Under the Radar
Point Blank was formed in September 1996 in Moorestown, NJ. The original lineup consisted of Mike Ransom (guitar/vocals), Torr Walker (guitar/vocals), Jay Bintliff (bass/vocals), and Chuck Steig (drums). At that time, a friend of Mike Ransom's was in the process of forming a record label and was looking for a band to take the B-side of their debut release. Ransom jumped at the chance for early exposure, and managed to convince Mike Gilligan, of Chapter 11 Records, to make Point Blank the B-side. The guys rushed into the studio (aka Chuck's basement) and recorded 6 songs on a 4-track recorder. Considering the equipment and the utter inexperience of the band, '500 Pages', 'Confusion Road', 'Old Girlfriend', 'Falling Down', 'Don't Come Crying', and 'What Tod?' actually came out pretty well. On November 11, 1996 the split EP with The Pushovers was released on Chapter 11 Records (now Fake Chapter Records), and Point Blank was off and running. On November 15, 1996 the band played their first show at the Daily Grind in Brownsmills, NJ, opening for Boxcar, Hippopotamus, and Degradation. They were amazed to have not been booed off the stage, and in fact, the response was quite positive. Point Blank had played a great show, and it was only their first. They made a bit of cash off of the cover charge and the split EP sold quite well. It all seemed, well, easy. The next show was December 7, and they realized that they had been lucky up to that point. Playing with Degradation, Concession Stand, and The Bagheads, the show was not a resounding success. Having been heckled by skin heads, they were...a bit shaken, and it showed. Despite the skin heads and their lousy performance, Point Blank still managed to sell a few more tapes. After the December 7th mess, Chuck decided to move on to other things. Point Blank languished as they struggled to find a new drummer. Frank Abel and Chris Lasardi both filled in briefly in practice sessions, but it wasn't until Graham Goldman joined up that they found a solid match for the band, and a great drummer. With the new lineup in place, Point Blank began playing shows again in Feb. 1997. They returned to the studio (Why Me? Recording) the same month, recording 'Molly', 'Mark Hoffman', and re-recording 'Confusion Road' and 'Old Girlfriend'. By May of 1997, Torr Walker had left the band, Point Blank had played a few more shows, and 'Molly' and 'Mark Hoffman' had been released on a Chapter 11 Records compilation. That same month, the members of Point Blank met Carson James and instantly became friends. He joined the band right away, playing second guitar and singing. Throughout the summer and early fall of 1997, Point Blank played a ton of shows and promoted themselves endlessly. In September of 1997, Point Blank was heard on the radio for the first time as the song 'Molly' (now released on 2 other comps by Class Action Records and Hardknox Records) began to get some airplay at college radio stations from Glasboro, NJ to Raleigh-Durham, NC, to Berkeley, CA. The band returned to the studio (Studio 32) at the end of October 1997 to record about 20 songs, all new. Among those recorded were 'Jay's New One', 'The Crack Song', 'Politikill Song', 'Would it Matter?', 'On My Mind', '7 Billion', 'The Ska Song', 'Surf Goddess', 'Los Barrachos', 'If I', 'Psychopath', 'What's Going On?', 'Pardon Me', 'No Truth, No Honor', 'The Hardcore Song', 'Something to Say', and a few others. The recording session went very well as the band was well rehearsed from their busy show schedule. On Feb. 2, 1998 Point Blank released 'Politikill Song' on the Twisted Records compilation, 'Waiting for Punk?'. The same day, Twisted Records also released Point Blank's 'Los Barrachos' album on cassette tape. It included 10 songs (Jay's New One, Politikill Song, 7 Billion, Ska Song, Crack Song, On My Mind, 500 Pages, If I, Los Barrachos, and What's Going On?). Both releases began selling very well, as was the band's other merchandise, like T-shirts and patches. Point Blank continued their hectic show schedule through August of 1998, playing shows almost every Friday and Saturday night from February to August. In fact, on 2 seperate occasions in May the band played 2 shows in one night. The boys returned to the studio in August to record the first 8 of what was to be a 16 song album called 'First Place Loser'. Having saved a decent amount of money from their shows and sales, Point Blank set their sights on significantly inceasing the recording quality of their next album. As such, they recorded at The Lab Recording Studio in Glasboro, NJ. The 8 songs they cut in one day in August sounded great (even with a rough mix and only rough vocals completed). They were '549', 'Slingshot', 'Lifeline', 'Death of Me', 'Recognized', 'Anything But You', '30 Second Song', and 'A.N.S.'. Out of money, they planned to wait until January of 1999 to finish recording the 'First Place Loser' album. Through fall of 1998 the band continued their relentless concert schedule. Finally, on December 23, 1998 Point Blank took the stage for the final time in Delran, NJ. It was a show just like any other they had played, and not knowing it was their last, they departed the stage as happy and pumped as ever. A few days into the New Year, the band went their seperate ways. 'Death of Me' was released a month later on a Chapter 11 Records comp, and even received radio airplay in NJ, NY, and CA, but Point Blank was no more. The band broke up before most of the members reached their 18th birthdays. In May, 2007, Unable Records of Fernandina Beach, FL, in a tribute to the great NJ punk rock scene of the 1990s, decided to release as many Point Blank songs as could fit on one CD. 'Under the Radar' is that release. Featuring 33 songs, it contains just about everything that Point Blank ever recorded, including several that were previously unreleased.