Saturday, October 29, 1988
Friday, October 28, 1988
Saturday, October 8, 1988
Friday, October 7, 1988
"Damn-Age" is a record that came out after the band broke up. The album was released by a label in Hamburg, Germany called Bitzcore. The album featured material from demoes and in my opinion was better because of the raw sound. The songs found on this LP are:
4. Angels of Death (#1)
6. I Like Speed
8. Repression / Eat the Rich
10. Angels of Death (#2)
11. Hate Generation
12. Direct Action / Trapped in a World
13. Tomorrow is Too Late
14. Living Dead
15. Fire in the Sky
Monday, October 3, 1988
Sunday, October 2, 1988
Have you guys been on tour recently?
Pete (P): Yeah. We just got off being on tour for about six weeks and then we came for about ten days and kinds chilled out for a while. Then we came up here to get even chillier.
Where did the tour take you?
P: It took us from one end of the country to the other, all the way down. You know we hit all four corners and all the points in between, as ZZ TOP would say.
So was this in Europe?
P: No. We are going over there in February, but we have done that once. That was about two years ago.
Do you find that the crowd reactions in the US and Europe differ?
P: Yeah. Especially now because it seems like as far as a lot of the hardcore crowd in the US is concerned, it is pretty much dead. A lot of the people who are our age who use to be into it, aren’t into it anymore. They are jaded or they have gotten older and just moved into a different crowd. We don’t do much advertising, Dischord does, and it seems like a lot of the younger kids are into more metal stuff. And so people aren’t into it as much in this country any more. Meanwhile in Europe, they are a few years behind as far as getting into hardcore. Plus not many American bands get over, so you go over there and people go crazy over it, but also people are generally more interested in politics because they are so sensitive to politics, living in a small country. People over there have to be more aware of what the hell is going on because they are such a small country and they are affected by so many things. Here we think that the world evolves around us. Its not true.
I think that it might also have something to do with a threat. This “threat” of some sort seems to be more prevalent in Europe than here.
P: Yeah. In some ways you’re right because the threat of communism and stuff like that, keeps the democracies and the people so freaked out and ready to fight a war.
Another reason may be that most of the popular wars have been fought over there.
P: That’s true. We haven’t had wars fought on our soil in a long time, since the civil war. It seems that so many families over there were touched by the war and a lot of the people who grew up during the war, have taught their children the lessons that a lot of the people over here didn’t have to deal with because they weren’t affected by the war as much. For instance, my mom. She was born in Holland and had survived World War II and stuff. Her stories of what had happened were passed on to me. They definitely had an impression on me.
Can you tell us a bit about your albums, both past and present?
P: Well we have three albums out. The first one is called “Still Screaming”. The second one is called “This Side Up”. Our new record is called “Banging the Drum” and we have a record coming out in a couple of months, which we don’t have a title for yet.
Is it going to be out on Dischord?
P: No it’s going to be out on a label that we just signed to. It’ll be another DC label called RAS Records.
That’s right. I heard that SCREAM was the first hardcore band to be signed to that label.
P: Yeah, but it depends what you think because they have got some hardcore artists on their label, but not hardcore as may be defined by most people. A lot of people wouldn’t think that a lot of the RAS artists are rockers, but they are.
How did you guys get signed to that label?
P: Well the guy that owns RAS is really into putting out music with a message. He wanted to branch out into other kinds of music. We were a DC band and he came out and saw us and liked us and it went from there. He’s a really cool guy and we like the idea of being on that label. Besides Dischord’s main purpose is to put out new bands and help them get started, especially since most of them break up after they get started. But Dischord really isn’t interested in making money and pushing the band from beyond this starting point. You know that we’ve been doing this for a very long time and it is very important to us. And so to keep doing it we have to survive financially. Dischord doesn’t really provide us with that extra help that RAS can. It’s going to be interesting because RAS is in a position where they are learning. They are going to be much like a brand new label as far as trying to sell our records. So, in some ways there is disadvantages for us, but it’ll work out because it’s not just a one record thing. We are going to be with them for a few records and we already have one ready to come out.
It seems weird that up until now you have always had periods of time between releases and now all of a sudden you have loads of material to release. Is this because you have always had the back up material, it is just that you have had difficulty in releasing it.
P: Yeah. There once was a period of time where Dischord didn’t have the money to put records out. And we didn’t either. Like “This Side Up”. That’s why it was originally released half and half with Rough Trade because before Dischord started working with Southern Studios in London they never could get credit. The creditors in this country won’t give independent labels credit. That’s basically why that happened, but it also had to do with laziness on both parts and stuff.
Side A from “This Side Up” was originally recorded without Robert (second guitarist), but was Side B originally recorded without him as well?
P: No however some of the songs were around.
Well then, how was Robert asked to join the band?
P: It’s pretty simple. He was going out with my sister and that is how we met him. He was in a metal band called TYRANT. We went and saw him and he was hot and he eventually moved into our house. His band would practise there and our band would practise there.
Did they ever release an album?
P: No they didn’t unfortunately. Well he started coming down when we were practising and hanging out. We started jamming and eventually he joined up. We were really glad because our band would not like to be totally defined. People would put us in one category or label us. A lot of people were tunred off when he joined the band and I’m glad because part of the reason for SCREAM’s existence was to irritate people.
On “This Side Up” you recorded a somewhat reggae song?
P: Well it’s got a reggae feel to it, but it is not the WAILERS. It’s SCREAM, not roots reggae. It’s a mutated form of it. I mean we all grew up in the suburbs, we didn’t grow up in Jamaica or anything like that. We are not totally oppressed and have this burning desire to break down all authority.
When will the new record be out?
P: With RAS? It’ll be out in the spring, for sure. But what were you getting at because we recorded two reggae songs on the first record?
But the influence wasn’t so up front.
P: Well we hardly knew how to play our instruments when we recorded “Still Screaming”. We did a song by Eddie Cochrane called “Something Else”, which the SEX PISTOLS did, except that we did it reggae style. We recorded it over in England for “Banging the Drum”, but it didn’t get on. There probably won’t be any reggae stuff on RAS for a while, just because they want to make sure that people know we are a rock band. We do want to do some reggae stuff. We’ve had a chance to jam with EEK-A-MOUSE in the studio already, but he doesn’t want us to do any rhythms with him.
P: It was kinda like us going up to him and saying come on man, we love to play reggae.
So are you saying that you’re not a hardcore band, you’re a rock band?
P: No, we’re just a band man.
Was SCREAM originally considered a straight edge band?
P: Probably. Our lyrics are pretty positive, but we have never hidden the fact that we are not a straight edge band.
What do you think of the ’87 revival in the straight edge movement with bands like YOUTH OF TODAY?
P: I think its great. I think that the message should be out there that you don’t have to do drugs to pass your time. That’s what a lot of kids do in school is get high. Education is the most important thing.
So basically what you’re saying is that a lot of people define the straight edge movement by the MINOR THREAT lyrics “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t fuck”.
P: Yeah, It’s unfortunate because to me it’s more than that. It’s an attitude. In a way it’s anarchy. To me anarchy means being responsible for yourself and to society and if you’re going to be a wasted case than you’re just going to be someone else’s problem.
The movement has had some backlash effects?
P: I think its better because everyone is going through that phase, but I think in the long run, the person that is just getting totally fucked up now, will eventually reach a point where they will either continue like that or get their shit together or tune their life around with it. Like “This Side Up”. That’s what the song “This Side Up” is all about. The straight kids, who are taking it to an extreme right now, will probably get a different perspective on it later, but I think they’ll have a better attitude about life. If you are talking about how some people put down others for breaking this code, one day they’ll realize that everyone is entitled to do what they want.
It seems that between the first two records the sound changed a noticeable amount. Did you set out to get a new sound or was it just a progression?
P: No it just happened. Like you said, it takes a while for our stuff to get released. For instance, the songs on the “Still Screaming” LP were a few years old when it came out.
Do you notice that a lot of people into the hardcore scene will just come and see a band regardless of whether they know them or not?
P: That happens in all music scenes. That’s how a lot of people get turned onto us.
What kind of bands do you listen to now?
