Negative Approach, from Detroit, Michigan, were one of the early hardcore bands in the Midwest. Pioneers of a brutal, nihilistic, and angry style of punk, they are regarded by many as "the greatest hardcore band ever." It's certainly a bold statement, but one that is also difficult to dispute...
Formed in 1981, the original lineup featured John Brannon on vocals, Rob McCullough on guitar, one Pete Zelewski on bass (soon replaced by Rob's brother Graham), and a drummer known to the general public only as Zuheir (who was also replaced early on, by O.P. Moore). Negative Approach drew their influences from Michigan's punk forefathers, the Stooges, and the English Oi scene, as well as contemporary American hardcore bands such as Black Flag, Minor Threat, and the Necros. The band recorded a track for Process of Elimination, Touch & Go's 1981 compilation EP, and accompanied fellow midwesterners the Necros on an east coast tour to promote the record. In 1982 the band released a 10 song 7" EP, and the following year released the Tied Down LP. Both records are pure expressions of anger and frustration, lead by Brannon's bellicose vocals and backed by tight bursts of hardcore fury. When asked what he wrote his songs about, Brannon replied simply, "People I hate."
Negative Approach broke up in 1984, and Brannon continued on with the explicitly non-hardcore Laughing Hyenas, who put out several albums on Touch & Go. He now has a new band called Easy Action. In the 90s, Touch & Go reissued all the Negative Approach stuff on one CD (plus a bunch of badly recorded live stuff), so people won't have to break the bank to hear these essential records.
DEMO '81 (1981)
NEGATIVE APPROACH 7" (Touch & Go, 1982)
TIED DOWN LP (Touch & Go, 1983)
DEMO '84 (1984)
TOTAL RECALL CD (Touch & Go, everything they released plus demo and live tracks)
LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU LP (live at CBGB 1983, live in DC 1984)
PRESSURE LP (has "Tied Down" and live tracks)
PROCESS OF ELIMINATION EP (Touch & Go, 1981), "Lost Cause"
I ESTIMATED YOUR WORTH TODAY tape (has their demo)
REAGAN REGIME REVIEW 7" (Selfless, 1992), "Can't Tell No One"
Lyrics for Negative Approach and Tied Down
Interview from Touch & Go
Here's a short interview, from 1981 when Negative Approach had played only one show. Interview by Tesco Vee (of the Meatmen), and half of the Necros.
Interview from Forced Exposure #4
An excellent interview from Boston's Forced Exposure zine, I'm guessing from late 1981. Includes two reviews of the EP. Thanks a million to Obik for scanning it!
Interview from Suburban Punk #4
Al Quint interviewed NA by mail in late 82/early 83.
Interview from Fish #4
This is a strange interview - it seems to come from some time (right before they broke up?) when everyone but John Brannon had left the band and he had recruited three new members...? Thanks to Jamie for sending it.
Interview from Game of the Arseholes #4
A recent interview from 2000 with guitar player Rob McCulloch. Lots of interesting stuff - kudos to Stuart for tracking down Rob and doing the interview...
Interview on Dementlieu Punk Archive
This is a good interview with original NA bassist and Allied founder Pete Zelewski, from 2002.
Music From Before You Were Born Website
There's some other Negative Approach pictures here, also lyrics and an interview.
Easy Action Website
The website for John Brannon's new band.