Monday, November 28, 2011

Carry On - Roll With The Punches

Carry On - Roll With the Punches
Release - 2000

Story by Aram Arslanian, singer for Betrayed and owner of React! Records.

Editor's note:  The download link for this album has been removed due to label request.

The first time I heard the Roll With the Punches EP, I was staying at my friend Todd Tyler's house in California.  We'd met a few years previous when I was a roadie for Trial and we'd stayed in touch. Todd, Kevin Jaros from Collision (later Internal Affairs and Stand & Fight), Karin Frye and Ryan George all lived together in a little place just off Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.  They would let touring bands crash with them and so the band I was in at the time used their place as homebase for a week as we played shows throughout Southern California.

Carry On had just finished recording their new EP, and Todd had a copy on tape of the final mix.  Todd is an enthusiastic guy and I remember him giving me this crazy, bugged out look with this huge smile and saying something like, "DUDE!  Duuuuuude!  Do you wanna hear the new Carry On?  It's awesome!!!!!  Man it's awesome, but you can't tell ANYONE I played it for you.  Dude, you HAVE to promise!"  My memory might be making that more dramatic than it really was, but if you know Todd Tyler, then you know that I'm not that far off.  Anyway, a bunch of us were chilling in Todd's room and I was sitting right under a framed copy of the Uniform Choice poster insert that came with Screaming for Change.  Todd pressed play on the tape and those four hi-hat hits introduced me to a record that would go on to have a huge impact in my life.

The intensity of the record was undeniable, but what really stood out for me was the creativity of the songwriting and how in your face the lyrics were.  Those songs are bare bones HC, but are also really well written and break the mold of what you'd expect from that genre of core.  The lyrics were so angry and direct that I distinctly remember thinking, "Man, I'd never write anything that arrogant!"  But that's just it, it was that group of people in that time and place and they weren't trying to fit in with what was easy and safe.  Hell no, they were fed up with the landscape of either metallic mosh or ultra PC emo that was prevalent on the West Coast at the time.  They didn't wear makeup and didn't dress fancy, and they would have laughed in your face if you asked them to play a HC prom show.  Conversely, they didn't try and position themselves as ultra-liberal saviors and impress people with how much they cared.  The CxO guys didn't buy into any of that garbage, and weren't afraid to let you know it.  They were the guys that liked actual hardcore, that had X's on their hands and would call you a poser to your face if you didn't like Chain of Strength and Breakdown.  They set their own pace, made their own scene and said, "fuck you" to anyone that didn't like it.

After hearing the EP for the first time, I convinced Todd Tyler (I don't think I had to do too much convincing) to make me a copy.  That record was at the top of my play list for the rest of the summer, and when it eventually come out on vinyl, all legit core fiends knew what was up.  That EP went on to influence a lot of bands, including the bands I went on to do, and set the tone for the next few years on the West Coast.  Today I still list that as one of the most influential records of my life, and enjoy it just as much now as I did the first day I heard it.

During that week in California we grew close with the CxO guys and through them, we met a lot of people that went on to become amazing friends.  We've all changed throughout the years and some people have stayed tight while other have drifted.  Just like any group, there have been schisms that have broken friendships, people who've grown apart and some who are sadly no longer with us.  But no matter how much distance there is, I'll always look back on those days and see us as a family.  That was an amazing time in my life, and for me, Carry On was the band that first brought that together.

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