The Straight Edge.

So I have been straight edge for 15 years now. My story starts back when I was at a young age 11-12 I was just leaving primary school and entering secondary school. I have always been a bit of a nerd and an outcast. In my younger years I was obsessed with Lord of The Rings, and me and my group of friends got into Warhammer, LoTR’s obviously. When building Warhammer models you use a more industrial strength glue. This was the beginning, I really liked the smell of the glue and it was all downhill from there (this does sound ridiculous but it is true) I started to sniff glue.

I went to a secondary school a little bit out of town, most of my friends came from little villages in the middle of nowhere, this is where things started to get worse. There is not much to do in the middle of nowhere so we used to party, drinking and various drugs. It wasn’t long until I was just about addicted to glue (again I know this may sound ridiculous, but I assure you, its true).

I started going to this under 18’s club night with a couple of friends, it was a rock/ metal club playing lots of stuff that was on Kerrang at the time. Then this song came on it was Atreyu “Right Side of The Bed” (I know right haha) these kids started two stepping to it. I was thinking, “whats this?” “this is cool” I went up and started talking to one of these kids and started asking questions “who was that?, what are you?” weirdo questions like that haha. I ended up befriending this guy, I added him on MSN and chatted he told me it was “Hardcore” I wanted more bands to listen too he listed off a few in that similar sound As I Lay Dying, Bleeding Through, Walls of Jericho, Poison The Well to name a few. I was encapsulated by this and listened to nothing else, I was blown away.

I was still quite heavily drinking and doing drugs, even sometimes going into school high. It came to another Friday night so we went to this club. I saw my new friend he was talking to another kid in different room in the club a much smaller room from the main room. Then this song came on (I think it was Down To Nothing “Home Sweet Home”) a bunch of kids all in camo shorts and the coolest nikes started going off and moshing like crazy, again I was blown away, this sounded so much different to the other stuff I was told to listen too.

It turns out I went to school with a few of the older guys from the local scene, they were a few years older so I sort of looked up to a couple of them. I knew one of them through graffiti also, so this was my in. I started talking to him now and he told me to forget everything I had been told, that wasn’t real hardcore. Then started the real stuff, the history lesson. My mind was once again blown! obviously it wasn’t long before the words “Straight Edge” popped up “What’s this?” I found out was it was and I thought it was so cool, I made the positive decision that I was going to be straight edge, I needed to make a change in life.

Through out this change I had to tell all of my non-school friends bout this and how great it was, shortly after we was all straight edge (I say “all” at that time there was like 3 of us). You know whats weird is through my parents I had been introduced to a lot of music and I was heavily into The Exploited, Misfits, MC5 but never really explored more punk which would have probably led to hardcore.

The scene was a bit weird in my city, because me and my friends where new and young we was immediately posers and felt not really welcome with a lot of the guys (15 years later I’m still straight edge and going to shows and the majority of them sold out and don’t listen to hardcore anymore, jokes on them). Their was a couple of cooler guys, older but younger than the og’s that was a bit of a middle ground between each level (writing this down it sounds silly but it’s how I saw the scene) anyway these guys where cool with us so I used that to my advantage to find out all the cool and new bands. Hull was on the map just before I got into hardcore and started going to shows the scene was buzzin’ it was one of the big three, Durham, Canterbury/London and Hull there was other places but these seemed to be the big ones. It started to decline around 2006. It seemed like the Hull scene was on the same page even if all of us didn’t get along. There was a lot of bands that seemed to be staples within the scene which some people wouldn’t maybe know about or wouldn’t fins until later on, it’s strange. I am thankful for this because while making my own way from the beginning to more present day people was telling me about bands like Jaguarz, Abusive Action, Losing X Streak, One X Voice, Touch X Down, The Wrong Side, Frostbite (too name a few) which I might have missed or overlooked so I came out of the gate strong thanks to the scene, it was a very Lockin’ Out heavy scene (well it is the illest).

I digress, I’m here to talk about straight edge, so thats my story. There are countless songs about straight edge, some more obvious and some less. It all started with the song “Straight Edge” by the great Minor Threat. I love a good straight edge song, I asked various people what was there favourite and I’m going to compile a list of some of what came up.

Better Than a Thousand – Demand Independence

For me Better Than A Thousand are an underrated band, so I was glad this made the cut. Great lyrics from GOAT Ray Cappo, because it was the in between band of YOT and Shelter he blends the values of each into the positive friendship between straight edge and Hare Krishna.

Youth Attack – Bogus Obligations

A short live band from the early 2000’s this song is probably more about selling out rather than just straight edge in general but I still think it counts, lyrics are simple but the chorus is pretty cutting:

“You broke, your edge,

Took the easy way out,

Couldn’t take it,

So you fucking sold out!”

Project X – Straight Edge Revenge

For me this has to be one of the best. Around the time I was first getting into hardcore and learning about straight edge when I herd this song for the first time, I was blown away. The build up intro into Porcell’s aggro, punchy raw in your face vocals, fuck! it was like straight edge but never before. Hard hitting and in your face to the point of being quite militant while still portraying the positivity of it all. Nailed it.

Floorpunch – Clear

Another hard hitting song. The lyrics are pretty militant for a band thats very much on the youth crew side of straight edge, but this was a route to go now since bands like Judge and Project X. FP where a band that really made the “Jock” thing work.

Uniform Choice – Straight and Alert

Just before the game changes we get another dose of super positivity, fast and to the point, UxC knew how to get it done, asking questions rather than just telling you what straight edge is about.

Crippled Youth – Walk Tall, Walk Straight

Being a big BOLD fan, I’m glad this came up because again it would be one of my favourites. Over in a flash, to the point it’s great. It’s so cool that these kids where singing about this stuff when they was like 15 or whatever I envy them, I wish I was in a band singing about straight edge at that age. It’s kids being kids but I mean that in the best way, the lyrics are still quite grown up:

“See the X’s on my hand

It’s not to be cool, it’s who I am

You can put X’s on your hand

When you’re in control and in command”

The Wrong Side – When The Ink Leaves Your Fists

What a banger to end on. When I first herd this I had the same feeling as when I first herd Straight Edge Revenge, except I also wanted to punch the closest wall to me until there was no wall left in the name of straight edge. I used to get made fun of by my non hardcore friends because I used to have “Two words. . . . .STRAIGHT FUCKING EDGE” in my bio on myspace and tag line on MSN so people would message me and say “but thats three words” they didn’t get it. There’s layers to Morgado’s lyrics as almost jockish they are also meaningful. That breakdown at the end, just wow!

So there you go a small list of great straight edge songs. If more people would have responded there might have been more but whatever, stay true.

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