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Interview with Punk Planet issue #73

You won’t catch New York’s Blackout Shoppers playing Emo-metal

Seth Amphetamines won’t let you not pay attention to Blackout Shoppers. An intimidating presence in dark sunglasses and a sweatshirt with the hood on, even in a dingy, shadowy nightclub, the singer jumps into the audience to scream in your face and dares you to scream back.

The band, which also includes Joey Methadone on drums, Mike Moosehead on guitar, and Blackout Matt on bass, was the second opening act for Murphy’s Law at New York’s Continental on New Year’s Eve. More than a few people left with homemade CD-R copies of the bands EP Smash and Grab, on which they amusingly refer to themselves as "the band that fucked your mother." DIY? Absolutely. All of the band members are in their 30s and draw their inspiration from early ‘80s hardcore - which they actually were around to experience first-hand -- and it shows in their music. Blackout Shoppers play hardcore the way it was meant to be: rough and raw, with absolutely nothing emo about it.

What do you think of the current state of emo-metal that masquerades as hardcore?

Matt: Certainly not worth the name hardcore.

Seth: No, not at all. I don’t have any use for it. I guess the term "emo" has been tossed around since the time of Fugazi, and some of the Dischord bands that were starting to come out. But today, you have bands like Attreyu and Funeral for a Friend. I suppose it’s about kids getting out emotion and aggression. And maybe people listening to this stuff are the same kinds of kids who 20 or 25 years ago were listening to Black Flag or Circle Jerks or Dead Kennedys. But for me, with some of the bands that are out today, it’s hard to know what it’s really about - and hardcore was always about something. As soon as I was able to catch up with what Jello Biafra was rambling about, I was just like, "oh my god I feel that way too."

Mike: With the majority of those (emo) bands, it’s more commercial than it used to be. It seems like they are catering to the masses instead of keeping it true to the real fans. Which ruins it a little bit, it doesn’t make it quite as special.

Do people realize what they’re getting into when they come see Blackout Shoppers?

Seth: [Laughs.] If you’re gonna come see a Blackout Shoppers show, be prepared to get the full brunt of the music. We’re not gonna stand around up there and just look good. We’re not there to just pose. We’re there to give people and experience, like I remember where you’d have Henry and Keith Morris and Jello and all those guys. They just put it out there every time. It’s part of the show. It’s not meant to just deliberately fuck with people and get them swinging at you. I’m also not GG Allen taking a crap and throwing it at people, but at the same time it’s about experiencing the music.

What type of audiences do you draw?

Matt: When we do all-ages shows, we can get all types of people coming out.

Seth: It’s hard to do all-ages shows regularly in New York City. We have to find places that will allow you to have that kind of show. It’s sort of like bands versus a lot of venues in a way. There’s too many that absolutely, flat out will not allow anything other than a 21 and over show. As much as we like anyone who’s around our age to be into our music, because they definitely remember [hardcore], it’s still the same kind of feeling with kids - they want your stuff, they want to know when you’re playing again, they want to get on your list. Most of our friends and people around our age aren’t as interested. They’ll come out to our shows, but they’ll be like, "your shirt’s 10 bucks but I can spend that money drinking."

--Laura Weinstein

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