minneapolis crust sound with Swedish hardcore, D-beat and Epic crust (think somewhere between Servitude and Wolfbirgade, with hints of Tragedy and Fall of Efrafa). The beautiful cover art by Hannah Benoche sets a bleak mood for the dark music within, plus a cover of His Hero is a Gone – Chain of Command (ex-members of InDefence and Garmonbozia) This LP is a joint release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and BLOOD OF THE YOUNG RECORDS
To honor both the opening of the new store and our first release of 2015, we are giving a free copy of the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp to everyone that spends more then $50 from Monday January 12th to Monday January 19th!!! This deal is for one week only. DO NOT MISS OUT!
*Note*Rifle Diet are playing a record release show 1/17/15 at the Dogplex in Minneapolis with Kontrasekt, Aziza, and Fucking. To coincide with that show all orders that contain the RIFLE DIET – No Solace lp will be shipped out on Monday January 12th.
The next release in the works is the new full length lp from APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – “We Don’t Need Them”.
We Don’t Need Them is the second full-length record from West Virginia punx Appalachian Terror Unit. ATU have become known throughout the years as being one of the most politically charged bands in the current punk scene. This new record is an all out attack on today’s society that takes ATU to a new level of intensity both lyrically and musically. The combination of the beautiful and thought provoking gatefold cover art designed by Stivart along with the brilliant recording and mastering job by Jay Matheson at the Jam Room take this record even further. Song subjects include the horrors of war, police brutality, destruction of the environment, rape culture, consumerism and much more. Expect a very heavy and much angrier approach from a band that has been around the block and matured their sound. Seven raging new tunes including the epic fourteen and a half minute track “We Don’t Need Them”, a song that will one day be ranked among similar greats as the SUBHUMANS “From the Cradle to the Grave” and AUS ROTTEN “And Now Back to Our Programming”.
APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT – We Don’t Need Them will be pressed in the United States on PROFANE EXISTENCE & in Europe on SKULD /RUIN NATION
WARWOUND – “A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983“
Another record we are very excited about is the upcoming WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983. Recorded in 1983, this record contains 15 songs from three sessions. With a few different takes you get a total of 25 blistering tracks. For those unfamiliar with WARWOUND they are a UK band formed in 82, and released 2 demos in 83. Members went on to join THE VARUKERS and form the almighty SACRILEGE. Warwound are one of the first bands to take the politics and d-beat influence from DISCHARGE and combine it with the blown out sound of CHAOS UK to achieve total destructive raw d-beat ear bleeding chaos!
WARWOUND – A Huge Black Cloud-The Demos 1983 will be a split release between PROFANE EXISTENCE and ORGANIZE AND ARISE.
It will be available in the spring of 2015.
Other records and projects we have in the works for 2015 …
VASTATION (pdx formally night nurse) vs WAR//PLAGUE Split EP
KRANG are a new band birthed from Chicago’s DIY punk underbelly. They play a brutally powerful brand of thrashy riff-laden crustcore and have an intense live presence. They have recently recorded for a few vinyl projects, including PE’s own 7″ singles series. Check ’em out!
Interviewed by Brian Poulin (NEGLIGENCE). All photos by Adam DeGross.
PE Who’s in the band and what does each of you do?
AUSTIN: guitars / backing vocals / song writing (synth & keyboard on 12″)
ADAM: bass / backing vocals / song writing
BRENDAN: lead vocals / lyrical content
DEVAN: drums & percussion / backing vocals
PE: What’s a brief history of the band and how did you guys form?
Austin: We started circa 2009. We had an additional guitarist: Louis C. He went on to start a blackened crust band called Welkin Dusk, based in Chicago that he plays drums & lead vocals for. We used to have an additional lead singer as well: Hannah B. Hannah was a part of our first two releases: the out of print “Onward Desolation” demo tape, and also the out of print “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″. Hannah is now the front-woman in a band called Despise, based out of Minneapolis. Our original drummer, Brett, is on the two recordings I mentioned before, as well as our “Sounds of Death” 12″. Brett now drums for a Chicago / northwest Indiana band called Asphixiate. Devan is now our permanent drummer and he will have his first appearance on the “Broken Waves” 7″, released by Profane Existence, which is coming out in June. Devan will also be on our next 12″: “Bad Moon”, which we are writing right now. I, as well as Krang, are totally stoked on Devan and really happy to have them. Devan is active outside of percussion as well with assisting in writing, assistance in lyrical content & structure, and the internet stuff. This line up has been solidified for over a year and is totally fucking Krang! It just works perfectly.
PE: You guys are based out of Chicago. What are your favorite parts of the scene there? What are your least favorite things about Chicago’s scene?
Devan: Chicago’s an interesting place. I feel like the pros and cons are often directly related to one-another. For example, the mere size of the city. There are so many people – new to here, young, old, whatever – that there is basically always something going on and a handful of solid DIY spaces at all times, regardless of whether people leave or places get busted or whatever. The downside is that the physical structure of the city makes it difficult and/or terribly time-consuming to navigate. Especially if you don’t have a car. And even if you do, parking sucks. Anyway, as a result of the city being as segregated as it is, people are often inclined to just stick to what’s going on in their neighborhood and it results in a lack of exposure or attention paid to some really cool things. It’s unfortunate. But then there are some events like the annual Black and Brown Punk Show (shout-out to Monika!) or other fest-type shows where the attendance is crazy and bullshit is minimal. It’s rad.
Austin: I used to live in CHI. I reside in northwest Indiana (NWI). It’s really close. You can compare it to how close Jersey is to NYC. The rest of the band does live in CHI. My favorite things about Chicago is the “don’t take shit” attitude that at least me and the scene we’re involved with has. We’ll kick you out if your a piece of shit human or kick your ass if we have to. I also like The Void Haus in NWI for gigs. My personal least favorite things are cliques, hype, division, etc… the things that you see in every rather large city, I suppose.
Adam: I love Chicago’s unspoken rule of everyone being down to get down when shit hits the fan and nobody lets bogus comments or derogatory gestures fly. My complaint for the longest time was how there is the same hierarchy that we all hate in daily life at a lot of the gigs. It seems like those “in crowd” wanks have come and gone though, or maybe I just don’t surround myself with such fools anymore. My main complaint, and I know I am sounding super negative, but for such a large city there is a lack of bands playing what I am into personally. There are a lot of great bands doing great things…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am into them musically. Haha! I have a particular taste and its not being fulfilled. I usually go to shows to hang out and have a good time and just show support but its rare that I actually shit over a band that I see locally. I do really, really get down to Population though. White boy can’t dance but when I see this band I start doing shit I didn’t know I was capable of.
Brendan: Chicago is simultaneously the best & worst place to live; which I’d imagine is a critique most other big-city dwellers share. There is no shortage of great folks, bands, eats, cool nerd-haunts (comic & record collectors rejoice!), and beautiful neighborhoods/communities in which to live. The same is true for all of the awful yuppies, gold cost bourgeois, & assholes who get your friends hooked on hard drugs. A lot of the time I wish that I lived in a vast expanse of lush nature with no human presence save myself. When I’m not wishing for seclusion, I’m loving how hard of a time I have sorting out which of the 5 awesome punk shows I get to go see any given night. Chicago has everything I love & hate at once; most of the time its worth it.
PE: Musically what are you guys going for?
Devan: I’d say sincerity, first and foremost. In sound, words, and delivery. And the connections we can and have made with people based on that. My musician’s answer would be just to write the best songs we can and perform them at the highest level at all times.
Austin: I just want to stick out and be a little different sounding. I still want to have that essential formula for great punk. I personally believe we found the introduction to our sound with the “Sounds of Death” 12″. We have two formulas: triumphant, galloping crust metal and simplified, pissed off, to-the-point stuff.
Brendan: Initially we formed with the idea of writing over the top odes to crust circa late 80’s/early 90’s; stuff you could flail your overgrown dreadlocks around to. We all fell into a groove with each other over time, where we don’t really need to define what we’re gonna write before we do. We approach releases with general outlines (theme,length, format etc.), but when writing songs I’d say we aim for mean, earnest & impactful.
Adam: I think naturally all being into different types of musical backgrounds, our finished product ends up being a thing of its own, but we all have similar enough interests to where we end up with the result that we initially were trying to go for. I personally am really into trying to sound like the bands I am into. It doesn’t end up exactly that way which is good but I love when bands obsess over old school sounds/bands/records and try to make their contemporary music sound as authentic as possible whether it be tone or style or whatever. At the end of the day we are trying to sound pissed, like we worship the 80s and have our music sound anarchy as fuck!
PE: What bands inspire you the most?
Austin: I listen to EVERYTHING. I don’t know where to begin but musically, keeping personal interest aside, I think we’re inspired by 80’s UK crust and a lot of Japanese stuff as far as writing collectively. This is something me and you will have to nerd out on when we’re in Boston next. Haha!
