Stockholm Syndrome: Early ‘00s Bay Area Hardcore Punk Band Burned Fast & Bright

Photo: Mark Murrmann

Stockholm Syndrome was a short-lived '00s hardcore punk outfit featuring musicians who also did time in such bands as Spazz, Young Offenders, Baader Brains, and xINEPTx.

Comprised of an unearthed 2004 studio session, along with their 2004 One Way Out EP, Death Watch is Stockholm Syndrome's recently released 16-track discography. In terms of their style, the band's speedy tempos found them being compared to the likes of Ripcord and DS-13.

To get some history, I spoke with Stockholm Syndrome vocalist Tim Brooks.

How did Stockholm Syndrome initially come together, how far back did you guys go before that?

I joined on vocals after Max, Mike, and Spencer had already fomulated the band in 2002. They had songs with no vocals. I had just moved to the USA from the UK after being deported.

We met up in a tiny room on Turk Street in San Francisco with people shooting up in the street outside the practice space. We all met at Maximum Rocknroll I think… that was our commonality.

Stylistically speaking, what were some of the influences you wanted to explore with Stockholm Syndrome?

Fast as fuck, boy. Fast as fuck. We wanted to be Ripcord, Siege, and Heresy with a bit of Japan and Scandinavia. As with all these things, we just ended up being fast with 7-minute sets. We were really fucking loud. Although it sounds pretty serious, it really wasn’t.

What do you remember about the recording of One Way Out?

We recorded with Bart Thurber, who was class. The second recording was with Craigums at his house, in his garage. We did No Way Out in a few hours. The other three did all the sound shit, I don’t have clue. I just sat around and knocked out vocals in one or two takes.

It was pretty quick as was most of the shit we did. We wanted the cover to be different from the traditional hardcore look. We always wanted to be a little contrary for some reason. We aped it on the new LP we did too. As much cos anything else felt a bit forced. Mike did No Way Out and Tommy Wilson killed the new LP art.

Tell me a bit about the previously unreleased tracks that are appearing now on this new release? Why didn’t that stuff ever see the light of the day til now?

There were three tracks we did for a compilation, none of us have any recollection of who they were for. We found the master tape last year and they were there. Weird. The other recording we did at Craigums' place. I don’t think we had it lined up to release with anyone.

Soon after we stopped playing when Max went away I think and we didn’t want to release a dead band’s songs. 20 years later it makes more sense as a "back in the day" vibe.

Photo: Mark Murrmann

So, that's what caused Stockholm Syndrome to break up? I know Max is in academia. 

Max went away to study in Japan, and I’d just had a baby. We didn’t break up. We just didn’t play again. It was always going to be temporary, everyone had shit going on and the band was never a huge serious concern. We only played the Bay Area, with friends for seven minutes. We were lucky to be playing at a period of time when the Bay Area was firing, tons of touring bands coming through, lots of good times and good energy. 

Max is between Japan and the East Coast teaching and still running the legendary 625 label. I think he has a cat. Mike is on the East Coast doing the zine Razorblades and Aspirin, has some sort of job and has dogs. Spencer is also in Academia, reading books or something. No dogs or cats. He has done a million bands before and after SS, too many to mention.

I have a job doing some bullshit, two kids, 19 and 17, two dogs… holding down the 415/650 and run YOFC label/books and zines, put on shows sometimes. All of us still remained in "the scene," if that’s a thing.I still like fast shit and seeing bands and whatnot.

The real reason for the 20th year release of the discography was really to have a historic tangible piece of history for four friends to keep. Hopefully it still stands the test of time!


Death Watch is available on vinyl via 625 Thrash and digitally on YOFC.


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Tagged: spazz, stockholm syndrome