Text by Paul Decolator / FFanzeen, 1983
Introduction © Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2016
Images from the Internet
This article about the New Jersey Hardcore (NJHC) scene was originally published in FFanzeen, issue #10, dated 1983. It was written by Paul Decolator, whose own highly regarded fanzine was Tips and Tours. He was also a musician, and liked to promote the scene and its bands. In another article in the same issue as this piece, he wrote a negative piece about the Bad Brains (as people), that was not well received at the time (and reprinted HERE), even though he has been proven right over time. Paul’s untimely passing at age 36 in 2002 is discussed HERE.
Paul was also correct that while I was involved with the First Wave punk movement, it took a while for the Third Wave (Hardcore) to reach the pages of FFanzeen, other than record reviews. This article is old news, but it’s sort of like a time capsule, which keeps it relevant. Besides, I’m amused at the mention below of the Beastie Boys when they actually still played Hardcore.
Note that due to the time span between the original publishing and when you are reading this, lives change and therefore so do addresses, so whenever an address or phone number is given by Paul, I have redacted it, but left in the city of origination. – RBF, 2016
Well, here it is, FFanzeen’s finally gotten to admit that HC does exist. As of now, the hottest scene on the East coast is New Jersey. Yes, that’s right, New Jersey. The major news is that Adrenalin O.D. is finally in the process of releasing their vinyl debut. AOD’s EP will contain six songs, including “Trans-Am” and “Die For a Cause.” And Dave (the drummer for AOD) says that the production is very good, almost rivaling that of Kraut’s Unemployed EP. Speaking of Kraut and AOD, at the Irving Plaza AOD / Kraut / Stroken Wurst / Young and the Brainless show, Kraut was in awe when AOD played. Seems Kraut suffered a little attack of jealousy, and after AOD played to a very enthusiastic crowd, Kraut went into the dressing room at Irving and locked AOD out. Supposedly, they were sulking, ha-ha.
South Jersey faves Autistic Behavior are also in the process of getting their debut EP out. AB has been plagued with problems as of late. Their guitarist tore a few ligaments in his leg in a skateboarding accident, and their drummer broke his collarbone, also skateboarding. This has led to a lot of gigs being cancelled. AB also had a gig pulled right out from under them with Black Flag at City Gardens. The reason for the cancellation was that Randy (owner of CG) decided he didn’t want to book HC due to the fact that somehow the sprinkler system in the dressing room went off on a night when Millions of Dead Cops / Hose / Stroken Wurst just happened to be playing. It’s unfortunate that most club owners now won’t book HC. Club Mod cancelled its HC policy after too many minors were let in for the Code of Honor / TDV (Thirteen Day Vacation) show, and the Fast Lane had to close its doors. To make up for the lack of venues to play in, Pat Duncan from WFMU radio [on from 1979-2009 – RBF, 2016] had been having bands in the studio to do live over-the-air concerts. As of late, Pat has had AOD, Mourning Noise, Sand in Face, The Misguided, Fartheads, and TDV on his show. The Pat Duncan Show has been temporarily cancelled due to the fact that too many “bad words” leaked out over the air. It seems doubtful now that any more bands will play in the studio [HERE]. https://wfmu.org/playlists/PD
Halls are also starting to crop up. The NJAMAS (New Jersey Alternative Music Appreciation Society) has found a hall in Newark and are putting on shows. The first show was with AOD, The F.U.’s from Boston and Crib Death. The hall concept is catching on, finally, and after all, don’t you think it’s about time that kids should be able to go to shows without getting carded and having to worry about getting drunk? Also, due to the lack of clubs, people have been throwing a lot more parties: best one was thrown by Shaun up in Dover, where The Outgroup and Sand in Face played. Speaking of The Outgroup, Dover’s only HC band has gone into the studio to record some tracks for a possible EP.
New bands that have cropped up in Jersey are Rosemary’s Babies, who stem from Lodi. Hard and loud is the best way to describe ‘em. TDV are also new, but you would never know. TDV are probably Jersey’s Next Big Thing, combining a brash US thrash sound with some English overtones thrown in. Super fast – almost too fast. TDV now have a ten-song demo, and you can order a copy from [address], Old Bridge, New Jersey. Include $2.00 for the tape and 50¢ for the postage. It’s well worth picking up and is unusually well produced.
Flag of Democracy, from South Jersey, came on to the scene with a bang, doing their first show with Minor Threat and SS Decontrol. Other bands that are starting to get their acts together are NJF (New Jersey’s Finest [aka, Paul Decolator’s band – RBF, 2016]), Chronic Sick, Child Abuse and Suburbicide. Suburbicide have actually been around for quite a while, but have been plagued with line-up problems, and now they have a whole re-vamped line-up. Let’s hope they can keep it together. Look for Suburbicide on the new (well, not-so-new-anymore) Meathouse compilation tape put out by Bob Moore of Noise fanzine and Version Sounds Records ([address], Xenia, Ohio). Sacred Order is about to go into the studio and have also auditioned for a cable TV show, and it looks hopeful that they will be on it (Channel 3, Clifton Cable Network).
