If there was ever a band tailor made for SYWH, it’s E-Town Concrete. These guys were hated and ridiculed on a level that was actually pretty hard to believe when you think about how talented they were. I originally thought that they were only hated outside NJ, but it turns out people in Jersey hate them too. They were criminally underappreciated and I’m setting out to right a colossal wrong.
If someone can get me the shirt Ant Money is wearing in this, I’ll be their best friend.
What threw most people for a loop was Anthony Martini’s N-bomb droppage. I always thought it was funny, and what was even better was that no one ever called him out on it. And if they did, he certainly didn’t care. These guys seemed to feed off the hate. They were never on big tours and no one outside of Jersey was saying anything positive, outside of bands like Shai Hulud and Hatebreed. Sadly, not even the fabled “Jasta Push” was enough for these guys to make it to the big time. I would have settled for a Sworn Enemy level of popularity.
The video for “Firstborn” is ETC in a nutshell. I don’t know if this was an official video, but if it was, I have to ask why. Who shoots a video at a show when they’re the opening act? Maybe no one else noticed, but I did. Like Tony Soprano (aka Ant$) couldn’t have just called some dude and been like “Yo kid, video shoot at your moms house, word is bond.” That video could have ruled. ETC just never seemed to get the breaks that lesser bands did. It doesn’t matter to me, though. I still love these dudes.
What always drew me to them was the myths surrounding them. You would hear the craziest stories about them. Everyone had an E Town story. Even Sarge had one. He heard that Ant$ pulled a gun on hardcore flea market boss Rick ta Life. Stories like that were always floating around. They fought an entire club in the Midwest, Anthony was one of the highest rated Madden players on xBox live, or that they stole Bleeding Through’s gear at Hellfest when it was held in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and what is possibly my favorite one, the time they were on the Warp Tour and NOFX was finishing their set as E Town was setting up, and Fat Mike was like “There’s some band after us, uhh, E Town something….” And Ant just goes “E Town Concrete, motherfucker” and they just started playing while NOFX was trying to finish. The only one of those stories I have some proof of being true is the Warp Tour one, but it didn’t matter. These guys were mythological.
Nowadays, I can find out what dudes in bands had for lunch. Back then, the only way I learned about ETC was from seeing them and talking to people. I remember seeing an interview with them on a site called the Metal Online Mag. It was straight ebonics and they referred to their original rhythm guitar player Kenny as “Shadee” like a hundred times when asked about him being kicked out. (fun fact: the head that Kenny used on the early ETC stuff is currently sitting in my basement.)
What also made E Town great was the fact that they put out an honest to God diss track. In the PC age of big hardcore, where it was about unity and doing drugs when your friends weren’t around, these guys flat out dissed the aforementioned Rick ta Life. They were calling dudes out in an obvious manner. Not like how “Makedamnsure” by Taking Back Sunday is apparently about Pete Wentz, which may be true, but it may also not be true.
They should have taken this picture in front of the Ikea in E-Town. Nothing says the streets like Swedish furniture.
For me, E town reached their creative apex with a song off their 2003 effort, “The Renaissance.” The track in question is called “So Many Nights.” Check this song out and tell me if Eminem rapped it and Slash played the guitar solo, would it be a classic? Would Angie Martinez blast it on Hot97 while I was driving home from work? The answer to these questions is yes. Sure, the lyrics are kind of corny at times, but they were honest. That’s what ETC was all about. They were a bunch of dudes that loved rap and hardcore and they started a band that was more creative than most of the bands that got popular instead of them.
So many drunk dudes in basketball jerseys and annoyed girlfriends at this show.
E Town called it a day in 2006, but for the past few years they’ve done a reunion show every February at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville (or Slayerville if you’re an asshole) NJ. They’ve seemed to become almost elder statesmen of NJxHC. They should call up Fury of V and do some shows. I’ll get my camo shorts and basketball jersey ready.