RIP:: Tony “Offender” Johnson 1957- 2012

Written by Paul Lubaczewski.

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I'm not the right person to be writing this. I wont even pretend that I am. I knew him sure, but others knew him better. I want to make damned sure, crystal clear sure, that we have some idea what was lost, and that I see it in print.

First off,the band, Offenders.

If there was a more crystal clear vision of 80's hardcore then, "We Must Rebel",  I've NEVER heard it. It was everything that was happening everywhere else, just distilled. A singer who was "this is an 80s hardcore singer, sing like him" a rhythm section that was light years ahead of everyone else, and Tony, a guitarist who knew when to step up and take the song, or sit back and let others do it. He could do either, and knew which songs needed what.
It is a perfect early 80s hardcore record,better then allmost anything that was out there.It was exactly right.

The PEACE comp could have been shaved down to one album,easily. But some tracks would have HAD to be on that one album,they grabbed you by the balls that much,and they squeezed. Offenders was one of those tracks.

How I got to know Tony...

A show was put together with all the best intentions,turns out the guy was a scammer. Sucks, it happens. So, rather than fall down into sadness and disappointment, some good people decided, "Hey we could mobilize for that asshole, lets turn it positive.", so they turned it in to a benefit for Detroit Children's Hospital. Good on em.

It was decided that a compilation CD should accompany the benefit shows. My guitarist Michael Rys approached me to see who I could shake down.

I developed a simple and uncomplicated attitude,if you were my real friend, or my Myspace friend, you fucked up, because I was shaking you down.

Hey, it was for kids, and whats the worse that could happen? They said no? Oh the horrors.
One of the first bands I approached was Offenders, a band I adored most of my life. 
Approaching somebody you look up to can be a whore, often as not, they disapoint greatly.
Not Offenders, what do you need, when do you need it, how much do you need?

If one little kid got some extra treatment because of that CD, it was all worthwhile.

Like everyone we all made the exodus to Facebook. And rather then buisness reasons I got to talk to Tony a bit more. We both had a love of history and research, and coffee is always welcome.

I was so proud of him when we thought he beat it.But Im no less proud of him that he held out to the end.
I'm proud that Tony Offender was my friend, my life was better for knowing him.
May the same be said for all of us.

The Right Wrong Reverend Paul Putrid
Paul Lubaczewski

 

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