Redline Distribution: Offering the finest in Chicago independent music. Search our catalog for:
"Your Wings At My Feet"
Frontside / *Tomsawyer
"Chicago, Arise"
go to catalog!
interview by: Ryan Durkin (WCWZ) summer 2000

WCWZ: First off, do you "708" clowns actually think you can take on the mighty "630" DuPage Crew?

Ricky: 630 DuPage Crew is strong, there is no doubt of this for we do not have (no pun intended) strength in numbers....but we have heart and that's all that really matters isn't it Ryan? I believe that we should not fight each other but stick together....for if we join as one then we will be invincible. Almost like Wu-Tang Sword style if used correctly. Another thing I'd like to add, even though I had no part in it, is that Tim was able to get the beloved DuPage County sign away from its keepers with very little help. Of course it was eventually reclaimed at the Chicago Hardcore Fest but it took all the Strength In Numbers crew to get it away from 4 "708 clowns".

Mike: In the words of Raybeez, "united we stand divided we fall you gotta keep the faith." I definitely think we could use some strength in numbers. Hahaha.

WCWZ: Mike, I've talked to you before about the "sociological" side of the hardcore scene. Explain to the readers some of your insights and thoughts on this topic.

Mike: Actually, right now I'm in the process of finishing my first social research project for my Soc. major and guess what--it's a study of the hardcore scene in Chicago and possibly the greater Chicagoland area. Basically, here's one of my hypotheses. If people are "hardcore" then they will be taking an active role in what happens around them socially and politically; more specifically, they will be fighting unjustified authority and the unfair power structures that capitalism sets up in general (levels of resistance to the status quo is especially interesting--what will facilitate a real social movement or possibly social revolution? Could it have something to do with the music?). I'm also interested in looking at the healthiness of the hardcore community; more specifically, is there even a real hardcore community? For example, someone I interviewed at Chi-fest said, "hardcore is less like a network of friends and more like a mini capitalist economy." Just think of all the merchandise tables and money crossing hands at these types of shows (note especially the coldness of certain interactions at shows especially those that deal with money). At the very least this seems antithetical to what a "real" hardcore scene/community should be about. Anyway, I just finished collecting a shit load of data at the fest and here's a rundown of some of the insights I've gathered so far. Unfortunately, women and minorities are very poorly represented. Women didn't even make up a third of the audience and I could count the minorities on my fingers - this scene is a white boy's club. Along this line, Martin's new band Limp Wrist got the approval of many but you could see that there was also just as many who were uncomfortable with the idea of homo-core. Unfortunately, similar to the earlier line about mini-capitalism, a subculture becomes a miniature of mass culture--sexism, racism, and homophobia seem to permeate many social circles even ones that claim to be against these problems. Ending on a more positive note, I was lucky enough to find a married couple at the show who came to see the husband's brother play in one of the bands. The wife, a 44 year old, and the husband, a 45 year old, said that this was their first hardcore show and had these two insights, "The people here are extremely nice and accepting even though I look obviously out of place," and, "I now realize that these [hardcore shows] are not threats but opportunities." There must be something special about hardcore that prompts this kind of reaction and on this note it's important that those of us who feel committed or a part of the hardcore community to keep this "specialness" alive. Maybe a zine would like to print some of my finished write-up on hardcore? If anyone has questions, comments, or vicious attacks for me and/or my research please email me at

WCWZ: What would be your words of advice to someone just getting into hardcore?

Ricky: Watch out for those DuPage kids, they’re weird.

Mike: The scene/community is only as good as you make it. If you don't like the games that are being played make up new ones and play them passionately.

WCWZ: What do you think makes the hardcore scene seem so attractive to newcomers and vice versa?

Ricky: I think cause it's more fun than other scenes. That's what I think, that's what attracted me. I used to go to tons of punk shows...and it was cool....but it wasn't as friendly as when I started hanging out in the hardcore scene. I know people are going to disagree with that but I don't think you can really escape any jags in a scene. I truthfully think that DuPage County has the best scene. I think the DuPage is the epitome of a hardcore scene, like all the songs you here about making a scene better. Well, I think that what they sing about striving for is already going on in the DuPage scene. A scene that isn't critical and is truly about unity and having fun is very attractive. It just makes sense that someone would want to be a part of that.

