GO IT ALONE

This interview originally appeared in At Both Ends Fanzine #6. (You can get more info on this great print zine at www.AtBothEndsMagazine.com. Seriously check it out, this is one of the best print zines going right now!) The interview was conducted by Steve Fallis/At Both Ends.

Intro:
A couple weeks after this is prints Go It Alone will be playing their first show back (December 2004) since last Spring (March 2004). Look for these guys to take over the world in 2005.

Steve: As far as Go It Aloneís timeline right now, where is it?

Lucas: We will be back in December and start touring. We will record a record in May and be on the road indefinitely from then on. Basically everything has been knocked back about a year, thatís pretty much the way it has been. Well, on the road as long as Smokestackís school schedule will allow it.

Steve: I guess for the first bit, do you think itís going to be hard to maybe not be known as ďthe band with the drummer that fell off a cliffĒ because this is the biggest news or thing or whatever that has ever happen with the band. Do you think that maybe people will be just coming and checking you guys out based on that rather than ďOh Iíve heard theyíre a great band.Ē

Mark: The thing is that I donít think that people even understand how serious the accident actually was in the first place. Shortly after it happened people were asking if Go It Alone could play shows or would try to book us. I donít think a lot of kids grasped how serious it was.

Lucas: I think it will fade as an issue of importance as well. Initially when we go out everyone will ask us about it. But I think once the record comes outÖ Like Mark said, people donít understand how serious it was and they donít really see it as an issue anymore. I think it will sort of become a non-issue once the record comes out because it will give something else to focus on. If people want to check us out for that, Iíll have them check us out for whatever reason. I donít want to be known as that, but I donít think there is a danger in that at all.

Steve: Well how serious was it if there is still some type of misunderstanding of what happened?

Lucas: Iím a paraplegic by definition. Iím partially paralyzed from the waist down and I probably will be for the rest of my life. I live in constant pain and discomfort because I fell/bounced down a 580 foot cliff face and broke my back, pelvis, tailbone, arms, ribcage, tore open my lung, and smashed my spinal chord. I should be dead and I survived ironically because of hypothermia because I was lying in a creek. I was screwed. I was fucked. The point Iím at right now is the point they said I should have been at next summer. So itís really serious and Iím fucked upÖ Iím probably going to be fucked up forever. My drumming was set back three years. Itís coming back quicker than that, but I was obviously set back and I should be dead. I was out and I lost two weeks (in a coma????) and Iím disabled now and I will be forever. My head is fucked up and I have brain damage and Iím post concussive and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder so I have to deal with constant depression and anger. Iím completely dis-inhibited, I donít talk to people as well and Iím not as quick as I was before. Iím FUCKED, but not as fucked as I could have been, but fucked and I donít knowÖ ha ha.

Steve: Was there a point when the band or Lucas was like ďMaybe we should look for a new drummerĒ or was Lucas ever thinking of stepping down?

Lucus: I wouldnít step down because Iím stubborn like that. These guys talked about doing other drum stuff while I was unconscious I think, but by the time Iíd woken up it wasnít really an issue. Most of my drumming is coming back Iíve just had to adapt a couple things but itís pretty much completely the same except that they have to take care of me and lift some heavy stuff.

Mark: When it first happened, we didnít know what his status was going to be and if he could play drums or even walk again. For two weeks after the accident it was pretty much up in the air on if heíd be able to function as a human being and if he would have any mental retardation or be more or less normal. Then after that point there was talk of getting a replacement drummer for touring because we already had a full tour booked for this summer, but we decided not to do that. From the beginning we knew we wanted Lucas to play on the LP, so we cancelled the recording session until he was ready to play on the record because we knew it was something important to him.

Steve: I know you were talking about reworking some of the songs that you had planned to record last spring. Does this mean touching up existing songs or really rewriting the record? What would be the difference between the record that you would have recorded last spring and the one you will be recording this spring?

Mark: I think it will be a lot better and that is the one positive thing that came out of Lucas breaking his spine. Itís given us another year to work on and rewrite songs, like you said; that includes working on existing songs, scrapping old songs, and writing entirely new songs. As it stands, Iíve written between fifteen and twenty songs that are potentially for the LP, weíve already scrapped a number of them and in the next few months Iím sure Iíll continue writing new songs. I think itís just going to be a better record all around because weíll have more time to fine tune it and write lyrics Iíll be happy with.

