Bane has been a little less active lately. What have you been doing with yourself?
Not a lot for the winter. I mean, it's been a slow, slow winter. We've done a total of two shows since our tour ended in November. So, that's longer than I've been home in a stretch for like three years. There's not a lot to report as far as what I've been doing. I've just been in Boston. It was a brutal winter up here and I kind of just got...I'd say even a dose of seasonal depression. I was locked in the house, my sleep schedule was all fucked up. I wasn't really DJing, I was losing a ton of money playing poker on line. It was kind of a dark winter but now that's starting to come to an end. Bane's got some stuff lined up and I'm going to do some DJing. The sun's coming out, my sleep schedule's not so bad. Hopefully things are going to get moving, I'm going to feel a little more inspired and energized, hopefully. This was a bad winter for sure.
What does Bane stand for in 2011?
I was wish I had some snappy answer for that one. It's hard for me to even put my finger on where Bane is at right now because everyone is off scattered in different places, in different directions. It's been real hard for us to get our line up real solid and it's been hard just to get everybody on the same page. I think it's a little bit of a result of last year being such a busy year for Bane. We did six tours last year, one of them was over two months long. It's not a secret that we're all getting a little bit older. Some of the guys have kids now, most of the guys are in serious relationships and have houses and things. They really tore themselves away from all of that for the better part of last year and a better part of 2009. So, once the last tour ended in November we knew that we were going to kind of walk away and see where we ended up after the winter. We're still sort of picking up the pieces and figuring it out right now. We don't seem, to me, as motivated as I would like us to be so I can't even lay out to you what are the goals for the next year of Bane. We've talked about a bunch of different things. Some of them are coming together slowly. Is there going to be another Bane record? Is there going to be ever another year, like we had last year, where we go real fucking hard? I just can’t say right now. I know that we're going to Krazy Fest in June. We're going to do a week out there. We're going to do some other fests. We're going to get to play This Is Hardcore. I hope we're going to get to go to Sound and Fury. Some Long Island Fest hollered at us, I think we're going to do that. But, if you asked me this question last year, I could have talked your ear off about all the things we had on tap. Now, things are a little blurry. I hope, at the minimum, by the end of this year we have a new 7” out and little bit of gas left in the tank. I'm just not sure.
What do people misperceive about Bane?
It's hard because people think a lot of different things about us. If there's one thing it's that we still sort of get lumped in with this whole “posi”, “youth crew”, people use the words “old school” a lot. There's a lot of those types of easy labels that I've never felt super comfortable with. I know that in the beginning we attached ourselves to Straight Edge and there were some X's on some of our stuff. I had some lyrics that mentioned Straight Edge and that has definitely followed us for years, even though by 1998 we had members that were no longer Straight Edge. We tried to move ourselves away from it. There's a lot of misconceptions about this band and it's kind of hard for me to address them all. One of the things is that people seem to think we have this one message This one vibe that they get from Bane. If you are really around us for long enough and you get to know us, you'll see it's really hard for even us to agree on anything, on any of our influences, on any of our attitudes. Some of us are very positive, some of us take things very hard. When a band exists as long as we have, you're not about one thing anymore. You're just about five guys just trying to make a band stay alive. I don't think you can do that if everybody stands for one thing. Another misconception is people are always asking us if this is the last tour. There's always been rumors for years and years about the ending of Bane which is something that, to be honest, is something that we talk about internally almost never. There's never been a talk about our last show or when we're going to break up. We're not there yet. A lot of people have talked to us saying “hey, I heard this is the end, this is the last time you're coming to this city. Blah, blah,blah.” It hasn't been true yet, that's a definite misconception is that people seem to think we're right on the verge of ending. I'm still ready, I still love it. Those are the first misconceptions that jump into my head but for sure there's a million more. It's hard to try to keep up with everybody's crazy fucking opinions nowadays. I try very hard not to get wrapped up in it. I don't read message boards, I've read the B9 maybe three times total. I pay very little attention to what the crowd has to say about our band or about hardcore in general. Most of it is negative and just pisses me off. I could give a fuck about what people think.
