Today a friend of mine posted a link to an article from the Los Angeles Times entitled, Punk rock's creative and savage legacy at Subliminal Projects gallery, which talks about the photos and flyers, as well as the Raymond Pettibon & Winston Smith artwork, which will be on display at Subliminal Projects' Westside gallery through March 26th, 2011. More exciting still, for those near enough to attend, is a performance, tonight February 25, 2011, right now (well, over by now), by OFF!, the new Keith "Johnny" Morris vehicle that's got the hardcore kids all abuzz. Why am I talking about it, when I can't even go? Well, my friend suggested people rent the semi-recent (2007) film, American Hardcore - The History of Punk Rock 1980 - 1986, after they finished reading the article...and I was offended!
Why the hell would you rent American Hardcore when you can buy it new at Amazon for $8.49...with free shipping? It's a great piece of cultural history, seriously, and it really captures the spirit that existed among bands, and fans, in what mainstream America must have felt was a seemingly insignificant offshoot of punk rock. Time has proven that notion wrong, as leaders of many social movements have risen out of the iconoclastic fury that was American hardcore and the rest of us still feel the glowing embers of a deep, primal urge toward a less contrived, more thoughtful approach to politics, life, economics, education, etc., etc.
This was not a united scene for the most part. The divergent opinions that came through hardcore are as diverse and passionate as you can find anywhere, but there was always an underlying distrust of the authority figures who would try shutting down their shows, prosecute them on obscenity charges and who would never, ever invite them to the table to discuss a record deal. They knew they had to make it on their own and the world was not going to help them...so they did. The content of American Hardcore is nearly as powerful as the music, expressing that unique combination of ingenuity, innovation and contempt for the rules of our dominant systems.
You can feel the truth of what hardcore means in the interviews with its most well known proponents and performers. Yes, Keith is in it, so is Henry, and H.R., and yes, Ian...you know what I'm talking about. But that's not what it's really about, and I'm telling you, it's not an ego-fest, because all of those guys and gals from hardcore know it's about the music and standing up in your own life...so no, don't rent this film...buy it!
Eh, ok...I'll just toss in a few mp3 links for you (not necessarily in the documentary, but good, nonetheless):
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown Link source
Circle Jerks - Live Fast, Die Young Link source
Bad Brains - Pay to Cum Link source
Minor Threat - Seeing Red Link source
and, just for good measure:
Feederz - Jesus Link source