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“I started this damn country band,” Ryan Adams (yes, I know) sang on the first Whiskeytown album, “because punk rock was too hard to sing.” And while Adams was being somewhat facetious, even while validating my life-long truism that some of our best musicians play hardcore, he was positing himself as heir to a grand tradition that arguably started with Rank and File.
Prior to teaming up with drummer Slim Evans and ringer Alejandro Escovedo, Chip and Tony Kinman (RIP) were in the legendary San Francisco punk band The Dils, where they wrote songs like “Class War” and “I Hate The Rich,” as the kids did back then. But the Kinman brothers were always musically restless, and so as the rules for hardcore got ever more stringent, the Dils broke up, probably because punk rock was too easy to sing. Cos Chip and Tony Kinman could sing anything: their harmonies were otherworldly.