Unless you randomly stumbled upon No Echo, I needn’t introduce you to the long-running hardcore institution that is Revelation Records. With an initial run of god-tier albums, most of us would gladly wax nostalgic about the star logo that changed our lives.
Somehow still crushing the game 32 years removed from Lower East Side Crew, Revelation has perhaps the widest-reaching and daunting catalogue of any punk label. Should you still find yourself among the uninitiated, I’d say the first step would be Gorilla Biscuits. Short of that, there are few better places to start than the Where It Went podcast.
Nothing if not ambitious, hosts Greg Polard and Javier Van Huss are chronologically examining the label that changed the game. It’s as academic and enlightening as it is a labor of love informed by fandom.
Featuring deep dives, envy-inducing record collections, and killer interviews; they’ve somehow managed to dig new dirt on records we’ve been celebrating for decades. It’s a densely packed and rewarding listen. Though there’s an inherent expiration date of sorts for the show, California Cursed is nowhere near the horizon. They have decades to wade through and I, for one, am stoked to follow.
Javier and Greg were kind enough to indulge me while I picked their collective brain. The “other” third of the podcast is Jason Mazzola of Count Me Out fame, who deferred to the braintrust of the original duo.
Introduce yourselves to the No Echo audience.
Greg Polard: First off, thank you so much for doing this interview, Adam. I’m a huge fan of the site and have contributed a couple pieces myself! My name is Greg and I’m 1/3 of the Where It Went podcast. I’ve been in love with hardcore/punk since I was about 13 years old (I’m 39 now). I had known of Javier Van Huss because of the internet and some of his previous bands. We connected online in 2016 because of a mutual interest in Krishna Consciousness, hardcore, dad life, and Morrissey.
We got to meet up a couple times when he came out to the East Coast for This Is Hardcore Fest and we also talk daily via text message. I’ve played in several bands, the most notable of which was a band called One Up that existed from 2002-2005. I met Jason Mazzola around that time because he sang for the best straight edge band of the early 2000s, Count Me Out. In the last few years, Jason and I have been in a lot more contact.
When Javier and I started Where It Went, I had asked Jason to design a logo for the podcast and then he offered to do designs for each episode. At this point Jason is an equal member of the WIW Team and he is now coming onto more of the episodes to offer his own opinions because we’re giving the people what they want. The podcast is a great way for me to get weekly FaceTime with both of these guys, especially given the state of the world right now.
Javier Van Huss: Hi, I'm Javier. I started going to hardcore shows in Orange County, California, around 1992? Unfortunately, I never looked back. I've done pretty much everything imaginable in hardcore punk: done a zine, been in bands, booked shows, run a label, etc.
I met Greg on the internet a few years ago. probably through our mutual friend, Balaram Shakti Das. We always try to meet up, eat and visit the Krishna temples when I'm in Philly for This Is Hardcore.
Like all projects launched during a global pandemic, I have to ask. Was this a quarantine dream finally able to come to fruition? What was the impetus for starting the show?
Greg: Quarantine definitely made things a lot easier to get started, for sure. I had the idea for a podcast called Somethin’ to Dü where a friend and I discuss a different Hüsker Dü and the Replacements album each episode. We had talked about it back and forth for about a year. Then, once quarantine hit I actually began working even more hours which gave me some extra cash.
I got myself a MacBook and a microphone and told my friend Jude (my co-host for Somethin’ to Dü who played with me in One Up) that it was time to make the pod come to life. He and I did some research and at the end of May, we started publishing episodes and it’s been great. It is so much fun, in fact, that I decided that the only thing that could be more fun would be doing another podcast.
I’m a huge fan of You Don’t Know Mojack, where they are going through the SST catalog from beginning to end and thought it would be a cool idea to do a show like that but with another label.
Javier: I actually had a meeting with Carlos from No Echo a year or so ago to try and do a podcast with his help/guidance. Recorded a couple of demo episodes, but it just didn't go anywhere, probably due to my own anxiety? Greg approached me with this idea, and I was like yeah sure fuck it why not. I really had no expectations going into it.
Going chronologically through the Revelation catalog is quite the undertaking. Why Rev, specifically? I’d imagine the label factors heavily in your personal histories with the subculture. Give us a peek into that.
