Agnostic Front

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Agnostic Front
Band on stage in front of The American Dream Died poster
Agnostic Front performing in 2016
Background information
OriginNew York City, U.S.
Years active
  • 1980–1992
  • 1997–present
Past members
  • Rob Krekus
  • John Watson
  • Diego
  • Jon Sanchez
  • Raymond "Raybeez" Barbieri
  • Adam Mucci
  • Dave Jones
  • Rob Kabula
  • Todd Youth
  • Alex Kinon
  • Carl Demola
  • Gordon Ancis
  • Joe "Fish" Montanaro
  • Louie Beato
  • Alan Peters
  • Steve Martin
  • Will Shepler
  • Craig Setari
  • Matt Henderson
  • Jimmy Colletti
  • Steve Gallo
  • Joseph James
  • Pokey Mo

Agnostic Front is an American hardcore punk band from New York City.[3] Founded in 1980, the band is considered an important influence on the New York hardcore scene, as well as a pioneer of the crossover thrash genre.[3]


First era (1980–1992)[edit]

Formed in 1980 with Vincent "Vinnie Stigma" Capuccio (formerly of the Eliminators) on lead guitar,[4] with Diego on bass, Rob Krekus (aka Robby Crypt Crash)[5] on drums and John Watson on vocals. Despite being billed at their first concert as the Zoo Crew, Stigma introduced them as Agnostic Front, saying that the poster had been made prior to deciding on the name.[6] They soon added Ray Barbieri, aka Raybeez, on drums and Adam Mucci on bass.[7] After Watson was arrested, the band hired James Kontra as their vocalist, who eventually quit before a performance at Great Gildersleeves after a disagreement with Capuccio about how to hand out stickers.[8] Although never having spoken to him before, Stigma told some of his friends to ask Roger Miret (former bass player of the Psychos) if he wanted to be the vocalist of Agnostic Front, because he liked his style of slam dancing.[4][6] In 1983, this lineup recorded their debut EP United Blood. The EP was officially released later that year, however by that point Mucci had departed from the band, and been replaced by Todd Youth.[9]

During its initial phase, the band consisted entirely of skinheads. Although this would change over time, Agnostic Front would continue to feature skinheads as part of their lineup. This led to a belief among some that the band espoused ultra-nationalist or fascist politics, an assertion denied by vocalist Roger Miret in a 1985 Flipside interview:

"...We're skinheads. And the skinheads in England have a very bad name like with the fascists and stuff like that. But this is America not England. Just because the skinheads are fascists over there doesn't mean we got to grow our hair out if we don't feel like it.... We love our country — but not necessarily how our government works."[10]

The follow-up, Victim in Pain (1984), is regarded as a seminal New York hardcore release. Dave Jones replaced Raybeez on drums after a mutual agreement among the band members that Raybeez "needed time" to address a developing drug problem.[11] Dave Jones was "a kid from New Jersey" who had previously played with the band Mental Abuse.[12][a] Rob Kabula took over on bass. In 1984, Jimmy "The Kid" Colletti from Justified Violence joined on drums when the band went to tour with The Exploited later that year. The album pushed the band to the forefront of New York's fledgling hardcore scene, which was centered around CBGB, where they played with bands like Cro-Mags and Murphy's Law. Roger Miret asserts that all the songs on the album "are totally inspired by the streets of New York and my life and what was going on with my friends. It was dangerous. We did what we had to do to survive by any means necessary. It was like a war or a battlefield, and we stood our ground".[citation needed]

1986's Cause for Alarm was a difficult album to record, due to constant lineup changes and personnel problems.[13] Released on Combat Records, it added thrash metal influences. With other bands such as Suicidal Tendencies and Stormtroopers of Death, this album would mark AF's foray into the world of crossover thrash. It also featured some lyrics written by Peter Steele and drumming by Louie Beateaux (both of Carnivore). Miret left the band for four months between the recording and release of Cause for Alarm, and was replaced by Carl Demola.[14]

With yet another new lineup, the band soon released Liberty and Justice For... in 1987.[13] The album featured stripped down punk with a lack of thrash influences, yet it contained many metal-style guitar solos. It did not sell nearly as well as previous releases. Sometime later, Miret was arrested on drug charges after releasing a live album, and spent his time in prison writing new songs while Stigma and the band toured Europe for the first time. The lyrics written by Miret while incarcerated formed most of 1992's One Voice,[13] which featured members of Madball and Sick of It All. Not long after its release, the band decided to call it quits. Their last show was at CBGB on December 20, 1992. The show was recorded for the live album Last Warning which was released by Roadrunner Records in 1993.[13]

Second era (1996–present)[edit]

The band performing in 2007

Stigma and Miret reformed Agnostic Front in May 1996 and did a few reunion shows in December 1996, signing to Epitaph Records and recruiting Jimmy Colletti on drums and Rob Kabula on bass,[13] who was playing with Against the Grain at the time. Their latest venture was titled Something's Gotta Give.[13] In 1999, they followed up with Riot, Riot, Upstart.[13] They also won an MTV Award for the title track music video. Their comeback albums have sold well and been mostly acclaimed by music critics[who?] for their pure hardcore punk sound.

