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October 24, 2005

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The problem with most bands that try and play hardcore is that they listen to hardcore. Think about it: in the Reagan years, punk kids appeared out of nowhere and essentially made something out of nothing. With no hardcore bands to influence them, what were they listening to? Music, duh!

Career Suicide and Fucked Up are two bands from Toronto that were born a few decades late and got stuck in today’s scene. Ironically, their fast and sloppy early-80s-styled hardcore is a million times more musical and ferocious than 99 percent of professional MySpace-era mosh bands, and their fans’ postshow cuts and bruises remind us that this shit just might have the potential to still be dangerous.

Vice: Can punk be scary anymore?
Martin (singer of Career Suicide): Hell, the greatest danger these days at a show seems to be cutting your skull open on the sea of cameras in the front row. When did every punk kid become a fucking photographer? At least shows are getting lively again these days. Someone sent me a video of one of our shows a few weeks ago, and it was funny watching some of our friends wobbling around after totally landing wrong on stage dives.
Damian (singer of Fucked Up): The band Haymaker was always scary. They seemed to be able to release the repressed violence in the people who watched them. Fire, broken glass, chairs... it was always a nightmare. A few members of their crew I would describe as being legitimately frightening dudes.

What about, I don’t know?°¦ the Misfits?
Martin: Are you serious? What reason does anyone have to see the Misfits? They’d have to send a time machine to 1980 and pay me to even consider watching that joke of a band. Honestly, as much as I love the music of the real Misfits, I just can’t take that band seriously. Fuck gimmicks.
Damian: Last time I saw the Misfits was about four years ago. Some guy came onstage wearing a hockey mask and a plaid jacket and proceeded to sing for them; turns out it was the singer of Ignite. The show was a disaster. I can’t imagine how bad they must be now.

Ever get stage fright?
Martin: Of course, but it’s nothing that massive intoxication doesn’t usually solve. When we first started playing I’d get so nervous I’d have to do something stomach-turning to distract myself from the fear of performing half-rehearsed songs in some rat hole to an audience of five people. At one of our first shows, I soaked my own hand with piss and rubbed it all over my face. That did the trick for turning my stomach, but I decided I’d rather just get drunk and live with the stage fright for future performances.
Damian: I used to cut myself onstage and fuck myself up as a sort of violence lubricant. I still get nervous when we play a show and the cops show up, which has happened at the last five shows. I don’t hate cops; I’m just cop-a-phobic. I get the shakes and my vision blurs.

What else scares you?
Damian: As clichéd as it sounds, I am terrified of the future. I’m also really afraid of car accidents.
Martin: Getting a blowjob from my father.
Damian: I have a friend who cleans up the bodies of people who jump in front of the subway. He’s a really nice family man that can completely compartmentalize things. The fact that he said he jerked off to that scene in Irreversible when the guy gets his head beaten in makes him a very scary person to me.

Damian, what’s up with your band going to Europe with a fill-in singer?
I hate touring even at the best of times, and as a band we don’t really get along. The prospect of sitting in a van with those dudes driving through some breakaway former Soviet republic made me sick to my stomach. But I’m going on the next tour. Plus I’m fucked for money right now and some other bullshit. All in all it was the best choice not to go and it may end up saving the band.

What kinds of sketchy places have you played?
Damian: I just finished reading an interview with some indie-rock band that made it out like playing in Polish community centers is badass, so by that standard every show we play is sketchy.
Martin: On our first European tour we had a show put on by a gang of gypsies that lived on the outskirts of a city. Our van was led in a convoy along the autobahn to some wooded area a few miles outside of town, and the gypsy commune was nestled in a clearing with their caravans arranged in a circle. There was garbage everywhere, bonfires were the only source of light, and dogs were running wild and barking at our van. It was a scene from some cheap horror movie, full moon and all. We were on the verge of turning right around when the promoter took us to the “venue,” which was just a massive tent made of nets and blankets with an old diesel generator. The show turned out amazing.

Were the gypsies all thrashing and going off and shit?
Martin: Nah, they just sat around outside the tent screaming and smashing bottles—not to the music or anything, but because they are fucking lunatics that live in the woods and are basically despised by the rest of the population. There were actual punk kids that found their way to this commune and were singing along and everything, despite the fact that they don’t speak English and we don’t publish our lyrics. I wish the gypsies had gotten in on it though. I imagine they would have laid the hardcore kids to waste.

What does a gypsy even look like?
Martin: Cross an Indian with an Italian, make sure he has a mustache and tall leather boots.

How do you want to die?
Martin: It doesn’t really matter to me as I likely won’t remember much of it. I just hope it doesn’t happen for a long time. I actually am really looking forward to getting old since I think it’s going to be awesome to look old and frail. Also, I can get a kick out of faking my own death. I have all sorts of plans to do it, like I’ll be riding on the bus and start to breathe really loudly, then all of a sudden just hunch forward and fall into someone’s lap and pretend to die. With enough practice I might be able to contain my laughter long enough for paramedics to arrive.
Damian: I want to be crushed to death by my record collection.

But how do you think you’ll die, really?
Martin: Cancer seems fairly popular with one side of my family, but I’d rather spare myself that. Really, as long as it doesn’t happen too soon and especially not in a fiery car wreck when we are on tour somewhere, I won’t have many complaints about it when it does come.
Damian: Heart attack. Or get hit by a car.

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