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New York`s hardcore legend BURN has recently re-united and just completed recording an ep of new material. Surprisingly Victor DiCara from INSIDE OUT and 108 fame joined BURN on second guitar. Reason enough to talk to their friendly lead guitarist and founding member Gavin Van Vlack. Vic DiCara was so cool to answer also some of the on!

BURN, NEW YORK CITY - July 23, 2001. Pic: Ptah Hotep

Ok let´s start: how came it that you guys are back to rock?

Gavin: It's not so much that we're back because the whole time we weren't doing BURN we were involved in music. The main reason that we decided to reactivate BURN is because we missed the songs and energy of what that particular entity of a band felt like. Chaka and I have been friends for well over a decade and as anyone knows in a long-term relationship there are highs and lows, when we first made a conscious decision to shelf BURN our personal relationship was at an extreme low (which wasn't really helped by the fact I was HIGH all the time). So we opted to work on different projects because it would have affected BURN in the wrong way.

...and secondly how came it that Vic joined the band?

Gavin: This is a good one. Eventually all truths become self-evident. When Vic was in SHELTER with Ray Cappo, SHELTER and BURN used to play shows together (I always thought of it being a little weird) but for some reason Vic and I got along really well, now understand at this time in our lives Vic is a full-on hardcore Krishna devotee and I was a full-on hardcore crystal-meth head (the short term for that is speed freak, kiddies and I mean freeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!!!) Vic, had an honest nature about him that I felt safe around. Back then is not very different from right now, there were tons of smiling cheaters and snakes will never be able to shake hands (like I said "all truths become self evident!!). We drifted in and out of contact for a number of years and always talked about music and spirituality (we still do). The last time I saw Vic was just after 108 had ended and he said he was going back to India to study percussion and Sanskrit and had decided to drop playing guitar altogether, few things have upset me as much as this. It's hard enough to find great musicians, but to find one with honesty, skill, and no ego ........ Let's just say I'd just seen a species hunted to extinction. Anyway several years passed and we'd just started to do BURN shows again. The guitarist we had was awesome but he wanted to do other things musically and we had made a conscious decision (seems we make a lot of those, huh!) that BURN needed to sound like BURN not what ever was "The big thing at present time". Manny our bass player had been in contact with Vic and said that he had some new band going on in Southern Cal. with Frosty (MAN WILL SURRENDER, CHAIN OF STRENGTH) and Chris Bratton (WOOL, INSIDE OUT and 10000 other bands...........yes, he's that good). And they were trying to get a front person. I was like wow, awesome Vic is a hypocrite, yahooo!!! I was so happy to hear he was playing rock again (emo, punk, hard-core, please spare me the semantics.) so I got in touch with him. We exchanged e-mails for about 1 month and after the other guitarist left Vic was the first person I offered the position to. I remember finishing that letter with "We always knew this was gonna happen!!"

Vic: Right, well the way it looked to me was like the muses were really moving the fates in the right directions. It was the day after Chris and Frosty and I basically decided to put our band on hold that I got a call from Gavin asking if I wanted to be in BURN. I was like, "shit, this is really serious fate-stuff here." I've loved Burn and I've always felt like BURN picked up musically where Beyond (Alan Cage and I) left off and took it to the next level, and the next and the next. I've always loved BURN lyrically and emotionally because it is really metaphysical in nature without losing touch with the fact that organized religion is just another branch of government and economics - which really means more to me now then it ever did. Basically I am feeling BURN really deeply right now. Especially after recording this EP - I was really feeling the shit, especially when Chaka was laying down the vocals I was really in touch.

What have you been doing since BURN broke up? I mean so much time passed since then, did you play in other bands?

