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Andrew Kline - Strife, Prohibition, Tradition Shop ...
  -- Thursday, December 11, 2008

Andrew Kline is a good dude. He was in one of the most legendary Straight Edge bands of the mid 90s (possibly just one small step behind Earth Crisis). He's toured the US over and over. He's toured the world. Now he owns a shop in Westlake Village, California. They sell some awesome items and host some amazing events. Andrew knows what's up. He even catches me on brain slip (shows how much I care about post Sox players ...). Check it out.

Yo Andrew, how's your edge?

My edge is just fine... Contrary to what you may read on misinformed websites on the internet or hear through the rumor mill, I am still Straight Edge.

Click here for more details ...
Andrew Kline is a good dude. He was in one of the foremost Straight Edge bands of the mid 90s (possibly just one small step behind Earth Crisis). He's toured the US over and over, he's toured the world. Now he owns a shop in Westlake Village, California. They sell some awesome items and host some amazing events. Andrew knows what's up. He even catches me on brain slip (shows how much I care about post Sox players ...). Check it out.

Yo Andrew, how's your edge?

My edge is just fine... Contrary to what you may read on misinformed websites on the internet or hear through the rumor mill, I am still Straight Edge.

How did it all begin for you? Straight into SXE hardcore, or jump started on skateboarding, punk rock, thrash, metal?

I was really into punk rock growing up. I had a few friends that were really into music and they turned me on to bands like the Descendents, Circle Jerks, C.O.C., D.R.I., and others very early on.

Skateboarding played a huge role as well. I started skating in 6th grade, and I would read Thrasher regularly. The later Skate Rock comps turned me onto to a lot of great bands including Brotherhood, Insted, and Half Off.

I had a next door neighbor that was really into punk and hardcore as well. He was probably 8 or so years older than me. He had an amazing record collection. I would borrow a few records at a time and bring them home to dub them onto cassette. He has everything from the F.U.'s , to The Freeze, to Minor Threat, to Operation Ivy, to Bad Religion, and more. A few records still stand out in my mind as favorites from his collection... One was Agnostic Front's "Victim in Pain" and the other was Negative Approach's "Tied Down."

I slowly started getting more and more into the harder bands... As time went on I got really into all of the NYHC bands. Everything from Youth of Today, to Killing Time, to Sick of it All, to GB, to Judge. Keep in mind, this was long before the internet... You couldn't just wake up, decide you were into hardcore, and download a play list for your new fad.

We had to actively seek out bands, trade tapes, order records in the mail, and hunt down any information for upcoming shows.

I was lucky enough to have a local record store that would special order records for me, since they didn't have much of a selection.

Is straight edge still as important to you today as it was, say in 1992? Why aren't you vegetarian (hahah)?

It is and it isn't... It's not really something that I think about. When Strife was active and touring it was a really big deal... I know that we were a positive influence on thousand of kids around the world, and that was really our goal as a band.

Most of my friends know that I don't drink, so it is rarely something that ever gets brought up. Every now and then when I start hanging out with someone new, they will offer me a drink or something and then I will have to explain... Otherwise it doesn't cross my mind.

I try to accept people for who they are, people are different and that's what makes the world a special place.

I have never been vegetarian, and I don't think that it really has anything to do with Straight Edge really.

Which is better?
a) Inside Out NYC
b) Inside Out from Cali

Do you really have to ask that question? Inside Out (from Cali) was one of the best hardcore bands ever. They were able to do something most bands don't, which is sound original! They also had one of the best frontmen ever, and an unrivaled live show...

They really had the whole package... Great lyrics, great musicianship, and an awesome live show.

a) Cheering for Manny as an Angel
b) Jeering at Manny as a Red Sox

I'm not a big baseball fan, and I guess you aren't either because Manny plays for the Dodgers. I go to games every now and then, but I prefer basketball. I know they looked pathetic in the Finals, but let's see if the Lakers can take the Celtics this year

a) Electric Frankenstein
b) Baby Gopal
c) Doughnuts

I'm not a big fan of any of those bands, but if I had to pick one I guess I would go with the Doughnuts. What's worse than all three of those bands is the new crop of "hardcore" bands signed to Victory. Victory really changed their format in the late nineties, and signed a bunch of bands that I don't really care for...

a) Quiet Sunday Morning
b) Jumping Friday Night

I like a combination of the two, although I prefer to go out in the middle of the week that on the weekends. Everyone likes to have a good time, but I am always off on Sundays, and it is a good day to relax and wind down. I'm a pretty busy guy, so this is really the one day when I don't do anything.

a) Uniform Choice
b) Minor Threat

If I had to pick one I would have to say Minor Threat, only because they didn't release "Staring Into The Sun." Anything Minor Threat ever recorded is awesome... Don't get me wrong, "Screaming for Change" is a great album... I just listened to it the other day at the gym, but Minor Threat is fairly untouchable.

Ok, enough fooling around. Lets talk about Strife. How awesome is One Truth? That's a rhetorical question, of course.

One Truth is a pretty good album... I think it was a strong record... Certain songs are better than others, but overall I am pretty happy with how it came out.

