Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Millennium: The Central Park 5 and the Gilded City

Last November, I went with my friends JOC and CB to see The Central Park 5. It was playing up at the Dempsey Auditorium in Harlem, near the Maysles Cinema, which organized the screening and also hosted the film for a short run. The setting was fitting. The Oberia D. Dempsey Multi-Service Center is a neatly kept, old-fashioned school building, institutional yet not forbidding—a perfect venue to timewarp back to the film’s late-‘80s milieu.
Outside, a diverse crowd shuffled in beforehand, while neighborhood people went by on their Sunday business. Goodwill emanated among the audience within, their anticipation palpable. We were about to go back in time and explore the story of two crimes: the brutal rape and beating of Trisha Meili, a white investment banker, for years to be known only anonymously as “the Central Park Jogger”; and the subsequent coerced confessions, convictions, and incarceration of her alleged attackers, later exonerated after serving their sentences, their names cleared by the confessions of the actual culprit, Matias Reyes.
The events depicted in the film unfolded while late during my freshman year at Stuy. Led Zeppelin and Poison tapes unspooled on the daily in my book bag, but I was slowly getting back into hip hop. The daily L train commute was a bugout, a place for homework and blasting those shitty, tinny headphones, while simultaneously running a random gauntlet of crime. That underground tin can that could turn into a punching gallery at a moment’s notice, filled your body with a low, creeping tension for 50 minutes each way, every weekday.
Like everybody, my parents and me were horrified by the CP attack. My own experiences with random violence were sporadic: a Times Square transient on Forty-deuce extracted a dollar in change from me under duress at age 13; some kids decked me a few blocks from my house when I crossed the border from Starrett City into East New York to go to the stationery store. That was in 7th or 8th grade. Later shit was minimal, really. When we lived in Elmhurst in the early 80’s, my father had lost a fellow cabbie friend, victim of a backseat stickup.
Everyone lived and breathed the fear back then. It was so easy to digest the media narrative when they dragged those five boys—four black kids and a black/Puerto Rican—in front of the cameras. Crucifixion wasn’t no fiction, as Chuck D would declare on wax a year later. These teenagers—children, really, by any standard, including that of the so-called law—were the sacrificial lambs that had to be bled out. People were tired of keeping their eyes lowered, their wallets and pocketbooks secure, their senses fine-tuned for the slightest sign of trouble. Most everybody was calling for their heads, save for a determined group comprised of the defendants’ families, and vocal activists. They’d seen this dog and pony show before, and indeed had known its kind in the Deep South, in Watts, Skokie, Boston, and through the long 1970’s.
It was a fucked up time, but I didn’t know any better, really. I was white, the son of Polish immigrant intellectuals with working-class salaries, going to, arguably, the city’s best public high school. Stuyvesant had some black and Latino kids (more than these days, I’ve read), but was nearly 50 percent Asian, and the rest mainly white. Still, there was diversity of a sort. Even a lot of the white kids were far from slumming scions of privilege. But you could’ve asked nearly anyone if the CP5 deserved the full sledgehammer of justice, and they probably would’ve said yes. The crime was horrific. Most could sympathize with at least part of the narrative taking shape. I couldn’t really see this from my uninformed perspective then, but challenging this consensus then meant you were probably a Commie pinko or a “pablum-puking liberal,” the term so colorfully coined by TV shock legend Morton Downey, Jr, bless his chain-smoking soul.
Fear—real, legitimate fear—possesses almost narcotic powers. Like drugs or alcohol, it can make people do things, or accept certain arrangements, that they’d easily retreat from if challenged in any meaningful way. But the maelstrom of racial tension then, mixed with actual violence seemingly lurking around every corner, behind every subway door, blinded so many. Jail wasn’t enough for these scum, these animals, these ghetto predators. They should be strung up from statues in Central Park, chained together at the center of Yankee Stadium and pelted with bottles, maimed with Louisville Sluggers. White NYC especially, and its official organs of media and state power, were practically frothing at the mouth, led by Ed Koch and dozens of other people who should’ve known better.
Full disclosure: I was shocked at how differently I viewed some of the suspects at the time. My biggest turnaround was with Kharey Wise. Back then, I think he resembled some tough bully kid I knew from elementary school, just a coincidence, and I recall that his unusual manner of speaking (caused by a lifelong hearing impairment) somehow made him that much more frightening to me. I had fallen hook, line, and sinker: these boys were the meanest, cruelest scum from the P.J.’s, surely. Wise could’ve been any kid running folks’ pockets on the L platform.
When I saw them onscreen, or in other video from the last few years, my heart broke. In the footage from 1989, they look so young and innocent, because they are. Just boys. Shit, I was their age then, give or take. Their families were more like mine than not, or my friends’ families. Rather than the interchangeable boogeymen from some “pathological underclass,” shadowy figures that would push you into an empty NYCHA elevator shaft without hesitation, they were regular kids.
Wise stood out for me in particular. I was even more nonplussed that he was the oldest one. For part of the film, I was convinced he was 13 if he was a day. I began to tear up in the theater, as the film slowly panned over a still of him, that fear in his eyes, a deep and wounded helplessness as the justice system meat grinder somehow morphed him into a rapist and attempted murderer for all the word to see, the panic surely coursing through his veins, some version of the words “I did not do this” echoing in his heart. It had to have felt like a nightmare.
For Kharey Wise, Yusuf Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson, there was no sudden awakening, like the main characters in every movie cliché, safe in their teenage beds at home, looking forward to a Saturday afternoon horsing around with friends, or chasing girls, spending time with their parents, siblings, or grandparents. They would never go home anymore, not really.

