Written by A. Iwasa
Ahead of the release of his new zine Clevo Style: How Decades of Cleveland Punk and Hardcore Shaped the World, A. Iwasa shares some of his favorite Clevo hardcore bands that reflect the community within the underground yet prolific scene.
I semi-recently found out that when I was in high school in the west suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1990s, appearing in a zine for the first time, playing in bands and going to shows, Joe Biel was also in the hardcore scene and starting Microcosm Publishing while living in the east suburbs.
We decided to collaborate on this zine together called Clevo Style: How Decades of Cleveland Punk and Hardcore Shaped the World. It's dedicated to Jim Konya who is somewhat known for having been in Nun Slaughter and 9 Shocks Terror, but he was also in From the Depths and I saw him with Schnauzer seven times! It's also dedicated to Aragorn, know primarily for publishing with Little Black Cart, he used to write for Maximum Rocknroll. Here's an excerpt of the zine:
Cleveland, Ohio's punk scene has played host and step parent to tens of thousands of kids for over 40 years. A. Iwasa was one of those kids and now with nearly 20 years of distance, he reflects on how Cleveland's weird, unique social and geographic landscape impacts those impressionable young people, shaping them into idealistic, scrappy adults who spread that influence with their own creations. Each one of us (yes, including the publisher of this book) got excited, felt a part of something unique and special. Then got deeply immersed in it until you find that it's not actually meeting your adult needs...before falling too deep into the hole and encountering the darker aspects of post-industrial punk. It feels like one day you suddenly discover how your peers see issues differently than you do. But again, each of these punks that once felt alone in the world go out and create something beautiful in punk's mired visage, even if only to escape yet another destructive home life.
If you know one Clevo hardcore band, you might be disappointed that the zine has little to do with them. Along those lines, I saw Ringworm four times around the turn of the century, and I believe every time someone ended up in the hospital. I had reached out to Ringworm for an interview before, but was asked to write back when my pitch was accepted for sure by an outlet. For this project I decided I didn't want to try to interview anyone that was harder to access then Henry Rollins (literally my litmus, I interviewed him for the first issue of The Luddite Worker back in 2009).
Some of the people I was able to interview include Tony Erba from Face Value, 9 Shocks Terror, the H-100s and most recently FYPM, Don Foose of The Spudmonsters and Run Devil Run, Ben Wrecked, also of Whatever..., Ron Kretsch of Proletarian Art Threat and Murdered Man, and Xe La, also of Cows in the Graveyard. You can pre-order a copy of the zine here.