Recently caught up with Mike Santarpia at the big Casualties 20th Anniversary show. Mike is one of the founders of NY Hard Times, a punk zine that is starting to make some waves on the NYC punk scene.
I often depend on Mike to keep me in the know of all the big punk and hardcore concerts in NYC, so I thought it might be cool to get his thoughts on the punk scene in NYC, since he is so plugged in.
Check out the interview below!
PUNK OUTLAW: What is the purpose of NY Hardtimes?
MIKE: The purpose is to provide a forum for people to find out more about the scene. We provide listings of upcoming shows and interview and review local shows and bands. I don’t limit it to just local stuff, but the focus is on the local bands.
PUNK OUTLAW: How & why did you come up with the concept of NY Hardtimes?
MIKE: I can’t take all the credit for the idea of the zine. It is a collaborative effort and started by myself and other members of the NYC Punk meetup group about a yr ago. It’s a forum to share our interest in the music.
PUNK OUTLAW: What do you think the state of punk music is in New York city currently?
MIKE: It has its ups and downs. If a well known act comes to town like X for instance, people will come out for it, but the local stuff not so much unless it’s the Cro-Mags or someone like that. I think a lot of it has to do with money as well. Many of the kids in the scene don’t have the funds available to go out and spend $30 for a show. Luckily you still have a place like ABC No Rio that has their matinee shows. The scene needs more places like that.
PUNK OUTLAW: Where do you think it is headed?
MIKE: I’d like to think that it is headed in a positive direction. I’d like to see it last for a long time and as long as I am involved it will always be around. We try to get at least one issue a month. We’ve been pretty consistent with it. I’m looking to establish it on the net as well. We already have a Myspace page in place, but I’d like to have a website as well, so previous issue can be archived and interviews and reviews can be posted as they happen. I’d like the printed zine to be a means to promote the website and the website will have a lot more content then is in the printed version. Printing can be expensive and the zine will get a lot more hits online then I can get just handing copies out, but the printed version will always be there
PUNK OUTLAW: How did you get into punk music?
MIKE: I got into when heard the Ramones for the first time. It snowballed from there. I’m sure there are many people out there who got into punk after they heard the Ramoness. I didn’t stop there though. I started reading and looking into other bands involved in the scene at the time the Ramones came out. Over time I found out about more and more bands. The internet also helps to uncover those hidden gems of the punk scene. There were soo many great bands to come out of the NY, LA and England scenes. I’m just starting to find out more about the Chicago scene.
PUNK OUTLAW: What are some up and coming bands you see on the scene?
MIKE: Ten Pints In is a great bands from LI, they remind me of Dropkick Murphys. I also think Born In A Cent has a lot of potential. They are a political punk band from the area, Across The Aisle is a great ska band from the area. They remind me of No Doubt in the early days. High Teen Boogie is fun. I’ve seen them a few times and they are always entertaining! There are others as well such as Endangered Feces, World War IX, Cerebral Balzy etc.. There is no shortage of bands out there. They just need places to play and people to support them.
PUNK OUTLAW: How can people subscribe to NY Hardtimes?
MIKE: We have a Myspace page set up right now that people can join myspace.com/nyhardtimes. There is also the NYC Punk meetup at www.nycpunk.net. I keep an archive of previous issues there. I’m working on setting up a a blog, so hopefully that will be up soon.
PUNK OUTLAW: Any parting thoughts?
MIKE: Be loud, be proud, be punk! That’s what it’s all about. If you can’t be proud of you are and you don’t get out and let people know about it, then what’s the point?