Do you like The Neighborhood Band


Made in Brooklyn

Does anyone else know SHUTDOWN? The hardcore band from New York released two really strong albums in 1998 and 2000 with “Against All Odds” and “Few And Far Between”. After that, there was a long silence until the band started playing shows again in 2019. Characteristic of their sound is the high voice of front man Mark Scondotto, whom we met a few days after their appearance at the Dutch The Sound Of Revolution Festival.

Mark, it's been a long time since you were active with SHUTDOWN. The Sound Of Revolution in Eindhoven was your first show here in Europe after 21 years. How did that happen?

About a year ago I contacted Martijn from NO TURNING BACK, who is organizing the festival, and asked him if he was interested in us. He replied immediately and said he would love to have us at TSOR 2019. I can honestly say that we had a great time there and were amazed at how many hardcore kids remembered us after almost twenty years and sang along with the songs. It was definitely a fantastic show!

What did you do in the time before?

We stopped touring regularly at the end of 2001. Since then, we've played maybe ten shows in total in the Northeast, including the 2017 Raybeez Tribute Concert in NYC, which was our last show before this one. After the TSOR festival we played a few more gigs on the east coast.

Do you still live in New York?

No. I live in the Coral Springs area of ​​South Florida and moved here after we left in October 2001. Originally, I only wanted to stay there with my family for six months to rediscover myself, especially after touring for so many years. As I said, I am married and have three children. I work as the head of the human resources department at a credit card company. With my salary it would be difficult to find a suitable apartment for all of us in my hometown. It's ridiculously expensive in NYC.

That's exactly what I've heard before. Some old hands from the NY Brotherhood say the gentrification process killed the old vibe of the city. Do you think so too? What happens to your old neighborhood?

Yes, it definitely is. Brooklyn is a very different place today than it used to be. All dangerous areas that I would not have left alive as a child are now completely embellished and unrecognizable. Where people used to be stabbed on the open street, young mothers now sip their latte for five dollars. It's crazy, but I still remember people who predicted exactly this development twenty years ago. When I later moved to Sheepshead Bay in South Brooklyn, it wasn't that bad from a crime point of view because most hipsters back then wanted to live near Manhattan. So that's when it started. As a teenager, I noticed that fewer and fewer families with children were moving into the neighborhoods. Old New York, where people lived next to each other with families from different ethnic groups, has sadly disappeared and there is little that can be done about it. The hipster invasion doesn't seem to be over anytime soon. The whole hardcore scene has all but disappeared, because all the clubs where the bands performed are now closed. We still had a real scene back then.

While you are reminiscing about it, tell me what you miss most about NYC.

Although it sounds trite, what I miss most is the clubs, especially the CBGBs, as history was made there and I made a lot of my friends. I was crazy about this club, going there every week for almost a decade of my life to see shows or to play myself. It was a special place and I am happy and grateful to have been part of its history in some way. However, there were others, like the L’Amour Cabaret in my Brooklyn neighborhood. There I saw the first hardcore show of my life. CONFUSION, my brother Mike's band, supported MADBALL and CROWN OF THORNZ. That must have been in 1993. I snuck in because I had just turned 14 and no one came in under 16. I remember it so well because that show got me into playing and writing hardcore music and starting my own band. Another great club is Irving Plaza, which still has shows today, albeit less with hardcore bands. In the mid-1990s I saw SICK OF IT ALL there, which completely destroyed the sold-out store. That was by far the best hardcore show I've ever seen.

Which NYHC records do you particularly like?

A lot of the older NYHC records I love came out before my time, but there were some great records in the genre in the '90s that I witnessed myself making. “Set It Off” by MADBALL is one of my favorites, as is “Set Your Goals” by CIV. I was also very impressed with WARZONE and especially love the “Sound Of Revolution” record. Also because Raybeez has always been a big supporter of ours. Without him we would never have got the deal with Victory Records. In 1997 he helped us by opening several WARZONE shows on the east coast as a support band. We have already made some contacts there. After he died unexpectedly in September that same year, we were asked to play a benefit show for him in the CBGB’s with SICK OF IT ALL, GORILLA BISCUITS and others. The show sold out immediately and was absolutely insane. After that, we met some Victory Records representatives who gave us their cards and contacted us the next week. In January 1998 we were in their studio and recorded our first record entitled "Against All Odds".

This record ends with the song "We won’t forget", your tribute to the WARZONE front man. You started your set at The Sound Of Revolution Festival. In your announcement you dedicated it to Onno Cromag, who died a few years ago. Why?

We first met Onno when we did the Unity Tour 2000 in Europe with AGNOSTIC FRONT, IGNITE and DISCIPLINE. From the first moment he felt like a big teddy bear. He made all kinds of jokes and cuddled you all the time. He was also always a big hardcore fan and did a lot for SHUTDOWN in Europe. He also knew my brother Mike well and our album “Few And Far Between” was later released as a reissue on his Strength Records label.

For me, “Few And Far Between” is one of the most underrated albums of the later NYHC. Everything fits, fat songs and an incredibly memorable cover.

The title track is my personal highlight of our band history because Freddy Madball sings there. From the first day I got into this music, he was someone I admired and looked up to. The fact that he then contributed vocals and put him in contact with his brother Roger Miret, who produced the album, was the icing on the cake. The layout and design of the album was done by a friend of ours, Mike Ski, the singer of BROTHER’S KEEPER. Victory Records brought us together with him back then because he had also designed other album artwork for them. We told him we wanted to somehow put our Brooklyn home on the cover. He suggested we put our fingerprints on a photo of the Brooklyn subway stops. The result was overwhelming and I love it because it allowed us to pay homage to our neighborhood, where we were all born and raised, by the way, and everyone who sees this album will recognize it at first glance.

Are there any plans for a new album or a European tour?

A new album - we keep talking about it - will probably not be released anytime soon, but we definitely want to release some new songs in the form of a 7 ”or an EP. The latter may then be spiced up with newer interpretations of older SHUTDOWN classics. In any case, we will come to Europe at the end of 2020 to play a real tour. We are currently working out everything with an agency and should be able to present some dates very soon. We plan to play in at least four to five countries in Europe.



    © by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 148 February / March 2020 and Benjamin Korf