The Good Book was short lived hc/punk band from New Jersey that only lasted a year, did only two shows and recorded this one demo. They played in 2006. and 2007. The line up was consisted of: Dave Ackerman - vocals, DJ Values - guitar, Brian Gorsegner - guitar, Evan Kiel - bass and Pete Pedersen - drums. All these dudes were NJ hardcore punk veterans that also played in bunch of other great hc/punk bands like: Dead Nation, Tear It Up, Full Speed Ahead, Splitting Headache, Forward To Death, Bouncing Souls, Night Birds, Let It Burn and many more. The sound of the Good Book can be described as mix of Full Speed Ahead and Splitting Headache, but slower and with more Black Flag vibe. Too bad that they recorded only this demo, who knows what could come out if they recorded some more stuff. Anyway, download this and enjoy in 5 pissed off and rocking hc/punk songs.
Get it here: The Good Book - Demo
But, that is not all you get in this post. Here it is, the Dave Ackerman interview that I did with Dave in 2010. for my fanzine - International Old School Conspiracy, issue 12. Dave sang in some of the best hc/punk bands ever like Dead Nation and Tear It Up and I asked him a lot of questions about mentioned bands. So if you are fan of these bands, I think you will enjoy in the interview. Listen, read and enjoy!
DAVE ACKERMAN INTERVIEW
Here`s interview with Dave Ackerman who used to sing in my favorite hc/punk band ever – TEAR IT UP! But, TEAR IT UP is not the only band where Dave sang. Dave also sang in some other great hc/punk bands (also some of my favorite bands): DEAD NATION, SPLITTING HEADACHE, VIOLENT MINDS and THE GOOD BOOK. So, I asked Dave some questions about all of these bands and he was very cool and quick with the answers. I`d like to thank Dave again for his effort to provide me with all the details that I wanted to know. Also, Dave sent me download links for some records and demos of his bands that I`ve been missing, thanx for all, I really appreciate it! Most of the photos I took from various internet sites. I hope the photographers won`t mind that and that I didn`t wrote credit on every photo... OK, I hope you`ll enjoy in the interview as much as I`ve enjoyed! Hey Dave, I hope you`ll keep on screaming in some new great hc/punk bands! You can contact Dave at: firstname.lastname@example.org
xGajox von IOSC
1.Can you introduce yourself, your age, city you live in, what are you doing for a living, what makes you happy and so on... Just describe yourself and your life in short.
Dave: OK, My name is Dave Ackerman. I'm 30 years old and I live in Austin, TX. I work as a Veterinary Technician. I live with my girlfriend of 2 years with our cat Mischka and our dog Milo. At this point, I hang out with some friends and I take the dog for walks and runs pretty regularly.
2. Are you in any band at the moment? Also did you played/sang in some other bands beside Dead Nation, Tear It Up and Splitting Headache?
Dave: I am currently not doing any bands, but I am hoping to start another one soon. I guess technically, Splitting Headache isn't broken up, but me living in Texas really makes playing a hard thing. We played in December when I was back there for Christmas. Besides the bands you mentioned, I was also in a band called The Good Book who played 2 shows and I was in Violent Minds for about 2 months / 7 shows.
3. When did you first got interested in hardcore and what was your first hardcore shows? Also what attracted you to hardcore?
Dave: I first got interested in Punk, before hardcore in around 1992-1993. I got Black Flag's Damaged + Jealous Again for Christmas. I was still very much into Heavy Metal and some alternative bands at that point. A few months later I heard The Descendents, Circle Jerks, Exploited and that was that. I heard bands like Agnostic Front, Biohazard, Sick Of It All, and Leeway before that while still into metal but it didn't really get me out of metal. I saw Agnostic Front on the 1992 tour with Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, and Malevolent Creation, but they weren't really much of a hardcore band at that point. I got into hardcore/punk as just the next aggressive thing after heavy metal. Just progression really. I was into pop metal, then heavy metal, then death metal, then punk/hardcore. Black Flag and the Exploited were the first two bands that I really got into of this type of music.
