Thursday, April 29, 2010


The other night at Burnt Ramen I conducted this interview with Ed (bass), Matt (vocals), and Josh (drums) of Zero Progress.

INFORMATION: Does the name have any particular meaning?

Josh: I don’t know…we’re not really going anywhere so…

Matt: For me, it was like, it was the summer after my senior year and I really felt I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t make it up, but that’s why I was pumped on it.

Ed: Yeah, we went to Taco Bell after our first practice and decided we weren’t gonna leave until we decided on a name. We sat there for a long time and Josh said “Zero Progress” and we all thought it was cool.

Matt: I thought for sure we should be Band of Brothers or Blood Brothers, or something corny like that but we decided against it.

INFORMATION: The bay area scene is in a weak and scattered state right now. However, Zero Progress is part of a small resurgence of East Bay hardcore, so what are your thoughts on the current scene?

Matt: It’s too tribal. People only come out to shows they’re playing, only care about bands they’re friends with. They think they can’t like a band if they don’t know the people which makes the scene super limited and exclusive.

Ed: I would say it’s gotten to the point where there’s a bunch of divisions instead of anything that brings us together. Honestly, I think the bay area scene that we’re a part of has been in decline since Warkrime broke up, cause I think Warkrime was the band everyone would agree on. We don’t have a band or something like that holding us together anymore so there’s no real unity.

Matt: Also, there’s no neutrality. It’s either a hate or a love thing. Even if we don’t like each other can’t we still hang out, have a good time, and play shows? We don’t have to be buddies, let’s just play shows and have fun. But it can’t be like that for some people I suppose.

INFORMATION: You guys are playing straightforward HC at a time when most bands are trying to be “experimental” or “mysterious”, yet Zero Progress has been more successful in the past 8 months than Skull Stomp was in the 4 years of its existence. Why is that?

Ed: Yeah, I think we did it backwards which is kinda funny. At a time when everyone was playing more straightforward retro-80’s hardcore we played something a little bit different in Skull Stomp. We didn’t want to be an Adolescents rip off or copy the OC sound, we just wanted to play something that was mean and hard. As far as the mysterious thing, I think Zero Progress plays a straightforward brand of hardcore because that’s just what we’re into. It’s not that I don’t like a lot of the so-called “mysterious” bands too though. I enjoy most of the hardcore bands on Youth Attack but it doesn’t make me enjoy Wasted Time or Violent Arrest any less, so…

Matt: I think it just comes naturally to us to be more straight forward. Especially with me writing the bulk of the lyrics. There are not many deep level lyrics that I write, it’s mostly day to day stuff .

Josh: Zero Progress has songs you can relate to, not abstract stuff, like we don’t have songs about politics or anything.

Matt: Yeah, I think punk is a very crowd oriented, everyone doing it together type of thing so it makes sense to have songs where people in the crowd can feel it.

Ed: That’s a good point, that adds to what I was saying about how the scene is more exclusive and full of divisions and we wanted to do a band that was inclusive.

INFORMATION: What is Gag Reflex about?

Matt: That was the summer of senior year again, everytime I sat down with people it was “What are you doing next?” but it’s like dude you don’t even give a shit, I’m going to SF State, big deal. Honestly that type of small talk makes me want to puke.

INFORMATION: There’s reason to believe your name might have been slightly tarnished by Black America’s recent discovery of and antics over Jerkbooth and other message boards. Are you guys bummed out about that?

Josh: Who cares?

Matt: I think Black America is a band that doesn’t care about anything, I mean they don’t even care about their band. The singer doesn’t go to shows. They don’t really care very much but we care so it’s kinda like hard to be associated with them but at the same time they’re our buddies and we’re from the same area as them so…whatever, they do what they want to do.

Ed: It’s hard not to get associated with them when they’re from the same area and we are friends. We’ve known these guys for like 4 or 5 years, but we don’t have the same thought processes as them and they’re doing their own thing.

INFORMATION: What is the song Out of Touch about?

Matt: Out of Touch is a song I wrote about a show Skull Stomp played with Youth Brigade. Youth Brigade was one of the first punk bands I ever went to go see, I was pretty pumped I guess I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But we played with them at the Gilman and at the end the booker told us they had a $2,000 guarantee. Every dollar went to them and I was just like wow these guys are out of touch with punk and they just came here for a $2,000 guarantee and they’re just old pieces of shit.

Josh: Yeah the singer wasn’t even enjoying himself, he was pissed at the kids there, he was pissed at everyone.

Matt: Texting on his phone.

Ed: And it was sold out, there was like over 300 people there, and you can’t pay any of the bands? They were the only band that got paid and there was a lot of draw for a lot of the local bands.