Greg: Great question. I mentioned in our pilot episode that a really cool thing about Revelation is that even after the “golden era” of say, 1987-1990, they put out a lot of great records that sound absolutely nothing like the earlier part of the catalog. There are a lot of labels that started around that time that either stopped going or just went into a territory that I’m not particularly interested in.
With Revelation, I still am much more prone to check something out if it has that Rev Star on the back cover, even now. I can’t think of a band I’ve been in where at least one of the influences wasn’t a band on Revelation – the label is just a fabric of my musical being at this point. It’s super fun to discuss some of these records that I’ve loved for 25 years and still have a fresh perspective on.
Javier: I think the diversity of the label's releases gives enough of a wide range of opinions and emotions that will be interesting to cover. Everyone has a different view of certain eras of the Revelation discography. I just love talking about hardcore, punk, and underground music, so to have an opportunity to do that with a good friend and some cool guests seems like a fucking win, you know?
Revelation Records, more than most, has an evergreen relevance. Their aforementioned golden era never seems to fall out of favor in the hardcore world. As intrepid experts, what do you attribute that to?
Greg: To me, it’s simple: quality, timeless hardcore. Great design. Limited color vinyl. Great lore. All these together (see what I did there?) make this era of Revelation Records and hardcore in general still relevant to this day.
Javier: A lot of the early releases (pre-1993), were bands who were maybe diving into unexplored territory, or sounds and images that were not widely known in the culture. It was a lot of peoples' first introductions to things like skinheads, straight edge, vegetarianism, etc. That, and you had so many personalities that were larger than life making this music. It just created a lasting imprint, like a dinosaur fossil [laughs].
Going through the initial releases from Rev, you’ve managed to illuminate some great stories I’ve never heard, despite the amount of information about these classics. How exhaustive is the research process?
Greg: I can’t even really say it’s exhaustive because it’s just so much fun! I will say that between the both of us, we have a ton of books on hardcore. I’d like to BIDIP BO a couple of these that have been incredibly valuable resources: Record Aficionado: Volume 2, by Jay Bil, Hardware Fanzine Anthology, by Brett Beach and Dave Koenig, Schism Anthology, by Porcell and Alex Brown, and Radio Silence, by Anthony Pappalardo and Nathan Nedorostek.
There are others I am probably forgetting at the moment that I’m sure we’ll BIDIP BO on air. We also just received copies of the Good & Plenty Fanzine anthology from Draw Down Books to help with our research so BIDIP BO to that whole crew!
Javier: Well, we both have these three things working for us:
1. An extensive book library
2. Decades of first hand experience
3. A fat Rolodex
Clearly, readers will spot the Judge reference that lends itself to the show’s name. Was this the only option or do you care to dish on any scrapped titles?
Greg: Honestly, I remember going back and forth with Javier thinking of some names but can’t even recall any of the others. Where It Went just seemed to really stick. Plus, Judge rules.
Javier: Initially, our name was not well received because it kind of seemed like a slight against the label. But we thought our name was indicative of the true journey that the label has taken since 1987, and we want to follow and chronicle that journey. I'm sure that we had other names kicking around, but nothing stuck like this.
As ambitious a project as this is, Revelation had a wilderness period in the early ‘oughts that, in my opinion, sports some criminally underrated records. Am I the only one anxiously awaiting the 32 Frames, On the Might of Princes, and Pitch Black episodes? What’re some lesser lauded records you’re looking forward to digging into?
Greg: I can say I have not heard any of the bands you mentioned and I’m looking forward to listening to those records with a critical ear! As for under appreciated Rev releases, I’ll say I’m excited to discuss: Gameface Every Last Time, Shades Apart Seeing Things, Damnation A.D. Kingdom of Lost Souls, Farside Rigged, and Dag Nasty Minority of One. There are tons more too.
Javier: Many people's casual love affair with Rev ends around 022, the Burn 7". I personally love the stretch from 22-38, which happened while I was a 17-18-year-old kid and got to see a lot of those bands while I was exploring a new world. The are a lot of records I'm excited to cover like Since By Man, Himsa, Fall Silent, and a few other sleepers.
Your Instagram is an essential follow, unearthing insane collections and ephemera along the way. Is that the best way for people to interact? Tell us more about your just launched Patreon. I understand you’ve been diligently working on some bonus content for podcast loyalists?