Adam: For Krang, bands that influence the writing process for me are Masskontroll, Deathraid, Sacrilege, Hellshock, Deviated Instinct, Sodom, Axegrinder and Amebix as well as Instinct of Survival. Personally I am all over the water but my all time 2 favorite punk bands have always and will always be Discharge and the Dead Boys.
Devan: I could go on a long rant about every band I’ve ever loved and how they’ve all stuck with and influence me to this day and blah blah blah, but I’ll spare you the cost of ink and just say Sacrilege, Crude, Amebix and Discharge. That said, we are quite the eclectic bunch.
Brendan: Musically, anything running the gamut from Paintbox to Elliot Smith. I enjoy a lot of soaring Japanese hardcore with that Burning Spirits feel, 90’s screamo, early black metal & hip hop. Any band that has a way with words gets me going, but mostly I enjoy music that you can’t help but feel.
PE: What are most of your songs about? What inspires the lyrics?
Brendan: Lemme preface by saying that Discharge is rad & “The More I See…” could be the soundtrack to my daily tedium… but i think punk rock has much more potential than to rehash our dogmatic & oftentimes simplistic politics. Having been a few places where the punk scene eats itself inside out with depression, addiction, & apathy towards the struggles of those around us, I think its real important to allow ourselves to be more open in the way we express all of the things exploding in our minds. I am not blowing my own horn, or any horn for that matter, but I really enjoy taking the personal route when it comes to writing & am constantly attempting to better address the common threads that run through all of our lives. Our first wave of songs covered some of our political leanings in regards to vivisection, arms manufacturing, rape culture & the willful destruction of our Earth. The “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″ reflects on the weight of stagnation on the “politically motivated”. “Sounds of Death” is the result of an obsession with death and a years worth of hurt; friends making irreversible decisions in regards to their lives & some of us falling into those spirals ourselves. There is absolution in acceptance though & I think a glint of hope in such dark subject matter. Our upcoming 7″ deals with cycles of change in our lives, moments of mania & madness; a counterpoint to our last 7″. The songs we are writing & playing now are an extension of that, focusing on moments of change in our lives, wanderlust & really just form one big, loud, pissed love letter to the DIY community, punk rock & time spent on the road. Inspiration comes from any human I’ve met that has dared to be open, honest & shameless about it.
Devan: Passion in all its forms and extremities is what inspires us. Totally.
PE: You guys have done a few extensive tours. What’s your favorite city you guys haveplayed in? What’s your least favorite?
Austin: I love Boston. Detroit, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) are up there too. I don’t really have a least favorite. We have had some bad experiences, though. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not mention them. Hopefully things will be better when we return.
Devan: New Orleans is my favorite city ever, and our most recent gig in Boston totally ruled. I’d have to say, though, that many of my favorite shows have been in non-major cities. Birmingham AL was awesome, Asheville NC, Cincinatti OH, Grand Rapids MI…basically anywhere with a really tight-knit but wide-ranging DIY scene in terms of age, music, spaces, projects, etc. It’s always super encouraging to see.
Brendan: I’ll echo the others in saying that NOLA, Asheville, Cincy, Birmingham, Boston & Baltimore all kick ass. I’m usually super appreciative of all the towns we’ve been lucky enough to play in, though of course we’ve played in towns that seemed to embrace the anti-PC attitude/sense of humor that I am so fucking sick of. Some cities are really 50/50 because you’ll either play an amazing show with bad-ass folks & have the time of your life, or you might end up wanting to eviscerate some fuckhead who only listens to GG Allin & doesn’t get why a confederate flag hanging at a show space might ruffle some feathers.
Austin: We as a band aren’t about making sure we are politically correct all the time, but we definitely are hellbent on showing one another respect and are willing to give respect back to those who are legit. No single city is bad. Like I said before, sometimes there are some bad experiences. Fuckheads are everywhere.
Adam: Yes, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Boston, but most of all NOLA and Minneapolis. New Orleans and Minneapolis…no other city can live up to the debauchery that is expected to happen when we arrive in these two places. We need a week of recovery after being in either place for just a day. Also I love playing Madison a lot. Fuck, I love touring. So many amazing friends are being missed right now as we speak.
PE: What are some of your favorite bands you guys have played with?
Lord Krang: Scum from Detroit, Appalachian Terror Unit, Antisect, In Defense, Nu-kle-ar Blast Suntan, Kontrasekt, Cognitive Dissonance, The Skuds, Coelacanth, WrathCobra, Wartorn, Negligence, In Ruins, and definitely D-Clone; but honestly, it’s great to play with anyone and everyone who aren’t assholes and give a shit about “punk rock”.
PE: What are some of your favorite local bands from Chicago?
Lord Krang: Asphyxiate, Decay After Death (Decay A.D.), Cemetery (RIP), Culo, Die Time, Slag, Escalofrio, Sex Bunker (RIP), Birth Deformities, Gas Rag, Welkin Dusk, Daylight Robbery, Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, The Breathing Light, La Armada, Black September, Kontaminat, Ooze, Tensions, The Busy Sugnals, Population, More that we’re forgetting to mention….
PE: What does the future hold for Krang?
Devan: As Austin mentioned earlier, we have our “Broken Waves” 7″ being released in June, at which point we’ll be doing a small tour with Coelacanth. Also, as previously stated, we are well along in the writing process for our next full-length LP. Look for us around the Mid-west this summer and keep up-to-date and get in touch via the following:
crustardpunx[AT]gmail.com – krangcrustards.bandcamp.com – krangcrustards.blogspot.com
Austin: More touring, more albums, more blood spit nights, more everything! We’ll do a more extensive tour when the new LP comes out.
Brendan: “Bad Moon” 12″ – Skull Fest – Split(s?) – Self-Destruction With A Gusto
Lord Krang: Record labels that are interested in helping us with our next 12″ (which is more than half way written) get in touch with us!!! It will be even more galloping, pist, and triumphant than our still available “Sounds of Death” 12″!
For those of you who don’t know DEADLY REIGN, Its time to get with the program! DEADLY REIGN is a 3 piece D-BEAT killing machine with a legendary line up comprised of members from GLYICNE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, SCARRED FOR LIFE, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, KEGCHARGE, CENTURY OF WAR AND TILL DEATH. These guys have been at it for a long time and don’t fuck around when it comes to bringing you punk rock authentic and true to its sound and with their new single released on PE entitled SLAVE! These guys don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So let’s get to the brass tacks and see what these guys have been up to. (INTERVIEW BY DUTCH WELCH FROM KRIGBLAST)
PE: So what are your names, what do you play, and how did you guys come together?
(RAYGUNN) I MOVED TO AUSTIN AND RAN INTO GUERINOT AT HIS DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY PARTY. UNKNOWN TO ME, MY WIFE WAS AND STILL IS GOOD FRIENDS WITH HIS WIFE AT THE TIME AND HE AND I KNEW EACH OTHER FROM THE PAST WHEN OUR PREVIOUS BANDS HAD PLAYED TOGETHER. WE GOT TO TALKING AND DECIDED THAT WE SHOULD START A BAND. I SAID, WE JUST NEED A BASS PLAYER/SINGER, AND HE SAID HE HAD ONE. HE CALLED HIS FRIEND GUSHAMMER AND HE WAS INTO IT. THEY HAD BEEN WANTING TO START SOMETHING TOGETHER FOR A WHILE. AND EVENTUALLY WE GOT THE BALL ROLLING (OR SHOULD I SAY, THE BEERS FLOWING?).
PE: You guys have all been in some pretty kick ass bands in the past. who played in what?
RAYGUNN – GLYCINE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, KONTRAKLASE, AND SCARRED FOR LIFE.
GUERINOT – WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, AND KEGCHARGE.
GUSHAMMER – CENTURY OF WAR, AND TILL DEATH.
PE: Who came up with the name Deadly Reign?
(RAYGUNN) I USED TO HANG OUT WITH A KICK ASS BAND IN THE EARLY 80’s CALLED BODY COUNT. THEY WERE AN EARLY D-BEAT STYLE OF BAND (BEFORE THE TERM D-BEAT WAS AROUND) AND THEY HAD A SONG CALLED DEADLY REIGN. SO I TOOK IT FROM THAT. (AND YES, I AM AWARE THAT THERE WAS A BAND CALLED DEADLY REIGN FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BACK IN THE EARLY 80’s, BUT THAT IS NOT WHERE I GOT THE NAME FROM).
PE: The music of DR is furious, in your face politically and socially. Whats the motivation behind your song writing?
(RAYGUNN) MUSICALLY, WE JUST TRY TO WRITE MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. THE KIND OF STUFF WE WOULD LISTEN TO AT HOME. NOT SO MUCH TRYING TO BE ORIGINAL OR GROUND BREAKING. MORE OF JUST PLAYING THE HARD AGGRESIVE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. WE GET IT ALL TOGETHER AND THEN GUSHAMMER WRITES SOME LYRICS.
