Thursday, October 4, 2012

Marc Klaas of Klaas Kids

Marc Klaas
Marc Klaas runs KlaasKids.  Since his daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered a long time ago, Mr. Klaas has been working to help protect kids and to help families who have kids missing.  Mr. Klaas is a really great guy and I am really happy that he took the time to let me interview him.

PMAKid: A lot of people know who you are and it is not because of a happy reason. It is because a guy named Richard Allen Davis snuck into your house and kidnapped your daughter Polly. He also murdered her. I have read a lot about what happened, but it is hard to see what she was like as a person. I know that she was the same age that I am right now, but what was she really like before all that awful stuff happened?

Mr. Klaas: Polly was my only child and I thought that she was the best person that I have ever known. She filled my life with happiness, love, and hope. She was a very pretty little girl with a sunny disposition and a natural talent for acting. Polly was smart and had a goofy sense of humor. She was working very hard to overcome her shy nature and was beginning to realize the person that she would become. I was teaching her how to play baseball because she wanted to play with the boys.

Mark Turner - Straight Edge Band New Deal

Sacramento straight edge band New Deal
Photo by my friend Matt Gill
I originally got this interview from Mark Turn of New Deal at the start of the summer, but I am finally posting it now.  New Deal is a really great band and everybody should check them out.  Thanks Mark!

PMAKid: First off, can you tell me who is in New Deal? What they do outside of the bands? (I know Mark is in law school.) What bands everybody played in before?

Mark: Definitely! I play guitar, Mike Sofo is on vocals, Colton Tokunaga on bass, and Thomas Vanderpol on drums. Like you said, I'm in law school right now and have about a year left before I can take the Bar Exam. Mike is going to be going to law school sometime in the near future and lives/works in Davis. Thomas is in cosmetology school and should be done this summer, and Colton just got back from basic training for the Coast Guard. Mike, Colton, and I were all in a short-lived straight edge band called Alive & Well before we were in New Deal. Mike was in a straight edge band from St. Louis called Resolve (you'd probably really like them) and Thomas was in a few Redding bands before moving to Sacramento (Forte Emprise).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Deanna Boucher - SADD National Student Leadership Council

Students Against Destructive Decisions
I am interviewing Jan Withers of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and I thought it would be cool to interview somebody from a different organization that works on some of the same issues.  Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is a pretty cool organization. This interview is with Deanna Boucher, the Chair of the SADD Student Leadership Council.

PMAKid: What is SADD? What does SADD do? Can you tell me about the history of it and how it has changed over the years?

Ms Deanna: SADD stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions. We are based mostly in high schools and middle schools across the country, and we work to prevent, educate, and advocate against the destructive decisions teens face. We were founded in 1981 as Students Against Driving Drunk in Wayland, Massachusetts after two teen tragedies. In 1997, the students in SADD decided that teens face many more issues than just driving drunk, so SADD expanded its mission. Over the past 30 years, we have grown to be the nation’s leading peer-to-peer advocacy organization. We have found that when students talk to students, results happen.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Check out my interview on Wasted Days

I usually do the interviews, but this time I got interviewed!  This is with Wasted Days Collective.  They interview straight edge and PMA musicians and stuff.  They also talk about other stuff (like Sound & Fury fest).

Thanks for the interview! It was cool and fun!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

RIP Mr. Ferreter: A Great Teacher

Mr. Ferreter - my kindergarten teacher
Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week here in the United States.  During this week, we are supposed to think about all the cool teachers we have had and thank them for helping us to learn.  Adults should remember the teachers that they had when they were kids and thank the teachers who help their kids to learn.

Kids like me spend a lot of time each day at school, and our teachers have a big impact on kids like me.  They help us learn what we need to understand for when we grow up and they have a hug for us when we are sad about something.  They are not our parents, but they they are sort of like on a team with our parents.

Paul Ferreter was my kindergarten teacher - my first real teacher.  The day my mom and dad dropped me off for kindergarten I was scared and nervous. Here was this stranger at the front of the room that I had never met before and I was supposed to listen to everything he said and he was going to help me learn new things.  There were all sorts of new kids I had never met before.

Mr. Ferreter taught me to be a Letter Expert. (I still have my old Letter Expert crown that I got when I became a Letter Expert.)  He helped me to learn to read.  He helped me to learn math. He was always happy and had a great smile, and whenever we needed help he was there.  That was the most fun year that I have ever had at school.  Every school year - all the way up to 6th Grade - Mr. Ferreter would always say "Hi!" when I passed him in the hall.  All the kids loved him, and he was an awesome person in every way.

Mr. Ferreter died this past Monday.  He had learned a few months ago that he had Stage 4 inoperable stomach cancer.  When he learned about this, he resigned after teaching for many, many years so he could spend time with his family.  All of us at the school were scared and nervous and we hoped and prayed that he would get better.  Unfortunately, the cancer ended up winning.  This has been really tough for his family, his students and all the people who he worked with because we loved him so much.

