For Those Still Standing: Episode 6

We're happy to bring you the sixth column from Mike Hale. Mike just packed up all his belongings and headed out on the road with no plans to return.

"When you are a true artist, you have to give it your all. It has to be life or death. No back up plans! Only in facing success or failure is where true art comes from."

-Joe Sib

Writing this column is truly an honor for me and every episode is something I want to embrace with my entirety. Today is one of those days I've been waiting for. Remember, "for those still standing", for me, is a tribute of sorts to those peole who have never given up on there dreams of making music.

I spent today at the offices of Side One Dummy. More specifically, I spent today with Joe Sib. Co-owner and founder of one of the greatest record labels of all time.

I'm here today to do an interview on Joe's radio program Complete Control. In turn, get my chance to sit with him and turn the tables, talk about this column and learn a little more about his life.

He knows that I'm a super fan. He also knows that I put him in the ranks with the legends of punk rock that have shapped the very world we live in!

Joe grew up in Santa Cruz, California. "It was all about skating. As for many of us out there the skate punk scene of the 80's defined a big part of who we were and what we did. The 'I don't give a fuck' attitude reflected in everything we did. From friends and family to school and music. It was all about expressing individualty and living a life outside the constraints of what normal society had to offer.

"I've been doing the exact same thing since I was 13 years old," says Joe. "Since I was a kid I've been writing music and/or finding a way to press it, put it out and get people talking about it." Referred to today by many as the DIY method, Ya know? "My dad thinks it's amazing that I'm still doing this. But it's all I've ever wanted to do! its life or death for me."

*** quick side note *** (DIY) DO IT YOURSELF Is a widely held thought in the punk rock community. Basically, not letting others be responsible for your art. It could be defined in action by someone who books their own tours, or presses there own records, makes their own t-shirts or patches, etc.

Ever hear of a band called Frontline?? Wax???? Ok well, everyone knows 22 Jacks right?? That's the kind of history I'm talking about here. Those are Joe's bands. Mike Park, owner of Asian Man Records, loves to tell me the story of how he saw Frontline play a show in the 80's. Mike was just 15, but remembers Joe having a pink mohawk and how amazing it was.

Imagine the kind of impact Joe's music must have made on the San Jose scene. I mean, the owner of Asian Man records is still talking about a Frontline show from over 20 years ago and how that very scene influenced his life's work.

Here's an interesting thought. What do you say to a man who puts out records by Flogging Molly, 7 seconds, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Gaslight Anthem, Broadway Calls, The Briggs, Chuck Ragan? OR… better yet a man who was friends with guys like Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone? Well, I figure you don't say much… you sit the fuck down and listen to every single word!! That's my take on it anyway.

Sib is alive with personality… Kind, Generous, and one funny mother fucker if I've ever known one. He co-owns this label with his partner of 14 years, Bill Armstrong. He has a passion for music, this label and the bands he works with like no other man I know.

This little interview of mine is intense! I find myself covered with chills consistently. Every word rings true. Every sentence spoken with an undying dedication to this family he has created around him. I've never been so inspired. A fist slams on the table as he declares, "I would die for any of my bands! Fight anyone who tried to fuck with any one of my acts. I love every band I work with, these guys put their hearts and souls into their music and give me the honor of putting it out into the world…. you think I'd just sit by and let anyone talk shit about them or try to fuck with them on any level??? HELL NO! It's a responsibility we take very seriously here at Side One dummy to make sure all of our artist know that they are loved and taken care of. Regardless of how many records they sell. Because that's not really the point for us!"

On this Friday afternoon most of the staff, all of whom I've gotten to know, kind of linger out on to the porch to start wrapping up their day. Friday afternoon beers. What a great way to end a work week. It's amazing to see the kind of fellowship this crew has, and such a privalege to be welcomed into their midst for the day.

I've put a few videos up of friends playing me a song or two over the past couple of months. Some very somber, some very serious. I got Joe to play me a song that we have planned to put on a 7" together. It's a perfect example of the man I know. Talented, collected and full of the laid back humor I want you all to see.

So here's a song by Joe Sib- "When You're Young"

You can reach Mike Hale through email at mikehalemusic (at) gmail (dot) com.