Interview with Casualties frontman Jorge


Hailing from NYC, the Casualties is a punk band formed in 1990.

The Casualties members had the primary aim to revive the "golden era" of street punk, embodied by bands such as The Exploited, Charged, GBH, and Discharge, who's popularity was believed to have wained by 1985.

During the early years, the Casualties lineup was stable. The initial lineup consisted of Colin and Jorge on vocals, Yureesh on drums, Hank on guitar, and Mark on bass. Colin stepped out for several months to finish his education while Rachel, Rivits' singer, took his place.

At this point, Colin, Jorge, Yureesh, and Mark put together a demo. Fred replaced Hank, but then Fred left to go to school, and Scott from C Squat filled in. Another guitarist, Steve, from Distraught, also filled in during this period.

The EP 40 Oz. Casualty was recorded. By 1992, the band was touring and building up a fan base in NYC. In 1993, bassist Mark and guitarist Fred were replaced by Mike and Jake, respectively and Yureesh was replaced by Shawn on drums in 1994. In 1995, the band's second release, the "A Fuckin Way Of Life" E.P. was released on Eyeball Records. In 1996, Shawn left the band, and Meggers of the Rivits came to fill in and became the regular drummer.

The line-up of Jorge, Jake, Mike and Meggers continued until 1997. Johnny (Of The Krays) served as bassist until 1999 (a position more permanently filled by Rick later that year).

The Casualties have continued to produce high-energy recordings and they have played in and headlined many US and international tours (e.g., Europe, Japan, and Mexico). Under Attack was released on SideOneDummy Records in 2006, and they toured virtually non-stop for 3 years year in support of the album. Their newest album, We are all we have, was released on the SideOneDummy label on August 25, 2009

How did you start out in music?

Jorge: Since I was a baby. I used to sleep with the radio at my pillow. I’ve been listening to music as long as I know. I’ve been listening to music since 70s—but I’m an 80s boy, cuz I grew up with new wave, metal, and that’s when I got into punk. I became a punk rocker in ‘84, and the band didn’t start until 1990.

How did you get together with them?

Jorge: I started the band; a few of us listened to English Punk. At that time, in the early 90s, people were into Grunge, Hardcore, and straight edge. But me and my friends, there was about 5-10 of us, we just started the band for fun, after school drinking, it was nothing serious.

How long did that band last?

Jorge: For 5 years it was just the same thing—just something to do. Little soon became big. It was never really like a real band.

When did it start being for real?

Jorge: People came and liked the band. It was like 6-7 people. Through the years, people came and left the band. Th
en we became serious. We’d play shows and sell them out.. So I guess about 3 years ago it became a real band.

Do you have regular jobs?

Jorge: We had regular jobs. We’d tour for a few weeks then go back to work. I used to work at Trash and Vaudeville in NYC. One day I got fired and called Jake the guitar player. That’s when we decided to make it for real. It hasn’t stopped since.

Has it paid off?

Jorge: Yes, it’s just recently paying back.

I heard you put everything you make right back into the band. Is that true?

Jorge: Yes, we save our money and put it back into the band. We don’t get any help from the labels. We make everything ourselves. I bought videos and made my own video label. Jake has his own printing shop, so we print every shirt on our own. We try to just keep everything going so that we can do what we love, music. Everything we make, we’ve done
it on our own.
We spend our own money for transportation, tours, merchandise, everything.

What’s it like on stage?

Jorge: When we play, we give 100%. We’re not like every other band. We’ll come off the stage soaked in sweat and screaming! We like contact with the kids. We play for 10 kids, then when we come back its 20, and then next time it’ll be 40. We give everything we got. They know we mean it. They mean it too. We’ve made it on our own, because we love it.

What bands have influenced The Casualties?

Jorge: Throughout the years we loved the Clash, the Ramones. Recently, I’ve been really impressed with Flogging Molly. They give 100% too. I admire that. It takes a lot to do that. I also like and have a lot of respect for Death by Stereo. They’re really a hard band, and they are very sincere.

Any plans for new albums?

Jorge: We plan to record by the end of this year, and continue touring on the leg of that album. Hopefully a lot of these kids will see us play.

What’s your biggest hope for the future of Punk Rock?

Jorge: Not too many kids know where to hear Punk, because music today is all commercialized. Once kids get into us, they want to find more music like that. We’re always gonna support the underground, but our goal is to become more commercialized so we can get our music out there. We’re on a mission right now.

What are your future plans for the band?

Jorge: We wana get bigger A lot of people will hate us for it, maybe. But a lot of people will respect us for it. But when a businessman puts together a band and spoon feeds kids, I think it’s disgraceful. Our music comes from the heart, like we speak it. That’s what needs to get out there.

What differentiates you from other bands, in an organizational sense?

Jorge: We have a few band members that take a break sometimes and don’t play. But in The Casualties, everyone gets the same respect. The bass player is on and off, but still gets the same respect as the rest of us. We value that as our bloodline. The Casualties are in force.

Current line up:

Jorge Herrera- vocals (1990–present)
Rick Lopez - bass (1999–present)
Jake Kolatis - guitar (1993–present)
Mark "Meggers" Eggers - drums (1995–present)


Studio albums
1997: For the Punx
1998: Underground Army
2000: Stay Out of Order
2001: Die Hards
2004: On the Front Line
2005: En La Línea Del Frente
2006: Under Attack
2009: We Are All We Have
1992: 40 Oz. Casualty
1994: A Fuckin' Way Of Life
2000: Who's In Control?

By Roya Butler