Verbal Assault is a band that hasn't aged well at all with me, dredging up bad memories of "New Wind" 7Seconds, Beefeater-era Dischord releases, and that failed Justice League LP. So, you may ask, why am I bothering to foist this record upon you (instead of that Toddler 7" that I've been sitting on) if I think it's such a crummy platter, anyway? Well, first of all, it's not that crummy-- at least, the guitar sound isn't all bad. Plus Verbal Assault were fairly instrumental to me during my developmental years in hardcore. I ended up seeing them a bunch of times in a bunch of different towns-- Albany, Boston, Providence, Stamford, Norwalk, NYC-- and they were the first band I ever stagedived to (7Seconds/Verbal Assault, 11/29/86), which I thought would be an interesting bit of trivia to pass along except that I realize how stupid it sounds now that I've written it aloud.
Verbal Assault also were the first band to show me that hardcore bands didn't have to listen to just hardcore, a fact that I'd accepted as a given in my Youth Crew-brainwashed mind until the day I rode in Verbal Assault's van in '85 or so, back when all they had was a demo out. It was either on the way to an Anthrax Club show or on the way home from one, but anyway, I found out that what Verbal Assault mostly listened to in their van was reggae and Metallica, which back in those anti-hippie/anti-longhair days nearly bordered on sacrilege (okay, just kidding). The Verbal Assault demo was totally great, by the way, and it wasn't hard for kids like me-- kids who were let down by the slow deterioration of the XClaim! bands while waiting for the eventual Youth Crew explosion a few years later-- to get behind the sentiment of "What The Fuck Do You Do?", or finger-point during "RIX". It was clear, though, that Verbal Assault were interested in being more than just a Youth Crew band, and the last couple of times I saw Chris sing "RIX" he was noticeably going through the motions, and it was obvious that he'd grown tired of the simplistic sentiment.
After "Learn", though, Verbal Assault's records didn't really cut it with me anymore, although I liked them long enough to interview them a couple of times around '86/'87 (interviews for two different zines that never saw the light of day), and also help them get lost on the way to their first Sunday matinee show at CBGB's. I told 'em, "yeah, I know how to get to CB's, follow me", and so they followed my ancient VW Rabbit all the way from Connecticut in their van , only to realize that I'd taken the wrong bridge somewhere along I-87 once we noticed that we were on a dead end street facing LaGuardia Airport.
So, here's the "Tiny Giants" 7-inch-- "More Than Music" blasts out of the speakers pretty good after all these years, so maybe listen to that one first-- along with some Verbal Assault pictures from three of my zines; the top photo is by Sean Reardon, the two middle photos are mine, and the bottom photo is by 'Jenni' (a random photo that I think Al Quint might've sent me).
Verbal Assault -
"More Than Music"