Hardcore’s Literary Influences

(Photo by David Shankbone. Via Brooklyn Vegan)

Posted by Tobias Carroll

While browsing on New Directions‘ fancy new website, we came across the page for their new edition of Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star. All of which prompted me to ask, “Hey, wasn’t there a hardcore band with that name?” Indeed there was. This prompted a recollection of a decade-old conversation with a friend who had cited Beyond’s fondness for the work of Chinua Achebe, and from there, which in turn led to more ruminations on the subject. And so we present to you an incomplete guide to hardcore bands who have taken literary inspiration in their choice of names, album titles, and more.

The Hour of the Star

The novel: From New Directions’ description: “As Macabéa heads toward her absurd death, Lispector employs her pathetic heroine against her urbane, empty narrator—edge of despair to edge of despair—and, working them like a pair of scissors, she cuts away the reader’s preconceived notions about poverty, identity, love, and the art of fiction. ”

The band: Members of the straight-edge hardcore band Her Grey Earth took a more classically-emo-oriented approach when they formed Hour of the Star in the mid-90s; information on their discography can be found here.

No Longer At Ease

The novel: Chinua Achebe’s 1960 novel, the sequel to his classic Things Fall Apart. (The title of which was referenced by The Suicide File on a 2003 7″.)

The band: The first album from the late-80s NYHC band Beyond took its title from Achebe’s novel.

The Seven Storey Mountain

The book: From the description: “It tells of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of twenty-six, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders–the Trappist monks.”

The band: A Drive Like Jehu-influenced post-hardcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. One of our editors saw them many, many times during the summer of 1996 and is quite happy to hear that they’ve since regrouped.

And don’t forget Allen Ginsberg’s forward for Harley Flannagan’s (Cro-Mags) book of poetry.