Revolver has teamed with visual artist and comic book creator Becky Cloonan for a limited-edition Riley Gale tribute print. Proceeds will go to Dallas Hope Charities, an organization that was important to Gale. Get yours before they're gone!
The acclaimed ESPN documentary The Last Dance examines Michael Jordan's impact on not only the NBA, but also on popular culture writ large. Over the course of 10 episodes, much is made of the battle between Scottie Pippen and Toni Kukoč, who was signed as the former's potential replacement, yet the doc truly neglects the impact made by Kukoč as the first player off the bench: "the sixth man." The sixth man in basketball is an incredibly important commodity, ensuring that the team has a solid contributor while the starters rest, playing significant time and ensuring consistent team performance throughout the game. Though he never picked up an instrument, a close friend of Riley Gale named Hood played that part for Power Trip.
Hood grew up in the Dallas area with Gale, going to shows and causing trouble as part of the punk and hardcore scenes. After Gale formed Power Trip, Hood became a staple on the road, working the merch table or as part of the team as they toured the globe. Hood is a crucial member of the Power Trip family, joining the band on almost every tour and becoming as ubiquitous to the group as their spiky logo, devotion to the road or the pile-on of kids screaming "swing of the axe!"
These past few weeks, Hood has been around the country attending memorials in Gale's honor and learning how to cope with the passing of his friend. We caught up with the crucial sixth man upon his return to Texas.
SO IRON AGE, BITTER END AND POWER TRIP HAVE A HISTORY OF BRINGING ALONG A NON-BAND MEMBER WITH THEM. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF THE SIXTH MAN TO OUTSIDERS?
HOOD Yeah. That is a Texas thing — it's always been a thing down here. Look at Iron Age, which is our older brother band — we kinda got that from them and how they took Chase and Cliff everywhere. It just overall made touring more enjoyable because you're doing it with people that you enjoy to be around. I feel like Incendiary has a sixth man in Terry, as well. It's more about friendship and who everybody gets along with.
As time went on, responsibilities grew. At first we had Sherwin doing merch, so I was just full-on partying everywhere I went. Then I got moved over to merch, then Artistic Director and then started handling everything and all the web stores and it just grew from there.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU AND RILEY FIRST MET?
I can't remember the exact point that we met or the exact moment but it's gotta be up to 16 or 17 years now. Regardless, it wasn't anymore than a couple of weeks later until we were hand in hand everything — raiding his dad's beer fridge and always over at his parents' house, giving them a headache. I'd hang at his house and bands would come over and chill or stay over. That's kind of how I got to know everybody.
DID YOU GUYS GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER OR DID YOU KNOW EACH OTHER THROUGH PUNK? DID YOU GUYS HAVE ANY ACTUAL CONNECTION OUTSIDE OF PUNK?
We had this place here called Red Blood Club back in the day, and it was kind of like a punk hardcore kid sanctuary. You always hear all these stories of people talking about stuff like this but to some degree it's true — we're all that lost kid looking for a home. We went to shows even if we didn't even fucking know the band — just went to them all to hang out with each other. All the staff there always took care of us, they really didn't care what we did. It was kind of like our home away from home.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS A SHOW THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO BOTH OF YOU GUYS COMING UP?
Probably all of the Iron Age shows. Texas is very about Texas. We definitely show love to all the people that came through. We're big fans of a lot of other bands around the country. But we really showed up for other Texas bands. That's something that is sacred and important to us.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR NAME?
In Junior High we had a loop that was a mile radius next to our practice fields. Anytime that we would fuck up in class, teachers would come down and tell our coach. So that mile was also our punishment — the dreadful mile run. If you got in trouble in class, they would follow you on golf carts while you're just continuously running. Sometimes I'd run during the whole athletics class. My nickname started in the locker room where everyone would say, "Yo, neighborhood!" because I was running around the neighborhood. Eventually, it just stuck. It's funny because when people meet me, they'll ask about the name, and whatever they say, I'll just answer, "Close!"
My real name is Ryan Williams. It's the most plain, fucking white boy, Jennifer Aniston-ass name. If I had to go by my real name, people would not even remember me.
WHAT IS YOUR HISTORY WITH POWER TRIP?
