Thursday, April 6, 2017

Now More Than Ever: Your Next Sneak Peek

Jet lag is a weird thing. One wouldn't automatically assume that 3 hours, let alone 1 hour would make much a difference. Yet there I was trying to clumsily parallel park my rental car while spilling hot coffee all over myself. And there I was leaving my credit card in the machine at Trader Joes. And there I was bumping my knee, rambling on and on, mispronouncing words. Oh wait, I guess I'm always like that last part. Still jet lag or no, Paul D'Elia and I "kicked off" the design of this book last night. So that puts the hard shell of reality around this concept that just largely bounces around in my brain. With that, I figured I'd share some excerpts from another chapter. Enjoy!

PS: This damn thing is full of typos and sloppy formatting.

PPS: Again, please read and enjoy or roll your eyes, but please don't use this content for other purposes. Many thanks...

Now More Than Ever

What Happens Next?

Craig “Craigums” Billmeier (What Happens Next?) All the freaks, you know each other, you're probably still friends with most of them today. It seemed so music-oriented too, there might be a comic book artist in there too, but music was the culture that bound the misfits. This guy was more ambitious and he could play guitar. At this point, I knew chords and I can get around and stuff, this is maybe sophomore year. This guy we were friends with, he called me up one night and he’s like, “hey, my band’s playing on the quad” and the quad was like the big thing…“hey, my band’s playing on the quad in two months, I got us a date on the quad, do you want to play guitar with us?” “Absolutely, that’s awesome, that’s the big time.” He called up my friend Paul, “hey, my band’s playing on the quad, I want you to play bass with us.” He called this other guy who played drums, “hey, my band’s playing on the quad, I want you to play drums.” He cobbled together this band and that's the last that I hear of it. The night before that show he calls me like, “our show’s tomorrow, we gotta’ write some songs.” At that time, it wasn't unthinkable, it was just “okay, well I’ve written papers overnight, we’ll make a band overnight…Lunch is 35 minutes, so we wrote 45 minutes worth of songs, we play them all in 20 minutes twice as fast and just god awful…and that was my first show ever.

Devon Morf (What Happens Next?) Once I saw David Lee Roth on the Unchained video, that’s a live video of them playing at the Oakland Coliseum, I was like, I want to be the vocalist if I am in a band. When I saw Attitude Adjustment with Andy jumping around or SNFU playing and later Ray from Youth of Today, this was absolutely what I want to do, I want to be a front-person. I basically wanted to jump. I knew I didn’t have the best singing ability and I just wanted to jump as high as I could. So that was my reasoning for wanting to be a vocalist.

Max Ward (What Happens Next?, Scholastic Deth, 625 Thrashcore) I remember in grade school, sitting in front of my speakers with whatever I had, like two sticks or two things that I could kind hold in my hands, and trying to mimic what I was seeing at shows when people played fast. I was really into both Minor Threat and Troy of Seven Seconds. These are killer drummers, because on the records, you can hear how they’re playing and they played really hard…I got a drum set for my eighth-grade graduation, that would be ‘86. I was just copying what I was seeing, you know, play fast on the cymbal and hit the snare really fast and try and get your kick drum in there, maybe do a roll every now and then. I didn’t know what I was doing.

Robert Collins (What Happens Next?) I kinda’ got in backwards. I'd been touring for two years and playing in bands for three years before I had any idea about an actual larger community or larger scene and, as a result, missed a ton of shit.

Devon Morf I always wanted to be in a thrash band, but when you live in a small community the musicians are limited and the people with common interests are hard to find.

Danny (Buzzard) and I were just sitting around not knowing what to do. People thought we were brothers at the time, were both kind of chubby and had long brown hair. We were mutual friends with Andy Andersen, who was in Attitude Adjustment on the “American Paranoia” record. He saw us hanging out and we were clowning on him…he said, “what are you guys doing, you should be in a band together.” It was like an epiphany, we never thought of it. We were like, “oh yeah, you’re right,” so we formed a band and that was All You Can Eat.

It was a weird mix of people playing together, so the music came out just what it came out as. I was really into melodic hardcore like SNFU and the energy of it, so I was going for that. Whereas, Danny was really into Bad Religion at the time, they had just reformed. All You Can Eat is a strange band, but we would tour all over.

