Why New York Is More Punk Than L.A.

Categories: Cro-Mags

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Photo: Ken Salerno
Jimmy G of Murphy's Law
Anyone with a half way decent record collection and half working brain knows New York City is the birthplace of punk. And I'm not trying to start beef here; I'm just trying to lay down some truth.

This week our sister paper the L.A. Weekly ran a wrongheaded article, "Why L.A. Is More Punk Than New York," that somehow managed to exalt Jim Morrison of the Doors while throwing shade at the New York Dolls. We know. We couldn't believe it either.

Because, it doesn't matter whether or not punks from California or Ohio were looking for inspiration from the U.K. rather than the right side of their own country; we all know it all derives from the stank of the Lower East Side, the swagger that comes from the Burrough of Queens and all the various fucked-up miscreants that have dwelled there.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

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From Hesher to Hardcore: Lewis Dimmick on His New Book This Music

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In the early 80's, the phenomenon known as Hardcore Punk whipped through the U.S. like the pissed off, privileged child that it was. By the mid '80s though, most of the bands who coined the sound and term were either donning black and weeping or doing bad AC/DC impressions. There were also those who simply hung up their instruments and checked out into the great, monotonous beyond of college.

But it is in that grey area where the New York Hardcore scene flourished. Not only did bands like the Cro-Mags or Straight Ahead fill a void for a generation of kids too late for the first wave, but their primal, no nonsense sound attracted the fans and bands on the New York Metal scene. Pretty soon it wasn't uncommon to see Nuclear Assault or Agnostic Front share bills at both the CBGB's Sunday Hardcore matinees or out at the rock capital of Brooklyn itself, L'Amour.

One of the longhairs from that time who jumped ship to Hardcore was Staten Island's Lewis Dimmick. He details his transformation from hesher to Hardcore in his brand new book, This Music: Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk. The brief but potent read is a collection of extremely personal remembrances from the time that'll get the now-naturally-bald old fogies misty and the youngsters jealous.

We checked in with Dimmick to discuss the book and the infamous mid-80's NYHC scene it sprung from.

See also: First Look: CBGB Movie Poster Is Your Worst Fear Realized

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Expose Yourself To Cro-Mags Singer John Joseph's "Fuckin' Photographic Memory and Stories Out the Wazoo" on His Walking Tour of the LES

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For the past year and a half, maybe the coolest touristy thing to do in the city--even if you live here--has been the three-hour walking tour "The History of Art, Crime, Drugs, and Punk Rock on the Lower East Side," led by Cro-Mags singer John Joseph.

Warning: The following post contains the word "fuck" many fuckin' times.

See Also:
- Here Is A Glossy Pop Cover Of The Cro-Mags' "Malfunction"
- The Chrome Cranks: Stinking Up the LES Again


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