Fury of Five: Re-Taking Respect
'I see posts [online] and Fury of Five is hardly ever mentioned for anything' - James 'Stikman' Ismean
For Fury of Five, it's always been about respect. In the mid-nineties the New Jersey band had to take it—both musically and physically—and with a reunion show lined up for June 11, the group is poised to do the same to a whole new generation. "I see posts—things about the best bands and this and that—and Fury of Five is hardly ever mentioned for anything," says vocalist James Ismean aka Stikman. "People fail to realize that Fury of Five opened a lot of doors from New Jersey and they just kind of ignore that."
The band came together in 1994 and released a handful of recordings before splitting up just four years later. Their penultimate full-length, At War with the World, was released on Victory Records in 1998, exposing Fury of Five's style to a larger audience and becoming a landmark record for New Jersey hardcore. "We went around the world, around the states, and we just put it down for New Jersey and ourselves," says Ismean. "We opened up tours, we got bands overseas, we opened up eyes all over the place because we were about it and made people look."
"We put on the E.Town's and then they—not that they weren't doing successful things without us—but when we first played with them, we started taking them with us out of state and then they motorboated into something fucking great. So we did that for Second To None and all kinds of bands," he says of their dedication to the local scene. "I don't care if I was to move to California tomorrow, I would still put it down for where I'm from because this is where it started for me and it will always be in my heart."
Ismean had two earlier Jersey hardcore bands, Locked Up In Life and Position Of Power, but when Fury of Five came together everything seemed to click. The five-piece was as known for their take on hardcore— loaded with technically proficient guitar solos, bouncy hip-hop beats and blunt, pissed off lyrics—as their intense shows and notorious violent tendencies.
"We were known for beating up a booking agent or beating up a band here or there. You never heard of us just haphazardly beating up someone for no reason. There was always a reason behind our violence," he reflects. "Were we tough guys? If we were disrespected, absolutely. That's why we wrote 'Taking Respect,' because we weren't getting the respect we thought we deserved. So we had to go and write a song about it and let people know. You don't want to give us respect? We're gonna come and take it."
Their intimidating look and penchant for violence may have drawn some people in, but their music kept them around. With drummer Chris Rage, bassist Mike Terror and guitarists Jay Fury and Chico Violencia behind the frontman, Fury of Five crafted a unique sound that landed somewhere between Biohazard, Fear Factory and Machine Head. "I came up in the eighties—heavy metal glam era, thrash metal, hip hop, Run DMC dropping King Of Rock and all that," Ismean says of his own diverse influences. "Plus I grew up poor, so I was always around the culture of hip hop and it was just embedded in me as a person."
So was the anger. Ismean's lyrics and delivery were as sincere as they were irate. "Listen, it's embedded in me. That's what the song 'Can't Escape' is about—deep-rooted hate," he says, noting he's grown from the guy who wrote those songs, though. "Am I singing these songs today [like I was] singing them when we first wrote them? No, because I'm not that angry. But can I go within myself and find it? Absolutely, because it's always there."
Nowadays Ismean lives a simpler life, working a job scaffolding and riding his mountain bike as often as possible. "I'm trying to live my life everyday and maximize every minute that I can," he says, noting that perhaps the band's demise may have actually been beneficial to his personal growth. "It was probably a good thing because I probably would have ended up going to prison or something for murder, or being murdered myself by somebody that I beat up."
The majority of the classic lineup is back for the reunion, with the exception of Chris Rage who has been replaced by ex-Dissent drummer Mike Pollaro. The band may be older and of a different mentality but their drive and intensity for this iteration of Fury of Five is as strong as ever. "The [Instagram] videos at practice don't show that, because there's not a lot of room for us to move around like we want to," he says. "It's contained for the most part, but Jay's doing kicks, Chico's doing his thing, Mike's there stomping, you don't see me sometimes, but I'm jumping around on the couch, up in the air like I'm on a monitor. We wile out. We're still wild dudes, we're just older now."
