While the West and East Coasts got more attention, the Midwest was a major hotbed for hardcore punk during the early to mid-'80s, and Michigan's Violent Apathy certainly added their share of noise to the proceedings. Violent Apathy were formed in the spring of 1981 by guitarist Richard Bowser, vocalist Kenny Knott, and bassist Jim Forgey, three friends who grew up together in Jackson, MI and were all attending Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo at the time. Bowser, Knott, and Forgey teamed up with Eliot Rachman, a drummer who had played in the Meatmen for a spell; while working a summer job in Lansing, MI, he had made friends with members of Negative Approach, the Necros, and the Fix, who helped expose him to the new faster-and-louder sounds going around. The band also impressed Necros member Corey Rusk, who had launched a record label called Touch & Go; Violent Apathy appeared on the label's fabled 1981 Process of Elimination compilation EP, a touchstone in the Midwest hardcore scene. The band began gigging regularly around the state, and in 1982, Todd Visser replaced Jim Forgey on bass. In early 1983, guitarist Tommy Fuller turned the band into a five-piece, and Andy Bennett replaced Eliot Rachman, both in time to record a six-song EP for the Indiana-based Gravelvoice label, Here Today. The band also began to step out of the Michigan scene to play shows in Indianapolis and Chicago; the latter show was supposedly attended by a young Dave Grohl, who recalled the event in an interview with Michael Azerrad for his book on Nirvana, Come as You Are. In the summer of 1983, Eric Lorey took over on bass from Todd Visser, and this lineup continued to play around Michigan until Violent Apathy called it a day in September of 1984. Knott later went on to front the bands Just Say No and the Monokulators, and as a member of a Western Michigan University student group Students for Progressive Action, helped to bring a number of noted independent bands to the WMU campus, including Minor Threat, Black Flag, the Minutemen, and the Misfits. Visser subsequently performed with Black Spring, Eliot Rachman was a member of the Virelles, and Richard Bowser led the charmingly named Dick & the Balls. A posthumous EP of rare and unreleased Violent Apathy material, Reason, was released by the German Lost & Found label in 1996. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi