Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CD Review: ZOMBIE DEATH STENCH "Infected" (Turkey Vulture) by Michelle Liberati

Turkey Vulture
Hearing Zombie Death Stench for the first time I find this band interesting. Technically you can refer to them as Death Metal but in a way they have an interesting mix of what I might call “horror metal” mainly due to the content they use that includes things like zombies (obviously), gore and death. In a way it makes you just want to watch some old school horror flicks then go moshing.
Zombie Death Stench has been around since 2004 and is currently signed to Turkey Vulture Records. They have put out a share of albums in the past and back in July they most recently put out there new album entitled “Infected.” I really enjoyed listening to this album and even wanted to replay it after I heard it for the first time. Infected embraces both 1980s death metal roots and adds a modern touch to it. To me it is like Obituary meets Ghoul mixed together. The groovy drum playing and both clean and extreme vocals in this album make it very catchy and the riffs and solos definitely make it something that you want to remember when you hear this album. It is not so much a slamming type of death metal but something more along the lines of atmospheric with a bit of aggression tied into it. “Infected” is an entertaining album, fun to listen to and does not lack creativity at all. I definitely suggest listening to it or getting a copy if you can. You can easily find them on Facebook, Soundcloud and off their label Turkey Vulture Records. Rating:  9/10 -Michelle Liberati

Sunday, September 27, 2015

CD Review: KRODA "Varulven" (Purity Through Fire) by Abyss Forgottentomb

Purity Through Fire
Another great masterpiece reminiscent of the ancestral Nordic roots, inviting your soul to unexplored places. It sounds like Tyr sometimes. The feminine vocals add a perfect touch to the track 'Varulven'; it's totally perfect. I would listen to it before going to bed, imagining sagas and battles from the North. This band is from Ukraine, and already take you to a ride through forests before you know it. It's quite lyricistic; they sing poems or stories. I think it's how a band can sound magical. Many finnish bands do so, and traditional Swedish bands do. Let the music entertain you and let the inspiration come to life. -Abyss Forgottentomb

CD Review: CRYPTIC REALMS "Eve Of Fatality" (Independent) by Abyss Forgottentomb

Eve Of Fatality
A great stuff as many others, Crpitic Realms reminds a little of the death metal band Obituary, with the beginning full of suspense before attacking straight away like a cavalry with the drums and the strings. It's not a kind of musical soup; it's really something you enjoy listening to, well-balanced and technically good. Not too noisy like some bands I know; there are those who jam properly and those who think they're really good. This band is certainly not the kind of commercial soup that make your ears "vomit" but they really deserve a great place on stage with the best bands. No doubt about it. If you really wanna know more about them, please follow them on Facebook. -Abyss Forgottentomb

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

CD Review: ASPHYXIATOR "Inhaling Fluids of Thoracentesis" (Eternal Eclipse) by Michelle Liberati

Inhaling Fluids of Thoracentesis
Eternal Eclipse
For those into Brutal Death Metal and Grindcore be sure to check out Asphyxiator from Chicago Illinois. Formed in 2003 under the name “Gods of Gore & Brutality” they soon their name to Asphyxiator and released their first album entitled “Ex-Mortem Asphyxiation”. Ten years later and still going strong Asphyxiator released a new album entitled “Inhaling Fluids of Thoracentesis” under an independent label called Eternal Eclipse Records.
This album is everything you would expect from a band like this. It is technical, aggressive and intense in every way. Despite the programmed drums, the band still delivered in sound in other ways especially with the really thick and fast guitar work and sick vocals as well. Fans of bands such as Abominable Putridity, Jungle Rot, Terrorizer and Dead Infection should check these guys out because they are trying to keep this genre alive and doing it well. Most recently Asphyixator played at Full Terror Assault festival in Illinois and I hope to see more live performances from them and more studio work in the future. Check Asphyxiator out on Facebook and Bandcamp for more. -Michelle Liberati

CD Review: SKUGGAN "Kejsaren Av Ett Svart Rike" (Ewiges Eis) by Abyss Forgottentomb

Kejsaren Av Ett Svart Rike
Ewiges Eis
This one is totally dark and sounds tortured, a little like the underground bands Burzum and Nehëmah. You can guess by understanding the title which means "The Shadow/The Emperor Of A Dark Empire". Here are some examples of its poetic darkness: "Graven I Skogen" means "The Grave In The Forest”. You have another great title "Mörkret Inne" translated "The Darkness Inside". Once again, it's related to the poetic darkness you meet during the long cold winters. The band is from Umeå, Sweden (very close to the polar circle) where I really lived the real coldness. The forests were so dark and silent while the legendary snow fell. It was also close to the vision I had when I was younger during the winter in my native Eastern French region where it was -20°C (“-20 grader” in Swedish). Nowadays I can better explain what Black Metal really means from a poetic view. The Nordic people are naturally poetic. Black metal is not related to all Satan and angels. Darkness in the forest is where inspiration and imagination work together to let tales come to life. Some of you live close to the polar circle (not necessarily in Scandinavia) so I guess you understand what it's all about. Depression related to the sun that’s disappearing behind the frozen horizon is also something you can find in the emotional, tortured vocals. So take a trip by listening to this album, close your eyes and imagine the darkness around frozen abandoned spaces. Hear the wolves calling. By the way, "satanic bands" are not related to the Nordic-European heritage. It's something certainly more commercial. The poetry is different and it's delicate in a certain way; it's art.. -Abyss Forgottentomb

Friday, September 18, 2015

SKOLL “Grisera” (Ewiges Eis) by Abyss Forgottentomb

Ewiges Eis
At first I thought this was a sort of depressive death metal. I tried to translate the "non English" titles but did not find out. With the title "Grisera" (in Swedish 'gris' means 'pig', but I don't think that the title is related to it since I have never seen this word). It sounds quite medieval, but the title "Wolves In The Mist" is certainly a little influenced by the first European tales. This band is also unique in their own way of playing. I don't know if some of you recognized the "symbol" on the drawn mountain on the CD cover, Valknut. Wikipedia says "Hrungnir had a heart that was famous. It was made of hard stone with three sharp-pointed corners just like the carved symbol hrungnishjarta [Hrungnir's heart]. Comparisons have been made between this symbol and the symbol known as the valknut. Hrungnir is a strong giant from Jotunheimr (where the giants live). The prose Edda was written by a Christian named Snorri. I guess this band is a group of warriors like the native Nordic-European children. -Abyss Forgottentomb

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CD Review: CEPHEIDE "Respire" (Independent) by Michelle Liberati

Today I got a chance to check out Cepheide, a Black Metal band from France. While listening to them I decided to check out their EP “Respire” which was released in July of 2015 independently. I found it interesting; even though it only contains two songs it is still over 35 minutes in length and provides us with a lot to listen to.
Both tracks “Le souffle brûlant de l’immaculé” and “La chute d’une ombre” are very ambient and melodic in sound. The intros might come off as slow and mysterious in a way at first but then it later picks up with an outbreak of blast beats but in a way does not abandon their dark sound. Though it might have repetition it is definitely not a problem. The instruments really stand out in this EP and gives it a very ambient feeling as do their voices.
They did keep it simple and did not really step out of their boundaries but it was still straight forward black metal, has great speed, impressive sound and passion from within. I am looking forward to hearing a full length album one of these days. Make sure to check out Cepheide’s EP “Respire” on their Bandcamp account and check them out on Facebook. Overall rating: 7/10 -Michelle Liberati

Gaetan Juif: Vocala, guitar, drums
Thomas Bouvier: Guitar, bass

Track list:
1. I. Le souffle brûlant de l'immaculé   
2. II. La chute d'une ombre

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Live Review: Nuclear Assault, Murphy’s Law, Whiplash by Michelle Liberati

Nuclear Assault, Murphy’s Law & Whiplash
Gramercy Theater, NYC. September 12, 2015
Despite the rainy weather in NYC on Saturday (9/12/15) that did not stop fans from packing in Gramercy Theater for the sold out “Final Assault Tour” featuring headliners Nuclear Assault, alongside Murphy’s Law and Whiplash who opened earlier that night. The three band bill started at 8:00 and lasted till around midnight, with no low points.
Starting off hard was the Thrash Metal openers Whiplash fronted by guitarist and vocalist Tony Portaro. They were a little slow at first but then became a satisfying way to get the crowd started, as their passion for old school metal fell into place with the rest of the bill and became very fun with more traditional thrash metal influences.
Things shifted in a slightly different direction with New York hardcore greats Murphy’s Law who next took the stage. It would probably be the most fun set of the night. They all looked and sounded like straight hardcore and punk from the day using an interesting mix of typical instruments plus a saxophone and electric banjo. Even though they shouldn’t be taken seriously especially while they literally threw beer on fans during their song “Beer” they sure as hell play seriously as they played tracks “Crucial Bar-B-Q” from there 1986 self-titled album and “Vicky Crown” from their 2009 album “The Party’s Over” It was overall entertaining.
Last but not least was the headliner Nuclear Assault who took the stage as they played there final show ever in their home area of New York City. The crowd packed in very close and the mosh pits got insane during the set. A majority of their set list was from the albums “Survive”, “Handle With Care” and their 1987 EP “The Plague” which bought a major old school feeling to the crowd. They did shift gears in the middle of their set and played songs such as “Died In Your Arms” and “Analogue Man From A Digital World” from their recent 2015 EP release “Pounder” and if you caught the EP being thrown out by vocalist John Connelly consider yourself lucky. When everyone thought their set was over they did do an encore and switch backed to the classics which made everyone happy because no one wanted to see them go. They had a killer set, played razor sharp and left us with nostalgia as they exited from what is known “The Final Assault Tour” even though their real final show is not until Maryland Deathfest 2016. -Michelle Liberati

CD Review: GASH "Subspace" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

It’s uncanny how GASH seemed to arrive at the right time to assure me not only is punk not dead but still perfectly capable of posing a tangible threat to the status quo after all is said and done. Having formed in recent years, this is a fresh outlook on the time-tested genre. Like local NY punks Deviant Behavior in the 90s and Vulgaras in the 2000s, the Philadelphia band goes all out to promote sexuality as rebellion against vanilla sex repression and exploitation by mass marketing, with no effort whatsoever to sugarcoat their message or render it safe for consumption. Going to see them perform is a celebration of fetishism you’re experiencing up close and personal, as opposed to watching it from the outside, through your television screen. I haven’t even seen their live performances yet and after interviewing frontwoman Tibbie-X Kamikaze, watching their live clips and listening to their debut EP I already recommend support of this band and what they stand for. Since Phil Donahue and some magazines from his time exposed the underbelly of society that is the punk/hardcore lifestyle for the first time, middle America has had only a taste of it. Bringing it into middle class homes was only the beginning as people became curious to learn more. Despite the ‘all skinheads are nazis’ yellow journalism of Geraldo and Oprah and Hollywood sensationalism, exposure of the punk underground has exploded and proven to have a lasting effect on people who claim it offends them despise it yet can’t seem to stop talking about it. If bad publicity is good publicity, the media has done its job well in uplifting its status into the collective consciousness. Still, GASH could care less either way and have no concern to please the masses, choosing instead to keep building the revolution from the ground up. Musically as well as aesthetically they make an impact as the original songs composed for this EP show. Ritual, Deadly Venom V, Astral D.S, Luxuria, and the live performance of New Way all resonate with the atmosphere of actually going to CBGB, not seeing the movie. This band is a by-the-fans-for-the-fans affair and it’s a relief to see that some people still care about breathing new life into the idea. -Dave Wolff

