As in the Sky — Interview from 2005

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“Goddamn — you got a lot of fucking questions.”                                                                           — Photo by Shintaro Doi

Ian MacKaye made a lasting impact at a very young age, and by keeping up the good work in the decades that followed he has inadvertently provided a guiding light for generations of idealists and iconoclasts.

Washington region recording wizard Chad Clark once told me that Minor Threat, the band the teen-aged MacKaye fronted in the early ’80s, is “kind of the punk rock ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ Every day there’s a kid who buys a Minor Threat record. It’ll be around forever and it’ll stand for what it stands for – forever.”

That quote describes my experience.

I was an eighth grader in a rural town. Everything was just dirt. My friend’s sister’s boyfriend was a high school senior who gave me a tape with Minor Threat’s complete discography on it, and a group that broke up shortly after I was born became one of my favorite bands. None of my friends liked it much at the time – it was too abrasive and raw (which was why I liked it) – but it was the next step beyond the raging alternative rock on my cassette deck, and I continued carefully venturing down the rabbit hole, and 20 years later here I am, writing to you via this severely D.I.Y. media outlet.

It was characteristic of MacKaye to take the time to do the following long interview with a college newspaper reporter in 2005.

I particularly appreciate this quote: “I think it encourages people to work, and to follow their hearts and really stick by it and to let it develop. I think you’ll find that if you follow your beliefs – really – whatever they may be – you’ll find that down the road they will develop in a way that they’ll come true. Things will happen. … Yeah, 25 years after the label started I’m in a good fucking position. But five years after I wasn’t. I was working three jobs, you know? I was working my ass off.”

Ian: So what are we doing [this interview] for?

The Hoya; Georgetown’s newspaper of record.
I know it.

I was wondering, actually – maybe we could start the interview by talking a little bit about Georgetown. I know you saw the Cramps in Walsh and you worked
It was called Hall of Nations, actually, back then. You mean the building on 36th Street across from the Tombs or whatever it’s called, 1789.

When I first started listening to punk stuff in late ’78, early ’79, there was a radio show on WGTB {Georgetown’s student radio station}, a couple of punk shows on there that were pretty legendary. They were pretty great shows.
I used to listen to a Doo Wop show that was on every Sunday morning – great show. Anyway, just around the time I first really started getting into punk stuff, as I understand it, this dean – I think it was Healy, actually, although I’m not certain what his relationship to Healy Hall was – but Father Healy, I think that he was very angry with the station. Have you ever studied the history of that station?

I mean, they were really radical, and I think they agitated the school a lot, and eventually, I think the school was looking for any way whatsoever to get rid of them, and, as I understand it, the straw that broke the camel’s back was that they ran an ad for Planned Parenthood, and Father Healy yanked their charter, or whatever, and sold the station to UDC for a dollar or something ridiculous, and there was a huge uproar and there was going to be a protest.
And I skipped school – I was in 11th grade at the time – I was going to Wilson, up in Tenleytown – and we came down for the rally. It was in the middle of the afternoon in front of Healy Hall. Is it called Healy Hall? Where the circle is.

It was pretty rambunctious. They set a fire, and they tried to get in the door and there were cops there. They were really angry about the station being shut down, and it was decided that they would have this benefit concert to raise money, I guess for the legal fees that would be needed to get the station back, and they had the Cramps come down.
I had heard of the Cramps. I didn’t really know their music at all – they only had one single out at the time.
We went down and it ended up being my first punk show. I had seen Ted Nugent before that, and Queen.
It was so incredible to see, because it was the first time I had ever seen the underground, the counter-culture.
It was like, “Oh, well, this is what I’ve been looking for.”
I certainly didn’t feel at home at the Capital Center – at the arena shows. I just didn’t like those shows.
I knew there had to be some kind of revolutionary or rebellious music, something that was challenging conventional thinking, and finding this collection of freaks and deviants made me feel right at home, because I certainly felt like a freak and a deviant as a kid, and I still do.
Coming into the room, they had regular, big folding tables, two rows of them perpendicular to the hall with maybe 10 tables with folding chairs around them, from the back of the hall to the front, and there was a low stage, which I think is probably still there.

It’s a pretty tiny room, actually.
Yeah, in my mind it was massive. I felt like there were 900 people in there or something. There might have been, because that thing was so

They might have remodeled it.
Maybe. It was so, so big.
I actually played there when I was in Embrace and it was the same size.
I remember walking in and it was about as big as this room (his dining room) we’re sitting in right now, which was shocking, because in my mind’s eye it was giant, but I think you’ll find as you get older, you go back to the first gigs you saw and the experience was so profound that it made the actual setting seem much larger-than-life.
So the room was just packed, so if you can imagine it, people were standing on chairs and on the tables, like wall-to-wall. You can imagine: You have the one row of people who are standing on the floor, and you have a few people standing up on chairs, so they’re a little bit higher, then a whole row of people, maybe 8 or 10 people per table, standing on the tables, and they were all higher.
And the show was so packed and over-sold that people started breaking in through the windows, and the windows were on hinges, so people would pop the window – they opened horizontally, sort of, so the top would open and the hinge was on the bottom and people would squeeze through.
It was mind-blowing.
Then people started dancing and the tables started to collapse. So you’d see these 10 people who were all higher than the crowd and the whole thing would just drop into the crowd. That’s the way I remember it.
This is actually of the show [shows photo]: The Cramps at Hall of Nations.
… Anyway, it was epic. He threw up on stage. He’d apparently been sick. They were doing two sets that night. He threw up, they cleaned the stage, then they came back out and did the second set.
It was fantastic. It was an incredible night.

It seems like you have kind of a love/hate relationship with Georgetown. I read “Our Band Could Be Your Life.”
I never read it. What did I say in there?

In there you said you worked at the Hagen Daas and on Saturday nights it would be time for all the idiots to come down.
Yeah, but why is that about Georgetown University? Are you talking about Georgetown, the area?

Oh, I thought you were talking about the students out of Georgetown.
It’s funny, I don’t think of the kids hanging around in Georgetown as necessarily Georgetown students. It’s just the cruise strip. I actually had way more problems with Marines then. They’re the people that were most problematic.
You gotta remember: I worked down there for many, many years. I also grew up there. I grew up in Glover Park.
I actually quite liked Georgetown. It was a freak scene in the ’70s. It’s very hard to believe how crazy that area was.
You know Fruits de Mer, at the corner of Wisconsin and Dumbarton? I don’t know what it’s called now; it’s probably a clothes store or something.
When I was a kid it was called the Bar and Grill, and it was the most hardcore gay club. It was a slugfest – a brawl there every night. It was so jacked-up down there.
Georgetown’s been through a lot of changes. For years it’s had sort of a boutique-y quality to it. We’re talking about not the university, but the area.
My boss at the Georgetown Theater – which is now the Jewelry Center, that place, it used to be the Georgetown Theater – I worked there for five years … My boss down there, the guy that owned it, grew up above Nathan’s – at that time Georgetown was a really bad neighborhood, really rough. You know, it was a black neighborhood for the most part, and it was also full of immigrants, a lot of Greek kids – just a tough, tough, tough neighborhood.

It’s hard to believe.
Yeah. Even when I was growing up in the ’70s there was a glue thing down there. They used to bring rendered horse parts down to K Street and they would melt them down there. It’s insane, the way Georgetown used to smell so bad. They had a train that would come up and down K Street all the time to get to the coal factories – there were a bunch of factories down there. It was a really different place.
By the mid-’70s there were so many burned-out hippies and a really crazy street scene going on down there.
I’d say in the ’80s, for the punks, we were the Georgetown punks.
You see, all of this, I just don’t think about the university. It’s not connected really, to me. I understand it’s “Georgetown University,” but them students tend to stay over there by 37th St., you know?
I don’t think about them so much. There is the quintessential university student, which is not necessarily from Georgetown or GW or AU, but just that kind of roving pack of students: They were a problem, period.
You gotta remember that in my mind in 1979, 1980 and even ’81, the opposite of punk rocker was college student. You go to college or you went to punk.
Obviously that’s changed immensely.
By the time Fugazi was touring around, it’s fair to say that college students were our fans.
But early punks, I think the college students wanted to hand the punks a beat-down all the time.

Guy went to Georgetown, right?
Yeah, he did.

Did he graduate?
Yeah. He went to Georgetown, Jenny Toomey went to Georgetown – a lot of kids went to Georgetown.
I don’t really have a relationship with Georgetown University other than I got 21 stitches in my knee at the hospital there.
I’ve played the Hall of Nations, but that wasn’t really the university. Georgetown University is kind of, actually all the schools here, they’re kind of – it’s almost by design – they kind of close off to local culture it seems like. I remember AU had a series of shows.

They still do.
This is a long time ago I’m talking about.
We actually had a police-riot with AU police in 1981 at an S.O.A. show. You know, it’s hard to say – we’re talking about two different eras here.
I know that there are shows – AU’s been having a pretty good series of shows in the basement up there. I like those shows a lot, up at that chapel basement. I’ve seen a couple of gigs there. They’re weird. Sometimes they’re in that food court area and that’s just an unsettling place.
My brother saw Patti Smith at Georgetown. I guess I’ve seen a couple things in the hall in Healy – Gaston Hall – I’ve seen a couple of things there. I saw Jay Leno do stand-up comedy there in like 1983.
I’ve never played Georgetown, but it’s mostly because it seems so decentralized. I don’t know who does what there.
For instance, I think you mentioned that hunger-strike thing. I heard about it by reading the Washington Post – I’d never heard about it prior to that. I feel like there is a lot of activity going on there, but obviously it’s not connected with the circles or the things I would hear about.
There’s been a couple of gigs over the years at Georgetown that I’ve gone to, but not many, in terms of punk shows.
I spoke at Georgetown once. I spoke at a thing with Patti Smith, actually. I spoke with her for the Future of Music Coalition conference. Twice, I did that. I did another one, too, and I’ve forgotten what that was – some other panel.
I remember the first time I ever saw a microwave oven was at the Georgetown hospital little coin joint down in the basement.
It was a special trip – you’d ride your bike or your skateboard down to Georgetown cause they had the frozen hamburger in the case and the microwave oven. I never saw one before that. I was like “Goddamn! That’s cool.”

When was that?
’76, maybe. ’75.

I wanted to ask you about your involvement in the local hardcore scene or just the local music scene, and how much you pay attention to it these days. Like, are you familiar with 1905?
Yeah, I know them. I know the people better than I know the bands.
I think it is very hard to define “hardcore” or “punk” or “alternative” or “independent.” I feel like there’s a series of different fingers – the scene just continues to split, which is natural, but I don’t follow all the bands.
For me, punk is alive, but punk is always going to be the front of the wave. It’s going to be the thing that disturbs the water, not the foam behind it. That’s what punk is to me.
What I’m looking for is music that is challenging on some level, provocative, that makes you feel something, and there’s human connection to it. It can be referential, but it’s not necessarily referential. It’s inclusive. That’s punk, in my mind: It draws you in, so you feel compelled to get involved, and usually it’s performed in front of like 25 people.
A lot of times I see bands that denote themselves as hardcore or punk rock, part of the way that they shore up that classification is by using referential imagery or sounds, which is not bad, just not necessarily what I’m interested in.
I’m not speaking about 19o5. I think they’re a decent band. They’re good. It’s a more general statement about music and the progression of music.
Think of it like this: Right now it’s 2005.

30 years.
Exactly. I got into music in 1980. If I was to use rebellious music from 30 years before that I’d be doing some ’50s stuff.
We were trying to make something that was completely new – and our own.
I feel like that’s the mission of all kids: to take what’s been given, examine it, get rid of what’s not needed, what’s not wanted, and fashion something new, and not think about what people are expecting, but rather what you desire.
I think it’s happening all the time. The problem is that so much of the music we’re aware of is music that’s being presented or played in conventional settings: nightclubs or whatever, these sorts of circuits, and those settings, they’re great, except that they’re venues that require clientele, because they’re paying the bills.
The way you create a clientele – you have to have an audience, right? That’s the clientele, an audience.
But new ideas don’t have audiences.
So what you end up having a lot of the time in those situations is bands that are already known, have members that are known, or are playing a genre that is known.
I think it’s more engaging to try to find spaces that are off the beaten path …
I do hear about, “Oh, these crazy kids did a show at this house party.”
That’s interesting to me.
It’s funny, on occasion I see bands that I think are very good and I like what they’re doing, and I’m happy for them. I’m not necessarily blown away by them, because it’s hard to blow me away.
I was talking this morning with someone about improvisational music. He had recently seen somebody do an improv set.
For that to work for me, either they have to be extremely gifted musicians whose relationship with their instrument is so profound, or they have to have some kind of spiritual craziness that makes it, but if it’s just, like, “Well, we’re pretty good, we’re just going to see what comes out of this,” usually it’s pretty tepid, doesn’t really do much for me.
I want visionaries. I want people to either be extremely good with their instruments, or extremely visionary, just going for it. That’s more compelling. That’s how you shake shit up.

