Each of DFL’s original members came from the earliest, most crazed days of first wave hardcore: Messex formed hardcore punk band the Atoms, which included Izzy Stradlin (pre-Guns n Roses) in 1981; Horovitz started in the early NYC hardcore scene with the Young and the Useless before joining the Beastie Boys during their initial run as a hardcore band; Crazy Tom was a seasoned skateboarder hailing from the Marina Del Rey skatepark.
Messex recalls, “In 1993, I was obsessively listening to Bad Religion’s ‘How Could Hell Be Any Worse’. I had this beat up cassette that I’d listen to over and over and over and over again on my Walkman. That record brought me back to the early 80s hardcore scene I grew up on- that included Circle Jerks, the Germs, The Adolescents. I wanted to make a record that called back to the initial rush I got from the early hardcore scene.”
Without much planning, Messex linked up with Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, who, at the time, were recording the seminal Check Your Head album. Messex threw the idea of starting a hardcore punk band past Horovitz and DFL was born. Messex says, “I literally remember the moment when we started DFL. Adam dropped by my place in Echo Park and kinda half jokingly asked him if he wanted to start a hardcore band. To my surprise he was like, ‘uh… yeah!’ I had a few songs and we went over to G-Son. I played them for Adam and the band was born right there and then.”
Shortly thereafter, Messex and Horovitz drafted “Crazy” Tom Davis into the group. Hailing the SoCal skate scene, Davis was added as much for his explosive singing style and unpredictability. Along with drummer Tony Converse, the band recorded the volatile My Crazy Life album in the time it takes to listen to it: 20 minutes. Unlike the more polished records of the day, My Crazy Life was 15 tracks of raw and ragged hardcore punk that, while fueled by the same energy as first wave of California hardcore, was pushed into the present, addressing issues like mental health, ‘90s Hollywood, and the fact that pizza is tasty.