Since the turning of the new year, life has seemed to throw out it’s fair share of problems as failures and setbacks have led to nothing more than mishaps and an overall drawback towards living. Illness, pain, suffering, death, and loss as a whole have consumed our minds; a torment that can draw the very spirit of our true selves. From the inherently corrupt exchange of office positions to the plight of war, famine, poverty, and lack of humanity, there has been an ever present level of turmoil. Yes, some of us sitting in front of this god damn screen may be privileged or fortunate to have whatever life it is that is being lived. Still, it’s not to say that we all don’t deserve some bit of fucking happiness or a glimpse of hope on a good future.
However, that’s something that gets fought over with blood and sweat because nothing good is earned with idle hands nor is it considered less than merit. It hasn’t been easy for most of our generation. Trying to get by on a system created by corporate elites and their patriarchal living is enough to derail anyone’s motivation for living. Each breath is taxed and every hour working is towards a debt we never truly accepted. Between a President that lacks decency and a society that harbors a vain self-worth of existence, it’s just how some people make it through the day without wanting to put a fist through a fucking wall. Both the monk and the drunk are yearning towards an escape, the only difference is within the perspective as that is what separates these two paths of existence. Regardless if you’re sitting in the pews or hunching over at the bar, there is a need for escape and pray for help. For the broken trodden, tired, and blue, there is just a place that houses such a person and the concerns towards safeguarding the music, art, and culture of their identity. For those who have never heard or never been, I’d like to introduce you to what we as patrons of abrasive music have known as the Meatlocker.
This is more than just another venue or club as it yearns to present itself with a D.I.Y. based environment free from capitalistic gains or egotistical movements. No, this is more than just “New Jersey’s CBGB’s” or some hole in the wall. For many, this is our fucking home.
Coming home from the military was a difficult time and as cliche, the phrase may be, it was hell coming back to New Jersey at first. Confusion, anger, and a complete feeling of loneliness, the need for something real was rather longing. At the time, my immediate family had moved well down south while others had also either moved away or moved on to the other side. Had it not been for my friends and the music scene that revolved around them, whatever hope of finding peace would’ve been a short-lived attempt at best. Don’t just take my personal sentiment as the only conviction towards safeguarding this establishment as many have recently reflected on the imminent closing of this beloved haven:
“It really gave me a purpose of putting my energy into something that made me feel so good and even at my lowest points really taught me so much about moving forward through life’s challenges. It became a home to me that was safer than my own home.” Lex Alex (Sunrot)
“One of my favorite moments was, when my little brother passed away, all my friends (especially the core group at the locker) just holding me up while I was in a complete state of shock and helping me and my poor ass trash family celebrate the life of my bro and help cope with untimely funeral expenses. Everyone was just like “yo dog, we got you” and that’s the best feeling in the world.” Garrett (The Banner)
“A confusing, shapeshifting temple that I and many others have come to call home. You never really knew what to expect aside from a tight-knit community of artists that looked out for themselves and others.” Nick
“It (Meatlocker) is the base for a community where you can be yourself, lean on others for support, enjoy the best of times, and see really talented artists. It has been my haven for years now, and I am so thankful for that, but I’m also not okay with it ending. I know all good things must come to an end, but not this, at least not yet.” Nicole (Photographer / Concussed)
“I had the opportunity to throw a ton of great shows, bands from overseas, nationally recognized bands and most importantly to me, I got to pay tribute to my bandmate and brother goblin when he passed. It’s no secret that this place means the world to me. DIY forever. We’ve watched VFW’ close. We’ve seen the fall of New Brunswick. We’ve watched the ebbs and flows of Asbury, but we’ve always stayed alive. With your support, we still can. I love you all.” Pete (Super Snake)
