Pg.99’s Mike Taylor Talks Reunion, Album Reissues & The Possibility of New Music: “New Material is Not out of the Question”

Reid Haithcock Photo

Legendary Virginia hardcore punk outfit Pg. 99 (or Pageninetynine) have flown under the radar in recent years, having not released new material in nearly two decades, with their last run of performances taking place in the pre-pandemic era.

Well prepare to reacquaint yourself with the raw and gritty force of nature that is Pg. 99.

The band has collaborated with upstart Virginia based label Persistent Vision Records to re-release their unsung opus Document #8, as well as their must-have compilation Singles, a collection which brings together the band’s original demo tape, an early EP, a compilation track, and splits with Enemy Soil, City of Caterpillar, Circle Takes The Square, Reactor No. 7, and Process Is Dead spanning the band’s original run from 1997 to 2003.

Doubling down on the good news, the ensemble are set to reunite for three live performances in Richmond, Brooklyn and Toronto this August, where the band will perform as a nine piece for the very first time.

Reid Haithcock Photo

“We started adding members essentially because we had a lot of friends. It just kind of became absurd a little bit and we thought it was funny. I guess we thought it was funny.” explains longtime guitarist Mike Taylor in a sit down with Decibel Magazine. “It just adds to the comical absurdity that is Pg. 99 when we get up there and do our thing.”

Stepping into the way-back machine for a deep dive into all things Document #8, and Taylor reflects fondly on a period of growth and maturation for the band, at a time where hardcore, and the rising fad of screamo in which Pg. 99 so-often found themselves tagged, were thriving.

“At this point, because it’s kind of so long ago for me, I’m just really appreciative of it being maybe the thing that really sprung us forward as far as just being active in recording music and releasing albums and touring and playing on that particular record. But I’m still very proud of it. It’s very unique of its time,” explains Taylor.

“Sonically there’s a lot of cohesion to it, but I believe at the same time, the songs don’t particularly stick to one genre. It’s kind of been lumped into screamo, which I get. Maybe it’s because it’s a little free form, but the songs are pretty different. There’s some grind, there’s some really pretty parts, there’s straight up punk. I mean, it’s all over the place. And I think in hindsight I look back at it as something that I’m really proud of. It’s one of the better records I think I had the pleasure of being part of.”

Originally recorded and mixed by Converge ace Kurt Ballou, Document #8 sees Pg. 99 at perhaps their most dexterous, a fierce, frenzied and layered offering that underscores the reality of all hands at that moment in time.

“It’s one pumping muscle. It’s not dynamic in a way, it’s just in the red. And I like the way Kurt was recording then because he was taking these really raw, very energetic bands like, say, a band like Orchid with Chaos is Me. He recorded that album and you play that and that’s like a Ramones record from track one to the end. And it just does it’s single purpose and it makes its point and it’s done before you know it. And I sort of lump Pg. 99’s record into that.

“I think that’s when Kurt was really starting, so stuff was very drastically harsh and loud and that music was sort of bubbling in the scene. So it’s very particular and of its time, I feel like, and I kind of like that in a way as a time capsule. And I also still think it’s a really unique album as a standalone album.”

If Document #8 is the cornerstone of Pg. 99’s discography, then Singles is one for the diehards, a living monument to a young group of passionate and daring artists on the rise.

“I do appreciate it that it collects essentially the growth of the band, because it literally has our demo. It starts with the last stuff we recorded, which was the Circle split. And I remember when we recorded that material in particular, we just wanted to throw everything and the kitchen sink. That’s very balls to the wall, everything in the red. And it’s very chaotic and it’s fast and noisy and sloppy. I mean, it sounds angry to me when I hear that.

“And then that demo, it’s just mid paced, it’s slow. There are a lot of riffs that just don’t work together. One song would just be a riff factory. I hear a band growing up, I absolutely do. I hear a band starting to gel and it’s kind of unique. The band started kind of with slower, longer songs and then it just sort of, somewhere in the middle period, like in 2000, we just hit a stride of knowing how the band writes together and what songs work and what songs don’t.”

Tackling the age-old question as to whether new material is on the horizon and Taylor is optimistic, if noncommittal to the idea. Though he does share that the long-rumored Document #15 does exist and may see the light of day in the not-too-distant-future. 

“There is actually a Document #15,” Taylor reveals. “It was recorded originally back in the day. It was supposed to be a split with Creation Is Crucifixion. And at the time both bands really loved noise, so we kind of wanted to make it more like a kind of a noise record a little bit.”

Reid Haithcock Photo

Teasing that the proposed album is “a song in three parts” that ranges from horror movie soundtrack vibes to heavy, droney mania that clocks in at roughly 15-16 minutes, Document #15 could see the light of day through Pg. 99’s new partnership with Persistent Vision. As for brand new material? Not out of the question, Taylor teases.

“I’ve been messing with stuff that I think could easily be Pg. 99 stuff. I found myself writing it more kind of just daydreaming a little bit like, Hey, the band’s all in Virginia, maybe this is something we could do? Let’s just track two songs and we don’t even say we have to release them or do it, but let’s put together songs and then go record and see what it sounds like,” he shares enthusiastically. 

“Yeah, there’s a part of me that very much wants to see what it would be like to write with Pg. 99 again and maybe write a new song. I don’t know if we’ll do it, but it’s also still very much a thing for us to get together and play the hits or go deeper into the catalog and play more stuff we haven’t played. We have so many songs. It’s still something, I think, we could dig deep into and have fun and be like, ‘Hey, we’ve never played these songs. Let’s figure them out. Let’s play ’em!’ We’ll play a couple of other songs that people know, and we’ll just enjoy ourselves.

“I guess one way or another with a band that’s pretty much inactive, the idea’s still let’s do what we all want to do as long as everybody’s having fun and enjoying themselves. And I don’t know, new material is not out of the question. But I do think releasing that final document is something that inevitably will happen. Hopefully soon.”

Catch Pg. 99 at their three tour dates this August and pre-order their vinyl reissues here!

Pageninetynine Tour Dates
● August 4 – Richmond, VA at Richmond Music Hall w/ Catharsis, NØ MAN, Ghouli
● August 5 – Brooklyn, NY at Saint Vitus w/ Catharsis, NØ MAN, Corrode
● August 6 – Toronto – New Friends Fest w/ The HIRS Collective, Cloud Rat, and more