The ’90s were often a strange time for New York Hardcore and what was, for the most part, post-core. While bands like Quicksand, Into Another, Burn, and Orange 9mm each thrived to some extent. There were many more that seemed to flicker, yet quickly burn out before making much of a name for themselves. I got to see many of these acts at places like CBGB’s, The Wetlands, Brownies, and The Continental, to name a few. Lady Luck (pictured below) was one of those bands. Featuring a cleaned up looking Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) on bass and his wife Denise on vocals. They recorded a ‘7-inch ep for Mendit in ’97. A split LP in ‘ with another promising band named Fully the same year and a full length ‘Life in Between’ in 2000. I only saw them this one time at what was pretty much a hippie club in the Tribeca area of Manhattan. I remember Denise having a beautiful voice and, if memory serves, they delivered an excellent set, but as someone who was used to seeing Miret work the stage covered in sweat, tattoos, and screaming into the mic with a sense of primal rage. Seeing a subdued version with slicked-back hair and a velour shirt was just a little too surreal for me.
I originally got to learn about Tim Singer through his outstanding hardcore fanzine ‘Boiling Point’. However, it wasn’t until I heard his newly formed band No Escape on the 1990 hardcore compilation ‘ Rebuilding’. Though it was an awkward time for NYHC. There were a crop of new acts that were bending the rules while reshaping the sound and the approach of a sound and scene that had run out of ideas and originality. I was lucky enough to see No Escape once before Tim went on to the bands Deadguy and Kiss it Goodbye. Something I feel very lucky to have taken part of. While I’m not sure what camera I used here. I am sure that my long time friend, Casey accompanied me to the show.
Though it took time to fully embrace the fact that Underdog (One of my favorite bands of all time.) was done and their charismatic singer was on to new and much stranger things. While Richie and Into Another weren’t the first one’s to explore new sounds outside of hardcore punk, they were definitely the most eccentric. After two landmark releases with Revelation Records, they were swept up by Hollywood records at a time when major labels were circling the indie market in hopes of signing the next Nirvana. As a vocalist, Richie Birkenhead’s range was like no other before or since. As a band, Into Another raised the bar as far as creativity went. 1994’s “Ignaurus” still stands as one of my favorite albums of all time. With the song “Drown” making its way onto many of the playlists I share.
When I think about my return to Jackson Heights after graduating from High School, I can’t help but recall how much the New York Hardcore scene became the center of my world. During my year and a half in Wayne, New Jersey, I produced a fanzine called “Boredom” It featured a lot of bad creative writing and a few music reviews. When I moved back to my old neighborhood and became more involved with music, I started a new fanzine called “Unite” Each issue would feature five interviews. One being a newly formed, yet up and coming band.
That first issue would include an interview with Fit of Anger. In the months leading up to the interview, I had gotten to know the group pretty well. During the time leading up to their first demo, we’d often meet up and hang out at a place called Monkey Hill Studios. In what was a relatively short time, I got to experience the band perform live while getting to know the singer Nick and the guitarist Chris (pictured here) pretty well. Fit of Anger would appear on the New Breed tape compilation and members, particularly Nick and Chris would go on to perform in as well as form other notable acts in the New York’s 90’s hardcore scene.
Supertouch is a band that holds a lot of incredible memories for me. One of my first Hardcore shows was a Death Before Dishonor gig. Just a few months before they became Supertouch. I left my senior prom early with my date to see the band play with the Bad Brains at the old Ritz. Their songs and vibe have carved a deep niche in my musical soul. So hearing they were playing and recording again was amazing. Getting the chance to take photos for both Jersey Beat and NJ Underground made it even better. The new record is amazing and judging from this show they haven’t missed a beat.
I was on the way to Beacon New York when my phone lit up with a text reading “Citizens Arrest tickets are almost Sold Out. Get ’em fast or miss out!” I thought “Oh, I’ll order them as soon as I get home tonight.” As soon as I walked in the door I walked over to the computer to place my order. This was something I would not procrastinate on. To my dismay and dispare they were “Sold the fuck Out.” Damn, I was pissed. I’d been hearing about this reunion long before it was even book and it was not to be missed. I posted a “If anyone out there……” and thanks to Freddy Alva and the band I was covered.
