One of the most common questions about I get asked is regarding the “missing” Catalyst Records #2 release. CR002 was really a placeholder that I equated with two (cassette only) demo releases, which I didn’t regard as “real” releases. Instead of assigning them each an individual catalog number, when I was in the process of pressing and releasing the Abnegation 7” (CR003) I decided to just combine the two demos into one release number. I’m not sure why, but it made sense at the time. Obviously I was working on the principle that two cassette demos = one 7” EP.

The first of these demos was for ADVANCE, the band that made CR001 a reality. Although the demo came out prior to recording the Who Dares to Dream EP, there was still a demand, and I ended up selling quite a few along with my small distro of ‘zines, shirts and records.

The second of the cassette-only releases was for JACKHAMMER, which was also the first band I played in that actively played shows both in and out of state. Jackhammer in some ways followed in the footsteps of Integrity, and the vocalist of Jackhammer actually spent a lot of time with Integrity singer Dwid, who was living in an Indianapolis suburb at the time. Members of Jackhammer included John Baker (who Dwid dubbed “The Punisher”) on vocals, Clay Snyder (also a member of Split Lip) on guitar, and three of us who had been in a short-lived band called Face to Face; Andy Synder on drums, Ed Baun on guitar and myself on bass.

Though there was definitely some influence from Integrity, it was more of an influence to start a band with a more metal sound than it was to start a band that sounded just like Integrity (although there was a lot of that going around at the time). Honestly, I don’t really think that Jackhammer sounds much like Integrity, though we shared some influences like Slayer, Carcass, Dead Horse, Bolt Thrower, etc. The sound wasn’t what I was really into at the time (I wasn’t heavy into the metal bands of the time and I would have been happier sounding like Judge) but I was happy to be playing in a band with my friends.

At the time I was also getting more and more into hardcore that had strong messages (focusing on political issues, straight edge, and vegetarianism/veganism), and was constantly searching out any bands that fed this desire. Eventually this started being a problem, and even though up until the time I left the band it was still all straight edge members, I just wasn’t passionate about playing in a band without a message I thought was relevant.

I also had a little divergence with the other members in not wanting to list serial killers and mass murders in my thanks list on the demo layout, which everyone else thought was a good idea. Of course, it was just image and marketing, and we were going for a dark tone, but it just wasn’t my thing, and I would have probably preferred the image that relied more on X’s everywhere.

This was also my early start of learning the art of designing a release layout, and for Jackhammer I consistently stole the dark images from Warhammer 40k and WHFRP to use in both the demo and flyer designs. I think it was also around this time when the Catalyst logo started to develop into it’s current familiar shape, the genesis of that also came from Warhammer artwork (and a lot of free time working the 3rd shift at the Bloomington, IN Kinkos).

During the course of my time in Jackhammer we played a handful of shows in Indianapolis and Bloomington, as well as in Dayton (and possibly Columbus), and in Detroit, where we met up with the guys at Initial Records, laying the foundation for the Jackhammer EP to be one of their early releases.

I decided to quit the band shortly before we were scheduled to play the More Than Music festival in Dayton, OH, and shortly before the recording of the EP that was to be released by Detroit’s (and later Louisville’s) Initial Records.

Download the Jackhammer demo here:
Jackhammer Existence Where the Heavens Fall – demo