American Hardcore

I'm proud to have contributed a handful of photographs to "American Hardcore" directed by Paul Rachman and written by Steven Blush, author of the 2001 book of the same name. I saw it a few weeks ago and it's quite good. It covers the the good, the bad, and the ugly of a weird American phenomenon that sprouted from pissed-off suburban kids in a time of Reagan and mass conformity. While I can't say hardcore was my thing exactly, I was there. It was at times exciting, and at other times scary or just plain stupid. While some of the bands can't be denied, (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, X, Flipper and The Germs to name a few), it was really about something else. It was probably the last time a music scene started and flourished regionally and germinated its way around the country through the grapevine. The film captures the DIY appraoch of the bands that had to do it themselves because nobody else was gonna do it for them. In one scene Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat describes in loving detail how the band took apart the sleeve to a 7" single to see how it was made, and then photocopied, cut out with scissors, and glued together several hundred of their own. Go see it. It's playing now in New York and Los Angeles and coming soon to a theatre near you.

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Photo: Black Flag, St. Louis 1984. Ted Barron © 2006