I was fourteen years old when I first heard Agnostic Front and they’ve been a constant in my life ever since. It was 1986 and they’d just released their sophomore album, Cause for Alarm, which was for them, at the time, a radically different record as it embraced the burgeoning crossover sound. Cause for Alarm was the first Hardcore record I ever heard and Agnostic Front were the band that introduced me to the Hardcore scene and they changed my life forever. In the nearly thirty three years since that fateful day, I’ve lost friends and family, travelled Europe and America, married and raised a daughter, experienced incredible highs and devastating lows and I’ve hit the professional wall more times than I care to remember and through it all, through everything life has thrown at, and given me, Agnostic Front have been there. Their music has been the soundtrack to my life. And The Godfathers of Hardcore is their story. Or rather, it’s the story of the two individuals who have been the bands main driving force since 1983, Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma.
Closer than brothers and different in every possible way, Vinnie and Roger are the beating heart of Agnostic Front, two of the original members of the Lower East Side Crew (around which the embryonic NYHC scene formed) and have probably done more, through their music, to spread awareness of and the spirit, passion, belief and attitude that fuels New York Hardcore than any other living being. They really are The Godfathers of Hardcore and Ian McFarland’s film strips away the urban myths and grandiose legends that have sprung up around them to tell their collective stories in the same way they write their music; by focusing on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and letting them, and their friends and family speak from their hearts. While Vinnie enjoys every second of life, doesn’t believe in wasting a single moment and makes sure that he and everyone around him always has a good time, Roger is far more studious, serious and focussed and their diametric personalities, which are, in The Godfathers of Hardcore, explored and to a large degree explained through their individual histories, are also the main reason for Agnostic Front’s longevity.
This isn’t the story of New York Hardcore, even though that features significantly in the film as it’s inextricably linked to both Agnostic Front and it’s guiding lights, it’s the story of two men who have given everything that they are and they have to the scene and their friends and families. It’s a raw, brutally honest, unapologetic and engrossing portrait of two friends who went out and took the world by the balls in the only way they knew how, by playing music and being themselves. A life affirming journey that reinforces your faith in humanity, The Godfathers of Hardcore proves that there is still some real magic left in the world and it’s embodied in a couple of guys who made the Lower East Side their home and found peace, brotherhood and success in Hardcore. Be like Vinnie, be like Roger and put your faith in The Godfathers of Hardcore. They won’t let you down… Tim Cundle