Bands u may have slept on: SKARHEAD

skarhead_2012

If u can remember back to 2011, you will recall that the hype band of that time was this band on century media called TRAPPED UNDER ICE. Their popularity evaporated even faster than ODD FUTURE’s, but they somehow managed to permanently raise the profile of the band that was quite obviously their number one influence: CROWN OF THORNZ. I’m glad people finally appreciate COT, but this post is about COT’s vocalist Ezec’s other band SKARHEAD– who were probably 20x more popular in the 90s than COT, and don’t get the love they deserve from Kids These Days.

Listening to SKARHEAD now, the thing that stands out to me is that their songs are really fucking good. Like “with the right marketing this band could’ve been the next DROPKICK MURPHYS” good. Ezec is hands down one of the most charismatic, best frontmen in the history of hardcore, and they combined hardcore, punk, rock, and hip-hop in a way that imo has still never been equalled.

BTW, if you are looking for third-hand stories about things that these guys supposedly did or juicy gossip about how scary they are, you’re not gonna find it– this post is about their MUSIC. I’m sure some 19 year-old Belgian has compiled a great thread about DMS gossip on B9 so go read that if you want.

My personal favorite Skarhead song, “Skarhead.” Also one of my favorite guitar sounds– still waiting for a reply from Mike Dijan on how he got this tone!!

With Tumblt social justice bullshit at an all-time high, “Punk Rock Fantasy” is more relevant than ever: “You bitch and moan about government / You bitch and moan about life / Get a job like everyone else / To relieve some struggle and strife / Because in this world / You don’t get something for free / And if anarchy is your solution / Then punk come and see me.”

NY OG’s feel free to correct me if I’m getting this wrong, but as I recall, SKARHEAD started as essentially a joke “all-stars of NYHC” project featuring Ezec, Toby Morse (H20), and some guys from bands like Maximum Penalty and Subzero (sorry, my memory is failing). From what I remember Toby saying in interviews back then, they wrote a bunch of the lyrics to their debut EP on the way to the studio so obviously they weren’t taking it super seriously, but idk I think came out pretty fucking great. I didn’t expect them to ever do more than this EP and a couple “just for fun” shows, but they stuck around and actually became a real band.

My favorite track from “Kings At Crime”, “Drugs Money & Sex.” So, so catchy– this is fucking great songwriting any way you look at it.

They’re just as good when they get serious, eg “Rebirth” (ft Jorge from MERAUDER) which I am guessing is about somebody’s struggle with addiction

“Snickers” is the best song MURPHY’S LAW never wrote.

Fast forward a few years and somehow or another, they ended up signed to Victory and put out the “Kings At Crime” LP in 1998. They toured a whole lot for this record, and were a pretty big band (by the standards of late 90s NYHC, that is). I personally think it still sounds fucking great even today. The most impressive thing is that every song on this record feels like a SONG, with its own identity and point of view– to me, that is the hallmark of truly great songwriting in any genre (for example “Enema Of The State”), and it’s almost unheard of in hardcore.

“3140″ is the closest thing to the classic SKARHEAD sound on this album, featuring the most amazing prechorus/chorus of all time: “We came to party / Don’t make us put that hole in your body”

Many, many people have tried to combine hardcore and hip-hop and it is almost always a complete fucking abortion. “NY Crime” is how you do it right, kids.

The last thing SKARHEAD did before going on a 7 or 8 year hiatus was what would have been their second release for Victory, an untitled EP that never saw the light of day. (and in a random “wow hardcore is a realllllly small world” moment, it turns out that my buddy Jesse Cannon recorded this at his parents’ house in 2000 or 2001 lol) From what I hear, Tony hated it and didn’t want to put it out, which I think is weird because imo it’s fucking awesome and could have been huge. It’s basically TRANSPLANTS for hardcore kids: Ezec and Puerto Rican Mike rapping over punk/hardcore riffs, and probably the best execution of “thugcore” that’s ever existed. Could have been a huge release for Victory with crossover appeal imo– U BLEW IT, TONY.

