"We're a bunch of old hardcore dudes who, on the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the band we did as kids, we decided to start a new band," says Michael McClone-Carriere, the vocalist of said band, Past Tense Hero.
The older group he's referring to above is Bleed, the screamo (in the '90s sense of the term) outfit that recorded for Ebullition Records back in the day. With a sound that brings together the sonic abuse of Swiz, BL'AST!, and Black Flag, Past Tense Hero's recently released Wolf Finger demo kicks all kinds of ass.
Michael tells me that despite an absence from the hardcore scene, the members of Past Tense Hero didn't stray too far. "Since the '90s, we've all played in a few bands, gone on to school and careers (I have a Ph.D. in American History and am now a college professor), and stayed close friends. This is sort of our series of love songs to hardcore and friendship."
Speaking of the lyrics on the demo, Michael is very candid about the inspiration behind them: "The songs are all loosely organized around the concept of mental illness. I've suffered from things like depression throughout my adult life and my daughter (who just turned 14) is now bravely facing her own struggles with mental health, and the song 'Esther' is about her. She is very up front about her issues and talks openly about mental illness to her peers in junior high. I constantly worry about what I've passed along to her (the point of the song 'Inheritance').
"'Adam' deals with a childhood friend of ours who died in the early 2000s from a heroin overdose, while 'Legacy' touches upon drawing from friends and family to overcome such traumas. And 'Dontre' is about a case here in Milwaukee: a white police officer shot an unarmed African-American man, Dontre Hamilton, 14 times. Dontre suffered from schizophrenia and didn't need to die. Since the horrific shooting I've gotten to know Maria Hamilton, Dontre's mother, a little. She is an amazing person who is using this tragedy to shed light on both police brutality and mental health issues."