Action Patrol - Remastered Discography CD (Japanese Import)
We partnered with Japanese label Waterslide Records to corelease a CD version of the definitive, remastered edition of the Action Patrol discography. It features all remastered tracks with the new art. Glass mastered replicated discs, OBI strip, exclusive interview in Japanese with the band. Disc is packaged in a plastic free cardboard jacket. The whole thing looks like a miniature record and looks and feels top notch quality.
Waterslide Records in Japan also has copies so it may be cheaper for non US orders to order from Japan.
Since the interview in the CD package is in Japanese we have provided the translation here: (It's a piecemeal interview partially by me (the first set) and then additional questions by Kazu (the second set) and cobbled together)
1- The band’s discography ranges from 1993-1996, how did you get together and how quickly did you start having output? How did you all meet and how old were you?
CHRIS: Dave (Nappy) and I met at a summer program at the University of Richmond; it was for artistic high school students from across Virginia. We kept in touch, he headed to college at VCU, and I went off to William and Mary. I would drive up highway 64 every week or two to see bands with him at the Metro, like Hose.Got.Cable, Avail, 4 Walls Falling and First 5 Thru. There was so much energy in that scene, and we struggled to find a drummer and bass player so we could be a part of it.
DAVE: yep, Chris and I met at Virginia art kid summer camp at U of R. I believe this was in 1990? We were both rising seniors in high school. He had on a danzig shirt and I said “i love Danzig!” (for the record, i continue to love danzig). We kept in touch through our senior year (we lived on opposite corners of va) - I think I might've even gone up to DC the next year for a visit and gone to see TAD at the old 9:30 club! We had a dream of starting a punk/hc band. Chris had written/4tracked several demos that sounded great. We worked on lyrics collaboratively over a new technology called email. Once I started at art school in Richmond, Chris would come up pretty regularly while we tried to get a rhythm section together. Eventually we rounded out the band and spent a really long time (like a year) practicing before we finally started playing shows. it was certainly my first real band so I guess it took us a while to build up our confidence. We played our first show at a new year’s party, and it went really well! Richmond always had a super-supportive scene, and we were all kids looking for something to do/be a part of.
2- One of the things the band is known for was the orange jumpsuits on stage. Was this a part of the band from the beginning/how did this idea come about?
CHRIS: The jumpsuits were not there from the start. I vaguely remember being inspired by the color-coordinated outfits that Second Line bands wore in New Orleans. I think I liked how it created a little more spectacle, and identity beyond the individual members. And since we called ourselves a patrol, it made sense to dress up. The first uniforms were just orange work shirts on which I screen printed green arrows. When Rich replaced Eve on drums, we got fitted for jumpsuits at StyleCraft Uniforms on Broad Street. I modified the long legs to hemmed shorts, and screen printed updated logos and arrows. Think Peter Tosh performing in an army helmet and you start to get the idea.
DAVE: being in Richmond, there was this wave of bands wearing costumes, obviously GWAR being the largest influence. i think we wanted to create an image that let us circumvent the fashion aspects of hardcore, and lend more of a weird socialist uniform vibe to what we were doing. to extend the metaphor of the Action Patrol. Funnily enough, we ended up playing the Gwar-B-Cue one year, and some of the members liked us.
3- What were your influences as a band when you started writing? Your sound was unique and ahead of its time. One draw for me besides the sound was the political nature of the band and intelligent lyrics. You talked about this at the reunion, but it’s unfortunate how well the lyrics have held up because we have progressed so little that many of the things you sang about then, are still problems or worse today. Any things you want to talk about concerning this?
CHRIS: I learned to “play” guitar by mimicking Minor Threat, Swiz, and Conflict records in my suburban DC high school bedroom. But looking back, there was this sing-songy melodic structure to AP that came directly from the first music I was exposed to, late 70’s/early 80’s AM pop radio. I grew up in a small town in New Mexico where Kenny Rogers, John Denver, and the Carpenters were on heavy rotation. I also remember, around 5th grade, my very first allowance-funded LP purchase: Eddy Grant’s Killer on the Rampage.
By the time we were recording the Weak Force LP, I was incorporating guitar lines that were directly ripped off from various world music records I would listen to at the university music library. EQ45 has two riffs lifted from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
4- What do you remember about writing/recording/releasing the first 7”?
CHRIS: I remember that we recorded it in a single overnight session at Glass Hand Studio in Richmond. None of us had ever recorded in a professional studio and had no idea what we were doing. For example, Tom was setting up a borrowed Crate bass amplifier and asked us “Should I turn on CHORUS?” Our answer was, of course, “Yes!”
5- Are there any regrets about anything? Do you think the band accomplished everything you sought to accomplish?
CHRIS: I regret much of how I behaved in my early 20’s. But I don’t regret stopping Action Patrol when we did. We had our moment and didn’t grow out of the energy that our tiny fanbase expected.
6- I know that a lot of you still play music in various genres, anything you want to plug? You told me personally you don’t have any plans on any more AP reunions, but is there anything you want to say about it?
Chris: Rich, Dave and Tom are three of my oldest and dearest friends. At this point in our lives, I'd much prefer spending time with them having fun and learning about their lives in the 30 years since we were in AP together, rather than working our asses off to reenact good memories.
In the 30 years since AP, I’ve spent lots of time learning to actually play the guitar and make solo music under the name Field Marshall Sound. About half of the songs I play are covers of old reggae songs and Irish folk tunes. How people spend time with music is so different now than when AP was active, so it’s strictly for the enjoyment of making melodies and occasionally playing for friends.
