Tuesday, December 23, 2014



Today was a good day. I had a rehearsal with my new band. We finally found a guitarist that we were searching for some time. Even though we weren´t complete on rehearsal because our drummer couldn´t come (he´s from another town, by the way), it was a cool rehearsal. I sing in this band but this time I sat on drums so we could practice. It was great feeling because I haven´t played drums from July this year, so it was a real fun time for me. I was thinking what to write for a last post for this year on the blog and off course, the answer was an easy one: another Tear It Up post, ha, ha. So, expect that post in a few days. Among some other reasons, one of the reason to start this blog was also to write here about Tear It Up as much as I want, so I don´t write that much about TIU in my zine any more. Well, I have said it already in that post that I wrote it in Croatian, this is not some „emo“ diary blog, so don´t expect something like that here. Also the stuff I write here are still written very passionately and everything I write here I write from my own personal perspective and there is actually some emotional stuff here, if you can read between the lines. The weekend was also cool, I was at another cool out of town show and hanging out with some nice people. Two cool bands played and one bad band played but it was still a great night. I was also the DJ for that night and I tore the place apart with punk rock hits and some dance pop hits, the people didn´t stop dancing until 4 am when I shut down the laptop. So, here are some photos from the said show. Enjoy and have a nice day. 

DJ Snake



Saturday, December 6, 2014



Here it is, the FIELDS OF FIRE discography (1999. – 2002.). Fields Of Fire are one of my favorite bands and in my opinion one of the best 2000.´s hardcore bands even though you won´t see praising of them almost anywhere else. Yeah, they weren´t big as some hype hc/punk bands from those times but in my heart FOF has everything that hardcore band should have. Great songs, smart vocalist that wrote good lyrics with positive message and energetic hardcore punk music that has influences from 80´s classic hardcore. With FOF discography you also get the last FOF interview from 2002. that I put in my zine last year. I took that interview from the net, but can´t remember where from. So, if anyone knows where the interview appeared originally, let me know. That is the only FOF interview that I ever saw and on the net there is not much information about the band. If anyone have any more information about the band, interviews or anything at all, let me know. Because of the lack of information about FOF, maybe some stuff I write are not 100 % accurate, so if you see a mistake or wrong information, let me know. With all the music, in the download file I also put some FOF show flyers and photos of the band (which are very few, so if anyone has some more FOF photos or flyers, send it please).

FIELDS OF FIRE singalong

Before I begin with Fields Of Fire story, let me tell you when and where I first heard Fields Of Fire. Before I heard any of their records, I read some reviews of FOF records in HeartattaCk and maybe somewhere else too, I´m not sure. Anyway, it was end of the October 2005. and I was in Belgrade, Serbia having a blast with guys from The Truth Of XXX now known as just The Truth (where I also play, haha). We were rehearsing together because I had to play a show with them in Skopje, Macedonia (which we did play but that is another interesting story) because their original drummer couldn´t do it. So, there were we at Srdjan Petrovski place (he is a sort of Belgrade hardcore legend, haha and my dear friend) and since he was ridding of some of his tapes, I was checking out what to take with me home. Between some of the tapes I spotted Fields Of Fire – Keep It Alive and was curious to hear it, so I took the tape. When I got home, I was amazed with this great band and record and it was so frustrating that I didn´t know nothing about the band. Many years passed until I got some more info about Fields Of Fire and when I got the rest of their discography. But I still remember listening this tape on and on and doing singalongs and finger pointing in my room and thinking how this is one of the best hardcore bands (next to Tear It Up) from this fucking millennium. 

Ben & stagedive

So, let´s go on with the Fields Of Fire story. Fields Of Fire were a US hardcore punk band with members from Oxnard, Isla Vista, Golets/SB and Ojai, California. They started in Fall of 1999. with the line up: Ben Merlis aka Ben Edge – Vocals, Chris Grande aka Huevos – bass, Jamie Sanitate – guitar and Graham Clise – Drums. That line up pretty much stayed almost until the end, but we will get to that later. 

First recording of FOF was live performance recorded live on Andy's radio show "Razzamatazz" on 91.9 KCSB (UCSB Radio), on December 15, 1999. First the band released that recording themselves on a tape called „Live @ KCSB“ and later in 2001. it was released as a 7˝ EP on Break Even Point Records from Italy. There was also a version of this record with different cover (limited to 50 copies) that came out with It´s alive # 19 issue, the zine that was done by Fred Hammer (Oxnard hardcore legend and first vocalist of Annihilation Time). This was first Fields Of Fire performance of any kind (their first show was on December 31 at the Pickle Patch), so I will begin with this record first. Anyway, Live @ KCSB has 9 songs, 7 by the band and two great covers – Boiling Point by  SSD and Make a Change by Youth Of Today. Even though only Ben and Graham were straight edge, the bands message was pretty strong pro positive themes and sometimes even straight edge sounding topics because Ben was writing all the lyrics (not sure if he wrote all the music, but most of it was his music). So, Fields Of Fire was a real „unity“ type of hardcore band with half of the members being straight edge and other half smoking pot and drinking beer dudes but all together sharing positive hardcore message with their songs. But back to songs from live @ KCSB. EP starts of with song „Theme“, short and fast with message about hardcore and how it will never die, fuck yeah! Then SSD – Boiling Point cover that FOF covered perfectly. „Path“ is about this fucked up capitalist society we are living in and how we all should take the path that doesn´t lead to greed and destruction of all the good things in this world. „Present Tense“ is about living now and making the most of the day at the present moment and not just living in the past. I couldn´t agree more. „Blue“ is about corrupted and harassing cops and I think that we all can identify with the song like that, fuck the cops! B side opens by short burst of „Declaration“ song which is a total straight edge anthem and there is a note with the lyrics that says: „Chris and Jamie doesn´t reflect the beliefs of this song“, haha. Next is „Thinking For Yourself“, one of my favorite FOF songs. The song has one of the universal but always effective hardcore message to think with your own head, always question things around you and not following mindless trends. That is pretty much my life credo. Musically the song is slower and a bit melodic, sounding like some lost song from the 80´s Oxnard classics. „Take It (One Day at a Time)“ is about when you are feeling down and fucked up, you must hope for better tomorrow and lift your self up. The last song on the EP is Youth Of Today cover – Make a Change, one of their best songs. FOF really nailed it with this cover, it is fucking great. The production on this EP is great and it is almost studio sounding. Performance is top notch too. The cover art is nice too, you get the poster, the sticker, all the lyrics and the front cover has photo of the band playing live. I´ve said it before, you can´t miss with putting a cool live photo on the front cover (or back cover) of a hardcore record (anyone who think differently is wrong, haha). The back cover has a drawing of a band playing live, also something that I like to see on hardcore records. From these 7 songs (not including covers), 6 were later recorded in studio and most of these songs ended up on „Kids Can´t Be Bought EP, only „Declaration“ was never released in studio version. On this EP you can hear that FOF were heavily influenced by 80´s hardcore, mostly by Nardcore bands and Uniform Choice, because they have that slight OC youth crew sound in some of their songs. Bens vocal is great sounding, very powerful but without sounding too brutal or something like that and you can actually understand what he is singing, which is cool. 

Shortly after radio recording, FOF recorded 7 songs in February of 2000. in Pickle Patch studio in Isla Vista, CA. Those songs were released as „The Kids Can´t Be Bought“ 7˝ EP on New Leaf Records. It was Bens label and that first FOF EP was the only release of the label. Anyway, what a great hardcore record! I´ve already said something about some songs when talking about „Live @ KCSB“, so I will keep this short. Two songs that weren´t also on „Live @ KCSB“ are „I´m Not Sorry“ and „Myself Back“, both great songs as the rest of the EP and both songs are personal themes. „Myself Back“ could be even a sort of love song, but maybe I´m wrong. I´m Not Sorry has great lyrics that I can totally identify with: „I´m not sorry for speaking my own minds, I´m not sorry about having my own views, I´m not sorry for the choices that I´ve made, I´m not sorry!“. Great stuff. As I´ve said before, musically, it´s mix of 80´s Nardcore classics and Uniform Choice. Production is raw but not too much and the cover is cool, again lots of pictures of the band playing live, inside you get also some show flyers, lyrics, cred list, the usual stuff (btw, if anyone has better scans of this EP, send it this way, please). So, everything that I´ve said about live on radio EP apply to this EP as well, great fucking hardcore, no more, no less. From January to September 2001. Bens cousin Jesse joined on second guitar, but the only thing he contributed with FOF recordings was his skating on the beginning of Skatepunks song and he helped with back up vocals on Keep It Alive record. . 

