Hardcore punk in the 80s was a big deal. Bands like Minor Threat, Youth of Today, and Gorilla Biscuits were touring like crazy and had more loyalty in their following than any music genre could ever hope for. Hardcore punk’s not dead by a long shot. 2Minute Minor from Chicago is living proof of that. I met Wiley Willis at Audiofeed Festival the last couple summers and have found the tuneage to my liking, hence this interview.
2Minute Minor play fast and furious, with an the entire album over in 17 minutes. But what a great 17 minutes it is, with the gang vocals as good as they get. I am reminded of the energy of bands like 25 Ta Life, Warzone, and Slapshot. Wiley also lets his core beliefs and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) influence his writing. If this is your thing, go check them out at on their BandCamp page.
If you like what you hear, you can purchase their …A Goon’s Best Friend 7”, CD or cassette (yep, I picked one up myself!) at their BigCartel page.
This album received a 5 out of 5 review in Indie Vision Music in July, and so it should. This band delivers the goods.
DP: You sing in three bands: The Blamed, October Bird of Death, and 2 Minute Minor. The Blamed has been around for a while. Of the other two bands, what is the difference and how did these bands originate?
WW: I moved to Chicago about 4 years ago from Michigan; This is when it all began. The whole reason we are having the interview.
Well, I worked out in the same gym as Darren Davick, guitar player of October Bird of Death. Darren played guitar previously in a band called Ballydowse. I asked him several times a week for about a year if he would play guitar in a band that I would put together. After asking over and over he finally said “Yes.” That is how October Bird of Death was born.
Fast forward to October Bird of Death recording our EP with Bryan Gray from The Blamed. Bryan seemed to like my vocals and asked me if I would be interested in doing The Blamed reunion at Audiofeed 2016. I agreed and we have played a hand full of shows since then and we are in the starting phases of recording The Blamed’s new album. We are not sure if it will be an EP or a full length yet.
2Minute Minor was born because my vision for October Bird of Death was more of an Oldschool punk project. The members we invited to play with us had other ideas. We compromised on a Progress type Punk Project with Oldschool Punk Elements. I’m glad we did. The tunes are great. Although it’s not my style of choice at times I still have a great deal of fun making music with my Octobird family.
I decided to start 2Minute Minor so I could be doing the music I was really passionate about with a message I really wanted to get across with no edits. 2Minute Minor really feels like my band. Like it’s apart of me. I love yelling in October Bird of Death and The Blamed but I only feel like the front man in those bands. It’s a great honor – don’t get me wrong. I’m just very thrilled about 2Minute Minor and the band’s future.
I am primarily interested in 2 Minute Minor for this interview. What kind of band is 2 Minute Minor? What is unique about this band?
2Minute Minor is a Oldschool Style Positive Hardcore Punk Band. Let me explain what that means…
My friend and guitar player in Anti-World System Mike Perlmütter said “What is up with all these new hardcore bands? It’s not even hardcore. By the time you and I are gone no one will really know what real hardcore is.”
In that moment, I thought it would be good to try and restore and give homage to Oldschool hardcore punk the best we knew how. 2Minute Minor tries to keep the Oldschool hardcore punk flavor, also, being much inspired by the Skinhead youth scene and Skinhead Hardcore Punk sound of the 80s. We give a positive message first started by Bad Brains in the Hardcore Punk Scene. Using PMA as a guideline to our mindset.
What other noteworthy bands has 2 MM shared the stage with?
To be honest, we have only been playing out for a little while now. Every band we play with holds a place in our heart. Our favorite shows are in basements and very small clubs. We love the intimate setting. We have loved sharing a bill with Decline & New Heart.
What bands were influential to 2 Minute Minor’s sound? The gang vocals are one of the stand out features of the band.
We are heavily inspired by Warzone, Minor Threat, Infest, Uniform Choice, Chain Of Strength, Breakdown, Slapshot, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Inside Out, and Black Flag.
I really always loved the Oldschool sound. I’m also a sucker for Youth Crew Hardcore and love the gang vocals. Especially, Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Bold and Side By Side.
Let’s hear about a couple 2 MM songs off your debut release.
The song, “Follow Your Own Path,” on our EP: …A Goon’s Best Friend is about doing what is right for you personally. Following the Path you are on at the time and learning along the way. As a Christian and being Straight Edge, I’ve picked both those things up along my journey in life. Two things that are very, very important to me. Yet, I have not always been this way. I’ve had to learn for myself that those two things work for me in the best ways possible to better my life and soul. I would never push those on to people. That would be a shame. We as a band want people to find what really works for them and to remember where they are and where they started on their paths. This song is about truly embracing your path and letting people embrace theirs.
