Tag Archives: music

From the bottom of my heart, thank you…

OuthouseFlier

I went to my first punk show at 14, back in 1992 and was hooked for life. I was amazed that people didn’t know about these bands and wanted to share. I booked shows, made a couple of zines and did whatever I could locally. I went off to college for recording with the full intent of making this my career.

Real life happened and I found myself a decade later, a father of three with a desk job. My very good friend Shannon Koffman and I had been kicking around plans for a few years and decided it was now or never. In 2005, we bought three HD cameras, built a live recording rig and started recording shows. National Underground was born.

I enlisted the help of some friends and we started recording shows around Orlando. We answered the call to help No Idea Records record The FEST 4 in Gainesville. By the end of that weekend, we were three months out and had recorded Against Me! and The Bouncing Souls as well as another two dozen bands.

We were trying to turn these into CD/DVD releases, but by the time we got everything lined up with mixes, artwork and contracts, the recording industry was taking a major hit. We didn’t want to compete with the very bands and labels we were trying to help promote. No matter how low our prices were or how short our runs would have been, it made no sense. Plus, who really likes or ever buys live records?

We decided to just start putting it out online for free…and people really got into it. From 2007-2010, National Underground was this living, breathing thing. We had tons of traffic, volunteers who wanted to mix, edit, do pr, interviews and write content for the site, developers of other content wanting to team up and labels contacting us. We have so much to show for it. It was the best.

Shannon and I were still shelling out money for tapes, hard drives, hotel rooms, pizza, beer and such. We sold a couple dozen supporter packs, did fund raisers for expenses here and there and I still have a check from Fat Records I can’t bring myself to cash. Other than that and a quick tour with Less Than Jake, National Underground didn’t make any money or pay any of our crew. Every single person who worked for National Underground volunteered. I’m simultaneously humbled by and overwhelmed with gratitude for that.

Some made National Underground a stepping stone into the industry. I’m really proud of the part it played in their careers. I even got offers to do all sorts of things from shooting at SXSW and CMJ to music videos and tour managing but alas, I couldn’t risk it with so many mouths to feed.

So, here we are, years later. We recorded straight through until The FEST 10, both HOH Fests, picked up shows like Paint It Black in a parking lot, HWM’s reunion, Dead To Me’s new lineup house show and countless warehouse shows. Truth be told, I don’t know how much we’ve recorded. I think somewhere around 600 shows and we have video for about 450 of them. Many of them are repeats, but why wouldn’t you record Dillinger Four for the fifth time?

I’ve been fighting this battle with the post production the entire time. I’ve had people give me a hard time about our turn around time since the beginning. I may have laughed, but I was super hard on myself about it. It’s not easy to mix, edit, output and post any of what we record. That’s not even getting into approvals by management, labels and such. It’s a process. Then you take into account that everybody has an HD camera in their pocket. iPhone footage is up on YouTube before we’ve can even strike our equipment. Nobody cares that our audio is mixed or we have multiple camera angles that are lit correctly. There’s no value in what we do anymore.

National Underground has been a long, expensive, trying, yet amazingly rewarding chapter in my life that I feel I need to put to bed. I have that same job and I’m up to four kids to focus on. I just can’t give National Underground the attention I think it deserves.

We’ve given the recordings to HOH, The FEST and No Idea Records. Hopefully this way more of it will get to see the light of day. I can only be sure that it has no chance if I sit on it and do nothing.

We’re going to keep the site up and might post stuff we feel like sharing. We shall see.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to every single person, visitor to our site, crew member, band, manager, venue, label, support staff, security guard and yes, even cop who helped in any and every way, even by just giving us any attention at all. It’s been beyond rad.


Not Forgotten: forgetters Announces Full-Length

forgetters

After the break-up of Jets to Brazil in 2003, fans of Blake Schwarzenbach held their collective breath waiting to see what would come next from the legendary frontman/guitarist. It took five years before Thorns of Life surfaced in 2008, and vanished far too quickly, breaking up less than a year later following the departure of drumming legend Aaron Cometbus.

Later in 2009, fans got the news they were again waiting for; Blake had formed another band, a 3-piece called forgetters (check out this December 2009 live set recorded by National Underground at a packed show in Gainesville). About a year later, their first release, a 4-song, self-titled EP, came out. It was an outstanding taste of what the band had to offer, though fans wanted more. But, after touring in 2011, their bassist (Caroline Paquita) left the band and, despite some rumors and hints that the band may continue, it remained unclear if it was the last we would hear from them.

That is, until September 9, 2012 when it was announced via the band’s blog that a new full-length album was going to be released November 14. Additionally, the post says forgetters will be touring, news that is equally as exciting.

I’m beyond stoked about this news. As a huge fan of Blake, it will be a sad day when he hangs it up for good; so, anytime I learn that we’ll be privileged to more music, it puts off the end a bit longer. I love what I’ve heard from forgetters, and I’ve been lucky to have seen them twice, impressed both times. But I’m also curious to see if they’ll just be a 2-piece going forward and what impact that will have on their sound and live shows.

Regardless, November 14 couldn’t come sooner.


Bridge and Tunnel Fest 9 Hardcore Set

Just before The FEST 9 (2010) in Gainesville, FL, NYC’s Bridge and Tunnel suffered a setback that would cause most bands to cancel. Guitarist Rachel Rubino broke her wrist in a bicycle accident meaning she would not be able to play. The band opted instead to play a cover set of hardcore songs as a three piece with Rubino on vocals. Arguably the most talked about set that year, these recordings were pressed to vinyl for a limited 7″ insert in the band’s 2011 LP, Rebuilding Year on No Idea Records.

Watch all four songs here.


Ninja Gun – Roman Nose

In the years since the release of Restless Rubes (2008), Ninja Gun has gone on countless tours with the likes of Against Me!, Fake Problems and The Gaslight Anthem. Getting out of rural Georgia, must have been a heck of an experience for the band.  It was also during these years that the economy was in tatters and when any hope for change has been more or less withered away. These were the harsh and troubling times that are largely reflected in Nina Gun’s new record, Roman Nose….

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