RAID interview, 20 years later.
Almost twenty some years ago Memphis hardline band RAID recorded Above the Law. Certainly one of the first bands to popularize Veganism and Environmentalism in the straight-edge scene; the re-release Hands Off The Animals was (posthumously) nicely positioned between All Out War an Destroy the Machines from Earth Crisis on Victory records. This influenced a generation and scene that often operated on self propitiating rumors, stories, sometimes fabrications of Vegan Straight-Edge gang violence.
In 2007 xYosefx interviewed RAID frontman Steve Lovitt. Looking back on the message, the mis-conceptions, and the change of heart. I was avidly into the Hardcore Scene and clamored to anything that had mention of Animal Rights. Though I was turned off by the hardline association with pro-lifers and homophobia. The interview sheds some light on what was going on in the scene and xYosefx presses Steve when he tries to skirt some of the more uncomfortable topics. Also it may dis-spell the rumors that all the old hardliners are meat-eating drug addicts. Steve is involved with several environmental action groups and helped to get a skate park funded.
“xYosefx: Memphis was known by the early 90s as a Hardline mecca of sorts, with lots of folks claiming Hardline as an identity. How did that come about? Did Raid activelypromote the Hardline lifestyle and message within the scene? Had there been astraight edge scene already? Were a lot of folks already vegetarian or vegan, or didthey jump on the bandwagon?
Steve: Yeah. We were an inclusive scene, despite being “Hardline”. Growing up in the southand being into hardcore/punk could be a dangerous lifestyle choice. I say that because thesouth is very conservative and definitely frowns on the counter culture. Because of that,we had to protect ourselves. In the mid to late 80’s having a shaved head or riding askateboard could be an invitation for a jock or redneck to fuck with you. A lot of myfriends/crew got beat down because of how they looked. A lot of kids back then bailed onthe scene because it was not popular. At some point we realized that we either were goingto continue being the pariah or we were going to fight back. Standing up for our selvesearned the respect of both the punk and skate scene. There was not really a straight edgescene back in the mid 80’s, just straight edge kids. The straight edge scene started around88 or 89.”
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