[Originally published: Issue #1, circa 1987]
LOOKING BACK: I loved this band, as evidenced by the fawning mentions of them across the issues. I sent them a list of questions, and they recorded the answers on their drive down to DC to record at Inner Ear. I thought that was kinda cool. In any case, the band members were all really nice to us as well. If anyone has their demo and can make me a copy, please contact me!!! -- Mickey
LEGITIMATE REASON is a fairly new Philly band that have taken our scene by storm. They're very popular, and for a good reason: they've got lots of talent, and they're getting better. They're also incredibly nice guys. This interview was done while they were on their way to Washington. The interview is very long, but I (Mickey) felt that it shouldn't be edited, as they are very well-spoken and their ideas and views are worth listening to. At the end, you will see a comment about their not being straight¬edge, and hoping that I wouldn't hold it against them. I knew two of their members were S.E, so I assumed that it was a S.E. band.
TS: What is your line up?
JOE: I'm Joe, I'm the singer and I'm 21 years old.
GRA: I'm Grant, I am 18 years old. 1 am the drummer.
JON: Hi! I'm John, I'm 18, I'm R. guitar.
VIN: Why do you say "R. guitar"?
JON: Rhythm guitar!
VIN: Why didn't you say that?
DAN: I'm Dan and I play bass.
VIN: Vince, uh, age 20, uh, lead guitar.
TS: How did you get together?
GRA: Me, Joe, Dan, and John were all on South Street. We ran into some girls. And Vince, the guitarist, was with the girls. So, uh, we were hitting on these babes and, uh, we found out that Vince played the guitar, and we all wanted to play the same music, and we were all pretty inexperienced. Me and Vince decided to get together at his house. So we assembled at his house with a drumset I borrowed, and Vince already had a guitar. And that was about it. John came in during November. We wanted to get dual guitar sounds, a thicker sound.
JOE: We taught John how to play guitar, so now he plays guitar with us.
VIN: Alot of our old songs were written for one guitar and in alot of our new stuff, you can tell it has two guitars. It's a lot better - stronger. It's kind of like that IRON MAIDEN feel.
TS: Why the name LEGITIMATE REASON?
JOE: Well, originally, as we were trying to figure out names of bands, Vince came up with the name KILLING TIME. We used that for a while, but nobody seemed to like it. So I case up with the name LEGITIMATE REASON, and nobody liked that either. The reason I case up with the name LEGITIMATE REASON was ...
VIN: It sounded good!
JOE: No, not because it sounded good. Because everything punks do, it seems so strange or weird to people on the outside. If you look into it, there's a legitimate reason to it. "Why do you have to dress like that?" There's a legitimate reason to why we dress like this. "Why does the music have to be so fast?" "Why is there so much cursing?" There's a legitimate reason to it. I think everything in the punk scene, at least for me, is done for a legitimate reason.
GRA: Oooooh, angry! (clapping)
JOE: Don't be a jerk, Grant.
VIN: You're getting too uptight.
JOE: No, I'm not.
TS: Who writes the lyrics?
JOE: I do.
TS: Who writes the music?
JON: Vince writes most of it, then it gets broken down.
TS: What inspires what you say?
JOE: Nothing really inspires me. It's just whatever seems to come to my mind. Whatever I'm thinking about at the time. Mostly, what I'm inspired about are just things that happen in my normal, daily life. Nothing political or anything; just in my personal life.
VIN: How about the music part?
JOE: The question is just about what we SAY in our songs.
VIN: (ignoring Joe) Well, I come home from school, pick up my guitar and if something happens...and that happens very rarely. It's birthed from college stress. And a hypnotic hallucinogenic drug overdose. And a couple of beers.
TS: How compatible are you guys musically? Do you argue alot?
DAN: I think we still haven't found the song we're looking for yet. No one is really happy with the sound we're playing with.
VIN: Yes we are.
DAN: No we aren't.
JOE: (calmly) Every once in a while things will get uptight. But that's it. But just because things aren't coming out the way some person thinks they should come out, they're conflicts. But eventually, things come out alright, and we find ourselves in the studio, recording the song the way that everyone wants it and, uh ... everything is supercool!
TS: What are your opinions on straight-edge?
JOE: I guess it's good in a way. But some of them get carried away with it. I think it's mostly insecurity that they won't even take a sip of beer because "Ooooooh, I can't do that! I'm a straight-edge!" They put this big label on themselves.
VIN: It should be a personal thing, whether you're S.E., whether you just drink beer, whether you smoke pot, or whatever you do and it shouldn't be something that everybody has to know about. It's your choice.
GRA: My key to life is: Follow your conscience and everything in moderation.
DAN: I guess l'm straight-edge. OK. When I first got into S.E., of course, every person who starts S.E., they get obsessed with MINOR THREAT, you know, and all that, and I was definitely into it - I can admit it - and within a year (l've been into hardcore for about 2 years now), I realized that I was wrong and I've opened my mind more, if it wasn't when I started. I'll stand up
for someone who's S.E. - just don't be an ass about it. I mean, have fun man, that's all.
JON: Straight-Edge is really cool, but I don't think it's for everybody. I've considered myself S.E. for a long time. If I'm just getting done doing something and I decide to have a wine cooler, which I enjoy thoroughly, and someone has something to say about it ... I mean, I don't see taking a sip of wine cooler as destroying my brain. And lately, I've been seeing lots of people becoming S.E. overnight. That's alright if you want to be straight, but if you're going to be S.E., let it be your own decision. If you're in a group of friends that are S.E., I have to question your motives.
DAN: Also, I think S.E. is alot more than an "X" on your hand. I think it's something that means something if someone wants it to. It's something I'm proud of. Not something that's fashionable and cool. That's all.
TS: What do you think of kids that aren't straight-edge?
JOE: You have these 13 year old kids getting down on somebody. They never take into consideration that maybe a person has a drug problem, or maybe they're an alcoholic. Everything seems so simple to these kids. "Oh, just don't do drugs. If you do drugs, you're an idiot!" No answer is that simple as to just say "you're an idiot". And like John just said, somebody might want to drink and do drugs. They might be able to handle them socially.
DAN: I think people are people no matter what they do, and no matter how hard you try, you're not going to change somebody's mind who does drugs, because its an impossible thing. A person is going to do them no matter what. If you get mad at them, cry at them, it's not going to do any good. They're going to do it if they want to - that's it.
TS: I like your demo a whole lot. Where was it recorded?
VIN: It was recorded in Grant's basement and mixed on a 4-track in my living room.
TS: Are you satisfied with the way the demo came out?
JOE: No. At the time we were satisfied because that was the best we could do. But we've come a long way since then and we can do alot better than that.
TS: What are your favorite tracks on the demo?
VIN: "Can't Go Back", which we're going to re-do in a plush studio. "Killing Time" - we like too.
JON: "Let It Be" came out pretty hot.
VIN: All the songs except "Stubborn Man" and "Something Inside" are hot.
TS: Where do you practice? Do the neghbors complain?
GRA: We practice in my basement. Next door we have a fat lady cop who gives me crap once in a while. On the other side, we have a drunken, fat, ex-football player, and he's not there most of the time, so we're kind of lucky. My dad is very liberal about this stuff. We're blessed.
TS: You're a fairly new band, and along with another new Philly band, PAGAN BABIES (now signed to Kevin Seconds' Positive Force Records), you are becoming very popular in the Philly scene. Why do you think you've become so popular so fast?
JON: Because there's never been a band in Philly that sounded like us.
VIN: When we did our first show, there wasn't a "wave" like there is now. There's almost a flood of new bands hitting the scene. And we were one of the first of these bands. We waited a long time to do our first show because we wanted to do it right. And when we played our first show, we didn't make too many mistakes, and I think people were impressed with that.
DAN: I think one of the reasons we became so popular so quickly was that we were one of the first new bands in Philly to have a singer as a front-person, to speak his mind, and tell everybody what we're all about. I don't think there's any other band in Philly that has that except maybe RUIN. Now, there's some bands cowing in with a center figure. There's more energy, I feel, with a singer as himself, speaking with what he thinks.
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