Gavin: I've been involved in music my whole life. That is the one true constant. After BURN I started DIE 116 which was a lot of fun because it was loud, angry, abusive, and threatening I kind of wanted to play music that resembled how I was treating myself at the time. Everything was like explode, explode, push the red-line, I don't see any blood and the only scars that really matter are the ones you can't see. A lot of drinking, lot of drugs, and pretty much anything in excess. That little emotional eco-challenge lasted about 3 1\2 years. After that I did a project called PRY (on Some Records) I really liked the material and there was a lot of talent and potential, the problem was that I was the only person with real tour and band experience and once things started rolling one of the other guys heads started to swell up to outlandish proportions (I'm not gonna mention names, if he reads this he can call me a bitch). He demanded that I we let go one of the other guys, of course you know who got stuck with the job of axeman......yours truly. After that it due to this fuckers ego I ground to a halt. For about the next 2 years I jammed with friends, Sergio Vega (QUICKSAND, CHAMPIONS OF SOUND) lives on my block, Chaka (ORANGE 9mm,and uh...I think he was in ....BURN) lives 2 blocks away, Ian Love from Rival Schools United By Fate helped me record some of my own material, I helped Harley (CRO-MAGS) with his demos. You know just stayed active and enjoyed playing. One day Chaka Told me Harley and John were going to do a CRO-MAGS show and we got to talk about it. After about 5 minutes we were yelling at each other waving our hand with these wild looks in our eyes and big stupid smiles on our faces, we called up John and asked who was opening for them. Right away he started laughing his ass off "Are you guys for real, no I mean really serious". The rest is just what's happened up to now.

Ok let`s talk about the new record: tell me something about it! I`ve heard there are going to be two records...?

Gavin: One on Revelation of older unreleased demos (ENTITLED "NEW MORALITY" ), and one on Equal Vision with 4 brand new songs, 1 older song, and a re-recording of the decay off of the Boiling Point compilation (entitled "Cleanse")

Vic: This EVR EP really came together spontaneously and there is a lot of soul and love in it. Maximum respect to Alan, Chaka, Gavin, Manny, and Ken (Olden, of Monster Island studio) - working with them on this record was a pleasure and inspiration.

What`s next?

Gavin: We're waiting on getting the record art finished, it's out on November 13th.

What are BURN`s musical/lyrical influences?

Gavin: That's really hard for me to answer alone; I think we are all just really trying to heal ourselves (yes, self preservation is an influence). I personally listen to so many different styles of music that to pick a select few wouldn't give anybody an accurate account of my background in music or even what inspires me to play or write songs. Please don't think I'm trying to act aloof, I just always look at that question as like I'm a three year old being asked what I want for my birthday......EVERYTHING!!!!!!

Vic: Eclecticness is BURN's strong point and I think something really important to a human being. Coming out of 10 years in the Hare Krishna thing I can tell you that lack of Eclecticness and adherence to conservativism is really paralyzing thing to Human Creativity. Especially musically, people should, I think, listen to TONS of shit or all different types. Be well rounded. I appreciate what Moby did with Area:One - combining a bunch of different musical styles in one festival.

What do you do besides BURN?

Gavin: I do other musical projects, 2 things I'm involved with right now are my own Project (tentatively untitled) and this other thing I'm working on with Mathew Paine (DEMONSPEED) called KING DUST. Outside of music I fight in competitive Muay Thai kickboxing but it bores me to go into to much detail about it `cause it usually bores people to hear about it.

Vic: I'm involved in UNIQUA - which is really good musical stuff that you will hear more of soon.

I`m always trying to find out what makes me happy...and hmm...I don`t really know it, but what makes you happy?

Gavin: Music, and pushing myself (nowadays to do better, and not so much to do damage). I like running, and certain sports. I don't think it's so much a keep me happy thing than it is a keep me sane thing.

Vic: Sharing love either through kindness or laughter or compassion or listening or music or art or just grooving, or fucking...

So what`s your main goal in life?

Gavin: To have meaning, and leave as positive of a footprint as I can.

Vic: Right now, I don't think life should be lead in pursuit of a goal. You should constantly be achieving your "goal" all the time. My goal is to show as much love to people I come into contact with as possible, through any of the myriad ways, especially music.

What is your greatest concern about the world right know?

Gavin: The constant abuse of the media by the government for the transmission of misinformation.

Vic: Hatred, evil. Ecological collapse is a big thing on my mind lately.

Anything else you`d like to add, last comments etc...?

Gavin: Anybody who wants to contact me can do so at tend to travel a lot and sometimes can't get to a computer but I'll try to get back to you. Also to anyone doing music, writing or absolutely anything YOU consider art. DO YOUR ART the rest is bi-product. more thing: I`ve read on the BURN board you are training for a fight in September, what do you do?

Gavin: C'mon as if I haven't put enough of you readers to sleep already, now you want me to bore the rest to death.

Hahahaha...ok as mentioned above he`s doing competitive muay thai kickboxing! Alright that`s it. Gavin, Vic thanks a lot for your time...and take care brothers.

Gavin: Stay in contact.

Vic: Rock for Light.

Interview conducted by Magnus Jaschke in August 2001.