We put together the Cuffs towards the end of the summer of 1996. Cook, Jared and JC were about to start senior year of high school and Mike would be a junior. Throughout the summer, we were playing a top lanes 1 & 2 at Westbrook Bowling Center in Brooklawn, NJ every Monday night during laser-bowl. After a while, we brought in bands to play with us on the lanes such as the Boils, Ska Blazers, and the Doublecross. We began making our connections and started getting on some decent local shows.
Our first release was the "Get Out of My Way" 7" which we put out ourselves in November of that year. During this time, we were fortunate enough to live within 15 minutes of the ever-remembered Stalag 13 in West Philadelphia. The Cuffs put on together at least a show a month at the time, and began introducing several bands that were not likely/not allowed to play Stalag 13 including the Wretched Ones, the Casualties, Limecell, Anti-Trust, etc.
Throughout 1997, we were booking shows less, and being asked to play shows more often in areas farther and farther away such as Chameleon Club in Lancaster/York, PA area, the Pipeline in North Jersey, and ABC No Rio and Coney Island High in NYC. A demo tape we recorded at the time sparked an interest in an A&R rep from the well known NYC Record Label, Radical Records featuring bands such as Blanks 77, Inspecter 7, and the popular "Oi! Skampilation" series. By the end of 1997, the Cuffs were asked to put out a 7" on Headache Records, and "Death by The Bottle" was released in early '98.
Just before "Death by the Bottle," Radical Records presented the Cuffs with a recording contract which was signed in April of 1998 when we were only 18 & 19 years old. The first Cuffs tour went down the East Coast with Violent Society and Fisticuffs in support of the "Death By the Bottle" 7". The tour went south through Tennesse to New Orleans, through Florida and back to NJ. With VS, the Cuffs learned many a lesson about touring, including which women to stay away from, how NOT to have your van searched by the police, how to advoid having erotic toys placed on your face while sleeping, and what "shelving" was.
Bottoms Up, the first and only full length Cuffs cd to date, was recorded in the summer of 1998 at the legendary Baby Monster recording studio in NYC. The cd release party was on October 30th, 1998, when the Cuffs opened for Rancid at the Electric Factory in Philly. Rancid gave us an awesome opportunity to which we jumped at the chance, but still took heat from "the underground scene" that we laughed off. The first Cuffs full US headlining tour was in January/February of 1999 which headed through the southern states and west to California and back, playing with bands such as Fatskins, Lower Class Brats, Endless Struggle, Pressure Point, and Main Street Saints.
In March/April of '99 the Cuffs were offered the opportunity of a lifetime and hitched up with Oxymoron, Dropkick Murphys, and the Ducky Boys and headed out on the road to support "Bottoms Up." We did the east coast and had a ton of fun along the way with all the guys. We experienced the split personalities of one of our idols and got our asses kicked in basketball by little Irish guys from Boston.
The Cuffs played east coast Warped Tour Dates in the summers of 1999, 2000, and 2001. But it was in late 1999 where the Cuffs slowed down. Mike decided life on the road wasn't for him and started culinary school full time to which he graduated, but is now in medical school at Temple. Jared delved deeper into the books and decided law school was his chosen path. Cook followed in the footsteps of much of his family, and began a career in law enforcement. JC also graduated medical school and became a foot & ankle surgeon.
The last official release by the Cuffs was the "Cutthroat" 7" on Headache Records in the summer of 2001. The last Cuffs show to date was the infamous "Pontiac Grille Brawl" on South Street in Philly in December of 2005 with Sons of Liberty.
J.C., Cook, & Mike currently play in an Irish-Cover band called the Broken Shillelaghs. (www.myspace.com/thebrokenshillelaghs) The Cuffs are still active in playing and writing music and hope to record another full length someday. Drop us a line!!
-from The Cuffs Myspace.com profile
Had a bit of a flashback with this one. The Cuffs are a South Jersey punk trio, but looking at the photos of the three shouting skinheads on the CD and listening to the music, one is transported to another place: England 1981. "Enemy" is Stiff Little Fingers' opening riff of "Suspect Device" via the Sex Pistols, but everything else brought back fond memories of the cream of the Oi! crop (as opposed to the hundreds of Oi! imitators who ruined it): the Partisans, Straps, the Business, Chron Gen, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Four Skins, and especially Anti-Pasti. The skank bridge of "John L. Sullivan (Bare Knuckle Fighter)," a tribute to the turn of the century brave brawler, sounds particularly like the post-Clash fist-in-the-air riffage and roar of Anti-Pasti's "No Government" and "Caution in the Wind," or Chron Gen's "Outlaw." They are also a natural choice for appearing on the Expoited tribute LP [PUNK'S NOT DEAD: A Tribute to the Exploited] and opening for some Rancid tour dates. The 17 songs on Bottoms Up further have hints of Cockney Rejects, Angelic Upstarts, Insane, and U.S. outfits such as Crucifix and U.S. Chaos, who, if memory serves, were also from New Jersey! As they used to say, Oi! Oi! Oi!