Vincent Bennett: The Acacia Strain, Diamond Cut Clothing, Shut In, Cockpunch!

Published on October 8th, 2012
Vincent Bennett, photo by Jeremy Saffer

Photo by Jeremy Saffer

Vincent Bennett has been the lead singer of The Acacia Strain since their inception in 2001. In the last 11 years, the band has helped to reshape the modern metal scene in a way that no one could have expected on their formation. Along the way, Vincent has toured the world, formed two other bands, and founded one of the most preeminent straight edge clothing companies ever.

Last week, we talked to Vincent Bennett as he was preparing for a brief tour with Cruel Hand in support of Death Is The Only Mortal, the new record out October 9th on Rise Records:

Straightedge Worldwide
For people out there who aren’t familiar with you, tell everyone who you are, and what you do.

Vincent Bennett
My name is Vincent Bennett. I am the vocalist for a couple of bands; including The Acacia Strain, Cockpunch!, and my new band Shut In. I also run an independent straight edge t-shirt line called Diamond Cut with my best friend Tyler Scheinost.

Straightedge Worldwide
I didn’t realize Tyler was still apart of Diamond Cut. I heard he was a fire fighter?

Vincent Bennett
He is. always has been, always will be. People just assume it’s just me because I talk about it all the time, but I couldn’t do it without Tyler. He is a firefighter, EMT, ditch digger, and all around family man.

Straightedge Worldwide
That’s awesome. How did you two come to start Diamond Cut?

Vincent Bennett in Australia wearing Diamond Cut

Diamond Cut Clothing was started in 2006 by Vincent Bennett and Tyler Scheinost

Vincent Bennett
We love being straightedge, and we love to show our pride. We wanted to wear straight edge shirts that expressed our pride, but felt that most people who made edge shirts kinda phoned it in. we started printing up designs ourselves just so we had something to wear. People started digging it and asked where they could get stuff like ours; it was a natural progression to start selling it at shows and eventually start a web store. We rarely see a profit; we just do it so we can pay the print bill and wear something we are proud of.

Also so kids have something to wear to express their pride in the edge, all while not rocking the same boring designs.

Straightedge Worldwide
And you’ve also been doing [straight edge band] Cockpunch! for a while now: should we expect more music from Cockpunch!, or does The Acacia Strain keep you pretty busy?

Vincent Bennett
Cockpunch is always working on stuff. We have about 27 new songs written, just looking for someone to want to release it. Not much room in the record industry these days for a band who just wants to have fun.

We also have started work on a xxxmas LP that we will probably put online for free.

Straight edge band Cockpunch! group photo

Cockpunch!, photo by Jerry John Photography

Straightedge Worldwide
A lot of people are going to be pretty stoked to hear that.

Vincent Bennett
People are excited to hear new Cockpunch!?! hahaha WHO?!?!

Straightedge Worldwide
Straight edge kids lol

They want more Cockpunch! gear too…

Vincent Bennett
I’ll work on getting some more Cockpunch designs out there. I feel like I owe it to the 13 people who actually listen to the band.

Straightedge Worldwide
I can understand that The Acacia Strain is first priority. You guys have a new album coming out on Tuesday?

Vincent Bennett
Yes. Death Is The Only Mortal drops [Tuesday October 9th], hopefully you can buy it everywhere. I’m sure you have all downloaded it beforehand… might as well buy it on vinyl.

Death Is The Only Mortal album cover, from The Acacia Strain

Death Is The Only Mortal is out October 9th through Rise Records

Straightedge Worldwide
I know with the Title Fight album, a lot of kids downloaded it then bought the album because they support the band.

Vincent Bennett
I hope that’s the case here. Not trying to make certified gold, but it helps boost the old esteem here and there.

Straightedge Worldwide

In the Most Known Unknown [The Acacia Strain live DVD], you talk about starting out playing shows in your mom’s basement, and now TAS are pretty renowned internationally. Do you think you’d still be holding it together if you weren’t edge?

Hardly a band makes it 12 years anymore.

The Acacia Strain band photo

The Acacia Strain

Vincent Bennett
I’m not sure about life without straight edge; it’s weird for me to think about. I can’t really say either way because I don’t know. The great unanswered question I suppose.

Straightedge Worldwide
And how’d you first get into the straight edge scene?

Vincent Bennett
Bought In This Defiance by Strife when I was 15. It spoke to me, because I thought I was weird for not wanting to smoke cigarettes or do drugs or whatever. Really got me into straightedge. Everything after that pretty much followed the edge. Started discovering other bands that had the same message. Discovered an entire community. Suddenly I didn’t feel so weird, I felt like I was part of something.

Straightedge Worldwide
Also from the Most Known Unknown: how’d you get into shoes?

Yup, had to ask.

Vincent Bennett
Not quite sure. I had a friend who was really into skating and collecting skate shoes, he kinda got me into the whole thing. Again, I discovered this underground world and I was hooked. Everyone needs a hobby right? I enjoy collecting things. I used to collect action figures. Kinda grew out of that… maybe this is a little bit more “grown up?” Haha I have no idea. I love sneaker culture.

Straightedge Worldwide
And before I take up too much of your time: what should we be looking out for from you down the road?

I believe you promised us that you’d be the shittiest band on Rise Records?

How’s that working out?

Vincent Bennett
We are going to be busy forever. TAS has plans up until summer 2013. like I said, Cockpunch! is just looking for someone to put out our [shitty] music, and I will continue working with friends on Shut In, and some other projects I have planned to come down the pike. I remain focused on everything, some things more than others, but I am always trying to keep myself creating.

Shut In band members

Shut In debuted in July, and features Griffin Landa of Too Pure To Die

We are now, and will always be, the ugliest, least marketable, and shittiest band on Rise Records. If anyone challenges our crown, they will be dealt with.

We are hated by the “typical Rise fan” so I would say we are doing a good job [of shitting] on everyone’s hopes and dreams.

Straightedge Worldwide
Any final words for the straight edge community before you bounce?

Vincent Bennett
Stay strong, never back down, and always keep the edge. Don’t do it for any other reason than for yourself.

Straightedge Worldwide
Thanks Vincent. Very much appreciate your time tonight.

Vincent Bennett
Not a problem, any time you need me just let me know. Keep up the good work!

Straightedge Worldwide
Will do.

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