Flashbacks: October 13, 2006

By FLASHBACKS  |  October 11, 2006

“My wife insists that the best diners are in New Jersey, which I always find amusing. She grew up in some God-forsaken place called Roselle, New Jersey, so perhaps her confusion is understandable. But the truth, as any aficionado of diners knows, is that the best diners are in Worcester County. Sure, some highly forgettable diners were made in New Jersey, and some in Providence, Rhode Island, but the true home of the diner is in Worcester, and it is there that some of the best examples of this American treasure can still be found.”

Shock and awe | 25 years ago | October 13, 1981 | Doug Simmons profiled local hardcore giants SS Decontrol.
“Except for the Freeze . . . SS is the only hard-core LA-style band in town. Despite its use of Nazi imagery and its well-intended but still stupid insistence that the initials stand for Social System and not Schutzstaffel, I like SS Decontrol a great deal. (Why couldn’t it call itself something less confusing, like the Limp Dicks or the Pox or the James Brady Bunch? When will it realize that swastikas are a cliché shock tactic? I mean, even Jagger got into them.)

“In any event, SS Decontrol has already started a home-grown hard-core scene in Boston, no small feat. The band met one another over the summer at a Black Flag and Dead Kennedys gig. All four members are middle-class and still live with their parents. Springa goes to high school in Quincy, drummer Chris Foley does the same in Wellesley; bass player Jamie is a sophomore studying marketing at Bentley; and Lethal has a 40-hour-a-week factory job. It’s not surprising to learn, of course, that each of them is extraordinarily angry at the world. ‘I’m pissed off about everything,’ Springa says with a doleful sincerity, adding that only three things make him happy: ‘slamming, playing, and listening to hard-core music.’

“Perhaps 150 people were at Streets a week ago, the second time I saw SS Decontrol; and when the band went on, 20 of them gathered menacingly in front of the stage, forming the pit. From the first scream on, those 20 became one with the band. A song ignited the pit action. . . .

“As he often does, Springa left the stage, but this time he handed the microphone to a guy in the crowd who handed it to someone else and so on. Meanwhile, Lethal and Jamie had laid down their guitars and leaped into the mass, leaving only a pounding Foley and lots of feedback. By then the mike chord had snaked through the entire crowd, and people were beginning to trip and fall. No one could see who was bellowing the obscenities against police, president, hippies, and world. Foley kept up the pound, and someone even reached from the crowd and slashed Lethal’s guitar strings to maintain the white noise. Finally, a guy rocketed out of the mass and landed, back down, on the stage. The crowd, now 30 strong, followed and began to pile on him. With running leaps, late-comers slammed into the side and onto the top of the wad of heads, arms, and legs. It looked like a spawning ball of giant insects. Things were totally out of control. At the very least, every piece of equipment (including the club’s monitors) seemed doomed.” 

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