Thursday, January 7, 2010


New York, United States
Hardcore punk
Years active
Revelation Records
Schism Records
Associated acts
Gorilla Biscuits
Nightmare of You
Project X
Rival Schools
Side By Side
Youth of Today

Judge was a New York-based straight edge band; formed in 1987 by Youth of Today guitarist, John "Porcell" Porcelly, and former Death Before Dishonor/Youth of Today drummer, Mike "Judge" Ferraro.

Their first release was a 7" EP on Porcell's label Schism (which he ran along with Side By Side/ Gorilla Biscuits guitar-player Alex Brown) entitled New York Crew. The record featured 5 songs, one of which was a cover of "Warriors" by the British oi!/punk band Blitz. On this recording, the band was merely a two-piece, featuring Porcelly on bass and guitar, and Ferraro on vocals and drums. But with the addition of bass-player Jimmy Yu (of Mike's former band Death Before Dishonor, which eventually evolved into Supertouch) and drummer "Lukey" Luke Abbey (Warzone/ Gorilla Biscuits), they got together a fully-functional live line-up.

The band received lots of criticism due to their militant Straight Edge lyrics, especially from fanzines like San Francisco's Maximum Rock'N'Roll. The militant lyrics were a conscious move on the band's part, as they were sick of seeing bands like Youth Of Today, who in reality had a very positive message, get slagged for being too militant. So they decided to give the nay-sayers exactly what they wanted - the most militant Straight Edge band imaginable. Mike Ferraro has later on admitted that provocation was an important aim for the band.

Judge was not just heavy in message, the music had very metal-influenced riffing, but remained close to its hardcore roots, without going all out metal, such as bands like Agnostic Front and DRI.

With a new line-up of Sammy Siegler (Side By Side/ Youth Of Today/ Project X etc.) on drums and Matt Pincus on bass, the band proceeded to record their full-length LP Bringin' It Down for Revelation Records at Chung King Studios in New York City. The recording was finished, but the band were so unhappy with the result that they decided to scrap it and re-record it at Normandy Sound in Rhode Island, where The Cro-Mags had recorded their landmark The Age of Quarrel album. Revelation did however put out a limited pressing of the original recording, fittingly titled Chung King Can Suck It (LP). It was given to people who had pre-ordered the record, and with only 110 copies pressed (all on white vinyl), it is one of the most sought-after hardcore records in existence, going for as much as $2500+ USD on online auction sites such as eBay. Eventually, Bringin' It Down was released in 1989. Judge continued touring up until 1991, and even released another 7" EP, There Will Be Quiet, featuring "The Storm" and "Forget This Time" (the CD-version also contains a cover-version of "When the Levee Breaks", originally by Led Zeppelin).

John Porcelly went on to tour and record with Hare Krishna hardcore band Shelter (featuring Ray Cappo of Youth Of Today, as well as a revolving line-up of more and less well-known hardcore musicians, including Tom Capone of Bold and Quicksand, and Vic DiCara of Beyond, Inside Out, and 108). Porcelly later started the bands Never Surrender and Last of the Famous, and ran a record label called Fight Fire With Fire and the website, but all these projects seem to be either scrapped or inactive. He played with the reunited Bold in 2005-06, and a book chronicling all issues of his fanzine Schism was also released in late 2005.

Mike Ferraro (musician) continued in the band Mike Judge & Old Smoke, a band playing Neil Young-inspired acoustic music. They released a 12" on Revelation Records in 1993.

Sammy Siegler played in several late 80's/early 90's hardcore bands, either regularly or as a replacement. In the mid-late 90's he recorded and toured with the band CIV, featuring Anthony Civarelli and Arthur Smilios of Gorilla Biscuits. He has also appeared in Shelter, and major label rock band Rival Schools, featuring Walter Schreifels (also of Gorilla Biscuits, as well as Quicksand and several other bands). In 2005 he joined Limp Bizkit as temporary replacement for drummer John Otto.

Matt Pincus currently runs the NYC-based record label Some Records, which has released records from bands like Hot Water Music, Errortype 11 and Beyond.

Jimmy Yu became a Zen/ Chan Buddhist monk in 1991 under the name Guogu, and now teaches Buddhism and meditation under the direction of master Sheng Yen. Yu is currently an Assistant Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Yu received his Ph.D. from Princeton University's Department of Religion in 2008. Yu teaches courses in East Asian religious traditions, specializing in Chinese and Japanese Buddhism and late imperial Chinese cultural history. His research interests include the cultural history of the body, Buddhist monasticism, Chan/Zen Buddhism, and popular religions within the broader context of fifteenth to seventeenth centuries China.

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