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M2
09-24-2007, 12:26 AM
So I finally watched American Hardcore (http://www.sonyclassics.com/americanhardcore/) the other night, it's been out for a year.

As a kid who was plugged into that scene back in the day, I found it a strange bit of nostalgia. Anyway, I had a few thoughts rolling around in my brain and I figured there was a decent number of folks here who have more than a passing familiarity with hardcore and it's unwanted children.

I'm going to skip right over the anti-establishment stuff and the raw sound and how it seemed like a small, but committed group of kids in every town in America seemed to get infected with the bug for that music - essentially the stuff I liked about it - and go straight to the things that annoyed me about hardcore that I thought got glossed over in the film.

1. Women - There was a small mention in the film of the lack of women in the scene, but it only scratched the surface of the misogyny that ran rampant. Bands went out of their way to put targets on women. It wasn't every band, but a good number of them did it either in songs or in between songs at the show. Most importantly no one ever much told them to quit it. There's a spot in the movie with Jack Grisham from TSOL which, for me, perfectly sums up what kind attitude a lot of the guys in the scene had. My take is it's really hard to claim you were standing up for something better when you've gone out of your way to alienate and denigrate an entire sex.

2. Violence - The film romanticized the violence you had at the shows. There was a lengthy dive into how the cops unfairly invaded shows and while that probably happened a bit in southern California, I suspect a lot of times cops saw what I did at those shows. Hardcore became a meathead fight club, which would have been fine except not everyone came to the shows for good time fisticuffs. The women, who got punched a lot if they got near the pit, surely led the list, but there was a second group that took a bigger shellacking - kids.

Hardcore famously played all ages shows. It was late model Baby Boomers who founded the movement, but almost immediately it began to pick up fans among newly-minted Gen X teenagers. I was one of them and I can tell you from experience that the pits were predatory - the smallest folks in there were abuse magnets (DC was the worst as far as the east coast went). And it wasn't a misguided initiation thing where a kid who took his/her lumps got accepted into the group, it was a thrashing every time out until you could fend them off.

To my thinking, this is what killed hardcore. First, it drove away a lot of kids who liked it and it drove them right into the arms of heavy metal and eventually thrash metal. Say what you will about the metal subculture, but it's fairly welcoming. Hardcore would hand you an unrelenting beatdown. Metal wanted to party with you. Hell, there were even women in the metal scene, easy women at that. So hardcore ate its young. Second, those kids who outlasted the beatings tended to be the extra scary sort. They were dangerous and stuck with sometimes because they were counting down the days until they could hand out the abuse. So when the Boomer punks got a little older, a little softer and a little more laissez-faire there weren't that many kids left to keep it going and those that were there were sociopaths who were handing out some serious payback on their elders.

There's no doubt in my mind about it, violence killed hardcore.

Conformity - The strangest thing about the movement was its enforced conformity. Here was a whole tribe praising individuality, but enforcing uniformity with fanatical discipline. You had to have your hair cut a certain way. You had to wear certain clothes. You were expected to think a certain way, act a certain way and adorn the walls of your room a certain way. You were expected to flame out in school because that was your badge, the way a kid could prove he was real and not fake. I went to high school in western Connecticut (Vatican Commandos country) and it was almost completely fashion punks in the scene. To be fair, it was less violent and less misogynistic than other places because it was mostly rich kids playing dress up, but you were in for a night of nasty comments and looks if you didn't come to a show dressed in uniform.

4. Music - There was some serious talent in the movement. Bad Brains and Black Flag were brilliant bands, as good as any on the planet in the early 1980s. Big Black, Hüsker Dü and the Misfits all had sounds unlike anyone else on the planet. Yet, along with the enforced look of hardcore, there was an enforced sound too. You weren't allowed to sing too well. When bands pushed the boundaries -- like Bad Brains with I against I and Hüsker Dü with New Day Rising -- they risked being called sellouts.

There was a disdain for anything that had come before hardcore. This included bands like the Ramones, who should have been revered by the hardcore scene, but had to scratch out a living outside of it for the most part. In the film someone even notes how great it was that hardcore didn't borrow anything from "black" music. Is that great? Is that something you ought to be bragging about? English punks were deeply affected by world beat sounds, but American hardcore didn't have the good sense to incorporate delta blues or funk or rap. There's only so far you can take a sound that refuses to grow, to build on other sounds.

