Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DARKSIDE NYC... Pig Latin Interviews Make Way for Dread!

DARKSIDE NYC (for all of you whipper-snappers out there) were a Brooklyn, New York band that took its upstarts in the early '90s. It would be a chore to describe their music to those who don't know their incomparable style. Some may call it "metallic Hardcore" (barf!). Others may call it Metal influenced by Hardcore. To me, it's a mix of highly Celtic Frost/HellHammer influenced Metal with a Hardcore-like bounciness and a deep, dirty guitar tone that sounds like the earlier material was recorded inside of Satan's colon. Over the music, a lyrical content was barked out from Rich O' Brien's caustic throat that was more 'daily struggle' than it was 'dungeons and dragons'. It was probably the no-frills, real life content that earned them a closer association to hardcore than to Metal.  

Regardless of the agreed upon description or categorization, this band had the stylistic chops to take it one step above (I think!) had they just have found a particular niche to fit into in the glorious, ideal-saturated '90s. However, they kept it strictly negative and hateful; perfect for miserable, angry pricks like me, but not exactly the outward musical/lyrical attitude that helped launch the next Victory Records teen idol back then. In essence, the very scene that gave DNYC any notoriety or recognition in the end was the source for their biggest disservice!

While Rich's wallet in retrospect may think he's an asshole, a big dumb Irish lummox, his balls and his conscience have no trouble facing him in the mirror each morning. You have to respect that!  

DNYC is about to drop the first two installments in a four volume set of greatest misses, new disses and butterfly kisses! For all intents and purposes, this is really the first DARKSIDE NYC album, since all previous output has been of demo length and quality. Getting Rich O'Brien to agree to do this interview was harder than trying to achieve an erection after seeing Lena Dunham naked. Rich had been through the mill of stupid fanzine  interviews, but I assured him that no fanzine Q and A could ever prepare him for a grilling on this set, ladies and germs. So now if you please, all the way from Brooklyn, New York please give a warm Tales Of Perversion Show welcome to the lovely...

Rich O' Brien of Darkside NYC

So, what do you do for a living when you're not weaving in and out of stretch Hum-V limos dodging blowjob-willing groupies?

I work in finance. Currently in the process of taking the handful of classes I need to get the degree that's held me back for so long. Believe it or not, the money I typically bring in from music does NOT cover my mortgage or even the electric bill. My car has 125,000 plus miles on it and the empty bottles clank on sharp turns.

Wow, a you’re a “one-percenter”! I gotta say, I'm floored, because I always figured you to be a big meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, and not someone who may have shared a free-base pipe at an office Christmas party with Bernie Madoff!" Has the path to becoming a Wall Street maven been an ambition of yours that has made way for dread?

 It is my muthafuckin' dream to be a 1%er.The "devil" - in all of his trickery - has designed so many methods of keeping me in economic chains. But I WILL rise up and achieve fiscal success! As a longtime high-ranking member of the Nation, I am already a 5%er. That makes just 4% more to go. Take that, "whitey".

Do you consider yourself to be an extraordinarily angry person? If so, why? 

There are a lot less things in my life now that make me "angry", but I can always channel a good rage when I need to.

How much of DARKSIDE NYC’s lyrical content is an actual reflection of your negative feelings and how much of it is for the sake of the band’s concept?

In other words, how often do we "fake the funk"? Never! Everything I write isn't necessarily autobiographical. Sometimes I kick out metaphors or let my imagination run, but I never felt I had to go out of my way stick to a concept. And that goes for being negative too.

 Using no more than six degrees of separation, can you connect yourself to Gary Dell’Abate?

Baba Booey?Isn't there a guy from Death on the Stern show? I used to go fuck it up for Death back in the day. (I don't think he was in the band back then though.)Pete Steele was also on the show once or twice, right? I'm sure I know someone else who was on the show, but need to think on it. What about Evan Seinfeld. I bet he was on.

Yes, Richard Christy is one of the behind-the-scenes Stern guys and he was in DEATH for the ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ album (or during that era as a touring drummer, not sure which right now,) and was also in ICED EARTH. Evan (or should I say “Spider Jonez”) was on there too with his ex-wife, just plugging and promoting her Porn flicks away. I am glad that you mentioned Peter Steele (and yes he was on the air with Stern once- it was fucking hilarious too.) I know that just like myself, you are a big CARNIVORE fan and so I was wondering if you were friendly enough with him to have attended his funeral. It’s just that it would be nice to confirm if it were true that there was a separate burial for Steele’s huge wang? 

