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The Holy Mess: Sitting on the Cusp of the Trash Age.

January 13, 2016

TheHolyMessOnline01Text by Vince Bellino. Images by Jessica Flynn.

Jeff Riddle is on the steps leading to his South Philly home when the other members of The Holy Mess  SteveO and Keith Yosco –  show up.

In the basket of his bike, SteveO has a forty and a Smirnoff Ice, which he hands to Riddle.

Riddle has been “iced.”

It’s a well-known tradition— upon being presented with the drink, the receiver has to chug it. Riddle, the band’s guitarist and one of its vocalists, complains he wanted to sip the drink and enjoy it with a cigarette, but he will have no such luck. Dutifully, he gets down on one knee and chugs it.

“Tastes like Sprite,” he says, laughing.

The Holy Mess has made a reputation for the shenanigans its members like to be a part of, but the trio has also worked hard to build the respect they now hold both in the local punk community and in national and international circles.

The band formed in 2006 and has seen several different amalgamations in its almost 10-year history. Bassist and vocalist SteveO and drummer Yosco, the remaining original members, became friends as teenagers and have been playing music together since. With the addition of Riddle in 2012, the current lineup became solidified.

This past summer, the band headed to Brooklyn’s Converse Rubber Tracks Studio to record the follow up to their 2014 full-length, Comfort In the Discord. The new EP, Trash Age, deals with the dismal outlook for the world and its future.

“There was the Renaissance, the bronze age, the ice age,” says SteveO. “The next one coming is the trash age. We’re sitting at the cusp of the trash age. If you just look around, not only is it actual, physical trash in the ocean – like there is an island of trash in the Pacific Ocean – but it’s the things being said, the things being touted, the things you see on television, the things you hear on the radio. It’s all really trash. There isn’t a lot of substance anymore, in the way we feel. …We’re pretty much referencing this faux culture we live in.”

The Holy Mess will be self-releasing Trash Age, just as they did with their last full-length.

“It just boils down to what makes the band work the best,” Yosco says. “We can take what we earn as a band and recycle it back into the various projects we’re involved in.”

“We do our mail ordering ourselves, we book our own shows and release our own records,” says SteveO. “We do everything ourselves. After being around for as long as we have, we’ve learned a lot of what not to do. By doing things ourselves, it’s just way more direct.”

TheHolyMessOnline02The members of The Holy Mess have been playing music for decades between the three of them.

Having had the opportunity to play many places in the U.S., a European tour with The Menzingers and recently Groezrock Festival in Belgium, The Holy Mess takes all of their opportunities in stride.

“We’re afforded a lot of cool fucking opportunities, for sure,” Yosco says, adding that many of the places he’s been able to go in the world were because of music. “We don’t take anything for granted. We appreciate everything this band has allowed us to do, see and feel.” 

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