The first time many No Echo readers heard Chris Daly was back in the early '90s via his drum work in Ressurection. The New Jersey-based hardcore outfit released one album on New Age Records before splitting up. Chris then spent time as a member of 108, appearing on the group's Songs of Separation album in 1994. Following that, he helped form the influential post-hardcore band, Texas Is the Reason, along with musicians who had been in such acts as Fountainhead, Shelter, and Copper. Texas Is the Reason just made one full-length for Revelation Records, but their influence ran deep and wide. It's been two decades since the release of the band's Do You Know Who You Are? album, and its still-potent blend of melodic hooks, muscular guitars, and shoegazy atmospherics still inspire.
After Texas, Chris was a member of Jets to Brazil along with Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker) and Jeremy Chatelain (Iceburn, Handsome), and Bryan Maryansky (The Van Pelt), appearing on all three studio albums the group released on Jade Tree. In more recent years, Chris released one album with Vs.Antelope, and is currently in a killer band called High Disciple.
Outside of his musical work, Chris is a happily married father of two beautiful girls, and is a successful hairdresser. It was a pleasure getting to know him better for this piece and sharing the conversation with you today.
I know you’re a New Jersey native, but where exactly did you grow up, and what kind of kid were you?
I grew up in Long Valley, NJ. It's a fairly small, semi-rural town about 20 miles east of the Delaware Water Gap, 50 miles west of NYC, an hour from the shore. I was the 4th of 5 kids. By the time I was born, my older sister was 8, and my brothers were 11 and 13. My youngest sister was 4 years after me. So I was kinda a novelty to my older siblings. They used to antagonize me and get me to do stupid shit just for laughs, which I would do obligingly. I was a little hyperactive, but my parents were super laid back. They let us all be who we were and just offered some guidance here and there. One of the best things they did for me was let me start taking drum lessons at 8-years-old, and bought me my first drum kit at 10. Set me on my course and gave me something to focus on, and gave me an outlet for the insane amount of energy I had.
OK, so you’ve posted some childhood photos on your Instagram page where you’re proving your metal roots. I like that.
Well, one advantage of having older siblings (as well as parents who were into music) was by the time I was 8 they were all in their late teens/early 20s, and all had a big influence over my musical tastes. By the time I turned 12 (in 1984) I had already seen the likes of KISS, The Beach Boys, The Police, Grateful Dead, The Who, and Van Halen (and others I'm forgetting) in concert, with any one of my siblings, or my parents. So those were my earliest influences. By the time I was 13 I was getting into more mainstream metal like Sabbath/Ozzy, Mötley Crüe, Priest, Maiden, and Dio, which eventually led to heavier, faster stuff like Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Venom, etc., by the time I was 14. A year or so later came crossover/punk and then, of course, hardcore.
Why did you gravitate towards the drums, and who were some of your early drummer heroes?
Like I said I was a hyperactive kid, and I was constantly being fed new music from my siblings, and I instantly gravitated towards the drums and drummers. So I started taking lessons from a family friend, Jim Cash, at 8-years-old. I started learning the basic rudiments from a Buddy Rich syncopation book, but have to say my earliest influences were definitely Peter Criss, Keith Moon, and also Animal from The Muppets. Then as I got some chops down, I started to look up to Bonham, Stewart Copeland, and Alex Van Halen.
Who introduced you to hardcore?
By 1987, I was 15-years-old and starting Sophomore year of high school. I was fully immersed in crossover and punk by that time, so I was deep into GBH, DRI, Agnostic Front, Crumsbsuckers, The Exploited, and Cryptic Slaughter, to name a few. From those bands I got into Minor Threat, Black Flag, and hardcore stuff, and then met a dude in my shool who was a couple years older, but was a skater/hardcore dude. He brought Youth of Today, 7 Seconds, Dag Nasty and all the straight edge/NYHC stuff into the mix for me and that was what I felt like I was waiting my whole life for. It opened my world into this new exciting place where I would spend the next several years driving all over the Northeast to see bands play, and meet people who would make up a large portion of my circle of friends to this very day.
