Hardcore Punk Film Director Drew Stone: The Toilet ov Hell Interview
Taking time away from his hectic schedule, renowned film director/video director/international playboy secret agent Drew Stone stops on by to give us the skinny on some of his new projects and more.
(1) So, how, for for those unfamiliar, how did a clean cut, nice guy get into this insanity of punk and metal, and what is some of your music video work (since most of us are too drunk or ADD to sit through a movie, considering Spaceballs 2 is in the works)?
DREW: I grew up in New York City in the 1970’s as part of the “Blank Generation”. Too late for the ’60’s thing, too early to be a part of the MTV generation (thank god) and I fucking hated disco. In August of 1981 I went up to Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts to study acting. Soon after my arrival I was introduced to a guy in the Emerson cafeteria who had his head shaved. At the time the only people that had their heads shaved were marines and psychopaths. He told me that his name was “Choke” and he was into this “Hardcore” thing. “Hardcore”? I replied “What do you mean Hardcore? Like The B52’s, Joan Jett, or Blondie“? I didn’t have a fucking clue what he was getting at so after trying to explain it to me for a while we decided the best way for me to understand the whole thing was to just go and experience it for myself.
So a few days later we rode our skateboards to downtown Boston and into an old factory building to a place called the Media Workshop for a Sunday matinee show. As fate would have out it was one of SS Decontrol‘s first shows and it turned out to be a pivot point in my life. There were about 30 people there and everyone in attendance was my age or younger. There were no drugs or alcohol around which was very strange to me coming from a very different environment back in New York City. I felt very connected to what was going on in the room and jumped right into the melee. After the band finished playing the guitar player Al “Lethal” Barile came up and introduced himself to me and in turn the introduced the other guys in the band. He was very interested in knowing who I was and where I came from. It was a VERY small scene back then so when someone new showed up they were met with much enthusiasm. After that I was swept up in the early Boston Hardcore scene which to say the least was an extremely exciting time.
Two years later I lost interest in school and came back to New York City where I started the band The High & The Mighty and then eventually joined Antidote. I started my film production company Stone Films NYC around then. As far as the video stuff goes I had a run doing music video’s back in the “Golden Age” of music video production which was about 1989-1994. Thru my company Stone Films NYC I produced many videos including Type-O-Negative‘s “Black #1”, Onyx‘s “Slam” & “Shiftee” and five Biohazard videos including “Punishment” & “Shades Of Grey”. Those videos were directed by Parris Mayhew of the Cro-mags. After that run I went on to direct / produce videos for Agnostic Front “Gotta Go”, Madball “Down By Law” & “Pride”, Shelter “In The Van Again” and many others.
(2) And for a schmuck like me who’s never been to NYC, how would you say the scene and the city has changed since the hardcore and old punk heydays, or even from the days George Carlin talked about?
DREW: The only thing about New York City that remains the same is that it’s ALWAYS changing. In a lot of ways it doesn’t even feel like the same city post 9-11 but that can be said about a lot of cities these days. There is always an ebb and a flow it any kind of social movement like hardcore so that’s to be expected.
(3) Tell us about ‘New York Hardcore Chronicles’ and how you did you go about this godless endeavor?
DREW: After I did “xxx ALL AGES xxx” The Boston Hardcore Film people started asking me when I was doing one about the NYHC scene. I really had no interest. I felt like it was just too massive and convoluted a story to even attempt to tell it. Soon after I started my other film “Who The Fuck Is That Guy?” The Fabulous Journey Of Michael Alago and that really started rolling along. At some point The New York Hardcore Chronicles page got launched on Facebook and just really took off. It was a bit shocking how many people joined the page and got involved. What makes the page special is that it isn’t just about the music but deals with the community and the culture of NYHC. Although I created the page there are many “Content contributers” to it which really adds to the community feel of it. So to keep a short story short the film is really an extension of the The New York Hardcore Chronicles Facebook page. That page is so well loved and has a following close to 50 thousand people so it made sense to translate it into film.
(4) Do you think there’s still room for growth in the hardcore scene?
DREW: There is always room for growth. There will always be a a group of 16 year olds in their garage learning how to play their instruments and playing hard music as fast as they can. For many people growing up like myself at the time hardcore music was a “gateway” to other artistic endeavors. Some of the values and principles that I picked up in the early hardcore scene are still a part of my life to this day.
(5) As you tell, with many of the metalheads here on The Toilet, we’re pretty much all Type O Negative and Carnivore fans here. What are some of the experiences you and some of the bands had with Peter and the crew that are in the film?
DREW: I saw Carnivore play a few times thru the years and of course produced the Type-O-Negative “Black #1” video. I interviewed Carnivore drummer Louie Beato for “The Crossover” segment of The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film as well. Since you and your people love Carnivore so much here is a never before seen clip of him talking a little bit about his Carnivore days:
(6) Any final words?
DREW: It took me a long time to figure out how to do a New York Hardcore film that is viable and interesting and now that I have that vision I will do my best to make it great and not let you down. I have to thank old school NYHC gal Alexa Poli who has gotten behind this project and been supportive of me as a artist. I also want to thank Cuz Joe, Buske, Freddy Madball and all at Black N Blue Productions who have been extremely supportive. If you see me out there on the ball field please come up and say hi I want to know who you are. Thanx for the support and please visit The New York Hardcore Chronicles Page on Facebook as well as www.stonefilmsnyc.com Thanx for the supporting REAL independent filmmaking!