Wisdom in Chains: Justice Will Never be Given to the Working Class, However, the Working Class United Can Take What They Want

An interview with hardcore band Wisdom in Chains, originally published at Vinyl Edge in 2009.

Wisdom in Chains is a hardcore band based out of Northeastern Pennsylvania, United States. Formed in 2001 by members of American hardcore band Krutch and Dutch band Dare Devil, they are a somewhat all-star project. The band’s name is taken from the lyrics of a song by the NYHC band Killing Time. “Wisdom”, from Killing Time’s 1989 debut album, Brightside, opens with, “Wisdom in chains, unlocked too late”.

In this interview, our friend xDanchox interviewed Wisdom In Chains’ guitarist Richie “Krutch” Mancuso for the now defunct Vinyl Edge webzine.

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Hello, I’d like to start with the usual question, can you introduce the band members? How long have you been playing with that line-up and have you ever changed it? What do you do for a living besides the band?

I’m Richie, I play guitar, also on guitar is Tony, on bass we got Suicide, on drums Shano, and singing is Mad Joe. We have been playing for awhile now, not exactly sure how long, this isn’t the original line up, but it’s the lineup of all of our live shows except for one, and it’s the line up from our last two full lengths. Wisdom in Chains does not pay the bills, mad Joe is a local 608 Carpenter in NYC, Shano works at some sort of warehouse, Suicide is a local drunk, Tony is a pro musician, and I am a local 18A Concrete laborer in NYC.

Can you tell me a bit more about your previous bands, are they still active? Does any band member have any current side projects?

Current side projects, just Boxcutter. Mad Joe and I are in a band called Boxcutter. We really don’t play, but we will pop up with new music here and there. Me, Mad Joe, and Shano are also in a band called Out To Win (some know as Mushmouth). Out To Win really doesn’t do much, but we will pop up from time to time and play a show here and there. In the past we were involved with a lot of different bands like Krutch, The Ninth Plague, and a few others. None are active anymore.

You sure don’t sound like Mushmouth or Krutch, why this change?

Well Mushmouth and Krutch where different from one another, and why start a new band only to sound like your last band. Wisdom In Chains is the style that we always loved, and we felt like there were not that many bands going that route anymore. Blood For Blood did it, and they were so great, they where a hardcore band with a nice punk and Oi! influence in there, great vocals. We felt like with all the different styles of Hardcore out there, that sort of style wasn’t being represented. It really wasn’t intentional, but when we started writing, that’s how the songs came out.

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I think there aren’t too many bands combining Oi! and hardcore as well as you do… What are some of your favourite Oi! bands?

My all time favorite is Cock Sparrer. Their songs were great, super catchy, they where a tight band, and the lyrics were so cool.

There’s a long history between you as a band and Europe… Do you think there are any major differences in the hardcore scenes in the US and in Europe?

Yes, there are a lot of differences between the two. The biggest difference is possibility. Here in the USA the possibility of touring and actually making money to survive, for a grown man to survive by just playing this kind of music, it is very hard. Not impossible, but not very likely. In Europe it’;s definitely an option, this sort of music and this scene is taken more seriously in Europe.

I know it’s easier to tour in Europe as the bands are provided a place to sleep and a catering before the show and it seems it’s not the case about the USA… But I always thought there are more US bands that can live off their music, maybe it’s just an idea, a stereotype we have in Europe about the US bands… Do you think it’s because US bands (or their members with other bands) are touring more and actually don’t stay at “home” too long to have any real expenses?

Well let me say, out of all the American bands i know personally, and that’s a lot of bands, there are maybe three that do well from touring and earn a living, and maybe another three that tour a lot of are able to live, but not very well. All the others tour, plus have full time jobs back here in the United States. As far as making money on CD’s, you don’t make shit. You may be able to make decent money on merchandise, and playing live, recording advances and royalties are getting less and less. On top on it, when your a hardcore band, it’s just a constant battle to even stay on the road. Bands that aren’t “home” top often because they tour, for the most part have the same expenses, just because your not home, that doesn’t mean your bills and expenses do not exist, you still have either a rent or mortgage, car payment, and basic bills to pay.

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How did your friendship with the LBU bands/crew started?

I think it was 1997 when my old band Krutch was playing in Belgium with Knuckledust, I remember seeing these guys and being like “YO, who the hell are these guys! How do they even know each other” they where such a diverse band, the cool Latino weeded out singer, the mohawk rocking tatted up punk looking bass player, the hip hop brutha bustin leads on guitar, and then the proper Brit on the drums. What a crazy mix of guys, and so sincere. We became true friends then, and always stayed tight throughout the years. From them we met other LBU guys and bands, and everything was very real and natural.

You’ve been in a tough guy type of band so I wanna ask you about the violence at shows? Is it really as big as people try to pretend it or is it more talking than anything else? Violent dancing doesn’t bother me, the only thing I hate is when people have enough place to dance as hard as they want but they keep on coming and hitting the audience trying to watch the band… Can you share your thoughts on that too.

See the term “tough guy band” is one I really don’t understand, it seems it’s a stereotype that certain people who usually don’t like using stereotypes like to use. Well, in Hardcore and the scene I am involved in, I have seen some violence in my time. The worst violence is the senseless type. I will be honest and say I have witnessed senseless violence, bit not very often at all. On the other hand, I have seen violence that I thought was justified, and I had no problem with. Then there is always the occasional jerk who dances like an asshole, but why not just move, or treat him like someone who is acting like an asshole, maybe by smashing his face. One thing I hate is the bully attitude, me and my friends do not bully people, we don’t prey on the weak. We do our thing, and occasionally fights break out, when they do, we do what we have to. I just don’t think things are that bad at all to be honest.

