Wisdom in chains

One of the older interviews done for my paper zine Limokid back in the 2008 I think.

Can you introduce WIC? Where are you coming from? Short history and how did you get together.
Wisdom is I Richie on Guitar, Evan on guitar, Shano on drums, Big on bass, and Mad Joe sings. We are just all friends, and we got together a few years back.
Wisdom In Chains was started a few years back with members from America and Europe. Maarten, a guitar player from Holland in a band called Daredevil made the call to Richie and Mad Joe who where in Krutch at the time. Maarten had the idea to start an old school band, with heavy punk and OI influences. The three met while Krutch was on tour in Europe. The plans where made and Maarten came to the USA to record. The group released a self entitled CD on Gangstyle Records. Only one show was ever performed by the group due to the extreme distance between the members. Eventually Maarten who was a key writer in the band would convince Richie and Joe to find local members and keep this band going. So they recruited local guitar star and just crazy motherfucker in general Tony Meltdown. Tony was in a band called The Ninth Plague and basically shreds on the guitar. Shannon Sparky was brought in on drums, he was a logical choice. Shannon also played with Richie and Mad Joe in another band called Out to win (aka MUSHMOUTH). The search was on for the bass player, and the only guy that could jam with these cats was Big Show Greg, a local trouble maker and drunk. The new line-up was complete and now the band is hitting the highways and playing killer street rock with heavy old school HC and OI influence. After two well received releases with this line-up Meltdown would eventually leave the band, filling his shoes is none other then Evan Feeble. Evan a long time friend and also guitar player from Feeble (Mad Joes first band) joins the group just in time for their long awaited I-Scream records release The question on the streets is “Can they top their previous efforts?” the answer “HELL YEA” their new album “Everything You Know…” will be full of surprises.

London Ninja fest gig, foto amentma

You described your band as an old school hardcore with punk and Oi influence. How important is for you the working class message? Are you all coming from working class background?
Yes that sounds like a good description, but you can’t leave out metal and rock and roll, those sounds influence us a lot as well. The working class message is very important to us, and we all come from that kind of background.

Is the working class message more about fighting for your rights in whatever area of life or fighting for working conditions or are you taking it to different level? I am asking because within the Europe the kids are mostly coming from middle classes and be honest most of the kids are too young to experience hard working conditions.
Well Joe and I are both Union workers, we joined the Union and we pay our dues, the fight for our rights is not nearly over, but so many are content with the way things are, and that’s not good. The Governments from around the world have ways to make people feel satisfied, and it really works. In the scene there are so many very young people, and yes they may have not experienced the daily grind of that working lifestyle, but they will, and we will give them little hints through our music as to what it’s all about.

Class war nowadays does not mean too much to kids, so what it means to you?
It doesn’t mean as much too as many people as it did years ago, but it means more then ever to an aware few of our time. To me it simply means that I feel the people in my class are giving the burden of supporting all the other classes. I feel the people I share my class with are being taken advantage of.

Can you tell me in what parts of your life you feel the pressure on working class and what are the advantages they are trying to take away from you?
You toured Europe couple of times, how different is the scene in Europe from the USA scene?
Much different, in Europe there is more business involved with hardcore bands touring, and that can be good and bad. Over here in the USA, it’s completely DIY. Europe scene is much bigger and more organized.
It’s interesting to find out that the scene in USA is more diy then in Europe, I always though it’s the other way around. Then it’s the reason why majority of “bigger even smaller” American bands are coming to Europe? To sell their records and merchandise? What is your view on hard core business then?

Wisdom in chains in London 2008 foto amentma

As a group with African-American singer, don’t you find yourself in racist rows with racist boneheads/skinheads? Because in Europe especially in Western parts the neo Nazi skinheads are trying to infiltrate the scene and causing troubles on the shows and that’s why there are loads of anti racist activities within the scene nowadays.
We have not really had that problem, we would hear stories now and then about some boneheads planning on coming to a show to cause problems for us, but they never really turned into anything real.

Any experience from your tours or from America?
As far as racism – no not really. In the USA, that was a problem that the Hardcore scene had years ago. Years ago the boneheads came out to our shows, and there was a lot of trouble, but Hardcore kids from all areas just took it to them, it was a violent time, but in the end they stopped coming to our shows.

How is the racism issue back in America?
Well, it’s a problem everywhere, and it will never be completely cured, but as you see, as a country America actually voted for a black man to be president. In my own life time here in the USA, I have seen a huge drop in the racist attitudes from when I was younger.


What is hardcore punk for you? Lifestyle? Commitment? Unity? Struggle? Friends? Politics? Fun?
Yes it is surely a lifestyle, a total commitment, especially when you have been doing it as long as we have with this band and all of our previous bands, unity, well sort of. As for it being a struggle, well it could be at times, but it is if all about great friends and fun. Politics, not so much, because we share similar political ideas with each other and most of the people that come to our shows, but we always love talking about politics. Trend? Never…And cashing in??? Haha, doing this only makes daily financial life harder for us.

