Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with Dan from BURDENS

Hello everyone,

Here's an interview conducted recently with Dan Zimmerman, guitar player for BURDENS. These guys are from Pennsylvania and recently put out a split 7" with Cut Short, from Delaware. The record kicks ass--check it out if you haven't yet. Fast, heavy, metal-influenced hardcore, very aggressive and fun.

BURDENS will be playing next month, November 12th, at St. Bernard's in Bethlehem. Check em out if you can; they have a few other upcoming dates scheduled as well, posted after the interview.

Here it is . . .

You went on tour with Cut Short this past summer—how did that go? What kinda places were you playing?

As with any tour, it was hit or miss with each venue. Either way it was a great time playing house shows or legitimate venues, though we love house shows. Michigan and Ohio were definitely two of my personal favorites. Hopefully we’ll be back there again soon.

Do you have any upcoming touring plans? I’d imagine, like the rest of us, you guys have regular working schedules too—is that hard to work around?

Finding time for touring is a pain. We definitely love getting out and playing different areas, but three of us are in school, and working, Chris is student teaching, and Nick just graduated. We’re currently working on some weekend dates with our friends in Full of Hell that are tentatively planned for January 7-9. Other than that, we definitely plan to tour this summer. We’re also happy to drive out for a far show here and there.

I found out about you guys due to the split 7” with Cut Short, after a show they played earlier this year at St. Bernard’s. I gotta say, both sides are fucking great. How did that record come about? Did you know those guys before?

Thanks a lot. We were really excited about the record and were very thankful that Dave Heck of Get This Right Records could put it out for us. We basically just had 4 songs written, and had seen Cut Short at some shows around our area. We were at the same place in the band’s lifeline, with only a demo out, so we talked about doing a split. We ended up recording 4 songs, 3 of which are on the split, the other that is up for free download on our site.

You’ve had some lineup changes recently, including vocals. Was it easy to switch that up, and how’s the new lineup working out so far?

Unfortunately our past singer, Jared Birdseye, had plans to move away to get his degree, which we fully support. We spent some time trying to find a replacement, but found it was much easier to switch Chris to Vocals from guitar and get a new guitarist, Nick. The new lineup is working out great. Our sound has changed a bit, but it’s most definitely a progression towards better songs.

You’ve got a new record, “You Can’t Save Us All,” coming out soon. Do you have a date on that?

It’s been sent to the presses and should be out Dec ’10 or Jan ’11. Vince of Harvcore Records should have pre-orders up pretty soon and we’ll be planning a release show somewhere in the Philly area. We’re all really excited about the new songs and ready to start playing some more live once the record is out.

The three songs on the split 7” have a little less metal influence than the demo. Was that intentional—or perhaps I’m completely off on this one?

If that’s how the split comes off, then no, it wasn’t intentional. I still feel that it has some real metal influence, especially in “untitled”, and that our demo was a mix of the two genres as well. You’ll be able to find some bangers in our new EP that’ll make up for it.

And what’s the new record like, is it similar to the split with Cut Short, or a different direction?

“You Can’t Save Us All” is definitely a new direction, but still has the backbone of the sound we’ve had since we started. It’s got a song under a minute that after listening, you won’t even know what happened, to a straight rock ‘n roll headbanger. We’re all extremely proud of the 5 songs we recorded at Skylight and are excited to join the Harvcore family.

Thanks for the interview, Mark. Hopefully we’ll be seeing you and some new faces in Bethlehem Nov 12th.

Upcoming Shows

Nov 5 - The Phoenixville Polish w/ A Life Once Lost, Rock Bottom
Phoenixville, PA

Nov 12 - St. Bernard's (the Burners) w/ Common Enemy, Run For It
Bethlehem, PA

Nov 26 - Harleysville Branch Creek Church w/ Subcolour, Debtor
Harleysville, PA

More Info (buy split with Cut Short) (free download, 2008 7-song demo)

Thank you to Dan and BURDENS for the interview -- Mark Rooster

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Madball "Empire" (2010)

Track Listing:
1. Invigorate
2. Danger Zone
3. Timeless
4. All of Nothing
5. Glory Years
6. Empire
7. Shatterproof
8. The End
9. Con Fuerza
10. R.A.H.C.
11. Hurt You
12. "Tough Guy"
13. Dark Horse
14. Spider's Web
15. Delete
16. Rebel4Life18

When I found out about this record, I got excited. Madball is definitely one of my favorite hardcore bands, and I enjoyed the two tracks from "Empire" that I got on "The Real American HC" 7 inch. I have literally listened to this CD 7 times since I bought it this afternoon.

