I was straight edge in high school. Not one of those snobby hardcore sXe kids that only ate vegetables and refused to hang out with anyone that smoked weed, but I was the poser that would sharpie my wrists and sign English tests “Ryan xxx”. I broke edge my senior year at a friend’s backyard barbeque while eating Ball Park Franks and listening to his dad hum along to Billy Ray Cyrus from the kitchen. God, how I regret breaking edge while not listening to cooler music.
If you’re a straight edge young adult curious to explore the realm of intoxicants, allow me to be of some assistance. I have two words that will pop your edge’s cherry in style and will prevent you from having to experience an excruciatingly painful achy breaky heart: Red Sparowes.
A few things you should know about Red Sparowes: They’re an instrumental quintet based in L.A., Cliff Meyer from Isis plays in this band, and listening to their music will give the hair on your arms a massive boner. These dudes also have super close ties to the Northeast hardcore scene that spawned bands like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. In fact, one of their first tours as a group was with Dillinger in 2004. Oh yeah, did I mention that their pedal steel guitarist Greg Burns only wears two different T-shirts?
Nate Newton of Converge talked up Red Sparowes during my last interview with him, so I made it a point to invite the band over for a couple beers to discuss the early Northeast hardcore scene and what drives them to make their art. More specifically, I wanted to find out if these guys wrote sober or if they took large quantities of drugs while creating their music.
Red Sparowes released their third studio album, “The Fear Is Excruciating, but Therein Lies the Answer”, in April via Sargent House. And I have to say, what this band has cooked up is a helluva lot tastier than hot dogs and Billy Ray.
From left to right, 3/5 of Red Sparowes: Andy Arahood, Greg Burns, and Dave Clifford on Ryan’s Rock Show: