I believe the term "hardcore" was originally coined in the late 1960's or early 1970's to describe the poorest of the poor, those whom welfare programs fail.

I myself came to know the word in the mid 1980's to describe a style of punk rock typified by loud guitars and incomprehensible lyrics. Hardcore Punk Rock was around since the late 1970's at the latest, when differing forms of punk started to emerge. The word as such was probably coined in distinction with pop-punk. Since pop-punk was (is) usually propagated by the bourgeoise, the word 'hardcore' here could as easily describe the social class of those in the hardcore scene, as its participants' unflagging dedication to the punk rock lifestyle. The phenomenon of selling out will never reach those in the hardcore scene.

Hardcore is the name for a type of music pioneered in the 80's by groups like Agnostic Front and Bad Brains. This type of music takes its philosophy from several places. One could be something Henry Rollins said about Black Flag before he joined the band; "There isn't a wasted moment in any song". Hardcore songs are straightforward and to the point. They are instant bursts of energy and are more like a sharp jab in the face than anything relaxing.

Another element of the hardcore philosophy is taken from punk music (it should be noted that hardcore does take some influence from punk music, but it is not the same thing). This is the "Just don't give a shit attitude". Hardcore songs almost exclusively have intense lyrics sung in such a fashion as to render them completely unintelligible. Some people argue that this means "it's not music" or "it's just noise". As far as I'm concerned most people could take an important lesson from John Cage and blur the lines between noise and music, but I just don't think this even applies to hardcore. The singers may be screaming, but if you listen to what they are saying, how they are saying it and if you get a chance to witness the sheer intensity live, you might come to understand that there is just no other way to get these emotions out.

Current hardcore guru Rick ta life is quoted as saying "hardcore is all about the lyrics, yeah, if you don't know the lyrics you're missing out but hopefully the intensity at a show will motivate you to pick up a cd and learn the lyrics". And people do. "Singalongs" are a staple of any hardcore band and unless you see it firsthand you can't imagine what it's like seeing 30 angry kids of all skin colors and backgrounds singing along to an anthem for destroying the walls that have been built around them.

Currently popular hardcore bands include; E-Town Concrete from New Jersey, 25 ta life from New York, Vision of Disorder from New York, The Hoods from Sacramento and plenty in between. You can often tell where a hardcore band is from because of their logos containing NYHC, OBHC, PBHC or something of that nature. These tend to stand for their place of origin and the word hardcore, New York Hardcore, Oakland Brand Hardcore and Philidelphia for the examples above.

Hardcore isn't at all concerned about making it big. You will never see a hardcore band on MTV and that's fine with them. They are all about their individual scenes and they aren't all talk. The DIY philosophy is very present in the hardcore community. Most venues that allow these types of shows (which often include violent dancing) are small and run by a group of individuals who care about the music far more than money. Think 924 Gilman street. They have these types of shows, though they aren't too common when compared to their overall reputation for punk shows.

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