In My Eyes

“We’ll look back on these days as the best times of our lives.  Why can’t they fucking last?  These memories will outlive the maturity that you seek.  Losing touch in your adult world, growing older every week.  When you think back to what you’ve lost, you might not even care.  But I’ll stay true to what I’ve said even if you’re not fucking there…. You’re not fucking there.”  – from “This Is Our Time” on “The Difference Between” LP

In my opinion, In My Eyes eclipses every other band of the late 90’s revival-era by a mile (Floorpunch, Ten Yard Fight, Fastbreak, Rancor, Atari, Rain On The Parade, etc).  To me it’s really not even close.  Now that it’s been well over 10 years of loving In My Eyes, I can comfortably say that they are one of my favorite hardcore bands of all time.  In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say “Nothing To Hide” is one of the best hardcore LP’s ever written. That’s right, I said it, and I really do mean to compare it against all the greats, from “Victim In Pain” to “Age Of Quarrel” to “Break Down The Walls” – yes, I’m serious about this.  You may not agree with me, but that’s ok – this is just one guy’s opinion!  I’m not saying it’s the best, I’m just saying it’s in the conversation of the greats.  I feel like “Nothing To Hide” was a game changer.  Short of Gorilla Biscuits “Start Today”, I can’t think of any other record that was able to successfully add so much melody to a hardcore record, meanwhile preserving all the elements of traditional hardcore – speed, aggression, and strong/confident (not puss) vocals.  Sure, you could cite all sorts of melodic hardcore examples like later Turning Point, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually one of those folks that loves that later emotional Turning Point stuff, but the bottom line is that everyone who hears later TP asks “is this the same band?”  That goes for almost any “hardcore gone melodic” type situation.  It invariably changes the band so much that it’s not even discernible as hardcore music anymore.  With IME’s “Nothing To Hide” record, Anthony Pappalardo’s song-writing kind of did the impossible.  It was great “mature” song-writing, with all sorts of interesting melody and harmonics, without ruining what’s great about hardcore – youthful energy.  Not to mention, the lyrics are “mature” enough to have been able to stand up to the test of time, while most of the other lyrics of the late 90’s revival bands have really grown a lot less relevant with age.  In My Eyes lyrics had just enough youth to stay away from the usual condescending pitfalls of “maturity” – heavy-handed, preachy, washed up bullshit – but just enough maturity and focus to make them applicable for all ages.  At 31, I can still say “fuck yeah” while I’m singing along to In My Eyes because I can dig on the self-empowerment vibe, specifically the idea of looking inside yourself for strength.  I feel like most of the other lyrics of the period were ultimately “hardcore for hardcore’s sake” – preaching to the choir type lyrics about the hardcore scene in particular.  Whereas the IME stuff is applicable to any person, in any situation – they’re uplifting, a reminder that only you are in control of your own destiny.  They’re confident, they’re inspiring, they’re energetic, and to check ourselves against the heavy-handed bullshit that just kills most “self-important” hardcore:  they sound cool, and make me wanna mosh, stage dive, and fucking believe in my friends… And since we’re going on 13+ years now, I’d say they’re going to make me want to mosh and stage dive at age 40, at 50, at 60 (hahaha).  In My Eyes is the shit!

“Take The Risk”: “Who’s to say that your mind won’t change?  Yesterday’s excuses just aren’t relevant today.  It may take time, it may take a strong will.  But we don’t have to swallow, such a bitter pill.  Better to have tried.  Better to have learned.  Better to take that risk, than let this world tear you down.  Half our time’s spent wishing for something else.  The other half lost in a breath.  The standards I set were always for myself.  Sorry if you thought they applied to anyone else.  I always promised I’d try my best.  I can’t stand to see you waste what’s in yourself.  And now I’m asking are you happy with second best?  It’s so contrived and disappointing to see you complacent like all the rest.

