Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Flipper's American Hardcore.


Just as I was about to slit my wrists over local club closings Flipper flew into town. Here for a last slam at CBGB's and then the screening of American Hardcore. The documentary covered every local scene from NY to Orange County, explaining it in general terms, as a response to the Reagan years. Filmmakers gave fans and bands their due props, as young people resisted, creating community through subculture, style and sounds. But we got bored as they glazed over the critical issues that incited young white males into a crisis in masculinity----disinvestment, the decline of the American working class, rise of the service sector and the impact of deskilling. M.I.A. along with hardcore analysis was Jello Biafra but Henry Rollins was in top form--and the music said the rest.

At the after-party at Stereo, Moby sat in with Flipper, and the audience included the likes of Jism Ism, Steve Buscemi and Bob Gruen. I've been a Flipper fan since 1979. I met the fish freaks in San Francisco, bought the t-shirts and at least five back-up copies of generic Flipper in vinyl. Though they sound as hard and sick now as they did then, something has changed. Hardcore was always strictly boyztown. In the early daze the grrrls just sat on the sidelines (yawn), out there on the margins, watching. Waiting on our guys, holding their beers and leather jackets while they worked the pit for Murphy's Law, 7 Seconds, Agnostic Front, Ism, Minutemen, Bad Brains, and M.D.C. Then one day--I'm not sure when--the grrrls jumped in for themselves, leaving the jackets in the dust. Empowered by sweat, beer & antihistamines HC shows taught us all how to claim space for ourselves. For this, we are forever grateful.

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