1. I understand how Chris and Dave met, but how did you meet the other two members, Tom and the first drummer, Eve?
Well, this is all long in the past, but I think I met Eve in the dorms during my first year of college. Once he moved off campus, Chris and I started practicing at his apartment (gotta love college towns). Tom actually lived above him! Tom, being the extremely outgoing and personable guy he is came down, introduced himself, talked music with us. Eventually we lamented to him that we couldn’t seem to find a bassist that could keep up with Chris’ riffing, and Tom confidently announced “I can totally play this stuff.” He was completely right, fit in perfectly during our first practice, and we suddenly had a lineup.
2. Action Patrol was an important band for me and my friends. We happened to get your first 7” by accident and were blown away the first time we heard “Tube”. At that time, I lived in Philly to go to school there for 3 years. But we couldn’t see you guys on stage. I only know of you guys who are still on the record. But still most of your songs are always in my brain. You still have a following among the Japanese who later came to know you through your discography. What do you think is responsible for the band’s enduring legacy?
I feel like the real responsibility is Chris’ creativity, diligence, and intellect! Much of the unique vision of the band and most of the songs are from Chris. All the band members contributed a lot in terms of our own performance quirks and style, but AP was really Chris’ ideas and the rest of us ready to sign on. We definitely all pushed each other in terms of speed and intensity though. By the end, some of the live videos documented us playing all the songs way way too fast hahaha!
3. I guess Whirled Records was distributed by No Idea records in Florida or Rhetoric. They distributed worldwide at that time. I think the first album reached far more people than the first single. After the release of your first album, did you gain recognition?
It seemed like we did. We got written up in MMR and other zines, and we started getting international mail from kids in europe trying to get us to play over there. The one time we went out to California, it seemed like people had heard of us and had been asking for the 12”. That was gratifying!
4. Did you guys tour a lot? What was touring like for you then? What was your biggest/longest tour?
We did tour a good amount. We were all in college in Virginia, so we based most of our touring around school breaks, etc. We toured the south a couple times, going down to Florida. We always had a blast down there and people seemed to really rock out to us. We played a show in Tampa with Assück that was one of the most insane shows I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Crash Worship and GG Allin!).
Our longest tour was definitely our one trip to California. I think it was a little over 4 weeks. It definitely put us through the wringer but we it also made for some amazing stories. One of our challenges is that we toured in a Chevy Astro. Chris had constructed this incredible loft that allowed us to fit a significant amount of equipment and merch into this minivan, but ultimately left only enough room for four people. We could never bring a roadie or even another passenger, so we were up in each other’s business 24/7.
5. Do you have any particular tour stories that really stand out?
Hmm there’s a whole bunch, but once Rich went to change out of his jumpsuit after playing a house show and left our entire envelope of band money on the sink counter. It got stolen by the next person who went in, and we had to basically confront the guy as a band. We were not an intimidating group of people; we did, however, succeed in getting our knot back!
6. What was the Richmond scene like when you were starting out? You are still beloved there as seen by the reunion shows.
The Richmond scene was pretty great! Very supportive and kind of huge. There were lots of venues that would have all-ages shows, and a whole ecosystem of bands that had all come up in the high schools there. Once we had our set together and felt rehearsed enough, we plugged into the scene and started playing a good amount with Inquisition, Avail, Fun Size, and many others. Our biggest break was when Tim from Avail booked us to open for Citizen Fish. They were a huge band at the time and the audience was much older / real punks. It was a sold out show and we played a Subhumans cover. That is a fantastic memory.
7. You have a lot of North Carolina ties too. Your first 7” was released by a NC label and your last 7” was released by an NC label and your Dick St. shows in Greensboro were legendary, and your discography is currently being remastered and released by an NC label. Do you think the reason for that is simply because of closeness to the State or something else? From the Punk on Paper flyer archive, you played NC at least 7 times in two years.
True - we played NC a lot. It was the closest place we could play outside of VA, and there was a really supportive DIY scene down there. The most legendary DIY venue in NC was, of course, Dick St. This was a smallish rental house (maybe 3 bedrooms?) that was converted over years into the most incredible punk club you could imagine. There were skate ramps both indoor and out, the living room was the venue, and every conceivable nook and cranny had been converted into a living space. Someone had even pulled a van up outside and built a little hallway to it. We played one of my favorite shows ever there, with Young Pioneers and prime era Los Crudos. It was completely out of hand and i'm just happy the floor didn't collapse. Eventually they got evicted and in the punkest move ever, snuck back in and painted the place black, inside and out. The toilets, the windows...everything.
8. You all seem to have remained close over the years so the end of the band couldn’t have been too traumatic, what was the dissolution of the band like in 1996? What were the reasons it ended?
Eh, just normal young person things. We all finished college, wanted to do more "adult" stuff, start our careers, etc. (booooo) In hindsight, we should've ridden the wave for just a bit longer, but who can tell a 22yo anything. We had done a lot in a relatively short period of time, so there was perhaps a bit of burnout. We just happened to come together and make a fun band and we probably thought that was easy to do again; turns out it isn't! Bands are tough!
We have had two sets of reunion shows, and those have been absolutely great. I am getting emotional just writing about it. It just means a lot to still be friends with all the guys, and to have seen how the music transports people back to their youth. I don't know why we played so insanely fast though - we really had trouble getting back into that high gear for the last set of shows.
9. Any closing remarks? Could you imagine that there are people in Japan who still love you guys?
All of AP just turned 50, and though I am perfectly happy with my life now...those years were still some of the very best I ever had! I am a very social person, and meeting new people all the time through the subculture was fantastic for me. I sincerely enjoyed playing the music, and loved the political energy and lifestyle that the hardcore scene had back then.
It blows me away that there were/are fans in Japan. I love that physical copies of the record made it there in 90s and people were jamming them. There's always been a great affinity between Japanese and American punks, though! MY first punk record was the Pusmort sampler, featuring the fantastic GHOUL. I hope to go to Japan someday - let's get a beer!