The Judas Iscariot

I did this interview with The Judas Iscariot for Parade Brigade Fanzine #1. At the time these guys were a pretty interesting band on the scene so I checked them out live. After sitting through about 800 really bad emo bands (like, the ones where people cried on the ground) The Judas Iscariot finally played. A few days later I did this interview. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of this interview. My questions are sort of silly and a few were literally drawn out of a hat. Seriously. Plus they totally get question six wrong. I mean, really, is that even a contest?

  1. What did you think of the show I met you at?

The show that we met at in New Jersey was not so very good in my opinion. Firstly, our set was one of the worst ones we played in a long while. The only band that played that night that I enjoyed was The State Secedes and that was certainly not one of their better sets. The space in the Masonic hall is actually a really cool space and I would like to come back to play there again.

  1. What is new with the band?

The Judas Iscariot is currently working on the packaging for our 12” on Reservoir Records. Also, we just recorded our side of the split LP with Seein Red to be released rather soon on Mountain. To date, we have two seven inches and have tracks on about seven different compilations. Many more compilation tracks have been recorded and submitted to other labels for many more forthcoming records. We plan to tour this summer, for our second time-and will probably remain within the United States. The Judas Iscariot is pretty limited right now, as we are all pretty busy with other things. I am definitely the band’s biggest censor though. I am studying for a M.A./Ph. D. in philosophy full time and this occupies most of my time. I like to think of the band as full force still; we’re just not going to be embarking on shows every weekend or road trips anytime soon.

My hope for the band is to continue to be very difficult to digest. I like to be stuck in the craw of the listener or reader of our material. I like this not for the sake of being merely “effective,” but rather provocative. I don’t give the slightest fuck about how many shows we play and how many offers we might get. I like to play, but nothing enormously worthwhile can be expounded during the intervals between songs and it is the nature of my vocals that one will not understand me while I am singing. The band is a live experience. But the problem is that the live experience doesn’t fully befit the band. So we will do what we do until it loses its immediacy. It will always be important to me though. I would like to, in closing, say that love is the universe, and the universe is a manifold consisting of the exchange of feelings and the boycott.

  1. What should someone take with them from a Judas Iscariot show?

When, after somebody sees The Judas Iscariot live, one is compelled to buy and read our records I am very excited. This is primarily what the live show allows us regarding the band and the audience, and for me it is the most rewarding outcome. Regarding myself alone, though, the live show is something rather solipsistic. I like to recede into myself while singing, where I try to lose my consciousness of the onlooking audience. If I can manage to do this and concentrate solely on the words I’m screaming and what they mean to me then the show will feel pretty successful from my perspective. I’m sure Jeff and Aaron would feel differently about this. When we play our songs at a show it is very important to me that we perform the way we would at one of our band practices, aside from in between song statements directly addressed to the audience. In my opinion, the live show should never be a charade if it is put forth by the band as a sincere and raging ebullition. This is preciously what The Judas Iscariot intends to put forth.

  1. Where do you go to school?

I go to school at The New School For Social Research in Manhattan, New York. I work here as well.

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

What bands are doing something good today? Well, this is a pretty hard question for me to answer. I like a lot of bands, and I only will like a band if I think that they are doing something good. Good music, to me, does one thing primarily: namely it convinces the listener of its necessity. That is to say that if I can hear a band’s music and wonder whether or not the music is necessary for the musicians who are playing it or the people who are hearing it, then the music, in itself, is an “incidental” thing and lacks the quality to convince me of thus. I really love music that has statements to make, education to offer, passion, character, creativity, and is rife with honesty. It would be easier for me to mention names of bands that I love then to comprise a list of current bands who are doing something “good.” I have pretty stringent standards when it comes to the quality of music, and thankfully so, since the majority of music made is lackluster shit.

Some music that I love is/has been played by:

Dead Kennedys
Albert Ayler
Youth Of Today
Walk Proud
Henry Grimes
Corrosion of Conformity
Cerberus Shoal
Unit Pride
The Frank Wright Trio
The Jerry’s Kids
The Nation Of Ulysses
Rain On The Parade
Los Crudos
Minor Threat
Last Rights

This is all great music in my opinion. I know that not all of these are current, and therefore do not really answer your question, but that list would have been horribly short.

  1. Who do you think would win in a fight, Infest or Youth Of Today?

I think that if Infest fought Youth Of Today, Youth Of Today would probably win. My reasoning for this is as follows: On the back of the first Infest seven inch there is a little cartoon thats says Break The Chains. Youth Of Today, however, have an LP called Break Down The Walls. It seems to me that one would have to be a much tougher fella to break down the walls than to simply break the chain. Any wimp with a hacksaw could eventually break the chain, while you need to have real muscles to break down the walls (unless they’re styrofoam props). If it’s a hot summer day, then you would have to be a really super tough meathead to stay out there all day trying to break down the walls. Definitely Youth Of Today.

  1. If you made a mix tape for someone just getting into hardcore what would be on it?

I have actually made many mixes for people who were just getting into hardcore. My mixes tend to end up rather eccentric for these people, since I feel very strong that punk rock is a counterculture phenomenon when it is at its very best. Thus, it need not sound a certain way. That is to say, I think it would be completely ridiculous to claim that revolutionary music must sound like Born Against or must sound like Crimpshrine or must sound like any other band that just so happens to play hardcore music. I believe that what makes any given music “punk” or “hardcore” has much more to do with what it is “about” or from where it “comes” then “how it sounds.” For example: if some band sounds exactly like Project X but sings about how cool it would be to get as big as Sick Of It All, or how much they want to kill Jews and watch MTV, then in my view they are not even close to being “hardcore.” Hardcore, rather simply, is that which seeks to provide or propagate anything, not necessarily music, which is offered as a true alternative to the saturated novelties found in popular culture. Sometimes it is successful, but more often it is not. Either way, it is this “inclination” or “striving” that defines hardcore, not the success or failure of the efforts. Do, I would really believe that even if no one ever bought one of our records, we would still be “punk as fuck” because of our collective efforts and where our music came from.

A starter mix from me would most likely feature:

Dead Kennedys
Mecca Normal
Minor Threat
Constatine Sankathi
The Guns
Born Against
Sonny Murray
Unit Pride
Tear Jerks
Wasted Youth
Token Entry
Negative FX
Gary Peacock
Antioch Arrow
The Exploited
The Faith
Flying Saucer Attack

  1. Who do you think is going to win the World Series?

Bill I am going to confess… I know nothing about sports. I couldn’t care less about the World Series and feel some sense of pride when I say this. I could actually talk for hours about my feelings on the “rugged, All-American sporting event” and the vicarious illusions of spectatorship. But I shall digress for two reasons. One-I am simply not in the mood. Two-Jeff and Aaron love sports, and their views are not being represented here. My view is radical enough that I will not explain my feelings without the feelings of my bandmates.

  1. What is the most “punk” thing you’ve ever done?

The most “punk” thing I’ve ever done, hmm… Well “punk” refers to revolution, ideology, and community; I’d have to say that the most “punk” thing I’ve ever done is The Judas Iscariot. Creating the music, the records, and going on tour were the most “punk” things that I’ve done to date. I, however, am working on my most “punk” achievement on a daily basis. If you consider the way that I have referenced “punk” above, then the most “punk” thing that I can do is to get my P.HD. in Philosophy, then by having the credentials to teach it. Employed as a philosophy teacher I shall be enabled to provoke thought on a daily basis, afford to buy more records, and go on tour in the summers.