The First Year Anthology CD (with the s/t 7", the Hollow Victory 10", some comp tracks and a live set)


Impenetrable, Invisible, Ignored
It amazes me how fast things can change. How suddenly a friendship can fade away. So many shared experiences, so many memories -- then abruptly one party moves on, turning their back on the other. No arguments, no falling out, just time to "move on." For what? They still live in the same small city but seem to believe they must experience a change. But in effect they cut off their past and seem to reduce rather than broaden their world. Perhaps I'm too nostalgic, but I can't forget my friends or my past. They and It are part of who I am and will always be.

Do you remember the good times?
Or were they good times at all?
Because now our bond of friendship
is surrounded by an impenetrable wall (x2)
I can't see you, you can't see me
I can't see you, you can't see me
I can't see you, you can't see me
I'm tired of this shroud of invisibility


Red Lights, Tin Roofs
Prostitution. It's the world's oldest profession. Yet, most workers in this industry can still not obtain safe working conditions, health insurance, and often a fare wage. Though not a capitalist, per se, I understand that the society we live in is one of a dichotomy -- of goods and services that one can buy or sell. Therefore, I feel if one chooses to market and sell themselves, this should be permitted behavior. However, I'm vehemently opposed to forced sex slavery, monetary and physical exploitation by third parties such as abusive pimps or madams, and the creation of brothels to service foreign military institution stationed abroad to protect their governments investments. Be it British East India in the 17th century or U.S. military once stationed in Manila. Often when the militaries are gone, supply doesn't meet demand and what was once thriving neighborhood transforms itself into destitute slum lands.Additionally, life expectancy for a woman working as a prostitute on Wall Street in Bombay is only 30 years old. Fatal back-street abortions and AIDS are real and constant occupational hazards. Many prostitutes are also subjected to being beaten, raped, and robbed by customers.The actual title for this song originates from a combination of the red light often once associated with neighborhoods of prostitution, and the tin roofs of poor hill tribes in Nepal. These tin roofs are often equated with parents having sold a daughter into prostitution in order to have such a modern amity to better protect the remaining family from the elements.

I provide no answers in this song, in fact, I probably raise more questions. The only definites I come up with are that I don't necessarily think prostitution should be legalized but rather decriminalized, and that prostitutes should be permitted safer working conditions and adequate health care.

Is it empowerment
or is it enslavement
for those who sell their bodies
out on the pavement?
Is prostitution hand in hand
with destitution
or a body positive
sex workers solution
From Patpong Road
to Falkland row
who holds the power,
the pimp or the whore?
When an offer of protection
turns to obedience through addiction
I have the predisposition
to voice my opposition
Red Lights, Tin Roofs, Red Lights
oft trapped within addiction
be it smack or cheap red wine
with an imposed threat of violence
if they "step too far out of line"
Widows and divorcees,
handicapped and poor
traditional stigmas
forced them out the door
Red Lights, Tin Roofs, Red Lights
Red Lights, Tin Roofs, Red Lights
Hmong and Nepalese girls
bodies sold as slaves
now just human fodder
for a booming flesh trade
Traditional bordellos
to satisfy the idle rich,
have gone the wayside for
human enslavement


Hollow Victory
This song is about relationships and opportunity. About good things happening after good things have ended. A what-if scenario questioning a future that can probably never be. My personal hollow victory seems to be kicking back alone under the shade of a palm tree on a Pacific island beach. This is my pre-existing past and perhaps my preordained future. But, the merits of hard work seem shallow when there is no one to share them with.

The day after
we finalized our parting
I was offered an opportunity
that could change my life forever
If successful
I can actualize our dreams
yet without you
it would prove a hollow victory
hollow victory
our elders questioned
about our future
I didn't know
until this fell into my lap
now it's clear
the path is chosen
decision cast in stone
yet now I walk alone


Too Close to Home
This song is a reminder of the frailty of human emotion and the depths to which people will go to fill the void within themselves, where they've been conditioned to believe love is meant to belong. This song does not dispute the existence of love, but rather states love is often fleeting and can not be manufactured. It only exists in its raw, pure form. And when it ceases to exist, by one or both parties, nothing can be done to change it. You just can not just go out andreplace the emotion with another person as if you were changing a battery. Yet so often this is what we find ourselves doing. Am I the only one that feels there just be another word for "rebound"? As for me it seems to carry too strong an implication of optimism and closure.

