Since 1985, Abstinence has created experimental industrial music that follows in the traditions of the Beats, the Dada movement, the Futurists, the raw vision of punk rock, the origins of industrial music, the freedom of the experimental art movement and the eternal global human rights art movement. Most stereotypes would say that a "sleepy" New Jersey shore town like Belmar wouldn't produce a project such as this. In actuality, this area was a vibrant place for the formative stages of the east coast hippie, punk rock and metal music scenes. In the early 1970's this area also seemed to be a Vietnam anti-war stronghold.
Abstinence ["Abstaining from the redundancy of what people think is music" that later would be clarified to "Abstaining from the redundancy of what people think."] was formed in 1985 by Darryl Hell and Steve Herring in the heart of the "alternative rock" predominated New Jersey Shore. Hell was the bass teacher for Steve Herring, as well as people like Russell Iglay from the legendary punk bands Underdog & Murphy's Law. As they jammed they began writing songs and Hell felt he and Steve should make a go of it as they were both well respected bmx & skateboarders respectively, that often rode together. Many people have commented about the name over the years. Their philosophy inspires them to be staunch in a vision that isn't influenced by music/art/technological trends and to maintain a commitment to pure artistic exploration.
The original structure of the project was Darryl Hell [voc, bass, tape loops, radio squelch, rhythm programming] & Steve Herring [bass, tape loops, voc]. They began their first performance with a 5 minute wall of deafening feedback in Red Bank, NJ at a show produced by Jacko Monahan. They said it would "weed out" the crowd and set the scene for the rest of the performance. Barricaded behind teetering mountains of tape machines and a Roland Echoplex with only their bass necks protruding, the area was about to see its first experimental / industrial performance.
Darryl Hell , Steve Herring , and soon after Bill Kuegler , and Jason Burns [R.I.P.], were the founding members of Abstinence. The second iteration, 1990 - 1996, would feature Michael Roberts and Donna Roberts. Michael’s talents for innovation, metal percussion, and building instruments was irreplaceable. The addition of John Bechdel [Killing Joke, Ministry, Prong] in 1994 helped the project find its true direction and vision. This configuration was the one that would be signed to Furnace Records in San Francisco and make its name during the early mid 1990’s. Deftly D [Nau-zee-auN, The Return of the High Voltage Circumcision Show], breathed new life into the project, following Hell producing music/art projects in the name and vision of the project for a number of years after Mike and Donna left the project in 1996. The clips in the bonus footage explains why Mike Roberts was such a force and presence in the project. Donna’s work was amazing for us and helped set us apart from bands that used women as only gogo eye candy. They are both missed and have been thought of often during the creation of DoA. This is the first full-scale project for Abstinence since 1996.
Between 1996 and 2010 Abstinence released a number of songs on compilations and performed a few times with the team of Darryl Hell and Deftly D. In 2004, the two did a soundtrack project of the Twilight Zone episode "Obsolete Man." It was the only performance written during this time.
In 2013 [since 2011], the third iteration, Darryl Hell, John Bechdel, Deftly D, Brian "Beat" Senders, and Matthew Roland III are the core team. Abstinence remains focused on a compositional style that utilizes tunnels, decommissioned military bases, warehouses, bathrooms, abandoned buildings, basements, freeway underpasses and various indoor/outdoor environments as sound laboratories to create unique soundscapes that coalesce with powertools, a variety of traditional analog / digital instrumentation and bombastic percussion. Our lyrics and audio/video samples are focused on demystifying the political and societal world in which we live.
“Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace,” Rod Serling [creator of the original “Twilight Zone”]