P: On the way up today from Columbus, Ohio, we listened to Stanley Clark, Trouble’s new record, the DAMNED, the BUZZCOCKS, Lynard Skynard’s second album. Amy was playing some old blues stuff. What else did we listen to? Some Lee Perry and the Dub Syndicate. We also listened to an SST sampler.
What are your favourite albums of all time?
P: I don’t have any favourite albums.
What bands have influenced you?
P: Everything has influenced us and its not just bands. Television, parents, friends. Musically we probably have the same roots that most white middle class suburban kids have. Even Black middle class. Things like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and shit like that influenced us before we got turned onto another kind of music.
Are you making any money on this tour at all?
P: Nah. Not at all. We’re still trying to get the band’s name out there. Still screaming.
Do you have day jobs or is the band your full time job?
P: The band is a full time job, but between tours we will usually pick up a job. The jobs always change. Most recently I was a truck driver. Same with everybody else. Nobody has a steady career at the moment.
So basically your life is centred around the band.
Do you practise every night?
P: Not every night, but most of the time. Music has always been a big part of my life and my brothers. My brother plays guitar. My father used to manage rock ‘n roll bands. Its been around me ever since I was young.
How are the crowds accepting the new material?
P: Surprisingly enough, pretty good. I mean we play a varied mix. We still play our old stuff, some of our new stuff, and some stuff that has still yet to be released. However most of the kids are still coming to the show wanting to hear something fast. But we just play what we want.
You’ve been around in the hardcore scene for quite a few years, can you tell us of some of those changes that you have seen hardcore go through?
P: Well I’ve just seen it start out, becoming a big thing, and then destroying itself. Then you see new bands come up and do it all over again. They seemly get exploited by the media. It’s all a cycle and I think you find it in all kinds of music.
The song “Sing it up kids”, was it written before or after you went to Europe?
Was it about anything in particular?
P: Just about shows.
I had a feeling it was about Europe.
P: Well it could be, definitely.
It seems to me that a lot of the European bands are speed for the sake of speed bands.
P: Well that may be true in some cases, but like I was saying before a lot of the hardcore bands over there are really into the early sound. Its like they are just starting to get into it.
Actually, I’ve noticed a few bands that have ripped off your band.
P: Well everybody is inspired by other people I wouldn’t call it ripped off. I would say inspired. It is the same like BAD BRAINS did it for us. The TEEN IDLES, the DAMNED, and the BUZZCOCKS all inspired us. That’s why when we came out with “Still Screaming” everybody was freaked out because we were singing harmonies and stuff for that kind of music. We were listening to a lot of the DAMNED and SHAM69 and stuff like that. We were also into a lot of the late sixties American punk, like the SONICS and stuff. We were into that kind of stuff. Everyone’s influenced and that was our outcome of it. Just like Led Zeppelin and the Stones were influenced by early American blues artists.
Do you have any comments about Paul Simon using all those musicians from South Africa?
P: I think that anything that brings Apartheid to peoples minds is important. Even if you use those musicians, they had a choice not to record with him. I think that it is more important to get the music out with that kind of a message. It’s not like how Frank Sinatra will go over there and play Sun City. Its totally different. I think people should be more supportive of what he did.
What happened to your old drummer Kent?
P: Well he has a family and stuff and we don’t make any money at all. He has to support a family and we were lucky enough to find this new guy. He’s a really special person. He used to be in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. He was also the drummer for a band called DAIN BRAMAGE, who had just put out one record. You’ll see him tonight. He’s really good.
Did you know him beforehand?
P: No. It was one of those things where he knew us and he used to come see us. That’s what made it so easy because he knew every song.
Were you ever looking for a new drummer?
P: We put an ad out. It wasn’t nationwide. Just in our neck of the woods, although we thought we might have to go nation wide. It took us a long time to find someone that would fit.
Did you have a lot of people trying out?
P: No, not that many. The ones that were it was just not happening.
Was the band sitting in idle for a while?
P: Kind of. We weren’t sure what we were going to do.
Do you find it hard to keep going, having been around for so long?
P: Sure man. Everybody tells us to keep going, but every time we play it rejuvenates us and we wash away all the fuckin’ bullshit and just go on.
Saturday, October 1, 1988