“We are truly grateful for the scene in Philly,” says Rob Windfelder, in a moment of distilled sincerity. “It always supports us and it always keeps us going.”
Windfelder could be talking about the punk rock gear shop that he co-owns, Crash Bang Boom at Fourth and South. Or he could be talking about his bleak, chaotic rock band, Live Not On Evil. In both cases, he’s a respected (if sometimes underappreciated) fixture.
“I appreciate every bit of respect that I get, and I’d like to think that I give it as freely as I receive it.”
Windfelder’s one of those guys who commenced his life in punk on South Street and has made it his spike-haired business ever since. If you didn’t run into him behind the clothing racks at Zipperhead back in the day, you caught him at Dobbs in the ’80s playing in edgy bands like Dead City Psychos.
“The trick is to stay in the here-and-now, to appreciate it for what it is while you have a chance to participate in it,” he says. “You cannot ignore or disrespect the new blood. This scene is not a museum with tenured characters who hold their prominent place for eternity. There are always new characters, new bands, new venues, new writers. That’s what makes it a scene.”
This week, after having re-upped his lease for several additional years at Crash Bang Boom, Windfelder and the rest of Live Not On Evil are renewing their lease on dark, hard electro-tinged punk. They’ve got a new album on a new label: When Everything Goes Down on Creep Records.
The band’s third CD features several of Windfelder’s Philly-punk-scene pals, including veterans like Viletones’ Freddy Pompeii and Dead Milkmen frontman (and City Paper columnist) Rodney Anonymous. “It was a blast and an honor doing music with Rodney,” says Windfelder, talking about the raging emotionalism of “Still She Haunts Me,” a track he and Anonymous co-wrote. To handle the album art, Windfelder brought in local artists he didn’t know, but whose work he respected: painter Anna Shukeylo, graphic designer Sarah Tourtellotte and photographers Adam Wallacavage and Dan Murphy.
Outside contributors aside, this is Live Not On Evil’s tightest, harshest effort — and possibly its most personal.
“In comparison to our first albums, this one takes a few more chances — it’s just naked and honest,” says Windfelder. In his mind, these are songs meant “to overcome things of the past, take all that was handed to you maliciously and [remove] it from your system, of having the courage to deal with the mess that ensues when you take the chance of trying to see your life for what it really is, and pulverizing it.” That’s quite a mouthful. Then again, so is the new album.
Windfelder’s brutal lyrical beauty was sparked by a year steeped in slow heartache. His mother passed away after a prolonged illness in the middle of recording When Everything Goes Down.
“The band had some things that we were just dying to get out, sounds we’d been experimenting with,” he says. “I had some things that I was dying to get out, too.”
Live Not On Evil plays the 2013 Philly Zombie Prom with The Young Werewolves and DJs Kiltboy, Dave Ghoul and Mighty Mike Saga, Sat., Sept. 28, 8 p.m., $11-$16, The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., 215-922-6888, thetroc.com.
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