Monday, November 24, 2008

Step Forward Interview

What we have here is a real blast from the past. This is an interview I did with a guy who would become one of my good friends, Kenny Fontaine of Step Forward (and Waste Management, and my band Free Spirit). We conducted the interview about a year and a half ago for a fanzine which never came out, and while we didn't know each other at the time it took place, a strong friendship grew out of it. Kind of a cheesy story, but nonetheless a nice example of the community that Hardcore and Punk really is. It's a shame this zine never came out, and it's about time this interview saw the light of day.

Other interesting notes about this interview:
*1.5 years later it's still relevant as DFJ's comp remains unreleased and Step Forward has gigged prob less than 5 times since then
*Me and Kenny's frequent feuding often stems from: his laser pointer, the "Be Yourself" Remix, bad phone etiquette, whether or not Wedding Crashers is the funniest movie ever, weird shit in his car ("don't touch my Harry" - referring to a Harry Potter doll which was inexplicably in his backseat), and him not buckling up despite his frequent car accidents
*After Brian Murphy hounding me for the last year, I've one hundred percent relinquished the idea of my fanzine ever coming out. Congratulations Murphy, you win.



Step Forward Interview - Summer 2007

Yo man, who's all in Step Forward?

My name is Kenny and I sing, Chris Cory play lead and masterminds the riffs,
Ryan Hudon holds down second guitar, Justin Detore on the skins, and last
but certainly not least is the one and only Maurice Scace on Bass.

How would you describe the sound of your band to those who haven't heard you
yet?

We tried to combine the speed and raw sound of bands like Minor Threat, DYS,
Straight Ahead, etc. with the tunefulness of bands like Uniform Choice and
early 7 Seconds. Just fast, straight edge hardcore without any modern
influence whatsoever.

Could you give a brief history of the band and its members?

It started quite a few years ago with CC and Rich Purusi jamming on CC's
riffs for a new band to be called Loud and Clear. The practice tape kicked
around for a few years with a few proposed singers, but nothing ever even
made it to a full practice. CC gave me a copy of the tape after my old band
so we got Justin to play. We wrote a bunch of songs over the period of a
and recorded the record on a saturday. We put that out on 200 green tapes
and then put it to 7" both on Painkiller. We actually played our first gig
in Montreal with Righteous Jams, but I like to pretend our first show was
last october 21 (edge day observed). We've played a handful of shows
since, and that brings us up to the present.

To clear up any confusion, is your band 100% called Step Forward now? I still hear Loud and Clear USA getting tossed around.

Yeah, we're officially called Step Forward. We were originally called Loud
and Clear, which like I said above dates back a few years, but our friends
in Belgium beat us to it and released a record under that name first. Then
we entertained the idea of calling the band loud and clear USA for a while,
but an unpatriotic member shot that down(cc- “I won't include the name of any country that has documented their experiments with lsd on its citizens so extensively in my straight edge band. There I said it - the United States of America is a druggie
loser.) I personally love my country, but we all have to agree so… Actually, Stand Hard records and Lockin out released a few Loud and Clear USA tapes and we passed them out at a justice show as a gag (sort of).

Did you get the name from Step Forward Records? Do you own a Step Forward
Records Drug Free Youth shirt? If I was edge I'd definitely cop one of those.

We actually get the name from The Mob song Step forward. I used to own one of those shirts, but bills forced me to sell a few higher ticket items in my collection. I
wouldn’t mind scooping one again though. p.s- that song has the best BUST IT! ever recorded.

The lyrics on the EP are overall pretty positive. What would you say is the
general message of the band?

I mean, some are, but I thought most were just me being pissed of at life.
You know, reaching my boiling point, having no apologies for what I think,
being held back in life, etc. The song about hardcore and straight edge is
pretty positive, but I felt I need to write that kind of song. The older I get the more I see people turn away from straight edge and hardcore, and
that’s just the way it is I guess, but for me its just been the opposite.
Other than that, the more positive songs are really just stating to myself, there is a solution for these problems. I’d rather be negative though if you want to know the truth.
CC: even though ken writes the lyrics, I think the band for me, and
for all of us is just about being real. That’s why the songs are
short, and the lyrics are to the point and direct. It’s not about
repressing certain emotions so you can be more "positive" and isn’t
about wallowing in your problems and misery. I don’t know if that
makes sense, but I think it does.

Are you happy with the reaction your EP and live-show gets from kids?

I'm more than happy so far. It's refreshing to hear that people like the
band for what it is and not who it is. Most people had no idea that it was
ex members of so and so until recently. From our first show on we had
decent reactions at shows, and besides the 200 tapes we had, the ep is sold
out of the third press. (Actually it’s more like 2-1/2 presses) We just
played sound and fury fest in Ventura, ca and I was literally blown away.
There were a bunch of kids moshing and knew our songs. I mean this was
really maybe our 6th show and we were on the other side of the country,
that’s just crazy to me.

What's your take on the current state of the Hardcore in Boston and the rest
of the USA? How does it compare to when you first got into things?

