His Hero Is Gone - The Dead of Night in Eight Movements 7”
Ahh, the grindcore years. Was it actually years? Might have been more like 9 - 15 months in the 1998 to 1999 area. This record could be mine, but I have no way of knowing at this point. For the unfamiliar, there were 1 million grindcore bands who each put out at least 9 records that were all 7 minutes long and contained 34 songs each. I enthusiastically dived into this scene and within a year had completely confused myself and if you played any of this for me right now I would never be able to identify it. Not just on a song level, I mean a band level. I would even probably be wary of identifying it as grindcore out of the fear that some metal nerd would angrily appear and “correct” me.
I saw this band play a bunch of times at a place called Stalag 13. Stalag 13 was a squat in one of the shittier parts of West Philly in the mid to late 90s. Inhabited by dudes on the crustier side of punk, they had a 3 or 4 or more shows a week there for a few years running and it truly ran the gamut. Example: I saw Anal Cunt there and someone put a giant ladder up against the back wall and was rocking it back and forth and then just fell into the crowd, and then maybe a week later I saw the fucking Get Up Kids there. They took all comers from all scenes. But it did tend to be a little crust/grind heavy.
I want to set the scene and talk about this this place in a believable way, but it is really hard. I’m going to call in a teaching aid- you guys have seen Heavy Metal Parking Lot?
I regard Heavy Metal Parking Lot as my absolute favorite piece of art or media of all time. It’s not my favorite video, or movie; it is my favorite THING. It is hilarious and absurd, and it is beautiful. It is a beacon from a disappeared moment that can never exist again (and shouldn’t, to be honest). All of the conditions that enabled that situation to exist are gone. I feel the same way about hanging out at the Stalag.
I live in NYC, where since Giuliani and Bloomberg, sneak-drinking a cup of wine as an adult while you picnic in a park on a Saturday almost seems like asking for trouble. Everyone I know has gotten at least one ticket for this. It’s hard for me to fathom from within this sanitized “safer” city, even though I was there, that at one time I gathered on a major city street outside a building that people I knew were basically occupying illegally, with 100+ other fucked up looking 16-20whatever year olds, all drinking 40s or bottles of who knows what. My clever innovation was to take the bag of wine out of a Franzia box, and then just put that in my messenger type bag with the spout sticking out the end of the zipper, so I could just dispense wine to anyone who wanted any. This all happened on the street! Cops would roll by regularly and not give a fuck. A dude named Otis the Superman Rapper would come by and rap. Fights would break out. We would climb on shit. My look at the time could best be described as Hobo Morrissey, but there were clean cut hardcore kids, screamo kids, crust punks, anarchists, “art punks,” bike messengers, etc etc etc. How was this allowed to exist?? It was like if Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome didn’t have the Captain Walker bullshit and was just the Bartertown scenes but with bands playing.
But yeah, no idea what this music sounds like anymore aside from you can do a slowish headbang to it.
And riot grrrls, and kids from the suburbs… The first time I got drunk was at a pop show at Stalag 13. Syrup USA played there.