Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Bjorn Dossche

November 12th, 1995. I still remember this day as if it were yesterday. I was a 15 year old kid that had been listening to hardcore music for a few years and slowly got into the more underground side of things. When I discovered that there were hardcore, and even straight edge, bands in the small country I lived in I knew I had to see what that was all about. So on November 12th, 1995, I went to see Congress in a town close to the one I grew up in and what I witnessed that night made such an impression on me that I am still here 13 years later. I was nervous and didn't quite know how to behave, as I seemed to have stumbled into this hidden world... But when Congress took the stage my mind was blown. The dudes on stage were the same dudes that were hanging out in the crowd an hour earlier. But they were up there now, stomping and screaming and the kids were screaming right back at them. The room was filled with an incredible energy, passion and urgency. There was an intensity there that I had never felt. No barricades, no bullshit. Just the band, a small stage and the kids. I knew that this was what I had been looking for. From there on, there was no way back for me. I started visiting more and more shows and immersed myself in hardcore and everything that came with it.

Growing older I have realized it is far from perfect. I know I could complain all day and night and become jaded easily because of the things that bother me, or even sicken me, but why would I want that to happen? In a lot of ways hardcore is also what you make of it and I'll never forget what it's given to me.

So what makes it so important to me? It is so important because every now and again it still gives me something that comes close to that feeling I felt on November 12th, 1995. It is so important because I has enabled me to meet like minded individuals, people I can relate to and talk to. Some of them have become my best friends, while others I only see maybe once or twice a year, but whatever, what matters is the connection that is there. It so important because it has shown me that we are so much more than what we've been told we can be. We can do bands, jump in a van and tour the world if we work hard enough to get there. We can do fanzines, put on shows and create something with our bare hands. We can think for ourselves, offer some reason and a strong, independent mind to a world that seems to have lost all sense of reason, a world that doesn't make much sense to me.

"I'll live and I'll die, but I won't be the same."

Bjorn, August '08

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Ian Wiles

As you get older in hardcore the natural reaction is to slowly step away and let the new 'generation' take over. I feel that to a certain extent and its something that been on my mind for the past year. Why still book shows? start a new band? release records? Honestly - hardcore isnt the be all and end all of my exsistence as it was 5 years ago but as long as Im still inspired I will be involved.

I still have that all important sense of belonging and the feeling that you can do postiive things. Its about getting that delivery of a thousand new records and working out how to sell them. Its also the total freedom that is jumping in a van and going on tour.

Most of my closest friends I have met through hardcore. A lot of people have 'moved on' and wonder what im still doing being as involved as I am but this has been the basis of my life for the past 14 years and I owe hardcore everything. The cheap ego boosts of the label, bands and shows are nice dont get me wrong. But thinking about hardcore - whats most important? the people i care for wh are know friends for life.

p.s the straight edge

Ian D&G, August '08

Friday, 30 May 2008

Pete Abordi

At first when i sat down to write what "the essence" of hardcore meant to me i couldnt come up with anything.I had to dig a little deeper to really understand what this crazy music has done to me.
See, as cheesy as it sounds, hardcore is my life.
Through hardcore i met my partner who i will be with until the day that i die, i made choices in my life that will not only keep me fit and healty but also out of trouble(iam straightedge and vegetarian and still going strong), i have traveled around my country more times than i could ever count and i have travelled overseas (New Zealand, Europe and soon the USA), and i have met people that have gone on to become life long friends.
I became involved in hardcore at quite an early age(12), and i guess no one really knows what they want at that age, but from the first show i attended (Toe To Toe playing in my hometown, Maroubra Beach!)i was fucking hooked. Not only did i feel a conection with the music that i thought was a perfect combination of the punk and metal i was listening too, but i felt a connection with the other people at the show.We had something in common, and as the years go on, those things that we have in common may become smaller and smaller, but every now and then i will still meet a person, and have a straight up connection with them like we grew up in the same house (whats up Todd!)My friends that i grew up with that grew out of punk/hardcore still cant believe that i listen /play the same shit that we used to listen to as kids.But i am a part of something that they will never understand, and thats ok.
I am out of step with 99.9% of the human population and i wouldnt have it any other way.

Pete BID, May '08

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Brian Murphy

"You can be from japan or you can be from europe, it's a way of life. As long as you keep it real and you do it from your heart, that's being hardcore. It ain't a pair of jeans that make you hardcore, you know baggy jeans or a hardcore shirt. It's a way of life."

Driving an incredible amount of hours to see bands even if they were playing locally the next week. Doing this every weekend for years.

