|Genres||Hardcore punk, Straight Edge|
|Labels||X-Claim, Modern Method, Homestead|
SSD (Society System Decontrol) were a straight edge hardcore (and later heavy metal) band from Boston. They released two records as SS Decontrol and then formally changed their name to SSD. As SSD they released two more records with a very heavy metal influenced sound. However the group is often simply referred to, including all its periods, as SSD.
Formed by songwriter/guitarist Al Barile (then a machinist at the General Electric plant in Lynn, Massachusetts and a student at Northeastern University), SSD started performing at smaller venues throughout the Greater Boston metropolitan area, like Gallery East, in the summer of 1981. The band quickly gained notoriety within the local music scene for intense, charged performances and the provocative antics of their core group of followers, the Boston Crew.
The original lineup was Al Barile on guitar, Springa (David Spring) on vocals, Jaime Sciarappa on bass and Chris Foley on drums. They released their debut LP The Kids Will Have Their Say on their own X-Claim label in 1982. Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat was a friend and supporter and his Dischord label's logo appeared on the back cover.
In 1983 they added second guitarist Francois Levesque and released the EP Get It Away, widely regarded as their best record, and one that helped define Boston's straight-edge scene. The X-Claim pressings of it and The Kids Will Have Their Say are both highly collectable.
Like many hardcore bands in the mid-1980s, particularly in the Boston area, SSD began heading in a heavy metal direction. In 1984 they signed to the Boston label Modern Method and released the How We Rock EP, which was rooted in the hardcore sound but exhibited overt heavy metal characteristics, such as a relatively high number of lengthy guitar solos. After signing to Homestead they released the Break It Up LP in 1985. It had both feet planted in the metal genre, leaving behind all trappings of punk and hardcore. SSD broke up in November that year.
Scott Schinder, in his book Alt-Rock-a-Rama, described SSD as "The most important hardcore band to emerge from New England."
"2008 comeback" controversy
In May 2008 it was an announced that Springa and a new lineup of SS Decontrol would be appearing at Belgium's IEPERFEST in August of that year. In a message circulated in various blogs and internet forums, original guitarist and band leader Alan Barile responded with strong disapproval, stating, "There is absolutely no truth to any speculation that SSD will be performing this summer. The fact is original vocalist David Spring 'Springa' is assembling a band of hired guns to tour and rip off the public playing under the name SSD. Due to his actions David Spring has officially been terminated from ALL association with the band SSD."
As of late 2008, the SSD biography page on the X-Claim Records web site made no mention of Springa, or any vocalist, and he appeared in none of the band photos on the page. As of early 2015 Springa is officially cited as vocalist again on the website and accompanied by several photos.
- The Kids Will Have Their Say (LP, X-Claim, 1982)
- Get It Away (EP, X-Claim, 1983)
- Jolly Old Saint Nicholas (7", Taang Records)
- A Boston Rock Christmas (various artists compilation, Boston Rock, 1983) - "Jolly Old St. Nick"
- How We Rock (LP, Modern Method, 1984)
- Break It Up (LP, Homestead, 1985)
- Power (compilation, Taang!, 1993)
- Cogan, Mike (2006) Encyclopedia of Punk Music and Culture, Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-33340-8, p. 216
- True, Chris "SSD Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2011-07-19
- McCaleb, Ian & Robbins, Ira "SS Decontrol/SSD", Trouser Press, retrieved 2011-07-19
- Schinder, Scott (1996) Rolling Stone's Alt-Rock-a-Rama, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-385-31360-5, p. 1825