Spike in Vain–best postpunk pre-emo experimental hardcore band ever

Well, in my book Spike in Vain’s Disease in Relative from 1984 is the most-underrated punk/postpunk/experimental/hardcore record ever made! It’s the perfect blend of styles somewhere in the neighborhood of early Minutemen, Black Flag, Joy Division, and Bauhaus, with touches of Killing Joke, King Crimson and mid-period Voivod, Drive Like Jehu, and Sonic Youth. It’s crazy and crazy good. I hope they rerelease it someday. If you’re interested in hearing this amazing record, someone has put up mp3s of it on the megaupload-like mediafire: Spike in Vain–Disease is Relative.
Great news via the Good bad Music for bad, bad Times! blog:

Here’s an email that I received from Robert Griffin who now runs scatrecords.com and was the main man behind Spikes In Vain. Go to his website – there’s a limited supply of original Spike in Vain 12″s available!


“Very cool blog you’ve got there, nice to see some love for that old scene, thanks. I’ve gone on to play lots of other music, but the attitudes and aesthetic of those days will always guide me.

Sometime next year I’m going to release all the Spike in Vain recordings on cd. After Disease Is Relative, there was a cassette-only album, “Jesus Was Born in a Mobile Home,” and there is also an unreleased third album, “Death Drives a Cadillac.” There may be a DVD in there also, I recently got a video of an almost complete 1983 gig. There are some other odds and ends too, it will most likely be a 3 disc set. If there’s enough interest I might press up some of the unreleased material on vinyl also.

Some other info for you – Outerwear were kind of a sister band to SiV. I played drums, Chris Marec on gtr/vox, and Beth Scarf on bass. There was a cassette album called “The Outerwear Limits.” Our slogan “loud slow bad rules” heh.. We had a great time pissing off all the “correct” punks. But Beth and I did eventually learn our instruments, so we started doing things like wrapping ourselves in bandages so that we couldn’t play so well. Very fun band and Chris wrote some pretty cool songs for it.

Funny, the Guns were the youngest band on that compilation, 14 or 15 years old at most, and both the main guys have passed on. Dave died of a brain aneurism in his 20s, and Scott died last fall of a heart attack. Just before he died he put together a Guns cd – all their original recordings, maybe a dozen tunes, then re-recorded versions from a reunion a few years ago. Not sure how you’d get one of those. These two were also the drummer & bassist in The Dark. Small scene, lots of inbreeding!

There’s also a 2CD by The Dark on Grand Theft Audio called Scream Until We Die.



Posted on 20-May-08 at 11:40 am

Spike in Vain and the Dark are two of my favorite bands ever…totally like the mighty DRIVE LIKE JEHU but circa 1984! Totally predated a lot of the whole DC emo/Fugazi/Rites of Spring stuff. Better than 99% of indie postpunk stuff out there, kind of undiscovered in the same way great Live Skull albums are. Robert Griffin is one heck of a experimental postpunk post-prog hardcore noise guitarist! I like their stuff as much as the mighty Live Skull, will appeal greatly to fans of bands like Drive Like Jehu, Sonic Youth, the Gordons, early Killing Joke, etc. .


4 Responses

  1. Strangely, The Guns stuff is on the end of a Ringworm CD I think, sorry, not sure which one (poss first LP). It’s not listed but I’ve heard there are about 8 songs.

  2. Thanks for the nice compliments and astute observations about Spike In Vain.

    Bringing a diversity of styles to “punk” scene was something we strove for. Playing drums in the band was a lot of fun because it gave me a chance to play some non-conventional rhythmic patterns (influenced by King Crimson etc) on top of some very creative guitar riffs put out by Robert and the Marec brothers.

    All my best,
    Bruce Allen

  3. You summed it up better Than I.

  4. All this Spike in Vain stuff needs to be rereleased on CD!!! Maybe we can start a Kickstarter fundraising project???

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