Old Jersey stalwart, Genocide, finally look like they are coming back. The band now consists of its two founding members, Bobby Ebz (vocals) and Brian Damage (drums); new members are Biggie from Legion of Decency, and a newcomer, Mike Moe. Look for Genocide’s album on Smoke 7 Records ([address], Canoga Park, California). Old bands never die, they just play reunion gigs, as is the case with No Democracy, who refuses to die. ND has played a reunion gig on WFMU, and a reunion hall gig. I don’t know why, ‘cause they really are bad, even though they admit it. Oh, well.
As of now, NJ has one hall which will probably book HC on a regular basis. So far, only a couple of gigs have gone on. The hall is the Piaste Hall. It is a huge Polish hall in Jersey City. The acoustics are good and it’s in a safe area. If any out-of-state bands are interested in playing there, they should get in contact with either Dave from AOD [phone number] or myself, Paul Decolator [phone number]. The shows that have gone on have had small but enthusiastic turn-outs. Also, there are some gigs being set up at a hall in Clifton. The first gig will be with AOD, The Beastie Boys, and TDV.
There are a lot of good fanzines popping up, too. The best ‘zine is Flesh and Bones ([address], Middlesex, New Jersey), with intelligent writing, hilarious interviews, comix, and tons of record reviews. Send one dollar to Jeff J. if you want a copy. Assassin of Youth ([address], Rochelle Park, New Jersey) is okay. Hey, for 50¢, you really can’t go wrong. New edition just out. On the Rag ([address], Matawan, New Jersey) is a new fanzine and it’s a crack-up. Funny, almost stupid, interviews with Jersey bands. Real good cover on issue #2. Well worth the measly 25¢ editor Lori Wedding [FFanzeen #9 cover girl] asks for.
The scene in Philadelphia is fucking hot, after a rather lame summer with no gigs, and the closing of the Elks Lodge. But things are really starting to pick up. The big news is the forming of the Philly BYO (Better Youth Organization). The Philly BYO is made up of about 25 people, including members of The Sadistic Exploits, Allison from Savage Pink fanzine, members of Skatecore fanzine, and all the Philly punks. Their first gig was a benefit with Minor Threat / SS Decontrol / Crib Death (from PA) / Flag of Democracy / Agnostic Front. The price to get in was only five dollars and the proceeds are going to a permanent hall in Philly. The show went off with a few hitches and I’m happy to report that there was a strong sense of unity there; even members of an all-black biker gang called the Ghetto Riders were there, and they really enjoyed it. The BYO will be sponsoring gigs and let’s hope that it works. If the show in Camden was any example of how things are gonna work, the future looks bright. Hint to the BYO: stage your gigs in Philly and not ghettos like Camden. There were two incidents where punks were assaulted by the locals. If you want to get in touch with the BYO for info on upcoming gigs, or if your band wants to get involved, write to them at [address], Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also, The Love Club and East Side Club have started booking HC entertaining acts, such as Discharge, Meat Puppets, and local bands. The only problem with that is the stupid 21-year-old age limit the club sets, so a lot of kids can’t get into shows. In other news, The Sadistic Exploits have finally found a drummer. The old drummer left because he didn’t want to go on a tour. Hopefully, a new vinyl release from the Sad Ex’s will be out soon.
New fanzine in town is called Skatecore ([address], Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). The ‘zine focuses on the skateboard scene in Philly, and covers local punk events and record reviews. It’s free, so write for it. Another good one, which is Philly’s oldest HC ‘zine, is Savage Pink ([address], Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). SP is filled with interviews (this issue is the DK), news reports, record reviews and political articles. Well worth 75¢. Another good newsletter is Anarchy for Punks ([address], Darby, Pennsylvania).
Getting closer to home, the NYC scene seems to be doing nothing. NYC is like Jell-O: it just sorta sits there and wiggles. There have been a few good things happening. Irving Plaza has re-opened its doors again and is now doing shows on a sketchy basis. CBGB’s is booking a lot more HC Saturday afternoon matinees. The matinees are real good, usually two bands for three dollars, and draft beer is only a buck, and the shows are usually over by six or seven at night. NY’s best HC band, The Nihilistics, is going into the studio again to record some more tracks. Heart Attack has reformed as a four-piece, with Jesse [Malin] moving over to vocals. Big deal. The Misguided just released their EP; it’s okay. The Mob recently returned from a tour of North Carolina, and is also in the process of putting out Urban Waste’s EP on its own Mob Style Records. I wish to hell Regan Youth would release something. RY are probably NY’s best known band and really deserve to get picked up. I’m surprised Faulty Products or someone hasn’t approached them.
Rumour also has it that The Ramrod bar (an infamous NY homosexual hang-out) is going to experiment with HC. The first show is scheduled for some time in late January with The Nihilistics and Long Island’s favorite bunch of guys, The Headlickers. Javi, from Savage Circle, is planning to release an eight-song NYC HC sampler. Tentative bands are Anti-Warfare, Urban Waste, and other local bands.
Worthy records that have come out in the past few months are The Mob’s debut EP, The Nihilistics EP, and the NYC compilation Rotten to the Core, on S.I.N. Records ([address], Oakland Gardens, New York), with Killer Instinct, The Mob, and The Headlickers, among others.
Urban Waste is a very impressive HC thrash band who has been impressing a lot of people as of late. A recent gig with Minor Threat and The Mob at CB’s went over well, but they only got to play five songs, due to the fact that the club opened late. It’s a shame because everyone wanted to hear more.