2018 marks the 35th anniversary for two all-time great New York Hardcore records that not surprisingly still get a lot of love and respect all these years later. Antidote's "Thou Shalt Not Kill" 7" and Cause For Alarm's self-titled 7" both were recorded in the same Park Avenue studio just months apart from one another by the highly respected Jerry "Dublee" Williams. Both releases have 8 tracks and will take about 10 minutes of your day to listen to. Although there were other great releases coming out on NY around this very time these two seem to have this connection with one another. Antidote and Cause For Alarm were smack dab in the middle of the young and growing NYHC scene headquartered on NYC's Lower East Side alongside bands like The Mob, Kraut, The Abused, Agnostic Front, and Urban Waste. This article came about completely by chance as the old iPod shuffled a few of these tracks together one day and the idea of tracking down some of the players behind this music was hatched. The goal was to get the pulse of what went on with the making of these records and how they came to be. Little details that may have been forgotten over time were key. We were able to do phone interviews with Louie Rivera who sang on the Antidote 7" as well as Cause For Alarm singer Keith Burkhardt and bassist Rob Kabula in a 10 day period that started in late March. The "Thou Shalt Not Kill" lineup was: Louie Rivera-vocals, Rob Nunzio-guitar, Brian Caulfield-bass, and Arthur "Googy" or "Bliss" on drums. It should be noted that Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph sang on backup vocals for this record as well. CFA was made up by: Keith Burkhardt-vocals, Alex Kinon-guitar, Rob Kabula-bass, and Robby Cryptcrash-drums. Thank you to all that contributed to the making of this article including Randall S. Underwood who supplied some great photos. GRAPHICS BY: BAS SPIERINGS & JOHN FRANKO
LOUIE RIVERA: ANTIDOTE SINGER ON "THOU SHALT NOT KILL"
IE: What’s up Louie? What can you tell us about High Rise Studios in NYC where the "Thou Shalt Not Kill" 7" was recorded? Why did you guys record it there?
Louie: The EP was recorded at High Rise Studio which was on Park Avenue at the time. What really counted back then was we were trying to do it as cost efficient as possible and back then you could book blocks of time. I think we booked like 12 hours at a certain rate. The larger the block of hours, the cheaper the rate by hour went. Not too many people are aware of it…. and it was mentioned in Tony Rettman’s book… is that we went in the first time to record with HR and Earl from the Bad Brains and we were very disappointed by the outcome. Jerry Williams aka Jay Dublee who did the Bad Brains “ROIR cassette” was not available because he was out of the road with MDC doing their sound. Jerry was doing some magic in that little storefront that was 171 Avenue A. We were bummed out and sitting on a stoop shortly after recording really not liking what we had come up with and thought it was really going to suck and low and behold we look up the street and who is coming down the street but Jerry Williams… Jay Dublee. Bliss (aka Googy, Antidote drummer) runs across the street and grabs a phone… now mind you were talking before pagers where you could still make a phone call on a public phone on a corner, you know what I mean? Anyway, he runs across the street, grabs the phone and books like another 12 hour block and we were back in there recording over everything that we were disappointed with. We went back into the studio and were in there fucking hammering out what becomes “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.
IE: What kind of reaction did you get out of HR and Earl when the first recording didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?
Louie: They were on board and they knew we were disappointed. They were going in a little wet behind the ears too. It wasn’t like they were handling the board. They were trying to tell people what to do instead of someone engineering the board like Jerry was on the second try. When we went back the second time we told them were bringing our own engineer with us and it was a whole different vibe. We’re rolling blunts, smoking weed and the whole vibe is just tremendous. We were sitting there going “this is gonna happen”. When we were listening to some of the first and second takes, without even a mix, what he was pulling through and the magic that he was doing with Nunzio’s little pig nosed amp was incredible. People don’t realize that Nunzio went into the studio with a little pig nosed amp plugged in through his Flying V going through a super distortion box. It doesn’t sound like a little pig nose. It sounds like a full stack of Marshalls. What he (Jerry Williams) did was put a microphone on one end of the hallway, outside of the studio. We weren’t even questioning him, he was just like Nunzio… take your amp and put it out there in the hallway. He put a mic in front of it and left it in the hallway. If anyone deserves a documentary… Jerry does. I am a little boggled by the fact that it hasn’t been done.
IE: How old were you when you guys went into the studio to record and what else was going on in your life at this time?
Louie: Pretty much, I dropped out of school and was pretty much like an elder statesman of the scene. I was born in 1959. By the time 1983 rolls around, I am a little bit older than everyone around me… other than HR and Gary (Bad Brains)… those guys are in my age group. I was pretty much rebellious, not spending too much time at home. I would go home and like make an appearance, let mom know I was alive. I would come home for a couple of days but by the time Thursday came around I was making a bee-line for… by then I am working the door at a couple of clubs and I got to be in the city. As far as having a place to crash… back then it wasn’t hard. Anybody would just give you a place to crash. That’s a big difference from now and then. It was a small circle and we had to keep it real man. Those fights that Roger (MIret of Agnostic Front) talks about taking place in his book… one fight on one end of the block and we would be fighting down on the other end of the block. We were watching each others backs… that’s all we could do. Mother fuckers like the Latin Kings were being threatened by us because of our appearance? (Laughing).
IE: The 7” is only 10 or 11 minutes in running time. How were you guys filling up your live sets?
Louie: By the time we got to the studio we already had like a good solid 35 or 40 minutes of songs.
IE: What happened with the other songs?
Louie: There are 8 songs on the EP. The plan was… if you hear the Live at CB’s stuff… you hear me say stuff like “on our next 12”… The plan was to put out a 12” and we weren’t sure then if it was going to be a full length LP or another EP. By then Dischord has already pumped out “Flex Your Head” and LP’s. I think the Void/Faith split is already out then and that’s a 12”. So were thinking we have to step up the game here and wanted to follow with a 12” but that never happened.
IE: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” was put out on Antidote Records. What was it like self-releasing the record? How many were made?
Louie: Here’s the deal… if people actually have one… they probably have themselves anywhere from $500 to $800 dollars for a piece of vinyl. The first 1000 are on red vinyl. Not the solid red that is on the later Bridge 9 re-release, it was like a clear red. We wound up going back to the presser again and were like fuck 1000… let’s go with 2000 but instead of having colored vinyl again we just went with black because it was more cost efficient and got more bang for our buck. So a total of 3000 of those first EP’s exist and that’s it. I had one and I wound up giving it to a friend who was in the hospital. He was lying there unconscious and I just laid it next to his bed. People ask me all the time if I have a copy and I’m just like “nope”. For me these days… when kids come up to me and say aren’t you Louie from Antidote… that’s enough for me man. That makes it all worth it.
IE: What kind of reaction did you guys get from the NYHC scene once the 7” came out and how far was the bands reach back then considering it was a different game altogether considering it was way pre-internet.
Louie: It was really hard to gage people’s reactions. I think other than Dave from Rat Cage… he was always very supportive of anything. He would always light up when he would see vinyl. Other than that and Jerry… Jerry was very proud of what he did. If it wasn’t for Jerry that record would not have made the impact that it did. He was a technical engineer genius in my opinion, almost like working with Einstein in the studio. When you think about what he did with the Bad Brains’ “ROIR Cassette” with 4 tracks in a studio… it’s mind boggling.
ANTIDOTE @ NYC'S GREAT GILDERSLEEVES. SUMMER 1983. PHOTO BY: RANDALL S. UNDERWOOD
IE: The song “Foreign Job Lot” is a song that has come under criticism in more recent years for its lyrical content. When the record came out did you ever hear anything negative brought up about it?
Louie: Nobody even blinked an eye back then to be honest with you. As we were getting interviewed… the only interview back then was with Dave Scott from A.O.D. I think it came out in Maximum Rock ‘N Roll. I thought it was going to be a good thing but it turned more into a thing about Krishna’s popping up on the scene. We didn’t set out to do this Krishna-core thing. We just chose that cover for the artwork because some of us were in the temple back then, ya know? I know I was. People lose track of what an influence that guy Johnny Joseph (Cro-Mags) was at the time. He would be walking around trying to spread the word of the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna consciousness. It wasn’t like we were straight edge kids… cause we weren’t. Me, Bliss and Brian would smoke weed and were cool with that. But getting back to that song… “Foreign Job Lot”…we were just singing lyrics and voicing our opinion about what was going on in the system. If you listen to the song it is more about the system. It is not about a certain people. Listen to it! It is about the way things are geared. It is not pointing a finger and saying get this guy out of here because he is taking work away from this guy. How it turned into that I have no idea man.
