One night shortly after Bane announced they were getting back together to play Boston on June 17th and 18th I was awake late at night and unable to sleep. I was flipping through different apps on my TV looking for things to watch and re-found the 2020 documentary "Holding These Moments" which is an amazing doc covering Bane's final tour. While watching and knowing that Bane were on the comeback trail I was flooded with questions I wish I knew the answers to. The following day I sent an email over to singer Aaron Bedard in hopes that he would bite on an interview request and about a week later these in depth responses appeared in my inbox. Bane is a special band to many hardcore fans and the fact that they are back almost seems inevitable if you watched the "Holding These Moments" documentary. Since this interview was conducted Bane was announced as Sunday's headlining band at this years This Is Hardcore Fest in Philadelphia. Interview with Aaron was completed on March 13th, 2023. Thank you to JC Photo Media for the amazing photos including the one above! Lead graphic by: Paul Turano.
1. Hey Aaron where are you right now and what would you usually be doing at this time of the day if you weren't answering these questions?
Aaron: What’s up, Chris. I’m in my bedroom in an apartment here in Somerville, Mass where I’ve lived with roommates for a bunch of years now. I really love it here. Love this city, love just kicking it in my own little space back here. It’s 8:30 am, which is pretty early for me, but lately my always unpredictable sleep schedule, has been pretty wild, getting tired around 1am, waking up at 8-9ish, whole day ahead of me, which is rare for me. It won’t be long until I fuck it up again though and will be awake all night and sleeping the whole morning away.
2. The recent news of upcoming Bane shows prompted this interview request. Can you tell us what is already scheduled as far as shows are concerned and within the Bane camp what is being talked about as far as plans aside from the shows already announced?
Aaron: Right now we have two shows here in Boston June 17-18th. All ages, beautiful venue, we’re bringing in a lower stage, no barrier, no bouncers. The week after that we’ll go to Manchester England to play Outbreak Fest. Our first time being out of the country together in almost 8 years. I keep having to pinch myself, I can’t even believe it’s happening, and so much love to those guys over at Outbreak for asking us to be a part of it. In September we’re going down South to play Furnace Fest, haven’t done that in probably over 20 years. We haven’t figured out California yet, but that’s high on the priority list, hopefully get back to some of the venues we love out there, Chain, Che, Gilman, Programme Skate Shop. Then we’ll sorta see what comes, what feels right, and what everyone can do. I definitely have a little wish list of my own: get back to Japan and maybe Seoul South Korea, Costa Rica, play Israel again and some of those more off the beaten path corners of Europe, South America, The church in Philly, Budapest.
3. What was the spark that got everything rolling with this upcoming run? Was there a group hang, group text or maybe just giving in to the requests to get Bane back together?
Aaron: It’s funny I have a screen shot in my phone from last year where I was in our group chat being nostalgic about a tour we did through South America and the kids in Peru threw this amazing rooftop cookout overlooking the city of Lima, all this great vegan food, so many friends there, we’d made over the years. And it’s not unusual for our chat to look back fondly on some show or some time we had, and usually one or two of us would be like, oh man, let’s go back! But this text… within two minutes, every single member responded that way, and that was a first... the feeling that the whole band, were off in their own corners of the world, phone in hand and sharing in this same feeling of, I would go back and do that again. I remember feeling like, this is a first, this is a big deal.
4. The Roadrunner in Boston where the June shows are being held is listed as being able to hold 3500 people. Day 1 is sold out and Day 2 still has some tickets available. Will this be the most people you have ever performed in front of and if so what has been the most people you have ever played in front of in the past even if it is just a guess.
Aaron: It is a big room. I was in it the other day for some sold out show they were having, and that place is no joke. I did not think we were gonna sell that room out. I think for a pure club show, 3,000 kids will probably be the most we’ve ever played to. Palladium doesn’t hold that. We did a run with Hatebreed where there might have been a few nights that were close. But over in Europe they have those outdoor fests in the summer, that are just ridiculous. Bane would sometimes get to play one or two of those, in Belgium or Spain where I’d look out from the stage and it would just be a fucking endless sea of people. Not 50,000, not Metallica sized or anything like that, but probably close to 10,000, which always felt like a ridiculous amount of people to be looking up at our little hardcore band from Worcester, Massachusetts.
