Hamilton hardcore punks Chokehold didn’t have lofty goals when they formed. As vocalist Chris Logan tells Exclaim!, “I think we were a terrible band that did what we set out to do, and that was pick up some shitty instruments and rage. We are not performers, we are hardcore kids that wanted to play some music and yell about shit that made us angry.”
However, something about the band’s music — maybe it was the metallic edge, their straight edge and vegan convictions or their political stances — made it stick around in the scenes they ran in and, perhaps inadvertently, helped shape.
But something happened in the nearly two decades since Chokehold called it quits: their music went out of print, leaving legions of hardcore kids to scour the internet to grab second-hand copies or downloads. Now, under the guidance of A389 Recordings, the band’s discography is being treated to a proper reissue campaign, complete with new packaging for the remixed and remastered sets.
The reissue campaign contains bonus track-equipped editions of Chokehold’s Prison of Hope (1993) and Content with Dying (1995), as well as a self-titled comp featuring a selection of demos, EP tracks and compilation cuts. Vinyl will initially be available in an exclusive colour-way at Philadelphia’s This Is Hardcore festival (July 23 to 26), with any leftovers going up online after. For now, you can stream all three releases below via the A389 Bandcamp.
And while the world we’re living in may have changed, as have the members of the band, Logan insists that the music is still something he — and the kids — can connect with.
“There isn’t anything I can’t relate to that we wrote about. That was real shit from the heart and from our lives at the time,” he says. “There are two types of sellouts — those who turn their back on where they came from and have harsh words for it, and me. Straight edge is responsible for the person I am today and was a huge part of my life at exactly the time I needed it most. It’s not something I think about these days very much. I am who I am because of who I was growing up. Call it what you will, I don’t care. As far as playing those songs, well it wasn’t something we dwelled on all that much anyhow so you won’t find many SXE anthems on our catalog. We wanted to sort of be about more than just the x’s on our hands.”
He adds that, “It’s very cool to be a part of something that moved people. We wanted to have a message that covered some new ground, and it’s cool that the message got to some peoples ears.”
Against all odds, Chokehold haven’t been choked out yet. In fact, they’re finally back to play some reunion shows, including a Toronto concert on Saturday (July 18).
As Logan says, “We got up on stage or the floor and left it out there every single time with no regrets. It was never about money, having good songs, being in tune, looking good, labels, sponsorships, or whatever most shitty bands are doing these days.”
You can see all the tour dates below.
07/18 Toronto, ON – S.H.I.B.G.B.S.
07/23 Philadelphia, PA – This Is Hardcore Festival (The Electric Factory)
07/24 Philadelphia, PA – This Is Hardcore Festival Aftershow (Voltage Lounge)
08/01 Mesa, AZ – King of the Monsters Festival (The Nile Theater)
08/28 Hamilton, ON – Club Absinthe
09/19 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage