Friday, July 3, 2020

The Witzard Premiere: 80HRTZ's Iron Maiden "Wasted Years" Remix Featuring Johnny Crump & B. Dolan's "KItchen Sink" Remix Contest Entry

Last we heard from Massachusetts' own 80HRTZ, he was producing "The Ghost of Route 44" as part of BRZOWSKI's 2019 odds-and-ends-style comp. BLooddrive, Vol. 4. Prior to that, 80 had produced a full-length album alongside fellow Bay Stater and emcee Purge dubbed WHERE THERE'S SMOKE... However, The Witzard regulars might remember 80HRTZ from his inexplicitly infectious genre-fusing remixes of The Misfits' "Astro Zombies" & Dead Kennedys' "California Über Alles" both premiered right here at The Witzard, respectively, featuring DJ Halo & Shortrock. Now, 80HRTZ has returned with his next similarly-minded remix concocted exclusively for The Witzard: Iron Maiden's fourteenth single, "Wasted Years." Maiden originally released "Wasted Years" in 1986 as the lead-off single from their then-upcoming synth-laden album, Somewhere In Time. 80HRTZ's "Wasted Years" fuses together Iron Maiden's beloved 80's Heavy Metal sound against his own unique Heavy/Melodic Hip-Hop stylings.

"Wasted Years" has since been repeatedly covered by Less Than Jake frontman Chris DeMakes, Ryan Adams, female-led tribute band The Iron Maidens, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister,) George Lynch, Bob Kulick & Jeff Pilson with Jason Bonham, and plenty more. 80HRTZ's "Wasted Years" remix, however, is vastly different from any of the aforementioned covers and features scratching, cuts, etc. from UK-based turntablist/producer Johnny Crump. In addition to "Wasted Years," 80HRTZ has recently uploaded a remix of B. Dolan's "Kitchen Sink" from Fallen House, Sunken City (2010) for a remix contest. 80HRTZ has previously concocted remixes of B. Dolan's "Earth Movers" & People's Choice Award-winning "Stay Inspired," as well as Aesop Rock, Ghostface Killah, Run The Jewels, and SHREDDERS. 80HRTZ's Iron Maiden "Wasted Years" Remix Feat. Johnny Crump is now streaming exclusively on The Witzard. Additionally, we've put together a Soundcloud playlist called 80HRTZ's Greatest Remixes Collection showcasing some of the aforementioned selections.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #19: Drunk Bastard vs. OFFSIDE REIDARS (The Witzard Interview)


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 have a head-to-head face-off style interview featuring Drunk Bastard (Spag) from Two Man Advantage interviewing Jari Mikkola, Juha Tuiskuvaara & Jari Körkkö from Beerleague Hockeycore band, OFFSIDE REIDARS. Jari M. Juha & Jari K. are, actually, all part of a notorious Finnish beerleague hockey team called Reidars, as well. Both Spag & Jari Mikkola participated within previous installments of Guts of The Ice... but this time, we have the full 3-man line-up of OFFSIDE REIDARS. Two Man Advantage have been active since about 1997 and are based out of New York, while OFFSIDE REIDARS have only been around since 2019-20 and are based out of Rovaniemi/Lapland, Finland. Spag's questions cover everything from hockey/band positions and favorite Finnish players to OFFSIDE REDIARS' self-titled debut mini-LP. It's definitely one for the books when it comes to Cross-continental Hockey Punk/Punk Rock-themed interviews! OFFSIDE REIDARS' debut mini-LP is now available in Finland, via Hiljaiset/Roku Records, on limited edition vinyl and digitally on Bandcamp for the rest of the world. Spag has mentioned he's planning to host a Two Man Advantage mega-show with a bunch of the bands mentioned within Guts of The Ice once this whole COVID-19 Global Pandemic is over and concerts can be safely hosted/attended again. So, that's something to look forward to!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor

01. Drunk Bastard: Please, give your name/position and instrument?

Jari Mikkola: Jari Mikkola/Defense, guitar and vocals.

Juha Tuiskuvaara: Juha Tuiskuvaara/Defense, bass and backing vocals.

Jari Körkkö: Jari Körkkö/Forward (Left Wing,) drums.

