From New York City, Gorilla Biscuits formed in '86 by a few hardcore kids who wanted to break new ground to get NYHC out of the musical rut it seemed to be in. So many bands had such a similar sound that some felt the scene was dead. They ended up being one of the more original and influential hardcore bands ever due to amazing songs, great live shows and two of the best records ever.
Walter - Guitar
Civ - Vocals
Arthur - Bass
Luke - Drums
Alex - Guitar
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Interviews and Reviews
SCHISM FANZINE interview
Okay, first of all, there's not too much to ask GB because you guys don't have a record out, you haven't played out that much and you're a fairly new band but I do wanna know where you got the name and what it's about.
W: We had to play our first show about a year ago with JFA and Token Entry and we still didn't have a name, we couldn't think of a name that we really liked and one day we were talkin about drugs and someone said Gorilla biscuits and I thought that was a really stupid name for a drug and I thought it sounded funny and catchy and i didn't think anyone would know it was a drug. We were kind of funny back then.
What was your main influence back then?
W:(laughing) AOD, no. I Liked the Descendents. I liked AOD but they weren't our main influence. We weren't as serious
S: Truth hurts.
W: Say the Descendents but don't say AOD.
Give us a little history of the band, what was your first lineup?
W: Me, Civ, this guy GM2 and Joey
W: This weird drummer guy. He was a nice guy but a little goony.
What does GM2 stand for?
W: George Megasopolis the 2nd and for our first show we had Ernie and my friend Chris from Rockaway. Then we went to Sammy, Arthur, me and Civ.
What happened to Sammy?
W: After some uh ... problems with the band, Sammy left.
Are you trying to say you kicked out cute little Sammy?
W: We like Sam and we think he's cute. We liked him then and we like him now.
Tell us what happened!
W: I don't want to go into specifics.
W: Okay, we lost an amp, a very expensive amp...
It got stolen?
W: Yeah, and Sam was supposed to watch after it and he didn't.
What kind of amp was it?
W: It was a Fender. It wasn't ours, it was our old bass players who we kicked out.
So what's your current lineup?
W: Walter, Civ, Luke and Arthur.
What about Eric, is he out?
W: Eric Side By Side joined the band because we didn't have a bass player at the time and he worked out well and we don't know if he wants to continue playing with us.
Okay, live you guys take a very anti-metal stance. What's that all about? What do you have against the band Anthrax?
W: We don't like the band Anthrax because... they're taking NYHC and putting it on their t-shirts and trying to sell records by using New York hardcore. NYHC isn't copyrighted, so they can easily do it but all these metal kids buy it and think that's hardcore. I hate heavy metal, I think it should stay at L'Amours and I don't think it should have anything to do with like CBGB's or any of the hardcore shows. There's metal kids that are cool, the guys that go to the shows and think the music is cool. I'm not against people, I'm against bands that use hardcore to better themselves.
What happened to CBGB's?
L: CB's got sued by some kid who got his nose broke, so they have a no stage diving policy and when we started playing policy and when we started to get into it and it got kind of out of hand and we got kind of banned.
So are you guys banned from CB's?
W: I dunno, I haven't talked to Hilly yet but...
Believe me, you are. When Cappo talked to Hilly he said GB will never play CB's again. Do you think that is fair treatment?
W: I don't think its fair at all.
L: No one in the band told anyone to get on the stage.
W: As a matter of fact, GB cleared the whole stag, there wasn't anyone on the stage when we played, we requested it. I did all the rap that day and I didn't say anything against CBGB's or anything about the Pyramid, not that i don't believe in a lot of things that were said that day, but I didn't say any of that. I really think we got the short end of the stick that day.
How do you feel about people saying you jeopardized any other bands chance to play CBGB's?
W: I don't want to jeopardized any other bands chance to play CBGB's, that's why when I was on stage I just described what the song was about to try to get the people into it, I wasn't trying to fuck it up for anybody. If someone goes on that stage with the intention to close CB's then that sucks and I don't think anybody did that. I love playing CBGB's, they've got a great sound system but there are other clubs.
Do you think that you can make that kind of compromise, having no stage diving at hardcore shows?
W: I saw the show today and it sucked. i have a feeling that kids are going to stop going to CB's because it doesn't get them psyched. I was watching Sick Of It All put out 100%. I've never seen them so good, they were doing the pogo cause there was no room. They cant get on the stage, cant do a stagedive. It made me sad that I couldn't go stagedive and get into it, I think kids are going to get fed up with it and go to the Pyramid where they can stagedive. I think stagediving is a thing about hardcore that makes it real cool.
