Thursday, October 30, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Greg Willmott Interview Pt. 4 (The fav LOC records)

Winding down at this point. Please note that this was all taking place in a pre Free Spirit world, and Raw Life was just about to be released. 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

What's the deciding factor in whether or not you'll work with a band?
(Laughs) seriously, I'd like to keep working with bands that have a similar sound, but at the end of the day it's not about them sounding like established LOC bands, it's about releasing hardcore records that I'd wanna put on my iPod or turntable.

Do you have a favorite Lockin Out release? I know these questions are tough but there's got to be some you're especially happy with.

One is definitely Stop and Think's Both Demos. They were an inspirational band for me at the time, doing something I thought was really cool when everything else was getting boring. Through that, AJ and Joey C became two of my best friends, and I think back on that shit like nothing else. Also, I legitimately love those demos. People either get it or they don't. 
Another one is Righteous Jams Rage of Discipline. One of the best hardcore records ever made, no doubt. 

Number 3 is Mental's Planet Mental. It's kinda cheesy to pick my own band's record, but whatever. It's my favorite shit that Mental ever put out. I'm glad I got to do it myself and that band and time period was just a great period in my life. 

Runner up would be Rampage Limit of Destruction. I love their sound. A lot of people sleep on them, but I think they are one of the greatest LOC bands I've ever worked with.

I'm definitely stoked they've come together to bless us with a full length. The cover artwork is great too.
Yeah, I think it was either the drummer Ben or the singer Josh who did it. Both are ill at drawing.

Any Lockin Out releases you'd rather forget?
The Terror LP was kind of a dumb move on my part just because of the hoops I had to jump through for Trustkill. I'd love to do something with Terror again but it would have to be 100% me. It had nothing to do with the band, I love those dudes. It had everything to do with their label. I wouldn't say I regret it, I just wish I would've stodd up for myself more in the situation. A similar kind of deal happened with the second Righteous Jams LP. Again, I don't regret them because I learned how that type of situation will pan out and now I'll be sure never to agree unless it's a little more in my favor. As records, I'm perfectly happy with them. It was just the label bullshit I had to deal with that I'd rather forget...label royalties and such. It just wasn't a wise move on my part.

Does it ever bug you when people reference a LOC "sound" or "style" or anything like that?
I think it's cool that my label has become a verb. It means that I did something that wasn't a trend or a fad. A LOT of people called it that when it was just getting off the ground (laughs). They can now line up to suck me off. 

I'm tempted to say that Lockin Out would lose its identity if it started releasing material from lots of different "styles" or bands, but then again...I dunno. Look at Rev. I mean, they hardly do "youth crew" stuff anymore, but they're pretty much synonymous with that just because of their early catalog.
Yeah, I think it would dilute it though. I'd not something I'm trying to do right now. I like the niche I've made for my label and will continue to release bands that I like and really that's just it. If they are a little bit different, I won't be too concerned. I think most of my releases are consistent. At least that's what I'm aiming form. I think the next 3 Lockin Out releases will prove that.

Can you drop any hints? Let's just say I'm out of the internet pipeline...
The New Lows EP is one of my favorite hardcore records I've heard in a long time. This band The Rival Mob has a great demo out and will be doing an EP this summer. Think think both those bands, and RZL DZL have an "older" sound to them, more consistent with like..."older" LOC releases. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

European Vacation I: Hashtag Hardcore #3 + "Mind Over Matter"

#Hardcore #3 + Mind Over Matter Fanzine (Netherlands)
My life's "European vacation" was a 5 year tour of duty of living in the UK (Cardiff Wales) while my Dad worked for a chemical company. I saw much of Europe, but was also elementary school age so I spent most of my time drawing and complaining, sidestepping the grand cultural awakening my parents somehow convinced themselves I'd get. Nowadays, I'm just pilfering their fanzines. 

By my estimation, #Hardcore is in the uppermost echelon of the current fanzine hierarchy. For straight up interesting reading, phenomenal layouts and for a guy genuinely trying to document the state of hardcore past n' present in a coherent printed publication (that means multi-trips to the shitter), all done cut n' paste and replete with show, record and fanzine reviews (even notable shout outs to the Drug Dogs Newsletters, positive reviews which in no way have any bearing on how I perceive this zine...), Daan is your man. 

Structurally, it's a "zine within a zine" setup, with the inner zine being Mind Over Matter (officially, I think it's from Belgium). It replicates those "pull out" zines of times past. M.O.M runs a little more straight forward than its parents publications with the best bit definitely being an interview with Jordan Posner of No Warning. ("At one point we had Dijan, Henderson and Porter all in the studio. We were saying to each other 'OK, Madball, Breakdown, and Floorpunch are all helping with our record.' We were tripping.") As a product of early 00's hardcore (and also a critic of the underwhelming Ill Blood doc they made a few years back) I got a lot out of this interview. I only got to see No Warning well beyond their prime, in the thick of their Suffer Survive years, with Fear Factory at a club called Jillian's in Louisville. 

Furthermore, since I don't really know a TON about euro hardcore (save for the surface stuff, Rise & Fall and that back in the day americans used to rip them off via mailorder a lot, hopefully the internet and paypal has democratized all that?) I actually use these inky things to learn a thing or two about the scenes. At this point, I really want the errata of Europe. Who are their Rick Ta Life's?  For that, I got a riotous jolly off the discussion of a band called 36 Karat, described as "Belgian Ghetto Metal." Oh, and some True Blue stuff for those lookin' to get a little halloweeny off the chilly Icemen vibes.
Back to the "exo" zine though. I love that I can legitimately disagree with Daan so vehemently about bands (Dude definitely backs Warhound, I definitely do not), but still think  he's got one of the premiere fanzines in the "biz." Yeah, I think it's weird that hentai and tentacle porn got referenced seriously in the Cornered interview (but then again, #2 went into pretty detailed specifics about Thai prostitutes and STD's in the Kickback interview) but love that I'm not just reading "JR plays bass, Dickweed sings, Dumpwood stole a drumkit and me? I just sing about life maaaan." All that runs through conversations with some cool core (Stick Together, DiE and Redemption Denied if you can fuck with a band that uses a graffiti logo...some can't).
I'd be most remiss to not mention the Integrity piece here though because it's the thing of absolute beauty. Three full pages of collected ephemera, (fanzine interviews and record spotlights) meticulously curated and ordered to create a beautiful fan-made pastiche of a band in their prime (much like this fan-made documentary about Sabu.) 

For original content, phenomenal layouts and all-around comprehensiveness, you'll be hard up to find anything better than this one right here. Here's to many more! 
Drowning in envy
(You can no longer) BUY THIS FANZINE HERE (because it is sold out. Sorry Bunky). 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Boston Strangler is...

Some goon from a bad paper zine: why'd you decide to become a straight edge band?
Strangler: We didn't. We decided to be a hardcore band. 

"Slow Burn" joins "Plastic Bomb,"  and "Feel the/Living in Darkness" for my 3+ Minute punk RAWK club, aka GUITARcore for those about know...

I'm sure there's a few more, but do they have pianos/trash can lids in them? In a post Strangler "Slow Burn" world, I now comfortably envision the strangler covering them all in a fetid medley. Bon Scott hears Discharge and sits upright in his tomb. The Who gets referenced again in relation to hardcore. We like solos. 

(You can no longer) BUY THIS RECORD (because it's sold out) HERE.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pro Wrestling Fanzine Report #1 (AKA WrassleRags #1)

Most of the literate core-folk reading this blog know the importance and history of the printed paper zine. These handmade, hand-laid tomes dug beneath the proverbial surface, dissecting events and obsessively laying out these "left-of-the-dial" discoveries for other, like-minded fans to bond over along with traded tapes and programs. What many likely don't know is that this hybrid form of art and journalism has been used to keep numerous cultural communities in communication with each other from the days of Shatner Star Trek fandom clear down to fans of Man-U and even pro wrestling.

Perhaps no other sport* boasts a fan base more ripe for socio-cultural discussion than that of pro wrestling, a once-heavily protected industry that still boasts an "inside-secret" on par with Santa Claus and god (where were you when you first found out it was all pre-determined? I'd just seen Wrestling with Shadows on VHS). 

