Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kevin Crowley - The Abused

The Abused, a NYHC original, and one of the very best early 80s EPs. Appropriate coverage has been on the DCXX checklist since day one, finally we catch up with singer Kevin Crowley. We need a drug free youth... -Gordo DCXX

Where did you grow up?

New York City for the most part, but I “did time” in Lansford, PA; Streamwood, IL; Woodbridge, CT & Netanya, Israel.

What was your early music exposure?

I have a sister who is eight years older than me and very musically inclined (hi Radha). When she was in her teens she played drums in an all girl rock band. They used to rehearse in her bedroom (it was the coolest thing in the world to a six year old). There was always music blaring in our house. So while my friends were humming the theme songs to Speed Racer & Ultra Man, I was being weaned on the likes of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple & Led Zeppelin.

Youngblood, Kerry Kraker and Kevin Crowley, Photo courtesy of: Kevin Crowley

How did you get into punk and early HC?

I moved back to the city just as I was about to enter tenth grade (fall of 1980?). I got accepted to Music & Art HS which at the time was up in Harlem near City College. I remember standing outside of the school on the first day, seeing a group of kids who were punk rockers and being in awe of them. They looked and dressed so different from everyone else. They were an obvious minority, yet they were oblivious to all the kids around them who were staring or making comments. I instantly identified with them. I ended up becoming very good friends with a kid named Kerry Kraker, who turned me on to a lot of really great music. We started hanging out on Avenue A and eventually progressed from “punks” to “Hardcore Punks”. 

What were some stand out early NYHC shows you attended?

The first shows I went to were at A7 and were probably the most influential. Bands like Kraut, Heart Attack & The Mob always put on great shows there. Seeing the Bad Brains play at Irving Plaza and seeing the Dead Kennedys play in Staten Island also stand out in my memory. I don’t think I went to a show that didn’t stand out in one way or another. It was a really great time to be into the scene.

Who were your favorite punk/HC bands of the time?

For such a simple question, I’m having a hard time coming up with an answer. So many bands were so good. Most bands’ records don’t do justice to the live shows they put on. But, if I have to name names…the Bad Brains would probably top the list followed by (in no order of importance): Minor Threat, Kraut, The Mob, Heart Attack, SSD, Urban Waste, Cause For Alarm, Antidote, Reagan Youth…etc (this list is pre Murphy’s Law / Agnostic Front / Cro Mags). I also listened to a lot of Discharge & GBH, although I never got to see them play live.

When did you start doing artwork and stuff for bands/venues?

The first flyer I drew was a “coming soon” flyer for The Abused (we wanted to build some hype once I started singing with them). So I guess you could say we had the flyer before the gig. In retrospect, it would have been pretty funny if we never played a show after I made that flyer. I pretty much stuck to flyers for our own shows. The pointillism technique that I used was really labor intensive and the flyers took a long time to complete.

How did you get to know the other guys in The Abused? What did you do before the band musically?

I met the other guys at A-7, Raf & Dave basically came up & introduced themselves to me. I really didn’t get to know them until we started playing together. We ended up becoming great friends. Pre-Abused I wasn’t doing anything musically except for pretending to play guitar. I wasn’t very good. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I stuck to vocals.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

that ep is like a piece of concrete landing on your throat - awesome to see kevin here and hope to read more. thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Great piece! Love that Reagan flyer...

new york hc forever!!! said...

thanks double cross. the abused is one of my favourite bands. kevin was a very important personality in the new york scene 80-84. he created the new york hardcore logo. for me, the new york scene circa 80-84 was a lot better, creative and important than the 85-89 (but this is my own opinion). more abused!!

war games said...

would love to see all the original crowley flyer art here, great site, keep up the good work.

Jim Pitts said...

Great Band! One of the mittfull of 7' records that I still own! Cool to see all the flyers too, since I was pretty much a west coast boy.

Anonymous said...

I can not even begin to state how influential Kevin Crowley's flyer art has been in my life as a flyer/fanzine maker and designer has been. It wasn't until the early 1990's that much of it has been seen by people outside of the original A7 scene. I only had three of his flyers at that point and not the three on this site.

-Dave K.

Ben Edge said...

Great band, and Kevin's vocals sound like they had a direct influence on Mike Judge, but I'm only speculating.