It's everything you expect from a Madball record. It's fast, it's heavy, and it's filled with the raw emotion that I've come to expect. There isn't a bad song on this CD. The only thing that irks me a little bit is that during the chorus of "The End" the vocals sound a little funny to me. It's nothing that takes away from the enjoyment of the song, and at this point is not nearly as noticeable as it was the first few times I listened to the CD. This is absofuckinglutely an album that's worth buying and listening to. Start to finish it flows nicely, and each song feeds off the one before it. Even with how much I loved Terror's "Keeper's of the Faith", I think I like this more. I just wish it came on vinyl.

Best Why?

I originally intended on pre-ordering "Empire", but a fund shortage prohibited it from happening. When I got the cash to do it, I decided to hold off because by the time it got to me it would have been days after I could have it in my hands if I got off my ass and went to a store. Since the selection of independent record stores in my immediate area is pretty slim (Play It Again in South Side Bethlehem is the only one that comes to mind that sells new CDs), I decided for curiosities sake I would check Best Buy's website to see if they were selling it. They were, so this morning I got up and went to Best Buy.

First off, I fucking hate Best Buy. There is not one redeeming thing that I can think of about the store. I've spent a lot of money at Best Buy over the years, but that is simply because other options are virtually non-existent. Small video stores have pretty much vanished, along with small record stores.

When I got to Best Buy today, I went directly over to the CD new release section, because that seemed like a logical place to start. It was nowhere to be found, but that's probably just because how much shelf space Lil Wayne's new CD was occupying. So off I went to scour the shitty music section to find Madball's place in the M's. Since Best Buy has pretty much squashed their music section it didn't take long to find Madball sitting on the shelf between Loverboy and Madonna.

As I'm walking to pay I notice two things, one that I know for fact is Best Buy's doing and the other that I can only hope is just for Best Buy's audience. You can see in the picture that there is a brief explanation of who Madball is, so anyone just randomly picking up the CD gets an idea of what they are in for. If you can't read it from the picture here is what it says "Madball are an iconic force in hardcore as Slayer has been to thrash. Like Hatebreed, Madball's rise from the streets to dominating stages across the earth is nothing short of legendary". I have absolutely no problems with Slayer or Hatebreed, but I feel it really sells Madball short to have to include two bands that have both had commercial success in order to get the ignorant masses to give this record a listen. The second thing I noticed is that Best Buy classifies it as "Hard Rock". Come on now. That immediately lumps Madball in with the likes of Staind and Nickelback, are you fucking kidding me? Could they have picked a more generic term that's even less fitting then calling it "Metal"?

I'm not even remotely trying to call Madball out as sell outs. I get why their CD is being sold at Best Buy. There aren't a whole lot of other options. I hate Best Buy, but unfortunately if it wasn't for that devil of a store, I wouldn't be sitting here with "Empire" blasting while I write.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Interview with Jess from My Turn to Win

**I know I said that this was going to be posted soon a few weeks back, but it took a little longer, and it was seriously worth the fucking wait. I emailed the questions to Jess like a did with Ray from Bad American.

FTTW: In the last few days I've come up with a bunch of questions, but I have no clue where to start, so we'll just go right to a band question or two. MTTW is made up of sXe and non-edge members. When I first started listening to hardcore, I was one of the people that thought sXe and non-edge didn't mix. How does that dynamic work with the different beliefs you all have?

