The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

Categories: Feature

Cro-Mags' John Joseph


ROGER MIRET (Agnostic Front): In the mid-'80s, there wasn't much difference between metal and hardcore scenes. Everyone dressed in black, everyone was walking out of step with society, because whether you were a punk rocker, a skinhead, a hardcore kid, or a metal dude, you didn't fit in. You were a weirdo, and nobody's mother wanted their kids hanging out with you.

PETER STEELE: (Type O Negative, Carnivore): [Carnivore's second album, 1987's] Retaliation was extremely influenced by my discovery of hardcore music at CBGB in '85 and '86. What I strived to do was create an album that was half Black Sabbath and half Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Murphy's Law, Sheer Terror, Black Flag, stuff like that. I loved the heaviness, the slowness, the dirge of Sabbath. But at the same time, going to CBGB on Sundays for the matinee, there was so much unbelievable energy in there. It didn't even matter if bands were not in tune.

MIRET: All these bands like Anthrax and Metallica would come and see us at CBGB. It was like the welcoming home of all these bands, and I think meeting each other and seeing each other's bands really cemented the crossover scene.

EVAN SEINFELD (Biohazard, Spyderz): I went down with Carnivore to the rehearsal studio to see Agnostic Front. They all had shaved heads, tattoos, and were more punk than Carnivore, but they were starting to play a metal style. I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to have all of these styles in one band?"

DAVE GROHL (Foo Fighters, Nirvana): In the mid-'80s, bands like Cro-Mags, C.O.C. [Corrosion of Conformity], and D.R.I. [Dirty Rotten Imbeciles] went from being strictly hardcore to adding more metal riffs and getting even heavier. That crossover period of music really allowed both hardcore and underground metal to grow because everyone was feeding off each other's ideas and sharing each other's audience.

SCOTT IAN (Anthrax, S.O.D.): I used to go to the CBGB hardcore matinees and that got me totally into Agnostic Front, C.O.C., and D.R.I. You'd have all these hardcore and metal kids coming together to see these bands and there were definitely fights, but at the same time you felt this sense of community.

HARLEY FLANAGAN (Cro-Mags): If it were not for Venom and Motörhead, the Cro-Mags would not have sounded the way we did. I was hanging out with violent skinheads with crazy pentagrams and swastikas tattooed all over them, listening to Venom and Discharge, huffing glue, trying to invoke demons.

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault