Mike: Hi, my name is Mike Bullshit. I am 21, I'm 6'4', I weigh 170, I'm from New York City, and I sing in a band called GO!, and I'm the editor of a fanzine called Bullshit monthly.
L: Uh huh, and lesse -- you're on tour here in Minneapolis. How long have you been on tour for?
M: Well, the first day of the tour was July 7th, in Providence, Rhode Island. We'd just gotten a drummer 2 days before that. He left a couple days ago. We got a new drummer, Ethan from St. Paul. We got him today. He's coming with us for most of the rest of the time. We're going to have to get a third drummer along the way.
L: So is this the first time you've toured with any band?
M: Yeah, I was in SFA for 4 years but SFA never really, at least in the time I was in, never got off the ground. We did very little -- we put out a 7" which was really bad. I moved on to GO! because I wanted to do something... I wanted to work with people that would not slow me down. People who shared ideas with me, people who got along with me. People who wanted forward movement and not stagnation. I felt that people burned out but they were a decent core of people.
L: What is the vision of GO!, then?
M: Vision -- making people question what's in front of their minds not just accepting it as reality... making people think about their values and their ideas as opposed to just mindlessly taking... trying to present a viewpoint that is different; that other people can hook onto; and not trying to change their minds per se but just making them think about the issues that they back, try to see both sides.
L: So what are some of the issues that GO! addresses.
M: GO! I think tackles many issues dealing with sexism, racism, violence, also homophobia, anti-gay attitudes, and ignorance and violence in general. Just like making people question it. Not just mindlessly accept based on their ignorance or inner anxiety, things they're sucked into. There's a lot of anti-gay stuff going around now -- it's very repetitive, it's very annoying, it's boring, it's prejudiced -- you can go on and on. There's only so many ways you can present the facts to people. I feel it's a lot easier -- you give people the facts, they'll take them, they'll use them -- it's better to try to present them in a way that's more palatable.
L: Do you usually talk more on the stage than you did tonight?
M: It really depends on the audience. I try to gague the audience. Every show we've every played, we've talked about gay and lesbian rights. Sometimes I'll talk about them for 2 or 3 minutes, sometimes just a minute or so. I try to stay about a minute cause I want to present it to people and let them think about it instead of beating it to death. I used to go on and on about the Bad Brains but I think I kind of made my point on that. I don't want to overplay stuff.
L: I think Guy of Fugazi should talk about the song "Give Me The Cure" when they perform it.
M: Most of the DC stuff now is really vague. I mean it's cool because it couple be beneficial like if you read any lyrics by the Smiths, at least half their songs could be read into as having gay/lesbian themes. A lot of people don't realize that about the Smiths, but as far as gay bands, they're one of the most gay bands ever. I really like Morrisey a lot -- but personally, he's skirted around the issue a little much for me. Also, on the album by '3', Dark Days Coming [on Dischord Records -- L-bob]
L: They've got a Silence=Death thing on the cover.
M: Which is cool, but the one thing I disagree with them on that is that choice comes into it -- "suffering for your choice" -- I don't believe homosexuality is a choice -- I feel that sexual orientation, sexual preference, whatever the correct them, the politically correct term is these days -- I don't feel it's a choice, although I've gotten in arguments with people on that case. I've yet to meet someone who actually chose either way.
L: What is ABC NO RIO?
M: ABC is an Art Gallery on the Lower East Side of New York City and we have Saturday hardcore matinees there. They're small -- there's not many big bands playing at all; usually crowds are between 30 and 70 people. It's always $5 in order to get in. It's always all ages. It's not like bars that have bands as an excuse to draw people to drink. It's just a club that's run by the kids. We bought the P.A., we bought the cabinets, we bought the microphones. We buy records wholesale for $2 and sell them for $3. There are things with it I don't like; there are times it's elitist, there's times things go down there I don't agree with. But I feel it's a good place to have small shows in New York City. It's a pretty cool club. It's a small club, and if you play there you're not going to get paid a lot, a lot of times it's not very conducive to dancing. It's a really fun spot and a lot of people just don't know about it because we don't advertise because we don't want all the goons from Brooklyn showing up.
L: What's the ABC NO RIO magazine?
M: ABC magazine doesn't have anything to do with hardcore -- just the art gallery, but the people in charge of ABC are really cool people and it's really fun working with them.
L: You mentioned alcohol. Are you "straight-edge"?
M: I don't personally drink. I don't have anything against people drinking, but I don't like people who are drunk. They're very difficult to deal with. But I don't have anything against people drinking, I just feel that to get music across as an excuse to sell booze or getting at across to get people to come and enjoy the bands are two different things. As soon as the monetary aspect becomes involved with it, I feel it worsens it. At the club we charge a door price, but it's going to the bands, it's going to the scene, it isn't going in people's pockets, or to pay heavy rents, or to support someone's drug habits. I guess I could be classified as straight-edge, although I don't consider myself straight-edge, but I was just saying that about the bars because I feel music should be taken for itself, and it shouldn't have to be sold, shouldn't have to be on colored vinyl, shouldn't have to be a limited edition, shouldn't have to just have bands as an excuse to get people to drink.
