DEATH BY STEREO – Interview

How Inside Out will play REV FEST

 

From Thursday, June 29 until Sunday, July 2 Rev Fest will be taking place at Aurea Vista in Riverside, California.  The four day lineup features some of Revelation Records’ most revered bands – Youth of Today, Judge, and the Gorilla Biscuits to name a few.  Still absent from the lineup though – Inside Out.  Well, kind of.  Death By Stereo will be performing an Inside Out cover set on Saturday, and it’s gonna rip.  Yea, I know what you’re thinking because it was the same thing that initially went through my head, “Really?  Death By Stereo?”  Yes, Death By Stereo.  I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Efrem Schulz, the lead singer of DBS, and discussing the set with him.  And let me tell you, after sharing stories with him for over an hour inside of his skate shop Programme Skate and Sound in Fullerton, California, I’m convinced that DBS was the perfect choice to play an Inside Out cover set.  Check out the interview below with one of the friendliest and most passionate dudes in hardcore I’ve ever met.

 

 

RA: How did the Inside Out cover set come to be?

ES: My buddy Chris, Chris Lisk, he organized all the Rev Fests that have happened.  It was his idea, but actually a long time ago we had a conversation about it.  About Inside Out, and how he was frustrated.  They’re the only band Rev can’t get to play, and they will not play.  And I remember hangin’ out with him in LA at some show, I don’t even know what show it was, but Mark Haworth was there who played in Inside Out.  And he {Chris} walks right up to him and he’s like, “Hey dude, like what’s it gonna take?”  Ya know.  And he’s {Mark} like, “Does anyone even care?”  And we were all like. . . What!?  Like dude the whole world cares ya know.  But it’s cool the guy has such a selfless opinion about it.  But they just won’t do it.

Awhile back Chris was like, “Ah dude you should do it, that would be so cool.”  And I remember thinkin’, for what just like a show or something?  Then this came up and he was like, “Dude you guys should do the Inisde Out set!”  And I was like, “Fuck, at the Rev Anniversary?”  And we’ve never been on the label.  I worked there for one year in like ’98 or ’99.  So I feel like part of it.  Yea dude, we’re blown away to play the show, much less play this record.  It’s fuckin’ heavy man.  You know what I mean?  It’s super heavy.

 

You’re just doing the Inside Out 7”?

Yea, well we’re doin’ the CD version so it’s all six songs.

 

Haha, all six.

Otherwise it would be an eight minute set ya know what I mean?  So we’re actually gettin’ 15 minutes in, 20 with talkin’.  I don’t man I’m fuckin’ stoked.  Stoked to play with Gorilla Biscuits and Judge and Battery and Search.  We’ve never played with any of these bands so it’s kinda cool.

 

How’s the rest of the band feel about it?

STOKED!  Like super stoked.  And our guitar player Dan is funny.  We were talkin’ about it and I’m all, “Fuckin’ alright (slaps his fist in his hand) let’s practice now!”  And he’s like, “I already know it.”  He already knew all the songs because he’s a fan.  He learned ‘em on the guitar when he was young.  It’s fuckin’ cool ya know.  And our old drummer Todd – we share a drummer with the Adolescents and he’s on tour with them now – and our old drummer Todd is flyin’ down from Oregon, and like is gonna play it with us.  It’s really fitting ‘cause it’s his jam dude, so he’s so stoked.  I hit him up and it was the same thing.  He’s like, “I know all those songs.”  He’s flyin’ in the day before and we’re just gonna jam all day, and then play ‘em on Saturday.  We’re all ready.

 

 

You know all the songs already I’m assuming?

Yea, totally!  And like, I don’t know man, I just want everyone to sing along with me to sing with me man.  I just want it to be a pile on, sing along the whole time.

 

I’m sure it will be.

AHHHHHHH!

 

I’ll be up there for sure.

Hell yea dude!  I just want somebody to rip the mic outta my hands, and just go crazy.  I wanna get tackled.  Hahaha ya know?

 

That’s awesome.

Fuck yea!  It’s crazy and we’re stoked.  And it’s like, we’re not on Revelation and we never were, but I’ve wished we coulda been.  Ya know what I mean?  And like, so this kinda makes me feel like a really big part of it – the history.

 

That 7”, in terms of the history, has to be one of the best.

The greatest.

 

What would you say are your favorite Rev releases?

Start Today.  That record’s fucking unbelievable dude, it’s unbelievable dude.  And there wasn’t anything after it.  Well, I mean they made a 7” a little while back, but for years there was never anything else.  And then when Civ came out, and they made the Civ record, me and Dan had this conversation too, and I was like, “This is the second Gorilla Biscuits record.”  This is the one that Rev never got to put out.  I feel like it was the next logical step ya know what I mean?  But Gorilla Biscuits I think was cool because they bridged the gap.  Like I remember bein’ young and dating a girl that would never listen to fuckin’ hardcore ya know what I mean?  But she loved Gorilla Biscuits.  It bridged the gap for alotta people and I think they brought a lot of people from punk rock into hardcore.  I mean, hardcore started with punk rock, but then got away from it.  And I feel like they kinda reigned everyone back into the punk vibe, and like it’s so fuckin’ posi dude ya know what I mean?  Because alotta bands were posi, but also super aggressive.  That’s how our band is too, but sometimes you get so hung up and caught in the aggressiveness that you kinda lose a little of the posi, but they just kept it goin’ man.  So, I don’t know man, I just really fuckin’ nerd out with the Gorilla Biscuits.  Nerd.  Out.  We had World Be Free play here {here is Programme Skate & Sound that he owns and operates with his business partner Chris}.

 

 

Yea I know man.  That’s really cool.  Before they’re record came out right?

Yea, and Arthur showed up before the rest of the band and just walks in the store super early.  And it was like tonight.  Mike V (Mike Vallely played a two sets with his band The New Arms before we recorded the interview) was here.  I’ve seen Mike V a thousand times, played a million shows with him.  Fuckin’ I can’t have a conversation with him.  Every time I try and talk to him I’m always like, “Hey man. . . hey, hey, hey.”  You know what I mean man?

 

You kinda freeze up?

Yea and then I just kinda go away and leave him alone cuz I just can’t wrap my head around it, ya know?  And same thing with Arthur, but it was cool man.  He just walks in and he just hung out.  But he is like the Gorilla Biscuits music.  He made me feel all normal about it and cool and like posi and rad and he was awesome and he was hangin’ out!  And I remember we had YouTube on and we were watchin’ all the stupid shit on the TV in here and someone was talkin’ about “Gleaming the Cube” and he was like, “What’s Gleaming the Cube?”  And I’m all, “You’ve never seen Gleaming the Cube?”  And he goes, “No.”  So I got to with Arthur and we got to watch Gleaming the Cube the whole way through here together dude before anyone got here, before the show.  So that was like my big Gorilla Biscuits moment.

 

That’s awesome.  And now you get to play with ‘em.

FUCK YEA DUDE!  And since they’ve started playin’ again we never got to play any of those show or any of the bigger shows they were on so this is a really big deal for us.  And of course Judge, like what the fuck!  And Battery.  So it’s kinda mind blowin’.  And the whole history and the folklore behind these bands.  Bands like Black Flag, bands like Inside Out or Gorilla Biscuits or Judge or Bad Brains, Bad Religion they’re like the folk music of our generation.  Not to compare it to shitty, hippie folk music but ya know what I mean?

 

Hahaha.  I know what you’re sayin’.

The fact that they’re still playin’, carryin’ on this legendary music and this message.

 

And people still care about them.

A LOT!  It’s crazy.

 

 

The best way I heard some describe what you’re talking about is from the singer of Unbroken.  They played a show in New York years ago and my friend is a huge Unbroken fan.  The second tickets went on sale she picked ‘em up.  And the singer said he was explaining the band to someone at his job and he said, “A lot of people listen to mainstream music, but only a few care about it.  For us it’s the opposite.  Only a few people listen it, but a lot of them really care about it.”

Exactly.  That’s a rad quote.  That should be on the cover of his biography or in his notes or something.

 

Right?  But those bands you named, along with Death By Stereo, Pennywise.  Like yea, maybe the masses don’t care but the one’s who do, it usually means a lot to ‘em.  