“Making Sense”: “You’ll never understand how difficult it is to communicate something that means the world to me.  In only a few lines, how can I describe the importance all this has placed on my life when it’s just some childish game you can’t wait to leave behind?  It’s all making sense.  I can see this for what it’s worth.  Our minds seem to be on different sides.  Put in all my effort but it’s something that I can’t reverse.  How can I explain the base of what I stand upon when you’ve already placed the barriers in your head?  I can never verbalize, and you won’t see my perspective, the distance between the views grows greater every day.  YEAH, I’ve said my piece.  I’ve taken one last look at what’s inside.  Tried to say so much without words.  Taken a shot, but left my pride.  This moment only made my words ring true.  I set a standard for myself that I control.  It stays with me no matter what I do.”

In My Eyes – “Demo 1997” cassette tapeThe original In My Eyes demo tape from 1997.  How many bands could go straight from a demo tape to an LP?  Not to mention, go straight from a demo tape to an LP on a classic label, Revelation Records.  And to take it one step further, for that LP to become pretty much the record that puts Revelation back on the map as far as traditional hardcore goes?  That is just another testament to IME being light years ahead of the rest of their peers.

In My Eyes – “Demo” 7″The demo was later released as a 7″ on local Boston label, Big Wheel Recreation.  BWR also released the first Ten Yard Fight “Hardcore Pride” 7″, as well as the CD version of Fastbreak “Fast Cars, Fast Women”.  There ended up being a billion versions of this thing over the years, some of which I’ve sold before I took this photo above.  The main colors of vinyl done by BWR were blue vinyl and clear vinyl, with a bunch of limited covers over the years.  The first copy shown on blue vinyl is the regular cover.  I also owned a copy on clear vinyl with regular cover at one point.  There was a record release cover for the show on May 16th, 1999 that also came with clear vinyl.  There was a “pre-cover” that came with green vinyl, mine is #355/394.  The bottom left is the “Welcome To California” cover that they sold when they came out for a couple of shows.  Mine is #13/50 on blue vinyl.  I know some people have clear vinyl versions of “Welcome To CA”, so I’m not sure how many of each colored vinyl they used for the 50 covers.  Just to the right of that one is the “Bruce Springsteen” cover made for their Euro Tour, mine is #383/400.  The final 2 copies are a European release on Grapes of Wrath Records.  There were 50 on silver vinyl, and 300 on white.  I also used to own a limited cover of the black vinyl version on Grapes Of Wrath, the “Limited Euro Tour 2000 7inch, aka DEMO” cover #24/40.  I never owned a copy on black vinyl with regular Grapes Of Wrath cover, but I do think those exist.

Close-up of the record release cover.

Here’s the back of the “Welcome To CA” cover, mine is #13/50.

Silver pressing on Grapes Of Wrath Records from Europe, out of only 50 copies.  This is a really unique color of vinyl that I’ve actually never seen done again.  It’s basically clear vinyl, with glitter in the middle.  These days, there are some metallic silver and gold vinyl being pressed in Europe (example: Floorpunch “Vegas Gold” on their discography LP), but that’s not really comparable to this one. I’m not sure where they pressed this and/or why I never saw anything like it again.

In My Eyes – “The Difference Between” LPThis was one of the first modern hardcore albums I really started living and breathing.  The first hardcore song I ever heard was “New Direction” by Gorilla Biscuits, so I got “Start Today”.  I loved that record and then got into the Minor Threat “Discography” CD.  I grew up in Oroville, CA, a small town in Northern California of only 10,000 people, so it was kind of amazing that my best friend Zach Harlan and I ever found punk or hardcore in the first place.  Then I mostly heard a bunch of metallic hardcore released in the mid and late 90’s, but just couldn’t get into any of it – it just didn’t sound like my GB or Minor Threat CD’s.  Zach had started a band called Conscientious Objector and he was really into some of the metallic stuff Rev was doing on Crisis Records like ShaiHulud and Morning Again.  I tried to get into that stuff, but it really just never connected with me.  It was actually a couple of months before I gradually realized that the sound I loved on the GB and Minor Threat records actually did exist today.  Somehow I found out that some cool records had just come out, so I got those…  The first “modern” (at the time) hardcore records I got were Ensign – “Direction Of Things To Come”, and In My Eyes – “The Difference Between”.  To this day, I still absolutely love both of these records.  Like I said above, it’s hard to believe that a band went straight from a cassette tape demo to a 13 song LP that would revive one of the most classic straightedge hardcore record labels of all time, Revelation Records.  Released in 1998, it was also the only release of any “revival band” that had an “arty” cover like this.  With original artwork by Pushead, this definitely set this release apart.  Everyone else had the usual live photos or hand-drawn “hoodie dudes” (one other exception that popped into mind was Fastbreak’s “Fast Cars, Fast Women” LP with the photos of classic cars).  “The Difference Between” also has these 1980’s looking multi-colored labels.  It’s a weird fit with the cover art itself, but it kinda fits the whole “original” vibe of the record, so I think they’re kinda cool.  There were only 104 on red vinyl, 213 on yellow vinyl, and then a bunch on black. I don’t know how many pressings they did over the years, but then in ~2001 they did another press of 330 on orange vinyl.

