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Please visit :30 Under DC--it's a website dedicated to DC rock 1975-2005. All of this stuff will be moving there eventually.
Washington, DC had what was perhaps the best scene in the country--creative, independent, loud and fast. I could probably write a history of harDCore, but it would be superfluous to Mark Anderson's excellent book, Dance of Days. Go buy that and Banned In DC, they cover just about everything important.
This section is dedicated to the DC scene from 1980-1984, and will be a clearinghouse for information on DC bands. Some bands already have a section in the dementlieu punk archive, so their stuff appears there, not here. Iron Cross will have a section of their own, once I track down a few more interviews.
If you're interested in getting into the music, I'd recommend the following records: Bad Brains - s/t, Minor Threat - Complete Discography CD or Two 7"s on a 12", Black Market Baby - Potential Suicide and Crimes of Passion 7"s and the Baby Takes/Baby on Board CD, V/A - Bouncing Babies LP, and Faith/Void split 12"/CD (mainly for the Void stuff).
If you dig that stuff, grab the Flex Your Head comp, Scream's This Side Up CD (has their first LP as bonus tracks) and the 20 years of Dischord box. If you can find any early No Trend stuff, I'd seriously recommend listening to "Mass Sterilization Caused By Venereal Disease" from the 7" (the 12" sucks), which has to be the best song about VD ever, and possibly the best song to come out of DC as well. Their other stuff is kinda hit-or-miss. Fans of Oi! oughta check out Iron Cross for some crucial Oi/Hardcore crossover. The post-hardcore (y'know, post-punk was a stupid term. Post-hardcore is downright RETARDED) bands that really deserve checking out are Fugazi (their early stuff--nowadays they seem to be treading water) and Rites of Spring. There's plenty more stuff I haven't mentioned, so do some searching on your own.
Some records to avoid are GI's first 7", the SOA and Youth Brigade 7"s, (you can get all those and more on Dischord's Year in 7 inches CD or the 4 old 7"s on a 12" LP, so buy that and just pretend you have the originals), anything the Bad Brains recorded after 1983. Oh, and Minor Threat's Out of Step 12" and Salad Days 7" are pretty bad--sure, some of the lyrics are great, but the music sounds like Minor Threat by way of Aerosmith or something. Just bland hard rock lounge music that goes nowhere and does nothing, but hey, I don't like the Dead Kennedys either, so what do I know?
2004/04/05: Decided that the Bon Jovi comparison was too cruel. Thought about doing a real update.
Not just scene reports, but show reviews, misc crap, flyers and all sorts of other goodies.
I shouldn't really need to talk about Dischord--one of the most important indie labels of the era, and still going strong today.
Black Market Baby:
Were one of DC's absolute BEST bands for many years, and no one fucking paid any attention to them. Previously I had a note up about how I didn't have any Black Market Baby stuff to put up...that's changed. I now run the official BMB website, so go on over now!
Had a really nasty, abrasive sound, but never get mentioned nowadays. People would apparently rather pontificate about the merits of SOA (gimme a break). Oh yeah, and to add insult to injury, they were left off the 20 Years of Dischord box. If anyone's got a copy of the Dischord 7" or Double Barreled 2x7" that they're willing to part with, drop me a line.
Alec MacKaye's band after the Untouchables: straight-ahead DC-styled hardcore.
In late 1980 all-American boy John Schroeder was bitten by a radioactive paisley and developed amazing super-powers. To hide from those within his own scene who would destroy him, he created an alter-ego, Bobo the Clown, and with a brigade of righteous punks called GI, fought for truth, justice and the right to dress weird. After vanquishing many foes and cutting many slabs of wax, GI called it a day. John Schroeder currently fronts the Factory Incident, and may have lost his super-powers.
Seriously though, while John Schroeder a/k/a John Stabb a/k/a Bobo the Clown (named for his atrocious dress sense) probably wasn't bitten by a radioactive paisley, he did front GI--one of the few DC bands that actually managed to stick around for more than a few months and tour. They did a stack o' records, and you ought to check out the recent retrospective CDs on Dr. Strange.
Are somewhat famous because most of the band would become Rites of Spring. I've never heard their tapes, so I can't comment on them musically.
Iron Cross caused a bit of controversy with their image (emulating the british skinheads) and some of their lyrics, which seemed to promote senseless violence. The tendency when dealing with the band is either to let them off the hook without so much as a discouraging word, or just absolutely crucify the band. Both approaches are simplistic and downright dishonest. When Iron Cross get their own section, I'll go into more detail. Until then, the interviews will have to speak for themselves.
One of the first hardcore bands to start mixing "emo" elements into their style.
I should probably write something about Scream, but really, what is there to say? Great band.
Probably more worth noting because Henry Garfield would become Henry Rollins rather than their actual music.
Have the dubious distinction of the worst of the Dischord hardcore releases (worst Dischord release of all, however is a much tougher debate--Embrace or limp-wristed Half-Japanese wannabes Happy Go Licky get my votes). Their demos were great (check the split LP w/Minor Threat for proof), but their released material is not quality product.
Probably my third or fourth favorite DC-based band--and they're up against some stiff competition. Wild, out of control hardcore that verges on sheer noise in spots.
Things I'm still after:
any interviews, especially for bands that I don't have any info on (No Trend, Void, Black Market Baby, SOA). Any copies (xeroxes are fine) of old DC zines--I'm especially after copies of Brand New Age (1, 3+), Thrillseeker (1, 3) and Touch and Go 16.
Band members: email me if you wanna be interviewed!
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