Tackling the Turmoil
An interview with Pennsylvania's Turmoil
by: Adam Wasylyk
With _From Bleeding Hands_ being their debut album for Century Media, Turmoil have blown out of the hardcore scene in a big way. Having played with bands like Earth Crisis, Snapcase and Life of Agony, they've also completed their first European tour with Madball. I had the opportunity to chat with drummer Jon Pushnik about Turmoil and the new album, along with my discovery of the band's unhappiness with the sound of _From Bleeding Hands_, with a possible re-release late this year!!

I first inquired about the band's formation and past history. "The band formed around 1990. The three original members are Jonathan Hodges (guitar), Jon Gula (vocals), and Jeff Hydro (guitar). They were all friends and in the same area in Pennsylvania, and just started going to shows in the late 80s. The first hardcore show they went to was with Sick of It All, and they were actually metal fans but after seeing them they thought they were amazing and started getting into that."

Jon then went on to tell how bassist Gary Rehrig joined the band, along with himself. "I knew the guys to some extent because I was in a band called Conviction, and we met up a few times because we recorded at the same recording studio. Those guys went through a few drummers and a bassist, and eventually Gary Rehrig started playing bass for them. I joined the band about a year and a half ago and the current line-up has been that way ever since, and will probably be that way until the demise of the band."

For the question on how Turmoil signed with Century Media, Jon explained in full detail of the band's bumpy road to stardom. "It's because the band recorded at Trauma Studios. The drummer for the band Believer (who also owns the studio), whose band was on Roadrunner at the time, took a tape and sent it to Roadrunner since the band was at the time shopping around for a label to do a 7-inch. Roadrunner said "Well if you could sound more like Helmet, we'll sign you," but the band was like, "We're not going to change our sound just to be on a label." Century Media really liked it and they were enthusiastic about it and didn't want them to change anything about it and said they'd like to put this out the way it is. Turmoil weren't getting much response or feedback from other labels, so Century Media signed them for the release that they had and two more releases, where the LP would have been one of them."

"In the United States, it's been really good"; Jon starts talking about the reaction to the LP. "In Europe, for the tour, it wasn't out long enough for us to get any feeling about it. I think a lot of kids other than in Germany didn't know who we were. After we would play we would get a much better response as far as selling items. We didn't really sell anything before we would play, and then after we would play we would do pretty well. In the United States, which is the only place we've played since we got back, just from selling to distributors like Victory, at first it had been slow but it's picking up because they've been re-ordering it from us. Since we got back (from Europe) a lot of the people that are calling us are calling us for shows because of the LP and not because of any of the older material." The discussion turns to tours that Turmoil are ready to embark on. "We actually have a few tours lined up right now, and we're scheduled to do a tour with a band called Damnation from Washington, DC in October, and then possibly play some weekends with Deadguy at the same time and in December, we're scheduled to play with a band called Despair from Buffalo, New York."

I then asked about the production side of the record, as I read that Joe DeLuca from Starkweather helped in the studio. Jon's opinion of DeLuca's contribution wasn't favourable. "Let's put it this way, we were much more happy with the 7-inch that we did prior to the LP. That's why we chose to do the LP with him because the 7-inch we felt was in the direction we wanted the LP to be. We were originally going to record with a guy named Jamie Lock from the Boston area, but we chose not to do that because of the high cost of recording. Even though Century Media is putting up the money, it was still the band's money and we didn't want an overproduced album. We wanted a raw element there, but with the LP we are at this point, we're not really happy with the way it sounds. It's a little too raw, a little too muffled. It's not really the recording as much as it is the mixing of it. We had the 7-inch mastered in New York but it was recorded with John Deluca. We let him master the LP and we're just not happy with it at this point. It is being remixed and remastered, with time for it to be done in late October and be out by December, only because the drum sound and vocals are slightly low so we're going to try to fix all that up and re-release it."

On what the band's lyrics deal with, Jon goes into great detail in explaining the meaning behind some of the songs. "The first song on the LP, I wrote the lyrics for. "New Media" is about conservative talk radio that I had to listen to all summer long working with my father for a number of summers. It's something I listened to religiously, not because I agree with it, but more because I felt I wanted to know what was going on in people's minds; guys like Rush Limbaugh infuriated me to a certain extent. Not necessarily him as much as the people calling in and the other talk show hosts of that nature that were in my opinion putting on a facade, that followers would believe whatever they said. Some other songs like "60 Minute Void", which is actually very similar to "New Media". It's about television talk shows and the culture that they've created through television talk shows with people that just sit at home and watch it. In my opinion a lot of it is garbage, that anyone who can be entertained by someone's family breaking apart. Some of them (lyrics) are more personal like "Choke" which was relationship oriented, and "Starve" which I wrote which is about coming out of slavery in America and then instituting a system of welfare which created a system of economic slavery. It's not anti-welfare, it's welfare reform or "Let's see if there's another way to approach this," because whatever we have right now just isn't working."

We wrap up our conversation on the band's direction for the following album. "It's going to be a combination of where we were taking the band. With the new album there's a little more noise and a little more technical intricacy of the music integrated into the songwriting, and we're going to combine that but at the same time also keep some of the catchy elements and the more tangible things that the crowd will respond to for the next record, so there's something there for people who liked the older stuff. No matter what happens, it going to be intense. We're not going to regress from that, that's what the band is about."

(article submitted 11/10/1996)

10/12/1999 A Bromley Turmoil: Upholding the Process
5/19/1999 A Bromley 9.5 Turmoil - The Process of
11/17/1997 A Bromley 6 Turmoil - Anchor
8/12/1996 A Bromley 6 Turmoil - From Bleeding Hands
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