IE: Can you talk about the cover artwork some?
Louie: That cover art is right out of one of the (Krishna) books. It is the law of karma. I got my whole back tattooed with that thing man. For every action there is an equal or greater reaction is the meaning behind it.
IE: This time period for NYHC saw a bunch of other releases come along in a relatively short period of time. What was the vibe amongst the bands like?
Louie: I hate to put it like this but we were all in a race. It was like lets go, who is gonna beat who? By then The Mob already has “Upset The System” out there and it was like we had to play catchup almost. My original thing was with The Mob. I used to get up there and do a couple of songs with them and shit like that. That’s when people started realizing like “He probably could sing if we needed somebody to sing”. Antidote at that time already had a singer but things really weren’t working out. The way it went down was we were at CB’s and they were about to play with the singer they had and Bliss is in the dressing room writing the song “Real Deal”. “Real Deal” is his song on the EP. 7 belong to Nunzio, 1 belongs to Bliss. So he is sitting there writing it and the singer is telling him that he doesn’t want to sing it. Bliss turns to me and asks me if I want to sing it and I was like yeah, light up another blunt, fuck it. Bliss always had a pocket of good weed. So I was like if you roll up another spliff we can definitely do it. (Laughing)
IE: The EP is rightfully considered an all-time NYHC classic record by many. Thoughts on that and do you have a favorite track?
Louie: I have never been an egotistical person. I am still that dude that if I hear it in the room, or if somebody plays it I will turn around…smile… and kind of slowly move myself out of the room. (Laughing). To me it is kind of ancient history…I will listen to it sometimes still though. For me, my 2 favorite songs are “Zero Mentality” and “Foreign Job Lot”. “Something Must Be Done” is a great song, It was the anthem and we had other people cover it and shit like that.
IE: What are you up to these days?
Louie: I have been down here in Atlanta for a while now but I am coming back home soon to dedicate my time to taking care of my moms. She is getting elderly and somebody has to do it. It’s my time.
KEITH BURKHARDT (ON THE LEFT WITH HIS FAMILY) SINGER ON CFA'S SELF TITLED 1983 EP
IE: What do you remember about High Rise Studios and the recording process?
Keith: It went pretty smoothly. One funny thing that I do remember… I have no musical background much like a lot of the singers of hardcore bands at the time… when we went into the studio I knew nothing about how the process worked and I didn’t realize that you could do different takes where you could sing a song and maybe you liked the first half of it but you didn’t like the middle part and that you could just cut parts in and re-sing in over a chorus. I had no idea that you could do any of that. I went in really focused and every one of the songs that we recorded, at least the vocal tracks were all done in one take. Years later when I started the band again and we started doing recordings I kind of regretted what I did on the 7” because I guess I may have been a little too conservative with how I was singing. It just goes to show how completely naïve I was with the whole process.
IE: Jerry Williams who recorded the 7” with you guys was a very well respected figure within the scene for his skills behind the soundboard. What do you remember about him?
Keith: I didn’t know that much about music. I was just like a skateboard, punk kid that was hanging out on the scene. I knew Jerry through John Joseph and through the Bad Brains. What made Jerry initially famous in the local scene was getting the Bad Brains ROIR cassette done with them. I also knew him from being the sound man at A7 and 2 Plus 2. We kind of shared a similar like spiritual path and he was someone who was fairly advanced in that matter. We kind of clicked on that level and had become friends. It was that connection and Rob our drummer had known Jerry for a while and also his wife Michelle had known him for a while too. I can’t remember if it was through my relationship with him or just sort of a mutual thing exactly. We were honored that he was willing to do it.
