Friday, September 27, 2013


Tampa FL is close to the heart of Glorious Times. After all one half of the GT team lived there during the dying off of the hardcore punk scene and during the peak years of the Florida death metal era. Florida had as many top shelf hardcore punk bands as it did metal. We're really proud to bring you a good long chat with Tony Patino who's recently released the DIY documentary about the Tampa hardcore punk scene, entitled "We Can't Help It If We're From Tampa" !!

GT - Tony, everyone had to start somewhere, care to share what sort of music started you off toward punk/hardcore and what were the initial bands that got you in it for life?

Tony - I was always a big fan of music as a kid. I listened to the radio all the time and made cassette tapes and all that good stuff. When I was 11 or 12 my older sister started dating this guy that was a die-hard music nut. While the average person might have had 20 to 30 record albums in their home, this guy had like 800. They were all kept on a gigantic shelf in his bedroom, alphabetized, with plastic slip covers on them. He was like seven years older than me, and he started turning me on to early Bowie, Blondie,  Ramones,  Motorhead, and Thin Lizzy and stuff like that. 

I remember one year I told him I wanted the newest Ozzy record. I guess that would have been Diary Of A Madman. He said, “Oh, I already have it! I'll tape it for you.” He brought me a cassette tape a few days later that said, OZZY on it, and told me to pop it in and give it a listen. We were sitting there in my bedroom listening to the first song together, and I thought it was absolutely horrible. He was like, “Man that's kick ass, ain't it!” As it turned out, it wasn't Ozzy at all. It was Captain Beefheart's Doc At The Radar Station album. Ozzy was on the other side of the tape. The joke was on me! He eventually married my sister. They immediately bought a small home, and I used to go mow their grass for them. I guess he noticed my growing interest in music, so rather than pay me ten bucks, he would just let me pick an album out of his massive collection. 

Over time, I'd taken all of his Motorhead and Ramones records, plus stuff like early Scorpions, The Michael Schenker group, UFO, and The Plasmatics. That's how I got started listening to unusual music, and then when I found out about WMNF 88.5FM (out of the USF Tampa campus) it was all over with. I turned off commercial radio and to this day have never turned it back on.
 Tony with Keith Morris (Circle Jerks) and Brandon Cruz (Dr Know) - (pic - courtesy Tony Patino)

GT - What sort of stuff were you up to back then, in your early years into this sort of music?

Tony - I grew up in Lutz, Florida, which is basically a community just north of Tampa. Once I got into High School I started picking up on skateboarding, which I began to embrace right away. There were a small group of weirdos that I hung out with and skated with there, and we all traded tapes and turned each other on to really obscure stuff. I already had a decent record collection by then, and I'd been playing guitar in my bedroom and stuff. I didn't know very much about the punk scene in Tampa, but I knew it was there. I first started going to shows in the summer of 1986, and one of the first bands I saw was Tampa's Jehovah's Sicknesses. They kinda' blew me away! 

My friend John started messing around on guitar a little, and we ended up starting a band with our friends Chris and Dale. That fell apart, then we tried it again not too long after that. Dale ended up not being a part of it at that point for some reason. Somehow, through Jay from Guy Smiley, we got our first gig in late '86 at the now-legendary Pet Cemetery out in Land O'Lakes. Other bands that played that night were Guy Smiley, Core Of Resistance, and Blemish On Society. It was scary and we sucked! We called ourselves Public Enemy for our first few shows, then we changed the name to Offensive Outlook when the rap band Public Enemy started getting well known. We ended up playing a lot of shows, but nothing big. We did the Slamfest at The Eagles Club, we were part of a disastrous night at The Ritz Theater, and we also played Chances, The Generic Club, and several parties. Our last gig was at The Sunset Club over near USF in the summer of '88, opening for Chokehold. That was our last gig, and Awake's first gig if I remember correctly. I was always taking pictures of bands back then, and ended up starting a zine called Music To Live By. I only put out one issue, and it included record reviews, local show reviews, and interviews with BP, GBH, and MIA. I sold copies of it for one dollar at Alternative Records over off of Fowler Avenue.

 Tony and John Stainer (Jehova's Sicknesses, Battles, Helmet)

GT - Did you do much traveling during those early years or where you basically camped out in your own local scene so to speak. What were a couple of the most memorable shows you went to back in that time period?

Tony - I didn't leave the city much back then. A lot of people I knew at that time were making road trips to go check out shows in places like Gainesville, Melbourne, and Miami. Sometimes even Atlanta. I wasn't fortunate enough to get to go on most of those trips. It's hard to pinpoint which Tampa shows were the most memorable for me, because every one of them was pretty crazy. Even if it was just local bands playing, there was still always an element of violence involved. Sometimes people would come around to check it out, and they would get their ass beat just because nobody knew who they were. Sometimes those people would come back and take their chances, and eventually get welcomed into the mix, but I think most of them just said forget it. It was always huge when the big bands would come through on tour. Those shows always had security, so I guess people felt safer. The big shows would have like 500 people in attendance, but the local shows would only have like 50 or 60 because people were too scared to go.

GT - So during your exploits you ran a record label as well? You've certainly done a great deal! Can you tell us a bit about the label?

