Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Posted by xCHIPxSEM |

During the 90's, it wasnt uncommon to go to a show and see kids wearing Tulasi neck beads, usually wrapped around as few as once or covering the entire neck (come on, you know that one kid who did this). Hare Krishna's most vocal supporters came in the form of the two biggest Krishnacore bands in the 90s, Shelter and 108. While both of these bands could arguably be called the first Krishnacore bands, members of the NYHC scene in the 80s were preaching the ways of the Bhagavad-gita including Keith Burkhardt of Cause for Alarm, members of Antidote and John Joseph and Harley Flanagan of the Cro Mags. Eventually Ray Cappo discovered Hare Krishna and started the band Shelter which could be considered the first Krishnacore band. Vic DiCara also discovered spirituality and quit Inside Out to join Shelter. When he quit the band, he formed 108. Ray also started Equal Vision Records with Steve Reddy to release Shelter's record. The label would function as the only (to my knowledge) all Krishna label before releasing non-Krishna bands in the mid to late 90s. Shelter eventually signed to Roadrunner/Supersoul while 108 went to Equal Vision and Lost & Found before disbanding. The idea of Krishnacore spread throughout the scene domesitcally and globally. More and more bands began to spring up though many went undocumented. Equal Vision did release records for some of the bands including Prema, Refuse to Fall, and Project Kate but many bands usually just included a member who followed the beliefs so the band was not a full Krishnacore band. Shelter continued touring and are still somewhat active at the time of this writing. 108 is very much active having just recorded a new record and playing a US tour as well as a European tour. If you would like more info on Krishnacore check out the Krishnacore homepage:

Krishnacore on the internetz

108 on Myspace

Shelter on Myspace


XemonerdX said...

I guess I'm still 'that kid', hahaha... Still wear several strands of tulasi beads around my neck, they've become as much part of my daily 'look' as wearing a band-shirt, love 'em. My first strand was given to me by an old Polish friend who was Krishna at the time, have a shitload of broken strands in my desk, 'to be repaired someday'. Not Krishna myself, the Bhagavad-Gita rocks tho.

Some more bands/persons: Baby Gopal (and Sri Kesava's solo-project Sri), Agni Hotra (Poland, good stuff, should post their stuff someday), Dharma (Denmark I believe), Nrsimhadeva (Netherlands, shortlived band with members of Mainstrike and Reaching Forward), JR Glass of Next Step Up/Wake Up Cold/Bet The Devil.

xCHIPxSEM said...

I know what you mean...I wore beads till they broke. I went a few years ago to buy some more and they just dont fit my neck anymore...awesome mention of Baby Gopal. I love that full length on Victory

Guav said...

Hell, I'm an atheist and always wore 2-3 double strands at a time. Which is probably why any old shirts I still have from the 90's have brown stains around the neck haha

Vijaya said...

Cool, I do the Krishnacore site so nice to see this. I remember everyone wearing Tulasi beads in the 90's... shame it was taken somewhat superficially as a fashion, as the philosophy of the Vedas is much deeper and longer lasting than a passing phase.

Check out the cuurent bands in the Philippines FriendshipXSeva, Mihara and xHis Divine Gracex, xDar La Vidax in South America, and Traces of You in Italy. Krsnacore certainly lives...

xCHIPxSEM said...

Thanks for writing. Shoot me an email at xstuckinthepastx@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

Can we get a write-up on Refuse to Fall? I loved that 7inch as soon as I heard it, but never thought there was much about that band in 'zines back then. Never got to see them.

And yes, I rocked krishna beads.

Oh, 108 fucking rocked!

sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?


Louisville Joe said...

I remember seeing One King Down in 1997 and Fusco was wearing the most beads I've ever seen one person wear. His whole neck from shoulder to chin was covered.

How he managed to keep them on with all that jumping and screaming I'll never understand.

I never wore them myself, but still know a fossil or two that rocks them to this day.

XemonerdX said...

Posted the Agni Hotra discography yesterday. At least, all of their releases I'm aware of, haha...


Marne said...

Man, Shelter was my fav hardcore band back then. Dec of 95 I saw them when they were touring with Earth Crisis (EC didnt play bec of their bus crashing or something). It still stands as one of the defining shows in my life! I even ended up meeting some krshna dudes and chanting with them a few days later, ha. I'm pretty glad I never dove in further than that. I def had quite a bit of "neck armor" though.

Anonymous said...

