All Posts By

Finn McKenty

scott viscomi alliance mma
Alumni Profiles
June 20, 2017

Alumni Profile: Scott Viscomi of Alliance MMA

I've had a lot of hobbies and interests come and go, but two things that have stayed with me are hardcore and combat sports. I've been an MMA, jiu-jitsu and muay thai superfan since UFC 1, trained off and on since the late 90's and currently do jiu-jitsu 4 or 5 days a week - to make a long story short, I'm a lifer in combat sports. So I have a lot in common with Scott Viscomi, who is the Director of Event Sales & Marketing for Alliance MMA, a hardcore lifer, and fellow business dork - and I'm very happy to finally talk to him after trying to make this happen for a while. I'm especially stoked on this one because it represents almost exactly what I had in mind when I started this site a couple years ago: documenting those who never lost their fire - their connection to DIY culture…
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Thoughts
June 4, 2017

Create your own scene, and other lessons from Green Day, 924 Gilman and MRR

Back in 1992 or so, my friend Kevin showed up to school with a tape by some random pop-punk band in his Walkman. They were called Green Day, and I'd heard their name a lot from their shows with other Lookout bands like Operation Ivy and Crimpshrine as well as some of the Bay Area crust/hardcore bands I was into like Neurosis and Stikky. They were an integral part of the 924 Gilman St/MRR scene, and for all its many faults, that scene was truly something special and unique. Although I only went to Gilman a couple times, the culture of that era was incredibly influential and in many ways still the template for how I think and approach projects. It was DIY to the core, smart and focused not on the dumb, self-destructive stuff that kneecapped a lot of earlier punk but on CREATING things. It was fundamentally a maker…
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Thoughts
May 17, 2017

How Adam Carolla saved my life

It's no exaggeration to say that Loveline taught me more life skills than anything else in my life (at least from the ages of 19-24 or so). I listened to the show obsessively - sometimes 3 or 4 episodes a day - for years, and I soaked it all up like a sponge because every show helped one more piece of the puzzle called life click into place. When it comes to life advice, in my opinion what makes it stick (as opposed to going in one ear and out the other) is that you trust the person you're hearing it from - you listen to what they tell you because you believe that they understand you and where you're coming from. And that's why Adam's words resonated with me so deeply: the way we grew up was scarily similar, with moderately-but-not-severely dysfunctional hippie moms and plenty of stories about being…
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Reviews
April 16, 2017

Why you MUST read Harley Flanagan’s book

Musician's memoirs and books documenting some long-gone music scene are among my least favorite things to read. They usually amount to little more than some old guy telling a bunch of stories about how things were so much better back in HIS day (old farts in "American Hardcore" talking about how hardcore died in 1984, I'm looking at you) and glamorizing/romanticizing a lot of self-destructive or anti-social behavior-- and with a stark lack of reflection, introspection or critical thinking about the times documented in the book. You usually get the sense that the person writing the book really wishes they could hop in a time machine and just relive that period over and over again, like some weird punk version of "Groundhog Day." And maybe to normies it's interesting to read a bunch of stories about fighting, drugs, and debauchery, but to those of us who have seen and/or lived…
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Lessons
March 27, 2017

Choose Your Friends Wisely

There are about 9 million punk/hardcore documentaries now, and even though I think most of them are pretty lame I watch every one - and ditto for any any graffiti-related thing I come across on YouTube. Why? Because although easily 80%+ of it is total shit, when there's something good it's GOOD - it connects with me in the way that leaves you thinking about it for days. Such is the case for a movie I stumbled across called "Quality Of Life," which tells the story of two friends in the San Francisco graffiti scene (watch the full movie here, I highly recommend it). To make a long story short, after getting in some trouble with the law, one of them gets scared straight and becomes a graphic designer while the other one continues down the path of self-destruction and spirals out of control - the point of the movie…
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Lessons
September 19, 2016

“Los Punks” and a lesson on lifestyle marketing from Vans

"Los Punks" is a new documentary which documents the LA backyard punk scene. It's an incredibly inspiring, if sometimes sad, look at a scene that rarely gets any attention from outsiders-- a lot of poor, largely Latino kids who grew up in fucked up circumstances and built their scene out of what basically amounts to scraps. It really struck a chord with me because I spent a lot of my teens and early 20s in shows like these (not in LA, but other equally depressing parts of the country) and I really relate to these kids. They may not always know what the right path is, but they're doing the best with what they have just like I was at that time in my life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9lXBKbEMwM Watching this really made me wish I could take some of these kids under my wing and give them a little direction, because I…
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Alumni Profiles
July 18, 2016

Alumni Profile: Elgin James, screenwriter

If you're a hardcore kid, you almost certainly know the name Elgin James. The story of his past as a member FSU has been told many times in the pages of Rolling Stone, shows like Gangland and countless forum threads. But I'm not interested in rehashing that story, because it's a lot less interesting to me than what he's done since then. I'll admit that when I heard he left Boston to pursue a career as a filmmaker, I was skeptical: "The FSU guy?? What does he know about making movies? How's he gonna pull THAT off?" But he proved me and everybody else very wrong, carving out a spot for himself as a legit Hollywood director and screenwriter by sheer force of will. When I say "legit," I mean that he's worked with SHOWTIME, HBO, Sundance channel,  Universal, Blumhouse and Imagine, released a feature film called "Little Birds," and…
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Alumni Profiles
May 24, 2016

Alumni profile: Chris Wrenn of Sully’s and Bridge 9

You may know Chris Wrenn as the founder of Bridge Nine, one of the most important hardcore labels of the past 20 years (and home of the infamous B9 board). But as much as I love him for putting out bands like Have Heart, Terror, Death Threat and Ramallah, the fact of the matter is that nobody (including Chris) is making a ton of cash from releasing hardcore records. What you might not know is that Chris' "real job" isn't Bridge 9, it's his apparel company Sully's. Rooted in the rich and highly charged culture of Boston sports, Sully's was among the first of the new-school sports brands (along with Homage) that have essentially reinvented sports apparel, injecting a little punk rock attitude into what was previously a fairly conservative category. Take a walk down the aisles of Dicks, Walmart, or Target and their influence on mainstream retailers is obvious. I'm really…
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Lessons
May 10, 2016

Moving will NOT solve your problems

When I was 18 years old, I moved from Seattle to Cleveland. WTF would I do that, you ask? Because like every other hardcore kid, I decided (for no particular reason) that my hometown sucked and that the answer was to move across the country without any real plan and about $800 to my name. And yes, of course a girl was part of the equation too. OF COURSE. Sounds like a bulletproof plan, right?? It went just as badly as you would guess: I spent the next few years broke, directionless, and mostly very very miserable until I was finally able to find my way back to Seattle with my tail between my legs where I had to start my life over again. My friends were about to graduate from college, and all I had to show for the last 3 years were a bunch of stories about shows, graffiti, and…
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Lessons
April 26, 2016

How 90s skateboarding taught me that business is art

As a kid, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you "an artist." Why? Because I was "creative," and "creative" people should be artists because "creativity" means drawing pictures, taking photographs, or maybe if you're little more pragmatic, being a graphic designer... right? But the truth is, that's bullshit. Certainly visual art is one facet of creativity, but it's only one-- and it's sometimes a pretty limiting one (as anyone who has designed for a client will tell you). We need to think bigger about what "creativity" means. To be super literal, "creativity" is the act of bringing something into existence: where there was nothing, now there is something. And the highest form of creativity is entrepreneurship-- it's the ultimate medium, where the only limits are how big you can dream and how hard you can work to make the dream come true. It's the…
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