Care.  Will die for it dude.  They live and die for it dude.  Pennywise is another one dude.  Pennywise is a legacy for everyone everywhere but especially bein’ from California, Pennywise is a lifestyle man, ya know what I mean?  Dude legendary and like the coolest dudes.  Honestly, I have met few people on Earth who care as much about punk rock as Fletcher.  That dude is the total embodiment of it, the coolest dude, the raddest guy.  And we were really lucky cuz when we got on Epitaph and all that stuff, those are some of the coolest days of my entire life and we got to play with all these great bands.  And that band did so much awesome shit for us and we to play so many amazing shows with them.  And that dude just pufftttt.

 

You mentioned that the Gorilla Biscuits bridged that gap for you.  For me it was Pennywise.

Because they’re so fuckin’ fast man!  (Bangs out a fast punk beat on his leg).  And to be honest with you, when I first heard punk music when I was really, really young, I traded. . . Ummm, what kinda wheels were they?  They were Bones, old Rat Bones or somethin’ wheels for a Black Flag tape with this dude.  And like, when I first heard punk ya’ know, I didn’t know there was a difference {between punk and hardcore}, ya know?  It was all the same.  It was just aggressive music, whether it was Black Flag or Bad Religion.  I didn’t know the difference.  7 Seconds, Minor Threat it was all the same.  It was just punk music.  Later I figured it out.  That was this, and this was that, but it was all the same.  And even though there was hardcore and punk and hardcore punk cuz people called the Dead Kennedys a hardcore band.  And Middle Class was a hardcore band, ya know what I mean like.  “Out of Vogue” a lot of people consider to be the first hardcore single. . . or at least the first one on the West Coast (sings a little bit of the chorus line) cuz it was way faster than any other band.

 

 

Okay I can see that.

It’s weird, ya know what I mean?

 

Definitely in the beginning it’s blurry.

And I’ll tell you this cuz I got this from Steve Soto himself, Adolescents were writing all these songs, and Middle Class “Out of Vogue” is what got them to the fastest songs on the “Blue Album.”

 

That’s cool.  

That’s crazy!  That’s nuts dude!

[We trail off here and talk about the “American Hardcore” book and movie, being over 30 at shows, and how rad Stigma is.  We eventually get back to talking about Inside Out and Rev Fest]

 

So what’s your favorite Inside Out song?

Ahhhhh, Redemption cuz I just like the message a lot cuz I believe in redemption too, ya know what I mean?  I feel like, I listen to that song, and I’m like dude, I feel like I’ve made alotta mistakes in my life, a shitload of mistakes ya know?  And like when I was younger I did alotta really dumb shit man, and there’s like people who were still cool enough to be my friend, ya know what I mean?  So I believe in redemption too.  I think a lot of people in the world don’t believe in it and they don’t believe in rehabilitation, and like people changing and people learnin’.  And like alotta cops don’t believe in rehabilitation.  Alotta the government doesn’t believe in rehabilitation, and I don’t mean that from drugs and whatever, I just mean people change.  People grow.  Ya know alotta the world doesn’t, alotta society doesn’t.  That song just carries a fuckin’ great message to me.

 

 

What Inside Out song are you most looking forward to perform?  Would it be Redemption or would it be another one?

It’ll be No Spiritual Surrender just because I it’s gonna be a huge sing along.  All I’m lookin’ forward to is the sing along on that, but Redemption is my favorite one.

 

Now are you guys doing the songs just note for note, line for line?

Oh yea.

 

You’re not adding any Death By Stereo twists or anything?

We’re just coverin’ ‘em, but knowing Dan, Dan’s so funny dude.  He’ll probably throw some Dan stuff all over it.  He’s amazing dude.  He’s the best guitar player I know.  And me and Dan do a Misfists Danzig cover band together, and I play bass.  I only play two strings.  We’ll be playin’ a Misfits song and all of a sudden in the middle of it he’ll just be like (makes a buzzsaw sound) and starts soloin’ so I have a feeling we’ll get some awesome shit outta Dan.  But the rest of us, we’re just playin’ it as is cuz it’s perfect.