Dave with DEAD NATION
4. OK, here goes Dead Nation questions . How and when Dead Nation started and I`d also like to know how was hc/punk scene then in New Jersey, how people looked at the Dead Nation in beginning? Also, I`m guessing that you first met Matt Times when Dead Nation and Fast Times started playing shows together, tell me something about those early shows?
Dave: Matt Molnar was playing in a Youth Crew type hardcore band called Uprise at that time (1995-1998) and that's what was really going on in New Jersey at that time. The first bass player of Dead Nation, Frank, was also in Uprise for a while. Randy (drummer) recorded the song Screwed on his 4 track when he was mad about something and the next day Matt went over and showed him a bunch of songs he had. Those songs all ended up on the first and second Dead Nation records. I was closer to singing in crust type band at that point since those are the type of shows I was going to at the time, but Matt really swayed me. We just wanted to do a band that sounded like Mental Abuse, Jerry's Kids, and Negative FX. Our early NJ shows were never really all that great. At the time, the 2 types of HC that were popular in NJ were Youth Crew HC and Emo/screamo type bands. We played NYC a lot (ABC No Rio mostly) and we were accepted right away. At the time, the best area bands were Fast Times, Fanshen, Kaboom!, the Degenerics, S.O.V., and Full Speed Ahead. We met Matt Times through Fast Times. Matt Molnar played bass in F.T. for a few months and I would drive him to practice. Usually before or after practice we'd jam on Dead Nation songs, so when Randy quit Matt Times already knew everything. I think we may have had 1 real practice with Matt Times before he played with us.
5. First two Dead Nation 7˝ EP-s were recorded with the same line up, right? Why those older members quit? I know what line up was on Painless 7˝ EP but I always wondered what line up was on Dead End LP and who wrote the songs for the LP, was Matt Molnar the main song writer or other members also wrote some songs? Also, how other guys (Matt Times, Paul and Doug) got in the band?
Dave: Face the Nation and the Cenk E.P. were recorded with the original line-up. It was the first time myself and the drummer where ever in a studio and I think it really shows. I really didn't know what I was doing. Randy quit in December of 1998. He just was more into hanging out with High School friends, smoking weed and doing graffiti. We got Matt Times right away, and it was no problem. Frank quit a few months later. Frank played on the LP but was out of the band before it came out. Frank lived with his dad, who was very strict and he would miss practice a lot. He would just turn down shows a lot, or cancel very last minute. We played a show in Ct. as a 3 piece when he called to say he couldn't make it almost 2 hours after he was supposed to be there. We played a bunch of shows with Graham (Fast Times) on bass. He played on the Dead Nation / Fast Times tour. ("Southern Disaster" tour as it's known. Atlanta, GA and Nashville TN then our van died, we were stranded in Virginia for 3-4 days, then we came home) Doug joined in late 1999. He went to my high school and I thought it would work out. We actually started playing with Doug before Frank quit and just played shows we knew he wouldn't want to do. He was really pissed, but after a month or two it was all smoothed over. Paul joined in 2000 right at the end. He was also from North Jersey and Matt Molnar and I knew him from shows. Paul really wanted to join so we added him on 2nd guitar. He was very dedicated and bought a new amp and head the next day. We only played once as a 5 piece before Matt Molnar moved to North Carolina. Our first show with just Paul on guitar was Chicago Fest 2000. Matt Molnar was the main song writer. Frank wrote a handful of songs too. Matt Times wrote Battlescarred on the Painless e.p.. I wrote lyrics to a handful of songs, but Matt Molnar was the main writer.
6. With the LP, Dead Nation really hit it off, right? I wonder what were like Dead Nation shows from that period, do you maybe have some cool stories to share? Maybe about that time when you played Painless song for the first time .