The wake and funeral services were very private, for reasons I can't really explain, the family preferred to keep it away from fans and whatnot. Personally, I feel Peter would have gotten a kick out of a couple hundred freaks and wackos singing "God Is Dead" behind police barricades in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn. I knew Peter a little bit.  I went to support a family friend who was very close, as well as pay my basic respects for a guy who gave all of us old Brooklyn guys a real reason to form a band and just straight up not give a fuck! Plus, it was walking distance from my house. Regarding the wang, somehow they managed to get it all in there. I’m not sure if they needed to customize anything! Maybe remove some of the padding!

DARKSIDE NYC was active at THE time and THE place that most bands would jizz their skinny jeans to be a part of. In other words, early 90's NYC was a breeding ground of bands from all ends of the spectrum. Do you feel that DARKSIDE NYC's non-participation in the Hardcore trends of the day (as far as sound and image is concerned) is what ultimately caused you guys to be criminally overlooked? 

We never followed trends and never paid much attention to how we fit in. We did what we felt like doing. People liked it or didn't. There are probably 100 reasons why we may have been overlooked, we never signed with a label, never toured or played big shows, only had like ten songs...People who like what we do and are into digging up the illest obscure shit can usually find us.

Will both volumes be released simultaneously, or will there be a hiatus in between record drops?

OPTIMISM IS SELF-DECEPTION Volumes 1 and 2 were recently mastered and will be pressed as soon as I can get to it on CD, cassette, 8-track, and Vinyl if there's a demand... Volumes 3 and 4 still need some more vocals and mixing. All of the music for these records was basically done in a single weekend. If I didn't have to work, I'd be in a studio 80 hours a week. We'd have 200 albums!

Clarify this statement to be true or false… (Bullet through the face) is to (50 Cent’s slack-jawed delivery) what (throat surgery) was to (Rich O’Brien’s unmistakable vocals). In other words, do you feel your throat surgery in part gave you that grimy sounding voice? 

My voice isn't naturally grimy. That's the kind of voice I always liked as a kid, so that's how I do it. Over time it's become second nature, and I can go for hours without getting hoarse. Back in 1991, I had two or three consecutive strep throat infections and decided to get my tonsils taken out. I couldn't eat any food for like a month. I'd smash multi-vitamins into Jell-o and ate boxes of that shit cause it slid down nice. Anything that required swallowing was torture. Lost 30 pounds and looked like a starving addict, but then my voice slowly came back, and I started jamming with Alan Blake. And so did the pounds ha ha

What is your favorite episode of Tales From The Darkside? 

The one where Grandpa came back from the dead and didn't realize he was dead freaked me out a bunch when I was a kid. Homeboy blew his nose and it came off into the tissue ha-ha-ha! Haven't seen that show since the early or mid 80s but I still remember that creepy intro music with the fucked up trees.

My favorite episode is the one where Jerry Stiller is some radio "shock-jock." As the plot unraveled he slowly started morphing into a demon. By the end of the episode, you figure out that his broadcasting booth is down in hell where he is doomed to be a a demonic Don Imus rip-off for all eternity! Yea, just a thought, but maybe you guys should do a jam with a version of that creepy intro... The "Tales From The Darkside" intro! Dopeness!

Eh, as for the intro, too obvious I think, ha ha! The Twilight Zone was always a favorite show too. Tales From The Darkside was cool too, but they seemed to be doing a modern take on Twilight Zone.

Agreed, the ‘Tales from the Darkside’ theme would be too obvious, but sometimes “too obvious” works! Rich, baby, listen to me, your new agent… you do the ‘Tales from the Darkside’ intro theme rip-off today, and you’ll be playing it live on Kimmel tomorrow.

Only if FEAR shows up and we all get to destroy the green room.

Richie, baby, as your agent I'll give you the stars, but Lee Ving might be a little long in the tooth to trash anything but his adult undergarments (Hi-yooooooooo!) Now, as your agent, let me ask you this, how are you doing the tracking on ‘OPTIMISM’? In other words, will it be a mish mash of old stuff with new in no particular sequence, or is the song list set up to show how the sound has transitioned and progressed? 

