Believe it or not, I don’t make it a practice in my day-to-day to sit around and get all wistful over my youth. But when my social media feed started to clog yesterday with mentions of the passing of Dave Franklin — vocalist for long-running New Jersey hardcore band Vision — I have to admit, it got me going there for sure.

When I was in my early teens, the hardcore scene in New Jersey was known for bands that wrote songs about farts, getting beat up by jocks and how their moms’ meatloaf sucked. They were great and all, but I was always looking for a band from my homeland that could provide me with a bit more sustenance in their message. Vision were the ones that came along to fill that void, and Franklin was not only a great frontman, but a major catalyst in the Jersey hardcore scene of the late '80s.

Dave was always so encouraging to Tim McMahon and I when we were doing our fanzine [Common Sense] back then. He just seemed like a natural born leader; the kind that could only have been bred in New Jersey and nurtured in the hardcore scene. He was always doing something cool, like putting on a show for Youth of Today or releasing Vision’s first two 7" EPs on his own label, New Scene.

Soon after Vision established themselves in the scene, it seemed like a new breed of bands started popping out of Jersey — bands like Turning Point, Enuf, Release, Second Thought, Open Eyes, In Touch and many others, with graffiti-inspired demo tape covers. It was somewhere in these weekends after weekends of cramped and endless car rides to see Vision or any of the aforementioned bands that I finally felt a part of something really cool — something creative that a lot of people wouldn’t understand. I remember that being a very gratifying feeling.

When Vision’s debut LP, In the Blink of an Eye, was released in September of 1989 on Nemesis Records, an epic party was held in a very huge and beautiful house in Princeton, which was owned by the parents of someone in a band that went by the name Black Vomit. The gathering was this weird cross-section of high school partiers, collegiate types and super straight-edge dudes. Even my brother and the guys he worked with at the record store came out to check Vision out, and maybe scam a brew or two. In hindsight, the evening had a real "down home" vibe to it. The local boys did good!

So, yeah, Dave and Vision were a major component of my formative years. He was just so encouraging to every numb-nutted fanzine editor or kid in a band when he really didn’t have to be. As hopelessly cliché as it might sound, he was truly doing it all for the scene, man! That meant a lot to my friends and me, and that’s how I will constantly remember him.

vision live 2
Courtesy of Ken Salerno