Interview: Vic Bondi - Report Suspicious Activity

It's been over ten years since ALLOY recorded 'Paper Thin Front'. That album represented the last set of songs recorded by Vic Bondi, the former frontman with the legendary ARTICLES OF FAITH, JONES VERY and ALLOY. Having always been an outspoken and intelligent man, Bondi's new band, REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY, could be his most politically vitriolic project yet, as he pulls no punches in questioning the Bush Administration. Here, Vic Bondi tells us about the band's self-titled debut album before briefly looking at his own past.

..First off Vic, please tell us why you have chosen now to release your first full album of new songs in 10 years. With the REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY disc being a very political album, was the conception of the project inspired primarily by the political state of the USA or did you have the simple, basic desire to release more music?
..Vic)
Mostly politics. I actually hadn’t picked up the guitar for about three years, from, say, 1998 to 2001. I didn’t feel a strong need to do so - I guess I was content with what I had put out and said. I also got married and had a child, so I was preoccupied. But Bush set me off. He is so obviously a disaster for the world. Initially I marched in protests and tried to do things politically. But, of course, the government ignored all that. So I went back to something I am good at: screaming.

..What are you hoping to achieve with REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY that you didn't with your previous bands?
..Vic)
Initially the RSA record was going to be my solo album - I did write all the songs. But working with J and Darren was thrilling. They are superb musicians, and the more I played with them, the more I wanted to do more. After we added Erik Denno on second guitar, the band really gelled. I think for all of us it was a cathartic, very aggressive, very intense music. J told me after one practice that RSA is the type of Hardcore he wished he had played in GOVERNMENT ISSUE. For me, it’s a return to form.

..Tell us how the project came together. You've said it started as a solo project, but at what stage did you decide to make it a band project? Do you feel the songs - and the message - have greater power with a full band behind them when compared with the original solo versions?
..Vic)
J and Darren are the big difference between the demos and the record. I did the demos with a drum machine, and the initial tracks sound fairly mechanical - I wanted them to, and knew it would sound different with a real band. On the new record, the hidden track 'Crusade' is the actual demo - you can get a feel for how different that is from what the full band sounds like. Darren obviously makes a huge, exciting difference. But J was fairly instrumental in helping me rewrite the songs for a live band. I think it was in recognition of their contributions that we became a band and named the record for the project.
On the new CD EP, 'Dreamland', the work we began doing together has gone to the next stage. You’ll notice how much the new songs rely on Erik Denno’s guitar work. He came in and immediately fit with the vibe of the group. It’s a strong working partnership.

..How did you hook up with former GOVERNMENT ISSUE/JAWBOX/BURNING AIRLINES man J. Robbins? You and he are not a mix I would immediately have thought would work. How do you find working with him and what has he brought to the project that was previously missing?
..Vic)
J and I have known each other about 12 years. ALLOY and JAWBOX used to play together, and I always wanted to play with J. We stayed in touch after I moved to Seattle. I thought he would be a good producer of the songs, and help me find a drummer. But after he heard the demos, he immediately asked me if he could play bass. I jumped at that.
I think a lot of RSA has to do with an alternative outlet that it provides for J and Darren. He and Darren are in CHANNELS with J’s wife, Janet. CHANNELS is a great band, but totally different from RSA - it’s a place for J and Darren’s influences from Prog rock and Math rock to shine. RSA is the Yin to that Yang: a place to roar.

..If we could just talk about a few of the songs on the album, starting with 'The Night Of 1000 Lies'. What's the idea behind this song and does it relate to a specific night? There's a line the states, "Find it difficult to follow the truth? That follows the years of abuse." What abuse are you refering to and who received it?
..Vic)
'Night Of 1000 Lies' is funny, because I wanted to update the old Wilson Pickett song 'Land Of 1000 Dances.' I thought that in our age, no one gets to lay out and shake it purely for fun like they did in the 1960s. What we have today is mendacity and hypocrisy. So if you’re going to dance, it has to be around all the lies the official culture spins. It’s not really about any single night or person. The abuse line is really about Bush, and by abuse, I meant the way he abuses us.

..'Revenge' lists a litany of vengeance exacted on some poor soul. Do I assume it refers to, on a broad level, anyone who misuses a position of power? Or is it more focused on the one person?
..Vic)
That song actually dates from 1994, when I was suffering an extended period of unemployment. It’s again not about any single thing, but a sort of generalized rant on class warfare. I put it on the new record because Biafra had heard the original 1994 demo and kept at me all these years to release it. So we put it on the new album. It’s the only song that was written before Bush was appointed president.

..I've gotta ask about the re-recording of ARTICLE OF FAITH's 'False Security' on the RSA album and its re-titling as 'Patriot Act'. Of all your songs, why choose this particular track to rejuvenate when more obvious options like 'I Got Mine' and 'American Dreams' are available? How disappointed/ exasperated are you about the fact that, over 20 years since the original was written, the song is still so pertinent to today's political climate?
..Vic)
I’m disappointed with almost all the political culture of today. It is miles from what I thought it would be growing up. When I grew up in the 1970s, it seemed like the old order was giving way: the 1960s had blown the doors open, Nixon had gone down, and we had lost a colonial war. I thought we’d have a future of reason, peace and prosperity. I was idealistic about it. Reagan shut a lot of that down, which is why I played in ARTICLES OF FAITH. Bush 1 advanced the counter-revolution, and that was behind the political music I made in JONES VERY and ALLOY (especially 'Eliminate', which I recorded after the first Gulf War). I wish 'False Security' were obsolete. But it’s not.

..With song titles like 'Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.', 'Guantanamo' and the general political direction the album takes - both audio and visual - have you faced any criticism over your opinions and the songs on the album? I think it is one of the most thoughtful - and thought-provoking - political albums to be released for many years, from the songs through to the graphics.
..Vic)
Yes, we’ve taken some hits on the politics of the record. There are more than a few people who think that politics don’t belong in music. But they miss the entire point. The moment you write a song you are making something of nothing and are engaging in a process that is contrary the established, natural order. It’s like Marcuse says: Every work of art begins with a discontent with the way things are. I’m more explicit about my discontents than others, but all real music is already political.
There is, naturally, music that pretends it isn’t political. A lot of people write songs to just to entertain people, to divert them from the conduct of their lives and to make money. But if that is your goal there is no difference between you and Brittany Spears, no matter how avant-garde you think you sound. And you’ve made a political statement anyway: I’m fine with the way things are, and want to get some of it for myself. And will do whatever they ask me to get it. You’re a whore to the status quo.

..I understand the band has swelled to a 4-piece from the trio that recorded the debut album - can you tell us about that? Who is the new guy?
..Vic)
Erik Denno, who was the frontman in KEROSENE 454 and played in that band with Darren. When we decided to play live, the only way we could replicate the sound of many of the songs was by adding another guitarist. Darren suggested Erik, and he’s been spectacular. He lives in New York also. So the two of us end up driving down to Baltimore, where J and Darren live, for rehearsals and recording.

..Has REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY played many shows yet? How has the reaction been? Do you play any of your previous bands' songs?
..Vic)
We played four shows in February, and played at the Black Cat Dec. 29 in DC. The shows were terrific and well received, especially in Chicago and Black Cat. We did not play any songs from any of our old bands.

..Given some of J's production commitments, how hard is it to find the time to tour and rehearse? Didn't you also break your wrist in a motorbike accident recently? What happened there? Did it set the band back a great deal?
..Vic)
It was a bicycle accident on the Brooklyn Bridge. I broke my left hand, which effectively ended the new recording sessions. We had tracked four songs when it happened. Rather than release nothing this year, we put them out as a four-song CD EP on Underground Communiqué records. But the accident also ended any hopes we had of touring this summer. I’ve just recovered full mobility - it took quite some time. So we are going to play out again, and will get back to recording early next year.
It is very difficult for us to practice and record. J’s isn’t the only busy schedule. Mine is booked and I travel extensively, so it is very hard to get together. I had to take time off work to rehearse for the December show.

..Going back a little, I'm curious to know if you came from a musical background/ family? Were your parents supportive of your musical leanings - even once AOF formed?
..Vic)
I come from a military family. My father was a captain in the Navy. Suffice to say, I think he always thought music was too frivolous for me to be involved in. He hated ARTICLES OF FAITH, and our leftist politics. He refused to let us stay at his house once, and we stopped speaking for over a year.
Both my parents are more supportive of me now. They actually went to see American Hardcore. They don’t necessarily like REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY, but they both hate Bush, and so approve of my anti-administration screeds. I think the fact that I hold down a steady job and support my family means I am allowed to indulge my passion for music. But for the most part, music was always a huge source of tension with my parents.

..Originally you were a protest singer and Springsteen fan yeah? What turned you onto Punk from Folk/ protest singing? Was it the CLASH's second album - how did your interest in Punk progress from there? I've always considered folk music to have close ethical ties with the Punk movement, even though musically they are two quite different mediums - that something you agree with?
..Vic)
I was originally a soul music fan. I started listening to music around 1973, and used to listen to WBAI in Baltimore, which was a black station. I started listening just as black music got incredibly militant: O’jay’s 'Backstabbers', Temptation’s 'Masterpiece', Sly Stone, 'There’s a Riot Goin’ On', Marvin Gaye, 'What’s Going On', Stevie Wonder, 'You Haven’t Done Nothin’'. These were amazing songs and records. I think I related to the content, because obviously the form and style of that music didn’t influence me much. I was a kid growing up in the shadow of the 60s. Soul on Ice was at the neighborhood library and was a dangerous book.
My family moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1974. Pensacola is on the Gulf Coast, near Alabama. It was a malarial southern town, filled with swamps and angry heat, where the guys on the football team called blacks niggers and busted the windows of cars in the black part of town for fun. It was a hard place to hear any new music, and I spent the first few years there rediscovering the great bands of the 1960s: the Who, the Rolling Stones, and most importantly, the Beatles. I was a huge Beatles fan. I learned to play almost every song, and listened to their records extensively.
Punk was almost impossible to find in Pensacola. Springsteen, Patti Smith and Graham Parker were the closest we got to that, and so I gravitated to them. I loved 'Darkness on the Edge of Town', which came out the day I graduated high school. It seemed gritty, dramatic and powerful - how people in far away places lived. I wanted out of Pensacola badly. I used to dream of being in a band and touring across America.
I came to Punk pretty late - probably 1978 or '79. I had been reading about it, but we couldn’t get those records in Pensacola. One day I finally found 'Give ‘Em Enough Rope' at the record store. From the very first snare shot in 'Safe European Home', I was hooked. I knew I wanted to play Punk, and hoped I could be part of it. I learned how to play every riff on every Punk record I could get in Pensacola - RAMONES, 'Road to Ruin', JAM, 'This is the Modern World', SEX PISTOLS, 'Never Mind the Bollocks'. Fantastic records. My home stereo had a broken channel in it so you could plug in an electric guitar and play along with the records. That’s how I learned to play - jumping around my bedroom imagining I was in a Punk band. My friends thought I was crazy. My parents did too.
I never really listened to "folk" music. Maybe Dylan, but really only after he went electric. I think people think of me as a folk musician because most of my work is so political - but so was Marvin Gaye. So I’m a protest singer the way he was. I still don’t really like folk music much, but I love the sentiments of the political stuff, and like to think of myself as in that tradition of American music.

..Did you have any forays into Punk prior to ARTICLES OF FAITH? What about the band DIRECT DRIVE - did that have any ties, however tenuous, with Punk?
..Vic)
DIRECT DRIVE was a Punk band. I formed it in 1979 in DeKalb, Illinois, where I went to Northern Illinois University. My father had wanted me to go to the Naval Academy, but when I refused, my Uncle, who lived in Chicago, helped me get into school in Illinois. There was a very small Punk/New Wave scene there. We would all make the 70 mile trek into Chicago to see Punk bands. I saw THE CLASH in 1979 at the Aragon Ballroom and they changed my life: I was so bowled over by them that I formed DIRECT DRIVE.
DIRECT DRIVE was a good first band to play in. Joe Scuderi, who played guitar in ARTICLES OF FAITH, was in the band originally. We’d play mainly covers: CLASH, BLONDIE, SEX PISTOLS, BUZZCOCKS. I did write a few original songs, one of which, 'Belfast' ultimately got recorded by ARTICLES OF FAITH. But it was a very derivative band, overly influenced by the CLASH. No doubt: I wanted to be Joe Strummer.
At the time there was only one other Punk band in that part of Illinois - THE SUBVERTS, who lived in the nearby town of Sycamore. For the most part we would play with them and they would play with us. We mostly played parties and a few local clubs. But you couldn’t go anywhere playing in DeKalb, so in 1981 I dropped out of college and Joe and I moved to Chicago to do music full-time.

