I just want you to say it and i'll notice, now.


13 déc. 2005, 5h24m

Weird title huh?

If you were around Richmond Virginia anywhere between 1994-1998, you probably know what that means.


I've been away from home for a long time now and even more i've gone quite sometime without talking to mi mama and mi papa. Shit, i missed my brothers birthday on the 29th; im horrible.

Honestly, im homesick for Richmond. Sure, I do love my parents, but more than anything I LOVED Richmonds music scene, its made me who I am today.

The Richmond music scene (in my opinion) is/was very very strange. What I mean is, there is something about the scene that reminds me of the cobblestone streets and the historic graveyards. Something is extremely haunting everytime I hear Throw Spark with the clever southern piano twang or living breathing opening that stays with me years later. I love music but of all the music I have ever listened to, I would prefer to hear late 90's Richmond style anytime.

Let me tell you about how I fit in at the time.

There was this hunchback eleitist named Michael Hale (and I really hope his Quasimoto ass is reading this) who was friends with my best friend. Mike was a big music fan so anything he recommended my pal would pick up, i mean he was like a big 12th grade kid!

Anyway, I remember 2 things happened at the same time. He loaned me some shit he said was the best thing he had ever listened to; and my God it was incredible. The CD was a first issue compilation of a band called Maximillian Colby, anyone? anyone?

It's ok. No one ever does.

These guys were/are incredible. Imagine the music of Deftones, the occasional soundscape reminiciant of Appleseed Cast,Saetia and Godspeed You Black Emperor!. Around that time bands like I, Robot, Sleepytime Trio and Orchid were gaining huge points with the kids in the 804. I admitt, something haunting and beautiful caught me too; and it still has me.

Maximillian Colby

Second, through a friend, I discovered her cousin went to our school and was a drummer in a real band. In short time (and based on how the guy looked), I discovered he played drums for a band that has loooong since left the 804; 400 Years. For the rest of the time i knew Ash Bruce, he was my idol. Not to mention, as a senior in high school, this guy was fucking incredible and playing at professional level, even now when I listen to 400 Years.

Maximillian Colby never left my side, I still have that CD from what seems like a thousand years ago. But the scene was more than them but alot happened from them.

I mentioned Sleeptime Trio, they had former members of MC and ever heard of Engine Down? Yep them too; and now Cornbread is also in Biology with the guy from From Autum to Ashes I think some are even in Frodus too. There are more connections but i can't recall at the moment.

400 Years were more immediate to me because I came along to late to enjoy a Max Colby show, though I had made friends who had seen them (The band had something like 6 guys and an occasional dancer and sometimes played shows with their amps turned off). A 400 years show always meant that other really good bands would tag along most memorable was Page 99, The Exploder, The Episode and usually Engine Down. I do remember seeing Ink & Dagger once, but they were more interested in choking themselfs than really playing that night.

400 Years

Bands like these were said to have spawned from groups like Fugazi, City Of Catipillar, Indian Summer and American Football. Maybe, but honestly, bands like these were seriously pioneering screamo long before anyone had ever heard of The Used or A Thorn For Every Heart. If you doubt me, pick up Action Patrol's B is For Brains or Under The Pretense of Present Tense. The style and type of music were very original and the style at the time I have not seen mimecked though I have seen touches of it in many bands out now.

Speaking of screamo, if you give me your email i'll send you one of their CD's The Sound Starts Right Now, talk about some screamo pioneers....

The Exploder

I still totally dig those guys and anytime I heard they were playing I was there. At 1st it was only 3, then the drummer moved to 2nd guitar and they got a new drummer. They were much better as a trio i thought. I saw the singer/guitar player once downtown on Carry Street (I dont remember if thats how it was spelled) and I was with a group of people and we recognized him and we were all like Tee Hee, look its the cool screaming guy from The Exploder, hes so radical...YES!...yep that about sums me up at the time.

There was a video that i bought at the local music store that was put together by the singer/bassist from Target for Aggression that had a bunch of local bands on it; I remember watching some of these bands playing at various "venues" within the state. If I remember correctly, there was some at a private school cafateria, the middle of a vert ramp and a few very derlict looking warehouses and the sort. Kinda weird. Looking back on it now, the tape contains mostly what is called screamo...and a few good southern punk bands like Avail for good measure. Bringing it back to The Exploder, the 1st video on the tape was The Exploder playing Living Breathing and the video looked VERY fuzzy and it looking like they were in the basement of some old civil war mansion. I'll never forget the kid in the video just thrashing around despite the crowd hunched around the band just standing around, at the end of the video, they just start convulsing and dropping to the ground - the crowd looks amazed, then clapping. Thats how and exploder show went. Astonishment, then the realization of what you just saw.