It’s pretty good I think. As I get older, my filter for bands has become less
accepting, but there are some cool bands. The Boston scene has always been one
of the top scenes, but at the same time shows are really hit or miss. We
have such a strong concentration of successful bands. I hear Richmond has
the best scene going which is cool. I started going to shows when there was
in my eyes, floorpunch, ten yard fight, etc. gigs all the time, so it’s hard
to compare to that, but its going strong I think.

Speaking of which, how did you discover Hardcore Punk and being straight edge?

My best friend growing up had an older brother who was into hardcore and was
a bouncer at the rat in Boston back in the day. He introduced me to mostly
shit like Slapshot, DYS, SSD as well as a lot of the New York shit. My
friend also had a cousin who was involved in the New Bedford scene. He was
in a couple of bands but would take us to cool shows at reflections in New
Bedford. From there straight edge was just part of the whole package. The
bands I was getting exposed to, the shows I was seeing, early Rev releases
really caught my ear, so straight edge just seemed to fit perfectly with the
rest.

What does being straight edge mean to you? Has the meaning of it changed at
all for you as you've grown up edge?

I never drank or did drugs as a kid. I had always found it lame and useless
so it seemed natural to me to be straight edge. You got to admit too, the whole image of it is pretty appealing. When ten yard fight would play reflections or something,
they would make it seem so god damn cool. I still think it’s cool as a matter
of fact. Some people that stay straight edge when they get older don’t really
see it as something they relate to anymore, but still don’t want to drink or
smoke or whatever. I on the other hand, in part, still relate to it the same
way I did when I was 12. It has changed a little bit though. These days I
can count my straight edge friends on one hand just about. The fact that
they are choosing not to be edge anymore make me feel more empowered.
I think it’s pretty cool to have something remain a sincere feeling; operate
self control at an age where it’s critical to find yourself, etc. I think my
edge grows sharper with every day.

Do you view being in a band as an effective way of getting involved in the
scene? Would you say it's important for hardcore kids to do more than just
be audience members i.e. start a label, band, fanzine, book a show, etc.?

It’s kind of a fine line to me. A lot of kids that are involved in bands no
longer participate in hardcore on a spectator level anymore. You can catch
me still stage diving and moshing for the bands I like just as much as when
I was 16. At the same time though, I think that for some people, being in a
band is the only thing that keeps them involved this long. I think it’s
definitely important to be more than an audience member, but I don’t think
most kids these days even do that. Kids these days think they’re fucking rock
stars themselves and are above being up front and above scuffing up their
shoes that they wore to the gig to show off, above letting people know they like hardcore, and above even going inside! It’s getting a little ridiculous.

What's your life like outside of Hardcore? Do you work and/or go to school?

I work full time at a lumber yard and I’m also going to school full time to
be an art teacher. It only took me 6 years to go back, but I finally bit the
bullet. I like to hang in the suburbs playing mini golf, going to dinner, go
to the beach, etc. My goal is to have all my friends move into the suburbs
too, it’s so much cooler than the city. I'm actually just going through the
process of buying a house. I know it’s a pretty adult thing to do, but its
perfect timing. That’s pretty much it, pretty normal.

As a dude who plays in a band drawing from the older hardcore sound, which
would you rather see: young kids getting siked on older bands or them getting siked on the current and new acts? Both are obviously very important.

Yeah, both are definitely important. I don’t know, what came first the chicken or the egg? What’s more important, being siked on modern hardcore and not caring about the roots, or caring only about the past and thinking
everything else sucks? I think balance is the key. When we played sound and
fury more kids knew our songs it seemed than when we played a DYS and
Uniform Choice song. It’s cool as hell that they know our shit, don’t get me
wrong, but its really depressing to play such important and historic songs
and have them just cock their heads clueless.

Step Forward performed at Sound And Fury Fest in California recently, what
kind of reaction did you guys get? Was it your first time on the West Coast?

Yeah, as a band it was the first time out there and actually it was my first
time also. I haven’t even flown before that. Those other guys are all
seasoned vets at touring though. The reaction was way better than expected,
but unfortunately we hadn’t practice in months and it showed.

Every member of your band is in at least one other band, (see: Righteous
Jams, Have Heart, Mind Eraser, etc.) does this make
it difficult to tour and play as many gigs as you'd like?

Yeah, that’s pretty much the only problem we ever have. It’s impossible to
practice never mind play a gig or go on the road at all. The other bands make
it tough; especially Have Heart, they’re probably the biggest act in hardcore
right now. Cold World too, they do a lot and Mind Eraser is pretty active
also. I think they are all going to be slowing down for a bit though, so
hopefully we can take advantage of that this fall/winter/spring.

Do you have plans to put out any more material soon? I read on the
Painkiller site you'll be appearing on an upcoming
compilation - will this include a new song?

Yeah! DFJ is putting out this cool comp called "the best comp in the world".
Were going to have at least one song on it. We have that song ready to go, were
planning on recording it soon. We’re also writing for a new ep, but I’m not
sure when to expect that. Not too far in the future but not too soon either.
We’d like to strike while the irons hot.

