Chronic Disorder were pretty much the outsiders of the early '80s Connecticut hardcore scene, although that didn't keep them from being one of the first CT hardcore bands that I ever really got into. They were also the second CT hardcore band that I ever saw, with the first being the Vatican Commandos and the third being Youth of Today; eventually, all three bands ended up on the "Make It Work" compilation EP that I pressed up at the end of '85, which proves I have a very linear thought process if nothing else.
Just to set a timeline here, the first Youth of Today show I ever saw was in Sept. '85 at the Anthrax, which was also the first Anthrax show that I ever went to. Now, I can't say what might've happened in the years before then, but from '85 on I'm not sure if Chronic Disorder ever played at the Anthrax, which was the undisputed hub of the CT hardcore scene back when most of the activity was centered around the Stamford-Bridgeport-Danbury area. Further north, the Hartford scene was barely acknowledged, if it even really existed as far as everyone west of New Haven was concerned. The southern tip of the state was where bands like 76% Uncertain, Vatican Commandos, C.I.A, Lost Generation, Fatal Vision, and Seizure were from; ask me to name one band from the Hartford area other than Chronic Disorder (the White Pigs don't count), and I'd draw a complete blank.
Besides having geography against them, another hang-up about Chronic Disorder back in those days was their sound, which took basic hardcore and built upon it with almost retro-glam-rock guitar breaks and melodies, adding a sometimes undigestable mix of weird extended intros and outros as Jason's songwriting progressed over the years. Then there were Jason's vocals, which had an affected British accent and were an accquired taste, to say the least. As a result, Chronic Disorder sounded a lot less like Negative Approach or SS Decontrol and more like the Dead Kennedys, at a time when a lot of people (or most of the kids that I chose to hang out with, at least) considered the DKs to be arty fags. This meant that Chronic Disorder were surprisingly popular with the hippy-dippy West Coast MRR crowd, but considerably less so back East.
By the time 1986 rolled around, Chronic Disorder already had four records to their credit-- two 7"-ers (including the "Fred" EP) and two LPs-- and had been on at least two or three compilations, meaning they'd probably relased more records than they'd even played shows by that point. (You can check out chronicdisorder.net for all the discography details, if you want.) The first LP was pretty great, and came with individually silk-screened covers for the first pressing, which Jason made for free at a local high school's print shop. I seem to remember my copy having a red cover, though I also saw one that was yellow and blue. The album even got a good review in Conflict, oddly enough, and I'm sure it's well worth hunting down even though I haven't seen a copy of this LP since I let my go over 20 years ago and I've almost completely forgotten what songs were on it.
"Blithering Idiots", the second LP, featured a re-recording of "Welcome To The Modern World" (the song that was on the "Make It Work" compilation), and of the four different recorded versions of that song that I've heard, I still prefer the "Make It Work" version best; you can still go back to when I posted "Make It Work" last year and decide for yourself. The four poppiest songs on the album-- "Summer-Time Blues" (not a cover), "On My Way", "Grown Ups", and "You Don't Fool Me"-- would've made a hell of a Lookout EP a year or so later, in my opinion, in which case we'd probably be talking about Chronic Disorder being one of the great early pop-punk bands... maybe. ("On My Way" has a little skip in it, but don't let it kill you.) "Je Ne Sais Pas" is an almost throwaway little reggae number, except that it's so damn catchy that once you listen to it you'll probably have it stuck in your head for the next day or two.
As an aside, I sometimes get the feeling that my longer descriptions (like this one) discourage people from clicking on the music, to which I say, fuck yeah you twerps-- you're saving me bandwith, which I'll use for the next Closet Fairies single or whatever.
Chronic Disorder -
"Mad At The Sun"
"Welcome To The Modern World"
"I See Red"
"You Don't Fool Me"
"On My Way"
"Je Ne Sais Pas"
(these files are now listen-only)
If all that wasn't enough, here's an interview I did with Jason ("Spit Respectable") of Chronic Disorder in September '85, for the third issue of Run It; this was around the time of the first Chronic Disorder LP, but before "Blithering Idiots" was finished. I've chopped it down a bit so that it reads a bit punchier, but you can click on the scans of the original zine pages to see the entire thing unedited, as well as check out neat ads for Incas Records and Bad Compilation Tapes from twenty-plus years ago.
Dave: Wow, I gotta ask a bunch of questions now.
