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Judgement were a killer crossover band in the vein of The Crumbsuckers and when I got a CD of their demos in the mail not long ago I was moshing and slam dancing in my apartment and I emailed member Andrrew some questions and here is what he said to them:
MC: It is a great pleasure to interview you after all these years. Now for
those who don't know tell them a little bit about the background of the band.
ANDREW: Judgement was a metal band spawned from the South New Jersey suburbs in the mid-eighties. There was a different line-up for each of our 2 demo recordings.
Here is the original line-up:
top: Rich Bordynowski (guitar), Kyle Rivera (vocal), Steve Kraft (drums)
bottom: Andrew Bordynowski (guitar), Ernie Hilbert (bass)
We recorded Demo 1990 and wrote all the songs for Infernal Reality with this line-up. Then we experienced a few line-up changes. Rich and Steve leave the band and are replaced by Jay McDermott (guitar) and Matt Thompson (drums). Matt Thompson moves to Texas. Steve comes back. Ernie leaves and is replaced by Kevin Piper.
The line-up for our 2nd demo (Infernal Reality):
top: Kevin Piper (bass), Steve Kraft (drums)
bottom: Kyle Rivera (vocal), Jay McDermott (guitar), Andrew Bordynowski (guitar)
MC: How long was the band around for and what led to the break up of the band?
What were some band highlights in your eyes and some low points?
Andrew: We lasted roughly 6 years, from around 1987-1992. I broke up the band because I wanted to use my time in other ways. The highlights of my time with Judgement would be recording the two demo's and getting radio airplay from college radio stations. The only low point was when we were ripped off by a company that was going to manufacture and distribute a compilation cd.
MC: Do you still talk to some of the old band members and if so what do they think about you putting your old stuff out on CD and setting up a website, etc?
Andrew: I'm not in contact with everyone, but those who have seen the website, like it. My brother Rich and Kyle Rivera both work for the State of New Jersey setting up computers. Ernie earned a Phd. at Oxford University and lives in Philly. You can check out Ernie and E-Verse Radio - his regular weekly column of literary, publishing, and arts information and opinion at:
Yo Steve, Jay, and Kevin...send me an email!
MC: Speaking of websites, what is the url of yours and will you be doing a MySpace page for the band?
Andrew: I have no plans for a MySpace page. The Judgement web-crypt is here:
MC: For those who don't know describe what you think the band sounded like?
Andrew: Judgement came in two flavors. DEMO 1990 was thrash with a dash of hardcore. Infernal Reality was the same formula adding a dose of death metal.
MC: Did you get to play live much and what are your memories of playing Bonnie's
and other clubs in the area?
Andrew: We did not play live much, maybe twice a month at most. We played exclusively in South Jersey...G.Willikers, The Galaxy, Bonnies, The Electric Pony, The Harwin Theatre, Stockton State College...We played with many excellent bands...Beyond Control, Talisman, Belial, Anathema, Nocturnal Fear, Nemicide, Vicious Circle, Mortuary, Faith Or Fear, Killers Breed, Without Warning, Deadly Blessing, Methedrine, Thanatopsis, Altar, Damnability, Oktober, Brutality, Sovereign, Sapremia, I.B.M., Hazarax and many more. Sometimes people would rage out of control, but most of the gigs were good bloodless fun.
MC: Did you send the demos out to many fanzines beside mine? How were the reviews
and did you save a lot of the old stuff?
Andrew: We sent the demo to every zine that we could find. We got a lot of great reviews. I still have a lot of the zines we appeared in, radio station playlists, tapes I received in trade from other bands, and flyers from past gigs.
MC: How did you come up with the name and the logo?
Andrew: I came up with the name, my brother Rich designed the logo. I was looking for something with a feeling of "impending doom".
MC: Was writing songs easy or hard for the band and don't you miss the days
of writing people letters and mailing out demos?
Andrew: Writing songs was easy most of the time. Everyone contributed something to the songwriting process. I liked to work out riffs with Steve. Ernie wrote songs on his acoustic guitar. Kyle would take any words Ernie and I gave him, and make them fit the music. Rich freelanced his own tweaks to the riffs Ernie and I tossed around. Anything that Steve beat out of his drums sounded awesome to me. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to write any songs with Jay, Matt, or Kevin.
Writing letters and mailing out demos was more time-consuming and expensive pre-internet. I think it was worth the effort. Thanks to zines like MetalCore, we made contacts all over the world. Each zine or band made a small paper advertisement of their product for stuffing into envelopes. Every time we sent out a demo, we would place 10 to 20 ads from other zines and bands in the package. The understanding was that each band would do the same. The zines were already giving us publicity of course. It was a metalhead advertising network. How many local bands can say they appeared on a compilation tape in Greece? Received radio airplay in Belgium? Did an interview for a zine in Chile? It was done with letters. I'm not saying that we were popular anywhere other than in our own minds. I can say it was very gratifying! And thank you Chris and MetalCore for helping to provide some of that support.
MC: After the break-up of the band did you or any of the other band members
join any other bands?
