You can go almost anywhere fitness related and read about “LOL, CURL IN TEH SQUAT RACK!” types and other annoying people you encounter in the real world at the gym. Fuck that. That would be like writing an article about the lulzy rejects you’d see at shows. What’s the fun in that?
Yeah, sure, you can see these people, but like anything else, the internet has an amplification effect on human interaction. You get the average beardo metalfag at a show, and unless his ’tism is acting particularly up that day, he’ll spare you the lectures. Get that same guy behind a keyboard 15 minutes later, and it’s rant city about how and why everything you like is not only wrong but evil.
Same with the gym. You might hear some idiot bro talk his ignorant wisdom in the gym, but he’ll usually be pretty mild about it and still be open to the input of others.
Dom Mazzetti, one of the few youtube fitness community members who isn’t either a crazy person or boring. Why won’t this gif work? Fuck it, click on it for the next great Misc gif.
All those people, despite whatever faults they have, still have their shit together enough to have successful youtube channels. The real paydirt is on those places where aspiring lifters go for advice: blogs and messageboards. And so our journey begins.
1. Bro-ignorant mesomorphs
Di…did you just ask for advice for putting on quality mass, you skinny fggt? IN MY HOUSE!? AW HELL NAW!
Bro-ignorant mesomorphs are ubiquitous on the internet. Most of the time, they’re fairly big, and fairly lean. They have absolutely no idea how they got there because they’re natural mesomosphs and have always been bigger and leaner than you and are likely also on some bunk balonie hormones. Anything would have worked for this guy, but he knows the secrets that will help you overcome.
Are you having trouble with your routine? Ask one of these guys. Contradictory advice is their calling card.
It’s too basic, you need to add more accessory work. If your routine already has a lot of accessory work in it, then you’re a fucking homo and you need to stop with all this homo bodybuilding shit and get back to the basics and SQUAT AND EAT OATZ MOAR. Fuck counting macros, that’s also holding you back. You just need to work harder. Like he did.
To visualize a bro-ignorant meso, imagine that guy at your gym that weighs 230 pounds and deadlifts 225 pounds with shitty form and a belt, then struts around the place saying shit like “Whoa” and “Woo” and “Aw, fuck” under his breath just loud enough for people to hear, as if what you just witnessed was a marvel to behold.
He’ll never compete on stage. He’ll never compete in a powerlifting meet. Despite his superior genetics, he will credit the success of pro bodybuilders on their “genetics” and not the nightmarish quantity of drugs they take. He took the drugs too, and he didn’t get the results. Explain that, nerd! His failure will be because of his “genetics,” and not his party lifestyle and complete lack of discipline, organization, and work ethic.
Connotations of “Do you even lift?”: Utter sincerity, with noticeable condescension.
2. Beta Spergs
On the other end of the spectrum from bro-ignorance is the Beta Sperg. These are the guys that have everything planned, everything figured out, and everything bought before they even set foot in a gym for the first time in their lives. He has researched everything. He is an encyclopedia of lifting knowledge. He brings more and more expensive equipment to the gym than most elite powerlifters. Most women are stronger than him.
There are generally two sub-types of Beta Sperg lifters; guys who have convinced themselves that they have come up with the most objectively perfect routine, backed by science; and guys who have, through research, uncovered ultra-secret Eastern Bloc routines kept secret by the Communists during the Cold War that allowed their Olympic athletes to achieve MAXIMUM GAINZ. The latter will be in spreadsheet form and be almost indistinguishable from his EVE Online portfolio analyses.
LOL SCIENCE <3
Likely places to be found: Reddit, Somethingawful, 4chan, anywhere else guys who never got pussy congregate that might have a thread or board section about lifting (large comic book or video game forums)
Connotations of “Do you even lift?”: LOL, DO YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THING FROM THE INTERNET?! WE SHARED SOMETHING IN COMMON SO WE ARE NOW FRIENDS.
3. MARINE DAD
My dad wasn’t a Marine. He’s not even an American. Shamefully, he doesn’t even lift. I can’t base this on interactions with my own father, but we all know at least one MARINE DAD in our lives.
MARINE DADS used to be in great shape. He was a Marine, after all. Shit, he might have fought in a war. He’s a dad now, and has gotten soft. What Ensure Revigor didn’t catch, some batshit infomercial routine he saw late at night gon’ get.
Every word of this commercial is the holy testament of God.
When the PX90 box shows up at your house, he’ll tell you that going to the gym is for fggts. If the Marine Corps didn’t need a gym to make him a man, then you don’t either. Did he mention how disappointed he is in you that you didn’t decide to be a YOO-NITED STATES MARINE? He will.
Things like PX90 and Instantensity or whatever the fuck it is called appeal to MARINE DADS because it reminds them of their own training. Jumping up and down in a room under the direction of a superior male specimen. That’s all you need to get in shape. The idea that repetitive and purposefully stressful activities are designed by the military to break you down mentally and not necessarily to get you in shape will not dawn on him.
Likely places to be found: Full Metal Jacket fan forums, militia blogs, shooting messageboards
Connotations of “Do you even lift?”: He has never heard or uttered this phrase in his entire life.
4. Guys who will earn an IFBB pro card and then never compete again
All his life, all he wanted was to be a pro. His room is plastered with all the greats; Ronnie Coleman, Ronnie Coleman, Ronnie Coleman, Ronnie Coleman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In all seriousness, there are some guys out there who just have that bodybuilding virus. They can’t get it out of their systems no matter what. I’d probably be one of these guys too if I wasn’t so ecto. That’s why men’s physique appeals to me. And that’s why I hate these guys.
Psh, they’re not real bodybuilders! People aren’t completely repulsed by them yet!
He’s worked hard, he finally got that supplier for all the GH15 approved drugs, and he finished in the top five of the IFBB Pro-Am New Jersey Sub-Nationals Division B – Men’s 5’8″ and under category, and finally got that IFBB pro card. He’s a pro now, and he’s better than you. And he’s especially better than those men’s physique competitors! Just a bunch of male swimsuit models if you ask him. The IFBB has really gone downhill since they included women’s figure and bikini divisions and then these fggts! This is about bodybuilding, not looking good and well-muscled. If you don’t have an HGH gut you don’t belong on stage!
This attitude is likely because of the realization he mutated his body with all these drugs, making him grotesque to any female aside from those who have also become hormonized weirdos. He doesn’t have what it takes to advance beyond this, so it’s time to get angry on the internet about guys who are taking the “easy route” and not doing as many drugs.
Likely places to be found: bodybuilding.com, secret steroid boards I can’t talk about
Connotations of “Do you even lift?”: Only said to natural BBers and men’s physique competitors, condescension masking envy
5. Instagram figure competitors
God bless you ladies. God bless Instagram. God bless our atomized and narcissistic culture.
For those of you who don’t know, figure is a women’s bodybuilding division for girls who weren’t absolute pigs to start off with, who then dieted and trained right for six months. Since it takes so little effort, I’m seeing more and more girls doing it, and flaunting it on instagram.
The flaunting is the necessary part. Fat shaming now, fat shaming tomorrow, fat shaming forever. Seriously, ladies, anything you can do to get yourselves away from “average,” which according to SJWs and their beta WKs is not “fat” despite what my lying eyes tell me, the better, and the more of it you throw on the internet, the best.
These girls tend to be silent. They don’t do much except post pictures of themselves, what food they’re eating, and maybe some fitspirational quotes and pictures. “Squat booty” seems to be a thing. If I could just say one thing, though:
H-hi ladies. Um, IDK if you know this or not, b-but squatting isn’t really a great posterior chain exercise. Y-you really s-should be deadlifting more and calling it “deadlift booty.” Th-thanks and y-you t-too.
To which their reaction would be: Ew. Deadlifting. That’s so gross, my hands would get all rough.
Why this trend? Maybe she was a waterballoon who was tired of the extra weight. Maybe she was a freakishly skinny girl who realized “strong is the new skinny.” Maybe she was an athlete and this interested her. Maybe she got dumped by her boyfriend and this is how she is dealing with it. Notice how none of these are “is your girlfriend and you successfully convinced her to go to the gym with you and do anything other than cardio.” I’m not saying this is impossible, I’m just saying it is impossible for your beta ass.
Likely places to be found: Instagram, if they’re pro and kinda well known, maybe facebook.
Connotations of “Do you even lift?”: Angry, defensive, and needlessly competitive. She’s trying to prove to you she’s one of the guys. And also trying to handle her crippling body image issues. And also her crippling emotional issues. Why won’t anyone just love her?
Let me educate all of you ignorant Americans a little about my irrelevant country. In Canada, we have these things called “provinces” which is basically like our version of states. There is a province occupied by the French called “Quebec”. Here’s a map to give you a better idea…
Such a large chunk of our country completely dominated by French people… totally groce right? The capital city where I live in across the river from Quebec is even considered “bilingual” (ewww). But I will give the French credit for two things… poutine and skate punk. For whatever reason, when the EpiFat sound became popular in the 90′s, the place that it hit the hardest was Quebec. Still to this day, they worship NOFX as gods and they view Fat Mike in the same way that metalheads view Lemmy. Quebec skate punk was basically like Cali skate punk‘s younger brother who wanted to be as kewl as his big bro who he looked up to.