"Ain't Never Gonna Be What it Was."
-- Little Big Roy

The CP5’s ordeal began a little over twenty-four years ago, a shocking number to look at onscreen. It’s a different city now. A golden age for Brooklyn, even! Greasy-spoon diners give way to farm-to-table restaurants, shiny happy people brunch-linin’ it on the weekend. Local pharmacies dropped like dominos, gobbled up by chains. The happy chaos of stoop life continues in some sectors, but every few months if feels like you see one or two fewer old Puerto Rican men in sidewalk lawn chairs playing dominoes. The corner bodegas and other candy stores, affectionately called “A-rabs,” for those of you not in the know, give way to purveyors of a more artisanal and organic stripe. “So Brooklyn,” coo the fashionable rags. A thirst for authenticity that so many NY transplants craved years back gave way to a new kind of “fauxtenthicity.” Many new places have that vibe, conveyed by dandy-font awnings. Drink prices trend steadily upward, and even mayonnaise is getting all high-falutin’ ‘n’ shit.
There’s plenty of new beer gardens opening up, and I’m told many of these are baby-friendly. A nice low-key place gets written up in some lifestyle rag (ie, The New York Times), and suddenly you want to ask that purple-faced, blustery hedge fund manager trying to impress the hipster girls at the next table, “Sprechen sie douche?”
I might consider a pickleback an unnecessary flourish to accompany some serious Jameson-on-the-rocks action, but I’m not the target audience for that shit. I want to get drunk and hear bawdy stories from Bill the Bartender, not find out where my drink was born and how it got its Masters degree from Caleb the Mixologist, charming as he may be churning up that cocktail shaker, with his foppish, silent-movie-villain curlicued ‘stache. Call me a vulgarian, but pickle brine is for drinking at the fridge door at three in the morning behind your significant other’s back.
In NYC, pretending is easy, a bubble we form against the world going down in flames out in flyover country. It’s no coincidence that ever-more expensive eateries, grocers, and wine bars were the vanguard of cultural cleansing. Psychologists have long linked overeating, obesity, and gluttony in general with anxiety. I believe the new small-plates restaurants, fusion Korean taco joints, cupcake shops, and hundreds of other aspirational eateries and twee purveyors that have swept through the city this past decade mask an underlying dread of the end times. Nero and Caligula on a bromantic date getting high-end sliders, followed by a $20 craft cocktail. “I’ll have the Avon Barksdale, good sir!”
Ultimately, deep down I have nothing against artists and people just trying to get by who happen to wear funny or funky clothes, eat cooler, more expensive food, or listen to alternative music. You do what you do, na mean? Many of my friends dabble in some aspects of the lifestyle here and there, as do I. It’s nigh impossible not to if you’re a sentient Gothamite. Plus, so much hipster and yuppie (or “yunnie”) hatred is misguided. Sure, I hate a lot of those people, but you can only spit into the wind for so long.
Still, it is the height of Onion-esque comedy when trés cool relative newcomers to Williamsburg, long ago transformed into a showpiece of upper-middle-class Bohemia, bemoan the recent douchebag infiltration. They are two sides of the same coin. I’d be amazed if Mast Bros Chocolate closes up shop on mere principle once the scent of Axe body spray begins to overpower their cacao, borne artisanally by three-masted ships to Ye Olde Williamsburg.
The sad irony is that much of what twee hipsterdom encompasses, or at least aspires to, is technically admirable. Who can read endless tales of the horror of factory farming, the antidemocratic, crushing power of agribusiness, the antibiotics in everything that are just priming us for mass infection, without feeling a deep and righteous revulsion? Farm-to-table, free-range, and handcrafted whatever are all wonderful things. But I fear they are fleeting fancies, soon to be pushed out and co-opted, slowly, like everything else money pollutes. These things won’t save us if and when the next economic collapse arrives all too soon, and the super-rich leave us to fight over the ruins, Mad Max-style.
The Luxury City is in full bloom, glassy and metallic, vainglorious. All the righteous, curmudgeonly affection for what it’s replacing seems little match for the billions of dollars fueling the other side. Manhattan is a lost cause, with the Kings’ borough not far behind. Brooklyn-ization is even reverse-pollinating parts of Manhattan. Whatever flavor of gentrification one desires, it’s readily available, as easily accessed as frozen yogurt from an arsenal of gleaming new dispensers. Empty calories and thin gruel, yet gratifying and color-saturated! Ran out of cash? You’re in luck—some intersections have a bank branch at every corner. Why they exist remains a mystery, when the guy in front of you pays for a pack of gum with Visa.
Development (ie, cultural cleansing) doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Dubya prescribed a return to the status quo (“shop ‘til you drop!”) after the Towers fell more than eleven years ago, and people could hardly wait to grab their credit cards and release the next flood of consumer endorphins. So much more preferable than turning an eye inward at what we had become by the end of the Clinton years: a greedy, narcissistic, fearful, and ever more stupid people. Instead of pumping the brakes, we declared Full Speed Ahead.
People were afraid. But they were afraid of many things. Besides its addictive properties, fear is like water or sand: it gets in everywhere, and can ruin everywhere it seeps in. Existential dread is the curse of our age. We suspect everything, with good reason, as we feel progressively more unmoored from our government, institutions, and the corporations that, like the great Wizard behind the curtain, pretty much pull the strings of the former. No job is too small or innocuous to downsize and ship elsewhere. Real choices in politics are replaced with cosmetic ones. In Communist Poland, you only had one party to vote for. Nowadays, we’re lucky to choose among Visa, Mastercard, or Amex. Government at every level tortures, imprisons, assassinates, invades, displaces, harasses, controls, and manipulates the average citizen stateside, and nameless masses of hapless victims in the Third World, mostly for profit and empire.

"'Discipline' may be identified neither with an institution nor with an apparatus; it is a type of power, modality for its exercise, comprising a whole set of instruments, techniques, procedures, levels of application, targets; it is a 'physics' or an 'anatomy' of power, a technology."
-- Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

After seeing The Central Park 5, my friends and me stopped in the nearby Lenox Lounge, a Harlem institution soon headed, unbeknownst to us, for the dustbin of history. JOC and CB had gone to LaGuardia around the same time I attended Stuy, and it quickly turned into a “What about [that guy/girl]” convo, in addition to collating what the fuck we’d just seen onscreen. Inside the front bar, the Lounge probably looked much like it had years ago, when the film’s events had transpired a mile or two away.
Outside was a different world. Like a darker-complexioned, East Coast version of the Black Flag song about the L.A. police (“They hate us/we hate them/We can't win, no way”), things play out as they always have for brown people, with young black and Latino males bearing the brunt of it. In the new Gilded City, the name of the game is containment, under the aegis of the Stop-and-Frisk policy. It is the same impulse that guides the Orwellian scrutiny of the Arab-American and Muslim communities at large. How will property values and rents climb into the stratosphere, thus buoying El Bloombergo’s plutocrat pals, if good, decent people with six- and seven-figure salaries can’t feel absolutely safe and sound at all times? They want that urban sensibility, without the wrong kind of urban mucking it up for them.
Meanwhile, the ever more smothering need for structure, security, and certainty plays out among the middle classes, too, here and out in territories. Unpredictability is an enemy; you’d think it was a fate worse than death, the way many people act. Uproot all that dangerous playground equipment because towheaded young Linus may bruise a finger and it’s time for everyone to lawyer up. Evacuate the picnic ASAP; somebody found a peanut in the grass! Can’t have all these kids running and horsing around, what with their restless leg syndromes—pump them all full of powerful, system-approved narcotics. We might lose a few to suicide or decades of soulless, deadened existence, but it’ll surely help them on all these standardized tests en route to those cubicle jobs (soon to be outsourced).
The school-to-prison pipeline remains fully operational. Handcuff the young black kid shooting spitballs. Expel the other kid for making a gun sign with her hand (black, white, who gives a shit? Down the line, everybody’s fair game). Call the cops on those neglectful parents who dare let their kids play out front unsupervised. Thank god that old “ghetto” corner store closed; all those unsavory characters hanging out outside. They didn’t even have a gluten-free section, OMG.
Online, where many of us live a good chunk of our lives, all the most ubiquitous trends emphasize control, surveillance, and the supreme predictability and convenience people crave. The most desirable apps are the ones that effectively eliminate serendipity and surprise from our lives. Yelp that restaurant, or risk eating an average meal. Wander out of the subway and get on the smartphone right quick or you’ll get lost. Dating someone becomes a database search/shopping list of mandatory, desired attributes that we need to be totally compatible with. Because the ideal mate is, naturally, someone with the exact same musical tastes, political opinions, and sociocultural background.
Back in the Gilded City, the preferred, must-have domicile is the doorman building, a combination of adult dormitory, douchebag megaclub, luxury spa, and modern office tower. Gleaming white and silver interiors, perfect if your idea of bliss is reclining in Conference Room C, complete with 1,200 thread count sheets. You’ll get a trophy just for showing up, and on-site mental health counselors will help you pick up the pieces if you have a breakdown from the withering looks of the pedestrians you almost collided with while you were glued to your screen. Oh, Millennials: I kid, I kid!
Many units in these modernist monstrosities remain empty, and will be filled once the societies of the foreign, absentee One Percenters that own them collapse (before ours does, they hope), and they come scurrying from overseas to Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, soon to be walled off like the anti-version of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Checkpoints will exist for the service-sector peons that aren’t live-in staff, so don’t worry. Neighborhood watch volunteers equipped with Google Glass retinal scanners will make sure none of the help lingers too long after clocking out; special apps will dispatch the rent-a-cops, if need be.
If wages skew low enough, they might even open an Apple plant in Brownsville. The Berlin-style DMZ Wall abutting the factory outlet will have its own Starbucks and Shake Shack for everyone lining up for the 17th generation iPad. It’ll be a fun afternoon out once MOMA charges $100 to get in. You’ll get there easily on a Citi Bike, I’d imagine.
We’d like to think we’ve come so far, our technological triumphs melded to some a new era of enlightenment. But it’s all a ruse, the wax soon to melt off our Icarus wings. The miracles promised by the Internet have made us neither safer, happier, more prosperous, or more intelligent. A sizeable chunk of Americans believes the Sun revolves around the Earth, and that our first black President is indeed a foreign-born, Marxist jihadist. Never mind that the same president, who in 2008 won Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year, has broken most of his promises and governs to the right of Nixon, and is a driving force in ripping the guts out of many of the freedoms we used to enjoy. If he were a white, northeastern Yalie frontin' on Texan, he'd be the new saint of the CPAC convention. If Nixon, famously, was the only one who could go to China, Barry is the only one his supporters will trust with steering the ship of state through the Forever Wars on Terror and Drugs. It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? We all wanted to believe so badly.
That we live in a colorblind society is another cruel joke. Another black man who reached the pinnacle of his craft and profession, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, was stopped and frisked by deli employees in Morningside Heights earlier this year. I see young men stopped at least once a week, most often by white cops. Few, I’d imagine, are red carpet nominees. Flip a coin: New Yorker profile, or racially profiled. Meanwhile, the Central Park 5 await an official apology and financial restitution from a justice system that falsely imprisoned them for years.
It’s easy to believe that it doesn’t affect you if you’re not black, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, or otherwise brown and suspect. But recently, everyone’s been getting a taste of overreaching state authority. It swings down with the force of a police truncheon if you’re a privileged white kid with a conscience who goes down to an Occupy protest. It manifests as financial ruin if you’re a family farmer fighting a David vs. Goliath court case against Monsanto. It takes the form of faceless bureaucrats, lobbyists, and their corporate cronies, whose cynical and distant horse-trading affects you if you’re an undocumented worker from Mexico ripped apart from your family; a comfortably middle-class suburban college kid caught with drugs and forced into being an informant, resulting in your own death; a whistleblower; a teacher who challenges the status quo; an LGBT citizen whose spouse dies and leaves them penniless because of the so-called "law"; a homeowner foreclosed on by robo-signers, the drones of the financial world; or one of the other millions of the uninsured, spat on, and forgotten. Before it’s all played out, we might all find ourselves the unwilling participants of a particularly insidious game of dominoes as described by Martin Niemöller in his famous poem, “First They Came…”
I can’t tell you that going out and voting in November will change anything. Quinn and any other real contender for the mayoralty will probably bring more of the same. But something’s got to give. If not, the future can seem mighty bleak. If you want a picture of the future through the prism of NYC’s own transformation writ large, imagine a Citibank Robocop/drone-bot, dressed in a Notorious B.I.G. baby onesie made in China, walking/texting and carrying a Venti latte and a yoga mat, its Ugg-clad feet stomping on the face of old New York—forever.
Peace, y’all, and be safe.

For Further Reading

“Mik Moore: Certitude and the Central Park 5.”

PBS Interview with Michelle Alexander, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio State University, author of “The New Jim Crow."

The Wire creator David Simon Eviscerates the Dystopia-creating War on Drugs.”

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, AKA The Book of Lamentations: A Bitterly Nostalgic Look at a City in the Process of Going Extinct:

Michael Radford's film version of George Orwell’s 1984—O’Brien on Power:

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Thing of Ours: New York Hardcore Meets the 1990s

My parents drove me and BS to that first show, but we played it slick. We hopped out a few blocks away from the “new” Ritz—really the old Studio 54 several incarnations back. The decision to part ways well away from the venue was validated by the mugs on line, a plethora of ill grills so hard-boiled you could chip a tooth on them. It was late afternoon, a summer Saturday, July 14, 1990, I had never been to a real show, and didn’t even try to count an AC/DC stadium show months earlier (or Earth Day). We were better off without all those maniacs realizing we were hastily unscrewing our hardcore training wheels.
Uncharted territory: a rogues’ gallery of skins, scuzzy metalheads, and assorted hard rocks glared at our arrival, just as quickly dismissed us. Other young lads were sprinkled throughout the line, stone-faced inmates in a penitentiary chow line. One hoody Latin dude spoke up so we all could hear, “Daaaamn! Wussup with all the ninos here today?” Had we bitten off more than we could chew?
In the house: longhairs; a PR thug with a Triple Fat Goose jacket and gold fronts; hardscrabble white kids of all stripes, suburban jock types with baggier gear, white, black, latin, and Asian skins, shaved for battle. Plenty of latin metalheads. We felt more metal than hardcore then by a longshot, and their black-clad ranks provided a small but palpable sense of comfort. Otherwise, so many of the other show-goers looked hopelessly adult. Most were likely not much older than us, but who knew?
The bill that night was Mind Over Four, Repulsion (before they became known as Type O Negative), hometown heroes Prong and Leeway (who I immediately realized most of the NY hardcore and metal kids were there for), and headliners Flotsam & Jetsam. I was nonplussed by the insanity we faced, the sheer physicality of young men with something to prove. We hung back for much of the show, like shell-shocked UN peacekeepers told to observe but not interfere in the violent implosion of some despotic banana republic.
I remember little of Repulsion’s set, aside from the buzz of the knucklehead ranks when Pete Steele and co. busted out a Carnivore tune. It was unlikely that they were excited about Steele’s sly homage to Roman Polanski. From Prong’s set on, it was a crash course in survival, me and BS carving out a spot away from several whirlpools of mayhem, but always orbiting as close as humanly possible, taking it in. At one point, some duke flew right into me, Pearl Harbor-style, and before I knew it had grabbed onto the long-sleeve black button-up I was wearing, dragged me a few feet, ripping the shirt in the process, and disappeared into the crowd. BS noticed midway during this minor melee, and ran up to get my back, but we didn’t press the issue, fish out of water that we were. We saw the rat-faced culprit periodically at shows afterwards, dubbing him “Shirt Man.”
Fights started. The acrid stench of mace filled the back of the venue, a last-ditch insurance policy by someone to avert a rat-pack beatdown, you couldn’t blame them. Hard dancing, snapshots caught through a kaleidoscope of boots and braces, band tees, and athletic jumpsuits. We caught our first glimpse of what we later referred to as skinhead aerobics, buncha baldies floor-punching and thrusting out arms and legs like hammers, going off to Prong’s main anthem, “Beg to Differ.”
You had to be aware at all times, as if dodging gunfire or shrapnel, dukes winding up and charging across the pit to fly into the crowd, a little spin kick or fist thrown in (just to “Adobo the chicken,” as BS might say), steel-toe boots jerking out from the writhing crowd for maximum dome-cracking effect. My shirt in tatters, I was left with just a white Gap pocket T, while I believe BS had worn his Ride the Lightning. We were as ill-prepared in dressing for intimidation purposes as Brownie had been for Hurricane Katrina. Luckily, save for Shirt Man’s earlier hijinx, we kept a low-profile. Some of the longhair kids weren’t so lucky.
Leeway killed it, but I remember little of their set these days, while Flotsam & Jetsam I blank on entirely. We ran into some latin metal kids, from uptown and the Bronx. We’d met and chummed with a couple of them at the Eastside 4th of July fireworks display ten days before. BS had his boombox blasting Faith No More and Metallica that day, a thrasher magnet. We bantered a little with them outside on 54th street after the show, secretly thankful for the safety in numbers. It was a shifty scene outside, more so than on line earlier. In the ensuing years, I’ve mused about how the outside of shows always seemed like a pot about to boil over. Much of the crowd milling about was blitzed on booze, trees, who knows what else. More than a few were likely dusted the fuck out. We soon made a long trek down to crash out at BS’s Waterside digs, buzzing with convo about what we had just experienced. We were hooked.
It could be an intimidating world. The next show wasn’t a dancey affair—Danzig at Beacon Theater, with Warrior Soul and Soundgarden opening. But I remember seeing a group of blokes lurking outside, tattooed and almost demonic to my young eyes. I pieced together later that this was my first sighting of the Cro-Mags. You could tell instantly those guys didn’t fuck around, tough as nails. They exemplified an even grimier time in NYC history. We were seeing the tail end of it. Street fight city. Crack and Deceps. Bashing their way through the late 70’s as young teens, they’d survived through the ‘80s, hard-earned street scars in the midst of villains and creeps. But the turn of the ‘90s was no joke either—as JG might say, “The Dinkins Administration was a little somethin’.”
I had missed the CB’s Matinee epoch by a hair, though a lot of the same heads stuck around, had bands, still danced at shows. I dug many NYHC bands of the earlier era. Of the bands that came up before our fresh-faced initiation into the scene, a good handful of them still going strong in 1990, I’d say we latched onto the metallish and progressive ones more. With all due respect to the youth-crew movement, it wasn’t something that spoke to us as strongly, except for maybe Gorilla Biscuits, undeniable in their straight-ahead energy and songwriting.
We worshipped Sheer Terror, Leeway, and Sick of it All, though, and the almighty Cro-Mags, though they seemed on semi-permanent hiatus when we started hitting shows. Other scene stalwarts still inspire fond memories, like Breakdown and the Icemen. While tempered in later years by evolving musical standards, our tastes also embraced the flawed but balls-to-the-wall aggression of groups like Biohazard and Life of Agony. Lyrics like “take life by balls and squeeze until they crunch” seem laughable now, but you couldn’t deny their beats, or that Warriors sample.
But I had no true envy of the kids who came up a few years before us, because we were lucky to experience groups that helped pioneer hardcore’s various “post-“ incarnations, innovative yet still hard. Close friends formed groups, next-level shit that still brought that good ole dance-floor ultraviolence, many of their songs influenced by these same new jack hustlers of the time.
The holy trinity of our collective dedication was perhaps comprised of three bands: Burn, Quicksand, and Into Another. Other great groups (Supertouch, Leeway, and Rorschach come to mind) played out during this era, too, but these were really the three we saw most often. We absorbed their live shows with the fervor of Talmudic scholars. So many highlights come to mind. I recall the paranoiac first strains of Quicksand’s “Baphomet” (preceded by a Walter Schreifels shout-out to Corona) at CB’s, before Alan Cage’s monstrous drumming kicked in. The dirty-bluesy grooves of Burn, a band incredible in all its lineup changes, but sustained throughout by Chaka’s undeniable vocal chops and superhuman stage charisma, and by Gavin’s playing, arguably some of the best guitar-work by anyone from any era of hard music. That Alan Cage contributed to both Burn and Quicksand still boggles my fucking mind. Some of us joked occasionally that Into Another was “Dungeons & Dragons” hardcore, but I can’t think of a more original band that embraced extremes so effortlessly, a finely-crafted three-way collision of Sabbath/Rush slinkiness, metal vox dexterity, and touching balladry. People lifted lighters in the air for one song, and you had someone swinging a hammer during the next.
If we were of the middle or new school, then our CBGB’s was a little-known bar/club called the Bond St. Café. It crept into my life a couple of years after that first Ritz suarez. Some of us had entered college, others pursued music, but a respectable contingent was still hanging out downtown on the regular during weekends and breaks. Around that time, the scene was dead in the estimation of many of the more idealistic ‘80s rank-and-file, with perhaps only ABC No Rio having a distinct vibe that eschewed ties to the more violent NYHC strains of the time.
Bond St. was fed by several different streams, bands coming out of NYC high schools, stalwarts of the old LES scene, plus a vital injection of Long Island HxC bands, plus NJ and CT, whose contribution I can scarcely front on. Shows were five bucks, set times were strictly enforced by a bored, dismissive sound guy, and aging rockers manned the door (anyone remember “Black Howard Stern?”). Bond St. served simultaneously as weekend hangout, dating pool, and creative outlet.
