13 Scars: Chaos in the pit

by Rodney Lotter

Ah, the 80s. Back in those years, hardcore punk reigned supreme, at least amongst some circles of disaffected youth. The pits were brutal, the music was loud, antagonistic, snotty and brash. Bands like the Circle Jerks and Black Flag, amongst a slew of others, riled up crowds like no other. The music was about being fed up with the bullshit of the Reagan years and translating the early Punk sound into something more immediate, raw energy. It’s easy to get caught up in the nostalgia- especially, if like me, you were born in the 80s and it was well before Nirvana came around. Yet, still to this day, that energy is kept alive by people like Bradley Petrovich, lead singer and self-proclaimed “stuntman” and “buttrock/poseur” for Seattle punk band 13 Scars.

“The 80s were the best. Everything was new, youth and desire followed no rules, there wasn’t anything to lose. Watching Seattle explode the way it did after the 80s was really cool,” Petrovich said in an e-mail interview. “Musicians and crowds really came together and let go in the pits. It was exciting to watch kids from the street turn the music industry on its head and provide more opportunity for all of us instead of just the Michael Jacksons that major labels go narrow and deep with as far as marketing product.”

13 Scars started in 2010, when they recorded their first demo and started playing shows. But, the members themselves – Shawn Durand on guitar and vocals, Brian Fritts on guitar and vocals, Matt Shuttle on drums and Josh Stallsworth on bass – have a collective band history that goes back to the glory days. Once the band formed into a solid lineup, it didn’t take them long to start playing shows with a who’s who of 80s hardcore bands: Verbal Abuse, Agent Orange, Angry Samoans, Battalion of Saints and the Dead Kennedys, among many others.

While the band’s brand of anthemic, straight-up punk isn’t necessarily anything new, it is genuine. When asked what people can expect at a 13 Scars show and what the band enjoys most about playing live, Petrovich responded to both questions with four simple words: “CHAOS IN THE PIT!!!!” Fair enough.

“To me, probably the most noticeable changes [in the Pacific Northwest music scene] are that the pits in the NW stopped for a few years and kids listen to the music the internet provides instead of live all ages chaos,” Petrovich said. “At this point, I see nothing new and a lot of derivative product and performance. Punk has been defined, codified, packaged and sold, and nobody gets their ass beat for lifestyle and music choices like before. Punk is not dead in the sense that classical music is (because nothing new is created and classical composers have left the planet) but goddamit it all seems so contrived now. And I don’t like rules. Punk has too many rules.”

LIVE SHOW: See 13 Scars at The Shakedown on Feb. 19. Follow the band online at facebook.com/13ScarsBand and hear tracks from their album at reverbnation.com/13Scars. 

Published in the February 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine