CHAIN OF STRENGTH – Interview

A conversation with Curt Canales

 

This interview was conducted  by Ed from Droid Rage just before christmas 2016. You can read a lot of other sick interviews, articles and whatnot on droidxrage.com. Be sure to follow them on facebook as well. 

 

Chain-Of-strength-logo

Photography By Dave Brown.

 

DR: Hi Curt, what’s been going on? Where are you right now?

A: I am living in Orange County, California.  I’m just living the family life.  Married with two sons.

 

DR: Lets go backwards then and start with why/how COS became a band. Who’s idea was it, where were some of the first practices & how were they? 

A:  Ryan and Chris conceived the band.  We practiced at a local studio called the Cubby Hole where most local bands rehearsed at the time.  Eventually moving to the basement of the Chain House In Pomona.  Practices were intense in the beginning because we were anxious to get the record out.

 

DR: What bands were you and the others listening to that inspired you to start COS?

A: DYS, 7 Seconds, SSD, Minor Threat, Dag

 

DR: What bands were coming through your area when you were first starting out?

A: Youth of Today, Insted, Uniform Choice, Inside Out, BLAST, Amenity and a lot of local bands.  It was a great time for hardcore.

 

chain-bbqiguana-dc-1989

 

DR: Where was your first show and who else was on the bill? 

A: Yesteryears in Pomona.  Youth of Today, Underdog.  Crazy show indeed.

 

DR: You guys have had a few beefs with other bands (labels) back in the day- would elaborate on that? Wasn’t there a problem with GB?  

A: I wouldn’t call them problems.  Just differences in attitudes.  Hardcore was never meant to foster Rock Star mentalities, but some guys never got that memo.  It was unfortunate.  I was always trying to remain neutral if ever there was differences in opinions, but my penchant for lashing out would sometimes get the better of me.

 

 

DR: I guess you guys were your own beast and those guys were all kind of together over there in NYC do you agree?  

A: Not all, but definitely some. We were 15-18 year olds with very few life experiences.  I guess that created some of the problems, by not reaching out to those that had issues with Chain at the time.  I always laughed at the idea of guys who I’ve never really spent time with, deciding they didn’t like me, but I wasn’t big on concessions so it just festered.

 

 

DR: Do you remember your first non west coast show?

A: I believe it was the Anthrax in Connecticut? That place was legend.  East Coast kids were always great to us.  Even before our record came out which says a lot.

 

DR: Tell me a bit about the recording process for TTD, and the great picture etc. Did you all agree on that style of artwork? Where was the photo shot and by who?

A: Bratton was meticulous when putting together the record.  We gave him the freedom to do what he’s great at.  Pics were shot at Yesteryear and a studio that was used because our photos were damaged from the Yesteryear show.  Chris Ortiz (TransWorld), a good friend of ours took the photos.  The back photo was the only photo used from the Yesteryear show. You can see small lines going through it, but we though that would make it unique.

Judge - Shelter - chain Of StrengthChain Of Strength All Ages

 

 

Insted Chain Of Strength

Judge Gorilla Biscuits Bold Chain Of StrengthDR: How did you guys approach writing songs?  

A: Just sat in a room and wrote.  Bounced ideas of each other and created.  The only song I can truly remember writing was TTD.  Frosty created the music, and Ryan and I wrote the words while sitting at the Chain House.

 

DR: What is your personal favourite COS song that really means a lot to you?

A: Probably TTD because it meant a lot to so many of the kids.  That song always seemed to get every kid on stage and go nuts.

 

DR: Why did you guys decide to call it a day? There are rumours of it being quite an abrupt break up?

A: It just ran its course.  Some of the others were in multiple bands, school and work so it just made sense to stop.

 

DR: What did you guys go on to do directly after COS broke up? 

A: Al, Frosty and Chris remained in bands, while Ryan and I pursued our careers.

We later started Circle Storm because you can never really get it out of your blood.

 

DR: What were some of the legendary COS myths?

A: I was never a cop.  We never smoked pot outside of Chubby Fresh’s house.  And the most important one, no, we were not New Kids on The Block.

 

DR: As Far as merch went who was designing the stuff for you, like the massively popular Chain Crew shirt (Chain Of X Strength) And the WHUA block logo shirt

A: We all had input, but Bratton really took charge of the merch.  Down to the color, Font and thickness of the print.  He knew what colors to experiment with, when we weren’t using green, and he was also the Chain Crew merch.

 

 

chain-bbqiguana-dc-1989-002

 

DR: Professionally, what do you and the others do?

A: I’m a Healthcare provider.

 

DR: What old Hardcore bands do you still listen too?

A: 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, MDC, CroMags.

 

DR: What do you think of the Hardcore scene 2016?

A:  It’s great.  I only wish we would have had social media back in the day.

There would have been so many opportunities for every DIY band.  I just am amazed how Hardcore has evolved, and how much the kids today appreciate its roots.

 

DR: Who’s idea was it to do shows again, and what has been your favourite of the reunions so far? 

Chris Lisk approached us for Rev 25, and at the time there were others asking if we have any plans to do something.  We figured that it would only be the right thing to do Rev 25.  They have meant so much to hardcore and we owed them that.

 

DR: Do you think we will see COS in Europe?

We’ve had offers, but haven’t been able to fit it into our schedules.  I will say this.  Chain will play in Europe before we call it a day.

 

You get the classic “The One Thing That Still Holds True” on our store.

 

Alexis

Alexis

Alexis is the one man behind STRAIGHT & ALERT, also doing vocals for Harm Done and Raw Justice (R.I.P). He has been involved into Hardcore Punk for 15 years, running Straight & Alert, playing in bands, booking shows or doing a fanzine. Based in Nantes, France.
Alexis

Latest posts by Alexis (see all)

The Shop

Newsletter

Straight And Alert

Subscribe to receive all the news
from the blog and the shop