Those that he held close
demanded he justify
but it was too late
too late to question why
Wasn't looking to hurt
was looking for love
running from rejection
searching for acceptance
perhaps he grazed in pastures
much to close to home
but the couple weighed the odds
when they chose not to sleep alone


The Human Condition
This song was inspired after reading Andre Malraux's "La Condition Humaine" which, along with John M. Del Vecchio's "The 13th Valley," delve deeply into the human mindset. The two seem to paint the most vivid and accurate pictures of how humanity interacts and functions, particularly in times of stress and conflict. We are a contradictory creature, an animal that often loses sight of its ability to reason.

The educated minds of the middle class
fight wars that are not necessarily their own.
Outcast, misfit, half-caste
offspring of expatriates and religious pariahs
feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders,
they plot and scheme and scream
at the decadence around them,
dually living in their den of inequity,
where relationships that are meant to be governed
equally are defended by men.
And when a woman exercises her "freedom"
the typical male response of jealousy ensues.
A reaction tantamount to hypocrisy
in the couples joint war against their elder generations.
Perpetuation of misogynistic submission,
concubinage and courtesans.
And the man finds pride not in being a man
but at not being a woman
and the killer discovers he despises
not those he kills but those who do not
For as sad as it may be
violence brings change
and change is brief
so when change becomes constant
the past is forgotten or remembered
in a romanticized rendition of the truth
So as the pages turn,
the words still appear fresh.
And Shanghai of 1927
might as well be San Francisco of 1999


Salamat Kaibigan
Salamat Kaibigan a means "thanks friend" in Tagalog. This song started out as a thank you to all the friends Craig and I have in the Philippines. Our old band had toured there and it proved to be one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experience of our life. The effects of hundreds of years of colonialism by Spain and the United States was painfully apparent. We witnessed crime, corruption, pollution and poverty, yet throughout it all our friends and hosts went out of their way to treat us with kindness and hospitality. We will never forget what they did for us and the experiences we shared together. This song is for them as well as the all the other unsung hardcore kids from "less privileged" countries throughout the world. Battling against popular opinion and authority on a regular basis. Where conviction and determination take president over glamour and success.

salamat kaibigan
para kama na tinutulugan
salamat kaibigan
sa pankain at sa iinom
salamat kaibigan
para pagdala sa dagat
salamat kaigbigan
sa pagbaibigai mo nangbuhay saamin
This song goes out to all the punk and hard core kids of the "third world" -- Philippines, Brazil,
Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Turkey, Eastern Europe...and for making the most out of what
little resources they have, and for staying true to the DIY spirit and keeping it alive.


Words Ring Empty
I've been listening to underground hardcore, punk, and metal since 1983, and I've been an active participant in the "scene" since 1985. This activity has now encompassed over half of my life. It was the music and imagery that first drew me in, but so many other facets of the scene kept me here, invigorated me, challenged me, changed me. Straight edge reinforced my decision to stop drinking and smoking in high school -- it was a much cooler way than going to AA groups as I could still hang in the crowd only X's on my hand and 7 Seconds and Minor Threat to back me up. Way more cooler than filling my head with Christian rhetoric to provide myself with a crutch. My exposure to the punk scene encouraged me to go vegetarian and three years ago finally adopt a vegan diet. There are so many aspects, be it the music, the pit, the politics, etc. Something draws each one of us in. But eventually its initial attraction loses it pull and people start to drift or drastically change their beliefs. I can understand people changing and finding new interests but it shocks and disappoints me when in moving on they don't apply anything they gained from their time in "the scene" to their new endeavors. To speak so adamantly about something like straight edge and how alcohol and tobacco killed your family and then to start smoking and drinking… To sing so adamantly about multi-national death corporations and then seek their endorsements for your sporting career… Both seem a bit of a slap in the face. It seems that rather than trying to change the world these people should have concentrated on changing themselves, as inner change is most important. It shouldn't be said that those that shout the loudest fall the hardest, it should be said that those who shout the loudest have heart felt conviction, longevity and determination.

kids still wear your band's patches
place your lyric sheets upon their walls
you conveyed such as sense of urgency
if they could only see you now
you were young and full of ideals
your words once inspired
now your commitment has faltered
what have you retained? does anything remain?
or does growing up equal selling out?
Words Ring Empty


Smiling in the Face of Certain Death
When I was young I was blissfully unaware of my own mortality. Then at around age four I began to understand the concept of death. I didn't experience death until my grandmother died, however she was old and this seemed natural. It was not until high school that the issue of mortality came more clearly into perspective when three classmates were killed by a drunk driver on their way home from a show. Since then, automobile accidents, overdoses, suicide, and terminal illness seem to become more and more frequent. The toll of dead friends and associates mounts ever higher. Each time it becomes easier to accept and I become more emotionally numb. There's nothing I can do except celebrate and remember the good times and make the most and best of my own time on this earth.

People ask me why,
I'm such a happy smiling guy,
and with a wink and a nod,
I issue my reply.
I wave, smile and say each hello,
as if it were my last goodbye,
because someday, perhaps soon,
we're all bound to die.
One by one, or all at once.
it's a fact of life, and not a hunch.
So why live a life full of regrets,
unpaid respects and things unsaid.
I learned so long ago
to make the best of things
because nothing lasts forever
not even your friends
your friends
your friends
your friends


Shadow Puppet Theater of War
This song is about the killing fields of Cambodia. A southeast Asian country rich in culture and history which was horribly scarred by civil war, where a third of the population where killed
in campaigns of genocide and retaliation.

Tuol Svay Prey High -- nineteen seventy five
no graduating class and no one left alive
no year book, for the hundreds that died
just photographs of S-21's on the wall
their bludgeoned skulls at Choeung Ek
a testament to the price of bullets
Shadow Puppet Theater of War


Apathy our Destiny?
Several of or songs talk about the scene and touch on growing up, changing ideals, disillusionment etc. I feel that the scene could be a lot more healthy if people didn't feel like they were banging their heads against a wall with so much in-fighting. Media and learned behavior has conditioned us to act like idiots. All the progressive politics in the world don't mean shit if you're a peace punk shouting rhetoric drunkenly from a gutter, and all your pleas for a positive scene are rendered useless if you're a straight edgerin the pit kicking kids in the face for no reason. Unity and diversity can be synonymous. All the kids and people of the underground sub cultures; hard core, punk, ska, oi, metal, reggae, skate, emo, gay, art, cinema, etc. have something in common, they are a reaction against the status quo. The establishment looks down on them because they think, act and/or dress differently. Albeit these subcultures are different from one another, they are still minority groups that often experience discrimination by employers, the police, and even the general public. Together we can build a strong and unified alternative to straight society. We have got to stop wasting our time fighting each other and destroying the things we strive so hard to create.

for as long as it's existed
this thing we call a scene
there's been a repetitive cycle
of idiocy
despite lofty morals
and ethics held dear
so little these precepts
do many adhere
the cries all ring empty
for change and unity
as words without action
equal hypocrisy
things taken for granted
in a state of repetitive apathy
not appreciating what one has
and acting selfishly
why must we spiral towards destruction?
a path clear for all to see
or can we curb extinction?
as together we hold our destiny


Our theme song about unity and the simple joys in life.

Thrash-core and circle pits!
Long hair, short hair, it all fits!
Bandanas, flannels, skateboard decks!
What Happens Next?


Visiting the SF Asian Art Museum a few years back, I came across a statue of the Indian deity, Chamurda (aka Durga), a many-armed goddess of both warfare and peace. It is said that to worship her appeases her warlike instinct and encourages peace. However, it was in a pessimistic mindset that I wrote this song. Regardless of whether or not humanity chooses to worship Durga, it seems we are determined to destroy each other without her assistance. Humanity seems to have a forte for creating quicker and more efficient methods to kill each other en masse, and in fact has created a large job market for war industries. I am quite certain humankind is capable of assuring our own destruction without intervention from above.

one of seven mothers
dancing symbol of death and destruction
holding aloft corpses
and wielding weapons
in her multiple arms
world peace is improbable
Durga's worship unnecessary


One person can change the world. This song is dedicated to a person who directly or indirectly influenced the majority of people I know on this earth.

