Is there any better way to kick off the first issue of ’19 than with one of the Dropkick Murphy boys? Well, luck o’ the Irish, it just happens to be St. Paddy’s day as well!  Haha… seriously, it wasn’t planned. We are not that organized. We also check out Director John Rash’s fantastic documentary on Negro Terror, and get in to some of the details on the upcoming Northeast Oi! Fest. Interviews with The Reapers, Barra Brava, and Honour Guard make this one seriously kick fuckin ass issue. Let’s Go!

Life at realpunkradio.com has been pretty damn cool! Things have improved big time since jumping ship from our previous station. Now we have our own website so listeners can catch shows they may have missed on the air, and you can find them at www.onthenodradio.com.

Dave Coop, LA Bruja, Jason and Russ bring you killer segments like Smash The Discos Street Rock Block, World Noise, Behind The Noise, Russ’s Classic Punk Rock Revival, and The Bruja Interviews. Catch On The Nod Radio Show every Wednesday on Real Punk Radio. 12pm PST – 3pm EST – 20:00 UK.

Another killer fest in the works! Get your tickets at frontlinefesttickets@gmail.com.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to watch Dropkick Murphys grow over the years. I know I was. The band has become a major success and we couldn’t be any more happier for them, because it is well deserved. Our brother, Kris H. from Hardsell, sat down with drummer Matt Kelly and brought us this great interview from the unbreakable backbone of the American celtic punk powerhouse, Dropkick Murphys.

Matt, how did you get into the scene? How old were you? What were some of the bands that got you going?


I was a little fourteen year old regular kid into hardcore/punk, metal, etc., hanging around with other skateboarders, punks, etc., and some of those kids went skinhead. It took me a few months, but I got into it through them, and talking to some of the older skinheads in our area. The bands that really got me into skinhead specifically were Agnostic Front, Forced Reality, the Bruisers, Warzone, Condemned 84, YDL, Slapshot, Pist’n’Broke, and I think that’s it. Other than that, I loved stuff like Burn, Wrecking Crew, Sick Of It All, and still love my AC/DC, Zeppelin, and Maiden.


SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON https://youtu.be/x-64CaD8GXw


What made you decide that you wanted to become a drummer?

Well, my Dad is a drummer and has played in rock and roll bands since the mid-1960s, so that definitely influenced me. I wanted to play saxophone when I was six, but one day when I was eight, he had his drum kit out in the living room and that’s when I decided, “Yeah, I’ll be having some of that action”. I was already into heavier bands like Led Zeppelin, Mountain, and Humble Pie by that age, and my dreams of playing sax on Van Morrison type stuff were fading if not gone. 

What I have noticed since I lived in the states, is that even with the age of the internet and social media there still is a big divide between the east coast, west coast, and the central parts of the country. There are tons of good bands on the east coast that I never had heard of while I lived on the west coast and vice versa. Now, living in Texas, I am amazed with all the talent out here. And I am not even going to speak about all the good bands in Europe and other places.

Yeah, well as you know and can attest to (since you lived most of your life in Europe), the USA is a very large country. So, even though it’s not even three-hundred years old, it has, like Europe, vast cultural differences. Granted, it’s somewhat generalizing, but your typical person growing up in San Diego is not going to have the same temperament as the typical person growing up in Portland, Maine. Their vernacular, their political leanings, their dress-mode, their traditions, and values will be rooted in different pasts from different ancestors. I think that trickles down to the styles of music that proliferate in a particular area or region, and that of course will make an impact on the punk and Oi! bands in said area. 

Growing up, what were the main bands in your area?

Well, I grew up forty miles outside of Boston in Central Massachusetts, so although there’s always been a thriving local music scene out there, we’d look to Boston as our scene. There’s really no need to extoll the virtues of the obvious Boston greats. We all know DYS, SSD, F.U.’s, Jerry’s Kids, Gangreen, the Neighborhoods, the Dogmatics, the Real Kids, the Cars, Aerosmith, Bosstones, Negative FX, Deathwish, etc., etc., 

ROSE TATTOO https://youtu.be/9d8SzG4FPyM

What can we could do to spread more music so more people get an opportunity to experience great bands?

I think that with the internet, and sites like Bandcamp and their ilk, any band can get their music out there. On the one hand, it’s great because it’s relatively cheap to make ones music available worldwide, but on the other hand, I think it’s harder to pick out quality bands because of the fact that there are SO many bands going now. It’s insane. I also think it cheapens it because bands are a dime a dozen and they give their music away for free (and that’s their perogative), and the recordings aren’t as valued because they’re just virtual files. I could go on, but I’m not completely sure where I’m going with this, haha. 

Last year DKM celebrated their 20th anniversary. Would you have ever thought this would have happened, and on this scale? What do you think has been the key to DKM’s longevity and success?

No, it surprised the Hell out of me when we hit our ten-year mark! I think, among the key factors, is that since day one we’ve had a lot of variety in the music we play. Stylistically, songs like “Caught In A Jar”, while written in early ’97, could just as easily be like something on a new recording of ours. Songs like “The Gauntlet” and “The Road Of The Righteous” are very different from each other, but they all tie in to our style, which again is varied. I think that helped things to never get stagnant. We never painted ourselves into a corner musically, and we’ve always had these different facets of our sound that we can delve into. That, and a modus operandi from day one to be professional onstage, put on a good show, and not be drunk or fucked up, change the setlist constantly to keep it fresh for us and fans, never go back on what we’ve always stood for, and try to live and play by example. 

NEVER ALONE https://youtu.be/4lsTreTfgNs

These days, you and I are seen as the older people in the scene. We sure have seen a lot of things change. What are some of the things you miss about the “old days” and what are some of the things you are glad about that have changed?