We re-recorded everything we ever did and also wrote a bunch of new stuff. Over the years, a couple of things that always annoyed me was the degree in which our potential in writing new material was left untapped and all we ever made were some low-budget demos. These songs deserve to be heard in album-quality production, and now they are! People might think our new stuff is a bit different, but the reason for that is we already had so many songs that had a heavy Sabbath/Frost hardcore vibe. It was time to mix it up. I wanted some more total fast shit, some chaos, some crust, more extreme metal shit. Matt was on board 100%. We even did some melodic shit. Consider it a blueprint for what we'll do next.

 ...Darkside NYC was given a chance to do something for Roadrunner Records under the stipulation that Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei would have produced it. You declined because you always had the ambition of producing your first releases. Speaking honestly, do you sometimes regret not submitting to those terms just to see what could have been? I mean, I get the sense from you that you’re a regular guy and not a fame-seeker, but I can’t help but think that the working-man in you doesn’t wonder how many financial obligations could not have been eased by a “major” label record. 

Everyone knows no one gets rich of this kind of music. You've got better odds playing Lotto than making it "big" in the music industry.  Truth is I wondered about it a few times - mostly when I see huge festivals and all my friends are co-headlining it ha ha! But I chose my path. No regrets. Billy and them had good intentions, and I appreciated that, but I knew deep down that us signing up at THAT moment would have been truly disastrous. We were not agreeing on too many things as a band as it was. To start dealing with all the compromises with managers and labels and producers, etc. would have been fuckin' miserable. Maybe if we weren't so dysfunctional it would have been like the ultimate power move, haha - but I don't regret staying underground at all. It's where I feel comfortable. OPTIMISM IS SELF-DECEPTION - Vol. 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 is our legacy. Doesn't even matter how many thousands of copies I don't sell to random herbs. But I chose my path. No regrets.

If this scenario would repeat again today, do you think you would have made that same decision? 

We're not dysfunctional at all anymore. This band is super fuckin' productive now. There's no arguments, no bullshit. we get shit done! Our biggest problem is we lack TIME. Jobs, wives, kids, bills, etc. All that takes priority over hanging out and band shit. Once we get a couple of things out, we're established. Then, if a label wants to holler, it's cause they're into what we do. Not saying I WANT to sign, but at least we'll have something to talk about.  If they're looking for some hungry young kids to stay on the road all the time, that ain't us. What I can offer is an album-worth of material written and produced every week or 2. Don't believe me? Put me in the fuckin' studio and let's see how many years it takes before I run out of ideas. But in the meantime, putting out my own shit works for me. Our "debut album" took a while, but I'm almost 100% satisfied with how everything came out. Besides, the fun part is doing the cover and the layouts and deciding what pictures to put. Big labels don't necessarily see you how you want to be seen. They have their own ideas how to market bands, and don't mind if the band members don't like it. That wouldn't sit well with me at all. 
At the end of the day, I just want to make my music my own way. A tiny room of 30 people who REALLY dig what I do beats a stadium full of people jumping up and down just cause everybody else is. I get the idea most people in bands sign because they are secretly longing for the glory and the fame.  There's nothing wrong with that I guess, but it's not what drives me at all...

Darkside of the moon. On PCP or LSD? 

Having been a fly on the wall at late 80’s/early 90’s metal and hardcore shows at such venue spots as L’Amours and the likes, I am sure you've seen some impressive action in the trenches. Undeniably, anybody can just take a peek at any random Youtube footage of an "extreme" music event and concur that 'going off' at shows is laughable. Why do you think the ‘crowd feedback’ is not as fucking terrifying as it once was? I mean, have you seen the seemingly choreographed line-dance looking “douchery” of which “Moshing” consists of nowadays? 

FLY ON THE WALL - 1985. Under-rated LP!I might have been a fly on the wall in '86/87. By '88 I was catching dives and throwin' some elbows. I fully realize now that the "1982 scene" was totally hating on us and our violence and our metal infiltration, but at the time I never gave it a second thought. I was having a blast. And as far as I'm concerned, those shows were some legendary shit to be a part of.  There was no "line-dancing" or fake ninjas taking turns punching the air. You went in and tried not to fuckin' get killed ha-ha-ha I've had teeth cracked, dozens of bloody noses, bruised ribs, broke an arm, got a concussion. And it's all good; I administered a lot more than I got. Those were the best shows! I never once thought of suing a club; what the fuck is that? When I click on Youtube links for shows today, I see a lot of bands playing to a handful of dweebs doing some kind of pathetic "moves" ... half with their backpacks on? People skipping across the stage and then politely dismounting, ha-ha-ha. Whatever happened to stage-divers? These fuckers are floating like feathers!  But guess what - these kids don't give a shit about my judgment of their scene. Plus, a bunch of 40-60(!!) year olds talking about the old days isn't gonna keep a movement alive, is it? ha-ha.  You need the kids and the 20-25 year olds . At least the old school bands are getting their respect now, cause for a while they kinda weren't.

So, why do you think that they dance like fairies?

I couldn't tell ya that, I'm more sociopath than sociologist!

Would you find it preferable that kids just sit there and head-bang at any future DARKSIDE NYC  shows?

Well, I definitely prefer headbanging to ballerina thugs. At this point, we're cool if a few people just step away from the bar and watch us. Post an iPhone clip or something.

Tell me about the line-up of bums you got playing in DARKSIDE NYC right now?

I hate "musical resumes". It's like Linked In for fuckin' bands! Hahaha! The official line-up for the album recordings was: Rich - vocals, drums, piano pounding, percussion, assorted power tools and electronic noise. Matt - guitars, backing vocals and electronic noise. Také - bass,backing vocals. Joe - drums. Since the album, we became a 3-piece and I've been handling double-duty. It's a pain in the ass live, but our studio jams are killer! Very recently, we started playing with a drummer named Rick (who played in one of my first bands). And Metal Mark is playing bass while Také travels across Asia. Maybe you'll even see a show out of us this summer.

DARKSIDE NYC’s sound was always very heavily rooted in that old-school of thrash and metal lore, with just a touch of hardcore thrown in. But I gather from your answer to an earlier question that on the new joint you delve even deeper into a more “extreme” sound. What new musical approaches have you incorporated into the more recent, unheard material?

The new material has been heard quite a bit. I must have listened to these tracks 200 times a piece! HA. We went totally extreme on some of the newer songs: some d-beat, some blast parts, some black metal. Then we went more "old school punk rock" on other songs. A couple even have ridiculous melodies that no one ever would have expected us to do. The older heavy songs are like the anchor, or the center. We needed to mix it up; our set list was stale as fuck and being slow and mid-tempo most of the time made us wanna fuck with some fast shit. Also, having some songs that were 20 years old, we had fun writing a bunch on the spot. Some of those went in very unexpected directions. Now we can now play either all-metal shows or all-punk shows and actually fit a little better on the bill just by swapping out a few songs.

What do you mean by "written on the spot"? How much of the material was "written on the spot"? 

Drums tracked with no previous existing song arrangement. Guitars and bass layered on top. Whatever came out is whatever came out. I used to tell Dean (the engineer) just hit 'record' and I went off for the next 15 minutes. Ten songs were created. All made the cut.

That’s fantastic! Did you actually throw lyrics on those joints?

Of course. I took home rough mixes and wrote to them though; I didn't just record me yelling random shit.

Asides from throwing all kinds of styles together into one rusty spoon and cooking it up proper, you also used a bunch of different types of needles. (Yikes, that metaphor grossed me the fuck out). Tell us about the use of unconventional instruments on this thing. There are some instruments used throughout the joint that aren’t exactly part of the core elements used by Satan worshipping, junkie hippie bands such as yours! 

Matt has a friend who's a professional Latin percussionist. I kept talking about how I wanted to add conga to a part, or bongos to a part. I was asking people I knew, but it wasn't panning out. Finally Matt makes a call. The one and only Bopa King Carre shows up with cases full of the most awesome drums and an open mind. He set up these timbales and timbalitos with cowbells and proceeded to go to town on a bunch of our songs. We ended up with more than we could use but ended up with way more than we planned. The final result is sick. We also recorded me pounding on a piano with my fists, swinging a circular saw. A bit of trumpet blowing. It's bizarre. Another time, I got a guy playing crazy violin in the Times Square station to come to the studio. We overdubbed some of the most evil sounds and blended it with guitars on just certain parts. It ain't the Boston Pops.

