Rain On The Parade

This is the interview I did with Rain On The Parade in April of 1997. Originally in What Was Said Fanzine.

1. Okay, who is in the band and all that crap?
My name is Ronnie and I sing. DII plays one guitar. Justin plays the other. Matt jumps around with his bass. Chris just joined the band. He plays drums.

2. Have you guys gotten any shit for the lyrics to Body Bag?
You know, with the way all this metal slop has taken over hardcore in the past few years, you’d think we’d catch some slack for writing a song like Body Bag.  You’d think somebody would stand up and say, “hey fuck you man!  You’re talking about me, aren’t you?”  Well, the record is coming up on it’s first anniversary and I’ve never once talked to anybody, or gotten a letter from anybody about that song, unless it’s along the lines of “it’s a funny song,” or that they think I’m hitting the nail right on the head.  I think the reason I don’t hear from any of these kids who like all of the shitty bands on Victory’s payroll comes down to one thing.  Deep down inside, they know how lame that music is.  They know it’s not hardcore.  They’re just having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that they belong on the couch banging heads with Beavis and Butthead instead of being at a hardcore show.  I’ve got some news for you kids-it’s not too late to come back.  Just head on down to your local record exchange with your Victory collection in hand and trade that useless slop in for some good old tyme hardcore.  Then write a letter to Tony Brummel and tell him that if he wants to push his label as a “hardcore” label maybe he should put out some hardcore bands Victory Style.   Who the fuck are you trying to kid?

3.Where do you think the hardcore scene is going right now?
I think hardcore is back on the upswing.  There are a lot of good bands out there right now, and I’m sure a lot will follow.  It seems I am seeing more bands like Floorpunch and less like Autumn.  To me, that is a welcome change.  It just amazes me how hardcore could get so untracked.  I mean what were a lot of these kids thinking when they started their bands?  How did the guys in Earth Crisis arrive at the conclusion that they were a hardcore band?  I know that Karl has been around for a while, and he knows the difference between Slayer and Minor Threat.  Their sound falls next to Slayer, so how can anybody in that band say they were a hardcore band?  If you want to play metal, play fucking metal, but don’t slap the name “hardcore” on it and pretend so you can sell a shit load of records.  I think one thing that Earth Crisis and Victory Records both know is that if the descriptor “metal” had been hung on Earth Crisis, a lot of hardcore kids wouldn’t have given them a chance.  They lied and a lot of kids took the bait.  If any of the aforementioned bands have a problem with my line of thought, that’s just fine by me, because I’m pretty damn offended by their version of “hardcore.”

4.What do you think of the “PC”ing of the hardcore scene?
Actually, I think a lot of that is starting to die down.  I’ve heard the word “faggot” being tossed around quite a bit lately.  I mean, for PC kids the only word more offensive is the “N” word.  Does that mean the scene is suddenly turning into a sea of homophobia?  No, I don’t think so.  Kids are calling each other names.  Nobody is running around New Hope saying it.  I think a lot of kids just like to push the envelope and say what’s forbidden.  When I was in fourth grade, all we did was run around and call each other “fag.”  I didn’t know what it meant.  It was just a funny word, and my parents got upset if it came out of my mouth, so that made it pretty cool.  I think that’s what is starting to happen now.  PC is cool when it applies to the situation.  It just gets tiring when you’re not really doing anything terrible but some Buddy Holly look-alike in five dollar duds is always in your face anyway.  Some of those kids need to calm down.

5.Any thoughts on all the big reunions coming up like Agnostic Front, Bold, Up Front, etc?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally stoked for the Black Flag reunion tour to roll into Philadelphia.  They broke up just as I was starting to get into hardcore, and they are definitely one of the bands I wish I had the chance to see.  Now, because Ginn is running out of money, I’ll get the chance and I’m real happy about that.  I think bands like Black Flag and Agnostic Front should be able to do reunions just because they were such prolific bands.  I think it’s good for kids to see these bands doing it the way it used to be done.  Bold and Upfront are kind of a different story for me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve seen both several times.  I don’t know.  They were good bands, I guess, but why not just do new bands in the vien of Up Front and Bold, instead of rehashing?  I see Black Flag and Agnostic Front as timeless music, where Bold and Up Front were just another generation of straight edge.  Don’t get me wrong, they were both good bands, but they were easily replaced.

6.When did you get into hardcore?
I got my first dose of hardcore in a ninth grade remedial reading class.  Mark Cozgrove gave me my first taste of Suicidal Tendencies and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I guess that was around May 1986.  I didn’t get to my first show until a year later when I had friends that could drive to Trenton.  Agnostic Front, Underdog, Mcrad, and Timmy and The Dub Warriors.  I remember it well.

7.Are you doing anything for the last Hardware?
Definitely.  I want to be there when Hardware takes its last breath.  Originally, I had a Circle Storm interview, along with a column set up for the next issue; but Brett told me that the deadline was for June, so I’ve decided to use the material for another zine, just because it would be outdated by the end of the summer when I guess the last Hardware is supposed to come out.  I’m not sure what I want to do for the last issue.  Whatever I do, I want it to be absolutely awesome.  I really want to help Hardware go out with a bang!  Dave and Brett, thanks for taking me on board.  I don’t think all of the zines in this scene can fill your shoes.  This is just a huge loss.  Hardware will be missed.

8.What are the future plans for Rain On The Parade?
We’ve got a bunch of shows coming up throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  We’d really like to play outside of the area, but we apparently don’t have those kinds of contacts yet.  If anybody out there is interested in having us play their area, please drop us a line.  What else?  We’re recording our album at the end of the month (March).  It’s going to have fourteen songs on it, and hopefully we’ll have it out in time to tour it this summer.  We plan on heading out west for a couple of weeks during the summer, hitting California, Washington, and Arizona, to name a few off the top of my head.  We’d also like to tour the east coast for a couple of weeks as well.  Like I said, we just need to establish some out of state contacts.  We also have tracks coming out on compilation records.  We’ll be on the compilation that will come with the new issue of Tension Building.  Also, we’ll be on the Growing Stronger compilation and the sampler CD that comes with the next issue of Extent Fanzine.  I think I covered it all.

9.Have you been in any other bands?
Chris used to drum for Ensign.  Justin used to sing in a band called Disregard.  DII, Matt, and I had all dicked around in small local bands before, but nothing that was memorable.  Before Rain On The Parade my claim to fame was that I used to do Fuck You Fanzine.

10.What is the history of Fuck You Fanzine?
That was a time in my life when I was absolutely disgusted with just about everything in the scene. A lot of good bands broke up, and a lot of bad bands took their place. Metal was starting to creep into things. The kids playing their guitars started caring more about playing intricate, skilled music rather than jumping around playing the simple three chord music that I grew up on. The scene was just turning into something completely different and I didn’t like it one bit. To make matters worse straight edge kids were turning into real pricks. At that point (1992) I had been straight edge for six years and I couldn’t remember a time when all my brothers were so snobbish, petty, and just flat out retarded. I was all tourqed up, but I was pretty much the only person I knew who felt this way about how things were turning out. One night, I was watching a movie called Pump Up The Volume which is about this guy (Christian Slater) who runs a pirate radio station and basically pisses off all of the right people with his broadcasts. Nobody knew who he was, which drove them all more crazy. That really stuck with me. I liked the idea of being this kind of voice coming out of nowhere, hitting as many nerves as possible. So I sat down behind my trusty Macintosh one night and whipped out a four page zine that made fun of a few people and praised a few others. I had originally signed my real name on it, but my girlfriend at the time had told me that it was so bitter that she would have thought somebody else had written it if she hadn’t seen my name. So I kind of took that to heart and decided to choose a pseudonym. I settled on Chuck U. Farley, The Sargent of Straight Edge. Chuck U. Farley because that’s the name that Slater’s character in Pump Up The Volume used to register his post office box. The Sargent of Straight Edge because I saw myself as the guy who was going to kick the scene’s ass back into shape. So I finished the zine and sent it out to any band or zine whose existence just really stuck in my crw, and then I sat back and waited to see what happened. A week later, just about everybody I had sent the zines out to had written me back. The responses ranged from “what’s your fucking problem?” to “I’m going to kill you!” That, coupled with the mail I got from write ups in fanzine reviews, made me want to do more. The more mail I got, the nastier the zines got; I was pissing off everybody that I thought was killing hardcore and I kind of got off on that. So I was always thinking about what I was going to do for the next one. The shit hit the fan when I endorsed an idea called “moderation” which basically said you can still be straight edge if you drink a beer (and only ONE beer) because hey, in moderate amounts, beer is just a beverage. Just about everybody who read that wrote to me to tell me that now they were certain I was an idiot. That whole theme pretty much overshadowed the zine until its demise after issue seven. I wrote a farewell letter explaining why I was ending the zine and why I had decided to hand over my x’s and try out the party thing. As lame as it sounds, I was so at odds with straight edge kids at that time that I just questioned why I was doing the whole straight edge thing anymore. I know you’re supposed to do it for yourself, but I literally hated 95% of the kids that were around at the time, and I think I just started grabbing beers to separate myself from those kids. Of course, looking back now, that was probably the most idiotic movie I’ve made in my life. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but in hindsight, I really blew it. It took me a couple years to realize that.
11.Hypothetically, who do you think would win in a fight: Earth Crisis or Vegan Reich?

