How Eighteen Visions Became The OC Metal Band Known For Inventing "Fashioncore"
By: John Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman
Jeremy Saffer Eighteen Visions
Like it or not, the history of the OC metal scene owes a lot to the phrase "guyliner," specifically a subgenre dubbed Metalcore that reared its head in the early 2000s. Brought forth by musicians who mixed Iron Maiden guitar chops with brutal break downs and glam rock and throat-shredding vocals, Orange County bred several bands that took the genre to mainstream heights. In a recently released book called Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman, OC gets some special attention in it's chapter on Metalcore, including an interview with now defunct band Eighteen Visions who broke up in 2007. This year, the former members were sad to report that Mick Morris, the former bassist of the band, passed away in June. But before they called it quits, 18V played a definitive role in shaping and styling a subgenre of Metalcore that would come to be known as "Fashioncore," a once popular style to which Hot Topic still owes a huge debt of gratitude. Hear from the band about how Fashioncore first came about.
From Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal:
Even with its revolving-door lineup, Eighteen Visions played a major role in changing the look of California metalcore. During their peak years in the early 2000s they dressed sharply, wore makeup, and styled their hair like glam musicians. The band was
musically innovative as well, changing styles over the course of their career from bruising hardcore metal to melodic alternative rock, predating similar moves by Atreyu and Avenged Sevenfold.
BRANDAN SCHIEPPATI: Since Javier was in hair school, his whole thing was wanting to cut everybody's hair. So we all had freaky haircuts. We modeled ourselves a little bit after Unbroken, who were very sharply dressed because they were
the heaviest band around and they didn't look it, which we thought was fuckin' cool.
RYAN DOWNEY: If anyone is responsible for what became fashioncore, it's Javier. He went to cosmetology school; he was a hair stylist. James Hart was also a hair stylist at a salon in Orange County. Brandan Schieppati was going to cosmetology school, which he eventually dropped out of. But Javier really led the charge with crazy hairstyles and pink and blond and blue chunks in their hair. A lot of the guys were fit and really into working out, and they had this sexual energy onstage, which was very much taboo in the hardcore scene.
JAMES HART: When we were doing Yesterday Is Time Killed in 1999, we were working at the mall in some boutiques, where we were introduced to different clothing. We started getting into that stuff and we took on this attitude that we're not just getting up there playing our songs to a crowd. We gotta put on a show and look different and stand out from the people we're playing to. And if it meant putting on a dress shirt and a tie, that's what we did. So, by the time we put out Until the Ink Runs Out in 2000 we started dressing a little slicker and combing our hair and putting on more of a show.
MICK MORRIS: I hadn't seen those dudes in a year, and then my band xCLEARx toured with them. The first show of that tour was in Chicago and they looked completely different. When they went on I was like, "This might be the fuckin' coolest thing I've ever seen." After touring with them for a couple weeks, I said, "Hey, if you guys ever need a guitar or bass player I'll move to California." I was kind of joking, but I kind of meant it.
JAMES HART: Things weren't panning out with Javier. He was showing up really late to practice or leaving really early, or both. His lack of interest or lack of commitment to the band was holding us back. We had written an entire record and were ready to record it, and he was like, "I don't like that part, I don't like that song." We were like, "Dude, that's too bad. You weren't here at all for the writing process." He played on part of Until the Ink Runs Out. Then on some of it, Keith [Barney] had to play bass because Javier didn't know the songs well enough because he wasn't showing to practice or couldn't play them.