Scene Point Blank: Allegiance now has two 7" and a two full-lengths under its belt, and yet you still play material from throughout your discography. A lot of bands abandon early material in favor of playing only new songs. Why do you choose to continue to play songs from throughout your catalog?
John Eightclip: People like hearing old stuff. Every band would prefer to play new songs, if they say they don't, they're lying. Why would you write new songs if you think your best material is four years behind you? I stand by all of our old songs, I like the lyrics of all our old songs, and I'll keep playing older songs, as long as they still mean something to the people we're playing them for. The other thing that keeps us specifically playing older songs, is that we're constantly stricken with the need to have fill-in members. This keeps us from playing as many new songs as we should. We're getting there though, on this tour we played two new songs a night, and then at Sound and Fury we played three. So we're playing new stuff, and I hope people can get into it.
Scene Point Blank: Covers are all the rage these days, granted usually in live setting. You covered Minor Threat on your debut album. What other songs have you been known to cover or would you like to cover in the future?
John Eightclip: We've covered Minor Threat, Youth Of Today, Pantera (just as intros), One Live Crew (just the intro), Redemption 87, I'm sure there's one or two others.
Scene Point Blank: Outside of your first 7" release (which was eventually re-released on Rivalry) you've worked exclusively with Rivalry Records. What distinguishes Rivalry from the other labels - Deathwish Inc., Bridge Nine, Trustkill, etc. - that are out there in hardcore?
John Eightclip: Rivalry Records is run by a guy that I know and love. He's one of my best friends and quite frankly I can't imagine Allegiance on any other label in hardcore. If Kyle one day said, "I can't put out allegiance anymore," we'd break up. He's the only reason we've been able to put out records, and if it weren't for him we would've called it quits years ago. It's strictly his passion, energy, quality, and organization that make his label function and makes every band on his label understand why Rivalry is so incredible.
Scene Point Blank: What drew you to hardcore in the first place? What keeps you involved after all these years?
John Eightclip: I went to see Union 13 at Gilman Street, and I just saw a bunch of people who looked like I felt, and screamed and were pissed off. I thought it was awesome, and then I found out that a lot of these people, like me, didn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. That's when I was hooked. I found a group of people, a scene, who just happened to feel the same way I felt about these substances. That got me hooked. Now what keeps me around is the passion and energy that new bands come to the table with. Bands like Trash Talk, Ceremony, Verse, Down to Nothing, and Have Heart that come to the table with an angry outlook, and something really important to say. That's what keeps me around; the goofy shit, and the "here for fun" isn't what I'm about anymore.
Scene Point Blank: Allegiance recently completed a U.S. tour with Ceremony. A lot has been made of how hard it is for bands to tour as a result of increased fuel costs and a lack of venues to play. What are you thoughts on the topic? What are the chances of another U.S. tour in the near future?
John Eightclip: Touring the U.S. is actually extremely difficult. There's so much that goes into creating a successful U.S. tour. This summer we did the first twelve days with Ceremony from here in the Bay Area, and then the second half was with Down to Nothing, Verse, and I Rise. Basically, the biggest summer tours we've ever been able to play. However, increased fuel costs, long distances, lack of great shows in the middle of the country (not to say we didn't have some good ones, but it is hard when you have a bad one with 10 hour drives on either end its hard), and having to buy a van which may or may not break down make touring the U.S. a huge headache. Allegiance got very lucky this summer; we bought a $700 van, got it all fixed up and left with its cost at about $1600. Broke down once in Richmond, VA and spent $450 to get it repaired. Then bought new tires in Arizona, and the entire cost for our van for the summer was about $2200. We came home with a nice chunk of change and were able to pay off much of our debt - merch and records. Basically our tour was a huge success. We made little payments to our van, and a huge payment to our debt. We got extremely lucky with this tour; other bands aren't as lucky when it comes to touring the U.S. They'll need tons of financial help, so please go out and see them and buy their merchandise, because if things keep going in this direction other things will start to happen. Bands will fly to the other coast and just tour by oceans. Then they'll stop touring the U.S. all together and just to go Europe where the Euro and Pound is worth more, and bands can break even much more easily. I know it sucks when it all comes down to money, but here's the thing. I'm not making any money off this band, and Rivalry Records isn't either. We're all worried about just breaking even, if you buying a CD and t-shirt for $20 helps us around the country then isn't it worth it? Go help other bands. For us doing another U.S. we'll see, this one took the life out of us.
Scene Point Blank: While on tour, what are your top three must haves when you hit the road?
John Eightclip: iPod video? seriously, my Nalgene (or water receptacle), and flip flops.
Scene Point Blank: You've played across the U.S. and Europe now? What's the main difference you see in the hardcore scenes here and there? Any bands from Europe you'd like to acknowledge?
John Eightclip: In Europe the kids are genuinely really psyched to have you there. We are an extremely small band in comparison to other bands that go to Europe and there were people there that spent TONS of money on having us come play. They spent tons of time and effort on making sure that we made it to their city and played for their kids and made sure we were comfortable and had a good time. I'd like to specifically thank Rosa from Madrid. She went way above and beyond to make sure that Allegiance and Go It Alone were taken care of. The show was really fun, and then she got hostile rooms for us and bought us a bunch of food. It was incredible, and we are forever in debt to her hospitality. That's why she's NEVER allowed to purchase Allegiance merchandise. Anything she wants is free? forever. That's right Rosa. European bands, Rise and Fall are the sickest. Then there's No Turning Back, Deal With It (U.K.), Out Come The Wolves (Spain), Nervous Wreck (U.K.), and The Legacy (U.K). Basically, I wish that the United States were as psyched on touring bands as Europe is. They're incredibly hospitable. They do things that I would NEVER do if I was a promoter booking a hardcore band, and that's what makes touring there so incredible.
Scene Point Blank: The Bay Area is constantly producing some of the most impressive acts in hardcore and punk (and other genres for that matter). What bands would you suggest to our readers that they might not know about yet?
John Eightclip: There's a newer band, I don't know them at all, they're called Crucial Cause from Fairfield. They're tight, kind of a Youth of Today sound - its fucking great. Check them out. Trash Talk, but you've probably heard that stuff. They're a great live band; if you think their record is mediocre (which you shouldn't) check them out live. Lights Out will have a new band at some point and I'm sure it'll be great. Right On dudes will put together something else and it'll be cool. Red Handed is tight, Heads Up is tight. There's a lot of good stuff you just have to keep your ear to the ground.
Scene Point Blank: What's the deal with Right On? What other projects are the members of Allegiance currently involved in?
John Eightclip: Right On is dead; the other dudes will start something else. It'll be cool, Isaac plays in Killing the Dream, R.J. is in Life Long Tragedy. Duane will start a band some day with Connor from Lights Out. He's been talking about it for four years. So I'm sure it'll happen some day. It'll be awesome; I've always got something going on, but not mentionable, maybe some day. Ha ha.
Scene Point Blank: A lot has been made of certain outlets commercializing hardcore. Straight edge has become equally as marketable. What are your impressions on both as marketable movements?
John Eightclip: That's the nature of the country we live in. In my opinion, it sucks. But it's one of those things that you can't really help. Figuring out what kids are into and then selling it to them is one of the most profitable money making schemes. You just have to be smart about it in my opinion. If you want to buy hardcore, buy it off the Internet directly from the label or even better, at the show directly from the band. If you want to buy something that says "straightedge" on it, don't hit up Hot Topic, hit up Revelation Records. They have some stuff. Just be smart about where you purchase your gear. Support those that are putting stuff into this scene and not those who just take and take.
Scene Point Blank: Given the opportunity, would you take a deal from Victory Records (for example) or any other major label funded indie? Why or why not?
John Eightclip: I wouldn't, I don't care about Victory Records. They won't be able to do shit for Allegiance. I have more fun in this band as just something I do on the side. I don't think I'd want to go full time with this. Rivalry Records is big enough for me. He supports us where we need it and gets our records out in quick fashion. There's nowhere else I'd like to be. But hey, good luck to you if you are on Victory. There are 100,000 bands trying to make it big, and about one of those bands will actually make it. If it's your dream though, go big.
Scene Point Blank: CM Punk, the "hardcore straight edge" WWE wrestler - cashing in or legit?
John Eightclip: Ha ha. I heard something about him. WWE is all about cashing in; nothing on that shit is legit.
Scene Point Blank: Thoughts on Mr. Bonds and his home run controversy?
John Eightclip: The dude sucks. He hates the Bay Area, he hates the fans, and he pinked Dante (our fill in) when he was a kid because he didn't have money for an autograph. He's been proven to be on performance enhancing drugs. (San Francisco Chronicle article). Whatever, all of that shit aside, its fun to watch him hit, and I'm over complaining. I'll be watching the next seven games at home to see him make history. Its just too bad, in my opinion, it has to be broken by such a shitty dude. Sosa should be in his place, corked bat and all? ha ha.
Scene Point Blank: What can we expect from Allegiance in the second half of 2007?
John Eightclip: A lot of chilling. We'll be playing in the Northwest in November, and that's pretty much all we have scheduled. We'll be playing the Rivalry Showcase again. Just keep an eye out, listen to the new record because when we play, we're going to be jamming on new tunes.
Scene Point Blank: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
John Eightclip: Our blue van "The Screeching Weasel" made it around the country. Keep on eye on Rivalry Records stuff, shit's sweet. A's are bumming me out; they'll figure it out. Zed has lost his mind; I saw him this summer out east. He's nuts, but I respect him cause he's mildly amusing. Ha ha. Thanks for the interview. It was fun.