Music Writer Reflects On Cleveland's Mid-90s Hardcore Music Scene


Over on today is "What One Life Crew Taught Me About Hardcore," a fun read by Brooklyn-based music writer Jonah Bayer, recalling his teenage years as a skinny kid from Cleveland and his introduction to the city's "hardcore" music in the mid-90s. It focuses on his friendship with the guys of Cleveland band One Life Crew, and it's an entertaining piece:

Despite their lifestyle choices, the group—which rose out of the ashes of legendary Cleveland hardcore acts like Mean Streak and Confront—bragged about drinking non-alcoholic margaritas and posed in front of low riders with Cuban cigars in their mouth. They essentially took the more flashy elements of hip-hop, paired with hardcore's trademark riffs, and created an entirely new aesthetic in the process.

They were also the first people to introduce me to hardcore.

I became friends with One Life Crew shortly after they were kicked off Victory Records for inciting a riot at a now-legendary festival in Ohio in 1996. (The footage is still available on YouTube.) I'm not sure exactly where we met but despite the fact that I was 15 years old and weighed 130 pounds, they were super friendly and inclusive. Soon enough, I began hanging out at the tanning studio that their singer Mean Steve owned, Sunbelievable Tanning, which was located in the same shopping complex as the Kids "R" Us that I would work at later in high school. I would basically just loiter around and talk about hardcore and try to pick up knowledge about early Revelation bands before the internet was as wide-reaching as it is today.

Read it all on

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Doug Brown

Doug Brown is a staff writer at Scene with a passion for public records laws and investigative reporting. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., he has an M.A. in journalism from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in political science from Hiram College. Prior to joining Scene,...
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