How Hardcore Conquered New York

Kelefah Sanneh’s recent article in The New Yorker, on the first manifestation of New York’s hardcore scene in the early to mid ‘80s, pretty much sums up why we read the magazine. It’s a deep-diving, compelling and presumably accurate introduction to the movement and its music, set against the context of Tony Rettman’s book, NYHC: New York Hardcore 1980-1990. The book itself is a compiled oral history of the movement, which divulges war stories and memories as voiced by its key components. The likes of Cro-Mags’ John Joseph and Tim Yohannan of Bay Area fanzine Maximum Rocknroll are drawn on for authentic recounts of the particularly fearsome NYC scene and its notorious national reputation. Rettman’s book re-affirms the hardcore values of the scene; its micro-politics and rights to scene citizenship; as Agnostic Front guitarist Vinnie Stigma tells the author, “I didn’t get you in Agnostic Front because you were a good musician. I got you in the band because you were part of the scene and I seen you in the pit.” We’re yet to read the book itself, but it’s definitely on the list. In the meantime, read Sanneh’s take for The New Yorker.