..You arrived in Chicago in 1981 yeah? Were you not based in DC prior to that, and actually grew up in Florida? Why chose Chicago as you new locale? How different was life in Florida (sun, sea, surf) when compared with Chicago (cold, financially depressed, racially diverse)?
..Vic) Chicago was miserable when I moved there. It was the era of Jayne Byrne and Ronald Reagan, when they were downsizing the industrial Midwest and laying everyone off. The Loop was a decrepit area, depopulated at night and filled with trash and pornshops. The city was run-down, tired and seething with anger. There were places you didn’t go at night, and would risk it if you went there in the day. The buildings were faced with gray. The city was in transition from a grim, rough working place to the shiny corporate mall it is today. The transition was awkward, long and ugly.
The Chicago Punk scene was very arty, filled with a lot of pretense and a naked admiration for all things British. Wax Trax records really set the scene, which revolved around a moving nightclub known as Oz. People dressed Punk and dressed Oi! A lot of the scene was transplanted from Evanston, a wealthy northern suburb where Northwestern University was located, and the children of the professors at Northwestern aped a lot of working-class poses.
I desperately wanted to fit into the Chicago scene. But it was very clannish, and I wasn’t much for dressing and acting Punk. I loved THE EFFIGIES, but their scene was extremely conformist. You had to wear Oi! boots and act like you were a Manchester tough. I didn’t fit in.
Joe and I were trying to turn DIRECT DRIVE into a real band. We hooked up with the drummer Bill Richman, who played in a Springsteenish band called Thunder Road. Bill was a great drummer, but strange. He was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a tiny group of communist zealots that I had never heard of. The RCP was committed to Stalinist revolution, and Bill used to pour over the RCP newspaper like it was the Bible. His attitude was religious with regards to communism. Joe and I were both leftists, so we got along with Bill. But over the years, as he became more dogmatic, his political positions would be a source of constant tension.
Originally the bass player in Thunder Road played in DIRECT DRIVE, but he was really a jazz musician, and not right for what we were trying to do. So we put an ad in the paper, and the first person to answer it was Dave Shield, who had played bass in a band called the Jetsons. Dave was an amazing player and a terrific personality - I liked him the moment I met him, and he’s been my friend ever since.
DIRECT DRIVE started playing around Chicago in the late summer of 1981. We played mostly at our practice space, a converted meat warehouse called Space Place. You practiced in the meat lockers. MINISTRY, at that time a New Romantic band, practiced in the meat locker next door. Space Place had a stage and we played there a lot with some other new Punk bands, such as Urban DK and DV8. We played a few originals, but still did covers of Punk bands, as we had in DeKalb. We were a pretty mediocre band. We were still figuring out what we were trying to sound like.
When I moved to Chicago, my parents were living outside of Washington DC, so I ended up visiting a lot, and knew people in the scene in DC well. My sister was a part of that scene, and dated Franz from SCREAM for a while. DC and Chicago were a lot different. DC was as clannish as Chicago - maybe even moreso… It was almost gang-like. And the kids there were suburban brats. But they didn’t dress up and act like they were something they weren’t. So, strangely enough, I related more to them than the Chicago scene. I was friends with SCREAM and GOVERNMENT ISSUE, and acquainted with Ian and MINOR THREAT. Chicago Punk shows were about attitude and appearance. DC shows were about fun. You had a great time.
The revelation for me was the BAD BRAINS. I saw them at the 9:30 club in the fall of 1981. They demolished the stage. I had never seen such a fantastic band - they were better than the CLASH. I went back to Chicago and told the guys we had to play fast. We changed our name from DIRECT DRIVE to ARTICLES OF FAITH (from a song I had written). We started writing fast thrash songs. We were finding our own voice.

..The Chicago scene from which AOF came from, while not being as instantly recognised as DC, LA or NYC, had some incredible bands - notably the likes of NAKED RAYGUN, STRIKE UNDER and THE EFFIGIES. Do you think that AOF would have been a drastically different band had it come from LA or DC?
..Vic)
I don’t know - maybe we would have fit in better in DC. Our sound was more like that sound than EFFIGIES or NAKED RAYGUN. We never had that mid-tempo buzz guitar sound, what made Chicago so different. We also were a hell of a lot more political than any of those bands, and I think that would have been a problem for us in LA or DC, too. I had opinions, and wasn’t afraid to state them. That alienated a lot of people, but I never thought that it was my job just to entertain. So we would have been militant in DC or LA, too. But given that DC actively seemed to promote a type of diversity in sound (like VOID or SCREAM), I think we probably would have fit in best there. Ironically, given how often I was in DC, ARTICLES OF FAITH never played there.