Well, as a grease-ball spic, I’m sure that I will find the Latin percussion quite appealing. I will probably get up and start busting out Salsa spin moves instinctively! And as for all that other craziness, the bi-polar, manic-depressive lunatic inside of me will eat all of those shenanigans up! ...
Rich, listen to me, not to sound like a broken record but you gotta do the ‘Tales from the Darkside’ intro bust! Obvious, Schmobvious! Go against your instincts on this!  After all, you did blow the Roadrunner deal! But, hey, that was before my tenure, so ‘FORGIVEN/FORGOTTEN’ (pun intended).

This is the muthafuckin' soundtrack to bi-polar manic-depressives. I'll call the Harry Fox Agency and tell them that you'll take care of the compulsory license.

Listen, would now be the ideal time to remind you of my 10% cut as agent? 
Now's a great time! I'm in the red though. 10% of a negative number means you gotta cut me a check, B.

What are your thoughts (if any) on the upcoming Black Sabbath joint? 
Could it possibly be as awesome as Seventh Star or Headless Cross or Tyr? Ha-ha-ha! I didn't think the 2 new songs on that live reunion CD a few years ago were anything great.

Who are you liking musically lately? And keep in mind that it does not matter if it isn’t anything current. Anything that you have been bumping a lot lately is fine.

When it comes to metal punk and hardcore, it's basically all the old shit I always dug. Priest - Sin After Sin & Stained Class, Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody, Deep Purple - Machine Head, Discharge - Why, Metal Church's 1st record, Prong - Force Fed are some of the albums I threw on recently (that I didn't play on.) Otis Redding I dig a whole bunch. There's something compelling about Amy Winehouse - the Dap Kings drummer fuckin rules. Kinda reminds me of Al Jackson (Stax fame).Current music and me don't mix too much.

YOUPORN or the mental “highlights reel”? 

Married 17 years with 3 daughters… What on Earth are you talking about? Ha-ha! 

I'm going to paint a scenario for you because of curiosity over how you would handle a situation that I have found myself in many times. Hypothetically speaking: you're at a show, for the sake of argument let's just say it's at CBs just because I'm sure that the toilet there is a fucking nightmare! You're at a show, at CBs, and suddenly, you begin to feel the initial stomach quakes that foretell impending Gastro-Intestinal Armageddon. In other words, you've got about 5 minutes to spare before a literal shit-storm transorm the seat of your BVDs into the real DARKSIDE NYC! What do you do? Do you bite the bullet and shit in that nasty, crusty piss-infested throne room?

I have many times, my friend. Put it this way, no one coming down the stairs at CBGB ever wants to make eye contact - or even acknowledge in any way - a guy hovering over a seatless toilet, spraying the walls with no fuckin' door. It's like central booking. No one even looks your way, ha-ha-ha. CB's used to have a pizzeria next door. THAT bathroom was way better and had actual stalls with doors. I've never done that when the place was crowded though. If that ever happened, I guess I just went into the girl's bathroom and maybe get yelled at.

Clearly, there is a difference in the tone of this thing in comparison to other DNYC records (probably stemming from the fact that the older was were recorded in "demo" quality ). Was it always your intention of eventually cleaning up the sound DNYC's trademark "recorded-in-a-East New York-waste-container" sound? 

Hey, I've heard some real waste container demos in my day. Our shit wasn't anywhere close to that. But look, I always wanted to do a real record. Paying someone $400 to do a 6-song demo, or sneaking in to do vocals at 3 in the morning cause a friend works the board in a fancy studio, was the only way broke muthafuckas like us could have done it back then. I dare you to find someone who can honestly say our new record isn't as good as whatever we recorded 20 years ago ,ha!

[I think Rich mistook my Waste-Container comparison as a put-down, instead of as a compliment as it was intended. Oh well… Fuck ‘em, the ball-breaking Irish prick!]

Alright, Richie-boy, the word count on this fucking thing is out of hand… any last words to my unholy legion of followers, all of whom would purchase this record and commence the destruction of mankind at the behest of their infernal Lord and Master, Me?

OPTIMISM IS SELF-DECEPTION - VOL. I & II will be pressed as soon as I can get the funds together. Between the recording and mastering, I'm into this thing for several thousand dollars already, so the fact that it's been taking a while is more annoying to me than to anyone else. That I can assure you! Revelation Records picked up a lot of the Everyday Dollars CD I put out, so I imagine they'd be into distributing this one too. But either way, we'll have a webstore when the time comes. If people snatch it up, and I can make my money back, it'll mean I can finish Vol. III & IV that much quicker!

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