Bored Straight Brings Hardcore Mayhem to MKE

Photo courtesy of the band

Hartford/Milwaukee’s Bored Straight brings hardcore back to the ’80s when young, fast and furious was all that was really essential. Tonight, they take their spring-wired live performance skills to The Borg Ward. Bassist Dan Agacki tells Fan-belt about the joys that hardcore music can bring.

Fan-belt Erin: So, who’s in the band? And how long have you played together?

Dan: The lineup since December ’07 is as follows: Nicolai Mickelson (vocals), Eric Mayer (guitar), Quentin Black (drums), and I play bass. Jared Morin played guitar on our demo, but left the band to pursue fatherhood. We started out in late ’06 as Addicted to Speed, playing a faster/thrashier version of our present sound. It became clear early on that we had painted ourselves into a corner. So we dropped the name and the eight or nine songs that we had written. It was only about a month’s work, so we didn’t sweat it too much.

Fan-belt Erin: The name. Who picked it?

Dan: I like to take credit for it, even though Eric and Jared were there, too. It comes from an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. They’re watching a movie called Teenage Strangler. There’s an epidemic of teens getting strangled, so who do the police haul into the station? The greaser gang of course! The detective makes some remark asking if they’re ready to straighten up and the gang leader snaps back, “Yeah, bored straight!”. Immediately, I pointed at the screen, totally flipping out, “That’s it! That’s our name!” What can I say, I’m easily excited.

Fan-belt Erin: You’re all pretty young, correct?

Dan: Half the band’s pretty young. When we started, Jared was 18, Eric was 20, and Nicolai and I were both 25. Quentin’s only 18 right now. I always forget how young he is. We’ve played bar shows where we have to kind of sneak around because they might not be cool with an 18 year old playing there. My favorite age-related band story is from one night when we were hanging out at the skate park in Hartford. I was talking about how I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the theater the week it came out. Quentin looked over at me and said, “Dude, that movie came out the year I was born.” Thanks, man. Way to make a guy feel old. Haha.

Fan-belt Erin: Describe your sound.

Dan: Fast, no frills hardcore. Total Straight up, generic ’82 hardcore rip-off. I have a feeling that the newer stuff will bring in some different elements, but nothing too drastic. No horns or synths or anything like that.

Fan-belt Erin: Influences?

Dan: The easiest way to do this is an ordered list. Off the top of my head it goes like this:

1. Koro. Knoxville, TN band that only made one 7″ in their day. The 700 Club EP is quite possibly the best hardcore record, ever. Blisteringly fast without being thrash. Catchy, memorable songs. The perfect combo.
2. Die Kreuzen. Their self-titled LP from 1984 still sounds like it came from another planet. The fact that they’re from Milwaukee makes ’em even cooler.
3. Dutch hardcore. Eric’s pretty much a historian of that whole. scene He writes most of our songs, so I’m sure there’s some Funeral Oration, Gepopel, and Pandemonium influences bleeding in there.
4. Black Flag. Seems almost cliche to mention ’em, but they changed my life. Their music and lyrics warped my brain at a young age. If we we all lived in the same city, I’d push for that Black Flag 40 hour a week practice schedule.
5. Minor Threat. They’re one of the bands that all four of us probably never have to listen to again because we can all recall their entire discography from memory.

Fan-belt Erin: What’s it like to be a hardcore band in Milwaukee (although some of your band members don’t live in the city)?

Dan: We like to say that we’re from Hartford, since we practice there. Nicolai was born and went to high school there. Eric and Quentin have both lived there their entire lives. I’m from a similar small town, so I can relate to it. I love it out there. It feels like home, even if it’s the same old small town gossip, rednecks and that sort of stuff.

Fan-belt Erin: How does it work having band members living outside of Milwaukee? Doesn’t that make it easier to skip out on practices?

Dan: The distance is a very minor problem. The current gas prices make it a little worse, but by no means unbearable. For me, it’s a nice break from the city. A small slice of home. Skipping practice has never been an issue for most of us. When Jared used to skip out all the time, Eric and I would still get together and practice. With our current lineup, we’re all really dedicated. Every week it’s instrumental practice on Wednesday and full band on Sunday. The fact that we’re all record collector dorks with similar senses of humor makes the whole process a lot easier.

Fan-belt Erin: Where have you played in Milwaukee? Out of town?

Dan: Most of our Milwaukee shows have been in basements. We definitely prefer them over bars. The only thing that sucks is having to carry a huge bass amp down and back up a flight of stairs. The Borg Ward is always a great place to play. The show that we played at Monkey Bar was interesting. We got to play with the Speed Freaks, so I can’t really complain.

In August, we’re going on our first tour. We’ll be swinging down to Raleigh, NC, up to Boston, and then back. A quick word of advice to any bands starting out: don’t try to book a tour before you put out a legit release. It sucks. People aren’t real receptive, because they don’t know who we are. I keep telling myself that we have to do that first awful tour to lay the groundwork.

Fan-belt Erin: Are you planning on recording anything soon?

Dan: Presently, we’re anxiously awaiting the test presses of our debut 7″. Most of us have never played on a legit release before, so this is a huge thing for us. Hopefully, it will be out for our show with Sex/Vid and Herds on the 23rd, but we’ll see. As long as we get the records before we leave for tour on August 1st, I’ll be happy.

Sometime in the future we’ll also be releasing a 3-way split with Holy Shit! and Nordic Waste from Duluth. There’s no timetable for that one. Everyone has recorded, so now we just have to figure out where the money to press the records is all coming from.

We have enough songs left over that we’re at least half-way to having another record compiled. That’s in the distant future, though. Chances are we’ll all be sitting on this 300-pressing of the first one for a while, anyway. Haha.

Bored Straight will be playing with Holy Shit!, Civic Progress (MO) and Dirtyard (MN) tonight at the Borg Ward, 823 West National Avenue. Show starts at 7 p.m.


One Response to “Bored Straight Brings Hardcore Mayhem to MKE”

  1. Brian Says:

    heck yes!
    Hartford hardcore!

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