COVER STORY: BANE – A LIFETIME IN HARDCORE

WORDS: TIM BIRKBECK

As the final notes of Swan Song rung out at the The Palladium in Worcester, MA it signified the the end of an era for a band, who for the last two decades had left a huge foot print on the hardcore scene across the globe.

Those closing moments of Bane’s last ever show on June 18, 2016 may have been the official ending of the the quintets time as an active band, but what it also cemented was the lasting impact they group would have on the community which they were so embedded in for the past 20 years.

Ever since the bands inception in 1995 , Bane has always been a band which has musically and lyrically challenged people and has never shied away from showing emotions and being vulnerable in the music which they created. It is for this very reason that now four years on from that last night in Worcester people are still talking about the five-piece and mention them with such passion and love whenever they come up in conversation.

When the band took the decision to bring things to a close, it was like a dagger to the heart for many. This band that had been an ever present for a lot of hardcore kids during their formative years was calling it a day, but they were going out on their own terms and they were damn sure going to go out on a high. But, how do you immortalise something that in reality is like lightening in a bottle? The charming charisma of vocalist Aaron Bedard, the energy of Aaron Dalbec, Zach Jordan and James Siboni, along with the iconic drum beats of Bob Mahoney are all things that when witnessing Bane live would stay long in the memory.

With the significance of such a monumental thing coming to an end, film maker Dan Elswick embarked on documenting the band’s last ever tour, and so the Holding These Moments documentary was born.

“”it was a friend who stepped out of the shadows who said ;hey I think we need to document this. This feels important!”

“The whole thing kind of came about as something that was out out of our control,” explains vocalist Aaron Bedard. “it was a friend who stepped out of the shadows who said ;hey I think we need to document this. This feels important!”

The film, which as well as capturing moments of the last tour, explores the history of the band, features interviews with the band, key players who have featured along the way as well as fans, was an idea that Bedard was intrigued by but admitted he had his reservations about the project.

He told Discovered Magazine that he was worried about being too hands on with the project, he added: “There is this storyteller in me that wanted to be super involved, but I was concerned that I would be too present in making it and worried about making it look cool and not being in the moment.

“He [Elswick] was perfect in that we knew him and we didn’t have to explain why this all meant so much to all of us.

“I was worried that if there was constantly a camera that it would feel like we were performing all the time, but we kept him at bay. We didn’t want it to feel like we were constantly on a reality TV show. So we came to an agreement that we would let him shoot from the stage and give him one-on-ones and it worked really well.

“It was a big ask because it was going to be a really emotional thing for us because it was this series of goodbyes to towns, and there was a risk it could of getting messy but he just let us do our thing.”

In the short time the film has been released the hardcore community has already shown positive responses to it and have been reminiscing about what the band has meant to them.

All this, tied in with the release of the bands final show video on the Hate5Six YouTube platform, where on the night of release there was a live chat with members of the band involved, and during a pandemic when fans weren’t able to attend any live shows, it brought the hardcore world together, all be it virtually.

“It was a real gathering of people at a time when people can’t. and it’s nice to think that we might have been a part of keeping these kids connected to a community that they love.”

Looking back on that final show, it is something Bedard admits was all a bit of a blur at the time, but was so proud to see the band have its farewell in his hometown in front of more than 2,000 people.

He said: “I miss it so much already and I can’t believe how lucky I was to be part of something that meant so much to these kids and to us. But watching the footage back three years after it was hard not to miss this thing that had been a part of our lives for so long.

“I loved those times and being in that band was the best thing I ever did with my life, so it is always going to be difficult on the wrong side of that.”

He continued: “I felt proud of us as a band and as a statement of farewell 20 years later it was a great way to go. It was in our home town, in a venue that I saw the Ramones when I was 15-years-old and during that day it took a lot for me not to break down into tears but we did it and I am really proud of how we did it.

“It was a real gathering of people at a time when people can’t. and it’s nice to think that we might have been a part of keeping these kids connected to a community that they love.”

Despite being able to reflect on the moment in hindsight, the vocalist said at the time coming to terms with the lose of a band which had not just shaped fans lives, but his and his band members was a difficult task.

When watching back the final show, you can tell that this is a special moment, with fans flying off the stage left, right and centre. With Bedard doing what he has done for the past 20 years, but this time felt different. It was a line being drawn in the sand moment and that is something that the Bane front man struggled to come to terms with and made the whole night feel like a bit of a daze for a man who had done this literally hundreds of times in the past and usually with such conviction.

“I was scared to death,” Bedard explains of the moments leading up to that last ever Bane show. “I had been dreading that moment for so long. I was struggling with that I cannot hold on to this band forever.

“This had been in the back of my mind that one day I will do my final show and I knew that I couldn’t fall apart I had to fucking find a way to get through with this. I came through the crowd to get to the stage. I did my tradition of setting everyone’s set lists and I gave one to Bobby (drums) and he said something to me and I knew if I concentrated on him I was going to break down. I just knew it was a bigger moment than me and I had to push through it. Looking back at the last show it truly felt like I was white knuckling it. And because I was talking a lot it felt like well if I just continue to talk this will never end.”

I just knew it was a bigger moment than me and I had to push through it. Looking back at the last show it truly felt like I was white knuckling it. And because I was talking a lot it felt like well if I just continue to talk this will never end.”

That feeling of never wanting things to end wasn’t just something felt by Bedard, but the whole Bane fanbase. Despite there being highs and lows, like any band, Bane had been a consistent for many years for a lot of people, so the idea of letting go was difficult.

However, thanks to the streaming age and the documentation of things like Hate5Six, still to this day there are young people who are just starting their journey into hardcore that are discovering the Worcester five-piece. And this is something that Bedard and Co are extremely humbled by, but took them a little while to come to terms with that they were now being viewed as a legacy band.

He continues: “We had these friendships that sprung up from a relationship which was built from people’s love with Bane.

“In the beginning my home address was on everything and I always made an effort to write people back, even at times sending a postcard from tour. So when people came up to me and said what they thought about our band it really meant the world to me. And after a while I started to realise that this was starting to pay off. We were always vulnerable and honest in what we were saying on stage and I think you always have a connection with those types of bands. I fought with the idea of us being a band that was more important to people than other bands, as that is a big thing to deal with, that you are in a band that is seen as “special” to someone it holds a certain amount of responsibility.

“I fought with the idea of us being a band that was more important to people than other bands, as that is a big thing to deal with, that you are in a band that is seen as “special” to someone it holds a certain amount of responsibility.”

“I never wanted to get comfortable that we weren’t giving back to that love for the band. It was just if this means something to you then I will always make sure that connection is reciprocated.”

But even now, having been removed from the thing that he loves for a number of years, Bedard still finds it hard in ways to come to terms with the path Bane have paved. With new generations of hardcore bands such as One Step Closer, Regulate, Life Force and many more all giving nods to his band, he conveys the feeling that Bane are lumped into the same conversation as the bands he grew up with as very strange.

“It is a hard thing to wrap your head around that we are a constant name within the linage of hardcore,” Bedard muses.

“It is weird that this is something that is going to last beyond our 20 year window. The fact people may still talk about Bane in the way that people talk about Gorilla Biscuits is overwhelming and very humbling that beyond the bands life span that people will still discover the band retrospectively.

“We were never using hardcore as a stepladder to get to some higher plan. We weren’t looking for upward mobility in this band. We found the rooms we were comfortable in and they felt like home and people came to trust us and the legacy of hardcore music for us stayed constant. We were always wanting to champion some of the best aspects of the scene.

“It is weird that this is something that is going to last beyond our 20 year window.”

“I don’t really think about the legacy of the band, and to think that people care and it is cool that we are having this little resurgence around the documentary but it’s very strange.”

One thing is for certain, with four studio albums, two decades of touring, countless live shows and travelling the world, Bane has left its mark on the hardcore world.

But despite the band no longer being around, for Bedard hardcore is a constant in his life, and it is a thing he considers as “the fountain of youth” and looks back humbly that he and his fellow band mates were able to create something that left a lasting impact.

He concludes: “In the time that has past I would give anything to be on that stage again and singing those songs. . But now I would give anything to do it all again. 

“I’m going to be able to look back and think I did something with my life and I did something that meant so much to so many people and that is amazing to me.”

Holding These Moments is out NOW. Order the above LIMITED EDITION windbreaker here as well.

Discovered Magazine

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