an interview w/ Charles Maggio of Rorschach (who are in the middle of their short run of reunion dates)
by Black Bubblegum
Charles Maggio of Rorschach
June 1993 at ABC No Rio with Assuck & Scrog.
That's the last time that the mighty Rorschach blessed NYC. The band called it quits shortly after, splintering into projects like Gern Blandsten Records, Beautiful Skin, Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, and tons more, but those great successes only highlighted an undeniable fact: Rorschach were innovative and before their time.
After deciding to reunite earlier this year in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Remain Sedate LP, Rorschach announced a short east coast tour. The band is currently in the midst of that tour, which impacts Asbury Park in their native New Jersey tonight (9/24) and Santos Party House TOMORROW (9/25, tix here).
We spoke with the mighty Charles Maggio (Vocals, owner Gern Blandsten Records) to get to the bottom of the reunion and what we can expect going forward....
How did the ball get back rolling on Rorschach?
Charles: It has been talked about on and off for about 5 years, we were sort of offered a show at SXSW this year that didn't pan out, and when that fell apart we just took the momentum we generated and turned it into these shows on the east. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Remain Sedate LP release, and we are all getting up there in age so it all just felt right. Plus we all have people that are very important in our lives that have never seen us play, so it is kind of a added bonus that we can make that happen.
Are these one off dates or do you have any intentions of
keeping this going? More dates, more material?
We have been offered what would amount to an entire US and partial European tour, but unfortunately our lives are such that touring is not really an option. These 5 days are the only thing on the schedule now, we have no intentions of getting back together, it was always just about having fun. No new material is planned, but a remixed/remastered double lp/cd of both of our records will be for sale at the shows.
It could be argued that Rorschach and its offshoots laid the roots for forward thinking hardcore. Do you pay attention to modern hardcore? If so, who do you think is still carrying Rorschach's torch?
Hmmm, we were torch carriers ourselves. We carried the torch of 80's hardcore bands like Die Kreuzen, COC, Black Flag, Bl'ast etc... while listening to a lot of Voivod and Slayer. I think the entire band still listens to all different kinds of music. I pay attention to a lot of the early 80's influenced bands and some of the new generation powerviolence stuff. I am not sure any band I have heard is necessarily "carrying a torch" as much just using what they like of ours and making it their own. Bands like Converge are brought up a lot as a band that was influenced by Rorschach, which I deem a great honor, they are a great band who, like Rorschach, seems to not really be concerned with what sound will make them popular but just plays music that they like.
When you were playing in Rorschach, was the goal to stand out amongst the more youth crew-y bands, or was it simply an amalgamation of your different influences?
Simply put when it all started to click we made a conscious decision to play music WE wanted to hear rather that write music we thought other people wanted to hear. It was not a rebellion against anything, we just stopped writing songs based on how we thought other people would perceive them and just wrote songs we liked with no concern over whether any other person on earth would like it.
1.6 Band reunited recently, were you able to catch that? Any thoughts?
I did sound at the WFMU live set and saw them at the Cake Shop. They are also playing the Rorschach show in Philly on the 27th. I think that the grandparents of the generation of kids that will finally understand this band have not been born yet. I mean, I love them, but what they do with their instruments and how they write songs makes my brain hurt. They are light years ahead of their time. If you have seen or heard the band you know what I am talking about, if not, be careful, it might be a bit much for you to handle.
Wow, that's a bill. (flyer via Hardcoreshowflyers)
What are some bands that you enjoy today?
Personally I listen to a lot of old hardcore still. The standards... Negative Approach, Black Flag, Minutemen, will always listen to my favorite band the Big Boys, as for new stuff I have enjoyed Pissed Jeans, Fucked Up, Converge, Black Kites, The Ergs, Mind Eraser, & Ted Leo will always inspire me to want to keep doing music whenever I see him play. I know Nick (guitarist) has been listening to a lot of Black Metal and Doom Metal. Not too sure about the other guys.
What is the current status of Gern Blandsten?
Gern took the last few years off and is slowly recovering from the crippling debt the downturn of the music industry left it in. These shows have seen it come back a bit and reissue a CD and 2xLP of the two lps remixed and remastered... a real special 180 gram vinyl with a gatefold cover. Each show will have its own limited numbered edition colored vinyl for sale at the show. Then there will be a 14 split 7" series of 28 different bands interpreting and covering Rorschach songs. We are securing tracks now by Kylesa, Ted Leo, Municipal Waste, Converge, Doomriders, Pulling Teeth, Krallice, Trap Them, Mind Eraser, dälek, Forensics and more. There will be a special mailorder edition to this series as well as a 2xLP/cd at the end compiling it all. The website is being updated so keep checking.
Special thanks to Charles and Paul! Reunion dates HERE.