(Photo by Dave Brown)
In 1989 the hooded sweatshirts and X'ed up hands of the 'youth crew' (or shaved skulls and DM's of the skins) represented the legacy-rich New York hardcore scene to most — but not all. From underneath the pig-piles came a new breed of NYHC groups that believed hardcore should be raw, non-conformist and ugly, and they weren't afraid to step on toes within their own scene in saying so.
Where The Wild Things Are was the sound of the alternative NYHC scene of the late '80s. Bands like the incredibly underrated Life's Blood, and Uppercut, made it clear what they thought of the restrictive and clique-oriented straight-edge scene, while Sheer Terror showered utter contempt on all and injected their lyrics with a black sense of humor and intelligence. Borough homeboys Maximum Penalty and Outburst wore their hip-hop influences on their sleeves, or rather sneakers, while from Yonkers, Breakdown — and offshoot group Raw Deal — kept things simple with an aggressive metal edge which influenced countless lesser bands in the years to come. Norman Bates And The Showerheads were perhaps the ultimate misfits with their long-hair, silly name and grubby metal-punk sound. Rounding things out, token big-name straight-edge group Gorilla Biscuits paid respect to the real roots of hardcore by covering a punk classic by The Buzzcocks with undeniable power and enthusiasm.
To the ears of the alienated — the ones who didn't even fit in with the scene of so-called outsiders at CBGBs — Where The Wild Things Are struck a real chord; this music was a real "reckoning force."
[Original liner-notes by Lee Greenfeld for the aborted Where The Wild Things Are
compilation CD reissue. Enhanced iBook version due out soon via Blackout Records.]