“The Meatlocker isn’t some dingy basement where a bunch of crusty punks goes cause problems, it’s an art space, a safe space, and a piece of NJ history. It’s the center of a community, a tight-knit community of artists, musicians, promoters, activists, and working-class heroes.” Dn Sc
“I started going to the Meatlocker sometime in the early-mid 2000s towards the end of my college years. At the time I was doing graphic design work for (the now defunct) Division East Skateshop on Bloomfield Ave. They formed a record label and we had a lot of shows at the Meatlocker. I have friendships that have lasted over a decade with people I met there.” Steve
“I have met people through going to shows, at the meatlocker specifically, that I would have never met anywhere else. People that have helped me to realize standing up for yourself and voicing your thoughts/feelings are important. People that protect each other, keep each other safe and build each other up in a way that is never taught in school or family functions. Whenever you go to a show at the locker you’re safe from whatever else is hurting you daily.” Jeanette (promoter)
“So many fundraising events have happened at the meatlocker including one for the Montclair Animal Shelter after the fire last year, Lex Alex Nihilum ‘s annual Sludge for Suicide awareness, and Ana Dobrian ‘s annual Toys for Tots around the holidays. Bands from all over the world have played here, it’s crazy how many people know about the locker outside of NJ and it has built up a great reputation over the years. Dan and Ana have really cleaned it up and have worked hard to make it what it is today. It would be terrible to lose this place – for locals, touring bands, and the music and art community as a whole.” Steve (Tru)
“From forming quality relationships to sharing the stage with countless amazing bands, it’s quite amazing how many memories can come from one place and for one reason: community. I would love to give back to this place anyway I can, as I’m sure so many other people will.” Cam (Wastelands)
As of right now the details pertaining to this matter are rather sensitive. There has been a dispute between the new tenant above the community center and those who run it. Yes, we are all devastated by the recent move that shut down the Locker but we must not let these transgressions steer us towards the wrong path of action. Let us be vigilant, decisive, and professional with each move we make towards reinstating the Meatlocker as a community center. We must not allow ourselves to be seen as delinquents or as a childish nuisance with the public’s eyes as shit storming the internet only satisfies the ego. Right now the problem now is that since all shows have been canceled, there must be a new way to generate income towards footing the lease. Remember, leases mean a signature and require the signatory to adhere to specific rules and regulations. This is the reason why there is a strict no alcohol policy or why you shouldn’t be so damn loud out front. Simply put, we are going to need the support from the community to help pay the bill for a bit. Think of it as a donation for all of the tireless efforts from the Park Street Crew that work selflessly to keep the doors open for the public. Hell, we as a community that seeks to present our own creative work and admire the efforts of others as well. This is our fucking place away from the baneful ensnarement of life’s misery and society’s standards. A haven nestled in the burrowing depths of a dingy basement that stands to defy the basilicas of the chaotic and corrupt sovereignty we live in. Should we lose this, we lose what’s left of North Jersey and the platform that stands to hold what we hold dear. Kevin Oakley of Mosh 4 Paws is diligently working on a way to have people donate via online so stand by on that news within the coming days on how all of this is going down.
Regardless of death or life, thank you to Dan, Ana, Pete, and Roy for starting something truly awe inspiring and thank you to every person that has ever walked through that basement with an honest heart and open set of ears. Head Walk’s conception began here well over a year ago and because of that, it will always be home for Paul and I. Thirty years of music and a lifetime of legacy. This one’s for us and for anyone that ever felt at home while screaming at a mic with their friends in a dingy basement. Park Street Crew for life.
The following is a list compiled by Aviva and the Meatlocker Community. Thank you to every band that has ever graced or destroyed this beautiful fucking venue and for the thousands of bands that we failed to mention during this 30 year run of showcasing. Long live the dream baby.