Out in L.I., places like the Angle, and later the PWAC, were the Nassau and Suffolk outposts of a similar, burgeoning movement, as much entwined with the sizeable L.I. contribution to the ‘80s old-school as we were to that of the 5 boros. Some of the finest bands of the era, like Neglect and Mind Over Matter, hailed from Strong Island. It was a huge hair weave; it mattered less and less to us where one left off and the other began. Few had hang-ups about geography, and splitting hairs over old-, middle-, and new-school shit soon faded like an old ticket stub in the wash cycle.
Hardcore kids—what a mixed-up bunch: angry, creative, at times self-destructive. City kids, others from the hardcore orbits of the Tri-State area, assorted straight-edgers and vegans from points distant—guys and gals from all walks of life, really. It’s funny entering a scene. Everyone’s a character in a movie. Everybody’s a comedian. You’d have whole conversations quoting some bananas statement overheard at the last hang. We collected the oversized pseudo-celebrity reps of scene mainstays like baseball cards. Laying low at the beginning, we analyzed dancing styles, stealing and innovating our own. We realized that the best dancers seemed the people with the least to prove. They wrecked shit in good spirits, not so much out of rage, but that, too, exhibiting styles upon styles. Most of the time, the bloody nose was worth the story.
Those early years, you wanted to prove yourself without sucking up. Ease in, earn your stripes. HxC was the bastard child of nepotism and meritocracy. At both its best and worst, it was equal doses of who you knew, but also how you comported yourself. Respect the old-schoolers, but don’t be a naïve follower. You’d entered a proving ground of N.Y. originals, with any manner of the darkest human impulses available to those coming of age: conforming to non-conformity, embrace of pseudo-fascist tendencies, gang mentality, militant straight-edge dogma, blind military mindsets, smug insider elitism. The scariest characters were like human totem poles, almost beyond good or evil—simply forces of nature.
Within our own set of close friends we’d always go to shows with, Stuy Heads and later with agents from all over NYC high schools, we began to observe unique (but useful and calming) rituals. We made up songs comical to us only, little anthemic in-joke group numbers, like a deranged but clever barbershop quartet. We had names for everyone, indecipherable to outsiders. In myriad ways, we constructed the organic architecture of friendships. If we drove to hard shows, we’d only listen to hip-hop or shit like Zep, Sabbath—never really hardcore. Our crew seemed to subsist on a strict diet of General Tso’s from Bleecker Street, Munchie Burgers on St. Mark’s, sandwiches from DiBella’s, Bagel Buffet, and “Nasties,” truly vile, gigantic concoctions of every carbonated beverage available at Store 24’s soda dispensers. Caballo Loco for the alkies, Tropical Fantasy for the straights. We adhered to self-generated superstitions, making sure not to break the 24-hour rule.
The scene meant meeting people from all over, and having a place to crash in nearly any city imaginable. If you were a musician, you tried to play, and playing points distant was intoxicating, getting there half the fun. Friends came along as roadies, merch sellers, or just for shits and giggles, if there were empty spots in the whip.
The mass adoption of the Internets, YouTube, and online music exchange was years away. Maybe you copied VHS tapes of bands playing out, traded beat-up cassettes of soundboard recordings. Kids mailed or sold you ‘zines, brought up bands via word of mouth. You inherited vinyl and tapes from salty scene-veteran friends and siblings.
I remember the day that Leeway’s long-anticipated (and long-delayed) Desperate Measures album came out, the way we called each other in the evening to see who had scored a copy. It was an enthusiasm you can scarcely generate from an Mp3 link. Tower Records and Bleecker Bob’s were our first stomping grounds for tunes, and we were soon to move on to Venus, Generation Records, and Reconstruction, the volunteer spot run by a few ‘zine and label owners.
The bands, the ‘zines, the fans, and the love of the music were the life’s blood. Elbow-greased dedication, resourcefulness, and a nationwide and international community were the sinews and tendons of the scene, even as the idealized vision of a united movement had splintered into various strains by early ‘90s: things got more metal, more hip-hop, sometimes crossing over between the two. Math rock, political punk, DC-style emo, and other grimier, more underground offshoots grew apart from formulaic mosh anthems. Many fans adopted the crew mentality, always present since the birth of the music from its hardscrabble roots in DC, NY, LA, Boston, and elsewhere. The attitude and sensibility of hip-hop had inspired groups like Absolution, Burn, Biohazard, Leeway, and their imitators; many of the latter blew up, while the originators of exciting hardcore- and metal-influenced hybrids fell by the wayside. Sometimes you can be at the right place at the wrong time.
Independent labels and acts grew bigger. The majors smelled money; they came a-knockin’, the Big Bad Wolf. “Grunge” was the suckerpunch that hit the major labels. Almost overnight, major-label poseur metal had sputtered out like an empty hairspray can. Studio execs geared up to break the next big thing, investing their hopes with A&R kids with scene cred. Innovative hardcore offshoots like Quicksand, Into Another, and Orange 9mm were courted by the industry. Many bands languished with boutique labels hastily set up by the majors. For Corporate America, hardcore and punk were just cash cows, part of the MTV-fueled “mallternative” nation. For the full story, check out the following Steve Albini piece lifted from Maximum Rock'n'Roll by Negativland (http://www.negativland.com/albini.html).
A few groups played it shrewdly on growing independents, and benefited with unusual longevity. Think Sick of it All, Bouncing Souls, and Rancid, among others. Punk outfits did better, arguably, though many faced their own obstacles. Over time, diluted hardcore, metal, alternative, and hip-hop were the tributaries that fed that sad, late-‘90s offshoot, “Nu-metal.”
I wasn’t in a band caught up in the bloodsucking carousel of the music industry, and thus happily oblivious to hardcore’s protracted decline. We knew that the scene was dead or dying about as well as someone feels their hair or toenails growing, even if the curtain was pulled back often enough to see the plain truth. Balancing my life between the cozy-creepy environs of SUNY Stony Brook on L.I. and weekends and vacations at home, this was also the time of exploring the LES, and its bar scene. But it was also the era we were exposed to punk and hardcore kids immersed in Veganism, straight edge, Krsna consciousness, Riot Grrl, and much more.
The accoutrements of style, that common vernacular, and the artifacts of the culture seemed inseparable from the music: Carharrts, messenger bags, sneakers, Docs, hoodies, wallet chains, tattoos, bead chokers, mad patches, stickers, demo tapes, oversize gear, overalls, ‘zines up the yin-yang.
DIY was in full swing. Kids learned shit they would carry with them through the music scene and beyond. Artwork in ‘zines, LPs and 7-inches, emblazoned on t-shirts and flyers were where a multitude of graphic artists first cut their teeth. Scenester shutterbugs, videographers, and writers honed their talents, moving on to magazines, movies, TV, punk-rock infiltrators. Skills born of booking shows, promoting bands, starting labels, issuing records, doing up merch, and a host of other activities launched countless snot-nose punk neophytes into adult livelihoods, whether they entered the corporate world or elevated their indie hobbies into full-fledged enterprises. Many of the musicians of the era—really the heart and soul of the whole thing—parlayed their talents into real careers, while many more amazing ones still play for pleasure, which might be that scene’s most worthwhile legacy. I’d venture that for most of us, it was rarely about the money. There was little of it to go around, anyway.
Scene cred is a currency still worth its weight in gold, though; in a city notorious for its fickleness, which might sometimes appear as though it’s free-falling into a douchebag abyss, recognition still gets you guest list spots and free drinks, even if you don’t leverage these nearly as much as you used to. Friendships forged during hectic sets, fights, hangouts outside CB’s, or talking late into the night at Waverly Diner are still going strong.
Much of it’s gone now, of course. I just read that Bleecker Bob’s is destined to be a Starbucks, and I’ve even crossed the Bowery to avoid looking into the former CB’s (a low-down dirty shame). But few of us look back with the resentment of Henry Hill bemoaning his proverbial egg noodles and ketchup. We made friends from everywhere, and would be spiritually poorer without those times to draw upon.
The physical proof remains stored in thousands of closets throughout the Tri-State area and beyond. Grainy VHS memories uploaded to YouTube, photo scans shared via Facebook, stack of fanzines excavated from dusty basement crates, the occasional reunion show some of us get around to attending—all these offer periodic flashbacks to youthful angst on overdrive, and the fashions of the times. The archives, both online and in one’s own possession, are pleasant to troll through on a slow night. Part of me can’t help but wish that some of those XXL tees actually fit me now. Some of them still look dope. But maybe it’s for the best. I still got the Born to Expire Shirt.
Plus I found this list—sadly nowhere-near complete—which I hope you’ll appreciate in a memory-lane sorta way. Enjoy, y’all.

