In the pantheon of truly frightening scenarios - the bedroom scene in The Exorcist, grandfatherly rockers in tight leather pants, any Geraldo at Large episode - few chill the spine more than an unruly army of underage boozers.
For Francis Mark, vocalist-drummer with New York hardcore quintet From Autumn To Ashes, his very own horror story unfolded during a pre-tour vacation on Australia' Gold Coast at possibly the worst time imaginable - Schoolies week.
"The whole place was over-run with 15-year-olds,"says Mark recounting the nightmare over the phone from his Long Island base. "We don't have kids that young running around in the States but at Schoolies there were just these kids, you know, little kids running around getting wasted. It was crazy!"
What's worse, Mark and his over-age band mates were quickly labelled 'toolies' for carelessly wandering into the party zone. "We were too old to be there apparently," he laughs.
Not intimidating is Holding A Wolf By The Ears, FATA's newly-released fourth album whose title is a derivation of Thomas Jefferson quotation. According to Mark, the Brian (Strike Anywhere) McTernan-produced set finds the band performing with a renewed vigour.
"I think everybody stepped up technically and as songwriters," he says. "I'm thrilled with that record and that's nice to say because I'm usually very analytical about things I'm a part of musically. But Holding A Wolf.. is the first time I've left the studio and said 'that's exactly what it's supposed to sounds like."
Struck with a musical epiphany as a 10-year-old during a Metallica/Guns n' Roses/Faith No More triple billing in 1992 - "my father convinced my mother to let him take me" - Mark concedes his path was immediately chosen. And with hugely successful cross-over albums at the time by Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers forever altering the musical landscape, the legacy of 90s alt-rock has influenced his own career.
Mark formed FATA as a teenager in 2000 with Long Beach friends, singer Ben Perri and guitarist Brian Deneeve, signing to Vagrant Records in 2003.
"Dave Grohl kind of influenced me to become a singing drummer because one of my favourite Nirvana songs was a b-side called Marigold that he sang," says Mark who assumed both drumming and lead vocal roles following Perri's sudden departure last year. "And on the first From Autumn To Ashes record I said 'ok, I'm going to take this song Chloroform Perfume and I'm just going to sing it and that was directly inspired by Marigold."
"This band has given me a creative outlet to express myself through music and to share my ideas with kids. People complain that the hardcore style got all blown up and commercial and too many kids go to the shows now and it's the hot topic in the shopping malls. But to me, sure some things have been lost along the way, the fact of the matter is now I can make a modest living making art and music."
Resting up after almost nine months on the road, including their first tour of Mexico, FATA are set to visit Europe through February before making their third visit to Australia as part of the multi-city Soundwave festival.
I'm not sure if this is just a rumour but I heard that Bad Brains were replacing Social Distortion on the tour," says Mark." In the event that it is true, they are one of my favourite bands. But hopefully I'm not spreading false information on ya! Ha!"