Tony Brummel, the iTunes/Ne-Yo-despising Victory Records proprietor and bete noir of DIY hardcore since time immemorial, appears to have crossed yet another line. Gerard Cosloy, whose Austin home burned to the ground completely in the early hours of Tuesday morning, took the Matablog today to share an email from someone claiming to be Brummel with the subject line “Good morning…” and, in the body of the message, a reproduction of a satirical Victory logo Cosloy once dreamed up, with the word KARMA appended above it. Brummel may be settling a score: like the vast majority of the independent music community, Cosloy’s had his conflicts with Brummel in the past. “What he expressed to me today, however, is another story,” writes Cosloy. “I think he deserves to have it widely circulated.” No problem. In Cosloy’s honor, we figured we’d revisit some of our favorite Tony Victory takedowns from over the years. (There are, you will not be surprised to hear, many.)
Reversal of Man, “Get the Kid With the Sideburns”
The seminal late ’90s Tampa hardcore act Reversal of Man ran afoul of Victory Records after tangling with the label’s execrable flagship act, Earth Crisis. In a physical confrontation at an Earth Crisis show still shrouded in myth and legend, a member of Reversal of Man either did or did not throw yogurt in the direction of Earth Crisis, who did not and still don’t take their veganism lightly. Even then the irony of someone yelling “Get the kid with the sideburns” in the middle of a hardcore show, as one of the Earth Crisis guys apparently did, was noted. Reversal of Man fled, lived to fight another day, and penned this song, which is among other things a super ace parody of Earth Crisis’s “Firestorm.” Key lyric:
Street by street
Block by block
You hypocritical fucks
You and Tony Victory
Are nothing but corporate rock
You stand and call us fags
Leave the show with money bags
This song alleged was never played live, for fear of inciting further violence. Hear it at the now-defunct band’s MySpace.
Good Clean Fun, “V.R.S. (Victory Records Sucks)”
Improbably still-going D.C. hardcore classists Good Clean Fun have pretty much taken it upon themselves to act as straightedge hardcore’s conscience for more than a decade now, with often hilarious results. Like, say, “V.R.S.” Relevant passage:
You can’t be punk if you don’t care that dollar signs are everywhere
It seems like everyone’s on Victory
But I will give away all that’s mine, and we won’t make another dime
Money changes everything, you see
But I won’t let it change me.
This song is also highly recommended for its canny subversion of the classic hardcore trope of the gang backing vocal. Call: “Back in the day in the ’80s when the old bands would play…fifty cent shows/No cars/We walked both ways through the snow.” Response: “Uphill!”
MK-Ultra, “Bring Me the Head of Tony Victory”
Impossibly brutal grindcore act MK-Ultra came from the same place Victory Records did–Chicago, Illinois–and were an essential part of a scene that rose up there (partially in reaction to Victory) that also included Los Crudos and Charles Bronson. Drummer Ebro Virumbrales played in all three bands. Charles Bronson and MK-Ultra were locked in a fascinating battle in the mid-nineties as to who could be less politically correct, and more fucked up. More than a decade on, we’ll have to call this one a draw. Both bands attempted anti-Victory songs; Charles Bronson’s was probably funnier, but MK-Ultra’s stands as the most succinct, sentiment-wise. Hear the song at their MySpace.
Charles Bronson, “Tony Victory Knows How to Party”
Charles Bronson, like many of the bands on this list, pretty much hated on everybody, but Tony Victory came in for special scorn. (Look up the prank call “”Standing In Front of Bulldog Records.”) Mark McCoy, the frontman to this band, remains a provocateur to this day (see: his new band Failures, or his work with the Heartworm Press). Among other things McCoy’s label, Youth Attack, just put out an MK-Ultra discography. But back then, if you were in Chicago, you pretty much had to tackle Victory. Like most Charles Bronson songs, this one is less than 30 seconds long:
The monster has been spawned
and now it’s ready for some serious moshing in the pit
cuz it’s ONLY THE STRONG allowed for an EVEN SCORE with me
in an embroidered STRIFE hat and a DOUGHNUTS longsleeve.
Gee thanks for showing me what hardcore is all about.
Please kick my ass, oh pretty please kick my ass.
Cuz this monster makes me yawn ever since soapy jack
got caught with his pants down he ate up every poser metal jock
and shit them out on our scene
which doesn’t sound like supporting independent hardcore to me
but thanks for marketing this fashion symbol drawn on my hand.
Strife, Even Score, and Doughnuts were Victory bands. Only the Strong was the name of a series of mush-mouthed compilations the label put out.
Honorable mention goes out Hawthorne Heights, who put out a press release in the aftermath of being unwillingly pitted against Ne-Yo in a 2006 guerrilla action sponsored by Brummel that said, in part, “Tony is a man whose greed knows no bounds.” Which we might amend to “Tony is a man whose joy in the misery of others knows no bounds.”