Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interview: Greg Benedetto of Stuck in the City

Greg Benedetto runs a blog called Stuck in the City which is a lot like an active scene report for Toronto. Greg does shows under Stuck In The City, he started a label, and he guest hosted on EXD on May 24th so he can add that to his list of accomplishments. Here is some background on the man behind Stuck In The City.

Given that the name of your blog is called Stuck in the City, maybe you could tell us what part of the city you grew up in?
I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. I grew up in Brampton. I commuted downtown for high school so I like to think I have been down here for twelve years now give or take.
That was my experience too. I grew up in North York, but always came downtown to see shows and stuff. But Brampton might have a bit of a scene maybe.
When I was growing up in Brampton, it definitely had its own scene. It was one city that was part of the greater southern Ontario scene. When I was growing up there were bands that would play around. Like bands in Toronto would play St. Catharines and Brampton and Hamilton and vice versa. Bands from Brampton would play everywhere. But they wouldn’t really leave that pocket for a long time.
It sounds kind of like an exchange of bands a bit. Playing each other’s scenes.
For sure. For a while there was shows and then ether wasn’t, but by 2001 or 2002 it became consistent that once a month at the North Bramalea United Church in Brampton there was a show and it was kind of a mixed bag of bands. I like to think that Brampton was five years behind everywhere else. So you had a late 90’s scene where 90’s hardcore had expanded. Some bands sounded like incredible technical metal and others were whiney emo stuff. It was all over the place. Anyway they would all play together. That’s how I was introduced to hardcore.
So the scene is a bit of a time capsule.
It is definitely a time capsule.
There was this guy on our show from the RAVING MOJOS a few years back and he was talking about a scene before the internet where bands would release stuff and it would take a while to get overseas. He spoke of this as a cultural dialogue between London and New York. Music would evolve that way, but it would take a few years with the back and forth and in some ways I think people hear something in a city scene and then try and replicate that in a suburban scene. And starting a band takes time to get the right members so you can understand why there would be a time lag.
The interesting thing about it was when all these shows were starting the internet was finally seeing the rise. The internet was actually becoming something incredibly vital to an independent music scene. When I started going to shows there was a rebellion against it. Lots of people saw it as a negative thing and I think there are negative aspects of the internet. That’s not debatable. It is absolutely true. But the internet has permeated every facet of culture. The internet is absolutely relevant to independent music. You were saying that the sphere of music doesn’t really exist anymore because you can have a kid with a computer download a GAUZE record and start a band in a minute that sounds exactly like that record whereas in the 80’s that was not possible.
No it took a few years.
It took a few years before anyone in Cleveland had heard any of that shit. So it has changed music totally. There is nothing you can argue about that. Especially as it pertains to a local scene.
Let me ask you about being in Brampton. I’m thinking about my experience growing up in North York and how we didn’t have a place to go see bands. We always had to come down to Toronto to see something. How did you first get into punk? Was it a local band or was it kids at high school? What was your first introduction to punk?
I kind of fell into it. I had gone to high school downtown and I had friends in Brampton, but I spent all my spare time in Brampton so to a degree I was separated from everyone I went to high school with. I was feeling a disconnect there. So I found myself associating with people in Brampton that I went to grade school with. But they were going to high school with people that they lived close to so they were becoming friends with the people that they were going to high school with. As a result to staying close to them I was at a friend’s birthday party and somebody gave me a flyer right when MONEEN was starting. Ten years later nobody would look at them and say that is a hardcore band, but at the time in 1999, they were doing exactly what every other hardcore band was doing. They were getting in a van and working their ass off to play. I got a flyer of them playing at their first show. They were just putting out their own first ep. There was a crazy picture and I thought this was really cool. I was really into music. I had grown up through the post-“Dookie” era and was somewhat interested in punk rock. I was skateboarding when I was in grade school. Then all of a sudden it was this thing that exists in my city that I could look to and connect with. I went to a show at the church and a friend of mine put on the show. It just spiraled from there. That was me getting into the microcosm of Brampton.
So a flyer at a party.
Yeah. A band actually played there. It was terrible, so I am not going to say who they were. They were bad but at the time I was thinking this is cool. This is a band from my city. Then you get a flyer and you realize there is more to this and there are all these people and they are all friends and they all work together and help each other out. They all go to each other’s shows.
We can do this altogether again soon. We are not going to lose this after tonight.
That was the element that drew me towards the scene. It was the interconnectedness that we would all work together. That there would be some sort of a community together.
How did you make the connection to the city? What was your first band that you might have seen in Toronto?
The first time I came down to Toronto was to see one of those…..the mythology of Southern Ontario hardcore was when NO WARNING was coming up and all that stuff. I think it is fascinating. I could talk about that stuff for hours. But I came down …
Was it one of their shows?
No it wasn’t a NO WARNING show at this point. I was like fourteen or fifteen. The FULL BLAST had some sort of beef with Ewan Exall. They weren’t allowed to play any shows because a member of the FULL BLAST was in the Brampton brawl in 1999 where the NO WARNING crew and FULL BLAST and THE END had it out. So the FULL BLAST would never get booked in Toronto so they booked their own show downtown. It was FULL BLAST, I think it was the first ABANDONED HEARTS CLUB show, THE END, IN DYING DAYS from Montreal, and MONEEN. So it was all bands that I had kind of seen in the suburbs, but I was seeing them downtown and this was around when those bands were really expanding. A lot of these local bands weren’t really big outside of Southern Ontario. But in Southern Ontario they were big. They could play to a room in St. Catharines and they could play to a different room of 80 kids wherever they went. Their hometown was bigger. I think it was during IN DYING DAYS. I was in the pit. I had gotten kicked in the head. I had to go get stitches. Because of coming downtown to see a band that I could have otherwise seen in my own city. Also because I went to school in the city I was able to get to Rotate This after school so that is how I would get my record fix back then. Even though the internet was coming up there was HMV in Brampton where I could go in and order a CD and it would take six weeks to get there and then I would hear it and think “why did I wait six weeks for this?” And to that I am grateful because I had the ability to experience that sort of mail ordering where I would get something and be totally disappointed with it. Kids don’t have that these days because they can check out everything on the internet. Which is good and bad. Anyways I would come down to Rotate, get records, pick up flyers, and eventually from there I went to check out bands. So it was a long time getting into it but my first show in Toronto was that. Outside of seeing RANCID and BAD RELIGION in grade 9.
Now let me ask you to make a connection to the music you listen to now. How did you get into the music that you are into now? I was supposed to ask you about an OUR WAR show and a HAYMAKER show.
I was in grade 11 or 12 and there was that huge show. I think it was OUR WAR’s last show with TERROR, BANE…
Where was this show at?
The Kathedral. NO WARNING might have played. I don’t know for sure because despite booking it off work I got scheduled to work. It was a matinee and I got scheduled to work 9:00am til ….I wasn’t allowed to work nights so I got scheduled to work weekends. I had to work all day on Saturday and all day on Sunday.
And it was a matinee so it started in the afternoon.
But I booked that day off and instead of getting actually booked for my 9:00am to 5:00pm I got scheduled from 2:00pm til 9:00pm. So I missed the OUR WAR show matinee and that night at the Q Bar was HAYMAKER. That was the HAYMKAER show where I think it was the only time they played Toronto proper and they just trashed the place. THINK I CARE might have played that. Maybe VIOLENT MINDS.
They did play a JCC show where there was blood involved.
HAYMAKER? See my history is spotty from that era because I wasn’t always around. That show stood out in my mind as being the show. Of course, I was 17. I wasn’t really driven to go see OUR WAR. I was more interested in seeing BANE and TERROR. This was right when TERROR were coming up. That show sticks out to me as the one show I wish I had seen. At that point I hadn’t known about the Toronto scene and was watching it from afar. I was into NO WARNING at that point. Those guys were only a few years older than me. Again it was another band from our city that could do something. It was taboo for me to like them living in Brampton as there was the conflict with our local bands. It was like NO WARNING would never play Brampton or Oakville or St Catharines. But in the city NO WARNING had a presence.
As a result of missing a HAYMAKER show and a NO WARNING show did you start to actively seek out their stuff? Just because you knew their names and they were local so it might be easier to seek out their stuff.
Definitely and that kind of came with NO WARNING and seeing that and knowing that this idea of community wasn’t built around these bands. It was built around the hardcore scenes and as time passed in this era it became even more prevalent. In this day and age you don’t see many bands that aren’t hardcore bands thriving in a community like that. At least that is my impression. I guess there are small pockets where rock music would thrive, but what I experienced was a direct product of a hardcore community and I was into aggressive music so it was like the next step. Getting fully involved. Especially when the bands around me were breaking up or getting big.
So tell me about getting into and doing shows. That is a pretty big deal to do.
I guess.
Well I did some shows later on when I got into the scene but it took a few years to get the nerve to figure out that I could put on a show.
I had always taken an interest in it. It just kind of came naturally. There was always shows for me to see and then at a point it felt like there wasn’t. Or the bands that I really wanted to see weren’t coming here.
So it was the vacuum that made you want to put on a show.
It was like I want to see this band here and I am going to message them because nobody else is making the effort for them to come here. That’s kind of how it started.
What was the first show that you put on?
The first show that I put on was the FIRST STEP show. Well I had helped do a couple of Blacklisted shows with my friend and roommate Rick. He got them here a couple of times and he did those at Sneaky Dee’s. They went over well, but those were really Rick’s shows. I just facilitated getting Dee’s. My terrible band played one of them.
What was your band?
I don’t even want to talk about it. We were called the WILD CATS.
Did you ever record anything?
I’m going to say no so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. Yeah we recorded an early misguided demo. Jason O’ Young, the king of Southern Ontario recorded it. I haven’t listened to it in ages and I don’t want to. I will one day but right now I need to start another band so that I can forget about this one. It’s years in the past now. It’s behind us. So I did that and then …that’s the thing about doing shows is that nobody really trusts you until you have done a few. Especially touring bands.
Yeah but that border is precarious.
Yeah and when I started doing shows, when I did the FIRST STEP show admittedly I had no clue about what I was doing. The bands that played can attest to that.
But you got them here.
I did get them here.
That is a big deal. And people talked about that show. They were happy that they made it.
It was fate. The KEEP IT UP guys actually ended up driving them up from the border because they didn’t want to bring up all their gear and stuff. I remember having a talk with Erik Hoibak, who is to a degree my mentor when it comes to putting on shows.
But Erik has done tons of shows.
And he has been a good friend of mine for probably five or six years now. He has offered that sort of advice. I remember having a phone call conversation maybe two days before the show. He said did you send any paperwork? And I was like paperwork? He was like you didn’t send any paperwork! They are not going to make it. They are not going to come. Just cancel the show. But it worked out. The band came. The show went over well. There was probably 70 kids there.
And sending bands to the border were the old way of getting bands across.
Yeah because you could drive them across and say they were friends of yours.
For years MDC couldn’t get across because of their name and so people had to sneak them across. Once they came through a native reserve.
Yeah, there are a few avenues I have not explored myself.
But one of them being coming in through people’s cars.
But with that show it was the first show and it was an opportunity to screw up and I did and I learned all those lessons immediately. Like to the point where I went out and got the band water and I rented the P.A. and I took money out of my bank account so I would have a float. At the end of the night I forgot to count out my float and ended up paying them money I had put into the show despite the fact that the show did well. So I ended up paying them some ridiculous amount of money without even blinking an eye at it and then later realizing I paid them a hundred dollars out of my own money. Well I guess it was worth it. Whatever. I talked myself into it.
Your admission was a hundred bucks.
Yeah, but it was one of those things where I had pulled it off so. Even still they were the first band that trusted me to put on a show for them. I’m sure D’arcy can attest to this that this is hard to get bands to do. The thing is once you have that trust eventually people ask you to do shows for them. A friend of mine in Montreal asked me if I could do a show and I said of course I’ll do it. I looked for six weeks trying to find a venue. Eventually I came across Siesta Nouveaux. I went to see the space. I met her. It was exactly what we needed. And I called my buddy back and said let’s do the show I found a space. He was like we booked Buffalo a half a month ago. The show never happened but I had the drive to go out and find a space which is tough.
Was that the first time Siesta Nouveaux would have a show?
Siesta Nouveaux had shows by this time and Matt was at the High Art 4 the Lowdown, but that was very much it’s own thing. I saw the name but when I met and talked to Lynn, she was not really doing shows. She had done a few but they were not beyond her realm. And Matt was the same. He would do a matinee once a month but he would do it with bands that weren’t necessarily part of the crowd that I found myself a part of. For the first time…that was the biggest part, we didn’t have an exempt venue in Toronto that wasn’t 19+. The whole time I was in university for the most part I was sneaking into shows. Cinecycle did one show within four years and it got shut down after that. They still do stuff but they don’t do hardcore shows. There was Ania’s for a while but nothing was all ages. Siesta Nouveaux was for the first time an all ages legit venue. That is as good as you can really get. When I found the venue I was like this is it. Now I can do this regularly. I think it has worked.