While Ismean has done a handful of Fury of Five shows over the years with different members, the June 11 show marks the first time the core lineup has played together since 1998. With a slew of nineties hardcore bands reuniting recently, Fury of Five's doesn't seem out of place. Songs like "Out Of Jurisdiction," and "Taste The Steel," reference topics like police brutality and gun violence, which are as current as ever. "Lyrically and musically I think we're relevant—very relevant lyrically," the vocalist says. "I wrote a song back in '96 called 'Wake Up America,' and that's what we seem to be doing right now. The government is casting out lies, and this Covid, and the war, and just lies, lies, lies."
Sticking with the theme of repping New Jersey, the show is packed with a lineup of local bands. They worked with Caidon Rosario of Reaching Out, who also happens to be the son of Rob "Beto" Rosario of Madball, 25 Ta Life and Dmize notoriety. "He gave me a list of all the New Jersey hardcore bands, and then we narrowed it down to the ones that were heavily Fury of Five influenced [and] doing things for the scene." Ismean says. "That's how we came up with the bill."
Ismean was a hesitant to talk about what the future might hold, but he referenced wanting to realize his original goal of five albums (their third and final record, This Time It's Personal, was released after the group's demise). "Nobody knows what the future's gonna bring, right now we're just doing it one show at a time," he says. "I told them back in '94 we were unstoppable. It's still steadfast now. Here we are in 2022 and we're coming."
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*stagedives into a sewer pipe spilling into the ocean*
Finally a Fury of Five Reunion. I've been waiting all my life for this.
Haters gonna hate...Maybe some of you guys can leave your mom's basement and check out the show June 11th..Oooh..my bad, it SOLD OUT...
" Haters gonna hate...Maybe some of you guys can leave your mom's basement and check out the show June 11th..Oooh..my bad, it SOLD OUT..." Wow. A group of 60 year old men sold out a 200 capacity venue in their hometown. Huge accomplishment. A local band where I'm from drew more people at their first show ever. Kek
Glad to see Lambgoat hasn't changed in the 15 years since I last came here.
"Finally a Fury of Five Reunion. I've been waiting all my life for this." ^theres been like 3…….
I love this band. And I've been on this website for nearly 20 years. Glad to see SOME of their stuff finally showing up on streaming services.
@barbara: if he's not, he might have beaten your dad up sometime.
Band was always good live, Showmen, But it's pretty dumb to see this guy going out of his way to tell everyone how "Tough" they used to act seeing as that's what basically did them in the first time. Bands and booking agents didn't wanna be around it then, And these new school TikTok Turnstile Knocked Loose kids certainly are not built like that. Weird old head flex cuz their past actions certainly are not going to do them any favors these days. Nobody is impressed by that anymore. Actually a good way to get people to not check it out, At best. At worst, Cancelled by the woke mob on Twitter. Lol
the dude in the "Candiria" shirt looks like he has a black eye.
lmao at the band getting upset about these dumb ass comments
Shit article. Find a new hobby or at least write about a band that is good and people care about
"That's why we wrote 'Taking Respect,' because we weren't getting the respect we thought we deserved. So we had to go and write a song about it and let people know. You don't want to give us respect? We're gonna come and take it." Jesus f*cking Christ...
Fans of this band are in their 50s wtf are you doing on a forum
anonymous 2 minutes ago Q:Fans of this band are in their 50s wtf are you doing on a forum?A:waiting for you to finish downloading your transexual porno videos, so we can research "adult" things-junior mint.
Adults things like frothing over absolutely awful tough guy hardcore haha alright Enjoy your golden years pampers
First off the fact that fury is back is amazing, second off none of you nerds talking tough would say that to any of their faces, and 3rd all these other bands play shows now, there's many of us that are stoked for these dudes, I've been to many of fury shows, I grew up around them and they're all friends of mine. You should really do your research ya turds before you talk about a band that's was doing their thing when you were in your pops nut sack
"First off the fact that fury is back is amazing, second off none of you nerds talking tough would say that to any of their faces, and 3rd all these other bands play shows now, there's many of us that are stoked for these dudes, I've been to many of fury shows, I grew up around them and they're all friends of mine. You should really do your research ya turds before you talk about a band that's was doing their thing when you were in your pops nut sack" Just shut up
Yo yo yo, just dropping here to say that whether or not you like FOF, or the way they answer interviews or reminisce about their past helping the scene and takin respect, it's just as cringe to come here just to diss on em. Yeah these guys might be far from perfect, but so are most of y'all. If you got something to say, start your own hardcore band and make a song about it? Or go comment on Stikman's instgram? Peace out.