Tony - There was a guy named Stepfan Jefferies that had just started a small independent label called Hello Records. It was 1998 if I remember correctly. He had been pointed in my direction by a mutual friend of ours because I knew a lot of bands and musicians, and had been organizing and promoting shows a lot over the past few years. Stepfan had a great business sense, and a passion for underground music, so when he found himself with an opportunity to start his own business he decided to try and do a record label. Neither of us were very familiar with how it all worked, but we started from scratch and learned together. When he came to me he had an alt-country band called Pleasureville, and a seventies-influenced rock band called The .357s. That was the foundation, and we built it from there.

 GT - You mentioned it was up and running for about 5 years - care to elaborate a bit on how you started out, what the label wanted to achieve and so on?

Tony - I just started reaching out to whatever bands I knew, and I think in the first six months we signed Billyclub, Fang, Dr. Know, Raw Power, Phantom Rockers, and an L.A. band called Tongue. There we other bands too, but those were our heavy hitters. From there we had to figure out how to get distribution, which is the most crucial part of being a record label. We learned everything through trial and error too. The internet was just beginning to blow up at that time, and the big thing was CDNow. That was the original online record store that ultimately killed all the record stores across the country. The major goal, for me at least, was to get our records on there. I still remember the day that we got picked up by them and our records showed up on their site. It was a pretty triumphant feeling to say the least.

We ended up doing a deal with GBH that ended up in a split CD with Billyclub, and we were talking with Bad Brains manager Noel baker about releasing their next record. They just wanted way too much money. One of our big projects was a tribute record that has still not been released. My buddy Dave Woodard was the singer for Billyclub, and he had heard somewhere that Keith Morris from Circle Jerks was having some serious issues with diabetes, and was having trouble paying his bills. I tracked down Keith and talked to him about it, and got his permission to pursue a Tribute To The Circle Jerks. We were gonna' try and wrangle a bunch of bands into doing Circle Jerks covers, and give Keith the proceeds. 

In the end I had (and still have) recordings from Nashville Pussy, Fu Manchu, SNFU, DOA, Mudhoney, Electric Frankenstein, Murphy's Law, Fishbone, Superchunk with Jane Wiedlin from The Go Gos on vocals, and just a slew more killer bands. I was even talking with Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters about doing tracks. Foo Fighters actually contacted me about it, that's how big of a deal it was becoming. I did an interview with MTV about it and everything! Stepfan and I were hanging out backstage in Cincinnati at a Chili Peppers show, and they told us that Pearl Jam wanted to do a song too. It was interesting, because I found out how much love and respect so many people have for Keith Morris. It also gave me an opportunity to work with him myself on a personal level, and we're still friends and we still talk to this day. Unfortunately the label kinda' fell apart in the middle of that project, and all these years later none of those recordings have been released.

 GT - While doing the label you were also acting as a tour manager?

Tony - When things started falling into place with Hello Records, we were putting our bands on the road after their records came out. At that point it was me, Stepfan, Ray Smith, and Keith Anderson. This made it possible for any one of us to take off and do label related stuff whenever we wanted. Since I was the one setting up all the tours, I decided to tag along on some of them as tour manager. It was a way to see the country, hang out with the bands, and meet some of the club owners I'd become acquainted with over the phone for so many years.

 The longest tours I did were with Raw Power from Italy, and UK Psychobilly pioneers Phantom Rockers. Those were both really crazy trips for different reasons. Actually I think any tour is gonna' be crazy, no matter who you're with. For me, I was on cloud 9 most of the time, seeing all these amazing cities and clubs and watching my friends play every night. It just never got old. The funny thing about it all too, and any touring band will tell you this, is that you could write a book about all the oddball shit that goes down on smaller independent concert tours. Literally, if you go into detail about each day of the tour, you can write a crazy book. Almost everything that happened for me was really funny in some way. Except maybe when my van blew up in California and we had to leave it there. I wasn't smiling very much that day.

GT - How did things end with Hello Records?

Tony - Well, at first we were just doing it part-time at night and stuff. Then we were given a pretty substantial amount of money from Gibson Guitars. After that we were able to quit our jobs and try to make it work. It's a tough business though, and it took us quite a while to figure it all out. It was a lot more involved back then than it is these days, and we did everything from scratch. Magazine ads, posters, and all that. At one point, I was left to run the label while Stepfan explored other money making avenues in the field of  music. Eventually, I guess he had found some more profitable ventures, and the investors decided to go with that. So by the time Hello Records was finally starting to see a profit it was a day late and a dollar short, and the plug was pulled on it. It was pretty upsetting for a lot of people, and I remember some bad blood flowing over it.

GT - 40 Amp Media rose from the ashes of Hello Records - what parameters of activity does 40 Amp Media have? What about the previous experiences made you want to still continue doing things in this sphere?

Tony - Once you get as involved in the record label business as I had, it's really hard to just shrug it off and go back to your day job. My main concern was that I wanted the records to still be available. When Hello went under, it just sort of disappeared off the face of the earth. When CDNow ran out of copies, that was it! I still had this roster of bands that trusted me and were willing to work with me, but I just didn't have the resources to do it all on my own. At least not in the same capacity that Hello was able to. 

It was a lot of years before 40 Amp was born, and it's not a full fledged record label. It's more of a way for me to release projects I do as they happen. I don't do things on a large scale. I just make them available to the public. That way if someone goes hunting for it, it's there. I wouldn't trust any of my projects with a record label, book publisher, film producer, or whatever. I'd don't necessarily think that 100 percent of them are crooks, but I do think that about 75 percent of them operate with ulterior motives, and the rest of them are just good people that refuse to admit that their in over their head. I came dangerously close to getting in over my head with 40 Amp, and realized that I needed to pull back and not make promises that I wasn't absolutely convinced that I could keep. 