1. Flotsam and Jetsam/Leeway/Prong/Repulsion/Mind Over Four
The Ritz, Saturday, July 14, 1990.

2. Danzig/Soundgarden/Warrior Soul
The Beacon Theatre, Friday, August 20, 1990

3. Suicidal Tendencies/Exodus/Pantera
The Ritz, Saturday, Sept. 8, 1990

4. Suicidal Tendencies/Leeway/White Zombie
L’amour, Friday, November 16, 1990

5. Repulsion/Vision Purple/Non-Fiction/etc.
L’amour, Friday, December 21, 1990

6. “Superbowl of Hardcore IV”
Agnostic Front/Gorilla Biscuits/Sick of it All/Rest in Pieces/
Antidote/Supertouch/Vision/SFA/Show of Force/Fit of Anger
The Ritz, Saturday, January 19, 1991

7. Killing Joke/Front Line Assembly
The Ritz, Saturday, February 9, 1991

8. Lemonheads/Blake Babies/Dharma Bums/Squalor
CBGB, Saturday, March 16, 1991

9. “Amnesty International Benefit IV”
Boogie Down Productions/Sick of it All/Rest in Pieces/Engine/Burn
The Marquee, Friday, March 29, 1991

10. Fugazi/etc.
Columbia University, Saturday, April 20, 1991

11. “The Last Thrash Bash”
Cro-Mags/Biohazard/Leeway/Type O Negative/White Zombie/Nonfiction/Metalstorm
L’amour, Friday, May 2, 1991

12. Fishbone/Bytches with Problems
The Academy, Friday, June 14, 1991

13. Sick of it All/Vision/Burn/Eye for an Eye/Merauder
The Marquee, Friday, June 21, 1991

14. Coffin Break/Crawlpappy/Thinking Fellers Union Local 182/Fish & Roses
CBGB, Tuesday, July 2, 1991

15. Leeway/Breakdown/The Icemen/Merauder/Enrage
The Cabaret, Saturday, August 31, 1991

16. 7 Seconds/Quicksand/Crawlpappy/Black Train Jack
CBGB, Friday, September 6, 1991

17. Prong/Type O Negative/Enrage/Malcolm’s Lost/Force of Habit
The Red Spot (Staten Island), Saturday, September 28, 1991

18. The Exploited/Biohazard/Type O Negative/Life of Agony
The Ritz, Saturday, October 5, 1991

19. Skinnerbox/Bigger Thomas
New Frontier (TGIF), Friday, November 1, 1991

20. Leeway/Mucky Pup/Noise Culture/Merauder
OnStage (Staten Island), November 22, 1991

21. Sheer Terror/etc.
The Continental, Friday, November 29, 1991

22. Eye for an Eye/Greyhouse/1.6 Band
ABC No Rio, Saturday, December 21, 1991

23. “Superbowl of Hardcore V”
Sick of it All/Vision/Sheer Terror/Burn/The Icemen/Breakdown/Merauder/Mentally Dumb/The Mob/Disciplinary Action/Black Train Jack/Subzero
The Ritz, Saturday, January 25, 1992

24. Quicksand/Black Train Jack/Insurgence
CBGB, Saturday, February 1, 1992

25. “Amnesty International Benefit”
32 Tribes/Polyfuse/Shift
United Nations International School (UNIS), Friday, February 7, 1992

26. Gorilla Biscuits/Supertouch/Merauder/Worlds Collide
The Marquee, Friday, February 21, 1992

27. Tempest/Shift/After-Dinner Mints
The Red Spot (Staten Island), Thursday, March 6, 1992

28. Breakdown/Sheer Terror/Yuppicide/SFA/Mind Over Matter/Neglect/Fountainhead/Putdown
Hammer-Hedz, L.I., Sunday, March 22, 1992

29. Leeway/Mucky Pup/Icemen/Life of Agony
The Marquee, Saturday, March 28, 1992

30. Supertouch/Funky-El/Mouthpiece/Four Walls Falling
Middlesex County Community College, Sunday, April 4, 1992

31. Quicksand/32 Tribes/Black Train Jack
The Wetlands, Sunday, April 26, 1992

32. Sheer Terror/Rorschach/Hell No
The Wetlands, Sunday, May 10, 1992

33. “Amnesty International Benefit”
The Toasters/Industry/Tempest/Shift
The Marquee, Sunday, May 17, 1992

34. Lunachicks/Lungfish/Deviators
CBGB, Saturday, May 23, 1992

35. Worlds Collide/Naked Angels/Another Wall
The Right Track Inn, Freeport, L.I., Saturday, May 30, 1992

36. Black Train Jack/Bouncing Souls/Iron Prostate
Space2B, Saturday, June 13, 1992

37. Lunachicks/Into Another/Iceburn
The Continental, Friday, June 19, 1992

38. Biohazard/I4NI/Merauder
L’amour, Saturday, June 27, 1992

39. Into Another/American Standard/Black Train Jack
The Wetlands, Sunday, July 5, 1992

40. Black Train Jack/etc.
The Continental, Tuesday, July 7, 1992

41. Shift/etc.
Under-Acme, Saturday, July 10, 1992

42. Mind Over Matter/Mild Psychosis/Small Am I/13 Stitches
Bond St. Café, Thursday, July 22, 1992

43. Shift/Bushmon/Black Medicine
The Pyramid, Monday, August 3, 1992

44. Into Another/Black Train Jack
The Continental, Wednesday, August 5, 1992

45. Force of Habit/etc.
CBGB, Sunday, August 16, 1992

46. Helmet/Quicksand/Crawlpappy
The Marquee, Friday, August 21, 1992

47. BURN
The Pyramid, Friday, August 28, 1992

48. Cherokee Sex Workshop/All About Chad/Shift
The Marquee, Saturday, Sunday, August 30, 1992

49. False Prophets/Black Train Jack
The Pyramid, Friday, September 4, 1992

50. Biohazard/Burn/The Icemen/Dead Earth
The Marquee, Friday, September 11, 1992

51. Shift/Berzerkers/Mind’s Eye
The Angle, Mineola, L.I., Saturday, September 26, 1992

52. Mind Over Matter/etc.
The Continental, Tuesday, September 29, 1992

53. Shift/Neglect/Fear of Life/Blindside/DNME/Noxious Breed
Bond St. Café, Sunday, October 11, 1992

54. Into Another/Rain Like the Sound of Trains/Big Hat
The Wetlands, Sunday, October 18, 1992

55. Supertouch/Shift/Another Wall/Mind Eraser
The Tilt, Friday, October 23, 1992

56. Fear of Life/Phallacy/etc.
Underworld, Sunday, November 8, 1992

57. Burn/Another Wall/Shift
The Tune-Inn, New Haven, CT, Sunday, November 15, 1992

58. Black Train Jack/Outcrowd/The Radicts
The Wetlands, Sunday, December 6, 1992

59. Dog Eat Dog/etc.
Bond St. Café, Saturday, December 12, 1992

60. Filth’n’Fury/Shift/99 Sense/John Dere/Subterranean Groove
Bond St. Café, Saturday, December 19, 1992

61. Black Train Jack/etc.
The Continental, Tuesday, December 29, 1992

62. Supertouch/Shift/Silent Majority
The Angle, Mineola, L.I., Saturday, January 23, 1993

63. Quicksand/Bad Trip/Yuppicide/Mind Over Matter/Shift
The Wetlands, Sunday, January 24, 1993

64. Dog Eat Dog/Fear of Life/etc.
Bond St. Café, Friday, January 29, 1993

65. Yuppicide/etc.
The Pyramid, Friday, February 5, 1993

66. Shift/etc.
New Music Café, Saturday, February 6, 1993

67. Into Another/Crawlpappy/etc.
The Continental, Saturday, February 6, 1993

68. 32 Tribes/7th Sense/Shift/13 Stitches
United Nations International School, Friday, February 19, 1993

