Columns / Discourse / October 15, 2009

Ask a music minor

A valid question, though rather difficult to qualify due to the many different avenues of hardcore. The real problem with this question is that it implies that one should approve of hardcore in any sense. Let me explain: hardcores hate non-hardcores. They are angry, violent, bald, and poor. They are willfully ignorant of most domestic and foreign policies, and they only eat candy canes. The caustic, three-chord progression guitar riffs and manically fast duple drum beats of hardcore punk music evoke the rapid click-clack of two or more fifteen-year-old pelvises slamming into each other on a piss-stained mattess in the stock room of a derelict furniture store. Are you okay with that? If not, rest easy. You are just barely among the majority of Americans.

Hardcore was first brought to public attention when Ian MacKaye of the punk (soon to be “hardcore” punk) band Minor Threat became angry that bars weren’t serving alcohol to minors. In response to this, he and his little friends carved ‘X’s’ into the backs of their hands in middle of fifth period and bled on their math tests. This wasn’t officially a protest against the bars. It was just a simultaneous expression of the same rage at the same thing. This is always how hardcore happens.

Hardcore music is garbage.

One might think this would be the part of this column where I tell the audience that hardcore is actually the unmitigated aggression present in all of us. But this is not so. This is not psychobabble. This is hardcore. It’s not that you either have it or you don’t, it’s that you’re either part of it or you aren’t. If you are angry, you aren’t hardcore. If you have Tourette’s syndrome, you are hardcore. If all the sex you’ve ever had has been extremely vigorous, you aren’t hardcore. If all the sex you’ve ever had has maybe not been sex, but rather a series of adrenaline-induced blackouts, then you may be hardcore. If you always bite your ice cream, you’re not hardcore. If you punch your ice cream in the face, you might be hardcore.

You might be asking how I know so much about hardcore if I am not hardcore myself. My father was a hardcore. Having a hardcore father is probably the worst thing a boy can experience. He would never help me with my homework, he would just tell me everything was a lie. My homework? A lie. My breakfast cereal? A lie? My birthday? You guessed it, a filthy lie. He spent most of his days out in the woods trying to get squirrels to give him rabies.

I’d rather not talk about the rest.

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Ernie LoBue

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