 

As a hardcore fan and a punk rock fan, Death By Stereo is probably not the first band that comes to mind in terms of covering Inside Out.

Hahahaha.  No way!

 

But when you listen to that Youth of Today cover, it’s like ahh I get it.  But if you could pick a band that’s not Death By Stereo or a band that you are in, what band would you pick?

Fuck.  That’s a really good question dude.  I’m tryin’ to think of who I really like right now.  There’s alotta really good bands dude.  Like great fuckin’ bands.  You know I think would kill it on it, vocally?  Is fuckin’ John Pettibone from Undertow.  I don’t know what band, like Himsa’s an amazing band, but like not with Himsa.  I think I would pick a band and put it together like I just love John Pettibone’s voice and if I could just hear his (roars No Spiritual Surrender in Pettibone’s voice).  He is a fuckin’ animal dude!

 

 

So you would take John on vocals.  Pick your band!  Have some fun!

Pettibone’s one of my favorite singers man.  He’s fuckin’ good dude!  And ah, you know what?  You know who would fuckin’ kill it on that record?  I know it might sound weird, but fuckin’ Madball.  Madball is one of my all-time favorite bands ever.  No one can touch Madball dude.  Everyone’s like, oh first records, first records, I feel like they got better.  Like they’re first records are amazing, but they kept gettin’ better!  Like dude, “Hold It Down” is fuckin’ unbelievable dude!  And that’s way later for them.  Dude, so like all the new shit is killer.  Hardcore lives ya know?  Haha.  It’s kind of a left field choice for a west coast band, for an east coast band to cover a west coast band, but I feel like Madball would kinda crush Inside Out.  Cuz all those guys all rip.  Mitts is such a good fuckin’ guitar player.  Hoya rules at bass.

 

Hoya’s the coolest bassist.

Dude!  The coolest bassist.   He just cruises through the sets, and is like yeaaaaaa (plays some air bass).  I know it sounds weird, but Madball would kill it cuz there’s alotta heavy grooves on that Inside Out record and Madball’s all about heavy grooves man, ya know?  Kind of a weird choice.

 

But it makes sense.  [We then nerd out on Madball and Agnostic Front for a good five minutes before getting back to the the “interview”]

You said Agnostic Front were a big part of your life, what about Inside Out?

Oh huge!  Huge dude!

 

In what way?  Personally, musically, or both?

Musically, personally.  I have a strong personal connection to music I like, and it feels like it’s a part of me ya know?  And Inside Out became all these other great things, 108 and fuckin’ Rage Against the Machine dude.  How the fuck did that happen?  It’s so crazy dude!

 

 

Do you have any stories about any of the other bands you’re playing with on Saturday?

Fuck dude I’ve got a good Battery story.  So me and my friends decide to drive up to the Bay Area.  We’re like fuck yea road trip, ya know?  So this was before cell phones.  And I had this friend Mario who lived up there.  So we get there and I call Mario from a pay phone, and he tells me how to get to his place.  So we make a plan to split up and meet back at this spot and this time and of course we all get lost.  So I got lost from all my friends and I’m at my friend Mario’s house and he’s like, “What are you gonna do?  How are you gonna fuckin’ get home?”  And I’m like, “Well, I have enough money to like take the train home or probably the bus cuz it’ll be cheaper.”  And we’re discussing it, “How do I get to the bus station from here?  Or how much is the train?”  I don’t remember exactly.  And then I’m like, “Well I wanna see the city.”  So he’s like, “If you take the BART you can go to Berkeley and all these places.”  And I’m like, “Oh, I wanna see Berkeley Square.  There’s this legendary venue I’ve heard about.  I wanna go to Berkeley Square.  Whoever’s playin’.  I’m just goin’.”