(GUERINOT) I’VE ALWAYS SAID I CAN’T AND WON’T BE IN A BAND THAT I COULDN’T ALSO LISTEN TO. WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF PLAYING SHIT THAT YOU DON’T LIKE? WE AREN’T DOING THIS TO PLEASE OTHERS, JUST OURSELVES.
(GUS) SOME LYRICS HIT RIGHT TO THE POINT, RELIGION. IT’S FUCKING 2013 AND HERE WE ARE STILL DEALING WITH RELIGIOUS NONSENSE! PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER ARE BEING PERSECUTED, MISLEAD, AND OUT RIGHT SLAUGHTERED OVER RELIGION. RATHER IT’S CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, JEWS, OR WHATEVER FICTITIOUS BULLSHIT SECT THEY ARE IN. RELIGION IN ANY FORM IS UNCALLED FOR AND DANGEROUS! AND THIS COUNTRY USES IT TO PULL OFF SOME SERIOUSLY HEINOUS ACTS OF PURE AND UTTER VIOLENCE AND WAR. WE TOUCH ON THIS OF COURSE ON THIS RECORD, BUT MORE SPECIFICALLY IT’S DIRECTED TOWARD THE WORKING CLASS FOLKS AND THEIR DAILY STRUGGLE JUST TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THE OLDER WE GET, THE SAME STRUGGLE REMAINS, EXCEPT NOW WE MUST NOT ONLY FIGHT TO FEED OURSELVES BUT FIRST FEED OUR CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES AND THEN WITH WHAT IS LEFT OVER, TAKE CARE OF OURSLEVES. SO WE CAN SLAVE ANOTHER DAY FOR A LESS THAN ACCEPTABLE WAGE. OVER THE YEARS I HAVE WATCHED OUR (PUNK) COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS WORK IN HORRIBLE CONDITIONS FOR SHIT WAGES WITH NO BENEFITS AND NO HOPE OF MOVING UPWARD IN THESE POSITIONS. AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY HAVE A SMALL CHECK THAT IS OVER TAXED AND A SORE ACHING BODY, THAT CONTINUES TO GET WORSE. “TELL ME IS THIS THE LIFE I’M FORCED TO LIVE TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY?”…THE ANSWER IS NO! BUT NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO POINT OUT THESE CONCERNS OVER AND OVER UNTIL THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO LISTEN.
PE: You guys did a split with HELLKRUSHER not to long ago entitled Continuous Warfare. How did this collaboration come about?
(RAYGUNN) I HAVE KNOWN SCOTTY (HELLKRUSHER) SINCE THE MID 80’s WHEN HE WAS IN HELLBASTARD, AND I WAS IN GLYCINE MAX. WE USED TO BE PEN PALS, AND WOULD SEND EACH OTHER TAPES OF OUR BANDS, AND OUR FRIENDS BANDS. WE EVENTUALLY LOST TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER AND THEN YEARS LATER FOUND EACHOTHER VIA THE INTERNET. I SENT HIM SOME DEADLY REIGN AND HE LIKED IT. AND WE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING TOGETHER.
PE: You guys all have family’s now and continue to tour, play shows, practice, record and work. How has DIY punk changed in your lives and how do you make it work?
(GUERINOT) WELL, I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS BUT HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER IS KEY. HAVING KIDS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE SO IN MY OPINION, THEY COME FIRST. WORKING AROUND THEM AND WORK IS USALLY PRETTY EASY. LATELY IT HAS BEEN A BIT MORE DIFFICULT BUT TRYING TO WORK OUT THE KINKS IN A SITUATION AND PUT PIECES BACK TOGETHER IS PART OF THE PROCESS.
PE: The new single from Profane Existence entitled SLAVE, what can we expect and do you have any future releases coming out?
(RAYGUNN) IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN OUR LAST TWO RECORDS, BUT STILL THE DEADLY REIGN STYLE. NEXT WE WILL BE WRITING FOR A SPLIT 12″ WITH OUR FRIENDS KONTRASEKT.
PE: Closing comments, any last words?
THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS THE WORLD OVER. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. ALSO, THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW. AND BE SURE TO PICK UP THE NEW DEADLY REIGN ‘SLAVE’ EP ON PROFANE EXISTENCE! AS WELL AS OUR LP AND THE SPLIT WITH HELLKRUSHER. ALSO, WE WOULD LOVE TO GO TO EUROPE SOMEDAY, IF ANYONE OVER THERE WOULD LIKE TO HELP OUR BROKE ASSES OUT. HAHA! CHEERS – DEADLY REIGN
WARTORN are a whirlwind of thrash punk goodness hailing from Wisconsin. Since 2004, they’ve been hitting the touring and record release circuit with no looking back. Here’s a quick interview I did to let people know about their two latest releases, Domestic Terrorist 7″ (Profane Existence) & Iconic Nightmare 12″ (Southern Lord). – Andy Leffer
(This interview also appears in CVLT NATION)
PE: You know the drill, just give us the basics on who’s who and what’s changed in the past, in regards to any line up changes, etc. Also, give us some insight on where WARTORN is going. We want to know tours, records, riots, protests, arrests….the whole back story on WARTORN’s origins.
Bitty: (Vocals) The band started in 2004, with Ryan, Hart (on drums) and myself as a three-piece. Within half a year I got a call with an offer for our first tour, which was with Municipal Waste. We did a mini tour with them and ever since then we have been able to go on tours with amazing bands each year such as Los Dolares, ATU, CYP, Krang, In Defence, Pyroklast, Hellshock, and up next Raw Power . We have been to 13 countries and have done lots of releases on many different labels.
Ryan: guitar / low vocals / whiskey enthusiast. Well we started as a 3-piece and over a span of over 8 years, have ended up with 6 members. With 3 of us being guitar players we are able to diversify our songs in ways that we could only do in a studio setting. This obviously makes a difference live as well.
Ela: I’ve been the bass player for over the last 6 years. Recently, we came out with an LP/CD on Southern Lord Records called “Iconic Nightmare” and a 7-inch, “Domestic Terrorist”, released on Profane Existence (which is part of their limited edition singles series).
Toban: (Guitar) I think I might have the most arrests out of anyone in the band. Not like its anything to brag about. I did narrowly avoid another arrest a few weeks ago.
Derek: Guitar as well. I’ve been in the band for a few months and have been on two tours so far.
PE: The music is dynamic, to say the least. You’re not getting any half-assed riffs or mindlessly thrown together lyrics or production with your music. Elaborate on the process and what is the driving force for doing such a band. Punk is a political movement, it’s always been a political movement. Are you a part of this fray as a whole, or is this more of a personal, therapeutic outlet?
Ryan: I definitely believe in the power of the riff. Heavy and raging. Punk is a political movement, but I also see it as a community (full of musicians, artists, writers, photographers, open thinkers etc). A lot of us live/ have lived in punk houses and have been booking DIY shows for years. It’s something we do to contribute to it as a whole.
Toban: Ryan is the riff-master general of the band. He does a great job of coming up with some of the most incredible riffs of anyone I’ve been in a band with. Adding Bitty’s smartly composed lyrics and Hart’s hard hitting/tight drum style makes a great concoction.
Bitty: As far as what I write lyrically, I mainly write about personal experiences or historical events. I don’t tell people what they need to think, that is for them to figure out on their own. Also, I could not label myself as more than a realist and a situationalist.
Ela: Well in my opinion, I would say that we are a part of this as a whole, but it also is a personal outlet for me. We have all contributed to the movement in one way or another, but I think of punk as more than just a political movement. For me it is also about a unified community… where people come together, whether it is for political reasons, to share a passion for music, a hobby, art, etc. … and we definitely have that in Appleton, which is awesome.
Hart: I honestly wouldn’t say punk’s always been a political movement at all. The fact that DK, Meatmen, and the Germs, for example, all existed during one heyday suggests more of a harsh musical and broad social changeover than anything to me. For me personally, punk rock, metal and hardcore have always been a therapeutic and vindicating way of life that has consistently solved a lot of my life’s most harrowing, fucked-up times. It had a total bottleneck effect on how I raised myself mentally and emotionally. It was a really great thing to find out about when I was trying to figure out how to express myself when everything just infuriated or bored the shit out of me. Later, after I was free as an adult, I quickly found out it came replete with its own sense of community, and a totally viscous following I was never aware existed at all. This band is fucking great, cause we never throw a blind rhetorical blanket over our lyrical ideals, or even necessarily our instrumentation for that matter. We have a rough format that we’ve stuck to, but we all come from slightly different scenes and upbringings, and I’ve always thought it showed at least a little in our styles. I honestly don’t think the excitement of being in this band has worn off for any of us. Sure, growing pains have slowed our progress a couple of times, but whenever the next lightbulb goes on over our heads, it’s all go no slow!
Derek: For me, this is definitely a personal outlet. That’s what music has always been for me. Being the young’n metalhead in the group, I’ve kind of just been exposed to the world of punk houses and DIY shows recently. From what I’ve gathered so far I can at least say that the sense of community is beautiful.
PE: Your latest singles release on Profane Existence “Domestic Terrorist”. There’s no beating around the bush on this subject matter. Once again, can you elaborate on this specific release and the intention behind the subject?
Bitty: There have been a few times where I had local law enforcement “protect and serve” the shit out of me. As a kid in the 80’s from a small hometown, I’ve had guns in my face from the cops, hammers pulled back and screaming in my face. I have also had an off-duty cop put a gun in my face and ask me if I thought it was funny while he was wasted. You know of all the times I was ever robbed or assaulted, at least I knew if I fought back I stood a chance; I even survived an attempted homicide! But, it’s not so easy when you have to fight back against law enforcement. They just beat your ass and lock you up, even if they are totally in the wrong. I’ve witnessed so much personal corruption; to me it seems to be an extension of an abuse of absolute power. Now that, to me, strikes terror in any citizen.
PE: Bitty, you’re straight edge…maybe not self-proclaimed, but you don’t consume drugs or alcohol. Considering the genre of punk and it’s history of abuse with these elements, has this hindered your views on the movement?
Hart: Total interjection here! Dude, Bitty’s optimism actually astounds me. He’s seen more friends either die or completely lose their vitality as humans due to drug and alcohol use than I’d like to ponder. He’s remained pretty fucking pragmatic in his attitude toward his friends’ choices in that sense. I myself get pretty fed-up at times about my own friend’s use of drugs, especially certain ones. I’ve had plenty problems controlling my drinking in the past. I do believe I have a fairly good idea these days of when to dry out, but it can pull me into a real bad place. I start questioning what even matters anymore, and I start fighting everything that means the most to me. However, that’s where that community comes in again! I’m learning to seek out the right punks or no one at all when the time feels right, and I’ve been keeping up on it for a while now.
Bitty: Not at all. You don’t need to be like me in order for me to like you. The real moment that reinforced my decision was when I came home to a friend that lived with me and I found him in a pool of his own blood. He had tried to cut his hand off with a butcher knife while he was completely wasted and ended up with more stiches then an average shark attack. It really put a bad taste in my mouth about how substances can amplify bad decision-making skills. Although I am aware that most just use it to have a good time, truth be told, I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my thing. But as long as you’re not hurting me or others in any way shape or form it’s your deal not mine. This is just a suggestion, have fun and do what you need to do to deal with things or get by, but try not to destroy yourself in the process. You might end up missing out on some good things in life.
PE: WARTORN is a great band, so with that….does WARTORN have anything they’d like to say to the world, it’s listeners or the masses in general?
Toban: In the words of country music legend Kris Kristofferson “Don’t let the bastards get you down”. Ryan: Thanks for the interview.
Ela: Thanks for all the support. We can’t wait to hit the road and tear it up again in a couple months!
Derek: May the force be with you. But seriously, I can’t wait to hit the road and I hope to see everyone reading this there.
Hart: As always, start 4 bands tomorrow and eat your fiber!
Bitty: Thanks for the interview Andy and everyone that helped us out and we’ll see you on the road. If you’d like to help us out with booking or have any questions, feel free to write us at email@example.com.
DESPISE are a four piece punk/crust/metal unit from the depths of the Minneapolis underground. Their 7″ release is a line of single’s being released by Profane Existence this year.
Interview by Andy (Leffer) of War//Plague
Let’s get this party started. First off…like most all interviews let’s start with who you are, what you do and what DESPISE is up to? What does the future hold after this PE single release? Also, expand on some each of your backgrounds, and what you were involved with prior to the band.
I’m Hannah, I do vocals and write the lyrics. I moved to Minneapolis from Chicago in 2010. I played bass and did vocals in Securicor from Chicago, and also vocals in Krang.
Zach: Hopefully we can put out some full length records seeing as we have a lot of material. As for before despise. I started going to shows at age 13 or 14. Played in a band called EZ Bleeders. We were rock/metal/funk/punk so everyone hated us but we just wanted to play. Grew up in uptown Mpls around a lot of older punks.
Hi. my name is Mike. I play bass real loud. moved to Minneapolis in 2009. its rad here.
What’s your thoughts on the Minneapolis punk community and how DESPISE falls into the DIY mix. There seems to be quite a good mix of punk and crust rising from the ashes of other previous projects within the Minneapolis scene. We had the 90’s and early 00’s that brought us DESTROY, STATE OF FEAR, ASSRASH, PROVOKED, PONTIUSPILATE, and needless to say MISERY, which is still going strong. Do you feel DESPISE is a part of this element of resurgence and is there still that dedicated @narcho thought process within the band?
Hannah: Definatly. Minneapolis has such a awesome punk scene/ community. So many rad bands that I have grown up listening to and have influenced me are from here.
Mike: well, if you want my grossly unimportant opinion, the scene and the music within it are two separate entities. the music is fucking fantastic. and only getting better.so many new bands and new faces. as far as where Despise fits into everything, i think we fit right in. if ive learned anything about minneapolis since ive lived here, its that its a weird fucking place filled with weird fucking people who like weeeeeeeeeeeiiiirrd fucking music. and if you havent met us, were a bunch of weird motherfuckers too. i fucking love it here.
Mitch: The scene has really picked up , it’s awesome to see so much activity now, it reminds me of how much was going on in the 90’s, so many awesome bands going on these days that local shows are always “stacked”, can’t even go grocery shopping without seeing people from bands or shows. It reminds me to be grateful , a lot of towns don’t have that. I definitely feel that Despise fits right in with what’s been going on.
Zach: I think despise takes a whole different approach to the punk scene. I don’t think of our music as being punk or even being really a part of this “scene”. I don’t make music for other people. I do it because its what I want to do
I know you folks had a bit simpler sound when you began. Straight up D-beat hardcore punk, but now it seems you’ve melded into a more crust, metallic sound. Was this an evolution of the band you knew would take shape, or was it more “fly by the seat” type thing?
Hannah: I think its the result of a combination of all of us taking influence from different sub genres of punk…grind, crust, black metal, d-beat, hardcore, etc…throw it all in a mix and you get Despise.
Mitch: It’s been a pretty natural thing as far as songwriting, the musicianship has lent itself to more technical stuff without losing our roots, really had no idea it would progress that way. Stay tuned for some good old fashioned though.
Mike: We always kinda had a general idea of what we wanted the band to sound like. the first batch of songs we wrote were very black and white, crust or metal. after that, everything just kind of naturally progressed into whateverthefuck it is today. zach is so talented when it comes to songwriting. he’s responsible for the metal parts. i just try to keep up and take care of the wicked awesome bass solos. we’ve become who we are together because thats all we can be. ourselves. when people ask what genre of music we play, i usually just say “loud as fuck” because i honestly have no fucking clue haha.
Zach: Crust is fun to play but as far as what I enjoy playing I usually drift more towards metal. Black metal at that. Probably we’re a lot of the metallic elements of our music comes out. Definitely don’t want to take all the credit for that because everybody helps meld the song.
What’s the ideology behind the lyrics and how the music is written?
Mitch: As far as the music goes it’s really just as simple as playing solid riffs and piecing the songs together as it sounds good, we’ll always come to a consensus before a song is finished, that way we all like the finished product. We try keeping things heavy and not being afraid to test the waters. Hannah will have to field the lyrics side.
Hannah: I write most of the lyrics…Most of which pertain to animal rights, vivisection, mental disorders, depression, drug addictions, negative effects humans have on the planet and our ecosystem, and of course cute bunnies taking over and killing humans.
Mike:Hannah has the voice of 10,000 angels. …burning alive in the fires of hell hahahaha. her voice is as much a part of our sound as our guitar and bass tones. but yea she takes care of the lyrics. all of our songs are about things that truly matter to us and to her. you can really hear that she means what she’s saying. we have some political stuff, animal rights, war is bad, so is jesus, blahblahblah. but the ones that stand out to me, the ones that make my cry a little every time we play them, are about real fucking shit. like how drug addiction is killing the scene from the inside out, watching all of our friends (and ourselves) die and lose their minds right in front of us and not being able to do anything about it, that feeling of hopelessness and desperation and shame you get every morning when you wake up and realize the world is still shit. im really grateful that i get to make music with three no shit honestly good hearted human beings.
Zach: Lyrics? We have lyrics?
Are you guys gonna tour and what about local gigs…big plans?
Mitch: Would be nice to do at least a little touring either east or west some time this year, locally, we definitely play our share. lol. Really want to get the rest of our recording released and get back in the studio, lots of newer songs. Hoping for all that this year.
