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Born Against

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ABOUT Born Against

The group was founded in early 1989 by guitarist Adam Nathanson and bassist Neil Burke (both formerly of the NY hardcore band Life's Blood), vocalist Sam McPheeters, and drummer John Guzman, who was replaced in early rehearsals by a drummer named George. George's tenure was also brief, and he was replaced after a single show by Nigel Schreiber in July 1989. This lineup recorded a demo cassette and a track for the Murderers Among Us 7" compilation released on McPheeters' Vermiform Records label before Burke and Schreiber left the group late in the year.

In March 1990, the band reemerged with bassist Javier Villegas and drummer Darryl Kahan (of Citizen's Arrest). The band issued its first two vinyl releases, the “Eulogy” single and a self-titled 7" EP, and several compilation tracks. Later this year, Kahan was replaced by drummer Jon Hiltz. The group toured extensively, and released a debut LP, “Nine Patriotic Hymns for Children”, on Vermiform. Villegas left the group in late 1991. He was replaced by bassist Bret Blue. With Hiltz and Blue, Born Against continued its extensive touring, including a trip to Europe.

By this point, the band's aggressive political messages and related critique of their contemporaries had sparked much controversy, and they endured prominent animosity in New York City and beyond. They began work on a new record, which was stalled in July 1992 when Hiltz left the group. The final sessions produced a 10" record, Battle Hymns of the Race War, which featured Melissa York (later of Team Dresch, The Butchies and Ex-Members) on drums, although York never performed live with the group.

By early 1993, Nathanson and McPheeters had relocated to Jersey City, NJ, and begun a new version of the band with bassist Tonie Joy (of Moss Icon and Universal Order of Armageddon) and drummer Brooks Headley (also from Universal Order of Armageddon). This was a prolific incarnation, as they continued to tour and released split EPs with Screeching Weasel, Universal Order of Armageddon, and Man Is The Bastard. The band played its final show in July 1993.

Born Against released two posthumous CDs of all their material: “Patriotic Battle Hymns” and “The Rebel Sound of Shit and Failure”. Initially released on the now-defunct Vermiform, these records have since been taken on by Kill Rock Stars.


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Artist Info

  • Sam McPheeters
  • Brooks Headley
  • Melissa York
  • Neil Burke
  • Tonie Joy
  • Adam Woodrow

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