Friday, January 22, 2010

Chuck Hickey Singer for Black SS, We The People, and just a rad fucking dude.

Chuck is 100% real. Our first actual talking encounter was us yelling at each other and being on opposite sides of an argument. Since then everything has been great and we have a very loving and supportive relationship. The fact of the matter is this, Chuck is a lifer and knows a thing or two about a hell of a lot going on in this Punk world we live in(along with other shit as well). We have bonded over the years for our love of RPG's, comics, and hardcore/punk of course. I don't see this guy enough and when I do see him it's never enough time to totally catch up. One day we will start that campaign and get real with our 20 sided dice. But for now listen to what knowledge my good friend and fellow Wyld Punx has to say. Oh yeah Chuck sings in the best Straight Edge band going right now called Black SS check them out if your not dumb.

1. I know it hasn't happened in awhile for you, but at this state what do you look forward to about tour if anything?

Getting to hang out with the rest of the guys in the band and seeing my friends in other towns. I rarely get to see Dan, Mike and Steve since they are all grown ups now. I'm perpetually 16 years old in my development as a contributing member of society, but those dudes all have heavy commitments. Tour is the only time I get to hang with my best friends when I don't feel like the hang is going to get cut short. Also, over the years I've made some solid friendships with people in various cities and it's always nice to get quality time with them.

2. Do you think kid's have become spoiled with touring band's playing so many cities that the kids don't travel to shows anymore?

I don't know. There seems to be a massive amount of spoiled little shits running around but I'm not sure if that is because the bigger bands hit every town. I think a more likely reason is there are just too many bands touring currently. I honestly think that a band should take appropriate steps before deciding to force themselves and their "art" on an unwitting populace. Bob Suren's piece, "Turd Bands Stay Home" sums it up nicely. Here's a link:
Here's an idea for you, my friend, since you are an open and uncloseted Grateful Dead loving hippie; We should convince kids to NOT start bands and just follow their favorite bands on tour all summer long. It's not like it's going to cost them much more since their crap band wasn't going to get paid anyway. And it's not like they were going to get laid as a reward for covering "Filler" to a roomful of apathetic soon-to-be-ex-straightedge hipsters, right? Everyone is in a fucking band nowadays so on the offset chance that there is a legal girl in the room, she probably sings for a band that is better than theirs and is not even remotely impressed.

3. What is your favorite pasttime while in the van if you aren't sleeping? If it's reading, what comic series is the tour go to and what nerd series is the go to? If it's music what's your top three choices?

I usually over pack when it comes to comics, books and dvds. My usual BSS road trip experience looks something like this: Several hours of Wrestling shoot videos watched/listened to by the whole van until my eyes and brain start to melt. Next, I try to read a comic or book while listening to Goblin or John Carpenter soundtracks until I'm inevitably drawn to some vile shit talking with the boys. We never really get to vent about shit that pisses us off until we're in the van, I think.
Some of the things that have passed the time on recent trips are:
Novels: The Change series by S.M. Stirling and the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Comics: DMZ, The Unknown Soldier, Solomon Kane, Iron Fist
Music: Death in June, Killing Joke, Naked Raygun, The Shangri-Las, The Fugs

4. You've seen many points of view from being on tour and working at clubs, what is one of the brattiest thing's you've seen some band pull?

The all time brattiest shit I've seen, and I've witnessed it multiple times, is when a band berates the crowd for not dancing. How are there so many kids with this feeling of entitlement? I wish people would understand that no one owes them a goddamn thing. Probably the worst example of this was a show in Buffalo with The Murder City Devils, International Noise Conspiracy and At the Drive In. EVERY one of them accosted the crowd for not moving around, until ATDI played, who then got all pissy because kids WERE moving around. What a bunch of clowns. On the other end of the spectrum was a show in Connecticut where the local opener was calling the crowd pussies and faggots for not "showing them what we've got". The sound of the collective Hit The Lights/BSS face palm was deafening. Especially since we were 60% of the crowd. As a bouncer, I seem to have blocked all of the ridiculous shit I've seen perpetrated by mouth breathers in cover bands.

5. What show comes into your mind when you think of " Wow, I didn't expect that!" You know the show you show up to and you get kind of bummed, but then all of a sudden things come together and it turns out to be an awesome show. The more detailed the better.

There are many to choose from but here's one. We the People only went on one tour and we somehow broke even. Mostly because of this one show. It was in Pittsburgh and we'd broken a strut on the van on the way into town and stopped to get it repaired. Up until that moment, we had done alright money-wise but now we were a little trepidatious. That feeling doubled as we rolled into town when we noticed a flyer for Caustic Christ's record release show. It had today's date on it. With empty pockets, we sadly realized we were playing a conflicting show against a popular local band's record release.

Next, we get to the back alley punk house who's basement we'll be playing and everything gets weird. The dudes who live in the house are a small group of crusty/street punk kids and are all eerily nice. Nicer than any humans I've ever met in a dilapidated punk house, certainly. It turns out that one dude who lives in the house is the opening act and the other guys are the closing act. These friendly fellows plus 2 of their friends are the entirety of the attendees. As we are loading stuff in, I start looking around at the decor and the fashion accessories that adorn the house and it's occupants. It dawns on me that there is a discomforting amount of Christian imagery on the walls, patches and tattoos of our hosts. At this point, my mind begins to twist as I try to come up with a origin story for the convergence of dingy punk and happy shiny Christianity. Those worlds are diametrically opposed in my brain. I've met plenty of punks and HC kids who identify as christian but none who wove it so seamlessly in with a gutter punk lifestyle. I think I was most impressed by the Jesus-fish-as-NYHC-style-x that was all over the place. It was as if we'd stumbled into that scene from Another State of Mind with the christian youth hostel except this wasn't staged.
The evening starts with the one man band making some kind of noise gumbo with a computer or something. I utterly hate this kind of thing. I have seen an embarrassing amount of below average artists forgo the creation of actual music to make some kind of "point" by shunning the stifling straightjacket of melody. These creative cowards should be forced to snort a pulverized Einsturzende Neubauten record through a Taco Bell straw to remind them how vital they are not. The statement was made 30 years ago and does not need updating. This is a slice of the mood I was in that evening.
If memory serves, we played next. I never really care if there are people to see my bands or not and I think that my band mates echo that sentiment. We all love our songs and we love playing them to none, few or many. So, we had a blast and everyone there seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves and were stoked to have us. After we loaded out, various guys from the house chatted with us and wanted to buy merch. All of them bought at least a shirt and cd but refused to pay the asking price. They would only buy the stuff if we let them WAY over pay for it. They were each giving us $40, $50 or $60 for what would usually cost about $12-$15. They would have it no other way. I thought that maybe they were stuck in some kind of Christian-duty brainwash loop but a more likely explanation is that they know what it's like to be on tour and feel like shit is falling apart. It was a truly humbling experience for me. I was forced to chip away at my own discriminatory views of Christian punks and admit that these guys "get it". They were clearly guys who were motivated by their religious views but that's not the be-all and end-all of their personalities. They didn't bring any of that stuff up and just treated us like fellow punks who play because they mean it.
Their band, The Last Hope, ended the night and they played a hell of a set. It was a pretty fantastic night for us. We had made our lost money back and we met some genuine, nice people who had changed our perspectives while helping us out. After that show, I have made a conscious effort to help deserving touring bands out a lot more than I used. It feels good to go above and beyond every once in a while.

200% Wyld Punx

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