What were some of the first shows you went to see during that period?
One of my first big shows I went to was GBH, Dag Nasty, Murphy's Law, and The Accused at The Ritz in '87. The next one was Bad Brains, SNFU, and Leeway there as well. My first City Gardens show was January 1988. It was the infamous Exploited/Vision/Pagan Babies/Uprise show at City Gardens. After that I saw Youth of Today/Bold/Gorilla Biscuits/Beyond at Oliver J's (in early '88) Allentown, PA, and YOT/Bold at City Gardens, and punk was pretty much in the rear view from that point forward. It was all about bleached, flat-top hair, Nike hi-tops, tight rolled pants, Champion sweatshirts, and straight edge hardcore. I spent the bulk of that year bouncing from CBGB to The Anthrax, to Oliver J's and Wally's Place in Pennsylvania, to City Gardens, and seeing as many shows as possible. It was the perfect time to be 16, have friends who drove, and be in the epicenter of this virtual hardcore explosion in the Northeast.
Out of Hand was the first band you played in. Who else was in the lineup, and since I’ve never actually heard any music, what did you guys sound like?
I got a flyer handed to me shortly after I walked through the door at the Judge/Outburst/Intensity show at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ (this was the show Judge filmed the video for "Where It Went") in Spring of 1989, that said "Established Hardcore band looking for experienced drummer." While I definitely lacked the "experience" part (come to think of it, they weren't exactly "Experienced" either) I was ready and willing to play, so I tried out and got the gig later that week. It was me, and one of my oldest friends from childhood Dan took over on bass from their og bass player Larry. This dude Bill Rhodes sang. He's sadly no longer with us. The guitarist was Scott Saint Hilaire, who I would go on to help form Lifetime with a year or so later. He also played in Elements, Fire Still Burns, and is in a surf band called The Brigantines. 20 years later, Scott and I would reunite musically in our current group High Disciple. Out of Hand was pretty basic NYHC-influenced mosh-core. You may have never heard us, but you probably heard us countless other times. Nothing spectacular, is what I'm getting at. But it was fun and it definitely set everything in motion for the rest of my musical endeavors.
How did you come to join Ressurection?
Like I stated previously, Scott had formed Lifetime with Ari Katz, Dam Yemin, and this kid Chris Corvino in late summer/early fall 1990. I was their first drummer, played on the demo, and after about 8-9 months I was kicked out [laughs], right before recording for the New Age 7" began. It was meant to be. They were all getting into more melodic, pop-punk influences, and I was definitely more of a heavy hitting, hardcore drummer. So we parted ways and pretty much the next day Rob Fish and Dan Hornecker asked me to play drums in Ressurection. Ari played drums on the 7" but wanted to be a singer, so he was out, and I landed on my feet, in the right situation for what I wanted to do, playing drums in a crazy, heavy hardcore band. I played on all the comp/split 7" tracks, Culture/Pretty Love 7", and I Refuse LP.
I Refuse came out in 1994. Throughout the years, there’s been a lot of talk about how the album’s recording quality being a huge letdown, and how it failed to represent the power of the band. Now that it’s been over two decades since its release, how do you feel about the album today?
Well, we recorded it for, like, $200 and it sounded like it. The guy who recorded us knew nothing about hardcore and never heard a band like us, and that definitely had a lot to do with it. I am very happy with the remix that Kurt Ballou (Converge) did of it for the Deathwish discography that came out a few years back. It's definitely a night/day change, I mean he did all he could with what he had to work with, and he actually made it quite listenable.
What is your fondest memory of your time in Ressurection?
Definitely the first US tour we did with Lifetime in the Summer of '91. 10 dudes stuffed in a cargo van with no windows traveling across the country during the hottest months of summer. Don't get me wrong, a lot (most) of it sucked, but it definitely was an amazing experience to have that freedom and see the country playing music. After that we did a West Coast Winter tour in '92 with Outspoken/Mouthpiece/Strife (Unbroken/Mean Season played some of those shows too) that was absolutely amazing. We played a sold out show at The Roxy in Hollywood and played Gilman St. for the first time. A lot of great friendships were built on that trip as well.
If my timeline is correct, at the same time you and Rob Fish were in Ressurection, you both also played in 108.
Yeah, in the Winter of 1992, Ressurection did a Northeast tour opening for Shelter. I got tight with Steve Reddy, who was basically managing Shelter and had recently taken over Equal Vision Records, and the Shelter dudes, on that tour. Ressurection made a conscious decision to start winding down in the next year, because Zusi, our guitarist would be away at school at Notre Dame for most of the year. We played our last show on New Year's Eve in '92 at Down Under in New Brunswick, NJ. Come Spring 1993, I would be asked by Steve, Rob, and Vraja to join 108 on their upcoming Summer tour with Shelter. At my first 108 rehearsal in Philly, Vraja gave me a cassette tape with a 4-track demo of Songs Of Separation, the entire album, front to back, recorded solely by him in the Philly temple, only with a drum machine laying down the beats. He told me to "Learn as many of these as you can before next rehearsal, and use this as a template, but play them how you want/feel" I was completely blown away by the power and ferocity of all the new songs. It was like a dream mashup of Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, and Inside Out. And I was gonna be the drummer. I was stoked, to say the least.
It’s impossible to talk about 108 without mentioning the band’s Krishna outlook. What did your family think about that? Was it something they were open to, or did they struggle to understand it?
[Laughs] Well, I kept it pretty much hidden from my family, strangely enough. I was raised Roman Catholic, went to Catholic High School, did CCD my whole life until confirmation, and whatnot. They were pretty liberal and laid back, but I thought them knowing I was touring the country with Hare Krishnas might be a bit much for them to handle. So I told them something along the lines of I "was touring with my new band with Rob Fish opening for the guys from Youth of Today's new band" (my parents saw YOT posters/fliers/shirts all over my room so they knew they were a big deal to me) which, in actuality, wasn't a lie. Aside from my dad finding a mini altar I had in my closet and losing his shit, at one point, that story worked pretty well for the two years I played in 108.
After Ressurection and 108, you helped form Texas Is the Reason. The band’s genesis has been well documented, but what I wanted to know is if there was any part of you in the beginning that was worried “what are the hardcore kids gonna think?” since it was such a departure from your previous bands?
Well, first off, make no mistake, Texas could have only happened because of our involvement, and love of hardcore. It brought us all together, and although more mainstream, and Britpop influences were there, we looked up to Fugazi and Quicksand, and modeled ourselves after them, more aesthetically than musically, more than anything else. Our first shows were primarily all hardcore bills, and although some people probably were disgusted by us, I would say we were well accepted whenever we played. Because at the root of it, we were hardcore dudes. Also, it pays to note, at the time, there was a greater ratio of Smiths/Morrissey, and My Bloody Valentine shirts being worn at hardcore shows than Agnostic Front or Cro-Mags, so I'm pretty sure we weren't alone in our love of more melodic, structured, rock 'n' roll music at the time.
I was a huge fan of Texas Is the Reason when you first came out. I loved the balance between the melodic aspects of the band, and the power it was channeled through. Was there a period where you had to learn how to adjust your playing style to fit the material you were writing?
It all came pretty natural, from what I remember. I mean the first time Norm, Scott, and I got together at my parents house in NJ (Garrett would come along shortly after) we finished the session having written the three songs that would become our demo/3-song EP on Revelation. Even though I was primarily playing hardcore for the previous several years, I cut my teeth on rock drumming and always tried to incorporate that into my playing.
The band and Jawbox’s J. Robbins co-produced the sole Texas Is the Reason album, Do You Know Who You Are? What was the experience like working with him on that project?
It was an amazing experience working with J. and getting to do it at Oz in Baltimore. We picked J exclusively because we loved Jawbox, and thought the sounds on the Kerosene 454 debut (the only record he had produced at that point) were right in our wheelhouse. We chose Oz because, for one, J. spoke highly of it, and secondly, For Your Own Special Sweetheart as well as Shudder to Think's Pony Express Record, and Girls Against Boys' Venus Luxure No.1 Baby were all recorded there.
A cool little piece of trivia; The snare you hear on the Do You Know Who You Are? lead off track, "Johnny on the Spot," was the same one Adam Wade used on Shudder to Think's Pony Express Record. That was quite a thrill for me.
Was there any sense within the band that there was something important at stake?
We were definitely aware of "the buzz" surrounding us initially, but we were just having a blast. We never said no to anything, and that's pretty much why the band burned out in two years. We played some amazing shows with incredible bands. It was definitely fun getting courted by major labels, and all that, but we didn't take anything seriously. I mean the main reason that happened was because some of our closest friends happened to be A&R reps for major labels. As soon as a couple people are looking at a band, the others start smelling fresh blood, and get in on it too. We had fun, and definitely didn't think too seriously that we could make a "career" out of playing the music we were making at the time.
I remember seeing Texas Is the Reason at Wetlands in NYC when you did the tour with Sense Field. What was your impression of Jon Bunch during that tour? I did a bit of touring with him years later, and I always found him to be such a fun person to be around.
That tour, and those people were the absolute greatest. We loved all of them dearly, and looked up to all of them as musicians, and friends. They had just signed to Warner Bros. so we learned a lot from them about the whole process. Losing Jon was a big loss for all of us and anyone who knew him, or loved his music. Scott McPherson (the drummer) is one of my dearest friends to this day. Love that guy, his playing, and his creative talent.
Texas Is the Reason broke up in 1997. If you could go back in time, would you have least made a second album before calling it quits, or are you at peace with the way it ended? I’ve always wondered what direction the band would have gone in on albums #2 and #3.
You know it happened how it happened, and we followed our hearts, and not our egos, and that's why the band ran its' course so fast. In hindsight, we coulda talked more and tried working it out, to try and keep the band going, but that wasn't our style. We were days away from signing with Capitol, and we were excited about making a great, big rock 'n' roll record. We were all pretty obsessed with Oasis, The Verve, and The Black Crowes, at the time, so that's what we were imagining creating something along the lines of, sonically speaking. We had a crazy dream list of producers and ideas for songs for the second album. We definitely were gonna go "big." But wasn't meant to be. I'm just happy we got to rewrite the ending in 2006 and then again in 2012/13/16 and close out the band on a high note. I now feel good about how it all went down.
Jets to Brazil was formed by Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker) and Jeremy Chatelain (Insight, Iceburn, Handsome), and then you joined them shortly after. I’m assuming you knew Jeremy from the hardcore scene, but did you know Blake before the first Jets jam session?
So, the story goes, it was Summer of 1997, and Texas had been broken up since March. I was trying to figure out what to do next, I had some offers to play in established bands, but nothing was grabbing me. I had, by chance, run into Jeremy Chatelain, who I had know since his days in Salt Lake City, while walking around the City one afternoon. He told me that Handsome, who he previously sang for, had broken up as well, and that he was living in Brooklyn, playing bass in a new project with "Blake from Jawbreaker" (who had also recently called it quits). Kinda blew my mind that he was playing bass, for one, and that also, Blake lived in Brooklyn. Had no idea, thought he was an East Bay, California dude. He told me it was crazy that we ran into each other, because he was literally gonna call me the coming week to see if I wanted to come play with them. They were playing Blake's new songs in a rehearsal space with a drum machine at that point. I wasn't exactly the biggest Jawbreaker fan, but I did like Dear You, so I thought it might be along the lines of that, and I was a big fan of Jeremy, so I figured if it was something he was into, I'd probably end up digging it as well.