..A lot of early AOF was produced by HUSKER DU's Bob Mould. How did you find working with him - he comes across as pretty single-minded and aloof. Given your future production work, did you learn a great deal from Mould that you used later? How much of an influence was HUSKER DU on AOF back then - it was a hugely influential band globally, but even in those formative years, was their future greatness evident?
..Vic) Yeah, it was. They were a phenomenal band, and got better every year. They were incredibly talented. Bob just lived to play music. His house was stacked to the ceiling with records. He listened to everything, and dug out the most obscure and idiosyncratic bands from the sixties, and then learned how to play their songs.
They were a big influence on everyone in the Midwest. They acted as the glue to the scene, trading names, addresses and phone numbers. They slept on our floor and we slept on theirs. Bob’s guitar sound definitely influenced the band, although not me so much. If you listen to the song 'Chicago', which was written by Dave, there is this open chording noise guitar part that was lifted pretty much wholesale from Bob.
I didn’t really learn that much in the way of production from him. He had one technique that he used of mixing the drums that fascinated me: he would mike the kick with mics set at different distances from the drum - he actually had this board that extended about five feet from the kick, with mics every foot or so, and he’d mix all those down to one track. I thought it was amazing then, but listening to his records now, the drums sound a little like cardboard.
I’ve got hundreds of HUSKER stories. Bob saved me from having my ass beat by mobsters one night; I had an insane adventure trying to score drugs for the Huskers in Madison; Bob blew Sting off on the phone when we were recording once; there was the time we caught this guy breaking into their van… I’ll never forget when they stayed at Big Blue after recording 'Zen Arcade'. We were the first people they played it for besides BLACK FLAG. I knew it was a work of genius from the moment I heard it.
We played a lot with them. I never thought of Bob as aloof at all. He was a good friend of mine for many decades. He is a very sensitive soul - maybe too much. His life is a little too dramatic for me, and always seemed to be filled with all sorts of psychic trials. He really is a "confessional" singer/songwriter in the mold of Joni Mitchell or Janis Ian. Very Emo, probably not all in a good way. He was a fucking wreck when HUSKER broke up - stayed with me in Boston for part of it. I felt bad for him, but he spun all that into the album 'Workbook', so it sublimated well.

..In the American Hardcore film, Paul Mahern states that for any band coming from the Midwest (as opposed to those cities mentioned above), that the band literally had to 'dig the well' and create a scene. Was Chicago really as uncompromising as that to a band like AOF - or even any HC/Punk band? You certainly seem to have created your own All-Ages scene.
..Vic)
We had to. There were bars we could - and did - play in Chicago: Metro, Tuts, Exit, Space Place, O’Banion’s. COD and Cubby Bear. We probably played every bar that would take our music, and to be perfectly honest, by 1985 most of them did. But when we started it was much harder, and playing those bars would have restricted us to playing 21+ drinking shows. We wanted to reach more broadly than that. We really saw ourselves as part of a movement, and that meant playing for people who could not drink and get into bars. We wanted to reach out to them. The best way to do it was to put on our own shows.
A beer truck driver named Mike Sukow loaned us the seed money to put shows on. We found a performance space on Broadway that was owned by some Guatemalans. They rented to us for cheap, and we put on all the shows. Put the sound system together, cleaned the place up, got the lights, etc. No drinking. Lots of fun. Most of the great American Hardcore bands played those shows. It was definitely more fun than playing the clubs. And by the time we quit, those shows were bigger, and more profitable, than playing the clubs. It was a huge disappointment that they didn’t continue after we broke up.