Jess: Regardless of everyone in MTTW being sxe with the exception of Dave, it doesn't really matter. We're not a "straight edge" band, and none of us gloat or preach about it (being straight edge, that is). Honestly, I don't even really call myself "edge". Personally, I don't need a label to identify who I am and/or what I believe in. The only reason I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs is for myself and not anyone else. Those things are just not for me. If other people want to do any or all of the above.... well that's their choice; it's not affecting me any, and I have the choice to be around or not be around people partaking in things which may make me feel uncomfortable. I have a lot of friends who aren't straight edge. And, especially, Dave is my best friend in the whole world. Just because someone is or isn't straight edge doesn't make them any better or worse; or smarter or dumber than another. In my opinion, the only way sxe and non-sxe doesn't mix is when people are unsure of who they are, or aren't comfortable with who they are, themselves; that's when the ignorance and "I'm better than you" attitude comes into play.

Now that you're done with school and have your degree, where does hardcore fit into your future as compared to "growing up" and entering the "real world"?

Hardcore will always be a huge part of my life. This is a really good question, but man, is it going to be hard to answer this with the right words to describe my thoughts. I'll tell you what.... I wish my mom could understand and it's a shame that she never will. Anyways.... Hardcore has led me to the lifelong friends I have all over the world, has helped shape the ethics and morals that I stand by, has given me an outlet, and most importantly has shaped my view of the world.... something that "normals" will just never grasp. Hardcore has taught me to stand up for myself, it's given me something to fall back on when I feel like complete shit, and it's taught me to say, "fuck you", while questioning everything and everyone around me and the bullshit they're trying to sell. It's taught me to go against the grain, and that it's okay to be different; to make up my own rules. It's taught me a DIY ethic that has proven to be extremely useful, and that greatness isn't achieved by asking permission... and from all of this, I feel like regardless of degree or no degree... I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it. Why not, right? Yes, I have graduated college and I have a piece of paper to prove it, but going to college hasn't created this strong sense of self that has kept me happy. That's all I want in life; to be happy. I've never been much of a planner, and honestly I don't know what it is, exactly, that I want to do as a "career". I just want to take things day by day and see where that takes me. As long as I can pay my bills, I don't really give a hoot. While the majority of America is trying to achieve the, "American Dream", I'll be busy living out my own. I have hardcore to thank for that.

What was the first hardcore band/record that you heard, and how did that bring you into the scene?

I don't know if it was "for sure" the first hardcore band I've heard.... but it was definitely the band that got me hooked; and that band is (of course) H2O. In middle school, a friend of mine who shared similar musical tastes as I did wore H2O "My friends look out for me like family" t-shirts all the time. I mean, every day it was the same shirt but in a different color. This intrigued me. Thank the good lord for Napster and the high speeds of 56 K, 'cuz in 15 minutes I had one H2O song downloaded in no-time at all. That song was, "One Life, One Chance". I then immediately asked my Mom to drive me to the mall so I could just buy the whole damn album at The Wall (Speaking of which, since that store is no more, what happens with the lifetime guarantee?). It was when FTTW first came out. Anyway, that just opened up tons of new doorways for me and getting into hardcore. I started going to shows with friends whenever I could and things just kinda snowballed from there, little by little. The lyrics were what really got a hold of me and I liked that I could strongly relate to them. I felt alive listening to this stuff and thrived on the words and music that actually held some type of meaning to my own life. One thing led to another, and, well, here I am.

Ok, the music questions are done. I saw that Top Gun is one of your favorite movies, and I won't lie, that's pretty fucking rad. Top Gun is one of my favoite movies also, what's your all time favorite scene in the movie?

Obviously, the only answer would be the volleyball scene. Sweaty hairless muscley dudes? Need I say more? Yes, please, I'll take it. I don't care if he's absolutely insane.... Tom Cruise in Top Gun is hot. That is all. The Princess Bride is still my favorite movie of all time, however.

I took a look at your blog, and every post is really upbeat. What helps you keep such a PMA?