Krishnas rule.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

One thing that always bugged the shit out of me about Krishnacore was Vic and Ray's cult guru. A creepy fuck named "Dhanurdhara". Supposedly, a former amateur boxer. He was at one time a teacher in a Krishna cult school, a place where horrors abounded. He did stuff like break a little kid's ribs. I'm not making this up. If you don't know the back-story, or don't believe me, you'll find the following quote on Vic Dicara dot com: "I met my guru, Sripad Dhanurdhara Swami, who initiated me into the maha-mantra in 1992..." Or copy-paste the search terms "raghunath" and "dhanurdhara" into Youtube. Erik Davis' 1995 article from SPIN magazine about Krishnacore also mentions Dhanurdhara, and some of the cast of characters orbiting the mosh 4 Krishna scene. If memory serves, Norman Brannon also had some connection to Dhanurdhara. Quite possibly, he was Norm's "guru" as well. I'm a little fuzzy on those details...at the moment. And Google isn't really cooperating. All I get is a Scanner Zine interview, where Norm (post-Krishna) says: "I mean, I would still count the guru that initiated me into the movement as one of the most important people in my life."

In the mid-to-late-ish-90s, I remember coming across a fairly-extensive, and genuinely disturbing, website by people who had grown up in, and been abused in, Hare Krishna cult schools. Telling their stories. Really sad stuff. I have a hard time imagining how I would have turned out, had I gone through what they went through. Really heart-stomping and soul-crushing shit. One name that kept coming up repeatedly as one of the abusers was "DDS". It took me a while to make the connection that DDS was Dhanurdhara Swami.

Anyway, below is a link to a webpage from the Krishna cult. There's some HK gobbledygook to wade through, but if you just scroll about half-way down the page, you'll find a 12-item list of some of what this Dhanurdhara guy did to kids. Throwing kids into marble walls, and kicking them after they hit the ground. Sometimes beating kids until they passed out. Etc. Dude def gives off a psychopathic vibe. Seemingly unrepentant to this day. Apart from a few insincere-sounding and face-saving apologies. All for show. So culty that even the main Krishna cult kicked him out. He now lives on the fringes of the Krishna cult scene, financially supported by disciples, giving talks with Cappo at yoga studios and similar events. Just blows my mind.

I remember, also some time in the 90s, coming across a tape of a talk that Dhanurdhara gave, where he name-drops Mikey Prema, and talks about Krishnacore. Also, sorta look like Richard Gere in some pics.


Anonymous said...

Snippet from the Franklin Rhi interview from issue 7 of Conversations with Punx zine:

"The first band I joined was 108. That band had a lot of spirit. You felt that on stage. Everyone in the band was a devotee. The more people you have that follow the exact same thing makes things a lot stronger on stage. Visually people feel it. Vic [DiCara] was living in the temple, Rob [Fish] was living in the temple, and I was living in the temple. Same thing with Shelter. People can see straight up if you’re following what you are preaching. I don’t really want to spill dirt on any body’s lap but, some of the things I saw in those bands also drove me away from the whole spirituality thing."


Anonymous said...

"...Dhanurdhara Swami is one of the worst child abusers within the Hare Krishna Movement. He is responsible for ruining the lives of many children who were under his care when he was a teacher in one of the movement’s boarding schools. He was never brought to justice."

- Priya Wells


"By his own admission, Dhanurdhara swami is guilty of abusing young boys by severely beating them. The young man Ananda had his nose broken when Dhanurdhara swami smashed his face into a brick wall. This was witnessed by several boys who were his students at the time."

- S. Carolan


"Dhanudhara Swami crimes were recorder and he confessed most of them to Child Protection Office of ISKCON."

- D. Mainieri


"...was responsible for serious physical abuse of the children placed in the Hare Krsna religious school known as Gurukula. Recently one of those children, grown to adulthood, comitted suicide in large part due to his difficulty in dealing with the aftermath. While Dhanurdhara was initially censured by ISKCON he has since been reinstated as if nothing ever happened, much as Catholic priests are shipped to a new parish and allowed to resume their activities."

- T. McDaniels


"Unfortunately for the victims of Dhanurdhara swami, there will be no trial by judge or jury because the crimes were committed in India, outside the jurisdiction of US law."

- S. Carolan


"One might ask why I will not provide this evidence here? That is because the original censure was conducted by an impotent office within the institution that had no power to enforce its rulings, and the Higher Governing Body that chartered the impotent 'Child Protection Office' is documented to have assisted the Swami in circumventing the conditions of punishment issued by the CPO itself!!

