Skip to content

HEART ATTACK- Keep your Distance 12″EP (Serious Clown, USA, 1983)

Who created the blast-beat (ultra fast drum beat, snare / bass kick / snare / bass kick etc.)? Some say it was Dave Grave from REPULSION, others say it was Mick Harris from NAPALM DEATH who first played it and Pete Sandoval from TERRORIZER thinks he came up with it (check this priceless video – it’s topless in a double sense: The interviewer takes off her top and the guys from MORBID ANGEL have no brains either).

The earliest recorded blast-beat that I know of can be heard on this record. HEART ATTACK’s second vinyl (get the first 7″ here), released in 1983, always makes me wonder what went on in the heads of the geezers after they finished the recording session. They must have stormed the studio, recorded the songs and mixed them down in such a hurry, cause it was all done in one day, January 29 1983. A quarter of a century later and still this EP has so much power and fury. And if the A-side hasn’t blown you away already, wait until “From what I see” bursts off with it’s crazy fast drumming and all as tight as a baby rat’s ass.

I didn’t know of this 12er until I found a whole stack of them, still sealed, in a record shop in the dump I grew up in. That must have been ca. 1985. At first, the pink sleeve turned me off a bit and I feared, the band who brought me (and only me) “God is dead” might have gone dull on “Keep your Distance”. Haha. No dull, no no. No dull at all. Have you played “English Cunts” yet? Oi! Every other song is outstanding too and shows quite a bit of talent for catchy and memorable song writing. Oi!
Unfortunately, the followup to this most glorious piece of musical history, wasn’t all that great. “Subliminal Seduction” was a bit hippie-esque, a lot about indians and stuff.
I’m pretty sure this has been rereleased on some label. Buy it.

I request every January 29 from now on to be the “Blast Beat Memorial Day”, in honor of HEART ATTACK and the band’s drummer Javier Madariaga.

English Cunts.mp3
From what I see.mp3 (<— Attention, Attention: Historical moment in music!)
Victim’s Inquisition.mp3
The last War.mp3

Edit: Found this on the net. It’s the liner notes from Jesse Malin that came with the CD you can get from Broken Rekids. Please buy it and send me a copy of the demo

From the CD Booklet:

“I formed Heart Attack in early 1980 in my hometown of Whitestone, Queens with a bunch of friends of mine. We were all 12-years-old and had grown up listening to KISS, The Who and Ted Nugent. Then we saw the Sex Pistols on TV, on the People’s Choice Awards and everything changed. Next thing you know we were making trips into the city to find records like The Clash, The Ramones, The Heartbreakers, some only on import at that time. We weren’t interested anymore in KISS or other arena rock bands, and now we were even more the freaks of the neighborhood. Rock people and disco boys at the time hated punk rock and I got beat up a few times pretty badly, similar to the situation portrayed in “Summer of Sam.” The ignorance level was high; people were scared, homophobic and played it very safe. I spent a lot of time taking the train and bus to St. Mark’s Place and other downtown areas to see shows, but we still felt like we had missed everything because the Ramones were already playing theatres, the Dead Boys and Sex Pistols had already broken up and clubs were filled with lame rockabilly power pop and whatever you want to call post-punk or new wave.

So we started playing. In those days they didn’t ID in Manhattan clubs and you could be a 12 year-old and play in a band. I hooked up with another native Queens boy named Jack Flanagan and we began writing songs together, sharing a common appreciation for the so-called “punk rock.” We went in and recorded five of these songs, which would become known as “The Hitler Demos.” We began playing clubs like CBGB’s, The 80’s and Max’s Kansas City, along with the occasional Queens Polynesian restaurant like Mona Kai. Once we were out there we met a band called The Stimulators, whose drummer Harley Flanagan was the same age as me. We had thought we were the youngest punks in NYC. We went back to Queens after the shows. Harley went to Ireland and became a skinhead.

Jack and I started having musical differences after seeing a DC band called The Bad Brains. They blew our minds, playing in front of 30 people at CBGB’s. Jack went on to form The Mob and played pure speed. I continued with Heart Attack and we put out the first NY hardcore seven inch, the “God Is Dead” EP on Damaged Goods Records, a label started by Lyle Hysen, who had a fanzine, also called Damaged Goods. I hooked up with Javier Madariaga from Mexico City and down there we went for a three week tour. We came back to NYC and got thrown out of junior high school. My mom was cool about it so I took a job at a gas station and found a club in lower Manhattan called A7. I began playing there, along with several other clubs, including 171 A and The Ritz. It was a small scene of about 50 people, misfits and outcasts who loved the music as a lifestyle.

Things started brewing on the West Coast and The Bad Brains moved to NYC. The audiences got bigger and scenes started popping up in DC, Boston and San Francisco. The term “hardcore” became common in these circles. Heart Attack did two more records and became more and more political with time, aided by lots of Crass records, protests and lyric sheets. It was a time when you really had to know your stuff. It was very underground, way before MTV, the Internet or big record chains. We slept on floors, booked our own tours, and got to watch the words “mosh,” “slam,” “hardcore” and “punk” become common and cliched. By 1984 Heart Attack was playing with bands like The Swans, Sonic Youth and Live Skull. I felt that hardcore had become typical, macho and conformist, everything that I had tried to get away from back in Queens. We had great times and got to share the stage with bands like The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, MDC and others. On July 4th, 1984 we played our last gig at CBGB’s matinee with Agnostic Front, HR of Bad Brains and Harley’s new band, The Cro-mags. It was their first gig.

I continued to play in bands and still do to this day. I am currently performing under my own name. Jack Flanagan now manages me. Javier Madariaga still lives in NYC and still plays drums. We go jogging around Manhattan sometimes. I lost touch with most of the other guys, but felt that this music should be documented, instead of overpriced on eBay. I hope you enjoy this and don’t laugh too hard at my English accent on the first demo. I got rid of it when I turned 13.

Peace, love, and anarchy.
NYC 2001″