Yeah, “the elder statesmen of Oi!”, haha. What I miss: the exclusivity, the way we had to dig-dig-dig to find out information, the pen pals, tape trading, ‘zines, tangible gig flyers, taking the time to wait for mail-order and letters from overseas, and the overall effort one had to put into being in the scene. Back then, if you wanted to be a part of it, you had to have the passion. People were less-jaded than they are now about it all, and word-of-mouth was king. As far as the changes for the better: more bands to choose from, more places to play, better beer, more international gigs and ease of travel, with bands from all over the world traveling and playing different countries. Not much else, though! It’s all got a bit pussified and I think that a lot of people involved in the Oi! scene these days would have run for their lives from it twenty years ago. Ah well…. 

Of all the DKM songs, and there are quite a few, which one is your favorite and why?

“Wheel Of Misfortune”. I think it encompasses everything I like about the band: good lyrics, muscle and power, dynamics, traditional elements, and good hooks. 

DKM has gone from a band that played in a basement to a professional powerhouse. From a few members driving in a van from town to town hoping to make enough money for gas and food, to a large international band with their own crew and trucks full of equipment. For bands today who would love to travel to the other side of the world who inspire to get a little bigger, what advice would you give them?

Well, it sure is easier to get booked in other countries these days, as there are a lot of smaller-time promoters willing to take a chance on relatively-unknown bands. I’d say, don’t expect to break even on your first 3-5 tours. Expect to lose money. If you’re in it for the money, you’re in the wrong business. Only time will tell if you’ll be big enough to make any money in this game. No matter what your Mommy says, everybody doesn’t agree that you’re special and talented. Take criticism for what it is, digest it, and use it as an honest look at your band’s music or ethos (or both). Be professional: USE YOUR FUCKING MUTE BUTTON when you’re tuning onstage. Have a setlist, be as tight a unit as you possibly can, and don’t be fucked up when you’re playing. It sucks when you see legendary Oi! bands wasted up there onstage mangling your favorite songs. What’s worse is when a band you’ve never heard before is mangling their own songs that you don’t even know. Make it your job to blow the audience away and play as hard as you can without compromise. Make them want to come back again and again to see you. On the business side of things, don’t sign any sort of contract until someone (a lawyer or whatever) looks it over and sifts through the “legalese” so you know what you’re signing. I don’t know how many times bands have accidentally signed an exclusive 10-record deal without knowing. 

Being in a band is something special. Making music is something that is difficult to explain to people who are not in a band. What does being in a band, and making music, mean to you?

It’s culture. It’s a window on the soul of the writer. It’s emotion put to vinyl. 

THE GANGS ALL HERE https://youtu.be/Md_amP6JEq8


I have seen DKM grow from the first tour with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, to what you are today. The difference is night and day. I am always impressed by the organization and the sacrifice the band makes to keep this going. It is not as simple as calling up a club and asking to play and there you go. There is a real machine at work behind the curtains. How does a tour come to be? What are all of the moving parts. It’ just not that simple anymore for you guys. I remember Al and you going to Europe for a two week tour just to promote the album and talk for hours to journalists; super fun. (releasing an album, doing a world tour, etcetera)

Oh man, that press tour for “The Gang’s All Here” was brutal! I don’t think I talked for a week after that! Well, there’s the band (we pick the opening bands and sign off on doing the tours when and where), our tour manager organizes tour buses, hotels, catering at venues, laundry, food and drink backstage, and makes sure we get paid for our efforts. Our production manager works with the venues and local production to be sure the load-in and out, the stage, sound, and lighting are what we require. The band’s manager fields tour and festival offers from promoters and works with our booking agent to piece together the routing of tours, plus a few other important aspects. Granted, that was all a very, very simplified breakdown, and there are more people involved, too, but I’d need to write a book to get all that down! 

As a second part to this question, how do you balance being in the band as the job, rehearsing and creating new material, and having a life as Matt Kelly the family man?

These days, we’re not touring eleven months out of the year, so the balance is much easier. My beautiful wife, Liz, has stuck by me since I was barely more than a skeleton behind the kit, piss-poor and hungry. She’s got a heart of gold and we trust each other’s fidelity, so that’s a big worry that I DON’T have. When we’re not on the road, I do the cooking and grocery shopping at home (Mr. Mom or some shit, haha), but aside from that, and typical house and yard maintenance, our practice space is down the street from me so I’m down there quite a bit. At least two to three times a week just to work on my deficiencies and maybe record a little something for Dropkick Murphys, or other projects. When the band is home, we get together sporadically, and then more concentratedly before a tour. Once in a while, we’ll get some ideas out there to each other and see what we like. Then before we know it, we’re down the practice space five to six days a week writing new material. To tell you the truth, my life is pretty well-balanced between home and “work”. 

WARRIOR’S CODE https://youtu.be/3N2fwIXQv9M

After all these years, what are some of the low moments in your career, and what moments are the absolute highs?

Low was a few years ago when we hit a guy with our bus killing him. Granted, he was trying to kill himself, but the loss of a life is never a positive thing. The high point? Playing with Rose Tattoo in Sydney, Australia when Pete Wells was still alive in 2004. That was just pure magic. It was rock and roll revival…. Just… perfect. 

At the level you are performing at, what is something you look forward to? What would you and the DKM still love to achieve?

 I think we’d like to play with AC/DC someday, if that’s possible. They’re a firm favorite here. 

Standing in the crowds I hear people talk, and there are a few things I hear frequently. One of the things I hear people say is that they still liked the DKM better with Mike McColgan, even though Mike was only with the DKM for 2 years.

