Jordan – Pastepunk

By paul

PAUL:“Hey Jordan, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what Pastepunk is about.”
JORDAN: “Ok…I’m Jordan, age 22, and the Editor/Owner of the grand site. Pastepunk is about creating a place where one can seek a high-quality opinion about many of the current bands spawning from the various scenes of punk and hardcore. We take great pride in our un-pretentious writing styles and our devotion to promoting bands that work hard, care about what they do, and make worthy contributions to their respective genres. Pastepunk also focuses dearly on creating an atmosphere of personal trust – we hope that anyone who comes and visits the site can relate to our “music first” attitude.”

PAUL:“How and when did you originally come up with the concept for the site, and why did you choose to go ahead with the idea?”
JORDAN: “Pastepunk was launched in the fall of 1998 from my dorm room at the University of Maryland in College Park. A friend of mine in New York had the initial idea to start a music magazine and had asked me to become a columnist. Before there was ever even a first issue, my friend gave up on the idea, but I was still intrigued. As a freshmen in College, I found myself to be kinda bored with the new settings, especially the common social life activities of my peers, so I decided to go forward with the zine. I had always found a special liking to writing, and especially sharing my opinions, so I suppose it only seemed natural. We didn’t obtain the domain name formally until the next summer, and that definitely made it feel official.”

PAUL: JORDAN: “Besides the nearly 10 different design changes that the site went through in its early years, the concepts have for the most part remained the same. I take great pride in writing record reviews that respect the work that goes into putting a release out. It frustrates me to no end to see a review consist solely of, “average pop-punk with good vocals – would work well on Drive-Thru Records.” I find it terribly disrespectful for reviewers to devote no more than 5 minutes per review. In October of 2001, Pastepunk converted its files over to a flat PERL database, and that has made updating a million times easier than before, however, I’d like to eventually go over to something more dynamic like PHP. In terms of music, I think our scope of coverage has broadened – when I wrote my first reviews, of CDs I already owned no less, it was mostly Epitaph, Fat, Victory, etc.. kinda stuff. Now, we not only review a decent amount of stuff from all over the world, but across a tremendous variety of genres in the US, and from the largest of labels to the smallest of homemade products.”

PAUL: “What would you say are the most important elements of running and maintaining both an interesting, and succesful, punk website, like Pastepunk?”
JORDAN: “I think the most important thing a zine editor has to do is to define the mission for the site: What do I want to get out of this? Are my goals long-term (as in longer than 6 months)? It’s really easy to start a webzine, mantaining one however, and especially when life throws you curves, takes far more determination that one can initially expect. It’s not surprising that webzine turnover is very high too. To keep a site fresh, one really has to be open to all sorts of genres – I mean, there’s no way we’d still be around if all we covered was pop-punk for the past four years. The same for metalcore – we’d go insane locking ourselves into too specific niches where we’d become jaded so quickly. Also, having a lot of patience is really important. Although it’s nice to get on the guest list for shows – it really isn’t that big of a deal – and many times, it doesn’t work out for whatever sort of communication goes on between the label, band, and venue. Interviews don’t happen, management people flake out, PR people can get overbearing, and so forth. I think the only reason why I’m not jaded on hearing so many bands do the same things of their predecessors is that I always keep out hope to find that very next band that is going to blow me away. The last band to do that by the way is STAY GOLD from Seattle Washington. If you’re a fan of BANE, you need to check these guys out!”

PAUL: “It’s time to dispel the myth! Please agree with me and tell everyone reading this that running a site is not as easy as it looks and that it’s not just about the free cds…”
JORDAN: “Haha…well I’m not going to lie to you all, free cds are a wonderful thing. I’ve got over 1000 in my collection, but running a serious music website requires far more reward than treats in the mail almost everyday. I usually post 10 new reviews a week, and sometimes the motivation to write a new review is just not there. I’ve also just started Law School on a full time basis (at George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, Virginia), and am engaged – these are commitments that are far more important and time-consuming than running a site. It’s also really easy to say “yes” to everyone who wants to get a contest up on your site, and thus, that could take away at both the quality of what one chooses to cover and the appearance. I hate having “clutter” on the site, so that’s why it’s not one giant mess of advertising and promo – which unfortunately, can’t be said about too many other sites.”

PAUL: “On a similar note, what advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about starting their own punk website or zine?”
JORDAN: “Along the thoughts of what I hinted at earlier, it’s really important to get a sense of what the commitment of doing a zine entails. Not everyone is going to be able to grow while maintaining an interest in punk and hardcore, just as the phrase, “here today, gone tomorrow” implies. It’s no suprise, that at 22, I’m one of the “elder” kids at shows. Also, don’t be intimidated by bands, labels, and other “industry” people. One of the hardest things to overcome is the initial fear of talking to people in bands you look up. I think if I had the interview I did with Russ of GOOD RIDDANCE on tape, I’d be terribly upset by how nervous I was. Russ was just a very serious, focused person, and I felt like such a fool taking up his time, although I’m a huge GR fan! Band people, label people, etc. are truly our peers, so there’s no need to put them up on a pedestal. Another thing to note is that one does not need to use a label as a crutch to help start their site. I’m seeing a ton of new webzines essentially become glorified Drive-Thru Records worshipping pages because that label makes their bands accessible for promotion. There’s no sense of independency with these sites, especially as they look like massive advertisements instead of crafting good, interesting content. What happens when the trends shift and DTR bands aren’t all the rage? I don’t thnk a lot of those sites have a chance in sticking around for more than a year…”

PAUL: “It’s time to name and shame! Has any band reacted angrily to a review that you have posted? If so, who were they and what did they say?”
JORDAN: “I’m generally not one to talk shit, but I suppose that when it’s warranted, there’s no reason to hold back. I had mentioned a Virginia hardcore band called NO JUSTICE once or twice in a show review, and I took issue with the fact that their live set essentially put the lives of the audience at risk. For some ridiculous reason these guys felt it would be cool to wing a cymbal stand into the audience, a concrete block, a chair, mic stand, or essentially anything their singer could get ahold of that wasn’t nailed down. I’m sure that if there was a small puppy to toss about, it would have been a victim as well. Plain and simple – this was not what hardcore was about to me, and the senseless violence was disgusting. Leaving a show bloody, because the singer’s “anger” was barbaric needed to be called upon. As one might guess, friends of the band didn’t particular care for my view, and well, that’s fine. I wasn’t making a personal attack, but I will not stand for stupid violence ruining venues and causing unnecessary liability. Kevin from and I did a feature called “Shut Up Already” in March of this year where we addressed openly and honestly some views on bands, the quality of certain label’s ethics, signings to major labels, etc…and of course, we received some rather impolite mail. We had a made a crack about the hairline of someone in a band we liked, and he took it the wrong way, which I felt bad about, because it was just a stupid joke, but oh well. The worst I can remember in the hate-mail department was the after effects of naming THE JUNE SPIRIT’s debut EP the “Worst Release of 2001″ where not only did I have plenty of unintelligible comments slung my way, but even their roadie felt the need to defend the band. Umm…yeah. All I can say is that I’m just one person with one set of opinions, and although I generally don’t hesitate to express them, Pastepunk is hardly a malicious medium, and we will always care more about the good than the bad.”

PAUL: “On a similar theme, have you ever met a band that you’ve really respected, but met them and for whatever reason lost all faith that you had in them?”
JORDAN: “I haven’t had a true instance yet where I was dissapointed in a band, but certain people have been jerks, and certain bands have been less than accomodating in interviews – and thus, those never made it on to the site. Then again, when you’re meeting a band before a show, or after a show, you’re really at the mercy of how things are going in their world. We, as zine people, have no idea how their travel went, or if they’re hungry, if their equipment is busted, etc…so it’s safe to say that meeting someone in a band can be having an “off night” at any time. I’ve learned actually that sometimes it’s better not knowing certain things about the people I look up to and that no worth in letting my illusions get crumbled by a harsh reality.

