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We did not celebrate our third anniversary as we anticipated. As a matter of fact, we spent the anniversary itself pulling our sodden gear from our practice space, wondering where, exactly, we would take whatever, exactly, was salvageable. It turned out that much of the bigger stuff was undamaged but we lost cases, some guitars, a wealth of cables and miscellaneous stuff. I shipped my snare drum to its manufacturer this afternoon in hopes of having it restored to its pre-flood familiarity. We thought we’d spend our fourth year much like the previous three. We were wrong.
Instead, we’re starting the year as a three-piece (we won’t go into the details here but suffice it to say that Chris, Stephen, and I will carry on in the same manner, more or less, we’ve established thus far), looking for a new practice space, and embarking in a couple of weeks on the recording of our next album.
The above photo was taken last spring by our friend, filmmaker Alex R. Johnson, during preliminary shooting for a video we never made. He lives in Texas now. I mention this because it is, to me, a lesson in accepting how things shape up, seeing how good they are regardless of how we thought they would or should turn out.
So if this year came out of the gate with unforeseen challenges, we look forward to meeting them. The support and contributions we receive and will receive from listeners, friends, and family continue to inspire us. We look forward to producing a new record that reflects this spirit and seeing you soon.
A transcript of the interview is below. You can also download the entire zine here.
What is your bands name? Who plays what? Bells≥. Zach Barocas, drum kit; Chris Ernst, electric guitar; Adam Rizer, electric bass; Stephen Shodin, electric guitar.
City you are from? I was born and raised mostly in the greater Youngstown, Ohio area.
Favorite “Riot Grrl” era Record and Why? Bikini Kill – The C.D. Version of the First Two Records It’s terrific from beginning to end. The spirit in those songs is something that stands the test of time for me. There will always be some Riot Grrl in my heart.
Favorite Go Go Record and Why? This question has reminded me that my lack of Go Go knowledge must be rectified. I’m betting that my good friend Pat Walsh can help me out.
Favorite DC Punk Era Record and Why? (Minor Threat, Fugazi, Bad Brains, Foo Fighters, Black Flag) I celebrate all of the DC Punk Eras equally and with the same importance. That said, I’m most interested in the current one for the simple fact that it’s current. As for my favorite record, I’ll say only that my current favorite is, Office of Future Plans – Office of Future Plans.
What was your favorite Fugazi show? And have you heard any of the new digital releases? Any comment? 1995 I think. The Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio. The Make-Up opened. I distinctly remember some kid rushing up to the stage as The Make-Up went on. He shoved me pretty hard and was pumping his right fist in the air like a lunatic. I really admired his passion until I saw what was scrawled on the back of his harrington jacket: “Fuck Fugazi, let’s Make-Up!” I didn’t think that was cool at all. And he had a posse of other equally excited and rather pushy dudes with him. I moved to the back for all of that. But enough about the people. The show was terrific. They played almost all of the songs I had recently put on a mix tape for one of my best friends, and nearly in the same order. I realized it after about the third song. Weird Make-Up fans aside, it was a great night.
As for the new digital releases of the shows, I listened to a few songs on the Dischord site when they went up, but I doubt I’ll buy any of the complete shows. I have fond memories of the shows I was fortunate enough to attend, and that is plenty for me. I really can’t express just how profoundly those shows changed me, and while I think it’s awesome that Fugazi recorded all of that stuff and are making it available, I don’t feel like any of those recordings are going to transport me in quite the same way as the shows did when I was actually there. If they do for someone else though, that is awesome and I support it one hundred percent.
Last physical CD bought? I just bought three at the same time from a Boston area band called Travels. We played a show with them in Philadelphia recently, and they totally blew me away not only as songwriters, but also as human beings.
Last physical legal MP3 bought? STNNNG – The Smoke of My Will
Last illegal mp3 downloaded? A bunch of stuff by this band called Off Minor that I used to see quite a bit in New York in the early 2000s. I couldn’t find any physical records anywhere and wanted to hear them, so you know, I pirated away.