Last Years Youth

Subculture zine — Issue 7

Last Years Youth




How did CASTILLO come together, could you give us a history of the band and its members?

Castillo basically started in my bedroom. I started writing songs during the 2020 lockdowns, specifically during April and May. Apart from work, I had nothing to do in my spare time so I would sit in my room for hours and just write songs, record them on my phone, and layer parts until I was satisfied. Once I had some material I asked Levi if he wanted to play drums for a new project and he agreed. No rehearsal spaces were open, so we started practicing in his carpentry shop, and after about two months of practicing as a two-man band, we decided to record 5 songs.

After the record came out, we decided that we wanted to play shows and needed a full lineup. So I basically just recruited friends that I enjoy hanging out with. Greg plays 1 st guitar and he sings for my other band, Repeat Offender. We’ve known each other since we were in high school. Blake plays bass in my other band, Criminal Outfit, and he was the first person I thought of to play bass. Alex plays second guitar and he was previously in a band called Wise. All of us are from the LA area except Blake; he’s originally from Riverside, which is in the Inland Empire.

You guys have a very unique sound, a great blend of modern Oi!/Punk and plenty of nods to the classics. What bands have been the biggest musical influences on the band, and how has being from a city with such a rich and varied punk rock history affected the band?

When writing I didn’t set out to be a “worship” band, trying to exactly copy or emulate a particular band or era. You know, you have Cro-Mags worship or Negative Approach worship bands. I like stuff like that, but I wanted a variety of influences to inform our sound. I was mainly listening to 80s French and Italian Oi! when writing, but I also love so much other stuff like 70s power-pop, glam, and punk. I wanted a band that sounded kind of raw, but with super melodic hooks and gruff vocals. I like the contrast between melody and roughness. Here’s three bands that really inspired me when writing: Snix, The Jook, The Wedding Present.

It seems like there is a number of new bands in the states with younger members, bringing in flavours from the punk and/or hardcore scene and interjecting it with the classic Oi sounds. Do you think in recent years there has been more crossover than in the past and is this in part due to maybe less gatekeeping of the scene? Could you introduce some of what you perceive to be the best of the new crop of USA Oi! and street punk bands?

The U.S. skinhead scene is notoriously gang-oriented and very big on gatekeeping. It also has a strong elder/freshcut tradition, which basically means that skinheads won’t be cool with you or let you hang around if you haven’t been cropped in by an elder that people respect. The rationale is typically to weed out posers and those who can’t really hang with the skinhead lifestyle. Since skinheads in the U.S. were very gang-oriented it’s easy to see why they gate kept so hard. You want to test whether someone can fight and truly have your back and so you won’t let them be around unless they can do so. I get all that. But posers will always come and go; they’ll jump on the skinhead bandwagon and they’ll get bored of the scene in a year or two, or get spooked by the violence. So you don’t really need such strict gatekeeping in this day and age – that’s my personal opinion and older skins might disagree with me but they should ask themselves how much good this old tradition has generated recently. Has it led to better music and bands in the scene? Has it made more people interested in the skinhead scene? I think the answer is NO. I think it’s great when new, young kids come into the Oi!/skinhead scene. People are always immediately skeptical of new kids, but the truth is that without them, the scene cannot go on or thrive. Younger kids can’t relate to 45-year-olds playing music; you need young, good bands to attract the younger generation. Post-pandemic, the scene in LA has been super interesting. There has been tons of crossover between subcultures and people. You see hardcore kids and punks going to Oi! shows, and all these different groups moshing and singing along side by side. It wasn’t really like this before the pandemic. I don’t know what the explanation is, but it’s cool to see.

As far as new U.S. bands go, The New York Hounds were incredible (RIP Simón). A few of us from LA flew out for the last gig in Brooklyn and it was probably the best show I’ve seen in a decade. Violent Way are a super good band full of amazing and hilarious guys. We did a few shows with them in California and we can’t wait to play in New York with them. Slugger, from Northern California, are a great new band who have a debut record out on Try and Stop Me Records and Longshot Music. They have a raw but powerful sound that reminds me of early Templars.

What have been your most memorable gigs to date, and favourite venues/cities to play so far? Are there bands that you regularly share the bill with?

So far we have only played in California, but I would say for me the most memorable shows have been our LA shows with Violent Way and the Chisel. The LA show with Violent Way was probably the biggest, most well-attended Oi! show in years and the energy that night was tense, electric, and so fun. The show got shut down for about 10 minutes until we saved it, somehow.


You’ve recently released a two-song promo tape – what’s in the works for CASTILLO on the vinyl release front, and where will people be able to get updates on that? Also, tapes seem to have come back with a vengeance recently, why do you think that is?

At the moment we are writing our next record, which will be 6 songs or so. I hope to have that pressed and released by early summer 2023. I think the new songs are much more developed and thought out than the old stuff, and you’ll see a lot more variety of influences on display.

I’ve always loved cassette tapes. In the punk and hardcore world, tapes are very popular. I don’t really have many Oi! tapes in my collection, but I would love for bands to keep releasing them. I think more people are turning to tapes because they are tired of the wait times at record plants. I still think a record is the best way to go, but waiting that long is not always ideal.

Do you guys plan on undertaking any touring? Where would you most like to play, and with whom?

We want to do some east coast shows and we want to do shows in Europe, hopefully, next summer. I don’t think we will ever do any heavy-duty touring; we’ll probably just play a few sprinkled shows in a couple of different places. Paris is basically the capital of Oi! as far as I am concerned so that is one place I really want to play in.

Have you heard many Canadian Oi! bands? If so, which bands have you enjoyed the most?

Of course! Canada has so many really great bands. Some current bands I love include Beton Arme, Force Majeure, Ultra Razzia. There’s many more that I am forgetting but you get the idea. Going back some years I was really into Hired Goons.

Cheers for the interview Alex – anything you would like to add?

Thanks for taking an interest in us and for the interview. I love this zine!

The Enforcers

When and where did THE ENFORCERS form? Could you give us some backstory on the band and the members?

We started as a 3 piece in about late 2016. Myself (Caden) on vocals and guitar, Al on drums & Mike on bass. I wanted to create a hard, unapologetic Oi! band to breathe some more life into the scene in Southern Alberta. We played a few shows around western Canada but we didn’t end up being overly active. I was focused on martial arts ambitions. Mike was preoccupied with work shit. A large part of it was because I refused to get fill-ins or add members. I didn’t pull out the name “The Enforcers” for no reason so I wasn’t gonna bring just anyone into the fray. We had a bunch of songs we never recorded.

Sometime around late 2019, Rob relieved me of my guitar duties (thank fuck) after he was living in Belgium/Netherlands for a few years. We decided to kick this band into high gear and write quality shit. We played our first show back together at a Fundraiser for Mike’s nonprofit, the Evan Shaw Accessibility Foundation, in October 2021.

Dereck joined us on rhythm guitar this year making us a 5 piece shortly after.

Mike played in an Oi! band called Berzerker in like 2005 and Dereck sang in a hardcore punk band called The Chain. Myself and Rob have played all sorts of music together since we were 12 years old.

Being a Calgary band, what were local bands and scenes that were influential to the band’s formation and sound? What are some of the best current Calgary bands on the go?

As far as scenes go punk and hardcore were the most influential for sure. I’d dip my toes into the reggae DJ nights every so often when they would happen. Local band influence as far as sound goes there was a band called Bomber who only played one show but their set had a huge impact on myself. Very tough street punk style Oi! in its purest form “You’re too soft!”. Definitely pivotal in the formation of The Enforcers cause I wanted to fill the void they briefly filled and then left.

The Borderguards is a big one. Some of us grew up in Lethbridge so definitely The Dregs (RIP Brian). Stressed Out – Joel now plays in Chain Whip. Honourable mentions: Wednesday Night Heroes, No Problem, Act Fast, Knucklehead, Streetlight Saints

There are a lot of good current Calgary bands across different styles. Way too many to name them all, but almost no bands in the Oi!/street rock realm at the moment that are on the go. I’ll rattle off a few local bands I’ve seen recently: Territories, Death Knell, Pagans of Northumberland, Urethane, Pearl Male

There is clearly a LOT of hardcore in your sound in addition to the classic, rougher 80s Oi! bands. Am I right is assuming most of you have participated in the hardcore scene in Western Canada? In Calgary, is there a lot of crossover between HC kids and skinheads? If you were to pick 5 bands that had the most influence musically or lyrically on the band, past or present, who would they be?