Since you wrote that song have you seen hardcore “start again”?
Yeah, probably six or seven different times. You've been around long enough to understand. It seems like things go in cycles. The young kids will grab onto something and it can be very beautiful. The turn around of these new movements or styles, a lot of that stuff changes within a matter of a few years. I would say probably even he last five or six years, I've had a really good feeling about hardcore, about how many good, young bands there are, about attitudes. Bands have had more things to say on stage. There seems to be people who put themselves out there a little more than in the early 2000s. I feel like it just keeps getting reborn in different ways. I wouldn't say that if I go back to where my head was at when I wrote that song, things haven't changed overall that drastically. We still have a lot of the same problems that we always had and a lot of the same beautiful aspects to the scene that have been there before I came along.
How do you look back on that record?
I think we did three 7”s that were all pretty safe. Musically, they were pretty standard charged hardcore. Then, we got Nick Branigan, he hadn't jammed on any of them. He came in right before our first tour and he was the guy who brought a lot of different musical tastes to the table. He was inspired. He was a very creative guy. I think we felt a little invincible based on how well received the first three 7”s were. Holding this moment definitely put us on the map and a lot of people were into it. So when it was time to write out first record, we were young and cocky. I think we kind of attacked it with this reckless abandon. When I look back on that record I can't believe how long the fucking songs are, how many parts there are. It's a very ambitious record for a bunch of dudes that had never made an LP before. It's funny because if you look at Give Blood, we scale everything back. We kind of realized that these songs aren't even really fun to play live. Let's make a more stripped down, easily manageable hardcore record. It All Comes Down to this is just to me young guys who felt no fear, who just did not care because we hadn't fucked up yet. We hadn't done anything that people hadn't completely celebrated. We went in thinking that whatever we did kids were going to love and it's my least favorite of the records for a bunch of different reasons but I always get siked when kids tell me that that record meant something to them. There are kids that probably that's their favorite Bane record. As much as I disagree, I think it's an awesome thing for kids to feel because we put a lot of ourselves into that record. We worked really hard on it, just didn’t know how execute it correctly.
Hardcore at that time was looking pretty dark, how do you think it started to turn around?
AN came along and gave the whole scene a good kick in the ass. They just timed it so perfectly. They were needed at that time so, so badly. Those bands that followed were great bands. They just upped the energy in hardcore, the creativity, the passion just got kicked up after they showed up. I think that even though they are celebrated they are still underrated on how important and how great they were.
What is going on with your DJing?
I've been into drum and bass quietly in my own room for years and years. Finally, just a few years ago, I started getting to DJ out. It didn't turn into anything big and steady. It's been really hard for me to get my foot into that scene. That scene is a lot more closed off and cliquey. It's sort of the opposite of everything that I've always loved about punk and hardcore. You're not accepted based on who you are or what's in your heart. It's way more about who you know. It's just really closed off, everybody's territorial. It's just not inviting, whereas in punk rock it's just an inviting thing. If people in the scene feel like you're there for the right reasons and want to contribute, they can't embrace you quick enough. They go out of their way to help you. Bane has always very much about that as far as kids or other band or whatever. We're all in this together. This scene is like they don't call you back, they don't give a shit how much you want to be out there doing things. They just don't care. They feel like everything that you do takes away from them. It's been hard for me and I don't really like to play that game so I've just been taking what I can, when I can. I can't really get out there and suck these guys dicks and try really hard to be a bigger name in the Boston electronic music scene. I don't want to be around them that much. For the most part it's something I do on my own, in my bedroom. I will make a mix everyonce in a while and give it to my friends or post it online. Every once in a while I'll get to do a gig. I'll actually get to spin in Providence this Saturday. It'll be the first time I've spun out in weeks, probably been two months now. It's definitely not looking like something I’ll be able to segue happily into after Bane is done because there's just so much attitude and ego. There are times when I think “fuck it”, I should take it to the next level and like just go over all of these people's heads and just start my own scene where it's about the attitude that's missing there. I should fill that void and find the young djs, the young kids that are as hyped about electronic music as I was about Youth of Today when I was a kid and give them a scene. Give them a place to come and dj and feel like they're a part of something that's energized, positive and happy as opposed to a bunch of drugged out, older dudes that are super territorial and suspicious, in it for reasons that have nothing to do with why I love the music. So, sometimes I think about that. Fuck man , I should just network, build the scene here in Boston that I want to exist. I want it to be about the music and the excitement of kids who are a siked on this as I was when I was getting into punk rock. Electronic music is huge right now. There's a style of music called dub step that is massive, killing it everywhere. College kids, high school kids are so siked on it. There's no 18+ night for that here in Boston? I've been thinking a little bit about that. We'll see what's going to happen with that.