What about Beav and Rick Smith?
I was helping Rick Smith with those Blacklisted shows. But for the most part a lot of stuff they were getting asked to do they didn’t necessarily want to take. Just to backtrack a bit, it is unfair of me to say we didn’t have an all ages space. The Adrift skate park was a great space. It did work for a while. The thing with it though for anyone who was actually there, I was looking through my Town of Hardcore zineography over the weekend again and in 2005 there was a REST IN PEACE for Adrift Skate park. At that point there was maybe three or four shows that had happened there. I think Rick and Beav had gotten tired of doing shows. It happens to everyone who does shows. You get tired of doing them because the bands that you wanted to se have broken up. I think hey were going through that and I said I’ll book these tours. That is how I got that first show that I was looking for the venue.
You mentioned to me that Rick had asked you to do a show.
He said to me I don’t want to do this. Do you want to do it? It was like REIGN SUPREME and the MONGOLOIDS. I’m not particularly crazy about either of those bands but I know kids here would come see them. At that point I had the burning desire to facilitate stuff.
D’arcy: Can I say something about that FIRST STEP show. That video that has been on URBAN BLIGHT’s page for years, my girlfriend took that. I am somehow connected to your first show.
It was fun that show. And at that time there weren’t any young bands in Toronto. It was KEEP IT UP, URBAN BLIGHT, and ABOUT TO SNAP. Three incredible bands. URBAN BLIGHT is the only one still around. When I was preparing for this I put on the two ABOUT TO SNAP 7”s because Tim Drew is another person that needs mention here. When I was young and stupid he was always there to offer advice. He had a distro at shows when there wasn’t a record store in the city.
A guy with an amazing sense of humour and so quick witted.
Tim Drew once told me, because he had Specimen 32, his label, and I said to him I have always thought about doing a record label and he said to me if you want to do a record label here is what you should do. You should go into your backyard, dig a huge pit, take all your money and throw it in there, and then bury it.
Yep just to get the experience beforehand.
I miss seeing him around at shows. I know he is busy doing his own thing these days but he was a good guy to have around.
When they played here, I never stopped laughing.
And I was looking over the lyrics going man this band was great. It’s unfortunate they called it a day when they did.
Yeah but Pedja has a new band.
He has one or two bands. But Tim was there to offer advice of the older core men.
I wanted to ask you about your shows. Are they all all ages?
I do everything I can to make sure that the shows are all ages. I think I have done one or two shows at Rancho Relaxo which is technically a 19+ venue, but it is either that or no show.
And you can bend the rules a bit.
The reality of being eighteen years old or younger is.... Fake ID culture is not something you can lie about. Everybody tries to get fake ID. When I was in high school there was a guy who took your old G1 and would doctor it and re-laminate it so that it said you were older. I also had a fake ID with my roommates picture on it. He had turned 19 and I was still 18. There is tons of ways. Pesci and I talk about this all the time. A lot of shows he does ends up being 19+. Kids have to learn to defy that rule because we are not always going to have an all ages venue. Especially now. I went to all that effort to find Siesta Nouveaux and now that it is known as an all ages venue there are tons of promoters out there that are trying to use it. The scene grew. There is metal promoters and Lynn does independent plays. That competes with shows. Annie’s is 19+ and I had to do a show there and no one came. And maybe it was because it was 19+. Personally I think all ages is absolutely important to hardcore. This was started for kids, by kids and carried on by adults but to a degree we are all kids at heart. That’s why they use the term ‘hardcore kid’.
I use it about myself and I am 40.
All ages shows are absolutely vital to the hardcore community. I think since we have started doing regular all ages shows we have seen an incredible growth in the number of bands under 19 or around that age. The reality is that although some of those bands may not be the greatest thing that hardcore has ever seen the fact that they are getting into it at that age means that in three or four years from now they might be doing something that is incredibly ground breaking for this community. That’s what a hardcore scene needs. It needs the youth. It needs kids that have the energy and the ability to spend all their spare time caring about something. The older people get, as Chris Logan said, you are trapped in that 9 to 5. You get older and you get out of school a lot of people are forcing you to be an adult. I find myself suffering through that.
The adult trap.