96 * 23 Missed Calls * 25 Ta Life * A Boy Named John * A Film in Color * A.P.P.L.E * A1ok * Abacinate * Abacus * Across Tundras * Agnathia * Agree to Disagree * Aguirre * All the Hours You Wait * Allegedly * Melham * Altered Cross * Ambary Lake * American Weird Beers * An Aborted Memory * Angel Dust * Anguish * Animal Blood * Annoying Customer * Anticitizen * Antwon * Aneurysm * Arch Ives * Arch-Vile * Archie Alone * Arrows in Her * Art Homework * Artificial Brain * As Glory Fades * Ash Borer * Assemble * At Rest * Au Revoir * Autolatry * Ava Marie * Aviator * Baba Yaga * Backyard Superheroes * Bad Dinner * Bad Whoremoans * Barbaric * Barcode Youth * Basement Beers * Batillus * BDFM * Be Like Max * Beach Feet * Bedtime Stories * Beefrot * Between Your Mind and Tongue * Beyond Dishonor * Big Werm * Binary Code * Birds in Row * Black Plains * Blank * Blanks 77 * Blithedale Romance * Bloodreds * Blood Zone * Bloody Phoenix * Bobby Mahoney and the Seventh Son * Bobby Meader Music (Stocksmile) * Bomb Scare * Bombay * Boo Facility * Boosegumps * Born of Osiris * Borzoi * Bottomfed * Boy vs. Ghost * Brain Cavity * Breaking Wheel * Bristles * Broken Heroes * Broken Youth * Brooke Pridemore * Brunettes * Brutal Youth * Bubbles * Buckshot Facelift * Budd Dwyer * Bus Buddies * Business Fairy * Buttonup * Cabbage Platter * California Cousins * Callout * Caltrop * Cancerslug * Candy Hearts * Cannabis Corpse * Capacities * Captain Geech * Captives * Cartoon Violence * Cary Goldberg * Caseracer * Catching Moons * Caust
* CDC* Cephalopods and Their Allies * Cerebral Ballzy * Chained to the Dead * Champ * Change Today * Chase Huglin * Chasing Down Sunset * Chiefs * Chives * Chocolate Bread * Choke * Citizen Blast Kane * Citycop * Clam Jam * Clean Teeth * Clearview * Cockpunch! * Code Orange Kids * Cognitive * Coma Regalia * Community * Condemned * Condition Critical * Connor Larkin * Convulsants * Coolshark * Corinna, Corinna * County Mike * Cowboy Hardbop * Cross Me * Crosshead * Culture Killer * Curious Volume * Daido Loori * Dangers * Daggers * Dank Wolf * Danni May * Darkness Descents * Darkwing * Days n Daze * Dead and Dreaming * Dead Infection * Dead Ringer * Dead Wurm * Death Vacation * Decide Today * Deer Carcass * Dejagravy * Delicate Flowers * Detriment * Devoidov * Devon Goods * Diallelus * Die Choking * Dikembe * Dirtbag * Distances * Disposable * Divine Lorraine * Divtech * Dizzy Bats * Dope Rider * Down On It * Dr. Acula * DUSTERS! * Dutch Boys * Dutchguts * Dying Whale * Eat the Turnbuckle * Effair * Ego Kill * Electric Sensei * Electric Trip * Emetic * Ender * Endless Bummer * Entia * Entropy * Epilude * Eric Funn * Ernston * Eternal Sleep * Ether * Evan King * Everything and Between * Everything Ever * Evergreen * Explaining Death To A Child * Eyelet * Eyes Wide * Facility *False Accusations * Faking * Far From Finished * Far Out Live * Fat Chance * Feelin’good * Fellgrimm * Fellowship of the Bling * Feudalism * Fight Amp * Fire is Motion * FISH NUTS * Fit For an Autopsy * Flesh Mother * Flesh Temple * Footage of a Yeti * For Everest * Forced Asphyxiation * Forever Losing Sleep * Found Vegas * Four Fingers * Fox Reactions * Foxtails * Fractured * Franchise * Free Throw * Frogg Party * From Disaster * Fuck Saddam in the Mouth * Fucking Invincible * Full of Hell * Furnace Creek * Furnace Head * Futures * Gabe Zander * Galare * Garbage Brain * Garland Greene * Garroted * Gas Up Your Hearse * Gates * GDP * Genre Fiction * Get Ignorant * Gifts * Gillian Carter * Gin War * Girl Nowhere * Gladiators of 2037 * Glazer * Gnar Life * Godroot * Goo Lagoon * Gorematory * Gorgatron * Gouge Away * GOVT * Greasy Hearts * Grimus * Ground * Grunt * Gypsy Wig * Halicarnassus * Halogens * Hammer Fight * Handguns * Harpoon Thrower * Harvard on the Hill * Hate Face * Hate for State * Hatred Embraced * Have a Good Season * Haverford * Heavy Coughing * Heavy Flow * Heavy Temple * Heeney * Heavens Die * Hell Mary * Help Me Help You * Here to Stay * Ho99o9 * Hodera * Hold On, Caulfield * Hollenlarmm * Hollow-Eyed * Homewrecker * Hoolaganism * Hotel Metamorphosis * HOUNDS * Huge Pupils * Huldra * Hull * Hurricane Season * Husbandry * I did some bomb * I Kill Giant * I Love Your Lifestyle * Ides * Illearth * Ilsa * In the Shit * Incendiary * Inception * Inertia * Infernal Revulsion * Inside the Beehive * Insinnerator * Insouciant * Intercourse * Iron Reagan * Ishmael * Itsalongshot. * Jacobus * Jamface * Japanther * Jean Pool * Jerusalem * Jesus Piece * Jewel Thief * Jigsaw Youth * Joe Billy * Johnny-Cab Suicide* Josie McQueen * Kay Roman * KDC * Keep Flying * Kids Having Kids * Killer Waves * Killin’ It * Killing the Dream * Kinsinera * Klozapin * Knife Band * KNUCKLE UP! * Kodiak Bear Regiment * Koji * Kooked Out * Krokodil * Kult of Mary * Lager * Laid 2 Rest * Lana Lana * LastLetters * Latenightbeers * Lawnchairs * Leche * Legs Like Tree Trunks * Lethal Candle * Lethal Entity * Lethal Strike * Lionel Pryor * Little Pirouettes * Living Tradition * Lock * Lock Response * Les Doux * Lockjaw * Logan * Loma Prieta * Lord Almighty * Lorg * Lost Souls * Lovespread * Lower Lifes * Lowlife * Lucid * Groove * Lunchladies * Lunglust * LVL Up * Lyed * Mad Conductor * Mad Diesel * Madison Turner * Magrudergrind * Malfunction * Mallard * Man vs Wild * Marloneisha * Maruta * Mary Todd * Massa Nera * Maya’s Ruin * McKinley Dixon * Men With Ears * Mental Decay * Mezling * Michael and the Jordans * Microwave Death * MIDIAN *Mikey Erg! * Milkmen * Milkshakes * Milo Ikari * Misanthropic Noise * Misdirect * Modern Baseball * Mom Fight * Mommy Issues * Mongooch * Monster Truck Fan Club * Monument of a Memory * Moontooth * Moot Point * Morningside Lane * Mortum * Mothpuppy * Mountain Mover * Mouth Off * Mr. Pink * Mr. Proxxxy * Ms. America * Mudbeard * Multiverse * Murder Junkies * MVA * My Chemical Romance * My Pizza My World * Nacht * Necroptic Engorgemen * New Jersey Fun Squad * nevershoutnever * Nightmare In Wonderland * Nihilanth * Ninjasonik * NJDOTS * No Gender * No Holds Barred * No Reason to Live * No Service Project * Noisem * Not the Bees! * Nothing Matters * Nowhere * Now Here * Nuclear Hatred * Null & Void * Oathbreaker * Ocean of Illusions * Occult 45 * Off Camber! * Ogima *Old Wounds * Olde York * Omegalith * Organ Dealer * Osier Bed * Ostraca Caust * Oswald * Other Things * Otto Mann * Our Moms Drove Us Here * Our Sunday Affairs * Our Wits That Make Us Men * Oxblood * Ozama * Pa Angelo * Paper Trail * Parallel * Paralysis * Party Cops * Part Time Chef * Paste * Pecota * People in Charge * Permanent Tension * Pheller * Pilgrim * Pill Bomb * Pistol Pete * Please Exist * Polyphony * Poor Lenore * Postmodern * Posture & the Grizzly * Prince Daddy & The Hyena * Projections * Prospect * Prototype: AT * Psychodynamic * Public Welfare * Puta de Cava * Putrid Pile * Qixoni * Quantum Peruvian * Queensway * Rabbit Troupe * Radio