Reviews

The Faction, Pegged for Live 1985 (Not Like You, 2015)

Skating and hardcore are intrinsically linked, a byproduct of shared roots via both subcultures' outsider status in the '80s. The first time I was aware of skating was through crazy hardcore kids that tore it up through this concrete jungle known as NYC—an anomaly, as this was a predominantly suburban endeavor. These urban shredders were always blasting the classic Thrasher Skate Rock comps on their boomboxes; with tunes by the likes of JFA, Big Boys, McRad, and these guys: The Faction, from San Jose, CA.

Undoubtedly the most storied skate rock band of all time, The Faction has featured legendary pro skaters Steve Caballero on bass/guitar and drummer Craig Bosch, who even has a skating maneuver named after him. The fact that they were actually really good at churning out fast-paced hardcore ragers—as well as (later on) more melodic, dark punk/metally tunes—put them in a category all their own. This Pegged for Live 1985 LP, recorded at CBGB's and originally released as a limited edition cassette, catches them at the height of their powers. The album has smoking renditions of their more well-known songs: the anthemic "Skate & Destroy," the sarcastic "Why Save the Whales?," the gothic punk jam "Dark Room," as well as a smashing rendition of Generation X's "Your Generation" are all present. The sound is crisp and tight, straight from the soundboard of CBGB's iconic sound system.

The Faction were an amazing outfit that combined a lot of different influences, and this live set displays that synthesis to maximum effect. I hope someone gets around to reissuing the band that Steve Caballero and bassist Ray Stevens formed after The Faction: Odd Man Out. Their one and only LP from 1988 is a logical progression of The Faction's sound—an atmospheric, keyboard-laden post-punk gem that remains criminally underrated.

Pick up Pegged for Live 1985 from the stellar Not Like You Records. They've also just reissued a discography of skate rock greats McRad, plus other worthwhile platters.

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