The adult crash. You try not to give up on this stuff. When you start to face the realities of the working world if you can’t sustain yourself independently which I think every hardcore kid tries to do. They have actually devoted time to something like this. You’re fighting for a cause. Your tastes and ideas. The youth is essential and the young kids are the ones that can give it their all. That’s why it’s important. And that’s why I do all ages shows. At the end of the day a roomful of twenty five year olds worried about getting their heads bashed in because they have to go to work tomorrow morning is no fun.
I have always found it important to do and have a space for, but I have always heard this criticism of it mostly by jaded people so I am glad you are doing them. Where does the name Stuck in the City come from?
A BREAKDOWN song. We were discussing this earlier, the name itself and the subject matter have retroactively become relevant to what I am experiencing as an individual. And they do another song that is going to have some relevance in my life. Me and Mike from FORTUNE TELLER, who also owns Astro Screen printing - I pride myself on not really taking money from the shows we do. My rule is whenever anybody says here is a contract and sign it, I will. I never take it for personal pleasure. I put it into a pot so that I can pay bands when they come through if a show doesn’t do well. March was a really good month despite that the shows in April aren’t really doing so well. I have enough money to work with Mike to start a record label. This came up on a Friday night when I was hanging out in someone’s kitchen, but it is going to be called Labelled Records, which is a silly play on words, but I thought it was funny and in turn is named after another BREAKDOWN song who’s subject matter I find personally important as well. I think it is evident that I enjoy the music of BREAKDOWN.
I also think it is a good ethic that money raised in the scene should stay in the scene.
Exactly. There is a lot of DIY ethics that I don’t think get talked about these days. Maybe that is because of the internet or the lack of zines or that nobody is talking about them anymore but money made in the scene should stay in the scene. We should all be supporting each other. We should all be working together to make this as good as possible. Sometimes that means butting heads. Sometimes that means disagreements but the reality is everybody should strive together for the goal of making the community that we are all apart of as possibly good as it can be. If we all worked together everything could be great. But like every community everyone has their own idea of what will make things better. Therein lies the rub. I say this to everyone who talks to me about why I don’t take money from shows. I do a show like that HAVE HEART show where we paid the bands incredibly well and even walked away with a chunk of change. It’s because I feel like Ian MacKaye is watching me. He knows and he will find me. But you know what I mean…..
They gave us a blueprint to work from.
Yeah. There are rules to be followed and they are unwritten rules. This is the code. You respect it and if you don’t then maybe you don’t belong here. There is a music scene out there for you to try and exploit. Don’t sour ours.
This is the way to make more out of it.
I think that all the bands that stick to these rules and stick to these ideals can do whatever they want. That’s the point. You don’t need to rely on some shitty manager. Fuck bands with booking agents that are local bands. I had a local band getting a booking agent, who was hardly a booking agent. It was a girl sitting in front of a computer, which has nothing to do with her being a girl or not. It was somebody who has no experience booking shows, a band that never comes to shows and their booking agent despite that they are from the GTA contacts me. Screw off. It says in big letters on our myspace if you are a band from the GTA … and I can understand kids from far away … and the thing is that kids from far away still come to our shows. Recently I met a few kids from Barrie that are awesome. Like Chris Killingsworth and the kids in that band GET WISE or SHUT EYES, whatever they are called… those kids … they are young kids. Again they are from an isolated city, as isolated as anywhere can be with the internet now…. But those kids come out. Chris is at a ton of our shows. He is a super nice kid. And his band played a show where no one came to and they were willing to share their gear with everyone. That’s the kind of stuff I like to see. I don’t want to see a band getting their booking agent after me. Or asking me for shows on myspace. Or asking me for shows on facebook. That’s now how it is supposed to work. Like I understand that these things are conveniences in this modern world but at the end of the day it’s the people who are there and are a part of it that deserve to further be a part of it. Like Warren who plays bass in D’arcy’s band and plays guitar in MOLESTED YOUTH, he is a person who can attest to that. I saw Warren outside of a show that he had snuck into underage and he asked me if his band who I had never heard at that point and they didn’t have a bassist back then, could play a show. And he was the first person to ever ask me in person after the website went up. And I said yes. Every kid that has asked me in person for the band to play a show save for another band that showed up at the HAVE HEART show with their CD. It was the first time I ever saw anyone from that band show up at a show we had ever done and they show up at the biggest show we had ever done. Like there is almost 500 people there and that’s the show you come to? Where are you at the show when there are 30 kids there? Where are you at the show when there are three kids there? That’s the kind of shit that I hate. The fact that they brought it to me there and then I walked up to a friend of mine who works at Sony BMG and she said to me those guys broke into our CMW party and were trying to hand those out to everyone at Sony BMG. Fuck off. If that’s who you want to sign to … if that’s who you want to work with then work with them. Don’t come around here. That’s not what it’s for. If bands work hard and they get to that level I have nothing against them. But if that is what you are striving for when you are coming around to play our shows you have no business there. If you want to sign to Victory Records, see you later.
