Thursday, February 11, 2010

If you've been following us here, you've probably learned that my love for Morning Again is unparalleled (with the exception of Earth Crisis maybe). Either way, Morning Again is my favorite band to come out of Florida and in my top 5 hardcore bands ever. I saw them countless times while they were together and saw the reunion with Damien in 2001 or 2002, I can't remember exactly. Their shows had this energy...its just something thats hard to describe without having witnessed it. You could tell they believed in every word they sung. I've been friends with John for a good 12 years and he was always someone I admired musically. I played in a few bands with him after Morning Again broke up and while he did write some great music after, nothing will ever compare to Morning Again for me. When I went down to visit my folks for the holidays, I called him up since I hadnt seen him in a while. We ended up having lunch and I explained that Id like to do a Morning Again interview for the blog and this is what came out of that. I hope you enjoy this...I really don't consider myself the greatest interviewer but I did my best. If you've never heard them, check the Morning Again Myspace Tribute to hear some tracks. Enjoy...
Chip XXX

Stuck In The Past: Okay, let's start at the beginning...you were playing in Culture with Damien, then you left. What happened?

John W: i actually left culture when mark was singing. I left because I wasn't really happy with the actions of certain people in the band. I didn't feel that they reflected the message of the band so I quit.


Stuck In The Past:
And you decided to start a band with the messages you felt strongly about?

John W: Well at first Morning Again was really intending to have a direct message. We wanted everyone to be sxe and at least vegetarian but we didn't want to directly sing about it. There aren't really many direct references to either on the cleanest war or hand of hope 7"…maybe a few but not many.

Stuck In The Past:
Who was in the original lineup?

John W: Louie, Damien, me, Mike, Eric I believe

Stuck In The Past:
Did Mike CTW contact you guys about releasing the EP after you guys started?

John W: I don't remember if we contacted him or he contacted us. It came down to him or Uprising though and uprising wasn't 100% sold on it from what I can remember. There weren't many options back then.

Stuck In The Past:
But you had been on good terms since Mike CTW released the Culture full length?

John W: No we weren't really on good terms but there weren't many options and people knew his label at the time

Stuck In The Past: Right, since he had released that Chokehold record.

John W: Yes.

Stuck In The Past:
Damien was asked to "leave" the band while one tour from what I remember...how did that happen and why?

John W: Damien was very outspoken on stage. Sometimes we felt like he went overboard and it looked bad on the band as a whole and the other members. This happened often and finally we decided this was the best thing. I don't regret the decision at all. I will say that Damien is an amazing person not just on a talent level but also as a human being. He is a good friend and I'm happy we experienced so much together. I wish we wouldn't have taken ourselves so seriously, honestly.

Stuck In The Past:
Yeah I remember him not taking it well.

John W: We might have had more time to experience that lineup musically and on tour. But everything happens for a reason and Damien is the type of person you only meet once in a lifetime.

Stuck In The Past:
Very true. My experiences with him have always been good. How did you guys end up releasing records through Goodlife Recordings?

John W: He (Edward) contacted us and said that people were into the band. He wanted to put something out over there so we could go on tour.

Stuck In The Past:
And who are you to say no to going on tour in Europe?

John W: At the time it was a dream come true. I was very excited. The whole band was.

Stuck In The Past:
Was this around the time the band became vegan?

John W: I actually think everyone in the band was vegan at that time we started to actually call ourselves sxe around this time probably as a band


Stuck In The Past:
Was that when the log0 (the 3 X's logo) was used?

John W: Yes. I think the first time was for the Hand of Hope CD.

Stuck In The Past:
How did you guys find Kevin to take over on vocals?

John W: We met him when we were on tour in ohio. He was in a band called outcast. He played bass.

Stuck In The Past:
The music really shifter at that point. If you listen to Hand of Hope and then listen to the split with Shoulder, it really showed the direction you guys were heading musically.

John W:
I agree.

Stuck In The Past: Having Kevin in the band, did that help?

John W:
Honestly it was all because of our drummers. It had nothing to do with vocals. Vocals were always added after the music was written. Once we had a more diverse drummer, I was able to write different types of music. Something more towards what I wanted.

Stuck In The Past:
I meant his influence, not so much his vocal style.

John W:
No. The singer had nothing to do with the music.

Stuck In The Past:
So you guys had the record out in Europe. How did you hook up with Sean and Immigrant Sun?

John W:
Honestly I don't remember. I think he contacted us to release a record with him.

Stuck In The Past:
He always did such a great job on his releases. The layouts were always amazing.

John W:
He is a great guy. We became really good friends and he helped me a lot with Eulogy art at the beginning of the label. He was the main person I hired for layouts/etc

Stuck In The Past:
I just liked that he really thought outside the box in terms of what the traditional hardcore layout was supposed to look like.

John W:
Yeah that was his personality

Stuck In The Past:
The band always seemed to have revolving members. Did people just lose interest or were there personal clashes?

John W: A variety of reasons. It was usually us kicking people out. It was hard to get people that could tour and pay their bills while they were out. We weren't making money off the band really until later on so we had to save up money for tour. A lot of times that's a lot for people to deal with but each member change had its own story and there were many different reasons

Stuck In The Past:
What about the Culture trade? Steve and Joe.

John W:
Honestly we just didn't get along with Steve on tour. Once we asked him to leave, I think Joe was leaving Culture around the same time. It wasn't intentional honestly. This all happened a long time ago as well and I can't really remember every detail

Stuck In The Past: Haha it was like they were free agents.

John W: Ya, plus everyone in Culture and Morning Again were friends so people were always talking to each other. It wasn't necessarily something I orchestrated.

Stuck In The Past:
Jumping ahead a little, you guys ended up signing with Revelation Records but you had been courted by other labels as well.

John W:
Yes. We talked to different labels but Revelation was Revelation. At the time it was the essence of what hardcore was

Stuck In The Past:
Yeah they were on the come up again having put out the Battery, In My Eyes, and Damnation AD records.

John W:
Yep.and they were diverse at the time

Stuck In The Past:
Do you remember any of the other labels you guys talked to?

John W:
I talked to Victory briefly. Of course Goodlife. It all happened really fast. There really wasn't much time to talk to other labels. There wasn't really much thought about if we wanted to be on revelation

Stuck In The Past: I've heard some negativity from bands who had been signed to Rev. Did you guys feel any of that? You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

John W:
I definitely did. I wasn't happy with it from the start. But it turned out it wasn't because Revelation was trying to be shady

Stuck In The Past:
Oh?

John W:
We just had a horrible A & R guy that twisted things around and didn't tell us the whole truth. It was never really Jordan Cooper's fault but it still happened. I'm on good terms with Jordan now. Revelation distributes Eulogy outside of North America.

Stuck In The Past:
Do you remember anything specific from the recording of the full length? I remember hearing that Kevin was real sick when he recorded vocals.

John W: I don’t' remember that at all. It's very possible

Stuck In The Past:
Ehhh you know the hardcore grapevine haha.

John W:
haha it's definitely possible though. You would have to ask him.

Stuck In The Past:
Right around this time, you were playing in Wishes For World War III, right?

John W:
Right after the first time we came home from Europe with Morning Again

Stuck In The Past:
Who was in the band?

John W:
I think my friends Rob and Gabe sang. I don't remember. Man this shit was a long time ago haha.

Stuck In The Past:
Okay what about Night of Broken Glass?

John W:
That's much easier. Bundee, Edwin, Kevin, Peter and me. Actually not Peter and Eric sang.

Stuck In The Past:
You guys released a 2 song cassette but I heard more songs were recorded.

John W:
I don't remember if there were. I would have to ask Eric or Bundee. I'm not being difficult i really don't remember.

Stuck In The Past:
haha I know.

John W: There was so much going on at the time

Stuck In The Past:
Okay well let's go to the last European tour...you decided you didn't want to do the band anymore.

John W:
Ya. I decided this after about the 3rd show

Stuck In The Past:
Any particular reason?

John W:
I didn't like touring much anymore. I didn't like touring Europe. I did pretty much everything for the band so it wasn't really fun anymore. I think I just reached my breaking point.

Stuck In The Past:
How did the rest of the band react?

John W:
We talked about it. Some were bummed some were over it also. We all agreed to finish off the tour for financial reasons and also because we were in Europe and we wanted to enjoy it one more time. Everyone had different reasons for wanting to finish the tour

Stuck In The Past:
When you came back (from Europe), half the band kept it going for a little while. How did you feel about that since Morning Again was your band?

John W:
I think there was a break for a while? Then they started it again. I didn't really care. Maybe I should have cared more than I did? People didn't really respond very well to them from what i was told.

Stuck In The Past:
Yeah I heard the same thing.

John W:
Hardcore kids aren't stupid especially the kids that listened to Morning Again and these types of bands. They took this shit pretty serious.

Stuck In The Past:
How do you look back on the band now? 10 years later.

John W: It was an amazing time of my life. I don't have any negative feelings towards it at all. I got to experience more than most people do in their whole life. The best part was that I experienced it when hardcore was completely different than it is today. It was entirely different.

Stuck In The Past:
I 100% agree...that's why I still look back so fondly on those days.

John W:
It changed my life. It wasn't just something I did, it was who I was. Not just on the outside but on the inside. It wasn't for money or to see how big our band could get it was because that's what we did.

Stuck In The Past:
Okay just a few more questions...my friend Justin whom I do the blog with wanted me to ask a few.

John W:
ok.

Stuck In The Past:
He said he heard a rumor that there is a different recording (or possibly a different mix) of As Tradition Dies Slowly that was scrapped. Is there any truth to this and if so does it exist?

John W:
I don't remember this for sure but i can say that there most likely isn't. There was no reason for us to record it more than once. Everyone in the band was stable and we had the songs ready to go

Stuck In The Past: Do any studio or live recordings exist that haven't fully seen the light of day?

John W:
No. We were never a band to record extra music. We had a lot of releases in a small amount of time overall. We used everything we had

Stuck In The Past:
Lastly, he wanted me to tell you that he is still heartbroken that you guys canceled the one and only Oregon show when you guys broke up. He still clutches the flyer when he goes to sleep.

