Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Joe Songco - NYC Hardcore, Thrash, and Hip Hop

Outburst drummer Joe Songco brings us a history lesson that takes us to the streets of NYC in 1986 and drops a ton of knowledge on how a lot of what is going on today in music can be traced back to that era. NYHC. -Gordo DCXX

Most, if not all, great music genres evolve in self-contained fashion. Musicians forming attitudes and ideologies to go along with their songs while loyal fans spread the message and the music, eventually transforming into a full-blown scene. The British Invasion in England. The Motown Explosion in Detroit. Punk again in England. Disco in New York. New Wave once again in England. Grunge in Seattle. To follow the trend and timeline, it was generally "one city, one scene." But in the early to mid 80's, New York City had three great up-and-coming music scenes running alongside each other at the same time. It was an unforgettable time to be a fan of underground music and if you were lucky enough to have been there to tune in to the streets, you will always remember what a magical time it was.

Hip hop, thrash and hardcore. Three musically distinct genres growing and functioning independently at first, destined to be intertwined by the end of the decade, thanks in large part to the unique swagger and undeniable attitude of New Yorkers themselves.

Each scene had their sources to communicate to the masses: When it came to radio, hardcore had shows like WNYU's Hellhole and Crucial Chaos; hip hop had shows put on by DJ's like Red Alert, Mr. Magic and Chuck Chillout; and thrash could be heard on Seton Hall's radio station WSOU 89.5 and every Friday night on WNEW's Metal Shop. Fans of each scene had places to go see their favorite acts all around the city. You went to A7, CBGB or Max's Kansas City if you wanted to dive and slam. You went to Latin Quarter or Union Square if you wanted to do the wop. You went to L' Amour's in Brooklyn if you wanted to headbang.

These were the scenes going in the greater New York area circa 1984 and the going was good. MC's rocked the mic, hardcore kids danced in the pit and headbangers, well, banged their heads. And each scene had their early pioneers getting out there and inspiring many others to listen, join the movement and perhaps try their hand at playing this music that had now captivated them. Kurtis Blow, Fearless Four, Grandmaster Flash, Run-DMC, Urban Waste, Kraut, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Anthrax, Overkill, Manowar, Nuclear Assault - just to name a few…all playing to their respective crowds while existing peacefully in the confines of the bubble that was their scene.

But somewhere along the way, funny things began to happen: Run DMC used Eddie Martinez to play a blistering rock riff and solo in their classic track "Rock Box." The Beastie Boys traded their instruments for microphones, signed with Def Jam and released "Rock Hard" and "She's On It." Anthrax released "Spreading The Disease," with the video for "Madhouse" showing hospitalized patients showing off their best slam dancing moves in a mental ward. Spreading The Disease also featured an inner record sleeve collage containing numerous hardcore images. If you looked closely, you saw skinheads, moshing, diving, Dan Spitz skateboarding, a Circle Jerks t-shirt, the Corrosion of Conformity logo and the biggest pre-cursors to New York crossover movement to that point, Scott Ian wearing an S.O.D. t-shirt and an image of Billy Milano himself. And finally in December of 1985, S.O.D. - which stood for Stormtroopers Of Death - released "Speak English Or Die."

S.O.D. had fans in both the metal and the hardcore scenes buzzing. "It's played by 1/2 of Anthrax so it's probably metal, right?" "But the singer is a huge hardcore skinhead, so it's gotta be hardcore, right?" "But it's on Megaforce and the guitar sound is undeniably metal!" "Yeah, but the speed, power and aggression is completely hardcore!" It was like the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial slogan: "Two great tastes taste great together." And whatever you may have thought about Speak English Or Die back then, depending on whichever scene you were loyal to, there was no denying that S.O.D. had kicked down a door that had previously separated hardcore and metal. And it wouldn't be long before hip hop would be joining in on the crossover front, setting the stage for unchartered waters in New York City.

"Walk in the door, get on the floor, hard rock, hard hitting hip hop hardcore." - Run DMC "Run's House"

In 1986, amid a slew of destined-to-be-classic NYHC records released by Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law and Crumbsuckers, Ludichrist not only issued their own classic with "Immaculate Deception" but they tipped their caps to the hip hop scene in their song "Green Eggs and Ham" by breaking into a full rendition of Run DMC's "Rock Box" and busting their own funky rhymes. Also released in 1986 was Agnostic Front's "Cause For Alarm", which was a definite turn towards a more metal direction. With the addition of Alex on guitar and Louie on drums, the record was chock full of double bass and guitar solos.

The Los Angeles-based speed thrashers Slayer released Reign In Blood, also in 1986, but what turned heads was that the band had signed to Def Jam, joining a stable of artists such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy and The Beastie Boys. When the Beasties released "Licensed To Ill", Slayer's Kerry King performed the guitar solos on "Fight For Your Right" and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn." When Slayer came to New York City in December of '86, touring in support of Reign In Blood, they selected Agnostic Front to open for them at The Ritz. If you were in attendance that night, you heard "Hiding Inside" and "Victim In Pain" then "Angel of Death" and "Chemical Warfare" on the same night from bands who shared the same stage.

"Well they say rap and metal can never mix, but all of them can suck our...sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area." - Anthrax "I'm The Man"

As 1987 rolled around, Anthrax set out to kick down another door. Following the release of "Among The Living", Anthrax released "I'm The Man" - an EP, featuring the title track - which could only be described as a rap-metal comedy skit. The EP's cover showed the band posing against a wall with the Anthrax logo written in graffiti while decked out in Adidas shelltops, sweat suits and baseball caps. It was a clear salute to their affinity for the now very popular hip hop movement coming out of their hometown. "I'm The Man" contained samples of Run DMC, The Fat Boys and The Beastie Boys.

By the end of 1987, Public Enemy had recorded their now-classic track "Bring The Noise" for the Def Jam soundtrack to the film Less Than Zero. Contained in the back-and-forth lyrics shared between Chuck D and Flavor Flav was this return head nod back to Anthrax: "Beat is for Eric B., LL as well, hell. Wax is for Anthrax, still I can rock bells." It became the leadoff track from their early 1988 Def Jam release "It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back", which also contained the song "She Watch Channel Zero?!" - a song built completely around a sample from Slayer's "Angel Of Death."

"And then just maybe you'll realize that it didn't have to be...only as directed." - Ludichrist - "Only As Directed"

By 1988 through into 1989, the three underground scenes weren't so underground anymore. In fact, you could've easily gone into Tower Records in the Village to find your favorite records by artists in all 3 genres. New York Hardcore was feeling the influence on both sides of the coin. Agnostic Front released "Liberty and Justice For…" and Cro-Mags released "Best Wishes." Both records, with songs like "Anthem" and "Death Camps," exhibited the blazing raw power of hardcore while adding certain elements of hard-as-nails thrash metal with rousing success. Taking it even one step further was Leeway, who managed to fuse the hardcore and metal while picking the right spots to add elements like grooves, rhythm and hip-hop style verses. Look no further than "Catholic High School" and "Kingpin" for prime examples of Leeway's ability to merge all three styles together seamlessly.

New growth of unparalleled proportions would follow, since it seemed like it was acceptable to experiment in new sounds. And shining examples of New York City's musical shades of gray would only benefit the fans of their beloved forms of music. Here are just a few:

Underdog's Richie transforming into MC Richie B., spitting verses like a pro during live performances at the break of "Say It To My Face." If you were fortunate enough to see his straight hip hop delivery, you were nodding your head like a b-boy, as we all were.

The emergence of the metal (and some hip hop) influence in a newer breed of NYHC bands that incorporated more "jug-jug" riffs and heavier groove influenced mid-tempo breaks while the front men would choose to express lyrics with more rhythmic throat shouting (more MC than singer) over the traditional aggressive melodic singing. Some examples would include Sick Of It All, Killing Time, Breakdown, Outburst, Rest In Pieces, Judge, and Maximum Penalty.

KRS-1 introduced Sick Of It All at the start of "Blood, Sweat and No Tears." Many NYHC fans were also fans of New York Hip Hop and for the Blastmaster to deliver his patented "fresh for 89…you sucker!" before Sick Of It All began "It's Clobbering Time," well that was just a tremendous show of the unity between the two scenes.

Public Enemy and Anthrax got together to record a new version of "Bring The Noise," complete with a video which showed a mosh pit, stage diving, Scott Ian rhyming on the mic and Joey Belladonna behind the 1's and 2's.

The Beastie Boys sampled Bad Brains' "The Big Takeover" on the first single from their 1992 record "Check Your Head." The Beasties would re-visit their old hardcore instruments on "Sabotage" from their 1994 record "Ill Communication."

The advent of new hybrid acts who further blurred the lines, such as Helmet, Biohazard and Prong while certain NYHC bands evolved into new acts with a new sound and direction, such as Gorilla Biscuits and Underdog spawning Quicksand and Into Another, respectively.

Queens' based Def Jam hip hop group Onyx released their debut effort, "Bacdafucup", which featured slam dancing, mosh pits and crowd surfing in their videos for "Throw Ya Gunz" and "Slam." (Cypress Hill also incorporated the mosh pit and stage diving in their video for "Insane In The Brain").

Yo, was that the beginning to a Stetsasonic jam? Nope. That was "Eyes Of Tomorrow" by the Cro-Mags. Welcome back, LL Cool John!

Collaborations by acts like Biohazard and Onyx on "Judgment Night" from the film of the same name's soundtrack and a re-recording of "Slam." Sick Of It All later got into the studio with hip-hop act (and fellow Queens residents) Mobb Deep to collaborate on a new version of Mobb's 1995 classic "Survival Of The Fittest."

Anthrax covered classic D.R.I hardcore songs "Snap" and "I'd Rather Be Sleeping" on their record "Volume 8: The Threat Is Real".

And if New York set the dominoes up to fall everywhere else, fall they did. Here are some examples of what was going on outside of the Big Apple:

In Texas, D.R.I. followed up their 1985 hardcore classic "Dealing With It" with a record aptly named "Crossover" in 1987. The album cover featured the band's well known "moshing guy" logo cast in (what else?) a shiny metal alloy. There was no turning back for D.R.I. as they followed "Crossover" with straight up thrash records in "Four Of A Kind" and "ThrashZone."

In North Carolina, Corrosion of Conformity followed up their 1985 hardcore classic "Animosity" with their step-in-the-metal-direction 1987 EP "Technocracy" on Metal Blade Records - just a sign of things to come as the C.O.C. hardcore fans used to know and love released the blistering metal classic "Blind" in 1991.

Orange County, California and Revelation artist Inside Out morphed into Rage Against The Machine, taking the hip-hop/hardcore crossover to triple platinum heights with their self titled debut record in 1991.

In Los Angeles, Suicidal Tendencies, followed their self-titled 1984 hardcore classic by embracing the crossover with records like "Join The Army," "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow...?" and "Lights...Camera...Revolution!" Intentional tip-of-the-hat to NYHC or not, Suicidal's "War Inside My Head" contained massive elements of Cro-Mags' "Don't Tread On Me" and Warzone's "We're The Crew." Oh, and former ST bassist Rob Trujillo now plays for Metallica.

Also in L.A., going in the other direction, Slayer released "Undisputed Attitude" - a full length record of covers for some of their favorite hardcore cover tunes from bands like Minor Threat, D.R.I. and Verbal Abuse.

"I give thanks for inspiration. It guides my mind along the way" - Beastie Boys "Pass The Mic"

It's probably a safe bet to say that the kids today don't give a lot of thought to the lineage, the DNA, the why, when and how it all took place. But if you were there back in the day, you know how it all went down. Twenty five years ago, who would've thought that there would be an artist like Kid Rock - a Harley Davidson-riding white MC rapping over a Metallica song? Twenty five years ago, who would've been ready for Limp Bizkit - a white MC rocking a backwards Yankee cap doing his best b-boy, dropping rhymes with a band playing hardcore and metal riffs? System Of A Down, P.O.D. and Korn should be proud to hail from California and Slipknot can call Iowa home. Limp Bizkit & Kid Rock? Florida & Michigan, respectively...and so on and so forth.

But we all know that a large part of their musical heritage is owed to a time in a place where lines were crossed, minds were opened, risks were taken and new styles gave birth to even newer styles. New York. And that's not a boast...well, maybe it is...but that's also a fact. Represent.


Marko said...

Very insightful. Interesting read.

Nick said...

Excellent article, great insights but there's one major issue: most of these bands suck.

If this is what gave the world Kid Rock & Limp Bizkit then perhaps we should be wishing it hadn't happened. Not to mention the fact that DRI, Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags were all better before they took on metal turns.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that was said in the post.if you trace down the tracks,you will come to realise that everything that's popular today started with the hardcore scene in one way or another.long before the over saturation of the street/skate fashion,hardcore kids were already rockin' brands like Vans,Stussy,Air Jordan 1s etc...Some of the biggest names in the music industry got their start/influence in the punk/hardcore scene:Beastie Boys,RHCP,RATM,Moby,Metallica,Slayer,PE,Thursday,FOB etc...Although hardcore bands never really reached the same heights of success as some of their peers who borrowed from them,i must say that hardcore is something that's really unique,open minded and always bringin somethin fresh to the table;musical styles,ethics,fashion etc and for that,i'm always grateful to have discovered hardcore.2 decades and still going strong!

thefleX said...

Good article, but as Nick said, most of these bands indeed suck

Damaged said...

While the author of this post did not claim to be comprehensive, I thought I would add a few footnotes. SOIA also played show with BDP at the Marquee in Manhattan in either late 90 or early 91, in addition to the intro by KRS. Also, Inside Out from Westchester had two Emcee's, matching jackets and cover art featuring cartoon figures in a B-Boy stance. I saw them at the Anthrax so they were around in 90 or before. In addition, hip-hop and hardcore merged in graffiti not just music. DMS, Natz MPC Sane Smith's American flag piece at ABC-No-Rio's and so on...

metal's not h.c. said...

anthrax? is this the fuckin' band who wanted to copyright the new york hardcore logo?, is this the fuckin' band who sold the hardcore movement to mtv and kerrang? hardcore was a lot better without all the crossover shit. crossover really killed the true hardcore spirit, it wasn't the same anymore.

rap as a fart said...

rap's not hardcore, hardcore's not rap.

adam said...

I was into metal and hip hop long before I ever got into HC. the first time I saw a HC band was seeing Murphy's Law open for the Beastie Boys (with PE)...

As much as I loved metal and hip hop in the late 80's, it killed the hardcore scene of the late 80's.

hip hop got so many suburban HC kids into thinking they were thugs and stupid shit started happening at almost every show. Hello CT hardcore scene from 89-95.

I lost some of my earliest HC scene friends to them turning from skater kids into HC into thugs carrying mace and brass knuckles and eventually guns.

and most of the best HC bands from the mid to late 80's sucked after they went almost completely metal. Every decent band by the early 90s that wasn't following in the footsteps of the revolution summer bands was chug chugging and ripping off slayer and metallica and sepultura.

and that judgement night soundtrack was fucking painful. it just showed how amateurish the mixing of the genres was by the mainstream.

the best things to result from those scenes all crossed over were subtle influences and samples and people cross pollenating into the other scenes, not the garbage that is most of today's music (kid bizkit, slipknot and shit).

Anonymous said...

this article is actually offensive.
i am sorry.
the crossover acts and the hiphop watered down the spirit of hxc. it was a plan to get bigger, sick of it all had krs one on there record to sell more records, they signed to a fake harcore lable (in-effect) someone post the famous discussion between the born against guys and soia,which led to members of soia trying to fight them. brings up another topic violence, the more and more hip hop was intruding there were more and more thug type of hip hop kids there for fights. there is no doubt that hxc kids were into early hiphop because it was a raw as hxc and the topics they were touching were as real as hardcore. giving any credit to anthrax is totally disgusting yes they tried to copyright the nyhc symbol, look at the i am the man cover they look ridiculous and it's almost offensive. a bad joke. the song is dumb as well.
i have never met joe from outburst but i did see them a few times and they were a band going down the same shitty road of trying to leave hxc behind ie: red hot chili pepper covers, dressing stupid and trying to be "funky" adding slap bass parts ect. joe thanks for not reminding us of how stupid token entry looked and sounded on their last record, this time was actually an embarassing time for nyhc. quicksand and into another were trying not to be hardcore how obvious could they be, i love both those bands and in my opinion those 2 and burn and supertouch were the only bands actually trying to evolve and do something exiting and different. then there was the whole abc no rio scene that were holding punk and hardcore down thank you for born against, citizens arrest, rorshach and plenty of others for keeping that spirit alive.
i can go on forever.
hardcore is not metal or hiphop, yes we all were dabbling into hearing different kinds of underground music but as others have posted before me most of these bands that morphed them suck or were better (maybe more respected) before. thanks.

chris said...

Great article Joe. That was nice trip down memory lane!

Songco said...

Anonymous II,

You're obviously a hardcore purist and I didn't mean to offend your sensibilities. The look-back was simply a deconstruction of what many bands and styles today descended from.

To 'give credit to'something and 'enjoying' or 'liking' something are two different things. Sure you can shun and loathe Anthrax or KRS or whoever else was mentioned in the piece, that certainly is your right. But to deny or discredit their influences on crossover is impossible. It happened for better or worse - and believe me, I completely agree w/ the sentiment here that many if not all the HC bands were better in their pre-metal state.

And a few things about the Outburst comments - could you define "dressing stupid"? I didn't realize there was an NYHC dress code. And sure, we played the Red Hot's "Police Helicopter" out live during the covers part of the set a few times, but so what? That's a wicked song (unlike Under The Bridge or something)...and then we'd launch into "Life On My Own" or "Banned in DC". What was the big deal? But still, thanks for coming down to see us.

But in the end, I'm sure Tim & Brian like that the people are talking, for or against, at least there's discussion on the look-back!


First off, as always, big thanks to Joe for delivering the goods. His contributions are always welcomed and much appreciated.

For me, the way that I looked at this piece was as if it was a history lesson. Whether or not I liked some of the bands or what came out of that whole HC/metal/rap crossover, you can't deny that it happened. I thought it was a well written piece and cool hearing it from someone that was smack dab in the middle of the whole thing.

I think you have to keep in mind that just because someone is documenting something, it doesn't mean that they agree with or even like what they are documenting. Not saying that's fully the deal with Joe here, but I think his comments speak for themselves. -Tim DCXX

George said...

Well done Joe. Your article brought forth a thoughtful & passionate discussion about music. And that's a good thing. I hope others will come forth & write pieces like yours to the fold & further inspire an exchange of ideas.

Gil said...

Way to tie it all together!

BW said...

Great post Joe. You're dead on.

Todd said...

Whether something is "true hardcore" or not has no bearing on whether or not something exists.

Also, any discussion of "what hardcore is about" is laughable at best, as a similar hodgepodge melting pot influence history lesson can (and has) been written about the birth of hardcore.

Damaged said...

Regarding the comment regarding Outburst "dressing stupidly", that reminded me the time I saw them play at the Anthrax. During a break between songs, a youth-crew looking guy standing next to me cupped his hands together and yelled, "Get a haircut!" Apparently, he was referring to the singer who was probably the only person in the club with long hair (unless Malcom Tent was recording, that is).

kaprookie said...

Hey Damaged, I've heard that story before too. Brian did let his hair get a little Jim Morrison-ish but as pictures will show, he got it back under control by the time we gigged w/ GB & Judge later that year...

Stark-Arts said...

I like the article without having to agree with all of it. The folks that say most of the bands suck - specify...
Certainly you are not talking about the bands that are prominently mentioned.

The fact is that HC is a bastard. To even say that it is one of the forms that came along at the same time is silly...

You can say what you want but to me that 86-90 time was golden for NYHC - the "big" bands were still around - Roger was out of jail, HR was back in Bad Brains, SxE had not yet totally fractured, and you could see 5 bands for 6 bucks at CB's and then pay maybe 8 or a really expensive 10 to see 4 at City Gardens or head to the Anthrax. You could go to see Slayer at Lamour and half the crowd was HC kids, you could see the Ramones and half the crowd as HC kids...You could see Murphys Law with the Beasties...
The scene was not totally fractured by the gang attitudes that came later...
Enough ranting - the point is it's not like hardcore sprung from someones loins fully formed and original - it is the bastard of metal and punk and to be a "hardcore purist" is just silly...

Ben Edge said...

Hardcore is absolutely not the bastard child of metal and punk. It is a sub-genre of punk, plain and simple. It is the result of taking the speed, volume, intensity, and shouted vocal style of punk to the next level.

"Hardcore" is short for "hardcore punk," but somewhere along the line, people forgot about the "punk" part, and a lot of that can be attributed to the influx of metal influence on the sub-genre (much of it mentioned in this article, which is great by the way).

The removal of the punk style, ethic, and attitude from hardcore is one of the great musical crimes of our time. It should be expected that a genre will deteriorate though, because it happened with

country (the Nashville establishment turning it into pop and edging out any left-wing ideas),

rhythm & blues (Fats Domino to James Brown to P-Funk to . . . TLC and Destiny's Child? Please!),

and hip hop (I won't even go into the awful shit that passes for hip hop nowadays, we all know how far that genre has sunk).

Within all of these genres, hardcore included, there are those artists who are "keepin' it real" for lack of a better phrase. Some of them may be labeled purists or traditionalists, but they are trying to reignite what made their given genre so great in the first place, even if that means ignoring the abominations of the past couple of decades.

Hardcore Punk for life,

Ben Edge

P.S. one more thing to add to Joe's article: Public Enemy sampling "Rise Above" by Black Flag.

Stormy said...

Joe, great read. I remember the days of metal bands and hardcore bands in NYC sharing shows, which almost always lead to violence unfortunately. I remember seeing Nuclear Assault and Killing Time and it was a bloodbath. As far as the music itself (and the merging on genres), some bands got it right and some didn't, but that's all subjective. Agnostic Front's "Cause For Alarm" and Crumbsuckers "Life of Dreams", to me, were the perfect NYHC crossover album. Leeway's "Born to Expire" is another example of how to pull it off correctly. Unfortunately most bands continued to go further into the metal direction, releasing (in my opinion) garbage like "Beast on my Back", "Beg to Differ", "Alpha Omega", "Adult Crash" etc, leaving all traces of hardcore long behind them. As far as NYHC and hip-hop melding, that NEVER worked for me. Beastie Boys were great because they played hip hop songs and hardcore songs on the same album, but were smart enough not to mix the two. The only NY bands i can think of that had a slight (and i mean very slight) hip hop influence in their music, especially the vocals, would ne Absolution and Burn. And that's stretching it. To me, bands like Public Enemy and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (who even covered Dead Kennedys) were more hardcore than the hardcore bands they influenced.

I remember liking SOD and Anthrax (Among the Living only) in high school back in like 86, but listening to it now, it was all a big joke. Generic metal riffs and juvenile lyrics, with some elements of speed and breakdowns to give it a "hardcore" vibe. Awful.

As far as crossover goes, i'll take DRI "Dealing With It", COC "Animosity/Technocracy" and most any Cryptic Slaughter album than what was happening in NY at the time.

Just my 2 cents. Great article as always Joe.


Stark-Arts said...

@ Ben - Many would say Black Flag was the first HC band...they were inspired by amongst other bands Black Sabbath. You don't get more metal than that...

@ Stormy - I agree that once the two split there was always violence. DRI/SOIA was a bloodbath tour...Slayer on the Week In The Abyss at Lamour was probably the most violent show I've ever been to and not so much becuase it was Slayer as it was a mix of HC kids and metal heads....

rob halford's not h.c. said...

black flag were inspired by black sabbath at their last albums, that's why "damaged" is still the best album they did. metal sucks.

