We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida

We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida (Destroy Records) 1983. Continuing the Florida theme, we have a hardcore classic from 1983. Back in the days when 7inch compilations with thirteen great tracks were the norm. It’s funny really because this was one of those comps that nobody (outside of Florida) gave much of a shit about. I think it was because we were so spoiled. Because listening to this now, it’s obvious that this thing just completely shreds from beginning to end. Take Hated Youth for instance with the song Hardcore Rules which was their “hit”. You couldn’t come up with a more prototypical hardcore track than this. Its lighting fast, funny as shit and aggressive. Rat Cafeteria was another band that was super-fast and aggressive although a little more generic.

And then there was Roach Motel, who I first heard on the classic Barricaded Suspects compilation on Toxic Shock. I believe that Roach Motel may be one of the most underrated of the early hardcore bands and the only reason is that Florida just got no respect. Much like Jersey, these Florida cretins represented everything that the punk rock intelligentsia loathed and were thus treated as second class. But that was just stupid. I’ll leave you with a long quote that I lifted verbatim from the always amazing Kill From The Heart, from John Hodges the guitarist of Hated Youth. This pretty much sums it all up:

Hated Youth

In 1980 we hated the jocks and the jocks hated us. Everybody hated us, and they especially hated Eric for his big head, and I carried a golf club with me everywhere I went, for the jocks. That was after a jeep load of jocks attacked me while I waited for a bus. I got the best punches in though, on that one jock, bloodied up his face good. Back then, the only thing a jock was good for was killing, and we had a song about killing them along with all of their hippie counterparts. We had a song about killing all of the kids in Gainesville, the ones who came to see us when we played there along with Terminal Fun and Roach Motel and The Flower Children; that song was called SOCIAL OBLITERATION. My teachers thought I was retarded. And we played songs about killing our parents, and raping Ted Bundy’s wife. We didn’t give a fuck about Ronald Reagan or world politics, though on occasion we pretended to in our songs. Blame that on Eric who wrote BAN THE BIBLE and, after getting labeled a homophobe, wrote I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE GAY. I preferred songs about stealing babies from shopping carts and fighting with my mother. Gary thought the hamburgers from Wendy’s smelled like pussy. We ate a lot of those hamburgers, and it was thanks to those pussy-smelling hamburgers that we met what was to become the baddest and the fastest drummer in the south, David Magoo who, when we were going through the drive-thru asked us if we needed a drummer. It was David who came up with the line, “I wanna join the KKK, kill off the minority.” That was from our big hit HARDCORE RULES. One day after practice, driving through the neighborhood, some girl in a Bug shot us a bird and David drove after her, swinging a chain outside of the window and screaming crazy shit. Our parents were bigots. Nazi skins were bullshit, mythical in our town at the time, but could only be, when their time would come, jocks that had crossed over from jockdom into the punky land of stupid kids with nothing to do. Cops whistled at me, told me I was cute. We were the only ones around with weird haircuts, triple mohawks and mange cuts. Naturally, we made fun of everybody, ourselves included. KILL A PUNK ROCKER! Why not? It wasn’t that it was a bad world–everything about it could only be perfect–just that we needed a place of sanity to pocket all of our good energy.

-John Hodges, guitarist of Hated Youth, 2000

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11 Responses to We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida

  1. Brushback says:

    When Some Records first opened in NYC (1986), Dwayne had a box on the counter of some older, more collectible 7″-ers that I believe were from his personal collection– stuff that he was selling off to help get the store off the ground. “We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida” was in the box. (I didn’t buy it, of course.)

    I think you’re right– a lot of people didn’t take those bands seriously back then.

  2. Mr Phreek says:

    “Plaid Spaceship” is one of the best hardcore song ever written!

  3. anonymous says:

    All the punk from Florida is unappreciated. Nothing has been written about it either. One old Florida punk wrote a book that briefly mentions Roach Motel and Hated Youth but the majority of it about fictional characters and nothing to do with a punk scene. The characters never even went to a concert. If there was a “scene” it must have been small.

  4. Javi says:

    Another Florida band that should’ve annoyed the hell of the Hardcore Punk Police (MRR et al.) then is F. Were they actual pro-republicans, or was it just a gimmick to annoy PC Punks? Anyway, their 1st EP (You are an EP), recently reissued along with their- less inspired- 7″ is top notch Hardcore Punk Rock. One of my favorite Hardcore obscurities- along with NJ’s The Worst, Nip Drivers, 76% Uncertain or Tales of Terror- of that 1980-84 era. Love it to pieces, pal.

  5. Mrowster says:

    John Hodges words sum up that early HC disaffection perfectly. Rock on, Hated Youth, rock on.

  6. Texas Bell-End says:

    I found this a few months ago a 1987 documentary of the Tampa hardcore scene, called “the scene”. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8050505160961026292#

  7. roman says:

    P H E N O M E N A L comp!! all the bands are GREAT, but rat cafeteria is the winner for me. it’s such a pity that they didn’t record anything besides those two smashers on here! “kill kill” is one of the best hardcore punk songs ever!

  8. roc says:

    Rat Cafeteria have a few other songs on a myspace page besides these two. Sound like some old demo recordings.

  9. Grant says:

    “My name…is God. FUCK YOU!” So awesome.

  10. Punk Girl says:

    Check it out! Rat Cafeteria is back together and they are doing a show in St petersburg at The Emerald on the 12th. They are also going to record a CD in 2011. Look them up on Facebook and Myspace for updated information.

  11. John Sheppard says:

    I’m the “old punk from Florida” who wrote the book (Small Town Punk). And yes, there was barely a whisper of a scene in southwest Florida. When I went to UF I got to see Roach Motel once or twice.

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