Thursday, October 29, 2009


The upcoming release on Seventh Dagger is the full length CD from Southern California's ONE CHOICE. The guys in ONE CHOICE wanted to really create something special so they dug deep and pulled in a lot of great guest contributors including members of Earth Crisis, Strife, H20 and Trial to represent what time tested dedication to straightedge looks like. In the month leading up to the release of the new ONE CHOICE record we will be posting interviews with the guest contributors about their involvement with this project. Here is a short interview with Greg Bennick of TRIAL on his contribution to the new ONE CHOICE record and what keeps straightedge inspiring to him after all these years.

Hey Greg how long have you been straightedge and what led you to the decision to become straightedge?

GREG: I quit drinking on September 30th 1988. I have not wavered in my conviction since that time and that’s an incredible feeling. This fall will be 21 years. Everyone said I would drink when I turned 21, but as I sang on the Genuine record years ago “I stayed true and proved you wrong”. What led to my decision to become straightedge? I had been a heavy and intense drinker at times in high school. I think I am missing the part of my brain that regulates alcohol intake. I couldn’t just have a drink. I would want, and have, ten drinks. And not just beer. I was drinking straight grain alcohol by myself. Good times. More like really dangerous and self destructive times. Alcohol is used by many as a means of replacing something in their lives that hurts them which they need to work through. Its like this: if I cant figure out why my parents were difficult to me growing up, or why this person left me or lied to me, or why I can’t succeed the way I want to...if I have failed in all of those regards....then at least I can be an expert at one thing: drinking. I see it all the time.. People get obsessive about it because its an area they can excel in. Its the perfect avoidance of real life. For me, I realized that if I was going to approach life with the sincerity, sensitivity, empathy, and clear-mindedness that I wanted to, I couldn’t do that with alcohol in my life. So that was it...I decided one night after a round of drinking and seeing friends tear apart a field in my hometown with trash, that this was a way of life that I could no longer condone or be a part of. I made the decision to stop, completely, and never looked back.

Whats your connection to One x Choice and what made you want to contribute to this project?
GREG: The guys in One x Choice are inspiring to me because they are older guys who are still connected to their ideas. I really like the idea that people can stay true to ideas and convictions that they find important and vital, even as “real life” encroaches upon them as the years go by. Hoe many people have used the excuse that straightedge was great as a teenager but as they became adults it just didn’t mean the same? I remember the band Uppercut from the east coast singing “Straightedge is great when you’re young, but as you get older, its not very much fun”. I remember standing in the crowd at the Anthrax at age 18 watching them and thinking, “First, I disagree completely and will throughout my life. Second, you write grammatically silly lyrics.” When Rob Mertz called me and asked for me to be a part of the record, it was because of their enthusiasm and decision to continue letting young people know about straightedge that inspired me to be a part of the project. Also, it was nice to not be the oldest person in a band for a change.

Can you talk briefly about what the lyrics to the song you sang on are about?

GREG: I’d be happy to talk about the words I wrote and spoke for the song. The words are “Identify your addictions. For they go beyond your drugs. Beyond alcohol. They are rooted in your insecurities. We find strength in submission. Solace in being unsound. When we are empty and alone we try to fill ourselves in any way and at any cost. We are worth more than the price at which we sell ourselves short. Life slips us by and we miss every chance to move forward along with it.. Look at who you are. Look at those around you, not for what is, and not for what they are, but for what could be...for what we all could be....what you could be”. I wanted to capture the idea that we have deep value and that we often forget that. People thinking about not drinking might find strength and confidence in knowing that they too have as-yet-unrealized self worth, but that they don’t have to try to find it in any way other than simply looking within.

I know you do a lot of spoken word projects, writting and are a professional juggler tell us a little about all the projects you are working on musical and otherwise.

