Julian from The Johnstones Interviews FROM ASHES RISE!

Back on March 13th, my girl and I had the pleasure of travelling to Montreal to see one of our fav fucking hardcore bands of all time, From Ashes Rise! What was even cooler is that I managed to score an interview, in fact the FIRST REAL INTERVIEW since they got back together! The ride up to Montreal was in a packed smelly 15 seater van, I was wasted on the way up and drank beers in the back. What a great start to a wicked intense weekend. The show itself was fucking so intense. Most violent show I have ever been to, hands down. The venue was a converted old small warehouse, that 5 dudes from Montreal live in. They had a little bar, with 2 St Ambroise for 5$, OR you could just BYOB. Smoking inside or out, tiny room, tiny stage. It reminded me of the kinds of shows you see in movies, it was that intense. Every band was loud as FUCK, some better than others, but none got the crowd moving like FAR. The entire floor was a pit. I hadn't moshed or anything like that in YEARS, as my old bones are getting brittle, and most pits kinda suck nowadays anyways. THIS PIT, holy fuck, was it ever awesome. The entire floor was moshing, so intense and unreal. We muscled our way to the front, cause we saw people rushing the stage and knocking into the microphones. Forming a human shield was kinda difficult, because everyone was a lot bigger than we are. But we did our best. My girl managed to get booted in the head about 10 times by some skinhead crowd surfing (by the way dude if you're reading this, you're a fucktard. go die in a hole somewhere, crowd surfing's for pop shows you fuckass. je vais fourer ta blonde entre ses sains, tapete) and managed to get a concussion. Regardless of that, we both agree it was the BEST fucking show EVER. Never had I felt more raw energy coming from a few guitar amps. Met some really nice straight edge dudes there too (mad respect) and yeah. Overall it was fucking rad. It again proved to me though that grindcore music is fucking lame. where's the melody? where's the beat?! there is none! fuck off!

Julian, kicking ass and taking names since 1985.

B= Brad
J= John
Jew= Julian

Jew- how was the trip? Portland to Montreal is quite the travel for a one off!

B- It was fun. I slept most of the way.
J- We had a couple drinks.
B- Yeah and some ibuprofen pm!

Jew - what made you decide to play here in Montreal?

B - This is our second show, we played the 21st in Portland which was our first show in 4.5 years. Dan, who set up this show actually wrote us to ask us to play his birthday party, which was a few weeks back. That was a bit too soon, so we wrote back and forth and came up with March 13th, and it happened!

Jew - I get the other two one off dates; a wicked metal fest and a European festival with Victims and other cool bands, but why Montreal? why Canada?

B - Every show we've ever played in Montreal is good, but we haven't played here in ever.
J - We haven't played in Canada for 10 years. We had a situation for so long where one of our bandmates had a criminal record, being able to even get across the border has been a no-go. We got turned away thanksgiving 2003, and then I think honestly he was one of the first people to ask, we thought it was ridiculous that he'd fly us out to play in a cool city.

Jew - Five years is a fairly long time, what did you guys get up to?

j - Well we've all done music separately.. Brad and I got married. We worked customer service shit jobs, but I mean they're paying the bills. I think everyone went their separate ways and did other projects. The time off was needed, at that point we had been together for 9 years. We'd been best friends and hated each others guts. I think some of the decisions we made later on maybe put a fork in the way of wanting to do it. You're married to it, you do too much, you burn out.

Jew - so did you guys still keep in contact? were you all still buddies?

J & B - oh yeah yeah!
B - Dave was playing in Smoke Or Fire, so he was touring quite a bit. Out of the 4 of us, I probably talked to Dave the least. But that was mainly because he was travelling the most. John and Derek still play music together. Derek and I play music together. So we all stayed in touch, kept music going, It just gave us some time to mix in as well.
J - We were all, like B was my best man, we were co best men at weddings. So we`re all still friends. We just needed a lot of difference honestly, cause at that point there was too much under the water. I think you grow a lot, I was 19 when were went on our first tour, B was 21 and Dave was barely fucking 18. You have that, you grow older, you see different things in different lights. Things become more important, you make certain choices within. You know its fun, the more people are passionate about it. And here we are!

Jew - When did you first start talking about making FAR happen again?

B - Honestly probably about a year ago.
J - Your birthday party was sort of the solidifier.
B - Ya.
J - You`re like `hey i`m gonna book a show in February at satyricon` and we were like `alright this is cool`
B - We had talked about it for a long time, finally just had the idea to book a show and light a fire under our ass, practice and get it going. I think if we had not booked this show, we probably would have procrastinated a lot more.
J - Derek was on tour with Hellshock a whole bunch and the Estranged, I was doing other things with a couple other bands. So it was definitely, everyone was busy. But the influence was definitely with that show.

Jew - How were rehearsals? Was it tough getting back in the groove of things?

J - Oh yeah.
B - Dave and I started playing, then John Dave and I started up, we sorta eased into it. But yeah it was easy.
J - Its just weird writing songs with parts and not remembering them.
B - There was some mental analysis that had to happen.

Jew - Has the mentality of the band as a whole changed at all? Are you still in it for the same reasons as before?

B - That happens to anyone as they get older, people will have opinions, viewpoints, personality changes. I think the reason we started pthis band is honestly because we like playing music together, we like the music. We want to bring something out, something that's floating around in each of our heads. That hasn't changed at all.
J - I think we're just as angry and claustrophobic and annoyed and pissed off by modern problems in everyday society the same way we were when we're 19. I think now we've bought into some of the other things that pisses you off, like a bank owning your house, mortgages, i mean that's a thing to be mad about only because its not a luxury. You take on different things that make you mad, whether that's health insurance, the way that they fail you for billing you. You know, that kind of thing. The ideas and the reasoning is all still there.

Jew - How was the first show back? I imagine it was packed!

J - The best Portland show we've ever played. Hilarious.
B - Probably its on my top 5 shows that I've ever personally played. It felt good to be back, really cool.
J - There were kids, really kinda crazy to think and how humbling it is, there were kids that came from Oklahoma City and Minneapolis, San Diego, the Bay Area, a part of me was like 'why the hell did you do that man, its just our stupid band' We just thought 20-30 people would show up, criticize and move on!

Jew - I bet it was pretty strange to see a bunch of kids who obviously didn't listen to you guys until after you broke up.

B - Well I got into things right when bands like Anti-Schism had just broke up. So you know, its kinda the same thing. You take a kid who five years ago is 16, is now 21 and old enough to go to a bar. Things change between 16-21 so, I think theres a lot of people who never got a chance to see our band who actually had no chance to before. I think its great, totally provides some motivation.

Jew - I imagine you get billed on some pretty random shows, since you don't exactly fall into the "punk" genre or the "metal" genre, and you're wayy too intense to be simply a "hardcore" band. What are some of the random bands that you've played with, if you can remember any?

J - A really amazing example is We played in Biela Fields Germany, we played with the Ex from Holland. And that was mind blowing. At the point we played with them, they're a very anarcho-syndicalist band, most of their music at this point sounded like Ethiopian inspired drone rock. I don't even know what to call it, but it was amazing. We've played with like grease and sludge bands, everything under the damn sun.
B - That's the beauty of alternative music though, you know, its kinda a crapshoot as far as billing.
J - There's been bands we've played with that make sense, and bands that don't.

Jew - I hear you've started on some new songs. Are we going to hear a similar veined FAR sound, or has the 5 year break developed different writing styles or lyrical content?

J - We have riffs!
B - When we stopped playing, we had a couple incomplete songs that we've talked about bringing back. There's no solid plans for that right now. I really want to do it, I think everyone else really wants to do it. Its just a matter of when we make time for it. The way we write songs is a pretty organic method. We just practice, and put shit together. That rumour's been going around for a long time.
J - We haven't played creatively for over 5 years. It'd be nice when we do to see where we at. I mean learning your old songs is easy, but maybe that whole thing of new songs, we gotta see where it is. But we'll give it a go.
B - Whatever it is, it'll sound like From Ashes Rise

Jew - Is it difficult to schedule shit around Dave's schedule with Smoke Or Fire?

B - He's not actually playing with them anymore. That's what makes things easier for us, he was on the road A LOT with them. They toured a bunch.

Jew - Anyone have a really guilty pleasure? I for example love the scissor sisters. Can't get enough of them.

B - That list could probably go on and on. I like Kraftwork, Steely Dan,
J - Steely Dan is not a guilty pleasure, I'll wear that on my fucking shirt!
B - True. Later who, like tommy era who, I saw elton john and Billy Joel, Billy Joel was amazing. I dunno, KISS?
J - I dunno, I like music. So, I've never felt guilty listening to something.
B - I think maybe you'd feel guilty if you're like "I'm gonna go listen to Skrewdriver by myself"

Jew - Finally, I stumbled across a youtube video regarding a certain Anti-Flag track (Spit in the face) and Reaction, off of Nightmares. Have you heard anything about this? Seen the video maybe?

J - We know all about it! Its pretty funny, people rip people off and its.. imitation is the best form of flattery. I don't even know if its intentional or just..

Jew - What are your thoughts on 'plagiarism'? Riff stealing? I for one notice that its a blatant ripoff of reaction, since the riffs are the same and the vocal patterns are the same, except the styles are different since A-F have their distinct sound/style. However, people argue that a chord progression is simply a progression and has been used before everywhere, in all styles. Where do you think the line should be drawn??

J - I don't really think there should be a line. We rip shit off all the time! Its just that we might rip off a riff, drop it 3 or 4 steps, crank it a little bit louder, and speed it up.
B - It could be that I stole it from some pop band!
J - The thing is, those guys are corn dogs. Someone hears that song they think its anti-flag. But you don't hear a led zeppelin song and think you're listening to willie dixon. You know, you don't hear rolling stones and think you're listening john lee hooker. Discharge ripped off fucking Venom lyrics, so, whatever. I think its fine.
B - The hardest thing is that on its Universal Records. Whatever, they didn't take it to the bank. Any press is good press, I mean if kids actually care that much about my band, that's sweet. Its funny.
J - That's how the punk scene is, it can be really dramatic. Just chill the fuck out man, its not that big of a deal.