L: What about Bullshit Monthly?
M: 24 issues. It began in November '84. The last issue came out two months ago in June 1990, no issue ever went over 50 cents. Press runs were anywhere between 100 and 700. The last five issues have said on the inside cover "proud to be gal owned and operated," and that has not resulted in a decline of readership at all, and dealing with New York City Hardcore, which is pretty homophobic, I thought is was pretty good.
L: Is there any gay or lesbian punk presence in New York that you can see?
M: I can see them, but that's just because as an openly gay person, I tend to attract the people, cause they feel they can talk to me. So yeah, I know who they are, but everyone else doesn't.
L: Do they talk to each other?
M: Yeah, I try to hook people up; there's a little network, but I know of under 10 in New York City -- there are more actually.
L: Mostly boys?
M: It's both -- most of the ones I know are boys, but the New York City Hardcore scene is mainly male oriented anyway. There aren't that many girls involved, which is a shame; I feel that females could definitely give a lot to the scene. It's definitely too jock oriented and too macho oriented. I can't really complain -- some of them are cute. The whole flex-your- muscles instead of flexing your head type thing. I'd rather have people thinking than punching each other any day of the week.
L: What about the New York City gay scene?
M: In New York City, the gay scene is kind of insular. It's really to itself. There's a gay scene, there's a punk scene, there's a hardcore scene, there's a glam rock scene. They all kind of tend to stay to themselves -- most of the gays who are involved in say, the gay/lesbian community center, go to gay places, are on the gay bowling team, gay hiking team, gay lawyers, gay doctors -- they try to build themselves their own little world -- of course, I've been involved with the community center in various groups. I was on the gay wrestling team, I marched in the last two pride parades, and both of them I worked security at the gay pride dance on the Christopher St. piers, where there were about 10,000 people this year. I'm involved kind of with the gay/lesbian community, but it kind of builds walls around itself; there's reason for it, but I can't really support stuff like that.
L: Did you come out as gay first, or were you punk first -- which came first for you?
M: Um... punk or hardcore as an attitude or music I started getting into in the middle of '84, early '85. I slept with my first guy -- it was terrible -- in the middle of '85. I didn't come out, publicly. I came out to my friends at the end of '87; I came out publicly in the early part of '88.
Anthony: We all worship Satan. Is this the one we're eating at?
M: This is Anthony, he's in the band.
L: What's it like being in a band with this guy?
A: Besides the fact that he takes up too much room in the car, and his feet smell worse that mine, he's pretty cool.
M (to A): Have you had repurcussions upon yourself because of the fact that I'm openly gay?
A: Repurcussions upon myself? Meaning?
M: It's a literary term. I don't know.
A: No, I don't think so.
L:Has anybody given you shit about it?
A: No, except the shit we've gotten at show like, as a band; I've never gotten anything else.
L: What kind of shit have you gotten as a band?
A (in a dumb jock voice): HOMOS SUCK.
L: That's kind of obvious.
M: That's what I said, actually. That was Boston. In Flint, Michigan, this band called Relapse, who were idiots, walked out on us. In Pensylvania, these nazi skinheads were yelling stuff at us. I don't mind, because I find stuff like that very amusing. I can't really complain.
L: So the band's gonna end at the end of this summer -- are you going to play some shows after you get back to New York?
M: Yeah, our last show's August 25, at ABC NO RIO, and then we're broken up as a band.
?: Ice cream or no?
M: I'm doing ice cream -- I'll be in in a minute.
L: And then what?
M: I'm going to be hitch-hiking around for a while. I'm going to stay in Seattle about two weeks and then I'm going to stay in Berkeley a couple weeks, and I'll probably stay with my ex-lover in Pennsylvania a couple days, Chicago a couple days. And then I'm hopefully moving to a commune called Zendik Farm Tribe. It's been stressful the last few months. I kind of want to take a break, move on to other things, just relax, take care of animals and farm, pull weeds.
M: Moving on to Mike's left arm, on the shoulder we have a globe with a backwards N over it. The N standing for an Eastern European version of the letter E -- also standing for negation, saying that at the rate we're going, there will not be too much left of the world. The rhino represents lust. The cards represents the acting that we do in our daily lives. The Bullshit is the name that I use. The skeleton is a skeleton. The three stripes are very personal -- they are on my wrists. Now on the other arm I have an envelope, which has no significance, and I have this thing which is up for interpretation. And on my chest I have a piece which represents order and forward movement and precision, etcetera, etcetera. And what would I do if I was invisible? If I was invisible -- I'm glad that you asked -- I would be hanging around in the locker room of the Green Bay Packers watching Tony Mandarek dress and undress. Tony Mandarek is 6' 7"; he weighs 315 pounds.
Go! have reunion shows in 2006 and 2007. For details see their page on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/gonyhc