I’m gong to interject right here and just say that Riffchard Shiner is a demi-god when it comes to playing music and I thoroughly enjoy discussing Suicidal Tendencies at great length with him. OK, back to scheduled programming – Niesh ❤
Intro: Part two of my feature on guys involved with hardcore whose work ethic and musicianship have blown me away time and time again over the years. This months subject is Inherit guitarist and longstanding edgeman Richard Shiner. Over the last 12 years I have seen this guy lug amps and guitars to just about every shithole venue across the UK for the sake of playing a 20 minute set to 10 mates. Up In Arms, xCanaanx, The Break In, Lightbringer, and now Inherit. All seriously hard working bands that racked up a fuckload of miles. Much like Geri Halliwell, Richard’s real age is considered a state secret, but read on as he reveals it below for the very first time. I interviewed him about the good shit. Skateboarding, thrash metal, and guitars. Again, thanks to Niesh for allowing me this slot. – Sean McKee, November 2013.
You’ve lived in London for a hundred years but you are actually from Bristol area, right? What are your memories of Bristol from before you relocated? How did the area shape your tastes and interests?
I actually really liked Bristol as a city but for most of my teenage years my family lived in a small village by Bristol Airport called Felton. The only way to get into Bristol before I could drive was to get the bus which only went every 2 hours and the last one home was at 6pm. Therefore we basically had to make our own entertainment. This started off by riding BMXs around the village and playing football in the park etc, just the typical things. However when I was around 15 I discovered thrash metal and skateboarding and everything changed. Looking back those two things have probably had the biggest influence on my life outside of my family and art/graphic design. Totally worshipping Metallica & Megadeth led me to playing the guitar and watching the Santa Cruz Streets on Fire video led me to discovering hardcore.
Bristol at that time was a really great city to live near by for both music and skating. I used to go to a couple of gigs a month and some of the best shows I’ve ever been to in my life were either in Bristol or at the Newport Leisure Centre just over the Severn Bridge in Wales. The most memorable ones were Forbidden and Death Angel at the Bristol Bierkeller, Annihilator and Onslaught at the the Bristol Hippodrome, Heathen, Sacred Reich and Sepultura at Newport Leisure Centre. I did however miss Bad Brains playing just after they released Quickness due to it being around exam time which is definitely my biggest regret as far as not being able to make it to a gig.
Skating wise Bristol had the legendary Dean Lane skate park which me and my friends used to spend endless days at. Plus there always used to be some random indoor parks which would open for a few weeks and then be mysteriously shut down or in one case cut to shreds by a chainsaw. In nearby Bath there was Victoria park which had a midi ramp and a couple of minis. Also Weston Super Mare had an incredible wooden mini complete with a spine and an roll in. This was probably my favourite place to skate at the time but some local idiots petrol bombed it and it never got rebuilt so that was the end of that. This did inspire us to build our own mini ramp at the bottom of a local field and even though it was pretty sketchy build wise I learnt a bunch of tricks on there. Plus the best skate spot is always something you create yourself and it’s just you and your mates who skate there.
You recently got back into skateboarding. Was it hard, who got you back into it, and why don’t you think “if I fuck my wrist then I can’t work” like the rest of us that bottled out of skating years ago?
For some reason after going snowboarding earlier in the year and breaking a rib it really made me want to get back into skating again. I’d pretty much stopped for over 10 years after I had a freak surfing accident where someone basically tried to sever my the tendon at the back of my ankle with their surfboard fin. This put me out of action for about 6 months and in that time I joined a couple of bands and unfortunately drifted away from skating. Over the next year I tried a couple of times to go skating again but my ankle still felt stiff and didn’t really work right after the surgery so I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t really be able to do it again. Instead I threw myself into doing bands as it was around that time that I was becoming much more involved in hardcore.
