8.31.2017

SPOTLIGHT: EYES OF THE LORD

SPOTLIGHT: EYES OF THE LORD

A breath of fresh air.
That's what first comes to mind when someone says Eyes Of The Lord to me. Weary as I am of the great hype machine that is the internet, I didn't listen to the Call It War EP until a few weeks after seeing them play their first show at This is Hardcore. As I'm sure you know, one of the hallmarks of this band is that it features former 100 Demons singer, Bruce LePage. It's more than likely that his voice is one of the first you heard when you found heavier music. With instrumentals supplied by members of God's Hate, Twitching Tongues, and Midnight Sons, I would venture to call them a super group. This is metal-influenced hardcore done right. I mean, look who's making it. Eyes Of The Lord never even had a chance to sound bad with the lineup they boast.

So, their very first show was in Philadelphia at This is Hardcore Fest this year. Even for them, that's insane. For a band to make it on that stage they had to have hit all the marks. For a band to make it on that stage with no prior shows played? That speaks to an innate ability that few have and even fewer can turn into something well-made. Most bands get on stage and give a little speech before they play. Typical stuff, shout outs, thank-yous, y'know. Bruce's opening speech to the crowd before their set? "Hardcore was never meant to be for everybody so if you don't like it, get the fuck out." A sentiment you know I can get behind. He also said this while wearing a shirt that said "Fuck your GoFundMe" so it's safe to assume some of his views about the current generation of hardcore kids. After that opener, they played the best set of the weekend as far non-reunion bands go. I haven't felt energy in a room like that in a while from a new band. Granted, we are dealing with veterans who are very used to this music but my point stands. Eyes Of The Lord is just music approached as a science. They've been around long enough to know what works and what doesn't. They created one of the most solid EPs I've heard recently and without any blatant rip offs or a cheesy gimmick. If you aren't a fan of this band then I don't think you should be calling yourself a fan of hardcore.

You can listen to Call It War on the Closed Casket Activities Bandcamp.

8.25.2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH DUSTON ANDERSON

AN INTERVIEW WITH DUSTON ANDERSON

Bassist of Piece of Mind and the genius behind Flyover Fest.

How did you find punk music and what made it stick as something important in your life?
I grew up on a farm, outside of a small rural town, in Oklahoma. I am the oldest child in my family, so punk and hardcore were not readily available. However, in the late 90's, I discovered Punk-O-Rama compilations and bought as many as I could. I would go thru those over and over and that's really where I discovered punk. It stuck with me because it was different from anything else I had ever heard. It had an actual message, and really spoke to me as a young, fairly directionless kid.

How has punk influenced your take on everyday life?
The first thing I noticed when I started going to local hardcore shows was the sense of community that existed between everyone there. Within that community, I have found the real power of hard work and dedication. I have found the power of teamwork and common goals, and I have found the best and most reliable friends I have ever come across, in my life.

How long have you been booking shows?
I've only been booking and promoting shows for a year and a half.

What made you want to book a fest?
The venue I manage, The Vanguard in Tulsa, has hosted a street punk festival called "Fuck You We Rule OK!" for the past 5 years. It is my favorite event every year and sells out annually. That definitely helps build confidence that it is absolutely feasible to hold a hardcore fest at that same level, especially with the team I have at The Vanguard.

I also play bass in 2 hardcore bands, Iron Born and Piece of Mind, and we play regional festivals throughout the year. Hard Times in Laredo, TX, Snow and Flurry in Fargo, ND, and Midwest Blood in Louisville, KY are obvious favorites and put on by some great people. Playing these festivals and getting to hang out with friends from all  over the country made me think, "Hey, I run an all ages venue, and no one is doing a hardcore festival within a few hundred miles of us. We can definitely make this happen."

What are your goals for this year's fest?
My goals are for people to come listen to some great music and have a killer time. It's really that simple. I want this to be a huge party. I am seeing some shows pop up in other cities as bands route to Flyover and I think that is incredible. I am very excited to see other regional hardcore scenes, that get missed with tours too often, catch some of these bands on their way to and from Tulsa.

Do you see Flyover becoming a regular in the fest circuit if this year goes well?
Absolutely. That was part of the plan from day 1. Even if this year bombs, which I can't imagine happening, we will learn from our mistakes and take new actions. We only move forward, never backward.

