Author of American Hardcore, Steven Blush, I’m lookin’ directly at you. You’re wrong about one critical piece of history that your book is named after; and I’m just looking at the date on this label. Middle Class. “TortureGarden Music. 1978.” Bad Brains—love ‘em. Highly influential. I’m with you there. However, they were not responsible for the first hardcore punk record in America, as much as you’d like a band on your side of America to be the vinyl first-men-on-the-moon for an entire genre of music, it isn’t so. Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” Released: 1979. It’s. On. The. Label. Middle Class are, unquestionably hardcore: lighting fast playing, barely attached melody. Awesome. The only other serious contender, if you’re using a highly subjective slide rule of “influence” to overcome the date pressed directly on the record, like Middle Class just “doesn’t count”? Black Flag’s Nervous Breakdown. October, 1978. My math’s shitty and I get my days of the week wrong all the time, but 1978 was before 1979. Check it. Re-release of the first-ever American hardcore record ever that was getting damn hard and expensive to find.