REFUSED
the handbook for revolutionaries part 1

MY PUNKROCK STORY

Back then it didn't really matter what you looked like. We were all outcasts and that was it. There was no uniforms uniting us, we had no ideals in common and some of us didn't even care about the music. There was only one reason why we were there. We had nowhere else to go. Frustrations needed venting and where else better to do it than in a moshpit with ten other guys twice your size? Looking back, I'd say it was inevitable that I would get into punkrock sooner or later, and I couldn't be happier that it happend the way it did. I had gone to see some cheesy metalband at this all-ages show on the upper east side of Umeå. Me and my friend, both 14 years old, were afraid to hang out among the older kids, so we were standing on the left side of the stage, behind the speakers, when Step Forward stepped into my life. One second thought, the proper term of what they did would be landed. On my head, that is. You see, my musical ideal was somewhere between Metallica and Judast Priest and walking out onto the stage right then were 4 guys in military shorts, caps and X:es drawn on their hands. I had no clue what was going on. As they plunged into their first song I could barely hold my laughter back and by the end of the song I was having trouble breathing. Who were these guys and what the hell were they doing. I had never heard anything so fast and powerful before in my life and these guys were playing it in mid-air. By the end of the set they were managed to break the stage in half and then invite their friends to play some songs, and when the promoter came to tell them to stop playing because they were disturbing the disco nextdoor they simply told him to fuck off. I mean, Metallica were cool and all, but right at that moment I was experiencing pure, uncut hardcore insanity at it's best and, truthfully, my life hasn't been the same since. In the following years I went to every hardcore punk show there was (still do) and bought all the demos and fanzines I could get my hands on. I remember hearing rumors and stories about Step Forward smashing equipment, destroying rehearsal rooms and crashing parties all the time. Although I loved their music, their lifestyle really scared me. I also remembering getting drunk out of my mind before I could walk up to the drummer, telling him they were the coolest band I knew. Him seeming impressed totally made my day.

During their lifespan they released two demos that laid the foundation for the Umeå hardcore scene, and although I knew every word by heart I never fully understood what the X.es were all about until I got to know Dennis (the singer) some years later. Since none of his friends were drugfree, and they all accepted that he was, it didn't seem like a big deal. Apparantly he wasn't too focused either, he always tells me he didn't think about it that much. Together with fellow punkbands Garbage Pailkids, The Renfields and Kriminell Karamell they made two issues of Umeå Hardcore Mag and managed to put out 14 local punk/hardcore demos on the legendary Umeå Hardcore Records. No records were released on the label because demos was the shit back then. Besides the above mentioned bands my favourites were The Retards, Skumback and Heffaklump (the last two were from Luleå and Piteå, but part of the same scene). For some reason we had no contact with other hardcore scenes so what was going on in our town, and north, remained a well-kept secret. It's only now in retrospect, and after hearing people from other cities talk about the history of their scenes, that I've realized how unique it was. I don't know how deeply it affected the others involved (not too deeply I guess, since I've seen them all come and go) but to me it felt like a revolution. A musical revolution, and it has been followed now, some years later, by an ethical one. But that's a whole different story. Back then it didn't really matter what you believed in. We were all outcasts and there was only one reason why we were there. We had nowhere else to go.

     David

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