A hardcore-fanatic’s guide – Part I.

Intro – Things to check out in NYC, a hardcore-fanatic’s guide

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A few years ago, one member of Death Before Dishonor asked: “Why are all the people posting about A7 club even most of you never been there before what’s going on here?”. To be honest, I thought a lot about this and I’m afraid the question missed the point. I truly believe that hardcore is still alive and well, but keeping the tradition is really important. Hardcore has a lot of history and I think it is relevant for the kids to know about the bands that came before them and influenced their current scenes. I really enjoyed the NYHC Chronicles documentary, it was fun to read the “New York Hardcore 1980-1990” book and “My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory” book, despite I was never part of the early hardcore scene. I want to believe that these guys are happy that the new generations show interest in music from previous generations.

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Everyone’s background in hardcore is relative. For me, I missed out on the first wave of New York hardcore and I missed the second wave too, I never went to A7 or some of the earlier clubs, I never saw the Psychos, Gilligan’s Revenge or Outburst live. I don’t have memories about these infamous places and legendary bands, for two simple reasons. Firstly, I’m in my thirties. Secondly, I was born in Europe and I’ve been living here since my birth. Regardless of these things, I feel a mystical connection and attraction to these places. Last year (2016) I got the chance to spend some days in New York City and make one of my bucket dreams come true, so needless to say, I visited and explored these legendary locations… (Originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 5.)

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Interview with DJ Spermicide – Part I.

DJ Spermicide (Marlene Goldman) interview originally released in Chiller Than Most fanzine, issue 4.

CTM – How did you first come in contact with the hardcore punk scene? What was the first hardcore record that made an impact on you and why? What were some of your first shows you saw that you would classify as hardcore in NYC?

DJ Spermicide – I was already into punk music my first year at NYU in 1984, so when I started seeing shows, there were usually local bands opening for them, some hardcore. I remember going to an Exploited/UK Subs show at the Rock Hotel on Jane Street and the Cro-Mags was one of the opening bands. They had amazing energy but the crowd was a bit intimidating. My dorm in the East Village was not far from where the hardcore scene was happening, so when I started to see shows, I became exposed to some of the local bands. Some of the first hardcore music I heard was actually on cassette tapes while hanging out in Tompkins Square Park, bands like Circle Kaos. I saw a lot of shows at CBs–Reagan Youth, Underdog, Murphy’s Law, The Mob, Agnostic Front, Kraut, Warzone, Youth of Today, Token Entry, Straight Ahead. I also went to some all-day warehouse shows in Williamsburg, which back then was more like a war zone (and I’m not talking about the band) than the hipster enclave it is now. As in, you were always happy when you made it back alive. Anyway, there were dozens of bands playing at those shows, most of the names I don’t recall, but it was definitely a scene.

CTM – Who influenced you to start your own radio program? Did you used to listen to the “Noise the Show”? (Tim Sommer was the creator and host of Noise The Show, a pioneering New York City-based hardcore punk radio show aired during 1981-82 on WNYU.)

DJ Spermicide – I mostly listened to WNYU’s New Afternoon Show growing up on Long Island, which featured more of the alternative, college radio music with some punk and local music mixed in. After Noise the Show, Jon Fox had been hosting Hellhole, which was more of a punk/metal mix. I had been hanging out in Tompkins Square Park and a lot of the small, local bands were playing their tapes for each other, but there was not really an outlet for their exposure back then. The loss of Hellhole had left a void and the time slot opened on Thursday nights. I started with a one-hour version of Crucial Chaos, which eventually went to an hour and a half to accommodate the interviews and live bands. Murphy’s Law was my first guest on my first show. They brought up pizza and beer for the occasion.

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CTM – Crucial Chaos was really popular and the radio show left a huge impact on the hardcore scene. It was so influential that kids would run to Some Records to buy the records that were played the night before on air. A lot of musicians mentioned how important it was for them to play on Crucial Chaos. Jeff Terranova (Up Front) said he left a cassette tape in his bedroom stereo and taught his Mom how to start recording when they played. In those years every hardcore kid in NYC would tape the whole show to catch up on new releases, listen for gig announcements, ticket giveaways, interviews, not to mention the live sets that everyone anxiously waited for and hit the record button. What was your message that you want to give to people through this radio program? What did you accomplish with the Crucial Chaos?

DJ Spermicide – Obviously Chaos was in the pre-Internet, music sharing era, so hardcore kids only heard about bands through word of mouth or some other outlets, like Pat Duncan’s show on WFMU. I really wanted there to be a sense of community in the New York scene that revolved around the music, so promoting shows and new bands was all part of that. Letting them speak and get their message out was also one of my goals. For a lot of the kids, the hardcore scene was their family, their life. A lot of the kids I met came from broken homes or rough backgrounds—not everyone, but enough that I started to realize how important having this hardcore family was to them. It brought together street kids, squatters, and a lot of people who identified with that music and energy.

CTM – In 1986-87, and particularly the summer of 1987, it was a really amazing time to be into hardcore in New York City. I know that the different cliques seemed to get along, shows featured diverse bands on the bills, and there were lots of shows. I assume that Crucial Chaos contributed to the popularity of hardcore… What do you think about this period? Who were some memorable characters from the NYHC scene?