With my life, things can be fantastic one day, and then the next day the bottom just falls right out. I'd rather not take anybody else on that ride, so I've had to keep things on a low profile.

GT - You've been involved in the often thankless world of booking and promotion, care to elaborate and tell some stories about that period of your life?

Tony - God! I set up some tours for bands, and I ended up getting lots of calls from other bands wanting to employ my services. When Hello first got started that was one of the things we tried to do. We wanted to be a fully functioning service for musicians. We put some ads in magazines promoting the tour booking end of the business, and it took off. I became the primary booking agent for a few independent labels, and also set up several one-off tours for some up and coming bands. It got pretty hectic, and I remember wanting to get the hell out of that business on more than one occasion. 

As far as booking agents went, I was the new guy on the block, and there were a few seasoned old dudes that had been doing it for several years that did NOT like me. I guess they thought I was taking business away from them, which I was to a certain degree, but not on any kind of grand scale. When I think back on all that, there are a few incidents that still haunt me. One would have been when I booked a tour for The Hillside Stranglers from Detroit. Their tour had been over for several weeks, and I hadn't been paid for setting it up, and I hadn't heard from them at all. I went to their website, and saw that one of the band members had died from an overdose toward the end of the tour. That didn't sit very well with me. 

There was another tour I set up for this band from Germany. I'm not gonna' say their name. It was their first trip to the states, and they were pretty much unknown. I told them not to expect a huge response. I told them they'd be lucky to get $100 a night, and to treat it more like a vacation than anything else. They flew over and started the tour, and were doing these little tour reports on their website every day. I went to check it out one day, and it was like three days into the tour. Every day they had something bad to say about me on there. "That fucking Tony Patino lied to us! He said we would get $100 for each band member every night! That bastard!"It went on and on every day until they said the tour was now called the Kill Tony Patino Tour. They were playing in my town the day after they posted that, so everywhere I went that day I was looking at people and wondering if it looked German, and if it was them, and if they were after me. The gig was like a mile from my house, so I just locked the doors and hoped they didn't get my address from some local band. For years after that you could google "kill Tony Patino" and a link to their tour journal would pop up.

 Tony at a book signing for "The Road"

GT -When did you start getting the idea to write books, and can you offer a bit of information about each?

Tony - I always wrote little journals and stuff as a teenager. I had a typewriter when I was 17, and wrote a pretty lengthy one all about what was going on in my life. My father discovered it at one point, and immediately confiscated it and put me in a maximum security drug rehab. He finally gave it back to me after I got married. Another time, I wrote a lengthy account of my early childhood years and gave it to my mother as a gift for Mother's Day or something. The real writing didn't happen for me until more recently. 

In 2009 I took my kids to the local library, and I came across a book by a stand-up comic named  Mark Schiff. He interviewed nearly every comedian you ever heard of and had them tell him all these crazy stories about life on the road. The way it's put together, is basically like a book of short stories from each comic, and it's hilarious. I read it all in one day, and it's not a small book either. I'd never seen a book quite like that before, and it gave me the idea to try and pursue a similar project with musicians rather than stand-up comics. 

At that point in my life I'd done a lot of different things involving music, and had become acquainted with several well known players in the punk rock genre. So with a few heavy hitters on my side to get the ball rolling, I started contacting all these people. Mostly people I admired and who's music I appreciated. I did recorded telephone interviews with all of them, then transcribed them  and took selected stories they told me and made them readable. In the end I came up with 258 pages of stories, told by over 80 underground musicians, most of which are considered pioneers or icons in the punk/alternative community. That book is called The Road, and it was officially released in 2010.

"The Road" by Tony Patino


I was learning a lot about writing techniques during the final stage of putting together The Road, and ended up pulling out that old journal that my father had found when I was 17. There was a lot of funny stories in that journal. Some of them I didn't even remember taking place, but there they were in black & white. I decided to use that as a starting point, and turn it into a fictional novel. Basically, I laid out the entire course of my life, beginning from the early years, and ending around 1991, which is when I left the state of Florida. Once I laid out the initial blue print, that left me with the task of filling in the gaps. So in the beginning, it was just a bunch of crazy stories that had to be pieced together into something with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. I did reference a lot of true events, some that I was involved in, and some that might have happened to people I knew, or might have been dismissed as simple rumors back in the day. Take that, and add to it a purely fictional storyline and ending to draw readers in, and you have a pretty good read. Especially for people that grew up in those surroundings at that particular time. I decided to call it Life and Times, and it became available in early 2012.

  "Life and Times" by Tony Patino


GT - How long did it take for the books to be completed, from inception time to being made available?

Tony - The Road was a pretty long process. I had to schedule all of these interviews with people all over the US and as far away as Australia, then I went ahead and transcribed the entire contents of the recordings into word documents. After that I picked out the parts of the conversations I wanted to use, then molded them into short stories. Some of the artists involved wanted to submit their own writings, so that saved me a little time, but  it still took about a year and a half to get that one done. I started working on Life and Times when I was about ¾ of the way through that. It was a way of getting a much needed break from one project and focusing on another. I think the ideas for that book had been bouncing around in my head for decades though, so it practically wrote itself.

GT - How have the books sold, were they distributed and if so, how?

- The Road was picked up and released by a publishing company out of Boston, and I told them to fuck off almost immediately after it was released. The contract stated that a professional proof reader and editor would review the book for any errors or typos, and it never was. I was in the process of checking and editing it myself, and then all of the sudden they started calling me and pressuring me to get it done so they could feature it in some big Black Friday bullshit they were doing on the day after Thanksgiving. I was up for like two days straight trying to get it done, and eventually told them I couldn't do it, and to leave me out of their stupid sale. The owner called me and said he would assign someone to get it done, and to just send him what I had. I did, and they released it, typos and all, exactly as I'd sent it to them. There weren't even any page numbers in the table of contents yet, and they published it that way. He and I got into it big-time, and  I never saw a single royalty check or statement whatsoever. When I finally demanded that he send me a sales statement, it stated that they had sold exactly one (1) copy.  That's really funny too, seeing as how friends and family members had purchased copies. Not only that, but I did some book signings to promote it before the falling out, and people were showing up left and right with books in their hands. They had to have gotten them somewhere, right? 

I probably shouldn't say this, but I ended up fixing all the errors and releasing it myself on my independent label 40 Amp Media. So now if you go to Amazon or places like that there are two editions. The one with the typos has the subtitle A Book By Traveling Musicians. The one I released on my own has the subtitle Tales From Touring Musicians. I guess that publisher could sue me but I don't care. Another interesting part of all that is how the publisher charged me over nine dollars to purchase copies of my own book. My cut of the sales was about one dollar per book. But, I wanted a publishing deal and I got one, right?

 The whole process of finding a publisher can be really frustrating and difficult. Anyone that's ever been there will agree with me. I had one guy  offering to put it out, then when I checked out his back catalog I realized what a joke he was.

 Book publishers are just as bad (if not worse) than record labels! Needless to say, Life and Times was released independently by me thru 40 Amp Media. It sells pretty well too, considering there hasn't ever been a single bit of promotion for it. I've found out the hard way that I'm able to do everything these self-proclaimed publishers can do all on my own. That includes the interior layout, the cover art, the manufacturing and even getting it into distribution and available to the public.

GT - So over all then, what was the experience like for you, having done the books and looking back on that whole time period?

Tony - The Road was a joy to make, because I got to have these long, candid, phone conversations with people I idolized all my life. I started working on Volume 2 right away, and wanted to go bigger. That project was never finished, but I have all these  recorded conversations with people from different genres of music. I talked with original members from Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, Hawkwind, Iron Butterfly, and even Sha-Na-Na. One cool interview I did was with Steve Boone from The Lovin' Spoonful. He told me all about what it was like to tour back in the sixties and how different it was. He said they would play these big auditoriums using nothing but practice amps, and the crowd couldn't even hear the music, but would be down there going nuts the whole time anyway. Life and Times has been an interesting trip because so many people that grew up in the Tampa area during that time period have been able to relate to it so well. There's been more than a few people that have sent me emails telling me how that book is like a mirror image of their younger years.

GT - Yeah, we can definitely relate to that with the book we did on our own, we share very similar ground certainly. What's your opinion about the other books out there, do you pay attention to that sort of stuff?

Tony - As far as books I've read, I don't really enjoy books about the history of punk music because they always seem to be so selective about what cities they discuss. Just like I keep hearing people complain about that film American Hardcore. I'm constantly hearing people bitch about that film because it didn't include the city they grew up in. I think it's a great film, but it would have been impossible for them to have covered the entire US. I prefer autobiographical books over history books, and I mean that about any subject, not just music. 

With that in mind, there aren't very many autobiographical books out there by punk musicians. Jack Grisham from TSOL wrote a good one. He seemed to  be on the same level we were down in Florida as far as the chaos he likes to create. Joey from DOA's book is really good. Bob Mould from Husker Du did one, but I've read some mixed reviews so I haven't picked it up yet. I think some good ones will be coming out soon though, but some of these people are so busy that it's taking them a really long time to get them done. I know Keith Morris from Circle Jerks is working on one right now, and so is John Stabb from Government Issue. Those should both be pretty interesting.


Tony with mountains of vhs to work through and a camera that didn't make it.
GT - You sound like us! We're of the basic same nature concerning history vs autobiographical accounts . When did you start thinking about making a documentary about the Tampa punk scene? What was the impetus that started the ball rolling? Obviously many of the locals embraced the idea, was it well received in general or did you have a hard time getting material?

Tony - I've always been into video. For a while there, if I went to a show I would have my camcorder by my side and would always be filming. I eventually started trading with other people around the country and amassed this huge collection of bootleg live performances. There was never much video documentation of things that happened in Tampa in the eighties, just a few things. I think the most well known thing out there is a film loosely called The Scene. It's a mini-documentary that was put together in 1987 by a guy named Steve Burcham. That thing is all over youtube, and get's lots of praises by the people that have viewed it. He shot some interviews and live footage over the course of two or three shows, and it's a really good film. 