What was your formula for picking this year's lineup?
When it comes down to it, I just booked a bunch of bands that I wanted to see. Haha. I was particular about booking bands that I know to be hard working and focused on their goals. With the exception of All Out War, 100 Demons, Integrity, and Harley Flanagan, most of the bands are friends of mine that I have met through touring over the past 4 years, so those were easy picks.

With there being so many fests these days, what do you think makes Flyover stand out?
The biggest fests, that usually book bands at the level of the headliners I chose, really only happen on the coasts. Holding this festival in the center of the country makes it stand out for sure. The other thing I would note, is that this festival is being held in a relatively small room, with a capacity of 500. There are not a lot of opportunities to see a band like Integrity in a room this intimate.

What are some "must see" spots near the venue and in the city that everyone should visit?
The "Outsider's" house, The Golden Driller, and Center of the Universe all come to mind. If you like huge statues of praying hands, we have that too, but I prefer to think of them as the world's largest high-five.

So, when I saw you last, you brought up the idea of having a dunk tank at the fest... Tell me more about that.
This idea actually came from my close friend and vocalist of Iron Born, Cash. I love the idea of having a dunk tank at the festival and recruiting the best shit talkers we can find to sit in it and inspire people to dunk them. I'm thinking we'll give you 3 balls for $5 and all proceeds will go to a charity to be announced very soon. I think it's important we leave the world a better place than we found it, and I think this a fun way to bond and move toward that goal.

Describe Flyover in one word.
Exciting!

When are you announcing the winner of the ticket contest?
September 1st!

And finally, do you have a message for the attendees of the fest and my readers?
I want everyone to come ready to make new friends, hang with old ones, and mosh hard. I hate drama, so leave it at home. This is supposed to be fun. Let's make that happen.

You can buy tickets to Flyover Fest here and keep up with the announcements and contest on Twitter.
 

8.09.2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT ANDERSON

AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT ANDERSON

Singer of Purgatory and nature enthusiast.
(Photo by Errick Easterday)
How did you find punk music and what made it stick as something important in your life?
Definitely through my dad. Him and his brothers and friends all used to go to a decent amount of concerts and some local shows when they were younger back home in Sioux Falls, SD where I'm from and some of the surrounding cities. There was a place called The Pomp Room that used to bring a lot of cool shit through. He saw Metallica when they were first going, saw the band that was pre-Guns N' Roses, etc, etc. Mainly classic rock. But he had this brief case full of tapes and I used to listen to them constantly before he started buying me my own and CD's too. I remember him buying me the Danzig ST and the Slipknot ST and saying "don't tell your mom" haha. Aside from that, he was my introduction to Black Flag and Suicidal and of course, The Clash and The Sex Pistols, but also KoRn and all that too. But in 5th grade a friends older brother showed me Helmet, Type O, Deicide, Agnostic Front, and Manson. All in one sitting, I remember thinking the whole time "what the fuck is this?" in the best way you can think of. Life changing, I understood there was something else out there besides the average shit on the radio we all listened to. Being from where I'm from, HC wasn't real accessible but luckily some friends listened to Hatebreed, Integrity, 25 Ta Life, Judge and whatnot. Reading lyrics I could get my hands on and thinking "these guys must have psycho lives, they don't like anything and they don't want to belong" and myself being a little hellion just embraced it. It was like I was holding something secret and dangerous and that's what made it stick.

How has hardcore influenced your approach and take on "normal" every day life?
Hardcore, real true hardcore, is a gigantic middle finger to a modern society and their way of thinking. It taught me to think twice before trusting everyone, the government and the police and all religious figures are lying to you. The media is brainwashing you. It gave me a blueprint to learn how to think for my fucking self and it's a clear reminder the grass isn't always greener on the other side. My opinions and attitude clash with people all the time, why? Because I form my own, they aren't force fed to me and I'm not afraid to not fit in or argue or have some fucking loser who doesn't wanna be forgotten in a week so he or she hops on every single wave that comes through, wake up in the morning and feel like dog shit about themselves because of how truly hollow and empty and fake they really are, try and tell me what I can and cannot do and what I can and cannot say.  I see people trying so hard to fit a mold for acceptance and validation and it's disgusting to me. It makes me strive to never want to be like another person. Granted that's hard cause we all have similarities, I can wake up everyday and live my life for me. People trying to live their socially acceptable lives so that their neighbors will like them and admire them, so that their families will accept them, their friends will think they're cool and familiar with current trends. It's like they started 7th grade and never left. Now "normal" society has infiltrated hardcore and it pisses me off. A bunch of dumb fucking kids who have been spoon fed everything, had the world at their fingertips, and never fought or struggled a day in their lives are objecting to everything already set in place with their opinions and their views without ever having had to earn their keep or put in their time. Thankfully there are still a lot of bands and a lot of people holding true to certain values and ideals that created this sub-genre in the first place. But for all you dime a dozen, here today gone tomorrow kids who don't truly give a shit... Hurry up and drop out already. Please.