5. Can you talk about the lineup for both shows in June? Why these bands? Who picked them and any particular reason why both shows have the same lineup?
Aaron: Thing about this line-up is all of these bands are our friends. These are bands and people we have real history with. We wanted to go with something a little different than what you see on a lot of the big fests or typically stacked fliers these days. Of course there are SO many bands who I wish could be a part of it. There are a ton of great young bands out there today, who I would love to share a stage with, and hopefully we’ll have that chance down the road. For this though we were really trying to keep it a five band bill, not have it be some all-day thing and even that we couldn’t pull off. I think day two being the same line-up as day one was due to a few different factors, First, we were not prepared at all for the first show to sell out the way it did. There was some loose talk about, What if it does? What will we do for day two? But I definitely didn’t take it too seriously.
The line-up also took some real doing to make happen. Even two weeks before we announced it we were still scrambling to bring it all together. We didn’t have a completely separate and equally exciting list of bands that we had gone to and said, “Hey, we want you to play our Boston show, but you can only do it if the first show sells out”. That sorta sucks to do. When it sold out as fast as it did, and the promoters, were looking to sort of ride the momentum and keep the online excitement going by announcing the second show on that same day, I actually liked the idea of kids not having to stress about wishing they could see one day’s line-up instead of the other, or feeling like now they have to cop tickets for both days in order to see two completely different line-ups. Just come see one show, and that’ll be that. Lastly, it’s helpful to the bands, most of who are coming from a long way to be a part of this. Traveling is so expensive right now, so it’s good they get to play twice, play to kids who couldn’t make day one, get paid twice, sell merch twice, have a day or two to just chill around Boston in the springtime.
6. In the past have you had any sort of pre-show routines or rituals you like to do?
Aaron: For me it was always more about the things I’d try NOT to do in the hour or two before we’d have to play. I’d try not to eat much or drink a bunch of soda. I’d try not to let myself get too relaxed or lethargic, keep myself moving around and awake. Not that I always succeeded in these attempts, there were definitely some VERY rough Bane sets that could be put squarely on my shoulders because I had played poker all night the night before or something just as stupid, and then wound up napping in the van or some corner of backstage until just before it was time to hit the stage, no stretches, sneakers not even tied, one set list scrawled in pen on the back of some guitar string envelope.
7. I recently re-watched the “Holding These Moments” documentary and it couldn't have been more obvious that most or all of the band didn't think it was the best idea to break up... but you had made all the "final this" and "final that" announcements and went through with the breakup. It's closing in on 7 years now since the last show of that last tour and about a year and a half since that special one off show in Boston. What's changed that made you all want to do this again?
Aaron: It’s difficult to speak for everyone on this. Nothing about getting back to this point was a straight line for any of us. But I can try to explain how it sort of went for me… there was always a feeling of “Wait, why are we doing this?” through those final couple of touring dates. My love of being in the band, and the life out there on the road, never found a way to line-up with the things I was saying about being ready to say goodbye to it all. People would ask, “well, why are doing this?” and I never had an answer that, even to me, didn’t sound like a bunch of bullshit. We had announced we’re gonna do it this way, and then we were just strapped in, the boulder was rolling down the hill too fast to do anything about it but watch. Then it was done and we sort of had to live with that decision, with the conviction in which we had told everyone, “this is it, this is our goodbye”. And for a long time I felt convinced that I wouldn’t ever be able to turn away from those things we said. Final should mean final. Honor, sticking by the things you say to others, means a lot to me. But I missed it, I missed it even more than I had told myself I was going to miss it, and all of us stayed close friends of course, we kept the group chat going, and every once in a while we’d make a joke about getting back out there, or we’d reminisce about certain places or times. “Fuck let’s go back” we’d joke, but there was a feeling that some of us were joking less than others.
