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Paint it Black.

"THIS IS THE LAST BAND I am ever going to be in," proclaimed Dan Yemin last rail during Jade Tree's CMJ showcase at the Warsaw in Brooklyn after Yemin's latest, Paint it Black, had just rocked a hall filled with New York's soggy, tired, and uninitiated. Quite a proclamation, no? Not for Yemin, whose last two projects--heartstring hardcore architects Lifetime and most recently Kid Dynamite, who became instant scene heroes before calling if quits in 2001--both ended far, far too early. "I don't mean to sound so dramatic but I am going to keep doing this band until I'm done," said Yemin in a recent phone interview when I reminded him of our last meeting.

Overly dramatic or not, there has been a great deal of pent-up anticipation around Point It Black--which includes drummer Dave Wagenschutz (formerly of Kid Dynamite and currently with Good Riddance), bassist Andy Nelson (Affirmative Action Jackson) and guitarist Dave Hause (the Cursed)--despite the tact that they won't be a full time touring band. But rather than follow some lazy-ass color-by-numbers blueprint, Yemin is doing something a little different. Actually, he's doing a few things differently. First, he's wearing sneakers on stage ("It helps my back") rather than his traditional barefoot approach. Secondly, Dan's singing rather than just playing the guitar. And more importantly, Dan, 35 and a doctor of psychology who runs his own counseling practice, is getting really pissed.

While most thirty-something hardcore kids (ok, we're adults now) have stashed their finger-pointing lyrics and chugga-chugga breakdowns in favor of more introspective, more reflective subject matters, Paint it Black's new album, CVA, combines a fierce hardcore bravado reminiscent of youth crew/Uniform Choice and a clear political bend. The result isn't revival or retro, but a shot in the arm that hardcore, with its recent politics-free, content-light approach, seems to be in dire need of. "People say that it's more honest to write about the personal because it's what you are feeling emotionally; but so much of what I am experiencing emotionally is linked to anger over political issues," Yemin says, citing not only the neocon's choke-hold on American society, but the recent FCC ruling to repel ownership laws for media outlets, which will allow more media to be controlled by fewer corporations. "We don't use thumbscrews or capital punishment as a tool for social control, but much more subtle measures: entertainment." It comes to no surprise that CVA tackles a number of heady issues, including America's (and Yemin's as well) body-consciousness and obsessiveness, how classism and racism are perpetuated in schools, the mis-distribution of financial resources away from those who really need them, and macro over-consumption of resources (and not just the gaudy highly conspicuous kind) that currently drives out planet's extinction, all in about 20 minutes.

While Paint it Black's political agenda is laudable, it's Yemin's personal journey that is most interesting. Yemin suffered a stroke last year, at the age of 34, after an autoimmune disorder caused him to coagulate and throw a clot. "The thing that made me go to the hospital was that I started slurring my speech. Think about it--not only am I a therapist, but also a punk rock musician. The threat of becoming mute will change you forever." It's no wonder why Dan is now not only singing, but also taking the piss out of everything that ruffles his feathers.

And if Yemin's health played an integral part in Paint It Black's emergence (he has made a full recovery) and his political views guide the band's agenda, his recent divorce will likely guide the band into its next chapter. Already the bond has a second full length written that mixes personal and political issues far more. 'I've always been the kind of person that shied away from confrontation in my personal life. But now I'm learning that those parts of me shouldn't be feared, that they should be experienced. And as I have become more comfortable with that, hardcore isn't just a safety valve but more of a direct expression."

Hardcore as direct expression--why would Yemin ever need another band?
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Author:Epstein, Joseph
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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