So, Purgatory is working on a new record. What are some of the themes we can expect in the lyrics?
We are! We hit the studio in early/mid October. Every single release that we've done I've steered away from theatrical, fantasized lyrics and have been putting my thoughts and feelings down how I want. I've seen, been through, and done some fucked up things so some of the songs touch base on personal experiences of the "darker side of life." The world is a very unforgiving place, it plays favorites to nobody, and you play the hand you're dealt. Sometimes you deal with things you wish you hadn't but that's life. Sometimes you do things because you have too, that's life. Depression is a real and existing thing, I deal with it but I rarely talk about it but it's easy for me to put down on paper. It's a romanticized thing for Tumblr kids these days and it's sad to see. I've had a lot of people come and go and show their true colors and I wish nothing but the worst for most of them. Not all. But if I could know some of them are in pain and their lives aren't shit, it would please me and I would feel certain scores are settled. The grit, grime, and cold side of life is what this record is about. It's not fun (well, not always) and it's not pretty but that's just the way it goes.

Name your biggest non-musical influences on who you are as a person.
My dad again, he taught me to be a fucking man. To deal with my problems and take care of the ones close to me, he would call me on my shit and it made me value things over time. Vikings and Samurai, their dedication to their craft and heritage and their willingness to protect those or the things they love at any cost is truly amazing to me. Pure discipline and focus, and unmatched strength.

How do you feel about the internet's effects on the subculture?
The internet is a perfect source for finding music, researching its history and the purpose behind the culture. Who started it, why, and how it's still existing in today's world. There has always been drama and there has always been conflict. However, in today's age, kids - even myself to a degree, have no fucking idea how much easier it is to exist in the HC scene. There was a real, actual Nazi/White Power problem for a long time. If you showed up to a show wearing any sort of fascist support you were stabbed, beat with tire irons, bricks, pipes, chains, any fucking thing someone could grab that could cause any sort of damage at all. Until eventually that movement was flushed out of the scene for good. If you were a rapist or sexually abused someone you were dealt with in similar ways. Like goddamn, if you had beef you beat the fuck out of someone and either a lesson was learned or you went at it again. You didn't have 200 little fucks spouting off on a social media page never setting foot outside to handle anything at all. A story that comes to mind, in Minnesota there was a band in the early 2000's whose singer got ousted for being a scumbag. He was a sexually abusive piece of trash. I wanna say it was Death To Your King. Anyways, this was before social media was as dominant as it is now. That dude ended up getting drug into a room, held on the ground and had a wrench or a tire iron, can't remember for sure, shoved up his ass. Needless to say, things got handled. Now you have people who cry wolf over  abuse and other incredibly traumatizing things that not only can ruin someones life forever but it 100% discredits people who are true victims of these crimes. I swear every kid on the internet is suffering from "depression" or compares anything to abuse. Like I said, these Tumblr kids are romanticizing things people struggle with and suffer from everyday of their lives. It's fucked. The internet in some ways has desensitized kids to the dangerous, adrenaline driven, aggressive form of music that ended up having some of us find our way here for a reason. You got kicked in the face at a show? Congrats, so have 4 million other people who didn't feel special and entitled and need to set up a gofundme because they understand certain things come with the territory.

You and your band are constantly at the center of some kind of Twitter fiasco. The funny thing about that, however, is that each time someone tries to start a digital witch hunt for you, they end up being exposed as some kind of piece of shit. What's it like being in a band that's always thrown into controversy? 
In dealing with us? I've been called every single "ist" word you can think of by a bunch of wack ass internet warriors who wont ever, ever, ever set foot at a show and stick up for their beliefs. Funny, referring to Minnesota again, a tirade of kids had me painted out to be a homophobic, ableist, abusive terrible person but none of them came out to our show to confront me about it. I guest listed half of those fuckers, one kid agreed to meet me and then blocked me anyways. THAT'S the problem. Stand up for your beliefs and I'll at least respect you. But know this, you think you're safe behind the internet because 400 people favorite some uneducated stupid fucking tweet you made so you can get your gold star for the day. But if you get caught slipping 'cause you can't separate fantasy from reality, do not be shocked or surprised when you get your ass beat for running your mouth. You are basically signing a guest book saying "I'm so and so from here, I said this and now I'm going to get beat up." I get discouraged by the younger generations all the time, but like I said above... I remember some kids and some bands are still sticking strong to true ideals and values and it calms my nerves. As for most of you running your mouths or hopping on this bullshit PC train, you don't amount to shit. Outside of the internet you're nothing. You will hold no legacy for your "activism" and low and behold most of you hold yourself to such a high standard you forget you're actually pieces of shit and are being exposed and dropping like flies. If being myself and not backing down from my beliefs and calling people on their wack ass bullshit means I'll continue to be involved in controversy, that's fine. I know my worth.

Do you have any goals for the next Purgatory tour?
Hmmm, goal is just to do our thing. Play how we play, say what we want to say, and just give 200% every night. We never have a goal to "impress" anyone, we do what we do and you either like it or you don't.

Describe a Purgatory set in one word.
BEASTMODE. 

Who are your favorite bands right now?
I'm gonna list some newer bands that are in rotation: Eyes of The Lord, Trail of Lies (not new necessarily but were MIA for too long), Vein, Queensway, Vicious Embrace, Stone, Inclination, Atonement, Time Walk, Hands of God, Human Garbage, Counterattack, Jukai, Absolute Suffering.

Any final remarks/a message to the youth?
If you firmly believe something, then stand by your beliefs. Have a little respect for yourself and others will as well. Hardcore was created for us, by us. Protect your scenes and dismiss kids who want to speak poorly about it or try and bring you or your scene down because they truly have no place. Don't break edge. Don't fit in. Fuck 12. Be yourself and be happy with who you are. Start a band, don't take anybodies shit, don't be an idiot. Make mistakes and learn from 'em. If you are struggling with mental illness, please reach out. Somebody will listen. If a friend is struggling and they reach out to you, do not offer them advice unless they ask for it, lend your ear and just listen. Be a friend not a fucking therapist.

You can listen to Purgatory on Bandcamp and keep up with them on Twitter.

6.20.2017

SPOTLIGHT: CONSTRAINT

SPOTLIGHT: CONSTRAINT

As I'm sure you've noticed, people like to sleep on the Midwest. When they aren't sleeping on it, they love to slander it and pretend it isn't worth a damn. This offends me for several reasons. The first being that the Midwest is a very special place. They make hardcore happen in a place that most bands never want to venture to on tour. It's all entirely DIY and their work ethic is unparalleled. The things we take for granted on the east and west coasts they have to work for all the time.
The second is that the energy of the scene is so much different. I've never been to any other place where the egos of people around me weren't palpable. The Midwest has no ego, no grand designs on taking over the world. They just want to make great music. Which explains why the caliber of bands they produce is also on another level entirely, which brings me to Constraint.

Constraint is a band from Louisville, Kentucky. They put out a demo in May that  has six tracks of fast-paced hardcore on it. Lyrically, it's nothing short of genius. On "Protest Vote" singer Tyler Short states his exact feelings towards that tangerine in the White House.
With "False Flag" he muses on the state of hardcore and how it is now a trend to be "weird" with lyrics like It's gotten way too common for everyone to be uncommon/When every single person feels the need to be different differences tend to lose their intent/when you fly a false flag just to appear to be woke you turn everything it represents into a fucking joke. A powerful sentiment in a time where it seems you can't meet anyone who doesn't claim to fly to a freak flag.
That being said, I think "HXT" is my personal favorite because of these lines right here: this is not for mass appeal/it's for a demographic of youth who can't seem to deal/so if you think some stupid subtweet makes any real difference/then I'm fucking sorry charlie you are here for the wrong reasons.  It touches on subculture tourism, because while hardcore is accepting of everyone, it is not for everyone.

Constraint has their sights set on what plagues our scene, better hope it's not you that's down range.

You can listen to the Constraint demo on their bandcamp

5.03.2017

2.25.2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALDO FELIX

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALDO FELIX

Singer of Human Garbage and World's Biggest In-N-Out Fan.



How did you find punk music and what made it stick as something important in your life? 

Punk was essentially introduced to me at an early age considering all the bands I grew up listening were heavily influenced by punk if they weren't punk. My old brother who's five years older than me introduced me to bands like Nirvana, No Doubt, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, MXPX, NOFX, Rancid, ETC around the age of 7 or 8. A couple of years later I started skateboarding and because of those videos I started listening to bands like Black Flag, Slayer, Dinosaur JR, & Minor Threat, Suicidal Tendencies and from there I just branched off. 

Punk stuck because there was nothing else I could relate to more as I was growing up. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley and being a first-generation Mexican American you're often discouraged if not condemned to show any type of emotion, unless of course it's anger. The term "machismo" is often used and the idea of it is such an essential aspect of growing up Mexican that culturally there's no way to avoid it, so when I found punk I found a way to express myself that didn't seem too vulnerable in which the aggression, violence, and anger gave me an honest outlet where I could express emotion.


How has hardcore influenced your take on and approach to "normal" every day life?
Honestly, the DIY aspect of hardcore is so important. I think it forces people to not follow every rule or guideline given to them, and I truly believe that most people who have a good DIY ethic are more likely to succeed in whatever ventures they're trying to. 


What got you into hardcore and what has kept you in it?
I started off with 80's hardcore punk like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, you know all the staples of that era. In high school a bunch of the kids I met through skateboarding introduced me to bands like Hatebreed, Terror, Bane, and although at the time I thought they were just metal bands, they ended up growing on me I just couldn't get enough of it. I honestly feel that hardcore is better now (music wise) than it's ever been since I've been attending shows in 2005. I think the fact that I still get the same nervous gut feeling I did 12 years ago when approaching a show reminds me that I still love and enjoy hardcore. The day that feeling goes away is probably the day I'll stop attending shows, but I don't see that happening any time soon. 


Human Garbage is essentially infamous for the controversy created from the overall abrasiveness of the content of your songs, how do you feel about the way people react to your music?
I think people react the way I wanted them to react. It has proven my point that people will examine and discuss what they think your lyrics mean and condemn you for it before even approaching you and asking you about them. I understand the idea of calling people out, I understand being held accountable for doing fucked up shit, but only twice in the two years that Human Garbage has been a band has anyone approached me to discuss the context of these songs and my lyrics. It's usually only White people who are offended, it's usually dorks who consider themselves intersectional feminists, but nowhere in their opinion of this band would they try to put themselves in a situation to try empathize with my reality. They never think about actually holding a discussion with me, or maybe trying to understand what my reality is like compared to theirs. 

It's so ironic that they'll try to make someone else feel marginalized because that person might have different views or a different cultural upbringing which wouldn't align with what they consider socially acceptable. "Guilty of Being a Man" is about a specific set of people who felt the need to criticize what my masculinity means to me without taking into account my cultural upbringing and essentially the working class neighborhood I lived in. The majority of these people who felt the need judge me were usually people who grew up with better financial  circumstances and better access to education. I don't think a lot of these people want to know my struggle or the struggle of the community around me, although they'll claim to care, they'll never get it. From what I've experienced these types of people are only welcoming or tolerant of you if you exclusively fit the narrative of their world views.


What effect, if any, do you want Human Garbage to have on its listeners/the scene in general?
I started Human Garbage for myself. I started it when people were speaking lies of me, so instead of trying to prove I wasn't what everyone was saying, I gave them a reason to actually believe rumors. Although it was never meant to be a serious band, I've gotten a lot of recent positive feedback from people who come out of similar circumstances as me. It's good to know that there's people out there that can relate. I like the idea that as a band we are not only representing ourselves, but others whether you consider yourself Mexican-American, Chicano, or even part of the working class that doesn't have the financial comfort that a lot of other people have.


Tell me about Criminalized Records, what are your goals for the label this year?
 


I just want to put out bands that I like. Preferably bands from the San Fernando Valley or southern California, but I'm honestly willing to put out anything that I think is good. I also want to put out other things than just bands. I'm working on a few zines with friends that I'll be putting out under the Criminalized label.

Name your biggest non-musical influences.
 


My friends, my mom, my community. It's funny, I look back to when I was growing up and I always felt like I was immensely different from everyone around me considering I got made fun of a lot for skateboarding, for having long hair, for liking punk music, etc. The older I get the more I appreciate everything I went through, everything I had to overcome growing up. As corny and cliche as it sounds, my friends growing up had to be the biggest influences on me. The things we did, the fights we got in, the problems we got ourselves out of, that's really what shaped me as a man. Everything I learned growing up with those bastards is what I use on the daily to make decisions, bad or good. VMH forever.

How do you feel about the internet's effects on the subculture? 

