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OUR WORLD FRIDAY, MAY 3, 1996

IT’S HARD HITTING-- IT’S LOUD--

AND IT’S DEFINITELY DIFFERENT.

IT’S ROCK AND ROLL... WITH A NEW MESSAGE AND A NEW FOLLOWING.

AND A NEW NAME... STRAIGHT EDGE.

CNN’S BRUCE BURKHARDT TAKES US RIGHT INTO THE MOSH PIT!

“THE KEY TO SELF LIBERATION IS ABSTINENCE FROM THE DESTRUCTIVE ESCAPISM OF INTOXICATION. I SEPARATE FROM THE POISON OF MINDLESSNESS I’VE ALWAYS ABHORRED.”

IT’S A “WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE” KIND OF THING.

ROCKERS, HARD ROCKERS, WALKING THE WALK, BUT TALKING A DIFFERENT TALK.

“SO THE SONG’S BASICALLY INSPIRED BY THINGS THAT I’VE SEEN WHEN I WAS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, HOW PEOPLE BASICALLY ARE SLOWLY DESTROYING THEMSELVES WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL.”

KARL BUECHNER IS LEAD SINGER FOR A GROUP CALLED “EARTH CRISIS”, ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BANDS AMONG THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SMALL UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT KNOWN AS “STRAIGHT EDGE”.

“DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF HOW INFLUENTIAL THIS WHOLE STRAIGHT EDGE THING IS AT THIS POINT? I MEAN, IS IT HAVING ANY KIND OF IMPACT?”

“IT FULLY IS. I MEAN, WE’VE GOTTEN MAIL FROM ALL THROUGHOUT EUROPE, ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, ISRAEL, SINGAPORE, JAPAN. STRAIGHT EDGE IS DEFINITELY A GROWING THING.”

THE MOSH PIT; NO CLOUD OF CIGARETTE SMOKE HANGS OVER THIS CROWD. AND IF IT LOOKS LIKE THEY’RE HIGH ON SOMETHING , IT’S NOT DRUGS AND IT’S NOT BOOZE.

“WE WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT STRAIGHT EDGE DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A CLIQUE OR A CROWD. IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH AN INDIVIDUAL ADHERING TO A LIFETIME COMMITMENT TO ABSTAIN FROM THE POISONS OF DRINKING ALCOHOL, SMOKING CIGARETTES, TAKING ILLEGAL DRUGS, AND ALSO ENGAGING IN DESTRUCTIVE AND SELF-DESTRUCTIVE TYPES OF BEHAVIOR, LIKE PROMISCUOUS SEX.”

IT IS HARDLY THE RHETORIC OF THE ROCK-AND-ROLL I GREW UP WITH.

“HOPEFULLY, JUST CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT IT; MAGAZINES. SHIRTS, PEOPLE GET EDUCATED.”

D.J. AND GUAVE, A COUPLE OF STRAIGHT EDGE MOVERS AND SHAKERS HERE IN SYRACUSE, ONE OF SEVERAL CITIES WHERE THE MOVEMENT IS THRIVING.

THEY’RE PRINTING UP T-SHIRTS TO SELL AT TOMORROW’S BIG CONCERT.

“DO YOU MAKE ANY MONEY OFF THIS?”

“NO.”

“NOT YET, BUT WE WILL.”

“SO THAT’S REALLY WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO FOR YOU, IS JUST GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT?”

“YEAH, THAT’S MY MOTIVATION, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE I SEE THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING.”

YOU AND I CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE LYRICS, BUT THESE KIDS CAN.

IN FACT, MOST HERE KNOW ALL THE WORDS BY HEART.

“WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO DARN LOUD?”

“IT’S ROCK-AND-ROLL, MAN!”

“LISTEN, WE DON’T DO DRUGS AND STUFF, BUT WE STILL ROCK!”

AND THOUGH ROCK HAS ALWAYS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH YOUTHFUL REBELLION, STRAIGHT EDGE KIDS BELIEVE THEIRS IS THE TRUE REBELLION.

WHEN IT COMES TO DRUGS, SEX, AND ROCK-AND-ROLL, THESE GUYS FIGURE TWO OUT OF THREE IS BAD.

“REBELLION CAN’T BE, LIKE, YOU KNOW, MESSING YOURSELF UP AND GETTING DRUNK. THAT’S NOT REBELLION. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE SAYING. THAT’S THE THINGS THAT OUR PARENTS DID, AND IT’S JUST NOT REBELLIOUS.”

“YOU CAN’T ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. THINGS NEED TO BE CHANGED NOW, AND YOU CANNOT DO THAT IF YOU ARE AT A PARTY GETTING DRUNK. YOU CAN’T DO THAT IF YOU’RE AT A PARTY GETTING DRUNK.”

AND SO, THEY PARTY LIKE THIS; ENERGETIC, BUT SOBER, AND WEARING THAT “X” ON THE BACK OF THEIR HANDS THAT PROCLAIMS THEY ARE STRAIGHT EDGE.

“WHEN IT FIRST STARTED OUT, KIDS WOULD GO TO A CLUB, AND IF YOU WERE UNDERAGE YOU GOT AN “X” ON YOUR HAND. SO, IT JUST BECAME A SYMBOL FOR KIDS WEREN’T DRINKING.”

JOHN MCKAIG IS SORT OF A KINDLY UNCLE TO THE STRAIGHT EDGE CROWD.

AN ART INSTRUCTOR AT SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, MCKAIG BOOKS THE CONCERTS HERE, OFTEN PUTTING THE BANDS UP AT HIS OWN HOUSE.

“HEY, YOU GOT AN “X” ON YOUR HAND JUST LIKE STRAIGHT EDGE.”

“YEAH. I WAS MAKING FUN OF STRAIGHT EDGERS LAST NIGHT, DREW AN “X” ON MY HAND.”

AND, THE FACT IS, A LOT OF YOUNG FOLKS, SO-CALLED “SLACKERS”, DON’T THINK STRAIGHT EDGE IS COOL.

“THEY’RE STUPID, THEY’RE BORING. WHAT DO THEY DO, SIT AROUND AND PLAY HOCKEY?”

WE FOUND THESE YOUNG FOLKS CRUISING AROUND ATLANTA, THE KIND OF KIDS STRAIGHT EDGE WOULD LIKE TO REACH.

“STRAIGHT EDGE IS DEFINITELY THE STARTING POINT. IT’S FREEING YOUR MIND FROM THE POISONS.”

“PEOPLE ARE REALIZING WE CAN’T CONTINUE THIS WAY. A LOT FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS, A LOT FOR THE ETHICAL REASONS, AND ALSO FOR THE HEALTH REASONS. PEOPLE ARE NOW FINDING OUT JUST HOW HORRIBLE MEAT AND DAIRY IS FOR YOU.”

THEY TRY TO SHARE THEIR MESSAGE THROUGH SOMETHING CALLED “ZINES.”

THAT’S LINGO FOR THEIR UNDERGROUND, HOMEMADE MAGAZINES.

BUT LATELY THEY’VE ALSO GONE HIGH-TECH WITH THE INTERNET.

THERE ALL SEVERAL STRAIGHT EDGE HOME PAGES.

YOUTHFUL IDEALISM OR JUST ANOTHER FAD?

WELL, MAYBE BOTH.

BUT THESE KIDS SAY THEY’RE STRAIGHT EDGE FOR LIFE.

“IT’S BEEN SHOWN THROUGHOUT HISTORY THAT ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. WHETHER THEY WERE GREAT PEOPLE OR WHETHER THEY WERE HORRIBLE PEOPLE, ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE THE WORLD, AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING, YOU KNOW. THERE’S THOUSANDS OF US NOW, ALL OVER THE WORLD. IT STARTED WITH ONE PERSON’S IDEA. WE’RE NOT GOING TO GO AWAY.”