Danny Diablo with Skarhead in 2002

Scars of Experience

Thugcore legend plays Eugene

Even legends of hip-hop and hardcore music have to grow up one day. “I have a son now,” says Dan Singer, who performs as Danny Diablo.

Since the mid-1990s, he’s been part of several music projects now considered cult classics, from the hip hop of Crown of Thornz to the hardcore punk of Skarhead. But today, he’s been working what he calls a real job: construction. In the morning, “Everything hurts,” says Diablo. 

Growing up in Manhattan, Diablo’s first love was hip hop, but he soon discovered hardcore. Before playing music, he was a graffiti artist known as Lord Ezec. For Diablo, street culture is what hip hop and hardcore have in common. 



Photo by James Scott

“It all ties together through graffiti,” he says. His first instrument was bass and music proved to be way for Diablo to channel his tough upbringing into something creative.

Despite feeling a little bit older, Diablo stresses that he hasn’t slowed down much. “I’m always hyper,” he says. “I’m going to be touring as much as possible. I want the band as an outlet.”

Along the way, Diablo helped innovate a hardcore punk, metal and hip-hop hybrid style that’s come to be known as “thugcore,” working with some of the biggest names in punk, from Tim Armstrong of Rancid to recording with immortal punk record labels like Epitaph, Hellcat and Victory Records. 

Skarhead’s most recent studio release, Dreams Don’t Die, came out in 2011. The passing of time made Diablo realize his passion for the project hadn’t waned, and, at nearly 48, he decided to revive the band to tour but also get back in the studio to record new material.

What can we expect from new Skarhead material? “It’s gonna be hard,” he says.

Skarhead plays with Brick by Brick and These Streets 5 pm Sunday, Oct. 6, at Wandering Goat; $10, all-ages.