Yesterday was the first day I took off from the horror novel I've been writing in over a month. My wife Cari suggested we go for a hike. I thought this was great idea, I needed not to think about the novel (entitled Demons of Winter), it is a horror novel about the death of parents. Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of my mother's death. On the moments like these in the woods I tend to think about the book in progress a lot. Today I didn't want to do that. I wanted to think about the next project “Forged in the Flames.”
Mostly I was developing an extended list of people I wanted to interview, thinking about some questions that needed to asked of Karl and the guys. On the train ride back we decided to pick up some raw grub at Blossoming Lotus an amazing vegan Restaurant in downtown Portland.
We are walking past Rocco's pizza and a group of crusty looking punks are drinking beers out side. I'm wearing my Earth Crisis – Animal Liberation shirt by the way. One of the crusties with dredlocks and that red facial skin you get from drinking way too much was looking at me funny. Whatever I kept walking, as soon as I was out of sight he yells out.
“Fuck Earth Crisis!”
Cari stops at point not sure if I heard it. I was not sure, I turned around and walked back.
“Excuse me – did you have something to say?”
Through the dude's sun glasses dredlocked dude looked like a deer caught in headlights. He sputtered for a moment.
“Hey man, no insult to your beliefs man but fuck that band. Fuck that tough guy bullshit.”
“No, you have it all wrong, I lived in Syracuse most of the 90's and they are really cool people. A lot of that stuff is myths.”
“Man, Fuck that I grew up in Philly, I got thrown out of Earth Crisis show in middlesex for...”
“You were one of assholes throwing yogurt? You think you wronged for being thrown out after throwing yogurt at a militant vegan band.”
“You deserved to have your ass kicked,” Said Cari.
At this point you should know that the show he is talking about is infamous. Back in 96' I got a call from my friend Pete. He asked me what I was doing, he told me that there was all this gossip when EC played in New Jersey that night that a whole bunch of people were going to be throwing stuff at them, maybe starting fights. He was organizing cars to go down and make sure that Earth Crisis had back up.
You have to understand that for years the EC guys just took it. They had beer cans(empty and full), cigerettes, and much more thrown at them. People threatened by their message often reacted with such childish displays of anger. They always took it, ignored it. Pete told me that day on the phone. Not anymore. Not tonight.
Thanks to the wonders of you tube you can see some of it. Posted below. It does get the craziness of the night, it misses alot. You'll have to wait until Forged for the whole story. Anyways back to 2009...
“Man don't get up on stage if you can't take criticism,” Said drunk woman at second table.
“What kind of music journalism is supposed to involve the throwing of food. No it is an insult, meant to provoke a reaction, don't whine when you get one.”
“I like to rub yogurt on my nipples,” says one non punk looking dude sitting with them. I ignored that guy.
“Man I remember all those bands Earth Crisis, Snapcase, 108 there all tough guys.” Drunk guy continues.
I laugh at this point. Snapcase were not even close to tough guys, 108 were krishnas what kind of tough guys where robes? Cari is getting frustrated as hell. But as real life tough guys Hatebreed say “I live for this,” I love this argument.
“Snapcase tough guys? Dude now that is just funny,” I laughed.
“Man not a insult on you, it's Earth Crisis, they were dicks. I saw Karl knock a cigerette out of a kids hand once.”
First off, I know this is bullshit. I have been at more Earth Crisis shows than I have weddings,funerals or graduations combined. I have hung out at pre-smoking ban coffehouses with Karl filled with so much smoke it was like a cancer incubator. Really why did we hang-out at zopies? I'll never understand that. In all the shows I've been at with Karl I have seen plenty of people smoke in Karl's presence and never not once did I see him knock one of of somebodies hand.
“They hate anyone who isn't straight edge,” He continued
“That's bullshit man, dude Karl has a stoner friend he skated with the whole time I lived there. He probably still skates with the guy. They tour with more non-straight edge bands than edge bands.”
The guy looked at me confused. Behind him one of his friends leans forward, he is so drunk he can barely stand up(3:30 in the afternoon).
“Fuck that man they don't drink, they need to chill out.”
Cari grabs my arm.
“Come on these guys are bunch of stupid fuckin drunks, there not going to listen.”
“whatever fuck Earth Crisis.” Said dredlock dude.
Cari and I went to get food. My first regret was not getting that guys information because as dumb and wrong as he was. He could be a great interview for Forged. You see he is one of the many reasons I am writing this book. If Earth Crisis were not a legend, a serious hardcore legend that kind of interaction 18 years after the band had started thousands of miles from their hometown would not have happened. For every hater like that dredlocked drunkard there is a person that had there lives positively impacted by the band's effort.
They are a unique experience in the history of hardcore, in music itself. This interaction to me is a testament to the amazing work they have done over the years.