Steve: When the record does come out, I remember you guys talking about how you didnít want it in Hot Topic and I was wondering why. There are the obvious arguments against that store, but there is also the argument that some kid could pick your record up who doesnít really understand this type of Hardcore or Hardcore with a message.

Mark: I understand that argument and it comes up a lot. On one hand I got into Punk through Green Day and Offspring so I can fully appreciate that kids can be exposed to Hardcore and alternative types of music and alternative scenes through commercial avenues. But on the other hand, most of the spirit of rebellion Ė although that sounds cheesy Ė that Punk has or can have is lost when it becomes a tool for someone who uses it to make money and doesnít care about Punk. I never want Go It Alone to be a money making tool for someone who has no interest in us beyond our ability to make a profit.

Steve: What about potentially using the platform that bigger stores would give you to get your message to a wider audience as other bands have done in the past?

Mark: I agree that there are certain bands that have used high profile record labels and used their own ďfameĒ - if you will Ė to push an agenda and things that were rebellious; thatís true. But I think thatís kinda the exception to the rule. I think the large majority of the time, the bands that end up on major labels play more palatable music and they are easy to swallow, and, as a result they donít really challenging anything message-wise.

Steve: What says you guys canít be the exception to that rule?

Mark: I think that A) the music that we play, although it pretty melodic as far as Hardcore goes, I still think that it doesnít really have what it takes to become popular in the mainstream; B) We are not really a message based band so even if we were to become really popular, we wouldnít have a solid agenda to push; C) I think that is a compromise for us and at this point I canít say if it would be worthwhile or not for us. I donít spend much time thinking about it.

Steve: I was under the impression that you guys were stating to become a more message-based band. When I was talking to Eric FYH he was saying how there has been a shift away from talking about anything in Punk. Iím wondering do you see Go It Alone as a bit of a reaction to the lack of issues?

Mark: I think that it is definitely a little bit of a reaction. When I got into Punk and Hardcore it opened my eyes to all sorts of issues Iíd never considered before. Through Punk I became interested in issues like feminism, gay rights, animal rights, veganism, Straight Edge, and all that type of stuff and Iíd like to see that continue for the new kids coming into the scene. Definitely with lyrics I have made a conscious effort to write songs that are more topic orientated rather than just being about personal relationships and that sort of thing. When Go It Alone first started, most of the lyrics are pretty personal in nature and about personal relationships. I felt that any issue-orientated topics I might address would be pretty simple and standard shit that people had heard a million times before; therefore, it wasnít worth addressing. But I talked to Norm about it and he made the point that for people like us who have been involved in Punk for a long time those topics are just second nature to think about and seem really basic to us. But he reminded me that when I first got into Punk that those ideas were completely brand new and complete eye openers. Through talking to him Iíve decided to write some more topical songs in the hopes that kids who are just getting involved in Hardcore right now are exposed to some ideas that they have never previously considered. I now think that itís perfectly relevant for me to write about these subjects for new kids who may have never been exposed to this. In addition to that, Iíd like to add that hopefully the political situation in the US will, if nothing else, lend itself to more critical Hardcore and Hardcore that is more conscious of the problems that will be happening within the next four years in America.

Steve: I was wondering what the name ďVancouver GoldĒ means and why the photos of Vancouver in the layout to your EP.

Mark: I think that we chose that because all of us are either born and raised in the Vancouver area or have lived here for a number of years and feel that the city of Vancouver itself and the Hardcore that this city has produced played a big influence on the music that we are creating. As far as lyrically some of the topics, at least one in particular, is influenced by living in Vancouver and the prostitution here that I see all the time in my neighbourhood and when Iím working downtown. So that is something that is present in the back of my mind. I thank that is one example of art, if you want to call it that, being influenced by our surroundings.

Steve: Is that the song The Best Of You? I was wondering about that; somebody told me it was about prostitution, would you want to go deeper into that at all?

Mark: I think that it is a vague song lyrically and Iím sure a lot of people donít grasp what it is about unless I tell them. Itís about the feelings I get when I see women working the streets, itís a complicated subject and Iím not trying to make a moral standpoint or cast and ethical judgment about people who are involved in that line of work. It saddens me to see people in that situation and the song is about a few people Iíve known growing up and how their lives have lead them in that direction. Beyond that, I just want to say that I think sex trade workers are sort of demonized in our society, looked down upon, and considered dirty. I think that society can lose sight of the fact that the people working the streets are people as well that, more than likely, experienced some unfortunate circumstances in life and are not necessarily bad people or dirty people. I think they deserve more empathy than they are given.

