Perhaps NOT the best way to get into a band of this style, but I just thought this was a ridiculously good live recording/performance. Shouts to KillThatCat for the insanely ill footy.
I got into Hardcore around 17-18, a bit late in comparison to my friends or most general cases…I wasn’t one of those 15-year olds who ran away from his home in the suburbs to become Lower East Side squat fodder, nor was I the 11-year old sneaking out of my room in my (parent’s) apartment to hit up CB’s or ABC matinees. I was always deep into Hip Hop (since 1st Grade, thanks to Video Music Box and a select few radio shows on the FM dial at the time)…but had friends who were just as deeply entrenched in Hardcore, as well as other types of band-driven, “extreme music”. Some had older siblings who were active participants in the New York scene, some were in bands, whatever. I always loved heavy, aggressive stuff…a salient example: Public Enemy was my favorite group until Wu Tang came out (not that they eclipsed the mighty PE, it was just that the torch was ready to be passed by that time, IMO)…both are perfect models for the type of uncompromising aural assault that perked my ears. Aside from amazing lyricism of these respective groups, PE had their bumrush of attitude translated into the music and stage and wall-of-sound sonic downpour provided by the Bomb Squad…while Wu was a powerhouse rendition of the “Hip Hop crew”…harboring a nasty grit so thick in the noise and language, you felt as if it was scraped off of the bottom of the bucket by the rusty edge of a boxcutter…half thanks to Rza’s collection of drugged-up, pissed off whilst sick with dementia sample collages half-pasted over crusty drum loops and other analog dressings.
Anyways…thanks to my pops who listened to plenty of Zeppelin and Deep Purple (if not Floyd), of whom the slower, consequently heavier, stuff always caught my attention…I went and seeked out the gods of what would become “sludge”, Black Sabbath, and reminded pops of their Earth rattling existence. I was then into noisy stuff that ranged from post-punk/post-hardcore (see: Steve Albini bands 1-3 and Drive Like Jehu) to sludge-math-post-rock-whatever (see: bands mostly on Skingraft Records…and Neurosis). I guess I was thirsty for some diversity in tempo (plus I really enjoyed the faster parts in DLJ songs). So it began.
Bad Brains, Black Flag, Leeway…then SPAZZ (I think Burn was in there as well). That’s how it went, I don’t know how or why, really…I think one night I was talking my boy Ty about fastest bands and he had mentioned Spazz. Spazz before D.R.I., Spazz before L’Arm, Spazz before Siege, Spazz before Infest, Spazz before No Comment, Spazz even before Neanderthal or Crossed Out. They were my intro to that degree of speed and brutality (other than what, Slayer?).
There you have it. I, again, don’t know why I just explained my life story on here…I guess that’s the ugly truth behind starting and maintaining a blog. Regardless, Spazz were a trio out of Cali who were active from I think 1992 up until around 2000. They played a crushingly frantic-as-fuck style known as “Power Violence” (or “Powerviolence”)…and were known for their Wu Tang’esque love of Hip Hop and Kung Fu flicks (well, that was the prototype for every 90′s Hip Hop kid). They released a ton of music in that time and managed to put a smile on many a face, perhaps it was also due to the fact that they managed to do splits with a long, VARIED list of bands (i.e. from powerviolence buddies such as Lack of Interest and Charles Bronson…to Albany grinders Monster-X…to thrash metal masters Hirax…to New York City’s thug mosher unit, 25 Ta Life).
Anyways…I love this stuff. They seemed to have kept it 100% and strayed beyond the conventional lines of hardcore or “being punk” by not taking themselves so seriously (from the song titles/lyrics to general attitude)…and blurring the lines of tradition through the implementation of seemingly random instruments (harmonica and ukulele, anyone?) and snippets of Hip Hop movies and song/slang references in their music. They even had Kool Keith do a drop on their La Revancha LP. The best part is, their love for the two subcultures, Hardcore and Hip Hop, is represented in a genuinely flavorful blend that doesn’t then fade into a tasteless, face-screwing “rap core”, “thug core”, “yo-yo-yo-check-this-shit-out kids in athletic jerseys hard posturing over neanderthallic breakdowns” schema.
They kinda reminded us of…us. We were kids who didn’t feel the pathetic need to subscribe solely to one circle of people in order to achieve something ineffectually vain like a renewed sense of subcultural validity. That type of insecurity was not permitted in our cipher. There was no frontin’ in our formula.
Word to Dan Boleri’s “Wu Tang Forever” shirt.