In 2001, they released the album Dead Yuppies.[13] Songs from this album were rarely played live, as the band considered it more a product of Loved and Hated, Jimmy Colletti's side-project band.

In 2002, Miret worked on a side-project band, Roger Miret and the Disasters, looking for a sound akin to old-school punk and Oi!. Also that year, the band appeared in Matthew Barney's film Cremaster 3 along with Murphy's Law.

Agnostic Front came out in 2004 with Another Voice. The album was regarded mainly as a follow-up to One Voice. The album, however, did receive some criticism from fans and the press for apparently changing their music to fit the current wave of 'tough guy' bands. Musically, the album bears resemblance to bands that were heavily influenced by Agnostic Front, such as Hatebreed. Miret's vocals on the album particularly seemed to turn off many less hardcore punk-oriented fans. Later, the track "Peace" was contributed to the mash-up album Threat: Music That Inspired the Movie, where it was remixed by Schizoid and renamed "World at War".

On March 7, 2006, Agnostic Front released the DVD Live at CBGB. This follows the efforts of many bands that tried to save CBGB from shutting down. Miret claims that "We played more shows at CBGB than any band ever, and we played more benefit shows for CBGB than any band ever" when the club did close, most nostalgia focused on 1970s punk bands.

On November 6, 2007, Agnostic Front released the album Warriors with the hit "For My Family" which was largely a continuation of the band's crossover thrash sound.

For the 25th anniversary of their debut LP Victim in Pain, Bridge Nine Records released remastered versions of said album along with their first EP, United Blood, on November 17, 2009.

The band performed on the Persistence Tour in Europe in the winter of 2009 and have were confirmed for Rebellion Festival 2012 in Blackpool, England.

In 2015, the band released the album The American Dream Died via Nuclear Blast Records which consisted mostly of the bands older style of music with a modern touch. The band continued to tour extensively in Europe as well as the U.S. in support of the record.

In 2017, Stigma and Miret appeared in a documentary about Agnostic Front, The Godfathers of Hardcore, directed by Ian McFarland.[15]

In 2022, it was revealed that Pokey Mo had parted ways with Agnostic Front in 2020 and that Danny Lamagna would be their new drummer.



  • Vinnie Stigma – lead guitar, backing vocals (1980–1992, 1997–present)
  • Roger Miret – lead vocals (1982–1986, 1986–1992, 1997–present)
  • Mike Gallo – bass, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Craig Silverman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)
  • Danny Lamagna – drums (2020–present)


  • Rob Krekus – drums (1980–1981)
  • John Watson – lead vocals (1980–1982)
  • James Kontra – lead vocals (1982)
  • Diego – bass (1980–1982)
  • Raymond "Raybeez" Barbieri – drums (1981–1983, died 1997)
  • Adam Mucci – bass (1982–1983)
  • Dave Jones – drums (1983–1985)
  • Rob Kabula – bass (1983–1987, 1997–2000) one off performance in 2022
  • Todd Youth – bass (1983, died 2018)
  • Alex Kinon – rhythm guitar (1985–1986)
  • Carl Demola – vocals (1986)
  • Gordon Ancis – rhythm guitar (1986–1987)
  • Joe "Fish" Montanaro – drums (1986–1987)
  • Louie Beato – drums (1986)
  • Alan Peters – bass (1987, died 2020)
  • Steve Martin – rhythm guitar (1987–1990)
  • Will Shepler – drums (1987–1992)
  • Craig Setari – bass (1987–1992)
  • Matt Henderson – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1990–1992)
  • Jimmy Colletti – drums (1997–2004)
  • Steve Gallo – drums (2004–2009)
  • Joseph James – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2007–2014)
  • Pokey Mo – drums (2009–2020)

Touring members




  1. ^ In 2013–2014, there was a crowd-funding effort to raise funds for medical treatment for Dave Jones, who "[had] been battling challenging medical issues".


  1. ^ Sean Yeaton (April 7, 2008). "Agnostic Front, Madball Shred Hardcore Family Reunion". Spin.
  2. ^ DiStefano, Alex (February 23, 2015). "The 10 Best Crossover Thrash Bands". Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Larkin, Colin, ed. (2009). "Agnostic Front". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195313734.001.0001. ISBN 9780199726363.
  4. ^ a b Steven Blush (2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Feral House. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-922915-71-2. The band AF started in early 1982 as The Zoo Crew at Apartment X, Crazy Emily's Eldridge Street storefront squat. ... they tried with James Kontra and Keith Burkhardt, before teaming with Roger Miret (ex-The Psychos/Distorted Youth), ... When people thought of New York, they automatically thought of Agnostic Front.
  5. ^ "Agnostic Front Interview". Guillotine (8). 1984 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ a b Vinnie Stigma, Drew Stone (May 3, 2020). The NYHC Chronicles Live Episode 13 (video).
  7. ^ Rettman, Tony (2015). NYHC : New York Hardcore 1980-1990. Bazillion Points. p. 154. ISBN 9781935950127.
  8. ^ Rettman, Tony (2015). NYHC : New York Hardcore 1980-1990. Bazillion Points. p. 155. ISBN 9781935950127.
  9. ^ Rettman, Tony (2015). NYHC : New York Hardcore 1980-1990. Bazillion Points. p. 157. ISBN 9781935950127.
  10. ^ Donny the Punk, "Agnostic Front," Flipside, whole no. 45 (March 1985), pg. 54.
  11. ^ Byte, Bob (1984). "Agnostic Front". Big City Fanzine (7) – via Internet Archive. He wasn't thrown out and he didn't quit. It was just a mutual agreement. He was missing and the band had shows to do and he needed time. Ray doesn't drum but he is still part of Agnostic Front.
  12. ^ "My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory By Roger Miret". Kerrang!. August 30, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 19. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  14. ^ Miret, Roger (September 14, 2017). My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory. Lesser Gods. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-1944713102. I left Agnostic Front for about four months. Vinnie was cool with whatever I wanted to do. I was a big mess, and he supported me during my existential crisis. It wasn't just the music that was weighing heavily on my mind...
    During the time I was out of Agnostic Front they had a temporary singer named Carl "The Mosher" Demola, who had been in the Psychos and The Icemen. Carl was a good friend and was infamous for going crazy at shows. When he went into the pit, he had his own style and everyone gave him his space when he danced. He never played a show with Agnostic Front. He rehearsed with them a bunch, but right after my dog bit me, Vinnie stopped by the Pit Farm before a CBGB show that Agnostic Front were booked to play.
    "We've got a show coming up at CBGB. Can you play it? We really miss you."
    "What about Carl?" I asked.
    "He's cool, but it's not the same without you up there."
    Vinnie was really persuasive. He could talk bears out of the caves they were hibernating in. I did the CBGB gig with my arm in a sling (because of the dog bite) and a bandage over the third degree burn on my neck (where the tattoo was removed).
  15. ^ "The Godfathers Of Hardcore".
  16. ^ Miret, Roger (September 14, 2017). My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory. Lesser Gods. p. 226. ISBN 978-1944713102. We drove to Germany with no hassle at the border and played in a big circus tent in Oberhausen, Germany, with a psychedelic alternative group called Space Monkeys. The members of the audience didn't know whether to come closer to check us out or cover their heads and flee for the exit, so they stood at a distance from the stage looking uncomfortable. It was a strange way to start, and it was about to get weirder. We drove to Belgium to continue the tour, and when we got to the border we handed over our passports. I wasn't an American citizen yet and still had my Cuban passport. No one told me I needed a visa to get into each country. The customs officers detained me, questioned me and deported me. I had to catch the next flight back to New York.
    The rest of the guys continued with the tour and got our roadie, Mike Shost, to sing. Man, did he have a good time! And I'm not talking about the thrill you get from fronting a hardcore band. For years, Mike would go to local bars and tell girls that he was the singer of Agnostic Front to get them into bed.
  17. ^ Miret, Roger (September 14, 2017). My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory. Lesser Gods. p. 232. ISBN 978-1944713102. Agnostic Front was co-headlining the Complete Control Tour with Obituary, plus special guests Cannibal Corpse and Malevolent Creation, promoting One Voice. We were booked to play the Milwaukee Metal Fest on a hardcore/death metal day. Before the show started, my hernia was throbbing so bad I could barely walk. I got through the show on sheer adrenaline, but afterwards I was screaming in agony. I had to fly back home and get surgery for a right inguinal hernia, which required two weeks of recovery time.
    I told Freddy that he would have to fill in for me. I thought he'd be honored, but he was pissed off! He loved AF, but he had never done a full AF set.
    "Fuck! I'm not gonna do it. I fuckin' can't," he said, fists in tight balls and nails cutting into his palms.
    "Don't be a fuckin' prick!" I shouted, partially because of the pain I was in and partially because Freddy was being difficult. "You can do it. You have to do it and our fans love you."
    "No, Roger. I'm gonna get laughed off the fucking stage!"
    "You're not. You know all the songs. You're the only one who can do this."
    Mind you, Freddy was only 15.
    Not only did Freddy play the shows, he killed it and our fans instantly loved him. Freddy stayed on the road and filled in while I had the surgery.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]