Western mass hardcore

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Western Mass. Hardcore refers to the hardcore punk music scene in and around Amherst, and Springfield, Massachusetts

All White Jury performing at the May 1983 show.

Origins[edit]

In the very early 1980s, hardcore punk scenes began to develop in cities such as Washington DC, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Evolving from traditional punk music, hardcore punk also addressed social and political topics, although often using a much faster tempo than late-70's punk music. Local hardcore scenes sprang up in many smaller East Coast cities during this period.

By 1982, the Western Mass college scene, which had seen several punk bands emerge in the late 70's such as The Vandalz and 8th Route Army, had spawned a small hardcore scene. Less rigidly defined than the Straight Edge Boston scene, several bands and a number of characters would hang out and play at practice spaces, dorm rooms, and basements as local bars were reluctant to book all ages shows. A landmark show at Greenfield's Guiding Star Grange hall in January 1983 saw four local bands and four Boston bands play for hundreds of kids over several hours. There was no security, no bouncers, and no problems. Many other shows were arranged after this show, and hardcore punk bands from all over the country eventually played in Western Mass.

Bands[edit]

Deep Wound[1]- Probably the most well-known band, members J Mascis and Lou Barlow later went on to form Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. Their "Reconstructing the Border of Crumbs" 45 is a major collectible item today, with original pressings selling for over $200. All talented musicians, their live shows included instrument switching and drum-kit destruction by drummer J Mascis.

Outpatients[2]- Featuring the Helland brothers (Erik a.k.a. Vis, and Scott), formerly of local heavy metal favorites "Mace", and Mike Kingsbury. Their first release, "The Basement Tape" was recorded in one take. Bass player Scott Helland was also in Deep Wound, and is still active in the music industry today as part of Frenchy and the Punk formerly The Gypsy Nomads.

All White Jury- The band chose the ironic name from a short list simply because it was a name that was likely to provoke discussion. Composed of former Vandal Mike Huntoon, future Dinosaur Jr drummer Murph, and University of Massachusetts Amherst students Scott Parmenter and S. Bollen, the band was mostly known for Bollen's mohawk haircut, a relative novelty for the time and place. Their cassette "Apathetic Society" was the top-selling local release for several consecutive weeks according to the May 1983 issues of the Valley Advocate.

Brain Injured Unit (BIU)- Composed of high school students from Northfield Mount Hermon School, BIU played several shows at the Guiding Star Grange and throughout Western Mass in 1983 and 1984. Their only recorded appearances were a self-released 7-song cassette and the song "System Addiction" which was featured on the Barricaded Suspects compilation LP.


References[edit]

  1. ^ Cogan, Brian: "The Encyclopedia of Punk", page 74. Sterling Publishing, 2006
  2. ^ Blush, Steven: "American Hardcore: A Tribal History", page 244. Feral House, 2001