Old School Music

dealing with punk rock, speed/thrash and other music styles of the 80ies and beyond, a webpage connected to Red, Black & Green

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Get ready as the Temptations said, for some New York 90ies Oi ( coming back right now),FIRST STRIKE talks with us

What does "First Strike" mean, why did you choose this name?

Actually I didnt choose the name Taj who was in Vibram 94 at the time was looking to start a new project since Vibram was about to call it a day. He came up with the name before i was in the band. It sounded good to me so we went with it.

What are your influences, what made you decide to build a band, grab music instruments and start playing?

Its kinda funny the way it happened. Taj was saying to another of our skinhead mate called Roy during a big street beef back in the day "Roy lets do it First Strike style". Later I was like "what's First Strike?". He said it was a new band that he was forming with Roy as singer. I asked Taj if i bought a guitar and learned could i be in the band. He said yeah, thats how simple it was back then. Roy never worked out though.

Are there shows that impressed you as attenders back then? Records?

Back then the first time the Business came to the States and the riot that insued after the show. But i would have to say the most memorable show back then was when the Addicts played a venue called the Pipeline in New Jersey in 94'. Crazy ass show, people were getting fucked up left and right.

Is there a difference (or many) between New York & NY area Oi music ( Vibram 94, Oxblood, Templars, First Strike, Bottom Of The Barrel/45 Adapters...) and Midwest Oi or Southern Oi or Californian Oi ( I saw a Ep by a band called United Blood, seems they come from the Bay Area...)?

Yeah i would say all these areas have their own flavor. Even in New York i would say that those bands you mentioned have their respective styles. People often say New York had its own sound collectively but im not sure i agree.

What do Bad Brains, Warzone, Cro Mags, Agnostic Front represent/mean for you? And Iron Cross, Effigies?

In the 80s when i was first getting into being a skin those were the bands in the USA and New York in particular that were the skinhead bands. Most skins were all about hardcore but Oi was starting to become more popular also. In NY hardcore started going in a different direction and alot of skins moved towards a more boots & braces oi stance. Those bands were huge influences early on though.

Do you know SHARP, RASH, RAC movements, what do you think about these "skinhead tribes"?

As a rule First Strike has tried to steer clear of any political stance. It seems there are many politicians in the skinhead scene. We sing about the real world and what happens there. Not about political fantacies. We stand against tyrany be it from the left or the right. You can say we do have patriotic leanings though

How can a band like First Strike get record deals, airplays, gig slots or offers to be featured in a compilation? How do you handle this?

Those things are usually hit or miss and alot of the opportunities we get are through word of mouth mostly. Alot of it comes from people we know and the people they know.

Have you ever played outside New York? Outside USA? is there a country you would like to visit and tour?

We've played mostly local shows. We played Washington DC back in the day and more recently New Jersey. The oi music scene in NY is pretty quiet now. We would like to play Latin America where the skinhead thing seems to be coming on strong.

Do you have some special anecdotes from playing or touring?

Yeah, never go on stage if you play an instrument without a backup! If you're a singer buy your own microphone because you dont wanna use a mic that 20,000 fucking scumbags have used! If you're in this for the money, forget it! You will spend a whole lot more money maintaining a band than you will ever hope to make playing oi!...and dont get me started on asshole clubs and promoters!...

I guess you watched "Taxi Driver" and know about the movie, so would you consider that Robert De Niro's character is a pioneer of NY skinhead attitude or NY punk attitude?

This was one of my favorite movie as a kid(maybe just because i was a fucked up kid!...). Personally i never read any thing particularly skin about that movie except that the main character was an alienated fuck like most of us. Many people state the obvious choice of A Clockwork Orange as "THE" skinhead movie but i was never too impressed with that film. To me and others i have spoken to in the NY scene the film The Warriors was much more influential.

Why the split, and why coming back?

Back then Taj started drifting from the band and we were constantly having trouble finding a permanent drummer so little by little it just started to fade. About 2 years ago i was looking to start playing again by joining a new band(not First Strike, something different). I was running into alot of flakey people who were not reliable. So i said if its going to happen im gonna have to make it my own thing and take the sword so to speak. Thats when i decided to bring back First Strike. Fortunately i met up with Joseph(formerly of the band Vanguard) who started playing bass. He's been very solid since he joined. Unfortunately the same cant be said for a drummer, somethings never change!

Do you listen to ska & rocksteady music? If yes what do you think about the 90ies ska punk scene ( Save Ferris, Operation Ivy, Slow Gherkin, Rancid, Leftover Crack...), and bands like The Adjusters, Dancehall Crashers, New York Ska Jazz Ensemble?

Honestly i have to tell you i have never been a fan of Ska. Some of the bands/songs are cool but i come from a rock&roll background and thats what i lean towards.

Plans for the future.. something to add?

We are working on some new material that hopefully shortly will see the light of day. A lineup change is coming and Joseph will be taking over drum duties and we will be adding a new bassist. We hope to be playing out more soon so watch out for us! Anybody wants to check us out or drop us a line can do so at myspace.com. Thanks for the opportunity Saul and all the best...Oi!
Oh, one thing i forgot. In my last answer in question #13 can you add our myspace address(myspace.com/first1strike)
Many thanks! Rich FIRST STRIKE people!!


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