02. Bastard: What is your favorite NHL team?

Mikkola: Probably, Montreal Canadiens [Habs]. The first NHL game I saw was a Habs home game at Bell Center, Montreal. That was a memorable evening. And, at the moment, I like The Nashville Predators, too. They have lots of Finns on the team. And they have Pekka Rinne!

Tuiskuvaara: Any team with lots of Finns... Carolina Hurricanes.

Mikkola: Oh yeah, that "bunch of jerks" is one of the favs, at the moment, also.

Körkkö: Detroit Red Wings. The 90's Detroit Red Wings with the dominating Russians.

03. Bastard: Would you like to see The NHL expand over to Europe?

Mikkola: Global Series is enough. More afternoon games over there in The US & Canada would be nice.

Tuiskuvaara: Yes, Global Series are enough.

Körkkö: Same.

04. Bastard: Out of all the Finnish players in The NHL past and present, who would you say is the gamesaver and why?

Körkkö: Is "gamesaver" a goalie, or can it be any position?

Mikkola: Jari Kurri. Wayne Gretzky would not be as big as he is without him. Esa Tikkanen for trash talk. Pekka Rinne & Tuukka Rask of the goalies.

Tuiskuvaara: Pekka Rinne or Tuukka Rask.

Drunk Bastard: How does Teemu Selanne, "The Finnish Flash," not make the list. Over 600 goals. He would make my list!

05. Bastard: Which NHL goalie was known for blocking shots with their face, but he claims that his mask saved him of over 500 stitches?

Mikkola: I can't remember the name now, but I remember the image of the mask where he drew all the stitches...

Tuiskuvaara: Dunno.

Körkkö: Same.

Bastard: I guess, since you are Hab's fans (Habs blow, by the way) you may have forgotten Boston Bruins' Gerry Cheevers. By the way, he hates Carey Price and loves Tuukka!

Mikkola: Our song "Block The Shots" was partly inspired by P.K. Subban. When he was traded to The Predators he said that "I will block a shot with my face for these guys." That's the attitude!

06. Bastard: Which Finnish NHL goalie was/is the best at covering the 5 Hole and what do Finns think of The NHL Shootout? Name your Top 3 Finnish Shootout Shooters.

Mikkola: Tuukka Rask. NHL Shootout is fine, but I would not mind seeing The Spin-O-Rama back. 3 Top Finnish Shootout Shooters: Alexander Barkov, Patrik Laine & Joonas Donskoi. By the way, Donskoi came once to see a Reidars game!

Tuiskuvaara: Alexander Barkov, Barky Barkov & Sasha Barkov

Körkkö: Same.

Bastard: Saku Koivu, Olli Jokinen & Jussi Jokinen.

Drunk Bastard (Spag) SOURCE: NO ECHO

07. Bastard: It's game day and you are hung over. Coach wants to put you on The Starting Line, but you got the sh*ts. How do you prepare for The Big Game?

Mikkola: Something with caffeine. Lots of it. I am anyway always in The Starting Line, so I am used to it.

Körkkö: One cold beer for relaxing... to get the edge off.

Tuiskuvaara: One beer is just fine.

Bastard: Got to agree with Jari K.: You got to take the edge off before you get in the game!

08. Bastard: Which one of you guys is the best trash talker? What are some of your best chirps?

Mikkola: Juha is the best thrash talker. He once got a team award for being The Bully of The Year. Best chirp? "F**k off to Lapland League!" (Lapland League is the first semi-pro league above our beerleague.)

Tuiskuvaara: Jari M. is the best at that. Best chirp: "You're in the wrong league, dude!"

Körkkö: Juha is really bad when he is in the mood.

09. Bastard: Which NHL player do you fear the most of standing in front of a Slapshot from him? What was the worst injury you had on the ice or stage?

Mikkola: Shea Weber's slapshot kills. Worst injuries: broken nose and broken ankle. Worst stage injury: electric shock from an electric arc that knocked me out totally for 10 seconds. You are supposed to get your heart checked right after this kind of incident, but we were on tour and it took a week before I got my heart checked... I think, it was a lucky re-boot for me.

Tuiskuvaara: Slapshot by Patrik Laine on a bad day. Injury? Broken toe and a 4-inch cut from a hockey blade. Nothing on stage.

