R'N'R is a great band from Mass. that brings something a little different to the table with the combination of old school hardcore and hard rock elements. I liked their demo and 7" on Cadmium Sick Records (now re-pressed on Dead Alive Records) so I decided that I would email both Joe Shumsky and Joe Sylvia questions about what they're up to with the band...
How did you get involved in hardcore?
Joe (Guitar): i first got into punk when i became a freshman in highschool .and pretty much was always more on the punk rock side of things, i then got into straight edge and going to shows and started listening more hardcore bands because i pretty much felt hardcore was more punk then punk rock..
Joe (Vocals): when i was, like, 14, a close friend of mine named ethan crosby introduced me to the misfits... this was the beginning of the end for me.
What were some of the first hxc records that you got psyched about?
Joe (V): the first hardcore that i got into was that of local bands from central ma, circa 1995. bound, hatchetface, dive, entropy... and later get high.
Joe (G): id have to say the big three is what got me going with hardcore (minor threat, black flag , misfits ) alot of older dudes when i first started going to shows told me what bands to get into and what records to buy. groups like DYS, SLAPSHOT. NFX Gorilla Biscuits.. i remember when i got slapshot: step on it.. i was in shock , and that LP didnt leave my record player for a whole summer.. BAD BRAINS roir cassette and 7 SECONDS walk together, rock together where also some of my early LP's i bought that really got me into HC
What are some awesome shows that you can remember having gone to over the years?
Joe (G): well , im a young guy so what ive seen for shows would maybe impressive one or two kids only.. but id have to say chicago fest 2001 was a great one, and any of the shows from the THINK I CARE/ XFILESX tour were special.when us NEW BEDFORD kids had our own club el dangeroso ( r.i.p).we had some great shows. the benefit show that eric yu set up for me was real special. it was filled with great bands and good friends. it may not be so much of the shows or bands itself that makes a show great but the warm feelings i get from thinking about them that make them special to me.
Joe (V): the best show that i've ever been to was poison, cinderella, dokken, and slaghter in virginia. me and a friend of mine named justin searles drove 12 hours straight to get there... and then 12 hours straight to get home... i'm not kidding about this.
I know that Joe (vocals) is in both Think I Care and Fit For Abuse, but have any other members of RNR been in other bands over time or even currently?
Joe (V): our drummer, justin de tore, has been in many bands over the years... reach the sky, the trust, down but not out, f. y. a... and, more recently, mental and dumptruck. eric yu was in glory fades and a band that i've never heard called voices forming weapons, i think. my brother air is in most of the bands that i'm in, and have ever been in. joe sylvia was in a band before r'n'r... the name escapes me.
Joe (G): well joe has done time with close call , and a million other bands, he's also does SO BE IT right now. aaron has got RNR, SO BE IT, THINK I CARE, and thats it i think for current bands but he's been in alot over the years too, eric yu, has been in VOICES FORMING WEAPONS and GLORY FADES and is currently trying to start a new band on top of RNR, DF Justin has been in the TRUST, DBNO, FYA, and a shit load of others, currently he's doing RNR, MENTAL, SHOTDEAD and off and on he'll record with TASTE OF FEAR which is darly from citizens arrest black metal group. , as for myself im been in nothing really importa nt , but id like to get a OI profect with eric yu going some day, when i get modivated
How did R'N'R get rolling? Who thought up the name and where did it come from?
Joe (G): Joe shumsky got the name going, and me and him pretty much got the idea for the band rolling around after a really bad halloween show that THINK I CARE played in providence.
Joe (V): r.'n'r. was basically the brain child of myself and joe sylvia... this isn't to take away from all the other members. i just wanted to start a band that was a crazy hybrid of all the music that i loved: hardcore, punk rock, glam rock, metal, oi, etc. i wrote some songs and then met joe sylvia. we talked and learned that we were both on the same page. i tried to get my brother to play drums, initially... but he didn't want to... so, he decided to play bass instead. we got justin to play the drums (thank the fucking lord), and then eric to play second guitar. i thought up the name... i thought it was kind of a cool double entendre kind of thing.
How would you describe the noise that RNR produces... because it seems like you have a variety of influences ranging from old style Boston hc to hard rock.
Joe (V): how you just described us is basically exactly what we were going for. i was never a big fan of the so called "thrash revival" even though, ironically enough, think i care ended up getting lumped in with all those bands. i just wanted to start a band that played songs, you know?
