Kerrang published a feature last month about the best hardcore band from each American state. They took a few liberties — more on that in the body of the critique. The list is below, and while I could nit pick (Charles Bronson from Illinois when you have The Effigies, Big Black and Articles of Faith?) So here’s a few “corrections” for the indisputable list.
First of all, the egregious stuff.
Texas. If MDC are from Austin (they’ve spent more time being from San Francisco as a band, than they spent in Austin) I would argue that DRI did more, being a band from Houston. Seeing as neither of those bands were in Texas more than the length of a rainstorm in the desert, it all comes down to what you think hardcore is? I try to take a more historical perspective, and even though they were punk through and through, any band that played with Black Flag as much as The Dicks did, would have to qualify as a potential candidate. SNOT might get a crossover reference, for their never-ceasing MRR ads. The Offenders would certainly have to be in the mix as the most “traditional” hardcore band from the 80’s that made an impact. Or we could go more current and talk about the impact World Burns to Death had. I’d argue that the Big Boys did more for Texas punk and hardcore than any other band with the way they hosted and connected with others in bringing those bands to Austin, and were more important than MDC. There’s lots of ways to go for Kerrang on this one. I’d suggest The Offenders as the correct replacement.
Florida. Culture suck. While I can accept that they became Shai Hulud and Poison The Well, Culture were a third rate band even at the time. And lets face it, Florida has a lot of good, hardcore bands to use in this spot. Hell, I’d even understand Poison The Well in this spot, they were much more influential than Culture. But because I’m not interested in hardcore as much as hardcore punk, I can respectfully think of at least two bands that were more important. Roach Motel, being the widely believed first punk, and in my opinion, hardcore band from Florida. Listen to the “What The Hell” EP and recognize that’s hardcore. The other option is Failure Face, who came around at a time that there was a lack of hardcore in punk. And Bob Suren, singer of Failure Face, like the Big Boys, kept bands coming through his Sound Idea store for years. I suspect that Kerrang should’ve gone with Roach Motel.
Georgia. You fucking said it yourself! “Neon Christ is perhaps the most influential hardcore bands to come from Atlanta, Georgia” and you still fucked it up. Jesus Christ.
Massachusettes. SSD over Jerry’s Kids is a monumental mistake. Hell, missing Deep Wound is a big mistake. SSD went rocknroll and have shat all over whatever legacy they might’ve had. Jerry’s Kids continued to play, essentially true to form. But really, the easy pick (in Kerrang’s case) is probably Bane (maybe American Nightmare), who were more influential than both SSD, Deep Wound and Jerry’s Kids. With all that said, I’d probably had gone with Jerry’s Kids because “Is This My World” is a perfect hardcore album.
Now the less egregious picks.
Pennsylvania. Paint It Black are a fine band, but they’re no YDI. Or Ink & Dagger. Or even F.O.D. who’s records back in the day were everywhere (and good!). Lots of potentially better bands, but YDI have a direct relationship with people who’ve covered them like Brutal Truth, and that probably is a bigger, deeper influence than what Paint It Black did. Kerrang should’ve gone with YDI.
North Carolina. Catharsis over Corrosion of Conformity? Are you fucking bonkers? Even Kerrang should’ve got that one.
South Carolina. Kerrang almost got it right, I’d say that Bickle’s previous band, In/Humanity might be better than Guyana Punch Line. I’d also say that Assfactor 4 were better than either. This isn’t a bad pick per se, but like many of the states where hardcore didn’t take root because of the lack of a big city (most punks just left rural places and moved to the city…) you don’t have a ton to choose from. Kerrang should’ve picked In/Humanity.
Other than that, who’s going to argue over the handful of bands from Alaska over the last two and a half decade? One really interesting thing, at least to me, is that the concentration of punk revolves almost around four major cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. Each of those cities alone, could have five bands that could replace some of the other states. Add in the second tier, Cleveland, Austin, Portland and maybe Minneapolis and you’ve got where 90% of hardcore punk exists in mass quantities.