What does the phrase “blessed not lucky” mean? 
I have a problem with the word “lucky.” People often say, “Oh, you’re lucky,” like, “Well, you’re lucky – you can live off of your music.”
First of all, I don’t live off of my music. I’m not playing music right now. I’m working. I work all the time. I don’t play guitar for weeks sometimes, because I run a label, I administrate all this stuff – and it’s work. So that idea of luck, to me, tends to supplant work.
I feel I’ve worked hard and I’ve made decisions in my life that have afforded me the opportunity to do things. It was not luck …
I think people are so busy thinking about the things they desire that they don’t think about the things they have. I think about the things I have in my life, and I’m blessed, but I’m not lucky, because that would suggest that I won the lottery or something. I didn’t win a fucking lottery.
But I am appreciative of the things that are in my life. I think it’s important to be appreciative. What’s tricky about that phrase, “blessed not lucky,” is that it evokes a Christian ethic.
I’m in a wrestling match with the religions of the world over the use of language. I don’t know why Christians or anyone else thinks they have a corner on blessings. I think human beings, all of us, are blessed.
Hey, we’re talking, we have a moment, we’re drinking tea, you got a thing that takes pictures, you got a machine that takes voices and sounds, puts ’em on a tape. I mean, come on – we’re doing pretty good.
I’m not a Christian and I’m not a subscriber, but I can’t think of a better word to describe what it is I’m getting at, so “Blessed, Not Lucky.”
I think it encourages people to work and to follow their hearts and really stick by it and to let it develop.
I think you’ll find that if you follow your beliefs – really – whatever they may be, down the road they will develop in a way that they’ll come true, things will happen.
Again, people will say, “Look at you, you’re in a good position to say that.”
Yeah, 25 years after the label started I’m in a good fucking position. But five years after I wasn’t. I was working three jobs. I was working my ass off.
With the label, for instance, with the 20 year box-set – I know a lot of labels and bands celebrate anniversaries. I didn’t celebrate the anniversary with Dischord. There was no celebration, there was no party, there was no backslapping. The box-set had two distinct missions, as far as I was concerned.
The first mission was to honor all the bands that have been on the label. You’ll notice that on that box-set each band has one song and every band that has been on the label is represented. The point being that the label could not exist without the bands. It is to them that we are indebted.
There are plenty of bands that have no label. There is no such thing as a label with no bands – bands, of course, can mean musicians, if you want to parse it.
The second mission was a little more pointed on my end. Since the beginning of the label, people, time and time again, accuse us of being too idealistic and unrealistic

It won’t last.
Right. They kept saying it won’t work, because we’re not following a rational business plan, especially in terms of the American business model, but I think the American business model is an obscenity. I do not believe the oft-repeated tenets that people chant, like, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” and, “What the market will bear,” and that sort of stuff. That is just nonsense. I reject it and the label rejects it.
So, after 20 years: Alright, are we real yet?
It’s 25 years now. Is this a real business yet? We’ve never had a really negative year; we’ve never lost much money. We’ve had a few years that were tighter than others, but we’ve always basically come out in the black. We have four or five employees who all get a decent wage, plus health care, plus benefits.
In a way, that was the mission – to say, “Yo, this can be done.”
If we had abandoned that early on, listened to the critics or to the people chanting that American business model mantra, we would not be sitting here, because I would have been discouraged. We would have stopped.

How is being in a band with your girlfriend different from being in a band with your friends?
(long pause) Every band is different, whoever you’re with. Bands are relationships, period.
Amy is not Brendan, Joe, and Guy.
I don’t know, I can’t really say. I’m not a comparative person. I don’t really think about things like that.
I’m interested in making music and I always work on that mission. Playing with those guys, they’re my family, and we made music that only the four of us can make together. And the music that I make with Amy – she’s my family, and only the two of us can make this music, but I can’t really compare, because the initial difference has very little to do with the fact that she’s my partner: it’s that she’s a different person, with a different musical aesthetic. That’s the most profound aspect of it, in terms of being in a band. The other stuff, I’m sure I could discuss it, but that would really be irrelevant, I think, ultimately.

Do you feel a kinship with bands like NOFX, who have been independent for the same amount of time?
As who?

Well, as you.
Have they?

I guess they started out in ’83.
I mean, I know Fat Mike – I’ve talked to him a few times. I guess there’s a connection there. I think they try to do the right thing. I feel like in their earlier years they were trafficking in obnoxiousness and humor, which was never my kind of humor. I have a much drier sense of humor. I think that they were a bit more reactionary than I was. I’m not a reactionary person. I’m an actionary person. I think that they were looking at a situation and reacting to that situation. Like, “We just want to get fucked up,” or, “We’re just gonna drink beer,” that kind of thing.
I’m not talking about NOFX, necessarily specifically, but I think that there are a lot of people in punk rock that celebrate destruction. Not necessarily the bands, but they create music that becomes fodder for destruction workers. But I’m a construction worker. I’m more interested in building things than tearing them down. I wasn’t trying to smash the state, I was trying to build a new one – separate, but equal.
I guess I feel a kinship. I don’t know those guys that well. I’ve just talked to Fat Mike a few times on the phone. I respect the fact that they’ve worked hard. Obviously this Punkvoter thing was pretty cool, that was a lot of work, and he meant it. It was cool.
… I’ve never heard any of their records. They opened for Fugazi – or we opened for them, I forget which – I guess they opened for us. It was in Amsterdam in 1988, but it wasn’t really my thing.

Why did you pick the photo on the back of the Evens CD?
Seemed like a good photo to put on our record, I don’t know.

It’s kind of an unflattering photo. No offense.
It’s interesting – everyone says that. Why is it unflattering?

You look old. You don’t look as old in real life. You look like 60 years old [in the photo].

No offense.
Oh, I’m not offended. It’s funny. I’ve got a friend that’s a photographer and he called me up, just appalled. He was like, “Why would you fucking use that photo? Both you guys look terrible.”
I have no idea. Seemed like a nice photo. We saw it as: We were just sitting there at a gathering for a friend. It was an important gathering and it was totally candid. She just walked over and took two pictures of us sitting there.
I just think we look like real people. If you want to spend four hours with me looking through band photos on the Internet, I think you’ll see this really intense repetition of very similar poses: usually four white dudes, staring into the camera with a firm jaw, or maybe with eyeliner on with a button-up shirt and a tie. It seems so affected.
You know, when I first started playing music I went to this music store called Rolls, out in Falls Church. This was probably ’79. When I walked in they had one entire wall plastered with 8 by 10 pictures of bands.
Keep in mind this was 1979, so the bands that were up there were all these ’70s rocker bands called like, “Angel Wing,” and “Feather Devil,” and “Touch of Class,” and they all had this really uniform look.
I remember looking at all of these bands – hundreds of people – on one wall in one fucking music shop on Route 9 in Falls Church, and I thought “that is seriously depressing to me.”
It was like looking through somebody else’s yearbook or something, and I realized that what was depressing about it was not the fact that those people were playing music; it was that they all were engaging in this clichéd presentation.
If you put them together, what you see is – not the bands, not the people – the cliché, and I feel like that is still practiced – it’ll probably always be a practice – but it’s not something that I’m particularly interested in being a part of.
I’d rather just look like people, because I think it’s more important that we’re recognized as people than as performers.
Also, I like the fact that we’re sitting in this lush, green scene, but on the front you have this giant creature [an elephant] eating what looks like shredded newspaper. We probably should have changed places. He should have been having a snack on that nice green stuff.
I don’t know. I’m not going to defend it. I can’t defend it. Perhaps I wanted people to think that I was ugly and 60.

I thought that’s what you were getting at – looking like a normal person.
Well, I don’t think normal people are ugly. I also don’t think that picture’s unflattering, but it’s interesting that you said that, because many people think that.
But that’s all right – there are plenty of photos that people like of me that I think are just horrible. There are other photos I like of me that other people think are horrible.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really make any fucking difference at all.
All we were trying to do with any record cover – this is what really will, I think, fairly secure the existence of the record or the CD as opposed to digital formats: that jacket gives you some context of where this music is coming from …
Bands who hire graphic designers are sending a statement.
It’s like wrapping a gift. It gives the person the idea of, “OK, this is where they’re coming from.”
If you take it to the store and have them wrap it, you get a really generic kind of wrapping. It might be well wrapped, but it doesn’t have any kind of personal impact. If you wrap it yourself you might use newspaper – you have an endless assortment of options of creative wrapping. It suggests the energy or the emotion or the emphasis in which you were making the gift.
So, we wrapped it with that.

Shintaro Doi: I personally am a great fan of John Frusciante and I listened to the DC EP and I was actually very, very impressed.
Yeah, that came out nice.

Maybe taking that EP as an example, what do you bring to what you produce, what do you try to bring to the studio, to the artist?
I think I usually try to encourage people to think about the music and not about the convention. There was aspects of that recording, for instance, that John had never done. He sang sitting down in front of the mixing board, and he was like, “Wow, are you serious?” And I’m like, “Yeah, just sit here, sit next to me and sing.”
I just got into that idea of recording sitting there, and people think it’s odd, but if you’re standing in a room by yourself, you’ve got a glass window, you have a microphone and you’re singing, then you’re in a kind of isolation tank and your performance is lonely.
If you’re sitting next to people in the room and you’re singing along to the speakers, then it’s a shared moment. There are people in the room, so you have to perform. If you’re a performer, you have to. And that tension brings out great, emotional performances, because you’re feeling the energy of the other people in the room.
From my point of view, all I was trying to do was make music with him.
As a producer, I was involved in the arrangements of some of the stuff, and the textures, and I thought it was great. I was surprised it didn’t get more notice. I thought it was a really, really good session.

I think it was one of the best that I’ve heard.
Thanks. It was amazing. I kind of thought he’d come back and do some more. He may – they’re in the middle of work on the new Chili Peppers record.
That guy is immensely gifted. There’s just no fucking around, he’s one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever seen, and he just knows music. All he does is study music, all day. He just sits and listens to music all day long. He can play any song – if he can hear it, he understands it and he can play it, which is completely beyond me. I can’t even figure out how to play my own songs.

I just got the Minor Threat DVD, and on it you said that you were an angry person. Are you still?
Of course. Don’t I seem angry to you?

Not too angry.
I think there is a persona of anger, the way people visualize it, then you have what an angry person is. I’m still angry about things, of course, but when I sing, the work I do, I’ve always thought about: make a better life, make life good, that’s what we desire.
And, at some point, probably 20, 15 years ago, maybe a little longer, I made a conscious decision that, if I really believed in the songs I was singing, I would live that way.
In other words: I would live happily. It doesn’t mean that I’m not angry – it just means that I would live happily.
I can still be angry about things that I think are unjust, that are obscene. For instance, war is obscene. Period. So I’m always going to be angry about the fact that there are people who are sort of forcing other people to engage in that kind of behavior, and that there are people who do engage in that behavior. That makes me very angry.
At the same time, if I were merely to live my entire life screaming about how everything was so fucked up, then it would suggest that I didn’t actually desire for things to get better or to repair, because I’m wallowing in the disrepair. Do you understand?
So it seemed clear to me that we should be happy in life; we should celebrate life and not just agonize over death. I think if you look at the lyrics of the songs, they’re still pretty critical of things, and I also celebrate things. It’s a balance.
In Minor Threat, you know, 1980, ’81, there are a lot of different factors, a lot of different things going on at that time. First off, it was a new punk scene. Brand new. Any time anything is new, there’s a lot of attendant friction at the birthing, right? A volcano, that’s something growing up, an earthquake, something’s moving, that’s the friction.
That was a new cultural movement that was causing an immense amount of friction in this society.
I think it’s difficult for people now to understand just how tense it could be and how easy it was to infuriate other people. I mean – your haircut would have gotten you into a fight in 1979.

It’s a pretty normal haircut.
Right, but in 1979 you would be a fucking freak. I know it seems odd, but that’s the way it is. At that time, longer hair and wider clothes were so de rigueur. Anything that wasn’t orthodox – it was very easy to upset people. So there was that aspect of it.
The other aspect was that we were kids and we were confronting the outside world. We were leaving our biological families and going into the larger family, and in that process there’s also an awful lot of tension. We were angry a lot, angry with each other, and then you’d go to other cities and there were other kids like you who were also angry, and no problem: You’d get into a fight almost anywhere you’d go. That’s a different kind of anger. That’s just kids’ anger.
But at the root of it all, the things that I was singing about, I sang about it because I thought they were wrong, and I thought that things should be better, that we should do better. So, try to do better.
You know, if I were really angry, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I wouldn’t have time for you. I’d just tell you to fuck off.
If your door is locked you may keep out a few irritants, but you’re also locking out thousands of the most interesting, incredible moments.
That’s what I was talking about earlier, when I said, “Blessed, Not Lucky.” The idea’s you have to be open. You never know what might transpire. If you’re just pissed and you don’t want to talk to anybody, I think that is a lonely sport.

You do a lot of interviews. Are you normally happy with the way they come out, are you normally happy with the kinds of questions you’re asked?
I don’t read most of them because they don’t ever send them to me.

You don’t go out of your way to find them?
If I see it I’ll read it, but I don’t go out of my way, because I forget they exist. I do a lot of interviews.
I like doing interviews. It’s a way of having a conversation.
My reputation precedes me, and it’s very difficult for people to get into a conversation with me, because they know me in a way that I don’t know them. They’ve been listening to my records for maybe their whole lives. I’ve been making music for 25 years. So if it’s a 20-year-old, it’s possible they’ve been hearing that music their whole lives.
Maybe their parents were fans. Who’s to say? Maybe there was a massive Minor Threat fan in 1980 who had a kid. And that whole time, that kid’s life, they’ve been hearing Minor Threat. It’s possible!
By the time they come to talk to me the relationship is so out of balance.
I had an experience the other day with a guy who just started asking me all this personal stuff, like, “Am I married?” and, “What’s my personal life like?” I was like, “What the fuck you talking about?”

Was it an interviewer?
No, it was at a show! We played and he started asking me these questions. The problem was: his relationship with me was so intense, because he’d been listening to me and thinking about my music and looking at pictures of me, and all this kind of stuff. I of course never met him, didn’t have any idea who he was. He was a stranger – almost a complete, total, perfect stranger.

And to him it was the opposite.
Kind of. The problem is that his relationship with me was his relationship with who he thought I was – not who I am. Some things may line up, but I’m not the person that most people think I am, because in my little universe there’s so much discussion about who I am, the things I believe in, because I’m outspoken.
Doing interviews is a way to actually engage with other human beings.
For instance, the Frusciante record: That’s a record I really enjoyed making, but I don’t think I’ve hardly ever seen any reviews of that thing and nobody I know has had anything to say to me about it. So, in a way it’s an opportunity for me to be like, “Oh, I’m glad somebody heard it! Somebody liked it.”
‘Cause really I can tell you, maybe nine people have ever fucking mentioned that … (tape runs out)
… Maybe that was the strategy: to surprise people with how youthful I look. I just turned 43 the weekend before last.

What did you do for your birthday?
Oh, just hung out.
But I enjoy interviews because it’s practice, and I get to think about things.
I used to keep a journal pretty regularly – I kept it for 10 or 12 years – and at some point I was writing in my journal that I was writing in my journal and I thought, “I gotta stop. I’ve just lapped myself.” So, I stopped keeping a journal.
But by doing interviews, if I look at the interviews over the years, I can see my growth. It’s like having a mark on the wall of how you’re growing.
It’s practice. You think about how you speak, you learn how to drop words like “like” and avoid using the phrase “it’s about this” and “it’s about that,” which I find repellant.
It so completely riddles American culture. It’s kind of receded in the last year or so, but there was a period where every politician, entertainer, and athlete would use the phrase “It’s not about this, it’s about this.” Or, “It’s about freedom.”
It’s such a strange fucking phrase, when you think about it.
What are they talking about?
I think it is a method to summate things, to sum it up: “It’s not about making money; it’s about having a good time.”
I’m sure if you interview people, you hear it, because people use it all the time.
It’s bite-size, and people go for the quotable.
My family were all very interested in language, so I do think a lot about language. In doing interviews I think about the way I speak, and I think about the best way to make points.
I read a lot – I look at other people’s interviews and some of them are just appallingly bad. They’re just like, “Yeah, I guess. Sort of.”
Or they just talk about what everything is about and say “like” every third word.
It’s interesting.
… It’s a rhythmic thing, to some degree. There’s a cadence to language which I find fascinating. When you’re with friends, when you’re with someone you know very well, you can speak in a way that is almost unrecognizable to other people.
I remember once Fugazi was in New Mexico and we were staying with a friend of ours. We got out of the van, Brendan and I were talking, and I said to Brendan, “so, ugontthelaundrymat?” and he said, “Yeahuneedsomethingcleaned?” and then [our friend] said, “What the fuck was that? What language was that?”
Because of the cadence of it, she couldn’t hear it. We were talking to each other. It’s an intimate exchange.
It’s something that you learn about. It’s tribal, which I’m very interested in.
I love regional accents. I’m very interested in regional sayings. They’ve been largely flattened out by the federal entertainment system, and that, by the way, extends to MTV, because MTV did an incredible disservice to regional music. Suddenly you had flannel shirts, torn jeans, Chuck Taylors, Jaguar guitars – Nirvana – beaming into every house, and that parlayed into a somewhat generic musical wash.
You go around the country as a touring band, and then you start seeing it around the world. The same behaviors – the same guy jumping on top of the crowd, crowd-surfing, pumping his fist, all over the world, the same exact thing. As soon as MTV started showing it, it was just everywhere.
I think that music is very regional. There should be regional attributes and flavors. It should reflect where people are coming from, which has a lot to do with why Dischord is a D.C. label, not a label that’s trying to cover everything … and punk, because ultimately it’s coming from people – new ideas haven’t been put on MTV yet.
So, language is something I’m really interested in and I think interviews are an opportunity for me to engage in language, and I hope I get better at it.
Give you something to think about anyway – that answer your question at all?

How many more you got?

Um, three?
Alright, let’s try it.

You mentioned your Dad and your family. What kind of relationship do you have with the Washington Post?
I don’t have one.

No? How do you feel about it?
In what sense? My father worked for the Post for 19 or 20 years.

He was an editor, right?
Yeah, he was. He was a religious editor. Initially he worked for the Houston Chronicle and the Minneapolis Star. He was on the White House beat and he was in Kennedy’s motorcade when he was assassinated. He was in a bus behind them.
Then he went on to be in the White House press corps for Johnson, he was there for Johnson’s whole run, eight years, and in 1968 when Johnson left my father was not interested in being in the White House press corps – first off it’s a lot of work, and second off he didn’t want to deal with Nixon so he got the religion editor role, which he liked – my father’s a theologian – and then he became the Washington Post Magazine editor.
He kind of got blackballed by the Post, because he was involved in the Pressmen’s Strike of 1975. Our family was on strike for six months. My father wouldn’t cross the picket lines, and it was a really, really ugly scene. So then he became the Associate Editor of the magazine, but they cut him off there. He couldn’t get any higher than that.
And he left there in 1986. So, my whole life the Post was present. I went down there a lot.

And you worked for the Post.
Well, I delivered papers. I guess I worked for the Post. Yeah, I drove a newspaper truck.
I also delivered the Post as a kid.
I also read it every day. I do struggle with that. I never look at television news, I don’t read newsmagazines – I think it’s all ridiculous. I think watching the television news is actually unhealthy.
You think about the number of things that are happening in the world right now and it would fill up five hours – so you can imagine that of the 17 minutes that the half-hour newscast actually has some content, and then split that with the sports and the weather, so you’re talking about nine minutes, maybe.
What they select to put in for news is a really biased and strange decision. It’s entertainment.
They want people to feel like they have to tune in. So, what would be a good way to make people feel like it’s really important for them to tune in? Well, by letting them think that they would have information that’s emergency, important information. Like there’s a poison gas cloud coming or something. But they don’t have any information that’s going to save any lives.
They’re fear-mongers, and they’ve made people feel like things are much worse than they actually are.
If you want some evidence of this, speak to anybody who watches television news all the time. Don’t watch it, ever, and then speak to them.
When you have situations along the lines of the anthrax, that sort of stuff, when that anthrax stuff was going on, people I knew were terrified. I was not terrified. I’m not scared.
So much of that terror was connected to what they were seeing on television. Certainly, the damn plane-crashings in 2001 — you know, the Pentagon is just over there, and I saw all that the smoke – I was sitting right here, had my breakfast, did not look at the television at all. It’s out of my control. People would call me up, like, “What are you gonna do?”
I’m like, “What the fuck are you gonna do? I’m just gonna sit here and answer the mail.”
I answered mail all day. I didn’t watch television. I didn’t look at it. I knew that the planes had crashed.
People kept calling, being like, “Oh, the planes crashed. Well, where are you gonna go?”
I said, “I’m not gonna go anywhere.”
Of course I was discouraged, because it was a really ugly act of human brutality. But humans have been brutal to each other since they found they could hit somebody with a stick, practically. This is sort of an ongoing cancer

Since there have been humans.
Right, that’s it. I felt terrible about it. I have to say in some ways I felt less terrible about it than I did when I think about the insane pounding of civilians in Iraq, which to me seems much more despicable. Think of it like this: there are devices that cost more to make than you may make in your lifetime, cumulative salary, that are being dropped, and the purpose of them is to explode and send millions of flying pieces of metal into human beings, and that’s one of tens or hundreds of thousands of these sorts of things. It is completely insane. That’s a very discouraging, ugly act of human brutality.
If you didn’t look at the television, and I didn’t, my relationship with that experience is really different, because I realized right then and there that there was nothing that a television could tell me. What it would do is show me over and over and over and over a visualization of an incomprehensible act.
Human beings have the mental processes to – when you see something that doesn’t make sense, you figure out a way to smooth it in to the sense. You try to make sense of it. If you look at it enough, you won’t feel it anymore.
“You won’t feel a thing.”
If I brought you a giant bowl of shit with a spoon, that first bite would be unpleasant. We’re not supposed to eat shit. But if you had to eat it, if you felt that you had to eat it, you would figure out a way to not taste that shit anymore. Your body will adjust. It has to. If I slap you in the face, you’ll feel it. But, the tenth or fifteenth time, you will not feel it anymore. Your body will adjust. The mind and the body will adjust to the situation, or it will die.
So I think television news is really extremely poisonous and toxic, and I suspect the Washington Post probably is as well. I’ve been trying to not read the paper, but I do read it every morning. It’s been like that my whole life. My family, you know, we have dinner every Sunday, and everyone talks about, “Well, what do you think about the way they talked about this?” Or you know, just study things.
I think that probably that hour would be better spent reading a book. But I haven’t quite figured out how to work that out yet. I’ve been thinking about this for about two years, and every once in a while I’ll call ’em up and say “Maybe you should cut my subscription off for a while,” then I think “ah, no, keep ’em coming.”
So, what’s my relationship with the Post? (shrugs) Could be a lot better. In fact, recently, editorially I think they’re fucked. There are clearly neoconservatives and hawks involved with that paper, and their role in starting this war was absolutely despicable. A few of the columnists are especially despicable. I think Michael Kelly was insane. I mean, he died in Iraq, but any person that wishes for police brutality against protestors is not OK in my book.

I don’t know anything about him.
Because you don’t read the paper every morning like me. What’s your other two questions?

What do you miss most about playing in Fugazi?
What I miss most about playing with Fugazi is, you know, Fugazi. They’re some of my closest, dearest friends, and we made a lot of good music together, and I miss that. You know, we are extremely close. I’ve been friends with Guy since 1980 or ’81. Guy’s first show, by the way, was also Hall of Nations. It was coincidental – we didn’t know each other at the time. I’ve known Joe since 1983 or ’84. Joe lived in this house for nine years – we’re very close. Brendan and Guy lived in the same house. What do I miss about it? I miss those guys.

How often do you write songs?
Depends. I’ll go months and months without writing a song and then I’ll go through a month where I write 20. It just depends. It’s a little slow right now, but I think it’s normal because there’s so much machinery in place in getting the record out and doing all other sorts of stuff. Life is full of stuff to do, and my life has been extremely full of stuff to do the last few years.
In a way, for me to write songs, I need to be able to get a piece of quiet so I can fill it up. Music used to come to me – songs would come to me – at times where I couldn’t do anything else.
I used to write a lot of songs in the Georgetown Theater. I used to work in the ticket window, just sitting there writing songs.

That’s where most Minor Threat songs were written?
Yeah, so many of them were inspired by these people, walking up and down Wisconsin Avenue, being complete idiots.
I had to be there. I had nothing to do. I was just sitting there, I had all this time – so I just started to create.
Because of portable communication devices, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have time – I mean, there’s so much to occupy your mind. If you look at television, you can look at 200 channels or a DVD or a videotape. Or, God forbid, if you’re gonna play games, I mean, those things will take your time right away.
I actually feel really fortunate. For me, video games are really – you had to go to an arcade and put a quarter in. I just narrowly missed that home video game thing, but sometimes, if I’m ever at a college or I go by a dorm, there’s those games and people go in so hardcore. I’ve never experienced it, none of my friends play ’em. I don’t fool with that at all. People go deep on that shit. They get so heavily into it. If I were involved with that I would never get anything done. We wouldn’t have time for this interview if I was a video-game guy.
I was thinking about this the other day: There’s so many forms of communication. Recently, for somewhat pragmatic purposes we started using instant messaging between that office (Dischord’s office) and me and this person who used to work for us.
I realized I have email, telephone, with voicemail, two lines, and instant messages coming up on the computer, and I have a cell phone, but I don’t use it – but I was thinking about that: There’s no quiet. There’s no rest.
I remember reading an essay years ago about 24-hour banking, and how it’s pitched as a convenience. You know, there was a time when, let’s say, you needed to check your account, but it was two-in-the-morning. Well, tough shit! You’re not checking your account. Too bad.
I mean, I can remember Sundays where everything was closed except for the pharmacy. For real. And if everything is closed, what are you going to do? Well, I guess you just had to be alive.
Convenience has its costs, and part of that cost is that it’s taken up a lot of the air from the creative space. So, I endeavor to find some quiet so I can do more writing.



Dave Homeowner Reviews Ras Hall, BSR, Supreme Commander, Killer of Sheep, JJ & the Bandits, and Cultivator

Basic Skills Review, Supreme Commander, Killer of Sheep, JJ & the Bandits, and Cultivator
Ras Hall, Feb. 19, 2012

For the win and for the record: Fuck the world, I love a Sunday matinee.

This show was sort of a tester for the semi-regular Sunday matinees happening at the new venue Ras Hall on Georgia Avenue, and I wanted to see how this was going to play out.

For the youth, today we had a pretty diverse bill that ranged from the rock-a-silly sounds of JJ and the Bandits to the old-school hardcore fury of Basic Skills Review to one of the most intense and interesting bands I’ve seen in a long time.

I don’t know what it was that got me so amped on Sunday matinee shows in the first place (maybe it’s because I really liked that “Best of New York Hardcore” CD), but Sunday is the first day of my weekend with my current work schedule, so it feels like I get to wake up on “Saturday,” roll out of bed, put on some clothes and begin day-drinking with a bunch of my rock / punk friends. Nobody cannot not say that does not sound fun. The order of operations this afternoon for me was to greet everyone I knew standing outside, repeat inside with everyone and grab a beer. I wet my whistle and walked around Ras Hall checking it out – this place is a straight-up shrine or museum or something for Haile Selassie: Big awesome mural behind the stage area, lots of framed photos, newspapers and posters, lots of flags for Ethiopia, Jamaica, and the good ol’ USA as well. Ras Hall has a very cool vibe that is very appropriate for the District of Bad Brains.

JJ Damage and the Bandits play their own brand of D.C. / Appalachian punk influenced rockabilly and they do an admirable job of keeping my interest in spite of the fact that I really can’t stand this shit.

I’m completely and unabashedly honest about this fact to audiences such as the boys in the band. They have a lot of fun, though (you can see it on their faces), and they are a good band. They managed to keep me focused by keeping enough of punk rock in their music.

This was the first time I’ve seen this band with a decent sound system, which, for this band, really makes a difference. I could really make out what they were doing this time, unlike the previous times I’ve caught them. It’s good to see that under a microscope these boys come out shining.

You should definitely check these guys out if you are into punk and also happen to be a hillbilly.

Next up was one of two touring bands down here from Pittsburgh: Cultivator.

Cultivator is a really great three-piece unit and that plays a great style of hardcore that brings very cool, fun, fast Black Flag-y West Coast-style and Black Sabbath-y slowdowns and deep low ends and then throws in a Minutemen reference because they are a musically and lyrically powerful three piece and a Bad Brains reference because they have a positive message to the music (and some crucial dreads on the singer) – and, there, you probably have every review about these guys that anyone will ever write or read – and that review is accurate as hell!

They took a lot of my favorite bands and made their own beautiful thing out of the pieces. I managed to somehow get myself high on weed and I was talking to the singer and he was talking about CDs and records and how the band needs to make a decision and I hope they do it soon so that I can get my hands on these jams and really get to take in a lot more of what they have to say but upon first inspection: like, whoa, Cultivator, man.

I hope they come down to this area as often as possible.

They played a relatively short set but the energy was so fun the whole time that even if they had played for a full hour I probably still would have thought their set was short.  Try to check this band out and try and cop their record or CD (or whatever) whenever these guys make it happen.

Next up is BSR, Basic Skills Review – a bunch of cats who came out of the Reston, Virginia region and have been active in the hardcore/punk rock community for probably a combined 80-100 years, and I don’t think they wasted any of that time.

BSR is a group of really smart and talented guys who come together and show bands half their age what having energy looks like. I know for a fact that I definitely don’t move around like Brian, but I’m old, too, so who cares? You young kids have no excuse! Watch this guy and learn. Every BSR set I’ve caught was tight and fast and aggressive, but also filled with good vibes.

One of the things I like about BSR is that they play straightforward fast hardcore, but don’t ever let their band be pigeonholed. There are lots of cool breaks and changes, lots of sing-a-longs and fing-er-points, something for the circle pit kids, something for the 2 steppers and something for a drunk Dave Andrews to run around to, knocking people over like a bulldozer.  Get into it if you aren’t already.

You can get the “Scab sessions” CD at most of their shows, which I believe is a recording from a University of Maryland radio show they performed on and I think they might be coming out with something a little more refined before much longer.

The next band was Killer of Sheep. They too are from Pittsburgh.  They are so much better than your band!

I had heard people talking about them like they were on some whole other shit and it turns out they are. Best band I’ve heard in awhile.

I’m telling you: This singer dude is intense. He throws himself around recklessly and screams his head off. The rest of the band plays hardcore like it is some kind of big living serpent that is surging and lunging everywhere trying to lash out and damage everything in striking distance. You think I’m kidding. I’m not. I’m typing with a face that is straighter than yr edge. You probably think, “Oh it’s just Dave: He was probably high. You can’t take his review seriously,” and I am just Dave, and I was pretty high, and my review is 100% accurate.

I wish I could have stuck around, but I needed to leave, so unfortunately Supreme Commander got skipped, but I will review their show as if I had been there, because I’ve seen them enough times and I was just listening to the new record of theirs three nights ago and it’s bona fide: This album is probably going to prove to be the best album to come out of the district of Bad Brains in 2012, and that is going up against stiff competition from the likes of Nervous Impulse, Copstabber and others.

Supreme Commander almost definitely came out of the box swinging for the fences because they always do and when you step onstage after a band like Killer of Sheep you have to or else people are going to think you suck – and Supreme Commander ain’t gonna go out like no punk!

I’m pretty sure Boo stomped around and Todd and Dan looked at each other knowingly several times throughout the set and Reiter didn’t miss a beat (if anything he threw in a bunch of extra ones). This set was probably awesome and I am disappointed that I missed it, but after a show like this – even if you have some regrets and were bulldozed repeatedly by a drunk Dave Andrews – the rewards outweigh the negative feelings and you just have to be glad that you got to be there, in that place at that time. This was my afternoon and this was a lot of other afternoons.

Nicktape: This Blog Is Busted!

Crucial NickTape interview ftw.

Is hardcore a sub-genre of punk?
NickTape: To me it is and should be, yes.

Are you a punk?
I prefer to think of myself as a dude living his life.

What are your top 5 favorite memories of the Coits?
1) Seeing Simon solo in a hockey jersey from the same league I played in, before I knew Simon
2) Watching Ms. Cole skateboarding on broken glass during a Coits set
3) Punching a keyboard during a Coits set
4) Drumming for the Coits
5) All things Seth Feinberg

Why aren’t the Coits more popular?
The Coits aren’t more popular for a few reasons:
1) They are a difficult band to book
2) The artwork makes people think they are a middle school punk band
3) The Coits are too punk for easy consumption and popularity
4) The Coits are highly disorganized, and this has stifled their ability to accomplish goals.

What does DayAfterDayDC provide to the local community? What should the site improve?
It gives me another outlet to promote my shows!
Saturday, Feb 11th in DC: LASHING OUT, BLOCKHEAD, MISLED YOUTH, PHIBES! $5-10 sliding scale. 8pm. Benefit for So Others Might Eat.
The site could be improved by providing more underage heathen accounts of shows.

Are you pleased with the progress of Why or Why not?
There is no more progress to be made. It serves it purpose. I have the admin tool to “message all” and let everyone know about my shows coming up. Promoting shows has becoming marginally easier.

Who are your favorite posters on, and why?
I will always enjoy reading Parsons’ posts. He’s an angry dude and speaks his mind. That’s always worth something.

I love LonelyRock’s posts, just because I feel like he is on an alternate universe in a way that is neither good nor bad. For example, I remember him writing about playing in a high school pop punk band with a bunch of girls that only wanted to play music with him because they found him attractive, and he quit. He’s a very interesting person. I usually find myself disagreeing with him, but still look forward to reading his posts.

What’s coming up for Coke Bust?
We’re going to tour Europe for 6 weeks this summer, write a new record and hopefully eventually tour the following places: Puerto Rico, Japan, Australia and South East Asia.

What do Magrudergrind and Coke Bust have in common? What differentiates the bands?
We share a drummer, record label, geographic origin, and appreciation for fast music.
I think we are different in our audience that we play to, types of shows we play, straight edge label, presence of a bassist, genre, tuning, etc.

Is this the first benefit show you’ve booked?
Surprisingly enough, it is. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to doing. I would always have my plate full trying to help out touring bands, and it’s tough making those shows benefits when bands need to get paid. I’ve done a few partial benefits with We Are Family, where instead of paying for a venue you just use a church space and give money to the cause. But I’m not going to count that because the original intent wasn’t for the cause.

Are you “doin’ it for the cause”?
Most definitely.

Why did you pick S.O.M.E. as the beneficiary?
DC has a huge homeless population and I wanted to do something for them. Most states are experiencing a rise in homelessness with the recession, and with budgets tighter than ever I think those who are able to step up and contribute should. I did some background research on local organizations and S.O.M.E. looked real legit. I used to work in Georgetown and I would pass a ton of homeless people every day. I did my best to hook them up with food from Trader Joe’s or extra food that I scrounged up around the office at leftover meetings (I also donated all of my unwanted Valentine’s Day candy to the homeless FTW), but I always wanted to help out in a bigger way. In the end it won’t flip the city upside down, but whatever amount raised will be significant. I’m hoping to get more involved in the future.

Is Asefu’s the new Corpse Fortress? Why?
There will never be another Corpse Fortress. Asefu’s is just a bar off U St. The Corpse Fortress was like a demilitarized zone.

Is Asefu’s the new U-Turn?
Not really. The U-Turn catered to a very specific crowd within the DC punk scene. I think Asefu’s is a little more all-inclusive.

Why did you pick the bands that are on the bill for this show?
I loved Crispus Attucks, No Justice, and 86 Mentality… so I really wanted to get BLOCKHEAD to play. Them being named after one of my favorite D.R.I. songs didn’t hurt either.

LASHING OUT approached me about it being their first show. 

Jubert is my bro so I wanted to get MISLED YOUTH.

Last but not least, PHIBES are a cool band from New Jersey that nobody down here knows about so I wanted them to play too. All the bands were cool with the $$ situation.

What are your top 5 favorite shows in 2011?
Tough to say, buy 
1) Night Fever @ Corpse Fortress
2) Last Corpse Fortress show
3) Youth of Today at U St. Music Hall
4) Slapshot @ U St. Music Hall
5) Face the Rail + Coke Bust at Asefu’s

How many shows have you booked?
I don’t keep track. I’m going to estimate that it’s around 40-50? I booked my first show when I was 16. But I really started booking alot more when Coke Bust started.

Are you living with your folks? If so, is this a source of joy or shame?
I do live with my parents. I moved back to their house to conserve funds after quitting my job and starting a business. It’s conducive with not yet really having a stable income. I’m making some money now, but I think I’ll just stay at my parents’ house for a bit. I always eat really healthy food when I live here, and I’m trying to get ripped… so that works out well. We’ll see if it happens…. I like being able to watch ice hockey games with my father on a semi-regular basis. Not to mention it’s nice having cheap rent when you’re away on tour a lot, like I will be this summer.

To answer your question, there is definitely no shame in my living situation, but I wouldn’t say that it is the most joyous pad either.

DIY Surgery

Hello. My name is James, and I’m reviewing myself.

This is what happened when my band, Surgery Dot Com, played at Comet Ping Pong on 11/19/11 with Booze Riot and Replicant, pushing our agenda of broken amps, wrecked minds and ruined lives.

This was only Surgery Dot Com’s second show. The first one was in September at the Corpse Fortress with At The Graves, the Coits, and two bands from Olympia, WA, that ruled. So, we were very eager and amped for this show.

We worked hard to write a sick set of new tunes which we couldn’t wait to subject an audience to. With that in mind, we warmed up in the parking lot. My former job is a few doors away from Comet and I barely suppressed the urge to vandalize that basement bookstore coffee-shop piloted by a Napoleon complexioned swine which shall aptly remain nameless.

My original plan was to send every member of Booze Riot and The Coits into the place right before closing time and have them order complicated and expensive drinks only to proclaim that their drinks sucked while demanding reparations. But since one Coit couldn’t make it to this show, the potential for the destruction of property and a brawl was severely reduced and that put a damper on the whole evening.

Anyway, back to reality for ping-pong and pizza. The Com has one of the best vegan pizzas I have enjoyed inside the Beltway. While munching a slice, I started getting into that nice whoa-where-am-I-what-the-hell-is-going-on-who-am-I-why-am-I-here-whoa-man-whoa-rock-n-roll state of mind that generally sets in before a gig.

Replicant opened the show with what could aptly be termed “some good, heavy, post-hardcore-influenced metal. The ‘Cants seem to be nice guys who are enthusiastic about what they do. Fun fact: They had, by far, the nicest gear of the three bands on this bill, and accordingly they sound far more professional than yr humble Dot Commies. They reminded me a little bit of Zao, but are more “musical.” I eventually learned that the guitar player used to be in a band with one of the Zaoists. Let’s just say he that didn’t have any fond things to say about him. Yeow! Whoa! Hey! Alright!

While Booze Riot was setting up, somebody plugged an ipod into the PA and played Black Flag and Minor Threat and noisy ’90s alternative rock, which ironically put me in just the right mood for the Booze Riot. I’m very intimate with this band – a little too intimate, some might say. Their guitarist and vocalist, Brain Riot, is one of my (and Ross Dot Com’s) roommates, so the Riots is at the house often (a little too often, some might say), and we all share gear and booze and food and stuff – it’s kind of like we’re all members of the same tribe, or, to be more specific, like we’re all a mottled collection of flies, united by our position inside a tangled spider’s world wide web, vibrating frantically, arrhythmically, and pathetically.

Speaking of Booze Riot, I’ve heard like a million of their practices. They keep getting heavier, tighter, crazier and, in a word: better.

This show was the best I’ve seen yet. What I love about this band – in addition to the Riot’s straightforward and catchy old-school punk/hardcore rock – is BR’s attitude. Far too often, bands give me the impression that they’re running down a checklist of requirements for whatever genre or scene they’re trying to fit into.

The Riot does not give me this impression.

Rather, the Riot gives me the impression that they are insane motherfuckers (literally) who aren’t out to impress you, me, or anyone else. BR’s mass of confidence, energy and good old fashioned audience harassment made their’s my favorite set of the night. …

… My spazz-o-meter ticked up another notch as Surgery Dot Com prepared to hit it.

I was planning on using Booze bassist Aus Doyle’s amp since mine blew out at practice the night before (not the first (or second or third or fourth) time I’ve pulled that off); then Doyle’s amp blew a fuse at the end of their set. Luckily, Replicant’s bass dogg was cool enough to loan me his rig. It’s always chill to use other people’s stuff that’s way nicer than anything I could ever afford.

Before I’d even had time to attempt to figure out how this amp worked, Ross was surfing waves of feedback and Dan was slaying his drums, setting up the intro to our first song. I “got it together” just in time.

What happened next is what usually happens to me during a gig that doesn’t suck: As soon as I started playing, the spazz receded and was replaced by total immersion in the music.

I love playing in this band. I love Ross’ twisted and gnarled, yet pretty, layers of guitar and the way he sings mellow melodies on top of it, and I love how Dan plays choppy off-beat (yet also on-beat) rhythms with understated tastefulness.

I hope my bass playing, with its hardcore and Black Sabbath influences, sounds good with what they do.

I’m not sure how to best describe what we do, but we’ve been compared to Sonic Youth, Placebo, Swans, Q And Not U, and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzz.

What I know for sure is that the three of us tore it up at this show. The songs sounded tight, the stage banter was almost as awkward as a Lemonheads gig, the crowd was decent-sized and seemed into it, and we were way into it. Everything was going great until the last song. Ross and I were so overly distorted that we got lost in the sauce. At one point I looked at Dan and then at Ross and realized that we were each playing different parts of the song. I guess they caught this at the same time, because the next thing I know, Ross is flailing across the stage and throwing his guitar on top of a speaker to let it feedback and Dan and I jam our way out of the mess. The audience, of course, is largely unaware that we arguably made a mistake — they’re loving it!
Thanks a bunch to Rep, Booze, Ross ‘n’ Dan, Comet, vegan pizza, jobs that fire me, gullible audiences, DayAfterDay and whoever’s reading this.

In order of importance, the morals of this story are:

A) Always play from the heart.
B) There’s a sucker born every minute.

Editor’s note: A

The Coits are an Interesting Band that Almost Nobody Knows About – Interview by Nick Tape

The Coits are a very weird and interesting band from Washington, D.C., that almost nobody outside the region knows about. I am hoping to raise some awareness of their existence. I could spend a paragraph describing their well-trod sound, but suffice it to say, “punk.” Their live shows are always entertaining, as Seth Feinberg (interviewed below) is quite a frontman.

The first time I saw the Coits, they started their set with Seth nonchalantly dropping stacks of china plates onto the floor; a computer followed; then a keyboard. Fellow-rager Teresa took it upon herself to try skateboarding in the small basement.

I looked up and saw a cast of freaks: a guy in sunglasses, a few random punkers I had never seen, a norm-looking drummer, and my friend Simon wearing a hockey jersey and literally solo’ing over the entire set.

I was bewildered, but ended up getting really pumped. The tunes were decent, but the live show was incredible. The destruction was contagious.

Teresa tried to smash the keyboard with no luck, so I told her to hold it up for me and I tried to punch through it. I ended up getting a really big gash on my hand (stupid), but I was pumped and it didn’t hurt, so who cares?

1. How and when did the Coits come together?  What were the goals of the band upon its inception?

First of all, thank you, Nick, for your enthusiasm and support for the band. I’m a fan of yours and of Coke Bust, so it is more meaningful to me than you probably think.

Also, thanks for giving me a chance to talk about my favorite subject: myself.

The Coits started in 2003 at the Notasquat and Georgetown University. The band was started by John Albaneaze and me.

John was just learning how to play guitar, but he is a savant when it comes to songwriting. He wrote most of the songs. He also contributed to the lyrics. We are good friends who are on the same wavelength to an extent that is highly unusual for me.

The members of the band we cultivated were like-minded feminists who thought our music was cool; because we were in college, people were always studying abroad, dropping out, or quitting the band because we didn’t sound like Fugazi, but we didn’t let that deter us and we stuck with my vision: self-aggrandizement and smashing computers.

Roughly in this order, the goals of the band were: compose and perform catchy and creative hard punk with overt grunge, folk, hardcore punk and garage rock influences, complemented by funny and political lyrics; not be a boring live band (unlike nearly every band I watched perform around the time); use our shows to support causes we believed in (we played a lot of shows to benefit campus workers; we were lucky that there was a lot of activism around labor issues on campus at that time and we were able to participate and do some fundraising for the cause); use our shows as a vehicle to have fun and give our friends opportunities to have fun; win back the Liz of my life; play as many cool shows with cool bands as possible; and overtly reiterate and propagate the most intelligent, interesting and humorous aspects of the entire rock ’n’ roll genre (it’s a great genre). We have accomplished some of our goals.

John is currently attending law school at Columbia, but played one show with the band in 2011 when Psi-Dog quit. John is also set to play our eight-year-anniversary celebration in October. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, but we took 2005-2008 off. Our first show was at the Notasquat, on Oct. 12, 2003.

2. Can you run down each of the members of the band and tell us a little bit about them?  What do you perceive their meanings of life to be (including yours)?

Zomawia “Chino” Sailo, guitar: A talented artist, musician, and artist of the information superhighway, Chino is a quintessential antisocial badass with a heart of gold.
The child of a hardworking and well-educated single mother, Chino grew up in the ghetto of Gaithersburg, Maryland, with a tight and exceedingly racially diverse group of friends who were also generally into alternative rock and punk music.
A big fan of At the Drive In, the Black Powder Fuzzbox, Fugazi, and Gang of Four, Chino is a member of a relatively obscure Indian ethnic group, the Mizos. He looks Asian (hence his nickname) and has visited his family in India. He once told me that Mizos are “stupid and cheap.”
He was the soundman at the notorious D.C. punk-rock venue the U-Turn.
We met when his old band, Pattern Against User, played the “Punk Rock Picnic,” at Georgetown University back in 2004. I solicited bands for that show on the Pheerboard, so the Internet brought us together. Chino is smart, generous, a true friend and a very useful person to be friends with. We played in a hard-folk band called Usuario2 in 2007 and 2008. That band sounded like a mix of the Coits, At the Drive In, Sunny Day Real Estate, Pattern Against User, and Refused – with folk lyrics – and we played some really good shows and were well received by our friends. Usuario2 ended when our guitarist and primary songwriter, Adam Piece, moved back to Boston to pursue his true love: music that sounds more like Sunny Day Real Estate.
A skilled and unique guitarist, Chino is also quite responsible, unlike most good guitarists. He is arguably the most unconventional, liberated member of the Coits, which is really saying something. He is the third coolest-looking member of the Coits.

Shintario “Shin for the Win” Doi, bass: Shin grew up in Japan on a steady diet of alternative rock. He is extremely bright. We met at Georgetown University in like 2004 (we became friends in like 2005). He was considered the best bassist at Georgetown and he went to his fair share of Coits shows back then. We played in a band called Coitus Detritus that played one exceedingly destructive show in 2005. Shin is very artistic, articulate, and well versed on international affairs, economic theories, technology, and many other matters. He works at the Black Cat, a Washington, D.C. rock club. An experienced political activist, he has held a very wide range of jobs, from anti-mountaintop removal organizer to trade union spy in a Starbucks to deep house party doorman to Thai chef. His parents have high-status jobs. He has also lived in Korea and Thailand. He is very knowledgeable about a large number of genres of music, and can also hold it down on guitar and drums. He is a good songwriter, but doesn’t really write songs for the Coits. He and I interviewed Ian MacKaye in 2005. He has also interviewed Joe Lally. He is a great friend and a generous guy. He joined the band in 2008, when Prescott got the band back together in order to really freak out the squares and teach the indie rock lames what rock ’n’ roll is (did we ever). Shin fit right in. He is the second coolest-looking member of the Coits, which is really saying something.

Simon “Psi” Cohen, guitar: A virtuoso-type axist and a prominent metal promoter in the D.C. underground, Psi has a good sense of humor and is intelligent. He is the leader of the band Midnight Eye. The son of a diplomat, he went to the same boarding school in Switzerland as a son of Kim Jong Il. Psi joined the band in like 2008, after John went to law school, so we went from having a beginning-level guitarist to a Marty Friedman-type. A talented writer, Midnight Psi has already quit the band three times and is considering quitting again. Who knows how many times he will quit? Personally, I think it’s safe to say that only God knows.
Psi-Dog has long hair and is the Coits’ primary songwriter at this point. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, and teaches guitar for a living.

Prescoit, drums: The son of a working drummer, Pres is half-Greek, which is important to him. While in college, he studied in Greece and worked for the Greek embassy in D.C. We have been friends nearly since I moved to D.C. in 2002. A graduate of a prestigious D.C. college, ’Scotty is a lifelong friend of a close pal o’ mine from G-Town.
Prescott joined the band a few months after our first show, and he fit right in. It was really nice to have a drummer who played drums; it changed our sound in a major way. We were roommates at the Hardcore Hilton when he was in college (I graduated in 2004; he graduated in 2006).
I have never been able to keep up with him when it comes to partying, and I stopped trying to keep that killing pace a long time ago.
He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, but considers D.C. home. He is a talented lyricist. Operation Ivy was his favorite band in high school.

Garrett Underwood, guitar: The most recent addition to the band, Garrett joined in early 2011. He was a Coits enthusiast before becoming a Coit.
The youngest member of the Coits by several years (he is 21), G has been in a number of notable D.C. bands, including Wyld Stallyns 3000, Body Cop, and Ilsa (he is currently in Ilsa). We met at a Wyld Stallyns show in 2007.
An overt badass, G memorably said, “I thought I was weird until I joined the Coits; the Coits are fucking freaks.”
He fits right in.
He is arguably the most unconventional and liberated person in the band, which is really saying something.
He is one of only two people hardcore enough to live at the Corpse Fortress on two distinct occasions. He parties like a drug addict and walks dogs for a living. A native of Rockville, Maryland, G is highly intelligent and is very popular within “the scene.” He is not considering quitting the band (as far as I know!), but Ilsa is his primary focus. I am encouraging him to compose more music and lyrics for the Coits. He is the coolest-looking member of the Coits, which is really saying something.

Seth Feinberg, mouth: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject: myself. I am a negative creep. If asked to expound upon the subject, I would reply that I am the son of a pair of freethinkers with unusual integrity. I feel that, at my best, I am a cross between my parents (with whom I am close): My mother is a librarian, journalist, and nature enthusiast; my father is a politically aware tough guy, union man, sports fan, and nature enthusiast. I have lived a charmed life and am politically engaged. I follow world affairs more closely than the average person, and am an environmentalist, trade unionist, and Democrat (in that order). I have a younger sister who is a badass, and we grew up in the middle of the woods in a very small town in upstate New York. I was the only person into punk in my town; there were maybe a dozen kids in other grades into punk and hardcore throughout the course of my middle/high school years (the towns up there are so small that kids from a few towns attend schools in a central location; it was the ’90s, so I had a pal who had blue hair and was into Christian punk, etc.). We lifted weights to Sick of It All.
In a “notable twist of fate,” I first heard Nirvana on an elementary school field-trip to D.C. There was a boom-box on the bus and the kids were playing Ace of Bass. My friend commandeered the ’box and played “Teen Spirit” dozens of times in a row. It took hours for the other kids to start complaining.
I got into Minor Threat in eighth grade, courtesy of an older guy who grew up in D.C. They quickly became one of my favorite bands. Growing up, I never knew anyone who was straight-edge.
In addition to Christianity and socialism, I believe in evolutionary psychology.
I think the meaning of life is to enjoy oneself, help others, and, in the modern world at least, forestall the demise of every species on earth (including our own) at the hands of humanity. I know that’s a boring definition.

3. It is evident that you are all a very eclectic group of individuals with very different lifestyles. How does the band mesh? How do you all get along?
Our lives might not be as different as they seem (with the possible exception of Chino’s; he is the most aggressively antisocial member of the band; who knows what that guy is up to?).

Brendan Griffiths once described us as “an extremely diverse group of extremely liberated people,” which is high praise.

Big Al Acosta described us as “the bad boys of D.C. punk” – high praise.

We get along well; sometimes we get annoyed with each other, but we are close friends in general (although there are inevitable “relationship dynamics” in a six-person band with a wide range of musical tastes and non-musical interests). For example, it might seem that Pres and G have nothing in common, but they get along really well. I consider everyone else in the band a close friend (except Simon).

4. I am specifically intrigued by your drummer, Prescott, who works as a lobbyist for a trade association. Apparently he is quite a hit with the ladies. How does he do this and what is his style? Feel free to speak for him.
Prescott is extremely gregarious, socially adept, and easygoing, and he’s fun to be around. Additionally, he’s handsome, funny, and a secret genius. He has a good job and parties like he’s in Ilsa. That combination is a well-trod formula for sexual success (depending upon one’s definition of success, of course!).

According to Prescott, he learned everything he knows (about getting girls, not about drumming) from Pip (the Lone Rangers’ drummer in the 1994 comedy “Airheads”), who was portrayed by Adam Sandler. Pip gets “his hands on more bumper than a body shop,” as explained by frontman Chazz Darvey (Brendan Fraser).

“While some may mistake his style for the I’m-so-stupid-I-must-be-cute routine, in actuality, that’s the quiet cool – chicks, man, they just flock to it,” Prescott comments in response to this query.

5. What are the songs about? What is the lyrical MO?
In general they have always been political statements, love songs, diss tracks, and diss tracks about myself – with a twist of lemon. I’ve been writing more diss tracks about myself lately than anything else, by far.

6. Your band has achieved cult notoriety within the D.C. scene for breaking large quantities of electronics during your sets. Some people have criticized this as a tactical gimmick (Ed: If it is a gimmick, it has surely won me over, regardless).
How would you respond to this criticism? Why do you break shit during your sets?

I’d never heard anyone call it a gimmick before receiving this question. Since then, James Doubek made the same type of statement, so I reckon that’s what people think. I’d never thought about it that way.

According to, a gimmick is “an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal.”

While it may be ingenious and somewhat novel, I know that our enthusiastic embrace of destruction always alienated and turned off more people than it appealed to.
I also know that the demolition really appeals to like-minded people, which is all a punk band should hope for, anyway: to appeal to those who get it, while alienating those who don’t.

I’ve really enjoyed destroying stuff for as long as I can remember; my old friends can tell you numerous stories about me smashing and burning things for no reason other than the joy it brings. Thinking back on it all, I have a lot of happy memories. I remember sneaking off as a child to smash bottles. The best date I ever went on was when I asked my friend if she was into breaking stuff and she replied “Yes,” and we went into an abandoned ski shed and demolished everything in it. There was a lot of stuff in there; it took a while and was a lot of fun.

We started smashing stuff at our shows because I enjoy doing so.
My beloved Hoyas had a plethora of “outdated” computer monitors laying around all over the place – like 50 of ‘em piled up behind the library at a time and numerous others in corridors all over campus – and I would stockpile them in an on-campus apartment. It was just a way to enjoy myself, although it immediately became apparent that our friends also really liked smashing computers, computer monitors, outdated A.V. equipment that we found in dusty corners of rarely used rooms, etc. G-Town had all kinds of derelict technology all over the place, forgotten or waiting to be disposed of. I disposed of it the right way – by smashing it with the hammer of God!

It’s just a way to enjoy myself and provide some fun for my friends and the people who enjoy the band.

I have an inordinate amount of rage for some reason, always have, and it is one way to let the rage out. One always feels better, for a little while.

In addition, this stratagem is one way the Coits adhere to our mission statement of not being a staid live band.

Finally, smashing stuff at our shows also offers an obvious statement about the value and lifecycle of technology, as well as our nation’s rabid consumption and the nearly immediate obsolescence of our purchases.

Things worth hundreds, thousands of dollars just a few years ago are now worthless. It’s kind of interesting, if you think about it – what we buy and what it buys us.

At one show I tried to auction off a few computer monitors and even a desktop computer or two. No one bid on them. Trenchant commentary, to be sure.

Let’s talk about you, if you don’t mind.  You’re a very bright, well spoken, successful guy. Why do you continually live in sub-par living situations (Corpse Fortress, Chris Moore’s room in 2008, the smallest room in the Newton Street house, etc.)? You can surely afford a real room. Do you have an affinity for such living spaces?
1) I dispute the premise of your question. For a person like me, those living situations are well above par. Putting me at the Corpse Fortress was like putting a pig in slop. I fit right in. I really like Loren Martin and Jessie “Corpse Fortress Princess” Brennan. Living at the CF also gave me the chance to become friends with Dylan and Brendan Griffiths, who are awesome. It also gave me the chance to get to know Psi-Dog and other people who used to hang out there.

Also, it allowed the Coits to have a practice space and a place to book shows whenever we wanted, and it allowed me to see a lot of great shows for free, and even occasionally make some money (for the house!) by facilitating awesome shows.

There aren’t a lot of things more fun than seeing your favorite bands performing in your basement while every few hours people hand you hundreds of dollars.

Also, my rent was $90-a-month for an entire year, allowing me to exist as a freelance writer. The second time I lived there, I had a much bigger room and my rent was $250 a month.

1a) Chris Moore pimps out a bedroom like he pimps out his life. Living in his room at the Chill Factory was one of my best living situations ever, and it gave me the chance to get to know Justin Malone, Nick Tape, Pat Vogel, Drew E., Big Al, etc.

It also gave the Coits a great place to practice and record, and it allowed me to go on a weekend tour with Sick Fix and borrow money from Pat Vogel. There were a lot of cool basement shows happening within a few blocks of the Chill Factory at the time, too. It was great. That place was kinda expensive, though – like $500 a month.

1aa) The Newton Street house is a similar situation: Living there gave me the opportunity to get to know Zizzack, John of Today, Ahron of Judah, etc. – I’m on the same wavelength, more or less, as all of ’em, but didn’t really know them well (or at all) before. Now they love the Coits! My bedroom is small, but that’s just fine with me; it’s comfortable, and I don’t have many possessions compared to the average 30-year-old American. $350 rent.

2) Thank you sincerely for the compliments. They are meaningful to me. I don’t necessarily see myself that way. I often see myself as a depressive, narcissistic, boring, useless sellout full of soul doubt, an idiot savant offered a charmed life on a silver platter who has done a great job of throwing it all away.

3) I have accomplished a lot as journalist, and have enjoyed far more success as a writer than I expected to, but I spent years eking out a living as a freelance reporter, and journalism is not very remunerative for the vast majority of its practitioners. If you view it as an art, you might end up living like an artist!

4) My father recently informed me that I will probably live and die deep in debt. He said that’s just normal for our social class and I should just accept it. I hope that, if that’s the case, I can live high on the hog and enjoy an extremely rich array of experiences and material goods and leave Wells Fargo with the tab.

What are your dreams for the Coits?
We’re on a good trajectory now, where it seems like more and more people are into the band and our old friends still come out to our shows. If we can stay on this trajectory, keep writing cool songs and playing cool shows, I’ll be happy.

However, I hope to move out of town ASAP. I work downtown and terrorism and world affairs provide me with near-constant dread, despite my anti-anxiety medication. I hope to return to my hometown and coach high school basketball, which is my calling.

What’s your take on that FAGGOT show you guys played? What did you think of them?
Oh man, Faggot was awesome! I really liked both the songs and the shtick. They were the only band we’ve ever gigged with that put the Coits to shame insofar as presenting a great stage show and taking punk to a psychotic extreme. It was great, but I don’t want to compete on that level, because we all know where that ends, and who wants that? Well, not me, for my band, anyway.

The Coits seem so different from the other punk bands in DC …  not even in a good or bad way. I don’t even know where to start. Can you shed some light on this?
It is interesting to me that the vast majority of the people who are the prime drivers of the local scene – such as NickTape, ’Bec Levy, Spoonboy, James Doubek, Chris Moore, Orion, etc. – grew up in the area and have known each other since they were in high school or for even longer.
People who grow up around here have a lot of shared points of reference and influences, which influences their bands. It is relatively easy for them to become conversant in the sprawling universe of punk / HC / underground / extreme music.
John Albaneaze, Prescott, Hunt-Nat and I didn’t grow up in D.C., so our conception of punk wasn’t Crispus Attucks, the Suspects, Spitfires United, Enemy Soil, Q and not U, Nation of Ulysses, Page 99, Black Eyes, Lungfish, Fugazi, Autoclave, Scream, or Aggressive Behavior.
My conception of punk rock was Minor Threat, Bad Religion 1980-1985, Operation Ivy, the Sex Pistols, Devo, Rancid, the Ramones, etc. – stuff that would be accessible to a kid in the ’90s in the middle of nowhere.
I also tried some more avant bands (Fugazi, Flipper, etc.), but didn’t like them at the time. I liked punk, but was also into grunge and alternative rock and Megadeth, Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan, etc.
We’re coming at punk from a really different place than someone like Chris Moore is, because I spent the first 21 years of my life in a small towns in upstate New York, and it wasn’t easy to get down with the local scene even after I transferred to Georgetown (I always had a ton of homework, plus I am a lame square, etc.).
I didn’t really “converge with the D.C. scene” until I started booking the U-Turn (when I was 24 or so) and moved into Chris Moore’s pimped-out bedroom a few years after that.
Also, I sing, and not too many D.C. bands that play hard punk have vocalists who vocalize in that fashion.

Can you speak on your current and previous relationship with Garybird?
Special thanks to Clementine O’Connor, Libby Ellsworth-Kasch, Ayush Amatya, Alex Owings, Luke Bailey, Rachel Horst, Kurt Steigel, Parker and Lianne Bollinger, Abby Lavin, Jamie Gahlon, Jamie Bowman, James Viano, Greg Mortenson, Chris Rufo, E-Roc, James Doubek, Zack Pesavento, Pat Jagla, Ilsa, the Screws, John Scharbach, Justin Malone, Loren Martin, Nick Popovici, Sasha Rex, Mike Bazzone, Chris Barnett, Heather Green, Johnny Bones, Hussain M., Kalim M., Ben Crabb, Stephanie Sailo, Stephanie E. Sears, Matt Parsons, Drew Bashaw, Jay Nye, Sven Curth, Ricky Fitts, Donovan DeMacy, Josh Chase, Joel White, Elisabeth Schulte, Emily Reynolds-Stringer, Fil, Toast, Margarete Schulte, Michael Battaglia, ’Bec Levy, Ian MacKaye, Head-Roc, Jarobi White, Brian Baker, Brain Damaged, Flora, Mookie, Dave Stone, Rachel Klein, Maurice Alvarado, Rachel Horst, Big Al, Adam Piece, Mark Andersen, Chad Clark, John Langford IV, Ron Bercume, NickTape, Zachary Wuerthner, Simeon, Miguel, Alexandra, Blake, Roger Scully, David “Bones” McCullough, James Willett, Dave Homeowner, Daniel Jubert, Surgery Dot Com, At the Graves, Revolta, P. Spencer, Jamie Sherman, Ian Svenonius, Justin Moyer, H.R., Krist Novoselic, Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Rachel Atcheson, Triff Store Magic, Usuario2, and, of course, Rachel Horst.

What does punk rock need, and what does punk rock need less of?
I can’t even say. I’m in my own world nowadays and don’t have a particularly valid perspective on that. However, I sure would be glad if the world had fewer bandwagon riders, avid consumers, crypto-fascists, fascists, lazy people, thieves, frightened rabbits, herd-stampeders, and people who always take everything so seriously all the time. Life is too depressing to take it seriously.
I remember Greg Graffin saying something like, the definition of punk is being different by being yourself. I embrace that definition.
Punk rock, like the world, needs more joy and less shame.

Kurt Cobain: Satan Worshipper, By Pastor Joe Schimmel

“Get stoned and worship Satan”—Kurt Cobain  

Nirvana is considered the most influential band of the 1990s. With their multi-platinum success, they rocked their generation in more ways than one: First with their music and then with the suicide of their leader, Kurt Cobain.

In 1994, Rolling Stone magazine named Nirvana “artist of the year.”   Rolling Stone would also classify Nirvana’s Teen Spirit as the “grunge national anthem” (Kurt Cobain: The Rolling Stone Interview, By David Fricke, January 27, 1994).  Spin magazine classified Nirvana at the very top of the “ten that mattered most” bands in the decade of 1985-1995.  Chuck Crisafulli declares that, “It was Teen Spirit that rescued rock ‘n’ roll” (Chuck Chrisfulli, Teen Spirit, Simon & Schuster, p. 6, 1966).

The author of a biography written about the life of Kurt Cobain, the notorious leader and singer/guitarist for the group, declares regarding Nirvana’s album Nevermind: “Nevermind will be a contender for the album of the decade…Nevermind dragged alternative rock into the mainstream virtually overnight, one man stood aloof from the outpouring of praise compared by to Beatlemania” (Christopher Sandford, Kurt Cobain, Carroll & Graff Publishers, Inc., New York, 1997, pp. 206-207).
Like Beatlemania in the 60’s, Nirvana-mania had struck like an atom bomb upon the music scene of the 90’s in both Europe and the United States, mostly owing to the creative spirit of Kurt Cobain.  Cobain is described as the “prince of grunge and unwitting mouthpiece for a generation,” and the one responsible for “inventing what became the grunge lifestyle” (Ibid. p16, 54).  We believe there is evidence that demonstrates that it was more than Kurt Cobain that influenced the masses of youth in the 90’s to adopt the grunge/alternative lifestyle.  One does not have to look very deeply into the life of Kurt Cobain to see that the spirit that inspired him was not the Sprit of God.  Let the reader be forewarned, examining the life of Kurt Cobain is like lifting the lid off of a cesspool.  Amidst all of the glamour and fame that is associated with being a rock “star,” Cobain’s life was filled with utter hopelessness and despair.

Cobain the Devil Worshipper

As a true member of the lonely-hearts club band, Cobain’s powerful sense of rejection from his childhood would feed his insatiable desire to be accepted.  Cobain has been described as “rather a sickly, underdeveloped figure of a young man who got picked on a lot” (Nick Kent, The Dark Stuff, Ca Capo Press, New York, 1994, p. 341).  So strong was Cobain’s desire to be respected and accepted, that Cobain would sell his soul to the Devil for the price of fame.  For starters, Kurt Cobain made no qualms about who he was serving when he made it known publicly that his stated goal was to “get stoned and worship Satan” (op. cit. Sandford, p. 42).

Cobain’s worship of Satan manifested itself in a multiplicity of ways.  Cobain, like other Satanists, also had a penchant for the desecration of churches.  Cobain, with his bass player Chris Novoselic, spray-painted “GOD IS GAY” on a church building (Ibid. pp. 57, 165).   Cobain, according to Rolling Stone, would also spray-paint “HOMO SEXUAL SEX RULES” on a bank.  Rolling Stone further reported that Other favorite graffiti included “GOD IS GAY” and “ABORT CHRIST” (Rolling Stone, Inside the Heart & Mind of Nirvana, by Michael Azerrad, April 16, 1992).  Beyond spray-painting blasphemous statements about God on a church, Cobain would take song lyrics he was dissatisfied with and set them on “fire and leave [them] burning on the porch of the Open Bible Church” (op. cit. Cobain, Sandford, p.68).  Beyond this, Sandford writes:

“It was after the destruction of not only a wooden notice-board but an expensive crucifix and other artifacts that the police called at East 2nd with the suggestion that Cobain’s presence in Aberdeen would be more sparingly required in the future.“ (Ibid.)

Cobain “decorated” his apartment as he explained, “with baby dolls hanging by their necks with blood all over them” (Ibid. p. 54).   Rolling Stone would further report that “Cobain made a satanic-looking doll and hung it from a noose in his window” (Rolling Stone, Inside the Heart & Mind of Nirvana, by Michael Azzerad, April 16, 1992).  The fact that Cobain was considered some kind of national or even international hero well illustrates the wicked depths of depravity to which the human heart has sunk.  While Cobain may have influenced some for evil through graffiti on churches, it was through his music that millions of people would be influenced by the satanic beings that used him like a pawn in a much bigger game.  Cobain’s involvement in black magic and witchcraft would escalate to the point that Cobain would begin casting spells in an effort to see his will done (op. cit. Sandford,  p. 172).  Cobain’s interest in the occult would eventually lead him into a relationship with occultist William Burroughs.  Stephen Davis, the biographer of the Led Zeppelin saga “Hammer of the Gods”, compares Burroughs to Satanist Aleister Crowley, stating:

“Like Crowley, Burroughs was an urbane and genial human Lucifer, a modern magus, a legendary addict, and an artist whose influence extended far beyond literature to music, painting and film.” (Stephen Davis, Hammer of the Gods, Ballantine Books, New York, 1985, p. 237).

Burroughs also associated with Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and, ironically, it was Burroughs who first christened hard rock with the label “Heavy Metal” (Ibid.  p. 104).  Burroughs claimed that he first became demon possessed after killing his wife. Cobain

“Cobain was “obsessed with Anton LaVey” (Mojo Magazine, Sept. 1999, p. 86). Anton LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan and the author of the Satanic Bible.  So obsessed was Cobain with Satanist Anton LaVey that he sought to enlist LaVey by having him play cello on Nirvana’s Nevermind album!” –SOURCE

Cobain’s involvement in witchcraft and Satanism is a fitting explanation as to the source of his inspiration and the uncanny ability he had for coming up with alluring and seductive hooks that so frantically enticed Nirvana’s fans.  Cobain is described as “stumbling on melodies by means he himself didn’t fully understand.” (op. cit. Sanders, p. 70).  In the occult, this is referred to as automatic writing is a process wherein a demonic being channels poetry or lyrics through a human being in an effort to negatively affect society.

This is surely what took place through Cobain, the willing and twisted medium for satanic forces.  Even the legendary guitarist Chuck Berry would exclaim, “he had a touch most guitarists would kill for” (Ibid., p. 71).  While “kill for” might be a stretch, sell one’s soul for is far more fitting. d seek out Burroughs’ services seeking his collaboration on a music project (Op. Cit. Sandford, p. 255).

In a Rolling Stone interview, Cobain would later underscore as one of the highlights of his life that of “Meeting William Burroughs and doing a record with him” (Kurt Cobain: The Rolling Stone Interview, By David Fricke, January 27, 1994).  Such was Burroughs’ influence on  Cobain that, “William S. Burroughs received ‘special thanks’ on In Utero for being a cherished inspiration to Cobain (op. cit. Teen Spirit, Chuck Crisafulli, p. 84).

Cobain the Drug Addict

Cobain’s infatuation with Burroughs probably transcended that of his occult involvement and was in part due to Burroughs notoriety as an addict.  Cobain had a special love for drugs.  Heroin was one of his drugs of choice.  BAM magazine noted that not only would Cobain nod off in “mid-sentence,” but also “the pinned pupils, sunken cheeks, and scabbed, sallow skin suggest something more serious than fatigue” (op. cit. Azzerad, Rolling Stone, p. 34 ).  Sadly, if Cobain hadn’t ended his life with a shotgun blast to the head, it would have most likely still ended with a heroin overdose.  After his death, the toxicology report confirmed that:

“along with traces of Valium, there were 1.52 milligrams of the drug [heroin] in his blood, three times the normal fatal dose” (op. cit. Sandford  p. 10).

Nick Kent claimed that those “strangely undiagnosable” stomach “Problems” that Cobain claimed to experience were “almost certainly” a result of Cobain’s years of drug abuse:

“… the years he spent punishing his intestines with all manner of cheesy pain pills washed down with most disgusting codeine—infected cough medicines available almost certainly provided the direct reason why his poor old guts ached so viscously” (Nick Kent, The Dark Stuff, DA Capo Press, New York, 1994, p. 341).

To support his drug habits, it has been alleged that Cobain “sold to the deadbeats on Heron Street, or at least engaged in a drugs-for sex traffic in order to support his habits” (op. cit. Sandford, p. 51).

Cobain the Homosexual

Cobain himself admitted, “I’m definitely gay in spirit”, as well as “I probably could be bisexual,” and admitted to a close friend that “he’d had sex with three or four men’ (Ibid. pp.268-269).  His widow, Courtney Love, indicated that his homosexual escapades went well beyond that of three or four men when she claimed that he’d “made out with half the guys in Seattle” (Ibid. p. 359).

Cobain would utilize his fame as a platform to showcase his perversity and influence others thereby.

Not only would he publicly French kiss his bass player on Saturday Night Live, but he would also publicly display his perverted penchant for cross-dressing.  Cobain carried with him perverted pornographic pictures of women in various poses with animals and displayed behavior that is too deviant and grotesque for this writer to further describe.

Cobain’s Murderous Heart and the Occult

Cobain had an enormous ego, even for a rock star. While Cobain expressed discomfort with all the fame he had achieved, Nick Kent stated: “I mean, this guy was planning on being a rock star from age two…He always professed to hate all the attention with which fame presented him, yet the first thing he did upon going platinum was to marry Courtney Love, a young women who wantonly draws attention to herself like a magnet sucks up tiny ball bearings.” (op. cit. Kent, p. 341).

Such was the enormity of Cobain’s ego that he would lash out at those sources that would question him. Cobain wanted to murder a female journalist named Lynn Hirschberg who wrote of his wife unfavorably in Vanity Fair. Cobain breathed murderous threats:

“I’m going to kill this woman with my bare hands. I’m going to stab her to death. First I’m going to take her dog and slit its guts out in front of her and then [expletive deleted] all over her and stab her to death.” (op. cit. Sandford, p. 172)

Cobain would not end up killing Hirschberg with his “bare hands”, but would continue to nurse his murderous hatred toward her until the end of his life.

In fact, rather than killing her with his “bare hands,” Cobain sought to do her in by enlisting the forces of Satan to do his bidding by utilizing his black magic. Sandford explains: “At the very end of his life, Cobain was engaged in elaborate calculations, with the aid of a book on magic numbers, to determine a formula to ‘hex the [expletive deleted]’ (Ibid. p. 172).

Cobain the Hater

Cobain’s murderous thoughts went far beyond that of murdering Lynn Hirschberg, but extended to his wife. At one point he had to be persuaded not to kill Courtney Love (Ibid. p. 249).

Cobain also had a fierce hatred for humanity in general.  The Word of God tells us that Satan is a murderer and was such from the beginning. Cobain, like his father the devil, held such a deep-seated hatred for humanity that he declared “ninety-nine per cent of humanity could be shot if it was up to me,” he maintained that only “one or two people” were worth saving (Ibid. p. 257).

In his suicide note found after his own self-murder, he wrote, “I’ve become hateful toward all humans in general.”
Cobain would demonstrate this hatred toward even many of his fans with both spitting upon them at concerts, as well as derogatory comments. Cobain, though, did little harm to his fans through spitting and occasional comments. The real harm came as he led so many of them down the same path of self-destruction that he had chosen and exhibited in himself.  Whether it was his utter perversity onstage or the hopelessness and despair he communicated through his music, the damage he did is incalculable and will only be understood in its totality on Judgment Day, when he stands before the Almighty God and gives an account for his life.

Cobain’s philosophy was: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

One of his biographers states that “Cobain lacked anything resembling an ethical centre. In the spirit of Crowley, Cobain rejected biblical moral absolutes and rejected the authority of God over his life and established Satan as his ultimate authority.

It was through Satan that Cobain experienced the “success” he craved.

Cobain’s alliance with wicked spiritual forces directed at the people he hated may have paid great dividends in his mind.

He was able to experience the acceptance he craved for so long, albeit artificially, and on the other, Cobain was able to unleash powerful destructive forces through his music upon the human race that he hated.

Cobain was pivotal in undermining any residue of moral foundation in many of those who were initiated into his style of music.

Nirvana used their music as a tool of “subversion of traditional values.”

“Nirvana and the new fauna of Seattle rock shared a number of attitudes and taste, including a form of exoticism centered on punk, a public display of apathy, a disinterest in work, the cult of feminism, and the subversion of traditional values via music” (Ibid. pp. 104-105).

Cobain would often torment his band.

Many of those who knew Cobain claimed that there was something incredibly evil about him that would sometimes manifest itself physically.

One of his peers who attended school with Cobain explained that there was, “A kind of menace about him. When he gave you that look, it was straight out of “The Exorcist” or one of those Satanic-worship films.’’ (Ibid. p. 23).

Press Association reporter Graham Wright has stated that “Kurt went from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde in the space of a minute.” (Ibid. p. 246).

This kind of manifestation should have not been shocking, but expected from Cobain, who admitted that he had set out to “worship Satan.”

One of his band members described him as one who could be transformed from a ball of indifference to a “little Hitler” in an instant. Yet another described entertaining him as “like living with the devil” (Ibid. p. 53).

That all of Cobain’s antics were not simply a charade, but truly part of a sad tragedy that was his life is evident from the fact that sometimes these demonic manifestations would end in tears and even suicide attempts.

Bruce Pavitt, co-owner of Sub Pop Records (Nirvana’s early label), stated that in Rome during a concert Cobain nearly committed suicide onstage:

“After four or five songs, he quit playing and climbed up the speaker column and was going to jump off.  The bouncers were freaking out, and everybody was just begging him to come down.  And he was saying, ‘No, no, I’m just going to dive.’ He had really reached his limit. People literally saw a guy wig out in front of them who could break his neck if he didn’t get it together” (op. cit. Rolling Stone, Azzerad, April 16th 1992).

Sandford further describes this rather bizarre incident wherein Cobain became like an animal on stage:

“For a quarter of an hour Cobain clambered through the rafters, clawed the curtains, swung from a chandelier and prattled at the crowd.

According to Azerrad, ‘He wound up backstage, where someone from the venue was arguing with their tour manager over whether Kurt had broken some microphones.  Kurt grabbed both mics, flung them to the ground, and began stomping on them.

“Now they’re broken,” he said.

Then Cobain announced he was leaving the group, “shrieked like a beast,” and burst into tears. (op. cit. Sandford, p. 134).

His widow, after his suicide, would state that “Kurt had a lot of personal inner [expletive deleted] demons, a lot of frailties and physical ailments.”

Sandford writes, “He was a diffident, yet aggressive personality who struggled with demons that drove and tormented him” (Ibid. p. 97).

The sad irony is that the demonic forces he had opened his life up to more and more in his pursuit for fame and success were the very demonic forces that would later inspire him to take his own life.

Goldberg claims that “Kurt saw innumerable doctors and therapists” (Cobain, A Rolling Stone Press Book, 1994, p. 87).

No amount of secular psychology could exorcise the demonic forces. Had Cobain not been a star he probably would have been committed to a mental institution. Being the commodity that he was for his record label, he was used by them, as he was by the devil himself. This, though, was a two way street as Cobain profited from both the devil and his record company – or so he thought.

Perhaps Cobain was deceived into believing that the only way he could escape the demonic world that so tormented him was by blowing his brains out.

Sadly, perhaps the only One he hated more than humanity was God, and he was not about to turn to the Lord.

Cobain had a supreme hatred for all authority, especially that of God.

The Destiny of the Damned

Many would view it as a sad irony that the leader of a band called Nirvana would end his life with a horrific suicide.  But as Gina Arnold, author of “Route 666: The Road to Nirvana,” admitted, “People talk about Kurt Cobain’s wonderful sense of irony. There isn’t any irony.”

I would take it a step further and say there never was any Nirvana. Nirvana was never really heaven in the first place.

Nirvana is the Hindu name for heaven. It is a counterfeit heaven designed to bind people to the millions of Hindu demon gods which are worshipped in India to this very day.

Cobain and his music had Eastern influences, from beguiling Eastern melodies to Cobain’s frequent references in interviews to karma, reincarnation, etc.

Even as these illusionary concepts have cursed India and zapped the life out of hundreds of millions of Hindus through the centuries, Cobain, like so many stars before him, continued to introduce these concepts to the Western world.

Truly, there is no irony.

Cobain’s concept of Nirvana from the get-go was actually hell.

Crisafulli comments on Cobain’s concept of Nirvana in his song “Paper Cuts,”

“The subject seems to sing that he has found his “nirvana” and is in a contented state in a place where all needs are met and there are no outside worries. But to any outside observer, the subject has simply gone insane in a filthy, one room prison” (op. Cit., Crisfulli, Teen Spirit, p. 23).

Although the subject of Cobain’s song had no choice as to his or her condition (the song was partly based on children who were tormented and confined to a closet), Cobain chose to live a hellish Christ-rejecting existence filled with drugs, hatred, vandalism, blasphemy and devil worship.

Cobain was aware that his life was a Hindu Nirvana – an illusion. This contributed to his utter emptiness and the faraway look of hopelessness and despair that was evident in the eyes he effaced with a shotgun blast.

The concept of “Nirvana” includes the termination of existence.

Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary includes this definition of Nirvana:

“1. In Hinduism, a blowing out, or extinction, of the flame of life; reunion with Brama.” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, p. 1214)

Cobain wanted to “cease to exist,” to use the title of a Charles Manson tune the Beach Boys decided to put on an album. This was part of the New Age teaching which has been imported to the West by so many rock bands since the ’60s.  While many of them have promised enlightenment and a New Age, such teaching only results in destruction and damnation.

Cobain saw his life as hell on earth, and he understood that the spiritual concept of “Nirvana” results in the termination of existence. Cobain’s Nirvana was not a path to eternal bliss or the absolute cessation of existence, but rather a dark road that leads through the gates of hell.

For as Christ taught, man is only able to destroy the body, but God is able to destroy the soul in Hell. (Matthew 10).

Cobain only wanted to be a performer. He declared, “I would prefer to be in a coma and just be woken up and wheeled out onstage and play and then put back in my own little world” (Azzerad, “Come As You Are”).

Cobain claimed that he had no interest in “simple pleasures” and “inane things” that people discuss and would “rather just be asleep” (op. cit. Kent, 342).

Cobain, the leader of the grunge movement, would sit down to write his suicide note in his home. Unlike previous times nobody was around to coax him out of it.

He addressed the suicide note to “Boddah,” his childhood invisible friend (op. cit. Sanders, p. 328).

It seems that one of the reasons he committed suicide was that the devil was no longer delivering musical inspiration.

In his suicide note he wrote, “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing, for too many years now.”

This has been Satan’s modus operandi from the beginning and certainly through the history of rock music.

Satan seeks out those lonely hearts who are seeking fame, recognition, acceptance, affluence, power, or all of the above and uses them for his own perverse glory, then discards them for eternity.