Do you ever think about what you'd be doing instead of Bane, about what else you could have done?
That's the big question. There was a time when I just couldn't even envision it. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I wasn't the singer of bane and didn't have that outlet. Bane has brought me all over the world. I've been able to meet so many good people and have so many strong friendships in far off places because of the band. There was a time where the thought of losing all that horrified me but now that we really are coming very, very close to the end I've had to try to answer that question. What am I going to do? What is it going to be like? I hope I'm just going to feel a little bit freed up. If I wanted to move to LA or I wanted to move to London or if I just got sick of being around here for whatever reason I could just take a bigger leap and sort of do whatever the hell I want. I can't get too caught up or dragged into something because Bane will always be the first priority and I've never been one to say no to shows or say “I need a break”. That's never been me. I've always wanted to be very available, even on very short notice to get in the van and go. With that obligation lifted I'd like to think I'll find something. I don't know what it's going to be, I really don't. I feel like I can think on my feet, I'm pretty creative, I've made a ton of good friends because of the band and hopefully I will find something that will keep me fulfilled creatively and keep me on the move. I don't want to just rot away in my apartment or get in some long term relationship that I can't get out of. I want to stay on the move the way I've been for fifteen years now. I don't know what that thing is going to be that's going to give me that same feeling that Bane has given me. I mean maybe I'll roadie for bands or tour manage or something, I don't know. I'm really not sure. Like I said, this year is starting to come together slowly and it looks like I don't have to face that question for at least another year. There's been mutterings of writing an LP. The only reason to do that is because we were going to stay a band for a while. I'm not trying to drop an LP and then break up. The reason I write songs is to play them live. That's the ultimate reason for me to make music. If we were going to do that it would be because we have a renewed commitment to things which I would love. It's just been so little move forward with anything lately, it's hard to imagine it'll happen. We'll see. There's no talk about Bane breaking up. I just recognize we're getting older. I don't want to be that band that doesn't recognize that they're up there way past their prime, that don't know how dumb they really look. I want to stay relevant, I want to still be able to bring it live. I just don't know how much longer we can really do that. We toured Europe in November and I can say with full confidence that we were killing it. We were playing some of the best shows that we've ever played. I still feel like for whatever fucking miracle of a reason, we can still do this as a hardcore band and still be explosive on stage. As long as we can maintain that, I'm ready to keep going. I don't want to be the band that has lost not a step but like fifty steps and just doesn't know it yet. I don't want to turn into an embarrassment. That worries me. I have a few different friends in a few different corners of the world, one of them lives in the room next to me, who has promised to tap me on the shoulder and tell me when it's done. “Alright, you look like a fucking fool up there, it's time to pull the plug.”
Do you ever consider starting another band?