To me though, I didn't want  that to be the final statement on the Tampa scene in the eighties. Toward the end of writing Life and Times, I started toying with the idea of making something a little more in depth. Thanks to things like myspace and facebook, lots of photos and music that  probably never would have been seen or heard otherwise were beginning to see the light of day. I started gathering all these things, just see to if there was enough content out there to even consider the idea of making a film. Before long, it seemed like there was. There wasn't much live video footage though, so I tracked down Steve Burcham to see it he had any unused footage that he might want to contribute. He and I talked on the phone for a really long time, and he told me that there was quite a bit of unused footage at one point in time, but he had taped over it. Ha!

I forged on anyway, asking people to pull out their old videos, and accumulated pretty much everything that was filmed back then. After that, I needed interviews. I was doing a book signing in Tampa and took my camcorder, hoping to round up some of the old scenesters, but didn't get much done on that trip. It took me making one more trip down, along with the enlistment of my friend  Eric Grant, and we were able to get interviews here and there with the people you see in the film now. Zak Kirlis from BP did the interviews with Tony and Dave from No Clubs Productions, and Richie Lawler did one with Tanya McKee, who was one of the most outspoken girls from the eighties scene, and ended up being the only female in the film. 


GT - It's only recently that a hard copy dvd of the documentary has become available, how'd that feel to see all that hard work finally come together in that format?

Tony - It definitely feels great to finally see it available now. It does have it's flaws, but I'm pretty proud of it, seeing that it's my very first attempt at making a documentary film.

GT - What were some of the highlights (or low lights) about making the film?

 Tony - One thing people don't realize is that my camera heads were going bad during the second trip I made for interviews. I had no idea that was happening at the time, and when I got home and started reviewing the footage I realized that a lot of it was unusable. It took 100s of hours in different video production labs to salvage some of those interviews, and even then, I wasn't able to save them all in there entirety. The interview footage you see of Dorsey Martin, Mike Mchugh, Jay and Dano from Guy Smiley, Chris Barrows, and our old pal Edgar, all had to be spliced together in a very primitive way. It took literally one hour of work to get five seconds of usable footage. I refused to redo the interviews though, because I didn't want to lose that original spontaneity, and I refused to make the film without those people in it. That's why those particular people aren't seen more in the film. Each of them had a lot more input I would have liked to have used, it just wasn't salvageable. 

I'm truly happy that I was able to get Edgar in there, because as a lot of people already know, he is no longer with us. That interview almost didn't happen too. He called me and told me we would have to reschedule because he was in the ER. I was only gonna' be in town for two days, so I told him I'd call him back because I thought it might be cool to do his interview at the ER. I got caught up doing something else and ended up meeting up with him the next day. When I asked him how it went at the ER, he said, “I don't know. I left!” When I asked him why he left he said, “To hang out with you and get interviewed for the film.” So Edgar was so supportive of that project that he ditched the ER hoping to meet me at his house that night. It was confusing to me, and I wish he would have called me before he decided to leave the hospital. He died shortly after the film screening, and that kinda' haunts me a little.

Tony and Sammytown (Fang)

GT - How was the local screening of the documentary received?

Tony - I originally started scouting out places in Tampa to screen it before it was even finished. We had one place that looked like it would work, but then Zak got Tony and Dave from No Clubs productions to do interviews and that changed everything. From that moment on, Dave Hundley was interested in making it a No Clubs/State Media event. That was what I'd wanted all along so I couldn't have been more happy about it. Dave wanted to do it at the Orpheum in Ybor CIty, but they'd never done anything like that there before, so certain factors came into play. I think he had a projector, but he wasn't sure what to project the film onto. When I showed up there, they had a gigantic white sheet hanging from the ceiling, and were trying to do a few test runs. At first the lap top they had to send the video to the projector wouldn't play the disc. We were beginning to scramble, but luckily they found one that would work. There'd been quite a bit of press to promote the screening, including interviews I did with the locals papers and stuff, and the turnout was pretty positive. I think we had over 200 paying patrons, and who knows how many people on the guest list. 

After the film, which was a rough version lasting about two hours in length, we had some live music. Slap Of Reality, Guy Smiley, and Pagan Faith, all basically reunited to play, then we had Dan Destructo, who had flown in from California to do a No Fraud set with some original members. The headliner was Fang from California. I've been friends with Fang's vocalist Sammytown for a number of years, and I thought they would be perfect. He was into the idea, so he flew the band in and we set up a week long string of shows for them to play all over Florida. Pagan Faith and No Fraud took turns opening up for them in different cities, leading up to the film screening. Big thumbs up to Brian from Pagan Faith! He helped out in a major way that night by supplying all the gear for the bands, among other things. It was also great to work with Dave Hundley. That guy know what he's doing for sure!


GT -  Many of the folks that took part in the documentary come to the screening? How did you feel seeing your work like that, being screened in public?

Tony - The guys in Rat Cafeteria had a prior engagement, and that kinda' bummed me out, because I really wanted them to play, but otherwise I think everyone else was there. It was kind of crazy seeing it on a huge screen like that. Of course it was a sheet, but I'm sure anyone that went will tell you that we all felt like we were sitting in movie theater. The whole experience also gave me some insight into a final edit to make it more proper for a DVD release. I ended up cutting some things out, including some of the later, more metal bands like Assuck and Paineater. I hated to cut those guys out, but the film was way too long at two hours, and they were more a part of that grind-core scene that came about as the eighties punk scene wound down to a close. I'll be making the original, uncut, long version available on DVD as soon as I change the cover art. I actually sold some DVDs of that version at the screening but they had "FIRST 100" printed across the cover.


