Negative Trend - We Don't Play, We Riot (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Negative Trend

We Don't Play, We Riot (1982)


In my opinion, the best of the early '80s hardcore punk bands were the ones that strayed from the generic norm a bit. These bands include, but are not limited to, Flipper, Black Flag, Reagan Youth, SS Decontrol, and Negative Trend. These bands each tried and succeeded at bringing a heavier and more obscure sound to their music, and all but Negative Trend have gotten any of the tribute they deserve.

Negative Trend formed in November of 1977 in San Francisco and features Will Shatter and Steve DePace (who would eventually become members of legendary SF band Flipper); other than that, I am hard pressed to find any concrete information on the band. Musically, Negative Trend can be most easily compared to Flipper, but only slightly.

In short, this short and nicely varied record is easily one of the greatest recordings done by any San Francisco Bay area band EVER. The record opens with the haunting, slow suicide tune "Black & Red." The next track, "How Ya Feelin',?" about drug addiction, changes the tempo up a bit with a fast hardcore track that features a touch of rockabilly. "Meathouse" is a bit more of a rocker, with some bluesy riffs and gory lyrics. Finally, the last track (and my personal favorite) is the straight up hardcore blast "Mercenaries," whose lyrical content is similar to that of the early Dead Kennedys song "Back In Rhodesia" (which would later be changed to "When You Get Drafted"). The track is fast and catchy, but mantains the record's gloomy and angry mood.

In conclusion, it's really very difficult to accurately describe this band, as is true with all great bands. This album is now "out of print," but should be easily available on eBay or GEMM. If you are a fan of punk rock in general this is essential listening; there really isn't much out there like it and it rocks like no other. Another random fact about the band: their claim to fame was opening for the Sex Pistols on the SF stop of their ill-fated US tour. These guys, without a doubt, blew the Pistols away.