For years, metal and hardcore have been regular bedfellows but that wasn’t always the way. Back in the ’80s, metalheads regularly ran the risk of getting beaten up if they attended hardcore or punk shows. Skins and Mohawks did not take kindly to long-hairs stepping onto their turf, and vice versa. It wasn’t until the emergence of more popular bands like Slayer who, by straddling both genres, showed that the two sets of fans were capable of co-existing without confrontation.
Ghost Cult recently chatted with musician and director Ian McFarland, whose latest film is the acclaimed documentary, The Godfathers of Hardcore (McFarland & Pecci Films). The film is a candid and deep examination of the lasting influence of Agnostic Front on Hardcore music and the enduring friendship of Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma. In addition to making the rounds and earning accolades in the global film festival circuit, it has been showing on the Showtime network in the United States and Canada ahead of its wide release on April 30th. The film is absolutely essential for anyone who loves and appreciates hardcore. We chatted with Ian about what inspired him to make the film, how his professional work as a commercial director prepared him for the different medium of making documentaries, the lasting bonds he built with Roger and Vinnie, and the future of the project. Continue reading
Roger Miret, best known as the frontman of the legendary New York Hardcore band Agnostic Front held a book signing event earlier this week at Generation Records, in New York’s West Village. Miret signed copies of his new memoir My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory, out now via Lesser Gods Books. In addition to a who’s who of famous punk band members and personalities on hand to hang with fans, the event was hosted by film director Drew Stone (New York Hardcore Chronicles, Who The F*ck Is That Guy), co-author Jon Wiederhorn, and featured a performance from Miret acolyte and AF bandmate Vinnie Stigma, and his solo band Stigma. The two performed together as well. See the photos and videos below! Continue reading
2015 saw the 35th anniversary of New York hardcore godfathers Agnostic Front, where aside from reaching this milestone moment for the band, they have helped shape a sound and a lifestyle that fans as well as other musicians over the years have embraced.
“That’s right. I joined the band when I was 16. I’m going to be 51. I’ve been with the band for 35 years. They were around a year earlier than me – possibly a year and a half. Yeah with me as a vocalist…they had three other vocalists prior to me. I’m the only one who’s ever had anything recorded with them. Actually I lied. There might be something out there with John Watson somewhere, but nobody ever released it. There might be a demo,” said frontman Roger Miret, about reaching this, along with his own time in the band.
Miret shared his thoughts on Agnostic Front being coined with the Godfathers of Hardcore tag, and what it means to him.
“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it. I guess it’s an honor to be the godfathers of hardcore because we are one of the pioneering bands of the hardcore scene that, like I’ve said, has remained very active through so long from the heydays – the golden days of hardcore. There are a lot of bands out there too but I’m saying we’re probably one of the prominent bands out there from that day and constantly moving and playing. It’s an honor. People give us recognition I guess for putting in our time.”
While 35 years of existence shows how well they have held up over time, but Miret refuses to give into showing their age when approaching situations, whether it is musically or thematically.
“Well everyone’s gonna get old eventually! It’s the inevitable. You’ve gotta go with the flow,” he said.
“Of course you’re going to get old. I’ll tell you what…being in this band and touring the world has kept me young. I see a lot of people at my age – they’re kind of rough, you know! Myself or Vinnie [Stigma], for instance, if it weren’t for what we do…who knows? We’re so alive and not just musically or on stage but in general. We have young hearts.”
“We are older men but that’s what it is. There are a lot of newer bands and hopefully they will have the same longevity and same stuff we’ve put through. Hopefully they’re just as passionate and committed to it as we have been.”
He shared a story from the past, and what revisiting these stories meant to them. He has taken many of his experiences over the years and has helped enrich his life ongoing.
“It’s been a hell of a ride. It was a great ride. It had moments. It was an intense ride. I have seen friends of mine get murdered. I’ve seen friends of mine go to jail. I’ve seen friends of mine go through divorces…through everything. Some of them are with us today. Some of them are not with us today. We were living amongst criminals and crazy people who would rob us. We came together for something we love.”
“We all felt [like] outcasts but for some reason this was our own. I’m not talking about Agnostic Front. I’m talking about the movement – the whole thing. It’s been a wild ride and when I think about all of my friends who have been on this ride, what makes me the most happiest is sometimes I wonder where this person is or that person is, and all of sudden I see them and they pop back up. I feel happy because I don’t know where their lives went. I’m just glad they’re alive.”
He recalled one specific moment from his past who re-entered his life recently, and someone who he thought was no longer doing well turned out the complete opposite.
“There was an ex-girlfriend of mine which is a classic example of I thought she died. Everyone thought she died. Me and Vinnie [Stigma], because she was a user at the time, we were playing in Canada about two years ago in Toronto, and we were about to catch a cab. I opened the door and she pops out! How odd and weird is that? We all looked at each other and ‘what the f@#k?’ and was like ‘I thought you were dead!’ She ended up coming to the show and we still remain in touch. It was really great.”
“How odd and crazy is that? It’s been a long ride. It’s been hard but it’s been a very tough ride. A lot of good and a lot of bad memories, but I like to thrive on the good ones as much as I can now.”