For those who do not know you, can you present you?
I sang for Trial, from the beginning of the band through our break up
in 2000. I am from Seattle, and since the band broke up, I have been involved
with a number of projects aside from performing, including making films
about why people behave violently towards one another (www.flightfromdeath.com)
to international diplomacy,
to sharing political
ideas. I like to stay busy constantly. It makes me feel alive.
How did you come to straight edge and hardcore?
GREG: I got involved in hardcore in the late 1980's. I grew up near The
Anthrax, the famous club, so after I was first introduced to the genre,
the greatest hardcore shows in the world were right nearby. I lived about
45 minutes from the club, so we would see tons of bands there: Judge,
Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Burn...the list was huge. Straight edge
at the time, of course, was getting much more popular. There were tons
of bands coming up all the time. It was a few years before I started calling
myself straight edge, but I always loved the music. I must have listened
to the Wide Awake ep a thousand times or more. Hardcore was then, and
is now, the most vital and vibrant form of personal expression that I
have ever encountered.
You were the frontman of the band Trial. How did
you guys met and formed?
Derek and Timm met first, in the mid 1990's in Sacramento CA. Derek sang
backups on Timm's band Blindside's demo. Later, when Timm moved up to
Seattle, the three of us got together and talked about forming a band,
and that band became Trial. We started out with the name Headline, and
we would practice from 1 AM until 3 AM some nights because that was not
only cheaper, but also the only time we had to get together. Our first
songs were just terrible. I have a cassette of them somewhere that I will
gladly copy for people if they send me a million euro or so. The songs
were that bad! Today, Derek plays in Himsa. Their new record is coming
out in a few months and I am really excited to hear it. he is more metal
than I am and he has a lot more hair. I actually give him all my hair.
That is why he has so much and I have so little.
What was your motivation to do a hardcore band?
I have been involved in performance and art for over 20 years since I
was a kid, but no matter what style of performance I encounter or take
part in, nothing compares to the intensity and interaction and power of
hardcore. Emotionally, politically, personally, collectively, nothing
else comes close to that connection. The potential for honesty and openness
that exists with hardcore is just so incredible. I never get bored of
it and will never fully be able to use up all of its potential.
What did the Trial music bring to you?
Playing in Trial helped me interpret and absorb the most intense experiences
of my life, making me feel completely alive while allowing me to learn
so much about human interaction and connection. I still listen to the
"Are These Our Lives?" album on a regular basis. The songs on
that record still mean as much to me today as they did when we recorded
them in 1999. Hearing from people how the songs reached them and what
the songs meant and mean today to them, makes me feel like we really accomplished
What is favourite Trial song?
I would say that there are three songs that were my favourites. "Reflections"
which is a song that examines the conflict between desire and insecurity
is the first one that comes to mind. The second is "Scars" a
song written in support of victim/survivors of rape, sexual abuse, incest,
and molestation. Each time we played that song, the worlds of suffering
that would open and be healed in the room was unprecedented. I still get
choked up when I listen to that song. Finally, "When There's Nothing
Left To Lose", a song that reinterprets human suffering, was one
that i love dearly. All three of those are as intense and direct as potent
as songs can get as far as I am concerned.
Why did Trial split?
Trial split for the same reasons that most bands do: disagreements and
general fighting with one another. Being in a band is like dating three
or four other people at once, so of course there are going to be disagreements
and arguments. At this point, the important thing is not looking back
on who said what or did what, but rather looking forward to the reunion
shows this fall and beyond, when the band is gone but the solid and powerful
memories will remain.
Is it important for you to communicate your straight
edge message through your music?
We didn't have many songs that dealt directly with straight edge other
than "This is Not a Trend". There of course was the "straight
edge!" yell in the background of "For the Kids", but overall,
we would spend a lot more time just being straight edge than singing about
You will do few dates with Trial in USA and in Europe in October and November.
What determined you re-formation?