I don’t think we sound particularly hardcore. But we aren’t exactly pub rock either. We definitely play a bit of attention deficit Oi! Our noise isn’t pretty. We’re trying to inject some piss and vinegar into this thing. I wanted a very aggressive, confrontational sound and energy that could incite an audience. That being said the new record that’s coming out veers slightly closer to street rock sensibilities.

You are correct. We have all participated in hardcore so it certainly has a level of influence. Calgary is a small scene so there was a fair amount of crossover and intermingling. We’re all friends (mostly). SBC!

There are always those who turn their nose up at things that aren’t street punk/rock or reggae and vice versa but that never made sense to us.

We’re drawing from a lot of wells so I’ll have to answer for myself. I think I speak for most of the band when I say The Bruisers is on average our biggest influence on all fronts. The attitude and the sound is immaculate. When I was a teenager and heard “Intimidation” for the first time I was locked in. As far as the other influential bands, it may be played out but the 4 Skins are a very direct influence lyrically and musically for myself. It’s visceral, dangerous, and kind of pessimistic. Which is what I naturally gravitate towards. Boot Party from Fresno, California was a formative band for me. It’s generic as fuck in the best way and not really melodic. So part of me is always gravitating to that tough sound. For contemporary bands, I’d say The Reapers and Crown Court are a big influence on us.

We don’t sound too much like any of these bands but sometimes when people talk about influences they mean bands they try to sound like, but that’s not what we are trying to do. As far as lyrics go I couldn’t care less if they fall into the typical Oi! wheelhouse or not. It’s all based on real experiences or demented ramblings.

While it looks like you have plans to go to the states, so far you guys have played in a lot of cities throughout Western Canada. Can you tell us about the highlights so far, best bands you’ve played with/rowdiest crowds?

Our California tour fell through due to some unforeseen circumstances… but that won’t stop us. More US dates to come.

Gotta go with the hometown for best crowd of course. All our friends were there, lots of people singing along and getting wild.

Winnipeg is the runner-up best crowd although certainly not our best set. We love that city. We played in a bowling alley in St.James. The mood was rowdy. Every band killed it. Drank the bar dry of beer. Watched some guy get beat up twice. The locals made us feel at home. Near the beginning of our set I got carried away and broke a bottle on my head (never done that before) so I had glass stuck in my hands & head the whole time. A bunch of us rolled to a pool hall that happened to be doing a dancehall/reggaeton night down the street afterwards. I had blood on my shirt, face and head but they still let us in and served us to my disbelief. What a town. Can’t wait to go back!

Our latest show in Edmonton we had the opportunity to play with No Problem. That was definitely a highlight. The best punk band to come out of Alberta if you ask me and they are incredible live.

There is talk of a split with you guys and London’s CROWN COURT. Can you tell us a bit about how this has come about?

Yeah, we have a split with Crown Court coming out on Crossbar Records.

I met Trevor the singer via football. Mostly unrelated to our bands actually. Our paths crossed because we both follow Tottenham essentially. One time while I was over there following Spurs, groundhopping and training at Dutch kickboxing gyms and I ended up linking up with him and his boys.

It wasn’t until a while later when I was back home and we were chatting that I even mentioned I played in a band. I sent him the record and from there the idea of a split was born. They have been some of our biggest supporters since. London’s absolute finest.

What else is on the cards for the future with ENFORCERS?

We will be releasing a new record digitally, and the split I mentioned with the Crown Court boys before the new year. Vinyl for Rock Against Society should be available this fall on Lionheart Records.

As far as booked gigs at the moment, we’ll be playing Calgary with the Ripcordz and The Motherfuckers at the end of August, Montreal & Toronto with Violent Way, La Gachette, Force Majeure, Reckless Upstarts in September.

In Canada we’ve got our eyes on places we’ve never played like Victoria, Kamloops, Quebec City, Saskatchewan. Lots of stuff in motion. Expect Europe & Mexico in 2023. But really everywhere and anywhere is on notice!

What are your top 5 Canadian Oi! bands in recent times?

That’s hard!

Puffer – “Live and Die in the City” EP is my personal favourite recent release at the moment
Beton Arme – ridiculously good live
The Prowlers – still relevant as ever. Age like fine wine. Been spinning the new record lots
No Heart – “Come and Gone” is one of my favourite Oi! songs.
Force Majeure

Cheers for the interview Caden – anything you want to add?

Thanks for the interview. Looking forward to playing Victoria.

You can contact us by emailing via our bandcamp or just messaging our Instagram page.


When and where did SLUGGER form? Can you tell us a bit about the band?

Hey man! Sorry for the long reply on this one, been a really busy summer for us so far! First off thanks for doing this interview, it really means a lot, Victoria is one of my favorite spots I’ve ever played so it’s cool to reconnect. I’m Tommy and I front the fucker, Clay plays guitar and helps write the bones of the material and Justin plays bass/makes the songs listenable haha. For drums and second guitar, we kind of rotate around, but we’ve been playing live with the homie Elliot on drums and Bryan on second guitar. Without Bryan, this band wouldn’t be shit, he has done so much design work for us I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay him, so it’s worth noting, plus he rips. I tried getting a band like Slugger together for a long time and under a few different names but it never really clicked. I always had a bunch of other projects going so it was always kind of on the back burner. Me and Clay had been playing together a lot and when Class System got back from a Midwest tour, me and Clay spent a lot of time in the woods jamming Creedence and shit and with all the bullshit happening in this state and this country, we just kinda got pushed towards doing a band that was earnest as hell and had something to say.

We’re all in our 20s. Me and Clay live in Chico, California, although we are both from small towns in the mountains nearby. We’ve been in bands together since he was in high school and I was like 19 or 20, but most recently we were in Class System, The Choice (with Bryan as well) and D-FY. Justin is from San Diego/Santa Cruz, he was in Drain for a while and we all stomped around in Chico and the Bay Area for years hitting shows/DJ nights, skating and jamming etc. Elliot would always kick it with us too, and he has been a down ass Bay head for years so it was a no-brainer to hit him up to play with us too. Basically it’s just Northern California skinhead shit, except Bryan, but he’s honorary and we always remind him hahaha.

So far for those of us not in the California area, what we can listen to are two tracks from a promo tape for a soon(?) to be released 10″. What have been people’s reactions to the tunes who maybe haven’t seen the band live, and how did you hook up with LSM and TASM for the release? Also, how would you try to describe your sound/influences to someone who hasn’t listened to you yet?

The Slugger recording had been a long time coming. Like I said, I’ve known that I’ve wanted to do a band like this for years and me and Clay would fuck around and record demos here and there but we could never get it together due to all the other stuff we had going at the time. Finally, shit lined up and Justin was up visiting from Santa Cruz and heard one or two tracks and pretty much forced me and Clay to do a legit demo recording with all three of us. That recording took place a few weeks later at a house in Chico, California (Chapmantown) called Moonstomp Manor. We used one mic for everything, mixed it as best we could, had the boy Miles master it, and I threw it out on the ‘gram to see if anybody would pick it up and put it out on tape. Alex from Castillo and Repeat Offender, another dude who we wouldn’t exist without, put us on with Longshot Records/TASM Records and now those recordings are becoming a 10-inch, which blows my fucking mind to be honest. People have been really into it live as well which is really humbling, we’ve gotten a lot of props and it means a lot. In terms of style man, we have a lot of influences. The shit I’m most directly trying to channel is like some pissed-off rock n roll shit. Me and Clay both fuck with the Stones and Creedence (of course) but we also like The Templars and Oi of all flavors/nations. There’s too many bands, old and new, to list that really influenced us, but to me personally, you really can’t beat Sham. That boy sounded like he had something to get off his chest and he fucking meant it. Not many bands make the hair on the back of my neck stand up; Sham 69 hits like that now for me just like it did when I was 9 years old. We all obviously like Reggae and Rocksteady as well, probably because, like Oi, it’s one of those styles that has a direct line to what-the-fuck is really up. It’s authentic music, and it’s music that matters, regardless of who you are.

What have been your favourite bands that you’ve had the pleasure of sharing a stage with so far?

Oh man! Shout out to Weekend Kids! A couple of the dudes from that band are old friends of mine, Portland always gets down and playing with them in Oakland was fun as hell. Straight forward ass Oi, great riffs, catch them if you get a chance it’s some certified big boss shit.

It’s funny, so far we’ve only played two shows but all the bands have been awesome. To be honest though, I think our collective highlight was playing with the Chisel. I’m not humble, that band is great, like truly great. Those lyrics fucking mean something, which is beyond refreshing, and they’re speaking about a lot of the same shit that’s going on here, so it felt like a special thing to share that stage. Killed it live too, I hit more stage dives at that show than at any other combined in my career. Some sick ass HC bands on the bill too, lots of friends, hella slamming, it was a perfect fucking show. Definitely the type of stuff we all envisioned for this band.

The bouncy, simple hook-laden rocker “I Ain’t A Sucker” immediately caught my attention when I heard it – could you elaborate on the lyrics?

Plain and simple man, I’m sick of seeing my friends and other working-class kids getting conned into supporting fascist bullshit. Doesn’t matter how you paint it up, we all know where all this nationalist shit in the Skinhead scene came from, and if you have half a brain cell you can see who the real threat to our freedom is. Don’t get me wrong, fuck authoritarianism in ALL forms, but you’re fooled if you think that some comic-book-commie is gonna come into your bedroom at night and steal what little you have. I grew up seeing kids in my school fall into prison nazi shit, a system encouraged and maintained by the pigs and judges. Then when the trump shit happened I saw fools on some wacked-out internet shit get radicalized by stupid ass memes and get fully into the jackoff from there. Now, look at how these motherfuckers are stacking the government, how these motherfuckers have all the guns; like you’re really gonna stand in the biggest systematic rightward shift in our nation’s history, fraught with extremist violence and touting civil war and tell me that both sides are somehow equal? I don’t ascribe to any kind of ideological dogma, that shit Is largely tired and useless at the point we’re at/heading to, but who is the real fucking threat? It’s not the immigrants who build this country, and it’s certainly not some left-wing boogeyman. It is who it’s always-fucking – been: a parasite class of businessmen and politicians who squeeze the worker dry and convince them to blame somebody else. We have to end this cycle, starting right here in our own scene.

And skinhead politics are always confusing and I’m not gonna pretend to be an authority on how it truly is out here, but all I know is what I see and what I see in California at this point, aside from the scarce non-trump right-wing head, the line has kind of been drawn here in terms of fascists and non-fascists due to trump taking the republican party and fulfilling its destiny as thee premier redneck fascist shit fest. Most far-right skinheads (who are/were involved in the scene, not just street tweaker peckerwoods) either turn into proud boy juggalos or internet weirdos and drop off into obscurity due to fear of getting fucked up. I still see people flirt big time with RAC shit tho, from skins to spikey punks. Don’t let you or your homies get fooled.

There seem to be a number of newer California bands (Castillo are the other immediate one to mind) with younger members – do you think the younger generation of those playing in current Oi! bands have more crossover with the hardcore and punk scenes than older skins? Why do you think that is?

Oh man absolutely. A lot of the current CA skinhead scene came from the Hardcore scene straight up. You gotta remember, the first American skinhead music was Hardcore, but once the two-tone scene and a homegrown Oi/Street Punk scene got going shit seemed to have split quite a bit. But Skinheads are/have always been a staple in USHC on both coasts, and that tradition in connection to anti-racism runs deep down here.

Growing up in California, every decent sized city has some kind of hardcore scene, it’s like a working-class youth tradition out here along with Hip Hop and shit so I think a lot of kids, myself included, got involved on that level because we couldn’t get into 21+ Oi/Street Punk shows and DJ Nights. In the 2010s, the USHC scene had a mini British invasion with bands like The Flex and Violent Reaction, and there was kind of a boot boy renaissance. People started digging into Oi again and starting HC bands informed by Oi (but mostly 86 Mentality), and when people turned 21 there was like this huge cross-pollination, at least in California, between Hardcore, Oi, Reggae/Rocksteady Dj stuff and working class youth culture in general. People criticize American Skinheads, and I think especially California Skinheads for being too non-traditional or whatever but out here we boast one of the earliest traditional scenes in the country (Boots and Booze magazine), and in my opinion what is going on right now with California and Skinhead shit is what’s helping keep the movement fresh and relevant in an era of throwaway culture. Like it or not, California is gonna do what it does and its gonna be loud as hell about it so come out and party or fuck off hahaha.

So if I were to list California bands with younger Skinheads in them I’d probably have to list close to like 20+ hardcore bands right now. Younger Oi bands in California are much more rare, but I would say that Castillo is definitely on top for me right now. There’s a newer band too, Prison Tatt that is from central California that is worth checking out they have a sick demo. Aside from that, I’m not sure, but if you’re in a younger California Oi band and you’re reading this hit us up let’s play some shows. Over on the east coast though you got Violent Way, and I would definitely shout them out as a band that is kicking ass and keeping shit fresh. Midwest too you got Mean Mugs from Minneapolis, a band not enough people fuck with to be honest. I would like to see more young Oi bands crop (ha) up though, again if you have one hit us up!

Give us a general top 10 of contemporary Oi! bands, as seen by the Slugger camp.

Alright I might take a little liberty with this one in terms of the time period, but I think the general consensus is something like:

Crown Court
Béton armé
No Class
Violent Way
The Chisel
Roughed Up

Where is on the Slugger tour hitlist, where are you most looking forward to playing?

Me and Clay want to go back out to the Midwest really bad, nobody gets down like Midwesterners. All of us want to check out the East Coast too, and maybe hit chunks of Canada on either/both of those potential runs to see friends and hang out in the mountains because we all like that shit.

We all talk about Europe a lot too, and I think that’s our big prize. We all kind of came up when bands like Lions Law were first breaking so to me the European scene looks like Skinhead heaven or something, so we’ll see If we make the cut! Right now with gas and plane tickets, it seems like our best bet is doing one off shows/fests around the US, so if you got one and wanna book us, hit us up on the sluggstagram: @californiaslugger

Final comments, shout outs?

Arranging dental plans for fascist fucks is a Skinhead tradition, don’t let down those who came before you.

Lost Legion

Lost Legion - Bridging Electricity

When, where and why did Lost Legion form?

I started the band in 2014 with this guy Griff. I played guitar and sang, he played bass. We’d both been in a bunch of bands, but none I think your readers would know. We were into the old Vulture Rock bands and wanted to actually sound like that instead of the more polished sound a lot of bands were doing at the time. The two of us practiced a couple of times and then Griff moved to Colorado, but right before he left he introduced me to Dave. The three of us recorded the songs from the first demo on the day Dave and I met so that demo is from the only actual practice we ever had. 

Griff recorded the drums and bass for the Autoproduktion tape in Denver with some guy I’d never met who clearly wasn’t into Oi!, and then sent it to me to record vocals and guitar. I like the songs I wrote for it, but don’t like how the songs turned out. I don’t think the drums fit the songs at all and wish we could have worked them out together. 

I don’t know whatever happened with that other drummer, but we got asked to do a couple of records and I linked back up with Dave to do drums here. We wrote and recorded a 7” for Hardware Records, but Griff flaked out on recording bass parts and it never came out. In hindsight, we shoulda just finished it without him. Dave and I are good friends now and live in the same building, and during the quarantine, I wrote a lot of songs I felt were a continuation of the stuff we’d done before, so we decided to revive the name and get our friend Kyle from Fuerza Bruta/Brick Assassin/Flatfoot 56 to play bass. 

Some friends have helped out with additional vocals. Christine from Daylight Robbery and Primitive Teeth does vocals on the cover of the song “Tonite” (by the Go-Go’s) and Matheus from Fuerza Bruta has recorded secondary vocals on a few songs.

I can only assume you have heard a Templars comparison for the first few releases, with the first one being slightly more upbeat, then a bit of a rawer and more aggressive feel for Autoproduktion – what bands would you say were influencing your writing for this period of the band?

When we did Autoproduktion I was really getting into stuff like Stevie Wright and Coloured Balls. Since we wrote the stuff from different cities and the songs were recorded separately I really don’t know what *they* were going for. I feel like the tape would have been way different had either of our very different ideas actually panned out. I think Griff wanted it to sound like Condemned 84. 

The philosophy has always been to just run with it and see how the song turns out rather than try to nail down an exact sound, so I don’t think we sound much like our influences other than the Templars. The guitars on the first demo are 100% Templars. When somebody does something perfect you just follow that road for a while until you find your own way, ya know? 

Your new 10″ EP, “Bridging Electricity” has recently come out – at least to my ears, the sound has progressed loads in addition to dropping the lo-fi recording style. Rather than bringing to mind lo-fi 90s US classics, this sounds much more similar to current bands like Vis Vires and Legion 76 to me – how has the inspiration for the band changed in the few years between releases?

I learned a lot about recording in the years between starting the band and working on Bridging Electricity. I also wasn’t great at guitar when the early Lost Legion stuff came out, but after doing some really bad shows with Fuerza Bruta and not wanting to embarrass myself anymore I started taking music a little more seriously, so I learned more about my gear and started practicing pretty much every day. During quarantine, I was playing guitar basically all day some days and learning all I could about recording. Part of the “new” sound with Lost Legion is me leaning into that and trying to challenge myself.

The song “Bridging Electricity” was originally written to be a Fuerza Bruta song and I think you can hear that. “The Game” is one I wrote lyrics for first, and I didn’t think it made sense for Fuerza Bruta, so I initially offered it to Fizzy from the Royal Hounds/NYC Hounds. The lyrics are really personal and Fizzy is somebody that really got what it was about, but it never panned out and then that band ended in such a tragic, sudden way. I quit Fuerza Bruta soon after that, and that was the first song Dave and I worked out after I felt a little more free to do stuff. 

Also if you could talk about how you hooked up with Mike Jo for the release//give deets on how people can get ahold of the record – listened a few times thru now, enjoying it more every time, especially Tonite. Love the call-and-response stuff, and those additional vocals are fucking great!

Thanks! I first corresponded with Mike from Longshot about 16 years ago. He probably doesn’t even remember. I put out a record for my old hardcore band Korova and he traded me a stack of Longshot releases for a bunch of copies of that 7”. A couple of years ago I got hooked up with him again through Matt from the band Junto, and we check in with each other every once in a while. He’s a sincere guy with good taste that runs a great label! I sent him a couple of drum machine demos I was working on in 2020 and he said he’d be into doing a record. 

Unfortunately, the record has been in limbo for a while because getting vinyl pressed is taking forever. We sent it to the plant in January and still don’t have them yet. The first press sold out as a preorder, so when I get my copies they’ll be mailed out right away. Sorry State will have a few copies. There will be a second press on clear vinyl that’s going to be a co-release between Longshot and Try and Stop Me Records in Germany. 

Also, Under Watchful Eyes is doing a 7” version that I’m sure will look amazing like the rest of his stuff. I don’t know many details on that yet, but hopefully it will be out this summer. 

Lost Legion

Has Lost Legion managed to gig very often since the formation of the band? What have been some of your favourite gigs to date? Can you tell us a bit about the punk/Oi! scene in Chicago?

We’ve never played a show. The first demo is a live recording, so that’s the closest we’ve ever come. We could do it now since we’re more of a functioning band at this point, but I don’t think there’s much interest in booking us. We’d also have to get two guitarists because there’s no way I’m going to try to play guitar and sing at the same time. 

I honestly don’t know much about what’s going on in Chicago right now. Chicago took COVID restrictions very seriously and we just couldn’t do stuff people were doing in other places. A lot of bands broke up. We’d go to our practice space, which is in a big warehouse building where probably 150 bands practice, and it would be dead silent. It was like that for months on end. There are definitely active bands going now, but I haven’t quite found my way back to a lot of shows lately. 

To my knowledge, there aren’t many DIY spaces actively booking punk/oi/hardcore these days. 10-15 years ago it seemed like there were always dozens of houses doing shows, but in the last few years most of those spots have dried up for different reasons, and then COVID really fucked things up. There were some cool outdoor shows during quarantine that did feel like “old” Chicago shows, and I hope that keeps up even though things are sorta back to normal and people don’t *need* to do outdoor shows now. 

There’s a younger hardcore scene that I know is doing their own thing and putting on some shows, but that generation is into a style of hardcore that I never developed an appreciation for. I’m glad they’re having fun, but I don’t dig Nu Metal or that real chuggy style of jock hardcore. 

Chicago/NWI does have some cool bands. Mock Execution are good guys. Man Eaters are a lot of fun. The Conservative Military Image demo is cool and he seems to be consistently putting stuff out now. I love that “I’m Not Your Skinhead” song. Liquids are a very cool and weird band from Indiana. Fighting for Scraps are from the south side and are good guys that seem to have been around forever. Splatter Pattern are great UK82 kinda band that’s split between Chicago and Milwaukee. Milwaukee also has a killer death metal band called Pig’s Blood. False Negative are from Bloomington and are untouchable. Primitive Teeth and Riesgo are our friends/neighbors. Consensus Madness are also cool! Members of Dog Flashback and Udusic – both good bands. Canal Irreal did an LP on Beach Impediment, so I’m sure lots of people know them. I just saw them for the first time in a while and they were great. Their guitarist, Scott Plant, just released a solo EP that I really dig. I recorded some new demos for Fuerza Bruta with their new guitarist recently and the new songs are really good. I always say I don’t know any bands and then will name 50 bands I like. 

Dave and I do little side projects besides Lost Legion like Cenobite (HC with Portuguese vocals – and War Effort (d beat – Those are literally bands where we’ve just gone in and jammed out a demo in a day with friends. Not sure if that should count as current Chicago bands, but War Effort will actually be playing a couple shows. 

You also ran Foreign Legion Records, a DIY label that put out some top-tier stuff from 2015-2019. What made you decide to release the first few records?

I still sorta do Foreign Legion. I’ve released a few tapes in the last couple of years to avoid the awkward conversation of asking another label if they’d be interested in putting out something I did and to promote stuff I like that my friends put out. I’ve done some reissues for Komintern Sect and Nabat, and tapes for Dog Flashback from Chicago and Society’s Bane from Alabama. 

The idea for the label started when I used to do a zine around 2013. Oi! kinda sucked in the US at the time. A lot of bands started forming at once and a lot of them felt really insincere. None of it even sounded like Oi!, it was just pop-punk or mediocre hardcore dressed up in Fred Perry. 

At the time Chicago also wasn’t a fun place and everybody hated each other. There were opposing skinhead crews (not really because of politics, but just neighborhood sets that didn’t get along). I didn’t mind it at the time because I was miserable and loved to wallow in it. I was just kind of a piece of shit that drank too much and got into fights all the time. I finally got sick of that and decided to put my energy into doing the zine because it’d force me to look for stuff I really enjoyed. I made three issues and linked up with a lot of people, and that turned into the label. I was in a hardcore band called Snake Handler at the time, so I did our 7” and a record for a young skin band from Indiana called Public Assault that I really loved. I got a lot out of promoting bands I thought were overlooked, so I stuck with it. 

In one week at the end of 2018, my girlfriend broke up with me and moved out, I got hit with thousands of dollars in medical bills, had to sell my record collection, and a guy working at a pressing plant bootlegged one of my releases. I had to cancel two releases I was excited about because I just couldn’t afford it, and something about getting ripped off by someone in the punk/Oi! scene really took the fight out of me, so I just stopped making plans for releases. Even now that I’ve done more releases I still refer to it in the past tense. 

If you had to narrow it down to 3, which would you say were your favourite releases to have done and why?

I don’t know if I have a top 3, but I’ll try. I’ll always love that Public Assault record. Those kids really re-lit my fire for USHC. I still kinda consider them all younger siblings. The Blystex tape will always hold a spot in my heart. I love both releases on their own, but one thing about those records is that Toski from Public Assault went on to be in Blystex, so they’ll always be connected in my mind and sort of illustrate a progression in how I thought about the label. Both bands were really important to me for different reasons while they were active. 

Number one, though, would be I’ve Got the Bible Belt Around My Throat, a comp I did of Alabama bands. It was by far the most labor-intensive and rewarding project. It took several years to get all the audio and a few more years to track down some of the bands. It brought a lot of outside attention to the label and even wound up in an archive of southern culture at a college in Mississippi. I hate people that went to college, but that was a funny form of validation. 

I met a lot of old guys through doing that and had some really amazing conversations while interviewing bands. Clay, the singer of the band the Ether Dogs, had such an interesting life and I’m so grateful I got to talk with him before he died earlier this year. Still thankful for what I was able to learn from him and the other people that supported that project. 