God has demonstrated to that demonic beings are often associated with the instigation of suicide.

After Satan had possessed Judas and used him to betray Christ, Judas was left with despair and his newfound fortune became a reminder as to the magnitude of his betrayal.

Judas ended up hanging himself.

King Saul was also possessed by an “evil spirit” and was incredibly tormented. Saul ended up committing suicide.

We see in the gospels that Satan not only sought unsuccessfully to get Jesus to commit suicide, but Jesus delivered a young man with an evil spirit that was inspiring the young man to throw himself in the fire to destroy himself.

Satan not only inspires suicides, but self-mutilation.  The false prophets of Baal were inspired by their demon gods on Mount Carmel to repeatedly cut themselves until the evil spirits would respond to their spells, but as in the case with Cobain, there came a time when they no longer did and the false prophets were left powerless in performing their evil deeds. The Lord responded by consuming them with fire.

Jesus also delivered a demoniac at the tombs of the Gaderenes.  This man was also inspired by the demons that possessed him to repeatedly cut himself.

After Jesus delivered the demoniac of the Gaderenes at the tombs, the legion of demonic spirits drove a herd of pigs to their death by drowning them in the sea after plunging them off a cliff.

Satan hates all of humanity, including those who foolishly become his slaves.

Jesus Christ delivered this man by casting the evil spirits out of him and restoring him to a sound mind.

Cobain would not accept Christ’s deliverance from his deep-seated satanic bondage.

Satan has inspired self-mutilation and suicide long before Cobain, Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols or Marilyn Manson.

Through mass media and rock music, Satan has been able to inspire millions of impressionable young people to the same destructive ends.

Satan often gets more mileage out of a dead star than a living one.

Jimi Hendrix, who admitted demon possession, also was deceived by the satanic lie that it is better to burn out than to fade away. Hendrix said, “Most people love the dead…Once you’re dead you are made for life.”

Cobain’s decision to “Abort Christ” and “worship Satan” resulted in temporary success, but now rings eternally hollow. Cobain’s life was a blip of time relative to eternity.

Now Cobain has to pay his piper.

Cobain must face the eternal wrath of a God who will not be mocked (Gal 6:8).

Cobain was aware of how dramatically his life paralleled that of another left-handed guitarist from Seattle, Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix, like Cobain, died at the age of 27. Cobain must have felt his death was unstoppable, that there was no way out, and his time was up.

While the demonic forces Cobain had aligned himself with were no longer giving him the powerful musical hooks which became his trade and brought the masses to worship him, those forces were only too happy to finish him off.

Cobain’s suicide is not only explicable by factors of his own admission, like a sense of desperation due to lack of musical inspiration, but other sinister factors as well.

Cobain’s suicide was a result of dying by the very sword he wielded so irresponsibly in his lyrics. Cobain often glamorized and exposed young impressionable minds to the idea of suicide through his music. Cobain wrote a song called “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die.”

On his album “In Utero,” Cobain sang, “Look on the bright side: Suicide.”

Cobain would also sing, “Monkey see monkey do/I don’t know why I’d rather be dead than cool” (“Stay Away”).

The same demonic forces that inspired Cobain to take his life channeled lyrics through him to encourage impressionable and depressed youth to take their lives as well.

In Cobain’s suicide note, Cobain echoed the sentiments of another star, Neil Young, stating, “So remember — it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Are we so blind as to claim that lyrics do not influence fans?

In this case, a rock star died after quoting lyrics that glorify early death by another rock star.

The first song Cobain learned on guitar was Back in Black by the overtly satanic AC/DC.  Cobain ended his career with the words of “Into the Black,” by Neil Young. Sadly, after Cobain’s suicide, many remembered Cobain’s words.

He wrote, “Monkey see monkey do/ I don’t know why I’d rather be dead than cool,” a rash of copycat suicides followed as the youth he deceived followed in his footsteps.

Nirvana fan Daniel Casper, upon returning from Cobain’s vigil, ended his life with a bullet to the head. Another 16-year-old fan locked herself in her room, and, while she listened to Nirvana’s music, put a bullet into her head.

Andy Rooney, formerly of “60 Minutes,” said succinctly, “When the spokesman for his generation blows his head off, what is the generation supposed to think?”

Donna Gaines writes in “Cobain,” a book produced by the editors of Rolling Stone:

“Teenage suicide was virtually nonexistent before 1960, but between 1950 and 1980 it nearly tripled. While America as a whole became less suicidal during the 1980s, people under 30 became dramatically more suicidal. While adolescents have the more frequent attempts of suicide – an estimated 400,000 a year – the actual rates of suicide are higher once people enter their 20s” (“Cobain,” A Rolling Stone Press Book, 1994, page 128).

Rolling Stone should get a clue and admit the obvious: Suicide rates began to soar with the advent of rock music in the ’50s and ’60s.

It is no coincidence that while suicide among older people dropped slightly in the ’80s, it soared astronomically in the ’80s among the young people who immersed themselves in heavy metal and / or punk rock bands that extolled the virtues of self-murder.

The evidence is glaring Rolling Stone in the face.

In fact, a section of their book “Cobain,” is titled “Suicidal Tendencies,” the name of a once-popular punk rock band.

Rolling Stone has built its fortune on its promotion of groups that have inspired many thousands of suicides. Cobain allowed the demonic spirits that were tormenting him to influence the masses through him as a medium. One commentator wrote,

“This is just a sad little tale about a guy who never felt good about being alive, who channeled that screaming unease into a remarkable body of rock ’n’ roll performances, and who ended it by shooting his face off.”

In his suicide note, Cobain lamented that he was turning into a “miserable, self-destructive death rocker.”

Cobain also “expressed his terror that Frances Bean’s [his daughter’s] life would turn out like his own” (“Cobain,” page 86).

One hopes it will not, but Cobain’s suicide was not the best example to provide her with if this was his fear. Certainly, the words “So remember – it’s better to burn out than to fade away,” were unconscionable if he was at all concerned about how his legacy would impact his daughter.

What about all the millions of sons and daughters of other parents who, because of him and other rock stars have to endure watching their children grow up into Cobain’s evil image?

Cobain, if he had any conscience left, must have despaired of the damage and satanic influences he inflicted on his fans. While drugs and sleep can allow one to escape the pangs of conscience for a time, death brings the conscience into full focus, because every mouth will stopped before God gives His account of our lives.

Like so many stars before him, Cobain ended the culmination of a life hell-bent on destruction.

One fan trying to make sense of what seems so senseless to those in the dark regarding spiritual reality stated, “It makes you wonder if our icons are genetically-programmed to self-destruct in their late 20.”

Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, was closer to the truth when she lamented, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.” (Newsweek magazine, April 18, 1994).

The “stupid club,” Cobain’s mother refers to includes Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and other dead stars who died at the early age of 27.

Even William Burroughs declared that Cobain “let down his family” and “demoralized the fans.”

Burroughs stated: “The thing I remember about him is the deathly gray complexion of his cheeks. It wasn’t an act of the will for Kurt to kill himself. As far as I was concerned, he was already dead.”

Sadly, his fans were deceived from the get-go. They were worshipping the living dead and, to the degree that they were influenced by Kurt Cobain, they hastened their own deaths.

Christ’s words concerning Judas Iscariot, who committed suicide after betraying him, are a fitting epitaph for Kurt Cobain: “It would have been better that he was never born.”

That declaration is suitable for everyone who rejects the sovereign of the universe and therefore spends eternity in a lake of fire.

If you have been influenced by the depressing music of Kurt Cobain or other so-called stars of his ilk, I encourage you to realize that the same satanic forces that caused his damnation are using the music they channeled through him to get you to give up on life. Jesus warned: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Jesus came to give you eternal life. He died for your sins so that you would not have to go to Hell. He rose on the third day and through His gospel defeated Satan.

Kurt Cobain sang about a “lake of fire,” which God’s word describes as unending torment where the wrath of God is justly poured out on the wicked who died in rebellion against Him.

The lake of fire is the eternal residence of all those who refuse to turn to Jesus. If you are not following Jesus Christ, you are against Christ and are on your way to the lake of fire. Jesus said: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)

The scriptures declare that those who go to the lake of fire have no rest forever.

Friend, Kurt Cobain also sang that “Jesus don’t want me for a sunbeam.”

The truth is that Jesus does want you for a sunbeam upon this earth. He wants to save you, but will not save you against your own will.

And so it was for Kurt D. Cobain. He will not rest in peace.

Dave Homeowner reviews the last Corpse Fortress show

No music had started yet and the sun was still bright when I rolled up to the Corpse Fortress, but there were already quite a few people there, as is the case when any truly great venue is having its last hurrah – everybody wants to be on the scene.

I ran into people I don’t think I’d ever seen at the Corpse Fortress before, and of course the majority of the regulars and housemates were already there as well.

I heard a lot of bitching and moaning about the end of the era.

Overall, however, most of the people weren’t there to cry – they were there to laugh really hard with their friends in and around the least safe space in the D.C. scene – just like they’d done so many times before at the Corpse Fortress.

So, since most of the people there were going to do the same thing they did at every other Corpse Fortress show, I decided to treat it the same way I treated the overwhelming majority of the  shows I attended there, which means I did not go downstairs for most of the show.

In other words: Here’s what was REALLY happened at the Corpse Fortress that night.

I was asked to review this event beforehand and consequently should have done a better job of remembering which band sounded like what and all that jazz, because at the time it was relevant to my story.

I wanted to be able to say that during “The Gift,” or “The Deads,” or whomever, the music sounded like “(insert relevant reference here),” while I hit a joint that smelled like roach spray with some twitchy 15-year-old in the driveway, but, honestly, too much time has passed for me to retain that information (or maybe it is just the Raid kicking in).

What I can say is that the bands that night were tight and at least one or two of the earlier ones had a doom-y vibe going on and got things started nice and slow, inside, which was not the case outside.

When the music inside started trudging along, the action outside quickly spiraled out of control.

There were people throwing bottles at each other, fireworks being brandished, and on at least three (3) occasions I saw people engaging in inexperienced outdoors sex of one variety or another. The amount of uninhibited sex was one of the variables that set this show apart from its many predecessors, but it was not particularly shocking, because this was a celebration of the life-cycle of a venue, and the Corpse Fortress was about to blow its final load.

Just like at hundreds of other Corpse Fortress shows, the people who came to swarm the hellish basement rolled out like the tide with the last notes of one band and then rolled back in when the first riffs of the next band sounded.

This became one of my focal points that night, because right after the first band wrapped up and all the “insiders” came out, the tension increased. It seemed that as soon as the two groups (“insiders” vs. “outsiders”) became intertwined, suddenly someone (generally someone from my clan of “outsiders”) would do something ignorant (such as using unacceptable speech, or trying to do cocaine of off someone’s car), and then the (outside) yelling would start again.

I realized that this was probably going to be a big part of my story by the time that the second band finished up and the two groups mixed again.

I’d opted to remain as sober as I could throughout the evening so I could craft this story well, but I didn’t anticipate the generosity I was offered that night. Before the sun set I’d already crushed more than a six-pack and smoked a lot of pot.

When I heard the inevitable sounds of a scuffle, I turned around to see if it was the (insert hate speech here) in the flannel who I wanted to see get beat, but it wasn’t – it was the guy in the COPSTABBER shirt.

“Scuffle” really is the right term, or perhaps “fracas” – I don’t believe any punches were thrown and almost certainly none were landed, but the guy who didn’t like the COPSTABBER fan’s speech had the young man in a headlock and was telling him that there was “no room for that bullshit” here. “LOL,” I thought.

The funniest thing was that although the young hate speaker was thrown out for his use of one particular “F word,” I saw the same kid get re-ejected from the party by different people at least two or three more times throughout the night, and never for the same thing! Go hard, young COPSTABBER fan! Don’t let anybody tell you how to party!

It was starting to feel like a Corpse Fortress show.

Soon night fell, and while there was still quite a bit of partying happening outside, I realized that my visual acuity was being hampered by creeping darkness and creeping intoxication, and that my readers would suffer if I didn’t move this party indoors.

It was time to plant myself in what I suppose one might call the “fake-ass dining room,” which is, in fact, what I always called the room at the top of the basement stairs. A series of people came and went during my time in there – some would contribute to my story, some were basically wallpaper.

One thing I knew for sure is that I wasn’t going downstairs, because every time someone came up from, or opened the door to descend into, the Corpse basement, the cauldron unleashed powerful simultaneous waves of heat and body odor that hit yours truly with multiple layers of discomfort.

I remember laughing loudly at a young concertgoer clearly trying to snort something off a key and again laughing at him getting for chastised for doing so – only to personally get caught by the very same chastiser (I don’t even know who he was) while doing the exact same thing roughly two minutes later. “LOL,” I thought to myself. At least the chastiser knew enough to keep his mouth shut and just gave me a disapproving look, because the party was getting evermore ignorant.

My favorite moment of the night was when I was sitting on a couch and a kid I met earlier in the night walked into the fake-ass dining room and blurted, “I just got a blow-job outside from a complete stranger! I think it was a girl!”

He then walked back outside.

This was my night and this was a lot of other nights. This was the Corpse Fortress: The home of the brash, outrageous, and free.

I know the Corpse Fortress meant a lot of different things to the people reading this.

For some unfortunate individuals, it was a home. Others viewed it as a consistent venue for shows. For me, it was a place to party. It was a place where I never knew what would happen, or to whom, but I knew that I would laugh about it later. That’s what kept me coming back for more.

As the Coits were preparing to do their thing I got handed some amphetamines. I eventually decided that I would move upstairs so as to not bother others (or be bothered by others) while I enjoyed my last lines in the Corpse Fortress. I cut them out on the arm of some furniture. A young lady walked upstairs and asked if she could have some.

I left her a taste of my pills and walked downstairs, out the front door, and into the future.