Nominee – 1996 6th Annual LA Music Awards
DR: Tell us a bit about Double Cross… What made you start blogging about Hardcore?
TM: Fanzines were my introduction to legitimate scene involvement, starting with my first zine, Slew back in 1987/1988. I enjoyed documenting things, interviewing bands and putting it all together into a nice little package. I did three issues of Slew, mixing skateboarding with hardcore. By 1988 I was knee deep in the massively growing Straight Edge scene, so my third issue of Slew was very heavy on that kind of content. Fanzines like Boiling Point, Schism, Open Your Eyes and Smorgasbord were really leaving a huge impression on me.
By late 1988 and into 1989 I decided to combine my efforts with my friend Tony Rettman, who did I4NI Fanzine and was also getting heavily into the Straight Edge hardcore scene, we did a fanzine called Common Sense together. We did two issues of Common Sense and I found myself communicating with hardcore kids all over the world. I was talking to bands, writing to pen pals, ordering records through mail order, getting more involved and pulled deeper and deeper into the hardcore scene.
I loved doing a fanzine, communicating with bands, being creative, laying out pages, but I was also reaching for the idea of doing my own band. I wanted to take the next step and go from just being a fan, to getting up on the stage myself. By late 1989 and into 1990, doing a band became a reality and took over my creative focus. My time became completely consumed with doing a band and my fanzine editing days seemed to be in the past.
After 6 years of doing Mouthpiece and right around the time I was starting Hands Tied, I had this idea to do a fanzine again. Tony and I did two issues of Common Sense and had plans for a third, which I had collected a ton of photos for, but since I had started Control/Mouthpiece, issue 3 of Common Sense fell to the wayside. After all those years, I still had a pretty impressive collection of photos and my thought was to do a new fanzine, but to interview a few guys from the late 80’s scene, so that I’d be able to match the old photos I had with new content. I sat down with Porcell after a Shelter show in 1996 and did a pretty substantial interview with him, but that’s as far as I got. I had planned to call this new fanzine Double Cross, so I had a name and I had one interview and a bunch of photos, but I guess Hands Tied picked up and Double Cross fanzine ended up getting shelved.
Mouthpiece 1996 New Jersey
A few years later, sometime around 1999/2000, after Hands Tied had broken up and in between me doing anything new band wise, I started thinking about doing Double Cross again in fanzine format. This time I got in touch with my old friend Tim Monroe who had played guitar in the band Unit Pride. I had interviewed Tim in 1988 for issue 3 of Slew, but hadn’t talked to him since then. In the meantime, I had met Eric Ozenne who sang for Unit Pride, Redemption 87 and the Nerve Agents. Eric had put me back in touch with Tim and I thought it was fitting to interview Tim because the name Double Cross, ultimately came from a project band that he had planned to do in 1989. After the demise of Unit Pride, Tim was going to do a new band with two singers, Korri Sabatini, who sang for Unit Pride on their US tour and Joey Vela who sang for Breakaway. It was supposed to be this ultimate Straight Edge band and with two singers, the name Double Cross certainly seemed fitting. At the time that band was coming together, I had a pen pal named Garrett Chow who was an artist and friends with all those guys. Garrett had drawn a Double Cross logo and sent it to me, but asked that I send it back because he has sent me the original drawing. I don’t remember exactly what it looked like, but apparently it left a lasting impression on me, because I thought the logo was cool enough looking, that I was still keeping it in my mind all those years later. Needless to say, the band Double Cross never really came together, so I thought I’d swipe it for my fanzine. I thought interviewing Tim Monroe again, all these years later, would be fitting. I also reached out to Matt Warnke of BOLD and ended up doing a massive 5 hour interview with him at his house.
So at this point in 1999/2000, I had the old interview I did with Porcell in 1996, a new interview with Tim from Unit Pride and this massive interview with Matt BOLD. I started transcribing the interview with Matt and it was really tough for me to stay on it. I’d listen to the tapes, transcribe 2 questions and answers and stop, but that would take me hours. This huge interview seemed like such a daunting task, that it became overwhelming and ultimately I ended up shelving the entire Double Cross Fanzine project for the second time.