Track list
1. Ritual
2. Deadly Venom V
3. Astral D.S
4, Luxuria

Sunday, September 13, 2015

CD Review: SLAB "Megafaunal Genocide" (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Megafaunal Genocide
Megafaunal Genocide is Slab’s second full length released in 2010, the follow up to 2007’s Betray The Past… Infect The Future. In 2014 their third full length Ten Human Jawbones was released independently, in digital format. The three musicians comprising Slab (guitarist/vocalist Jacob Cowing, bassist Jim Fletcher, drummer Andy Kimberley) are newcomers onto the Birmingham, UK scene (the same area that spawned Napalm Death). When looking them up on Encyclopedia Metallum I saw none of the founding member have played in bands previously and this is their first professional act. EM describes Slab as thrash-death crossover, but what was recorded here isn’t of the variety you’d have expected. This album sounds more in common with their own description on Facebook as progressive hardcore-thrash. Much of the material has a melodic death metal edge, but for the most part the progressive term fits them most. Perceptions should be skewed while listening to these songs since their arrangement and delivery are quite uncommon. The songwriting sounds mostly geared toward showcasing Cowing’s progressions and soloing. There is a sense of inventiveness to his work that people have to listen to closely to full appreciate. The band’s range in influence sounds slightly convoluted at first, but he manages to tighten them while the other members have opportunities to display their abilities. A few more listens and you begin to perceive the band’s originality more strongly. Bands like Exit 13 took extreme music in new directions that few if any had made an effort to tread. Here you’ll eventually get the same sense that Slab is making an effort to branch out. One of my favorite moments is the intro Vigil; while a brief instrumental it is somber and presents a fitting mood for the following songs. The lyrical concept and intended statement has something to do with how humans retained certain traits from their distant ancestors despite humanity’s gradual evolution from the animal kingdom. How this is evident from the disregard of animal rights some human beings display today. As Slab grows on you you’ll begin to see Megafaunal Genocide as a profound statement. -Dave Wolff

Friday, September 11, 2015

CD Review: DISINFECT “Screams Of Pleasure” (Metal Age Productions) by Dave Wolff

Screams Of Pleasure
Metal Age Productions
Brutality, thy name is Disinfect. This German band launches a full assault upon your senses with a recording that displays brutality, professionalism and ability. I expected potential in those departments but not this much. I’ve always maintained death metal requires talent and endurance to play convincingly, a point effortlessly backed by musicians taking free reign with their songwriting. Hearing Screams Of Pleasure even for a few minutes makes you forget the last decade’s mainstream trends in metal, building on the finest aspects of brutal death its formative years established, The glorious 90s I can’t refrain from raving about. If that era is special to you, and you suspect it’s a thing of the past, one listen to this album will convince you otherwise. If you made it a point to remain hardline and ignore trends of any kind, it will further validate you sticking to your guns. To me the best underground recordings contain a feel of the classic era; the more similar the better. Intended or not, the selections hearken to the finest moments of Deicide, Immolation, Internal Bleeding and even Cryptopsy; a handful of the most memorable bands from D/M’s formative years; with lead and backing vocals to match. In spite of preconceptions, death metal vocalists can hold a note as well as any singer. I would even go as far as to say some death metal vocalists have more talent than ‘legitimate’ singers, for their discipline and technique of guttural vocals. Martin Offenwanger goes a long way toward mastering that discipline, given his depth and intonation. A band needs vocals as intense as these to equal the musicianship, especially considering the guitar progressions’ unpredictability and the tight precision of the drums. There are even several moments of low-pitched vocal/high-pitched vocal harmonies, adding to the 90s death metal feel. Sceams Of Pleasure might sound like an odd title for a death metal album, but when you read all the lyrics you’ll see how it fits. -Dave Wolff

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Interview with Tibbie X-Kamikaze of GASH by Dave Wolff

Interview with Tibbie X-Kamikaze of GASH 

From where is GASH based and how long have you been part of the punk scene there? What made you decide to become a punk in the first place?
GASH is an interactive S&M punk band from South Philadelphia. I moved here from NYC three years ago now. I've been involved in underground music art and performance since the 90's. Punk spoke to me as a child, the scene worldwide I consider family. I noticed a shift at shows as the audience had become more disconnected from the performance - viewing the "show" through cell phone screens. Focusing on capturing a moment for later instead of being present and experiencing the shared "NOW". What I love about punk is the physical bonding, heightened emotional resonance from the shared energy between audience and band. At live GASH shows I surrender myself to the music and people that have inspired me and shaped my reality as I hope to manifest inspiration in return. 

Is ‘interactive S&M punk’ a term created exclusively for the band? Did GASH set out to be innovators in the punk scene or did your stage show develop naturally?
Different parts of my life used to be compartmentalized. Work persona, friends, family, all only got "appropriate" bits and pieces of the whole. It’s a stifling existence and I can’t live like that. So GASH really became the place where all these different aspects came together, I mean we all come together without that taught secrecy. It’s a celebration of Liberation and we invite everyone and anyone to come be with us and participate in that, however it plays out. So "interactive S&M Punk" is really a descriptive term for us that happened naturally.

Why did you decide to move to South Philadelphia from New York a few years ago? In what ways does South Philly compare to NY?
I live pretty isolated here in South Philly, I don't go out much at night. I got really into my own kind of meditation, I trance in and see these events in story form and then I write it all out for GASH. It’s a different dimensional viewpoint of events from my life I guess. Some stuff comes through me that I didn't even know that I knew. I stopped watching TV when I moved here and stopped filling my space with that kind of NYC hustling that's mandatory to survive in that city. So I really connected with myself which I hated for a while and then realized I’m going to be dead someday and I spent most of my life hating myself and hating someone else for doing something hateful and it’s all just a big boring waste that goes nowhere. So I became awakened to this idea of life and to people in this new way. When I can feel love, when I have the freedom from someone like permission to openly love them, it’s all encompassing to give that away , it’s like travelling to a new world, a wicked bliss.