So I want everybody that comes to my website and reads this to think about the great teachers that you have now, that you had in the past, that your kids may have or whatever and think about what they do for the kids. Teachers like Mr. Ferreter are our friends, our mentors and so much more.  Please thank a teacher for everything they do.

Bye Mr. Ferreter.  We will all miss you forever...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cool drawing of me!

My friend Stephanie from Out of Sight is a really awesome artist.  Check out what she drew of me!  This is definitely going to be used on  the site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece and Double Cross Webzine

Tim McMahon and Mouthpiece
playing at This is Hardcore 2011
Tim McMahon is the lead singer for a few different bands, including New Jersey's Mouthpiece.  They are a really cool band!  He also helps run Double Cross website.  (They are upgrading their website and moving to a new address which you can check out:  Thank you for doing this awesome interview, Mr. McMahon.

PMAKid: You have been in a few bands like Mouthpiece, Hands Tied and Triple Threat. It has been about 20 years since you were playing in Mouthpiece. What are you doing musically today?

Mr. McMahon: Last year the Youth Of Today guys asked if Mouthpiece would be interested in doing a handful of dates with them on the east and west coast. Considering Youth Of Today are easily one of our biggest influences and one of the most important bands in hardcore, we pulled Mouthpiece out of retirement and made it happen. For the first time since we broke up in 1996, we were able to get our guitarist, Matt Wieder, out of Indiana and back on the road with us, as well as other original members, Chris Schuster on guitar, Jason Jammer on drums and long time Mouthpiece roadie, friend and reunion show bassist, Ed McKirdy. In reality, this 2011-2012 line up ended up being the strongest and hardest hitting line up that we've ever had. We ended up doing two shows in Pomona California, one show in Oakland California, one show in Washington DC, one show in Philadelphia, one show in New York City and one show in Brooklyn, all with Youth Of Today and all were a lot of fun.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lou Koller from NYHC band Sick Of It All

Lou Koller of Sick Of It All
Lou Koller is the lead singer for the band Sick Of It All.  They have been playing hardcore music for a long time.  I did not really know them very well until I saw the H2O video for "What Happened?" where Lou Koller and Matt Skiba were doing guest vocals.  Thanks to Jordan Cooper from Revelation Records and Nathan Gluck from Good Fight Entertainment for helping me to get this interview!!

PMAKid: You have been singing for Sick of it All since the mid-1980s (my dad even saw you guys play at CBGBs a long time ago). A lot of the early hardcore bands played for a few years and then broke up (except for reunion shows and stuff). How is it that Sick of it All has been going strong for so many years?

Mr. Koller: We simply found something we loved and wanted to do for a living. We are lucky that we found this and stuck with it. Even when times were bad and there was little to no money coming in, we stuck with it. I can't tell you how many years we would work all week just to afford to go on tour. Then get home from the weekend tour at like 3 or 4 am monday to be up for work by 6 am. We just had so much fun and loved that we got to travel and meet people from all walks of life that we just kept going.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Connie Conway, Republican Leader in California State Assembly

Assemblywoman Connie Conway
Republican Leader
Assemblywoman Connie Conway is the Republican Leader in the California State Assembly. She works with the Speaker and the Governor and the two leaders in the State Senate to get laws passed in California.  I really appreciate Assemblywoman Conway taking the time to do this interview!

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway: First and foremost, Julian, I'd like to thank you for all of your hard work. You are a terrific role model to other young people and I'm honored that you asked me to participate in this interview.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite books and why are they your favorites?

Assemblywoman Conway: Serving as Assembly Republican Leader keeps me extremely busy so I don’t have the time I’d like to have for pleasure reading. Since this job is so fast-paced, I spend a lot of time reading the news. I’m a little bit of a news junkie and I’m always reading newspapers, magazines and blogs and watching local and national news shows to keep up on the latest events.

PMAKid: What are your three favorite songs and why are they your favorites?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tom Torlakson - CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson

Tom Torlakson is a really busy guy! He is responsible for MILLIONS of students in California!  I have interviewed a few people who are involved in education, like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, CEO of StudentsFirst Michelle Rhee and my school district Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.  I thought it would be interesting to talk to Mr. Torlakson because he is responsible for all of California's students.  Thanks Mr. Torlakson!!!!

PMAKid: I have interviewed a few people involved in education like my school district Superintendent, Jonathan Raymond and Michelle Rhee who runs StudentsFirst. Can you tell me what exactly your job is at the state level. Are you just like Mr. Raymond, but with more schools and teachers?

First of all Julian, I want to say you are a remarkable young man doing a remarkable service to your peers – and, really, to the entire state – with this Web site. Thank you for that.

To answer your question, I am State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. I was elected by the people of California on November 2, 2011, as the state’s 27th State Superintendent. My office is nonpartisan, and my term runs four years.

I run the California Department of Education that oversees our state’s diverse and dynamic public school system. That means that I’m the elected representative of about 10,000 schools and more than 6 million students – greater than the entire population of many states.

We enforce education law and regulations and work every day to improve public elementary school programs, secondary school programs, adult education, some preschool programs, and child care programs.

So some of what I do is similar to Supt. Raymond, but my job is also very different in a lot of ways.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today

Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits
Walter Schreifels has played in a lot of bands and wrote a lot of the music for some of the biggest hardcore bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today.  He has done solo stuff and produced records for other people.  My friend Carlos Izurieta helped me to get this interview with Mr. Schreifels (thanks Carlos!).  Mr. Schreifels is a really cool guy and I can't wait to meet him at Revelation Records 25th Anniversary show in June!

PMAKid: You have been in a lot of bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand and Civ. My friend Carlos from Police & Thieves said you wrote a lot of the songs in Gorilla Biscuits too. I know that you are also a music producer too. Do you like writing and performing your own music or producing music for other people more? Or are they just really different?

Mr. Schreifels: Even though I'm more focused on writing and performing my own songs, I also enjoy the contrast and challenge of working worth other artists. Through producing, co-writing or other means I always find collaboration to be a learning experience, a way to understand and (hopefully) compliment someone else's creative process. With my own music, the rewards for good work are greater but I also have a tendency to sweat the small stuff more than I should, it's a difference in perspective.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vancouver Straight Edge band Out of Sight

Chad, Alex and Stephanie of Out of Site plus me too

Out of Sight is a really cool band from Vancouver.  I hung out with them a lot on the first night of the last React Records Showcase.  They are all really nice and cool!

PMAKid: When I first met you guys, it was at the 2011 React Record showcase when I was selling my wristbands (Thanks again Aram!) next to you guys. You were totally cool! I know that you guys are a pretty new band. What made you start a band in the first place?

Chad: We all thought YOU were totally cool as well! Very inspiring to see someone so passionate about hardcore at your age! Well myself, I've always wanted to start punk/hardcore bands ever since I first got into punk when I was thirteen/fourteen. Playing in punk and hardcore bands is awesome because you have a wonderful place to express all of your frustration/anger/disgust with issues/problems in the world/your personal life. That's why I always wanted to start a punk band, because as a socially awkward, angry freak who never really fit in with "conventional" society.. I was constantly searching for somewhere to rage about injustice, personal issues, and things that made me mad! So for me, Out of Sight was basically started as a positive, productive way to let out some anger and sing about issues that bother me in the world/our scene/my life.

Chris Mahon of Bang Bros

Bang Bros (Chris Mahon on vocals)
Chris Mahon is a friend of mine from Dublin, Ireland.  He sings in a REALLY great band called Bang Bros.  You should check them out! They are awesome!

PMAKid: You were one of my friends that helped me out (by doing a video) with the presentation I gave to my school about making the choice to be drug free. (That Champion poster you have on your wall is AWESOME!) You ended your video clip by saying "I guess I am just out of step". I bet you were using that song from Minor Threat, right? What are your thoughts on being straight edge and making the choice to stay away from drugs and alcohol? Were you always straight edge like Toby Morse or did you switch to being edge like Aram Arslanian?

Chris: You bet I got it from Minor Threat. That band are as important now as they were when they started. Plus I needed something to add to my part. I have nowhere near enough charisma as Dave Outlast. 

Well the way I see, straight edge is its a personal choice and people embrace it for many different reasons. It can be a good common ground to meet people and share a connection but it doesn't define me as a person. I still have as much fun with my friends who drink as I do with my edge friends.its definitely a part of me that I'm proud of. 

I used to drink when I was younger but nothing crazy. I just realized this was pretty crappy and I could be using the money to buy sweet nikes. Alcohol is expensive. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interview with David Tartaglia from Step Aside

Step Aside
Step Aside is a cool band from Arizona that we have been listening to a lot lately.  They are really good and you should check them out.  Their new EP is really cool!

PMAKid: My dad found out about you guys from a friend on Facebook. I know you guys live in Arizona and that your first EP is REALLY AWESOME. Can you tell me who is in the band and what you guys do outside the band?

David: That's really awesome, we are from Tucson, Arizona and we started the band late last summer. Step is Joshua Andrade, Ryan Bram, Riley Chander and David Tartaglia (myself). Outside of the band I am a manager at Jimmy John's (Sandwich joint), Josh is a store manager at a Zumiez in Mesa, Arizona, Ryan is a full time student and records bands in his studio on the side, and Riley is a cook. Thanks for the kind words about "Reaching Out", we are really pumped to have the record out and it means a lot to us that people like the record.