Blake, Nick and Whetzel were in this band early on and they decided to squash that band. Once Riley came in, they decided to form a whole new band. From there, Riley decided to do Power Trip. I met everybody in the band through Riley pretty much. I've been with them since day one pretty much. Just recently, I started touring with Ghostemane, so the last couple of Power Trip tours, I wasn't able to be on. Wasn't that I quit, I had an opportunity for management over there so it was just turning a page and helping my career in the industry. My last tour was with Sheer Mag, Red Death and Fury.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOU WERE LIKE, "THIS BAND IS ACTUALLY GOING SOMEWHERE"?
It wasn't until we did United Blood in Richmond. I can't remember the date. It just popped. It was so crazy. People were coming up to us and saying "this looks like an obituary music video!" And that was the first time we've seen a fully packed out mid-size venue just completely lose their mind. There wasn't a person in the motherfucker that was just staring. Everyone was moving.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS SOMETHING A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT RILEY THAT YOU'D LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW?
The day that all this shit went down, I was the very first phone call that Riley's mom made. So I had the whole day to think about it. I just wanted to turn my fucking phone off, but I started to think about it and if this shoe was on the other foot and Riley was here, he would talk to every single fucking person that reached out. I still haven't been able to get to all the people that have reached out to me.
He made people feel so included and sometimes it drove me crazy because we're not the same. He was almost inclusive to a fault — I think he just let somebody punish the shit out of him and then complain about it later as opposed to doing something right there. We had a thing because he'll always come out to the merch table during the show to check on me, talk to people that were around me. He'd say to me, "If you see me and it looks like too much, just come up and say, 'Hey, you have an interview' or 'Your girlfriend keeps calling me.'" He could not tell people no.
THAT'S SO FUNNY. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS YOUR FAVORITE TOUR?
I liked the early days because there was no responsibility and we were such babies to everything — everywhere we went was new to us. My favorite tour was probably with Xibalba and Alpha & Omega. All really close friends of ours. That was just absolute mayhem. There's so many stories off of that tour. A lot of them can't even fucking be told — getting kicked out of bars, going behind the bars, pouring our own drinks, cops, just everything. It was just madness.
DO YOU HAVE A STRONG MEMORY OF SOMETHING FROM THE MEMORIAL THAT WAS REALLY POIGNANT OR IMPORTANT?
Actually, the funniest one was Wade Allison. Wade was like an older brother and a mentor to us, you know, all the Iron Age guys — Tarpey, Wade they've all been older brothers to us.
YOU'VE PRETTY MUCH BEEN AWAY FROM HOME SINCE RILEY'S PASSING, BUT RECENTLY RETURNED HOME. HAVE YOU HAD TIME TO PROCESS YOUR FEELINGS?
It has been a lot of go-go-go, but this last week I've decided to quit drinking for a while to deal with this with some clarity. It's really been helping because here in Texas, our favorite pastime is getting drunk. I know things can spiral out of control. I've been able to spend a lot of time with the family, but things have been hectic. But friends and stores have been so important. I had no idea that when I looked through pictures, and listened to memories and stories that it was going to help. And it really did. All the people reaching out, telling you old stories was so fucking cool. I mean, we didn't even remember half of them. So it was good to celebrate Riley and know that we weren't doing anything that was going to be forgotten.
LET'S TALK ABOUT ARGUABLY THE BIGGEST COMING-OUT PARTY FOR POWER TRIP, THAT LAMB OF GOD/ANTHRAX TOUR.
We had no idea what sort of size of ship we had just jumped on. We knew those bands are big and one of the major influencers on Power Trip's sound was Anthrax. I believe at the end of the tour, they all had the band sign posters that they had bought off eBay from 1986 or something. But yeah, we learned a lot from that tour.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF RILEY AND OF JUST BEING OUT ON THE ROAD WITH THE GUYS OUT ON THE ROAD?
My favorite would probably be when we were in France, we played the venue where that shooting happened in Paris. We got there, it was very eerie. They said that they had remodeled the whole place, but the whole place looked the exact same — it was cleaned but there were still spots where you could see bullet holes in the wall.
Riley got up there and decided to give a speech before the set. He was talking about how French influence is all over America — basic stuff like baguettes, the Eiffel tower, the Mona Lisa, all of that. But then he started to discuss how Paris meant strength to him because of the philosophers — the things that they had been through and their knowledge and wisdom. I can't even remember exactly what he said, but that whole fucking place ignited. It was one of the craziest shows I've ever seen. After the show I walked up to him and I was like, "Yo, what the fuck was that?" He just turned to me and said, "I don't know. I just said some shit and they went off." I don't know if he even knew the power of his words.