Then in 2004 I had put some thought into launching Double Cross again, but this time as a website. I had gotten some help from my friend Ed McKirdy to get the basics of the site set up. I had a domain name and a main page set up. I had also created 3 t shirt designs that I was going to sell through the site. Coincidently, as this Double Cross website was coming together and the merch was being created, I was asked by Ray Cappo if Mouthpiece would reunite to play with Youth of Today for two shows in Pennsylvania. Mouthpiece agreed to do the 2 shows and the Double Cross merch ended up getting printed right in time for the shows. I sold a lot of the merch at those two shows and a bunch through mail order, but for whatever reason, the actual Double Cross site was never finished. It was becoming a routine, anytime Double Cross would get resurrected, it would get pushed aside at some point. Right as those two Mouthpiece shows with Youth Of Today were getting planned, I was also planning to start my new band, Triple Threat, so I’m sure that had a lot to do with why Double Cross fell out of focus once again.
Mouthpiece Rev 25 NYC
Four years later in 2008, I’m hanging out with my friend Chris Alpino and he’s telling me about this blog that he had started. Chris was super into black metal, as well as punk and hardcore and he created this blog that revolved around all of that. Chris kept telling me how easy a blog was to set up and maintain and he kind of sparked the idea in me, of launching Double Cross again, but this time as a blog. I didn’t have any lofty ideas or plans this time around, I thought I’d just create the blog, throw up a few of those interviews that had been lying around for years now, post a few cool photos and be done with it. I figured at this point, I just wanted to get the content out there and doing it in blog format seemed like the quickest and easiest way to do so.
I ended up doing exactly as I had planned, I created the Double Cross blog, posted the Tim Monroe from Unit Pride interview, posted a few photos, a video, etc. I figured I’d eventually get the Porcell interview and Matt BOLD interview up at some point. I also had an interview with Dwid from Integrity that I had done originally for Common Sense 3 and I posted that. All while I’m doing this, I’m showing my friend Gordo and he’s getting super psyched on everything. Gordo offered to do Double Cross with me and to get some new interviews going. Although I had no plans to make Double Cross some sort of constantly updated site, with Gordo assistance, it became exactly that. Gordo was so fired up and focused and I absolutely have to credit him for helping me take Double Cross to the next level. There’s no question, without Gordo’s help, Double Cross would have never grown into what it did. We came up with schedules and content plans, we were both reaching out to tons of people every day. I was updating the site with significant content every single night and we stuck to that pace for almost 3 or 4 years.
Tim & Gordo
All the while I’m doing Double Cross at this hectic, consuming pace, I’m working a full time job and raising three young children with my wife. Gordo on the other hand was working, but didn’t have a family yet, but that was coming. At some point after Gordo got married and he and his wife were having their first child, I was getting very burnt out on Double Cross. The nightly posts had started to feel like more of a job and responsibility, than a fun project. Gordo was unable to keep up with the pace once his daughter was born, which left a lot on me. Our last significant entry was a massive interview with Jules Masse from Side By Side / Alone In A Crowd, but I wasn’t ready to pack it in yet.
Bus Stop Banks Trenton NJ
After a couple months, my friend Larry Ransom asked me if I’d be interested in starting a new blog/website with him. I told Larry I was into it and we kept going back and forth about ideas. I then pitched the idea to Larry that we do this new site as Double Cross, create a completely new site, archive all of the existing material, but create a new format. Instead of posting massive interviews and constant substantial content, we just start posting little things daily. We’d still do interviews and larger entries from time to time, but instead of creating a schedule and putting that kind of pressure on ourselves, we’d just let that sort of content come naturally. As these concepts were coming together and I was telling Gordo what my plans were, he agreed that this new pace seemed like something that he’d realistically be able to handle, so Gordo was back on board. I also got my friend Ed McKirdy on board. Ed had a lot of back end website building knowledge from doing his record label, Livewire Records and handling the Livewire website. Ed and I have also worked on a lot of design projects together, so I knew he was someone I’d want to get involved in the design of this new Double Cross site. Ed, like Larry and Gordo and myself, also has a similar love for 80’s hardcore and the general style of content that Double Cross is known for, so Ed would be an ideal guy to get posting as well. So at the end of the day, Double Cross now consists of Larry Ransom, Brian “Gordo” Jordan, Ed McKirdy and myself. Adding two more guys into the mix was massive and helped direct the site into the direction we wanted to go and where we still are today.
DR: You did a huge interview with Mike Judge- 10 parts was it? How was that?
TM: The Mike Judge interview was something Gordo and I had been trying to get for years. I was off and on in touch with Mike and had been trying to convince him to do an interview, but at the time, I guess Mike felt like he had said everything he ever needed to say. He was always super cool every time we were in touch, but politely declined to do an interview. I was able to get little snippets of content out of him once in awhile, but never an actual interview like we wanted.
