I’ve spoken about my fandom for proto-NYHC band, KRAUT, here a number of times (notably here, here, here, and most recently here). Kraut don’t get enough credit, to my mind, as they unwittingly occupied a somewhat amorphous period between the original NYC punk era and the rise of full-fledged hardcore. They definitely had a hand in jump-starting the NYHC scene (they were among the handful of bands featured on the seminal ROIR cassette, New York Thrash, alongside similarly inclined ensembles like The Mad, The Stimulators, Even Worse and, of course, the Beastie Boys), but don’t seem to get name-checked as much as later bands like Agnostif Front, Warzone, et al.
Historical pedantry aside, however, I just think their first record, An Adjustment to Society, is amazing. Sure, there are a few awkward, knuckleheaded lyrics here and there, but Kraut made no claims about being the next King Crimson, or anything. It was blunt, angry, fast and full-throttled, also featuing periodic contributions from storied Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Not only were Kraut pals with a `Pistol, but they even opened up for The Clash during their tumultuous residency at Bond’s Casino in Times Square.
Anyway, the only reason I’m bringing up Kraut again is because of my old neighbor, Glen E. Friedman, posted a vintage picture of the Kraut lads that had previously not seen the light of day on his excellent Instagram page, that being this one.
Here we see Davey Gunner, preternaturally youthful drummer Johnny Feedback, Don Cowan and Doug Holland standing with insouciant aplomb in front of an edifice they presumably just defaced (notice the Kraut logo scrawled behind them). Here’s what Glen had to say about the photo:
KRAUT circa 1981 on 7th street btw. A & B is my guess. This is a rare photo of a next generation NY punk band, outside of the Stimulators and Bad Brains (after they transplanted here) there were very few bands of this era i photographed.
Not only was I pleased to see Glen posting a pic of Kraut, but I love a good location-spotting challenge. In this instance, Glen was dead-on. I recognized the building behind the band immediately. This is indeed East 7th Street between Avenues A & B. The band is depicted standing, sitting and squatting, respectively, just steps to the east of what would have been the entrance to hardcore hole-in-the-wall, A7 (which is, today, the rear of Jesse Malin’s bar, Niagara).
As is my wont, however, I wanted to see if could accurately pinpoint the exact spot Messrs. Gunner, Feedback, Cowan and Holland are pictured, and thanks to that strange little nodule just to the right of Feedback’s bowl-cut (which he later shaved off in favor of a flat-top of spikes), I was able to do just that.
Yesterday afternoon, while taking in the lovely spring weather, my own little punk rockers and I swung down East 7th to scope out the scene. Here in 2017, A7 is long gone, the Kraut graffiti has long since been brushed away, and the neighborhood is by and large a completely different place … but that odd little nodule on the edifice of 140 East 7th street is still there.