Monday, 9 February 2009

Jeff Terranova

This is a very difficult question because there are so many aspects of Hardcore music and the underground Hardcore/Punk scene that are important to me. If I had to break it down, it would have to be quite simply, the music and the message.

As a teenager I was totally attracted to loud, fast, aggressive music. Maybe it was because I was hyperactive or I didn't fit in with the "cool kids" or I had an inner anger that needed to be released and music turned out to be that outlet. Underground metal sucked me in like a magnet back in 1983 with it's loud distorted guitars, pounding drums and bass and fast tempo songs. I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics at first because I was young and was totally pumped by the aggression of the music. As time went on and I started familiarizing myself with bands and songs, I naturally started singing along while driving in the car. There was something cool about being viewed as evil and demonic and a "Metal Head", but it just didn't seem real or heartfelt.

By 1985 I was going to shows and experiencing music from a live perspective. It was all pretty exciting seeing shows at L'amours Brooklyn and The Ritz NYC with all the lights and all of the amplifiers, the smoke machines and the huge crowds headbanging and moshing. By mid 1985 in NYC, metal, punk and hardcore were all crossing over into each other and I was starting to see punk and hardcore bands billed together with the metal bands that I was seeing live. Hardcore/punk music had that same loud distorted guitars, pounding drums and bass and fast tempo songs as metal, but the lyrics actually meant something that I could relate to. Could this be for real I thought, these bands are singing about the same feelings and emotions that I feel and are talking about important political and life issues that I understand and agree with. I started buying Hardcore/Punk albums like Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Dayglo Abortions, 7 Seconds, Uniform Choice, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Social Unrest, etc and the lyrics were blowing my mind. No one was singing about Satan and decapitations and ghosts and fantasy, the bands were singing about mankind and brotherhood and politics and having a positive attitude and being good to your fellow man... WOW! Powerful music with a powerful message!
Metal heads at shows were cool and most would say what's up and/or nod at you, or if you had a Slayer shirt on, would yell SLAYER!!!!!! as you walked by, but outside of that there was no real connection. As I started going to Hardcore/Punk shows and meeting kids and other local bands, the vibe was totally different. Everyone was extremely welcoming and I felt like they actually cared to be my friend. In no time metal was fading to the back burner and the Hardcore/Punk scene was my new home.

I can sit here and list bands, records and shows, but what it comes down to is these very bands, records and shows shaped me into the person that I am today. The lyrics saved me from myself and put me on the right path in life. The songs taught me about politics and world events that I normally would have looked right over. The songs taught me that it was okay to be yourself and to forget what others think about you. The songs taught me to think for myself and not to believe everything that I read or heard. But most importantly the songs conveyed a feeling of unity and the sense that anyone with the motivation can be in a band and play shows. Hardcore music gave me an outlet to create my own music and play in bands, record records and travel the world! Hardcore music gave me the opportunity to meet and befriend people from all over the world, some of which have turned out to be my best friends still today! Hardcore music is still just as strong in my heart and soul as it was back in 1985! If you surround yourself with positive music and positive people trying to make a positive world, you cannot help but to stay positive!

Jeff  Terranova, Feb '09,

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 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