What are you future goals as a band?

uhh, write new material that doesn’t stray off the original sound too much.
Too many bands do that. Have fun, id love to tour a bunch. I’m the only one
in the band who hasn’t seen a lot of the world with thanks to hardcore. If we
can turn a kid on to straight edge or some cool old band we cover or
something on the way, that’s cool too.

Alright man, thanks a lot for the interview. Do you have any closing words
or shoutouts you wanna give?

Thanks to you for the interview, it’s great to see someone doing a cool zine.
The Boston Straight edge, all the dudes and bands we’re friends with. Everyone knows who they are…

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Free Spirit - "Be Yourself" Demo

"Stick together me and you, stand for something fucking true..."

After about 6 months of practicing, and an equal number of hypothetical members the Free Spirit demo is actually a (cruciality) reality. Kei Yasui explained it by saying "it's like seeing McDonald's commercials your whole life and then finding out Ronald McDonald is real." Whether or not you share his sentiment, one must admit it's been a long and arduous half-hearted, half-joking road that has finally come to some form of conclusion with this demo. Enjoy.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/ledpqz

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yeah, a little



Monday, August 4, 2008

Krakdown Style


"Intro/Nazi Threat" "Freedom" "Sick Society"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The OC - This Was A Time I'll Remember

The summer of 2006, one which I spent in Florida enjoying my last months of living at home before moving off to Greater Boston for college, is a time I consider pivotal in the solidification of my interests in adult nerdery. I spent so many nights of that summer staying up until 5 AM with my friend Jordan running DVDs and records into the ground, namely The OC Seasons 1 and 2. I struggle in fighting off the urge to turn this into a coming of age story, however it must be said that during those nights I felt so at home in that living room. It had become such a welcome routine, retiring after doing what could be considered something and finding the true joy in doing nothing. In the microcasm of the universe which was that 3 month period of driving back and forth between my house and Jordan's that routine defined a percentage of my social life I hesitate to enumerate for the sake of saving face. The OC was the backdrop to this whole experience, which of all the time I spent with my childhood and to this day good friend seems to be the most vivid in my memory.

I loved the show. I loved all the characters. I loved hearing "previously on The OC..." I loved catching recurring lines. I loved how stupid it was on the surface, but how I got it for one reason or another. In today's terms I would say that The OC is kind of like Inside Out NY or Nike Wovens - it's just the kind of thing that when taken at face value just makes sense to some people. I'm not saying that I'm smart and could see something others can't see, I'm saying I have junk food taste and I like what I like.

Two years later, which is shocking to see written as its felt like a lifetime, I can finally say that I've completed the series in order. It took a considerable amount of restarting but with the help of a roommate who taught me how to download TV shows (I still don't know how) I finally finished what Jordan and I sought out to do. It's over-grandiose to say that completing all 4 seasons has been a journey or spiritual experience, but it has been fun, theraputic, and a conversation piece to boot. I didn't grow up with these characters, I blasted through their life events and traumas over a highly spliced up two year period, but there's a connection between myself and the Cohen family I do hold as real.

When I look at myself at 20 I see a person who wears his interests on his sleeve, and I think this inclination towards over-analyzing and discussing past-the-point-of-courtesy the minutia of the things which people often leave as a list of their favorite bands or movies on MySpace as a quality I inherited from years of friendship with Jordan. We shared The OC at a time when our interests were splitting off into two different directions, and the meeting grounds for our increasingly infrequent meetings are still a living room. What there is to say about this period of OC worship is unclear for me in looking back at it, but I will say goodbye to my second favorite television family (guess the first) and hope that we meet again some time later in life when I need to be reminded of the comfort I felt in the time I spent with a friend on the cusp of adulthood.

Shoutouts to the OG fans: Jordan, Sam, Megan, Chucky, Rob's Mom

No love to: Che or as he was known in the Chrismuk-huh? episode, Chester. And Oliver. Both these characters drove me up a fucking wall.

Give thanks and praise to: The Bullet (Bang!). Illest character!! I loved how over the top he was, this was so involunterily good too because every other over the top character on the show was obnoxious and came close to ruining many otherwise good episodes.

Right back where we started from...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Free At Last

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Exhaust

There was a time when Token Entry shirts w/ Positive Force sleeve print were all over eBay every week, going between 20 and 40 dollars each auction. Now when I'm ready to pull the trigger on one of those bad boys they're nowhere to be found. Same with Bold "Speak Out" shirts, that I'll even take a boot someone throw me a fucking bone here. If this was Chucky's blog I'd say if any of you readers have one of these joints and are looking to give it a good home hit me up gsayfan@gmail.com but I know that only a handfull of people close to me will see this.

I downed a Godzilla Burger from Eagle's Deli no problem, no surprise there - I can truly fuck up a good burger when the time is right. I won't get to into that though I keep it reserved for those unrefined gourmands out there.

Apps wears floral print shorts, word.

Coming Soon:
Who's Your Boy Blog
Free Spirit Practice Tape
Stop Look and Listen Records #1
Third Tier Kenmore's return to greatness
Motivation
Vacation