Lockjaw, a classic hardcore band from Portland, Oregon, caused quite a stir back in the 80’s. But even now, in 2015, you’re still not safe with last year’s reissues of the band’s (in)famous EP’s “Shock Value” and “Dead Friends”! This was just a taste of things to come, because this summer the band’s deleted album “Gang Violence” is coming out, 30 years after it has been recorded, on vinyl for the very first time! Time to have a chat with guitarist Del Murry!
Hi Del, first of all thanks a lot for doing this interview! How are you doing?
Just getting up but it's all good
I hope you slept well, because I got some questions for you about Lockjaw! First things first for those who aren't familair with the band, could you give those a brief history lesson of Lockjaw?
Well me and Eric Couch started a band called Eaters in 1980, we played a few shows, but our singer did an armed robbery so we found Tony to sing, got a new drummer Rob Parker, changed our name to Lockjaw and that was the line-up for the first two EP’s. Around ‘84 Rob quit to join the Jakals, so one night we were in downtown Portland and this dude was in a fight with two marines and we jumped in to help that guy. That was Garret, he played guitar and he had a drummer so they joined the band and that was our best line-up. With this line-up we did the song “You Dick” for the “Drinking Is Great” compilation and the “Gang Violence” LP, on which we included “You Dick”.
Yeah, the "Gang Violence" album is finally being issued on vinyl, 30 years after it has been recorded! How come this record wasn't released back in the 80's already?
Well, this line-up was very good, we were fast and hard. But Garret was going to college, so I took us into the studio before we broke up. This was ’85, we did a few shows after Garret left with different drummers and guitarists, that is the live stuff that ended up on the “Skinned Alive” CD. In ’89 me and Slayer Hippie from Poison Idea went into the studio and remixed it, at the time Lockjaw was blacklisted by every distributor, so no label wanted to touch it and it was all because we got labeled as racists, while we never were. Zines like Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll and Ripper were on our shit, along with our friends of Agnostic Front, so I never worked hard on getting it out.
Did it dissapoint you at the time that your full-length, recorded with the band's best line-up didn't get released? Did the accusations anger you?
No, we never gave a shit. We had a huge following and were having a great time, but we were done by ’86. We played in a few bands, then I started Tattooed Corpse in ‘89 and Eric formed a band Bludgeon. Both bands played thru the 90’s.
We we're mean fuckers , and we did carry baseball bats and chains , guns etcetera. We would stash bats in clubs before we played in case a brawl broke out, it did a lot. Portland was a rough town back then.
Although it has been issued on CD in '96, it must satisfy you though that the album is finally coming out on vinyl, right?
Yeah I'm a huge record collector, I have been forever. A lot of labels wanted to put this out, but when Toni from Antitodo came at me he was very cool and let me do it the way we would have done it back then.
Awesome, can't wait to see the final result! Will you send MRR a copy? Haha.
We do have one song on there that was not on the CD, it will ruffle a few feathers. The LP will come with a zine with story's about the band, flyers and pictures.
What’s the song about?
Oh you will hear it soon , some members of the band did not want it out ever, but fuck it, that was 30 fuckin’ years ago, different times who cares? You wanna fight, I'm still ready! Ha! Also you might want to check out Garrett's band Trouble Maker out of Oakland, CA still playing great hardcore, cheers my friend and keep up the good work! Oi!
Can't wait! Prior to "Gang Violence" coming out, Antitodo already warmed us up with the reissues of the EP's "Shock Value" and "Dead Friends". As a collector yourself, does it surprise you that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the original copies of these 7-inches?
No they are rare, 500 of each came out and people broke them up and sent them back to us! We loved it! We tried to piss everyone off, even the punks , we lived by no rules fuckers, none!
Some collectors would say, in general, that reissues will decrease the value of the original records. What is your opinion on that?
I love the reissue trend right now, really cool stuff. I buy a ton of reissues of stuff I have, or just to hear a band I never heard before. But you know, record collectors are assholes… right?
We can be some time yeah... haha! Your collection must be massive, collecting for over decades. What are some of your personal favorites?
I got Joey Ramone to sign my copy of “Too Tough To Die”, SSD’s “Kids Will Have Their Say ,oh and the Lockjaw Bundy cover my favorite! But the new Agnostic Front is so fuckin’ good as well!
A lot of classics, especially the valuble ones, get bootlegged, but I don't think I ever saw a Lockjaw boot. Why do you think is that?
Hard to get, or scared of us. There has been a lot of folklore about this band over the years, but still we get new fans all the time. I love it! It was a crazy time, but I don’t regret a thing.
Probably scared! As you said, there was a lot of violence and the band's lyrics werent exactly for the weakhearted either. If you compare that to the scene nowadays, what has changed the most over the past 30-35 years?
The music scene is alive, you have to realize that back in the 80’s you had to write letters, put out and read fanzines to know about bands and to get your music out. Most clubs hated punk rock as did most record stores we had to work hard to play. It was a very violent band, but it was our thing.
Everything is much easier now yeah. If you had the situation from now, 2015, back in the 80's, what for effect would that have had on the band?
I don't know , but some of the best known bands would probably be not as popular you know. There would have been more choices than just Black Flag or Dead Kennedy’s.
Maybe, it's hard to tell of course. Would you consider getting up on the stage again, ever, with Lockjaw for a (one time) reunion show in support of the reissues?
Won't happen . I love that Agnostic Front can still kick ass, but I hate to see a once great band do a show and their old as fuck and not very good, or they only have one original member left. I hate that, stop!
Clear! I'm about to wrap this interview up. But before I go, what was the craziest shit you have ever seen during your time with Lockjaw?
So many , lots of gang fights mostly with the rockers. Maybe one night I met 6 girls downtown too young to buy beer, so I took them to the Lockjaw house and well, you know......cheers my friend, thanks again!