I went and played with them the first time, without previously hearing anything, and right off the bat they taught me "Morning New Disease," "Chinatown," and "Lemon Yellow Black." We played them over and over, and made a boom box tape for me to take home, so I could get to know the songs better. It was cool, but I wasn't completely sold on it at first. I actually was a little hesitant to commit, and I think they picked up on it, because when I finally reached out to Jeremy a couple weeks later, he told me they were playing with an old friend of his from Utah, who was now living in Brooklyn. I was a little bummed at first, but after listening to the rehearsal tape as time went on, I was super-bummed I flaked and, so I thought, blew my chance to do something new and different. As fate would have it, a few months went by and I ran into Jeremy again, this time at a Verve show at Irving Plaza. He told me things didn't work out with his friend, and asked if I'd still be interested in playing with them. This time I didn't hesitate, and we got down to rehearsing a few times a week from then on. Shortly in the new year, 1998, we went out and recorded our first 5-song demo with Alap Momin, at Sweetwood Sound, in Parsippany, NJ.
We christened the band Jets to Brazil, a name I suggested after seeing it on a poster in a scene from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. We played our first show in March of 1998 at The Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, playing first on the bill of The Promise Ring (headlining), Jimmy Eat World, and Burning Airlines. We signed to Jade Tree after that and took off on a six week tour of Europe in support of The Promise Ring in late spring, to hammer out the material that would become Orange Rhyming Dictionary. We ended up recording that at Easley/McCain Studios in Memphis, TN, during the summer of 1998.
For my money, that first Jets to Brazil album, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, has some of Blake’s best songwriting. The vocal breakdown section at the 3:16 mark in “Morning New Disease” is pure genius.
It was a fun record to make, and it was a really satisfying creative process, very collaborative. We lived in Memphis for a few weeks. Just me, Jeremy, Blake, and J. Robbins staying at an extended stay hotel. We worked all day at the studio, and then spent the evenings unwinding, drinking beers by the pool of the hotel, cooling off from the steamy July Memphis heat. Listening back now, that is easily the most solid, consistently top notch group of songs to make up a Jets to Brazil album. I only wish Brian [Maryansky, future second guitarist] had joined before, and not directly after we recorded it. His playing on those songs live, really took them to another level. But overall, it's my favorite Jets to Brazil record. And "...in a stolen car I rocket west out past that Jersey line" is easily my favorite Blake lyric ever. Always sang it at the top of my lungs when we played it live, and still gives me chills whenever I hear it.
What was touring with Jets to Brazil like?
It could be pretty intense at times, but overall we had a lot of fun. We were a mix of different personalities. I think we bonded on collective high anxiety/ a lack of great communication skills, but also put our hearts into performing our best each night.
What kind of bills were you playing on?
We did two tours (Europe and US/Canada) supporting The Promise Ring, and from that point forward, we were a headlining band, exclusively. We brought out bands we enjoyed, not from a marketing/draw viewpoint, but bands we actually wanted to watch play every night. Some of those included Bluetip, Shiner, Pedro the Lion, Euphone, The Love Scene, Macha, and J. Majesty, to name a few. We toured like Fugazi; just the band, a live sound engineer, and a tour manger/merch person, two vans (one for band and one for gear/merch. It was a good thing we had going.
Why did Jets to Brazil break up in 2003?
I left the band in Fall of 2002. It had run its course, and ceased to be fun/rewarding for me by that time. I actually stopped enjoying driving around in a van for six weeks at a time and living the band lifestyle. I was searching for something more stable, grounded, and consistent, and playing in an indie rock band didn't meet those requirements anymore. I left amicably, and they got a replacement drummer, did one tour in 2003, and broke up. I'm not sure there was even a big discussion as to why. They just stopped and that was it.
Would you be open to playing with Jets ever again? Perhaps a reunion show type of thing?
With the passage of time, I look back fondly on my time in Jets to Brazil, and the music we made. There was a period a couple years back where Jade Tree was going to reissue the catalog on vinyl. We all started talking about playing shows around those releases, and then, for reasons unknown to us then, Jade Tree put the project on hold. That also put our collective communication on hold as well. Turns out they sold the Jade Tree catalog to Epitaph this past year, and the Jets to Brazil back catalog is now available on vinyl though Jade Tree/Epitaph. Not sure if anything will happen as far as live shows now though, being that Jawbreaker is a band again, we all live all over the country, Jeremy and I both have families, and we have careers, etc. The amount of work, coordination, and rehearsal that would have to go into playing, would be too great to only result in 1 show, but the thought/possibility of doing more seems tricky/daunting to me at best. Who knows what will happen though? I'm not ruling anything out, because that would mean there is actually something to rule out.