Control * Rare Beasts * Ratnip * Razorblade Handgrenade * React * Real Dom * Rebel Scum * Refinement * Renounced * Renovations * Response * Rewind the Crisis * Rita Fishbone * Roachlord * Robby Bloodshed * Robots and Monsters * Rockstar Racecar * Roman Love * Roswell Debacle * Roy Orbitron * Ruiner * Ruminate * Sad Lips * Sadgiqacea * Salo * Sangharsha * Save Face * Scary Stories * Scott Stapp aka Creed * Seaside Caves * Secret Mountain * Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe * Secret Stuff * Seismic Thrust * SENTIENCE * Separated * September Stories * Serious Matters * Setback Season * Setsuna * Sewercide * Shallow Waters * Shifty Tricks * Shoal * Short Leash * Show Me the Body * Shred Flintstone * Sick Shit * Silence Equals Death * Skateboard Kyle * Skip Monday * Skunk Daze *Skuz * Skull Kids * Slingshot Dakota * Solace of Requiem * Something Cool * Soul * Truck * Sounds Like a Cop To Me * Space Cadette * Spanish Bombs * Spanish Louisiana * Speed Trials * Spoonful of Vicodin * Spowder * Spur * Star Fucking Hipsters * Staten * Statuette * Stinger * Stone * Street Feet * Suburban Scum * Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky * Sun Body * Sunburster * Sunflower * Sunning * Sunrot * Super FM * Super Snake * Surfs Up Nebraska * Survay Says! * Suspect * SVU * Swinging for Dear Life * Tawny Peaks * Ted Leo * Teenager Halloween * Telaride * Ten Ton Hammer * Terrorist * Terveet Kadet * That of a Lion * The Accelerators * The Albatross * The Azrail Noir * The Banner * The Best of the Worst * The Big Dangerous * The Big Easy * The Black Sox Scandal * The Carousers * The Carrier * The Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kick of Death Experience * The Communion * The Company Kept * The Dark Matters * The Double Negatives * The Doomsday Prophecy * The Dundees * The Front Bottoms * The Kill * The Last Slice * The Mad Doctor * The Menagerie * The Murderburgers * The Music Industry * The Nondenoms * The Planet You * The Ramparts Rebel * The Rival Mob * The Rupert Selection * The Schwam * The Shrimp Shack Shooters * The S’ods * The Smoking Triples * The Stupid Stupid Henchmen * The Subcultures * The Sun The Moon The Stars * The Uncommonly Good * The Vowel * The world is a beautiful place and I am no longer afraid to die * Thee Volatiles * Thera Roya * These Branches * Things Fall Apart *This is Hell * This is Me Looking Dangerous * Those Mocking Birds * Thou * Threat 2 Society * Threads * Tiny Moving Parts * Toke * Tom Blacklung * Tomato Dodgers * Tomoreux * TORSO * Tourneforte * Tourniquet * Toxicology * Transient in Barcelona * Trip the Light Fantastic * Tripple Cripple
* Trophy Scars * Truman * Tula Vera * Tyrannosaurus Sex * Ubasute * Ultra Deluxe * Uncle Mark * Unkempt Herald
* Unmen * Upheavel * Valerian * Vanilla Summit * Vantafrost * Velnias * Vestiges * Vice * Video Tractor * Vitamin Lead * Volume III * Waiting Mortuary * Waking the Cadaver * Warehouse Horrors * Wastelands * Wavves * We Were Skeletons * We’re Ghosts Now * Weak Wrists * Weather Lore * Weatherbox * Weirdface * Werebears * What of Us
* What the Fuck Does Zernof Mean? * Whiner * Whisper Wars * Whittled Down * Will Wood and the Tapeworms
* Windfaerer * Without * Witness * WolfCloak * Wormed * Worst Case Scenario * Wretched Ones * X Pug * Xenophile
* Yautja * Year of the Knife * Yes Yes A Thousand Times Yes * You Blew It! * Young Legs * ZVI
All photography is courtesy of Paul and Eddie from HEAD WALK.