How did you get into the world of hardcore? Can you recall any memorable shows you have been to over the years?
I started going to shows in late 93, early 94. A friend of mines older brother started taking me and his little brother to shows, and then we used to go, just me and the older brother. Memorable shows, hmm...I think some of my favorite shows were seeing the Casualties For the Punx record release and having to stand outside in the snow for an hour cause some kid pulled the fire alarm. Seeing Kid Dynamite a lot was fun cause those guys were great. The first Chicago Fest...I don't know, I guess I've seen a lot of shit.
What influenced you to start playing the drums? Are there any drummers that you particularly admire?
I started playing drums in the 4th grade. My best friend at the time was so mad at me cause we were both supposed to play the sax. I mean, it was the 80's and playing sax was cool then, but I just wanted to make more noise and I was interested in the drums.
I really like Keith Moon. That dude was nuts. I wish I had enough money so I could destroy all the shit he did. The drummer from The Suicide File is rad too. He's just really fucking fluid and and tight and it's rad to watch him play. I think someone told me that he's on a full scholarship to Berklee College of music too and if that's true I think it's so rad that someone with that much skill plays in hc, a lot of kids I knew gave it up when they felt they played better.
What was the first hardcore band that you were in? What was it like the first time you ever got out there and played a show?
The first hardcore band I did was Fast Times, but I was in two punk bands prior to that that didn't do much (Slappy, the deadbeats). It was a fucking rad time to just get out and play. I booked a few shows early on just so I could get my band to play out. Playing out live is the best feeling ever man, it's undescribable.
How did you get together with the dudes in Dead Nation? How long were you guys together? When did you know that Dead Nation was falling apart?
Fast Times and Dead Nation played together on some cheezy wannabe fest in NJ at the Casion Sk8 park. We talked a bit and just hung out and both me and Dave said we wanted to tour and we thought about doing one together as two young bands from NJ. They were really sloppy, but fun, and really cool. I think I was in Dead Nation for two years? Maybe I'm off, I don't know, it all overlaps in my mind. Dead Nation was kind of a catastrophe when I joined. We had a bass player that didn't show up, a lazy guitar player who wrote everything, and me and Dave. We played a few shows as a three piece cause the bass player didn't show up. I thought it was a disaster then when it ended it was like a shock cause things were going really good. I just got a phone call that Mat moved to NC and it was over really sketchy on his part.
How did the remnants of Dead Nation end up creating Tear It Up?
We played a few shows without Mat Suxx and it just felt real good. So, when Dead Nation was over I still wanted to play with all those dudes and we got it happening.
When was the first Tear It Up show and how long after that was it before you put out the demo and the first 7"?
The first show for Tear It Up was in August 2000. It was a real cool show with Ruination. The demo was out at that show. I think the 7" came out in October and we recorded the 7" and 12" ep stuff in september.
Tear It Up has gone through a bit of a lineup change, what prompted that? What is TIU's lineup now and how is that working out as opposed to the other dudes that have played in the band?
Well the lineup was Paul, Dave, Andy, Doug, and me, and now it's Dave, Andy, Ryan, John, and me. It's working out great. We have been playing a lot and it sounds real cool. I'm stoked to record with this lineup and see how it's different.
Ok, so for the changes Paul had to move to Boston to go to school and subsequently quit the band. It was a bummer but we're still all friends. I do The Rites with him on guitar actually. Doug was kicked out for not showing up for a tour. He thought it was too much like a job to be in TIU so I'm glad he's not around. His playing wasn't that great and I'll never talk to him again.
At shows you guys seem to have a great attitude where you don't talk down to kids or anything, you try to include everyone but you also let people know when they're acting like assholes. In a scene that is really consumed with labels you guys don't really label yourselves as like "thrash" or "straightedge" or whatever. Do you ever have problems with people at shows as a result of that kind of attitude?
No, not really, I mean for the most part everyone at our shows is totally cool about things. We don't really have a problem with kids being mad at us for not conforming to their labels. Not like we would care anyway if they did. We don't need people that closeminded to be into us.
Tear It Up is infamous for having released a lot of records in a short period of time. Was there a particular reason for all of the releases? Do you have a particular favorite? Are you guys working on anything new already or are the releases going to become more stagnant?
Good question. Well we never planned on just putting out tons of releases real quick, it just kind of happened. Like any time that we would finish a new idea for a record, a label would want to do it so we just put it out. I'm always planning for sure though I think we're going to do another 7" in October to kind of ease into working with the new lineup before we do that all-so-important second LP. As for favorites, I really like the Nothing to Nothing LP the most. I just feel a more intimate connection with that because it took me a while to get just right and to make it such a full album took a lot of time and weighed heavily on me personally.
Is there a certain formula or process that you guys use when writing tunes for TIU or do you guys just get together and jam?
Usually the way we do it is that people will bring new songs to practice when we're getting ready to start a new project and we'll play em around and tweak em slightly to see what works best, and then I'll see how they fit into the idea we have and either and either ask for something else or put it at its appropriate slot.
