MUSIC EVERYONE SLEPT ON – Henry Rollins Hot Animal Machine

In the triumvirate of entry level HXC frontmen (Rollins/McKay/Danzig), I’d say Rollins at least attained some kind of popular fame and acceptance. His post-BF band ‘Rollins Band’ got decent MTV time with ‘Liar’, he was in movies and (shockingly) people wanted to hear his opinions on all kinds of stuff in the mid-90s. He seems to have fallen into that Grumpy Old Man role that every early HXC dude seems to take on, but IDGAF about him anymore anyway.

But back right after BF broke up he put out this hidden gem under his own name. I picked this cassette up in like ’88 in some weird record store and that was the *only* time I ever saw the album for sale. I played this thing non-stop for years, and I was literally the only person that ever liked it. People would ask me to turn it off. Chicks would hate when I sang ‘Ghost Rider’, and I’ve never ever met another person that even heard of this album. IDK – maybe I don’t get out much..

Looking back, I find it weird, since this is basically like Black Flag 2.0. It’s got great Rollins lyrics (kinda Bukowski-esque slice of low down LA life stuff), and jammin music. It’s even got a Pettibon-like cover! But no one ever seemed to be into this…

Highlights: Crazy Lover, Hot Animal Machine & Ghost Rider – but the whole album is damn good! (and kinda old-timey!) I’m not saying this holds up or anything, but next time you get trapped by some NPR nerd talking your ear off about seminal BF albums, drop this one on ‘em!


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Which 80s HC band should be jocked by Noisey/Rollling Stone/NPR next??

hardcore punk

Since Vice/Noisey seem to like borrowing my ideas (1, 2), I figured I might as well at least feed them some good ones. And with their fawning over ancient hardcore at an all-time high, what better place to start than by helping them decide on the next fossilized hc band to jizz over?? Below are a few suggestions, along with my best guess as to how likely it will be to happen:

Likelihood of it happening: MODERATE. In addition to being a highly influential and awesome band, MDC sang a lot about things that over-educated white liberals like such as hating the cops and being gay.

Likelihood of it happening: MODERATE. Given how much they jizz over their peers like CRO-MAGS, you would think that the Noisey crowd would be into the only NYHC band who has actually stayed active since the 80s: SOIA. But maybe that is the problem– because they never broke up or stopped putting out music, they are not mysterious or exotic enough to qualify. Plus they are chill, even-tempered guys who don’t do anything cool like stab people at shows, so there’s no zany stories to talk about in the Brooklyn Vegan comments.

DRI/COC/JFA/all the other 3-letter-acronym thrash bands
Likelihood of it happening: LOW. Despite the fact that there is a whole genre of current bands devoted solely to imitating every single detail about these bands, for whatever reason they seem to have no real currency these days. Maybe it’s because almost all of them put out 5-10 horrible metal/rock albums after their awesome debut albums, or maybe because they were too dirty and scummy (in an uncool, “that burned out guy who lives in a trailer down the street” kind of way)? IDK, but they don’t seem to be on the hipster radar. Too bad, I loved all this shit.

Likelihood of it happening: HIGH. I really need to do a longer post about this band, because not only did they pretty much single-handedly invent the “hardcore kids playing catchy rock songs” thing, they are really really fucking good. In any case, the Noisey crowd can’t gargle the DC scene’s balls hard enough, and once MINOR THREAT/BAD BRAINS worship is passe, I expect that they will move on to DAG NASTY at some point.

Likelihood of it happening: MODERATELY HIGH. Incredibly influential, universal loved first album + cool gangster image = total Noisey fodder. You have to weigh those against the rest of their decidedly non-hipster-friendly catalog (a mix of very good thrash and very mediocre punk), but the NPR crowd has shown an ability to overlook the crappy parts of a band’s career as long as their first 7″/LP is good. Plus, the band is over 30 years old which means that hipsters and art students should be discovering them for the first time any day now.

black flag

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Boston Hardcore ’90 to ’94 – your primer to old school new school…

image-550x364Well, it fucking happened – I looked in the mirror and I’m currently banging on 43 years old… getting some wrinkles around the eyes, hair getting pretty grey and my oldest kid is now the same age I was when I first got into hardcore. Time sucks.

Before I Internet die (AKA float off into obsolescence as I don’t even have a Twitter account), I thought I might do one giant favor and document one small slice of the hardcore world – and do it as a fan, not as some neo-hipster that has ‘read everything’ or some crusty old band bass player that wants everyone to ‘remember their contribution’ – I’ll just do it as a dude that was there and reasonably ‘into it’ at the time.

I’ve got two pretty good bookmarks for the era in Boston – it starts with Slapshot’s “Sudden Death Overtime” record release party at the Channel club, September 1990, and ends (to me) with Sam Black Church playing some church basement in Clinton MA with Ten Yard Hike as an opening act, late in 1994. That Slapshop show was also the first time Sam Black Church ever played out – and by the end of this little era they were a big Boston headlining act.