Next FOF release was „Keep It Alive“ CD that was released in 2001. on Phyte Records, run by Mike Phyte who also played bass in Good Clean Fun. That CD conteins 8 songs recorded in March 2001. at the Ruck studio in Goleta, CA. plus the 7 songs from „Kids Can´t Be Bought“ 7˝ EP. Again, simple but effective cover all in green with band playing live. Inside there are all the lyrics, cred list, photos and also the poster (thanks to Cesar from http://allthingsoldschool.blogspot.com/ you get some neat scans from this CD, he also put some FOF records for downloading on his blog). Production wise it is more powerful sounding than previous EP, great production if you ask me. Musically it is more youth crew sounding but not like the typical youth crew bands sound, more like that 80´s Californian youth crew sound, Uniform Choice, Unity or Insted. There is of course Nardcore sound on this CD too. OK, first song is „Skatepunks“ and you get what is about, skate fucking punx and it is one of the best skate hc/punk hymns that I´ve heard, catchy with great singalongs. „Be Conscious“ is great 40 seconds ripper having very direct and simple message: „Be conscious of what you eat, be conscious of what you wear, be conscious of what you buy, be conscious – Resist!“. Third one is „Cookie Cutter“ which is a little bit Black Flag sounding and I have no problem with that. The song is about never ending theme in hc/punk, about scene trends and about people who blindly want to fit in some molds in the scene not being themselves and not going deeper into the hc/punk idea. „I Can´t Believe“ is very UC sounding with great singalongs with personal lyrics. „Take It (One Day at a Time)“ (which is also on live on radio EP) is about when you are feeling down and fucked up, you must hope for better tomorrow and lift your self up. „Cut The Crap“ is another great fast and melodic tune with the best singalongs and lyrics about people who always while and feel sorry for themselves but not doing anything to make things better and don´t want help from others, cut the crap! „Keep It Alive“ is about keeping hardcore fresh and vital but it is also a critic of older people into hc/punk who look down on younger people and don´t want to support them. The last one – „So Much Pride“ is another great tune with half personal, half critical lyrics. In short, another perfect hardcore record. Great lyrics, awesome hardcore music, sounding very powerful, angry but also positive. 

In the same year, FOF released one live song – „Keep It Alive“ on 7˝ EP compilation called „Intense Energy“ (which is also name of the legendary song by Oxnard classic early 80´s hardcore band – Aggression), on Camel Clutch Records, small label from Oxnard that was ran by Zack Nelson (aka Zack Oxnard) who played guitar in In Control (another solid hardcore band from Oxnard that I recommend). Other bands on the compilation are: Whatever It Takes, Diehard Youth, Over My Dead Body, Life´s Halt & In Control. All the trax are from the same show, recorded live on December 16th 2000. at the Living Room, Goleta, CA. The recording is raw, not from the soundboard but sounding decent enough. All the bands play fast and pissed off hardcore mixing youth crew with 80´s inspired hardcore, all the bands sounds good to me. I put this whole compilation EP in to the FOF discography so you can enjoy this too (anyone has better scans of the cover, let me know). In 2002. FOF also appeared on 7˝ EP called „Shut Up And Skate“ – Skate-Core Compilation vol. 3 on Element Records. I don´t have that one (anyone has it? send it!) so that´s why this is missing in my FOF discography (but I have the first two comps, the first one I already put on one of those Tear It Up files, check it out). 