I feel that "In This Defiance" is our best record by far... I think we really developed our sound at that point to create a perfect blend of hardcore and metal that still sounds modern even to this day...

How did you luck into playing for Strife, were you boys from day one, were you coerced into the band ala Cliff Burton and Metallica or were you auditioned into the band ala Jason Newsted?

I started Strife with some of my best friends. I guess it was lucky to find 4 other people that held the same ideals as me and wanted to play the same time of music that I did. When we started the band there were maybe 5 or so other kids in our hometown that even listened to hardcore.

Rick and Sid had previously played in bands, but I pretty much learned to play guitar writing our earliest songs.

Did you accomplish every goal you wanted with Strife? Were you happy with the bands life and passing? Care to start any reunion or next show rumors?

When we started the band we never thought that we would get as a big as we did. Originally we just wanted to start a band a play some shows. We never thought that we would release a record let alone a few albums. We wanted to play some shows, but we never thought that we would tour around the world. I am proud of everything that we did as a band. Could we have done more? Definitely.

I feel that we broke up at our peak, but I know that we could have done so much more. I would have loved to taken our band to that next level, but it just didn't work out.

As far as reunions or upcoming shows are concerned it is something that I wouldn't rule out. We are all great friends, and we all miss performing. We do some shows here and there just for fun. We will never be a full time band again, but I'm sure we will play at some point in time.

Strife was always a big straight edge band, a torch carrier for the edge in the early 90s. Do you think any edge breakings that occurred by band members have tarnished what Strife is? Who from Strife is still straight edge?

I am the only member of Strife that is still Straight Edge. I'm sure that has tarnished our reputation to some degree, but it is what it is. People change, and I can't hold that against anyone. I know our lyrics and our message inspired many people and I know that we truly made a positive impact on a lot of lives. I'm sure at this point people are over it... And if they aren't there isn't much we can do.

You played guitar in Strife, but one day back in 93 or 94 while in Cambridge Mass, you played drums for a band at a giant show. What was this band, and how did you get jumped into that?

Haha That was one of the versions of Prohibition. I had met Sweet Pete a few years before that, and we became friends. Keep in mind this was way before the internet or Myspace... You would actually have to write letters to people or call them out of the blue if you wanted to get in touch with them.

Anyway, we were playing a show at the Cambridge Church with Mouthpiece, Rorshach, and a few others (maybe Endpoint or 4 Walls Falling)... Anyway, we decided to play a few songs. We didn't practice, I could barely play drums, and I'm sure we sounded like complete shit! We had fun anyway.

A few years later, we did another version of Prohibition that turned out much better. We played a place called The Macondo in Los Angeles with Strife and Undertow. We played Straight Edge Revenge, a few originals, and a really bad song from the "Generation of Hope" comp called "You're a Liar." That was pure comedy... There is a video of that floating around, and we didn't sound half bad.

I always wanted to play drums for some reason, and I got a little better as the years went by.

There is a demo tape floating around from a band called "Hard Attack" that we did one night in Santa Barbara. We showed up for a show a day early and had nothing to do. One of our friends had a radio show up there, so we decided to write a few songs on the spot and then play live on the air. It was during a time when the whole Santa Barbara scene was really politically correct. The bands name was a take on Kent McClard's zine at the time Heart Attack... We had a back story the we were the first hardcore band from Santa Barbara and that we had just came out of retirement... It was pretty funny. We played a few originals and an "Alone in The Crowd" cover... I was on drums, Rick was on vocals, Jeff Kapra (Manumission/Broken Needle), was on Guitar. I forgot who played bass, but Mike Phyte did some back ups...

How did Turnedown slip under my radar? Was this band WAY ahead of the curve, or were you in place to "cash in" on the hype bands like Atreyu and Thursday helped foster?

I started Turnedown right when I graduated High School. We definitely weren't trying to cash in. We were influenced by bands like Dag Nasty, Descendents, and Lifetime. We were definitely ahead of the curve and way before Atreyu or Thursday. The last e.p. we recorded had Joe from Fury 66 on vocals, and it still is one of my favorite records that I have ever recorded.

Top 5s

1.Gorilla Biscuits –Start Today
2.Judge – Bringing It Down
3.Turning Point – It's Always Darkest...
4.The Beatles – White Album
5. Embrace – Self Titled

Mid 90s Shows

1.Strife/Mouthpiece/Outspoken/Endpoint/and more at Middlesex County College in New Jersey.
2.Wisconsin Fest with Integrity, Strife, Falling Forward, Guilt, and 3 days worth of bands that I can't remember.
3.Strife and Sepultura (last tour with the original lineup) in Prague.
4.Strife/Earth Crisis/Snapcase... any show on that tour.
5. Any show on our tour with Warzone.

Streetwear Brands

1. Crooks and Castles
2. The Hundreds
3. Akomplice
4. Undrcrwn
5. Tradition

Places to get a Burrito

1. Las Casitas
2. Los Toros
3. Chipotle

What's up with Tradition? Do you own and run this shop? How did it all come together?