Antidote had recorded there before us and going to that studio was a big step up for us. We were making homemade recordings and rehearsing in places that were pretty much like living rooms with really low end equipment, PA’s that didn’t work, we had no experience… at least I didn’t with anything that was even remotely professional. Even some of the other studios that other bands at the time were using were pretty basic. After Cause For Alarm Jerry and I continued to be friendly with each other and there was even talk of us starting a band with me singing. Jerry also engineered and produced a recording by us that never came out… it would have been our second record and I think it was done also at that same studio. We remained friends even after I was out of the hardcore scene and was running a little juice bar down in the East Village, Jerry would stop by and we would continue to chat and stuff. One other thing I remember was that Rob our drummer used to play a really small drum kit and when we did the recording for the 7” that he brought in like this monster really big Rock ‘N Roll type of kit that looked like maybe it had 10 pieces to it and we were cracking up while watching him putting it all together thinking can he even play all of those drums.
IE: Can you tell us more about this second record? What became of the songs on it?
Keith: Most of the songs that were on that second record were released on subsequent CFA records that I did. Some of the songs were; “Plastic Cylinder Express” ,”Eyes Of War”, “Beyond Birth And Death”, and “Prison Life”. I can't recall the other ones. Some great writing by Alex and certainly well ahead of its time considering these songs were originally written in 1984. Not sure if Alex has the original tapes. I used to have a copy but they were lost.
CFA CIRCA 1983. KABULA ON LEFT, KEITH ON RIGHT. PHOTO BY: RANDALL S. UNDERWOOD
IE: Besides CFA what else was going on in your life during the time the 7” was being recorded and released?
Keith: I was like 17 or 18 at the time and just being a punk rocker. I had started going to a Hare Krishna temple. I had become good friends with John Joseph from the Cro-Mags and we spent a lot of time going to the temple and developing that kind of lifestyle. At that time I was also silk screening t-shirts and selling them. Like hardcore t-shirts that no one was making, Bob Marley t-shirts because I was always into reggae, just different stuff. I would sell them to record stores and also in Washington Square Park. Tony T-Shirt was of course very well known for his t-shirts back then and we used to talk to each other about that. I was doing that and working in restaurants a little bit and I was a messenger on my skateboard as well. Back in those days it was so cheap to live in NY. The first apartment that I started out in I think was $300 bucks a month and we had 4 or 5 people living there at one point so it was very easy to pay rent. Even after I moved out of there and moved to a place on 6th Street between B & C which later got taken over by Roger from Agnostic Front… I think I gave the lease over to him and that rent was even less, I think like $200 a month. Around the time that the record was coming out I was becoming less interested in hardcore and more interested in Vaishnav philosophy and working on that aspect of my life.
KEITH BURKHARDT. PHOTO BY: RANDALL S. UNDERWOOD
IE: What do you recall about the reaction to the 7’ when it came out? Did you notice the band getting more popular once it came out?
Keith: Me personally and I think I can speak for everyone who was in the band that you didn’t really think in those terms back then. We would play shows at A7, go on at 3 in the morning and there were sometimes 3 or 4 people there and you didn’t even think about it. We played a matinee at CBGB’s in the early days and there were only 50 people there… but you didn’t walk up to the club and think wow this sucks…. It didn’t matter. Maximum Rock ‘N Roll magazine reviewed (the 7”) it in one of their issues and on the back of the record was my then girlfriend Angelica’s apartment address on West 22nd Street. By this time there was some tension in the band between me and the rest of the band members because I had become a Hare Krishna devotee and I was trying to push the band in that direction which I now realize as an adult I didn’t have any right to do that. That’s basically why I left the band or got thrown out of the band initially. When that review came out I was not home as I was traveling for something for like a month and when we came home there was a note from the post office saying I had to come to the post office to pick up my mail because there was too much. I went to the post office and there was literally like a sack of mail that I would say was like 800 or 900 letters of people that had written to me and they were from all over the world which totally blew my mind. I didn’t understand the scope of punk and hardcore and how big it actually was and what the reach was. I didn’t even know it existed in Europe in 1983. I didn’t look at it like we were a big band, I just thought it was really cool that there were so many kids out there that could relate to the music and relate to the lyrics. They were all positive and thankful and asked a lot of questions and they kept coming in. There were 1000’s of them and what cracked me and my girlfriend up was that there were girls that were writing to me that wanted to hang out with me, stuff like I am in love with you. We were in tears with some of them laughing.
IE: How many were pressed? It sounds like the reach of the review outweighed the actual 7” as far as reach goes.
