Posts Tagged Biohazard
In the face of ongoing gentrification, Brooklyn-based act Biohazard is now forced to qualify ongoing lyrical references to their formerly notorious hometown.
“There was a time when you could just say ‘Brooklyn!’ to invoke being a hard-ass that won’t take crap from anybody,” sighed guitarist Billy Graziadei, “but now we gotta be extra clear on which parts we’re talking about, or we’ll look like a bunch of jackasses.”
Indeed, many districts in Brooklyn have become renowned for housing some of the largest enclaves of hipsters and upwardly mobile urban youth in all of North America. The band’s depictions of blight and violence have been replaced by a proliferation of coffee bars and Urban Outfitters storefronts in areas that were previously fertile ground for Biohazard’s videos, album covers, and lyrics.
“We have a new song called ‘Back on the Streets (not Williamsburg)’, that talks about life in Brooklyn, specifically the eastern side heading towards Ozone Park,” said Graziadei, shaking his head. “It’s still pretty brutal over there, though nobody knows it because they’re shopping at their stupid thrift stores in Brooklyn Heights. We also have a scary one called ‘A Day in Bushwick’, because you know that area is still pretty hairy. Then again, I hear they recently got an American Apparel outlet. Oh my God, we’re so screwed!”
Indeed, the once-fearsome foursome from the wrong side of the tracks now finds their lyrics completely hampered with overly-specific descriptions and disclaimers of their previously forsaken borough.
I’m on the run/and I need a new gun
Talkin’ about Brooklyn – no, the other one
When you’re s— outta luck/and you don’t give a f—
And that don’t include the parts that got a Starbucks
With all the upswing of commerce and rising property values, it seems that Biohazard are among the few Brooknites who are suffering. Whenever the band plays classics like “Urban Discipline” or “Tales from the Hardside”, their harrowing portrayals of Brooklyn is often met with incredulous laughter from those who were too young to remember when the entire area was an urban death maze.
Graziadei continued, “We get people coming up to us going, ‘Are the hipsters really that dangerous?’ or ‘I guess you guys have seen some serious s— go down in those fair-trade coffee shops’. Jesus Christ.”
Ultimately, it may be the end of the line for bands that trade off the bad reputation of their hometowns. Crime rates have lowered across the nation, and city centers are being reclaimed by upwardly mobile young people and large developers.
“The entire north side is undergoing a tree-planting project,” exclaimed the increasingly agitated guitarist. “Trees! In Brooklyn? Used the be the only planting we did was putting bodies in the ground, you know what I’m saying? I can’t write about urban renewal!”
At press time, the band has announced plans to relocate to the Bronx.
Chances are, if you are an American under the age of 85, you remember where you were the first time you heard “Punishment” by Biohazard. As Brooklyn became “the next Seattle” in the mid-1990s and New York City Hardcore took over the Billboard Charts and Top 40 radio stations, Biohazard became the band that defined a generation. It was the time of full body tattoos, doo-rags and ordinary Americans spending their days dressed like characters in “The Warriors”. However, a recent report by The Dartmouth Journal of Advanced Medicine and Spreadin’ The Hardcore Reality, has called into question the veracity of one the band’s best known lyrics.
“Punishment” became the successor to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as the most popular song on the planet in 1992. The song is particularly memorable for the lyric “In reality, we all must face the fact that the majority of people are out there smoking crack.” The words were based on exhaustive research done by the band on the use of crack-cocaine by Americans. According to the album’s footnotes, 56 percent of Americans were “out there smoking crack” at the time the song was being recorded.
At the time of the albums release, some researchers questioned whether that many people were really hooked on the dangerous, highly addictive substance. Harvard scientist Kenn Nardi looked on Biohazard’s findings dubiously when he first heard the song. “Alright, yes, there are many people addicted to crack. But, for Biohazard to put forth the thesis that a “majority” of people” were hooked on the narcotic was a bit of an overstatement.”
Nardi, who received his PhD in New York City Hardcore Studies in 2003 and has extensively studied the cultural context and metaphysical meaning of Biohazard lyrics, went on to say, “I question if their sample size was large enough to justify the generalization. And, honestly, I’m not clear how they would define “out there”. Do they mean to imply this is only a study of outdoor crack users?”
