It is 2022, and the world is in chaos, but you don’t have to be! It is not easy for people who thrive on liberty and freedom to be restricted and often forced to do things that conflict with how they feel about life and the world in their hearts. But that is what has been happening.
Some of us, myself included, are no stranger to authoritarian pressure and abuse. After all, I “grew up” behind bars, just of a slightly different sort.
True oppression is true oppression, no matter how it is applied and for whatever reasons. Therefore, we humans are just and correct in fighting back when monsters attempt to consume us.
This blog is sourced from the heart of one punk rock adult and exists to be a reminder that we can all tap into the radical power that at one time fueled our rebellion once again. No matter our age and no matter our punk rock “era”, what once helped make us who we are today continues to be a globally powerful force of radical change, one human being, one punk rock kid or adult, at a time.
SAM BLACK CHURCH is a legend for me and for thousands like me, Boston kids of the 90’s, for we were part of one of the most special and uniquely shared (and often unknown) extended moments in US hardcore punk history.
Being 16 and living in institutions fucking sucked!
There are a dozen different ways that I could be dead right now, and for whatever reason I am not. One thing is for sure: Sam Black Church is a foundational band of my life. This is my tribute to them.
Somehow in 1989, I obtained a copy of Look Again Fanzine, edited by the legendary Jonah Jenkins, the singer of Only Living Witness; and found an advert for the Sam Black Church demo tape.
January 1990, 16, drugged, and uncontrollably drawn to metal hardcore punk fucking loud crazy noise, I took the Green Line to Allston for the first time in my life to see Sam Black Church and Only Living Witness play a matinee at Bunrattys.
This was my second show. Wrecking Crew and Nuclear Assault being my first.However, this was in a small, sweaty and packed dive club. I was unquestionably connected.
I was definitely a weird kid, for numerous reasons. Never fully fitting in anywhere completely.
I am grateful that I am good now, about to turn 47, living in a mountain town in the south of Mexico.
Everyone is a critic.
What I know is that the first time I heard Sam Black Church on that demo tape – on a shitty boombox, while living in a relative hell– that there was no way that they were not one of the best bands in the world!
By the time I was 18, I was let loose onto the streets of Allston, direct from the institution. I went fucking nuts!!!
It was time to party and rock and roll and I was in the right place at the right time.
One crazy night I ended up at an apartment party with all four members of the band present.
I don’t know to what degree of weird I was viewed as by them or most, but I do know that on the scale of how people often treat each other in this world, these bad ass dudes were some of the kindest and most genuine people I met as a kid running wild at the tail end of the 80’s, beginning of the 90’s Hardcore Metal Punk world.
If you have read my blog post about Boston Metal band Temporary Insanity, then you know that I don’t really know how to review music.
What I do know is how listening to Sam Black Church makes me feel. Deep down, that is what makes us so passionate about music; how the music makes us feel.
At this point, I find it to be cathartic to revisit so many of the crucially important bands of my youth; and show them the respect that they deserve from me.
Thank you to Sam Black Church for being a necessary part of me being here today.
“Widen your eyes, let in life”
This piece by Craig Lewis was originally published via IDIOTEQ. Please check out his punk rock and healing oriented projects here.