Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jeff Terranova of Up Front, Smorgasbord Records and Long Beach Vegan Eatery

Jeff Terranova played in the band Up Front and runs Smorgasbord Records.  He also is opening a new restaurant in Southern California called the Long Beach Vegan Eatery.  Mr. Terranova is one of the really cool guys that helped my school out last year with our Hardcore for Education fundraiser that helped raise money for my school band and other stuff. I hope you like the interview!
Jeff Terranova

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books and why?

Jeff: I am honestly not an avid reader. I have tried numerous times in my life to read more and I actually own a ton of books that I look at and constantly say to myself that I need to read them. I do love Charles Bukowski though and I have read almost all of his novels as well as some of his poetry books. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to go with Women. He has a magical way of describing things, in particular women, that I really relate to. Another favorite of mine is written by Legs McNeil, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History Of Punk. It is extremely well written, informative and was enlightening to me.

PMAKid: What are you three favorite songs and why?

Jeff: Wow, that is a hard question because I listen to so many different genres of music and certain songs evoke different emotions and memories for me, so depending on my feelings and how things are going in my life, dictates which songs are important to me. There are also many bands and albums that shaped me into the person that I am today and I view all the songs on those albums as one cohesive unit. So with that said, some albums that were influential to me as a youth would be Embrace "s/t", Descendents "I Don't Want To Grow Up" / "Milo Goes To College", Dag Nasty "Can I Say" and 7 Seconds "The Crew". The Music and the message moved me, inspired me, made me strong and most importantly, was something to relate to and gave me a sense of self pride.

PMAKid: Last year you were one of the people who really helped out my school by donating some rare records for the Hardcore for Education fundraiser.  I am not sure how much money your donations raised, but my dad says he thinks it was almost $600.00!  Some of the money helped to pay for a band teacher at my school.  How important do you think it is to have music in elementary school

Jeff: Music made me the man that I am today. Music is an integral part of everyone's lives. We make a phone call, are put on hold, we hear music. We enter a store or restaurant, we hear music. We watch tv and the commercials suck us in with musical hooks/jingles. We watch movies and many scenes are driven not with dialogue, but with actions backed by the power and expression of music. Music calms the savage beast, it soothes the soul, it feeds the fire, it educates, it recreates, it rejuvenates. It all begins when we are young, so to me music education is elementary school is essential.

PMAKid: I ask a lot of the musicians I interview about how important music is to them.  I know it is a hard question to answer, but how important is music to you and how do you use music? What kind of music do you listen to besides hardcore?

Jeff: Well, I kind of answered the first part of this question in my past few answers. Besides Hardcore and Punk, I love Metal, Balls out Rock 'N Roll, Reggae, Power Pop, Rock and various bands/artists that fit into multiple genres.

PMAKid: I know that your band Up Front played a show back east last year.  Do you plan on doing this again soon? Do you play in any bands besides Up Front now?

Jeff: Up Front play occasionally, but with members living in 4 different states and spanning 3,000 miles, it's hard to get together as often as some of us would like. We played last year in NYC for our good friend Chris Daily's book release show/party to promote his book Everybody's Scene: The Story Of Connecticut's Anthrax Club. The show featured reunions by the Vatican Commandos, Ed Gein's Car and Our Gang, and Roger Lambert singing with us again for the first time since 1990. So it was an extremely special night that we could not miss. We have been offered more shows, but as of right now the dates did not coincide with all five of ours schedules and we had to turn them down. I currently play guitar in a band called Confidence Crisis here in Southern California.

Long Beach Vegan Eatery
PMAKid: My dad told me that you and your girlfriend are starting up a new restaurant.  What can you tell me about this?

Jeff: We decided back in January that we wanted to open a little Vegan Eatery here in Long Beach, so we developed a business plan, found a broker and started looking for a space. After 4-5 months of not being able to find a space that suited our needs we switched our focus to purchasing an existing restaurant. In the meantime we were developing a name, logo, menu, seeking out food distributors, developing a web site and much more. About 3 months ago we came across a restaurant for sale and after long negotiations they accepted our offer back in Late July. We closed escrow a few weeks ago and have been renovating the space ever since and are currently shooting for an October 8th opening. We are called the Long Beach Vegan Eatery or LBVE and have a full menu of starters, sandwiches, entrees, children's menu and desserts... all 100% Vegan... Nothing with a mother, nothing with a face. Official web site to launch soon and a Facebook page was created a little over one week

PMAKid: A lot of the people that I have interviewed are drug and alcohol free.  Some just don't do drugs and are responsible about drinking.  I know you are straight edge.  Have you always been drug and alcohol free like Toby Morse or did you make a choice to be straight edge like Aram Arslanian did?