PAUL: “And vice-versa, is there a band that you have met or seen live that you maybe weren’t aware of before, but after seeing them you’ve changed your opinion?”
JORDAN: “This is kinda close in response. I am a tremendous fan of SICK OF IT ALL, and have been for the past eight years. When I had gotten the chance to interview their bassist, Craig Setari, I was a little bit intimidated, and definitely nervous. SICK OF IT ALL writes a lot of pissed off music and I wasn’t too sure how they’d handle the detailed questions that I prepared since I was rather familiar with their history. Craig was well beyond the nicest person I could have imagined. He took almost an hour before the show to sit and chat and discuss about anything I could think of. He just had that real, caring, honest demeanor about him that showed that he recognized that I was 100% interested in what he had to say. With some bands, you can kind of get the feeling that doing press stuff is just well “part of the game” and they do it because they have to, but with Craig, it was a very connecting experience. Geoff was THURSDAY was very similar this past April at a concert in DC where the organization of the press stuff beforehand was in total disarray. He waited patiently through three different interviews making sure we all got to ask our questions, when clearly, he could have asked us to leave so he could chill in their dressing room.”

PAUL: “What would you say are the three bands that you have ‘discovered’ through running the site that you could now not live without?”
JORDAN: “I’m not sure there are three bands in particular that I’ve discovered solely through the site that I couldn’t live without, but there are three experiences through the site that will last in my memories forever: 1) Interviewing Jay Bentley of BAD RELIGION, who are without a doubt, my favorite band, 2) Spending two hours at a diner on Long Island, interviewing KILL YOUR IDOLS vocalist, Andy, and 3) seeing STRETCH ARMSTRONG at a small bar in Baltimore on September 15th of 2001, just a few days after the 9/11 tragedy. That week was just a tremendously horrible experience to go through, and although I felt that hardcore at the time paled in comparison to the grief our nation was going through, the attitude of the guys in SAS, the will to go on with our lives, really made the show an inspiring event. It was exactly the kind of positive experience I needed to get myself out of a funk. And oh yeah, as a fourth, seeing KID DYNAMITE in 1999, live at a ridiculously crowded venue in Maryland only a few months before they broke up.”

PAUL: “As an outsider to the UK music scene, what kind of reputation do we Brits have over in the States? I’m guessing that not many of ‘our’ bands have much of an impact…”
JORDAN: “Sadly, I’m not even sure there’s even a reputation in the United States for UK punk or hardcore that wasn’t crafted in either the late 70s or early 80s among those currently involved in the punk and hardcore scenes. Perhaps the most exposure a band of the UK has gotten of late in the US is the LOST PROPHETS and I know you guys over there probably cringe at the thought of that (though I completely dig their music). BOWLING FOR SOUP is beginning to get a little popular in the mainstream here as they are getting some radio play, but other than that…there’s no “big band” that serves as a reference point. I think it’s real impressive that the UK has been able to sustain a somewhat large punk/ska scene, whereas that has all but disappeared here in the US. I think CAPDOWN are pretty amazing, and I’m also a big fan of STAMPIN’ GROUND and KNUCKLEDUST.”

PAUL: “Your friends over at actually had their own stage at the Warped Tour this year, is this something we could see from Pastepunk in the near future?
JORDAN: “Haha…no. What Kevin and crew at did this summer with the Warped Tour is really incredible. I honestly wished I was a part of it somehow. Their bringing of great independent acts in hardcore and metalcore to the Tour was really worthy, especially when considering how much of the tour is formulaic pop-punk. I think they really turned some people’s heads too this year, who were not expecting to see that kind of thing. I was at the DC date, and when AGE OF RUIN (amazing European influenced metalcore) played, a lot of onlookers kinda gawked at the band in disbelief since they were so heavy, and since so many kids had “brought the mosh.” However, for Pastepunk, an opportunity for something like will probably never happen as a result of my career goals. As I mentioned briefly, I’m currently in Law School, and that is a highly demanding ordeal, and don’t plan on having much free time in the summers, for, well, probably the rest of my life. I’m pretty content in the fact that we released a kick-ass compilation a few months ago, and that alone was definitely a big thing.”