GREG: I definitely am involved in a number of projects. Musically, I am finishing vocals for the Between Earth and Sky EP which will be out hopefully later this year. I am also of course playing some Trial dates in Europe this summer and very likely one or two in the US in the fall, possibly a show in another country or two as well. We are loving playing shows and while no, we will not be writing a record and touring again, its wonderful to have a chance to continue sharing those songs with people and feeling their input. That photo from Burning Fight, taken during our set, really changed my life. It was like the embodiment in photographic form of a decade of my life. I have been recording spoken word projects for bands and am considering doing a spoken word record this year. Yes, I do entertain too. I love it...its just fun to have fun with people. I think as people involved in hardcore, we get so swept up in intensity that we forget to laugh often times. I am also a film producer, and the latest film I created with Patrick Shen (with whom I did “Flight From Death” in 1995 ( is called “The Philosopher Kings” and we just had our world premiere at the AFI Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS film festival in DC. We sold out two screenings, the second in a 400 seat theater, and were asked back to show the film a third time. It was an incredible experience. More on the film can be found at

Where are you finding your inspiration these days in terms of straightedge?

GREG: So I am dating an incredible woman right now who has a sixteen year old daughter. The daughter is right at the age where people start experimenting with drugs and alcohol, that is, if they let peer pressure and the minds of their friends think for them. This girl is amazing. She has so much heart and integrity and sense of self at sixteen...its so great to watch her just be alive. Recently, she’s become very interested in straightedge and learning about why people are straightedge, what the lyrics mean, why the X is part of the subculture, what bands exist, and what the differences between those bands are. Its been amazing for me to explain it all to her. I usually am talking to people who already “get it”, and while she certainly gets it, its just fascinating and totally inspiring to see her process the information and ideas for herself, having encountered them for the first time just recently. I highly recommend talking to younger people about these things. It will likely be fulfilling and inspiring both for them and for you.

How can people reach you if they want to find out more about the projects you have going on?

GREG: Best thing to do is to find me on the myspace at I would be happy to hear from you anytime. Thanks for the interview!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BLACKOUT RAGE is a new band from Syracuse, NY on Seventh Dagger. This band epitomizes everything this label stands for to the letter. BLACKOUT RAGE is exactly what straightedge and hardcore needs right now. While everyone else plays it safe hoping to be the next band to "make it" or "take it to the next level" these dudes are staying true to their convictions. Playing heavy, original music with an unwavering message (something often lost in this generation where the most profound statement at the show is "we have t-shirts in the back!) BLACKOUT RAGE are here to remind everyone that there is still real straightedge hardcore out there.

Why and how did BLACKOUT RAGE get started?

Whitey: Blackout Rage was really born in 10th grade when Pauly slept over at my house and we moshed in my basement to the new Hellfest 2000 DVD and the Throwdown- You Don't Have to Be Blood to Be Family record (You can see me singing along on the back of that record at Hellfest 2000). Since then a friendship forged while moshing to bands like One Nation Under, Earth Crisis and The Promise, has been through ups and downs of being roommates at war with one another and slamming low carb monster drinks together. The day after Edgeday 2008 while hanging on Newbury street in Boston, I talked to Tomdom and Pat Benson from Forfeit about doing a straight edge band with Pauly singing. Originally I was going to go for more of a Chorus of Disapproval sound but we ended up with something more metallic. Over a couple weeks in January 2009 Tomdom and Ben from Forfeit and I came up with the songs and Our buddy Karl Buechener helped us out with the name and some lyrical guidance.

Pauly: Blackout Rage was born in a backlash against what hardcore has turned into in recent years. It's sickening to know that the haven that I found escape in early on has turned into a bunch of expensive shoe, hat, clothes wearing judgemental pieces of shit. This band was born to be hated.

Obviously this is quite a step away from what you and Paulie were doing in Meltdown was that the plan?

Whitey: If you ever saw Meltdown you know that Pauly liked to mention Straight Edge on stage but the band as a whole was far from Edge. He wanted to talk about a lot of things that the band didn't really as a whole stand for. Neither of us ever had the chance to do the outspoken Straight edge band that we wanted to, so our desire was to follow that instead of doing a repeat of Meltdown. Meltdown was the result of a lot of people with different ideas. Some people in the band wanted there to be shirts about smoking weed or with anti God messages that not everyone in the band stood for. Blackout Rage is a little more unified in what we are doing from the music to the message.

