For the better part of 30 years, Agnostic Front has embodied the New York hardcore sound: fast and loud, as thick and impenetrable as lead singer Roger Miret's British accent. Granted, the New York hardcore sound doesn't necessarily come with a British accent, but Miret and company have contributed so much, both to define and disseminate the scene, that it might as well.
Still, the English expat bristles at the idea that the group has earned a position of reverence in the realm of hardcore.
"It all feels the same," he insists. "No one holds us in any position or up against anything. Everyone is excited to be at a show, and we're excited to see old friends and meet new friends. We're still fans of the music."
In an era when hordes of nostalgia-mining underground bands are reforming for a quick payday, Agnostic Front stands out as the real deal. They took a short hiatus in the mid-1990s, but there's no questioning their consistency or authenticity.
"Agnostic Front has released five albums since 1996, and that shows that the passion is there and the drive is there," says Miret. "We have a good run of records out there that show we aren't just a band that's in it for a paycheck. There's still a love for what we do out there."
Agnostic Front is indeed a beloved band, one that bridges the gap between the streetwise hardcore and the tough thrash that the group favors. That sound, combined with a long history of kicking ass, had made for a demographically diverse audience.
"Our audience is very broad," he says with obvious pride. "It has young kids that have just discovered hardcore and old dudes that have been around since the '80s."
Miret attributes the group's wide-ranging appeal to an original punk-rock attitude that's often forgotten by latter-day practitioners.
"Punk rock and hardcore is about being an individual," Miret says, "being unique and being true to you. It's not doing things because other people are doing them. It's not walking with the norm."
Clichd though it may sound, that simple credo has fueled Miret from the beginning. And he shows no signs of letting up. According to Miret, at the end of the day it's not up to him to decide when the band has seen the end. Instead, it's up to the audiences.
"There's a lot of bands that come and go, and a lot of bands that reunite," says Miret. "But the real test of that is what are these bands into and what do they do for the person who listens to them."