Monday, February 12, 2018

Not Your Entertainment b/w Your Last Rites

Why so long between blog posts? Well shit, I really wish there were 28 hours in a day, but there just isn't. As a result, there's an awful lot of discretionary cutbacks that happen in my life. Tending to this blog is one such casualty. Lately, sleep and I have been in a life and death struggle, so I've actually been finding those four extra hours on a pretty regular basis. If only, those four sleepless hours could actually be productive, rather than maddening. But I digress, I made a promise and I'm gonna fucking keep it. Here's a taste of The (fuckin') Rites!

Thank you to Matt, Paul, John, and Pete for your stories and to the other folks I interviewed about the band Jon, Andy, Andrew and Swank!

Thank you to YOU. For always expressing interest (guarded or effusive). One day, there will be a book. The ball is rolling...

PS: Grammar mistakes abound - you've been warned!

Matt Wechter (Dead Nation, Tear It Up, The Rites, Cut The Shit) The Rites started as a side project to be the antithesis of what Tear It Up was doing, to me. The music is similar because I’m writing a lot of it or Paul’s writing a bunch of it. Paul left, he moved to Boston and I wanted to work with him still.

Paul D’Elia (Dead Nation, Tear It Up, The Rites, Cut The Shit) I know the conversation initially happened in the Berwick (in Boston). Matt came up to me and was just saying how he was going to miss playing together. He and I were the people who wrote all the songs for Tear It Up. He was like “this really sucks that we’re not to going to be able to do this anymore, maybe we could just do a side project. Something faster and more intense than Tear It Up, more like Poison Idea. It'll just be for fun.”

Matt Wechter I asked John and Pete, do you guys want to get involved in this? John and Pete were still doing Down In Flames when we started it.

Pete Hilton (Down In Flames, The Rites) The Rites came out of Floppy Joe. Floppy Joe was me and Matt and John and Swank.

Matt Wechter That comes from that winter tour with Down In Flames…(At a show In Columbus, OH) it was miserable, it was snowing, there was nobody there. We were there 3 hours early.
I was like, “yo, let’s put together a band, write four songs and do a cover song and do it right now.” We were there for three hours with nothing to do. Swank was singing, I played bass, Pete played drums and Paul played guitar and John played guitar. We wrote four short, fast songs that were about nothing and did an Agnostic Front cover. We decided were going to open the show and everybody who wasn’t in the band just went off, moshing hard, banging into the wall, putting holes in the wall, throwing shit.

Swank White (Tear It Up crew) We called it Floppy Joe.

Pete Hilton Matt was like, we should just actually do a real band and not do Floppy Joe.

John Devlin (Down In Flames, Tear It Up, The Rites) It was a very easy band to be in…As a band we didn’t have the same urgency as Down In Flames or Tear It Up. Matt had urgency and he needed to be heard, just the way you could see it at a Tear It Up show, he would take the mic and want to talk. You could tell he needs a microphone in front of him, so that was his outlet.

Paul D’Elia He always had a lot to say and I think being behind the drum set was restrictive. He was really ready to not be behind the drums for a while.

Jon Collins (Dead Alive/Manic Ride Records) He did not want to be back there just keeping time. He wanted the microphone. I mean, in Fast Times he played standing up.

Matt Wechter I’m chained up behind the drum set. For years, just being stuck behind the drum set. Now I get to get out there and just fuckin explode. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Jon Collins That’s what The Rites were, Matt unchained.

Paul D’Elia I Remember at the first practice, Matt already had five songs. I had two or three songs. The first 7” was done. All of us were already well-vetted in playing fast music and writing fast. Matt and I wrote very fast. He and I would teach everybody a record at a practice.

Pete Hilton The way that Matt operated was, “I have the record, all you need to do is learn it.” We learned the first 7” in like five minutes.

Paul D’Elia Everybody was already playing music all the time anyway, so it wasn't that hard for us to just put on a different hat.

Matt Wechter One weekend a month, it’s like the Army Reserves. One weekend a month, we practice, play a show and write.

Ken Ramsey (Boston scene) The first Rites show just happened to be Paul’s last show with Tear It Up.

Paul D’Elia We basically just played the EP start to finish because that was all we really had.

Matt Wechter The 7” was a little faster than where Tear It Up was at the time. It was just me wanting to work with Paul. We put out the LP and the LP was little bit different from the 7”, songs of different paces, tempos and flows.

Paul D’Elia It’s the record we had next to no practice with. At the end I remember being really pleasantly surprised at how well everything came together. I wrote all of my stupid leads while I was doing them there…I always liked recording with Will and I feel like he captured what we were about very well.

Matt Wechter I like them all for different reasons, but the one that feels the most complete for me is the first LP that we did. I was so angry.

Pete Hilton With all the drama that was going on between Tear It Up and Down In Flames, I remember that band being so drama-free.

Paul D’Elia All of a sudden it was like Tear It Up became this chore for Matt and The Rites was a relief.

Andy Scarpulla (Tear It Up) It was a weird thing because Matt was the primary songwriter in Tear It Up. He was also the primary songwriter in The Rites and I think a lot of it sounded similar.

Paul D’Elia Matt was just using all his songs for this other thing now and they were kind of bummed on that. I get it. Tear It Up was always everybody’s focus and that was it. It was 100% of everyone's attention and all the sudden I quit and I’m stealing Matt’s attention, so I get that.

Andy Scarpulla I didn’t have any ill will towards him because he was doing another band. I just was like this is something Matt’s doing on the side. I was probably doing Forward to Death on the side at that point or shortly after.

Matt Wechter The first Rites/Cut the Shit tour we did in the US, we rented a van and we did the whole country in three weeks. Went through the Midwest, boom, straight to Seattle down to California, boom, straight back.

John Devlin Matt played drums in Cut The Shit for most of the tour.

Matt Wechter We played in LA when we were still friends with all the Lifes Halt guys and those shows were so much fucking fun. We played Gilman St. It was awesome.
When that was done it was kinda’ like the end of Jon and Pete really. Pete was going to college in San Francisco. John was just like “I don’t like doing this anymore.” He was really into the stoner rock stuff and he wanted to do a stoner rock band.

Pete Hilton I did the Kamikaze tour, I came back from that, same summer, and did a tour with The Rites. Then I went to San Francisco and went to college. That was it.

John Devlin It was around the same time that I left Tear It Up…I moved back home after the lease was up, went back to school. Took me a couple of years, but I got my bachelor’s degree. I started playing music again not too, too long after that. In 2005, I started this band ASD.

Matt Wechter Mullet who was playing drums for Bones Brigade in Boston…we got him into the band with us.

Paul D’Elia At that point, it was me and Greg (Mullet) from Boston and then Dave Sausage was still living in Philly, so we would just meet up at Matt’s for the weekend and we’d practice and write songs.

Matt Wechter Dave Sausage and I had been friends along time, since The Boils day. We tried to recruit him to be in Tear It Up and he said no to us.

Matt Wechter We go to Europe for this tour and for me, it was my fourth time going to Europe for a tour. I think it was Paul’s first time going to Europe.
I was like why don’t we have Cut The Shit go with us? You’re playing in Cut The Shit, I’m playing in Cut The Shit. It’s only two extra plane tickets, we’re going to get paid for two bands and we’re gonna have six guys. This is gonna be great, not in terms of making money, but in terms of covering our costs.

Andrew Jackmuah (Cut The Shit) There are times where in Europe Matt definitely climbed up on a bar and dumped an entire ashtray into his mouth.

Matt Wechter We played a show in Italy, I picked up a full garbage can and threw the fucking garbage can into the crowd, it went everywhere. I came off the stage with the microphone and did a front flip into the garbage can. Had the garbage can on my head, did another flip and then tossed it. We played a show where I dumped a full ash tray in my mouth. It was stupid and disgusting.

Ken Ramsey: Technically, “Wish You Never Knew” only had a European release. It was for their first Euro tour and it was distributed in the States later.

Matt Wechter The guys messed up the printing of the cover. They didn’t print it in color, they printed it in black and white! We decided to color in red, white and blue versions of them.

Paul D’Elia We got a bunch of markers and just really shittily colored them in.

Matt Wechter Pissing on Your Grave had a couple different covers. We screened the first press cover, but the limited edition cover was black and white with me and Andrew peeing on GG Allin’s grave.

Paul D’Elia Screenprinting was my main focus. It was most interested me at school. Skateboards were the best way for me to really understand the process and get up close and personal with it. That was when I started collecting vintage boards. Every time I would get a new one, I would just be blown away by the technique and then trying new things in terms of how I was designing, based on the way the great skate masters were designing their decks 20 years before.
I screenprinted the covers and they're pretty ridiculous looking with us literally taking a piss on a grave. We went to went to the graveyard by where Matt was living in New Jersey.

Matt Wechter We would name every record after a song on a previous record. I thought it was funny.

Paul D’Elia We did that with every record and all that leads to confusion in my brain about what’s what with this band. We intentionally made it stupidly confusing…It's almost like the record version of “who's on first.”

Matt Wechter We covered High Time by the Zero Boys at the end of Death of the Party. I had Dave from Tear It Up and Andrew from Cut the Shit come sing on it. They sing that song. I don’t sing on it.
That’s the last one that Paul played on. When we were recording it, Paul was going into a different phase in his life and didn’t want to do it anymore.

Paul D’Elia I was done with school. I just got Married. I was back in New Jersey and I was really on this thing where I really wanted to have a normal job, be responsible. I don't want to go on tours anymore. I was trying to re-focus myself.
I thought that would be it, but he decided to keep doing it, which was fine.

Matt Wechter In a way, we were the last band standing. Everybody else who was in Tear It Up who were doing bands weren’t doing what we were doing…It was almost back to the Dead Nation days. People didn’t want to book us in New Jersey.

Pete Hilton I just wanted to play and I loved Matt. He was really supportive. He was just a great guy to me, even though he still has an attitude. That guy’s a dick in an endearing way.

Matt Wechter That was the cool thing, I had that band.

John Devlin It was just a band that I was in. It didn’t carry any weight. The same way that being in Down In Flames was my thing, so I loved it and being in Tear It Up was being in what was then my favorite band, so I loved it. Being in The Rites was being in a band. It was me playing bass in a band, which was my way of being able to do something else because I played guitar in two other bands.

Pete Hilton I didn’t expect us to do anything. If someone was asking me to play drums and record it, I was down, especially if it was those guys.

Matt Wechter The Rites never broke up, we just stopped doing it. To this day, we always joke around, “yo, are we gonna play a show?”

Paul D’Elia It really was like we’re gonna do this thing and people probably won't like it but who gives a shit.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

I Guess I Know What It Is To Go Down In Flames

If you live along the coast of New Jersey, the Jersey Shore, you’ve probably heard of Rumson. It’s this uber-affluent (call it, fucking rich) town. But what you might not know is that a little unmarked bridge between two giant-ass houses leads to a tiny island of modest, salt-of-the-earth folks. Mostly the island serves as home to little summer cottages along the Navesink River. But some folks live here year-round. Ian Thompsen did. That’s where he grew up. It was in his tiny two-room house that many fast, DIY hardcore bands played in the 00s - hell, Municipal Waste played there – in this tiny house, on this tiny island, in the middle of a river in one of the richest towns in the region. The reason I’m describing this unlikely scenario is because I think it’s symbolic of another unlikely scenario, Ian’s band Down In Flames. How the fuck did four very young teenagers come to inhabit such a respectable space in the whole thrash revival, all while writing consistently intense fucking hardcore?! It still doesn’t make much sense to me. But here’s their story…

Thanks to John, Pete and Ian for sharing their personal stories and the story of DIF!

PS: Plenty of grammar mistakes below. This is just a taste of a first draft, so gimmie a break.

Pete Hilton (Down In Flames, The Rites) My mom passed away when I was in 5th grade. Everyone’s like “I’m sorry, I’m sorry blah blah blah.” I remember being so angry. I was an angry kid. I got into punk music and it struck a chord.

John Devlin (Down In Flames, The Rites, Tear It Up) (I was) an angry fuckin’ kid. Really fuckin’ angry.

Ian Thompsen (Down In Flames, Snakebite) I was at really rough point in my life during that time. I was living in this very affluent area, but also being this mutant from the island. My mom had also passed at the time during a really confusing suicide. So life didn’t really make much sense for me and I didn't really see much positive energy around me. In fact, anyone that I talked to, any sort of authority figure, anything like that, was only feeding me negative energy and telling me how much harder things were going to be when I grew up.

Pete Hilton Everyone in Down In Flames had some sort of fucked up family situation going on. Ian’s situation was really similar to mine. I think, John’s parents had an interesting relationship, Anthony’s parents had an interesting relationship. We found each other not because we were into the same kind of music, but because our family situations were somewhat similar.

John Devlin We started a band in the middle of all this. We started Probable Cause. This is me, Pete and Anthony who were later in Down In Flames. I had to have been a freshman in high school, so they were in 7th grade. I would take my guitar to school, take it on the bus, walk to their school which was around the corner from my school, take their bus home twice a week, have band practice and my parents would pick me up.

Pete Hilton We had zero interest in school, it was all about making it to the practice space.

Ian Thompsen Summer of ’99 they recorded two songs for a CD compilation called Appropriate Response. During that session is when they decided that they were going to change the name to Down In Flames. That session was the first actual real recording session and they felt that they found a new sound at the time, which they did.

Pete Hilton We played all these new songs and I think it was Bob Shed, he came up to me and was just like “dude, it’s a whole new thing, it’s good you changed your name.”

John Devlin I remember how we got fast. We wrote a couple of shorter songs even on the first 7” and somebody was told us “your shorter songs hit me pretty hard” and it was like “ok, shorter songs – check.”

Pete Hilton I was learning how to play fast and eventually just kept pushing myself further. It’s like if you listen to Slayer records, they just get faster.

John Devlin Pete was playing that fast because it was in his blood to jam on the drums like that. We were just kids in our most aggressive ages just going off.

Pete Hilton Band practices were intense, live shows were intense. We wanted there to be no breaks ever.

Ian Thompsen I joined Down In Flames when I was 14 and we broke up when I was 17.

John Devlin We were playing every show that we possibly could. I was pretty dogged about getting on the internet and trying to get us into other towns.

Ian Thompsen We played this show with Kill Your Idols on August 19, 2000 and that really kicked things into high gear for us. The response was crazy, attendance was awesome. We were like, “oh man, we’re in a band now!”

John Devlin It was crazy. At the time, I didn’t realize I was in a band that was getting so much attention.

Ian Thompsen We really just wanted to be a punk or a hardcore band and all of a sudden, we were a thrash band. All of sudden, all of these awesome thrash bands wanted to know us.

John Devlin The 7” that was eventually called “Start the Fucking Fire,” I originally wanted to call it “Down In Flames vs. the World.” It didn’t happen for whatever reason, but that’s kind of how I felt the band was.

Ian Thompsen We didn't have any money to record so what we did was we bootlegged all these demo tapes that we got from just going to shows in the area from bands that started to get popular. We started selling them on eBay and we generated hundreds of dollars this way. Saves the Day, Catch 22, New Jersey bands that we saw early on and had their tapes. We bootlegged them, sold them and made enough money to do our own session. We did the session and it came out really well. It would eventually be the “Start the Fucking Fire” 7” and the split with the Gatecrashers.

Pete Hilton We kept writing songs and we just got faster and angrier.

John Devlin At the time, I saw it as an uphill battle, because we didn’t want to be viewed as the kids, we wanted to be taken seriously, a real fucking hardcore band. In retrospect, it helped us in certain ways.

Ian Thompsen When I was 16, I thought that was annoying, because when I was 16 I wanted to be a cool, bad-ass front man and the fact people were calling me a kid meant they weren’t getting it. It was really frustrating. I was a kid wanting to be a man and everyone kept reminding me that I was a kid.

Ian Thompsen Really early on, the guys from Tear It Up were really cool about getting us on shows and trying to help us out.

Pete Hilton We were always the Tear It Up, Jr band. It was an interesting relationship. They were a little bit older than us. At the time, it seemed like they were a decade older than us, when they were actually only three or four years older.

Ian Thompsen Tear It Up wasn't actually a band during the time that we wrote a lot of our key songs. We were influenced by them really only because were friends with them, we were hanging out with them and we were all into the same stuff, but we never intended sound like them.

Pete Hilton At this point, I don’t give a fuck about it. We were playing the style of music that we wanted to play. We were playing it before Tear It Up were even a band…It was this perfect combination. It worked out well. The perception was that we were riding their coattails, but that just wasn’t true. We were all really good friends.

Ian Thompsen Before I was the age of 16, Tear It Up was taking us out to play in Chicago and Pittsburgh and Massachusetts.

Pete Hilton We did so many weekends together. We did one US tour together.

Pete Hilton John came to practice one week and was “625 wants to put our record out.” “Oh shit, that’s awesome!” He’s like “no, I’m just joking.” He was totally fucking with us. He comes back the next week, “yo, 625 wants to put out our record.” I was like “fuck you!” and he was like “no, seriously.”

Ian Thompsen We recorded an album in November and it was about a week after recording the album that things started to get really strange and we started to realize the band was going to come to an end.

John Devlin Our west coast tour was crazy! We definitely had some of our best shows on it. We played with From Ashes Rise the first two days. We played at the Che Café, we played at the Smell. We played with Iron Lung at their house. Played with a lot of cool bands. Our show at the Smell was probably our craziest show from start to finish.

Pete Hilton That show in LA…That was the moment for me. We fucking made it. We played the Smell in LA and people knew the songs and there were tons of people.

Ian Thompsen We flew out to California and did a West Coast tour with Scholastic Deth to promote the album. It was really awesome and I was hoping it would re-stimulate the band.

John Devlin The day that I told everybody else that I was joining Tear It Up, we almost broke up that day and on the spot. Then we had to hold it together to finish our west coast tour and go on the next summer tour with Tear It Up. It was right before the LP came out that we almost broke up.

Pete Hilton He wanted to pursue music and Tear It Up could offer that in a much more sustainable way than Down In Flames could.

John Devlin It was basically decided when I told everyone I was joining Tear It Up. Anthony wanted to quit right then and there. Ian was like “I’m game.” Pete was like, “I could go for a while, there’s no reason to throw it out the window now. We basically agreed at that point to hold it off until the end of the summer.

Ian Thompsen It was a slow death.

Pete Hilton We wanted to do a tour with Tear It Up because we were already playing so many shows together.

Ian Thompsen By the time the tour was actually booked, we had acknowledged the fact that the band was going to breakup when it was done.

Pete Hilton What I remember most about the Tear It Up/Down In Flames tour is that there was that tension. John was travelling in the Tear It Up van most of the time. He was part of their crew now.

John Devlin The second tour I didn’t go in their van very much because I was in the Tear It Up van.

Pete Hilton We broke down in Death Valley at one point. Ian, Anthony and I were running around naked…we’re in the desert, we have 8 hours to kill, let’s do something dumb.

John Devlin When we played at Gilman Street, that was crazy because we had played two shows that day. So for me it meant four sets that day, because I doubled up. I remember being in the van after the Tear It Up set at Gilman Street and laying down on the second row in the van and physically not being able to move.

Pete Hilton We all pretended that there was no internal bullshit going on, but there definitely was on that tour. As much fun as I was having, our time was up…We had two or three days left on the tour, all of us, Ian, Anthony and I just went up to John and were like “we’re done, this is it”...Let’s have our last show in August. We were done before senior year.

John Devlin When I think of Probable Cause and Down In Flames, it’s one big band that started from 12 and 14 year olds just roughing it and trying to figure out how to play music. Up until the end, just going for it as best as we could. We were never that refined even when we were refined.

Pete Hilton I look at those records and they’re so fucking earnest and serious. There’s nothing funny about it.

John Devlin I had something going through my veins that it just kinda’ let out.

Ian Thompsen We were motivated by really unfortunate circumstances in our lives, but we really made the best of it. It’s insane to me that this group of little kids traveled the country.

Pete Hilton The fact that my dad let me travel around with a bunch of strangers at 15 years old is fucking crazy!

Ian Thompsen You know, it's hard to find people to play music with at this point in time, to the have that kind of time and passion and commitment. We had all the time and all the passion and all the commitment, which is what made the band so cool.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tear It Up, Tear It Down: New Jersey Hardcore's Touring, Recording, Thrashing Machine

My first connection with Tear It Up was from a mutual appreciation for Kiss. Sitting in the back of the Fast Times van during the summer of 2000, I can clearly remember Matt Wechter going on and on about this new band he was doing with some of the other members of Dead Nation. What really stuck out for me was that he proudly proclaimed that they were going to cover “Deuce.” And that was my favorite Kiss song. So I guess you could say they had me at “Deuce.” I remember seeing them for the first time in a basement in Somerville, Mass. They covered that Kiss song. It was me, a crusty punk and Dave Ackerman with our arms around each other screaming the words to a fucking Kiss song. That will always make me smile. Just like each of the guys in that band make me smile endlessly. They’ve been good friends for years and allowed me to interrogate them endlessly for this project. The good, the bad and the fuckin’ ugly. Thanks Andy, Dave, Matt, Paul and John…and Jon, Swank, Felix, and Brian as well! The rest is history and (part of) that history is below.

PS: This is just a taste of this band’s story. Against all odds, this will be a fucking book you can hold in your hands one day. Please stay tuned and follow along on Instagram (@thrashwagon) and/or Facebook (

PPS: Grammar mistakes, I’ve made a few.

Dave Ackerman I never thought I was gonna’ be in a band and it was gonna’ be a job or popular, but Dead Nation was finally getting some recognition - not even nationally, but we would play ABC and it would sell out. We were popular enough, as popular as I ever thought I'd be in New York. So why not just keep going?

Matt Wechter All the groundwork had been laid by Dead Nation.

Paul D’Elia We think we should keep playing. Matt was like “I have a few ideas for songs, if you have some ideas for songs let's meet up next week” and I was like, “I don't, but ok” and so I went home and I wrote six or seven songs. Matt had six or seven songs and we met up and that was basically the whole Tear It Up demo.

Matt Wechter The last LP Dead Nation put out and the 7” we put out, people were really amped on it, and then the band breaks up right away. Same dudes, new band, this our vibe, we’re doing this shit.

Andy Scarpulla The last Dead Nation show was in June of 2000. The first Tear It Up show was August 22, 2000.

Matt Wechter We just jumped right in.

Dave Ackerman (Tear It Up, Dead Nation)  After Dead Nation, I didn't want to do another band. During that window, I had a girlfriend. It was a summer. I worked a job. I worked at the liquor store. That’s when I worked with Paul D’Elia at the liquor store.

Paul D’Elia (Tear It Up, Dead Nation, The Rites, Cut the Shit)  Matt and I didn't have any sort of influence over Dead Nation. It was already an established footprint that he and I were playing in. Again, he and I working on that song “Battle Scarred” together, that was what sparked it. Hey we can do this too! We don’t need Molnar’s songs, let’s write our own songs.

Andy Scarpulla (Tear It Up) I think it was definitely a continuation of what Dead Nation had built upon.

Matt Wechter (Tear It Up, Dead Nation, The Rites, Cut the Shit) We got together a couple times at Paul's parents’ house and worked on some stuff there and we came up with the demo.

Paul D’Elia Really the only reason we kept going was we thought we needed to do it for ourselves and then we were just on fire. Let’s write more songs!

Andy Scarpulla June of 2000 was their last show. Sometime in July I got an email out of the blue from Matt that said “hey, me and all the other guys from Dead Nation except for Matt Molnar are starting a new band.”

Matt Wechter I was like there’s this kid from the shore, love his stage presence, man. The guy’s a solid rhythm guitar player, he just fuckin’ goes off.

Andy Scarpulla When Matt sent me this email, here was an opportunity to do a band with guys that I know who will take it a lot more seriously. Plus, it's dudes who just came from the band that was one of my current favorite bands wanting me to join a band with them…I told him to give me a day to think about it. Pretty much I already had my mind made up that I was going to say yes.

Dave Ackerman I think they practiced, maybe twice without me. They had Andy in it, so they practiced as a four piece, minus me. I told the story as far as interviews at the time - it's sort of true, sort of not - but I kinda’ got surprised into being in that band. I feel like it might've been seeming like an organic hang-out and it was like, “here's the stuff we’re working on, we want to do another band.” I was resistant, but at some point, I was like, what the fuck else am I doing?

Andy Scarpulla There was definitely hype about Tear It Up before we started playing.

Paul D’Elia I didn't expect it all. Our first show was good. Our first show we didn't even open up. It was like people were excited for us, which blew my mind.

Dave Ackerman We played third at our first show, so we got shit about that for sure…It wasn't like some festival where we played two hours later, like we all probably played 15 minutes sets. The whole show probably took two and half hours. It was at William Patterson in a classroom, in the college. I actually had classes in that room because I went to college there. It was a kind of weird show.

Paul D’Elia People went nuts and I thought everyone was going to leave because no one knew us. Me and Dave screened T-shirts at my house and we sold out of them. We sold out of demos.

Andy Scarpulla I remember just thinking I really hope I can keep up as far as how fast these songs are because I wasn’t used to playing songs that were that fast.

Matt Wechter We made no bones about trying to be attached to anybody’s scene…we’re not from the shore, we’re not from New Brunswick. We’re not in a scene. We do what we want.

Dave Ackerman You can go on the Facebook and there's a list of every show we played. You can see the volume of shows we played and we know we tried to just get right into it pretty early on.

Andy Scarpulla It was ridiculous and I didn't even blink at the workload or anything like that. I was just so excited to do it. It's all I wanted to do.

Matt Wechter I was writing a lot then. I had a very prolific period of writing songs.

Paul D’Elia He and I would work very fast together like that. We worked really well together. I'd never been in a band like that.

Matt Wechter Every time we’d practice we were writing more songs, like bang – here’s the 7”. Alright, we also have these other songs, bang - there's the 12”. Every time we finished a record, there’s people who wanted to put it out.

Dave Ackerman We practiced all the time, Matt was writing songs, Paul was writing songs, Andy was writing the occasional song.

Andy Scarpulla When we used to practice at Dave’s parents house, it was 100 miles one way for me to go to band practice. At least once a week. Never less than once a week.

Matt Wechter The first 7” that Tear It Up put out, everybody had a part in writing something. Everybody.

Dave Ackerman I had known Felix since the mid-90s from just being a Code-13 fan and a punk in general.

Paul D’Elia Felix was the type of dude who used to tour with bands, so he would come to ABC No Rio and Dave was always at ABC No Rio shows too. Dave had worked in a friendship with him to an extent, so Dave definitely mailed him a demo.

Andy Scarpulla Havoc Records has amazing distribution so that was something I'm sure it probably got the record out there.

Felix Havoc (Havoc Records) I had distributed the Dead Nation 7”s and I think those guys had helped out with some gigs in New Jersey, so it was natural I would do the Tear It Up 7”.

Paul D’Elia I was interested in art and photography. I took the photos to the cover of “Painless.” I was stoked on that. I was taking photo classes again while I was doing Dead Nation and Tear It Up. As I was pursuing arts I was like, I'll handle it, I want to do it. I came up with that idea of the Tear It Up logo based on the Psycho typography from Alfred Hitchcock's film. Alfred Hitchcock was a huge influence on me as a photographer because he was a purist. He worked tirelessly on his films. Every shot was meticulously manicured. I loved his work ethic, I loved the aesthetic of his films. I loved everything about it and that really influenced me. At the time, I was like this would be awesome. I took that idea, I created that font. I printed out Tear It Up written out in some shitty computer font and then just tore it and scanned it back in. There we go, that’s a logo. From the same breath, I had this book of Alfred Hitchcock poster art from around the world. This image of Vertigo was awesome, I've never seen anything like that before. I photocopied it and blew it up and scanned it in. It was actually Jon Collins that did that layout, but I brought it like “hey I made this thing.” I remember cutting the head up a little bit to make room for the Tear It Up type. I brought that with me on the print out. I was like “we should use this for the first cover.”

Matt Wechter There were a lot of people who were hungry, people who were starting labels or people who wanted to get involved, so the offers kept flowing in.

Dave Ackerman Down In Flames, we play a lot of shows with them, we’re gonna’ have a tour with them, let’s have a split. Fast Times, we play a lot of shows with them, we’re gonna have a tour, let's have a split.

Andy Scarpulla I love recording. I know some people for them, recording is stressful. Recording is one of my favorite things about playing music.

Dave Ackerman The three big Tear It Up sessions were each two days long. It would be one hell day of get there at 10 in the morning and be there until one at night, just do everything. Then the next day we would go in and do backups, any other punch-ups we forgot and then mixing. I want to say that I did all the vocals for the 7” and 12” in one go, all the vocals for the LP in one go and all the vocals for the December session in one go.

Dave Ackerman I liked touring and I never am someone who says my bands are great or we’re the best, but I always felt like any band I was in was a strong live band. That's what’s always important to me.

Paul D’Elia Our tour schedule always followed school. Dave was in school, I was in school, Matt was in school. When we had winter break, we would book a tour. We always did an east coast tour because it was winter and we only had a certain amount of time between Christmas and whenever classes started again. Summer was when we would try and book a full tour.

Andy Scarpulla I don’t think we ever strung together more than three or four out-of-state shows in a row before the Tear It Up/Fast Times tour.

Matt Wechter We were all friends. I had been in Fast Times for a while. They had a drummer and they lost their drummer and they were having a difficult time finding a drummer and they were stalling on stuff. I was just like, “let’s do this tour together, I’ll play for you.”

Andy Scarpulla I just remember being thrilled. I can't believe we're going away for a month and drive all the way across to the west coast and we’re gonna’ play shows all the way there and play shows all the way back..My brother was coming. I was really excited to be able to bring him with us. Everybody liked Brian. Matt to this day still says Brian is the best roadie he’s ever had. He came to Europe with us our first time to Europe and he did weekends and stuff too.

Matt Wechter The first bunch of tours we went on, Paul's the only guy in the band with a cell phone.

Andy Scarpulla All I took was $200. Think about that, $200 for a month. $200, here’s all I need for an entire month.

Ken Ramsey (Tear It Up roadie) One of my first impressions of Tear It Up was pulling up to the show in Vermont and seeing Paul and Andy spray-painting Tear It Up on a wall and Brian breaking into parking meters. I was like “what the fuck have I gotten myself into?”

Paul D’Elia I made that stencil. I was like we gotta’ put our fuckin’ mark everywhere we go. I was into art and I loved the idea of graffiti.

Matt Wechter In Vermont, I went into the house and shaved my head. I gave myself a half-head. Left all my hair in the sink in the bathroom and then went out and slept in the van.

Paul D’Elia I think Matt brought his copy of Friday. We would show up at people’s house and be like “you like Friday? We do. Let’s watch it.”

Matt Wechter “What do you want to do?” “Oh we’ll just watch a movie.” “Alright, what do you want to watch?” “Do you have Friday? We do!”

Andy Scarpulla We had the movie with us and we tried to watch it everywhere.

Brian Scarpulla (Tear It Up roadie) I remember the show in Moline, parking in front of the local Republican headquarters and Paul had the folder full of anti-Bush crack-and-peel stickers, which are the most annoying thing on earth. They never come off…We pulled up and Paul didn’t even say anything, went right into his folder and pulled out a full-sized 8x11 sticker that he’d been holding onto and plastered the window of this place.

Matt Wechter We stopped in Idaho and threw a garbage can off a cliff. We used that picture on the B side of “Nothing to Nothing.”

Paul D’Elia Doug was real pumped because he brought a cigarette rolling machine and the entire van ride all he was doing was sitting there rolling cigarettes. He’d be rolling it into the thing and making them. We stopped somewhere in Montana at a rest stop and he had a whole pile of them on the seat. When I was getting back in the van, I sat on them because I couldn't see them. I've never seen him so angry. He was taping them back together. He smoked every one of those broken cigarettes. He would prefer to sit in the front seat so he could roll the window down and then he would get angry because he’d get pelted with bugs.

Andy Scarpulla We didn’t have an air conditioner. We had the windows rolled down driving in the desert and it felt worse. It was hotter. It felt like someone had a hair-dryer and was just holding it in our faces.

Dave Ackerman Houston was fine, a side note, a dude who bought a shirt from us in Houston on that tour, then returned it the next time we played Houston on the Down In Flames tour, because it was too small or too big.

Matt Wechter I was washing the shorts that I’m playing in. I’m playing double sets every night, hot summer basement shows. I washed my shorts in the sink with this fancy shampoo and I’m wringing them out and it’s all black. It was so disgustingly filthy.

Dave Ackerman Columbus, Ohio, that is another show that I didn't know people hated us ‘til we got there.

Matt Wechter That's why you book tours, so you can play LA, because the LA show’s gonna’ be good. That's why you can play in Montana, because the Montana shows gonna’ be small. You’re not gonna’ make any money when you play that show in Wyoming, but you want to play the show in Wyoming because it’s fuckin’ cool. It's cool to go to these spots where there is not a gigantic scene. You want to show up there and play those shows because if you really like what you’re doing, those are the shows you want to play…there’s 25 kids here, let’s wreck this place.

Dave Ackerman I got money from my mom because I’d just come home from tour and I literally had less than a dollar to my name. I got five bucks from my mom so I could get pizza later. That's just to show you here I am coming home from a month-long tour from a scene that you're trying to document and I literally did not have one dollar to my name. I want to say I had $0.15. It was all the money I had in the world. We’re going to play show in Long Island now and I got money from my mom so I can eat.

Matt Wechter I don't think we ever walked off a tour with a sizable amount of money ever. It just went into the band fund.

Dave Ackerman People would often talk about how we were a popular band. Literally, I did not have a dollar. I had literally two coins to rub together. Anyone who says that we sold out or were popular, straight up, I didn’t have a dollar and that was Tear It Up. I didn't make $100 from being in that band for three years total.

Matt Wechter The last album we had done was Dead Nation’s in ’99, so we wanted to make an album. That was the next step.

Jon Collins (Dead Alive/Manic Ride Records) Recording that LP was special and I think cathartic for a lot of people…“Dead End,” they put out that record and everyone was like, “this is an amazing album, you guys did great.” And then it was taken away from them.

Paul D’Elia I remember feeling like we gotta’ make this record even better than the rest. Matt and I were definitely critical on a level we weren't before.

Matt Wechter We didn’t really write it differently. I came up with the skeleton of the way I wanted it to flow together…I had this sound in my head of what I wanted this to be.

Jon Collins I was living with Matt when he was writing that record. He really put so much thought and care into it being an album.

