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This article was written on 23 May 2015, and is filled under Convos with Punx, Interviews, Music Chats.

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Quicksand’s Tom Capone: “We were always just doing it from our hearts, never trying to make a quick buck.”

Tom Capone + Quicksand + Conversations With Bianca

Tom Capone is one of my favourite guitarists! He’s played in some of the greatest New York hardcore and post-hardcore bands: Quicksand, Bold, Handsome, Shelter, Beyond… I interviewed him for my punk and spirituality project, Conversations With Punx. It took a year or so for the interview to eventuate. It was worth the wait! We spoke for a couple of hours, in-depth, of Tom’s lifelong spiritual journey and all the things he’s checked out along the way – Catholicism, Satanism, the occult, Krishna Consciousness, Tibetan philosophies, mythology and more! We also spoke about some of the biggest challenges he’s faced in his life and how he’s come out the other side. You’ll have to wait until my book comes out to read about that BUT in exciting news, it finally has a release date, November 20 (which is also my birthday, so it’ll be a double celebration!). Below is a small extract from our chat that sheds light on Tom’s start in music, of life for Quicksand on a major label and growing up in the New York Hardcore community.

Tom Capone + Quicksand live by bradalmanac+

BIANCA: You first picked up the guitar when you were fourteen; do you remember that first moment?

TC: It took me a little while to even get a guitar. I was really into music; even at eight years old I was buying records. I wanted to play drums for a while, but my parents wouldn’t by me a drum set because it would be too loud. I started making guitars with tennis rackets and putting on shows, I’d perform Kiss songs for babysitters [laughs]. Finally I was able to get a guitar, I actually asked for a bass, because I liked the Ramones and Dee Dee Ramone at the time. My mum bought me the guitar for my birthday, it was an electric guitar with guitar pedals and an amp. It had a phaser pedal, a delay pedal and a distortion pedal. It was so cool. I was like, OK I’ve got a guitar now, whatever… like six strings are better than four [laughs]. Initially I thought Ace Freely from Kiss was a cool guitar player. My cousin played drums so I looked up to him. With him, it was actually the first time I was in a room rehearsing with a band, I was eight. We practiced down in a basement in Queens, New York. It was an apartment building and it was so loud and vibrating, it just transformed me. I was blown away! That’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I used to put my amp outside my window and crank it, kids would hang out on the street and listen. I did a bunch of bands in high school too. I sang, played drums, guitar. That’s how I started. My first real band was Beyond, I was still in high school. After that I moved in from Long Island into New York to Brooklyn to live with [John] Porcell and Alex Brown, he was in Side By Side and Gorilla Biscuits and did Schism fanzine. They had a record label and they were doing Judge and Project X. Ray had lived with them but he moved out, so I took his room. That’s when I worked at the health food store and started checking out all that stuff; I’d go to occult book stores. I’d go to the museums, just trying to absorb more culture.

Tom Capone + Quicksand live by bradalmanac

B: Do you think that when you found music and hardcore – I know you used to go to CBGB’s matinees when you were fourteen – you found a family?

TC: Yes, definitely. That was exactly what happened. The social aspect of hardcore was amazing, in New York there was a great scene for us. They were allowing people under sixteen, like I was at the time when I first went in 1985, to go to shows. They weren’t even checking IDs. It started to get more popular though and they started checking IDs, by then it didn’t matter to me though because I was over sixteen.

I remember one time me and a couple of friends went to show and they were a year younger than me and the venue, CBGB’s called my parents, my mum, to ask their age [laughs]. Sammy Siegler, he played in Side By Side, Judge, Youth of Today and more, had to sneak in, in a drum case to play because he was too young. It was a cool scene. We were all just having fun, getting into vegetarianism, working at the health food store, hanging out at record stores and we were all in bands. We’d go travel outside of New York together too, like Connecticut, Cleveland. When I was in Bold we got to tour around the States in 1989 when I was nineteen. We borrowed my dad’s van for the tour. We went to California on that trip, it was so crazy, we were gone for two months.

B: You’ve played in so many amazing bands! Quicksand, Beyond, Handsome…

TC: Thank you. I’ve been really lucky to be surrounded by talented people and to be into music and be able to have spent a lot of time playing guitar to develop my own style. There’s always been so many good players around me. In my high school there were so many good musicians, the guitar player [Kirk Douglas] from the Roots went there, the guys from Beyond, Vic DiCara. We all feed off each other. When I lived with the guys from Youth Of Today, Judge and Gorilla Biscuits in Brooklyn, I really started learning lots of stuff and being able to apply what I learned to playing with different people. I hooked up with Walter [Schreifels] at that point. Gorilla Biscuits was fading out for him and he wanted to start a new band that wasn’t the complete structure of hardcore but something different, like still have the elements but, for it to be a progression from it. At the time the scene was changing and music was changing, bands like Nirvana were getting signed. We had a 7 inch out and started to get recognised by record labels.

Quicksand roard case by bradalmanac

B: What was life like on a major for a band like Quicksand coming from the punk and hardcore scene?

TC: I feel like it was a really good experience. At the time in the 90s when we did get a record deal, the industry had a lot of money and were willing to do stuff like make videos, have tour support—they were behind you, you didn’t have to work a job you could just be in a band. I was very fortunate to be able to do that. I was in three bands that were on major labels. It was awesome. There’s its faults too though.

Initially, when Quicksand started as a band we never thought that we wanted to be on a major label or to try and write music for that—that just wasn’t our world. We didn’t think about stuff like that, we just wanted to make something different and maybe be as big as Bad Religion in Europe, that was the initial thought. We thought Fugazi were great! They weren’t mainstream, that’s what we wanted. For some reason the music world changed and the industry were looking to sign bands like Fugazi, Helmet, and bands like that. We were in that mix. They started coming to our shows, we felt weird about it. First it was a record label that was semi-independent that were doing hardcore bands but the contract wasn’t so good, word got out after that and other labels started paying attention to us. It was weird being from hardcore and all. You thought people were going to judge you. We were still trying to do things in that hardcore spirit, we still played with hardcore bands. I think the hardcore community accepted us and went along with Quicksand, they grew with Quicksand. There wasn’t really a backlash, which was cool. We were always just doing it from our hearts, never trying to make a quick buck.

For more info on CONVERSATIONS WITH PUNX.

With love & light,

I heart you

 

 

 

Photos by bradalmanac + Tom art by me.

5 Comments

  1. […] You can red another Conversations With Punx extract here: Quicksand’s Tom Capone: “We were always just doing it from our hearts, never trying to make a qu… […]

  2. David Jay
    June 8, 2015

    So cool! Very special!

  3. Bianca
    June 8, 2015

    Yes! Thanks Dave. Very excited to share this whole chat when my book comes out… though someone awesome already has got to peep the entire thing already ;)

  4. […] Quicksand’s Tom Capone: “We were always just doing it from our hearts, never trying to make a qu… […]

  5. […] Quicksand’s Tom Capone: “We were always just doing it from our hearts, never trying to make a qu… […]

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