Chances are, if you've attended a hardcore, metal, or punk show in South Florida, you've met Joshua "Chip" Shomburg. Between his duties playing bass in ambient-doom band Ether, leading the charge on vocals for death-metal infused hardcore band Ironside, and filming just about every show to hit the tri-county area since 2010, the man has essentially become the mayor of South Florida's aggressive music community.
In preparation for Ironside's performance that will open the Bringin' It Back For The Kids Fest this Friday, we met up with Shomburg to discuss his work documenting the scene, life as a 28-year-old wrestling mega-fan, and the story of "Blood Guy" over a comical number of tiny sandwiches at 100 Montaditos.
New Times: How would you describe Ironside's sound?
Shomburg: A death-metal influenced hardcore band. Our fear is that someone takes that as "deathcore," but we would say it's sort of like a slowed-down Napalm Death, though we respect that band so much that to place ourselves in the same sentence is kind of weird.
Your persona as the frontman of Ironside is pretty serious, can you offer some insight into what influenced that?
I'm a shy, fat, lispy guy, and I do not enjoy being on stage. The first show we played, I found I couldn't connect with anyone, and I just ping-ponged back and forth on stage for the whole set. I didn't like the feeling of it at all, so I started watching wrestling heel promos, like, exclusively, for a few weeks, and it sort of seeped in to what I do in Ironside. Just like, prickish confidence, a ton of yelling at people, and it seems to work? People have been receptive so far.
You're a wrestling superfan, yeah?
Yep. First stint was from 1996 to 2001, and I started back again around the Summer of Punk, which was 2011.
What exactly is the Summer of Punk?
The Summer of Punk was the year [CM Punk] cut what's known as a worked shoot promo, which is basically an unscripted, real life thing that exposes the business side. He is just a shitty hardcore kid that somehow became the world champ, and his whole storyline just really speaks to me. He did it DIY, and he honestly applied the hardcore-punk ethic to the wrestling world.
How did you get involved with filming shows?
I saw few other scenes had people documenting everything, and I got too old to mosh. I was tired of seeing people being counterproductive, so I decided to do something productive myself. I snagged a camera as part of a Black Friday deal in 2010, more or less in preparation for the Morning Again reunion, and just started going to every show and shooting until I could find a niche.
It took me, like, 4 months to bring it out. I don't like being in the way or feeling like people are looking at me instead of the band.
So was there a specific point when things clicked, because you appear pretty comfortable with the camera these days.
It was at the Further Seems Forever reunion. I was shooting in back because I don't like feeling like an obstacle, and half-way though the set, I moved towards the front and Chris Carrabba took hold of my camera (in like, a supportive way) and shot the crowd from the stage for me before handing it back. It was sort of a changing event, and it affirmed what I was doing in a way. Further Seems Forever is one of my top 10 bands, so the moment was extremely important in my life.
How many shows have you shot now?
I'm up to 1,500 videos since September of 2010, and I've been fortunate enough to have my stuff featured on Brooklyn Vegan, CVLT Nation, Metal Sucks, and Toxic Breed's Funhouse.
The past 3 years have been an incredible time for South Florida's underground music scene, between the efforts of John McHale, Mark Pollack, Roger Forbes, and Donn from Double N. My weekends are planned out in advance by these people and I can't thank them enough for what they do for the South Florida, and for me, filming everything I can is a way to give something back.
Do you have a favorite performance that you've shot thus far?
Shai Hulud at Reel and Restless Fest. The set seriously validated my 15 years of attending hardcore shows, and if you were there, you understand why.
What the hell is a "Blood Guy?"
I got cracked in the back of the head while shooting the Magrudergrind set in Miami a while back, and my first instinct, rather than seek medical attention, was to take off my shirt and rub the blood all over myself.
I definitely think it added to the show, and the photo of me covered in blood got around 600 "likes" on the Magrudergrind Facebook. It's on T-shirts, and people have actually recognized me out of town as "Blood Guy,"
I traveled with some friends to Breast Fest, a hardcore fest in North Carolina, and, ironically, we wound up at a Hooters with some locals. Midway through the meal, one of them leans in and goes, "Hey, are you blood guy?"
Ironside October 12 at Bringin' It Back For The Kids Fest 2. Doors at 1:30 p.m., Ironside plays the 1981 Stage at 3:45 p.m., Rocketown, 371 S. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. $30 a day, $50 for weekend passes.