Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Christine Elise McCarthy on SSD's "The Kids Will Have Their Say"

Christine with Springa, Photo courtesy of: Christine Elise McCarthy

If you were hanging around the Boston hardcore scene in the early 80's, checking out bands like SSD, DYS and Last Rights, chances are that you ran into Christine Elise McCarthy a few times. If you were more like me and graduating from high school in the early 90's and checking out Beverly Hills 90210 every Wednesday night, you were seeing Christine Elise McCarthy playing Emily Valentine on TV. For me, finding out that an actress on a massively popular TV show was straight edge and used to roll with SSD, I thought that was pretty damn cool. Check out what Christine had to say to us about SSD's "The Kids Will Have Their Say". -Tim DCXX

For me - the seminal HC album was SSD's The Kids Will Have Their Say. Police Beat is my favorite song on that album...though I prefer the demo tape version (that I still have on cassette) of that song to the released version.

This album was not only the first hardcore album I ever owned - but also - Jaime Sciarappa was my BFF and Springa was my boyfriend at the time - so I had all levels of pride invested in it. Because I was so invested in this album - I probably know it better than any other of the genre and that might be part of why it endures for me. I was 17 when it came out and, though I had long been involved with the broader punk scene in Boston, there was a real dearth of people my age around. It seemed the kids on the scene and in bars (that required you be 21 for entry) were limited to me & Springa & Boston's now famous author, Michael Patrick MacDonald. So - the hardcore scene & my relationships with Jaime & Springa opened the floodgates & filled my life with kids my age that had similar aesthetics & overlapping taste in music. I cannot overstate how hugely important this was for me at the time.

Christine with Choke, Photo courtesy of: Christine Elise McCarthy

Overnight, I had an entire community of bald headed friends who were, despite their surly appearance, some of the sweetest & most sincere kids I had ever met. Compound the excitement of finally finding a social "network" (for lack of a better term) and the feeling of being accepted & safe (in high school these feelings are VERY valuable) with the undeniable energy & excitement of the live shows - and you might begin to understand what an important period this was in my life. That first SSD album transports me there in seconds.

As a really responsible kid who was straight edge before it became a movement - and as a kid that was very much a mother hen watching out for the well-being of all the kids I felt were in my charge (mainly the boys of SSD, DYS, Negative FX, Last Rites and some others) - the strictness of tone that SSD projected appealed to me, too. The band felt like the perfect combination of punk aesthetics and responsible behavior. This was an intoxicating mix for a maternal, control freak, punk rock high school gal.

So - The Kids Will Have Their Say was the soundtrack to this period of my life. There is a seriousness to the album that sets it apart, I think, from some of the other stuff of the era - but there is a simple advantage to being the first that might be the reason this album still holds up for me. I don't think it is that simple, though. I think the album holds up - because the community it introduced me to has held up. Those boys I befriended then are still my best friends today. The Kids Will Have Their Say is a very sentimental thing for me.


Christine rockin' the Necros sweatshirt, Photo courtesy of: Christine Elise McCarthy


Billy said...

This some kind of weird 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon/Hardcore/George Costansa worlds collide meets Beverly Hills 90210.
I'm distraught.

justin kelley said...

How and where the hell do you guys get these people? This is a well written and interesting post. I still am in disbelief. The girl from 90210 wearing a necros shirt? wtf? awesome. This type of stuff just solidifies the fact that this is the best hc thing on the internet.

Elvisidal said...

I had my WTF moment with this chick when I saw american hardcore.don't remember her on the show though I was too busy looking at Shannen Doherty though

Simón said...

This was an extremely well-written post and one that provides a lot of good insight. It's awesome to see her describe things in the same vernacular that any hardcore kid would. Thanks for getting the hook-up on this one; variety is the spice of life!

Russ said...

HAHA! mind=blown.

springawasgod said...

"the kids will have their say" is the first straight edge 12"; is a lot more important than anything recorded by youth of today. there's 27 songs recorded on that sessions, so where are the 9 unreleased songs Al?.

Anonymous said...

"If you were more like me and graduating from high school in the early 90's and checking out Beverly Hills 90210 every Wednesday night, you were seeing Christine Elise McCarthy playing Emily Valentine on TV."

Holy shit, I never would have thought in a million goddamn years that Emily Valentine was a hardcore kid. My mind is blown.

Drew Stone said...

Cristine was one of the very few girls that was right in the middle of the shitstorm back them. I remember thinking to myself "What a cool (and very pretty) girl she was at the time". Pretty rare in those early Boston hardcore days of 1981.

She's in the film that we are doing about that scene;

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks! So awsome!

I felt in love with her while reading it.

Gonna buy all the 90210 on DVD now.

Thanks guys! you are doing the best internet zine. keep it going.

Carroll said...

Didn't she drug up poor Brendan Walsh in one of the 90210 episodes? I loved her back then but I worship her now...... SSD!!

Anonymous said...

awesome that Christine hasn't forgotten, nor ignored, her roots! nice post on the Boston scene from a girl who was there and lived it!!


Nick P said...

Awesome interview. Really interesting stories.