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This Is Hardcore Fest Preview: Judge.

August 5, 2013

judge band photoThis is Hardcore 2013 is the biggest, most anticipated, annual hardcore fest in the country which runs from August 8th-11th at the Electric Factory. Gracing the stage this year will be Gwar, Kid Dynamite, Modern Life is War and Paint it Black, to name a few.

This week, our Bree Wood caught up with Mike “Judge” Ferraro, frontman for the New York based straight edge band Judge, currently on Revelation Records. Formed in 1987, Judge’s music has greatly influenced the hardcore scene which makes their first-ever appearance at this year’s TIH one for the books. You can catch them Saturday, August 10th. Photo provided by Judge.

We’d like to welcome you back to Philadelphia. To start off what is your name and who is everyone in Judge?

Thanks for the welcome! The band is Porcell on guitar, Sammy on drums, Matt on bass, Charlie on guitar and I’m Mike. I do the vocals.

We’re glad to have you guys back playing music, but we’re curious as to why Judge decided to call it quits?

We called it a day at the end of our last tour. Touring takes a lot out of you and at the end of that one, personally, I was burnt out. Too many fights… also, there were people who were saying that my words were the reason the fights were happening. It was a weight that, after awhile, I couldn’t carry. So I dropped out.

You guys must get offers all the time to play. You recently played a show in NYC and now TIH and you have two shows in Germany on the horizon. What made you decided to get back into it? Do you think you will continue to play when you have the opportunity?

I hope to keep going until I don’t have anything left to give. It was a slow roll getting this going again. It started a few years back when Civ [Anthony Civarelli] had invited my wife and I to come watch Gorilla Biscuits play the Black N’ Blue Bowl in 2011. Right before they went on, Anthony had asked if I would sing N.Y. Crew with him. I declined, so as I was watching from the balcony, I watched as Gorilla Biscuits played N.Y. Crew (a song I wrote 20 something years ago). I saw how the crowd sang along and embraced it now as much as they did then. Now I don’t know if it was jealousy but there was something happening. I went home that night and all I could think about was singing those songs again.

How do you feel about the impact you have made on young hardcore kids and those who are just getting into it?

I’m blown away by it. When someone says to me that the words I wrote had helped them through bad time or got them through an awful situation… I am floored. The way I leaned on the words Kevin Seconds [of 7 Seconds] wrote is the way some people lean on the words I wrote. That’s a responsibility!!! That’s fucking heavy!!!

Do you have a favorite Judge LP or EP?

Well, I love Bringing it Down but coming from a musical position the After the Storm EP is the best thing I’ve done in my life.

Do you think you will ever get into the studio again?

I hope so! That’s what I’m pushing for. I believe there were a few recordings left when the wheels came off.

Are you involved in any other bands? Or any other aspects of the NYHC scene?

No, not really. I still do acoustic work on my own. Now that Judge is back, that will always come first but I will never stop doing acoustic work, whether it’s writing or gigging.

What is the best show/tour story you have? Do you have any favorite Philly stories?

So many gigs are highlights to me. Maybe the whole tour with Gorilla Biscuits. The friendships made on that trip will last forever. As far as Philly, I’m not sure. I remember playing in a plane hangar… that got crazy.

Have you guys been to TIH before and what is your favorite moment?

This will be my first time. I don’t know about the other guys. Joe [McKay] has been very supportive. It’s funny. Before I ever had a thought of Judge getting together again, he was emailing me for his Fest. This has been going on for years now. So it’s cool to actually be playing here this year.

People love collective merch at TIH… anything new to look out for?

As far as merch, we all kind of put in our ideas and the crew at merch now take it all in and come up with something that we all agree on. My wife came up with the ideas for women’s stuff. It’s all a team effort. I’ve been friends with Steve Reddy for a ton of years. It’s great to see him doing so well.

What are you looking forward to this year at TIH? Is there anything people can expect this year from Judge’s set?

I’m looking forward to a lot! Black Train Jack for sure. Bob is one of the best singers around. Also getting to play with 7 Seconds & H2O. Kevin & Tobey are so great at putting words together. My old homies SOIA [Sick Of it All]… there’s just too much.

Once again thanks for doing the interview. Looking forward to seeing you at TIH!

Thanks for asking me to do it. I can’t wait to get there and finally can’t wait to play.

Tune in at the end of the week for our final interview with members of the infamous Gwar. Can’t wait to see you all at TIH!

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