24 Songs, 57 Minutes


About Agression

Agression was part of the first wave of skatepunk bands to emerge from southern California in the early '80s. These groups were on the front lines of a new union between the skateboard and punk rock cultures, which were put on a path to convergence by the establishment hassling each group. The resulting music was a confluence of punk's anger and simplicity, the furious speed of hardcore, and defiantly smart-assed machismo.

Emerging out of Oxnard, CA (which was such a hotbed of punk and skate bands that their sound became known as "Nardcore"), Agression consisted of vocalist Mark Hickey, guitarist Henry Knowles, bassist Bob Clark, and drummer Mark Aber. The unit was one of the first groups to be involved with the Better Youth Organization (BYO) -- the collective started by Shawn and Mark Stern of Youth Brigade -- and contributed two songs to Someone Got Their Head Kicked In, the label's classic 1982 compilation. Don't Be Mistaken followed in 1983, chock-full of rapid-fire skatepunk rhythms. Contributions to various Mystic Records compilations followed, with Agression's sound wavering between skatepunk and more generic heavy metal; a self-titled LP on that label appeared in 1985, as did the "official" bootleg of an Agression show at the New York club CBGB. Agression was able to get as far as CBGB with the aid of their manager, Scott Hatch, who also managed the more established hardcore outfit Fear. As Hickey said at the time, it was difficult not to appreciate the coolness of "Agression" and "Fear" listed on one bill.

Aber left the group in 1985 for a spot with Angry Samoans, and Agression began to lose steam. Despite a series of low-quality live recordings for Mystic, the band couldn't re-capture the sneering rage of its original material, and eventually ground to a halt. Hickey left music and moved to Colorado. However, in 2000, Knowles was inspired to get the band back together. Hickey came on board, but before anything could be recorded, Hickey died of liver failure. Knowles solidered on, putting together a new version of Agression with old friends of the band. But in August 2002, he too passed away after a bout with leukemia. In Spring 2003, Cleopatra issued the Agression retrospective Full Circle; the collection included bonus live material. ~ Johnny Loftus

Oxnard, CA



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