Prior to their upcoming reunion show on July 29, 2016 @ The Black Cat in Washington, DC, hardcore street punk rockers THE SUSPECTS have released a re-release of their Voice of America LP (1995), including 4 tracks from their self-titled 7” from 1994. Stream it below and grab your copy via Grave Mistake Records in late August.
The Suspects were easily the most relevant DC punk band of the nineties- if you lived here and went to live shows, you were probably a fan.
The band gained an impressive following up and down the East Coast with a raw mix of harDCore and British influenced punk supported by energetic live performances. Releasing two EP’s and two full-lengths on their own Torque Records, they were a cornerstone of a scene that continues to thrive today. Their music bridged the gap between the legendary eighties Dischord scene and the diverse punk subsets of the 2000s, consequently providing a soundtrack for the lives of countless mohawked outcasts.
Formed in 1993, The Suspects were founded by drummer Kent Stax (of SCREAM) alongside guitarist Bryan Harbin, bassist Chris Condayan and singer Brian Gayton. Twenty-three years later, this original lineup (with the addition of longtime fan & friend T.J. on second guitar) returns to the Black Cat to celebrate the reissue of their seminal debut record Voice of America a joint release by Grave Mistake Records (Richmond) and Six Feet Under Records (Philly).
The label commented:
Grave Mistake and Six Feet Under are honored to present a significant artifact in Washington, DC punk history – a reissue of The Suspects‘ 1995 full length, Voice of America, along with the tracks from their 1994 debut self-titled 7″. Originally released on their own Torque Records label, the band’s seminal output contains thirteen blasts of timeless and unadulterated punk rock, delivered with a precise intensity that maintains its urgency two decades later. There is no denying The Suspects‘ significance during their tenure as torchbearers for Washington DC Punk and Hardcore, and their role in its history paved the way for the city’s scene to grow and thrive for decades to follow.
The state of punk rock in Washington DC in the early 90’s was an interesting one, to say the least. A decade had passed since the initial wave of classic punk and hardcore bands put the city on the map, and the District was comfortably settled in a post-Revolution Summer era of indie and math rock. While there is no denying the importance and influence of the late 80’s / early 90’s Dischord Records bands that dominated the region, it came as no surprise that there were a few who still longed for the urgency of the classic hardcore punk sound and attitude that remained notably absent from the DC scene at this time.
It was out of this void that The Suspects were formed. Founded by original Scream drummer Kent Stax alongside guitarist Bryan Harbin, bassist Chris Condayan and vocalist Brian Gayton, the Suspects came together in 1993 with one objective – to inject the Nation’s capital with a long forgotten dose of uninhibited punk intensity. Combining their love for classic ’77 UK punk with the aggression and power of the DC Hardcore classics, The Suspects were a pivotal band for the region; crucial in keeping the spirit of DC Punk and Hardcore alive and flourishing for generations to come.
Supported by energetic live performances, the band gained an impressive following not only locally, but nationally as well. They shared the stage with a plethora of name bands from the decade – Rancid, The Pist, Violent Society, Dropkick Murphys, Blanks 77, Showcase Showdown, The Boils, Swingin Utters, US Bombs, and Pennywise, as well as legendary bands like the UK Subs, Fear, and The Ramones. Regarded by many as the most relevant DC punk band of the nineties, their music bridged the gap between the eighties Dischord scene and the diverse punk subsets of the 2000s, consequently providing a soundtrack for the lives of countless mohawked outcasts. Chances are if you lived in DC at the time and considered yourself a fan of punk music in any way, you were a fan of The Suspects.To coincide with the release, The Suspects will be playing a reunion show with their original lineup on Friday, July 29th, at the Black Cat in Washington DC. They will be joined by Blockhead and Free Children of Earth.Check out this archived interview with The Suspects (conducted by Positive Force’s Mark Andersen) which originally appeared in the March 1995 issue of MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL