We've Got A Flyer On You: Mouthpiece, BANE, American Nightmare & Tear It Up Members Discuss 2000 CBGB's Show
We’ve Got A Flyer On You will (hopefully!) be a new recurring column here at The Witzard. It’s set to feature, examine, and re-visit mixed bill/genre, once-in-a-lifetime, iconic, and otherwise noteworthy Punk/Hardcore show flyers and their corresponding line-ups. As often as possible, we plan to speak directly with the promoters, bookers, flyer artists, soundmen/women, show attendees, and, most importantly, the artists themselves. If all goes well, we’re even hoping to, eventually, cover a handful of shows we attended ourselves in years past, as well.
For the inaugural edition of We’ve Got A Flyer On You, we’ll be spotlighting an infamous December 2000 show at CBGB’s featuring Mouthpiece (who were reuniting,) BANE, Reach The Sky, American Nightmare, and Tear It Up! The infamous Frankenstein/Santa Claus flyer was posted last December across a bunch of Punk/Hardcore flyer Instagram, and like-minded, pages in honor of its 20th anniversary. Late last year, Bridge Nine Records shared a previously unreleased American Nightmare 7-inch entitled WHEN WE WERE YOUNG on limited edition red, white, and blue (as well as clear and yellow)-colored vinyl. It was recently re-discovered by Bridge 9 founder Chris Wrenn, who initially paid just $25.00 to have American Nightmare’s set recorded directly from the soundboard by Lucas Gonzalez and years later, mastered by Will Killingsworth. Enjoy this introductory installment of We’ve Got A Flyer On You and just remember to... ASK A PUNK!
Tim McMahon (Mouthpiece)
Mouthpiece had broken up in 1996. One of our guitarists, Matt Wieder, who was living between NYC and New Jersey, got an offer to move to Louisville, Kentucky and play guitar in Guilt. Matt hated living in NYC, mostly due to the high cost of living, and, at the time, he didn't have a driver's license. So, living in New Jersey wasn't exactly ideal either. Our other guitarist, Chris Schuter, who had been in the band since day one, had become really focused on his career and road biking and was often running into scheduling conflicts when Mouthpiece would tour or do any extensive road trips. After Chris couldn't do our 1995 summer tour and, then, our 1996 West Coast winter tour and, then, with Matt moving to Kentucky, we could all see the writing on the wall and it felt like it was time to just call it quits. With all of that in mind, I decided to start a new band called Hands Tied and just start fresh.
Hands Tied existed from 1996 to 1998. We recorded a 7-inch for Equal Vision Records, played up and down The East Coast, [and,] then, did a month-long European tour with Ten Yard Fight & One King Down. Really enjoyed doing Hands Tied and that European tour was one the greatest experiences of my life, but just like everything else, all good things, somehow, come to an end. We came back from the European tour and things started to fall apart. Band members had different goals, some of us were butting heads, one guitarist quit, [and] finding a replacement became a bigger issue than we had anticipated, so we all just walked away.
For two years, I did no bands. It was a strange situation because I had been doing Hardcore bands for eight years straight and in those formative teenage years and into my mid-twenties; it all felt like a lifetime.
Then, one day, I got a phone call from Anthony Popalardo, who had been playing in the Boston Straight Edge band, In My Eyes. In My Eyes were one of the bands that kind of “carried the torch” of traditional Straight Edge Hardcore, once Mouthpiece had broken up. Now, in 2000, In My Eyes were planning to call it quits themselves and they wanted to go out with a bang. Anthony asked me if Mouthpiece would consider reuniting to play this final show for In My Eyes in the suburbs of Boston. The show was going to be dubbed "Edge Day." The line-up was to be In My Eyes, BANE, Fastbreak, Shark Attack, The Killing Flame, Mouthpiece, and, also, Ten Yard Fight were going to do a "surprise" set. With two years away from playing in bands, I excitedly took to the opportunity, as did the rest of the band.
Just like so many bands that plan to reunite for a one off show, it ends up turning into more. People hear about you reuniting and want to bring you to this city and that city. We didn't care about the money; money had absolutely nothing to do with the existence of Mouthpiece, but we did enjoy playing shows, getting together with friends, and planning a weekend trip. We decided, if we were going to go through the effort of getting everyone together and practicing, we might as well make a full weekend out of it... but, then, with all the offers we were getting, one weekend wasn't enough. So, what we decided to do was play one weekend in October, which would be Philadelphia and, then, the Edge Day show in Massachusetts and, then, another weekend in December, which would be New Jersey, DC, and New York City.
The New York City show was, of course, booked at the legendary [CBGB’s] and that was planned to be the last of the string of reunion shows that we were going to do. With all these shows that we did, we tried to have some sort of say in booking some of the bands, but from my recollections, the [CBGB's] show was pretty much put together without our involvement and quite honestly, it really didn't need our involvement. The line-up was us as the headliner, BANE, Reach The Sky, American Nightmare, and Tear It Up. Really, at that time, just about any of these bands could have headlined because they were all either well known bands or up-and-coming bands with a huge buzz. We, as a band, all agreed the line-up was perfect and we were so psyched to end our run of reunion shows on such a high note with such a stellar line-up and at one of the greatest venues of all time.
As far as my memories from the show, I recall a lot of mayhem leading up to our set. All the bands went over well; lots of dancing, diving, and bands going off. For a show that was happening in December, you would have thought it was summer by the heat within the club. Once we hit the stage, there was a general feeling of exhaustion; you had four bands just tear this place up and the crowd fed off of it and reflected that same energy. I'm sure the stage was already slippery from all the heat and sweat, but I'm pretty sure a water bottle got knocked over, too, and that just added to a super-slippery stage. As we were playing, I slid multiple times and fell, at least, once. Kids climbing up on stage to dive, would, also, slip around and fall. I'd be lying, if I said that the state of the stage didn't distract [me] from the overall set. I just remember, after falling, thinking that I had to be more conscious and careful and when it comes to a Hardcore set, that kind of thinking can throw off the vibe a bit. Regardless, we all had fun and the crowd seemed to, as well.
Looking back, it's crazy to see all those bands on one flyer. As I said, at the time, it felt like any of the bands playing could have headlined, but, now, in retrospect, any of those bands could easily sell CBGB's out without a second thought. Honestly, every time I see the flyer, I'm sort of proud and honored that we got to play with a line-up like that, in most of the band's earlier days.
Aaron Bedard (BANE)
I wish I had more vivid memories of this particular night. At some point, all of the shows BANE played just sort of collapsed in on each other and have become a blur; unless, some sort of wild event or story emerged, keeping it in the forefront of our minds.
This one didn’t really have one of those, aside from it being a [CBGB’s] show, which in and of itself was always a very big deal for me. Walking into that place was always a bit like walking into a temple and I remain in awe of the times BANE was able to play there. It wasn’t a lot. I want to say four or five in all. With the best of them being a f***ing wild one with Agnostic Front (AF,) the last night of a two-week East Coast run we had done with them in 2001, shortly after the attack on The Twin Towers. It was the most packed that I had ever seen that room and I’d been to a lot of real doozies at [CBGB’s] since the late 80’s, but that AF night was particularly insane.
I can definitely say that the night with Mouthpiece was cool, though. BANE was lucky to always do well there. I know, personally, I came into every [CBGB’s] show very fired-up. The legacy of that stage, all those memories and history and photos I’ve obsessed over, would weigh heavily on me. So, our sets there felt a bit schizophrenic, in that I’d be simultaneously struggling with two very different impulses; one, to go-off as hard as possible, leave it all on the stage and sort of pay respect to the list of bands who stood up there and changed the face of music and, also, my life years before. But to, also, be super-present and take all of it in. Every little detail and crevice. How good that room sounded. How perfect the set-up of the stage was. BANE was always pretty lucky down in NYC. Kids always had a lot of love for us down there and every [CBGB's] show felt like we had done well and rocked it.