..What did you make of the American Hardcore film? For me, much like the book, it seemed to gloss over some great bands - BIG BOYS, DEAD KENNEDYS and, in particular, POISON IDEA.
..Vic) POISON IDEA got what I think was representative treatment in the movie - they had a whole clip, which is more than AOF got. They were probably as influential as AOF. But neither AOF or POISON IDEA were great bands. We were good bands. And AOF made great records - 'Give Thanks', and the 'Wait' EP. But we were not a great band.There were four or maybe five great bands in Hardcore, bands that blazed the trail for everyone else, and created the scene: DOA, BLACK FLAG, DEAD KENNEDYS, BAD BRAINS, and HUSKER DU. The band that should have been covered more in the move was DOA - they were at least as important as BLACK FLAG in creating a national Hardcore scene.
I liked the movie. I’m glad someone made a film like that, and glad I could be part of it. As a historical document, I think it suffers for not having the DEAD KENNEDYS and HUSKER DU in it. They were integral to the theme of the film - I don’t think there is a real DIY ethic without those two bands. Both of them were at least as important as BLACK FLAG and the BAD BRAINS in the development of Hardcore. But Biafra hates Blush and refused to work with him, and I don’t know why they didn’t get Bob to do an interview - maybe Bob has decided to put that entire chapter in his life behind him.
As a film, it is a little weak. It took me a few viewings to get the narrative structure, and, frankly, I could do without the part with Mugger and Nig Heist. I’m not thrilled with the "It was OUR scene, not yours" ending, even if I agree that the scene I was part of was over by then. I’m not sure it has appeal to anyone who was not part of the scene. Of course, Paul and Steve were constrained by their financial resources and by the availability of material. But if they had wanted to make a great documentary, they should have focused on the BAD BRAINS and told that story. It is amazing: one of the greatest rock bands that ever existed who completely and utterly self-destructed. I hope they will make that movie next. Nonetheless they really invested their heart and soul into that film. It is their love song to the scene. So good on them for doing it.

..The friction between yourself and John Kezdy of THE EFFIGIES is well documented. The reason for the friction is a little less clear - was it due primarily to political differences (AOF left-wing, EFFIGIES Conservative), musical differences (the thrash of AOF compared with the Oi-style Punk of EFFIGIES), generational, different aspirations, jealously due to the fact AOF kinda usurped THE EFFIGIES as the main band in town or something else? Did you actually rate the band? I mean, 'Haunted Town' was pretty great!!
..Vic)
All those differences between us were real. AOF was left-wing; EFFIGIES, right-wing; EFFIGIES the old line band, AOF the new line; EFFIGIES from Evanston, AOF from Chicago. But really, I’m not sure those differences are the crux of the animosity between us.
The truth is that AOF and the EFFIGIES had very different ideas about what would constitute success in music. Both of us wanted to be, in our own way, rock stars. But John and I opposed concepts about what that would mean. I hated the music business then, as much as I detest it now. I hate it because it is a classic industry that is absorbing the surplus labor value of talented people and distributing to people whose only talent is their control of financial and distributional resources. I wanted to blow all that up. I wanted the people who made the music to get the value of their talent and labor; I wanted people who live and breathe rock to be able to make a living from rock. And that would take a revolution in the music industry. So my hope was that even as AOF became popular, we would act as a force for change in the music business, and restructure the returns musicians made on music in favor of the musicians. And I hoped this not just for AOF, but for all the bands that were up and coming. That is why we supported the scene, and that is why we tried to help other bands - the way other bands, like HUSKER DU, BIG BOYS, MDC, etc., tried to help us. And those bands had exactly the same idea.
Kedzy didn’t care about any of that. From his perspective, the only problem with the rock business was that the music it was producing was lame. If the EFFIGIES made it big, then maybe their style of music would change rock for the better. But at most, the only revolution he was interested in was aesthetic. I don’t think he gave a damn about changing the business practices in rock, or leading a musical insurgency. The EFFIGIES were always trying to work within the status quo, as opposed to overthrowing it. That was the reason they never supported the other Chicago bands, or put on shows or gave a damn about anyone but the EFFIGIES. And that is the reason so many other bands in Chicago - and ultimately the fans - hated the EFFIGIES, even if that first record, as you say, was great.
Ultimately, I don’t think the EFFIGIES were that good a band. The first record was excellent. But they never came up with another equal to that, and spent the most of the rest of their career replicating that basic sound. AOF was a lot more adventurous, and kept trying to push the envelope. And in the 25 years since, I’ve experimented was a variety of sounds and styles, even as I’ve tried to stay true to the original intent of my music. But Kedzy is temperamentally and aesthetically a conservative, so I’m not surprised that he hasn’t tried to step outside of his original formula.
Since neither of us has been able to make a living with music, the career paths we’ve chosen are illuminating: I worked as an academic for eight years and in the computer industry for the last 12 - and both academia and technology are industries with high potential to change society. Kedzy went into law and became a prosecuting attorney. He’s still defending the status quo. I’m still trying to change it.

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