The Last Stand – NYHC
December 13, 2010
Michael Scondotto is Brooklyn born and bred and for years he’s been immersed in the NYHC scene. He’s seen the best and the worst of what Hardcore has had to offer for well over two decades now. It’s in his blood, and he’s been pounding out anthems of aggression, both with Inhuman and now his newest outfit The Last Stand.
The Last Stand comes from the ashes of Shutdown; another brutal outfit that bludgeoned its way across the consciousness of Hardcore fans. After Shutdown’s demise (well, more like an extended hiatus: they have gotten together for a handful of shows over the years), the itch to play just wouldn’t leave, and the guys looked to start something new. That became The Last Stand, and they have just released their debut, self-titled, 4-song EP. It’s one of those throwback joints; it feels like it could have come out in ’88 or ’89, yet it maintains a fresh, innovative sound while still remaining true to its roots. Heavy breaks, sing-along choruses and speed make The Last Stand’s latest sound like true Hardcore.
The band has released the 4-song CD and plans another run of colored vinyl versions soon. In the meantime they are playing shows and grinding it out, finding fans new and old along the way. SmutLife caught up with Mike recently and had a chance to discuss The Last Stand.
SL: Congratulations on the CD.
MS: Thanks. It’s been out since late September.
SL: And you’ve got the vinyl coming out soon, right?
MS: End of January. We hooked up with Scott Foster from 1124 Records. We sent him the demo and he really liked it a lot. His label puts out primarily vinyl; Hardcore vinyl, and we thought that sounded pretty good to us. Scott’s a real good guy, been around the scene a long time. From what I understand, the label started out in the ‘90s and came back recently.
SL: Scott’s a good guy, I bummed a ride off him to a Cro-Mags show last year. Except for the fact that he’s a Cowboys fan, he’s OK…
MS: Now you’re speaking a language I know nothing about (laughs).
SL: I’m a Philly guy; we’re born to hate Cowboys and Cowboys fans, even if you’re not into football.
MS: Aren’t they America’s team?
SL: That’s what they say. Anyway, that’s enough bashing of Scott. Let’s talk about The Last Stand. You guys are putting out colored vinyl for this release, right?
MS: There’s going to be 500 7”s pressed on, I believe, red, gold, clear and one other color. When we recorded the CD we did 5 songs total, and we made the decision to only put 4 of the songs on it. We saved the one song for the vinyl. We knew at some point we were going to do vinyl, so we wanted to give people a reason to get both. Thankfully vinyl’s coming back. Thanks to Hardcore and Metal and stuff, it never really went away, but now it’s starting to get pretty popular again. Indie record labels were way ahead of the curve on keeping vinyl alive, too, and now it looks like it’s really coming back into play. Which is great, I love it.
SL: Hip Hop has a lot to do with that. It never really stopped producing vinyl.
MS: Yeah. It’s partly a return to the culture of vinyl and partly because a whole generation of kids much younger who never had the chance to buy vinyl are really starting to get into it. People who have never even seen a record are starting to get into it, collectors and such. There are people who will buy vinyl even if they’re not a fan of the band: they just collect vinyl. Either way, it’s helps the music industry.
SL: I’ve read a lot of the statistics on turntables; the sales have been steadily increasing just over the last 10 years or so.
MS: Absolutely. I just think it’s all good at the end of the day for music in general. We all know the music industry has taken a hit, but thankfully there are still people out there who want to own a 12” record.
SL: You guys have a definite “throwback” kind of sound; sort of a nod to that classic, late-‘80s Hardcore It’s a really solid record.
MS: The situation behind the band is kind of interesting, too. With Inhuman, I write all the lyrics and I even write some of the music, too. I kind of walked into this situation with The Last Stand. It’s very different for me. I had to learn someone else’s lyrics, which is not a problem at all, it’s just been so long since I did something like that. I’ve been with Inhuman for 15 years and, for the most part, I’ve only done Inhuman for the past 15 years. The Last Stand has really been my only other musical outlet, so it was different working with new guys, even though they are all old friends of mine. It was a different feeling, a different way of doing things. Luckily I liked the music a lot, I liked the lyrics. With the exception of some very minor changes on my part, I didn’t write the lyrics. It’s almost refreshing to not have that pressure.
SL: It must have been kind of cool to do something different and have it work out so comfortably for you.
MS: Absolutely. These guys are very solid, good people. I’ve known them, essentially, for as long as I’ve been doing Inhuman. They’re almost like three younger brothers to me. It all worked out quite well, and the people who have heard the CD and have seen the shows seem to like it and seem to think we have good chemistry. We’ll see what happens. We’re doing this for the love of music and for the love of Hardcore and I think that kind of shines through. We’re not doing this for any other reason than we want to, which is the best reason to do any band, no matter who you are.
SL: Just the fact that you’re doing it, I think, is a testament to that. I mean, you’re not going to get rich by starting a Hardcore band…
MS: Exactly. Everyone in the band has a job. Well, except for me. Those guys are married, have kids…Steve and Jimmy are still Straight Edge. We’re all still the same people we were for all these years. We’ve just taken on the responsibilities that come with age. These guys missed it; Shutdown kind of stopped around 2001, did a few shows here and there up ‘til maybe 2006 and they would still go see shows. They missed it. Shutdown is still together, they do it when they can. We all love the music, we’re excited to be able to get together and play.
SL: It’s got to give you kind of a new enthusiasm for playing, doesn’t it?
MS: Totally. We rehearse all the time and it’s just very easy. Nobody wants to be millionaires; there are no big conversations about money or anything like that. We just play. Will we tour? Yeah, there’s a good chance we will. We want to play as much as we can. It’s a serious band and it’s a real band, but we don’t have unrealistic goals.
You can also check out The Last Stand HERE.