- Ash Daniel
- Members of T-Division (From left): Judah Kennedy, Scott Gehm, Matt Christison, and Don Lingerfelt deliver a heavy, old school punk assault in the song "Sic Semper Tyrannis" from the Latin for "thus always to tyrants."
Though styles have changed through the years, many local bands are keeping the legendary Richmond punk spirit alive. One of them is T-Division, consisting of lead vocalist Judah Kennedy, guitarist Scott Gehm, drummer Don Lingerfelt and bassist Matt Christison. The band's pounding new album, "Sic Semper Tyrannis," was engineered at Snake Oil Recording by Dan-O Deckelman. It's a 14-track slap in the face filled with riotous, melodic punk anthems and lyrics that aren't afraid to blast the system. We asked about that one song.
Style: Tell us about the title track song.
Gehm: A lot of our songs are written in different ways. Sometimes one person will write it and everybody will put in his two cents. Sometimes it comes together literally piece by piece as we're practicing. That's just how our songs work.
Kennedy: As far as lyrics go, I got the idea for the song by watching the world around me. It came out of me being bored with everybody's movement. It felt like everybody had something they were standing up for. It was just getting old and I got tired of it.
Gehm: Since the common theme in punk rock is politics, our song is almost like the anti-political movement.
Lingerfelt: We wanted to call the album "Sic Semper Tyrannis" before we even wrote the song. Being in a punk band, we love the down-with-the-tyrant theme. And with it being the Virginia state motto, it was kind of a no-brainer.
How did the band get started?
Gehm: It started by trolling Craigslist. I needed something to do with my time and I was in and out of bands since the seventh grade. I had the urge to go back to my roots by playing in punk-rock bands, so I searched on Craigslist and found these guys and we all just clicked.
Lingerfelt: After just a few months together, we had already come up with a nine-song demo, which I think were great. Many people said they were generic, but honestly if we were good enough in two or three months to be considered generic, that's not a bad thing. We're coming up on five years and I still love playing with these guys.
Gehm: Being in a band's not easy. It's a lot of different personalities in a relationship that still has to function. I think as a band, we don't have a lot of issues that other bands do. We all get along. Everyone's reliable and responsible. It's very minimal drama.
What are your shows usually like?
Kennedy: Matt has the best description of our live shows. He once said on tape that "a T-Division show is like sex. You know it's going to happen and how it's going to end but the excitement is getting there."
Christison: There's usually at least one person at our show that ends up just going crazy. And a lot of the times it's a small crowd, but there's one person that just gets into it and gets up front and loses their mind.
Lingerfelt: The majority of our shows are like 10 people watching us while the rest of the crowd is doing something else. Other times we get lucky and we're at gigs with over 100 people watching us. We play house shows where there are entirely too many people in a tiny area. I have to say that house shows are my favorite. Between these three, there's usually a comedy act between songs. It's a lot of dick jokes and other offensive stuff. We're just trying to loosen everyone up and have a good time.
Kennedy: The important thing to remember is we encourage extremely personal experiences for everybody in the room. We like it to be personal.
Gehm: One show is never like the next and we never know what we're getting into until we're in the middle of it.
If you could play with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?
Lingerfelt: Rush. Neil Peart is a god!
Gehm: Frank Zappa. That would be a very entertaining night.
Kennedy: Rage Against the Machine. I would love to rap with Zack de la Rocha.
Christison: The Rat Pack. I want to find out who could drink who under the table. Now if only we could join all of them together. That would be one hell of a super band.
Gehm: Except for us.
Kennedy: Well, somebody's got to load everybody else's shit. S
T-Division plays a house show at the Fatt House (ask a punk for directions) with Furious George, On Point and 45 A.D. on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 9 p.m.