I remember just before Covid I was at a show and spoke with a friend who I don’t get to see often. A very close friend of Bane, someone who had been there from the start, knew us well, and he says he knows some of us haven’t let go and that we’re dying to get back up there, and I tell him, yes, but we said the things we said and I couldn’t find a way to go back on them. I knew for sure that a ton of people would roll their eyes and say “I told ya so. I knew they’d be back”. A lot of people had gone way the fuck out of their way to be at some of those final shows and say goodbye to us, and we had insisted to them that this was it. And my friend tells me, “who fucking cares?” That the percentage of people who will be disappointed or talk shit about it will be minuscule when compared to the number of kids who would be so happy to see Bane play again, and this wasn’t just some random Bane fan telling me this, this was someone who’s opinion I truly respect, someone who was still very plugged into things and has always had our best interest in his heart. So those words kind of took root and for the first time I started to look at things a little differently. A week later the whole world was shut down, suddenly we all had a lot of time to sit and dig deep within ourselves, ponder our decisions, what was truly important and things that we had maybe placed too much importance in, life felt very fleeting and fragile. Stu was sick. Riley died, then Wade Allison, then Rich McLoughlin. With Stu not doing well, it meant the Bane guys were around each other more and more. We all needed to be there for him, and his family, and also for each other. It was a confusing, heartbreaking time and that line between band and family, that has always been blurry as fuck with Bane, felt as thin as ever.
Stu made a bucket list and on it was one last show, featuring bands he loved and wanted to see one more time. He asked us to be a part of it and that was a no-brainer. It was like ripping the band-aid right off. Any of those things we had said 5 years ago about, never playing again, or walking away from this forever, for me, flew right out the window. Sometimes life changes, sometimes you change, or grow, new information comes to light, circumstances shift. I’d felt ready to sing these songs again, since literally a week after the band ended. The whole thing was so bittersweet and blurry and difficult. Stu passed away the week before the show. We had the opportunity to back out if we wanted. No one knew we were playing it, it was going to be a secret until the moment we took the stage, so no one would have been disappointed. That conversation took all of 5 seconds, we all wanted to play, of course we wanted to play again and Stu had given us this chance to just do it, not worry about what people would think or say, just do the thing that makes us happy, cuz what else in the world is more important than that? That’s the lesson he left me with, love what you have, while you have it, don’t let go, or cheat yourself of happiness because 5 years ago you said some really stubborn things. Life changes. We all make mistakes. Telling the world that Bane would never play again had been a mistake. We were wrong to have chosen that path for ourselves. Sometimes in life you’re wrong… what matters is what you do about it, what you do next. The weeks surrounding that show it felt like being in a band again, having those little things back again, the coordinating rehearsals, t-shirt designs, discussing the set list, carrying gear from this vehicle to that building. It felt like home. From there, it didn’t matter to me anymore. I was ready. I was ready to start playing more shows later that same summer. Like I said, the band-aid was off. I made it clear to the guys that I was ready when they were. Then I waited. Wasn’t sure if it would ever happen again, if we would all find our way back onto the same page. Everyone sort of took their own journey back to this place. Some of us, fucking James and I, have been talking about trying to find the “loophole” we could exploit, to get back to playing some shows again for literally years. For some of the others it wasn’t so obvious or easy, and we needed to respect that. Sometime last year it all just sort of clicked back in place, we were discussing the possibility of playing again, more and more, what it could look like, the sort of things we’d want to do, and suddenly it wasn’t just this abstract daydream anymore, and now I have band practice this Sunday.
8. Touring hardcore bands are sometimes caught in this weird middle ground where they are not getting financially rich while also not being able to get good career opportunities because they tour so much. Is there any advice that you would pass on to younger bands who might be dancing with the idea of doing a lot of touring throughout the year?
