Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PART TWO.. Starting off with Cuz Joe of Black N Blue

Part TWO shall illuminate work done by esteemed members of the hardcore community and show in turn what people can do when they put real work and core ethics to what they do.
If this is the first entry you've read-please refer back to past entries to catch on the ongoing discussion/interview series..

As this interview series continues to grow, I find myself looking for the people who are out there doing. They're out there pushing and making what we do/love/live all it can be. They've incorporated or acquired skills to help facilitate the progress in their efforts and the dividends are shared by the entire community. These "Part Two" people often sacrifice countless hours, dollars and endure stress and ungodly headaches to create what we enjoy.

To talk about hardcore and its past and roots to overlook the importance of NYC and the aesthetic of the Great NYHC shows would be a grievous error. I am very pleased to have Cuz Joe who has taken an annual event that has its own deep roots and importance out of its grave and made it to something better then what it was in the past. The Superbowl of Hardcore featured the best and brightest of the NYHC scene. After a decade and change, it shifted down to D.C. and fell out of its glory. Cuz Joe and Black N Blue Productions really took it back to its glory days with amazing lineups and implimented an innovative as well as creative promotion plan and incorporated sponsors and an overall vibe that has lead to a rebirth of the NYC scene.
Black N Blue Productions has the touch of the old school family mentality with the great looking glossy promotion and an ever widening grasp on the NYC hardcore scene. They strive to bring the real hardcore show vibe to the masses and bring the light back onto their hometown. No barricade, no dickhead bouncers and zero tolerance on fighting at their shows is just a portion of their efforts to improve the shows and the scene in NY.
So without further interruption, here he is Cousin Joe...

When you started off doing the Black and Blue shows, did you do them because you felt like you were filling a void or serving your scene? Was there others around you at the time to give you a hand or were your lessons learned through trial and error?
A little of both. At the time, we knew CBGB's was going to close down soon. The state of NYHC and hardcore music itself was at a changing point. Numerous figures in the NYHC scene were there to support me in the building of BNB productions. Some of my close friends like Civ, Freddy Madball, and others thought I was the one to do it. I felt we needed a legit hardcore production company that can penetrate some of the corporate walls that have engulfed NYC. And of course, me not being too familiar with the behind the scenes aspect of it, I asked Freddy to be my partner.

At what point did you try to distinguish what you were doing with Black and Blue from everyone else "in the game"? Did you think there was a competitive edge to it?
How do you feel as if you defined yourself different from others?

The only real difference was that we were street guys running a real legit production company. There were no real competitors who were focused strictly on hardcore/punk rock. The only way maybe I could say we were different is that we all have roots in NYC- the Mecca of everything.

Taking on the arduous task of running the Superbowl is something that I feel was absolutely necessary for not only NYHC but for the hardcore subgenres involved in the time honored event. How was it making the move back to NYC and what were your initial thoughts when you took on this burden?
I definitely didn’t think of it as a burden. Just like every hardcore kid, I was always a fan of the old school superbowls. Witnessing the deterioration of the show and what it use to mean to everybody everywhere, made me want to bring it back to where it was born.

Black N Blue productions have kick started a scene with a great past into the current history with great production, awesome venues and bills that are both pleasing to the old guard and the new crowd. What did you have in mind when things first started picking up? Were there specific goals you'd set up and have you reached them?
One of the first things I had in mind was trying to set a tone of unity being needed back in the scene. I am a firm believer of supporting the youth. Having them enjoy and acknowledge hardcore and how it should be. Yes there were specific goals, to get the kids excited about hardcore again, and to remind them that it wasn't all about fighting at was more about people coming to the same place for the same reasons and expressing our aggression against society not each other.

Name 5 bands over the course of your tenure in hardcore that have taught you something and in turn you wish the world would learn.

Agnostic Front
Majority of One
Gorilla Biscuits
Dead Kennedys

Few give you credit for the professional look and turn you took with your booking practices. I can remember seeing NYHC really started to just look like antiquated and outdated. Why did you go there and did you feel as if it was pushing you to heights and moving you past former d.i.y standards? Has the elder NYC crowd given resistance to this glossy change or have they lent a hand and been supportive?
I think in learning about the reality of the modern nyc attitude toward our scene, we found out it would benefit all around for us to come across as a legit/knowledgeable group of individuals who have their shit together, at the same time keeping it D.I.Y. The elder guys have been nothing but supportive, why shouldn't they?!

What do you see bands and promoters missing today? Where are they going wrong? Which aspect do you find most out of place today? Could you change it?

Really the only thing I can say is that everyone should communicate with each other to not do certain things such as booking 2 shows in the same night within a stones throw of each other.

Would you say the hardest thing about transferring what we've been through and what we've learned to the new generation is that there isn't the open ears and eyes to what we're saying and what we saw or is there a lack of a proper medium to show the new generations what the past has had to do to in order to get to this point?
I do feel that there is a good amount of the new generation that do understand and know about it, actually. The only problem is that those are the ones who need to step up and put more effort into contributing to spreading the word of this thing we all love and enjoy as one.

Do you feel helpless in watching ideals or principles of your generation, or things that you feel are important to the big picture be absorbed or covered up by the sands of time? Is there something you wish that would come back into play that has been lost? Or something that you'd like to see be rediscovered and back into the mix?
As Times change people change, that's just life. In my heart I feel that kids are starting to rediscover the ideals and principals that for some moments seemed lost. Such feelings may be stemming from the energy and reactions at the past 4 superbowls of hardcore in NY. Whoever has been to them has probably felt it also.

How does an event like the Superbowl retain its credibility in a world of kids who weren't around 2 years ago and may not be around next year? Aside from the change to the Black N Blue Bowl for legal name reasons, what other changes are you implementing to continue the prosperity of your event? Do you feel as if the entire hardcore community is served by your event or is there ways you could expand to include a bigger portion of the puzzle known as hardcore?
That event was brought back for the specific reason of giving everyone the vibe that so many of us older guys/gals experienced, in turn, changing many of our lives. At the same time, reviving the hardcore spirit. Not many changes are needed really, just keep the positive vibe at our shows and treat everyone like family, like it should be, like it was meant to be. We have always felt our shows have served the entire hardcore community, bringing bands from all over to play, young and not so young...haha.


Kesit Agung Wijanarko said...

Cool blog you got in here dood. Greetings from Indonesia.

Witness said...

Saw Madball a few months back. This is a great interview.

What's up Joe?

Rookie Soldier said...

Always stellar Joe, keeping it REAL. Hope you are doing well.