What do you think about the trend cashing on hardcore, I mean, I don’t know like you, but I am seeing difference between the 90s and nowadays hardcore, back in the 90s it was re-birth in Europe, loads of kids, honest bands being politically active, especially in Eastern Europe, but nowadays there is loads of bands just trying to play the music, look like a tough guy, but doing it only for money and fame and whatever reason they might have behind it. Just touring and having lyrics about getting girls and how hard it is on tour touring 24/7, but that’s it. No social values and questions to be answered.
Well honestly, to “cash in” on Hardcore, I think you need to make CASH! Haha, and I know very few bands that make any really money doing this. The few bands I know that do make some money doing this really work hard and sacrifice their whole lives to this. I don’t think there are as many political bands as there used to be, but I think that’s because so many lost hope, and they feel it makes no difference. A lot of young people think it doesn’t matter what person or party controls an office, they feel its all bullshit. So why be political? I honestly feel there where some great bands from the 90s and before, and there are some great sincere bands from our time as well.

Are you trying to bring hard core back where it belongs – underground?
Well I know in Europe things are different, but for us, we are underground. For almost every other band we deal with, they are underground.

Ninja fest, London, foto amentma

What is your view on present hardcore?
I think there are some really good bands out there, the one problem is these bands don’t last very long, they do like 2-4 years then they call the quits when they get a little older.

Where do you see hard core in next 5 years?
I don’t think it will be much different then it is now.

If you will have chance to sing to major label and just tour 24/7 would you do it ?
I wouldn’t change our sound or style for any amount of money, but if a major label wanted us and wanted to pay us a lot of money for doing what we want to do, yes of course I would take the money. I love making and playing music, and if I could have a chance to do that instead of pouring concrete I would do it in a second. But if they wanted to change my style, message, or sound, there would be no way, and I will stay knee deep in the concrete.

I have to ask on the political climate in America after Obama becomes president of USA. How different is America now with Obama in the seat?
Well its no lie we all hated Bush, and I am happy the people had the balls to vote for who they thought was the best man for the job, and they didn’t let his skin colour stop them, but I feel Obama is a puppet just like Bush. Here in the USA, it’s all the same shit. Big money calls they shots, the ruthless elite profit of sick people, they profit off of lies, and tricks, and schemes, they use our homes and their banks and their tricky evil credit card companies to keep us right in our powerless places. As for the climate, I think people have hope that Obama will make better decisions and get our country on the right track. I just doubt it myself.

What is the climate and opinions of people around you?
For the most part people are happy and hopeful.

Are you full of expectations?
Me personally, no I am not. I see biz as usual

Can you feel the social and political changes already, or do you think nothing will really change and the international politics would not change drastically?
Nothing will really change all bullshit.

What is your view on War in Iraq?
It was a scheme for a small group of people to profit. And lower and middle class military enlisted men and women are cheap labour for huge rich companies who are pouring into Iraq.

9/11 was probably the biggest day in modern American history, what you think about the “terrorist act”, almost every American changes his views after that and Bush Jr. could start his oil war with huge public support even he was loosing the poles drastically before that. What is your view on the 9/11?
I would love to see a real honest new investigation. I don’t believe what I was told about 911.

Especially after all those years of questioning different stories and conspiracy theories. Do you think that the Bush administration did that to create climate and support their War on Terror, in Europe mostly viewed as war for oil.
I don’t know exactly what did happen, but I do feel that there is something very evil and sneaky that went down. I do know the Bush administration, and some life long friends of those people really made profit off of this disturbing event. And usually after a crime takes places, and you see what develops, you can also get an idea who may be behind those crimes.

Who is booking your tour in Europe?
Our last few tours where booked by MAD from Germany.

Ninja fest, London, foto amentma

Do you have information about the promoters? Can you pick your own and have decision who will represent you in Europe booking your tour?
We only know the promoters that we have worked with before, if it’s a new area we are going in we have to trust that whoever booked us (MAD) knows and trusts them. Of course we care.

Reason I am asking is that there are some promoters who have links to Nazi underground movement and those people are organizing gigs especially for American bands, which literally don’t care who is organizing their shows. Last examples is Bane, who played show in Slovakia organised by people who are distributing Nazi /racist/ bands or Zoli from Ignite co-operating with extreme right wing band from Hungary. It’s very upsetting over here when you see those “heroes” coming and doing this, ignoring the problems kids are facing in countries they are coming to play – that their shows are attacked by Nazi gangs, attacked on the streets by those bonehead gangs etc. This shows only the ignorance most of those big bands have and its very upsetting kids over here.
Well I have to say that I would be surprised if Bane or Ignite would play for promoters if they knew this stuff. You have to understand, our bands are coming from a far distance, and it’s very risky for us. There have been times in the past when we flew out of our country and landed in foreign countries only to see there was no one to pick us, noon answering our phone calls. So at times we just have to trust the people that arrange these shows for us. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to play shows for these peoples, and I would hope that somehow people would let us know ahead of time, but at the same time it may be cool to book a show with a Nazi promoter, and then rob him at the end of the show.

Turning page to more none political views. What makes you happy in life? What is the greatest moment in your life so far?
Music makes me happiest I guess. Sadly I really can’t think of any great moments.

What are the bands which introduced you to hard core punk lifestyle?
Mainly Agnostic front. I have to give them a lot of the credit.

The end, not sure if there was more. Only found this.

if you want to support my activity and art please visit my shop http://www.amentma.bigcartel.com

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