LIKE BURT REYNOLDS
ON A MAC DAVIS INCOME
are certain signals in life that tell you that you're
getting old. There are the simple ones: aches and pains
in the morning, strange bathroom odors in the middle of
the night, etc. But then there is the painful realization
that the very nectar of your youth has become nostalgia.
I'm sure most of you out there won't be crying me any
oceans and this certainly isn't a plea for sympathy. It's
just that for the past eight (?) years or so it seems
I've been immersing myself in any forms of underground
culture that have preceded me, trying to nail down the
intial spark that ignites independent thought and action.
This personal quest for truth has sent me rummaging through
many old hippy weirdo's garbage while they stared on bemused
and questioning me. 'Why do you care about this crap?'
was the usual question coming from their cookie-crumbed
beards. I never understood their suspicion until now.
in point: some young whipper snappers have released two
volumes thus far of a compilation they call Killed
by Hardcore. The title is an obvious homage
to the bootleg Punk compilations that have been flooding
the market for close to ten years now, but this time around
instead of obscure snot nosed Punk crap, these kids have
packed these things to the gills with obscure Reagan-era
anger-bashing Hardcore. How dare they drink from my old
chalise! My backyard (and it's a big backyard Jackson!)
is now opened to these upstarts to not only bootleg a
good chunk of records I used to own (before I discovered
pot and the Forced Exposure mail order catalog) but a
whopping amount of stuff I was still curious about. The
peeps at KBHC have taken my roots and presented them better
than I ever could. And I ain't mad at 'em. Hell, I'm grinnin'
from ear to ear and punching holes in the walls of my
apartment. In a day and time when someone who witnessed
this music in its start can write a book on the subject
and flub a major historical fact fifteen pages into the
thing (sorry dude, Darby Crash O.D.ed in '80, not '79)
it's a totally refreshing and mind blowing thing to see/hear
a buncha folks with a wild amount of enthusiasm for the
stuff. Does it matter they were in diapers when Deviled
Ham poster boy Barry Hennsler screamed 'Midwest Fuck You!'
from a Maumee, Ohio basement? Me no think so. These knuckleheads
have taken the last true blast of folk art this country
has ever witnessed (did I stutter?) and given it the respect
it deserves. More power to 'em. But it still makes me
feel weird. And old. And a little hungry...
When you look
at the cultural landscape of the early 80's, Hardcore
was bound to happen. A lot of kids had serious blue balls
over the (somewhat) non-closure of 'The Punk Rock Explosion'.
For all its populist rhetoric, Punk Rock was full of hot
air. Joe Strummer might as well been Billy Squier. The
tunes might have been potent, but they weren't YOURS.
The first major U.S. jaunts by The Dead Kennedys and Black
Flag in the spring of 1981 spread the urgency of the music
throughout the country and that's when a majority of kids
took the ball and ran with it. The first stringers of
this uprising (D.C., The Midwest, etc.) made excellent
records, but, like any other culture, it's the lesser
knowns who usually prevail in making true objects of intrigue.
To me, ineptness and an unusual amount of spirit spawns
something way better than the intial object that inspired
it. Hence why something like Stone Harbour's Emerges
is a way more spiritually rewarding record to listen to
than the first Uriah Heep record that inspired it. And
hence why most of these records highlighted by the KBHC
crew are more urgent than Lee Ving's last colon cleaning.
Catch my drift? On the other hand though, being a little
more 'versed' in the musical situation at hand here makes
me wonder about some (just some) of the choices made by
the KBHC crew. I do have a fondness for utter crap, but
when something's crap, and I know it's crap, it's a different
story. It makes me wonder whether all the bootleg Psych
compilations I've collected over the years might actually
hold the Chronic Sick's and T.M.A.s' of their generation.
first installment of KBHC starts off jackboots-first with
a track off the scalding eight track 7" released by NYC's
Urban Waste back in 1982. I always saw
Urban Waste as sort of a lost 'brother' band to D.C.'s
kings of cacophony, Void. Guitarist Johnny Waste's phased
and distorted crunch double-barrelled with singer Kenny
Ahren's psychotic screech was/is the perfect soundtrack
to apocalypse. Sonny Sharrock, Bubba Dupree, Kenny Waste,
what's the diff??? Anyone with a substantial answer to
my quandary will get three gold stars and a patented Al
Barile 'pig pile'.
I believe Hardcore to be a totally American creation,
you can't deny the credibilty of those fuzzy foriengers.
I suppose Discharge were their version of Black Flag and
you can't get around that with the tracks presented here.
Terveet Kadet had the best white-out
created logo of any band to come out of Finland in the
80's and I think that says a lot. Not only that, but their
brash bashing would make Cal's hair go limp. Yeah, they
were that good. I was always curious about their later
records on Rock-O-Rama in both a musical and aesthetic
way. The Swedes in Sound of Disorder
one-up T.K.s' Discharge worship with a track off their
7" from '85 that sounds like an army of lawnmowers patched
through a Marshall stack while a psycho bashes away fast
and furious on the skins.
back to the good ole U.S.A. (Someone cue up The F.U.s'
please...) I remember having the same exact 12" by this
band The Left that ends off side one.
