Go ahead and start limbering up, because Fallcore, Hatetank Productions' annual festival celebrating the best in Texas hardcore, windmills back into Walters Downtown tomorrow. It'll be the 13th iteration of the hard-hitting fest, headlined by Dallas thrashcore kingpins (and local favorites) Power Trip, fresh off a European tour. It's the band's first gig in Houston since the release of their ripping debut for Southern Lord this summer, so expect high-fives and stage dives aplenty during their set on Saturday.
Even more exciting in many quarters around the state, though, will be the return of Die Young (TX), the furious Houston hardcore outfit that carved out a (legally challenged) name for itself over the past decade via relentless touring of every corner of the globe that would have them (and a few that wouldn't). After scoring a deal with Eulogy Recordings and delivering socially conscious H-Town beatdowns to places as far flung as East Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, they called it quits in 2009, worn down by their non-stop travels.
The last time we saw Die Young (TX) front man Daniel Albaugh (a.k.a. the Rev. White Devil) onstage around these parts, he was bidding Houston a fond farewell for Philadelphia. The move didn't take. The singer is back after less than a year, and he's bringing back his best-known band, to boot.
We caught up with the Reverend earlier this week to find out why Die Young (TX) wouldn't stay dead.
"When we broke up in 2009, we had changed members so much and we had toured so much over the course of seven years that we were just exhausted," Albaugh says. "We were just burned out, so we thought we needed to step away from it. I was almost to the point where I was kind of bitter about the band, and I think a lot of us had had our ups and downs with each other. We just wanted to put Die Young to rest and wash our hands of it."
The group went their separate ways and concentrated on other projects. For Albaugh, that meant joining Houston hardcore mainstays Will to Live on guitar and forming a new band, the aggressively vegan Band of Mercy. But fans never let him forget what they wanted to hear.
"Over the years playing in these other bands, people would always come up to me and ask, 'Can you do Die Young again? I miss that band,'" the singer says. "Even younger kids who never got to see us play, but they like our records. So, that's kind of humbling, and makes you think, 'Man... this could be fun.' It was an encouraging thing that made us think maybe we should try it again."
Fallcore will be the band's first show back since reuniting, and it ought to be a doozy. Albaugh is no certainly no stranger to the fest, having been involved with practically every occurrence of the annual throwdown as a performer, booking assistant or both since its inception. When it was time for Die Young (TX) to return to the stage, he knew just who to call.
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"Willow [Villarreal of Hatetank] and I are good friends," Albaugh says. "I've always had a hand in booking the fest with him most years. Whenever he hit me up this year, I was saying, 'Hey, I think Die Young's getting back together, would you be interested in having us? I think it'd be a good comeback opportunity for us,' and he said, 'Yeah, of course!'"
Fallcore, though, is only the start for this new version of Die Young (TX), which includes original bassist Eric Gibson, guitarists Chris Hasp and Jeff Williams, and drummer Wendel Lopez, a longtime fan of the band from Mexico who's now living the dream. In addition to a new, six-song EP titled Chosen Path that the band has recorded for Headfirst! Records, the group is also preparing to release a split 7" with Brazilian hardcore veterans Confronto.
"We toured with [Confronto] back in 2008, and they just became, like, best friends of ours," Albaugh says. "They're a great, metallic hardcore band that's been doing their thing for over 10 years. They have a huge following down in South America and Europe, but they're not so well-known in the U.S. So we're trying to help them out and get people aware of what they're doing, because I think a lot of people who like Die Young would like them, also."
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There will be tours to come, too, but nothing like the grueling, 200-date-per-year schedule that the group once kept. Albaugh says that Die Young (TX) is older and wiser now, and a little pickier about when and why they pack up and hit the road.
"When a cool opportunity comes to play a weekend with a band we love or to do a fest in some other part of the country or even another country, as long as the deal is right and we can make it happen on our end, we really want to do that," he says. "Maybe a couple weeks a year, weekends, we can do them. We used to just jump at everything. We didn't have any management, and I think in the long run that hurt us and wore us out, because we were sometimes doing things where I felt like Spinal Tap playing at an old folks home.
"My focus now is just writing and being more creative with that and making a document of the band with a record that's more lasting," he continued. "I'm excited about some things we have yet to announce that are still in the works. We're just focused on improving the quality of the songs, the shows... everything!"
Die Young (TX) plays Fallcore 13 on Saturday with Power Trip, Will to Live and many more at Walters Downtown, 1120 Naylor St. Doors open at 3 p.m.
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