"Thus barring the involvement of an impartial Judiciary authorized by the State in which the crime took place, the whole affair of 'trial' and 'punishment' was merely a face saving Charade, and has no teeth.

"Anyway, one can read the testimony of the many people who testified on the 'unofficial' public record and among friends by doing a google search. The dastardly nature of this particular case has prompted many people to document their outcry over the years on dozens of internet sites."

- Bala Dasa


"If you are really think that it is OK for 40 year old man to beat 8 year old in the face with the fist until blood start to come out of his ears, than there is something wrong with you too."

- D. Mainieri


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

there is also the suicide of ananda mcclure. former student of dhanurdhara’s. gunshot to the head. thanks, dhanurdhara

words taken from a krsna cult website:

“It can be a bit difficult to discuss Dhanurdhara objectively with his disciples, since they are trained up to view him as perfect and to develop a strong emotional attachment – but we shall do our best. (…)

“Actually, we really believe that Dhanurdhara’s disciples should also separate from him because we believe their attraction to him is actually unhealthy. It is somewhat well-known that Dhanurdhara’s following comes primarily from the Krishnacore music scene, which is a sub-genre of hardcore punk music. This genre of music is known for passion and volume, slam dancing, mosh pits, and generally rebelling against society. It is a truism that people attracted to this scene have actually experienced a lot of repression or abuse, and the music and dancing is a way of expressing their anger at what has been done to them. Just look at some of the names of the Krishnacore bands, their albums, and their songs. There are names such as:

“Opposition, Request Denied, Slave, Killer of the Soul, Threefold Misery, Break the Flow, Cause for Alarm, Beneath the Wheel, Shattered, Deceived, Enemy, Force-fed Reality, Lord of Wrath, and best of all, Screaming for Change.

“So if we may speak to Dhanurdhara’s disciples in their own language, the gurukulis see Dhanurdhara as a ‘Killer of the Soul’ and a ‘Lord of Wrath’ who ‘Shattered’ and ‘Deceived’ and ground his students ‘Beneath the Wheel,’ and we are now ‘Screaming for Change.’ In truth, we believe that Dhanurdhara’s disciples and the abused gurukulis actually have something in common and have been through similar experiences.

“Actually, we believe that the attraction to Dhanurdhara is probably based on abusive relationships from the past; and maintaining relationships with persons who are abusive or who cause pain is called ‘masochism.’ That is why we said the relationship with Dhanurdhara is unhealthy. In effect, it is really maintaining a relationship with the very thing that is being rebelled against. So this is something for Dhanurdhara’s disciples to think about, and to see if what we have written here resonates with their own personal truths.”

Anonymous said...

vic dicara writes, in ‘i was a teenage hare krishna’:

“A local straightedge kid spent the night at the temple so he could experience the self-realization effects of the early-morning Hare Krishna ceremonies. He never made it to the morning services, because he experienced the self-realization effects of an anal rape from a devotee in the ashram.”

Anonymous said...

Madhusudani Radha's article "The Dhanurdhara Swami Case" used to be available on Chakra.org. But no longer. Here's an excerpt:


"One former student describes them as follows: 'Dhanurdhara would call them up in front of the kids during the assembly... Position the kid in front of him so that they would both be facing the other children. Pull him by the ears, twist the ears and then smack him with both open hands on the ears and cheeks... And he wouldn't only smack once or twice. You never knew how much it would be. It seemed to me, that the more and longer he could talk about it, the more he would smack while talking. During the whole scene, everybody had to stare straight ahead and see what was happening to this boy. And the boy had to just stand there with his hands folded, just like all the others. And if he dared to put his hands up to the side of his head to protect himself, DDS would scream 'put your hands down!' And smack him even more...

"Needless to say, the kid would be crying, and after some smacking would be shuffled towards the other kids and told 'go stand back in line!' The only feelings I can remember from such times is extreme fear, and my heart was pounding. I remember feeling pressure and heat rise to my head where I would feel like my eyes would pop out. Sweat would sometimes break out. I would fight back tears. There was an extreme feeling of vulnerability... Nowhere to turn for help, no way to defend yourself. Being all alone in this environment with no end in sight. I would push back memories of these events as soon as the assembly was over. It was the only thing I could do. Anything to take my mind off it... I had my favorite spot towards the middle of the line which was along the right wall, close to where the gong was suspended. I didn't want to be up front, because that would make you the first target in case someone like [ ] got out of control. I can still feel what it was like to have or to witness this..."