“Hey Jeff wheres the belly shirt?” – Discovering NYHC The Hard Way

Did you know that in 1995 the internet didn’t exist? There was no Spotify. Youtube was still a little swimmer in Chad Hurley’s ball bag. Even Lars Fucking Ulrich wasn’t having a hissy fit about Napster yet. Therefore finding any music that wasn’t part of the mainstream was no easy feat. As an up and coming hardcore kid or heavy metal fan it wasn’t that simple to pick up records if you weren’t “in the know” with older heads. Me and my crew came upon hardcore together. Through Biohazard we discovered Sick of It All. Through Sick of it All we were lucky enough to see Strife supporting them at Bradford Rios…..each fresh layer took you a little deeper into the fold. But because were young turds we didn’t have access to that esoteric wisdom passed down by the “older generation”. We were on our own.

The problem was a lot of the old stuff just wasn’t readily available any more. Cds were still frowned upon by hardcore labels. HMV carried some stuff from larger bands like Madball and Shelter on Roadrunner Records or the aforementioned Sick Of It All. One thing was for sure though, you couldn’t find the Rest in Pieces discography at the click of a Google button or swipe a copy of Last Rites with the green Hitler sleeve for £900 off some money hungry older dude. Even a lot of the classic Revelation Records weren’t still in press.
There was a light in the dark (sic)….it was the humble “official European press”……or in real money, badly licensed repress or in some cases straight up bootleg. Labels like We Bite and Lost and Found pressed stuff by US bands like Youth of Today, Impact Unit, The Abused, Warzone etc but they were priced in the £20 quid range….plus fuck HMV, always.
But there was something else in the water in the mid 90’s, our saving grace and that was live bootleg cassettes and video tapes. Distros like No Barcodes Necessary, based in Northern Ireland and operated by Mel Hughes, probably one of the nicest people to ever been involved in hardcore punk, had literally thousands’s them. This was where I got my grounding in the classics. I discovered many of my favourite bands by grabbing a live tape or live video…..

Side by Side – Live on WNYU
If you have ever met me or talked to me about hardcore for a second you have probably been asked where you stand on Side by Side. Its my scale of justice if you will, and if you like Side By Side, I’m your Huckleberry. I’ve owned a lot of various Side by Side 7” over the years but this live cassette was my first ever exposure to the band. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a recording of a live studio performance broadcast on WNYU college radio Crucial Chaos hardcore show.

Its starts with the haunting intro to the Time Is Now which erupts into an absolute blasting rendition that goes straight into my Life To Live. The guitars are manic, Nothing is in tune. A phaser is used constantly and dive bombs are off the chain. Vocalist Jules can barely be heard. I assume the band and the crowd are thrashing around like maniacs. The music stops. Jules is on the mic. Jules has fucking bants. His monologue mentions the legend that is Tommy Carroll. That is probably one of the hardest mosh parts in all hardcore. And its just Jules, on the mic, talking about the singer from Straight Ahead. Like I said HARD. A bit later on during the outro to Violence to Fade he informs listeners of a new 7” about to come out….and its only the fucking Together 7” comp…..yeah….you’re starting to get it now right? He dedicates the song to Gavin giving him writing credits and says a fuck you to people accusing him of violence at shows….a shout out to Gavin Von Flack. Fuck. Like I said this is HARD.

While we are all here can we talk about that intro they play before Living a lie? My days that is a next level stag-do stomper…..might as well mention that breakdown in the middle of Living A Lie while we are on the subject of hardcore reality. What a great song about sell outs. Point of note: this live set doesn’t include smash hit Backfire….think about that…..imagine if it did? Fuck a duck.
Many years later Das Ox aka Gav Scouse picked up a cdr of this set from somewhere and it ended up on constant rotation on road trips….everyone knew the rips between songs and shout outs of “go Billy” or “Aleeeeeeex”.
You can listen to it here and if you don’t like it you pose. Simple!

