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Detroit, Michigan, United States
I'm a punk rock guru from Detroit. Part skinhead, part crusty, part metalhead, part hardcore kid, part party kid, 100% punk rocker.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In Defence interview

In Defence interview


1. When and where did you guys get started?

Tony: In Defence started in 2004 with Ben Crew writing the songs for the first 7" before there were any other members. From there he recruited John Mitchell (drums) and Paul Audette (Bass). Soon after that Jason Lupeituu joined on guitar. After the first 7" was released Marc Hanou (Amsterdam native) joined on second guitar. This line up released a second and third 7" and wrote most of the first lp 'Don't know how to breakdance'. During the writing Marc moved back to Europe and Tom Burt joined on guitar and John left and was replaced by Will Makin. After the next 7" release Will and Paul left the band and Jeff Nicolas (drums) and Tony Hoff (bass) joined. Two more 7" and our second lp 'Into the sewer' were put out with this line up. Jason left the band and was replaced by Jimmy Claypool.

Ben: We played our first show in February of 2006. It was a benefit for a local Minneapolis hardcore/punk comp called "Bring It Together" that we were spearheading.

2. What was Twin Cities hardcore like when you got started? Did you help to pick it up at all?

Tony: The Twin Cities has a very diverse scene. Usually bands from different genres will play together. I feel like we have had an impact on the scene, there are more hardcore bands playing 80's style fastcore and more bands playing a cross over type thrash.

Ben: The scene had different factions pop punx, garage/82 style hardcore, crust, street punk and mosh core. The comp was a way to try and bring everyone together. We played mid-late 80's style hardcore punk/thrash. Nobody else was doing that style at the time. We kind of came in with a humorous approach and tried to mix it up at shows. We would book shows with cruist, hardcore and street punk bands. we wanted people to get over their dislike/fears of other punk cliques. There was a fight at one of the shows. But over time I think we tried to spread the message that punks and hardcore kids need to stick together.

3. Is Minneapolis or Minnesota in general good place for a touring band to stop off? If it is, would you be willing to host a touring band?

Tony: Minneapolis is a great place to tour. For some reason a lot of bands skip over it. I think mostly touring in the winter is hard to do. But we have a lot of bars, venues, and houses to play. We hook bands up all the time, after touring and getting helped out it's something we feel must be done. It helps other local bands meet new contacts and the network of diy punk expand.

Ben: There are a variety of places to play like The Triple Rock Social Club, Memory Lanes and a variety of basement venues. Bands tour through minneapolis a lot. When we do a show for touring bands we always try to show them a good time, make sure they get enough gas money, some food and a place to stay. We tour a lot so we know how it is.

4. What material have you released so far? Is there one you’re particularly proud of?

Tony:

1. Twin Cities Hardcore 7"

2. Guns and Rosa Parks 7" split

3. Birds of a Fether 7" split

4. Don't Know How to Breakdance LP

5. Black Market Fetus 7" split

6. Into the Sewer LP

7. Part by the Slice 7" split

8. Motherspeed 7" split

Loads of comps.

We're proud of all of our releases. They all say something different and it really shows our growth as a band. Also our first four releases are out of print.

Ben: We have released around 7 or 8 split 7"s and two full length LP's "Don't Know How To Breakdance" and "Into The Sewer". We are currently working on a new LP for Profane Existence Records called "Party Lines and Politics".

5. “Don’t Know How to Breakdance”. Hm. Does the band have any original hip-hop influence? If so, who?

Tony: Ben did a solo thing called 1-2-Go Crew where he rapped straight edge hardcore songs over hip hop beats. It was awesome. I think he should bring it back. But 'Don't know how to breakdance' comes from the song Boombox Crew which is about Ben growing up with his friends pretending to be a tough gang type but obviously not being that.

Ben: Before I knew about punk I use to listen to groups like The Fat Boys, 2 Live Crew, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Sugar Hill Gang and Grand Master Flash. This was back in the 80's. I'm white but I grew up in a mostly black community. Back then, in my neighborhood, there was still a big division between groups. If you were a black teenager you listened to rap. If you were white teenager you listened to heavy metal. I had friends on both sides so listened to both. I remember when Run DMC and Areosmith came out with the video for "Walk This Way". They combined rap and heavy metal. Then Anthrax did the "I'm The Man" e.p. It doesn't seem like much now becuase we have since seen the creation of bands like Rage Against the Machine but back then that was revolutionary.

6. Have you ever been on tour? If so, where did you go and how did it go?

Tony: To date we've done about 10 tours. We've done Midwest tours, East coast, West coast, and Europe. Tours for us just keep getting better and better. We're currently planning a Midwest tour after our third LP 'Party Lines and Politics' comes out. Then we'll be going to Europe again in the fall of 2011.

Ben: Yes. We have tour throughout the U.S. and played 13 different countries in Europe. Touring is a lot of fun and a way to share your music directly with other people. It's also a great way to make new friends.

7. What kinds of venues are big in Minneapolis (i.e. high-end bars, dive bars, collectives, house shows, warehouse shows, etc.)?

Tony: Oh boy, I'll give this a shot. 1st avenue and the cabooze are the big venues in town. 7th street entry (smaller room in 1st ave.), Triple Rock Social Club, Turf club, Hell's kitchen, Cause, Big V's, Hexagon bar, Memory lanes are a few bars/venues that will do punk shows. The Fallout, Club Med, the Beat coffeehouse, the rathole, the Gnarwhal, Dingus house, the cube, getthefuckoutofmyhouse are some of the houses/colective type places.

8. What are some of your favorite fellow bands to play with?

Tony: As far as out of town bands: ANS, Ramming Speed, Disaster Strikes, Motherspeed, Cross Examination, Noise Noise Noise, Fix My Head, Black Breath, Brokedowns, Off With Their Heads, Wasted Time, Dark Ages, Lord Green, Hercules, Coke Bust, Pyroklast, Deep Shit.

Local bands: Getting Even, Much Words, Ponx Attacks, Annalise, the Manix, Slow Death, Sundowners, Max Ether, Dios Mio, Arms Aloft, Dillinger Four, Assrash, Misery, Fuzzkill, Terrordactyles, Burn All Flags, Question, Useless Wooden Toys, Hamberger Help Me, Birthday Suits. There are more.

Ben: ANS, Dios Mio, Black Market Fetus, Wartorn....

9. Did you ever open for any relatively famous bands? If so, who and when?

Tony: Gorilla Biscuits, Bouncing Souls, Dillinger Four, Agnostic Front, Christ on Parade, Warcollapse, Resist, Terror, M.O.D., Modern Life Is War, Weekend Nacho, Trash Talk, the Bronx, Pulling Teeth, Blacklisted, The Unseen, A Wilhelm Scream, Youth Brigade, He Who Corrupts, MDC, DRI, Riistetyt, Skarhead, Hjertestop, Sista Sekunden, Rainbow of Death, Masshysteri.

Ben: Gorilla Biscuits, Dillinger Four, Agnostic Front, Murphy's Law, Bouncing Souls, Youth Brigade, MDC, MOD, 7 Seconds, Star Fucking Hipsters...

10. Does Minneapolis have a big-city feel to it?

Tony: In a way yes, there are a lot of different scenes here, the hip hop scene is huge, rock, folk. Pick something and you can find it. But when you get down to a hardcore/punk scene it is pretty big but if you go to enough shows people start to look familiar.

Ben: Yeah but it's a small big city feel. Not as big as New York or Chicago. There is still a lot going on and a lot to do. It's big enough that there are different punk scenes here... hardcore, street punk, crust, pop punk. People for the most part still get along and go to each others shows from time to time.

11. Has anyone in the band ever actually tried to break-dance? Are ghetto blasters still in use?

Tony: We've had a few shows where we brought boomboxes to the shows but they just get destroyed. So we stopped doing that. There is a lot of cirlce pits and stage dives at our shows. We're happy with that.

Ben: I tried to break-dance back in the 80's but I sucked at it. I still suck at dancing. That's why I took to moshing. It's easier to slam into someone than it is to do the kick worm. We didn't have ipods when we were kids we had ghetto blasters. Instead of you enjoying your music through headphones by yourself you played cassettes through your ghetto blaster with your friends and forced those around you to listen to it as well. We'd go to the park, crank up the jams and annoy the piss out of people. That was fun. I still have one but it's a collectors item now so I don't take it out anymore.

12. What do you think keeps/ limits kids from getting involved in punk?

Tony: Knowing what's good, knowing how to find venues or houses. Going to a house where you don't know where it is and don't know anyone there can be intimidating. So I guess fear of the unknown. But in reality most kids in the scene are very welcoming and don't care.

Ben: Thats a tough question. I think its different for different people. But I think everyone should get involved. This scene is what we make it. If something sucks in your scene don't bitch on the internet do what you can to make it better.

13. Do you take any influence from old punk bands from the Midwest? If so, who?

Tony: Negative Approach is a big one, Naked Raygun, we draw influence from all over.

Ben: Negative Approach.

14. Does In Defence have any upcoming releases or tours planned as of yet?

Tony: We have a new LP coming out on Profane Existence called "Party Lines and Politics". We're hoping it will be out in May 2011. we've also been talking to a couple of labels looking to do 7" but no plans have been made.

Ben: we are currently working on a new LP called "Party Lines and Politics" due out on Profane Existence spring or 2011. After it's out we plan to tour the US and go back over to Europe.

15. What was the craziest band moment you’ve had so far?

Tony: We have a lot of stories but two that I like to tell go like this; on our European tour we played Barcelona and had to be in Italy the next day. So we started this crazy long drive and ended up stopping at a grocery store just inside of Italy. We go in for some breakfast stuff and Ben wonders off and the rest of us find him in line to pay with a single cucumber. We told him he had to weigh it and get a price sticker. He either didn't understand or ignored us. Then we watch him go to the cashier to pay and he tells Ben to go weigh the cucumber and come back. Ben doesn't speak Italian. The cashier calls someone to help and Ben puts the cucumber on the counter raises his hands like he's in trouble and walks backwards out the door.

A couple of years ago we played a town called Duluth it's about 2 hours north of the twin cities. It was the middle of January. We were playing the house that Dios Mio lived in at the time. We set up in the living room and the show was so crazy. Kids were circle pitting in through multiple rooms of the house. We had to stand on our amps there were so many people in the house. After the show was done the police showed up and gave everyone a lecture about having bands play in your house and they should go play a bar. No one got in trouble.

Ben: Playing a gorilla show at a Taco Johns restaurant. It's on youtube. Check it out!! We were suppose to play a basement show. The police came and shut it down before we had a chance to go on. Everyone was bummed out. Then one dude was like "I work at Taco Johns. Let's have the show there.". So we did. It was crazy. People who were there eating were like "what the hell is going on??".

16. Is skateboarding a big thing among the band or in Minneapolis generally?

Tony: Yeah, I feel like skateboarding was bigger than it is now. I think kids still skate but just don't write songs about it as much.

Ben: Some of us skate... or try to. There are several skate parks around mpls.

17. Anything else you want to include?

Tony: We're on myspace and facebook. Check those out for tour dates and other updates. Our new record should be out in May 2011 on Profane Existence. Also you can mail order merch from us at http://indefence.bigcartel.com. DYI FOR LIFE!!!

Ben: In Defence wants to play Detroit!

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