Most definitely Earth Crisis. As much as I don’t like that band, at least they played out. They get up on that stage and say what they mean and take a certain amount of abuse for it. Especially in New Jersey. It’s not like they don’t deserve all of the shit they put up with, because they do. I just think it takes a certain amount of balls to get up on that stage, like they did at Chatam, knowing full well that while half the kids in attendance were there to see them the other half were there to see them fall. Vegan Reich wouldn’t even play out because Sean was afraid he’d get his ass kicked. He just hid behind his records.

12.What bands today do you think are really doing something good?

Bands like Hands Tied, Purpose, Rancor, Over The Line and Atari have been rocking my world lately. Youngblood is a brand new band that I think is going to take a lot of people by surprise. Then there is the cast of usual players who got things rolling again like Floorpunch and 97a. There’s so many great bands nowadays and not just because the whole hardcore revival thing has caught on fire. I don’t consider any of these bands “rehash” like some assholes would like you to believe. People are just playing hardcore again. There wasn’t a whole lot about hardcore that was “hardcore” from like 1991 to 1995, if you know what I mean. Sure, there were some bands, but a good band like Mouthpiece was far and few between during those lean years. I like the way things are turning out and I think things are heading in a good direction.

13.What do you think of hardcore getting attention in the mainstream press like MTV, CNN, etc?

Hardcore is just too underground for your average Rage Against The Machine jock to find. “Normal” kids read magazines, not fanzines. They buy stuff on CD not records. They go to concerts, not shows. They don’t get it and they never will. I don’t think the occasional feature on MTV or CNN is going to change that anytime soon. These kids just don’t get it. Rage Against The Machine has a lot of good things to say, but the only words these kids hear is fuck you I won’t do what you tell me. Hardcore kids are evolved. Many of them care. Many of them act. Many of them are open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. A lot of “normal” kids just spin their wheels all their lives. They don’t fit our mold. I don’t think there is anything to worry about. If this scene survived Victory Records it can survive anything.

14.Will there be another issue of Unsportsmanlike Conduct?

There will be another column of Unsportsmanlike Conduct that will be included in the final issue of Hardware this summer. I’m not sure whether that column will leave the pages of that zine though. I’ve been telling a lot of people that I’ll help them with contributions for their zines but I may just end up doing one of my own. I went to a couple of shows this weekend and didn’t come home with any zines. Anytime that happens I get bummed because I love zines. There just aren’t enough out there right now. Unsportsmanlike Conduct sounds like a good working title. Or maybe I’ll just start doing Fuck You Fanzine again.

15.On Sunday you seemed very baffled by positive and negative atoms. What are you going to school for?

I go to Kutztown University where I am a telecommunications major. I also have a minor in speech. Yeah, I kind of blew that joke as far as my terminology went. I think I meant “ions” but I’m not sure. I heard that joke in my Biology class where I am currently riding in the valley of C & D land. I’ve never been too good with either science or math. One thing a lot of people throw in my face is the whole don’t mix an acid with a fucking base/because it will blow up right in your face part of Body Bag. I’ve had people tell me that they would neutralize each other. Recently, when I was in the studio laying down some vocal tracks I asked Pete the engineer about that one. Before he brought his studio, he was an engineer for NASA. He’s had intense schooling and the guy is just brilliant. So I asked him about that one. He told me there are several cases where mixing an acid and a base would cause an explosion, so I was relived. I thought I had pulled a real boner there for awhile.

16.What do you listen to when you’re not listening to hardcore?

Outside of hardcore my favorite music is probably the kind of stuff I grew up on. ACDC’s Back In Black, all the Van Halen records with David Lee Roth singing, and early Cheap Trick stuff. All of that stuff was kind of hard for its time. When I was in 6th grade I used to come home from school when my parents weren’t home from work yet and pull out the tennis racket and jump around my room pretending I was in ACDC. I always played the rhythm. I never wanted to be the lead guy tied down with all of the finger work. I just wanted to play the chords and jump around. I still listen to that stuff when the mood hits me. I found The Beatles a few years ago. I also dig Weezer and Social Distortion as well.