Hardcore scene is still rocking and rolling; ’80s kids have kids

Hardcore fans holler the lyrics into the singer’s microphone at the Black ’N’ Blue Bowl. Photos by Clayton Patterson

BY CLAYTON PATTERSON | In the early ’80s the Lower East Side hardcore music scene started off mostly on the streets and in the squats. It was a rough-and-tumble beginning. Many of the kids were runaways or were surviving a troubled home or group home life.

The hardcore scene had a seriously tough and violent side. On the other hand, there was a much-needed camaraderie, a brotherhood based on loyalty and commitment to each others’ survival. And, of course, there were the offshoot troubling situations where everything came apart and friends became enemies.

Jimmy Williams of Maximum Penalty “punished” the crowd with vintage hardcore.

Tattoos were a major part of the movement.  The main artists were Darren Rosa in Washington Heights, Michael “Michelangelo” Perfetto in Brooklyn and Elio Espana from Jersey, who would come to the city and tattoo in places like Vinneie Stigma’s apartment in Little Italy.

Indecision, with Rachael Rosen on guitar, playing at the Black ’N’ Blue Bowl.

I was introduced to the scene at the Pyramid Club by Ray Beez. Ray was a facilitator. A glue that kept the scene positive. He helped many runaways and people in need. Ray’s motto was, “Never forget the struggle. Never forget the streets.” I owe Ray a major thank you for opening the door for me — R.I.P., Love and Respect.

Fast-forward to today. Joseph “Cuz Joe” Cammarata is the Ray Beez of today. Joseph does an extraordinary job leading the effort, with his Black and Blue Productions, to energize the scene and to bring the yearly massive Black and Blue Bowl to Webster Hall.

A hardcore fan thrash dances it all out.

One of the elements that attracts me to the scene is the connection to the working class. So many of the music’s followers are laborers — construction workers, truck drivers, pizza delivery guys — plus blue-collar professional types — electricians, plumbers, ironworkers, tattoo artists. Add in a sprinkle of other professionals, like dentists, teachers and doctors. Then add in gangbangers, thugs and tough guys and you have a broad overview of what makes up the scene.

All in the family: From left, Kaleb Sweeney Stone, his dad, filmmaker Drew Stone, William Ratboones, Furlong and Stella B. Zotiss.

Yes, there is a very strong macho side, but there have always been woman connected to the movement. And because of the nature of the movement, it now has a multigenerational following. The kids grew up and now have families, and the families come to the show.

Young hardcore heads enjoy the sonic assault — but safely, with earphones to dampen the deafening decibel levels.

At a screening of “The New York Hardcore Chronicles” at the SVA Theater, from left, filmmaker Drew Stone, Vinnie Stigma and friends.


This year, because of home obligations, I could only stay for the early part of the show. In this piece, I am covering the women, the next generation and the family part. I’m also including the week that started off Tuesday with the “Cuz Joe Black ’N’ Blue Takeover” show on East Village Radio, featuring Drew Stone’s “New York Hardcore Chronicles” movie, which premiered that Thursday at the S.V.A. Theater on E. 23rd St., followed Sunday by the Black ’N’ Blue Bowl at Webster Hall.

My hardcore memories and what I have documented of that scene is, for me, one of the most prized parts of my archives.

Joseph “Cuz Joe” Cammarata and his son.

The gang takes over East Village Radio with Drew Stone, Jimmy Drescher and Joseph “Cuz Joe” Cammarata

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