“I quit driving cars in 1991 to protest the Gulf War.” – John The Baker
Very happy to say we’ve got a cool ass interview with John The Baker about Skate Til U Die. This is a killer event with heart for good causes and is ALSO just plain awesome for skaters and music fans. I’ll let John tell you about it in a minute but first let me tell you about John!
Fans of anarcho punk, MDC, Tank Crimes stuff or the DIY West Coast punk/crust scene are often fans of John The Baker. He’s also known as the punk singer who once won a censorship battle in (allegedly liberal) Woodstock, NY after getting arrested for singing a song about cops sleeping with underage girls in town . Oh, and got a settlement he used to put out his CD and mail complimentary copies to local police stations. That was a band called Slimy Penis Breath which also featured a young, dumb and full of cum (this is meant affectionately) Jason Christopher who now plays bass in mighty Prong. JTB was kind of a lot of kids “punk rock uncle” in the scene, though he actually is related to Josh and Joey Eppard.
The 90’s Woodstock/Kingston, NY punk scene I grew up in was a blast. You had Slimy Penis Breath, sludge n roll onslaught .mearth , noise rockers Dripping Goss (feat. Brian Goss of Warzone and at one point Frank Ferrer, now of Guns N Roses), Simone Felice doing weird post-punk rock before his interest turned to The Band, poetry and the Catskill mountains and more. Sean Paul Pillsworth and the Jerk Magnet/Anadivine pop punks. You also had John the Baker’s mega talented nephews Joey and Josh Eppard known for playing in prog/emo bands Three and Coheed & Cambria), plus Shabutie (Claudio Sanchez’ amazingly fluid and funky pre-Coheed and Cambria band with Mic Todd and my best friend multi-instrumentalist Nate Kelley) and also bands like apocalyptic rockabilly meets Am Rep on Primus-style telecaster weirdos Pitchfork Militia and my early teen angst grunge band Melancholy. Hardcore band (and Metal Riot favorites) Painmask, still active today. AND Woodstock had Bad Brains members living in town raising families! This led to Bad Brains dudes playing on Coheed’s first record or being involved in producing my later band Divest along with a local (now famous) studio Applehead, also where Coheed and Three have both recorded amazing albums.
There was a lot of creativity and home grown shows and a lot of partying, but a scene sprung from hometown hopes, the shadow of the 60’s & also the close proximity of the Albany hardcore scene created a really interesting mix of styles and people in the post-“alternative rock” explosion surrounding Nirvana. Some of the bands are still playing today. We’ve had ups and downs like any scene and life lessons learned. Three/Lunch Meat guitarist Jason Foster and Melancholy drummer Pat Howland were two local talents who both died and are very missed. I’m very happy to say after about nine years of not speaking I’m friendly again with the recovering Mic Todd, the former Coheed bassist and have had some really good talks with him lately as well as gotten off booze myself. As a rowdy scene we could have taken it easier on ourselves and others at times BUT the cool thing is the music is surviving and as a collection of people we all changed a lot of lives for the better!
John the Baker (one of the first vegan bakers I ever met) was a heavy player in the DIY Woodstock 90’s scene and always out playing his acoustic guitar in Woodstock. He still plays “Fuck The Fascists USA” and other songs I fondly remember in his current band, the subtly named Fucktard. I’m really inspired by John’s drive and he’s one of the handful of people most responsible (along with my bassist friend Dave Daw and Jess Killganon from the cobaltandcalcium page) for helping me quit drinking out of the bottom of a fifteen year depression. John has always been a remarkable advocate for getting out and organizing shows and benefits, making art on your own terms and not getting pushed around. I remember him showing me with exciteent a letter he got back from Jello Biafra , the one true Dead Kennedy’s vocalist. John eventually went West and worked with Alternative Tentacles, Jello’s label. He even sang back ups on a killer Melvins record Jello did with the grunge godfathers, my longtime almost favorite band ever!
JTB has always been a skateboarder. I’ve got a cool black and white picture of him somewhere with a deck sitting and hanging out shooting the shit with my ex-girlfriend from like 20 years ago. It was awesome to catch up with John and get the scoop on Skate Til U Die, an event he’s dead center of which is TRULY aimed at smashing apathy, people powered transportation and PMA.Add to My Radar