Reset were the kings of French Canadian skate punk. They set the trend for all the other bands to follow. Eventually the singer and drummer left and started Simple Plan. The guitarist still to this day desperately tries to continue the band with new members but the only time anyone cares about them anymore is when the original lineup reunites to play a show.
vid of the drummer interviewing the singer of bad religion when he was like 16
Oversight was one of the first bands that came to mind for this genre. They were known for their proficient (by punk standards) musicianship. Despite being somewhat heavily jocked, I doubt that many people outside of Quebec care about them (source: all of the comments on that youtube video are in French).
typical skate punk fan, 30+ and french canadian
I have high levels of nostalgia for X-Large because they were one of my first introductions to Quebec skate punk. This brings me back to the early days of internet music piracy when Napster was my main source for downloading music and I discovered this band on there. These guys named themselves “X-Large” cause their singer was really fat.
This is another band I found out about through Napster from this French guy that I used to download off of. I also downloaded the Simple Plan demo off him, before anyone knew who they were. #poppunkhipster
I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Twenty2. Out of all the bands in this scene, they seemed like they could have been the one to “break out” but they never quite made it. They did have their music videos played on MusiquePlus (French Canadian MTV) though, which I guess is like the benchmark of success for these types of bands.
This band had a really really nasally vocalist, but they were sick. I wish these bands were more popular because I know they had better songs than this but this is the only one I could find on youtube. Props to ov3r5ight for uploading all of these bands though.
lol people abused hair gel way too much in the 90′s… was that dude in the front right in Aqua??
2FAST4U (best name ever) was a band that kind of bordered on melodic hardcore. This whole album is masterpiece and I think it’s aged really well (but maybe that’s the nostalgia talking). Check out the epic choir-like vocals at 0:54.
This band was so kiq ass. Props to the dude who uploaded this for putting the lyrics in the video. So much lulzy broken English. I have no idea what this song is about but the music is awesome.
Brain Puker was ridiculously good. Once you get past the weird 50′s ballad intro, you will hear some of the sickest skate punk ever. Their melodies and harmonies are god tier.
Illness was another band that had really good melodies/harmonies. Like many other bands in this genre, they broke up after they released one mini-album and then reunited to play a show in their small village 10 years later.
this is actually a really tight set
As you may have been able to tell by now, lyrics are not this genre’s strong point. But in some cases this can be exemplified in a lulzy way, like this song about marijuana activism. “There is something that I just can’t stand. It’s to see people being arrested for a single gram of weed”. Lol! As much as I hate pot, I can thankfully say that no one here in Canada has ever been arrested for having a gram of weed.
I thought these guys were kinda popular but I guess not because I could only find four songs from them and this is their most viewed song at a whopping 720 views. The weird thing is that a lot of these bands’ CD’s sell on Ebay for hundreds of dollars.
Trendy Five only released a couple of demos and they were pretty amateur sounding. I’d imagine that they’d be inaccessible for people who aren’t into this style of music but for people who are really into skate punk, these types of bands are cult status.
Mute is a band that is keeping the dream alive. These are dudes that live and die for skate punk. They have somehow captured the small demographic of people who are still into this type of music and they tour the world playing it to this day. I have to note that everyone in this video looks 30+ except for the drummer/singer, who has some sort of Andy Milonakis shit going on I think.
I could probably list more bands (via being a huge nerd) but I’ll stop there. I’m glad to have finally documented this awesome piece of musical history that no one cares about. If you want to dig deeper into this genre, here are some resources:
On my search to find the most downtuned, heaviest, ignorant sludgewave band, I think I found the band that takes the prize. Normally when people bash these types of bands, they’ll be like “that band sucks, their songs are just a 3 minute breakdown” when in reality it’s a bunch of breakdowns with a riff or two thrown in. But these guys’ songs are ACTUALLY a 3 minute breakdown.
lol the vocalist looks like the guitarist from limp bizkit with the black contacts
I get so many weird feels while watching this video. I keep waiting for the riff to happen but it never does. But surely 3 and a half minutes of breakdown should be a good thing right? Then why am I not satisfied? Could I be infected with tr00berculosis? Am I too pussie to handle this level of ignorance? Could I have found a band who is actually too ignorant?
As you can see, Mike from LP namechecked a few old hardcore bands, and like 500 people have told me about it about as though it’s the most astonishing thing since Jesus was born. It never ceases to amaze me how people think that listening to a certain band is some sort of incredible, special accomplishment that nobody else could POSSIBLY have done (not directing this at MetalInsider btw, just found it on their site).