Timm and I had been talking about a reunion from time to time for years,
but it didn't really come together until we played a Trial song at the
last show of a friend's band in Seattle. We got onstage totally as a surprise.
I actually didn't know about it in advance either. I was invited onstage
to speak and when I got done speaking, Tim was there onstage. The band
had planned this in advance. They started playing "This is Not a
Trend" and it was a lot of fun. That night we started talking about
the possibility of doing a full reunion show. We were originally going
to do only one show in Seattle, but then we got word from a number of
European kids that they wanted to come over and couldn't all afford it.
They suggested that having the five of us go there was cheaper than having
thirty of them come here, so we agreed to fly there for a show. The London
show was added only a couple weeks ago. We've never played there and thought
it would be fun.
AND STRAIGHT EDGE:
How is the Seattle hardcore scene today?
The Seattle hardcore scene is really good right now. There are a quite
a few bands that people might not have heard of. Bands like Wait in
Vain (Timm from Trial's new band), Sinking Ships, and This Time Tomorrow
are really promising. All three are very different so I would recommend
checking them out sometime, either on myspace or on the web. Seattle
has had a few more fights than normal recently, but overall the community
is good to one another and self aware. People here are excited about
the city and it shows. Its a good feeling.
What do you think about the hardcore revival?
The hardcore revival? I didn't realize it ever went away. By "revival"
if you mean how popular hardcore has gotten recently, then it isn't
about a real revival, which would be more about people rediscovering
something they had forgotten about or grown away from. The recent surge
in hardcore popularity is all about effective marketing. It has gotten
more popular because advertising budgets have gotten bigger.
What is your view about straight edge today?
My feelings about straight edge today are the same as they always have
been. Being straight edge for me is a personal choice about how I live
my life in terms of choosing not to use drugs or alcohol. Its first
and foremost a personal outlook on life and way of living. I would like
to see more straight edge bands take risks with their lyrics and really
push themselves further. Singing about straightedge can only go so far,
and taking lyrics a step further and really challenging yourself and
your listeners benefits everyone.
EARTH AND SKY:
Can you introduce your new band "Between
Earth and Sky"?
People can find out more about us at www.betweenearthandsky.net.
The band has recorded one song so far, which is on the site and will
be recording more soon. The song is an extension of the Trial full length
in that it picks up where "Saints and Sinners" left off. I
always wanted a bit more from that song, and the new song adds that
perfect punctuation mark to the sentence started by "Are These
Our Lives?" and more specifically by the song "Saints and
Sinners". The band has members of Strain, Gob, and of course Trial
and is recorded exclusively by Blair Calibaba who recorded the Trial
record, the Strain record, the new Propaghandi LP, and a ton of other
stuff. Its going to be good.
With your new band "Between Earth and Fire"
did you want to make something very different to trial or did you want
to have the same root?
At the core, the band will be similar to Trial in that we'll be going
after intense topics and deep issues with the lyrics. The music will
be different for sure, though it will still be a hardcore band. So my
answer to you is yes on both counts: yes, we want something different
than Trial, and yes, it will have similar roots.
What are the topics for the lyrics?
Like the name of the band suggested, the songs will explore the relationship
of people to the world and the heavens and how we are caught between
those two extremes as we go through life. On one hand we can imagine
vast futures for ourselves, and on the other hand, our potential is
limited by our eventual death. This conflict in the human mind and heart
is where the band starts. The first song is about the conflict between
needing guidance and being subjected to authority in the face of insecurity
What is your favourite band or song today?
I listen to Alkaline Trio constantly, and "All on Black" is
my favorite of their songs.
Have you listened and what do you think of the
new bands of your ex bandmates: Brian and Alexei in 3 Inches of Blood
and Timm singing in Wait in Vain?
Both bands are amazing. The 3IOB record is one of my favorites currently.
Brian sent it to me last week and I played it all the way through twice
the first time I put it in my CD player. Wait in Vain is one of the
better hardcore bands on their way up through the scene. They have solid
music and vocals and good lyrics. I will have a feature up on http://wordsasweapons.com
about them soon.