Racism and militance - A lot of excuses get made for the casual racism of the scene in its heyday. Fine, it was a bunch of white suburban kids horrified by the sell out of the Love Generation and by the seamy underside of the American dream. That's well-placed horror. Yet the militant reaction created its own conformity (as noted above). That militance made women one of "them" in many cases. Kids, even those who wore the uniform, were treated like punching bags. Well you can imagine how well blacks fit into the mix. They looked different, they dressed different, they spoke a little different, they came from different towns or different parts of town, they listened to music outside the hardcore coda. The folks in the hardcore scene never set out to build a racist movement, but they put up so many walls that few blacks ever bothered to climb them.

And the racists took notice.

What did hardcore bottle up? It bottled up fast, aggressive music. It bottled up anti-establishment furor. It's bottled up violent, young, white males who were willing to conform to doctrine. It bottled up disenfranchisement and iconography too. Basically it bottled up a ready-made Storm Division and militant racists took notice. Those überviolent kids who survived the beatings from their punks elders, who fled the scene in the mid-1980s, were left looking for something and in walked the white power nutters offering a way to channel all that pent up aggression into something organized and "pure." If only there had been more Steve Albinis to shout out about it and fewer Keith Morrises content to play for paying skinheads, maybe hardcore wouldn't have turned into new fascisms greatest recruitment tool, but there weren't and it did.

Legacy - The film mentions how Boston's Gang Green came up with the idea for what these days is the Warped Tour - a punk show with extreme sports mixed in. It was a great idea back then too and it surely would have made money if so many kids literally hadn't been chased away. The scene had devoured its young and basically starved to death. Then there was about a five year void until some Gen X bands were able to revive what they liked about hardcore, build on it and plug into a new scene without the militance, misogyny and xenophobia. It rebuilt quickly too, reaching the point in 1995 where Eric Bachmann from Archers of Loaf noted "the underground is overcrowded."

Of course, in true form, those from the early scene are reliably bitter about that. You don't see this in other forms of music. I'll refer to metal again. Older metal bands are hailed as icons and they in turn having nothing but enthusiasm for all the kids who've taken what they did and move it forward. The guys from Black Sabbath and Judas Priest rightfully feel like they've built something lasting. Guys from hardcore bands? In the film they grouse about how punk is dead and anyone who thinks they're a punk should cease and desist. Oddly, there's probably more kids in the punk scene now than there ever were in the hardcore heyday. Gang Green's Chris Doherty, one of the worst humans on the planet, whines about how all these kids are making money off of what he and his peers built. Well, not really Chris. You burned it down and it had to be rebuilt. It's guys like Mike Ness and Ian Mackaye who stuck through the lean years and found a new, more diverse sounds that deserve godfather status.

In the end American Hardcore was less of a fond trip down memory lane for me and more of a reminder that the good, old days left something to be desired. I'm curious what others thought of the film or what they remember from the original hardcore scene.

Ltlabner
09-24-2007, 08:05 AM
Holy crap.

That is WAY too much work to simply rock out to a record.

I don't care for any musical format that requires that much thought and analyisis. I guess I'm a hammer-head, but I want a good beat that I can dance to. Beyond that, I leave my critical thinking to the workplace.

Yachtzee
09-24-2007, 09:21 AM
So I finally watched American Hardcore (http://www.sonyclassics.com/americanhardcore/) the other night, it's been out for a year.

As a kid who was plugged into that scene back in the day, I found it a strange bit of nostalgia. Anyway, I had a few thoughts rolling around in my brain and I figured there was a decent number of folks here who have more than a passing familiarity with hardcore and it's unwanted children.

I'm going to skip right over the anti-establishment stuff and the raw sound and how it seemed like a small, but committed group of kids in every town in America seemed to get infected with the bug for that music - essentially the stuff I liked about it - and go straight to the things that annoyed me about hardcore that I thought got glossed over in the film.

1. Women - There was a small mention in the film of the lack of women in the scene, but it only scratched the surface of the misogyny that ran rampant. Bands went out of their way to put targets on women. It wasn't every band, but a good number of them did it either in songs or in between songs at the show. Most importantly no one ever much told them to quit it. There's a spot in the movie with Jack Grisham from TSOL which, for me, perfectly sums up what kind attitude a lot of the guys in the scene had. My take is it's really hard to claim you were standing up for something better when you've gone out of your way to alienate and denigrate an entire sex.

2. Violence - The film romanticized the violence you had at the shows. There was a lengthy dive into how the cops unfairly invaded shows and while that probably happened a bit in southern California, I suspect a lot of times cops saw what I did at those shows. Hardcore became a meathead fight club, which would have been fine except not everyone came to the shows for good time fisticuffs. The women, who got punched a lot if they got near the pit, surely led the list, but there was a second group that took a bigger shellacking - kids.

Hardcore famously played all ages shows. It was late model Baby Boomers who founded the movement, but almost immediately it began to pick up fans among newly-minted Gen X teenagers. I was one of them and I can tell you from experience that the pits were predatory - the smallest folks in there were abuse magnets (DC was the worst as far as the east coast went). And it wasn't a misguided initiation thing where a kid who took his/her lumps got accepted into the group, it was a thrashing every time out until you could fend them off.

To my thinking, this is what killed hardcore. First, it drove away a lot of kids who liked it and it drove them right into the arms of heavy metal and eventually thrash metal. Say what you will about the metal subculture, but it's fairly welcoming. Hardcore would hand you an unrelenting beatdown. Metal wanted to party with you. Hell, there were even women in the metal scene, easy women at that. So hardcore ate its young. Second, those kids who outlasted the beatings tended to be the extra scary sort. They were dangerous and stuck with sometimes because they were counting down the days until they could hand out the abuse. So when the Boomer punks got a little older, a little softer and a little more laissez-faire there weren't that many kids left to keep it going and those that were there were sociopaths who were handing out some serious payback on their elders.

There's no doubt in my mind about it, violence killed hardcore.

Conformity - The strangest thing about the movement was its enforced conformity. Here was a whole tribe praising individuality, but enforcing uniformity with fanatical discipline. You had to have your hair cut a certain way. You had to wear certain clothes. You were expected to think a certain way, act a certain way and adorn the walls of your room a certain way. You were expected to flame out in school because that was your badge, the way a kid could prove he was real and not fake. I went to high school in western Connecticut (Vatican Commandos country) and it was almost completely fashion punks in the scene. To be fair, it was less violent and less misogynistic than other places because it was mostly rich kids playing dress up, but you were in for a night of nasty comments and looks if you didn't come to a show dressed in uniform.

4. Music - There was some serious talent in the movement. Bad Brains and Black Flag were brilliant bands, as good as any on the planet in the early 1980s. Big Black, Hüsker Dü and the Misfits all had sounds unlike anyone else on the planet. Yet, along with the enforced look of hardcore, there was an enforced sound too. You weren't allowed to sing too well. When bands pushed the boundaries -- like Bad Brains with I against I and Hüsker Dü with New Day Rising -- they risked being called sellouts.

There was a disdain for anything that had come before hardcore. This included bands like the Ramones, who should have been revered by the hardcore scene, but had to scratch out a living outside of it for the most part. In the film someone even notes how great it was that hardcore didn't borrow anything from "black" music. Is that great? Is that something you ought to be bragging about? English punks were deeply affected by world beat sounds, but American hardcore didn't have the good sense to incorporate delta blues or funk or rap. There's only so far you can take a sound that refuses to grow, to build on other sounds.

Racism and militance - A lot of excuses get made for the casual racism of the scene in its heyday. Fine, it was a bunch of white suburban kids horrified by the sell out of the Love Generation and by the seamy underside of the American dream. That's well-placed horror. Yet the militant reaction created its own conformity (as noted above). That militance made women one of "them" in many cases. Kids, even those who wore the uniform, were treated like punching bags. Well you can imagine how well blacks fit into the mix. They looked different, they dressed different, they spoke a little different, they came from different towns or different parts of town, they listened to music outside the hardcore coda. The folks in the hardcore scene never set out to build a racist movement, but they put up so many walls that few blacks ever bothered to climb them.

