Soon after our recent Three One G / Fairly Loud Noises collaboration feature on EX MODELS, we’re thrilled to give you a jaw-dropping follow up, revealing two insane live recordings of two incredible screamy, spastic hardcore bands, half-American / half-Dutch thrashcore punks DAS OATH (members of Charles Bronson, Devoid of Faith; Coalition / Dim Mak / Clean Plate Records) and SOME GIRLS (comprised of cast members that include Wes Eisold (Give Up the Ghost, American Nightmare, Cold Cave), Rob Moran (Unbroken, Narrows, Over My Dead Body), Justin Pearson (The Locust, All Leather, Holy Molar, Swing Kids, The Crimson Curse, Head Wound City), and Chuck Rowell (The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower, Crocodiles)).
Both videos were recorded on Saturday, November 20th, 2004 at the Che Cafe by Aaron Thornhill, who once again shared his thoughts with us and recalled this sick show through a memoir below. The lineup included Look Back and Laugh.
Packing up and moving to a new city can be a bit tricky if you don’t luck out and make some solid new friends pretty quickly after arriving. The thing I remember most about the Some Girls, Das Oath, Look Back and Laugh show at the Che Café (besides that I went and filmed it) was that I was there with coworkers from an ultimately ill-fated book chain I had been hired at, Borders.
My first year in San Diego was spent working whatever underpaying job would have me and meeting lots and lots and lots of new people, most of whom I just didn’t fit in with. I knew I wasn’t going to throw in the towel and go limping back to Tulsa, and getting the job at the bookstore was a serious turning point- it was where I made my first real long-term friends in what would become my new, adopted hometown. I quit working there after a couple years, but remain eternally grateful for the way it funneled a steady supply of new people into my life that also read books!
I hadn’t heard any of the bands that were playing that night as my new friends and I headed up to the all-ages venue at UCSD, but the fact that they shared members with Charles Bronson, The Locust, and Lesser of Two, strongly hinted at a high-octane evening. By all accounts, the goods were delivered.
Look Back and Laugh brought punishing metallic crust, having traded in some of the more progressive leanings of Lesser of Two in for furious, unapologetic, 80s style circle-pit rippers.
Das Oath brought it up to a different level and at numerous points I had people in the audience (or singer Mark McCoy) roll on top of me as the pit evolved into something more akin to the inside of an active volcano spurred on by the sonic mayhem.
This madness wasn’t deterred by the gap where one band broke down their gear and the next one set up- it was more like people were just recharging their batteries.
The chaos resumed the second Some Girls’ strident aural blitz began and I eventually, fearing the destruction of my camera, capitulated and retreated to the relative safety of the back.
While I try to live in the present as much as I can, this night does still pop up in fond conversation here and there with friends I had back then and still now.
More about SOME GIRLS by Three One G:
Some Girls began in early 2002 when singer Wes Eisbold (American Nightmare, Give Up The Ghost, Cold Cave) and guitarist Rob Moran (Unbroken, Narrows, Over My Dead Body) spoke of putting together a hardcore band that would “fuck people up.” The very next day, drummer and Two Miles Till Iocon studios owner Sal Gallegos (secret Fun Club) was called in to assist Eisbold and Moran with their mission and, within a few sweaty hours, the first Some Girls songs were born.
After being floored by the raw demos the trio had cooked up, Deathwish Inc. Records honchos Jacob Bannon (Converge) and Tre McCarthy offered to put out the band’s first 7-inch release and after some remixing and re-mastering, the record buying public had The Rains EP to sink their depraved little teeth into. With a record out and plans to bring the group’s fury to the stage, the time had come for Some Girls to get a bass player? Sorta. “The original idea was to get a different bass player for each show,” explains Gallegos. “We got into touch with Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, All Leather, Swing Kids) about playing our second show and after seeing that he had great ideas and was into what were doing, asked him to join.”
In the months that followed, Some Girls added a second guitar player (former Crimson Curse and current Tristeza member Christopher Sprague), recorded another EP (The Blues) that would later be collected with The Rains on the All My Friends Are Going Death compilation and embarked on a two successful (that is, if you consider, as Some Girls do, shows where the band members bleed, spit and trash their way into audiences consciousness a success) East and West Coast tours in 2004.
Shortly after the East Coast tour, Sprague parted ways with the band to concentrate on his work with Tristeza and was replaced by Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower guitarist Chuck Rowell. Charged by Rowell’s contributions to the band’s evolving sound, the group entered the studio in August 2004 to record The DNA Will Have Its Say, a blistering seven track EP that hinted at the band’s future musical ambitions to create something that was at once brutal and innovative. And, if you care, Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sang on the title track.
With Heaven’s Pregnant Teens, Some Girls continue to abuse ears and limbs and go for the jugular as they take their songs to greater levels of experimentation and disorientation. “Hardcore is just another form of music that has its own musical uniforms and cookie cutter structures. With this record, we wanted to depart from traditional chord changes and time signatures and create something that doesn’t fit into an easily consumable format” deadpans Rowell.
And with that, you have the most crucial facts on Some Girls. Add to that list that the group was NOT a side project, and that guitarist Rob Moran has left the group to move to Seattle and pursue other projects and was replaced by Nathan Joyner (of All Leather) in the Fall of 2005. Shortly after, the band decided to call it a day and move forward, letting dying dogs die.
The year was 1999. The place was some hooker hick town in Holland. Who’d guess almost six years later a band first called ZOO CREW would emerge as the seldom talented, unappreciative Godfathers of Hardcore- Das Oath?
“Jeroen Riffnabber Vrijhoef was the creator of the name”, says Cuban-born vocalist, Mark McCoy. “He liked the definition of OATH after I told him to look it up in the dictionary. He was like in TOTAL doubt of the absolute truth, he really had the desire to question authority, you know, like, and he wanted more than a band. He wanted a franchise”. DAS OATH quickly etched their names in the crumbling sidewalk of hardcore history with their lackluster self titled debut EP, a six minute long wheeze of stolen riffs and jumbled lyrical insensibility. That EP helped establish DAS OATH as the most reluctant band to ever kick off a thrash revival.
“Basically, we didn’t even have to try very hard and everyone was copying us. The big difference was, they sucked, and we didn’t. Everybody else who latched on this Thrash shtick were just posers, man”, declares ace drummer Marcel Wiebenga. “I mean what moron can’t throw together a few notes and call it a song? This crap practically writes itself! I’m angry! I’m young! I wanna die! Aaaagh! Kid’s stuff, know what I mean?”
DAS OATH has long outlived their moderately-memorable contemporaries like TEAR IT UP, DOWN IN FLAMES, and SHARK ATTACK because they are convinced of that pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. Hence, the fight’s not over. “Social politics sell records”, Mark says. “The day-to-day reality of waking up, reading the paper and walking around the old neighborhood and forcing you to think of more things to complain about isn’t getting any easier. But here’s a huge market for this shit, for some reason. Who knew? These idiot kids really want hear us tackle the real shit that’s going down; so that’s my job: Gentrification’s running rampant, got it. Working wages aren’t, done. Backs are still being stabbed, you bet. Before you know it, Voila! You got yourselves a hit.”
The world is still one fucked-up place. DAS OATH’s strength through pain is an infection that still has no cure. The years in between the band’s formation have been anything but hopping and skipping through candy land, but more akin to growing up on the streets and watching your friends become more popular than you one after another. Jail terms have been served. Divorces have been filed. Close friends have died.
Some have been murdered. Even Mark’s tail bone was broken. You may ask what then drives the DAS OATH legacy? “Royalty checks”, claims Jeroen. “That’s all the motivation I need”. True or not, it’s the rhythms of machine guns and garbage trucks that make your fists shake and kill your parents. Never are the songs deeper than their musical rage. Found inside is a darkened immaturity – a distilled, poorly tuned aggression that’s spun on the long-running Vrijhoef/McCoy axis. The result isn’t pretty. It’s still undeniably “Trans Atlantic Thrash Terror” for several reasons. One, Mark always preaches and whines. He calls it how he sees it. “There is a certain
‘person’ on a message board talking some shit about me,” Mark says. “And this person is a fucking dead man. Next time, think before you strike, bitch.” Secondly, Mark isn’t grounded. He’s a rock star with hang-ups and an over-inflated head that prevents him from walking through doorways. (The last time I met Mark, he was signing autographs on underage girls’ buttocks who were standing in line at the Unity Tour 3 show.) “We’re the last intellectual thrash rock band alive,” Mark self-effaces. “It’s not in our hearts, but afterwards in our hotel rooms. We like to pretend to suffer and act like we like the abuse, it really gets us someplace. It’s like pretending a bad drug addiction you can’t shake off or like a bad marriage and only sticking around for the kids. Honestly, we don’t live it, but it looks good to act like we do. It’s our lives and it’s all we know. Trust me, I went to Grad School!”
DAS OATH as a band still works like a musical razor blade. Regardless of their history, the proof is simple: DAS OATH’s songs are quickly assembled, amateurish composed hokum that still manages to kick the ass of every other sorry fast band today.
No one is born with tattoos, but you can be born hardcore. DAS OATH was. With the ink, the music sets in, and next thing you know you’re an annoying face in line at the merch table – exactly what DAS OATH needs. DAS OATH may be behave like they live in the stone age, but it’s all a clever act to ensure “Hardcore 4 Life” stays an empty slogan