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The Washington D.C. hardcore seminal band Scream recently returned to the music scene, after breaking up in 1990. Considered one of the benchmark bands in the history of the D.C. hardcore music movement, the band told Toonari Post that they thought about reuniting for a long time, but due to organizational problems, as the band members are dedicated to their families and live in different parts of the U.S., the project was on hold.
Finally, in 2009, Scream came back together with a live performance in D.C. and in 2011, the band released the amazing EP ‘Complete Control Sessions’, produced by Side One Dummy; they then started touring the U.S. and Europe.
Scream expressed the hope of releasing a new album, in ‘LP mode;’ although they have already started working on new material, there is no time frame for the release of a new album yet.
The band is now composed of the original line-up, frontman Pete Stahl, guitarist Franz Stahl, bassist Skeeter Thompson, and drummer Kent Stax, with the addition of a new guitarist, Clint Walsh.
Toonari Post had the chance to meet with Scream in Vienna, Austria, during their European tour.
The show brought on stage the spontaneous energy and positive attitude that has always characterized the band; the set-list mainly focused on the first two albums, ‘Still Screaming’ and ‘This Side Up’, both released in the ‘80s, with the addition of the new material from 2011.
Scream’s music is available for purchasing in the major digital platforms.
Toonari Post (TP): Your lyrics have always had strong political and social connotations. What is the bottom line message you hope to send with your music? Has the way you see the world changed in the last 30 years?
Pete Stahl (PS): Ah well not really, as a lot of songs right now have still kind of the same themes and subject matters. In a way, our music is always about being positive about life, being aware of what is going on around, and then having a good time in your life.
TP: In one of the songs of the new EP, “The Year Bald Headed Singers Were In”, you have a line about punk rock being dead again in 2011. What do you think about the state of rock in general in this moment?
PS: I think there is a lot of great music out there, but I don’t think there are a lot of bands that really care about what they stand for, or that really have anything to say, other than be really musically talented. They express it that way, which is fine; it’s just not where I come from as a singer. ‘The Year Bald Headed Singers Were In’ is a funny song, but it means something too, in a humorous way, and it is a good hardcore song.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s really important to music today. I don’t know if I can put my finger on it, but I think that the amount of ways available to people to communicate to each other seems to make things more superficial, less important. It is unfortunate, because I think that all the powers that control this world like people to be more preoccupied with something else; like that, the world can turn the way they want to.
TP: Which role do you think music covers nowadays in the society?
Skeeter Thompson (ST): Well, it has always been a cry for freedom. It has always been awareness, and communication.
PS: I think the main thing about music is communication. People communicate with each other; it’s a way for musicians to communicate their feelings and their ideas to people. It brings people together. It’s a language that goes from the musicians on stage and back.
ST: It’s how people actually see things; I mean their feelings, their emotions, and people’s problems.
TP: The last Rock ‘revolution’ took place 20 years ago, with the raise of grunge. Do you feel that nowadays there is a community growing with a strong identified approach to rock, as happened for you in D.C. in the 80s with hardcore punk, and as happened for the last time in Seattle, with grunge, 20 years ago?
PS: I think you always have new explosions here and there in music. I mean it’s not like grunge was some new way of playing rock and roll. It was more a reaction to hair metal, and a new access to rock; but it suddenly turned into Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains, which is kind of the same thing, just dressed down.
I’m sure there will be one, you just never know where it comes from. I mean, people are making music these days by exchanging files, and I don’t think music is made by exchanging files. Rock ’n’ roll is basically three chords, and melody, and melody; I think there will always be someone who will reinvent it, and touch people’s hearts and minds. That always happened.
TP: Being Dave Grohl’s first professional band, you are often associated with Nirvana and Foo Fighters. How do you feel about that, as you play a different kind of music?
PS: It’s just the way it is. We were very lucky that we found Dave, and he played drums for us, and he was very lucky to play with us, or he wouldn’t have had Nirvana. I don’t have a problem with that; it also helps us out, like people know about Scream out of their success. We come from a very small scene, a very small gender.
The D.C. hardcore scene it’s a very cool scene; I’m proud of being part of it and Dave is part of it. The only thing that bothers me is when people just don’t know anything about us, and just want to hear of Dave when talking to us. We were a band before Dave was in the band, and he would be the first person to tell you that.