Up Front - Spirit
Jeff: I am actually no longer straight edge, but I was for 13 years of my life. As a teenager my friends and I experimented with alcohol and got drunk a few times. It never felt like something I enjoyed or needed in my life. When I crossed over into Hardcore/Punk from Metal and discovered the concept of sxe, it just felt right for me. My father was an alcoholic and even though my parent's divorced when I was around 5 years old, I had heard the stories of what effects alcohol abuse has on a family and an individual, so I think I was overly cautious. Do I have a genetic pre-disposition for alcoholism? Is it nature vs nurture? These thoughts and fears forced me to learn how to deal with my problems head on and I never felt like a needed a crutch like drugs or alcohol to get me through my toughest times. At 30 years old I made a conscience decision to not label myself as sxe and decided to try a beer and see how it made me feel. At first I kind of liked the taste, it was something new. I also liked the feeling of being mellow because I am naturally hyper and find it hard sometimes to get my brain to slow down. But I quickly realized that I just didn't enjoy drinking, but I like the fact that I can if I want to, I am not limited in life and I am free to experience what I choose to experience.

PMAKid: Something that Aram Arslanian said in his interview really made me think.  I am waiting for my questions to come back from President Obama's Drug Czar.  His job is basically to try to run the War on Drugs, but Aram talked about the billions of dollars that are spent by government for "weak results" and that the straight edge community has great success or something because people support each other.  What do you think needs to be done to keep people from taking drugs and having their lives get ruined.

Mr. Terranova a long time ago
Jeff: I think that as human beings we are always looking for acceptance and have a need to fit in. The funny thing about Hardcore/Punk, at least when I got into it as a teenager was that none of us fit in. We were a bunch of misfits that weren't the cool kids, we weren't popular, we all became friends by default because we were all each other had. We empathized with one another and held strong on the Us vs Then attitude. So yes, for the most part the sxe community support one another, as does most underground scenes or factions. In my experiences like people attract other like people, so if you are sxe, you tend to hang with other like minded people and that holds true for almost anything. The problem with drugs is that people that get into hard drugs are usually shunned by the people who can actually help them and by default they end up hanging out with other people who enable them to do the negative things that they do... so it's a vicious cycle. The sxe community should spend more time reaching out to those who need their moral support instead of constantly preaching to the converted. If their morals and values are that positive, then reach outside of the community and try to touch the lives of others. Like Toby Morse does, he travels to schools and educates kids on sxe and PMA and shows them that there are other choices in life than just following the "In" crowd. He's not standing in a room full of sxe kids telling them what they all ready know, he is educating kids on an aspect of life that they may not have otherwise discovered on their own. If you are a misfit trying desperately to fit in, you will try anything it takes to win that acceptance, but if you learn that there are other misfits out there just like you, that allows you to feel accepted being who you are and teaches you to have pride in yourself.

PMAKid: When really bad things happen to you or to your friends, what do you do to try to keep a positive attitude? I know that sometimes it is really hard for me!

Jeff: I am typically a pretty optimistic person and like I said earlier, by being sxe from 17-30 years old, it forced me to learn how to cope with problems head on. I guess I am naturally a glass half full type of personality. I remember when my girlfriend and I were driving our van from CT to CA, we were driving through the Arizona desert and it was raining. She said something to the effect that it sucks that it was raining and my thought was, it's the desert, it's always sunny, on any given day you can drive through here and experience the normal hot sunny day, but we were experiencing the abnormal and seeing the dessert in a state that only occurs a few times out of the year... I honestly felt blessed.


  1. Jeff rules! One of the nicest guys I've met. Great interview!

    - C. Murdoch

  2. Good read as I listen to Five By Seven this snowy morning. Love it.thanks, Todd Deckard

    Stay true


(Noting that this site is primarily run by a kid, his parents ask you to keep profanity and offensive commentary out of your posts.)