Jason: Nobody told me about this!
Dave: I'm wondering about "Fascist Cliques", is that song about anyone in particular?
Jason: Oh, the part about Riistetyt, there were, like, skinheads in New York spitting on them.
Dave: I'm wondering about the line "violent little children".
Jason: Oh yeah, I didn't get that; it's just recently that I found out that they (Violent Children) had "fascist tendencies" about people drinking and all.
Dave: That's it, that was my only question!
Jason: Gee, great!
Dave: [heroically winging it from here on in] You put on shows in Hartford, right?
Jason: Yeah, we used to, but we don't have the money now. We've cooled down.
Dave: You were supposed to say "yes" so everyone would go, "Oh yeah, Chronic Disorder-- they built the scene all by themselves!"
Jason: Yeah, that's pretty much it... [laughs] Say that, and Jack Tragic will get all pissed off. He was here before us.
Dave: Where did you get this name, "Spit Respectable"?
Jason: I stole it from someone else. Some conservative-- well, not conservative, but he's religious-- some Australian kid who helped me start the band made it up for himself, but it didn't fit him. It's kind of a cute '77 name, like Sid Vicious.
Dave: What are your favorite shows on television?
Jason: Uh, I have a five-year-old sister so I watch whatever she watches when I get home, like the "Shirt-Tails" and stuff. I watch MTV, I'm not as pissed off at it as Jello Biafra is. I'm not too thrilled with it, either...
Dave: When Jello says that MTV sucks, I'm like, "Real bright, tell me something I don't already know." I don't need Jello Biafra to tell me that MTV sucks.
Jason: I think it's cool, because they're not-- like, any kid could write that song, they're not "developing" like The Clash...
Dave: You mean they're remaining simple?
Jason: Yeah. So we're gonna be like that, except for our bass player, who is getting into all these complex bass riffs. Like, the end of our album we're mellowing out, the end of the second side, and it wasn't on purpose...
Dave: I thought "Away" was pretty cool.
Jason: Wait'll you hear the next mix of it, we've learned how to use a studio.
Dave: You guys do "Anarchy in the U.K." sometimes...
Jason: Yeah, we used to do that, but it's becoming clichéd now. It's a good way to close the show-- a song that everyone knows the words to. As a last song, supposedly to bring the house down.
Dave: Oh, supposedly.
Jason: It's either that or "Stepping Stone".
[We start talking about all the other bands that do "Stepping Stone", and...]
Dave: We got sidetracked.
Jason: Oh damn! I knew this was gonnna happen! [laughs]
Dave: So, how did you get into Maximum Rocknroll?
Jason: I guess they like us or something. Steve Spinali really supports us, and I guess they had space.
Dave: So when are you guys gonna do, like, a 3-song 12" for $5.99 and really give people value, like Discharge or Social Distortion.
Jason: Whenever we can afford to-- I don't know.
Dave: But you have it planned.
Jason: Whenever it takes us only two weeks to put out a record, we'll start ripping people off like that.
Dave: You should think up some amusing anecdotes so this interview will come out better.
Jason: Let's see, amusing anecdotes... we've already picked on Violent Children, so let's see... Why am I cutting on other people when I don't give a shit?
Dave: 'Cuz everyone cuts on you.
Jason: What do they say?
Dave: "Nobody moshes to Chronic Disorder." [laugh]
Jason: Is mosh a verb or a fashion?
Dave: Got me. I don't know any skateboard terms, I can't even spell "vivisection". All this punk shit goes over my head.
Jason: You can always go for counseling!
Dave: Since you used to work at JC Penney, you should do commercials for them.
Jason: Or do commercials on the album, like The Who "Sell Out" or the "Cost of Living" EP by The Clash...
Dave: This makes me wonder, you're always (only) referring to English bands. Why is that?
Jason: I don't know. The first punk bands I heard were from England. I learned to sing with an English accent; everybody ranked on me, so I conformed and tried to get rid of it. Now I listen to Bob Dylan, so I'm all fucked up now!! I listen to a lot of foreign bands, I listen to American bands too...
Dave: You'd better, you commie! Your lyric sheet was printed at a high school print shop for free?
Jason: Yeah, the covers were silk-screened there, too.
Dave: Looked it.
Jason: Some people actually liked them!
Dave: It looked like a bootleg.
Jason: We're gonna do our own bootleg, "Skateboard Orgy". Except that we never have an audience, so it'll be missing something. We'll insert a laugh track.
