Friday, February 13, 2009

the Monster Crew - part 1

a while ago, i sent out a few requests for people to write something about the Monster Crew. only two people wrote me back. i asked Dave Itow to write something, knowing full well that he never got along with those dudes. here is his story:

The Mother's Incident

About '97 I was living at a house in huntington with some dudes. We got a call the MonsterXCrew spit on one of our dudes while he was shopping with his mom at Mother's, and they were still eating in the restaurant. So we gathered up some dudes and we ready to rumble. We knew that they liked weapons and figured if we got to them before they got to their cars they might not have as many on them. So we staked out Mother's and waited for them to leave. As they walked out they noticed us walking toward them in the parking lot. tensions were high to say the least. There were about 20 of them and about the same for us. I only recognized a few of them. Most were the SLC kids. The only ones I noticed were Troy, James, and Matt Webber. So right as we were gonna rush em a cop drives in the parking lot. Either perfect timing or someone figured it out and called. Everything got broken up and we all rush to our cars to follow them. They break up and we all stick together and go after two cars. We pull up along side and Troy flashes a gun. WOW!!! The exact reason we wanted to get them before they got to the cars. We follow them to James house. All their other cars were there already, and standing in the street were about 12 dudes with weapons I couldn't even make up names for. I saw maces, bats, hammers, what looked to be a steel pipe with a carburetor welded to the end, and of course Grocery dividers. The Monster crew weapon of choice. Now the HB dudes were all about fist fighting. We didn't carry weapons, this was a little to much. Obviously they weren't into a fair fight. Especially with the gun flashed at us before. So we continued to drive on. No one needs to die. This was the beginning of a long time feud with many more encounters.


another person i asked was Matt Orphan. Matt grew up in Irvine and was a part of the later, more "mature" version of Monster Crew. here is what he wrote, unedited and unabridged

The Monster Crew was a phenomenon I avoided for the first few years of my time in the Southern California hardcore scene. I had old friends and acquaintances who'd joined the Monster Crew who I still kept in touch with, and I stood up with them in the midst of a couple confrontations with gutter punks and nazi skins at Disneyland when numbers got large on both sides of the Tomorrowland battlefield, but as a whole, the Crew held straight edge and veganism as its core doctrines and I had zero interest in either belief. Since I didn't consider myself to be the same animal, I respected them for what they were and stayed away from them. Still, their presence was undeniable. Everyone who hung around the hardcore hotspots knew the names of at least 6 or 7 Monster Crew kids off the top of their heads...even if they'd never met any of them. They were household names and people you gave a wide berth to. If nothing else, everyone could agree that life was a lot easier on their good side than it was in their crosshairs.
To most people, this just sounds like a generic description of a group of common bullies terrorizing the weak...exploiting physical intimidation to make up for a lack of personality or redeeming social qualities. The break with that theory is that most of the Monster Crew were genuinely witty, sharp and likeable guys. Yeah, they could be (and were) total assholes to people, but they were total assholes that other people liked to be around. As far as I was concerned, the majority of the people who found themselves victims of the Monster Crew were begging for it in the first place anyway.
Then things changed. I don't know exactly what happened because it was none of my concern at the time, but it seemed that the ranks exploded with a lack of accountability for who was running around claiming Monster Crew and giving out bastardized memberships. Suddenly every 17 year old tool in a basketball jersey attending their 2nd hardcore show decided they were a member. That crashed pretty fast. The market had been flooded with knock-offs and cheap imposters. People moved on and formed new crews. Oh, and Troy went to jail.
When the dust settled, I had a couple major things in common with the remaining members of the Monster Crew. For one, most of them had started drinking. I loved drinking. Up until that point, I'd been the only drunk guy at Taco Loco on Monday nights. And secondly, we both hated the Lords of South County. I joined the Crew.
At this point, Troy was home for several months between his pre-trial hearings and his trial up in Salt Lake. I spent 5 or 6 nights a week with Troy, Jay, Ryan, Josh and Adam, James, Andy, Mike, Nick, Steve, Ryan G., Greg, Logan, Crazy Justin, etc. There was a lot of drinking. And fighting. At one point we literally averaged 3 fights a week for a whole summer. My girlfriend at the time was thrilled. Most of us had very little love for the hardcore scene anymore and made a nuisance of ourselves at shows and regular hangout places. Eventually the hardcore scene had very little love for us either.
There were so many other hardcore crews in Southern California by the year 2000, no one could keep them straight anymore. All of them wanted to build a rep. A lot of them thought that fighting the Monster Crew would be a good way to do that. Unfortunately, by that time, almost all the remaining members had moved away to Salt Lake, San Francisco and New Orleans. That left 2 or 3 of us who ever really went out to common hangouts and ran into hardcore kids. It didn't matter whether we wanted to rep Monster Crew or not anymore. We were pegged with it. People tried to jump Mike and myself somewhat frequently. It never actually worked out. Old members like Jacob and Billy started hanging around more. Logan and Jeff came down from San Francisco here and there, and we began to rely heavily on our younger generation of friends like Chris, Jimmy and Blake to fill out our numbers in public. Brandon S. was with us a lot as well, although he refused any affiliation with the name of the Monster Crew. He was a friend and ally through a lot of rough times nonetheless.
The sense of brotherhood and reliability I experienced with a lot of these guys was like nothing I'd ever felt before. I've been a scrapper since I was a little kid, but when you throw a punch at someone and 11 guys race to get the second punch in for you, it's a strange feeling. I was always polite and respectful to my Monster Crew brothers because I feared each one of them almost as much as I cared about them.
I know I'm talking about all of this in the past tense, but to be honest, my Monster Crew dog tags are sitting on my nightstand next to my bed. My clan tag on Call of Duty is "MC2K" for Monster Crew 2000. And when I hang out with Jacob or Jay of any of the other guys, we're still Monster Crew as far as I'm concerned. There's gotta be somebody out there who still wants to jump one of us. I'm here.

i will post more as more stories and information is received, but this is a fuckin' good start.

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