Dave: Dead Nation really seemed to start getting popular (or as popular as we ever were) right before we broke up. Other than at ABC, we did well at ABC for a while. We played there about once a month and it's still one of my favorite places to play. We went out to California in January of 2000 and played a few shows that were OK, but the LP wasn't out yet, all we had were CD's and I think we made tapes for a few people before we went out there. The Life's Halt guys set up those shows and were a big help. The live photo in Painless is from our show in L.A. The first big show we played that it seemed like we were getting popular was Chicago Fest 2000. I had no idea it was going to go so well and I am really bummed Matt Molnar didn't get to play it. After that show we played the most we ever did and all the shows were good. Intensity (HC from Sweden) were supposed to tour the US and we had about 5 shows with them, they didn't get into the country but most of the shows still happened and they were really great for us. I think we played Painless twice. (Posi numbers 2000, and in Freehold, NJ, our 2nd to last show) Posi numbers was an example of how we didn't fit in. Not to knock other bands, but it was just fresh haircuts, rare t shirts, and clean cut jock-type hardcore kids. I actually slept in the street before that show because our Columbus show the day before got shut down and we had no where to sleep. I spent that day wandering around the town before the show and watched Matt Molnar drink a 40oz before we played. We played Painless as a bum-out. No one really cared though, it was just a time to put the records you bought in the car and wait for the next round of Gorilla Biscuits covers.
7. OK, I know few things about that Dead Nation last show in ABC No Rio (I have that amazing issue of Belgian zine - Stand Apart, where is Dead Nation interview and Matt`s writing about Dead Nation and that last show) but I want to hear your view and how you experienced that last show? Were ABC volunteers mad at you because of all the damage people did during the show, haha?
Dave: The Dead Nation last show brings back a lot of memories, good and bad. We got Painless 7"s in the mail that day. I had to come up with some sort of a cover as well as mentally prepare for it. 9 Shocks Terror was supposed to play, but they cancelled. We had no idea the show would be so crowded but I think most of our friends got in. Frank showed up and sang The Problem, which was cool. I had a major falling out with Matt Molnar at that time. I think he didn't get there until right before we played and expected us to have equipment for him. So we had to figure something out and it didn't sound great. Ernie (Life's Halt) flew out and was a major player in all the mess that occurred. Him and a few of our other friends bought water balloons and flour. So, essentially we were covered in paste. I threw out my shirt after that show. It was just an end of an era, and at that same time I was kind of losing my best friend. I had known Matt Molnar since 1990 and we were really going separate ways. I had no intentions of doing another band after DN. I knew that we could have done a lot more, but I didn't want to be the only original member. After that show I went to CBGB's and watched Full Speed Ahead.
8. I heard about Dead Nation reunion show... When and where was that? How you decided to do it? How was that show? Did Matt Molnar played on that show and do you know where is he now, is he playing in any band?
Dave: We played a show after Tear It Up broke up with Full Speed Ahead at the Saint in Asbury Park. It was with Frank on bass, Matt Times on drums, Matt Molnar on guitar, Paul on 2nd guitar, and myself. We practiced a lot for that show. I had to get used to singing again but I think it went well. I loved playing in Dead Nation and I have no problems playing reunions with those guys. I still talk to Matt Molnar all the time. He was in Splitting Headache for about a year. He lives in Brooklyn, NY and plays in a band called The Soft Black as well as a band called Kissing Is A Crime.
9. If you had to chose the best Dead Nation record, which record would that be and why?
Dave: My favorite Dead Nation release is Painless. I think we all sound really good. We practiced a lot, played a lot and were very ready to record. It was a short session so I think we all played really well and didn't get tired/my voice didn't get blown out. I actually felt nauseous for the entire next day from singing on that record.
10. After Dead Nation broke up, you started pretty fast with Tear It Up, right? Can you describe the feeling you had in the beginning of TIU, because the sound of TIU was almost identical with last faze of Dead Nation but then again, it was like a new beginning... So, tell me about those early Tear It Up days, recordings and shows...
Dave: I had no intentions of doing another band so soon after D.N.. Matt and Paul especially really wanted to keep something going. I tell the story about how I was basically tricked into joining. I had plans to hang out with Matt Times and Paul, and when we got to Matt house, they just started playing me the new material they had and that was that. We never played as 5 piece until after the demo. All the practices we had, someone couldn't make it. We recorded the demo right after I came back from the first Havoc Fest. We played our first show in September I believe with Ruination. Tear It Up was 4/5 of the same guys with Andy on guitar, but it was a different song writer so it couldn't be exactly the same feel. Once we started, we really didn't take any major breaks until the Rites started touring and we broke up. We basically played at least once a month and practiced every week during the duration of the band. It was all I did socially for most of that band. We recorded the first 12" and 7" at the same time pretty soon after we did the demo. Both Havoc and Deranged had interest in Dead Nation, and they wanted to do Tear It Up records. We tried to give Havoc better songs but I don't think we wanted to 12" to be bad or anything. All the major Tear It Up sessions (7" + 12", December Session, LP) were long 2 day recording sessions. All the music and vocals on day 1, last minute fixes, mixing and mastering on day 2. For all of those sessions I didn't do vocals until around midnight after getting there at 10am and they were just hell to do. That's probably why I hate recording, even today.
Dave with TEAR IT UP
11. You were really insane with touring and releasing records plus it seems to me that you always had time for answering interviews and stuff. Yet, there were sometimes people talking shits about Tear It Up (at least this is what I read in some of TIU interviews). What do you think, what`s the best message or revenge to the shit talkers? For me, a „fuck you“ song is a good way to tell someone to fuck off.
Dave: As I said before, Tear It Up was my life at the time. By 6-8 months in, we were basically playing 3 out of 4 weekends a month and touring to some respect a few times a year. I didn't really have girlfriends and really didn't hangout with too many people. I worked printing t shirts and lived with Matt and John from Tear It Up. We had problems with Philadelphia, PA, Buffalo, NY, and Columbus, OH. We had the song "Thrash Wagon" which was about Melee from Boston. But because of that song we were "Anti-Thrash" and Buffalo didn't like us. Philadelphia had a lot of problems with fights at their shows. Since they couldn't actually name the people causing the problems because they'd get their asses kicked, they named us in MRR, so we stopped playing there. The guy who wrote the thing in MRR (singer of Kill the Man Who Questions) tried to apologize to me a few months later and I wouldn't even talk to him. I am a pretty nice guy, and I was a total dick. In Columbus they said we wrecked the venue and put holes in the walls. Holes may have been there after we played, but we were playing, not making holes. It was bullshit. We talked shit on those places in interviews, on stage, and to other bands. I just viewed it as their loss. Fuck them.
12. What was like on Tear It Up tours in Europe? What were the main differences between touring US and Europe? Were you surprised that people were into TIU and singing along (as I`ve heard)? Also, where in Europe you got the best turn out?
Dave: I really enjoyed both of the T.I.U. European tours. Touring Europe is way easier than touring the US. In Europe, we had a driver, rented equipment, and very little concern about our next meals or where we were sleeping. Also, the drives are generally a lot shorter. The first tour we went as a 4 piece (Andy on bass, John on guitar, Matt on drums, myself on vocals) which was different from what we were used to. The shows were great, and I think we all had a great time. I wasn't exactly surprised people were into us and singing along, but I am always grateful. I can not thank Felix Havoc enough for really helping us by putting out our 7". It's hard to say where we had the best turn outs because there wasn't one place that really sticks out. We had great shows in Holland and great shows in Italy, but there is no where in Europe I wouldn't want to play again.
13. Would you ever consider Tear It Up reunion or maybe even a reunion tour? Also, if you could do one more TIU tour, would you play more Eastern Europe (in my opinion, you played too much in Spain and Germany )?
Dave: I really don't think a Tear It Up reunion tour is ever going to happen. Maybe a show or two, but a tour would be a big undertaking. I am happy that between the two tours we played further west on one tour (Spain, Portugal) and the first tour we played further east (Poland, Hungary). Germany is essential for touring just because geographically, it's very centered. Poland was especially interesting to me because a childhood friend of mine was Polish and he used to go over for the whole summer every year when we were growing up. Everyone in his house spoke Polish and I heard a lot about the country. I enjoyed Eastern Europe a lot, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the rest. I really wish we go to play in Finland as well. The 2nd European tour was almost 7 weeks long and we still had so much more to see.
14. Even though Matt wrote most of Tear It Up lyrics, in interview that I did with him a few years ago, he said that you also felt similar as him so that`s why those lyrics felt and sounded so real when you sang them. Was it like that, how you felt about TIU lyrics?
Dave: Matt wrote most of the lyrics and music. The way that band was ran (and Dead Nation with Matt Molnar) is that at practices he would usually show us a song he had that was pretty much already done. Lyrics and music. There might be some minor changes, but for the most part they were finished. I wish I contributed more in those bands, but I can't really change that now. At that point in my life, I was really down, and the band was what kept me going. The lyrics and mindset of the band was what really said what was going on in my life. If I wasn't the singer, I would have been a huge fan.
15. What were the best Tear It up shows and do you have some cool or interesting stories to share from TIU shows? How you felt on the last TIU show, did you knew then that this will be the last TIU show?
Dave: It's really hard to say what were the best shows. Europe - Umea Sweden (2nd tour) with Regulations at a skatepark was really fun. Den Haag on both tours were great. The shows in England were really fun, because we played with The Horror and they were so fun to be with. In the US, I always liked playing California. On the earlier tours we played with Life's Halt, who were always great live and just awesome guys to hang out with. Pittsburgh, PA was the home of Caustic Christ, so we always played with them (we played their first show) and stayed with them. We played Boston and Western Mass a lot and Last In Line always put on a great show. Noteworthy shows: Playing in Wisconsin and Andy getting shocked really bad by the overhead lights. Playing in Sweden (Stockholm I think) and leaving the stage after the 3rd song to throw up and then finishing the set. Playing in Spain at 5 am to a crowd that showed no sign of being tired. I actually remember being picked up off the ground by them. But the last Life's Halt show was probably the most fun I've ever had playing. Completely packed and just tons of fun. Havoc fest with DS 13 was a very close 2nd.
The last Tear It Up show was a very weird day. I knew it was going to be our last show, but Matt did not. It was 2 sets of Black Flag covers for a Halloween show. (first set all Damaged and earlier, second set My War and later songs) We actually got cut off on our last song because the police shut the show down. Everyone quit a few days later. At that point, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was not enjoying the band anymore and I was glad to have time to do what I wanted.
16. Who`s responsible for Tear It up skull logo? (by the way, that skull is fucking amazing!)
Dave: That skull is from an Alfred Hitchcock poster of Vertigo. It was from a European poster for the film. Paul Delia found it in a book he had.
17. Same as that Dead Nation question – which Tear It Up record is your favorite and why?
Dave: It's really hard for me to pick a favorite T.I.U. record. Not to be a dick, but I really find faults in all of them that make me dislike them a bit. Some of my favorite songs we did are from the December Sessions (1 sided 7", Fast Times split 7", E.T.A. split 12") but there isn't one record that is my favorite from that. The last 12" was fun to record and I was happy with those songs, but I hate the bass player from the last line up and it's very difficult to ignore the bass on that recording.
18. Why is that you didn`t enjoyed being in Tear It Up anymore at the end?
Dave: Tear It Up became more like a thankless job. We had a very tough schedule and I wasn't really getting much enjoyment out of it anymore except playing. I didn't like how we starting trying to schedule releases with tours and putting out records for times we needed them, rather then when we the proper number of good songs. Our van died and we were going to need to buy another one. None of us really had any money to buy and and we never had any money in our band fund. Don't ever think that we made money. We didn't get money on tour either. The total amount of money I received from T.I.U. during the years we were together and tours we did was less than $30.
19. When Tear It Up broke up, did you want to continue playing with new bands or did you felt like after Dead Nation broke up? Also, are you still in touch with other guys from Tear It Up?
Dave: I took a pretty good break between Tear It Up and Splitting Headache. I was ready to do another band, but something local and simple, not touring all the time. Splitting Headache never toured or really played all that much. After we had been around a year or so, the drummer and I both wanted to tour but it wasn't going to happen because of Mikes' (guitarist) schedule. I still talk to Paul D'elia all the time. I always see Andy when I'm in NJ. I don't talk to Matt too often, but whenever we do talk, it's for hours. I try and see him when I'm in NJ as well. I haven't talked to Doug, Ryan, or John in a long time.
20. So, how Splitting Headache started? When, why & who? Did you wrote most of the lyrics and how would you describe lyrics of Splitting Headache? Also, who wrote the music? Are you satisfied with what you did with Splitting Headache?
Dave: Splitting Headache started because Mike (guitarist) and I wanted to do a band together. Mike was in Full Speed Ahead and we've been friends for a long time. I wanted to do another band with Andy so we got him on bass. Brian was playing drums in Forward to Death with Andy and was a great guy so he played drums. Throughout the course of the band we also had Paul D'elia followed by Matt Molnar on 2nd guitar. The final line-up had Andy playing 2nd guitar and the singer of Full Speed Ahead (also named Mike) on bass. The song writing of S.H. was a lot different. We mostly just jammed on riffs someone would have and built the songs around them. I wrote most of the lyrics, but Brian wrote a bunch of songs as well. As I said a little bit in the last answer, I got frustrated with S.H. because we really didn't play much. We were a band for a long time, put out 3 records and never toured. I would have liked to play the midwest, or the south, or the west coast, but we couldn't. Mike is a tattoo artist, married, and owns a home so he really couldn't take off much time from work. Mike is also now a proud father so touring now would really be impossible. I still talk to all those guys and we played a show when I was back in New Jersey for the holidays. The last Splitting Headache 7" is probably the most proud I've ever been of a record. I wrote all the lyrics, I think the songs are great, and it was a fun recording session.
Dave with SPLITTING HEADACHE
21. Tell me more about The Good Book and Violent Minds, who were the members and why you were shortly in those bands?
Dave: Violent Minds was already an active band and their singer had eye surgery and couldn't yell while it was healing. (They already had 2 7"s and an LP when I played with them). It was a fun thing. The Good Book was Pete (Full Speed Ahead, Let It Burn) drums, DJ (Full Speed Ahead, Let It Burn, The Bouncing Souls) guitar, Brian (Splitting Headache, Forward To Death, Night Birds) guitar, Evan (Forward to Death, Full of Fancy) bass. We practiced for about a year and played 2 shows and did a demo. Evan quit because he was in 2 other bands at that time and didn't have time. We couldn't agree on a replacement bassist, which led to band fights, which lead to us breaking up. Brian and I wanted a band to tour with since Splitting Headache wasn't going to. The Good Book was going to be a full time touring band, but it didn't work out.
22. What do you think of today`s hc/punk „scene“, do you have some favorite today`s hc/punk bands? Do you read zines? If so, what kind of zines you like and do you have some favorite titles?
Dave: There is plenty of great bands going right now. I live in Austin,TX now so there is shows all the time. Night Birds is probably my favorite current band. I am really into Deep Sleep, Wasted Time, Government Warning, Full of Fancy, The Casualties, Broken Patterns, Screaming Females, The Hex Dispensers, Iron Age.... lots of bands. I don't really read too many zines. With the advent of the blog it doesn't seem like you see too many at shows anymore.
23. What`s your favorite 20 hc/punk bands/albums of all time?
Dave: Tough one. In no order: Black Flag - Damaged. Discharge - Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing. Suicidal Tendencies - s/t. D.R.I. - Dealing With It. Jerry's Kids - Is This My World? The Cro-Mags - demo. (or Age of Quarrel) Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain. The Necros - Conquest for Death. Mental Abuse - Streets of Filth. Crucifix - Dehumanization. Negative Approach - Tied Down. Deviated Instinct - Gutteral Breath. Amebix - Monolith. State of Fear - Tables Will Turn. Rikk Agnew - By Myself. Stooges - Fun House. Bastard - Wind of Pain. The Big Boys - Where's My Towel? Final Conflict - Ashes to Ashes. Poison Idea - Kings of Punk.
24. When you look back at all the bands that you`ve done and your involvement with hc/punk, are you satisfied with it? Do you sometimes think that your life could be so much different if you were not involved with hc/punk?
Dave: I think about where my life took the turn towards the path I'm on a lot. It really comes down to not going away for college in 1997. Because I stayed in NJ, I did Dead Nation, which led me to where I am now. I am happy with what I've done and I wish I did more. I think all of the bands I did had more potential to do a lot more. I just hope that I left some mark on punk, that's all I ever really wanted. To give something back to something that's given me so much. I hope I can still get out there and play again soon. If I never got involved in punk in the first place I'd probably have a decent paying job, a house and be happy. HA, but that's not what it's about.
25. Anything you want to add? I hope you liked the interview, thanks again!!!
Dave: Thanks a lot for the questions. I may be a roadie on the Night Birds European tour next year, so maybe I'll see you then.