Sometimes, I have, when there's been some lulls. I've just been like if I could just find some young kids that wanted to start a different band, that just have that full blown energy and go, go, go that Bane used to have. I feel I would have been happier in that situation with young kids. Even if it meant way less kids at shows. It would mean starting over but if with that came a new found energy for touring and playing shows and putting out songs. A lot of that stuff Bane doesn't do often enough in my opinion. I used to entertain the thought of doing that but it's hard. It's hard to find four or even three other dudes that are just real committed and serious about it. I wouldn't want to start just like some little side project that did shows everyone once in a while or whatever. I don't think I would want to do that. I'd love to get in a time machine and go back to the days where Bane was just hungry, ready to play any basement, anywhere for a hundred bucks. I would love to have that attitude back.
You are known for what you have to say on stage, have you ever regretted what you've said?
I tend to just ramble on and just shoot from the hip both on stage and in interviews. I never come with some stock answer prepared. I never give any thought to what I'm going to say on stage because it's just going to come out insincere. I always feel it's just like jumping off a cliff and hoping I'm going to land on my feet. There's many, many times when I have not done that. Years ago I did an interview at Hellfest for some Boston chick, I can't remember her name. She asked me what it felt like to be a part of the hardcore scene at that time when Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Fastbreak and Floorpunch had this great scene up in the north east. Bane was very much a part of that scene. I told her that looking back on it I remember feeling a little bit disappointed at how little we were all really doing to change things. There were all these bands and there were so many kids that loved all of these bands. The shows in and around Boston, the highlight being Ten Yard Fight's last show. Thousands of kids showed up for a hardcore show. You could talk between songs and every kid would hang on your every word. A lot of the bands just didn't have much to say beyond the very generic, safe things that all of the bands in the late 80s had said before and all of those bands turned their back on what they were standing for. I wish that we could have taken it to a next level. It was at the time when there were a lot of bands that were just singing about suicide and about girls. It was just that time in hardcore when things were a little bit darker and it felt like there was a little less positive energy around. I was saying that I was young when I felt that way and now I'd do anything to go back to having even just the vibe of Straight Edge and positivity and brotherhood, no one even sings about that anymore. Really my answer was at the time, when those bands were around, I was wishing it was different but now I wish it was back to the way it was then because now is even worse. She somehow, whatever she did with the words, it came out like I was talking shit about In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight- these bands that were made up of very good friends of mine and a lot of their feelings got really hurt. Some of those dudes came at me in e-mails saying “what the fuck, I thought you were my friend. How dare you say what my band meant to me.” It really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and it caused me to write the first song on The Note. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda was about that whole thing, me having to realize that some times you say things and you have to really think about how they are going to effect people. I have to go back and explain to all of them that my words were kind of misconstrued and my intentions were not at all to be hurtful or judgmental At that time, when Bane was only 3 years old, I had never been involved in anything that meant so much to so many kids. I don't think that I should feel bad for wishing that all of us had upped the ante a little bit and tried to stand for a little more and not just so safely repeat what Youth of Today and Chain of Strength had done because all of those bands had failed. All of those bands just walked away from that. We could have found something that had deeper meaning to ourselves and to the scene at large instead of just singing about a bunch of stuff that all of those guys ultimately ended up walking away from anyway. They were all up their talking about Straight Edge and friendship and all of that stuff and there's so few of those kids that actually held onto those ideals. Maybe those aren't the ideals that we should be pushing on 2,000 kids inside some club on Lansdowne st. Kids that are young, excited and impressionable and are looking for something to feel impassioned about. When giving the answer it was maybe even five years down the line and now my answer is that I wish I could go back to those times. I'd rather be singing about sort of fleeting, childish ideals. I'd rather have it be about that then be about suicide and woe and “oh, this girl broke my heart so I can't go on and I’m going to burn this whole city down”. All of this stuff had become very, very common place at the time of doing the interview. That's one situation as I should have just kept my mouth shut as I ended up hurting a lot of my friends feelings. I've done that a lot in my time. I've done that in the van. I'm definitely know as someone who doesn't think very well before they speak. I just speak and don't pull any punches. If somebody is being a fuck up or somebody has an opinion that I think is very ignorant I tend to tell them. I'd rather be that way than be quiet. I’ll take all of that disappointment that I've given to people instead of being someone that just nodded their head and played by the rules.
