"Positive youth, we're the youth of today!"

Interview with Ned Russin (Title Fight, Disengage, Stick Together, Big Contest etc.), in this dialogue we are discussing about the legendary Youth of Today. (Interview originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 3.) Pics by Chris Schneider, Kathleen KT Tobin, Chris Dailey, Tim McMahon, Ned Russin, Know Your Enemy fanzine.

 

 

Chiller Than Most: I couldn’t stop myself smiling ear to ear when I first discovered Youth Of Today. Youth Of Today is a perfect band, the HARDCORE band that changed my life, the band that left a huge impact on my world view. How was your first time meeting Youth Of Today? Was it a love at first sight?

 

Ned: When I was about 13 or so, my older brother, Alex, knew some people who worked at Rev HQ. Now at this time iTunes and iPods were really taking off and illegally downloading music was starting to get harder. Alex got a bunch of CDs for $1 a piece or something and it was just the hits. Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Supertouch, and a lot more I can’t think of. I was already into hardcore but not immersed in the bands or culture yet. I listened to the ’97 version of “Break Down The Walls” and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t love at first sight. It took a lot of time revisiting the record and really evaluating the lyrics until I realized just how great Youth of Today really was. By the time I was 17 or 18 they had become my favorite band, and honestly my appreciation has only grown since then.

 

Chiller Than Most: I think Cappo could be described as a guy having some sort of messiah complex and if we flip open the hardcore history books, we can state that nobody else had single handedly such a huge impact on the scene. He had an unusual talent to make changes in the scene, his messages did not get lost, because due to the impact of YOT straight edge started a world wide campaign and later thanks to the song “No More” thousands became vegetarian, and once he became a krsna follower hundreds followed. How do you evaluate the work of YOT?

 

Ned: I think you’re pretty spot on with that. There were important and influential bands up until that point, but I don’t think any band had the impact that they did. I love it the story were oldheads told them they could never get straight edge to catch on in NYC and after coming home from a tour everyone was X’d up. I think that really shows their power. At the time I think Ray was a really interesting character. Hardcore was very much an aggressive style, and I think Ray brought a lot of intelligence to the genre. He wrote extremely philosophical lyrics and his banter was just as thought provoking yet relatable. I think as he grew older he definitely honed these skills more which in turn gave him the ability to get more people into his interests such as vegetarianism and Krishna consciousness.

 

 

Chiller Than Most: I am not mistaken everyone has their favorite era/line up of Youth Of Today. What was the best Youth Of Today line up?

 

Ned: This is a hard question. I guess I have a couple I could narrow it down to but I could never pick just one. I think the Tommy Carrol, Craig Ahead lineup is amazing. I don’t know of Youth of Today is supposed to be that fast, but it sounds so fucking crazy. I guess my other pick would be the ’87 tour lineup — Ray, Porcell, Richie B, Walter, and Mike. The rhythm guitar really adds a lot, even if it’s only aesthetically. And just hearing various live sets you can tell the lineup was really dialed in from playing so much.

 

Chiller Than Most: Youtube spoils us with awesome footages of Youth Of Today live sets from the late 80s are just a click away. I have seen lots of awesome Youth Of today sets on video and I have lots of faves. So much energy, rawness, insane crowd actions but what would be the best over all YOT video you’ve ever seen?

 

Ned: Again, I don’t think I could nail it down to one. My favorites are probably the video featuring Tommy and Craig at CB’s and the recent vid of a California show in February ’87. The former is the only proof I’ve seen of that lineup and is just incredible. Aggro Ray, Funky Craig, Crazy Tommy, and Crucial Porcell. Their stage presence is enough to do damage. The latter is great because I think it’s the beginning of the transformation of the band becoming a true power house. They are tight, they have a lot to say, and there are hundreds of kids being responsive. I think it has a lot to do with just the quality being good as well.

 

Chiller Than Most: The No More video. One of the most interesting things for me about it is that everybody except Walter are wearing hardcore shirts. As far as I know, hours before the shoot the members of the band were passing time throwing ice cream and splashing chocolate syrup on each other. When it was time for the shoot, everybody changed chlotes, some had a change of clothes, some had to ask for spare clothing from others but Walter was left with what he is wearing in the video. What is the most interesting thing about the video?