Mike: I think so. i hope so. i let them do the planning for the most part. im down to party whenever wherever and however long they tell me to. but yea. another 7″ comin out soon, followed by what is bound to be the most epic full length record you’ll be listening to while you listen to it as long as you’re not playing a more epic record at the same time.
Hannah: We are planning on touring the east coast this summer. Hopefully the south and west coast after that. We’ve been playing a lot of local shows lately, especially with the release of the 7″. Hoping to record again soon!
Let’s end this interview the normal way. Last words or comments for the world?
Hannah:Up the punks! Ha.
Mitch: Thanks to Profane Existence for releasing the e.p. We can be contacted via Facebook or despisecrust@gmail we’ll have some merch available online soon.
Mike: Be yourself. fuck anyone who tells you you’re not cool or not good enough. this shit belongs to all of us. and if we want it to live forever, we need every single one of you. oh yea. and dont be a dick. seriously. why the fuck cant we all just get along? yea. sorry. fuck everything. upthapuuunnnxxxxx.
Yesterday I crossed the colonial imaginary line which divides the stolen territory claimed by one colonial nation state from the territory of another. My experiences crossing the border haven’t been too extreme, but they are interesting in the context of class,and how it intersects with race and gender.
A few months ago while on tour with Layla AbdelRahim, as I went through customs the guard asked how long I would be in the country, then proceeded to ask “what kind of job do you have that lets you take an entire work week off?” I replied that I am on disability, at which point he looked away, gesturing dismissively with his hand to move along. A bit surprised I asked unsure “were you still going to search my bag?” (which was open beside me). Again, continuing to not even look at me he waved his hand in a manner suggesting to “get away from me.” I didn’t argue and proceeded to Seattle. Layla later joked that he must have been afraid he would catch my disability if he continued to interact with me.
Last night as I crossed through from Victoria again on way to Seattle to see Rod Coronado speak. This time I had a bit more trouble at immigration than the time before. I was one of the first
in line in case there was any issues since I had heard horror stories from friends who had been interrogated for 6-9 hours when they tried to cross, so I wanted to be there early just in case.
The immigration officer this time was a woman of colour. She began with generic questions, and went to scan my passport, when her computer began having problems – so her supervisor – a white male- came to help. He was actually the same Immigration cop who processed me when I went through in October. As he was trying to help her with the computer, he asked why I was crossing; and as I said I was going to see Iron Lung and Despise You, he began talking to me about how much he liked metal, and the documentary Metal: A Headbangers Journey by Sam Dunn (a Victoria based metal head and film maker). He asked a bit about the bands I said I was going to see, and told me he once processed Lemmy crossing through on a flight at a San Diego border crossing. “He was an interesting guy” the cop told me enthusiastically.
Everything was going ok until the woman who was the original border guard asked what I did for work. I replied I was on disability. Suddenly she seemed to become hostile, and began asking how much money I had, if I had been asked for proof of Ties and Equities last time I went through, and so on. “So you don’t have much money for hotels, are you just planning to stay on the streets?” I told her 2 or 3 more times I had a friend putting me up. She continued asking if I had been arrested ever, to which I replied I hadn’t (even though I was a bit unsure if a few things would come up or not from when the Integrated Security Unit for the 2010 Olympics game was harassing me and following me, or when I was volunteering with SHAC Canada in 2006). to my relief nothing did and I continued to act as casual as possible. At this point she asked if I was ever arrested for drugs, to which I replied “no, I am actually what is called straightedge, I haven’t even smoked in 10 years.” Surprisingly to me, she didn’t drop the subject and persisted “have you ever received any treatment for your addictions?” and so on the questions continued.
The supervise was still near by, and came back over towards her, she told him she was concerned I didn’t have much money with me. “I don’t think there is any reason to deny him entry” he told her. So instead she gave me a controlled entry, which involved finger printing me, photographing, and telling me I had to return by the 4rth or else (what else I am not sure exactly).
How much did class, gender and race play into the outcome of this experience? I have to wonder if I hadn’t been a white male, if the supervise wasn’t also a white male, would I have been denied entry? On the other hand, if I hadn’t looked poor with my black patched cloths, tattoos and locked hair, and more so if told her I was on disability; would I have had so much trouble? Borders are an inherently racist construct; if I had told the guards I was coming over to see a Indigenous man speak about defending wildlife rather than to see some bands in a scene where one could safely assume they are likely white males – would I have been allowed to enter?
A year ago I was on welfare waiting for my disability application to be approved (and hoping it wouldn’t be denied). Until then, traveling wasn’t even a possibility I considered real. On $610 a month, I couldn’t even afford to put in the passport application, never mind ferry costs, bus, or food. The only travel I oculd afford was my thumb. The interplay of class, race, and gender – of privilege and oppression under capitalism; within a colonial civilization is complex and anything but just. My experiences were mild in comparison to what many racialized people and those who present in a way that is visually queer often experience, yet they served me as an interesting examination of power and privilege.
In the end I am reminded of a line by Crass ”
Are we really so dumb, so cowered into submission
That not only are we prepared to eat shit
We’re also prepared to say thanks for the privilege?”
When I was a lot younger and getting really into anarchp-punk, one of the biggest influences on me at the time was a little known band from Edmonton (where I lived) called Self Rule.
I still think they have one of the best names of all time. They were an explicitly anarchist band, most were straightedge (except one member who was still trying to quit smoking, and later did), I think all were vegan too. They were awesome live – with incredible energy, jumping 3 feet in the air during songs with multiple vocalists; but the recordings never translated as well. Anyways I loved them. They were one of my favorite bands.
When I first moved to Victoria, about the second day I was here I saw a poster for a show with Self Rule and Iskra, and a band I had never heard of called Mechanichal Separation. I Had just seen Self Rule a week before in Edmonton, so they were quite surprised when they saw me at the Victoria show at the Hillside house. It was a blast, and I met a lot of people at that show who have stayed my friends ever since.
Self Rule had a number of members come and go over the years, but really they were comprised of 3 people from the beginning, and the rest just came and went. One of those 3 was an Edmonton punk named Dave. a good guy all around, even if we didn’t always see eye to eye, I learned a hell of a lot from Dave.
Today I just heard Dave passed away. I don’t know how. I do know it is a loss to the Alberta punk community. I wasn’t really friends with Dave, we occasionally went for coffee years back at which time we would argue over bands, he would introduce me to new bands (many of which I still listen to), and I was a fan of his band (still am) even if every time I told him they played a rad show he would be like “really, I thought we sucked.”
So this is me sending my condolences out to his friends. I know he meant a lot to a lot of people. Dave was a good guy who contributed a lot to his community.
I hate cement
A concrete statement of the hatred of life
that your world is built on
Paved over earth
Yet you cannot kill the wild
even under the pavement habitual wildness
A plant reaches for the sun again
The South isn’t known for our good labor practices – and that might be an understatement.
In the Southern context labor has always looked different. Exploitation of workers has often taken a grim tone, slavery and coal mines being just two examples. I’m not giving yall Yankees or Capitalism in general an out here, both perpetuate a classist society, exploit workers out of greed, and generally benefit from the extra exploitation workers in the South put up with. But anyone from the South will tell you, exploitation down here has a different feel.
In the South, we don’t have a living context for unions- instead we have the “right to work”. The “right to work” laws are actually just anti-union and anti-labor laws with a deceptive name. While historically all states had extremely exploitative labor practices and anti-union laws, currently, the spread of “right to work” policies holds almost the entire South back in terms of labor organizing. This is just one way in which Southern workers have it worse than workers else where.
Unions have been so repressed that the work to build one is really complex. There is a lot of anti-union rhetoric out there, even to the point of being included in employee training videos by giant corporations. The economy has changed since the hey day of unions, and it is difficult to imagine what a union in the South would look like now.
Well, the Fast Food Worker’s are about to show everyone one way a union can look on Thursday, December 5th.
I’ve already written a few iterations of this column, but fuck it….I’m just gonna cut to the chase here.
Now, to the partial point of this. I play in a band alongside some very committed and outstanding friends and we work hard, very hard. We do it because it’s in our nature and has become an important part of our lives. This is our commitment to the DIY punk world and we would deteriorate without it. We have been building along a network of like-minded folks since we were youngsters and this has forged who we are today. We are committed to the cause and our music is driven to reinforce the message that our world is still in turmoil and standing in the shadows is no longer an option. We are about awareness and creating a strong underground community
What I’m about to mention isn’t being written for us (the band), but for the network we operate in and everyone involved. There was a recent write up regarding our latest release in Maximum Rock and Roll by a reviewer who’s initials are AE. This 7” was sent to MRR by our label Profane Existence, which needs to help promote the release via DIY zines, internet, etc. This “review” was the farthest thing from being an actual “review”. Many have read it and realized that, not only was this not a review, but a blatant approach to attack the entire Midwest, based off of very little knowledge of what happens here and where our hearts lie. This not only confines itself to the Midwest, but affects everyone involved worldwide. We could have simply shrugged this off as another crappy MRR review, but with the feedback and support from everyone, everywhere…it’s seemed like a good time to have an intervention.
MRR is notorious for having a small handful of two-bit writers. It’s like their sole purpose is to try and look bad, which contradicts what their foundation was based on. I know other zines have jaded writers, but considering the source, it was time to say something. This isn’t solely based on my opinion, but thoughts and experiences from others. No one here is butt hurt (such a dumb term) but wanted to make it clear for all the dodgy write ups, that Tim Yo is probably turning in his grave due to the incompetence of these writers. This isn’t towards MRR as a zine or the other folks there…really. It’s about the principle of writing for a zine that supposed to help promote and nourish the DIY community and not to insult or berate the music or the people involved because their taste differs. In all reality, MRR has been a great source for us and the community and as a side note…all previous write ups for us have been great.
So lo and behold, here’s the words that brought the record review revolution.
Now…like I said. We laughed at the stupidity of this, but also realized that this wasn’t just an ill-informed indie kid stabbing at some words to simply move onto the next. It goes deeper than that. This person had a mission to come out and attack what has been a historical and iconic era in the forefront of the punk and hardcore movement…the Midwest!
Rodent Popsicle records have done more for punk rock than this person has done in their lives, and by AE insulting RP, only reinforces this. Once again, a complete disregard toward the work that true DIY labels do for us. Regardless, this person continued to shit on the dedicated and hardworking punks that have given their hearts to the cause. The blatant attack doesn’t even have anything to do with the music! This goes to show they never took the time to hear or read the lyrics that were PRINTED ON THE BACK! This part is great “stupid basic hooks”. Hmm, glass houses, my friend.
I can’t help but wonder why MRR would allow such a bitter person to openly attack something that has been the zine’s foundation since day one. Really, there’s a good majority of us that are scratching our heads and know the premise of MRR wasn’t built off some loathing mentality that bites the hand that feeds it. MRR has been a part of our upbringing into the punk world for a very long time and we want to see it return without the attitude and elitism that’s plagued it as of late. There are really good people at MRR and we all have the utmost respect for them. We only hope that the zine can utilize its resources towards a more communal and respectful approach.
All my life people have been telling me how lucky I am.
There was a time in my life where I was jumped by 3 men, who held my head to the ground while one jumped up and brought his foot down; all over a hundred or so dollars. I tell people, and they tell me I am lucky. Oh so lucky to have survived. Or the time I was hit to the head with an aluminum baseball bat. So lucky.
If this is what luck is I wish I would quit getting it.
Recently I was approved for PWD (Persons With Disabilities) after years of struggling through the hoops of bureaucracy. Sometimes when I tell people this they reply “wow you are so lucky.” “I wish I didn’t have to work for money, and could get a BC wide bus pass, free camping, and ½ off at the ferries”
I wake up in pain, nearly every day. When I awake my feet ache from sleep, and my back is often sore too. I deal with crippling spells of fatigue that shut me right down. If I walk too long, or go up too many stairs my knees remind me of when that drunk driver said to the cops “no, I didn’t hit him, I just drove up and he was laying here.” At the hospital as I came back to consciousness the nurse said to me “You are pretty lucky… It was pretty stupid to be riding at night without any lights.”
I deal with 4 different conditions that each manifest as different forms of chronic pain, AS, fibramialgia, soft tissue damage to my knees, and migraines. At least one of them I was assured will only get worse throughout my life, and likely will cripple me permanently. Eventually. All products of poverty, and living in the disaster we call civilization.
but hey, its ok cause I get a free bus pass… Well, actually it is $45, but still, so lucky.
When I was a kid, I was bullied in school. Although bullied doesn’t even begin to describe it accurately. Terrorized would be more honest. Daily I would get my ass smacked, or my crotch grabbed, while I was called fag, tripped, spit on and they would destroy my locker so I had to carry my binders with me all day in my book bag. They even once tore my pants off my body, in half. Tore them right off of me, and laughed. I was suicidal until I was in my mid 20s, and still struggle with depression and anxiety. When I tell people these stories they often tell me “man, you are lucky you got out of there alive.”
Apparently choosing to hitchhike across the country and live on the streets to get away from there had nothing to do with it…
It was just luck.
I find the word luck dis-empowering.
Luck implies that fate or random chance of the universe just fell in my direction.
It takes away all agency, and neutralizes participation,
As if nothing I did had anything to do with why I survived, and even thrived despite it.
I don’t think I have been lucky, I have been unlucky. But I persevered, in spite of it.
My life has been a struggle, it hasn’t been easy. Sure, I wasn’t a child soldier, or sold into sex slavery, so many others have definitely had it worse – but that doesn’t undermine my own struggles and hardships.
I survived because I fought, and had the support of friends, allies, and community.
“You’re so lucky to have such a great community.”
No, sorry, I have to disagree.
I have community because we have put in the work to make it a reality.
To build and maintain those relationships which are important.
Community, relationships, they don’t just happen accidentally.
I once read a article about sexual assault, where the author meditated about how almost every woman she knew had bad it done to them
and she kept saying “I am the lucky one, lucky it never happened to me.”
Like the drunk driver who ran over me, or the people who assaulted me, the perpetrators in her story didn’t do anything, the women were just “unlucky.” Where the fuck is agency?
We live in a world, where species go extinct every day, where forest get paved, where women are prey, where most of the world (human) population lives in poverty. Yet we are constantly told we are lucky.
Fuck luck. We need action, compassion, and empathy.
We need to quit giving up our agency, and most importantly, to take responsibility.
And never be so lucky
When I was a kid Halloween was by far my favorite day of the year. I have a distinct memory of the year I got chicken pox, I was 4 years old living in Ardrossen Alberta, and oh boy was I upset that I couldn’t go trick or treating with my older sister. She shared the candy with me, but it just wasn’t the same. Every year my mother would take me to the thrift store to find a cheap ski-suit, then come Halloween I would get on 2 pairs of long johns, don the ski-suit, and my mother would get out rolls of masking tape to cover me head to toe – I went as a mummy, with the help of mommy. And since I couldn’t bend my knees or elbows, I walked like one too!
As I got older, the costumes became more complex. My mother hand sewed me a Beetlejuice costume when I was about 12, and I spiked my hair for the first time (using green Halloween hairspray). I remember one year working for weeks with liquid latex to hand make a Halloween mask for my Lich costume (a Lich is like a zombie mage from D&D, what happens when evil wizards take a potion to extend their life at the cost of dying while staying alive so they can continue to gain more power). One year I went as the Devil, and even spent hours dying my skin red with watered down food coloring which stained for weeks, but looked awesome! Or there was the year I dressed up as a mafia guy, including a Tommy gun I spent week making, with a copper pipe barrel, coffee can magazine, and oak, hand cut and stained rifle butt. The cops pulled me over to confirm it wasn’t real – and of course to run my name for warrants – cause you know, they are assholes. That incident lead to its own humorous story, but I will tell that one another day.
Eventually I began setting up Halloween parties as a community event. This was really the first DIY organizing I ever did, years before I ever organized DIY all ages punk shows or anarchist bookfairs. I would rent a hall, get my (former) friend Pat to DJ, and my friend Yvonne to run the bar (this was years before I went Straightedge). People donated to get in, and the bar would usually break even, even after the costs of a liquor license and me setting the prices far below normal. The majority of attendees were people I played Vampire or D&D with.
The reason I loved Halloween so much as a kid, and even until I was a young adult, was that it was the one holiday where you could be dark, dress up scary, as something evil. Where you could embrace all the things normally frowned upon in this fake Christian and legalistic culture. It was the day the freaks, geeks, artists and picked on kids could shine. It was DIY, and encouraged youth to be creative, and use their imaginations. And it was the only holiday where you went out into the community, often with friends to meet your neighbors, and knocked on the doors of other people (who you would threaten with pranks if they didn’t give you candy). Every other holiday meant staying home with family to celebrate some weird depiction of a dead deity and gorged on dead animal carcasses. On Halloween, instead of consuming a carcass, you would try to create a costume that made you look like one! Halloween for me was the collective accumulation of everything missing from every other day of the year all wrapped up into one dark night. I was always drawn to darkness, just as I was always drawn to be creative.
