In January of 1990, I mailordered a copy of Adversity Fanzine from Torrington Connecticut. The fanzine editor went on to become the guitarist for DEFORMED CONSCIENCE and STATE OF FEAR; both absolutely crucial American crust punk legends.
In this issue of ADVERSITY fanzine was an interview with Lynn, Massachusetts’ finest crust punk superheroes DISRUPT. Much like most young punk metal kids in the ’80s and early ’90s when you got your hands on a fanzine you read it cover to cover. At the end of the DISRUPT interview there was a mailing address and a phone number; so I called them via a landline.
So as 16-year-old kid, who up to that point in time never heard a single song by DISRUPT, out of curiosity and interest, especially because this band was local to where I grew up; well I don’t remember what we talked about, however in the world of American crust punk, this is a better story than most.
My second experience with DISRUPT was in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church. They played alongside ECONOCHRIST and RORSCHACH and as far as I am aware this was only one of a small handful of shows featuring their third singer, Alyssa, from “Blowin’ Chunx” fanzine.
“𝑅𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑅𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑅𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝐹𝑟𝑎𝑢𝑑”!
I think three singers in a crust-punk band is great!
There were maybe 30 people watching DISRUPT and that might be an exaggeration, nevertheless; Some moments are meant to be experienced by the few and desired by many. That’s one thing that makes punk rock special; the lived experience of being part of something.
My third experience with DISRUPT was the result of the first DIY show I ever was part of organizing in Massachusetts. The bands that played this show included YUPPICIDE from New York City, TREE and TOXIC NARCOTIC from BOSTON, FACTS ABOUT RATS featuring the original singer of THE QUEERS and of course; DISRUPT.
This show was a completely out of control mess of punk rock chaos and without question the biggest DIY punk show that occurred in Boston in many years. Not too shabby for the first show I helped organize; if I may say so.
Back in 1994, weed was not legal, but that did not stop the Boston Punks from smoking a bong, while standing on the stage while bands were playing.
For those who don’t know, Boston punks do what we want!
A few months after this amazing gig, I hopped on the bus from downtown Boston and I was dropped off a block away from Jay Stiles (one of the two consistent DISRUPT vocalists) mother’s house. Of course Jay was expecting me, and we spent the afternoon listening to a couple dozen records of 80’s Scandinavian, European and UK based hardcore crust punk; with Jay playing DJ.
Jay was one of the founding members of GRIEF, and I saw them play once with Jay on guitar, at the Channel rock club by South Station in Boston; at a tragically under-attended show.
DISRUPT became absolute legends and for many, are considered the forefathers of the American crust punk scene. What most people do not know is that back then almost no one give a fuck about DISRUPT. They were not well liked in Boston and most of the people I knew considered them EXTREME NOISE TERROR rip-offs. When I see people online saying that they would do anything to see a DISRUPT reunion, I cringe knowing that back in the day; that was not how it was.
I live a few hours away from Mexico City now, and here in Mexico crust punk is alive and thriving. There are dozens of exceptional crust punk bands here in this country and I’d rather watch those bands play while wearing DISRUPT t-shirts than watch DISRUPT play while wearing Boston Bruins (hockey) t-shirts.
But I can say that because I was there.
DISRUPT means a lot to me. They honored me by thanking me on the thanks list of their ‘Unrest’ album and Jay gave me a personal copy of their split with SAUNA, on one occasion when he visited my house in Boston.
Without DISRUPT, I don’t think I’d ever have been given the nickname “Crusty Craig”.
So as always, I can’t write a blog about music to save my life; But I can share anecdotes like a champ!
DISRUPT were a band of contradictions, and they received a lot of criticism as a result, But one thing is for sure; without DISRUPT; The international Crust punk scene from Mexico to Indonesia and everywhere in between; would not be what it is today:
I give my thanks to DISRUPT for being an integral part of my punk rock life.
Check out Gregorio’s most recently published books here:
Crusty Craig “Gregorio” Lewis is a longtime contributor to IDIOTEQ. Gregorio is a punk rocker from the United States, living in México, and after traveling to forty countries around the world giving talks and workshops on how he has Survived the Impossible, both professionally and for the Punx, he has been living in his mountain pueblo for nearly four years. Contact Gregorio directly at survivingtheimpo[email protected] and check out his numerous published books, at Sanity is a Full-Time Job