This interview was done at the Good Clean Fun return from Europe show at St.Andrews church on march 24th with Arron Benard, the singer.
-So tell me about Bane
-Well it’s me Arron on vocals, Arron Dalbec on guitar and Zack on second guitar Pete Chilon plays bass and Nick plays drums and we been a band for about 5 years but we didn’t get that line up till about 2 years ago and that’s when things sorta came together and we started touring and sorta realized what we were trying to say musically. It wasn’t until we found Nick on drums that we really got focused as a band you and started touring and realizing that we weren’t so into being a straight edge band or like a revivalist band. We just wanted to play music and be honest and travel as much as we could and just meet as many people and play as many shows as possible, and that’s where it’s been now for 2 years and it’s been good.
-So it’s just about playing shows and havin fun for you?
-I mean it’s not just about having fun, it’s about a whole series of outlets and all sorts of emotions from the best to the saddest, but it’s not about trying to fit into any preset mold. It’s not about trying to please any group of kids who want us to sound like this band or have these ideals or whatever. We’re 5 radically different people that have radically different view points and we don’t try to force any of them on anybody, and lyrically I’ve never had the intention to tell someone what I think they should be doing. I just write about what goes on in my head and the things I see around me and that’s it. But for us, mostly it’s just about playin live. When we’re up there live, something happens emotionally that we are all addicted to
-So you think the new stuff is closer to what you want to sound like rather than the old stuff?
-Yeah, I don’t want to down play the old stuff, but the new stuff is the first time the songs were written as more of a collaboration and everyone sorta got to have their say and the stuff previous to that were Aaron Dalbec’s songs that he had before we were even a band. They got us through 3 years but yeah I think the new record…. I think it’s just everyone speaking more. We made a real effort not to limit ourselves sound wise, and we just said, “look we don’t even care if the record is hardcore or what it is, just bring it in and if it works, it works.”
-Lyrically, you sound really angry on both the old and new stuff, are you just an angry guy or are your lyrics kind of an outlet for your anger or what?
-Ummm….. yeah, you know there’s a lot of stuff I’m definitely pissed off about… but there’s a lot of stuff I’m really psyched about and really optimistic about too. I don’t try to limit myself to try and just say positive things or just say negative things, and there’s a lot of stuff that just gets me in a rage too and I definitely put it down on paper maybe a little more on the new record than the old, but I mean there’s been pissed off Bane songs since the demo, like Both Guns Blazing, Lay The Blame and Forked Tongue. Those songs were some of the first lyrics I ever wrote, so yeah, I guess I have sort of a bitter streak but I don’t know, I hope it’s still productive. I hope I’m not just screaming about a bunch of shit and not just trying to work it out without reaching some conclusions about what I’m angry about but then there’s plenty of good happy songs too that are enthusiastic about hardcore and friendship and all that jazz.
-Tell me about the war theme on the new album.
-I mean just visually you know just ummm…. how can I explain it….?
-It’s just visually?
-Yeah, lyrically, there’s no real theme lyrically there. I went through a lot of eye opening stuff in the past couple years learning that sort of a lot of things I believed to be true were not really true, such as friendships or relationships. Just realizing what was said, I was led to believe what wasn’t really he truth and I thought that Vietnam was a really good analogy for that because Vietnam mirrorrs the image that all these kids were going off to fight this war that they believed was this good righteous war like the one their father’s fought in (WWII), but as it turned out, it wasn’t that at all, and it was corrupt, and it was evil, and it was pointless. A lot people died, and a lot of people came home really fucked up for this thing that ultimately equaled into nothing. I don’t know it was just sort of an analogy towards some of the lyrics I’ve been writing and I just thought they were really startling pictures, you know, like really powerful emotional pictures and we wanted the record very intentionally to not look hardcore. We didn’t want a bunch of live shots, pile ons, and football letters, so we found this book that had all these great images. A lot of people have been misreading it, thinking we’re making some political statement. People are seeing the red stars on the back and think we’re making some sort of communist statement, and there was no agenda like that at all. It was just a really crazy time, and it’s insane to me that it went down that so many people died for something they didn’t understand.
-So are you happy with the new album in general?
-Owww…. That’s a tough one man. I’m less happy with it than anything we’ve done before because the three 7″ records were all done quickly, and Brian McTernan had always done a such a great job recording us. We just changed things up and went with a new engineer, and we were rushed a little more, and we tried to have this big epic vision of the whole record. We had all these great ideas on how it was all going to be presented, and some of it fell a little short, and I’m defiantly not thrilled on some of my personal performances, but this is the first recording we’ve ever done that I’ve ever listened to under a microscope. All of the other stuff just came, and I knew the songs were good, the recording was good, and I just let it go. And the kids seemed to love it. I was fine with that, but this record, I wanted to love it, I wanted to really be a critic, and sometimes I think I’m being to harsh on it, but other times I listen to it, and I go “you know, we have done better, and we could have done twice as well as we did.” But it’s done and it is out there and we’re really looking to moving forward, and leaving it in the dust saying, “look we can do better than this.” The songs, the actual songs, I think is the best stuff we’ve ever written but it just falls a little short in some areas. Ultimately, the kids seem to like it, and the shows have been great live, and kids are responding to the new songs live, and the general consensus seems to be is that it throws kids off at first, but after repeated listening, they come around to it.
-How is the new stuff going to be different than what you have now?
-No big change really, nothing drastically different.
-Just perfecting what you’re doing now?
-Yeah, just writing honest songs that aren’t limited in any way, that aren’t preformed into any structure. We’re going to write songs, and they’re four totally talented guys that are going to do whatever. It’s going to stay hardcore because we’re all hardcore kids, and we all come from that, and we’re not going to loose that. We’re not looking to be on the radio or anything like that, we just don’t want to limit ourselves. We just want to write songs and keep it honest, and I hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious.
-So what do you see in the distant future of Bane?
-I hope… I think we’re pretty lucky. We have most of the members of this band really love it, and you know it seems pretty truthful that there isn’t a lot of stuff that the other guys would rather be doing. Nobody has this sort of like big blocky career planed out in front of them. Pete is the last kid to be finishing up school this semester and it seems like everyone just wants to tour. You never know when someone is going to kinda have something else just come along or just get tired of the grind, but right now, it feels like it can keep going on. Who knows what can happen? We’re defiantly not a band that has that one member who doesn’t want to do it, who hates to tour, or has a job that takes precedent, or is in some really heavy relationship. Everyone seems willing to drop whatever. If it means we can get in the van and be together and play a bunch of shows, I just hope it keeps going like that because I feel like the best is still yet to come. I feel like we have our best shows ahead of us, and I feel like we still have a lot to explore musically
-So you think you’re just starting out?
-We’re in the middle of the journey, I don’t see the end yet that’s all.
-What do you think about the hardcore scene in general, and do you think that it’s getting really trendy? Take straight edge for example, I don’t have anything against it, but it seems like a lot of kids are all about it when they’re about 15 or 16, and then change their mind a few years later. The role of fashion and trends is getting bigger and bigger, do you have any opinions on this?
-All I think is this: nowadays, hardcore is a youth oriented culture. It’s young kids 15- 16 getting involved in something, trying to find their place in the world and that’s a crazy awkward age. I don’t know how old you are, but when you’re 16 or 17, you’re just looking for something to cling to, something to be your identity, and hardcore serves as that. There is this whole set of rules and ideals, and guidelines that you can immediately cling to, but as you grow older, as you turn 19 or 20, life changes. Your mind just starts to go in different directions, and I don’t have any problem with some kid just being like, “look, this just isn’t for me anymore, and I’m just going to go off and hangout with frat kids.” I don’t think it’s as healthy a lifestyle, and I don’t think your mind is going to be as challenged as much as it would be in a scene like hardcore or punk, but it’s just the way that it’s going to be. It’s going to be kids getting into it, and like the turn over ratio of kids moving away from it is really really high, and all it does, is stay about the kids that got into it young, and at that crucial age of about 20 or 21, when you really have to make that decision of “who I really am?”
You know as well as I do, that some people say yes they embrace it for what it really is, beyond the clothing, or the hair, or even the whole set of preexisting rules that you have to live by. Once you break through that and find out what hardcore means to me, you know it challenges me intelligently, straight edge keeps me one step ahead of most of the people around me that are just worrying about getting fucked up or where am I going to get dope you know? After a while, it just becomes them, and they don’t worry so much about fitting in, or dressing a certain way, or any of that, and they’re like true hardcore kids. I just gravitate towards that and that’s what I love about the scene. I just can’t get caught up in what some kid, who’s like 16 or 17, who’s like naive and doesn’t have the world figured out does.
I don’t get too caught up in it anymore because I’ve been in it for so long, and I’ve seen so many people come and go, and I’ve pulled my hair out about it, trying to figure out about what was it about hardcore that couldn’t keep them, what was it about straight edge that turned them away, and I’m sure you’ve seen this: a kid walk away from straight edge, and do a complete 180 degrees the other direction, where he’s drinking all the time and where he’s constantly fucked up, and you ask yourself “what does it mean?” It makes you start to question what it means, but after a while you just gotta look at it as what hardcore and straight-ege does for you. Every now and then you run into a guy like Brian McTernan, and you know, you just know, that you’re not alone, and there are people who have embraced this for the right reasons, and it is this honest beautiful culture. When you realize this, you don’t care so much about the 15-year-olds, and you just try to give them a break because you realize that they are young and they are naive and that I was once that age too. I didn’t come in here knowing all the deals, so as a band we just don’t get caught up in it anymore and the politics surrounding it are endless it’s just this stupid vicious cycle that serves no purpose.
-How has punk rock/hardcore changed from what it was when you first tuned in, to what it is today and how do you think it’s going to change in the future?
-You know, the thing that I wonder is that has it changed, or is it that I’ve really changed, I’m not even sure about what the truth really is. I believe that when I first really got into it, there weren’t so many different factions, and there weren’t so many strict guidelines as for the way you should look, or the way you should act, or the way you should dance. It seemed a little more free, it was just for the weird kid who didn’t fit in anywhere else, and you could come here and do your thing and you weren’t going to get laughed at and made fun of. Now, it’s so commercial and the line between what’s punk and what’s on MTV at 5’oclock is so blurred, it’s so bizarre that I don’t’ even know what is what, and fortunately, it doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. I’m just stuck here in this band and in this sort of a culture, so I don’t even worry about it…I wonder what it must be like to be a 15-year-old kid trying to really find a place to call his own now.
-Why do you think it’s changed the way it has, what factors would you attribute it to?
– I think that once they just started building up walls and it started being this kind of hardcore and that kind of hardcore and if you’re into this kind of hardcore, you have to dress like that, and you believe in this, and you don’t hangout with these people, etc… It started becoming this real regimented high school mentality, and it just breeds contempt, it just moves it the wrong direction when you’re focusing on the outer instead of the inner. It seems like we don’t concentrate on trying to make real changes or trying to challenge each other, or trying to challenge the system, or really trying to stand up for something you believe in. You find yourself being more concerned with what color the vinyl is, or what gauge your earring is, or any of that kind of stuff, so I just attribute it to all these different factions coming into it. When I was really young, I honestly do believe for a couple years there, before 88’ it was just punk and hardcore and that was what it was, there weren’t all these different things, and sure as hell, no one cared about piercings or shit like that.
-What do you think is going to happen?
-I have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s real weird and I’m nervous all the time that a real hardcore band is going to break big time and be on the radio and be on MTV right next to fuckin Blink 182 and DMX and what’s going to happen then? I’m perpetually worried about that happening for some reason because it comes close. There’s little things that give hints to it happening and I wonder what’s going to happen if a real bonafide hardcore band just makes all the right decisions, and kisses all the right asses, and the next think you know they’re making millions, and my grandmother is going to know what hardcore straight edge is… it scares me. I don’t know if that’s going to happen, or if it’s eventually going to die out. People ask me all the time, do I think it’s dying? Do I think it’s on it’s last legs? And I don’t know. We play shows like this, or we played a show in Jersey where a couple weeks ago, a thousand kids were there and the feeling is just as strong as it was 5 years ago or 10 years ago. As long as new kids keep coming, and there are still fanzines, and there are still fans with interesting, creative things to say, it’s going to continue.
Interview by : Pastepunk : http://www.pastepunk.com