Aaron: I would suggest that money is not the only, or even close to the best measuring stick we have when it comes to what is important or lasting in life. If you want to make music, or any kind of art. If you want to search for something more out there in this world, or just not want to find yourself trapped in mind-deadening cycles that do not offer actual joy or fulfillment, then you may need to be prepared to stress about money and rethink your relationship with it… learn to make sacrifices or live out of your comfort zone. We subscribe to this idea that we’re supposed to break our fucking asses now, sacrifice some of the best, most energized years of our lives, in order for some security way, way down the road, in years that are not promised to any of us… and listen, I’m not saying this way of thinking works for everyone, some people need order and control and knowing when they’re next meal will be. Some people have families to provide for and have to do exactly what they need to do to put food on the table. But speaking to the people who are being called to a different way of thinking, one not so rooted in the traditional blueprint of: school… work… family… house… two week vacations… death. I can speak from experience that there are rewards out there that have nothing to do with money in the bank, or things owned. This constant pressure to break your ass in order to get ahead in the world, it’s not a law, it’s not just the way of the world. It’s a choice. It is an acceptance or what has been offered to us. Individuality, non-conformity, these are not just frivolous, throwaway catch-phrases that at some point we need to let go off. These are touchstones that can stick with you through all phases of one’s life. It gets scarier as you get older, for sure. It’s not easy and I’m not 100% sure I even made the right decisions, trading any idea of a comfortable future in order to live a life that’s always been more focused on the right now. I don’t own anything, I don’t have investments, no clue what life is gonna look like in 20 years when my body really starts to break down and I don’t have a family of my own or anyone who’s gonna take me in, but I’ve just never been able to get with the idea that I have to trade these years of happiness and enjoyment to some employer who does not give a fuck about me, yet asks for so, so much of my very valuable time. The price of that trade has never felt right to me.
9. Worst job you have had in your lifetime and what exactly was it that you did?
Aaron: Well, pretty much any job where I had to get up in the morning, punch some fucking time clock and sacrifice 8-10 hours to make a bunch of money for someone who was not my friend, was really the toughest, most defeated times of my life. I have just never been wired for it. And that’s why I grabbed onto Bane, and life on the road, as tightly as I did. Decided very quickly I would rather be on the run, broke and not preparing for my future in any sort of tangible way. I think the worst one of them all was a stint I had when I was in my early 20’s and very broke, I took a job as a telemarketer, cold calling people at fucking dinner time, trying to sell them replacement windows. Reading my little spiel from a script and wanting to die inside cuz I just knew how much they hated getting this call, having to wait me out, and (usually) find a polite way to squirm out of the call and get back to their lives. I was too good at putting myself into their shoes and how awful this interaction was, to ever be any kind of salesman.
10. What about a dream job? If you could go back and be successful in literally any occupation what would it be?
Aaron: Easy. Shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.
11. Your long time bandmate and friend Stu Maguire passed away in June of 2021. Can you share something ultra-positive, funny or other that might make us who didn't know him that well know him just a little better?
Aaron: Stu was such a pure soul. I don’t want to say that he was a simple man, but he loved what he loved and it was as simple as that, most other bullshit he didn’t really let get to him. He was this calming force in your life, would make you laugh or make you see things were maybe a little bit easier or obvious than they seemed. He loved to play cards, he loved the Red Sox, he loved to laugh with his friends and more than anything in the world he loved his family, something that he showcased to us continually while we toured together. I remember him buying a cheap-ass, second hand laptop and figuring out how to use Skype so he could get up early every morning, no matter where we were or how late we’d stayed up the night before, because he wanted to have breakfast with his two daughters.
I’ve never had that sort of thing in my life before and I was always so fascinated in the intensity and the sheer focus of his love and duty to be a good father and husband. When he got sick that side of him only intensified. It all felt so particularly cruel because of how utterly he loved his role as father and husband. It was the thing he cared about above everything else. Cool thing about Stu was when it came to music, he wasn’t just a guy in a band, or a fan of punk music, but he was able to do anything that needed to be done to be a part of that world, he roadied for years, guitar tech’d, stage managed, he’d load your band out at 2 in the morning, lay a sleeping bag down on the couch in the back room and be ready to welcome the next band into the venue the next morning. He really sort of transitioned with ease between any of these roles. He just loved it, loved the music. Loved being a part of a great show, helping to deliver that in any way he had to. In his last years, he was off the road and running things from behind the scenes at a few big rock venues around Boston. He had a lot of very close friends in that world, people who were separate from our little world of hardcore kids. When he got sick these two worlds started to mingle. All of us coming together for Stu, and slowly becoming just one group of friends, connected not only through Stu, but through a real love of music and being a part of this community for a long time. All of these spoiled, snotty, preconceived notions I used to carry about the behind the scenes people, the GM’s and promoters and production people, were lifted, I realized these were some of the best, warmest, most caring people I’d ever been around. I see this as one of the final gifts that Stu left me with, these friendships that continue to thrive and would not have formed had he not brought us together.
