After being blown away by Blacklisted's live performance, it only made sense to set up an interview to figure out what exactly was on singer George Hirsch's mind. The questions were sent. The answers were received. And now you can find out about Peace on Earth, War on Stage, collaborating with Dalek, playing guitars on mountains only to jump to an inevitable doom, and more.
Scene Point Blank: You just finished playing some shows with Converge and Some Girls, how was that? Was it weird playing with different sounds and audiences?
George Hirsch: It wasn't weird at all, it was a good experience. Converge and Some Girls are two bands that I think really push and test the limits of punk/hardcore/metal. I believe that is something that those genres really need. Seeing it first hand on tour with them was great. I feel like it made Blacklisted a bit more creative while writing our upcoming record. Sometimes being in Blacklisted makes you feel like you're cemented into one sound, but watching those bands, you see that you can do so much more musically/artistically. The same is true of Modern Life is War; they were great every night. It was personally one of my favorite string of dates we have done. It helped me maybe knock off some chains I felt bound to artistically, which is always a good thing.
Scene Point Blank: Recently Deathwish Inc. announced your new 7", called Peace on Earth, War on Stage. What is meant behind that title? How would you compare these songs to ...The Beat Goes On?
George Hirsch: Yes, at the end of December we will be entering God City with Kurt Ballou and recording that 7". Someone I grew up and went to high school with is into some type of MMA fighting thing. I was reading up on him and I read this quote, "Peace on earth, war in the ring." I thought it was cool. So when thinking of titles for the record, I was like, "Peace on earth, war on stage." Everyone thought it was cool. As I thought more into it, it sort of made more sense. I try to keep this peace in my regular life, by using hardcore as my outlet. I feel like everything in my life is me trying to keep a balance, so by playing music and touring I have the perfect outlet - war on stage - and when I'm home things are a lot better. I get along with more people, I don't try to throw anyone out a window, off a roof or something - peace on earth. It makes a lot more sense in my brain.
Scene Point Blank: In addition to Peace on Earth, War on Stage, do you have any future plans for releases, such as a full length? If so, want to drop any ideas so far for it?
George Hirsch: I do have plans for an LP, hopefully Deathwish does too, HAHA. I've had a name for it since we recorded our last LP. I wanted to use the title for the 7", but I thought of "Peace on Earth, War on Stage" and decided to hold off on the name I have for the LP. I'm sure I will have some new and old bones to pick, so another LP will happen. You will see the name then.
Scene Point Blank: What's the deal with the Dalek vs. Blacklisted 12"? If you could do a split with any artist (musician, painter, etc.) who would it be and why?
George Hirsch: I got a call from a friend one day and he said he was doing an artist/musician collaboration and Dalek had picked Blacklisted to be the band he worked with. It was very lucky for us. There were eight hundred copies made. Other than that I don't know much...they look great. You can get them in the Deathwish E-Store. If I could work with any musician it would probably be like Thurston Moore or someone crazy along those lines...someone who knows about hardcore/punk and has really established themselves as a musician, just continuously creating something refreshing and great.
Scene Point Blank: What specifically are you most excited about for your upcoming tour with Shipwreck, Sinking Ships and Bitter End and why? Are there any future plans to tour the East Coast?
George Hirsch: Shipwreck and Bitter End are easily in my top five of favorite bands out now, so I'm excited to just see and play with them every night. Sinking Ships is great also; I have only seen them live once. I'm eager to see them some more.
Scene Point Blank: Do you feel a responsibility for what happens at your shows, audience wise?
George Hirsch: I feel a responsibility to play as hard as I can for the people who came to see Blacklisted. Other than that, I have no responsibilities. Some things that happen when we play I personally do not prefer and often wish they wouldn't happen. But I am not the one making the decision to do those things, so my conscience is pretty clean in that respect.
Scene Point Blank: You guys definitely have a NYHC influence...what would you say your other main influences are that make you guys sound like Blacklisted instead of a watered down version of another band?
George Hirsch: I think us as people are the biggest influence. I'll talk about our line up as of now, from what I've seen while writing Peace On Earth, War On Stage. Shawn is spastic and crazy but also very meticulous and precise...often very "OCD'ish" about things, haha. I think that adds to him being a very original and creative drummer but without going over the top, making him really solid. Our guitar player Bean, sort of in a way like Shawn, is willing to experiment, but knows what is too over the top. He's ready to push the limit of what we can do. He comes from a more punk background, which is something that is good for Blacklisted at this point. He is a good songwriter and fits our chemistry perfect. The same goes for our bass player, Dave. As for me, I have no idea...
Scene Point Blank: I've seen you wear t-shirts of bands such as Swans and Cat Power...if you listen to bands like this why do you sing in a band like Blacklisted? In the future would you like to sing in a band that's not hardcore?
George Hirsch: I don't know about the future. I'm not really too good of a singer, so who knows. What I do know is that I love hardcore. I mean, it has been with me the longest; it is the soundtrack to my life's guidance. I'm happy to be able to make music that hopefully someone else can feel the same way about. Besides that I love all types of music. Just music in general is a big interest of mine.
Scene Point Blank: What current bands do you find yourself most consistently being impressed with?
George Hirsch: Shipwreck, Bitter End, Crime in Stereo, Cold World, Iron Age, Ceremony, Rise and Fall...these are all bands I love and think are putting out real music right now.
Scene Point Blank: What's the balance between hardcore bands being underground and making enough money for gas to tour?
George Hirsch: I have no idea. I learned quickly If not, just try to swim as hard as you can for as long as you can, something will happen.
Scene Point Blank: As much as hardcore kids say they hate fashion, it seems (from the internet at least) they talk more about that you wear long sleeve shirts then what your band makes...why do you think this is?
George Hirsch: I think fashion is a huge part of punk and hardcore, even in the early days when people were lashing out at fashion and wearing boots with chains on them, and bandanas, and ripped jeans, and ripped shirts and leather jackets, they were still making a fashion statement. Anytime someone leaves their house with clothes on their back, they are saying, "This is me, this is how I dress. These are the clothes I like." I'm sure there are many trend followers, but you can discredit them. Everyone starts from somewhere, eventually finding their niche or identity. For me, I wear what I want, I didn't realize everyone was going to notice.
Scene Point Blank: If you were the last man alive, what would your plan of action be?
George Hirsch: Probably to stand on a mountain, play guitar as loud as I could and scream at the sky, "I am the best guitar player alive." Then I would go watch movies and listen to music until I got bored. Then I would go jump off a cliff so I could join my friends wherever they were and start a band and go on tour.
Scene Point Blank: Any last words?
George Hirsch: Peace On Earth, War On Stage will be out in early 2007. Thanks for the interview. Come see us on tour.
Photo: John Campbell