Robert Collins The idea of DIY networking and, not just going places, but connecting scenes and making connections between scenes where they hadn’t already existed - the things that All You Can Eat did are absolutely next level and completely and totally unparalleled. I don't think anybody has ever done it and I don't think anybody ever did it like them. With technology and communication the way it is now, nobody will ever do it again. They booked a three month, three continent tour through the mail. Literally getting dropped off at bus stations by people who didn't know the people in the next town that were going to pick them up and the only assurance you had was a letter that you had in your pocket that got mailed to you two months before.

Craigums Devon, I believe was the very center of all of the travel, the wanderlust. He was also working at Fat, he was Fat Mike's first employee…People started writing letters to Fat, like “hey, you should bring NOFX to wherever” and Devon responded to every single letter. Any time it was somebody from another country - again Devon's been tape trading with people across the world already for 10 years, at this point – he’s like “hey I’ve got a band too, All You Can Eat.” Then he starts sending demos out and just totally back-doored through Fat. The Fat offices had a fax machine, it was just Devon and Mike, so he's just amassing all these penpals all over the world.

Devon Morf That's always been part of my DNA basically. That's what I'm into. I’m into travel and history and networking. So it's been a part of all the bands I’ve been in and I think by default that carried on to both Craig and Robert because both Your Mother and Artimus Pyle were touring places like Australia and Japan.


Max Ward For me, I was still into powerviolence and obviously I was still playing in Spazz, but I most definitely wanted to do something different, which meant going well before powerviolence, going well before grindcore, going to that earlier moment in which punk was really fast and aggressive.

Craigums Max, he doesn’t play melodic stuff. He doesn’t play poppy catchy anything, he just plays brutal music.

Devon Morf The era of hardcore that I was really in was 85 to 87…85- 87 was when Italian and UK hardcore thrash and German was huge. I did a fanzine at the time called Wajlemac and I had a profound amount of pen pals. I was exchanging letters with Marco from Negazione and Jos from Larm. I was really into Heresy, Ripcord, Larm and Concrete Sox and Combat Not Conform and Squandered Message and No Allegiance. That was what I was into and that's the band I wanted to have in high school, but there was nobody else was into it. They were all into Slayer, Possessed, Destruction and The Clash and Television. So there was nobody that really shared my total enthusiasm for thrash. A lot of people liked crossover, they liked Crumbsuckers, DRI and whatnot, but I was kind of alone in my own thrash world in high school. I had hundreds and hundreds of pen pals and I would make compilation tapes of thrash bands, both metal and hardcore. It’s true, What Happens Next was the band that I always wanted to be in and Max too. We had talked for a long time for several years before the band started, saying we want to make a thrash band based on the 80s European hardcore style, where they basically heard Suicidal Tendencies and saw them and then threw in some SSD and DYS and other weird stuff and created their own thing. I can't be a hundred percent certain that we coined it, but I'm pretty sure Max was referring to it as bandanna thrash at the time. If you looked at old pictures of the 80s European hardcore bands, Larm and Negazione are all decked out in bandannas. It was more about the Euro co-opting of Southern Californian hardcore imagery that we based it on, rather than on American crossover or the Suicidal Cyco imagery.

Craigums You wanted to get back to what really meant something to you. This homogenized kind of pop punk didn’t and now we’re somehow associated with it. You just had the sense that you needed to distance yourself from it.

No secret, all of us have always been into really extreme, aggressive hardcore. If it was fast and angry, it could only be better if it’s faster and angrier.

Devon Morf Then at some point - Max is one of the busiest guys on earth - everything aligned and he said let’s do this band now. I talked to Craig, Craig was in and then we got Chuck from Good Riddance to play bass. Chuck was a big proponent of it too. He really wanted to do a similar thing, but he was actually bringing more of a Southern Californian bandana side of things to it. We were originally called Don't Be Mistaken. That was Chuck’s name.

Max Ward In fact, I think the first show that we played was under the name, Don't Be Mistaken, which is an Agression LP. That was supposed to be with Chuck from Good Riddance. Because Good Riddance was actually really active at the time and he couldn't participate, he actually didn’t play our first show. We played it as a three-piece without a bass. The next time that we played we said well let's keep it within the family. We’re not gonna’ go Don’t Be Mistaken because that didn't work, but we’ll do another Oxnard band, so we’ll do What Happens Next, which is the Ill Repute LP. We just did that, not really thinking that this band was going to do multiple records or do international tours or anything. We were just gonna’ be a project band and played a few shows under that name and recorded under that name, and then the name stuck. We were like, “damn, okay, well, I guess we’re now known as What Happens Next.

Craigums We only played 15 minutes and it was still like 10 songs. Hardly enough to break a sweat, but it was just all out and nobody even questioned that we didn’t have a bass player.

We had so much energy and so much fire. We couldn’t contain our energy and enthusiasm and passion for what was going on.

Max Ward I think on the first What Happens Next EP, there's credits that that will give Chuck credit for writing songs. We did a few practices and booked some studio time and then Chuck was busy with Good Riddance and couldn't do it. That's when Devon and Craig said, “hey, we know this guy Robert, who is super down and this great bassist, we should get him involved.” Robert came and learned only a few of the songs. On the first EP, Robert plays just a couple of the songs and then Craig, the guitarist, played the bass for the other songs.

Craigums He recorded the couple songs that he knew and I played bass on the rest on his bass, very difficult bass to play. I listen to some of the parts I’m playing and I can hear me trying to play his bass.

Max Ward All four of us were super, super active and all four of us were doing other things. Devon was running this label and store and Robert was playing in multiple bands and Craig was playing in multiple bands and I was planning multiple band and doing the label and we’re all working at Maximum Rock 'n' Roll or doing all this kind of stuff and booking shows. When we came together, everybody had experience on how to make a flyer, how to set up a show, how to set up a tour, how get a practice space…When it was decided that Robert was in the band, that was it. It was on. Robert had the van, great bassist and had all these good riffs. Craig had these solos. It was just on when we all came together.

Craigums Devon had all the lyrics except for the theme song, later dubbed What Happens Next…We all sat down in the studio, we already had the music, alright we need lyrics for this – thrashcore. Of course, that was the song we came to regret because it was such a pigeonhole kind of song. Now we’re stuck with being flannel’d skateboarder circle pitters. We want to be known for a little bit more, particularly Devon and Max who had such an academic or intellectual approach to subject matter…I remember us sitting in a circle in a control room, “thrashcore” “long hair, short hair” – Robert and I had long dreads at that time - and “it all fits.” Very off-the-cuff…It was just very superficial. Okay, we like skating, we wear flannels, we love circle pits (because circle pits had kind of gone the way of floorpunching and kickboxing), inclusionary, “it all fits, what happens next, what happens next.”

Devon Morf We weren’t taking it serious and then other people were really going with it.

Craigums What Happens Next had a very easy image to adopt and it was also derivative of past successful imagery. A skull with a flipped-up cap. A skull and flipped-up cap, put them together, it was like peanut butter and jelly. Throw a skateboard in there. It was pretty easy to adopt and draw on your notebook. I'm sure that helped in a lot of ways.

Devon Morf That’s what we looked like in high school.

Craigums Once we did the bandannas, the flipped-up caps, and after a year or something, we started seeing a few more people (wearing them). Then you see people behaving in a way that is unbecoming of how you behave, looking like you, you realize, I don't need to perpetuate this anymore. I can go back to being something that’s a little more me.

Devon Morf I think we wore the bandanas for a while. For me, I don’t have much hair, so it kept the sweat out of my eyes.

Robert Collins I think the one thing that set “Thrash2K” (how I refer to it in hindsight) apart was the lyrics and content. So many of those bands not only had lyrics that were meaningful and not just empty “yay, the scene” but some dark, heavy subject matter. That doesn't mean the music was necessarily dark, or necessarily negative. You still got your mosh part and you still got your breakdown, you still got the “go” before the guitar break, but there’s still heavy shit. I’ve talked about this with Devon before, the only thing that was disappointing to most of the people in What Happens Next about the imagery that we got saddled with – that’s on us, we did it and were never able to get away from it – is there were certain people that were like “yeah, fuckin’ bandanas, flipped up hats, BMX bikes, skateboards, yeah cool I get it,” but read Devon’s lyrics - he's talking about really, really heavy stuff.

