man! I got the entire band to do the interview so here ya go! says Kash and
he says it in the end of september 2006
Bad Reaction started in 2002 when our singer, Kash, moved from Brooklyn New
York, to Los Angeles, California to start a band. Although it was a style
currently absent from the local scene, Kash hoped to start a band
Inspired by classic LA area hardcore bands such as the Adolescents, as well
as other US Hardcore bands such as the Zero Boys, Minor Threat, and the
After a few false starts, the line up finally solidified when Kash and
Jesse, the bass player, found Ben Edge through a flyer looking for Hardcore
Punk guitarists. After a series of drummers, the three core members found
Justin Laughlin, an Oklahoma native who had recently moved to LA looking for
work as an audio editor for film and television. Although Justin had no real
knowledge of Punk or Hardcore, and didn't particularly care for the style,
he agreed to take on the band after a practice proved to him that the band
was adding enough out of the ordinary rhythms/stops, etc... To make it
interesting. With Justin on board and a final name change, Bad Reaction
started writing and recording, and began an intense schedule of gigs that
continues to the present. In 2002 the band self released their first CD
demo, "Six Songs." Although the quality of the recording left something to
be desired, and the band was still finding its style, the CD met with a
degree of success unusual for a demo recording, including getting airplay on
Los Angeles punk radio show, Complete Control with Joe Sib, on local station
Indie 103.1. While at the time there were no other
eighties-inspired hardcore bands in the area, Bad Reaction hoped to bring
back the style of punk that they grew up listening to, bands that were hard
and fast, but still had some musicality to them, bands such as another major
influence, the Bad Brains. Playing with any and every band out there, Bad
Reaction gigged themselves to death over the next three years, playing
almost every venue in Los Angeles, from small underground clubs in people's
basements to large theaters opening for classic LA punk bands. In 2006 Bad
Reaction finally released their debut LP, Symptoms of Youth, on Destroy All
Recorded entirely analog in only five days including the mix, the band
finally got the sound that lived up to their notoriously energetic live
performances. In addition to CD, the album is available in a limited edition
press of 500 black and yellow spattered vinyl records. This month sees a
major line-up change, with Justin leaving the band, and seventeen-year-old
Nick coming in on drums. Nick has re-energized the band, finally completing
the line-up with four members who all love the hardcore style the band plays,
opening up new possibilities for the band now that every member is a
die-hard fan of eighties hardcore music. With new tours and recording on the
horizon, Bad Reaction is looking forward to getting their unique take on
Hardcore to new audiences, while having as much fun as possible in the
Please tell me a little about every member,
age, family, work, interests and something bad about every one?
-Kash - 27 years old. Kash, a Muslim Brooklyn native, went to school for toy
design, and currently works in the video department of a major talent
agency. In addition to his work as vocalist for Bad Reaction, Kash is a
talented artist. He originally planned to use this talent in the field of
toy design, something at which everyone who has had the opportunity to see
his sculptures agrees he would excel.
Ben Edge - 27 years old. Ben is an LA kid, born and bred. Up until the
formation of Bad Reaction, Ben served as the lead vocalist for hardcore
band, Fields of Fire. He has his bachelors degree from the University
of California at Santa Barbara. Although Bad Reaction does not classify
itself as a Straight Edge band, Ben, as is obvious from his name, had been
part of the Straight Edge scene since he was a kid. He works at Trader Joes,
chain grocery store.
Jesse A. - 33 years old. Jesse is the old man of the group. He comes
from a street punk background, and managed to balance the nineties between a
lot of extreme drinking in squats around New York, San Francisco and LA, and
getting his Bachelors Degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz
in Modern Literature. He is currently a thesis film away from receiving his
MFA in Film Production from the University of California at Los Angeles. He
works as a stagehand in the Southern California area, setting up concerts,
conventions, and other events for rich people with too much time and money
on their hands.