 

Ned: Just the fact the video was made is interesting enough to me. Caroline was a substantial Indie label and it was at a time when music had the capability to break into mainstream. While this video and song in particular was certainly never going to get any MTV play because of content, it’s wild that they tried it. I talked to Walter about it and he said Dan Nichols, producer of “Break Down The Walls”, filmed the video for them.

 

Chiller Than Most: The Cappo-Porcell-Walter-Mike lineup only released two songs (Understand and Together). What do you think about these songs? I heard that Cappo is not a huge fan of the song Together, as the pace was mid tempo and it was copying bands like Cro-Mags and Bad Brains. Thus he felt that he could not sing it so well.

 

Ned: I love these songs. I can sympathize with any band member not feeling a song because when you revisit music even a year or two after writing, it sometimes loses its initial appeal. “Together” in particular though is one of my favorite songs, and I don’t see why he would feel that way.

 

 

Chiller Than Most: We can hear essential and basic differences between the versions of Can’t Close My Eyes. I mean that the overall guitar sound is totally different on the 7 inch version, it is really thin sounding but I really like this raw version too. What is your opinion about this? What do you think about the “rap intro” part of “I have faith” on the 12 inch version?

 

Ned: I’d like to start off by saying I totally back the rap intro. As far as my favorite version, it’s easy to say the original version is the best, but I feel that this recording really benefitted from being remixed down the line. The initial mix is raw, but not along the lines of Don Fury-esque raw. It’s more like cheap recording raw. But with some studio magic down the line it really helped make the recording more audible while maintaining the aggressiveness that was its original intent.

 

Chiller Than Most: What is your favourite version of Break Down The Walls? Which one is the perfect sound for you? Why?

 

Ned: I am actually in the process of writing an article about this. I’ve been solely listening to the Wishingwell press for close to 5 years now and was really used to it, but now that I revisited the other mixes, I realized they’re really not as bad I thought they were. Well the first Rev mix is pretty sloppy, but the ’97 mix is sonically the best by far. You can tell through the different mixes they were trying to clean it up rather than having a raw sound, and that mix realizes that vision. However if I had to pick one, I’d probably still go with Wishingwell just because it’s what I’m most comfortable with.

 

Chiller Than Most: What is your favourite version of We’re Not In This Alone? Which one is the perfect sound for you? Why?

 

Ned: This is a record that I don’t understand all of the remixes. I asked Walter about it and he explained that they did a second mix just because Raybeez’s backups were too loud. I don’t think the second mix or later Rev mix is all that much better. The recording probably suffered the same fate as all other Chung King projects of the time were they had a shitty engineer who didn’t care about the project, so you can’t really clean up something that doesn’t have the capability to be cleaned. On appearance alone I’ll go with the Caroline press just because I like the layout the best.

 

Chiller Than Most: When Double Cross webzine asked this question “What was the worst part of being in Youth Of Today?” to Craig Setari he responded this: “…the worst part was the jock hazing they gave me because I was the kid from Queens without the right sneakers.” Drug Free Youth tees, X rated Swatch, Varsity jackets, Jordans. Does it surprise you that the fashion youth crew bands made popular in the late 80’s are still popular in 2014?

 

Ned: It doesn’t surprise me but I think that Youth of Today isn’t as responsible as people would have you think. Porcell wore a varsity jacket and an X watch and Ray wore 1’s in some pictures, but they weren’t the fashionistas of the scene. Look at pictures and Al Brown or any of the Bold guys circa 1988 were way more suave looking. Ray was wearing no shirt and wind pants and shaved his side burns off. I will credit Youth of a Today with suburbanizing hardcore which probably led to this, but the fashion sense was definitely furthered by others.

 

Chiller Than Most: How important is the bass on a hardcore record? A lot of people think Craig Setari plays amazing on Break Down The Walls. Without his fills and stuff in there that record wouldn’t be what it is.