The first record is usually the one that puts bands on the map, and Do Or Die did that for us. Your first record is usually the rawest, most primordial form of your band— and I can attest to the idea that it’s usually a band’s best. However, I wouldn’t say that, for instance, AC/DC’s best album was the Aussie version of “High Voltage”, their first album. I’d have to give it to “Powerage” over the other any day of the week. I wouldn’t say Do Or Die was our best effort, but I do love the songs on it. It was a great time and place but hey, time marches on. It’s funny, we had written a few songs after Do Or Die and Mike sang on a couple of them. No disparagement to Mike because he’s a strong singer. It just wasn’t working. Then when we tried Al out, we had him learn the songs (if I remember correctly, it was “Boston Asphalt”, “Ten Years Of Service”, and “Growing Strong”), and he just knocked them out of the park! I still have the practice tapes somewhere. Hey, you know what? The thing is, if Al was the first singer and Mike joined after, the same people who jock Mike would be saying how “oh, Mike’s great, but Al was better”. You can’t please everybody! 

Another thing I have heard a few times is people talk about how DKM are no longer punkrock and have sold out. What do you say to those people? Being a band of your size, I am sure you get a lot of criticism. How do you deal with it?

Fuck ‘em. Since day one, we’ve said we’ve wanted to take this as far as we can, while remaining true to our lyrics and ourselves. I don’t see a problem with that. We never took the easy way out by taking tour support or big advances on albums. We don’t endorse stupid products. We didn’t pursue radio or MTV by watering our sound or image down. We started our own label and do things exactly how we want to, on OUR terms, and nobody else’s. At the end of the day, people can think what they want and will have their opinions no matter what we say or do. However, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and don’t care for bullshitters or jealous types who want to tear us down. Anybody who knows us well, knows we’re the same assholes that were playing the Rathskeller in ’97. 

THE ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN https://youtu.be/m2GvU6GEuPI


Is there anything you can share about upcoming plans,projects? And do you have any last words?

Well we have a couple tours coming up, of the UK and Europe. We’re starting to write new material for the next album; one song of which we’ve been playing now and again on our current US tour. So, look out for some new stuff in the coming year or so. Thanks so much for the interview, Kris. I appreciate the support and friendship, man! 

Thank you for your time, Matt. I appreciate you and the band for the friendship throughout all these years. We shall see each other on the road. Cheers

How do you write an article about a documentary, or any film, without giving too much away? You see, I want you to see this film… and I mean, really see it. I don’t want to “review” this film. I just want you to know that it’s worth watching, but I don’t want to tell you how good it is. What I do want is for you to go in and find out just how good it is for yourself. Documentaries are made for you to learn something. You’ll go in to this expecting to learn about a band… but there’s much more to it… things I want you to see for yourself.

☆VOICE OF MEMPHIS https://youtu.be/vbYkz5CBMas

When I decided I was going to write an article about this documentary, I decided I will only watch it once, then I will wait a month before I reflect on it. There’s reasons for this. It’s because this film goes beyond the hardcore punk band, Negro Terror. Sure, we learn a great deal about the band, but we also learn just as much about people… sometimes without any words being said at all. As the camera stays motionless on the faces of the people of Memphis, it’s not just some photo opp for friends of the band. This is where the camera starts talking. The camera, speaking for the random faces say, “We are not just the people of Memphis. We are not just friends of the band. We are you. We live. We love. We fight. We try. We win. We fail. We carry on. We are you. You are us.” A powerful message, simply done. Now, if you know Negro Terror, you already know these are decent people with their hearts in the right places. If you don’t know them yet, you will.

If you’re familiar with Omar Higgins (vocals, bass) you already know he’s an open book. He will always wish you the best, and doesn’t hesitate to pour his heart out on emotional topics, whether they be good or bad. Now, don’t get me wrong. He’s a big dude. Don’t poke the bear. There’s no doubt he could put you through a wall if the situation calls for it, but that’s not what he’s all about. If you’re familiar with Rico (guitar) you know he doesn’t hesitate to speak out on social and race issues. Ra’id (drums) seems to be the quietest in the band, at least on social media. I’m sure he’s by far the loudest in the practice space. One thing this documentary does extremely well, is connecting you on a personal level with these individuals. It goes beyond what you may already know. It gives answers to what you thought you knew. Unlike many music docs over the years that either just focused on the drama and hardtimes hoping that it’s found entertaining, or just chronicled a possibly inaccurate chain of events, the Negro Terror documentary leaves you feeling like you grew up with these boys. I won’t tell you how. Once again, I want you to see it for yourself.

As we learn who these individuals are, we become closer to the band. We learn about dangers of being Negro Terror. We explore spirituality, humanity, aggression, pain. We learn how they learn from it, and what they do with it. In turn, we see the similarities, and realize how we learn from it all as well.

NEGRO TERROR DOCUMENTARY TRAILER https://youtu.be/5DsFqo9OEZs

A handful of decent music docs have hit the screen recently, but this one should be at the top of your list. I will say no more. See for yourself.

There’s a reason why this film is racking up awards!

An Interview With Director John Rash

Let’s start off with a little bit about your background. Where did you study film making, and what really pulled you into documentary film making?


I was a still photographer for more than 10 years before I ever thought about trying to make a film. In 2012, I decided to leave my job of eight years teaching community college to get my MFA in Documentary and Experimental Art at Duke University. That program completely changed my life and perspectives on the intersections of visual art and documentary storytelling. Around that time, documentary films in general had just begun the first waves of the current surge in popular mainstream culture, so the idea of what can be a documentary film was still a bit stale and dated. I was lucky enough to be in this new program at Duke that encouraged us to think about both experimental film and documentary as outliers pushing the boundaries of mainstream cinema. That really appealed to me, and I also began to realize you can make a movie all by yourself, without a crew or a producer or even funding. I think the D.I.Y. ethics I had always embraced about punk rock being in bands and publishing zines suddenly had a new spark through making independent films.


With the south being so rich in culture, and having many different topics to choose from, what was it that captured your interest in Negro Terror?