And the racists took notice.

What did hardcore bottle up? It bottled up fast, aggressive music. It bottled up anti-establishment furor. It's bottled up violent, young, white males who were willing to conform to doctrine. It bottled up disenfranchisement and iconography too. Basically it bottled up a ready-made Storm Division and militant racists took notice. Those überviolent kids who survived the beatings from their punks elders, who fled the scene in the mid-1980s, were left looking for something and in walked the white power nutters offering a way to channel all that pent up aggression into something organized and "pure." If only there had been more Steve Albinis to shout out about it and fewer Keith Morrises content to play for paying skinheads, maybe hardcore wouldn't have turned into new fascisms greatest recruitment tool, but there weren't and it did.

Legacy - The film mentions how Boston's Gang Green came up with the idea for what these days is the Warped Tour - a punk show with extreme sports mixed in. It was a great idea back then too and it surely would have made money if so many kids literally hadn't been chased away. The scene had devoured its young and basically starved to death. Then there was about a five year void until some Gen X bands were able to revive what they liked about hardcore, build on it and plug into a new scene without the militance, misogyny and xenophobia. It rebuilt quickly too, reaching the point in 1995 where Eric Bachmann from Archers of Loaf noted "the underground is overcrowded."

Of course, in true form, those from the early scene are reliably bitter about that. You don't see this in other forms of music. I'll refer to metal again. Older metal bands are hailed as icons and they in turn having nothing but enthusiasm for all the kids who've taken what they did and move it forward. The guys from Black Sabbath and Judas Priest rightfully feel like they've built something lasting. Guys from hardcore bands? In the film they grouse about how punk is dead and anyone who thinks they're a punk should cease and desist. Oddly, there's probably more kids in the punk scene now than there ever were in the hardcore heyday. Gang Green's Chris Doherty, one of the worst humans on the planet, whines about how all these kids are making money off of what he and his peers built. Well, not really Chris. You burned it down and it had to be rebuilt. It's guys like Mike Ness and Ian Mackaye who stuck through the lean years and found a new, more diverse sounds that deserve godfather status.

In the end American Hardcore was less of a fond trip down memory lane for me and more of a reminder that the good, old days left something to be desired. I'm curious what others thought of the film or what they remember from the original hardcore scene.

I haven't seen the film, but that is an interesting analysis, M2. I think I'm a few years behind you when it comes to that scene and I think your points sum up why I never really went whole hog into hardcore. I loved punk rock, but it was merely one genre in which my musical tastes ran. I had friends who "bought in" to the whole hardcore scene and would wear the uniform, but I could never go that far. I liked the music, but I didn't want to have anything to do with the violent attitudes and demand for conformity that went with it. By the time I was in high school, the scene was definitely dominated by skinheads. It was a bit intimidating when you would be browsing that section of the record store only to have skinheads wearing pilot jackets covered in swastikas and rebel flags looking at the same stuff. I wasn't about to go to a show for fear that I was going to get my butt kicked by these meatheads. Plus I felt like, if some of these bands were cool with that kind of crowd, they didn't want me around. So I was content to stay at home and listen to the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and the Descendants on my boombox in my room as a closet fan and go to REM shows without fear of coming home with a black eye or a broken rib.

However, I wouldn't say that metal bands are cool with their legacy. I seem to remember a "Where are they now" show about the hair metal bands of the late '80s and some of them, especially Lita Ford, were incredibly bitter about how popular music tastes changed in the early '90s to make Grunge popular. Ford herself seemed to hold Kurt Cobain responsible for killing "real" rock and roll. Others seemed kind of ticked off that they used to play arenas and are now relegated to the county fair circuit.

Johnny Footstool
09-24-2007, 10:02 AM
It's guys like Mike Ness and Ian Mackaye who stuck through the lean years and found a new, more diverse sounds that deserve godfather status.

I always liked Ian Mackaye. Then I heard about this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhNbaMJNA50

Now I worship the man.