Old school new school – it was a time following Youth Crew, and before Metalcore had really sunk into HXC. Most bands in the New England area played Boston clubs – anything outside of those clubs were real local basement shows. There were no ‘scenes’ outside of the Boston club scene. BHC bands were beginning to develop their own style, taking a huge helping from NYHC, but no real HXC subgenres had developed yet – the ‘scene’ was still very small. I remember it being a really ethnic scene, lots of Irish kids – via being from New Hampshire, I consider Irish, Spanish and Italians as ‘not quite white’. 2014-11-11_22-10-49

The Bands – Let’s take a look at the bands of the era (names link to YouTube vids – I don’t feel like imbedding a ton of shitty videos) – any of these bands could be found on the bill with the others… that’s the kind of non-subgenre world it was…

Slapshot – the grandaddy of Boston ’90s HXC bands; they really straddled two eras. Very Oi! influenced, lead singer Choke was well known in the BHC scene since the ‘old days’. If you were in Boston then you loved them, everyone else probably hated them.

Wrecking Crew – famous for being the band of FSU founder Elgin James. I never particularly liked them, tho they were *very* popular. I think B9 has really lent a lot to their continued ‘legacy’. Anyways, were not a ‘must see’ band for me.

Eye For An Eye – def. a ‘new school’ BHC band – super positive lyrics with a black dude for a singer. I really really liked these guys. Opened for Fugazi at the Channel once. Their complete discography was released on CD a while back – great example of early ’90s HC.

Sam Black Church – became one of the biggest bands in Boston during the time – mixed metal with HXC very effectively. Lead singer Jet was super spazzy on stage and the first few times I saw them I was unsure if he was singing or ‘casting magic spells’ (srs).

Kingpin – kinda Youth Crew south shore kids, their one 7″ isn’t very memorable but they were very typical of kids back then.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (!) – yup, they played mostly HXC shows back then. Huge fan base around their first album. We all probably wore some kind of plaid to their shows. It’s all so embarrassing…

STP – a 1st gen BHC band that kinda tried to reinvent themselves. I have their 7″ somewhere…

Said and Done – super obscure proto-emo core band. Yea, I’ve got their 7″ somewhere!

Suckerpunch – (couldn’t find a vid – you ain’t missin much) They did NYHC style stuff, memorable only because their lead singer was this 6′ 6″ all muscle dude that intimidated *everyone*.

Only Living Witness – probably the most under-appreciated band here. Really more metalcore before metalcore, I love their first full album. They had some beef with the FSU kids for a while. Random trivia – my brother and I used to skateboard with the lead singer Jonah in Nashua NH in the late ’80s.

The Clubs – Boston is known for some of it’s ‘famous’ clubs. Here’s a rundown of them and random thoughts on them.

imgresThe Channel – located right near South Station (AKA easy to get to) it was by far the largest club. Big bands played here – more on the place in a bit.

The Paradise – right near BU, kinda nicer club that did HXC shows every once in a while. Saw Burn open a show there and the PA system went out, so the crowd shouted all the songs…

TT the Bears – shithole.

Axis/Avalon – Mostly dance club near Fenway – say SOIA play a crazy violent show there. Def. upscale – also saw Danzig and thrashy Soundgarden in ’89 there. Is now the House of Blues I think.

Man-Ray – shithole.

Middle East upstairs – smaller club that held shows sometimes. Think we saw Snapcase there… Close to MIT so real college vibe.

250px-TheRatInWinterThe Rat – super shithole.

Memorable Events:

The Channel held fairly frequent Sunday Matinees, which usually saw bigger NYHC bands playing with local Boston bands opening up. These would usually draw decent crowds and we got to see GB, Judge, Sheer Terror, SOIA and on and on play there. SOIA and Sheer Terror played during a blizzard one year – I remember us white knuckle driving from NH in a shitty beat up Subaru to the show and wondering if we would even get home…

The Channel was also host to the two POW/MIA benefit shows (this was way before benefit shows were a ‘thing’) – the first one was an incredible experience, a day long show with just about every BHC band playing.. the second was a disaster plagued with multiple FSU gang beatdowns. Go figure.

The Channel closed in late ’91 and this is (to me) one of the driving factors in HXC spreading to the suburbs – making for a bunch of solid scenes outside Boston.

Biohazard/Life of Agony in Nashua NH – we (and about 5 other people) saw a male fronted LoA open for Biohazard in Nashua. We got LoA demo tapes for free and got to hang with Biohazard that night. When they played the Channel the next day, the band noticed us and pulled us out of line to go in early. Gotta admit, was pretty cool…

Fugazi played the Channel and told everyone to stop ‘slamdancing’. Thanks grandpa. Possibly first documented example of ‘slamdance shaming’?

SOIA plays Axis, Integrity cancels. Claim was their drummer died of a brain aneurysm? General rumor was of beef with Boston/FSU bands – one of many cancelled Integrity shows.