DJ Spermicide – It’s easy to romanticize that time in New York because of all the great music back then and all the colorful characters that made it such a unique place to live. But this was a turbulent era in New York history, which was reflected in the angst of the music. The city was filled with heroin dealers, people shooting up in Tompkins Square Park, newly released Reagan-era mental health patients, escalating crime, garbage cans on fire, graffiti everywhere, and a lot of grit and grime that in a lot of ways in turn brought the scene together. There were so many characters back then. I moved into the city in 1984, which was when A7, which was pretty much the birthplace of the hardcore scene, closed. The CBGB hardcore matiness on Sundays ended up being as much a gathering place as a place to hear the music. People back then… Of course Jimmy Gestapo and, Raybeez, big Charlie, Ralphie, Harley Flanagan, Roger Miret, John Joseph, Vinnie Stigma, Stephan from False Prophets. I used to hang out with some the Avenue C squatters. Others like John Spacely -Gringo- who ended up in the Sid and Nancy movie.

WNYU’s Crucial Chaos

WNYU’s Crucial Chaos (WNYU-FM (89.1 FM) is a college radio station owned and operated by New York University) was really popular in the ’80s and the radio show left a huge impact on the hardcore scene. It was so influential that kids would run to Some Records to buy the records that were played the night before on air. A lot of musicians mentioned how important it was for them to play on Crucial Chaos. In those years every hardcore kid in NYC would tape the whole show to catch up on new releases, listen for gig announcements, ticket giveaways, interviews, not to mention the live sets that everyone anxiously waited for and hit the record button. Crucial Chaos (hosted by DJ Spermicide) has had many classic NYHC bands on air such as Supertouch, Breakdown, Our Gang, Underdog, Token Entry, Warzone, Fit of Anger, Beyond etc.

DJ Spermicide (Marlene): “Some Records for a while was one of the sponsors of Crucial Chaos, meaning they would give us records in exchange for an air mention. It was a great place for smaller bands to get noticed and for everyone to mingle.” (New york Hardcore 1986-1993, by David Koenig)

Chiller Than Most fanzine

Chiller Than Most zineography

CTM – A4 size, 100 % cut and paste.

Issue #1 – interviews with Geert Hollanders (Control Records), Zachary Wuerthner (Intent,Mob Mentality, Moshers Delight), Unified Right, True, Garbageman, Stand Clear, Eric Fennell (Supertouch documentary)

Issue #2 – featuring interviews and articles with with AJ McGuire (Stop And Think), Gil Sayfan & Zachary Wuerthner (in this interview we are discussing about Token Entry), Jacob Hellas (Straight Truth), John Scharbach (Give, Breakthrough), Mikhail Blagodir & Roman Kravets (Sike), Owen Black (Jaguarz), the Hardcore Mailman by Dini

Issue #3 – featuring interviews and articles with Jeremy Stith (Fury), Adam Rifkin (Stick Together, War Hungry), Ned Russin (in this interview we are discussing about Youth of Today), Freddy Alva (New Breed compilation), Connor Donegan (Protester), Connor Hehir (Shrapnel)

Issue #3.5 – Give special issue, flowerhead fanzine featuring interviews and articles with Aaron Chrietzberg, Ahron Reinhard, Angela Owens, Christopher Wilson, Chad Troncale, Dylan Chadwick, Evan Wivell, Gene Melkisethian, Ian Marshall, John Scharbach, Nick Hinsch, Terri Waters, Zachary Wuerthner

Issue #4 – featuring interviews and articles with Marlene Goldman (DJ Spermicide, WNYU’s Crucial Chaos), Nathan Simpson & Matt LaForge (in this interview we are discussing about BOLD), Mir Ali (Might, Look Beyond ‘zine), Combatant, The Flex, Touch and background articles on WNYU’s Crucial Chaos Radio Show (Stand Proud, Up Front, Under Pressure, Warzone, Fit Of Anger, Chris Wynne, Tony Rettman, Justin Aledia, Our Gang, Uppercut, Close Call, Krakdown, Supertouch, Beyond)

Issue #5 – featuring interviews and articles with Ambrose Nzams & Dylan Chadwick (an in-depth analysis of the history of Mental), Nancy Barile , Tony Rettman, Firm Standing Law, The Accursed, Supertouch, the unedited BOLD chapter (“Straight Edge: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History”), the story of the infamous Buff Hall show (Minor Threat, SS Decontrol, Agnostic Front), things to check out in NYC, a hardcore-lover’s guide (171A, A7, The Pyramid Club, CBGB, Tompkins Square Park, Ray’s Candy Store)

Illustrator by Chun Guo (Click the picture for bigger size.)

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Intro

Yo! My name is Attila. Some of you may know, some of you may not, but I am also doing Chiller Than Most, a hardcore fanzine that I started exactly 5 years ago this spring.

Are any of you still into reading hardcore fanzines? I hope so. I truly believe that fanzines are as important as bands, the difference is that far less people care about zines than about music. I want to change that with the help of this website. (If you don’t like to read or you are too lazy to read, you’re at the wrong place. Sorry.) Fanzines are still important for die hard hardcore fans, important for promoting music communities and gatekeeping music tastes. They are still a genuine part of the scene to people who are genuinely interested in it. Whatever happens in the future, they will always exist. As long as someone has something to say, the zines will live on. (And the kids will have their say…)

I try to keep Do You Know Hardcore? updated regularly, so please check back often. From time to time, I will upload zine excerpts, pics, interviews. If you love fanzines, as much as I do, then you will dig this site!

I want to thank everyone involved with the fanzine culture, and I also want to thank the bands, old and new. Without these hardcore bands and zines there would have been no Chiller Than Most fanzine or Do You Know Hardcore? blog. Thanks.