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Led by drummer/songwriter Ernie Parada (the band's only constant member), Token Entry was a hardcore/skate-punk band formed in Queens, New York in 1980, when they were known as Gilligan's Revenge. They adopted the name Token Entry in 1984 and released an EP, Ready or Not Here We Come, in 1985 with vocalist Anthony Comunale (later of Killing Time). The EP tracks were re-recorded for the 1987 LP From Beneath the Streets, which featured vocalist Timmy Chunks and guitarist Mickey Neal. The arrival of Bad Brains guitarist Dr. Know in the producer's chair accented Token Entry's funkier backbeat on 1988's Jaybird. 1990's Dr. Know-produced The Weight of the World expanded on those tendencies, recalling the Red Hot Chili Peppers in spots; this LP featured guitarist Richie "Stretch" Acham and bassist Matt Citarella. Parada later formed Black Train Jack and Greyarea.

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