Published Jul 25, 2014If you missed out on mosh-inducing CBGB matinees, early pressings of records on Rat Cage or a time when the Cro-Mags all seemed to get along, a new history book on the New York hardcore scene of the '80s is about to help fill in the blanks. Full of interviews with members of Agnostic Front, Bad Brains, Gorilla Biscuits and more, punk historian Tony Rettman's oral history NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990 arrives late this November through Bazillion Points Books.
A press release for the 450-page tome explains that Rettman conducted over 100 interviews with members of the hardcore community to discuss the "bands, venues, labels, hangouts, and larger-than-life characters that built New York hardcore." Along with those mentioned above, this includes members of Antidote, Adrenalin O.D., Bold, Born Against, Breakdown, Crumbsuckers, Heart Attack, Judge, the Misfits, Murphy's Law, Nausea, Pro-Pain, Quicksand, Rorschach, S.O.D., Sheer Terror, Sick of It All, Side by Side, the Stimulators, Straight Ahead, Underdog, Warzone, Youth of Today and many more.
"New York City has an energy that you're not going to find anywhere else. People who have that passionate, driven mindset; they gravitate to New York City. Being in that intense environment — you had to come into your own to survive that area," guitarist John Porcelly, whose resume includes but is not limited to stints with Judge, Youth of Today, Shelter and Project X, said in a statement.
Topics covered in the book are said to include "the birth of moshing," regional rivalries with Boston and Washington, DC, crossover between the hardcore and metal scenes, and the rise of both the straight edge movement and the influence of Krishna consciousness. It's also said to home in on growing up in "the grim urban reality of the 1980s" and the Lower East Side.
"I had my personal experiences from life; being on the streets, being locked up, and being in abusive foster homes," Cro-Mags vocalist John Joseph says in an excerpt. "I was fighting. I was shot and stabbed, and that's what came out. We sang about street justice and survival on the streets because that shit was for real. That shit was a way to express ourselves and get out that angst. It was real. It wasn't some hypothetical bullshit."
Rettman had previously explored the Detroit punk scene in 2010's Why Be Something That You're Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985.