Keith. I think it was 500. At the time we were thinking how are we going to get rid of these. I moved to Los Angeles and the band had thrown me out and they moved to San Francisco and were hanging out with M.D.C. I happened to be in San Francisco because my girlfriend’s mother was working there and we went to visit her. We saw flyers for a Dead Kennedy’s show in a park and we went. Literally someone tapped me on my back and it was Kabula who randomly ran into me in San Francisco. I went to one of their rehearsals to hang out and got back into the band out there. We played some really fun shows out there in San Francisco and then a really big one in Los Angeles with Suicidal Tendencies. I remember Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies coming up to me after the show and telling me that we were great. Years later somebody sent me a slowed down clip of one of their videos… I think it was the “Institutionalized” video and if you look real close the camera pans across and our 7” is like propped up on a shelf. That show was packed, there was a giant line to get in and we sold out all the last of our 7”s there. I think we were selling them for like 2 or 3 bucks each. We were very excited that we were able to sell maybe like 100 of them. Me and Kabula went around the line and sold them. One kid before he handed over the 2 or 3 bucks wanted to hear it so we went into the club and played it for him and he bought it. It was just a whole different vibe back then. It was just kids having fun and that is my main memory of all that. Who would ever think that someone would be talking to me about Cause For Alarm in 2018? When I became immersed in Hare Krishna I thought that hardcore ended. When I started to loosen up with the whole Krishna thing and sort of reemerge into the world a little bit I remember going to a show at the Ritz or something… like a Rock Hotel thing in NYC, I think it was the Cro-Mags and I was curious to see what they were like at the time and I was completely shocked. There was like 1000 people there and it was packed. I thought this scene would have just died. I thought how could you build a musical movement based off bands like Agnostic Front, Cause For Alarm, Antidote, Urban Waste, and The Mob… no offense. I loved all this stuff but I thought it was such a sub-genre, like such a small minority of people, like these freaks that were listening to this music. Some of my friends would call me the bubble kid and say I was living in a bubble world for like the last 8 or 9 years at the time. Basically living this secluded lifestyle completely removed from the hardcore scene and other things that were more along the lines of pop culture.
KABULA (LEFT) AND KEITH (RIGHT) @ CBGB'S. PHOTO BY: RANDALL S. UNDERWOOD
IE: Did you guys ever repress them after you sold out of the initial batch?
Keith: We never repressed any. It certainly was a very bootlegged record so there are plenty out there. It didn’t get repressed until Victory Records put it out in like ‘94.
IE: Do you still own a copy?
Keith: I have a CD copy but I haven’t listened to the 7” in many many years. I used to listen to it and get really critical. In the 90’s I was kind of brainwashed because of the higher technology that was out then and the quality of the recordings that were coming out then. People were double tracking stuff and double tracking vocals and it became very much more of a polished music genre instead of this raw artistic genre that it was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I remember listening to it and thinking this is crap. When I let go of all of that and I finished with Cause For Alarm and I listened to it years later I then thought it was actually really good. I thought this is what I like, this is what Cause For Alarm was and what it was all about and this other stuff that I did later on without the guys on the 7”… that was more like The Keith Show. It was more of getting on with something that I wanted to complete but it had nothing to do with the Cause For Alarm from 1983. I think we put out some really good stuff in the 1990’s and it was a collaboration of many different artists that played with me on those records and tours. I love “Cheaters And The Cheated”, I love “Beneath The Wheel”. Those are lyrics that I wanted to get out there. I wasn’t in a particularly good place when these records were coming out for a lot of different reasons. I think I could have been a much better person and enjoyed it a lot more if I would have been in a better place but the music at that time was sort of helping me power through life. I was caught up in this thing like I had to sell this amount of records or have this amount of people at our shows or else it was like a failure. I don’t want to say I felt embarrassed but I feel like I got sucked into this whole thing like Victory Records and worrying about advertising budgets and all of this Rock ‘N Roll stuff, like big record business type of stuff.
IE: Do you ever check to see what an original CFA 7” is selling for? What have you found out if you did?
Keith: The last one I had I gave to Dave from Core-Tex Records in Berlin. I owed him some money for t-shirts or records or something and in case he reads this I wasn’t in the greatest frame of mind at that point. Later on I didn’t have the money but I had one 7” left and I gave it to someone to give to him. I have seen them for as much as $500.00 to like $800.00. I don’t know if they were sold at that price. I haven’t seen that many cause honestly I never looked. It has only been if someone had sent me something to show me and it may have been a good 10 years since I have seen a price attached to it.
IE: What are you up to these days?
Keith: Everything is good. About 6 years ago I moved to Florida, and made some changes in my life after being in NYC for 30 years. I think the stress of living in the city got to me. I have been living down in South Florida near the beach, I run a real estate company that has been pretty successful. Knock on wood. It has enabled me to live a comfortable, secure life. I don’t live an opulent lifestyle because that is not my thing. I have 2 grown kids with Angelica who is the girl I was living with when we did the 7”. I have been with my wife Sheryl for close to 15 years now and after coming down to Florida we had a child who is now 5 and a half. I continue with my spiritual path, I am a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and I just lead a simple life. Trying to stay healthy, eating good, exercising, I still surf, I still skateboard a little bit, play some golf… I kind of got obsessed with golf. I know it sounds weird. A lot of musicians actually… like Iggy Pop… a lot of people don’t know that he is a terrific golfer, Alice Cooper… Rob Kabula! Me and him actually got into golf together and it kind of just gets in your head because it is almost impossible to play it at any decent level unless you are naturally gifted. It keeps you coming back. I have had some mental health issues that I have had to deal with over the years. I like to put that out there because I know a lot of people suffer with these types of things and you just have to try and get beyond the pharmaceutical solution for that through yoga and meditation and a healthy lifestyle. I have been able to overcome and am happy to report that currently I am doing really well.
ROB KABULA CAUSE FOR ALARM BASSIST ON THEIR 1983 7" EP
IE: What’s up Rob? The CFA 7” was recorded at High Rise Studios in NYC and has “Papa JW” listed as the producer… who I assume was Jerry Williams. Can you tell us how you guys came to pick this studio which is also the same studio that Antidote recorded their 7”?
Kabula: We had such a tight knit little community. Hardcore back then was just a handful of people that could fit in your living room. You know what I mean? Like A7. Talking with the other bands you find out where they recorded and if they tell you they liked it then you want to go there too. That’s just how it went.
IE: What do you remember about the recording process for the 7”? How easy or hard was it to knock out all the songs for it?
Kabula: I recall it going pretty smoothly. We were well rehearsed and ready to do it.
IE: Any recollection on John Rosenburg who is listed as the engineer?
Kabula: I don’t remember him at all. Maybe he was like the in house guy at High Rise.
IE: Besides CFA what else was going on in your life around the time you recorded the 7’?
Kabula: The band was it, ya know? I lived for the music back then. Right before it was Cause For Alarm it was Hinckley Fan Club and then we morphed into Cause For Alarm with lineup changes and everything. It was me and Alex and Hinckley Fan Club we had Billy Milano as the singer and then we got Keith Burkhardt and Robbie Cryptcrash and then we morphed into CFA and we were playing shows out. I remember we went down to Virginia, we went out to Ohio… I was just out of high school and was living in Jersey, going into Manhattan to all the shows and rehearsing. I was like out every night. We rehearsed in the city and with going to shows… that would start on Thursday nights and run throughout the whole weekend.
IE: The EP was put out by you guys and initially had a white cover. How many did you press up and do you know how or when the cover started to be used with the yellow cover which if you look around now seems to be the primary way you find it when you look it up online?
Kabula: We self-financed it. It was a couple of hundred bucks each. We were kids but we had jobs and stuff. We may have done a pressing of 2000 to start. The one that we put out was a white cover and I guess when they sold it off to Victory Records they may have wanted to liven it up or whatever, remarket it, I dunno.
KABULA (LEFT) AND KEITH (CENTER) WITH FRIENDS ANGELICA, BLU, AND LAZAR.
PHOTO BY: RANDALL S. UNDERWOOD
IE: What was the reaction like to the 7” when it came out? What do you recall?
Kabula: The reaction was definitely positive. It was all DIY back then and we were mailing them out to fanzines, playing shows here and there and got a positive response for it. But then there was internal conflict in the band and just as we were going to California… we were going to move the whole band to California… and then Keith didn’t want to be a part of the band anymore. We still went out to California, we tried to recruit singers… Keith did come back into the fold and I remember we played out in L.A. with Suicidal Tendencies, maybe another show or two… and then we came back to N.Y., without the singer… I joined Agnostic Front and then CFA got Chris Charucki who recently passed away as their singer.
