Punk rock will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first music I ever really listened to. Back in the day, way back in the day...I was a drummer in a punk band called For Lack of a Better Word, but I digress.
With great acts of the 90s like MxPx, Slick Shoes, Dogwood and later decade turns like original Relient K and Blink 182, punk has seemed to have lost some of it's luster as the angry voice of a generation. A Life Worth Living is trying to recapture some of that voice and make something memorable.
Where'd you get the name from?
I got the name when reading the Death and Trial of Socrates. In it he decides to allow himself to be put to death, and does so because of his notion of what is the best way to live life. He says something along the lines of a life worth living is one lived for honor and the state. I say no to that, and so our name is an different interpolation of his statement. No one liked it at first. If we could change the name we could call ourselves "Short Controlled Bursts."
You said you are trying to create punk rock that's new and evolving. How are you doing this and what do you think you do differently?
Walter Benjamin talks about Art in the age of mechanical reproduction and how it's changes how art is represented and even how its created. We do not claim to have invented something new, but we consider what punk rock was. We critique older generations (both in lyrics and music) and we attempt to build on that. We also feel that the music we play is music that could not have been produced in the 70s or 80s. We take our energy and anger and mix it with melodic punk of the 90s, and we come out with something that sounds like 2011, at least I think so. We discuss problems that are specific to our time (such as the global economic crisis, which began in 2008).
Is the punk scene on the Island as big as it used to be, and how do you feel about it?
When I was in high school I remember there being a ton of punk rock bands, but by my senior year most had fallen apart. The scene I see now is comprised of both Brooklynites and Islanders. The music is there, but I feel there is a lack of community and inclusion. It seems like there are cliques between different subgenres. I miss going to IHop with 30 kids after our weekly show regardless of what kind of music they thought they played. It's important to remember that these things are cyclical. Before I started going to shows, there was a lull in the amount of shows and bands, just like was the case here a couple years back.
It's hard to be in a band anywhere. I am so lucky to have found so many people who are into the sound I want to put out. I sometimes think my other band mates are more into it than I am. My advice is what I learned from a movie. "Bands come and go, so just watch your money."
What is your take on Staten Island music, and is it hard to be in a band here?
For A Life Worth Living we pretty much did it on our own. I have known Barrie from Generic Insight Radio, and she was sweet enough to give us our first show. We have a lot of friend bands who we help out and they help us out, but this is more of a recent thing. For the first two years ALWL was constantly going through lineup changes so we never really played consistently. Now we have two best friend bands and one I would like to think we can take under our wing. We love you, Man The Change and Departures. You too Wester!
If you had to describe a show of yours in 3 words, what is it?That was fast!
Do you think punk has a place in mainstream media anymore, or has it gone to really pop acts "claiming" punk?
Punk, in essence, cannot have a place in our current mainstream, because our mainstream isn't open to individuals who voice an opinion that goes against current modes of power control. Yes, there are shows on TV and radio that speak out against our current state, but they are few and far between. To join the mainstream as is, means a removal of punk ideology. If you need to change your “punk” to sell it, then it's just a commodity any fool could buy.
However, if as a society as a whole, we decided we would rather have education and free programing, then punk can find its home there. Until then Punks needs to be angry and rebellious against mainstream media.
What's the bands biggest or coolest moment?
I would think it is the time we got banned from a venue for saying the title of one of our songs- "It's Not Gay If It's Cousins".
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years, and what's the ultimate goal of the band?
I usually don't think about the future of this band, and maybe that is a problem. I have been dealing with some issues over the last six months regarding art and messages in art. At the core of what I do is the hope that someone understands my lyrics and thinks about life a little differently. I would prefer it to be on a large scale, but at the same time there is no where I'd rather play than a basement. All I can say for sure is that I hope in 5 years we are still playing as fast, if not faster.
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