GOOD LIFE RECORDINGS - Belgium. said...

Great article... fruits like Scott Ian with dollar signs in their eyes tried to ruin it for everyone, but so did Mobb Deep by trying to copyright the SOIA logo, anyone remember that ?

Regardless 86-90 was a very interesting time with a ton of great albums released, which i still listen to on a weekly basis.

I miss those days of creativity backed by a scene of real HC kids...

'God is everywhere... even in your underwear' - Ludichrist

and as their shirts said : 'most people are dicks'.



order the new SKARHEAD cd and get a FREE Maximum Penalty CD with it !

Stormy said...

I'm assuming rob halford's not h.c.'s comment was a joke, if not, that's sad. I'm guessing you don't like any early Corrosion of Conformity?

Side 2 of My War is infinitely more interesting than anything on Damage, which didn't even need to be recorded IMO. They should have just released the Dez sessions from Everything Went Black as the Damaged album.

eye for an eye said...

my war's b side it got more from the stooges than black sabbath, it's post-core with heavy rock influences, no metal. metal is a kind of disco-techno with loud guitars. and early c.o.c. is totally hardcore punk with some rock influences, no fuckin' metal! EYE FOR AN EYE!!

kaprookie said...

Eye For An Eye and Animosity were phenomenal hardcore records...which made their sudden metal turn all the more remarkable. By the time Blind was released, COC was all-out completely metal.

lars said...

great piece... so much of the culture that that Joe's article refers to is incredibly relevant right now. Every teenage kid in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, black or white, dresses essentially the same way my friends dressed 20 years ago. everyone wears vans, everyone skates....

Also, I've always thought that Leeway should have been the biggest band ever, but as fate would have it, they linked up with Chris Williamson, not Rick Rubin. In the end, Limp Bizkit blew up doing what I consider to be a watered down, safe-for-middle-America version of what Leeway really were... a b-boy metal band. Oh well..

One more thing, Damaged in his comment mentioned NY's Inside Out. Alex who played bass in that band, later was in Killing Time, and then left KT to start a live hip hop group along the lines of the Roots/Goats called "Justice System" that was signed to MCA in the early 90's. Check 'em out, they were pretty cool....

Anonymous said...


Right on Brother. Being a part of that scene & having played @ CBGB'S & going to countless shows there was my favorite time for music.Amazing article! Went to hundreds of shows all over the city & in NJ.Nvere forget Maxwell's in Hoboken,great little club.Opened for A.O.D. there.
Nice job my friend of keeping the Spirit Alive.

Occasional Irregularity said...

To the "anonymous" poster (11/18) who was offended by all of this, consider yourself yet another know-it-all, psuedo "keepin' it real" hardcore dope. You state so many (non) facts and cannot seem to realize that what you say is merely your opinion. As if you know how SOIA and KRS-One hooked up...as if you know anything about In-Effect Records. And as for the "debate" between SOIA and Born Against; you know nothing but what you heard...not what you experienced. No wonder you posted anonymously. Much easier to hide behind your bullshit!

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Anonymous said...

The 'true' hardcore that some posters are lamenting over the loss of never existed, except in each of our own subjective (and idealized) interpretations.

We're a community driven by nostalgia for a long-gone era of hardcore, and we don't even realize that what made that era so great was that it was too early for THEM to be nostalgic about any long-gone era. That era didn't wait. It didn't whine about was wasn't anymore, it created something NEW (key word) by building on what was (also key).

These are the bands we so revere, but we shun that same initiative to innovate or move the genre into different directions... the initiative that glorified and endeared them in the first place.

We're like those weirdos that reenact battles. It's creepy.

To imply that there is a 'true' hardcore is tantamount to saying that hardcore is (or should be) one thing and one thing only... That's it's not a running ticker of social commentary that, by design, ever-changes with the times to give its devotees reprieve from ever-changing times. That's what it was in the late 80s-mid 90s for me, while a decade earlier it was something entirely different.

Change is the key driver and spirit of hardcore. Once we were 'Screaming For' it, now we're just screaming AT it.