ON THE OFFENSE is a hardcore band I have a lot of respect for. They revive the true hardcore feeling I had when I first got into this music and that means a lot to me some 15 years down the line. This is an interview with Sean (vocals) discussing over music, the band, handling hardcore alongside personal life as well as life in general from the view of a true hardcore lifer. Enjoy the interview, check out these guys at http://www.facebook.com/OnTheOffenseNYHC and read the TxYxS demo review here.
- Can you tell us your story about how you got into hardcore?
I took the route that I think most of us took.....I started off with listening to Hard Rock, then Heavy Metal, then HEAVIER metal lol. Then one day I was listening to a college radio station over here that plays Heavy Metal, and for some reason they played "We Gotta Know" by the Cro-Mags, and that was it for me. I went right to the record store and bought "Age Of Quarrel" and any record that had a bald guy screaming into a microphone on the cover lol.
What does hardcore mean to you?
I think what drew me to Hardcore, is the same things that it means to me. The realness, the harshness, the camaraderie. The fact that you could play music and express yourself through it without any image or fluff, no commercialism, that the same friends you hung out with, were the same people you could jump on a stage with and play. You didn't wait or rely on some corporate record company to "discover" you and get your music out there...you did it yourself. You record your own stuff, say what you needed to say....... you make your own covers and flyers, you hand them out yourself, you book your own shows....... and by doing all of that you meet the people you connect with, there are no "fans", only friends.
It was pretty much together when I joined. The guys had a bunch of songs down already and all they needed was a vocalist. We all meshed musically and personality wise, and we took it from there.
- Can you tell us a few things about the previous bands you were in if any?
I first started playing Hardcore back in like '86 or '87, and I was in a bunch of bands, some got more developed then others, and some never made it out of the practice rooms lol. But it was all fun , made a ton of great friends that I still talk with today. Same with the other guys in O.T.O. , they all have been in a bunch of bands through the years. Funny thing is, there weren't a lot of people in my neighborhood growing up that were into Hardcore, but Six Pack Jon lives like 2 minutes from me and we never played in a band together until now,,,,all those wasted years lol.
- What are the values that you feel NYHC and ON THE OFFENSE in specific represents?
Pretty much the same values that drew me to Hardcore from the begining. Truth, honor, respect, friendship, being who you are, unity.
- What are the top-3 essential records every HC kid should own?
I know that everyone in OTO is gonna disagree to varying degrees with me , so let me stress this is MY OPINION lol
3. Breakdown - 7inch
2. Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain
........... and without a doubt, the record that changed my life
1. CRO-MAGS - AGE OF QUARREL!!!!!!! lol
- What do you do for a living? Do you find it easy to balance everyday life with your hardcore activities?
- I work for the city, and as is too often the case work tends to interfere w/ all the fun things in life. Sometimes the balance is a pain in the ass, Six Pack usually has to put up with me screaming over the phone about how much I hate my job when I get stuck at work. But this band and this music is important to me, so I give it all I got.
- How often do you play live and rehearse? Is it easy to get shows around the NYC area? What about tours?
We usually practice once a week, more if we got a show coming up. I gotta say that musically these guys are pretty damn amazing. So it don't take a lot for them to get the music down. We just started writing new stuff which is pretty cool, love hearing the stuff they come up with. As far as shows go, they're coming slowly but surely. The great thing about the scene is that once you start making friends and hooking up with other bands MOST of the time they all start looking out for each other, and hooking one another up on shows. One thing I noticed that has changed though is every once in a while a band or a promoter comes at you with a "Rock Star" type mentality, talking about "draws" and "following"........This is the underground, it aint about popularity or fanbases. Whether there is 3000 people or 3 people at a show it shouldn't matter. Those three people had the heart to come out and represent.......you better rock it. And as far as tours go, we'll see what happens in the future. Hopefully if any tours develop during the winter here, it'll be somewhere warm and sunny , I hate the winter in NYC lol.
- Do you have any other hobbies/activities around or beyond the HC scene?
-Working and sleeping. Both Rob and me are dads, so that alone is enough of an activity.
- What is your top-5 hate-list? In life in general, or hardcore trends, whatever!
- I try not to hate to much, I've learned it's kind of a waste of energy, but if you were to twist my arm I'd say:
5. NYC Winters
4. The idea of working so hard at not having an image, that it in and of itself becomes an image.
3. Mosquitoes (as hard as I try , I just can't figure out what purpose they serve on this planet other than to just ANNOY people and animals lol)
2. People who use the "Irish Exit" when texting (Just dropping out of conversation when texting or emailing)
1. Bands that show up 15mins before there set, sell tee shirts for 30 mins, then just pack up and leave when they're done. Again the "Rock Star" mentality..........No one expects everyone to be there from the beginning to the end of every single show, but you really should show some support for the other bands playing. Every band was in the opening slot at some point, and we're all part of the same scene, support one another.
- You seem to have some very personal lyrics in your songs. What are they about? Isn't it hard to go "all out" like that?
- I found that as I got older I became a lot less angry at the outside world, and began taking a much harder look at the world inside. So most of what I write is the result of me examining myself. And in the end it actually helps me grow and understand who I am better. I put it out there because it's actually good to get stuff off my chest, and hopefully a few people might identify with the lyrics and relate to them enough that they serve the same purpose to them.
- Overall, would you say you have a positive or a negative outlook on life? Please explain your position.
- Overall I'd say that my outlook is a positive one. Some negativity isn't always so bad, I think that at times it helps keep reality in check. But for the most part I'm a happy man.
I wanna thank you for representing the way you do. If it wasn't for people like you, Hardcore wouldn't be what it is today. And any of the Brothers and Sisters in your scene want to reach out and say "What's Up" feel free to, we're all part of the same family. Peace out my Brother, see you when we see you !!!!