Matt: I don’t care at all about getting paid, like at the Dean Dirg show, I don’t care if we don’t get paid, they’re from fucking Germany. Youth Brigade is from here, they need $2,000?

INFORMATION: Ed, you’re an Italian hardcore fanatic. Is that a major Zero Progress influence? If not, what is?

Ed: I would say it is an influence, but I try to reign it in because I used the Italian influence a lot in Skull Stomp. But on our new record, there are a couple of songs where there is an Italian influence and it’s faster and hectic, sort of an early Negazione sound, so I’d say it is an influence. Really though, we listen to everything, we’re really into these newer “mysterious” bands too so it’s just a synthesis of everything we like.

Josh: As long as it’s fast!

Matt: Oi is probably my favorite type of music, and I’m trying to bring the straightforwardness of Oi lyrics, into the lyrics.

INFORMATION: Even though both bands are from the same area, there’s a gulf of disconnect between Migraine and Zero Progress. Why do you think that is?

Ed: Well Sean, seriously I’d say you tell me. I feel like as Skull Stomp we were pretty much the black sheep of the scene, but Sean, you and the other Warkrime dudes always liked us and I have a lot of respect for that. The first show we went to, that State show that didn’t happen, the Warkrime dudes were the first guys we met, Max booked us our first show in the city. I’ve always been for trying to make that connection and I think it’s more your friends than my friends.

Matt: I think a lot of it has to do with people offending each other without knowing it. Like for example, we played a show with Migraine at dreamland and there were people standing outside because they were mad at us, and I had no idea why –


Matt: It’s ok, just a lot of the time I’m stuck there being like what the hell is going on…I don’t think I did anything. But people get mad and then don’t communicate it or try to talk it out. I think a lot of it is that the Concord kids don’t really go to shows as much anymore, so I think it’s kind of hard to build a relationship if you don’t see them very much.

Ed: I’ve always been for doing more stuff with Migraine and Ecoli. I know Moe who does Which Side Records wanted to do a split release with one of those bands and us but we couldn’t all get on the same page about it. I think it’s a bummer. The more we can all stay together the healthier the scene will be. I mean there’s like 50 kids, we should stick together, not tear each other apart.

Matt: That’s why I think it’s funny that people keep splitting up until there’s absolutely nothing left. There will be a group of ten kids, and then they’ll split and it’ll be 5 and 5 and it’s like, GREAT.

INFORMATION: Cool. Final comments, future plans?

Matt: We have a 7” we’re planning on putting out ourselves. “Zero Progress – Derailed”. It’ll be out hopefully by summer if we get on it. Ed and I are putting it out ourselves on our label Piledriver records. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve been involved in so I’m pumped up to see it get released. Oh, and VALLEY CREW WHOO!

Josh: Uh, we were looking for more shows…

Ed: Thanks, Sean for the interview, and thanks Stressors for being my favorite band.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The following interviews were conducted at No Way Fest 2009, and were done hastily in between bands in the alleyway outside the venue. This plus my own lack of time and preparation due to my band Ecoli also playing the fest means these interviews aren't the best, but such is life. I know a lot of the information in these is now out of date, but I decided since I'm starting a blog for my interviews, I might as well post these as well.


I did this interview with Eric (vocals) and Matt (drums) primarily and then met up with Parsons (bass) later in the day to get additional comments. Parsons is no longer in the band.

INFORMATION: The title of your upcoming EP is “Magic Man”, what’s the idea behind the title?

ERIC BENSON: I liked the name of the song a lot. It’s hard to explain but basically it’s about being on top of the fucking world and feeling good.

INFORMATION: Tell me why RVA is the best scene in the Country.

ERIC BENSON: It’s probably not. (laughter) Na, It’s chill. It goes up and down ya know? But East Coast IS the right coast.

MATT SOCIALCIDE: It is, first of all it’s on the BEST Coast, which is incidentally not the west coast. East Coast is the right Coast. I mean, not New York or anything though.

ERIC BENSON: Maybe if you’re a hipster faggot New York’s alright for you.

MATT SOCIALCIDE: Richmond has the best bands and the best people.

INFORMATION: During your set today you said “Everyday is a dream, when can I wake up and die?” What did you mean by that?

ERIC BENSON: (laughter) Um, I guess I just work a lot and it sucks because I’m going to die without ever having done anything cool.

INFORMATION: What’s your beef with Government Warning?

MATT SOCIALCIDE: We pretty much just hate Parsons. Government Warning hijacked our member to play their songs that aren’t catchy anymore and when they came back from Europe Parsons had $1300 and when I asked him to buy me a sub sandwich he declined. Before Parsons Warning went to Europe we had a rock gig at this Landry mat -


MATT SOCIALCIDE: Government Warning are a bunch of rock stars! Brandon is too good at drums, they’re all too good at their instruments. I don’t like that. They’re all in Southside Stranglers too, which is our rival band.