However, the recent Dartmouth study has conclusively proven that the majority of people in 1992 were not “out there smoking crack”. According to studies’ co-author John Emery, “There are significant errors in Biohazard’s findings. First of all, they oversampled metropolitan areas. Data collection was also an issue. We have concerns that several of the studies participants were actually local winos who were paid in bottles of Ripple, Night Train Express and Maddog 20/20 and were willing to say anything in order to get their next drink.”
Current members of Biohazard have yet to respond to these charges of academic fraud. However, former lead singer turned actor Spyder Jonez did take a moment away from the filming of his new action film “Member of The Beast” to say that he “unequivocally stand(s) behind both the qualitative and quantitative methods used by the band and reject the possibility that issues like the cohort effect or some of the microfactors that hampered the work of Reinhart and Reigoff have impinged on the efficacy of our data collection and textual analysis. Most people is just crackheads, yo.”
Biohazard’s new album, Ermine Discipline, is expected out in the Spring.
Every Sunday night between 5:15 and 5:17, thanks to a mixture of transcendental yoga, Nyquil and Shiatsu, my mind travels to a dimension similar to our own. This parallel universe is known simply as Blargh.
Many of the details of The Blargh Dimension are similar. For example, the San Francisco Giants have won two of the last four World Series there as well. However, there are also some major differences. For example, in Blargh, the Giants best pitcher is a 14-foot tall polar bear with 11 arms.
One of the most extreme differences between their world and ours is the role of heavy metal in their lives. The average resident of Blargh listens to roughly 22 hours of heavy metal a day. By the age of 11, all Blarghian children are tested on Venom and Slayer lyrics. If they make even one mistake, they are fed to one of the thousands of giant lobsters that live in tunnels below the cities.
I have been trying to convince people of my travels for years. However, the story is a bit far-fetched and proof is hard to come by. However, this Sunday, I was able to rip out a page from the Blarghian TV Guide and smuggle it back. Here is the evidence of the existence of this world, along with a good sampling of what the average Blarghian watches on network television (President-For-Life Agnew banned cable TV in the 1980s and, consequently, they only have three channels).
8:00-9:00 Marduk, She Wrote
Everyone’s favorite 276-year old detective Angela Lansbury teams up with Swedish metal blasphemers Marduk to solve mysteries and promote neo-fascism.
9:00-9:30 Jeff Walker, Texas Ranger
After leaving Carcass, metal legend Jeff Walker uses his extensive knowledge of human anatomy to fight crime and poor hygiene in Texas.
9:30-10:00 Touched By A Morbid Angel
A heartwarming show that features David Vincent giving fake messages from God to strangers and making them do really horrifying things to their loved ones.
10:00-11:00 The Dukes of Biohazard
Brothers Bo and Spyder Jonez speed around a post-apocalyptic Brooklyn in a car with a confederate flag painted on the roof while trying to avoid police officers and members of the Baseball Furies gang.
8:00-8:30 Leave it To Believer
Jerry Mathers stars as an Kurt Bachman, an 8-year old musical prodigy who writes Christian death metal songs and gets into all sorts of mischief with his brother Wally.
8:30-9:00 Powermad About You
An aging Minneapolis thrash band fall head over heels in love with Helen Hunt and attempt to marry her in violation of New York’s ban on polygamy.
9:00-10:00 In Battle There is No LA Law
Seven-time Emmy winning actress Jo Bench and the members of Bolt Thrower star as hip Los Angeles attorneys who drive around in sports cars while dressing as characters from Warhammer.
10:00-11:00 Falconer Crest
Lorenzo Llamas stars as a power metal vocalist who tries to wrestle control of a winery from Ronald Reagan’s ex-wife.
8:00-8:30 All In The Manson Family
Marilyn Manson is a crusty but benign racist who argues incessantly with his leftist son-in-law and humiliates his “dingbat” wife.
A spin off of Jeff Walker, Texas Ranger. Walker retires and opens a bed and breakfast in a Vermont that is visited by traveling grindcore bands and Elvis impersonators.
9:00-9:30 Fantomas Island
Mike Patton, Dave Lombardo, Hervé Villechaize, and Ricardo Montalban are trapped on a magical island that is haunted by the ghost of Henry Mancini.
10:00-11:00 Highway To Hell
Bon Scott stars as a demon attempting to force wayward souls to make bad life decisions and end up condemned to eternal suffering. Michael Landon and the scuzzy looking guy who always wear the Oakland A’s hat co-star.