29 November 2017


The debate between Team BORN AGAINST/RORSCHACH and Team SICK OF IT ALL/In Effect Records in the late '80s is still awesome. It's still relevant. Sell Out Commercial Hardcore vs. DIY ethics. Old school kids grown up and wanting to get what they feel is theirs vs. New, hungry, idealistic anti-system punks. Decades after (most of) the players have rendered themselves (mostly) irrelevant, I think there are few pieces of evidence that can be entered into this debate that are more poignant than Stinky Grooves by LIMBOMANIACS.  It's important to remember that this was the label (In Effect) at the center of a debate over the pros/cons of bringing punk/hardcore to "wider audiences" through more "corporate" distribution networks that could get CDs into shopping malls and chain stores, as opposed to the DIY, punk distros, mail order, ads in MRR, word of mouth network/s. More exposure means more punks...right? Let's discuss.... While In Effect was exposing kids to "important" acts like AGNOSTIC FRONT and SICK OF IT ALL, they were also responsible for tricking small town kids like me into buying complete garbage like 24-7 SPYZ and LIMBOMANIACS based on the latter's association with the former. SCATTERBRAIN was decent (LUDICHRIST was better though), and I confess that I did like that PRONG record, but the supposed "endorsement" of hardcore elite (In Effect boss Steve Martin was ex-AF after all, but in less than a decade he would be a publicity mogul representing FOO FIGHTERS, LUSCIOUS JACKSON, BEASTIE BOYS and RADIOHEAD, among countless others) was quickly deemed a ruse by anyone who actually liked punk and hardcore (I was a snot nosed brat from Oklahoma with a CURE subway poster on my bedroom wall, and even I managed to figure that shit out). In Effect claimed to be bringing hardcore the masses in the face of the corporate onslaught force feeding us CHER and GUNS 'N ROSES and MADONNA, but then they clogged their own pipes with schlock and dried up a few years after inception - only to be absorbed by scam-indie-with-major-ties Relativity, who in turn got swallowed by Sony-affiliate RED, all in a matter of just a few years, essentially proving the point that McPheeters, Maggio and Co. were trying to make the whole time: "and that's how you make your money, marketing records to people who don't care?" So yeah, anyway, LIMBOMANIACS, the tape you (likely) are not going to download today. At their best ("Maniac"), they sound like a second rate Friendly Fascism-era CONSOLIDATED, but mostly this thing is just pure suburban funk garbage. You know what my exposure to BORN AGAINST led me to: Gravity Records, MOHINDER, UNIVERSAL ORDER OF ARMAGEDDON, MAN IS THE BASTARD....case closed. I revisit this entire debate at least once a year, because it's good to stay grounded. 

Listen to the WNYU debate here. Seriously, please. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. This debate still has relevance today, even though the internet has done what In-Effect/Relativity/Combat never could: completely "democratize" our scene, flooding the funderground with integrity-deficient tourists dying to shit up punk for a year or two before they move on to their folk phase.