When in the mid-90s NY bands played mix of everything, KYI brought back the spirit of the 80’s, played marathon tours, released officially 5 LPs and bunch of split releases with some of the most important HC bands from the late 90s. You simply have to love KYI and their NYHC sound.I don’t know what else to say about one of my favorite bands, yet I never had a chance to see them live.
They had a reunion show in NYC on 19 May 2013. at Black and Blue Bowl along with the Judge. This interview is short because it’s the second interview I’m doing with them and because I know almost everything about them. Thanks to Gary who replied to my questions in less than 24 hours
Interview by: Nemanja Bošković & Sanja Mandić
What was the key moment that made KYI decide to call it a day?
WE HAD TOURED ALOT FOR 6 YEARS, AND ONCE WE DECIDED TO STOP TOURING, WE KNEW WE SHOULD END IT SOON. WE KNEW “COMPANIONSHIP” WOULD BE OUR LAST FULL LENGTH, AS IT TOOK ALMOST 3 YEARS TO WRITE AND COMPLETE. OUR EARLIER RECORDS WROTE THEMSELVES. THATS WHEN WE KNEW WE SHOULD BREAK UP BEFORE WE BECAME A PLAYED OUT JOKE. WE WANTED TO END IT GRACIOUSLY.
What do members of KYI do now since the band broke up?
PAUL, RAEPH, AND MYSELF ARE IN BLACK ANVIL, WHICH IS A BLACK METAL BAND. PAUL AND I ARE ALSO IN DEATHCYCLE. ANDY PLAYS IN HIS NEW BAND, TOO MANY VOICES. BRIAN IS IN A NEW BAND CALLED MANALIVE.
What are your impressions after Black & Blue Bowl festival? What’s the response been from fans?
WE HAVE BEEN GETTING CONSTANT SHOW OFFERS AND GREAT FEEDBACK. WE FEEL GREAT ABOUT IT, WE FEEL TRUELY WELCOMED BACK. HOWEVER, WE HAVE VERY MINIMAL PLANS. JUST LIKE WHEN WE BROKE UP, WE DO NOT WANT TO PLAY OURSELVES OUT.
If you could go back to the period when the KYI was active, would you change anything? What were you most proud of?
I WOULD CHANGE NOTHING. THE ENTIRE RUN WAS A SPECIAL TIME FOR HARDCORE, AND FOR US.
How did the reunion show idea for came up?
A SECOND SHOW WAS ADDED TO BLACK N BLUE, AND TOM FROM INDESCISION ASKED US TO PLAY. COUSIN’ JOE (BNB) HAD BEEN ASKING US TO PLAY BNB EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS, AND WE KEPT SAYING NO. FOR SOME REASON, WE FELT THE TIME WAS RIGHT. WE HAD BEEN SEEING ALOT OF STUFF ON THE INTERNET IN REGARDS TO HOW PEOPLE WOULD FEEL IF WE DID IT. WE THOUGHT, AS LONG AS IT IS SPECIAL, AND NOT REDUNDANT, WE COULD DO IT. SO WE DID, AND WE ARE REALLY HAPPY WITH THE COMEBACK.
Why is Vinnie not playing?
VINNY PLAYED OUR FINAL SHOWS. VINNY WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT MEMBER OF KYI, AS WE ENDED IT WITH HIM. HOWEVER, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, PAUL AND I ARE PLAYING WITH RAEPH IN BLACK ANVIL, AND IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COOL TO JUST LEAVE HIM BEHIND. ALSO, RAEPH WAS IN THE BAND WHEN WE TOURED AND RECORDED AT OUR PEAK. SO, WE DECIDED THAT THE REUNION SHOULD BE THE “CLASSIC” LINE-UP, WHICH IS THE “NO GIMMICKS NEEDED” LINE-UP OF ME, ANDY, PAUL, BRIAN, AND RAEPH. THIS IS THE TRUEST REPRESENTATION OF KYI. WE LOVE VINNY, HE WILL ALWAYS BE OUR FRIEND, AND, OF COURSE, IF RAEPH COULDN’T, OR DID NOT WANT TO PLAY, WE WOULD HAVE VINNY BEFORE ANYONE ELSE.
When you were starting out you were one of the rare bands in NYC who harboured the spirit of old school hcpunk. How were you accepted by new school HC and metal bands from NYC?
WE WERE FROWNED UPON AT FIRST, BUT EVENTUALLY, MANY OF THOSE BANDS BROKE UP AND STARTED NEW BANDS THAT DID WHAT WE WERE DOING, SO, I GUESS TO SOME DEGREE, THEY AGREED WITH IT!
Do you think that KYI songs stood the test of time?