I probably bought it 'cause I thought the cover art was
cool and then decided I didn't like it and traded it off.
What I was thinking then I don't know 'cause this stuff
sounds pretty boss at the mo'. It certainly isn't the
most H.C. thing I've ever heard in my life, but it's an
infectious mid-tempo thang that reminds me of the smarminess
of The Angry Samoans and brings to mind the notion a wise
old dude layed on me one day that H.C. was the logical
conclusion/answer to The Dictators Go Girl Crazy!.
Far fetched I know, but when you got the time on your
hands to pontificate on this crap, it makes sense.
America's Hardcore might of had the stupidiest
band name in the history of music bar none, but that's
not the only reason they've intrigued me all these years.
For a band that never even put out a 7", they pretty much
earned their status as a legendary band due to their name
getting out to the kids on a very grass roots level. I
remember every touring band I saw in the summer of '84
having A.H.C. stickers plastered all over thier gear and
Jeff Nelson sported their t-shirt on the back cover of
Minor Threat's Salad Days e.p. What songs they
had on compilation were interesting enough. The chap who
wrote the liner notes here makes a keen observation of
equating both A.H.C.s' sound and philosophy as a merger
between the Anarcho-Hippy Punk of Crucifix and the Pet
Puppies Positivity of early 7 Seconds. I recall seeing
an ad years ago where the H.C. re-issue label Grand Theft
Audio announced an America's Hardcore CD in their 'Coming
Soon' section, but I've yet to see or hear of it. If anyone
in Blastitude land knows more about this (And I'm so sure
you do) or anything else about this band, please let me
far as I know, NYC's Nihilistics and
Oklahoma's N.O.T.A. still exist to this
day. None the less, I think it's pretty common knowledge
they'll never live up to the tracks presented here (I
get the feeling I should expect a turd in the mail from
either band any day now). NYC's Nihilistics were/are big,
bald scarey dudes who didn't take to any of the agendas
just blossoming in the H.C. scene in the early 80's. They
were simply pissed off and saw no hope (hence their moniker).
Their lp released on Braineater in '83 had a big impact
on me as a tot and I don't think that was a good thing.
The compilers of KBHC and I must be on the same spiritual
level as they picked my fave tune off the lp, 'Black Sheep'.
But then again, how can you deny a tune that sings about
both spitting in your granma's face and performing sodomy
on your sister? Tell me...how can you?!?!??!
put out two 7"s' and one lp back in the early 80's and
all of them smoked. The cut on here (Takin' Away Your
Rights') is a perfect example of their pimple faced, bare
headed, no frills aggro. Perhaps for a future KBHC the
dudes can deem the tune 'Redneck Mentality' off their
lp worthy for consumption...The first volume of KBHC winds
down with a track from The State, a band
outta Ann Arbor, Michigan who released their 'No Illusions'
e.p. on their own Statement label back in '83. State might
of been the first of the bald headed legion to touch back
to the first wave of alienated U.S. youth by having Ron
Asheton of The Stooges produce them. Ron knew the vibe
well and did a fine job on this single that might not
be as well known as The Necros 'I.Q.32' 7" but stands
as a fine example of Midwest 'Core. As I listen to this
track, I just cant believe I sold this record at one point.
I'm pineing for it the way a normal dude does for the
girl that got away. I probably went out and bought a Richard
Youngs record with the money or something. Man, I'm a
cover of the second installment of KBHC is a high-larious
take off on the 'Hardcore Takes Over' compilation that
the infamous Dirt club released back in '83 or '84. I
remember purchasing this record at The Quakerbridge Mall
when I was a wee nip and even then I thought it sucked
and that it was stupid. Whether or not it's a 'period
piece' is up to the kids I suppose. To me, it will always
suck. Except for the Phil Scalzo Band of course...This
edition of KBHC seems to concentrate more on the You're-A-Peein'
side of things, so I guess I get a bit of a lesson here...
ZMIV start things off with a guttural
punk anthem about how they have no desire to be famous.
Well guess what? Your existence is only known by a few
dateless record collectors. Your wish is our command.
Something tells me these guys listened to a lot of singles
released on England's No Future label while they churned
butter. Luckily their ineptness prevails and they provide
you with so much more than any soccer hooligan could ever
give you. Japan is not in the Europe, but it's not in
the U.S.A. either, so the Ikka Shinjyuu
track on here from '85 falls into this ghetto by both
default and my laziness. I could swear these guys are
using a drum machine, but I could be wrong. None the less,
they sound like Big Black if the wanted to be Die Kreuzen
instead of Trent Reznor's future wet dreams. Hardcore's
answer to Metal Urbain??? Who needs Krautrock when you
got Vorkriegsphase? It sounds like Germany's
finest Discharge clones spent all their recording money
on those big mugs of beers those krauts love so much 'cause
the guitar sounds like a cross between someone rubbing
two bricks together and a wet fart and the drummer sound
like he's playing two wet paper bags. As you can imagine,
the results are top notch. The two tracks presented on
this compilation by Holland's Agent Orange
and Sweden's Ernst And The Edsholm Rebels
are from two 7"s that have haunted me for many years due
to them being the two records I could never identify on
the cover of Poison Idea's Records Collectors Are Pretentious
Assholes 12". Well, not only do I know what they are
now, but I can hear them too. Yes, I live a pathetic life.
One earful of either band makes it obvious what Piggy
C. and the boys saw in them, especially Agent Orange,
as their track on here (The title cut off their 'Your
Mother Sucks Cock In Hell' 7") sounds like an out take
form P.I.s' 'Pick Your King' 7" sped up and drowned in
a 40 of Olde 'E'.
The KBHC crew's picks on the homefront are stellar as
well and gots me diggin' out my old spike bracelets with
matching bandanas. I recall Portland's E-13
from the Drinking is Great compilation, but I don't
remember them having such a Black Flag fixation. The singer
hadda good Ron Reyes/Keith Morris hybrid going for him
and the guitarist might as well be playing through a clear
Dan Armstrong. Good show! Now we get to the section of
the record of singles that I've actually kept over the
years, so you know this is good stuff. The Mecht
Mensch record I kept for two reasons. Firstly,
it showcases the production debut of Sonic Youth/Nirvana
and Shirley Manson kootchie looker (we can only hope on
the latter) Butch Vig. Secondly, it's the audio equivalent
of a bulldozer driven by teens drunk on suburban angst
and sodie pop. Philly's YDI are a bunch
I hold close to my heart. The 7" they released in '83
on their own Blood Bubble imprint, 'A Place In The Sun'
is a record that is unique in it's olique hopelessness.
Their admiration for 'Flag, Negative Approach and The
Bad Brains is apparent, but the obvious conviction of
the attempt and the distinct bellow of vocalist Jackal
makes this the yardstick by which many collectable H.C.
records should be judged. It was a wise choice to pick
'Mad at the World' to put on here as it conveys the overall
feel of the disc. By the time I had any chance of seeing
YDI, their guitarists were wearing eye make-up and fingerless
elbow-high tiger-striped gloves. Bummer.
Reverend Norb would score teenage poon writing rambling
columns for Maximum Rock 'N' Roll and fronting the poppity-punkity
Boris the Sprinkler, he edited Sick Teen Fanzine and fronted
the thrashing mad Suburban Mutilation.
As the liner notes of this record imply it sounds like
S.M. had more than a fondness for Detroit's baddest and
baldest, Negative Approach. The track on here sounds like
they were taking a stab at re-writing the N.A. klassik
'Can't Tell No One'. Even if it ain't the most original
move, it's a valiant effort. Tennessee's Koro
is the stuff from which H.C. legend is made from. A buncha
sixteen year olds who put out a single in an edition of
300 in 1983 (?) that was tighter and faster than anything
coming out of either coast of America at the time. Their
precision makes me want to think of the Bad Brains, but
it's obvious these kids were gobbling up everything they
could get out in the boonies, and shitting out something
totally of their own. This thing has been bootlegged more
than a few times, and there was a rumour circulating a
few years back that a member of the band unearthed a whole
LP (!!!) worth of stuff that he was planning on releasing.
I never heard another thing after that. Anyone who would
like to fill in the holes for me, please do. I mean the
holes in the story of Koro, not, you know...
Lastly, but certainly not leastly is NYCs' The
Abused. This band was fronted by Kevin Crowley,
a menacing dude who penned amazing artwork for all The
Abused flyers (and I'm talking ARTWORK, not a skull with
a circled A in it's forehead) and hadda voice that sounded
like he shoveled gravel down his throat three times a
day. His wardrobe only consisted of bike chains, construction
gloves, and hooded sweatshirts. Very NYHC '83. The track
on here is taken from the band's raging 'Loud and Clear'
single. The KBHC crew's choice of 'No End In Sight' is
a good 'un, but I wanted to hear 'Drug Free Youth', so
I could of at least started a pit in my living room and
given my landlady something to really complain about...
A little boid has told me to expect more editons of KBHC
on the horizon, and I most certainly will. If the creators
of this series are reading this (I'm sure these guys puruse
avant rock websites day and night) may I make a few suggestions???
Ohio's Chemotherapy (a record I've wanted for about 17
years now), New Mexico's Jerryz' Kidz, New Jersey's Cyanamid,
Mental Decay, and Futile Effort (please, no more Mutha
crap!), Maryland's The Bollocks, D.C.'s Beaver, Texas's
Marching Plague, Florida's Sector 4, and too many more
that I can't recall off the top of my head at this late
hour. For now, I'll just hope there's a generation of
record collecting H.C. kids that are planning to 'mature'
soon. Then I can trade off all my Free Jazz lp's for Antidote
singles, and I'll be a happy man. I can dream, can't I?
The Wigmaker in Eighteenth Century Williamsburg