Last Saturday night, New Brunswick punk band Stormshadow played their first show in 13 years at the Don Giovanni Records annual showcase in Brooklyn. The same night was the official release date for Don Giovanni’s re-issue of Stormshadow’s only full-length record, Set On Destroy. The word “reissue” should be taken lightly though, because in reality, until now, these songs had only been available via a limited-run CD-R during their last year as a band. Stormshadow were short-lived –- they only played around New Brunwick from 1995-2000 — but during those years they were largely influential in that scene.
At their first show in over a decade, Stormshadow’s set of fierce hardcore and explosive shout-along verses provided an introduction of sorts for many in attendance, although a fraction of the crowd was clearly made up of long-time super-fans who likely trekked in from Jersey to scream along with every line. One of the most overheard comments of the night was that they sounded like Fucked Up, with the way singer Matty King and singer/guitar Sue Werner trade off on lines. The first time I listened to this band, I was taken by the ways they mixed relentless anti-authoritarian politics and hardcore screams with the sweeter more melodic mood of folk-punk bands from the Plan-it-X scene, and that resonated live.
Below stream the Internet premiere of Stormshadow’s “Forty Ounces & the King of Smoke” from Set On Destroy, and read on for a lengthy Q&A with King, covering the album, the meaning behind this song, the ways his lyrics mix the personal with the political, and how it felt to play live after all these years.