Roger Miret is no stranger to the hardcore punk scene. The vocalist and frontman for NYC’s Agnostic Front spearheads a sound for fans of old school hardcore who thirst for aggressive music with a message about the harsh realities of life and societal injustice. In the midst of their 35th anniversary, the band’s ethos mission is just as vital now as it was when they got their start in the early ‘80s.
Currently is composed of Miret on vocals, founding member, guitarist Vinnie Stigma additional guitarist Craig Silverman, bassist Mike Gallo, and drummer Pokey, the band’s global tour stops in Southern California for a string of shows in LA, Long Beach, Pomona and San Diego, December 7th, through December 9th. Miret is also on a book tour for his new autobiography, titled My Riot: Agnostic Front Grit, Guts & Glory.
Early on, Miret says the band had no idea how much of an impact would have.“We didn’t think what we were doing with Agnostic Front as being influential. We were all just speaking our minds about all the injustice with our music,” he says. “It was a time and a place but it became a pretty magical time and place as the years went by.”
Agnostic Front, and Miret, in particular, has had its share of dark, turbulent times over the years. Along with violence, crime, and substance abuse, Miret went to jail for almost two years for drugs. “It was rough but in the end, it was a huge positive outcome for me to get out,” he says. “I talk about it in my book but it straightened my life up tremendously.”
Despite the loss of many close personal friends over the years to drugs or violence, Miret maintains a positive attitude. “ I feel lucky to be with my family every day and be surrounded by the people I love,” he says. “I am thankful I get to be with my band and live my dream playing music, it makes me feel blessed.”
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When it comes to the Agnostic Front’s live shows, Miret insists it is all about a cathartic experience for everyone; But, he understands why some might see the band’s past and current concerts as violent. “Our scene was violent but it was controlled,” he says regarding the history of Agnostic Front’s intense performances and circle pits. “Back in the day, no one was trying to really hurt anyone. It's hard to explain, but it’s just organized chaos, but today it’s different people punch and kick around which is a little unnecessary if you ask me.”
Miret said that for the most part, the extreme senseless fighting in the pit is gone today at shows. “There was a moment in time when it became violence for the sake of violence. It was insane, fun, but scary too,” he remembers. “But I think all that brutal violence left the scene in the late ‘80s early ‘90s, which is a good thing, because almost all fans just come to have fun and enjoy the music.”
Although Agnostic Front have always been relentless road dogs, spending the better part of the year on tour, Miret says that he can no longer spend that much time away from his family. “It’s a lot easier nowadays because of the Internet,” he says. “ But I have to balance my family life today, I can’t be on the road 11 months out of the year like I used to.”
Miret says the Southern California shows this week will be fun and has fond memories of playing locally over the years. “There were so many cool venues and shows we played out here,” he says. “One crazy show I remember was many years ago, at Spanky’s in Riverside where a little band called the Offspring opened the show—crazy.”
Along with the tour, Miret is also doing book signings at each show—he'll likely be a lot less angy than he is on stage. “I am at the merch booth, meeting fans, seeing books and signing them, so everyone should come say hello to me.”
Agnostic Front performs with Take Offense and The Eulogy at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach. (562) 434-8292, www.alexsbar.com, Thurs. Dec. 7, 8 p.m. 21+ $15-$17.