Monday, February 16, 2009

Jav (The Mistake/18 Visions)

I first came across Jav through the wonderful world of If you have never viewed our internet underworld, I would suggest you check it out ( Jav has been in tons of local bands, many of which went on to become huge. Yet despite this, he's always been able to give back to his local community more than anything. Whether through his former bands (18 visions, wrench, the mistake; just to name a few), his stories on notpop (seriously, get with the program.), or his blogs ( and, Jav has always been a welcomed presence in our neck of the woods. So when I decided to do this webzine, one of the first person I thought of asking to interview was him. Hopefully you'll enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Please state your name, the bands you've been in, and what you've been currently up to.

What's up. My full name is Javier Manuel VanHuss. Most know me as Jav. I was in, trying to be in chronological order, Enewetak, 18 Visions, Throwdown, Breakneck (which morphed into Bleeding Through), Wrench, filled in one tour for Poison The Well, The Mistake, Neon Claws. Currently I reside in Costa Mesa with my kid. I teach people how to do hair and am not in an active band, unless you count the Mistake, which simply cannot die.

Haha, well many of us are happy that it won't. What was your life like growing up and when did you get introduced to punk/hardcore?

I was first introduced to punk through a public access video show in Albuquerque, NM when I was in 8th grade, so maybe 1989 or 1990. I think the first videos that grabbed me were the Meatmen and a Rollins spoken word video for "no deposit, no return". Then I discovered Thrasher Magazine and read every fucking word in the music section. In 1990 or so I moved to Costa Mesa and met a couple skaters into metal, then this kid Quey gave me a tape of Gorilla Biscuits and it went from there. So I got into hardcore from skating, because skaters were more into punk back then. Around 1993 or so that changed to skaters wearing polo and listening to hip-hop. But I stuck with the core. I went to my first hardcore show in 1991. Growing up was awesome then because we didn't have the Internet. We had the mail. We had to read about something and then order it. And I couldn't have done anything without Vinyl Solution. That place used to be our Mecca. We only had a handful of kids in our area and we stuck together.

Did you have religious views growing up? Did the bands that influenced you affect those views?

I was baptized Catholic, and my Dad's side of the family was pretty heavy into it. I remember going to midnight mass and having my Aunt tell me stories about the devil. I grew up in the Episcopalian church. My Grandmother sang in the choir in a big cathedral. We had to go every Sunday. I went to Sunday school until I was old enough to go to church with the adults. I eventually became an acolyte, which was like an altar boy. The cathedral was huge, with stained glass and the bishop would come, incense and candles and the blood of Christ. But that church wasn't fire and brimstone. In fact I remember very little being shoved down my throat. It was super relaxed. We even took field trips to Methodist, Lutheran churches and a synagogue. I remember praying once when I was a kid, hands together squeezing my eyes tight. And nothing happened, so I gave up on god.

In 1993 an influx of christian hardcore bands flooded the scene. Led by Unashamed and Focused, but including Bloodshed and a few others. I was heavily into the Ebullition Records scene, and read all of their propaganda regarding how dumb organized religion was. I remember being very anti-religion from then on. Except for a brief stint in 1994 when I thought going to the Krsna temple might offer some insight. All I got was my clothes smelling like weird spices and cool buttons with Krishna's face on them. I started reading the satanic bible, not cause it was "cool" but because it made sense to me.

I had a few experiences over the years that really pushed me away from religion. Being chastised for my views kind of molded me into the hateful human being I am. In a way, what Sam Macpheeters (of Born Against) said about not eating animals explains my view on religion "I'm tired of being the threat in a world of murderers, shit on for giving a shit about a bunch of rats". Its like... people criticize me for wearing upside down crosses, but I would never talk shit to someone for wearing a standard crucifix.

Two years ago I downloaded a membership form to apply for the Church Of Satan. The only reason I never officially joined is that it costs 200 dollars, and I didn't feel like paying that for some cool necklace and membership card. Satanism makes sense to me. I know too much about it to call it a "religion". It is what it is. Anton LaVey was a great man. He was a showman. He was a carney. He knew about psychology. I love reading his books. I also enjoy occult books. The original Necronomicon, however fictional it may be, was a great influence on another band I was in The Hands Of Glory. That shit is fascinating to me.

Could you give a brief explanation on the tenets of Satanism?

The belief system of Satanism can be basically summed up by this: I am my own god. There is no devil, with a pitchfork and horns. Satan is a force of nature. It’s all about believing in your self. It has a lot to do with Social Darwinism too... the strong will overpower the weak. The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth are a set of statements that struck such a nerve with me that I posted them in my house for a number of years. Its basically do whatever you want, and if someone fucks you over, fuck them over harder. If something makes you happy, and isn't hurting anyone else, fucking do it and do it the best you can.

