Like Bad Religion, 7 Seconds became punk legends through perseverance and attrition. Founded in 1980, the band came into its own as giants like Minor Threat were closing up shop. Often lumped in with the West Coast hardcore bands, 7 Seconds actually hail from Reno, Nevada -- "Skeeno," they call it, and singer Kevin Seconds (get it?) has been amazed to see "Skeeno HC" tattoos in far-flung spots like Ohio. The positive, youth-crew skinheads combined skate rock's groove with the full-speed-ahead approach of early Washington, D.C. hardcore. Minor Threat singer Ian MacKaye produced 1985's Walk Together Rock Together, generally acknowledged as the finest disc from a long career.
After years of recording essentially the same song up to 20 times an album, 7 Seconds couldn't help but evolve, and the band is under-recognized as a progenitor of emo. From its early days, it practiced a smoother version of the gang chorus, injecting some melody into hardcore. Seconds also pioneered the indie-band staple of making really earnest speeches from the stage -- sometimes interrupting a song just to tell the audience what a special thing it is that they're all part of. It sounded corny at the time, but like those tattoos, the band is still here, and they don't look like they're going away anytime soon.