Why do you do all the raps Walter?
W: Well we tried having Civ do them but ... he just isn't good at it and I'm better at it then he is and I cant stand to watch him fumble, I think its better overall.
What's "Short End Of The Stick" about?
W: The title of the song doesn't have so much to do with the lyrics.
L: In May we played a show in Albany and we took a buys up and no one else showed up, we took a lot of trouble to get up to the show and we played last and a lot of people left.
W: I was just on stage and we didn't have a name for the song so we called it "Short End Of The Stick". The song is actually about people in my neighborhood that fuck with you because you're like punk rock or whatever, like guidos or rednecks. There's an equivalent in every neighborhood, they just want to stamp you out for being different. In a way that is the short end of the stick because NY being different you're going to be picked on. Those guys, they're morons but there are always more of them.
On the comp you guys have the song "Better Than You" for which have been criticized as being elitist and thinking that you're better than other people cuz you're straight edge...
W: Well we're all straight but that doesn't have anything to do with the song. I wrote the song and it doesn't have anything to do with straight edge, unless you think... well I guess it does kind of. I think of straight edge as being a smart, caring person and a smart caring person doesn't go to fight, you go to shows because you like the music and you like dancing. Better Than You is about people who go to a show and want to fight you and you know that you can walk away from it and not get caught up in their macho stupidity.
L: Its not fair to say that people who aren't straight edge do that, its anyone who does that.
W: Some people say if you walk away your a pussy. I say if you walk away you're better than the person who started the fight. That's the Way I feel.
What's up with "Slut"?
W: "Slut" is a song that wasn't on the demo. Its just a song that some people know. Its not about anyone in particular, its about when you get rejected by someone...
L: The lyrics don't mean anything.
W: Yeah, the lyrics are in the AOD / Descendents period of the band and it was written about like when a girl rejects you, the tendency is to say oh she's a bitch or she's a slut. That's why she rejected me.
Is your record going to be on Some Records?
Why not Revelation?
W: We were going to do it on Revelation but my little brother and Duane had been talking and they really wanted to put it out and with Revelation there's a lot of other bands. I think its a great label. I want to be on it but there's kind of a waiting list.
Is it going to be on I risk or Some?
W: No, I risk is something different. It was done with Tommy Carroll. This is Duanes label, its gonna be #1. I just thought it would be cool to do it cause we hang out there and it is a cool place and we can do what we want and when we want it. WE don't have to wait in line.
You got anything you want to say?
W: Yeah, we're straight edge and we don't have attitudes. Were friends with anyone and the way we treat our bodies is our own business and they might want to discipline themselves in the same way and they get mad at the people who can.
L: If the bands that closed CB's weren't straight edge I don't think there would have been such a big commotion about it.
Do you think there are problems or advantages to this rebirth of straight edge?
W: I think the advantage is for yourself. If you aren't tied down and obsessed by something I don't understand why people could be against that. I don't think if you're straight edge you'll be popular. There are a lot of bands that are SE and aren't good. I think the problem is that they don't understand what its about. Like California bands jump on the NY bandwagon when they really don't know what NY is all about.
Is there anything the other members would want to say if they were here?
W: CIV would want to give love to Jeanine.
The whole band comes to shows with X's on their hands. Do you think its important to wear an X?
W: The new kids that come to shows see that skinhead and that flight jacked and they'll become a skin, not saying that's bad but why shouldn't i advertise for what I am? If I put an X on my hand, they're going to get curious and maybe they will be interested in doing it. Its another option. I mean I don't wear anything that a kid would pick out...
Flannel shirts and Vans!
W: Yeah but that's not as obvious as a bald head and a flight jacket and boots, its kind of like a fraternity, I'm advertising for my fraternity.
Alpha Beta Straight Edge... How do you think the scene has changed from when you first started hanging out?
W: When we first started going to shows it was when YOT and Straight Ahead were still getting big and it was really cool. I think its pretty cool now.
How do you think NY has changed?
W: There wasn't any SE and now there is and there was all metal and now there isn't.
Lets hear your song titles.
L: Bigmouth, Do It Yourself, Finish What you started, hold your ground, short end of the stick, no reason why, gorilla biscuits, Better than you, high hopes...
What's "No Reason Why" about?
W: The chorus is "no reason why to beat up on a poser skin, no reason why to keep the little kids from getting in." There's no reason to be beating up on a kid, that's what the song is about. Its just about things that there are no reason for. People beating up on other kids, people being tuned away from shows because of their age...
What do you guys think of the Plain Truth and Bullshit Monthly?
W: They're fanzines that write there opinion. I mean its their zine but they have shades and overtones. They liked our song but they area against straight edge and positive. I don't think Mike Bullshit really understood what the song was about and that's why he wrote his review. He just saw Better Than You and made his mind up. there's a lot of fanzines that are and skinhead or anti punk rock. Plain Truth is just one that doesn't like our thing and all the bands that we are thrown in with. If anything goes bad they are going to tell you about it.
You think these people are just quick to jump on your mistakes just because of what you believe in?
W: When you get into hardcore you separate yourself from 90% of the population, when you become straight edge you separate yourself from 90% of the hardcore scene, when your straight edge and vegetarian you separate yourself even more than that.
What do you mean by separate yourself?
W: You set your self apart and make yourself different. Not that that's the reason we do it. I remember in school i used to get pissed off at the kids who would get A's because i didn't have the discipline to do it and I think the same feeling goes for other people. I don't push it on anybody, just like the way the I don't want anybody to push they way they think on me. Straight Edge and all this positive stuff all gets slagged because they say its elitist or whatever, I don't care. I live in Queens with all these heavy metal drinkers or whatever and its just ridiculous to say that your only friends are going to be straight. I don't think anybody in the band that thinks that way I don't think anyone I know who's straight edge thinks that way... except for Gus.
What Do you think of all the criticism that this whole new wave of NY bands like Side By Side, GB, YOT etc. have been receiving?
W: I just think its a good sound. I think that every band as a different personality but were all playing generic hardcore and there's only so much that you can do with it. I say generic because there is a certain format which it follows where there's is a slow part and a couple of fast parts. That's the kind of hardcore I like, When I listen to bands like (censored for Walters sake), I'm just not into that kind of music.
What other bands are you guys in?
W: Everyone except Civ is in another band, we represent some of NY's finest bands.
L: I'm in Warzone, Walters in YOT, Arthur is in Underdog.
What do you guys think are some bad points about NY hardcore?
L: Aside from the Pyramid, there are no all-ages shows. You have to go to Connecticut. I have to sneak into my own shows.
W: One thing is that there are so many bands in NY that it creates such a competitive attitude, that if your band is getting some show people in other bands are going to get and at you. It has nothing to do with you as people its just the band. It sucks when people hat you because of your band. When I started playing for YOT, There was automatically about 400 people who hated my guts in NY and I hate that attitude. I think the competition is also good in away because the great bands are the ones that prevail. I think a lot of bands that were initially popular when they first came out that didn't have such great songs but they had a certain image or they got shows because of who they knew, eventually when their songs come out on record people are going to realize that they aren't that great.
So do you think competition between bands is good or not?
W: I think the competitive spirit is good but I think when its a tight scene like NY and bands conflict with friendships I think it sucks.
Walter is it true that you and Civ are very fashion conscious and you spend all your money at the Gap?
W: Hey, we like to look good. I don't think that has anything to do with the band.
So you think magic marker creepers make you look better?
W: I don't have magic marker creepers I have generic clothes.
Hey Luke do you consider yourself a skinhead?
L: I don't really consider myself a skinhead, I'm not all that into it. I play in Warzone and I like them.
Do you guys have positive or negative feelings for the skins in NY?
W: I have negative feelings for people who act like jerks. A lot of kids who come onto the scene are kind of down on their luck and they need something to be a part of and they become part of hardcore. A lot of them see skinhead cause they see skinhead as the most obvious thing, I mean a bald head sticks out and they have a very strict way of dressing and it catches alot of the new kids eyes and that's what they become. I don't have anything against them. I'm against these kids who just have problems and wear the skinhead costume. I'm against posers skinhead posers who cause trouble in the name of skinhead and they think they have this big back by shaving their head. They have this big posse who is going to back them up. Some of my best friends are skinheads.
Do you think the banning of certain bands from CB's will affect the scene?
W: I think it's gonna hurt the scene. I know that those band like YOT, whether you like 'em or not, Ray Cappo does a lot for NY hardcore. Like he has a record label and puts out anyone's record, you don't have to be SE to be on that label, like SOIA and all the bands on the compilation. Those are the people who are doing a lot for the scene and if you push them out then who's gonna push for the scene?
Luke, tell us some shows that you couldn't get into because your age.
L: AF, Psychos... At a Cro-Mags show a couple of years ago me and this kid Yoko and Sam were outside and Harley tried to get us in in his drum case. Yoko went in and Sam was scared to.
Sam: I didn't think he would let me out.