General fitness wise getting back into it was no where near as hard as I thought it would be. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous about trying to skate again at 40 years old. However luckily as I’ve always done some sort of exercise that definitely helped. The hardest thing was getting my confidence back and worrying about how bad my first slam would be. Now the confidence is back and I fall off all the time, so it’s a case of slowly but surely trying to relearn everything I could do when I was younger. Fortunately that’s not too long of a list because I was never trying to get sponsored or anything and for now I’m having fun learning things again. I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.
As for worrying about hurting my wrist and not being able to work, I’m actually more worried about hurting my wrist and not being able to play the guitar. I guess I need to get my priorities straight. Being a designer and mostly using the computer as long as I don’t break both wrists I can pretty much get by with one hand.
Most readers will know that you are currently playing guitar and main songwriter geezer for INHERIT. But can you tell us where the other guys from Lightbringer are now?
As for the other guys in Lightbringer, Dave the drummer now plays drums for Inherit. Will sings for the awesome Eager Teeth and you can check them out here https://www.facebook.com/eagerteeth. He’s also a great illustrator and you can check out his work here http://williamblood.tumblr.com/. As for Sam and Jon as far as I’m aware they’re not involved in any bands at the moment but I’m sure they’ll both be doing something soon. Jon in particular needs to do something ASAP as that guy is an insanely talented guitarist, whilst in Lightbringer he wrote cool riffs and jaw dropping solos.
What is your opinion on the seemingly endless re-unions that are happening lately?
I’m not against re-unions per se because some of them have been great. I just can’t get very enthusiastic about hardcore bands who used to be straight edge getting back together who are no longer straight edge. I know for most people this isn’t a big deal but when your whole message was based around the fact you were straight edge it just seems disingenuous to come back and play songs which aren’t relevant to you anymore. Too many times it seems to me that the bands are doing it because they miss being the centre of attention not because they miss playing music. If it’s for a good cause then that’s a whole different matter but for me personally I prefer to look forward rather than dwell on the past. It’s much more exciting to create something new than try and recreate any perceived pass glories. I know for some reason a lot of older people involved in hardcore tend to think things were better when they were younger but that’s simply not the case. Pretty much any weekend of the year you can still go to great shows all over the UK, there’s still so many awesome bands coming out I’d really question someone’s taste if they said hardcore just isn’t as great as it used to be. If for some reason anyone who’s reading this doesn’t know about the current crop of UK bands then these are the ones who I think are worth checking out if you get the chance. xREPENTANCEx, Niribu, Unholy Majesty, Harrowed, Strange Places, Ego Trip, Final Rage, Black Shapes, Guidance, Violent Rage and make sure you check out Abolition’s last show next month.
Talk us through your guitar and amp arsenal. I know there’s some serious hardware going on there. What’s the current itinerary?
Personally I think I’ve managed to keep the normal guitarist gear addiction pretty well in check. My live rig is pretty basic in that it’s a Mesa Dual Rec into a Mesa 4×12 slanted cab, then pedal wise I use a modded Ibanez TS-9, ISP Decimator noise reduction pedal and I’ve recently started using a BOSS DD-7 digital delay which is great. Then my main guitar is an ESP M II, it’s all about upturned headstocks. Besides the gear I use live I have a Mesa 2×12 cab, Digitech Whammy Pedal, Morley Auto Wah and a Boss Flanger. These have all made appearances on various recordings over the years. Then there’s the guitars 2 Schectar Hellraisers, ESP Eclipse, Ibanez Joe Satriani, ESP Custom Shop Viper and finally the first ever guitar I bought a Charvette super strat from the early 90s with a fire crackle red paint job.
How does playing in a band in 2013 compare to playing with bands in the 90’s and 2000s? Is it easier to organise yourselves and get stuff done? Or harder?
In some ways it’s definitely easier to get things done as the internet has helped immeasurably. From allowing people all over the world to hear your band quickly and easily, to having online stores etc which allow people if they like your band to immediately get in touch with you and order your record. Wether or not it’s easier to organise the actual band always comes down to the people in the band. In this case I don’t think time has made as much difference as the fact that the people I’m in a band with right now are all really reliable and just get things down without winging or complaining.
Check Richard’s band Inherit, because they fucking rip: