Where Integrity sounds sinister, In Cold Blood sounds bleak. This album reminds me of driving through the rain and sludge of Northeast Ohio on a really shitty day, feeling bummed out and hating life. I love it! We got the singer of Mushroomhead on vocals here but this is no nu-metal album. Hell On Earth is a certified hardcore sleeper hit with severe metallic overtones. Heavy, sluggish (in a good way), and harder than the rusty nails in a decaying Rust Belt infrastructure. Do yourself a favor and revisit this album. The solos from A2 (Integrity, Inmates) sound just like you would expect. The riffs from Blaze Tishko (One Life Crew) carry this sucker to the next level. It’s really a great piece of Cleveland Hardcore history.
Meanstreak is a “band” surrounded by incredible myth. People refer to them in the same breath as Integrity, Confront, and the legendary Clevo bands who have influenced generations of followers. The thing is, they never played a show. on top of that, these brutes only have one song, “Final Word”, which appears on the Only The Strong Victory Records 7 inch compilation.
This is a band that simply never was! Do not argue semantics. You know exactly what I mean! Mean Streak is pretty much an anomaly. Let’s take a look at the members of this band. We have Mean Steve Murad, fresh out of Confront, on vocals. The bass is handled by Tom Brose of Confront and Integrity. Some guy who disappeared named Nate was on drums. And last but definitely not least is the oddball of the bunch, Paul Schalacter. This guy comes from a whole different breed of hardcore bands and is a founding member of Cider, Darvocets, Inmates, and Brainwashed Youth. What an incredibly weird and awesome lineup. Some members of this collaborative song would go on to feud and (physically) fight, or never see each other again. Something this strange could never happen again.
It’s nice to fantasize about what a full length record by these rowdy fellas would have sounded like. I guess it would have probably been a cross between One Life Crew, Confront, Integrity, and Cider. The shows would certainly be outrageous and the legend would definitely spread far and wide.
Sometimes I get anxiety over really silly things. I’ll have thoughts like “What if the new generation of punk rockers forget about bands like 9 Shocks Terror, Don Austin, and Killed In Action?” These were Ohio bands from a certain time in DIY hardcore that I reminisce fondly upon. Dare I even say that they were important? They released split 7 inches and (sometimes) LP’s on labels that are no longer “cool” and “trendy” like Havoc Records and Six Weeks. They didn’t wear dangly earrings, copy 80s hardcore dancing to a tee, and all the other dumb shit that a grouch like me gets annoyed by from that darned pesky new generation. Continue reading KILLED IN ACTION WERE A STAPLE OF EARLY 2000S FAST HC FROM COLUMBUS OHIO→
These knuckleheads play the kind of retard-friendly hardcore that can only be found in a slimy Ohio basement. Their singer is appropriately named Matt Tard and leads these maniacs through 8 songs of H100s and Poison Idea influenced dementia. I am proud to have them as the first cassette release on Rust Belt Hammer. We are expanding and taking an outsider stance; think Kevin Nash and Scott Hall when they first arrived in WCW, except this is punk and not wrestling. Or is it? The lines get blurred during these cold, confusing days.
Listen to the tracks here and then order the tape directly from Rust Belt Hammer. Click the Buy Now Button. Support the movement! Or buy this release directly from the band when they open up for legendary Boston hardcore boys, The Freeze at Now That’s Class in rusty Cleveland.
If you have been eagerly waiting for the apocalypse, Voice of Crows should be your band of choice in 2016. They have a new split out wth Hadak Ura which you can listen to below. Do you like His Hero Is Gone, D-Beat, blast beats metallic hardcore, gruff vocals, or doom riffs? If you checked “yes” on any of the above, press fucking play now, ya jabroni!
When did you start Tempe Video and with what intentions?
Tempe Video actually dates back to late 1987, when I foolishly attempted to release a half-assed instructional video called BASIC HOW-TO HALLOWEEN MAKEUPS on VHS. This was actually during post-production on THE DEAD NEXT DOOR, when I was operating as Amsco Studios (Tempe wouldn’t come along for another year or so).
Flash-forward to 1991, and I got the not-so brilliant idea to resurrect that how-to video, repackage it, and shoot a second volume. Those were actually the first two Tempe Video releases, and we had a bit of luck with them, selling to libraries and educational outlets. Shortly after that, I took over distribution of THE DEAD NEXT DOOR, which expanded to a mail-order company and selling tapes at horror conventions.
It was a very different business back then — instead of the corporate middlemen you have to deal with now, there were a handful of “boiler rooms” where salespeople would sit on the phone all day and call mom-and-pop video stores pitching them on buying stuff. It was great for small companies like me, because they’d order a case of 100 tapes at a time and pay C.O.D., no muss, no fuss.
