There are two basic, although extreme, schools of thought when it comes to how hardcore has progressed over the years: the “hardcore is dead” mentality and “hardcore lives.” Many people who reveled in the scene in the 80’s and watched their favorite bands start from the streets of New York City, sing about not selling out, to turn around and actually sell out, then try to come crawling back to their scene when whatever fad they hopped on faded away, understandably pissed people off.
These people are the ones who cry “hardcore is dead” but in fact they are the ones who killed it.
Sticking their noses in the air when new bands come along because “they remember when Cro-Mags played CBGB’s with their original line up”, not supporting shows, not buying merch and basically giving the whole scene they grew up on a defeated goodbye while they go on with their lives, these people are the culprits. Now, somewhere in between all the naysayers and the “I’m too good for hardcore now,” something resonated and the scene continued. Now, especially more than ever, there are absolutely amazing bands coming from all across the country and overseas keeping hardcore alive and taking it to unbelievable new levels.
Hardcore has always been a go to for me in any mood/situation that life has thrown at me. In a good mood? I’ll throw on some old Bad Brains tracks or one of Kid Dynamite’s records, feeling pissed off? Well Incendiary’s new record will help you get through that and if that’s not enough toss on those new jams from Nails and you’ll find yourself working through that aggression that’s bringing you down in no time.
Now just listing those four bands you can see how it has progressed. You see Bad Brains started in 1977, Kid Dynamite in 1997 and Incendiary and Nails started wrecking shit in the 2000’s and if you watch any videos from a Nails or Incendiary show you will be rest assured that hardcore still lives and bands are pushing it’s limits.
It’s bands like the ones I have listed (as well as so many others) that have inspired me in so many ways whether it is my outlook on certain aspects of life, different perspectives on personal situations as well as ultimately leading me to become one of the founding members of my band 96. As much as I have been praising hardcore and how much it has progressed over the years, there are still some people in my section of Jersey (as well as many other places) that think all hardcore is just a bunch of chugging breakdowns over and over again.
My goal… our goal as a collective of 96, was and continues to be to change that. Now don’t get me wrong, bands such as Ensign, The Mongoloids and Suburban Scum have been taking the old school sound and revitalizing it into something new for years now but in the past three years, more and more bands are popping up across the state doing the same while also adding their own flavor and it is only making our scene stronger.
I can sit here and namedrop every friend’s band, every band that we’ve had the honor to play with as well as all the awesome people putting on shows for everyone in the area until I’m blue in the face but you all know who you are and YOU are the people that have helped our scene and hardcore progress as a whole.
Hardcore will never be something understood by the masses and we’re ok with that but that doesn’t mean its not moving ahead and when you talk to most people they would rather have it that way. This thing is ours and as long as we weed out all the dickheads that are too good to support what we have but claim how hardcore isn’t the same it will keep going and I can not wait to see what the next generation of kids has in store for us.