You guys just put out a new record on Dead Alive a few months ago called "Nothing to Nothing"...What do you have to say in regard to that record? What kind of response have you been getting from kids and zines and stuff?
So far all has been really positive. Most people I know think it's the best record we've done yet by far. All the reviews I have seen have been positive, so I guess all is good.
Speaking of records, do you feel that record collecting has been ruined by Ebay? To go even further than that, what do you think about the impact of the internet on the hardcore community as a whole right now?
I think that Ebay has been a good and bad thing. In one aspect it allows people to access records that they might not have been able to before, but on the other it jacks up the prices so outrageously it's laughable. I think the internet has had a two-fold effect as well. It sure makes booking shows and communicating with kids a whole lot easier and cheaper, but it also spawns message boards where other slander each other annonomously for fun, and that's just lame.
Tear It Up has finished up, or will be finishing up a tour in Europe and I know that you have been over to Europe before with Fast Times...how is the atmosphere of the hardcore community over there different or the same as compared to over here in the states?
We're actually still on the road here in Europe. I'm writing from a squat is Oslo, Norway right now. The tour is going good, I'm really stoked on it. It's way different than touring at home in the US. Kids here are a lot more grateful and into touring bands, cooking food, giving places to stay, whatever. It's all planned out for you and they're happy to help. A lot of times in the US a touring band is looked at as a burden.
Bands come back from Europe and usually say flat out that they either liked it or it was horrible...are kids into Tear It Up over there? Do the Euros know how to bring the mosh?!
I must say that Euros have been practicing since I was over here in 1999. The moshing is defiinitely better, but like I said the tour is going well. We still have about two weeks left with some of the best shows to come. Touring is always ups and downs. I mean, if you're Metallica I am sure every show is a million dollar event with kids going ape shit, but sometimes people just don't know you or they didn't promote your show or you have to play some weird place on a weekday. It's all ups and downs, you just have to play your balls off every night.
Are there any cool bands or kids that you have met while in Europe so far? Any interesting stories?
This band Comrades from Italy is awesome, we playted with them twice and its so fun they're such a cool bunch of guys. I really can't spill lots of the stories, but it was funny that one show was right next to a goth club in Germany and the parking lot was littered with metal-heads and drunken goths. They looked like such assholes and it was hilarious to see them and all these crust punx interact. We were also supposed to sleep in a converted gazeebo next to the squat but went to a hotel cause it was like 2 am and the show was only half over. A really fukked up and funny night.
It seems like a lot of your time is consumed with playing out and going on tour. Do you ever get sick of it and just want to take a break, or is it all fun? It's hard to imagine from the outside looking in on what it must be like to be in a full-time band while balancing other shit as well.
Man, this shit is the best times and feelings in the world. You always might miss certain things about home or your girlfriend but nothing can compare to playing shows, so we try to do it as much as we can. It's not always easy going, but still nothing comes close.
You are currently pulling double duty as drummer in Tear It Up and the vocalist in your new band THE RITES. How did THE RITES come into being?
After Paul left Tear It Up I said I still really wanted to play with him so we started this band. It was really cool to get together and work on new stuff for a band like the old days of Tear It Up. I've been wanting to sing in a band for years so I'm really excited about it.
I saw you guys in Waterbury a few weeks ago and you were pretty fucking good despite the fact that everyone stood around like statues. How have other shows gone over so far for THE RITES?
Well, at every show we've played kid just stand there and look at us, except in Boston where we did the Slapshot cover and they moshed along. We're a really new band with not that many tapes out so kids don't really know us yet and that's cool. We'll see what happens when the 7in. comes out.
Are you planning on making THE RITES a full time band like Tear It Up, or just something to have fun with and do every once in a while?
With The Rites we try to practice once a month and play one or two times a month. That may be like a full time thing, but nowhere near as crazy as TIU is. We're all in other bands besides The Rites and those are our priorities.
When will THE RITES 7 song 7" be out on Dead Alive Records?
It hopefully will be out in August so we can do a week tour on it. Hopefully, or we'll have to make some sort of demo or something.
TEAR IT UP will be doing a summer tour with fellow NJ band DOWN IN FLAMES, when does that shit kick off?
Well, the tour starts on July 6th and wraps up August 5th, I think. We're not coming up to Connecticut for those show cause we try to get there regularly since it's not too far from home, but both bands will be playing in Boston in August for the Bachelor Party show for my friend Ernie.
One last quick question I just remembered - I heard that TIU did a set of Shark Attack covers last Halloween, what was that all about?
Yeah, we did. It was funny as hell, kids were into it. We just thought it would be funny since we know all those guys and it was hahaha.
Any last comments or shout-outs?
Thanks a lot for doing the interview man and if anyone wants to contact us, feel free to do so at...
Tear It Up - Tearxitup@aol.com
The Rites - firstname.lastname@example.org