The big fanzine of the era was Suburban Voice, run by Al Quint. He seemed like an alright dude, but the magazine read like some kind of aspie OCD HXC mag. Quint’s reviews had this Rainman like quality where he reviewed bands you never heard of and compared them to more bands you never heard of, and did it hundreds of times. Suburban Voice also put out a few 7″ with the mag. Usually small comps consisting of a song from a released 7″.

So – that’s Boston Hardcore circa early ’90s in a nutshell. I’m sure some super-read up armchair HXC nerd could tell me all the bands I missed, how I must be stupid not to see what a great place The Rat was, etc… but this is from a guy that was there, in the shitty sweaty clubs.

After this era, a lot of smaller local scenes developed. Worcester/Central Mass became somewhat big with bands like Bane, Merrimack Valley was and still is a huge center for hardcore (Anchors Up club – not sure if still open – in Haverhill was a big deal). Bands like Converge, Tree, In My Eyes and lots of others came directly after this scene… but this is what it was back then. Hope you guys enjoy this!

Love, Krakken…


Posted in 90s hardcore, growing up, hxc, king krakken's history lessons, metalcore, old people, old shit, what we think about stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

This week in #sludgewave: GOLIATH “Inside My Mind” ft JOHNNY PLAGUE

Our friends in GOLIATH just dropped this new single featuring John from WINDS OF PLAGUE. You might notice that it is by far their best sounding material yet, courtesy of Eyal Levi. If you like this, stay tuned for more– they just tracked an EP with Eyal that should be out early next year.

Now, if we can only get Michael to write a song that’s less than 5 goddamn minutes long…

hard rock best form of music

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ABOUT THAT LIFE release new song “Pop Punk Sucks”

Check out our hot new single that we just dropped! Share it with your friends, especially if they like pop punk.


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‘Real Hardcore’ kids = literally worse than the holocaust

harms way kid


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Matty Mullins releases new video of himself walking down the street for 4 minutes

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 4.43.31 PM

‘A bit different than a typical music video’ = him sitting in the back of the mini cooper with the back hatch open while ms mullins drives

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Jonathan from FTSK is a real estate agent now

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 6.05.55 PM

“Look with Cook!”

It’s been a rough couple years for the boys in FTSK. Not only did they lose their main songwriter (Caleb), but singer Jonathan Cook got arrested for selling fake watches on eBay AND was sued for several million dollars by Rolex for trademark infringement. Something tells me that FTSK isn’t exactly raking in the cash these days, so it looks like he is looking toward the real estate game to pay those legal fees.

Jonathan’s appearance on D-level reality show Shipping Wars. As u can see, he is dripping in whatever the opposite of charisma is.

On the one hand, I feel kinda bad for kicking the guy while he’s down. And really, becoming a real estate agent is much less embarrassing than keeping FTSK together and wearing neon snapbacks at 32 years old. On the other hand, he is by all accounts kind of a creep and a bit of a dick so whatever. The main takeaway here is that this is the endgame for band guys: eventually the band runs out of steam, and you’re in your 30′s trying to start a career– only you’re 10 years behind your peers because you spent the last decade in a van instead of going to school or building your resume.

And remember, FTSK were more far more successful than literally 99.99% of bands, on a major label and everything. So this is actually an example of the UPPER end of outcomes for post-band life… at least he’s not barbacking or answering the phones at a tattoo shop like some guy who was in DONNYBROOK or TERROR for 1.5 tours :/

Their latest video. Bums me out a) how crappy the song is and b) how they all look so old and haggard and dirty :/

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 6.06.08 PM

if ur looking to buy an empty lot in the Dallas suburbs, Jonathan has you covered!

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If u fetishize 90s NYHC, check out NOECHO.NET


Lately I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about sites like Noisey and NPR jizzing over 80s/90s hardcore– people who would never dream of giving it a word of praise when it was actually relevant. And while I am sure that I will spend a great deal more time complaining about that in the future, in the mean time I thought I would give a shoutout to my friends at NO ECHO.

NO ECHO is a relatively new site run by my IRL friend Carlos Ramirez, a Queens native who played in the power violence band BLACK ARMY JACKET, and my internet friend Andrew who did the excellent site Aversionline for quite a few years. Think of it as Noisey, only if instead of new jack hipsters, it was run by guys who were actually part of the 90s hardcore scene– who actually went to go see bands like MERAUDER play to 14 people in some Brooklyn shithold rather than just sing their praises on Instagram.

If you’re not into NYC MAYHEM, we’re not friends

The site covers way more than just hardcore/metal, but if you’re reading this that’s probably the stuff you will be most interested in. I really dig their interviews for being a great balance of genuine appreciation of the “good old days” with the perspective that comes from age. Do yourself a favor and dig thru the entire archives, but here’s a few favorites of mine:


Freddy Madball


The graffiti/hardcore connection


The Sunset Skins (w Minus and Jorge of MERAUDER)

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