The Bruisers
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Recalling: THE BRUISERS, one of the best American Oi! bands

3 mins read

Long haired skinheads exist, if you are from New England.

I’m Jewish. In September of 1986, I was 13 years old and was forced to attend Jewish religious school. The Rabbi of our Synagogue was the brother of the singer of New York City punk rock band, Ed Gein’s Car.

My parents and our family and the friends of our family openly spoke of their racist views.

These conversations occurred with our Rabbi present, even at his own home, during Friday Evening Sabbath dinner. Our Synagogue is one of the few Jewish houses of worship in the United States with a religious leader convicted of rape.

My mother was a mental health advocate and active in promoting mental health awareness in the Jewish community. My mother was a personal supporter of rapists and sexual predators, as long as they were Jewish.

She based her support on the religion of the predator.

My mother supported sexual predators, as long as they were Jewish, but looked the other way when her own Jewish son was being sexually abused. If you want to be informed, please use the search terms on Google “Temple Beth Am Clergy Rape”.

As a child, I had friends who were Black, Asian and Latino.

There is a Yiddish (Eastern European Jewish language) word that is used to denigrate black people. That word is “schvartze” – it means “Ni***r”.

In October of 1986, the American Television talk show host, Phil Donahue, hosted a show about New York City Hardcore. We were shown this episode to teach us about anti-semitism.

The problem is that I was surrounded by people who were racists in private who were attempting to teach me about racism against our own Jewish people.

By the time I turned 15, in 1988, I had already begun listening to hardcore, punk and metal. I am telling you this story for a reason.

By 1993, I had seen The Bruisers play at least 5, maybe 10 times.

I lived in Allston and their guitarist, Rick, lived in Roxbury, both are boroughs of Boston.

On one occasion, I rode my mountain bike to Roxbury and spent the afternoon with Rick, one of the guitar players in The Bruisers between 1990 to 1995, and another friend of ours, listening to music, eating and smoking pot.

Around 5 pm one evening, several men on motorcycles arrived.

I immediately knew that they were Nazi Skinheads.

The Bruisers

I already knew their faces from being around the punk scene but they wore their colors on their sleeves.

I stayed for about an hour longer. I was not concerned for my safety. Boston has a complicated history with race and the hardcore punk scene was also quite odd in that regard.

I grew up with “tolerant racists” – These guys were similar. I understood a lot.

Rick passed away in 1995. May he rest in peace.

The Bruisers

The Bruisers are one of the most important bands of my youth.

Their singer Al Barr went on to be the singer of the world famous Dropkick Murphys.

Isn’t it funny that the Jewish community where I grew up attempted and failed to indoctrinate me into their weird pseudo-racism, and instead pushed me toward the very people they said were bad

I lost my virginity to a black girl.

I don’t think I have ever had sex with a Jewish woman.

My mother forbade me to date non-Jewish girls.

I was finally disowned by my entire family in 2017 for refusing to be silent about the child abuse I experienced in their home. It has been 5 years. I believe my parents are still alive and if they are, they certainly continue to say their prayers for their estranged son at their Friday night Sabbath dinners.

Too bad for them they cannot be honest with themselves nor others; I have no such problem.

The Bruisers

“Oi Oi Oi we’re skinheads
Oi Oi Oi we kick fucking heads
Oi Oi Oi we’ll survive
Oi Oi Oi we will survive”

I have personally witnessed and participated in singing this chorus at Bruiser’s shows in the early 1990’s with punk rockers and skinheads of all colors: Black, Asian, Latino, Caucasian and of course Jewish.

The world is fucked, people are fucked; but you don’t have to be fucked!

You can take your experiences and you can transform yourself into anyone who you want to be.

Yesterday is not a death sentence and tomorrow is unwritten.

All you and anyone can do is live in this moment, and choose to be the best version of yourself, right here and right now!

Yesterday is over. I am 48 years old and more punk rock than ever!

Fuck Racists! Fuck Nationalists! Fuck Sexists! Fuck Warmongers! Fuck Homophobes! Fuck Transphobes! Fuck Fascists! Fuck Militarists! Fuck Corrupters! Fuck Narcissists! Fuck Capitalists! Fuck Abusers!

Long Live the Boston Massachusetts Long Haired Skinhead Crew!

The Bruisers

“I won’t break my stride I’ll never lose my pride” – The Bruisers

“I won’t break my stride I’ll never lose my pride” – Crusty Fuckin Craig

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 [email protected] and check out his numerous published books, at Sanity is a Full-Time Job.

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