Skip to main content

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #3: Pansy Division's Co-founder & Guitarist Jon Ginoli (The Witzard Interview)

Pansy Division 1997 Line-up (SOURCE: Luis Illades)

Not entirely unlike Wrestle/Wrassle Rap or Basketball Rap, there's, apparently, a whole sub-genre of hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore—oftentimes, referred to as "Puck" Rock or Hockey-core. Yes, I've been a die-hard fan of Punk/Hardcore for 15+ years and I, too, only first heard about Puck Rock within the last few weeks. Although, once I started diggin' around, I discovered about 10-15 bands at the forefront; this was, then, gradually narrowed down to 10 "front-line" bands, which will be chronicled here over the course of coming weeks. The "top-scoring" bands we selected include: Crippled Youth, SLAPSHOT, The Hanson Brothers/Nomeansno, Two Man Advantage, The Boils, D.O.A. THE ZAMBONIS, Pansy Division, The Hextalls, and The Ramoms' "Gritty Is A Punk" flexi-disc. We sent out a short 6-question interview form to all of the aforementioned bands, received some back, heard a few choice words, and still have yet to hear from a few more. We'll be running those interviews, as well as features, profiles, etc. in the coming weeks. EDITOR'S NOTE: be warned, while I'm a casual hockey fan, I DO NOT claim to be an "expert" on the sport, nor will I EVER claim to know "everything" about hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore. Now, let's just try to have some fun and learn more about the sub-genre together!

For this week's installment of Guts of The Ice, we spoke with Pansy Division co-founder and guitarist Jon Ginoli. Pansy Division has been active since 1991 and are often recognized as one of the pioneers of Queercore, as well as being the first openly gay Rock band featuring predominantly gay musicians. Pansy Division's current line-up consist of vocalist/guitarist Jon Ginoli, bassist/vocalist Chris Freeman, lead guitarist/vocalist Joel Reader (ex-The Mr. T Experience,) and drummer Luis Illades. From 1993-98, Pansy Division released six consecutive albums on world-renown Punk/Alt. Rock imprint Lookout! Records. Their seventh and most recent full-length, Quite Contrary, was released on former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra's label, Alternative Tentacles, in 2016. Over the course of the past 29 years, Pansy Division have shared the stage with the likes of blink-182, Built to Spill, The Donnas, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Jawbreaker, Jimmy Eat World, The Mr. T Experience, Pennywise, Rancid, Weeen, and countless others. According to @pansydivisionofficial, they "opened 38 shows for [Green Day] in 1994-95, going from 400-seat clubs at the start to arenas holding more than 10,000 people by the end." Within our interview, Jon Ginoli and I primarily spoke about "Hockey Hair," which first appeared on their 1997 7-inch, MANADA, and was later, hand-selected by Nomeansno/The Hanson Brothers' own John Wright for Sudden Death Records infamous Hockey Punk comp. Johnny Hanson Presents... Puck Rock, Vol. 2. This year, Pansy Division are inching towards playing their 1,000th show!

Sincerely,

Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor




01. How did you first get into both hockey and Punk/Hardcore music?

Jon Ginoli: Well, I can't say any of us are really into hockey. But we spent a fair amount of time touring in Canada in the 90's, where we encountered many fans who were, also, into hockey, who spoke of their love for the game. That got us thinking about it.

02. What made you decide to combine hockey and Punk/Hardcore stylings through music?

Ginoli: Being in Canada gave us the idea. Being friends with the band Chixdiggit! helped; see their song "I Feel Like Gerry Cheevers (Stitch Marks On My Heart)" from their great debut album [Chixdiggit!] (the one that was on Sub Pop.)


03. For fans new to the "Puck" Rock/Hardcore sub-genre, which release(s) from throughout your discography would you recommend starting out with?

Ginoli: Our one hockey-themed song is "Hockey Hair." It was a single first, then, on our album, More Lovin' from Our Oven from '97. It's on a singles comp. we put out last year called Pansy Division: Singles & Such. That song is more Indie-sounding than Punk (we straddle both sides of that line.) But it did get us on the compilation, Johnny Hanson Presents... Puck Rock, Vol. 2 in 1997 or '98.

04. How did "Hockey Hair" end up being featured on Johnny Hanson Presents... Puck Rock, Vol. 2, as curated by The Hanson Brothers/Nomeansno's own John "Johnny Hanson" Wright?