 

Ned: Let’s be honest, bass is the least important instrument in general. That’s why on the Side by Side demo the bass is completely out of tune and it doesn’t matter. For bass to stand out, especially on a hardcore record, it needs to be spectacular. Craig is a really great player because he understands when to hold it down and when to go off. Some people will have you think that having a bass solo over a record is good, but really that’s just annoying. You need to find the right balance while playing the right fills, and that’s why Craig is regarded as one of the greats.

 

 

Chiller Than Most: Self titled 7 inch. In my opinion this is a way underrated record. Here is when the band truly shines and the songwriting is awe-inspiring, the lyrics are definitely one of their best they ever wrote. I would have loved to hear another full length come out from Youth Of Today, in the vein of this last 7 inch. Or had they done another LP it would have just been as Shelter basically? What do you think about this posthumous final three song EP?

 

Ned: This is my least favorite Youth of Today record. Not taking away from its song writing or lyrics because they are both good, probably even great, but it’s just not what I loved about Youth of Today. I will never get down on a band for progressing in any direction because I think that’s more important than repeating a perfected process and making it stale, but in comparison to their other output it just doesn’t compare for me.

 

Chiller Than Most: Why did you choose the name “Disengage” for your band? What does this name mean to you? What do the lyrics of the song mean to you?

 

Ned: I picked Disengage because I love Youth of Today and my goals for the band were the same — start a straight edge band that was made as an homage to early NYHC. I really do like the lyrics to Disengage and I think it makes sense for the band. What the band stands for and what the song talks about is not taking part in society’s bullshit. I think that’s an easy message to get behind. I know I just said it’s my least favorite Youth of Today record, but I couldn’t name the band Break Down The a Walls or something. Disengage is a little more subtle.

 

Chiller Than Most: You are the editor of the awesome hardcore fanzine called Constant Constraint. The backcover of the second issue is one of the best backcovers I have ever seen. Do you have various YOT memorabilia?

 

Ned: Thank you. I do collect Youth of Today stuff. I’d like to think I have a pretty strong shirt and record collection. Beside that though the band didn’t make too much stuff. I have two posters and have been trying to track down the official fanzine, but that’s really all you can get from them.

 

 

"Just try to let go and start to appreciate..."

 

Touch are a 5 piece hardcore band out of Budapest Hungary, their new record will be released this week on Chiller Than Most Records. “Rearrangement” is streaming on bandcamp! If you haven’t heard yet, check it out at https://touchyoursoul.bandcamp.com. (Interview originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4. / pics by Milan Kara, Peter Fuzfa and Alexandra Mate)

 

 

Chiller Than Most: Please introduce your record for us.

Laci: Our 7 inch will be out really soon! 01 Growing Consciousness – In my opinion, the lyrics are unlike our previous record’s – “Illusion of Truth” – atmosphere. It reflects a more positive outlook on life; for, it is about swimming towards self-awareness. These lines would also be perfect for a youth crew band, and that is why Packo’s featuring matches/fits well with this song. (Last March, we had the opportunity to book a show for Justice and Not Afraid in Budapest. We were hanging out with the guys all day before the show and checking out all the cool places in the city. We got to know each other during the sightseeing. Touch played at that concert as a support band and after our set we received some positive feedbacks from the Belgian guys. Before the recording session, we realized that Packo’s strong, intensive voice would be perfect for the last four lines of the first song. We discussed this with him and fortunately he said yes. It is a pleasure to us, and we are very thankful for his help and for his time. The result was a blast!) 02 Out of the Void – We are slaves out of the boxes and expectations created by our society which can easily force us into servitude. Permanent reflection is neccessary to deal with these “chains” and get to know ourselves, our true selves better. This song is my personal favorite. It is short, straight forward, and it has Adam’s untraditional solo which is more than awesome. 03 Years Of Conflicts – Compared to the other lyrics, the topic is more specific and written by Balazs and I. It is about the people in our lives who are not capable of stepping out from their selfish/egoist world and not understanding other’s viewpoints. The dialogue is essential, and probably the most melodic song on the EP. 04 In Progress – Undisguised confusion about our future. We should find our own path through life. It may sound cliché, but It’s a relevant topic for every single member of the band at this point in our lives. This one is the most musically diverse song on the EP.

