Age Rage!: Check Out a New Track From Orange County Hardcore Legends Done Dying
Read an interview with the band's singer, Dan O'Mahoney as well.
In the past few years, we have seen an overabundance of Hardcore Punk old-timer types seep out from wherever they have been hiding for the past twenty-something years. They are more than eager to jump back on the Hardcore band wagon with an intent to show the kids ‘how it’s done’ and repeat the phrase ‘old school’ over and over again as if it was a religious mantra. Speaking as an elderly person myself, I find the whole act to be quite sad and depressing. Thankfully, the codgers from Orange County, California’s Done Dying seem content to operate from their own space in the here and now with none of the above mentioned shenanigans anywhere on their agenda.
Made up of such Hardcore heavyweights as vocalist Dan O’Mahoney (No For An Answer, Carry Nation, 411) Mike Hartsfield (Free Will, Outspoken, Drift Again) bass player Chris Loman (Blackspot, John Henry Holiday) and drummer Kevin Panter (Collateral Damage) they do not give off the aura of dudes going through a mid-life crisis. Forming a new Hardcore band is not their equivalent of buying a shiny, red sports car or anything of that sort. To quote Dan O himself: ‘I sing from my space to my tribe I guess and that keeps it real.’
I got in touch with Dan O’Mahoney recently and we discussed the formation of Done Dying, Hardcore bands from the 80’s reuniting and the ageism we experience in the underground community. Also check out the stream below of ‘Idiot Box’, a track off the upcoming Done Dying LP entitled We Dream or We Die being released on Dan’s Workshed label which will be available for pre-order this week from Rev HQ.
NOISEY: Done Dying brings together a number of legendary suspects from the Southern California Hardcore scene of the late 80’s. Why come together again to make this noise at this time in your lives? How did it come together that four infamous dudes from this era of Hardcore wanted to start a band again?
Dan O’Mahoney: Strangely, this is actually the first band that I was asked to join after the first couple of guys were tossing around ideas. Mike Hartsfield and Chris Lohman used to split the rent at a silk screening warehouse called the Fort. Day in and day out, these two lifelong musicians were staring across the office at each other, so music was bound to happen. They asked me, I asked Kevin Panter, and before you knew it four Orange County Hardcore types who'd known each other for decades were making noise again. The process was pretty damned organic.
In regards to the angst and anger that fueled the music you all in the past: Is it more intense these days or at the same level? What is that still makes you an angry young man even as an old man?
Some of the hot spots are the same, but more than anything else, I think critical thinkers remain critical thinkers. The world is always going to present the watchful eye with injustices, points of pain and a general sense of anxiety. As an adult, I would say that my own anger is focused on more real time: everyday challenges, economic imbalance, and the death of any real upward mobility for most Americans etc. Is it on the same level? Good question. Screaming out against that which ails me is certainly a greater catharsis at this age and I'd like to believe that it comes from a more informed, less rhetorically driven place.
Do you think Hardcore Punk can reach a whole new level of expression in this day and age in regards to the emergence of older dudes like Done Dying coming back into the scene and playing music? Younger, less sensitive types have called this emerging genre things like: Dadcore, Divorcecore and even the very blunt Middle Aged Crisis Core.
Certainly for Done Dying it would be great if the emergence of old folk returning to the Hardcore fold took things to a new level, but all too often, I think the retro Hardcore wave is more escape than attack; reliving adolescent superhero complexes as opposed to exploring what has transpired in the 25 years since. That said, there's dozens of great old artists churning out new stuff. I think of that perspective as Age Rage as opposed to Dad Core or Divorce Core. Adult life can be a motherfucker, it makes sense to scream about it; certainly more so than to scream about the same things you did while still living with your folks.
Do you think the missteps some from the Hardcore Punk community took was due to having too idealistic outlook on life?
Without a target placed on some sort of moral ascendancy or elevated goal re: human decency, Hardcore's no more interesting than gangster rap. The idealism is the all too often missing ingredient in the retro dance.
What are your thoughts on people reforming their bands from the late 80’s and going on tours and all that? More power to them? Should they just form a whole new band ala Done Dying? Do you think the message is still as powerful all these years later?
That's a complicated question. It's hard to paint them all with the same brush. Suffice to say I have a ton of admiration for the old guard that write entirely new material and tour like nuts to support it. Most of the rest I can stomach about one lap. When they trot an album written a quarter of a century out for two, three, ten years in a row, I'm tempted to yawn. There are exceptions, but really, the rare well paid rebel does not personify most of these 10,000 dollar plus a set outings by groups of guys whose current lifestyles are not reflected in a single syllable of what's selling those tickets.
For me, the offers to do No For An Answer or 411 shows and tours are more commonplace than the offers for Done Dying, but there is zero temptation. It does nothing to address what I face in life today. NFAA did two reunions in the current century: a cancer benefit and a nod to Revelation at the 25 year mark. They were both honorable and presented in a 'that was then' context by us, but neither made me smile the way that say Done Dying & 7 Seconds playing at the Observatory did. This is now.
Especially writing here for Noisey, I sometimes feel there is ageism within the ranks. I see articles on the site next my stuff with titles like: ‘Your Guide to Dad Rock’ or ‘We Asked our Dads Why Led Zeppelin is Cool’and shit like that. My immediate reaction to stuff like that is obviously ‘Fuck you!’ But then I sit and think about it, and eventually there’s going to be shit in years to come with titles like ‘Sheer Mag: What Were We Thinking?’ or ‘Your Guide to the Trap House Music Your Dad Likes’. It’s all going to come back around, you know? But nonetheless, don’t you think younger people these days take some kind of pride in being ignorant to their cultural past?
I blame it on the rapid evolution of technology. There's a real flag waving quality to staying current that wasn't much of a premium in our youth, it was more about staying genuine I guess. That said, I try to remember that nobody I drove all night to see in the 1980’s was ever 25 or 30 years older than I was. Who are we to expect that out of kids today? I sing from my space to my tribe I guess and that keeps it real. If somebody further down this music's evolutionary chain digs what they hear, thumbs up, if not... get off my lawn!