So I take the train to Berkeley Square and on the marquee it says Battery.  So I’m like no fuckin’ way!  So I’m so stoked and I see other hardcore out front so I’m like rad ya know?  So I go up and it was seven bucks.  Seven dollars, which at the time was alotta money for a show ya know?  Today guess that would be like payin’ fifteen bucks for a show.  I paid the seven bucks and I go in.  And there were other kids who were pissed off too.  But I remember, as soon as I walk in, it was an industrial band that was all, (in a robot voice) “We are Battery.”  It was so fuckin’ horrible so I go back to the door and I’m like, “Hey man can I get the seven bucks back?  Cuz I really need the seven dollars.  Cuz I’m like takin the train home from here and I need all the money I can get.”  And he’s like, “No fuckin’ way.”  And he’s not givin’ anyone there money back.  And I was so fuckin’ mad, and I walk outside, and I’m like, “This blows.  Now I’m gonna go home alone.”  But this is why hardcore’s rad.  And this kid Ryan Clark, I barely met him through another kid, he’s from Orange County.  He sees me out front, and I’m all, “You’re Ryan Clark right?”  And he’s all, “ Umm yea.”  And I’m all, “Did you come here for Battery too?”  And he’s like, “Yea, what the fuck!  We came up for the weekend, we were goin’ to see Battery.  It fuckin’ sucks.”  There was no internet back then, ya know what I mean.  And I’m like, “Yea, I’m stuck up here.”  And he’s like, “Dude, just come with us.”  And he fuckin’ brought me home cuz he knew me from goin’ to shows.  And I barely met him through friend, but that’s how hardcore kids were.  I remember being like, “Fuck, this rules.”

 

Sucks that it wasn’t Battery.

I’m gonna have some fuckin’ Battery redemption this weekend dude!

 

 

And the one band on the bill we haven’t mentioned – Burn.

BURN!!!!  Fuckin’ Burn!  Dude, we got to play two shows with Burn on the last Bane tour.  When Bane came here we got to play the Bane show in Santa Ana and we got to play the Bane show in Arizona, and Burn was on both of ‘em.  We were fuckin’ nerdin’ out on those dudes and they were so nice to us.  I’m sure they could tell, but. . . Dan actually, many many years ago he was in a band called Eyelid, a hardcore band from here, and they had booked a tour and it feel through and whatever and they never got to go on tour.  And Dan basically explained to me that he saved up all this money to go on tour and he’s like, “Fuck it,” and he just drove across the country anyways.  Yea, so he goes to New York and he mets Gavin from Burn somewhere and he’s trippin’ out, like it’s the dude from Burn.  And he let Dan stay at his squat.  And I remember Dan telling me that, “I stayed in a squat with Gavin from Burn.”  And I’m just like, “What!?”  Dan is like a Burn fanatic dude, so like, we love them.  They were so cool to us on those shows dude, and they killed it.  Killed it!  So like we’re pretty psyched to play with them ya know?  This will be our third Burn show man.  Stoked!  Super stoked!

And they were so nice to us dude so that was a trip.  And Bane was crushing on those shows.  Dude!  The Arizona show was in Mesa, Arizona at the Nile Theatre and in 1999 we played with Bane in basement of that theatre.

 

It all came full circle huh?

Yea!  And now we’re playing upstairs in this fuckin’ giant room with them.  And the promoter was such a big Bane fan.  She was such a nice lady.  We find out before the show, Bane says, “She says that she’s going to pay all the bands anyways and have the show be free.”

 

What?

It was fuckin’ awesome dude.  There were 800 people there losing their shit to Bane.  She just threw a free show and paid all the bands.  Hardcore dude!  Fuckin’ hardcore.  That would not happen to fuckin’ –

 

That never happened at the Nile Theatre before then, and it will never happen there again.

Exactly!  I can’t even think of a band, but that wouldn’t happen at a fuckin’ whatever show.  I’m tryin’ to think of an example of a band, but I don’t wanna say anything bad about another band, but ya know what I mean.  It’s not gonna happen at a nu-metal show, ya know!

 

 

[Yet again we trail off and talk about being old and into hardcore and Burn]

So, any last thoughts, stories, comments, whatever you wanna share?

Stoked to be part of Revelation’s legacy dude and part of the history man!  And thanks to everybody at Rev and anybody that cares about hardcore or our band, ya know?  And thanks to Jordan Cooper and Ray Cappo for making Revelation happen man.  Fuckin’ super cool dude, ya know what I mean?  Thanks for making this world better.

Ralph
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Ralph

Former owner and operator of No End In Sight Zine.Based out of Orange, California.
Ralph
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