I am very happy to say that I have the most amazing friends in the world and I take much pride in the company I keep. My friends and family are a huge help to keeping my head on my shoulders, even when times are tough. I can't thank them enough for that. H2O plays a big part in it, too. I can't tell you how many countless times I've been stuck in a rut that H2O has gotten me through. Over the past 2 years or so I've also gotten into yoga and have read a bit on Buddhism and have found myself incorporating a lot of their "rituals" (for lack of better words) into my day to day thinking and doing. I read a lot of things similar to this blog:
In my own blog I force myself to document only things which are positive because those are the things that I will want to remember. These are the things that make me feel only good feelings. I feel like there is no reason to waste time and energy making your blood get hot over focusing on the crappy things that happen 'cuz while you're busy doing that you're overseeing and ignoring good, simple things going on around you, nah mean?

I'm sure you could tell either by my green lantern t-shirt at the show, or the fact that I told you I could recite the Green Lantern Oath that I'm a bit of a comic book nerd. If you could have any super power what would it be and why?

Among all of the super powers I would like to possess, I think the ability to NOT have to sleep would be at the top of my list. ONE THIRD of our lives are spent SLEEPING. That's WAY too much for my liking. I could be out having adventures instead. Life is way too short as is.... just imagine how much more time we'd have to do cool stuff if we didn't have to sleep. Other super powers I would like to possess would be to eat as much as I ever wanted and to not have it affect my health or weight, to fly (duh), to teleport, to time travel, to morph into a watery puddle like Alex Mack, to be able to warp into TV shows, cartoons, and video games, and to be able to have magical powers like witches and fairies and stuff so I could make inanimate objects come to life. Now I will ask you a question.... which superhero would you consider to be the most BAD ASS? We had this discussion at work today. It was getting heated. I argued that Batman was the most badass, because if you stripped all superheroes of their powers, they wouldn't have much. However, Batman doesn't have superpowers. Even if you took away all of his "fancy do-dads and what-have-you's", he'd still be equipped with his stealth ninja skills... not to mention handsome looks.

** Alright, sorry guys, I didn't catch Jess asking me what super hero I thought was most bad ass, so I'm fixing that now. I absolutely think the Hal Jordan Green Lantern is the most bad ass. He doesn't take shit from the guardians and does what he thinks is right, whether they tell him not to or not. He's overcome a ton of obstacles since he first got his Green Lantern ring, and it's because of him that the rest of the Green Lantern Corps can use their rings against yellow (which was first thought to be the Green Lantern's "kryptonite"). Even right now with what's going on in the DC Universe Hal Jordan is still doing what he perceives as right, not what someone else's definition of right is. Plus his power is strictly based on the strength of his will. His ring will only form things that his will power allows it to. To me that means he has to be unwavering in his commitment to be a protector, no matter what the cost to himself personally. Don't get me wrong, Batman is bad ass with his gadgets and the fact that he's the greatest detective aroung. And Barry Allen, is the best Flash alive, and can help you out in a pinch, but if I needed someone in my corner to help save the world, the first call I would make would be to Hal Jordan. Daredevil may be "The Man Without Fear", but that's only because he learned from Hal Jordan. Apparently you guys have all figured out I'm way into Green Lantern haha.

What's your favorite video game of all time?

Seriously? Is this a real question? This is too difficult. I can't just pick one. However, the first thing that came to my mind was The Ocarina of Time so I'm gunna just keep it at that to prevent myself from making a scroll. I wish that game were real life.

When everything is all said and done, what do you want your legacy and the legacy of MTTW to be? What do you want to be remembered for/as?

Whoa.... LEGACY? That word is pretty epic. I just want people to be able to relate to and enjoy our music. We have fun making it and playing it, so I just want people to have fun listening to it. If myself and/or our band makes a difference in just one person's life.... I'm totally and completely happy as well as extremely appreciative.

I know that you guys have been doing shows in support of "No Challenge", is there anything else you're excited about and/or want to promote?

We're touring Canada and some of the US in November and I am REALLY stoked about that. More than anything, I would love to go to Europe next year. If you are reading this and could help us out with that, by all means, please let us know!! haha. (I want to visit castles SO bad.) We also have new merch up online: We had another t-shrit design, but it's lost at an APO somewhere because the postal service dun screwed up. THANKS A LOT, JERKS. FIND OUR MERCH. Other than that, you can follow MTTW on Twitter:

Thank you so much. :)
Thicker than water.