RIYL: Social Unrest, The Effigies, Battalion of Saints, Zero Boys, Offenders, Adrenalin O.D. and Really Red
Ohio’s Toxic Reasons are one of the originators of the US hardcore movement. From their inception in 1978, they have blazed a trail which has inspired both listeners and fellow musicians.
Inspired by the first wave of punk rock (Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash) Toxic Reasons were initially formed in Dayton, Ohio, by singer Ed Pittman, bassist Bruce Stuckey, guitarist Joel Agne, and drummer Mark Patterson. More direct inspiration came from witnessing Vancouver, Canada’s DOA, who soon became fast friends and mentors. Shortly after their debut performance, Toxic Reasons recorded what would become the “War Hero” single which, unbeknownst to the band, began garnering airplay in such far-flung places as San Francisco.
Shortly thereafter, Agne joined the Army, and Stuckey moved to guitar. In 1980, Greg Stout was recruited to take over bass duties. Following a stint of Midwest touring (including a Rock Against Reagan show in Detroit with DOA and a gig with the Dead Kennedys and DOA at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver), Toxic Reasons began to plan a West Coast tour. After recruiting second guitarist Rob Lucjak, and replacing the departing Patterson with Vancouverite JJ Pearson, they decamped to California, using San Francisco as their home base, and recording the “Ghost Town” EP with the Dead Kennedys‘ East Bay Ray.
Returning to Ohio in 1981, Toxic Reasons recorded their first full-length LP “Independence” in an Indianapolis studio with the Zero Boys‘ Paul Mahern at the controls. Originally released on Risky Records in 1982, little did they know that “Independence” would grow to have a life all of its own, being rereleased no less than three times on different labels. Following a number of lineup changes (and yet another trip to the West Coast, where a well-regarded show at Berkeley Square was recorded for a live album) in 1983 David “Tufty” Clough (formerly of the aforementioned Zero Boys) took over on bass, and the band moved full-on to San Francisco, after which singer Ed Pittman decided to leave.
Since then, Toxic Reasons have released no less than 7 LP’s and toured the world multiple times. However, their early recordings are still held as a benchmark of innovation in the genre of melodic, political punk rock.