Here’s the dark red vinyl held up to the light.  You can also get a look at those 1980’s looking multi-colored labels.  In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, this record was kind of like the Gorilla Biscuits on purple or the Judge on green for us late 90’s revival kids.  Other than Floorpunch on gold, which eventually kind of became the “Chung King” of our era, this was basically the next most collectible record.  There were only 104 copies of this record on red vinyl, and these were an absolute bitch to get – no one wanted to let their’s go.  Even in 1999, these were selling for $60-$90, and that was a lot for a record back then.  GB on purple and Judge on green sold for about $100-$125 back then, so the fact that this record was pushing up against those classics really said something about how pumped people were on getting this on red vinyl.  I recently saw a copy of this record sell on eBay for under $50, which really made me sad.  To me, this band and this album have absolutely stood up to the test of time, so I’m not sure why its value hasn’t held.  I mean, I don’t really care about the record’s worth one way or the other, but it does bum me out because this tends to be indicative of an album not being as influential on new kids anymore.  That is a real shame.  Kids need to hear this band!

I got my copy on red vinyl in 1999-2000 from Felix of Life’s Halt.  Here’s the note he wrote me when he sent me the LP.  He was selling a bunch of records via an auction on the Rev Board (not eBay).  Back then we used to do auctions on messageboards by taking in offers via email, and then making one update per day with the highest bid amount and the bidder’s initials.  There would be a specified end-date, so on the last day, you just checked the messageboard for the current status of the bid, emailed in the best bid you could do to top it, and crossed your fingers that no one else emailed in anything higher.  I think I paid $50 or so for my IME LP on red, and I was very happy to own it!!

Promo poster for the release on Revelation Records.  I had this hanging on my wall the entire time I was at college in San Luis Obispo, CA from 1998 to 2002.