What is BLACKOUT RAGE all about?
Whitey: Blackout Rage is about being sick of a lot of things in hardcore. A lot of people want to tell you that being into punk or hardcore is about being yourself. However, that only goes as far as being yourself doesn't conflict with what the majority in hardcore or punk deem acceptable. I always liked that in hardcore you would get all these people from all of these different places saying what they thought. Do I relate to being a Hare Krishna or think it is the best path? No, but I love 108, Shelter and Cro-Mags and respect that they are speaking from where they come from and not trying to conform. In the hardcore scene saying things like you believe in God or have more conservative leaning political views can make you an outcast and have nerds on message boards calling for your blood. We are about not apologizing for who we are. As a band we express that through being outspokenly straight edge and playing the kind of music we enjoy, not the sound that will put us on top. Personally Pauly and I believe in God and are more conservative leaning, so from us personally and not necessarily the whole band that gets expressed when you hear Pauly yelling "American Straight Edge"(yes, we do think there SOME problems with America, we aren't idiots.) and "guided by Yahweh". Another thing that we aim to bring attention in our next material is the worship of some sort of criminal/gang culture in hardcore. This bottomfeeder crap is something we really don't stand for.

Pauly: Blackout Rage came out of the gate hated and that's the way we will stay. We want to come back to the same sort of shock and hate that Earth Crisis, Youth of Today and Tyrant experienced when they first appeared on the scene. You either love us and support what we are doing, or you absolutely hate us and want us to never play again. The records will continue to come, the issues will continue to be addressed and we will continue to be a "seeker of truth" in a hardcore scene that is brainwashed by what you wear, who you know and how fast you will cut your neighbors throat. As for us being a Christian band, we are not entirely uniform in our faith. It makes me laugh that the new Trapped Under Ice record references the "maker of life" and Freddy Madball tells us "only G.O.D. I look up to" and brainless hardcore kids STILL have the nerve to crucify us for having faith or asking questions about beliefs. If these brainwashed fools looked a little closer and saw that bands like Madball, 108, Cro Mags, Merauder, and Trapped Under Ice all have some type of religious or spiritual questions or faith, they'd eat their words faster then they could post their "old school" playlists on twitter. Fuck all of the sheep.

BLACKOUT RAGE has taken a much harder stance on straightedge than a lot of bands out there today, what is it about the world today that motivated such a response from you guys in terms of BLACKOUT RAGE message?

Whitey: Well we took a lot of inspiration from the Judge and their idea of giving people something to hate. When put in the position of feeling alienated for what we think and a hostility against us, we push back. We don't hate people that aren't Straight Edge. Our buddy Ben Shaw who helped us do writing for the 7inch on drums isn't Straight Edge. The song Straight Edge Holy War? We don't believe we should be out there killing people who aren't Edge or anything ridiculous, the war is internal. Not everyone in the band is a Christian but I will point to how the Bible says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world". It come down to, again, us not apologizing for who we are. We aren't going to be another band afraid to say we are Straight Edge and think it is a great choice. We aren't going to hide that drunk driving and substance abuse are evil things that need to obliterated to avoid offending someone.

Pauly: Blackout Rage was built on disappointment, sadness, anger, hatred and disbelief of the all the sellouts and the lack of respect, integrity and decency of so much of the hardcore scene these days. I see the infection in hardcore becoming worse and worse, so you can expect more records from us on Seventh Dagger for years to come.

Why did you guys want to release your record on Seventh Dagger?

Whitey: Seventh Dagger appealed to us for the one main reason. Both Blackout Rage and Seventh Dagger stand for an intense, in your face Straight Edge message. No other label out there really communicated that as a label. We wanted to come out the gate and have have people feel one way or the other about the band. We wanted to appeal to the Straight Edge maniacs and not the nerds on the Bridge 9 board. We wanted to say things people wouldn't like and would make us hated in some circles. Seventh Dagger is not PC and doesn't try to water down it's Straight Edge message so it is obviously a perfect fit.

Pauly: I met Danny on tour with Earth Crisis last year. He is a hard working, blue collar American like myself. He's a great dad and a great business man. He's real and edge for life. I can trust Danny to never sell out and that's why we will forever be affiliated with Seventh Dagger. He loves what we bring to the straight edge war and we love what we see in him.

What are you guys plans for 2009-2010 not that the record is out?

Whitey: With the record coming out we are finally gearing up to play shows. You can expect to see us a lot this winter. We will be coming to the areas like Buffalo and Cincinnati and trying to connect with other like minded edgemen. We have more songs written after the 7inch was recorded so we will be figuring out what to do with those and get kids some more material. Expect us to be saying things people don't want hear all year in 2010. Blackout Rage- I live forever true.

Pauly: No one in this band will ever sell out. EVER. See you on the road