Describe your experiences in the NYC punk scene when you lived there in the 90s. How and where do you see connections between punk and art?
I dropped out of art school in upstate New York and spontaneously moved to NYC with nothing, a backpack with a black slip and a Pac Man t-shirt and some platform boots spray painted silver. The East Village was so inspirational back then, it was decadent chaos. All these interesting characters and so many creative bands. Beautiful People were extremely visually stimulating and there was a connection between CBGB punk and after hours Clubs like Save The Robots where spiked jacketed mohawked punks mixed with Drag Queens, painters, DJ's. This night called "Mother" used to have themed events drawing fetishists, LGBT, Goths, Punks etc. and everyone would have a BLAST. We were all in the same place, we were all kinda fucked up and barely getting by and it was important to create interesting performance somehow because otherwise like, well I couldn't just work in a store and do nothing, ya know?

How long had you been attending art school upstate before you moved to the city? What were you studying in art school, what was the atmosphere like and why did you eventually decide to leave?
I started art in college early when I was fifteen, while I was still in high school and transferred to upstate SUNY New Paltz when I was seventeen. I was painting and drawing; I didn’t really care about the other classes which were requirements. The atmosphere was inspiring and fun; I was away from my hometown and surrounded by creative people who were mostly older than me. Since I started out so young and was two years into school already when I transferred a lot of my friends graduated before me and I was feeling bored and stuck in a small town alone. Also I created a lot of problems for myself getting fucked up and kicked out of bars and hooking up with the wrong guys. I had painted all over the apartment I was renting but I stopped paying rent, the landlord showed up one day so after that I didn’t have a place to live anymore. I was going into NYC a lot and decided to just stay and start over.

What drew you to take art classes at SUNY in the first place? Did any of your teachers suggest you should go while you were still in high school, or did you decide to on your own?
My art teacher in high school wouldn't recommend me when I needed some letter for college. I did a painting for a high school art show of two women. One was laying down and one was sitting next to her with clothes on. Somehow it became a fiasco where it was removed from an art show for being too sexual. It became a big problem between her and I. I was doing art because my ballet teacher died and it was the only other thing I did, but I got really bored with it after a few years of college. I had a few art shows in NYC when I was 21-22 but I was already into music and I just switched over to what felt better and was more fun.

Before moving to the city, did you watch any documentaries about the punk lifestyle that increased your interest?
I had been commuting to NYC for ballet and to visit friends since I was a kid. I witnessed the "scene" first hand when it was starting and always had Punk and NYC in the front of my mind as my escape route. Ya know, I was stuck in suburbia in a small town and my parents were ridiculous, so the lyrics and lifestyle of punk meant so much to me. The vastness of NYC back then was comforting; nobody to answer to and the paradox of loving anonymity and wanting to conquer it as someone important, that’s NYC. I saw suburbia in my late teens and just felt kinda excluded. That was a world that didn’t exist to me, a buncha kids supporting each other. I felt alone but I always feel that way.

Can you describe your first impressions of the city when you arrived there? Did you settle in the East Village with the idea in mind to join the punk scene? What attracted you to attending clubs and going to shows?
I wanted to be in the East Village since I was about seven years old. When I went into the city for ballet I used to always go down to these stores downtown like Canal Jeans, Unique and Antique Boutique. Punks and new wavers were all hanging out on the street in front and I wanted to stay so bad. I started going to this after hours in Alphabet City called "Save The Robots" when I was sixteen. A lot of Drag queens and Club kids were there; it started at like 2 am and it was a whole different world, like total freedom. Ya know I was this kid in a homemade P.I.L shirt with jean shorts; they let me in and I got fucked up and danced in the basement that had sand on the floor until daylight, then would go to Washington Square Park, smoke pot with "strangers" and end up in someone’s apartment. All this new music and craziness. There was a bar called Mona’s where all the crusties hung out and they let me drink there. I had an art show at ABC No Rio when I was eighteen and discovered the DIY world. I loved it all and still do.

What interested you in ballet for a while? How often would you see ballet performances in the city?
Ballet was an escape from my family and my reality. I also have always felt comfortable on stage and uncomfortable in regular life. I've always needed to travel and meet new people and I have a drive to entertain and please others so ballet was an outlet for that. I performed in NYC at Symphony Space when I was ten. I had the lead in The Nutcracker so it was a big deal for me that changed my perspective and I just wanted to stay in New York after that. I've seen a handful of ballet as an adult in New York but I was in a Russian Kirov based company so it’s weird to watch American Ballet. It’s also heavily emotional to relive my childhood so I don't really put myself in that environment anymore.

Where in the city was Mona’s located and what was the scene like? How accepting were the crusties of you at that bar?
Mona’s was on Avenue B close to 13th or 12th. There was like not much down there back then. I can’t remember anything actually. There was another bar on 7th and B but I was underage and I always thought 7B was "fancy". I don’t think anybody really liked me; I made literally zero friends there but I could buy beer with change and listen to punk on the jukebox. I had one night where some girl asked me for cigarettes and I didn’t have any left. She picked up the box in front of me as if to take them but it was empty. I was like, you can have the box. Things got heated and her and her friends wanted to "beat me up" so I bolted and they chased me. I lost them on the side of Tompkins Square Park and I ran into a large guy with a bar code tattooed on his head. I was like "you HAVE to help me these girls are gonna kill me" and he gave me a small bag of coke and said "run". I ran up 9th and then back down 8th to A and into Stingy Lulu's which was a kinda after hours drag diner. (Years later the guy turned out to be "Frenchie" RIP) I cut the line on the table and did it and ordered French fries but I didn't have any money. I think I offered the waitress coke like, take this line on the table I have no money. I only remember dirty looks but I stayed in there for hours because I was wasted and paranoid and I could see out the window. All the musicians, punks, goths I met, were when I started working in the East Village at St. Mark’s Comics and then Funhouse and playing shows and going to shows. NYC was like that. Like earn your way in, feed the city with something and it feeds you back. Nothing came easy but the payoff was for real.

