I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2001. SPAZZ had just broken up because I was moving, although in spite of my move it also felt like "it was time"... we could keep putting out the same records over & over and become stale, or call it quits while people still cared what we were doing. So, my relocation was good timing for preserving the integrity of the band.
When I got to LA, I wasn't really sure what my next move was. I had a ton of friends down here, and I'm always driven to do something creative, but band-wise I didn't know what direction I was headed. I jammed with a few drummers, like Etay Levy from Lana Dagales (we have some practice recordings somewhere that I recall sounded like early Italian HC meets Melt-Banana). But overall the hardcore scene felt different. I was still running Slap A Ham Records, but it's popularity was quickly waning. Everyone was buying CD burners, so creating CDs was pointless. No one wanted vinyl, so I stopped pressing it. And a most folks acted like hardcore/power violence was "over". I felt it, too In general, musically it didn't seem like anything new & exciting was going on. Of course there were new bands & new releases here & there that I liked, but nothing truly grabbed my attention. It felt like the past decade was spent observing a brutality contest. Who can be the most brutal, the heaviest, the fastest, the most extreme. Extreme music had reached a cookie-cutter level and nothing stood out as being exceptional anymore. I was fed up with the word itself and the approach to everything "extreme". So, I started thinking about what I loved about hardcore in the first place. Riffs you could hear, shouted words you could understand and sing along with. Songs that actually stuck in your head after you heard them once or twice.
When I started jamming with my old pal Bob from Deep Six Records / Lack Of Interest, he clearly had the perfect straight ahead hardcore style to drumming. He's not about the double kick and blast beats; his approach was traditional hardcore: fast, tight, and stop-on-a-dime precision. His style of playing inspired me to go back to the roots of it all. We started writing songs together, but instead of following the Spazz path, I wanted to pull it back a few notches, and just write straight forward hardcore that sounded more like the early bands.... the stuff from my pre-teen & teen years of trading demo cassettes through the mail. Songs that were aggressive and fast, but not overly fast, with snotty shouted vocals that you could somewhat understand, not just gruff grunts and growls. Less "power violence" (yes, kids... two words, not one), and more HC.
We wrote about 30 songs together, and struggled for months to figure out a name for the band. Bob was pushing for DEAD MAN'S GLORY (it was a phrase he was really driven by, for some reason) which we kept for a while, but after really thinking about it, there were way too many bands in existence, past and present, that had the word Dead in the name. All of the lyrics I was writing were reflecting my negative attitude towards the hardcore punk scene in general, and disappointment in my own life, primarily my unhappiness in my then-marriage to my first wife. With lyrics like these, I was bound to burn some bridges. Hence, I came up with the name BURNING BRIDGES. Bob liked it, but after a few weeks it kind of sounded like Burning Britches. Instead of people thinking of us as "that underwear band", we modified it to BURN YOUR BRIDGES.
Although we knew a million bass players, we really didn't feel like bringing anyone else into the fold. So BYB remained a two-piece. I recorded our demo on my Tascam 8-track. Slap A Ham was closing up shop. Bob still had his own Deep Six label. But we still sent out our demo to a few friend's labels to see if they'd be interested in releasing anything. No bites, and little interest, so we eventually recorded our one & only album for Deep Six.
Over the next few years, BYB played a handful of shows, which I barely remember, and after the album, Bob & I wrote around 20+ new songs, but they were never recorded. I was very self-critical of our material, and only used what I considered to be the best tracks. There are actually 7-8 unused studio songs we recorded for our album, which I never added vocals on. Maybe I'll post those some day.
Overall, reaction to BYB was lukewarm. I don't think a lot of kids knew what we were trying to do. The scene was still in "brutal" mindset, and we were decidedly non-brutal.
Here's our demo in all of its glory. Until now, probably less than
10 people have ever heard it. Basically just home recordings of what
eventually ended up on our album. Enjoy.
BURN YOUR BRIDGES - demo 2002