Boston hardcore

Boston hardcore is the hardcore punk scene of Boston, Massachusetts. It is not to be confused with Boston metalcore (also known as metallic hardcore, itself an offshoot of Boston hardcore.)

Boston hardcore music history

The colleges and universities of Greater Boston offered a favorable venue for non-commercial music to be played. Several schools have their own radio stations, such as WBRS, WEEI, WMFO, WERS, WRKO, WMLN, WUMB, WAVM, WMBR, WUML, WHRB, WZBC, and WTBU. The colleges also supplied young patrons for the local nightclubs and bars where local hardcore bands had gigs.

First-generation Boston hardcore bands as documented in American Hardcore included SS Decontrol, Negative FX, Gang Green, Jerry's Kids, The F.U.'s, and D.Y.S..[1]

Hardcore quickly usurped the existing "alternative" punk scene, which included bands such as Mission of Burma. This created something of a generation gap conflict that could be seen at such events as Mission of Burma's then-final show, where members of many leading hardcore bands created a near-riot when, due to the hardcore dancing supposedly ruining Burma's swan song, Negative FX's sound was shut down.[2] This militant straight edge group, consisting of many members from such bands as Al Quint of No System, Craig Lewis of Melee, Marcus Benamaitai of BrainXKiller and more of the likewere known as the "Boston Crew". Their hard-line, no tolerance attitudes became a defining characteristic for later bands such as Slapshot, Blood for Blood, Fit for Abuse, and Godsmack. The rough members of the Boston scene were known to find trouble wherever trouble could be found . This led to some shows breaking out into full-scale riots. One show featuring NYC's Bold in the early 90's turned into a blood bath when Al Quint ( suburban Voice fanzine) beat the underage singer Matt into a coma.

Record labels and famous records

Independent record labels like Taang!, Stand Hard Records, Painkiller, X-Claim Records, Modern Method, Bridge 9, 5 Star Entertainment, Franchise Records, Welfare, Hydra Head, Big Wheel, Rock Vegas, Lockin Out, Triple B, Iodine Recordings, and Deathwish Inc. helped to fuel Boston's early punk culture. A highlight of the early New England hardcore era was the This Is Boston, Not L.A. LP, a compilation of local artists. It includes the song of the same name performed by The Freeze, who advised: "if you look the same and you act the same, there's nothing new and you're to blame."

The roots of Boston hardcore lie more deeply in Washington, D.C. hardcore (which included bands such as Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Teen Idles, Government Issue) than Los Angeles hardcore (which included bands such as Black Flag, Bad Religion, the Circle Jerks, and the Germs), although the Los Angeles and Orange County scene influenced all of the early D.C. bands. This may explain why few L.A. bands played in Boston in the early 1980s, a notable exception being Black Flag, who played a show at Paradise Rock Club on Halloween 1981, which was attended by only twelve people, including John Belushi, who had driven up from Martha's Vineyard just to attend.

Taang! Records released and LP called Boston Hardcore 19891991 that featured Wrecking Crew, Eye for an Eye, Maelstrom, Crossface, Intent to Injure, Suckerpunch, Said and Done, Sam Black Church, S.T.P. and more.

Moo Cow records released a compilation 7" called Boston Hardcore In Memory of... that featured Dive, Chilmark, and Intent to Injure. Cover art of Reggie Lewis (RIP) will forever warm hearts.


Kenmore Square

As a result of Kenmore Square's now-defunct club The Rathskeller, Captain Nemo's pizza parlor (as well as the Pizza Pad), and its few used record stores, Kenmore became a hangout for skate punks and members of the hardcore scene.

After Boston Red Sox games it was common to see fights break out amongst the punks and the more conservative suburban Red Sox fans, known as "batheads". It is likely that it was at least partially due to this common occurrence that a decision was made by the MBTA to add short spiked fences to the relatively low roofs of the Kenmore T stations, considering how many hardcore kids were apt to spend time sitting atop them and that most Red Sox fans taking public transportation were obliged to appear from below. Mr. Butch was a fixture in this scene, and could often be seen playing air guitar with his dreadlocks swinging. He was a legendary character in Boston hardcore culture.

This neighborhood has changed quite a bit, and the building that held the Rathskeller, Planet Records, and Captain Nemo's along with several other businesses was demolished to make room for the Commonwealth Hotel. Located in the space that once was "The Rat" is now The Foundation Lounge, one of Boston's more upscale and trendy ultra-lounges. With the Rathskeller gone, the scene moved closer to Lansdowne Street, which is a street of clubs and bars on one side, and Fenway Park on the other. The scene made specific moves to Axis and Bill's Bar, two Lansdowne locations that were deemed as "hardcore friendly" by some of the culture. There is controversy over this, as many thought Lansdowne street to be too strict.

Likewise, Avalon and Axis were demolished in the fall of 2007 to make room for a larger venue that would be aimed towards more mainstream national acts. Since then several bands who are larger in the scene have been playing The Roxy on Tremont Street in the Boston Theater District, forcing hardcore acts to find better DIY venues to play.

Other scenes

Suburban towns of Massachusetts including, but not limited to Brockton, Concord, North Reading, Fitchburg, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Milford, and Worcester also hosted their own music scenes. Led by such noteworthy bands as The Trust, Inflatable Children, Overcast, Kingpin, Corrin, Tapes Don't Skip, Fall From Grace, Punch the Klown, Syndicate, Over and Out and The Almighty Arise. These bands were following in the footsteps of predecessors Eye for an Eye, Wrecking Crew, S.T.P. and Said and Done. The east coast as a whole was developing a new sound combining elements of bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today (both out of New Haven, Connecticut) with metal (Slayer, Deicide, Accused) and putting a new spin on the scene which was branching out with scenes that started out in Boston, NYC (Agnostic Front, Madball (band), Judge), New Haven (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Forced Reality, Hatebreed) and R.I. Then each city reached out to their suburbs. Members of these bands have gone on to other endeavors including Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Headrush, Diecast, Medium Regular, World War, and Mistle Thrush.

The original town hall, which was destroyed by fire in 1914, was replaced in 1928 with a town hall that is a replica of the old Massachusetts State House in Boston. (Another replica of the building can be found at Curry College in Milton.)

Today Weymouth is home to such hardcore acts Siege, Nightstick, The Nothings, Raybeez of Warzone (originally from Rockland), and the picture on the cover of Anal Cunt's record "Everyone Should Be Killed". Locals speculate that Weymouth hardcore is hindered only by the fact that the 222 bus runs both ways.

Notable Boston hardcore bands


The following Boston venues have hosted hardcore concerts:

See also



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