Watching an Action Patrol was the same too but it didnt quite translate well into an Episode show (and i never saw Action Patrol except on tape) but I did go to a few Episode shows and was still in awe that half the band HAD been in Action Patrol. Once at a show I had been joking with a friend and turned just in time to see the singer (who looks ALOT like Jeffery from Family Circle; except with Drew Carrey glasses) land on my frail body. I was shot acrosss the room and the singer just dropped, picked up his thick glasses and jumped back on the stage...mean while my neck felt like it had been in a vice. Action Patrol to me is screamo to the fullest extent. From semi-cryptic words, to the random high pitched screams that were straight elevating. The bass player played like his bass was a guitar and was basically like the rhythm guitarist, these dudes were the kings of Richmond hardcore for a minute. They sometimes wore bright orange safety jump suits and many of their record releases featured kids wearing the same jumpsuit. If i remember it right, Action Patrol is credited with introducing Hot Water Music to Richmond and Avail which is another Virginia story altogether.

Action Patrol

Somehow Action Patrol was able to put hardcore with pop-punk and get (like I keep saying) screamo. Their final show is available on CD and to listen to it is crazy. The booklet shows kids hanging from the rafter just to get in, and people hanging in the window to get a better view. They were something big to the scene and opened up alot of shit for kids, like me, to explore a little more of what the Old Dominion had to offer.

(Comming Soon)
Part II: Grace, Harrison and Hardcore

Wanna learn more?

Punk Rock Vids has 2 excellent video choices one at a 4 Walls Falling show in Norfolk Virgina and another of Action Patrol at Twisters in Richmond (my old hang out).

This guy here has done a good job of laying out the short Action Patrol Disography.

Lovitt Records has long been a staple of Richmond and D.C. area emo/indie/synth-goth music. These guys used to be Engine Down's label and is Supine to Sit's (with members from Pedro the Lion) and Bats And Mice with dudes from Engine Down, Sleepy Time Trio and Ash Bruce USED to be their drummer but now he's left and is in a group called Delegate.


  • fuckmountain

    Awesome! More people should be using the journal feature for things like this.

    19 déc. 2005, 19h59m
  • RobotVSRobot

    Thanks guys, I had intended to write III, but im not a good story teller, the timeline is screwy; I think I have adult ADD. My fingers are faster than my brain...

    20 déc. 2005, 2h41m
  • MrLaminar

    That's a great article.

    21 déc. 2005, 7h26m
  • Cbortnsx

    Great article, I enjoyed reading it. If you have any mp3's you could send me related to it, I'd appreciate it. aaronbickel@gmail.com

    25 déc. 2005, 15h03m
  • RobotVSRobot

    EVERYONE...not to name names or anything like that, but this guy that just commented on here (Vikingrawk) was the bass player from The Exploder.....awesome.

    29 déc. 2005, 18h32m
  • JesseLyell

    Thank you for writing this. Seeing Max Colby changed my life. So many memories... But Knucklehed brought Hot Water Music to Richmond. They played the Flood Zone and HWM opened! Ever hear Bad Guy Reaction? Another great, sorely missed band. Cheers! - J

    3 jan. 2006, 21h54m
  • 22pm

    amazing article

    5 jan. 2006, 2h27m
  • ckresge

    Ahhh, man. I just left Richmond after 17+ years, thinking the whole time I would be nothing but happy to leave. I always took it for granted that everywhere had a scene (not a scene in the fashion-core sense, but true music) similar to RVA's. I'm 24 years old now, and have seen a lot of amazing shows. NOTHING has topped the last Action Patrol show, the last Inquisition show, seeing Exploder, or any of the amazing bands I was blessed to grow up around. It wasn't until this year that I finally gave in and paid more than $5 for a show, after a lifetime of amazing music for $3-5. 400 Years, Four Walls Falling, AVAIL, Swank, any of the Richmond bands from the early-mid 90s continue to affect the way I listen to new music. Thanks for writing this article, it's good to read when I miss those days. Remember RVA Punk Nation, taking donations for a punk rock mecca? Then they realized they weren't going to do it and went on vacation. hahahahaha

    1 avr. 2006, 0h54m
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