XClaim! were an Australian band in the mid to late nineties. I was very friendly with their vocalist Craig, who also did Talk Is Cheap and Edge Of Quarrel Fanzines. I did this interview with Craig over AOL Instant Messenger in April of 1998. We reference a tape compilation that we were trying to put together at the time. I will make a separate post to discuss that.
BW: Who is all in XClaim!
Craig: Terrific opening question Billy…but since you live in youth crew central, that being New Jersey for you slower people, I’ll answer this one. XClaim! is me on the throat. I scold, dance generally cause mayhem all under the premise of singing. Luke Crew is on the bass. Now this guy fucking rocks! One fingered bass action. Flying all over the place, definitely not your standard statuesque fruit who just stands still while playing. That guys moves and has fun while he plays. The guitar man is Jamie Youth or Chippa to his buddies. Again…he is all over the place while playing. If he fucks up because of jumping, so be it. If you want technical excellence, go see fucking KISS or Metallica. Our drummer is Ben…he doesn’t have a cool name, but we’re trying to change it. He rules, one of THE best drummers.
BW: How is the scene in Australia right now?
Craig Edge: Fucking hell a lot better than wherever the fuck your sorry ass is now. We have REAL hardcore bands and kids…not fucking scenestar fashion fuckwits. Yeah, sure, we have a couple, but they’re few and far between and we certainly don’t let them ruin it. Australia is all about HARDCORE PUNK! What I love most about it here is that we have shows were a variety of bands play. Not just six clones of Youth Of Today or six clones of Earth Crisis, but a wide selection of hardcore punk genres. Street Punk bands played with crust bands play with straight edge bands play with drunk punks. Fuck your separation.
Oh yeah…shout outs to Arms Reach, xThe Pactx, Straight To A Tomb, Stanley Knife, Mindsnare, Toe to Toe, Urban Mayhem…
BW: Is there any separation at all between hardcore/punks and skins, etc?
Craig Edge: Of course there are some drunken fuckwits who choose to shit on everything everyone else does and there are some hardcore punk types who chose to do the same as well. But in the long run I see no real separation between these skins and hardcore punk types. Maybe some of the younger kids want that, but we nip that attitude in the bud. Why separate? It’s all fucking hardcore punk in some form. Save that for the ghastly heavy metal that most of you puppets eat up as being hardcore these days.
BW: I agree…here you get six youth crew bands or punk or emo bands or whatever. Is there a lot of “post” hardcore in Australia?
Craig Edge: We killed all of them. There’s one band I guess…they had a rapist singing for them…
BW: We have a few emo rapists here too.
Craig Edge: What’s with that shit? So emo you care about feelings and emotions then you go ruin someone for life? And the rest of them won’t do shit. Fuck that. Violent crime=Violent fucking payback. Paybacks a fucking bitch sometimes but you do it. Best part is you can beat them to within an inch of their sorry assed life and they can’t go to the cops because of their fear of going to jail and getting raped in jail.
BW: When it happens in the hardcore scene nothing is ever done it seems. No one ever believes the girl.
Craig Edge: We always fucking do. I guess we’re old and we go by the old code so to speak. Stop looking out for your yourselves and look out for your fucking friends and family. And not just some song, but physical fucking action.
BW: Yeah kids think that stuff like that can’t happen in their little oh so special hardcore scene…
Craig Edge: The hardcore scene is the real fucking world. It’s not some little pretend storybook place. Things fuck up, shit happens. Why get upset over it and cry your eyes out? Stand up, fight back. Remember when punk and hardcore kids were feared? Bring that shit back. Nowadays, no one respects you for it and they walk over you.
BW: I totally agree. Kids think hardcore is some sort of fantasyland…
Craig Edge: Especially with straight edge. Someone calls you a straight edge pussy you fucking make them eat their words. None of this “oh, okay, that’s your opinion” fucking shit. Are you a man or a mouse? Think you can get away with passing anything off as hardcore these days. Fantasy land for sure. “Slap you with reality…ACROSS YOUR FACE!”
BW: I hate it when kids are like “oh you’re straight edge you are” this or that they saw Earth Crisis say on television. Or if I saw I am a vegetarian they think I am going to blow up McDonalds. What do you think of people and bands who let mainstream television infiltrate the hardcore scene? I say fuck them!
Craig: Well, for starters FUCK THEM! Hardcore punk was never meant for mainstream consumption though sadly. through our fault, it’s become mainstream somewhat. To quote Guy Piccioto: “it’s a movement , it’s a life thing, and people start getting stagnant and it comes to a point where you can just slip on the clothes and slip on the attitude”…fucking oath. As for blowing up shit…whatever. We recently had a newsfeed from CNN about all those hardliners in Utah. One guy compared straight edge kids to the Oklahoma City Bombing. Now, whatever went through Timothy McVeigh’s mind…fuck…it doesn’t even compare to some twisted kids idea that by blowing up McDonalds that will solve anything.
BW: I saw that too. My mother asked me if I was in a militia once after seeing something on ABC.
Craig: My parents couldn’t give a fuck. But then again I’m not some fifteen year old veganazi who sponges off of mom and dad to buy chains, piercings, and sloganed shirts.
BW: I hate logo rip off shirts so much. Piercings are stupid.
Craig: There is the fucking thing…sloganed shirts…go look back through your old Hardware Fanzines and see what Dave K had to say about them. A fad from the rave scene!
Craig: A disgrace
BW: Raving is so huge here. That is way worse than the vegans.
Craig: Everything about it goes against the whole hardcore punk attitude. There is no punk angst any more. No more being pissed off with the world. A fuck you attitude.
BW: Yeah, now it is about “fests” and information booths, but after you read some political flyer what then? No one does anything.
Craig: “I wear my boots, my jeans, and a tshirts. I ain’t gonna dress up like no fashion show for anybody.” Roger Miret
BW: And that brings up…what happened with the pub show controversy?*
Craig: Nothing at all. The majority of boycotters flaked and now either go to pubs or fucked out of the scene. Still a few stragglers. They’d rather watch a show from outside.
BW: What is going on with Edge of Quarrel Fanzine?
Craig: #3 will be an all Australian band photo issue.
BW: How is our tape comp going?
Craig: Well I’ve done fuck all for it. How about you?
BW: It’s coming along…waiting for the dats from Rain On The Parade. I mean tape or whatever. They have to convert it to tape. Got No Values, Standard Issue, and Parting Shot stuff…
BW: I have to talk to Ensign and make sure they still want to be on it.
Craig: Well they better pull their fucking finger out of their butts, hey? I mean if they want to be on this tape. Slow ass fuckers!
BW: Well, Ensign are like forever on tour…
and the interview gores on from there to discuss record trading and what records we listen to in the morning versus the car. None of that is really worth printing i don’t think.
*Basically there was a boycott by xxxVEGAN EDGExxx types of shows done at places where alcohol was served.