I THINK SO. CLASSIC HARDCORE PUNK IS A TIMELESS SOUND. IT WORKS BECAUSE POP MUSIC IS SO HOMOGENIZED, THERE IS ALWAYS A NEED FOR RAW, GRITTY ROCK & ROLL OF SOME KIND, AND IT KEEPS THE NEED FOR THE LIVE PERFORMANCE OF A BAND RELEVANT. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN A LIVE HARDCORE SHOW, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE BAND IS FOR REAL.
Did you get requests to get back together other than the BNB Bowl? Did you maybe change your mind and KYI will continue playing?
WE HAVE A FEW PLANS. WE ARE GOING TO PLAY THIS IS HARDCORE FEST IN PHILLY WITH KID DYNAMITE. WE WILL KEEP IT REALLY SELECTIVE AND WE WILL NOT PLAY TOO MUCH, THOUGH. WE ARENT PLANNING ON WRITING ANYTHING NEW, SO, WE DO NOT INTEND ON PLAYING OUT OUR OLD SONGS INTO THE GROUND FOREVER. THIS IS A FINITE REUNION. WE ALL HAVE OTHER BANDS WE PLAN ON CONTINUING FOR THE LONGER HAUL.
Looks like Black Anvil is pretty active. How did you come up with the idea to form black metal band? Do punks come to see the show? Do people even know that three of you are coming from the punk scene?
WE TRIED TO DO BLACK ANVIL AND NOT USE KYI AS A STEPPING STONE FOR PRESS, SINCE IT WAS SO DIFFERENT. YET, IT SEEMS SO MANY IN METAL ALSO LIKE PUNK AND HARDCORE (JUST LIKE US 3) AND THEY DID THEIR HOMEWORK. WE ARE FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT KYI IN BLACK ANVIL INTERVIEWS, WHICH CAN BE FRUSTRATING, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE CANNOT COMPLAIN IF OUR OLD BAND IS SO IMPORTANT TO SO MANY. SUFFICE TO SAY, WE APPROACH BLACK ANVIL THE SAME WAY WE APPROACHED KYI OR ANYTHING ELSE WE HAVE DONE. IT IS REAL TO US. IT COMES FROM A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT PLACE THAN KYI, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, PUNK, HARDCORE, METAL…ROCK & ROLL… IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN OUR LIVES AND IT IS WHO WE REALLY ARE. US 3 SPOKE ABOUT DOING A METAL BAND FOR YEARS. WE SPEND ALOT OF TIME IN THE VAN THROWING AROUND IDEAS FOR THIS PROJECT. IT WAS SOMETHING WE LOOKED FORWARD TO DOING, AND WE STARTED IT UP AS SOON AS WE KNEW KYI WAS COMING TO AN END, SOONER OR LATER. ALL 3 OF US WERE INTO METAL FIRST. WE FOUND PUNK AND HARDCORE THROUGH BANDS LIKE SLAYER AND EXODUS. WE PUT FORTH THE SAME ENERGY IN CREATING FOR BLACK ANVIL. WE FIND THAT THERE IS AN EVEN AMOUNT OF PUNKS WHO HATE BLACK ANVIL, AS MUCH AS THOSE WHO LOVE IT. IF YOU LIKE MUSIC, AND ITS A WAY OF LIFE FOR YOU, THERE ARE NO BOUNDRIES.
How do you like fatherhood?
MY SON, DONOVAN, IS MY GREATEST CREATION AND A NEW DRIVING FORCE IN MY LIFE. I LOVE BEING A FATHER.
You turned 40, you’re still active and it looks to me as same as 10 years ago. How long you think you can keep going on like this?
THANK YOU. I FEEL YOUNG. IF I LOST 50 OR 60 LBS, I WOULD BE SUPER-HUMAN, I THINK. I DON’T KNOW WHERE I FIND THE ENERGY, UNTIL I LOOK AT GUYS LIKE JOHN JOSEPH, ROGER MIRET, JIMMY GESTAPO, DEE SNIDER… ALL GUYS WAY OLDER THAN ME WHO GIVE YOUNG GUYS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY. I THINK PLAYING ROCK & ROLL KEEPS YOU YOUNG. FITNESS HELPS TOO, WHICH I CERTAINLY LACK…BUT MY DOCTORS ALWAYS TELL ME I HAVE A HEART LIKE AN ATHELETE, AND TO KEEP DOING WHATEVER IT IS IM DOING. SO, I GUESS ILL BE PLAYING GUITAR FOR A LONG, LONG TIME.
Any last words…
THANK YOU, EVERYONE AND ANYONE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT MY BANDS. I HAD NO IDEA WHEN I STARTED PLAYING THAT ANYONE, ANYWHERE, WOULD CARE ABOUT WHAT WE ARE DOING. BE OPEN MINDED TO NEW THINGS.