So, for those of you who didn't hear, I just spent my summer in the Alaskan Tundra, kicking it in fens and bogs, in search of hydric soil and hydrophytic plants. Helicopter fly time was manadatory, and so was a tight edge. Check and check. Now I'm at my new home in Utah, getting ready to become a true eco-crunk.
While I was up there, I didn't see too many hardcore kids and it kind of had me going through withdrawals. Where were the tattoos, workout stories, parking lot mosh, crucial haircuts and pizza heads? Not in moeffin' Fairbanks, not this year. I was straight rolling on my trusty Swobo - 30 or 40 miles a day, and had a lot of time to think about hardcore things in my past and plan one in the future.
Del Norte at the Game Refuge
On one particularly long ride from Ft. Wainwright to Ester, I was thinking hard about my good friend Steve Fallis and At Both Ends fanzine. When I first planned my move from Cleveland to Seattle in 2005, I remember meeting several people remotely who would become and remain good friends. Steve was one of those friends holding up in the upper Northwest. A BC native, Steve had toured the world with Moneen and was a Bane and Avail super fan. He had just finished up a few issues of his zine, A Bond Still Strong, which would become At Both Ends. I remember calling Steve and chatting about where he was coming from and where he was going.
Steve (left) and OFAF in Olympia. Note the diversity of postures
He told me that was doing a tour that summer down to Sink With Cali with Las Vegas' Of Faith and Fire and planned to do some photography and writing for At Both Ends. This corresponded amazingly well with Names for Graves planned west coast tour. I emailed with Bobby from OFAF and it was on - we were playing in Vegas and Steve and I would meet and talk zines, HC and my usual digs, politics and the environment.
SWC III - Marco moves merch and debates the moon landing.
That weekend, Names for Graves ran around with Bobby and the OFAF crew, slip-n-sliding in some park at midnight, staying with the family of Kristen from the OG Tower 2012, playing a beach-themed record release show with the Answer and OFAF, and eventually headed all the way to Redondo Beach for Sink with Cali 2005. We had some fun and did it riding in a PT Cruiser - serious ill vibes all around. Steve headed north with OFAF after Sink with Cali, and upward to my then future home in Seattle.
Either way, during the first leg of that tour I had plenty of time to hang and catch-up with Steve and get some insight into how tightly he captained the ship that was At Both Ends. He ran that zine more tightly than the average investment bank, and built a huge following. Hows Your Edge always gave Steve rave reviews, and issues generally sold out as soon as they came to market. Hell, even Lambgoat liked ABE!
At Both Ends was a zine that interviewed tons of bands that you would expect, but Steve always went out of his way to find local bands, up and coming bands and bands that were great but not of the 2005-era NWHC sound and vibes. He also reviewed every damn record that came out for about three years - often saying what we all thought (this suuuucks) instead of the "good dudes, check it out" that finds its way into many rags or the anonymous shit-talk of the interwebz. It was a tasteful declining of bands and records. It wasn't the slap beer out of their hands answer to "Do you drink?" More like the, "Naw man, that's whack - not my style." I know that to this day several people still hold Steve's honesty against him (thinking of a certain Allegiance review...), but I always appreciated his tell-it-like-it-is mentality.
Die Hard Movers?
At Both Ends closed up shop last year after 10 issues, but the archive and website live on. Because hardcore seems to dwell on the past, I spent a bike ride a couple years later thinking about how well Steve's zine captured the better part of a decade with slick layouts, relevant content and some unique columns and insights. The collective scene of 2003-10 was better for Steve's efforts and dedication. I just found out that the final issue, a double volume with a matching double 7" that features Bane, Between Earth and Sky and Grade is still kicking around. I highly recommend pulling up an issue before it's too late.
Because living in the past is a bit of a bummer, I hope to see many fresh and seasoned faces at the React! showcase this month. Get the Most is playing their last show at 924 Gilman with the rest of the React! bands and our homies in On, Keep it Clear, Not Sorry and Police and Thieves. Please make sure that Bubs, Ole, Beej, AO, and Eric/Today's Man get the send-off they have earned over the last five years.
*Download the free React Showcase sampler for a taste of all the React! bands making appearances.