I had just moved to the North Mississippi / Memphis area in mid-2017 when I was looking around for stories, but also looking around for things to do on the weekend. I came across a show listing for this band with this incredible name “Negro Terror”, and I thought ‘This is either going to be my new favorite band or the worst possible thing to exist.’ Not knowing what the band looks like, when you read their name you really have to guess who could possibly formulate these two words together as a band name. You know what I mean? It could really go either way. After seeing their video for ‘Invasion’ on YouTube, knowing it was a Skrewdriver song, with the visuals of contemporary police brutality and racial profiling, I decided it was a story worth chasing. What I didn’t expect, is that almost every time I went out to interview or film the band for the next half-year, I would continuously be surprised in learning the very complex and unique stories and interests of the guys in the band. What I thought was going to be a 15-minute profile film quickly expanded to be my very first feature-length documentary.


Obviously a film maker will do their research before tackling a new project, but did you discover anything new or unexpected about the group during production?


The guys in Negro Terror are completely unpredictable and not fitting of any preset mold that I’ve encountered, so I was learning new things about each of them individually almost every time I went out to film a show or conduct an interview. I hope types of discovery in the moment comes across in the film, because there are many moments in the interviews where I am learning major pieces of information right alongside the audience. I really used that to my advantage when editing the film as well and am able to throw the audience some of the same curveballs through the course of the film that show you how very different the three guys in this band are from each other and how truly magical it is that they are able to come together and function so well as a band together. I decided very early in this project that ‘Negro Terror’ wasn’t going to be the typical ‘Behind the Music”-style of band film where you learn the backstory of how they met each other and then build a story on a chronological timeline, but rather an investigation of the three guys in the band and try to break down the concept that a hardcore band has to have one unified political voice or worldview. When I started the project, Negro Terror had yet to even play outside of Memphis and I was amazed at how often they play shows in their own town. I mean, these guys might as well be the on-hire bar band at some of these venues, but somehow, they approached each and every show like it was a fresh experience. That was shocking, but I also really admire them for that. I mean, what band plays their own city up to four or five times in the same month? Negro Terror did during the half year that I was filming them and somehow it worked for them.


Omar speaks very highly of your abilities as a director. He credits you as patient, personable, and able to efficiently draw out the story. What advice would give to aspiring film makers that are gearing up to take on projects of their own?


The guys in Negro Terror are extremely between their lives as musicians all involved with multiple projects and their day jobs that they have to work to pay the bills. At first, I thought this would be the kind of film that went deeper into those aspects of their personal lives; following them to their jobs and their families etc. However, the band wasn’t interested in opening those areas of their lives to the camera because they are so heavily engaged in antagonizing Neo-Nazis through their music and online. Basically, they didn’t want to expose people in their lives to the possibility of retribution for their actions. Obviously, I respected their wishes 100% and I’m also not the kind of filmmaker that pushes people to do things that makes them uncomfortable, especially if it puts them or their loved ones at risk. So, 99% of the film was made at their gigs in Memphis in the bars and venues where they play. That alone was a huge challenge when it came to doing interviews because you want to control all aspects of the interview environment from the sound to the lighting, which is almost impossible in a rock club that’s gearing up for a show. So, as far as advice, I would suggest any filmmaker to be flexible in your ideas and your demands on those who agree to open their lives and their story for your projects. All documentaries are in fact collaborations and should be an ongoing discussion through the entire production. You may have an idea of the story you want to tell, but that may not be the story you are able to capture and that’s OK as long as you are willing to adapt and work within the dynamically changing limitations of each new day.


So, I caught wind that you spent some time in a punk band. Tell us about that?


I was very heavily involved in the D.I.Y. punk scene in North Carolina from 1996-2007. During that time, I ran a zine and record label, both regrettably named “Slave”, and I played bass in the political zombie-core thrash band Crimson Spectre that had two albums on Magic Bullet Records. I was also the co-founder of GSO FEST, a weekend-long free music festival designed to celebrate the local talent coming out of Greensboro, North Carolina. The administration of that festival has changed hands over the years and is no longer free, but I’m proud to see that it’s still going and still emphasizes local bands and local venues. In many ways the Negro Terror film has allowed me to tap into that part of my past, especially since we are taking the film on the road with the band for a select number of screenings that includes the band playing along with the film. I never thought I would have the opportunity to go on tour again, but this project has made that a reality. We’re looking forward to a brief run of shows across the South East this May that’s built around our appearance at the East Coast Music Conference in Norfolk, VA.


What’s coming up next in the world of film for you?


Right now the plan is to release ‘Negro Terror’ online after the tour and music conference in May. It gives us a good reason to go out and promote for the release, but also allows people who are interested in the film to see the band at the same time. The guys in Negro Terror have been so kind to agree to this crazy concept of live-scoring their own documentary. I can’t imagine what it must be like standing on a stage watching yourself on screen and then turning around and playing one of your songs. One nice thing about this concept, that you don’t get at a regular punk show, is how we follow the screenings with a Q&A and people in the audience are able to directly interact with the band and ask them anything. Can you imagine if all shows were set up that way? You see a band rock and then at the end they pass the mic around the crowd? I’ve learned new things about the band almost every time just from the brilliant questions that come from the audience. As for personal projects, I’m working on two new films back in the Carolinas. One is another artist profile film about a retired photographer named Sam Wang who immigrated from Hong Kong to rural South Carolina in the 1960’s and became the head of the photo program at Clemson University. His photographs and his life are both amazing and deserve to be told to a wider audience. I’m also working on a story about Environmental Justice and a protest that happened in rural North Carolina in the early 1980’s and the significance that movement had in helping to articulate environmental racism on a national level. I imagine one of those films will be finished this year, but probably you will have to wait until 2020 to see both of them. I have a recently done a short film, ‘Nomad Chapter’ about a guy I know through the punk scene in North Carolina who now runs a mobile book store that you can see online at www.southdocs.org. I would encourage anyone reading to head over the Southern Documentary Project site to see all of the films we have online for free. It’s an amazing and ever growing resource, and I’m so proud to be part of the team that works there telling the stories of the South through film, photographs, and audio documentaries.


