Ad Seg is not just a name for a local four-piece hardcore punk band. It’s short for “administrative segregation” (also known as “the hole”). It’s the isolation area you go to if you’re bad in prison. It’s also where singer-guitarist Ivan Orr wrote many of his lyrics.
“On my first night in jail,” says Orr, “I hadn’t been in there one hour when all these cops rushed in. A guy had been stabbed 13 times. You get desensitized.”
But he says he always had plenty of rage.
“When I was locked up, all the stuff going on inside me inspired me to write the songs we play. I sent all those lyrics home.” When he got out in April after three years in L.A. County jail and then five years in Wasco State Prison in Kern County, he says he had 30 songs in the can. “All of our songs except two or three were written in prison.”
Not everyone can relate to Orr’s lyrics.
‘ “Burden Child’ is about a kid who goes in and out of prison who sucks off his family. ‘Mind Fuck System Shot’ is about how our correctional system is shot. About how the correctional officers suck on the tit of the state. They get $60,000 plus double or triple overtime for being babysitters. They don’t do shit. Every time we play that song, I dedicate it to those fools. The amount of money that is spent on prisons is unreal. It’s become an industry. There are 180,000 people locked up in 34 California prisons. Inmates who work in prison get paid pennies an hour.”
Ad Seg has been together for seven months. Orr reunited with two former bandmates whom he played with in the Antelope Valley bands Fed Up and Ripped to Shreds. “Everybody relocated here.”
“I got mixed up selling drugs and guns.” He says he shot someone in self-defense who drew a gun on him. “The gun wasn’t registered. I didn’t call the cops, and I left the scene of the crime.” He was charged with manslaughter, reduced from first-degree murder.
As of early 2010, Ad Seg regularly plays Fannie’s in El Cajon and at guerrilla shows staged by Pyrate Punx at random locations. Orr, 32, works as a chef and does auto-detailing. “I’m getting a degree in psychology from Cal State San Marcos. My goal is to get a doctorate in clinical psychology. I want to look out for would-be gang-bangers and find out what got them there in the first place.”
He will not let up on the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“A lot of these prisons are run backwards. Arnold [Schwarzenegger] cut back on rehabilitation. There is no more anger management or Alcoholics Anonymous or counseling, making it impossible for anybody to better themselves if they are so inclined.… When you get out they give you money. It’s not uncommon that the first thing most of these guys buy when they are released with their $200 in gate money is dope and a pistol. Seventy percent [of inmates] end up going back in.”