 

Chiller Than Most: Touch delivers their musically and lyrically thought-provoking debut EP ILLUSION OF TRUTH. Are you satisfied with the results and how have people’s reactions been so far?

Laci: I’m proud to say that overall I’m satisfied with the results. We were prepared when we went to the studio, we did the best we could. It’s always hard not to focus on the mistakes, of course there are many things – mainly with the sound and how we selected the tempos of the songs – that I’d do differently today, but there’s a point when you need to finish your work and appreciate what you’ve done. We used all our opportunities, we discussed our problems, hopefully we will be even better by the next recording session.
Balázs: The responses for Illusion Of Truth were way better than expected. We received a lot of positive feedback from our friends and family in person and online as well, but strangers sharing their opinions with us was more surprising, and also motivating. The first pressing for our tape sold out in a week, we recieved orders from countries like Japan, Germany and the USA as well. Many distros also ordered some tapes, it felt fucking awesome shipping packages to the other side of the world, haha.

 

Chiller Than Most: When are you going to record the Knight Rider theme song?

Laci: As soon as possible, since our collaboration with Chiller Than Most depends on it. Oops, was this a spoiler?

 

Chiller Than Most: How did the band get together and how did you assemble the current line up?

Dani: Before Touch, Laci and I played in a 90s influenced metallic hardcore band called Iron Chains. In the summer of 2014, after one of our rehersals he asked me to stay a bit longer. He showed me some new riffs which were totally different than our sound. On that day we created the first song (Virtuous Circle) of our nonexistent band.
Laci: A few days later we asked Balazs -, who is the singer of the hungarian Dirty Money, Cold Reality – if he wants to join the band and get wild on stage with us; Patrick, the womanizer to be the second guitarist, Tomi – the best oldschool tattooer of Budapest – to play bass. For a few months we have rehearsed with this lineup, but Patrik had to move back to his hometown and Tomi was quite busy and had no time to stay with us so our numbers decreased. Luckily the problem was solved soon, the lineup was final by april of 2015. Our two good friends joined the band: Lóri, who previously played in many youth crew bands and makes the biggest sacrifies since he’s the only one who has a car, joined to play bass, and Ádám, the master of solos, filled the second guitarist position.

 

Chiller Than Most: Who came up with the name of the band and does it have a special meaning? Please tell us why you picked this name?
Balázs: I just realised that the guys don’t even know the real source of the name, haha. I’m a TV show addict, I’ve seen countless series and episodes. A couple years ago I was amazed by an american series called Touch, with Kiefer Sutherland who’s known for 24, and I thought that if I ever had a spiritual hardcore band, this name would be perfect for it. There is no real connection between the story of the series and the meaning of the band’s name, I just liked it. When Laci showed his ideas to me and asked if I want to sing in the band, I came up with this name and luckily everyone liked it.

 

 

Chiller Than Most: What is your message that you want to give to people through the music? What goals do you want your current band to accomplish?
Laci: We don’t have a particular message, our first and most important goal we have is to have as much fun as we can while creating songs and playing shows, and for Balázs to dance on stage as much as he can. If other people like it too, it’s a pleasure to us.

 

Chiller Than Most: You try to write about things that affect you personally and also can TOUCH and inspire other kids. Actually you are a very positive dude, but all the lyrics on every level, personal, social and spiritual are a bit dark and heavy. This duality is really interesting… I mean the principles that you try to express in your lyrics are based on using negative energy and harnessing and transforming it into something positive.

Laci: You see it right, there is a contrast between my basic nature and the mood of the songs, but it’s only the surface. Apart from the usual positive worldview, the drawbacks of life do concern me. Hardcore is a great form of expression to release your frustrations, and as you said, to turn them into positive energies. For me, writing lyrics was a new challenge. I always wanted to express my thoughts in some form, but I never wrote them on paper. Cliche or not, hardcore is not just about writing mosh-positive riffs (which is also important, haha), it’s about sharing your ideas within the community you’re involved in. Knowing this, I tried to do my best.
Chiller Than Most: The first song on your ILLUSION OF TRUTH release has a spiritual vibe, can you give us some thoughts the lyrics to VIRTIOUS CIRCLE?
Laci:After a few failures we often feel like we’re victims of vicious circles: chains of events that push us deeper and deeper, as if we were determined to fail. Problems after problems that make us unable to see clearly. We accept our own bad luck, we blame things on the inevitability of failing just to bypass our own responsibility and blame everything on some invisible, unknown force of nature. It’s true that there are situations that call for an extreme, almost superhuman power of will but those rarely occur in everyday life. We need to get our heads straight, be aware of our own capabilities and do everything in our power to get out of our mess, leave behind the thought of predetermination and move forward step by step to create our own virtuous circle to find a way out.

