All action, no talk

Mouth Sewn Shut speak louder than words
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  July 15, 2008

SO THERE: Writers and editors aren’t always as smart as they’re supposed to be, and MSS don’t need press to draw respectable crowds.

At the end of civilization, there is Wonderland.

Okay, that’s a bit much, but Wonderland is the last stop on the Blue Line in Revere. Sort of the same thing. Directly beside the train tracks of the Wonderland T stop is the multi-stage, multi-purpose, and esoteric Club Lido. Its illicit overtones and derelict movie-theater æsthetic make it a damn appropriate spot for a punk show. I bet Revere isn’t so scary once you get to know it.

Same goes for the gaggle of celebrants who showed up Friday evening to see Mouth Sewn Shut, Lower Class Brats, the Wednesday Night Heroes, and Refuse Resist. Whether through the workings of Providence or because there are usually dead things around Club Lido, a mangled black bird carcass near the load-in door bore great resemblance to the cover of MSS’s full-length, Doomed Future Today. I also spotted the phrase “True Punx Are Hippies with Mohawks” on the back of a leather jacket.

According to Mouth Sewn Shut’s lyrics, it isn’t just immoral to pump bullshit into the sky, blow one another away for dubious reasons, and ruthlessly exploit other species — these practices will kill us all as dead as the aforementioned bird.

“They come from an ecological perspective, and that’s what we need right now,” said Ben, 19 years old, from New Jersey, accosted while waiting for the doors to open.

“Political punk’s a pretty intense genre, but they’re talking about pretty intense issues that piss people off,” added Brit, 18, more crunchy than crusty, also from New Jersey. “I feel like it makes sense to make a lot of noise about it, to make people aware of shit.”

Mouth Sewn Shut consist of Bill Damon and Will Sullivan of Boston crust-punk standard bearers Toxic Narcotic, along with Nick and Rich DellaRocca. But MSS are more like an extension of Toxic than a side project, with the same message, same teeth-rattling corrosive crustcore, extra gobs of reggae jam-outs, minus the baggage any band would accumulate after almost 20 years, as Toxic have.

“This song’s about shooting people who deserve it,” proclaimed Damon as a segue into “Ass Ass in 8,” prompting a relatively small but turbulent circle pit that I got tuckered out just watching. MSS did their thing after Refuse Resist, and whatever Damon does to make his voice sound like a coarse machine gun requires that big veins pop out of his neck. By the end, at least 10 people were screaming the chorus to “Shoot People, Not Dope” (originally a Toxic track) directly into the mic.

It was the opposite of silence — but also in the sense that a racket alone doesn’t always signify much. And yet the name Mouth Sewn Shut does fit well in one regard: no interviews. Damon was happy to explain why, off the record, but that presents a problem. If I quote him, or even paraphrase, he might as well have done an interview, and I’d be undermining MSS’s no-interviews statute. That would be douchy.

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