Social Unrest hailed from Hayward, near San Francisco,
in 1980.They soon established themselves as one of the leading
forces of the Bay Area early HC Thrash scene.
The manic, political vocals of Creetin K-os were well supported
by screeching guitars & ultra-fast tempos .
The band released their 1st 7 " ( now much sought after)
in 1981 on Infra Red Records.
" Making Room for Youth" was produced by none other
than Dead Kennedys guitar player
East Bay Ray.
SU teamed up again w/ Ray a year later to produce their classic
" Rat in a Maze" 12" , released summer 82 on their
Libertine Label.The 7 songs of this EP are mostly fast except
for "I love you", a PIL-like tune."Red, White
& Blue" ,w/ it's numerous speed changes, remains a highlight.
They also appeared on Maximum Rock'n'Roll masterpiece 47 bands
compilation,"Not so Quiet on the Western Front".
The band played a lot w/ all the glory bands of the time, when
the usual band brawls headed
for some changing.
Original Band members Mark Monti & Danny Norwood remained
the core of SU, Bass player John Vollick moved out to band management.In
came Ray Vegas on bass duties & Jimi Brogan on guitar.
Jason Honea, a Darby Crash fanatic, completed the new SU after
the departure of Creetin K-os.
The new line-up developped the original, screeching SU sound
and brought it to new heights
on the band's 1st full length "SU2000" (again on Libertine)
Honea's melodic tones & thoughtful lyrics added a lot of
deepness to all the great songs featured on "SU2000"
:"I wanna be heard","Jimmy Rocks","Rat
in a Maze" are all scorchers, while "Stranger Inside"
& "Out my Window" have some really cool guitar
bitterness works that will become one of SU's later trademarks.
A year later, the band released what is probably their masterpiece
(unlike most bands, they never put out a weak record,though)
,the mighty "Before the Fall" LP (on Libertine in the
US, Konurrel in Europe).
The songwriting reached new grounds w/ songs like "American
Steel","Golgotha","The New Tribes".The
band was still fast & aggressive, but the vocals & guitars
added great, original harmonies that couldn't be heard on any
other record by any band.The slower numbers like "Night
of the Long Knives" worked quite well too.
SU now really had a sound of their own & were firmly established
as one of California's
most important band .
They heavily toured the US (they did it 4 or 5 times),opening
for the Descendents ' last show, appeared on the "Viva Umkhonto"
compilation & got rave reviews of " Before the Fall".
They embarked on their 1st Euro Tour in September 87, playing
a show in Germany that would end on the"Mental Breakdown"
live Album (on Lost & Found).
Ray left the band to join Attitude Adjustment, Ron Isa filled
in to record the band's last album, "Now & Forever",
released Fall 88.Some of the best SU songs are there w/ "Katarina
Witt","I'm the Nation" & "Sins of Paris"."Handcuffs
too tight" features the welcome back of Creetin K-os for
a thrasher that brings back the band's original sound.
The band called it quit shortly after.
Honea moved to Germany to attend school & formed Happy Ever
After w/ a bunch of German locals.They released a 7 " &
a split w/ 2Bad (HEA doing a Germs cover).
After his comeback to the US, Honea joined forces w/ Nicky Garatt
(UK Subs legend & head of New Red Archives records), Ron
Isa (Social Unrest !) & Dave Ayer (Samiam) in a project called
10 Bright Spikes.They released a couple of 10"s & various
other records on New Red Archives.
Brogan joined Samiam &
started a new successfull career , bringing his great songwriting
abilities.You already know everything about Samiam, if you don't,
you're a creep !
Norwood & Monti remained in standby until Social Unrest
got back together in 1994, 6 years after the initial split.
New Red Archives rereleased all of SU's records on a 2 CD set,"The
Complete Recordings,Vol.1 & 2".A couple of new songs
appeared there too from the new, reunited line-up :Norwood &
Monti on Guitar & Drums, Creetin K-os & Honea sharing
the Bass & Vocal duties.
Brogan gave a hand in songwriting & production, but was too
busy w/ Samiam to join fulltime.
The band went to the brand new Catbox studio held by Billie
Joe of Green Day to record a new album, Springtime 95.
It was a nice exchange since Green Day played their very 1st
show opening for Social Unrest in the mid-80's!
Billie Joe 's tight production on "New Lows" brought
back the typical SU sound on songs like "Cheater" &
" Anatomy of an Ulcer".
Honea & K-os distinctive types of voices brought more diversity
to the new SU sound.
SU also appeared on "live at the Bottom of the Hill"
with 6 songs (old & new) recorded
in SF , and had 2 songs on "At War w/ Society" sampler.
All those records were released by NRA.