Hardcore is one of the few genres of music where a name is more than a name. I don't mean that names command adoration (and they do sometimes), but more than any other genre, a name can command fear. It isn't like in metal or rock where you hear this person is around and you want to shake their hand and get an autograph or a picture. In hardcore, the sound of some names will make you stand on your toes and make sure you don't look the wrong way. For the uninitiated, this element of fear is off-putting. "Why would I go to a show to be afraid?" It isn't about fear so much as it is about tangibility. The fear is real because the name is real. When you go to these shows, you know that everything around you is real. Hardcore's best asset has always been its atmosphere of authenticity that envelops you when you walk in.
When you hear the name Phil Anselmo, you jump to so many anecdotes about his drug use and Pantera, but is any of it real? When you go to a Down show, do you actually have a chance of running into Phil? To this end, Phil is as real as Pecos Bill. He's a folk tale, not a real person. In hardcore, there are personalities that are so feared that people make it a point to say hello to them to make sure they're on an even-footing with them (imagine Paulie from Goodfellas) or, more common, make sure they don't get within twenty feet of the person. Around the country there's a variety of personalities and crews that bear this respect through fear motif. In New York, one group has a monopoly on this: D.M.S.
DMS AKA Doc Marten Skins AKA Drugs Money Sex AKA Dirty Money Syndicate's start began in the late 1980s. According to prominent DMS member / leader Danny Diablo (of Crown Of Thornz / Skarhead fame) in an interview with Mass Appeal, he says that the foundations of the crew were with himself, Hoya Roc (of Madball), MQ, and Nark. It was "an Irish guy named Jere" who officially organized DMS into what it is today. The common thread of the crew was pretty straight forward: hardcore, graffiti, brotherhood, and New York. DMS' existence is as accomplished as it is mysterious. For as many great bands and followings in both the hardcore and graffiti world the crew has, much less is known about them.
Dmize is widely acknowledged as the first official DMS band. Formed in the late 80s, Dmize featured John (first vocalist), Chiqui Rodriguez (second vocalist), a young Hoya Roc (before he joined Madball), Rob "Beto" Rosario (25 Ta Life), Steve Pettit (25 Ta Life), and Richie Nagle. The band became the planted flag for DMS. In their first song, Dmize lays down an intro that was indicative of what New York's DNA would be going forward: rhythmic, slower, and above all else, punishing. After the introduction finishes building up, Dmize says "I am" by shouting the crew's letters: D.M.S. What would follow from Dmize was an entire generation of bands and an entire style of NYHC that redefined the way the city was viewed. Gone were the days of the Cro-Mags, Antidote, and Breakdown. Today, a lot of modern kids think of NYHC as Madball, Crown Of Thornz, and Skarhead. While that aforementioned perspective is unfortunate, it doesn't lose sight of the reality. By the early 90s, much of the first generation of NYHC had abandoned the scene for greener pastures in metal and post-hardcore. DMS held it down for NYHC in its second generation. Without them, who is to say what would have happened to New York going forward?
Dmize should be more loved than they are. They are a template for the second generation of NYHC. When Dmize started, Madball still sounded like Agnostic Front. It wasn't until Dmize's Hoya joined Madball that Madball became the band that wrote Set It Off. Dmize is a textbook case of the saddest story in hardcore: good bands that fall by the way side all the time. Most of the time it is because they don't do a whole lot or they ended quicker than they should have or they're just an old band and what they did was lost to the ages. It made sense for Dmize to become more of an initiated thing. Their music isn't the easiest to find. Most people are happy to just listen to Madball or Crown Of Thornz and call it a day. Dmize is an important band for their contributions to the second generation of NYHC's sound, for them being DMS' first foot forward into music, and for just being really good.
Included is the Backlash CD that Lost & Found put out, all three of their demos, and a live WNYU set.