“Alright, here we go,” he says, exhaling deeply. “Years ago, I would make some demo tapes of some bands. It wasn’t like I was making a lot of money on that. I’m a fan of the music, so if I saw a CD that I didn’t have, I would buy it whether or not it was a real thing from the band,” says Healey, who grew up collecting vinyl. “It was bad judgment on my part, but I don’t regret anything. Because you learn.” Healey says that hardcore has a way of policing itself— “People let you know if you’re doing something fucked up”—but he wonders if perhaps it polices itself too strongly. “Not to justify anything, but there are so many people on the Internet today that just download records and records,” he says. “But also, me, being the person I am, mention my name and people will know. I accept full responsibility for what I’ve done,” he says finally, “but I did it because I loved those bands.”

“Rick Healey is the man,” said Colin Campbell of the Boston band Colin Of Arabia, in an email. “A lot of dudes might talk bad about my friend, but please —hardcore is that dude’s life, and everyone has bought a CD or two from his flea market. Sometimes Rick digs up records I like out of his distro just because he knows I want them or like those bands.”

Healey is uncomfortable talking about the negativity that has surrounded different aspects of his career; instead, he prefers to address his detractors through his music. On older songs like “Haterz Be Damned” and “Drown In Your Own Blood,” Healey exhibits a vengeful aggression. But on the more recent “Haters,” he sounds like he’s smirking when he says, “You know the name / 25 Ta Life / Now talk your shit / Fuckin’ haters.” If he hasn’t moved on, perhaps he’s accepted that as long as 25 Ta Life is around, there are going to be people “talking shit.” There are going to be haters.

It seems as if “the rumors” are just about the only thing Healey can’t outlast. Around the turn of the century, the New York hardcore scene began grinding to a halt. On some level, hardcore grew bigger than ever—Hatebreed became a fixture on the Ozzfest, and the popular heavy music of the past half decade is, after all, called metalcore. But the New York scene has almost been left for dead. Pavich surmises that venue closings, and the gentrification of the neighborhoods that housed them, may play a role in the decrease of hardcore shows and their audience. Or maybe people just grew tired of a genre that resists change in a most bullheaded fashion. Whatever the reason, many of the bands that came up with Healey fizzled out; some have recently taken half-hearted stabs at reunions. E-Town Concrete went on to play Ozzfest and released one album with a major distribution deal in 2003; they issued their next record independently before disbanding.

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9 Responses

  1. Razor Ray

    Nice glossing over a lot of the “why’s?” that have gotten you into trouble with this scene in the first place. I realize there are a TON of blowhards who crack wise on you who 10 years ago would have sucked your dick to be you, but you are NOT completely faultless in all of this.

  2. Kurt Violence

    YOU go an quit your day job and see how long you survive. You are probably sitting sipping a latte while downloading everybody’s music for free and you would bust Ric for selling some demos to eat? WTF?

  3. SATAN

    funny how there’s talk of how the NY scene is dead meanwhile there’s not a single person that lives in NY talking in the article. the NY scene never died…. it just went deeper underground when little pussies stopped supporting the bands. as for rick, he didnt have permission from a lot of these bands to make copies of these demos…. if he has asked then he’d get the benefit of the doubt but he was shady about it. plus the quality of the stuff was terrible, shitty photocopies, tapes that cut off halfway through… people who bought the shit felt just as ripped off as the bands that he made money off of (without permission). and it wasnt just tapes, he bootlegged cds, dvds and shirts also. shit aint right no matter how hard you try to justify it. i dont care how much good youve done for the scene, shit is dishonest, a thief is a thief.

  4. shorecore

    Funny enough Strong Intention should take their own advice about shady business. They were the band that would call the venues and promoters, where bigger bands were playing, and claim they were on tour with them. DRI was really surprised that year as was Tear it Up.

  5. steele

    Good article man. Rick is a complete liar though. When i saw 25 ta a couple years ago, he had NO demos. Only photocopied CDR’s at full price. Most of which were larger hardcore releases, on larger labels. So as for you “getting the music out there” complete bullshit. Possibly back in the day that was your intent, now that is not the case. Although I do not feel sorry for anyone who was duped into buying his shoddy merchandise, one look and you can tell it is not authentic. How are you getting the word of these bands out there for $10 a pop? I usually discover music over the internet for FREE! So if your intention was to truly “get the music out there” You would host albums on back ta basics website for free! He would get a ton of hits and most likely make more money this way. Not to mention It would be accessible all over the world and not just 1 hardcore show with 25 kids at it.

    Yes i know, you have dedicated your life to this, but who cares. It seems as if he has only dedicated his life to hardcore because he is an absolute idiot. He has no clue what to do with his life, your band is done! For real 25 ta life is a joke now and rightfully so (super sloppy sets and terrible albums). The only other band with less original members is Gwar and they are meant to be a joke! Not that you need original members, but at least find steady talented musicians. When i read your portrayal of rick ta, it makes the 38 year old man seem like he is still searching for acceptance and a 0place to belong. Much like he was when he was in high school. He seems like a sad empty man, who has burned too many bridges to ever return to greatness. Doomed to be a has been.

  6. stu

    yo, fuck the haters… i’ve known rtl for 15 years, i also know all the people he’s beefing with and the reason there’s beef. dude up top is a liar, no cdr’s… he’s got mad demos, most of you shit talkers don’t know anything and don’t say a word to him when he’s around. this dude is family to me, and he’s never dicked me over, he did bootleg a comp i put out, but i couldn’t afford to repress it so he did. most bands that complain never went anywhere or arent going anywhere, and kids who complain now are trendy because it’s now cool to hate rick, like it was cool to wear his keepin it real hoodie in 96… fuck you all…

  7. aaaaaa

    LOL bitchez cryin’ bout rick. Surely, what he did wasn’t completely right yet not completely wrong. There are facts that justify him and facts that prove he did shit BUT people were buying his stuff so don’t complain, if they didn’t like it they would stop buying it.


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