Especially in this case: 30-something guy from Southern California who plays in a heavy alternative band listens to several popular hardcore/metal bands that have been around for like 25 years?? No way!!!! He couldn’t possibly have found out about them the same way that I and 10s of thousands of other people our age did (back of Thrasher, sticker on someone’s guitar, etc). I thought *I* was the only one special and cultured enough to know about obscure bands like Meshuggah and Gorilla Biscuits!!!
It is no secret that 90s-worship is in full effect with Kids These Days. But as I’ve mentioned many times before, the difference between how the most-jocked 90s bands are seen today vs how they were seen at the time is oftentimes a little facepalmy/baffling– specifically, that the bands who Tumblr kids in 2014 think are super credible were almost universally seen as lulzy shit for posers in the 90s (or just ignored). If u want to be that kid who is into bands that were in their prime before u were a bulge in ur dad’s JNCOs then go for it, I just want u to be informed so u know what ur getting urself into (so when you tell someone my age that u like BIOHAZARD, u wont be surprised when he rolls his eyes and tries not to laugh at u).
What that said, here is your guide to what we thought about the 2014 scene’s favorite 90s hardcore bands, in the 90s!
makes me want to hide under a rock out of vicarious shame when i watch this
The definition of entry-level, fake hardcore for mall kids who watched Headbangers Ball. They were considered a metal band (because they had long hair and played exclusively with metal bands) who used NYHC guys essentially as props in their videos.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Emmure
TYPE O NEGATIVE
Eentry-level mall metal for fat girls with low self-esteem who drape their bulk in lulzy gothic clothes. The idea of anyone in the hardcore scene listening to them would be baffling and laughable. And as for Carnivore, do you think anybody in the 90s hardcore scene had any fucking clue who they were?! lol 90s hardcore kids barely knew who Morbid Angel was let alone a much more obscure band like Carnivore.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Motionless In White
nothing says “Real Hardcore” like a downtempo gothic cover of a big 80s pop song!
LIFE OF AGONY
They were usually referred to as a “gothic hard rock” band. They were not seen as having ANY ties to the hardcore scene. They did not play with hardcore bands.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Lacuna Coil
all 17 ppl at this show are STOKED
The 75 or so people in the US who were aware of Disembodied’s existence in the 90s thought they were a great band, but basically nobody gave a shit about them until like 2012 (as the members of the band can confirm I’m sure). Saw them open for Overcast in 1998 and maybe 15 people watched them– and that was probably their biggest tour.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Feign/Demolisher/Rooks/some other sweet, super-heavy band that nobody gives two fucks about
NEW FOUND GLORY
In the 90s, it was totally unacceptable for hardcore kids to like pop-punk. Maaaaaaybe if u had a particularly advanced personal brand that incorporated being a really zany person who does unexpected things u could admit to liking Screeching Weasel as a “guilty pleasure,” but that’s about it. You certainly were not allowed to think that pop-punk was “real music” or anything like that.
So when Chad quit Shai Hulud to do NFG, everybody laughed and called him a poser and most of all, they called him an idiot for investing his time in his stupid pop-punk side project that was never going to go anywhere.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: I See Stars
I personally thought “FTTW” was a great record and listened to it all the time, but as I said above it was not OK to mix hardcore and pop-punk. H20 were able to get a little bit of begrudging respect due to their ties to highly-respected bands like Madball (and Toby was in the original lineup of Skarhead) but if you were to say that you were a big fan of H20 in 1998 at a hardcore show, the reaction would be kind of like that “horrified face” emoji where it looks like McCauley Culkin on the cover of “Home Alone.”
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: The Wonder Years albums with breakdowns and songs about Kool-Aid
the only good Bane song
BANE/IN MY EYES/TEN YARD FIGHT
Same dorks liked them then as they do now: people who think the world revolves around collecting Star Wars dolls and crappy hardcore 7″s (that you pretend are “amazing”).
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Bane/In My Eyes/Ten Yard Fight
no caption needed…
Outside of the braindead bubble that is the tri-state area, nobody really cared about this band other than being kind of bummed at what dicks they were. One time the singer punched Duncan from BY THE GRACE OF GOD in the face and called him a faggot (not sure why but I think it had to do with “disrespecting hardcore” or whatever). With that in mind, most people were not that stoked on this band at the time, for obvious reasons.
Listening to them in the 90s was like listening to this band in 2014: Skrewdriver
On the left, we have a rare photograph from the year 500 B.T. (Before Tumblr) of the now extinct deathcore scene kid equipped with his Youth Large Whitechapel T-Shirt. The roots of his jet black dyed hair are covertly hidden underneath his fresh New Era hat with the sticker still intact. His flat ironed fringe covers half of his face which he has decorated with an assortment of piercings. His white belt serves no functional use for his skin tight pants, but is worn for aesthetic purposes. His stretched earlobes signify his social ranking in the scene, predicated on the size of his plugs. If you look closely into the exposed half of his right eye, you can sense the childlike innocence that he portrays. He was probably completely oblivious to the fact that his species was on the path to extinction when this picture was taken.
On the right, we have a photo from the A.M. epoch (After Myspace) of a young neo-IMN. His chastity necklace rests safely in between his manboobs which lay underneath his entry-level band shirt. Neo-IMNs can be spotted in public more often than the traditional IMN. This could be due to them being raised in a more technologically advanced era and learning how to access the internet on a portable device from an early age. This particular neo-IMN has adapted to these outdoor conditions by growing his unkempt hair out to a gargantuan diameter in order to protect himself from those who potentially pose a threat to his alternative lifestyle. Scientists are conducting further studies on the cultural ecology of IMNs in this habitat.
Do u miss when deathcore was still scene? Are u ashamed to like it now that the genre has been hijacked by the new generation of IMNs? Will science ever be able to discover the missing link between deathcore scene kids and neo-IMNs who listen to deathcore?
The internet is having a weird influence on hardcore. Every day, thousands of kids who weren’t even old enough to be in kindergarten when I first started going to shows are scouring the internet for the most obscure shit no one in hardcore cared about at the time, and forming revivals around that sound. For example, never in a million fucking years would I have imagined an 18 year old kid in 2014 being a connoisseur of Crown of Thornz.
The odd thing though is there is a funny dark spot in this phenomenon roughly around 1998-2003. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because there hasn’t been enough time for nostalgia to set in; maybe this period of time hasn’t been mythologized yet; or maybe it’s just unfortunate that it happened to occur during the Web 1.0 days and documentation of this period is not well known because who the fuck wants to comb through poorly edited video tape transfers of 240p live clips of these bands on youtube.
The lone exception to this seems to be screamo, which had its vocal and sperg-level precise documentarians, and thus survived relatively in tact. I suspect screamo had the benefit of having a certain appeal to a wider audience because HURR DURR, IT’S ABOUT GUURLZ.
Today, I want to aware you on sass.
Sass was an extremely short-lived style of hardcore, lasting perhaps, at peak, two to four years. It was roughly contemporary with the classic screamo era (late 90s/early 2000s), it wasn’t uncommon for sass and screamo bands to play the same shows, it came with an easily identifiable and fashionable visual esthetic, and it was wildly fun (for those of us who liked fun).
Sass was all about tight pants, pink, snotty attitudes, sweaty dance parties, keyboards, androgynous Asian band members, and explicit homoeroticism. Hardcore for the angry skinny boys full of sexual tension and a great collection of skinny ties and thrift store slim-fit suit jackets before those were even a thing that cool people wore.
See that girl on the left? That was pretty much every girls at a sass show. Actually, pretty much everyone in this shot could have been a sass audience member.
The genesis of this is a really hard thing to pin down, as it probably is with most subgenres. My own personal take was that it was social more than anything. In the late 90s, hardcore (screamo, whatever you want to call it) got a little more adventurous and started to reach a different audience that normally wouldn’t be into hardcore, generally the types of people who comprised the very first wave of hipsters, before that become a dirty term (these were actually cool people). They took it and threw in their own femme arthouse stuff and what we got was sass.
At this point, the term “hipster” and “scenester” were roughly synonymous. Neither was really an insult or meant you looked like a Spencer’s Gifts exploded. A lot of these bands were made up mostly of art students, which sort of implies they crave attention, and a lot of their antics were specifically done to make people feel as uncomfortable as possible, but you could just be a dick independent of all of this.
So what was a sass show like? Imagine an over-the-top snotty, somewhat danceable, explicitly homoerotic music that wouldn’t be out of place in some stinking, sweaty basement between a couple of hardcore and/or screamo bands.
You have to understand just how different this was at the time. It was going to be polarizing no matter what.
Sass had a contentious at best relationship with the greater scene. Some people loved it and some people hated it. People hated it for a variety of reasons, but I think mainly it was due to the latent discomfort hardcore has always had with male sexuality, be it heterosexual or homosexual. A good number of people who hated it were the prudish PC thought police types. Which was bizarre as it “brought in” non-traditional audience members, mainly homosexual men and good looking women, something the PC monks always complained about. Of course the tough guy hardcore, or pv, or edge, (and so on) crowds hated it on their own terms, which should be obvious.
In short, sass tapped into something very primal, something very fundamental that hardcore never understood:
GIRLS LIKE TO DANCE
Yes, even the damaged fucking goods that are into hardcore and weird/artsy/indie shit. Yes, even a little dancing goes a long way. Why this was never understood by the No Fun Club hardcore crowd (which should be how you read any mention of “hardcore” in this article) should be self evident.
You might be asking yourself, “But Pete, none of this stuff sounds particularly danceable, what the fuck are you talking about?” Different time, little dude. If you’re used to only seeing apoplectically spastic TOP SKRAMZ or nauseatingly earnest ultra-PC hardcore – complete with lectures, rants about shit that happened on messageboards, shitbrained political beliefs, and all the ethnomasochism all you dumb, cruel, entitled, tunneled vision, shit eating white male heterosexual Christians can handle – you’ll dance to something with a little hi-hat shuffle thrown in.
We’ll get to the bands in a second, but every microgenre should have its record label, and for sass it was Sound Virus. Pretty much everything they put out, with a few exceptions like the Last Match discography (basically a straight up Euro hardcore band), was sass gold. They put out records by sass mainstays like Blood Brothers, The Red Light Sting, The Sick Lipstick, The Cinema Eye, A Trillion Barnacle Lapse, Death From Above (later with the “1979″ added), and Hint Hint, among others.
So, let us begin the deluge of youtube clips.
Nation of Ulysses is not a sass band. They were a joke, not really a joke, possibly a joke Leftist revolutionary band beloved by No Fun Club types at the height of the NFC’s power in the 90s. They did, however, have impeccable style, the right attitude, and and overall esthetic that I would have to imagine influenced every other band on this list. NOU was the first draft of the blueprints. Think of them as proto-sass.
A little later in the game we have Le Shok. Again, still too early in the 90s, and still not sass, but notice what is going on here. The style. The flagrant antagonism of the crowd. The band’s mannerisms. The fact that it is hardcore, but there is a certain je ne sais quoi of experimentation and sass about it. There’s something altogether more…sexual about all of it. Serious LOL @ :40 where that awkward beta kid gets mad about getting hit with the beer and tries to throw it back at the band. Must have been edge.
The Crimson Curse, featuring Justin Pearson of Struggle, Swing Kids, and The Locust not-really fame. This was his short-lived foray into proto-sass. Look at that still. If that doesn’t sum up the entire zeitgeist of everything that was to come in sass, I don’t know what does.
Now we’re in the right time period, but Q and not U still didn’t quite fit into the “sass” category. Virtually everything is here though, esthetically and musically. This was the makeout record of 2000-2001. I feel despair sometimes knowing I’ll never be a 17-18 year old making out with a girl with shotgun haircut. Weep for me.
If you’re at all familiar with sass, it’s going to be The Blood Brothers. They were huge (relatively speaking) enough that they got mainstream press attention. “Sass” wasn’t a term many people outside of hardcore used, so they were usually referred to as hardcore (sort of, I guess) or screamo (LOLWUT). Music journalists have always been idiots, and this period of time was no different. Screaming meant you were screamo and emotion meant you were emo. Keep in mind, “emo” back in the 90s meant you wore argyle sweater vests and got freakishly violent and flopped around the floor like a fish, not that you were a handsome boy from the midwest and you were kinda sad about girls and wrote pop punk songs about it.
Anyway, listen to that sleazy sexuality just coming through, especially on 1-900-USA-NAILS. The breathy and simultaneously mush-mouthed vocal delivery is the calling card of sass. Hyper sexualized, but not masculine at all.
Later Blood Brothers records got even more artistic. Some people hate it, but I love it. I remember reading a review when this album came out saying it was “on some Elton John type shit” or something similar. Guy Picciotto produced it, and he got the homo way up in the mix, if that’s what the reviewer meant by the Elton John joke. This record was like a pair of hot, salty nuts in your face, but in a good way.
There are some bands that you can’t really talk about outside of comparing them to The Blood Brothers. The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower is one such band. Largely seen as a Blood Brothers clone at the time, and while fairly popular, they have seemed to fall into obscurity. Out of all the sass bands, they were the most over-the-top when it came to the homoeroticism. You don’t name an album Love in the Fascist Brothel complete with tranny (?) Nazis on the cover and songs like “Lipstick SS” if you aren’t trying to send a message. They were also notorious for really pushing the envelope when it came to their live shows, going so far as to wander into the audience and kiss men on the mouth and grope crotches. Some real shirtlifter type shit.
Another such band that always gets the Blood Brothers comparisson was These Arms Are Snakes. Being from the Pacific Northwest probably didn’t help that, either.
If any band had the esthetic of sass down, it was An Albatross. The pants, the hand on the hip ( a signature sass move), the sexuality, putting his hands down his sassy pants, the between song banter, it’s all there. Pretty much everyone into this kind of stuff had their first two records; Eat Lightning, Shit Thunder, and We Are the Lazer Viking.