Andrew: Jason McDermott played guitar for Hixon for awhile. I recently recorded a couple of songs with a side project called Decoder. The members of Decoder are Scott Lawrence (vocal & bass) and John Stratis (drums), both formerly of the hard rock band The Willing, with me on guitar. The two song demo is almost finished. We're sort of a cross between hard rock and punk. I'm also jamming with my brother Rich (Judgement-Demo 1990) and Angelo Gonzalez (former Beyond Control drummer).
On a side note, our ex-drummer Matt Thompson currently plays for King Diamond, Michael Harris/Surgeon, Shaolin Death Squad, Batcastle, and Agrat. Check out Matt's website at:
MC: Is there any chance of a reunion show or any videos going up on You Tube?
Andrew: I seriously doubt it.
MC: After the break up of the band what did you end up doing?
Andrew: I put together a small recording studio so I could put down tracks anytime I get the itch. I completed two associate degrees, one in business administration, the other in psychology. I played basketball in a couple of local leagues until my knees begged me to quit. I created and maintain a website that provides links to free audio resources. It's called Future Din Tracks. Here's the link:
MC: Have you ever seen anybody selling your stuff on EBay?
Andrew: Yes! A friend of mine found our first demo for sale on EBay. I get no satisfaction from that fact since the seller doesn't want our demo anymore. Well at least, they didn't throw the cassette tape in the trash.
MC: Were you more into the hardcore scene or the metal scene or a bit of both?
Andrew: I was into both scenes. Being a skateboarder probably exposed me to the hardcore/punk side of the scene. We only played one cover song in our set...
United Forces by S.O.D.
It doesn't matters how you wear your hair
It's what inside your head
United Forces stand for all strong and fair
Black, white and yellow and red
UNITED (forces) UNITED (forces) UNITED
UNITED (forces) UNITED (forces) UNITED
It was a good ending for our show because of the message of unity. After the chaos of the random violence of the mosh, it was cool to remind everyone that "we were all in this together".
MC: If some label wanted to release your 2 demos on CD would you let them and
is there any music or live stuff lying around that might see the light of day
so to speak?
Andrew: I suppose something could be worked out with the demo's. I have a few live mixing board tapes and several videotapes, but they're all very poor quality. If I digitize something that sounds decent, I'll put it on the website.
MC: What advice would you give to a band that is just starting out?
Andrew: Jam. Record jam sessions so you can save moments of spontaneous inspiration. Wear ear plugs or turn the amps down. Rehearse. Buy extra strings, picks, and drumsticks so rehearsal can flow through normal interruptions. Get a back-up guitar before you do a gig so you don't have to stop a song for a broken string. Read. Write. Read some more. Travel. Talk with people.
MC: Do you think things would be different with the band if you had the stuff
we have now (You Tube, MySpace, more labels, etc)?
Andrew: I think that it's easier and less expensive to reach more people with the internet, but you still have to seek out opportunities to expose your music. You can't just make a web page and expect to get a million hits.
MC: Do you still follow the scene at all and what were some of your favorite
bands back in the day and are you still listening to them now?
Andrew: I download songs from the websites of underground bands all over the world. I get some of the links from MetalCore and other zines on the web. I list many of the bands on my website Future Din Tracks:
My favorite local bands from back in the day were Faith Or Fear, Krank, and Beyond Control. Here are my top ten "back in the day records that I still listen to now" (each from a different band):
01 Slayer - Reign In Blood
02 Metallica - Kill 'Em All
03 Hallow's Eve - Monument
04 Death - Spiritual Healing
05 Anthrax - Among The Living
06 AC-DC - Highway To Hell
07 Exodus - Bonded By Blood
08 Savatage - Power Of The Night
09 Iron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast
10 Megadeth - Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good
MC: You just told me you just got back from Spain. What were you doing there?
Andrew: I was visiting my parents, a couple of aunts, and some friends. In spite of my surgically repaired knees, I was able to run up and down the streets of Bulbuente chased by a bull. It's a tradition during "las fiestas". The bulls and "horned" cows are not in any danger. Humans are definitely in a lot of danger, especially if you're trying to run and take a picture at the same time. Running from a bull produces an incredible adrenalin rush!
MC: Did Judgement get any bad reviews and what in your opinion was your favorite
show you did?
Andrew: I won't lie, we received a few bad reviews. Brian O'Neil from Curious Goods was not happy at all with the lyrics to our song "Cigarette Slave", but he gave us a decent review anyway.
My favorite show is a three-way tie.
á The Battle of the Bands on Fort Dix - Our first show.
á G.Willikers - Talisman, Mortuary, Damnability, and Judgement. I think we all brought a fair amount of people to the gig with Damnability (the headliner) bringing the most to the venue. G.Willikers was packed and thrashing hard that night.
á The Electric Pony - Killers Breed, Judgement and Faith or Fear. Opening for Faith Or Fear was a killer gig.
MC: What are some regrets you have about the band, if any?
Andrew: No regrets.
MC: If anybody is interested in getting your 2 demos on CD they should do what?
Andrew: Save their money for something else and download 7 free mp3's and a video for free from the crypt:
MC: Any last words? Horns up for the interview and taking this trip down memory
lane with me.
Andrew: Chris, you've seen many bands come and go. MetalCore kicked ass when I met you in 1990, and it still kicks ass today. Anyone looking for honest, thoughtful, and consistent reviews of metal music and video, should check MetalCore before they drop any of their hard earned cash. Thanks for the interview. peace.