Devon Morf Most of the lyrics I wrote, a lot of them have basis in Buddhism, military history and scene politics. Mostly trying to negate the negative repetitive cycle of destruction that can happen in the DIY punk scene, trying to have a more positive attitude and think about your actions before you do something detrimental.

Craigums I’d follow Devon anywhere because I thought his lyrics were just some of the best. He could tell great stories…a song like “Red Lights, Tin Roofs,” talking about prostitution in these impoverished areas, he was able to the paint these vivid pictures and do it in such a way that was so engaging. It wasn't just like putting decapitated body on record cover, it was a little more cerebral than that, or a lot more cerebral.

Devon Morf There is a photo Craig has somewhere of me in the studio literally surrounded by stacks of notebooks and then history books, cookbooks, just a huge array of reference material to write lyrics. I was often writing lyrics in the studio. Even though it's not the most deep What Happens Next song, “Thrashcore and circle pits,” that was written on the spot by all four of us in around 30 seconds. It’s ironic that that became some anthem. I’m not a musician so I really can't tell you too much about what they do, it’s all magic to me. They just finish the songs and tell me to yell over them, that’s what they do, that’s always been the case.

Robert Collins From the word go, Devon was singing songs in other languages and putting shout outs in songs that were on records to penpals that he had in different parts of the world. I don't think we as a band really grasped the impact it did have in some parts of the world until Conquest For Death. We went to Southeast Asia in 2008 and we played with half a dozen different bands that played What Happens Next covers and we did not once feel like they had learned those covers just so they could play with us. They were a part of their sets already and this is 10 years later.

Max Ward We put out the first EP and it sold out immediately. I was like, I'll press up more. We pressed up more. Then Robert’s like, “hey, I was in Chicago and we saw Anton from Underestimated and he wants What Happens Next to play Chicago Fest.” We’re like, whoa, this isn‘t going to be like we’re just the opening band at Gilman, but we can go out there. We were writing new songs and we were recording for the 10 inch and it just took off.

Max Ward That was the moment when I realized, man, people have actually bought our record and listened to it.

Craigums I don't think we knew our show was gonna’ be as raucous as it was. I don’t think we realized that that many people had heard the records.

Max Ward The EP went out and it was at the time that Deranged put out the DS13 LP and it fit in at this moment where there was all this other stuff. So all of a sudden people started asking can you play this show, do you want to contribute a song to this compilation, do you want to do a split EP? We’re like, we’ll do it, we’ll do it, we’ll do it and next thing you know, you look back two or three years later, and you go damn, this actually turned into something much bigger than what we ever anticipated.


Robert Collins We did four tours, we did Japan in 2000, we did the US 2001, we went to Brazil in 2002, we went to Europe in 2003. Outside of tours, little weekend trips down to LA, which we did a lot of.

Devon Morf It’s truly difficult and you really had to of messed up entirely to not have a great time in Japan and not see great bands while you are there.

Max Ward By that point we had been in contact with bands like Crucial Section and LiE and Flash Gordon and Razor’s Edge in Osaka and these bands and these areas and, so I think we were drawn to this idea of let's see if we can do this.

Craigums I remember before Japan, I was like I want to go to Japan and I want to start my own trend. I’m gonna wear Hawaiian shirts. Who wear’s Hawaiian shirts? I went there and it was fucking Hawaiian shirt month! LiE, Flash Gordon, they were wearing Hawaiian shirts! As far as tapping into a collective consciousness, that was that! I got it, I nailed it that time!

Robert Collins We almost had to cancel the Japanese tour because Craig broke his fuckin’ wrist the day before skateboarding. We left for tour and his hand was bandaged up on the airplane.

Devon Morf I remember playing at the Fandango and I accidentally threw the mic into the crowd and somebody took it home and I had to pay for the mic. The sound guy was very, very pissed off at me…I wasn’t throwing out souvenirs. I was really surprised that the mic didn’t come back.