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You sure love Pennsylvania, can you explain to someone who doesn’t know well the USA, what makes it so special? Is everyone involved in the PA hardcore scene friends or there are some rivalries?

Well, all American states have nicknames, for example New Jersey is the Garden State, New York is the Empire State, well Pennsylvania is THE KEYSTONE STATE, very significant State in American history. Always known as a working class, middle class state.

When it comes to hardcore, in my honest opinion Pennsylvania is the Mecca worldwide for this kind of music. When you think about the present day bands that exist right now in pa. it’s pretty impressive, there is no doubt that NYHC is pure legend, and hardcore across the globe owes a debt to the OG NYHC bands, but for the last decade, Pa. has had such a strong scene and produced so many great acts like Strength for A Reason, Cold World, Turmoil, Blacklisted, Paint It Black, barricade, Not Without Resistance, also one of the best hardcore fest in the US (This is Hardcore) is out of Philadelphia, PA. (Pennsylvania’s biggest city) it’s put on by Joe Hardcore (singer of Shattered Realm) a great fest. There are always great shows from one side of the state to the next. It’s hardcore history is very impressive, and wherever you go on the east coast you will find kids at the shows from PA.

PA kids are not scared of getting in the car and driving far for shows, greats supporters. Now let em make it clear, I am originally from New Jersey, but I have lived in Pa. the majority of my life and i call it home.

Let’s talk about politics, Obama is taking the presidency for George W. Bush in less than a month… Did you vote? Do you think he’ll change something?

I did not vote for Obama, I really don’t think he will make much of a change, but i am glad the American people did vote for him. the fact is, when you know what I know about American politics, it’s very hard to imagine any mainstream Republican or Democrat will make any change in this system, but the average American person getting their information from the typical media sources voting for Obama is a good sign. After the horrible job G.W. Bush did, for someone of his party to get elected after that would be disgusting. He was the most horrible President this country has ever witnessed, he is guilty of so many crimes, but he will never pay.

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Here in Bulgaria as far as I can remember we changed a left, a right, a center and now we have a coalition governments and the situation is still the same… Do you think there’s no justice for the working men?

Justice will never be given to the working class, however, the working class united can take what they what. The thing is, and it is intentional. the working class itself is divided on who they follow and what they believe, and as long as that segment of society fights and argues among themselves, and never looks deep enough to see the real truth, then the ruthless elite are safe to go on with their ultimate agenda.

What do you think about the financial crisis everybody’s talking so much? My opinion is that the poor will pay so the rich don’t lose any money…

I think that this whole crisis is totally intentional, and the true purpose and long term goal is a one world government. We are in the situations that the elite want us to be in. They want us to prosper when we do, and they want us to struggle when we struggle. After a time of having us struggle, they can step in with a “solution” by this point we will be begging for what they wanted to do to us this whole time. We get scared into, or worn out into accepting them passing new laws that take away our freedoms, or making huge fundamental changes that should never have been changed. The European union, the Asian Union, The African Union, soon to be North American union. let’s be honest, who prospers when we start using all the same currency, the elite bankers of the world. During every so called crisis, they step in, and they buy up “failed banks and businesses” forming monopoly’s, ultimate goal, one world currency, meaning a very small small percentage of people actually controlling the world.

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📸 Kyle Bergrof

Do you believe in God? I know a lot of people in the US are religious… I can understand people believing in something (give it the name you want…) but I don’t like organized religion, someone telling you what you gotta do to go to heaven and stuff like that… What do you think about it?

Well, to answer the first part of your question, I think so, but I’m not sure. As for organized religion, it seems to be ridiculous. The very fact that you take what should be a spiritual belief, and then you organize it, make rules, and then make it what essentially is a business, this seems to defeat the whole purpose. I would say that the fact is, throughout history religion has done nothing but failed, it failed itself, and it has failed it’s followers. By being “religious” a person has to either not want to ask certain questions, not care, or simply just turn a blind eye to other possibilities, all of these traits are bad in my opinion. What a lot of people don’t realize about America, especially Americans is the fact that it is more religious now then it was in it’s beginnings. You should see some of the quotes our American forefathers said about religion. Thomas Jefferson said:

“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.”

“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

“My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.”

Ben Franklin said some good shit:

“When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”

“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.”

“The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.”

George Washington:

“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion”

I could go on and on, I am just pointing that stuff out, because there has been a huge change in history to try and make America look like this nation formed by Christians, when the fact was these people where fighting against religious persecution.

Is “The Game of War” a pro-war song? Do you think the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have started for the right reasons? How come such a powerful country as the USA can’t find Bin Laden for more than seven years now?

Well, I won’t be naive and say that there is never a good reason to go to war, there are times when it’s what has to be done. When a nation is attacked, it has to go to war. In the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq though, it’s all complete bullshit. We should never have went there, there was a lot to gain from the elite, and it’s easy to see for anyone who is willing to research. there is nothing to gain for the average American at all though. Now, as for the song “Game of War” it’s sort of like a sarcastic responses, shows hypocrisy, take this line from the song:

“Murder is acceptable because God is with us and he always helps us prevail.”

It’s not pro war at all.

Any last words?

Thank you very much for this interview, and helping us get the word out.

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