22 February 2005

On Finding a 1986 Punk Mixtape

RuinOkay, so I am digging through the old cassette crates and spy a punk mixtape circa 1986. I see Philly punk band Ruin on it, and I smile thinking of AgentA the former lead singer. He now operates The Unofficial Ruin Site. He continues to make music, and also has a brainbending online radio show, Headtones, and puts together great playlists for you at Webjay. Thanks to AgentA and the Ruin crew, you can still enjoy some Ruin online. Be sure to check out other members' sites, too, including drummer Bloody Rich. [I cannot even start off on the Little Gentlemen tangent, another Bloody Rich band. Man, I love East Coast '70s and '80s punk. Thanks to Baltimore's defunct WCVT for sending it in the air to me.]

Cro-MagsAlso on the tape are NYC hardcore band the Cro-Mags. Wondering what they are up to these days, I seek their official site. Well, it seems that both founders Harley Flanagan and Parris Mayhew operate their own version of the official band website. Both are very cool. You should know that one of the sites offers THE AGE OF QUARREL LP online for free. After you enjoy it, you can purchase it from the other official site which is selling it for $12. That was a once a beloved album of mine. Track 9 "Hard Times" is a minute and a half of my sweet sixteen.

Allmusic.com: Before the Cro-Mags, the idea of combining heavy metal and hardcore together was unheard of. But with the release of their classic debut, The Age of Quarrel, hardcore-metal was born, and in its wake, came a legion of similarly styled offspring (Biohazard, Vision of Disorder, etc.). Although the group endured an endless amount of line-up shifts (which is probably the main reason they never became as well known as they should have), the Cro-Mags continued to record and tour in one form or another. Through it all, the New York City-based group's leader has been bassist Harley Flanagan, who in 1977 at the ripe old age of ten (!), started his first punk band during a European trip. Upon returning to NYC, Flanagan supplied drums for the Stimulators, a band that performed quite a bit locally and in Washington, D.C., alongside the Bad Brains. The early ‘80s saw the initial Cro-Mags line-ups formed, with a variety of members playing alongside the only constant -- Flanagan. By the middle of the decade, the best known Cro-Mags line-up was in place -- Flanagan now on bass, former Bad Brains roadie John Joseph on vocals, Parris Mayhew on guitar, and Mackie Jayson on drums -- who soon built a rabid following via shows at CBGB's.

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