Along the same lines, esthetically speaking, were xbxrx, who incidentally did a split with An Albatross. Less extreme sounding, but no less weird, this band had a prolific output of records almost no one cares about today.
The Red Light Sting were fairly popular at the time, but have fallen into almost complete obscurity. For some reason, I identify the sound of sass with this band more than any other. Their existence as a band almost perfectly coincides with the rise and fall of sass, so maybe that’s why.
Fellow Sound Virus band, Hint Hint wasn’t as well known, and are now completely unknown outside of the handful of sass aficionados left. Basically me and Alex Bigmin. It’s 2003 and you see a beautiful weird girl on campus and really want to fuck her. That’s the essence of Hint Hint.
If there was any other “big” sass band, it was Death From Above 1979. Their style was more accessible; it was much more danceable, and there was no screaming or vestigial hardcore elements. Just looking at these guys and you can see where every douchebag in Brooklyn got their look half a decade later.
The sound quality on this is atrocious, but it’s important to include. A Trillion Barnacle Lapse was fairly popular, and they’re so fucking off the radar now that this is the “best” video of them I could find on youtube. Look at the date: live circa 2001. This band was way ahead of its time esthetically. Their 12″ on Sound Virus is a must have.
I was actually surprised I was able to find anything from Eleventh Symphony. This was some real deep cut type shit even at the time, so I’ll take what I can get. I even tried to find some Soliah Shawcross as well (a related band) but that proved to be too obscure even for the internet.
While were on the topic of shit so fucking obscure I can’t even find a youtube video of a single representative song, I’m going to mention Black and White Photo Enterprise by Radio Vago.
This is so fucking unknown I had to take a picture of it from my own collection. This record is one of the few records that sounds exactly like its cover looks like. See also: Sean Price’s Mic Tyson.
Radio Vago were an all-girl LA band heavy on the synth. I don’t think I need to explain anymore about what they sounded like, at least on this record. They later kinda sorta released a follow up album years later recorded by Omar Rodriguez from ATDI/Mars Volta. It doesn’t sound anything like this record. Buy it if you can find it.
A little more hardcore that was around at the time than outright sass, Hands Are… gives a good idea of just how ubiquitous sassy stage presence was at the time.
Even in the belly of the beast of the No Fun Clubbers, Dischord, was getting in on the act. Between Black Eyes and Q and not U, Dischord temporarily forgot about boring and/or bumming everyone out 100% of the time. Just kidding, I love you guys. Back to the band at hand though, just listen to that fucking trashy, sassy sound. “A loneliness no fag could comprehend.” Yep.
The Number Twelve Looks Like You were pretty much universally hated by everyone at the time. This video isn’t particularly sassy, and their later stuff on is completely different than their early work, but they definitely had the gift early on. I’m pretty sure this video was shot in a house in New Brunswick, too.
Time for the crossover stuff. x Vincent Price’s Orphan Powered Death Machine x were pretty much the zenith of sassy screamo, along with After School Knife Fight (that band THAT band). They were known for their big, Ric Flair style WOO!s.
I’m in this video which was shot at xvpopdmx’s last show, and yeah, there was all kinds of weird things at sass shows. This particular show had a couple of guys with tennis rackets miming lobbing tennis balls to people moshing to the metalcore bands that played earlier (you can see them briefly in this clip), and then at one point one of the vocalists in vpopdm (they had a total of three guys just doing vocals) ran a duct tape lasso around the whole crowd. You just went with it. Being 240p quality, I’d point myself out but it would be fruitless. I’ve actually got the complete last show on an old laptop. I need to dig that shit out one of these days because there is a wealth of 2001-2007 hardcore history on that thing.
ASKF (THAT band). If I remember correctly, Jacen Beers claimed to have the largest collection of screamo girl n00dz. I have no reason to doubt this.
“i dont like the way u treated me i wanna fite”
“and u r and u r and u r”
Orchid are still fairly well known, so I’ll spare the details. Fans at the time, and still to this day, are divided in their opinion of their last album. Orchid were known for screamy hardcore about undergrad philosophy. Their last album was somewhat of a departure. Sure, you still had all the philosophical quotes and references and “revolutionary politics” and a picture of Angela Davis on the cover, but the sound was majorly sass-influenced, and not a lot of the old guard (pause) liked that. Needless to say, this is my favorite Orchid release. It even has a Brooklyn/tight t-shirt guy reference. Ahead of the time, truly.