That record also led to me being able to work with Rave Up records in Italy to release an LP the Ether Dogs recorded in the early 80s, which was a huge deal to the guys in the band. I’m glad Clay got to see it! 

What’s your opinion of the current state of Oi! bands, both in the US and internationally? What have been 5-10 records that have come out in recent years that you have gotten excited about? 

I don’t pay attention like I used to. I’m sure there are lots of cool bands doing stuff that I’m not aware of. I really dig Cuero from Spain and Mess from Mexico. Montreal seems to be where it’s at these days; there are always good recordings coming out of there. Your comp is great, I really dig the Toy Tiger stuff, and of course Bootlicker. FREEWAYS from Canada kill it! I know it’s not Oi! The Puffer demo is sick. I love Violent Way because they would fit right in on a GMM comp from the 90s. They seem like good guys, and I like to see a younger band really carry that torch. The US needs at least one band like that. The Claimed Choice LP is really cool. It’s good to see France is still at the top of its game. 

What bands got you into everything in a spiralling effect – was it more the hardcore or punk side of things that you got involved initially? What was the scene like in your hometown?

I’ve been a skin since I was 14. I lived in Alabama, which felt pretty isolated back then. There was a massive skin scene there that was dying out right around when I showed up. HBO did a documentary on the white power scene in my hometown called “Skinheads USA” and some of those guys still hung out and caused problems. It was a scary place to be a skin that was openly anti-racist, and I imagine there are still small cities like that in the US. I have some funny (in hindsight) stories, but looking back it’s so weird I stuck with it because there were old dudes that legit wanted to kill me and my friends. That definitely informed my mindset for the rest of my life. Now I have a 15-year-old and am so thankful he’s not into any of this stuff. 

I wasn’t even into Oi!, I was only into old hardcore. Negative Approach, Agnostic Front, FEAR, the Effigies, etc were my favorite bands back then. I went to a lot of shows and wasn’t into most newer bands I saw, so I started writing to bands in Maximum Rock n Roll to try to get them to play Birmingham, and one of the bands gave my contact info to Mark from the Hudson Falcons, who I got to come to town when I was 16. Through them and this guy Barron (who is still in a good band down there called Skeptic?) I got into the GMM Records scene. I was only a couple hours away from Atlanta and that scene was in full swing. I made friends with Chet from Adolf and the Piss Artists, and through him I met guys in Templars, Condemned 84, Anti Heros, etc, and those guys got me into a lot of good music. I mail-ordered some stuff from a label in Georgia and when he found out I was only 16 he mailed me tapes of the old Oi Core records releases which really changed the way I saw oi music. Bands like the Uprise were a lot more interesting to me than the British stuff I’d heard before. 

When I was 17 this guy Ellis showed up in Birmingham that had been in the infamous all-black skin crew from Washington DC that was run by that woman Lefty. If you ever read the book American Hardcore they mention her. He was the first real oi fanatic that I got to be good friends with and he got me into Japanese and South American Oi!, which is about when I started to really get obsessed with it. It felt really exotic, but it also felt like I had this weird connection to people on the other side of the world through the dumb music. 

What do you think of Canadian Oi! bands? Being not TOO far from the border, have you guys had a decent amount of Canadian bands coming thru over the years from Ontario, Quebec etc? 

Nope. I can’t recall a Canadian Oi! band playing Chicago since I’ve been here. SHIT from Toronto have played here a couple times. Prowlers played Minneapolis around 2015 and we played with Beton Arme in Milwaukee in 2019, but that’s all I can think of. We played Toronto when I was in Fuerza Bruta and I met a few folks up there. I really liked that band Hired Goons from Toronto, but their singer Kevin told me the rest of the guys were too scared to play Oi! shows, which I thought was hilarious at the time. I feel like a lot of people who play Oi! shouldn’t be playing Oi!, and I like that they just admitted it.

I did a record for Ultra Razzia a few years ago, and Marty from that band and the Prowlers introduced me to some cool local bands after that so I’ve kept paying attention to that scene. 

What’s in the future for Lost Legion//final comments?

We just finished a new EP and are sorting out the release. We have about 13 songs in various stages of completion. We might do an LP, but we’ll probably do a string of EPs and keep going long as folks want to release records for us. If someone asked us to do something really cool that made sense timewise we’d make it happen, but I’d rather put my energy into writing/recording and releasing records because that’s what’s fun for me. Kyle and Dave like playing live. They’ll win the argument eventually. 

Thanks for the interview!


EST 1916

How did 1916 first start out, could you introduce the band? What is the meaning behind the name?

1916 is:

  • Guitar and vocals: me (Sean)
  • Drums: Chris
  • Bass: Matt

Me and Chris have known each other for years and he asked me for help building his studio. Both our bands at the time were on a sort of hiatus so we started jamming and started 1916, we started off as “vox populi” but eventually came to 1916. We chose 1916 in respect to the Easter Uprising that happened in Dublin. We’re always cheering for the underdog.

To my ears, you guys have a very classic 90s sound. What bands would you say have been your biggest influences? Did you have a clear vision for the sound when the band started, or did 1916 evolve into what it is organically?

I definitely wanted 1916 to be an Oi! band, despite having some blatantly punk tunes on the album, and in our new ep we’ll be releasing this year hopefully. But bands like Anti Heros, Niblick Henbane, and Ultima Thule (the early years) just to name a few is defo where we got inspiration from.

EST 1916

Tell us about Winnipeg’s current(and past) scene – what are the standout bands? Has it changed in Winnipeg since you first got involved in the punk and Oi! world? What are 3 classic Winnipeg bands that people should seek out and listen to?

It’s coming back. For a while, there was literally nothing but now bands like Pure Impact, System Block, and Black Dogs just to name a few, are making the oi/punk scene come back to life in Winnipeg. Check them out, they either have stuff out or it’s coming soon!

Have you guys had the opportunity to gig very much? What have been the most memorable gigs to date, and where would you like to gig most?

We played an illegal house party kinda gig at the height of covid. Besides that, we just played gigs when we went by our previous name, Vox Populi. We’d really like to go south and hit up an American tour but unfortunately with the current lineup, it doesn’t seem doable due to legal issues.

How has the response to your debut 12″ been, and how can people get their hands on a copy? What does the future hold for est.1916?

It’s been good. We sold about half the stock so no complaints, still have plenty to haul around to gigs. We sold quite a few to different distros; check out Jesse from Mister Face Records, Mike from Longshot Records, and Alex from Try and Stop Me (tasm) Records. Other than that just drop me a message on Insta @establishednineteensixteen and I’ll send one out to ya.

All-time top 5 Canadian Oi! releases?

Subway Thugs – The Good, The Bad and the Thugly
King Size Braces – Land Of Broken Dreams
Force Majuere – Encore Debout
The Prowlers – Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Beton Arme – Au Bord Du Gouffre

Mean Street

Mean Street

Can you introduce our readers to MEAN STREET?

Jerome: Mean Street is four working class northern New Brunswickers living in the Bathurst area.

Jean Luc – main vocals and rhythm guitar
Adam – bass and vocals
Bowser – lead guitar and vocals
Jerome – drums

We’re all hometown boys. We played in many different bands together through the decades, starting in high school in the early 2000s when we were just little spiked hair juvenile delinquents.

Adam, Jean Luc, and myself started finding our sound that would follow us for a while and reach what it is today in the early 2010s. From that sound, heavily influenced by 77 punk, oi! and street punk, The Legacys and then later on The 2-4’s were born. Being from an isolated small town, most of our shows were DIY and backyard parties.

Personal obligations made it so that the party eventually died down. Jean Luc and myself got together with Bowser and started a rockabilly band. King Rat was very short-lived, breaking up after two shows.

After a hiatus, the original trio eventually decided to get back together and request the help of Bowser for lead guitar duties. From this union, Mean Street was started.

Bowser: Back in high school, I was part of the school band and the school jazz band, and then came my first band, a ska/punk band which Jerome drummed for. I played trumpet and guitar.

After high school, I had a metal project but it never got anywhere, we mostly jammed and played music at our own parties. After moving around a bit, I got more into blues and roots music. Especially rockabilly and jump blues. I then played with a rockabilly/rock and roll cover band where again, we mostly played parties. From there, after a few years, I joined King Rat and now Mean Street.