There's a lot of advantages to it. It's cool having easy access to music and information to events. With that said I think it gives a lot of people a platform to give their opinion on situations that have nothing to with them. I think people make statements online without thinking of the possible outcome it could have in reality. I think it's made people more brave when it comes to speaking out against things they don't like, but they also can't handle being confronted about it in person. 
To quote something Criminal Instinct posted online the other day, "Words carry weight. Don't make yours heavier than you can handle." Hardcore in real life, at an actual show, is the best thing ever. Hardcore kids online that go to shows once every 6 months, but think they have the right to be involved or have an opinion could go fuck themselves. I don't believe you inherit respect, I believe you earn it. I think the internet has made people forget that.

Describe a Human Garbage set in one word. 

Short.

Who are your favorite bands right now? 

I don't know if this means current or just anything in general so I'll touch a bit of everything. Rilo Kiley, Culture Abuse, Plush, Chain Rank, Concealed Blade, Hard Pressed, Sheer, Dead Beat LA, The Midnight Sons, Protester, & Ill Intent.

Any final remarks/a message to the youth? 

There's nothing greater than IN-N-OUT!


You can listen to Human Garbage on Bandcamp and keep up with them on Twitter.

2.22.2017

SPOTLIGHT: NO VICTORY

SPOTLIGHT: NO VICTORY

(Photo by Gabe Becerra)
Hailing from the birth place of the King of Pop is No Victory. Otherwise known as Twitter's flavor of the week. All I've seen lately is tweets about how No Victory is music for people who steal from Goodwill and can't read. I won't lie, I'm guilty of making the joke myself. All jokes aside though, No Victory is music for people who can appreciate violence as a force of nature. I saw them at this year's Midwest Blood Fest and was nothing short of impressed. You know that feeling everyone talks about, of being uneasy, nervous, and paranoid about what could happen at a hardcore show? How that is what makes a band, making music that's able to turn people into feral animals who act on instinct alone? Well, in that one set No Victory reignited that feeling for me in a way I haven't felt in years and proved they know a thing or two about making people act out.

They have three releases, two demos and Time To Die, which is nine tracks of unrelenting hardcore designed without peace in mind. If you love hardcore that is so heavy it might as well be encased in lead, No Victory is the band for you.

You can listen to No Victory on Bandcamp and follow them on Twitter.

2.20.2017

MENTAL ILLNESS 101

This is something I've been meaning to write about for a long time.

Talking about mental illness is never easy. People either think you're seeking attention, having a pity party, or trying to be edgy, depending on your illness. No sick person wants to see that look in someone they care about's eyes when it turns from caring about us to pitying us. You think we won't notice it but we do, and it stings forever.

Now, I can't speak to every single illness because I don't have every single illness but I am a "special case" in that I have a few co-morbid disorders. Ones that tend to make people think I'm some sort of terrible person. I have Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD from here on), Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Mania. So I am, quite literally, an antisocial maniac. It took years of going through doctors, therapists, and a round of neuroimaging to reach these diagnoses. Imagine living your whole life up to a point not knowing what's wrong with you.

ASPD is the prevailing illness, on paper that means I have shallow affect, a lack of empathy, a lack of remorse, a proneness to boredom, and a constant irritability, to name a few things. Does this make me inherently bad? No. Does this mean I don't know right from wrong and my actions are excusable? Absolutely not. It means, assuming I want friends and to not be in jail, that I have to work twice as hard to just be decent than someone else does to be a saint.

People view ASPD as an illness that has a worse effect on those around the person than the person themselves and honestly, they can all eat a dick. Do you know what it's like to watch relationships crumble in front of your face because you can't care? I don't mean you don't want to or you're actually using this person for ulterior motives. Imagine wanting so badly to love and be in love, but feeling absolutely nothing inside. To create only shallow connections because you have no real personality. To have that thrown in your face every time you argue with someone because they think you aren't trying hard enough to understand them when they refuse to understand you at all. People wonder why so many of us don't ever try to get better, don't try to cope with the symptoms, and why we embrace them at the end. It's because we put more effort into feigned emotion and relationship upkeep than everyone else and just get tired.

Here's what you should take from this: when it comes to mental illness it is easier to write people off in some way that flattens them into a character than it is to deal with it as it comes and make genuine efforts to understand and support them. Make the effort. Let your friends explain their illness to you, don't just go off what you've picked up from Dr. Phil and Tumblr. Be there for them. However, that isn't a job for everyone. If your friend has a mental illness and you can't help them because you aren't the type who understands things like this, just leave them alone about it. You more than likely do nothing but patronize them anyway.