Hardcore in America fueled the skate scene from bowl to backyard ramp in the 80’s, it was part and parcel of the make up of American youth culture. Bands that fronted this scene included the likes of Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, D.I, The Germs, Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, Suicidal Tendencies, JFA and so many more.
This brash sound made up of hard up, bored kids traveled across the world on skate video soundtracks and those involved left a legacy that will probably never be repeated again to such an extent.
This scene can still be found breeding in backstreets all over the World and one particular UK based hardcore band that has been on the Crossfire radar is DSA from Reading, fronted by a Scottish skater who is still flying the flag left behind by the Stupids.
Grant Mitchell from DSA (no not Eastenders!) is interviewed here by Ina from The Meaning of Hardcore Zine (Spain) to reflect on their latest quest to keep punk rock alive in the United Kingdom.
How long have DSA been going for and what made you begin playing punk rock?
OK, we started DSA around 2002 when I finally convinced some friends to start playing all these songs that I had ideas for over the years. I had a little 4 track tape machine where I used to record ideas, it was like a sketch book really. A lot of the DSA songs are older than you’d think or at least the initial ideas are. I began playing punk music because that’s what excited me, the energy, the authenticity and the idea that anyone can do it.
What does DSA mean?
DSA – Don’t Stand for Anything!
You’ve recently released your own CD, what kind of response are you having?
The CD is having a good response so far, as long as people get to hear it. We are a completely self promoted band and do everything ourselves, which is cool but sometimes takes a little longer for the news to spread. We are selling our CD through the punk independent record shops, our myspace and off course at our shows.
Your music sounds fast and furious, how does it go down live?
Our shows are getting better and better the more we play and people find out about us.
Last year you did a Spanish tour, how was it?
Spain was great, we had the best time there. The people we met were so friendly, the shows were awesome. We toured with the Spanish Hard Core band Trust Nothing, they are a great band and fun to be around on tour. We hope go back and play another tour there soon.
DSA have been intimately involved with the skate world. I’m glad to see that there are still bands defending the authenticity of skateboarding and punk rock. What do you think about the importance of the DIY philosophy?
The music and skateboarding have always gone together for us. The music has inspired us to skate and the skateboarding inspires us to play music. Personally I’m all about the old school DIY thing – it’s just the way it works for me, no one will do anything for you, especially when you can do it yourself with more authenticity and from the heart. We all got into a lot of the bands we listen to through skating, especially from the videos. The Santa Cruz videos always had a good sound track and as a tribute we sampled a part from Streets On Fire (where Jason Jesse is being marched to his prison cell). We used the sample as the intro to our album. The guys at Santa Cruz liked what we had done and used a couple of DSA songs on the Strange Notes DVD ‘Son Get Down From There‘. This was cool because it was like a big loop and we were giving something back into where we had so much inspiration from.
Which 5 bands would you say inspired DSA?
There are way more than 5 bands that have inspired us, but if you’re looking for a ‘if you like them you’ll like DSA’ comparison of 5 bands, then here goes:
1) Dead Kennedys
3) Circle Jerks
Is Punk dead?
Not on my ipod anyway! Seriously though, punk is getting older and there are a hell of a lot of bands playing new and old. It looks more alive now than ever. As long as people stand up and say fuck you and don’t get sucked into the mainstream there’ll be plenty of punks
Any last words?
Just want to say thanks to anyone that’s checking us out and to all those who supported us on the recent tour with Trust Nothing and Rage DC.