I found the blog Last Days Of Man On Earth some years ago and didn’t pay as much attention to it as I should’ve. Since there weren’t a lot of blogs around then, I started to venture around (thanks to it) and also found KBD Records. Now that I’ve read everything on the blog, I started to mail around and got a hold of Joe and others. But a man called Dave Zukauskas wanted me to do it in text, so here’s his tribute to Last Days Of Man On Earth and mine too. I asked him a bunch of questions about what blogs he visits, how the “shut-down” of Last Days affected him and a range of other questions I wanted to ask. So let’s see this as a tribute to the immense work that laid the path of that particular blog and how much it actually influenced people around it. Thank you, Joe and thank you Dave for wanting to get interviewed. I also had a question about the Hardcore Superiority myth which you can read over here.
How did you find the blog?
- I don’t remember exactly — I know that Joe had just put up a post about the Touch and Go anniversary show, with the Didjits and Scratch Acid and so forth (which was Sept. 2006). I was probably googling one of the bands that he wrote about, either that or I might’ve seen the post listed in the sidebar of some other blog and so I clicked on it. I find out about a lot of blogs by googling my favorite bands or by clicking on links from other blogs that I like, I’m pretty active in that way.
What was your own relation to hardcore?
- Really, when I first started getting into hardcore, it was during the era — or at least the tail end of the era — when hardcore punk was pretty much the ONLY really creative underground U.S. music scene (’83-’84). It was basically one of the places where you’d end up hanging out, if you were one of the weird kids at school. I tried, but I didn’t really fit anywhere else. In order to fit in with the metalheads and the jocks and so forth, you had to have a cool car and the right kind of clothes and like to drink beer behind the parking lot and harass all the girls and so forth, while the hardcore punk kids didn’t care about any of that stuff — it didn’t matter if your parents weren’t rich, or whatever. Plus I’ve always had a weird sense of humor and I like to listen to strange, fucked-up music. All of a sudden, when I found hardcore, it was like, “cool, I fit in here, it’s not a requirement that I have to impress these people. These people are all social mutants and they hate pretty much all the same things that I do”. Great!
In which scene were you active in?
- I guess the Connecticut (U.S.) hardcore scene? Is that what you mean, the geographical location? I was kinda at the tail end of the last ‘true’ wave of old-school hardcore. I missed all the really good stuff. Although, I guess was around for the sort-of ‘first’ generation of all the post-hardcore indie rock bands, like Volcano Suns and Dinosaur and Big Black and so forth. That was a really interesting time. A lot of neat stuff happened then.
What’s your own take on the Hardcore Superiority Myth?
- Well, I’ve commented on Joe’s blog at length about this, people can go read what I said there. Like I just wrote in response to the previous question, I consider ’84-’85 to be the cutoff point of when the original, authentic wave of hardcore first petered out. Joe doesn’t agree with me — he extends it out to 1989 or so, which is fine, I understand his reasoning. I think that the underground/punk/DIY scene works in roughly 3-year cycles, meaning every 3 years enough newer kids have joined and enough older kids have dropped out where there’s a major turnover or a significant change in the scene. I’m definitely not one of those people who thinks “my time was better, the time that I was in the scene was the only good time.” I mean, I first got into hardcore to listen to NEW music, right? So I’m not interested in just seeing re-unions of all these bands from 30 years ago, like the other grown-up hardcores my age who all claim that hardcore died years ago and who’ll only go to a show if it’s Underdog or DYS or whatever. I still want to hear new stuff. The current hardcore bands that are out now on labels like PRGNT and Katorga Works and Painkiller and Sorry State and Grave Mistake and Youth Attack and so forth are just as good, musically, as the hardcore bands from the original ’79-’82 era. No question in my mind.
How did the discontinuation of Last Days Of Man On Earth influence you?
- Well, it started me to thinking seriously about when I was going to stop doing my own blog (which, honestly, I probably should’ve stopped doing at least a year ago). My blog’s content doesn’t cross over to Joe’s content, really, but I took the liberty of posting one or two records on my own blog that Joe had already posted — I felt that it was alright now, considering. Really, it’s blogs like Joe’s blog and Erich Keller’s blog that help keep me moving, as far as writing style goes — without them around as much, I have to find inspiration from other places. (Not that Erich’s not blogging anymore, just slowing down!)
