NOTE: The views expressed by people other than me are THEIR OWN and do NOT necessarily reflect my opinions or views on life. Also, if you are the author or holder of rights to any of this material posted here and want your stuff taken off here, just let me know and I will do it. I am not doing this because I want to rip somebody off but just wanting to share informantion I see as interesting. Contact: kpt.laine(AT)gmail.com
What's up in the life of Metal Mark currently and how are you doing?
I recently played a couple of Devo tribute sets with my once-a-year band. We all live hundreds of miles apart, so we practice 30 or so songs on our own and then practice once together as a band just before we perform. It can be a little unnerving, but we do pretty well in light of the obvious limitations. Our website is http://www.spudboys.net and we have a MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/spudboys . This may not sound very "metal," but you'd be surprised how many lovers of extreme music also appreciate Devo (Devo was a HUGE influence on Siege--they will tell you that themselves!!); besides, I discovered Devo before I discovered heavier forms of music.
Why did Proclamation broke up and what has happened in your life musicwise after that?
Over a series of events in a short period of time, it became evident that Proclamation had run its course. We hadn't written any new tunes in a year and a half. Lee (one of the guitarists) told me he wanted to write songs where we would "have chicks in the front screaming along like they do for Bane," and I began looking quietly for a replacement for him. That's not to slight Bane, but it was so far away from what we were, musically, and the type of lyrics I write. In fact, lyrically, I really wanted to get out of scene politics and into larger issues--there was nothing further I wanted to say about being straight edge and how the scene should be. On top of this, we were all becoming pretty jaded about the hardcore scene in general. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that has anything to do with hardcore at all anymore, and it's certainly a more peripheral passion of mine these days. Some of the guys were really discouraged about how little headway we made...not getting onto any shows where there was any turnout, not drawing any crowd ourselves after 4 years, and the general indifference that our CD received in the Boston area despite overwhelmingly positive reviews from all over the place. After one particularly sparsely-attended gig, Lee announced he was going to quit--this at the time where our other guitarist Matt was going off to school out of state and we were going to continue as a 4-piece during his absence (at least until I could find someone to replace Lee)--and then a couple of days later Nate (our drummer) announced he was also going to leave after completing our scheduled gigs (he also cited frustration over our lack of headway). It seemed logical to end it at that point, so to coincide with Matt's winter break, we scheduled our last show that December with a bunch of bands we liked: A.C., PTL Klub, Last In Line, Down But Not Out, Days Ahead, The A-Team, Final Awakening, and a couple of others, including Think I Care. In my mind, it was an amazing show and a good way to close the book. The only thing that would've been better about it would be if I hadn't been the one who booked it--I was busy stressing about details for much of the 9-hour show.
The following spring and summer I was busy hammering out details to remix our Bridge 9 releases and compile a discography release for Life Sentence Records; once that was out of the way, I formed a band with Seth from A.C. called You're Fired ( http://www.myspace.com/yourefiredboston ). We'd talked about it for over a year beforehand, but our schedules finally lined up to do it. It's really fast hardcore and very political, mostly concentrating on the corrupt nature of the shadow government and championing the rights of individuals. The lyrics of one of our songs have been misconstrued as racist; however, anyone willing to examine the facts of my life and politics on a rational level would know better. I wrote and recorded "My Foreign Policy" before I got more information on the bigger picture; these lyrics have since been re-written.
In the spring of 2003 or 2004 I had the opportunity to jam with Kurt and Rob from Siege for an afternoon, which was awesome. I wish I'd recorded it. Siege is the best Boston hardcore band ever, period, so playing their songs with them was mind-blowing. This was going to be a step toward a Siege reunion, but it never materialized.
In October of 2004 Seth was found unconscious. He was comatose for a month and suffered a lot of nerve damage. His road to recovery was going to be long, so You're Fired was put on hiatus. It is in large part due to Seth's recovery time that we only have one 7" released to date (he's the guitarist); but in September we played our first show in over 2 years and we're hopeful to write and release more material.
