1981 – 1985 (4 years)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
SSD (Society System Decontrol) was a straight edge hardcore punk band from Boston. They released two records as SS Decontrol and then formally changed their name to SSD. As SSD they released two more records, these with a very heavy metal influenced sound. However the group is often simply referred to, including all its periods, as SSD.
Formed by songwriter/guitarist Al Barile (then a machinist at the General Electric plant in Lynn, Massachusetts and a student at Northeastern University), SSD started performing at smaller venues throughout the greater Boston metropolitan area in the summer of 1981. The band quickly gained notoriety within the local music scene for intense, charged performances and the provocative antics of their core group of followers, the Boston Crew.
The original lineup was Al Barile on guitar, Springa (David Spring) on vocals, Jaime Sciarappa on bass and Chris Foley on drums. They released their debut LP The Kids Will Have Their Say on their own X-Claim label in 1982. Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat was a friend and supporter and his Dischord label's logo appeared on the back cover.
In 1983 they added second guitarist Francois Levesque and released the EP Get It Away. It is widely regarded to be their best record. The X-Claim pressings of it and The Kids Will Have Their Say are both highly collectable.
Like many hardcore bands - particularly those in the Boston area - SSD, as they were now officially called, were heading in a heavy metal direction. In 1984 they signed to the Boston label Modern Method and released the How We Rock EP which was rooted in the hardcore sound but exhibited overt heavy metal characteristics, such as a relatively high number of lengthy guitar solos. After signing to Homestead they released the Break It Up LP in 1985. It had both feet planted in the metal genre, leaving behind all trappings of punk and hardcore.
SSD broke up in 1985.
Jaime Sciarappa went on to play bass with the Boston hardcore band Slapshot for a short time.
After the breakup Springa went on to front the short lived band Razorcaine and the comedy rock projects Die Blitzkinder (with The Slaves) and Springa as Tom Jones. His flamboyant persona and lounge lizard lifestyle during this time stood in marked contrast to the straight edge rhetoric of SS Decontrol. In the early 1990s he would move to Chicago to pursue comedy further with The Second City.
In 1991 Al Barile compiled Power for Taang! Records. It spans SSD's entire career and is the only official release in print today. In the early 1990s he took up the bass guitar and he and Levesque formed the hardcore band Gage.
Chris Foley went on to play drums for Bulkhead, Jennifer Trynin and Star Ghost Dog. Today he plays with Heavy Stud.
In the summer of 2004 Springa was seriously injured in a car accident outside of Boston. A gala benefit featuring Evan Dando and reunions of The Outlets and Jerry's Kids raised money for his medical expenses. SSD did not perform.
Springa has since experienced a full recovery and is working on a rock opera.
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