I was never much for hardcore punk rock. The skinheads in South Florida, where I was a teen, showed up ready to jump onstage and try to thrash at every vaguely punk rock show I attended in the early to mid 1980s (the funniest being... John Cale on stage with an acoustic guitar, and a piano). Many of these were gigs by bands like Husker Du, Meat Puppets and the Minutemen who at one point were louder and faster and harder but at the time they weren't so everyone was dissatisfied by the situation. Anyway, you just learned how to navigate the scene and deal with these lunkheads. One boot to your head because you stood too close to the stage at Black Flag because you didn't know that as soon as "T.V. Party" got played the entire crowd would become a giant hurricane, even thought the band was now basically as loud and fast as a slab of cement.
My point is that it wasn't until years later that I realized that there were hardcore records as good as or better than the art-punk and melodic post-punk I'd been inhaling with fervor. Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Misfits were the biggest revelations, not just because they were/ are so incredibly good, but because those logos were on every hand-made shirt won by said lunkheads. It would be years until I heard the first seven-inches by Necros and Negative Approach, thanks to a fellow art school kid named Alex Brown, who later became an amazing painter and showed at my favorite gallery ever, Feature Inc. (whose founder passed away one year ago). Alex was in a band called Gorilla Biscuits who got pretty big in the mid to late '80s CBs Sunday matinee hardcore scene.
Anyway! Who cares about me, the Maumee, Ohio-based Necros (at the time considered a Detroit band, basically) at their early '80s prime were clearly one of the most intense bands of that entire era, as heavy as Void or Black Flag. Their appearance on the third episode of the classic Detroit cable show Why Be Something You're Not (named for a Negative Approach song, and, like Touch & Go records itself, co-founded by Necros member Corey Rusk) is deservedly legendary. Here it is in its entirety, along with a show in Arizona. Last year, local label Jett Plastic released a live LP of the band from 1985, though by then their sound had gotten a bit sludgier.
Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...