Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What would Henry Do? By Andrew Hall

I don't really have many passions in life BUT Hardcore is one of the few!

Here is an interview with a guy (his name is Jack) who is doing something really cool; he runs a blog/'zine/record label called What Would Henry Rollins Do? not only does it have a great name borrowed from a great man but its full of pretty amazing shit from the world of hardcore.

1. Sell WWHRD? to us in 5 words or less?
It's not Kerrang.

2. What made you start a zine/blog in the first place?
People always talk about doing 'zines or something generally postive, i just actually did it. I used to write about and talk about music and my general opinions far too often and far too loud, and there's no better way of encouraging that than by writing a 'zine as well. In all seriousness though, i think 'z
ines are important to hardcore and punk and i think WWHRD is just me doing my bit. If people enjoy reading it or check out a band i mention, or even consider doing something like this themselves, then that's pretty good too.

3. Which three albums changed have changed your life?
I dunno about changing my life, but i'd say first of all The Clash - London Calling: It was one of the first times i really had an idea of what punk was, and i can trace my involvement in hardcore and music in general down to getting that CD.

Secondly I'd say Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables: like the Clash, this lead me on to a whole new world of music, beyond the 77 era of UK punk. It made me realise that there was a whole world of amazing music with something to say out there.

Finally Fugazi - 13 Songs: Just knowing who Fugazi are is pretty important i feel as they are a brilliant example of the viability of DIY principles, and dedicating your life to living by ideals that stem from that.
I might listen to other bands and records more often than those 3 now, but they are pretty pivotal in my involvement with punk and hardcore music. The latter two especially so in my involvement beyond just listening to it.

4. Whats the best gig you've attended and why?
I honestly can't think, i've been to a few good ones. One of my favourite memories will always be putting on bands in my living room a couple of times. It's nothing new but it's so much fun and was a great way to hang out with my friends and people in Norwich.

5. If you could recommend/champion a band or artist to our readers who would it be?
Well other than the obvious choices like Black Flag or Minor Threat, which i'm sure people don't need some 21 year old kid telling them about, i'll speak about one of my favourite bands at the moment. Pulling Teeth. They are from the US/Canada and play hardcore which takes influence from bands like Integrity as well as Left for Dead. They are basically my favourite hardcore band around at the moment, i think they are probably one of the most interesting too, lyrically and musically and more people need to realise this!

6. You have a nice t-shirt with the slogan "This Is Norwich Not LA". Whats you opinion on band merch? Is it important to have decent merch or is it just a way to make ends meet whilst on tour? Oh and DIY or mass produced?
Yeah well with that t-shirt we basically just had the idea that everyone everywhere had of ripping off the 'Boston Not LA' compilation/cover, i think it came out pretty good. I think band merch serves a purpose to an extent, as you said with touring or just making more money available to record or release something. Being in a hardcore band, or any band in general isn't cheap, so it's good if you can try and make the money you lose through being in it as minimal as possible, that way it's easier to keep doing. I'd put as much as i could into being in a band, but obviously being able to make music and not lose a ton of money is preferable.
At the same time it should be secondary to making music itself, as a means to an end. Bands that have more t-shirt designs than songs or spend money on a MySpace layout instead of practising or recording to my mind are doing things all wrong.
DIY is the only way to go. As a DIY band i think it'd be counterproductive to then buy into a massive clothing company or support those who pay poor wages etc. We recently used Vino Sangre screenprinters, who are based in Norwich, to do some t-shirts. They are friends of mine, and do design and handpulled screenprinting. The results speak for themselves, the t-shirts they are printed on are ethically made, and the money we spent on that stays in the hands of those involved in DIY projects. The UK has plenty of these people involved in DIY hardcore and punk, whether it be in making t-shirts, producing records, distroing them, or anything else. It's up for people to find and support these, because DIY in general, if you do it right, is way better than anything mass produced for countless reasons.

7. Your big into cassettes, I'm also a fan of cassette and vinyl , do you think alternative formats to CD and MP3 deserve a bigger place in the mainstream marketplace or do you think they're better out on the "fringes" as they retain their "heart and soul" personal feel?
The mainstream can do whatever it likes, it's never gonna affect what people who truly believe in DIY and hardcore in the UK, or anywhere else does. I like cassettes because they are cheap to produce and are easy to customise and make interesting. I personally never listen to CDs, they really don't appeal to me, but I like a physical product and if i can't have vinyl, then cassette to me is the next best thing. Whenever i've released tapes as well i've put a download link in there, that way even that benefit of CD doesn't really matter.

8. If you had to make a 10 track mixtape for someone raised without TV or Radio how would it go? List the tracks and give an explanation of why you chose them.
I'm gonna forget something and feel stupid, but oh well.
1. The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever - No list of important music could really be without The Beatles. This is one of my favourite songs and will just make them realise what they've been missing.

2. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead - I love The Smiths and this is as good a place to start as any.

3. Dead Kennedys - California Uber Alles - This is how to write a song about politics without sounding stupid.

4. Black Sabbath - Paranoid - Like the Beatles, someone needs to hear Sabbath to understand where 'heavy' music came from.

5. Black Flag - Fix Me - My favourite band, this just shows that short songs are great.

6. Descendents - Hope - Just in case they've ever felt underappreciated or been like the guy in this song.

7. Minor Threat - Out of Step - It's Minor Threat, I don't have to justify this.

8. Bad Brains - Sailin' On - See above. Also to show that hardcore isn't just for unpopular middle class white kids.

9. NWA - Fuck the Police - Just get this kind of message across nice and early.

10. Charles Bronson - Theme Song - I'd just like to see what someone who had only heard 9 songs before thought of Charles Bronson.

11. The Stooges - Search and Destroy - This is a bonus track because I didn't want to leave them out and it'd be funny to see what they thought of the Iggy Pop adverts knowing the genius he was capable of.

This was hard and i probably should have chose something really obscure or shown off about all the cool shit I like but oh well....and I forgot the fucking Misfits!
wwhrdzine@hotmail.co.uk - Incase you fancy a chat
www.myspace.com/wwhrdzine - What Would Henry Rollins Do? Myspace

www.whatwouldhenryrollinsdo.bigcartel.com - What Would Henry Rollins Do? bigcartel store; this is where you can find some of the 'zines, cassettes and other WWHRD? stuff

and Jack's also in two bands...


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