is a hardcore
band from Baltimore, Maryland
and Washington D.C.
They play a rough form of streetpunk, and is the first band in the United States to adopt the skinhead look and the Oi! musical style. The band had close ties to the Washington, DC hardcore punk subculture, due to its relationship with other hardcore bands, with Ian Mackaye, and with Dischord Records. Singer Sab Grey was one of the many roommates in the Dischord House in Arlington, VA. The band's name — and the skinhead image of most of its members — led to accusations of fascism, which Grey has always denied. Grey stated in the original Iron Cross press kit in 1982, "...oh, and we're not Nazis!"
Iron Cross formed in Washington, DC
when Dante Ferrando met Sab Grey. Ferrando was previously in the band Broken Cross with Mark Haggerty while in school. When Grey and Ferrando decided to start a new band, Grey suggested the name Iron Cross. The first lineup consisted of Grey on lead vocals, Haggerty on guitar, Ferrando on drums and John Falls on bass guitar. This lineup lasted a short time, and the band went through two more bassists before settling on Wendell Blow, the former bassist for the DC hardcore punk
band State of Alert
. The only non-skinhead in the band was Ferrando, who has usually maintained a spiky hairstyle.
The band's original lineup lasted until just after the recording of their first EP Skinhead Glory. That EP features the signature song "Crucified," which was later covered by Agnostic Front, The Business, Subculture Squad and 25 ta Life. The song, "You're a Rebel" was covered by the Boston band Dropkick Murphys.
Blow left the band and was replaced by John Dunn, who left the band just before the release of the Hated and Proud EP. He was replaced by Paul Cleary, who was a founding member of the DC bands Trenchmouth and Black Market Baby. Iron Cross was introduced to the world beyond the eastern United States with their three songs on the Dischord compilation Flex Your Head.
Aftermath and new lineup
After lineup changes that left Grey as the only original member of Iron Cross, the band broke up in 1985. Ferrando went on to form the band Gray Matter with Haggerty, and Ferrando also played in the band Ignition. Haggerty went on to play with 3 and Severin. Blow, Dunn, and Cleary went different ways, with Blow and Dunn ending up in Los Angeles
in the late 1980s.
Grey moved to England, where he married and had children. Since then, Iron Cross has re-released their EPs and previously-unreleased material in the form of the full-length CD Live For Now. Grey moved back to Baltimore, and as of 2006, was playing with The Royal Americans (a rockabilly-style band), was performing solo acoustic shows, and occasionally performed with a new lineup of Iron Cross, which completed a national tour in 2003. Ferrando now owns the DC club, The Black Cat. Haggerty lives in the Bay Area, with Dunn living in Seattle. Blow lives in Texas, and Cleary lives in the DC area.
The 2008 lineup is: Sab Grey - Vocals, Scotty Powers - Drums, Dimitri Medevev - Bass, Mark Linskey - Guitar, Shadwick Wilde - Guitar.
In the mid 1980s, New York hardcore
band Agnostic Front
began covering "Crucified", a song from Iron Cross' recording "Skinhead Glory". Agnostic Front included studio versions of the song on their Liberty And Justice For...
and Something's Gotta Give
albums. The "Crucified" has become a staple cover song for many hardcore
bands. The lyrics refer to being ridiculed for being different, being blamed for society's ills, and being accused of violence and intolerance because of the actions of others. The metaphor of being crucified resonated with anti-racist
and apolitical skinheads who were sick of being labelled as neo-Nazis
because of an extremist sub-group who term themselves "skinheads (this sub-group of racists does not represent any aspects of the skinhead movement when it began in the late 1960s and is outside the scope of the actual movement as seen today). Live audiences have taken to adding a chant of "skinhead army!" to the chorus, a line not included in the original recording by Iron Cross.