Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rites of Spring - Live on WMUC 1985

Here's a great sounding live set from Rites of Spring recorded at WMUC in College Park, MD during the winter of '85. This captures the bands live intensity and chaos perfectly. It's just complete madness, that always sounds like it's at the brink of falling apart completely. The quality is quite good, although a bit on the loud side, to the point of breaking up at moments. In other words, don't crank it. Enjoy.

Rites of Spring Live on WMUC

What can you say about Rites of Spring? You either love them or you hate them. I love them obviously, and consider them one of the biggest influences on the whole "emo" scene that evolved from the late '80s into the early-mid '90s. It seems the subgenre broke off into different directions, with bands like The Hated taking cues from Husker Du, bands like Moss Icon, Native Nod and Indian Summer incorporating elements of Slint into their sound, and on the more aggresive side, bands like Merel, Assfactor 4, and Heroin taking the Rites of Spring approach to a more hardcore level. That's just scratching the surface.

As much as i love all that stuff, the emotional intensity of Rites of Spring was never matched.

Guy Picciotto - vocals/guitar
Eddie Janney - guitar
Mike Fellows - bass
Brendan Canty - drums

Rites of Spring were from Washington, DC and were active from 1984-1986. They formed from the ashes of Insurrection, a hardcore band featuring Brendan Canty (drums), Michael Fellows (bass), and Guy Picciotto (guitar). When Insurrection's broke up, Eddie Janney joined in on guitar, and Guy took added vocals to his duties. The band released one s/t LP in 1985 and one 7" entitled "All Through A Life", which was recorded at Inner Ear studio in early 1986, and released in 1987. Both records were produced by Ian Mackaye and released on Dischord Records.

Rites of Spring split up in January of 1986, when Michael Fellows left the band. The rest of the band went on to form One Last Wish with guitarist Michael Hampton of Embrace (Janney moved to bass). The band recorded one LP (which remained unreleased for years). In 1987, the members of Rites Of Spring reformed as Happy Go Licky.

Picciotto and Canty eventually teamed up with bassist Joe Lally and Ian MacKaye to form Fugazi.

Guy Picciotto on Rites of Spring and the "emo" scene

I've never recognized "emo" as a genre of music. I always thought it was the most retarded term ever. I know there is this generic commonplace that every band that gets labeled with that term hates it. They feel scandalized by it. But honestly, I just thought that all the bands I played in were punk rock bands. The reason I think it's so stupid is that - what, like the Bad Brains weren't emotional? What - they were robots or something? It just doesn't make any sense to me.


  1. Awesome, this band rarely gets the respect they deserve.

  2. thanks--great post...I'm not sure I agrees with the above comment, maybe it depends on what type of hardcore you listen to; maybe among thug-core or pop-punk circles I'd see it, but the Rites of Spring record is one of the most influential records put out.

  3. sweet man, any chance of diggin up some live/demo shit from swiz or ignition?

  4. I don't have any live Swiz or Ignition, but if i come across anything, i'll post it.

  5. Pussy Galore totally and completely met Rites of Spring's emotional intensity at the exact same time -1985-1986- that both bands played in Washington, DC.

  6. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Replies
    1. Link is no longer valid. Would love to have this if you can repost.

  8. Thank you for putting this back up. So good.