Since forming in 2003, The Banner has been one of the most ferocious and genre-defying hardcore (or metal-core or horror-core – see what we mean?) bands on the national punk scene, bursting out of Jersey in a blur of hyper-fast riffs and super-pissed vocals. There’s a strong Gothic tint to the vampire and werewolf themes, but the vibe isn’t at all hokey. The band plays Yonkers this weekend, and shit might get crazy. We grabbed singer Joey Southside to find out more
Have you played in Detroit before? Is this a happy hunting ground for you?
We love Detroit. It’s been a long time, but at the end of touring for Each Breath Haunted, which was our second full-length, and right through Frailty in ’08 and ’09, we would always go to Detroit. I’m from Bloomfield, which is essentially a suburb of Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit reminds me very much of Newark. It’s immediately very comfortable. Everybody is always super-nice. The girl who was booking for us at the time worked at Alvin’s, so we played Alvin’s all the time when it was still opened. It was opened. We’d hang out, get shit-faced and have a good time.
Are you fan of Detroit HC bands, like Negative Approach?
Everybody’s a fan of Negative Approach. They kind of escaped the whole regional band thing. There are a lot of heavier bands from Detroit that I didn’t realize were from Detroit. The scene there has always been super-great to us. Even though we play a cross between early hardcore punk and the crappier ’90s metal-core stuff, our influences were always the older punk bands.
What is the current state of New Jersey hardcore? Is it very distinct from New York HC?
I think so. The thing, as with all places, is its very regionalized. The northern part of New Jersey, which many people consider a New York suburb, the NYHC influence is very prevalent, with the Madball’s and the Sick of it All’s – it has a distinct influence. As you get towards the central area, you get the college nerds. Then you get the Shore kids, who veer towards the original hardcore stuff. Most of the really great bands from New Jersey came from the Shore area.
You’ve had a lot of members over the years – is the current lineup solid?
From the beginning, it’s been me and Garrett [Defalco]’s band, and then if you want to come play our songs with us and hang out, everybody’s welcome. Friends come in and stay as long as they want to stay, and go when they want to go. That’s how it’s always been. People come and stay fo a while, and then they want to go and do their own thing.
What can we expect from your set in Detroit?
The usual ignorant, reckless music. In the old days, it used to be ignorant and a moshy pit. It’s not always appropriate – that kind of gig. But in Detroit, we’ve always found it an appropriate place for that. I hope to pick up where we left off with our Detroit friends.
The Banner plays with the Mongoloids, Old Wounds, Traitor, Sawchuk and Dredd at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3 at Yonka House; 20483 Yonka St., Detroit; $7.