A few days ago we’ve asked an ol' punk if he’d be up to answer a few questions and well, what should we say. Here is an interview with a joke teller, DJ, punk yeller, hair farmer, film freak and co-host of a radio show called cheap shots on east village radio. He doesn’t write for Pitchfork but that’s ok for us. Here’s our interview with Jay Green, who used to sing in a band called Orchid.Orchid at the Summerville American Legion in Summerville, SC - ca. 2000. Photo by Tom Pavlich
Hey Jayson. How are things going? Thanks a million for taking the time. First of all I’d like to ask for a brief introduction of yourself and a short summary of what you are currently doing.
Jay: I’m still making and DJ’ing music. About to record a 10” with Violent Bullshit and working on a solo LP.
How did you get into punk music? Any records resp. bands, you were influenced by?
Jay: I grew up in a pretty rural area and there were really no punks in our town and I didn’t have any older siblings who were into punk either so it was just kind of by luck and issues of Thrasher magazine. I’d see Quicksand on 120 minutes and love it and then discover Walter was in Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today. The Beastie Boys used to be a hardcore band. Fugazi used to be Minor Threat. Stuff like that. Go to the local skate park and see cool older kids and buy whatever band was on their t-shirts. I used to make out with a girl who’s boyfriend was in a ska band so I started going to all-ages shows. It’s dumb luck really.
As far as influential bands it sort of depends on what we’re talking about. The Beastie Boys were a major gateway drug to punk rock and 80’s SxE HC was a huge deal to me and was sort of my entree into hardcore music. As time went on bands like Nation of Ulysses, Bikini Kill, Born Against, Los Crudos all showed me what punk was capable of content-wise. When I was in Orchid the Providence scene was a big influence on aesthetics and presentation. Bands like Arab on Radar, Olneyville S.S., Landed, Black Dice, etc... and of course all the Gravity, 31G, San Diego stuff. A lot of Orchid’s contemporaries was pretty influential on me as well. Combat Wounded Veteran, Charles Bronson, Red Scare. It’s a hard question to answer!
You’ve been in a couple of punk resp. hardcore bands over the last couple of decades. As a blog about screamo it’s probably not that surprisingly that we’re most interested in one specific band of yours. Please, carry us back to Amherst, MA, at the beginning of 1997, when Jeffrey, Geoff, Will and you formed a band called Orchid. How did the four of you meet and what were the circumstances for you ending up as a band?
Jay: Will and I both attended Hampshire college with Orchid’s original bassist Brad Wallace (Geoff would join the band later). I guess the way it worked is that we saw each other around and as hardcore kids do, we gravitated towards each other. Will made me a mixtape with tons of killer songs and we became buddies. I was playing guitar in a band call “all i ask..” at the time Will approached me to make music. I assumed he wanted me to play guitar, but he suggested I sing. Jeff went to UMASS and I think we found him through friends but we met him for the first time at the very first Orchid practice. All I can remember is Jeff saying he couldn’t play fast. He definitely could.
Will used to book shows on campus and he booked our first show with Pig Destroyer and Black Army Jacket. After that show Scott from Pig Destroyer asked if we were into doing a split 7” and so it began.
Wikipedia says that Orchid was considered as one of the pioneers of the „screamo“sound. Was there a point in time when you became aware of the influence Orchid has/had on people, especially on those who just discovered the genre? What are your thoughts on the presence Orchid still has nowadays?
Jay: I hear about us being influential now, but at the time we were a functional band not at all. We were obsessed with One Eyed God Prophecy and all the Per Koro bands and were trying our hardest to rip them off.
People come up to me from time to time and tell me that Orchid was a big deal for them and I see stuff online, but you can never take that stuff too seriously. It makes me very happy that our records have stuck around and people get some pleasure from it. The thing I enjoy hearing the most (because I am an egomaniac) is that people started reading theory, or wrote their thesis based around ideas in the record.
What was your favorite tour experience? Any memories you want to share with our readers and us?
Jay: It was a mixed bag, but I have a lot of fond memories. I mean the first time I left the country was with those guys. I pool hopped in Arizona, I saw Song Of Zarathustra in a tiny basement, we toured with lightning Bolt and Convocation Of.., making the insert for Chaos Is Me at some Kinko’s on tour to give to Kent at Ebulliton. So many fun memories, but I definitely won’t miss the squats.
It’s been almost two years since your latest project, Ritual Mess, published a fantastic Long Player, called Vile Art. The twelve songs on the album left us begging for more. Are there any plans on new material or even on playing some shows?
Jay: No plans really, but you never know.
What records do you put on your turntable? Any current screamo/emo/hardcore/punk bands you follow resp listen to and would like to recommend?
Jay: I listen to all kinds of stuff. Being a DJ dance/disco records are often on my turntable. 70’s protometal/boogie rock and Negative Approach at least once a week to keep the doctor away.
New bands? Never trust anyone’s opinion on current hardcore who is older than 35.
Given reason we’d like to ask something political. While Pegida and right wing parties seem to continuously gain popularity in Europe, there are also certain developments in the states which appear to be quite frightening as well. Our readers are spread across the world. Would you mind sharing your views and opinions of the current political situation in your home country, with a regards to the upcoming elections, with us and our readers? Anything you find important to share?
Jay: This is the last desperate gasp of boring, old white people trying to clutch onto a past that was good for them and bad for everyone else. Don’t worry young ones, they’ll all be dead soon.