Smash The Discos Webzine Co-Owner, Dan Tope, is doing only what a few dare to do.

Build it and they will come. Find sponsors and it will be better. Get food trucks and the nights will end nicely! Raffle off Bruisers tickets and other prizes and… well, you get the point. Not too shabby at a first attempt! Club – check. Beer – check. Food – check. Loud as fuck Oi Oi music – fuck yeah!

This is the first official Northeast Oi! Fest. (Round of applause). If you want to breathe new life into a struggling scene, well…. throw a fucking party, dammit. Fests are always the best way to bring the scene together. Fill the club and blow out some eardrums. Dan Tope, being the scene supporter he is, eyeballed an untapped area for a fest, and started to build it. 

First things first:

  1. Find the bands
  2. Schedule dates that don’t conflict with other fests. We’re here to support, not compete.
  3. Secure the venue
  4. Make it happen

The dream of making Northeast Oi! Fest is now a reality. Check out the lineup!

April 12th, 13th, and 14th at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, CT.

So, a fest! What possessed you take this on?

Dan: I think it was when I was trying to book a show with my friends from The Abductors, McGuires Mob (RIP), and Guns Don’t Run. Then it kind of grew into something much bigger. I know the venue owners and several of the sponsors all support the local music scene, and with the help of Smash The Discos, and On The Nod, everything just started to come together. 

What have you found to be some of the do’s and don’ts of putting together an event like this? 

Well, step one is pick a time that doesn’t coincide with any of the other music festivals that are going on. The scene is small. There’s no need to compete with each other. Ask local businesses if they want to support. You will be surprised. Get local bands to support and help represent the local scene as well. Take your time, and weigh your options.

What do you feel the benefits of holding a fest in CT are?

Connecticut has such a great music scene that goes relatively unnoticed by the rest of the country. The scene is tight knit, and we have some great support from local businesses like Brass City Tattoo, Cherry Street Station, Redscroll Records, Scotty O’Boyles pub, Black Market Kitchen, Hardcore Sweet, and Shebean Brewery. We are driving distance from Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Albany, NY, so it’s a central New England location.

Tell us a bit about the sponsors involved

We have so many great sponsors that help make the Northeast Oi! Fest possible. For starters Angry Young & Poor are offering promo codes for discounts from their web store. They have just about anything you could want from clothes to music, making them a one stop shop. Crowd Control Media is helping fund this festival, and bringing bands out that otherwise would not have made it. The good people at Brass City Tattoo are offering tattoo specials for the weekend, and gift cards to raffle off at the pre parties. Shebean Brewery is donating beer for the bands, and supports local music. The Stockbury Dark podcast is helping to fund this event, and features Klas and Pete from Shipwrecked and Forced Reality, respectively. The Stockbury Dark talks to people from the music scene about their dark and creepy experiences. I highly recommend giving them a listen. Frontline Streetwear is helping with the art work, and they are just a great company that supports the music. Their whole purpose is to help bring bands from around the world to play shows in foreign countries. Then we have The Black Market Kitchen who specializes in making healthy well balanced diets and some of the best food in town. If you’re on a keto, vegan, or whatever diet you’re doing, they have something delicious for you. And finally we have Smash The Discos, and On The Nod Radio Show who are promoting the bands and all the marketing and advertising needs for promoting a festival. Honorable mentions: Cherry Street Station and Scotty O’Boyles are helping by reducing the fees to play and have events, meaning more money goes to the bands!

So, you’ve basically done all of this single handedly, from booking, to finding hotels, vendors, etc. Could you fill us in on the nitty gritty details?

I am doing all the footwork, and setting up all the details, but I have several really great people helping me as well. The Navy has taught me how to delegate things to the right people and make everything work double duty. I am also only working with friends and trusted friends of friends to make things happen, and everyone is happy to help. Things go smoothly when you can trust the people you are working with. Literally, all the people and businesses involved are directly supporting the scene and the bands. I don’t think I could have pulled this off without so much support from everyone involved. 

Is the something you plan on continuing annually?

As much as I would like to make this an annual festival, it really depends on my military schedule. Work comes first, and the Navy doesn’t leave a whole lot of free time. 

Well, we hope for the best. Anyone out there who has the means to make a fest happen… try giving it a go. Keep the scene alive.

Contact Dan Tope at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2103998899662910/ to keep up in the details of the fest, and get your tickets at https://m.bpt.me/event/3820800

Featuring ex-menbers of Discharger, this working class band from Utrecht/Rotterdam is scorching the fucking streets!

Interview by Keith Bradford

Can you start off by telling us about The Reapers and what everyone does?


We are The Reapers, a skinhead streetpunk band hailing from Holland/The Netherlands since 2016. Let’s see…We’ve got Gwenn (not a girl by the way), our lead singer/bass player who writes most of the lyrics. A former chef, former high school Dutch teacher, earns his living nowadays as a tattoo artist. Richard, lead guitars and car mechanic, our designated driver, but most of all a very bearded person. Ronny, drums/backing vocals, four eyed, sometimes friendly, sometimes angry (always a surprise) songwriter. Fire sprinkler mechanic during the day and colleague of Joery, rhythm guitars/backing vocals and also a fire sprinkler mechanic, working his ass off to provide for his many, many daughters.


ULTRA VIOLENCE https://youtu.be/c20MPWlzfKk


Most of you guys play in DISCHARGER also? Are you still doing DISCHARGER as well?


Yes, that’s correct. We had a lot of fun over the years playing in Discharger. We visited a lot of great places and audiences and met a lot of great people. Gwenn covered the most years in Discharger. Joery, during the Our Hate Is Justified years. Richard and Ronny from 2011/2012 till the end in 2016. Regretfully, Discharger doesn’t exist anymore. We separated our ways early 2016 with Tim moving from Holland to Czech Republic. Also, the rest of us couldn’t combine our day jobs with Discharger anymore. With Tim going for a full time job as a musician (which works out pretty good for him with Haymaker), we just couldn’t keep up I guess. So, we decided to go our separate ways: Tim with Haymaker, and us starting The Reapers in Holland a few months later. We’re still friends of course. We’ll play a show together in Holland in May, sharing the stage for the first time in three years.


We recorded Rip It Up at Double Noise Studio, Tilburg, NL in two weekends. The rhythm guitars were performed by Jesse Keyzer, our second guitarist back then. We insisted on recording a 14 track record, our whole repertoire at that point. Things were a bit tense in the studio since Ronny was recovering from a burnout…which happened only a few weeks before we went to the studio. With Ronny as the main songwriter and a bit of a nervous perfectionist (who also lost his nerves a few weeks before) we can say: Yes, it was an “interesting” experience. But, we survived the test and yet managed to spit out a cool record that we’re proud of nonetheless. When it comes to songwriting, we are always inspired by our own struggles. The stuff that keeps the working class up at night, I guess. Be it social injustice, or the struggles that we all have to face every day at work, on the streets, at home, with family, with friends, or with women. The darker aspects and frustrations we all have to face from time to time. Combine that with a fascination for violence, alcohol, and Oi! music, and there you go.


What are some of your favorite songs on the cd that stand out to you that you would want our listeners to hear first?

“Ultra Violence” – The title says it all. It’s got that good old ’77 Oi! feel that we all love so much. “Ugly Mug” – The first song we wrote. Probably the best song we ever wrote. In your face skinhead rock ‘n roll like it should be.

“Always The Underdog” – killer guitar riffs, more up-tempo than the rest of the songs. Like I said earlier, about the struggles and frustrations in our early life’s that made us who we are today. “Sirens of Sorrow” – featuring Bevynn Wilkerson, Aussie streetpunk guitar legend (RUST/The Corps/Blackball) on lead guitars! Kick ass Rose Tattoo/The Corps like streetpunk song. We’re really proud of that collaboration.

Actually, we would recommend the whole record of course, but some other songs that are really popping out: “Bankers”, “Wrong Side Of The River”, “Broken”, and “Alcohol”.


THE RIGHTEOUS ONES https://youtu.be/rIffaTfO5as


You guys have been together for a while. What do think are the bands accomplishments for so far?


With Discharger, we had a lot of cool accomplishments of course, but with The Reapers…Well…for us, it feels like we’re just getting started. We love to go to the East parts of Germany. We went there a couple of times in 2018. One of the best and friendliest audiences in the world. Also taking part of the Oi! Ain’t Dead pt.7 compilation by Rebellion Records was a wish coming true, releasing three songs for the first time with The Reapers. Getting signed on Rebellion Records for the full-length was something very important to us. We’ve known Wouter and the label since our first Discharger record, and we really respect what he is doing for the scene. He’s always been a stand-up guy, and we really wanted to affiliate ourselves with the label. We had a couple of line-up changes and setbacks in these short couple of years. But, now with the release of Rip It Up in February and our line-up on full strength, we’re about to accomplish some really cool stuff in the future.


What are places you would like to play, and have played, stand out to you?


Well, we are a true working class band. We’re not fucking rock stars, and we’re dedicated to our day jobs and every day responsibilities and families. The true skinhead way of life. That keeps us from touring far places or playing weeks in a row, but to be honest, that’s not what we’re aiming for. We’d rather play a small venue filled with enthusiastic people who spend their last money so they could be at our show, than a big crowd who are more interested in showing the clothes they wear and how “skinhead” they are looking, like they’re modelling on a fucking catwalk. I think that’s the problem with punk/skinhead shows nowadays. It’s becoming a fashion thing. So, where do we like to play? The small venues at places where they really want us. Okay, there’s an exception; The Sound Of Revolution festivals in Eindhoven, NL are doing a pretty good job. I’d like to play there some day. Oh, and of course Rebellion Blackpool is always welcome to send us an invitation.


What’s the scene like in the Netherlands?


I think the scene was a little quiet and boring in The Netherlands for a long time. For example, we barely played gigs on Dutch soil with Discharger by the lack of a decent audience. It always seems like there are more bands than audience here. Though it does seems like things are getting much better the last couple of years. With festivals like This Is Tegelen and The Sound Of Revolution, but also a couple of small clubs around the country who are really making an effort to bring Oi! related music back to the stage. Also, there aren’t many bands here in Holland, but the ones we’ve got are pretty awesome (Live By The Sword, Patrons, Complaint, The Young Ones, Savage Beat….). Most of them aren’t even around for that long, so that means something, right? So, I think the scene in The Netherlands is blooming actually.


SELF DESTRUCTION https://youtu.be/InVi4j1AV3w


Is there there anything that stands out in the scene where you are that might be different than the scenes here in the States?


We can order a beer at a show when we’re 18 years old, for one. Hahaha. No, I couldn’t tell you since I don’t know anything about the scene in the States ‘cause we’ve never been there. We would love to play there some day of course, and maybe after that I can give you a proper answer. But of course, there’s the fact that you guys deliver some kick ass bands: Bonecrusher, Templars, Rogue Trooper, Concrete Elite and of course my personal favourite: The Beltones. To be honest, there’s really a lot of good music coming from the States. Aways has been.


Where can our readers get your merch and listen to your music? Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about The Reapers?


You can buy our full-length on Rebellion Records. And when you read this we might just be on Spotify. Soon, we will also launch a platform where you can order all our merch and records. We will make announcements  through our Facebook page facebook.com/thereapersstreetpunk . We also got some cool new merch coming in soon, so stay in touch with our FB page.

For the rest, of course, listen and enjoy our music, but don’t expect some fashionable slick sounding Booze and Glory sing-a-long shit. Support the real skinhead scene, fight the posers, work hard, don’t take shit from anyone, and most of all: come and rip it up with us at your local venue! Cheers.


I traveled to 2 day punk fest in Dallas a few years ago. Amongst a great lineup of punk and ska bands, one group really caught my attention. They made their way north from south of the border to deliver an energetic mix of Ska, Punk, and Oi! Good times with good people, so I wanted to make it a point to catch up with these boys and find out what’s been going on with Barra Brava.

Tell us where are you from and how did Barra Brava get started?

Carlos: Barra Brava is a ska oí! band from Mexicali, a border city in Baja. We started the band in summer 1997 with a punk and oí sound. By 2000, and some changes in the line up, we started composing ska tunes and some reggae sounds due to the fact that the new members came from a ska band. 

MALA RACHA https://youtu.be/Ot2wgTCiQug

Football is huge deal with for you guys, hence the name Barra Brava. What team do you fully support?

Each one of us support diferent teams in México, but the main idea of the name was taken from the supporters, the struggles and clashes un the terraces, the social and historial context that is behind each barra brava. We support football in general. Some barras use our songs as anthems during the games.

What bands do you feel has influenced your style over the years?

We listened to the classics of oi! And that’s what pushed us into this journey, but we gave been influenced from punk to ska and from reggae to rock and roll. The Business, The Specials, Kortatu, and the Trojan Records legacy just to name some.

How is the scene in your hometown?

Our town is a small place, but with a very strong scene, diverse and active. Most of the bands are creating and recording. There’ s a good moment for the scene in Mexicali.

What are the some of the themes behind your songs for those of us who don’t speak Spanish, haha?

We sing our own lives and what surround us. Can’t keep away from social or political issues in México. It’s a natural reaction to sing about those issues (police repression, economical crisis due to corruption, historial tragedies), but we also like the joy of playing and speak about beer and friendship, fights, football, (we cover “Drinking And Driving” from The Business as an example)

SKA, REGGAE, RUDEBOYS https://youtu.be/bvMYbwTX0O4

How many recordings do you have out and where can we find them?

We have 7 studio recording that can be found on Youtube. Not all of them are on the web or for sale. Some songs are almost imposible to acquire. 

What other notable bands have you played shows with?

Almost all of the ones we grew up with. The Addicts, Vanilla Muffins, Agnóstic Front, Decibelios, Bad Manners, Banda Bassotti, The Business.

☆BARRIOS https://youtu.be/40ZSAvO-Sbs

What’s in the future for Barra Brava, and will we be seeing more of you guys in the states?

We have plans to visit Dallas in April 2019 and some dates in LA as well. We are actually doing final touches to the songs we are goning to récord this summer. 

Thanks for the interview and thanks for the music.

Pirates Press Records / Demons Run Amok

Let’s just get to the point. This album kicks serious fuckin’ ass! Being a long time fan of Lars Frederiksen’s works (Rancid, The Old Firms Casuals, Oxley’s Midnight Runners, The Bastards, Stomper 98) I’ve been waiting for something to suck. It just hasn’t happened yet. In fact, shit just keeps getting better and better. Maybe he signed a contract with the devil on some crossroads somewhere. Who knows? Well, what I do know is, “Holger Danske” proves my whole point. OFC has not lost it’s edge, or it’s knack at creating some of the most infectious rocked out jams in the scene today. “Motherland” was most peoples first taste of this masterpiece, but wait until you fuckin’ hear the rest! One of the best parts of OFC’s sound is how the music kicks off… then wait for it… the vocals drop the real power. FLAWLESS VICTORY.

☆MOTHERLAND https://youtu.be/3afH6Uvckq4

Dogs In The Fight are one of our favorites here. Just like “We Want Peace… But Are Ready For War” and “Ever Forward”, the “Reap What You Sow EP” brings that streetpunk, hard driven sound like only the Dogs can do! “Warriors Of Freedom” will shake your skull. It’ good to see a band keep on going without losing any steam over time. Let the Dogs in your yard. Streaming and download will be available March 22nd. Can you say album cover of the year?

Rebellion Records

A perfect British Oi! album. A tragic passing of brilliant musician. This album came with equal parts – good and bad. We at the zine always saw City Miles as one of the new promising bands on the scene, and once we put our ears to “Social Upheaval”, we knew we were absolutely right the whole time. Sadly, Marc Maitland passed away, but left a killer album behind for all of us. “Skinhead Till The End” perked our ears up. “Away Day” kept our interest. The 10 other tracks on this album blew our minds. A definite must have!

☆SKINHEAD TILL THE END https://youtu.be/v3JvYMf6EQM

Heavy as all fuck, hard hitting streetpunk from Ottawa, Ontario. Zine favorites, Honour Guard, make it clear that the glory days are here to stay.


Interview by: Dan Tope

For starters who is in Honour Guard, and how did the band get started?

We are Danny on rhythm guitar, Mike on leads, Nick on bass, Markus on Drums, and Chris on vocals. 3 of us (Danny, Mike, Chris) all met while playing in a band called the Scally Cap Brats (RIP), and after that ended, we had been talking about getting something else going. Danny’s brother Nick was also looking for a band, so we started jamming as a 4 piece with Danny on drums. Markus didn’t join until a bit later since Danny met him through work after Markus moved here from Germany. We actually jammed for the better part of a year before playing our first show, so we’ve been lucky to be able to solidify things pretty well before putting our name out there.


How would you describe your music, and what are some of your influences?