There was a big gap of time between the Jets to Brazil break up and your next musical project, Vs.Antelope, in 2009. What did you do in the years between that? Was there a project we might not know about?
When I left Jets to Brazil in Fall 2002, I started playing with Walter Schreifels, helping him put together this new batch of songs he was writing. This was right after Rival Schools broke up the first time. We recorded a handful of demos, a full-length that never saw the light of day, and played out under the names Walter Schreifels and The Motorcycles, and the more palatable Memory of a Free Festival. Aside from a handful of live shows, it remained mainly a rehearsal/recording project for close to two years, and I grew impatient. I was going through a lot in my personal life, and wanted to get away from playing music for awhile. The project eventually turned into Walking Concert, with Drew [Thomas] taking over on drums. A few of the tracks I played on ended up on their sole LP, Run to Be Born. I did another '60s pop-styled group for a bit, as well as some session work in the interim before Vs.Antelope came together.
I was excited when I first heard about Vs.Antelope because of the people in the lineup.
I knew Jimmy, the bass player, for ages, we played a lot of shows together over the years, he and Spanky, the singer were in J.Majesty together and I played a couple shows filling in on drums for them as well. We started jamming in the basement of Ludlow Guitars, where Jim was the manager, and he knew Matt Kane [guitarist, formerly of Big Collapse] so he joined in. The sound came together fairly quickly playing on everyone in the bands strengths as musicians. To my ears it sounded like Swervedriver music with Neil Young vocals, which was a magical combo, in my book. We played a ton of shows, recorded an LP for Arctic Rodeo, and then I started playing drums for Supertouch around the time of the first Revelation anniversary shows in California in 2012. I also started a project with Scott (Texas Is the Reason), Andy (Kill Your Idols) and these dudes Eric and Ivan, called Too Many Voices. It was hardcore in the vein of NYHC meets Dischord. We made a demo and played a bunch of shows and me, Scott, and Andy all bailed. As for Vs. Antelope, I loved playing with those dudes but I had a kid on the way, my career was gaining momentum, and I was moving out to Jersey, so coming in to rehearse in Brooklyn wasn't gonna work anymore. So it just ended fairly amicably, from what I remember.
Your latest musical project is High Disciple, a psych rock power trio. Well, that’s what I call it! What would you describe it as?
About a year after I moved out to NJ, and things started to settle, a little bit, I started to chomp at the bit to play music again. My second daughter had arrived, and things were fairly calm at home and work, I decided I wanted to start something new. And different sounding from anything I'd done in the past. I've loved dub/reggae for a long time, and wanted to play it, but knew I needed the right people to do so. White dudes playing reggae can be a little dicey in the wrong hands, so through fate (and social media) I met this dude Larry Digiovanni. He had a solo dub/electronica project called Dub for Light, which drew me in based on the Bad Brains reference alone. He was a bass player/producer/multi instrumentalist with a hardcore background, and knowledge and devotion to classic roots dub and reggae, in both performance and production. and he lived in North Jersey. BOOM. So we started jamming in early 2015 as a duo. The template was dub/reggae rhythms with psychedelic texture and free-form jazz leanings on top. We recorded and released a demo on SoundCloud and in early 2016, and shortly after Scott Saint Hilaire, a killer guitarist, and old friend with similar musical tastes joined up and we became High Disciple as it is today. Our main influences are Bad Brains, Sly and Robbie, King Tubby, Acid Test era-Grateful Dead, Syd Barrett era-Pink Floyd, among others. We have done shows with Garrett Klahn, Into Another, Supertouch, and always seem to get a good response from whoever we play in front of.
What is the plan for High Disciple going forward?
