MY RIOT :
Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory
Written by ROGER MIRET with Jon Wiederhorn
(Lesser Gods, NY, NY 2017)
Throughout my 36 year history of involvement in New York hadcore I have tried to be as objective as possible with my reviews in GUILLOTINE, and the bands I have booked – most of the time it works, sometimes it is difficult, especially when it comes to the early years aka 1981-1984. Although I did not grow up on the streets of the lower east side, I did move to Jackson Heights in 1979 and spent a good part of the early to late 80s hanging out on the LES. As Roger so succinctly puts it in his book, it was our home – or “his party.” Our music, our friends, our lives were and are entrenched in New York hardcore. It was our coming of age “party” and where we first became accepted and took pride in being “different”, in being a social outcast, and learned to have self respect and self confidence. It is what has bonded all of us from the “A7 generation.”
Roger’s book encapsulates his life from childhood to the present, with a good 2/3rds of the book dedicated to his connection with hardcore and the bands he played in, first with the Psychos andthen Agnostic Front. The work that Roger and his collaborator Jon Wiederhorn put together is at times harsh, gritty and even painful. Roger discusses events that no one ever talked about, except in whispers; violence meted out as hardcore justice, conflicts that today would have the PC police up in arms all over social media – but it was a different time and a different world, and Roger tells it through his own experiences and he tells it well. It is a good read and worth the “price of admission” into his private life and memories. As Roger told me in an interview in March, he is a private person and this book was a window into a life he rarely shared outside his close friends and family – it is very cathartic, a release of demons long buried.
I read the book through the course of a few days. At times it is painful, especially his childhood years. I too had an abusive father and could relate to it on many levels. I am proud of Roger for giving us the opportunity to really get to know him and to read this book.
However, and if you know me, there has to a however, you should take this tome as Roger’s memoirs of his life, and not as a history of New York hardcore. It is his views and his life as it was experienced within the context of NYHC and its scene. If you want to read about NYHC as it was chronicled at the time it occurred seek out the zines like Damaged Goods, Guillotine, Big City, Bullshit Monthly…to name a few…
I will add that this book is one of my favorites written in recent years and I take my hat off to Roger…it took a lot of courage to put this one out!! BEST OF LUCK, ALWAYS..wje
Punk Avenue – Phillipe Marcade
If you're sick and tired of having “Please Kill Me” shoved down your collective throats as the be all and end all of what NYC was like in the seedy days of the street level rock and roll universe – then here's another look with the same kinda grit, but a slightly different angle. What you get here is a view from a young Frenchman who had a taste for good music and a sense of adventure who wanted to live out his own version of a rock and roll dream – and he pretty much did – only to suffer some of the typical narcotic pratfalls along the way. Phillipe had a knack for falling in with all the cool people, and always seems to be in the right place at the right moment – AND also happened to be in one of the most unsung cooler bands that NYC ever had – the Senders. Told in a breezy, conversational tone – Punk Avenue goes by fast and keeps your attention the whole time. A great alternative to the same old stories told by the same old names – I say its worth your cash – and the time to seek it out!!
Sounds Of Glory – Confessions From The Glory Days Of Sounds Vol. 1 & 2– Garry Bushell
Divided into 2 volumes, ‘Confessions’ is – for the most part – Garry Bushell recapping or cherry picking thru his written Sounds Newspaper output – just to probably remind us all that HE WAS THERE…! Garry, along with Nick Kent , was one of those full of themselves type of journo writers whose self worth is only rivaled by their total narcissism…Well, if you want to relive history as its already been written, here's a neatly packaged retrospective for you.