 

Chiller Than Most: I was thinking about two other lyrics on the EP, maybe you’d like to talk about them. RAISE YOUR HANDS and ILLUSION OF TRUTH…
Laci:The lyrics to Raise Your Hands were written by Gergő Ofner and me. They were written in a time when I was interested in a lot of topics but I had trouble articulating my thoughts. But when we got together, I started talking about something and the brainstorming just kicked off, and we completed the lyrics in a few days (just in time for our first show). The song is inspired by re-evaluating things that are said to be dogmas and the experience of the continuous fluctuation of our world view that we used to believe was more static. The first half of the title track deals with these topics, too. I was influenced by a university paper about the limits of knowing the objective truth and whether it’s even possible or if it even exists. The title is a reference to this. The paper examined the contrast between the reality created by our words and the world that is independent from them. In this system our own opinions and reflections, and our ability to support our argument gain more weight.

 

Chiller Than Most: Touch is a straight edge band, but it’s not the focus of the band, I mean that it is an important issue to you as individuals, but as a band you don’t find it necessary to push or promote edge. Do not get me wrong, I don’t care if a band is edge or not, to me if their music is bad ass, their message sincere and they have awesome cover arts and designs, I am all for it! What do you think about this issue?
Laci: When we started Touch it wasn’t a straight edge band, so we didn’t think if this could be part of the concept. By Lóri joining this changed, but we still don’t feel like we should become an “outspoken” edge band. Being straight edge is an important segment of our lives, but this isn’t shown in either the lyrics, nor the symbolism of the band. Creating my actual “playlist” it was never a viewpoint if the band was edge or not, I try to be more open minded, so I completely agree with your standpont!

 

Chiller Than Most: The LOJ influence in your sound is more than obvious, did that happen accidentaly, or did you set out to sound like LOJ when you first started playing? Tell me about your influences besides LOJ.
Laci: I won’t lie, Lion of Judah is one of my favourite bands. Both the music and the lyrics are unique and inspiring. The retrospective sound created with the help of the legendary Don Zientara, which brings the Dischord sound but is still slightly different, drives me mad. We tried bringing in as many influences as we could, but the writing is not neccesarily a conscious job. Many times we didn’t have any ideas, we were just jamming in the studio. What influences could I name? Bad Brains and Faith/Void would definitely be on my thanks list if I knew them, but Reason to Believe and Burn also influenced us in a big way. Burn is a bit different from the others, but the mood of some of our riffs wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for them. Desperate Measures and Lights Out also should be named.

 

Chiller Than Most: Besides LOJ and Mental, in your opinion what bands changed hardcore for the better in the last ten years? Which band gave new impulses in the hardcore scene?
Balázs: Angel Dust – Mixing Bad Brains with a bit of rockish sound brings a freshness to the scene. Turnstile – They mix today’s sound with the sound of the 80-90’s. They’re not my favourites, but what they do live is amazing. Tons of energy in them.
Laci: Give – Incredibly creative sound and imagery mixed with intense live performances. Definitely a unique band in the scene. We are love! Blacklisted – While all of their releases are different, their discography stays coherent. From the in your face We’re Unstoppable through the grunge and Death in June influenced No One Deserves To Be More Than Me, to their new album, they were able to reinvent themselves and are still bringing new impulses to the scene of the last 10-12 years. Cold World – If you’ve seen their video with Sean Price you don’t need an explanation.

 

Chiller Than Most: Last words?

Laci:Our friends, Bluesbreaker from Kiev, are going to record their new LP soon, It’ll be a blast! If you’re into Helmet, you’ll definitely dig the new songs! Keep your eyes on them! Thank you for the interview!

"So come up and sing along with Token Entry."

 

Over the last few years, I interviewed Zachary Wuerthner (Moshers Delight, Intent) numerous times. In the first issue of the zine we talked mostly about Intent, Moshers Delight fanzine/label and his t-shirt collection and in the second issue exclusively about Token Entry. I thought it would make for an interesting form of interviewing if every question was about a specific 80s band. For the first installation I picked Token Entry, and when I started to think about who to interview, I remembered a picture of Zack and Gil Sayfan (Free Spirit, Intent, Big Contest, Depths of Reality) posing with Token Entry shirt and record. It was evident they will be excellent to interview. Save the picture I knew Gil liked Token Entry from a previous Free Spirit interview, and Free Spirit had a few Token Entry rip-off designs as well. So the picture existed earlier than the thought of the interview, I interviewed Zack because of it. (Interview originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 2.)

 

 

Chiller Than Most: For me and for most of my friends Token Entry will always remain one of the best hardcore bands ever. Even though they are unfortunately less well-known than YOT, BOLD or GB, I mean Token Entry is a really underrated band. A very few kids speak about this band and nobody plays Token Entry cover songs. What is the reason for this? What is your opinion about this?

GIL: A lot of the qualities that make Token Entry a legendary hc band are probably the same reasons that contribute to them getting the shaft when it comes to being remembered as a world class band. TE occupy the weird space of NYHC that is just as good if not better than the rest but harder to nail down: They weren’t on Rev, they weren’t straight edge, they weren’t on the later reality tip of Breakdown/Raw Deal, they kind of occupy their own weird space where bands like Absolution, Rest In Pieces and NY Hoods fall. Being harder to classify maybe makes them come up in the conversation less. Bands like Mental who exposed NYHC to modern listeners turned new kids onto Underdog and Supertouch in a big way, same for Outburst, but the way I see it TE hasn’t gotten that spotlight. As far as why covers are so seldom it’s mainly because the songs are played with such intricacy that most don’t even attempt.

ZACK: It’s really very hard to place Token Entry into a certain category or throw them into a bucket with a certain group of bands since they were such incredible musicians. Bands at the forefront of late 80s NYHC such as YOT, BOLD, and GB were not fundamentally proficient at their instruments, which is what made them so endearing. Their music was for the common man, extremely easy to play, with very relatable lyrics, and they were remembered for their live performances rather than how well they played on record. I think what separated TE from this ilk is that they were actually good musicians that incorporated so many different influences into their songs – ripping solos, perfect guitar/vocal harmonization, straight up rock parts layered with melodies, etc. Essentially, their song writing is a cut above the aforementioned bands, and perhaps this is why we don’t see very many TE covers these days.

 

Chiller Than Most: How was your first time meeting Token Entry? Was it a love at first sight? Do you have a fave release from them or do you like all their records equally?

GIL: My two introductions to the band were the Kid Dynamite cover of “Birthday” that has Ernie on it, and a copy of Jaybird that Sam BBB had picked up from Rock ‘n Roll Heaven in Orlando, FL. Having heard that song and then unlocking the key with access to the album itself complete with the visual of the cover art, it was definitely a hard hitting find. Windows, Pink Things, Entities – the groove of these songs spoke to me and was the puzzle piece to hearing bands like Mental mentioned before and drawing that line from their sound to the classic NYHC groove. My favorite release is Jaybird and has been since then so it is love at first sight for sure.

ZACK: Much like Gil, my first exposure to TE was through KD’s cover of “Birthday”, which piqued my interest enough to check out the band’s records. The first record I bought by TE was “Jaybird” because it had an eagle wearing sunglasses riding a skateboard across the album cover – basically the illest shit ever. Being knee-deep in the skateboarding game at the time, this really was just something that I had to have. With songs about skating such as the title track and the grooviness of the break parts in “Windows” I was completely sold. This record is my favorite release and was my soundtrack for walking to school every morning for about 3 months straight when I was in 10th grade.

 

Chiller Than Most: Before he was in Raw Deal, Anthony Comunale was the original singer of Token Entry. What you can hear on the 7 inch are four tracks (Antidote, Psycho, Death Row, Forbidden Zone), all of which were later re-recorded, with Timmy Chunks on vocals for “From Beneath The Streets”. They have a three song demo session from 1986. It was recorded in San Francisco on Token Entry’s first American tour and they re-recorded these songs too. How do you compare the “Ready Or Not… Here We Come!!” 7 inch to the “From Beneath The Streets” LP?

GIL: I’ve always been partial to the FBTS versions of these 4 songs – mainly because they’re played faster and Timmy sings them in a more intense way. And on a more subconscious level, probably because I was introduced to the band through Timmy’s vocals so his voice to me is where the songs really come alive. On FBTS I think the songs are played in a more serious manner without losing any of the ambiance from the first takes. That’s not to take away from Ready or Not – “Antidote” on here is great, but the other 3 come to life on LP, they jump out at you more.

ZACK: I didn’t really get into the 7″ until quite some time after I heard their LPs. Before that, TE only existed in their first 2 full-length records for me, and that was the stuff that I had grown so accustomed to. Finding out that they had a release with a different singer that predated FBTS really blew my mind through the back of my skull. I love those versions of the songs, especially “Antidote” as Gil mentions, but I think their true power is realized through Timmy’s incredible vocal performance on the re-recordings.

 

Chiller Than Most: Anthony Comunale or Timmy Chunks? What do you think about their voices?

ZACK: Anthony Communale’s best vocal performance lies not in TE, but rather Raw Deal. The essential TE vocalist is certainly Timmy Chunks. He has a complete sense of dominance in his vocal delivery over every song almost to the point where you could focus completely on him rather than the music and still be satisfied. On almost every song his vocals interplay with the rhythm of the guitar in perfect harmony. It always amazed me at how well you could make out every single word he sings, and I attribute that to how loud and powerful his vocals are over the music.

GIL: TE Communale and his on-stage mosh moves where he’s actually dropping to the floor mid-skank is classic, but Timmy Chunks is Token Entry to me – his voice is just so powerful and he commands those songs perfectly, the personality that comes across in his delivery on the songs makes up a big part of how I think of the band. Timmy’s vocals have complete range that go through powerful spoken words to wildman screams. Communale keeps it pretty level on the 7″ and like Zack says, he’d have his finest hour later on.

 

Chiller Than Most: What are the best Token Entry songs, lyrically? Why?

GIL: The best songs lyrically for me have to be: Entities (also one of my favorites musically), Psycho, Actions, and probably Token Entry the song. TE, like Rest In Pieces, sang about such a range of topics covering so many that are outside the standard fare of what hc bands sing about. I love songs like Think About It, Pink Things, Death Row cause they cover undiscussed topics or they just straight up tell a story. When you’re showing someone these albums, it’s hard not to be like yo this song is about Vietnam Vets! “Entities” was an early favorite and always has been because of the existential lyrics discussing people starting out the same in life, and questioning the paths people take in a way different than how a band like YOT would take on a topic like this. Token Entry the song is the band’s theme song, down to the most literal translation of their logo fitting over a mosh where the arrow and color green are explained “Like this tall skyscraper before my eyes positive construction has a limitless sky” – completely unique stuff. They didn’t have just one thing going for them, there’s a sense of humor and there’s a lot of seriousness too.

 

Chiller Than Most: The songs on Jaybird are awesome both musically and lyrically. But do you like the sound on this record? (It was produced by Bad Brains’ guitarist Dr. Know.)

ZACK: I love the sound on Jaybird. Everything sounds so loud, full, and in your face yet you can still pinpoint each instrument very clearly in that they aren’t drowning each other out. I would never claim to understand any of the intricacies involved in recording, but I know one thing is certain – the quality of Jaybird is a major step up from FBTS in every single way.

GIL: Yeah I think the sound is their best definitely a step up from FBTS as far as capturing the power of the band. You hear it on Windows especially, there is a dark heaviness to the sound of the guitar which is off the wall cause the riff is fast and bouncy – there’s just a lot to this recording and it’s pretty dynamic in how much is going on. I don’t attempt to be an audio engineer, I leave that to Nasty Ned, but I think the important qualities of the band are captured on here.

 

Chiller Than Most: Those hardcore veterans who saw them on stage, say they always put on a good, energetic live show. I have heard live tapes which sound equally awesome. What do you think about their live set at WNYU and their live songs from the Free For All compilation?

ZACK: I’m a very big fan of both recordings. The songs they play on the WNYU set are some of my favorite versions of those songs because they’re played even faster and sound a bit heavier as well. The FFA comp, although only 3 songs, might be some of the best quality live TE songs I’ve ever heard. You can definitely get a feel for the energy that was flowing through CBGB’s that day during the singalong in “The Edge” – almost feels as if I’m there when I listen to it.

GIL: These are my most consulted recordings, WNYU the Free For All tracks and WFMU rock. Hearing the FBTS played hard I always thought was the most important stuff to hear. A friend was over recently and I was bumping Free For All and he was surprised at how powerful it sounded. AJ who is also interviewed in this zine thinks I don’t like extended mosh parts, but he’s wrong – because I love the extended mosh in The Edge on Free For All. The last recording of the band I discovered was a WFMU set I got off Zack – it has one really loud lead guitar turned up all the way through it which makes it sound like Jimmy Hendrix is playing over all the songs – it’s awesome. Vinnie from Steinway Pianos could be 2014’s Neil Pollinger.

 

Chiller Than Most: This will be hard to answer. Would you go to a reunion show if Token Entry only played from the “Weight of the World” album? Are you actually a fan of “Weight of the World”?

ZACK: No, I don’t like that record, and seeing those songs played live doesn’t really interest me at all. Sweet Pete actually shared a funny story with me and Gil about that record not too long ago. He bought the tape the day it came out in anticipation of it sounding like their older stuff, but after a few minutes of playing it in his car’s tape deck he deemed the record “monumentally bad” and actually threw it out of the window.

GIL: I generally think Weight of the World stinks and aside from the song where they mention Taco Bell doesn’t get much interest out of me.

 

Chiller Than Most: Ernie’s artwork has always been one of my favourites from the “Ready Or Not… Here We Come!!” cover to the cover of “Jaybird” and let me just say, the “From Beneath The Streets” cover is one of the best things I have ever seen. What do you think about his artwork? His art seems to have had a huge impact on the Free Spirit t-shirt designs.

GIL: I’m a huge fan of the Ernie artwork. The smaller illustrations in the inserts and all the shirt designs, the lettering, they knew how to make a record worth looking at and a shirt design that I imagine would move quick. When Radio Silence came out the TE hand-painted jacket was one of the biggest gems in there. The Token Entry references in FS started early on when we suggested the FBTS style as a joke – then one day Ken rolled up to an early practice with a sketch he did of all of us in there, which then became a shirt design. We referenced them again when it came time to do a Cali tour shirt. Their attention to detail and the contribution of quality artwork from a drummer definitely had an influence on our band. Ken was drawing those cartoons before some of us knew what a talented artist he was, now he’s doing 4 foot oil paintings.

ZACK: Ernie was an artistic genius. His penchant for humanoid birds and caricature-esque cartoon drawings that are found on all the good TE releases will be forever remembered as some of the best art ever put forth by a member of the American hardcore scene. It’s even more special that art production in TE was an in-house operation – everything was done by an actual member of the band. This kept all of their art very true to the nature of the band since is was done so close to home. What I can appreciate most about Ernie’s art is that it’s not perfect, which in turn makes it very relatable to the viewer. Perfection lies within imperfection, in my eyes.

 

Chiller Than Most: Black jaybird shirt. Yellow cartoon shirt with Ernie drawing. White logo shirt, Positive Force sleeveprint. Do you have a favorite TE t-shirt design?

ZACK: My favorite TE design is their 1988 tour shirt featuring the Jaybird skating over a gold badge with their American flag-infused logo on the front. This shirt belongs in a fucking museum.

GIL: My favorite is the arrow logo shirt with the sleeve print mainly because of its universal quality – you see it in so many old photos, there’s always one of those in the pit, and it’s lifted from real life in NYC at the time, like if you wore that shit in the city I imagine people wouldn’t even realize it’s a band they would think you got it on canal street.

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