Ginoli: Our booking agent at the time, also, booked Nomeansno. So, I'm sure they were aware of us. But I don't exactly recall the details about it. In the booklet for the CD, Johnny Hanson evaluated each band's hockey potential. For our "Strengths," he described us as "team players (who) can play all positions, good in the locker room, willing to take the man." He said our "Weaknesses" were "chasing players instead of the puck." Very astute assessments, then and now.


05. Aside from your own band's music, what other hockey-themed groups, releases, singles, etc. would you recommend, as well?

Ginoli: Chixdiggit! Hanson Brothers. Here's a poster from a show we played with The Hanson Brothers in San Diego in 2003, intentionally created to sow confusion (it sure did!)

06. If still active, what are the future plans for your band? If currently inactive, do you have any immediate plans for any special re-issues or a proper reunion/comeback?

Ginoli: We started in 1991 and have played 973 shows. Our goal is to get to 1,000; then, we can retire (without having won a Stanley Cup, but we have all of our teeth.)


Hanson Brothers/Pansy Division Flyer (SOURCE: Jon Ginoli)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dj Cold Cut & DJ Dragon Smasher Mash-up Run The Jewels & Run-D.M.C. Classics On Run The DMC; Plus New RTJ4 Singles (Pig Food Records)

Honestly, at this point in time, Run The Jewels (RTJ) should require absolutely no introduction... but, just to be safe, here's a brief/obligatory introduction: RTJ consists of rapper/producer and Definitive "Def" Jux co-founder El-P and emcee and OutKast affiliate Killer Mike . Legend has it, El & Mike first met on the set of Mr. Muthaf**kin' eXquire's "The Last Huzzah" (Remix) music video shoot. Soon after, [adult swim] Senior Vice President/Creative Director Jason DeMarco—then, at Williams Street Records—connected Killer Mike with El-P , who would produce his phenomenal 2012 album, R.A.P. Music. Mike , additionally, appeared alongside El on his own 2012 Fat Possum Records album, Cancer 4 Cure, on stand-out track, "Tougher Colder Killer." R.A.P. Music & Cancer 4 Cure were released weeks apart, so fast friends Killer Mike & El-P decided to tour together behind their then-new albums. After the widespread success of said tou

Members of Refused, Minor Threat, The Faith & Girls Against Boys Join Forces to Form Fake Names & Share "Brick" Single (Epitaph Records)

Fake Names is a Punk/Hardcore super-group consisting of vocalist Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, INVSN, SAMURAI,) guitarist/vocalist Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Dag Nasty,) second lead guitarist/vocalist Michael Hampton (Embrace, The Faith, S.O.A.) bassist Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside, New Wet Kojak,) and, sometimes, drummer Matt Schulz (SAVAK, Holy F*ck, Enon.) "I'm in a new band with some friends from elementary school(!) and a sharp-dressed revolutionary from Sweden," Brian Baker (@brianbakers) posted on Instagram Wednesday morning; of course, referring to Hampton, Temple, and Lyxzén, respectively. Again, it appears as though Schulz is a part-time members of Fake Names , having played live with the band in their early aughts, although, their newly-launched website adds, " Matt [Schulz] played the drums. No synthesizers," within, what appears to be, digital liner notes. Guitarists Brian Baker & Michael Hampton first started j

3 Feet High & Rising: American Ethos Return with Self-titled Full-length Debut Mastered By: Jack "Flaco" Shirley (Conditions Records)

CREDIT: Reid Haithcock American Ethos are a mysterious Punk/Hardcore band based out of New England. I, actually, heard about American Ethos through a recent post made by @simpsonsXcore on Instagram, wherein they re-created the cover for American Ethos' recent self-titled debut full-length. Primarily functioning as the long-time "solo" project of guitarist and frontman Daniel Lajoie, American Ethos has featured a rotating cast of players. First established in 2011, Lajoie's American Ethos released a 3-track Demo Twenty Eleven, followed by a 2015 EP entitled Cosmetics​, and yet another EP in 2018 called Futurism. Last year, right before year's end on December 26th, American Ethos returned once more with their self-titled 12-track debut full-length on Texas-based Conditions Records. For this album, Daniel Lajoie has recruited drummer Mike Moschetto and Ryan Stack, who plays organ on "mulligan" and some guitar licks on "the killing chair" & &