Max Ward Now the interesting thing is, when we came back from Japan, we not necessarily burned out, but I think we've been going for so long and doing so many recordings and playing so many shows and all this kind of stuff that, I know personally speaking, that I was kind of burned out. We kind of took a hiatus and we didn’t know if we were going to continue, but then the US tour came about because Lifes Halt actually contacted us. Lifes Halt was like let’s do a US tour together. We hadn’t written anything new, we hadn’t practiced for a long time until Lifes Halt said, let's do this. It was as much of an interest to do the US tour as it was to actually tour with Lifes Halt. When all of us said, “wait, we get to see Lifes Halt every single night?” We were like okay, dust off the instruments, let's make this happen.

Devon Morf Brazil came about because Max was in contact with Mozine from Laja Records, he’s in Mukeka di Rato, he invited us down. He released a Brazilian pressing of What Happens Next, a compilation of What Happens Next songs.

Max Ward They had hired a van and drivers to take us and they took Mukeka di Rato, Discarga and us on the road. After we were done playing we would hop in the van and these two hired drivers would drive us 8 to 10 hours to the next town.

Robert Collins We played a couple of big festivals there, and they do like to go “Hey! Hey! Hey!” during the breakdowns… Do not think for a second that we are not smart enough to engineer certain parts to mix in the “Hey! Hey! Heys!” because it feels really cool when there is a few thousand people chanting that at you.

Devon Morf We had some great shows there, amazing people, amazing turn-outs, amazing bands. Every time we go back, whatever band that goes back, it's like a continuing saga, people will be like, “I saw What Happens Next, I’ve seen Conquest for Death. Some people have seen every band, All You Can Eat, What Happens Next, Conquest for Death.

Craigums On the last stretch from our last show back to where we were staying, they rented us another van. The driver and Mozine pulled over at a gas station and Mozine bought the driver some drinks. They have a bar in the gas station, which seems like the worst combination of two things in one store. It was as scary a time as I've ever been in, in a vehicle driving on those windy roads on hillsides through fog, where you can’t see more than maybe 30 feet in front of you. We know that the driver is with his brand-new fiancé because they kept breaking away, presumably to consummate their relationship and she's in the front seat.

Devon Morf
These kids, I think they had come all the way down from Brasília, they were just scared shitless. There were all these young straight edge kids and they knew this driver was probably hammered by this point. He managed the car fine, but we were trying to maintain our composure, like “no, no, no this is fine, nothing’s gonna happen, don't worry about it,” but really we’re going what the fuck are we doing, why are we on this bus?”

Craigums All You Can Eat had been there and it was really rough. It was a dangerous place to visit. We made some very good friends in that first trip, which was 20 years ago that we’re still friends with today. Then coming with What Happens Next, it was a little less. There were vegan restaurants and there was definitely infrastructure in place when we came back for that.

Robert Collins Some of the roads were shitty, well guess what, some of the roads in Detroit are shitty.

Craigums Then fast forwarding even until Conquest For Death going, it’s a totally different place now. It's a lot like touring the States. It has that feel like you're going from one community to the next and everyone's aware…a lot of the same bands are doing a lot of the same circuit. It's changed a lot. That first year we got shot at twice. Our car I think got hit one time with bullets. It was a sketchy time to be there. From that perspective, things changed, but it's always been very passionate audiences in Brazil.

Devon Morf Craig and I beat each other up a lot, we were kicking each other off stage. I think that’s when we stopped doing that because I think I cracked one of his ribs and knocked him unconscious or something. He’s actually been knocked unconscious by me a lot, so that’s when I started realizing I should probably not do that to him.

Craigums He's knocked me out numerous times, he’s broken ribs, he’s fucked me up pretty bad…The show must go on. It never, ever turned dark, ever.

Robert Collins I don’t think we ever did a tour in which Craig didn’t get seriously injured right before or during the tour.


Devon Morf Max is a very efficient and organized individual that chooses what he wants to do selectively and with a lot of reason, so things move forward very quickly and not haphazardly. Everything happened really fast. I think we were only together for four or five years but it flew by and I didn't really reflect too much on it at the time. I mean, I believe it was magical. We made immense amounts of friends that we still hang out with and talk to, to this day.

Craigums The dude is just a force…he thinks about all of it, all of the time. He thinks about it very deeply. He has a superficial reaction to it, a personal, visceral reaction to it.