One thing I can remember about this particular night was that Boston was truly “in the building” and that felt cool. I was hyped at having so many friends around. Things were exciting in Boston, at the time, and it was rad to see bands, like [Reach The Sky] & AN away from home and thriving. All of us playing that room together would have definitely felt like a pretty big deal. Our bands were very tight, at that time.
This would have been right in that window where AN were becoming simply the MOST explosive, mind-blowing band out [there]. Pre-LP, [one] perfect 7-inches under their belt. The buzz on them was spreading and whenever they took the stage there was a real fire there to back it up.
Every time you caught them in that era felt special and like you were witnessing something that was going to echo for a very long time. There was a danger and desperation to their shows that set them apart from everything else going on the time. Sadly, I don’t remember much from this particular set, but I have no doubt that the entire place lost their minds and that AN destroyed that stage. It was such a cool time, that couple of years there; when all of us were friends and pushing each other to make our mark. It really felt special to be a band from Boston and big-up to Rich Hall for always making us feel as welcome and appreciated as he did down there in NYC, the literal mecca.
Brandon F. Wallace (American Nightmare)
It’s been 20 years, insane. To be fair, the years have jammed my brain with crossed up memories and unreliable truths. What I’m about to write is the best I can do with what I have. That [CBGB’s] show was the first show I played with American Nightmare (AN.) I had done a tour and played some shows alongside of them in another band and they were instantly my favorite band. Aside from the music, they were some of the best people I knew. They weren’t afraid to do whatever they wanted and everyone else’s opinions meant little. It was, truly, something new and fresh. The ironic part, my first show with them was playing with Mouthpiece. Being from Philadelphia and living so close to them, Mouthpiece was the first Hardcore band that was “mine.” One of the first shows that I ever attended was Mouthpiece at Unisound with Gorilla Biscuits (GB never showed!)
So, the prospect of playing one of the reunion shows was amazing to me. BANE was always a juggernaut; never denied and never took a show off. The legend of BANE was just as true then as it is now. The individuals that make up that band are just as incredible. Add to the mix was Reach The Sky (RTS) and what would turn out to be a band I love a great deal, Tear It Up, this show was a powder keg. I was nervous as Hell. I had NO IDEA how I got to that point. I was so afraid to let down my new friends and I was so worried about looking like crap in front of all of those bands that really meant so much [to me]. The drive from Boston to New York was a blur, truly... I don’t remember a second of it. What I do remember was from the first second we started setting up, there was a buzz. You could feel it. It consumed you. Kids were packing in everywhere.
It was starting to get difficult to even set up because kids were posting up all over the place. From the first note, it was utter chaos. I forgot about playing. I knew the songs by heart, at that point. I had listened to that [4 Song] Demo and the [American Nightmare] 7-inch a thousand times. I was just as much of a fan as those kids were. I just took in the spectacle. There were glances amongst everyone, as if to say, "holy sh*t!" Kids were flying everywhere. The set was over before I knew it. The walls were soaking wet and so was everyone in the room. I remember having no idea what had just occurred. I was still buzzing, taking my stuff from the stage. Usually, I’m pretty cautious about where I put my gear, but this was one of those times I just put it anywhere. I wanted to get off the stage. It was just too much. I watched BANE & RTS from the side of the stage and they were fantastic, as always.
Then, it was time for Mouthpiece. I didn’t much care about anything else, at that point; I had not seen them in forever. Unsure I even remembered the lyrics, I went up anyway. They were exactly as I remembered them. Most of the faces in the crowd singing along were people I hadn’t seen in a long time, so it was a small reunion with some folks. For me, it felt like two separate show all together. So much fun. Over time, that show blended in with the thousands that followed. AN went on to become the biggest thing. BANE continued to destroy the world and burn brighter than any sun. In the grand spectrum of things, this was another show that happened at a dirty little club on The Lower East Side, but whenever you catch a glimpse of that flyer, you have to think to yourself, "look at that f***ing line-up!"
