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Hard rockers American Hardcore love you long time

Nov 17, 2004 at 2:06 pm
American Hardcore

The first thing that strikes you about American Hardcore is that they look like a band. You're not going to mistake them for people who sell insurance, for instance. They ooze sex and danger just like a "dirty Rock & Roll band" (to borrow their description) should.

"When I was getting into the band, Ryan (Cady, bass player) said, 'You know what we want? We want a dirty Rock 'n' Roll band,' " says vocalist Dean Alexander. "And I said, 'Well, I'm your singer.' "

They practice what they preach. Their appearance isn't just an image — they strut the strut and talk the trash.

"It's just Rock & Roll. There's no clauses, there's no 'fads' to it, it's just sex, drugs and Rock & Roll," Alexander says.

"We live it. That's the difference between people I see on the scene who say they live it and the people who do it and survive it. (I say) you don't just live Rock & Roll, you have to live through Rock & Roll. I think that's the main key to it all. It's not an image, it's a lifestyle."

Alexander, Cady, guitarist Jim Rodgers and drummer Todd Charles have been living the lifestyle in American Hardcore since May, but they were living it long before that separately. Each member brings "the usual" disparate influences to the musical table, but each counts '80s metallers Mötley Crüe as heroes. And while you can hear echoes of the Crüe's driving rhythms in American Hardcore's music, that's pretty much where the similarity ends musically. They also share Vince Neil & Co.'s flair for performance, only on their own terms.

"All the things in our music — all the lyrics, all the context — is something that we've all been through," says Alexander. "It's not just 'Well, this is what's going to sell at the moment, so I'm going to write about this,' (the lyrics are about) something that we've all been through. And when it comes across like that, people can relate to it a lot better because (people can say to themselves) 'Yeah. I've been in that situation before' and they know that you're not bullshitting them."

And a lot of people in the area are responding to American Hardcore's straight, no-chaser message — as well as their straight, with-a-chaser, lifestyle. Musically, the '80s metal sound is mixed with bits and pieces of the glory days, but you can also hear the raw, stripped down power of that era's "ancestors," like Iggy and The Stooges and Stiv Bators' Dead Boys. Pour in a fifth of Guns 'N' Roses and a jigger of G&R's bastard son, Velvet Revolver, and you're just drunk enough to pump your fist in the air to their music or throw your panties at them on stage. And American Hardcore is just fine with either reaction, thank you very much.

"Whether you pay five bucks or 20 bucks, I'm going to give you what you pay for every time you walk through the door," asserts Alexander.

And what they're doing when you walk through the door is pretty unique, at least by area standards. They're playing balls-out Rock with a slathering of sex — with no apologies for either. And, they're doing it smart and with artistry, which sets them apart from your basic "knucklehead" rockers.

"A lot of clubs and a lot of promoters say, 'I don't know, I'm really not sure where you guys would fit," says Rodgers, in regard to booking the band. "And (after we play) they've always been (pleasantly) surprised every single time — every time."

"We know that the people that come to the shows are the boss," continues Alexander on their approach to performing. "We know that if we don't make them happy, we're nothing here."

And, that kind of relationship with the crowds is a good thing if your goal is nothing short of "world domination," as Cady puts it.

"I'm not going to settle for less (than world domination)," says Alexander. "I want to be able to travel the world at the expense of my band. I want to make a good living at this. Enough to not worry about our 401Ks from our jobs. Enough for our kids, enough for our lifestyle, enough for the car we want ..."

"And enough for alimony," quips Cady.

AMERICAN HARDCORE (americanhc.com) plays Dec. 11 at The Madison Theater with The Screaming Kings, Sinamatic, Helifino and Devil Stomp.