So True At All Costs is truly a call to arms if there was ever one, an impassioned album filled with anthems and sing-a-longs xrepresentx in all their brutal quality have produced a straight edge album that should be considered a modern hardcore classic and this is only the beginning for the band that back up what they say with direct action it was definitely time for me to reach out to them and let them voice there opinions…”what the fuck”
Hi Derek, you know what’s coming, your surname Ski is an abbreviated Polish name and since I live in the UK which of course is part of Europe (and quite possibly has a denser polish population here than in Poland:-) what is your full surname?
Golembeski. As formidable as it seems, it's simply Go-lem-bes-ki. But seeing as
It’s been botched time after time, Derek ski stuck, and Mr' G stuck for my students
Anyway aside from triviality please if you would introduce yourself and your band mates, Who are you? Where did you meet? And tell me about how xrepresentx came to be?
The story of xrepresentx took place long ago in my basement in late 2002. Erie has always had a strong straight edge scene, and I felt that as a prominent straight edge kid still around at the time, I should carry on the straight edge legacy. I had a few ideas that I wanted to say in songs, so I started jamming one day. After putting together a few songs I got some friends together and there xrepresentx was born. Over the close to 6 years since our first show, the face has changed many times, but the message and intensity has never diminished. xrepresentx is now myself as well as Brian on guitar, RJ on drums, Tyler on bass and Shawn on guitar. A real fun bunch, if I can say myself.
Tell me a little about what you all do outside of the band when you’re not touring? When you replied to me Derek you mentioned that you trained as a teacher in Germany, feeling you had to immerse yourself in the culture to get the most out of the experience, what was it like? How do’s European culture fair with the US?
I'm a teacher, which is where I get my money to do that band. 3 of the other dudes are in school, but as college students, haha. I did do a semester abroad, which was awesome. I made some good friends, travelled a bunch and saw a bunch of shows. I was even at ninjafest 2004 in London. How about that! I love Europe. If I didn't have so many roots here, I’d definitely cross the pond for good.
How old were you all when you discovered hardcore and can you remember your first show? It opened my eyes to another world (25 ta life / Shutdown ’99 were mine) I just couldn’t get enough…what excites you about hardcore and the hardcore scene?
Oddly enough I hated hardcore for a while. I was still stuck in my grunge rock days until 9th grade, which comes out to be 1997/98. I started going to shows then because a bunch of my friends played in a band, and I really liked it. It progressed to going to every show possible, and here I am today. Hardcore contains a completely different group of people with a completely different mindset than you'll find anywhere else in the world. Being that in hardcore, you meet people from EVERYWHERE, you may not see them for years on end. But you know when you meet up again; it'll be like nothing changed.
Its so refreshing when a hardcore band has something to say, be it a message like straight edge or a political viewpoint the last few years in the hardcore scene even here in the UK kids seem to have forgotten it’s roots they need to be reminded that hardcore is an open forum for freedom of expression, open hearts and minds, I miss the days when bands would make speeches in between songs, challenge kids with ideas and concepts and stop playing when a fight would break out. So what are xrepresentx bringing to the table, tell us about your message?
Well, I always am inclined to write about straight edge. It's just what I feel passionate about. But I try to write it in ways that haven't been said, or about things that people might not bring up commonly. The Long Haul is pretty much that song where I threw all my thoughts on the table. Sort of a cut and dry, this is what modern straight edge is type of deal. We've written songs about religion starting wars, shit bands who try to profit off hardcore, and the next record has a song about capital punishment and a song trying to stop people from following racial stereotypes.
What do’s being straight edge mean do you? You also have a t-shirt with the quote “don’t call me drug free” that I think is very apt for this question because its explanation centre’s on for me what straight edge truly means, so please if you don’t mind explain how that t-shirt came to be?
Well, simply put, I’m not drug free. I'm straight edge. To be "drug free" is no set in stone lifetime commitment, where as straight edge is. So I feel a line had to be drawn. If you are ok with just being drug free, fine. But I'm not and you shouldn't expect a pat on the back.
Can you remember when you first heard those two words? Did you get it straight away? How many years strong have you been?
I've been straight edge for 11 years. I was at lunch in 9th grade when a friend told me she was straight edge. I had never done anything in my life, and never planned on it, so I just felt it fit me. The rest is history.
