While the Tumblr nostalgia brigade has reblogged their logo enough that the newer generation of hxc kids is vaguely aware that GORILLA BISCUITS exist, it has come to my attention that not many kids actually know their music very well (read: have listened to them at all). At first that seemed weird to me, because they were part of the Big 4 of 80s youth crew hardcore (YOT, Judge, GB, Bold), and I thought *everybody* knew all those bands. But then I realized that they came and went before most people reading this site were born and I am old as fuck. And then it didn’t seem weird anymore, I just got sad :(
But unlike the vast majority of their peers who are best left forgotten, GORILLA BISCUITS are more than worth listening to 2013. In some ways, they’re maybe more relevant than ever. With more bands than ever playing shitty, generic “traditional hardcore,” the world needs GB. This is because they not only invented the genre of melodic hardcore, but imo did it better than anyone has since.
The most popular GB song, featuring one of the best lines of all time putting bands who “grow out of hardcore” on blast: “Stage dives make me feel more alive, than coded messages in slowed down songs.”
Their 7″ has some endearingly derpy moments, like how Civ’s voice cracks when he says “be open-hearted” and the line “Don’t be retarded, finish what you started!”
I’m not playing the “they did it first and therefore they’re the best” card, because in general I think that the first band to do a given thing usually DOESN’T do it best. Usually someone else comes along who takes the foundation of their style and perfects it. But in the case of GB, that didn’t happen because their successors lacked an important ingredient: Walter fuckin Schreifels, GB guitarist and one of the best hardcore songwriters of all time. It’s pretty much like all the bands who try to copy TERROR but end up falling short because they are not Todd Jones: you can do a pretty good job of copying their style, but you’ll never do it as well as they do.
My favorite GB song. As someone who’s had to put my foot in my mouth so, so, SO many times over the years, the lyrics to this track hit way too close to home.
Anybody who’s felt the sting of being IRL defriended by someone you used to be BFFs with can identify with this one: “I don’t know why you decide I’m not worth calling up. Things have changed between you and me. We don’t hang out but that’s ok.”
Aside from the fact that their music was incredibly well-written, catchy poppy hardcore, GB’s lyrics are also near and dear to my heart. As much as I love YOUTH OF TODAY’s brand of insanely enthusiastic, cynicism-free posi-ness, even at 14 I knew they were a little derpy. On the other hand, GB’s lyrics were just much about being a good person, but in a much less cartoonish kind of way that is pretty impressive considering they were probably in high school when they wrote them.
Walter also invented the genre of post-hardcore (srs) in his post-GB band QUICKSAND (see also DISEMBODIED’s sick cover of this song)
GB broke up after their album dropped and Walter started QUICKSAND, but if you want more GB then check out the CIV album. He wrote all the songs and it sounds like GB 2.0. Check out this old SYWH post for more on CIV!
So there you go. There’s a reason GORILLA BISCUITS is so heavily jocked by hxc olds: they were really fucking good, not to mention incredibly influential. They paved the way for NEW FOUND GLORY, ADTR, and every other band that took a poppy, suburban take on hardcore. If you want to nerd out about GB’s history and influence, check out all the great coverage on my favorite blog DOUBLE CROSS.