Cruel Hand: Cruel To Be Kind
Celebrating ten years together, Perth boys Miles Away have pooled together some of their closest mates in hardcore to make this Australian tour one to remember. Make It Count 2012 features fellow Aussies The Others along with Portland, Maine’s own Cruel Hand. Leading the new wave of American hardcore, this tour marks the Yanks’ third visit to our shores and they’ve assured us that no face in the crowd will go untrampled. We stole a few minutes of vocalist Chris Linkovich’s time to quiz him on the state of the hardcore scene today, how it feels to tour with old pals and had him school us in what we’re seriously lacking in the fast food department.
You’ve gone solo! There was a message on your Facebook that read: “Dear Bridge 9, Thanks for putting a few records out for us but we will be taking care of the next one ourselves (with some help from friends around the world). Love Cruel Hand.” Was that really how it all went down with the label?
Yes, we had previously talked about our plans with Bridge 9 but, no, it didn’t go down like that. When we went public with it we posted that letter which was actually a spin off of an old skate ad. Blair [Cruel Hand's resident merch guy] was the mastermind behind that one and it definitely ruffled some feathers. But it turned some heads and made people want to know what was up with the band, so I guess it served its purpose.
What was it that made you initially want to branch out and go DIY for your next release?
A lot of people read the letter and immediately thought “self release” which wasn’t what we were trying to say. It was a thought and still is, but it wasn’t the point we were trying to make. With whichever way we go we want it to be available in every corner of the world and in people’s faces. We want it distributed and promoted. We understand that, being a DIY hardcore band, having both those things is hard to do but we know it can be done and we see it done by other bands when we tour outside of the US.
Is this the ideal situation for Cruel Hand? There are definitely some bands out there that thrive on the pressure of needing to get a record out.
In a way it’s kind of an ideal situation. You can really focus on making songs perfect because you don’t have to rush to meet a deadline. I feel like there was a lot of that involved with everything we’ve done; filler songs and not being 100 percent happy with other songs. Now we can write a few songs, record them, maybe release them and eventually have enough material to release to the masses on an actual label. We just recorded two songs that we are going to self-release on a cassette. Real limited numbers. Just to get the word out there that we are still writing music. I’m sure the majority of people who know about us won’t hear it but that’s fine because eventually it’ll end up on a bigger release.
Being a DIY band in this day and age seems like a very taxing investment. How do you keep up the motivation to keep going?
We’re only actually “going” less than half the year. You’re out for a month then home for a month or longer. By the time that month home is over I’m ready to be back out on tour again. We’ve had many member changes but as long as the core of the band is intact, the band will go on. Our long-time bass player Seger [Dailey] took a year off to pursue other things and now he’s back. It’s a crazy thing. People come and go and come back again. I see it all the time.
Most modern hardcore bands seem to vanish as quickly as they appear. Do you think it’s more difficult to have staying power in the modern hardcore scene?
The ’90s were cool because you could have extremely mixed bills and it was perfectly normal. Hardcore bands playing with metalcore bands playing with Saves The Day or something and the shows would be huge. That’s a rare thing nowadays and if you try to tap into that way of thinking and touring, you’re up for ridicule. Cruel Hand is not a hobby I do with the free time I have from college. This band didn’t go to college, we got in the van. I want the band to grow. We will tour with anyone and I will get up on stage and proudly announce that we are a HARDCORE band. My favourite part about doing those different tours is pulling those kids who hang at the mall in Hot Topic stores who are there to see mall metal band ‘X’ and winning them over with hardcore. We take huge cues from bands like Terror, Madball and Sick Of It All who have always done that kind of mixed touring and been proud to be the hardcore band on the bill.
Speaking of hardcore bands that HAVE successfully stuck it out, you’re helping Perth boys Miles Away celebrate the big 1-0 this December. Would you consider this one a milestone?
Yes, this is huge. When we originally joined the tour it was billed as the Miles Away Final Tour. We’re not sure if that was some kind of publicity stunt or what, but we’re glad they’re sticking it out and we’re so stoked to be a part of this milestone event.
You’ve been touring buddies before, what are some of the crazier memories you’ve shared?
What happens on the road stays on the road but I will tell you that Crowey’s little brother Mowey sees dead people and it’s fucked up.
What can younger fans expect from these upcoming shows?
They can expect me walking on all their faces.
Since you are making the trek Down Under from the US, is there anything in the way of fast food that we’re seriously lacking?
Costa Vida Burrito, Zaxby’s, Chick Fil-A, In-N-Out Burger and Taco Bell.
Miles Away, Cruel Hand and The Others ‘Make It Count’ Tour Dates
Thu Nov 29th – Animal House, Adelaide (AA)
Fri Nov 30th – Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
Sun Dec 2nd – Phoenix Youth Centre, Melbourne (AA) SOLD OUT
Tue Dec 4th – The Box, Brisbane (AA) SOLD OUT
Wed Dec 5th – YAC, Byron Bay (AA)
Thu Dec 6th – Snitch, Brisbane (18+)
Fri Dec 7th – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney (AA)
Sat Dec 8th – The Den, Perth (18+)
Sun Dec 9th – YMCA HQ, Perth (AA)