We are coming to the last FOF record – Kill The Flock which was released in 2002. on Bockhorn Records. Bockhorn was subdivision of Redemption Records which put out a lot of hardcore records in the early 90´s. It was released as 7˝ EP (with 6  songs) and CD but CD has 2 extra tracks which makes it 8 songs on the record. Kill The Flock was recorded in March 2002. at Blood Tracks studio, and engineered by Nick Jett. It was the last thing Graham did in the band. The day Fields Of Fire got there he said he started playing drums in a new band called Terror. 13 years later, he's still the drummer of Terror and he still records bands there (it's his parents' converted garage in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles). I have only few photos of this record so if anyone has more photos or scans, send it my way, please. So, all I know that front cover has the big FOF logo, very 80´s Oxnard style and that there was a poster in it. Production is great again, raw enough but also clean enough so you can hear everything just about right. Musically it is less youth crew (if any) and more early 80´s CA hardcore sounding. Since I don´t have the lyrics (help me with that!) I will concentrate on the music but judging from song titles, you can see that the lyrics are still very critical but with positive hardcore message. So, the songs here are a bit slower then on previous releases, but powerful enough and catchy as hell. Hard to say which are my favorite songs because they all pretty much rule, so let´s leave it to that. There is also a great Germs cover – „What We Do Is Secret“ which gives you the clue how they sound on this release and add to that lots of Black Flag also. But don´t get me wrong, FOF were not some wanna be early 80´s copycats, this record (as all their other records) are much more than that. In short, this is another great record you should listen a lot if you love hardcore. 

Ben & singalong

After that record, in March 2002. Graham left the band and in April 2002. Noel joined on drums and played with the band until November 2002. when FOF broke up. So, nothing was recorded with that line up. Fields Of Fire did few US tours. First with In Control in summer of 2001. Then in September of 2001. they toured the west coast up to Seattle with Champion. Their last tour was  US tour in summer of 2002. with Annihilation Time. Too bad they never made it to Europe, maybe they would get more cred in Europe than they did in US. It´s funny how Annihilation Time (where 3 FOF members also played: Graham, Chris and Jamie) became so popular with hc/punx (not just in US) even though this band played mostly sleezy hard rock while Fields Of Fire played the best hardcore there was at the time (next to Tear It Up and few more bands). I saw Annihilation Time here in Zagreb in 2006. and they did absolutely nothing for me (it´s the same with their records), just an ordinary sleazy hard rock as I´ve said it before. I guess some of the FOF lyrics that criticize the herd following and not thinking with your head apply pretty good for some of the Annihilation Time fans. For me it was always about energetic hardcore, not about slimy hard rock. So, during FOF existence and after they broke up, FOF members also played in: Knife Fight (Graham), Holier Than Thou (Noel), Annihilation Time (Graham, Chris & Jamie), Bad Reaction (Ben), Broken Needle (Ben), Lecherous Gaze (Graham, Chris & Noel), Witch (Graham), Surprise Vacation (Ben), Hooray For Everything (Jamie), OVVL (Jamie) and probably some more bands that I don´t know about. Fields Of Fire lasted only 3 years and their discography can fit on one side of 90 minutes tape but so did Minor Threat. Tear It Up also lasted only 3 years (but left us with more than 45 minutes of hardcore material) so can you see the connection? Fields Of Fire were one of the best early 2000. hardcore bands, but somehow they weren´t that popular with the majority of hardcore kids back in the day and now they are totally forgotten, except for the few of us. Well, give the FOF discography a try and if you don´t like it, maybe it is better for you to listen Thin Lizzy instead of hardcore, haha. „I don´t give a fuck about the world „extreme“, youth culture has become obscene. They´re digging their minds a mass grave, making sure that the sheep behave.“ You got that right, Ben.  
The Snake It Alive!

Get it here: FIELDS OF FIRE Discography


FIELDS OF FIRE interview from WHAT REMAINS IS MORE THAN WORDS fanzine # 6, December 2013. Original source of interview is unknown