Do you think blogs like these are important in any sense?
- They’re only important to the handful of people who read them. To those one hundred or one thousand visitors, or whatever, they’re totally important. Everybody else in the world couldn’t really give a shit. But, yeah, because of the internet now, when I talk to people at shows, everyone knows about “United Blood”, or “My America”, or The Abused. Everyone knows who Negative Approach are. This is all stuff that, going back even 10 years ago, hardly anyone knew this stuff even existed. Everybody’s got an F.U.’s or Jerry’s Kids backpatch on their jacket now.
What other blogs did you visit regularly in the same period you turned up on Last Days Of Man On Earth?
- Trick question, because there weren’t really a lot of music blogs around back then. I think the very first music blog I ever saw was Jay Hinman’s Agony Shorthand, which might’ve been around 2002 or so — I couldn’t figure out how he was doing it, though. Like, how he was actually putting the web pages together. Then there was Something I Learned Today, and Killed By Death, and Erich’s blog (Good Bad Music), a couple of others that I’m forgetting now. Jim Hoffman’s blog, Vinyl Journey I think it was called, that was another important early music blog. Jim Hoffman is seriously underappreciated, as far as all the original ’80s fanzine writers go. He’s like the next level down from Byron Coley and Gerard Cosloy and Jimmy Johnson and so forth. Not quite on the level of those guys, but better than everyone else.
If you’d recommend any other blog(s) which one(s) would that be?
- Well, there’s a million of them, or at least a dozen. Good Bad Music, of course. Erich’s writing style is perfect, it’s none of that “unicorns and clouds and rainbows” shit that most crappy writers go into. Erich’s like, “I saw this band, I bought this record, here’s what it all means to me, and maybe even only to me. If you want to follow along, that’s cool, but I’m not holding your hand while I do it.” The fact that he’s doing it in a second language is genius, though that’s how everybody is in Switzerland, I guess. Most blog writers suck shit, just like most fanzine writers sucked shit, I hope maybe I’m not just sounding arrogant here. Most blogs are started for the wrong reasons. If you’re writing about music to get attention from bands, or to get promos or advertising from record labels, then you’re bound to do a really poor job of it. Tony Rettman is a good writer. Jay Hinman is a good writer, though lately he’s fallen off the path a bit. Yellow Green Red is the best-written reviews blog out there, the singer for Pissed Jeans writes it. I love Weird Canada, that’s probably the blog where I get the most new music from. The stuff they cover is fantastic. Raven Sings The Blues is another one, as far as finding good new tracks– the writing, not as much.
You also have your own blog, tell me a little bit more about it!
- It’s basically just an extension of the zine that I used to write, only paper’s too expensive now, so a blog it is. It’s little more than on-going conversation about the bands that I’ve been going out to see, and the records that I’m listening to, or the ones that I already have in my collection rather. I try to keep it quiet, not much ever goes on around here.
What new music did you discover via Last Days Of Man On Earth?
- Well, Joe covered a lot of great stuff, but this answer also applies to music blogs in general — I mean, stuff like UJ3RK5, and the Urinals, and all the great early L.A. and Midwest bands from the late ’70s like Dow Jones and The Industrials or The Embarrassment or even stuff like The Offs and Consumers … I mean, we all knew about that stuff growing up back then, and we were lucky enough to stumble onto some those records when they were still around, but now you can finally hear a whole lot of it.
What was your favorite post on the blog?
- Whenever Joe would talk about his old hardcore days, that was great. Probably the time that he re-created an old mix tape that he had back in ’85-’86, that was my favorite one. I always appreciated Joe’s perspective on things. The one blog post of his where I downloaded something and thought it was just the coolest — something that I’d never, never get anywhere else — was Laffinstock’s “Fucked Up For Days”. Great song, I love that one.
Everyone should venture over to Last Days Of Man On Earth to find gems they’ll have with them virtually the rest of their days. Those were the days, now they’re gone. It feels weird to be saddened over the fact that a blog have gone to its grave, since it happened over a year ago. But there’s something about great bloggers and their will to continue producing great material and how dearly it’s going to be missed. Sometimes I venture to his blog and find that it hasn’t been updated, I just hope it would. Hopefully, there’ll come more blogs that are as great or even greater. Until that day, let’s pay tribute to a great blog and a great source of inspiration.