I opened Tradition with my business partner, Jason, a little over 2 years ago. I have always been interested in fashion, and I worked as a retail buyer and manager for over 10 years. I felt that it was time do my own shop. We opened our doors in November of 2006 and we haven't looked back since. We have the best selection of sneakers and streetwear north of Los Angeles. You can check us out online at

Tradition is certainly more than just a retail store. What events can we expect from Tradition going forward?

We just did a huge event with Akomplice clothing for the release of their newest season. We had an in store performance from Raekwon from the Wu Tang Clan and an upcoming rapper named Young De.

We also did a collab tee with Raekwon that sold like crazy. It's crazy because a lot of brands have done t-shirts influenced by the Wu... We pulled off an official collab and had a performance. No one is doing that!

We have a lot of artshows as well. In the past we have shown work from such notable artists as Axis, Alex Pardee, J. Bannon, Eyeone, Derek Albeck, Marco Zamora, and many more. We are working hard to show the real culture behind the clothing.

We have done many collaboration tees as well. We have done tees with Terror, Mr. Cartoon, Soul Assasssins, Undrcrwn, Akomplice, Raekwon, Axis, Marco Zamora, and many others.

We sponsor a few bands as well... You can see bands such as Terror, Internal Affairs, and Alpha and Omega rocking our clothing.

We have a few events line up for 2009. In April we are hosting a Radio Silence book release party and artshow. We are still working out the details, but this will definitely be an event that you will not want to miss.

Who dragged who into the Streetwear Scene? Did you drag Rick, did he drag you? 15 years ago when you were touring the world with Strife, did you ever imagine yourself landing where you did?

We grew up together so we were into a lot of the same things. Rick is a very talented graphic designer and he actually designs a lot of our graphics and t-shirts.

I never really thought about where I would be now... I am just happy that I am successful, and doing what makes me happy.

Hardcore and streetwear almost go hand in hand now. How do you feel about all the crossover?

I think hardcore and streetwear go hand in hand. A lot of the streetwear brands share the same D.I.Y. ethic as many punk and hardcore bands. It's all about starting on the ground level and building your networks.

A lot of people in the streetwear industry come from the hardcore scene or have roots in the music scene as well. They both share a similar aesthetic as well. A lot of hardcore kids were wearing camo shorts, letterman jackets, and Champion hoodies, which isn't far off from the streetwear style of today.

Also, who in the streetwear scene currently has roots in the hardcore scene? Like Bobby from The Hundreds grew up on Quicksand and Throwdown, Toby H2O, Nick from Final Word at Goodfoot or Dan at Bodega.

I guess you named a few already... Bobby from The Hundreds used to come see us play out in Riverside back in the day. I didn't know him then, but I knew a few of his friends.

I meet kids all the time that are into hardcore... I know the guys from Mishka are into some hardcore, Flying Coffin is done by a Straight Edge kid from Hawaii (now in Seattle). Arsen from Hall of Fame and Kendo used to come see us play as well... I met Christian from Nike on tour with Sick of it All... The list goes on. Frank 151 just did a DMS issue, so I can only assume they have roots in hardcore too.

Lets say I loan you my hardcore time machine for one shot. What show do you go back and see or play again?

Some of my earliest shows were also some of my favorite... Probably because it was all so new and I wasn't as jaded as I am now... I would love to see GB, Instead, and Reason to Believe at the Country Club again... I saw Judge there too, and that was awesome.... I would love to see Chain of Strength at Spankys again.

When I was 15 I lived to just go to shows and stage dive!

What current bands psych you up? What's been getting a lot of spins lately?

I've really been listening to a lot of hip hop lately. I produce a lot of hip hop stuff as well, so I try to stay on top of what is current.

As far as newer bands are concerned...

I really liked Internal Affairs. They bring me back to the Connecticut bands in the late 80's... They could have easily been on that "X Marks The Spot" comp.

I think Terror is pretty much carrying the torch for what Strife did as a band. If Strife was any band in 2008 we would be Terror.

Alpha and Omega is another newer band to look out for. The play a more crossover style of hardcore similar to Leeway.

Any closing shout outs or words of wisdom?

Thanks for the interview... Be sure to check out for all info and updates about the shop.

You can hear some of my hip hop stuff on my myspace page as well.

I'm sure I will do another hardcore band in the not so distant future as well... Playing music is something I love to do and it's in my blood...



Blogger hc-dan said...
Some of my favorite memories from the good old days involve Andrew and the Thousand Oaks/Moore Park kids. Much love goes out to them. Go ahead and check out Tradition too. The shit is dope, I wear my sweatshirt all the time. Good stuff.
12/13/2008 06:31:00 PM  

Blogger eating crow said...
I don't think I ever had as much fun at a show as during that Strife tour in Australia.
5/24/2009 11:29:00 AM  

Blogger ERIC SXE said...
I'll agree with Andrew that "In This Defiance" was their finest moment. I got to see them on that tour and it was awesome.

It does suck that everyone but Andrew broke their edge but whatever. I don't get how some people can know how bad cigs/booze/drugs are for you, preach it loudly, then decide one day that those things are ok and that they want to do them.

That being said, I still rock my Strife shirts and play their music.
5/31/2009 07:06:00 PM  

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