Cinderblock (Terror, Snapcase, Earth Crisis) share “’91” and talk new EP in Q&A
Cinderblock -- the short-lived early 1990s Buffalo hardcore band co-fronted by Scott Vogel (Terror, Buried Alive, Despair, Slugfest, etc) and Tim Redmond (drummer of Snapcase, Slugfest) that also featured guitarists Karl Dutton and Phil Popieski, bassist Clint Marriott, and future Earth Crisis drummer Dennis Merrick -- recently revealed that they've finally given their old demo songs proper studio recordings which will result in the Breathe the Fire EP, due digitally on October 28 via WAR Records, with vinyl arriving on December 9 (pre-order). Ahead of the release, we're premiering "'91," which the band originally played as an instrumental back in the day but now wrote lyrics for. The new version is a metallic hardcore rager that still sounds like it could've come out 30 years ago, and sounds fresh today too. If you're a fan of Cinderlock and/or their more famous related bands, check this out.
Along with the premiere, we've got a Q&A with Tim Redmond conducted by WAR Records owner/Strife guitarist Andrew Kline in which Tim talks about writing lyrics for "'91," why the band decided to re-record this material, Cinderblock's early days, Tim's personal career path, and more. Read on for what he had to say...
Cinderblock was billed as a “local super group” before that was really a term in hardcore. Members were pulled from Slugfest, Discontent and No Joke… How did you originally recruit everyone for this project?
Tim Redmond: To be honest, it was really organic. It just happened. The Buffalo hardcore scene was incredible. There were so many great bands that came to town on a regular basis. As a result, there were a lot of incredible shows. That really cultivated a vibrant local band scene - there were so many shows, so you needed a ton of openers. Of course, it was competitive. Every band wanted to be on the bill when Sick of It All, or Youth of Today, or Judge, or Gorilla Biscuits came to play. But the great thing about the Buffalo hardcore scene was that the members of all of these local bands were good friends. If your band wasn't opening, you were in the pit moshing, stage diving, and singing along for the local bands that were. Because we were all friends, forming Cinderblock was natural. We wanted to hang out together and to make music together. The band was short-lived, but it was a lot of fun.
"‘91" was originally played as an instrumental intro during the band’s original incarnation (pun intentional). What was the spark to writing the lyrics for this new release?
Yeah, we used to call it the Cintro. We would come out with cinderblocks, slam them down on the stage, and use them for stage dives. We were clearly really cool. Hahaha. When Scott Vogel (Terror) first guaged our interest in rerecording these songs, I immediately wanted to write lyrics for the Cintro. First, I think it was one of our best songs. Therefore, I wanted to record it. But I also thought it might be weird if we only recorded a few songs and one of them was instrumental. So, I decided to put lyrics to it. But the main reason I did so was because I have been feeling pretty sentimental about hardcore as of late. As I have gotten older, I have been reflecting on how much influence this movement and music has had on my life. I still listen to hardcore today and get so much energy and joy from the music. But it is so much more than that. This music gave me the opportunity to write music, make records, and travel the world. That has enriched my life beyond measure. You can't quantify that. This movement gave me my best friends. I mean, this movement even determined my diet. I stopped eating meat because of Youth of Today's No More, and because the liner notes encouraged people to read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (which I did on the school bus to and from high school). This movement and this music has defined and determined the arc of my life in so many ways. This recording gave me an opportunity to express these sentiments. Essentially, '91 is a way of saying 'Thank you,' to all of those bands, all of those friends, all of those people who printed fanzines and promoted shows. It was a way to say thank you for bringing so much joy and meaning into my life, and for making me who I am today.
Can you tell us a little bit about your musical timeline from Slugfest to Cinderblock to Snapcase, and how you evolved as a musician with each band?
Well, quick story. The very first band I was in was call Misconception. There were only three members (who needs a bass player?). The problem was only one of us could play an instrument. Clint - who ended up being the bass player in No Joke and Cinderblock - could play guitar and drums. He wanted to play guitar. I wanted to be the singer. But the other members did too. So, we decided to draw straws - whoever got the shortest straw would have to play drums. I lost. Clint handed me drumsticks, and I sat behind a drum set for the first time in my life and tried to play. I was awful, obviously, and so was our band. Hahaha. Eventually, I met Scott Vogel at a show and we became good friends. I was a huge Slugfest fan and when they went through some line-up changes, Scott asked me if I wanted to play drums. By that point I had learned to actually play a few beats (after hours and hours of practice playing along to hardcore records). Then Cinderblock came along. I suppose it was just another effort on my behalf to become a singer - hahaha. Then, Snapcase asked me if I wanted to play drums. We went right into the studio and recorded Drain Me, Filter, and Lookinglasself, and then that band became my sole focus. I likely evolved the most as a musician with Snapcase simply because I was playing so much more and that's when I really started, I think, to discover and feel comfortable with my own style, which was basically hit as hard as you can. Hahaha. When you don't have a lot of talent, you've got to bring a lot of energy.
Breathe The Fire releases this fall on WAR Records, why did it take so long to re-record these songs and finally give Cinderblock the justice it deserves?
To be honest, we weren't around for very long, and everyone was so busy with their other bands that we hadn't given Cinderblock much thought over the years. I had the demo packed away on a cassette tape in my basement but hadn't listened to it since we recorded it. When Scott asked about re-recording the songs, I was really excited. When you write music, you realize that every record is a moment captured in time. You evolve as a musician, you evolve as a person, and you evolve as a band. Snapcase, for example, couldn't write another Lookinglasself when we were writing Progression Through Unlearning, just as we couldn't write another Progression Through Unlearning when we were writing Designs for Automotion etc. What was so unique about these Cinderblock songs is that we wrote them so long ago, as kids, but they never really saw the light of day. And now we could record them as old dudes. So, you have the energy of youth with the grisly wisdom and experience of people who have been playing other music for decades. So these songs are old, but they're also new. In that way, we kind of could "write" those songs again. It was just a really unique opportunity and it was really fun to see everyone again, to catch up, to rediscover the songs, to give them new life, and to say 'thank you' for all that hardcore has given us.