No Fraud's Dan Destructo Reflects on 30 Years of Punk and Influencing Kurt Cobain
Courtesy of Dan Destructo.
Dan Destructo has lived through five decades of punk rock, witnessing its ebb and flow from the skewering environs of Venice Beach, Florida. Now relocated to the Los Angeles area, his long-running outfit No Fraud has proudly released a 17-track collection of some demos recorded in 1984. While Destructo and crew's take on thrashy hardcore was genre-defining in the early '80s, they've seldom strayed from a formula that they helped invent, which has made them paragons of the hardcore scene.
Animated, maniacal, athletic -- Dan is one of the better frontmen in the business. An avid skater, rig climber, amp jumper, and occasional audience member tackler, we here at Crossfade had a chance to discuss the release of the demos, his memories and views of growing up punk rock, East vs. West Coast living, and how No Fraud might have influenced a young Kurt Cobain.
See also: Blast From the Past: No Fraud The E.P.
No Fraud circa early 2010.
Let's talk about 30 years in punk rock. From the '80s to today, what have you enjoyed/disliked the most?
Dan Destructo: In reality parts of No Fraud existed as early as 1979. It seems odd to me that I have seen punk rock in five different decades but I guess I have. In the '70s it seemed fresh, exciting and that anything was possible. The music and messages, which fell under the moniker of "Punk Rock" really varied and freedom of expression, seemed to rule the day. The bad was that major music corporations seized the opportunity to sell it as a fad, not a movement.
In the '80s punk sub-divided into many genres and the one No Fraud fell into was D.I.Y. Hardcore Thrash. For us this was about inventing our own space and making our own sounds. The best part was many of the bands of this era were independent of major corporations both in the music they made and the shows they played.
In the '90s you had "all good things shall come to pass" and boy did they ever! The major music corporations tired of seeing their profits siphoned off by all these independent bands, labels, and venues, decided to crush the scene by buying it. Many of the bands had refused to sell out by signing to the commercial labels, so the corporations got tricky and bought many of the bigger independent labels, distros, and venues essentially decimating the scene by making it a big dead end. Punk truly became "Pop." Ska became pop. Emo became pop. Even something called grunge became pop.
"Don't Let Me Grow Old"
Everyting went pop and you guys...
We became faster and wilder which pissed a shitload of Green Day punkers/Ska Poppers into fits of screaming at us "stop that noise we wanna hear some punk rock." The Good? Well that part about pissing off punk preppies/nerds was fun anyway. In the '00s, the Double Aughts, pop punk died, ska pop died, grunge died. Rock returns. As often happens the cycle of life returns to a similar starting point. Punk, hardcore and thrash seem to kind of re-ignite with the next generation of youth sick and tired of the unfulfilling content of "pop music." That was good!
The bad? Well, many bands have no idea how to rock and sign to major labels as soon as the corporate suits sniff a fad. More bad. People start calling the post HC punk bands (think Gainesville Emo label No Idea) "Punk" or "Hardcore". What these bands are is clearly Emo Pop Rock! Like the band "Fucked Up" they are not Hardcore Punk. If we have to use labels please do not use the one I helped invent for myself.
Ha hah ha!
Now it seems the world is taking sides. One side is Pro-Globalization (read capitalism/consumerism), which will continue to be forced on everyone and everything. The other side? Well that's where No Fraud is and has always been. Nature, Logic, Truth, Justice, Equality, in general all the things it takes to make a healthy thriving society. It's what every record and show has always been about and will continue to be about.
See also: Miami's 20 Best Punk Bands of All Time