Friday, April 13, 2012

Samurai John - "Integrity" EP

I'm delving way back into the local and regional archives for this post, folks. If you are from around the area I live and were into punk rock/hardcore or just going to shows in the mid-late 90's, there might be a chance that you remember Samurai John. If that name doesn't ring a bell, perhaps you'll remember Truth Be Known, the band that S.J. evolved into after releasing this tape, the "Integrity" e.p. This is six tracks of melodic, sing along hardcore with a slight Pennywise feel to it, and even if upon reading that sentence you don't want to check it out, you really should check it out and think to yourself that this is from Norton, Virginia, in the mid-nineties, and think about what a small, enclosed little town that is and think that a band like that could exist there. I have been to Norton many a time, and it boggles my mind. When asked about his reminiscences of Samurai John, vocalist Steve Shell, who is currently in a band called JUST DIE!, had this to say:

"SJ was a band that was all about doing the best it could given where it was from. With literally zero local influences, we wanted to be Pennywise and a few other bands pretty bad. We probably took ourselves way too seriously, but it was fun."

And in the end, why else would you be making music in the first place? Listening to this while I was ripping it was the first time I had heard it in almost 14 years, and I'm willing to bet there are those out there who haven't even thought of this band in that long. And for those of you just stumbling upon it for the first time, check it out. It's nothing life changing, but a great example of what the TN/VA/KY regional scene was like in the mid-late 90's. The tape insert is included with the file.

In case you were wondering why they chose the name Samurai John, well....

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