What is the thing you loved the most during your
Being able to continue sharing emotions and ideas with people all over
the world. I love that more than I could ever describe.
Nowadays, you are a professional juggler. How
did you come to it?
I have been a juggler since I was a kid. I learned how by accident when
I was signed up for a class in juggling by mistake and decided to take
it anyway. As soon as I learned how to juggle, I loved it and stuck
with it non stop over the years. I love the hidden ideas that juggling
presents: order from chaos, maintaining control, finding balance, and
all that sort of thing. Practicing fascinates me really. I love it still
after all these years.
You wrote and co-produced a documentary named
"Flight from Death". Can you tell me more about this project?
"Flight From Death: The Quest For Immortality" is a feature
length film narrated by Gabriel Byrne about human anxiety about death
and how if affects our behaviors, specifically our violent behaviors.
My partner and I have been working on the film for four years and it
is finally coming out on DVD next month. We have won seven "Best
Documentary" and "Best Feature" awards at film festivals
around the world and anticipation about the film's release has been
amazing. Our website is www.flightfromdeath.com.
You can read a review of the film here: www.filmthreat.com
are the messages you want to express through your website Words as Weapons?
I put www.wordsasweapons.com
together as a means of continuing to address the ideas that Trial was
exploring. I wanted the discussion and sharing of those ideas to continue
even after the band broke up, and the web was the perfect way to do
that. There are articles on there about all sorts of topics and I always
love getting submissions with more. Just last week I put up a page about
the band Die Young from Houston Texas, who are a cross between Terror,
Trial and Catharsis. They are really worth checking out.
You did spoken intervention on Bridge to Solace
record. How did you meet Zoli? Were you free to do what you want?
Zoli did the Trial show for us when Trial played in Budapest in 1999.
We have stayed friends ever since. We came up with a cool idea for the
Bridge to Solace record: my spoken pieces come between many of the songs,
and the first line of each spoken pices is the last line of the song
lyrics for the song that precedes it. Also, the last line of each spoken
piece is the first line of the song that comes after it. That makes
the spoken pieces really bridge the tracks together and gives the record
more of a theme. I just finished recording a spoken track for a band
called Parallax. They are from Salt Lake City, and their full length
with that spoken track is going to be coming out on Counterintelligence
Records this fall. The band's website is www.goldenspikemusic.com
What are your plans for the next years?
Patrick, who is my partner with "Flight From Death", and I
are going to make two more films. I hope to do more spoken word material
with bands, and I want to write a book. If i get all that done in the
next two years, I will be in really good shape. Ask me again in two
years and see how I did!
(Top of mind answers)
is your favourite word? Passion
What is word you hate? Laziness
What turns you on creatively?
People who push the limits of what is possible physically or emotionally.
What turns you on spiritually? Exploring
fear, suffering, and hope.
What turns you on emotionally? Honesty.
What turns you off?
When people hold back and don't connect with me fully.
What is your favourite bad word? Death
What sound do you love? An aluminum baseball
bat hitting a ball in the rain.
What sound do you hate? A sigh of regret.
What is the last book you read? Dan Brown,
What is the last movie you saw? George
Romero's "Land of the Dead"
Where is your favourite place on Earth?
Currently: Laguna Beach CA
And the one you hate? Any place without
Which persons influenced you the most during your
V (the main character in Alan Moore's "V For Vendetta"), my
mentor John Wilson, and those who have had the courage to connect with
me fully, deeply.
Who were your heroes when you were a kid?
My mom. She rules. No one on the planet knows more about connecting
with people who are struggling to make their lives better than she does.
She transforms people's lives every day and saves people from suffering
physically and emotionally. You should interview her sometime!
What profession would you like to do when you
were a kid?
Professional juggler and film maker.
What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that involves working 9-5.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to say to
God when you'll arrive to the pearly gates?
"I was just kidding. I really did believe in you. All the stuff
I said about you? Just jokes."