Real Enemy – Life With The Enemy (Mind Cure) 1983. Real Enemy were a hardcore band from Pittsburgh, PA in the early 1980s. They single-handedly started the Pittsburgh HC scene. Having never released anything other than this demo tape, I had never heard them until Otto hooked me up with a copy of the cassette.
Now, I’m telling ya’ I have listened to a shitload of hardcore in my life and this stuff ranks up there with any other band I have heard. Musically its brutally tight and cohesive. Lyrically, its intelligent. Shit, listen to “On The Literary Volunteers Of America”. It really represents what hardcore was all about to me at the time.
Consider this further proof of one of the defining concepts behind Last Days… That access to resources in and of itself determines history. I definitely don’t try to downplay big scenes like DC and LA from that period. I love that music. But when you listen to something like this, you realize that just because Pittsburgh didn’t have a Posh Boy or Dischord, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have. Real Enemy was better than a lot of bands that were releasing stuff back then. But being in Pittsburgh, they just weren’t able to reach a wider audience.
A lot of people complained about American Hardcore (the book). A lot of it was sour grapes, I think. But it wasn’t a perfect book. The fact that cities like Pittsburgh, St Louis and Tulsa got a few paragraphs seemed unfair to those of us who lived in those places. It would have been nice to have gotten a little more in depth with certain places and a little less detailed about others. I believe Blush spends most of his time talking about a blowjob he received in Pittsburgh instead of talking about the music scene there.
I went looking for info on Real Enemy and didnt find too much. However MRR issue #10 had a great little writeup in it’s Scene Reports section:
PITTSBURGH-From the backwoods of Western Pennsylvania, we sit and observe the activities of the ever-struggling underground music scene in Pittsburgh. As it has always been in the past few years, our scene moves two steps back for every two steps forward . Our premier HC band, REAL ENEMY, is a prime example of this . Just when gaining some momentum towards national attention, they announced plans to beak up. SINCE forming last winter, REAL ENEMY single-handedly created a Pittsburgh HC scene. Until their appearance, HC fans had to be content with the infrequent visits of touring bands . But with the emergence, fans came out of the woodworkto see them and the national bands they helped bring here . Since they contained some actual musicians, they established a unique sound, and in our humble opinion, were as good as many national bands.They’ve already released an excellen17-song cassette, “Life With The Enemy”. For now though, the future for REAL ENEMY is uncertain, since the members are now involved in an industrial band,PLASTIC BTLS, and the yet unheard LEARN TO DRIVE .
The singer in REAL ENEMY went on to form Half Life. His name was Mike LaVella. He left Half Life early on and moved out west where he founded Gearhead Records. Mike LaVella was the guy who helped introduce American audiences to bands like The Hives and The Hellacopters. But early on this is what he was doing.
I would love to get more info on REAL ENEMY and the early Pittsburgh scene in general. Like who did these flyers? They’re great!
This stuff really amazed me when I heard it.
REAL ENEMY – Life With The Enemy
You Thought Wrong (intro)
You Thought Wrong
On The Literary Volunteers Of America
Hope They Die
Mike L fantasizes…
Telepathic Sex Wound (live)
Stop the Lies
Power Virus (intro)
Power Virus (outro)
1234 Ward Street Hardcore
Try to Live