Straight Jacket – Interview – Xperience Monthly

Written by on January 18, 2024

Straight Jacket – Interview – Xperience Monthly – Interview by Jessie Whitney.

I sat down with Thom Lytle (Guitar) and  Sean Green (Bass) of Straight Jacket, to catch up with them before their One Time Reunion show at Empire Live on March 9th. Everyone lives in different states now, so this was a rare opportunity for the two old friends and band mates to catch up face to face. Their last show together was 16 years ago. We were strapped for time, so I had to cut it short unfortunately.

SG: Damn Lytle I haven’t seen you in like 20 years

TL: Yeah, likewise. Can you put your nephew Sean on?

SG: (Laughing) Hey, leave the grey beard alone.

RRX: How’d you guys come up with the name straight jacket?

TL: I remember the story Sean, do you remember the story?

SG: It’s got something to do with Section 8 correct?

TL: Yesss. Well now these are all stories we don’t know if its real, lets assume it’s real.

SG: Because this actually came from the original singer (of Straight Jacket) who I haven’t seen in like 20 years

TL: Supposedly he was playing a take for Kasey Dorr, singer of Section 8 and he was like, this is crazy, you know what you should call this? You should call it Straight Jacket. That’s the story that we got from the singer.

SG: My recollection was, Straight Jacket was one of the finalist names for section 8.

TL: OH! That’s probably why he mentioned it.

SG: It was kinda like, they were going to name it Section 8 or straight jacket. They obviously went with Section 8 but I think our original singer heard the story, and just took straight jacket from Kasey to be honest.

TL: That’s probably more like it, but I think it’s safe to say that it has some relationship with the early stages of Section 8. Section 8 does have some name rights I think.

RRX: Nice

TL: We’ll have to sacrifice some of our millions over to them

RRX: Thinking back on how it was back then, what were some of your favorite bands to play with back in the early days.

SG: We did stuff with VOD when they first started, they opened for us actually

TL: Hate breed, you know Candiria. We played with a lot of cool bands.

SG: Any band from the victory label in the mid 90s, we opened up for. You could go down the whole roster and we played with them. I remember Hate Breed taking us and playing in Connecticut.

TL: Yes. Yes. That’s right.

SG: Remember that? The skate park? We played in the half Pipe. Yeah, those bands. It was a different time. It was just fun. We were kids and we were playing with like every band. Ted (Etol) was very influential in that. I mean, Tiny (Straight Jacket singer) would just go to Ted and be like, “hey, Earth Crisis is coming to town, can we get on the show?” and we were on.

TL: Sean do you remember, we tried to play almost every weekend somewhere in the greater Albany area. Literally every weekend.

SG: Hell yeah we were playing every weekend. If not, every weekend at the QE2.

TL: Yeah or twice a week. I think we worked hard, I don’t know how we pulled it off in our lives, but we did not try to leave any weekend untouched by Straight Jacket for sure. And as far as those other bands, a few come to mind for me, but for local bands Sean, I would say we probably most enjoyed, and were aligned with End of Line and Skinless as the local bands that we played with the most

SG: We played with Section 8 a lot too.

TL: Yeah, You’re right. I felt really close with the End of Line/Skinless crew.

SG: Well, End of Line obviously, because I went to school with Ian. We were in the same grade and had the whole Cohoes thing. I don’t know where Skinless came from, but they were just kinda in the picture.

TL: Joe (drummer) and I started playing with them up in Glens Falls. Freddy’s on Elm Street. That’s where we started to know those guys. But yeah, I think they kind of did what we did and just came closer to Albany, and started playing shows down there.

SG: I mean, we just totally rambled off on a tangent.

RRX: No, that’s great. That’s awesome. Those are fun little tidbits. This is what we want. Nobody is here to read my corny questions. It’s really the substance that matters

TL: I’m only here for the corny questions.

RRX: But, yeah, I’m trying to think, back in the 90s, the scene was way different than it is now. The music scene had to have been … I wasn’t even old enough to go to shows. I’m just curious, back before the internet and things were so digital, how did you get word out about your shows? How did people find out you were playing?

SG: Canal square?

RRX: Is that… like a bulletin board?

SG: It’s a physical spot

RRX: Was there a bulletin board at the physical spot? Oh, you just like hung out there?

TL: Yeah.I think it was primarily  the Metroland right?

SG: Mostly yeah, Ted who ran the shows back in the 90s worked for Metroland. And he was the advertising guy. So you could pick up the Metroland and there was always a full page of what was going on. And all the hardcore kids knew to look in the Metroland.

TL: The other thing I’ll add is, I don’t know if it was intentional, but what started to become a really sought-after thing was the weekly flyers they would give out at the shows

SG: The long lists.

TL: Kids would collect them and have them on their walls.

SG: I collected those.

TL: Yeah, me too.  I know why we collected them, but it’s amazing that the fans would collect them and like hang them up in their rooms and stuff. But yeah, it was good. Just kind of manual old fashioned word of mouth

SG: The thing about the scene in the 90s was, the kids that went to go see you on Saturday, would go see you the next Saturday. It was almost the same group of people. And they’d bring other people in, but it was always the same core set of people who you could go up to and be like, “yo, whos playing Saturday, oh its this” It was just a lot of word of mouth. People would have those hand bills in their pocket or you could go get the  Metroland in any convenient store or mall, they just had them. You could grab one, they were free. You could see what was coming up.

RRX: So more community based, face to face kinda

TL: Well yeah that’s how it was. There were no websites. You couldn’t really get that stuff out any other way.

SG: No cell phones, no nothing. It was all word of mouth, flyers, phone calls. It was a network of people.

RRX: That’s sick. I like that.

SG: I remember there would just be like 30 of us sitting in canal square and someone would be like, “is there a show tonight?” and we’d be like “yeah,” and everyone would just pile into 3 cars and go to the show.

RRX: If you could think back, do you have any really funny memories of shows?

TL: Funny?

RRX: Yeah.

TL: I don’t know, I remember playing that pig roast, sean, that was pretty wild

SG: Dude the pig roast, the Cohoes pig roast. I still have the shirt from that. The show we played at Freddy’s on Elm Street where the dude who looked like Todd from Bevis and Butthead was the security dude and people were punching the ceiling tiles out and jumping through the stage.

TL: Yeah, that’s a good point. A lot of the smaller venues did not know what they were getting into. I think, generally when they would have hardcore bands, but especially Straight Jacket. As embarrassing as it is, now as I’m older I feel bad. But yeah, the whole crew would roll in and they would just leave it in dust

SG: It would be mangled. We’d play, and there would be people piled to the ceiling and through the ceiling… We were just kids, we had maybe part time jobs, shitty cars we just hung out wherever we could hang out. The whole, being in the band and just doing it was fun.

TL: It was just the life.

SG: Just being kids.

RRX: Talk a little about your sound

TL: One of the things that made us unique as a sound, we were mixing Sean and Tiny’s real solid NY hardcore knowledge roots with joe and I who had kinda grown up as commercial metal kids, not too exposed to the hardcore scene until we got a little bit older. I think that’s why the sound was pretty broadly accepted by a lot of people because it just pulled in the hardcore kids, the metal kids, got to basically address each of those genres pretty well in our music.

SG: Oh for sure.

RRX: Unfortunately we are running out of time and we gotta wrap this up, but I have one more question: What message do you guys have for your fans or anyone reading this or any of your fans.

SG: Please come out, we’re very old, be nice to us.

TL: Let’s have good time. Let’s just live like it’s the golden 90s again. It’s gonna be fun.

SG: It’ll be a fun time. It’ll be a good reunion for everybody.


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