BROOKLYN, NY – I’ve said for some time now that the closest thing my generation has seen to the 60’s was the 1990’s. People may laugh at that statement and I understand we tend to romanticize the era in which we came of age.

It’s not only in retrospect that I started to feel this way. At the time I knew it was a very, dare I say, “mystical” experience for me. The wealth of knowledge that was brought to me through the cultural channel of music alone changed my life forever. But I’m not some mid-lifer hanging from the noose of memories of his long lost early adulthood.

I’ve made music most of my life, continued to pursue the activities I loved as a kid and have always kept seeking out new music with a somewhat obsessive devotion. That said I must admit I sometimes honestly do feel hard pressed to be as entranced as I was back then. In any event I don’t want to take a trip down memory lane with you although it is obvious many of us are taking this journey via the sonic wavelength. In the past few years numerous bands of that era have reunited, toured and recorded new albums with great results.

People! It’s a fact! 90’s nostalgia is in full swing. So you can either hate it or get on board and soak it up.

Into Another formed in 1990 after the break up of two prominent New York hardcore bands, namely Underdog (Belmartians!!!!) and Bold. Richie Birkenhead, vocalist of Underdog, joined forces with Drew Thomas who played drums in Bold. Rounding out the band was Tony Bono (RIP), a bassist from New Jersey thrash metal rippers Whiplash coupled with the guitar sorcery of Peter Moses.

There were a wealth of bands in New York at this time that started to fall under the specification of “post hardcore”. Bands like Quicksand, Shift, Orange 9mm and the like. Into Another seemed to be a band people either loved or hated as they charted out on their own course. I loved them from the first time I heard the self titled LP. I remember my friend mocking me saying Richie sounded like Prince, I thought fuck no! This shit sounds like Sabbath and Judas Priest. Over the next few years I saw Into Another innumerable times throughout the North East until their untimely break up in 1996.

Fast forward to 2012!!!! After seeing all the reuniting bands of the 90’s, in my heart I held a prayer for an Into Another reunion. In fact every time I saw Underdog, who I’ve loved since middle school, play their annual shows at the shore I had wondered if Into Another would ever grace the stage again as well. With the passing of original bassist Tony Bono in 2002 I thought the chance was highly unlikely. But this past Saturday I found myself driving into Brooklyn with my girlfriend to see Into Another play their first New York show after playing the Revelation Records 25th Anniversary showcase a few months earlier in California. I felt a bit skeptical to be honest but when I walked in the St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn I could feel a hint of that old magic in the air. It just had thinning hair and looked a lot fucking older.

A banner with their iconic 11 pointed star hung in the background as we waited impatiently. Into Another walked on stage at about 12:30 a.m. to a packed house at St. Vitus. Richie, Drew and Peter with the addition of new members Reed Black on bass and Brian Balchack on second guitar. From there I felt like I was teleported back to the Wetlands circa 1992 as the grinding bass line and crushing drum beat of Drowning opened the set.

That was it! I could feel that energy moving through me and when Richie started singing I was pulled into it all once again. By the end of the first song the whole club was singing in unison and I could feel waves of emotion, seemingly lost, traveling up my spine. From there on out they played an almost perfect set list spanning songs from all their officially released recordings to a crowd that never lost interest in the band’s performance.

My only complaint would be the guy who ended up in front on me with the long curly hair. Now I am folliclely challenged after all but I have nothing but love for my long haired brethren. But this dude needed a shampoo and fast! Too much thrashing in the pit and this dude smelt like shit but hey, it was the only downside of the night. I left the show hoping they would be playing more dates throughout the North East. The next day again my prayers were answered with 4 more additional dates on the East Coast before the year is out.

New Record!!?? See if the Underlord can answer such a prayer.

Photo by Nicole C. Kibert.

Shawn Zappo is a local surfer and skater who rules the stoves at Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar. He’s also a musician and will be writing about his surf and skate related experiences as well as reviews on bands and whatever the hell else he feels like writing about. Shawn is currently working with Robbie Grieb on an exlusive Anchor film series called “Ripped Ruins: An Asbury Park Skate Retrospective” which will cover the history of the Asbury Park skate scene as told by its key players, both past and present.


  1. JP Patterson says:

    Nice work, Shawn!

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