You can keep hardcore out of punk, but you can never keep punk out of hardcore. I guess that's why we found ourselves back at Elwood Thompson's, elbow-deep in $3.50 garlic filled vegan calzones.
We were being chauffeured by our friend Mac (of Litmus Test zine, macxvx.blogspot, and moshing for us on stage in the UK fame) in Squeaks' car. And on Squeak's car... well, story goes that she just showed up with it one day with no real explanation.
Yessiree, she showed up with an airbrushed Beetle featuring a palm tree, a sunset, and on the front, a mud-flap style git-r-done boobie lady. And this was our ride to the studio (garage.)
In the studirage, there a was feeling of determination in the air. It was our last day to record. James was out of town, so it was just Dave, Mike, and myself. We got right to work- Mike at the computer, Dave video taping me screaming into the otherwise silent room.
As we recorded I tried to imagine all the places each song would go, who they would go to, what they would mean to the people who'd hear them. We'd play those songs in Georgia, and Texas, and Vermont. We'd play them in Russia, and Argentina, and England. A 38 year old dude in Nevada would order the record, a 16 year old kid from Virginia would, too.
I've been astounded and amazed by the impact some of our songs have had on people- the countless kids who've told us that "Bathory" inspired them to go vegan, the dude who wrote to us saying "The Rage That Guides" made him feel, for the first time since he'd been raped as a child, a whole person unashamed and undefined by his past, the girls who tell us they feel validated by "Pythoness", the folks who have written in with their own stories of police harassment and poverty after hearing "Real Crime", the people who have stopped using drugs because of the songs "9 Lives" or "Broken Teeth". Ex heroine addicts who are EX because of us. New activists for the same. Eyes opening, seeing from different vantage points, understanding another side. All from these few songs. It's humbling.
A lot of people say hardcore can't change anything. I disagree. Hardcore can, and does, change everything.
The sun was down when it was time for gangs. Due to the Halloween cover show happening at the Warehouse, our friends were stuck there getting things ready. We had a real dilemma on our hands. How do you record gangs without a gang? Well, you have a sound wizard named Mike who saves the day. He called some kids (who called some kids) and within a few minutes there we were, boy and girls, from 16 to 28 years old, in costumes and out, circled around the spit guarded mic, yellin'. Matt, Max, Justin, Sean, and Emilee, we can't thank you all enough for coming out!
Things got surreal after gangs were done. First, we sat and listened to the songs all the way through. We had been hearing them only in chunks, instruments pulled apart from each other, in a way that didn't at all resemble what we had written or played. But there they were, our songs, in full. And they were so fucking sick. There were moments where I was like, OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE WE MADE THIS!! AHHHH! IT'S SO AWESOME!!! I'D MOSH! I AM MOSHING! AHHHH!!! and moments where I hopped up and fixed a line here or there (in one song I had forgotten a line entirely...), and when it was over, Mike, Dave, and I made a mad dash for the Warehouse.
It was Halloween. This show was happening,
And we were late. We ran into the Warehouse and Gorilla Biscuits was playing. Saying my hellos as I ran to the front to sing along, through vikings and Star Trek characters, past vampires and demons, my voice raw from hours of recording. Mac and I sang along with the enthusiasm that only vegans can to "Cats and Dogs". I ran upstairs and grabbed my face painting supplies, ditching my other costume entirely (there was no time.) I painted Dave, and myself (apparently doomed to always be a skeleton.)
Minor Threat played a couple songs, then Warzone, then Judge. My favorite part of the night was standing on a table in the back, video taping the absurdity. A plastic ax swinging violently through the air as all around goblins and ghouls either kicked walls or ran for cover. Jugga-Dave tearing it up. On stage, a convincing Mike Judge huffing and puffing under his pillow-stomach. I grinned a skeletal double grin- with teeth for lips and teeth for teeth. I love Halloween, and boy do I love hardcore.
That night, a 16 year old (who shall remain unnamed) got their first tattoo. A straight edge tattoo:
And fuck anyone who says that you don't know who are at 16. I think most people know who they are when they're teenagers, it's only later that they lose sight.
Max picked this up during Judge:
And a close up, juuuust so you can see how truly gross it was:
And here are some post-show shots:
After the show was over we went to Strange Matter in an attempt to catch The Descendants cover band, but missed them and instead saw The Misfits cover band for a few cramped moments. There were so many people in there we could hardly move. People kept yelling at Dave, "Fucking magnets (/face paint), how do they work?!"
We left, grabbing food at Panda Garden one last time:
And as we ate spring rolls and mock beef and broccoli, Dave looked at me with pleading eyes and said, "Davin... can we move to Richmond?"
What will happen? I don't know. I never do. What I do know is that tour dates have been picked, our record is being mixed, and the open road awaits...