Ripface Invasion, “The Dominator” from the EP “To Not Give In” due in July.

 

Red from Ripface Invasion knew about the future even back in the 90’s. I’m not talking about the monsters from outer space taking over Earth and the handful of elite commandos left to fight back, of whom one remains alive (the story of the band’s comic book mascot, Ripface Meltech).

Ripface Invasion, “The Last One on Earth” from last year’s self titled EP.

Almost two decades ago, in his teens, when Red was turning his now legendary band I.D.K. into local leaders of hardcore despite the fact that their sound defied the genre, he knew that eventually the mystery of the mainstream way of making music was going to be gone. Red knew the curtain maintaining the myth of the wizard behind it was going to be drawn, exposing an old company man talking into a marketing machine. He knew that the survivors, after the smoke cleared, would be those who, like him, knew how to do it all themselves.

I.D.K., “Look Out (Here Come the Monsters)”

For me the story started in Cliffside. Cliffside is not Cliffside Park, New Jersey. Not just the high school, which was also for those Fairview kids down the hill, like Red. I didn’t find out what Cliffside was until Frankie’s Basement, which, despite the accurate title was where bands played.

Music in high school was very different from music in childhood. Music in childhood came to me, passed down by the gods, who were everyone except children. In high school, the music was just there for the taking, and there were two ways to take it. There was the kind of music which was democratic, only democracy in that sense felt like something very oppressive to me. Everyone except me seemed to have voted on what was cool, and if you were tuned into that, you knew how to change the way you dressed and everyone liked you. That seemed like extra homework to me. I wanted to make my own music, like the gods of childhood, namely Iron Maiden. Then I stumbled into Frankie’s basement.

I am fairly certain that everyone in the basement that night who saw Red’s band I.D.K. play, along with local legends Burnie’s Fixx, The Fiendz, C.B.C. and many others, wanted to start a band of their own. When bands on the stage had demos, the bands in the crowd wanted to have demos, when some of them got signed to independent labels, then everyone in town who had been to the shows wanted to do the same.

The bands on the stage were like the sun, close to exploding but not quite there yet, making their shine seem accessible and that accessibility acting like gravity to the debris of aspiration in the crowd, who themselves drifted towards the few that had drum kits and PA systems. Cliffside was a galaxy…

I.D.K. “Cliffside”

The way I saw Red’s vision in IDK was as punk energy with metal discipline. Real punk energy can only be transmitted from the source, it is catchiness and anger, it is the currents of life and death coming together, it lets everyone who is listening become a member of the band. It is dangerous. After shedding his teens completely, Red has only tapped further into that energy in Ripface Invasion.

Most commercial bands seem to have metal energy and punk discipline. Metal energy has an unreachable mystery, the band has been sent from the powers that be and if you want to be cool you will worship them too. The punk discipline is in the public image – they’re just boys having fun in the videos, pranking reporters, being silly, but don’t get too close to them… It’s safe because that energy has the buffer of complete fiction.

Punk energy on the other hand is dangerous because if you don’t recognize how real it is it may tear you apart when you’re not looking. When one of the few acts that have punk energy makes it, the world shakes.

Nirvana was one of them. Those who can handle the energy of music’s full potential to explode into oneness are few. If there was ever a time for punk energy to dominate, it is now, and metal discipline is more than necessary.

Metal discipline is Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden guarding the signature sound with their guitars, James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich keeping it thick between the double bass and rhythm guitar, making sure that a piece of the original is in there, a germline DNA strand that injects you with their perspective. Red and bassist Tom Conti in Ripface Invasion bring back the punk double helix their own way, with a second EP this year, from which “The Dominator” is a single.

The timing is perfect because hero worship is over. Hollywood wonders why this is its worst box office year ever… It’s because the whole world is at a punk show now, a punk show in every medium, on the Internet. It is an audience that is bent on making it as entertainers against all odds. Red has been singing to that audience since they were cutting classes and taking the dollar bus to the city.

Red’s inspiring, knock-the-wind-out-of-you energetic riffs have matured with time, fusing with thrashiness on “The Last One on Earth” from last year’s self-titled EP and exploding in a slam dance on the brand new promotional track “The Dominator” from the upcoming EP “To Not Give In.” After a line-up change since last year, which included Rey Fonseca of Agents of Man on guitar and Jesse Koblentz on drums, who are featured in the video, I.D.K.’s Red and Tom Conti have joined forces with Ant Lefty on guitar and Dan Lockhart on drums. Lockhart hails from One 4 One, a classic New Jersey hardcore crossover act.

One4One, “What Went Wrong”

It is more obvious than ever that Red’s do it yourself message is not just in the lyrics. He re-invented a brand, even recruiting ShadowFlame comic book creators Joe Martino, Thomas Mason and Jeff Austin for their artwork. Dive into Ripface Invasion’s web presence, listen, slam dance, and learn…

P.S. Who wrote this thing? Come here and it will all come together.

 

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