Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shutdown/The Last Stand interview with drummer: Jimmy McCormack. September 7th. 2011

Vista:  Hey Jimmy. The first thing I want to ask you is about the Tsunami Fest that Shutdown played in the summer {2011} recently. How was the show? Also, you and the other guys in Shutdown {minus vocalist, Mark} also did  live set with your most recent band, The Last Stand. How was the show, the kids, the vibe?

Jimmy: The show was awesome. There was a nice positive vibe about it. I thought The Last Stand set was solid. We are a brand new band just looking for exposure so as long as kids were watching and into it that's all we care about.

Vista: Speaking of The Last Stand, how did this project come about? Give us a brief history of this band, year started, who's who & who does what & what style are you guys aiming for? I know you guys have also played out quite a bit. How has the reaction been from kids? 

Jimmy: TLS came about in 2010 due to the hiatus of Shutdown. We felt like we still had some more music to play in the hardcore scene. Same as Shutdown I play drums, Dion is on bass, Steve on guitar and Mike from Inhuman on vocals. We are keeping the same NYHC style as Shutdown tried to achieve with influences from AF, SOIA and Madball. So far the reaction has been good.

Vista: Considering the The Last Stand has 3/4 members of Shutdown were there any expectations from fans of what Shutdown did as a band? Also, what are your expectations {if any} for this project? Is it to just write songs & perform live or are you guys looking to tour & starve in a van on a two month tour, playing to kids who just stare at the band with their mouths wide open!? Ha.

Jimmy: I think as a band we are still trying to get our name out there so I don't think we have to worry about kids expectations just yet. As far as our own expectations, we are all older now with families, jobs and some of us even have kids, so we'll play when we can, usually local. I think are days of LIVIN' IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER are over.

Vista: How did you begin on the drums? How old were you & what first inspired
you to want to play? Did you drive your entire family crazy early on to the point of them wanting to kill you or were they supportive right from the start? Did you take formal lessons or just self-taught?

Jimmy: I actually started playing bass in 1991, played with a few small bands. One band, Overpower, used to practice in my parent's basement in Brooklyn and the drummer would leave his drums set up there. Ever since I was little I always used to play air drums in front of my mirror so I just started messing around with the set and pretty much taught myself. My family was cool with it, very supportive. Obituary's Don Tardy inspired me to play drums. Once I heard the Cause of Death album I knew I needed to play.

Vista: Shutdown were a band that really embraced old school hardcore while mixing new school style of the time era {90's}. Thinking back to the beginning of Shutdown, what bands really inspired the band?

Jimmy: Back then we were into Life of Agony, Biohazard, Merauder, SOIA, Minor Threat and Youth of Today.

Vista: What was your first exposure to the hardcore/punk scene? What bands really grabbed your attention? Also...What was the first hardcore show you ever attended & what year was that?

Jimmy: I personally had very metal roots so I was told by a friend in high school to pick up the Minor Threat album. After that I was hooked by the energy of the music. Bands like Minor Threat and Gorilla Biscuits really grabbed me. I think my first hardcore show was in 1993 at the Crazy Country Club in Brooklyn with Indecision and Judgment Day.

Vista: I remember many years ago running into you at a local show in my area & you were paying drums for a band. I can't remember the name of the band? I think you were filling in on drums for them? What band was that? Also, how many bands have you played in?

Jimmy: The only band I actually filled in for was Inhuman. I've played in about 6 or 7 bands over the years, mostly small local bands.

Vista: As far as cover song performed live over the years, can you name all the covers Shutdown has done?

Jimmy: Wow, that's a tough one.  Let's see:  "New York Crew", "Youth Crew", "Don't Forget the Struggle...", "Filler". That's all I can remember.

Vista: So much has changed over the years in the hardcore scene...What are the good points & bad points in your opinion since Shutdown first began? Considering you are involved in a newer band that has done a good handful of shows, what are your thoughts on then {mid 90's till early 2000's} until this era {2011-on}?

Jimmy: I don't think there are any bad points in hardcore, just changes in the scene. Hardcore seems to go in cycles as far as styles go. As far as shows go, hardcore was a lot bigger in the late 90's, early 2000's so there was more places to play and bigger turnouts.

Vista: Give us your top 10 favorite bands/albums of all-time. Pick any genre or mix them up. Just your essential, stuck on a deserted island top favorites!?