David "Dave" Ackerman (Tear It Up!)
So, I should start with the fact that I went to DC the night before to see Shark Attack, No Justice, Count Me Out, and Mouthpiece. During the first 10 seconds of No Justice, Timmy [Greene] throws a cymbal stand into the crowd and it hits me in the head. Almost immediately, my face is covered in blood and I realize I should go to the hospital. It takes [me] the rest of the set to find my people I came with and we leave to the hospital. It’s a DC hospital, so we wait hours. I get a few stitches (like, three?) and we leave. My friends are all tired, so I drive back to NJ and, probably, get home at like 5-6:00a.m.
Tear it Up opens the show at CBGB’s. I wouldn’t say I’m playing at my best, but I feel like we did fine. It’s our first show at CBGB’s, so we’re stoked. Next, was American Nightmare (AN.) I had the 7-inch, but it was my first time seeing them [live]. It was great. The crowd went nuts and they were super-energetic.
After AN, I left to eat. I got Indian food around the corner and returned to see Mouthpiece. I had seen them in the 90’s and it was always nuts. The reunion sets (this one and NJ) were good, but not crazy, like the 90’s.
I made the Frankenstein flyer from an old issue of Famous Monsters of Film Land my dad had. I copied the Mouthpiece logo from a T-shirt and took the [CBGB’s] logo from another flyer. The logos for AN, BANE, and Reach The Sky were just rub-on letters photocopied. Since I made the flyer, Tear It Up, also, got a proper logo.
Andrew "Andy" Scarpulla (Tear It Up!)
Here’s a few photos of Tear It Up I was able to find. Four of the five say "Meredith Binder" on the back, who was the photographer. The fifth (the one taken from the back of the stage) has no markings on the back, but may have been taken by the aforementioned, legendary Dave "Sausage" [Walling]. I seem to recall him there taking pics.
As for my memories of the show, I don’t have too much to add that Dave hasn’t already said. I remember thinking it was really cool and a nice change of pace to be playing with all the different bands on this show, which was a bit of a mixed bill, at the time. In hindsight, that feels a bit ridiculous. Those little separations in Hardcore & Punk were weird and I always loved playing with bands all over the spectrum because quite honestly, I liked most of it.
Seeing these photos, I’m playing some f***ing ridiculous-looking Jackson guitar that Paul D’Elia brought as a back-up. I broke a string pretty early in the set and wound up playing that hideous thing.
Rich Hall (1,000 Knives Booking)
What I remember when being asked to do the reunion of Mouthpiece: I knew I had to make it a banger and something to remember. So, I called up my friends and see if they wanted to play! So, this line-up formed out of that. Definitely picked some regular mainstays of East Coast shows, being BANE & Reach The Sky, along with still relatively new [American Nightmare] (AN) and locals, Tear It Up. As the show packed out, it was definitely known everyone was there to see AN. For [BANE] playing second, they unleash such ferocity and vile. Kids were flying everywhere on the dancefloor. People jumping from all points onto people. Moshing, wind-milling. It was a berserk scene. Honesty, I felt like a lot of people left after AN. It was one of those times you had to sit out for a band or two just to get your breath back... (OR) Honestly, it was AN’s show and this was the one that rocketed them to what they became. My eyes saw it and remember it like yesterday. Transmitted from sounds of invisible wolves drowning in a high frequency ocean.
On 1,000 Knives' CBGB's Flyer: I mean, it was rare that I did something like this, but that year, I was heavily into tattoos, like the rest of my friends. I think, at 24, [I had] gotten my first one. And just did something relating [to] 1,000 Knives and the current tattoo culture going on around then. I was an avid switchblade collector [during that time,] too. Definitely inspired by what To Die For clothing out of California was doing for bands. Always regret not drawing all of my show flyers. I think, once I did more shows, I didn’t really have the time to do so and just relied on either friends to design my flyers or just the Clubs Listing in The Village Voice.