Following in the tradition of The FUs and Negative FX , Out Cold play aggressive hardcore with tunes aplenty. Gravy caught up with drummer John Evicci.
Gravy: Introduce yourselves?
JE: Mark Sheehan: vocals, guitar / Deuce: guitar / Mikey Flynn: bass / John Evicci: drums
Gravy: This is about the 500th incarnation of Out Cold right?
JE: Close. The 11th.
Gravy: This line up seems to be the most stable, the right mix of people?
JE: Yes. Actually, this will be the first time the same line up has been on more than one album. Thank god because I don't think I could deal with another line up change at this point.
Gravy: Your one of the few survivors from the late 80s HC scene; why do you think OC kept going when so many others packed it in?
JE: It's meaning to us is not something I can explain. It's something that's just intrinsic. I normally don't believe in any rigidly-defined concept of what a particular style of music should be. However, to me, hardcore is so specific that I feel it can be, if not too rigidly-defined, at least set within relatively narrow parameters. To me, you start with punk rock, as broad a genre as that is, and you turn it up a notch, make it more intense. Faster, angrier, louder, more aggressive, and keep the metal influence out. That's pretty much it in a nutshell, to me.
Gravy: You seem to have more in common with the original 80s HC acts than your peers in the 90s HC scene; true?
JE: I would hope so. That was largely our inspiration, along with what THEY were inspired by, such as The Ramones, The Stooges, bands like that.
Gravy: The cover to ‘Will Attack If Provoked' looked very much like one of Pettibon's pieces; was that a conscious attempt to align OC with Black Flag and that era of HC?
JE: Yes, we wanted it to be in the Pettibon style. Black Flag was one of our biggest influences and their artwork was a big part of their whole essence.
Gravy: Sticking with the cover art for a second, both ‘Goodbye Cruel World' and ‘Warped Sense of Right and Wrong' have rather bleak covers; would you describe yourselves as having a negative attitude to life in general?
JE: Yes, we are very negative.
Gravy: Is OC your cathartic experience?
JE: Yes, to a large degree.
Gravy: Why the picture of Alistair Crowley on the cover of the excellent ‘Planned Accidents' ep; are you inclined to the dark side?
JE: Basically we just think he's an interesting individual. We're not really into black magic or mysticism or anything. Plus it's a cool-looking picture.
Gravy: You have a new split ep with Detroit 's Bill Bondsmen; tell us a bit about it.
JE: They have two songs, we have three. All are good. Get it. (...from Schizophrenic Records in Canada or Acme Records in the US )
Gravy: This is your fifth split; what do you look for in a band when you agree to do a split with them?
JE: Most of the time it's with a band we like, but sometimes the label chooses the other band without us really having anything to do with it.
Gravy: Are there any bands you have turned down?
JE: Yes, I believe so, but I'm not sure.
Gravy: You're also working on a new full length album; can you tell us a bit about it?
JE: We recorded the basic tracks in December 2005 with Daniel Rey in Boston . It's taking us a long time to wrap it up, but I believe it'll be ready to go very soon. It's your typical Out Cold album: about 14 songs in about 22 minutes. It's tentatively titled "A Heated Display" and will probably be released sometime around the end of the year.
Gravy: This will be released on Acme records, your label right?
JE: Probably, yes, along with Kangaroo & Deranged.
Gravy: Did you start Acme to maintain complete control of OC's releases or as a means of exposing fresh talent?
JE: It was just about releasing good music, not primarily as an outlet for my band(s).
Gravy: Is the label a full time job?
JE: No, it's more of an expensive hobby.
Gravy: You also do Distro right?
JE: Yes, a little.
Gravy: I know you have a dislike for the metal ‘infection' of punk/hc but you list an awful lot of metal bands on the OC links page; are you a closet metalhead?
JE: An awful lot? You think so? I do like some metal. Not a lot, but some. I just don't like it mixed up in hardcore.