69. Madball/Mudfoot/G.O.S./Origins/Standoff
NYU/Loeb Student Center, Saturday, March 6, 1993

70. Black Train Jack/etc.
The Continental, Friday, March 12, 1993

71. Fear of Life/Blindside/etc.
The Underworld, Saturday, March 20, 1993

72. Black Train Jack/Affirmative Action/Factory/1.6 Band/Born Against/Holeshot
Under-Acme, Saturday, March 20, 1993

73. Fear of Life/Emanon/etc.
Bond St. Café, Saturday, March 27, 1993

74. Into Another/Deviators/The Radicts
NYU Loeb Student Center, Thursday, April 1, 1993

75. Mind Over Matter/Fountainhead/Blindside/Standoff
Bond St. Café, Friday, April 2, 1993

76. Quicksand/Surgery/Therapy?
The Academy, Saturday, April 3, 1993

[Herein, the list trails off for a few months due to poor recordkeeping, and not due to involuntary internment in Creedmore, prison, or foreign exile…]

+Addendum (thanks, Wenderoff/Scurti)
76"a". Shelter/Mouthpiece/108/Bad Trip/Engine
The Bank, Saturday, June 19, 1993

77. Lincoln/Wheelchair/etc.
ABC No Rio, Friday, June 25, 1993

78. Yuppicide/Stompbox/Shift/13 Stitches/Blindside/Standoff/Origins
Bond St. Café, Friday, July 2, 1993

79. Shift/Dog Eat Dog/Fear of Life/Without a Cause (?)/etc.
The Wetlands, Sunday, July 18, 1993

80. Noise Culture
The Continental, July?, 1993

81. Struggle Within/The Human Offense/etc.
Bond St. Café, July ?, 1993

82. 25 Ta Life/Cold as Life/Neglect/etc.
Bond St. Café, Friday, July 30, 1993

83. Lifetime/Bouncing Souls/Phallacy/Force of Habit/Kurbjaw
The Rock Palace, Staten Island, Saturday, July 31, 1993

84. 32 Tribes/Song of Seven/Standoff
Underworld, Date??

85. Leeway/Mucky Pup/etc.
The Limelight, Date??

86. Lunachicks/Dog Eat Dog/etc.
The Limelight, Date?? [Same show as Leeway?}

87. Bad Trip/Mind Over Matter/Garden Variety/Standoff/etc.
Bond St. Café, Friday, August 6, 1993

88. Into Another/Shift/Outcrowd/Standoff/Alloy
CBGB, Saturday, August 7, 1993

89. Clutch/Bad Trip/Opposition/Next Step Up
The Wetlands, Sunday, August 15, 1993

90. Yuppicide/Into Another/Franike & the SoulSonic Eggrolls
Nell’s, Wednesday, August 18, 1993

91. Outcrowd/Dog Eat Dog/Noise Culture
The Continental, Thursday, August 19, 1993

92. Science Diet
UnderAcme, Friday, August 20, 1993

93. Lunachicks/Yuppicide/Bad Trip/Standoff/Follow the Leader
Bond St. Café, Friday, August 27, 1993

94. Into Another/Iceburn/Avail/Shift
The Wetlands, Sunday, September 5, 1993

95. Superchunk/Garden Variety
Pratt Institute, Tuesday, September 14, 1993

96. Shift/Mind Over Matter/Standoff/Wheelchair/Struggle Within
Bond St. Café, Saturday, September 18, 1993

97. Yuppicide/Bad Trip/SFA/Mind Over Matter/Neglect
CBGB, Sunday, September 26, 1993

98. Halfman/Hell No/Mind Over Matter/Shift
Outer Limits Gallery, Franklin Sq., L.I., Saturday, October 2, 1993

99. Endpoint/Dive/Shift/Faultline
490 Club, Fitchburg, MA, Friday, October 15, 1993

100. 1.6 Band/108/LoyaltoNone/Sorry Excuse
Outer Limits Gallery, Franklin Sq., L.I., Saturday, October 16, 1993

101. Bad Trip/Opposition/etc.
The Continental, Thursday, October 28, 1993

102. Rejuvenate/Oxblood/Subzero/Blindside
The Gas Station/Space2B, Saturday, October 30, 1993

103. Orange 9mm/New School/etc.
Bond St. Café, Saturday, November 6, 1993

104. Lifetime/Garden Variety/Medicine Man/Phallacy
Outer Limits Gallery, Sunday, November 7, 1993

105. Fudge Tunnel/Black Train Jack/J Church
CBGB, Saturday, November 13, 1993

106. Avail/Die 116/Shift/Opposition
CBGB, Sunday, November 14, 1993

107. Ressurection/Phallacy/Trees Without Leaves
Reconstruction Records, Date???, November 1993.

108. Ashes/Lifetime/Die 116/Shift/Grip/Nevertheless
The Middle East, Boston, Saturday, November 20, 1993

109. Emanon/Out of Line/Brutal Day/etc.
Bond St. Café, Saturday, December 4, 1993

110. Quicksand/Black Train Jack/Sabrosa/Shift/Stompbox
CBGB, Wednesday, December 22, 1993

111. Murphy’s Law/Madball/Standoff/Roguish Armament/Rezin
The Wetlands, Sunday, December 26, 1993

112. Shelter/Prema/Without a Cause/Out of Line
The Wetlands, Sunday, January 2, 1994

113. Earth Crisis/Snapcase/Phallacy
ABC No Rio, Tuesday, January 4, 1994

114. Into Another/Rain Like the Sound of Trains/Weeds of Eden
The Wetlands, Sunday, January 16, 1994

115. Halfman/Policy of Three/etc.
ABC No Rio, Saturday, January 29, 1994

116. Yuppicide/Bouncing Souls/Standoff/Solace
The Wetlands, Sunday, February 6, 1994

117. Endpoint/Mouthpiece/Shift/Greyhouse/Eleven 11
The Wetlands, Sunday, February 13, 1994

118. Quicksand/Seaweed/Orange 9mm
Irving Plaza, Saturday, February 26, 1994

119. Sick of it All/Shift/Strength 691/etc.
The Wetlands, Sunday, March 6, 1994

120. Pennywise/Offspring/etc.
CBGB, Saturday, March 12, 1994

121. Yuppicide/Shift/Home/Surrounded
Bond St. Café, Saturday, March 19, 1994

122. Killing Time/Vision/108/Bulldoze/Shift
Studio 1, Newark, NJ, Friday, March 25, 1994

123. The Queers/Bouncing Souls/Bugout Society
The Continental, Monday, March 28, 1994

124. Battle Cry/Halfman/Standoff
Ray’s Basement, Brentwood, L.I., Wednesday, March 30, 1994

125. Mind Over Matter/Alloy/Outcrowd/Gearhead
The Continental, Saturday, April 2, 1994

126. Mind Over Matter/Vision of Disorder/Big Sniff/Silent Majority/Crawlspace
The Spotlight, Lindenhurst, L.I., Friday, April 8, 1994