There is a reason why “Stepping Stone” was covered in the scene.
Exactly. I actually put that on the website the other day. A little note about this very problem. I said “We are not a stepping stone”. If you clicked on the you tube link it was MINOR THREAT performing it live. Like I said about Ian MacKaye always watching when those rules were laid out these are the things that I think everyone looks for. It is just like what Jules Masse was singing about in “Is Anybody There?” Commitment. You have to be devoted to what you love. That’s what it is about. The people that actually care that’s who we want to facilitate for. I don’t want to facilitate for anyone who feels somewhat entitled to anything in this community. You go to shows and participate. Put in your time. Like jail do your time.
I wanted to ask you what is Stuck in the City ? We kind of played songs of bands that inspired you, that you have put on and in some there is a link to Stuck in the City, but what is Stuck in the City?
Stuck in the City started out as … part of this whole hardcore thing is I don’t like to associate my name personally to anything. I don’t think any one individual should be the focal point this and using Stuck in the City instead of Greg Benedetto was a way of shying away from that. Stuck in the City is not me, it is it’s own entity. That’s who we should talk about when we are doing shows. Not me. I’m just an individual. Just like anyone else. I have always hated that personality thing, where someone’s name proceeds them.
Yeah. I used to do shows under Rampage Promotions.
That’s just me. Mark Pesci is Mark Pesci and everybody knows Mark Pesci. He’s a great guy. It’s just my thing.
It’s not even his real name.
That’s right. So Stuck in the City started out as the name I was going to promote shows under and at the time I had also done the FUCKED UP weekend DVD and I needed something that I could put on the internet where people could pre-order it and this facilitated the final stage of production and the website was another idea that I came up with. Then I was like what if I just do a website that I can use to promote the shows. It’ll be kind of a zine but not really. I will just post reviews and post about the shows and it kind of took on a life of it’s own. So I guess to a degree Stuck in the City is a website, but at the same time it is an organization for promotion.
It’s got a great profile of the scene. Of a present scene. Of an active culture, which is hard to do I find.
I think I put on there that I want to focus on building a community in Toronto and Southern Ontario. That could draw on the young kids but also be useful to the folks that have been around for a while. There is no denying the relevance of the internet, so a blog was a great way to do it. Personally I don’t like to call it a webzine because I don’t think it is. It’s a journal of the going’s on of Toronto. I often wrestle with how much I should update it and what I should put on it. I think it comes across in what I write. It’s very hard being the guy who puts on the shows as well as writes about them. I can’t say anything bad about bands when bad things need to be said in order for them to improve. That’s why I encourage people to write zines and contribute in that way because criticism is the only way that someone can better themselves.
So you don’t have any help putting this together?
Stuck in the City when it started was me. The website and the shows.
Continues to be?
To a degree. There are people that help in various capacities. Among them are Vik Midha, who is the staple doorman and he is my right hand man despite the fact that we disagree in musical tastes and Scott Wade formerly of COMEBACK KID and presently of Scott Wade. He was helping with shows for a while. Erik Hoibak is the puppet master. He sits in Sudbury and offers advice. He is doing the HAVE HEART show in Sudbury.
There is an incredible amount of material on there and I often look to it as a source.
98% of the writing on there is me. What troubles me about it is I fear that one day it will disappear. If I reach the end of my rope and say screw this. I am done. I don’t want to keep updating this and I don’t want to leave it up there or if I leave it up there and wordpress crashes and that’s the end of that stuff. I really enjoy reading about hardcore scene’s in the past. We need to rely on each other in order to document this stuff because no one else is there to do it. At the end of the day the people from the outside that don’t come to shows and want to write about this shit are doing it for their own reasons. I take the photos that I do and I write about what I want to write about for no other reason than I want there to be a record of this because there needs to be. No one else is going to provide it. If the website didn’t exist. If there was no message boards. If there was no facebook. If the internet just disappeared there is no record of this. I will have a few albums that will pertain to it. I saw a poster from a show in ’83. It was a CHRONIC SUBMISSION poster. And there was a band on it called T.O. HARDCORE CLONES. I was like who was that band. Where can I find any information on this? That is something I enjoy doing is going back and doing that hardcore archeology and finding that stuff. We were talking about kids who like TRAGEDY but don’t know anything about AMEBIX. That is something I enjoy doing is knowing about these things, digging through the music. I think most hardcore kids do. That is the whole point of the site. It is sort of a documentation of the scene. I would love to put it on paper but it is hard to be the guy who does shows and updates that and has a full time job. And I think my girlfriend can speak to how much it stresses me out and how much of my spare time it occupies.