Panthers, which had three members of Orchid, took off after Orchid called it quits. You can hear how the sass sound carried over to the new band and how it influenced that last Orchid record. A lot of people refer to the Gatefold album as a Panthers record. I’m p sure they mean it as an insult. P sure.
Also along the lines of other notorious No Fun Clubbers making sass-influenced music, we have Milemarker. Al Burian (the male keyboard player) has been a member of many No Fun Club bands and writes books about why capitalism is evil. This particular video is from the Michiganfest 2002 DVD which my roomates at the time and I had a copy of back in 2003. We used to watch the shit out of this video (among others) because we were pretty sure his keyboard wasn’t plugged in because he was just hitting random keys and it wasn’t corresponding to any sound. I also suspect because we all thought the girl was cute, but none of us would admit it.
JR Ewing were a bunch of mustachioed Norwegians who covered a lot of ground during the time they were a band. They started out almost a straight up Euro hardcore band and progressively got softer and more melodic with each release. Their later records were completely different and heavily sass influenced. For a time, it was impossible to go to a show of any kind and not see a girl with a JR Ewing t-shirt.
Van Johnson was more of a sass-influenced screamo band than anything else, and if you weren’t friends with Steve Lam on MySpace and didn’t have him in your Top 8 you weren’t shit.
Another sass-influenced screamo band, The Wolfnote also had some more straight up sass tracks. Note judicious use of pink bandanas and white belts.
The Rapture were one of the “The” bands from the early 2000s. They looked like they were going to be huge. They were getting better reviews than The Strokes for the most part. They never really took off and are pretty much forgotten nowadays. A fine example of sass-indie. Those handclaps. Another sass mainstay.
This might be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. When Hot Damn! came out, pretty much everyone who was into metalcore hated it. It didn’t sound anything like their previous work, and for all intents and purposes, make a complete mockery out of metalcore. This was a masterful troll job. Handclaps? On a metalcore record? Sass-metalcore, there you have it.
Head Automatica was Daryl Palumbo’s (of Long Island hardcore band Glassjaw fame!) attempt to get rich, I think. It didn’t really work, but they managed to make…sass-pop? If memory serves me correctly, there is an earlier cut of this video without all the neon graphics and more slow mo shots of guys with cigarettes in their mouths wailing on guitars.
A.R.E. Weapons are an important band that almost no one remembers. First off, they’re ex-Clikatat Ikatowi (SD old school emo band [shoutouts to Andrew in the comments for picking up on this] ). Secondly, they were among the first bands doing this kind of sound in Williamsburg. Shit, they were among the first bands in Williamsburg that consisted of hip white people. This was 1999, Williamsburg was still a fucked up hellhole with cheap rent because no one wanted to live in a part of town where you were likely to get robbed or assaulted. “Hipster” still meant you were cool, and not a catchall term that now means “literally anything a white person under the age of 45 does outside of the realm of sports.” Full disclosure, I hated this band at the time because they were a bunch of try-hards. Sass-electro.
From what you can gather from these songs, sass didn’t really have a “sound.” It was more an esthetic than a uniform, cohesive sound. You had to have certain elements, but more often than not, those elements were about style and presence than they were about sound. You knew what you were getting into when you went to a show though. You were getting your money’s worth, you were going to sweat, you were going to get felt up and maybe kissed (usually by another guy), and you were going to dance with kyut weird chicks who dressed well and were getting their B.A. in art history.
It went away almost overnight. The halcyon days were from 2000 to maybe 2004, and that’s stretching it in both directions. 2001 to 2003 was probably the height. I was and apparently still am in a very, very small minority who will openly admit to loving it at the time, actively collects it, and yearns for a revival.
Why did it go away? Why would anyone want to stop dancing and having fun and actually having a handful of not terrible looking girls at shows? Beats me. By 2004, most of the relevant bands broke up and new ones were not forming. I blame the No Fun Club. I mean, it’s not like all the early punk bands were made up of effeminate weirdos or anything. Too much fun, not enough lecturing.
If you’re reading this and are so inclined, please start a sass revival. Make a comp. Call it Diamond Dust Shoes and have the cover be a guy’s coke covered face with spit chains leading to what can only be assumed to be an off camera penis. What you will need to make it authentic:
proverbial mountain of cocaine
denim, lots of denim
old style American Apparel t-shirts, preferably pink
art degrees from colleges no one has ever heard of
songs containing the following words: lipstick, sick, baby, cigarettes, OH!/OH-OH!/OH-OH-OH!, WOO!, and the phrase “doctor, doctor!”
sassy dance moves
paper-thin guitar tones
There may even be a nascent sass revival. Here are a few newer sass-eque bands:
Neon Navajo is no longer with us, but members went on to form Stripper Pussy, which has a GREAT name for a sass band