Devon Morf Max is a machine, so he was the primary composer and riff master. He came up with stuff all the time. He never stopped.

Craigums I write poppy stuff...what I would envision as something “hooky.” Max, upon hearing that, a hundred percent of the time, will say change that last chord to make it a dissonant progression.

He was in Spazz, which immediately took off and immediately got out of their grasp. It just grew bigger than they had ever wanted and got crowds that they didn't care for. I think he was super reluctant to ever let that happen again. And What Happens Next quickly had that potential.

Devon Morf Max put off the tour of Europe for a while. He wanted to go when things had cooled down a little bit. People were really chomping at the bit for a long time for us to go. He didn't want to be on the hype train.

Craigums Devon and I had spent at this point, he and I together, with Robert to a certain extent too, 10 years avoiding Europe because it was the cliché that bands tour in Europe and we didn't want to follow that route. We had done a pretty good job of going to every place, but Europe.

It immediately became evident why bands go to Europe. We started in Germany and you're fed, you’re housed. There's a whole system in place that's just there and you plug right into it.

Devon Morf I think going to Europe, from the get go, we knew that we were winding down.

Craigums We knew from the beginning that we were going to end with No Cash, No Thrash.

Max Ward We were kind of like playing with everything. All the crossover bands that we really liked in the 80s, what did they do? Well, they sold out. They went more metal and they sold out for money.

We specifically went to Shaun (Filley), who drew that first 7”, and were “hey Shaun, we’re gonna’ do a fake sellout record, so we want money signs in our eyes, we want us counting money, we want super-expensive merchandise.” Obviously, we never did any of that, nor raised our prices, nor played lame clubs or anything like that.

Robert Collins An extra irony is that we did have sweatpants on the tour and I believe sweatpants were on the merch board in the artwork.

We had that record and the European 7” were recorded around the same time. Craig was recording in his home studio at that point. So he recorded those the last two, everything else was recorded by Bart. We had them both for European tour and I don't remember the numbers exactly but the tour was nine weeks and we sold like a shitload in the first three weeks of the tour, so much that we arranged to get more of them because they were selling really well and whatever the number we sold in the first three weeks of that tour, we sold less than half that many for the last six weeks of the tour because word got out that it was a joke, sellout record and nobody wanted it.

Max Ward I don't mean to be tooting our own horn but I had a lot of fun playing those speed metal songs. I actually thought the songs were pretty damn good for being us joking around in a practice space, even though the whole idea was we’re going to create a fake sellout record.

Robert Collins You go back and revisit it, it fuckin’ rips!

Devon Morf I had grown my hair out, to have a red mohawk at the time. At some of the  shows, I came out as Wez from The Road Warrior get up with shoulder pads and shin guards and stuff. We had a lot of fun with the tour. At the Swiss Italian border, there was G8, one of those big protests going on in one of the countries, and the police stopped me because they thought my shoulder pads and stuff was riot gear to fight the cops. Our tour promoter explained that I was a football player and I like to train even on the off seasons so I brought this stuff on vacation with me. The guard was drunk, so finally agreed and let me go.

Craigums “Oh I hear this straight edge hardcore band’s coming through. What’s this dirt bag with a beard and who’s this other guy who looks like Wez from Road Warrior?”

Max Ward We were playing with killer bands and playing killer venues and seeing all these really creative projects in which people were trying to set up their own shows. These squats that had been around for decades, that were fully functional community centers that had nothing to do with the state or making a profit or any business, that stuff was completely inspirational. There was really good politics and there was great vegan food every night.

Robert Collins There was a show in Poland where someone reached up and grabbed Devon by the nuts and threw him onto the ground, but that was just somebody getting wild at a show.

Devon Morf It was a long tour. Max wasn't really into it. He was reading books every moment he got. We still had some great times together and some great shows.

