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EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: DYS, “(WE ARE) THE ROAD CREW”

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DYS HARDCORE PUNK BAND PHOTOHaving lived and loved in Boston several years ago, I have a certain affinity to that great American city and its frequently overlooked musical heritage. While cities like Los Angeles and New York get much of the credit for early essential contributions to hardcore, DYS represented New England proudly, alongside other fine seminal groups from the region like SSD and Gang Green. With only two full-length releases to their name–1983’s Brotherhood and the metallic 1984 self-titled follow-up–the band did what many of its peers and followers did: got in and got out. Of course, its members didn’t completely abandon the scene: Dave Smalley went on to front All, Dag Nasty, and Down By Law, while bassist Jonathan Anastas co-founded the legendary Slapshot.

Yet in the 21st century, with so many hardcore groups reuniting, it was only a matter of time before the group got back together. In a recent interview, the band–which now includes Anastas and Smalley along with new recruits like Franz Stahl of Scream–insisted to me that getting back together after more than two decades was an “organic” decision. As Anastas explains:

“We were approached by people who we’ve known for a really long time, including Drew Stone, the singer of Antidote. They were putting together a Boston hardcore documentary and they realized that there was so little video footage of bands back in the day. They didn’t just want to make a movie of talking heads, grown-up talking about ‘back in the day’ with still photos. So they came up with this idea of putting this reunion show together if for no other reason than to provide live footage shot in current HD fashion. For us, it was the idea of supporting them and that DYS had never been filmed properly to participate in that.”

DYS - (We Are) The Road CrewIn addition to a phenomenal live record from that concert (via Bridge 9), the band has since released a handful of new tunes digitally, one of which I’m thrilled to premiere at MetalSucks today: “(We Are The) Road Crew.” Unlike the poppier “Unloaded” or Beantown-reverent street punk of “Sound Of Our Town,” this latest entry in the DYS digital singles series packs a Motorhead-sized wallop indicative yet not derivative of the band’s metal roots. I welcome Smalley’s return to this sort of vocal delivery, in stark contrast to his post-DYS work.

And speaking of those metal roots, Smalley recalls:

I actually snuck out of work (to see Metallica) and risked getting fired the first time they came through Boston… My boss said, “Oh, I don’t know…” and I just left. I was like, this is one of the most important bands in the world right now, and Kill Em All was just this seminal record. The production isn’t as good as their stuff now, but the power and fury was brilliant. We used to work out–we were well known as band that lifted weights–to punk rock and metal, to AC/DC, to Venom, to Judas Priest, to Maiden. That was the soundtrack of our lives.

So give “(We Are The) Road Crew” a listen and look out for it on iTunes and your favorite digital download services imminently!

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-GS

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