I know SKARHEAD has played a few shows here and there lately, but I’m not sure how active they are, if there’s any new material in the works, or anything else about their status. I’m sure if you hit up Ezec on Twitter he can tell you what’s up, and in the meantime, please do yourself a favor and dig through their back catalog– there’s not a bad release in their entire discography and it’s well worth going through every song!

dms-badge-800x4501

About Sergeant D

I was like yeah ok whatever
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58 Responses to Bands u may have slept on: SKARHEAD

  1. Nightshift says:

    Lou Dibella from Subzero was who it was…I remember that Joey Capizzi from Cattlepress was a skarhead fan while he was playing lo-fi black metal with danny lilker. Its almost like the actual musicians care less about scene rules than their fans.

  2. Todd says:

    Almost sounds like he’s using a chorus pedal on “skarhead”.

  3. nu⚡⚡tej says:

    I forgot about the kazoo in punk rock fantasy, u can never have too much kazoo, triangle, didgeridoo, gong or cowbell.

  4. Bronson says:

    Skarhead was one of the first post-80s hardcore bands I got into, and I think the reason for that was because 1) they have really great songwriting, so their songs stuck out more to me a lot more than some other more modern hardcore at the time, and 2) it was heavy enough to bring the mosh, but still punk as fuck (which I always really loved, and which is why Death Threat is one of my favorite bands). When I saw the video for “DFF” (probably my favorite Skarhead jam), my jaw just dropped – instantly was like “WTF is this??” and wanted to hear more.

    That said, I remember having some (rather stupid) hardcore punxxx friends who would publicly make fun of the DFF video and Skarhead semi-frequently for a time, and all I could think is “wow, you little dummies really have no idea who you are talking shit about…”

    • TLDR says:

      it was heavy enough to bring the mosh, but still punk as fuck (which I always really loved, and which is why Death Threat is one of my favorite bands).

      THIS ^^^ Death Threat <3<3<3 See also in this category: Colin of Arabia

      “wow, you little dummies really have no idea who you are talking shit about…”

      LOLOLOL. Que all the stories Sarge intentionally avoided in his post and is probably hoping to avoid in the comments.

  5. aneurofag says:

    Even Durgs, Music & Sex was good too. They managed to be current and punk at the same time in a very cool cool way imo.

  6. Nightshift says:

    Also good call on Dijan. I know fuck-all about playing but he consistently plays good riffs. Battle Hymns For an Angry Planet will always get less love than the demo bc kids born in 1995 want to impress 45 yr olds but the production, riffs and everything on that LP are top notch, it’s like nyhc from the future. His riffs in that new Sai Nam project are great too, real rock vibe.

  7. Huge Faggot says:

    Posting to say that Trapped Under Ice’s popularity didn’t really fade IMO. Watch their final set at This Is Hardcore 2013. One of the craziest sets.

    • Sergeant D says:

      I honestly had no idea they were even still a band lol. Havent heard a peep about them since that one drama-filled euro tour

      • GoingDeaf? says:

        They aren’t a band at the moment. Went on hiatus last year, so that probably explains why you haven’t heard anything. I don’t think their popularity dwindled… sold out the decent-sized (for hardcore) venue in San Francisco on their last tour.

      • MasterSlave says:

        Everyone in Australia listens to em. I don’t get it. Turnstile I definitely dig though

      • Huge Faggot says:

        Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize how it would appear that their popularity faded. Even though their set was wild, not many were posting about them before that. They were just one of those bands people liked and would go to see, but they wouldn’t make a big deal about liking them. So, when they announced they were going on hiatus, I think everyone was like oh darn I actually liked them. I also would like to add that I think the hiatus idea is very smart, and I wish more bands would know when they should take a break.

    • TLDR says:

      ^^^ This, they literally stated their reason for going on hiatus as they have done everything they could ever hope to and have pretty much peaked in popularity at where any hardcore band aside from Hatebreed could get to.

      Plus, hype/image wise (tho not musically), Turnstyle = TUI 2.0, so they are basically still huge

      • JiVeSucka says:

        even tho i really like tui the whole were a bunch of emotionally scarred dudes from Baltimore who wont go any where in life got old after the stay cold ep

        • TLDR says:

          Well, when you think about it this is a good reason for them to break up, since the lyrical theme you stated is fairly consistent throughout all their records. They’ve done it enough I guess lol

          But isn’t hardcore pretty much “were emotionally fucked up dudes from X town” pretty much all the time? This topic is pretty much the meat and potatoes of hardcore. The only other themes really are like not doing drugs, eating meat, or believing in god, or overcoming adversity or whatever. Or once in a while “were tough dont fuck with us or else”