Many wrestling fans, writers and promoters kept up with each other, and their beloved subculture, via printed newsletters (or "dirt sheets") which meticulously recorded match and event listings in their local municipalities, as well as their own "shoot" (i.e. "real life") opinions on wrestlers, news items and the industry at large. A few of these sheets have become bonafide pro wrestling staples, still cited and subscribed by the vast majority of the wrestling fan base today.

However, in an era when most, if not all, wrestling news is disseminated via the internet (not 6 months ago, I saw my local 7-Eleven stop carrying WWE Print Magazine on its shelf) there's something to be said of anyone still continuing to produce wrestling content on paper, and charging people money for it (god bless 'em. Really). Here's my take on a few current gems in the wrestling fanzine world, as well as one very cool blast from the past.

"Ya know what makes me sick besides....EVERYTHING?"
1. The Atomic Elbow #10 (2014)
Essentially, the reigning HW champ of U.S. wrestling paperzines. (IC award goes to the UK's Calling Spots fanzine). This one's printed on glorious green with Road Warrior Hawk proudly displaying an airbrushed Weasal Slappers tee. This ish featured more contributions than normal, this author's favorites being Villainous: a Tribute to William Regal and Scott T. Holland's Nitro in Chicago piece (an excellent, if not a slightly depressing, bizarro counterpoint to the Raw in Chicago piece which literally dissects each and every taping of Monday Nitro in the Windy City):
"With RAW, the book remains unfinished, as WWE keeps chugging along, returning several times a year for major events. But the final chapter has been written on WCW, so there will be nothing to add to this story. It's a sad conclusion, but at least I don't have to watch any more garbage for the sake of this essay." -Scott T. Holland
Always a grand mix of insightful wrestling commentary, art (the Jim Cornette illustration in the back and selections from Box Brown's Andre the Giant comic) and nostalgia-mining, The Atomic Elbow IS America's wrestling fanzine. They're almost up to 12 issues and don't show signs of slowing down. Get on it now before they're gone forever because (per his blog) I don't think they're putting out another compilation book.

The Villains
Buy Atomic elbow back-issues and even a GD tee-shirt, here
Scott T. Holland's Twitter is definitely worth following too. (@StarofSavage)
Stay up on the Atomic Elbow (and other great fanzines) via their Twitter: @secondperiod 

Twin Cities
2. The Soda Killers #2 (2014)
The Soda Killers isn't a wrestling zine necessarily (but it does begin the zine by quoting Lance Storm and does feature Verne Gagne prominently in the centerfold, along with other famous Minnesotans), but features plenty of wrestling content and comes from the land of the AWA so I'm into it. I got this in a trade with a friend I made on Twitter and think these zines are just great. Quality way over quantity with tons of music reviews (mostly hip-hop here, which is cool for a paperzine) and awesome live reviews from seeing Poison, Anthrax, Death Angel, Anthrax, The Dwarves, Swans, tons more) Make this half-sizer feel really substantial. Dude sent me a ton of cool ones which will find their way into the rotation. Worth price of admission for the incisive commentary on old thrash metal egos.
"Question: if it's warm enough for cargo shorts, can it also be cold enough for a leather jacket? I ask because this particular combo seems to be the sartorial preference of many in attendance this evening. Also, what purpose does a sleeveless jean jacket serve anyway?" -The Soda Killers #2 [individual author unknown].
For your own, I highly suggest emailing:
or doing it the way I did, and making friends with OMNOB on Twitter. (@OMG_NOB) 

How about: Berne Ganja? The fictional AWA champ who just couldn't ever pass those pee-pee tests? (joke credit: my buddy Kyle)

3. Hardcore Wrestling - Premiere Issue (1985)
Here's my granddaddy catch though, a find via Ebay for a paltry $8 (that's like 1/6 of the last TNA PPV too). I think by this point, most know Bob Mould's involvement in the pro wrestling business (for those who don't: well post-Husker Du and on a hiatus from Sugar, Mould was a writer during one of WCW's darkest eras. You can read about that in his new book, wherein he reveals himself himself to be one of the only members of Earth's populace to not completely despise Kevin Nash.)

True to the cover's word, this fanzine was produced by Mould and Dave Hintz (Toxic Reasons) rounding up some of his buddies from the equally colorful world of 80's punk and hardcore including some of this author's favorites (a wrestling book review by Josh Barker of Rest in Pieces) and some lesser knowns (was Stretch Marks ever on an Agnostic Front flyer, or am I thinking of a band called Balls?) all round out the 1985 version of what Ride the Fury fanzine could be, but isn't quite. 