Nick Rips - 17 years old. Although he is much younger than the other
members of Bad Reaction, Nick comes to the band with a good amount of
experience, having just finished a stint as drummer for the classic hardcore
band Dr. Know. He is extremely well-versed in hardcore punk for someone his
age, and had brought a fresh enthusiasm and energy level to the band in the
last month during which he has been a member of Bad Reaction.
My review of your record is like this IBAD
REACTION-SYMPTOMS OF YOUTH(CD-DESTROY ALL RECORDS DAR 074) It's not so many
black people involved in the punkscene. Sure we have had Bad Brains and some
but so much more than that is it not. Here comes Bad Reaction to change this
and they have a black singer. That I like…once upon a time I didn´t like
American hardcore but it was changed and I don´t know why I didn´t
like it. This group have listened very much on early American groups like
Bad Brains, Minor Threat and of course early Black Flag. Wonderful songs
and the anger lightens up their eyes. Do you like early 80´s punk from USA
so is this a record you can be without….(EIGHT) 22/9-06 What about it?
Thanks for the review. We're glad that you understood our influences, as
it's very important to us. We try to play eighties hardcore punk with our
own twist, but because we add our own flavor to our music, sometimes people
think of us as outside of the Hardcore Punk genre. We like to think that we
don't sound exactly like any one of our influences, but that we sound
instead like we could have been a band from that era. We don't want to BE
Minor Threat or the Bad Brains, we want to sound like a band that could have
played with them.
Is there any other bands you´re being compared
-Jesse A.: We get a lot of pretty diverse comparisons within the hardcore
genre. We've been compared to everything from the Freeze to Minor Threat to
early Black Flag, and many more, some that we don't always agree with. One
major influence for us is the Zero Boys, a hardcore band from Indiana that
was blazing fast, but were excellent musicians and incorporated some melody
into their aggression. Playing in LA we've had amazing opportunities to play
with a lot of the bands that influenced us, including opening up for Angry
Samoans, Dr. Know, Battalion of Saints, Youth Brigade, Adolescents, CH3, DI,
TSOL, and many more.
Nick: I compare us with, Zero Boys, Descendents, and Minor Threat.
Ben Edge: Zero Boys!
Kash: I often hear Zero Boys and Bad Brains, though I think the Bad Brains
comparison comes from our live show. We try to go off & out of control live
as much as possible.
Do you care about reviews?
-Kash: Fuck. They help me buy records sometimes…
Jesse A.: I'd be lying if I said that we didn't care about reviews at all.
Everyone wants people to get what their doing. We don't care so much if
people like us or not, as long as they understand what we're trying to get
across, and respect us for what we're trying to do. We would love people to
become fans of the band, and for them to come out to the shows and let us
know that they appreciate what we're doing, but we're not going to change
what we play to try to win fans over. We're in this band because it's the
kind of music we love, and because we want to make records and play shows
that we'd like to hear and see ourselves. If people like what we're doing,
great. If not, we'll still be here. We're not trying to become rock stars.
Ben Edge: Yes. People read them and make buying decisions accordingly.
Nick: Not really, I guess they are good for kids to know what the people in
the band they are listening to is like but other than that not really.
Do you get many comments on the fact that you have a black singer,
and that’s not so many bands which have, not in the punk style?
-Kash: While I’d like to think we don’t we definitely do. There’s been
plenty of cases of after a show people running up to me and being blown away.
First they’ll tell me it’s because we went off so hard and played like we
were an 80’s HC band and secondly because I’m black. It seems like it’s hard
for people to grasp but it’s rarely if ever negative.
Nick: People don’t make so many comments about it, its kind of how they
identify us though, I guess you could say that’s our catch. (Laughs)
Jesse A.: We do get some attention because our singer is black. While it
extremely common for a singer in a punk band to be black, there are more
than people might think. There have always been African American
singers & members in US Hardcore and Punk, from the Bad Brains to the
Templars, to Special Forces, YDI, Scream and more, including other current
US Punk/Hardcore bands like Red Tape. In the end, for people who see us live
and listen to our records
it only matters for the first few seconds. Then they have to decide what
they think of us on the merits of the band. Kash is such an amazing,
energetic, entertaining front man that his race is overshadowed by his great
stage presence and charisma.