I heard his voice
and read his words
before I ever met him
his impact on my mindset
insures that
I will not forget him
without the vehicles
he helped create
my world would be much smaller
his influence upon my life
rivals that of my own father
and when I look around
at friends and places that I've been
in one way or another
it all comes back to him


Infinite Cycle (The Scene's a Jigsaw Puzzle and the Pieces Don't Fit)
I've seen the same shit happening for the last 14 years. People just don't seem to get much smarter, yet still the punk scene seems to offer so much more than other music-oriented subculture.

A bathroom stall is trashed
a window pane is smashed
an all ages venue lost
condemned to the past
the crowd they dance
and raise their fists
reciting angry lyrics
as if they're pissed
but it's just the punk rock game
and they all know the script
of idle gossip, talking shit
waxing general and not specific
but all their faux sincerity
results in much hilarity
when they ebb and surge for clarity
and try to justify the roles they poorly play


Museifu Shugi Banzai
Sung in Japanese. Song title translates to "No Government" or "Long Live Anarchy". It's about how despite the fact that I exist within the system, I don't need cops and politicians to dictate my life. Regardless of their rules and laws I see myself as autonomous and self-governing. Likewise, common sense and responsibility should be inherent and people should help one another naturally. I work downtown for a financial institution, pay rent, squander my money on toys and records, etc., yet these things seem pointless in regards to the fundamental elements humankind needs to survive. Basically, I exist within the system until the system ceases to exist. And if the world as we know it were to cease tomorrow, due to conflict, turmoil or change, I think I could wake and face the day undaunted.

Kamisan Irane
Oshisho Irane
Seijika Irane
Omawari Irane x2
Omae no rule nante irane
Ore wa jibun de kimerareru x2
Museifu shugi banzai


Rat Bastard
Dedicated to record thieves everywhere.

I opened up my heart,
I opened up my home.
But then I made the mistake,
of leaving you there alone.
I wanted to give,
you decided to take.
Thought our friendship was true,
but you proved it was fake.
Rat Bastard! Rat Bastard!
You acted quick,
but I acted faster!
Now time has passed,
I can forgive not forget.
Can't say that I hate you,
but you'll never again be a guest.


Le Cafard
Le Cafard literally means "the beetle" but in the vocabulary of the French Foreign Legion stationed in North Africa it referred to a state of temporary insanity caused by long periods of inactivity and boredom in the desert. They would blame this mental state on insects entering ones head, rather than the effects of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with too much time to think, and being mentally and physically exhausted from building roads when they weren't preoccupied with being shot at by snipers.

I should learn to be more patient
like Bodhiharma sitting in his cave
watching ants transverse the walls
and listening to them scream
I should've handled things better
but I didn't handle things at all
it was like I was juggling
with one arm tied behind my back
but no one offered me a hand
when that's all I really needed
instead I got no quarter
or offer of reprieve
my throat is dry
mouth full of dirt
my heart still loves
my words they hurt
I've fallen victim to the legions
of beetles crawling round inside my head
I should've communicated better
but let rash action rule instead


Aki Rame Naizo
Chorus sung in Japanese. Translates to "Never Surrender." Despite the mention of an enemy, this is not an Us versus Them song. The "enemy" is not specific and could be within your own mind, psychological demons that must be confronted and purged. Sometimes it seems that you're all alone and the world's a cruel place. But things do turn around and patience is a virtue that can prove to be your strongest ally. Never give in, always stay strong!

Even when the odds are against you
and it seems you are surrounded
you must stay strong in heart, body and mind
you must stand face the enemy and fight
Aki Rame Naizo x4
like Hiro Onada
on the island of Lubang
he fought thirty long years
against overwhelming odds
I'm not afraid of dying
I only fear losing life
before I've fully experienced it
so I treat every moment
as if it were my last
Aki Rame Naizo X4
though many times it all seems like rehash
and that I'm just waiting to die
something will pull me on
to give me purpose
and if I repeat the past
at least I'm given
an opportunity
to do it one better
and though at times
I want to throw my hands in the air
and yell I quit this world
I've opted to stick it out and see where I wind up
Aki Rame Naizo X2