M2
09-24-2007, 10:02 AM
I haven't seen the film, but that is an interesting analysis, M2. I think I'm a few years behind you when it comes to that scene and I think your points sum up why I never really went whole hog into hardcore. I loved punk rock, but it was merely one genre in which my musical tastes ran. I had friends who "bought in" to the whole hardcore scene and would wear the uniform, but I could never go that far. I liked the music, but I didn't want to have anything to do with the violent attitudes and demand for conformity that went with it. By the time I was in high school, the scene was definitely dominated by skinheads. It was a bit intimidating when you would be browsing that section of the record store only to have skinheads wearing pilot jackets covered in swastikas and rebel flags looking at the same stuff. I wasn't about to go to a show for fear that I was going to get my butt kicked by these meatheads. Plus I felt like, if some of these bands were cool with that kind of crowd, they didn't want me around. So I was content to stay at home and listen to the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and the Descendants on my boombox in my room as a closet fan and go to REM shows without fear of coming home with a black eye or a broken rib.

However, I wouldn't say that metal bands are cool with their legacy. I seem to remember a "Where are they now" show about the hair metal bands of the late '80s and some of them, especially Lita Ford, were incredibly bitter about how popular music tastes changed in the early '90s to make Grunge popular. Ford herself seemed to hold Kurt Cobain responsible for killing "real" rock and roll. Others seemed kind of ticked off that they used to play arenas and are now relegated to the county fair circuit.

You had a sane reaction to the bully boys of the movement. It's amazing how a a genre forced its own would-be fans into the closet. You don't see that too often.

I remember the Lita Ford interview you're talking about. To her credit, she wasn't complaining about about her musical descendants, rather a rival tribe. If anything she was begging for descendants, people to pick up her legacy and get her own the county fair circuit.

Yachtzee
09-24-2007, 10:28 AM
I remember the Lita Ford interview you're talking about. To her credit, she wasn't complaining about about her musical descendants, rather a rival tribe. If anything she was begging for descendants, people to pick up her legacy and get her own the county fair circuit.

Well, she only has herself to blame for her lack of musical descendants. I found hair metal to be fun and entertaining in the mid-to-late '80s and actually owned a Twisted Sister cassette. The problem with the Lita Fords and the like was that they bought into a formula for making music that got tired quickly. When you know that every song on a band's album is going to be around 3 minutes log, have an overcomplicated guitar solo 2/3 of the way through, and that the first single off the album will be a rocker and the second will be a ballad. It's hard to set yourself apart when everyone else is doing the same thing. And Ford's single "Kiss Me Deadly" is a prime example of a mediocre song written to a formula and thrown out there just to cash in. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

As far as hardcore goes, I think there are quite a few guys (and women) my age who liked some hardcore, but just didn't want to be involved in the scene.

One interesting note is that, when I lived in Austria, hardcore punk seemed to be very much the bastion of the left-thinking youth. Very anti-fascist, pro-anarchist/communist/socialist and anti-government. The right-wing skinheads actually preferred metal, or get this, rockabilly. There was a scene involving kids who had extreme right views who latched onto rockabilly and the confederate flag because nazi imagery and symbols are illegal over there. So they coopted what they view to be the culture of the US South as exemplifying their beliefs.

Falls City Beer
09-24-2007, 10:37 AM
I think you hit on it M2: hardcore had the seed of its own destruction buried in the soil it proclaimed reap. Its form was meant to collapse on itself. Truly, the genre was about destruction, not fecundity (hippie music), screwing (R&B, Rolling Stones, etc), or artful distance and disenfranchisement (metal). It morphed so readily into latter era Black Flag, Fugazi, and eventually emo, indie, and postrock because the aesthetic had nothing to latch onto within its own circumscribed dicta. Too exclusive.

In the end, rock, in all its forms, deals with two things, simultaneously: sex and frustration. Punk weeded out the first part, and that's a problem.

Also, I actually think what separated the metal crowd from the hardcore crowd was frequently class. The hardcore kids were a bunch of disaffected sons of middle managers. The metal kids' fathers and mothers worked in the factories.