How would you describe your music in three words?
-Jesse A.: Energetic. Unique. Hardcore.
Ben Edge: hardcore cock rock …
Nick: angry, meaningful, and hardcore.
Kash: Energetic Hardcore Punk… Did we all say Hardcore? Good.
How is it to live in your homecountry?
-Jesse A: I love the US. It is a huge country with so many different areas
different cultures. People who haven't been here probably think of the
US as one giant homogenized strip mall, and there are those aspects to it,
once you get past all that, there is so much to see and so many different
types of people and places here that it is hard to cover it all in one
blanket statement. We don't agree with everything that Americans often
think, say, and do, and there is a lot about our culture that we hate.
That's one of the reasons we're in a punk band instead of some other crap. A
lot of what has happened in the last five years has seriously disheartened
me, and made me feel at times that I'd be better off leaving the country to
live abroad, but in the end you have to stick it out. This is where we're
from, and we have to try to make the best of it. I personally was so
disgusted with the kind of blind patriotism that people in our country
exhibited after 9/11 that I thought I would have to leave for good.
Because of our geographic isolation, we often act as if we are not part of
community, and that we are not responsible for what we do in other parts of
the world. One serious flaw of the American People is that we often seem to
follow our leaders blindly, accepting the propaganda that is fed to us by
our government and media. While there are always those of us who question
what we're told, and what is being done in our names, unfortunately many
Americans have far too much trust in their government, and stay silent while
it does horrible things to the rest of the world. We are taught from
childhood that we are the most free nation in the world, but it seems that
we are increasingly living in a police state that only pays lip service to
the values we supposedly stand for.
Nick: Its pretty good, the only shitty thing is all the pay to play venues,
cops, and the jocks at my high school.
Ben Edge: It kicks ass. America rules!
What about the government?
The US government has become a really terrible, hypocritical monster,
particularly under the Bush administration. We have destroyed any
international goodwill we might have had after 9/11 with the current
illegal, immoral war. Our government fools the people into thinking
that we are somehow fighting for freedom overseas, while it is slowly
our freedoms here at home. As a people we are sadly far too trusting when it
comes to our public officials. The majority of the American People are not
evil, and don't realize what they are doing, and how the rest of the world
sees our actions. Many people, even those who support the horrible things
the US government has done over the last few years, genuinely think that
they are doing the right thing, trying to make the world a safer, more free
place in which to exist. Unfortunately, their trust is sadly misplaced.
Ben Edge: It kicks ass. America rules!
Do you think that music and politics goes hand in
-Jesse A: I think that politics in music can be an extremely powerful force.
Music has the ability to make people think in ways they haven't before, and
can open them up to points of view that they otherwise might never have
Bad Reaction is not a political band, in the strict sense of the word.
Kash writes most of our lyrics and tends to focus mainly on personal issues.
I think that political issues can be raised by exploring social and personal
problems faced by members of our society, and I think that's what some of
Bad Reactions lyrics are doing. We write about racism, drug abuse, and a
sense of alienation that can easily be seen in a political context without
writing overtly political lyrics.
Best political band?
-Nick: Dead Kennedys. Period.
Ben Edge: Dayglo Abortions.
Kash: There’s a good local band out of L.A. call Onewordsolution. They are
very political, smart and not to mention a pretty fucking solid band.
Jesse A.: Hard to say. I personally grew up listening to the Subhumans, and
still think that they were a great political band. I think many political
bands out there aren't really saying that much. Many bands just scream "War,
War, War," and don't seem to go any deeper than that. One of my favorite
political bands from the states is a band from the American Mid-West called
Brother Inferior. They have/had intelligent and specific political lyrics
that go beyond the punk rock stereotype that many bands seem to stick to.
Is there any good bands in your home country now?
