New York straight edge legends PROJECT X played one song during GORILLA BISCUITS set at this year’s Musink festival set. JUDGE. THE VANDALS, DESCENDENTS, H2O, TRANSLPLANTS, STRIFE, SOUL SEARCH and a couple more crews were also on the bill!
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Project X was a short-lived late 1980s NYC straight edge hardcore band, featuring John Porcelly (Youth Of Today, Judge), Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today), Alex Brown (Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits) and Sammy Siegler (Side By Side, Youth Of Today, Judge). The band started when Porcelly and Brown were releasing the seventh issue of their fanzine Schism, which was the second issue under that name, and wanted to include a 7″ of rare unreleased early 1980s hardcore. However, theycouldn’t get the rights to release it, and since no NYC bands had any unreleased material, they decided instead to form a project band, record a 7″ and include that with the fanzine. The band was fittingly named Project X. After a couple of rehearsals, the band entered Don Fury’s legendary Lower East Side studio and recorded their 5-song self-titled 7″ EP. The songs were all short, fast bursts of hardcore energy. “Cross Me,” the shortest, is only 8 seconds long. The lyrics were, as the name and the cover photo of a hand having an “X” written on it with a marker (a straight edge symbol) would suggest, rather militantly straight edge, but also about lost friendship (“Where It Ends”) and being banned from clubs. “Shutdown” was written about a specific October 18, 1987 CBGB show featuring Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Side By Side and Pagan Babies. At the show, Youth Of Today were banned for encouraging stage diving, which was against the club policy. The back cover of the Project X EP features the band standing in front of CBGB, appearing to have been shut out. The opening track, “Straight Edge Revenge,” which was actually an old Youth Of Today song that Ray Cappo refused to perform due to its militant lyrics, became an instant straight edge classic and is often covered by bands across the world. The song “Cross Me”, with its short and to-the-point lyrics, was written as a rebuttal against statements made by the California hardcore band Half Off and their singer Billy Rubin. According to an interview with Porcelly in the Seattle-based fanzine Open Your Eyes, the song was written in a matter of seconds. The EP was fairly low-budget, with a black and white xeroxed cover and no print on the record’s label (instead the band either applied a ‘Project X’ stamp or wrote funny quotes on the labels). The band also appeared under pseudonyms on the record. Porcelly became Slam, Brown was Kid Hard, Siegler was appropriately nicknamed The Youth (due to his age; he was still in his teens) and Schreifels was dubbed N.D. (which stood for ‘No Drugs’, although the band would joke in interviews that it actually stood for “Not Dedicated,” as Schriefels didn’t always show up to rehearsals). The record quickly sold out, most of the pressing of 500 were sold at one Bold show at the infamous Anthrax club in Connecticut. The band regained a cult status within the hardcore scene, and the record became highly sought-after by record collectors. Despite the high demand, the record was never re-pressed, but several bootleg versions throughout the years have ensured that hardcore fans unable to track down an original have still gotten to hear the record. An official re-pressing of the record, formally titled Straight Edge Revenge, and appending two live tracks from one of the band’s rare live performances, was finally released by Bridge Nine Records in August 2005. Project X only played a handful of shows on the east coast, and also a few during Youth Of Today’s European tour in 1989. In total, some estimate the band played less than 5 shows. / Bridge9.com