Steve: Seeing as we are talking about song lyrics a bit, I wanted to go into the song Ten Percent and how it deals with homophobia. It seems to me that itís gotten worse over the past few years in Hardcore (or maybe just more prominent due to message boards anonymity and the resulting influence from stuff like that).

Mark: As far as that song goes, I just wanted to address the problem of homophobic attitudes in Hardcore and beyond that in the world as a whole. Iím not sure if itís gotten worse in recent years or not, perhaps it has. In some respects itís getting better because you have people like Linas Garsys, a prominent member of the Hardcore scene who runs a label and does all sorts of artwork for bands, who came out of the closet pretty recently. I think thatís really good and a positive step. There are others as well like Zach Harlan from Rival Records who is an openly gay man so I think that here and there are some people challenging those homophobic attitudes and I wanted Go It Alone to be part of that.

Steve: What do you think of how some people will just throw around words like ďgayĒ or ďfagĒ in a negative sense and just pass it off casually like it is nothing and say things like ďOh, Iím not really homophobicĒ or that sort of stuff?

Mark: Personally I understand there is a difference between using that type of language in an actual derogatory sense and using that language out of habit or ignorance. Certainly there is a difference, but nonetheless I certainly donít use those types of words because I understand the weight and baggage that they carry. Regardless of the intent behind saying those types of words, I think they are still harmful in that they perpetuate a negative attitude towards people with that sexual preference. Itís pretty easy to say that itís just words and it doesnít mean anything, but the fact of the matter is that using that type of language is what keeps a lot of people ďin the closetĒ or ashamed to be themselves and afraid to be open with people around them.

Steve: To take this a little further, it seems to me that these days, as a whole, fast, youth crew, traditional Straight Edge Hardcore or whatever you want to call it is really becoming almost homogeneous lyrically and musically. Iím wondering, does this worry you guys not about the music, but more about what people just getting into the scene right now who are picking up on that and the bands right now that people latch onto that maybe arenít saying that much to challenge people. Itís something I think about and I wonder about the future of Hardcore because of this.

Mark: It is definitely a concern to me because I see a lot of new kids getting into Hardcore and I fear that they get the impression that Hardcore doesnít stand for very much. What Iím saying is that I think a lot of kids get into Hardcore and Straight Edge and donít tie that into any other aspects of life. For example, they may not draw parallels between drug addiction and abuse, which Straight Edge is supposedly in response to, and any other societal ills or other ways of bettering themselves or the world.

Steve: Norm suggested I talk to you about dumpstering and how itís part of your life, but not really a typical subject discussed or practiced within the majority of the Hardcore community.

Mark: When I was growing up I was always taught that Iíd finish high school, go to university, get a career and live a status quo sort of life. Years ago I decided that I didnít want to do that and spend a life working a job that wasnít fulfilling to me because it would eat up all my time and restrict me from doing all the things I was interested in. Since Iíve finished high school, Iíve tried to live a life that allows me as much free time as possible to pursue my interests. Part of that is finding ways to survive that donít require working forty hours a week and one of those is dumpster diving, which I do fairly regularly. There is a definite stigma associated with that sort of thing because a lot of people think itís gross because it is taking food out of the garbage, but you would be surprised what you can find in the trash.

Lucas: It was gross to me years and years ago when Mark took me out for the first time to get donuts. I was revolted and yelling and throwing them around and stuff. But it isnít really gross; it is a way to live cheaper and give your self more free time. Now with me being disabled itís not really open to me anymore, at least for a while. Living from a trashcan isnít really dirty, but there is a chance that it could be and I am really susceptible to infection right now. Plus I donít really have the ability to hop over trashcans anymore and do stuff like that because that lifestyle lends itself to someone who is very able bodied. If you can live like that and embrace things that allow you more free time then go for it.

Mark: Basically what a lot of people fail to realize is that the culture we live in is extremely wasteful.

Lucas: There is a lot of free stuff and you can live off of North American excess like nobodyís business.

Mark: North American society is so privileged and luxurious that people throw away so much waste that could still be consumed. But with all that said, I am working full time right now; however, I do that for the sake of saving money so I donít have to work and take of large amounts of time to concentrate on things that are important like Go It Alone.

Lucas: Go It Alone is what we like to do and is what we do. Itís not a hobby at all and the way that we chose to live the way we live and do the things we do are based around Go It Alone. This is what is our ďjob;Ē this is what we do.

 

 

 

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