Sunday, September 11, 2011

Interview with J25 from Straight Edge band NOT SORRY

J25 (John) from NOT SORRY
I first met J25 (John) from NOT SORRY in 2010 when I went to the React! Records Showcase with my dad to see our friends 7 Seconds play.  I was wearing my DRUG FREE t-shirt and J25 and his girlfriend came up to me and told me how much they liked my shirt.  He was so cool that a couple months later he sent me two H2O 7" eps from his own personal collection!  I hope you enjoy the interview!

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books and why?

J25: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, Preacher by Garth Ennis, and Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. Ishmael is a great book about how life can evolve and move forward without being destructive and that it is possible to move away from how we live now without going back to living in huts and foraging for berries. Preacher is just a gnarly comic series that deals with religion and the ideas of good and bad, right and wrong. Also features probably the most bad ass character ever created, The Saint of Killers. Lastly, Our Band Could Be Your Life is a great read for anyone who cares about underground music. It destroys the barriers that mainstream music puts up and shows that anyone can play an instrument, get in a van, and let loose.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite songs and why?

J25: Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction - Just a great rock song and the opening bass line is catchy as hell.
Give it Up by Judge - Have you heard that breakdown? I want to put my head through a wall.
Brave Captain by fIREHOSE - First song I heard by them. It was in a skate video and I've been hooked ever since.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite bands and why?

J25: Oh, hard question. There are so many bands I truly love. Off hand, let's say Dinosaur Jr, Judge, and fIREHOSE. As for why . . . Dinosaur Jr - J Mascis simply can't write a bad song. Their entire catalog rips. He can be loud and gnarly and soft and wimpy. Judge - Musically it's like getting hit with a wrecking ball. Lyrically it's ignorant and emotional, equally. fIREHOSE - Mike Watt is the man. He's the reason I picked up a bass guitar. This band weirds some people out, but all of their stuff, especially their SST Records stuff is ragin' (full on).

PMAKid: Who is in Not Sorry and what bands have they been in besides Not Sorry?

J25: Not Sorry is John Twentyfive, Andrew Lampe, Alan Blackman, and our new bass player, Dan Horres. I've played in a whole host of bands on the east coast, namely How We Are, The Disaster, Night Owls, XHead OnX, and I currently play in Growing Stronger. Andrew has played with This Time Tomorrow, Blight, and Parasitic Skies. Alan was in From The Ground Up and My Revenge, currently also in Clarity. Dan was in Permanent, and is currently in Swamp Thing and File 13, amongst a few others.

PMAKid: John goes by the "name" of J25. Where did that come from and what does it mean?

J25: My first name is John, my last name is Twentyfive. My grandfather was Italian and came to the US when he was 17, so he joined the military to gain his citizenship, as many immigrants did. His full name was Giovanni Antonio Venticique, which translates to John Anthony Twentyfive. When he was discharged, his legal American name was just that.

PMAKid: John was really cool and gave me two early H2O 7" from his own personal collection. Those were my first records I ever owned! Then you guys were really cool and mentioned me in the liner notes for your last EP. All of this inspired me to get into hardcore music and the positive message that bands like Not Sorry has. A lot of people who do not listen to this kind of music have the wrong idea and think that people are stupid and do drugs and drink and stuff, especially about hardcore punk music. How important is it to you guys to put out a positive message What do you guys try to get across in your music?

J25: It's important for me to just put out a message, being positive or negative. There are lots of great bands in hardcore, some with stuff to say, some who just want to have fun. There are also bands who have nothing to say and just spew violence and stupidity. I'd like to think that we're the ying to their yang. As for what we'd like to get across - that you can be a band that has fun and wants to get live while at the same time having something productive and meaningful to say.

PMAKid: I know that John is vegan. Are all the members of the band vegan? Why?

