Friday, April 18, 2014

Square Zeros Special Edition: Jimmy Doyle (The Fad, Jimmy Doyle and the Engineers)

The Fad, Amityville Music Hall, 12.28.2013
Photo credit: Megan Michelle
One of the things that got me the most excited about Square Zeros when we conceived it was the certainty that I’d get to re-engage with one of my first musical loves, ska. My high school music experience was governed by the third wave ska that kids were making in the suburbs following its brief mid-90s heyday on the airwaves, and I couldn’t wait for the inevitable moment when we got to interview someone about their awesome late-90s ska-punk tracks.

Enter Jimmy Doyle of The Fad and Jimmy Doyle and the Engineers. I first saw The Fad in the mid-2000s in Richmond, VA, playing with local hardcore heroes Vindication at what was then Alley Katz. After both bands played great sets to a moderately sized crowd, the announcement was made that they were taking the party back to my friend Reid’s basement to play another show. Because that’s what you do, if you’re any fun at all.

The basement show was packed, and the music was even better the second time around. I remember asking Reid about these Long Island dudes, and how he came across them, and his response was: “These guys just play shows. There are a lot of bands out there that worry about their next move, spend six months recording — you know, take too long. These guys play shows. At home, on the road, wherever: they play shows, all the time, and when they get to your town, you know.”

We chose to do this Special Edition of Square Zeros because, thirteen years after their earliest incarnation (as Death101), The Fad
will be headlining The Thing in the Spring on Saturday, April 19 at Revolution in Amityville, NY: a show that should not be missed under any circumstance. (Get at me, I've got two seats left in my car.) They still throw down, and our interview with Jimmy unlocks the ultimate achievement of interviewing someone about what was — essentially — their high school band and their current band.

Jimmy brought in an armful of old CDs and DVDs that confirmed Reid’s claim: live shows recorded on arcane technologies, ripped to old computers, ripped to hard copies and scribbled on with a Sharpie — the stuff music self-archiving is made of.  We ripped the above video one more time to get a rough A/V of an early Fad show at Sports Plus, a Long Island sports complex that also hosted local shows.  When Jimmy reminisced about punk shows with two stages facing each other so the music never stopped, things started sounding really familiar.

The cut he played us off Number 5, an early Fad record named after the fact that they came in 5th in a local battle of the bands, "PMRC", is a Tipper Gore-baiting ripper that he notes "was dated before it was even written."  But hey, there's a lot of sacred cows that someone needs to ritually slaughter every so often to remind us of our history, because there's always going to be some conservative element trying to control culture.  Maybe we were young, but those "Parental Advisory" warnings absolutely loomed over the albums we bought.  That said, the rap breakdown at the end of "PMRC" really has to be heard to be believed, in all of its youthful, exuberant, swearing-for-the-sake-of-swearing glory.  Collaboration credit for the rap goes to Jay Tea from the Arrogant Sons of Bitches.

Keep up with Jimmy as he continues to organize rock and roll events through BUY VINYL PUNK SHOWS and plays shows with The Fad and JDATE (You know I had to abbreviate it at least once), and see you at The Thing in the Spring.

— JM

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