Thursday, March 2, 2017

HRA - Fuck the Weak Shit

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HRA has been around almost 10 years now. It seems that every 5 years the Houston music scene cycles in new people. How do you think the modern scene compares to shows of yesteryear?
I grew up going to shows at the Axiom, Vatican, etc so I've seen many shows. It's different nowadays for sure but not too different as some people may think. Not every show back then was packed as some may think. I went to plenty of shows with a minimal crowd in attendance. However there were many tour packages then that you don't really get now unless it's some big fest, which I don't care for fests. There are still some great shows these days. I don't try to compare times anymore. I book very few shows myself but when I do I try to make it a great time. That's how everyone should treat each show. A time to have fucking fun.
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Besides HRA having a long history, the members have an impressive lineage of past musical ventures. For those who don’t know, can you give a history lesson?
We all have played in many bands dating back to mid 80's. Robert has been in THE IDIOT SOCIETY, DARK REIGN, GOAT, HASBEEN, OATH OF CRUELTY, KRULLUR, and others I 'm sure I forgot. Ed has been in VERBAL ABUSE, HUMUNGUS, UYUS, VATOS LOCOS, plus more. Billy has been in HYPO-CHRISTIANS, CHOCOLATE CRUCIFIX. I, Francisco, have been in KAKA, HYPO-CHRISTIANS, SACRELIGIOUS TORMENT, THY FEEBLE SAVIOUR, and have filled in live for LETHAL AGGRESSION, MORBOSIDAD, OATH OF CRUELTY.

No automatic alt text available.You are recently returning from a year and a half break from playing live. What caused this absence?
Back in November 2014 we decided we were going to take a break for about 6 months since we all have very busy lives and responsibilities to take care of. Well, it turned into almost a 2 year break because of that reason. I still wrote lots of songs during that time period and would get together with Ed to arrange them. We just didn't play any shows. We have slowed down quite a bit even now but still are working on getting new stuff recorded plus a few shows a year.
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It is fantastic that you are keeping that speeding 80s hardcore spirit alive. Can you elaborate on your life long love for this style?
I started writing songs for HRA after I filled in on guitar for Robert's band Hasbeen back in 07. I wanted to write fast shit like HERESY, UPS, A.F., SEPTIC DEATH, S.N.O.T. and more fast 80's hardcore stuff and have Robert sing on it. I remember watching some Heresy live videos and got on my guitar and started writing. The drummer is what inspired me the most. Steve from Heresy fucking rules!! We have all always liked the old hardcore sounds since we were kids.
So far you have put out some really solid releases. Of your two LPs, which is your personal favorite? Also, do you have anything planned for the future?
I like both of our LPs honestly. It's fun playing songs from both albums live as well. We are working on releasing a 7 inch entitled VIOLENT TIMES. Faster and more intense. Most bands get slower as they get older. We are going for faster, shorter songs. FUCK THE WEAK SHIT!!

HRA has been on some great gig line-ups. Which are your most memorable?
We've played so many damn shows and have been lucky to play with some of our favorites such as Raw Power, Lethal Aggression, Social Decay, Final Conflict, Dr. Know, The Accused, DRI, Negative Approach, Wehrmacht, and many more I can't even remember right now.

Would you like to add anything?
Thanks for the interview. Our two LP's are still available from the label, Torture Garden, so go buy them if you like the fast hardcore. We don't play often anymore but if you want to see a band fucking shit up and giving 666% on stage then come out to see us.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

IDIOT CITY - Street Rock'n'Roll Throwing Haymakers

Your band is a great mix of Oi/Street rock and punk. I am reminded of all the great releases on Vulture Rock Records. Is that the sound you originally aimed for?
Richard: Well, yes and no. Yes in that, admittedly, I love that stuff. My absolute favorite music in the world is all that early Oi and street rock that still had a heavy rock n roll influence, as well as the proto-punk stuff from the 60s and 70s that fed into it. And then, of course, we tried to throw in some early American hardcore, too. I love stuff like Rollins-era Black Flag, the Adolescents, and Flipper, but wanted a more overdriven guitar tone like the Stooges, Radio Birdman, or even the tone on All Skrewed Up.

Your lyrics seem to be a combination of sarcasm and nihilism. Please explain.
Richard: Sometimes I look at the civil unrest in the US right now, and think, "I'm not really encouraged to have an opinion on this unless it falls into this really narrow spectrum of thought." So my response at that point is to kind of throw my hands in the air and take a step back. It's not the most enlightened approach, but I think it allows me to write more freely. On top of that, sarcasm and satire are great artistic tools. To me, in wanting to start a punk band, I thought repeating the same talking points over and over would be boring and accomplish nothing.

Your logo and band name work perfectly together in creating a visual of what you are about. What triggered using that band name and who created the logo?
Richard: I harbor quite a bit of ire for both the "right" and the "left", especially the more extreme versions of both. I figured poking fun at both would get under people's skin enough to make playing this music more interesting, and to be honest it's worked. Gabe came up with the name Idiot City and it fit perfectly. *NOTE from GABE; Actually, I borrowed the name from Matt and Stu (Folsom/Spirit World) love you boys!

Your first release was the Identity cassette. Please give us some insight of the tape. Is Low Hanging Fruit your own label? Also, what is the meaning behind the outrageous Abbey Road cover?
Limited Edition 7" + cassette + koozie package deal main photo
Gabe: Low Hanging Fruit is my own label, the tape was my first release. We made 50 copies on green and then made 50 more on blue, copies are available at Vinyl Edge records and Deep End Records. These songs were some of the first songs written by Idiot City and have a pretty rough feel to them. We were trying to come up with the silliest thing we could think of for the cover and Richard doing cartwheels across Abby Road took the cake. Far too often Oi and punk bands take themselves too seriously; this is just a reminder that we are supposed to be having fun with all of this.

You recently re-released those songs on a 7”. Was it self released? Once again, here is a cover art question. Can you tell the story about how you had trouble pressing this record due to the cover concept?

Caleb: The cover was originally supposed to be Donald Trump riding a cockroach and waving an idiot city flag, but I couldn't get the sitting proportions right on Trump's weird, dumpy body, so I had to make him standing... for the most part the cover reflected on him in a really negative light and I didn't feel that was fair so I added a mustache so he could look cooler. The kids love mustaches these days, so I felt it was a good compromise.
Gabe: This was the second release for low hanging froot records. The issue was not with the cover art; it was with us using a screwed and chopped trump sample. United Pressing waited 3 months to make a test pressing and then let me know that they could not press the record, would not give me the test pressings, and would not refund my money for the test pressings or the making the mothers and masters, because they interpreted our use of trumps voice as a copyright violation. The lady explained that if could obtain permission from Trump to use his voice that they would proceed. I told her I would call him that evening and I'm sure that he'd be cool with it. She replied with, "Well I doubt that, he is a very busy man." Thats when I knew I was dealing was a grade A cunt from Appalachia. I told them to send me the metal parts and flipped them over to Mortimer Weiner and Rainbo Pressing; recieved prompt service with no issues. Moral of the story is this: Fuck United Pressing first and foremost. Secondly, there are two circles within the music world that overlap in the middle (think Venn Diagram). In the left circle you have people who love music and understand that live performances are a conduit between the band and the audience for ideas and emotion. In the right circle you have suits that use phrases like, "1 standard deviation", "fluid assets", and "synergy". Most successful artists can maintain within the overlapping area of the circles. I'm proud to stay in the far left wearing a barbie mask and a wig with two fingers jammed up my ass. You feel me?

For those who don’t know, every Saturday Gabe hosts the Hardcore Hour radio show. Please give a plug of what your show is all about.
Gabe: The show is called the Rock & Soul review, Chris Conflict and I host the hardcore hour which is on from 10-11 p.m. CST. We play a wide range of punk and hardcore and throw in other stuff for fun. I've interviewed Rob Lind of Blood for Blood, John Tole of OLC and Pitboss 2000, Aaron Bedard of Bane, and others. We facebook live most episodes. It's on the HD3 channel, so you can stream live from or from our webpage at . The website also has archives of our past shows. GET INTO IT.

Monday, February 6, 2017

FEELS LIKE MURDER - Hardcore Punk played with a bloody knife from the 80s.

What we have is a fairly new band filled with veteran musicians. What brought everyone
together for this group? If my memory is correct, this band originally was an offshoot of the Bloody Von Erichs.
Well our drummer Jake and guitarist Dutch both came from Bloody Von Erichs. But me and Jake we're in a band Shopping for Death years back . We got together first to begin a band that also would remind me of being 17. We wanted it to be reminiscent of bad brains, DRI, and yes even some Dischord in there. Basically what we grew up on and quite frankly wasn't hearing from many bands of recent. Rounded out the sound with bassist Edwin Carson who comes from his own hardcore roots in the Phillipines with a gnarly tone and our newest edition on 2nd guitar Chris LaForge of 30footFall lore and many others.

With an aggressive band name, are your lyrics inspired by your love of horror movies?
Yes my lyrics usually do reflect my love for horror movies, but not in a direct Misfits way. I just seem to write about killing, disease and shit that intrigues me. It's what a band would be if it was fronted by Ted Bundy.

You have a really great sound. I find your music reminiscent to early Dischord releases. Your show from last Halloween really brought back my memories of being a teenager. Give us your take on the FLM sound.
Our sound originally like I said was to be an old school early 80s hardcore feel. But we really don't think about it when writing, it's just what we're most influenced by, so naturally it comes out in the music. I mean, you're not gonna hear Stryper in our stuff.

You had a really cool, raw demo being circulated. Now I cannot find it online. Is it still available?
That demo was poorly done and not meant to be out there long, just a teaser. It's not available anymore but believe me, when you hear our record we've been working on, you'll forget about that demo.

We’ve been seeing studio video reports being posted online. How’s the recording coming along?  What can we expect?
Recording for the record is going great, all the music is finished. I go in on Feb 18th to do vocals, so it won't be much longer til we have it out. You can expect the Meatmen mixed with Fugazi mixed with SNFU mixed with etc etc'll be fun!

Last words.
Last words...."We're just getting started. "