Monday, January 24, 2011

Local Spotlight - Jay Bacon of Cordial Spew

"We play for the people who show up and for the energy they give.. That's more than enough reason."
-Jay Bacon

Cordial Spew from Omaha have the honor of being the oldest hardcore punk band in the state of Nebraska.  However, their band trajectory is something unique compared to most bands in that they went on a hiatus for over 20 years before returning to the scene stronger than ever.  With speeds akin to early Agnostic Front accompanied with tasteful guitar shreds and a touch of classic skate rock, Cordial Spew bring a fun and authentic feel to old-school hardcore punk.  I was fortunate enough to catch up with Cordial Spew's vocalist, Jay Bacon to talk about the past, present and future of the band.  Jay has also been a cornerstone in scene since being active in a band by helping run the local all ages punk venue The Hole.  Plus, he's just an all around nice guy.  Here is the interview, enjoy.

What are the beginnings of Cordial Spew?
Three juvenile delinquents that met in AA... Approx. sept.1985.. Jack Hawk, Kevin Mclay and Myself.. met at the Big Boy pancake house on 31st and Farnam.. They asked me to come to a band practice with them and I screamed into a Boom box Mic for our first recording.. Our first drummer Bob, waited till we were done to actually start drumming.. Shit was funny as hell... Kevin found drummer Conrad Hinz at a teen night club.. He could actually play drums... so he was in... Conrad heard about Bryan Gumm "Gumby"and he was easily the talent of our crew so the band was formed. We practiced about 6 months with people steadily coming to Kev's basement to watch us.. And our first show was to about 400 people.. It was called The "Freeze" benefit.. Due to Americans being consumed with Nuclear arms back then.. And that fuckbag Reagan.
Photo courtesy of Chris Ventura

What is the "new" history of the band?  How did it happen?
About October of 2007 I had a cd made of our first three recordings since Kevin gave the cassette's to me a year earlier..I was in contact with Conrad because we skated together. We (Kev,Conrad and myself) met for a cup of coffee downtown and talked about jamming together.. a day or so later I get a call from Jack Hawk saying an old friend Tim Cox was putting together a reunion show in memory of our old friends, Jack Had Bryan's number and we all met at the Now missing 49'r to talk.. We shared old pic's and stories and committed to playing the reunion show March 29th 2008.. Practice was a riot because we barely remembered the songs...At the Sold out Reunion show we started our set with the song "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb.. and rolled into C-86. " The actual video on You tube" That's when the pit exploded and we were once again hooked on playing..  Family and personal issues has us playing with new members that are actually old friends that saw us play in the old days.  Jeff Decker, Jason Rice and Doug Decker have been with us for more than 2 years..

What was the punk scene like in Omaha in the late 80's?  And how does it compare to how things are now.  Better or worse?
Difficult to describe..but here goes.. Punk rock and Hardcore kids found each other at actual shows. We were fortunate to play with some amazing acts. NOFX, Descendents, SNFU, Beyond Possession, Verbal Assault, BGK, Ludichrist, Legal Weapon, Capital Punishment,Toxic Reasons, MDC to name some..But the best part of the old scene was the same as now.. The People...  The parties, gatherings, and shows we went to.. and Since you had to actually write or call bands to get them here, People came out... always... That shit was special... A family of like minded individuals... But I see some of that these days too.. a little too fragmented in my opinion.. Still great...But that is what comes with many choices and "The INTERNETS" Yeah... Fuck Bush Too... The new basement dwellers are still fun for me to watch.. I remember how great it was for me in the old scene by watching today's people.. Still a great bunch of insecure kids finding their path.. Just like I was... Makes doing this whole thing worth it..

What is the biggest difference between writing a Cordial Spew song in '86 compared to writing in '11?

Song writing is different.. Old days' Angry and very personal lyrics... These days, mostly observant and angry opinionated type lyrics.. Or something stupid..

Would you say you are more punk or less punk comparing now to then?

Hmmmmm.. What is Punk??? In prison it's a bad thing, In the real world it is sold as currency.. And we don't fit either of those. So... I am gonna stand on  "Omaha's Oldest Hardcore Band" and Live with that.. But we are definitely more soft around the middle now.. So Less punk is my final answer..

What inspires you to write new material and play out as often as you guys do?
We play for the people who show up and for the energy they give.. That's more than enough reason.

What can you tell me about the new demo songs?  New cd out soon?  Shows?
The Cd is still being worked on..Doug Is the recording engineer so we record when it suits us..No hurry man.. It's not like we are trying to make it big or something.. The disc will have most everything we have including new tracks that have not been played in public.

What is your relationship to The Hole?  And what is the current status of the venue? 
The Hole is still open and It's being run by my friends, I help when needed as opposed to killing myself to keep it running..  Donny and I started it for this town and the scene and I hope we can keep it for a long time. It needs support to live..Just like anything.

Do you guys listen to any current punk bands?  If so list a few that you feel are noteworthy.  Any local bands worth a shit?

Yeah, I listen to locals more than touring bands by far.. But to just sit and listen to records at my house takes an act of God.... The things in life that matter most to me usually get in the way of my listening.  Mostly in my car going places.. And I dig most of the bands we have played with.. I hate when bands separate too.. or quit.. But that is the nature of an ever changing world.. You open your eyes to the next opportunity.

You are on a desert island with one album, what is the album?  Why?

One album??? That sucks..  But I will go with.. "London Calling" by The Clash. Because without it.. I wouldn't even know you man!

Are BMW convertibles punk?

Hmmm.. What is punk is walking on two feet.. But fuck that!  And the M3 is too fun to not drive so... Call me a Poseur!!!

Any final shoutouts and or rants? 

Shout out to Omaha and Lincoln no to mention Keith McX..for helping to keep hardcore music alive.. It is the last true upheaval in modern music.. If you think anything truly new has come around since Hardcore then I would like to hear what you think it is... So.."growing up" is not required when applied to Hardcore.  Let it
run through you and it will always give it's energy back..  I am living proof.    Jay B.


  1. This is great. Jay and Cordial Spew undeniably helped open things up for all of us that were later part of the Omaha scene. A true hardcore "kid" through and through. Once we skated together in my neighborhood in Council Bluffs - Jay seemed larger than life. He's still gets that kind of respect from me.

    1. Thanks Kuper.. You guys tore a path of your own.. I respect that and your contribution to our type of music that needs to be mentioned as well.. You better find me next time you are in town..