The Setting
It was the early 90’s, and I had been getting increasingly into hardcore, beyond the small but growing local scene in Indianapolis.   I spent most of my weekends in Indianapolis or other cities that were close (Louisville, Cincinnati, Dayton, and occasionally St. Louis) hanging out with friends and going to shows – there wasn’t much in the way of hardcore going on in Bloomington (where I was living part of the time)  besides a few HC kids attending the university.

It had only been a year earlier that I made it to my first out of town show: seeing Ray Cappo’s new band Shelter in Louisville, KY.   In the year since then there had been a growing MidWest scene, with a lot of interchange between the Indianapolis scene and the scenes in Ohio (Cinci, Dayton, Columbus, and Toledo), and especially the Louisville scene.  One big product of this was the development of a “MidWest” sound, pioneered by bands like Majority of One and Endpoint, and taken up by many more like local favorite Split Lip.

At the same time small scenes started popping up around the state, outside of  Indianapolis, and one of these was in Lafayette, a college town about an hour North of Indianapolis, on the way to Chicago.  This is where ADVANCE got their start.

I think I first saw ADVANCE play in Bloomington at a super small DIY punk club, along with Toledo’s Majority of One (featuring Dirk the founder of Doghouse Records, future Midwest powerhouse label).  I remember that they played quite a few covers that night, enough that it seemed like they played mostly covers, usually from the heavy hitters of the previous “generation” of hardcore, I think they did songs from Bold, Youth of Today, and possibly Gorilla Biscuits and Insted.   They were really clean-cut and had the total “posi” look at that time, which was pretty common in the MidWest.

Soon after I also got their demo, which was pretty solid, and in the vein of much of the popular hardcore bands coming out of the area at the time: mid-tempo, and slightly melodic, with shouted, but not screamed vocals.

I also remember a lot of the hardcore kids in Indianapolis not taking ADVANCE too seriously, since they were the small town outsiders and not a part of the in-crowd.  It didn’t help that t hey showed up to the area where we all hung out one weekend wearing matching ADVANCE baseball jerseys.  Seems kind of silly now, but to put it in perspective, many of the Indianapolis straight edge kids wore black flight jackets, and it wasn’t uncommon for each scene to have its own dress code.

At this point I had done a couple of issues of  Catalyst zine, which went well, and I just had it in my mind that I wanted to start putting out records as well.  It was such an awesome time, if only because there was a true DIY spirit floating around.  I knew I wanted to put out a record, and it seemed totally possible – I just needed to find a band to work with for the first release.  Honestly, I would have preferred to work with Split Lip, who were friends of mine, and who I saw regularly.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards, both because they went on to do releases with the already established Doghouse Records (who was working with numerous MidWestern bands), and because I don’t think they took me that seriously either.

So on the merits of being straight edge, good guys, and their solid demo release I got together with ADVANCE and started planning the first release on Catalyst Records.

All in all the process was pretty easy, even for a first-time venture.  I had some information about getting records pressed through a punk/ hardcore email list I was on at the time, and had the records pressed through United Record Pressing, in Nashville.

I remember being not so into the cover artwork that the band wanted, and honestly, the songs on the EP were a departure from the demo as well,  following the trend of Endpoint and Split Lip and being more melodic than the earlier material, with more singing than yelling, and general with less of a traditional hardcore sound.  Such is life.

The EP ended up coming out with 100 burgundy color and 400 black vinyl.  There were three different covers, a temporary cover I made with a live photo on the front on a blue-gray color paper, a black and white temporary cover with the band’s cover art as a negative image, and the “official” printed cover with the band’s cover art (a sun motif) on ivory colored stock and burgundy/red print.

Advance didn’t end up being very prolific, or influential in their own right, and the band split up within a year of the EP being released.  Members did go on to do bigger and better things, including being a part of other later bands such as Scab (multiple Advance members), Endpoint, Tramlaw, Metroschifter, and Falling Forward (all involving Pat M.).

ADVANCE – Who Dares to Dream EP