"That's the sound of New York, baby!" announces Vinnie Stigma while walking through the cacophony of the city's busy streets.
That statement can also be applied to guitarist Stigma and vocalist Roger Miret's long-running hardcore-punk band, Agnostic Front, which is the subject of an in-depth and intensely personal documentary The Godfathers of Hardcore that will premiere at this year's DOCNYC Festival on November 11th.
Through rare and previously unreleased archival footage, exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to the band members and their families, director Ian McFarland has crafted the definitive account of Miret and Stigma's gritty underground rise — a dramatic, 35-year journey from basement-storming LES rabble-rousers, to hometown heroes, to world-renowned ambassadors of New York's iconic hardcore scene — as well as their monumental impact on punk rock writ large.
"We are a product of New York," says Miret. "We hung out in the Lower East Side when it was the most dangerous time, ever … shootings, muggings, gangs all around us. That danger created something great."
While rooted in Miret and Stigma's hardscrabble past, McFarland's documentary also delves deep into the personal and creative challenges that have faced the two musicians in recent years: parenthood, health issues and the struggle to grow up while still staying in touch with their punk identity and roots.
"How do you grow out of a culture?" Stigma asks. "It's not like you're growing out of a shirt, or shoes ... You're a band, you know what that means? Once you're in, you can't get out."