E-Force would be proud. ("Do unto others before they fucking do you." - Excessive Force)

Hahah totally.

How did Satanism's relations with Social Darwinism affect your views on Veganism back then?

That's interesting, because I never drew a correlation. veganism and straightedge are actually opposites of Satanism in a way, because Satanism encourages indulgence. It discourages addiction. It discourages addiction, but if a glass of wine will make you happy, drink up. The idea of not eating animals was introduced to me by a guy named Spencer Eakin who sang for the OC band, Mission Impossible. He is still sxe and vegetarian, since like 1991 I believe. And then the whole earth crisis, hardline scene rose and it appealed to me mostly because the rest of the world hated it. Earth Crisis lyrics still hit home with me, and make me think. I just choose to ignore it because I do what makes me happy, and veganism wouldn't make me happy. I'm selfish. I was still vegetarian for a while after I sold out sxe, and I still support vegetarianism to an extent, but as for it relating to Social Darwinism I suppose I haven't though enough about it to draw a rational conclusion.

Was the hardline movement a big factor in OC hardcore scene back then?

Honestly it was probably one of the most hated parts of hardcore ever. If you loved it, you embraced it. If you hated it, you let everyone know. There were maybe 3 or 4 hardline people in OC: James Hart, Ray Blackmon, Troy Peace, and possibly "crazy" Justin aka Hammer Time. Interestingly, Sean Mutaqi lives in Laguna Beach. He started the hardline movement. He came to my house once when Race Traitor was staying with me. He was wearing a puffy jacket and Shell Toes and it made me nervous that he was there. A lot of the Huntington Beach older sxe guys would yell "vegan reich" at us and stupid shit like that. It was a very divided time. People stood for something finite back then, and lines were clearly drawn. Most kids that went to see Function and Blackspot wouldn't go see Earth Crisis. But me and my friends were into it all. I went to every kind of show. I still have all the old hardline/vegan propaganda and zines. It’s a great memory for me, and I'm proud to have grown up in a time where our ideals caused fistfights.


Did your affiliation with hardline individuals get you lumped in with it, kinda guilty by association?

Most definitely. I was part of the Monster Crew, and because of that people automatically assumed I was "hardline". Hardline itself was such a small percentage of the hardcore scene, especially in oc. In places like Indianapolis and Syracuse it was bigger, But here it was mostly vegan sxe kids. That extra mile just didn't appeal to most. I never agreed with hardlines view on sexuality. Even though it was supposed to be about equality, homosexual activities were considered "unnatural". Actually any sex that wasn't for procreation was. All in all, it was an easy target. People criticized it too much. Like "how can you be hardline and drive a car". Shit like that.

It seems like all your bands have had an anti-religious message to them. Was that intentional or was it just due to the common views of everyone in the band?

That was just a result of surrounding myself with smart, like-minded individuals. I never set out to say "I'm gonna be in a band set out on smashing christianity". But people involved in punk and hardcore have a tendency to be more aware of different sides. With 18 Visions, it was us wanting to be different, dark and somewhat theatrical. James is now a devout christian. With the Mistake, we just wanted to "fuck everything up". We wanted to challenge people. Stir up trouble. It was my goal in that band to have someone try and fight me on stage. Sadly, that has yet to happen, although, I did cause a prayer circle once.

Haha, what's the story behind that?

We played with Sinai Beach once at showcase and I said "I'd rather play with a nazi reggae band than a christian metal band” and some girl yelled SHUT UP from the balcony. I said "fuck you bitch you shut up" or something possibly more offensive. Turns out, it was the singer of Sinai Beach's girlfriend and she had just bought a shirt. She went up to the merch table and asked for her money back. I then said, "Jesus is coming... ON YOUR FACE." A bunch of people went outside and prayed for me. They never came and addressed me directly though, which was disappointing.

(The Mistake)

That actually leads into another question I had. Did you have any other altercations through the years about your religious views?

Not in hardcore. In beauty school a woman told me "there is a place called hell and it’s for people like you" and that incident really had an effect on me. I saw kids throw pennies at Unashamed once. One time I saw my friend Jonny cry because people were making fun of christians, and that effected me too. I try to keep my beliefs to myself. I advertise them, but don't shove them. Like today I'm wearing an upside-down cross and pentagram necklace, but I don't go around yelling at people. With music, you either listen to it or you don't. Zao is one of my favorite bands. Do I care when they sing about god? No. There was an 18v song about a girl sending us a letter telling us she felt bad for us. I wrote the lyrics "don't pray for me, bitch". Then she married one of my friends. Awkward. But no, nobody has tried to fight me for my religious beliefs, ha.

Did your earlier fascination with KC have more to do with the bands or the actual teachings of Krishna Consciousness? Have you taken anything from their teachings that you still practice today?

Well it was the bands that turned me on to it. Shelter and then 108 were definitly influential. I think I like their version of KC than the actual version. Especially 108, cause its still angry and like "fuck your society, we have this". "We found a better way". And that's what I was looking for. But like DMX says in the movie Belly, “You think another motherfucker gonna tell you what's right? Nigga, we born to fuckin die. In the meantime, we get money. Fuck a book." That's basically how I live my life. I do what I think is right. Along the way, I've picked up influences, but no single ideology or book has made me who I am. Parts of Krsna Consciousness make sense to me. But all in all I just think the blue dude was luring me in with six fingers saying, "eat our cheap food, dance around and forget everything else."

How has it been raising a child in a society that has a lot of its foundations based on Christian viewpoints (holidays, beliefs, etc.)?

Its funny because from day one I've made no attempt to hide the fact from her that I don't believe in god. Lately she's been saying "god made everything" and I say "well I don't believe in god, if you want to, go for it". She's also very pro-America hahaha.

(Pro-America. Anti-You.)

Hahaha, really?

She fuckin’ loves America. I think seeing her do the pledge of allegiance at school was a real eye opener. It really made me see how the fact that America is drilled into us from day one. Honestly, I love America too. I just don't like The United States, if that make sense. My mom always let me believe in whatever I wanted. She knows I'm anti-church. She's definitely not. And we have never once argued about it. If my kid wants to be a minister in a church, be a high priestess in the church of Satan, or be a nihilist, ill love her. I might not 100% support her ideas but ill still love her. And I doubt she will 100% support my ideas. Parenting is heavy. Knowing that you're responsible for someone... its brutal. She's a good kid. She stands up for the underdog already. She's going to be tolerant, because of growing up with me and around my ugly/crazy friends.

Do you have any projects in the works? Will we get to see a more continuous version of the Mistake in the near future?

I've tried to get a couple musical projects off the ground with Dan from Teenagers From Outer Space. He just gave me a CD of a song he wrote that sounds like American Nightmare meets Count Me Out. Hardcore with an emotional edge. The Mistake has talked about recording, but with my schedule and Mark being in Throwdown, and Itow wanting to move beyond what we've played, I don't know how realistic that is. I dabbled in dance music with a project called The Hacksaw. I've always been a fan of drum and bass, electroclash and hip-hop. The Hacksaw was mostly me being bored and needing an outlet.

(DJ Jav at the Subject Matter Art Show)

I DJed from 2002 til this past year, at clubs, bars, artshows... djing was awesome because it was me and my records. Very selfish. I dj’d an 80s club for a long time. Making people move was such an unreal experience. Djing bars and artshows was always fun because I could play whatever the fuck I want. A typical set would consist of Morrissey, Interpol, Clikitat Ikatowi, Death From Above 1979... everything.

Well, a lot of us hope you continue with doing bands, considering it seems like everything you touch turns into gold.

I wouldn't say that what I touch turns to gold. But someone once told me "do what you love." I love hardcore, I love music, I love expression. And I've always based my bands off those three things. There's so much more I've wanted to do and tried to do over the years. So many grand ideas. Honestly I think because of age and responsibility, the bulk of my music making has been achieved. I'd say I left a decent legacy, but its not as prolific as I'd have liked. I think the reason I blog so much now is because I don't have that release of being on a stage. So now my words take over where my music left off. I've thought about writing a book. But for now I'll just blog and twitter and teach and parent and try to keep my head above water.

Well, considering for the past five years I've been enjoying all your stories on notpop, I really hope that one day you write a book so more people can enjoy them. It's been a pleasure.

Thanks man.




  1. i just wanted to briefly toss out that Social Darwinism (SD) has often been used as justification and 'legitimization' for the thoughts and actions of totalitarians, racists, eugenicists, sexists, and the like. SD is a very convenient principle for hierarchical thought, and despite its desperate efforts to the contrary the concept doesn't hold much weight in biological or ecological reality, especially for primates such as ourselves.

    i want to be clear that i'm in no way trying to attack jav, but i do have strong feelings regarding this particular idea. i just wanted to give an alternate opinion on the concept...