M2
09-24-2007, 10:56 AM
Well, she only has herself to blame for her lack of musical descendants. I found hair metal to be fun and entertaining in the mid-to-late '80s and actually owned a Twisted Sister cassette. The problem with the Lita Fords and the like was that they bought into a formula for making music that got tired quickly. When you know that every song on a band's album is going to be around 3 minutes log, have an overcomplicated guitar solo 2/3 of the way through, and that the first single off the album will be a rocker and the second will be a ballad. It's hard to set yourself apart when everyone else is doing the same thing. And Ford's single "Kiss Me Deadly" is a prime example of a mediocre song written to a formula and thrown out there just to cash in. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

Totally agreed. She and Joan Jett sure took different avenues after the Runaways. Now one's got respect in the business and the other's begging for profitable sentimentality.


One interesting note is that, when I lived in Austria, hardcore punk seemed to be very much the bastion of the left-thinking youth. Very anti-fascist, pro-anarchist/communist/socialist and anti-government. The right-wing skinheads actually preferred metal, or get this, rockabilly. There was a scene involving kids who had extreme right views who latched onto rockabilly and the confederate flag because nazi imagery and symbols are illegal over there. So they coopted what they view to be the culture of the US South as exemplifying their beliefs.

That is interesting. Certainly the folks who started the hardcore movement in America envisioned it being something akin to what you saw in Austria. Yet the lesson is that if you act like a skinhead thug then you'll probably find yourself swamped with skinhead thugs.

M2
09-24-2007, 11:01 AM
I think you hit on it M2: hardcore had the seed of its own destruction buried in the soil it proclaimed reap. Its form was meant to collapse on itself. Truly, the genre was about destruction, not fecundity (hippie music), screwing (R&B, Rolling Stones, etc), or artful distance and disenfranchisement (metal). It morphed so readily into latter era Black Flag, Fugazi, and eventually emo, indie, and postrock because the aesthetic had nothing to latch onto within its own circumscribed dicta. Too exclusive.

In the end, rock, in all its forms, deals with two things, simultaneously: sex and frustration. Punk weeded out the first part, and that's a problem.

Also, I actually think what separated the metal crowd from the hardcore crowd was frequently class. The hardcore kids were a bunch of disaffected sons of middle managers. The metal kids' fathers and mothers worked in the factories.

Great observations, particularly hardcore's asexuality. When you lose sex you lose civilization.

Yachtzee
09-24-2007, 11:39 AM
Great observations, particularly hardcore's asexuality. When you lose sex you lose civilization.

So straight edge is to blame? :)

M2
09-24-2007, 11:41 AM
So straight edge is to blame? :)

To paraphrase Adam Ant: Don't drink, don't smoke, don't mate, what do you do?

GoReds33
09-24-2007, 09:04 PM
Holy crap.

That is WAY too much work to simply rock out to a record.

I don't care for any musical format that requires that much thought and analyisis. I guess I'm a hammer-head, but I want a good beat that I can dance to. Beyond that, I leave my critical thinking to the workplace.Those were my thoughts exactly.:)

vaticanplum
09-24-2007, 10:45 PM
Wow. I feel...young. And kinda stupid.

That was a great read. M2, You should write about music or something, if you don't already (off message boards, I mean).

pedro
09-24-2007, 10:53 PM
Great post M2.

And some really interesting insights from everyone else.

I was never into hardcore but I truly loved Bad Brains "I against I" and Husker Du back in the day. In fact, I still do, although I suspect that those bands aren't necessarily representative of hardcore in general.

Rojo
09-25-2007, 02:34 AM
Echo -- great post. I mostly stayed away as well. One show I went to a girl hit me in the face for asking for a light and then a kid got stabbed in the ass.

The problem with a lot of the hardcore bands is they didn't know exactly what they were angry about. I latched onto Husker Du and welcomed the slow-core bands.

westofyou
09-25-2007, 09:54 AM
To paraphrase Adam Ant: Don't drink, don't smoke, don't mate, what do you do?

Put another dime in the jukebox I guess.

I was a hippie, the hardcore scene was no girls, no melody, no me.

But then again I've never been angry enough to spit blood and scream over much anyway.

Ltlabner
09-25-2007, 10:04 AM
As I posed previously, I guess I'm a total hammer-head.

I mean, I've never really related to a music genrea and thought to myself, "wow...this really sums me up as a person". It's never really crossed my mind that XYZ type of music was part of my idenity. Never has it entered my conciousness that ABC type of music represents anything more to me than...well...being good music. Certinally have never put any energy into exploring the sociological implications of a musical type.

