Earth Crisis interview

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By Kirby Unrest. Published on 1/26/2007.

In light of their January reunion show in Maryland, Kirby Unrest spoke with Earth Crisis frontman Karl Buechner.


For those who may not be in the now, when and where is the Earth Crisis reunion happening and will you be headlining?

Yes, we are headlining the Maryland Metalfest on January 27th.

Who else is playing?

Every band and their mom's band.

Awesome. How did this reunion come about, what made you want to do it and why is it not happening in Syracuse?

Well we've had plenty of Freya and Path shows in Syracuse and Earth Crisis played a lot of shows in Syracuse when we were going, of course. I think Maryland is a really good place to have a show because kids can come up from the South, down from the North, and in from the Midwest, it's a prime location overall. Scott (Crouse, guitar) I think hooked it up for that very reason. As for the reason, we've been getting offers for tours and fests in the U.S. and Europe pretty much since Earth Crisis broke up at Hellfest '01 there have been plenty of opportunities. I think that between 2001 and now, our other bands have gotten out all over the world, through records and shows, with the Path, Isolated, Freya and Ragmen but we realized that a lot of kids that might have been younger, like middle school or high school who grew up in a sense with EC but never had a chance to see us, it just seems like the right time for those kids and everyone else whose been with EC throughout the years. Before Freya heads out on the road with Since The Flood and possibly 25TaLife and Damnation AD, EC will be able to practice and get a set list going and it'll work out well.

Critics have dogged EC's whole career and this reunion is no exception with kids slinging barbs saying, "hardcore is big now, they are just cashing in." What do you have to say to those folks?

I would say that the hardcore that's around today is not the kind of hardcore we play. I mean when compared to what's big now, for the most part, that's not something we are a part of. Our kind of hardcore is bands like Merauder, Candiria, Skarhead, Hatebreed, which was the scene we operated in. We're going to play for the kids, everyone in bands now who grew up watching us, help keep them motivated. I also want to mention that all these bands coming back now, especially the older straight edge ones, they all sold out, gave up vegetarianism/veganism and quit hardcore. So many never toured again or started new bands, they just gave up on the scene. It's just ridiculous to me. Obviously for us, we've always stayed true to hardcore, to the vegan straight edge and our friendships with each other.

I'm sure a lot of kids are dying to know; are there going to be any other shows nationally or abroad or another record?

Really, we are so busy with the Path and Freya and that's all we are focused on right now.

When EC was active, or perhaps even now years after your break up, have you ever thought about going back and re-recording some or all of your albums?

That's such a great idea. That's something I'd love to do. I really, really would...

Please start with "Destroy The Machines." That's my favorite record of all time, period. I've grown to love the sound on it, I guess because it's the only one I've known but I wish it could have received the quality job that "Gomorrah's" got.

I've actually told Clint over at Victory, why don't we re-record "All Out War" and "Firestorm" on one disc, call it "All Out Firestorm" and then re-record "Destroy The Machines" and "Gomorrah's Season Ends," again, all on one disc and call it "Destroy Gomarrah's Season." I think everyone needs to send Clint an email and tell him that's a good idea. Thanks for suggesting that.

Not a problem man.
Looking back now, what EC record are you most proud/fond of? You've got quite the catalog and have explored different sounds on pretty much every release, so there's a lot to be boastful about. I mean, I'm sure it's the whole "they are all my children" but which are the kids you parade in front of guests or put on a pedestal and what one rots away in the basement with a sock as it's only friend?

"Destroy the Machines" is the real me, straight to the core. I love that record, the music, the lyrics, it's the one I'm most nostalgic about it.

I loved the DVD that Doug (Spangenberg, director) and High Roller Studios did that Victory put out shortly after the last EC show. Any plans for another, perhaps with older footage? Like I have a ton of old Hungry Charlie's shows on VHS but the quality is poor and the tapes are getting worn down. I'd also like to see some of the performances from other countries that are a bit harder to track down. Maybe kids could submit their collections to merge with the band's/Victory's?

You know we haven't talked about that much, but that's a really good idea too.

Sweet, get on it.

(both laughing)

How about a rarities/unreleased disc?

I don't know. That would be cool but I'd prefer to re-record those tracks, like we talked about earlier. A lot of those early demos are really poor in quality because that was the way things were then but some of those songs would be great to hear redone.

EC were the first band, the primary forefathers if you will, that brought the vegan straight edge to the front lines, making the message equally important to the music, the latter being another one of EC's main contributions. There weren't many bands really mixing hardcore and metal up at the point, but you guys did more than most at the time and trying a lot of other new things as well. Yet, like a lot of pioneers, you were harassed a lot due to a militant stance, an uncompromising sound and lyrics that didn't mince words. I remember kids throwing hamburger and yogurt at you during shows, protests and flyers with warnings that EC were this or that, and more than a few fights over the years. While I wasn't there for all of it, I saw you guys take a lot of shots, all in stride, keeping your beliefs strong and your music they way you wanted to. Yet, I was wondering if anything ever got to you and how you look back now on those more negative incidents in your career?

At the time, and a lot of people who weren't around then and therefore might not realize it, combining elements of metal and hardcore like we were doing was to a never before seen extent and a lot of people's mind weren't open to that. Some who were more open to diversity didn't always accept or appreciate us, but at least gave our band a chance. I think there was a lot more diversity in the scene around that time than there is now.