INFORMATION: What label is your 7” coming out on?

ERIC BENSON: I’m putting it out on my label Livin’ Loud records. I mean…we’re pretty loud live ya know?

INFORMATION: Any plans to tour?

ERIC BENSON: FUCK YEAH, I’M GONNA GO TO AUSTRALIA AND EUROPE AND SHIT. I’m going to show the world that I got some serious shit to lay down ya know?

MATT SOCIALCIDE: Too many bands fucking tour. If you don’t have a record you’re wasting our time and yours.


INFORMATION: Any final words for this interview?

MATT SOCIALCIDE: We’re the best band at No Way Fest!

ERIC BENSON: Fuckin’ AYE man! Let me give a shout out to AMERICA, PB&J, and WORLD WAR CREW



INFORMATION: Can I get the names of everyone in the band and what they do?
JAMES: I’m James, I play drums.

CRAIG: My name’s Craig, vocals.

LUKE: I’m Luke, I play guitar.

DAN: Dan, I play bass.

INFORMATION: Where did you guys get the idea for the name Waste Management?

CRAIG: Dude, we straight up just stole it from the garbage can, man. We wanted an ignorant band so we chose an ignorant name.

JAMES: Waste Management is a disposal company, I don’t know if you have them on the West Coast.

LUKE: There was a dumpster outside my house where we formed the band. We just wanted a really stupid caveman name.

INFORMATION: What are your favorite bands nationally right now?

CRAIG: Dude, after tonight: WASTED TIME. They seriously fuckin’ KILLED it. Sex Vid, Omegas -

LUKE: Bad Choice from Toronto

CRAIG: Yeah, Bad Choice.

DAN: This dude won’t say because he’s in it (points to CRAIG) but MIND ERASER! STEP FORWARD, TRIBAL MOB.


INFORMATION: What’s the craziest show you’ve ever played?

CRAIG: Our wackiest show was in Pittsfield, Mass a few weeks ago. Total Mayhem with a buncha fucking townie freaks with no teeth. Just crazy bullshit.

LUKE: I grew up in Pittsfield, it’s a real good place if you like crack heads who try to put their finger in your asshole.

CRAIG: Our first show was really cool. It was in a basement and all our friends were there. It really united a lot of the people you just see around ya know?

INFORMATION: What beyond Boston Hardcore influences you guys? What in your daily lives drives you to play? Do you hate your lives? Do you hate your parents?

CRAIG: I love my parents. I used to hate my life, but I got my mind right as I say sometimes. I’m feeling pretty good. Obviously society is fucked - buncha clones running around everywhere. But what are you gonna do, it’s never going to change.

INFORMATION: Your music is so angry how can you say life is so good?

CRAIG: My friends are healthy, my family is healthy. I got awesome friends ya know? This is just what we do.

DAN: This is our friendship. Some guys get together and play poker - we get together and play music.

LUKE: Practicing is hanging out for us.

JAMES: Musically I’m inspired by all the people I know that play drums. I haven’t been playing that long and I really look up to DFJ, Kenny Fontaine, Ben Veral, all those guys. It gets me psyched watching them play.

INFORMATION: Social Circkle is from Boston and personally I love that band. Is the Boston scene really cohesive? Do you guys play shows and hang out even though musically you’re really different? Do all the different elements in Boston Hang out? What’s the friendship scale like?

CRAIG: We hang out with those dudes. Yeah they’re a different style but I like those dudes a lot. When we first started, it really brought together the outlying scenes, all the different cliques ya know? I definitely get along with those dudes.

LUKE: Half those dudes play in BLANK STARE which is a fast straight edge band which is fucking sick!

Dan: Those are my dogs, we all have the same mindset about everything. At the end of the day it’s all fucking punk.

INFORMATION: What’s the plans for a new record? W.B.D. (closing song on the first EP) gets some crazy reverb and riffage, can we expect more of that?

CRAIG: (laughter) I don’t know man I think that was a one time deal. We’re probably going to do a much simpler record with rougher recording next. We got 5 or 6 new jams, it’ll be coming eventually.

LUKE: I’m sure down the line we’ll incorporate some wacky shit into the mix. I mean, we all like Black Flag.

DAN: I think as long as it sounds stupid I’m ok with it. I don’t wanna sound like we’re good or smart. I wanna sound as fucking dumb as possible.

INFORMATION: Please don’t beat me up, but how does it make you feel if I say fuck the Red Sox?

CRAIG: Don’t care! I fuckin’ hate sports. I think it’s fucked up how much athletes get paid. People are throwing their money away I fuckin’ hate sports and sports fans.

