2022 is becoming the year of the reunion. Since the first two years of the roaring 2020s were less than roaring, people are excited to get back out there and make art and music. The local punk scene in particular is over the moon that two former mainstays of the Allston punk/hardcore scene are reuniting this May for the first time in over a decade.
Tijuana Sweetheart (Pop Punk, formerly “Vagiant”) and Razors in the Night (Oil/Hardcore) toured together in 2009 following the release of their first Split 7 inch EP. This year, for the first time since, they’re playing again.
After some serendipitous conversations, the two bands met up to record and release their second Split 7” EP in January of this year with Ryan Stack Music (RiTN) and Kyle Paradis at New Alliance Audio (TS). The release was meant to correspond with the original date of their reunion show – rescheduled due to COVID concerns.
The new showtime will be Saturday, May 28th at 9:00pm. You can get tickets here. A portion of the proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood. Supporting the reuniting bands will be 2019 Boston Music Award Punk/Hardcore Artist of the Year SkyTigers.
Joey Phoenix sat down with Helen McWilliams (she/her) of Tijuana Sweetheart and Troy Schoeller (he/him/his) of Razors in the Night to talk about the show and about how it feels to be reunited at last.
Editor’s Note: The transcript has been edited for clarity and relevance with consent of the interviewees.
Joey: How did this all come about? Why did you all decide to do a reunion show?
Troy: It was a weird thing how this all coalesced together. Everyone was just on the same page at the same time, and that shit never happens. So of course we said, yeah, let’s, let’s take full advantage of this.
Helen: I think those of us who still live in the area were hanging out at The Lobster Shanty some night and the thought just struck us of how cool it would be to do a reunion tour.
Troy: And I said that if Razors were going to do a show again we would want to do it with [Tijuana Sweetheart]. We toured together, we loved playing together, our first split record was with them.
Helen: We weren’t really thinking about it as a big thing initially. I thought “oh we’ll just get our friends to fill in for the girls because they aren’t going to want to fly out from across the country.” Keri lives now in California. Julie is in Texas But then we just asked them. And they said yes.
It’s likely our last show ever since two of our band members live across the country. LoWreck and I have other projects we’re doing now. But for this one night, it’s going to be awesome!
Troy: I’m also involved in other projects and I’ve been mainly playing with my band Brix n’ Mortar since 2018. Reuniting had been on the table with Razors for a while, but it was never the right timing between life stuff and sobriety stuff. But we had been having discussions.
Helen: For us, we played a lot the last few years of the band, and we really needed a break. And then I had a kid and everybody had other bands. And then, I don’t know what happened, but we all had a moment where we thought that we would like to play those songs again and see those people. We have a lot of friends who haven’t seen the band because we haven’t played in 10 years, and they’re going to get to!
Joey: So how has the scene changed in the last decade? Has it changed?
Troy: I just went to a show on Monday and it’s exactly the same. [he laughs]
Helen: For us it is funny because we keep thinking when we go to shows it’s going to be different, but when we go it’s just like us just a bit older now. But some things are different and, in a way, better. The punk scene that we’ve been a part of has always been like, super welcoming of women and into diversity, and we’re really lucky for that. But I think it’s becoming more and more normal to see diverse bands and groups and people playing shows.
Troy: [Punk and hardcore] always been open for everybody all the time. But I feel like a lot of people wouldn’t come to shows because we’re “scary.” I mean, to be fair, there’s tattoos and blood and sometimes people get hit in the pit. But I think that people are coming to see that no, it’s not that scary, and actually it’s a welcoming community.
I was at this show on Monday and it was a mix of people like me and then up and coming kids who said, “oh man, I saw you guys when I was 15 and my Dad brought me to the Middle East.” Like Helen said, it’s really just opening up more and more, which makes it better because there are more influences and not just the same thing.
Helen: When we were first playing, it was super dumb, we had a lot of people tell us what we could and couldn’t do because “punk bands aren’t like this.” Things like “you can’t smile, you smile too much.” Or they would tell us that we had to have this kind of gear, this kind of amp, you have to look like this, etc. But no one gives a fuck now. You know, like, even things that are hard for me to let go of. We play our guitars low and everyone’s like, No, we don’t care about that.
Troy: But low is cool. I know what kind of band I’m going to see if the guitars are up under their armpits. But I will say the technology has definitely increased.
Helen: I feel like there’s fewer rules, which is great. We’re starting to see bands all the time where they don’t feel the need to dress a certain way or have songs about certain topics or whatever, it’s just, it’s less formulaic, which I really love.
Joey: So what rules have stuck? What still defines punk for you?
Troy: I think it’s scene by scene at this point. I just went to a show where everything she was talking about is still in place. But then I went to see Suzi Moon and the Ravagers at O’Brien’s a few weeks ago and that show was insane. And some of the opening bands from Massachusetts had combo amps and weird sounds. I wasn’t into them but a lot of people who were there were into them. It was cool to see something different though.
Helen: Yeah, I’d rather see something that isn’t my thing but is at least different. Yeah, I’d rather see that.
Troy: I’d rather see things that I like. [Everyone laughs] But I appreciate the diversity.
Joey: You like what you like!
Joey: So the show’s on May 28th. Tickets are $15. You’re going to have some special merch on hand.
Troy: Yeah, It was amazing. When we were moving from Boston to Salem, I had a bunch of boxes and I thought they were just full of books. So I opened one, and I don’t even know how it happened but the 2009 Limited Edition red seven inch EP we recorded with [Tijuana] – which had been sold out for years – was in that box, brand new, records in sleeves. So we’ll have those available. Which is great because the new EP we can’t press to vinyl yet because of all of the production delays.
So, we redid a cover for the old EP and made a new insert and we’re going to add in a download card with the new songs and we’ll email them when the new EP is ready. But they’ll be getting the original sold out Limited Edition red seven inch with the new cover and probably stickers and stuff. It’s pretty amazing.
Helen: And I’ll also mention that in light of all of the news lately we’ve decided that a portion of the proceeds from the show and sales are going to go towards organizations that provide abortion access. We’ll also have some old merch to give away for donations as well as new shirts and stuff that we’ll be selling.
Joey: That’s incredible
Helen (to Troy): I’m so excited because I just want to see you guys play!
Troy (to Helen): Well I just want to see you guys!
Get ready to scream away your blues because Razors in the Night and Tijuana Sweetheart will be getting the band(s) back together for a single blowout “family reunion” show at Sonia in Cambridge on Saturday, May 28th. Get Tickets.
Razors in the Night (2010 nominees for Best New Act and Best Punk Act by the Boston Phoenix) will revive their brand of Oi!/hardcore punk, featuring members of the original lineup – Troy Schoeller on vocals, Swid Swiderek on bass, Ian Clark and Todd Wilson on guitar, Caleb Wheeler on drums — as well as support by Devon Hunt and Joe Riot of Brix’n Mortar.
Tijuana Sweetheart (2009 and 2011 Boston Music Award nominees for Punk Act of the Year, and featured on the video games Guitar Hero 2, Rock Band, and Rock Band 4) will feature their complete final lineup – The Hellion on vocals/guitar, LoWreck on drums, Julie Two Times on bass, and Keri Medeiros on lead guitar — as well as guest appearances by former members Smokey and Ivahna Rock.
What is Creative Collective?
Creative Collective is a group of economic development strategists, small business supporters, activation specialists, and believers in the importance of the creative workforce. We foster growth, sustainability, and scalability for small businesses, creative thinkers, organizations, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
Learn more and join Creative Collective at www.creativecollectivema.com/join