Körkkö: Worst injury: I lost three teeth once. A broken wrist. Nothing on stage.

10. Bastard: Is Global Warming killing pond hockey and what can we do to fix that?

Mikkola: Yes, it is. We have seen the winters getting shorter... for years now.

Tuiskuvaara: Yes, it is a fact, not Fake News! We need all the people to take part to fix it. COVID-19 is not that bad for climate. Maybe, hockey should be played more outside; the halls and arenas are, probably, part of the problem...

11. Bastard: Who is the worst player in your band and why can't he play?

Tuiskuvaara: I am not the worst, but the breakthrough season seems to be always ahead, year after year... but you two, you both suck!

Mikkola: Yes, I suck. I'm, obviously, too old for hockey, but I just can't let go. I'm slow and my shots are amazingly slow butterflies. But, then again, the surprise aspect of my poor shots is one of my strengths! Or, so I have been told by our goalies...

Körkkö: I am, probably, the worst. "Feet But No Hands" has been one of my nicknames. And I can't see properly without my glasses. I see three pucks, instead of one.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

DJ Ragz Serves Up A Course-By-Course Breakdown of "The Whole Menu" Beat Tape Series with Unown & Friends (All-around Breakdown)

We've been rockin' with DJ Ragz & Unown ever since they released a scrumptious, mouth-watering collection of beats called Pasta & Wings on San Diego-based Common Good Records in 2018. DJ Ragz is a world-class DJ and turntablist hailing from Virginia. While he's well-known for his battle appearances (DMC, Scribble Jam, Scion, Coast 2 Coast, etc.) he's also known as a member of the Hip-Hop group Jazz Addixx and as the co-creator of break record series, The Bare Bones. Ragz was most recently part of Man Bites Dog Records' 2019 yuletide Hip-Hop comp. Happy Holidays. Unown is a DC-based producer, engineer, and DJ currently traveling the world and rocking stages on the MPC as part of Oddisee's band, Good Compny. Also known as a member of Jazz Addixx, when Unown's not jet-setting across the world, he's either holed up in the studio working on tracks or DJ'ing around DC/Philly. Unown & DJ Ragz's next sonic platter, Burgers & Sliders, was served up by Common Good Records in April 2019. I can, actually, recall listening to a pre-release advance Ragz sent me of Burgers & Sliders whilst in the Philadelphia International Airport with my beautiful wife awaiting our flight to Italy for our honeymoon.

Just about a year later, DJ Ragz & Unown launched their own Bandcamp page, 2 Fat Music, which features Pasta & Wings (now, split up into two separate courses,) and Burgers & Sliders along with two freshly cooked courses: TWOCRAZYTACOS & Juice. Then, just yesterday, an additional Boom-Bap-laden platter, Select Discount Seafood was surprise-released on Bandcamp, as well. To our ears at least, these easily-digestible EP's appear to be cut from the same napkin as J Dilla's Donuts (2006) which is the crème de la crème of Instrumental/food-themed Hip-Hop, in our opinion. We've been speaking with both Brian "DJ Ragz" Ragonese & Richard "Rit" Patterson (Unown) for quite a few months now and we've cooked up something special for you, trusty Witzard reader! Ragz told us, via email, "sh*t is funny sometimes... to tell you the truth, I was falling out of love with [DJ'ing]... luckily, Unown had an instant suggestion that made this whole food EP series begin." So, with that, I present to you DJ Ragz's All-around Breakdown of The Whole Menu/2 Fat Music series as of July 2020. However, these are, supposedly, just the first six of, at least, 10 planned installments in said savory series. So, fire up somethin' tasty and peruse DJ Ragz's scrumptious, mouth-watering breakdowns of Wings, Pasta, Burgers & Sliders, TWOCRAZYTACOS, Juice, and Select Discount Seafood down below.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Hip-Hop/Food Connoisseur

Course 1: Wings

"[Wings] was the first idea. Unown sent me home with a rack of beats and a way of making experimental beat/[turntablist] tapes and a fun approach to recording in a fun, unique way. Sometimes, I do the editing of cuts, but, mostly, it's Unown that does most of the song and theme-building. I didn't know Unown was gonna take home what I did for Wings and mold it into this whole theme fun experience. A lot of the editing on this one took place in a storage unit at night in the winter [Northwest] DC."

Course 2: Pasta

"This one was recorded in a house that was vacated in Maryland, but had power, a refrigerator, and some cool retro lamp shades and furniture. Arkitek Seven came through and had no idea he was gonna do the project. We brought in the whole studio and my set-up."

Course 3: Burgers & Sliders (LP)

"Before I left the spot in Maryland when we recorded, I gave [Unown] a bunch of old lowrider classic songs I loved on a flash drive before he went Overseas on tour. While Unown was on tour, he made a bunch of West Coast-style beats from the samples I gave him and the ones he, personally, liked... Unown was staying in a cool spot in DC, so I spent three days at that spot. We spent our time drinking coffee, going to eat at local spots, and recording music. Unown themed it into burgers because The West Coast is "The Burger Capital" and it made sense. I played into it, as well, by using West Coast-themed samples to cut. Our outlines are very loose, but our ideas are sometimes well-thought out. We secretly always wanted to make a Gangster Rap record."


"We brought DJ Skruff into the fold on this one. We hijacked Unown's beats and spent some time in a beach house on Colonial Beach. We got together and had a blast on the beach while recording at night. Skruff gave a lot of input and was giving fresh new ideas and styles for our process, as he [was] recording in the same fun way. Unnown was hilarious on this one with the interludes... You see, Unown comes up with these hilarious skits. I love the Cops episode, He's Not Going to Jail."

Course 5: Juice

"On this particular one, I was working on this one secretly for a while with a Folder of Unown beats. On this one, I had come up with the theme prior to starting, which doesn't always happen. I spent some time thinking of different types of juices; you have grape, apple, OJ Simpson, steroids... so, I went on a search because I wanted to scratch these things into the songs, as well. Unown took it even further with all the post-production goodness."

Course 6: Select Discount Seafood

"This one came out [yesterday]. It features DJ Select, who is a mentor and close friend. I've learned a lot of my cuts from this man and he's a personal fav. I went to his house a few times and spent a couple days on his comfy couch. I brought all my recording gear. On this one, I let select pick from the Unown beats I had. Charlotessville was fun and hanging with Select is always amazing. I got him drinking some great IPA's those days. Select is an amazing chef, [by the way!]"

"Unown designs all the covers, except for Burgers & Sliders, that was done by [Common Good Records' The] Ologist. Unown is the engineer, thank God hahaha! Unown is, also, an amazing chef. If you listen to all the EP's in one long car ride, you will see how they all fit together and how they pick up from the last. It's a fun experience. I'm glad to be part of it!"

- DJ Ragz (@djragz)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Sammy Siegler Speaks On "Bob X. Cursion" Single, Hip-Hop & Constant Elevation's Upcoming Freedom Beach EP (The Witzard Interview)

Constant Elevation for Revelation Records (CREDIT: Julian Gilbert)

Punk/Hardcore drummer, musician, and producer Sammy Siegler has been making music since about 1987-88. Siegler's more well-known projects include CIV, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Nightmare of You, Project X, RIVAL SCHOOLS, Shelter, Side By Side, WORLD BE FREE, and Youth of Today, but he's, also, recorded music with the likes of Glassjaw, Head Automatica, Limp Bizkit, and Tech N9ne. Supposedly, Sammy Siegler still plays basketball with Beastie Boy Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, who even remixed "69 Guns" from RIVAL SCHOOLS' 2011 album, Pedals. Sammy's latest group, Constant Elevation, started out as a two-man project with Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife, I Am The Avalanche, Peace'd Out) and released a self-titled 2019 EP on Revelation Records. Constant Elevation's 2020 line-up features Siegler & Caruana, along with guitarist Mike Ireland, bassist Jani Zubkovs, and their newest member/second guitarist Jim Carroll. Together, Constant Elevation's newfound members have previously played with American Nightmare, CASPIAN, I Am The Avalanche, The Movielife, Pass Away, Spiral Heads, and The Suicide File.

