His Riot: Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret Reflects on His New Memoir
Lesser Gods just published My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory by Roger Miret with Jon Wiederhorn. My Riot is the definitive insider account of the birth of the volatile New York Hardcore scene. It’s an unflinching portrait of downtown New York in the 1980s and a testament to the perils of growing up too fast.
Agnostic Front singer Roger Miret has been working on his book since 1999, but it all came together when he partnered with veteran music writer Jon Wiederhorn.
Jon spoke with Roger to get his thoughts on My Riot now that it’s finally out. Find out how Roger dug up old stories, his favorite parts of the book and what Agnostic Front fans and other readers will get out of it.
What are your thoughts on how the book came out?
It came out how I expected. The surprise was the stories that didn’t make it. So much of the book concentrated on the early years, which people are more interested in.
Were there things you didn’t realize you remembered until you started telling these stories?
Some stuff was blocked out, or details weren’t as precise. Things started coming back to me as conversations kept going. That happens all the time. When I’m on tour with other bands, all they want to know is how shit was back in the day. Once we start talking, memories start flying, especially with people who were there with me.
Did you go back to people for help remembering?
I reminisced a lot with ex-bandmates like Craig Setari and Matt Henderson. We would go back and forth, and we would laugh about stories.
Is there anything that you had reservations about discussing?
There was personal stuff that I had reservations about. I went over some of it with my wife. Some stuff that haunts me to this day. A lot of it I did as a teen, which was foolish and is embarrassing now. That’s the kind of stuff you do when you’re a teen living on the streets trying to take care of yourself first or your addictions and trying to get through. Even if I get some backlash, it’s good to let it go and be honest. I think people will appreciate that.
What’s your favorite part of the book?
One is the New York Hardcore stuff and the intensity of describing the area and Apartment X. The first part of my book—coming to America, my early survival skills—made me who I was before I got into hardcore. I was very unhappy with myself, unsure of everything. That’s my favorite part. Of course, being in New York Hardcore and meeting everyone and touring, that was all great, but the unexpected parts are the best.
What will surprise Agnostic Front fans?
Fans are going to be excited to read about my time in prison. The biggest surprise will be my upbringing because I usually don’t talk about it. For the people that know me today, they can’t even imagine how I used to be. I’m such a different person.
What will readers who aren’t hardcore fans get out of this book?
They’ll get a great immigrant story, a success story. A family trying to get away from Fidel Castro, get to America and live the American dream. And of course the ups and downs of trying to get somewhere, especially not knowing the language. They’ll be blown away by a cool introduction to an underground music scene—and how dangerous, colorful and great it was for the whole art world. We came together as a New York Hardcore tribe because we had to for survival. You learned how to live amongst criminals and gain street-smarts, so you were prepared for anything.