Twenty summers ago I was in high school marching band with Ray Cappo, he played the tuba. Little did I know at the time that Ray would become a legendary figure in the hardcore/punk scene. After a stint in his high school punk band, Violent Children, ended Ray moved to New York City and formed one of the first “Krishna Core” bands, Youth of Today. Disenchanted with the NYC hardcore scene, Cappo disbanded Youth of Today in 1988 and moved to India to study Eastern philosophy, Sanskrit, natural medicine and yoga. The philosophies he learned in India became the backbone of the band he would form on his return to the United States, Shelter.
When 20 Summers Pass is Shelter’s sixth album and as the title suggests, the tone of the disc relies less on touting the krishna ways. Instead Cappo heads inside on a more introspective and self-evaluating path. On the title track Cappo sings “When 20 Summers pass, and they’ll go fast / Will I look back and be satisfied within my heart.” There’s even the rock standard “being on the road” song, “In the Van Again,” in which Cappo sings, “I’ve traded in the University for this back seat and poverty / But this whole time I’ve felt so free and learned more in the end.” So while Cappo seems to be questioning his choices in life, he seems to feel that in the end he’s made the right ones.
Cappo and guitarist Porcell (who also played in Youth of Today) have always had more of a penchant for the melodic side of hardcore and on 20 Summers they are staying the course.