Matt Wechter I used to call it deliberate writing. I want this record to have this kind of feel, so this song goes into this song, goes into this song.

Jon Collins He literally wrote that LP in his boxer shorts on his bass while I was playing video games…The flow is flawless. It felt impactful.

Andy Scarpulla I actually wrote a song and a half on that record. I definitely wrote all of “The Cause” and wrote the music to “Trust Me I Don't Forget.”

Paul D’Elia All of the lyrics for the songs I wrote were written by Dave and then the songs that Matt wrote were written by him.

Dave Ackerman Initially, the secret rock 'n' roll song was gonna be “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and it became the Rose Tattoo cover the weeks before we recorded, if not, the week before.

Andy Scarpulla We wanted to get as tight as you possibly could before getting in the studio so we could do a lot of stuff on as little takes as possible, kinda’ speed the process up.

Paul D’Elia It was stressful. We always took recording seriously. I remember Matt especially just being really gruff about it – “no, we gotta’ get it right, we gotta’ get it better.”

Matt Wechter Dave wrote “From Nothing to Nothing.”

Dave Ackerman I wrote it in class. Matt had the general concept and the song was going to be called “From Nothing to Nothing.”

Matt Wechter I think he went in there and did it in one take, had a bunch of stuff written down and just kinda’ went off.

Dave Ackerman There’s a line in there that’s from a Dystopia song. It’s not totally out of the blue, but it’s inadvertently borrowed from Dystopia.

Paul D’Elia The thing about that song when I listened to it, it felt real to me. Knowing Dave and the time period, it wasn't an act. It wasn't like we were co-opting this idea of depression, it was what we felt. It felt like it was really communicated most transparently through that song.

Dave Ackerman Live, it was whatever lyrics I was making up on the spot. It wasn't until we played reunions that I had to go by whatever the record says. We didn’t play it live all that often. We played it live here and there, but it was definitely not a staple of our set. It would just be ranting about probably that day or that week. It would keep the same structure, probably start with the same opening line. I think songs like that are supposed to just be a cathartic free-for-all.

Matt Wechter The day we were going to mix “Nothing to Nothing” it rained the night before, the parkway was dry but the off-ramps were wet. I hit the off-ramp and skidded and my car went backwards over the median. “This can’t happen! I gotta mix this fuckin’ record today!”…my only thought was I have to finish this record, I can’t crash my car, I don’t have time for this shit!

Andy Scarpulla That was recorded in two days but that was probably two 14 hour days.

Paul D’Elia The last day of recording vocals and mixing, I was driving Dave home. We had a CD with us and we listened to it in the car after we left. Dave and I, we turned to each other and Dave was like “I feel like we could get in a car accident right now and it would be okay because this record’s done.” We felt like we did it. It was like a huge hurdle and nothing else mattered now. We did this, it’s done and if we die now, it won’t matter.

Jon Collins Matt cut his finger playing drums and he was “no, I’m gonna’ keep playing” and someone taped it up and he bled all over his snare drum. He thought that was the coolest picture ever. He wanted that to be the cover of the album and he wanted to call it “Play to Destroy.”

Dave Ackerman The record at one point was also going to be called “Play to Destroy” and the cover Matt wanted it to be was that photo of him on the back of the December 2000 Session, where it’s like his hand playing drums. It would have been a fine back cover, but it didn't seem like the cover of a record.

Jon Collins Play to destroy was really how he felt. He didn’t care about what happened between the shows, he just wanted to get to the shows.

Dave Ackerman Jon was such a big part of Tear It Up and Dead Nation layouts…For the most part, we really just gave Jon total creative control on both the “Nothing to Nothing” and “Dead End” inserts.

Jon Collins The Killing Joke record and the inside of the His Hero is Gone record were cool with the contrasting black and white with the color. I wanted to show them what they could do that might be cooler.

Dave Ackerman That’s Jon's wife on the cover.

Jon Collins That was the weekend that Aubrey was in town and I was like “can you do me a favor, can you like pose for this just so I can show them what might be cooler.” I took a couple pictures. It’s from Bloomfield because that’s where Matt and I were living at the time. I showed it to them. I spray-painted “Nothing to Nothing” at a little league field and I superimposed the spray-paint on this wall that I had taken a picture of Aubrey in front of. I was like “something like this” and they were “that’s the cover there.”

Dave Ackerman Jon Collins came up with the album cover. I wanted the records to be like a predominant color, I wanted each of the records to be like that's the red one, that's the blue one, that's the green one. It was talked about how the record was going to be a predominant color and it was between like a neon green and the pink that it ended up being. The cover was really just like Jon Collins “hey I did this, what do you guys think of it?” Four-fifths of us were like that’s definitely the cover.

Jon Collins I didn’t even say “put your head down, make yourself look dejected.” I think she was just getting herself up on the wall.

Paul D’Elia Jon Collins was the one who was able to physically lay the records out, so we would go to his place and me and him would always be really focused on doing the layouts…I remember having a real conversation with him about the cover art because, we were talking about it because it can't be orange because His Hero Is Gone used that on their gatefold. It can't be this color because this band used it. What about pink? Let’s do pink!

Jon Collins I’m really proud of the art work.

Swank White (Tear It Up roadie) From beginning to end, the way the record plays through, it’s fucking awesome.

Felix Havoc I love that 7”, but I think the “Nothing to Nothing” LP was their real triumph.

Jon Collins It was the best-selling record I ever put out.

Matt Wechter Not for nothing, Jon is one of the most legit dudes to work with.

Andy Scarpulla I Struggled to find a bad review of it and I’m pretty proud of that. Yeah, I think to this day it stands up.

Dave Ackerman We recorded that record and we just continued with the Tear It Up cycle of playing as often as we can and supporting the records.

Paul D’Elia I was really in a negative space in terms of my own personality. At that point, it was right when my mom and my girlfriend, Anna's mom had both been diagnosed with breast cancer in the same week. I already knew I'm finishing my last semester at community college, I have to do something. As much as I don't want to leave, I probably have to. I was definitely feeling that.  I was really bummed. I hadn’t even made up my mind yet, but I knew that my time with this band was coming to an end. I was legit upset about that already. I wasn't communicating that to them, but I was pretty depressed at that point…We finished recording sometime early October. Early in November I realized I didn't have any options other than moving to Boston for school. I had to tell them.

Dave Ackerman We weren’t like not friends anymore, but he was going away to school.

Paul D’Elia We weren’t on bad terms. It wasn't like we had some blow out and fuck you guys I’m out. I didn’t want to quit, but I had to.

Dave Ackerman Paul and Doug both essentially left at the same tour.

Matt Wechter That tour was going to be crazy as it was. Paul had told us he had to leave the band because he was going to school in Boston.

Paul D’Elia After Christmas we did a loop of the east coast and Doug was getting increasingly distant or disinterested in the band. He was always the odd man out with us. He was a little bit more disenchanted with it.

Dave Ackerman Doug didn't show up on that tour so he was out of the band, so then Andy moved to bass. We knew that we were switching to a four piece for that tour because Paul was leaving. But because Doug didn't show, we had to scramble so John Devlin flew in.

