(Photo: Brooklyn Vegan) Back in the late 80's I walked into the Ritz in the middle of the Laughing Hyenas and watched in disbelief while singer John Brannon churned out one hell of a gutteral yowl for the duration of a whole set in almost inhuman fashion. The Hyenas channelled extreme rage through total Stooge/primal Alice Cooper mode with a somewhat bluesy Birthday Party swagger, and eventually I learned he fronted Detroit's hardcore godfathers Negative Approach in the early part of that decade. Later it all came into focus: NA were very much first-wave and represented Detroit as one of the pockets dotted around the USA (see Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains), with Brannon & company consolidating the midwest brotherhood with the Necros and Meatmen and eventually moving into early singles via Corey Rusk's Touch and Go label (originally a zine, where yes, people learned of the underground way before the internet). As far as first-wave HC goes, Negative Approach were among the most vicious feedback-pummel units going. Songs careened by in seconds, were pretty much politics-free, focusing on sheer vocal/instrumental destruction. They were inspired by not only their American peers, but UK groundbreakers like Discharge (who, like, NA, were big Stooges fans). In 2006 they returned to the stage at the Touch and Go label anniversary, with Brannon and original drummer Chris Moore augmented by Ron Sakowski on bass and Harold Richardson on guitar, reportedly wiped the place down. On the day of their recent Southpaw show, they amazingly agreed in a day's notice to come down to my show on FMU, plugged in and turned us to mush with 16 songs in 25 minutes.
Negative Approach live on WFMU 5/14/08 (broadcast 5/27). Host: Brian Turner, engineer: Richard Rusinkovich (edited-for-FCC version appeared over air). Co-interviewer: Tony Rettman. Ken Freedman shot video of "Hypocrite" and "Dead Stop".
Set list: Lost Cause / Can't Tell No One / Sick of Talk / Hypocrite / Dead Stop / Whatever I Do / Tied Down / Evacuate / Your Mistake / Why Be Something That You're Not / Pressure / Fair Warning / Nothing / Borstal Breakout (Sham 69) / Never Surrender (Blitz) /Solitary Confinement.
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