Thirty years into his career as frontman for New York hardcore icons Agnostic Front, Cuban-born Roger Miret is living what he calls his “eternal retirement.” He figures someday maybe he’ll have a job. Miret still possesses the passion for heavy music and sociopolitical lyrics that he did back in the day—as evidenced by the group’s last album, My Life My Way, which was their 10th studio release.
“We’ve always been leaders and not followers and always borrowed from ourselves,” Miret says. “On this last record you can hear all the influences from all of our eras. It’s really cool—you can hear moments of [the albums] One Voice, Liberty and Justice for ... and Victim of Pain. It’s a very mature record in the way that you can hear little bits of the best.”
As steadfast as his musical path remains, Miret has mellowed a little and moved to Arizona six years ago with his wife and two young sons. “New York City changed,” asserts Miret. “The New York I grew up in and love and adore—you know, the Taxi Driver New York— today might as well be Anywhere, America. It’s just Party Central City USA. It’s all boutiques and expensive stuff everywhere.”
Miret recalls how Agnostic Front was the first hardcore band to be heavily tattooed back in the day. They liked going against the grain, and many people would walk across the street at the sight of them. Back then, tattoos were generally associated with convicts and bikers. Now, the frontman quips, it would be more rebellious not to have any. “We did a lot of our tattoos ourselves, and they told stories,” he explains. “We were never in a hurry to do anything. We were saying something that was important to us. Nowadays you see a lot of bands who tattoo their hands and their neck, which is always the last thing to do, but it’s the first thing they do. Then they take off their t-shirt and there’s nothing else there. They do it because it’s hip and cool and they want everybody to see that they’ve got tattoos.”
In contrast, the vocalist likes to joke that he is “one big tattoo. I’ve got my back, my legs, my chest, my arms. I could get more if I want, but I don’t want to. I have a lot.”
His powerful chest piece features a crucified Jesus wearing a gas mask as a nuclear war erupts behind him, with a mushroom cloud sporting a dark smile. He also has three sparrows—one on each hand and one on his neck—as in the Navy, where sailors earn a sparrow for every 5,000 miles they travel abroad. “I should have a damn eagle. I’ve traveled way more than 15,000 miles abroad.”
Friends and family are of paramount importance to the lifelong hardcore vocalist, and they are addressed through ink (he has his children’s names as well as the names of friends who have passed) and in the band’s songs. “Without family or friends, what do you have?” asks Miret. “When I found New York hardcore, I found my eternal family. It’s always been great. We’re always looking out for each other.”