Hardcore fans live 'straight-edge' lifestyle
By Ashley Norris, www.journalnow.com
The music they listen to is known as hardcore, but their lifestyle is not what you think.
Hardcore music, a type of underground music influenced by fast, abrasive punk rock, has a large following among teenagers in the Triad. The teenagers who attend these shows are often heavily pierced and wear T-shirts of bands with such names as Glass Casket and Tell Them I Died.
Male fans may even wear pants designed for girls, a recent trend at hardcore shows.
The fans' appearance and the intensity of the music they listen to may suggest to many an atmosphere of drug and alcohol abuse.
But that's not the case.
Many teenagers who attend hardcore shows live a lifestyle known as "straight edge." To be straight edge means you have taken a vow to be drug- and alcohol- free.
The vow is taken very seriously. Some even refrain from using ibuprofen or Chapstick because alcohol is an inactive ingredient. If a teenager decides to "break edge" or use drugs or alcohol, they cannot become straight edge again.
Area hardcore bands including Winston-Salem's Glass Casket and Kernersville's Tell Them I Died, can be seen at such venues as Somewhere Else Tavern and Ace's Basement, both in Greensboro.
Fans can keep track of shows by visiting hardcore Web sites.
Dancing at hardcore shows is a spectacle. The pit, or the open area in front of the stage, is the place for the hardcore dance known as "two-stepping," which involves the rapid movement of your feet.
Other dance moves include punching, stomping, spin-kicking, floor-punching, donkey-kicking and windmilling.
Some teenagers say they feel that the rigorous standards of being straight edge obstruct other parts of their lives. Jordan McGee, a junior at East Forsyth High School and the drummer in the hardcore band Adira, says he felt as though being straight edge became an obstacle to his beliefs as a Christian.
"I was only concerned about being straight edge and I wasn't as focused on God," he said. "I am still drug- and alcohol-free, but I am focused on being a Christian now."
Many teenagers who follow hardcore music are also strongly opposed to animal cruelty. Many have become vegetarian or vegan. Vegans do not eat or wear animal products at all.
David Bulmer, a senior at East Forsyth who frequently attends hardcore shows, says he believes that it is cruel to end the life of an animal.
"We don't need meat to live, so why not get meat from sources besides animals?" he asked.
Rob Turner, a junior at East Forsyth and a fellow hardcore fan, agrees. "If people knew what was in that cute milk mustache they would definitely think twice about animal products," he said.
"The goal of being a vegan is to reduce the amount of animal products used as much as possible," said Lyle Mitchell, a senior at Glenn High School and a bass player in a hardcore band.
Patrick Hughlett, a senior at East Forsyth, says that the beliefs shared by hardcore fans unite them.
"The beliefs of those in the hardcore scene are not just part of another trend; it is a movement found in the music for a better lifestyle," he said.