LUKE: If you said “Fuck the Bruins” it’d probably be a different story!

CRAIG: No beef, people can like what they like. I guess I was just the nerdy kid in high school so I have a lot of pent up aggression.

INFORMATION: Any final words for the interview?

DAN: Our dog Tim who’s our roadie for this weekend.

CRAIG: Shout out to our drummer Kenny who couldn’t be here this weekend. James is our first drummer, and when he moved to Japan Kenny started playing drums but once you’re in Waste Management always in Waste Management


DAN: Western Mass!



This interview was done with Mark (vocals) from Wasted Time at the end of the last night.

INFORMATION: The best track on the new LP is “BURNING BRIDGES TO KEEP WARM”. What’s in the inspiration behind the song?

MARK: In a nutshell, it’s really personal. This whole LP is personal, it’s a weird record for me. It’s about someone you think you can trust, someone you care about, and they desert you. Horrible things happen. It’s about being violated and betrayed by someone you trust and getting a new perspective on things.


MARK: One thing that has always alienated me about punk and hardcore, especially in Richmond, is status fuckers. You wanna see women empowered, and even guys sometimes too, and not so worried about who they fuck and what status they achieve. It’s really discouraging to see that in hardcore. You wanna see people do punk for other reasons and not really just fuck this guy and that girl.

INFORMATION: This new LP is really dark, and the art is really bleak and powerful. Was there anything that was inspiring you guys to take a harsher or blacker turn?

MARK: We’ve all been through some shit these past few years. I ended a relationship of well over 5 years, my father died. Mick and Zach went through some stuff and they’ve been responsible for most of the music on this LP. I can’t speak for Brandon but this record has been a good two years in the making and we’ve all had our own personal road blocks and struggles. This is our release, through riffs and lyrics we let it out.

INFORMATION: Whatsup with RVA? Do you think it’s the best scene in the country?

MARK: I can’t say it’s the best in the country because I haven’t been everywhere, but I will say there’s something about Richmond. I don’t know if it’s the high population of art students, or that it’s an urban area and we’re all just pissed off. There’s a lot of college students and also a lot of us fuck ups who didn’t go to college. It’s a really interesting dynamic in this town. It’s so diverse -

(at this point the interview is erupted by SOCIAL CIRCKLE shouting “WASTE MANAGEMENT ARE JOCKS!”)

MARK: (laughter) Social Circkle just said Waste Management are jocks, but they’re not. Danimal doesn’t play sports.. At best Craig is a lacrosse player, maybe. But yeah it’s just a diverse area for music of all kinds. There’s the more straight edge stuff like DOWN TO NOTHING. I mean, they’ve toured the whole fucking world. There’s the WASTED TIME/GOVERNMENT WARNING clique, the new bands like DRY SPELL, NO EXCUSE, SYNDROME popping up. Even the hippie stuff like BRAIN WORMS I can still groove with.

INFORMATION: Craziest show you’ve ever played?

MARK: Europe was a blast. A lot of good shows, great hospitality. It pretty much went off every night.

INFORMATION: Did they know your lyrics in Europe?

MARK: Sometimes they’d know the actual words and that was really flattering. Other times they’d just speak gibberish, speaking the sounds ya know? Making up English words, Didn’t make any sense but it was still awesome nonetheless. We played a full third of the tour in Germany. We also played Italy, France, UK, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark…Amsterdam was fucking GREAT. We hung out with the Kangaroo Records and Even Worse records guys. It was fun. We hung out in the red light district.

INFORMATION: Anything you want to divulge about that?

MARK: Zach was talking all this shit “I’m totally gonna get an old lady hooker because I love old ladies!” but he totally did NOT. He was all talk. Roy took us around, pointing out transvestites and yelling at hookers. I remember I said “I think that’s a woman, Roy” and he said “…look closer…” and then I saw the bulge. Hank of Kangaroo Records gave me a good 20 minute speech on how good sex with ‘Chicks with Dicks’ is and how I should do it often.

INFORMATION: Yeah, Jake from ECOLI/NIGHTSTICK JUSTICE told me that was that dude’s thing.

MARK: Yeah that’s Hank. But he’s a great guy. He cracks me up and puts out great records.

MARK: As far as Wasted Time shows in America, the last 86 MENTALITY show in DC was great. I don’t know if there will ever be a show like that again. Truly unique, packed and wild. Bay Area, California ruled. The house show (Ace‘s), Gilman, Thee Parkside. Bay Area was the best part of California. No offense to LA they’re cool too.

INFORMATION: Any shout outs?

MARK: One Love to HANDSOME PHIL MATTHEWS. TENSION HEAD RECORDS 2009, Get the BOMBER 7” if you can. No Way Fest was great this year, thanks to everyone who came out!