4 Bands That Would Make The Punk Rockers You Know Ask, “Seriously Though, How Have You Not Heard Them?”
- Bad Brains
Sitting in the D.C. corner of the love/hate triangle that was L.A./D.C./N.Y.C. in the 80s hardcore scene was Bad Brains. They, along with Minor Threat and the more active bands in Washington D.C., claimed their city was the true birthplace of hardcore punk. Perhaps I’m partial to the Capital since I live in the mid-Atlantic, but Bad Brains put out Banned in D.C. before Henry Rollins could even try to claim Black Flag went hardcore. Even if they had more metal influence than most punk bands, this writer believes- to use the layman’s terms- L.A. and N.Y.C. got all butthurt because they’re used to being big shit.
Song to start with- The Big Takeover
- The Vandals
Known for their blend of country-western and punk, the Vandals were a fixture in mid-80s N.Y.C., even appearing in Dudes, a movie featuring a relatively-early-in-his-career Jon Cryer and a cameo by Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea. One of the first scenes in the film is of the protagonists at a Vandals show, I want to say it was “CBGB’s,” but don’t quote me on that (the quotes are due to the low likelihood they would’ve filmed on location). The Vandals managed to merge two fundamentally conflicting musical genres in a way that worked both artistically and, in a limited sense, commercially.
Song to start with: Urban Struggle
The most controversial punk band in the genre, Flipper stood out in a sea of as-fast-as-you-possibly-can songs with their slow, heavily distorted songs. I like to think of them as grunge before grunge was even a thing; Kurt Cobain was pictured numerous times in a Flipper tee. They caught a lot of flak for being slower and having (relatively) more contemplative lyrics than your average punk band. That coupled with a period of gross inconsistency in their shows earned them a reputation as a band you love to hate. I always left out the hate myself.
Song to start with: Easy
Referred to by themselves, critics, and fans alike as the “Punk Rock Rolling Stones,” NoFX parleyed their weird take on punk into becoming a cornerstone of punk rock. Fat Wreck Chords, the label they started midway through their career so they would be able to maintain song rights and artistic integrity, has a couple dozen moderately successful bands signed. Signing Leftover Crack to the label serves as a good example of their support for the scene from the interior. Notorious for their heroic levels of drug consumption, it’s a wonder they’ve made it all the way through. But they did and they still put on a fantastic show. I defy anyone a band with more unique and fitting stage presence (except maybe Primus).
Songs to start with: Since they’ve been active for so long, I’m listing both an early one and a more recent one as starters.
Dinosaurs Will Die (early)
Separation of Church and Skate (more recent)