But Halloween has been recuperated by the consumer capitalist mainstream and drunken party culture. Now it exists as nothing more than another excuse to buy more junk (made by children in a sweatshop in China), consume, and get drunk. Whereas the costumes of my childhood were mostly homemade, even if people occasionally bought a mask or the fake blood, or whatnot, there was always a DIY element to it; now the norm is to purchase your costume at the mall, 100% plastic shit, shipped from overseas, and throw it out the next day. Mom’s and dad’s no longer take their kids door to door in many cities, as the fear of poisoned candy and sexual predators has become so pervasive (even though no one has ever actually poisoned candy to hand out, and the vast majority of child molesters are family, close friends, or people given authority over the kids; not a stranger in the bush) that the new tradition for many parents is to drive their kids (in their gas guzzling SUV) to the mall where they go store to store instead of door to door, and managers or employees of corporations hand out candy along with promotional materials. Because as we all know, Corporations are far more trustworthy than the people who live down the street from you.
For young adults and teenagers, the new trend is a mix of sexist shit costumes such as “Slutty Nurse,” or “Breast Inspector” and the always popular cultural appropriation and other racist ‘costumes’ such as white people wearing blackface. And have you noticed the disturbingly sexualizing Halloween costumes being marketed for young girls these days? Costumes become more and more sexualized by the year, for both adults and children. From “Slut Shaming” to sexualizing children, the corporations who make and sell this shit have no problem profiting off of rape culture. Just as the bars have no issue with profiting of addiction, and binge drinking.
Then of course there is the Halloween candy, made of shit and chemicals that are toxic, glued together with processed sugar, and often containing the milk of abused cows or other products stolen from the bodies of animals which our species domesticated who live tortured lives in industrial farms and feedlots before being shipped to the slaughter house. This poison cocktail then gets wrapped in a couple sheets of plastic “to make sure it safe from contamination” before being shipped halfway across the world so you can give it to kids to ensure they become addicted to sugar. TRICK OR TREAT!
Even the horror movies have gotten worse, turning into movies that fetishize and sexualize torture for 2 hours straight.
Over the last few years I have pondered various strategies to try and re-appropriate what is left of the once very DIY and community oriented former Pagan holiday. As much as I am disheartened by what it has become, I still do see some hope in the darkness. The continuing popularity of the Halloween screenings of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show give me some hope, and honestly dressing up in drag and throwing toast in the air can be quite a blast! The overt queerness of Rocky Horror may be what has saved it from being appropriated and recuperated entirely by this consumerist and homophobic culture.
I use to see some possibility as well in November 5 – Guy Fawkes Day, before the iconic V mask became mass produced and adopted by the right wing Libertarians and conspiracy theorists who never bothered to read Allan Moore’s anarcho-antihero epic, nor taken the time to learn the real history of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament. But alas, I have given up on Guy Fawks day after burning only 1 effigy of Steven Harper.
And of course there is the Pagan revival, people going back the roots of Samhain. There is definitely something encouraging about people, especially settlers on stolen land, wanting to go back to their roots. The potential for decolonization is there. Yet I am not entirely sold on this either, as those pagan roots are often from cultures that have already engaged in the domestication of animals and plants, and worship warlike patriarchal gods, or gods who offer the control of nature for faithful servitude. Spirituality has also been largely recuperated by civilization and turned into an escapist retreat from taking action and creating change. Then there is the questions of cultural appropriation whether it is neo-pagan Wicca and reinvention of Samhain, or the appropriation of Día de Muertos.
Another thing I have attempted with limited success is to organize sober spaces that are alternatives to the drunken Halloween party culture. There is many people that can’t be in spaces where alcohol is, whether it is cause they are struggling with addiction, a youth who legally is not allowed into a space that sells booze, or someone who just doesn’t like being around drunks or doesn’t feel safe around them do to past experiences.
A new idea I had this year was to make posters which read in large text something along the lines of:
“GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS
Halloween is suppose to be about building community
DON’T TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE MALL
trick or treat & meet the people you live next to.”
Another idea I have played with is to make vegan treats, which may not be healthier but are a lot better than the toxic corporate crap candy most folks are handing out to trick or treaters. I have a simple recipe for Vegan rice crispy squares for example, and I thought if I was to make them with a note attached explaining who made them, why, and all the ingredients including a phone number and address to accompany my name; perhaps, just maybe, parents would let their kids actually eat them??? A connected idea to make this one work better, was to make a batch of Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, using Sarah Kramer’s awesome recipe, in about august/September, and make a note with the ingredients that reads “hand made for you by your neighbor,” then take these door to door and hand them out for a few blocks, as a good opportunity to get to know the people who you share geographical locality with. This way not only do you meet them which can help build community, but also make them more open to homemade candy come Halloween.
The other type of strategies would be to find ways to use the current consumer culture and appropriate it’s energy for anarchist purposes. Thousands of people in the streets wearing generic disguises can offer a perfect smoke and mirrors type of potential for low level warfare against capital. Although with the enormous police presence and normalization of snitch culture amongst yuppies, there are some real risks to this. Alternatively one could try to use the trendy hipsters as a funding base for anarchist projects. Put on an event or sell something targeted towards pop culture (Zombie paraphernalia?) and use the money from it to pay the rent on your infoshop, to restock your punk distro, buy media or AV equipment, send to prisoners, or to cover travel to conferences, summits, or elsewhere for people who should be there but can’t afford it. There are many projects that are in constant need of funds in the anarchist movement. However, this strategy also runs into some risks of recuperation or wasting our energy on projects that don’t help further our own.
Halloween has been reduced from the night to creatively celebrate horror and the dead to a dead holiday where zombies dressed as in costume celebrate the death of creativity and consume the horrors of capitalist civilized reality. Is it time to bury this tradition? Or can transform into wild beasts and enact a séance to resurrect it from the death that is this modern reality called of civilization and destroy the monster called Leviathan?
First and foremost, my apologies for basically disappearing from the PE world in recent months. I hit a huge wall as far as writers’ block, and I was sort of stuck in my usual bout of self-doubt, self-loathing, and that sort of thing. The never-ending cycle of mental shit that I’m too [whatever] to look into.
But that’s not why I’m here today!
I’m here to ask a simple question of the DIY punk scene. What the hell happened? Why is it that in arguably the most horrific period of this generation, there is virtually no response from the youngest and least jaded punks? Have we as a subculture accepted defeat already? Has the political punk scene become so stale and reliant on old cliches that we cannot adapt to new challenges? Or has the stupid mindset of punk being “just music, maaaaan” taken over for good?
The world is absolutely fucked right now, and things are only getting worse. From rampant climate change, to reckless predatory capitalism. From Nobel Prize-winning presidents’ beloved assassin drone acceleration to Russia’s state-sponsored criminalization of an entire group of people. From the ongoing war of terrorism to the war on First Nations’ people in Canada. From rape culture to the scourge of fascism in Greece. And that’s just the first few examples from the top of my head. This is all right in front of our faces right now, and we’re fiddling while the planet burns.
In the last couple of years I’ve seen political discourse in punk drop sharply, as I’ve seen sub-sub-subgenre revival trends come and go. Instead of thinking about current or relevant issues to sing or write about, it seems that these revivalists would rather ape their beloved punk heroes word for word (or in the case of seventh-rate American raw-d-beat attak bands, even write their lyrics in broken English as a gimmick). After all, the fashion and sound is much more important than having anything relevant to say these days!
I’ve even noticed this apathy in the punk scene in the reviews section of Profane Existence! It’s become so rare that I see a review that mentions a band’s lyrics, let alone challenges a band on anything. Reviews are always the most boring part of a magazine (and yes, I still do reviews here), especially when they are nothing more than a short puff piece for a record. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think a review should cover more than just what a band sounds like. What are they singing about? What are the lyrics like? Is there something dodgy in the art or the lyrics? Let us know! Something strike you as amazing, or as horrible? Speak up! There is a major difference between Profane Existence and other major punk zines. Profane was founded as a blatantly political magazine and label. An alternative to punk scene apathy. A place for the anarchists and radicals to exchange ideas and listen to some killer tunes at the same time. If the anarchopunk community can’t rise above lazy apathy, what’s the point in continuing? We’re anarcho-punks for a reason. Anarchy still isn’t about hanging out on the internet and paying 600 dollars for an old record.
Am I calling for a “PC police” or whatever ignorant bullshit term is going to be thrown my way when this gets published? Give me a break. I’m far from perfect, and frankly I’ve never met anyone who isn’t. I love the DIY punk community, I love anarchopunk, and I hate the state of the world. We’re all in this for a reason, and we should all take a moment to think deeply about why we’re here. Do you give a shit? Or is this just another fashion for you? Have you ever stopped to consider any of this before?
Activism takes many forms, and you can still rock the fuck out while educating or making a difference. Punk can be a huge part of the revolution, as long as we let ourselves!
-Doomed Society Radio still exists. It’s also growing, and becoming a label. I’m putting on a couple of benefit shows to help pay for the first release, which will be a much-beloved Canadian anarchist band. It will be co-released with their label and a couple of others. http://doomedsocietyradio.wordpress.com
-I’m not trying to alienate people with this column. I’m just sick of punks not challenging the status quo.