PAUL: “Yeah, how did the compilation come about?”
JORDAN: “I had wanted to put out a compilation release for a very long time. When I was 15, I had purchased one of the first punk “mega comps” and that one was called PUNK SUCKS. There were a ton of bands on there that had gone on to very successful careers in music, and influenced hordes of others. I had always had that desire to make that kind of an impact, since that compilation was essentially a “primer” for those just getting into the music. I treated our compilation, “Broken Lamps and Hardcore Memories” in the same light. I wanted any 15 year old kid to pick up this CD with bands that he or she had previously not heard of and to be absolutely blown away. I spent almost 5 months negotiating with labels and bands to get the songs I licensed on the compilation, and took great care to make sure that the songs on it were high energy, and truly standout tunes – plus the sequencing had to work, as I wanted to make sure that certain songs ran into other ones to continue the crazy flow. I think the segue of GOOD RIDDANCE into DARKEST HOUR is just brutal, and the sandwiching of YELLOWCARD in between WALLS OF JERICHO and SKYCAMEFALLING is something that no other person would even try. I had worked with many of the bands on the compilation through reviews or interviews on the site, so it was nice to have some friends interested in the project. As for the charity – around the same time of putting together the release, my grandfather was suffering severely from both his Diabetes and complications from advanced Parkinson’s disease. It was real painful to watch, and I felt that even if we could raise just a few hundred dollars for research, it would be a worthy cause to draw attention to. I’ve had plenty of people write to me thanking me for creating some more awareness about the diseases and the need for research, and to me, that’s 100% more gratifying than music – though, if I must say, the music on the compilation is totally engaging.”

PAUL: “If you change any one thing about the ‘punk’ scene, what would it be and why?”
JORDAN: “I’m not so sure the “punk” scene really needs anything changed – there’s always going to be people wanting different things out of the experience, especially among the “lifers” and those who are just getting involved through a bandwagon. However, I’ve always felt that many people involved don’t really respect the larger concept of the “scene” and miss the point that the music we listen to is not just another genre, not just another “silly trend,” and that is has real meaning to real people. The allure of freedom that a DIY punk/hardcore show has is very promising, but at the same time, when you get idiots who don’t respect the laws of private property, or see no consequences in irresponsible behavior, it’s very difficult to keep our goals undiluted. It’s even just the little things like leaving garbage outside a club, or messing up a bathroom that can extrapolate into the larger evils of fighting at shows and showing intolerance for those with different ideas. I also kinda wish people weren’t so quick to assume that a band has alterior motives, or that if they leave the independent music scene, that they are instantly evil, and never had good intentions to begin with. A lot people when they’re young (and I definitely went through a period like this) take it personally when a band they like gets popular with other people who may not “get it,” but that still shouldn’t lessen the value of a band’s music.”

PAUL: “Do you think that it is healthy for bands like New Found Glory and Good Charlotte to be all over MTV, or do you think it ‘dumbs-down’ punk ideals and encourages a lot more watered down music aimed at the MTV-generation?”
JORDAN: “I actually feel pretty strongly that bands who become mainstream fixtures become just about irrelevant to the passions that are stoked in the flames of undergound punk and hardcore. I’m a real big NEW FOUND GLORY fan – I think they write terrific songs in their genre, and truly understand how to place a killer hook, however, they have absolutely have nothing in common right now with the kind of excitement and individuality that spawns from the smaller scenes, even though they came from that situation. I remember seeing NFG playing to less than a hundred people while they were trying to build up a fanbase touring all over the country, and that’s what a band needs to do, but obviously, they can’t go back to that environment now. MTV or radio doesn’t change what one can get out of the music, TRL doesn’t change the ethos that make hardcore intense and like a family. Another angle to look at this from is a business investment standpoint. In order to keep the indie labels afloat, and thus, the bands too, there has to be a certain level of participation and money moving around. No doubt, some of the extra popularity from those who get into the independent stuff from crap like GOOD CHARLOTTE is worthwhile. I think the benefits of a few kids discovering what the indie scenes have to offer through their entrance from the mainstream far outweighs any kind of social tarnish that MTV might do, and certainly, I don’t think the aggregate of indie music is watered down from that massive influence – the punk and hardcore ideals still run high – if you need an example, just look at the popular hardcore band AMERICAN NIGHTMARE – hardly watered down, and clearly unaffected from more people digging hardcore music.”