Once the ball got rolling, I started acquiring movies from other filmmakers, including John A. Russo (HEARTSTOPPER, THE MAJORETTES), which led to co-producing titles like MIDNIGHT 2: SEX, DEATH & VIDEOTAPE and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 25TH ANNIVERSARY DOCUMENTARY, then making my own films like OZONE, which was the whole impetus for doing my own distribution in the first place.
What was the idea behind Video Outlaw, the sub-label for Tempe?
I wound up with a reputation as a shot-on-video guy after making KINGDOM OF THE VAMPIRE and ZOMBIE COP, which actually wound up getting decent distribution at the time. A lot of directors who were attempting to do the same thing started knocking on my door, so I designed Video Outlaw as a home for more raw, underground-style releases aimed at collectors, freeing Tempe Video for the “tentpole” titles that had a better shot at getting into video stores.
For about a year or so, some Outlaw titles actually fared better than the bigger Tempe releases, but once I expanded further into publishing Alternative Cinema magazine, I found myself spending too much time running the business instead of getting to make movies, so I eventually sold off the Outlaw label and focused strictly on the Tempe catalog I owned outright — at least until Tempe DVD started up a few years later.
Have you thought about doing any limited edition re-releases on VHS of the old titles? There is definitely a VHS resurgence these days.
I’ve gotten requests for some of the old VHS titles over the years and talked with a few folks who specialize in that market, but nothing ever came of those discussions. Last year I included a VHS reissue of THE DEAD NEXT DOOR as part of the Indiegogo campaign to restore the film, but didn’t sell a whole lot of them. I think it’s a small, vocal group that seems to want VHS, but I’m not convinced there’s enough business to make it worthwhile. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though. [laughs]
One thing I miss about the VHS era is all of the random things you will find on a tape after the movie ends. I know with a lot of your films you had a segment called “The B’s Nest” which offered a behind-the-scenes look at the film and also promo for Tempe items. I noticed after watching one of the films that a segment was produced by Wayne Jarold and Mark Bosco, filmmakers from the Kent area that made the infamous Killer Nerd. What was your relationship with those two guys?
The B’s Nest was really just a poor man’s imitation of those classic Videozone things that Full Moon were doing at the time.I gave them up after the first few, and in fact the original VHS box for OZONE says there’s one on the front cover, but it was never actually produced. [laughs]
As far as Riot Pictures goes, they were in Ravenna, Ohio and I was a few miles away in Mogadore (suburb of Akron) at the time, so it made sense that we connected eventually. I had heard about KILLER NERD, and I think it was Mark who first contacted me. They had just finished BRIDE OF KILLER NERD, so I was able to hook them up with some sales on that, and then they made GIRLFRIENDS at the same time I was doing OZONE, and we each had cameos in the other’s film. So we partnered to distribute both films, and they also got involved in some of the other things I had going at the time, like JOHN RUSSO’S FILMMAKER SEMINAR. I became good friends with Wayne, and would later go on to distribute some of his stuff on DVD (TOWNIES and GENUINE NERD, as well as GIRLFRIENDS), and Mark and I have done some other business over the years also.
One of my favorite films you have done is Robot Ninja. I have been trying to figure out if that ever played on USA Up All Night or if I created a false memory. If it did play, I know it was heavily edited!
Wish I could say it did, but definitely not!
I had a sneaking suspicion. Actually bought that movie when a video store in Youngstown was going out of business in the early 2000s.
I’ve seen those ROBOT NINJA tapes going for upwards of $100 or more on eBay — crazy!
Do you think your movies changed with switch from VHS to DVD?
Certainly, but that had more to do with leaving Ohio and moving to Los Angeles, where I started doing post-production for Full Moon. There was suddenly more money involved and higher standards in terms of how they were shot and delivered, for one thing.
How long were you with Full Moon?
I got involved editing SHRIEKER in late 1997 and finally bailed after directing STINGERS (now called MEGA SCORPIONS), which was finished in 2002. So 5 years I guess… wound up being their in-house post-production supervisor for a time, then transitioned into producing a bunch of flicks and doing pretty much everything from top to bottom.
And now you are back in Ohio, right?
That’s right, moved back here in 2006 to get married and start a family. Also wanted to get away from LA after living and working there for a decade.
Are you working on anything new right now?
In terms of new productions, no. I think that ship has mostly sailed for me. I’ll be 50 this summer and no-budget movies are a young man’s game. Planning a 2K restoration of ROBOT NINJA for a second Ultimate Edition this year, otherwise still doing post work for others and getting more involved in the distribution end again, God help me.
Thank you! Glad we could talk about an important era in horror and exploitation cinema.
Don Foose and company have been involved with Cleveland hardcore and metal for a long time. Perhaps you remember him from the long standing crossover band The Spudmonsters. Tons of other bands are on this lineup including a389’s Cleveland powerhouse known as Homewrecker. The show is April 23rd and will take place at The Foundry and The Symposium in Cleveland, Ohio.