I interviewed Chris Moore about Washington DC’s 5th annual Damaged City fest. This year’s fest is happening April 6th–9th. It’s coming up soon so get your tickets now, punkers! You may know Chris from one of his many killer bands such as COKE BUST, REPULSION, DOC, SICK FIX, GUILT PARADE, and THE REMEMBERABLES. So you know he’s a man of good taste, but I’m sure you can tell that already by this year’s lineup!
Is Damaged City a nickname for DC? Is this a dumb question?
Much like coming up with dumb names for punk bands we came up with this. Haha.
What’s up with the DC scene? It always seemed dominated by straightedge hardcore, am I wrong? What’s it like there now?
There was a decent amount of straightedge hc over the last 10–15 years but in the last five or so its been pretty mixed. I think DC being filled with straightedge bands is a common misconception. I’d say it’s more dominated by younger kids which is amazing. We have some really great punk, HC, and metal bands these days, such as KOMBAT, PROTESTER, RASHOMON, GUILT PARADE, PURE DISGUST, RED DEATH, PRIESTS, FLASHER, MISLED YOUTH, IRON CAGES, PINK FILM, HOMOSUPERIOR, SICK FIX, PSYCHIC SUBCREATURES, BAD MOVES, WITCHTRIAL, GAUCHE, BRAINPAN, UNKNOWN THREAT, COKE BUST, GENOCIDE PACT, and D.O.C., just to name a few!
Any cool local bands playing this fest?
Yeah, a bunch! KOMBAT, RASHOMON, IRON CAGES, PROTESTER, WITCHTRIAL, RED DEATH, GUILT PARADE, BATTERY, STAND OFF, and more.
Is this fest all ages? What are your venues like?
Yup, always all ages. That’s a must for Damaged City and all shows that I organize. The main shows are usually at St. Stephens Church, which has been hosting punk shows in DC since the ’80s. It’s a cool spot with a medium sized stage and good vibes. The after shows are at this bar down the street called the pinch where the shows get a little more wild. The last show will be at this club called the Black Cat where I also work doing sound. It’s one of DC’s oldest clubs, started by Dante from GRAY MATTER and IRON CROSS. I’ve been going to shows there since I was 13 and it’s an amazing place. The place is run by mostly punks and assorted rockers. It’s got a great vibe, people who work there are super friendly, and the food is great.
I love that your shows are all ages. All ages shows support a punk future. Maybe that’s why you also have a bunch of young punkers running around your DC scene. So, on another good note, you got the MARKED MEN to headline, which is really exciting!
Yeah! I seriously can’t wait. I fucking love them. I’ve been trying to get them to play DC for the last six or so years! Stoked!
What international bands are playing?
FUTURO from Brazil, ANARQUÍA VERTICAL from Spain, and HERO DISHONEST from Finland.
Is it a gamble to get international bands into the US?
Always, yeah. Depending on the members’ prior luck getting into the country, their criminal record, the mood of the border guard, immigration officer, and so on. So yeah, they could be turned away. We have all seen people being turned away with more frequency these days. Now with Trump in office, who knows what the future holds?
Who organized this thing? I’m sure a lot of hands are on deck to keep this running.
Myself and Nick, who sings for COKE BUST, came up with the idea for Damaged City on an overnight drive while COKE BUST was on tour in Europe. We just wanted to put together a big event to showcase all the cool shit coming out of DC and bring bands to DC that don’t normally come here. Nick stepped away from doing the fest this year. He lives in Brazil and it was just too much to deal with, especially form over there. I’ll miss our frantic late night Skype calls — haha! This year Robin from PURE DISGUST will be doing the fest with me. He has been an integral part of it from the beginning. Love that guy. It’s a huge community effort though. I couldn’t imagine it being pulled off or go nearly as smoothly as it does without the help from our friends.
How many years have you been doing this?
This will be the 5th year.
So, why do you keep doing this? Booking fests is a pain in the ass!
Haha, true. I don’t know. I love punk, I love DC, and I love the joy and positivity it brings to some people. I feel like it’s sparked an energy into DC a little bit. If people don’t get pumped on it anymore we will stop.
Love of punk will lead one to do all sorts of crazy things. Do you really have a Damaged City Twitter?
Haha, yeah — @damagedcity. It’s sad to say but most people find out about shows through the internet these days. Might as well utilize everything we can to punish people about it, right?
Yeah, I guess so. I’d rather have someone stick a flyer in my hand but I’m sure you’re being a good punk and flyering. I’m just a grouchy old school lady who refuses to change and like the last person not on Facebook. I hate the internet. I even still have a landline. The future scares me. Getting off my high horse now, how else can we stay up to date on the the lineup and show happenings?
We have a website — www.damaged-city.com. You can also sign up for a mailing list there. We are on Facebook and all that shit as well.
Are you going to announce any more bands?
For sure. Probably about 10 more bands.
Pre-shows and after shows?
Yup! April 6th will be the pre-show and on the 7th and 8th we will have after shows.
Where should out of town Punkers stay?
If you are on Facebook I always recommend posting on the event page. People have had really good luck finding couches and floors there. There are cheap hotels if you get them early enough.
Any packing advice?
It’ll be spring in DC so the weather should be perfect. Might rain.
Punks with charged hair, bring umbrellas. So, what’s fun to do in DC right now besides burn American flags?
Cherry blossoms will be out around Damaged City. Honestly my favorite time of year. The city is so beautiful. I would check those out, walk through rock creek park, find the old Capitol ruins, the arboretum, Congressional Cemetery, Exorcist steps, aqueduct, walk around the monuments at night, swim in the Potomac, and so on.
Good record stores?
Smash Records, Joint Custody Records, and Som Records, to name a few.
Any good places for vegans to check out?
Nu Vegan (formerly Everlasting Life/Woodlands), Sunrise, Sticky Fingers, Farewell, Daikaya, DC Meat and Food, Thai X-ing, Hong Kong Chinese, Amsterdam Falafel, Duccinis Pizza, and a crap-ton of other spots.
Why should we go to your fest?
The bands rip, it’s fun, the vibe is awesome, might meet some good people, and DC is cool?
I’m sold. Why should we support DIY punk?
Well, corporate America has no intention of putting out the new BLAZING EYE 7″ anytime soon. Being in control, putting in the work from the ground up, actually seeing the fruits of your labor, and growing with your community is why we should support DIY punk. Punk was a catalyst for me to get out of a really dark place in my life. It helped me get sober, get a job, and start taking care of my mom. It helped me become a decent and mostly responsible human —haha! Nothing compares to the feeling I get from playing music with the people I love. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, established lifelong friendships, and have had the privilege of being able to travel all over the world. It can be a truly cathartic force.
Any last words, punk?
Thanks for asking me to do this! Tickets are on sale now!