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MDC Skull Tank T-shirt

MDC Skull Tank T-shirt

$14.99
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MDCST1
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Formed in late 1970s as The Stains and playing their first gig under this name in August 1980, MDC were one of three pioneering hardcore punk bands in Austin, Texas, in the early '80s, alongside The Dicks and Big Boys. These bands frequently played together and established the Austin hardcore scene. They released one single as the Stains in 1981, featuring a slower version of the future MDC song "John Wayne Was a Nazi" backed with "Born to Die".[1][2] Both songs were later released on the debut MDC album.

1980s[edit]

By 1982 the band had relocated to San FranciscoCalifornia, and renamed themselves MDC. By this point the band were active participants in the growing hardcore scene and released their debut LP Millions of Dead Cops on their own label, R Radical; Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles helped with distribution. The album is now widely considered a punk classic, and features songs such as "John Wayne Was a Nazi", "Dick for Brains", and the harsh criticism of the police, "I Remember". Other targets of criticism devoid of irony included capitalism ("Corporate Death Burger"), homophobia ("America's So Straight"),[3] and American culture ("Violent Rednecks").

During the summer of 1982 they became involved in the Rock Against Reagan Tour, during which time they fell out with the band Bad Brains when Rastafariansinger H.R. learned that Big Boys' singer, Randy Turner, was gay. H.R. and MDC's Dave Dictor had an intense confrontation. Upon Bad Brains' departure from the bill, they refused to return a loan owed to Big Boys and instead left a note that reportedly read, "burn in hell bloodclot faggot."[4] The incident resulted in the MDC song Pay to Come Along.[5] For MDC, 1982 ended with a tour of Europe with the Dead Kennedys which brought the band greater exposure in the punk scene outside of the U.S., especially in the UK.

Name change[edit]

In 1983 the band began to deemphasize the "Dead Cops" aspect of its name, as drummer Al Schvitz noted in a Flipside interview:

"It's a problem of people can't see the [name] concept, they take it as a violent action of saying what to do.... When we chose the name we really didn't figure on all the misinterpretation and we want to work around it and make our point clear and we don't want to have to talk through the name Millions of Dead Cops to any political issue we want to talk about. It doesn't mean that we don't believe in everything that goes down on the first album..."[6]

Their involvement in the Rock Against Reagan activities continued through 1983 and they returned to recording with the EP "Multi-Death Corporations" which was distributed in the UK by British anarcho-punk label Crass Records and R Radical in the U.S. The EP broke new ground by addressing, in the lengthy liner notes and artwork, the growth of corporations and the violent suppression of Communism in Central America. In 1984 they released another EP, Millions of Dead Children(also known as Chicken Squawk), this time dealing with Vegetarian and Vegan issues via a cowpunk tune.

Iconoclastic punk rock cartoonist John Crawford, an outspoken critic of the band, was cynical in his assessment of the alteration of the band's initial name, which he characterized as "stupid" and "inflammatory."[7] Crawford intimated that the name change had been opportunistic:

"It was like they thought there was something to be gained politically from cops busting the heads of kids, the old Yippies routine.... [C]onfrontational barricades politics are tactics that failed, only helped those they were intended to hurt. Now that was an awful thing for me to say right? But when MDC met with Crass in England, Crass told them they were bothered by the name Millions of Dead Cops and wouldn't include them on a compilation album they were plotting unless they changed it. So Mega Death Corporation was born."[7]

Smoke Signals was released in 1986, their second album featuring a more diverse style than previously, with a foray into '70s rock with the song "South Africa Is Free". This album also saw Gordon Fraser's first appearance as main guitarist. In the same year, MDC backed Michelle Shocked on a version of her song "Fogtown" that appears as a hidden track on her breakthrough album, Short Sharp Shocked.

Their third album, This Blood's for You, followed in 1987 and saw them continuing to showcase orthodox hardcore punk style and classic rock, including a cover of the Cream song "Politician". Themes again included intervention in Central America and criticism of the Reagan Administration. MDC toured Europe in 1988, where the live album Elvis - In the Rhineland was recorded. The band released the album Metal Devil Cokes in 1989.

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