Most people mad about this reunion are just mad cause they asked their mom if they could go and she said no I'm not driving you to Asbury Park at night. Just focus on your schoolwork, keep your room clean, and when you grow up you'll be able to do things you want to do. But yous gotta unlatch from yo mommas tittys first
Nobody is mad we're laughing at this nothing band and their fanbase
Fury has always been great. Someone is always gonna have something to say. f*ck em I say
fury of 5? We know a band named FURY that has a full length named Paramount, and then alone as FURY is 5 times better than fury of 5
So much boomer "say it to my face" energy in the comment section. Say it to your face? Why? So 70 people can catch it on video and you can go to jail? Keep feeding the trolls, Dumb f*cks. Oblivious jocks mentality. Lol
Lot of little pussies gathered here to moan and cry. Literally half of this comments comes from dick ta life and rest is "no one cares" idiots, who care enough to whine here. Scene nowadays is soft af on most part. I've seen 10 skinheads literally chasing after ~100 scene kids. Imagine levels of being a bitch if 100 nowadays "hardcore" kids can't handle 10 Nazis lol
This is gonna be awesome. I wonder how many of these comments are actually Rick ta lyfe. Welcome back guys.
We see you rick...also your threat to come ruin the show won't be taken lightly..you wouldn't get 100 yards from the venue...stay in Virginia and keep trolling Sadball
Rick Healey here, yeah I wrote most of the hate comments, so what? Fury Of Boredom -nyhcking
All these old NY/NJ hXc band members are incredibly out of touch and dumb AF now. Embarrassing.
anonymous 2 days ago Stinkman? I'd read an interview with him over any interview with any other bands they interview on here.
Always with the "respect" nonsense with these aging east coast mongs. Why, if you're not in their dilapidated housing project and they're not hanging with twelve of your friends, would you give these guys respect? Overweight, bald, bad teeth, ignorant, junior high school-level education because they dropped out at 12 years old to work the door @ CBGBs or some shit. Now we're stuck with them, their bad breath, and their sloped forehead opinions until they croak from COVID because vaccine = control or f*ckin' whatever.
I gave the member the black eye and I'll do it again next time he makes a mistake playing
You're irrelevant to the world, stop bitching and get back to hanging drywall
It's 2022. This boomer wannabe tough guy shit doesn't work anymore.
For f*cks sake, For The Love Of was more groundbreaking and more opening doors than these meatheads. The Stickman philosophy of self promotion was to show up at Vintage Vinyl demanding they take 2 boxes of cds and if not, he'll be waiting for the manager outside in the parking lot. Not exactly a finesse man.
Fury of Five made NJ Bloodline look like Motown session players.
I'm surprised Stankman never learned that respect is given, not taken.
No one wants meathead jocks BFL losers in their scene, so shut up you crusty old f*ck
First off the fact that fury is back is amazing, second off none of you nerds talking tough would say that to any of their faces, and 3rd all these other bands play shows now, there's many of us that are stoked for these dudes, I've been to many of fury shows, I grew up around them and they're all friends of mine. You should really do your research ya turds before you talk about a band that's was doing their thing when you were in your pops nut sack Im actually shocked BFL and their dick riders know how to read and write "You wouldn't say it their face" Who wants to fight 10 on 1? None of these guys ever been in a fight by themselves
Wait…..are there still such things as hardcore crews? Jesus Christ that's hilarious
at a hawdcoat show juan time this goober started talking to me about white powder & a screwdriver-I explained to him that I had ZERO Desire to mix vodka & orange juice or white powder.
This article doesn't help the "everyone from Jersey is a douche" stereotype.