127. Citizen Fish/Spitboy/etc.
ABC No Rio, Sunday, April 10, 1994

128. Into Another/108/Weeds of Eden
CBGB, Saturday, April 16, 1994

129. Split Lip/Shift/Ressurection/Backlash/Starbelly
The Wetlands, Sunday, April 24, 1994

130. Outcrowd/Black Train Jack/etc.
Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ, Thursday, May 19, 1994

131. Youth Brigade/Integrity/Lagwagon/Lifetime/Bouncing Souls/Sticks&Stones/Deadguy/etc.
Middlesex County Community College, Saturday, May 21, 1994

132. Orange 9mm/Shift/etc.
Bond St. Café, Saturday, May 28, 1994

133. Die 116/Standoff/Struggle Within/Section 8
Bond St. Café, Friday, June 3, 1994

134. Avail/Garden Variety/Bouncing Souls/Etc.
The Grand, Saturday, June 4, 1994

135. Into Another/Yuppicide/Standoff
The Wetlands, Sunday, June 12, 1994

136. Shelter/108/Deadguy
The Grand, Friday, June 17, 1994

137. Leeway/Black Train Jack/Samiam/Garden Variety/The Toadies/etc.
The Wetlands, Wednesday, July 20, 1994

138. Die 116/Thorn/Holy Rollers
CBGB, Tuesday, August 2, 1994

139. Leeway/Cro-Mags/Murphy’s Law/Yuppicide/Die 116/Dog Eat Dog/etc.
The Wetlands, Sunday, August 14, 1994

140. Into Another/Shift/Hogan’s Heroes.
City Gardens, Trenton, NJ, Sunday, September 11, 1994

141. Quicksand/Orange 9mm
Columbia University Wollman Auditorium, Saturday, September 17, 1994

…and many more, but here the list cuts off again. I have some misgivings about some of the archives (did Leeway really play with Samiam?), and some of the dates may be off by a day or so, but I tried to quality-control the shit outta most of ‘em.

In a half-assed chronological order of appearance, “Frozen Metal Thanks” for da Memories to:

POH Crew, The Agency, The Triumvirate, R.I.P. (“Driftin’ and Dreamin’”), Brando Simpso (“Who am I? The Kingpin! Alright, then…”), Rob the Goompus, Orlando Psaltman, Manny Moonboy, Josh/El Tiburon, Omar (Astoria Posse of One), Jonny Kaye, Josh Loucka, Lex “Siva, Lord of Ignorance,” (“If you don’t dance, you don’t count!”), Jen Satenstein, Selenster/Selena Leong-Wilder (“Crahs of our Lives…”), Teresa, Joe Galatioto, Mike G, Kenny Madrigal, Dave Arce, Ida, Keren Z, Andrea, Samantha Maloney, Mark Holcomb, Adriana Vladuca, Kevin Egan, Alexis Thomson, Davide ("EVERYDAY is Davide!"), Gianluca Montalti, Justin Asher, Julian Vasquez, Jason Vasquez, Eric Rumpshaker, Josh Wildman, Mike Baktamian, Mike from Bx Science, Veronika, Benny, Derek, Sherief Makhail, Alex Aegistopolous, Pete Tien, Wendy Lame, Al Liao, Franz, Jay, and Brownwrapper Brian, Mark GAZE, John Frangos, (“From now on, strictly the highest of tech”), Ezra Martin, Korean Mike, Ian Richer, Alli Farber, Nicole and Danielle Bercovici, Michelle Weiner, Ali Raleigh, Danielle Cheriff, Justine Delaney, Simone Mangano, Jessica Sanford, Jaime Mitchell, Kate Magale, Punk Rock Andrew, Jackie, Antoinette, Andrea, Jason Lehroff, Todd Hamilton, Lenny, Dave Barron, Sean Kelly, Pete Mouthpiece, Ryan Bushmon, Cairo, Hamster, Rubin Millstein, Ziggy, Ethan Minsker, Eric Rice, Jesse “Colt Seever” Fischler, Angel Rivera, Skinhead Sarah, Shane Vetter, Dim Roc, Jolene Carbone, Marlene, Lesley Arfin, Artie Phillie, Pete Ciccotto, Jeff, Troy “Tromar/Universal”, Adam Marino, Andre Abramowitz, Maurice, Ed Hush, Arty Sheperd, Justin Scurti, E-rock Svirida, Schneider, Chisholm, Steve De Palo, Coogan, John Mahken, Steve Driscoll, Gideon Brown, Phil Rigaud ("The Black Bruce Jenner"), Tyler King, Josh Swank, Damian Nesbitt, Christian Rama, Tim, Nash, Nagin, Mizuo Peck, Lisa Foley, Ruben, Brad Farrell, Mel, Elliott Reyes, Jeannie Oliver, Danielle Rial, Raphael, James "Razzle" Spooner, Both, Vera Miao, Agnes, Agnes, and Tara O, Chris Davidson, Little Nicole, Danielle and Bayside Posse ("The Enemy Stoop"), Kung-Fu Lou, Carlos, Vegan Vince, Kate Edge, Boston Maria, Kim, Ilsa, Marissa, Suzanne, Antonio Ballatore, Z-Bar, No-Tell Motel, and Babyland, Bar 82, Rufus McGee, Vinny Da Whale, Shift, Stillsuit, Standoff NYHC, The Jiant, Bryan, Dave, and Blindside, Brutal Day, The Last Crime, Mind Over Matter, Bad Trip, Halfman, Scapegrace, Silent Majority, LoyaltoNone, Tempest, Chaka, Gavin, and Burn, Die 116, Deadguy, Keith Huckins, Jesse Jones, George Steen, and Yuppicide crew, Orange9mm, Chris Traynor, Shannon Traynor, Vin and Tom Force of Habit, Mark Ryan and Supertouch, Into Another, 13 Stitches, Java, Bushmon, The Slackers, Fear of Life, Struggle Within, Out of Line, Chris Daly, Scott Winegard, Glenn, Billy K, and Fountainhead, Meaty Mike, General Tso’s Skins, and Country Club Crew (CCC) (“Surf’s up, bro!”), and Joe McKee (R.I.P).

And, below, a number anyone can appreciate for its title, at least. I don't think it's about people linking arms to maul down people in a venue during the breakdown.

Peace; Be Safe.