Renting a van to pile in a bunch of friends to go record backups in DC. 9 hours later, dealingwith "no fun" people and having people kicked out of the YMCA because swimming in white boxers is not "family appropriate".

Driving to Wilkes Barre (or flying into Scranton after a traveling work week) to sit in a tent and bullshit with friends while a million bands play to a million kids. All the while, sweating todeath from just sitting, but still finding the energy to go crazy for favorite bands.

Staying up all night throwing cards, listening to Raw Deal and Breakdown arguing over which is better. Walking home while the sun is coming up knowing the same thing will happen the next weekend.

Weekly to daily trips to the post office for another record trade. Waiting for the postman to show up.

Crashing on floors in California, DC, New York, Seattle, New Jersey, Montreal, Toronto, Vegas, Michigan, New Orleans, ...

Flying to the west coast to ride around in a van with your best friends while they play awesomes hows from San Diego to Seattle. Seeing people again for the first time in over 5 years and knowing the laughs and fun never left.

Driving from Boston to California in 42 hours. Passing 18 wheelers like they were standing still. Listening to h2o until it wore out. Driving a classic car and later riding in a tow truck from California to Boston in triple the time of the start trip.

Knowing how to stage dive. Realizing how poorly I execute them. Continuing to stage dive anyway.

Realizing that drinking and drugs suck and that shit needs to get cut out. Never looking back with regret. Never looking back.

Making life long friends from every part of the globe. Knowing they'll be there for you no matter what life throws.

B. Murphy, '08

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Mark Boardman

when I got into hardcore it wasn't something you could find on the Internet....well the Internet didn't existing....it wasn't something you could find in HMV. it was something you had to search for. it took dedication and a hell of a lot of stamps and trips to the post office.I got into hardcore with my brother and my mates. We were into Biohazard and dog eat dog. then sick of it all. we saw Strife support SOIA in January 1995 at Bradford Rio's. I was wasted and had no idea what straight edge even was. but something clicked inside me during the intro to "through and through" rick rodney came out and busted a backflip and started going off his head. I was hooked.

Within 2 months I'd given up drinking and was actively searching every single piece of hardcore music I could find.

Over the next 13 years I did bands, drove around the country in vans and hoped on planes. all to watch hardcore bands. it was amazing. but it wasn't easy. I had a wife, a baby, a job and a mortgage. most people my age were still at University, going out at the weekend and wasting their lives away while i was going to places I would never have seen without hardcore. I was meeting people I would never have met without hardcore. some of those people are still my very best friends. I know I can turn up in places most people haven't even thought of going to and know I'd have a floor to kip on.

While I'm not as involved in hardcore as much as I once was, it still has a big part in my life. It has taught me values that I still hold onto. I've made mistakes. I wish that I would have held somethings in a higher regards but for better or for worse hardcore has made me who I am.

I owe hardcore my life.

Breadman NXVI, '08

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Shawn Zappo

For me getting involved with hardcore punk among other things was a pivotal turning point in my life. I could have just as easily went down the path of the norm. Luckily I was heavily influenced when I was a kid by my older cousin Brian. He had introduced me to Hip Hop and Breakdancing in 1984. This was around the time when Hip Hop was starting to get big in the mainstream and filtering down to us suburbanites. With movies like Wild Style, Beat Street and Breakin' as well as Hip Hop radio shows I was quickly becoming a devotee of all that was Hip Hop. But the breakdance boom that took place in suburbs was a bit short lived and quickly around the corner was skateboarding for me and my friends.

There was a local pool in a neighborhood across the highway from where I lived where the older generation would have intense skate sessions. I was initiated into the fold thanks to my cousin and along with the skateboarding subculture came punk rock. One of the first tapes I got was The Repo Man soundtrack which had Fear, Suicidal, Circle Jerks and Black Flag among others on it. I never heard anything like this music and was blown away. It seemed the perfect soundtrack for skating and my ever growing distaste for the status quo. Soon I heard of more bands from a local skater Skinhead Fred. He turned me onto Nuclear Assault, Lethal Aggression, Dead Kennedy's, Celtic Frost and many others.

Soon after I started skating I got into surfing as well. After a surf session at our local break my cousin flipped me off Dag Nasty's Can I Say. Once I heard that record I became very interested in what the East Coast had to offer in the way of Hardcore/Punk. Soon I had tapes by Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Cro Mags, Youth of Today, Underdog, Sick of it All, Crippled Youth and Gorilla Biscuits to name a few. The East Coast style seemed to be something I liked a lot more compared to the west coast.

But beyond the sound of the music was the message. I was introduced to alternative ways of thinking and lifestyles. Whether it was straight edge, different forms of Spirituality, the vegetarian diet, leftist political views (for lack of a better term, etc, etc. All this along with my still budding love of Hip Hop such as BDP and Public Enemy would be the ingredients for a social outcast in the making.

So to get to the question...Hardcore is important to me because it opened my eyes to life beyond the suburbs and the television set. It showed me that all the things I was feeling were not strange, there was a whole subculture of people who felt just like me. The American dream wasn't my dream and life seemed to be a joke as you became an adult. I looked around at all the adults around me and realized I could never be happy living their lifestyle. Working a soul killing job, being a numb minded follower where the only pleasure seemed to fade away into television fantasies, booze or to consume, consume, consume. I was more excited about being creative. Reading, writing, music, skating, surfing, etc. These were the things that made life beautiful and interesting to me.

Hardcore gave me the vision and the will to believe in myself. To look to myself as well as people I admired for inspiration. Not to the boring and sheep like mass cook cutter plastic people the media and popular culture were selling me. Hardcore to me is more then a sound of music, a social circus, a youth subculture, a style, etc. It's a state of mind, a consciousness, a way of being, a way of life and a general awareness of what is happening around you.

I continue to take part in hardcore as I approach 34 through writing, music and other avenues. The reason I do so is because it is part of me, it is part of who I am. I also want to give back to something that has given so much to me. If I can give just one person out there an alternative to the deathstyle of modern civilization I have done my part. I love hardcore because when society wouldn't...Hardcore showed me love.
Shawn Z, April '08

Partick Kitzel

Feel the burning fire inside of me
That's the only way i wanna be
Got fucking clear fucking thoughts and actions
I'll never put down my protection
Being drugged up and high for a while...
This is NOT my lifestyle
The EDGE...It's a dedication for Life!
WILD FIRE - Deep Inside
WILD FIRE - Until I die
(spawn. 1993)

Kitzel, April '08

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Corey Williams

Hardcore is the energy that keeps me alive. It has been in my life for over 15 years. It’s the first place that I found love outside my family. It’s passion, emotion, energy, loyalty, and reality. It’s one of the last places on earth where eye for an eye still holds true. We are our own judge and jury. It’s one of very few places where you can actually make a difference with the youth of today.

I’m not the most positive person, but I do see the good in things. If I didn’t have hardcore who knows what kind of piece of shit I would have turned into. It has been the greatest outlet for my anger and emotion. You can do so much in hardcore to contribute and take part to make it your own. You can’t do that with most walks of life.

Hardcore has introduced me to 99% of my friends. It has shown me love in the farthest corners of the world. Sweden, Guatemala, Japan, Australia, UK, France, Canada, Mexico, Holland, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Spain…I could go to any one of those places and feel at home thanks to hardcore.

All the time I hear young kids say hardcore is dead, it’s not like it used to be. It goes in phases cuz we have to cycle out the fakes and posers. I would rather there be less people who care than tons of people with no heart. I could almost say that I like today’s hardcore more than the early days. The music is amazing, it is so accessible and touring and being heard has never been easier. If I ever have children I will definitely try to pass this onto them.
CIA, April '08

Pat Bugajski

The phenomenon of Hardcore is that either you love it and get what’s all about at once or you never will. You can’t learn Hardcore. You just have to be.

What’s really funny is that I still feel pretty same about many things the way I felt when I was a real youngster. What was lame back then to me, still is. What pissed me off then, makes me even fucking angrier today. What made me happy then, still makes me happy. Growing old never meant accepting bullshit to me. I can blame Hardcore for that, I guess. When I saw that there is the other way, I just can’t look the other way and say “aw, all right, whatever”.

I met my best friends through Hardcore. We could stay up late and talk about everything from records to shows to girls to conspiracy theories and what not. There were nothing like people I could meet at school or work. We had and still have the real conversations, not the small talks. And it still happens. Not that often as we all have less time or live far from each other but those moments is what I live for. The talks, the trips, the laugh.

As I grew older, so did the people around, the life turned an uglier face to us every once in a while. I was lucky to know that there is so much more out there than this stupid drama, soap opera, rat race type of shit. I heard so many stories from my workmates or relatives and bullshit situation they had to deal with and I was thinking “fuck, I just cannot imagine dealing with such stuff, it isn’t my world at all. Sometimes when I look at the people I can’t really relate to who are caught in the daily routines and never stop and think “what the fuck”, I think how lucky I am. I could end up frustrated and never satisfied but luckily I found home where I could sort my life out and get myself on the right track. Not that I have all the answers but at least I am happy to keep on searching.