As far as our situation on a lyrical level, I mean we were just young skater kids from Syracuse and were absolutely astonished that people cared that much about what we wrote, one way or the other, it was incredible. Then and now, we've always stood up for what we believe in and played hardcore. It hasn't changed for us since we started playing in DJ's garage to make our friends mosh around and stage dive off washing machines into each others arms…(laughs)…. its amazing how far it went. Touring, records, all that. I think it's often gone unnoted but I remember when we would do a show with like 4, 5 other bands that'd get maybe fifty or sixty of their friends together to come out and support and EC would draw 400-600 people. I think people were a little envious and maybe that caused some of the negativity. Which is weird to me because when we would headline a tour, we would take out band that we liked, not based on how many records they sold or how big they were. I've always found there to be karma in that, since groups like The Misfits, Skinlab and Sepultura took us out on the road, so it all worked out I suppose.

Any rumors you want to permanently lay to rest or perhaps further elaboration on the Chubby Fresh phone story or the Reversal of Man incident?

This is what I will say: Earth Crisis succeeded because we stuck to our beliefs, we put everything into this band and never gave up. We made tons of lasting friendships and above all, we were honest. We ended up touring the world and seeing/doing more than most bands ever did or will. Those are all experiences and accomplishments we won't forget or take for granted. I think that legacy will stand the test of time. There are lots of bands and people that try to pull stunts, that leech off another name and that's just the wrong approach and that doesn't stand up to the test of time. That's nothing I'd want to be remembered for, some squabble I had with another person when I was in my late teens or early teens, and if that defines what a band or a person is about then I think that's a waste. I don't feel hardcore should be Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump or whatever. None of this grocery store magazine pettiness, not then, not now; it's just not worth it.

Do you feel that Earth Crisis ever got the respect you deserve?

I think we have. I mean when Jamey Jasta says that Hatebreed wouldn't have existed without Earth Crisis or Jorge Merauder tells me the intensity and insanity of the pit at an Earth Crisis rivals Slayer, that's pretty much all I need.

(both laughing)

Those are definitely compliments you can't beat.

Just a couple more questions... I was thinking, whenever you get bummed out or down in life, worrying kids are going to forget about EC, does it make you feel better knowing that you always be able to one up other bands and most people by being able to point out that your band was influential enough that a dude from Denmark has the EC logo tattooed on his face? I mean that's got to be the ultimate trump card. Plenty of bands can claim fans with respective artwork, but the face, that's just pure devotion.

(both laughing)

Yeah, it always amazes me to see kids with artwork of our albums or logos, that's something we never thought would happen to our band. It means a lot… totally incredible.

Finally: Jose Galvan, best dude ever or what...

No doubt that he definitely is. I remember on one of our tours we slept on his floor and he let his rabbits out that night and one of them started trying to eat my hair...

(both laughing)



Comments
732casper_   posted 1/26/2007 11:59:42 AM
first post. cant wait to see them again.
Jeff_   posted 1/26/2007 12:39:20 PM
all 3 interviews are f*cking awesome, kudos to you kirby unrest
Brian_   posted 1/26/2007 3:10:34 PM
I grew up listening to these fellas. Please put the GSE vocal style on DTM. It would easily be the best album of all time.
Kevin Savage_   posted 1/26/2007 3:34:59 PM
This interview rules. I love Earth Crisis, Path, and Freya.

I'll be in Baltimore tomorrow, I went to Cali for Path, and I'm going to France to see them as well. I'm vegan straightedge and I'm committed until the day I die. Without Earth Crisis, I would never be motivated to pursue such a lifestyle and I thank them for that.

xvx
Marcel from Brazil_   posted 1/26/2007 7:03:09 PM
These guys are unique and one of the few bands i'm proud of having the CD and reading the lyrics over and over again...they indeed changed the face of modern hardcore, truly inspiring.
Mike_   posted 1/27/2007 1:02:31 PM
Incredible work on the part of Lambgoat and Kirby, one of the best things I have ever seen on this site.
cmd_   posted 1/28/2007 11:51:55 AM
is everyone only going to post good things? i think earth crisis is responsible for bringing a conservative jock mentallity to hardcore. straight edge was never meant to be hardline and i blame this mediocre band for the influx of shitty elitest negative hardcore in the past years. (p.s. way to avoid the reversal of man question)
EdgeKidsEatJunkFoodAlot_   posted 1/28/2007 12:08:09 PM
If these guys spent more time playing their instruments instead of preaching sXe, they might actually be worth a shit. Untill then, they're just some fat teenaged virgin's wet dream. I wish God would come down & piss on Karl Buechner's fat drug free face. I hate this band. I hate all bands that sound like this. They all sound like each other. Only some are fatter than others. How can you be so god damned fat when you're vegan?
Juice_   posted 1/29/2007 6:37:20 AM
about the recersal of ma thing, you can read about it here: http://www.notpopular.com/board/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=785&forum=7&start=0

(old topic)
Ken_   posted 1/29/2007 12:11:40 PM
is it true that you guys bought a bunch of WP cd's from an on-line distro? If so good way to redeem yourselves.
rickrock_   posted 1/29/2007 12:23:11 PM
Veganism is a joke.
Edge is Gayer thanScreamo_   posted 1/30/2007 4:26:22 PM
I hate sXe bullies & they all deserve to die way more than the drug dealers. Addicts go looking for drugs. sXe bullies go looking to beat up kids at shows just because they aren't edge. f*ck them all to hell
Jeff_   posted 1/31/2007 2:41:32 AM
Whether you agree with the message or not, Earth Crisis was one of the best hardcore bands musically of all time hands down.
faceTAT_   posted 2/1/2007 4:54:38 PM
Anybody have a pic of that dude with the EC tattoo?
whocares00112223312432_   posted 4/26/2007 1:35:34 PM
they sucked back then, and they are still going to suck. the straight thing is getting old! just becasue you don't drinkor smoke doesn't make you original or artistic. get a life
Capital Chaos_   posted 5/5/2007 12:24:05 PM
check out youtube.com/capitalchaos for the live EARTH CRISIS we shot on their tour several years ago with SEPULTURA & VISION OF DISORDER