I started the research for this article back in July of 2009. Originally I was going to do a list of my top ten favorite Boston punk bands. But I decided since I was heading to San Diego, I might as well slip into TAANG, and bug Curtis Casella, TAANG’s founder for a bit more insight. But when I showed up on a warm July night, Curtis was in Boston doing some promotion work for the Slapshot movie. So, I hung out the shop manager Megs for about an hour, then low and behold Curtis calls in. I hop on the phone and explain I want to do a Top 10 List of Boston Bands. To which he replies, “No, I going to give you the 10 most important Boston Bands.”
Right off the bat there are a couple of things to understand, things I just learned, location or town a band comes from is/was extremely important on your influence back then. College kids in bands were looked at differently than working class kids.
And just like there is a basketball rivalry, Lakers and Celtics, punk on the East Coast is much that way. I was in Florida one year during the NBA Finals; it was Philadelphia against Los Angeles. And the whole frickin’ state was rooting for Philadelphia for one reason, not because they liked them, but because they hated Los Angeles, and California as a whole.
So, this is my list of the top 10 “Most Important” Boston Hardcore bands, according to Curtis Casella, from TAANG Records, first “rule” is the seven bands from the This Boston Not L.A. round out the bottom of the top 10:
10. Jerry’s Kids
This group is from the Braintree area, in other words The Suburbs. Jerry’s Kids started the This Is Boston, Not L.A. with six ballsy tracks, all incredibly short:
Straight Jacket (0:28)
I Don’t Wanna (1:25)
A definite buzz-saw approach to all their songs, screaming, and pounding away.
9. The Proletariat
“The Proletariat played vicious HC fused with a jagged Gang of Four/Killing Joke edge. Front man Richard Brown wrote poetically oblique lyrics with a distinct Marxist bent – part Burroughs, part Mao. Soma Holiday, their ’83 LP, was way ahead of its time.” – Steven Blush, American Hardcore
Proletariat’s three songs from This Is Boston, Not L.A.
Religion Is The Opium Of The Masses (2:14)
8. The Sickness (later The Groinoids, then later Kilslug)
Known in Boston as one of the first Hardcore bands around only contributed one track to the compilation, as the Groinoids:
7. The F.U.’s
This band contributed four songs to the classic compilation:
Preskool Dropouts (1:32)
Radio UNIX USA (1:01)
Green Beret (1:38)
Time Is Money (0:21)
They were lucky enough to get Pushead to do the cover of their classic Kill For Christ album.
6. Gang Green
This group is from the Braintree area, in other words The Suburbs. Besides their many classics they released, they contributed the following tracks to the compilation:
Lie Lie (0:36)
I Don’t Care (1:03)
Narrow Mind (0:44)
Kill A Commie (1:08)
Have Fun (0:54)
These guys recently had their name stolen by some clowns in Sweden. They are also responsible for the second smallest contribution on This Is Boston, Not L.A.
4. The Freeze
The Freeze hails from the Cape Cod area, and is referred to as Townies. They Freeze also contributed, damn near, an album’s worth of music, as well as the comp’s title track:
Broken Bones (1:32)
Idiots At Happy Hour (0:59)
Now Or Never (0:39)
Sacrifice Not Suicide (1:08)
Its Only Alcohol (1:23)
Trouble If You Hide (2:46)
Time Bomb (1:57)
This Is Boston, Not L.A. (0:25)
3. SS Decontrol
SSD was considered inner-city kids, regular working class guys. This gave the band a certain legitimacy with the city punks. SSD refused to be included on the This Is Boston, Not L.A. comp, as they were forming their own X-Claim Record label. An interesting side-note I found was that from 1997 to present day, Al Barile is rumored to be featured on the animated children’s television program, Pokémon as the voice of the character Brock.
These guys were considered “immigrants,” meaning they all met in college. The band released two albums: Brotherhood, produced by legendary punk producer Lou Giordano – still held in high regard by fans of hardcore music (with original copies selling for big money on Ebay), and DYS (self-titled), an album that took more of a hard rock direction than their debut. In fact, “DYS” is considered by many to be one of the first crossover thrash albums released and features what might be punk rock’s first Power Ballad.
1. Negative FX (later Last Rite, then later Slapshot)
Negative FX is the most important Hardcore band out of Boston for one simple reason, in 1983 they opened for Mission of Burma, FX played for 33 seconds a riot broke out and the police shut the show down. The whole 33 seconds was filmed and shown on the news worldwide. Putting Boston Hardcore on the map for good.
And finally the band that is still carrying the torch: Slapshot! But my current favorite Boston band is still Everybody Out!
I am attaching a picture of my notes, Curtis gave me a shit-load of information, and since I’m not a legit journalist, my notes are fucked-up at best.
LAST ONE TO DIE is officially out, order at: https://www.createspace.com/3669330.