A Rainy but Punk Rock Martin Luther King Jr. Day

I don't know about you folks, but my MLK holiday has been spent looking out of the window at this unrelenting downpour and listening to records. While it would be a monumental feat to discuss the Civil Rights movement within the digital pages of County Grind, I'm a little more interested today in the significant contributions African-Americans have made to punk and hardcore. So here are a few bands that I've enjoyed over the years.

Scream - "Ultraviolence/Screamin'"
Washington DC's Scream were one of the early pioneers of the DC hardcore scene and are usually better known for having Dave Grohl tenure on the skins for a spell. Bassist Skeeter Thompson has always been a good counter-point to the Stahl brothers and has remained one of the most consistent bassists in the genre.

Dead Kennedys - "MTV Get Off the Air"
Whatever bitter battle of the words these guys have endured over the last two decades kind of mars them in the eyes of certain fans. Me personally, I like their body of work but have always been partial to drummer D.H. Peligro over Bruce "Ted" Slesinger. DH does the creepy falsetto vocals on this classic DK track.

Fishbone - "Subliminal Fascism"
One of the longest running acts on the alternative music circuit, Fishbone is undeniably one of the best live acts I've ever had the pleasure to catch. Fishbone is more like a circus of ideas and executions and it all manages to work. There's weird, there's rock, there's metal, there's punk, ska, your mother-in-law, it's all in there. This one's from 1988's Truth and Soul.

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Bad Brains - "I Against I"
I couldn't possibly do a fluff piece of this nature without including the undisputed masters of hardcore. Since their story is well-known, let's skip the silly intro and dive into one of their best known songs.

Death - "Freakin' Out"
Talk about poor timing. Caught between the proto era of the Stooges and the MC5 and the straight-up punk of '77, Detroit brothers Bobby, David and Dannis Hackney recorded some blistering punk rock numbers that rival anything in today's market. David passed away in 2000 from lung cancer, but his brothers have kept the mantle burning as has one of their sons with his punk rock outfit Rough Francis. Renewed interest in the band has at least gotten a proper release for their music, 2009's ...For the Whole World to See on Drag City Records and there's a rumor of other material coming out this year.


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