Outburst live tape
Before I had even seen a copy of the Outburst “Miles To Go” 7” with its wacky cover photo of what looks like a meeting of the school science club, I heard this live set. Its starts with the singer shouting “We’re Outburst from New York City, move the fuck around” straight into THAT INTRO……maaaaaaate. This whole live set is great working class New York Hardcore. I haven’t heard it for a long, long time but it forced me to search the band out as they had been lost in the mists of time somewhat but they became a stalwart of our listening and someone would often purposefully misquote the intro to this live set replacing the name and home city with that of some shitty UK band like Assert or Set Against.

I think it would be somewhat remiss of me not to mention the weird segway into the theme of a popular 60’s spy show on the song “Mission Impposible”. At the time in the UK, it seemed that barely anyone outside of our immediate circle of friends gave the slightest fuck about Outburst.Weirdly enough though Outburst were thrust back into the limelight some years later by the xmulletx board and its aligned bands of Shark Attack, Right Brigade and early No warning.
I cant for the life of me remember what this live tape was or even where it was recorded but heres a link to the Outburst demo and the Miles to go 7”…which starts at about 12:08

Breakdown live at Tompkins Square Park
Breakdown. I love the Breakdown demo. Sick people. Urgh. Utterly savage. It’s been my email address for nearly 20 years. But I didn’t get into Sick People via Breakdown….no, no, no my friend….I discovered my favourite hardcore song (after Backfire by Side by Side) on a mix tape made by my very own Johnny Alpha, Corehammer’s own Nathan Bean. This tape had Blood Runs Black on one side and a bunch of other bands on the other one of which was a vegan straight edge band I had never heard of from Norway called Lash Out. They had that mid 90’s Chugga Chugga down to a fine science. And they were great. And they covered sickpeople by breakdown….not something you would expect from a Norwegian Vegan Straight edge band I would agree but it’s a rager!

After playing this on constant rotation I had to pick me up some Breakdown…but how? The 87 demo was as rare as a female playing Bolt Action…..the two NYHC comps were lost in the warp….the solution bootleg LIVE VIDEO! Its mental. Breakdown are playing in a park in New York city during the middle of the day. Second song they bust into is Kickback. In a park. In the middle of the day. Jeff Perlin is wearing a cropped belly shirt. He is destroying the stage. I think I spy SOB on the side of the stage. The guitars are way to shrill and the bass sounds like a wasp in a plastic bag. The crowd goes wild. It’s a diverse set of motherfuckers too….its 1000% perfection. You forget how fast a band like Breakdown can be but you get a taste of it with Vengeance….plus pretty sure that’s Djinji from Absolution that just skanked past the camera….sick. bass intro to Safe in a crowd…..ill take that!

Okay so theres an intro Jeff calls “Metal Mosholla” about 12.10 in….but then it happens….it melds into Sick People….oh man…that progressively slowing outro gets me every time.
“Kicking, grabbing, fighting to get out.
My only release, is when i get smashed
I’ve gotta rid myself of liars and cheaters
And anyone in my way is gonna get bashed”
If I remember rightly this show was a benefit or protest against police violence after riots in the park. In all honesty at times this looks like a riot anyway! Great set by a band that I obsessed about and finally got to see supporting Turmoil(!) in London in about 2006! I moshed. So did Matty Bar. And Danny Evans. Where were you? Oh.

Despite all this misty eyed nostalgia, I gotta be honest that not all of my gambling on live tapes paid off. There were other bands I held in the deepest loathing after watching a particularly despicable live video….The Cro Mags were top of this pile! I acquired a live video of them playing somewhere in Europe in the early to mid 90’s and it was wank as fuck….JJ was wearing a backpack and spent the entire set somersaulting into the crowd while a long haired Harley sang all the songs….they looked like coked out heavy metal dudes with long perms and no shirts on. I hadn’t heard Age of Quarrel at this point and this was my only frame of reference and it did not sit well with me! Years later I was re-educated on this by aforementioned Corehammer CEO Nathan Bean but for the longest time it stuck in my gullet and they were dismissed out of hand.

4 thoughts on ““Hey Jeff wheres the belly shirt?” – Discovering NYHC The Hard Way

  1. Ha, good to see a mention of Lash Out, one of the guys from that went on to be in one of the biggest current Norwegian black metal bands – One Tail One Head…

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