Greg: One goal we have with this podcast is making sure that on any of the social media outlets that we use, we’re sharing exclusive content. That said, the Instagram is definitely the most active at this point in time, but we’re working on getting more content on Twitter (@whereitwentpod) and Facebook (Where It Went Podcast).
We have a brand new snazzy looking website that will give people the ability to listen to the podcast right there rather than through one of the usual avenues, plus there will be a blog with exclusive content. We are really excited for the Patreon.
To help offset some of the costs associated with the podcast, there will be different tiers of sponsorship. One of the perks is our pledge to give every applicable patron a minimum of two additional episodes each month. These will not be throwaway episodes at all, but rather will focus on Revelation Records adjacent bands and topics.
For example, the first month bonus episodes are an interview with Insight about their new LP Reflection, and an interview with Be Well about their new album, The Weight and the Cost. Some bonus episodes will be interviews, some will just be Javier, Jason, and I discussing a specific record but all of them will be good listens!
You’ve already managed some eye-popping guests, including Ray Cappo. Any other crossover with Joe Rogan’s show [laughs]? Without playing spoiler, got any dream guests in the pipeline?
Greg: [Laughs] I was absolutely thrilled to speak with Ray as he’s such an important part of the story of Revelation Records. He gave us a 5-star review on iTunes and wrote something super nice that people should go check out and then see if they can write one just as nice. We have been very fortunate to have a lot of willing participants and people who have already stated that they will come back for multiple shows & releases. It’s truly humbling.
As for dream guests, the biggest one for me would be to talk to Zack de la Rocha about the Inside Out 7”. That record is so iconic and Zack has gone onto do so many other great things, but I have never really read or heard anything where he is talking about this record. I’d also love to talk to Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy for a Patreon episode.
Javier: On our Patreon, we want to interview people not directly involved with the records or Rev. Other musicians and artists who may just be fans of a record. Like can we talk to a dude from Title Fight about Quicksand? Does Eddie Bravo want to talk about Shelter? Only one way to find out...
I would personally love to talk to Chaka and Walter, two artists that I've always been fascinated with. But I also want to talk to people like Andrew Reizuch, Igby, and John LaCroix, who worked at the label behind the scenes and may have some interesting stories to tell.
Revelation has been on a tear of late, still releasing crucial albums from the likes of Drain, etc. Hopefully, they’ll make it so you never run out of content! What new bands or records do you wanna big up or recommend?
Greg: As far as records out now on Revelation, the new Constant Elevation 7” and Drain LP are must haves. For upcoming Rev, I’m looking forward to the new World Be Free 12” EP and the DARE LP. There’s so many great new hardcore bands out now, it’s wild! I would say there’s a resurgence happening but honestly, I feel like every year there’s a bunch of really solid records.
So far in 2020 we’ve had killer releases from Gulch, Mindforce, Pillars of Ivory, Change, One Step Closer, and more. I’m also really into a lot of bands made up of veterans that came out this year like Be Well, Insight, Cro-Mags, Don’t Sleep, and Every Scar Has A Story.
Javier: I spent the two years before societal lockdown really paying attention to new bands and traveling the country to see them. Gulch was unreal to experience live. Envision from Florida. Vanguard is a cool new XVX band. Anyone who says that hardcore sucks now, or theres no good new bands, is a tourist or a posuer and they should just retire.
Don’t wanna play spoiler, but no one escapes my lists! Without playing spoiler, are you both comfortable dishing on your Top 5 Revelation Records albums?
Greg: I’m fine with spoilers! Here’s a caveat: I’m only going to pick Revelation albums for this and I’m not going to count anything that’s a reissue, so no Youth of Today LPs and no major label vinyl albums (Quicksand, Into Another, CIV).
- Gorilla Biscuits, Start Today
- Texas Is the Reason, Do You Know Who You Are?
- Judge, Bringin’ It Down
- Sense Field, Building
- Supertouch, The Earth Is Flat
- Judge, Bringin' It Down
- Burn 7 inch
- Statue, Filter the Infection 7 inch
- Into Another, Ignaurus
- Shelter, Perfection of Desire
Listen to all Where It Went episodes on the show's official website.
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