Immediately, I'm struck by the old typewriter layouts, the cartoon illustrations, the *literal* dirt sheet content and the high-contrast photos...but with the suspension of nostalgia and disbelief, I can also see that Hardcore Wrestling #1 is a fascinating relic from a pre-internet time that highlights 3 essential, undying, facts:

  1. Wrestling fans have always, and will continue, to suggest to the world that they all suffer from low-grade forms of autism.
  2. The WWE (WWF in 1985) has always been empowered by its detractors
  3. Hardcore/punk will always provide an ample cross-section of professional wrestling fans, no matter the "era." I wonder if WWE marketing team acknowledges this?
Were it left entirely up to me, I'd probably just scan this whole thing in, page by page and just be like "see how incredible this is?" but as a "serious journalist" I'm inclined to only feed you pieces of the info and somehow encourage you to try and find this thing on your own. Here's a few of my favorite bits throughout the zine:

  • The bold proclamation at the beginning of the zine that this is the first United States coreman-wrestling zine, taking up the torch that Canada's Piledriver fanzine first lit. 
  • Weird, paranoid, and oddly prophetic musings on the WWF, made all the more interesting based on the fact that 100% of the editorial staff make up "outside territories" that the WWF would mine for talent (AWA in MPLS, NWA Territories down south, Canadian territories, etc.). Also, at this point, WWF had only successfully pulled off one Wrestlemania (to great success) and had managed to raise the eyebrows of everyone in the industry who were now watching their every subsequent move.
  • Bill Stretch (of the aforementioned Stretch Marks) ruminating on the then-recent 20/20 piece "Pro Wrestling: Exposed!" episode which had just aired, citing all particpants (Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon and David Schultz) as "fake. 
  • Richard Sheir giving the history of professional wrestling, from the 1950's down and an elaboration on Gorgeous George. The piece ends with the line: Richard Sheir may very well be the only person to attend both Woodstock and the Sex Pistols at Winterland.
  • Actual dirt sheets and scene reports given for various promotions and territories around the country by writers and for fans who legitimately had no other access to this information.
  • Tyler Davis from Lynchburg Virginia talks some major shit on Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and of course Mr. T's involvement in the next Wrestlemania event. 
  • Ruminations from Barry Stepe (Caustic Defiance) as to wether it's ok to foster anti-Russian sentiment via pro wrestling storylines and why open-hand slaps should be eliminated outright.
That's certainly not all here, but if I wrote out too much more you'd likely not seek it out for yourself. For slightly more online info, consult the only listing I ever found for this zine here

If you've got a zine, or no where I can track down more pro wrestling-centric fanzines, please get in touch here or at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greg Willmott interview pt. 3 ("goofy" band w/ "goofy" image)

If I'm gonna get any flack here (besides the inherent flack of re-packaging old paper-zine content to html plastic), it's likely for running a little too dorky here, potentially assigning too much importance to LOC. Whatever. Hardcore was absolutely the center of my universe then and it reflects in the stupid things I asked. It's all I talked about with my friends and a lot of my friends HATED Lockin Out.  What's hardcore if not for nerding out over it anyway? Plus, this portion of the interview yielded the impetus for the lil character below. Well, that and Onslaught's Power from Hell. (Keen observer will note: my LOC and diet soda splatter replace Power From Hell's pentagram and phantasmic plumes).
(I think he's actually a bad guy from Ninja Turtles in spirit.) My favorite bit of content here was talking about blood splatter tees and the WNYU tapes. 

Power from Diet Soda + Protein Powder

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3:

Tell me about Boston. It seems like it's a big component of Lockin Out's identity.
Boston rules man. There was a tight crew of dudes around me and we had some incredible times. There were a few apartments just packed with crucial dudes who loved nothing but diet soda, protein powder, dead lifting, moshing and listening to Breakdown. A lot of them are still around, and have the same ideas and I guess I'm one of them. At the time, we were super young and didn't have much responsibility so everyone hung out a lot more. I'm not around quite as much because of my job and a lot of the dudes have moved on to becoming adults. It's just how it goes. I'm still tight with a lot of the people I used to roll with, we just don't get to chill much as a crew anymore... 