          • JiVeSucka says:

            you’re 100% right about that. You’ve basically summed up all the lyrical theme of every hardcore band ever, and I do dig the ” I’ve completely fucked up and I have no reason to live” thing. Its just that tui’s lyrics got old real quick to me, idk why even tho they still bring the fuckin mosh. I like turnstiles lyrical theme of ” I’ve fucked up but im tryin to fix it nd move on bro” which would pertain to me more now

      • brobi-wan-kendoebi says:

        Srsly that show at alladin Jr = sold out, the hype is real

  8. Rib says:

    All of this is invalid as long as Hed PE is around. Dont even fucking argue.

  9. Tay says:

    Yeah the rapping stuff they tried to incorporate sounds horrible.

  10. MasterSlave says:

    As a punk rock faggit at heart I’ve always loved how Skarhead pay homage to their punk roots (references to street punk bands throughout their lyrics for example) despite being part of the original tough guy gangster mosh crew. Contrast this to Rick Ta Life who once answered a question about where hardcore came from: ‘I have no idea’.

    Over analyzing aside, this band straight up rules

  11. TLDR says:

    I always loved the vibe of the DMS EP. Really Sleazy guitar tone/riffs, that mosh part at the end of “Skarhead” goes hard as fuk, I love stomps like that so much.

    The irony of them being punk as fuk and having a song called “punk rock fantasy” is just too good to be true. “Take a bath ya sorry bastards” = DEAD

    I always liked how they had random. poppy – ish parts with amazing lyrics like “ya liked to me, cried to me, bitch ya crossed me now I gotta kill ya” and you knew they meant it lol. Like I just imagine Ezac and Co. sitting in some dimly lit basement in Queens in 1992 realizing they had just been crossed in a drug deal, feeling betrayed, and being all like “I rly gotta get this off my chest, I’ll write some lyrics!” And the fact that it came out really catchy/poppy is just amazing/hilarious.

  12. TLDR says:

    I thought Kings at Crime had two great songs: the first one and the last one. I’ve never been able to get into the rest of the record TBH. I could see it being really fun live tho

    I also feel like they mistimed their reunion or resuming activity as a band or whatever – I remember them trying to do a West Coast tour around 2009 or so? They literally had to cancel it because they could not get enough shows booked IIRC, but if they had done it around 2005 it could have been huge – Hoods, Donnybrook Terror etc all jocked them and were huge at that time.

    Rly weird and annoying how particular hardcore kids are with their timing of band trends, like God Damn it can’t you faggots jock something for more than 5 seconds so we can get the damn shows booked in time before you switch to something else? This is srsly one of the reasons I stopped booking shows, lol

  13. Welly wingers says:

    Odd future is still pretty big

  14. White Knight of Pedestalia says:

    I could embarrass myself by telling stories of my thugcore wannabe faggit phase where I drove around with my equally lame friends in a crappy car listening to Skarhead and Deez Nuts and thinking we were tough…but no.

  15. Pc says:

    When it comes to thugcore I love me some E Town Concrete. I’m waiting for kids to start jocking them now that rapping hardcore/metal is coming back.

  16. postcore says:

    I’d honestly have no idea which Real HxC bands to jock if it wasn’t for posts like these. thanks!

  17. Pingback: That Time I Saw TERROR at a Pizza Joint in Arkansas | Pass Me the Mike

  18. Heyyyy says:

    aaand im moshin. dis shit makes me feel like a surly beanie wearing teenager hanging out in front of a kwik e mart again. some ol ne’erdowell shyt

  19. Latinoheat!!! says:

    since im not familiar with this here band.. which one is boston mike and which one is puerto rican mike? Is he the one w/ face, neck, n hand tattoos? he seems like a nice jolly fellow =]

    n-e wayz… yo estoy moshing!!

  20. I Can't Remember My Handle says:

    I always wondered why they weren’t more popular, what’s not to like about straight up hardcore? Think the problem was that all the hardcore dudes I knew were either straight edge, or would simply rather just listen to beatdowncore.

  21. Joe brown says:

    Saw these dudes open up for Vanilla Ice in the early 00′s

  22. thatdude says:

    saw these dudes, they sweat a lot in their jerseys
    Ezec is probably the dad of a kid reading this

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