How did you hook up an art show at ABC No Ro and what were you displaying there? What did you discover about the DIY lifestyle when you had that show?
My friend Erin Sarno was cool. She had older friends and had been to ABC No Rio so she brought me there and introduced me to people. They were doing a medical themed event and I used to only paint decomposing bodies, diseased body parts, lovers ripping each other’s skin off, so I fit in the show. What I discovered at the DIY show was that there were people who weren’t living scared. They weren’t taking shit from "society" and they were doing creative things NO MATTER WHAT. I was only halfway in at that point, as an art student I was like, still concerned about a degree and my career and that crap I was raised to be stressed about. To see people say FUCK IT and live for the sake of their own mission was hugely influential for me.

Many of us know the city has lost many of its clubs and record stores to gentrification since the 2000s. What are your personal thoughts about this?
Well, it’s the natural way of things, like dinosaurs aren't hanging around anymore. I try not to hold onto things anymore and experience life as it happens. While living in NYC I was experiencing my home vanishing bit by bit, Coney Island High closed, then Meow Mix, CBGB, small bookstores, record stores, independent cafes, art galleries and clothing stores. It wasn't commercialism, it was community. It was where we all met up or worked and made plans, formed bands, had sex, got drunk, lived, and it was stripped away and replaced with chain stores and bland repetition. I think its reflective of a scared world unknowingly mind controlled by mainstream media, funded by the Government and Religion to ensure that people hate themselves so they buy products, compete with each other, get sick, buy pills, stay lethargic at home with faces in lit up screens and uniform opinions. So it’s a heartbreak that my preferred world doesn't exist anymore but it’s also freeing in that without having what I desire it’s become my responsibility to manifest it into our reality so that we have our home.

Did GASH form as a band during the gentrification of the 2000s or did it happen after that?
GASH is a relatively new band; we have been together for about two years now. I half believe that the mental shift new age people talked about happening in 2012 actually happened and GASH came from that. I didn’t know about that evolution of consciousness prior to 2012 and I’ve gotten into a lot of interesting, larger type thinking and awareness since this band started. I don’t really like talking about the destruction of the creative scene, the closing of clubs, cafes and stores in the East Village because artists still live there. It’s different and less bohemian than it was but so is the whole world. I really wish none of us had cell phones for starters. 

What venues do you know of today where people can attend punk shows in NYC and elsewhere? How would you describe the general atmosphere at these clubs where GASH or other punk bands are playing?
I have not been back to NYC much but I know shows are still going on in Tompkins. GASH played ABC No Rio and the Max’s Kansas City’s 50th reunion party. From touring so much for so long it was impossible to not notice a similarity in the crowd at punk shows, a majority of straight men dressed similarly. Nothing wrong with that but I wanted to create a space for EVERYBODY and redefine what PUNK is, which I think is the essence of punk. Freedom, no uniforms, LGBTs welcome, sexuality encouraged not mandatory.

How did your show at ABC No Rio go? Have you seen a lot of punk matinees at ABC besides the show you played? How well is the club doing to keep punk alive in the city?
Back then it was my first art show, I don’t remember much besides feeling personally inadequate but proud of my work. My old band X-Possibles played a lot of shows at ABC No Rio in the late 90's and early 2000's and I got to know a lot of bands through there. Joe from Stockyard Stoics really did a ton of work for the punk scene then booking everyone and organizing benefit shows. I was impressed about their silk screening room, fully set up to screen shirts and the zine workshops they used to have. I haven't lived there for a while so I don't know what’s going on now so much. I did play there with GASH which was great but different.

Are you aware of the activism for the homeless in Tompkins Square Park, or the free shows held there each summer? From what I have seen those shows draw sizable crowds.
I lived across the street form Tompkins and I used to work at Accidental Records, also across the street. It was a 24 hour record store. X-Possibles used to perform there every summer and fall for the Riot Remembrance and Cracktober Festival. GASH played there in the summer of 2013, it was one of our first shows in NYC. I don’t know I was really burnt out on surviving in NYC when I left so my viewpoint is warped. It felt like rich and richer and richest were winning and Tompkins and an anarchist bookstore were just hopeless remnants of the past while everything I used to love was getting quickly replaced by chain stores. I think of New York as a Monster that needs to be fed money and inspiration and if you aren't pouring that into its mouth it spits you out, and if you're stuck in its teeth it’s going to make sure to grind you down until you're out forever.

I’d never heard of Accidental Records. What was it like to work there? Did that store go out of business, and if so, why?
Well, I was working, if you can call it that. I was sitting alone in an empty store by myself drinking most of the day at a witchy jewelry store around the corner from Accidental on 7th street between Ave A and 1st. It was incredibly boring but I had a group of friends that would come around in the evening. I couldn't afford my rent so I secretly moved into the store. One day I was having sex on the counter with this guy who I had just met on the street (it was one of those NYC things; we made eye contact he followed me into the store and it was on) and the owner of Accidental walked by and saw. He came back later and told me I could work at his store if I wanted so I switched over to that job and my whole REAL life began. Accidental was a 24 hour record store on the side of Tompkins Square Park. The owner who hired me, Craig, opened it up with money he got from a motorcycle. Our store’s music mostly was bought off junkies selling stolen records and CDs. I worked the night shift outside guarding cassettes so I got to see, feel and be a part of the late night street scene on Avenue A in a really intimate way. I moved in with the girls who worked there and we were like family. Eventually the world changed, people stopped buying music and as the East Village grew more sterile the store was pushed out like so many others.

How much of a decline have you seen with people buying records and CDs? Do you know of any new stores that sell vinyl and CDs?
In NYC it was like the rockapocalypse went down. Everything closed, venues, and small and chain record stores. Most other cities I’ve toured still have their handful of indie record stores but they are old. I’m sure a new store exists somewhere. Sometimes it seems like going to see a band is outdated and I get scared it’s going to stop happening. It’s partially why I wanted more than a band. I consider GASH an all-inclusive movement. Music is action. It’s immortal and intimate on a mass scale.

I’ve noticed that much of the physical bonding from going to shows has been replaced by filming it on cell phones and whatnot. I have mixed feelings about it because if I miss a show I can at least watch it on Youtube. But I know what you mean about how personal interaction has suffered.
It shows how much we want to hold on but not engage, spending so much money time energy capturing moments to re-experience later over and over but missing the moment, like playing Time Lord. I don’t think anyone can be happy until becoming willing to let go of control, just be in the now open and together and let the professional photographers there, who experience their world through those captured moments, they can be the Time Lords and the audience can have faith in them. It would bring back a collective consciousness, everyone in the moment with the music. The faces in the phones held up at a band, it separates us all. It’s a fear based action, keeping physically occupied it’s an obstacle against genuine interaction and distancing, a hang up like smoking. There is a vulnerability to being empty handed in a room full of people. Isn't it more fun and sexy though? I mean I think so, eye contact, physical interaction, energy exchange: how can that compare to a cell phone video?

How do you feel about cell phones becoming such a trend in mainstream society these days? Not to mention that people are willing to pay high prices to own one, only to have to buy another model when the previous one becomes obsolete?
I think we ALL fucked up and now have to deal with it. Our lives are in a tiny box. I just started Bikram Yoga and after class in the dressing room, in the relaxing lobby next to these beautiful paintings, everyone has their face in the little light up screen. I walked over Penns Landing, it was a beautiful night and I saw three girls sitting together not talking, faces in the phone. I’m just as guilty as I was doing it also, but I’m trying very hard to be more conscious and not waste my life closed in and shut off.

I never believed in status symbols and I still don’t own a cell phone or any similar gadgets so I never fell into that trap. Do you think there will always be people who see how isolating it is to pay more attention to cell phones than reality?
This last tour I had with Reagan Youth, I used my cellphone a LOT. It sucks. I needed that connection to my son and to GASH so I’ve been thinking about existing in multiple realities and that’s really what we are doing. Maybe it is isolating and maybe it isn’t. Ya know I really believe in evolution of consciousness because I have connected with people in a different way since GASH started. It’s an absolute change and once it’s on it’s on. I think the phone and Facebook have something to do with it now, like being in one place meeting new people and being aware of so many other relationships and what they are doing and where they are at the same time all over the world. Maybe we are re-defining reality or trying to have more control over it. Maybe it’s creating zombies. Like everything there’s multiple sides.

What is a typical performance by GASH like? Your shows seem to retain that debauchery that was present in 90s punk.
There just isn't a "typical" GASH performance. I mean ok, we practice the music and have a set list and that's solid and rehearsed and very cared for and worked on. I front the band openly Submissive as in I offer myself to incite that energy through the excitement of punk. Domme Stephxecutioner performs with us, we bring a lot of S&M gear and we roll with whatever direction people who are at the show lead us. As my relationship grows with Domme Stephxecutioner our interaction is something that’s become a part of our show, but we aren’t "theater" we are genuinely just being ourselves in public. GASHPUP Chris Wiz has become our official pet, and ya know, so many people we met as "audience" have become a part of the performance, that’s exactly what I want. Domme Stephxecutioner has a wrestling history, sometimes I'll look down off the stage and she'll have a man in a leg lock and as long as she's smiling I know she's got it. Some people have asked to be flogged, I mean seriously flogged and they become a part of GASH as people we liberated. I really never flogged anyone before this band and I didn’t know what it felt like to be on the Domme side. To have a "stranger" take his shirt off in public and kneel down to trust me to hurt him, in just the right way to transcend the ego and pain of the moment into a state of heightened awareness where it’s just you and that person you've entrusted with your body, it’s an honor to be trusted like that.

How have the band’s performances been described in fanzines and webzines by people who have seen you live? What venues do you usually go to perform?
I don't know if anybody’s done a live review. Our shows have become so intense and I don't feel they get documented which may be cool; we lived it all together. Some shows from my perspective feel like I'm very close with Domme Stephxecutioner and we are on this adrenaline rush together. Some performances are physically interactive with the audience, sometimes I'm with the band focusing on our music. I often just lay back or kneel with my eyes closed to listen to them play and feel the vibrations. I like being blindfolded and tied up in the audience for a while so I can feel them energetically and hear the music more. It’s a trust exchange. One of my favorite shows was in Canada we played Gay Pride Toronto in direct support of Thrill Kill Kult. The show was intense to be surrounded by so many people celebrating their identity, which is a huge part of our message. Then afterwards I got to celebrate dancing to a band I've danced to for years, only in person with our audience. We just bonded with them so it’s not like a regular concert with strangers. Like we were all really there together. That is my life's mission to bring that kind of reality everywhere.

How well do you and Domme Stephxecutioner work onstage together?
I love her very much so I’d say we have reflective energy and work off each other naturally. We never really planned Domme Sub; we kinda naturally fell into who we are. I feel it’s very important for me to be public onstage as a Sub because a lot of times people define me wrong based on some misconceptions about BDSM. I’m not a victim and I’m not much of a masochist. I do very much enjoy being owned as in being a source of love and pleasure for one person who I trust to be in charge of me. It’s not degrading to be honest. Some people get off on degradation and that’s a fun game also as long as everyone’s consensual.

Why do you think so many people misinterpret BDSM and relationships that involve it?
Everyone's all fucked up over sex; it’s a mess. I'm still trying to figure my shit out and can only say it’s evolving. Religion, politics, stupidity, the usual things that ruin personal development have a lot to do with it. I think people generally see S&M on TV and TV is a tool to depersonalize and suppress thoughts so it’s never going to capture the spiritual side of power exchange between lovers. I’m personally not into fetish clubs or online fetish hook-ups. I can only fall in love when life wants it to happen, in person sporadically when randomly somehow we find each other. I love fronting GASH as a Sub because I know the stereotype of a "submissive woman" is like a meek sexualized victim and I'm just not like that. I get turned on by pleasing and devoting myself to my lover. I can only really love someone if I have the freedom to worship them, that defined role of existing as the source of someone else's happiness and trusting their direction for me. It doesn't mean I'm gonna let some jerk push me around or abuse me. I’m a really strong willed person and not easy to control so when I find a Domme/Dom who can stick around and deal with me I admire them that much more.

How do you believe punk offers an alternative to mainstream definitions of female beauty? There are some people who judge punks as “sluts” for wearing revealing clothes but look at rockers or pop divas doing the same and rave about how beautiful they are. What are your thoughts on that double standard?
As long as people seek to fill personal emptiness with the judgment of others it will be an endless cycle of the hate plague. I think people really indulge in hating pop divas and hating bands in general no matter what the genre. It's not an unusual thing to hear "I hate that band I hope they all die". That’s a really intense thing to say about people you don't know who are playing music. I had to consciously decide a long time ago to not "hate" strangers for playing a song that I don't resonate with. Misdirected energy. Some people have voiced opinions about how I dress but the thing is, I'm really wearing what's practical to me. I'm a body builder and extremely physically active onstage. Energetically it's my job to excite, sexually instigate as it gathers us closer together and raises the vibrational influence to further carry our purpose. Also my luggage was stolen on a Reagan Youth tour last year and that was all my clothes. I'm drenched in sweat and my clothes are torn to shreds covered in dirt, beer and body stuff after every show. I'm making some leather knee pads but haven't been able to finish because I know they are going to get destroyed. Its punk. I always ask anyone who has an issue to contact me directly so we can hash it out and move forward.

We recently had a discussion about the company Suicide Girls and how I felt it exploits the punk aesthetic and presents female punks as being victims who like being mistreated. You said you don’t personally support their site but imagine their models do photo shoots for different reasons. What are some of your thoughts on this subject?
I remember seeing a bunch of Richard Kern and Nick Zedd movies in the early 90's and being wowed by the gritty realness exploring the dark side of humanity in short clips with cynicism, sarcasm and anger as opposed to having a good-guy or P.C. cleaned up version. People, both men and women are victimized, and sometimes in purposefully romantically tragic ways. I empathized with and it made a strong impact on me to see that uncensored. Suicide Girls is only annoying to me because I’ve never been interested in being a model defined by their label. People used to shout "hey suicide girl" at me on the street and at work. It’s just kinda up there with Hot Topic at this point, except I believe the models have a lot of rights to run their own finances on their pages. As long as everyone's consenting and not promoting abuse in any way, it’s freeing to not have to cover up deeper turn-ons. Slap marks, scars, bruises; after a GASH tour I’m covered. All my clothes are literally destroyed, I sell my sweaty used ripped fishnets online on GASHOFFICIAL.com to help pay for more because I go through so many pairs. I am in NO WAY victimized or doing anything against my will. Deliberate responsible self-destruction is a personal right. Sometimes I have anger at being trapped inside this body and I need to feel it physically under someone else s control to appreciate where I am and what I have.

What do you think of Lydia Lunch and the work she has done for women in punk?
Years ago I discovered a book by Lydia Lunch from a tape I bought called Harry Crews, her band named after the Author. Her music and vocal rawness inspired me entirely. I used to put on Lydia, Diamonda Galas's Plague Mass and Tibetian Monks all at the same time to create an energetic noise vortex. The passion, love, hate, purpose and rhythm that came through Lydia back then was unmatched. She probably hates punk and I think she kinda fell through NYC’s cracks with her refusal to commercialize which is a beautiful but maybe hard living. I don't know her personally much but she's a historically relevant inner truth activist in my eyes.

Would GASH consider exploring other fetishistic activity onstage, such as female/female wrestling for example?
Domme Stephxecutioner is a Professional female Wrestler, when it goes in that direction we have wrestled with audience members. That's mostly Stephanie subduing people who got out of line or us claiming Subs; it just happened. Rarely have we had anything even close to a problem. I've allowed people to cuff me, blindfold me, tickle me, lick my extensive scars from surgery, carry me, push me around the pit- now that I'm performing with my Domme I have her protection so I have the safety to explore more ideas.

Does GASH have any material out? Any CD releases or songs that can be streamed on social media sites?
GASHOFFICIAL.com has everything we have so far on it. We have a free four song EP titled "SUBSPACE" available there and videos and all our t-shirts, posters, my used ripped tights from shows are for sale there also. We are in the middle of recording a full length album titled "Astral Liberation" that’s due out in January.

Where was your EP Subspace recorded? Name the songs appearing on this release and describe what they are about? Why did the band decide to release it free through your site?
It was at Jesse Gimbel’s basement in Philly. Jesse is amazing, he gets rock-n-roll and what we want and has amazing equipment. Our EP Subspace is a kind of coming out celebration. I mean when I write I have no agenda or plan. At that time GASH would meet in his basement and we would write some music together. I would get stoned, lay in the bath and think about things at night and listen to our music and get all these visuals. It’s all autobiographical mixed with visions of stuff I never even thought about before. The first song Ritual is vaguely about time and space travel through different dimensions between lovers, particularly Dom and Sub; that heightened connection that I’ve experienced. It’s set in an apocalyptic type of world-less reality and about entering people’s dreams for sexual manipulation. Basically like the world ends with the truest lust. The second song Deadly Venom Five is an announcement that we as GASH are here, we exist and we are going to do everything we can to rebel against oppression as rock-n-roll freedom fighters. Astral D/S will be re-titled on our new album. The D/S stands for Domme Sub but I don’t think anyone knows that. That song is more directly about being a Submissive and coming from that viewpoint. Luxuria is the last song and it’s about this doomed romanticism that I used to feel intensely in NYC. One night stands that feel like love, looking out the window knowing that the time is running short as the sun comes up and that the intensity was fleeting, drugs and alcohol wearing off, reality setting in and what was so good turns into isolation and back to singular loneliness. It’s free because we want everyone to have it. I want our subconscious reality linked so when we travel we are meeting up with people who know us, so we can know them.