PAUL: “I know that you are very much into the New York/New Jersey ‘scene’ that is rapidly becoming the ‘cooler’ alternative to the So-Cal scene. Bands like Brand New, Thursday and Glassjaw are leading the way, what other bands would you recommend to people that enjoy that genre of music?”
JORDAN: “Well, I guess I’m biased to that region since I grew up on Long Island, and Long Island Hardcore (LIHC) was a huge part of my life from ages 14-18 until I moved away. I felt that the stuff coming from the Northeast Coast was just more vibrant and energetic than anywhere else – and the suburban blight of repetitiveness on Long Island certainly contributed to that extra fuel. The best bands that I can mention for those to check out if they’d like to get a bit history are SILENT MAJORITY, INDECISION, SONS OF ABRAHAM, INSIDE, TRIPFACE, and MILHOUSE. INDECISION is now called MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD are they are just an incredible metallic hardcore act. BLOOD RED is perhaps the most promising of the newest crop of LI bands in that they take a post-hardcore approach and incorporate some shades of U2 or more contemporary rock for a very dark, haunting sound. I know you guys in the UK are crazy for THE MOVIELIFE and rightfully so – good band, good group of guys, and the same can be said for BRAND NEW. VISION OF DISORDER too has made a good name for themselves coming up from the LIHC scene although they play something closer to nu-metal now, but with a ton of power and angst. I think one of the biggest problems of the So-Cal scene was the pop-punk stuff had almost become a comedy of itself, and that the lacking in seriousness kept the bands from really letting their emotions get the best of them in their music. The exact opposite would be bands like THURSDAY and GLASSJAW who really let everything out in their songs and in their shows. A few other noteworthy NY related bands are SIX GUN RADIO (more of that older street-punk style), BAYSIDE (pop-punk with a great vocalist), SKYCAMEFALLING (tremendously powerful metalcore with one of the best live shows ever), and FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES – who are just taking the world by storm right now.”

PAUL: “What has been your a) favourite album of the year and b) worst album of the
JORDAN: “Favorite album of 2002 is BAD RELIGION‘s “The Process of Belief.” There’s not even a shred of doubt about that one…it’s just incredible and everything a long-time BR fan could ever hope for. The “worst” album is a little tougher to pick out – a few months ago I would have predicted GUTTERMOUTH‘s “Gusto” to earn that dishonor, but their disc turned out to only be semi-revolting. I still have no idea why anyone likes them. As for “worst” album, I’d go with a band on Goodlife Records called ANGEL CREW – I forget the name of their release, but I reviewed and then I smashed it into a whole lot of pieces. It was possibly the worst “tough-guy” shit I have ever heard. Bands like that should be shot.”

PAUL:Aside from Pastepunk (and Punktastic, obviously!) what other web-based punk resources would you recommend?”
JORDAN: “Well I’m sure it’s no surprise to any Pastepunk reader, that I’m good friends with the crew and we’ve done a lot of joint interviews and features, so I recommend them highly. Other sites I dig include:,,,,, and – but only for the fact the writers on that last site seem to be some of the most elitist indierock pricks ever, and thus, the absurdity of their reviews makes for good, humorous reading.”

PAUL: “Finally, what can we expect from Pastepunk over the next 12 months, and beyond?”
JORDAN: “Hmm, over the next twelve months, at an average of 10 reviews a week, approximately 500 more reviews, features with bands that continue to impress me, and a further development of the “Team Pastepunk” concept. Our new columnist, Tami is an amazing writer, and her columns are a riot to read. It’s definitely good to have that kind of female angst on the site. Although our “Past Punk” feature hasn’t been updated as much as we had planned, we plan to keep at it, and continue to plug some of the more historical releases that need to be mentioned to the scene newcomers.”

PAUL: “Thanks very much Jordan, anything to add?”
JORDAN: “First I’d like to say thank you to the fine folks at – you guys are doing both a great thing for your own country and for the many bands in the US that you continue to write about. I love being able to talk about what I do, and the goals and objectives I support, so I duly appreciate this interview. As long as there are people doing webzines who continue to create contacts around the globe, our relative independent music industries will continue to flourish. Secondly, support the bands who come by your hometown if you can. Check out a show with new bands, buy their merch, and give feedback. There’s so much opportunity out there for all of us to have a voice, and it would be shame for most of those to go silent. Brian McTernan, the now legendary producer, and former singer of BATTERY asked loudly in one of their songs, “Do You Believe?” and the resounding gang vocals screamed back, “I Believe.” Every time I get a little down with the way things are going, I play that song, and shout back to the walls, “I Believe” – and truly, I do.”

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]