Dave: On the lyric sheet, how'd you get the typing to print out over the photos?
Jason: We used a screen, so it blocked them out.
Dave: Technical things.
Jason: No, basically the White Pigs helped us. They summoned-up some dark demon. [The White Pigs were a local punk band turned "Satanic" heavy metal band, so that's the joke --Dave] "Starting Over" was written about one of the guys in the White Pigs who tried to smash our bass. "You're got the mind of a 12-year-old and you're already 22."
Dave: Let's talk about zines.
Jason: Ray's zine (Yolk) where he puts down the Dead Kennedys, that was pretty funny. [Ray being Ray Cappo --Dave] There was another zine, it was a one-time thing, Campaign Reform Failure. It ranked on everybody in the Hartford scene, and also guys like Lost Generation. It was kinda funny. I got to meet two bleached blonde girls cuz we were both written up in it.
Dave: Oh, really. Awesome.
Jason: Made my day.
Dave: What are some of the things that really bother you about the punk scene?
Jason: People thinking that they're the center of the universe. That's gonna come out on our next album. It's a song, called "Life, the Universe, and Everything".
Dave: I thought that was awesome, the first couple of books and the TV show. [Douglas Adams' "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy"] Come on, we gotta fill this tape up. Be brilliant, goddamnit.
Jason: Be brilliant? Hmmmm...
Dave: Yeah, come on-- I wanna do interviews like Ink Disease, and instead they always come out like Run It.
Jason: You're spoiling the interview, I'm trying to be brilliant.
Dave: Let's do it this way: you interview me.
Jason: Okay-- Why'd you do it? Nobody's listening or paying attention. You're shelling out money for it.
Dave: I'm gonna take my time to think up a good answer for this question here. Even if I can't, when I type this up later I'll fake it.
Jason: Oh, here's an interesting anecdote, everybody heads up: I wrote out a mail interview for an Australian fanzine, and I wrote out a mail interview for a New York fanzine. Then I left 'em in the middle of nowhere, and when I came back three days later they were gone, and I'm all bummed out. Isn't that a bummer, man? One of the questions was, "How come Chronic Disorder gets such great reviews, and you're still unknown?" [laughs]
Dave: "Q: Duhh, you into anarchy?"... I think "Anarchy in the U.K." was stupid. The Sex Pistols had songs, like "Submission", which were totally stupid. [I think I'm just baiting Jason here by making fun of British bands --Dave]
Jason: But for then, they were alright, plus they got the attention of everybody. Here's an interesting story: some guys upstairs in my dorm are listening to Led Zeppelin records backwards. They're like, "Wait, you gotta hear this part!"
Dave: What about supermarkets? What are your favorite supermarkets?
Jason: Uh, I don't do supermarkets. I go buy grinders in the middle of the night at Medi Mart. Ham and cheese, or meatball. That place doesn't have much, there's a Subway right next to it...
Dave: I don't like Subway...
Jason: They cut 'em funny, they cut a "V" out of the top of 'em and it falls apart.
Dave: There's a couple of Subways in Waterbury. The grinders are stale and bums hang out there. [Of course, I love Subway now, once they figured out how to cut their bread right]
Jason: [still trying to come up with a brilliant story] There's this girl that's into punk here-- she's from New Hampshire. She says "hahd coah" for hardcore. But that's not too brilliant. What kind of things can you be brilliant about? People can't think, that's what annnoys me. We've got several of them in the Hartford scene.
Dave: I wouldn't know, I've never met anyone in the Hartford scene.
Jason: You kinda have to know which house to go to at what time. They all fit in the living room.
Dave: Boy, your scene's a real flop. Don't you read Flipside? You're supposed to know what punks are supposed to be like.
Jason: Yeah, that's what Campaign Reform Failure fanzine was all about, trying to straighten us out. I guess it didn't work too well, we just all got together and became even bigger flops.
Dave: Do you eat American cheese?
Jason: Uhhh............ I don't know.
Dave: What a complete failure! You're a real loser. I'm gonna call this interview, "Spit Respectable, Loser." [laughs]
Jason: Go for it! It's good being a loser, no one can use you cuz you're worthless. I got that from some Chinese philosophy. See, there was a tree that nobody cut down cuz it was all bent and twisted...
Dave: Oh, so it lived longer than all the good pretty trees.
