So I’m sitting here on Saturday night, thinking about what I might want to write about watching a God’s Hate video. I could write about how Evola was too soft for Dada so retreated to escapist traditionalist thinking. I could write about Bataille’s beef with Breton. I could write about the Anarchist/Futurist overlap. Fuck it I’ll write about Hardcore. Something I can easily write 500-1000 words on without too much effort.
So why do I love hardcore? Long story short it’s pretty much everything I look for in music all at the same time. Punk music was the first kind of music I got into, and at 35 remains the style that I spend the most time listening to. Drinking beers on Friday night, I’m listening to Fear. On the bus at 6 am going to work, I’m listening to Integrity. Feeling good, I’m listening to Gorilla Biscuits. Feeling angry it’s Infest.
It’s not that I don’t like other styles of music too. I like all kinds of music. But I always go back to hardcore and have been doing so for 20 years now. It’s where I feel comfy and at home. Experiencing other cultures and broadening your horizons is great, but you always end up missing your own home before too long.
I like a lot of Metal music too. Musically I like the aggressiveness and heaviness of it. But it’s always felt like escapist fantasy music to me. I don’t give a shit about Satanism or Dungeons and Dragons. Hardcore is street level and reality based. Lyrics that I can actually relate to. Just resonates more. Rap music is also street level and reality based., which I appreciate, but as incredible as Big L or Mobb Deep are to me, again I just can’t relate to their music as much as I can relate to Agnostic Front or Slapshot.
But it isn’t just the lyrical content. In the 90’s, with bands like Earth Crisis and Strife, Hardcore fully absorbed all of the aspects of metal I do like, while discarding the meandering pretensions of metal. Hardcore, particularly NYHC, is also more groove oriented and conducive to dancing like funk or hip-hop, but obviously way heavier and more aggro. I know, I know. To outsiders, moshing looks stupid and dangerous. Like why the fuck would someone do this for fun? To be real it feels great, and a place for consensual violence is not necessarily a bad thing. Hardcore show’s offer an outlet for negative emotions, that might otherwise manifest themselves in more destructive ways.
Then there’s the social values of hardcore. Hardcore is very much built on community, rejecting the establishment and doing it yourself and with your friends. Start your own labels, book your own shows, print your owns zines etc. Do it the way you want to do it. Fuck the “rules”. There are also very sizable straight edge and posi hardcore contingents. While I have never identified with straight edge, and I am critical of that scene, there are still positive voices to be found in hardcore that promote healthy lifestyle and postive attitude. I wouldn’t say there is really an equivalent of a band like Minor Threat in Metal or Hip-Hop. Let’s be real here, the metal community is largely made up of fat slobs, and substance abuse is rampant in hip hop. Because the emphasis is more on entertainment in those scenes, where hardcore is more about community and lifestyle. I don’t say this from a moralist, holier than thou, standpoint. Listen to what you like and all, but for me the evil shit is amusing for awhile, but I quickly get bored. Positive mental attitude is a huge reason why I still listen to hardcore. Despite it’s rough exterior, I would say that hardcore has a positive centre. And that’s what makes it so compelling to me. Like it’s not just entertainment music, it’s a way of life. When I was young, that made a huge impact on me.
I drifted away from the hardcore scene proper in my early 20’s, getting more into hip-hop and graffiti through my twenties, and largely becoming an extremely online fringe politics guy in my 30’s, but I still look back on my hardcore years as the most fun I ever had. At 35 I’m not still one of the boy’s in the pit, but watching HateFiveSix on youtube always brings me back to the good ol’ days. When I was young and didn’t give a fuck about anything, except skateboarding and the next hardcore show. I like to think I carry the fiercely independent spirit of hardcore into what I do with FF. It remains a huge inspiration to me for sure.
“So what the fuck does this even have to do with Futurism, Gio?” Not too much to be honest. I think that the argument could be made that Futurism was proto-punk and the movements were kindred spirits. Karen Pinkus has made that argument before here . It’s a good read, and she makes a compelling argument. But that wasn’t really my motivation for writing the article. I try and publish two pieces a week, and this was kind of a last minute thing to fill the quota. Still, hopefully some of you found it somewhat interesting. I do have ideas for more substantial articles I hope to start soon, but I’ve been pretty busy and FF is something I do part-time/on weekends. The wheels are turning and I’ll be back with something more long form soon. Till then, salut.