Over the last handful of years, Mike did do one interview for Rumpshaker Fanzine, the interview had been done years ago, but hadn’t gone to print. I remember seeing Mike and talking to him at the Black N Blue Bowl in NYC that Gorilla Biscuits played. Mike told me that he loved Double Cross and read it daily and he told me that I should talk to Eric that did Rumpshaker and have Eric send me the interview that he did with Mike, just so I could read it and tell Mike what I thought of it. I did end up talking to Eric and he was actually in the process of getting the new Rumpshaker printed, so the Mike Judge interview was finally going to see the light of day. Eric ended up sending me a copy of the zine when it was done and Mike and I went back and forth about the interview.
After a handful of months, Mike agreed to do a live interview with the Black N Blue radio guys. Considering it’s a radio show and they’re only allotted so much time, Mike knew that he still had more to say. Mike and I were still in touch and at the end of one of our conversations, he told me that he wishes that he had taken me up on the offer to interview him for Double Cross. I told Mike, it’s never too late and that we’d be down to interview him whenever and wherever he wanted, in which he replied, “let’s do it”.
So it was on, Gordo, Ed and myself got together a load of questions and met Mike in his hometown of Montville, New Jersey. We interviewed him for at least 5 hours and only got about half way through all the questions we wanted to ask. We started from Mike’s childhood and got to the “Bringin’ It Down” era of Judge, but that’s as far as we got during that first sitting. We all agreed that we’d come back for the second half of the interview, which we have yet to do. What’s good though is that since that first interview session, Judge has reunited and gone on to play a lot of shows, so when we finally get around to meeting back up and wrapping up the interview, we’re sure to have a lot more to talk about.
So by all means, if you’ve read the first 10 or so parts of our Mike Judge interview, be sure to tune back in when we get the rest of it done and posted.
DR: As all these reunion shows have been going on, who have you enjoyed seeing again the most?
Mouthpiece Rev 25 NYC
TM: I’ve seen so many at this point that it’s actually kind of hard to remember. I can at least say that some of my favorites have been specific sets by Youth Of Today, Judge, BOLD, Gorilla Biscuits, Chain Of Strength and DYS. I’ve seen all of these bands play numerous reunion shows over the past couple of years, but there have definitely been specific shows that each band played that were special. All four of the Chain Of Strength reunion sets that I’ve seen have been first-rate, those guys took it all to the next level and played like they never missed a beat. The first DYS show at the Gallery East reunion in 2010 was pretty special, they sounded great that night and the crowd went absolutely insane. There was a particularly fun Youth Of Today set in Washington D.C. at the U Street Music hall in 2011, which Mouthpiece also played, that was great. So yeah, there’s been a lot, but that’s just a few that I can think of off hand.
DR: Do you have any music projects right now?
TM: I had been working on a new project with Mouthpiece guitarist, Chris Schuster and bassist, Ed McKirdy and Gordo did practice with us once on drums, but ultimately decided that he didn’t feel comfortable enough on the drums. Chris has been writing new music for about a year now and we keep talking about doing something with it, but so far we haven’t figured out a drummer. Drummers seems to be rare in this area, especially ones that are Straight Edge and want to play the style of hardcore that we do. We’d probably do more with Mouthpiece if our drummer Jason had the time, but with his work schedule and family, his free time is pretty slim. Hopefully I’ll get this project with Chris and Ed off the ground at some point. The songs Chris has written so far have been great, a nice mix of D.C. Hardcore mixed with bits of early 80’s skate rock type stuff. We’ll see what happens.
Singing with No For An Answer Rev 25 Cali
I’ve also talked to my friend Andrew who lives in Baltimore and plays guitar, about doing something. Andrew has written a few songs and has been talking to me about singing, but he doesn’t have a complete band together either. There have been plenty of conversations and I’ve heard a couple tapes with riffs, but that’s about it. A drummer seems to be an issue with that project as well. Musically I know Andrew wants to go for something in a late 80’s Southern California hardcore sound. I’d certainly be down to give it a try if all the pieces fell into place. Again, we’ll just have to see what happens.
DR: What bands are you into at this time?
-TM: In terms of current hardcore bands, I really dig Clear, which is Pat from Have Heart’s latest band, they’re probably one of my favorite newer bands. I also like World War 4, Rival Mob, Stick Together and Mindset. Totally different style, but I like Nails as well. I haven’t heard a lot of Title Fight, but I do like what I’ve heard. I like what I’ve heard from Give as well. I’m always keeping an ear out for new bands, but it’s hard for me to keep up on all the new releases.
As much as I try to keep up with the current bands and get into new music, I’m still constantly listening to all the bands I’ve been listening to over the past 28 years. Stuff like Youth Of Today, Chain Of Strength, Judge, BOLD, Uniform Choice, Dag Nasty, Cro-Mags and the Bad Brains are always in rotation. I also listen to The Smiths and Morrissey’s solo material regularly and sometimes that’s all I’ll listen to for weeks at a time.
DR: Your a fellow collector, what are your main collecting focuses?
TM: I go on and off with what I collect. Over the years I’ve collected everything from horror movie toys and memorabilia to Star Wars toys, GI Joes, masks, sneakers, hardcore shirts and records, to name a few. Over the past handful of years though, I’ve mainly just focused on collecting specific Revelation Records releases and variants. When you’re younger and don’t have a lot of responsibilities, bills and a family, you can pretty much collect as much as you can afford. As I’ve gotten older and my family has grown, there’s only so much I can afford to spend my money on. A lot of times, when it comes to collecting the Revelation stuff, I try to trade as much as I can. I’ve ended up with a lot of doubles and triples of some releases, so it’s made for nice trading pieces. I’ve also sold a couple of records that I’ve had doubles of and spent the money I made on specific records that I’ve wanted.
DR: And your also a fellow sneaker head… tell me a bit about your all time favs and also what you like to skate and just wear day to day? Do you collect a certain model?
TM: Like everything I’ve collected over the years, I go through phases on how much I collect sneaker wise. In recent years, I really haven’t collected much, with the exception of the string of Air Jordan 1’s that have been re-released. I ended up finding a hardcore guy that works for Nike and collects records, so I’ve managed to work record trades for Air Jordans from him, which has been great.
As far as my normal day to day wears, I still tend to wear Vans a lot. You really can’t beat a pair of classic black Era Vans. There’s other Nikes that come in and out of the regular rotation as well. Skate wise, I tend to stick with Vans, the Old Skools, the Sk8 Hi’s, the Half Cab’s, I wear any and all of those when skating.
There have been various late 80’s era Nikes that I have bought, but what I’ve collected/bought most regularly have the Jordans. My favorites being the Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 4. I don’t buy every color and I don’t buy them every time they’re re-issued, but those 3 Jordans are the ones that I usually keep an eye out for.
DR: Bit of a pop quiz now lets do a few of your top fives…
Top five Straight Edge Hardcore bands of all time?
TM: Youth Of Today, Chain Of Strength, BOLD, Judge, Uniform Choice
Top five records in your collection?
– Judge – “Chung King Can Suck It” Revelation Records test pressing and Judge – “Chung King Can Suck It” Revelation Records regular pressing, Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” Wishingwell Records test pressing, Chain Of Strength – “True Till Death” Revelation Records 7” test pressing, SSD – “Get It Away” X-Claim Records test pressing.
Top five shirts in your collection?
– Chain Of Strength – “True Till Death” Navy Blue shirt with grey ink and white puff ink, Judge – “New York Crew” Schism Records long sleeve, Youth Of Today – “Break Down The Walls” 1987 Tour shirt (mint condition), Cro-Mags – “Age Of Quarrel” 1986 shirt and a 4 way split between my two Turning Point – Hi Impact Records shirts and my two Release – Axtion Packed Records shirts.
DR: Top five Punk bands?
TM – Agent Orange
– Sex Pistols
DR: Top five favorite skaters?
– Mark Gonzales
– Steve Caballero
– Tommy Guerrero
– Natas Kaupas
(also in the running, Mike Vallely and Tom Knox)
DR:Thanks for the interview dude anything else you want to say?
TM: Thanks to you Ed for giving me the opportunity to talk about all of this, it’s been fun, reflective and even therapeutic at times. I’ve done a lot of interviews, but I think you caught me at the perfect time, because I think this has been a good one.
Also, to anyone reading this, thank you for taking the time to read this interview and having any bit of interest in what I’ve had to say. Thanks also to all those that have consistently and loyally supported my efforts within the hardcore scene, whether it be my fanzines, my bands or Double Cross, it’s all very appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks also to my family (Traci, Trevor, Taryn and Travis) and the rest of my family and friends, if you’re reading this, you know who you are.
Be sure to stay locked in to all that is Double Cross at: www.doublecrossxx.com
Leave a comment
Filed under Uncategorized
Tagged as Double Cross, Face The Enemy, Hands Tied, Hardcore, Mouthpiece, New Jersey, Straight Edge, Tim Mcmahon, Triple