At the time when I was putting together the scene report you guys were talking about doing a big festival.
Yeah. Mark and I had …every once in a while we will get together and come up with hair brained ideas like that.
And you’ve got some pretty big shows lined up. Is that festival going to come off?
I don’t know. I would love to. There is a lot of bands. And when it started we were like if we are going to do this we want to get FUCKED UP to play. And now FUCKED UP is huge although it is just eight months later. It is like what do we do know. We would love to get CAREER SUICIDE to play this but Jonah is on the road all the time and Miller is in Ottawa. We would love to get BRUTAL KNIGHTS to play. We want to make it something special and we were going to focus it around the Adrift clubhouse, but then you can’t put FUCKED UP in the Adrift clubhouse anymore. They’ll overdraw and they’ll have to play secretly. Now the clubhouse doesn’t exist anymore. We don’t have a space to do it in. Do we want to rent the Kathedral and the Reverb for two days? Can we do that with just all local bands? So there is a bunch of problems around it. It has fallen to the back burner. I don’t know if it will happen. I would love for something like that to happen. I would love to see a compilation of bands that are around right now.
The idea reminds me of the New Years fest that happened quite a few years ago. Dave Munro had put this on when CHOKEHOLD did the reunion show and UNION OF URANUS came and they did a reunion show and people flew in from all over the place. There was bands from out of town but mostly it was a regional representation because there was bands from Quebec and Ottawa and Montreal and Hamilton. It was a representation of some of the biggest bands from around here. People were flying in from all kinds of places because they weren’t ever going to see this again. There was something special going on.
I think in the microcosm of hardcore that I tend to deal with I find too often that kids focus on bands that are on certain labels or talked about on certain message boards. To me that takes away the organic nature of it and supporting your local community and things like that. There are too many kids that listen to hardcore, but don’t actually participate in it. I was interviewing that band MINDSET and we talked about how hardcore is not a spectator sport. It’s not for kids who just sit at home on the internet. It’s not for kids that don’t want to participate. They just want to present themselves as people that participate. I find that in that microcosm of hardcore pertaining to a lot of the bands that I book there is a traveling show of bands. There are twenty or thirty bands that will all play this one fest on the east coast and then they will travel across the States and play a fest on the west coast and then it is just like the same kind of traveling fest. It becomes more of a pissing contest to see who can get the biggest headliners. Whereas I think it would be really awesome to do a fest that draws for bands that are notable for being good and that they represent something as opposed to bands that are just the band that kids are talking about right now. That stuff has no value. Sorry not to say that they have no value but when it is just an echo chamber of what’s cool and young kids jumping onto it and then throwing it away then it is not meaningful.
I understand you need a big name to draw, but there is so many great local bands right now. You could do it with this new scene of kids.
There is also the problem of over saturation. People talk about hardcore kids being spoiled. Whenever you talk to somebody who is not from an area like Toronto they are like you guys have so many shows and nobody goes to them. It’s because there is eight shows a week. D’arcy just read off the show listings. That is a lot of shows for one place.
It was ten minutes of stuff.
D’arcy: There are bands that are good but they play every weekend. Look at HAZARDOUS WASTE. They play every weekend. They are so good but they play every weekend. As much as I love HAZARDOUS WASTE you can’t see them twenty times.
That is the learning curve of being young and eager. That is probably a lot of the reasons for the bands that are popular and tour aren’t eighteen or nineteen. They tend to be in their early twenties because they learned when they were younger that you get nowhere by playing every weekend. If you play every once in a while then it becomes notable. Like FUCKED UP only played Toronto in October.
Yeah but FUCKED UP started out by playing basement shows and there is so many bands at that stage right now. I hope this showcase happens is what I will say.
Yeah. I would love to do it.
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