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'No Redeeming Social Value

'No Redeeming Social Value' formed in New York in 1988, and have earned a reputation as one of the most notorious live acts on the hardcore/punk scene. The band released the 7"s Negative Image and Hardcore Your Lousy Ass Off, on their own Desperate Fight Records. In 1996 the group released its debut album No Redeeming Social Value Rocks The Party on SFT records, and a year later released their second full length Hardcore your lousy Ass Off. In the summer of 1998 the group went into the SD50 studios, and started recording material for their new album THC.

Gardar Eide Einarsson: The hardcore scene seems to be built up around the personal interests and initiatives of people with a passion for the music and with quite idealistic reasons for being involved in the HC scene. How do you think this has influenced the music (if it is true)?

Dean, No Reedeming Social Value: Well of course Hardcore music is a special kind of music and scene. It is unlike any other in the world of music. Therefore, the people involved in the scene (the ones who also shape it) are quite a "different" kind of people. Idealistic is a good word to use - however, it is sometimes to a fault. Too much idealism can ruin a good thing. In Hardcore it is important to remember that everyone from the band to the fans, to the zines, to the promoters, to the clubs are in it to have fun and enjoy music. If certain ideals come into play, of course, it is important to respect people and their ideas. That is more of an important message than any single persons' ideals. Tolerance of all is really the only ideal that the HC scene as a whole needs to be concerned with. It is something that is missing from this world. Therefore it is nice to see some tolerance of ideas and exchange of ideas within the scene. It is important.

GEE: Could you talk about why you chose the name No Redeeming Social Value?

D, NRSV: Well to totally contradict what I just said, the name No Redeeming Social Value has a very special meaning to us, because it was thought up by a friend to describe the kind of people we are - totally without class, or morals. Totally useless to society in every way. With all the "incidents" that we find ourselves in and the way we look at the world, the scene, and ourselves - i feel that it is an accurate name that i can actually be proud of.

GEE: How would you describe the relationship between hard core bands and smaller hardcore record labels? How is NRSV's relationship to its record label?

D, NRSV: Well, the only knowledge I have about this topic is through my own personal experience through NRSV. We have always had a good relationship with every label we ever worked with - and we worked with a lot of them -big and small. Our current label, Triple Crown Records (in the U.S.) is a great label and we are very pleased to be working with them. They know about hardcore music and love it as we do - therefore, we see eye to eye on most things as far as how our music should be presented, etc... I hear bands complain about their record companies all the time and I think it's stupid. My advice to them is -"hey, learn how to read the contract better next time and just be glad that someone actually wants to support your music, dumbass."

GEE: How do you feel that the hardcore scene today has evolved compared to the earlier hardcore scene, and compared to the historical roots of hardcore (like early punk)?

D, NRSV: Wow...well, Hardcore sure is different from how it was intended to be at the beginning. Now, a lot of the present hardcore is being fused with metal, rap,and industrial sounds to create something totally different. Personally, i am a fan of old-school style 80's hardcore - Judge, Warzone, Minor Threat, YOT, etc... That's the best to me. But, the important thing is that Hardcore has and continues to evolve into new things. Whether you like a new bands' sound or not, you gotta respect 'em for trying to make something new outta something that inspiried them in the beginning. Otherwise, hardcore, punk would have died a long time ago. Hardcore LIVES!!!!!!!

GEE: In which respects do you feel that the hardcore scene differs from the more commercial/ mainstream music scene in relation to the fans and to how the music is distributed?

D, NRSV: Good question. I feel that Hardcore is a totally and truly independent music scene. Hardcore don't need MTV, VH1, Rolling Stone, Metal Maniacs or any of the commercial things like radio, or big chain stores. Hardcore, thanks to the fans, fanzines, labels, bands, and promoters is still a true underground artform. Put it this way, if MTV died tomorrow, so would DMX, Madonna, Aerosmith, etc....Hardcore wouldn't be affected at all. To me that is what makes Hardcore even more special. Hardcore is around in our hearts and in our minds and on tour stereo, because we, the fans want it to be there - not because we are told by MTV that it's cool. Hardcore was never cool. It is just Hardcore - it is indeed something special just by being what it is - underground.

GEE: Does NRSV have a stable fan base? How has this fan base been built up?

D, NRSV: Oh yes. We just completed our 4th European tour and it gets better everytime we go on tour. We've been around for 12+ years playing shows all over the US and Europe and releasing albums for almost as long We always have great support from our label by getting the record out there. And the fans respond better with each tour, or each show, or each record. We are especially grateful to everyone that has ever bought a CD or come to a show to sing along, because the fans enable us to do what we love - drink beer!!!HAHAHA.

GEE: What role do fanzines play in the hardcore scene?

D, NRSV: Fanzines have always been a crucial part of the hardcore scene. Without fanzines, how would I know about bands from Slovenia, Germany, Argentina? How would they know about NRSV? Fanzines really bring the scene together. Everyone I know reads them (those that know how to read, that is), and everyone has their favorites. Most importantly though, Fanzines make it possible for every band to get their message out to the fans of HC - even if their music has yet to be heard on a wide scale.

GEE: Do you feel that your fans share the same background as yourselves, and that they can relate to your music and lyrics?

D, NRSV: Oh yes,,..that's for sure. Our fans are all as fucked up as we are. There is no doubt in my mind about that. People are always singing along, and having fun at shows, drinking with us and dancing along. It's a great time and everyone has fun. That is what we're all about and we're thankful that people recognize that and can have fun with us.

GEE: Do you feel that hard core, and NRSV, has a social function? Do you think it can contribute to changing society/ the system? Do you think it needs to?

D, NRSV: Well like i said NRSV dosen't have any heavy message or anything like that. We're just drunk guys that like to make loud, fast music and scream. As far as social impact - the only thing we contribute in that way is to keep the beer companies in business. Hardcore has an important social impact in that, as I said, it shows the world that you don't need to be on TV to spread your message and be heard.

GEE: Hard core appeals to a small number of people, compared to many other forms of music. Do you consider this a problem? Do you consider it an advantage?

D, NRSV: Well, I've always thought it's better to have an army of soldiers that want to fight than a bunch of guys that don't have their hearts in it. Hardcore, because it is underground, will always appeal to a select (smaller) number or group of people - because it takes time to discover Hardcore, to check out the bands, to find the cd's, etc...It's not on TV - so not any brainless asshole can be told that it's "cool." Too bad for them, i guess they're missing out. The important thing is "Dont' forget the Struggle, don't forget the Streets, don't forget to drink beer."

GEE: How do you think the internet has affected the way hard core music is distributed? How has the internet changed the distribution of NRSV's music?

D, NRSV: Well, I don't think that it changed things for us that much..i mean you can buy our cd online if you like at certain sites like or or our label's site, but if it wasn't online, people would simply buy it in the store I guess. The best thing about having our music online is that you can listen to it before you buy it. In general though, the internet is important thing to musicians of any kind of music - because for the first time in recent history, the "artist" controlls the destiny of his or her music -not the big corporate record company. It's good for the musicians. The record companies are starting to realize that music (esp. Hardcore) dosent' need them anymore. I think it has them scared. Good!!!

See interview with the 'Dropkick Murphys'