First off, how are you? It’s really been a while and I hope that everything is coming up roses for you and yours.
Just over a year ago I needed a break, and boy did I take one. I avoided all things Profane related and focused on my girlfriend, my son, school and work. Just before that point I’d had about a year of intense stress (all personal) and I was at the breaking point, so rather than let everything go to shit I took a sabatical and gave myself the time that I needed to recharge my internal battery. I think that it’s important to do that from time to time. Step away for a moment (or a year) and come back to what you love when you’re ready.
Now let’s get into it shall we? A couple of weeks ago I was hipped to the fact that Death in June was playing the Mezzanine in San Francisco. Not too shocking that the band is touring again, but I was annoyed at the fact that I people that I knew, and like were attending this bullshit. Now there are numerous debates on the internet about whether or not Death in June is a fascist/nazi band or not. I think the evidence is clear, that Pearce is a fascist sympathizer and an elitist xenophobe and members of Death in June have been involved in the National Front. The fact that DIJ uses fascist imagery is indisputable. Those arguing in his favor say its all shock, “the punks do it after all!”.
No. The early punks did it, for a little bit before it quickly (and rightly) became clear that using these particular images were not just annoying to those who fought in WWII, offensive and hurtful to people whose families were slaughtered, but using these images also drew in elements that truly held racist and fascist ideology and saw punk as a racist and fascist sub-culture and that punks could be coerced into joining the BNF or any of the Fascist goups in the U.S.
So though there was some use of fascist imagery in the beginning, there was a backlash from within the community. We stopped doing it and many punks started stating that they were anti-nazi, anti-fascist and anti-racist.
Death in June and Douglas Pearce in particular does not denounce the fascists who show up at his shows, not the “artists” like Boyd Rice, a self proclaimed nazi and total piece of shit and Tony Wakeford who was a member of the National Front, who have worked with Death in June, nor the boneheads (skinheads/nsm motherfuckers) who show up to DIJ shows. He won’t answer to his work for the Croation fascists during the conflict in Yugoslavia, and has pulled out of playing gigs upon discovering that they were anti fascist/racist.
Why is this important to me? I don’t listen to Death in June, Burzum, Skrewdriver, Rahowa or any of that shit so why is this important? Because punks, some of them people I consider my friends go to these shows. When I bring this up, I get simple excuses like “it’s all shock”, or they point out that Pearce was in Crisis and played some Rock Against Racism gigs. The worst excuses I heard were: “Pearce can’t be a facsist, he’s gay!” , or “I’ve met him, he’s very charming” and “When he’s in San Francisco he and his partner cruise the castro…” First, being gay does not mean you are immune from being an asshole. I know a lot of assholes who happen to be gay. Ernst Roehm, Hitler’s number 2 in the early days was also gay, and one hell of a fascist, hence an asshole!
See, the whole “since he’s queer he can’t be a fascist” argument don’t hold no water.
It’s time to get off the fence, you can’t waver about this sort of thing. If you go to the shows, buy the records and wear the gear, you are supporting fascism. In interviews he makes xenophobic statements about the poor and immigrants that he feared so much he fled his native england, claiming it had been soiled.”BRITAIN IMPORTED MILLIONS OF UNSKILLED LABOURERS FROM THE COLONIES FOR THAT KIND OF WORK AND LOOK WHAT A HUGE SUCCESS THAT WAS! THE HATRED IS BARELY RESTRAINED INTO THE OCCASSIONAL RIOT. I DON’T LIKE BEING IN A PLACE WITH SUCH AN ATMOSPHERE. EVEN GERMANY, THE FORMER RICHEST COUNTRY IN WESTERN EUROPA SEEMS TO BE TANGIBLY FALLING TO BITS. IT IS NO LONGER AS CLEAN AND AS WELL ORGANISED AS I REMEMBER FROM, SAY, 10 YEARS AGO. IT HAS BEEN FLOODED BY THOSE WHO WANT BUT, WITH LITTLE TO GIVE! THE WEST’S LIBERALISM WILL BE ITS DEATH.”– Douglas Pearce
Is this the kind of behavior you want to support?
I’m pissed because people don’t think that by buying a patch or a record that it’s making any difference. They want music not politics. Well, the two are combined. You can’t have one without the other and the money and support that you give these assholes go to support their causes, so while you may not want to support NSM or National Front groups, there is a good chance that you are giving them your money by buying records from New European Recordings, or DIJ in person. Certainly if you are getting their stuff online you are likely supporting a fascist or racist DIY label, because they do small labels and distros too. There is no excuse to supporting shit like this and so it has to stop. You have to make a choice, and if you choose to support bands and artists with sketchy politics, be ready to defend yourself. I’m calling on you to confront your friends when they do this shit. I’m calling on you to call out strangers when they do this. Don’t be afraid of the consequences because our silence is their greatest weapon.
We grew up far from LA but when we were younger and had our “crew” many, including the local police, considered us a gang. Sometimes we might have even operated as one in just how we stuck together. We didn’t parlay in any illegal enterprise per se, we just kind of did what we wanted and were tight. We stood up for one another and to many that meant we were a gang…
A few years back we were on tour and were kicking it over at Rito from SMD’s pad and I was reading an issue of Razorcake that covered this very topic. The Suicidals, the TSOL crew and the Circle One gang. Basically they were all hoodlums looking for the next adventure but often times it got violent and punks fought punks. On this particular evening Mike from Circle One happened to be in the room and he was giving us some knowledge as he expanded on the stories I was reading. He confirmed what I had always heard…TSOL were the baddest mofos on the scene, they were the ones to avoid for fear of getting your head kicked in or at least getting your ass robbed.
Years ago I had a chance to interview Mike Roche from TSOL and I asked him a bit about their legacy as a gang. From his perspective they were just a bunch dudes that hung together, like my “crew” as described above, and didn’t really consider themselves a gang. They were petty thieves and hoodlums, there was nothing organized about they were doing. There certainly wasn’t any criminal enterprise other than some burglaries here and there to score beer and drug money alongside some basic vandalism.
The Decline of Western Civilization’ was on the TV and watching it with someone who was part of the scene at the time was an unreal experience. Circle One Mike narrated the entire movie like it was our own personal directors cut version or something. He corrected the names of venues, pointed dudes in the crowd out and explained that as much as the movie claims to be set in LA the real scene was in Orange County, LA was full of “art-punk” and the hardcore kids were all from the burbs…OC. With that much of the movie actually filmed in OC.
Kerry King from SLAYER seems like the type of dude that owns some assault weapons. I’m not getting into a gun debate here, just simply stating that I bet he owns some. He always wears military styled boots and those camo man-pris. I mean isn’t that just enough right there to draw the logical conclusion that he owns some semi-automatic weapons if not the fully automatic kind even? Of course it is!
Jack Grisham as the singer for TSOL was probably the gang leader I reckon. If a dude sings in a band and is in a gang he is the gang leader I also reckon. Isn’t the singer always the gang leader? Of course he is!
If you’re all hanging in SoCal, the greater LA area to be exact, it’s likely you might have crossed paths. Especially if your bitchen’ metal band covered some bitchen’ punk tunes by the other guys band. And if your son is some sort of wanna’ be gang banger dude and he crosses paths with the toughest motherfuckers in the punk-gang circuit it’s likely he might get his ass handed to him by the lead singer / gang leader. And if it goes too far your son might just become another gangland statistic. That’s means your offspring is dead and Jack Grisham killed him. Since you are Kerry King the next logical move is bust out some of that artillery you have and fill that punk-goth weirdo full of fucken’ lead. Time to light his ass up with a full clip from your AR-15!!! Die fucker!!!!
It seemed so real…So plausible…I even woke up thought about the events as they were understood and went back to sleep to explore this crazy ass story further.
The story that unfolded told the sordid tale of LA punk gangs crossing paths with pseudo Satanic metal dudes and their families. As it unfolded it became clear that Kerry King’s son was fucking around in some shit he had no business fucking around in. He thought he was quite the bad ass until Jack Grisham capped his ass and put an end to his fucking around. Kerry King was not going to let the death of his son go un-avenged so he grabbed some firearms, some banana clips, hunted that cold blooded killer down and lit him up like a fucking Christmas tree! “Take that punk!!! “ Yes, Kerry King killed Jack Grisham in a gangland shootout. Jack’s 9mm was no match for Kerry’s full on Satanic assault.
Now what the hell is that dream supposed to mean? Whew! I have some fucked up dreams…
The ROAC record is almost done. We went back in to record one more song a couple of weeks ago. We got some sick as fuck cover art and a new logo. We are in business!
There has been an unusually high number of “punx” in the Denver area drinking Coors. This is unacceptable. Coors has ties back to the Ku Klux Klan and still to this day gives money to groups like Focus on the Family and other right wing groups. You vote with your dollar!!!! Punx have no business giving businesses like this their business. FUCK! Stand for something!