About ten of us (including Freddy New Breed, Charles from Rorschach and Amy Edge) me up for a pre-show dinner before heading over to Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. I think I missed a couple of bands, including Mind Eraser but was lucky enough to catch Asshole Parade. I’d never heard them prior to the show but really liked their sound and overall vibe. Citizens Arrest followed and the place went ape shit. Between the moshing and the stage divers I wasn’t sure I’d make it out alive. I was front center and between being thrown into the stage and about five different stage divers delivers blows to my head with boots and body fat I was dazed and at one point almost went down. All of it was totally worth because CXA kicked some serious ass. The original lineup was all there including Janis Cackers and Ted Leo. Playing so many favorites from their good old days and even throwing in covers from SSD and Youth of Today. After the set Daryl Kahan pulled my lifeless body up on stage to take a picture of the band and Fab Five Freddy Alva. It was so good seeing so many familiar faces including Rich Trash, Justine Demetrik, Javier and so many others. Thanks to Janis for the ticket and to everyone that made it such an amazing night.
I’ve been hearing about Santos Party House for a while now but had never gotten a chance to catch a show there. Hearing that old friends and New York Hardcore Veterans Our Gang were playing with Agnostic Front finally gave the chance to. Our Gang weren’t one of the huge names on the scene back in the 80’s but they were certainly one of the best. Members went on to play with bands such as Born Against, Citizens Arrest, Hell No and Sleeper/Serpico. More than Twenty years after it’s initial release their “Uprising” Demo has finally made it’s way to vinyl. Pick up a couple of copies. Our Gang “Uprising” LP
I wanted to start the month of September off right by wishing my long time friend Mo Vega a very Happy Birthday. Growing up in the same neighborhood. Sharing a lot of the same experiences. Starting bands and fanzines around the same time and running around with some crazy (but good) friends. I recently reconnected with Mo after twenty years. It felt as if not a day had passed. Theses days he keeps himself busy with his band Accidental Tribe, producing, engineering and of course his graphic design. I was always lucky to be surrounded by a lot of creative, artistic people. Mo definitley falls into that file. Happy Birthday bro.
There is something very special about the friendships and people I met in the 80’s and 90’s through the NYHC scene. Friendships made in front of clubs like CBGB’s. (gone) In the basement of Some Records. (gone) and those early shows at ABC No Rio. There was something about the music that brought all these misfits and creative individuals together, make them bond and (not to be clique) but for lack of a better word…. become family. Plain and simple most of the good friends I have today (more than twenty years later) are the friends I made going to those Sunday Matinee’s at CBGB’s and the early basement shows at ABC. When my friend Freddy sent me a message about the GO reunion is wasn’t as much about seeing the band again. It was about seeing friends. (some of which just happened to be in a band.)ABC is a shit building that has been on it’s last legs long before Punks ever set foot in it. The people who fill it are what makes the place such a landmark. The people who come to shows and donate, the people who work tirelessly to keep it open and keep it filled with art and creativity. Speaking of creativity there were some really good bands in support of GO including ABC originals Hausi Pungo, Awkward Thought, DBCR and others. It was great seeing so many old familiar faces…. Mike and Aaron from GO, the guys from Hausi Pungo and Citizens Arrest, Bill Florio, Tracy, Freddy Alva and so many others. The bands all put on great sets and were both well received and equally supported. During GO’s set Mike noted that it was ABC’s 20th birthday as far as Punk Matinee’s were concerned which was followed by him lighting a birthday cake, having the crowd blow it out and eat it. Priceless. A good time was definitely had by all.
The singer for DBCR has the biggest eyebrows known to man. He reminded me of a cross between Dr. Evil and comedian Dave Attell. Awkward Thought singer John Franko wore a hood and ski mask throughout their entire set.