Gang Green Loves Your Hardcore Stories: "Like, 'Grandpa Got Me Into Gang Green at 12'"
Photo by Amy Hartman
When it comes to reckless, speedin', boozin', fightin' Boston hardcore, Gang Green's Chris Doherty and crew are the kings.
Their songs, like "Alcohol" (covered by Metallica), "Skate to Hell," and "Another Wasted Night," are fireballs of poetic aggression. And the album cover for their 1984 seven-inch single "Sold Out" features the Gang Green guys and a bunch of chicks partying, with the band's name spelled out in cocaine on a mirror.
Doherty founded Gang Green as a kid in Braintree, Massachussets. Then one day, his buddy Springa showed up to hear the band practice with Jerry's Kids from down the street. He liked what he saw. So he got them a show.
"We played with SS Decontrol, who he sang for," Chris recalls, "and they were the biggest band in Boston at that time. It meant the world to us."
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That was all way back in 1981.
Next weekend, Miami's Idle Hands Productions hosts a night of hardcore fury at Churchill's Pub with Gang Green and SS Decontrol, both back together again. Well, sort of -- Springa Sonic Droogs is the name of the former SSD singer's new project, covering all SSD songs.
"I was just working on a letter to Al Barile," Chris says. "He's the guitar player who started SS Decontrol. He's a little upset that Springa's playin' with us. He hates him and doesn't want him to profit in any way or have any fun being 'formerly of SSD.' We been going back and forth on Facebook about it. But me and Springa been friends since we were teenagers."
Of course, though, Chris knows that wherever his buddy goes, chaos ensues.
"Springa, he's a troublemaker," the Gang Green frontman admits. "When we were kids, he was always stealing something or causing a controversy, getting in fights, shit with the police. It was never a dull moment. This is gonna be just like we're kids again."
Since 1986, Doherty and the band have been playing occasional gigs in Miami, starting at the Cameo Theater, headlining with the Meatmen. And there have been many return trips.
"One year," Chris remembers, "we saved the money that we would have spent on coke, rented a boat, and went waterskiing."
In 1990, he and the crew toured the U.S. with Social Distortion. And when they played in Tampa, the Gang Green guys rented jet skis. This tour will be no different, he says.
"It's gonna be one big party. Six a.m. is gonna be an early flight for this cast of characters. We're fully excited for it. I closed my eyes last time we practiced and, man, this is the best this band's ever been."
Doherty and Gang Green's live show is just as loud, fast, and jam packed as the old days too. And though their style changed over the years, they won't be playing any heavy metal at Churchill's. They'll stick with the most classic cuts from their catalog.
"We have a 28- or 30-song setlist of all old-school hardcore punk rock. That's what you can expect. All the fast and furious shit. It's gonna be one hell of a show. I guarantee it."
And if you've got a great Gang Green story, Chris wants to hear it.
"The most gratifying part is before and after the show, talking to the people that came out to see us," he says. "Hearing stuff like, 'My grandpa got me into Gang Green at 12.' Or 'I drove cross-country with my girlfriend and all we had was Another Wasted Night on cassette and we listened to it the whole way.'
"Everybody's got a story, and somehow we made an impression on 'em."
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Gang Green. With Springa Sonic Droogs (former SS Decontrol singer, covering all SSD songs) and Antagonizers, alongside Die Trying!, Liberty Call, Sandratz, and the Panix. Saturday, March 29. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission costs $15. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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