GT - What's the next project you have in store? Plus, you're compiling a coffee table type photo book as an accompaniment to the documentary, and Glorious Times has donated some photos for possible inclusion which have never seen the light of day. How close is the book to being completed?

Tony - The coffee table book is done. Right now I'm contacting everyone to get info on who to credit some of these photos to, and to make sure everybody is OK with me using them. It's about 300 pages long, and includes all of the photos I gathered to make the film and more, plus it has all the flyer and poster art from back then. I'm doing full color, full page images, and some even take up two pages. With the content and the size of the book, it looks like it might be a little pricy to purchase, so I plan to make black and white editions and smaller editions as far as dimensions. That way people can chose how much of an investment they want to make. This is my way of closing the door on the Tampa punk stuff and moving on. All I can hope is that these things stay available over the years so people can continue looking back if they choose to. 

Other than that, my second fictional novel should be out soon. I'm editing it right now, and my friend Joshua Rothrock, who did the cover art to The Road, is working on a cover for it. This book is called "Free Drinks", and it's sure offend at least a few people that pick it up. Let's hope anyway! 




Thanks Tony for the awesome insight into your work, and activity - SUPPORT DIY FOLKS! If you thought Tampa starts and ends with metal you're dead wrong, do yourself a huge favor and grab a copy of this documentary!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Bob and Mark from Florida (now Colorado) originals PAINEATER (see your copy of Glorious Times) have brought to bare a fund raiser through Indiegogo, in an attempt to get the Paineater demos LP released.

This is naturally a fan funded project that only comes to fruition if enough donations are attained. The lads have several donation categories divided by dollar amount and bonus incentives beyond seeing the album to life.

If the project goes ahead all of the original Paineater material including the 2 Demos and 4 unreleased songs (1989-1992), 12 songs total, will be pressed on vinyl for the very first time!

If the project does not reach the fund raising goal and does not go ahead, all PayPal donations are refunded as per site policy.

Once again: this is a FIXED FUNDING CAMPAIGN -  and the campaign will only receive funds if at least $2,500 is raised by Tue 06 Aug 11:59PM PT.

We've donated and we would like to make a call to arms to all GT family members and fans in general to help make this truly underground FL outfit to vinyl for posterity.

Monday, June 10, 2013


 Show your support of the Glorious Times era of extreme metal and hardcore punk by sporting this new shirt, bearing an original design by non-other than GT era legend Kam Lee.

Sizes available on demand, from Small to 5XL - so follow the link below to get yours from Ash Music (international orders, please contact Ash Music for further information regarding shipping costs).

All orders come with free Wehrmacht stickers.

Monday, April 29, 2013


The Funeral Home in Buffalo, NY is one of those places that every city should have but very few do.  In a time when venues overcharge promoters making underground shows less than feasible the Funeral Home was a viable option for DIY shows and tours. The shows held there over the years haven't been the run of the mill mainstream shows and the crowds there certainly aren't of the ilk found at your larger venues. At many of the shows it is common to find kids from the Bird House (
These kids (late teens to mid twenties) are often homeless travelers who hop the trains from city to city with little to no money and when they arrive in Buffalo they know they can have a brief escape at a Funeral Home show. Other regulars at Funeral Home shows are the punks, hardcore kids, fans of extreme metal...the loners, the people society looks down upon but here at these shows at this place these people had a home where they could be among like-minded people and be a part of a group.

Inerds at The Funeral Home in 2011; photo: Brian Pattison

Initially the Funeral Home was almost exclusively a punk venue doing a maximun of 1 to 2 shows per month. They knew they had something good that was less than legit so they wanted it kept low key. As more people and bands were exposed to the Funeral Home more promoters wanted to do more shows and more diverse shows there. It now became a place for the barely existing metal scene to have a rebirth. At a time when legitimate clubs were not options for death and black metal bands the Funeral Home was the perfect option for bands like Nunslaughter, Acheron, Cardiac Arrest, Mutilation Rites and many others. These shows brought new life to the scene  in the form of new audience members and new bands. 

Nunslaughter at the Funeral Home in 2011, photo: Brian Pattison

While the metal scene was having a resurgence thanks largely to the existence of the Funeral Home the punk and hardcore scenes continued to flourish because of that same entity. The "punks" viewed it as much more than just a music venue, it was a home, a hangout, a meeting place. Vegan cookouts, film night  (with films projected on the big screen behind the stage), metal night (with various local metal personalities spinning cd's and vinyl of varying metal formats), the annual Halloween show (bands dressed up and performing as other bands with the crowd encouraged to come in costume) and other such events were put together to bring people together in a safe environment.

Exhumed at The Funeral Home in 2012, photo: Brian Pattison

While mainstream venues rarely make improvements to their establishments the Funeral Home became the exception to that rule. Under the direction of Clint Carr the residents (renters) of the Funeral Home began fixing up the place. Walls and ceilings were repaired, long vacant rooms were cleaned up and made useful again and safety hazards were removed. When tragedy struck regulars such as Mike Bird and Tony Lorenzo it was the Funeral Home that was among the first to step up to collect donations to help them out. To outsiders it appeared as just an illegitimate venue, but to those in the know it was much more than that. It was a home and everyone who went there was part of a big family no matter what scene they were a part of. 