12. Back in 2018 you put out new music with a band called Antagonize. Can you give us a little rundown as to what the band has done and if you are still a part of the band? I have not heard anything new in a while.
Aaron: Antag is no more, we were sort of always destined to have a, “this message will self destruct”, type existence. That band was born from my buddy Sam BBB Records getting tired of constantly having to hear me talk about wanting to be in a band again, and “Who was their guitarist?”, and “How many bands does this kid drum in?”, and “Do you think this kid would wanna make a band?” and finally he just linked me with these dudes that had recorded a demo and were looking for a vocalist, Sam said he’d play bass and that was sick, because we were tight and he’d be the only dude in the band I knew at all. It was fun for a while, but those guys also had a lot of other things going on. Sam’s label was blowing up and becoming more and more of his focus. The other guys had a bunch of other musical projects, were starting new bands, getting their old bands back together. People’s energies invested in a lot of different places which is great, and was clear would be the case, right from the beginning. I had just never done it that way before. I’ve only ever been in one band at a time, and have always thrown my whole heart into it, and I think the years in Bane, being very spoiled at having been in a band where we were basically all on the same page, as far as an overall mission statement and what being in a band meant to all of us, made things particularly difficult for me. It’s a rare thing to get 4 or 5 guys aligned on what it means to them to be in a band. Antag really showed me that. When Covid hit I think it was pretty easy for all of us to just walk away and concentrate on other things. We made some songs I feel proud of, played some fun shows, and put out a record on BBB. I think for some of those guys it was the first LP they ever put out, which was cool to be a part of. (Click HERE to check out their music.)
13. What do you remember from the first hardcore show you went to and did you know from that first show that you would be hooked?
Aaron: The first show was life changing for sure. Even before, I knew I was hooked on this shit, but in Worcester where I lived there were no all-ages that first year, so I had to wait to make friends who were older and had a license, and knew how to get to the venues out of town. I had no clue. Finally at 15 I hopped in with a carload of friends and we went to Boston to see Black Flag, “Slip It In” had just come out. The show was at this legendary club The Channel… and yeah, as nervous as I was excited. I’d never seen so many punk kids and skinheads in one place before. It was wild and scary for sure, but I also remember the feeling that, this is where I belong, in a way that I had never in my life felt before it. The intensity and energy and aggression surging through that room was even more powerful than I had imagined it would be, and from there, there was just no going back, for me.
14. You have been to tons of cool cities and countries over the years. Not in a musical sense but what are your top 3 favorite places to go to and what about them makes them your favorites?
Aaron: My favorite spots were always the places where it felt like we were VERY far from home, not in actual miles, but more in the sense of, we are not in Kansas anymore. Places that felt a little dangerous or exotic. Places that 15 year old me would never have imagined I would make it to. Bangkok comes to mind as one of those. Everything about it, the sounds and smells, the way it never stops, no matter what time of night it is. Nothing about it feels like being here in America, and for me that was always intoxicating. I also liked being in some of those Mexican cities and towns, that also felt lawless and drenched in culture and strange traditions. The color palette of everything, just different and almost dreamlike. People were so warm and friendly, but there was also a feeling like death was everywhere, that it could be around any corner, and they lived in that reality in a way I've never had to. It felt similar in some of those cities far to the east of Europe and into Russia. Places like Belarus, Minsk, St. Petersburg, where there is a sense of history and human understanding that makes what we have here feel small, somehow. But my number one favorite place on earth, the one where I felt most wide-eyed, fascinated, alive and like, "fuck this place has got it all figured out"! The place I still think about all the time and long to return to. The place I daydream about running away to and disappearing inside, more than any other, would be Tokyo. There just isn't anywhere else like it on earth, and the people there seem to me to be among the best, most humble and caring, that I've ever been around.
15. Your go to Chipotle meal? What are you ordering and are you paying extra for guac?
Aaron: I pass on the guac, don’t really mess with guac. Here’s my order: Bowl, black beans, brown rice, sofritas, mild salsa, a little bit of hot… just a little corn, extra cheese, side of queso, large bag of chips, Coke Zero.
