Tag Archive | Hardcore punk

Chasing down the last vestiges of punk rock youth

The other night I left home to walk to the Parkside Pub in Whitestone, Queens to see an excellent hardcore punk rock show. I love punk rock music and this show was so close it took only a few minutes to walk there. I have loved punk rock for a long time and knew some of the bands that were playing from playing with my own band, Blackout Shoppers (currently on hiatus).

It was late and I didn’t have a lot of time to spend there, but as I set out I noticed an envelope that needed mailing, so I figured I could drop it in a mailbox on my way to the show.

Publisher’s Clearinghouse is a shitty lottery that only requires you mail back a form. Of course my chances of winning are next to zero, but instead of spending two bucks on Powerball I spend only the price of a stamp. That’s a very low-cost form of gambling, though it does come with the added humiliation of having your name on a Publisher’s Clearinghouse envelope.

I didn’t run across a mailbox until I got the block that the Parkside Pub was on. How can I show up at a hardcore punk rock show with a Publisher’s Clearinghouse envelope? Would that make me a horrible old poser? I had no choice. Those Publisher’s Clearinghouse millions are destined to me mine. If I win enough money, I’ll spend part of my fortune on starting a new non-profit arts venue in New York City that will feature punk shows. As I neared the show, I hoped no one would see me drop the sweepstakes envelope into the mailbox. No one did, or at least had the kindness not to call me out on it.

It was glad to see the show was packed. There were people there old and young and the bands were excellent. It was great to see friends from many different bands there. Some of them are my age or even older and many of them also have kids.

Being a parent with serious bills to pay and a job that requires long hours means I don’t get to very many concerts anymore. So any time I can steal away for a few hours and subject myself to the full blasting fury of as much aggressive music I can take.

The show at the Parkside did not disappoint. The bands were excellent. And even if they hadn’t been, it was worthwhile to see people you haven’t seen in a while. There are a lot of people that I know and love to see but only see them in the context of going to shows.

There are people like my friend Pete, who I ran into at the show. I have known Pete for years but don’t know his full name and couldn’t tell you what he does for a living. I’ve seen him at numerous shows for my band and others. I’ve spent hours talking to him at bars and on sidewalks outside of music clubs. I know he lives in Douglaston, Queens and used to have a girlfriend named Nicole and he loves punk and metal music, and that’s all I need to know. We love the music and the scene around it and so it doesn’t matter what we may or may not have in common.

Because while the band one plays in may not last, the friendships and the love of music will endure. People have been writing punk rock’s obituary since the 1970s. It’s still here. And as long as I can stand on my feet, I’ll make it to shows from time to time. No regrets. See you there.

Hell Just Got Louder; RIP Jeff Hanneman

JeffHanneman

The man who made thrash thrive and kept rock music’s Satanic side alive has passed. Jeff Hanneman, one of the founding guitar players of SLAYER, passed away May 2. He had been in bad health for the past few years after contracting a rare illness from a spider bite.

It is not only the state of heavy metal music that wouldn’t be what it is today without Jeff Hanneman. Anyone who listens to metal, punk, hardcore or any variation thereof owes a big debt of gratitude to Hanneman, who made thrash metal faster, harder and louder than it ever was before.

Slayer is the thrash metal band that never turned away from its roots, never wrote an embarrassing love song, never apologized for singing about evil, and never gave up. While the more popular heavy metal bands of the 1980s were wearing makeup and buying hair spray futures, Hanneman was writing amazing songs that were fast and furious from beginning to end. His songs’ subject matter included necrophilia, Nazi war criminals, Satanic blood sacrifices, and other things that were evil and a lot more interesting than weeping about girls.

You remember how every heavy metal band used to have at least one slow, sappy ballad on every record? Slayer has none of those. Remember in the 1990s how heavy metal bands cut their hair to try to fit into the alternative or grunge scenes? Not Slayer.

In the 1980s, the punk rock and heavy metal scenes often did not mix. A punk rocker would never go to a heavy metal show and metalheads were likewise required to hate punk. Slayer changed that, and Jeff Hanneman was leading the charge.

Hanneman was a punk rock fan first and gravitated to metal because he wanted to play more blistering guitar solos than the punk genre allowed at the time.

For Hanneman, the divisions that fenced in the various genres of aggressive music were arbitrary and false, and he shredded through them with gusto. When Slayer put out an album of cover songs, they weren’t classic rock songs or tribute to popular groups of the day; they were mostly hardcore punk covers from bands that were little known at the time.

You’d rarely see a metal musician wearing a punk rock t-shirt until Jeff Hanneman did. And if Hanneman did it, you couldn’t argue it wasn’t heavy metal. He opened up aggressive music in that way and helped popularize the many great crossover bands that tread the line between punk rock and heavy metal.

[Author’s Note: For the past decade, I have regularly brought deviled eggs to parties and family gatherings and they have become quite popular among family and friends. My deviled eggs are called Double Satanic Deviled Eggs, and every time I make them, I must at some point listen to SLAYER.]

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