Deceased at The Funeral Home in 2012, photo: Brian Pattison

Now, sadly, the Funeral Home is in jeopardy. Currently it is in a state of limbo thanks to a city-wide crack down on illegal parties. The Funeral Home residents were given tickets for violation of the cities noise ordinance (even though the volume outside the club was barely noticeable) and another fine for holding live music performances without a permit and told if they held further shows there they would be arrested. In the spirit of the old school the metal and punk scenes are working together with the residents of the Funeral Home to bring it back. Yard sales, benefits and such are being done in order to raise the funds necessary to bring the building up to code so that they can then apply for the proper permits to make the Funeral Home a legitimate venue and community center.  The underground needs places like the Funeral Home and you can only wish your city had such a place so please help us save ours...

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Glorious Times had a bit of a catch-up chat with an old friend from the GT-era Tampa days: Chris Messina. Chris plays guitar in Florida based grind band Swamp Gas, a festering stink of aural assault if there ever was one! It's been a long time since those humid days riding the initial waves of extreme music in what was to be known as "the death metal capital of the world" - check it out...
GT - When did you guys get it together under the name Swamp Gas?

Chris - We started Swamp Gas in late 1995, but Brian,Robert,and myself had been jamming for years under different band names. The three of us had been jamming since 1989, starting with death/thrash to death metal in the beginning, then finally going to grindcore.

 Chris, March 3 2013 at Rack'em Billiards, Cape Coral FL - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT - How did you know the other members?

Chris - I was friends with Robert's younger brother Ricky, and I knew they had a killer Death/Thrash band going. They needed a bassist, so I went out and bought a bass and an amp and joined the band.

GT - You mentioned that you started Swamp Gas in 1995 but had been playing before that in several other incarnations of the same band - can you give some of the band names?

ChrisMe, Brian and Robert have been jamming together since 1988. We started out as a really technical death metal band. Our old songs had like 25 riffs that never repeated, kinda funny cause now we play grind and have like 6 or 7 riffs a song...haha! Some of the old band names were Relentless Abuse, Constant Gripping Fear, Carrion and Amputation. The name Swamp Gas came up as a joke but it stuck with us.

GT - When did you move to Cape Coral, weren't you living in Tampa when we met the first time?

Chris - I have been in Cape Coral for the past 3 years, but the band is from Fort Myers. We were never a Tampa Bay band.

GT – When did you move to Florida?

ChrisI moved to Florida in August of 88. I am originally from Long Island, NY.

 Brian and Kelly,
March 3 2013 at Rack'em Billiards, Cape Coral FL - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT – I ended up living in Long Island for a short time myself. You mentioned you moved from Long Island in '88 - why was that? Family move?

Chris - I moved to Fort Myers with my family in August 88. It was a bit of a culture shock for me (no more Slipped Disc Records). We had to drive 2 hours to go see a show or to find a good record store. In 1994 I moved to Denver for about a year, I wrote most of the songs for the first Swamp Gas release "Marsh Tango" during that time.

GT - You ever hear from Billy, when is the last time you saw him?

Chris - I hear from Billy every now and then. He lives in Ft Lauderdale now. I plan on releasing a Death/Doom demo we recorded together in 1995 (Antarctica) when I lived in Denver for a while. Lenzig from Cephalic Carnage was also involved in the project. This demo was my first serious attempt at recording and mixing. It came out pretty good for a 4 track cassette recording.

GT - You seem to be continuing the love of the old grind style, drawing obvious influences from many of the pioneering bands - that means song structure even though it's grind (minimalist perhaps) whereas so many of the newer acts simply string together a few chords and riffs, scream and think it's whatever they think it is...

Chris - Exactly !!!....New school grind bands seemed to have lost touch with the roots of grindcore. The same thing happened in the hardcore scene a few years ago. Most of these new- schooler's have never even heard of S.O.B., Heresy, Gism, Undinism, Vomit Spawn, Mob 47, and Sore Throat...It's real easy to buy an Assuck t-shirt on Ebay nowadays...hahahaha!!!

Brian and Kelly, March 3 2013 at Rack'em Billiards, Cape Coral FL - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT - What do you think about the state of affairs of this style, since bands like AGx have been so prolific and consistent yet the scene is littered with mundane bands that don't deliver, yet seem to be hoisted up on to some sort of weird pedestal enough to be featured on so many of these cash-in "fests"?

Chris - Grindcore seems to be on the upswing the last couple of years which I see as a good thing. To play grindcore it takes a true love for the game and resistance to all trends. To me personally, Grindcore is the most raw and pure music there is. As for these "cash in" fests you speak of, just last weekend my friend Mitch called me from the MDF and said how our bands (Swamp Gas and Ulcer) were better than half the bands that played and by looking at the line-up I had to agree.

 Brian at The Brass Mug, Tampa FL

GT - What's the connection with Ulcer? They've been a band took us by surprise surely, really intense and underrated as all hell. Did you play in the band at any time?

Chris - Ulcer were from Ft. Myers and Mitch was a really good friend. He played second guitar in my old hardcore band Clubber Lang and he also played a few shows for Swamp Gas on bass. To this day we are still very good friends, and still play shows together. Both the Gas and Ulcer have been around forever and we always support each other. Hopefully they will be releasing a new album on Brute Productions, the same label we are on.

GT – Since we're on the subject, what's your take on the weird evolution of the "extreme music fest"?

Chris - I think they are good for metal as a whole. They bring a bunch of good bands spanning many genres of metal for a common cause. I have no problem with them.

Chris, March 3 2013 at Rack'em Billiards, Cape Coral FL - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT - It's good to see people pulling back to the founding attitude when so much of this stuff is not even noteworthy. How did we let it get out of hand like this or would you say perhaps it's just a symptom of how popular this music ultimately became to a certain extent?

Chris - Like it or not you can not stop evolution. Nothing stays the same, but it is nice to see there are a few of us who still hold on to those "Glorious Times"...There is your plug old friend !!!

GT - Like many of us, do you simply find yourself falling back on the old guard pioneers for the apparent lack of talent out there?

Chris - I have never stopped listening to those old records, and I never will.

March 3 2013 at Rack'em Billiards, Cape Coral FL - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT - If you had to name,say, 5 of your best, most loved releases from the 80's, what are they and why? Has there been anything really that has hit you really hard in the last decade /decade and a half?

Chris - Well this is a VERY difficult question to ask, but I will do my best. For the 80's I would say Motorhead "No Remorse" just for the fact that it was a greatest hits and had all the good shit on it. Or I could say "Orgasmatron" because it was a great comeback album. Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" simply for the reason that it defined a new genre of metal. Another favorite was Agnostic Front's "Liberty And Justice For.." That album showed that hardcore bands could play fast and sound tight as hell. I probably listened to that album a thousand times.

 Napalm Death "Peel Sessions" in my opinion was and still is the ultimate grindcore release. The speed and production blew me away. Cryptic Slaughter's "Money Talks" was fucking amazing. That was the album that made me seek out faster bands and brought me to grindcore. Bathory "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" was just so fucking raw and nasty. I consider it the the ultimate Black Metal album.

In the last decade I kinda just jammed out to old shit because things got stale but I am really into 324, Noisear, Maruta, Ulcer (Tampa), Magrudergrind, Bloody Phoenix...pretty much all grind or crusty stuff.

 Swamp Gas out front of Rack'em Billiards. - (photo - Carianne Hensler)

GT - Some of these bands are not releasing what we'd call empowering material in their latter years (or with random new releases by original GT era acts many years after debut records for example) a musician do you think it's even honorable to slap a logo on a release that bares little resemblance to the old blood-line, or jam out another record that sounds nothing like the band at all?

Chris - My old friend, are we talking about the 2012 Terrorizer album?...I could have written a better Terrorizer album in one day...And I am not joking !!! 

GT - What have been some of your memorable moments as a gig-goer, musician, and connoisseur...?

Chris - I have many of those moments...but one of the best was seeing Napalm Death, Atheist and Nocturnus at Club Detroit when ND was in Tampa recording "Harmony Corruption". Years later Mitch Harris told me that was his FIRST show with ND....Atheist had Roger Patterson on bass and Nocturnus was still good at that time. A fucking classic GT moment...Oh and you were there too !!!

 Swamp Gas at The Crowbar, Ybor City FL

GT - Has Swamp Gas played outside Florida?

Chris - We have played the Milwaukee Metal Fest twice and a show in Chicago, everything else has been in Florida. Mitch from Ulcer played bass in Milwaukee and Chicago for us.

GT - Can you tell us about the Swamp Gas discography?

Chris - Our first release was a rehearsal demo we did on a 4 track recorder in our warehouse back in 1994. It came out really good and it made the rounds on the tape trading scene for a while.

Next was "Marsh Tango" recorded at Digital Sanctuary sometime in the summer of 96. We recorded all the music live with a drum machine so it went really fast. We spent $330...Recorded and mixed in 11 hours and it sounded great. We probably gave away or sold like 2000 copies of that EP. "Marsh Tango" was supposed to be released by United Guttural Records (a label based in Atlanta GA). It was going to be a split cd with Denver's Mentally Murdered. United Guttural never released it.

Sometime around 1999-200 we recorded the "Divine Economics" demo for Earache Records. Recorded and mixed at Crystal Sounds in Naples FL, in one night, for $90. It came out great but we never released it. By the time the Earache thing blew over we had a real drummer, Rich Perkins.

The 'Corporate Blasphemy' line-up.

Our first official full length album was to be called "Explanations For The Unexplainable" and was recorded at Digital Sanctuary. We recorded 15 songs and we were ready for final mixing. The studio was shut down very quickly because of a divorce and the owner's wife sold everything: even all the bands master tapes (hard drives) that were stored there. We tried like hell to get our masters but could not track them down. The only thing we had was a rough vocal mix of the entire album and a rough final mix of 4 songs that became the "Corporate Blasphemy" EP. 

Finally we have "Operation Frantic" which was recorded and mixed in my home studio. This release took a long time to finish because I was now working in a digital audio workstation (DAW). It was a whole new universe for me and it took a while, but I was happy with the result. The album was released by Brute Productions in Asia (a label based out of Bangkok, Thailand). Soon we will record the next full length "Miss Chernobyl" it is already written and ready to record. There has also been talk of a Swamp Gas/Ulcer split EP. I would love to see this come out on vinyl.

Here's the official Swamp Gas pages - so you know what to do - there's some possible releases in the works as well - that we're not at liberty to reveal just yet (provided they actually come to fruition) - if they do, it'll be another worthy notch to add to the GC belt in general and Swamp Gas' in particular. So keep your eyes on this band.