How did the band meet Jesse Gimbel? Is the band planning to work with him on future releases?
Our guitarist Hit knew Jesse and the first time we went to his studio I was just wowed. Coming from NYC where everyone’s busy and rushed and broke it was a huge relief to meet someone calm, knowledgeable and interested in really getting to know us to get our sound right. ‘Id work with him forever; he’s got a big part in our band and helping me out vocally without saying ‘try this’ or ‘do this’. I can just ask him ‘hey what do you think of’, and he really thinks about it and tells me honestly. I consider him a part of GASH.  

Has releasing Subspace free through your website helped the band reach more listeners and fans?
I've toured all over with Reagan Youth and I meet people in faraway places that have listened to Subspace and it blows me away. My purpose is to create a wave of Liberation with GASH and to ride that towards an enlightened future together with our listeners so the more distribution of our message the better.  

On Youtube I noticed live clips of the band and an interview conducted by Jo Pincushion. Explain how this interview was arranged. How much did you get to discuss the band with Pincushion in the clip?
Nikki! Nikki is our brain and arranges our tours and interviews, and helps me function and stay alive which is not an easy task. I was very nervous during that Jo Pincushion interview. It was one of the first live singular interviews; I'm more comfortable with the full band. I haven't watched it so I hope it makes sense. I don't watch interviews I do; it gives me a lot of anxiety. I only watched one I did in California for Reagan Youth because it was really intense. Like the first time I opened up about my personal life and I was incredibly stoned on hash. The camera filmed me all warped until I calmed down and I'm sure my energy had something to do with that. I mean it’s totally real and I think I was speaking directly to someone I didn't even know yet who came to me through that interview.  

Are there any professionally made promotional videos released by GASH since you’ve been active?
Kevin Vonesper made the video for Ritual, and it’s great. BUT, it was filmed from our first performance with Domme Stephxecutioner and we have progressed so much since then. When our albums done I want to make a lot of videos. I have tons of visual ideas; I just need to find people to film and edit.

What are some of the ideas you have for future promotional videos? How about the rest of the band?
I want our videos to be visual audio resonance, vibrationally in sync with the collective subconscious to restore Truth and Love in world gone commercially blank. I say we are the Sexual Instigators of the Rock-n-Roll Freedom Revolution movement because in song, stage or film we are not "performing", we are real. I am revealing stuff that's even hard for me to be public with. My point is to eradicate oppression, self-shame and lying to seek a higher place of enlightenment for all, through personal truth exposed without judgement.

How long have you been a member of Reagan Youth? Describe some of the performances you have done with them?
I’ve been in Reagan Youth since 2012 and Paul Cripple, original guitarist is family to me. I mean he really got me back into music and I am eternally thankful to him for being a good friend and letting me be in his band. I've gotten to travel all over in Reagan Youth, playing these songs that I listened to for so many years before meeting Paul, ya know it’s like perfect. We play house parties and huge festivals and dive bars and fancy pants venues. I prefer anywhere where we can meet people and see other bands. The festivals are stressful because everyone's freaking out about time slots and it’s huge, impersonal and confusing with so many bands. Shows that stick out for me are, a basement house party we played in Detroit that was packed, an abandoned funeral home we played in Buffalo NY, TLA in Philly with Dead Kennedys, oh and The Boneyard, DIY punk house in Ohio there’s so many. The people I’ve met on the road, I get so attached. I mean we always stay with people almost never motels so we get close. It bothers me how far away everyone is sometimes.

You recently traveled with Reagan Youth and played some shows with them earlier this month. Describe how those went?
Anytime I'm with Paul, it is a good time. I used to get scared like, ah it’s gonna be so crazy. Paul’s super intense and I was absorbed in paranoia about him not liking me, but thankfully I've managed to drop all that crap especially on this last tour. We had a blast together. We mostly traveled with the band Sober Daze all around Texas. If I could clone myself and live like Cylons with shared thoughts so I could still be there and here, I would still be there. In a heartbeat.

Are you planning future tours in the U.S. with Reagan Youth, or recording material with them?
Reagan Youth will always tour. As long as Paul has me on as his bassist I’m down to go anywhere (instead of going fuckin-nowhere). Paul has another band called Dust Angel and a buncha songs for his other band with Dave Insurgent called House Of God. Those songs people don’t know so I hope we get in the studio someday to get them out. I know he has a concept album in mind for the last Reagan Youth album but we don’t have dates or anything set up as of now recording wise.  

What does GASH have in mind for their next release? Will it also be made available for free? How about more live appearances and internet interviews?
Our newest album "Astral Liberation" will be our first call to action, to gather up as many into GASH as possible. We paid out of pocket to record over the past year and a half so we can’t give the entire album away. But I hope the people who do buy it can burn copies or whatever, I’m out of touch with file sharing these days. I want people to spread it around any way they can and as much as they can. GASH are touring everywhere, we have an upcoming Midwest tour early November and then Texas, Portland, Seattle, California and Europe. I thought about where I would like to be in ten years a lot and I think I have an answer for now. With my family, GASH, everywhere. Pain Pleasure, Liberation.

-Dave Wolff