IE: What do you think about the record when you go back and hear it now? Do you think it stands up to the test of time?
Kabula: You can’t really say I want to go back in time and change this and change that. It is what it is. For the time and what we put into it… it was cool. I feel like it captures the time period well. I don’t own a record player anymore but I will listen to it digitally. When I listen to it I like to take it as a whole. In the blink of an eye it is over anyway (laughing)
IE: Do you still own a copy and do you know what an original copy goes for in more recent times?
Kabula: Oh yeah, I gave away a lot of my records but I always kept as least one copy of something. I have seen things once in a while with record collectors. I don’t know what it is worth right now. It is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Right now hardcore has a resurgence but who knows as time goes on.
IE: Do you still keep in touch with the other guys who played on that record with you?
Kabula: I keep in touch with Keith, we text once in a while, he lives down in Florida. Alex I see on Facebook every once in a while but I don’t really see him out and Robbie I think lives out west now. Keith is married and has a little one, Alex is married… you know how it is. I don’t know about Robbie though. I have not kept in touch with him although I think Alex does.
IE: What are you up to these days?
Kabula: I got the band Dead Blow Hammer, we are playing next week with Leeway, and then a couple of weeks after that were playing in New Brunswick, NJ and were just trying to book shows with that. Other than that I try to make it to shows here and there but I am pretty busy with work and I also do training with jiu-jitsu. My time is taken up a lot.
UNCLE AL: OLD-SCHOOL NYHC ICON AND ARTIST WHO DREW THE CAUSE FOR ALARM 7” COVER
“Actually it was not drawn with the intent for it to be the Cause For Alarm 7” cover. It was from a photo I found in a box of two British soldiers dragging an Irish protestor by the hair. I drew it and hung it on my wall in my apartment. Keith (Cause For Alarm) saw it one day and told me it would be perfect for their cover so I gave it to him. I still have the original shirt of it… what is left of it that is!”
TODD YOUTH: OLD-SCHOOL NYHC GUITAR GREAT, CURRENTLY THE BASSIST FOR FIREBURN
“You gotta understand that at that time there weren’t that many releases… New York bands especially. You had Kraut, The Mob, Urban Waste and The Abused and that was pretty much it for what was NYHC releases at that time. I may be forgetting some others. The “Thou Slat Not Kill” cover… they were the first band with the Krishna consciousness kinda vibe and you had Louie who was a great fucking frontman and his voice. I mean, how many guys have tried to imitate his style? You had Arthur “Googy” from the Misfits on drums and everyone knew Nunzio because he was around all the time and they were good players too. That was one thing I always liked about Antidote. I would put it up there as one of the top 5 all-time NYHC releases for sure. “Real Deal” and “Something Must Be Done” I think are complete classics and that is why Fireburn does “Something Must Be Done”. Every time we play that song it fucking goes off.
When the CFA 7” came out I was very immersed in the scene and “Apartment X” and Robbie Cryptcrash from CFA and his wife had an apartment on 2nd Street so those guys were really close friends. I don’t think the Cause For Alarm 7” gets as much props as it deserves. I think “United Blood” by Agnostic Front came out a few months later and overshadowed it but I would say the Cause For Alarm 7” is even better. Skinhead Youth… the first band Raybeez sang in after both of us weren’t in AF anymore, I think we would close our sets with “United Races”. The CFA 7” was super important when it came out man. It was one of those records where I sat in my room reading the lyrics, looking at the pictures, the collage on the back, and the insert. I think the lyrics were hand written. Later on with Skinhead Youth we had Big Al (Kinon- Cause For Alarm) on guitar, me on bass and Raybeez singing. The reason we got Big Al was because he was such a great guitar player, probably the same reason why Agnostic Front brought him in for their “Cause For Alarm” album. He was a bad ass guitar player and he looked so cool too. Big dude, shaved head, chain belt, you know what I mean? Just this menacing hardcore guy and he could play his ass off. Al is a really nice guy and that was another thing about the Cause For Alarm guys, they were all really nice guys.
