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About Agnostic Front

Agnostic Front is an American hardcore punk band from New York City. Founded in 1980, the band is considered an important influence on the New York hardcore scene, as well as a pioneer of the crossover thrash genre.


Formed in 1980 with Vincent "Vinnie Stigma" Capuccio on lead guitar, with Diego on bass, Rob Krekus on drums and John Watson on vocals. Despite being billed at their first concert as the Zoo Crew, Stigma introduced them as Agnostic Front, saying that the poster had been made prior to deciding on the name. They soon added Ray Barbieri, aka Raybeez, on drums and Adam Mucci on bass. After Watson was arrested, the band hired James Kontra as their vocalist, who eventually quit before a performance at Great Gildersleeves after a disagreement with Capuccio about how to hand out stickers. Although never having spoken to him before, Stigma told some of his friends to ask Roger Miret if he wanted to be the vocalist of Agnostic Front, because he liked his style of slam dancing. In 1983, this lineup recorded their debut EP United Blood. The EP was officially released later that year, however by that point Mucci had departed from the band, and been replaced by Todd Youth.


During its initial phase, the band consisted entirely of skinheads. Although this would change over time, Agnostic Front would continue to feature skinheads as part of their line-up. This led to a belief among some that the band espoused ultra-nationalist or fascist politics, an assertion denied by vocalist Roger Miret in a 1985 Flipside interview:


"...We're skinheads. And the skinheads in England have a very bad name like with the fascists and stuff like that. But this is America not England. Just because the skinheads are fascists over there doesn't mean we got to grow our hair out if we don't feel like it.... We love our country — but not necessarily how our government works."


The follow-up, Victim in Pain , is regarded as a seminal New York hardcore release. Dave Jones replaced Raybeez on drums, and Rob Kabula took over on bass. In 1984, Jimmy "The Kid" Colletti from Justified Violence joined on drums when the band went to tour with The Exploited later that year. The album pushed the band to the forefront of New York's fledgling hardcore scene, which was centered around CBGB, where they played with bands like Cro-Mags and Murphy's Law. Roger Miret asserts that all the songs on the album "are totally inspired by the streets of New York and my life and what was going on with my friends. It was dangerous. We did what we had to do to survive by any means necessary. It was like a war or a battlefield, and we stood our ground".


1986's Cause for Alarm was a difficult album to record, due to constant line-up changes and personnel problems. Released on Combat Records, it added thrash metal influences. With other bands such as Suicidal Tendencies and Stormtroopers of Death, this album would mark AF's foray into the world of crossover thrash. It also featured some lyrics written by Peter Steele and drumming by Louie Beateaux .


With yet another new line-up, the band soon released Liberty and Justice For... in 1987. The album featured stripped down punk with a lack of thrash influences, yet it contained many metal-style guitar solos. It did not sell nearly as well as previous releases. Sometime later, Miret was arrested on drug charges after releasing a live album, and spent his time in prison writing new songs while Stigma and the band toured Europe for the first time. The lyrics written by Miret while incarcerated formed most of 1992's One Voice, which featured members of Madball and Sick of It All. Not long after its release, the band decided to call it quits. Their last show was at CBGB on December 20, 1992, Last Warning, which was also released with United Blood EP on the end of the release.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Agnostic Front", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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