Family has always been the most important thing to Agnostic Front vocalist Roger Miret.
In fact, his young family was the main reason the legendary New York City hardcore outfit split up for four years, beginning in 1992. At the time, the band had released the metal-tinged comeback album “One Voice,” a document of Miret’s two-year stint in prison on drug possession charges.
“I was kind of selfishly just doing stuff, and just kind of not really paying attention to my own family,” Miret said recently from his home in Scotsdale, Ariz. “We were touring, touring, touring, being very active, but at the same time my daughter was just getting older. I needed to stop for a moment and give my time to her — that was the most important thing.”
with Lionheart, Brick By Brick and Aggressive Response
WHEN: 7 tonight
WHERE: Bogie’s, 297 Ontario St., Albany
HOW MUCH: $10
MORE INFO: 451-9463, www.upstateblacknblue.com
During the time away, Miret was certified as an official Harley-Davidson motorcycle mechanic, something that he still does today when not touring with Agnostic Front, The Alligators or his solo project, Roger Miret and the Disasters.
He eventually reconvened with Agnostic Front’s founding guitarist Vinnie Stigma for a handful of reunion shows in 1996, which led to a new album, 1998’s “Something’s Gotta Give,” on Epitaph Records.
“I needed to do what I needed to do, and the time away was good to help me think and process and get better with myself,” Miret said. “I actually asked my daughter, Nadia, if it was OK for me to go back and play shows. If she had said no, I would have stayed home as long as she said it was OK.”
Last year, Agnostic Front celebrated its 30th year as a band. The group has continued to tour and release new music, most recently 2011’s “My Life My Way,” the band’s 10th full-length studio album. And even though Miret once again has young kids at home — his daughter, Havi, was born in 2007, and his son Desi in 2009 — he’s learned to balance the life of a hardcore punk rocker with being a dad.
“Well, that’s the whole thing, you know — what I’ve learned from my past is that it’s really hard to be in a band and maintain any relationship,” he said. “I won’t do a huge U.S. tour — I won’t do 12 weeks; I won’t even do three weeks in the U.S. The maximum is three weeks, but it’s more like two weeks. I need to go home, spend time with my family and ground myself.”
This week the band is tackling the Northeast before heading out for a longer two-week stint in Europe (with a week off in between). The band will return to Bogie’s, a familiar haunt for them since forming in the early ’80s, tonight.
“Since the beginning we’ve been in the Albany area, playing miscellaneous clubs — Bogie’s is always there; the QE2 for sure, we played there; that bigger one in Troy — Saratoga Winners,” Miret said. “Since I’m not local, it’s not so easy to get to a show anymore. But it’s cool, you know, because, being that we’ve gone many times before, it’s good to see old friends, share some of the old memories, and we make new memories along with new friends.”
The band has another connection to the area that only came about in more recent years. New York City hardcore mainstay Don Fury, who produced Agnostic Front’s now classic first EP, “United Blood,” and first album, “Victim in Pain,” has operated a new studio in Troy since 2008. Both albums were reissued in 2009 to mark the 25th anniversary of both records’ 1984 release.
The band’s sessions with Fury in the early ’80s were some of the earliest for both band and producer. At the time, Fury was branching out from two-track recordings in his basement rehearsal space — “United Blood” was one of Fury’s earliest forays into four-track recording.
“It was all learning how to record, pretty much — we did it on his four-track machine which he bought,” Miret said. “When we decided we were going to do our first album, at the same time, he rented a machine, a 16-track machine. We hauled it into his basement — we did a benefit show with his band back then called Balls to raise money and rent the machine to record. He played around with it, doing recordings for Balls — I don’t know if anything came out of it, but little by little he figured things out. He ended up buying a 16-track machine, and after our record he started doing a lot of classic records himself.”
Today, “Victim in Pain” is widely credited for putting New York City hardcore on the map, alongside other scenes that had already sprouted up in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The record introduced punk fans to Agnostic Front’s confrontational lyrics and angry, sped-up riffs.
“We didn’t know what kind of reaction we were ever going to get, with anything like that — we just did our thing and history itself just took its toll,” Miret said.
“That particular record, especially ‘Victim in Pain,’ put hardcore on the map — prior to that there wasn’t many long-plays besides Kraut’s, who themselves were a great band, but were a little more in a punkier edge. But then, I always say ‘Victim in Pain’ is a classic punk record, there’s just more fury and more anger in it. It’s just the streets of New York City, my experiences. I think if we were a band from anywhere else in the country — and I’m not knocking anywhere else in the country — I don’t think we would sound the way we sound, definitely.”