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80s Hardcore

What the hell happened to Straight-Edge?

Shit, here I come stepping into hot water, completely of my own doing. First things first: I don’t do drugs and I don’t get hammered, but don’t go away just yet thinking this is a another rant from one of those guys that is basically a camouflaged Straight-Edge. It’s not; I do sip my occasional glass of something. That leads to, most of the time, getting shit from straight edge guys because supposedly I’m a drunk and the rest of the time I’m getting shit from guys who are heavy drinkers or drug users because I normally don’t drink when I go out to a show or something. So I’m a square, or whatever.

But nothing like it used to be during the good old days of Straight-Edge, when I was also one. At least, from where I stand, the best time for Straight-Edge was around the mid 90s – before the internet. Information was scarce, but somehow Straight-Edge spread across the whole world, and maybe because of that, it seemed like something mystical. I remember knowing hundreds of Straight-Edge people from around the world and it seemed everyone was into the lifestyle. Suddenly, it all kind of crashed and a lot of people stopped verbalizing it or just plain disappeared. Now it’s even hard to know which bands are XXX and which aren’t, and I feel that it would be important to let new kids know what’s up with that, because it’s an idea with a lot of potential and a lot to teach.


Maybe all this discreteness is because things used to be so hardcore, and Straight-Edge took itself way too seriously and kind of cornered itself into something of a ghetto, almost like a religion. And religion tends to breed followers, not free people. Maybe that was one of the reasons I quit. Yes, I’m not afraid of the word: quit.

Even though Straight-Edge played a big role in my life for the whole decade or so I was into it, I was never the kind of guy that surrounded myself with similar-thinking people only. I had and still have friends that are metalheads, crusties, goths, rock n’ rollers, skaters and whatever other labels you can think of. Even though some of them got high on something of their own choosing, I never stopped hanging out with them. True, at times it got kinda boring to be surrounded by drunks and stoners and I might have gotten fed up with that, but sometimes it was equally boring to hang out with the Straight-Edge crowd and listen to the same jokes, lines and ideas all the time, day in and day out. I guess it all boils down to people more than ideas, and I don’t give a shit what you eat, drink or smoke or if you do none of those things, as long as I have fun hanging out with you. Unless we are on seriously opposite pages, but that’s a different subject all together.

Now that I’m in my 40s and it’s been a few years since I stopped being Straight-Edge, I sort of miss all the inspiration that Straight-Edge used to give and surely miss the fact that Straight-Edge was always around and it presented itself as a serious alternative lifestyle. I’m not talking about stuff like Strife’s “There’s only one truth” because there isn’t and I’m sure they know that better than anyone by now. I mean stuff like Nations On Fire or even Minor Threat. Because confrontation is part of punk, it makes sense that Straight-Edge also does it.



Because of its current discrete presence, I probably am better able to appreciate the importance it had in my life and on those of a lot of people I know, because some things don’t change and for most people it seems that going out is only fun with drinks, drugs or both. Even for people that were Straight-Edge for quite some time.

I’m not sure if straight-edge is about discipline or not, since I’m not one any longer so it’s not my place to say, but I remember all those nights surrounded by people with drinks and joints on their hands, and I never had the urge to be part of that. Probably because I had done it all years before when I was younger and got fed up with it, and frankly most of the times that I got high, it stopped being fun after a couple of hours and I wished I could stop it.

But this isn’t about that, it’s about the fact that I feel Straight-Edge has a lot to teach and should verbalize its philosophy more, but in a way that’s more open than it used to be.

But then there’s that whole movement issue. As it happened before with punk, when movements get bigger they tend to obey a school of thought and to adopt a uniform. That was kind of one of the main issues that lead me to stop being Straight-Edge, even though for the first couple of years I lived exactly the same way. Another thing that got to me was all the evangelization around the idea of Straight-Edge. And what’s worse, the fact that a lot of Straight-Edgers made a point of drinking Coke just because of some stupid fucking 80s Minor Threat picture. Minor Threat are over and Ian Mackaye doesn’t give a fuck about what Straight-Edgers do. Or non-Straight-Edgers for that matter.



Even though I take a few drinks on occasion, I’m a big fan of sobriety so I don’t get drunk. Or high. Mainly because my priorities are different than those. Also because I want to be in control, but that’s just my own choice. When I do go out, I might drink a couple of beers if I’m in the mood. If I’m not, I don’t. I don’t care what anyone says, I still love everything that Straight-Edge taught me. And it’s great that such a thing exists, because for all those bands that glorify drinking, smoking and doing drugs, there should be others that offer a different point of view. Before that period of my life, it never even occurred to me that you could hang out with a group of friends and just stay sober and have fun. Everything revolved around smoking or drinking.

