LEGITIMATE REASON
[Originally published: Issue #1, circa 1987]
TS: Is Philly hurting for good new bands?
JON: They were, but not now.
JOE: I guess you could say that. Alot of old bands play real well.
GRA: You can only see E.L.M. so many times. They're great, but I've seen them about 50 times. I mean, they're the only new band that's been around for the last year.
JOE: There are other bands like DEADSPOT ...
VIN: Now that there's PAGAN BABIES, LOVE BATTERY and ANTHROPHOBIA in alot of people from outside the scene to play - people who really know their instruments, not like the punk-rock thing where you learn how to play when you join a band. There are alot of bands like that now who are creating better music, more listenable music. That's what's needed - more quality tunes.
GRA: I think that hardcore music is expanding musically so even, that every band has their own sound, and if it's the same sound, then its the same old thrash - it gets pretty boring.

TS: Why don't you play out more often?
JON: Since January, about 4 or 5 shows have cancelled on us.
JOE: Another reason why we don't play real often is because Vince lives in Washington, so it's not like we can practice everyday and play at the drop of a hat. We have to plan our shows out weeks in advance to get them together.
VIN: Also, we don't want to burn out. It happens to alot of bands - they play too much. They don't realize it's always great to play, but if you play too often and people start seeing you maybe two or three times a month, they'll start hating you after a while.
JOE: Hey Mickey. Lemmee tell you something, babe: There's a world out there, and we just want to reach out and grab it and make it ours.
JON: And kiss it, caress it, make it move, make its nipples hard.

TS: What do you think sucks the most in the Philly scene? How can it be changed?
JOE: When I first came onto the scene, it was alot older. And whether you say it's a problem now that kids are younger - that's not a problem in itself - it's just the attitudes that the kids have, that instead of being concerned about why they're there and what it's all about, they're more concerned with being more punk than the next person. How could that be changed? To get the older crowd (that would be us) to talk to them as much as they can. They have alot of misconceptions about things. It's almost as if they think they're supposed to do certain things because they're punk. I think just by communication that could be changed.
VIN: I think there's a lack of direction… I mean people come into the scene and you don't expect them to have a "game plan". It seems like they're just there. I mean, they go to a show once a week ... they might like the music, but they don't know what they're going to do in a couple of years. They have an attitude where they're not making any progress in their lives - you're not in a band ... you're not doing anything to perpetuate the scene. It's just a loss. They're just throwing some time away, during which you could be doing something good.
JOE: Just killing time.
VIN: Yeah, just killing time and ... what are you going to do? Three of four years later, you're going to drop out of the scene, get a job, get off your ass...
GRA: I think there's lack of direction and lack of enthusiasm.
JOE: You could tell the enthusiasm in that tone of voice.
DAN: Not just in the Philly scene, but hardcore itself has become a totally musical scene. There aren't any organizations that are doing anything to change anything. It's all music, like "Oh, they suck!" or "Oh, they rule!" There's no caring about anything.
GRA: You have to have a message.
JOE: But that's what hardcore is!
VIN: Hardcore is supposed to be a message. There's no declaration like "You must define a positive message in your lyrics". Like, I don't know if it's a joke, but the Satan stuff has got to go. I mean, how long can you sing about Satan?
JON: Speedmetal is boring. Death, destruction, kill!