There was definitely an undercurrent of people who seemed miffed that Lockin Out bands weren't "serious" the way that hardcore was at the time. I can understand people not liking that "style" of hardcore, but looking at it logically, it would seem that you guys took it very seriously. Seriously enough to tour and release records.
Yeah, I can really only speak for Mental here, but we definitely played anywhere we could every weekend. Once we got our shit tight, it was always tight. We always changed up our cover songs, we always practiced. The band was never a joke to us. That's not even a question. We busted our asses. Plus, bands like Righteous Jams are just dope bands. Why wouldn't they do well on tour? I just think the "image" of hardcore was WAY too serious at the time.

That's what made Lockin Out so refreshing for me. It wasn't presented as "tough" or "sincere" like a lot of hardcore at that time. It was lighter and kind of refreshing.
It's like this: how many bands have guns or knives or knuckles on their shirts? No disrespect to the ones who actually use them, but what percentage of those bands ACTUALLY would? I didn't want Mental to have that fake image, so if we were the "goofy" band with a "goofy" image that's fine with me. I'm a light-hearted dude so that fits me more than having some blood splatter or knives on our tees. I really just liked the image of old school hardcore bands. Those bands had the same attitude that I have now. You listen to old tapes, bands were always crackin' wise and having a good time. To me, that's what it was all about. Having fun and letting off some steam.

WNYU tapes come to mind. It sounds like bands are hanging out with each other. I've heard you're like a connoisseur of those WNYU tapes...
When I got into hardcore I used to go to this record store in Hyannis and the dude working there got me heavily into NYHC. I got most of my WNYU tapes from an older head from Connecticut. I started collecting all the rare shit once I started traveling more with Mental and making connections with people who had good collections of stuff to dub for me. I love those WNYU tapes man. Supertouch doin' it live on St. Patty's day! Shit is dope.

Funky fresh

I think the "Live on WERS" tapes are the closest I'll ever get to having my own cache of  WNYU tapes. Can you tell me anything about Mental's session?
It was recorded live and in one take! That's why I couldn't really swear and stuff. That was a lot of fun and we had so many people in that studio. WERS is awesome. 

I've always loved the Sweet Vision comp. It's just one of those great "moment in time" comps. Do you think there will ever be another LOC comp?
I'd LOVE to do another comp, but...Sweet Vision was all recorded at the same studio. If I did it again, I'd follow the same blueprint. I think it makes for a very cool record that way, but It's just nearly impossible to get all those bands to get all their shit together and into a studio. Like super hard.

Plus, Lockin Out's "family" is a lot more spread out now. It must've been so cool when Lockin Out started expanding beyond strictly "Boston" area bands. Were these relationships all built off Mental tours?
Just friends of mine from out of town you know? When Mental would tour, I'd see tons of different bands and meet different people. If I dug it and they were down I'd fuck with them like that. That's what I love about touring. You get the chance to meet a lot of people that you'll be friends with for a long time that you wouldn't normally meet. Iron AgeJusticeCold World...those guys all blew up which is a great thing. I love helping my friends out. It makes me really happy to be able to do that.


Since you're not touring now, how are you finding new bands to work with?
I'm not really scouting hard for bands. It's not a priority. Like I said, the label is just a hobby. I'm not out there pounding the pavement trying to find the next new thing.

Do bands send you their stuff much? Wanting to put stuff out on LOC?
Bands get in touch with me all the time, but I usually don't even listen to the demos.

Maybe it was that Nike shirt designs, but what's your take on the "jock hardcore" accusations?There's always that weird thing about sports and punk and all that shit. What's your take?
The first band I sang in back in high school had a song called "white hat trash fuck off!" I didn't write it, but believe me, I fucking hated jocks in high school.

So you didn't play sports in high school?
No I didn't. I played tennis for a year, but fucked up my ankle skateboarding. I'm still dope at tennis but only play when it's nice out with my roommates or whatever chick is hanging out. I haven't had any good competition since high school, but I think I'm a better athlete now than I was then.

