Building off My War-era Black Flag, Kansas City's No Class plays excellent testo-aggressive throwback hardcore. The band released their debut, Keine Klasse, in November on Deranged Records. (It's the Canadian label that was home to some of the early releases from Fucked Up). Now, the quartet is prepping for what is expected to be a whirlwind riot of a mini-tour in March. The Pitch recently sat down with frontman Neal Dyrkacz to chat about violence, words and hate.
The Pitch: What's the most brutal show you've played thus far?
Dyrkacz: Indianapolis. We were supposed to do a show with Sorry Excuse at a place called the Dojo. First off, the Dojo was shut down earlier that day by the police. So they [the organizers] were scrambling for a show space, and they told us, Oh, we'll just play at our practice space. On our way to the practice space, we get a text that says it's been shut down, too. So then it was going to be back at the Dojo, then it wasn't. Finally after three hours of going back and forth, it was going to go down at a house. I don't know what part of Indianapolis we were in, but white people were screaming at us to get out of their town. White people!
We walk into this dilapidated house, and instead of playing the basement, we're going to play the living room. The drums took up most of the room. It was packed wall to wall, and you could smell the sweat and the vapor. They put mattresses against the windows so no one would jump through. The place blew up! People were jumping off our speakers, jumping off the drum set, jumping over each other to sing along into the mic. There was a fireplace mantel, what, like 6 inches wide? People were doing somersaults off it. The power went out twice. That was the best show.
Do you like to mix it up like that?
I'm not a tough guy. I'm 6 feet 2, 160 lbs. A stiff wind knocks me over. All I have is my fast talk and sass. Jesse is tough, but instead of helping me out in a fight, he would probably just watch and laugh at me. We have noticed our shows are starting to get more and more wild, which is nice. Our bass player's been punched in the face, Jesse broke his nose, and I got scratched up by broken glass at the last show. I don't want anyone to get hurt, but it's kind of crazy when people are getting hurt.
Does the band name come from the same titled Motorhead anthem?
It actually comes from an old hardcore band called Regan Youth. No Class is kind of a generic name. On our album and demo tape we used the German phrasing, I guess you could say for legal reasons. If anyone tried to sue us or something stupid like that, we can just say, Oh, well, we're actually Kleine Klasse.
It seems like the songs on your LP are notably nonpolitical.
I really don't have anything political to say. You know, I have a job; the government isn't screwing me; no one's really screwing me. I guess the only thing I hate is people.
A lot of the songs were based on an ex-girlfriend, and if you listen to the lyrics, you can kind of pick that out, but I don't use specific references. So someone can listen to it and be like, Yeah, that person, hate'm. It's more about hating people. This is KC, you know, not LA. A lot of times arguments end up in the songs.
Does that kind of stance -- apolitical, equal-opportunity hate -- create friction as a band and person?
I try to keep a wide perspective. I get flack from the Westport crowd for hanging out with hardcore kids, and I get flack from the hardcore kids for hanging out with the Westport crowd. I know there are some people who didn't like some of the words we used on the demo, like dame and cunt. There was a girl who was upset about that, but then I saw her around at a show singing along to a song entitled "Foreign Job Line," which is a little xenophobic. I was like, You can sing along to shit like that, but you get offended over a word that wasn't even directed at you?
Speaking of shows: What does the upcoming tour for you guys look like?
We're doing a one-week tour March 12 through 19, beginning with Indianapolis and ending with Louisville. I don't know what it is with Louisville -- maybe they don't have anything better to do -- but people always come out to shows in Louisville. That's the nice thing about the scene; you're always guaranteed 20 to 30 people at your show, just because that's the type of show it is. If I was in a band that played any other kind of music, only my friends and girlfriend would come out.
Five awesome KC hardcore bands: "Sorry Excuse, Dark Ages, No Class, Harsh Reality, and Kicked In."