Iron Cross (band)

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Iron Cross is a hardcore/Oi! band from Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C..

They play a rough form of streetpunk, and is one of the first bands in the United States to adopt the skinhead look and the Oi! musical style.[1] Some early members were original to the DC Skinheads (the first Skinhead scene in North America) and had close ties to the Washington, DC hardcore punk subculture, due to its relationship with other hardcore bands, with Ian Mackaye, and with Dischord Records.[2] Singer Sab Grey was one of the many roommates in the Dischord House in Arlington, VA. The band's name — and with most of its members being Skinheads — led to accusations of fascism, which Grey and others in the band and the original DC Skins have always denied.[2] Grey stated in the 1st Iron Cross press kit in 1982, "...oh, and we're not Nazis!"[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Iron Cross formed in Washington, DC when Dante Ferrando met Sab Grey. Ferrando was previously in the band Broken Cross with Mark Haggerty while in school. When Grey and Ferrando decided to start a new band, Grey suggested the name Iron Cross. The first lineup consisted of Grey on lead vocals, Haggerty on guitar, Ferrando on drums and John Falls on bass guitar. This lineup lasted a very short time with Falls leaving after Iron Cross' early show at the American University. After Falls' departure the band went through two more bassists before settling on Wendell Blow, the former bassist for the DC hardcore punk band State of Alert, or as it is known SOA.[1] The only non-skinhead in the band was Ferrando, who has usually maintained a spiky hairstyle.[3]

The band's fourth lineup lasted until just after the recording of their first EP Skinhead Glory, and just prior to its release. That EP features the signature song "Crucified," which was later covered by Agnostic Front, The Business, H8Machine, Subculture Squad, and 25 ta Life. The song, "You're a Rebel" from the band's second EP Hated and Proud was covered by the Boston band Dropkick Murphys. Songs associated with Hated and Proud were first played at the now famous 9:30 Club, formerly at the corner of 9th and F Streets in DC, as part of a revamping of the band's former live set which members felt was stagnant. This set included both old and new material with a few covers from English Oi! bands.

After Blow left the band he was replaced by John Dunn three days prior to Iron Cross' two set show with the Angelic Upstarts where the band almost exchanged blows with The Upstarts. Dunn had been an original member of the DC Skins and was close friends with the band's members. He still remains so. Dunn left the band just before the release of the Hated and Proud EP. He was replaced by Paul Cleary, who was a founding member of the DC bands Trenchmouth and Black Market Baby. Iron Cross was introduced to the world beyond the eastern United States with their three songs on the Dischord compilation Flex Your Head.[3]

Aftermath and new lineup[edit]

After further lineup changes that left Grey as the only original member of Iron Cross, the band broke up in 1985. Ferrando went on to form the band Gray Matter with Haggerty. Ferrando also played in the band Ignition. Haggerty went on to play with bands 3 and Severin. Blow, Dunn, and Cleary went different ways, with Blow and Dunn ending up in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. Dunn went on to play in multiple line-ups that were part of the new so called "Alternative" scene of the late '80s and early '90s in LA.

Grey moved to England, where he married and had children. Since then, Iron Cross has re-released their EPs and previously-unreleased material in the form of the full-length CD Live For Now. Grey, who continued performing and expanding his musical style, moved back to Baltimore and as of 2006, was playing with The Royal Americans (a rockabilly-style band), was performing solo acoustic shows, and occasionally performed with a new lineup of Iron Cross, which completed a national tour in 2003. A split release with British oi! band Combat 84 was planned for release on GMM Records in 2002,[4] although this recording never materialized. The mini album, Two Piece and a Biscuit, featuring four songs from Iron Cross and three from The Royal Americans was released in 2007 on 13th State Records.

Ferrando now owns the DC club, The Black Cat. Haggerty lives in the Bay Area and continues to perform. Dunn left LA for Seattle in the mid '90s. Blow lives in Austin Texas, with Cleary still being located in the DC area.

The 2009 lineup is: Sab Grey - Vocals, Scotty Powers - Drums, Dimitri Medevev (Now deceased as of 9/19/2012.) - Bass, Mark Linskey - Guitar, Shadwick Wilde - Guitar.

"Crucified"[edit]

In the mid 1980s, New York hardcore band Agnostic Front began covering "Crucified", a song from Iron Cross' EP "Skinhead Glory". Agnostic Front included studio versions of the song on their Liberty And Justice For... and Something's Gotta Give albums. "Crucified" has become a staple cover song for many hardcore and Oi! bands. Grey's lyrics refer to being ridiculed for being different, being blamed for society's ills, accused of violence, and intolerance because of the actions of others. The metaphor of being crucified resonated with Leftist/Communist and apolitical skinheads who were sick of being labelled as neo-Nazis because of right-wing extremist who stole the skinhead fashion. White-Power/Fascists who called themselves skinheads also identified with the song due to persecution they received for their social and racial views. Crucified has become an anthem for both factions of skinheads worldwide. Live audiences have taken to adding a chant of "skinhead army!" to the chorus, a line not included in the band's original recording.

Discography[edit]

EPs[edit]

Year Title
1982 Skinhead Glory
1983 Hated and Proud
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: Skinflint Records
2009 Koi Records Split Vol. 5 (split w/ Keyside Strike)
  • Released: 2009
  • Label: Koi Records

Compilations[edit]

Year Title
2001 Live for Now!
  • Released: May 8, 2001
  • Label: GMM Records
2007 Two Piece and a Biscuit (split w/ The Royal Americans)
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: 13th State Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cheslow, Sharon. "Iron Cross interview". If This Goes On. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Blush, Steven (2010). George Petros, ed. American Hardcore: A Tribal History Second Edition. Feral House. pp. 165–166. ISBN 978-0-922915-71-2. 
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Iron Cross". Touch and Go. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Iron Cross Interview". Punk & Oi In The UK. Retrieved 27 June 2011.