16. What are your 3 favorite Bane songs and what about them puts them on the list?
Aaron: For me, it's always been the sorta left-fieldy ones. The stuff that was a little less traditional or predictable. “Calling Hours” would be one of those. I’m super proud of how that came out, and loved what that song, live, would do to a room. Also, the collaboration that went on, working with other musicians and lyricists, was something special to be a part of. To see it all come together as well as it did and for it to then be received as well as it was whenever we'd play it, definitely puts it on that list. “End With An Ellipsis” would be way up there, never really a crowd favorite or anything, but there was something truly emotional about playing it live, where it didn’t even matter to me if the crowd was feeling it or not. Also, lyrically I would say I was happier with that one than I was with a lot of the others. “Some Came Running” would probably be number three. It just hit so hard live. I always liked how sort of in the pocket, and groove oriented It was. Just a very dancy, sing-alongy song. No fast part necessary… those are always my favorites.
17. Name 3 "radio" or popular music songs that never seem to get old or boring to you.
Aaron: Oasis “Champagne Supernova”, Modern English “I Melt With You”, AC/DC “It’s A Long Way To The Top”.
18: Scariest/most dangerous moment you ever had while out on tour or while playing a show?
Aaron: Our first tour in Europe we were supposed to play in Prague, and at that time in 2000, we were warned that things were very crazy in Prague, some very serious protests were going on and things were going wild in the streets over there. People were saying there was a good chance we wouldn’t be let into the country. We didn’t have work permits or Visa’s then. But we go anyway, figure we’ll see what happens. The border is insane, huge lines, we waited hours and finally get to the booth and our paper work isn’t in order at all. Our driver tried to lie to them, and they’re not buying our story and she gets caught in the lie, Now they’re pissed and send some officers or soldiers, I’m not sure which they were, but they definitely were carrying these serious looking sub machine guns. So they search the van and are asking us a bunch of questions we don’t know the answers to. I remember feeling like, “Wow, we might be in serious trouble right now.” Finally, they tell us if we want to get into the country we have to follow them down this little side road, to I guess their barracks, and if we don’t go with them we will be forced to turn back around and go back where we came from. It wasn’t a very long discussion for us to decide to do exactly that. Whipped the van around, missed the Prague date, wouldn’t get a chance to play there for probably another five years, and had to drive like 24 straight hours through Poland and Germany to get to the next show.
19: Worst injury or nagging injury/pain you have had or endured over the years?
Aaron: The real nagging one is my knee. I tore that thing up long before Bane even started, just years of skateboarding and going off at shows, the kneecap would slide right out of place from time to time. But once I started touring and putting constant strain on it, things got worse and worse. Eventually I was told there was no cartilage left between the bones and had a lot of pain through the second half of the band. I had to wear a knee brace. Toward the end, I finally got some medical insurance and was able to get some physical therapy for it, even had some laser treatments. It still acts up from time to time. When it’s cold or rainy out, especially. It’s definitely gonna be interesting to see how it holds up with the gigs we have lined up for this summer.
BANE RECORDING "THE NOTE" (2005) AT SALAD DAYS STUDIO. PHOTO BY: MARK BEEMER
20. Can you name 3 things you wish you could have a pass or do over with within Bane's history.
Aaron: The first LP, “It All Comes Down to This”. That’s the one I wish we could go back and do over again. If we had just stuck with Brian McTernan, who had recorded everything of ours leading up to the first LP, we woulda been fine. Instead, we went with a local guy who offered us a “deal”. Problem was the guy didn’t understand harcore at all. Didn’t come from our world. He was a metal guy, just coasting on the reputation of other stuff he’d done. He didn’t bring any fire or encouragement or imagination to the table at all. He didn’t understand how badly I need to be pushed, how long it takes my voice to even get a good sounding take, sadly at that time, I didn’t either. So he was just sitting there pushing buttons, smoking weed and telling us everything sounded great. But it doesn’t and anyone who gives it a careful listen or compares it to the sound of “Give Blood” will see how badly we screwed up by recording it where we did.
Another regret, smaller, but still, it sticks with me, is that we didn’t play Chain Reaction in Anaheim on our last tour. That’s a venue we’d been playing since our very first tour in ’98. It was the perfect sized room for us, we never outgrew it and it never stopped feeling like a home away from home for us. Shows in that part of the country are like no other, it is easily one of the best, most poppin’ scenes in the world. Somehow on that last run through the US we weren’t able to make it happen, other stuff got in the way, and I’ve regretted that ever since.