In My Eyes – “Nothing To Hide” LPLike I said above, I think “Nothing To Hide” is one of the best hardcore albums of all time.  I love everything about it, from the lyrics, to the song-writing, to the layout.  When “Nothing To Hide” came out in January of 2000, it was definitely a record that I looked forward to – but I had no idea what was in store for me.  I really liked “The Difference Between”, it was one of the top five records that I would play most often – but “Nothing To Hide” was a whole other level for me.  From that day forward, I feel like I listened to that record every single day for like two years straight.  To this day, I probably listen to it once every two weeks or so!  Shortly after it came out, they did a record release show on February 5th, 2000, and sold the infamous “Rev Can Suck It” version, numbered out of 120.  I remember wanting this thing sooo badly.  Looking back, I wouldn’t even care if something like that came out today, because it’s just a piece of paper laying on top of the regular LP jacket.  (Not to mention it’s probably been bootlegged a hundred times over at this point!)  But back then man, I wanted this thing so badly.  I finally found someone who had bought 2 of them, and I probably had to trade practically an arm and a leg for it.  I honestly don’t remember what I traded for it, but I’m sure it was a bunch of related ’97 era hardcore rarities, most likely.  I wasn’t buddies with anyone related to this band, so I don’t know how serious or un-serious the “Rev Can Suck It” thing was… Either it was totally tongue in cheek, or they were pissed at Rev for something.  My gut tells me it was probably the latter, just because shortly thereafter there were a couple volatile situations with other Rev bands from the Boston area being pissed off at Revelation (Fastbreak and Right Brigade).  The rest of the 1st pressing was 220 on clear, 500 total on white (120 used for “Rev Can Suck It” covers, so 380 with regular covers), and a bunch on black.  The Rev discography says “????” for the number on black vinyl for the 1st pressing.  I got my clear and white copies directly via pre-order from Revelation.  I remember this being a huge hardcore release at the time, so much so that there were tons of kids complaining on messageboards that they didn’t get a clear copy.  Since those are out of 220 copies, that actually goes to show that this really was a big release, because most Revelation colored vinyl was 200-300, and it almost never sold through immediately with pre-orders.  Also, as a comparison, my No Warning post talked about how when the No Warning pre-orders went out in 2002, only 173 of the free Terror 7″s that came with that pre-order got the stamped label because that’s how many pre-order packages there had been.  No Warning “Ill Blood” was most definitely a hugely hyped and anticipated release in 2002, and it had the luxury of coming out after 2001 when hardcore had a huge popularity explosion due to American Nightmare, etc.  But still, there were only 173 pre-orders for it.  So the 220 clear vinyl copies of In My Eyes selling out via pre-order is definitely notable.  I never did own a 1st pressing on black vinyl.  The 2nd press was on blue vinyl out of 330, and was sold on the European Tour later in 2000.  I was lucky enough to get a European kid to buy me an extra copy in exchange for buying him some similar tour pressing here in California for another band.  I used to do that a lot with East Coast and European kids, so I had a little network of them that would help me out.  Unfortunately, that European Tour basically meant the end for In My Eyes, because their vocalist Pete quit on tour and flew home, with their roadies having to finish the vocal duty for the rest of the tour.  I think both Azy Relph and Ray Lemoine sang some of the shows.  Of course, In My Eyes did get it together and played some more shows in the U.S. after that, but it was obviously an affirming indication that the band was going to be finishing up pretty soon.  The 3rd pressing of “Nothing To Hide” didn’t come until somewhat recently, maybe 2007-2009?  It was a “final pressing” on black vinyl out of 150 copies.  I don’t think there is a way to tell the difference between the 1st pressing black or 3rd pressing black.  I checked my 1st pressing clear copy vs. 3rd pressing black copy to see if there’s anything with the LP jacket, labels, or vinyl matrix etching that could denote a difference, but I didn’t really notice anything different.

Here’s the back of my “Rev Can Suck It”, #62/120.

I, along with about a million hardcore kids, loved the layout for this release.  It looked cool and clean, with lots of classic black and white photography.  Every traditional hardcore band started wanting their layout to look “like a mix of ‘Nothing To Hide’ and <insert whatever else here>”.  Don’t believe me? Just ask Scott Magrath, who did a ton of hardcore layouts for all sorts of bands during the 2000’s era, and had to hear this all the time from kids like me, haha.  This layout definitely influenced tons of hardcore layouts, including Champion’s “Count Our Numbers” EP, Far From Breaking’s “The Identity” EP, and even my own band, The Damage Done’s “Never Wash Away” EP.

Promo poster for “Nothing To Hide”.  Just like “The Difference Between” poster, this hung on my wall throughout my college years from 2000-2002.

In My Eyes announced they were breaking up sometime in 2000, and I was obviously so fucking bummed.  Looking back, the break up of Carry On in November of 2001 felt like deja-vu of 2000 when In My Eyes announced their break up (obviously I’m not comparing the “edge” situations here!).  In both cases, each band had just released their best work to date (by far), and only months thereafter called it quits, without giving the LP’s the proper time to be appreciated or showcased at live shows!  The only good news was that In My Eyes announced they would fly out to California to play one last show at The Showcase Theatre in Corona, CA on October 6th, 2000.  It seemed like bands never did this for us – they always just announced a break up and played a last show on the east coast.  So we were all really stoked! 

Everyone was so pumped on In My Eyes flying out to play one last show on the west coast, that all of my friends from NorCal and Seattle drove down to my place in San Luis Obispo, CA the night before, and then we all caravanned down to SoCal together for the show.  The photo above was taken in a parking lot in San Luis Obispo, CA after a hardcore grubbing session the morning of October 6th, 2000 before heading down to SoCal.  Chris Williams (Champion), Zach Harlan (Rivalry Records), Danny Hesketh (Sinking Ships), Brian Kean, Doug DeGeer, Chris Voegtli, me, Nate Relph, Kelsey Yates, Dane, Timpac Brooks, Anthony Torres (BigAnt), Punk Rock John, and Thorns Capricorn.  Yes, I am wearing a Jake The Snake Roberts shirt that glowed under black lights, psychadelic style!  That tended to be my “show shirt” of choice back then.  I guess to be funny… or something.  Also – Zach and Chris Williams really weren’t wiggers, nor was Tim a cowboy, we were all just big into dicking around that weekend.  We all drove down to the show, and obviously had a fucking blast.  It was stage dives galore, as it always was at The Showcase Theatre.  For years afterwards, whenever myself and the SLO crew would get together on the weekends with Jeff Givens, Jeff Leighton, Marko, Pat Chapman, and Brian Kean, we would always watch this VHS tape I had of that last In My Eyes California show, just to watch all the cool stage dives and re-live good times!

My buds – Kelsey Yates and Zach Harlan, in the parking lot of The Showcase Theatre after the In My Eyes show.  Zach and I had a fucking blast at the show.  I specifically remember taking this picture – Kelsey was all giddy because the clock had just struck midnight and that meant it was her birthday!  To this day, I always remember her birthday is October 7th because of the combination of taking this photo at midnight and the last In My Eyes t-shirt reminding me that the show was 10/06/00.

V/A – “Supersoul: The Rebirth of Hardcore 1999” LP CompIn 1999, Ray Cappo (Youth Of Today vocalist) released “Supersoul: The Rebirth Of Hardcore 1999” LP Compilation. The comp featured songs from Saves The Day, Fastbreak, In My Eyes, Ten Yard Fight, Rain On The Parade, Atari, Better Than One Thousand, and a bunch of others. I believe this was the first appearance of the new In My Eyes song, “Welcome To Boston”, and my friends and I were all stoked on it. This particular copy happens to be the “band member pressing” on gold vinyl, out of only 50 copies with blank labels.

Here’s the reverse side of the huge fold out poster on the Supersoul comp.

My In My Eyes collection, at its peak:

  • In My Eyes – Demo 1997 cassette tape
  • In My Eyes – Demo (BLUE, Welcome to CA tour yellow cover, #13/50)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (GREEN, pre-cover #355/394)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (CLEAR, euro tour Springsteen cover #383/400)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (CLEAR, May 16th 1999 record release cover)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (CLEAR, regular cover)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (BLUE, out of 1500)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (BLACK, “Limited Euro Tour 2000 7inch, aka DEMO” cover, #24/40)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (SILVER, euro press, out of 50)
  • In My Eyes – Demo (WHITE, euro press, out of 300)
  • In My Eyes – The Difference Between (RED, out of 104)
  • In My Eyes – The Difference Between (YELLOW, out of 213)
  • In My Eyes – The Difference Between (BLACK)
  • In My Eyes – The Difference Between (ORANGE, Final Press)
  • In My Eyes – Nothing To Hide (WHITE, Rev Can Suck It cover #62/120)
  • In My Eyes – Nothing To Hide (CLEAR, out of 220)
  • In My Eyes – Nothing To Hide (WHITE, out of 500)
  • In My Eyes – Nothing To Hide (BLUE MARBLE, Euro Tour, out of 330)
  • In My Eyes – Nothing To Hide (BLACK, Final pressing, out of 150)
  • V/A – SuperSoul Comp – The Rebirth of Hardcore 1999 (GOLD, blank BLACK labels, out of 50, STD, TYF, IME, Fastbreak, BT1K, ROTP, Atari, etc)

2 Responses to In My Eyes

  1. Pingback: Losing Touch In Your Adult World, Growing Older Every Week |

  2. Chase says:

    I’d like to see video of that last Showcase show. Great show. Great memory. Any chance you could upload it to youtube?

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