Jason: Oh, you read it too?
Dave: No, I just figured it out.
Jason: Hey, spread the news, this is headline stuff: Chronic Disorder moshes now!! I'm not a poser anymore, I dyed the front of my hair permanently.
Dave: Oohh, how'd you do that?!
Jason: I don't know, some Clairol stuff. So we mosh now, it's okay to see us and clap, and stand in front of the stage and stuff like that.
Dave: I've got some back issues of MRR here, so I'll ask you random questions outta there... Sept. '84 issue: "You know that your EP could be considered dangerously leftist?" I wonder which EP they mean...
Jason: It musta been "Fred". Yeah, but who cares?
Dave: "Tell me about Ann Arbour. I haven't seen too many promos for shows lately."
Jason: Me neither. I haven't seen much of Ann Arbour much lately either! [Jason then goes on to tell his life story, how he was born in Taiwan and lived in California, plus he can swear in Finnish. His dad was in the Navy --Dave]
Dave: "Do you get a rough deal in the scene?"
Jason: Yeah, we're wonderful people and everybody hates us. "We only wanted to be loved..."
Dave: "Speaking of the first record, how did it come about?"
Jason: I was going to put out a tape, but someone laughed at me and said, "No one listens to tapes, put out a record." So I went home and cried, and I put out a record. We sold 300 and, like, it's supposed to be rare so we're gonna be rock stars and never repress it. A "collector's item".
Dave: Something Tim Yohannon would pay $20 for.
Jason: You're gonna love this: we wouldn't be anywhere without Maximum Rocknroll. [Bleeech!]
Dave: What do you think of stupid people who are eager for acceptance?
Jason: They're stupid! I think they should get a real life.
Dave: Why do you think people come to punk shows?
Jason: I get into catching stage divers. The thing that gets me is the big fat people who stage dive, it's kind of obnoxious.
Dave: Big headline: "Chronic Disorder Discriminatory Against Fat People."
Jason: Fascist! We're fascist! Large people can't stage dive!
Dave: [more random MRR questions] "You are from a little village..."
Jason: [laughs] Yes, we are!!
Dave: "Do you think Coca Cola is poison?"
Jason: I don't know. I don't drink it, I drink Sprite.
Dave: I drink Cherry Coke. I've been wondering, they had old Coke and New Coke, but they didn't have old Cherry Coke and New Cherry Coke.
Jason: Felt left out, huh?
Dave: What I assumed was Cherry Coke is the regular Coke formula with cherry flavoring. So I think the public has the right to know which formula is being used, old Coke or New Coke.
Jason: They should get that guy from "60 Minutes", the obnoxious one...
Dave: Andy Rooney. "What I wanna know is..."
Jason: My roommate has this parody of Penthouse, and there's an Andy Rooney article in there. "If they do it 71 times, is it still a 69?"
Dave: I'll just put in parentheses, "Poor Andy Rooney impression."
Jason: No, you did the poor Andy Rooney impression! [I did Ed Sullivan, too, which must set some sort of record --Dave]
Dave: June '84, the Jeff Bale vs. Metal Mike article: "Do you think that MTV is evil or just boring?"
Jason: Just boring.
Dave: Wow, that's witty. Here's one: "You've told me about your serious social/political issues; do you have a light vein in your songs?" What do they mean by that...
Dave: Oh. I thought it was about hemophiliacs.
Jason: We're getting humorous now cuz we know nobody's listening, so why take ourselves seriously.
Dave: I never thought you guys were too funny. Hey, did you think up a good closing commment for me? I want something brilliant.
Jason: Who told you I was brilliant? Umm.... ummm... Okay, that was it. You didn't know I was already doing it, did you?
Dave: You what I hate most in the world? Substitute mailmen. Cuz they don't bring the mail on time, and they don't know who I am. Like, if I get something to just "Dave" or "Run It", they see my last name on the mailbox and stuff it into someone else's mailbox. Then I have to fish it out and it looks like I'm stealing. Anyway, I'll just put down that you said something really smart for a closing comment.
Jason: Like, "Eat pizza, live together, and don't put cigarettes out on each other."
old Chronic Disorder flyer that I swiped from chronicdisorder.net
Here's something that I found years ago, the first time I googled "Dave Run It"; Chris from Bad Compilation Tapes made a list of "Punks I Have Known", and I'm number 62 on the list. Yipee!