JJ Gonson Photography

SLAM DANCE: 80's Hardcore Pits of Boston

Artist's Statement

I haven’t seen a lot of these images before. I mean, I’ve SEEN them. I took them, and I remember being there, at the shows, but most of these negatives have never been printed or scanned because they are not what magazines were looking for when I took them.

Magazines wanted faces of the musicians. They had to be so that you could see them, no hair or flying feet in the way, and they had to be sharp. AKA in focus, which was challenging before digital exposure and auto focus. The rooms were dark and hot. The lens of the camera fogged up sometimes. Then those faces were not seeable. They were not acceptable. They wanted faces, but they were not looking at the best of the faces, the ones really there, really in the time and place.

So, for the first time, here are the rest of the faces.  They might be your faces, really yours, if you were there. Or they might be the faces of your friends, who were there, too. Or they might be the faces you see around you at every show. That guy with the long hair, that guy with the tattoos, that girl int he tank top, that person over there, yelling in the ear of that other person who is politely smiling even though they can’t hear a damn thing.

I want you to look at these faces. Look into these eyes and be in the sweat and the noise. Smell the dank ages of cigarette smoke and body oder. Go home and put on Dag Nasty, even if it is on Spotify, and sink into the sound.

This collection of photos owes all gratitude to the kids with no fear who jumped and slammed.  Dyane, Paul, Ed, Rev. Hank, Steve, Mark, Torie, Galen, Fran, Roger, Deb and hundreds of other people who still love the feel of loud music. This collection owes all gratitude to the bands who turned up and up to be louder than the drummer who was hitting harder and harder to be louder than the guitars. And to the singers who yelled and screamed to be louder than everyone else. 7 Seconds, the Descendants, Verbal Assault, Youth Brigade, Justice League, Marginal Man, Murphy’s Law, Scream, The Adolescents, Uniform Choice, and while we are at it, DI and Feeding Frenzy, too.

More, more, more, there are so many more.

I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as I have enjoyed unearthing them.  I hope you will tell me what you see, and that you love these faces, too.
Thank you for letting me take them, and thank you for letting me show them.

Love - JJ