Joe (G): yeah, that was pretty much the idea from the whole start, was to mix forms of music we all loved.. i know joe was really into rock and roll groups as was aaron ,myself, justin and eric ..but we were also really into old boston style HC like DYS.. so it kinda just came natural to us.. and we set out to try and do something somewhat different as to what was happening with hardcore at the moment which was watered down thrash bands. as for how id describe our noise.. i have no idea.. alot of our songs sound different .. i mean they all have the same background which is hardcore and rock and roll .. but everynow and then joe will come to practice with a power ballad, or swing tempo song that'll just knock us on our asses.. and these are just the songs he'll come to practice with .. i write alot of songs for the group as does aaron.. even DFJustin has written one.. so its kinda hard to explain what we sound like being that all the songs are being written by three or four different people.
What have been some memorable moments of the RNR experience so far? Have kids been responding well to the band?
Joe (G): when we first started we did alot of set jumping on CLOSE CALL and THINK I CARE shows.. at the close call 7inch release/ateam lp release show.. we got our first real crowd response. which was suprising to me..we played a set at the short lived boston club REGENERATIONS which was probably our best show.. we did a great show in maine not long ago, and kids seemed to be into it, and we got a good crowd response at a show in worcestor w/t BANE and the SUICIDIE FILE. so i think response has been good with RNR so far, kids seem to dig the songs and the records sell 3 or 4 copys each time we play a show.that aint bad in my opinion. as for the mosh its kinda lacking but i just figure its because our songs are alot longer and slower then other hardcore groups.. we're more of a rocking out type of hc band.
Joe (V): people have been really positive about what we're doing... playing live is always kind of awkward, though... i think that people aren't quite sure what to make of us or what they should do while we're playing. i guess i understand. we do have danceable songs, but we're certainly not some sort of mosh- metal hardcore band. we're just making the best music we know how. i would say that the most memorable r.'n'r. moment so far was this show that we played with bane and the suicide file at the palladium in worcester... i totally wasn't expecting much of a reaction... but the shit hit the fan.
What was the incident that inspired the benefit show at WPI for Joe (guitar) in February? Was the event successful? Isn't there going to be a special 7" shipped to people who went to the show?
Joe (G): hahah yeah eric yu set that shit up for me, and id have to say it was probably the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me, itd had a real bad run of luck at the end of 2002 and pretty much all the money i had got sucked out of my bank due to car problems and junk.. i was working a real beat job with no health insurence . just as my luck would have it.. goofing around with friends i got pitched though a store front window in downtown new bedford.and cut two tendence in my right hand. so pretty much i had like 2500 dollars worth of medical bills for hand surgery and it was a mess ..the event was a total success, pretty much all my medical bills got paid for.. which was such a great feeling.. im surprised i didnt shed a tear or too at the show. as for the 7inch we didnt make the amount that we thought we were going to make at the door.. we made just under, but that 7inch is still going to happen no matter what .. im now working a different job. w/t health insurance and i have alittle under a grand saved .and we're going to send that free 7inch out to all those who went and all the bands that played as soon as we get it recorded, which will probably be in two weeks..so look for it in your mailbox in about 2months.. chances are you ll see it before you see the SF/RNR split in your mailbox,haha
Joe (V): joe was goofing around outside one of our shows and ended up going through a plate glass window... one of his hands got fucked up pretty bad. he had no health insurance, either. so, eric yu basically organized the thing. he had some help, from dave weinberg, i believe. it definately was successful. we're going to be recording two songs in a few days to put on a record to send out to people who came to the show and signed the list.
Do you guys have any clue what is going on with the split 7" with TSF that was supposed to be released on Championship Vinyl?
Joe (G): somewhat, me and dave weinberg from SF are pretty much in the dark as far as this project goes.. we're wondering just as much as everybody else is.. it should of been out months ago.. but all we've gotten is excuses from the kid doing the label.. we're at the breaking point here and if the suicide file doesnt get some vinyl for their upcoming tour.. we're going to have a different label from boston put it out.. its been too long .. and i know dave had started getting emails from kids saying where's my money or record,. i started getting them also.. and i just dont want kids thinking we're ripping kids off.. as far as i know though the covers are all made, the vinyl test presses are on the way , and it seems like theyre moving somewhat ahead again.. but we'll see .. hopefully it'll be out in a month.. but who knows.
Joe (V): we're sorting out that whole mess right now... it may come down to someone else putting it out.
What's next for RNR as far as new records, tours, shows, general bullshit...?
Joe (G): we have a LP coming out on deadalive records, which we're recording for next week , and we're recording for that thank you 7inch , and a couple of songs for comps.. and a song for a Ateam cheap trick project.. we got some shows in may coming up also in R.I ,N.J,and Haverhill Ma... a tour has been talked about maybe trying to get something going on the west coast with annihilation time in late august early sept, but nothing is set in stone as of yet ... im sure we'll be playing alot this summer though.
Joe (V): we're going to recording an l. p. for deadalive in about a week... we're all pretty psyched. hopefully, we'll get some sort of tour going this summer... even if it's just the east coast.
After your years of involvement with hardcore, what would you say are some of the things that really disgust you about hardcore? What are some people or bands in hardcore that inspire you?
Joe (G): Alot really disgusts me about hardcore nowadays, for one i feel kids are really closed minded on music, case in point D.Y.S self titled rock album.. kids hate that record but if you over look the reverb in dave smalleys vocals you have some heavy fucking tunes..haha seriously though i look around and see alot of kids not being themselfs caring too much what others think.. i also think hardcore is too focused on left wing politics nowadays, and if someone tried to change that in music their opinion wouldnt be heard, over all i think politics and music dont mix. hardcore shouldnt be about this shit at all. it was made for and by sexual frustrated angry kids who wanted to have a good time, not to join a army of assholes bent on brainwashing the simple minded... but focusing in on the negatives in the HC scene alone isnt going to help anything ...as far as inspiring me, not too many hardcore bands do nowadays .. aside from whats going on in MA. right now .. i think MA. has the best scene and the best bands right now. bands like Think I Care, A team, ill see these bands play and other bands in our area, and its just like Woah... i got to go home and pick up my guitar and play hard.. any other inspiration will just come from my friends, or just listening to older HC or rock and roll.
Joe (V): the thing that bothers me the most, after all these years, is how totally transparent some people can be. luckily, there are amazing people and bands as well: the suicide file, the a-team, tear it up, xfilesx... the list goes on and on.
Are any of you guys record collectors? How do you feel about kids who are more pre-occupied with merch and rare vinyl than the actual music itself?
Joe (G): i tried to be into collecting rare records a couple of years ago but im usually broke so its a hobbie i cant get into .. id rather spend money on rare records that have been reissued on CD or bootlegs..as for kids who are all about spending tons of cash on rare colored vinyl.. these are kids who probably dont work , or work hard for a living and dont know the value of a dollar..its more about showing them off to others then listening to them .. but who am i to try and tell these kids how to spend their parents cash.
Joe (V): i don't collect records... i do have a few semi- rare records... but they're only important to me because they have sentimental value... they're records that i acquired when i first got into hardcore... by and large, they don't make it like that no more. if people want to collect records... so be it. hardcore is about music, though... at the end of the day.
What do you guys occupy your time with when you're not rockin' out at hardcore shows?
Joe (G): working and sleeping .. usually not much more.
Joe (V): i go to school, practice instruments, hang with my girlfriend, hang with my brother, hang with my friends, and lift.
GI JOES or TRANSFORMERS?
Joe (G): id go with GI JOES, america has gone down hill since they took this show off the air.. who do kids have for heros now? no one.
Joe (V): jem
Freddy vs. Jason - who will win?
Joe (G): ive heard about the making of this movie since i was in the 5th grade, and i doubt itll ever happen .. i mean how would it happen ? jasons a dead unstoppable killing machine who cant be killed? i doubt he dreams. plus he isnt from elm street so how and why would freddy go after him? not to mention jason is now on another planet in the future...( jason X booooo !!!! ) i cant see how they could ever link these two movie charactors together..but if i had to choose one.. itd be Freddy , as far as how he'd win .. no clue.. jason is burly though
Joe (V): i've been waiting for this flick since i was in the 7th fucking grade... i don't even care!
Any last comments, shout-outs, or fuck yous?
Joe (G): yeah , thanks alot for the interview , you run a good webpage bro and i enjoy seeing people making zines and webpages and getting involed.. also check out our lame webpage, its on www.howsyouredge.com and i'll say fuck you to that kid from that band stabyouintheasswithmyfaggotdickthenmakeyoueatmyassholeout.. i remember reading a interview you did with him. where he started slagging RNR real bad out of the blue.. opinions and speaking your mind are one thing but this kid seemed to have a dildo up his ass and really wanted to tear us down .. so fuck him..
Joe (V): fuck all y'all posers... peace jah. thanks for the interview.