We've been instant fans and supporters of Constant Elevation since first hearing their feverish 8-minute blast of and EP. Since its release, we've been in contact with Sammy Siegler over the course of the past year or so and we recently reached out once we heard initial rumblings about Constant Elevation's follow-up EP. Siegler was kind enough to entertain a quick, yet thorough, 6-question interview about Constant Elevation's impending Freedom Beach EP, its lead-off single, "Bob X. Cursion," their connections to Hip-Hop, and what's next for CE admist COVID-19. Constant Elevation's Freedom Beach EP is now available for pre-order directly from Revelation Records in a number of formats/bundles and will see a wide release on Friday, July 31, 2020. Ahead of its release, cue up "Bob X. Cursion" on your streaming service of choice and delve into our comprehensive interview with Constant Elevation drummer and certified Punk/Hardcore legend Sammy Siegler below.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Punk/Hardcore Enthusiast

I. How has Hip-Hop/Rap directly influenced or inspired Constant Elevation? For example, I believe, I've noticed multiple allusions to Gravediggaz (RZA/Prince Paul,) DJ Shadow's Entroducing....., and KRS-One.

Sammy Siegler: Yes, you picked up on that! Vinnie [Caruana] & I are both big fans of Hip-Hop. There are many ties between Hip-Hop & Hardcore, especially, in the late 80’s when Hip-Hop was still "underground" and pretty raw. I remember being in Youth of Today and listening to Audio Two in the van on our Summer of '88 tour, [KRS-One] doing the intro to the Sick of It All record; it was all pretty connected, especially, growing up in NYC.

II. How would you say Constant Elevation's overall sound and style has changed, evolved, progressed, etc. since your self-titled Revelation Records EP last year?

Siegler: We were able to become a band, Mike [Ireland] & Jani [Zubkovs] joined, we rehearsed, and played shows. We were able to write some songs together; that was a huge difference from the first EP and you hear it in the sound. Freedom Beach sounds a bit more agro, a little more p*ssed. We played a few shows right before going into the studio and Vinnie's voice was raw in a great way. We had some momentum.

III. What can you potentially us about Constant Elevation's upcoming sophomore EP, Freedom Beach, and its lead-off single, "Bob X. Cursion?"

Siegler: "Bob X. Cursion" is one of my favorites. Vinnie wrote a great chorus, the mosh part is brutal, [and] I think it has everything you need in a Hardcore tune. The EP is cool; not sure what to say... you'll have to hear for yourself, ha! "KRS Two" has multiple mosh parts. What more do you want?!

IV. Aside from yourselves, who else contributed to the creation/recording processes behind Constant Elevation's Freedom Beach EP?

Siegler: Jon Markson engineered it, he came in, via our guitar player, Mike. Very talented, he has a cool studio in Brooklyn. Jammi York let us use an awesome photo he took of the beach in Rockaway. I love it, he's great. He shot our last cover, as well. Anthony Pappalardo came through on the layout and design, Julian Gilbert took the band photo... probably, missing a few others, but there were a few people who contributed to it.

Entroducing..... Constant Elevation (CREDIT: Jammi York)

V. What were some of your biggest sources of inspiration and influence while creating and recording Constant Elevation's latest Freedom Beach EP?

Siegler: D.R.I. a little on the first song. It's sort of a "blast" beat. I don't typically mess with that, but it just felt like it was time. Minor Threat, EPMD, [and all] the usual suspects.

VI. As COVID-19-related restrictions and parameters are slowly lifted and everyday life starts getting back to "normal," what else can we expect to see/hear next from Constant Elevation?

Siegler: Hmmm, hard to say. I don't think Hardcore really works, via IGTV or a drive-in, but we'll get creative. These things take time; if we start working on some new music now, we could have a follow-up release in six months or so. But we're down for shows, once we get the green light.

Friday, June 26, 2020

BE WELL Share "Confessional" from Upcoming Full-length Album The Weight & The Cost (Equal Vision Records)

"BE WELL is a new band with deep roots. Musically, it's emotionally gripping with an expertly-executed blend of Melodic Hardcore with notes of 90's Post-hardcore influence," explains their newly-minted Discogs page. BE WELL were, seemingly, formed at the top of 2020 and are signed to Equal Vision Records and released a self-titled 7-inch EP earlier this year. BE WELL's line-up consists of frontman Brian McTernan, bassist Aaron Dalbec, drummer Shane Johnson, and guitarists Mike Schleibaum & Peter Tsouras. Collectively, BE WELL's players either are or were members of Ashes, Bane, Battery, Beasts of No Nation, Biology, Converge, Daltonic, Darkest Hour, Fairweather, Mancake, Miltown, Only Crime, Ten Yard Fight, and Velocity Engine. Brian "Fury" McTernan, additionally, owns and operates his own DC/Baltimore-based recording studio, Salad Days Studio, as well as off-site locations Salad Days 2-4.

Brian Fury has produced, mixed, recorded, engineered, etc. albums for Angel Du$t, Circa Survive, Cave In, Floorpunch, Dave Hause, Hot Water Music, Madball, The Movielife, Piebald, Senses Fail, Strike Anywhere, and Thrice. Following the mass success of their self-titled EP, BE WELL have announced their debut full-length, The Weight & The Cost. Ahead of said album release later this summer, BE WELL have released its lead-off single, "Confessional." It's a unique blend of Melodic Hardcore and 90's reminiscent Post-hardcore with sonic allusions to Embrace, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring. "Confessional" is now available on streaming services with pre-orders for The Weight & The Cost now available from Equal Vision Records. There are additional muti-colored vinyl variants available directly from Revelation Records, End Hits Records, and BE WELL's own newly-launched The Weight & The Cost album site. BE WELL's The Weight & The Cost drops Friday, August 21, 2020 on Equal Vision Records

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Liberty & Justice's All-around Breakdown for Bandcamp-only Restoring Justice Tracks & "jason andrew relva" Music Video Premiere (Green Day)

Liberty & Justice are a Houston, Texas-based Punk, Hardcore Skinhead & Oi! group. Their current line-up consists of frontman Ryan "Crowns" Taylor, bassist Edwin Carson, drummer Cory "Gaza" Parker, and guitarists Halston Luna & Ramzi Beshara. Since forming in 2016, Liberty & Justice have released a full-length, 4 All (2019) on Crowd Control media, as well as numerous singles, EP's, and splits. Prior to The COVID-19 Pandemic and Nation-wide shutdowns, Liberty & Justice had, apparently, been working on their follow-up to 4 All. However, it was quickly brought to a screeching halt a few months ago, along with many of Liberty & Justice's members' own small businesses. Back at the end of March, Liberty & Justice quietly released their own impassioned Punk/Oi! rendition of Robyn's 2020 Dance-Pop/Disco smash-hit, "Dancing On My Own." It was accompanied by a remotely-recorded and socially-distant music video recorded, edited, mixed, and released by Liberty & Justice themselves from their own homes and practice spaces amidst quarantine. Over the course of the past month or so, Liberty & Justice have effectively re-released "dancing on my own" on Bandcamp, along with a few additional loosies.

In total, as of this article's publishing, Liberty & Justice have released five brand new songs on their Bandcamp page just this month, including the aforementioned Robyn cover and a damn near spot-on cover of Green Day's "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva.)" We've been speaking with Liberty & Justice frontman Ryan Taylor on-and-off since the release of "Dancing On My Own" and we've been quietly paying attention to and absorbing their recent practice space recordings/demo tracks. We reached out to the band, via email, last week and Ryan Taylor, Ramzi Beshara & Halston Luna, who provided track-by-track breakdowns for each of these five tracks. Liberty & Justice's "dancing on my own," "jason andrew relva," "no more orbits," "second ward serenade," and "halfway home" are currently available to purchase exclusively on Bandcamp page. Liberty & Justice have vowed to donate 100% of the sales raised to Houston-based organization Restoring Justice. Below, you will, also, find the world premiere of Liberty & Justice's "jason andrew relva" music video compiled and arranged by Joey Molina from Ryan Taylor's other band, Trash Magz.

i. "dancing on my own"

Ryan Taylor: "Robyn's one of my favorite singers going right now. On our new full-length, we're, actually, covering "Hang with Me," have been doing it live for a bit now. Halston had the idea of us covering "Dancing On My Own" at the beginning of Houston shutting down to promote social distancing and it all kind of came together pretty quick after that."

ii. "jason andrew relva" (J.A.R.)