Gravy: OK maybe not a lot but a few, I guess maybe I would term some bands metal which other folks may just call RnR like AC/DC and Rose Tattoo; How about bands like Annihilation Time, old DRI, Corrosion of Conformity; they are/were able to fuse metal and HC/Punk quite successfully?
JE: Yeah, I definitely fall on the side of considering bands like AC/DC & Rose Tattoo rock n roll. I consider bands like Iron Maiden & Judas Priest metal. Like I said, I do like some metal, so I'm able to enjoy bands that may borrow heavily from that genre, as well as bands that lean in that direction. It's a very subjective matter, though, to me and every record is taken on a case-by-case basis. I'm sure there's a lot of people who couldn't understand how I could like an album like "High & Dry" by Def Leppard and hate Guns 'N' Roses at the same time, but there it is.
Gravy: Do you think the infusion of metal dumbed HC down?
JE: No, I wouldn't say it "dumbed it down". It just changed it into something we feel is outside the bounds of what hardcore is. However, it should be noted that the insinuation of metal into
hardcore is, for the most part, a thing of the past. That was more of an issue a decade ago. Nowadays, almost the opposite is the case and it could be argued that the hardcore scene has too much focus on being true to a strict, traditional style, giving it an artificial, contrived, and overly-nostalgic character. That's being rather curmudgeonly, though.
Gravy: It's an eclectic list of links; Jamestown Gang, Sigur Ros, Rush, Kaiser Chiefs; do you ever see these artists having a direct influence on your sound or style of song writing?
JE: To some degree, yes. Certain artists, anyway. We are in no way influenced by, say, Sigur Rós, but the sensibilities of a band like the James Gang might influence some of our song writing in ways that might not be immediately obvious. Since you brought them up specifically, I'll just mention that Rush have been a big influence on me personally as Neil Peart was probably the single most influential drummer in my life, so that's bound to affect what I bring to the band with my playing in some way. It's also worth mentioning that the links you are referring to are on the Acme Records site, not the Out Cold site, and represent my personal tastes, not that of the band in general.
Gravy: As a band and an individual you seem to have what the Minutemen would call and ‘Econo' attitude; less is more?
JE: Yes, as a band (and even more as an individual) we/I have a very "no frills" aesthetic. Not necessarily "less" but rather "only the essentials".
Gravy: Do you still enjoy being part of the ‘scene'; what keeps you motivated?
JE: I don't feel we are or ever were part of the scene. We are very much in our own world. We are motivated simply by our love for the music and the emotional release it gives us.
Gravy: Apart from music what inspires or influences you?
JE: I'm very inspired by nature, language, and enlightened & intelligent people.
Gravy: OC have toured quite extensively outside of the US , what's been the highpoint and low point?
JE: The high point for me was our last tour (Scandinavia & Russia) and the low point was probably our last UK tour. The people there were great, but the shows were rather dismal.
Gravy: What was so dismal about it? Was that the tour you did with In The Shit?
JE: Yes, that was the tour with In The Shit. It was just dismal in the sense that the shows were poorly-attended for the most part and a there was an acute sense of disinterest. It reminded me, personally, of the dark days slogging it out in our home environs back in the early-mid '90s.
Gravy: Any plans to come back to Europe in the near future?
JE: No, but I'm dying to tour again.
Gravy: What's next for OC and Acme?
JE: Just releasing records. Out Cold has a lot of new material in the pipeline, so expect a lot of new shit in the relatively near future. Right now Acme has a handful of things in the pipeline. Most immediately full-lengths by Zooparty (mid-tempo punk from Sweden ) and Bad Chopper (CJ Ramone's new band with Mark, best ex-Ramone album ever), plus a few other things that are a bit more tenuous at this moment.
Gravy: How can people get in touch?
JE: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Post: Out Cold, PO Box 441 , Dracut MA 01826 , USA
Gravy: Parting shots?
JE: Thanks for the interest & support!