Ray Cappo

Ray Cappo (aka Ray of Today) is the former vocalist for the hardcore bands Youth of Today, Reflex From Pain, Shelter, Better Than A Thousand, and the project recording "Ray and Porcell." Ironically, this icon of New York hardcore was originally from Connecticut, and played drums for the Connecticut band Violent Children. Cappo was occasionally a guest DJ for college radio station WXCI, in Danbury, Connecticut, on a radio show called "The Adventure Jukebox" hosted by Darryl Ohrt of the band No Milk on Tuesday. Cappo played a wide array of hardcore music on the program, largely culled from his massive collection of records, rare unsigned EPs, and demo tapes. During this time, Cappo enthusiastically supported local hardcore shows including gigs by many early hardcore bands such as No Milk on Tuesday, 76% Uncertain, Seizure, End Product, and Abusive Action, and was often mentioned in the liner notes of their records. Before moving to New York City in the mid-1980s, Cappo and his band Youth of Today had already made a dent on the scene.

Youth of Today

Along with guitarist John Porcelly (aka Porcell), Cappo started the seminal hardcore band Youth of Today, which would go on to release two 7" EP's (one later remixed and released as a 12") and two LPs, widely considered to be some of the most influential American hardcore records of their time. An important figure in the early days of Youth of Today was Kevin Seconds, singer of the Reno, NV band 7 Seconds. Kevin not only influenced the band, but also released their first ep, "Can't Close My Eyes" on his Positive Force Records. Youth of Today acted as a catalyst for the thriving straight edge scene in NYC, a task declared impossible by many NYC punk aficionados. From these beginnings arose a cadre of late 80's NYC straight edge bands, sometimes referred to as youth crew bands. These bands honed their sounds at CBGB's Sunday matinees, or at the Stamford, Connecticut (and later Norwalk) venue, The Anthrax.

Revelation Records

In 1987, along with Jordan Cooper, Cappo started Revelation Records to help document some of the hardcore music that was beginning to filter out of NYC. The label's first release was Warzone's "Lower East Side Crew". This was soon followed by a compilation entilted New York Hardcore 1987: Together, or simply the Together Compilation. This compilation included tracks by Youth of Today and Bold, (formerly Crippled Youth). This was also the first time bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Sick of it All, and Side By Side would be recorded and heard all over the world. Revelation would soon expand its roster westward, releasing important records from California bands like Chain of Strength and No For an Answer. Today, Revelation remains a functioning record label operated by Cooper, who moved from New Haven, Connecticut to Huntington Beach, California in the early 1990s. Revelation has at times distanced itself from its hardcore beginnings, then just as quickly re-embraced them.

The 1990s and "Krishna-core"

As Youth of Today began to wind down, Cappo found himself drawn to Krishna Consciousness, due in large part to his study of religions that embraced his vegetarian and straight edge ideals. He became a devotee and an outspoken proponent of the ideologies laid out in the Bhagavad Gita. Cappo resolved to start a band that would fulfill his spiritual needs and provide a mouthpiece for his newfound devotion. This band became known as Shelter. Cappo again found himself starting a record label to release bands with a Krishna-conscious message, the still operating Equal Vision Records. The rise of Shelter would unexpectedly create a musical sub-genre called "Krishna-core", with bands such as Cro-Mags as its spiritual forefathers and 108 and Refuse to Fall among its main proponents.

A few years later, after distancing himself to a certain extent from certain strict elements of the Krishna and straight edge communities, Cappo found himself alienated from both camps after a minor incident became known to thousands via fanzines and the Internet. On a European tour with his "youth crew revival" band Better Than A Thousand, Cappo reportedly broke with the straight edge ideals he had long preached and drank a glass of wine while in Italy. In the tight knit straight edge community, where Cappo was looked upon as an elder statesman and role model, this event was a major source of controversy and allegations. Soon afterward, Cappo wrote an essay that was widely circulated on the Internet, responding to his detractors and asking for more compassion and tolerance toward those who might stumble on spiritual paths and have to renew their ethical commitments. While many dismiss Cappo as a "sellout" after this incident, others point to his subsequent promotion of yoga and a raw food diet and his renewed devotion to Krishna Consciousness as evidence of his continued commitment to bodily health and purification.

Today

Cappo now lives in Albany, NY, next door to Steve Reddy, current owner of Equal Vision Records. He continues his association with the Hare Krishna community in the area and is an avid mixed martial arts fan and practitioner. Aside from the European Youth of Today reunion tour in 2004 and occasional American and European reunion shows, Cappo has been only intermittently involved in the hardcore music scene.

In 2006 Ray Cappo released another Shelter record entitled "Eternal" on Good Life Recordings, and embarked on a European tour. He maintains a website for his yoga and raw food diet classes, featuring pictures of himself, his wife, and children performing yoga, and an e-mail list promoting raw foods and featuring recipes and inspirational quotations. Cappo also sponsors tours of India featuring important sites for practitioners of yoga.

Discography

with Reflex From Pain
* "Checkered Future" (1990)with Violent Children
* "Violent Children" (1983)
* "Violent Children" (1984)
* "Skate Straight" (1984)with Youth of Today
* "Connecticut Fun" compilation (1985)
* "Can't Close My Eyes" EP (1986, Positive Force Records)
* "Break Down The Walls" (1987)
* "New York City Hardcore - Together" compilation (1987, Revelation Records)
* "New York City Hardcore - The Way It Is" compilation (1988, Revelation Records)
* "We're Not In This Alone" (1988)
* "Youth of Today" (1990)with Shelter
* "Perfection of Desire" (1990)
* "No Compromise" (1990)
* "In Defense of Reality" (1991)
* "Attaining the Supreme (1993)
* "Mantra" (1995, Roadrunner Records)
* "Beyond Planet Earth" (1997, Roadrunner Records)
* "When 20 Summers Pass" (2000, Victory Records)
* "The Purpose, The Passion" (2001, Supersoul)
* "Eternal" (2006, Good Life Recordings)with Ray & Procell
* "Ray & Porcell" (1991)with Better Than A Thousand
* "Just One" (1997, Revelation Records)
* "Value Driven" (1998, Epitaph)
* "Self Worth" single (1999, Grapes of Wrath)with Story of the Year
* "Falling Down" (2003, Page Avenue)

References

External links

* [http://www.raghunath.org/ Ray Cappo yoga and raw foods page]
* [http://web.mac.com/lotuslike/india/India_Retreat.html Ray Cappo India retreats page]
* [http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Breakers/4288/raystatement.html Ray Cappo's statement after "breaking edge"]
* [http://bandtoband.com/index.php?Page=Search&ArtistId=76 Ray Cappo on bandtoband.com]


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