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Warzone

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Warzone was a hardcore punk band from New York City. Anti-racist skinhead frontman Raymond “Raybeez” Barbieri was the group’s only consistent member between its formation on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1982 until Barbieri’s untimely death due to pneumonia on September 11, 1997. A U.S. Navy veteran, he was receiving treatment that many fans and friends have claimed was shamefully inadequate in a Veterans Health Administration facility when the illness damaged his liver and took his life at the age of 35.

Raybeez’s small but loyal following accompanied the former Agnostic Front drummer from the nascent days before the “Youth Crew” era in hardcore punk, on and off of three record labels, before finally turning out en masse for two sold-out benefit shows following his passing.

He is often cited as one of the seminal influences in the genre, as well as one of its first major losses. Unlike the larger body of punk music, the highly youth-oriented hardcore music had previously felt very few such outpourings of grief. In the days after his passing, a sign hung from the awning in front of CBGBs that simply said “R.I.P. Ray.” For more than a year following his death, every release on the Victory Records label was dedicated to his memory, as well as two independent compilations. Like the benefit shows following his death, these albums raised funds for several not-for-profit groups Ray had worked for which helped at-risk youth.

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