J25: Andrew, Alan, and myself are all vegan. Dan is a meat mouth, but we love him just the same! As for me, it was just a natural progression from being vegetarian. My reasons for doing it have changed over the years but in the end I feel better about how I live, knowing I'm not contributing to or supporting industries that I find to be barbaric and cruel. While I don't feel that eating animals is inherently wrong, how humans go about it now is nauseating. People used to have to kill what they ate and wouldn't kill more than they could eat and feed their families with. Now we just treat animals as if they were put here for us. If people saw what truly went on in factory farms, I hope they'd reconsider their choices. It's a double standard most times too as they will teach their kids to "respect" animals and that cows and pigs are cute, but there is a huge disconnect between those animals in books and how the meat gets to your dinner table.

Again, in the broad sense I see nothing inherently wrong with eating meat, but everyone should know where it comes from and how it gets to your table. Ignorance is no excuse.

PMAKid: Your last EP had songs about the environment, so it is obvious that it is important to you. Can you talk about this a little bit?

J25: It's pretty simple to me. We have one planet to live on. Treat it with respect. It's not one persons, we all have to live here. If everyone took small steps to live more simply, it could have a profound effect. If you don't agree with something, find a better alternative for it. If there are companies out there doing things you find abhorrent, don't give them your money.

That said, I'm not perfect. There are things I do that I don't like, so I'm constantly learning and trying to be better. That's a big part too, is that we can all strive to be better. Always.

NOT SORRY - Our Choices.  Available from React Records
PMAKid: Last year, a bunch of bands and labels (like Mindset and React Records) helped my school to raise a few thousand dollars to help pay for our school band teacher. How important is it to you that music and other stuff like art is taught to kids my age?

J25: It's incredibly important. I think having an appreciation for music and art helps to broaden young minds, especially for those who have a strong desire for it. There are going to be kids and parents who have little to no interest in either and forcing it on them isn't going to make them appreciate it. For most kids in school, they could definitely benefit from music and art programs. It's a sad day when we have money for war, yet nothing for children who need these programs to develop their minds and become well rounded functioning human beings.

PMAKid: One of my favorite Not Sorry songs is "Moving On" and my dad says that it is about when John got a divorce. When really awful things like that happen how do you try to stay positive?

J25: Listen to music, read, surround myself with friends and people who love me. Also, focusing on what I can change about the situation. Awful things happen to people every day, some worse than others. There is always time for sadness and grief, but there is also time for reflection and growth. Wallowing and letting it destroy you isn't going to make you a stronger person. When you feel up to it, shrug off the things holding you back, put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

NOT SORRY & Police & Thieves Poster
PMAKid: Is Not Sorry working on any new songs for recording?

J25: We are. A new 4 song 7" coming out on Lifeline Records out of Chicago, hopefully be the end of this year or early 2012.

PMAKid: How do you deal with family or friends or people you know who have drug or alcohol problems?

J25: I grew up with 2 parents who were alcoholics and one who was a drug addict. Both got sober in 1988 and have stayed that way. I'm thankful for it every single day. As for dealing, I'd say it's more important to be there to offer support for those people. Addiction is a disease that I'm thankful to have broken that pattern in my families history. They're sick and need help just like anyone with any ailment. You can't fix them, they have to do it themselves, but when they come looking for support and help, you have to be there for them.

PMAKid: Of all your songs, which is your most favorite one to play live and why?

J25: Moving On probably. It's the first song I wrote ever and the first song we wrote as a band. It's cathartic for me to sing. I get out all the stuff I need to and every time we play it, I get to distance myself from that relationship even more. Also, I think it resonates with people the most because, honestly, who hasn't experienced loss in their lives? But it's important to pull yourself up by your boot straps and carry on with your life!

PMAKid: How excited are you to play at the React Records showcase next month?!!?!?!?!?

J25: Pretty excited. I get to see awesome bands, chill with great people, and spend a weekend in the Bay Area. Plus I'll have just come back from Orlando, FL/Universal Studios with my lady. Sounds like a solid week to me.

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