Destroying Cleveland: Interview with Matthew Greenfield
Please state your name and what do you do?
My name is Matthew Greenfield. I do music journalism, writing, film making, and I used to do hip hop music for years. In my spare time, I do nerdy shit like watch wrestling and horror movies.
How long have you been involved in the music scene and what prompted your journey?
I started attending punk and hardcore shows in Youngstown, Ohio, during my sophomore year of high school. My junior year I bought a bass and sang vocals for a grindcore band called Combat Shock with my friend Jonah “Grimy L” Smith. After that I formed a group called King of Noise Guitar. It was a different lineup at every show. I think some members of Crowd Deterrent even subbed in a few times. We were so bad. I started rapping at the end of my junior year. I was listening to Too Short and would just freestyle about doing nasty shit to my friend’s moms, just really lewd sex rap stuff. I noticed that I could pretty much freestyle for an hour straight so I started taking it more seriously. To make a long story short, I had a pretty decent run as MC Homeless. I got to play rap shows all over the world and even in crazy places like Ukraine and Russia. Quit doing that a few years ago and totally lost interest. Rap shows are fucking corny. I also played in a few other metal/hardcore/grind type bands over the years but none of them really released much music.
Why Destroy Cleveland, shouldnt we be building it up?
You must destroy to rebuild. Really though, it’s an H-100s song.
But seriously, what motivated you and your colleagues to put this project together?
My love for the bands and their rotten attitudes. Integrity is one of the most fascinating bands I can think of. H-100s too. The people have absolutely wild stories that almost sound fictional. We have video proof to back them up though! Riots, trashed venues, skinhead violence, fireworks, fights, you will see it all.
What are you hoping people get out of this documentary?
First off, I want them to be entertained and not bored. That should be the main goal of every movie. I also want them to know that with bands like 9 Shocks Terror, Integrity, Confront, H-100s, Inmates, etc, it’s hard to find another city that has that many unique and brilliant hardcore bands. I also want folks to empathize with the people on the screen. I didn’t make this movie for the bands to relive the glory days…or gory days. I guess would be more fitting. I didn’t make this movie just for people who hang out at Now That’s Class (best bar ever, by the way). I made this movie for EVERYONE. It would be cool to see bands pop up in Indonesia that sound like Cider or Apartment 213. This isn’t some bullshit inside joke project just made for people in Cleveland and their friends to watch. I think this is actually a really powerful narrative. These bands happened out of desperation, violence, and boredom. Only a select few in Cleveland really understand but the rest of us get a little peek into a world of madness.
Have you done your best to include ALL the bands and people that played a part in building this scene, or is this just going to be the Tony Erba variety show? Not that it wouldn’t be entertaining in it’s own right.
It actually is the Tony Erba variety show and next week he will have the Cowsills, Wayland Flowers and Madame, George Kennedy and Jan Michael Vincent as his guests. Seriously though, who has been in as many bands as Erba? He started with LEK in the 80s and then formed Face Value. After that we have H-100s, 9 Shocks Terror, Stepsister (with members of the Guns), Gordon Solie Motherfuckers and more. The dude is a living manifestation of Cleveland hardcore and the DIY punk life. He will never drop out or go away. Of course he’s going to be a huge part of this documentary. With that said, what would a Cleveland hardcore documentary be without all of the original members of Integrity and Ringworm? We got ’em all. Integrity is THE band. There music will last forever and always sound timeless. Dwid could give two shits about Cleveland hardcore but he’s still in the movie and did a really great interview. He just has other things going on these days that are more important to him. I totally understand and respect that. I like Dwid. Tony Pines from One Life Crew is another lifer. He’s in there. Paul Schlacter is there and is in some of the best bands I have ever heard, period. We have Frank Novinec who not only did legendary work with Ringworm and Integrity but has also played in Terror and Hatebreed. Charlie Garigga moved away after Outface but he’s a lifer too. Charlie has played in Civ, Quicksand, and Judge. Those are bands that have made quite the impact.
Who have been your favorite people to work with on this project?
Everybody has been great. Steve from 9 Shocks/Homostupids was an exceptional interview. He has a really different and unique perspective.
Which people have surprised you the most? Or totally weren’t what you were expecting them to be?
I thought a lot of the guys would be assholes but everyone is cool. They all have personality quirks but who doesn’t? People built Dwid up to be some five headed monster but he’s really easy to talk with.
What are 3 bands that you think kids should be encouraged to listen to before they can graduate high school? What books or movies have changed your life?
From Cleveland HC or in general? Cleveland HC would be Integrity, Confront, and 9 Shocks Terror. In general, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and Kool G Rap.
Bands and musicians that changed my life: Motorhead, Integrity, 9 Shocks Terror, H-100s, Black Sabbath, John Carpenter, Crass, Black Flag, Slayer, Spazz, Man Is The Bastard, Hawkwind, Rakim, Mos Def, Freestyle Fellowship, EPMD, Isaac Hayes, Inmates/Cider, Ye, Kool Keith, The Cramps, Ceschi Ramos, Joy Division, Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Cro Mags, Discharge, King Crimson, Roy Orbison, Poison Idea, GISM, I could seriously go on and on!
Movies that have changed my life: The 400 Blows, Paris Texas, Buffalo ’66, The Brown Bunny, the work of Robert Bresson, John Luc Godard, Francois Tuffaut, French New Wave Cinema, Italian Neorealism, the DIY filmmaking of Lloyd Laufman and Troma, shot-on-video 80s homemade horror movies, Abel Ferrera’s work such as MS 45, King of New York, and The Bad Lieutenant, Martin Scorsese films like Goodfellas, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, etc. Nick Zedd and the cinema of transgression, John Waters, LuisBunuel, Dario Argento’s early work, John Carpenter and especially the first two Halloween’s, and also bad public access tv, trash culture, b movies, The Munsters, shitty 80s sitcoms that are forgotten like Small Wonder. My brain is all over the place. Love pop culture.
What truly inspires you or pumps you up every morning when you start your day?
I listen to 90s hip hop every morning in my car.
Are there any causes or organizations you strongly support and encourage others to take the time to look into?
I’m not much of a political activist but I respect people that work against police brutality and homophobia. Doing work and housing battered women is pretty important too. And when is someone going to stop these rich, white assholes that keep hunting elephants and giraffes. Put these jerks in their place. Organize!
What are 3 things that you’ve taken in or made into a daily habit that encourages you to kick more ass throughout your day?
I make a point to be polite and nice to everyone I meet unless they are rude and provoke me. I will shake anyone’s hand and look them in the eye. It’s also important for me to communicate daily with people that ask questions about the movie or express interest. I do not have a rock star attitude.
If more people wanted to learn more about you guys and your art where would you encourage them to go?
Peep my website www.rustbelthammer.com and holla at me on the Destroy Cleveland Instagram. Also doing the twitter thing @mchomelesstwit . Cant forgetwww.facebook.com/destroyclevo and get event tickets for the July 24th premier here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/destroy-cleveland-movie-premiere-tickets-16392550560?action_type_map=%5B%22og.shares%22%5D&action_object_map=%5B823706787704440%5D&fb_action_types=og.shares&fb_source=other_multiline&fb_action_ids=10103326972637194&action_ref_map
And finally are there any shout-outs that you’d like to give anyone at this time?
Jorge Matthew Delrosa and Colby Grimes are my partners in this film. I can’t thank them enough for helping my achieve my dream. I do all the interviews and I’m the public face but they bust their asses daily and want to help make this the most incredible project possible.