Some guys in Boston around 1982 or so decided they'd release some long playing vinyl and the label which this long playing vinyl would be released on would be called Xclaim!
Fast forward some 15 years and cross the Atlantic/Pacific ocean and some knuckleheads with a PHd in pissing people off would not only swipe this labels name for their hardcore punk band but would also borrow the label logo and use it for their own.The name was always intended to be written as Xclaim! .. always.Never xclaim/exclaim/x-claim or any other variant.It used to bother me when people would fuck up such a simple thing.
The savvy reader would also notice the design of the deemo cover followed the tried and true or only way we knew how,design of xTalk Is Cheapx zine.Cut, paste, xerox, backgrounds, scissors, glue and coca cola.I hand wrote "punks dead you're next" on one side cause I was listening to Slapshot on my Sony Walkman while waiting to photocopy it at Officeworks. Mind you I had absolutely nothing against punk rock.It was what I first listened to before finding MT,Flag,7 Seconds,YOT ect.Fuck I even played guitar for 10 years in the most hated punk rock band in the country (more on them later).But ... at the time it was always brought up by the nasty punk rockers who thought we hated them cause they drank.Wrong.I hated crass lovin hippie peace punks then because they were stupid fucking deadheads and I still fucking hate crass loving hippie peace punks now.But no matter how many times they would argue till they were pink in the face that we were trying our hardest to be American,real punks from England,we were fascist,hated people who drank, seperatist, elitest or just wanted to call us assholes I would always oblige them if I wasn't too busy.Fuck there was even a track about them on our deemo!They should be flattered.
So Xclaim! was as real as a band could be that would write,record,practice and play out.
We never toured but did take a few roadtrips to where a show was and we'd happen to play it. We never played in any bars though.All Ages only.Not by choice sadly.
The original spark that would go on to explode as Xclaim! was in fact called Shutdown.This was sometime around early '95.I played guitar,Luke was singing,Chippa Youth was on bass and Max Peoples was on drums.We played 1 show with this lineup at the Las O'gowrie Hotel in Wickham just a bottles throw from the seminal Morrow Park Bowlo.There may also be a practice tape of this lineup practicing in Max's backyard but am yet to locate it.Guaranteed it sounds like absolute dogshit though. From memory the Xclaim! track "fruits who fall" was a Shutdown original that Chippa Youth wrote different lyris for.Luke Crew's original was,even for the time,quite thought provoking with lyrics something about gender and pink and blue?
One day Chippa Youth informed me there would be a lineup change and I was now singing,he was playing guitar and Luke was playing bass and some surfer type guy from Stockton was the new drummer.Not your typical long haired combi drivin surfer type dude though no was this guy was an absolute drum machine.Reminded me of Bratton the way he'd be all over that kit like a cheap suit.Rolls,fills the works.This lineup played some shows here and there and we'd practice in he's room in Stockton through miniscule amps that you couldn't hear a thing through.After a while he left and we enlisted F.M.D frontman Drew Direction as our new drummer and this is the lineup we had for the deemo tape:Luke Crew on the spirit bass.The "spirit bass" was a no name Fender Jazz Bass copy made from cardboard that had a Spirit sticker on it.Hence the name.Chippa Youth played guitar and I was still pretending I could sing.
As for the recording that went down one night at Arc Up Studios in Mayfield.
In the rehearsal space.
With the drumkit mic'd up to 1 of the 2(count em) 4 track machines acting as a mixer going into the 2nd 4 track actually the recording the whole thing live.That's guitar, bass and drums.
This was all pretty much done 1 take too.
For vocals we kept the same setup as per the drums.I done the vocals straight through the entire tape and if you listen that far you can hear how out of breath I was by the Infest cover and there was no way they'd let me redo it.
So we had our ghetto 8track recording done and went and waited for Polar Bear (Future Arms Reach bass player) to give it a mixdown to a normal tape for home dubbing.They were all numbered too.Up to 100.
As for the songs they wrote all the music and about half the lyrics.
We were going for a Confront,xCHORUSx ,Project X attitude and a general pissed off '88 vibe with crucial breakdowns and plenty of covers like
Beyond - One Kind Word
Cro Mags - Don't Tread On Me
Chain Of Strength - True Till Death
Infest - Mindless
Alone In A Crowd - Is Anybody There
Project X - Straight Edge Revenge
Youth Of Today - We Just Might
The bonus secret 'hidden' track was guest vocals by Luke Crew.I could never hit those high notes.
Without the backlash against sxe that was around at the time and the proliferation of heavy metal bands masquerading as hardcore this band would never have been in existance.
We somewhat reformed/revisted this ideal again under the NC Wolfpack banner but reached further back to the early 80s for a reference point.I liked that deemo better.
So there's some backstory on my 1st band.There will be more on this later no doubt.
Xclaim! deemo cover
Xclaim! deemo cover 2
Original cover photo
Original background photo
From 'This Fate" #5 zine
OLC? yes Crippled Youth?hmm not so sure ...
1st Arms Reach show
This was recorded and released as a CD on Snapshot Records