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Music / Choking Victim

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Formed in New York City's Lower East Side (and notoriously taking residence in Alphabet City's C-Squat), Choking Victim were a punk band that were active between 1992 and 1999 that fused elements of ska, hardcore, and metal in a style that would eventually be known as "crack rocksteady", however they were also popular among the local anarcho-punk and crust punk circles. During those seven years, the band managed to release two EP's to local acclaim - 1994's "Crack Rock Steady" and 1995's "Squatta's Paradise" before heading into the studio to record their full-length album...for all of a day. Seriously; the band broke up immediately after day one of recording the album, however in an aversion of What Could Have Been, the band had recorded enough material (a mix of re-recordings and brand new recordings of material that hadn't made it to any real medium outside of concert bootlegs) to compile together into 1999's "No Gods, No Managers" - and much like the Ramones, the band quickly became more popular after breaking up, albeit this is arguably due to their association with Leftover Crack. After splitting up, the former members went on to form separate bands (some of whom have collaborated with each other) including Leftöver Crack, Morning Glory, and The Crack Rock Steady 7, most notably. The band has played sporadic shows since they broke up, however Stza announced in the fall of 2016 that Choking Victim would be performing their final tour in late October/early November with the Squatta's Paradise lineup.

Their albums include:

  • Crack Rock Steady EP, 1994
  • Squatta's Paradise, 1995
  • Victim Comes Alive, 1998
  • No Gods, No Managers, 1999

Choking Victim provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: The final lineup in the No Gods, No Managers era - Stza, Skwert, Erza, and...Shane.
  • All There in the Manual: Choking Victim's lyrics are available online, however the growled lyrics for some songs ("Fuck America", for instance) are only available in the liner notes for No Gods, No Managers.
  • Alliterative Name: Scott "Stza" Sturgeon provides vocals for the band. As far as song titles go, you also have "Five Finger Discount" and "Living the Laws".
  • Anti-Police Song: Crack Rock Steady, most notably, however criticism also appears in "Apple Pie and Police State" and briefly in "Suicide (A Better Way)".
  • Backmasking: Hate Yer State opens with a message from Stza.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The band openly endorsed far-left/anarchist principles in their lyrics and even went so far as to include more "vagrant" themes such as squatting, drug use, and shoplifting among those themes. The band also insisted that early copies of No Gods, No Managers not carry a barcode on the record and openly encouraged fans to copy their music and distribute it for free if they so desired.
  • Cover Version: The band often played a cover of "Money Changes Everything" by Cindi Lauper of all people live, and rewrote/created a new version of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics for the Finding a Voice: A Benefit For Humans compilation.
  • Crapsack World: The band frequently portrays the United States (and living in its borders) as this; see My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting below.
    • They also consider life itself to be living through one of these, if the lyrics to "In My Grave", "Suicide (A Better Way)", and "In Hell" are anything to go by.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted. Choking Victim openly printed a parody of the standard FBI Anti-Piracy Warning on the back cover of No Gods, No Managers:
    "Unauthorized duplication of this record is worshipped [sic] and even celebrated in some third-world countries, and it is the expressed opinion of the members of Choking V. that it is in fact punk to bootleg records, and the fact that it is looked down upon as "illegal" makes it all the more exciting, so by all means do whatcha like and make a copy for a more disadvantaged music lover. 666"
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Fuck America" segues into "War Story" so flawlessly that if one were to not carefully observe the track listing or only hear the album in passing, it could be confused as being one song.
    • Same with Praise to the Sinners/Living the Laws.
  • Foreshadowing: Stza is said in the liner notes to appear from "the Leftover Crack" corporation" and even mentions "the good leftover crizack" in 500 Channels.
    • The line "fuck world trade" appears during Fuck America, five years before Leftover Crack released the album of the same name.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Crack Rock Steady is an upbeat ska song with lyrics about killing police officers, burning down churches, and executing "some rich, important people".
    • "Infested" - a faster, catchy song about catching lice and scabies.
  • Mood Whiplash: A new listener might be caught off-guard by the band's fondness of going from a hardcore/metal influenced sound into a very stereotypical ska section and then back again.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: The band pulled no punches in their views on the United States' tendencies for misleading the masses via media and aggressive globalization ("Fuck America"), its police ("Crack Rock Steady"), prison practices ("Apple Pie and Police State"), making the masses complacent with television and drugs ("500 Channels"), and so on. Even before 9/11, the band were known to burn models of the World Trade Center in protest, and after the day in question, Stza went on to claim that he "wasn't exactly opposed to [the towers] falling down" and even kept burning models of the WTC for at least a couple of years afterward.
  • Protest Song: The band's done enough of these that listing proper examples would take up quite a hefty section of this article by itself. As a good rule of thumb, if their songs aren't about a bleak, misanthropic world view (e.g., "In Hell"), it's going to be this.
  • Punny Name: No Gods, No Managers - a play off the famous anarchist slogan "no gods, no masters".
    • The song "Crack Rock Steady" is an amalgamation of the phrase 'crack rock' and the ska offshoot known as rocksteady.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The band openly endorsed the murder of police officers, squatting, drug use, shoplifting, suicide, and used Satanic imagery, both in a serious manner and to intentionally piss off those who "weren't in" on the joke.
  • Sampling: The band uses an unidentified (possibly original) sample to begin "In Hell". "Money", "Fuck America", and "Praise to the Sinners" all feature clips from speeches by political scientist Michael Parenti.
    • Choking Victim (the song) samples Tony Iommi's famous cough from Sweet Leaf.
    • In My Grave samples the introductory riff to Slayer's Raining Blood and the "God is dead" bit from Rosemary's Baby.
  • Stylistic Suck: They segued into ska segments seemingly for the point of mocking the genre.
  • Take That!: Usually directed at the United States government (or the idea of government as a whole), but the band has also directed jabs towards apathetic masses and the police.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Subverted. While some songs (or sections of songs) stick to this formula, the members themselves have also come up with material that would be considered a little more "advanced" than one would expect from a punk band - usually in their more ska influenced songs.
  • Title-Only Chorus: Hate Yer State.
  • Trope Namer: For the ska-punk offshoot known as "crack rocksteady", which includes bands like No Cash, Stupid Stupid Henchmen, Morning Glory, No Commercial Value (the Ur-Example), INDK, No Cops for Miles, and Star Fucking Hipsters. Unsurprisingly, most of these bands also include Stza in them or have collaborated with him.