Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Thrashwagon: An Explanation for Procrastination

If you are just tuning in, here’s the deal: I’m putting together a book on the late 90s/early 00s wave of thrashcore bands. Thrash revival. Y2K thrash. Whatever name you want to give it. My main activity over the past two years (and especially this year) has been collecting interviews for an oral history of the time period. I’ve done more than 100 interviews with people from more than a dozen different countries. I’m also counting on the book being highly visual as well, my hopes in capturing some of the incredible art and photography of the era. Consider yourself up to speed…

What the hell’s been going on? After a month of not much, I wanted to check-in with all the moshers out there about the state of this project. Well, we’re moving into Phase II. If Phase I was interviews, Phase II is doing something with all that content. I guess Phase III could be considered layout and design. Phase IV is publication. All of that should be easy, right? All that’s left is the doing. And where is a pile of blankets that I could hide under?

Let’s re-cap. Undoubtedly 2016 has been a success. I gave myself through the summer to do interviews and, with some exceptions, I achieved what I committed to doing. In January, I sat down with my old buddy Matt Molnar to talk about Dead Nation and the enormous contribution he made to the style on the east coast. I could go on and on about the Dead End LP and the following Painless EP, but I’m pretty sure you are already aware of their value. At the time, my interview with Matt was the longest one I had done, just over 3 hours. Later that winter, 138 from DS-13 (and ETA and Bruce Banner) and I sat down on opposite sides of the globe over Skype (both in the midst of a blizzard) and hashed out his experiences and perspective. I also pulled a triple-header of separate interviews with three members of Vitamin X all in one day. I made trips to Philly to link up with members of RAMBO; to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to talk with Brad from The Gatecrashers, and finally to fucking Barcelona to meet with members of E-150. All the while, I kept a steady stream of mostly international interviews going. Summer saw things picking up steam when none other than DS-13 found their way to American shores for a week long blast of shows. I caught three and managed some great in-person interviews with the guys. As far as players from North America, I had some great conversations with the incomparable Tony Erba of Nine Shocks Terror and Gordon Solie Motherfuckers (to name only a few); a Skype chat with Max Ward (625, What Happens Next, Scholastic Deth) all the way in Japan; an evening hangout in Montclair, New Jersey with Jon Collins of Dead Alive/Manic Ride Records; and a record-breaking 3.5 hour interview with Nate Wilson of Gloom Records and Das Oath (and so much more). A personal favorite of mine was speaking with Félix Reyes from Lifes Halt. And speaking of Lifes Halt, I also spoke with John Westbrook, Noel Sullivan and the elusive Ernesto Torres from this legendary band. That was a fucking summer! And it wasn’t over…

In August, I leveraged the company I work for having an office in San Francisco and roadie duties for Government Flu’s west coast tour for an opportunity to spend a few days in the Bay Area interviewing folks. Not only did I score 11 interviews, a suitcase full of art, flyers and photos from Ernesto, and an incredible late night photo review with Robert Collins (What Happens Next), I also hit interview 100 with the amazing Karoline Collins and, and, and shattered my previous record with a six hour long hang out that yielded 4+ hours of content with the man of many talents (seen and unseen), Craigums (What Happens Next).*

So where does this leave things? Welp – Phase II will commence shortly with the massive, MASSIVE transcription of nearly 200 hours of audio content. Anyone know any good (read, cheap) transcription services?  Seriously. This one detail is probably the most daunting and frightening of all. After that, it’s time to build the narrative of the book. This will go hand in hand with weekly interviews with a random assortment of important folks I left out, plus some email interviews here and there.

Now speaking of interviews, I also mentioned that there were some major omissions. I’ve only just cracked open interviewing people in Japan. The contribution of the Japanese scene to the era I’m covering cannot be overstated. My hope is to devote an entire month to collecting interviews this winter. Ditto Brazil. Aside from that, my goal is to capture additional interviews with people from Limp Wrist, Municipal Waste, Nine Shocks Terror, Deadfall, Spazm 151, Betercore, Point of Few, The Horror, Hero Dishonest, Dead Stop and a few others. If I called your name, get in touch, please!

That’s where we stand as of October 11, 2016. Thanks to all the people that gave me their time and shared their stories with me. And thanks, as always, to you for reading, paying attention, encouraging me and kicking my ass into gear. More soon…

*I must confess that jet lag made this entire experience somewhat surreal, I stayed focused for the entire session, but when I wasn’t rambling about odd coincidences and similarities between Craig and I, I was marveling at how the light in his living room made him look like a completely different human being. Thanks to him and his family’s hospitality, I was able to stumble into their extra bedroom to crash when I eventually turned into a fucking pumpkin.

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