SAN FRANCISCO — Local hardcore band KNAVES is the kind of blistering, punk-infused hardcore that any fan of subversive or conservative political rage can get behind. The band of reactionary or progressive advocates — depending on the city in which they are playing that night — is credited as being “ignorant mosh warriors any forward-thinking activist could support.”
James Owens, frontman of the group, is known to boldly take a stand for whichever cause can help his band get some more shows.
“I have to speak out. I have to do what is right,” Owens stated in a Facebook post addressing a wide range of backlash. “I’m disgusted by the actions of this man Dave, who can no longer get me on shows that I feel elevate our band’s name. He is not welcome at any show that my new friend Jared, who runs a sick label, books me on.”
“We will be boycotting any show, booker, or venue that is boycotted by more-popular bands who could maybe bring us on a little SoCal weekend or something,” guitarist Phil Davids clarified via email. “This is our stand.”
The band steadfastly denied accusations that they drastically change their world views based on which touring band they are opening for or which city they are playing, but attendees of a recent Reno show say different.
“KNAVES are a bunch of meatheads who bring the mosh,” Ryan Thompson, the man behind Hardcore Pride WorldWide Productions, said. “Dude was up there yelling, ‘Mosh, you pussies!’ before every breakdown. And he sung along to the Driver cover.”
“I saw their drummer crowd-kill some bitches, it was sick,” Thompson added.
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Dr. Lisa R. Klein, a hardcore historian and professor of musicology at Columbia University, says much of the confusion about the band can be traced back to their lyrics. “In the song, ‘Smash It,’ they sing, ‘It’s time for hardcore to return to its roots of progress for a future we can all enjoy / It’s time for the boys to mosh hard or die moving forward.’ I think this sort of double-speak helps their ability to blend into any social movement that helps their personal brand.”
“I mean, seriously… what the fuck is that song about?” she later added.
“I’m not into drama,” Owens said after playing a show promoted by a group called White Christians for Common Sense Marriage Reform. “But we strongly think America’s Hardcore fest should have more women on it. Or less. Or our band. E-mail me.”