Mental kind of took over carrying the torch for Boston straightedge once Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes broke up in 1999 and 2000. Greg, the vocalist of Mental, started Lockin Out Records and represented a whole new era of Boston straightedge hardcore. Mental and Lockin Out led a whole slew of bands that started out on sort of a goofy, bouncy, Underdog vibe, and ended up on a more “serious” Supertouch vibe. The torch eventually got handed off to Have Heart as far as the Boston straightedge goes. I’ve always thought it was kind of neat how Boston always tends to hand things off in this manner. Obviously never explicitly done, but it seems like that scene in particular always has fairly defined “hand offs” that seem to happen. I love the locality in punk and the way it defines the look, sound, and feel of scenes across the country, and this is something I’ve always felt that was unique to Boston.
The first Mental 7″ was called “…And You Know This”, self-released by their vocalist, Greg, on Lockin Out Records. The record at the very top is the “rasta” cover that was sold at the record release on January 25, 2003. Mine is #51/100. I also have a copy on clear vinyl with regular cover out of 200. The remaining copies of the 1st pressing are on black vinyl out of 700, but I never owned one. There was also a 2nd pressing on blue vinyl, some with a tour cover, but I didn’t own those either. The next Mental 7″, “Get An Oxygen Tank”, came out on Bridge 9 Records. The green vinyl copies were sold at the record release show on August 23, 2003. They had hand stamped labels and a cool “Mental Crew” cover. There was also a pre-pressing with hand stamped labels sold at Posi Numbers Fest in the summer of 2003 – mine is #95/250. The first pressing was 300 on clear purple vinyl and 700 on yellow. The 2nd press was 500 on solid purple marble vinyl. It seemed like it was quite awhile before another Mental record came out… I’m not totally sure what happened between Mental and Bridge 9, but I know there was some rift that happened there. Eventually, Greg went back to releasing Mental records himself on Lockin Out, and the “YO!” 7″ materialized. It came on several colors of vinyl – pink, red, green, and yellow. I think they first got the vinyl when they were on tour in California, actually. They didn’t have covers yet, so they made some bogus hand drawn limited covers that they photo-copied before a Santa Cruz show and sold them that way until they got the real covers mailed to them a few days later. I think I remember people saying that they made about 60 copies of the limited cover (shown on the 4th row, 2nd copy). My roomate, Aaron Menesez, bought this record at that Santa Cruz show. He owned it until 2007 or so, when we did a little trade for a couple shirts and a regular cover of the Mental record so I could own this limited cover. Aaron is the man! I later got a bunch of extra Mental “YO!” covers in the mail from some dude with whom I was doing a trade, so my limited cover copy now actually has a real cover with it too. The bottom row features the “2nd demo” 7″ that came out recently (2009?) on Six Feet Under Records. The pressing plant majorly screwed up the first pressing and somehow only pressed 7 songs on the record instead of 8! So they obviously sent back most of the records, but sold 210 of them with the “Bum Rush EP” cover. The plant re-pressed everything so the regular release has the full 8 songs and comes on quite a few different colors. I only owned this one copy on blue/white swirl.
Greg also self-released the “Planet Mental” LP on Lockin’ Out Records. This ended up being the final Mental release, and is definitely very different from the other stuff. It’s got a heavy Supertouch rock vibe. It definitely took some getting used to, but I enjoyed it. I used to own a copy on white vinyl, and a euro tour pressing on red vinyl with red/brown-ish cover. I sold them a while back though. There was also a record release cover of some kind, but I never had one.
During the height of all the goofy Boston stuff going on in the early to mid 2000’s, Greg released the “Sweet Vision” compilation on his label Lockin Out Records that pretty much captured most of the key players: Mental, The Wrong Side, Jaguarz, Righteous Jams, Get Real (actually from NJ), SOS, and Say No More. Compilations like this are always cool and important, because they tend to capture a time and place in a certain city. Locality and regionality in hardcore punk are something that I’ve always felt was super important to preserve, and comps like this act as sort of a time capsule to capture each era.
Another compilation that was important to capture a time and place – the “Stab To Kill” comp, released by Stab And Kill Records (which later changed their name to Perfect Victim Records because they were having all sorts of problems with the Post Office freaking out regarding the name on the package, etc). This one captured the fast straightforward hardcore and the rockin punk influenced hardcore that was going on all over Massachusetts, a lot of it primarily outside Boston in central and western Mass. Bands featured include: Think I Care, R’N’R, The Prowl, Say Goodbye, Some Kinda Hate, Fit For Abuse, Tommy And The Terrors, The A-Team, Mental, and some bands outside of Mass like Bottom Line and Knife Fight. Stab And Kill Records was run by Mike Melillo, a dude that I got to be pretty good buddies with since we were both running hardcore record labels around the same time, and we were both into computer programming, website development, and playing poker, haha. He ended up moving to California to work for Apple and lives about 30 miles away from me, so I still see him a couple times a year.
V/A – “Generations” LP Compilation“Generations” features songs representing some of the best bands from this era of hardcore, including a Mental track. My buddy, Bob Shedd, put together this compilation when he was handling most of the label duties at Revelation Records. He did such a sweet job, all the way down to patterning the layout after the original “NYHC: The Way It Is” LP comp. Like any classic compilation should, it accurately documents a snapshot in time of a particular generation of hardcore kids. What you see here is a test pressing plus a blue vinyl copy. There was also red vinyl pressed.
My Mental collection, at its peak:
- Mental – And You Know This (CLEAR, 1/25/03 Rasta record release cover, #51/100)
- Mental – And You Know This (CLEAR, out of 300)
- Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank! (GREEN, 1st press, Mental Crew cover, rec release 08.23.03, out of 100)
- Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank! (BLACK, 1st press, Posi Numbers 2003 press, #117/250)
- Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank! (CLEAR PURPLE, 1st press, out of 300)
- Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank! (YELLOW MARBLE, 1st press, out of 700)
- Mental – Get An Oxygen Tank! (SOLID PURPLE, 2nd press, out of 500)
- Mental – YO! (PINK, Limited tour cover)
- Mental – YO! (RED)
- Mental – YO! (YELLOW)
- Mental – YO! (GREEN)
- Mental – 2nd Demo Rejected (ORANGE/YELLOW SPLIT, reject with only 7 songs, out of 210)
- Mental – 2nd Demo Accepted (BLUE/WHITE SWIRL)
- Mental – Planet Mental (BLUE)
- Mental – Planet Mental (WHITE)
- V/A – Sweet Vision (GREEN, Lockin’ Out Records comp)
- V/A – Stab To Kill (PINK, out of 300, Think I Care, The A-Team, R’N’R, Close Call, + more)
- V/A – Generations LP (TEST PRESS)
- V/A – Generations LP (BLUE, Revelation Records, out of 550)