Friday, August 18, 2017


Earlier tonight I was going off about the lack of originality and authenticity in younger bands. All of the bullshit hipster hype shit. I had to post the Middle Class, a late seventies band that, for me, has always been the best example of an un-hyped, non-posing, original and groundbreaking band. Informed by the early (pre-hardcore) L.A. punk scene, they were younger, from Orange County, and they played fast. Real fast. And they did it before anyone else. 1978. Some consider their "Out of Vogue" the first hardcore 45. I know it was the first hardcore record I heard. Even if you were used to the wildly varied salad bowl of L.A. punk styles, you had to stand back and think "Just what the fuck is this?!?" I'd seen them a few times before it came out, and even then I was taken aback. Those of you born into a world where hardcore already existed, imagine hearing it sped up like this for the first time. No one sounded like the Middle Class when they hit. And they were just kids, literally jacked up on soda pop, playing within their abilities, perfectly stripped punk rock blasts.

I went looking for clips and ran into two that were interesting, for different reasons. The first video is live in some bar in Reseda, from 2013, and while not the best Middle Class video, is notable for the lame pit. Watch the drama unfold. It starts as a small but relatively earnest group of kids whose parents probably hadn't even met when hardcore first picked up steam. It shows because by the 1:15 point in the video, they're just walking is a circle like the mental patients in "Midnight Express". I won't criticize the kid up front with the hat and "ska" emblazoned on the back of his jacket because he's probably the coolest kid back at school. It should be noted here that Middle Class never wore any of the clichéd punk or hardcore gear (leather, spikes, patches, bandanas, slogans, etc.). The photos above, taken roughly 35 years apart, are pretty representative of how they looked. Always stealth.

The second video, from the Echoplex in 2011, is particularly for those of you already familiar with the Middle Class. It's a cover of Devo's "Gut Feeling" and they manage to make it sound just like Middle Class, particularly Jeff Atta's monotonal vocal. It's followed by "Out of Vogue" and I gotta say it still has that punch three and a half decades later.

Middle Class - Out of Vogue mp3
at Killed By Death Go there to get it
Middle Class - Three other songs (from the first 45)
at Killed By Death Ditto
Middle Class - Twenty songs streaming
at Sonic Hits
The Middle Class - Live at Weber's Place (2013)
at YouTube
The Middle Class - Gut Feeling/Out of Vogue (2011)
at YouTube
Interview with Mike Atta [RIP]
at Agony Shorthand
Interview with Jeff Atta
at Noisey
The Middle Class - Discography
at Punky Gibbon

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