You had something interesting to say on stage at the BBB records showcase, what was that about?
I was talking about what had happened the day before. I don't know what went down or what happened but there was some sort of idiot, somebody bumped into somebody on the dance floor and somebody got punched. It turned into a fight that quickly was broken up. This one young kid who couldn't believe that a fight had broken out was saying “what did I do?”. This big scary dude was telling him to “shut the fuck up”, like his opinion was not welcome here. It was shocking to me that there was this hierarchy suddenly in place. He didn't work for the club, he wasn't in a band, he was just a dancer who was obviously a part of the scene for a long time. He felt very safe and welcome here and with that comes some authority complex where he can tell a kid to shut the fuck up for ANYTHING? It was just so shocking and poisonous to me. We come here so we don't have to shut the fuck up. The reason that we choose this life is to not just have somebody tell how it's going to be. Do not shut the fuck up. I don’t care how scary they are. If they say to you “shut the fuck up” then every brick that punk rock has been built on gets knocked down. The whole point get washed away if we let this dude because he's scary or capable of physical violence silence you. It was mind blowing. Don't ever be afraid to speak out because something you saw go down at a show feels wrong to you. He was a young kid he's probably been to a handful of shows and his mind was blown after. Just as my my mind had been blown when I was 15 and you realize this sort of thing happens. All of these people who are your brothers and are sharing in this electrified moment of dancing and singing and going buck wild to a band are then suddenly hitting each other. This kid cried out to know the answer. This very scary dude just shut him up like “this is my thing and you are a guest here”. I don't remember the speech that I gave at all but I do remember the incident being so saddening to me. Please don't shut up.
Have you ever felt threatened for speaking up?
There's been plenty of times where things have gone crazy mindset during a Bane show. We did a full US tour with Hatebreed. There were some nights where the wrong ingredients mixed and we just stopped playing. I would have to give a speech about how we 're not going to stand for that kind of stuff and if you do it again we're going to walk off stage and we don't give a fuck. Sometimes I'd go even further and say that if you have a problem with that opinion come find me. Then you realize that there's a lot of crews, there's a lot of scary people out there who might be very eager to pick you up on that after. There was a night where there were Nazis seig heiling in Ventura Beach and we just stopped the show and called them out. We pointed them out to security and said that if they hurt another kid, that we were out of there. They were thrown out and we were told that they were going to get their friends. Sometimes, stuff like that I've said has been a little nerve racking. For as outspoken as I am, we've been pretty lucky as far as being a band that just walked between the rain drops. I think we had just enough respect out of the scariest people just because of who we are and how long we've been in the game for and that we do stick to our guns. I think that maybe they give us a pass a little bit. Maybe if we push the envelope a little too far they let us go because it's us. I've really had no one on one run ins where it felt like I shouldn't have said something on stage. That has not happen yet and I hope that it won't.
You mentioned that the band is no longer Straight Edge, was that a concious descision?
The way that it happened was that our drummer Nick who was kind of new to the band and was an awesome drummer and just fit in perfectly, he broke edge. It was something he did on his own. We just kept getting calls from certain scenester people who were just so judgmental and unhappy. Before we even had a chance to talk to him it felt like so many people had turned against him. It was so childish and high school like that it was very easy for me to just decide that I 'm going to side with Nick on this one. I don't want to be on the side of the gossipy, whisper behind your back people. It was easy for me. There were a couple of other dudes in the band who were very into being Straight Edge as I was and still am but it was easy for me to walk away from that as far what Bane was going to stand for. I love the idea of it freeing us up as far as some people not feeling so invited to be into Bane because that was what we were going to be associated with. With the loss of that maybe people would pay attention to us who otherwise wouldn't have if they thought we were just another Straight Edge band. I love Straight Edge and there will be times everyone once in a while where we will get out old bass player Pete back and Nick from Cruel Hand will fill in on drums and we'll say “oh shit, it's an all Straight Edge line up again”.