I guess the third thing would be I wish I could go back and be a bit more self-aware as to how single minded I tended to be regarding the band as a whole. How my identity and self-worth came from doing the band. I was almost defiant in the way I didn’t really allow anything else to take root in my life, and that wasn’t healthy, certainly put a lot of pressure on the other guys in Bane, who did have other things in their lives that were good and worth being home to tend to. I was really bad when it came to compromising or slowing things down in order to consider the experiences of everyone involved. I was so wrapped up in what it all meant to me. It was selfish and I needed help. Needed to find a therapist and get deep into figuring out where all that stuff came from. Sadly by the time I was able to figure some of my shit out, it was too late. We’d already ended the band. As the years went by I began to see that there could have been a middle ground for us, where we didn’t have to end it at all. We could have just decided to stop going so balls-to-the-wall, but still keep the band intact, still be able to get together and play when it felt right, could have continued to write songs and create and keep hold of all the things we weren’t truly looking to let go of to begin with. I carry that regret with me, still.
21: Can you tell us more about the kind of stuff you are into aside from music? Anyone who follows you on social media can see your many posts with poker chips, bicycles and Fenway Park.
Aaron: Poker has been a big part of my life since the early 2000’s. It’s one of the few things that I’ve taken extremely seriously, and felt constantly engaged by. I’ve put in a lot of study, and hard work, and hours at the table, and think-tanking with fellow poker players, and endlessly going over hands in my head, and tracking results, and constantly trying to find ways to improve my game and keep up with the players who are much better than myself. Poker can be a very humbling and stressful way to spend your time, but it’s something that I’ve always felt oddly well cut out for. I don’t really care much about money, so wins and losses don’t affect me the way they do a lot of other players.
A brand new, fancy casino opened here in Boston the summer before Covid, and I was spending a lot of time there. It was the first time in my life I had an easy accessible poker room, right in my own city, could ride my bike there whenever I wanted. I was doing very well, making a decent living, but it was starting to feel more like work and wasn’t making me all that happy. It’s funny, someone told me there’s a rumor going around the message boards that these Bane shows are happening because I’m in serious gambling debt, which struck me as funny. The truth is Covid hit and shut that casino down, forced me to take a step back from the life, concentrate on other hobbies and things that did make me happy. Started getting some real writing done, also became much better about doing more reading, which of course informs the writing. I’m always watching a ton of movies. That was one of the hardest things for me personally about the lockdown, was not being able to go to the movies, worrying about all the cool independent theaters here in Boston, missing the smell of popcorn, those cushy recliners they have in the not-so-indie theaters. I’m also very into board games… some deeply, nerdy type games. Most of them are based on historical battles, games that are played on maps, with lots of charts and dice and have 30 page rulebooks and take many hours to complete. Mostly I play these games by myself, almost like playing chess against yourself, just to explore different strategies or to watch the history play out in front of you. I’ve been carrying on a secret love affair with drumNbass music since the late 90’s and that continues, bought a nice set of modern, digital turntables during the pandemic. I love to fire those up and shake the house a bit. Mostly though I’m just a dumb kid who loves living in a cool city, love riding my bike around town, kicking it with friends, and trying as hard as I can to not fall in line, and grow up. It never made any sense to me.
22. What is your personal favorite hardcore shirt or memorabilia you either own now or have owned in your lifetime?
Aaron: Another story from the first European tour in 2000. We went to Rome and that is a magical fucking city. Everything about it captured my heart. The local kids who put on the show and played in the other bands that night, really took us under their wing for a couple of days. Took us all over the city, to the monuments and their favorite food spots. These kids are fucking cool as hell, so sweet, so stylish. I did not want to fucking leave that city, wanted to hang there with them for a year. When we were saying our goodbyes, one of the kids gave me his hooded sweatshirt that I’d told him I liked. A few of the kids in that crew had one. It said ROMA STRAIGHT EDGE on the back, in the classic, big collegiate letters. I loved that fucking thing. It didn’t fit very well, little too small but it still meant more to me than any sort of old, crucial hardcore tee or long sleeve I had back in the day… although, the yellow, Uppercut tee with the Tompkins riot on the back, was pretty fucking good!