1.  Gorilla Biscuits - "Start Today".  

2. Youth of Today -  "Breakdown the Walls". 

3. Agnostic Front - "Victim in Pain".

4. Madball - "Set It Off". 

5. Sick of It All - "Blood, Sweat and No Tears".

6. Obituary - "Cause of Death". 

7. Leeway - "Born to Expire/Desperate Measures" (the double album).

8. Cro-Mags - "Age of Quarrel". 

9. Judge - "Bringin' It Down". 

10. Breakdown - "Blacklisted".

Vista: Are there any bands in the Brooklyn area and NYC area that we should be aware of that are doing some interesting stuff?

Jimmy: I'm sure you've heard of them but I've really been diggin' Incendiary from Long Island. Very hard band with there own style.

Vista: Is it strange to be an "older guy" in the hardcore scene these days as opposed to when you first came up with Shutdown? I mean, you have literally grown up in the scene & maybe it isn't anything you may have thought about? When Shutdown started out you guys were all so young. I guess what I am wondering is...How does it feel to be the "older guy at the hardcore show"?! Ha. I'm right there with you man!

Jimmy: Actually I've been seeing a lot of older crowds at most of the shows.  It makes me feel good to know that the kids that grew up with me are still going to shows.  As far as being around young kids I don't feel bad being the older guy.  Maybe I can pass my hardcore knowledge onto them, haha.

Vista: Shutdown did countless tours here in America & also you guys have been to Europe, Japan, Australia. What are some stand-out countries & States that are your most fondest memories.

Jimmy: Japan, Australia and New Zealand were amazing. The kids are very passionate about hardcore. London, Barcelona and Berlin are also shows I will never forget. They had really awesome crowds. As far as the states, of course NY has always been great to us, Cali, Texas and Florida are some of my favorite scenes.

Vista: What are some future plans for The Last Stand & Shutdown?

Jimmy: The Last Stand will keep writing and playing as much as possible. Shutdown will always be there for us but right now were not in the position were we can play or write.

Vista: Looking back on your time in Shutdown, what memories really stick out as your proudest moments/achievements? On the flip-side...Biggest disappointments?

Jimmy: My proudest moment in Shutdown was when Mark walked into my old job at a home improvement store with a  Victory Records contract and said,  "you ready to quit this job so we can tour full time". As a band, we've had our difficult moments but I wouldn't say we've had any disappointments. We've been able to get through all the difficult moments in our career.

Vista: When you toured what were your top 3 essential items you HAD to have?

Jimmy: Coca-Cola, cheese Goldfish and soap.

Are there any plans for any new Shutdown material? One that thought, were there any Shutdown songs that were never recorded? If so, any song titles?

Jimmy: As of now we are focusing on The Last Stand. The first Last Stand songs that Dion wrote were actually meant for Shutdown but used for The Last Stand. I believe "Keep the Flame" was the first song he wrote.

Vista: While in a recording situation during the Shutdown years, who was the biggest pain in the ass while in the studio? Don't worry, that person won't get mad that ya said so! Hahaa!

Jimmy: Believe it or not everyone in the band was very professional when we hit the studio. Now touring is a different story, haha.

Vista: Looking back on the years that Shutdown was on Victory Records...What are your thoughts on the label, as a whole? Did you feel they treated you guys well? There are a million stories from bands through the years, but I'm wondering from your perspective, how was your time with them?

Jimmy: I feel Victory treated us fairly. When we signed with them there were one of the biggest hardcore labels out.  They always gave us support in the studio and during tours. I never had any problems with them.

Vista: It seems that music is on a much smaller scale for you these days, as it is for most people who get older & have families, etc. Besides like family-stuff & doing The Last Stand...What are some of your other interests & hobbies?

Jimmy: I had two small children so I love spending time with them.  I also love working on my lawn.  Man I sound like a typical suburban dad.

Vista: One final question cause I know you like the New York Knicks...What the hell is it gonna take to get them to the next level? I was and still am a Knicks fan of the mid 90's {Ewing, Mason, Oakley, Starks, Rivers} and I also loved the late 90's, early 00's Knicks {Houston, Camby, Sprewell}. The Knicks have made big strides in the horrible era of that clown Isiah Thomas! Thoughts? And aren't the Nets moving to Brooklyn? You gonna jump-ship man!? Haha!

Jimmy: I pretty much almost gave up on basketball as a whole. I had found soccer to replace that void. I watch the English Premier League now.

Vista: Jimmy. Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it. Is there anything else you'd like to say to fans of Shutdown & The Last Stand? Also...Any future plans for either band as of this interview {September - 2011}?

Jimmy: No problem Johnny V.  Thanks for always supporting Shutdown and please continue to support The Last Stand. The Last Stand have a few shows booked, one with Sick of It All in November in upstate NY {2011}. See you there.....

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