Releasing the Inner Skinhead

When I worked at WotC, the corporate offices were pretty large, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 people at the height of Pokemania. It’s thus no surprise that I wasn’t the only guy working there with a punk rock past (or present, for that matter). Early on I met a guy named Jefferson, who was an old punk and loved minis games. Needless to say, we hit it off. One day, Jefferson says to me, “You know John Dunn in Periodicals? He played bass in Iron Cross.” I believe my response was, “Are you shitting me?”. Iron Cross, for those of you who don’t know, was a band that came out of the early 80s DC hardcore scene. They were a bit different than other bands from that scene though, with a definite skinhead influence. They are often cited as America’s first Oi band (Oi having gotten its start in England).

I had met John a couple of times. Nice guy, but he did not look like Mr. Counterculture. He had spent some time in the navy, and had a picture of the ship he was on in his cubicle. With our respective jobs, we didn’t cross paths much. I always meant to go talk to him about Iron Cross sometime, but I never did. I got laid off eventually, and I believe he went to Paizo for a bit. Not sure what he’s doing now.

I bring all this up because Friday night I was at the previously reviewed punk rock show. During the Disasters set, Roger starts introducing a song. “I want to bring out some special guests to help me sing this song. Let’s hear it for John, the original bass player for Iron Cross, and Mickey Fitz from the Business!” On hearing this, my head whipped around. Could it be? Sure enough, John walks out on stage, wearing red suspenders and with his hair cropped close, skinhead style. The Disasters kick into the Agnostic Front song, “Crucified” and the crowd goes nuts. Later, at the end of the Business’s set, Mickey brought John out again to help sing “Harry May.” He had the full skinhead regalia on this time, down the Fred Perry shirt and the flight jacket. I never even saw a hint of that in four years at WotC. Truly this show brought out John’s inner skinhead.

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