Andy Scarpulla I don't mean to talk bad about Doug. I absolutely love Doug even though he probably cost us as a band some hardships at times. I have absolutely no ill will towards him whatsoever to this day.

Paul D’Elia My last show was the “Nothing to Nothing” record release.

Matt Wechter John just moved right in playing guitar.

John Devlin (Tear It Up, Down In Flames, The Rites) I was thrilled to join…If we weren’t playing with them, I was probably at the show anyway.

Paul D’Elia I was loading my gear out and that's when I met Andrew and Blake from Bones Brigade for the first time.

Ken Ramsey This significance of that show always struck me. It’s the record release show for this incredible LP that Paul’s on. It was his last show with the band, but it was also the first show for The Rites! Finally, he meets Andrew Jackmauh at the show, the very person he would start Cut The Shit with later on.

Andy Scarpulla Basically, from October 2001 to October 2002 we were busy either playing shows or getting new members ready for the band.

John Devlin Every van ride, it seemed like there was something to laugh about the entire time.

Andy Scarpulla At that point we had probably a 60-song catalog and we never liked to play the same setlist two nights in a row. Even when we did those reunion shows a couple years ago we learned two pretty separate setlists, because it wouldn’t have been Tear It Up if we didn't.

Andy Scarpulla Paul and Doug were replaced by John and Ryan. We did the European tour without Ryan even though Ryan had joined. He just had other commitments so he couldn’t go to Europe. We did the European tour without him, home for five days, played a show in the middle and did the US tour with him.

Matt Wechter We did the first European tour as a four-piece.

Dave Ackerman Any tour, I’ll fall in a dark headspace, but you know it's still seeing places you’ve never been. It’s a crazy adventure. It’s super fun.

Matt Wechter Every tour, there’s always clunkers.

Dave Ackerman The second show of the European tour was somewhere in Germany with bands that didn't care. It was like in the way ‘90s shows used to be five dollars, four dollars with a can of food, it was five euros, free if you smoke the whole time. It was smokey, no one knew who we were, no one gave a fuck.

Matt Wechter The Netherlands always showed us mad love…Hank from Kangaroo records from Amsterdam, we’d known him since the Dead Nation days, so he’d always come. All the shows in the Netherlands were always awesome.

Dave Ackerman It was four weeks, we came home on June 30, we played July 2, and then left for the Down In Flames tour, July 6th. So we weren't home for very long…We played a show in Europe and then we began the US tour six days later, and that included flying back, as well as, playing a show in the middle.

Matt Wechter We went to Europe a second time and it was cool but I probably became more overly-controlling than I ever had been just because I felt I had to keep these guys in check.

Dave Ackerman The second European tour, that tour we had a big van with a sectioned-off loft that you had to get to through the back doors. It was dark and there was no connection to the driver and the other members. For that tour, it was just me and Wechter in a twin bed-sized space next to each other in the dark in a hot, air conditioner-less situation for seven weeks. I listened to four tapes over and over again, COC “Eye for an Eye,” a tape that was Amebix “Monolith” and the Severed Head of State “Anathema Device” LP on one tape, a tape that was Kyuss “Welcome to Sky Valley” and then the other side was a mix of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden heavy metal songs.

Matt Wechter I’m sure if you ask anybody who was in the band at that time about me, “he was a fuckin asshole, he was dick.” You know what, I felt like I had to be.

Dave Ackerman I was just a brooding weirdo. I’ll just be miserable and sit in the heat. I think the two people that wanted to have a chip on their shoulder about being weirdos and being miserable were me and Wechter. It made sense that he and I would both sit back there and do that. We both had a Rollins complex.

Matt Wechter Things were really shakey by the time we got back from tour.

Matt Wechter If you want to track the beginning of the end, it’s when we got Ryan playing bass in the band. You figure, me and Dave had been playing in bands since ’98. So that was four years. Things were just awkward.

John Devlin Ryan was the only one that would call Matt out on certain things, where the rest of us would just be quiet.

Andy Scarpulla The band definitely felt different after John and Ryan joined but I still enjoyed it…Ryan rubs a lot of people wrong way. He’s super sarcastic and super smart.

Matt Wechter Dave’s a very nice guy, Dave’s a very patient guy, Dave’s a very peaceful guy and he was just fed up with having to deal with Ryan.

Andy Scarpulla I loved having him in the band.

Dave Ackerman He was someone that definitely negatively affected the morale of the band…he had a way of bringing out the negativity in people.

Andy Scarpulla In general, I think everybody felt a little different, like maybe the band had been growing a little bit. Everybody was listening to more stoner rock, except me.

Dave Ackerman We played two shows in the beginning of 2003 where it was starting to crumble. We had on-stage arguments two days in a row, Yonkers, NY and Nutely, NJ. I can’t remember what the issue even was. I remember the Nutely show a lot more. It was a bad show for us. We were the only fast hardcore band on the bill. We were late in the bill and very few people were there for us. Since we play often enough, it was easy to skip a show if it was kinda’ far and generally crummy. I think people blamed Matt for getting us on these shows since he did the booking. I didn’t blame him. I think the arguments were caused by Ryan fucking around, like weird fills or playing things between songs. I guess Matt told him to stop and he didn’t. I honestly don’t remember. They bickered like that all the time.

Matt Wechter Relationships were definitely becoming strained…We only saw each other for practices and band-related stuff. That was it. People weren’t really hanging as much anymore.

Andy Scarpulla As probably evidenced by how much material we put out in a short period of time, we were always working on new material, writing new songs. I think the Taking You Down With Me EP developed a lot more slowly than anything else.

Dave Ackerman It was gonna’ be another 7” because it was too long. If you really want to get technical, I believe it’s too long because of feedback. We could of trimmed it probably and made it a 7”…Yeah, I mean it's just part of being a bloated rockstar. We write a record that ends up being too long, it takes us forever to lay out a record cover that’s predominately black.

Matt Wechter Felix Havoc asked Dave straight up, “are you going to do this album and break up, because then I don’t want to do it.”

Dave Ackerman Sorry Felix, totally our bad.

Felix Havoc By the time this record came out the band was kind of winding down, but I still think the songs are great. It was a huge flop from a sales perspective, I still have over a 1000 unsold CDs, but I dont care, it’s a good record. In this period, I was doing “crafty” limited editions of all the records. Working with wood, metal, glass, plastic whatever. This LP’s cover is a guy holding a knife standing over some freshly massacred band members. So I got some thrift store knifes and made a limited stenciled cover splattered in blood red paint and each one came with a knife. I had to go to a lot of thrift stores and flea markets to get 100 knives.

Dave Ackerman That record was the most road-tested of any record we did…I think musically, it comes off really well. I think it’s a solid Tear It Up release. As far as last records go, it's not “Break It Up,” it's not “Kill Kill Kill.” At least it’s a Tear It Up record.

Matt Wechter We went in and recorded everything and we played a few shows after that and then that was it. When one thing goes wrong, everything else starts getting shitty.

