INTERVIEW BY MATT GREENFIELD
Continue reading YOUNGSTOWN HATES YOU: AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN ARROYO
“There was promising life in Youngstown hidden under a rock that every DIY scene would envy. People were making things happen, everyone had positive creative outlooks. It was outrageously diverse and collective, and the best part was it seemed like it was all done for our friends. I can’t get over how respectful everyone was with all the music being completely different. Always a good crowd of people who actually listened to the music. Now it’s a ghost town when it comes to tunes and venues. Too many people gave up or quit making things happen. Stofko’s house was a well kept secret.
I can’t believe how all the music disappeared. Like not just Stofkos, but in the area in general.”
During my sophomore year at Kent State University, I decided it would be a good time to start a terrible grindcore band. Well, we didn’t exactly set out to be terrible, it just sort of happened naturally. I was on dual vocals with Edward Stockenhauser who went on to front Brain Handle. Ryan Loewenstein was on guitar and a homeless dude simply known as Pig Man banged on the drums like a cannibalistic neanderthal.
I managed to book a pretty solid house show with Eat Shit and Die (my band), Don Austin, Kill The Hippies and Upstab which featured Chris Erba of H100s infamy. A guy named “Crazy Don” placed a bag on his head and then set it on fire during our opening set. Meanwhile, outside some drunk teenage punks were being being loud and obnoxious. One thing lead to another and I come upstairs to see Chris Erba of Upstab punching one of these cartoony teen punks out with some mean hooks, splattering blood everywhere. I think Chris had just got a job at a bank so the band fled without playing. I don’t blame them. An arrest was avoided. With Upstab long gone, the mohawked kid came stumbling back around, armed with a led pipe. We were informed that he had Hepatitis C as he dripped a trail blood. I managed to avoid the confrontation but was bummed out that we didn’t get to play with Upstab.
A few weeks later Eat Shit and Die was booked to play a hardcore fest in Youngstown. The bill was stacked. We were to play alongside Upstab, Career Suicide, Caustic Christ, My Revenge and some really good bands. I got a call that morning from Pig Man. He informed us that he was quitting the band. Me and Ed were pretty much embroiled in a nonsensical yet bitter feud at that point anyways. Loewenstein was probably the only person of sound mind in a band that was no more.
The moral of the story is that we never got to play with the short-lived Cleveland maniacs known as Upstab. They came, they saw, and they bloodied some buffoons. Here’s to the memory of Upstab.
-Matt Greenfield @rustbelthammer
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