Repeat Offender might be a new band, but some of its members have share a history in the SoCal hardcore community. "Mauro (drums), Greg (vocalist), and I grew up in the same city (Whittier in LA County), and have known each other since high school," guitarist Alex Zambrano tells me. "As teenagers, Mauro and I, along with other friends, would go to local hardcore shows together around Whittier and outhern California and we would often see Greg there too, but we didn’t really 'meet him' until a little later.
Mauro and I played in a hardcore band called Amongst Wolves who had a few demos released in 2007-2008, so that’s really where our musical career started."
Released just before the world got sick, Repeat Offender's self-titled demo finds the band delivering gruff hardcore that fans of Violent Reaction and Stigmatism will go absolutely mental for.
As it turns out, this is the third time Alex has appeared on No Echo. Just last week, I profiled Criminal Outfit, another new group he's slinging guitar riffs in. The first time came in 2017, courtesy of Combat Force, a Denver-based hardcore combo. "I moved to Denver in 2012 for school. Right when I moved there, a really cool hardcore punk scene began forming around local bands like Cadaver Dog, Civilized, Culture Shock, Negative Degree, and others. All these bands share members who have a pretty clear vision on what hardcore should be and what it should sound like. I don’t think this scene could have started in a big city like LA or NYC; it had to happen where it did.
"I was really attracted to the Denver scene and these bands, and I soon began trying to form my own, so I finally started a band called Combat Force in 2016. We released a demo and an EP that both came out on Youth Attack Records. In May of 2019 I moved back to LA and wanted to play music again, so I hit up Mauro and Greg to see if they wanted to do something in the vein of the first wave of US hardcore with some early Oi! Influences.
"Originally we were a three piece with Greg on bass, but we later recruited our bassist Andrew, who plays in Greg’s other band called Quick Fix."
Alex gets a bit more into Repeat Offender's specific influences: "We wanted the band to sound like the first wave of US hardcore, with bands like Negative Approach, Negative FX, SSD, Jerry’s Kids, and the F.U.’s as the main influences. I wanted the guitar tone to sound like the first NA 7 inch, I like the trebly and somewhat jangly sound on that record.
"A lot of people call us a skinhead hardcore band and I get that label to an extent (Negative Approach covered the 4-Skins after all). We do have some inevitable Oi! influences in our writing, but the goal from the beginning was to play true to form early US hardcore."
What's next for Repeat Offender, pandemics permitting? "We self-released our demo tape this past February, and we were able to distro it alongside some really good hardcore and metal releases on Youth Attack Records. Mark McCoy is a great guy!"