Law Biting Citizens Rock Again Sam di Stefano November 23, 2017 As evening falls on a Morgantown empty of students someone’s making noise. Dead leaves scratching the pavement are joined by the hardcore beats of Morgantown’s very own Law Biting Citizens reunited for a special charity show 8 pm Saturday November 25 at 123 Pleasant Street. With a lineup of band originals: drummer Jordan Munsey, singer Jeremiah Munsey and guitarist/vocalist Jeff Goodwin the show promises to be thrilling. Old friends of the band and regulars of Morgantown’s music scene guitarist Jawn Campbell and bassist Jamie Simmons fill out the lineup. [J names were very popular in the 1970s and early 80s]. Guitarist Toby Goodwin of Ghost Road will make a special appearance during the show. From humble beginnings in 1995 LBC grew to be a staple of Morgantown’s hardcore scene and a regular at local haunts. “Me and a couple guys playing in the garage,” Jordan described the start. “It was something to do.” At only 13 Jordan and friends were inexperienced with band life and went through a succession of singers. Some people missed gigs before they invited big brother Jeremiah into the group. “He brought structure and discipline. Practices went from three or four hours to one,” Jordan remembered. “At first I just wanted to be in a band, then I wanted to be in a hardcore band,” Jeremiah recalled. “Hardcore teaches you a lot of things. It teaches you civic pride.” Having a hardcore scene was more than many towns or cities could claim. The band produced three albums starting with Don’t Know Why It All Has To Make Sense in 2000 and regularly performed until 2006. A 2010 reunion show sold out. This time they will debut new material for an upcoming album due to be released in Spring 2018. For now the band members find time between jobs, holiday visiting and the other demands of adult life to practice. Less than a week before the show everyone but the drummer gathered in the musician cave of one member’s house. They kick off the rust and say they can’t wait to practice with loud drums. Jeremiah grips the microphone for dear life. Jeff cradles his guitar. Jawn bounces on tiptoe. Jamie crouches lower and lower till he and his bass are ready to pounce. When Jordan arrives, he’ll back it all up with an effortless appearance. In between takes they drink Jolt, water or tea and joke with each other: about how they’re now a bunch of grey-haired curmudgeons; what one guy’s kids are up to and how people always get their influences wrong. “I’m always surprised when people say we sound like Metallica,” Jeff said. “I never liked Rage Against the Machine,” Jamie throws in. After Jeremiah cuts out of one demanding track early, Jawn warns, “If I hear you mess up live, I will take you down.” Taking a few minutes to reflect on their experiences after shutting down the amps for the night, the band members wax almost poetically about influences and what this show means. Jeremiah is looking to avoid the common reunion show pitfalls, “I hope this isn’t an exercise in nostalgia…Hardcore musicians mean what they do and it doesn’t go out of style.” Jawn and Jamie were both in affiliated groups during LBC’s heyday and part of the same movement. Jawn carries a memento of those days on the top fret of his guitar. The numbers 312 serve as a reminder of the South Park apartment he and several other musicians shared when they were younger. From a seat on the floor Jamie – an IT specialist at WVU and member of Yellowdog Union – recounts his hardcore bona fides. “I was a hardcore skate punk from the time I was 11 through college.” Although it’s not the band he was in during the late 90s and early 2000s Jamie feels a strong connection to the Citizens. “This is something we’ve always done. We used to do shows alongside LBC,” Jamie recalled. While he plays around on syndrums, Jawn – a cloud architect and member of the Peckerheads – expresses a wistful feeling. “I was more influenced by LBC because I wasn’t in it… When it was going on I was really focused on my career. Now I wish I would’ve just quit my job and had fun,” Jawn said. “It’s almost a cats in the cradle thing.” The reunion serves several purposes. “I’ve heard for years, ‘when are you guys playing again?” Jeff – a landscape business owner and member of Ghost Road and Jet Set Vapour Trails – said. “I’m thankful there are people that still want to see us.” Mothers and fathers are thankful for the reunion because it brings their children back to Morgantown for the holiday. “A lot of people I talk to are like ‘Cool. Now I have a reason to come home for Thanksgiving,” Jeff added. All ticket proceeds will benefit two causes: Pack the Bus, a local charity that feeds hungry school children started by the late Michelle Wolford, and a locally produced film The Mileground. Helping Pack the Bus is a way to honor Wolford who wrote area entertainment news for several years including a profile of LBC. “It [Wolford’s death] kinda left a big hole,” Jeremiah said. “She was really cool.” Wolford’s writing reflected the scene LBC hopes to resurrect Saturday night. “It was cool that people could go out to a show and dance and there wasn’t a stigma. Now there’s a stigma,” Jawn observed. “It’s a lost thing. It used to just be fun. You were engaged; they were engaged back. I’m a little apprehensive in 2017.” However the crowd reacts it will be another milestone for all the band members. As Jordan put it, “It’s the longest interaction with friends I’ve ever had. We were together from age 13 to 25, a lot of stages.” Here’s to setting the stage in Morgantown one more time. Law Biting Citizens will share 123’s stage with Ük and The Peckerheads. Order advance tickets for $15 at https://www.showclix.com/event/law-biting-citizens-uk-the-peckerheads.