Why do you believe living a drug free lifestyle is the only way forward? Had you had any experience with drugs or with people you care about? (I watched my dad nearly die twice through heart attacks (smoking) he was always my hero if I ever have kids I never want to put them through that)
My grandfather was an alcoholic, so I never wanted to drink because of it. And a ton of my family were smokers, which I fucking hated. So that kept me away from all that. I've never been one to have to try to find out I don't like something. If I get that "how do you know you don't like drugs" spiel, I normally ask back, "have you every walked down the street and saw a piece of dog poop and ate it? How do you know it's not good, because you've never tried it". Alcohol to me is shit, so it's the same principle.
Edge breaking its lame I’ve seen countless friends fallen and its ridiculous…where do you all stand on the subject? And why is it kids go from that fucking teetotal mentality turn to the bottle and so hard like they’re trying to re-identify themselves? (If you’ve watched the champion DVD and jims speech you know what I mean) alcohol destroys lives and people are so apathetic to it it’s so normal; it’s a shame the majority can’t wake up and see the light!
Well, I can't say I don't have friends who have sold out, but I’ll never support anyone’s decision. I always say, there is no good excuse for selling out. No girl, no group of friends, boredom, age, moving on from hardcore. It's all a sham. Straight edge will never turn it's back on you. Don't turn your back on it.
It pisses me off I mean I live by Bane’s Count Me Out & those lyrics or Floorpunches “no exceptions” - to turn away from something that was supposed to be for life and something that can only have positive ramifications, relying on a substance is never the answer the sooner people realise that the better, how have you all been affected by the exposure to addiction?
Well, RJ and I never did anything, but we have family members who have. As for the others, they have fought their own demons and won, which I applaud them for. It's comical to me in these days, that with so much information about the evils of drugs and what they do to you, that people still get caught up.
Who Can I Count On has to be one of my favourite straight edge songs, just love singing a long to it and doing a little bedroom mosh when no ones around to see. Which bands inspired you to take this path? Had you always wanted to play in a band and how would you describe a typical xrepresentx show?
I've been a musician since I was quite young. I love music and the stage. Then laundry list of bands is too long to go on, but if I have to pick a few inspirations, figure four, buried alive, xdisciplex. As far as a typical show, there isn't one. Every show is different in it's own way. Sing alongs, riots, lots of mosh, people standing around. We've seen it all.
What do you all do to numb the boredom of travelling from show to show in a van? At nighttime do you all sit around a campfire and sing acoustic straight edge songs? (Please lie and say yes)
Yes, but when it's daytime, IPOD rules my life. Or we just talk about the craziest, crudest, most vile shit ever.
Sorry I’m being stupid…ever thought of writing acoustic songs? Strife and stretch arm strong both messed around with those things in the early days…
No, but I did think about redoing the whole first CD on midi and screaming over it. Nintendo music hardcore concept album!
The hardcore scene especially the straight edge scene in America has recently seen an upsurge of violence at shows, where do you all personally stand on the violence front?
Well, it depends. Was a drunk guy groping up one of your friends, or did someone mosh and trip onto your new Nikes? There's right times and wrong times, and without being there and being a part of it, I can't say what's right. Hardcore kids shouldn't be fighting other hardcore kids though. The real few are already too low to segregate ourselves from each other.
Are you like me in that you believe more can be achieved through the power of speech or the written word? I’m not saying I can’t defend myself when I’m backed into a corner merely that hardcore and the scene took me away from that whole jock culture, it’s a community and I wouldn’t want to see some kid trying to enjoy a show get hurt!
Well, hardcore is a violent place, and really, the possibility of getting hurt is half the allure. I know that going to a show that is nuts and people are going off make me all the more intense. But I think really, getting something intellectually out of a show is just as much of a release. I think it should just be a simple balance of the two.
What are xrepresentx doing for Christmas? Do you get excited? I do man I’m not ashamed to say either lol.
We have some pre-xxxmas shows lined up, but nothing the day of. Shockwave is doing a reunion 2 days after. That'll be sweet.
How did you find playing in Europe recently? Do you think you’ll come back and make it to the UK some time too?
We haven't played there yet, but we're trying to show up in July!
Would you mind if I got your new represent shirt design tattooed on my back? It’s lush; it would look great sitting neatly below the words straight edge that I have from shoulder to shoulder.
Hell no! I love people getting xrx tattoos! I have one myself :-)
Lets rounds this thing up then with a philosophical question about you hopes and dreams and where you see yourself in a few years so…What are your hope and dreams and where do you see yourself in a few years? :-)
Well, I hope I'm a full time teacher, maybe in the process of having a family. I hope I'm still involved in hardcore, but I know I’ll still be straight edge. That's for damn sure. I'd like to still be jamming with xrx, but you never know what's in the future. Only time will tell.