Mike: The attraction to the scene is felt because it’s a very fluid social structure; in other words, unlike every other institution humans deal with, the hardcore scene allows for people to be themselves. Furthermore, creativity and cooperation are encouraged. This is in contrast to the undemocratic, practically totalitarian structures that most humans have to live in on a day to day basis--hardcore is a place where peoples talents can be brought to fruition in the anarchist sense. Profit and control are not goals; instead, hardcore is about doing what is fun and expressing all that a person has to offer--in most senses this is harder work than taking a crappy job in the capitalist economy. Possibly, it's the amount of work that one has to put into this scene that's also a turn off. Most of hardcores ideals run in direct opposite to what mainstream culture's ideals are--some people are just not up to living a life where you will always have to be swimming against an ever strengthening tide.

WCWZ: In your opinion, why do people leave the hardcore scene that they were so "dedicated" too at one time?

Ricky: I think it's because they grow out of it. Sometimes things don't seem as important as they used to. And instead of trying to stay in something that they aren't into anymore they just move on.

Mike: This relates to my answer of the previous question. The hardcore ideals are lofty and in opposition to those presented by most other mass forms of media. Eventually, a person must choose a set of life paths and try some of them; if this means leaving the hardcore scene that's fine--it's just a process of maturation. Hardcore is for some people but maybe not for others. Maybe people leave because of the doublespeak that goes on in hardcore. For example, "We hate capitalism but buy our stuff. We hate sexism but look at the hot chick. We hate racism but we’re too uncomfortable to talk to someone of a different color at a show. We hate homophobia you fag. We're pacifist but beat the crap out of that guy in the pit." I think you get my drift. At the very least, people get tired of this kind of hypocrisy and if they wanted it they could go listen to any politician, CEO, news person, or boss/coworker and hardcore no longer feels special for those who can perceive it's hypocrisy--it's hard work to be a part of this kind of subculture. Nevertheless, the fun outweighs the effort that I put into it and that's why I won't be leaving for a long time.

WCWZ: For you, is hardcore more of a music genre, a way of thinking and viewing life, or a compromise of both?

Ricky: I'd have to say that it's a compromise of both. Although a way of thinking and viewing life can be expressed through any style of music. I think that the way of thinking brought about the style of music because who ever it was wasn't with the way the music was portraying the idea. Therefore that made it match the intensity and energy of the emotion that went with the way they thought of things and how they felt on life.

Mike: If I haven't made it obvious already--hardcore is a lifestyle as well as a music. The music describes the lifestyle to an extant as does the lifestyle dictate what the music is about. Constantly in the act of creation--this is the main purpose of hardcore in my mind--art creates life; life creates art. This transaction between music and life is what makes hardcore vital to me. Of course, I am many other things though and have many other interests; still, hardcore can provide a framework or background (possibly a coherence) that brings most aspects of my life together.

WCWZ: What's in the future for Frontside?

Ricky: We plan on doing a tour in the summer out east, probably for about a week. It hasn't been confirmed yet where exactly. We know we have a definite show in Rochester, NY so we're trying to build it around that. We have a lot of songs that are going out on compilations; two songs on Midwest Hardcore comp and one on the Sinister Label Chicago Comp. I think 3 on a DePaul benefit comp for rape prevention. That one is going to be a limited pressing of I think like 500 CD’s, I'm not sure though. We're going to keep on rock and rollin. Play as many shows as we can and take over the world. When Frontside is king, Ryan you will be duke of zines. You can hold me to that too.

WCWZ: Were you ever in the Pen 15 club?

Ricky: You mean the very prestigious Pen 15 country club? I often play golf there with Mike and Bob Hope....ahh Pen 15....lots of old know I almost was but I think I figured it out before the kid, who ever it was, put it on my hand.

Mike: Where do I sign up?? I love elite clubs(note sarcasm).

WCWZ: When will Frontside play an acoustic set for a first grade class in an elementary school?

Ricky: After we release our double live album and go on tour wearing are old make-up and platform boots.

Mike: When we travel to the underworld and steal all of Satan's mystical powers.

for more info on Frontside please visit: frontside

"Faster Crashes Harder"
"Who Died"
Preacher Gone To Texas
"Choice Vs. Chance"
"Suckers From the Start"
go to catalog!

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

PO Box 14334
Chicago, IL 60614