“Change My Life” is about my personal choice to become Straight Edge and the positive effects it has brought my life. I have a very addictive personality so being sober is a huge gift for me. I was once a barley functioning alcoholic and I am so blessed to call myself sober and Straight Edge.
Can we get a sneak peak of some of the songs being written for the next 2MM album?
We have a bunch of songs written for the new album titled: Blood On Our Front Stoop. The title track is a true story about a incident where our guitar player had a shooting on his front stoop and blood was everywhere. His wife called the cops and they took for ever to get there and acted like it was a joke of sorts. His wife had to literally scrub blood off their front stoop at 5am in Chicago so their kids would not see it before they went to school in the morning.
We have a track called “Working Class Tried-and-True:” The song is about working class and Skinhead pride. It’s also about the difference between Skinheads and Boneheads. A lot of people we run into think Skinheads are Racist. We have to clear that up and assure them that the tradition Skins were not racist at all. Boneheads are racist. This song is about those differences.
You are Straight Edge. Are there other band members that are also Straight Edge? Why have you chosen this life-style?
I am the only one that claims Straight Edge. Our drummer does not smoke, do drugs or drink. He does not claim edge but he technically is in his own way. The rest of the band does drink occasionally. None of them are heavy drinkers at all. Both our guitar players have families and their families come first before anything. I personally chose to be Edge because a good friend of mine from back in Michigan (John Parr) has been Edge for as long as I’ve known him. I’ve known him probably 15 years now. He always had a good head on his shoulders and always seemed a little happier in a way than most. So many times I have tried to be sober, I finally gave it up to God truly and fully. I’ve been sober now for almost 4 years and it’s a huge blessing and gift. It is what really works for me. Like I said I have an addictive personality. Now I can use my addictive personality for positive things like music, relationships, and ministry in my own ways. In “Follow Your Own Path,” the song on our album, we all embrace each other’s differences and use them in our songs and lives. Our message is really about being true to you and be honest with yourself about what works in life to make you a better person. Different things works for different people.
What are your favorite bands? Why?
As a band, we all have different influences musically and that’s what I love. It’s a little part of each of us in each song. We just wanna give homage to Oldschool hardcore punk. We are not reinventing the wheel. We are just trying to keep Oldschool style hardcore punk around for a little longer. It’s our passion.
You have a video of the band promoting the drink LaCroix. How did that come about?
Being Straight Edge and once an alcoholic (some say always an alcoholic), I choose not to be bound by alcohol anymore. Drinking LaCroix at shows in bars really helps me a lot. Once upon a time I would always have a alcoholic drink in my hand. Today, I always have a LaCroix in my hand. Cook County, where we live in Chicago, decided to do a “Sugar Tax,” 12 cents every ounce. They accidentally put it on LaCroix, a sparking water that has no sugar or sweeteners in it. We decided to make a song and video about the joys of being sober and drinking LaCroix. It’s all in fun. We had a lot of fun making the video “Soda Tax.”
You kind of like tattoos. Tell me about your love for tats.
I got my first tattoo to give my Mother thanks for giving her life for me. She was diagnosed with Cancer when I was born and refused to get Chemo until after I was born. I got it on my chest. The year she died and her name: 19Karen Lee85. I remember seeing Mike Herrera of MxPx on a 7ball Magazine at the Christian book store back when I was a kid with my grandpa. He was wearing a tank top and you could see all of his visible tattoos. It memorized me. I told my Grandpa that one day I would look like that, he laughed and smiled.
We have talked about All Lives Matter, and we both agree this is an unnecessary reaction to the issue of racism that our police are not always taking serious. Let’s hear your thoughts on this.
I personally think All Lives Matter is a weak attempt at saying what it wants. I understand what it’s trying to do. I just don’t agree with the way it’s done. I feel that Black Lives Matter is a very important message. All Lives Matter seems to take away what Black people have faced and been through. I do think that All Lives Matter don’t get me wrong. But I also think BLM is a needed movement. Yes, it has been tainted by a select few. Just like anything that is good. As humans we tend to ruin all things that are good. Or at least we try to. What I’m trying to say is personally I think BLM is a movement that is very powerful and much needed. The struggles that black people face and faced in the past is gut-wrenching and very much real.
