In fall of 2003, after our last show, Peter Lynch approached me about doing one last Damage Done interview for a new zine he was doing. I said I was into it, and we conducted an interview through email...

In February of 2004, Straight Jacket Society #1 hit the streets, right about the same time as another "final" Damage Done interview was published in the March edition of Maximum Rock N Roll. Whatever, I guess there's 2 "final" Damage Done interviews out there. Below is a transcription of what was printed in Peter's zine. If you're interested in getting a hard copy of it, contact Peter Lynch at

- Kyle
Ok so dig this: the damage done were a fucking right&tight straight edge band from CALI, they spent most of their time a good band, then right at the end they started getting really great, then the broke up. they left us kids one last EP that fucking KILLED, and their last shows were unbelieveable....added to this they are definitely 5 awesome kids who were nice as hell and sincere to what they were about (and still are). in fact when i moved out here, these guys were the first people who were nice to me and showed me what it was all about out here.... so i interviewed frontman kyle about all facets of the band and life, he gave me everything i ever wanted to know about the band and what he thinks about the core and stuff......get their EP "CITY OF HOPE" and get posi-fied by the great energy it gives off, then get kinda bummed you cant see them anymore....

1. by the time this comes out the damage done will no longer be a band, is it kinda bittersweet, seeing how totally crazy your last few shows were (in particular sink with cali and the last show)
Yeah, bittersweet would probably be a good way to describe the feeling. I actually just got done watching the video from our last show at 924 Gilman St. for the first time, and it really started to sink in that we won't be doing this shit together as a band anymore. On one hand, it's always kind of nice to get all nostalgic and remember the good times and wish that we had them back, but on the other, I feel like it is even nicer to feel like we went out on top. Honestly, the reaction to our sets at Sink With Cali and the last show at Gilman St. were fucking incredible, like 300% more than I ever thought we could accomplish with this band, and it's nice to be able to have pictures and videos of those shows and feel like we went out as the best we could possibly be. I do sometimes get a little bummed out when a kid will come up to me (often a young kid I've never met) and say, "Hey man, I just wanted to tell you that your last show was incredible. Your band and your lyrics meant a lot to me, so thanks for all the good times." At the last few shows I've gone to in the weeks following the last show on October 4th, 2003, I've gotten a lot of kids saying things like that to me... And I'm psyched we were able to have an impact on some people, especially young kids, because I remember how much I got out of hardcore and punk rock when I was younger, and it's shaped who I am today... I never thought I'd be on the other end of the spectrum, making a difference in young kid's lives by playing hardcore, and I'm really grateful for the opportunities I've had with this band to give back a little bit of what I've gotten out of hardcore punk. But at the same time, I get bummed out when people say these kinds of things to me because I feel like we let some kids down by breaking up a little bit pre-maturely, you know what I mean? I just hope kids don't get the impression that we've broken up, we're moving on, that the things we stood for and the things I said on stage didn't hold their weight. Believe me, I'm not going anywhere - I'll always be around at both local and "bigger" hardcore shows.... moshing, singing along, helping bands out wherever I can, because quite frankly, hardcore punk is all I really know, and I'd be pretty lost without it. I want kids to understand that underneath the barrage of shit that is thrown at them by fake-ass hardcore bands and by kids out there that say one thing and do another, that there are bands like The Damage Done that stand by what they fucking say... Bands like The Damage Done that will say what they mean and mean what they say. So often you've got singers stand up on stage and talk about how much hardcore means to them and all of that kind of shit, but then when their band breaks up and they don't get any more "glory" to feed their ego, they're gone just as quickly as they started. Basically, I guess I just want to thank those kids that are reading this that really believed in The Damage Done, those kids that actually got something of substance out of this band. I want to thank them for all their support and hope that they don't feel let down, because you can bet your ass that I meant everything that I ever said.

2. lyrically you progressed from personal style lyrics to really well written diatribes against the HC scene and world politics, as well as being positive and living life on your own terms, is this what you wanted to represent the band?
Man, writing lyrics is really hard. When it really comes down to it, anything and everything has been said before, so what you can set out to do is try and say some things a little differently, put a little more emphasis on some topics that aren't covered quite so often, or at least add a personal twist to the topic. I feel like there's topics in all genres of music that are over-done, and hardcore punk is no exception. To be totally honest, I feel like a lot of the lyrical content of hardcore has gone down the tubes... And it's not just because the same topics are covered a lot, but because I don't feel like there's that many people trying to add anything to the topics. There's nothing wrong with covering a topic that's been done 1000 times if it means a lot to you and you've got something extra to add to it. Unfortunately, I think most people are starting bands for the sole reason of "being in a band", and quite often dont' really give two shits about what they're saying, as long as it "sounds cool" with the music. It's hard to find a good balance of both - where the lyrics have a lot of substance, but the words actually fit well with the music and aren't too wordy. And that is something I've struggled with as the band has moved along. When I started this band, it was really important to me to have a message with the music, I didn't just want to be "another band." So I would sit down and write out these things that were more like essays than songs, and they just didn't fit well with the music. I am really proud of the content of those lyrics, but the vocal patterns just couldn't fit well with the music because there were simply too many words. More recently, especially on our final EP called "City Of Hope", I made a concsious effort to be more concise and write a song that's got a definite message to it, but that also fits well with the music. I think I improved on the vocal patterns and placement a lot and I think it makes the songs much stronger songs. But anyways, I think I digressed from your original question... To answer it, YES, when I started this band I wanted to represent The Damage Done as a band that could provoke some thought, and provide some lyrical content that was actually relevent to the world we're living in. I didn't want to write a bunch of songs about the "scene" or about straightedge or about back-stabbing, because like I said above, I think the topics are over-done and I don't have all that much to add to those topics. Although, I did write one song about the "scene" because I felt like I had something to say about that, it's a song called Stand. It's basically about how there's "no more 'punk' in 'hardcore punk', because it's only cool to think one way." I think that one line from the song really sums up what I was trying to say. Hardcore punk was originally a place where a bunch of people who were dissatisifed with the way the world was working could come together and automatically "fit in" and be pissed off together. Now there's so many rules and regulations and divisions and scenes and all that bullshit, and hardcore punk is losing a lot of its substance because we're too afraid to actually SAY ANYTHIING anymore. In all of the other songs besides Stand, I think that the messages I was trying to get across were relevent to most anyone, not just hardcore kids.... Songs about coming from a single parent household and trying to raise two younger siblings and fucking up royally, songs about losing a close friend to leukemia when he was only 23 years old, songs about domestic violence, songs about keeping your fucking head up when the world is raining shit on you, songs about the ridiculous idea of measuring a person's success by their "net worth", songs about 2 middle school aged-kids losing their mother to cancer and growing up being bounced around to foster parents and being abused... All of these songs are very specific songs that I've written about things that have happened to me and my loved ones during my lifetime, but I think they're completely relevent to both hardcore punk kids and the rest of the world as a whole... These are things that happen, it's reality, and through it all, I've kept my fucking head up and I don't have a chip on my shoulder and I don't think the world owes me anything. Sure, all of these topics have probably been covered 1000 times before, but I think I definitely had something to add to them, and hopefully I provoked a little bit of thought or provided someone a little bit of comfort in knowing that someone else has gone through this shit before.

3. how important do you think politics are in HC especially today, when we have a leader who's probably going to go down in history as the worst ever?
When you say "politics", that can mean so many things. As far as specific partisan politics, I personally hate it when a huge group of people (i.e. the international hardcore scene as a whole, being an example of a huge group of people) get into a sort of groupthink type situation and it becomes "cool" or "uncool" to have a political opinion. What I mean is, I hate it when people are ultra-liberal to the point where they aren't really THINKING anymore, they're just trying to be on the left side of some imaginary political mark because that's what you're "supposed to do" if you're punk... And then you've got the backlash to the common-place liberal ideas within our little punk community, so you've got all these asshole super-conservative types that are talking all this shit to the ultra-liberal types. By it's nature, socio-political and economic topics are essential to keeping hardcore punk something SPECIAL, and not just another type of music... So that's why it's so important to everyone to form their own opinions, really THINK about the issues, decide how they feel, and then be vocal about that. The second we get everyone thinking the exact same way is the day that hardcore punk dies, and sometimes I don't think that we're all that far from it. ...Personally, I think George W. Bush is a terrible, terrible president, and just a very un-intelligent person. It embarrasses me that he represents me as an American, and I think his regime has made some poor decisions, as did Bill Clinton's. It's important for people to remain aware about what is going on and if you don't like something, be vocal about it. Yeah yeah, people say "well, what is getting all pissed off and talking about it all the time going to do about it?". Well, what it's going to do is provide for a lot of discussion and ensure that people are actually thinking about WHY they believe the way they do, and even if there is no direct action involved, there is a LOT of change that can occurr just based on discussion and hardcore punk lyrics.