To my ears, from your 3 song banger-of-an-EP, you guys combine the sounds of TEMPLARS and the early MOTORHEAD – was this the game plan, or were you going for a different sound initially? What bands would you say were primary influences? How has the reaction been?

Jean Luc: Templars and early Motorhead are definitely part of my primary influences.

Adam: We all listen to many different types of music. When we’re writing songs, it all gets jammed down the barrel and whatever fires out is what happens.

Some of our tunes sound like they could be blasting out of a 77 Trans Am with some dude rocking a mullet and a Canadian tuxedo. Others sound like they came out of a punk squat smelling like piss and Colt 45.

Jerome: When we approached Bowser to join us, we knew that it would help evolve our sound beyond our main influences of punk and Oi! His talent and approach to tone made it possible for us to explore other influences that are more guitar-driven, Detroit proto-punk, Aussie hard rock, British pub rock… This combination makes Mean Street a bit of a bastard child, somewhere between niches. Taking a page from Lemmy’s book, we just call it rock and roll.

Bowser: When I started jamming with the boys, I wasn’t sure where I was gonna go with it. I would just listen to what they told me they wanted to hear and try to do it. As we started playing, I started going back to some Danzig, Motorhead and even a bit of Thin Lizzy and early Iron Maiden for inspiration. One of our friends mentioned that some of my riffs sounded a bit like Inepsy. I had never heard them before but I loved them and they became an influence for me from then on.

Tell us about the scene in Bathurst, and New Brunswick as a whole.

Jerome: Our weekly music scene in Bathurst is pretty dead. Shows are usually in bars and they consist mostly of classic rock cover bands. Since starting Mean Street, we’ve been putting on shows and the response has been really good. There’s not enough population for a scene dedicated to a single subculture or style. That means that we locally play with bands that differ widely from what we do, mostly metal acts, and we play DIY gigs.

Adam: If you’re into classic rock cover bands you can catch a show weekly in Bathurst. Anything worth seeing we travel for.

Bowser: I can appreciate the blues scene in Bathurst. We have a great festival and a few really good local artists. There’s definitely a lack in the heavier music scene. Hopefully, we can help turn that around.

Have you guys had a chance to play live yet? Where are you most looking forward to playing, and with whom?

Jerome: We’ve played a couple of shows. I’m looking forward to a couple of dates in Halifax with Faze from Montreal. The drummer, who also plays for Béton Armé, is a childhood friend of ours. It’s the first time we’ll be sharing a stage in at least a decade.

Bowser: I’ve never been out of province for a show. There’s a few new songs we’ve been working on that I can’t wait to get out and play.

What are 5 favourite Canadian bands for you, 5 past and 5 present?

Jerome: I’ll go with my biggest Canadian influences as a drummer: Teenage Head, Pointed Sticks & the Modernettes. The current Canadian bands I listen to would be Chain Whip, Bishops Green, Béton Armé and Alien Boys.

Adam: I wouldn’t say my favourite band, but one of my top Canadian bands would have to be DOA. They paved the way for punk bands early on. I would also have to add Teenage Head to my favourites.

Way back when Bathurst had a scene, a Fredericton band called EI played a gig. They sang about NB issues. We stuck to a similar path. Our new logo, inspired by a certain NB gas tycoon is an example of that.

There’s so many current bands playing that are really tearing it up: Béton Armé, Faze, Bishops Green…

Bowser: When I was younger, the Subhumans, Propagandhi, Grimskunk, Rush and Slaughter were probably the Canadian bands I listened to the most. Nowadays I would say mostly Inepsy and Béton Armé.

What’s in the works for MEAN STREET, is the “Six Nights on Mean Street” EP available in a physical copy? What else is in store for the band?

Jerome: The pandemic and the confinement it brought along made it so that we had a lot of time to get together and play music. I have a home studio and we do everything in-house. We are planning a physical release but nothing is available at the moment.

Bowser: I’ve never had as much inspiration as I do now with Mean Street, but for now, we already have enough for a full-length album so we’ll polish that off first.

Any closing comments?

Jerome: Thanks for reaching out to us.

Adam: Cheers! And keep an eye out for more MEAN STREET!

Bowser: Keep on rockin’! We’ll keep on rollin’ out the tunes!

Jean Luc: Rock and roll is the solution.

You can contact Mean Street at

DJ Scene – Winnipeg

Red River City Soul Club

Hi, can you tell us a bit about yourself – who you are, where you’re from, where you spin records?

I’m Marty from Winnipeg. A DJ, mod, scooterist, and record collector. I am 45 addict and have been doing it my whole entire adult life. So that’s a long time.

And where are you all spinning records right now?

I’m spinning at a place called the Goodwill Social Club, which is on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg. It’s actually the Trans Canada Highway. So if you start in BC, and you just hit the Trans Canada Highway and drive for a few days, you’ll eventually get to it – you don’t even have to get off the highway – you’ll just come right up to the front door. I’m doing that the last Thursday of every month. It’s called the Red River City Soul Club and it’s the newest incarnation of things that I’ve been doing around the city for years. I did a night with DJ Penny Lane for about three years straight. And that was bi-weekly, so we did every two weeks and it was quite good. It was called Shake ‘n’ Shout. That got lots of people coming out and we were playing vinyl and it was a lot of fun. I’ve also got a radio show on the local college radio station, UMFM 101.5 called “On Target –  It’s What’s In The Groove That Counts”, which you may recognize from the Gordy record label. I’ve been doing that for eight years now and it’s been picked up in the UK and in the States and gets a lot of downloads on the internet. A large number of people are from the UK but I have my local listeners too, which is great because the one thing about Winnipeg is they really, really support local. So if it’s a local shop or a local radio station, they really support it. So you’ve got people that only tune in to the local college radio station and just listen to it all day long. So my show comes on on Saturdays at 6:00 and I get to sort of share a little bit of what I do.

So the radio show, is that the same as the podcast? Every show a new episode?

Yeah. So it airs on the radio station here on Saturdays and then on Sundays I put it up online for anybody to download for free.

On Target Podcast

I’ve listened to quite a few of those. A lot of good, good records on there. So out of curiosity, what’s the scene like in Winnipeg? Are there still mods and scooterists?

I would say there is not a scene. The mods here are very casual these days and there’s only two or three of them. DJ Penny Lane’s probably the most connected other than myself. There was the Dancing Men Scooter Club here years ago, probably in the 80s, but they were a pretty decent-sized scooter club and they were strong, but there are no scooters here anymore. In fact, I’ve got a scooter that I can’t get on the road because there’s nobody who will fix it. I can’t get it fixed anywhere – nobody will touch it and I can’t send it to Minneapolis because they’re not working on old bikes – it’s a  1956 Vespa (a handlebar Vespa). I could only ride it three months out of the year here you know, it’s not like the weather is conducive to scooterists. As far as the downtown area – a cool area where you can go where you can dress in your suit or in your parka and walk downtown – that doesn’t exist. There’s just no area like that either. It’s that the people here are very laid back very casual, very you know sweats and Jets jerseys and that’s sort of it. It can feel very, very isolated from my people who are people like you and people that I can communicate with online who have the same interests as me, but they live in Halifax, in Montreal, in Toronto.

Yeah, I grew up in Saskatoon and can relate to everything you mentioned. I remember back in the 90s there were some mods from Winnipeg in the band Duotang that would come through on tour and it always seemed like there was something going on in Winnipeg at the time.

Yeah, those guys are still around, Rod and Sean, I still see them all the time but they’re doing other projects and stuff now. Sean was doing the Mod Club here and when I moved here, it was really, really huge. It was huge for that year, and then the next year it died a horrendous death and I don’t know what happened but people just stopped going and it was cancelled. It was like, wow, that sucks because I really thought there was a scene here but by then I’d already gotten married and bought a house here. There was a barbershop on the main drag that had a Lambretta in the window and its logo was a mod target and I was like, this place is awesome. There was obviously cool stuff I knew about the dance event and scooter club, and I knew that the mod club here was really big but now you can’t buy freaking Fred Perry’s here. You can’t buy Ben Sherman (unless they come up at Winners). There’s one Clark store here and it never has tan desert boots ever, you can’t even special order. I have more luck finding anything on Amazon than I do in the city that I live in.

Where did your love of music come from? What got you really collecting?

It’s funny because the collecting part and the music part started as separate things. I’ve always loved music and I was actually one of these nerds in school who listened to jazz. I was dressed up going to high school, and I get (of course) bullied for that, because I grew up on Saltspring Island – a hippy colony. I loved jazz, I was so into bebop, and, you know, Miles Davis and Coltrane – that was my thing, I loved it. And then I discovered people like Georgie Fame and different British artists that used jazz in their rock or pop and then that sort of drew me into that. My dad was a ballet dancer for years, and he was a musical theatre performer and was in West Side Story, the British original West Side Story, and so he brought dance and music into my life, for sure. I read back at some of your LYY issues, and I noticed that a lot of people say that their fathers or brothers or family members, brought them into the music, right? But yeah, I was introduced to it that way too but I did find the mod sound that I’m addicted to. I found that myself through, at the time, modern alt bands that were influenced by 60s music, and the progression of Prince to James Brown or whatever was happening as far as ska bands which took me back to Two-Tone and then that took me back to roots reggae and stuff like that, right. So the whole jazz thing leading into the British bands and then the British bands stealing from the rhythm n blues that was coming out of North America and creating a new sound – like all of that just totally fascinated me. So that’s what really brought me into the music and I love the connections you get. Actually, if you listen to my show, I am always pulling connections like so and so produced this but that’s so and so’s brother. And then they did this and they pull from here, etc. I love to find a record that’s full-on RnB but it’s just laced with gospel, or you know, it’s even got a ska beat, but nobody’s talking about the fact that it’s actually got a syncopated ska beat. The collecting part, I was just always a collector. I collected stamps and then I collected comics. I was a huge comic book collector and so when it came to records, I bought my first record, and then I just needed more. And that’s gotten a little out of control, but I’m working on it. When you can collect something and share it with people is something special so DJing is a way of taking my collection and sharing it with people – that is what really is the staying power. It’s not just hoarding stuff. It’s like saying, “Hey, I found this really cool thing and I want to share it with you, what do you think?” And for people to go “Oh, my god, that’s amazing” – that’s what gives me the tingles, you know, that’s what makes me be like “Yeah, yeah, it is. I’m gonna find something else and I’m gonna show it to you and you’re gonna be amazed”.

Exposing people to things they’ve never heard and that they love is one of the best parts.

Yeah, and being on the other side is great too. It’s ridiculous that with all the music I have and all the music I’ve heard I still am constantly being introduced to stuff I’ve never heard before. That blows my mind.

With the collecting that you started getting into, going on the assumption here that you’re a bit of a digger, how do you go about it? What kind of places do you tend to dig at and can you tell us about some of your most memorable digging experiences – best finds, dirtiest digging spots, etc?

Those stories probably intersect, haha.

I’ve always been digger in the same sense that everybody else is a digger. I used to go to garage sales and flea markets and antique malls and just find the 45s, right. That was definitely much more doable in other cities although over the years, I have figured Winnipeg out and there are places to get stuff. There’s a great record store here called Into The Music and they’ve got tons of 45s and I’ve been through that collection 1000s of times so by now I’ve probably bought all the best stuff. 

I don’t buy big lots of records. I used to, when I first started. I used to bid on lots on eBay, so I’d bid on blind lots, and then I’d find a handful of stuff inside the lots. And oftentimes it was really beat up or unplayable so it almost ended up being not worth my while. Now, over the last five years, the majority of my purchases have been on Discogs. But still every time there’s a record show I try to go. There was a huge record show that happened here twice a year, but the guy that organized it passed away and now nobody’s taking it up. 

I like Minneapolis for digging, there are places but of course through COVID I haven’t been able to cross the border. So that’s been something that I’ve been dying to do so I’m gonna get to do that now. I used to go to Montreal once a year for Mod-treal. I used to do that with Parka Pat in Montreal. It was a mod weekend that we put on and a record exchange was always part of that. I was just with him actually in Toronto taking over DJ Nico’s night while she was at the Modcaster week long thing in Spain. So Patrick, and I took it over. And we had a great time. And we went digging. We went digging to people’s houses – people that we know who are collectors who are selling stuff. There was a guy who used to live here that worked at Into The Music, and I contacted him and said, “We’re coming” so he said “I’ll bring out some records for you”. So we went over and he had hundreds of 45s there for us to go through. And another friend of mine from Victoria, well, we met in Victoria but is actually from Winnipeg. So it’s one of those weird sort of, everything’s connected things. Anyway, he now lives in Toronto and he had us over for lunch. He cooked us a great meal and let us go through records and it was great. I love that kind of thing. 

So there were two places in Winnipeg before COVID, and one of them was, and this goes to your question about the big stories, so one of them was a place that was literally like the grossest, most disorganized, terrible pile upon pile upon pile of records that are all getting warped and broken just because there were way too many records for the space and all the 45s were on the floor, sitting on the heating ducts, right. So they were getting totally warped from sitting on the heating ducts but I went through there a bunch of times, and I found The Mighty Pope there, I found Mary Saxton, I found Garnett Mimms – Looking For You. I found all these incredible records for nearly nothing because you take them without sleeves, and you take them up and you go 50 cents, 50 cents, 20 cents, right? So some of my most valuable and biggest finds were at this place. And COVID kind of closed it down in the night, I heard the owner passed away, but I’m not sure if that’s true. So now it’s all boarded up, except there’s one window open. And you can see that the place is still packed full of records and I know there’s gold in there, but I don’t know what they’re going to do with it. Are they going to tear the building down? Are they going to have a sale? I don’t know. But that was a huge thing. And there’s now a new store called Old Gold Vintage Vinyl and the guy that started that is my guy. He looks out for 45s for me, I promote him, and we actually DJ together – he’s just a great guy and it’s an excellent shop. He says nobody buys 45s from him so when he finds them, he lets me know about it and then I get first go at it, which is great. You know, I’ve found some really, really stellar stuff that way too. But again, it’s not flea market prices but he does give me good deals. I do incredibly appreciate him because there have been a couple of times that I’m like, “I’m done, I’m finished, no more” and he’ll just send me a note saying, “Hey, I found this…” and for me, it’s a case of “Oh, I must have it”.

When buying, one of the things I’m coming to care about a lot more now is vinyl. Canadian pressings are always on vinyl and so I know that if I find a Canadian pressing of something, it’s not going to have that hiss that you get with styrene burn, because I’ve got some really expensive records that are styrene and sound like shit. It sucks because I’ve got the record, but I can’t really play it out or anything and it cost me 300 bucks, 400 bucks, you know – what do you do? Say “this doesn’t sound good, can I give it back”?

With DJing, you’ve been doing it for quite a while. Have you noticed a lot of change in the nights or the culture of DJing? It seems that with Instagram and Facebook and everybody being more connected that’d have an impact on things. Have you noticed a big difference there like how the scene now is maybe more spread out but more connected?

Yes, definitely. And it’s interesting because there was a period of time when DJs were king, like everybody wanted to go to a DJ night, right, but it was sort of at the beginning of all that sort of social media and sharing sort of thing. But yeah, it’s changed dramatically in two ways. One, you can find everything that we’re playing, you can find it on the internet, I mean, pretty much anytime I come across a record I’ve never heard before, I look it up on YouTube and somebody else has posted it. So you know, it’s becoming less and less likely to find stuff that’s never been posted somewhere on YouTube or Discogs or something. And the other thing is that people used to go to bars to meet people and to socialize and communicate. And because of social media, they don’t need to do that anymore. People can meet people online now. Right? So the art of going to a bar with your friends and seeing the group of people who are attractive or whatever, and then you go over and you start dancing, you know, that ritual, which is kind of a mating ritual, doesn’t exist in the same way anymore and that was a huge part of the fire of a nightclub or a dance club. I used to get people coming to the nights and they’d been searching and searching and searching for something to request from me and then they would be able to come to me and request it and I’d play it and they’d be like, “Yeah, I could hear this now”. Now you can do that on your own. You can stay home and listen to all this music. There’s part of me that is saddened by the amount of people that put up podcasts that are full of great rare music because it makes it possible for all those listeners to just stay home and listen and not go out and participate. I mean, I’m still frustrated when I go out when the place is full of people, but they’re all on their phones, right? Maybe they’re Instagramming, or maybe they’re trying to get their friends to come down, I don’t know, but they’re not engaged in what’s happening. And it’s so upsetting because it’s like, “no, no, put down your phone and get up and dance” or you know, listen to the music because this is why you’re here but people don’t think that way anymore. It’s a different way of thinking on the whole. Even people my age are guilty of it, it’s just the way the world is now and it all has to do with being able to hold the whole world in your hand. It’s so much different than back in the day,  growing up on Saltspring and not having any place where I could find things that I loved and saving up my pocket money so I could go to Victoria on the weekends and go to Lyles Place and find British magazines that would tell me, you know, what I should listen to and then I’d have to go, “Okay, well, this says that this new band Oasis is coming out and you should hear them and I’m like, I don’t know, but then I have to order this import from England to listen to it right. And I listened to it, and you know, thank God, the first couple albums were great, and I loved them, and then then you get the later stuff, and you’re like, “ugh, I wish I’d heard this beforehand”. But, you know, it was a real adventure, discovering the stuff that you didn’t know whereas now it’s so easy and the adventure is not there in the same way.

Top 5 tracks (could be all time, could be today, could be however you want to interpret it)

It’s so hard. But I will boil it down. I did kind of pull some stuff aside to boil it down but I want to preface this by saying that as a mod I listened to all kinds of music under the mod umbrella. Therefore I listened to everything from jazz to ska, to soul to r&b, and of course the British stuff right so I love British maximum r&b and freakbeat and even some psych North American stuff, garage, you know so much good stuff

I’ll start with my number one which is a record that I finally found after all these years, Brian Auger and the Trinity – Let’s Do It Tonight is the name of the track, it’s the flipside of Fool Killer. Really, really hard to find. It never comes up and I finally got a copy. So now I’m going to pull from the soul stuff although I’m going to make mention of Mike Stevens and the Shevelles – Gogo Train on Pye – that’s a big one for me. Burt’s Apple Crumble by the Quick is a big one too. So those have to have special mention but as far as soul goes things that I always go back to are Hide Nor Hair by Earl Grant, No More Tears by Patti Jerome, Deep Dark Secret by Dee Dee Sharp, Stop And You Will Become Aware by Helen Shapiro and one that I always felt like was my ace up the sleeve the one that I could always wow people with is a track called Three Nights And A Morning by Bill Withers. It’s Harlem, his big hit, but it was released about three years previous to Harlem and it’s a way faster, crazier, pounding version but it just didn’t go anywhere. It only came out on a promo and nobody played it on the radio stations and stuff like that and then, of course, Booker T Jones got his hands on that material and turned it into what’s become Harlem and Ain’t No Sunshine on the other side of that. I gotta tell you, it was really hard to boil it down to even those.

Any last words?

I just want to say that I think that what you’re doing is awesome. Keep it up. These kinds of zines harken back to the days when I used to do a zine years ago called Kinder Nacht, which was a comic and Scotty Stewart from Vancouver used to do the music part of it and it was called Ska-T’s Scenic Drive, which he then turned into a radio show and it’s still on the air today. That was a big part of the experience then, the zine culture and the undergroundness of it all, you know, and I think that your zine is awesome and you should absolutely keep it up because it’s something that people have let go of. And also thank you for reaching out because these kinds of connections are vital to the scene and to my peace of mind and mental health haha.


Mean Street – Six Nights On Mean Street

2022 Self-Released
Mean Street - Six Nights On Mean Street
Mean Street - Six Nights On Mean Street

Out of seemingly nowhere come MEAN STREET – a swaggering street-savvy sounding punk n’ roll band from the small town of Bathurst, in the small province of New Brunswick. 3 tracks of gritty and in-your-face goodness here. Opening up is the title track, a 4-minute stomper that reminds me of a cross between the early Bruisers stuff and Condor. Up next, we have Shotgun Blast, which channels the best of the punky-sounding Motorhead in 2 minutes 50 seconds. Closing off this EP is Big Mouth, which instantly reminds me of late 90s/early 2000s Templars – rockin’ riffs and catchy hooks. My two questions are: who the hell are these guys, and when the hell can we hear more!!! The Maritimes never disappoints.

- Mike

Pure Impact – Demo

2021 Self-Released
Pure Impact - Demo
Pure Impact - Demo

From the depths of Manitoba, Winnipeg’s PURE IMPACT bring us some Oi-inspired hardcore punk – short and to the point, 6 songs (including a Condemned 84 cover) in 12 minutes. They mostly stay in the lane of snotty, catchy hardcore punk with some groovy (but not mosh-core) breakdowns, very reminiscent of Vancouver bands like Vacant State and Cheap Appeal. Their one Oi-stomper comes in the form of STREET SOLDIER, which reminds me of my favourite US 90’s stuff like Boot Party and Oxblood. The demo’s rounded off nicely with a cover of “The Boots Go Marching In” – it’s a song that can’t really be done any better than the original, but they sound like they’re having fun with it. Looking forward to seeing where they go style-wise from here, and very cool that there seems to be a number of active Oi!/related bands in the Peg at the moment.

- Mike

Pressure 28 – Stand Your Ground

2022 Self-Released
Pressure 28 - Stand Your Ground
Pressure 28 - Stand Your Ground

Sophomore LP from Oldham/Leed’s classics. Just as you expect from them, it’s an album full of terrace singalongs (without any poppiness of course). There are a few songs that were previously released as singles a few years ago, but there are still 8 brand new originals, and a great 4-SKINS cover in “Five More Years”. While they all have the making to be anthems, the songs that are the strongest for me are “Win, Lose or Draw”, “Loyal”, “Boxed in a Corner”, and “Stand Firm”. Pressure 28 (aptly named after a ’90s Shropshire Scooter Club) are a classic band playing tunes ala the best of British bands from the ’80s and ’90s – whenever they hit the studio, they don’t disappoint. I have a CD from the band, but I’m sure a vinyl version will eventually be available.

- Mike

The Prowlers – Prowl Around

2022 LSM, Insurgence, Contra Records
The Prowlers - Prowl Around
The Prowlers - Prowl Around

ANOTHER Sophomore LP for review here, again from a band that started in the ’90s. I have to admit, I tend not to be very into bands that choose to sing in English rather than their native tongue, and for this reason, I have not really listened to much from Montreal’s PROWLERS before. Having said that though, this is easily the best stuff I have heard from them – very strong Oi! that definitely sounds musically more European than North American. Musically, this brings to mind bands like early Perkele, Cliches, Lion’s Law, as well as fellow Canadians Bishop’s Green. The strongest song’s for me are “St. Pauli on the Road”, “One Night On The Run”, and “Bad Decision”. This album has the right amount of aggressiveness and hooks, and if you are a fan of 2000’s European Oi, I’m sure this will hit the spot – and it’s available from plenty of good labels on both sides of the pond.

- Mike

CASTILLO – Promo Tape

2022 Battle Scarred Records
CASTILLO - Promo Tape
CASTILLO - Promo Tape

A limited cassette release from what I can only assume will be an LP from these guys – can’t fucking wait for it! Kicking off with “I’ve Learned Today”, it’s a melancholic, melodic yet gruff tune that will get stuck in your head. What I love about these guys is the intricate bass lines and melodic guitar leads mixed with a rough and ready production and some proper cookie monster Oi vocals (yet they don’t sound “tough guy” at all) – it’s really the best of all worlds. “Their Lies” is a blistering pogo-beat track, very much channelling what I can only assume is the RIXE influence from their initial west coast tours back in 2016. And if that wasn’t enough, the chorus goes back into their (now becoming signature) sound of melodic guitar leads over a catchy riff and some guttural Oi! vox over top. Great band, and I’m sure the LP will be the one of the year. California is producing some wicked bands right now!

- Mike

Violent Way – Bow To None

2022 Mister Face, Contra Records
Violent Way - Bow to None
Violent Way - Bow to None

First long player by this young band from Buffalo, USA. I wasn’t too interested in the first stuff I heard, but this album is leaps and bounds better to my ears. 8 slices of American Oi! ala Anti Heroes and Forced Reality, with a classic cover and a nice instrumental track to boot. All the songs are pretty strong, but “You Are The Fool” is the standout for me – hard and nasty, but also catchy with a really melodic lead bridge too. There are some great bass lines throughout this album too, which is another highlight to my ears. Young guys with baggy combat pants and wife beaters, both looking and sounding like they could be straight out of the ’90s US scene – if that’s your tipple, this is the current band for you in certainty. 

- Mike