I felt into hardcore punk fifteen years ago reading Chris Coppola’s columns in french skateboard magazine, SuGaR. At that time I had no Internet connexion, no big brother (and I still… I guess…), no older friends… Skateboarding was the only thing that was a crossroad between many “counter-cultures” such as punk rock, hip-hop, graffiti. To me it was also more political than just a “toy” for white rich kids. I remember staring at Henry Rollins’s pictures, mic in his mouth, wearing just underwears and Vans. This freaked me out! That was at that time I discovered bands like BLACK FLAG (that’s why I’m now “barred for life” even if I didn’t appeared in the book though), MINOR THREAT (probably the reason why I’m straight edge) and the BAD BRAINS (that explains my negroplasty).
Another french skateboard magazine, called Tricks, was more into hip-hop and neo-metal. But it was while reading the first issue I had in my hands that I discovered bands who were already on the decline, such as BIOHAZARD and MADBALL, from NYC. The pictures of Evan Seinfeld’s huge spider tattoo, Freddy Cricien’s Yankees baseball cap or Hoya socks and sandals stoked me. I was like “Wuuuuut?! So-called gangsters and Hispanics playing punk, NO-WAY!!” Yes, as a matter of facts, that’s pretty much how my fascination for New York Hardcore scene did start!
Funny that while I’m writing these lines, Bazillion Points are doing a great job to assure Tony Rettman’s latest release promotion, the “NYHC 1980-1990” anthology book (pre-orders on 2014, Dec.3) – you can be sure that I’ll order this holy shit! I’m a bit bored with the 1995 NYHC documentary wich is IMHO a huge farce: Lord Ezec saying he doesn’t listen to hardcore (No?! You must be kidding!) but the Cramberries on sundays, No Redeeming Social Values making complete WTF stuffs (really funny anyway), Crown Of Thornz attendance’s mess and…well…Mr Healy! No, the NYHC scene definitly deserves a better tribute! The period covered by this book can much reveal the sensationnal “movement” it was.
Dealing with this, of course that there are some great traces of the NYHC scene. Bri Hurley’s “Making a scene” is such an amazing photobook and even actress Brooke Smith (Silence of the lambs, Grey’s Anatomy…) has some tales to tell about chilling on Lower East Side sidewalks, or in front of the CBGB. All-Mighty Internet is of course an intense source of pleasure if you want my opinion.
(NYHC ON DONAHUE)
(NYHC ON THE REGIS PHILBIN MORNING SHOW ABC)
(PEOPLE ARE TALKING – SKINHEADS AFTER GERALDO w/ ROGER & AMY)
These different TV scenes really sum up what I just LOVE about NYHC, or more or less what fascinates me: these actors of the scene stand as “proud americans”. You have to understand that, as a young french lad, I do not really get the american patriotism. It’s a fact: when I stare at french patriotism, I just think that’s crap. In my opinion, it is just about hiding a certain kind of hatred, probably not racism or fascism though, behind a sense of “pride” I just don’t get. But these young fellows are (originally) punks (even if Raybeez and Todd Youth do not consider themselves as “punks” but “skinheads” because of the druggy and artsy aspects of post 1977 punk rock era – and I personally do not blame them for that!) and they mostly got republican ideas! So I’m asking: how is it fucking possible that Amy and Roger had been married?? I’m also a bit dazed and confused that most fans of New York Hardcore subculture do not give a shit about NAUSEA or BORN AGAINST!
And what about MADBALL kicking some neo-nazi asses and these well known pictures of young Freddy Cricien sporting a SKREWDRIVER tee-shirt?
(MADBALL AGAINST NAZI PRICKS)
It’s like watching some recent footage of a ONE LIFE CREW video interview a friend of mine posted on my Facebook profile a few months ago, or different song titles Al Quint (from Maximum Rock’N’Roll) and I used to make fun of on my Facebook profile: Antidote’s “Foreign job lot”, S.O.D.’s “Speak english or die”, AGNOSTIC FRONT’s “Public Assistance” just to name a few. I just LOVE the lyrics of that last song cuz it’s so freaking conservative whereas Al (who knew Roger Miret in 1986 when “Cause for alarm” was released) told me that Roger was living on welfare lines himself!
Mark my words: it don’t write this to start a fire on the Internet: if you wanna deal with how american hardcore scene glorifizes all forms of violence we also can talk about Boston hardcore or Hermosa Beach’s scene! That’s not the point here, it’s just really fantastic: finally NYHC was the best way to denounce different types of western society’s weakness: big business in subversive forms of arts, violence, machism, sexism, religion… Just look at how the Krishna devotee thing was a complete joke concerning the CRO-MAGS bio – even if I’m a complete fan of C-M entire discography – Parris Mayhew (guitars from 1982 to 1991 and 1999 to 2001) is making fun of John “Smoothie” Joseph (though I follow his Iron Man skills) and Harley Flanagan attacked the band after receiving a massive “No, you can’t join us on stage tonight.” before a CRO-MAGS show at Webster Hall in NYC on 2012, July 6th! That’s tabloids! That’s amazing!
Yeah, I’m totally aware that after reading that, some of you will wonder why I’m a complete weirdo for being fascinated by something which seems, according to the manner I’m dealing with it, to be totally childish. Be assured that every subdivision of hardcore and punk culture or subculture, once in a while, receives the satire of my sociological studies background! The leather & spikes of my crust punk friends know what I’m talking about! That’s why I’d like to conclude this topic about NYHC with a picture of my own NYHC collection. I’m still looking for LEEWAY’s “Born to expire”, AGNOSTIC FRONT’s “Cause for alarm” and “Liberty and justice”, some BOLD and JUDGE EPs, KRAUT’s “An adjustment to society”, MADBALL’s “Ball of destruction” EP and “Set it off, WARZONE’s “Don’t forget the struggle, don’t the streets”…the list goes on…
PS: If you are into NYHC, you must check the Blogged and Quartered blogspot!