To the common masses the World of Progress can appear as a cruel and unforgiving place, where every desire can be fulfilled as long as the customer pays the price. .To produce profit is one of the elemental laws in the World of Progress, which ensures prosperity and stabilizes society. The natural laws of economics affect every facet of live and dictate the social organization of anything that SLA touches.
But what happens when people decide to cast away prosperity, a stable environment and the various lifestyles that SLA offers? In our first part of »Sliding the Edge: Countercultures in the World of Progress« we will take a closer look to the so called »Straight Edge Movement«, a youth culture which primarily rejects drug use.
I went into the bowels of southwestern suburbia to meet with Josh Harnett, lead singer of the cult band »Thrashmaster X« to discuss with him not only his music but also his chosen lifestyle.
Pulse Magazine: This is Mariah Redfield of »Pulse Magazine«, talking today with Josh Harnett, front man of »Thrashmaster X«. Josh, how do you do?
Josh Harnett: Fine, Mariah, really fine. Thanks for the question.
P.M.: Please call me Mary. So Josh when did you start with the project? And why?
J.H.: »Trashmaster X« was born in the decline of the second big punk swindle of ’93, when the whole shit started to hit the fan and suddenly the hardcore punks of yesterday either overdosed or went on to probe their anuses on Electro Parties. Ultra Violence House was suddenly the big shit in the former punk clubs and the kids who stayed true to the music and scene found themselves on the streets.
There were some rumors that TekTrex and DarkNight made some moves to get their share of the dying market, but in the end the scene proved to be in such a desolate state that nobody thought it would be »profitable« to invest.
P.M.: But rumors persist that the »Straight Edge Movement« has some similarities with DarkNight and …
J.H.: This is simply not true. Yeah of course some of the more antiestablishment gigs share rhetoric with DarkNight, but it’s just that, rhetoric. You hint at »Red Dawn« and their song »Burn down the walls«, but the majority of the scene has no intention of overthrowing the system and replacing it with another fucking corp.
P.M.: So the movement itself has no intention of rebellion to the last consequence against SLA Industries?
J.H.: You speak of the scene as collective of wired drones; nothing could be more from the truth. Each and everyone in the scene have their own visions and ideas and it is the source of strength for all of us. We are not your corporate-fed goth-skunk industrial fags who use rebellion as chic. We are true, man, free from corporate bond.
P.M.: You’re evading the question.
J.H.: I won’t deny that there are some elements which dream of overthrowing the whole shit, but are they the majority? No, I don’t think so. For us it’s a question of small steps toward freedom.
P.M.: Freedom from what?
J.H.: The whole shit. Sexual oppression, racism… It’s not just corporate rule, it’s the whole societal cluster fuck we’re talking about. And most importantly freedom from the drug induced coma, the corporation would like us to keep in for eternity.
P.M.: You deny the benefits of a society where drugs of all kinds are freely available? What do you want? A moral rollback into the dawn of time? People shitting their guts out, because we don’t want to poison their bodies with substances?
J.H.: Yeah maybe that’s what the fucking hardliners like ZTC (»Zero Tolerance Crew«) want, but we’re talking about basic stuff like mind altering substances, drugs designed to fuck you, your mind or your body up. We are raised to a point, where we face the question of solving our problems or lighting a »Feelgood«. This is completely fucked up, we are held in a state where it is considered good to fuck you up, to forget or procrastinate instead of facing trouble. Some dickweeds consider this as luxury, but let’s face the truth. Intoxicated people are idiots and much easier to control.
P.M.: This is a harsh assumption. SLA controls substances and if you would have viewed the several antidrug campaigns…
J.H.: This is complete bullshit. SLA uses the streets of Downtown and Suburbia to test their various drugs via the black market. Take a look at the TV and your precious role models. All addicted to shit like Kickstart, UV or god knows what…
P.M.: Drugs designed to save life…
J.H.: Yeah or so they say. I’m sure the guy in the building at the end of the block who hacked up his fucking kids for barbecue while on UV did it to save some lives. Hell, fuck we even created a whole culture on substance abuse. We dress these poor fuckers in silly looking skirts and laugh our asses of, when the white foam starts to show and they draw their little penis extensions….
P.M.: I'm sure many of our frother readers would not react kindly to such statements…
J.H.: Fuck it. Do you even take a closer look at them?
P.M.: Of course, some of my best friends are frothers…
J.H.: And how makes that feel you? Knowing that these poor bastards are nothing more than husks, existing only to be filled with drugs du jour and unleashed like the good little dogs they are…
P.M.: We've talked about racism earlier…
J.H.: Oh so now I'm a fucking racist because I state obvious facts? I don't say that they are to blame, in fact they aren't. But, and here's the catch, once in a time, you have to decide: If you want to fuck yourself up or live a life worth calling life. You know: stay in control, learn and be your own fucking master.
P.M.: You assume that these statements are elemental truth, do you?
J.H.: No, I don't but I assume that I understand small things like social structures, behavior patterns and the shockwaves that an unconscious existence rips through the fucking social weave. There is no individual to blame, no nasty corp who manages misery. SLA is a fucking snake, devouring its own tail. The whole system is imprisoned in the endless circle of profiteering and burning this very same profit to produce more profit.
P.M.: Talking about non-individual blame, you wouldn't know anything about a series of fire bombings in the neighborhood, where some Drugstores and Small-level dealers ate dust, would you?
J.H.: Oh suddenly you go investigative? When some scum snuffs, you suddenly decide that this is the shit you want to investigate? But for your information: No, I don't know jack-shit about firebombing. Ask the more militant crews like ZTC, that's their style not mine… But your focus on this whole drug-abolitionist thing is noteworthy. Is it so complex for you to understand that some of the youth wants more of life then welfare, the occasional blowjob and some happy-hey-ho pills? Straight Edge means more than that… It means respecting live and not just our narrowed view of life, that says as long as it consumes, it must be existing in a defined and conscious way. That's why exploitation of the disenfranchised masses and animals is so easy justified for the company.
P.M.: You lost me a while ago. Clearly I do not write for political boulevard out of downtowns bowels. So let's take a look at the scene from a more cultural and therefore more interesting way…
J.H.: The music, yeah. You see, the scene is changing as we speak now, the first wave is dissolving. The gigs like »Millions of dead Slops« and »Corporations on Fire« are making way for new sets that seem to evolve in new styles. We have kids experimenting with their cultural roots and therefore creating new styles like »Eboncore«, where Ebonkids fuse their emotional side with the sharp edge of hardcore. Yeah, there are some puritan crews out there who consider this treason and already forming »true« sets, well, fuck'em. But the scene attracts also some religious nutjobs, some smalltime sect-arseholes who think that the disenfranchised and angry youth is the perfect breeding ground for their backwater shit. At the time they get their face kicked, but they are growing in number. And there's the really dark side of the scene, I talked about crews like ZTC, but if you went to see real crazy, talk to “Kiltcore”-sets, Frother who get their kicks from stomping anyone that remotely looks »weak«, »gay«, »unmanly« or like someone who may use drugs. These are the real fucks that shit on us all. The also got this naturalistic fetish, you know, this »back to the nature«-shit. Nature? I don't know what stuff they're sniffing, but it has to be good one, 'cause there ain't no nature left on Mort, since this fucking big old tree died some years ago.
Josh died three weeks after the interview in a S.H.I.V.E.R. Checkpoint, apparently resisting arrest for possession of unlicensed franchise.
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