Be true to yer school

Friday, September 26, 2014

Greg Willmott Interview pt. 2 (Early days of Lockin Out)

Here's where it starts to get a little more nuggety, tracing the Lockin Out story. I was most stoked on the Stop and Think anecdotal then, and re-reading it, it's still really cool. For context, check out part 1 here

Part 2

Lockin Out was established as a means to release the Mental EP (And You Know This)...was there intention to turn it into a full-blown record label?
At the time, we weren't trying to associate with anyone. We kinda wanted to create our own lane. That's why we decided to release it on our own...on Lockin Out. Really, I just put "Lockin Out" on the back of the Mental record because it sounded cool. After releasing the Mental record, I realized "oh, this isn't that hard to do." So I did it for one friend's band, and then another friends band, so on and so on. Then it became what it is now...

Did you have a "blueprint" for how you wanted it to go?
I definitely worship the early Revelation stuff and tried to make it like that...and still do.

Maybe it's just revisionist history, but Lockin Out kind of represented an overall sea-change for what hardcore could be. It was very different from the current climate. How did that influence your decisions?
We did feel some of that. That's why we wanted to release our own record. We wanted to do something new. We loved NYHC and just old hardcore in general and it seemed like all the bands around at the time weren't playing hardcore. They were playing some other shit, but not like the shit we were into. Song structure? Lyrics? Nothing like we were into. Except maybe Stop and Think. That's why I love that band. They sounded like what a hardcore band should sound like to me.

Without Words

The age old, English professor question I guess. "What is hardcore?" Some see it as a medium for change or politics, for others it's like being in a junior indie rock band. 
I just look at it as a way to release aggression. I don't think it will change anything in the world nor do I think it should. It's cool and keeps kids out of trouble and maybe some of the messages can help kids with some personal issues, but as far as changing the world, nah. Fuck all that! (laughs).

So you run Lockin Out from your house...
Oh yeah. I got a big dirty closet full of all sorts of Lockin Out shit. It is very bare bones. It's a DIY hardcore label man! (laughs).

Yeah, I guess I'm asking if it's financially stable. Do you have to supplement Lockin Out much with your own money?
Lockin Out usually supports itself, but sometimes I have to throw some money into it. I usually make a little bit of money, break even or lose a little money off of my releases, so at the end of the day overall, I break even. When I'm hit with multiple releases at once, I usually need to give some money to the label from my pocket, but it's worth it. I feel like at the end of the day I'm doing my part to support what really helped me out when I was younger: hardcore.

Who's been instrumental in getting it off the ground?
I wouldn't have been able to do it without my boy AJ. He was like a mentor or manager to me, and still is. Joey C was a big influence to keep me motivated just by seeing the way he was about motivation and dedication to getting shit done. The dude has a work ethic, and so do I, but he really made me realize what hard work will yield. Same with AJ. That dude would get up at like 6 AM to run hills when he was boxing. That shit makes you feel like you can be doing more. Hard work is the key to success in anything. Anyone who does a label or a zine or anything really, they all know it can't be done without a lot of hard work. If you look at the shit we did and still doing, you know it doesn't just happen on its own.

Who helps out now?
Alex is my ace right now for packing orders and all that bullshit. AJ always has my back when I need help. Money, rides, favors...anything. Chucky Edge is the OG Lockin Out Records employee. If he's in town and I need help, he's always there for me. Honestly though, it's mostly just me.

Do you have any conscious intentions of making Lockin Out "bigger?"
It's slowly growing and evolving, but I like the pace I'm going now because I can handle it. If I bit off any more I wouldn't be able to chew it, you know? Plus, I like being involved in every step. I like going to the studio for recordings. I like to be there when the record is mastered. Realistically, I can only really keep going at the same pace I've always been going. I think if I wanted it to get bigger I'd have to starter cranking out stuff and the quality would go down. That's the most important thing to me. The quality of the releases that I've put out, and will continue to put out. I'd eventually like to get more T-shirts for bands and things like that on the site, but again I'm super picky about shit. If it's not the HOTTEST shirt the band ever made, then I don't wanna put it on my site.

I see some labels putting stuff on iTunes. Keeping it in circulation that way.
I might re-release some stuff on iTunes, but that's probably it.

Missed Part 1? Read it here

Art/Layout from Drug Dogs #1