We have been recording about 10 songs in our own studio for the past several months, and are currently putting the finishing touches on new material we hope to release in some form by the end of Summer. More shows will hopefully follow. It's a lot of fun, we have great chemistry, and freedom to do and sound whatever/however we want.
Outside of music, what else is keeping you busy these days?
Well, my family is my main focus. I am the father of two lovely daughters named Gita and Priya, and help raise them with my beautiful wife/best friend, Amanda. There's really never been anything as satisfying and rewarding as watching them grow, and establish into the little people they are becoming. It's a lot of work, and stress, and tests your patience, but the reward is immeasurable. Aside from that, I have been building my career as a successful hairdresser in NYC for almost a decade, and that is extremely rewarding, in many ways, as a career path. It still amazes me that I made a plan to change my career at 32/33-years-old, and actually followed through on it. One of the best decisions I've ever made. Other than that I'm trying to improve myself everyday. For both myself, and my family, I really want to be the best person I can be. I really enjoy my life, and am so grateful for all the opportunities it has given me. I don't take anything for granted.
Do you keep up with newer hardcore music, or do you stick with the stuff you grew up on?
Not too much, but every so often a band catches my attention. I really like what Give and Praise are doing, and Krimewatch is pretty cool as well. To be honest, you'll mainly find me listening to either the Grateful Dead or Bad Brains nowadays. I celebrate and am completely content with an exclusive rotation of both bands' musical output in my current life.
Speaking of the Grateful Dead, do you friends give you any shit for being such a fan of the band?
No, not at all. There's an occasional negative chirp on a social media post, here and there, but most of the people I know are more open minded towards whatever music their friends enjoy listening to. It's strange, even to me, however, how heavy I've gotten into them over the past 10 years. They were big in my life growing up. My older brother, Brian, who I looked up to, and worshipped immensely, got into the Dead in the late '70s, when he was in high school. He saw them as often as possible throughout the late '70s, and until Jerry [Garcia] passed in 1995. Probably saw them at least a hundred times. At least. He was a true OG Deadhead. I had no choice but to listen to them as a kid, and hear all the accompanying stories and lore, while in his presence, which was as often as posssible. My folks got into them through him as well, and we would go see shows as a family at the Meadowlands in NJ.
I saw my first Dead show at age 12, 1984, at Brendan Byrne Arena, and saw six shows between then and 1991. I was always a casual listener, never crazy about them. Fast forward to 2005, and my father passed away, followed by my brother Brian two years later. It was a devastating time for me. I was really lost in a dark place, even though I had so much love and support around me. So one day, not long after Brian passed, I heard the Grateful Dead song "Ripple" on the radio, and it filled me with the most indescribable emotions of both happiness and sadness, all at once. I lost my shit basically, but it was a different type of sadness than I had experienced since either of their passings. Not desperate, but joyful, almost celebratory. I think the experience must have coincided exactly with that stage of grief from the loss of a loved one, where you finally accept it, and move forward with only happy memories. From that point forward it's given me great joy to listen to the Dead's music. It may sound corny, but It's become a way of sharing and bonding with my brother, and my dad as well, in both their physical absences. It's almost like a gift he gave me a long time ago, that I put away in a drawer, only to discover when I needed it most. But, yeah, you can call me obsessed with all things Dead related at this point. I've got no problems with that either.
I can’t let you go without asking, who is your all-time favorite Jersey hardcore band, and why?
That's easy, because there is only one answer. Vision. They were the first band I ever knew and became friends with. Like, literally the first show I ever went to, my friend Lee from high school, introduced me to both Pete and Dave. They immediately took me in as one of their own. I would drive to shows with them to the middle of nowhere PA, was there the first time they played CB's, The Anthrax. Whenever I could go see them, I would. They showed me and countless others, that you could be in a band, if you had some heart and some decent chops to boot. The loss of Dave Franklin was tough for a lot of people, but for us Jersey hardcore "kids," we lost our ringleader, our main dude. But, as the saying that he left with us with goes, "We'll never forget who our friends are". NJHC forever and ever.
Follow High Disciple on Facebook.