I don’t really fancy many of the bands around today or the attitudes but on the other hand, I know that there are still people/bands out there who can make me feel good just because of who/what they are. I wouldn’t have a chance to find them anywhere else. And I can still have fun, learn and grow just because of having this opportunity. It was beacause of Hardcore that I dare to think that there are so many chances more than I was told.

And all that what makes it so important to me. Life is good.
Pat, April '08
pic by A. Kot

Thursday, 10 April 2008

John McKaig

Yeah, well, it sounds trite, but it's true ... of course hardcore is my life, my family. It gave me friends that I would die for if I needed to; it gave me experiences and allowed me to express myself in ways that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise; it means that I can tell people that before 1995 was over I had seen Gorilla Biscuits, Fuzazi, Cro-Mags, Earth Crisis, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, Damnation, Sensfield, Into Another, Outspoken, Unbroken, Judge, Turning Point, Shelter and so many others ... when hardcore wasn't the fashionable thing or the easy thing, when you had to really work at it even though you didn't feel like it was work, when you couldn't Mapquest the directions and go on a dozen websites and find out where every show is in seconds; it gave me new brothers and sisters in Rome, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Aukland, Barcelona, London, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Poland, Belgium, Germany and too many other places to list here - friends that are now my family and my "home" all over the world. The hardcore scene was and is what we wanted in the world, the thing that made sense to us, and only us.

When I'm at a hardcore show, and other kids are singing along to words as if their very lives depended on it, it's the feeling that you have when ... your soul has left your body and you have found the place where you belong; you have found the other souls that understand and accept and respect you for who you really are.

When I think about what my life would have been like had I not found a world-wide brother and sisterhood to belong to ... had I not by chance run into and met punk and hardcore kids in Syracuse that eventually changed my life, I feel sadness and pride - sadness for those who miss that chance and continue to live their lives in "quiet desperation", and pride for the family that we made and the lives we have changed - our lives, our family.
McKaig, April '08

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Jonathan Buske

It's shown me to respect things I may not whole-heartedly agree with, it's shown me acceptance and tolerance. It's shown me love and affection for beings other than myself and it's shown me how to live a sensible life in a very corrupt and insensitive world.

Most importantly, hardcore has given me my life. My friends, family, values and love all come from this silly thing I have given myself to year after year.

Hardcore is who I am, it's not what I do.
Buske, March 08
pic by Matt Miller

Justin Moulder

Hardcore is, was and always will be important to me for a lot of reasons. Its cliche to say that it changed my life and that I wouldn't be where I am with out it.

In my case its true. I wouldn't be married to a beautiful and amazing woman, wouldn't have the most beautiful kid you'll ever see and friends? Man, I can't imagine the morons I'd be friends with if I were not into the core.

I can remember many late nights in diners with friends in various locales, looking around at the people that were at parties all night and thinking, those dudes have no idea what they are missing and laughing about it all.
Hardcore is like a small social club of sorts for me, not in the frat boy sense but in the way we are in on a secret that a lot of people cannot fathom. If they only knew what kind of fun we had, the cross the world friends we've made. This would almost certainly be over for us. And though I don't go to shows really anymore and I am not into a lot of the current bands as much I used to be, it will always be not just what I do. Its who I am. And you know what?

I would not have it any other way.
J.Moulder, April 2008

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Scott Vogel

hardcore is truely everything to me and this is one life hc truely saved..............it has given me a home, a family , best friends, an outlet, let me travel the world, its let me be myself and always accepted me for who i am.....but mostly i am thankful for all the values and convictions it has taught me........thats what im most thankful for.....
scott v 2003

Chris Zusi

"That’s actually a very good question, and probably something that a lot of people don’t think about and just take for granted. If I had to try to quantify it I’d say it’s the feeling of being a part of something special, something that was real. It’s like having this great secret that only you and a few other people know about. Back when I first got into hardcore, including me there were 3 kids in my high school (out of 1800 kids) that knew what hardcore was. You’d go to school on a Monday after a weekend of seeing Judge at the Anthrax and Agnostic Front at CB’s and just think to yourself “these kids have no idea what’s up”. I remember going back to school for senior year after Summer break – I had just been on a US tour for 3 weeks and these kids were talking about spending a week at the beach with their parents. Even though hardcore has gotten more exposure over the years, being involved in the scene has always given me that feeling of being like “I know something you don’t know”. To this day I could be at a sports event, wedding or some other public place and I’ll think to myself, “these people never saw the Cro-Mags, they have no clue”. "
Christopher Zusi 2003