Iconoclast

Iconoclast remain one of my favorite bands of all times. I have been listening to the same three songs by them for almost 25 years. I still know next to nothing about the band. I ordered their ep from Flipside after hearing their standout tune on the (still unbelievable) P.E.A.C.E. Compilation. They embody everything I love about hardcore music: receiving the record was like receiving a weapon. It was murky, angry, grimy, spraypainted hardcore with radical politics and mysterious origins. Just look at this video… who the hell are these guys?!?

One thing is for sure, they knew what they were doing with their no-name equipment. I remember blowing up the dove logo with the broken bomb on a photocopier and then creating a stencil cut out of a record sleeve and painted it on one of my dad’s old army shirts to wear to a protest after the United States bombed Libya. I remember that I called in sick to work after school to go to that protest. The next day, one of my co-workers said they saw me on the news afterwards, so I learned early on that being a true anarchist involves getting into trouble a lot.

Years later, the record surfaced out of my collection when I traded it for a rare volume of photographs by Art Shay documenting the Chicago neighborhood where I was living at the time. The guy had worked for Art Shay and he had two copies. The record was then traded to a collector in Japan who had been lusting after it for his whole life, probably. I still have the book. It is a collaborative tour of Wicker Park from the 40’s to the 60’s led by Nelson Algren, who had lived with Simone de Beauvoir right up the street from my apartment. When I look at the photographs, I see the exact same neighborhood where I lived. The memories are distant, gritty and urban. I feel like I am the same as everyone in that book. It is the feeling of anonymity swallowed up by time.

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