Damage II

Anthony did this one for Fuck Rock Fanzine. I didn’t even know this interview existed until he sent it to me a few months ago. Actually, I don’t think I’ve even heard Damage II before. I know I saw the first Damage once and they had a bunch of songs with Simpsons themed names which was pretty cool.

Thanks again for taking time out to do the interview. How are things going with Damage II? Are the upcoming west coast dates coming together?

Damage II is going real well, things are moving a little slow, but we’re still getting somewhere. We are playing a show with Hatebreed, Biohazard, Madball at the end of December. I talked to Joe Hardcore (Punishment) last night and he told me only two days are not booked in California. We are going to have our 7″ out by then and hopefully kids will like us.

I heard one of the new songs last night and it is awesome. There’s definitely been a lot of growth. Can we expect some more changes in your overall sound compared to the stuff released before?

Damage II only has two original members from Damage. Two new guitar players and a new drummer contribute to the sound progression. The new stuff is definitely harder than the old, and it’s a lot of fun to play. Once we get back from California, we are going to spend some time off writing and relaxing, so we will see I suppose.

You recently acquired a new guitar player. How’s he working out? You all getting along?

Well, No Rights picked up another guitar player, Damage II still has the same dudes. As far as the new No Rights guitar player, he is a great dude, you will see in California. His name is Jay “Chaz” Pepito (of ICE AGE fame), and is one of our good friends.

Damage II played Posi Numbers awhile back. What was it like for you to play an event like that surrounded by so many good friends and good bands? Do you think Stillborn Fest will be a greater experience than Posi Numbers?

Posi Numbers was actually my first show with the band, so it was pretty cool. I didn’t really know what to expect. I think we got a real good reaction, and at worst we had a lot of fun. The Stillborn Fest we are playing is in a huge venue in Philly. I just saw Gwar there last week. I think it’s going to be insane, that plays sells out at like 2,500. Luckily, we are opening so we can get it over with and make way for the shit to come.

You’ve got a lot on your plate recently. Between juggling schoolwork and Damage II, you’ve also got another band called No Rights. Tell us about that.. how are crowds around Philly reacting to you guys?

No Rights is a band I started one day almost out of the blue. I had seen George, the singer, at a few shows since I moved to Philly, but one show I realized something, he had to sing for a band. It was American Nightmare when they played two shows in one day, and the singer Wes had an ear infection. All of their friends took turns singing songs at the first show. George sang a song, and was punching kids and going insane. You had to be there, but I knew he had to sing for a band. I talked to him, and told him that I was starting a band for him to sing in. I picked some of my good friends and we had a practice. A few weeks later, we recorded a demo, it’s real rough, but so are we, I guess. As far as Philly crowds go, there are a handful of kids that like it, but most don’t understand (and most are scared of Georgie!). We play early 80’s hardcore, but it’s 2002, most kids never listened to the early hardcore, so I don’t think they dig it. You can really tell when we cover songs by Negative Approach or Agnostic Front, and some of these kids don’t know what the songs are. Oh well I guess.. We have a ton of fun doing it.

Any future plans for a new No Rights recording?

We have 5 new songs that we are going to record the first week in December, but I’m not sure what we are doing with them. We are hoping to do a 7″ at some point, but need to find someone to do it. Who knows.

A lot of people from the west coast (who pay attention) know you as the original bass player for recently defunct San Francisco straight edge band Some Still Believe. What do you love most and hate most about both coasts?

It’s hard to say. I was born in Philly and moved to California when I was real young, but I still had Philly roots. I love the Sixers and Eagles, Santucci’s Pizza, and the rainy/cold weather of Philly. I’ve only been here for a little over a year, so things could change. I can’t really think of anything I LOVED about the West Coast… actually, there are amazingly hot girls out there, but I found a good one and got married, so that is in the past. I love Gilman St. and going to shows there.. And there is no good Mexican food in Philly, California has incredible Mexican food. I have friends on both coasts, so that’s cool, something I love. My wife is on the East Coast, but Knife Fight is on the West… fuck.

Tell us about the dates you’re doing soon on the west coast. Who are you going out on the road with?

We are flying out there on the 2nd day of 2003, and playing from the 3rd to 12th, up and down the West Coast. The tour was supposed to be Punishment/Damage II/One Up, but unfortunately, One Up had to cancel. I’m pretty sure No Rights is picking up their slot on all the shows, so it will be fun. Our first show is at Gilman, and I think that’s a great way to start off the tour. Then we are driving straight up to Seattle for the next show. We are playing with Champion up there. I honestly don’t know who most of the shows are with, but I do know that Striking Distance and Desperate Measures are touring at the same time and I think we are meeting up and playing one big show together. I think that’s in Goleta, but don’t quote me. We are playing a show in Redding where I grew up, that’s going to be tons of fun.

You’ve been into hardcore for quite awhile and seen a number of awesome bands. List off some of your most memorable shows.

The most memorable show to me wasn’t really a hardcore show, it was a Rancid show in Berkeley. But, as far as hardcore goes, nothing really comes to mind as the “BEST” per se. SSB played the first hardcore show to sell out Gilman, that was pretty crazy. You could’ve walked on kids heads from the front to the back. Although they haven’t happened yet, I’m going to see the Madball shows and they will be something to remember. Just recently Horror Show had that going away show for Nicky and that was pretty cool, kids were into it. Nothing to crazy I guess, just normal shows that were extra special in my eyes.

Finally, what would you say is the shittiest thing you’ve had to deal with in the years you’ve been involved in hardcore.

Lame kids. It’s the downfall of hardcore. Kids that are in hardcore for some social reasons. So they can climb up some dumb fuck ladder of coolness or something. I got into punk rock and hardcore cause I didn’t fit in with everyone else, that “everyone else” seems to be invading now. Fuck em. I guess that’s kind of why I wanted to start No Rights, as a FUCK YOU to everyone I think is a waste of space. Hardcore is about having fun with friends, not worrying who your friends are.