Hardcore Goes Solo…And Doesn’t Come Back
Hardcore Punk features some of the most intense, angry, and aggressive vocals in the entire punk genre. These vocalists belt and scream the lyrics at the top of their lungs, known to potentially cause throat damage. In the late 2000s, many hardcore front-men took on a new endeavor, and went solo. Why did none of them come back? The most famous instance of a former hardcore front-man going solo is Dallas Green. Green was the lead singer of Alexisonfire (pronounced Alexis on fire). Alexisonfire was a major Emo band in the punk scene in the early 2000s. They made the Warped Tour circuit numerous times. Green decided to test out another musical pursuit and started recording folksy solo tracks under the name City and Colour. Alexisonfire broke up in 2011, allowing Green to give his full attention to City and Colour.
Following Green’s lead, independent projects became very popular among hardcore lead singers. The British version of Dallas Green’s story follows Frank Turner. Turner was the former lead singer of Million Dead. Million Dead was a very intense hardcore punk band that fizzled out after four years. Turner began to follow his country/folk passion and eventually got together a full band, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Turner received critical acclaim for his albums England Keep my Bones and Love, Ire, and Song. He released his latest album Tape Deck Heart in 2013, and went on a massive international tour. I tried to get tickets but unfortunately, they sold out within one week online.
Folk and country seem to be perfect outlets of the same powerful lyrics that are found throughout hardcore punk. Bob Dylan’s songs are not all happy folksy tunes, and hardcore punk often tackles issues like politics, relationships, and personal failure. The man who exemplifies this is Chuck Ragan, former front-man of one of my favorite bands of all time, Hot Water Music. Ragan produced raspy, snarled voice echoes over his guitar. His solo efforts has resulted in some of the most powerful lyrics I know. His new album Till Midnight is set to drop this year.
Anger, sadness, and hope are all powerful themes across music. They can be found everywhere from the folksiest country to the most aggressive hardcore punk. It seems that the transition from hardcore to acoustic folk is quite natural for front-men to make.