Ryan Taylor: "Remember being a fat kid in La Porte and renting Angus from Video Hut every week? Studying it, gaining some semblance of hope from it, before the drugs got really bad. Remember starting another Oi! band in your thirties and thinking it would be hilarious to p*ss off/agitate anyone who would be into said band/sub-culture by covering a Green Day song like a tired Punk Goes Pop Clearance Bin band, because nostalgia, and because Jacob Majors? Still my favorite Green Day track, one of my top Punk songs of all time, from one of my top movie soundtracks of all time, from one of my top movies of all time; cheers to the weird!"

iii. "no more obits"

Ryan Taylor: "'no more obits" is about denial. Or, maybe, it's a protest song. Or, maybe, it's about coming to terms. For sure, it's about my brother, it's not the first, but it may be the last. Certainly, seemed easier, at times, when we were both in it."

Ramzi Beshara: "Edwin [Carson] came in with this song on bass and me and Halston [Luna] filled it in with guitars. Love the contrast of the verse and chorus on this one. Halston had this idea on the chorus for Cory [Parker] to do a 1/8 note roll on the tom the entire time. It's a unique thing to do in a Liberty & Justice song and really helps it stand apart from the others."

"It's a red alert
Got it years ago
Call on my brother
Not them other fools
What I didn't say
What I didn't do
What I should have done
I'd f**kin' die for you
Truth of the matter
They f**in' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
All I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About [their] uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields, he's never coming out
Take me back to the summertime and the leaves of green
Back when we were both on dust and thick as thieves
We would take 'em out
And grin cheek to cheek
The warm bath of the summertime
Kept us close and clean
Now the creep called winter took my brother from me
Got clean and left him behind
Mr. Misery won't take no talk, no touch from me
Lord, bring my brother back sans misery
This ain't the first
Or third or fifth from me
Words on my brother
Looked up to indelibly
What I didn't do
What I didn't say
Truth of the matter
They f**kin' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
And all I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About their uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields
He's never coming out"

iv. "second ward serenade"

Ryan Taylor: "Once you think you got it licked is when it hits back even harder than before. "They were all my friends and they died," Jim Carroll. Rest in peace, T.J. Key."

Ramzi Beshara: "This one's fun. A real punch-and-go song. Halston came to rehearsal with this one pretty much completely finished. The only thing we changed was the bridge. We wanted the bridge to kind of change up the feel by bringing in some darker sounding notes. Turned out really cool, in my opinion. And Ryan [Taylor's] vocals really brought it together, the bridge and the whole song, in general."

"Phone call in the middle of a firefight
Harrisburg Hill on Tuesday morn or was it night?
Hangin' hydraulic swingin' left to right—miss me misery don't make it right
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
Key got caught on nod one too many times
Said he'd see the rooms before he'd see that side
Hard to pass when the world wants to see you high
Culture killed a man, bastardized a boy
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
They call it a serenade, I call it a pain parade (x 2)
Pray for me
Can't keep up
Brain beat up
Mother mercy"

v. "halfway home"

Ryan Taylor: "Never in my life have I felt more justified in my desire to dig a hole to the center of The Earth for me and my wife and kids to toil and live out the rest of our lives. That's what the lyrics to "halfway home" are about. In the wake of systemic oppression, police brutality, and generations-deep racism I watch my sub-culture look down on the marked few of us for simply protesting. In the wake of a global health crisis crushing the American Dream, I'm watching me and my fellow small business owners get slapped in the face by said parts of sub-culture for simply asking to show up and wear a f**king mask, so we can keep our doors open, while folks around us in our community are getting very sick. I, no doubt, want to exit, but I keep participating, I keep listening, learning, showing up because we have to. These lyrics are just my pity party; real Skinhead sh*t is happening right now and you'd rather get drunk in your record room and sing songs to yourself about rioting and argue with folks half your age online?"

Ramzi Beshara: "'halfway home" is one of those songs that wrote itself. Halston came up with a couple chord combinations on-the-spot and the song came together in one rehearsal. It's one of my favorites that's going to be on the new record. I'm big into melodic feels and this one does it for me."

