Almost 20 years ago (Sept.- Oct. 1989) in Pomona Valley, CA was the birth of Total Chaos.
Created out of the desperate need to save a dying genre of punk rock- during a time that the market was saturated with a more commercial new style. Along the side of a dedicated few other bands who believed in the dying genre and all that it represented – to them it was not only music – but a forum – to convey important political and social views. One of those allies was Jay Lee from Resist and Exist who with Total Chaos started organizations such as-UVP(United Valley Punks) OCP(Orange County Peace Punks) and AGC (Alternative Gathering Collective)- holding social events like- Food Not Bombs- giving support to the Big Mountain Indian Reservation and helping to open the Los Angeles Anarchist Center. The idea of social responsibility to both bands was a significant thing- from organizing peace punk picnics- to protesting against the Gulf War- their music had meaning and stood for something.
In 1991 Total Chaos recorded their first demo- which led to their first 7 inch in July of 92 Nightmares. In March of 93 they put out their first full length album Were the Punks- to promote the record they did shows around California- during that time word of the album reached Mexico City- leading to an offer to do a full Mexico tour with a band called the Yaps.
With mostly sold out shows-the tour was deemed a success. Between sold out shows in the U.S. and Mexico- interest hit lead guitarist of Bad Religion and the owner of the biggest punk label in the world Epitaph Records Bret Gurewitz. Leading to the signing of the band in Sept. 93, a quote from Rob Chaos regarding the signing to the label, I felt signing to the label was a huge opportunity to save my genre- to allow the style to reach the masses and help those that were like me to be heard. (shortly after Gary Doom left the band and was replaced by Ron Mcmurder).
By Jan. of 94 the band was in the studio recording Pledge of Defiance still to this day being the hardest most political controversial album ever put out by Epitaph records- to date. Total Chaos did 2 full U.S. tours- one of them being with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones with riots in some cities and states- clearly showing the impact of the message and the power of the response by the fans. Returning from tour- the band went back into the studio- now with a new lead guitar player-Shawn Smash- leading to a masterful collaboration- ending with the creation of Patriotic Shock. They hit the road in June of 95 with the legendary Battalion of Saints in many shows- because of Total Chaoss- strong anti- racist material and social political message- made the tour not easy- with national racists organizations showing up at every show, many death threats, even the album being banned in Japan- regardless of all the opposition, they did not falter and the message was still being expressed.
In the summer of that year the band does their first European tour- which was bigger than anyone expected- with sold out gigs all across Europe- ending up at the legendary Chaos Days in Hanover, Germany. Not schedule to play (the police would not allow it) but lucky because of a folk rock festival (The Harvest Festival) that was playing in a local park- where swarms of punks met to later attend the Chaos Days- discovered the bands arrival and literally threaten the promoter- with violence and destruction of property if the band was not allowed to play (amazing fans)- so they played- with one of the band members (Shawn Smash) a half blooded German-fluent in the language- spoke to his fellow country men- stating Lets Riot as the intro to the legendary song Riot City- unfortunately the riot cops showed up right after the song and the literal Chaos Days begun (the show made national headline news throughout the world).
Shortly after returning to the states Gearbox left the band- being replaced with Suzy Home wrecker- the band decided and after 3 hardcore albums they would choose a more classical style of 70s punk rock- leading to the creation of Anthems form the Alleyway. Again to promote- the band headed out for a full U.S. and European tour- shows were completely sold out. By 97 the contract with Epitaph was up and negotiation for resigning due,- while recording new demos for the new album- the owner of Epitaph- Bret Gruewitz disappeared for 6 months and reappeared in drug rehab. Leaving the band in limbo and with a new president of the label Andy – which who the band did not see eye to eye with- lead them to leaving the label in late 98/or they just got booted no one knows for sure even the band- with a legacy of selling more than 150,000 records- unmatched by any in their genre, to date.
In early 99 they agreed to put out 2 limited edition albums (In God We Kill and The Early Years) with Cleopatra records and hit the road for promotion with Blanks 77. After the tour was completed in 2000- they did their first Japanese tour and right after went into the studio to record Punk Invasion produced by multi-platinum producer Jim Faraci. They put out the album on their own formerly named label Reject Records- the band hit the road for several tours in Europe and the U.S., later to be invited to play the Warped Tour in 2002. After the Warped tour- the original drummer Gearbox returned to the band.
By the beginning of 2003 Rob Chaos started to do promotions and bookings for other bands such as The Lower Class Brats Funeral Dress Blanks 77, Mike Blanks and the Stads and many more. In Fall 2003 Rob Chaos went into partnership with Ezzat Soliman owner of the Showcase Theatre and Showcase Productions- birthing a new label SOS Records. Because of his strong street credibility- Rob Chaos has been able to procure legendary bands for the label such as The Exploited and Conflict- a quote from Wattie of Exploited after returning to the states after 12 years to do a full U.S. with Total Chaos, the only reasoning why I came back was because of Rob Chaos- a huge compliment from a man and a band that Rob grew up listening to and respects highly.
In Nov. of 2003 the band went back into the studio with a new bassist- Charlie former guitarist of political hardcore band Lifes Halt – during a crucial time in the United States history- and this is clearly reflected in the bands music- there are strong battle cries all over the album which emerge so intensely- it is not matched by any. The album is entitled Freedom Kills again with strong promotion- Total Chaos has just completed sold out shows with the most legendary bands of all the punk rock genres- from the Adicts to Exploited ( nationally televised riots in Canada- due to border rejection of both bands) to Conflict- setting them apart and displaying their caliber and quality.
In this new era the message is stronger than ever before- there is a sense of urgency coming from the band- regarding social and political reform- it oozes from their music and is undeniable to any that listen. After 16 years Total Chaos has grown as a band and has seen many come and go- but they have always kept their original ideals of what their genre of music is all about- which hasnt been proven to be easy- during a time of mirages and deceit.
Regardless of what you believe, whether you are pop punk, street punk, hardcore, straight edge, political punk, goth punk, skate punk, crust punk, metal punk, straight punk rock (the list goes on and on)- Total Chaoss style of music can unify them all- bringing them back to one scene and that is PUNK ROCK!