Mark Murphy

Cancerous Growth

Boston, MA

RIYL: SSD, Jerry's Kids, Siege, Deep Wound, Raw Power & Die Kreuzen

Boston had it’s “Crew” bands – SSD, Negative FX, the FU’s, DYS. Then, there was Jerry’s Kids, The Freeze, The Proletariat and the quite awesome Siege, Western Mass’ Deep Wound (later to morph into Dinosaur Jr.) and the Motorhead-obsessed Outpatients contributed their respective brands of earslaughter to Massachusetts’ hardcore sect circa 80-85. Then there was the increasingly speed-fixated Psycho (whose guitarist Johnny X did an all-too-brief stint on the porno circuit); those lovable, pro-wrestling goombas, The PTL Klub and the mighty Cancerous Growth.

Cancerous Growth’s mainstay, drummer Charlie Infection, probably was the closest thing this bunch had to a leader. Chaz was – and still is – a warm-hearted guy with a piercing South Shore of Massachusetts accent. While his tenure in Psycho may have been longer, Cancerous Growth was his baby. Da Growth was slightly heavier in approach than most of their peers. A bit more of one-eyed metal stomp permeated their breakneck thrash on songs like “Something I Don’t Need” or “The Choice Is Yours” on their Late For The Grave LP (1985) which was the second release on Ax/ction Records, a label run by Infection and Psycho’s X. Ax/ction would later become one of the first real grassroots distros for the then yet-to-emerge grindcore and pure thrash scene of the mid to late 80’s distributing the like of Napalm Death, Hirax and The Meatshits.

Charlie’s radio show at Brandeis University saw them bringing San Francisco’s Crucifix to those hallowed halls for an explosive gig in 1983. Though Cancerous’ one tour saw them going as far West as Iowa before turning back, there were plenty of great gigs with the likes of Raw Power, Die Kreuzen, Corrosion of Conformity, Bl’ast!, Decry and Fang.

Charlie would remain Cancerous Growth’s only original member as the band went onto its second Ax/ction album, 1987’s hmmlmmlum. A bit more musical sophistication crept into the equation with ex-Isolated Youth guitarist Marc Tobio rejoining the band to replace original chordsman John Malignant. However, the biggest change for the band came with the 1986 departure of gravel throated growler Mike Sores, leaving the band a three-piece with Marc, Charlie and bassist “Teminal Tom” Scolastico (replacing Tobio after his bass stint on “LFTG” for 1986’s 7” “Today’s Society”) sharing vocal duties. Bassist Mark “Waldo” Small joined the band for the “hmmlmmlum” LP.

With the Ax/ction label and his duties with Psycho starting to take more and more of Infection’s time, Cancerous Growth became fairly benign come 1987-88.

Written by Mike Gitter and edited by Beer City

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