Monday, February 22, 2010

What one hardcore/punk album has stood the test of time for you?

Harley delivers some Hard Times at City Gardens, Trenton NJ, Photo: Ken Salerno

Harley Flanagan - Cro-Mags

Bad Brains Roir cassette, Ace Of Spades, Master Of Reality, any old Minor Threat before the one with the sheep on the cover, Jealous Again, first Circle Jerks album, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, Cockney Rejects...a lot of great stuff that came out around that time...I can't narrow it down to one. I tried to bring elements of all of these things and more into the stuff I started writing. I don't know if I succeeded but these were some of the influences and inspirations. I also liked a lot of DC and west coast stuff, Void was off the hook. There was a lotta great stuff. That first Scream album was sick. Of course there were a lot more. In the beginning it was the Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, The Ramones, Dead Boys...that's what set it off for me as far as punk and then hardcore. But..anyway, that was the 70s.

Even shows like Siouxsie And The Banshees and all that old punk shit like the Buzzcocks...I mean it wasn't hardcore or anything, but there was a lot of great shit happening in those days. I saw a lot of great shows like that at the Paladium and at Irving Plaza, never mind all the little punk gigs at Max's and CB's back in the OOOLD days with all the little hardcore gigs at A7 and all the other great places.

Check out my new book coming out - it talks about all of it.

Mike and Ian with the Minor Threat skateboard

Mike Vallely - Professional Skateboarder

I have to go with the first Minor Threat EP. That record just screams out above the rest with everything I've ever associated with hardcore music: the DIY ethos, the energy and power of the music, and the urgency and passion of the lyrics. I can't play that record without getting fired up.

A deep thinking Justin Guavin, Photo courtesy of: Guav

Guav - Conviction Fanzine / Records

In 1986 I was 14 years old living in Ithaca, NY and I knew that it didn't get much harder than Mötley Crüe's "Shout At The Devil." Their song "Red Hot" was pretty much the fastest song anyone could humanly play, and "Bastard"—that song is just MEAN. I was convinced that that was the pinnacle of hard music.

Flipping through the radio late one night when I should have been sleeping, I came across a radio show from Ithaca College called The Sound And The Fury, and it was playing the most atrocious, discordant garbage that I had ever heard. And for some reason I couldn't stop listening to it. It was terrible.

I grabbed my tape recorder and held it up to the radio and taped 90 minutes of the radio show that way. And I listened to that tape over and over again. And then some more. I didn't want to like it, because I thought if I liked punk, I'd have to be a punk rocker—and I wanted to be a metal dude.

But it had gotten its hooks into me and once I figured out when the show was, I'd stay up and tape it like that. The only problem was, to save space on the tape and get the most music onto it, I'd pause the recorder in between songs when the DJ was talking, so I ended up with piles of tapes full of bands that I loved and had no idea what their names were. But there were a handful of songs that really stuck out for me. I somehow learned that my favorite song, "Sailin On," was by a band called the Bad Brains.

Later that year I was visiting my grandfather down in NYC and he gave me some money to go to Tower Records, and one of the records I bought was Bad Brains "Rock For Light." I ran back to his apartment and listened to the record, and was pleased to find out that two of the other songs that were my favorites from my unlabeled tapes were also the Bad Brains, from that record. Jackpot!

And that's pretty much all I listened to for a month. I had never heard anything so urgent, frantic and yet so tight and melodic as the Bad Brains. And to this day, that record has stood the test of time for me and every time I play it it's like I'm 14 and hearing it for the first time all over again. I'm always blown away by it.

A close second place, both for it's musical longevity and personal impact on my life, would go to Gorilla Biscuits, "Start Today."


Anonymous said...

Harley, unexpectedly eloquent

Anonymous said...

it's good to see harley got his caps lock button fixed!

the mosher said...

whats the matter anonymous? you afraid u gonna get capped yourself?

Ben Edge said...

Hey, I like the one with the sheep on the cover!

Anonymous said...

i somehow bet $10000 that tim or gordo completely edited harley's response so that it was actually readable.

Anonymous said...

Very revealing that asked to name punk/hc albums, Harley names albums by Motorhead and Sabbath. Go back and listen to "Ace of Spades"-- it's like an instruction manual on how to build "The Age of Quarrel." Ow, I just hurt my neck.

Anonymous said...

that has got to be the most suggestive Cro Mags photo ever...

master...MASTER said...

you have to agree, harley's list is pretty much perfect. i love how somehow in his eyes there is 'early' and 'late' minor threat. i mean, i see what he's saying, but it's just crazy how ground zero his perspective is.

Anonymous said...

The pic of Ian and Mike with the Minor Threat board is fuckin saaaweeeet!

martin said...

i think every band and album mentioned is highly superior. the cro-mags and revolution mother kill it. it is great to read harley and mike v. speak on hardcore when they have two of the best bands out there. i would say the bad brains, minor threat, the circle jerks, the exploited, the pistols, the clash, and slayer all got me going...