Straight-Edge might be an excellent starting point to question whatever you need to question in life. But for that to happen, people into it have to leave room for thought, otherwise things might just implode, and maybe that was what happened. But where the hell is everyone these days?


Written By

Ever since I can remember I've been into the punk and metal universe. And writing. So why the well wouldn't I put the two of them together?



  1. Thomas Prochnow

    May 24, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Na dann…

  2. Goran Argiroski

    May 24, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Vegan Reich happened.

  3. Sven

    May 23, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I’m so glad I grew up in Europe. From your comments it seems Straight Edgers were all cunts States side…

  4. Pascal Broughton

    May 23, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Am I the only one (no pun intended) who actualy read the strife lyrics of “through and through” and understands the only one truth They talk about is love? Always thought people who thought “one truth” was about straight edge were kinda…. Lets say limited!

  5. Jesse Holland

    May 23, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Well, looks like fascist is the word of the day again.

  6. Iron Aden Pauls

    May 23, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Can you be “straight edge” and still worship Satan?

  7. Lance Peterson Eaglebauer

    May 22, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I don’t know how people do it. Life is a nightmare sober, especially in 2018. A complete nightmare.

  8. Casey Long

    May 22, 2018 at 7:23 pm


  9. Marc Cormier

    May 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I get veganism, but why would anyone give a fuck if you are alcohol or drug free. Good job you are miserable and need a ‘No Fun’ club to sink your time into.

    ***HITS BLUNT***

  10. Rhys Owen

    May 22, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    All depends on the reasons why you chose to be sxe. From experience or influence?

  11. Wolfgang Elenchus Poad

    May 22, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    More importantly, who gives a shit

  12. Christopher Cortez

    May 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    I was at a hardcore fest around maybe 2011, and during the set of a straight edge band the singer said something truely inspirational.

    “Ive hung out with people who smoke and drink and theyre the nicest people ive ever met, i also know some straight edge people who are pieces of shit”.

    I was never straight edge, didnt do anything thought but not because of straight edge, just didnt really come to mind.

    I believed for the most part that smoking and drinking was kinda a waste of time and that most people who drank or smoke were no longer in control (from first hand encounters). I didnt think these people were shit or scum or that sort of thing but i did think there was something to how one felt by these perticular vices that took over and i didnt want to fall into that. I also hated HATING something i had never tried. For maybe 2 years i was a huge stoner, like everyday sort of thing. Then i got over it. For the past 4 years i havnt gotten high and dont miss it, if anything i just got over it, and im too busy now. I have a drink every so often and its all good.

    Straight edge taught me in a different way than most. Same with hardcore. Kinda taught me to stand on my own 2 feet alot more than before, instead of become something i depend on.

    • Adrian Swick

      May 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      They all turned 21. Now they are doing drugs, smoking, and drinking. Hahah

    • Christopher Cortez

      May 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Adrian Swick i was such a goodie two shoes! Now i do hoodrat stuff with friends! Thanks Slayer!!

    • Adrian Swick

      May 22, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Christopher Cortez thanks panic at the disco!

    • Christopher Cortez

      May 22, 2018 at 7:04 pm

      Adrian Swick LMAO!!!!! So theres this house across the street from my house and these 3 dudes always get together just to cover Fall Out Boy songs, its so frustrating! Ima report them for playing satanic music in my christian neighborhood!!!

  13. Howard Aitchison

    May 22, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    ‘Straight edge’ became ‘judgmental dicks’

  14. Harry Pie

    May 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Wasn’t Straightedge the Flock of seagulls hairstyle of the 2000’s? Whoever is straightedge these days is like wearing parachute pants today. It’s so retro!

  15. Jon O'Dubhagain

    May 22, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Fuckin’ douchbags. I remember news stories of these assholes starting fights in shopping plazas.

  16. Kevin Niemiec

    May 22, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    They were the Jordan Peterson fans of their time

  17. Jenna Giselle

    May 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Interesting topic to explore, for sure. As someone who’s identified as both straightedge and a heavy drinker over the course of her life, my overarching issue is that certain straightedge evangelists lack nuance. The “just say no” approach and the superiority behind it fails to have much compassion for people who get drunk and high to deal with underlying mental health issues, unresolved trauma, etc. Yeah, some people get fucked up for the lawlz, but others don’t. Personally, I’ve taken to identifying as “sober” because I think having struggled with substance abuse in the past is a whole other can of worms. However, I think if “internet straightedge” became just a little more patient and accepting I would be more inclined to adopt the identity again like I did when I was 15. That being said, doctrine aside, I can always enjoy xxx bands at face value.

  18. Daniel Wilson

    May 22, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Preachy cunts from memory

  19. Jon McLaughlin

    May 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I know a few good ones, but the majority of straight edge kids in my area basically formed little gangs and I hate them all. Jumping someone for smoking a cigarette at a show is the lowest form of filth.

  20. Sven Cyclenørd

    May 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Thomas Prochnow

  21. Jake Carson

    May 22, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I just remember a bunch of straight edge kids at my school who were into all the old school hardcore bands, what’s funny was the second they all turned 21, they all had several DUIs each shortly after.

  22. Lena Sapunova

    May 22, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Vasely Sapunov Leo NardoBen C. ReadMitch Cramer we all cooked it 🍻

  23. Evgeny Kudinoff

    May 22, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Douchebag edge😆

  24. Basti Schaurer

    May 22, 2018 at 8:55 am

    check out Trail Of Lies

  25. Etlyr Kahn

    May 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

    They all overdosed on douchery

  26. Lars Aksel Swenson

    May 22, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Everything everyone said here. I recall a straight edge kid on the all ages punk scene when I was a kid trying to tell me how they were against sex. Sobriety is great, but that scene deserves to die.

  27. Joshua Caleb Runyon

    May 22, 2018 at 8:14 am

    A lot like religion. Fuck that elitist shite

  28. Sabrina Ellis Delaby

    May 22, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Show me a straight-edges search history, then we’ll talk about how much better they are.

  29. Raul Perez

    May 22, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Claiming edge is just another way to feel superior to others , just like religion

  30. Jonas Calacsan

    May 22, 2018 at 7:43 am

    That generation of SE kids that saw SSD or Minor Threat found out they liked beer and drugs when they hit their 20s, by the time the 90s hit it wasn’t called Hardcore Punk any more it was Hard Core or Punk and SE kids only listened to SE bands

  31. Otis Chamberlain

    May 22, 2018 at 7:31 am

    they all became flat-earthers

  32. James Phillip Schmitt

    May 22, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Straight edge kids were always dicks to manic people like me, pointing out we could never hang with them because we were incapable of their conception of “sobriety”

    • Mike Frontera

      May 22, 2018 at 7:30 am

      My cousin was and is straight edge. And continues to look down at anyone who “uses” alcohol.

    • Rhys Owen

      May 22, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      You guys hung out with the wrong type of straight edgers by the sounds. The ones like that might as well be jehovah witnesses.

    • Graeme Howard

      May 23, 2018 at 12:07 am

      Exactly Rhys Owen

      I’ve had and still have so many sXe friends that were awesome and not judgemental at all. It just meant I always had sober drivers to scab a ride home with after shows.

      I met a sXe person that would later become my flatmate when I almost puked on him at a Promise of Bloodshed show :p the same guy would also chill with me on the deck of our flat while I got stoned and would just let me rant at him for hours while I went looking for food.

      Sounds like you met some people that would have been dicks if they weren’t sXe. They were probably just dicks.

      What amazed me was the amount of time my sXe friends could spend in bars or strip clubs while sober, I couldn’t do it.

  33. Gavin Henry

    May 22, 2018 at 6:57 am


  34. Gene Trosper

    May 22, 2018 at 6:28 am

    I prefer an occasional craft beer to crypto-fascist movements.

  35. Charlie Bones

    May 22, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Bent edge b//e is better.

  36. Amanda Gemmill

    May 22, 2018 at 5:57 am

    They turned 21. Pretty common really…

  37. Santiago Montoya Ordóñez

    May 22, 2018 at 5:38 am

    In my experience just a bunch of fascist hypocrites

  38. Niklas Sandberg

    May 22, 2018 at 4:22 am

    The XXX youth at my hometown went to attack on old ladies with mink fur on the street. Big men with leather jacket…. naee. #cowardstothebone

  39. Demonskull Eust

    May 22, 2018 at 4:04 am

    Straight edge is the fucking best and if you don’t believe so you’re a gimp

  40. Cory Hatfield

    May 22, 2018 at 3:45 am

    People realized how shitty it is.

  41. Sarah Sachs

    May 22, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Steve Hart

  42. Björn Jacobs

    May 22, 2018 at 3:16 am

    This scene is elitist and has partly fascistoid tendencies … but there are also some good people in it. In the end it’s my life, my choice and my intoxication #edgebreak2014

  43. Foivos Theofilopoulos

    May 22, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Δημήτρης Δημητρίου

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