Max Ward I made their lives miserable on this tour. I felt so bad that everybody was having fun and we’re playing great shows, we’re playing with great bands, but I had already made the decision to enter into graduate school and there was all the stuff that I needed to do to prepare. I told them “I can't go on this tour but I fully support you guys getting another drummer.” They were like, “no no no, we gotta go as this.” So I went not being into it. I went saying, “okay well, let's do this, it will be fun,” but my heart wasn't into it. By that point, we weren’t wearing bandannas and flannels and flipped up hats. Craig was probably wearing his regular Hawaiian shirt. Robert’s got this massive beard and wearing Willie Nelson shirts. I mean, we were just being who we were and people were actually troubled by that or they were critiquing, “we thought you were like this crossover band.”

Robert Collins Max was doing the next level in his studies. He spent most the Euro tour buried in books in the back of the van. Not like he wasn't having fun at the shows. That band had never done a tour anywhere near that long and we shouldn't of done a tour that long.

Max Ward I didn’t know that I was setting myself up for such a crisis of faith.

Because my heart wasn't into it, I latched onto all these kinds of negative aspects that I saw about only a very small minority of people trying to understand what category we could fit in now of what they were seeing, which departed from the early What Happens Next records. I was just over it. I was like, oh my god, we were part of this early scene of thrash revival and people are still using the stupid term “bandanna thrash,” and I'm personally friggin’ responsible for this stupid term, screw all this, this is done and this is over. I feel so bad because I was this negative dark cloud on that tour, while everybody else was having fun.

Craigums We knew it, we saw it, the writing was on the wall. I'd much rather we remain friends than try and push something.

Max Ward When we’re at the airport and we’re all getting ready to fly back to the US, I told them “hey, I’m out, this was it.” We got back to the US and we had two more shows.

Devon Morf He gave us the option to go on without him, but he was such a crucial component of the band that none of us had any concept or desire to go on with somebody else. I would just feel sorry for whoever took over the drum stool because everybody would forever be coming up, giving that person demo tapes and asking him Spazz questions, it would've been really horrible.


Robert Collins The last show that we played at Gilman was epic. It was fan-fucking-tastic. The last show that we played in LA, the show itself was very epic. It was great, Conga Fury and Chainsaw from Japan were playing. It was awesome, but our set wasn't the same…there were equipment problems and other things that can make a set frustrating. Because we knew it was the last show but didn’t announce that it was the last show, when things keep breaking and stuff keeps not working and you know it’s your last show, there’s a part of you that’s like, “god, that can this just be over with?” …As far as the crowd and everything else, it was great. Half the reason stuff was breaking was because we were getting mobbed the whole time.

Max Ward We didn't really announce It. We didn't say hey this is our last show. We didn’t tell our friends that it was our last show, but we all knew.

Craigums Personally, I didn't need that closure, I want to have that conduit open for things to happen and reasons to hang out.

Max Ward For me, that was kind of like the last chapter of my involvement in the punk scene, which had gone on 20 years by that point.

Craigums It was a good run. We did way more than we (set out to do). It started as a side project with a small amount of kitsch to it and it blossomed into something that was really fun and active and rewarding.

Robert Collins Bands can very easily devolve to a point of bad blood or resentment this one never did.

Devon Morf Conquest For Death formed with my friend Kiku and I. This is an ironic twist, Kiku was the drummer for Assfort and then later Charm. Max moved to Tokyo and took over playing drums for Charm and then Kiku ended up playing drums for Conquest For Death.

Craigums Conquest for Death really strove to spend more time discussing international elements, right down to the band being people from different countries.

Devon Morf Max has played with Conquest For Death too. He played one show with us and we did no What Happens Next songs. Only a few people recognized what was going on.

Every member of What Happens Next has been in Conquest For Death. There’s 12 members of Conquest For Death located in three different countries and whoever can make the tour, makes the tour.

Max Ward I was a drummer in a punk band or multiple punk bands, but I wasn't musician per se because I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Devon Morf It's heartwarming and really moving to know that something that I did with my friends, which was basically just to have fun really and have a positive attitude and travel the globe affected people in a way that I never contemplated.

I sometimes get some really amazing messages that kinda blow your mind. When you get a photo over the internet where a young Filipino couple living in the United Arab Emirates send you a picture of their sons Devon and Max, you're kind of taken aback.

Craigums This is all about travel and global community and this is how fights end, when you find your similarities. This is how schisms end, by finding a common ground and we were finding people with common ground all over the world.

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