4. the last songs you wrote were after the death of a close friend, how important was getting those last few songs on record to you?
That was one of the huge driving factors for recording our final 5 song EP called "City Of Hope". Jeremy Johnson was a close friend that passed away at the age of 23 after battling leukemia for one year. He was the best person I've ever known, and had the best attitude about things... He could sit on that hospital bed with tubes hanging out of him everywhere and just be happy that I was playing video games and eating pizza with him. And it wasn't like he started acting this way right after he got sick because he realized his time might be limited - he has been like that for as long as I knew him, that's just how he looked at life... He was always telling me not to stress out so much and just realize that little day-to-day worries will be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. He was just a really good dude with a great outlook on life, and he taught me a lot on how to keep things in perspective. He changed my life 100%, completely for the better. That's basically what I wrote the song "Love.Life.Laughter." about. It's titled that because Jeremy had a tattoo on his fore-arm of a human heart with "Love.Life.Laughter" in a banner. He got the tattoo when his little brother, Jordan, passed away - Jordan was only 16 or 17 years old... (he was born with a heart condition that eventually proved to be fatal... His poor family has lost both of their sons, within a 3 year time-span). Jordan lived his life just like Jeremy, they both just had a really good outlook about things. I actually wrote 2 songs on the final record about him... The second one, "City Of Hope", I wrote while he was in the hospital... It was basically a letter written to him, telling him to keep his head up, that he was stronger than anyone i'd ever met before, that there was no way in hell that he wouldn't beat this thing. When he passed away, I thought about throwing the lyrics away, but I decided against it. In essence, Jeremy DID beat that disease, because he didn't let it get the best of him, he lived the life he had to the fullest and taught a lot of people how to live thier's to the fullest as well. He may have lost the battle, but he won the war, you know what I mean? So I kept the song, and I'm hoping that maybe someday this song can provide a little bit of comfort to someone else out there who's got a friend sitting on that hospital bed, a friend that may end up making it through it. There too much hurt and pain and shit in this world, and it's nice to have a little bit of hope every once in a while. That's what that song is about: hope.

5. good tour stories or general good memories of the band?
My favorite memory of the band is pretty hard to explain.... We made a trip to the northwest to play Portland and Seattle on March 28th and 29th of 2003, and we just had a blast the whole time. We had this ridiculously large potato gun that we would load and launch on the road while we were driving, and for some reason, it was oddly funny to just watch that fucking potato sail through the air and fly SO fucking far and land next to a herd of cattle.. We had this stupid little megaphone thing that had all these built in sounds - sirens, animal noises, ice-cream truck songs, "it's a small world" song, etc. We'd drive up next to some burly trucker and just be blasting a police siren, then switch to quick rooster "caca-doodle-doo" and then rock the ice-cream-man song... The look on some of these people's faces was priceless. I don't know, there wasn't one particular thing that made the weekend so fun, but it just felt like we all really needed a mini-vacation, just get away from work and school for a while, and we all just had more fun with each other than we'd ever had before. ...When we returned home from the trip, there was a message on my machine from a friend telling me to call her immediately, and I instantly knew what it was about. I called her and confirmed what had happened - Jeremy had passed away while we were gone on the trip. I had to go out into the living room and tell all of the guys, and we were all pretty much devastated. The next few days, we all spent a lot of time talking and writing emails to each other, just trying to make sense of everything and keep ourselves sane. I'll always remember all of us talking about how much fun we'd had that weekend, and actually saying something out loud that friends dont' really ever say to each other: how much we all meant to each other, and how glad we were that we got to spend that weekend together just having a fucking great time. Jeremy's passing just made us all stop for a second and realize how grateful we were just to have each other, you know what I mean? ...So that's what I'll probably remember most about this band.

6. new projects for anyone?
Yup, James plays guitar in Lights Out. Think Side By Side meets Floorpunch and you've got yourselves the goofy monster that is Lights Out. Great band, great dudes... fucking SILLY dudes... The goof troop. Seriously though, they're gonna be a great band. They've got a demo out now and are recording in November for a 7"/EP out sometime next year. Connor from The Lab Rats sings for the band. Connor is the shit, I love that kid, even though I don't know how much of an improvement Connor 2.0 has been on Connor 1.0. The other guys don't have anything in the works yet, but I hope they all start new bands - they fucking better! As for me, a friend and I started a record label called RIVAL Records and that keeps me pretty busy. We put out the final Damage Done EP, along with the debut CDEP for PHYSICAL CHALLENGE (from Portland, OR) and the debut CD for TIME FOR LIVING (from right here in the Bay Area). The 4th release will be a 7" from ROSARY from Seattle, WA. If you've got some extra time, check out all of these bands cuz they're all just really good kids, playing good hardcore, having a good time. You can listen to mp3s from all the bands at www.RivalRecords.NET if you're interested. Watch out though, is a defunct R&B label.. Make sure you hit up RivalRecords.NET.

7. final thoughts on the band...did everything work out how you wanted? any tips for younger bands?
Shit man, I'm so proud of how this band turned out. When we started this band, 3 of us had never even played in a band before, and 2 of the members actually learned their instruments to be in this band. We worked our asses off, especially this last year doing a long distance thing with 2 of the members living 4 hours away from the other 3, and driving down to practice every other weekend. I couldn't have asked for more of a last show either. The farewell we got from kids in the bay area was fucking incredible, and without all of the kids here, I don't think we could have held it together as long as we did. The show just had such a good vibe to it, it felt like something MORE than just a hardcore show... It felt like we were PART OF SOMETHING, do you know what I mean? "More than words, more than just three chords" is what our last show shirt said (lyrics from the song "Stand".). That's what we're all about. I know that my life has been better because I've done this band, and I think that we've made a few kid's lives better here and there, as well. I look at it this way, you are going to change the world in one way or another by just getting out of bed in the morning, so you can either make it BETTER or you can make it WORSE than it was before... I think we made it better for a few people... I couldn't ask for more than that. As for tips for younger bands: hmm, that's a good question. There's a thousand things, but i gotta just pick one or two... I guess I would just say BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Don't feel like you need to jump on the bandwagon and play whatever style of hardcore is the flavor of the month. If you want to play fast hardcore and sound like What Happens Next?, then fucking do it. If you want to play heavy hardcore and sound like Hatebreed, then fucking do it. Or if you would dig sounding like some band that everyone seems to talking shit on lately, then fucking do it! And while you're doing it, don't be afraid to say whatever the fuck you want to say. Remember that if you're trying to fool people, the real-deal hardcore kids will see through that shit, and the people that you're fooling may be impressed for a year, but they'll drop out and fall to the way-side in a couple years and you'll have no leg to stand on. Be real, be honest, just be your fucking self and try to make things BETTER, don't settle for the status-quo. Also, don't RUSH things! with The Damage Done, all we ever did was RUSH everything, and a lot of our stuff came out sounding worse than it could of if we'd spent more time on it. Take some time to hone your sound, decide what you wanna do. Shit, record 4 demo tapes before you record an EP, because you know what, that EP will end up sounding like a killer first EP instead of a demo quality EP. You only get one chance to make a first impression, right? So take your time... Also, make sure and get out there and network. Support other hardcore punk bands! Go to all kinds of shows, book shows if you have that capability, get in touch with other bands in other areas and try to trade shows with them (they book one for you in their area, you book one for them in your area). Don't be competitive about things - this shit was never about competition. Help each other out, don't try to get "bigger" than other bands or try to USE people to make yourself "bigger". If you're into that shit, go start a band that Fred Durst would dig. That's it, Pete. Thanks dude.




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