I’m not a huge fan of Police to be honest. I’ve never really had a good interaction yet really with a Police officer. That being said, this is where I’m at in my personal journey. I’m very conflicted. Seeing what Police get away with makes my head spin and my stomach turn. As a Christ Follower it’s hard for me to hate anyone. I guess I have to say I hate the abuse of power. Police have way to much power in my opinion. Again, this is where I stand today in my journey. I’m open to discussion and even a change of heart about a lot of things. We should be evolving our selves and our minds. Knowledge is indeed power. The things I see and have personally witnessed, a well as, encountered point me in the direction of not trusting Police officers. We talk about this issue a little in the new album that’s not out yet.
If you could envision the ultimate cool punk band, comprised of people still alive, who would be in this band?
As a Punk Rock Fan, I have to say that band already exists. It’s called Descendents. Ha-Ha. But if I had to put a super group together I would pick:
*Milo Aukerman (Descendents) on Vocals.
*Earl Hudson (Bad Brains) on Drums.
*Tie between Greg Ginn (Black Flag) on Lead Guitar and Vinnie Stigma (Agnostic Front) on Lead Guitar.
*Tim Armstrong (Op Ivy/Rancid) on 2nd Guitar.
*Mike Watt (Minutemen) on Bass.
I understand you do not like metal much. Why is that? What styles of music do you like and why do you like them?
Ha-Ha, well, I am amazed and really do love Iron Maiden’s music so much. I can appreciate the talent it takes to be in a good metal band. It’s just not for me. I have been in a metal band before. I was also in a punk band at the same time. I just gave all my love and energy to the punk project. The 2 bands I was in shared the same guitar player. He loved metal. So he was in the punk project to help me out and I did the metal project to help him out. I lasted about a year in the metal band. I just felt like I could not give my everything to it. I really did try. It’s just not my passion.
The styles of music I’m really into is Punk, Hardcore, Hardcore Punk, Oi!, Folk Punk, Dark Folk and believe it or not Worship Music. One of my favorite artists of all time and influences is Tom Waits.
What do you want to accomplish with 2Minute Minor?
Personally, I think we are accomplishing what we want. We want to make music that pays homage to the hardcore punk sound. We want to play smaller shows and put out albums. We are very realistic and don’t want to make a career out of music. This is our hobby. We all have lives outside of the band and family is always number one for us all. We consider Chicago the bands home and we have a long journey ahead of us just to break into the scene fully.
If someone approached you and said that punk and Christianity do not mix, how would you respond?
Well, first off, Christianity is my personal belief. I’m a follower of Christ and he has transformed my life. Punk Rock has done the same but in a completely different way.
Punk Rock can be a sound. It can be a way of life. It can be an attitude. It can be a label. Punk Rock is all about going against the World. So is Christianity (Real Christianity. Not Racist white suburban-Starbucks-political-mega church-TV evangelical money pusher-Christianity).
You know the Christianity that’s about feeding and clothing the poor, treating your neighbors as yourself, pouring out True Love Christianity. I most definitely think you can be Punk Rock and a real follower of Christ. But in the end, labels don’t really matter. It’s all how you live your life and treat people. Relationships are all we have. We as people can agree or argue until we are blue in the face. None of that really matters. It’s all about our hearts truly.
Is there something you want people to know about 2MM so that the band gets their proper respect?
We are not looking for free respect. We understand that it is earned. All we want to do is make hardcore punk records and play them out in this great town of Chicago that we live in. Yes, the town has its ups and downs, it’s problems and it’s greatness…. We just wanna YELL about everyday issues and the passions in our hearts.
Thank you so much for the thought provoking questions. PMA.
Doug’s note: This interview was done several months ago. A lot has happened with 2MM since then. So here is a bit of an update.
What has 2 Minute Minor been up to in the last few months? Tell us about your new guitarist?
We did get a new guitar player. We are honored to have Michael C. Perlmütter, formally of Crashdog, Headnoise, and Anti-World System, join us on 2nd guitar. Zach, Virgil, Noam and myself are spending time teaching him the new songs for the new record and he’s sounding great.
2Minute Minor has been working on a new album. Let’s hear about it.
2Minute Minor is releasing its 2nd album: Blood on Our Front Stoop through Indie Vision Music and Zap Records. Brandon of IVM has been so kind and accommodating. We are a different style for him. He’s mainly put out pop punk stuff. So we are both learning from each other. Dave from Zap is always great. Zap is our family label for sure. We will be releasing the 2nd 2MM album through IVM & Zap. We plan on recording it in Michigan with one of my really good friends Jeff Hostetler of Drink Their Blood! We hope to have it out in April. Thanks for the follow up. Nothing but respect.
All 2MM tapes, CDs, shirts, patches, and vinyl can be found at the 2Minute Minor Big Cartel page.
Bonus images not in the article: