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Born Against

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New York City (1989 – 1993)

Born Against was an American band from New York City, active between 1989–1993. In addition to their radical politics, the group espoused a do-it-yourself message, and challenged the in-fighting they perceived as problematic within the underground hardcore punk community of their time.

The group was founded in early 1989 by guitarist Adam Nathanson and bassist Neil Burke (both formerly of the New York hardcore band Life’s Blood), vocalist Sam McPheeters, and drummer John Guzman, who was replaced in early rehearsals by a drummer named George. George’s tenure was also brief, and he was replaced after a single show by drummer Nigel Schreiber in July 1989. This lineup recorded a demo cassette and a track for the Murderers Among Us 7” compilation released on McPheeters’ Vermiform Records label before Burke and Schreiber left the group in the fall. Born Against would continue to be plagued by rhythm section fluctuation throughout its career.

Six months later, the band reemerged with bassist Javier Villegas and drummer Darryl Kahan, the latter of the popular New York hardcore band Citizen’s Arrest. This incarnation of the band produced its first two proper releases, the “Eulogy” single (whose anti-religious title track was controversially dedicated to Steve Reddy of Equal Vision Records upon his conversion to a Hare Krishna lifestyle) and a self-titled 7” EP, along with several compilation tracks. Late in 1990, Kahan was replaced by drummer John Hiltz, birthing the longest lasting incarnation of the band. The group toured extensively, and released a debut LP, 1991’s Nine Patriotic Hymns for Children, on Vermiform.

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