Follow The Flock, Step In Shit
“I Hung Around In Your Soundtrack” Part 39 by Justin Pearson
The Locust “Follow the Flock, Step In Shit” CDEP
At some point, I had an idea to do something at the exact wrong time, when CDs were still relevant: to manufacture some of The Locust’s material that was released by Three One G on a digital format. There wasn’t a lot of Locust stuff affiliated with the label at the time, and since I paid for a session that was part of the out-of-print-and-probably-never-to-be-repressed split 5” picture disc with Jenny Piccolo. I figured it would be interesting to do a CD version of three of the songs that Three One G had the masters to. I also thought that since it was only a small amount of material, the logical thing would be to release a small CD. And what’s better than a small CD? A square one, I guess. So I looked into making Three One G’s first shaped CD, which seemed fitting for The Locust.
The main issue I faced was that there was a limit to the amount I had to manufacture and, well, I got duped. I still to this day have way too many of those damn CDs in storage, and I hope to someday be able to at least give them away. I love the packaging and even though people generally don’t care about CDs any more, and most can’t even play the square disc, it seems like an interesting artifact. I would certainly want to own one, like I own a Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bollocks” 8-track (it’s just cool to have) — I just don’t want to own thousands of them, forever.
I was glad that the three songs were released on Three One G in both absurd formats. I think it was the formation of an aesthetic, which existed beyond just our musically artistic style. In my opinion, the session on this EP is the best material by the early incarnation of the band. “Red” is easily my favorite track of the three, and, in retrospect, seems to tie into the more recent Locust sounds that we were coming up with. Even with the lineup changes, it might have been a subconscious effort by the collective bunch of Locusts, or a natural progression from point A to point B and then back to A. Maybe it was more a parallel plane to where the band was going to eventually take itself, especially when considering what the departing Locusts over the years went on to do such as Tarantula Hawk, or even The Album Leaf.
Interview with Dylan Scharf: April 2015
Justin Pearson: Your departure from Struggle was due to you moving out of San Diego for a bit. What brought you back? I mean, obviously Struggle ran its course and by the time we started Locust, we had grown quite a bit musically. I think it shows from what we created, which in retrospect seems like it was on accident. What is your take on the way the band came together? What was your opposition to just being the vocalist for Locust? The concept I had in mind was based on the instrumentation and style of what Crossed Out did, mainly due to Robert and Dave wanting to start a band “that sounded like Crossed Out”. But you pushed to play guitar, and get Dave Warshaw in the band as well, who none of us knew at the time.
Dylan Scharf: Adolescence is obviously a time period that creates great change in a person’s life, and from the time we started struggle at 15 until the time it ended we had all grown in many ways. I didn’t actually plan to move out of San Diego, but decided that I wanted to do some traveling and not feel like I was tied to anything that might pull me back. I guess I wanted to see where the road would take me, so to speak. After about three months of traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people, I decided to move to Seattle with no idea how long I might stay. I lived there for about a year before I did decide to move back to San Diego and that is when you approached me to put a band together with Robert and Dave Astor. I had started in a band in Seattle called Horrendous Cutthroat System and played guitar in it so when we started Locust I wanted to keep playing; I also thought that having two guitars would sound brutal. Dave Warshaw had become a very close friend of mine and was living with me at the time, and I thought he would be a great front man as he was so tall and had that crazy long hair. Also, adding a second vocal, making it more brutal. I liked Crossed Out a lot but thought we could do more than just copy what some other band was doing, and I feel we did that. There we very few bands at the time that did what we did- especially when we introduced the noise aspect to the band.
JP: I agree, that we were about to do much more than what Crossed Out was doing. But I suppose as a starting point, and the time we were starting the band, it was pretty punctual. The gradual evolution of The Locust was something that was bound to happen, probably due to the eclectic taste of music that we all had. Some of the stuff we were influenced by stands out here and there on the earliest recordings we did. What was your musical influence at the time, instrumentally and vocally, as well as just influences in life? As you mentioned, our ages, and traveling, but was there something more punctual looking back in retrospect?
DS: By the time we started Locust my music interests had expanded quite a bit. I was not only listening to hardcore but started to listen to a lot more experimental music, music that was attempting to break the barriers of normalcy. In addition, I had also kind of gone back to the roots and was listening to a lot of Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull and even quite a bit of folk although I don’t know how much of that influenced what I would do in Locust. Being that Dave and I wrote most of the lyrics together on the 10″ we saw eye to eye on a lot of the atrocities that were afflicting the earth: starvation, environmental destruction, “progress”. I think for me it was the subject matter we were writing about that influenced me the most and gave me the ability to scream. These are things that have stayed with me 20 years later and continue to influence me in different ways, such as choosing to live on a ranch in the country and trying to be more self sustaining; relying less on infrastructure and more on what is real.
JP: Yes, the lyrics you guys came up with were spot on. At that time, in my opinion, saying, “When there is no grain to feed the butchered cows, when there is no grain to feed yourselves, then you will see that money can’t be eaten” was saying more than what bands like Earth Crisis, or even something like YOT were preaching about in relation to vegetarianism. Lyrically, it seemed that Locust was coming from the same sort of political slant as bands such as Nausea, or maybe Crass. So making a reference about food production, which definitely tied into one’s dietary standards, was way more in-depth in my opinion than just the obvious “go vegetarian” slogans that were becoming common place among certain punk and hardcore bands of the time. I was certainly into the avenue we headed topically. But also, as a lyricist and vocalist, you certainly had nailed it right out of the gate. The tone of your voice is great, and the delivery you had was spot on, even back when we started Struggle. However, I do remember this sort of turning point, even as a new band, where Bobby, Dave, and I wanted to play stuff faster and faster, and you had opposition to that for some reason. Do you recall if that was musically or lyrically since you were on double duty in the band? I suppose we were still obsessing on blast beats at that point. But with that aspect coupled with your influences of more prog type stuff, I think it subconsciously steered the band even after you departed.
DS: I really liked the blast beat stuff but also thought it shouldn’t dominate the sound. I think there is a time and place for that but I think being dynamic with our sound is what made us so heavy. That we could do a song like “Red”, especially the 5″ version, and couple that slow heaviness with the super fast stuff. Anybody who has the technical skill can write blast parts all day long and they sound good. It takes a bit more, though, to really bring life to a song. That and the fact that Robert was a faster guitar player than I was made me want to steer away from just playing faster and faster.
JP: I agree about “Red”, the version on the “Follow The Flock, Step In Ship” CDEP, which was also on the Cry Not, Cry Later compilation. Man, that slow stuff was evil. And it still had those blasts in there as well. Best of both world perhaps. We definitely had a weird dynamic at that point, musically and otherwise. I often wonder how things would have panned out if you stayed in the band. Needles to say, you certainly influenced what we were going to do after you left. And to be honest, you have influenced me much more with us growing up playing in Struggle. One of the things I really dug about our departure with you though was seeing what you and Dave did with Tarantula Hawk. I think the two bands showcased the strong points of what we all could do, sort of like conjoined twins being split apart. But you are a brilliant man. I love The Creepy Creeps just as well. So glad that we got to share some rad stuff together.