This was originally published in The Water Tower, a weekly satirical paper based in Burlington, VT.
Earlier this year, Scottish post-rock band Mogwai released an album titled, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. I can’t say I liked it very much (Mogwai + vocals = ?), but I can say that it brought me back to an old time full of mosh pits, forehead sweat and ultimately, tears of satisfaction. As the album title suggests, hardcore will never die – in fact, its evil little head has reared it’s way back into my life yet again, thanks to Mogwai’s sucky album.
Merely uttering the album title sends me on a Jimmy Neutron-esque brain blast back to the 9th grade. I remember walking down the halls of my penitentiary-inspired high school and seeing the hardcore kids with their Minor Threat tees, septum piercings and cut off shorts. In art class, they’d chat casually about animal cruelty and veganism while drawing large scale portraits of their fixies. These kids screamed hardcore – literally. I was reaching the end of my metal-phase (my Black Sabbath tees were in constant rotation) and it was time for a change. I was ready for all of the wonders hardcore music had to offer.
As a Massachusetts native, I always loved Worcester-based band Bane – a side project of Aaron Dalbec of Converge. These guys were equal parts tough-guy and emotional basket-case. Naturally, I could relate. Their heartfelt, yet quasi-bitter lyrics inspired me to continue on in my quest towards damning my school and all the people in it to hell. Let’s face it, no one in their right mind liked high school (unless your some sick townie who’s had the same friends since pre-school). I chanted the lyrics to ‘F**k What You Heard’ in my bedroom while air-drumming its ridiculous D-beat. Where’s that same passion now? I seem to have misplaced that lust for music somewhere along the way. Maybe that’s the case, or maybe it’s because hardcore music is what brings it out of me the most.
I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I creeped on Bane like that girl in your Sociology class who’s always on her boyfriend’s Facebook. Despite the risks associated with my stalking, through this unhealthy obsession I was able to find a sub-movement I could truly get into – it was my niche, it was everything I wanted and more, it was youth crew. Youth of Today (hence the ‘youth’ in ‘youth crew’), Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Cro-Mags, Floorpunch, Chain of Strength – the list goes on. All equally killer bands with strong followings and even stronger messages. These bands (unlike Bane) based their songs around their uplifting, positive, and motivating belief systems. Their lyrics were relatable, the music fast and dirty, and the sense of belonging – overwhelming.
So what if I hadn’t seen that stupid Mogwai album? Nearly seven years later, I can honestly say that the deep connection to all things hardcore still remains; it just took a little nudge for me to remember how awesome it is and how much fun I have listening to it. With each flick of the bass and cymbal crash I hear, I’m one step closer to feeling that same intense connection all over again.
I know that for me at least, the music I once loved always seems to find a way back into my life. In fact, the other day I watched a YouTube video of a 2-year old boy who cried because he wanted to listen to Iron Maiden in the car, sure enough I was belting ‘Run to the Hills’ within minutes. And I still get the jitters when I hear nearly every track on Gorilla Biscuit’s seriously epic album, Start Today. Hardcore will never die because it’s more than just a style of music, it’s a movement and a way of life, and if it hasn’t made you jump around your room alone yet, it will – one day or another.