Geography of a scene
It’s been 30 years since Nardcore band Ill Repute formed. Cast your mind back to 1981 if you can. Do you still believe now what you believed 30 years ago? Thirty years is a long time to believe in anything, never mind a band, never mind a punk band, never mind a punk band in Oxnard. While Nardcore is more about geography than aesthetics, it’s hard to recall a scene that is so fiercely proud of the weird, incessantly laid-back place in which it finds itself, that its brand of punk is named after one of its towns. Is there something in particular that defines the Nardcore sound? Ill Repute guitarist Tony Cortez says, “No, and that’s what’s so great. We even claim the old soul sounds of the great Jeff Hershey and the Heartbeats as Nardcore.” What cities counted as producers of Nardcore? Cortez reveals, “There never really was a set limit. Nowadays we just kind of use the 805 as the boundaries — but it was basically pretty much from Thousand Oaks to Santa Maria.”
Into the Mystic
After multiple Ill Repute albums and compilations on the notorious Mystic Records label, has infamous Mystic label boss Doug Moody changed over the past 30 years? According to Cortez, “No! Not at all. I try to be understanding because there were no labels clamoring to put out our record, and Mystic did get our music heard all over the world. But there is still no reason to do the crap they do. I got a call recently from a local record store asking me, “Did you know Mystic just put out a new CD of yours?” They just released a CD called The Best of Ill Repute. Don’t get it.
They just rehashed a bunch of crap, picked the worst songs — and of course we knew nothing about this. We asked them why they put it out, and didn’t even tell us or consult us, [or] if we would get any compensation. This is what [Moody] e-mailed me back, verbatim: ‘I do not owe you or the group anything . . . anything I chose to do is done for the good of Mystic Records.’ ”
Are there any new recordings in the works? “We have a few surprises coming up. We did our first official video not too long ago for “I’ve Got a Problem,” produced by Joel Perkins. It can be seen at the Nardcore805.com website.” Ill Repute — singer John Phaneuf, guitarist Cortez, bassist Jimmy Callahan and Chuck Shultz on drums — stays staunchly solid amid decades of change. Some aspects of punk, however, never change. Take, for instance, the riot at the Key Club in Hollywood in January after Ill Repute opened for T.S.O.L. Cortez: “I’m kind of desensitized to [riots]. We were just having fun watching the spectacle of it. I got a little careless and ran towards a row of police officers and they started shooting their beanbags at me. Luckily, I ducked back into the alley before I got hit.”
Ill Repute plays at Zoey’s with Stop Breathing (ex-Missing 23rd, Glass & Ashes, The Fucking Wrath), Out of Trust (ex-Burning Dog/Clenched Fist), Catholic Spit (ex-Dogends) on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m., all ages. $10 tickets available at Salzer’s Records and numbskullshows.com.