In 2002 Tear It Up released their only full length album, “NOTHING TO NOTHING,” on Dead Alive Records. The songs were short, fast, and aggressively in your face tackling depression, relationship issues, and imminent government collapse. It was instantly heralded by many within the punk/hardcore community as the best album of the year. Nearly fifteen years later I can play this album and remember the uncertainty and angst of the early Bush years. Since then the album has regularly been listed as one of the best releases of the Y2K decade.
After the release of NOTHING TO NOTHING, guitarist Paul would leave to attend art school in Boston. The band would release one more EP and continue to tour the United States and Europe but with the departure of a key component of the band Tear It Up ultimately decided to call it quits. Whether it is an eerie coincidence or a tribute to The Misfits, the band announced at their Halloween show while playing that this was their final show.
In 2011, to celebrate the 10th anniversary re-press of NOTHING TO NOTHING (and a wedding), I was able to talk with Dave (vocals) & Paul (guitar, design) about the band and their upcoming shows. While transferring web servers, the conversation with Paul was lost. What appears below is what remains of the original interview, published in March of 2011.
When you guys were recording NOTHING TO NOTHING did you have a feeling you were creating something entirely different than what the band had previously accomplished?
Personally…No. I thought the LP was cool but I didn’t think it was anything too groundbreaking. I dig the LP but I don’t ever really go back and listen to Tear It Up. When I am playing the “listen to old bands I was in” game I usually listen to Dead Nation or the last Splitting Headache 7″. At the time of its recording/release I was 100% behind the band. That’s kind of why I never really go back and listen to TIU. Other bands I was in were fun and something I did on the side from my regular life, TIU was my main focus and everything else was second.
Whose idea was it to adopt the Vertigo skull as your logo?
It was Paul’s. I came up with the band name after many suggestions were thrown around. Paul is 100% behind the use of that image.
What’s the story regarding the Rose Tattoo cover?
At the time we were covering Dirty Deeds by AC/DC pretty regularly and it was going to be the cover. As I recall about 2-3 weeks before recording we kinda came to the conclusion that we were sick of playing it. I can’t remember whose idea it was (90% sure it was Paul) but we switched it to Nice Boys and I have no regrets about it. “We Can’t Be Beaten” off the “Scared for Life” album was a big hit in the TIU van, but we opted for Nice Boys instead.
Since TEAR IT UP you and Andy reunited for a couple of EPs and an LP in a new band, Splitting Headache. Any future plans for Splitting Headache? What else are you doing these days musically/artistically?
Splitting Headache was fun. I enjoyed playing in Splitting Headache a lot. I didn’t really want to do the band full time, but I would have liked do more. We were a band for 3 years (I think?) and we only played outside of NJ/NY area a handful of times. Splitting Headache played when I was in NJ for Christmas in 09 but probably won’t ever play again. I haven’t lived in NJ for a while and don’t plan on moving back so that band won’t happen. I am not currently doing anything musically. I think about doing bands here and there but I really don’t have the time to devote the amount of myself that I think a band would need.
I don’t ever recall hearing an “official” reason for the break-up. If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly led to the abrupt break-up so soon after “Taking You Down With Me” was released?
We were broken up before it was released actually. It stopped being fun. It became a job. It was really starting to just be a drag being in TIU for me. I enjoyed the 25 minutes or so on stage, but I hated everything else. At the time I lived with Matt and John, I worked with John, and we generally played 3 out of 4 weekends a month. It was getting to be too much. When we broke up, our van had recently died and it was November. The next real tour we had in mind wasn’t going to be until that summer. I really couldn’t hang with being in the band that long between tours. Plus we would have to buy another van which meant we would have put out a couple of records that no one needed just to make some money. Tear It Up never made any money. We never had per-diems on tour. Tear It Up had no band fund really to speak of so that van would have been paid for by the 5 of us pooling money. Not everyone had money or the desire to do that. A few of us got to talking and realized that none of us were really having fun anymore and just quit.
What was your favorite show with the band and favorite band you played with?
Dave – Impossible to say. The last Life’s Halt show was a blast. The 2nd Havoc fest we insane. It wasn’t just about playing to a lot of people though. The first time we played in St. Louis was one of my favorite TIU shows for sure. Eau Claire Wisconsin was always cool. I really just enjoyed being able to see a lot of great bands when they were first starting. TIU played the first Caustic Christ show, first Warcry show, first Annihilation Time show with Jimmy on vocals… I was just glad to develop great relationships with other bands from across the country.
Has digital music, the MP3, and iTunes destroyed the concept of the album?
Nah. Although I never buy music anymore. The music industry and technology just doesn’t give artists enough time to grow and find their own niche. If the first single isn’t huge, you get dropped. In punk/hc it’s not really that way though. People will still buy vinyl because it’s collectable. When was the last time you bought a cd?
What are your thoughts on punk/hardcore bands with Myspace and Twitter? Can there be a happy medium between D.I.Y. and the digital age?
I don’t tweet, but so what. I also don’t care about technology and it’s roll in punk. Myspace makes it way easier to know whats going on. I was talking with Frump (guitarist in Fast Times + Psyched to Die + Stream) about 90’s shows the other day. About how there could be bands you loved touring and you wouldn’t hear about it until the next weekend. In the digital age where everyone “checks in” to places and blogs about every detail of their life, it makes it easy to stay updated on the stuff you want to know about (and shit tons of stuff you couldn’t care less about).
What can we expect from the reunion shows?
Me losing my voice and pulling something in my back. I kinda wish these shows were small and secret personally. I just want to play the songs with the 4 other guys on stage. I hope they sound ok. I am flying in the same day as the shows so I won’t practice with the full band before hand.
The last time I slept on a stranger’s couch….
… Was a really long time ago. I am 6’1″ and too tall to sleep comfortable on a couch. I always chose the floor. Couches are more Andy’s size if you know what I mean.
TEAR IT UP DISCOGRAPHY (for the ultra collector assholes like me)
Tear it Up/Down in Flames (accepted TEST PRESS of 15)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (clear vinyl, first press of about 335)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (clear vinyl, “Legless Bull” rip off cover, #’d/100)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (green vinyl, of 53)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (red vinyl of 100, second press)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (gold vinyl of 200, tour press)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (black vinyl, 2nd press, 3 copies)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (blue vinyl, Euro press)
-Tear it Up/Down in Flames (black vinyl, Euro press)
-Tear it Up/Fast Times (TEST PRESS, 2 copies!)
-Tear it Up/Fast Times (white vinyl of 350)
-Tear it Up/Fast Times (first press with yellow lables)
-Tear it Up/Fast Times (second press with orange labels)
-Tear it Up/Fast Times (“FUCK PHILLY” stamped sleeve)
-Tear it Up (black vinyl)
-Tear it Up (purple vinyl)
-Tear it Up (gray vinyl)
-Tear it Up (purple vinyl, California tour sleeve of 100, #d 11)
-Tear it Up (orange vinyl, “Scare it up” cover of 50)
-Tear it Up (orange vinyl, “Road Rash Edition” of approximately 60)
-Tear it Up (orange vinyl of about 400)
-Tear it Up (black vinyl, Euro tour/Anti-Cimex rip off of 200, 2 copies)
-Tear it Up- Zero to Suicidal… (limited to 300, one sided, broken
glass glued to cover!)
-Tear it Up/ExTxA (photocopied insert of 50)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up/ExTxA (yellow vinyl of 200)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up/ExTxA (accepted test press of 15)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up/ExTxA- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It- Deranged
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It (screened cover, blank labels, #’d
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It (rejected cover with pink stripe,
really it’s practically nothing!!)- Deranged
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It (record release stamped on sleeve)-
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It (red vinyl of 200)
-Tear it Up- Just Can’t Stand It (blue vinyl of 200)
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (first press)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (pink vinyl of 200, 2 copies)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (TEST PRESS!!! #’d 8/20, screened
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (2nd press, xeroxed tour insert)- Dead Alive
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (“tour” press, Xeroxed cover, states
“Tear it Up” all over, with a sticker in the middle, limited to 200)-
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (HOT pink vinyl of only 15!!!)- DeadAlive
-Tear it Up- Taking You Down With Me (red of 500)
-Tear it Up- Taking You Down With Me (orange with knife and thrash
fest cover of 100)
-Tear it Up- Taking You Down With Me (test press of 45?)
-Tear it Up- demo tape
-Just Can’t Stand It test press on blue of 5
-rejected test press of DIF split
-rejected test press of ETA split (“God Hates Me” includes all songs
from the recording session rather than just the ones intended for the
-test press of the self titled EP (i think there are 3)
-self titled EP on red (something like 2 or 3 of these too)
-Taking You Down With Me on black
-Zero To Suicidal test press and unscreened “test press” (i’ve heard
there are 2 different “test presses”, one of which is just the actual
version without the picture screened on)
-Tear it Up- Nothing to Nothing (200/clear) – SIX FEET UNDER
-Tear It Up- Nothing to Nothing (test press of 10, #’ed copies) – Silk Screen covered – SIX FEET UNDER
Cover photo credit: Gray Muncy, https://www.flickr.com/photos/birddog14tx/