To simplify it a little, we’re a fast paced, heavy Oi!/Hardcore band, but there are honestly a lot of different influences at work here. We’re really big into bands like Slapshot and The Bruisers, so that plays heavily into it, but we’re also big on low-fi garage sounding bands and that’s something that also works its way into our sound. Basically, we like to keep our music simple, fast, and aggressive.


You come from Canada’s capitol city Ottawa, how would you describe Ottawa’s music scene?

Ottawa’s a pretty unique city in a lot of ways. On the one hand, were definitely overshadowed by cities like Toronto and Montreal that are close by, but at the same time we do have a really great scene here. We’re lucky to have a really great punk scene that we can piggy back off of and they’ve been great for supporting us. You wouldn’t think it’s the case, but shows here can get pretty wild and everyone makes an effort to support the scene. That part is great!


I am torn, my favorite song is a toss up between “Lionheart” and “One More Day”. What is your favorite song, and why?

We’ve got a few new tracks that we’re working on recording right now that we’d probably call our favourites (keep your eyes open for new releases!), but “One More Day” is always a blast to play. Great energy live and people really seem to be into it when we play!


There are so many great bands coming out of Canada now. What are some of your favorites?

There’s more bands coming out of Canada now than I can even begin to list off, but No Heart and Force Majeure are especially great. There are also a ton of amazing bands that are no longer playing such as Emergency, King Size Braces, True Grit, Union Made and The Hammerboiz. Canada definitely hits heavy as far as street punk and Oi!

Chris, you are dedicated to the music scene and really show your support by driving all the way from Ottawa to shows in Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Can we expect to see Honour Guard make it south of the border to play some shows in the USA any time soon?


We would love to make our way down! Philly and Brooklyn are both amazing communities with even better people and we are working on setting up some gigs hopefully in the fall. If anyone else wants to see us south of the border, we’d be more than happy to play.


What is on the horizon for Honour Guard, and what can we expect from you in the future?


More music, like a shit ton! We’re not slowing down and can’t wait to hit the recording studio. More shows as well. We’re lucky to have had a great response from fans so far, and we really want to keep things going!


Do you have any last words for our readers?

Check out or demo which is up on our Bandcamp and Youtube pages. Physical copies are also still available through us direct or LSC Records. Lastly, but most importantly, a huge thanks to everyone who has supported us this far. We’re honestly blown away by the responses we’ve been getting and it means a lot to us. Cheers and KTF!!!

HONOUR GUARD BANDCAMP https://honourguardottawa.bandcamp.com/releases

I got an opportunity to talk to Troy from one of my favorite new bands Brix’n Mortar about their new single, “Freshcut”.

Interview by Dan Tope

Brix’n Mortar have a powerful sound that is uniquely their own, and they put on a hell of a live show. Let me start of with saying I love the new single, what can you tell us about the song “Freshcut”, and the B-side “Suburban Murders”? 

Hi, Dan. First, let me introduce myself. My name is Troy and I play bass and sing in Brix’n Mortar, or should I say grow? Joey and Devon do more of the melodic stuff.  We’re extremely excited about the feedback we’re getting from the release of “Freshcut”.  We don’t really stick to one specific genre all the time, so it’s always a surprise when die-hard Oi! fans, or Hardcore kids get psyched on our music. “Freshcut” is a subculture coming of age song.  True, it’s a personal experience about coming up in the Skinhead scene, but one I hope others can relate too.  And let me be clear, our music isn’t strictly for Skins. This is just my experience, but chances are if you are drawn to this scene, we have similar tastes and ended up in the same places for a reason.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you have sensible haircuts like us, or wear smart clothes. For us, it’s about doing the best you can do, and taking pride in that.  It’s about overcoming the tough trials in life and having a support group you can count on, & most of all, it’s about music, friends, and fun. “Suburban Murders” plays like a movie to me.  It’s about all those little sleepy towns in all the horror movies of the 80’s, where all the pristine vanilla lives and white picket fences can’t keep out the lurking dread of the unknown.  A metaphor for our “bad scene” creeping into the lives of the kids with “perfect families”, because WE know it more than anyone else. People are afraid of what they don’t understand.

So, you guys are playing the Northeast Oi Fest in April. What can we expect from you guys, and who are you most excited to be playing with? When can we expect the full length album and from Brix’n Mortar in the future?

We are super excited to be part of such a stellar event, with so many great bands and great people all at one festival.  It’s honestly an honor, and we are very psyched to be playing with & hanging out with some old friends we haven’t seen in a while. We will be playing tracks off the upcoming record “Poison Words”, and might throw in a few tunes from a previous band. Man, the Fest has so many superb bands, I mean – All our Boston friends: Welch Boys (I had the honor of singing on their record), Stars & Stripes, Taxidriver! Hub City are always the funnest band ever!, 45 Adapters (Label mates w/ Razors in the Night), Broken Hero’s, So long Liberty, Cry Havoc! I don’t’ know what to say. The show is going to be epic!! We are hoping to have the album out by late spring. It is going to be a multi label release, so there are a bunch of logistics we need to work out with everyone involved.  These things take time, but we think it will be worth the wait.  Like I mentioned earlier, we do not stick to one style of music, so the responses we’ve gotten back from those who have heard the record in it’s entirety have been really extraordinary.  This in turn has really kept us motivated and focused at being the best we can be. Future plans for Brix; Once the album drops, we will be playing support shows through out the states, and hopefully work out an over seas deal so we can get back to Europe.  It’s been too long, and there are so many people and bands we miss the hell out of. So, that will be an ongoing goal for us. Thank you Dan, for taking interest in us and giving us the opportunity to get our music and message out there.  As for everybody else, see you at Northeast Oi! Fest!

Cheers!

-Troy

☆☆☆ Check out the new track “Freshcut” here at https://brixnmortar.bandcamp.com/ ☆☆☆

SFFS