So I was doing a guest spot on Scene of The Crime a few months back and as I was wrapping it up, who the fuck walks in but none other than Tim Mize, the lead singer of my all-time favourite St Louis hardcore band Laffinstock. Now if you have paid attention on any of my other St Louis hardcore related-posts, you know that the Laffinstock demo represents the friggin hardcore Holy Grail for me. I seriously never thought I would hear it again and then last week, what arrives in my mailbox? A package from Tim Mize containing the Laffinstock demo and some unreleased stuff
So does the demo stand up to the test of time? Hell fuckin’ yeah it does. Now, I am fully aware that it is difficult for me to be unbiased about this stuff as it was basically the soundtrack to juvenile delinquency for me as a teenager, so let’s study it objectively and scientifically. Let’s take a look at the first track, played endlessly by me and my delinquent buddies back in the day. “Fucked Up For Days” was at face value, very similar to the prevalent NYHC style of its time (1987). But take a listen again…
The song moshes along after a Dennis Hopper Blue Velvet quote more in the Drunks With Guns tradition than any NYHC band. Then the break and it speeds up wicked fast and the lyrics kick in. But is it about “scene unity” or some fuckin’ bullshit? No! It’s about being fucked up for days. Then Tim asks you for a beer and it goes back into the mosh which you now realize has a lot more in common with Wonderful Subdivision than it does with Break Down The Walls. I have now concluded after my scientific analysis that this track kicks ass.
What was great about Laffinstock was that they took everything that made St Louis unique during the hardcore era (which lasted longer here than in most places) and wrapped it up into one big powerhouse of a band. They took the heaviness of Drunks and combined it with the speed of White Suburban Youth and added the humour of Ultraman. Look at the banner from one of their Bernard’s shows with Tim in the wig. It looks like a fuckin’ sign outside a pizza joint. Might as well say St Louis’ own Gooey Butter or something.
They were the last great hardcore band for me. The fact that they were local was irrelevant. By this time the scene had really degenerated into posi-core and neo-Nazism. I moved away to Tulsa between the demo and these extra tracks and did not return for many years. In Tulsa I discovered Am Rep and Sub Pop and the game was pretty much over for me as far as hardcore was concerned. Looking back, what started in 82-83 for me with the Dead Kennedys and The Circle Jerks, ended for me in 87-88 with Laffinstock and Ultraman.
So, listen to the songs. They are a perfect combination of black humour, misanthropy, brute force and adrenalin, which at its best is what the St Louis sound was all about. They took these local traits and combined them with obvious outside influences like Fang and The FU’s to great effect.
It’ll sneak up on ya. This stuff fuckin’ rules.