Wrecking Crew - John Darga

Interview Date: August 15, 2006

Associated band: Wrecking Crew


Interview with John Darga of Wrecking Crew in August of 2006.rnrn

Please state your name and your role in the band Wrecking Crew.rn

John: John Darga, guitar.

What led you to naming the band Wrecking Crew?rn

John: There was actually an earlier band, in ’86, called Wrecking Crew with Ralph singing and Keith playing bass. When Ralph, Keith and I started the new band, we were sitting around trying to come up with a name. Naming a band sucks by the way- look at all the embarrassingly shitty ones floating around out there these days. Anyway, after tossing around a bunch of bad ideas we were like- fuck it, let’s just use the old band’s name. Originally I think the old band took the name from a homemade shirt Springa (SSD) used to wear, and I think he picked it up from the Adolescents song. So it’s a long story, but I guess we’re indirectly named after an Adolescents song. A great song by the way, we covered it in practice a few times but it never made it into the live set. I suppose we figured it was kinda lame to have a theme song.

You guys played with some bands that are huge influences on bands today. What were some of the best and biggest shows that Wrecking Crew played in?rn

John: Damn, we played a lot of good ones so that’s tough. The fourth show we ever played was opening for Suicidal Tendencies at the Channel, an old Boston club. There were about 1000 people there and that was pretty awesome to us at the time. I think the coolest one we ever did was when Agnostic Front invited us to open for them at CBGB when they were recording their live album in ’89. They were like big brothers to us and it was a real honor to be part of that show.

What caused the eventual break-up of Wrecking Crew?rn

John: I can’t speak for the final break-up, but as for the demise of the original line-up I suppose it was a result of stagnation. Sure we had plenty of setbacks with record labels folding and all the usual disasters but the real problem was we weren’t coming up with new songs. It just seemed like none of us were on the same page anymore. The rest of the guys decided to get a new vocalist to shake things up and since things were changing I felt maybe it was the right time for me to move on as well. They brought in Nathan on vocals though, and did some really great stuff. I remember seeing the first show with the new line-up and thinking “What the FUCK did I do?”

How did the 1987-1991 album through Bridge9 come about? How was the response to the CD?rn

John: I had all the old reels and DATs sitting around on my bookshelf for years. Some guy with a small label from New Hampshire approached me about putting the stuff out, and I figured it was a good excuse to get it all transferred to digital before the tapes demagnetized. We got it all together but then he was having some financial issues, and I wanted to make sure it was done right so I pulled the plug. A few months went by and someone mentioned Bridge 9. I noticed what a great job they did with their stuff so I approached Chris about doing it, and he was down. The response has been great- I’ve seen nothing but good reviews so far.

With other reunions occurring such as Gorilla Biscuits, what inspired Wrecking Crew to reform and do two reunion shows, one at CGBGs and one at Club Lido?rn

John: I think the first step was the fact that we got together to re-record “Why Must They?” in 2004 for the Bridge 9 CD. We all showed up and nailed it on like the second take and had a great time. Just like the good old days. Chris from Bridge 9 had suggested we do a reunion show in 2005 to celebrate the release of the CD, and we wanted to, but we just couldn’t get our act together. Too many scheduling conflicts made it nearly impossible to get us all in the same room at the same time to rehearse. Then news came over that “Balance of Terror” was going to be re-released by I Scream Records; more people started questioning us about a reunion, and finally we said “Let’s do it.”

How were the reactions to the reunion shows? Did they make you want to be in a band and play shows again even more, or were they the final closure on Wrecking Crew’s life?rn

John: Both reunion shows were unbelievable. When we opened up the CB’s show with “Why Must They” the place erupted, bodies flying everywhere- the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck. I’ve continued to play in bands over the years but more in the punk vein than hardcore. I forgot what it was like to play a show where a shitload of kids (and a few old-timers) go completely ballistic. That’s probably it for Wrecking Crew though. Everyone is so busy with work, family and other bands that it’s tough for us to get together. We might play the I Scream Records show in NYC in October, but we’re not sure if everybody can do it yet.

For the two reunion shows, Wrecking Crew was joined by some younger hardcore and punk acts that will take the torch of what bands like Wrecking Crew built up. What bands do you see making the impact today that people should check out?rn

John: We were lucky enough to have some great bands for the reunion shows. As for newer bands Wisdom in Chains and Downhill Fast were awesome. There were a lot of old-timers carrying the torch in great newer bands as well. Kev from the late-80’s Boston band Suckerpunch was fronting Enemies for Life, and another old friend, Opie, was singing for Nothing But Enemies. Everyday Dollars from NYC was great too and their singer, Rob, was from the old Philly band The Uprise. Not to mention Jeff from Breakdown fronting the Slumlords. Jesus, I hadn’t realized how many of the bands, even the more recent ones, were fronted by old guys. Just goes to show how even the old hardcore kids can age gracefully.

A lot of kids today coming out to shows have forgotten some of the base aspects of hardcore and punk that got the bands that are around today to where they are. What were some bands that influenced Wrecking Crew that you would put on your top list of bands that kids today need to know?rn

John: I have some personal influences like Poison Idea, Toxic Reasons “Independence”, and Battalion of Saints (TAANG! put out a great CD collection of their album and EPs). I think a band that may be ignored by modern hardcore kids because they’re too “crusty” is Discharge. Discharge was the real deal though, and aside from Black Flag, probably the most influential band in 80’s hardcore. They were huge to the early, true hardcore bands like Negative Approach and SSD.

Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions! Do you have any last comments to people out there who came out to the reunion shows, used to hit Wrecking Crew shows in the past, or otherwise enjoy the music?rn

John: Cheers to all the folks who came out to the shows- old friends and new. For those who missed it, sorry, you may have to wait another 15 years. Everybody should check out the Bridge 9 CD if they haven’t and look for the “Balance of Terror” re-issue on I Scream Records which should be out now. Oh, and if you want to get in touch, feel free to check out our obligatory Myspace page. Yes, that’s lame, but we’re too old and unorganized to set up our own website.