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Franklin skate punks Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us

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Kill 'Em All: Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us
  • Kill 'Em All: Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us
 When Dusty Hanna, singer of the Franklin, Pa.-based skate-punk band Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us, recalls his youthful days in Venango County, it sounds straight out of a Suicidal Tendencies video: Small-town boy discovers punk rock through skateboarding, trading cassettes, and occasional trips to the big city (in this case, Erie and Pittsburgh). There, the DIY spirit infused Hanna and Andy and Adam Ramage, brothers who played guitar and drums, and they soon formed the anarcho-punk band Opposition.

"We'd set up in abandoned buildings, build ramps and bring boomboxes, skate and spray-paint and drink beers," says Hanna, who now lives in Bloomfield. After Opposition ran its course, they formed Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us, with a thrashy, fast-tempo sound that mirrored the late-'80s scene where punk and metal subdivisions gradually merged in the high school halls and the shopping malls, and everyone had Metallica and Megadeth albums.

As kids, the band's five members -- including Justin Perry on bass and Chris Bernheizen on guitar (Jay Mucio plays guitar on the record) -- caught the tail end of that trend, and were heavily influenced by bands like COC, DRI, Cryptic Slaughter and Poison Idea. "We also take a lot from '70s rock," adds Hanna. "The guitars are more melodic at times, with dual harmonies like Thin Lizzy."

Seeking more venues, Oh Shit gravitated toward Pittsburgh, where the scene already boasted a history of punk-metal crossover. Even though four members still live in Franklin, they regularly meet Hanna in Pittsburgh for shows, shredding stages in punk havens such as Belvedere's, Howler's and the Roboto Project. They also played a memorable Ramones tribute at Rugger's Pub.

"When we were onstage, there were cans hitting us, but we couldn't see where they were coming from," recalls Hanna. "I was confused as to why they would throw vintage collectible Iron City Steelers cans from the '70s. That's when we noticed we were shaking the cans and trophies off the wall of the bar. They got us to stop playing so they could pick up the wreckage."

The sonic devastation continues on the band's self-debut album, recorded last year at East State Studios, in Oil City. One quick spin transports listeners back to the '80s in a tempestuous vinyl time warp. Though there are updated lyrics for the Dubya era, such as "Red sky over Afghanistan / Military madmen are at it again," many of the song topics could be drawn straight from the Reagan decade, where everyone worried about turning into slobbering mutants after a Mad Max-style nuclear apocalypse. And there are the obligatory horror-film metal references such as "The Beast and the Serpent" and "Our Name Is Legion, For We Are Many."

The product sounds and looks authentic from start to finish. The band worked for a year completing the art (a montage of skulls and monsters and undead punks) and screenprinting the covers; Mike Seamans, a former Paul's CDs employee now in Philly, released it on vinyl on his new label, Dear Skull. "We're all record collectors, and there's still a market for vinyl in punk and hardcore," Hanna explains. "It's the preferred medium for everyone in the band, and we feel that it's the best way to listen to music."

Oh Shit They're Going to Kill Us with Kim Phuc, Behind Enemy Lines, and Satan's Sidekick. 9 p.m. Sat., Sept. 22. Belvedere's, 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $5. 412-687-2555

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