CAUSE FOR ALARM 7" COLLAGE
KENNY AHRENS: SINGER URBAN WASTE
“The recording quality on the Antidote record was the best sounding EP put out up to that time. I remember a lot of us agreed on that. Great record, great guys... Louis R. has always been one of my best friends. I know the CFA EP was very influential as well... More of a political vibe to them. The first time I met Keith he clocked me in the jaw in the pit at the Mudd Club... Rob, Keith, Alex were always at A7 and all the shows. In the beginning of the scene 1979-1981, it started with less than 50 of us reppin' NYC.. I consider both EP'S, and those people to be part of our original NYHC crew”.
FREDDY ALVA: DIY MAN; NEW BREED CASSETTE COMP, ABC NO-RIO, URBAN STYLES BOOK & MORE
“1983’s “Thou Shalt Not Kill” EP is the blueprint for the nascent New York Hardcore sound. Nine minutes and nineteen seconds that predict the future to come: vicious fast tunes with brutal stop on a dime dance parts, metal-influenced riffs, stylized graffiti logo and controversial/reactionary lyrics. What really pushes the record over the top, besides the excellent musical chops, is the unofficial 5th member of the band; producer Jerry “Duble” Williams and his uncanny ability to wring out a nasty, raw sound from his bare bones studio setup. Last but not least is the primal wailing by singer Louie Rivera. His use of Darby Crash (from The Germs) influenced vocals mixed with banshee-like howls, reminiscent of police sirens going off on a hot NYC summer night, is the soundtrack to our collective youth then and now”.
KEN “KWE” WAGNER: OLD-SCHOOL NYHC DUDE AND SINGER FOR POINT BLANK
“1983... what a year for NYHC. As a 13-14 year old teenager in the hardcore/punk scene this was the year that NYC was really put on the map and other cities started taking notice. Things were really buzzing along, so many good shows were happening and so many really good records were finally coming out from NYC. Let me tell ya... POINT BLANK about two records in particular, Antidote’s “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and CFA’s- self titled EP. Two things that always jump out at me about the Antidote EP is Louie’s vocals, unmistakable, undeniable and never duplicated (1st guy I saw in the scene wearing “Gazelles” glasses and Adidas warm up suits). The second being Nunzio’s “crunch” sound. Only one other name that I will associate with “The Crunch” sound is Doug Holland-Kraut/Cro-Mags. Those two things make that record what it is and the reason it will stand the test of time . Cause For Alarm... I saw them when they were the Hinkley Fan Club. I always thought of them being the brother band to Agnostic Front, maybe because they shared some of the same members or because of the LES Skinhead look (even though they had Jersey roots). That EP has the undeniable NYHC sound of the early 80’s, very raw and straightforward with a lot of political and social undertones in the lyrics. I always liked Keith’s vocals and stage presence when they played live. These two records definitely set the tone and the bar for all those to come. Go check your hardcore handbooks and see what NYC had to offer in 1983 I’m sure you would agree”.
AUTHOR: “ECHOES OF A KILLING” & MORE
“ANTIDOTE & CFA 35 YEARS LATER… Antidote’s “Thou Shall Not Kill” is perfection. With a few decades of hindsight, I’d argue its polished production and metallic-sounding guitar makes it among the first NYHC crossover records—if not for the fact that, in 1983, thrash metal itself hadn’t fully developed its sound. Ahead of its time by most measures, I’d further argue this genre-crushing, seminal record was timeless, original, and powerful enough to distinguish itself amid all the many releases that year—Bad Brains’ “Rock For Light “and even Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All”. In fact, I often recommend this record to younger hardcore kids—especially those outside the U.S.—who want to understand the full arc of NYHC and crossover. Cause For Alarm’s self-titled EP attacks from a different angle. It’s perfect in its imperfection. Guitar’s low, bass dominates, drums are loud. It predates my personal entry into NYHC by three years, but it’s the sound that I most associate with the scene’s first generation (along with Agnostic Front’s “United Blood”). A sound that’s raw, visceral and slammable as fuck that matched the cover art perfectly with the riot squad dragging away a protester. Taken together, it captured that 1980’s political and social tension between reaction and pro-action. Telling the world to go fuck itself, but knowing that rebellion came with a hefty price—getting your head kicked in and tossed in a cell. I remember when I auditioned on drums for Cause For Alarm years later that I came to fully appreciate the powerful, brilliant simplicity in their music".