Halston Luna: "Yo, "halfway home" is in AA'BC form and is bookended by an ominous and dark, Western-style melody upon introduction and at the end. The A part begins on the VI creating a dark palette for the melody/hook. There is a colorful moment at the end of the A and A' part created by a dominant III chord in A Major. The B part starts on the I (A Major) and continues a I/V/IV/III7 progression. Although, we play an extended version on the full-length, we go straight into the C section, which is a throwback to the intro/hook to Blitz's classic track, "New Age" (at least, that's where the [inspiration] was drawn.) To round it out. we re-introduce the melody/hook to remind you that you don't feel good. And we finish with the A' section."

"Why am I still angry?
So torn in two
So f**kin' over every one of you
The bleeding backs
The whining tribes
So dead inside
Why aren't I more calloused?
Still more morose
I used to care less
Then fathered hope
Two brave hearts
My f**kin' queen
Could be so serene
Why do I feel alone?
Feels like I'm halfway home
Walls slowly coming down on me
An old man singin'
(la la la la...)
Just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Who, who am I?
Just a f**kin' shell
Just a f**kin' lie
Ghost of a man
When it comes to work
Still run and hide
Who, who are we?
Just an endless feed
Of hey look at me
Shock and sympathy
A grand giving tree
We pull from every branch
'til it's twigs and leaves
I just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Away from society
(la la la la...)
We're halfway home"

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #18: Mouthpiece's Tim McMahon Unearths SLAPSHOT Mask Origins (Revelation Records Speak Up)

1986 Boston Globe TV38 WSBK Friday The 13th Ad (SOURCE: Bob O'Rourke)

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!

It's long been suspected the original source for SLAPSHOT's iconic "goalie mask" logo (first seen on 1988's Same Mistake / Might Makes Right) was an old TV Guide ad. Although, no one in years past has ever been able to find said supposed advertisement for Friday The 13th. Additionally, avid fans of both Punk/Hardcore and Horror movies will quickly notice the mask displayed across SLAPSHOT's Same Mistake 7-inch looks eerily different than Jason Voorhees' infamous mask. Plus, it appears as though Jason didn't even start wearing a hockey mask on-film until 1982's Friday The 13th Part III. We recently stumbled upon a post on Instagram by @xxxfanzine, which began with "The origin of the @slapshotboston mask spelt out by @doublecrossxx, which can now be found at the @revhq site..." xXx Fanzine are, of course, referring to Face The Enemy, Hands Tied, Mouthpiece, Search & Triple Threat frontman Tim McMahon's recurring Double Cross column as part of Revelation Records' newly-launched Speak Up on RevHQ. McMahon, his cousin, Bob O'Rourke, and SLAPSHOT's ex-drummer/founding member Mark McKay have finally unearthed the origins of said SLAPSHOT/Friday The 13th mask. Below, you will find Tim McMahon's recent SLAPSHOT Mask Origins feature as part of Revelation Records & Double Cross' collaborative Speak Up column. Shout-out to xXx Fanzine for the initial tip!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor

"Years ago, when we were doing daily entries on Double Cross, I was in touch with original SLAPSHOT drummer, Mark McKay, and we talked about the origins of the legendary SLAPSHOT goalie mask used on the cover of the Same Mistake / Might Makes Right [1998] 7-inch. Mark was pretty sure he had found the image in an old copy of TV Guide that was advertising for Friday The 13th running on TV. Mark & I went back-and-forth quite a few times on the subject; he was having a hard time finding the original cut-out ad and I was having a hard time finding any trace of the ad on The Internet.

Fast-forward all these years later and I get my Horror fanatic cousin, Bob, on the case. I figured, if anyone was going to dig this ad up online somewhere, it would be him. As I hoped, within an hour or two, Bob produced this ad. The ad was, actually, never in a copy of TV Guide, but an October 26, 1986 issue of The Boston Globe, instead. I shot the ad over to Mark McKay to confirm and, indeed, he assured me that was it. So, here it is in all it's glory, the original Friday The 13th ad for TV38 WSBK. Thanks to Bob for finding it and finally settling this mystery and thanks to Mark for bringing the idea up in the first place."

- Tim "DCXX" McMahon (@doublecrossxx)

SLAPSHOT - Same Mistake Green 7-inch (SOURCE: @_straight_edge_punk)