Ed Wagemann's Reviews > American Hardcore: A Tribal History

American Hardcore by Steven Blush
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

it was ok

I experienced the Chicago Hardcore scene during the summer of '85. By that time Hardcore had become redundant with no new content to offer. Skinheads were taking over and there was all this macho posturing going on. It was no better than the high school cheerleader mentality that hardcore proclaimed it loathed.

At around that same time Penelope Spheeris' Decline of the Western Civilization was released (and has since come to be touted as the definitive documentary on the subject--eventhough that film basically only dealt with the LA punk scene of the early 80s). Spheeris's flick was topical and seems relevent even to this day. But much of punk is documented in books and films that come out some 20 some years after the fact which means that there is bound to be some major waxing the poetic and lots of jibber jabber championing the 'good ole days' of hardcore nonsense--which is partly why I didn't like Steven Blush's American Hardcore.

One important thing for the evolution of Rockism that American Hardcore--as a movement/genre or whatever you want to call it--did that was that it helped provide the blueprint for how a band could be successful in this country without kowtowing to the Corporate Consumer Culture. Fugazi is the perfect example. There are a lots of reasons not to like Fugazi. First of all they come from Washignton DC, and DC is basically the Anus of America. It produces nothing but shit and attracts nothing but perverse and corrupt dicks (Dick Cheney, Dick Nixon, etc.)...although admittedly (like an anus) DC will occasionally provide some funny sounding farts (the Make up, Henry Rollins) from time to time--which are always good for a laugh. But for the most part (like the anus) DC produces nothing but shit. Fugazi is an exception however if for no other reason than they did help create the blueprint for how to be a successful rock band in today's society without getting eaten up by the corporate music industry. Fugazi have sold millions of records - all through their very own label, Dischord records. They also booked all their own shows, set the prices and conditions of their shows, even carried their own instruments. They did everything, in fact, at the grass roots level. And, they took a strict anti-consumer culture stance. For instance, they wouldnt do magazine interviews with any magazine that they wouldnt read themselves. And they didnt sell band posters, t-shirts and stickers at their shows. It just seems so obvious that that is the way Rock is supposed to be--yet so few bands do it that way.

So due to the hard work of bands like Fugazi, hardcore deserves credit for helping develope the DIY ethic that was instrumental in founding the Indie Underground of the 80s and beyond.


Here's the tracklisting for the American Hardcore soundtrack:

01 Black Flag: "Nervous Breakdown"

02 Middle Class: "Out of Vogue"

03 Bad Brains: "Pay to Cum"

04 D.O.A.: "****ed Up Ronnie"

05 Circle Jerks: "Red Tape"

06 Minor Threat: "Filler"

07 MDC: "I Remember"

08 Untouchables: "Nic Fit"

09 Gang Green: "Kill a Commie"

10 The Freeze: "Boston Not L.A."

11 Jerry's Kids: "Straight Jacket"

12 SS Decontrol: "Boiling Point"

13 Void: "Who Are You?/Time to Die"

14 Scream: "Came Without Warning"

15 Negative Approach: "Friend or Foe"

16 Articles of Faith: "Bad Attitude"

17 Die Kreuzen: "Think for Me"

18 Battalion of Saints: "My Minds Diseased"

19 7 Seconds: "I Hate Sports"

20 Big Boys: "Brickwall"

21 Really Red: "I Was a Teenage ****up"

22 Adolescents: "I Hate Children"

23 YDI: "Enemy for Life"

24 D.R.I.: "Runnin' Around"

25 Cro-Mags: "Don't Tread on Me"

26 Flipper: "Ha Ha Ha"


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