Exclusive: Lars Frederiksen’s Unpublished Foreword to Roger Miret’s Book ‘My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory’
Agnostic Front are undoubtably one of the most important bands to emerge out of the New York Hardcore scene, and punk music as a whole. This August, the band's history will be told in extensive detail in vocalist's Roger Miret's new tome My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory. The book is co-authored by Jon Wiederhorn, who is the primary author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal and co-author of biographies by Anthrax's Scott Ian and Ministry's Al Jourgensen.
If you ask any prominent musician who has played in a punk or hardcore band, they can tell you what Agnostic Front brought to hardcore when they arrived on the scene in 1982 -- which is why the book will come with two forewords from Dropkick Murphys' Al Barr and Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta. So many musicians were enthused, that the book couldn't take every foreword! Which is why we're extremely excited to give you an exclusive piece that was slated for the book and was ultimately cut. The excerpt comes in the form of an unpublished foreword written by Rancid's Lars Frederiksen. He provides a unique perspective to Agnostic Front's importance, and how the band came out onto the scene.
Read the unpublished Lars Frederiksen foreword below, and pre-order My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory at Amazon.
The first time I heard Agnostic Front was during the Victim In Pain era in the ’80s. My brother was a skinhead and into punk. All the music in my house started with my brother, whether it was KISS, AC/DC, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front or The Business.
I heard Victim In Pain right when it came out. I remember thinking, This is faster than anything and the songs are so short, but they are brutal and they rip your head off. Nobody was doing anything like that. It was uniquely New York and it was crazier than all the other New York bands. It seemed English-influenced but had its own unique sound. That record was ahead of its time and spoke the truth.
When I saw the heat Agnostic Front were getting from Maximumrocknroll, it only made me like them more because Maximumrocknroll was an elitist, cool-guy magazine. You had to take them with a grain of salt. If Maximumrocknroll put down a record, I normally went out and bought it. I think Agnostic Front owe a big debt to Maximumrocknroll for making them the biggest band in the world at the time.
Everybody was afraid of skinheads and what they supposedly represented. Hardcore was the real American skinhead music, and Agnostic Front were the pioneers. They brought that scene from the streets of New York to the world.
Agnostic Front were the real deal. I have a motto: “If you’re doing something good, people are going to hate it at first.” When you saw Agnostic Front live, you were blown away.
I first saw Agnostic Front on the Cause For Alarm tour. There was a lot of crossover happening and they were at the forefront. Roger and his brother Freddy have something going on in their bloodline because they’re both great front men. Roger was powerful and a firestorm of energy. You didn’t realize how short Agnostic Front were when you were watching them because they had a huge presence. But they were all like five-foot-two. It didn’t matter. Roger owned the stage and there was no one better.
Agnostic Front were so influential to me as a musician. Everything they’ve done has been exceptional, and they’ve constantly evolved ahead of the curve. They had the best in hardcore and the best in thrash. The played great Oi! They played great punk. It’s hard to touch different musical styles and still be a singular band, but they always do it. As soon as you put on the record and heard Roger sing, you knew who it was. There was no mistaking what you were listening to. It was always Agnostic Front.
As great as they’ve been every step of the way, the band is as good as they’ve ever been with Mike Gallo, Craig Silverman and Pokey Mo. You can’t forget what they did 35 years ago, but they’re just as relevant today.
Agnostic Front are up there with the Ramones and Motörhead. They’re legendary. For a band to have lasted so long is an anomaly. They epitomize New York hardcore. Everyone in any generation of punk rock knows who Agnostic Front is. You can be nine or fifty-nine years old, and if you’re into punk music, you know who Agnostic Front is.
In the early ’90s, Roger and I started to build a friendship. I was with my bandmate Tim Armstrong on St. Marks in 1993 or 1994 and we always rocked the Agnostic Front skinhead shirts. Roger saw pictures of us wearing the shirts and came up to us when we were hanging out in front of a club. He was really gracious. He told me, “Thanks for supporting the band,” and we told him how much we loved him.
One day Roger told me Agnostic Front wanted to make a hardcore/speed-punk record. I said, “Okay, I’m down!” That was the stuff I grew up on—all the English stuff like The Business, the Blitz, 4 Skins, Last Resort. I had produced a lot of street punk and Oi! bands and they liked the sound I was getting. At times I thought, Goddamn, I’m recording the legendary Agnostic Front! I’m sitting behind the f–kin’ helm here. I had moments like that, but they were always personable. It’s not like they’re big rock stars. They are who they are. They’re New Yorkers through and through and they bring that mentality to the stage.
When we worked together on the album Riot, Riot, Upstart, I soloed each guy—just the bass, guitar, drums or vocals. If you just had one or two, it sounded like it wasn’t meshing. But if you put everything together, the chaos made sense. That’s what they were: chaos that made sense.
Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma are brothers. They will always be linked. They’re like a married couple that has kids together. No matter how much they’ve quarreled or fought or separated, they’re still linked. They’re firing on all cylinders and there’s no stopping them. When everyone else is dead and gone, they keep going.
You hear that tone and that voice, and you immediately know it’s Agnostic Front. If you go to an Agnostic Front show, you see people from all different subcultures. You see skinheads, hardcore kids, punk rockers, bikers, thrashers. It’s not just a sea of mohawks. It’s everybody. Agnostic Front transcended the whole f–king scene.
As mentioned, My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory is set to arrive in late August and is available for pre-order at Amazon.
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