Thursday, November 19, 2009
Altercation - 1987 (the revised collection)
I posted an Altercation collection back in April, but after recently listening to it, i decided it was about time to revise as much of it as i could. Basically i was able to clean up the bare essentials: the 1987 demo, the 3 unreleased rehearsal tracks, and the CBGB set. Unfortunately the WNYU set and interview were beyond repair, but the band only wrote 10 tracks, and most of them are already here twice. I'd say this is all you really need, but if you want to check out the radio recordings, the old Altercation post is still on the blog. I think the demo came out great. The first track is still a bit rough, but after that all the tracks sound really clean, and each instrument clearly audible. Since this is my favorite NYHC demo, it's great to finally hear it like this, as opposed to the muddy wall of noise i've been listening to for years. Two of the three rehearsal tracks, "Liberty or Death" and "A New Tomorrow", also came out really well. "Getting Away With Murder"... not so much. The CBGB set came out pretty good, considering the source i had to work with was a blown-out mess under a thick blanket of tape hiss. Bottom line... this is as good as it gets. Which is a shame really. If ever a NYHC band needed a legit discography, this would be it.
So here you go. 18 tracks of fucking Altercation. Best quality you'll find. Thanks again to Patrick Lindenhof (great guy) for his help (even though i didn't use his version of the demo). Enjoy!
Altercation: 1987 (the revised collection)
Crazy Jay Skin - vocals
Rude Paul Crude - guitar
Myles Reiff - guitar
Eddie Cohen - bass
Andy Guida - drums
The Altercation demo was recorded at Don Fury Studios in 1987.
Andy Guida on the Altercation demo:
I remember bits and pieces of recording the demo at Don Fury's but nothing worth nothing. Vague memories of listening back to each take and sitting in the tiny shit ass drum booth he had. We tried to record a second demo at some studio in Brooklyn but I think Eddie didn't show up and I don't know what happened to the tapes.
I think the songs are great, the lyrics are pretty stupid but we were kids. Actually Paul's girlfriend at the time wrote the lyrics. I think we played really well for a bunch of kids. I still listen to it for enjoyment once in a while. We were so short lived but we got to leave a mark. We were lucky. I still meet new people who tell me that they really like that demo. There was a time when I was embarrassed by the band but I am grateful now that I was a part of it.
Excerpts taken from Double Cross. You can read the entire interview here.
The three rehearsal tracks were recorded at the Grid Box Studio in Brooklyn on April 3, 1987. There were actually 3 rehearsal sessions recorded, the other two recorded on March 4 and March 21, both rehearsals of demo tracks. The final session (included here) was a 3-song rehearsal of the songs that didn't make it to the demo. "A New Tomorrow" and "Getting Away With Murder" also appear on the CBGB set, but "Liberty or Death" is exclusive to this session. Info by Chris Minicucci. You can read more on the Grid Box sessions here.
Andy Guida on the beginning of Altercation and the Grid Box days:
I went to high school with Myles, who played rhythm guitar in Altercation. He and I were trying to start a band. We had some songs and we practiced in my parents' basement. He knew Eddie, who played bass in the band, from the hardcore scene. Eddie knew Jay (vocals) and Paul (lead guitar) and the three of them were trying to put a band together. We were all kids from Brooklyn so we got together at a studio that was called Gridrock (Grid Box), in Brooklyn. I still remember sitting in McDonald's after one of our rehearsals trying to come up with a name. I was looking through the newspaper and I came across the word "altercation." It seemed a sufficiently angry word which fit our collective mindset. We were a study in varying degrees of teenage anger and frustration. Some of us started or got into a lot of fights and did a lot of drugs. Altercation rehearsals were a cloud of pot smoke. Amazing we remembered our songs because we smoked a shit load of pot. How were we so stoned and still so angry? Amazing.
Excerpts taken from the always great Double Cross.According to Andy, Altercation only played 4 shows, 2 at CBGB and 2 at The Pyramid. The live set in this collection was recorded at CBGB on June 7, 1987, with Sheer Terror and some metal bands. The other CBGB show (4/5/87) was a double record release party for Warzone and Youth of Today, also on the bill was Side by Side. Apparently a great sounding soundboard tape of this exists. If anyone has it, please get in touch. Thanks to Chris for the info.
Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Moondog, Rival Schools) on Altercation:
Altercation were so amazing that they scared me. They were so good but so evil and fucked up. There was a second there when I thought the dark side just might win. Altercation were fucking awesome Brooklyn skinhead metal... it was the first time I ever heard metal techniques in hardcore, like a proper guitar squeal. Biohazard probably capitalized on their spirit, but say what you will about them, I think that Altercation was about a million times better.
You can read the entire interview with Rival Schools (Walter and Sammy) here.
Altercation's last show was at the Pyramid with Death Before Dishonor. Shortly after that show, Jay and Paul left Altercation to join Warzone and Altercation broke up. Mark Ryan, vocalist of Death Before Dishonor (now called Supertouch), was so impressed with Andy's drumming at the Pyramid show, that he asked him to join Supertouch.
The break-up of Altercation came too soon, as (according to Sammy Siegler of Side By Side, Youth Of Today, Judge, Project X, Gorilla Biscuits...) there was talk of Schism releasing an Altercation album shortly before they broke up. That ranks up there with the Krakdown/NY Hoods split LP as a record that would have destroyed most anything else at the time. Oh well, i'm just glad we have the demo. It's timeless.
Sammy Siegler on Altercation:
I think Altercation were the best unsung band from back then.
Some notes of interest:
Eddie Cohen also played in Sick Of It All and Leeway.
Myles Reiff went on to do some great things in the entertainment business. Including co-writing The Road to Graceland, a trilogy of animated prequels to the Warner Bros. release, 3000 Miles to Graceland, starring Kevin Costner and Christian Slater. From there he went on to do work for Universal , Lions Gate Films, A&E, the History Channel, FX and Bravo. You can read his IMDB bio here.