Gettin’ the Band BACK TOGETHER

In the last few weeks since Hurricane Matthew, going out has taken on extra importance in Northeast Florida. Enjoying life for a hot minute — seeing a show, going to dinner, having a few drinks — is critical for survival when you’re ripping out wet flooring all day. Sorting through the belongings you have left at night. And trying to navigate the bureaucratic clusterfuck of homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, FEMA relief and intermittent local services.

But going through the kind of mental and emotional lows familiar to so many First Coasters, from Matanzas Inlet to Fernandina Beach, can lead to the best kinds of highs — especially when we let go of our stress for a few hours and remember that all we humans are in this crazy mess together. I predict just such a gratifying, life-affirming experience this weekend, when iconic Jacksonville punk/emo/hardcore/post-whatever band Twelve Hour Turn reunite for one show in St. Augustine, one show in Jacksonville, and one show in Gainesville at The Fest 15.

Brothers Rich and Dave Diem joined John Magnifico and Matt Oliver to form Twelve Hour Turn back in 1996, when the idea of using the Internet to be successful wasn’t yet a thing and DIY values were washing over the punk rock community, especially here on the East Coast.

Gainesville label No Idea Records took a chance on the quartet, however, recognizing a vein of depth and authenticity in Twelve Hour Turn’s mix of crushing riffs and uplifting lyrics. That spirit was cultivated at the band’s shared Magnifico House — part DIY venue, part crash pad, part studio, part iconic home base for any Jacksonville-raised ’90s punk — and it was evident on their handful of releases for No Idea, including their two stunning full-length albums, The Victory of Flight and Perfect Progress, Perfect Destruction. And that spirit of learning to do “what we loved to do, how we wanted to do it,” as Rich Diem tells Folio Weekly, has led into each band member’s life, whether as record label heads, band members, or creative forces in their respective communities.

“It was an exciting time for us,” Rich says. “We were getting out of town for the first time, befriending other bands, doing what we wanted to do, going on tour with a record label like No Idea behind us. And we were doing things for ourselves while feeding off other people. Mainly, we were jusst happy to be part of the story of what was going on in punk and hardcore in Florida and across the country.” Diem describes the fact that people remember Twelve Hour Turn and are excited about their second reunion (for The Fest 10 back in 2011) as “really flattering.”

And if you know anything about the preternaturally calm, ridiculously humble Diem in any capacity — as owner of Bakery Outlet Records, dedicated elementary school teacher, occasional booker and promoter of rad shows — you know that he probably doesn’t admit to being flattered very often. He was quick to defer credit, though: “I chalk it up to the fact that No Idea Records has had so much longevity as a great voice for punk music over the years. So a lot of people connect the dots back through other bands to discover us, which is cool.”

Tony Weinbender, No Idea lifer and The Fest founder, laughed at Rich’s modesty. “I knew about Twelve Hour Turn before I even moved to Florida, when I was still living in Virginia,” Tony tells Folio Weekly. “We would go to Jacksonville to play shows and stay at their house, which was awesome. So we repaid the favor by inviting them up to Virginia, where they hooked up with bands like Engine Down. Whenever we do a milestone Fest, we try to get a bunch of old buds together. So Fest 10 and Fest, hell yeah, we did that with Twelve Hour Turn. They mean a lot to a lot of people — the prime example is Joe McMahon from Smoke or Fire, who used to be on Fat Wreck Chords. He has a Twelve Hour Turn tattoo!

Weinbender says he’s particularly excited to see them play a larger room at The Fest, along with raising enough money for the band so that John Magnifico and Matt Oliver could fly in from Portland and Dave Diem could come down from Brooklyn so the band can play St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Gainesville. Rich Diem says John and Matt have practiced a few times together while he and his brother listen along on their computers, but the band will get one day of rehearsal before their first show at Planet Sarbez on Oct. 27. “We reunited one time for our friend’s wedding in Portland, then once for Fest 10, so when he asked again, it was a quicker ‘yes,’” Rich laughs. Ditto for their latest release, a recording of their 1998 WNYU radio broadcast recorded by Steve Roche and then released by John Massel on his Rose Quarter Records label. “That was a special time, touring with I Hate Myself,” Rich Diem reminisces. “It was one of our first tours up the East Coast, things were picking us for us, we were excited to be making friends with people we thought were talented.”

Which really says it all about Twelve Hour Turn’s music, ethos and fans: It’s one big community of people who’ve loved each other (and each other’s music) while supporting each other (and each other’s artistic projects) for almost 20 years now. “What we learned in Twelve Hour Turn is that we write songs because we’re friends and we love to share our music,” Rich Diem says. “Instead of paying somebody to get our music on the radio or written up in a magazine, we just played and existed, hoping people would see us and we would resound. Because of that, we’ve always felt like we’re part of some story or narrative — some collective surrounding this kind of music and this lifestyle. That’s why we’re excited to play three more shows for our friends.”