Dag Nasty are a four-piece punk/melodic hardcore band from Washington, DC that have an extensive and incredibly influential history. They’re now heralded as one of the earliest and most defining bands to come out with a “melodic hardcore” sound, blending the early high-speed aggression of early hardcore with defined melodies in the vocals and guitar leads.
Dag Nasty formed in 1985, just after the first wave of hardcore bands from DC had all broken apart. They took clear influence from bands from that era such as The Faith, as well as guitarist Brian Baker’s former band Minor Threat (he’d also play in Bad Religion years later). Baker is currently the only member to have been in the band for its entire tenure, though bassist Roger Marbury and drummer Colin Sears come close. There have been numerous notable changes to the band’s vocalist. Beginning with founding member Shawn Brown, who was initially only around for the first few months. Demos recorded with him on vocals were released years later as Dag With Shawn. He has since reunited with the band as of 2012, and is their current frontman.
After Brown, Dave Smalley (who also a member of DYS and later All) took the mic. During Dag Nasty’s original incarnation, he only sang on the band’s debut record, Can I Say, which was originally released by Dischord in 1986. This is often cited as their best and most influential album, and I’m inclined to agree with that. This is essential listening for fans of 80’s punk or anyone whose got an affinity for fast-paced catchiness.
After Dave left, Pete Cornter took the vocal helm, and sang on the band’s follow-up, Wig At Denko’s, another absolute classic. He would join the band again on 1988’s Field Day, which is their only album in which Baker is the sole original member to appear. This was a much poppier record than the previous two, but still worth checking out if you’re interested. Shortly after, they broke up.
Fast-forward to 1992, and they reunite, with Dave back on vocals and a follow-up album returning to their hardcore roots is released. The Can I Say line-up would stay the same from 1992-2002, though with limited activity until their last full-length to date, 2002’s Minority of One. The band went back to limiting Dag’s activity (mostly due to its members other commitments) after the release of this album. Then in 2012, they reunite again, this time with original vocalist Shawn Brown, and now we have come full circle. This new/old line-up released a 7″ last year through Dischord, which is their first new material since 2002, and their first “official” record with Shawn on vocals (not counting the comp of early demos put out in 2010).
Long story short, Dag Nasty are quintessential hardcore, and one of those bands that your favourite bands probably always mention. Get on this ASAP, since this post has been due-over since April 23, 2012. Good to be back. Enjoy.