John W:
Haha amazing. That sucks because that was our first full US tour and I really wish we would have stayed together long enough to do it

Stuck In The Past:
That was after you guys signed to Rev?

John W:
Yes. It was scheduled for right after the Euro tour we broke up on, I think? Wait...it might have been before and our van broke down in Georgia and we had no money to fix it. That sounds more like it haha.

Stuck In The Past:
Well at least is was close to Florida.

John W:
Ya

Stuck In The Past:
Anything you'd like to add?

John W:
I don't think so. Sorry I don't remember a lot of this stuff but it was a really long time ago and I have had to process so much information since those days

Stuck In The Past:
It's cool. I appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. I know you're busy...it's nice to go and relive those days. The band meant a lot to me.

John W:
No problem. Thank you

14 comments:

alex said...

nice chip! MA is my fav hardcore band! not much stuff i didnt know from this interview, but still good to read!

Scott said...

I've been listening to these guys a lot lately so the interview was a nice surprise. Also, I'd punt a baby to see the line up on that flyer.

mike said...

fucking morning again. absolutely one of my favorite bands. i'm originally from (near)dayton, ohio. kevin byers has been a good friend of mine for forever. i love that dude. he's been sxe for over 25 years. i love this interview. god, i love me some morning again!

serious blast from the past. i used to hang out a lot with rich thurston and jason dooley, too. basically lost touch with rich, though he is a ju jitsu instructor in cincinnati that trains some friends of mine, by the way, he's skinny now. dooley and i still talk pretty regularly. he lives in atlanta and does some graphic design stuff.

mike said...

(rich and dooley were is culture, for those who don't know)

Sean said...

morning again...hell freaking yeah!

mike said...

RIVERS!

Jake said...

Damn good work, Chip.

xvasyax said...

Thats why they are one of my fav. band ever too. Thank you for this interview Chip, good work.

EMS said...

Dave Steele and I booked MA in Erie after they reformed (prob 2001ish). The show had around 300 kids at it, an amazing bill, and they got paid well... yet one of the fuckers in the band took it upon himself to steal shit from our soundman who had seen him sneaking around his shit. The whole band tried to play dumb about it over the phone (you know cause a whole random rack case isn't obvious in the van or anything). We called a bunch of pawn shops / music stores in OH and found it, and then called the kid in the band and talked to him and his mother. eventually he ended up mailing it back. A crew of people from Erie were planning on making a road trip out to retrieve it if it didn't show up and we wouldnt have been happy to waste our time. How's that for fucking gratitude? Definitely soured me a good bit.

mikectw said...

Actually... John called me when i was living at the hamtramck house running CTW and doing shows out of my basement of various bands. Remember when you guys stayed at my house? Was that the time that Rich stole records from me? Hmm yeah you guys thought I was stupid I guess. How could you steal from someone who put you up in their house, did a show for you let alone we fucking did a record together? Baffles me.

I just remember him calling me telling me he had this new project because well him and damien left culture and would i check it out and put it out for them. So as i have done many times with people i've been cool with is agree to check it out and then let them know if i wanted to do it on CTW. It was that simple.

If we weren't on good terms then why would you call me and ask me to put it out? Doesn't make any sense does it. Why would we not of been on good terms? We did Born of You and you got all your copies you were supposed to get free of charge and you became a popular band.

Yeah sorry about the layout but if you send me nothing but lyrics and a couple photos you know I was never a graphics person. I sure as hell was not going to pay for graphic services. It was about the record, it was about he experience of have CTW on something special. I didn't even see the layout of the LP till it came from the printers. SORRY ok.

I expanded CTW to europe and my friend Edward knew about you from my records. They were selling great through my european office and he called me to tell me he was putting them out whether or not I liked it but that since we were friends he wanted to tell me. How does that make me feel? You have to LICENSE product outside the original country of manufacture. You have to have PERMISSION from the LABEL.

So basically those GL records are bootlegs, under common law he had no right to re release them even with your permission or under some cocka mamey fake story about me ripping the band off repressing records. So therefore we decided to have records pressed up under another label even though the European distribution office had nearly 500 copies of each release. Makes little sense to me. Guess bad moral characters in the band i should of expected it.

See comparable too many I have a good memory and I seem to remember a completely different story. Wasn't it you who first came to me about how to about starting a label? Do you know how many times even in the past few years has this shit haunted me when interacting with old hardcore kids. It's enough to drive someone to murder.

I am definitely NOT A SANE PERSON because of these bad rumors and lying gossip throughout the scene about me for years.

I'm bored at 3am hope this entertained you.

Mike CTW

www.ctwpromotions.com

Anonymous said...

you should have ask him, why they booked a whole european reunion tour some years ago and the never got back to one single person involved in the dman thing.

sucked as hell

Anonymous said...

shame it doest mention that they're all sellout vegans and are just typical fat hardcore jocks now.

Anonymous said...

drummer is still vegan get your facts straight idiot.

pinocore said...

morning again play in my garden with Congress in 1997! kiler show!:)