Dave Ackerman We did a Chicago, Minneapolis weekend which is not a good weekend no matter how you slice it. It’s a 12-hour ride, an 8-hour ride, and a 20-hour drive home. It sucks but who cares, it’s what we do. We played Chicago and the van died an hour outside Chicago and my now current girlfriend picked us up on the side of the road.

Matt Wechter Now we don’t have a home. That’s where we live.

Dave Ackerman One of the big things that was a big catalyst in the band breaking up was our van dying. We didn't have any money at all. It wasn’t like we could use our savings and buy another van.

Andy Scarpulla Dave's current-day girlfriend Amy came by and picked us up on side of the road, which is such a funny twist of fate. We drove back. We rented a U-Haul we loaded all our equipment from the side of the road from her van into the back of the U-Haul. Ditched the van on the side of the road, took the license plates off and drove back to New Jersey with me, John and Ryan in the back of the U-Haul with the equipment all the way back to New Jersey. I refer to that incident as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Dave Ackerman It was a 12-hour drive back from Chicago to New Jersey and we just essentially had a conversation about theoretical things we can do to make money. It was essentially like benefit shows which, that's not what benefit shows are for.

John Devlin On the way back, I remember me, Ryan and Andy had an agreement that we were all getting a little bit tired of Tear It Up. I don’t want offend anybody, but we were all getting a little bit tired of Matt. We had an agreement that if any one of us quit, all three of us would quit. That would just leave Dave and Matt. The only reason that Dave was excluded from the conversation was he was sitting up front with Matt at the time.

Matt Wechter Our last show wound up being the Black Flag Halloween show, where we opened the show as 81’ era Black Flag and closed the show as ’85 Black Flag. I guess it’s apropos if you will, nobody watched the second set because that wasn’t cool…A bunch of people cleared out to go see Negative Approach.

Andy Scarpulla We pulled it off pretty well.

Swank White The Degenerics did Bad Brains. Someone did Minor Threat.

Matt Wechter We practiced so much to nail these fuckin songs down. We had guys roadie-ing for us who were rocking flannels and mustaches like Black Flag roadies fighting kids in the crowd, dudes trying to fake punch Dave. We worked out this whole fucking act, it was really funny. “My War’s” our last song, we’re about to go into it, the cops come in, show’s over. That was it and we never played again.

Andy Scarpulla I think most of us knew at that show.

Dave Ackerman We didn't play a formal last show even though 4/5 of us knew that that was the last show.

Andy Scarpulla So we put in all this hard work to learn these two sets right before we knew we weren’t going to be a band anymore…What idiots, knowing full well that the band wasn't going to continue after this point, would put in so much time and effort…That’s Tear It Up - working hard til the very end!

Matt Wechter We had a meeting a week or so later where everyone basically quit the band but me. Everybody decided they were gonna’ quit for whatever the reasons were. Dave was just like, “this is not fun anymore, I don’t like this.” Everybody said what they had to say and that was it. Then it was done.

Andy Scarpulla We actually had a band meeting planned which we would do sometimes to just discuss what was coming up in the future and right at the onset, I think I was the first one to go, I was just like “I’m quitting, I’m done, I don’t want to do this anymore, it’s not fun.” I remember being pretty direct with Matt.

John Devlin I don’t know what it was. I just have to stop this right now. I told the guys I was leaving. We had a band meeting about it, which was in my basement actually, and I just told everybody I can’t do it anymore. It just went right down the line, “yeah I can’t do it, yeah I can’t do it, yeah I can’t do it.”

Jon Collins Dave would hold back for the greater good. Same thing with Andy. He wouldn’t want a beef. But then it just got so ridiculous. Egos just got involved.

Matt Wechter Unfortunately, in every band there’s always someone who’s got to be the asshole. I’m sure when you talk to everyone else from Tear It Up, they’re going to tell you it’s me. In every band there is an asshole and in our band, it was me.

Dave Ackerman I lived with those dudes another six months…We all had this awkward conversation where we just quit the band and I had to go back to the place where I still lived with two of them…I still lived with Matt at that point.

Andy Scarpulla I specifically remember even telling Matt I would like to remain friends with you, I just can't work with you in band situations.

Matt Wechter I didn’t talk to Andy for months.

Andy Scarpulla We actually were good immediately afterwards for a little bit and then we didn’t talk for years, probably three years.

Dave Ackerman It felt super weird. I was like I guess I’m an adult and I just work a job and be a regular person.

Jon Collins Everyone just seemed to go their own separate ways.

Andy Scarpulla I felt like I had broken up with four girlfriends all at once. I guess the good thing for me was Brian Gorsegner and Drew Levinson’s band also broke up really recently, so we were all able to focus on Forward To Death.

Matt Wechter Everyone’s gonna’ have their own version of the events where different people look like the reason and different people look like the bad guy. I’m just very grateful that eventually everyone was able to get past it for the most part.

Andy Scarpulla I’m on really good terms with Matt now and I pretty much remained friendly with everybody else after the breakup.

Matt Wechter As far as reconnecting with Dave and Andy and me and Paul and still being able to be friends and cool, that was important to me. It wasn’t easy.

Jon Collins Tear It Up without Matt wouldn’t be Tear It Up.

Andy Scarpulla He did all the booking, he did a lot of the writing.

Jon Collins Andy was very much the heart and soul of Tear It Up.

Matt Wechter Andy’s from the shore. He’s a shore kid all day, every day.

Jon Collins What I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that they’ve had a very lasting influence.

Dave Ackerman We weren’t not popular but it wasn’t like the scene died because we stopped playing.

Andy Scarpulla There was several waves believe it or not within that short time. There were times where we played New Jersey and nobody gave a shit about us and then there were times when we played New Jersey and we did fairly well. I think at first there was a big buzz about us in New Jersey and outside of New Jersey as well and I think in the middle period there was a lull and maybe near the end it was probably up and down.

Ken Ramsey It’s weird to think in your 20’s that some band is going to be this symbol of your youth. Like it’s going to somehow represent the high and lows of those years where everything is kind of in flux, but that was Tear It Up for me. You didn’t think that at the time. You just wanted to hang out with your friends and mosh and channel that negative energy that seemed to be always filling up to the brim.

John Devlin It was a lot of fun. It was totally different than Down In Flames, in that Down In Flames, I was the main battery of it. I got us the shows, it was my correspondence. I had to stay ahead of it. Tear It Up basically was, show up for practice and play the songs. In a way, it was a lot more fun than Down In Flames. I use that word “fun” in a very specific way, like riding a swing is fun. Life-wise, I’m much more proud of my time in Down In Flames because it was much more on my back.

Andy Scarpulla We were around a little over three years, which in punk and hardcore terms is like an eternity… 275 shows I think is the exact number not counting the reunion shows.

Matt Wechter We weren’t doing a band to just have fun. We did a band because it was a catharsis for what we needed. When you’re in your 20’s, it’s a different time. You got pressure on you to go make something of yourself or pressure on you to go to school. Pressure on you because the dude you went to high school with has a job and he’s getting married. You’re just trying to figure life out, man.