In November 2004 I joined some friends to form a death metal band called Soon To Be Dead ( http://www.myspace.com/soontobedeaddeathmetal ). The music was very much in the vein of Dismember with some Autopsy thrown in for good measure. I don't write gory lyrics, so the lyrics were a lot more shadow government themes veiled in a more poetic style. This band ended abruptly upon our guitarist joining the U.S. Army in June 2005. I'm not sure what he was thinking...
In June of 2005 and July of 2006 I helped my friend Billy Fraser lay down some early-Revelation-catalog-worship down in Texas, where he lives. These tunes also have some almost crusty overtones in some of the chord progressions. The lyrics openly reflect our love and praise for Jesus Christ. The project is currently called Perseverance; I hope to find a label to release these 10 songs, but Billy and I need to put our heads together on that.
Proclamation was once called “Boston's Most hated.” Why?
It was because of our open disdain for scenesterism. We didn't play the stupid fashion games; we offended some scene "important" people, and things got derailed for us shortly thereafter. We took the title for ourselves; it seemed appropriate, and it was a nod to Cleveland's Confront (Matt and I liked them), who claimed a similar distinction in their own scene.
What were your influences for Proclamation? Musicwise and lyrically?
I would say that musically, One Life Crew and Infest were big influences from 1998 to the end. Lyrically, I admired the militant nature of A Chorus Of Disapproval and Earth Crisis, although I didn't borrow from either band. Earth Crisis' lyrics became more and more intense as time went on. "Slither" tackled some DEEP things...way beyond what everyone else was doing, and I maintain that album is by far their best...but I digress! Performance-wise, I was really hoping to deliver a bit more like Kevin Mahoney of Siege (Siege's "Drop Dead" was the last song we ever recorded), but we never got to the next batch of songs to try that out.
What do you think about the Boston hardcore scene, past and present?
I'm proud of Boston's legacy of so many great hardcore bands. Siege, PTL Klub, Jerry's Kids, Last Rites/Negative FX, early DYS and SSD, Psycho, Slapshot, Sam Black Church, Wrecking Crew...many of Proclamation's contemporaries such as Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes, The A-Team, Close Call, Down But Not Out--all of them, just excellent. This doesn't even speak to the more metallic bands like Converge and early Cave In. And although I'm not really in touch with much that's going on presently, Mind Eraser is a mind-blowing band. Just devastating. Bones Brigade is another great band--skate-obsessed straight edge kids playing furious music--but they recently broke up!
The filmmakers can document whatever they want. Regarding FSU, I never understood how "talking shit" warrants physical assault. Some of my friends have been beaten by FSU members for this offense. People should have freedom to speak their peace without fear of reprisal. Given FSU's visual identity and methodology, I'm not sure how they differ from any other street gang except that they're hardcore kids. The perception of violence seems to have followed FSU from its early days to the present--read up on all sides and decide for yourself if you think this is coincidence. I might add that no FSU member has ever been confrontational or otherwise rude to me. I'm not opposed to BB in principle; I just hope that curious parties don't mistake these videos as representative of all facets of the Boston underground--there are several scenes existing simultaneously.
Do you feel that coming from Boston has any particular affect on individual when it comes to playing in a hardcore band?
Hmm. I don't know. A lot of Boston bands have members originally from other cities or states. For every outstanding band here there are plenty of mediocre ones. Maybe the local musical heritage and common respect for some of the classic Boston bands helps to shape the sounds from here.
What is hardcore to you?
Speaking idealistically, it's a platform to speak my mind, and--hopefully--a community of open-minded people willing to facilitate change in a world that has plenty that needs fixing.
You are still Straightedge. What did it what it mean to you in the beginning and what does it mean to you now?
For me, it's always been a healthy lifestyle (bodily and spiritually) that fosters productivity and alertness. Early on, I strove to bring everyone around to it. At some point I realized that there are bigger issues that are of more immediate importance, like the shadowy plot for a one world government slave state. At its best, sXe is a form of positive peer pressure around which kids can rally and find others like themselves who aren't interested in following hedonism and self-destructive habits in general. At its worst, sXe is a judgemental, elitist mentality--almost a legalistic, religious zealotry, and totally divisive, which runs contrary to my convictions. I try to follow Jesus; therefore, the idea of "rulekeeping" for its own sake is repugnant to me. Even in Minor Threat's "Out Of Step," Ian said it's not a set of rules...so, other than for the sake of drawing battle lines, what's the point of making absolute rules out of what's otherwise just a good idea?! Over time, many formerly-simple things have become more complex in nature. Over the course of 25 years, Ian's idea of straight edge has become unnecessarily complex.
Current favourite bands?
Napalm Death, Suffocation, Seemless, and of course Devo. Celtic Frost's new "Monotheist" album is probably going to be my favorite of 2006.
Any famous last words?
Question authority. Seek truth. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you Kimmo for your support of my old band!
RISEN is a political vegan straight edge-band from Indiana, USA. The band is quite new, but the vocalist Kurt has had experience from one legendary VSXE-band, Birthright. Besides the band, Kurt also runs his own record company, Catalyst Records.
First off, describe in your own words your band to someone who hasnt heard you guys before?
RISEN is first and foremost a DIY hardcore band, to us that means we are trying to capture a certain anger, energy and intensity to convey to our audience. We do this (hopefully) both through our music and through our message. Our message concentrates heavily on issues of social justice and new ways of thinking about how we as humans live in the world around us.
As a band, stand for animal rights and for straightedge. Why these issues?
These are both very important issues to us personally as individuals and as a band, but we do not exclusively concentrate on them. But I think these are both issues that are fairly clear cut, and can begin a process of questioning that will lead into other areas as well. For example, I believe that straight edge is a great way to begin a process of maintaining mental clarity, and can be a great first step in rejecting many of the things that out culture has taught us that we take for granted - like consuming alcohol. Similarly, veganism is a great way to begin the process of thinking about how we as humans in this culture interact with nature, and the injustice of our current system of living.
With that said, I think it is also very important to continue these lines of reasoning forward into other areas beyond veganism and abstaining from intoxicants. Kurt, you have been standing for Animal Rights and advocating veganism some time now. What made you become vegan in the first place?
I was strongly influenced by the hardcore scene for the most part. I had always considered myself an "animal lover" when I was younger, but didn't realize the hypocrisy of loving certain animals and promoting the completely unnecessary torture and killing of others that our society has determined are more valuable as clothing or food. Reading information I gained through listening to bands like Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, Outspoken, and Vegan Reich helped me realize that I needed to change my own actions to remove this form of cruelty and injustice from my own life.
The lyrics of RISEN also deal with political issues. Do you see that these things are connected to cruelty towards the animals, like for example the fact that there are so much money involved in animal-related “industries”?
I definitely think that the capitalist system encourages us to view everything as commodities for our consumption, especially animals of course, but also other humans and the world in general. It is a system where the number one goal is profit for the few with no regard for the rights, or the best interests of the many. This is not to say that capitalism is the cause of cruelty towards animals, because that exists in other contexts as well, just that capitalism really pushes the idea of turning living things into inanimate objects, or products, to an extreme.
What is the situation of a grassroots activist for AR in USA today? The SHAC-campaign seems to be causing a lot of stir and activists are labels as “a #1 terrorist threat inside the nation”, I hear.
Currently the USA is in the grip of a very repressive system that is very serious about discouraging dissent in any form. There is a real fear being (falsely) instilled in the general population here, and for the most part the laws are being bought in this case by organizations that profit from the abuse of animals. It seems that things have been a little quieter recently, but the danger is always there, even for those like the SHAC 7, who's only crime was to post information that anyone could have found themselves with a little of their own research. It is a serious problem in a "democracy" when ideas and voices of dissent are silenced in this manner.
I find it especially ironic when the USA was partially based in direct actions on the part of revolutionaries, wich are glorified in our history, yet condemned when people fight against injustice now.
Are the members of RISEN active in local animal rights groups? What kinda stuff you guys have been doing?
It really depends on the time period, members have definitely been active to some extent in local AR groups, and even with organizations like Food Not Bombs at times. Personally I was more involved in the past where there was a more solid AR movement in Indianapolis which is unfortunately pretty lacking now, and in the Midwest area in general.
When talking about vegan straightedge, one cannot really pass the subject of the HARDLINE-ideology. How do you feel about the subject and have your opinions changed over the years?
No one in RISEN ever considered themselves Hardline. Though I do agree with the Hardline philosophy in many areas, I also completely disagree in some areas as well, such as their stances on abortion, homosexuality, religion, and even how to define what is "natural." I think I have probably become more distanced from Hardline as the years have passed and I have become more anarchist in my beliefs because much of the ideology comes across to me as very conservative, or about purity, which I think misses the point.
In the nineties, there was a big boom for bands promoting veganism. Nowadays it doesn’t seem so “cool” anymore, in public opinion at least. What do you think about these kinda “fashions”?
Everything goes in cycles I think, but I doubt that the fashion trend of veganism will return as it was in the 1990's. I really think that in hindsight it was pretty superficial at that time, hopefully those who are picking up veganism now are doing it for better reasons now that it isn't as hyped, or a huge trend. I would much rather see people adopt a vegan lifestyle out of sincere belief and then stick with it as a rational ideology.
Kurt, in your personal opinion, can there ever be a political system in this world that could really work for all of our benefit (Humyn, animals and the planet)?
Well, I think there has been in the past. We often forget that humans have not always lived the way we do now, and that in reality the majority of humanity probably lived within a system of communal anarchy for most of human history. I think it is really important to keep in mind that our current way of living is less than 5% of human history,and is probably the exception, not the rule. So in many ways I think a return to our more natural system of communal anarchism could work for the benefit of all, providing that the extreme human over-population is brought into check.
Do you see animal welfarism as a part of reducing animal suffering or do you feel that its about making too many compromises, compared to animal rights movement..s more “demanding” claims? Is there room for both?
I definitely think there is room for both, I am not a big fan of creating extreme "us against them" dichotomies. Though I feel like those working for welfare (in contrast to liberation) are a bit hypocritical and misguided, we have to realize that even these measures can make the terrible lives of many animals at least a little better. Its ridiculous to deny this and to only concentrate on the ultimate goal which is so far off as to be fairly unreachable at this point. I feel that the goal should be to do the greatest good for the most beings possible. To pretend that "animal liberation" is some attainable goal within our lifetime (or 100 years) is both self-defeating and counter-productive, we have to be realists as well as idealists.
If you could influence the animal rights movement with something new, what could that be? In other words, is there something you would like to change or make people more aware about in this field?
I really feel that many people, even vegans and those claiming to fight for animal liberation, still make great artificial distinctions between humans and non-human animals. Even within the vegan community I see many people who still carry the cultural message that animals are food or clothing in their hearts. I really think it is necessary to completely reject the idea that non-human animals are anything but independent living beings with desires and interests of their own. I feel that too many people fail to adopt this perspective and truly act on it - still wearing second hand leather for instance. I think it is really necessary to see leather as something other than an inanimate object (created from the suffering of a once-living being) and instead as something we would not consider any more acceptable as clothing than the skin of oppressed and tortured humans.
The last one is open words; what would you like to say to our finnish readers? Do you want to say something I may have not asked?
First, thank you for the interview, its great to be able to reach as many different people with ideas as possible. Beyond that I just think its important to always question everything, both what we have been taught in our culture, and our own motives. Learning and personal growth is a life-long process, and those who do not grow are dead, in spirit, if not in physical form. All struggles are one. xvx
My first Blogger-blog. I have had internet-diaries before; in Xanga and Livejournal. This is more of an "official-looking" one and I hope to post here some of the stuff I have done during the years; interviews and so on. Hopefully lots of stuff on Hardcore and other important issues that I dig.