TS: Your music and the way Joe sings sound alot like early 7 SECONDS. Who do you consider your influences?
DAN: We all have our own musical influences.
JOE: When I sing, I don't try to sound like anybody but when I first got into hardcore, I guess I always admired Ian MacKaye and Kevin Seconds.
GRA: I started listening to JFA and now I listen to everything. I guess Stewart Copeland, a little Andy Warhol, Slim Whitman, a little Boxcar Willie [that hardcore god! - Ed.] and the drummer from Big Country are my influences.
VIN: I guess after my disco/metal phase (it came to an abrupt halt in ninth grade), I started listening to alot of 70s punk, and I thought it was the only thing that mattered. I thought the CLASH, SEX PISTOLS, CHELSEA, and SHAM 69 were the only things that were gonna matter for the rest of my life. And now I listen to U2...
ALL: Ha! Ha! Ha!
VIN: Now I'm completely diversified. I got into hardcore and I discovered alot of bands that I like.
DAN: My favorite band on Earth is RITES OF SPRING. I guess you'd say they influence me. I listen to BOB MARLEY alot, PINK FLOYD - I really like PINK FLOYD alot. Everytime I'm mellow, they always seem to mellow me more. It just seems to cheer at up somehow. My favorite bass player is myself. Ha!
JON: I like early AGNOSTIC FRONT, METALLICA, MINOR THREAT, U2, and PINK FLOYD. Especially, the STONES, my favorite band.

TS: Why did you decide to cover "Let It Be"? I mean, it's not the most "hardcore-ish" song I could imagine.
VIN: Basically, when we bought the rights from Paul McCartney, we wanted to do "Octopus Garden", but he wouldn't sell it to us. So we ended up getting fifteen dollars and doing "Let It Be". It sounded good. It fit our style at the time and we just started playing it. It sounds good now. The lyrics convey a broad message... the chicks dig it and we get laid after the show.

TS: Is the band the main thing going for you guys? Or is it school? Work?
JOE: No, it's not the main thing for me. School's the main thing going for me. I go to Temple, and I'm a Sophomore.
GRA: I'm still a senior at Father Judge High School. Even though I go to school, the band's the main thing for me.
VIN: I go to George Washington University in the downtown District of Columbia. That's where we're going now. Definitely school, but the future plans come first, because bands are always short-term hobby type things.
JOE: Lemmee tell you something, Mickey: bands are always going to be there, my friend.
DAN: When I play in the band, it makes me feel really good to make music. I work now (I'm saving for school). The band'll always be there for something to lean back on and make me feel good.
JON: I like to play in the band, but I always work at Spike's Gold Trophies at 13th and Race Sts (since when do we offer free advertising? - Ed.). I also go to Temple. I'm a freshman.
JOE: The band's important to me. But I always wanted to be an astronaut. So if I devote all my time to the band, I'll never be the spaceman that I always wanted to be. I'm serious about that, Mickey. I love you guy.

TS: What is the main message you wish to convey?
JON: Be useful. Get off your ass. Do something. Be yourself, and have fun. Keep a smile on your face no matter what you do.
JOE: The main message I try to convey alot, that I see myself doing, is put all this punk stuff aside. Be yourself. Have your own ideas. Don't say "I think this way because I'm punk." Say "I think this way because I'm me." Don't be a punk, be a person with some brains.
VIN: You've got to agree with your friends. You've got to see what they're thinking and if you think maybe their ideas are screwed up, maybe you should tell them. Speak up, and don't be afraid of what they're going to do. You know, if you feel you're in the right, and you're doing the right thing, there'll always be somebody who'll back you up.
JOE: Like us, the boys in LEGITIMATE REASON.
GRA: I don't write lyrics, but if I did, I'd say surround yourself with the right kinds of people. Open your mouth when you feel something wrong is going on, and then try to promote justice in all different aspects - socially, at home ...

TS: What bands would you like to play with the most?
VIN: We were told we could possibly play with the BAD BRAINS coming in April. Right now we want to play with the BAD BRAINS real bad.
JON: The BAD BRAINS are god!
JOE: The bands we want to play with are the bands that would draw the biggest crowds. That way, we can get alot of exposure.
VIN: We really want to open for Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins
when they come to town. We're really going to be working hard for that.
JON: We opened for the CRO-MAGS April 12th at City Gardens. I like them alot.
VIN: May 1 at Club Pizazz (Philly's hardcore club), we'll be opening for UNIFORM CHOICE for all you straight-edge fans.

TS: What do you think of metal finding its way into hardcore (both musically and lyrically)?
JOE: Once again, when I first came onto the scene, you wouldn' t find metal influences in hardcore at all. It's kind of different now. I don't mind it a whole lot, because some metal I like. The lyrics - about getting high and drunk, especially that Satan stuff ... I just don't go for that. It really has no meaning in my life.
DAN: I think metal is metal, and hardcore is hardcore. If you want to see metal, go to a metal show. If you want to see hardcore, go to a hardcore show. But I think when the both get mixed, it just ruins the music, it ruins the beliefs, and it ruins the scene. New York is the biggest example. If we were from New York, I don't think we'd even have been able to play a show yet 'cause we're not metal enough for them and we don't mosh. I mean, that's B.S., ,man. That's not cool at all.
JOE: I don't know ... we have big penises. I don't see what's going on.
VIN: I disagree. I feel that if metal and punk can come together, if ideas can be shared, as long as we don't start compromising somewhere. If anything, metal has got alot to gain.
JON: We played with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY on April 10. C.O.C. it a perfect example of a band that's a crossover between punk and metal. Now, I don't see how metal can be wrong, because if you talk to the guys in CO.C, they're probably more level¬headed than anyone who's in hardcore.
VIN: We're not ripping against the bands. Alot of hardcore bands went metal and still remain cool. C.O.C. is the biggest example -they're like the coolest guys on Earth. But alot of the crowd ... We went to see NUCLEAR ASSAULT, this total metal band, because we were going to play there the next week. The crowd was totally getting into it. It was great. It was the best feeling on Earth. Everybody was friends, everybody had a smile on their face, no one was fighting. All friends. That's great, but it's their beliefs… I mean they're even worse off than hardcore about changing anything.

TS: What are your opinions on unity? Is it possible?
JOE: If you're talking about unity in the scene, then I think that's pretty much limiting yourself, because that's another attitude I don't like in the scene. If any kind of social change is going to be brought about, you have to go beyond unity in the scene - you have to have unity with society. And that's pretty much bordering on the absurd. It could happen if everybody had the same attitude I have, like "It can happen! It can happen." But people don't have that attitude, so it seems pretty unlikely that it's gonna happen.
GRA: Unity, like peace, will never happen, but it should always be strived for.
VIN: I think another thing about unity is that it's a possibility within the scene, to a certain extent. You could have relations to a good level in the scene. I think it's also important to embrace unity. With other scenes, too. With other political groups- the Big Mountain Movement, Rastafarians - other groups which share punk-type views.
DAN: I think unity is B.S. It will never work. There's no way. If you want to change something, do it yourself. I mean, 15 year old kids with X's on their hands screaming "Unity! Unity!"... it isn't going to work. Do something yourself.
JON: Time out. What I think Dan was trying to say, and I don't think he put it the way he should of, is unity's great. It's a great thing, and it can work sometimes. But it's kind of hard to be united with someone whose ideas are so against yours. Like, for us, we're generally non-racist, but how can you expect us to be united with someone who believes in that Nazi crap?
JOE: For sow reason, years ago, there was alot more unity in the scene. Now today, it seems as though the scene has drastically changed within about seven months. I'm starting to see no difference between Philly shows and City Gardens (Trenton, NJ) shows. And once again, I think the reason for that is the age of the kids. They're too immature and insecure to worry about unity. They're just proud of themselves because they have mohawks and leather jackets. They don't put enough thought into what it's supposed to be.
VIN: I think if someone wants to unite with someone, it's a great idea, but unite with someone that you know is doing something for the world. It doesn't have to be punk rock. Unite with somebody you feel you could make a movement with. Don't unite with punk rock.

TS: What do you think of the PMRC? Do they have a justifiable cause (a LEGITIMATE REASON)?
VIN: I actually wrote a paper on this, and you can stand by my words: it's a bunch of crap!
DAN: Jello's god!
VIN: It's ridiculous ! People who don't like what they're listening to, and it's not their type of music anyway, tell us what WE should be listening to. It's just ridiculous. They should stand in their own circle of likes and dislikes.
GRA: From what I've seen, I think those people are the most insecure people in the world. It's kind of communist, in that just to "maintain your safety", things are banned and you can't even look at them Don't even be exposed to them. It's kind of like you're brought up in a Catholic family, and never experience, you know, a Jewish mass or anything. It's just limiting your experience and society should have enough trust in us so that we can make the right choices. And if we are doing something wrong, then we'll correct it ourselves. But obviously, those people don't put enough credit into themselves or humanity.
VIN: If you can't raise your kids to accept your ideas, then that's your problem. If you can't control your children ... that's your priority. It's not controlling MY children or people I know. That's MY business.
JOE: [whilst munching on a bologna sandwich] I'd like to comment on something that they proposed about rating records. In a way, I didn't have a problem with that because, just like movies, you have to rate movies so these twelve year old kids who are going, their parents will know what they are seeing. Like nudity and stuff like that. But the more I thought about it, it would be good if records could be rated like movies, but then it falls back on who's rating the records. If you gave the Pope one of our tapes, he'd probably rate it X 'cause it has curses in it.

TS: What do you see in the future of LEGITIMATE REASON?
JOE: I think the band tries to take one day at a time, because we never know what's going to happen with our lives. We take one day at a time. And I guess our ultimate goal is to get a record, some kind of record.
GRA: Hopefully, in a year and a half, if someone will be helpful enough to put us out, we'll have an LP. And if no one puts us out, and if the climate is good, we'll put it out ourselves.

TS: Where can one get your demo? Are you going to record again soon?
JOE: You can get it at a show after we play, or you can send away to me. We're on our way to record now, Mick.
VIN: We're in Baltimore. In a half hour, we'll be in Washington, and tomorrow at noon, we're recording over at Don Zientara's Inner Ear Studios, which is really cool. Really comfortable. And the reason why we're recording there is that we were gonna record a demo on an 8 track, a kind of cheap thing, just for ourselves and to put out like our other tape. But Dave Rave wrote us a letter and said he's putting us on a Philly compilation. Since it was going to be on vinyl, we figured we might as well do it right, spending a little extra money, and go to a place where they know how to do it right. I think Inner Ear is the best example of that. A friend of mine who plays in a band called RAIN - his name's Eli [Janney], his brother's in RITES OF SPRING - he's really familiar with Inner Ear. He's good friends with Don and Ian (MacKaye), and he's going to be helping us out.
GRA: We really want to have the best sound, we're really into a good drum sound. Most of the drums we've heard come out of that studio are pretty exceptional.
VIN: And when "the master" sits down at that set ...
JOE: And Don's like "King of the Board" - he's really cool and we'll have no problem getting good sounds there.
VIN: Ian's a very, very, very good producer, too. [Subsequently, Ian MacKaye told me that he didn't get a chance to workwith LEGITIMATE REASON in the studio, but he heard their tape and liked it alot - Mick.]

TS: Any final words?
JON: We're at the last tollbooth, so ... goodbye!
VIN: Have fun. Wake up and smell the coffee.
JOE: Thanks alot for taking the time, Mick. We really appreciate people taking notice of us. And hope because we're not straight¬edge you won't hold anything against us, cause we don't hold anything against you.
VIN: As SCRAM would say, "Stand Up and Fight!"
GRA: As the Freak Brothers once said, "There's nothing finer than a stick of thai and thy." Don't forget the good times, and no money better than money'll get you times than no dope." [??? -Mick.][????????? -Ed.]
JOE: See you later, Mick.

Definitely send for their tape - I guarantee you won't regret it.
Copyright 2007 ThreateningSociety.com/PhillyPunkRock.com
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