-Nick: Yeah amazingly the scene is starting to come back with bands like:
CITIZENS ON PATROL (COP), DIRECT CONTROL, CONCRETE FACELIFT, FOMALDEHYDE
JUNKIES, BAD ANTICS, AND A TON OF OTHERS...
Ben Edge: Bad Reaction, Broken Needle, The First Step (who are 1/5
Canadian), Annihilation Time...
Jesse A.: The US is finally producing some great Hardcore bands after years
of a relatively weak scene. In the last year, Los Angeles has developed a
groundswell of support for eighties style hardcore, with bands like Rabies,
Tippers Gore, and Harpoon Guns. The scene that Bad Reaction hoped for when
we started the band has finally started to develop in the Los Angeles area.
There are a lot of great bands coming out of Northern California, like
Strung Up, DCOI!, and a more political band, Born/Dead. There are many more
out there, it seems like I'm hearing new hardcore bands all the time, and
many of them are actually really good.
Kash: Well I guess that covers it…
What do you know about Sweden?
-Nick: I know it’s in Europe.
Jesse A.: I know that Sweden had a huge political punk scene in the eighties,
lot of bands influenced by Discharge. A lot of my friends are intensely into
Swedish hardcore, both from the Eighties and today. I personally am not very
into the style, so I don't know that many of the bands very well, but I am
vaguely familiar with probably twenty or so Swedish hardcore bands. I also
know that Sweden has a big garage scene, at least it did a few years
ago. I think that Sweden is a fascinating country, and has a great
rock and punk, much more so than most countries. When the Mainstream in
the US was proclaiming that Rock was dead, Sweden held the torch for Rock
and Roll in the Mainstream, and from what I know, Sweden has always had a
strong and vibrant underground punk movement. And you guys have ABBA.
Ben Edge: I never had time to learn about Sweden, because I'm usually too
busy hanging out on the beach in the winter. Ahhh! I love warm weather,
Kash: That’s where white women come from isn’t it?
Have you heard any good Swedish bands?
Jesse A.: as I said, Idon’t know that many, but there's a lot of bands like
Kriegshot, Skitsystem, Totalitar, and Wolfbrigade, that are pretty strong
bands. Some of my friends could probably name 100 bands, but I'm no expert.
One band that I got turned onto recently that are really great are the
Skitkids. They are definitely on my list of records to buy!
Ben Edge: Shield, the first Intensity album ("Bought And Sold"), anything
without spikes and stupid hair, or techno music… (cough, Refused, cough)
Kash: I fucking love Intensity. Ben turned me onto them. Good Shit! Plus I
like Refused a lot too.
What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is
it a lifestyle?
-Kash: Everything. Lifestyle.
Jesse A: Punk sucks…. I’m into cock rock!
Nick: I don’t like the term "punk" we are hardcore, I hate that all these
emo kids are being called hardcore now, the only thing hardcore about them
is that they are hardcore pussies. the term hardcore was coined by DOA, and
accepted by bands like minor threat, SSD, black flag, circle jerks, and all
the good "hardcore punk" bands from the 80's, hardcore (as I like to call
it) is definitely a life style. it separates you from the main stream and
allows you to be yourself, rather than follow trends and be a mindless
Ben Edge: "A punk is an honest person" (Johnny Rotten, 1977)
Please rank your five favorite records, five favorite concerts and five most
important things in life?
-Records: (no particular order)
-Social Unrest, Rat in a Maze
-Turbonegro, Apocalypse Dudes
-Misfits, Walk Among Us
-Zero Boys, Vicious Circle
-Stiff Little Fingers, Inflammable Material
1.DYS - wolf pack
2.Minor Threat - out of step
3.Black flag - nervous breakdown
4.Circle Jerks - group sex
5.Ill Repute - what happens next?
1) Minor Threat - Minor Threat,
2) Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today,
3) Lifetime - Hello Bastards,
4) Germs (GI),
5) Adolescents - Adolescents
1. Bad Brains: ROIR Tape
2. Minor Threat: Discography
3. Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today
4. Black Flag: First Four Years
5. Zero Boys: Vicious Circle
Concerts (no particular order)
-Class of '77 show (with Circle Jerks, Adolescents…etc)
-The Dwarves early shows
1) Unbroken/Outspoken Reunion '98,
2) Class of '77 show (Adolescents, Fear, Circle Jerks, and a million other
So Cal bands in 2001), 3) Gorilla Biscuits @ CBGBs, 2005,
4) Lifetime @ Chain Reaction, 2006,
5) TSOL @ Troubadour, 2000
1. Class of 77’ @ The EL Rey (CA)
2. Gorilla Biscuits Reunion @ CBGB’s (NY)
3. Fugazi @ABC NO RIO (NY)
4. Benefit for The West Memphis 3 @ Ameoba (CA)
5. Murphy’s Law & Fishbone @ Coney Island High (NY)
1. Inland invasion 2
2. JFA, Tippers Gore, and Rabies at the Knitting Factory
3. Circle Jerks at the Glass House
4. Suicidal Tendencies, FEAR, and Flipper at the Olympic Auditorium
5. Ill Repute at the Showcase
Five most important things in life:
2. The hardcore scene
4. Being yourself
5. Having fun
3. My Friends & Family
5. I ran out of stuff…
3) Vulva (no, not the car)
4) Birth canal,
5) Red Snapper
Jesse A.: “Conan. What is best in life? To defeat the enemy, see them driven
before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.”
First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
-Nick: First was Minor Threat, last is DYS, and most expensive was DRI.
Ben Edge: .First, last and most expensive record ever bought?
Beelzabubba by the Dead Milkmen. The last one was the Big Apple Rappin' comp
on Soul Jazz Records (it's a CD, so sue me!), most expensive was Not So
Quiet On The Western
Front comp for $15. I don't pay a lot for records.
Kash: First was Minor Threat, last was the Gorilla Biscuits Reunion 7’”, and
the most expensive was Skrewdriver’s “Hail the New Dawn”. (I know, I know.)
Jesse A: My first punk tapes I had from a friend were the Dead Kennedys, the
Sex Pistols, and The Circle Jerks, but the first record I remember buying
was the Damned, Machine Gun Etiquette.
I'm not sure what the last record I bought was, the last few I got for free
like the Rabies 7", the second Strung Up 7". I've been really broke, so I
haven't been buying records very much. The last one I bought might actually
have been No Hope For The Kids.
I have an OK record collection, but I never spent that much for one record.
I have the Bad Posture twelve inch that's probably worth $180, but I only
paid $15 for it. The most I ever spent for one record was probably only $30
or $40. I'm all about finding the deals out there, which is harder and
harder since ebay.
Most embarrasing record in your collection?
-Jesse A.:I have a Rancid 7" from when they first started.
Ben Edge: Divinyls, the album with "I Touch Myself" on it.
Nick: Surf Punks "My Beach"
Kash: The Offspring’s “Smash”…
You´re on Destrroy All Records? How is that?
-Jesse A.: Destroy All Records has been great. We were dealing with a lot of
companies that weren't going to pay that much attention to us if they did
put the record out, so we decided to go with Destroy All, run by our friend
Rafe. He is just starting up the label after a long break, so he doesn't
have that much distribution etc... But we can trust him and we did it all on
a handshake, the way it was supposed to be.
Have you done anything more than Symptoms of youth?
If you have how
can i get it?
-Jesse A.: We put out a Demo CD called "Six Songs" a couple years ago. It is
out, and we aren't re-pressing it. Symptoms is a much better representation
of us, it's the first thing we've put out that we stand behind. We are
starting to plan another release, possibly a split 7" with Harpoon Guns on
Kash: Plus we’re working on putting out another split with Tipper’s Gore!
Is it many interviews? Is it boring?
-Bad Reaction: Huh?
Nick: No, not that many and its never boring.
Which is the question you never get, please ask it and answer it?
-Jesse A.: Why are you so good looking? I don't know, just lucky, I guess.
Ben Edge: I'm not gonna do your job for you!
Nick: How many instruments do you play? I play 3, bass, guitar, and drums.
Kash: So is it weird being a white singer in a black dominated music scene?
Is it any chance to see you in Sweden soon?
-Jesse A.: We would LOVE to play Sweden, but we have no plans. Somebody
contact us, please, we want to come! www.badreaction.com!
Kash: As soon as the good people at Skrutt get off their asses and fly us
out! Seriously though we’d love to play Sweden!
Ben Edge: Fly us out there. We'll do it!
Where is the best place to play?
-Jesse A.: If we have our choice, we prefer to play in any small town with
some kind of scene. The bigger cities are spoiled and don't get as
enthusiastic. When we play small towns that have an ALL AGES club, the shows
go crazy, because they really appreciate the show and the bands.
Nick: Burnt Ramen in Richmond, or the Alley in Fullerton, both fun and the
crowd really gets into it!
Ben Edge: Grants Pass, Oregon. Shitty little town in the middle of nowhere,
but the kids go off!
Kash: Your house!
How is a good gig with you?
-Jesse A.: Our favorite gigs are as I said, the small town all ages shows,
with a smaller hall that doesn't have much of a stage. We like to get right
down in the audience and Kash loves to interact with the kids. He's pretty
crazy and funny onstage, and it's much better when he can get right up to
the kids to mess with them. Any gig where the kids are enthusiastic is going
to get us going a thousand miles an hour. You feed off each other's energy
and it's amazing. We'd rather play in a small hall to fifty kids who are
going nuts than to play on a huge stage in front of eight hundred people who
are too cool to show that they like the band.
The name where does it comes from?(yeah it´s a
boring question but
-Jesse A.: We had another name, but found a crappy band in New Jersey was
using it, so there was a big conflict as to what we should change the name
to. We were talking about taking a name from the song "psychotic reaction"
and we ended up shortening it to Bad Reaction. We didn't realize a bunch of
idiots would get us confused with Bad Religion, but it happens. None of us
were particularly enthusiastic about the name, but it was the only one we
could all agree to use, and we had shows booked.
The best band in Americans punk history?
-Jesse A.: The Ramones.
Ben Edge: Minor Threat.
Nick: Black Flag.
Kash: The Bad Brains.
The most important punk song?
-Nick: Every single one.
Kash: Personally “New Direction” by Gorilla Biscuits
Jesse A.: I don’t have an answer.
Ben Edge: "Bloody Marys Bloody Cunt" by GG Allin and the Holy Men.
Futureplans for the band?
-Kash: Put out more records, tour and play as long as we can.
Ben Edge: Play Sweden. Copulate with 6' 2" tall blonde women. Oh wait, you
only know the metric system. Never mind.
Jesse A.: We're planning a winter tour out to Texas and back and planning a
split 7" with Harpoon Guns and with Tipper’s Gore. After that we'll probably
go back to the Northwest US in the spring, and then we'll see. We'd love to
tour Europe, and love to play Japan, but we'll have to see what
opportunities arise. With our new drummer we are starting to write new
material, and are enthusiastic to see what direction the music takes now
that we all are on the same page as far as taste in music goes.
-Jesse A.: Get out of debt.
Kash: Keep the US Hardcore punk scene alive!
Nick: Get better at drums and create a bigger scene.
Ben Edge: Fuck.
-Nick: Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, its all just mainstream
bullshit meant to bring you down, be above it and keep your head on straight.
Ben Edge: Huh?
Something to add?
-The eighties had the best bands, because kids had a lot of energy and
played loud, fast music without a lot of pretense, whether they knew how to
play or not. That style is coming back big time, and I encourage any kids
out there to see the new movie American Hardcore or to read the book it's
based on, and try to find the bands that are listed in it. Some of the
greatest music in punk rock came from young kids who didn't know any better,
and there's nothing stopping kids from doing the same or even better right
Ben Edge: Get more black people in your country!