I'm not dogging on anyone else who does think/feal these ways. It's more of a commentary on me. I guess I just enjoy music of all types and that's where it ends. The song, regardless of type, either speaks to me and catches my attention or it doesn't.

I guess I'm just a shallow meatball. :help:

M2
09-25-2007, 10:33 AM
I mostly stayed away as well. One show I went to a girl hit me in the face for asking for a light and then a kid got stabbed in the ass.

The problem with a lot of the hardcore bands is they didn't know exactly what they were angry about.

That sounds about par for the course. What always amazed me was the shock that the momentum went out of the scene. Of course people didn't want to get hit in the face and stabbed in the ass.

And you're totally right about hardcore being a collection of unfocused anger.

Yachtzee
09-25-2007, 12:30 PM
As I posed previously, I guess I'm a total hammer-head.

I mean, I've never really related to a music genrea and thought to myself, "wow...this really sums me up as a person". It's never really crossed my mind that XYZ type of music was part of my idenity. Never has it entered my conciousness that ABC type of music represents anything more to me than...well...being good music. Certinally have never put any energy into exploring the sociological implications of a musical type.

I'm not dogging on anyone else who does think/feal these ways. It's more of a commentary on me. I guess I just enjoy music of all types and that's where it ends. The song, regardless of type, either speaks to me and catches my attention or it doesn't.

I guess I'm just a shallow meatball. :help:

I don't think that's being shallow. That's just being normal. Not every song has to have a message, and you don't necessarily have to agree with or even understand the message to enjoy the music. That's part of the turnoff of the scene that M2 was mentioning. You had to buy into the scene. I enjoyed some of the hardcore music, and it wasn't necessarily all anger. Some bands had a rather sharp wit that made the music entertaining. But what made it an insular scene was the tendency of hardcore fans to act out violently. Women and kids were targets, but so were people who showed any kind of liking towards music outside hardcore. So it's really the culture surrounding the scene that was a turnoff rather than the music itself.

M2
09-25-2007, 02:58 PM
So it's really the culture surrounding the scene that was a turnoff rather than the music itself.

Bingo. The documentary is fascinating in that it skirts around that issue so much that it becomes the elephant in the room. I only wish the filmmaker had gotten past the self-righteous bravado of the interviewees.

vaticanplum
09-25-2007, 06:43 PM
As I posed previously, I guess I'm a total hammer-head.

I mean, I've never really related to a music genrea and thought to myself, "wow...this really sums me up as a person". It's never really crossed my mind that XYZ type of music was part of my idenity. Never has it entered my conciousness that ABC type of music represents anything more to me than...well...being good music. Certinally have never put any energy into exploring the sociological implications of a musical type.

I'm not dogging on anyone else who does think/feal these ways. It's more of a commentary on me. I guess I just enjoy music of all types and that's where it ends. The song, regardless of type, either speaks to me and catches my attention or it doesn't.

I guess I'm just a shallow meatball. :help:

That's the beauty of humanship, my friend. Different strokes for different folks. I could read this stuff for days, but I couldn't analyze basketball if someone held a gun to my head and ordered me to do so. Spent my mad money on expensive imported soccer magazines as a kid but put a plate in front of me to this day and I can barely tell you what food group it belongs to.

Clearly you analyze baseball, something that a lot of people find as entertaining as sand. it's not an absence of analytical skills on your part; it's just a matter of taste as to where they're directed.

Betterread
09-25-2007, 07:37 PM
I always thought hardcore was too self-aware that it was a follow-up to British Punk (who of course, never really acknowledged that it drew from American Punk - Ramones, NY Dolls, Suicide, etc.). Hardcore had to be fiercer, faster and more agressive than British Punk. Bands didn't concentrate on the song-writing - so they didn't write that many great songs.

NoCalRed
09-28-2007, 01:15 AM
Wow how did I miss this thread? First let me echo the sentiment of other posters, very well written and interesting piece M2.

I never got in to the hardcore scene, but this one quote I'd like to comment on.


The right-wing skinheads actually preferred metal, or get this, rockabilly.

