Q&A: Violent Bullshit On The Story Behind Their Name, OFF! Not Being Hardcore, And Their Parents Coming To Their Shows
Violent Bullshit is, indeed, the shit. The band's five membersvocalist Jayson Green, dueling guitarists Byron Kalet and Andrew Reuland, bassist Matt Cash and drummer Dan Crowellprofusely bleed hardcore and its ethos on their face-ripping, manically ragin' yet ridiculously meticulous 14-minute[!] debut LP, Adult Problems.
Make no mistake: Violent Bullshit is no novelty act capitalizing on the current hardcore revival that's been spearheaded by the Keith Morris-led OFF!, whom they scoff at as being merely punk and not hardcore. VB's not only have hard-earned underground cred (the mustachioed, blood-curdling bawler Green did time as singer in NYC's mammoth riff monsters Panthers and Amherst's screamo-punk progenitors Orchid, while chrome-domed beardo Reuland moonlights in Les Savy Fav), they go out of their way to piss off hardcore fanatics with Grateful Dead-inspired tie-dye merch, are anti-record label and DJ dance music and pro-Turing Machine, with whom they recently played a few shows.
Sound of the City met up with the Violent Bullshit dudes at Williamburg joint Iona in a clusterfuck of an interview about hardcore, Green's supportive parents, and how they came up with their band name.
How did the CBGB Fest gig happen?
Green: We got a booking agent. [Laughing] Yeah, so we started getting more of that kind of stuff.
Did you guys grow up going to CBs?
Green: Us? Nooo. I mean, I've been there, yeah.
Kalet: I go to the John Varvatos store now. When we were mostly living here [in New York], [CBs] was notorious for having just terrible shows with a thousand bands on the bill.
Green: My old band played there once for CMJPanthers, with Justin [Chearno] from Turing Machine. I remember seeing High on Fire on their first tours there.
When did Panthers break up?
Green: We actually did our last tour with High on Fire years ago...
Cash: ...when we started [Violent Bullshit], you did a Panthers tour. So there was some overlap.
Green: There was a bit of an overlap, yeah. But yeah, probably three or four years ago, was the last time [Panthers] played. It ended with kind of a whimper. Our drummer was married and had a kid and our guitar player got offered a really great job and got married. That left the two lonely weirdoes to try to keep going so it just seemed to make sensebecause we weren't so popularthat it wasn't worth it. [Laughing]
Recently, you guys played gigs opening up for Turing Machine. How was the reception to your hardcore sound playing alongside TM's, which is synthy dance-rock?
Green: I think the crossover isbeyond us being very good friends with themtheir audience is older people who just, in general, love music. So this idea of having kind of a genre-specific show isn't particularly interesting to anybody, reallyparticularly the bands involved. Matt and I both DJ dance music and we play in a hardcore band because we love dance music and we love hardcore and I don't see the difference, to be honest. I think most people who love music love all kinds of stuff so it's fine. I think in any situation that if they don't like hardcore, they'll be entertained in that amount of time. We play for such a short amount of time, they may be like "What the hell is this?" And then it's over. [Laughing]
Violent Bullshit has been around a while, but it seems like it's starting to kick in now.
Green: Yeah, I think we've only really started being kind of serious about it in the past year. It was a different lineup when it first started and it was more that I just really wanted to be in a hardcore band again; it had been a long time since I'd done it. So we started off the three of us and we had two other guys in the band. Again, our [original] bass player had a kid, got married, then Andy played with us a few times and Matt was an old buddy and I knew he played bass. Once this lineup got together, we decided we were gonna try to make records.
What was it about being in a hardcore band again that pulled you in? Did you have some sort of revelation?
Green: I was in a hardcore band called Orchid for a long, long time and did a lot of touring. I grew up on the music and love it and still listen to it all the time. I don't know so many new [hardcore] bands, I guess, but some. But one of my favorite things is to love hardcore. So it's just a fun band to be in.
Which hardcore bands do you listen to? Black Flag...?
Green: ...Sure, that and Negative Approach, all the New York '80s stuff. Dan and I grew up on like the kind of late '90s...
Green: ...like Born Against and bands like that. Rorschach...
Rorschach reunited recently to play show shows.
Green: Yeah. We played a show every time they played New Yorkthe same night but at a different venue.
Crowell: That's our thing.