This is really not an uncommon thing, something that I wish I knew when I was younger. A number of years ago I went to a Reverend Horton Heat show, for those who don't know he is a rockabilly singer. I figured anyone with a song titled "A Psychobilly Freakout" and hung around Rob Zombie was bound to put on a good show. Well it was a good show, but there was an incredible amount of skinheads there and they were only looking to start trouble. I witnessed a number of stupid acts, but the worst was when I saw the smallest skinniest skinhead ever walk right up to someone and spit in his face. I can attest that the person who was spat upon did nothing wrong, he was talking to me during a break in pit sessions when the incident occured. Luckily the bouncers there were able to keep everyone under control and no major fights errupted.

westofyou
09-28-2007, 09:38 AM
Wow how did I miss this thread? First let me echo the sentiment of other posters, very well written and interesting piece M2.

I never got in to the hardcore scene, but this one quote I'd like to comment on.



This is really not an uncommon thing, something that I wish I knew when I was younger. A number of years ago I went to a Reverend Horton Heat show, for those who don't know he is a rockabilly singer. I figured anyone with a song titled "A Psychobilly Freakout" and hung around Rob Zombie was bound to put on a good show. Well it was a good show, but there was an incredible amount of skinheads there and they were only looking to start trouble. I witnessed a number of stupid acts, but the worst was when I saw the smallest skinniest skinhead ever walk right up to someone and spit in his face. I can attest that the person who was spat upon did nothing wrong, he was talking to me during a break in pit sessions when the incident occured. Luckily the bouncers there were able to keep everyone under control and no major fights errupted.


Take the Skinheads Bowling... Take them Bowling!!

NoCalRed
09-28-2007, 07:47 PM
Take the Skinheads Bowling... Take them Bowling!!


Haha nice! I haven't heard that song in a long time. I guess part of the pun is that CVB is a band from NoCal.

Cooper
11-15-2007, 06:27 AM
I watched the movie last night. Though i was never a part of the hardcore scene i was aware of some of its rules --i had a college room mate who was really into it.

I thought this then and i still think it now...the movement had no sense of irony (or awareness).

When a system allows no new energy into it --it has to die....there's nothing there to grow on. When the movement did aquire some awareness-all tha was left to say was "this is stupid" or "it just wasn't worth it". Many members said this --they aquired awareness and saw the lack of irony in the bands. They out grew their own movement.

It's odd--i grew up in the 80's and used to think they were great times....but the last 3 or 4 years ...when looking back it doesn't look so big any more.

WebScorpion
11-15-2007, 10:57 AM
Wow, M2! That was amazing. I was 20 when I came to DC in 1982 and I used to frequent a little place in Georgetown called Poseurs where I saw Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat and a dizzying array of hardcore punk bands who I couldn't name now if my life depended on it. I was in the Army at the time, had been through Basic Training, spent a few years in Germany learning how to really drink and came back with a high tolerance to alcohol, excellent physical conditioning, and a need to do something with my free time. When we first started going there it was a blast. We learned to slam dance and loved the pit, but took frequent breaks to drink a few and witness the revelry. There weren't so many skin heads there at the time, but just a lot of people of all types having a great time and burning off some energy. It may have been the formative years for the 'uniform' you mention, but we didn't really go in for that. In fact, I recall purposely wearing dress slacks and polo shirts one night because we were getting sick of everyone looking the same. We had sort of an unwritten code that you didn't slam girls very hard unless they really knocked you around first and any guy that got out of hand got turned into the filling for a three soldier slam-sandwich until they got under control. We always came away with quite few bumps and bruises, but never anything serious. I don't really recall what pulled us away, but we just gradually spent more nights at other places and less nights slam dancing at Poseurs. But now that you mention it, I seem to recall the girls that we knew not wanting to go there and when we'd meet them at other places there was always an abundance of other females. So eventually we found ourselves dancing to INXS and the Talking Heads at a place called Champions and we burned off our excess energy in a more traditional (and more pleasant) manner after we got home. ;) As I recall, there was really only one female in our circle who enjoyed Poseurs and she had some major issues that I found out about later in Kuwait, but that's a whole 'nother story. So, for us anyway, it wasn't so much the violence that pushed us away, but the lack of females, and I think the violence is what scared them off. Good read, thanks for the trip down memory lane. :thumbup: